The coffee’s brewing, and you’re eyeing your sales pipeline ready to make moves to close the gap in your quarterly target. So, what’ll it be? Spend the day cold-calling? Sending follow-up notes? Asking, “Is now the right time?”
If you’re a seasoned sales development representative (SDR) or account executive (AE), you know your best conversion rates aren’t about the quantity of your interactions with prospects but rather about the quality.
With traditional sales tactics like cold outreach, you’ll output a high amount of effort with low return. (Skip ahead for the stats to prove it.)
Become a more consultative salesperson, and not only will it become easier to build trust with your prospects, you’ll also be more likely to:
- Hit your goals/quota
- Stand out among your sales peers
- Advance your career
Rather than asking what your prospect needs… You can show them what’s working for similar customers and how your solution can help them get ahead of industry changes.
Rather than listening to dial tones… You can skip ahead to, “I’ve heard great things about you from so and so” with a warm intro from your partner.
We’ve compiled six stats that can help inform your strategy so you can hit your goals faster.
Stat #1: Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response
Making your email stand out with a funny or personal subject line helps, but your email is one of a million. Think of all of the newsletters in your inbox and how many go unread each day. There are a lot of blog posts with suggestions for writing a compelling subject line, and what’s true of all of them is that authenticity is key.
Don’t use jargon, speak to your prospect in the same way you would a good friend (but maybe don’t talk about your love life), and lean on your network to pull in a partner that will help build your credibility with the prospect. Sellers at Freshworks have seen a 50% faster time to close when working with partners to generate leads and advance opportunities.
Tips for improving your opens and response rates with partners:
Ask your partner to make a warm intro for you. Your prospect is more likely to open and respond to an email from a trusted friend and advisor (think: a partner your prospect is already working with) than someone with whom they have no prior relationship. Your partnerships team can use a partner ecosystem platform (PEP) like Crossbeam to identify which partners have your prospects or opportunities as their existing customers, so you always know which partners can help move the needle on a deal.
Include details about your prospect’s tech stack in your email outreach. By identifying which of your prospects are already customers of your tech partners, you’ll know which tools your prospects are using. Mention the right integrations in your outreach emails, and you’re more likely to pique your prospect’s interest.
Stat #2: 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase decision
If you’re looking to buy a new camera, you’re likely spending weeks or months researching the camera you’re interested in and similar models before ever talking to a sales rep. The same goes for B2B SaaS.
Meet your buyers where they’re shopping — on their LinkedIn feeds, on G2, and through partners they’re already working with. The more your buyers see you engaging with their network in an authentic and helpful way (think: providing answers to questions around best practices and industry trends — not selling your product), the more likely they are to think of you as a trusted advisor.
Tips for social selling:
Ask your partner to reply to product-specific questions on LinkedIn. Hearing how great your product is from a trusted peer or advisor is much more powerful than hearing it directly from you. While it might be tempting to reply directly to product-related questions, try asking a partner who works with your prospect to reply on your behalf. They can give a candid response and speak to the value they’ve seen firsthand in working with their clients (if they’re your channel partner) or from those who have adopted your integration (if they’re your tech partner).
Participate in LinkedIn conversations. The more your prospects see you engaging with people in their network, the more likely they are to remember you. Engage in meaningful conversion, and never directly sell your product on LinkedIn. 62% of sellers agree social selling helps them build stronger relationships with their prospects. Be part of the conversation by sharing industry trends, dos and don’ts you’ve seen firsthand, and your unique perspective as an individual who has spoken with and learned from the prospects and customers you speak with each day.
Ask your most successful customers if they’d be willing to write a review of your product on G2. Ask the customers you have the best relationships with if they’d be willing to share their experience with your product on G2 (or touch base with your product marketing or marketing team to work directly with those customers to generate reviews). The more positive G2 reviews you have from familiar faces in your prospects’ networks, the easier the sales conversation with those prospects will be. Bonus: Generate G2 reviews with customers who have adopted your integrations to help attract prospects using your partner’s tech as part of their tech stacks.
