Quality over quantity applies to a lot of things we do in our daily lives – especially in certain aspects of sales. Lead generation is at the forefront of quality over quantity.
Lead quantity – gathering all the leads you can find and wishing for the best as you take time and resources out to reach to every single one – is seldom as effective as lead quality.
When the success of your business relies on the constant gathering of new customers, it’s a no-brainer that quality trumps quantity. Many salespeople and marketers waste their efforts targeting leads that will never amount to anything. Low-quality leads may save you time and money at first, but in the long run they will only end up costing you more.
What good is a pipeline full of leads when you don’t even know if they match the audience you’re trying to target? Quality leads meet the demographics of your target audience. The very best lead quality can even go beyond that, meeting their psychographics (personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles).
With qualified leads, you’re all but guaranteeing that you’ve checked off as many of the target audience qualifications as possible.
Need more convincing that quality leads are essential to your lead generation strategy?
The Costs of Using Bad Leads
Time chasing weak leads
When pursuing unqualified, bad sales leads you risk wasting your time. The time spent trying to reach a bad lead could be spent on more productive things such as closing multiple deals with leads you know are more likely to buy. Knowing who you’re contacting can save you a tremendous amount of time.
Bad data also slows employees down so much so that they feel their performance suffers. Something such as calling a person that no longer exists at a number wastes more than 27 percent of their time [Anodot].
Money/Resources on wasted time
How you reach your prospect, whether it be by direct mail or a widespread email campaign, costs money. For every bad lead, your business loses money that could be spent on a reliable lead.
Opportunities are missed when you’re using inaccurate data. In the US alone, businesses lose $3.1 trillion annually due to poor data quality [Anodot]. Image how much you would save by getting qualified leads. With weak leads you also lower your opportunity to close a sale.
Finding Real Value
So why would you trust just any company to provide such a critical service? You need a sales lead provider that brings you real value. Here’s what to look for:
How long has the company been providing its services? You want a company that knows what it’s doing.
Find out where the company gets its data from. Does it just collect and resell other companies’ data? Be sure to find a provider that constantly qualifies its own data.
Research what customers are saying about the company. Look how its reputation stacks up against others.
Find a company that has experienced people who are available to help when you need them. Good customer service is a must.
Do your research and put your trust in a company that has the data and services that will help you build your sales.
There are many ways to find and contact potential customers today. However, two of the older ways still remain among the most popular – cold calls and emails. Both ways are effective in initiating conversation with potential customers.
If you ask salespeople which method they prefer, some will favor calls, and others will swear by emails. Both methods have their perks and downfalls. Does one really work better than the other? Maybe you should be utilizing both? Find out more about the benefits and drawbacks of each.
The Cold Call Pros
Cold calling has a bad reputation. When you hear the word cold call, I’m sure a negative connotation pops into your head. Many sellers don’t want to cold call and therefore want to believe that cold calling is dead.
“Both buyers and sellers agree: cold calling works, and it’s still one of the most effective ways to generate initial sales conversations” (Rain Group). Cold calling is second to email and above all other forms of contacting buyers.
One of the biggest advantages of cold calling is the control the sales rep has over the conversation. This live-action conversation allows for faster responses and reaction time.
#1 Cold calls allow for faster responses
You can reach prospects quickly with cold calling, and faster responses do save you time and hassle. Pitching a product/service and waiting for a response can be nerve racking. With phone calls, you save the hassle and time of waiting around wondering if that prospect is going to want to make a deal.
Immediate responses also give sales reps the advantage of listening to the needs and doubts of the prospects. This way, they can respond right away with reassurance of benefits the product or service can bring them. It can kill doubt instantaneously and not permit it to build up.
Instant responses allow reps to deal with the “no” conversation immediately too. Sales reps can ask for a reason (instead of waiting for another email) and work through a solution right away with the prospect. This also gives the prospect something more to think about. So if you do have to go into a follow-up email, they aren’t coming in at a no. It gives sales reps more insight from the first call too, to build a better follow-up conversation.
