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SpokeSpeak Episode 1

Apr 14, 2024 6:30:10 PM Adam Bell 9 min read


SpokeSpeak is a community designed specifically for salespeople to ask questions, to share tips, to give some comments on any of the content that we produce, including our demonstrations of various features of the HubSpot platform.

If you'd like to ask some questions or you've got some tips to share around sales, remember that you can email us on: hello@spokespeak.com.


Question 1

How do you prepare for a video call with a qualified lead?

Dan, Leeds


Our first question comes from Dan in Leeds in England and Dan writes: “Hi Spokespeak, I sell a SaaS product and I have been an Account Executive for six months. My question is how do you prepare for a video call with a qualified lead? Thanks for all your help and tips, regards Dan."


So Dan, it's a really good question. I'd want to really dig into, in the first instance, what we mean by qualified. So I'd really like to understand how much we know about the prospect at the current time and that's going to help us get equipped for that first video meeting.


The key is in qualified, as you say. So Dan, hopefully this might help. If you're early in the sales cycle, and by qualified you mean it's been an MQL or a marketing qualified lead, then without being disingenuous to our cousins in marketing, I suggest you've got a lot of work to do. So I think what you need to do is to, on your first series of calls, particularly around qualification, is give yourself a qualification framework, whether you're using BANT or IMPACT or any of those, you really want to know what the customer is looking for in terms of solution.

You really want to understand their budget. You want to understand who makes the decision. You want access to the decision makers. You want to know who you're competing with, and you really want to know the timing of the deal. So depending where you are in the sales cycle, there's a lot of information to unpack. Now, a lot of it you're not going to be able to get out of one call, and qualified might just mean they've clicked on a button, they've filled out a form.

So you’ve really probably got a lot of work to do. And I think it comes back a lot to your ICP and your core value proposition. So firstly, is this qualified lead someone that you really want to capture as a customer?

And if they are, what it is about their business and what it is about the situation that they're in that will tend to mean that your solution is something that they can consider. So not quite enough information for us to be very specific there, Dan, but hopefully a few tips will help.

Question 2

What is the best way to book a meeting with finance departments or individuals in a finance department?

Jade, Melbourne


We have a question from Jade in Melbourne, Australia. And the question is: “what is the best way to book a meeting with finance departments or individuals in a finance department?”

They’ve added some context: they said we're selling Oracle EPM to mid-market manufacturing companies. And they've been doing cold calls, cold emails, LinkedIn. They said this doesn't seem to be too effective, selling to CFOs and financial controllers. Any advice on doing that?


Jade, look, it's a big question. Mid-market, ERP. You know, there's two things with selling ERP, as you probably know.

I'm not sure how long you've been in a role. You didn't give us any context to that. But if you're fairly new in the role, a couple of things with ERP sales is that it's an extremely long sales cycle.

And not only a long sales cycle, the effort that's required to switch an ERP, particularly in a manufacturing organization, is really, really extensive. So lots and lots of people are really reluctant to do it. So the business case and the reasons why they should be going for your particular solution really have to revolve around either cost reduction, you know, operational efficiency, the ability to simplify operations.

And to understand that, when you're pitching to the financial controller or the FD or whoever is in that role, you want to have done a lot of research operationally around how they currently function, the markets they're after, to begin to build a picture of what are the inconsistencies, where is the chinks in their armor that you believe that your solution can solve. It's a tough sell. It's a really tough sell. They're long, they're hard, but they're incredibly rewarding.


I think it's a fantastic question, and I'm going to have a foot in both sales and one foot into my marketing camp here, so I'll be interested in your take on this, Peter. I was interested in the comment that LinkedIn hadn't seemed to be too effective, and something I think we've been seeing more and more is that LinkedIn can work and can be effective, but you have to be very deliberate and intentional about it and your approach to the platform and people on the platform. So it's very content-led.

The targeting capabilities in terms of prospecting absolutely are there, but I think you need to be really nuanced in order to cut through to this senior audience that you're trying to reach with, as you say, a very complicated product and a complicated sell. So making that initial introduction, these people are definitely on that platform, but how you engage them in the first instance, I think you need to be really conscious of.


