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Add Value at Every Interaction

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Every time you interact with someone in a sales process there are one of two outcomes – a positive one, where things are more likely to progress, or a negative one, where things are less likely to progress.

If you work at adding value each time you interact with someone, you are more likely to get to a positive result.

Two Business to Business (B2B) Sales Types

There are two types of sales in Business-to-Business (B2B) :

  • Low value, transactional – for example, buying photocopier paper.
  • High value, complex – for example, buying a $200k software system.

Be prepared for the long haul

A higher cost, complex sale means it is a higher risk decision for your buyer. They won’t get fired for buying the wrong photocopier paper, but they could get fired for buying the wrong software system.

Because the decision is higher risk, there are usually more people involved in the decision.

And because of the perceived risk and the number of participants, the decision process tends to move forward slowly.

So, when you work in the high value, complex category, your sales cycle is longer – anywhere from 3 months to 12 months or more.

Long sales cycles mean lots of interactions

This means there will be a lot of interactions with your buyer.

You need to move forward patiently – not continually looking for the sale.

Don’t just periodically hit them up via email or LinkedIn to tell them you are “just checking back”.

Every time you interact with the buyer, you are either making things better or worse.

So how do you ensure you move forward to your end goal – a closed sale?

Adding value

The answer is to consciously think about how you can add value every time you send an email or have a call with your prospective customer.

When the call or email is finished, how will they have benefited?

Ways to Add Value

You cannot add value if you don’t understand your customer.

So, the first step is to pay attention– make sure you understand what they do, what their business is like, and what their top concerns are.

Then the ways you can add value are:

  • Tell them something they didn’t know – are you able to offer an insight that they won’t have seen before?
  • Tell them what their peers are doing – speak about what you have learned from working with other businesses like them.
  • Help them think about something in a new way – challenge some of the ideas they have, based on your experience.
  • Show them relevant research they might not otherwise see – highlight news, articles or research that you think will be relevant and interesting to them based on their role and business.
  • Help them become better at their job – point out industry best practices and other resources that will help them become more effective at what they do.

To really add value, you need to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and become an expert in some aspect of what you do.

This means that you can position yourself as a guide to the buyer over time.

Adding value will produce good outcomes

Part of working in B2B sales is learning to have patience.

Your sales process may take a few months. And that means lots of emails, calls and conversations.

If you make an effort to add value each time you are in contact with a buyer, the process will become easier.

Your prospective buyers will begin to appreciate your calls and emails, and will become more open to the next interaction. That will help you progress to the next stage in your sale.

And outside of the sales process, it is simply a good habit to think about how you can add value when you interact with other people.

Being a positive contributor over time will eventually work out for you.

You may not know when it will have a positive impact on your own goals.

But in business as in life, there is a form of karma. What you put out in the world will eventually come back to you in a positive way.

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and CEO of Motarme, the Sales Technology and Services vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn .

How to Prepare For a Sales Call

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Congratulations! Your B2B sales prospect has agreed to take a call. Now what?

When it comes to B2B sales, preparation for your sales call increases your chances of success. Achieving success requires more than just having a standard sales pitch that you can rattle out at every meeting. You need to do some homework so you can tailor your call to the person you are speaking to. The more prepared you are for a sales call the more likely you are to progress your deal.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a sales call in order to make the most out of the conversation and land that crucial new business.

First, set your objectives for this first call

In business-to-business sales, if this is your first call with the prospect, then your goal is not to close the deal. Your goals are to

  • “Qualify” – confirm they potentially need what you have to sell and
  • “Advance” – have them agree to engage in the next step in the process.

Use this first call to confirm the target company has a problem you can solve, and that the person you are talking to has the authority and potentially a budget to move things forward.

Call Preparation and the Rule of 3

The rule of 3 is a simple concept where you take 3 minutes before the call to find out 3 things about the prospect and their company that will be relevant to your call.

Research your Prospect and their Company

Doing “Rule of 3” research is good but not sufficient.  You should take time to do your homework so you can have a better call.

Firstly, you picked the prospect for a reason before you reached out to them (or at least I hope you did). So you should have some information on them already i.e. their location, industry sector, business size, the person’s role and why you thought they were a good prospect in the first place.

