Today’s B2B and account-based sales teams tend to have one common flaw: they don’t know enough about their prospects or who they really need to be contacting before conducting outreach.
It used to be commonplace for salespeople to contact CEOs and CMOs as a way of gaining access to decision makers. But as technology has advanced, executives are able to isolate themselves from pitches with the aid of email filters, caller ID, and assistants. Going into 2020, sales teams need to know how to identify influencers within organizations, but with blockers in place, this can be very challenging. Then to crank up the complication factor, sales teams need to know how to engage the target individuals once they have been identified.
This article is intended to help sales teams by revealing how growth marketing agencies determine the types of prospects they communicate with–a critical step necessary for increasing sales and directing efforts to the right individuals.
Segmenting Gatekeeper Sales Leads
A gatekeeper will generally be an associate to the decision maker or an executive assistant. Growth marketing agencies have CRMs with additional tech tools that identify sales leads by their titles. If you don’t have access to this type of technology (cost is the main reason why internal sales teams lack the tech tools required in today’s business landscape) salespeople will need to ask the right questions. For example, they will need to ask the contact if they work closely with the executive, and follow up by asking how they prioritize their day.
Some salespeople make the mistake of contacting decision-makers right before the day starts, or just after 5PM when they know the assistant won’t be there. This can be suitable for making initial contact in some cases, but typically members of the C-suite will not respond well to such tactics. However, when it comes to making a sale, communicating with the gatekeeper is advantageous because you can build trust with them, show them the value behind your offerings, and get them to vouch for you.
What’s in it for the Gatekeeper?
Once you have identified the gatekeepers in your sales leads, and you know their roles and responsibilities, and how success is measured within their role, you can improve the sales process by creating custom emails with the right messaging that speaks to those needs. Just make sure this is done while using a context that connects your products or services as being the ultimate solution to the gatekeeper’s professional needs, and their company’s needs.
Ask the Gatekeeper the Right Questions
We already briefly touched upon why making connections with gatekeepers as opposed to going straight for the C-suite is valuable for improving sales. By asking the right questions, you can make them a valuable ally. Asking the right questions can help sales teams get to know the organization and its challenges while gaining valuable insight that can help increase sales.
Some talking points and questions that will build trust with the gatekeeper and help sales teams learn more about their prospect includes:
- What are some of the challenges your company has faced in launching “product X”?
- I see your company is releasing “product Y” in three months. How has the preparation experience been?
- We worked through a similar challenge with a current client of ours. I would be happy to talk to you about the solution that worked for them and see if it or a similar one could work for you.
- Ultimately, why do your customers buy from you, or choose a competitor?
Just make sure you do your research before asking questions. You will want to learn about the gatekeeper by checking their LinkedIn profile, and it is also ideal to see which groups they belong to on social media channels as a way to learn more about their needs and job responsibilities. This data can then be used to engineer custom growth marketing stacks that speed up the sales cycle while generating more high-quality leads.
Connect on Social Media
Don’t limit social selling techniques to your decision-makers; gatekeepers are valuable connections to have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can use social media to see who the gatekeepers are supporting and use that data to engage them with the right content. For example, when you see a prospect sharing an article about a certain topic, you can publicly compliment them on it and share custom content that touches on the same topic with a different angle or that touches on a different solution. This will also create a sense of familiarity and help establish trust before you enter a conversation that will lead to a sales attempt.