Recently, Forrester released a blog post, “Death of a B2B Salesman,” that argues that the rising popularity of self-service portals will lead to the demise of business-to-business (B2B) salespeople. This isn’t the first time the thought of robots taking over jobs has been made.
Robots (in the form of self-service portals) are undoubtedly effective when it comes to data entry or automating routine tasks. However, when it comes to actively drawing buyers in, the human touch is vital. A salesperson’s ability to communicate and connect with a prospect is arguably their most valuable skill.
A recent study, 'The Ultimate Contact Strategy', uncovered the impact of real, person-to-person interactions on a company’s pipeline, investigating the different ways technology can enable the human touch, helping salespeople successfully engage with more customers.
Pick up the Phone: One of the most common mistakes sales reps make is not picking up the phone soon enough. They typically will wait until they have established some level of interest from the prospect via email or social media. In fact, calling a lead quickly was found to be the single largest driver of conversion. The most effective call strategy is to build a sequenced approach that keeps the company present in the buyer’s mind.
As noted in the study, 95% of converted leads are reached by the sixth call attempt, while many sales reps give up after just one to two calls. Additionally, voicemails are highly underutilised; leaving two voicemails on six missed calls proved to be the ideal amount. This strategy is important because it gives the salesperson an opportunity to answer questions, demonstrate value, and bond with the buyer on a human level. Exceeding six calls, however, could yield negative returns for the salesperson. At that point, it might make sense to put the prospect into a marketing nurture path until they show signs of interest again.
Email is an Important Tool to Complement Phone Communication: Automation was created to help increase the effectiveness of humans. It allows salespeople to focus on the more complex engagement that machines cannot take over. That means that every interaction has to matter. The Ultimate Contact Strategy found that prospects who receive a combination of emails and calls receive a 16% higher chance of picking up the phone when a salesperson calls. Therefore, in order for a sales organisation to achieve optimal results the best thing for them to do is set up a tiered approach for your sales reps that includes a combination of both calls and email.
Meaningful Social Touches Interspersed with Phone and Email Have an Impact: Social media is one of the newer channels of communications but is another way that a salesperson can interact with their customers. If there were ever a question about the value of human connection in sales, it should be answered with this statistic: 73% of salespeople using social media as a part of the sales process outperformed their peers. This further proves that the more closely sales reps can connect with their customers, the more effective they will be in staying top of mind and ultimately winning a customers business.
The above findings further prove that the death of the B2B salesperson is not at our doorstep. However, the same Forrester blog post cited above divulges that delivering more personalised and digitalised sales experiences enables sales organisations to extend their value beyond the self-service portal. By integrating sophisticated sales strategies and certain automation technology, salespeople can drive a new level of results that could not be achieved by a robot or traditional sales methods. This isn’t the death of the B2B salesman...it’s the rebirth.
By Nick Hedges, CEO of Velocify. Velocify products transform and accelerate sales performance, they also help sales reps connect with more prospects, so they can spend their time doing what they do best – closing deals! More on-demand virtual learning experiences are available here. The Ultimate Guide to Inquiry Response.