Outbound messaging impacts the trust foundation, the most powerful force multiplier in sales. SDRs who craft personalized messaging, identify trust milestones, and implement an authentic, flexible contact plan can increase trust as part of their efforts to accelerates sales.
Prospects Care About Trust
Trust is the oldest, most important, and least understood differentiator in the modern sales process. When we understand how to measure and build trust we no longer depend on just pitching to prospects. Have you ever made a purchase based on a friend’s recommendation? Friends give and receive buying recommendations as a matter of habit all the time. The demo as a form of selling does not replace trust-building, and sometimes may even dilute it.
So ask yourself: Are you a Trusted SDR?
In purely transactional sales, there is little need for trust. In longer cycle enterprise sales though, trust is a critical component and significant time is spent developing trust.
How do you define trust in the context of B2B SaaS? Authenticity may be the easiest, most relevant trust metric for B2B SaaS. Ask yourself, did I reach out and provide the most genuine possible introduction of myself, my product, and my brand? If so, did I also learn something unique about my lead/contact, their product, and their brand? A simple 3 x 3 trust scorecard is all you need to get started.
Trust Is Earned
In sales, time is the most important (and least valued) commodity, so use it wisely. Determine how much time you need to prepare yourself for a series of phone meetings. Researching who you are calling, their industry, and someone/something you have in common to quickly develop rapport.
Develop trust through listening, asking questions, and sharing content that creates consensus. Imagine reaching out, looking someone in the eye, and acknowledging a mutual acquaintance while exchanging a firm handshake. The SDR who is hoping to accomplish the equivalent, at scale, may adopt an approach of kindness and curiosity rather than forcing an introduction. In the age of SaaS, relationships are essential. Competition is fierce, buyers are empowered, and switching vendors is relatively easy.
Conversations drive your deals, and conversation systems accelerate deal flows.
Outbound Trust Building
Initial Contact Call
To prepare for your first conversation, try to understand the buyer’s mindset. If you are calling a CEO, think like a CEO. Demonstrate knowledge of their industry, competitors, culture, and market share. Ask memorable questions to make a lasting first impression. Send a follow up with key conversation points, and add value with links that demonstrate your industry awareness. Assume the next call, but try not to be pushy or forward. Ask if you might follow up in a day or two to see to answer any additional questions.
Initial Contact Email
Notice how busy CEO’s write one or two sentence emails? Rewrite all your outbound emails like text messages, and keep them less than two sentences. Say one thing about you/your role/your company, and ask for more information about them/their role/their company. B2B literally means business to business. Send emails that start a two-way conversation, and create the equivalent of an electronic handshake.
Initial Social Touches
Social stalking is the fastest way to lose credibility due to both public and impersonal feeling of the media. Anybody can follow anyone, but relatively few add value to the conversation. This is a huge missed opportunity, especially if you are quick-witted with 140 characters or less. Find a way to best express your interest in learning more, and even if you don’t get a response most likely you will have been acknowledged.
Trust is a sentiment that may be impossible to measure, but we can easily define the context in which trust is established. Consider the following
For voice contact: When you leave a voicemail, indicate who you are and one reason why I should call you back. Keep it less than 15 seconds, and don’t pitch your product. Pitch yourself as a memorable person worth meeting.
For email contact: If you’re engaging, witty, curious, (and yes even funny!) and solicit a response, then you have earned some trust. Keep your emails short and to the point. Include a clear call to action, but not a pitch for your product.
For social contact: If you’re followed on Twitter, connected on LinkedIn, or someone shares a blog post you have written, you have earned a measure of trust. Understand that everyone uses social differently, and not everyone wants to connect on LinkedIn, or follow you on Twitter. However social channels are the most powerful way to articulate your unique point of view. Increasing Twitter and LinkedIn connections, and participating in Quora, is a form of trust.
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During the all-important Discovery Call, aim for a 40:60 ratio of listening to speaking. Prepare a list of possible questions, like a journalist, to help you identify the people, process, and relevant technology currently used in your prospect organization. By addressing challenges that are both specific and universal, you demonstrate that you are qualified to help resolve these challenges.
As a team you need to develop a list of questions that help you pinpoint the challenge the customer is experiencing. You need to have these questions ready and available in front of you – some of these questions may correlate with a client’s seniority, or market you are calling on – which requires research. Print these questions out and stick them in front of you. – Jacco Van der Kooij
Your Discovery Call plan must focus on the key data points you need to qualify the prospect organization beyond BANT and ANUM. This may be the current state of their tech stack, the potential for change, relationship to competitors, and potential buying signals. You must find a balance between probing, building trust, and setting the stage for your solution to solve a particularly challenging problem.
Too often we present ourselves as trusted advisors with too much information and not enough inquiry. CXO’s who get rapid-fire generic sales calls rarely feel compelled to move forward unless you get lucky on the day they happen to be ready to make a deal. By researching the prospect and their industry, you build a platform of trust to further engage decision-makers.
At the end of the discovery call, you should be able to clearly identify the Client Pain Profile (CPP) as well as the composition of the key stakeholders in the Buyers Matrix. These are the decision-makers who will continue to share valuable insights and information to allow you to further understand how to present your solution at the best possible time, in the best possible way, for the best possible results.
Score Your Calls
Develop your own SDR Trust Scorecard, and compare notes with your colleagues. If you think you failed the trust test, call your lead back to ask them what you could have done better. I’ve done this and been surprised how candid the answers can be. You will get some of the best coaching from the prospects you don’t sell to, and demonstrate resilience by taking feedback in the face of failure.
Trust: A Real-Time, Evergreen Mindset
Sales conversations are the most natural. and potentially misleading trust-building moments in the sales process. By classifying, annotating, and scoring the most important sales calls each week, and mapping them to your trust markers, you can confirm your assumptions about trust. Call classification is simple to manage and does not involve listening to entire sales conversations. The best conversation systems allow you to quickly scan for keywords, highlight key conversation moments, and provide feedback on your trust-building process via mobile apps. Outbound SDRs who ask for coaching can now receive same-day feedback to help them stay engaged with their best prospects. This real-time training helps level up sales teams using real conversations with actionable sales intelligence.
Written by Chris Ortolano