By checking out the prospect’s company website and sources like Crunchbase you can confirm details like company size, recent funding, any recent news, and what types of customers or industry sector they sell to.

You should also check the contact’s LinkedIn profile. Check their role, past experience, education and the number of employees at their company.

If you can get some idea of their business model, industry, company size and challenges before the call you will be able to tailor the call to suit their needs.

Doing these pre-call checks also helps to avoid stupid mistakes e.g. assuming you are talking to a mid-level manager when you in fact are talking with a C-level executive with real influence. It will also help you assess if the person is likely to have particular experience in your solution area. Are you pitching to a high-level generalist, or to a specialist who will be familiar with your product category and your competitors?

Develop Talking Points and a Script

This might be an obvious point, but you should have an outline of what you want to say.

Most salespeople have a standard sales pitch. But just rattling out the standard pitch on every call will not produce good results. You need to tailor your pitch to the person you are speaking to.

By writing down what you know about the prospect, it helps you stay on track and ensure you cover all the key points you want to make. Also by having a rough script it will improve the relevance of your pitch.

Running the meeting

On this first call, listen more than you talk – “God gave us two ears and one mouth”. Sales technology firm Gong.io has analyzed hundreds of thousands of sales calls. They have found that where sales people do most of the talking, deals do not progress. Where the customer does most of the talking, deals do progress.

This does not mean you barrage the prospect with lots of questions. But it does mean you listen and try to diagnose what problems they have.

When you are confident the prospect has a problem you can solve, agree to a next action that helps you progress to your end goal – for example, a demo, or an outline proposal or a date for a follow-up call.

Add Value at every Interaction

When someone agrees to a call with you, they expect that either you can solve a problem they have, or you can tell them something they do not already know.

They are expecting to gain something from the conversation.

The book “The Challenger Sale” suggests you should also challenge the prospect and how they do things today, using your insight to show them a better way.

So for this first call, and all other subsequent calls, think about what you can provide to the prospect to make the call worthwhile – “Add value at every interaction”.

Other rules of thumb

There are some other basic rules of thumb when a contact agrees to a call:

  • Respond to the prospect’s email as quickly as possible.
  • Send a calendar invite as soon as the day and date are agreed.
  • Be on time for the call.
  • Respect the prospects’ time and do not let the meeting run over.

Anticipate Objections

There’s an old saying that the best sales guys are those who can handle the most objections. Be prepared for objections and think about how you can respond to them.

This can be done by addressing common concerns or by providing case studies or customer references. You could also organize a call with a client and your prospect which will help to build credibility and alleviate any concerns.

Close the Call and Set Next Steps

As the call comes to an end, summarize the key points that were discussed in the meeting and ask if they have any additional questions or concerns.

Then make it clear what you see as the next step in the process, and ask the prospect to agree to that next step. This could be to review an outline proposal, or to schedule an online demo, or to put a follow-up call in both your diaries. Whatever the next action is, you should mutually agree it before the call finishes.

If the prospect is interested but cannot commit to a next action right now, identify some way to maintain contact e.g. by adding them to your company’s newsletter list, or specifying a date for check in call in the near future.


Getting a contact to agree to a call in B2B sales is a great first step, but it’s important to have a plan in place to make the most of the opportunity.

Do your research on the prospect and their company. Then set objectives and plan your pitch. During the call actively listen to your prospect and ask open ended questions to gather more information. Make sure you provide value to them during the call – tell them something they don’t already know. Address any concerns and finally end the call with a set of clear next steps.

By following these tips, you can increase your chance of success and winning the deal.

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and CEO of Motarme, the Sales Technology and Services vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn .

How do you know you are hitting the correct Target Audience?

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Sales lead generation means finding people who you think could be potential customers and connecting with them to see if they will buy what you are selling.

In our experience about 70% of the success of a lead generation campaign is down to who you target, and the other 30% is down to what you say to them (your messaging).

So, if you want to succeed at lead generation, you need to put effort into searching for the right people.

Why Is Accurate Targeting Important?

Better response rates

Firstly, if you target the right people, they are more likely to respond.

For example, if you are selling accounting software and try contacting every C-level executive at a target company, you are not going to get a response from a lot of those people because (obviously) they don’t need your product.

If you instead focus mostly on Finance roles and people who hold P&L responsibilities, the response will be better.

