“Growing pains are often described as an ache or throb in the legs – often in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, and may even wake a child from sleep.”
– Mayo Clinic
My “growing pains” are different. I am an adult and they pertain to my job in B2B Sales. I have been a Business Development Representative (BDR) for emagine, a Digital Marketing agency for B2B and Healthcare, for five years now. 90% of the time, I am rejected at work. Some prospects don’t answer me, some are mean, some are nice and some are nice then mean depending on what day it is. It’s not easy. Why is that okay with me? Because that 10% who need an improved website or an enhanced SEO strategy is what I live for.
I happened to have started my career at a time when the world of B2B Sales and Marketing was being completely transformed. Today, we live in a world where the digital consumer is empowered by endless information across the Internet and directly on a company’s website while choosing partners and therefore, are less receptive to more traditional, outbound tactics like cold calls.
Here are a few pointers that I believe are important to remember.
Don’t take it personally
This was a bit difficult for me the first year as a BDR. I thought “what is it about me?” Although I am always willing to learn and do thing better, I now know that it’s not just “me.” Prospects aren’t saying no to “me” they are saying no to a website redesign or digital marketing services like search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, for now. And usually they are not saying no at all. Prospecting is a world in which you are mostly ignored, therefore not being accepted or rejected.
Have patience and a pipeline
B2B sales is about building a relationship and trust first to get to the next level. If a prospect has an immediate need to redesign their website, that’s just great timing. But chances are, they won’t have an immediate need. The important thing is they might have a need down the road. That can take 3 months, 6 months or even a year. There are many times when a prospect is finally “ready” and they tell me “Sorry the web design project is on hold.” Then, what are the chances of them coming back to me? Very slim unless I nurture and follow up persistently.
Prospects have pains, too
The only way to identify and diagnose a prospect’s pain points is to pay attention. Buyers want to be educated and know that their partner can solve their problem. What are their current frustrations with their website? Have their optimization efforts increased visibility in search engines? Is the design of their website differentiating their company online? I know that our team of web designers, user experience designers, digital marketing strategists and web developers can diagnose and treat their pain points, but I need to let prospects receive that message.
Always be innovating
In addition to the fact that I am always testing and experimenting with different types of content, I am fortunate to work for a company that is always testing, refining and innovating as well. For instance, this year the Sales and Marketing department is implementing new technology to improve our outbound sales efforts, including HubSpot for CRM and Marketing Automation. That, in addition to embarking on a content marketing strategy to support our prospecting and sales efforts.
Research is more important than anything else you do
My boss told me early on that no matter what I am offering or how I’m offering it, 50% of my success will be based on who I’m reaching out to. Know your target markets, find the right companies and find the appropriate contacts at those companies.
When I was a teenager and needed a pep talk, my Dad always gave me a good speech:
“You are going to have bad days, but they won’t all be bad. Statistically, good days have to be mixed in there.”
The same thing applies to my job in B2B Sales for web design and digital marketing. In sales, I might not always have my Dad here to tell me that, but it’s important to remember those words of wisdom after every call I make and every email I send.