If you work as an EMEA sales or marketing director at a B2B tech company and want to boost your sales in Finland, this blog post will be of interest to you. If you don't have to read the full post, you can download a checklist version of it here.
Cold calling to book a meeting with an IT decision maker in Finland is tricky compared to other countries. To succeed, you have to be skilled. I have worked as a BDR for over 10 years, booking meetings with IT decision makers in Finland calling both public and private companies. I’ve called on behalf of clients like Hitachi, Oracle and IBM. By now, I ‘ve learned what it takes to book a successful meeting with the right people. Today, I will share my top tips.
Let’s dive straight in.
Choose your BDR carefully
Reaching Finnish decision makers and booking a sales meeting takes many years of experience. The person who calls need to be competent, confident and strategic in their approach. A common mistake we have seen is that many BDRs underestimate who they are calling. The people they are going to connect with are usually highly technical, skilled and intelligent, and they want to talk to someone who can match their level of expertise. Otherwise, they won’t be very willing to share any information.
And of course, the BDR needs to be Finnish or at least speak fluent Finnish. IT managers are open to contact in English later, but they want the first impression to be in Finnish, otherwise they won’t be willing to schedule a first meeting.
If these boxes aren’t ticked, you won’t get far with your cold calling and meeting bookings in Finland.
Second, when you have decided on your BDR, this person needs to be prepared and be clear on the agenda: Who are relevant targets? Is he/she doing ABM or wider reach? What results do they want from the campaign?
Make sure to seek in-depth information about the company before calling. For example, this may include understanding the corporate structure, seeking information about relevant key personnel and finding relevant resources. Decision makers in Finland appreciate it if you get to the point and not overreach in asking questions about the company. To be able to do that, your BDR needs to obtain a lot of information beforehand.
Your BDR also needs a good pitch. This should be based on the information obtained from the research as well. The pitch should consist of a solid agenda, talking points and questions. As mentioned, Finnish people like to get to the point, and you can’t do that without proper research and a good pitch.
How to make a perfect sales call
Okay, the preparations are done and it’s time to make the call. In this section, there are many key aspects to consider, so I’ve broken them down into a couple of bullet points.
The first impression
The first impression is so important. Be very clear about presenting who you are when calling. State your full name and company name. If you are calling on behalf of a partner, it is good to share that at quite an early stage. And, of course, be polite.
Obviously, you need to be relevant. People are busy and they don’t want their time to be wasted. Finnish IT decision makers like to talk about relevant topics and they like to answer good questions. They are very open to taking in and learning new things, so it’s up to the BDR to package the information the right way and get straight to the point of how it can benefit their company.
Ask the right questions
In the beginning of many calls, the IT decision makers may say no to your solution. Then you should not start arguing but ask more questions like “what are your future plans?”, “what’s the road map for this year?” “Do you have development projects coming up?” Then you can lead the conversation in the direction you want. Finnish people are eager to talk if you ask the right questions, so take advantage of that!
Master the art of being pushy but polite
To be able to actually book a meeting and not only have a cozy conversation you need to be pushy but polite, in other words “polite pushiness”. It’s important to understand how to push in a sensitive way. If you are too pushy, they will be annoyed. But if you don’t push, you won’t get a meeting. It’s a back-and-forth game and it’s important to keep asking relevant questions and don’t be afraid if they initially say no to your solution.
Finnish IT decision makers want to be on top of the latest trends and best practices to improve their knowledge and continuously develop. In order to do so, they experience a fear of missing out (FOMO). This can be used to your advantage.
Don’t be afraid to suggest a meeting
This is aligned with the previous tips. You have to be pushy enough to suggest a meeting otherwise the call won’t go in the right direction. And if you succeed in booking a meeting, tell them in advance if the meeting will be technical or a general presentation, and encourage the prospect to invite other relevant personnel. Send over a proper meeting invitation with an agenda and contact information as soon as possible. They like to be prepared, so the more information the better. Also, the more you can prepare them for the meeting, the better. No one will buy straight away, but if they have had the time to digest beforehand, a close will be more likely to happen.
Calling without inbound marketing support is difficult
Cold calling without any support from inbound campaigns is like jumping into the deep end of an icy pool. You want to reach people in multiple platforms to make your message familiar and let them know you can help them.
My best advice is to do integrated campaigns – not only telemarketing. Where I see the greatest success is when our clients run integrated campaigns with a strategic mix of traditional telemarketing and inbound campaigns. Integrated campaigns with digital inbound marketing and telemarketing will bridge the gap and enable better openings for phone calls. They will also strengthen your brand and guide prospects and existing customers further down the funnel.
Make sure to support your telemarketing efforts with digital content. Theis may include e-books, case studies, blog posts, landing pages, webinars and email nurturing. If you use inbound marketing and content to nurture your leads before picking up the phone, it will make the phone calls better and more likely to generate a meeting. If you want to learn more about inbound marketing, read this blog post, and if you want to see a case study where we used an integrated approach, check out this page.
Understand the structure of the public sector
In Finland, the public sector is a very large part of all organizations and calling these is usually different from calling private companies. To succeed with calls to the public sector, you need experience and a profound understanding of the purchasing flow, so make sure to put in effort here beforehand.
The public IT sector uses intermediaries for IT purchases. Investments in IT are made via procurement processes. It’s better to be known by customers before the bidding starts since the competition is tough and it’s hard to win.
To get into a winning flow, it is really crucial to understand the prospects’ needs. In order to discover hidden needs, you need have an interview with both influencers and decision makers in the relevant domain. Seeking their real pain points and being able to respond to them in an efficient manner is key to guiding all wins in tech’s battle fields.
In summary, there are many things your BDR needs to know if they are going to succeed in cold calling. But most important is to be able to speak Finnish, be prepared, ask the right questions and not be afraid to suggest a meeting. If this sounds overwhelming, we are here to help. We have local senior BDRs in most countries in Europe. Contact us here and we would be happy to tell you more! If you want to read about how how we helped our client Siemens book qualified meetings for their MOM solution targeting the manufacturing segment in Finland, click here.