What should reps know before they make a sales call? What’s the current state of comprehensive sales guidance? Find out in this post.
In the next two posts, we’ll look at the second pillar of predictive selling: comprehensive guidance for the sales process. As reps prepare for calls, they need answers to five vital questions. With this information, they have a much better chance of success.
What Five Questions Can Make a Sales Call?
So what are these all-important questions? They are fairly simple:
- Who should you contact?
- When should you reach out to them — now or later?
- What product or service should you offer? What will appeal to this particular client?
- Why should you offer this product? What is the reason for this recommendation?
- How should you offer it? What is our next move?
Finding the answers to these questions requires comprehensive guidance because they collectively cover nearly every aspect of selling to customers. So what’s currently on offer for companies searching for sales guidance?
Comprehensive Guidance: What’s Available Now?
Most of today’s sales guidance solutions are only designed to do one or two things, like targeting who to contact (lead scoring) and figuring out what to offer (product recommendation). Companies usually have to cobble together their own “comprehensive” tool from several different products. However, an integrated sales guidance system combines the following features:
- Lead scoring answers who to contact and when
- Product recommendation engines answer what to offer
- Next best actions provide channel recommendations on how to reach out to clients.
You might say that comprehensive sales rests on combining lead scoring, product recommendations, and next best actions. And really, it makes sense: it’s the same data, being used by the same people for the same purpose.
The good news is that some products do offer this all-in-one functionality. To understand how each feature enriches the others, let’s examine how they work individually. We’ll start with lead scoring.
Using Lead Scoring to Find the Right Contacts
Lead scoring can virtually revolutionize your sales team. Instead of spending hours planning calls, chasing unproductive leads, and contacting clients before they are ready to buy, lead scoring prioritizes accounts based on which ones are most likely to act. It boosts the productivity of the sales team. And it eases the transition from marketing to sales, reducing alignment problems between the two departments.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? So what is lead scoring?
It’s a technique that assigns each contact a potential value. Of course, to make lead scoring work, you need to have access to high-quality data (as we discussed in the previous post). When your sales team gets a steady diet of good leads, they are going to be interacting with people who are ready to engage with your product or service.
Once you’ve learned who to contact, you can extend lead scoring to create an algorithm that lets you know when to make this contact. The algorithm that drives comprehensive guidance also takes into account customers’ activity data (date of last contact, time between previous contacts, and customer feedback from these conversations). This can be fine-tuned even further with business rules regarding the ideal contact frequency by lead score bucket, by conversion stage, and by the client’s preferred follow-up timeframe.
Much as we’d love to carry on, we’re going to save some of this tasty topic for later. Next week’s post will cover next best actions and product recommendations. Join us then!