This blog was created in order to help companies that are considering outsourcing to determine when sales consulting is necessary to improve long-term results and effectiveness.
Gabriel Sales is an outsourced sales company in the truest sense of the word. Outsourced sales is not always cheaper (at least in the short term). It’s about guaranteeing your investment works harder and smarter. Outsourcing sales should make you more effective, provide access to shared tools, sales and marketing expertise, sales management expertise and processes required for success.
Organizations typically don’t come to us because they are wildly successful on their own, but because they want to close more business faster. In many cases, this requires consulting upfront. This blog is designed to help you be as honest as possible about the potential need for consulting prior to starting a sales outsourcing relationship.
There are many options for companies to drive sales other than simply building on their internal team. Wikipedia has great overviews of your options – from channel sales, to resellers, to manufacturer reps, to outsourced sales companies. When discussing outsourcing sales, where we like to start the conversation is with the word “outsourcing” itself:
Outsourcing involves the contracting of a business process – previously performed in-house – to an external provider.
Outsourcing = Process previously performed transitioned
With this definition in mind, very few companies are looking for pure sales outsourcing, which is why we define Gabriel Sales as a sales execution, sales consulting and sales content marketing company. We execute alongside consultation.
During our initial conversation with potential clients looking for “outsourced sales,” what we discover is that some of what they are currently doing works well, and some of it does not. We look at these issues separately, and discover what they really need. This typically presents itself in a combination of 2 to 5 of the areas below:
- Sales Scripting
- Outsourcing Lead Generation
- Outsourcing Lead Nurturing
- Outsourcing Sales Qualifying
- Outsourcing Sales Closing
- Sales Consulting
- Commission Only Reps
- Contracted Sales Reps
When a prospect is looking for a contracted rep or commission only, they are really not interested in developing a repeatable sales process, which by our definition, is not outsourcing.
When we talk to most companies we work through a formal process to identify how much consulting is needed, so that we can figure out how fast execution can start filling their pipe. Generally, we can start executing and consulting concurrently. We have a formal process called the Gabriel System™ that makes this simple and easy for clients. We can generally get through the discovery process within the first week of launch and be on the phone, filling the pipe within two weeks. What follows below is an abridged overview of what information we extract during the Gabriel System™ discovery process. Unless you are a pure start up launching from scratch, you must have found some successful process. It’s our aim to figure out what is working, so we can improve on that for exponential growth.
Our first set of questions surrounds how mature your sales function and process really is:
- What is the historical sales cycle?
- How accurate was last year’s forecast?
- How many meetings does a typical sale take?
- What is the material presented in each one of those meetings?
- What digital content is being consumed are part of the sale?
- How many cold calls does it take to put a prospect into the pipe?
- How many prospects are currently in their nurture pipe?
- What are their typical conversion metrics?
- Do they have cold call scripts? First call scripts?
- Is the pricing model fixed? When was it last changed?
- Who are the top three direct competitors? Indirect?
- Why do you win? Why do you lose?
- What markets have you targeted?
- What decision makers do you sell to?
- What technology platforms are you utilizing?
- Do you work with a creative agency?
Our second set of questions (really just one question):
- How much of your current process is documented?
- Fully documented? Ready to outsource
- Needs work? Some sales consulting may be required
Our third set of questions is specifically about each stage of the discrete part of the sales process, and whether or not they need improvement:
- Lead Sourcing and Targeting?
- Lead Generation?
- Sales Qualifying?
- Sales and Marketing Alignment?
- Sales Engagement and Sales Pipe Velocity?
- Sales Metrics?
- Sales Closing and Sales Upsell?
Our final set of questions relate to message and content readiness and effectiveness:
- Do you have a positioning document?
- Do you have a messaging document?
- How much collateral do they have and of what type?
What does this all distill down to? The more honest you are upfront with an outsourcing sales partner, the faster increased efficiency and production can be achieved. We encourage you to be honest and clear about what is broken and needs fixing.
The value Gabriel Sales creates for our clients as a sales outsourcing partner is that we don’t hesitate to begin execution. We lead with execution, support, and consulting. Our efforts shorten sales cycles while simultaneously improving your strategy. Doing both in conjunction gives everyone access to the hard data, metrics, and qualitative insights required to create a winning, repeatable, competitive sales engine. We consult and execute in order to double sales growth.
If you are interested in getting to the market with speed and would like to learn more about how we can help, please CONTACT US for a free pipe velocity review.
