Inbound Sales Series: Part 2 - Earning the Attention of Today's Foodservice Buyer

3 min read
Apr 19, 2017 7:59:37 AM
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How do you connect with your foodservice leads to determine which ones are qualified? If you use legacy tactics including cold, un-customized emails and voicemails, your response rates are probably in the low single digits. It’s spam at the end of the day. If you do get the F&B director on the phone, you have to spend time qualifying them to determine if it's the right time to talk.  You are disrupting them.  Better make it count.

Today, cold-calls go into voicemail, and they are deleted.  Again, (I ain't kidding), it JUST happened to me while writing notes for this blog post. My cell phone rang, and rang, and rang. The digital voicemail message via email read something like, "Hi, this is such and such with XYZ Company.  We are a blah blah blah ...". DELETE. I literally get 20 cold-emails per day to boot, all of which go to into spam, all of which get deleted. These people are NOT earning my attention.

I imagine this happens to you too, right? So how does today's inbound salesperson truly connect with today's empowered buyers? Let's take a look.

Connecting With Empowered Buyers - The Inbound Salesperson Way


Inbound salespeople start conversations around the buyer's plans, goals, and challenges. As the buyer engages with the company's website, the buyer will tell us his/her interests, his/her pain. Having knowledge of this information before speaking with a current or future customer builds more trust and credibility right off the bat. It's not about YOU, it's not about YOUR COMPANY at this point, it's about understanding (and listening) to your buyer. The questions that a salesperson asks at this point is critical to whether or not the conversation progresses.  

Inbound salespeople understand upfront common industry or business connections, perhaps even through the buyer's job role. Again, building trust.

Inbound salespeople will suggest an offer that is aligned in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey, like an ebook, or a high level informational blog post.

For example, check out this Bauscher Hepp blog article "The Origins of Silverware". Buyers learn a lot about silverware without specifics regarding Bauscher Hepp products.  This is a great piece to send to a lead/buyer who runs a hotel's foodservice operation and who was browsing around looking at silverware pieces. 

Inbound salespeople don't rush to qualify.  They seek to understand and help.


chain charley.pngToday, most digital marketers know that truly understanding your buyer personas (semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers) is key to engaging with buyers earlier in their journey. The same holds true for inbound salespeople.

Understanding your buyer personas helps salespeople:

  1. Personalize the messaging of the follow up strategy
  2. Understand their goals and challenges that align with company's marketing offers
  3. Know where they go for their information
  4. Understand the implications of inaction


The way inbound sales follows up with the buyer personas is key as well. Which mediums will you use? How often will you reach out before giving up? Do you have a defined sequence of touches?

If you have read this far, thank you.  Your reward? Here are a few tips for inbound salespeople to help to define your own sequence:

  • Commit to 5 touch points max over 2 weeks (phone, email, social media, subscribe to blog and comment).
  • Determine the content you will send along the way based on their market segment, or their role, or the stage they are in.
  • Don't sell.  Support them and teach.
  • Know your marketing resources including blogs, ebooks, case studies.
  • Notice trends in follow up patterns and create templates for the future.
  • Keep outreaching short: 15 sec for voicemail, 200 words or less for emails.
  • Focus on the buyer, not yourself and not your company.
  • End emails with a question - ask for that meeting.
  • Personalize your content.


Whether it's a face-to-face meeting at the chain's headquarters, or a phone call to the F&B manager, the goal is to provide as much help as you can.  Ask, listen, and provide suggestions.

Example: If a consultant/designer watched a video about a refrigeration solution and wants to talk with you, ask questions around refrigeration solutions to better understand his challenges.  Heck, he may have even told you his/her top challenge when he watched the video if that questions was answered in a previous web-form.  Refer back to your data/intel to best arm you for maximum value. 

Ultimately, the Connect call should lead to the Explore call/meeting to fully understand the buyer's context in order to deliver a solution.  Or in ORGO terms, it becomes an Opportunity.  Now you're ready to sell and close.

Book some time with me to learn more: 



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