The world of sales has changed.
In the past, the sales industry was driven by volume. Relationships mattered, but sales was primarily a numbers game. More calls and more emails meant more deals, but the quantity of leads often took priority over the quality of those leads.
Today, sales is driven by insights, selling the right product to the right people at the right time with the most up-to-date B2B data. But what happens when the right person is another sales professional?
Preemptively identifying and overcoming a prospect’s objections is hard enough, but when they know their way around a sales call, it shifts the dynamic of the entire interaction. I spoke with ZoomInfo account executive Karen Hor about how sales professionals can sell effectively to other salespeople and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.
Sell as a Team
Selling to other salespeople requires a distinctly different approach than selling to a typical prospect.
For starters, it’s important to know that most reps simply don’t have the authority to make a purchase decision themselves. This means that to successfully close a sale, reps must approach selling to other salespeople as a collaborative effort.
“As a rep, it’s our responsibility to tell prospects that, if you really want this in your hands, I need their commitment to introduce me to their manager,” Hor says. “I always tell prospects we’re selling as a team.”
Prep the Rep
Many people who don’t sell for a living have little idea of how much administrative overhead the average sales rep is responsible for.
According to data from CSO Insights, just one-third of the average rep’s time is spent selling or engaged in revenue-generating activity. This means that any opportunity you can seize to make your prospect’s life easier is likely to be met with enthusiasm. That includes doing a little extra prep work before engaging a prospect to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“You have to prep the rep,” Hor says. “I always send a PowerPoint deck and talk through why it’s important to choose ZoomInfo over other products.”
Hor says this prep work should focus primarily on the value that a product or service can bring to the prospect and their organization. Helping them see how a product could help them in their day-to-day work makes approaching the sale as a collaborative effort a lot easier. This process can also surface potential selling points a prospect can bring to conversations with their manager.
Forget About Negotiating
Conventional wisdom suggests that, because sales professionals are keenly aware of the tricks of the trade, you should expect to play hardball when it comes to negotiation. However, this ignores the fact that most reps won’t be able to make a buying decision. Negotiating with sales prospects is more likely to be a waste of everyone’s time than it is to result in a closed deal.
“It’s bad practice to ever negotiate with a sales rep,” Hor says. “You don’t negotiate with someone who can’t give you a yes or no. They can’t make the decision, so why bring up the price?”
Instead, Hor recommends focusing on the value the product can offer to secure buy-in from your prospect. Once you’ve secured that buy-in and helped them realize the value your product can bring to their organization, you can let your product do the talking by scheduling a demo.
“Some prospects will say, ‘Oh I’m comparing prices with other vendors,’ to which I often respond, ‘That’s the problem. You’re comparing prices with other vendors. You should be comparing data,’” Hor says. “To preempt this, I’ll sometimes say, ‘Before I give you any price, if you’re going to evaluate other vendors, let us do a bake-off. I’ll give you access to the tool for free. If you like what you see, then I’ll give you the price.’”
Establish a Genuine Connection with Prospects
In today’s world of insight-driven sales, relationships are more important than ever. However, while many salespeople recognize the value of making real connections with prospects, it can still be challenging to do so when you’ve got targets to hit. But it can also be a major advantage, especially if you can create rapport around a sales reps’ motivations.
“When there’s deeper meaning behind people’s work, they often want to work harder,” Hor says. “You can personalize the conversation and be like, ‘Hey, I can help you hit your number. I can help you get your new house. What’s your personal goal?’”
This approach might feel uncomfortable for some reps, but bonding over the day-to-day realities of selling can be a strong foundation for building a lasting relationship and a successful sale.