“Could you please repeat that? You are who and calling about what?”
Having a lack of name recognition is one of the major dilemmas faced by middle market companies. Maybe they’ve never heard of you or they claim to only deal with big, trusted brands. Of course, we know that our size has perks, like less bureaucracy and the speed and agility to pivot as needed. And, yet, the lack of the name recognition majestically afforded to enterprise corporations (i.e., Microsoft, Oracle, Pfizer, IBM, Dow Chemical, etc.) is often the culprit of a stalled sales pitch. However, overcoming this obstacle isn’t as difficult as you may think. Below are Do’s and Don’ts to help your sales team hurdle over this objection and move the sale forward.
- Don’t acquire more leads…yet. Companies look to increase inbound leads, but the path to revenue most often happens by more effectively converting the ones you already have. One top report cites that only 27% of leads are actually reached while 35-64% never get contacted at all. Focus first on implementing a consistent method of outreach and follow-up, measure its effectiveness and once you are satisfied with that, then open the flood gates for investing in more leads!
- Do communicate your value. Embrace your middle market status and succinctly tell why that will be an advantage for them. Can your product offering be customized and quickly modified? Can you provide same-day, on-site support if requested? Arm yourself with a list of unique benefits you can offer (and you know darn well a larger company sales rep would never have authority to approve). Showcase your agility and nimbleness to win them over.
- Don’t hire more reps. It may seem like the most logical way to increase sales, but it’s expensive to hire reps and ROI isn’t immediate. Top recruiters have cited the average cost of a new sales hire at nearly $60K. Instead, train your existing reps and provide them with superior tools to succeed. This will be far less costly and more profitable in both the short and long term. Remember, if you haven’t trained your reps to prospect efficiently and effectively, having more of them won’t help.
- Do use social media but Don’t hide behind email. Social media is a great way to gather information so prior to a call, visit LinkedIn and other professional social sites to learn more about key decision makers, and identify other possible contacts within the organization. Look for any commonalities you share that could serve as ice-breakers and make a note of any achievements or awards you can refer to and comment on. Email definitely has a place in prospecting and sales but emails don’t sell—people do. So while it is always appropriate to send follow-up emails, don’t rely on it to do your job for you.
The key to success in the prospect phase for B2B middle market sales teams is clearly identifying the superior aspects of your solutions and embracing the benefits of your non-enterprise size. Being free from the weight of a bulky bureaucracy is a great selling point. When you are nimble and able to quickly provide customizations and resolutions that adapt to their evolving needs without the ‘red tape’, your lack of name recognition actually becomes your biggest asset.
Mike Scher is CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, www.FRONTLINESelling.com, creators of StaccatoTM, a leading sales software which removes the ‘trial and error’ of prospecting by standardizing the process across company sales teams. Leveraging their proven methodology, FRONTLINE has helped thousands of middle market companies convert more leads into opportunities, consistently hit quota and close more deals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.