Post Covid: How to fill your B2B pipeline with customers who do want to speak to you?

The idea of seeking out new clients in our post Covid world could feel as impossible as being given a wetsuit and told you need to swim the channel before lunch.

Yet, as daunting as this task is, you haven’t forgotten you’re a salesperson – and while maximising existing relationships is the obvious approach right now, you still have a growth target. You also know that without acquiring new clients your own business won’t grow, and a business that doesn’t grow, will soon become a business in trouble.

But it’s just so tough right now.

  • You’re contacting buyers, but engagement is low
  • You’re still prioritising new leads, but they’re not prioritising you
  • You’re still sure that your solution is right for your buyer’s business, but your buyer doesn’t seem convinced

Understandably, this situation isn’t just frustrating, it’s de-motivating too. The problem is that many salespeople in this position will make a fundamental mistake. They will put thought and effort into their own needs and base their actions around these:

  • I need to hit target – I’m going to contact more clients and push harder
  • I need to persuade my buyer that I have the right solution – I’m going to give them more additional information
  • I need to convince my buyer that what I have is right for their business – I’m going to share success stories of my satisfied clients

Why this is not the best action plan, especially right now

Your buyers are busier than ever, they’re shying away from risk, worried about their reputation and job security. On top of that they have complex pressures that they’ve never faced before, meaning they’re probably pretty frazzled and extra sensitive to self-centred salespeople. Before engaging with a salesperson, buyers are asking themselves two questions:

  • ‘What is the risk involved in choosing this supplier’
  • ‘Is this salesperson really offering me something different that will help me

This risk assessment is helping them identify what they stand to gain from working with you. After all, they’re focused on themselves and their own needs.

What mistakes do most salespeople make?

Mistake #1

The first mistake salespeople make is to put far too little effort into who they contact and why. How do you choose who is the right client for your solution right now? Your call list or key account spreadsheet? What else helps you to identify the right client at the right time?

Mistake #2

The next mistake is linked to the first; if salespeople don’t have a clear reason and belief in why they are contacting a buyer, then chances are any attempt at a connection will feel just like every other one they receive, from every other salesperson.

Mistake #3

The only way your buyer can off-set the enormous risk involved in buying from you is if they can see the personal value to them. They care about their job and their own results, so when salespeople talk about how their solution can help the buyer’s business, this doesn’t help. Your risk averse, self-focused buyer needs to know what’s in it for them.

53% of the reason clients buy is because of the sales experience*

Time to step into your client’s shoes

Covid has resulted in buyers being even less forgiving of the experience you give them. Studies** have shown that your client is two times more likely to buy from you if they can see the value to them personally. Buyers have to be personally and emotionally bought in. Otherwise they won’t have the confidence and drive to influence change in their organisation. The bar has been raised; you can’t afford to get it wrong.

Steps to increase the likelihood of your buyer considering you and your solution.

Create a buyer persona

**71% of the most successful companies have a buyer persona.

If you’re company doesn’t, don’t worry. This is something that you already have the insight to create yourself. If you sell into buyers that have very different job role responsibilities, you can further tailor your persona around these.

Identify the right client to connect with

Think about previous clients and the start of their buying journey:

  • What was their situation?
  • What did you know, do, or say, that helped them to see the value of your solution to them?

Develop a strategy for how you connect

Whether you make a first connection through LinkedIn, email, or a phone call, what you choose to say needs to be personally relevant to the buyer. Your connection must also offer some immediate value to your buyer.

  • What challenges are other clients in the same job role and similar business facing?
  • How has your solution given them the results they need?

Yes, it’s got tougher to find new leads. Yes, buyers will be more critical of your intentions and approach. However, taking the time to step into your buyer’s shoes and understand who you should be approaching and why, put’s you in the best possible position to start filling your pipeline again.

***During the past 4 recessions 14% of companies were able to accelerate growth and increase profitability.

Training to fill your sales pipeline: On 22nd October 2020, we are running a course on how to fill your pipeline with the right kind of opportunities. Find out more our training to fill your sales pipeline here.

*Gartner
** RAIN Group
***HBR

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