Many would agree that successful sales people are flexible during sales calls. But being nimble and responsive is very different from being unprepared and simply quick on your feet. There is a certain level of improvisation that needs to occur on every sales call, but it is still critical for sellers to start every meeting with a well-crafted call plan.

Five Steps to Properly Plan for a Sales Call

  1. Figure Out Where the Customer is in Their Buying Journey
  2. Determine the Outcome You Want
  3. Establish a Purpose for the Meeting
  4. Craft an Agenda for The Meeting
  5. Prepare Questions Ahead of Time

1. Figure Out Where the Customer is in Their Buying Journey

All business leaders go through a journey when making a complex purchasing decision. The modern prospect can also do a lot of their research online and move through a decision journey before getting involved with a sales person. Knowing where the prospect is in their journey will enable you to ask better questions and share more relevant information.

Look at the notes in your CRM and review them to determine where the prospect is in their decision making journey. If it’s your first meeting, give them a call or send them an email with some questions that will help you figure it out allowing for a more targeted call plan. 

2. Determine the Outcome You Want

If you start with your desired outcome in mind, you can make questions that will help you get there with the prospect. As sales professionals, one of our main jobs is to ask thought provoking questions. But how will we know what ideas to provoke in our prospect’s mind if we don’t know what we want to accomplish in the meeting?

To set goals for the meeting, ask yourself questions such as:

  • What are you looking to get out of this meeting with your prospect?
  • How will you know the opportunity is moving forward?
  • Do you want a follow-up meeting to show them your platform?
  • Or are you looking for a buying commitment from them by the end of the conversation?

The outcome you are seeking from the call will determine the questions you ask and the information you should be prepared to share.

3. Establish a Purpose for the Meeting

Business leaders value their time. You shouldn’t have meetings just to “touch base”. Or “have a quick chat.” Why are you having that meeting? More importantly, why is your prospect attending the meeting? What’s in it for them?

If you establish a purpose for the meeting, it will help you engineer a plan that will accomplish that goal. Determining a purpose for the call will also ensure you keep the prospect’s priorities at the forefront. We should always be thinking about why the prospect is attending the meeting and what they will get out of it

4. Craft an Agenda for The Meeting

An agenda is something that can be adjusted as the call goes on. After all, no sales call goes exactly as planned. However, it is important to think about an agenda ahead of time and know exactly what steps you will take at what point in the call. Your prospect will also appreciate the fact that there is a sense of structure to the meeting.

5. Prepare Questions Ahead of Time

As I mentioned above, no sales call ever goes perfectly, and we have to improvise as the meeting goes on. If the prospect shares information that was previously unknown, you need to respond with new questions that incorporate this new information, which can be very difficult. This is why it can be useful to plan a few back-up questions ahead of time.

You can do this through research on your prospect. Read about the latest company news. Find your prospects on LinkedIn and learn about their background. There are plenty of situations where we get stuck and run out of road during a call. This is when the prepared questions come in handy the most. If you plan questions ahead of time, you know that you will never have to be frozen during the meeting because you can’t think of where to go next.

Provide Value Through Call Planning

We need to provide value to our prospective customers during the sales cycle itself. Preparing and planning ahead for our sales calls is the best way to ensure that we deliver on that promise well before the prospect even thinks about signing the check.

Utilizing Technology for Enhanced Call Efficiency

In today's sales landscape, technology is a game-changer when it comes to sales call planning. Here's how harnessing technology can supercharge this process:

  • CRM Systems: Implement a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It serves as the central hub for your sales operations, helping you track interactions, set reminders, and stay organized. With a well-maintained CRM, you can access crucial prospect data at your fingertips, ensuring that every call is informed and personalized.
  • Sales Engagement Platforms: Explore dedicated sales engagement platforms that offer features like call tracking and recording. These tools provide invaluable insights into call effectiveness. They allow you to identify areas for improvement, refine your sales strategies, and ensure peak performance from your team.
  • AI-Powered Analytics: Embrace the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in analyzing call recordings. AI-driven analytics can detect trends, patterns, and sentiments in conversations. This enables you to fine-tune your sales scripts and strategies based on real data, ultimately increasing your chances of success.
  • Automation: Leverage automation tools for improved efficiency. Automate calendar availability, making it easier for prospects to schedule meetings at their convenience. Use pre-call email automation to send reminders and agendas, setting the stage for productive conversations. After the call, send automated follow-up emails to express gratitude and keep the momentum going.

By integrating technology and automation in your sales approach, you gain a competitive edge that can't be underestimated in today's fast-paced sales environment.

After the Call: Measuring Effectiveness

Having a sales call plan in place offers the preparation needed to highlight your product or service in an effective way to the client. But how can you measure that effectiveness? Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are great ways to instill a sense of goal-setting alongside your sales call plan.

Conversion rate, in this case, can be flexible based on the outcome you are seeking to achieve, whether it's scheduling a demo, advancing to the next stage, or closing a deal. A high conversion rate indicates that your sales calls are on target, while a low rate may signal a need for strategic adjustments.

Although calls are scheduled for a set time, pay attention to the duration of those calls. Striking the right balance between engagement and efficiency is vital. Calls that are too short may lack substance, while excessively long calls could indicate inefficiency. Find the sweet spot where you provide value without wasting time.

After each call, consider soliciting feedback from prospects to gauge their satisfaction with the interaction. Their insights can provide valuable insights to complement other metrics, helping you refine your sales call plans.

A Consultative Selling Approach

Whether you're working on a sales call plan or already have one in place, adjustments and flexibility ensure that you continue to deliver value to your customers. At Funnel Clarity, we can help train your team in the fundamentals of consultative selling, including ways to plan more effective sales calls. Check out our comprehensive guide. or schedule a call with us.