Sales reps spend only 28% of their week selling, down from 34% a few years ago. But successful sales teams know that conversations with buyers are one of the most critical aspects of the job.
Great sales conversations establish credibility, build trust, and create brand loyalty. This, in turn, can increase your chances of closing sales. 90% of reps on high-performing teams are encouraged by leadership to focus on long-term customer relationships over short-term wins.
Customer conversations happen later in the process, so cutting through the digital noise is key. It’s more important than ever for sales reps to know how to effectively engage with buyers in their conversations – online and in person.
But having better conversations with buyers is easier said than done. That’s why equipping your reps with the right tools and technology is critical.
Here’s how you can help your sales reps develop the necessary skills to facilitate buyer conversations that lead to loyalty, cross-sells, upsells, and renewals.
Develop these core competencies in your sales reps
Soft skills – the character traits, habits, and communication abilities that enable people to work well with others, manage their own emotions and adapt to changing situations – are the foundation of productive sales conversations.
Implement learning and development programs to help sales reps learn and apply these skills to foster better buyer conversations.
Practice active listening
Active listening involves fully concentrating on what the buyer is saying, both verbally and non-verbally, and making a conscious effort to understand their needs.
When speaking with customers, give them your full attention – put away your phone and stop multitasking. Allow the buyer to finish each point before you speak, and don’t interrupt.
Ask open-ended follow-up questions to dig deeper into what the buyer needs and the issues they’re struggling with.
By using active listening skills, sales reps can ensure they are providing the best possible solution to the buyer’s problem. Active listening can also help the salesperson avoid coming across as pushy or aggressive, which can turn off buyers and damage the relationship.
Seek feedback from clients and personalize your approach accordingly
One of the best actions sales reps can do is pay attention when customers provide clues about what they want and need.
Make a note when a customer tells you they prefer a certain type of communication and use that channel to connect with them. But don’t stop there – you can augment perception during remote engagements with the right tech.
Add conversational intelligence to your tool set to get actionable insights based on remote interactions for signals of buyer readiness and engagement based on real-time data. Sales reps get a solid idea of what’s going on and can take the right actions at the right time.
Sales enablement tools also track your customer’s interactions with marketing materials, including:
- Emails opened
- Web pages visited
- Content downloaded
- Shared content with other buying members
- Sentiment analysis ( positive or negative) while content sharing
This data provides insight into your customer’s interests and priorities. You can then use that information as a starting point for kicking off engaging sales conversations. A great way to do this is through a digital sales room, a secure place where prospects can consume information about your products or services and make an informed decision.
Test different conversation strategies
Not all buyers are the same, and what works for one may not work for another. Take notes during sales conversations and identify what works and what doesn’t for specific customers.
You can identify what works best for each buyer by trying different techniques and adjusting your approach accordingly. Create a sales playbook or upgrade your current one based on new information.
Go a step further and take out the guesswork by providing reps with guided selling solutions.
Plan in advance and provide an agenda
A successful sales conversation requires planning and preparation. Before every meeting or phone call, take the time to:
- Research the buyer
- Identify their needs and pain points
- Prepare a list of relevant talking points
You can also ensure the conversation stays on track by providing an agenda before the meeting. This way, your customer can come prepared with issues and questions they want to cover.
Take your buyer conversations to the next level with data-driven strategies
66% of sales reps say they have too many tools, averaging up to 10 to close a deal. While many are necessary, they can lead to increased costs, click overload, and prevent reps from connecting with prospects and moving the deal forward.
To combat this, get all your data insights in one place – where reps can use them to create better buyer conversations.
Here are a few strategies to ensure your tools and data facilitate better conversations with customers – and boost productivity at the same time.
Get a comprehensive look at your customers
Having a 360-degree view of your customer means that you have a comprehensive understanding of their needs, preferences, and behavior. A complete customer view enables you to tailor your approach to each individual, creating more personalized and engaging conversations.
A 360-degree approach gives you a full range of customer information, including detailed data on each buyer’s online behavior and content interactions.
The more you know about your buyers, the more you can:
- Identify pain points
- Anticipate their needs
- Provide perfect-fit solutions
- Personalize your sales conversations
The more you know about your customers – the more you understand:
- What they want to talk about
- Where they want to talk about it
- What pain points are driving them
All of this knowledge helps you build more engaging sales conversations.
Sales enablement software can provide a 360-degree view of your customers by tracking interactions across channels and providing insights into their preferences and behaviors.
Automate the personalization process to connect with buyers
Personalization continues to be a priority for B2B marketing leaders. In fact, 52% of respondents to a 2020 marketing survey said they planned on increasing their spending on content marketing and personalization technology.
Personalized slide decks can be a powerful tool for facilitating better buyer conversations. By tailoring your presentations to each customer’s specific needs and preferences, you can create more engaging and personalized experiences.
In each slide deck, you can highlight the features and benefits that are most relevant to your customer – demonstrating how your product or service can solve their unique challenges.
With Pitcher’s sales enablement solution, you can automatically populate slide decks with CRM data. This will ensure that your presentations are always up to date and customized for the needs of your prospects. This can save your team members time and energy, so they can focus on what they’re best at – building relationships with customers and closing deals.
Meet customers where they’re at with omnichannel marketing
In a recent report on the “new normal” of our post-pandemic market, McKinsey researchers said:
“B2B buyers aren’t just moving to omnichannel. They’ve arrived. Given the choice of in-person, remote, and e-commerce channels, purchasers have shown they want them all.”
B2B buyers now spend only 17% of the total buying journey with sales reps. This means sales leaders are under pressure to deliver significant value through digital and omnichannel sales experiences.
With omnichannel marketing, you can talk with prospects where they are and create seamless conversations across their preferred channels.
For example, a B2B software company that offers a cloud-based project management tool could implement an omnichannel marketing strategy by:
- Sending an email newsletter to subscribers with updates on the latest features, tips for using the software, and success stories from happy customers.
- Using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to share industry news, promote thought leadership content, and engage with potential customers.
- Creating blog posts, whitepapers, and ebooks that educate potential customers on the benefits of project management software and showcase their expertise in the field.
- Using in-app messaging to notify users about new features, share best practices, and offer tips for using the software more effectively.
An omnichannel approach ensures buyers have access to the information they need, in their preferred format. This makes the buying process more convenient for buyers and helps to build trust and credibility by demonstrating that you are willing to meet your customers on their terms.
By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur in digital channels. So it’s the perfect time to supercharge your omnichannel marketing efforts. Ensure your branding and messaging are consistent across your website, social media, chatbots, and other channels.
Sales enablement software can provide insights and analytics to help sales and marketing teams optimize their omnichannel strategy. This includes tracking which channels are most effective and identifying the most engaging content for your audience.
Create better buyer conversations with sales enablement software
With Pitcher’s sales enablement solutions, you can get a 360-degree view of your customers, customize your marketing assets, and create a streamlined experience across multiple channels.
With these tools at your fingertips, you can supercharge your buyer conversations and ensure you provide value every time you connect.
Interested in learning more about how you can unlock customer data to facilitate better sales conversations? Download our free ebook, Orchestrating Omnichannel Customer Engagement Across Every Buying Stage.
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