Better sales conversion rates

Lead qualification is an important part of the sales process. It happens after you generate the lead and give it to the sales team. They have to qualify the lead to ensure the person has a real requirement for your product or service and, just as importantly, can access the money to pay for it.

If your sales team is spending more time disqualifying leads than qualifying, then you are targeting the wrong people and wasting your sales team’s time.

If you are careful, ensuring you are targeting the correct audience, you will generate more qualified leads than disqualified and your sales people will make better use of their time.

Shorter sales cycles

One final way to know if you are hitting the correct targets is the length of the sales process. If your sales cycle should normally take 4 months but you notice it is taking a lot longer with new leads, then you could be targeting the wrong audience.

Defining your Target Audience

Your target audience is a specific group of people you want to target because you think they are most likely to buy your products or services.

A target audience is a subset of your target market.  For example, your target market could be financial services companies, but your target audience could be IT managers at mid-size banks.

It is important to define who your target audience is, understand what their needs are, and how your product or service can fulfil those needs.

Finding Contacts That Match Your Target Audience Profile

The first step in defining your target audience is to look at your existing customers to create an Ideal Customer Profile. The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a simplified description of which companies you sell to most successfully.

Which sectors do you sell to, within those sectors, what roles do you typically sell to and what size of company?

You can get this information by looking over your sales for the previous 2 years and categorizing the companies by sector and size, then identifying who was the main point of contact during the sale.

You can expand this Ideal Customer Profile by researching your industry and competition to identify other promising target profiles that you don’t currently serve.

For example, targeting a new sector, or a new company size, or a new country.

Once you have a clear understanding of who you want to target, you can identify contacts that match that profile, and then create messaging tailored specifically to them and their needs.

How do you know your target profile is right?

One way to know if you are hitting the correct targets is to analyse the level of engagement – how are they responding when you try to connect with them?

Do some groups respond at a higher rate than others? Do people with certain roles or industry sectors or company sizes respond more often?

You can measure engagement across each of the channels you use to connect with target customers.

For outbound email your first measure of engagement is “how many positive responses are we getting – are we generating sales calls”? You also look at open rates to see if some groups open at a better rate than others. And you check if some people are opening multiple emails in a sequence, which indicates some interest in what you are saying, even if they have not responded yet.

For social media, you can use the analytics dashboards on LinkedIn, Twitter and other platforms to measure engagement using metrics like likes, comments, shares, followers etc.

For your website, you can cross-check the impact of your outreach activities against your website analytics data so you can see if you get visits from people you are targeting.

But note that while shares, comments and site visits are all welcome, the real measure of successful targeting are responses – a reply from a target contact saying “Yes, I’m interested in what you are selling and I’d like to talk”.


Targeting is 70% of the success in lead generation.

Follow the simple steps above to make sure you are targeting the right people.

We also provide some related articles on How to select a target market and How to write Outbound Emails when reaching out to your target audience that you may find useful.

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and CEO of Motarme, the Sales Technology and Services vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn .

How to Write Outbound Emails

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Writing Outbound Emails

“Outbound email” means reaching out systematically to people who fit your target customer profile using email. 

You can be more effective if you follow these tips and guidelines.

Note on the overall approach

  • Outbound lead generation is based on sending a succinct email with a clear call to action to someone who matches your target profile.
  • Outbound sales is a well-established approach among B2B technology companies – it is used by 75% of US tech companies according to a Gartner survey on sales technology usage.
  • That means there is lots of data to show what works in terms of email structure, content, length etc.
  • Outbound emails are more like the ‘direct response’ ads you see in newspapers and magazines than typical marketing or web marketing copy.
  • The language you use is usually shorter and more direct.
  • It should also look like an email you would send to a work colleague or friend – not like a marketing email you are sending to thousands of recipients.

Be careful about who you target

  • As a rule of thumb, we tell clients that about 60% of the success of outbound sales campaigns is based on the accuracy of who you target, 10% on your subject line and 30% on your messaging.
  • So think carefully about who you will target. Have a clear idea of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Your ICP is a summary of who you have been successfully selling to e.g. “Plant Operations Managers at Food Manufacturing firms with 100 to 200 employees”.
  • A good Ideal Customer Profile is one that, if we had 10 people matching that profile in a room, you’d expect to have serious sales interest from at least 5 of them.

