Customer and prospect meetings

Make your customer and prospect meetings count, part 1: Planning ahead for success

When your customer takes a meeting with you or your sales team, your team has to deliver — with value, relevance and consistency. You need to bring your A-game for this meeting and for all other meetings, because every communication touch point you have with your customer or prospect impacts your long-term relationship — it is a “moment of truth.”

Many salespeople leave most of their customer meetings with the thought, “That went pretty well.”

Yet surveyed prospects deem 89% of meetings as failures.* B2B buyers believe just 8% of salespeople focus on driving “valuable” end results for the buyer.* Fifty-six percent of all buyers rate their buying experience as “less than satisfied.”**

This isn’t the customer’s or prospect’s problem — this is a problem sales leaders and their teams must address, as their revenue performance hangs in the balance.

In this three-part series, we will tackle how to prepare for your meetings with buyers, how to serve your buyers during the meeting, and how to follow-up to ensure you will serve your buyers for the long haul.  

How to prepare for your meetings with buyers:

Today’s world keeps us running fast with too little time and unending to-do lists. Salespeople land meetings with buyers sometimes on a moment’s notice. Whether you have an hour or a month before your meeting, always make the time to prepare.  

Aspire for a More-Personal Meeting

Your prospect or customer either accepts your invitation to meet or requests a meeting with you. You may be tempted to take the easiest route of communicating your solution: email.

I urge you to push for a phone call — or even better, a face-to-face meeting. In person, you can read nonverbal cues, take better control of the situation and show your buyers that you are there 100% to serve their needs. Think how many other solutions are sitting in their inbox. Set yourself and your solution apart by investing in some face-time.

Do Your Research

According to a CSO Insights report, just 47% of salespeople believe that they understand the buyer’s situation before pitching a solution. Even worse, just 42% of those same salespeople surveyed think they can effectively deliver a compelling value proposition.

You and your sales team need to step up to the other half. Know your customer, and know their industry and their business. Learn your prospect’s pains. Devote a small chunk of time every morning, or over every lunch break, or every afternoon — whenever you have time — to read up on and learn more about your buyer’s industry and business.

Your buyer will be impressed with your insights on their current business outlook. They will be even more thankful when you can educate them on new challenges in their industry and likely impacts on their business. You will then be positioned well to lead them to solutions that will help them stay ahead and prepare for what’s to come — giving them a competitive advantage.

Work With Marketing to Create the Right Sales-Ready Assets

Sales professionals waste two days a week creating sales cycle content.***  This statistic isn’t just alarming from a productivity standpoint but also from a value standpoint. Marketing departments are equipped with professionals who specialize in creating these materials, while your and your sales professionals’ time is best invested engaging, communicating and serving prospects.

Instead of doing all the work yourself, partner with your marketing team to:

Stay tuned for “Make Customer and Prospect Meetings Count, Part 2,” where I’ll share vital components to leading a successful meeting with your buyer.

*Forrester Research
***CMO Council