Back to Posts

Build a Top of the Funnel Sales Process Like an Expert

4 min read
Mar. 21, 2013

More than ever, companies are starting to reboot their sales organizations to become high-powered inside sales engines. In fact, the majority of sales is now conducted remotely. Through the use of data and sales intelligence, it’s also being done with greater sincerity and efficacy.

We were speaking with Steve Richard at Vorsight – one of the foremost experts on inside sales training and implementation – when he shared with us a compelling insight:

Companies need to start focusing more attention on the top of the funnel sales process.

Here’s what he suggested:

Prepare for calls & emails in advance with 3X3 research

In sales, you want to get the conversation started off in the right foot. In Steve’s word’s, this means being prepared to say “something about them, and not about you”. They refer to pre-call research as 3X3 research. The concept: find 3 pieces of research information in 3 minutes. You can use quotes, info on new product launches, news on competitors, or any trigger events to assist.

Develop and deliver a ‘hypothesis of need’

Rather than calling a prospect with the hope that you can stumble upon the problems they have, begin with a hypothesis about a problem your prospect likely faces. On his blog, Steve provides the following example:

This is what I know about your company, these are the hypotheses I’ve formed, these are some trends that I’m seeing in your market and this is how I think I can help.

Using ‘hypothesis of need’ will allow you to come across as a peer and an intelligent advisor. You’re not always going to guess right but taking a stab at it gives you a lot better chance than leading with only questions. Your future buyer is looking for ideas, best practices, and insights of which they might not have yet realized.

Find direct phone numbers

Having direct lines makes life easier for sales professionals. In fact, Vorsight’s research suggests reps are scoring double the amount of appointments when they have a direct line. Generate direct dials by gaming voicemail systems. Vorsight has also created some great content that can be helpful in this area.

Build a hot list

According to Steve, a hotlist is basically a pipeline for prospecting. It includes the items mentioned above: Direct line, 3×3 research, and the hypothesis of needs. Having all this included on one document allows sales reps to hammer out call lists complete with needed insights and information.

Use ‘client voice’ & speak “universal truths’ in conversation

Come from the perspective of your buyer & their peers, not your own. Steve demonstrated this to me by saying

Kyle, I’ve been talking to other CEO’s of fast growing SaaS companies and they’re telling me they have to do marketing on the cheap and product development is essential for them right now.

This immediately established trust because he’s demonstrated an understanding of my situation. And I’m further intrigued because he’s stated that this is a common problem for which there exists a possibility of a solution. Anything which helps me do my job better is a competitive advantage.

Practice verbal judo

Steve described the differences with objections at the top of the funnel vs. the bottom. When you get an objection in the top of the funnel it’s typically about interest, attention or appointment. Steve recommends making up an objection and using their force in your favor. In response to “I’m not interested..”

Hey Kyle, I know you probably get a bunch of calls from people like me and you have another solution in place, is that right? Great that’s why I’m calling you. Most people are telling me things like x, y, & z…

We love these methods for streamlining through the sales process and are grateful for having Steve impart them on us. Be sure to check out the team at Vorsight and tweet at us with any questions/comments.