It is easier to convince someone of the benefits of the product/service if their mind isn’t already made up.
#2 You can get more personal
It’s all about getting personal these days. The more personal, the easier it is to grab the customer’s attention and keep them hooked.
Cold calls are much more convenient when it comes to inserting that personal touch in a conversation and demonstrating emotion. You can receive immediate feedback on the prospect’s personal and work life and get a feel for their personality to use to your advantage. Adjusting your tone and where the conversation is going works a lot faster and easier over the phone. You can build a connection with a prospect in a matter of seconds.
Talking over the phone gives sales reps a chance to establish a personal connection immediately, something that is much harder to do online. The more you learn about a prospect, the easier it is to direct them towards a certain product/service that would work best for them.
#3 You can explore more opportunities
The more you talk with someone, the more you learn about them. With a one-on-one live conversation, a sales representative can direct their full attention to the prospect to explore their wants and needs. If nothing stood out to the client during the initial pitch as something that would help them, a phone call allows you to explore more opportunities you have available with them.
Cold calling gives sales reps that initial feedback we talked about and gives them a chance to steer the prospect towards another product/service that might be perfect for them. If the product or service does not quite go with their needs at the time, you can also still gain valuable insights about the consumer. Considering these insights, you can develop new directions you might want to grow the business.
The Cold Email Pros
This strategy is used by a lot more people than just sales representatives. Many professionals and individuals send cold emails.
#1 Cold Emails are time efficient and less frustrating
The new world of email automation trumps having to reach out to each prospect (such as in cold calling) when it comes to saving time. The initial email to prospects doesn’t have to be completely personal, and because of this, we can send mass emails. With a single click, you can send the same email to a large number of recipients, upping your time efficiency and boosting productivity.
Cold emails also allow prospects to get in touch when it’s convenient for them. This makes the recipient less likely to be frustrated because they can reply at their own paste. Emails are less interruptive than phone calls.
With emails, sales reps don’t have to take time out of their day to try and to reach each prospect. It is especially frustrating finally reaching a prospect via phone and getting a “no.” Email takes away the more personal touch of actually hearing no.
#2 Cold emails can attract visually
Our attention is drawn to things we find attractive, and therefore the more attractive a message, the easier it will be to catch a potential customer’s attention and get them to stick around to learn more. Emails allow you to script a professional and eye-catching message.
A sales representative’s message placed on a visually attractive layout will make the overall pitch that much more appealing. A visually pleasant email can take away a lot of the “cold” factor in reaching out to prospects.
Email personalization is also attractive to a reader. The tone, visual aspect, and message are all something you can personalize to match a specific segment or individual group. Find out the demographics and psychographics or the segment or individual and adjust your message accordingly.
The goal is to lure customers in, and as long as you have an eye-catching, informative layout this is a sure way to do it.
#3 You can be more informative
With the option to add attachments and links to aid in a sales rep’s explanation, emails can be a lot more informative. Attachments and links such as documents, infographics, promo material, learn more pages, etc. help tell a more detailed story.
It allows for your thoughts to be more succinct than a cold call no matter how many times you practice. The sender has more time to think and can read over the content in the email making it sound much more polished. This way the sender can get everything across they hoped to inform the prospect on without fear of being misheard or forgetting to add something. It’s also an advantage to the recipient, as they can read and reply to the email at their paste. They don’t have to feel rushed to reply and can think overall the questions they have to ask.
#4 You have the ability to track and forward messages
Email software allows you to track many different things including, the open rate, successful deliveries, click rate on specific links, your prospect’s replies, and whatever else you find valuable. These stats help inform you on what’s working and what improvements you need to make in pitching your product/service to new customers.
Email tracking even allows you to track the number of forwards, which is a big advantage for cold emailing. Sending emails means that there is a chance your message will get passed along to others. While this can happen with cold calling too… emails have your message laid out how you presented it and not how the customer remembered it. The ability for receivers to forward your message gives you not only free brand awareness but free referrals too.
If there are many pros to each then what are the cons?
