Real-time sales is not just about speed. It’s about real conversations, too. We’re often asked, what do you mean when you talk about real-time sales? In this blog, we describe our methodology for selling, a strategy based on changing data that’s as fresh as possible.
At Vainu, the concept of real-time sales has always been close to home, but to us it always meant more than just replying quickly to inbound requests. After tinkering with different selling strategies, we founded a dedicated real-time sales team focused on reacting in real-time not only to someone interacting with us but also to external trigger events: documented changes happening within companies.
When proved successful, we expanded our real-time sales approach from one single team to all salespeople in our organization. Now, data tells us exactly what we should be talking about, and when we should reach out to people. We put all relevant information in front of a rep when they’re having a conversation, and they tailor the conversation based on that information.
That’s what we called real-times sales. And what follows is a summary of our methodology.
What’s real-time sales?
Real-time sales is a method of using real-time company data in every sales interaction to uncover best-fit prospects, reveal the ideal timing to reach out, and create relevant messaging.
The key to real- time sales is being proactive: anticipating the buyer’s need and reaching out when time is ripe. Salespeople must show a clear understanding of decision-makers’ needs, wants, and desires, so they can share tailor-made content, and communicate in a personalized way. In other words, to be relevant in every step of the sales process.
Read on to explore how we implement this methodology in practice.
The key to real- time sales is being proactive: anticipating the buyer’s need and reaching out when time is ripe.
Ideal customer profile
It all starts with our definition of an ideal customer. Without we would be lost in the woods, because we don’t build our ideal customer profile (ICP) based on gut feeling, educated guess, or experience. Instead, we dive deep into company information to find common themes amongst our most successful customers. What’s their industry? What’s their tech stack? Do they use a CRM? What’s their financial situation? Are they in growth mode? What did it happen before they sign with us?
The answers to these questions make all the difference when creating a top-notch ideal customer profile. And, remember, it’s a good idea to review your ICP regularly.
Less prospecting, more trigger events
Real-time sales radically changes the approach to prospecting. Because we have an excellent understanding of who we’re selling to, our salespeople can sit and wait for relevant alerts in the form of trigger events. They no longer need to waste time actively pursuing a list of more or less promising prospects.
A trigger event is a buying signal (i.e., an event that happens in a company and gives you a reason to connect) that triggers an action and creates an opening for a marketing or sales opportunity.
Using trigger events should be the foundation of your prospecting. Once you find a correlation between a happy new customer and an event, you can find a large number of actionable leads in no time.
Consider this: A company that matches your ICP just took in a huge investment and expanded to a market that you’re active in. Now imagine that you know that your contact person at this same company has downloaded your latest eBook and signed up for two of your upcoming webinars. How much would you pay to know all of this, exactly when it’s happening? Trigger events can help you prioritize your customers and prospects, so that you can allocate your valuable time and efforts to the companies most likely to buy from you.
Obviously, trusting trigger events doesn’t mean our reps just hang around and twiddle their thumbs waiting for an opportunity to arrive. It means they’re more efficient. Instead of searching for whom to sell, they free up their time to do what they do best: selling.
Tailored workflows for each trigger event
By following relevant trigger events, we can anticipate the needs and situation of a given company and draw different scenarios. For each trigger event, there’s a game plan. Let’s go back to the previous example.
A company expands to a new market and hires a new country manager.
- Reach out and welcome the new hire. Introduce yourself and explain how you’re helping businesses in similar situations achieve their goals. Share relevant content to be helpful and relevant. Maybe your marketing can write an eBook about how to sell in a specific region.
- Once you have a conversation line open, suggest a meeting to explain how your product or services fits into their goals. In this session, tailor the presentation around that situation and the needs they’ve mentioned.
- If any additional news or changes happen during the sales process, you’ll have a new opportunity to interact. Let’s say the prospect company hires more salespeople: message them and comment on the job ad and potentially share more content that supports the topic.
- Ultimately when you close the deal, you have an apparent reason behind the new customer signing on. This information will ease customer success’ job as they’ll know the customer’s objectives.
- If the case would be lost before signing, marketing will take over, and it will go right back to nurturing. So eventually, when it’s ready, it will come back as a hot lead.
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Pre-defined, custom-made pitches
A generic or poorly tailored sales pitch is a recipe for failure. Breaking news there, right?
Real-time sales tackles this problem and allows us to use our marketing content and campaigns to a completely different degree than those in a traditional outbound sales process. Once we've documented the trigger events that are most relevant to our sales process, our outreach is on autopilot. Every time a trigger event will happen, our sales reps will know how to reach out and what content addresses the needs and situation of specific prospects.
By looking at a wide range of data points from different datasets a sales intelligence tool provides, we get an in-depth understanding of a company’s organization and situation. This way, we can predict when and how we should reach out to a specific company.
The ball's in your court
Every business can adopt a real-time sales methodology. Once you tap into company information and implement a robust sales tech stack, developing a real-time sales strategy is not hard. Start by creating an ideal customer profile, defining the most relevant trigger events for your proposition, and creating relevant outreach plays for each of them. You’ll have most of the work done by then.
Our 30-page Guide to Real-Time Sales explains in detail how any sales organization can establish a real-time sales mindset and make their outreach truly data-driven. Eventually, using trigger events and relevant messaging over untimely cold outreach will be the norm.