4 New Signals That Help Sales Development Reps Know When to Reach Out

January 14, 2015 Ilya Semin

A major misconception in sales is that it’s impossible to determine when a prospect wants to have an initial conversation about your product. Under this assumption, you simply have to keep emailing, calling and pestering your CXO until they respond — or if they don’t, toss this prospect into a “talk-to-you-never” automated marketing campaign. You know, the string of emails that read:

Dear Jim,

Pied Piper helps businesses like yours achieve better results in lead generation, customer acquisition and overall sales. Do you have some time next week to discuss our offering a bit further?

Sincerely,
Paul

To unsubscribe, click here.

RE: Unsubscribe please!

To get the most out of every email you send, I highly recommend paying closer attention to signals, or the little clues that help determine which prospects are warm to your offering before you reach out. The following are a few signals to look out for:

1. The End of a Contract

In sales, losing a deal to your competitor is incredibly painful, especially if you thought you had the upper hand when the decision was being made. Here’s the good news: a lot can happen over the course of a year or even six months. Knowing which prospects have contracts coming up for renewal with your competitor is huge.

Once you’ve identified a few prospects, it’s important that you send them a personalized message. Don’t just tell them you compete with their current vendor. Instead, try touching on your product’s key differentiators and always stay within the context of the problem they are trying to solve.

2. New Leadership

Every time a new CXO or VP joins a company, you know they’ve come in with a different game plan than their predecessor. Most of the time, this game plan requires new solutions, so make sure yours gets put on the ballot right away. A good way to keep tabs on changes in leadership is through LinkedIn. In his article, “How to Win Clients and Influence People,” Darren Marble explains how he created his own personal dashboard of “influencers on the move” by saving specific LinkedIn people with the new LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

In your case, start by saving 20 to 30 customer contacts that had considerable influence in the decision to purchase your product. Then, when they inevitably change jobs, you’ll be ready to introduce your product to their new company with their help.

3. Complementary Products

Being successful at sales requires that you understand your prospects even better than they understand themselves. This is especially true in the realm of SaaS — more and more services are heading toward the cloud, which means you may be offering a solution that your prospect doesn’t even know they need yet.

This is why it’s so important to understand your own solution and how it can be integrated with other, complementary products. If you have this down, you can make recommendations on how your product fits into something your prospect is already using like an e-commerce platform, CMS, email marketing or marketing automation solution. Technology has truly created the era of coopetition.

4. Start of a Free Trial

The hardest part about sales is knowing who is willing to buy and when. Luckily for smart sales reps, this has now become a science. With certain lead prospecting tools, sales reps can be sent an alert when a customer or prospect has started a free trial with another vendor.

Such alerts can be helpful for both landing new logos, as well as customer retention. If a customer of yours starts a free trial with a competitor, it’s time to give them some extra love and really fight for that relationship. If a prospect fires up a trial, it means they’re not happy with their current provider. This presents a good chance for you to come in and offer them more value.

Next Step: Weave signals into your outreach strategy

As a next step, I recommend spending a few minutes to understand how products are evaluated and purchased in your industry. Are products sold monthly or do customers have to sign an annual contract? Do buyers typically request free trials before purchasing? How long do these trials typically last? What types of solutions are complementary to yours? Does your product integrate with any other popular solutions?

Having definitive answers to these questions will ultimately help you choose which signals of intent matter most to your company. Once you’ve figured this out, it’s easy to implement these into your outreach routine and start finding the prospects that want to find you.

About the Author

Ilya Semin

Ilya is the founder and CEO of Datanyze. During the week, Ilya leads the management team in shaping the overall vision, culture and strategy of Datanyze. On weekends, Ilya puts on his developer hat and has been known to build game-changing new products by Monday morning.

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