Buyers have no patience for unprepared sellers.
“Too many sales people are happy to go into a sales meeting and just ‘wing it’, or think that the proper preparation for a sales meeting consists of a 20-minute team briefing in the customer’s car park before the meeting.”
- Make the Most of Your Sales Call, Harvard Business Review
Every sales call is a double-edged sword. It can take you one step closer to sealing the deal or set you on a downward spiral in which you lose the buyer forever. A mishandled objection, a wrong customer reference, or half-baked competitive intel can wreck the relationship you have built with the prospect.
As a rep, how do you make sure buyers view you as a trusted advisor and are eager to work with you?
Reps must raise their game in order to meet buyers' expectations
Salesforce's fifth State of Sales report finds only 28% of salespeople expect to achieve 100% or more of their sales targets for the year. As quota attainment continues to decline, Gartner finds that B2B buyers spend only 17% of the total purchase process interacting with sales reps.
Since buyers research several vendors, a prospect might spend only 5% of their total purchase time with an individual salesperson. In this scenario, reps must provide compelling value in each call or risk the possibility of having prospects walk away.
Customers' time is increasingly limited, and their tolerance for mediocre sales calls is dwindling. Sales reps are under pressure to make the most of the limited time they have with key decision makers.
How do you make every conversation count?
Sales calls are like bridges connecting different milestones along the buyer's journey. But, these bridges are built by investing considerable time and effort. A Baylor University study shows that reps generate one appointment or referral for every 209 cold calls they make.
When a sales call goes south, the loss extends beyond 30 minutes of your time. It is so much more, given how much work is involved in securing a meeting.
Just like in battle, effective preparation is the key to making the most out of every sales call. So, how do you plan for a sales call? Here are five tips that should help you succeed on every sales call:
- Research the potential customer. Make sure you spend time learning about the potential customer's business, industry, and needs. What is their biggest challenge? When you understand their concerns, you can tailor the sales pitch to their specific situation and address their requirements more effectively.
- Review past interactions. Check out previous interactions your company has had with this prospect. Analyze what has worked and what hasn't and use that information to fine-tune your approach.
- Develop a sales pitch. Develop a well-crafted sales pitch that highlights the key benefits of the product or service being offered and addresses any potential concerns your buyer(s) may have.
- Prepare answers to common objections. It is likely that your prospects will have questions or objections during the call. Prepare responses in advance to address these issues confidently and keep the conversation moving forward.
- Plan for the call. You should work out the agenda for the call, including what you will say, what you will show, and what you hope to achieve. This can help ensure that the sales call is focused and productive.
Our Sales Call Checklist offers an easy way for sales reps to:
- Clarify the agenda for the call
- Analyze your opportunity context, including deal stage, use cases, industry, segment, persona, and competition etc.
- Research key attendees and the influence they have on the buying decision
- Make sure you have relevant content to review and present to the buying team
- Find all the information you need for the call, including responses to common objections
- Organize your notes from the meeting
Can technology help you with sales call prep?
While this checklist is a good place to start, it is only a few steps ahead of what many sellers already do. For call planning, some reps use bulky analog planners filled with notes, others use sleek smartphones or PCs, and then there are those blessed with photographic memories who just 'wing it'.
And, if we are being completely honest, few sellers would want to manage yet another spreadsheet they have to update manually.
If only there was an enablement tool that would effortlessly provide everything reps need to ace their sales calls.
Well, there is, and it goes by the name of Meeting Prep.
Make your sales calls more effective with Meeting Prep
Based on the opportunity context, the Meeting Prep feature of GTM Buddy helps sales reps prepare for sales calls better by providing them with customer evidence, competitive insights, playbooks and training, product knowledge, and FAQs. It would normally take your reps several hours to gather this information, but Meeting Prep provides all this information instantly in their calendar.
You can crush your sales calls with Meeting Prep in these seven ways:
- Customer evidence. Social proof must be relatable to be effective. Customer references that are irrelevant may backfire and erode customer trust. Meeting Prep analyzes your opportunity context and then shares applicable social proof based on industry vertical, segment, geography, product offering, incumbent replaced, and more. Even if you don’t have formal case studies for specific customers, you can showcase relevant customers using the right talking points to convince and influence prospects.
- Competitive insights. It is common for prospects to meet with your competitors during the buying process. You can confidently address competitive objections from buyers when you are well-informed about other players. With Meeting Prep, you have access to battlecards in your calendar so that you can quickly brush up on competitive strengths, weaknesses, landmines to lay, frequently asked questions, recent wins, and competitive collateral in a single place.
- Playbooks and trainings. It takes weeks for enablement teams to build certifications and playbooks for new reps. Unfortunately, 70% of the information sales reps learn is forgotten within one week of onboarding. Based on the deal context, Meeting Prep showcases relevant trainings and playbooks to reinforce learning at the right time. Meeting Prep lets you everboard reps by upleveling their skills with continuous training and retention of knowledge.
- Product knowledge. Was there a major product launch during the last quarter? Using Meeting Prep, you will be able to find the latest product information before your call so you can confidently present your solution. You’ll be able to access one pagers, demo talk tracks, release notes, use case videos, and other collateral to showcase your product effectively.
- Frequently asked questions. How well you handle objections during a sales call can make or break your relationship with the prospect. With Meeting Prep, you don't have to dig through different documents to find the answers you need. You will find a list of frequently asked questions to help you address common objections and build trust with your prospects.
- Activity timeline. Meeting Prep allows you to access the entire activity history (aka customer journey) associated with a specific account or opportunity. You can see what interactions have taken place over time, see what content has been shared, and understand how it has been received.
- Notes. Meeting Prep makes it easy to keep all your meeting notes in one place for easy reference. These notes can also be shared with other team members who can support you in the deal. Your meeting notes are automatically synced to the CRM so that you can review and act on them easily.
Stand out from the competition by providing superior value in your sales calls
By researching and preparing in advance, sales reps can tailor their pitches to specific buyers or accounts. Additionally, Meeting Prep can help a salesperson identify potential objections and come up with effective responses to address them.
A successful sales call can help you build trust and credibility with buyers and increase your chances of making a successful sale. If you’re looking to meet or exceed your quota, you cannot ignore the importance of effective call preparation.