A study by the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carlina fond that  92% of prospects don’t take a meeting when cold-called or emailed by a sales rep. Our customers don’t report numbers this high but when looking at the bigger picture, we can understand why this is the case. Cold-calls are dead in the traditional sense. There are many reasons for this and a lot of supporting arguments to the death of cold calling but what we find is that many sales people still do not know how to call a prospect with relevant information that can make an impact and identify new opportunities. Harvard Business Review recently published a blog titled “The Worst Question a Salesperson Can Ask” and if you don’t know what is keeping your prospects up at night then you are not doing your job as a sales person. It’s that simple.

“Using competitive intelligence to sell more effectively is not a universal practice, but the Best-in-Class include it in their solution mix 36% more frequently than Industry Average companies, and 51% more than laggards”

If traditional sales and marketing methods no longer work, what do prospects respond to? How can sales and marketing reach, connect and engage with prospects effectively in today’s world?

The secrets to successful B2B sales and marketing are simple: Right Person. Right Time. Right Message.

Right Person: The first task is to identify the right person, find relevant information about them and connect with them through someone they know and respect. 84 percent of prospects usually respond to a sales rep when recommended by someone inside the company. Rather than calling a phone number from a list, identify an individual at the right level within the organization. This person should hold a position that gives them the authority to make a decision and makes them likely to have a need for the product or service. Be aware of the prospect’s work profile and recent tweets to easily establish a rapport, and know which colleague or reference customer can provide a warm introduction to the prospect.

Right Time: Know when to call a prospect. Picking up the phone right after a company secures funding, when a new executive has come on board, or when a new regulatory requirement comes into effect matters. Calling the prospect even days or weeks before a competitor does can be the difference between winning and losing a deal.

Right Message: Prospects take it in their own hands to go online to learn about vendor solutions, and they are often aware of the key features and big differences. As a result, they value reps that are more customer-focused and who can articulate how they can address the prospect’s unique business needs. The nuanced message should be about how to help a prospect be successful rather than what a product does.

A recent paper by Aberdeen titled “Understanding the Science of  Sales Intelligence” identified the key areas that companies and sales teams should be focusing on for results.

  • Executives/ People Information
  • Targeted company details; Financials; Competitors
  • Contextually relevant news
  • Analyst data on tends
  • User generated content (blogs, social media)

Aberdeen Sales Intelligence Study