The Science of Lead Qualification in Your Sales Process

Not all sales leads are created equal. Some have a strong intent to buy, while others are essentially just window shopping. To ensure you pursue the right leads, you need a proven lead qualification framework that helps you separate the wheat from the chaff.

In this post, I’ll discuss the science of lead qualification and walk you through a step-by-step process to quickly sort through leads and find the best of the best.

Create an Ideal Customer Profile

Before doing anything else, you’ll need to articulate exactly who you’re trying to reach with your sales and marketing. What does your ideal customer look like? What’s their budget? What are their pain points?

These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to find answers to. Upon finding these answers, this will guide the subsequent steps in the process so you’ll not only know what types of leads to aggressively pursue, but also which ones to back off on.

One of the easiest ways to identify your ideal customer is to create an ideal customer profile (ICP). Here’s a sample template to get you started.

After your ICP is fleshed out, you’re ready for the next step.

Use Lead Scoring To Assign a Numerical Value to Leads

Once you clearly understand who you’re trying to reach, as well as who isn’t a high-priority lead, I suggest using lead scoring. If you’re unfamiliar, lead scoring is a type of software that analyzes leads based on critical criteria and assigns them a numerical value.

Say, for instance, a lead visited your pricing page or submitted a form. They would be given a certain amount of points. Or, if someone performed an action that would lower their chances of converting, like unsubscribing from your email, they would receive a point deduction.

After a lead scoring software crunches all the numbers, each lead is given a quantifiable score.

In turn, you can objectively determine how qualified a lead is. For those who aren’t qualified, you can nurture them until they are qualified or scrap them altogether if need be. And for those who are qualified, you can go even more granular to see which ones have the highest scores, so you’ll know who to prioritize.

Say, for instance, one lead received a score of 85…

…and another lead received a 91.

You would want to make the one with a 91 a bigger priority than the one with an 85 because they’ve shown a stronger intent to buy. As long as this lead meets an adequate amount of ideal candidate profile criteria, they would be someone you would want to quickly pursue.

If you’re wondering about lead scoring platforms, one of my favorites is Active Campaign.

It’s simple and intuitive and lets you score leads on a wide variety of actions, including the following.

Besides that, it automatically notifies team members when you have a hot lead on your hands. And for those that reach a certain score but aren’t scorching hot, Active Campaign will initiate nurturing to warm them up. This brings us to our next point.

Break Leads Down into MQLs and SQLs

We’ve touched on the importance of distinguishing between warm and hot leads. But let’s dive a bit deeper.

One of the best ways to separate qualified leads further is by ranking each as either a:

  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL) — Someone who’s in the awareness or interest stage of the sales funnel
  • Sales qualified lead (SQL) – Someone who’s in the decision or action stage

While this, admittedly, could be seen as an oversimplification, it’s an effective way to determine who’s sales-ready and who needs some more time. MQLs get sent to your marketing team, and SQLs get sent to your sales team.

That way, you’re only focusing on the cream of the crop — something that’s almost guaranteed to maximize your conversion rate. Needless to say, this can spill over to benefit you in several other areas, including better marketing ROI, more sales, more revenue, and so on.

And if you’re dealing with a high volume of leads (which hopefully you are), breaking leads down into MQLs and SQLs can be huge for streamlining lead distribution.

Use Analytics and Feedback to Further Improve Your Process

While some level of intuition may be helpful in lead qualification, I find that objective data tends to have the biggest impact. After implementing the three steps mentioned above and giving it some time for data to accumulate, I suggest using a mix of analytics and human feedback to see what’s working and what needs fine-tuning.

The simplest way to go about this is to look at your overall conversion rate. If it’s higher than what you expected, the current system is working and probably doesn’t need much tinkering. However, if it’s underwhelming, you’ll need to make some adjustments, which may include updating your ideal candidate profile or being more rigorous with who qualifies as an SQL rather than an MQL.

Also, getting direct feedback from your sales team can be extremely helpful. Because they’re in the trenches, they can tell you firsthand if there are any hiccups in your lead qualification process that need to be addressed.

