If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably safe to say you’re an ambitious sales professional seeking to improve your skills and advance your career. Either that, or you just really enjoy consuming eloquent, riveting prose about the subject, in which case — thank you, I’m very flattered!
In all seriousness, we salute the sales pros who are constantly working to find an edge and rise above in this competitive, crowded digital marketplace. If that describes you, then you may be familiar with many of the mainstay tactics in modern selling: insight-driven prospecting, value-first outreach, relationship-building, orchestration with marketing, etc.
Today, we thought we’d dive a little deeper to uncover some approaches and techniques that aren’t discussed as often. For those who’ve already got their bases covered, these opportunities might present new frontiers for your team to explore.
Curated from some of the best and most popular B2B sales articles on the web last week, here are four sneaky methods to bolster your pipeline and increase conversions.
Get More Out of Voicemail
We generally think about voicemail as a dead end. Or at least I do. When I dial someone up and hear several rings followed by that dreaded prerecording, I’m deflated. Jeff Kalter argues that this is the wrong mindset.
In his latest piece at Business 2 Community, Kalter writes that voicemail can be an integral component of your inside sales strategy. Noting that around 97% of B2B sales calls go unanswered, he points to data that shows a well-crafted voicemail can lift response rates by up to 22%. The key is to be thoughtful and strategic in how you use this brief opportunity to get your message across.
Kalter suggests that instead of simply stating who you are and asking for a callback, you should succinctly deliver a compelling story. Quickly introduce yourself, focus on one central idea, build trust, and leave the prospect wanting more.
“It’s an opportunity to begin a conversation — even if you end up leaving several messages before actually speaking with a prospective customer,” says Kalter.
The company website tends to fall under marketing’s purview, but given the vital importance of this real estate in your ability to attract and engage prospects, sales should absolutely have a say.
Andrew Kucheriavy of Intechnic wrote at Forbes last week that B2B websites should align with evolving buyer expectations. In order to “make every experience epic for everyone,” Kucheriavy proposes three steps: interview your customers; develop personas and customer journey mapping; test with real users. Salespeople often have the most direct interactions with prospects and buyers, so we can offer unique and impactful insight as far as what visitors may want.
“You spend years building relationships with B2B decision-makers, but if you treat them as strangers when they come to your website, you are pushing them away,” writes Kucheriavy. “The UX that your B2B buyers experience at work versus what they experience at home can be your tailwind or a headwind.”
Remember, a poor website experience can prevent a promising prospect from even taking the next step to get in contact with you as a seller. The entire organization should rally around this directive.
Informative, compelling content is the fuel that drives digital sales engagements. It enables sales reps to provide their prospects with something valuable and (ideally) also persuasive, at least in subtle ways. But it’s essential that our content actually lines up with the needs and information gaps of our audiences.
Ed Calnan, founder and president of Seismic, contributed to a guest post to our blog last Tuesday asserting that in both menswear and B2B sales, an educated customer is the best customer. He notes that more often than not, today’s buyers have already identified solutions and completed much of their cursory research by the time they get in touch with a sales rep. If we’re simply feeding them introductory materials or high-level information, we may very well be missing the mark. This also means that sellers must be prepared to handle advanced, sophisticated questions from prospects who’ve done their homework.
“I can speak for my own sales team in saying that conversations with smart buyers who really push our sellers to prove the value of our product are usually the most fruitful and valuable,” Calnan writes.
Does your sales content align with a buyer who is deep into the purchase journey and already well-versed in what you (and your competitors) offer? These can often become your most valuable and ripe opportunities.
More leads are always appreciated. If you find the usual avenues drying up, J. Christine Feeley lists five reliable inbound lead generators to help close a sales gap. She offers tactical advice around five different methods:
If your organization isn’t actively pursuing these approaches, they might be worth looking into.
For some companies, any (or all) of the four recommendations above might be a great addition to your strategy. For others, they won’t be fits. No matter what, the key is to continually refine and rethink each element of your operation. Always be open-minded to new ideas, and try not to get too attached to something that’s working in the moment, because if we’ve learned anything about the modern sales landscape, it’s that change is the only constant.
Of course, since you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that. We’ll do our best to keep you equipped with all the coverage and guidance you need to stay agile and ahead of the pack.
Subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Blog and never miss out on the latest big deal in B2B sales.