Right. So for Jade, when you're talking about nuance and content and stuff, what you're saying is that you need to plan out the person you want to talk to and then plan out the series of articles or viewpoints or considerations for that person and make sure they get fed to them over a consistent period of time. Is that how we should think about what you just said Adam, have I got that right?


I would absolutely say so, and I think that's where the role, perhaps, of good old-fashioned sales enablement can come in, in terms of having those materials, those white papers be articles, blogs, like you say, but certainly being able to sequence them in such a way that these people are going to stand up and pay attention.


And the other thing is, if you're going for a financial controller, then hopefully you've already met with the head of sales, you've already met with the head of manufacturing, you understand their market dynamic, you've got a good view of how their supply chain works, you know where they fit in their supply chain, you've got a good view of their relative competitive advantage and how they win business, how they market, their channels to market. And so hopefully all of that, particularly within the context of the Oracle Suite, is you should have some pointers as to which way that content should go.

Hopefully all of that other research will come together and mean that you either start to warm and social sell to the CFO, as Adam's suggesting there, which I think is a great idea. And equally, that you can get someone that you're already selling to, to go and sponsor you in to see this person because they're often the gatekeeper. They're often maybe not the decision maker, but they're certainly key influencers in the decision, particularly revolving around budgets.

And often the CFO has quite a wider remit and a wider view of actually what's going on in the organisation. So, Jade, hope some of that maybe gives you some guidance and some tips. Let us know how you get on. It would be great to hear how you go. Thank you very much for the question too.

Question 3

Actually getting the sale feels like a bit of a letdown. What am I missing?

Jack, Austin, Texas


My next one is from Jack in Austin, Texas. Jack writes, “I'm in enterprise sales, and my average sales cycle is 12 to 18 months. While I love my job, the length of sales cycle is actually boring. Once we get the verbal, I feel like I take a back seat in the whole process, legal and everyone else piles in. I feel like I've made my sale at verbal, but usually I've got to wait between 60 to 90 days after the lawyers get involved before I actually get the sale. Actually getting the sale feels like a bit of a letdown. What am I missing?”

Well, Jack, everyone who's in sales loves the close. If you don't like the close and you like the process, yeah, maybe you shouldn't be in sales. So I think you like the kill, and you know you've got the kill when you've won the deal. So I think what's happening to you is that between the kill and the butchering of it, when your professional services and software and delivery people get to it, I can understand why you're disengaged in that part. The important thing is that while you've orchestrated the whole team to get it up to the verbal because these sorts of large transactions don't just occur just because you and one other person have got a great relationship; they occur because you have managed to understand the client and coach your own organisation as to how they can solve the problem. And the kill is the verbal. But it's actually not because you don't get paid commission on a verbal, right?

And then you're unsure whether your own organisation and their organisation's legal teams will actually get to gel. You know, liability pops up in the middle of a crisis right the way through. So I think the interesting thing is, is understand that your verbal is your kill, but you really do need to stay engaged in that, I think you said it was 16 to 90 day period. You've got to stay engaged in there because your ability to orchestrate the execution of the verbal, that's a really fantastic skill to have. And I think the more you lean into that, the more you'll actually enjoy the inking rather than the verbal.


I definitely think it's key, it's key in that moment, for me to have access to everything that's gone through that process. So we're talking perhaps about some handovers where you need to bring in other members of the team, but also your ability to retain control of that internal influence, if you like, to make sure that people are on board with your sale and ultimately are going to help you through to those completion and ongoing stages.

Probably just from my perspective as well, I think that's key to ensuring that even beyond those phases, you're setting yourself up well for future upsells, cross-sells with these customers. So there's perhaps an incentive to you in terms of that motivation, to really lean into and find a way to enjoy that phase.


Jack, I think the important thing is you're getting verbals, so you're doing something right, so well done!



Okay, everyone, that's it for this week. Don't forget, email in your questions. We'll read them all, answer them all, and see if we can give you some tips and tricks, and have a great week. Thanks, Adam.


Thank you. Bye, everyone!

HubSpot Demo

This week, we look at how to integrate HubSpot with your work email, so that you can see who's opened and clicked on the emails you've sent them!

Adam Bell

Marketer come sales person with both corporate and startup experience. Skilled in marketing, sales and CRM implementation.