Three Steps to Ensure Your 2022 Gets Off to the Right Start
Life rarely goes according to plan. That’s especially true for businesses in the age of COVID-19.
As companies prepared for 2022 back in the fall, nobody was talking about omicron yet. The highly contagious COVID variant wasn’t reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa until the day before Thanksgiving.
Two months later, cases are surging, and businesses are still coping with a seemingly never-ending world of remote workforces and limited in-person gatherings. No matter what your plans were for 2022, it’s unlikely the year has gotten off to quite the start you envisioned back in October or November.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help stay on track for the year and grow your sales pipeline. Here are three of the most important:
1. Generating new leads
It’s one of the most basic steps in the B2B sales process—obviously there can be no sales without potential customers. It’s also one of the most difficult.
Identifying prospects, contacting them, and gauging their qualifications and level of interest can be frustrating and time-consuming. Many companies simply don’t have the staff or resources to consistently generate these leads on their own. But without them, a business will eventually stop growing.
While there are multiple effective tools for generating leads, arguably the most powerful is still the telephone, which allows for personal, real-time interactions between the seller and potential buyer. The phone, more than social media, email, or other lead gen techniques, gives you and your prospects the chance to simultaneously learn about each other. Telephone campaigns also provide valuable marketing insights, such as the best days and times to call, the most effective messaging to use, and the right decision makers to ask for. All of that data can help generate more leads moving forward.
Of course, it’s not as simple as picking up the phone and dialing. Hiring, training, and managing internal teams while investing in the most efficient technology can be a huge burden on companies. Partnering with an experienced and knowledgeable lead generation and appointment-setting firm that can handle both outbound and inbound calls is often a smarter and more cost-effective option.
2. Following up on old leads
Just generating leads is not enough. There also must be processes in place to keep the leads engaged and advance them through the pipeline. This could mean touching base with recently uncovered leads, following up with past leads, or even reaching out to old clients who might be ready to buy again.
According to Chicago-based sales consulting firm IRC, only 2 percent of sales are made during the first point of contact, which means if you’re not following up, you’re missing out on 98 percent of potential sales. And yet according to statistics compiled by Hubspot, 44 percent of salespeople give up after one follow-up call.
Not all no’s are permanent—in fact, many of them are not. Hubspot’s research reveals that 60 percent of customers say no four times before saying yes. A “no” in February could easily become a “yes” in July, based on factors such as changing priorities, expiring contracts, and newly hired decision makers.
Not only it is imperative to follow up, but it is crucial to follow up in a timely manner. Maybe the prospect recently attended a webinar or downloaded a whitepaper. Perhaps they requested an email with more information. Or maybe they were genuinely interested during a phone conversation but were too busy to talk and asked for a callback.
In any of these cases, not reaching out to the prospect by a certain time could be disastrous. Properly documenting the details of the conversation or correspondence in your CRM and recording the best time to call back could be the difference between gaining or losing the sale.
3. Building relationships
In the B2B world of complex, lengthy sales processes, it’s almost impossible to close a deal without establishing a level of comfort and trust. You can generate leads, you can follow up, but if your prospects don’t feel appreciated, they’re extremely unlikely to go through with the purchase, especially when there are other options available.
There are multiple ways to build lasting relationships. Be open and honest about your offering. Don’t make false promises. Talk to your prospects, not at them. Respect their concerns. Listen to what they have to say. Learn their pain points. Leave a positive impression.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve all of this in a single conversation. Personal relationships take time to grow, so it makes sense that a business relationship will develop slowly, as well. But the time and effort it takes to build these relationships will be worth it in the end.
Speaking of relationships, partnering with a strong outside lead gen and appointment-setting firm like VSA can help you fill any gaps in your 2022 sales strategies. You can take on these challenges yourself, or you can team with a company like VSA to help you generate new leads, follow up with old leads, and nurture relationships.
VSA prides itself on being a true collaborative partner to our clients for the length of the campaign, maintaining regular communication, sharing weekly reports, and working alongside them to address any issues that arise. Our clients routinely tell us that this level of collaboration sets VSA apart from other firms they’ve worked with.
As you strive to achieve your goals in a year already marked by unpredictability, consider partnering with us for your lead gen or appointment-setting needs. Whatever challenges lie ahead in 2022, we’re happy to help.