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10
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August 26, 2019

Essential Sales Techniques to Generate Qualified Leads (SQLs)

The Invisible Team

The Invisible Team

Thought leadership on Process Automation, Business Process Outsourcing, and Operations-as-a-Service.
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You’ve heard the adage: “give, give, get.” It’s a rule of marketing and sales - you give before you get. But what makes a great give? A great give means you find an easy way to help your prospects reach their goals, demonstrating your expertise. But for truly enticing your prospects, this means strengthening all your activities that lead up to the actual sales pitch, demonstration, or purchase negotiation. 

Good sales techniques are more than just being able to flex your strengths and show off fancy features. The best selling techniques have a lot to do with understanding your target customers through proper prospecting, generating and focusing more time on qualified leads, and considering the sales process a cycle rather than a linear chain of events. This amounts to a lot of time and effort spent to the pre-sale preparation to ensure your actual sales methods are more effective.

Preparation - techniques for setting sales up for success:

Most salespeople are spending the majority of their time on building lists and prospecting potential customers. In many ways, this makes sense because in order to be most effective in selling, you need to be set up for success. 

Sales techniques that work include strategies for sales preparation, but it’s important that these activities are done in the most efficient way, so that salespeople can focus more on what they are really good at: the actual selling.

Lead generation

With the advent of modern marketing and sales technology, lead generation has become the go-to methodology for what you may know as “Inbound” strategy. While advertising, marketing, and sales of the past were about outgoing messaging, inbound is a way for professionals to lead prospects to a company’s website, content, and offers, in a much more effective way. 

Lead generation for sales

To generate leads for sales, you should look to create as many opportunities for prospects to engage with your company as possible. This way you can learn about them and their interests, and they can learn about what you may be able to do for them.

Great B2B lead generation is about giving site visitors and prospects a taste of what you have to offer, so that they may be enticed to actually buy. Your brand and content should be useful, credible, consistent, and aligned with your audience’s wants, needs, and values.

With lead generation for sales, you can be sure that the prospect has enough prior information and contact with your brand or products that you won’t ever catch them off guard. To do lead generation right:

  • Build an effective online sales funnel
  • Give prospects value in the form of knowledge or entertainment, or both
  • Present opportunities for leaving contact information ie. blog and newsletter signups, content downloads, information requests, meeting bookings, or demo requests.


sales funnel
An effective sales funnel takes into account all types of sales and marketing activities and how each builds on the previous one to result in a purchase. Source: Cience

Qualifying leads

Not at leads are created equal, and not all leads will convert to paying customers. That’s why in order to prioritize who you should talk to, you need to set up lead scoring and a way to qualify your leads.

In general, leads can be categorized as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) indicating in general where they are in their sales funnel or buyer’s journey. MQLs many need more information or time before they are ready to be sold to, and SQLs have a higher likelihood of becoming customers. To qualify leads correctly:

  • Identify qualifiers that determine likeliness to convert, such as job title (indicating purchasing power) or level of engagement (such as content downloads and email opens)
  • Don’t push a MQL to SQL status without a clear indication they may be ready for a sales call - you can risk scaring them away
  • Gather as much information as you can about your lead and their company

Targeting

To make your sales techniques the best they can be, the first thing you need to understand is that one-size-fits-all sales just simply don’t work anymore. Consumers today are expecting more personalized, one-on-one experiences. To get this right, you need to work on your targeting. 


sales techniques targeting
Targeting is a crucial element of pre-sales prospecting, but once you identify buyer personas, relevant channels, and qualifiers for targets, it’s a process that can easily be duplicated.


Developing your targeting in your pre-sale preparation can help you to better address specific problems, goals, or needs that each of your leads and prospects have. By garnering as much information as possible about your target audiences, be that contact preferences, career trajectory, or goals within their organization, you can better meet them on their level and immediately address how you will improve their lives.

Automation of Prospecting 

While lead generation is predominantly a manual activity (with follow-up lead nurturing being possible to automate) salespeople are spending a lot of their time on prospecting. This leaves less time to be able to do actual sales. 

