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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Half of B2B sales reps fear making cold calls, survey finds

It will come as no surprise to most merchant level salespeople in the payments industry that recent research conducted by Selling Power on behalf of ValueSelling Associates Inc. found reaching prospects is the top challenge salespeople face in setting up initial meetings. Fifty-four percent of initial meetings required more than five touch points to secure an appointment. This applies to both phone and in-person meetings.

The study, titled B2B Prospecting Challenges: From the Front Lines, surveyed 160 sales professionals in a variety of roles ‒ including chief sales officers; vice presidents and senior vice presidents of sales; and sales reps, managers and directors.

"Nearly 6 in 10 respondents stated that getting the prospect to respond was the biggest challenge (59%), followed by access to the real decision maker (46%), finding the correct contact person in the company (32%), and getting a referral or introduction (25%)," researchers wrote.

Key issues

Administrative issues identified were getting accurate contact information, finding a mutually convenient time on the prospect's calendar, and coordinating an initial conversation with multiple team members, researchers stated.

According to respondents, the three most essential skills for connecting with new prospects are: doing research to identify target prospects who are decision makers; getting to an introduction via referral; and face-to-face networking.

Other key findings identified in the report include that one out of two B2B sales reps fear making cold calls; the most effective method of reaching prospects was client referrals followed by cold calls; organization, consistency, and persistence are foundational skills for effective prospecting; only 18 percent of sales reps spent nine hours or more on prospecting each week; and repeated, incremental training specifically on prospecting and setting up initial meetings is essential for success.

The full 23-page report is available for download at www.valueselling.com/b2b-prospecting-challenges-report . end of article

Editor's Note:

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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