Want to know a secret that’ll help you build relationships with prospects, accelerate the sales cycle and increase revenue?
The secret: Research and preparation.
No matter which stage of the sales cycle you’re at, there will always be a need for pre-call planning. Without it, you’re not selling—or not as well as you could be.
Here are six tips to keep remember when planning sales calls with prospects.
Tips for Effective Sales Call Planning in 2022
1. Get to Know Your Decision Makers
Knowing the ins and outs of the account, the company and the product is a big part of closing a deal, but if you don’t know anything about the prospect, you’ll have a tough time making any headway.
- What area do they live in, and therefore, when’s the best time to call?
- Do they have buying power? If not, who does?
- Who do they report to?
- Have they celebrated any life milestones recently?
- Where have they previously worked and do you have any common connections?
This may seem small but these tidbits of information can greatly strengthen your pitches.
Remember: The human connection is still a big part of closing a deal, especially in a post-pandemic world where meeting clients face-to-face is less common and building trust with prospects is more challenging than ever.
2. Identify one way you can help the prospect
While your product or service may be able to help them in many ways, information overload is real, which is why the best sales call planning stage should focus on identifying a core problem and centering the conversation around it.
To determine that starting point, look at their “About Us” page, recent press clippings, its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and their “Investor Relations” page. These pieces of content should lift the veil on the company’s go-to-market strategy and help you pick a starting point that’ll resonate with the prospect.
Dig deeper to understand their advertising strategy.
Answer the following questions to get closer to the biggest pain point you can address for your buyer:
Once you have answers to these questions, you’ll have a better understanding if you would be a good fit for the client. Your job isn’t only to sell—it’s to partner with your prospects so they can achieve their goals.
3. Prepare to Ask and Answer Questions
It’s important to focus on one pain point, but that doesn’t mean your call won’t veer off course.
When you’re going through the sales call planning process, prepare answers for potential questions and rebuttals. Think of your primary focus as a tree. The bulk of the conversation will be the trunk, but nothing’s stopping the conversation from branching out to the rest of the tree.
That said, this is a two-way street, so have questions ready for them too. For example, you could ask about previous business relationships or their most pressing challenges. Before your call, make a list of topics you don’t know or want to clarify, discuss them on the call and then use their answers to fuel future conversations.
The better you listen to their responses, the better you will understand their pain points and what they need from an advertising partner. This will guide what you bring to the table in your pitch.
4. Have Physical Support
Don’t obsess over memorizing your entire pitch. Instead, create an outline that includes a profile of the prospect, the information you want to cover, the questions you want to ask and how you’ll respond to pushback.
You should also arm yourself with related marketing materials that can strengthen the conversation. Since selling can be a long-term play that requires multiple touchpoints with prospects, these materials can come in handy as you move through the sales cycle.
5. Prepare a Voicemail
There’s no guarantee a prospect will answer the phone. But don’t let that discourage you. When you’re doing your sales call planning, think of a voicemail as an opportunity to get your point across without objections or questions.
Before dialing the phone, prepare a 30-second version of your pitch that explains why you’re calling and what’s in it for them. Since there won’t be any back-and-forth, lead with the solution and then go into your talking points. The impression you give on this voicemail may be the difference between getting a meeting or never hearing from them again.
6. Understand Their Advertising Strategy
Don’t overlook the company’s advertising strategy as a source of inspiration when planning your sales call.
- How do they allocate their ad spend and which products are they promoting?
- Do they use linear TV, digital, mobile, email, print and programmatic?
- Did they increase their ad spend or recently start placing with your competition?
- Which DSPs, SSPs, exchanges or native platforms are they using?
- Are they using newer ecosystems such as OTT and TV anywhere?
- How are they preparing for a world without third-party cookies?
- How is my prospect changing its advertising strategy?
With this information, you can make informed decisions regarding your positioning and how you’ll recommend campaigns, frequency, pricing and how you’ll separate yourself from the competition.
Setting Yourself Up for Success With Sales Call Planning
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sales call planning. Each plan and call will differ based on the status of your business, the prospect and their challenges. However, there are steps you should take before every call to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and giving yourself every opportunity to win.