But in modern sales organizations, digitizing process and automating as much of pre-sale activities as possible can create more opportunities. Automation of prospecting is one such way that you can be a better salesperson. To take back valuable time, automate prospecting by:

  • Identify the types of prospects that are most suitable for targeting based on industry, job, company size, location, channels, etc.
  • Create processes for prospecting that can be repeated easily
  • Delegate prospecting tasks out

Outbound sales

While inbound marketing and sales have become an industry norm, we can’t altogether discount traditional methods of sales, especially with the amount of data and information we have available to us. While before, we simply had lists of names and phone numbers or email addresses, now we can know more intimate details about prospects that can ensure outbound sales are more accurate and effective.

Cold calling

Cold calling is not obsolete, though it does take more preparation. In cold calling, as with all other types of sales, time is of the essence. 

Consumers don’t want to feel like a means to and ends, which is why your cold calling preparation should include understanding your prospect profiles individually. With this kind of preparation, you may end up having less time to call your contact list but cold calling is no longer a numbers game, it’s an accuracy and relevancy game. To prepare for cold calling done right:

  • Be prepared with as much information about your prospect as possible - be personalized
  • Don’t use your call as a discovery method - show value, don’t ask too many questions
  • Don’t only sell the product, sell a next step - a meeting or a demo booking

Cold emailing

Similar to cold calls, cold emailing is a strategy that can work when highly targeted and personalized. Bulk emails with newsletter style layouts or too many distractions can deter a prospect from feeling like they are important. 

In preparation for cold emailing, you want to consider addressing your prospect’s real challenges, and get to your point quickly. Make sure the purpose of the correspondence is clear, and have a very straightforward and easy to understand call-to-action. 

  • Have a short and captivating subject line
  • Keep text brief and to the point, but be clear on what value you provide
  • Make the point of the correspondence easy to understand, provide options for next steps 


Better targeting and prospect data makes cold calling and outbound emailing more accurate and precise.

The sale - allocation of time and resources 

Now that we understand how important pre-sale preparation is for the best selling techniques, we can take a look at actual sales. 

The biggest questions in organizations are typically: how much time and money should you be spending on sales, and how can you ensure you’re improving performance over time? In order to stay on top in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s not enough to just have positive ROI. You need to be maximizing your impact and allocating your time wisely.

Communication

Unfortunately salespeople of the past were not always thought of in the best light. Viewed as smooth talking hustlers, many people had an aversion to salespeople. But in modern times, salespeople are tasked with providing value, knowledge, and understanding, making communication skills for salespeople exceedingly important.

 

Correspondence

When continuing a correspondence with leads, establishing a rapport is crucial. This is why when getting closer to making a decision, sales should be one-to-one with your prospects. Continued interaction should be organized, personal, and timely to ensure that your leads are getting what they need, when they need it, to make the best decisions they can. Whether by phone or email effective sales correspondence should be:

  • Be timely and relevant because you only have so much time to win over a lead; don’t leave too much time, but also don’t bombard them with calls or emails. 
  • Emphasize personalization and familiarity. Plus, if you are corresponding with a lead, make sure another salesperson on your team isn’t trying to reach them at the same time, it looks unprofessional
  • Be as honest as you can, as transparency and credibility are values that consumers and businesses want to align themselves with

Sales enablement

Sales enablement is a crucial tool for modern sales, because it can allow salespeople to make the most of the time they have, and get the right resources at the right time. While it’s crucial that you know the ins and outs of your business and the products or services that you sell, sometimes you won’t always have the immediate answer to your lead’s questions when you’re in the middle of a sales discussion. You should be making the most of sales enablement:

  • Don’t use sales enablement as a crutch, but as a support to make you even better
  • Use sales enablement to have resources at the ready to assist your leads with their questions and concerns
  • Evaluate your sales enablement regularly to ensure that improvements are made, and issues aren’t falling through the cracks

Sales materials

With increasingly savvy and skeptical consumers, sales these days are just harder. You often have a lot more to prove, and must put your money where your mouth is. That’s why sales materials are often so important to your ability to close the deal. Before you pitch the close, you should be providing your leads with examples of what you can do for them.


sales materials
Use well-prepared sales materials to show what you can do.

If you have a great product or service, you shouldn’t need to work so hard to convince a prospect of that fact. Use well-prepared sales materials to show what you can do.

