What defining characteristic should sales reps possess before buyers will pay attention to what they have to say? Credibility. Potential buyers quickly disqualify reps who lack credibility.
Here are three of the things professionals need to be mindful of when managing their sales credibility:
Reputation ManagementCredibility judgment takes place long before buyers agree to connect with a sales rep. That means sales reps must pay attention to their reputations, especially online. The results of our Selling to SMBs survey show that 59 percent of buyers check out salespeople online before they’ll take a call. Buyers review salespeople’s LinkedIn profiles, social media posts, and results listed in a Google search. Reps should actively work on the professional image they project to buyers. Sales managers can help their reps close any credibility gap by coaching them on how to best manage their reputations.
Providing Relevant IdeasWhile reps maintain their professional image, they must also build credibility by offering something of value to their prospects. Buyers have plenty of sellers to choose from. When sellers connect with buyers, they must be ready to impress. Our research shows that 45 percent of buyers expect sales professionals to provide ideas that are relevant to their business. Sales reps won’t know which ideas to suggest if they haven’t researched their target company.
Their research should start with a review of the company’s website. Many reps aren’t doing that. It’s shocking to realize that, per SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study from February 2020, only 52 percent of US sales reps review the buyer’s website as part of their pre-call preparation.
Pre-Call ResearchA thorough check of the company’s website will show reps who owns the company, where it’s been, and where it’s going. Analyzing firmographics reveals whether the buyer is a nonprofit company, a publicly traded company, or a division of a conglomerate. These details will help sales reps determine how to approach the buyer.
The products and services page on the website will list the company’s lines of business. With this basic information, sales reps can take the next step, which is to analyze whether the company’s offerings are at the start, middle, or end of their life cycle. Companies launching a new product may be open to investing in solutions to help grow their business.
Sales managers can also train their reps to look for website intelligence about how a company is funded. High-growth organizations that have just received venture capital funds may be willing to pay for a solution that helps them rapidly gain market share. When sales reps possess the kind of intelligence that allows them to propose relevant solutions to their buyers’ problems, their credibility increases. So do their chances of making a sale.