Sales and Marketing

  • Beat the Summer Sales Slowdown – 3 Tips to Battle Out-of-Office Replies

    by Jeremy Unruh | June 18, 2019

    Summer time for sales can be exhaustive.  Reaching people becomes a battle of out-of-office vacation replies, voicemails and follow-up calendar reminders.  If you are doing some cold outreach, the tasks can be even more daunting.  It is not all bad news, however.  If you stick to a strategic approach you can overcome the auto replies, get a leg up on your competition and close more business.  Having sent hundreds of thousands of emails over the last 15 years, I have seen what works and what doesn’t during the Summer months.

    Here are 3 tips to keep that summer time sales momentum:

     

    1. Read the Automated Reply

    The typical out of office reply usually goes something like this:

    “I will be out of the office starting 6-12 through 6-22 returning 6-23. If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact Mike Smith at mike.smith@business.com . Otherwise I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return. Thank you for your message.  Sarah Thompson”

    There is some great information you can get from this message.  Use it to your advantage.  You now have a new contact to reach out to.  Reach out to that new contact and state that; “I had attempted to reach (name) but she is out on vacation so I thought I would touch base with you during her absence.”  This builds a new rapport and you can reference this outreach later.

     

    2. Wait on the Reply Email Until After they Return and Craft it to Reflect your Efforts

    You know when your prospect is returning, so you know when to get back to them, but don’t send a message on their return date.  Odds are they will be sorting through hundreds of emails and your message is likely to get thrown out as they try to swim through it all and get caught up to speed.  Wait a week, and reach out to reflect that they had a vacation.  Hi Sarah,  I hope you had a great vacation, I reached out to (name) during your absence, but I wanted to wait a week and let you catch up before I reached out…”  This shows you are respectful of their time and actually read the replies.  Also, since you have reached out to another colleague, you have a better chance at a positive response.

     

    3. Call or Leave a Text for Follow Up

    If you still haven’t heard back, its a good practice to call or text them as a follow up.  This is a tricky tactic but if done right, you will have a better chance at connecting.  The tricky part is to not reach out too often as to become a nuisance.  Judge this time by your typical sales cycle.  If your sales cycle is usually a few months, then space these efforts accordingly.

    Of course all of this effort is determined on good data.  You need accurate verified emails and direct phone numbers for this strategy to be effective.  Most people that do cold outreach don’t take the time to reach out to out-of-office responses but those that do, and do so effectively see their summer sales numbers rise with the temperature.

     

     

  • Perfect Timing – 5 Tips for Outbound Email Gold

    by Jeremy Unruh | February 12, 2019

    Outbound email is an adventure.  Your message may end up in the spam box of doom or you may get a quick response back with,  “Wow, perfect timing, let’s schedule a time to chat”. While there are many factors that need to be in place (ip reputation, spam scores etc,) before writing the perfect message, here are 5 tips that can help get the response you are looking for.

    • Know your Ideal Customer

    Seems like a no-brainer.  The more you know about your existing customers, the easier it is to reach out to like minded businesses and employees.  

    Key things to understand about your existing customers include:

    How did you build the relationship in the beginning?  Was it through marketing, a referral, word of mouth. What was the issue they were having that you were able to help with or solve? Knowing the first moment you started creating a business relationship will help you repeat the steps to build more of the same with other organizations.

    • What Emails do you Respond to?

    Usually people get between 40 and 100 new emails a day. Some better than others.  Take note in what got your attention. Was it an offer? Was it the way the subject line was worded? Did you get it right after lunch?  If you pay attention to these types of details about your own behavior, you can duplicate what worked on you, and formulate the subject lines, offers and time of message to work on your prospects.

    • Pay Attention to Company Intel of your Prospects

    Keeping track company growth indicators can not only help you strike at a perfect time, but it give you an in to start the conversation.  Being able to keep the message about your prospect and less about YOU, is extremely important. By tracking growth indicators you are listening to what your prospects are up to and can lead with that data.  Being able to start a conversation with, “I saw you just received 10M in funding,” or “Congrats on your recent promotion to Executive Vice President of Sales,” tells your prospects you are paying attention and utilizing your time to build a rapport.

    • Make the CTA an Actual Value to your Prospect

    This one can seem tricky but if done correctly, can save a lot of time.  If your goal is to have a conversation over the phone, make that apparent right away. If you are looking to provide something more like a whitepaper, or a free trial, make it known in the clearest way possible.  If you are upfront and clear about your intent, you will get more upfront and clear responses to your message.

    • Test, Test, Test

    If you get a great response to your messages on Wednesday at 1pm, you may be inclined to keep sending at that time, with the same subject line and message.  Don’t get complacent. You may be missing out on an even better response on Tuesday at 3pm with a different subject line and the same message and CTA. The goal here is to find the trends that work best for your prospects.  It may seem like a never ending quest to find the best combination, but if you put in the time to test, you will be more likely to find those “wow, perfect timing” responses you are looking for.

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  • Marketing Personalization Trends for 2019

    by Jeremy Unruh | January 24, 2019

    Know your ideal prospect.  It seems like a no-brainer to know as much as you can about your ideal prospect so you can not only continue a healthy business relationship, but also understand the segmentation that your sales and marketing efforts work most effectively with.  When it comes to prospecting, and formulating emails that resonate with your ideal segmentation, utilizing personalization can get you in the door (or an open in the inbox) faster than a bland mass email that shows no effort or value.

    According to HubSpot, emails that are segmented, targeted and utilize personalization can increase sales up to 18x more than those messages without.  In 2019, the biggest trends will be around how to get creative with personalization, and how to utilize automation tools to save time doing so. Companies like Scalex.ai and nova.ai are utilizing information from press releases, social profiles, news articles and more to create unique personalization to insert into email messages in order to increase the interest and response from your potential clients.  It’s not perfect technology but it is a start toward finding unique information about potential prospects in order to start a conversation.

    Lead411 will be launching an email cadence tool soon that will include the ability to add sales intelligence trigger data to personalize email messages in a similar way but will also encompass growth indicator cues, so customers can not only personalize an email to include interesting information and conversation starters, (like congratulations on your $15 Million in funding or I see you just started a job as the Director of Finance at Acme Inc.) but can position the message in a growth sensitive time window.  In other words, reach out at the right time, to the right contact with the right information.