The subject line

  • People will never get to hear about how great your product or service is if they don’t read your email in the first place.
  • The subject line is what people use to decide whether to open your email or not.
  • Some general rules for subject lines include:
  • Length – keep it to 10 words or less
  • Not too specific – do not try to summarize the content of the email in the subject line as that is likely to cause a percentage of recipients to think they can ignore it. 
  • Clear about purpose – recipients should not be surprised that you are seeking to make contact with them, so it’s best to signal that in the subject line
  • Don’t “bait and switch” – do not suggest one offer in the subject line and then either ignore it or contradict it in your actual email copy.
  • A/B test different subject lines – send one subject line to half a list, and an alternative subject line to the other half, and see which gets opened more often.

Think about the person receiving the email

  • “Bad first date syndrome” is when you talk too much about yourself, and not about the person you are with.
  • Well, that’s true for sales emails too. They won’t work if you talk too much about yourself or your company or product.
  • When we open an email most of us are thinking “WIIFM” – “what’s in it for me”. You need to answer that as quickly as you can.
  • The StoryBrand framework recommends that you make your customers “the hero of your story.”
  • The framework recommends that you ask yourself
  • What does the hero want?
  • Who or what is preventing the hero from getting what they want?
  • What will the hero’s life look like if he or she gets (or does not get) what they want?
  • Now try to create a first draft email focused on your potential customer (“the hero”) addressing these points.

Time is a factor – keep it quick

  • Because these messages are email based, time is a key factor.
  • Recipients decide to read or delete a message within 3 to 6 seconds.
  • And when they decide to read the message, time is still a factor – most recipients are looking for a quick reason to delete or ignore your message.
  • This means you need to communicate “What in it for me?” (WIIFM) very quickly – ideally by the 1stor 2nd  paragraph.

Ideal email length

  • Industry studies suggest that shorter is almost always better than longer when it comes to emails.
  • Marketing email vendor Campaign Monitor suggests the ideal length is between 50 and 150 words. Constant Contact found that it was about 200 words.
  • We are not that prescriptive – longer emails can work, if the additional text provides valuable information.
  • But as a rule of thumb, we try to stay at around the 200 word length or less.

Structure, sentence length and sentence complexity

  • For business communications, especially outbound emails, simple short sentences work better.
  • Simple short paragraphs work better too.
  • Sentences and paragraphs should communicate a key concept, not multiple concepts.
  • A study by Boomerang found that emails written at a “third-grade reading level” had the highest response rate.
  • They performed 36% better than those written at a college reading level.
  • This isn’t because recipients are stupid, but because shorter sentences are easier to scan, understand and respond to, no matter how smart you are.
  • We recommend an average sentence length of 15 to 18 words.
  • Complexity is when you have complex phrases separated by commas, or complex terminology that is unexplained. Avoid complexity in your emails.
  • You should keep sentence structure as simple as you can.
  • One of the simplest ways is to break long, complicated sentences into shorter, simpler ones.

Use of ‘You’ and ‘Your’

  • We recommend that you use the words ‘you’ and ‘yours’ in the first sentence and frequently throughout the email.
  • This is because it creates greater engagement with the recipient.
  • It also helps you avoid writing sentences that are too abstract or disconnected from the recipient’s needs.

Getting to the point

  • Put the important stuff up front. Whatever people see or read first, they will assume that is your primary focus.
  • Put the most important facts, information and observations at the start. Try to order this by what is likely to be important to the recipient.
  • Readers should understand what you are trying to communicate to them and ask of them within 2 paragraphs. If they are confused, they will not respond.
  • Emails should explain “What’s in it for me?” really quickly. Make it clear why should they respond, and how will they benefit.


  • Your message should persuade the recipient;
  • that they have a need that is worth addressing
  • that is is worth addressing now and
  • that you can address it.
  • The first part is important – people may be aware something is a problem, but they may not think it’s a big enough problem to actually do something about it.
  • You need to overcome that inertia.
  • Use the Need-Outcome-Solution-Evidence (NOSE) structure to persuade them.
  • NOSE means:
    • briefly describing their need and why it’s a big deal,
    • explaining the outcome if that need could resolved,
    • describe what your solution looks like, and
    • provide evidence you can deliver.

