B2B Sales Strategies to Accelerate the Recovery
Most sales managers we talk to believe that the worst is over. However, when we discuss the issue with them, it becomes clear that their renewed confidence derives from improvements in selling as much as in general market conditions.
In this post we summarise some of the ways that these forward looking organisations have changed the way they sell to accelerate their sales recovery.
- Making Sales A Team Sport: Get everybody in the organisation involved in your next campaign (and we mean everybody who has contact with customers). Working as a team means you can nurture the veritable gold mine of contacts held in various places through-out your organisation – email address books, business card holders and spreadsheets
- Involving Customers In Campaigns. When your customers talk on your behalf customers listen. When they refer or introduce you then your sales cycle can be greatly reduced. Referrals are like gold dust, but is your team asking existing customers for referrals? It is amazing how many people forget to ask for a referral, in our experience six out of ten sales people don’t ask for them consistently.
- Adopting A Multi-touch Approach: Managers are forever telling us they tried telemarketing and it did not work. The same applies to email newsletters and all the other ‘old reliables’. The result is that they have been quickly dropped. Here is the big secret however, traditional lead generation sources that are applied once off and in isolation are sure to disappoint. The key to success is a ‘multi-touch’, ‘multi-contact approach’.
- Looking Beyond This Quarter: Unless you are to keep the contact going, then don’t start it. It takes more than one or two interactions with a contact to generate any form of interest, or response. This is particularly so in a market environment where silence from the customer often indicates that the customer is not ready, as opposed to not interested. To generate demand, contact with your target customer must be ongoing – it must look beyond this quarter.
- Saying Something Interesting. Most marketing is falling into the nuisance category as far as buyers are concerned. Yet, the occasional email, or cold call that gets through often fails to grab the buyer’s interest. The problem is that most sales campaigns don’t have something interesting to say. Those that rely on the value proposition or standard features and benefits message are sure to fail. Buyers want valuable information – not partisan marketing blurb. That means sellers must be able to share insights and tell interesting and relevant stories, regarding, for example, what others in their industry are doing.
- Change the way you sell: Buying has changed forever, not only as a result of the recession, but a fundamental shift in how organizations make buying decisions. Attempting to control the buyer with a slick process WON’T work. That is because today’s buyers are more independent, self contained and in control than every before. Most buying decisions, for example, require a business case – something that traditional sales presentations and proposals do not take into consideration.
How effective are these changed sales strategies.
Well, they appear to be having an important psychological advantage for the sales teams in question, in addition to what is, in many cases, a significant impact on numbers.
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