    Another, trend that is gaining ground is the ability to utilize a mix marketing approach by incorporating text messages within cadences (the ability to text message will be included in Lead411’s cadence tool), so additional sources of communication can be incorporated.  In a previous blog post, we mentioned how the average american checks their cell phones 46 times a day. According to Textus, their customers are seeing a 40% response rate in text messages. Most companies would take a 40% response rate all day!

    Bottom line is that sales and marketing tactics will need to evolve and utilize these tools to stay competitive and in-front of potential clients in 2019.  The companies that utilize tools that can be intelligent about outreach, and save valuable sales time, will have higher growth margins this year.

     

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  • Use Your Existing Customer Profile Data to Build the Perfect Target Market

    by Jeremy Unruh | December 10, 2018

    When creating a list of companies and titles to reach out to, there are several tips that can ensure you are reaching out to the right prospects. As a best practice, it’s extremely valuable to keep a profile of your existing customers. If you know the right information about companies you already work with, you can craft more effective messages and sell more effectively to companies that could be interested in your solutions/services.  Here are some tips to ensure you are collecting the right data about your ideal customer segmentation.

     

    Knowing your Customers

    Questions to answer about your ideal customer (Company):

    • What is the size of the company (# of employees, revenue or both)?
    • Where is the company located?
    • What is the industry classification? (don’t rely on SIC or NAICS codes as they can be too general of a classification)
    • If you are a VAR or depend on existing software in order to sell your solutions and services, what technology does the company already use?

     

    Knowing your Contacts

    Questions to answer about your ideal person to reach out to:

    • What is their title? (the first initial contact you had a conversation with)
    • What level are they? (Executive, VP, Director, Manager)
    • What is their preferred method of communication? (Email, Phone Call, Text, Social Media etc)

    Once you have this information, you have the tools to build an ideal segmentation data set.

     

    Example:

    • Size: 50 -250 Employees with a Revenue between 5M – 200M
    • Location: United States 
    • Industry: SaaS Companies
    • Technology Used: Salesforce
    • Titles: Marketing, Lead Generation, Demand Generation,
    • Level: Director
    • Preferred Communication: Email

     

    You may have to segment this data by each product/solution you have or each price set you have.  The more analysis you have about your existing customers, the more specific you can be with your messaging.

     

    Going Beyond

    If you know even more data about your first initial contact with your customer, i.e. “they just received funding when we first reached out” or “they were growing and hired x employees when we chatted the first time”, you can use this intelligence to form your messaging and reach out at the right time.   Companies that are going through growth, change, expansion, etc are 8 – 10x more likely to respond positively to your outreach.

    At Lead411, our customers that have gone through this exercise and keep track of all of this data for each new customer they have, are more successful with their outreach efforts.  If you would like us to help you build a segmented list fueled by sales intelligence, contact us today.  We have over 38 million records with verified emails and mobile direct dials, so you can reach out to the right contacts, at the right time with the right conversation.

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  • Direct Mobile Dials are Fueling B2B Communication Channels

    by Jeremy Unruh | November 1, 2018

    Time is always a key factor in sales. Whether it is reaching out when a company is going through a growth trend, responding in a timely fashion to an RFP, or reaching out to renew an existing contract; timing can mean the difference between revenue and missed opportunity.  However, there is nothing worse than reaching out and getting “ghosted”. Never hearing back and having to deal with the anxiety of “do I reach out again?”, “am I bugging them?”, “did they get my message?”, “I was sent to voicemail again, did I lose the deal?” This uncertainty is nothing new to any seasoned sales person. One way to alleviate this anxiety is to reach out via multiple channels to find the best way your prospect or customer prefers to communicate.

    So what outreach methods are the best communication channels to get in touch with your prospect or customer, and get that response in order to alleviate some of the uncertainty of the common sales process? One company, Text Us, is using text messaging to avoid the voice mailbox and cluttered email inbox to help customers reach out via mobile phone text message and they are having greater success with staggeringly higher response rates than traditional methods. In fact, According to their website, textus customers are seeing a 40% response rate to text messages. The data makes complete sense when you think about how often the average person checks their cell phone every day. According to a 2015 study by Deloitte, the average american checks their cell phone 46 times a day. That is an average of 3 times an hour (assuming 8 hours of sleep a night we all get…right). So why wouldn’t it make sense to reach out directly via text to take advantage of one of these attentive moments.

    The data doesn’t stop with text messaging. In fact, there are still many benefits to reaching out via phone call or email. Let’s look at the benefit of picking up the phone and reaching out first.

    The benefits of the phone call include:

    • Personalization, reaching out with a voice to match the message
    • Back and forth to build trust, ask questions and gain understanding
    • Hanging up is hard to do, it is much harder to hang up than press the delete button

    Phone calls are still a great way to reach out because they are the closest thing to an in-person meeting, but they are still incredibly time consuming.  If you know your audience and know that conveying trust is a major point of the business relationship (and you can’t get together for a face-face-to-face), phone calls are still a powerful communication channel.

    Email is still a popular tool to reach out as well.  Email can include an incredible amount of information that is consumable when the recipient is ready to read it.  According to a Return Path study last year, analyzing 27 Billion emails sent by Americans between May 2016 and April 2017, 55% were opened via a mobile device.

    The benefits of an email include:

    • Email is incredibly time saving for both parties
    • Emails are less invasive, and can be responded to at a convenient time
    • You can track email data and know what is working and what isn’t

    Email is still a popular method to reach out because its a quick and easy way to send important documents, contracts, and additional information to advance the B2B relationship.  There are downsides to email, including spam traps, and inbox overload, as the average American receives 121 emails a day (40 of which are B2B emails).

    Email, phone calls and text messages are still viewed as 3 separate communication channels in the sales/marketing world, but email marketers and sales professionals alike need to make sure they are using each one effectively, as the majority of Americans continue to utilize their mobile cell phones more and more.

    At Lead411, we are committed to this data and have been adding more and more mobile phone numbers and verified emails to our platform.  As this trend continues, the need for accurate phone numbers and verified email addresses will be at the forefront of the B2B relationship for marketing and sales professionals alike, as they look for the most successful ways to improve communication and maintain revenue streams without worrying if the message was received or not.

