The ability to consistently start new sales conversations is a big part of what defines a good sales team. It minimises the risk of underperformance, because your team doesn’t have to wait for new leads to work on.
Opening the conversation is just as important as closing the deal. What is the optimal way for B2B sales teams to regularly open new conversations?
Fundamental methods for opening new contacts in B2B sales
It’s not easy to make your sales team happy and generate just the right amount of new contacts. B2B companies generate new contacts through several channels:
New opens from marketing (inbound leads)
For companies that operate on markets represented by even mediocre levels of competitiveness, building an effective marketing system for inbound sales opens will take a minimum 2 years of work. Opening new contacts this way lacks regularity, because it depends on the success of multiple campaigns.
Without regularity, your sales team either has too many new contacts to handle, or too little to keep busy and maintain a stable deal flow. Marketing often lacks focus and thus generates contacts that don’t fit the desired target group. If it’s the only source of new contacts for your sales team, it can become a serious reason for conflict between sales and marketing teams.
New opens from sales (cold calling)
Cold calling is the least pleasant sales activity. It’s demotivating because your team gets to hear “no” said in many ways that are usually colourful, sometimes mean and in the worst cases – downright offensive. And it’s been abused by companies so much that people have grown to hate unexpected phone calls from salespeople.
Opens from marketing and sales
You may temporarily manage to maintain enough contacts by combining the above methods and generating opens from both marketing and cold calling. On paper this seems fine – new contacts arrive from two sources, so there should always be enough. But how does it affect your sales team’s work?
After combining these strategies your sales team is still heavily engaged in opening up new contacts and starting new conversations, as they receive irregular opens from marketing which forces them to stay on their phones. This complicates your sales team’s work unnecessarily, and blocks them from regulating sales flow.
Solution – Regular New Contacts Without Engaging Sales Team in Opening
Since combining inbound marketing and cold calling isn’t enough for a B2B company that needs to grow, it’s worth looking for a more sufficient solution. It can – and should – still involve inbound marketing in most cases. But cold calling can be abandoned in favor of alternatives that don’t demand as much work from your sales team.
Cold e-mailing – scalable, less demanding method for opening new contacts
In the same time that it takes to call up a single prospect and scout the ground, you can send 100 introduction e-mails to one group of potential customers, and 100 follow-up e-mails to another.
Grouping target customers into several segments allows much more personalisation for e-mail campaigns than call pitches or scripts. And this process also generates much more data. Being able to generate full reports on campaign performance, it’s easier to compare and test messages for specific segments – and this information can be applied to better inbound performance, too.
Combining cold e-mailing with other methods to open new contacts
A healthy mix of inbound marketing and cold e-mailing emerges as the most optimal strategy, one that we advocate the use of, and actively execute at RightHello. Compared to other methods it facilitates regular accumulation of new contacts and it happens at the right pace to keep your sales team satisfied.
If your inbound marketing is in it’s infancy, then cold e-mailing campaigns can be intensified to serve as the main source of new contacts. Your sales team might already be big. It doesn’t make sense for you to abandon cold calling because it works in your case? Combine it with cold e-mailing – if prospects don’t respond to your e-mails, follow-up with a call. This way you can lower the number of unnecessary calls for your sales team and increase their efficiency.
As you can see, in the end cold e-mailing emerged as a kind glue that keeps sales and marketing together. It’s easily scalable and campaigns can be stopped and restarted at any time according to what your team needs. It makes up for the flaws of other fundamental methods of generating sales contacts – and given that it requires much less budget than most of them, it might be a great addition to your sales process.