SM: In the cold calling discussion, we assume that Telesales and Telemarketing are separate processes. Your expertise is more on the Telesales side. Are you assuming someone else is doing the Telemarketing prior to the prospect hitting the sales force?
AS: We work with companies on both the Telemarketing side and using the phone to close the deal. It is an interesting question, because where do you draw the line between sales and marketing? After all, they are part of the same process.
SM: I will tell you about one of my experiences where I developed a methodology which, within that context, worked quite well. I hired a bunch of people who were out of the recruitment industry. Executive recruiters, call them Sourcers.
One of the problems I was facing in scaling my operation was that I really needed to understand potential client organizations – who the decision makers were, and what products they already had because my product would replace existing products. It was the #4 product in an industry that already had 3 established products. That was a situation where I really needed to understand the competitive landscape for the account, otherwise I would blow the cold call. The first touch with the customer had to deliver the right pitch and all of that depended on who my competitor was.
AS: That is a perfect example of leveraging the sales person, because what you are doing is helping the sales person understand the account prior to contact. Perhaps you populate a database with all of that information which is readily available to the sales person.
SM: That is exactly what happened. These Sourcers populated the database with the organization chart, marking out who the economic buyer was, who the technical decision maker was, and all the market research data available on each account. There was a complete account research process for every account we had, and it was accomplished before the sales person touched the account. We, in fact, put in a Step of the Sales Cycle called “Lead Sourcing”, and only “Sourced Leads” would be available for Sales people to start working on.
AS: And that saves your sales force hours of research.
SM: I think, to some extent, the story we were talking about earlier, InsideView, aims to do something like this, although I don’t think they can go quite as far as we did in this particular case study.
AS: It is definitely a best practice to maximize the time a sales person has in front of the prospect or customer.
SM: It also allows them to make as informed a call as possible, and deliver as customized a pitch as possible, based on the unique situation in the account.
AS: I would also say it is critical to ask a lot of questions and to listen to what the prospect is telling you about the business, to customize your pitch or solution accordingly.
SM: You hit the nail on the head. This whole business of what I call pain extraction question drives everything. The whole conversation is driven by what questions you ask, in the sense you have to anticipate what things are likely to happen. If marketing is doing their job, sales should have a set of pain extraction questions to start the conversations.
AS: And it can all be automated and integrated with your CRM. It is amazing what can be automated to assist your sales organization.
SM: That actually leads us into the discussion about the pitch and the pain point identification inside the account. Do you have any nuggets to share?
AS: The pitch must be personalized. It has to have the understanding of what you customer is going through. What they need to show in terms of business results on their end. How can what you have to offer help them do their job and be successful.
SM: Let me drill down on that. In terms of hierarchy, do you recommend that people go to the highest possible person? The Very Important Top Officer (Vito) methodology? [Re: Selling To VITO (The Very Important Top Officer) by Anthony Parinello; If you haven’t read it, you must!]
AS: It depends. It is important to understand the people involved in the decision making process, the timing and what resources are like on the customer side. What does their buying process look like? Sometimes that involves the top person and sometimes it does not.