Communicating Your Value in a Challenging Economy with Gavin Page
The past few years have been a rollercoaster ride for everyone, especially those in sales and business development.
With the ongoing pandemic, we have witnessed drastic economic changes, and we’re not quite sure what the future holds. From the initial shock of Covid to the post-Covid boom and now the post-Covid bust, it’s been a rocky road, to say the least.
And as we navigate through this uncertain period, sales reps (SDRs) and account executives (AEs) are faced with a new set of challenges.
Gaving Page, Founder and Director at Excelerate360, joined us on The Predictable Revenue Podcast to discuss the changes that have occurred in sales development and how to communicate your value in a challenging economy.
How Sales Development Has Changed
The current market is experiencing a lot of change, and it seems like every month, there’s another piece of damning news about the tech industry.
This has caused a lot of fear and nervousness in end-customers who are purchasing technology products, as they are unsure of the knock-on effects of the whole tech issue. The economic pressure on consumers due to the cost of living crisis, increasing fuel costs, and other factors has only added to the anxiety.
End customers in many industries are under pressure, which slows decision-making and makes the job of an SDR even harder. It’s no longer feasible to pick up the phone 100 times a day and easily book a meeting or even engage with prospects meaningfully.
The old multi-channel, multi-touch strategy approach still holds, but it requires more creativity and intelligence to succeed in content and engagement tactics. And the key here is adding extra value to the customer through outreach.
Dynamics of Sales with Tightened Budgets
With tightened budgets and a focus on short-term gains, businesses are becoming more rigorous in their buying process.
This shift has affected everyone. We can see sales and revenue teams that used to have unlimited budgets now have pretty locked-down ones. The investment period is gone, and leaders are now looking for short-term returns within 90 days or less.
The way funding is coming from the market has also changed. There was a time when profit didn’t matter, and businesses were focused on gaining customers and increasing customer lifetime value (CLV).
These dynamics have highly affected how sales development representatives (SDRs) engage with potential customers because it’s getting harder to open doors and have those first conversations. People are keeping their heads down and not having as many speculative conversations because of the potential risk involved.
What We Can Do Differently Now to Hit Sales Quota
When discussing the need to do more intelligent and creative outreach, there is one thing to pay close attention to: this can often result in lowering activity levels.
Finding the right balance is essential. If your target market is small, you can definitely take the time to research and tailor your message to maximize every opportunity. However, if your target market is more extensive, it’s vital to maintain high volume levels while still personalizing your outreach.
According to Gavin, one strategy for achieving this balance is to focus on sub-levels of your target market and personalize your message as much as possible.
For example, instead of just sending a generic retail message, personalize it to a specific type of retailer, such as a furniture-only retailer. By doing this, the person receiving the message feels like they are actually getting value from the content or approach.
Ultimately, you have to strike a balance between personalization and volume. You don’t want to spend so much time researching and personalizing that you only reach out to a handful of people each day, but you also don’t want to send out generic messages that don’t resonate with anyone.
Finding the sweet spot between relevancy, targeting the right ICP, personalization, and volume will lead to the best results in a market that is currently facing much lower conversion rates.
Identifying the Right ICP
You might be tempted to look at those ICP profiles usually created by marketing or product teams that detail what a good customer looks like for your business.
However, while having a persona document detailing your ideal customer profile is a great starting point, it’s not something you can simply set and forget. As the market changes, your ICP may change as well. That’s why they need to be reviewed and updated regularly.
One effective strategy to know if you’re targeting the right customers is to look back at the last five customers who gave you actual money. This journey can be eye-opening for anyone in a selling or marketing role. By talking to the person who closed the deal or, even better, talking directly to the customer, you can gain valuable insights about what attracted them to your product or service.
This is why talking to your customers is so crucial. They are the greatest source of information about your business. They can tell you what they liked about your product, what they didn’t like, and what they wish you would do differently. Listening to their feedback allows you to adjust your ICP accordingly and refine your messaging to appeal to your target audience better.
Another way is through deal reviews, says Gavin.
Many companies focus on lost deals and try to determine why they lost the sale. However, not as many companies take the time to review their won deals and understand why they were successful.
By conducting win reviews, you can gain valuable insights into what worked well and what didn’t. This can help you make minor adaptations to your messaging and approach that can lead to even more success in the future.
Understanding the many factors driving a customer’s buying decision is also a must. These factors can range from macroeconomic conditions to internal politics within the customer’s company. Identifying the catalyst for change driving a customer’s buying decision can help you better address their needs and close the deal.
If you need help identifying your target marketing and building out a playbook, get in touch with us, we can help!
Moving Away From Scripts: Why Adaptative Conversations Are Key
Scripts have long been a go-to tool for SDRs and sales teams looking to improve their outreach and engagement. However, as the market shifts and new technologies emerge, many are rethinking the role of scripts in the sales process.
According to Gavin, scripts can be helpful at the beginning of an engagement, providing a confidence booster for SDRs to start making calls and a fallback option when needed. But a more adaptive approach is necessary as the conversation with a prospect progresses and the stakes get higher.
That’s where multi-channel engagement comes in. By using a cohesive, relevant approach across channels such as email, LinkedIn, and phone, sales teams can build relationships and gather information that allows for more nuanced, personalized conversations later on.
Of course, there are still times when scripts are useful – for high-volume plays or straightforward yes or no questions, for example. But for anything with a reasonable value proposition, Gaving recommends leading with bullet points and keeping the conversation flowing, addressing potential objections as they arise.
So if you’re looking to up your sales game, it may be time to reevaluate your use of scripts and focus on building a more adaptive, multi-channel approach.
With tightened budgets and people being less keen about taking meetings, sales teams need to adapt to new dynamics and approaches to hit their quotas.
One critical area to focus on is targeting the right Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) rather than focusing exclusively on personalizing the messaging. A good balance between targeting and messaging is the key to outbound success!
These changes may seem arduous at first, but with the right mindset and approach, sales teams can thrive in this new environment.
If you want to learn more about communicating your value in this challenging economy, listen to the full podcast episode with Gavin Page (links below!).
You can also reach out to Gavin on LinkedIn.
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