The Cold Call Cons
#1 Frustrating the prospect and yourself
No one likes their time being wasted, especially on something that wouldn’t fit their profile. Without proper research before reaching out, you can surely frustrate the prospect.
Even with ample research misspeaking or not knowing a specific fact can cause frustration by the prospect. If you’re reaching out, you should know who they are, what they do, and how your product/service can specifically help them.
Since cold calling is unscheduled, you might be reaching the prospect at a bad time, resulting in frustration and possibly turning them off permanently. It also can result in you becoming frustrated when you go through a dry spell of unanswered calls, hang-ups, or negative replies. Upfront rejection can be discouraging. Cold calls make it easy to put yourself in a vulnerable position.
Empty promises made with cold calling are frustrating. Prospects can promise anything over the phone just to get rid of you, then ignore the follow-ups.
#2 Cold Calls are difficult to handle and time consuming
Not everyone is a pro speaker and has the natural ability to be upbeat and positive all the time. Cold calls also require salespeople to be persuasive when speaking and quick on their feet. Not everyone can come up with a quick counteroffer, and when cold calling it’s an important skill to have.
Cold calls must be handled one at a time, you cannot contact multiple contacts at the same time as you can email. One contact at a time means more time spent per prospect and the higher the risk of your time being wasted. I don’t even want to go into the fact you can have an hour-long conversation that still ends in a no. Talk about frustrating!
#3 Cold Calls can harm the reputation
People get frustrated for all sorts of reasons, and an unexpected interruption or negative conversation can cause them to build a negative image. One bad call can shift to the whole company, and a negative image could mean a lack of respect and trust in the company by not only that customer but anyone they share their experience with.
The Cold Email Cons
#1 Cold Emails don’t yield immediate response
There’s a huge gap in the response rate for emails. You could hear back immediately from a prospect or two weeks later, there really is no saying when, as it’s reliant on the prospect. You also don’t know whether a prospect is planning to reply later or maybe not at all. You can, of course, send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back in a while (that does mean extra effort on your part though).
#2 Cold Emails are subject to delivery issues
Cold emails can never reach your prospects, never be opened, or never read, and you have no control over it. With a call, you can more easily force someone to listen, but with an email, there is no courtesy or force for you to get a prospect to read or even open the email.
There can also be an issue with the email in which it never gets delivered to the prospect or goes immediately to their spam folder. Spam filters can be the death of cold emails, and they’re only getting better.
Email may be convenient, but it’s not the most reliable.
#3 Cold emails require certain skills
Cold emails require a different set of skills than most salespeople have. Since they must be visually and collectively appealing to catch people’s attention, the creator needs to have great design and copywriting skills.
If the email is poorly designed with bad copy, the recipient will be reluctant to read it. The email has to be captivating and you have to have someone will the skills to make it so.
Which strategy should you use then?
The Rein Group did a study and found that email outranked cold calling in terms of being the preferred and actual method of contacting prospects. It also shows though, that email and phone calls are the top methods for contacting prospects.
With all the pros and cons weighed side by side, we say whichever strategy meets your strengths is the one you should be using, even if that means both. You don’t have to put all your efforts towards one strategy, especially because email is a lot less time consuming than cold calling, allowing you room to do, or even just try, both.
Finding the strategy that works best for you and using the other to follow-up with prospects is also a great strategy. This will help you develop client retention skills, be more involved with your prospect, and build up your skills in whichever is weaker.
Both these strategies are a great way to reach prospects and build new clients. These tactics are here to help you create a real connection with your audience and help meet their needs and solve their problems with your product/service.
Make sure you are always adding a personal touch, whether it be over the phone or via email to help build more meaningful relationships.
Many business owners and salespeople dread having to prospect. There are many ineffective and outdated prospecting techniques that people are still using. With the right techniques, your prospecting can guide you to better-qualified leads. Better-qualified leads means higher growth rates.
Hubspot found that in 2020 “the top priority for marketers [was] generating leads.” With an understanding of the strategies involved in prospecting, you can gather and turn high quality leads into clients.
