IT SupportAccording to Pipeline Deals, “If you’re in a small or medium-sized business, you’re always looking for an edge to maximize your sales success.”  No doubt for every SMB we encounter, especially when we are providing IT support to mission critical applications in the sales cycle. Pipeline recently hosted the Accelerate Sales Conference to bring together the top minds in sales and marketing to share what high growth companies were doing to excel. Seven best practices emerged from the keynotes and sessions as the difference makers for sales excellence in SMB, and we thought we would share those with our readers:

1. Help… don’t sell
Be on the customer’s side. Focus conversations on customers’ needs and goals by listening and answering questions.

2. Collect the right intelligence to strengthen the pipeline
Work smarter, not harder. Understand people change roles and jobs. Keep an eye on these changes to find new leads and maintain existing customer relationships.

3, Focus on what’s in it for them
Stop selling products and start selling outcomes. Focus on what leads and customers can accomplish with the product to meet their bottom line. It’s about their needs, not sales compensation plans.

4. Show up early
No, not getting up at the crack dawn, but arriving at the beginning of the decision-making process. Focusing on prospects that are ready to buy now is starting too late. Engage in conversations earlier to learn about their needs for the best sales pitch possible.

5. Use the 3 P’s: Preparation, practice and planning
Get a system down. Prepare by spending a bit of time researching a company or person before contact. Remember that practice makes perfect. Constantly rehearse pitches and anticipate questions to improve it over time. Plan with measureable goals and create a system of accountability to stay on track. Each meeting should have a desired end-state to measure success rates.

6. Prioritize by understanding the quality of a lead
Time is money. Invest it on the sales leads with the most potential first. Referral and word of mouth are best, followed by those generated by direct outreach programs, with website and marketing programs next.

7. Establish fans for life
Sales is like a relay race. Getting a meeting or closing a new deal is only the first leg. Strong customer relationships have long-term benefits, including repeat business, referrals, and positive market perception.