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  • Reducing Customer Effort in Today’s Market=Delighting Your Customer

    by Jeremy Unruh | October 23, 2018

    We live in an age where products and services are increasingly similar, and are increasingly based on both our fast paced lifestyle, and all that comes along with it.

    If you’ve tried to have a telephone conversation with anyone under 30 years old recently, you can relate to the above statement. The fact is that the weekly call to Mom has now become three text messages over the course of the same period of time. People in general are busier than ever before.

    For a business to not take this into consideration when considering how their products or services impact customers is absolute insanity. If a person can no longer make time to speak verbally to their Mother, the odds that they will be delighted under any circumstances to speak to the customer service team for the company in question are not high.

    The truth is that demand is influenced now more than ever by the service or quality of service attached to doing business with a company. The difference between buying an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy has very little to do with how the devices can impact the customer’s life. After all, for all intents and purposes, they can each do about all the customer could want. The reason customers find themselves loyal to one or the other has to do with the service they received from the person who sold them the device, and the amount of effort they had to put in to make it an integral part of their daily existence.

    As a daily consumer, the things I have to work for in life are things that rely on me. The things that are there for me with little to no effort are things I rely upon. If I can rely on a product or service as opposed to it relying on me, I am delighted. I don’t need to be manually delighted by the company when I have to talk to them. My true desire is to not have to talk to them.

    If by no fault of its own, a company finds itself in a situation where the customer service team has to interact with me, the less effort I have to put into getting an acceptable resolution for my issue, the more I can rely on the product, and the more I’m delighted. The more effort I have to put in, the more the product has to rely on my ability and availability to talk with the company, and the less I’m delighted.

    One of the most effective way to reduce customer effort when customer have no choice but to interact with the company, is by making the investment in cutting edge IT products. The truth is that technology rules the world. Having the best technology may seem expensive at first, but the difference it can make in your employee’s ability to provide that “extra” service to the customer will make all the difference in the world when it comes time to examine the bottom line.

    In short, make your process as simple and as effortless as possible by building your service models with the best available technology to get the job done. That in itself will delight the customer, even it they don’t manifest their delight in words of praise or confirmation. Their disdain will be manifested many more times than their delight will be. However, any company who is not receiving negative feedback can happily cling to the old saying that “no news is good news.”

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  • You Can Sell With a Strategy and Still Have Fun

    by Jeremy Unruh | September 20, 2018

    The world of sales is full of obstacles and competition. Dealing with potential customers is like a delicate dance, one wrong step and the performance can be ruined. There are ways to move your product or service while keeping this ‘dance’ elegant and in-step.

    Don’t lead with a pitch. You almost have to put what you’re selling out of your mind. Start the conversation by finding out what the customer is looking for. As Meghan Casserly at Forbes, points out in her article, clients are looking for help. Identifying what they want or need, is the first step in making the sale. In fact, if you can put them in a position of necessity your product will sell itself. The client will actually see you as kind of savior instead of a salesman. This can boost your profits and create strong customer relationships in a fundamental way.

    You can actually turn this tactic of ‘identifying what the customer wants,’ into a search for what is often referred to as the hot button or pain point. These are also touched on in the Forbes article. These are the various reasons people have for buying the same thing. Using open ended questions in a strategic way can lead to the exposure of these pain points. All successful salespeople will have a strategy to accomplish this.

    Another great method for getting a “yes” answer when selling, is to make sure you’re not overwhelming the customer with a plethora of choices. As they mention in an article written for BussinessKnowHow.com, you want to stay away from “what to buy” options if at all possible. Oftentimes, potential customers get flustered when asked which product or service they would like to buy. This results in a “NO” answer, rather than having to make the choice. You can avoid this by focusing on one item at a time, or by cleverly packaging multiple items or services into a package deal. This way, they are again given the “yes” or “no” option rather than a “which one.” Using this tactic is a great way to get those sales percentages up.

    Once you get your “yes,” consider a follow up sale. As they point out later in the BKH article, once a customer has shown to be receptive to your sales tactics and given you that much coveted “yes,” they are now like an open conduit to future sales. Be subtle, but don’t let them off the hook. These follow ups can be a simple additional sale. If you don’t have additional products or services to sell, GET them. It is worth the time and effort to find associated material to compliment your initial sales.

    Know your product and have fun. The best, most effective sales, are the products or services you really like and enjoy yourself. Try them out and get to know how they work. You can then answer customer questions with ease and convey a true enthusiasm about whatever you’re trying to sell.

    Using the above tips can result in an improved selling experience for both small and large businesses in the sales industry. Don’t be afraid to try new things. However at the same time, sticking to known tactics is a safe way to expand that profit margin and increase your customer base.

    At Lead411, we pride ourselves in providing you with accurate and timely information so you can reach out at the right time and create a sense of urgency to a qualified prospect. If you would like to start a free trial to learn more, Click Here.

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  • 5 Tips for a Better Outbound Email Campaign

    by Jeremy Unruh | July 31, 2018

    These days, everyone’s phones are always in their pockets buzzing with email alerts, so email marketing can reach even more people than any other type of internet marketing. Because of this increased reach, you’ve decided you want to try an email marketing campaign. Congrats! Now what? Here are some writing tips for marketing emails that will get you the most traction.

    1) Personalize your email – People love feeling special, so make that marketing email special. When you personalize your email, don’t just use Hi . Personalize it with as much information as you can, like congrats on your new position if they were recently promoted or I see just closed another round of funding. It shows you did your homework and your reader will respond by clicking your links.

    2) Have a clear action item – Speaking of what you want your reader to do with your marketing email, have a plan for that. Don’t waste your reader’s time with pointless text. Give them a way to interact with your company, like clicking for a free download, using a new coupon code, or taking a fun survey on your website. Give them something fun and/or useful in exchange for their time.

    3) Be a real person – When you send out a marketing email, make sure the address it comes from contains a person’s name instead of some cold, impersonal business word. You want your reader to connect with you on that individual level, and you can’t do that hiding behind info@yourcompany.com.

    4) Say what you mean and mean what you say – A big part of a successful email marketing campaign is helping your target market to trust you. To build trust with your readers, you need to be up front with them. So be clear when they sign up that they will be receiving marketing emails that are selling something. Just make sure you deliver something else useful along with your sales pitch, like a clever tip or discount.

