Sales acceleration… it’s the new buzzword. It’s all about shortening the sales cycle and closing more and bigger deals.
When people talk about sales acceleration, they tend to think of technology—sales automation and the ability to manage and visualize data. But according to an article by Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com, this up-to-the-minute technology is adding muscle to one conventional marketing tool that’s proven to be indispensable in shortening sales cycles.
What is this amazing tool? Drum roll, please… it’s a phone.
What’s in the Data?
In fact, the data is so compelling that the shift to doing sales remotely, either through an internal inside sales department or a B2B telesales company, is virtually inevitable. And it’s happening. Research from InsideSales.com shows that “inside sales teams close deals in 69 days on average, compared with 144 days on average for outside sales.”
Inside sales programs cut the sales cycle by 52%!
No wonder companies are moving their sales efforts to the phone. An article on Harvard, Business Review, ‘The Trend that is Changing Sales,’ asserts that “46% percent of study participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model, while 21% reported a shift from inside sales to a field sales model. More than twice as many study participants reported moving to an inside sales model.”
3 Ways to Use the Phone to Accelerate Sales
Here are a few ways your company can jump on the bandwagon and use the phone to accelerate your sales.
1. Get In Up Front
If you were running in a race, would you wait until it was halfway done to get started? Probably not. However, this is how many sales people treat the sales process. They don’t get involved until the prospect is well into the decision-making process.
Since field sales people have an aversion to working with prospects who are not sure what they want yet, business development specialists should contact prospects by phone early in the sales cycle. They can assist business leaders in developing their project’s scope.
In this way, the prospect can create their project requirements faster, and you’re able to steer their specifications so they are in line with the solutions that you offer.
2. Stay Top of Mind
You need to nurture relationships and stay top of mind. Many companies try to do this with email marketing. And while email has become very sophisticated, it is still difficult to truly personalize this form of communication.
Therefore, tele-nurturing should be added into the mix. Incorporate phone calls after prospects have taken certain actions, such as downloading a white paper. Or, schedule these calls at set intervals. The beauty of this process is that it allows a two-way communication. Because you are able to understand better where the prospect is in the buying cycle and the issues that they are facing, you can customize messaging accordingly.
Since B2B sales cycles are long and field salespeople don’t have time to nurture opportunities, it’s worth incorporating email and tele-nurturing even after a lead has been qualified and sent to sales. Some call this “pipeline acceleration.” You’ll be able to keep track of prospects, and know when they are ready to talk with the field sales person again and sign on the dotted line.
3. Don’t Give Up
We all want quick results, so it’s human nature to give up after one or two call attempts. However, metrics show that it can take as many as seven or eight calls to connect with the prospect. So, be persistent.
While the phone should be a core component of your communication strategy, one tactic is not enough. You need multiple ways to communicate and multiple touches for a program that generates sales results.