Your buyers live in a gated community… and if you rely solely on your SDR skill set, you’re stuck on the outside.

Modern B2B buyers want relationships, community, solutions. And until you’ve moved into their neighborhood, you can’t connect with your buyers in the way they need.

Today’s guest, Tom Slocum, Founder of The SD Lab, says salespeople must learn exactly what buyers care about by existing with them. Sellers must actively move into buyers’ neighborhoods and get acclimated—participate in the block BBQs, talk about what the community cares about and become their ICP.

Whether you’re using social selling, email marketing or cold calling you’ve got to understand the modern B2B buyer deeply and far beyond that of traditional sellers. Building a community-like connection is more important than ever. And Tom shares with us exactly what your team can do to be welcomed into the gated community with open arms—even if you can’t literally pop over to borrow a cup of sugar.

We discuss:

  • What the modern (and more informed) B2B buyer actually wants from sales outreach
  • How SDRs can connect with today’s B2B buyer
  • Why your sales development team should transition from cold calling to a warm calling approach (and how to use Tom’s 3×3 method to do so)

Listen to “#69 What Makes a Successful SDR in Today’s B2B Buying Journey” on Spreaker.

Not ready to listen right now? Head over to your preferred podcast platform and save the episode.

What the modern (and more informed) B2B buyer actually wants from sales outreach

From a global pandemic to accelerated developments in tech and AI, B2B buyers are more equipped than ever to find exactly what they need before popping up on the sales radar. 

Industry reports, customer reviews, marketing materials and informational material—everything a buyer needs to make a decision—you name it, it’s at their fingertips.

While B2B buyers were once relatively uninformed and the only way to make your business and solution known was to cold call, salespeople now have to adapt to navigate the turbulent seas of well-informed, independent buyers. Plus, there’s also a whole new class of buyers entering the B2B market.

“Millenials, Gen Z—these new generations of leaders are digital-savvy,” Tom says. “They are comfortable using digital tools and social media. They’re in those communities. They’re aware.”

This increased level of awareness, independence and digital repertoire has also coincided with a shift in what modern B2B buyers want (and expect) from sales outreach. Hint: Cold calling isn’t their top preference.

“Buyers are super solution-oriented,” Tom says. “You also see a shift to a collaborative buying process where buyers want to create a mutual action plan.”

While price is still a concern in regard to budget, modern B2B buyers are more concerned with purchasing tools and products that will actually solve their problems. Adding useful redundant tools to their tech stack is no longer a luxury buyers can invest in. Instead, long-term solutions and relationships have become table stakes in the modern B2B sales process.

“Buyers are looking for companies that feel good, take care of them, make them feel seen and let them know they’re actually going to support them,” Tom says.

How SDRs can connect with today’s B2B buyer

Knowing your buyer has always been the top lesson of Sales 101. Understanding how to communicate with your prospects is a baseline skill for SDRs, and that’s not changing any time soon.

But according to Tom, connecting with today’s B2B buyer requires a few additional steps on top of the traditional understanding and connection skills you’ve honed throughout your sales career.

“As an SDR, you should literally be living and breathing your ICP,” Tom says. “Be them, act like them, talk like them, reach out to them like them.”

This concept of moving into their neighborhood and becoming your ICP might seem daunting. But it allows you to dig to the root of what they truly care about and helps you communicate about their needs, in their language, exactly the way they need.

“I always recommend to SDRs looking for their next job: Look for a space that you genuinely love,” Tom says. “That makes it easier to connect because you’re already one of them.

Tom suggests an approach for SDRs to build this connection regardless of their sales approach:

  1. Become your buyer
  2. Talk to your CS team
  3. Focus on empathy
  4. Avoid ‘handling’ your customer

Why your sales development team should transition from cold to warm calling (and how to use Tom’s 3×3 method to do so)

A shift from cold to warm calls requires only three minutes, according to Tom. But this small-time investment can make a huge difference in the perception your buyers develop during the interaction. 

“I use a three-by-three method. I find three pieces of information in under three minutes,” Tom says. “With a quick scan, if you understand where to look, you can find things that might resonate.”

The first place Tom suggests looking is your potential buyer’s LinkedIn profile. If they aren’t on social media, check out their business’s page. You can also look at the social profiles of their coworkers and peers—typically, those in the same communities care about the same things. Investigating that community can offer invaluable insight. But entering that community and working to become a part of it offers the most long-term opportunity. 

By entering a conversation already understanding a person, company or need, salespeople can better position themselves as empathetic problem solvers with puzzle-piece solutions to the buyer’s struggles.

While this method does require a time investment, Tom argues that the benefits far outweigh the cost.

“If you want to really master your craft you must do what the one percent are doing,” Tom says. “You need to carve out time to make that happen. Do some research, find your relevancy and find how to be relatable.”

Want to learn more about how warm calling can change the trajectory of your sales team and enable genuine business success? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Tom reveals more about connecting with today’s B2B buyer, leveling up your sales team and strategies and building long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).