    5) Use the power of empathy – You want your readers to think of your brand as a friend, so you need to act like a friend. Show your support and empathize with their struggles. Show them that you understand their unique challenges in life, but then tell them how your services or products can help them solve their problems.

    That’s the big secret to writing better email marketing campaigns–be a real person connecting with another real person. Don’t be obvious, cheesy, pushy, or creepy. When you connect with your customers on that personal level, you’ll be surprised how easily success will follow. If you need help crafting the perfect email marketing campaign, don’t be afraid to ask an internet marketing expert for help.

  • Shorten your Sales Cycle with Sales Triggers

    by Jeremy Unruh | July 9, 2018

    In today’s sales world, we are surrounded by time savers. Data is at our fingertips 24/7; we can share files with co-workers, have a video conference call with 12 people in 3 different states, and shorten work-flows with real-time messaging. One aspect of sales that has been traditionally slow, however, is the sales cycle. Companies battle internally with deciding on the right decision to make. Should we add this software, do I trust that this will benefit the company, do we have the budget? It is an understandable dilemma, as no organization wants to make a bad decision, but for B2B sales professionals trying to pinpoint opportunities, it can be a nightmare trying to identify the right decision makers, and have the correct data to make a solid sales pitch at the right time.

    In the past few years, the need for a better sales approach has emerged in the form of the sales trigger. A sales trigger is any event, indication, or data point that can help identify the opportunity for change. Sales opportunities happen more frequently when companies are undergoing a change. Sales professionals can now use intelligent prospecting platforms (like Lead411 – shameless plug:) to filter and target prospects and organizations based on sales triggers such as; recent funding, hiring intent, newly hired executives, expansion plans, hiring plans and job openings, IPO’s and more. All of these digital data sources can help shorten the sales cycle just by knowing more information about your prospect.

    Imagine “Brian” is at a party, and is approached by a stranger who says, “Hey are you Brian Smith? I just read about your new position as the Senior Vice President of Sales at Acme inc, that’s great news!” Already, Brian has his guard down, and is open to talk more about the company and his excitement with the new position, and (as all successful sales professionals know,) getting someone to talk about themselves is the first step to a successful sales relationship. The same can be done with B2B sales when you have the right data to make a warm introduction and get the conversation going. No one likes to hear a sales pitch immediately upon meeting someone. Sales Triggers are the data necessary to open the conversation and gain trust faster.

    Shorten your Sales Cycle with Sales Triggers

    Sales Triggers are a necessity today for sales teams and sales professionals alike. You will either find an opportunity faster, shorten the sales cycle and close the deal or find out there wasn’t an opportunity yet but build a relationship with potential business on the horizon. The most successful sales development professionals use sales triggers on a daily basis, as it is another time saving tool to help you find the right data, and open a dialogue at the right time with the right conversation.

  • How Using Hiring Trends Can Lead to New Sales Opportunities

    by Jeremy Unruh | October 12, 2017

    Prospecting for new clients is perhaps the most challenging and yet most crucial task in any business. Without viable leads, a business will soon fail. Here at Lead 411, we know a thing or two about prospecting for hot leads, and we have multiple ways of notifying you when a business is primed to buy new products and services. One way you can find out if a company is ready to buy is by examining their hiring trends.

    Why do hiring trends matter? Hiring trends are considered a sales trigger. A sales trigger is an event or occurrence that creates an opening for marketing or sales opportunity.

    Surprisingly, explosive hiring trends can tell you several things. Here are some situations that may result from high hiring trends within a company.

    • The company is experiencing change of leadership such as a new CEO or another high-ranking executive
    • The company is undergoing expansion of products, clients, or has new funding
    • There’s been a change in strategy or positioning
    • Revenue growth or employee decline

    All of these situations could mean that a company or prospects within a company are situated to buy. Did you know that new decision makers at 10x more likely to purchase new products and funded companies are 8x more likely to respond to your emails?

    It makes, even more, sense to focus your prospecting activities on companies that have an upward trend in hiring.

    Hiring trends are just one example of trigger events; there are many others and Lead 411’s services are primed to notify you of all optimal trigger events.

    Learn how we can help you find prime leads for your business. Try our seven-day free trial and get access to 35 million potential customers now!

  • Understanding Brand Positioning: How to Make Your Marketing Work For You

    by Jeremy Unruh | September 6, 2017

    The first step in creating effective marketing messages is to clearly identify your company’s brand positioning. All too often, a company isn’t clear on exactly what it does best, which can leave potential customers confused. Understanding the three different brand positions, and how to clearly define which position your company offers, can help you attract new customers quickly and efficiently.

    Cost Leader

    Companies who choose the Cost Leader brand position promise to offer customers the lowest price. This position is a good fit for brands who specialize in logistics and operational effectiveness. Wal-Mart is a well-known brand that effectively positions itself as a cost leader.

    The biggest brand positioning mistake that many Cost Leaders make is trying to offer too much with their products. The customers of these brands aren’t looking for products with all the bells and whistles; they are looking for products that will get the job done at the lowest possible price.

    Trying to offer products of the highest quality with tons of features AND at the lowest price isn’t sustainable long-term – effective cost leaders understand that they are targeting customers who are extremely price sensitive and should focus their marketing strategy accordingly.

    Service Leader

    Service Leader brands focus more on the service and support provided with the product than the actual product itself. This brand positioning is a good fit for companies that invest in quality staff and support materials for their products. Chik-fil-A is a well-known brand that effectively positions itself as a service leader.

    The biggest brand positioning mistake that many service leaders make is trying to multitask as a service and cost leader. The target customer for a Service Leader wants to be assured that they will have a good service experience, and they are willing to pay for it; offering a product at too low a price will make customers suspicious and cause them to steer clear.

    Innovation Leader

    Brands who position as Innovation Leaders promise to provide cutting edge products ahead of their competitors. This brand positioning is a good fit for companies that invest heavily in research and development. Apple is a well-known brand that effectively positions itself as an innovation leader.

    The biggest brand positioning mistake that many Innovation Leaders make is failing to understand the needs of their target customers. The target customers for innovation leaders are often referred to as “early adopters“; they want to experience the latest technology before any of their friends and are willing to pay a premium to do so.

