June 7th, 2017 | by

Statistics tell us that B2B buyers connect on the internet more than ever. However, as you likely know from experience, closing business over the phone remains a core skill for anyone selling products and services to other companies.

In the digital age, sales professionals walk a fine line with the phone. The difference between landing an account and wasting time and energy boils down to three things. 

  1. Who is on the other end of the line, specifically, do they make purchasing decisions?
  2. What do they need to hear?
  3. How will you go about ending the conversation?

You’re smart if you have the answers to these questions ready to fire before you dial. If you don’t already know this information, don’t worry, there are tools you can use to figure it out. Sales and marketing intelligence tools, like DiscoverOrg, can provide you with those answers. Nail down your talking points, but do not get too deep in the weeds creating them. Gain enough information to speak to your client coherently without going down the rabbit hole when doing your research. Alice closed zero business in Wonderland and so will you.

Remember the golden (but easily forgotten) rule of sales calls—make the call about the prospect not about you or your product/service. If you can keep that rule in mind as you follow the next three steps, you are off to a promising start for making sales calls.

Step #1: Who is on the other end? Use the 3×3 Method of Prospect Research


It is important to understand who is going to be on the other end of the phone when you call.

First, surface and rank your top prospects. These are based on your customized ideal buyer persona and are decision-makers and influencers, effectively avoiding gatekeepers or have to call up the chain.

Once your call list is built, use the 3×3 method to know who your prospect is, but also not be the “creepy” salesperson. So, what is the 3×3 method? Create three bullet points of important information about your prospect, in three minutes. Three bullet points is more than enough information to keep the conversation flowing. Take only three minutes to generate your bullets to be sure you’re not wasting time on this piece.

It sounds like a crazy tight deadline, but deadlines are magical for completing tasks. You don’t need too much; just find out the basics and your ‘who.’      

  • Sales and marketing intelligence will also help you understand the contact’s role at their company. Job title, org charts, the technology they manage,  and industry vertical tells you a lot about the responsibilities, goals, and objectives.
  • Google the company name and use the News filter to check the narratives beyond their own. See if anything big or noteworthy has stirred up in the trade publications.  
  • Look to the company’s own blog for signals about vision, values, and personalized tidbits you might latch onto in your sales motion.

Step #2: What do they need to hear? Use your research and experience

Use your sales and marketing intelligence tool to identify pain points, upcoming spending, contract renewals, budget information, staffing for upcoming projects, and much more. Align the information that you find with your product before the call and get ready for that conversation. Make sure you can articulate how your product can help them. But don’t forget to come right out and ask about their needs and pain points first. Have them explain their challenges to you—and ask questions. They yield important information you should gather for follow-up communication. This step will allow your call to be more relevant, warmer, and will resonate with your prospect—making a second call more likely.

Also, use what you know about their vertical and job role to identify challenges their company faces. What does the SVP or CEO of the company worry about? Get ready to help your prospect make the case to the C-suite that your solution is worth the investment. Be able to explain to a manager how you can help increase their day-to-day productivity. Remember–you aren’t going to speak to everyone with the same exact talk track.

Step #3: How do you want the conversation to end?

Will you close business on the first call? Sometimes (but very rarely) you do, most of the time you don’t—if you’re selling enterprise-grade software, you know that it takes several follow-ups. Go into every phone call with a realistic goal in mind. Think of positive ends besides a direct close.

  • Set up a Skype call and demo your product with team members who will use it
  • Sign them up for a trial period
  • Make clear you’re available for questions
  • Establish the next steps in the conversion cycle
  • Schedule the follow-up call

Experienced Sales teams should be able to identify patterns in regular processes for winning business. Use past experience to formulate ideal steps to close. These vary from business to business and will be different for everyone.  

The important part is to stay deliberate with your steps for the sake of focus. It allows sales personnel to stay efficient with time throughout the conversation with the prospect. Rabbit holes are everywhere. Keep yourself and your prospects out of Wonderland and you will close more accounts.    

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