The next target name and title for your new B-team salesperson pops up on his screen. He takes a quick look at the company web site and then punches “dial”. His conversation starts the exact same way his last conversation did. He doesn’t have any context for how your company can help his target, instead using a “One Conversation Fits Most” approach.
How much better would his sales numbers be if he could cater each conversation to the person on the other end of the phone?
1. Research the company as it relates to what you’re selling: It’s not enough to get an overview of the target, for example, understanding that they manufacture and sell lenses. Your team needs to get a quick overview that is relevant to the product that they want to sell. Using recent articles about the company might have tremendous hints for their needs (for example, if they have new management or if they recently opened a new location). In addition, current articles about their industry might point to pain that they’re having that your company can address (for example, if there is a huge market for a new size of lenses and they are going to need to ramp up production). If you can start your conversation with a relevant bridge between what you’re selling and what they need, you are much more likely to engage a sale… than with a generic conversation.
2. Research the title of the person you are calling: Many times this just means paying attention to the title. You will have a very different conversation with the Procurement Vice President from the one you have with the CFO or Marketing Manager. Recognizing the title might be simple. However, there might be ambiguities with certain titles. In addition, many companies are downsizing and putting several responsibilities under one umbrella. A quick check concerning the responsibilities of the person your salesperson is calling can be a strong asset when it comes to directing the conversation and not losing any opportunity.
3. Research the person: Even a resource as simple as Linked-In can give your team insight into the actual person you are calling. How old are they? How long have they been in this position? Where else have they worked? Are there other industries where you might have some crossover? Or perhaps you can discover that they have used your products or services in a previous job? Even five minutes of research on the actual person can yield valuable information that can transform the call from a dud to a winner.
Research shouldn’t take the place of speedy call volume. A well-executed research plan will include steps and even technology that can help individual salespeople understand exactly what they need to know for each target and then direct them where to get it. The benefit is that every call will be more customized and valuable.