    Missing the mark on the newest trend or developing a product that does not resonate with early adopters will cause the core customer base to alienate an Innovation Leader in search of another company that will provide better technology.

    Presenting an authentic brand position can certainly be challenging, but using the three core brand positions as a guide can help you establish an effective brand position for your company. Trying to be everything to everyone is not only an unprofitable business model, it also leaves customers confused about what kind of experience they will have when doing business with your company. A winning model is to focus on what you do best and clearly define that through an effective brand position.

  • How Intelligent Marketing Triggers are Eliminating the Tradition of Buying Lists

    by Jeremy Unruh | July 17, 2017

    Using Data to Grow Your Prospects

    More data is publicly available today than ever before, and this new information is helping marketers rethink their approach to sales. By analyzing data in an intelligent way, marketers create more targeted conversations, convert more prospects to customers, and eliminate the need to buy lists and blast information with intelligent marketing triggers.

    List Buying

    Traditional thinking about internet marketing creates a demand for an endless supply of new contacts. In the past, sales teams turned to list buying as a way to source new email addresses.

    List buying allows marketers to build up their contacts immediately by acquiring a list compiled by another company. Marketers often select some basic data, such as demographic information.

    While list buys are efficient, marketers know that blasting these lists is not always effective. To start, it’s impossible for marketers to know whether their emails will even reach real people. But most importantly, this impersonal approach goes against the most fundamental principles of marketing – it doesn’t focus on customer preferences.

    Intelligent Marketing Triggers

    In recent years, marketers are rethinking this approach. Publicly available data can grow a list of legitimate contacts who are likely interested in your product. What’s more, intelligent triggers can help marketers understand purchasing behavior.

    Intelligent marketing triggers are eliminating the need for list buying by creating a mechanism for more intentional conversations with real prospects. This new approach leads to better, more relevant offers that are more likely to lead to sales.

    It reduces the need to blast potential customers with information, which also means emails more likely to be read and less likely to end up in the SPAM folder.

    Joining the marketing revolution and harnessing data to gain insight about their prospects can help you maintain a competitive edge. At Lead411, we can provide the tools to help you understand more about your potential customers.

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  • Adding Urgency to a Sales Interaction

    by Jeremy Unruh | June 8, 2017

    Adjusting your sales pitch to include a sense of urgency can increase your close rates dramatically.

    When you get a hot lead, the first thing you want to do is call or email the prospect and close the sale. It’s fun and exciting to reach out and make the case why your product or service is the perfect fit for your customer. However, calling without a plan can be a recipe for disaster. Planning ahead, especially with the strategy of creating urgency and a deadline for your prospect is often the best strategy.

    Time and again, adding urgency to a transaction is the best way to get people motivated to act. Business owners and sales people take this into account when trying to persuade others in their call to action. There are several different techniques to add urgency.

    The most common way to add urgency is to use the pricing mechanism. After a certain date the price will forever go up and the buyer will never have the opportunity to buy this cheaply again. That is the idea behind the “SALE” signs that you see everywhere each time you go to the mall.

    Another common method is to use the idea of scarcity. The salesperson states that there are only a few of these items left. For example, there are only a few models of this car left on the lot. If you wait to buy they will be all gone.

    Lastly, create a competitive dynamic. Real estate brokers will often use this technique pointing out that if you don’t buy now, they have another buyer preparing an offer at a higher price that will outbid you. This creates urgent demand to act before the object of your desire is purchased by someone else.

    At Lead411, we pride ourselves in providing you with accurate and timely information so you can reach out at the right time and create a sense of urgency to a qualified prospect. If you would like to start a free trial to learn more, Click Here.

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  • 3 Tips For Building The Perfect Post-Subscribe Email Autoresponder

    by Jeremy Unruh | February 15, 2017

    Building the perfect post-subscribe email autoresponder is a step many businesses often overlook when it comes to lead conversion. Email autoresponses are almost an afterthought for many brands, mainly because they forget the power it could potentially wield to turn a browsing prospect into a loyal customer.

    However, following some easy tips when it comes to building the perfect post-subscribe email autoresponder will help turn that around, and ensure that prospects are able to become customers with ease.

    1) Offer valuable content without wasting time

    Many customers lament about the arduous process of subscribing to emails, with many giving up right away if they spend too much time trying to access content. Businesses are able to make the actual process of subscription easier in the moment, but overlook how to keep the efficiency after the customer has given their email address.

    The autoresponse following subscription should offer prospective customers an easy way to access valuable content, while making it easy and fast. Avoid creating confirmation pages, asking detailed personal information and multiple steps all in one fell swoop. Instead, give customers the options and tools to provide this information at a later time for a more customized experience in the autoresponse and use the latter to engage customers within your brand.

    2) Establish trust with your tone of voice

    A well-crafted autoresponse is able to differentiate your brand from the rest among your customer base. Use the autoresponse as one of the first points of contact with your prospective leads, and leverage that to build trust and a relationship. Instead of opting for usual robotic language within the response, craft a message that will resonate with audiences and cement your place in their mind.

    Most people are easily able to differentiate a personal email from an automatic one, and creating a message that conveys that your brand cares about individuals is a fast and creative way to demonstrate your brand personality.

    3) Don’t send an infinite amount of content

    For many businesses, the temptation of having subscribers to send content to is strong. Resist that urge, starting from the autoresponse. Do not clog inboxes, or use email addresses to send staggering amounts of content that do not hold value for the customer. Give them what they want while using the autoresponse as the starting point.

    Often brands use the autoresponder to push content from the start, scaring customers off. Doing so conditions customers to become freeloaders in some ways, as they will ignore sales offers because of all the useless content they may have received in the past.

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  • Top Strategies For Effective Outbound Sales Engagement

    by Jeremy Unruh | January 31, 2017

    Businesses today have numerous avenues to announce their presence to potential clients. Social media and web content strategies have without doubt increased visibility in the highly competitive online marketplace. Targeted customers have so many options to choose from and therefore take their time before picking a particular company to engage. It can, therefore, be frustrating for a business just to sit and wait for the inbound sales. Here are the top strategies that can help you to meet your sales target through effective outbound engagement.