Getting Lead Qualification Down to a Science

Whatever industry you’re in, the goal is the same. Find the leads who are the most likely to convert into customers and pursue them above lesser-qualified leads.

Doing this effectively boils down to three main steps — creating an ideal candidate profile, using lead scoring to give each lead a concrete value, and breaking leads down into MQLs and SQLs. That way, you can proceed with relative certainty that the leads you route to sales have a strong likelihood of buying.

And by making iterative improvements over time, you’ll only get better and better.

To find top-tier salespeople who can close more of the leads you send their way, use HireDNA to build an all-star team.

B2B Conversion Rate Benchmarks: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

Comparing your business with other competitors in your industry, apples to apples, is one of the most straightforward ways to determine your performance. Having quantifiable data to reference provides objective insights so you know what the average is and how your company fares. 

Hands down, one of the most important benchmarks for B2Bs to assess is conversion rate. Having a concrete number lets you know what to expect at scale and how much effort (if any) you need to put into improving in this area. 

So let’s get right into it. Here are recent B2B conversion rate benchmarks based on 2020 data from SEO Agency, First Page Sage. 

How They Define Conversion Rate

For this particular study, Evan Bailyn of First Page Sage defines conversion rate as “the percentage of visitors to a company’s website that became qualified leads. It’s calculated by dividing qualified leads into total website visitors.” 

To be totally clear, “‘qualified lead’ is an event where a member of your target audience makes contact with your company either passively (e.g. downloading a report or joining a mailing list) or actively (requesting a sales call).”

With HireDNA, for example, a qualified lead would be someone who requests a demo, as this would be the point where we can officially begin outreach and explain how our product can help them find A+ talent in their industry. 

Their Findings

First Page Sage analyzed B2B companies across 25 different industries, which is important given that conversion rates can vary considerably between industries. Businesses in the B2B software/SaaS industry, for example, have one of the lower conversion rates at just 1.1% on average, while those in the legal services industry have the highest at 7.4%.

Here’s a full breakdown of all 25 industries from lowest conversion rates to highest.

  • Computer product manufacturing – 1.1%
  • B2B software/SaaS – 1.1%
  • Scientific testing and measurement – 1.3%
  • Higher education – 1.4%
  • Commercial insurance – 1.7%
  • Solar energy – 1.8%
  • Investment and wealth management – 1.9%
  • Commercial construction – 1.9%
  • Pharmaceutical sales – 2%
  • Call center and customer service – 2%
  • Rehabilitation and recovery – 2.1%
  • Industrial IoT – 2.2%
  • PCB design and manufacturing – 2.3%
  • Engineering design and software – 2.3%
  • Shipping and logistics – 2.7%
  • Commercial real estate – 2.8%
  • Industrial manufacturing and equipment – 3%
  • Lending and loan servicing – 3%
  • Commercial energy management – 3.1%
  • Medical device and equipment manufacturing – 3.1%
  • HVAC services – 3.3%
  • IT staffing and services – 3.5%
  • Staffing services – 5.1%
  • Point of sale (POS) services – 7%
  • Legal services – 7.4%

To let you see what this looks like visually, here’s a graph from First Page Sage. 

Insights from This Data

The fact that an average conversion rate can be as low as 1.1% in the case of computer product manufacturing and B2B software and as high as 7.4% with legal services shows firsthand how much it can vary depending on the industry. There are a ton of different variables that factor into conversion rate — everything from site layout and overall aesthetics to copywriting and mobile-friendliness can impact it. 

But at the end of the day, B2Bs in certain industries can expect a higher average conversion rate than others. So, for instance, while a staffing services company probably would be underwhelmed with a 1.5% conversion rate given their industry average is just over 5%…

…a SaaS company would be quite happy with it given their industry average is only 1.1%.

It should be noted that the vast majority of B2B companies (22 out of 25) have conversion rates of 3.5% or lower. Only staffing services, POS services, and legal services have conversion rates over 5%. So unless you’re in one of these three industries, you probably shouldn’t expect to get much higher than the 3.5% mark. 

