If you’ve been through your company’s onboarding and training program, the next step is doing the work to kick off your career as a sales development representative. Get a list of 100 companies to call, find the right person you need to speak with and be able to give your pitch, counter objections, and close the deal within 15 to 20 minutes. No doubt you’ve been given the talk tracks and pivot points for the majority of objections you receive, so just jump in. There’s no better time than now or better teacher than experience.
I’ve been fortunate to have had tremendous mentors and leaders in my business life, and the process along with the method was already in place by which I could build my success. It wasn’t necessary for me to re-invent the wheel. Six years later my responsibilities are a balance of process, priorities, and intuition.
What I want to do now is to share with you the areas that are vital in B2B sales and identifiers to help you recognize when you may stray from that certain process.
What Is Sales Prospecting
Sales prospecting is a methodical science. When I was starting my career as a sales development representative, I made 50 dials a day along with sending out 25 emails – this created what I call, “muscle memory”, and over time I experienced that each touch would eventually lead to an introductory conversation. I was given a cadence or a sequence where I would call, wait a day, send an email, call again, wait for two more days and then contact again. Every conversation presented an opportunity to listen to objections and practice pivot points. Even if I didn’t schedule the meeting I never gave up. It could take me thirteen to twenty touchpoints to have a conversation or exchange with one of the decision-makers. You’ve got to know your targets. And you need to take notes on every conversation. Have a way to organize and track the notes- you will re-use them.
How to Create Your Sales Cadence
The B2B sales cycle requires individual craftsmanship. A sales prospecting “touch” might not be a phone call, voicemail, or email. When was the last time you received a handwritten card? Do you have that one friend who “likes” all of your Instagram posts? What about a mug in the mail with your college alma mater logo? One of the best sales prospecting tips I’ve ever received is from Dean Akers, CEO of NES Health. Dean explained when someone asks him for an introduction to one of his connections he won’t provide a direct introduction. Instead, he tells the requestor a couple of interests the individual has or their favorite spot to hang out. He explains this allows the requestor to make a first impression.
Decision-makers and executives get hammered by sales calls daily, it is vital to set yourself apart in meaningful ways- not only in your sales prospecting but throughout the entire B2B sales process. Throughout the B2B sales cycle and prospecting, you are certainly selling your company’s products or services, but the prospect is buying from you. Use your style and personality.
Why is a CRM Important
You can complain about it all you want, but every B2B sales process requires the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management system. Although sales managers and company executives use this for reports and analytics, it is also an incredible tool for you to manage your business – ensuring timely follow up, consolidating updates as needed, knowing your B2B sales pipeline, and helping you forecast accurately.
Updating the Customer Relationship Management system, ensures you and your team know where each opportunity is in the B2B sales cycle. It prevents your Manager from asking about every conversation you have with every prospect. No sales development representative relishes administrative responsibilities. But if you struggle to navigate the Customer Relationship Management system, you will need to find a teammate earlier on who can help. It would also behoove you to spend time outside of revenue-generating hours learning and navigating the platform on your own. Own your business. Use the tools that make it easier for you to do so.
How to Find the Sales Process Best for You
Being a sales development representative is an emotional process and experience. We are people selling to other people or mammal to mammal. Brian Burns, author of the Maverick Selling Method, not only outlines this in his book but demonstrates it time and time again through interviews with successful salespeople. Each organization is going to have a sales process (i.e. initial conversation, demonstration of the technology, financial analysis, proposal review, etc.). Again, the process exists due to a history of success with that process. However, people (you) are controlling that entire process- the amount of time spent on each step, the questions asked, how and when you reveal product features, the time in between the steps, and every next action taken.
Professional sellers strive to learn from every conversation and experience. Request feedback from peers or leadership as you go and adapt. Most importantly- listen to your prospect and get to the point that you can have a level of understanding of a day in their shoes. You’re the one who controls the sales process. You’re the one who navigates through listening. You’re the one who needs to ask the right questions in order to reach those clear actionable steps that will follow.
Establish a sales prospecting method and stick to it. Relentlessly. Rarely does a sales development representative love a CRM system, but it’s a necessity and it has a wealth of tools to support your success – so USE IT ACCORDINGLY. Bring your own personal style to prospecting and outreach efforts knowing that sometimes details go a long way.
When all is said and done you are the one in control of the sales process. By being a lifelong learner of your prospects, you, your industry, and your approach will shine and assist you in reaching the success you aim for.