Prospecting is one of the key activities of the B2B Sales professional. Accept or not, in most businesses, prospecting is undergoing major change with the penetration of internet and social media.
Any B2B sales person, who has been in the industry will realize the way Buyers are slowing taking control of the sales process and traditional methods of cold calling, sending cold e-mails are no more yielding the desired the results?
The penetration of internet has changed the game. Today, buyers are at much more advantageous than what they used to be earlier.
When I mean advantageous, it is to do with the choice the buyers have with respect to competitors, access to information about products or service. And buyers are using these advantages to do a lot more pre-work before they engage in sales. In a nutshell, most buyers are not in a hurry to meet sales people.
These market dynamics are changing the overall buying process. Most buyers prefer to work on their own time and at own pace. They cannot be pushed for sales. This is the reason cold calling success rate is going so low and is becoming extremely hard!
And businesses are becoming more complex and if your buyers are large businesses, there is no single point of decision making. It involves
Also, generally the first point of contact which is procurement managers, today know about competition and are trained to analyze various vendors for their offerings.
All in all, the internet has really given the buyers much more of contro in the way they make the purchases and work with vendors and suppliers.
Now not all is lost for sales professionals. The
Only thing is sales professionals need to come out of their traditional prospecting mindset to take advantage of and adapt to the new buying process of B2B buyers. Instead of earlier transaction based selling, the sales professionals must learn to provide value to buyers at each stage.
This requires as first understanding the
3 challenges B2B buyers are facing in today’s world
1. First and foremost is, sales people must understand that, though buyers have lots more information and access to competitors, not all buyers are good at deciding whom to choose. With more information, many buyers need help in decisions. This is a role smart sales professionals can fill in helping buyers make
2. Secondly, to avoid being overwhelmed with choices, buyers are increasingly going with strong references and seek authority. And to save time from shortlisting the vendors with long process, many buyers prefer to work with a small set of suppliers. Sales professionals must learn to build authority to get noticed.
3. Finally, many Buyer’s don’t have the necessary skills to judge who is the genuine,
What is the #1 mistake to be avoided
When it comes outbound prospecting with cold audience, the big challenge is to get your prospect interested in you, your solution. To do this, the key influencing factor is you have to be seen as an expert or authority.
If you are seen as authority or expert then client trusts you and willing to do business with you. This is similar to how Doctors are trusted because of their expertise & authority.
To demonstrate your expertise, authority LinkedIn helps a lot. You can build an optimized profile that demonstrates authority and build instant trust.
Most of the profiles are not optimized for creating trust, authority among their prospects.
To get noticed by ideal prospects, your profile on LinkedIn must tell precisely,
1. Who are you?
2. Who is your prospect?
3. What problem of the prospect do you solve?
4. What unique results/differentiation you provide to prospect over others?
What I see most professionals, entrepreneurs are limited to just talking about their: Name | Position | Company | Experience
Now you may wonder, I can’t answer those in profiles. Isn’t it the prospect’s job to figure out by reading my job description!
Sadly, that doesn’t happen in the real world. Most business leaders who are your prospects, are not going to dig through everything you have written in your profile and come to some conclusion!
For prospects who don’t know you, they need to be told with clarity who you are and how you can help them solve their problem uniquely! They would be seeking specific advice and answers based on their specific situation.
For those who want to expand their network, connect with prospects, this fails on Rule 1, which is, it fails to get noticed and generate interest in you, your service.
Prospects are not interested in you and asking what is in it for me?
You must tell prospects how you can be of help to them, to solve their pain points, help them gain what they are looking and get their jobs done. In a way, you must market yourself as a go-to person.
LinkedIn is a perfect platform that provides various ways to market yourself
If your target audience isn’t listening, it is not their fault. It is yours.Seth Godin
6 steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile
And optimizing your profile is the first step in that direction! Let’s explore how this can be done most effectively!
LinkedIn provides various categories in your profile to optimize. The top 6 things you must focus are,
1. Picture: Put a picture which is smiling and covers full face. LinkedIn says 62% profile get better connects with good picture.
2. Profile Background Photo: Keep profile background relevant to your business, prospect to get them noticed. This is additional way to promote your service.
3. Headline: This is what many people will judge you. You want the headline is a great place to speak about your differentiators. What makes you different or unique? If not anything, the single biggest question headline must answer is “Why should anyone do business with you over a competitor?”
A good format to consider: [title], [company name] | We help [avatar] [benefit][How]
Sales Trainer, Coach, GrowthAspire | We help businesses to increase their revenues by helping their sales team meet their growth aspirations.
Ex, if you are working for XYZ corporation which is into smart sensor devices, it can be said – Vijay Sales Engineer | We help logistics businesses to reduce their freight cost by up 30% using our latest smart sensor devices.
4. Summary and Call to Action
Your summary section is basically the long story version of your
headline. Who you are? What do you do? What is your story?
This is not the place to just write down a laundry list of services/products you provide or talk about your skills and general background. This is a place where you tell your story, keeping in mind who the audience is.
Supply chain Consultant <Company> | I help SME & MSME businesses reduce logistics costs and increase their deliverability using the latest supply chain methodologies.
If you write four paragraphs of copy that don’t relate to your prospects, then you’ve wasted your space.
Yes, this section is about you, but you need to make the story you tell enticing to your prospects. Your summary should reflect that you care your prospects.
You can make that connection by talking about the people you work with and the problems you solve and why you are passionate about it.
Tell a story that paints the picture you want to convey to your prospects, highlight your differentiators, and close with a call-to-action.
The call-to-action is an important part of the profile. What do you want your prospects to do when they visit your profile?
Do you want them to visit website, call you, or visit a free training or product video?? It can be any one of the things. Choose that one thing and focus on that CTA throughout.
Add about your relevant experience in the current field and past experience. Mention clearly how you have helped similar clients and what kind of results they have achieved.
6. All the Other Details (Skills, Education, Certifications etc.)
Here add all other details to build more authority.
As you can see, writing this kind of title helps not only address your prospects
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