Filling your sales pipeline is, arguably, one of the most crucial parts of the sales process. It doesn’t matter how great your sales team is, without those high quality opportunities, your business will never achieve its full potential. So just how do you fill that pipeline with consistent, quality prospects – the ones likely to lead to higher order values and speedier decisions?
How do you transform an endless list of names and numbers into a goldmine of qualified prospects all keen to engage with you? What can you give them that they are not getting from any other sales outreach? What are the most common mistakes people make? This is a brief insight into Flume’s 5 Steps, a simple yet powerful sales process for developing those all-important opportunities.
Why prospects don’t engage with you
The stats here are scary but true. Buyer behaviour is constantly evolving, making it more and more difficult to even get that essential first conversation.
- On average, it takes 8 approaches before a prospect will engage
- Unfortunately, most sales people give up after just 2
- 85% of customers dislike cold calls
- Only 24% of sales emails are ever opened
- The average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day
How can you set your pitch apart?
To get yourself in front of the buyer, your sales pitch needs to stand out from the crowd right from the start. Sometimes you may just be lucky and they will answer your call that day. Most of the time, however, it is down to hard work, having the tools to succeed, and getting inside the buyer’s head.
- Cut through the noise
- Be creative – don’t do what everyone else is doing
- Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes – think like a buyer, not a sales rep
- Show how you can add real value
- Show what’s in it for them personally
- Be professionally persistent
Mistakes to avoid
Mistake #1 : Treating your prospect like a number
If you are trying to sell to this prospect, so is everyone else. Buyers are cynical, suspicious and tired of sales calls. They can recognise a half-hearted, winging-it approach a mile off and their default position is “No”! You need to show that they are more than just a number. You have chosen them for a reason.
Mistake #2 : Focusing on selling your product or service
They are not buying your product, they are buying the outcome.
Mistake #3 : Giving up too easily
Remember, 8 approaches. And that’s just an average.
Flume’s 5 Steps to Fuelling your Pipeline
These 5 Steps are the powerhouse at the heart of our sales training programmes. They give you the tools you need to cut through the noise, be heard and take control of the sales process.
Step #1 : Personalise your outreach
Most people treat sales as a numbers game. Throw enough stuff out there and hope some of it sticks. But your prospect is not a number. Each one is a person, an individual who cares deeply about themself. Someone is 3 times more likely to buy from you if you can make them see the benefit to them of engaging with you. So you need to show that you understand their challenges, what their business is going through, and that you can provide the solution. Take the time to get to know them before you call. Deep dive into their business and sector, follow on LinkedIn. Be prepared and, above all, make them feel chosen.
Step #2 : Qualify out rather than in
Every salesperson should have a pipeline full of opportunities – but how many of those are high quality prospects ready and able to buy? Someone may be interested in your product or service but still locked into a contract. They may not have the budget right now. These prospects cannot buy from you now and need to be moved to the back burner, otherwise your pipeline shows an inaccurate picture. It is as important to qualify prospects out of your pipeline as it is to qualify them in. So, ask the right questions, delve into budget availability, level of priority, the outcomes they need and the implications of inaction on their part. Listen for readiness to buy and to make the decision – and qualify out anyone unable to proceed. They can always be revisited at a later date.
Step #3 : Get your messaging right
Think of all those messages you delete every day. Your prospect is no different. For your messages to stand head and shoulders above the rest, they need to answer the 4 fundamental questions every buyer will have. So, put yourself in their shoes and explain
- Why have you chosen me specifically?
- How credible are you and do I trust you?
- What can you help me achieve / What value will I get from this conversation?
- What do I need to do next?
Be imaginative in your approach. Say that you can share vital industry insights, add a video or a case study to show positive outcomes achieved by similar clients. Grab their attention and up your credibility.
Step #4 : Embrace sequencing
As we keep saying, it takes an average of 8 approaches for a prospect to engage with you. Don’t bore or annoy them with phone calls day after day. Vary your approach, content and timing. Be more creative by bringing in things like video messaging, voice notes, LinkedIn. Try sharing content you think will interest them and explain why. Sequencing is about piquing their interest and creating momentum. It doesn’t happen by accident. Above all, plan, plan, plan!
Step #5 : Take control of the conversation
So you have succeeded in securing a conversation. What now? Too many salespeople think they should be passive and deferential, letting the prospect lead the conversation. Why? You have engineered this meeting and are taking up their valuable time. What the customer wants is an efficient meeting. They are looking for you to be in the driving seat and tell them what they don’t know.
- Set expectations. Explain and agree how the conversation will run and what you would like to cover.
- Explore and identify their desired outcomes, their challenges and any gaps. What happens if they stick with the status quo? What are the implications to them personally if they do nothing?
- Solve the problem. Focus on one key challenge and deliver a powerful, customer-focused pitch. Share a key feature and show the outcomes they can expect when choosing you. Share relevant case studies.
- Listen and look for readiness to buy.
Create a seamless sales process with Flume
At Flume, we deliver a powerful mix of live action coaching and on-demand content to give sales teams the tools, practice and motivation to sell at the highest level in 2023 – from fuelling the pipeline to continued customer care and account growth.