In this article you will get some ideas on how to rethink your B2B sales outreach and get first hand best practices.
We'll dive into sales teams, roles and tasks as well as the role of a podcast for B2B companies.
Uncertainties and dilemmas always disrupt business models and force the creation of new revolutionary ideas.
Sharing economy for example has become a cutting-edge concept in recent years, with the success of Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. In March 2020, Covid-19 made us rethink the future of business and remote work.
We will recreate the core essence of business itself at one point in time. Currently, a new great wave of selling is being created. Companies are rethinking their marketing, sales management and product strategies and fueling new approaches to grow their businesses.
Talking about new ways of reaching out and interacting with your audience, this is exactly what we do at Salespod.
We want to rethink and revolutionize relationship building for B2B companies. We believe that the future of B2B sales is in the networking abilities of company’s executives. Salespod fundamentally helps you connect with your ideal partners and buyers, develop a connection, and engage with them.
B2B companies invest a lot of time in cold outreach whether it is through sending emails, text messages, direct mail, as well as using social media.
However, it is believed that less than 24% of promotional emails are opened. That means that almost 75% of your cold email outreaches or email newsletters go unread.
Customers get hundreds of emails and it is almost impossible to stand out with the same old outreach strategies.
Cold outreaches have to integrate 3 main concepts to generate better results:
The first task to realize higher click through rates is to personalize your emails. You can get creative with your emails and create interest in the receiver.
Next you have to be precise about whom you are addressing yourself to and what you can offer to that individual. You have to make sure that your receiver is someone who is remotely interested in what you have to offer so do your research and build your buyer personas.
Then one last differentiator is to be open with your communication; it is better to be honest and sincere in your email. Human beings are creatures of emotion and tapping into those humanistic feelings can bring you better results.
Digital sales currently is a mindset of Adapt or Die. Companies that cannot quickly enough jump on the trends of digital sales and sales operations have a lower likelihood of succeeding.
Traditional sales are in most cases no longer the most efficient way of closing deals. Cold calling and emailing as well as scripted pitches do no longer work for the majority of us.
Companies are now rethinking their sales operations and strategies through the usage of data and growth formulas to generate a sales acceleration.
Recent studies showed that firms adopting digital media reduced their costs to serve by 40%–60%. Use of digital sales are also helping companies cut down on costs.
Digital companies have to cater for their clients in a renewed way since all their processes are carried out digitally.
Digital sales can be defined as the usage of digital channels for sales processes of a business and it encompasses every single touchpoint for new breed sales.
It can be broken down into categories such as social selling and outreach. To help us better understand the sales structure, let’s have a look at the different sales positions and sales teams available in the industry.
In this section you will showcase how a typical team of sales professionals is structured and what kind of roles and sales job titles a typical digital company offers in its sales department.
Let’s first have a look at a recently rising position that was then popular niche sales jobs within some tech companies.
The SDR is the perfect role for everybody who wants to become a sales professional.
The sole task of a Sales Development Representative is taking the customer to the point of booking a meeting then sending the customer to another team member of the sales department who will close the deal: The account executive.
This concentrated and segmented process allows sales professionals and sales teams to maximize value and time.
Payscale found out that the average SDR compensation is €36,488. However, SDRs usually work by the amount of calls or emails they send and their compensations can be up to €10,000.
After gaining some experience in the sales development role, the next step is automatically the account executive role. This comes with a whole new set of tasks.
Interpersonal skills are generally very useful in this field as you tend to spend a lot of time on the phone, sending emails and interacting with prospects.
The average base salary starts from € 61,401.
Account executives also often receive additional compensation per year starting from €3,220 to €86,194, averaging at € 39,681.
Account Managers strive to maintain existing client relationships and keep customers happy with their chosen solution while account executives work to bring in new sales.
An account manager also serves as the client’s primary point-of-contact at the company. If you are interested in building relationships and engaging with clients, you should consider becoming an account manager.
Payscale estimates the salary of those kind of sales professionals to be starting from €23,000 to €69,000.
Sales managers and regional sales managers lead teams of SDRs and sometimes account managers.
Sometimes they might also be involved in the recruiting, hiring, and firing of employees.
According to Payscale, the annual salary of a regional sales manager starts from €67,464 up to 108,000 .