Stat #3: Partners contribute to 58% of the revenue that Highspot’s top sales reps generate
Highspot’s sales reps also saw a 60% larger deal size when working with partners. Working with partners accelerates sales cycles and increases deal sizes, so it’s no surprise that the sales reps who work with partners quickly become top performers.
We’ve seen evidence of these results across the B2B SaaS space. For example: The previous Director of Sales at Cypress.io says his AE brought an implementation partner in on a deal they thought they would lose, and the partner helped close the deal. He saw AEs at Cypress.io get promotions for hitting their quota faster with partners. At other companies, some sales reps moved into partnership roles after seeing the value of co-selling with partners.
Tips for showing your ability to sell strategically:
Raise your hand to work with your new partners. If your partner program is new, or if you’re rolling out new partners, ask your partnerships team if you can start working with them. Working with partners helps sales teams close deals faster, and you can differentiate yourself among your team and lead by example. Be the first to work with a new partner, and your sales and partnerships team will share your wins org-wide, look to you and your process as an example for other sales reps, and even enlist you in training your peers. Many sales reps receive promotions for their work with partners.
Use Sales Edge, a network-based co-selling solution from Crossbeam, so you’ll know exactly which partners can help you get a warm intro or advance a deal while you’re browsing LinkedIn or reviewing opportunities in Salesforce.
The Sales Edge Chrome Extension enables you to reach out to partners directly from LinkedIn — Ask your partnerships team if you’re already using Crossbeam and Sales Edge. By introducing a new, easy-to-use tool that integrates with the rest of your sales stack and improves collaboration between the partnerships team and sales to boost revenue, you’ll show:
- Your strategic initiative
- Your ability to work with multiple stakeholders
- Your eligibility for a promotion
Stat #4: The talk-to-listen ratio for successful cold calls is higher than unsuccessful ones
In a discovery call, it’s all about listening. But a successful cold call isn’t about discovery; it’s about getting a meeting on the books. SDRs should be conducting discovery before making the cold call, and AEs should conduct discovery before, after, and during their meetings with leads. Conduct your discovery on a continuum. Your prospects’ priorities, tech stacks, hiring plans, and budgets change over time, as does the industry.
Tips for gathering intel to increase your talking time:
Lean on your partners for discovery. If you’re an SDR, you should lean on partners to know who can make a warm intro to a prospect for you and to identify the most impactful talking points for your first call. For example: If you know your prospect is a customer of your tech partner, mentioning your integration during the cold call can help pique your prospect’s interest — even if your AE or partner will help flesh out the value of that integration in a later meeting.
If you’re an AE, speak with your agency and consultant partners to understand your opportunity’s challenges, goals, and exactly how you and your agency can help them achieve the most value. Or, speak with your tech partner about how they’re currently using your tech partner’s solution and how they would most benefit from your integration. Your agency and tech partners who have already been working with your prospects know more about their needs than you’re likely to learn from the prospect in a 30-minute meeting. Plus, your partners already have the trust of your prospect.
Drop tech stack insights during the call. Your partners also have insights into other tools in your prospect or opportunity’s tech stack. If your prospect is using your tech partner’s software alongside an account-based marketing solution, and your product also works with that solution and can help improve results for your prospect, use that intel in your call or meeting. By mentioning a selling point that directly speaks to your prospect’s existing workflow, tech stack, and priorities, you’ll develop a more focused pitch that shows clear value for your prospect.
Know when it’s the right time for a meeting. Work with your partnerships team to use a PEP like Crossbeam to identify the exact moment when your prospect or opportunity becomes a customer of your partner. If you have an integration with a business intelligence (BI) tool and your prospect has just bought that tool, this serves as a signal that now is a good time to sell (Check out how Census does this for their SDRs). Your product can help your prospect get more value from that BI tool, and your partner can even recommend your software during their customer kickoff meeting (like Ometria’s partner did for their BDR).
Stat #5: Sellers who excel with advanced consultative selling skills are almost twice as likely (94%) to be top performers
The best sellers thrive on forming strong relationships with their prospects and customers. This entails more than just bonding over their shared love of live music — Top performers serve as a consultative resource by offering advice around best practices and proven tactics, sharing industry statistics and trends, and by keeping their prospects’ and customers’ best interests at heart.
