How to Maximize Marketing Leads When Outbound Calling
Updated: Jun 24
If you’re like many people, your daily work routine starts early. While scarfing down your 12-grain bagel and gulping a cup of coffee, you scroll through your emails to see how your day is going to start.
Then you see it.
It’s one of those glaring marketing emails with a subject line you just can’t resist. A few clicks later, you enter your contact information into an online form to download a white paper that promises to educate, entertain and give you an upper hand over the competition. You start devouring it immediately.
Ten minutes later, you get THE call.
At this point, you know the company’s marketing department has already done their job. Their headline motivated you to open the email, download the paper and read their selected content. Now it’s up to the sales department to convert you first into a prospect and then ultimately a customer. That said, it should be evident that this first call (person to person contact) is a hugely critical moment in the journey towards a final sale. Unfortunately, what often follows is not optimally executed.
As an example, you may expect the sales person calling (let’s call him “Steve,” for short) to begin the conversation by reinforcing a compelling value statement about how Steve’s product or service can help you work better, faster or smarter as it relates to the topic you’re researching. If Steve knows his stuff, he’ll follow that up with a provocative question to get you to think about your needs or current state in relationship to his company’s unique capabilities.
Instead, as is often the case, Steve demurely asks, “Did you find everything you were looking for on the site.” or “what did you think of our whitepaper? (What! Steve, you are in sales…com’n man!)
Without something to anchor your interest, you simply reply, “Thanks, just doing some research and found everything I was looking for.”
End of call. Sale lost.
Often, the effort and money spent on marketing to capture a buyer with a possible interest in your solution may be poorly handled by sales reps that do not have the training or mindset of how to begin an effective first call or business conversation.
In the example above, without Steve adding value by providing a compelling and specific “what’s in it for me” for the person he is contacting, their desire to engage with Steve, a complete stranger, is limited.
Marketing content creates interest, but it doesn’t sell. That is what the sales person is for, to drive actions that will lead a potential buyer to a closed sale outcome.
Therefore; the role of the sales person making an outbound call to a marketing lead is not to just have “any conversation” but to begin a “business conversation.” To do this well, know why you are calling and have a plan. Before you dial, give some tactical thought to the benefit statement or what having a conversation with you will do for the recipient of your call. The prospect has already shown interest (it’s not a cold call), so don’t be afraid to ask what their specific needs are so you can make recommendations. But remember the customer does not sell himself on your solution by reviewing your content. That takes you to tailor the solution to the buyer's unique situation.
That scenario is seen throughout shopping malls everywhere. Imagine, if you will, that you’re out shopping for a new suit. You see a few promising stores, and your experience goes something like this:
Store #1: After a carefully timed 30 seconds a bright, cheerful sales associate greets you, “Hi there! Can I help you find anything today?” You reply, “No, thank you. I’m just browsing.” The associate says, “Okay, I am right over here if you need anything.” Seconds later, you leave.
Store #2: You enter and walk around browsing for three minutes. No one comes to talk to you, but you notice the sales associates are busy chatting amongst themselves. You don’t want to interrupt their conversation, so you leave when you can’t find what you want.
Store #3: Within 20 seconds of entering, you receive a friendly greeting, “Thank you for visiting Store Name. We’re here to help you with anything you need. May I ask what brought you into our store today?” Feeling that this individual may actually care about your specific requirements you explain what you’re looking for instead of uttering your standard “I’m just browsing” response. The associate asks a few specific questions and suddenly morphs into your personal stylist. He/she finds just the thing you’re looking for, and you leave the store with not one but two (!) suits.
Positioning sales based on your client's needs or outcomes
In the third example, the sales associate positioned themselves as a consultant - not just a store clerk. When they asked what your current state was, you told them, and they were able to provide a solution customized to you. They offered value from the beginning. During this process they built trust and credibility, trumping cost right out of the equation.
Now, returning to B2B; marketing can do an excellent job of getting people to your store or website. Their efforts drive enough curiosity and interest to turn a cold call into a warm call for you as the sales person. The content brought the prospect to you, but remember that content does not sell - you do. Your first requirement is to begin the sales cycle through an effective first call process.
Start with an anchored value statement and ask a question that will lead to a business problem. For example, you can simply ask the lead what issues they’re currently experiencing that made them download your paper. That will give you insight into how you might solve the needs of your prospect. With this method, you will qualify early and convert many more leads into closed sales.
Getting to the top of your (sales) game
At Effective First Calls, we offer much more than cold-call sales training. Our workshops will teach your sales and business development teams how to be messengers, active listeners, evaluators and consultants.
Our goal is to help individuals change the way they think about the early stages of the sales process so that they can operate at their peak performance. If you want to generate more leads and convert more prospects into clients, contact us today.