You get a lead in that wants a quote, or is ready to learn more about your services/solutions? Great!!! What are your next steps?
Do you reach out immediately to strike when the iron is hot?
Do you research the company so you can put your best foot forward?
You should be doing both!
Here is a list of things you should be checking into before reaching out to learn more about your inbound prospect.
If you can find out all of this information and formulate a profile of the lead quickly, the odds of you starting a positive conversation toward a business relationship increase dramatically.
Lead411 is the perfect research platform when you need information to help your inbound sales process. You can find all of the above information in one location, and our data is accurate and re-verified on a regularly scheduled basis so you can be confident in your next communications. Get a personalized product tour today so you can be prepared when the next qualified prospect comes in.
It is no surprise that sales and marketing departments are seeing more and more budgetary restraints from companies this year. Too many unknowns in the business world cause companies to pull back, run lean and ride out the storm. However, if past recessions have taught us anything, it is that nothing gets better if we stand still. According to an HBR study, that researched companies that pulled out of past recessions “Firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest probability—21%—of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”
Today, there are companies that are doing just that; taking steps toward growth now, so they can come out on top and ahead of competitors when things recover. According to a Bain Study by Harvard Business School, Honeywell CEO, Dave Cote is quoted as saying “I’ve been a leader during three recessions and I’ve never heard a management team talk about how the choices they make during a downturn will affect performance during a recovery. There will be a recovery and we need to be prepared for it.”
The truth is, there is always a natural instinct to stop and evaluate when a problem arises. It is not surprising that today’s economic health is trivial, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still grow our businesses and take steps to solidify a stronger future. Here are a few examples of companies that are doing just that.
Taking the steps now to add solutions, promote and/or hire new employees, open new locations, or even seek out a new round of funding.
Ready. Set. Food! – Recent Funding – 3M
Founded by a team of physicians, leading medical experts, and parents, Ready, Set, Food! is a groundbreaking solution to childhood food allergy prevention, making it easy for families everywhere to significantly reduce the risk of developing food allergies.
Mlily – Hiring Plans – 250 new employees
Seven months after the official opening of its factory in South Carolina, mattress manufacturer MLILY USA is expanding and looking to grow its workforce by 35 percent to fill a third shift and increase its production to more than 6,000 units a day
Honeywell – New Location – Phoenix, AZ (See above about Dave Cote’s preparation for recovery)
Honeywell has opened a new facility near its Honeywell Aerospace headquarters in Phoenix dedicated to maintenance for the U.S. military T55 turboshaft helicopter engines.
Rackspace – IPO Announcement – RXT
Rackspace Technology, Inc. today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Rackspace Technology has applied for listing its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “RXT”. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
Mantl – Recent Funding – 19M
MANTL helps your bank or credit union grow deposits and streamline back-office tasks with an omni-channel account opening platform that integrates with your core. – The new investment will go towards the start-up’s product development – specifically growing its team across engineering, product and sales.
These updates are just a fraction of the updates that are available in our News and Trigger sections of Lead411 on a daily basis, to help our customers identify companies that are on a growth path, and easily identify new opportunities. These are the types of companies that are being proactive now, and continue to grow during this time, to ensure they come out ahead when the storm clouds pass.
If you would like to learn how you can utilize this type of company information to help your company’s sales and marketing pipeline, sign up for our weekly product tour here.
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Sales processes are changing. As companies look for ways to rapidly boost and increase the B2B pipeline for 2020, there are new adjustments that need to occur to ensure a healthy bottom line. Companies that invested in conference heavy sales and marketing are now allocating budgets toward online resources like outbound prospecting and virtual conferences.
According to a recent survey from Topo,
Last month, we highlighted our top 20 Growth Hack Tools to Improve your Pipeline in 2020. On our list their were several companies like join.me and Xtensio that specialize in helping companies create webinars and conduct video calls to connect with prospects digitally. The goal of our list was to highlight those growth hack tools that were designed for productivity at an affordable price point. While we don’t have a lot of knowledge of the digital conference world, we do know about data.
