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Writing Compelling Sales Communications

Writing effective emails is not rocket science, but there are a few simple rules that a surprising number of sales people don’t always follow. Obviously the message needs to grab the prospect’s attention and be interesting enough for them to want to read it once you do, but what else do we need to know?

Your message, most importantly, needs to compel your prospect to take action. If you write the world’s most captivating message but your prospect still doesn’t feel compelled to continue the interaction with your company, you’ve wasted your time. It also needs to be reasonably brief and concise. So the challenge becomes packing a thoughtful, compelling, and interesting message into an email short enough to be read in a few seconds. How do you do that?

Start by focusing on your prospect’s pain. B2B buyers are motivated to purchase new goods and services based on problems they or their company are experiencing. Why would a prospect want to buy your product or service? What problems does it solve? What pain points can you address? What sets you apart from your competitors? Those should be the first points you bring up in your sales communications.

We are experts in crafting effective sales communications. Let us help! Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can bring more interested prospects into your sales pipeline.

Making Sense of Sales Enablement

You know you have the perfect solution for every business in your market and you could solve the problems of every prospect no matter what they are. But, since every prospect is different, the challenge becomes communicating that confidence to the prospect in a way that tells them that you have the solution to overcome their specific challenges. What is important to one prospect may be completely irrelevant for another. How do you even get to the point where your prospects are willing to have a conversation with you so you can learn what their challenges are?

Enter sales enablement – the latest buzz word in sales and marketing circles. Sales enablement solutions are everywhere and include specialized software, dedicated professionals, training solutions, strategy hacks, etc. They all claim to be the ultimate solution to improve your efficiencies and turn your sales department into a well-oiled money-producing machine. But what problems are you specifically facing? Do these solutions address that in a real and straightforward way? What is the best strategy to solve the challenges you’re facing?

If you’re in sales, the carrot on the stick that you’re constantly chasing is meaningful conversations. Successful sales people are great at talking to people. Once they’re introduced to a person that is open to having a conversation, they are extremely comfortable steering that conversation. The challenge is getting more prospects to the place where they are open to that initial talk.

That’s where we come in. Our strategy is focused on getting more real and meaningful conversations between your prospects and sales team. We communicate directly with your prospect base, inviting them to raise their hand and explicitly express interest in speaking with you.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can cater our services to meet your sales challenges.

Email Marketing & Automation

Everybody’s Doing It! Should You?

Lately marketing automation software is everywhere and making a lot of promises. It will improve efficiency, and instantly allow you to sell more, faster. If it seems a little too good to be true, you’re right to be skeptical. This new software can absolutely improve your sales process, but there are a few things you need to know first.

First, you will need someone who has the time and knowledge necessary to administrate the software for you. Automation specialist is a full time job that commands a good salary. If you want to make the most of your automation software, or really if you want to get your money’s worth at all, you need someone dedicated solely to the running of your software and campaigns.

Tack that person’s salary on top of the already high cost of the software itself. The industry-leading automation software providers command high monthly fees. Then there are the costs of data procurement. To run effective email automation you will need a large database of contacts to feed the top of that funnel. The industry leaders in the data vending space also command high monthly fees with additional charges to purchase contacts.

With automation software, you may indeed get a great product, but you’re on your own as far as running it, and the results you get are all on you. If you don’t have the expertise, or have access to an expert who does, you have no one to blame but yourself for bad results.

Email is an essential piece of any successful sales program in today’s market, but buying and running the software yourself is only one of the options available to you. Rather than purchasing a complex software that requires a full-time administrator, consider a service like LeadSeek that gives you the results of direct email campaigns without the headache.

Today vs. Yesterday

Solving the three major problems facing the modern day salesperson

Even just a few years ago, when cold calling reigned supreme, filling your pipeline involved dialing as many phone numbers as possible every day and spouting off a script containing your carefully crafted elevator pitch until someone bit.

Thanks to technological advances, the power has passed into the hands of the buyer in a significant way. Your prospects thoroughly search the internet for solutions to their issues prior to speaking with any sales people, and they screen their calls, giving them the control over whom they choose to speak with and when.

You can see the shift in power reflected in the problems that the modern sales person faces every day. According to a recent study by Richardson’s, identifying which pain points your prospects have that you can best solve, and should therefore highlight, was the top problem reported by sales people, followed by identifying the target market, and qualifying leads into legitimate opportunities.

All three of those problems can be addressed with a simple shift in your sales strategy away from pitching and toward listening.

Which Pain Points?

If you’re having trouble deciding which pain points you should focus on in order to address your prospect’s main issues, let them tell you. Focus on asking the right questions, rather than giving the right answers. After that you just need to be prepared with knowledge of your offering to give a straightforward answer. Opportunities and new accounts will follow.

Identifying the Target

Identifying the ideal target market is what LeadSeek does best. We start with the characteristics your ideal customers and prospects have in common to define what your target customers look like. We then narrow that down by simply contacting those people in a professional and straightforward manner, inviting them to reach out for a conversation, getting your foot in the door with prospects interested right now.

