B2B Telephone Sales: How to make it effective

Sales calls in the B2B field remain a valuable tool for reaching potential customers, though they now demand greater effort and strategy. Whereas a decade ago less than four attempts were required to contact a prospect, today, up to approximately eight are needed. That’s why effective communication is essential, especially when dealing with complex and costly products, as is common in B2B sales strategies.

Even though some sectors consider phone sales to be a thing of the past, in this article we will demonstrate that, by applying advanced and effective tactics, sales calls can continue to generate a solid return on investment.

What is B2B telephone sales?

At this point, I don’t think we need to define what a phone sale is. What you should know is that B2B phone sales can be of two types, depending on the origin of the prospect:

Calls to leads

Calls to leads occur when the prospect has already interacted previously with the company in various ways, such as by accepting an email offer, contacting the company about a product, interacting on their social media, or even having been a customer before.

This strategy belongs to an inbound sales process, where it is important to note that these calls are only effective if the company has previously generated interest or demand for its products or services, with demand generation marketing being a key approach before embarking on any lead call strategy.

Cold calls

Cold calls, or cold calling, are those sales calls that a potential customer receives without having had previous contact with the company or its sales representatives. This type of call is made without prior interaction between the prospect and the company, which implies that the potential customer has not shown interest or knowledge about the organization or its products. Therefore, it belongs to an outbound sales process. The leads for this type of call come from different sources, such as lists provided by lead providers or marketing campaigns.

How to do a B2B phone sale step by step

Success in a sales call largely depends on solid preparation, which includes knowing the customer, the appropriate contact person, and crafting an appropriate introduction and sales pitch tailored to the target customer.

To execute a successful B2B phone sale, we recommend that you follow these steps:

1. Define your target audience

Most products or services must align with certain customer criteria and interests. This involves identifying a basic need that the offer can satisfy. Therefore, the first and main step to finding potential businesses or customers is to accurately define the target audience.

This is done by answering the following questions:

  • What industry is your customer in?
  • What are the key business figures?
  • What is your customer’s target market?
  • Should the company be of a certain size?
  • Who do you need to address within the target company?
  • Is your target audience active locally in a certain region or globally?
  • What characteristics do your existing customers have so that your offer matches their need?

The more precise and detailed your target audience is defined, the easier it will be to build a basic framework for a sales conversation that constitutes the basis for an individual approach.

2. Conduct preliminary research

Enhancing the approach increases success rates. This is achieved by researching prospects on the internet, learning about their needs, potential objections, and interests before calling. The information obtained from various sources can be used to create a complete profile of the potential customer.

3. Recognize your customers’ problems and pains

The most effective sales pitch involves identifying a specific customer problem and presenting the offer as a clear solution. To achieve this, it is necessary to understand the challenges your target audience faces in their business activity and demonstrate how the offer can alleviate their difficulties. These issues should be addressed from the start of a business or when planning and developing new products or services, and it is important to leverage the experience gained in interacting with existing customers.

To do this, we need to answer the following questions:

  • How can your offer help the customer?
  • How was the problem addressed before?
  • How could your offer improve the given situation?

The objective of such analysis is to be well prepared for the new potential customer. You should be able to actively address problems and offer solutions that are immediately obvious to the contact person and leave them with as few questions as possible.

4. Develop a sales script

Proper use of a sales script provides a basic structure for improvisation and allows representatives to focus on listening to prospects. Additionally, at the organizational level, it promotes a consistent sales methodology and establishes a performance baseline for the sales team.

5. Speak to the right person

An offer can be perfect, with the right price and at the right time, but if it’s directed at the wrong person, the effort may prove fruitless. It’s frustrating for a salesperson to spend time trying to convince a prospect, only to find out the contact person didn’t have decision-making authority. In these cases, there’s a risk of losing all the prior work.

A good salesperson should research and identify the right people and hierarchies within a company before making contact, thus avoiding addressing incorrect interlocutors. To succeed in B2B phone sales, it’s crucial to tailor the presentation to the different people involved in the decision-making process.

6. Establish initial contact

You know your customer. You already know who you want to get in touch with. You know how to grab their attention and you have the right arguments to convince them. This raises the question of what is the best way to establish initial contact.