What we Have Noticed…
As the majority of the B2B workforce has moved into the home office, new trends have evolved in the data world. Here are some things that we have noticed recently about the way B2B companies are connecting to prospects:
Lead411 is here to help as you navigate through shifting pipeline initiatives. If you want to ramp up your outbound prospecting, we have affordable solutions that start at $50 month-to-month with no commitment. If you have more questions you can check out our Growth Hack your Sales Pipeline Webinar Here.
Creating a repeatable and more importantly successful pipeline with viable prospects is one of the most gratifying and (at times) daunting tasks for both sales and marketing professionals. What worked last year may not work this year, and so the need for new tools or tools that are continuing to evolve and offer solutions is important to keep the positive flow. Equally gratifying and daunting is finding the time to research the right tools to implement.
The term “growth hack” applies to the tools that you can implement into your pipeline to save time, streamline efforts and ultimately generate new business quickly. We have done the research because we also utilize growth hacking tools to fill our own pipeline.
Lead411 provides a large data platform that includes company and contact data. Verified emails and office and direct dials are fueled by data intelligence and buyer intent data that includes funding, hiring data, new locations, new executives, newly awarded companies, and more. The data is easily exportable through a user friendly UI or from a google chrome extension.
Drift is the world’s leading conversational marketing and sales platform that helps businesses connect now with the customers who are ready to buy now. With its quickly evolving set of tools and playbooks, Drift is leading businesses through the customer-driven revolution by using conversations to unlock hyper-growth. Customers use Drift to provide a modern buying experience for potential customers, generate more qualified leads, and dramatically accelerate the sales cycle.
Calendly, a powerful yet simple automated scheduling tool, takes the work out of connecting with others so you can accomplish more… Millions of users benefit from an enjoyable scheduling experience, more time to spend on top priorities and flexibility to accommodate individual users and large teams alike. Calendly works with Google, Office 365 and Outlook calendars and apps like Salesforce, Stripe, GoToMeeting and Zapier for a seamless user experience.
HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 68,800 total customers in more than 100 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to Grow Better.
Zapier empowers anyone to integrate their apps and automate work, without writing any code. For growing businesses that want to make the most of their time, Zapier offers an easy, powerful, and cost-effective automation solution.
DocuSign helps organizations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on, and manage agreements. As part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, DocuSign offers eSignature: the world’s #1 way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time. Today, more than 560,000 customers and hundreds of millions of users in over 180 countries use DocuSign to accelerate the process of doing business and to simplify people’s lives
Create email and or SMS templates to use in your outreach efforts. Add contacts from saved searches and triggers. Get the attention of your prospects using the right data and effortlessly start the conversation. You can setup your outreach to include follow-up tasks and notes including Connect on Linkedin or Make a Phone Call so you never miss your opportunity to reach out at the right time. Even follow up with out-of-office replies at the appropriate time. No need to login to additional platforms to identify your key prospects anymore.
Yesware is made for professional relationship builders who spend their days prospecting, on the phone, in demos, or in meetings. Yesware works to protect the reputations of salespeople by saving time, helping craft messages that resonate, and providing data-driven reporting and insights so users can make the right moves at the right time.
Collaborate instantly with free screen sharing, unlimited audio, and ridiculously simple video conferencing. For free.
Xtensio is a strategy and communications platform that allows teams to create, collaborate on, share and present with ease. Over 475,000 consultants, agencies, entrepreneurs and educators use Xtensio to build smarter documents and streamline their workflow.
Hotjar is a behavior analytics and user feedback service that helps you understand the behavior of your website users and get their feedback through tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.
AppVirality offers easy to use growth tools to run referral programs for E-commerce and SaaS businesses.