Call to action

  • You need to make it clear what you want the recipient to do in response to your email – this should be crystal clear.
  • If you want to have a phone call with them, say so, explaining how they will benefit.
  • Make the call to action “low commitment” – something that is easy to say yes to.
  • So instead of asking if they are free for a physical meeting or hour long phone call, ask instead if they are free for 5-minute web call.
  • Do not have more than one call-to-action in any email.
  • For example, don’t ask for a phone call and then also ask that they download a brochure.
  • Every additional call to action dilutes the overall impact through confusion (“what do they want me to do?”) and reduces the response rate.

Active / Passive voice

  • Passive voice is where you say, “a solution was delivered”. Active voice is where you say, “we delivered the solution”.
  • For email, Active voice is always better.

The Tom Sant Checklist

As a final piece of advice, we have adapted a checklist from Dr Tom Sant’s “Persuasive Business Proposals” that we think is useful

  • Have I accurately identified my audience?
  • Do I understand what they need?
  • Do I know what their likely decision criteria will be?
  • Have I used the words ‘you’ and ‘yours’ at the start and frequently throughout the email?
  • Have I kept my email short?
  • Have I avoided cliches and jargon?
  • Have I used active voice?
  • Have I expressed myself clearly?
  • Are my sentences short and simple?
  • Have I eliminated jargon?
  • Have I eliminated unnecessary detail?
  • Do I have a clear call to action?

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and CEO of Motarme, the Sales Technology and Services vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn .



What is Account Based Marketing?

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Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing (ABM) means ‘love-bombing’ selected target companies by contacting multiple individuals at the company using multiple tactics, from email through to ads and social media. ABM contrasts with other B2B marketing approaches which target a lot of individual leads across many organisations using one tactic at a time.

For example, standard B2B marketing might use online ads to target a wide geographic area and pull in a range of visitors as potential leads. In contrast, an ABM ad campaign is tightly focused on specific target companies as part of a coordinated sequence of tactics.

The term has surged in popularity in the past 2 years – this is the Google Trends graph for the phrase ‘account based marketing’:


ABM is not a new concept, but new technologies make it possible to implement account based marketing more effectively, particularly through “IP-based targeting”. ABM is sometimes used to refer specifically to ad targeting based on people’s IP addresses – it is the most effective way to target enterprise B2B clients using online advertising.

So if you have 30 contacts from “Acme corporation”, 15 of whom are from the same office location, you can plan your marketing, primarily your online advertising, to target those 15 individuals.

There is some crossover with marketing automation. Marketing automation systems usually use cookies to track users while most new ABM systems use IP addresses to track individuals. This means marketing automations require some initial interaction with someone before you can personalize your marketing toward them. Account Based Management systems can target people even before that interaction, based on their IP address.

As mentioned in a Clickz article “5 things to know about Account Based Marketing”,

“Account-based marketing is only going to get bigger in the future because it allows you to buy one highly personalized ad, in real time, for one account. Consider the following situation: You’re trying to sell to GE, and you know you have a person in a buying cycle, but want to make sure you can reach all of the other decision-makers with relevant information about your brand. Account-based marketing would allow you to show ad impressions only to the GE employees from the office you are targeting, in real time, with a very small advertising budget. You may only get 40 ad impressions, but those impressions are by the correct people, at the correct time. This is the future of B2B marketing — a combination of 1:1 marketing and online advertising methodologies.”

ABM is an example of the alignment of Sales and Marketing teams. Using the ABM approach companies can integrate marketing tactics in support of specific sales goals at key target accounts.

To get started you don’t have to buy an ABM system – just begin thinking about how best to target your ideal accounts:

  • List the customers you most want to target
  • Identify individuals at those organizations using LinkedIn and other resources
  • Create custom content for those customers where that makes sense e.g. a case study or video specifically targeting their needs
  • Use Outbound Lead Generation to initiate contact
  • Use Online Marketing – your website, blog, social media, email marketing – to interact with your targets
  • Test IP-based display ads at small scale to see how they work for you
  • Consider other higher cost tactics like business lunches and other invite-only events as a way to further target your ideal customers.

Here are some good additional resources on ABM:


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