    Intelligent leads

    The days of Cold-calling hundreds of telephone numbers with the hope that one or two of the calls will land on a potential customer are long gone. With proper sales intelligence tools, you can easily narrow down your leads to specific targets that are most likely interested in your products. Big Data tools can now provide you with up-to-date prospects’ information, including preferences and the topics you can engage them with so as to build a lasting business relationship.

    Selective follow-up

    It is important that you follow-up on quality leads that will most likely result in a conversion. This will free up resources and time so you can efficiently respond to the needs of the prospects that are looking into establishing a long business relationship with your company.

    Smart Engagement          

    Make use of Sales Intelligence tools that employ inbound inquiries as triggers for outbound engagement. For example, if you know your ideal company demographics and you know you have the most success selling your solutions to executives with the title of CTO, you can set up sales triggers that let you know when a new CTO is hired, when a CTO is spending on technology, or when someone is promoted to the roll of CTO, so you not only have a reason to reach out, you have information that can help you relate your solutions to their specific needs at the right time.

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  • How to Capture Millennials with Email Marketing

    by Jeremy Unruh | January 19, 2017

    The rapid rise of social media has some marketers questioning what types of marketing appeals to Millennials. Some would even argue that email marketing is a marketing tool that Millennials don’t embrace, choosing to consume marketing material in more visually stimulating formats. However, email marketing has never been more effective in achieving ROI goals for small and medium size businesses. According to eMarketer, email marketing tops the list of digital tactics driving customer acquisition and retention.

    Savvy marketers are likely to counter that although email marketing works now, it simply doesn’t appeal to millennials. A recent study in AdWeek found, however, that 42% of those 25-34 years of age reported opening retailer emails more often over the past six months, compared to just 32% of other age groups, and recommended retailers use increase their email marketing efforts targeted at millennials.

    The challenge for marketers is to ensure they deliver their emails in ways that appeal to the millennial market. Here are 3 tips to improve email markeitng targeted at millennials:

    Go Mobile

    According to one recent study, almost half of all shoppers will delete an email they can’t easily read on their smartphones. That’s especially true of millennials, 9 out of 10 of whom say they are never without their mobile phones. To make email marketing attractive to this age group, make sure your emails work and are optimized on mobile devices.

    Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing

    Millennials live on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your email marketing campaigns should dovetail seamlessly with those you construct for social media. You should also make sure both email and social media posts drive customers to a dedicated landing page.

    Keep Text to a Minimum

    Among the acronyms gaining popularity among millennials is TLDR, or “too long, didn’t read.” More than their older counterparts, millennials like to get in and get out fast. Respond to their quick consumption tendencies by going light on text and using more visual content, like images and infographics.

    Email marketing remains among the most effective strategies retailers can use to increase their customer base and ROI. Maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by targeting millennials with content that works on mobile devices, integrates with social media campaigns, and keeps text to a minimum

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  • 4 Tips on How to Sell to Executives

    by Jeremy Unruh | December 14, 2016

    You cannot approach selling to executives in the same way you approach any other sale. It’s true that selling to executives versus employees is a shorter process, (less waiting for approval periods), but it does require a totally different strategy than the one you use for employees. To save you time, and execute your sales effectively, consider these 4 tips.

    1. Optimize methods of connection. Multiple studies have shown that executives are in touch with all methods of communication. A study from Ber|Art reported that over 55 percent of top-level management regularly check Facebook. 64 percent reported to using LinkedIn on a regular basis. Put yourself in their frame of reference by connecting through several mediums before you actually make contact. This highlights you in their memory, and makes a small connection for them and what you offer, before you pitch to them. On this same note, connecting yourself through a referral will up your chances of closing a deal as well. Eyes On Sales reports that, “A cold lead, or an inbound lead from a random source, has a closing rate of around 25% to 30%. In contrast, you double your success with a referred lead, which traditionally has a closing rate of 50%.”.

    2. Keep it Brief. By making a concise and to-the-point pitch you not only appear to highly value your time, you show them that you value their time as well. Taking advice from the CBS Money Watch “your sales approach has got to be fully-researched, short and sweet”. Get your point across and don’t allow your presentation to be labeled a “time-waster”. Consider cutting out some facets of your presentation that may require set up time. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a slide-show to get my point across?”.

    3. Fully develop responses to questions. A large part of an executive’s job, is to overview, and oversee processes. They are well versed in finding flaws in a project, in order to make it more effective. If they are interested, they will most likely have specific questions that demand a specific answer from you. As stated in Salesforce’s blog “An executive sales meeting is not the time to ask basic questions.”. Tailor what you say to executive and the company you are making your offer too. Your extra work will not go unnoticed.

    4. Practice out loud. Executives made their way to where they are with their strong leadership qualities and confidence. They can be intimidating to present to. Put yourself in the right frame of mind by practicing before you meet with them directly. In Forbes article “7 Tips for Creating an Effective Sales Pitch” , Wendy Weiss says, “If you go in with the idea that you are just going to talk, talk, talk, and make the sale, it’s going to be a struggle. But if you go in with the idea that you are going to have a conversation and build a relationship with the prospect, you’ll have a much better success rate.”. Remember, executives are people too! Practice out loud to soften your nerves. Speaking with eloquence while actively working to engage the executive into conversation will pave your way to making your sale.

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  • How to Fix a Leaky Sales Pipeline Fast

    by Jeremy Unruh | December 6, 2016

    You have efficiently and effectively filled the sales funnel with fresh leads by gaining insights and improving opportunities, movement and action using tips from references such as this one from Tellwise. You have a process to quickly engage your customers and your sales reps are in the field making contact with new and old leads, but before these leads reach the end of the pipeline, the flow steadily slows until only a few of those leads trickle out and turn into real sales. The problem is not related to clogs, as you have already reviewed the process and removed any roadblocks using tips from articles such as this one in Forbes. You know your salespeople are not wasting their time on unproductive leads and they follow-up with customers and for those that will buy, they help them move along and close the deal. The problem is those customers who just disappear and leak out of the pipeline not heard from again.

    What are some steps you can take to plug the leaks and keep these customers coming back?