Re:amaze is a helpdesk and customer messaging platform designed for websites, stores, and apps. Use Re:amaze to provide exceptional customer support through live chat, email, social media, mobile SMS/MMS, VOIP, and FAQ Knowledge Bases.
Send personalized cold emails from your email account with automated follow ups. Scale up outbound sales, recruiting & link building.
Use Hello Bar’s lead generation tools (see: pop-ups) to generate leads, grow your email list, build your social media following, and reduce cart abandonment to enhance your revenue.
Step up to all-in-one sales & marketing software designed for growing service-based businesses, ranging from entrepreneurs and startups to larger teams. Our platform organizes your customer information and daily work in one place, freeing you up from repetitive tasks so you have more time to focus on growing your business and delivering great service.
Personalize your site to amaze visitors and increase conversions. Experiences lets you easily adapt your site’s text, images, and CTAs for each visitor without writing a single line of code.
Not just another sales gadget — we’re the tool specifically built for and used by reps in the field.
Poptin is a platform designed to engage visitors and coverts them into leads, subscribers and sales.
Fomo is a social proof marketing tool that helps entrepreneurs gain credibility online. We offer high value revenue generation through low barrier to entry, which means low cost and resources to you in order to see immediate return.
The need for accurate data is at an all time high, which means that vetting the right data provider is of great importance, to ensure your business stays compliant with data regulations, and new data privacy laws like the CCPA.
In order to help our customers and potential customers understand how Lead411 has taken the appropriate steps to protect our customers, here are our answers to the top 6 must-ask questions to ask your contact data provider.
1. Where is your data sourced from?
Our data is sourced through a multi-faceted approach. Our data team uses a proprietary technology that searches public data, social resources and company websites. Our data team also verifies that our sources are correct through manual verification, automated verification, and real-time verification before it is added to the Lead411 platform.
2. How often is your data cleaned and re-verified?
We are constantly looking at our data to ensure it is as clean and accurate as possible. The verified data has a 90% accuracy rate. We make sure to clean and re-verify our data every 3 months. We know that companies hire new employees, employees retire or move on to new opportunities, etc, so we are constantly looking at our data to make sure we add or eliminate data from our platform as the ebb and flow of the corporate world does the same.
3. How often do you add new data?
We add data everyday! Whether its new direct dials, new email addresses, new company branch locations, new executive hires etc, we are constantly making improvements to our platform so can we add value that our customers can utilize daily. We also use proprietary research methods to get data that other data providers can’t, which helps us stay ahead of the competition.
4. Are you compliant with the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? Is my company and personal data private as a customer? Do you scrape my email signature if I am a customer?
We are compliant with the CCPA and GDPR meaning we respect a contacts data and comply to remove their data at their request. We make sure we protect the data in our platform, and the privacy data of our customers. Our team makes sure to keep up with all the laws and regulations surrounding data privacy. We never scrape email signatures (like some of our competitors) which could be a liability risk and we never add customer data to our platform when they sign up as a customer, a free trial or demo. We use a third-party secure platform for payment and customer subscriptions information and that data is removed if the relationship with Lead411 is terminated.
5. Beyond just general contact data, how can I leverage your data to help my business further?
Lead411 is proud of the depth of our data. Our customers utilize our trigger intelligence to find opportunities to reach out with the right conversation. Our triggers include data about new hires, new executives, new IPO’s, new funding, recent company awards, expansion plans and more. We know each one of our customers has a unique data set, and we try to offer an all-encompassing and easy to use solution.
6. What makes you different from other data providers?
Beyond our data, and the in-depth data intelligence, we offer our customers the ability to reach out directly from our platform with our Reach feature. Reach gives our customers the ability to set up email and/or SMS campaign cadences, so there is no need to export to a third-party email client, and no need to upload data to the company CRM until a contact is a warm and qualified prospect.
Why are these questions so important?
