Negotiation is one of the most difficult, and in my opinion, poorly understood aspects of the sales process. If there's at least one thing I've learned about leading sales reps, epecially less experiences ones, they do not know how to negotiate effectively. Even if they run a flawless sales process, they give up loads of value after having created so much in everything they did prior. While the customer ultimately gets the better end of this deal, it's not effective for building a business over the long term. Heavy discounting erodes margin and eliminates a business's ability to invest back into their own people, which in turn, limits the quality of the total customer experience.
I have no idea where prospects and buyers got the idea in their head that the sales rep they're working with is "priviliged" to be able to be speaking with them, but I've seen it happen way too many times over the past four years.
At the end of my second week in training at HubSpot we started to get a good deal of free time. I remember a Tuesday or Wednesday I had more free time than normal and I asked my manager, Dannie, what I should be doing. She recommended I read a lot of our customer case studies, listen to recorded calls, read the sales scripts, and watch training videos on our sales process.
If you've read the previous two posts on Inbound Selling, you know that we're prepared to actually start picking up the phone, drafting emails, and engaging on social media. But how? What should you say? How many times should you attempt to connect with someone?
Before we get into the details of exactly what to say, I want to lay out some principles for:
1. How many times should you call/ email/ connect socially with a prospect?, and
2. When should you actually be making these attempts to connect with your ideal buyers?
I was just talking with my manager -- our Sr. Director at HubSpot -- about an age old challenge that anyone practicing inside sales or inbound selling faces. The CONNECT call. Many new reps struggle to build a healthy pipeline because they cannot even get someone to answer the phone for the first time, or agree to take a call with them.
As I mentioned in my last post in this series this is the sales series, this is not necessarily the sales process that is going to work for every company; however, it is the one that I was taught, followed, and executed successfully for the past four years.
Now that we have an understanding on the context around why sales professionals need to change -- namely, that 60% of the buying process is done without them (but not necessarily BEFORE talking to a sales rep) -- I'll dig into what the first stage of the Inbound Sales Process looks like. This is referred to as the "IDENTIFY" (RESEARCH) stage in the four-stage process.
Ideally, research should be preceded by a complete understanding of your company’s Buyer Personas. If you’re not familiar with a buyer persona, this is a stereotype -- in the best sense of the word -- of what your ideal buyer or customer looks like.
Before I came to work at HubSpot I had the chance to observe a good number of sales processes. And there were a few things that really stood out to me. I realize this is going to sound incredibly obvious, but I am absolutely convinced that the majority of organizations still sell this way.
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