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Does Your Inside Sales Team Have Business Conversations?


Recently, I noticed during training sessions with new Business Development Representatives that I am repeating the same phrase; “remember you’re looking to have a business conversation”. I’ve come to the conclusion that I say it as reactive advice to BDRs and new hires that struggle with transitioning a conversation and listening to exactly what a prospect is saying.

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A “business conversation”, in the simplest definition, is a discussion you are having with a prospect about their business/environment. It is listening to someone share their pains and needs, what is going on with their environment and engaged in a conversation to learn more. While a rep can “remember” they are looking to accomplish this, their ability to listen and react is crucial to having a successful business call. How often does a rep get a prospect live that shows an inkling of interest and the rep will rattle off their value proposition statement and go in for the close? After asking your inside sales rep about their environment, they scratch their head in wonderment. “Well, they said they want to talk” states the inside rep. Once again…we have no depth or true qualification occurring. Without identifying the prospect’s role in the process, what keeps them up at night and why they answered the phone in the first place, we have not done our job of qualifying the opportunity.

I was recently reading a post by Chuck Coker in his B2B Lead Roundtable Blog in which he discusses lead nurturing based on personality. The title caught my eye as I think it is important for my inside team to adapt to the region they are calling, but I found further interesting content that coincides with my belief in the business conversation.

Chuck claims that “The key to navigating your way to a sales-ready lead is navigating through individual personalities. When you apply the human touch, you must establish credibility and, essentially, establish and manage relationships with many different people at many different levels in an organization. “

This is so true. You need to have the skill set to properly introduce yourself and your company across an organization and uncover valuable information from everyone you speak with. You need to be courteous and tactful with how you get to the decision maker and use your referrals to drive a successful business conversation.

The decision maker will be more interested in speaking with you if “Brian Smith, Information Security Architect, suggested that you speak with them about XYZ project.” If your prospect is comfortable talking with you about their business and are confident in Brian’s referral, then you need to be engaged and ask them questions about their answers. It is not your job to try and sell this person or give them a lengthy pitch. It is your job to listen, react to their issues and be honest with your role.


“Mr. Decision Maker, thank you again for taking the time to speak with me today. Based on our conversation, you had shared with me that you are facing limitations with XYZ and will be looking for ways to evaluate. What I can do is put you in touch with my colleague, who will be able to answer your questions appropriately and give you a comprehensive overview on what we do for our clients. What date and time works well for you? Would you like to include Brian or any other IS contacts on this initial call? Would you like me to speak with your assistant to see how your calendar looks? She was extremely helpful in setting this initial conversation up. “

Any reference you can make to the decision maker from your previous conversations within the organization will set you apart from the average cold call. You need to earn this prospect’s respect in order to capture all of the information you need for your outside sales rep.

A great comment on the blog stated that “you have a whole new opportunity when you identify the next step for each of those types. You can add tremendous value to the relationship and increase the depth in which you penetrate an organization’s culture if you take that next step.”

The “types” being referenced are influencers, decision makers and additional evaluators that will affect an overall decision.

I challenge you to ask yourself, how many “business conversations” are you or your team having within a target market/organization?


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