By Joe Morone, co-founder and B2B technology sales researcher & strategist | Worldleaders, Inc.
The top 1% of sales professionals have a process for penetrating new markets and winning more sales than their competitors. Today, I’m going to walk you through the 3 steps that these top performers are using to develop this process so that you can win more sales.
Step 1: Generate more (real) leads by integrating marketing and sales activity
There are three major components to developing an effective prospecting and lead generation process. We refer to them as the 3Ms.
Market: What types of organizations are we best positioned to serve? While this can be broken down by several firmographic characteristics, we see that B2B technology organizations are most effective when using the following characteristics: geographies, industries, size, and—most importantly—the targeted decision makers that you begin your sales cycle with. In B2B tech sales, we recommend starting the sales cycle with the business-level decision maker. A business level decision maker ultimately has profit/loss responsibility for the business unit you are selling to & has the responsibility of delivering the competency that your offering improves.
Message: Now that you’re about to contact the targeted decision maker of the organization, what is the first thing you say to this person (whether it be through email, phone, in-person, etc.)? Watch the video below to learn how to open a business conversation with your prospect.
Methods: This is the final piece of the prospecting methodology and deals with the channels, order, frequency, and cadence of the contacts you make with a potential customer. Remember, the objective of prospecting is to survey the business-level decision maker to determine if they have an interest in improving the business outcome that your offering delivers, have a problem that your offering fixes, or simply are not interested or ready. The Lead Generation Wheel is a roadmap for these activities. Notice that the center and top of the wheel revolve around Market and Message. The rest of the items on the wheel are the actions that your marketing/sales team should integrate. Once you’ve received disposition from the prospect, your objective is to convert them to a business case conversation.Read More
Step 2: Develop the business case and think like a buyer
Now that you’ve found a prospect that is open to talking with you, it’s time to uncover the business case for why they need to buy—and why they need to buy now. We see that reaching the true business case is something sets the top 1% part from the rest of the pack.
A business case is not why XYZ corporation needs your technology. It’s the bottom-line impact that will make the customer more competitive in their marketplace. We see that there are 5 major business cases that B2B solutions create:
- Increased overall sales, market penetration, or account penetration
- Reduced cycle time for delivery, customer service, or revenue collection
- Improved 1st time quality or reduced non-value waste
- Meeting regulatory, legal, political, or social compliance
- Improved profitability, reduce cost, or increase corporate valuation
When having that initial business case development conversation, you can use these 11 questions to assess and develop a complete and accurate business case.
- How would this impact your business positively?
- What potential drawbacks, risks or disruptions may be involved? Please describe them.
- Why is this important now?
- What are the ramifications of delaying or doing nothing?
- What is the ideal timing? When will the project or installation or delivery need to be completed? When will you select the appropriate supplier? When is the proposal due?
- What solutions have been previously considered? Please describe them. (And are they internally provided solutions, externally recommended, or suggested by third parties?)
- Do you have any competing priorities for your management attention, resources, time or budget? Please describe them.
- Do you face any potential constraints – physical, environmental, technical, skill-related, compliance-related? Please describe them.
- What are your views as to technical feasibility?
- Is this budgeted, or does it require budget justification?
- What are the acceptance criteria for each stakeholder or decision-maker? Is it to make or save money or meet compliance requirements; for user capacity, usability, or reliability; or financial in terms of price, budget, or discounts?
Step 3: Propose and close instead of quote and hope
If you are working with the right decision makers, have developed the business case and answers to the assessment questions above, then writing and presenting the proposal is easy.
Set up a meeting with the business-level, user-level, and financial-level decision makers to present your SMART Proposal. Let them know that it will be a 5-10-minute presentation that focuses on the business case more than it does the technical solution overview (though you can have an appendix on this). At the end of the presentation, ask for the close and manage the three most common objections around stall, price, and competition.Read More
Bonus Step: Maximize the total lifetime value of an account
Here’s another major cut-off of what separates top earners from the rest. The top 1% do not settle after the deal is closed. Instead, they check back in with the customer to ensure that their business needs are being met, to inform them of what the top companies in their industry are doing in a particular area, and to advise them on what must be done to make the organization more competitive.
The top 1% of marketing salespeople are more than just business generators. They are advisers to their customers for improving their business results. I recommend checking in every quarter with your clients to ensure that they are meeting their business objectives.
Pull it all together
These three steps (and the bonus step) show how the top 1% define, find, engage, qualify, develop, close, and manage their customers. This is a systemic approach that is built on working with the real decision maker, developing the real business case, and closing on relative value. To learn more, download your free PDF copy of The Smart Sales Method, a book I co-authored.Get My Free Copy
About the Author
Joe Morone has a 30-year consecutive track record for growing sales and sales teams. He is the co-founder and B2B technology sales researcher & strategist for Worldleaders Inc. Joe is co-author of the five-star rated book, The Smart Sales Method for B2B Sales Teams. For the past 12 years, his guidance in implementing the right sales & marketing strategy, sales methods and developing sales skills has helped thousands of sales representatives and more than 200 B2B firms to penetrate new markets and win more sales. Prior to founding Worldleaders, Joe was responsible growing a technology company from $24m to +$1billion in sales, expanding from regional to global and becoming publicly traded. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.