Recently we read a post on the Introhive blog, “Why Relationships Trump Leads.” In it, the author (Patrick Ewers) makes an interesting point about control. Namely, that salespeople actually have a lot of control over how they approach leads.
In the Sales 2.0 world, where it’s common to talk about how much of the sales cycle is already completed by the buyer online before talking with a rep, it’s refreshing to see a focus on the potential for sales reps to influence leads and turn them into prospects. As Ewers says in his blog post, people still buy from people (specifically, people they trust):
This means that, if we are able to get people to experience a deeper level of trust in us, we should be able to dramatically improve chances of winning business – no matter how competitive the deal is. Trust, for example, comes from successfully building a meaningful and relevant relationship. Therefore, if you and your sales team invest in developing a skillset that will allow you to build these types of relationships in rapid ways, the result will be significantly increased conversion ratios.
In other words, salespeople who know how to create relationships with leads will be able to exert greater control over the sales cycle.
As he also points out, many salespeople are competing in commoditized industries where there is little to truly differentiate products to the point of influencing buying decisions. In those cases, it’s all about who gets to the lead first, who can successfully create trust, and who can sustain that trust as the relationship progresses.
In the race to get there first, we see that many sales teams are still stumbling. Maybe that takes the form of self-serving email blasts to the wrong people, or different reps unwittingly reaching out to duplicate leads. Finding the right person to connect with is a vital first step to establishing trust. One very basic approach is simply to choose a channel (email, social media, or phone call) and simply ask the lead who the right person to talk to is (this blog post has some great tips if you go the email route, “Cold Emailing: How to Get Meetings with Anyone“).
A Sales 2.0 approach, however, is to use a solution that helps you identify people in your organization internally who have connections to the people you’re trying to reach. Even if you end up sending an email along the lines of, “Who can I speak to about how we can serve your needs in this area?,” your message will gain some added clout if you’re able to drop the name of someone else in your company who has an established relationship with the contact.
Introhive will be at the Boston Sales 2.0 Conference on July 15 to discuss this theme in more detail in its breakout session, “Beyond Social: Why Traditional Relationships Matter.” Rob Begg, Vice President, Marketing at Introhive and Mark Bergen, Executive Vice President of Sales at Vision Critical, will talk about how sales can unlock relationships in social, business, and corporate networks. Their presentation is timely, considering that Introhive recently introduced its relationship platform to the AppExchange on Salesforce. Learn more in the video below.
Join us and other B2B sales and marketing leaders in Boston on July 15 at the Sales 2.0 Conference! Spots are available but going fast.