Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Rules for Buyers During a B2B Sales Call

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Sep 24, 2014

This blog post is a set of behavioral rules for B2B technology buyers to follow,  so as to maximize the value and the time of the hard working, honest and ethical salesperson sitting across the desk or on the phone. 

It will also serve to minimize the inconvenience and continuing lost profits the buyer's company is making without your solutions.

The Rules

  1. When a salesperson calls you on the phone, you will stop what you are doing, pick up the phone and smile when you say, "Hello, this is (Your Name), how are you?"
  2. You will be amused with the variety blurting-out, fumbling, 90-second introductions without breathing, awkward silences and obvious lack of preparation, professionalism and nervousness of the salesperson. 
  3. After they have finished their intro, you will ask, "how can I help you"? 
  4. You will refrain from hanging up, giving excuses about being in a meeting, or chastising your administrator, who let this call slip through.
  5. If the salesperson is planning a trip to your location in the near future, you will consider it a stroke-of-luck and make space on your calendar to accommodate an in-person call.
  6. You will hear the salesperson out and never ask them to send more information in an email or to call back at a more convenient time for them, because what they have to say could save you and your company serious money.... even get you promoted!
  7. You will answer all questions the salesperson asks to the best of your ability, regardless of their nature, how many they ask or the irrelevance to your role and business.
  8. You will disclose any pain or discomfort in your physical condition, even a minor back-ache, because salespeople ar looking for pain and may have something in their bag that can help.
  9. You will inquire about the features of their products and be curious about who else is using them and the benefits they are getting and welcome any opportunity to see the product in action in a live demo.
  10. You will smile knowingly as the sales rep plugs in the Lap-top, fumbles with the LCD technology, or these days, more coolly passes you the iPad and brings up the PowerPoint presentation or video clip. 
  11. Most importantly, during the presentation you will refrain from playing with your smart-phone and stay focused on the bullets and message, because there is infinite wisdom, somewhere in the presentation.
  12. You will wait until the salesperson has emptied your bucket of potential objections and enjoy the festival of the salesperson digging holes for themselves while trying to counter them.
  13. You will never promise to get back to the salesperson unless you truly mean it.
  14. You will nod and promise not to smirk when the salesperson asks any question beginning with "If we could show you a way...." 
  15. You will be grateful when the salesperson interrupts you before you have finished your sentence (while you are discussing the issues that are important to you) and then tells you what you need to do (use their product), because the sooner you find out, the better.
  16. You promise to engage any salesperson with an earnest and professorial look on their face; possibly wearing a chalk-dusted sports coat with leather elbow-pads, carrying a pipe, wearing a sword on their hip or carrying a lance, or even wearing a measuring tape and carrying a pair of scissors. They are Challengers and are going to challenge your assumptions and to teach you about the hidden jewels in your business, that only they can help you discover.
  17. This is the biggie - never lie to a salesperson- we can tell!
If you are a sales professional or manager and find this slightly amusing and would like to up-level the conversations you or your sales team is having with buyers, we can help.

Content to Support Sales Conversations

We can help sales, marketing and sales enablement leaders with content deployment, content strategy and to create the conversational content that your team needs to avoid the above, including:
  • Ideal customer profiles, including persona's, problems and causes,
  • Relevant capabilities and competitive positioning,
  • Call preparation guides,
  • Why Change and Point of View conversations,
  • Inventories of emails and customer stories,
  • Key questions to ask and key objections and counters,
  • Facts, data, analyst reports, insights,
  • Visual support, video, webinars and ebooks,
  • Curated 3rd party content to nurture opportunities.
If you believe that content is an important enabler of sales success, you are invited to  find out more.  

If you found this amusing or have committed any of the sins above, or know someone who needs to read the rules, please pass it on.


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Topics: sales enablement, sales conversations, conversational content

Three Must Read Books to Improve Sales and Marketing 2012 Results

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Jan 03, 2012

If you haven't read these three books yet, the good news is there is still time to read them and make an impact on sales and marketing performance in 2012. Welcome back to work and have a great 2012.

The Challenger Sale

This is an important book for B2B sales and marketing and will be of interest to sales and marketing leadership as well as sales professionals. The research in this book has uncovered new insights into what works in our current B2B buying climate and debunks a lot of commonly held views and practices. 

You are going to hear a lot about the Challenger style of selling in 2012 and beyond as it is the most effective mode of selling complex B2B products and services.

The good news is that Challenger Selling is a behaviour and skill-set that can be learned and with the appropriate messaging and whiteboarding skills, anyone who wants to, can achieve Challenger Sale results.
Here you can read a more in-depth review of The Challenger Sale.

Predictable Revenue

This is a powerful little book that caught me by surprise and I have to thank co-author Marylou Tyler for sending it to me, as I am confident that it will have an impact on my own sales results in 2012.

This book is for sales VPs' or operations executives responsible for growing sales revenue.
If you are in B2B sales and your team generates inbound leads, there is a system in this book that will help you generate new business by systematically mining your cold leads far more effectively than through cold calling new prospects.

What's really exciting is that you can begin to explore this method with just one person and build it as you prove to yourself and your management team that it works.

The approach was pioneered at Salesforce.com by Aaron Ross and has been implemented very successfully at fast growing companies like HubSpot and many others. When I saw HubSpot's VP Sales, Mark Roberge endorse  Predictable Revenue on YouTube, I took notice and so should you.

Conversations that Win the Complex Sale

This book was written by a competitor of mine Tim Riesterer and co-writer Erik Peterson and I recommend it for both marketing and sales professionals wanting to differentiate their sales conversations and make more impact in sales calls.

This is Tim's second book and like his first is themed around creating messaging that drives effective sales conversations in B2B selling. I like this book for the technique and integration of well researched ideas like visual storytellingthe hero's journey, leading with a distinct point of view, creating tension and contrast.
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Topics: sales conversations, the challenger sale, predictable revenue

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