    • Make sure you are staying up on current leads and avoid letting leads age. Having leads delivered to your inbox every day. Know what companies in your area are ready to make a move. Assign and prioritize the leads, then set reminders to follow-up regularly. If you don’t forget about them, they will not forget about you.
    • Quickly contact provided leads. Harvard Business Review reports that firms that make initial contact after receiving a lead within one hour were seven times more likely to get the sale, than those who waited after receiving the lead. Assess at this point if this will be a productive lead and allow your sales team to make that decision with the understanding they will own those leads they qualify.
    • Keep in contact. Make the process simple for the customer to follow through and decide to go with you. You have removed the hurdles for your sales team, now is the time to remove the hurdles for your customer. Invite your clients, current and future, to events. Invite them to engage with you over social media. Share information with them that is relevant and assists their decision-making process.

    At Lead411, we want to help fill your sales funnel with current, qualified leads so your sales team can work around the clogs and plug the leaks.

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  • How to Engage Highly Qualified Leads: Finding the Right Information Before Taking Action

    by Jeremy Unruh | November 30, 2016

    In the B2B world, it’s easy to assume that every lead you go after is going to think alike. It’s risky to make assumptions the B2B industry is overly uniform and businesses automatically gravitate to products like yours. In truth, every business customer is different. Your sales and marketing team could end up wasting time going after leads that don’t even qualify based on your criteria.

    It’s time to learn how to engage highly qualified leads to avoid wasting time you could spend on more important things. What’s important is to give your sales and marketing team the right tools to land those leads. As top marketing blogs point out, too many sales professionals aren’t equipped with the right assets or resources to do this.

    Getting Your Sales and Marketing Team Together

    Many B2B marketing analysts note that out of all leads sent to B2B sales departments, only 27% of them fit being qualified. This means a lot of wasted effort, perhaps because your sales and marketing departments work separately. Without having a conjoined effort, neither one will know whether a lead is truly qualified or not.

    As another benefit to aligning sales and marketing, they’ll both know where a lead is within the sales funnel. Every lead needs nurturing through this funnel, and it can tell you whether the prospect is worth the extra push through to the conversion phase.

    Tools like Lead411 can help you identify the best time to contact a prospect or company based off of sales triggers, like recent funding, new hires and even what other products that company has purchased. This is an incredibly valuable time saver, and alerts can notify you and your sales team on when new prospects enter into your filtered criteria.

    How Engaged is Your Lead?

    By studying how many page views, interactions, and redeems your lead compiles with your marketing content, you can immediately tell which ones are worth going after. The key factor here is those who engage more than once clearly have more interest in your products or services than if visiting once or twice.

    Be sure to use analytic tools to study just how engaged your leads are with content before engaging them further. Real-time metrics help considerably with this so you can take quick action to get ahead of competitors.

    Answering Some Other Key Questions

    Engaging leads early, you’ll find some ways to get some questions answered by either having direct conversations, or sending them surveys in marketing emails. Ask four key questions you need answered before proceeding.

    The most crucial question is: What is the prospect looking for, or need to help their business grow? Plus, you want to know how long it’s going to take for the lead to make a buying decision.

    Next, find out what their budgetary requirements are. Then ask whether they’re the authority figure on making the final decisions to buy.

    All of these tell you everything you need to know to personalize your future communications.

    Don’t forget about putting together B2B customer personas so you can fully understand pain points of every lead. This means everything in making the sales funnel journey more personal.

    Visit us at Lead411 to learn more about how to best approach and engage B2B leads.

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  • B2B Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays

    by Jeremy Unruh | November 16, 2016

    While the holiday season is boom or bust for retailers, B2B email marketing requires some extra thought ensuring that the season remains strong and leads do not cool while customers focus their efforts elsewhere. Steve Denner wraps up a few tips in his article “4 tips you cannot ignore this holiday season” to help keep your email marketing campaign focused and in front of your business partners.

    Beware of spam

    As businesses and retailers turn up the heat to boost sales, email inboxes stuffed full of goodies, may often go unread. As receivers become overwhelmed, rather than read every email they may spend their time unsubscribing and reporting emails as spam. Apply strategy to your holiday email campaigns ensuring the topics are clearly stated, emails on point and provide something of value to the reader.

    Dress it up or not?

    For some businesses and retailers, adding holiday colors, flashing lights and falling snow is the key to getting their emails to stand out in the reader’s inbox. For B2B emails, however, low-key is frequently more impactful than flash and glitter. It is okay to add a little cheer, but keep it subtle.

    Keep prospects warm

    If your business is one with a longer sales cycle or subject to constraints of budget cycles, you will want to keep your prospect interested and intrigued throughout a holiday slowdown for their business. Many businesses who are not directly marketing to consumers may settle in for a long winter break. Be attentive to their schedules, paying attention to their needs and answering those needs with targeted reminders and communications that keep your company in the forefront.

    What is your schedule?

    In today’s global economy, your customers may not celebrate the same ways and the same days. If you plan to close your doors for a day or more, communicate your schedule plans early and often. Likewise, if you will be open without a change to hours, let your customers know. Sometimes no surprise is the best surprise.

  • Knowing More About Your Prospect Before You Call: It Makes A Difference

    by Jeremy Unruh | November 15, 2016

    Calling various prospects on the phone can be intimidating. The sales pitch needs to go out the window because it’s ineffective. Research has shown that knowing more about the person you’re calling makes all the difference in the world.

    Customize the Call

    The old-fashioned idea of cold calling was hard because it was all about spewing information and hoping that the lead would stay on the phone long enough to learn something they found useful. Now, it’s better to customize the call. Ask questions and be sure that you offer a solution based upon their responses. You want to have a dialogue as opposed to a monologue.

    Use the Information You Have

    A prospect has already shown some kind of interest in what you have to offer. Forbes makes the suggestion of letting the prospect do the talking. This is absolutely true, though you also want to be sure you use the information you have to ask the right questions. Specify how you got their information and remind them as to what you have to offer.

    Remember That People are Busy

    You need to respect the potential buyer’s time. They are busy and don’t have time for a long and drawn out conversation. Focus on the issue you are calling about. Once you have hooked them, offer a follow-up so they can be prepared for your call.

    Take the time to do some research regarding your target demographic and use the information you have about the person. Customize the call and you may find that you get better results.

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  • 8 Ways to Improve Your Outbound Email Deliverability

    by Jeremy Unruh | November 7, 2016

    Your email list is growing, your content is on point, but wait…your delivery percentage is dismally low! How are your going to turn these emails into sales if you can’t reach your customers? These 8 tips to improve your outbound email deliverability will ensure your message reaches everyone on your list.

