In 2019, successful selling is as much about research and targeting as it is persuasion and rhetoric. There’s so much noise crowding email inboxes and too many “unidentified numbers” appearing on phone screens — breaking through requires a careful approach. (Who could be calling me from Plano, Texas?)
When your sales reps manage to reach a prospect, the information they convey must be highly relevant.
But the road to relevance is a multi-step equation. These tips — and the accompanying tools to maximize them — will set your sales reps on the right path toward qualifying more leads and building an efficient sales process.
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Define your ICP
Ideal customer profile (ICP) is the main force guiding your product, marketing, and sales teams. This profile, while a generalization by nature, should still describe a specific type of buyer. That is to say, the type potential customers most likely to purchase and thrive while using your product. Company size, industry, and use case are vital criteria to consider.
A clear ICP is the result of market research, product roadmap, and a survey of current users
Sales representatives must internalize this ICP and let it to factor into everything they do, whether it be prospecting or pitching.
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Tip One: Put Effort into Onboarding New Sales Reps
The first step of turning prospects into leads requires a sales team that knows exactly what to look for. This can be established concretely during a comprehensive onboarding process.
Common training practices for new sales hires include small-group study sessions, assigning sales mentors, and shadowing current (and more experienced) sales professionals within the organization.
However, to fully absorb the ICP into their working-mindset, new hires should also interview leaders from other teams, especially product, marketing, and customer success. This will show them how customers actually use the product, where customer pain points arise, and what language to use when discussing the brand and product.
Tools to assist during your onboarding process
After the content of your sales training program, the most important aspect is repeatability. That is to say, it’s essential that every sales rep receive the same information in order to operate within the system you’ve set up. This not only ensures that everyone’s on the same page, but also creates a professional team mentality.
Keeping a library of onboarding materials can become challenging, particularly if they need to be shared widely. Process Street is a workflow management tool where managers can track each new sales reps’ progress — in other words, useful for onboarding tasks.
For video training resources, many teams use Wistia or private Youtube playlists to distribute assets via easily shareable links.
Tip Two: Reach the Right Prospects
ICP is your sales reps’ guiding principle, but finding these target companies and individuals in the real world takes practice and a measured approach.
Are they the right size, industry, and use case? Luckily, there are tools available to help separate ideal prospects from the irrelevant.
Tools for finding ideal customers
Finding companies within your ICP used mean hours of investigation and “separating wheat from chaff.” Now, we have multiple platforms capable of sifting through thousands of companies and individuals to help target your search queries and find relevant individual contact information.
Linkedin Sales Navigator is a high level tool that lets sales professionals identify companies of various sizes in specific industries. Individual-contact research is also possible to help reps find the right person to speak to within an organization.
ZoomInfo takes the prospecting phase one step further by presenting more accurate, scrubbed data on companies and individuals. As one Aircall sales rep recently said, “Any schmo can appear on Sales Navigator.”
Crunchbase covers a lot of the same territory as ZoomInfo, with additional features that find information on recent fundraising rounds, as well as an overview of what technologies a prospective client company is using (useful if your product contains software integrations or when targeting competitors). Crunchbase specializes in discovering “innovative companies,” or startups, in other words.
Tip Three: Make Meaningful Contact
Finding the right type of potential customer is a step one.
A big step two is successfully making contact with these prospects and communicating your product’s value to them.
Social media has become a popular form of making a first touch, but phone and email remain every sales rep’s most reliable means of contact.
Tools for starting (and maintaining) the conversation
When it comes to the phone, hardware is quickly becoming a liability for modern sales teams. Cloud-based phone systems, like Aircall, provide multiple advantages:
- No IT Team Required | A user-friendly interface and simple installation means that your team’s phone lines can be ready to use in mere minutes. Routing structures, voicemail, IVR systems, and local phone numbers (even international) are all just a few clicks away.
- Fully Integrated | Cloud-based systems know how to speak with one another. An integrated phone system automatically communicates with your CRM and helpdesk tools. Vital information, like call duration, call recordings, as well as agent notes, are instantly synced.
- Exceptionally Mobile | The deskphone, in many ways, turns a workstation into a prison cell. Aircall — and other cloud-based systems — have mobile apps that sync notes and information the same way as on desktop. Working remotely or staying in touch while OOO has never been easier.
And email has come a long way in the past decade, too. Many customer management platforms integrate with popular tools, like G-Suite software to make sending and recording emails easy.
Additionally, many sales automation tools will send email campaigns to multiple prospects that have a personal touch. Customizable fields will insert accurate information into your messages and make every interaction seem unique.
Tip Four: Keep Clean Records
Your sales reps will be reaching out to dozens, perhaps even hundreds of prospects every day. It’s highly improbable that each rep will be able to recall minute details from each of these interactions while also maintaining a clean pipeline consisting of leads that are actually sales ready.
Additionally, qualifying a prospect sometimes takes multiple touches across teams and teammates. Having this information available in a shared format makes collaboration a breeze.
This is why it’s paramount for sales teams to have a clear, navigable, and organized way to monitor these conversations and recall them on a moment’s notice.
Tools for keeping track of every lead and each conversation
noCRM is an intuitive but powerful way to monitor your prospects through the funnel. Each email or phone conversation is automatically logged and organized into the correct lead card.
A variety of powerful integrations with communication platforms and productivity tools means that noCRM users can operate more efficiently by eliminating the busywork of manually duplicating data across platforms.
noCRM also simplifies sales team collaboration. When all interactions are properly logged, multiple sales reps can contribute meaningfully to each prospect-conversation. When getting up-to-date takes only a few moments in a lead and a prospect, anyone on the team can have informed interactions.
A Gut-Check: To qualify or not to qualify?
The vast majority of prospects pursued should match your predetermined ICP. However, stretch deals will arise, where a client’s recognizable name or value will merit a second opinion.
For these, there should be an official process for reviewing potential deals with leadership and other affected teams (e.x. support, product, and client onboarding). This way, if special attention is required, there’s a measured strategy for how to address this extra work.
Consider a deal desk process
Many sales teams use a deal desk model to determine whether or not a stretch deal makes sense to pursue. This process of checks and balances will vary between teams, but the general format involves two or three leadership representatives acting as judges, hearing the sales reps’ case for why the deal is worth pursuing.
Sales reps’ pitching the deal to leadership should give a balanced overview of what will be required. What are the rewards, and what are the risks?
In addition to deciding whether a potential client is worth chasing, this quasi-formal presentation is great practice for sales reps, should they be required to actually pitch to the desired company.
–Written by Daniel Weiss @ Aircall
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Sales tools like Aircall and noCRM simplify the process of turning promising prospects into qualified leads. Using an integrated, cloud-based approach helps sales reps keep vital information in a centralized and every conversation more meaningful.