Purchase behavior has changed radically in recent years, but today, more than ever, networking is the key to sales effectiveness. Networking is about meeting potential customers and leads, and building a relationship with them, with the goal of being in the right place at the right time to be considered when an opportunity arises.
Every sales team engages in networking, but in our current sales landscape, where customers are well informed and savvy, your sales team must be trained to make sales networking a prioritized strategy. Here are five tips to help your sales team network like rock stars.
1. Pick Your Moment
When a Customer has already identified a problem and is researching solutions, they typically have determined 60% of their purchasing needs. These customers tend to commoditize supplier relationships and are price focused. Identifying and targeting businesses that are not yet in a buying cycle can be a competitive advantage. By helping these businesses understand new trends in their industry, or providing considerations on how to improve their business, your team develops a position of leadership.
2. Collect Insight Driven Data
When your team engages with a customer or prospect, they continuously gather information or insights about the buyer and the organization. If you standardize and capture key insights you will be able to discern when a business could potentially benefit from your solution even if they do not yet perceive the need. As you refine this process you can develop filters to identify the potential of your prospects, the probability of closure and the energy to invest.
Collection of insight data in a form, other than text, to permit aggregation, analysis and use in the selection of content, value and strategy is critical for your success.
3. Give as Much as You Receive (Or More)
Networking isn’t just about collecting data and making a sale. For networking to be a successful, you have to give generously. You are offering expert insights and advice, information, and help. Your team should understand that the goal is to position themselves as trusted advisors, experts whose opinions should be sought out. When networking is as much as how your sales team can help others with their expert knowledge, as it is about who they can sell to, it will be a rewarding investment of time.
4. Get Everyone on Board
Close the loop between sales and marketing and make sure that you are supporting the networking and engagement goals of your sales team. You want to produce material that supports delivering unique insights and helps position your company as thought leaders in your industry. Marketing efforts and sales processes need to dovetail so that your sales team has the information of great value to your market.
Older sales management models have sales people looking for decision makers who have an immediate need. Effective networking significantly broadens that base. Target contacts and create allies at different levels of an organization. Networking is an effective tool in skilled hands. Give your sales team the training and tools they need to light up their networking and support it with an insight selling strategy.