The first steps of making a sale are easy.
Select the customer you want to work with, book a meeting with them, and conduct a demo.
Sounds easy, right?
But then comes the scary part: Closing the deal.
A lot of sales reps are intimidated by this part of the process. But it’s a lot easier when you have a plan to follow, and you’ve done research about the prospect upfront. To take the stress out of your next sales call and boost your chances of closing the deal, read through these actionable and easy-to-implement tips.
Derek Wang originally spoke about tips to boost your sales performance at a RevGenius webinar. You can watch the full recording below. Otherwise, keep reading for all the insights. The article has been edited for clarity.
7 proven tips to get the most out of your sales calls
There are a ton of different ways to make your sales calls more productive and successful. From doing research about your prospect upfront to setting up a mutual action plan (MAP), use these tips to figure out where you need to tweak your process to boost your sales pipeline.
1. Do comprehensive research before a sales call
Adequate research helps you familiarize yourself with the prospect’s desired outcomes, their current challenges, and the key decision-makers within the organization.
When conducting research ahead of a sales call, remember that only covering the basics is likely to get you mediocre results. To up your game and improve your chances of impressing the prospect, make sure to:
Review your CRM for existing notes
Scour your CRM software for any previous communications with the prospect. For example, you might find that another sales rep had a close opportunity with the prospect before, but for some reason, the deal fell through. Then, you can use this information to inform your conversation by addressing any previous questions or concerns the prospect had.
Find use cases that fit the prospect you're meeting
Talk to the customer success manager in charge of the account or account executives who have closed similar accounts. They will often have background information on the account or industry that’ll help you offer important insights to the prospect during the sales call.
Do external research
Look up the company online, search for their product on G2, and look up the prospect and the company on LinkedIn. Google will show you what the public can see about the company, like their website and social media pages. G2 will show you what their customers think of them, including any issues they have and who their users are. And LinkedIn will give you insights such as what positions they hire for and how big their company is. All of this information combined gives you a high-level overview of how the prospect's company generates revenue, who their customers are, and what value they offer to them.
The prospect company's funding announcements are a data goldmine (CrunchBase is a great resource for this sort of data). They allow you to see who their competitors are, whether you've worked with them before, and if you have any mutual investors. If the prospect's company is public, look at their annual/quarterly reports. This gives you an idea of their business risks, number of customers or users, and business model.
2. Use a multithreading strategy
Sales multithreading ( the process of building relationships with multiple influencers and decision-makers in the buying organization) can be seen in two different lights:
- Internal multithreading
- External multithreading
Internal multithreading is when you introduce new voices from your company into the call. For example, it could involve including people such as your sales engineers or building peer-to-peer relationships such as introducing your Chief Financial Officer to your prospect’s Chief Financial Officer.
Internal multithreading allows you to make multiple connections between your company and the prospect, encouraging team members from different departments to have conversations about your product and how it can solve the prospect’s problems.
This adds value to the sales call because your team will have more to discuss. For example, by including software engineers, you can answer technical questions about implementation in the moment instead of having to follow up later. Multithreading also removes a barrier by allowing your prospect to provide information and ask questions to someone who isn't a salesperson, like a senior team member or a decision-maker.
External multithreading is when you introduce yourself to multiple decision-makers and influencers on the prospect’s side. For example, the prospect’s manager or the individual in charge of RevOps.
To close the deal, you must ensure that a variety of high-level decision-makers at buying organization are in touch with you and present at meetings. This boosts buying consensus. If you only have a single champion at a prospect's company, they may not be able to single-handedly sell your product to the board or to other important stakeholders. And if they take a job at a different company, you’ll have to start from scratch.
Making multiple contacts at a single company (and tracking job changes, so your contact information is always up-to-date) gives you a better chance of nurturing a lead to make a purchasing decision.
3. Follow up (a lot)
Follow-ups are where all the sales happen. Unfortunately, just 48% of salespeople make follow-up calls at all, even though an average of five are recommended to close 80% of sales.
Good follow-up communication keeps prospect’s interested in your product and allows you to eliminate friction points before they affect a buying decision.
A good sales follow-up strategy begins with expressing gratitude for the meeting and immediately moves on to fulfilling the promise of providing any additional resources you promised on the call. It shows that you were listening to the person by clearly acknowledging their concerns.
