Know Your Trigger Events for B2B Sales

by Shannon F. If you sell a B2B product or service that depends on perfect timing, you must focus on trigger events that introduce the need for whatever it is that you sell. Every purchase involves a trigger event, but only some purchases can be predicted based on that event. These two types of purchases—purchases that can be predicted based on trigger events and purchases that cannot be predicted—must be handled in two distinct ways. We’ll start with purchases that cannot be predicted. Typically, when a company needs to make a sudden purchase, the decision comes down to particular features and—detrimental to your bottom line—price. Decision-makers research options themselves, not giving you a chance to consult. By the time you arrive at the scene of the bidding war, you are essentially just a number. Unpredictable Purchases For example, someone forgot to water the bonsai tree in the lobby of XYZ Co, and the plant has sadly expired. The decision-maker at XYZ Co quickly researches local nurseries and gathers prices for various bonsais, ranging from $200 to $1000. Your company, a corporate plant service, is among the “bidders.” You may have to sell a bonsai practically at cost in order to win the deal. The benefit to you? You can check in regularly with XYZ Co to see how the bonsai is holding up and charge them to prune it, water it during holiday weekends, etc. You can also convince them that they need bonsais in other areas of the office, […]

Motivate Your Sales Team After Memorial Day

by Shannon F. Coming back from the long weekend leading into summer can be excruciating. Employees mentally prepare for the upcoming slow season while dreaming of setting their automatic email responses to “I will be on vacation from ___ to ___.” Motivating your employees is important year-round. But are your efforts growing more lukewarm than the open beers you left behind in the sand after an epic long weekend “down the shore” (if you’re from the Philly area like us)? Here are some Dos and Don’ts to keep your sales team fresh and productive this summer. Don’t do this: Do this: Don’t do this: Do this: Or this: Don’t do this: Do this: Don’t do this: Do this: Or this: Interested in how we can help you drive your summer sales success? Learn more about InsightPRM.

Understanding the new buyer process

by Shannon F. As you have likely experienced, today’s business decision-makers rarely turn to salespeople first when they need to make a purchase. They rely instead on the information, guides, and product comparisons they find online. Be honest; you’d rather research a need online instead of first talking to a person who is going to try and sell you their solution. There are some positive benefits to this new level of buyer independence (buyers are savvier and better-informed, so by the time they get to you, they are ready to have a high-level conversation about your product; buyers may find you online and give you a call—that’s a lead you didn’t have to work for!) But in general, salespeople must work harder than ever to compete in this new buyer climate. Here are the cons to buyer independence: -Buyers form strong preferences and requirements in the early stages of realizing a need, defining the need, and researching options. If you are not involved in this discovery process, you will have zero chance to influence the buyer’s vision. -Forrester Research reports: vendors that are involved in the early phases of the buying process (1 through 3 in the graphic above) will get the deal 65% of the time. The problem is: many salespeople are powerless to get involved in the early stages, since buyers purposely exclude them. -By the time the buyer finds you online and contacts you, you’re reduced to a bidder. It’s too late to get in as a […]

5 Things Salespeople MUST Do to Stay Relevant

by Shannon F. As B2B sales evolve, some salespeople will be left clutching their rolodexes and wondering how they went from top performer to nonentity. It’s harsh but true: if even the best sales reps don’t keep a finger on the pulse of sales shifts and long-term trends, they’ll slowly lose touch with how today’s buyers want to be sold. Here are the 5 things you MUST do to keep from becoming irrelevant. 1. Embrace social networking as a sales tool. This is no longer optional. Use Linkedin to actively build your network, connect with influential decision-makers, and find leads. If you aren’t doing this, you are losing out on the countless potential opportunities that are only a few clicks away. Plus, nothing screams “trustworthy” to today’s business decision-makers like an active Linkedin account complete with a picture, endorsements, and recommendations. The first thing an interested prospect will do after receiving a voicemail or email from you is google your name. If they can’t find you, you are irrelevant. Why? Today’s business leaders make buying decisions by researching, comparison-shopping online, and looking for referrals/testimonials from satisfied customers. They no longer make decisions solely from a telephone conversation or even a face-to-face meeting with you. 2. Network with peers. If you are the lone wolf in the sales department, you won’t learn from your peers’ mistakes. It’s helpful to seek feedback from the rest of your sales team as you approach everything from product knowledge to strategic email content. Why? A […]

Selling to the Gen Y Buyer

by Shannon F. So you’re selling to a decision-maker who was born after 1980. This generation has an unfair reputation for having a short attention span, poor interpersonal skills, and a host of other negative characteristics. Sure, we were raised on ADHD-inducing cartoons, colorful and experimental food products, and the notion that we can do ANYTHING. As a result, we’re high-achievers who dream big, but we’re also a little…different. Here’s what you should know when it comes to approaching this group of prospects. 1. Your Gen Y prospect does not want to talk to you on the phone. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that we would rather have you connect with us in a less invasive way and give us more of a choice as to whether or not we want to interact with you. So send us an email or connect with us on Linkedin before or instead of calling. 2. Gen Y has already looked up you and 5 of your competitors online—unless you enter at the consultant level before Gen Y even knows she needs your product or service. Basically, as soon as a business need pops into Gen Y’s head, she is going to Google it—that’s a fact. So BE the one to introduce the need. Remember that by the time the client searches for you online, it’s too late for you to build rapport, influence the buying decision, and name your price. But by approaching Gen Y early in her buying process, you can inform […]

Don’t wait for referrals; ask for them!

by Shannon F. Referrals are a great way to grow your business, but they don’t always happen as frequently as you’d like. Think about how many referrals you’ve given so far this year, and you’ll have some idea of how hard it actually is to get business this way. For one, your product or service has to come up in a conversation between your satisfied customer and someone in your locality who is in the market for what you have to offer. If you simply wait for that scenario to happen (unprompted by you), your chances of significantly growing your business by referrals are slim. It is possible to give your referrers a nudge, however; here are the steps for driving referrals the easy way. Step 1. Wow a new client. As always, the key to getting referrals is to earn them by making sure your customer is absolutely satisfied. If your service was well-received, you should be able to ask for referrals confidently—you earned it. Step 2. Narrow down the prospects you want to be referred to. For example, say, “I often assist companies that are moving or in transition. Do you know anyone like that who might need my services?” Linkedin provides an even easier way to seek referrals, as Brynne Tillman of Business Development University taught us. Simply connect with your satisfied client on Linkedin and take a look at his or her connections. See anybody you’d like to do business with? Ask your client to introduce […]