Proper planning prevents poor sales calls. OK, we changed the expression a bit, but it’s still true!
In today’s competitive sales market, preparation is everything. Often, it means the difference between getting the opportunity to meet with the decision maker and being able to have a productive meeting with a prospect.
Preparation involves doing your homework on the company, planning and using good critical thinking. And you can use your CRM system to help you along the way.
Collect and organize the appropriate information via CRM
The first and quite possibly the most important step in the pre-call sales investigation process is collecting essential contact information that will be vital to the call. This includes name, job title/position, company name, and a detailed list of any interactions the contact has had with your company.
Once collected, this information should be organized efficiently within your CRM software platform allowing you to reference it quickly on the first call and each subsequent contact with the prospect.
Research the account
This one’s a given. If you’re not doing the proper research before a sales call, the conversation won’t get very far. You likely won’t get past surface-level discussions without really addressing any pain points or potential places for a solution.
Research their website, prepare helpful resources in advance, investigate the industry (if you’re unfamiliar with it), and simply prepare, prepare, prepare. While you probably don’t need to spend an entire day researching one prospect, you do need to put in the time and effort to be as prepared as possible for that call.
Immerse yourself in the industry
For those sales reps who focus on one specific industry, it’s best to truly immerse yourself, rather than simply analyzing a company’s website.
This can include attending industry events to network with potential prospects, joining associations within the field, or even connecting with various industry leaders in social networking groups such as LinkedIn. These potential prospects are out there interacting with each other, so it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and your business.
Make some assumptions, if able
Salespeople are often tasked with selling to companies and decision-makers that share a lot of similar challenges and pain points, and you can take advantage of this knowledge.
If you’re already familiar with handling a specific industry or communicating with a specific decision-maker, you’re able to make some assumptions regarding what they’re looking for in terms of a solution to their problem.
By already having an idea of the challenges or pain points that they are dealing with, you’re one step ahead and can be ready with questions, insights, or helpful resources to assist in the sales process.
As a sales rep, it’s your job to represent your company with energy and passion when selling your products/services. There’s no excuse for a lethargic or lackluster sales call.
In preparing for the call, do whatever it is that you need to do to get motivated and energized. Whether that’s a cup of coffee, a quick walk around the block, or some other helpful activity, ensure that you’re going to exude passion during the call.
Sales reps who do this naturally build a level of trust and comfort among prospects; those that sound like they’d rather be elsewhere won’t see the results they’re expected to achieve.
Nobody’s expecting you to have a complete and total understanding of the needs of a prospect, their business, audience, etc. Not your VP of Sales, not even the prospect. Acknowledge this, and you’ll be much more confident during the call by accepting your own limitations.
Although you don’t need to know absolutely everything, you DO need to be highly knowledgeable, or at least well-researched and prepared. Do your homework so you can be as prepared as possible, but don’t think that you have to know everything. Impress the prospect with your preparedness, but avoid wasting countless hours investing in research and focus on the need-to-know information.