It is becoming more clear that buyers want to and in many cases are able to control the entire selling process – from introduction to education to closing. With the abundance of information that is available through digital content, a buyer no longer needs to rely on the seller to facilitate the process. DemandGen Report released a study in June of 2014 detailing that “75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.”
The shift in roles raises a question: what role should the traditional sales rep serve in today’s B2B transaction?
This blog will address this question and outlines the first opportunity a traditional rep typically has to engage with a prospect. The inside sales rep is as important now that buyers are empowering themselves, but to stay relevant, they must adapt the way they apply their efforts. Marketing and sales cannot sit in two different silos any longer to remain effective.
Zig Ziglar, an American icon and renowned sales educationalist, found that “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Any experienced salesman or marketer has been exposed to these five objections regularly throughout dealing with prospective clients. The content marketing boom has resulted in a sixth hurdle that plagues today’s new business development efforts: no education.
In today’s digitally dominated marketplace, new innovations present themselves regularly that provide opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Proactive buyers will have familiarized themselves with an opportunity area well-before you have the chance to reach them.
Below you will find a list of 6 questions that aim to accomplish three things during a first conversation between sales rep and prospect:
- Build a persona of the buyer
- Identify their awareness, needs, and capabilities
- Provide relevant sales content
(These questions will be staged as if they are being utilized by a firm that provides a marketing automation SaaS product)
How does your team utilize marketing automation to help assist in generating your pipe?
A question along these lines can serve several purposes. In the context of the hypothetical provided, it will allow the sales rep to immediately discern the level to which the prospect has adopted marketing automation technology. This can range drastically from total lack of awareness that the technology exists to them already operating at an SAP-type complexity.
Identifying the level of utilization the prospect has early in the conversation is crucial to pushing the appropriate level and type of content to move the buyer forward in the process. With this information in hand, it becomes simple to identify what information will be relevant and needed to move the call forward.
Would you be the best person to share information with about marketing automation and helping improve the efficiency of your pipe?
Discerning whether or not you are interacting with the appropriate decision maker allows you to expedite your sales cycle. More and more sales require multiple personnel to sign-off in order to mitigate fear and potential risk. Budgets are constrained now more than ever, and convincing decision makers to give you a piece of their cherished pie is something you and many others are trying to accomplish at the same time.
The number of gatekeepers that sales reps have to navigate has increased as well. An answer to this question will provide insight as to how close your prospecting efforts have led to you reaching a lead with decision making authority.
What are the steps your company typically takes when they are evaluating a new solution or technology?
Securing a sale requires that you know what it is that your customer wants so that you can effectively provide it for them. What’s the best way to figure this out? Ask them about their buying process.
Knowing the steps a company takes to evaluate an offer allows you to identify the key metrics they use and consequently what is most important to them. You can capitalize on this knowledge throughout the steps of their process by providing relevant content that aligns your solution with their needs.
It’s also crucial to know the urgency with which the prospect wants to acquire a new solution. Trying to expedite this process with efforts other than pushing content (i.e. “the hard sell”) is the quickest way to discourage prospects with slow buying cycles.
Have you looked into any marketing automation solutions before?
This question provides insight into how familiar the lead is with the technology or solution you offer. You can gauge their level of interest and education related to the space and whether you are competing against other available offerings in the space or a technology that’s already ingrained within their corporate culture.
Are you familiar with our company at all?
Although simple, this question helps immensely in discerning both the prospect’s familiarity with your offering and their willingness to be further educated in the matter. Just because a lead gives off the impression they don’t want to engage with you, you can still distill opportunity by providing them relevant content that will help move them along the sales cycle at their own pace.
I know schedules are tight – is there a time that would be best for me to follow-up and just answer any questions you may have?
Asking a question in this manner communicates that you respect their time and are willing to allow them to control the way they are sold to. If they demonstrate actionable interest in your offering early on, capitalize on the opportunity. However, for the vast majority, catering to their interests and avoiding the hard sell will help fill your pipe in the most effective manner.
Always keep in mind what your questioning is aiming to accomplish, and that you may need to adapt your process at any point to cater directly to the stage of buying your prospect is in.
Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our sales strategy.
While social proof is not a new phenomenon, its manifestation in the digital world has interesting effects and implications in terms of commercial attitudes and behaviors. Learn more about the effectiveness of social proof for b2b marketing in this blog, “Why is Social Proof Effective in Marketing?”
Contact us to learn how we can help you lead a successful B2B cold calling campaign.