    1. Clean Before You Import

    Scan all lists before you import them, especially those from contests and trade shows. Remove duplicates and then vet all emails thru a service like Email Checker or Mail Tester. And of course, only import emails from reputable sources!

    2. Keep Your List Healthy

    Purge! Remove dead and bounced emails after every e-communication (ok, or once a month!) Then consider sending an annual double opt-in email. Ask your customers if they want to keep hearing from you. Survey format is the best way to do this. Ask them what they want to hear, but give them the option to opt-out too.

    3. Segment

    Keep emails received from different places in separate places. This is a good way to stop a bad apple new email from ruining your current list, and gives you the space to test content and other measurables with different groups.

     

    4. Find the Copy/Image Balance

    Graphics heavy emails are more likely to be sent to spam. But, copy heavy promotional emails are fussy and old fashioned. It’s all about balance. Depending on your brand message 20-35% copy is about right.

    5. Be Consistent

    Find a regular email schedule and stick to it. If you’re emailing more than once a week you better have a very good reason! Monthly limits keep your message focused but gives you some flexibility with timing.

    6. If You Love Them, Let Them Go

    Unsubscribing should be easy. Make it clear and simple. If customers don’t see where to unsubscribe they will just hit that dreaded spam button.

    7. Send As A Friend

    Don’t be anonymous. Use your customers name in the TO space and yours in the FROM space. Depending on your company voice this could be the company name, or CEO’s, or Social Media Managers, or better yet, mix it up depending on context. Oh, and set up an email for replies and then actually check it! It will help reach customers who have immediate questions and get you info on bouncing or dead emails.

    8. Test and Watch Your Analytics

    Your email service provides them for a reason. Test subject lines, TO and FROM copy, purge your list, and check the analytics to make sure your delivered percentage keeps crawling up!

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  • The Evolution of Sales – Create a More Effective Sales Approach

    by Jeremy Unruh | October 21, 2016

    The term “sales approach” has evolved with the changing needs of society. As a result, the way that a salesperson goes about the entire process needs to be revisited. The following 3 tactics will impart some fresh insight on the practiced art of selling, and allow you to create and tailor a more effective, results-oriented sales approach.

    Research, and Enlighten Yourself!

    In any field, subject, or profession, the more knowledgeable and educated you are, the better equipped you are for success. Sales is no exception to this rule. In the past, the process of selling involved the sales person contacting the prospect via telephone — the tired, well-worn cold call. Business-to-Business (B2B) sales are simply not that cookie-cutter any longer. As a matter of fact, in most scenarios the act of picking up the phone and cold-calling has been supplanted by research and education. Consider the needs of the potential customer before you reach out to them, and educate yourself about their company and their needs. You’ll be doing yourself a favor and greatly increasing the chances of a sale.

    Listen More, Talk Less

    Contrary to traditional “sales” dogma, it’s far more pragmatic to ask questions of the potential buyer and listen to the answer — in the process increasing your knowledge base about the buyer, while at the same time developing rapport. Asking your B2B lead prospects open-ended questions is a powerful method to achieve the dual goals of avoiding the yes or no answer, while encouraging the prospect to divulge valuable information to you about their needs.

    A solid rule of thumb is to talk 30% of the time or less. Strategically guide the conversation where you want/need it to go. This takes some retraining given the firmly ensconced sales habits that involve a great deal of idle chatter, but the results will speak volumes.

    Lighten Up with the “Always Be Closing” Mindset

    Speaking of entrenched sales “strategies” and ingrained habits, the “always be closing” mindset is counter-productive and outdated. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes momentarily: no one likes being on the receiving end of a high-pressured, overbearing sales pitch. Instead, how about going with “always be qualifying?” Making an educated call on the prospect’s chances of buying is as simple as qualifying them — which is accomplished through asking productive questions and listening to the answer (refer back to point #2 above).

    B2B selling requires you, as the salesperson, to become educated about what you are selling, but also your customer and their needs. Remember that a skilled sales pitch involves more intelligent questions and listening than talking and pitching. Focus on qualifying, as opposed to closing, and your results will reflect the difference.

  • Predictive Analytics and the Sales Process

    by Jeremy Unruh |

    Though many modern marketers and business executives have heard of and understand terms like data analysis, big data, data mining, predictive analytics, and the like; there are still many professionals that have heard the terms, yet don’t understand them.

    However, predictive analytics is something that all professionals should strive to understand.

    Predictive analytics can offer businesses a simple way to increase revenue while decreasing risks and costs.

    Predictive analytics is the use of data gathered through:

    • Machine learning,
    • Statistics,
    • Data mining, and
    • Modeling

    … to clarify what has happened in the past. In theory, studying these patterns can predict future behaviors in many cases. However, some experts believe that predictive analytics still aren’t an exact science. Harvard professor Gary King believes that,

    “statistical prediction is only valid in sterile laboratory conditions, because the number of environmental variables and human responses to those variables is inherently unpredictable.”

    However, criticism aside, results speak for themselves.

    Businesses in dozens of industries are seeing results from the study of predictive analytics. It seems studying data can support some degree of future buying behavior and decision-making, though maybe not all.

    In addition, as technology becomes more proficient, predictive analytics programs gain increased speed and ability to carry out projects.

    A Modern Tool that Greatly Improves the Traditional Sales Process

    Most sales professionals are familiar with the traditional sales process. It typically consists of steps like:

    • Gaining product knowledge,
    • Prospecting,
    • Approaching,
    • Assessing needs,
    • The presentation,
    • The close, and
    • The follow-up

    Predictive analytics improves just about every step of the traditional sales process except the first step of gaining product knowledge. That, the sales professional will have to complete on his or her own. However, predictive analytics:

    • Gives sales professionals incredible insights on who their best prospects are likely to be,
    • Gives them tips about the most effective ways to approach prospects,
    • Helps them assess a potential client’s needs even before the approach,
    • Tells them what presentation methods will work best with each potential client,
    • Helps them understand when and how to close a sale, and
    • Does a great deal to automate, yet personalize the follow-up process.

    In addition, predictive analytics helps marketing and sales teams work hand-in-hand when it comes to making contact with prospects and nurturing leads.