A sales manager is in charge of managing the sales team and to make sure that the team reaches their goals.
Sales managers often take part in processing a company's largest, most significant, or most sensitive accounts.
Sales manager’s salary starts from €63,000 and can increase to €100,000 per year.
A director of sales maintains a more strategic role than that of the sales manager.
They are held responsible for the performance of their department and organize their team of sales professionals.
They communicate with the higher ups such as the Vice President of sales and they communicate directives to the rest of the sales organisation.
PayScale estimates the salary of a director of sales to start from €56,000 and can rise up to €142,000.
A sales engineer requires an interesting set of skills; both technical knowledge and people skills. They spend a great deal of their time presenting, listening, and communicating with clients about the technical aspects of products.
Sales engineers are typically working in software companies with complex software products.
This job often requires a bachelor or master in the field of software development or engineering or prior expertise in the subject.
The salary of a sales engineer starts from €39,000 to €81,000 per year.
You see that your product is starting to get traction and can be scaled. What do you do? It is time for you to curate the perfect sales team to cater for this change.
A Harvard Business Review study shows that
‘50% of high-performing sales organizations have well-documented sales processes that are explicitly structured, compared to 28% of under-performing organizations.’
You cannot randomly hire a sales rep and hope for the best. You have to have a sales process and you have to be strategic with who and how you will build your team.
Below you will see the different positions important for a sales process and team to be giving the best ROI.
This structure breaks down your sales processes by function category.
This team includes every beginning sales roles. These represent sales advisors, sales reps, and sales assistants. They are responsible for developing leads and gathering names, phone numbers, emails and data about potential leads.
SDR focuses on engaging with the prospects and qualifying them by seeing that the company meets their needs and seeing if their wants align with what the company has to propose. They take the client up to the point of booking a meeting. Sales operations managers also have a similar task as sales development representative.
After the task of the SDR, the account executive takes the client under their wings and closes the deal by proposing the best solution to them and make new sales. They also erase potential obstacles in the deal and bonds with the client to commitment.
A customer success team includes the account manager among others. The account manager takes care of the client after the deal is closed. They focus on keeping the customer happy, increasing their lifetime value and try to eventually upsell the customer to higher plans.
This is the basic structure of a sales team, obviously you have to restructure and adapt this format to your organization.
After talking about the different teams and positions your organization can implement, we can now talk about the channel they could use to leverage your digital growth. Sales channels have the possibility to bring you hundreds, thousands or even millions of sales. However you have to choose your channels carefully as this is not a one size fits all solution. We will present you 3 broad categories of sales channels which you can use for your business.
In case you know those channels already we put together the best and most underrated b2b sales channels for SaaS in an article.
Cold calling and cold emailing are two of the most common ways in sales to reach out to prospects.
Cold calling is a sales technique where prospects that haven’t had any touchpoint with your company or product yet are called by a salesperson. The caller tries to get the buyer to have a conversion with him or her or to schedule a follow up meeting to pitch the product or service.
A cold email works in the same way as cold call. The goal of this kind of outreach is to get a prospect who has not expressed previous interest in the company, product or service yet to buy or schedule a follow up call or meeting with the sender.
Social media sales channels have been expanding exponentially since the pandemic 2020 and it is still growing. Your organization should not miss out on the chance of having millions of prospects just at your fingertip.
By combining marketing efforts like content marketing, performance marketing or SEO with traditional sales you will realize that social media has a huge potential.
Especially for B2B business LinkedIn is the place to be.
Especially the role of personal branding changed over time. The most successful companies empower their sales employees to build up their personal brand and reach to create demand for the company. This tactic is also used in many other departments, e.g. in marketing.
Your business can generate only a certain amount of sales until you reach a limit. After this limit, you will have to make some changes to sustain your existing revenue channel.
A major change is to start collaborating with E-commerce stores, affiliate sellers, value added sellers or agents. By distributing your products via a channel partner that will market and sell the product for you, you will be able to boost your clientele and make new customers know about your product.
Also think about potential strategic partnerships. A strategic partner could be a competitor in another region or a company that benefits directly or indirectly from your service or product.
The more sales channels you use, the more customers you can reach. But be careful as each channel adds costs and complexity. Moreover, if you add a new channel only to find it attracts sales away from an existing channel without bringing in extra sales, you'll be increasing your costs for little or no benefit.
Creating attraction and response is great, however it is not simple.
Regardless of applying cold emailing or cold calling you will be faced with a big challenge:
Creating attention and response.
If you ever tried to get someone you have never spoken to before to jump on a meeting with you, you will know how hard it is to even get a single response.
The problem is the way you reach out. It’s a one way ticket. You want someone to do something for you without giving something back. That’s where sales gurus, guides and coaches come into play trying to teach you how to better reach out to someone and how to create interest.
You will spend hours practicing those techniques. But in the end you are still in the same unpleasant situation. You will try to sell and it won’t work well.
This simple problem is one of the main reasons why most cold outreaches have incredibly low success rates. However, with Salespod we found a solution to change that situation fundamentally.
Jump to Our story to learn how you can increase your reply rates exponentially.
According to studies by cience the least available industry to reach out to is the software industry.
With open rates (OR) of only 27,34% and reply rates (RR) of 3,44% the amount of prospects you need to make one single sale is incredibly high.
Other sources draw an even worse image, like campaign monitor. They will tell you that a good open rate is 17-28%.
You don’t have to be a math genius to understand that your chance of closing a deal requires a lot of input.
Marketing generated 500 leads in the last campaign.
Cold emails are sent to every of those 500 leads.
10% bounce back or are not deliverable.
450 emails reach their destination.
With an average OR of 27% just 122 leads open the email.
3,5% reply and book an appointment. That’s 16 appointments (rounded up).
With an average close rate across all industries of around 19% (source: propellercrm) you can generate 3 new customers.
Just imagine you would have open rates of nearly 70% and click rates of up to 40%.
You think that’s impossible? Read Our story.
When approaching a new lead, you might be tempted to start pitching straight away.
As explained before the problem of pitching your product or service is that the other person might not be interested in your sales pitch.
Sales leaders around the world will tell you that one of the most important tasks for salespeople is to build relationships with their prospects. Sales assistants and sales advisors for example have a lot of success in closing deals due to their abilities to build relationships.
Your goal as the selling part should be to get to know your prospect and to build trust. Trust is one of the biggest levers when it comes to selling. If you trust someone you often don’t question a recommendation or advice.
But building trust will take some time and in most cases you need more than just a longer conversation. That’s why social proof became such an important aspect in marketing and communications for every type of company.
The easiest way to build trust is to show that you are trustworthy. This could happen by showing references of former customers or by giving something back without wanting to have compensation.
Another big advantage of building relationships with your potential customers instead of just pitching your product is that you will be able to get valuable insights.
Especially by talking to your prospects without trying to sell something you will experience a whole new level of openness. Instead of talking in one direction you could ask questions and listen.
That way you will also understand the prospect’s pain points much quicker and you will have the opportunity to respond to that pain with your solution.
At Salespod we have discovered that podcasts can be the perfect solution for creating a great first touch point and also initiating conversations like no other outreach strategy.
You can find out more about our learnings in the section Our story.
Podcasting can be scaled into becoming a revenue channel and the cost of investing in one is leveraged by creating content for your organization.
In the following chapter we will talk about Podcasts and the benefits for companies.
The dictionary definition of podcast is:
A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installs of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
The performance and success of podcasts have already been proven by multiple companies.
The question to ask is: Why do podcasts work so well?
Podcasts use the power of real human conversations to connect on an emotional level to people. This is the main difference between other channels and mediums.
A sales podcast for B2B transactions is similar to a networking event where the ultimate goal would be to introduce your company and to get to know each other through natural conversations, laughs and other emotions.
Sales podcasts allow like minded individuals to converse about similar interests and experiences. They provide the space for other companies to share their products, services, experiences and stories.
A podcast allows you to make those meaningful connections with people in your field, convert an invitee to becoming a customer of your services, or even just help you put out content for your company.
Being a podcast host is also a great medium to get valuable information from your invitee. You will have the opportunity to ask questions on any topic and get insider information.
Moreover information based upon personal experience is hard to get. Talking to someone inside a prospect company will help you gather a reliable amount of qualitative data you can use to place your offer in a smart and pleasant way.
The idea of being invited on a sales podcast and being able to talk about your company is not something you would want to miss out on. Let your guests feel special and important. It should be a honor to get invited to your podcast.
Podcasts provide a space to benefit both parties, so they help increase open rates and click rates when cold emailing or during an outreach on social media.
Human beings always have a need for self-fulfillment and self-actualization(according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) and we are always seeking for ways to explore this need. Being invited to a podcast to talk about your company is something sales leaders, managers or CEOs would want to accomplish and your podcast is providing a space for exactly that.
They would have the opportunity to talk about their company, their product and also about their personal experience. It is the perfect place to sell themselves and their products in a non-abrasive manner.
Your podcast would become a stage for your guests to grow on.
A podcast will introduce you directly to the decision makers in your industry. By inviting them to your podcast and giving them a stage to show and sell themselves, you are providing them with direct value.
In addition you will be able to connect with those decision makers on a personal level ten times faster. This will help you sell in the short and long term.
Use the powerful networking effect of social media platforms like LinkedIn. As soon as the podcast is repurposed, the content will be shared on the socials of both companies and the audiences of both parties will grow from it.
In addition your guest will be introduced to your own network and this can benefit their company too. A win-win situation.
Podcasts provide a waterfall effect with content creation and digital growth. By investing into a podcast, you can get the maximum out of it by recycling and repurposing the content. From the creation of blog articles to texts, images and videos for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn.
Your podcast guest will also receive a multitude of content from their episode. They are able to use these content pieces for their social media accounts to promote their business too.
During a podcast, you are able to acquire valuable information on your guest as well as the company he or she is working for. This information can later be used to propose better solutions for their problems.
Every salesperson knows: Information is key in selling. The underlying objective is for you to determine if your invitee is a potential client and through the conversation, you will be able to do so.
Though a podcast, you would have a better chance of connecting with your guest. This can in the end help you build relationships. As mentioned before it will be ten times easier to connect with decision makers.
Podcasts are great for building trust as your guest does feel like it's a transaction. They are receiving as much as you while participating in your podcast.
In addition you and your brand will build up strong relationships with your listeners. Just imagine how easy it will be to acquire somebody as a guest for your podcast if that person is already a listener.
With direct connections to the decision makers, the valuable insights from your podcast guests and the growing trust on all channels, you will be able to sell your products or services up to ten times faster.
As a result you will experience increased closing rates across your deals and a significantly shorter sales cycle.
The outcomes of a podcast can bring great advantage to your company. Podcasts help in many ways to bring your business to the next level.
In addition to the direct effects on your business and sales activities you can expect even more positive outcomes from your podcast in the long run.
Creating demand is one of the hardest but most effective disciplines in today's marketing. Demand generation, also known as Demand-Gen, refers to any activity that drives awareness and interest to and in your product with the ultimate goal of creating a pipeline that will grow your business automatically.
Demand-Gen is not about forcing demand or tricking people into buying products or services.
It is about providing the right information to the right people at the right time so that people will develop a natural interest for your company and their products and services. The idea behind demand generation is to provide valuable information.
Demand generation means ungated content. Demand generation means providing knowledge and know-how. Demand generation means giving without taking.
This is exactly what a podcast does. You cannot force people to listen to your podcast. But if your podcast is interesting and provides them with value they will willingly listen to it. If they like what they hear they will even come back.
Moreover a podcast will only address itself to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, so you are attracting the perfect crowd to your business automatically.
Nowadays sales leaders, managers and employees all listen to sales podcasts. Podcasts have transformed into a learning platform where knowledge from the industry leaders can be spread. You can use this platform to carry out implicit marketing to introduce those listening to your products and service.
A podcast can be considered the ultimate demand generation strategy as it creates brand awareness for your niche.
Lead generation is the next direct outcome of creating a B2B podcast. Lead generation and demand generation can sometimes be confused to have the same meaning.
However lead generation thrives to convert brand aware prospects into deal closing customers and Demand-Gen aims at increasing your brand awareness.
Lead generation refers to the process of gaining the interest of potential customers in order to increase future sales.
Podcasts provide the outlet for lead generation. Sales podcasts provide the awareness to potential customers the company has not done business with yet and does not rule them out.
When you invite a guest on your podcast, they might have already heard of your product because they have been listening to your podcast for a while already. Your guest evolves from being just a listener to a potential lead the moment they attend your podcast.
Lead generation carried out through a podcast can have better returns as your guests are already familiar with what you do and on top of that, they know that you are giving back to your listeners by providing them with a free space to talk about their product, company and experience.
Branding is a secret weapon that is oftentimes underestimated by smaller companies and startups. Branding can catapult your company into having a competitive advantage, into deeply connecting with your customers and into creating an easy-to-choose journey to your product in the mind of a customer.
Podcasts can help you elevate your company brand. We will talk about 2 types of branding that are a competitive advantage for your company in the long term:
Corporate branding reflects the entire company in its external and internal effect. This includes the employees as well as the customers of the company.
Having a podcast can only provide benefits for your company. A podcast shows transparency within the company and depending on how you interact and engage with your guest, the image of your company is only set to improve.
Through a podcast you are able to build trust and build relationships with your listener. Your listeners see that your company does not only care about making money but also about promoting learning and growing with industry partners.
Your brand image improves tremendously.
A saying that immaculately defines employer branding is “Better employees, better brand”. Indeed beyond the service and product lies the employees who are giving their time, energy, bodies and intellectual minds for the higher good of the companies.
Employees who believe and align themselves with the goals and vision of the company are the ones who will go through thick and thin with their company.
However it is quite hard to find the perfect candidate for every role, given that there are pools of qualified individuals who might not be the perfect fit.
You would not believe it if I say that podcasts can help you find those perfect fit.
How you may ask? Well people who listen to your podcast are people who are interested in what you have to say. They are interested in your goals, your vision and most certainly your product or service.
And if you tell those people that you are looking to fill a certain position inside your company, if they are genuinely interested in your company, they would come out of the shadows.
This is how you are able to get the attention of the right fit through your podcast.
Last but not least you will also benefit personally from being a podcast host. Personal branding is of growing importance, especially in the age of networking.
With your personal brand you will build a target audience that can match your company's target audience.
A podcast can become an outlet for you to project who you are, what you stand for and why it's worth choosing you and your company instead of a competitor's company.
After following to your podcast for a while, your listeners will feel like they already know you, they will feel like they already have a relationship with you. They know what to expect from you. In a world where everyone struggles to get noticed, you will have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd by just talking on a podcast.
By commanding a podcast, you are also establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, gaining more respect from your peers and customers. This will automatically lead to a strong personal brand and thus more opportunities.
Salespod helps you use podcasting as an opportunity to get more clients and close deals faster.
With over 125+ episodes in a year and a half our podcast Digital Growth has become our best performing sales channel. But how exactly did it all start and what is the idea behind it?
In July 2020, the Digital Growth podcast went online with its first episode. The mission was to provide first hand growth experience from founders. We wanted to give our podcast audience something of value. Something they could apply directly to their business.
We started to invite people for a quick get-to-know to speak with them about a possible collaborative episode. In these get-to-knows we were able to connect with our guests on a very personal and pleasant level.
We discovered that the open rates as well as the reply rates of our cold emails were extremely high.
We run campaigns with email open rates of nearly 70% and click rates of up to 40%.
And it didn’t stop there.
Things evolved so quickly after the first couple of episodes that we had to stop our podcast outreaches because we couldn’t handle more appointments.
More and more meetings were scheduled and our previous podcast guests reached out to us asking if we could support them with their growth tasks.
Our guests soon became customers. As an agency that was the best thing that could happen to us.
Today, we have an average of 10 get-to-know calls and 2 published episodes per week with our podcast Digital Growth.
Last but nor least let's sum it all up.
At Salespod, we pride ourselves to be about connections and relationship building. We believe that ‘people do business with people they like’ and we provide the space for this human need for connection.
Most B2B cold outreaches have such a low rate of success (97%). We see the problems that marketers, salespeople and companies face with cold outreaches and we want to solve them.
With Salespod we brought the idea of using a podcast to bridge this gap of low engagement, low connection and low results to life.
We think that understanding the idea behind a cold outreach and a podcast outreach as well as branding and social selling can help every company improve their product or service.
To get a better picture how Salespod will help your business grow with a simple podcast, you can book an appointment with us for a free consultation.