B2B sales used to be a lot easier. Businesses would have to reach out and talk to a salesperson who’d pitch them the product or service. However, today’s buyers prefer to conduct research and select what to buy on their own, without any influence from a salesperson.
B2B sales success hinges on your approach. Businesses now do internal research for every buying decision they must make. The growth of the internet makes this task is an easier one, one that doesn’t always require information from a salesperson.
Although buyers can easily find information, it isn’t always the right kind of information. Buyers still need salespeople. Because prospects won’t as easily come to salespeople as they use to, salespeople must take new approaches to sell.
Teaching is the new pitching
A big trend at the moment is teaching is the new pitching. Supplying the buyer with valuable information they can use in their business is a big plus for you.
While listening to your prospect’s needs, you should be thinking of different ways to teach them how to solve their issue. Your goal should be to point them in the right direction leading them to tips and tricks within the industry. Show them the best solutions through your blog or social media sites or stats posted on your website. The more you help them out the more loyalty you’re building up for your company.
Teaching doesn’t just involve giving them outside information on how to improve their business, it also involves teaching the prospect about your product. The more the buyer knows about how your product or service can help them, the more likely they’ll be to buy.
Having a basic understanding of the ins and outs of how your product/service works before buying is a huge advantage for buyers. The more they learn from you the less they have to learn on their own. It helps drive investment of time and information in the buyer.
Social Selling is Effective
Social selling is effective in B2B selling. With the overabundant supply of sales and marketing messages buyers see, they are highly skeptical. This skepticism is carried over into their conversations with salespeople. Because of this skepticism, it’s important salespeople help prospects to the path of purchase rather than focusing all their energy on closing the deal.
Sales teams who incorporate social selling into their strategies tend to perform better than those that don’t. Social selling breaks through some of the skepticism. Your presence and interaction with the online community gives your business a better reputation, especially among the younger buyers.
Social selling also allows salespeople to lay out the path to purchase giving buyers a glimpse into how the process would work. The community can then engage, leaving comments, asking questions, and sharing your content. The more you engage online the better reputation you’ll build and the wider of an audience you’ll be able to reach.
Buyers today rely a lot on peer recommendations. Having a social presence that drives consumer comments and interaction is good. People will look to social media and other online channels to learn more about solving their problems and researching your company.
Don’t shy away from talking about the risks involved
Everyone wants to feel confident that they’ve made the right decision for themselves and their growth. It’s the same situation in business to business buying.
Talking about the risks a client perceives is an important step in the buying process. Salespeople should be open to discussing risks. The more a salesperson talks about the risks with their client, the more confidence they can instill in their decision to buy. Without ever talking about it you have no control over how they react to the doubts they have.
B2B buyers are increasingly seeking out ways to identify and reduce risk factors. In identifying the risks involved throughout the process, you can work with your client to reduce and erase risks driving them to a more confident decision to buy.
While we’ve been constantly moving towards a digital world, the pandemic has surely accelerated society’s transition to online buying. With more people working remotely and relying on online buying, it’s time to shift our selling practices towards the new age of online buying and selling.
With this adaption comes some new rules we should follow. Many practices that will be popular in 2021 we’ve already begun doing it’s just a matter of adapting completely to the change to maximize on the new sales age.
Create a Digital Customer Experience
Researching online before buying is becoming a popular thing to do. That means your website needs to be top-notch, supplying consumers with all the information they need to know to decide to buy.
With face-to-face interactions lessening during the pandemic, it’s even more important that your website is set up to give customers a great experience. Your website should be creatively designed to capture visitor’s attention with information that will convince them to engage and buy.
Customers want validation, and your website should be where they go to get it. Online buying is different than in-person buying. Users online want the information they’re seeking to be upfront. This is an advantage for you as you don’t have to use subliminal marketing online. You can be direct with your customers and not turn them away.
People respond to brands that understand their needs. So, you must give users an experience that’s relevant to them and your lifetime value. With comprehensive and compelling messaging, users can gather the information they need.
