There are in fact lots of things that need to be considered when you set out to make calls to generate new business, particularly if you are running a campaign. Do you know who you are targeting and what the proposition is? Have you got the right contact data? Why should they listen to you? What are your capabilities and costs compared to your competition? How will you build credibility and capability quickly to get airtime with decision makers?
However, I wanted to write this blog as I think the following three pieces of advice, based on three decades of successful campaigns, are really important particularly in today’s market. Also, because I have been increasingly on the receiving end of poor approaches and difficult to understand propositions for a while and I wanted to help.
You can download a free copy of our new business development checklist here that will help to check through the key elements you need to make your campaigns a success.
- Getting the basics right
When carrying out professional prospecting the first things you should share on the call are, who you are, the company you are calling from and the purpose of your call. And then ask if it is a convenient time to talk. This is both professional and polite, but it also allows the prospect to get their attention. They may ask you to repeat it again or say now is not convenient, but the worst case is they agree to a call back and you may get a warmer reception next time. Often, I find using this approach people want me to continue with a conversation.
Please, please, please, unless you know somebody well don’t let the first thing to come out of your mouth be ‘how are you today’? This for many is a conversation killer unless you have already had several conversations with the contact. Yes, you need to build rapport quickly, but not before they have even agreed to a conversation!
- Do you have a killer pitch?
Often people will ask you what your call is about, and it gives you a great opportunity to deliver your killer pitch. As an example, one campaign focused on messaging to CFO’s and finance directors in UK insurance companies was highly successful based on a one liner that we developed in the early stages of the campaign.
It went something along the lines of “Most finance professionals I speak with that are running closed books recognise it costs them on average £15 per policy per year in administration fees. We have a closed book solution that can reduce this cost to around £4 per policy per year, I believe you have X-million closed book policies, would you be interested to find out more?” Contacting just 44 companies resulted in over a dozen propositions, several proposals and a closed deal.
Another campaign we ran for one of our clients more recently, with a very clear proposition to 26 companies, generated over a dozen leads that resulted in 3 deals worth £240K in just four months. And a lot more business in the following year. Your initial pitch will help to get the door open and a conversation started.
- Make your point; clearly, concisely, and quickly
The clarity of the message you take to market has never been as important as it is today. People simply do not have the time to guess how you can help them, or read between the lines on highly creative emails, or wait for a lengthy explanation on the telephone. You need to make your point; clearly, concisely, and quickly. You should be able to state your proposition and the benefits in just a few short sentences that can be used or adapted to work verbally, in email or in a LinkedIn message.
You need to ensure that they understand what it is you are offering. How it will help them or their business specifically and in what way. Also, if possible, what results you have had in the past with companies like them. They can then decide if they would like to continue the conversation, ask for further information, or arrange to meet.
We at Incognate help IT companies focused on selling into B2B markets to generate more consistent and qualified sales ready leads. Our team of new business development professionals help our clients’ sales teams to engage with and focus effort on the very best opportunities in target accounts. Our approach saves our clients time and money, but also consistently deliver results.
Spending time developing a strong proposition is absolutely critical, but you need to ensure that you have a professional approach to get your message heard in the first place. The aim of the initial call or contact is to be able to advance to the next stage, which again needs to be clear and might be either a deeper conversation, demonstration or a meeting.
If you have found this blog useful but want to find out more about our approach to creating and delivering the right content, in the right context to get the right sales results get in touch now.