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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 .

7 steps to generate B2B leads

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We’ve been using this “7 step” diagram with clients to help put some structure on how to approach a B2B ‘demand generation’ project. B2B lead generation and lead management potentially covers a broad range of topics – value propositions, content marketing, lead scoring, website design, Search Engine Optimization,  pay-per-click ads, social media, email marketing, telemarketing, etc.  But at heart, it’s still a question of “what am I trying to sell?” and “who am I trying to sell this to?”  Once you can answer those questions, the rest of the steps flow logically, although you may have to master some new tools to communicate effectively online.  And as we’ve said in previous posts, if you’re a B2B marketer or sales unit and you are not making use of online promotional tools then you better get started.

7 steps to generate B2B leads

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