If you aren’t personalizing your sales approach, you could be leaving money, appointments and new customers on the table.
While many argue that inside sales are a numbers game, the truth is you can only boost your results a finite amount by increasing your call volume. There are only so many hours in the workday.
But there is another option. You can focus on becoming more efficient, and a great place to start is by personalizing your sales process.
What Customers and Prospects Really Want
With the advent of the Internet, our buyers have increasingly been spending more time on their own researching solutions, reviewing products and comparing vendors. But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for them to call you.
Eighty-seven percent of B2B buyers surveyed admitted that the vendor they “chose provided ample content to help them through each stage of the decision-making process.” However, according to a Gartner study, the volume of content available can be overwhelming. So much so that buyers are spending 15% of their time during the buying cycle just trying to sort out all the information.
So it’s not surprising that research suggests that prospects appreciate the assistance of a sales rep armed with useful information. Sixty-two percent reported wanting sales reps to “demonstrate experience with or knowledge of their [the customer’s] industry.” They want vendors to reach out to them with the right information at the right time. Furthermore, 73% selected the vendor that “demonstrated a stronger knowledge of our company and its needs.”
Know Your Audience as Accounts and Individual Players
Personalization starts with research. Know the industry, the company and the buying team you are targeting. Understand their pain points and try to learn about any changes or events within the company that might signal their need for your solution.
The key is to focus on information that provides greater insight. As you gather it using online research, market intelligence software, business directories and phone conversations, add it to your customer relationship management (CRM) system where you can build a rich profile of the prospect or customer.
As you identify prospective customers, you’ll be selling at the account level rather than to an individual buyer. You’ll need to personalize your message to the wants, needs, and concerns of each of the key decision-makers and members of the buying team within the company.
Be the Hero that Buyers Need
Although you’re trying to sell your products and services, your message should never be about you. You need to focus on solutions that solve real problems and can increase ROI for the prospect. Thinking this way enables you to tailor your message to the person with whom you’re speaking.
It’s okay to start with an outline of the points you want to make. But make sure you use examples and references that tell the buyer that you understand the problems they face and show how your business is uniquely qualified to help them solve their challenges.
As you speak with the prospect during successive calls, you’ll build a relationship and trust that allows you to learn more about them—information you can leverage to craft a truly personal experience.
Practice Solid Sales Techniques
In addition to having information and insight at hand, the way you present yourself on the call helps to personalize the experience, build rapport and establish credibility.
First, toss out the script. Instead, practice your presentation until you own it. Then keep a list of specific bullet points you want to include. You’ll come across as a person on top of the situation.
Call the buyer by name. Acknowledge you know the person’s title and general area of responsibility. Dale Carnegie had this right: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Using a person’s name causes them to pay attention. But keep it natural…don’t overdo it.
Ask questions. This is a great way to engage the buyer and learn more about the company and the issues it faces. Above all, listen to the answers and respond to what you hear.
Change Your Sales Metrics
Marketers know that personalization works. According to a Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs survey, 91% of the top B2B content marketers personalize their content to the specific decision maker in at least one way.
But what if your sales department isn’t measuring you on your ability to personalize and make your calling more efficient?
If you want to focus more on personalization and driving your sales team’s efficiency up and leave behind the days of dialing for dollars, set up a split test. For a month or so, let half your sales team continue business as usual, while the other half personalize their sales approach. Measure the results of each group — number of appointments set, prospect-to-customer conversions and increase in business deals closed. If you like the results of personalization, then revise your department’s metrics and balance the KPIs between activities (e.g., number of calls, emails sent, social media posts) and results.
Inside sales continue to evolve. If you want to squeeze more results out of every call you make, personalize your approach.