B2B sales are often a long consultative process that requires exceptional persuasion skills and selling techniques at every twist and turn. It is an art form and a highly skilled one at that.
McKinsey and Company have published a study of 1000 B2B companies and looked at what the key differences are in the sales process between the good performers and the best performers.
The study found that all the high performing companies had a rigorous science-based process of prospecting, qualification and engagement before the sales person even heard about the lead.
This pre-sales process has three common fundamental principles:
Honest assessment of the status quo
High performing companies assess the following, continually:
- What profile do our customers have, now, and in the future?
- How do we handle enquiries, via web, email, phone, face to face, events?
- How do we handle personal customer data in a GDPR compliant way?
- Is there one central source for personal data?
- Do we double handle or triple handle data unnecessarily?
- How quickly does a lead move through qualification, engagement and then to a sale?
- What is our conversion rate?
- How accurate is our customer data?
They plan for the long term, not the short term
Of the fastest growing companies, the top 10% look more than three years out and plan how marketing and lead generation services can fill the pipeline. Campaign and media plans, coupled with prospect research plans mean that the lead generation service is proactive, not reactive. As a result, sales budgets become secured earlier and earlier.
They move fast, learn, adapt and improve
In our digital age, new entrants can launch globally overnight using digital and social technology. Speed to market is faster than ever before. Therefore top performing companies and the most successful start-ups, are using a continuous loop of lead generation services: from researching new leads, to email and social campaigns that trigger prospects’ behaviour, through to qualified, engaged lead intel for the sales team. Because of this continuous process, these top performing companies are GDPR compliant too.
The art of sales (personality and persuasion) needs to be balanced with the science (process and accuracy) of sales. Both high-level skills are not usually found in the same person, and they are definitely not found in a CRM alone, regardless of how automated it promises to be.
The process before sales needs to be managed and maintained by highly skilled people who research prospects, create engaging email and social campaigns and triangulate the behaviour of the prospect, regardless of how they start interacting with the company. This dedicated service is not always possible to deliver in-house. If this is the case, or you want to discuss other alternatives, please contact Claire at email@example.com
Emberson LeadGen provides a digital prospecting and managed lead generation service. Emberson LeadGen is the trading name of Emberson Ventures Ltd, which is part of Emberson Group Ltd.