Case studies

If you have a great product or service, you shouldn’t need to work so hard to convince a prospect of that fact. Case studies are one of the most effective assets a company can leverage for new sales. That’s because testimonials and social proof are incredibly important to most consumers, especially in the B2B space. 

You should be prepared for sales with case studies at the ready for prospects who would like to see tangible results. In selecting the right customers to use for case studies, you should think about who can best show quantitative and qualitative reasons for recommending you. To make the most of case studies:

  • Choose examples that are closest to your lead’s own challenges and potential results
  • Make sure there is a clear indication of cause and effect, and what the outcome is
  • Choose customers for case studies who have enticing hard data, but also would recommend you based on positive working experiences

Sales presentations and demos

Sales presentations are often the bread and butter of B2B sales development representatives. But modern sales presentations are no longer about the pitch; they are about the story of your company, value driving, and transparency. It’s no longer acceptable to tell a prospect “don’t worry how this works, we take care of everything,” because most companies and consumers want to know the ins and outs of the businesses and products they use. To achieve this, your sales presentations need to be updated regularly. 

  • Focus on the pains and challenges your prospects have, so when you speak to them, they can immediately relate to what you are saying. T
  • Don’t just tell, but show them an idea of what they have to gain by becoming your customer. 
  • Be able to answer questions as they come up, and if you don’t have an answer, follow up as soon as possible

Pitching

Ah the pitch. Finally you’ve moved your leads from early targeted prospect to sales-ready. If you blow the pitch, your efforts may have been all for nothing. A good pitch has a clear ask, and an unambiguous offer presented. It may seem straightforward, but there is a way to finesse your pitching to be the most effective.

Value propositions

All salespeople know the famous line, “ABC, always be closing.” But these days, it’s more like “AGV, always give value.” With a sales pitch, you are clearly trying to close business, but your potential customer should still have value at the forefront of their mind. If you are really good at articulating value propositions, they may not even be concerned with price. 

  • Think like your prospect, and show them what they could miss by not becoming your customer
  • Acknowledge concerns, and dispute them respectfully
  • But don’t be forceful, also allow prospects to connect the dots and draw their own positive conclusions
sales value propositions
You have so much information at your fingertips about your potential customer. Use it to help formulate a personalized sales pitch.

Personalization

When it comes time to pitch, you’ve likely gotten to know your potential customer fairly well. You’ll know what content they’ve been interested in, what kind of company they work for, what their challenges are in their roles and their wider organization, and you should know how to speak to them in a way that resonates. Don’t forget everything as soon as it comes time to pitch.

  • Reinforce what you’ve already discussed and reaffirm previous conversations
  • Offer flexible or unique deals, packages, features, or services based on their unique needs when possible
  • Make yourself available to customers through their entire purchase

Prioritization of time

A note on the prioritization of sales development representative time:

You should be ensuring that you are optimizing your conversion rates and securing the most demos/meetings. This is where knowledge workers and skilled salespeople need to be spending most of their time. If you are spending 80% of your time on prospecting, and only 10% on actual sales (maybe another 10% on admin), it’s not really an effective use of your most valuable resource.

The best way to ensure that you are selling at your greatest capacity, is to automate as many of the repetitive processes leading up to sales as possible. As a sales development representative, you should be receiving leads and prospects ready to go towards the middle and end of their buyer’s journey, when they are in the consideration and decision stages. While awareness and discovery of brands and products is mostly autonomous these days, you shouldn’t need to devote an exorbitant amount of time at this level. 

After the sale - the circular sales cycle 

Once a sale is made, it doesn’t mean the job is done. Since you have the most insight to your newly signed customer, you need to still be considering what happens after the deal is done, and also about your sales performance as a whole. Not to mention, existing customers can present massive opportunities for resells, upsells, and referrals which can bring in much bigger numbers than new sales alone.


sales cycle performance
Keep track of your sales performance to help you better understand your prospects and improve your sales techniques over time.

Sales performance management 

Sales management is a newer concept that can be used in tandem with sales enablement. As we use more tools to understand the sales process and make sales more effective and efficient, we need to evaluate performance on more than just the number of deals won.

