Jeannie Walters

B2B Sales? Do Your Homework!

By: Jeannie Walters | June 24, 2013 | 
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B2B Sales CallsGood salespeople are out there.

They are the ones who do their homework, understand the prospect, and actually listen.

But they don’t seem to be the ones calling me.

The ones calling me are the ones who not only have no idea who I am, but they say things such as “enterprise solutions” about five seconds after I answer the phone.

Solutions to WHAT, exactly? And I’m not alone.

A client recently lamented about how much time gets wasted with bad B2B sales calls. Another friend with a new position at a large, well-known company said he couldn’t believe the crazy calls he’s getting.

It’s Not Easy Calling Strangers

Business development is a difficult job, but that’s no excuse. It’s time to expect more from those making these calls.

My company, 360Connext, and I both have a fairly decent social media presence. Our website is out there, too. It would take about 10 seconds to look these up and determine if we are even remotely close to the bulls eye of the target market. Lately, however, I’ve been receiving calls about tools to better manage my call center (don’t have one, never have); enterprise IT department overhead (what IT department?); and my favorite – someone pitched me to hire a customer service speaker for my organization. If I needed one, I’m pretty sure I’d hire me first.

I Know Where Salespeople Get Information

It’s my mistake for attending or presenting at conferences or joining professional membership organizations. They got the list! And that’s all they need to start calling. I believe as a presenter, attendee, or member on a list, we should expect our information will be respected.

Have you ever bought anything from the hard-driving, never-comes-up-for-air sales pitch? I sure haven’t. B2B sales is still about people. If I don’t feel you care one iota about me, then I’ll find someone who does.

Here is a quick list of ways salespeople could do a better job with this type of calling:

  1. Look up the prospect first. The Internet is full of good stuff such as company websites, LinkedIn profiles, and Twitter feeds. Find out if this prospect is who you think they are. If not, move along. Fish where the fish are.
  2. Ask yourself, what problem are you solving? Before launching into your pitch, find out if your prospect feels that pain.
  3. Respect that it’s an intrusion. Don’t launch into a five minute speech the minute the phone is answered.
  4. LISTEN. Ask questions.
  5. Customize the follow-up email. Add a detail or two about the conversation and for goodness sake, spell the names correctly! Triple check if you need to.

None of these ideas are new or even very savvy. There are many experts in B2B sales who may advise differently. My lens, though, is about how to have fewer ruined days.

If salespeople respected the process and the person a bit more, I’d bet we’d all have better days. Don’t you think it’s time to ditch the cold call and create relationships instead?

About Jeannie Walters


Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator™ and founder of 360Connext, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. 360Connext serves mid-market companies and larger by helping them evaluate their true customer experience. The evaluations always lead to improvements which then lead to results like increased online conversions or loyalty.

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