What sets B2B lead generation and cold calling apart from other types of telemarketing is the nature of the sale. B2B sales are complex, involving multiple players and a lengthy, intricate sales cycle.
Before investing in and building a B2B lead generation campaign, it is important to understand the factors that make up a complex sale so that your methods are successful.
How you approach the sale, whom you employ to make the calls, the names and titles on your prospect list, the length of the sales cycle, and the overall investment in the campaign will all be determined by whether your B2B sales are complex, or simply transactional.
What makes a B2B Sale Complex?
There are a number of factors that can determine if a B2B sale is “complex”. Every industry and product, solution or service is different, so no two are going to look exactly alike, but there are some components that are usually present in a complex sale:
- The sales cycle is long
- The risk, impact, and investment are significant
- There are multiple decision makers and influencers
The Complex Sales Cycle
Complex sales reside on the opposite end of the spectrum from transactional sales. A sale of this nature can take month, even years, and may go through many iterations and negotiations before it is complete.
Because of its long cycle, it is essential that there is a trusted relationship established at the outset, that will carry the sale through whatever turns it takes before it reaches a close.
If the first touch made to a prospect is by an experienced executive with the business acumen to start a real conversation, there is a better chance and opportunity to establish the trust needed to carry you throughout the entire cycle.
A Significant Investment
A complex sale will include a high dollar amount, a real risk, an investment in time and personnel, or a combination of all of these.
Because a complex sale is not simple and transactional, qualifying a lead is a more comprehensive task.
The decision to invest in the product, solution, or service is significant, and will often involve a major budget allocation made by key decision makers who have the authority to make big-ticket purchases.
It’s necessary to target and reach these decision makers within an organization so that the sales conversation is with someone with enough authority to make such a significant investment.
Multiple Decision Makers
The factor that is perhaps the most indicative of a complex sale is the involvement of multiple decision makers.
A complex solution, service, or product has the potential to make a large impact on several areas within the same organization. Therefore, it almost always involves the input and approval of multiple high-level decision makers.
Understanding that there will be multiple touches, phone calls, and conversations with several people, some with differing opinions, is an integral part of complex sales. As mentioned earlier, establishing trust at the outset is paramount in maintaining a good relationship with multiple players throughout the entirety of the sales cycle.
Keeping detailed and comprehensive lead sheets is an important part of maintaining a smooth process. When a sale involves many people on both sides, having accurate information available not only saves time but will help maintain the relationship if the deal is transitioned amongst members of a sales team.
Complex Sales Require Experienced Callers
With everything that is involved in a complex sale, it is no wonder that they require callers with extensive experience and business acumen.
A caller should at the very least be knowledgeable about the product, service, or solution that is being offered. Additionally, he or she should be able to speak with ease and be comfortable with the common terms used in the industry they are representing, as well as in the one into which they are calling.
Other information that a caller should be comfortable discussing:
- Who are the direct competitors for this business solution, product, or service?
- What are similar businesses currently using this solution and how has it improved their output/profitability/efficiency, etc.?
Callers should expect questions and be ready with the right industry knowledge so they can confidently answer the questions that come their way.
Perhaps most importantly at the outset of the long sales cycle is allowing a prospect to be heard with the intent of uncovering real information and opportunities. The caller must leave space to hear what a prospect has to say and aim to keep the conversation going in order to uncover other valuable business and marketing intelligence.
Understanding that a complex sale can require a long-term commitment also allows a caller to continue learning from a prospect even if, at first, they do not seem interested.
Outsourcing to Experienced B2B Callers
An outsourced team recognizes the length and complexity of B2B sales and is prepared to represent your company. They are prepared and well-versed about the appropriate information before they connect with decision-makers. Additionally, an outsourced team has the time to be 100% focused on sales and stay up-to-date on industry best practices.
Cold calling is a core competency and experienced callers are comfortable with unscripted (but not unprepared) talking points to nurture a meaningful relationship with prospects and decision-makers.
Understanding all aspects of the complex sales cycle can help you identify key areas that your team can improve on. Recognizing whether your team should outsource can lead your company on the path to sales success.