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Still under the impression that cold calling is dead, or that buyers don’t really read your content? Don’t believe a word you hear, because you will be missing out on solid opportunities. A recent RAIN group study of 489 sellers shows some common myths about sales prospecting and debunks them with hard data.

What Do Your Buyers Really Want?

The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research (CSR) studied 488 buyers as well as 489 sellers doing outbound prospecting to uncover what is working (and what isn’t) in sales prospecting. The study covered a variety of topics, including when buyers want to talk to sellers, outreach methods that buyers prefer, factors that influence a buyer’s likelihood to connect, content types that capture buyer’s attention, and factors that influence a buyer’s ultimate purchase decision.  “Selling has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, but prospecting has changed even more,” said Mike Schultz, co-president of RAIN Group and bestselling author of Insight Selling.

“Previous outside research suggested that 57 percent of the purchase decision is complete before a customer calls a supplier and 67 percent of the buying journey is done digitally. This gives sellers the false impression that buyers don’t want or need to talk to them early in the buying process. Our new research reveals that buyers want to talk to sellers much earlier in the sales process and debunks many common myths.”

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Here’s a few of the myths that this research completely destroyed:

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Buyers Don’t Really Want Anything To Do With You

A commonly accepted belief among sales reps is that buyers never really would want to hear from them. But in the right context, a helpful salesperson can actually help them make a decision.

  • 82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who proactively reach out to them
  • 71% of buyers who accept meetings want to talk to sellers early in the sales process 
  • 62% of buyers who accept meetings want to talk to sellers when they’re actively looking for a solution

Cold Calling Is Dead– Or Any Variation of This

We’ve heard this one quite a few times, and have debated the subject here on the Sales Insider. The truth is, cold calling isn’t going anywhere. The RAIN group study confirms, showing that a majority of buyers accept meetings on phone calls. However, there’s a catch– you need to be persistent.

  • 58% of buyers say that for the most recent meeting they agreed to, the seller connected over email
  • 54% of buyers say that for the most recent meeting they agreed to, the seller connected over phone
  • 52% of sellers say it takes between five to 10 touches to connect with a new prospect for the first time.

Buyers Don’t Really Want to Read Your Content

This one goes right to my heart, as a content producer. So many sales reps (and sometimes even marketers) are convinced that prospects don’t really read their content. White papers, eBooks or success stories– most of the time, we can get an idea about how many downloads/impressions they get, but tracking doesn’t go much further than this.

The assumption (proven wrong here) is that they will go straight into the “Downloads” folder and be forgotten immediately.  RAIN Group research shows that some types of content actually do well to move a deal forward:

  • 69% of buyers are influenced to accept a meeting if they see research data relevant to their business
  • 67% of buyers are influenced to accept a meeting if they see content 100% customized to their specific situation 
  • 67% of buyers are influenced to accept a meeting if they see descriptions of the provider’s capabilities.

Buyers Don’t Care About The Value You Can Offer

Seasoned sales executives know this already, but in case you were wondering– sellers who bring value actually win sales. Unfortunately, data from the RAIN group research shows that most sellers are not preoccupied with bringing value to their customers.

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  • 96% of buyers say they are influenced by sellers who focus on the value they can deliver the buyer
  • 93% of buyers say they are influenced by sellers who collaborate with buyers
  • 58% of sales meetings are not valuable to buyers

“These stats are game-changing for how sellers prospect,” continued Schultz. “If sellers want to break through to top executives, fill their pipelines, and win more sales, they need to re-evaluate their prospecting efforts and leave the myths behind.”

To learn more about the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research and access results from the study, click here.

 

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