Tips for becoming a more consultative seller:
Educate your prospects and customers on how to use your integrations and your partners’ products (and ask your partners to do the same). By using Crossbeam or through your discovery calls with prospects and/or partners, you’ll learn which tools your prospects are using in their tech stacks. Getting an understanding of how your prospects and/or customers are using the tools in their tech stacks will help you make thoughtful recommendations around implementation and best practices.
Learn how customers in specific verticals and with similar business goals as your prospects use your integrations successfully. Bring integration case studies, one-sheets, API docs, and other relevant materials to your meeting so your prospect can understand exactly how they can adopt and use the integration. You don’t need to know everything, but you should be able to help them find the answers they need by providing them with relevant resources or connecting them to other stakeholders.
You should also ask your partners to help educate your mutual customers. For example: RollWorks asks their partner Sendoso to help educate customers by sharing on-demand webinars around best practices for using their account based marketing software with Sendoso’s sending platform.
Read about the state of the industry through original reports from Forrester, Gartner, Accenture, and other companies that publish original research (like global system integrators or global market research companies). The more you read about what’s happening in tech, the easier it will be to lead a meaningful dialogue with prospects in various industries, understand their pain points, and share your unique perspective in guiding them beyond simply using your product.
Bring your partners onto your calls with your prospects and opportunities. Use Sales Edge from Crossbeam to know which partners can help advance your prospect through the funnel. Your tech partners can help educate your prospects about integrations relevant to their tech stack, and your agency partners can help guide you and your prospect in the product implementation that will benefit them most according to their current business needs.
Ella Monarch, a business development manager (BDM) at Ryder by Whiplash, always brings a partner to her second sales call with a prospect. As a result of working with partners, 18% of Monarch’s pipeline comes from partner-sourced leads, and she gets two warm leads a month from partners.
Stat #6: Census saw a 34% higher annual contract value (ACV) on deals with partners
Census leans on partners to understand when their prospects are or aren’t looking to buy Census’s software so their AEs can invest their efforts in the deals most likely to close. Sylvain Giuliani, Head of RevOps and Growth at Census, says that knowing when a prospect isn’t interested in buying Census is just as helpful as knowing when they are. If their partner informs them the prospect isn’t planning to buy until six months from now, Census’s sales team can adjust their sales forecasting and redirect their efforts for a stronger quarter.
Additionally, selling an integration on top of your core product can help your prospects get more value from your product early on and increase the deal size. When your prospect purchases your tech partner’s software, they may be more likely to purchase your product and adopt your integration. Having insight into your prospect’s buying timeline through your partner can help you close the deal for more.
Tips for boosting deal sizes with partners:
Use integration value statements and case studies from customers who have adopted your integration to showcase potential value to your prospects. Integrating your product with the tools your prospect is already using in their tech stack will help them achieve value from your product faster and can also boost their number of internal users. This can help facilitate upsells and account expansions.
For example: Spectrm helped their partner’s AE and customer success manager (CSM) increase value for their mutual customer, which led to an account expansion that their partner celebrated org-wide. They then published a partner case study for their partner’s CSMs and AEs to use to show the integration’s value to more of their existing accounts.
Leverage partners at every stage in the sales cycle. By working with partners regularly, you’ll become a familiar face not only to your prospects but also to your partners. Your partners will be more likely to think of you and help you generate new leads or advance your existing opportunities. Your channel partners can include your product in their requests for proposals (RFPs) (like Allocadia’s partners do) and can recommend your software to new clients as they onboard (like RollWorks does to increase integration adoption among new customers). Your tech partners can also help you grow your mutual customer accounts by driving integration and feature adoption for more advanced use cases.
Working with partners can be as easy as asking a friend for an intro on LinkedIn. Through Sales Edge from Crossbeam, you’ll know exactly which partners can help you move the needle on a deal directly in LinkedIn, Salesforce, or your email inbox. If your partnerships team is already using Crossbeam, speak with them about setting up Sales Edge to fuel your sales stack and hit your quarterly targets.
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