Anyone who knows me also knows that I am NOT a fan of cold calling. Perhaps it had its place in sales history, but I wonder. Was it ever truly successful? No one likes the process really. Not the sales people being told by management to do it, or the unsuspecting prospects who are receiving the call. Frankly, I just don’t get why there is still such a large contingent of sales people out there who insist that cold calling is a viable sales approach. So, all I can figure is that they must be selling a product or service that is largely transactional in nature not requiring a lot of buy-in from senior management.
Calling High in the Organization
In enterprise level selling, which requires you to gain access to the relevant senior executive(s) in the organization, cold calling isn’t a smart strategy. Why? The traditional approach is to use a canned product/feature script that you rattle off to everyone you call. Executives aren’t interested. And, invariably you are coming to the party way too late anyway. Do you even know when the senior level executives get involved in the buying process?
Even if you can get the right executive on the phone at the right time in the process, is your call addressing their needs or yours? I think that most of us can agree that typically sales people are focused on their own agenda – getting that appointment or sale. The reality is that executives don’t buy features and benefits. It isn’t that those things aren’t important, but a senior executive wants to know how what you sell solves their business problems on a much bigger scale. In order to know what problems they are facing, sales people need to do their homework. That’s where social media fits in.
“Executives are increasingly using the Internet to inform their views, but they do not type in the category because early in the process, they’re not educated enough to know where a solution will come from. Instead, they search based on the problem confronting them.” –Selling to the C-Suite.
For the naysayers who believe that social media doesn’t have a place it the world of B2B selling, take note of this quote. Executives ARE using social media to source information about products and services that can solve their problem. Moreover, using tools like LinkedIn can give you incredible leverage during the sales process. Gain competitive advantage by better targeting and qualification, as well as planning for that all important conversation when you connect with the senior executive you have in mind.
To get to the C-Suite, planning and research are key. Have you done yours?