EP Huddle #30
Selling to larger organizations requires a sales effort into as many levels of the company as possible. One of the best approaches is to follow the top-down, bottom-up approach. Here's how it works.
Top-down: Call into the highest levels of the organization. Call CEOs, Superintendents, Presidents, Owners, Founders, etc. These people have the ultimate authority and can easily make decisions to look at your product if you catch their attention. But, they're also very busy and often times aren't involved in the beginning portion of the procurement process. So, they might not be overly interested in taking a prospecting call. But, that's why it's so important to contact them. They know how to delegate and will delegate your call to someone else. Use this information and ask for referrals. Who do they recommend you speak with? Who handles these decisions? If you can get referrals to other departments, it's almost a certainty your call will be answered when you reference being referred by the owner. And, don't forget to also partner with the gatekeepers at the top. They know how the organization works and they can also influence your success.
Bottom-up: Selling at the bottom is equally important. Call into the lower levels of the company, as the decision to use your product or service will ultimately fall on them to implement. You need to work hard to get their buy-in, and you need their advocacy to work itself up the chain. If you can get enough interest at the bottom, you're very likely to have the word spread until you're able to meet with the person who holds the purse strings.
As a team:
Who are your top and bottom level prospects? How can you effectively work with both at the same time to make sure your message is infiltrating the organization properly? Make a list of the top 3 decision makers at the top and bottom of the organization and create a list of questions/comments to get referrals, build awareness and generate buzz.
EP Huddle #29
Many experts agree that it takes on average 7 outbound touches to reach a decision maker and qualify an opportunity. But, all too often we don't hit this mark and only call or email a prospect a few times.
Here's a quick example of why it's important to maintain a consistent outbound effort.
At Engaged Prospect, we have a variety of outbound efforts to reach our prospects. One of these examples is a 5 email campaign that delivers various content to try and engage the prospect at the right time. If the prospect doesn't open our first email, then we will deliver this email up to two more times (same content, different subject line and different time/day). We really want them to receive the first piece of content.
Over the past few weeks, several leads have been generated and EP Huddle sign-ups have occured from email #3 in that flow. That means the person didn't open email 1 or 2, but then saw immediate value the first time they opened email 3. So much value that they signed up to learn more.
As a team:
How many times does your marketing staff try to reach a prospect before giving up? How about your sales team? There are many more sophisticated strategies out there (contact us for more information), but one of the most important is simply the number of times you're willing to try and engage someone. Look at your data and see what # attempt your sales reps have the best success reaching a prospect. It's probably not the first time.
EP Huddle #28
Selling a complex service or product typically requires conversations with various levels of decision makers. In most sophisticated organizations, sales reps must engage people who control the money, end users who will ultimately implement a solution, and various other people such as IT professionals who will oversee the technology integrations.
Because there are so many layers of people who will have an influence in a decision, it's important to understand what makes each individual tick.
For instance, in an education sale, here are a few key decision makers and some of the things they're interested in:
Top district administration: These folks are interested in data and lots of it. They want to know what that what they're buying will improve student scores. And, they want to make sure the solution is within their key strategic goals for the next several years.
School administration: School level administrators want to know the same things as the district leaders. But, they also want to make sure the implementation won't negatively affect their teachers or on-ground technical team. Is it easy to implement? How will we train our staff to use this new product?
Department leaders: These folks are all about the product, the pedagogy behind the product, and specifically how the instructional tools will impact students while using proven methods of teaching.
IT/Technology: Anyone who helps the technical integration will need to know exactly how this solution will impact their bandwidth, systems and helpdesk. They need to see spec sheets and know how to work within a new product to make sure it's always working. Oh, and students (and teachers) typically don't have control over the machines. So, the tech team will need an implementation plan to quickly install and manage the program.
Teachers: Teachers are a catch-all of the above information, and they'll also require the "how does this affect me" information. They are the end-user, and therefore will need to be sold on the reasons why they should change what they're currently doing (or have done for years). Teachers, like all other end-users will really need to have buy-in or else you'll see the implementation fail, and as a result, any chance for a renewal sale in the future.
As a team:
Who are the key decision makers in your industry? How do you communicate with each group during the sales and on-boarding process? Do you involve them up-front? If not, consider it. If you do, how do you align your messaging to properly fit within the key information they're looking at to make a decision?
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