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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales planning'>sales planning</a>
Sales Strategy
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Sales used to be a very different profession. It involved cold calling, uncertain data protection laws, controlled branding efforts, slow media, and lots of human interaction with the data mining and early-stage qualification stages.

Today, B2B sales is much less about talking to prospects and customers. Instead, it should be about talking with them every step of the journey. It’s about being service-oriented; listening to what they need and offering the best advice. To generate real, meaningful dialogue and expertise at all stages of the buyer journey.

What Do We Mean by ‘Dialogue’?

Conversations involving prospects happen as a result of, and through, many touch points and are enabled by incredible sales process technologies. Dialogue relating to pursuing B2B leads in 2018 is not just the stage when a sales rep and a prospect engage in discussion about a product of service. It’s so much more than that.

The most effective sales organizations know how (and why) they should leverage the marketing funnel to create lasting impressions and grow trust. Doing the things to get noticed and followed on social media, sharing useful content, and by building your brand online (and offline) are the ways we get to say hello to potential prospects before they decide to say hi back. Passive replies include likes, shares, comments, follows, subscribing to your brand’s YouTube channel and notifications, receiving a message through LinkedIn or joining your newsletter mailing list.

So what do we mean by dialogue in the context of having ‘real’ conversations with prospects? Well, it’s important to recognise that the interaction between the sales rep and the lead doesn’t just begin after some bot has pre-qualified an inbound chatbox. It’s not that first handshake with someone who’s read reviews online and booked a meeting at your booth while attending that big trade show. Most buyers today do their homework and move into small nibbles of interest long before they get to live chat, email, phone or meeting stages.

While successful inbound lead strategies do help to offer extra touch points and build awareness in ways which gives buyers control over the sales cycle, getting to the point when a possible client is willing to talk on the phone or in person can still be a big hurdle.

We’ll leave you with some helpful guidelines for progressing the dialogue from passive hellos to active or ‘real’  conversations on the phone, video conference or in-person.

Tips to Move from Passive to Real Dialogue with B2B Prospects

If a lead has signed up to get a call back then great! I could give them a call straight away and hit while the proverbial iron is still hot. Reacting to online enquiries in a fast way can be the difference between winning the attention of a lead or surrendering their business to a competitor.

If someone has been more passive in the interest expressed thus far in the sales funnel. Respect the limits of the channels they have chosen to following you on. If someone has signed up to your newsletter, don’t just assume that means it’s okay to call them. Send them a note and explain why you feel that it would be good to have a call and how that next-level dialogue can offer them value.

By respecting the form and depth of each and every touch point that can happen in your sales and marketing funnel, you will be well placed to begin real conversations at the right time and with the right prospects.

Final Thought

Don’t let all the hard work in creating and qualifying dialogue in your sales funnel go to waste. Be ready for the phone call or meeting; actively listen and practice your objection handling. If you are uncomfortable with asking a colleague to role play with you, try recording yourself saying your pitch on your smart phone, play it back and revise accordingly.

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