A few years ago I joined a set of webinars hosted by insidesales.com – one in which particularly grabbed my attention; how someone asking for a product demonstration, or simply enquiring about the product, was very likely to end up buying. In fact in around 58% of these situations, thanks to the buyer-empowered modern sales environment, the internal decision to purchase a product has most likely already been made.
That triggered a thought in my mind – what about all of those who weren’t asking questions or asking for demonstrations – what are my options in making a sale to them? Now, don’t get me wrong, warm leads are tremendous and a company can never have enough of them streaming in. But suppose you have a killer product or service. And you know it’s killer. And moreover, you have made the investment in your sales team — the right resources, the right messaging, and the right coaching — such that you know they can and will deliver. At that point, isn’t it arguable that you’d rather have an open, impressionable mind (or team of minds) on the other end of your sales cycle, versus someone that already has a firmer-by-each-day notion of what they want to buy and what they intend to spend? Wouldn’t focusing on one type of lead over the other limit the amount of potential sales your team is able to capitalise on?
This aligns perfectly with what Dixon and co-author Brent Adamson encourage throughout The Challenger Sale — that sales professionals in all industries and in any economy would do well to focus on taking control of the sale, tailoring the unique value proposition to the situation, and offering fresh insight that finds prospects better off and more informed.
Take DiscoverOrg as an example. In many cases the sales reps are forced to battle long-held views and buying behaviors that have marketing decision-makers looking for data to buy. When yearly budgets are put together, a certain amount is typically dedicated to 'list purchases.' When a marketing decision-maker engages with DiscoverOrg, they have a budget in mind – say $15,000 for 100,000 records. DiscoverOrg is going to be misaligned on price in this example, and in many similar cases not given an opportunity to take control and tailor a unique proposition about how the buying of lists perpetuates numerous downstream issues for the company. Ever have to deal with a garden that’s been overrun by weeds? Same thing with a leads database.
Rather than trying to elicit or solve an existing, known problem, the 'commercial teaching' approach espoused by Dixon and Adamson points out that clients want potential partners to bring them ideas on how to improve their businesses - a case that is difficult to make when Joe the Marketer just wants a 100,000 records at his pre-determined price. Like drying cement, at a certain point these internal decisions are set. If your offering is misaligned — say on price — all of the sudden the notion of 'warm lead' can change pretty quickly.
In contrast, imagine a scenario where a marketing team arrives at a demo and is fascinated to learn that every time a company doubles the number of 'direct dial' phone numbers in its sales database, it triples the number of demos that the sales team schedules. In this case, fresh insight was brought to the prospect, and a different way of accomplishing the company’s objective — to drive lead gen for the sales team — was jointly discovered.
It’s both satisfying and incredibly productive to have a good knowledge of your value proposition and target market; it enables you to endow new perspectives on your leads. This skill aids sales professionals, the new understandings also help prospective buyers understand what exactly they’re in the market for. In short, making the effort to do your homework will pay off for all involved. By incorporating this strategy into your sales structure you greatly boost your outbound lead generation. Having copious amounts of inbound leads is fantastic – but you may be missing a trick when you look at the other side of the coin.
By David Sill, Senior Vice President, Customer Success at DiscoverOrg. Designed to reduce the time-to-direct-connection with targeted prospects, the platform aims to improves the performance of all prospecting efforts by providing both the contacts and context needed to sell and market more effectively.