52 Do Your Account Research-1

Do Your Account Research Part 1

 

For you to “Help Your Customer Buy”, first you will need to 

gain an understanding of the customer’s current situation. This will take a little preparation. Before you engage, you need to understand the customer’s current performance, their profitability, their growth, and key initiatives. Then work to uncover their key business challenges and their key strategies to address those challenges. 

 

Identifying Account Targets

Your sources of information will depend on whether your target account is a public corporation or a privately held company. 

 

When Your Target Company Is a Public Corporation

Because public companies are under a high level of scrutiny and have fiduciary responsibilities to report detailed information for shareholders and the investment community, it is relatively easy to find information about their key challenges and strategic initiatives. 

 

The investor relations section of a company’s website contains a wealth of information you can leverage to learn about your target account’s performance and key initiatives. You can download the company’s quarterly and annual regulatory filings and the slides and audio portion from investor presentations. 

 

When Your Target Company Is Privately Held

With private companies you will not have ready access to detailed financial reports or investor presentations. Nonetheless, you can still get good information about the company’s status and initiatives from its social media feeds, online presence, and press releases.

Several business-related websites contain information about private companies such as Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, and Hoovers. Information available includes the company’s major competitors, competitive position, estimated size (employees, facilities, revenue), and other relevant data. To get this information on a regular basis, you can register to receive the company’s press releases and news item feeds. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

51 Help your customers buy Part 2

Help your customers buy Part 2

 

In the prior briefing, we discussed the customer-driven buying process. 

 

When you blindly follow the customer’s buying process, when you are on the outside, looking in… you will lose the majority of those deals. 

 

Now here’s a better way to help your customers buy

 

A much better approach is to strive, early on, to integrate your organization’s selling process with your customer’s buying process. This is a proactive approach where your sales team initiates the process, works collaboratively with your customer to determine requirements, identifies key issues that can be resolved, and formulates a proposal focused on the business value that can be generated from this initiative. 

 

The major steps in the integrated selling/buying process are these: 

  • Collaborate with the customer on the steps, the vision, and the proof points. 
  • Conduct Discovery sessions to mutually determine requirements with the customer. 
  • Process focuses on generating business value. 

 

This process positions you as a partner, not just a vendor… and increases your chance of winning. 

 

With this integrated process, you initiate an opportunity where the customer has not already settled on a solution. It does take a little more work, but it can be well worth it. Instead of passively reacting to each customer desire – especially when the customer might not even understand what capabilities are available in the marketplace – you can set the bar, establish yourself and your team as Proactive Advisor, and highlight the unique capabilities in your solution, all before your competitors even know about this initiative. Because you have well positioned your team and your solution up front, your organization has a much higher probability of becoming the chosen candidate. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

50 Help your customers buy Part 1

Help your customers buy Part 1

 

Elite sales professionals and their sales teams do everything they can to control all aspects of the sales cycle.

 

But you still need to realize that customers will buy on their timeline, not yours. Because in the typical buying process, the customer is in control; they dictate the steps, and they define the “rules of engagement.” 

 

In this customer-driven process, candidates who choose to bid on an opportunity are often forced to comply with a rigorous set of rules that include limiting the level of communication with the customer. In these cases, customers may have done some research on the available alternatives, and they generally know what they want. The steps they need to receive proposals, evaluate, select, and then negotiate with their chosen candidate. 

 

Sometimes salespeople, in an attempt to speed the process, are tempted to throw in a special discount that is effective until a month-end or quarter-end date—but that’s an artificial deadline imposed by the sales team. If the customer is not ready to buy, the deal will not advance to a purchase. Every customer knows that the “special discount” is a desperate tactic, and most will ask for the same discount (after your fake deadline expires) as it fits their real schedule. 

 

This type of buying process does not help you as a sales professional. You will be captive to a process you did not choose but must follow in order to compete. If you’re unable to influence the steps and the level of customer engagement, your chance of winning is significantly reduced. 

 

All other things being equal, if you are hearing about an opportunity after the process and the requirements have already been established, you are probably being set up by your competitor.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

 

49 Proactive Prospecting 3 – Drip Campaigns

Proactive Prospecting 3 – Drip Campaigns 


Few prospective customers respond to the first (or even second or third) attempt to contact them. 

 

That’s why it is important to stage regular follow-ups in the form of “drip campaigns.” A Drip Campaign is a series of followup messages (often sent via email or voice message). Here are the components: 

  • Determine your goal 

– are you trying to build brand awareness;

– recruit for an event; 

– convey information that might be valuable to them

– arrange a call or a meeting.

  • Determine your account targets and how many touchpoints

– Segment your account targets into groups so you can create messages for each group

– Automate this process if possible

  • Determine the action you want your prospective customer to take

– Do you want them to respond directly or sign up for an event (such as a webinar)?

– Do you want them to setup time on your calendar to talk.

  • Determine your sequence and timing

– how many and how often; one drip every four to seven days works best.  

  • Build your content for each drip

– Be sure to vary the type of message and your method of delivery so you are not being overly repetitive. Each “drip” delivers a different message. 

 

For example: 

  • Relate a brief customer success story.

Or a link – Never attach a video to your email.

    • Send a brief message summarizing how you can address key business challenges like you have with other customers. 
    • Send an article or link related to relevant news about the customer’s industry. Note that you thought this might apply to your customer’s business. 
  • Send a one-page letter that features an attention-grabbing headline and three bullet points summarizing the top ways you can positively impact your customer’s business. 

Your email must add value. Why should the reader care? What will make them open up your email. That should be your focus. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

48 Proactive Prospecting 2 – Conquer Call Reluctance

Proactive Prospecting 2 – Conquer Call Reluctance

 

The hardest thing to do in business is to try to engage with someone you don’t know, especially if they are in a position of power. Whether you pick up the phone to call them, send an email, or reach out via social media, it is too easy for them to ignore you. 

 

Call reluctance can afflict salespeople at inopportune times. It can spread like a virus. Symptoms include extreme procrastination, severe distractions, and failure to block out a time and place for prospecting. If left unchecked, call reluctance can be fatal to your career. 

 

Here are two strategies for tackling call reluctance: 

 

Overcome Fear of Rejection

In his book The Success Principles, best-selling author and success coach Jack Canfield says: 

“Rejection is really a myth. It doesn’t really exist. It is simply a concept that you hold in your head. . . . some will, some won’t; so what—someone’s waiting.” 

 

Don’t take it personally. The faster you progress past the “No” and “Not interested” responses, the faster you will reach those prospective customers who are waiting to engage with you and who are interested in improving their business. 

 

Ignore the Sound of Silence

It is too easy to give up when a target customer is unresponsive. It is too easy to quickly assume that they are not interested, that they are too busy with other projects. If you are not getting return calls or messages and there is only silence on the target customer’s end, do not give up, because . . .

. . . silence does not mean NO. It just means silence. 

 

Don’t worry about why there is silence. You don’t know the reason. Just stay focused on your regular follow-up. Your persistence could eventually get rewarded. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com