This is one of that typical unsolved chicken or the egg scenario. No one really knows which came first. There’s always an ongoing discussion in the marketing and sales community about ways in which companies can better convert their prospects the very first time itself. Marketing and sales representatives end up confused about how to initiate that inviting and “Take my money” introduction. They often wonder should they email or cold call when reaching out the first time? A Harvard Business Review study highlighted, “90% of decision makers never answer a cold call”. This further makes prospecting hardest. First introductions matter and a recent study by Bouncegate marketing experts highlighted that marketing and sales reps spend more than one third of their time building a convertable prospect list. Chances for successful sales campaigns rest on various factors and this thoroughly researched article about proven ways to successfully convert a prospect will help do just that.
Marketing and sales reps need to start with these steps in order to gather validated information about the prospect, establish value proposition, win prospect’s trust, understand the competitive landscape, map out companies that could be ideal customers and stop trying to woo the wrong sales funnel. Securing a follow-up meeting is the initial target for all the sales reps. Start by:
Understanding your competition
No matter what is being sold as a must-have product or solution; you are always going to be up against competitors and they might have a better product or solution than yours. These competitors could be copycats or with better value driven solutions as compared to yours. Certain competitors might just have those niche solutions that your prospects have already heard about. Stay away from running analytics on your competitors with a “One Size Fits All” approach. Doing so will only aid further missed opportunities. Understand that your competitors are doing the same thing. Bouncegate would suggest having a better competitor mapping and analysis strategy than your competitors. Understand the pivots your competitors make after a certain stage of their marketing. Further your research around how they are mitigating advertisement and click frauds around their paid advertising campaigns.
Start out by mapping all your competitors. Look at your marketing and sales goals and the kind of prospects and their budget value you have in mind. Create separate competitor funnels for at least 3 different kinds of prospects. Look at your competitors for each respective prospect funnel and understand about the verticals your competitors are focusing upon. We have seen thousands of cases where companies have great products and solutions but they have lowly sales because they have been prospecting in the wrong vertical. Bouncegate has helped various companies in the past with their prospecting strategy. Kindly contact Ekalavya Hansaj for detailed information and a quote on Competitor Analysis and Strategy.
Map Out Companies that could be your customers
By now you must have figured out your competitive landscape. Next ideal step in your prospect hunting should be a defined criterion for who is your ideal customer. Consider the following:
• Does the customer happen to be from your vertical focus?
• Does the customer fit in the company size criteria as defined earlier?
• Is the customer just starting out in the buying process?
• Does the customer happen to be within your serving location?
• Current technologies your customer uses and whether your product or solution meets those demands?
• Does the customer meet your outlined yearly revenue and marketing budget figures?
• Did any of these customers change multiple platforms in the past?
• Does the customer meet the average age per platform or per company for your products or solutions?
Focus on finding out opportunities rather wasting time in building data upon the concerned decision makers. Remember that best decision makers buy the product or solution best for their companies and not themselves. Having better data about the opportunities give you 16% better chance of closing your sale. When building your targeted list, focus on the data available with respect to opportunities.
Find the relevant decision makers
Start with at least 3-5 contacts for each opportunity and prospect. Narrow these contacts down as per these criterias:
o Which contact is most friendly to being contacted?
o Which contact is more driven about the solution proposition?
o Which contact will take the least number of days to close the sale?
o Can anyone introduce you to these contacts?
o Which contact has been involved in the buying process highest number of times?
o Which contact is more social media friendly?
o Which contact has the highest email open rate?
At Bouncegate, our marketing experts have been giving scores to each contact on a scale of 1-5. 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Find out the highest median value of all these contacts on the points mentioned above and contact the one with highest average.
Should I email or call the first time?
We suggest emailing as the preferred way of establishing initial contact. Keep your email short and crisp and use it to educate your prospects on the value proposition. Establish a clear connection with the prospect and your opportunity.
Cold calling does not help until you are an established brand. It makes sense for established brands to cold call because the decision makers have already heard of them. Its advisable to adapt email first and then use the email as a reason to call. Decision makers will not take your calls more than 90% of the times when your are not an established brand.
There is only one exception to the email first rule.
Assume you’re a salesperson for Microsoft. You call a prospect and say, “Hi Tim, I’m with Microsoft, and I noticed your CEO posted an article about how you are facing problems with Microsoft Azure setup. I’d love to discuss how we can get your cloud computing needs sorted and setup within the next 3 days.”
Tim like everyone else knows Microsoft and there is no need to educate him further about the product and that’s a good reason to stay on the call for him.
Go to Google Trends and compare how many people are searching for your company versus your top competitors.
First Contact Email
Communicate your USP’s and establish trust around your solution in the first email. Do not mention too many links. Insert the business issue at hand for the prospect and email them with similar work done in the past for a similar company.
Here is an email template you can use to establish contact the first time.
Bouncegate can help you create multiple email templates. Contact Michelle Belsare for further information about why email templates created by us have an average of 2X better click through and open rates.