The following blog post was written by Peter Mollins, Vice President of Marketing at KnowledgeTree.
Sales Prospecting has grown steadily more important for B2B companies. In fact, a study by InsideSales.com and the Kellogg School of Management showed that having a specialized prospecting team increased close ratios from 10% to 17%.
So it’s critical that sales leaders look to implement best practices to support sales prospecting activities. That’s why ZoomInfo and KnowledgeTree teamed up on a webinar called “Supercharge Your Sales Prospecting,” which looked at approaches you can take now to increase sales prospecting effectiveness.
As with almost any measurable activity, when you understand the dynamics, you can improve it. So, what are the mechanics of sales prospecting? At its highest level, the math is quite straightforward:
Number of outreaches X connection rate X conversion rate to meetings = Number of appointments
With that in mind, how do you improve? In the webinar, ZoomInfo’s Anna Fisher looked into key elements that drive the number of outreaches and connections. By improving data quality, the number of outreaches can be radically increased. And critically, by targeting the best buyer persona you can drive the number of appointments.
How the Right Message Increases Conversions
In addition to connecting with the right person, it’s critical to have the right message. After all, once you have a prospect on the line, how do you convince them to take a meeting?
Most B2B prospects are not inbound. In fact, some data shows that up to 95% of your targets are not actively looking to solve the problem you address. But nearly half of the total market would be open to prioritizing it if they thought it was important. So, the question becomes how do you get them into play?
Clearly, connecting with them in the first place is essential. And then once on the line, they need to be converted. How? It comes back to challenging the status quo. Your buyers have dozens of other priorities and projects. Why would they stop what they’re doing to pick up what you’re proposing?
Your message has to challenge their current understanding of their business or their current plans. It should be so compelling that they need to reorder their priorities. As one thinker puts it, your engagement with a prospect needs to be so compelling that the prospect would have paid for the benefit of that meeting.
But according to data from Forrester and Sirius Decisions, upward of 80% of sales people add no value to the buyers they speak with. How do you fix that core problem?
You’ve got to evaluate what messages you take to your core persona. What are sales prospectors:
- Telling prospects in email and phone conversations?
- Communicating about your products and solutions?
- Sending to prospects as follow-up or challenging information?
If the scripts, product information, or sales enablement collateral is effective, it can dramatically boost the conversion to meetings. But too often content is:
- Generic and doesn’t speak to the buyer personae that you’ve identified
- Old and not inclusive of the latest product data or messaging
- Ineffective because content that doesn’t correlate to advancing deals continues to be used
Surface the Right Content at the Right Time
Instead, companies like RingCentral and Xactly are implementing a content-driven sales enablement best practice across their sales teams. They surface relevant content that matches their sales situation to their sales prospectors. Then as a team member needs a call script that suits, say, a prospect in the financial services industry; or competitive information versus a particular competitor; or content that’s been measured to improve lead conversion for a specific industry – they have it.
They’re also increasing conversion rates significantly by understanding where sales people can access that content. After all, sales people need content in the context of the work their doing. So, pushing content to your sales team via the tool they use every day – their CRM – makes the process efficient.
Sales prospecting is a powerful way to get more – and more qualified – meetings for your sales team. By combining the right target and the right message, you can redirect the prospecting math in your favor.