The pandemic has forever altered the way salespeople conduct meetings with prospects and clients. It has pushed new technology to the forefront and forced many teams to adapt their strategy and tactics to rethink how they stay agile, increase revenue, accelerate pipeline, and improve customer retention.
What hasn’t changed is that sales meetings remain critical stepping stones in the buying journey and that every interaction, from first contact through post-meeting follow-up, can influence the way a prospect views your company.
As a sales enablement leader at Calendly, I am constantly reminded that the financial implications of unproductive meetings are massive, costing U.S. businesses up to $283 billion annually. I strive to help companies understand the value in delighting customers with a productive meeting experience to ultimately boost their bottom line.
Think of sales as a dance. There are five stages of meetings – the discovery, demo, stakeholder alignment, negotiation, and handoff to customer success. At every stage, there is an opportunity to accelerate growth with the right solutions to get to the next meeting milestone faster. Here are six tips for winning the modern customer.
#1 Make the Discovery Call Count
Data suggests that 83% of professional salespeople believe that they listen to the needs of their prospects during the sales process. Unfortunately, only 62% of their buyers agree with them. The consultative discovery call is the first step in the buyer’s journey. Making it delightful for your prospects means listening to them and understanding their pain points and emotional drivers. Ask probing questions that push your prospect to think beyond the obvious “what” of their problem and share more about the “why.” When you return to your prospect with a potential solution, the reception will be much better when they know you’ve listened to them and put time and effort into helping them solve their challenges.
#2 Improve Your Website UX to Increase the Speed of your Sales Pipeline
Today’s customers like self-discovery. You’ll be more successful converting website leads into customers if you can provide quick and easy access to the information they want. AI makes this easier and more efficient with chatbots, while self-serve scheduling apps encourage website visitors to fill out an inquiry form in a contact-free way to be qualified by your marketing team before a meeting is scheduled. Calendly Routing Forms gives teams the ability to do exactly this – use screening questions to direct prospects and customers to book a meeting with the right team from the start to prioritize and close high-value leads faster.
#3 Automate Your CRM Data Input to Accomplish More in Meetings
Software apps and other sales automation tools like Salesforce or Pipedrive can drive the data collection process and populate your CRM with the information you need to conduct effective follow-up and cross-functional visibility. Automating your CRM data input frees up the time typically spent on manual data input, allowing you more face time with prospects and clients. Unlock even more powerful sales and pipeline reporting capabilities by integrating your meeting solutions with Salesforce and other popular CRM platforms. It also improves the accuracy of your data – because it’s entered in real-time, salespeople can be confident that they are going into meetings with the most up-to-date prospect information.
#4 Utilize Analytics to Accomplish More in Meetings
You probably realize that you can use analytics to measure campaign funnels and conversions, but you can also integrate your scheduled meetings into that workflow. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics and SEMRush track visits and engagement with each of your website’s scheduling pages and can record bookings as a conversion. Automation allows for more efficient and effective follow-up and outreach, and establishes benchmarks based on the performance of specific campaigns.
#5 Improve the Performance of Outbound Prospecting
Today’s outbound must compete with more noise, clutter, and inbox fatigue than ever before, so when a prospect opens one of your marketing emails, it better have a rock-solid call to action or a direct channel to your sales team. Your email should be a seamless, one-touch pass-through to proven lead magnets like free offers, links to helpful information, discount codes, or even a scheduling link for follow-up. Remember, conversion starts with the click of a button.
#6 Ensure Sales Enablement Always has a Seat at the Table
In many organizations, sales methodology and buyer journey mapping occur somewhere between big data and big ideas. Bring sales enablement into those discussions and get first-hand knowledge and experience to validate your targets and test your procedures. Taking a 360-degree view of the buying experience helps you implement tools and techniques that work in the real world and can tangibly impact your sales efforts.
Your company’s bottom line suffers when your sales meetings are unproductive, your team’s scheduling is inefficient, and your website fails to address customer needs. Whether you integrate technology, automate workflows, or instill proven best practices into your sales cycle, it is critical to remove any friction impeding on your sales team’s ability to produce ROI.
Brand loyalty comes from respecting people’s time and intent across all digital and physical interactions. Our vision at Calendly is to build the underlying scheduling infrastructure that makes these omnichannel connections seamless for your customers and efficient for your team. We’ve made it easy to standardize scheduling automation across your entire organization so all of your revenue-driving teams, from sales to marketing to customer success, can benefit from an integrated tech stack. More meetings means more sales opportunities means more revenue.