The IT Sales paradigm has evolved significantly. Bygone are the days when almost every technology product in the market had a ready hot lead list consisting of tons of potential buyers waiting to adopt the new technology.
Today, the B2B IT products and services / Top Sales Training Program – Sales Courses, market is inundated with minimally differentiated offerings; all competing aggressively against each other in a market that has wide tech penetration already. The buyer persona has also evolved significantly from that in the industrial and digital ages.
Customers in today’s Information Age are far more informed about the choices available to them than they were earlier, and do their research thoroughly before they agree to even meet the seller. The orientation of the leadership too has turned extremely purpose driven, with purchase decision-making power now being across different individuals, as against concentrated deciding authority with one person. All of this has resulted in B2B IT Sales training much more complex than earlier, rendering the generation of buying opportunities extremely difficult.
Given this ground reality, our team at TALSMART was motivated to understand the salesperson’s exact challenge points more minutely. Hence, the team conducted research through the company’s LinkedIn page. The idea was to isolate which part of the sales cycle seems most difficult to the IT sellers, in an attempt to brainstorm why and look for ways to mitigate their difficulties.
Let’s examine the findings of the research.
What do The Numbers suggest?
The results of the attempt at primary data collection were not surprising.
Prospecting emerged as the top-rated difficulty among most salespeople, followed by the steps involving Negotiation & Closing. On the other hand, most participants from the IT Sales domain felt that they were in much better control of Qualifying and Solutioning.
To start with, these findings aligned perfectly with the statistics available online from secondary research sources which suggested that 42% of sales representatives document prospecting to be the hardest part of their job. The rest suggested it’s closing (36%) or qualifying (22%).
Moving forward, the minds at TALSMART dug deeper and attempted to arrive at actionable solutions to simplify the difficulties affecting IT salesmen.
Add You're How to Simplify the Top-Rated Selling Challenge - Prospecting?
- Research – Business, Company, and Individual
For sales professionals, prospecting is essentially the art of deciding which prospects are worth pursuing and which are to be discarded.
This can only come from a thorough research of the target pool of potential buyers.
To enhance the efficacy of research, we at TALSMART, recommend adding science to the process in the form of our ‘Predictable Prospecting’ model.
This model is primarily designed to assist research and alienate those aspects that have changed in the buyer’s business environment. The idea is to leverage this knowledge and use it to deliver an effective sales pitch with a value proposition that’s most relevant in the buyer’s eyes.
- Focus on Value and Benefits
There’s a general complaint coming from most salespeople involved in prospecting that the potential customers today show very little or no interest to talk when they reach out. However, what needs to be understood is that this experience does not imply that prospecting processes don’t work at all anymore.
Instead, what needs to be understood is that there could be some gaps that the communication during the cold outreach is failing to fill – which is why they could be uninterested to talk. We have already uncovered that research is critical to understanding a company’s business challenges. It also better prepares you to deliver compelling unique value to the customer. Furthermore — Unless people are engaged when reached out to and feel enough “value” in spending their time talking, naturally they will not be inclined to lend their ears.
- Follow up
Thorough and consistent follow-up is critical to successful prospecting outcomes.
If you go by the numbers, it has been observed that two percent of appointments are booked on the first contact; 3 percent are made on the second contact; 5 percent are made on the third contact; 10 percent are made on the fourth contact, and 80 percent of all appointments are made on the fifth to the twelfth contact.
Now, ask yourself: How many times do you follow up to get an appointment?
In short, the money is always in the follow-ups!
- Provide training to SDRs
Another extremely common leakage at the prospecting stage is that most IT companies tend to rely on new SDRs and BDRs accountable for the task. The further steps of the sales cycle thereafter are left to the responsibility of the senior, more skilled executives. While this idea may be intuitively appealing, very often it fails to produce desired results in terms of meeting the quotas. That’s because the new SDRs and BDRs put to this specific job are often not quite qualified for the tasks, as they’re expected to deliver results without having market knowledge and the right kind of training background. This becomes a common reason why they fail at delivering adequately with their efforts in a designated period.
If the SDRs and BDRs are effectively trained, account managers can expect as much as 30% of their qualified leads to come from this source. Of course, prospecting remains a critical task for the account manager to execute, to get the remaining leads.
In summary, we have examined multiple ways to improve outcomes from the prospecting phase of the sales process.
One of the most critical elements of prospecting is effective research. When done meticulously, it can be game-changing and can accelerate success significantly. Besides that, other helpful interventions to enhance results could be focusing on delivering superior customer value, getting into the discipline of making multiple rounds of proper follow-up, and also investing in the proper training of SDRs to equip them with the best skill set to carry out prospecting.