And finally, we have reached episode number 10 of “The Prospecting Masterclass“. Ok, it might seem like a small goal, but when we thought for the first time about this project, this was exactly our first milestone (and the main doubt about the project): could we have the consistency to publish an episode every week while we work on an huge number of other things in Crono?
YES, WE CAN. And today we can say it. We thank each of you for these results: every week this column is read by hundreds of people. And the number is increasing every week.
In his answers Manlio combines a great experience in the field with his natural human empathy. The result is sensational. We will print this interview and hang it on our office wall. Really great job.
Here is the interview with Manlio Fabbrocini, enjoy reading!
1) Hi Manlio, can you tell us about yourself and your experience in B2B Sales?
I am a lucky man. During my 10+ career in B2B sales I’ve had the chance to work in multinational companies and local startups, dealing with large accounts and SME’s from different sectors such as: food&beverage, automotive, utilities, pharma and the whole spectrum of the manufacturing field. Nevertheless I saw the difference between selling a service and a product in the technology field.
I’ve been also building and leading sales teams since 2013. With colleagues and clients I believe that empathy is one of the keys to success and I am happy when I see other people trained by me having success. I recently joined AWMS, part of the leading IT company Zucchetti Group and italian leader in the digitalization of workforce management for manufacturing and logistics companies, where I can put all my experiences together.
My goals here are: manage and develop an effective process when dealing with large and complex customers, increase our international presence, boost our commercial and strategic partnerships.
2) How would you describe yourself if you could only use 5 words?
Team player, empathetic, goal-oriented, resilient.
3) What are the most difficult challenges you have faced regarding Prospecting and Outbound Sales in your past and current professional experiences? How did you solve them?
Well, in the past the most difficult thing was to actually reach a prospect and get a meeting. Imagine having only the phone number of the company, the name of the person you want to reach (sometimes neither that) and your desk phone. It was tough and you had to work a lot with NLP techniques, using only your voice as your main asset.
Since social media and technology disrupted our lives, challenges have changed. Now is quite easy to recognize and reach your target persona, but is much more difficult to be the choice of the prospect you are reaching. The same person that some years ago was meeting just a few of salespeople, now is doing multiple meetings per day.
To solve this you must gain credibility. In AWMS we manage to reach this goal by focusing on the strategic objectives of the prospects we are talking to. For example: why is important to digitalize your workforce management? Is because competitors are leaving you behind? Because some customers are requiring higher quality standards?
This is where you want to be: take the discussion at a high level.
Once you did this, all the more operative needs (e.g. I want x users to use the software, I want the software to send me alerts if…etc.) will be just details because you already understand with the client the real value of the tool.
The real reason you are paying that amount of money.
4) How do you see B2B outbound sales changing in the next 12 months? What challenges and trends do you anticipate?
People are getting more aware and more curious. This can lead to two situations that must be managed:
1) Networking is good, but you have to be outstanding at recognizing who is doing it only for “sport” or curiosity and who is really interested in what you are selling.
2) More awareness means that buyers are taking information before, during and after you reach them. Plus they are overloaded with sales messages. Therefore you have to be able to impress.
Main trend is already happening. Like in the fashion industry, old fashion comes back every now and then…. Old cold calls will be the trend, but improved as warm calls. As you all know: taking time to prepare a cold call, maybe anticipating it with a message, making research on the person, will make a first call more smooth.
5) What advice would you give to someone starting today as an SDR?
Do your best and forget the rest is my motto 🙂
Listen, listen, listen! You can learn from everyone. Sometimes you’ll learn what to do, and sometimes you’ll learn what not to do. Be proactive and resilient; sales is a marathon, and you have to find your pace; otherwise, you WILL burnout.
Don’t be afraid to try new things; embrace failure and learn from it. Money will come at the right moment. Now and for the next 10-15 years, focus on learning your top skills and your weaknesses and working on both of them. Last one: aim to be perfect.
Perfection is a chimera, but you have to aim high otherwise you won’t excel.