You can establish preliminary contact through channels other than the telephone, for example, by commenting on their social media posts or mentioning prospects in blog comments. These tactics turn a sales call into a more familiar and effective connection.

Today’s B2B sales can use a variety of channels through which customers can be reached, such as:

  • Personal contact through company visits or attending industry events
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Social media

Communicating with someone through telematic channels such as email or social media not only provides the opportunity to gather information about the contact person, but also to communicate with them if they are not available by phone.

7. Choose an appropriate conversation starter

When starting the conversation, it’s essential to pay attention to how we introduce ourselves and how we approach people in a friendly way. Starting is always the biggest challenge in sales, and capturing the attention and interest of prospects can be difficult. Despite being well-informed and having solid arguments, if we don’t break the ice correctly, it’s complicated to engage in a sales conversation.

Key elements for a successful sales conversation include maintaining a balance between listening and talking, conveying confidence and authenticity, and not appearing desperate.

8. Ask and listen

Listening is key in the sales process. Although sales can be aggressive, sometimes it’s better to slow down and focus on asking the right questions. The best scripts and salespeople allow the prospect to describe their challenges, rather than imposing problems on them. Successful B2B sales involve connecting beneficial solutions with businesses that need them, which requires a two-way conversation.

9. Focus on the value proposition

As a salesperson, the goal is to sell a product or service for its value, making the price seem reasonable. It’s crucial to focus on this value before mentioning the price, to avoid the product being perceived as a commodity and not to base expectations on preconceived assumptions. Coming to understand the potential customer’s needs before discussing price is essential to avoid proposing a price that is too high or too low, which can jeopardize the negotiation.

Trigger events, such as positive economic signals or changes in the company, indicate specific needs and offer an opportunity to overcome this hurdle. These events can be used in a conversation, to demonstrate that we have informed ourselves and that we have a legitimate reason to contact the prospect.

10. Learn to handle objections

Navigating objections is a central part of any sales process. Objections should always be addressed, and moving past them can be beneficial. However, not all are the same, and sometimes their introduction simply jams up the sales process and creates doubts that weren’t there at the start. For this reason, you should have a plan to overcome these objections if they arise.

11. Follow up

It’s crucial to know that most sales require at least five follow-up calls, and not to give up after a single attempt. Avoid leaving the responsibility of following up in the customers’ hands and instead, be proactive in setting up a schedule to speak with them again. For example, schedule a call for after they’ve had time to review the information and are ready to discuss the offer. Being persistent and organized in following up can make all the difference in sales.

12. Get inspiration from best practices

Theory is helpful, but concrete examples make understanding problems and solutions easier. Despite technical competence and the ability to describe and present an offer, practical application is irreplaceable. Presenting a use case from an existing customer with similar situations and problems enhances the persuasiveness of the solutions provided by the product or service. Make sure the examples are plausible and understandable, tailored to the needs of the target audience, without revealing confidential customer details.

In addition to providing this type of information to customers, salespeople can also train by watching how their peers do it, receiving coaching sessions from their bosses, and even self-assessing. One way to do this is by using business intelligence platforms like Upbe.

Upbe performs automated listening and analysis of 100% of the sales team’s calls, providing:

  1. Data analysis and performance monitoring: Our platform analyzes sales interactions and provides detailed information on sellers’ performance. This helps salespeople identify their strengths and weaknesses, and adjust their approaches accordingly to increase the effectiveness of their phone sales.
  2. Training and education: Upbe provides salespeople with training resources based on their company’s best sales practices. This allows salespeople to continuously improve their skills and knowledge, which in turn enables them to close more deals and generate more revenue.
  3. Insights and experiences: Upbe facilitates collaboration and idea sharing among salespeople through objective data. This allows them to learn from each other and adopt proven best sales practices in the field.
  4. Technology integration: The platform contains tools and technologies that facilitate phone sales, such as automatic dialing systems, call recording, voice analysis, and CRM integration, optimizing the time and resources of salespeople, allowing them to focus on closing deals instead of dealing with administrative tasks.
  5. Personalization and adaptability: Upbe is a customizable platform that adapts to the specific needs of each company and sales team. In this way, each salesperson can benefit from the best sales practices that are most relevant to their industry and target customers.

Want more information? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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