The SaaS business can be summarized in a word: Cutthroat.
You already know this.
Technology moves faster than you can say "growth hacking." There are few if any barriers to new competitors entering the market. Every lead generated is an opportunity to sell - or lose market share.
You know that too.
As you move into more and more competitive times, how you handle sales calls before the call is made becomes more important. There's another reason for it, too.
Your prospects get pitched all day long. Everyone is trying to carve out a piece of their budget, just like you. So whenever you get 'em on the phone, you'd better make it good.
Making it good means customizing the call to what they need. I recently had a sales pitch from a large, sophisticated company and their pitch was terrible. They didn't speak to my specific needs, and emphasized aspects of the product that were of no use to me.
All they had to do was refer to the intelligence that was already available to them. I know they collected it - it's core to their product. They just made poor use of the information.
Don't let your next sales call go like this.
Take these five simple steps before your next sales call and go in with the info that'll help you close more deals.
Review Your CRM And All Info Your Marketing Team Can Provide
This is a no-brainer, of course, but it's worth mentioning because it's so critical. Review your CRM for all the basic (and more advanced) info your team has already collected on your prospect. At a minimum, this includes:
- Origin of the lead
- Their onsite behavior and conversion history
- Marketing emails they've opened and clicked (including nurturing sequences)
- Size of company (employees and revenue)
- Funding history (from Crunchbase)
- Recent hires and/or job postings
- Qualification info (i.e. BANT or similar)
- Number of web visits and traffic sources
The technology you have in place will play a large role in collecting and organizing this data. You should also have customer personas in place that are backed by some killer customer research.
If you don't have it all - don't sweat it - but you can do an awful lot with free and inexpensive tools.
Collect Information About The Current Technologies Your Prospect Is Using
You're selling software, and software is an investment. Answer this question:
What other technologies can I detect on a prospect's site to help qualify them for my product?
By using an intelligence platform to better qualify your prospects, you'll have a leg up before you ever pick up the phone. Useful information about technologies may include:
- Competitors' applications
- Recently installed software
- Approximate dollar value of installed software
- Software used by the same functional team (i.e. sales, marketing, HR, etc.)
- Software used on their competitors' sites
Once you have this info, you'll have a better understanding of how much selling you need to do. Then you can fit your offer to your prospects needs.
Connect Charlie App To Have Intel Automatically Sent To You
Charlie is a little devil.
Connect this clever little app and for just $5/mo you'll get social info about your prospects automatically emailed to you an hour before your call. It checks your calendar for other invitees to your meetings, then produces a report on them (and you), emails you the info, and even appends it to the calendar invite for your invitee to see.
I've had plenty of compliments on this from my prospects - it's that good.
Check Your Social Graph To See If You're Connected
There are two places you should visit to pick up personal connections you may have in common: LinkedIn and Facebook. You might already do this. And if you have Charlie connected, it'll show you any mutual connections.
Don't stop at just mutual connections though.
You can also learn about their hobbies, alma mater, past companies, and groups to get a better sense of your prospect as a person. Keep in mind you do business with people, not names in a database. So treat 'em well and learn about them!
Prep Them With A Pre-Call Email To Set Expectations
The moment you break expectations, you've lost trust. When you've lost trust, you've lost the sale.
Don't lose trust.
One of the best ways to build trust is to set expectations and then be consistent with those expectations.
So send a pre-call email to set expectations out of respect for your prospect. I recommend sending this email about 24 hours ahead of the call. A few things you should include:
- What you plan to cover
- Any prep they should do
- Give them a chance to ask you questions
- Your mutual goal for the call
- Possible next steps
When your prospect receives this email, they'll think more about your upcoming call. And they'll start to get the sense that you're running a world-class operation - because you are.
Making The Call
Now that you're totally prepared for the call - get to it! Your pre-sales ritual should only take about 5 minutes once you have the proper systems in place. And you'll start to notice something amazing: you know more going in so the conversation can quickly become more advanced.
So get on the phone and make that call - your next sale is waiting.
About the Author
Liston Witherill is Chief Builder at Good Funnel, a marketing agency for people. He writes about marketing, sales, and consulting at Good Funnel.Follow on Twitter More Content by Liston Witherill