Most importantly for creating a compelling digital customer experience is being there. Listening to your customers and monitoring how they navigate your website will help you curate your digital customer experience. Try out different landing pages and calls to action to see how your potential and current customers react and direct your website towards that.
With the pandemic moving more people to online buying, it’s all about building connections digitally now.
Use technology to build curated experiences
With creating a digital customer experience it’s important you make it curated to your customers. We’ve already begun to understand the power of personalization to gain consumers’ attention and close more deals. What we need to capitalize on in 2021 is hitting that personalization hard. With digital customer experiences, it’s easy to make this goal a reality.
AI allows us to gain insight into our most valuable customer’s daily lives and understand what they want most. Data and analytics can tell us when and where to engage our customers and how. This technology gives salespeople the ability to use engagement tools that target the best day and time to call someone in each industry. By leaning more heavily on technology salespeople can learn about buyers to develop customer relationships that pay off.
While using this technology to increase sales volume, you have to make sure your messaging is still personal enough to make the customer feel as though the message was made just for them. The sales experience needs to be individually curated for each market and segment of your target audience.
With a pause on in-person selling, upping your connection building will be important in the new year. A great way to create value for your buyers is to build a connection with them. However, with online selling, this task becomes more difficult.
A sales rep must now build that connection solely online or over the phone. It’s important that you have the basic principle of doing your research but that you also apply a different approach and adapt for each contact you’re trying to build a connection with. With in person connecting, it’s easy to read a person’s reaction but in shifting to online you’re not as easily notified as to the other person’s reaction to your pitch. This means you need to do a lot more asking and listening. Listen to what they have to say in order to read how they’re taking your pitch. Phrasing your questions and comments better can also help give you the insight you need. Without those physical cues, it’s important to key in on the verbal ones.
In building connections with your customers, you’ll associate great customer experience with your product, something others will be hard-pressed to beat. In doing your research and understanding how you can connect with your client, salespeople can up their game.
Empathize and Understand
This goes for both sales leaders and sales reps. Sales leaders need to understand that sales reps’ jobs just got a heck of a lot harder in some areas. In certain markets, people are buying a lot less. Sales leaders need to embrace empathy and provide personalized, detailed coaching techniques to help get teams back on track and confident.
Once back on track and confident in their selling, sales reps need to empathize with their potential customers. With the pandemic hitting businesses and consumers hard, it’s important sales reps understand each client’s situation and take a different approach to sell.
Don’t be afraid to ask how the pandemic is affecting your customers. You can use this information to craft custom-tailored solutions to their specific challenges. Offering discounts, deals, and delays can help you win the client’s business this time around and even push them to continue to do business with you in the future.
When you help people at their lowest, it builds customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Integrate sales and marketing teams
A major trend for 2021 will be integrating your sales and marketing teams. COVID-19 has driven sales to distance selling forcing us to blur the line between the sales and marketing department. It’s critical in these new times that sales and marketing function as one to create a plan that works towards the overall business goal. You must almost fully integrate these two departments to succeed.
Intertwining every aspect of the two departments will be critical to its success. You must share not only people among that two but also data. Don’t keep sales data and marketing data separate, integrate it into one and even consider making it transparent to everyone on the marketing and sales teams.
Both sides must know the overall goal and the part they play in working together to achieve it by practicing consistent processes. Marketing brings in leads and sales converts and upsells those leads. The two go hand in hand which explains why integrating them into one can drive revenue for your business.
Bringing both departments together should be an easier task than you think. As long as your goals are clearly stated and the basics of how to get there are laid out the two departments won’t have much trouble working together to make selling online a success.
COVID-19 sped up the shift towards a digital approach to buying and selling. Many haven’t even begun the shift, and therefore the new year is a great time to get started. It can be a whole new world for some, but nothing you can’t learn to tackle. There are many advantages not only for the customer but for you too in switching to or even just adding an online community. Digital transformations are becoming the new selling point.
It’s all about the customer when it comes to sales. Small businesses and salespeople can’t be successful without finding new customers. Check out how you can improve your sales game and reach new heights in this 10 tips sales infographic.