Being a sales rep, whether you are doing outbound or inbound sales, has never been more challenging. Whatever the economy and some sectors were doing before Covid-19, this has made the operating environment more difficult.
Customers and prospects are more hesitant when it comes to spending money. You need to meet heightened expectations, battle competitors and in some cases, incumbents, and give prospects an awesome B2B sales experience.
We need to remember that 80% of future profits and revenues will come from 20% of customers you’ve already got. Even when you’ve worked together many years, the experience needs to be positive and engaging. Now is not the time to take your eye off the ball.
When interacting with new sales prospects, you need to offer an awesome experience from day one. Given the nature of B2B sales, this needs to include everything before you have conversations with sales prospects.
What should you include in an awesome sales experience?
According to Lica Wouters, CEO and Founder of Mind and Metrics: “The positive experiences you create for your customers adds to the longevity and success of every business. The happier you are, the more likely your customers will stay and refer a friend. 80% of future profits will come from 20% of existing customers, so it makes sense to focus on a customer’s happiness even before they become a customer.”
In order to create an awesome sales experience, you need a few key ingredients. Sales calls or demos are only one part of the process. A complete sales and marketing funnel is needed.
#1: Content Marketing
Give potential customers a great experience from the moment they start searching for your company name, or competing solutions. Be helpful, answer questions with content marketing, social media content, even videos, podcasts, and self-help sections of websites.
Advertising campaigns are useful, of course. But when it comes to securing long-term purchase ready and viable customers, organic search is the way forward. Helpful, engaging, keyword-friendly content is useful in the short and long-term.
#2: Top of the Funnel Material and Demos
Once you’ve got prospects in the pipeline, you need to keep them interested.
Now is also the time to find out more about what they want and need. Ask pain point discovery questions, and even demo your solution, product or service.
At the top of the funnel, you should have materials that give them more information. Whether that means case studies or eBooks, slide decks, or even instant online demos, prospects want to know more. You also need to learn more about them. Make sure they’re a good fit, and ask questions that see whether they’re aligned with your ideal customer profile.
In cases where the first call is the only one you need to make a sale, then Instant Demo material is essential for converting prospects into customers. When the sales cycle is longer, you need top of the funnel materials. Even a video demo call, using CrankWheel for example, is a way of finding out more and checking whether prospects are potential customers.
#3: Create a Personal Experience
Sales is a juggling act.
You need to get what you came for, which means closing every deal in the pipeline possible. But this needs to be achieved while putting a customer’s needs first, not your own. Pushy salespeople don’t get far, and often fail to hit targets.
So you need to keep focused on hitting targets and KPIs without scaring customers away. A key part of that means being likeable. What does it mean to be likeable, exactly? Can this be achieved at scale so that every prospect feels they’re getting a positive and personal experience?
“Likability” is hard to quantify, but there are some consistent traits and characteristics we see time and again with likeable people:
- They remember names and details (e.g. such as where you went on holiday last time, or what sports team your kid plays in).
- They ask insightful questions and actively listen. Really charming and interesting people make those they’re talking to feel like the most important person in the room. Interactions such as that are remembered for years afterwards.
- Likeable people smile, maintain open body language, and seem friendly (as opposed to being stand-offish and unfriendly, even hostile).
- Genuinely likeable people don’t pretend they know best. Admitting not knowing something isn’t a weakness, it actually helps build stronger relationships, making people seem more trustworthy.
#4: Leverage CRM Data
There are times when managers, or other sales executives, or account execs need to interact with a prospect or client. When this happens, you need to ensure that everyone is on the same page. As far as a client or prospect is concerned, you operate as a team, so everyone should have ready access to the same information.
And in most cases, your whole sales team should have the same data at their disposal. When the CRM is leveraged in the right way, someone else can temporarily or permanently take over managing a client/prospect relationship without any disconnect or continuity and service problems. This will reassure a client that they’re going to get excellent service no matter who they’re working with.
#5: Follow-up and Deliver, Consistently
When it comes to service providers, who do you prefer to work with?
Companies that do what they say, that deliver consistently high-quality, or those that don’t.
Naturally, you are going to stick with the consistent providers of quality. You want great service, great value for money, and getting what you pay for. Naturally, your customers want the same.
Even though sales and account management isn’t directly responsible for delivering a service, you need to ensure the part of the service you are directly involved with is positive and customer-centric. Ensure consistency is baked into the service your company provides.
Delivering an awesome B2B sales experience means thinking of the client or prospect needs along the whole journey.
And this starts with marketing at the top of the funnel, when the journey has just begun, moving through every interaction point. Consistency is essential. Active listening is a key part of it too. Give prospects and clients a personal experience, every time, to ensure consistent positive spending decisions from them.