10 industries have a conversion rate of 2% or lower, which means 40% of B2Bs don’t ever get past this mark.  

It’s also important to point out that there’s an inherent plateau in terms of how far you can go with raising your conversion rate. First Page Sage notes that even a leviathan-level brand like Salefsorce piques out at under 5%, which shows that you can only realistically set the bar so high. “Most B2B conversion rates aren’t higher than this, particularly in industries with longer sales cycles,” Evan Bailyn writes. 

No matter how much effort you put into conversion rate optimization (CRO), you’re going to hit a ceiling. And that’s okay. You certainly want to do everything you can to turn more website visitors into qualified leads, but you shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations that are insanely higher than your industry’s average. 

That’s only going to create unnecessary stress and set you up for disappointment. At the end of the day, you should set a realistic goal and structure your campaign to get as close to it as possible. 

Figuring Out What Your Conversion Rate Should Be

Identifying what “a good conversion rate” is shouldn’t be subjective. It should be completely objective where you reference legitimate data from a validated study. And the particular study mentioned here is one of the best I’ve come across recently. 

It’s just a matter of pinpointing what the average conversion rate is for your industry across the board and using it to determine how your company stacks up. If you’re ahead of the game, great. Just keep doing what you’re doing. 

And if you’re behind, you’ll know exactly how far you need to go to catch up. 

Looking to find amazing salespeople in your industry to close more deals? See how HireDNA uses data and science to connect with these candidates and deliver next-level results. 

Use This Simple Hack to Drive Massive Leads to Your Demo Video

A demo video, which succinctly breaks down how a product works, its features, and benefits, has become a powerful tool for winning over leads. Research has found that roughly 80% of leads find demo videos helpful, and those “who view demo videos are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase than non-viewers.”

But in order to have maximum impact, you need to consistently drive a high volume of leads to your demo video. Here’s an ultra simple hack that will help you do just that, along with a real-life example, advice on how to choose the right keywords, and tips on how to promote your demo video. 

Place Your Demo Video on Your Website and on YouTube

Whenever you create a demo video, you’ll obviously put it on your website so visitors can find it quickly and easily. That’s a no-brainer.

But as digital marketing consultant, Mike Sonders explains, you shouldn’t stop there. You’ll want to place it on your YouTube page as well. And if you don’t currently have a YouTube page, you’ll want to create one so prospects can find you through this massive channel that had two billion users worldwide as of 2020. 

“Having demo content on your website and on YouTube gives you a chance to own more real estate in search results, thereby giving you a better chance to own the narrative,” writes Sonders

And check it out. Besides your demo video appearing on YouTube (something that’s incredibly helpful in and of itself), it also increases the chances of it appearing in a high ranking position in Google search results. In fact, one study found that 8 out of 10 of the Google video results come from YouTube, meaning it clearly has far more “SEO juice” than any other video platform. 

So, by placing your demo video on your website as well as YouTube, you can get targeted leads from your website, YouTube, and Google.

In turn, this allows you to cast a wider net without putting forth a lot of extra effort. And if you haven’t gotten around to creating a YouTube channel up until this point, it’s the perfect way to segue into this massively powerful medium. 

A Real-Life Example

Xero is an online accounting software that specifically caters to small and mid-sized businesses. They have a strong online presence and are active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and of course, YouTube. 

They’re also the perfect example of a brand that’s used this strategy to pull in a ton of qualified leads. To do this, they’ve created multiple demo videos that go after targeted keywords like:

  • “Xero demo”
  • “Xero app demo”
  • “Xero accounting app demo”
  • “Xero software”
  • “Xero accounting software”

For example, here’s what pops up when you search for “Xero demo.”

Notice how YouTube features these two videos — one for Xero’s product demo and one for their accounting app demo — front and center. 

So, besides being able to find a product demo on Xero’s website…

…prospects can also find them in YouTube search results as well as Google search results. 

Bear in mind that Xero has multiple demos, but this technique works equally as well with just one. 

This makes it a surefire way to expand your reach without having to invest a lot of time and energy. It’s really just a matter of posting the same demo video that you already have on your website to YouTube and following best practices, which brings us to our next point. 

How to Choose the Right Keywords

Don’t overthink it when picking the keywords to go after when uploading on YouTube. Mike Sonders recommends giving it a straightforward title with the go-to simply being “[brand] demo.” 

Besides using those keywords in the title, SEO expert Brian Dean suggests also placing them in the description…

…and in the video tags. 

Doing so should signal to YouTube and Google what the content of your video is about without sound spammy. Dean also recommends including the keyword in the first 25 words of your description and making the description at least 250 words long. 

Promoting Your Demo Video on YouTube

There’s one last thing to point out. How far your video climbs the rankings on YouTube and Google correlates with how many views it gets. So, you need to have an effective means of promoting your demo video on YouTube — something that creates a positive cycle and brings in even more views. 

Some simple ways to do that, according to Dean, include:

  • Placing a link to the YouTube video in your email signature
  • Linking to it in relevant posts on your blog
  • Mentioning it on Q&A sites like Quora

For a full overview of best practices, I suggest reading Dean’s comprehensive guide on how to rank YouTube videos. It’s super helpful. 

A Simple Hack Can Equal Massive Leads

A demo video is without a doubt one of the best ways to concisely explain the ins and outs of your product and what your unique value proposition is. And it’s especially important if your product is complex and can’t be fully understood with basic sales copy. 

Rather than generating leads from just your website, the simple hack of uploading your demo video to YouTube can help you generate dramatically more leads from YouTube as well as Google search results. 

It just boils down to choosing the right keywords and effectively promoting the video.

Looking to build a high-level sales team? See how HireDNA can help you find and hire the best and brightest reps using intelligent matching and science-based assessments. 

Get your demo today

How Mastering Follow-Ups Can Help Your Sales Team Beat 92% of the Competition

Only 2% of deals are closed during the first sales meeting. And the prospects that buy are almost always the ones that have done significant research, know exactly what they’re looking for, and feel completely confident in the brand they’re dealing with. 

The remaining 98% just “aren’t there yet” and still require nurturing and trust-building before they’re fully on board. However, many sales reps sell themselves short by giving up too early, with nearly half (44%) giving up after the first “no.”

Here’s how mastering follow-ups can lead to a spike in conversions and create a massive competitive advantage. 

Most Sales Reps Give Up Far Too Early

As we just mentioned, 44% of reps give up after the first no. And that number steadily drops with each no after that, with:

  • 22% giving up after the second no
  • 14% giving up after the third no
  • 12% giving up after the fourth no
  • 8% giving up after five nos or more

Here’s a graph that breaks this data down visually. 

So, when it’s all said and done, 92% of sales reps give up after four rejections. 

And That’s Great News

This lack of persistence among most sales reps is a good thing for your company because most of your competitors lack the tenacity to close deals. 

To quantify things, you can theoretically beat:

  • 44% of your competitors by following-up twice with a lead
  • 66% by following-up three times
  • 80% by following-up four times

And get this. By following-up five times, you can beat 92% of the competition. It just boils down to having perseverance and incorporating strong lead nurturing into your brand’s framework. 

Having the Right Sales Mindset

This begins by first understanding the psychology of leads, and then taking the necessary steps to build rapport and trust with them until they’re ready to buy. 

Author and entrepreneur Robert Clay summarizes it well by saying, “People and companies who don’t follow-up, who do nothing to build up that trust and relationship, cannot succeed. People need to be sure they’re making the right decision before they commit to a purchase.”

Clay also points out that 63% of leads that request information from you won’t buy for at least three months, and it will take another 20% of leads more than a year to buy. So, this is definitely something your company needs to keep in mind when approaching sales. 

The bottom line is that no matter how great your product or service is and how amazing your reps are, the vast majority of leads just aren’t ready to make a purchase right off the bat. But by having the right sales mindset and mastering follow-ups, you can position your team to outperform more than 9 out of 10 competitors — something that can often be achieved with three key strategies. 

1. Make Sure Your Reps Know Your Product Inside and Out

Here’s a sobering stat. “58% of buyers report that sales reps aren’t able effectively to answer their questions.” What’s even more startling is that “more than 40% of reps, themselves, don’t feel like they have the right information before making a sales call.”

This may sound like 101 level stuff here, but this data shows that a simple lack of preparedness is a big reason why many deals are lost. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your reps know your product inside out and out, as well as the specific context they’re dealing with during lead interactions. For example, a sales rep might want to point out certain product features to one lead and different features to another based on the lead’s industry, needs, pain points, and so on. 

That right there can have a dramatic impact. 

2. Anticipate Objections

We’ve already established that more often than not, a lead won’t be ready to commit to a purchase right away — and that’s fine. But reps should never be caught off guard with sales objections. Rather, they should have rapid fire responses on standby, both for their initial interactions, as well as with their follow-ups. 

Fortunately, sales objections are fairly predictable regardless of the industry. Here’s a list of the seven most common ones, according to Bryan Gonzalez of HubSpot. 

Developing effective counters for each of these will create a ton of leverage and ensure your reps respond appropriately no matter what leads throw at them. 

3. Create Ongoing Communication

Lastly, you need to keep the communication going, so that you keep your foot on the gas pedal with your lead nurturing efforts. This is what creates “top of mind awareness,” where your company stays on a lead’s radar, greatly increasing the chances of making a sale in the long run. 

The key to maintaining communication is to A) use a variety of different channels to account for the communication preferences of each lead and B) keep reaching out to leads tactfully without creating friction. 

Research has found there are five main communication channels that people prefer to use:

  1. Phone
  2. Email
  3. Live chat
  4. Online knowledge base
  5. Click to call

So, these are the ideal channels for continuing outreach during follow-ups. Some others to consider include texting and social media.  

Creating More Tenacious Sales Reps

As we’ve learned, tenacity is a critical part of winning at sales. 

That’s not to say that a rep should become hyper-aggressive where they absolutely won’t take no for an answer, to the point that it creates serious friction and potentially harms your brand reputation. 

But mastering follow-ups and optimizing your team’s approach using the strategies above should put you far ahead of your competitors and close more deals. 

Want to build a better sales team and attract top-tier talent? Learn how HireDNA can help, using powerful recruiting technology and science-based sales assessments. 

Easily Beat 55% of Your Competitors By Accelerating Your Lead Response Time

What if there was a surefire way to beat more than half of your competitors?

Better yet, what if it didn’t involve making any major changes to your product or brand, or a massive overhaul to your website?

There is, and it’s dead simple. Accelerate your lead response time. 

A Competitive Snapshot

According to Vendasta, 55% of companies take 5+ days to respond to a lead. Of those 55%, 12% never respond at all. 

Talk about letting opportunities slip through your fingers. This lax approach means the majority of companies end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

But that’s good news if you’re a brand that focuses on increasing your speed to lead time. 

Theoretically, responding to a lead in 4 days or less means you’ll reach out to leads quicker than over half of your competitors. That alone leaves you much better positioned to close more deals. 

Being the First to Respond

Beating out 55% of your competitors is a good start and should have a noticeable impact on conversions. But what about the remaining 45%?

To truly be at the top of your industry, you need your response time to be lightning fast — ideally being the first company to respond. After all, a study by Lead Connect found, “78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first.”

It’s simple mathematics. 

Even the slightest bit of sluggishness can have disastrous consequences, and this is a big reason why brands that are slow to respond have such a hard time gaining traction. If, however, you fine-tune your lead response process so that a sales rep makes contact before any other brands do, you’re instantly in a position to thrive

The Golden Window

But let’s take it one step further and look at some specific data to better understand the correlation between response time and lead qualification. 

A study from Lead Simple found that responding within 5 minutes is the ideal timeframe and can have a dramatic impact on the number of leads you’re able to qualify. This is known as “the golden window.”

Wait 10 minutes, and that number drops significantly by 80%. Wait 15 minutes or longer, and that number continues to decline. This graph really helps put things into perspective. 

Making the effort to respond within 5 minutes gives you an immense advantage over the competition. And if you can respond within a minute, sales conversions spike by a staggering 391%!

Although this is easier said than done, these statistics illustrate the impact of accelerating your lead response time. Even if you can reach out within 5 hours, this is still 40% more effective than waiting 24 hours. 

Developing a Realistic Formula 

At this point, we’ve established the importance of a fast lead response time and that keeping it under 5 minutes is optimal. In a perfect world, your sales team could do this with no sweat, and you’d have someone available around the clock to reach out whenever a lead expresses even the least bit of interest. 

But that isn’t always realistic, especially for smaller companies with limited manpower. Fortunately, there are tools available that allow you to contact a lead automatically to schedule a meeting. 

One of the best examples is inbound lead conversion and scheduling app, Chili Piper. Whenever a lead initiates a trigger action, like requesting a demo, they can select a meeting time that’s convenient for them. 

Chili Piper then routes the lead to the appropriate sales rep based on customizable rules, instantly adding the meeting to their calendar. From there, the rep can reach out later to provide a product demonstration, answer questions, and fully engage the lead. 

You can even schedule auto-reminders so a lead remembers the upcoming meeting and has time to prepare, which greatly reduces the odds of a no-show. 

Or, if the lead is ready to talk right away and a sales rep is available, you can use Chili Piper to route a live call to the correct rep. It integrates with major video conferencing platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting, so reps can have video chats as well. 

Another option is free online scheduling software, Calendly

It automates scheduling through your pipeline by instantly sending a scheduling link to a lead when they complete an action, such as filling out a web form. Again, the lead can choose a time that works best for them, while getting key info, like how long the meeting will last, what platform you’ll be using, and so on. 

This is done right from within your website, allowing you to automatically route the lead to a qualified sales rep without any friction. That way hot leads aren’t left hanging, and you can quickly get them to where they need to go. 

So, even if you don’t have a rep available to have a call right away, you can still schedule a meeting to strike while iron is hot and ensure qualified leads don’t get off the line. 

A Recap 

If you’re able to respond to a lead in under 5 days, you’re already ahead of the game and will have the edge on 55% of your competitors. But if you get your lead response time down to 5 minutes or less, you’ll be at the head of the pack.

While it may not always be possible to have a rep on standby at all times, using the right tools allows you to schedule meetings with leads at a time that’s convenient for them. This results in a better overall experience for leads and helps keep your response time to an absolute minimum. 

Looking to build a high-performance sales team? Learn how HireDNA can help, source, screen, and qualify candidates using science and data so you can make better hiring decisions, faster.

How to Connect with Key Prospects

Connecting with decision makers is always a core challenge for sales professionals. In an uncertain environment, like the one we’re currently experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, connecting with prospects can become even more difficult – and even more important for your bottom line.

Establishing a meaningful connection with prospects is a critical first step towards becoming a trusted advisor for your prospects – a move that can ensure your team will prosper in times of crisis.

With the right skills and know-how, sales reps can focus their outreach activities to foster more productive engagement with leads and continue to generate successful sales conversations. In this post, we’ll show you the most effective ways to continue reaching out to key prospects, even in the most difficult of times. 

At HireDNA, our training experts can help your sales team learn the crucial skills needed to perform at the highest levels. Learn more.

Target the Right Prospects at the Right Time

It’s no secret that your sales calls will be significantly more successful if you’re talking to a prospect who has an immediate need and an immediate interest in your product or service. But how can you determine when that’s the case? 

Effective CRMs, such as HubSpot, include tools that help you understand how your leads are interacting with your web site. You can see which leads are visiting which pages, and use that data to gain insight on what is currently top of mind for a particular lead. Rather than having a generalized discussion about how you might be able to help your prospect, you can now open the conversation with information that is specifically tailored to their needs and interest. 

For example, if the prospect is viewing a page devoted to X and Y, your sales rep can begin the conversation with a statement like, “We know that many of our clients are struggling with how to do X or Y. Are either of these an issue for you right now?” This approach is designed to immediately capture a prospect’s interest and increase your rep’s likelihood of demonstrating value, which is critical to closing the sale.

Social media is also a valuable resource for understanding who is talking about your product, and what, specifically, they’re looking for. Recent studies suggest that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors, and social sellers can realize 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques. Knowing what your prospects are looking for on social media can help you turn cold outreach into warm and hot leads. Encourage your sales team to monitor social media for potential buyer mentions of your company name, your product or service, or a hashtag aligned with your value proposition.

Make Your Calls Count

Although some sales reps prefer to move away from phone selling, voice calls are still one of the best ways to create meaningful, memorable connections. They bring a personal warmth and likeability to the conversation that is hard to replicate through email or social media alone. 

Typically, sales reps who use cold calling rely on contact details from company web sites or directories. With a majority of prospects working from home during the global pandemic, office switchboards are less likely to connect you with key decision makers. Even direct work numbers are not always effective, as many companies were ill-equipped to set up call forwarding when the pandemic hit, and are instead relying on employees to check their voicemails.

Ideally, you’ll be able to find a prospect’s cell number by searching , or by purchasing sales data from a service like SalesIntel that can provide these numbers. Reps may be hesitant to use a mobile number out of concern for “bothering” a prospect at home. However, while the occasional prospect may have this perspective, many reps are also finding that prospects are more willing to connect on their cell phones during this virus outbreak. Not only do they understand the need to circumvent the traditional office phone tree, but many are also open to the added interaction during this isolating time – provided your rep can effectively demonstrate your product’s value in helping them through these difficult times.

Many sales reps also report that they are struggling with productivity, particularly if they are not accustomed to the rhythm of working remotely. Prioritizing and keeping track of who to call next is often a sticking point for reps who are prospecting. Call queuing can help eliminate the uncertainty of deciding on the appropriate next actions, and can help reps keep an effective cadence of activity throughout the day. 

An effective call queue targets hot leads first – those who are opening your emails, visiting your site, and engaging on social media. As noted in the beginning of this article, these are the leads who have an immediate interest and need for your product or service. Prioritize them and make a connection while this particular need is top of mind. 

Your reps should also leverage your CRM to know where the leads are in your sales process, and what touches you’ve already made with them, so they know precisely what messaging should be delivered next, regardless of the channel being used to reach them.

Use Email Effectively 

Experienced sales reps know that email outreach must be well-crafted and highly targeted to have any hope of being opened. your email outreach and ensure that your messaging is optimized to address your prospects’ specific needs. Demonstrate your business value by showing that you understand the key issues your prospect is currently struggling with, and that your product or service has helped others like them achieve specific, measurable results. 

Including relevant, personalized videos in email outreach has also been shown to drastically increase sales reps’ ability to connect with prospects. HubSpot recently reported that adding video to email can boost click-through rates by 200-300%, increase the number of meetings booked by 500%, and strongly influence prospects’ purchasing decisions.

The timing of your email messages should be carefully considered as well. Sales email tracking tools that integrate with your CRM can allow you to monitor your email campaigns and receive alerts when a lead has opened or clicked your emails. By capturing prospects’ attention while they are actively engaging with your emails, you can greatly improve your response rate and effectively secure follow-up meetings. 

Set Your Sales Reps Up for Success

Developing top sales talent is an ongoing need, regardless of the current sales climate. HireDNA provides expert, virtual sales training and coaching perfectly suited for remote teams. We use a modern, cloud-based micro-learning platform for maximum efficiency and productivity, and partner closely with our clients to create custom training content that is proven to keep reps engaged and performing at peak levels.

HireDNA was also recently recognized as an emerging leader in corporate training and coaching. Our experts can assist with any questions about building first-in-class, on-demand sales training tailored specifically for remote sales forces.

How To Improve B2B Cold Calling Success Rates

Cold calling has been one of the major selling tactics over the years, requiring reps to approach complete strangers and win them over through excellent interpersonal skills that persuade the prospect to covert. Cold calling can be very challenging, but there are some tactics that could help improve your success. Here are some thoughts on how to improve B2B cold calling success rates.

At HireDNA, our sales evaluation and training systems are the results of 20 years of experience. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help to improve your sales team. Talk to an HireDNA expert.

How to Improve Cold Calling Success Rates

If done effectively, cold calling can yield great success. Take the technological giant Uber for example. Did you know what laid down the foundation of Uber and ultimately the entire trend of the sharing economy? A cold call.

According to founder, Travis Kalanick, he dialed a number of people he found on Google when searching for ‘San Francisco chauffeur’ out of which three replied. The rest, as they say, is history.

With so many organizations deriving great returns from their cold calling strategy, if it’s not working for you, chances are that you may need to tweak your strategy. Don’t worry! This article will offer tips that can help enhance your cold calling success:

Improve The Quality Of Your Data

62% of organizations rely on prospect data that can be inaccurate or incomplete by as much as 40%. Not only does this result in wasted effort, it also costs your business valuable resources. According to a report by Harvard Business Review, ‘bad’ data costs businesses more than $3 trillion each year in the United States alone.

As consumers become increasingly aware of sales tactics, they tend to only respond to products and services that are tailored according to their needs. If your sales reps are reaching out to prospects based on incorrect, inaccurate, or incomplete data, you are bound to get underwhelming results.

Consider investing in solutions like SalesIntel that allow you to analyze your database and identify any lacking information that adversely affects your quality. Additionally, optimize your prospect data collection strategy. Adding relevant questions to your forms and allowing prospects to express their answers in detail can significantly improve the quality of your data.

Talk Less, Ask More

The art of converting prospects through cold calls is heavily dependent on what you do after the prospect picks up. You can have the most suitable product that can solve your consumer’s problems, but if you don’t have the right tone, chances are you might not close the deal.

The number of questions and the relevancy of your posed questions also play a big part. An extensive survey that analyzed 519,000 cold calls found a directly proportional relationship between the number of questions posed by the sales rep and the percentage of closed deals. To put it simply, it was found that asking 11-14 questions over the course of your call significantly increases the chances of your success.

However, be careful to not overdo it. Sales reps who asked 15+ questions only fared marginally better than sales reps that asked 7-10 questions.

HireDNA offers advanced training tools and customized content-based training methods to enhance your sales performance. Learn More.

Take Rejection As A Learning Opportunity

Regardless of how much value your product can add to your prospect’s business, the fact remains that cold calls often result in rejection. And over time, rejections can become demoralizing. The hallmark of a successful sales representative, however, is their ability to take these things as part of the business and continue to tweak their sales strategy to counter such rejections.

If you are giving up too easily, then cold calling will never bear fruit. You need to be motivated to pick up the phone with a defined purpose every time. Whenever a prospect hangs up on you, ask yourself, would it be any different if you hadn’t tried calling them?

Focus on the key takeaway: why did they hang up? Did your opening statement fail to catch their attention? Did you not address their pain points adequately? By learning from such challenges, you can quickly turn such prospects into paying consumers.

Explore our blog on How to Motivate Your Sales Team When Sales are Down for strategies to inspire your team even in the face of defeat.

Hire Top Talent

Beyond training your existing reps, bringing in highly skilled sales reps can be a quick and easy way to improve your team’s overall B2B cold call success rate. When you hire top talent, they will often have a track record of success. If cold calling is a priority for your business, be sure to make that known in the hiring process, and consider including interview questions or posing scenarios centered around cold calling when vetting candidates.

HireDNA predictive sales candidate assessments allow you to predict success before hiring with proven data and science, not impressions and instincts. Learn more.

Train Your Sales Reps For Unprecedented Success

Cold calling is far from dead. But many organizations need to work on their strategies to enhance their effectiveness. That’s where HireDNA comes in.

We offer sales performance evaluations to uncover skills gaps in your team, and we deliver advanced training through a customizable cloud-based learning platform to improve performance. Not only do we customize our learning offerings according to the skill gaps found in each individual salesperson, but our interactive approach ensures your team absorbs every bit of it with quizzes, role play scenarios, guides, and action plans.

Get in touch to learn more about our sales recruiting, evaluation, and training offerings. Create your winning sales team today!