The answer is time. We have prospects looking for data providers who go with a smaller, un-proven solution and end up coming back to Lead411 after they realize they should have asked the right questions to find the right provider. When you are looking for a provider, be sure you know what you are getting. There are a lot of solutions in the data space that sacrifice quality and privacy, so be sure to save time and ask these questions as you evaluate your next data provider.
If you would like to evaluate Lead411 as your next data provider, we would be happy to set up a demo with you.
Statistics show that SMS/Texting for B2B outreach is on the rise and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. More and more sales and marketing divisions are utilizing SMS to reach out to potential clients to boost pipelines, strengthen communications and move the bottom line. Over the Next 5-10 years SMS texting is predicted to grow continuously with no signs of slowing down.
Below is a collection of statistics from various studies that add evidence to SMS/Texting as a viable and consistent outreach tactic.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
Knowing your Contacts
Questions to answer about your ideal person to reach out to:
Once you have this information, you have the tools to build an ideal segmentation data set.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Near forthcoming Q1Y17 presents sales strategists an opportunity to capture new leads for business growth. These days, sales leadership relies on more than mere selling. A global sales plan should include account based selling (ABS) methodologies. Connect with multiple decision makers in a single organization, with these top ABS approaches to closing the deal in 2017.
Top 10 ABS Approaches in 2017
Leveraging the sales process requires an adequate budget. Companies that invest in updated tools will be able to maintain a competitive edge in selling. Budget for scalable software technologies, designed for sales account management. Lead pipeline software offers a turnkey solution for mastery of an ABS strategy.
2. Synchronize CRM Systems
Alignment of sales and marketing systems promotes seamless execution of an ABS strategy. Integration of systems management in real-time, eliminates errors in the process. With ABS methodologies, customer relations management (CRM) activities are merged to maximize collaboration, and target market feedback results.
3. Data-driven Decision
Cloud-based software application as service (SaaS) sales solutions contribute valuable data to the sales process. ABS takes the mass seriously. A data driven decision model informs representatives and managers involved in the sales process, along the way. Automated data distribution in SaaS, offers continuous CRM record sharing and sales forecasting.
4. Evaluate the Sales Process
If 2017 marks a new beginning in sales strategy, review the process that supports the outcomes to a successful campaign. Evaluation of changes or updates to a sales system, or its processes, determines if those activities are the most effective for generating revenue.
5. Map the Buyer Journey
Visualization of CRM data in a map of the buyer journey, explains why and how customer interest is converted to sales. Engagement insight can be used to determine points of influence in decision, during product or service interaction.
6. Source Information
ABS methodologies draw on a range of primary and secondary research results to lay the foundation for lead identification. Business intelligence reporting offers insights into company performance. Industry benchmark reporting provides important information about current trends, demographic location, and sales revenue results.
7. Lead Identification
ABS methodologies capture both organizational and personal details, that may lead to a sale. Segmentation analysis will inform prospecting efforts, so that communications and engagements reach the right audience. A lead pipeline turns identified leads, into valuable sales targets.
Omni-channel sales strategies are well suited to ABS methodologies. Penetrate an organization’s purchasing power by making multiple contacts via email, phone, and social media.
Deploy sales SaaS engagement analytics to publish metric reporting that updates a sales team about leads. Monitoring the lead to sales conversion process is easier with measured results.
Gain the most from ABS. Personalize contact content to build trust between your effort and a potentially interested buyer.
Companies can maximize sales campaign efforts by extracting the most valuable leads from each sales interaction. If consensus sales are a considered one of the most effective methods in the profession at the moment, correlation of ABS with user experience testing is suitable for follow-up, on to these newer approaches to product and service development. ABS allows companies to capitalize on consumer engagement, once those ideas come to fruition in the market. Build a pipeline to profit with Lead411 solutions.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
… 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:
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:
In addition, predictive analytics helps marketing and sales teams work hand-in-hand when it comes to making contact with prospects and nurturing leads.