Product Marketers: Here are 4 Popular Sales Techniques You Need to Know
By Erika Desmond on Nov 14, 2017
Product marketers, I know you’re always on the hunt for new techniques to help get your sales partners to engage with the content you create.
But what if the problem with content adoption isn’t the sales team, instead…
Maybe the missing piece in increasing your content adoption is getting you to learn more about the sales techniques reps use to close deals.
And that will make it easier for you to shape content that actually enhances those different techniques.
If that sounds like something you’d benefit from, you’ll love what I’ve prepared in this post:
I’m showing you a step-by-step guide to the sales process, including four common closing techniques your reps use to convert leads to new customers.
Ready to go? Then let’s dive in.
Here’s How Salespeople Prospect New Business
I’m sure you know that the sales cycle starts for reps the moment your marketing team passes along a lead.
But did you know it’s recommended sales reps spend 30 to 40 percent of their weeks prospecting for new leads?
That makes prospecting the single biggest focus for your sales partners and an area that you should know inside and out as a product marketer.
Because your reps will likely use a huge percentage of the content you create in these early, top-of-the-funnel activities.
So what are the different sales techniques a rep uses while prospecting?
The Cold Call versus The “Warm” Call
If picking up a phone and asking a complete stranger to do business with you makes your stomach turn, don’t worry - you’re in good company:
Most sales reps hate it, too.
And that’s why the majority of reps try to leverage referrals and social engagement on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn to try and make their prospecting efforts more of a “warm” interaction than a traditional cold call.
As a product marketer, that fact should heavily influence the content you create for top-of-the-funnel activities.
Here’s what generally works best for those early-stage leads:
You see how they included “viral content” there?
Most salespeople will tell you: the more of that, the better.
That’s because it’s the truly “buzzworthy” stuff you create that gets clicks on social media and ultimately helps reps have “warmer” conversations with incoming leads.
According to LinkedIn, here’s a look at the content that works best on their platform:
Twitter also details the types of content that work best for their business customers.
So you know sales reps do a lot of outreach to get leads on the phone. But what happens when they actually connect?
That’s where the next step in the process comes in:
Once Sales Get a Lead on the Phone, it’s Time for a Discovery Call
According to Sirius Decisions, it takes about 8 calls for a sales rep to actually connect with a prospect.
So as I’m sure you can imagine, reps naturally want to make sure it counts when they finally do talk.
And if you don’t know already, sales people call that initial conversation a “discovery call” and it’s where sales reps dig into the core problems a prospect faces in their business.
Of course, the goal is to uncover the potential opportunity of that lead becoming a customer.
As Marya Jan so simply puts it on the GetResponse blog:
“Think of a discovery as a meet-and-greet call where the entire goal of the call is to determine if you are a right fit for each other.”
I love that because it highlights an important part of a discovery call:
It’s about both sides evaluating one another.
But leads are typically at a slight advantage in that most B2B buyers have already reviewed 3 to 5 pieces of content from your company before ever engaging with a sales rep.
In order to help give a sales rep a leg up at this stage in the process, think of the types of content that makes the most sense for the “Consideration” stage of the customer journey, including:
- Competitor analyses
- Case studies
- Feature/pricing comparisons
- Opportunities to join upcoming webinars
- Live demos
That way, your content helps move leads toward the last stage in the buying process, the grand finale: the big close.
Want to Know How They Close the Deal? Check out These 4 Common Sales Techniques
If the discovery call is a salesperson’s appetizer, closing a deal is the main course and (if it goes well) dessert rolled all into one.
But as I’m sure you know, converting a lead to a customer often requires some creativity and finesse.
And that’s where these 4 sales techniques come in handy.
#1. Create a Sense of Urgency
Ever noticed when you go to buy a flight on an airline site like Expedia, you’ll always see a little note like this next to the “buy” button?
That’s an example of creating a sense of urgency.
It’s the classic “now or never” technique and it’s something your sales partners do every day.
The reason it works is the same as why you’re more likely to buy that flight know there are only three left at the “deal price”:
Everyone loves a bargain and no one wants to miss out on an opportunity.
So for leads who are ready to convert but need that little extra push to get them to sign, creating a sense of urgency can work wonders.
But sales people need your help to make it successful:
As a product marketer, you can create one-sheeters that detail “exclusive” offers and also help draft persuasive email templates to help get deals over the line.
#2. Demo the Solution to Their Problem
I’m sure you’ll agree:
If you can actually see a product solving your problem live, you’re that much more apt to make a purchase.
(Hell, the entire QVC Network operates on just that principle.)
That’s why webinars often have the highest conversion rate among your different marketing strategies: they help leads envision how your product or service can solve their problem.
And you can help sales by putting together demo scripts and offering frequent webinars that reps can register leads to join.
Albert Costill explains the importance of having a script on Search Engine Journal:
“Just like any other type of live event, whether it’s a talk show or podcast, you must have a script in place for your webinar. It’s essentially your road map to keep you on course. No matter how knowledgeable or passionate you are about a specified topic, trying to present or conduct an interview for an hour can be extremely challenged if it isn’t (at least slightly) scripted.”
#3. The Conditional Close
I’ll admit, like most people, I’m on the hunt for the best possible deal anytime I invest in a new product or solution.
And I’m sure the same goes for you, too.
That’s because everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck.
But salespeople often need to leverage the conditional close to put an end to potentially endless customer requests and get a deal done.
So how does it work?
Pretty simply, actually.
The idea here is that when a lead asks for an add-on or feature that the rep knows he/she can get done at little to no inconvenience, the rep follows up with a simple closing statement, like:
“If I can get this done for you, can we sign off on the agreement today?”
A question like that stops potential customers from asking for endless concessions in pursuit of the best deal possible.
#4. Assume You’ve Closed the Deal
Talking about a deal like it’s already done before it closes might seem like an arrogant thing to do (or at the very least, bad luck).
But there’s actually psychology behind the strategy:
People have a hard time denying something you state as a fact.
So by using language like “when we start working together…” or “after we officially close this deal…” actually helps leads feel like they’ve already made the decision to become your customer.
And That’s the Full Sales Cycle…
Now you know the steps a rep goes through with your customers and some of the common techniques they utilize.
Hopefully, that makes it easier for you to figure out the right content to help them close more deals.