Last week, we had our first installment of our new panel webinar series, ‘How to Sell to Me.’ For those of you just hearing about it for the first time right now, it’s an informal discussion moderated by our Managing Director, Rich Wood. Every two weeks (for as long as we decide to run it), we’re inviting two business leaders to talk about what stands out to them in sales outreach, things that made them cringe, and guidance they have for those looking to enter sales or improve their tactics.
For the first session, we had Gareth Peterson from Caroo and Alec Dobbie from FanFinders. They gave us insight into things that salespeople have done well in reaching out to them, negative experiences they’ve had, and sales tactics they think should be left in the past.
Positive sales outreach
Gareth noted that it takes a lot for him to pay attention to sales outreach because when he’s in need of a new solution or tool, he’s quick to leverage the network he’s built up over the course of his career. However, he does make sure to check out competitors to better understand features and market rates, among other things.
Both guests like it when salespeople know the industries they’re trying to sell in, exhibit confidence, and are able to frame the potential return on investment (ROI) of their product or service should they choose to purchase. Bonus points go to those who are able to answer questions around numbers, and salespeople that show they’re curious and not afraid to ask the relevant questions.
Negative sales outreach
Alec noted that he’s not thrilled about how generic a lot of sales outreach is, and that he’s quick to press “delete” on the boring stuff. He advises that salespeople personalise their outreach, as today’s buyer is looking to have a tailored experience. He also said:
- Don’t use boilerplate
- Have something useful to say right away
- Don’t be a recruiter
In this context, not being a recruiter means not sounding like you need the business of the person you’re reaching out to, and that you’re just trying to get your roles filled (a.k.a. hit your quota). Even if that is the case, take your time with the conversation and make sure that the person you’re talking to is actually a good fit. If they’re not, you might make a good enough impression to get pointed in the direction of someone else you could be talking to.
Things to stop doing in sales
Pet peeve of our guests? Salespeople that namedrop larger companies to give themselves and their organisations clout. Sure, it’s great if you work with Coca-Cola, but if you’re reaching out to a prospect that doesn’t work in that space, then you run the risk of annoying them with irrelevant information, or coming off as crass.
Instead, sell them the dream, grab and keep their attention, and get time booked for a deeper conversation.
Things to stop doing in marketing
Even though this conversation is mainly around sales, everyone knows that sales and marketing go hand in hand. Oftentimes, salespeople are delivering messaging to prospects that has been framed out by the marketing team initially.
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is forgetting who they’re talking to. No matter the industry, marketing is targeted towards human beings. That said, remember to be human and put people first. Don’t waste their time on the wrong things.
One of the ways you can take a human-first approach is selling solutions to problems, instead of harping on the features of your products and services. While relevant, this information doesn’t ground your company's offering in everyday business life.
If you’re unsure where your organisation stands on being human, ask yourself this: If people buy from people, why aren’t people in front of your brand?
“ [We] don’t need you to be following a script that someone who’s not in the room has set up for you.” -Alec Dobbie, FanFinders Ltd.
Want to know more? Catch the full talk below: