The Anatomy of a Successful Sales Meeting
September 25, 2019
Salespeople spend 19% of their time in sales meetings, according to SuperOffice. That’s one day of every work week dedicated exclusively to these critical engagements. If you’re spending so much time in meetings, but not properly preparing beforehand and following up afterward, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Preparing for, and following up after, sales meetings doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re ready to create a repeatable approach and win more deals, these tips can help.
Preparing for a Sales Meeting
We already know that customers want to buy from someone they trust. If you arrive to a sales meeting unprepared, that trust will instantly dissipate, and this happens all too often. Per Forrester, proper preparation puts you ahead of 70% of salespeople who are not prepared to answer questions from the buyer during a sales meeting, and 77% of salespeople who do not fully understand their buyers’ issues.
Sales Navigator aids in establishing your reputation as a trusted, essential partner, helping you maintain strong customer relationships.
Get to Know Your Customer
Without understanding who your customer is and what makes them tick, you’ll have a harder time helping them understand the value of your product or service. Before entering a sales meeting, it’s important to know who you will be talking to and what matters most to them.
Successful sales managers use Sales Navigator to extract important bits of information about their customers and prep their teams for upcoming sales meetings. “Knowing who I will be talking to helps me go into that meeting with the right strategy,” says Lisa Killeen, Regional Sales Leader for LinkedIn Sales Solutions.
Chart Potential Connections
They say it’s all about who you know. Helping a sales rep connect with the right people is one of the most effective ways to expand their presence within in an account, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help you get there. With real-time visibility into the team’s leads, managers can decide when to step in and lend a hand if a deal is at risk.
LinkedIn’s Head of New Business for Australia and New Zealand, Andrew McCarthy, uses Sales Navigator to find out if anyone in a meeting is connected to someone he knows, was recently promoted, or has had the same role for many years. “All those indicators help me better run the play and do a better job for the prospective customer,” he says.
Empower Sales Reps
Before jumping into a meeting with both feet, it’s important to understand key stakeholders’ motivations, values, and preferences. Instead of relying on prospects to provide your sales reps with critical information, use Sales Navigator to find answers to the following questions:
- Who are the decision makers?
- What do they care about?
- Who in the organization should I know?
- Who is involved in the decision-making process?
Sales Navigator shows you who is involved in a deal as well as who you may have missed, and provides weekly updates about the status of the accounts your reps are working on. With these features, you can deliver relevant messages to the right people every step of the way.
Following Up After a Sales Meeting
Once the sales meeting is over, it’s time to win the deal by following up. A study published by Harvard Business Review shows that 71% of leads are never followed up on. That’s a lot of missed opportunity! Knowing how to effectively stay in touch with your prospects could mean the difference between winning or losing a deal.
Stay in the Know
In order to stay up-to-date on what’s happening within a target account, follow the main decision makers and their company’s LinkedIn Page. Combined with real-time updates from Sales Navigator, your sales reps will gain a better idea of how to steer follow-up conversations.
For example, a prospect recently shared with Killeen that they were planning to hire 50 employees for a new department. Because Lisa was following the prospect on LinkedIn, she was one of the first to see the news published online and used that as a reason to reach out, drive the conversation forward, and close out the deal.
Gain Insights Through Interactions
It’s likely that during sales meetings, reps don’t interact with every stakeholder. Luckily, PointDrive allows you and your reps to co-create an online presentation and share it with prospects across any device and any electronic communication channel. Recipients can share the presentation with their colleagues, and you get insight into who opens which content, as well as how they engage with at it. This feature is invaluable for B2B salespeople not yet multi-threaded in an account.
“Certain companies in certain markets tend to be quite private and don’t reveal a lot of information,” says Killeen. “PointDrive is fantastic in helping us understand who else will be involved in the decision-making process because they open the presentation.”
Stand Out with InMail
Sales reps compete for the attention of their prospects day in and day out. When you send an email to a prospective customer’s crowded inbox, you might be setting yourself up for failure. How can you make sure your follow-up message stands out?
InMail is an excellent alternative to traditional email messages. “After I attend a prospect meeting with one of my reps, I always follow up using InMail to connect with the people I’ve met,” says Joan Doyle Foley, Head of Enterprise Sales for LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “I also use it to keep in touch throughout the course of the sales cycle. Even if I have their email address, I follow up via InMail because it stands out.”
Reach Out with Relevance
Lastly, practice reaching out to the right people at the right time by paying attention to Who’s Viewed Your Profile on LinkedIn. This feature allows you to get a feel for who’s interacting with you or your brand, and helps you figure out when to stay persistent.
If your sales rep reaches out to a prospect and they don’t reply, but they view the rep’s LinkedIn profile, it’s a good indicator the prospect may still be interested but needs more relevant information sent their way. “It can also point us to a new person in the Buyer Circle when our main contact passes along our information,” says Kate O’Leary, Senior Sales Manager at LinkedIn.
Win the Deal
Successful salespeople know that what happens before and after a sales meeting is just as important as what happens during the meeting. Using Sales Navigator can help even the most skilled salesperson better prepare for upcoming sales meetings, as well as strengthen their follow-up by helping them reach the right people at the right time. For more tips about setting your sales reps up for success, download our guide, Get Closer to Your Sales Team.