Before you follow up with a prospect, try to figure out:
- What excites them the most about your product
- What are their concerns (cost, implementation, integration, etc.)
- What do they believe the next steps are
If you have the answers to those questions upfront, making a strong follow-up call will be effortless.
But how often should you follow up? As mentioned, once doesn’t typically cut it. Don’t be afraid to be persistent — within reason. Send a note to a prospect every 3-8 business days. To capture their attention while your offer is fresh on their mind, increase the frequency of your follow-ups just before and after a meeting or call.
4. Showcase social proof
Social proof — what real users have to say about your product — is one of the most credible forms of marketing there is. In fact, word-of-mouth generates an estimated $6 trillion in yearly worldwide spending and accounts for 13% of all sales.
The two most common sources of social proof include:
- Existing customers: Think case studies, referral calls, and online reviews.
- Non-customer champions: Like investors or executive connections.
Case studies are one of the best tools you can use for social proof as a sales rep. They help prospects visualize how your product solves their problems.
Don’t make your prospects read between the lines when sharing case studies or customer stories. Be specific. Use first names, real numbers, and metrics. Explain why you're sharing that particular story with the prospect and how it relates to their use case.
5. Set up a mutual action plan
A mutual action plan (MAP) identifies the next logical step your prospect should take to explore your solution.
During your call, communicate the value of the next steps, why it’s important for your prospect to have another meeting with you, and what they will get out of it. This generates a sales trigger event, lets the prospect know what to expect going forward, and builds trust with them.
Ultimately, you don’t want to force them into a mutual action plan but instead make it a collaborative effort. Be crystal clear with all your next steps, such as dates, action items, and agreed-upon items in the sales call.
Summarize the MAP in a follow-up email and outline all the details for record-keeping.
6. Strategically reveal expected ROI
Set aside time with your champions to create a business case that combines emotions and logic to demonstrate your product's worth. Remember, the key buyer or decision-maker typically isn't in the room during the sales call.
CEOs or decision-makers often evaluate a solution's business viability as opposed to your champion or end user who’s evaluating your solution’s ability to solve their day-to-day problems. So, prep your champions to effectively weigh in on the internal conversations on your solution’s business case by guiding them through the ROI figures.
However, be realistic with the numbers you offer the prospect. If you only provide your best customers' results, it won’t give them an accurate idea of what to expect. If it sounds too good to be true, they might become skeptical and hesitate to show the business case to anyone. Instead, show them a range of low, medium, and high-expectation scenarios to demonstrate what the results could be if they moved forward with your product or solution.
7. Keep prospecting for a full pipeline
Regardless of how many inbound leads you’re getting, the best way to achieve pipeline acceleration is to keep prospecting.
Work smarter and not harder by automating the lead generation process. Warmer prospects are more likely to attend meetings and close faster. Your warmest leads are typically:
- Previous customers. Even if your champion isn't a decision-maker, they’re still valuable and can influence buying. They assist sales teams in connecting with the right individuals across the business as they move to other companies that suit your ideal customer profile. This is known as the Champion Lifetime value.
- Previously unsuccessful prospects. Some prospects didn't buy from you not because they didn't like your solution but because they lacked the budget or your product didn’t meet their integration requirements. But when prospects switch businesses, there's a new budget and buying committee. And your product may have been updated with new features, giving you a great opportunity to start a new conversation.
- Referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to fill your pipeline. Ask past customers for testimonials, reviews, and referrals once they’re successfully onboarded to build social proof and get easy leads. Or ask for referrals from customers who don't end up buying from you but who you have a positive relationship with.
- New hires or promotions. These folks are often working with a budget and are looking to make changes to the processes and platforms their new organization uses.
Give your AEs the power to nail their sales calls
All sales calls are not equal.
By tracking your customers, former users, and prospects to their new companies with UserGems' always-on pipeline engine, you improve your reps’ chances of success on sales calls.
Former buyers or users of your product are 3X more likely to buy from you again than your average leads. With UserGems, your reps:
- Know when a customer or prospect has joined a target account
- Spend more time selling instead of researching because UserGems automatically creates the prospect in your CRM with their new contact information
- Reach the buyer first, increasing your chances of winning the deal by 74%
Sign up for a free demo of UserGems and discover how you can turn buyer job changes and relationships into revenue.