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How To Prepare for a Sales Call in 10 Minutes: Q&A with Cam Crockett

Today we have Cam Crockett here today to talk about preparing for a sales call. Cam has a financial background, has been in several sales roles, and is now a financial consultant at Acumen Learning. Let’s get right to it!


Question:

Cam, can you explain why sales reps are spending more time preparing for sales calls nowadays?


Sales reps are dedicating more time to prepare for sales calls because in the world of enterprise selling, it's crucial to come to the call with situational understanding. This level of preparation is just as important as having empathy and consultative selling skills. Think about how likely you are to talk with a salesperson over the phone about a problem you don’t even have. Understanding the person's situation and needs can make or break the situation.


Question:

What should I do when I have limited time to prepare for a sales call, like 10 minutes or less?


I have 4 quick and easy steps that I always do if I don’t have enough time to do a real deep dive. The first thing I do is gather basic information about the company. Find out their industry, the number of employees they have, and their top-line revenue growth. You can get these answers from sources like YAHOO! Finance, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.


The second step is to check the company’s investor relations page. Look for information about their next earnings release date. Knowing this can provide insights into their budget cycle and priorities for the coming months. Review the slide deck from their last earnings release and their press releases for significant updates.


The third thing I would do is make sure you really understand the person you’re going to be talking to. Visit their LinkedIn page to learn about their job title, job description, career experience, and any commonalities you might share, such as mutual connections or interactions with similar companies or schools.


And last, I would be overly curious. Put yourself in your contact's shoes. Consider what you would focus on and what your priorities would be if you were in their role.


 


 

Question:

Can you give me an example of using these four steps to prepare for a sales call?


Certainly. When I was preparing for a call I had with Delta Airlines, I used these steps. I really quickly gained an understanding of their threefold strategy as they were coming out of the pandemic: brand loyalty, balance sheet strength, and driving efficiency. At the time, they were aiming to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 using this strategy. This information obviously really helped me to understand which questions to ask and which areas to address when speaking with my contact.


Question:

Why is it important to review a company's investor relations page and press releases before a sales call? These feel like really long documents to look at for every person you speak with.


It’s important to note that when you’re in a consultative sales role, your job is to gain trust and know your contacts. It’s not to make 100 calls a day and talk to random people you don’t know. So for these contacts, reviewing the investor relations page and press releases is crucial because they contain valuable information about the company's financial health, upcoming events like earnings releases, recent acquisitions, new product launches, and key executive hires. Understanding these updates can help you tailor your approach and conversation during the sales call to align with the company's current goals and priorities.


Question:

You’ve said that you scour their LinkedIn before talking with them. How can looking at your contact's LinkedIn profile help in preparing for a sales call?


Visiting your contact's LinkedIn page allows you to gather information about their job title, job description, career experience, and any shared connections or interactions. This knowledge helps establish rapport and find common ground, making the conversation more personal and relevant during the sales call.


Question:

You mentioned thinking from your contact's point of view. Can you speak on why it’s essential to get curious and think from their perspective before a sales call?


Getting curious and putting yourself in your contact's shoes helps you anticipate their needs, priorities, and goals. This perspective allows you to tailor your approach, ask relevant questions, and offer solutions that align with their objectives, making the sales call more productive and engaging.


Question:

How does business acumen help you prepare for a sales call?


Business acumen is a valuable skill that aids in preparing for a sales call by providing a deep understanding of the business landscape, industry trends, and the specific challenges and opportunities facing the prospect. It enables you to approach the call with a strategic mindset, allowing you to ask insightful questions, offer tailored solutions, and ultimately build stronger relationships with your clients.


Question:

That seems so beneficial! Just last question I want to touch on…Cam, can you give us a tangible example of how business acumen helped you in your sales career?


Absolutely. Let me share an experience from a CLO (Chief Learning Officer) event where business acumen played a crucial role in my sales career.


I was at this event where many learning and development leaders from major companies attend. During a networking session, I struck up a conversation with a chief learning officer from a Fortune 500 company. As we discussed their company's training needs, it became apparent that they were looking for a way to align their employee development programs with their strategic financial goals.


Having sold business acumen training, I better be well versed in the subject. So, drawing from my experience, I could immediately grasp the challenges they were facing. Their company needed a training solution that not only improved employee skills but also directly contributed to their bottom line. I shared examples of how our customized business acumen training had helped other clients achieve precisely that, providing tangible ROI through improved decision-making and financial understanding at all levels of the organization.


This discussion resonated with the CLO, as I was able to address a critical pain point, they were experiencing. Our ability to bridge the gap between employee development and financial success, thanks to our business acumen training, not only captured their interest but led to a successful partnership that has continued to thrive. This experience showcased how business acumen can be a game-changer in sales, enabling us to understand and address our clients' most pressing needs and challenges effectively.



Activity:

Now that we understand how to quickly prepare for a sales call, let's engage in a learning activity you can do during your next team meeting:


Exercise: Rapid Sales Call Preparation

  1. Scenario Assignment: Assign each team member a hypothetical scenario where they have a sales call in 10 minutes. Provide details about the company they will be calling, the industry, and the contact person.

  2. Research: In the given time, ask team members to quickly gather information using the four steps outlined by Cam:

    • Basic company information (industry, number of employees, revenue growth).

    • Check the company’s investor relations page for key financial insights.

    • Review recent press releases for updates.

    • Visit the LinkedIn profile of the contact person for insights into their role and background.

3. Sharing and Discussion: Each team member briefly shares the information they gathered with the rest of the team. Discuss the most relevant and impactful insights for the sales call.

4. Role-Play: Teams engage in quick role-playing exercises where one team member takes on the role of the salesperson and another as the prospect. Emphasize the use of the gathered information to tailor the conversation and build rapport.

5. Debrief: Facilitate a short debrief discussion on the effectiveness of the rapid preparation and how the information gathered influenced the simulated sales call.


This exercise aims to highlight the importance of swift yet comprehensive research in sales call preparation, using your time effectively. Teams will grasp the significance of quick, insightful information gathering to navigate time constraints while ensuring they understand the prospect's company and individual roles. It prompts discussions on how comprehending the prospect's situation profoundly shapes the sales approach, fostering an appreciation for tailored conversations aligned with the prospect's goals. Ultimately, this rapid preparation exercise reinforces practical applications of the discussed sales techniques, encouraging collaboration and sharpening the team's ability to think on their feet in dynamic sales scenarios.

 
Continue your Learning...


The Impact of Business Acumen on the Sales Process




Building Business Acumen for Sales





5 ways to improve your Sales Calls



 
Next Steps...

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Executive Overview for Sales and Marketing:



Test your Business Acumen with this Quick quiz:



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