I understand that not everyone holds a deep love for science. Don't fret - if a scientific competency spectrum existed, mastering smart business development would fall on the "rocks for jocks" end, far, far away from the theoretical physics cusp. Achieving success is simply knowing all the components within your strategy, learning the best methods for implementing those elements, and then following that process repeatedly.
If your B2B business development strategy is the dictionary definition of perfection and success, then look here for something you know nothing about, most awesome Lord of the Sales Realm. If there’s room for improvement in how your company targets new business, the following tips address various issues within any sales process. Complete and utter failure sum up lead generation at your company? You likely need more than this guide, but it’s a good place to start!
Do create a fully developed buyer persona so you know what your ideal customer looks like. Best way to do this? Interview your existing customers.
Don’t slack on the research and work you put into creating the profile of your ideal customer. Don’t make assumptions about who they are and why they’re buying.
Go with your gut. Don't do prep work before calling. Just target companies based on money…What the hell are you thinking?
- Do create a calling list from a variety of resources – marketing leads, referrals, and a well-researched cold list
Don’t rely heavily on one source for contacts. Linkedin is a great resource, but you should rely on that exclusively. If you’re buying a list, don’t skimp – you get what you pay for.
Absolutely do not get out your Better Business Bureau directory and have at it!
- Do devote a set amount of time each week to calls. Make sure you’re tracking everything in a CRM.
Don’t let the number of attempts be uncalculated and random. Create a system for total amount and frequency of your calls.
Absolutely do not give up on a prospect after a few attempts because you assume they have no interest.
Do brainstorm all possible kinds of rejections in advance and create intelligent and well thought out responses to all of them. If the prospect still won’t budge at the end of the conversation, you should feel confident you earned that “no”.
Don’t do most of the talking. Your conversation guide should consist primarily of questions and then follow up questions. You can’t discover a prospect’s pain if you’re the one doing all the talking, Chatty Kathy.
Absolutely do not treat your guide as a script that you read verbatim and from which you never stray.
Do create at least 10-12 unique and interesting voice mail scripts before your first phone call.
Don’t give a full blown sales pitch in your voice mails. Don’t promise or imply that your service/product will surely benefit them – you don’t know that until you actually speak to the person.
Absolutely do not simply leave just your name, number, and company and ask for a call back. Especially don't do this repeatedly.
Do send a few emails in conjunction with voice mails as an additional avenue for contact and call scheduling.
Don’t overload introductory emails with too much information. Channel your inner Hemingway – use the bare minimum of words to get your point across.
Absolutely do not bombard them with numerous emails before you ever speak to the prospect.
- Do keep your conversations, emails, and voice mails consistent with your company's brand identity. Outbound prospecting is just one more way to get your marketing message out there.
- Don't be afraid to throw some spice in your style. Be funny, be weird, be interesting - the important thing is to be memorable. Nobody returns a call from the boring guy.
- Absolutely do not launch into your spiel before you've even asked them if they have time for a quick chat. Aggression is not the same as persistence.
- Do make it a point to consistently follow up with all leads, not just the ones who’ve said they’ll likely buy in X amount of time. A company that seemed like a futile prospect six or even three months ago can easily shift priorities and become a prime target.
- Don't wait too long before you check in with a lead. If they told you to follow up in a year, a few cultivating emails between now and then will keep your company on the tip of their brain.
- Absolutely do not just leave one voice mail and/or email when it’s time to follow up and then move on. Don't assume they must not be ready for a meeting because they didn't call back. Persistence is always the best route.
Setting a Meeting
- Do be very specific when setting an appointment. Get an exact date and time on the phone and confirm it over email as well. Deciding details at a later time is just more time for that lead to change their yes to a no.
- Don't be afraid to say no to a prospect that’s not quite a fit, even if they seem interested. Don’t throw your qualification criteria out the window just because the warm fuzzies of a “yes” are dangling in front of you.
- Absolutely do not focus on the quantity of appointments over quality. The quickest way to get your account executives to hate and ignore you is by sending them to time-wasting meetings with poorly qualified leads.