3 top executives from Boxed, XO Group, and FreshDirect get real about getting -- and keeping -- a buyer’s attention.
Cutting through the noise to capture a buyer’s attention is no easy task -- but too often, you don’t have the firsthand insight to know exactly what resonates with them.
We hosted a panel with Upsider and Work-Bench on May 8 to get that buyer insight. Upsider co-founder and CEO Josh McBride asked three top execs the burning questions sellers are dying to know to help them close deals.
Boxed CMO Jackson Jeyanayagam, XO Group’s VP of Product Marketing Sara Ezrin, and FreshDirect’s VP of Customer Journey Chris Woodard got candid about what vendors can do -- and what they shouldn’t do -- to close deals.
From their honest (and hilarious) comments, we identified 11 big takeaways sellers can use when approaching enterprise buyers:
1: “Vendor folders” are a thing -- and they matter.
Every panelist has a folder where they place all cold emails from vendors. They read an email, file it in the folder, and use it as a mini search engine for when they are in need of a vendor down the road.
The takeaway? Make sure your sales emails have the right search terms and intriguing case studies to warrant a second glance in the future.
2: Cut to the chase -- they won’t read past the 2nd line of your email.
Buyers are busy enough; they aren’t going to waste their time reading a three-paragraph email from a vendor they’ve never heard of.
The takeaway? Be clear in the first sentence about who you are and what you do -- no cute quips necessary.
3: They WANT to hear about their competitors.
Case studies of competitors go a long way -- show them how your solution is making a competitor of theirs better, and you will have their attention.
The takeaway? Show how you helped their competitors, as well as the numbers behind it -- the more specific, the better.
4: Get personal, but not too personal.
As Jackson from Boxed said, “There’s a fine line between being thoughtful and creepy.”
The takeaway? Alma maters, movies, and sports teams are all good, but venturing into more sensitive territory (kids, family) is high risk, low reward.
5: Don’t cold call them - if they want to speak to you, they’ll call.
Our panelists don’t even know the passwords on their voicemail, so don’t waste your breath – the only time they pick up unknown numbers is when they expect a call from a delivery service.
The takeaway? Just don’t do it – they won’t pick up, and it will just annoy them.
6: There is no right day or time to send an email – except maybe weekends.
Every seller is reading the same blogs with the same data about the best time to send an email, resulting buyers’ inboxes getting flooded with vendor emails on Mondays and Fridays.
The takeaway? Don’t sweat the timing – pouring over open rates won’t get you very far. There is less noise to cut through on weekends, giving you a better chance to stand out to buyers.
7: Getting an RFP is NOT a sealed deal.
Most of the time, buyers ask several vendors for RFPs to compare their options – so getting an RFP isn’t a sign that you are destined to close.
The takeaway? Use this as your opportunity to stand out from the crowd: provide specifics of how your solution works, as well as real examples of how you’ve helped existing clients.
8: Intros are not your golden ticket.
No panelist sincerely appreciates introduction requests – from friends, they will play through the motions to play nice. When they receive it from their superiors or investors, they are likely to pay more attention, but you will still have to prove your value.
The takeaway? Pressing for an intro may get you in the door, but it won’t win you the deal.
9: Don’t send a follow-up email in the same thread.
After all, why would you remind them that they didn’t respond to you in the first place?
The takeaway? Sending a separate follow-up email gives you a better chance of them reading it - plus, twice as many emails from you in the “Vendor Folder” can only boost your odds.
10: Don’t slam their product
You’d be surprised the number of times our panelists received emails telling them their product or service, well, sucks. That only irritates them – chances are they are aware of the problem, but have an obstacle preventing them from fixing it.
The takeaway? Don’t just point out the flaws in their service or product – identify an area of improvement, and present your offering as a way to make their already good product great.
11: Buy on their terms
Don’t get caught up in making your quota – pushing for a larger upfront spend before you’ve proven yourself could lose you the deal altogether.
The takeaway? Start with one, maybe two pain points you can solve in a pilot; as you develop a relationship, you will have established trust to upsell and expand.