Sell. More. Faster. That’s the ultimate goal of any sales organization. In practice, this means round-the-clock pressure for salespeople to hit their quota, close more deals, and increase revenue. Salespeople are no strangers to stress.
But if stress starts to escalate out of control, and sales targets seem as challenging as climbing an eight-thousander without supplemental oxygen, you need to re-examine your sales process and figure out the stages you can tweak to boost productivity.
Increasing the productivity of your sales team requires you to take a step back and look at ways of improving the effectiveness and the efficiency of your sales process. In other words, you want to find ways of closing more deals (being more effective) in less time (and be more efficient). Sell. More. Faster.
In today’s world of informed buyers, you need to know your prospects and customers better than they know themselves in order to be timely, relevant, and have engaging conversations with them. Otherwise, you’ll waste too much time on prospects that are not ready to buy. Your sales process will be a crapshoot.
Access to fresh and reliable company information allows you to narrow your focus as a sales team and build a successful, repeatable process that gives you an edge over the competition.
The good news is that these days, there’s more information written about any company in the world than ever before. When you turn this information into actionable insights, you’ll be able to build a pipeline full of optimal prospects. Once the right target is in sight, you and your team will be more efficient and effective.
In this blog, we’ll explain three basic ways to hack your sales process with company information and build a well-oiled sales machine.That’s the theory. Let’s see the practice next.
Hack 1: Reverse engineer your most successful accounts
When you’re under pressure to hit quota (and pay bills with the precious commission), quick wins are incredibly tempting. A deal’s a deal, right? Think twice. Despite the sweet revenue, bad-fit customers can hurt your business and jeopardize your growth. These customers may stick around and keep paying, but customer costs will increase while dragging down growth rates as they fail to expand their use of your product. They’ll refuse to advocate for you publicly or even worse, they may badmouth you to others. Ultimately, they’ll churn.
To make sure you target the right prospects, let your ideal customer profile (ICP) be your guiding light. In short, an ICP is a description of your dream customer (follow the link for a thorough explanation). Because it’s a fictitious description of your ideal buyer, it’s tempting to define your ICP based on gut feeling, desire, or educated guess at best. However, this leaves a lot of room for error in judgment. Here’s where company information comes into play: you can learn a lot about your own business and products by looking at the characteristics of your most successful existing customers.
Start by looking at your current customers and pay special attention at your most satisfied ones. Use company information to find common characteristics and find a pattern of events. What happened at the company right before they signed a deal with you? How big are they? Where are they located? What industry are they in? What tech stack do they use? The data points setting your most happy customers apart from the average company will make up the building blocks of your ICP.
Once you’ve reverse-engineered your most successful customers, you’ll have a more accurate view of the accounts you and your team should target. This way, you won’t spend time on poor-fit accounts, improving the efficiency of your sales process.
Hack #2: Let robots do the grunt work - eliminate account research
Robots won’t replace salespeople any time soon, but surely they can take upon the more time-consuming and arduous parts of the job. And, you guessed it, no other stage in the sales process calls for more extra help than prospecting. Filling your sales pipeline requires extreme research skills, successfully sifting through lists of potential prospects to figure out the ones who may want to buy from you. This can be done by scouring through social media, searching for financial reports, or following a prospect in the news. But do you have time to do all of that?
The answer is likely no. No salesperson has unlimited time to read every piece of information on any company, let alone dozens, to accurately qualify potential buyers. Using company information to zero in on the qualities that matter will be a huge time saver in finding best-fit prospects.
When you inject company information into your prospecting process, you can select specific data points to target similar accounts, and go beyond manual searches on LinkedIn and Google. Use a simple prospecting tool to set up a search based on basic firmographic parameters like company size and location, or more sophisticated options like the technologies they use, or what's on their website. Then, robots will do their work and present you a highly specific, data-driven list of prospects.
By decreasing the time you spend looking for potential customers, you’ll also free more time up for actually selling, taking care of existing customers, and personalizing your messaging to those best-fit prospects of yours.
Hack #3: Cut through the noise with a personalized sales approach
In a world of endless newsfeeds and a cacophony of chats and notifications, it's more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. With so much noise, you’ll have higher chances of getting your customers to hear when your messages are timely, relevant, and personal. Instead of shouting through a megaphone, why not stand out as a familiar face in the crowd?
Building strong, meaningful relationships requires getting to know customers better than they know themselves. Company information provides the insights you need to personalize your messaging, anticipate needs, and replicate success with other similar customers.
Personalization can get the conversation started. If you know when certain events occur, like the release of a financial statement or new job openings, you can use these to trigger specific content that will make your messaging relevant to the eyes of your prospect company. And because company information helps you establish a better account research process and gather enough insights, you can get the conversation to progress further by sharing content that is specific to a prospect’s challenges.
Consider your list of ICP companies. Any of those businesses should be strong prospects, but without a timely reason to contact them and get the conversation started, you will have a hard time overcoming the first sales objections. Knowing when significant changes happened in your accounts will give a reason to reach out. For example, when a company expands to a new market, it will need new supplies, equipment, new hires, etc. This opens a window of opportunity for you to offer your products or services.
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Company information fuels a well-oiled sales machine
In football, goalkeepers carefully study their opponents to anticipate how a player will shoot a penalty kick. When they do their homework and research, their chances of diving to the correct side and save the penalty are much higher.
Salespeople, when using company information, will have a similar advantage. They can better anticipate their prospects’ needs and interests, and ultimately increase their chances of closing a deal. As a result, company information becomes the foundation of a more productive sales process. It increases effectiveness by targeting the accounts more likely to convert with the right messages, and efficiency as it can be used to automate the tasks most tedious to conduct manually.