[editor’s note: Gaurang is a real inside sales “Ninja” out on the front lines of technology sales. He prospects every day for a living in a very competitive environment. You can follow him on Twitter at @GaurangTanna and add him on LinkedIn at GaurangTanna]
Over the last five years of my ‘100% outbound, no SEO strategy’ B2B sales career, I’ve watched social media change from being just an avenue to keep intouch with friends to being the most critical element of the B2B sales process.
‘Customer 2.0’ that many industry sales experts have talked & blogged about is real. They use the same channels as you do to obtain information. Most importantly, ‘Customer 2.0’ is an expert in ignoring the countless cold calls and emails they receive daily.
The key to maximizing the sales results you desire not to make more cold calls, but rather to turn your cold calls into warmer ones. The key to that is to put yourself in ‘Customer 2.0’s shoes.
Here are 4 simple ways I have found to turn a cold call into a warmer one:
1] Google your prospect
A simple search can yield a pot of gold. There is a strong likelihood of you finding your prospect’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles; perhaps even their personal blog. Once you find their profiles, see if you share a mutual connection on any of these services. Take a few minutes to look through the content; find an interesting tidbit to talk about briefly on your initial call or email.
2] Know if you share a mutual connection
Nothing breaks the ice faster than a referral or an introduction from a mutual connection. If you know someone working at your target company, leverage that connection. It’s good to keep in mind that you’re not asking for a sale but rather for a conversation. I’ve noticed that as I’ve built my LinkedIn network, referrals from mutual connections have been key in adding trust and shortening my sales cycle.
3] Know their background
If you find yourself calling from a list, take a few minutes to do a quick LinkedIn search of the prospect and their company (which will yield other key decision makers as well). There’s a good chance that you’ll have an “aha” moment when you spot a familiar company in their past employers.
4] Know their competitors
After you secure a new customer start thinking about your customer’s competitors. Prospects are acutely aware of their competition. The chances of a prospect taking you seriously increases greatly when they know you’ve done work for a competitor in a similar space.