 

Data analysis

As with all things in business, sales performance can be tracked and measured. Fortunately, this allows SDRs to take a look at what works in their sales process and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly. You should:

  • Keep an eye on targets and segment into different lists based on different attributes or qualifiers. Track conversion rates and behaviors that can indicate buyer willingness
  • Locate where there is the largest dropoff of prospects out of the sales funnel
  • Use individual performance data to find opportunities for improvements in your sales techniques

Performance reviews

While in many organizations, performance reviews come only a few times a year, regular performance analysis in sales and frequent self-evaluation can create opportunities to increase results rapidly. When you can be reflective of your sales process, you can make changes in real time that will benefit your end customer, and your success rate. 

  • Identify opportunities for upskilling, knowledge development and coaching
  • Get feedback from customers after the sales process, if possible, to strengthen relationships
  • Use performance reviews to adapt the sales process, test new methods and techniques then hone in on what works best

Customer experience

Customer success and support has often been seen as an entity entirely separate of marketing and sales, but the truth is, great customer experience is one of your best sales tactics. Customers who feel supported and appreciated, tend to spend significantly more over their lifetime, generate loyalty and referrals, and can help to reduce overall acquisition costs. 

Up-sells and renewals

By providing great experiences to your prospects and customers from their very first interaction with you, you increase the likelihood for repeat business. If you can resell to existing customers, or get them to upgrade subscriptions or packages, you wind up spending far less effort than on new sales. To ensure you can close on up-sells and renewals, you can:

  • Show appreciation even before they become your paying customer
  • Use language that suggests potential future opportunities and benefits, such as early access to features or new products (but stay away from too many hard promises)
  • Keep track of wishes and desires in your CRM so that you can share them with product development or executives
Establishing great customer relationships, focusing on customer experience, and generating loyalty are some of the best sales techniques you could ever deploy.

Loyalty and referrals

Creating loyalty begins with establishing connections and commonalities. Most often, this can be in the form of values, interests, and objectives. Remember when we talked about personalizing value propositions? These kinds of customer-forward mindsets will always win you fans, and fans tend to share their excitement with everyone they know. To generate more loyalty and referrals:

  • Check in with customers after they’ve onboarded, let them know you haven’t forgotten and you care about their experience
  • If possible, provide referral incentives. If your customers can give you access to their network, you save valuable time on prospecting and targeting
  • Show appreciation in the form of further engagement, relevant content, 

In just about every organization on the planet, the people are the greatest assets. But often when it comes to making the most of sales, we aren’t always using our resources the best we can. As a sales representative, you should look to execute sales effectively, be finding ways to improve your sales skills, and discover the best tips and tricks to bolster your sales techniques. 

Too often sales representative’s time is spent on prospecting or behind-the-scenes administrative tasks that can be automated, process-developed, and delegated out. Finding the sales techniques that work also means finding the best ways to be making the most of SDR’s knowledge and skills, so they can focus on prospect and customer-facing tasks that lead to results.

With Invisible Technologies, you can automate your sales process and techniques by outsourcing repetitive menial tasks such as prospecting, lead generation and targeting. 

How to leverage Invisible's Lead Generation Outsourcing:

invisible lead generation dashboard

With Invisible Technologies, you can automate your processes and techniques by outsourcing repetitive menial tasks such as sales prospecting, lead generation and targeting. 

1. Establish a better prospecting workflow by working together with an experienced Invisible agent. Describe your sales prospecting parameters and targeting identities, and Invisible builds out a process that is unique to your needs. We use our technology to outsource this process to highly-skilled, low-cost professionals who are trained to carry out requests in the most affordable and efficient way possible.

2. Once the process is set up, requests made via email are automatically evaluated and pushed through our system and delegated to these skilled individuals, who execute the tasks.  Requests may look something like “please find X amount of leads by X date.” 

3. You can check the status of the tasks by accessing your Invisible Client Dashboard, where you can get an overview of what is currently underway, what has been completed, and how long each task took to complete.

4. The more you use Invisible, the more inefficiencies can be identified, and your process refined to achieve the best results. In just a short amount of time, you can have a fully functioning, automated system up and running, bringing you new prospects without having to spend more valuable time. This allows you to focus on more of the activities that align with your core business, and drive growth.

Learn more about how you can automate your sales operations, so you can focus on actual sales.

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