Qualifying Leads

Once you have the ability to reach out to reach prospect in your target market directly and you invite them to respond, you hand the power to the prospect. That is what today’s buyer wants. When you have access to your entire target market and the ability to directly communicate them, you can afford to hand the power to the buyer and simply ask the right questions to let the leads qualify themselves.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can help.

All the Buzz about Buzz Words

Have you ever had someone ask you to give them your elevator pitch? What did you say? Did you take the bait and try to give the most compelling thirty second summary they had ever heard by using words like cost-effective, state of the art, or premier? Not only are all of these words so overused and meaningless, also keep in mind as a rule of thumb – anyone who asks you for a “pitch” isn’t actually interested in what you’re offering. The second you begin to sound like a sales person, you’re instantly tuned out.

But why would that be? Obviously it’s clear from the start in any interactions between sales people and prospects what the basis of the conversation is and that you are, in fact, a sales person. It’s not that your prospects aren’t expecting you to do your job and sell your offering to them, but the second you start talking about yourself and your company rather than the prospect and their needs, that’s what makes you sound “like a sales person”.

Being a successful sales person is not solely but very largely based on being a good listener. Think about the last time you were on the receiving end of a sales pitch that just shoved a lot of flashy buzz words in your face, assumed that you would be impressed, and then pushed as hard as possible to get you to buy. Did that give you the impression that this was a trustworthy person/organization? Someone you could comfortably build a business relationship with? Or were you more wary, even suspicious, like you were buying a used car?

With the amount of resources available to your prospects, just getting to them first and blowing them away with all the reasons why you’re the best and they shouldn’t even bother looking elsewhere, is no longer effective. By the time they will be open to having a conversation about specific products/solutions, they will have researched extensively and have a concrete set of needs in mind.

Your task now becomes catering your presentation to the prospect’s specific needs to be sure that you highlight all the features of your offering that fit their list of needs. After you begin by learning as much as possible about the goals of your prospect, begin your presentation or “pitch” with all the wonderful ways you’re going to ease their pain. If they have items on their checklist that you don’t offer or can’t help solve, be honest. Many prospects will have a wish list of features they would love to have in the solution they implement, but aren’t necessarily essential, and there may be no company out there that could provide everything.

But if there are problems they’re looking to solve that you simply aren’t a fit for, that’s also fine. Move on. Remember, access to information and to national and global markets goes both ways. Prospects and sellers have unprecedented access to their target markets through digital means.

Keep in mind as well that true success is better defined by the number of returning customers you have, not the number of initial sales you make. Lots of companies can get people to sign on with flashy offers, but you don’t see those companies around for very long unless their relationship with their customers is built on a good fit with mutual benefit. Think of a sales meeting like an interview. This is an opportunity for both parties to learn as much as they can about each other and for both parties to decide whether a continuing business relationship would be beneficial.

Shift your strategy away from old-fashioned, sleazy sales tactics that give all sales professionals a bad name and come toward the light of buyer-focused, helpfulness. ABC is dead. Find your ideal customers. They’re out there.

Drop us a line to find out how we can help.

Are you having enough meaningful conversations?

Every sales rep is in a constant battle with their quota. Given the amount of stress heaped on sales people due to the pressure to meet all the necessary metrics, as well as the necessity to drive revenue that’s behind all that pressure, it’s worth it to take some time to understand the factors that lead to better performance and to put strategies in place that ensure that sales people have all the resources they need to succeed.

A good inside sales or development rep should strive to achieve a 35-40% reach rate. Reach rate is the metric that defines the percentage of conversations that are “meaningful”. Not all conversations are going to go anywhere, obviously, and having more dead-end conversations than meaningful ones can be frustrating, but unfortunately it’s the nature of the sales beast – lots of digging to find the gems. The goal, of course, is to spend as little time digging as possible.

35-40% reach rate might seem impossibly high for a lot of reps. That’s where the sales and marketing infrastructure becomes key. A strong strategy is needed to back up the reps and make sure they’re fed with enough warm leads to spend a majority of their time meeting end goals like appointment sets, closing meetings, or sales.

The first step in building this robust strategy is the target market or your “list”. This is the top-most level of your sales funnel and therefore will determine what you get out of the bottom. It’s important to make sure your list is inclusive in order to reach all the correct people. Does your list encompass the correct industries, titles, departments, company sizes, etc. that define your ideal customers?

The next step is to put in place a solid strategy for reaching out to all of the contacts on that list. Statistically, the most effective way to do that is by email marketing. Email marketing is faster, more efficient, and less intrusive than cold-calling, and email is the most preferred method of communication among B2B buyers and decision makers according to recent data.

Having a strong email marketing strategy in place allows your reps to spend less time slowly hammering their way through a list of unqualified prospect names and more time closing deals and meeting quotas.

How to Build an Iron Clad Sales Strategy

Identifying the best sales strategy for your specific niche is a key first step in your sales process. You need a great story that will grab people’s attention, make them think about their current solution (if any), and finally lead them to the conclusion that not having your solution in place is a mistake that is costing them.

Breaking down the creation of this narrative, identify:

  • The Problem: the pain points that your customers are experiencing that are relevant to your solution
  • The Solution: how your offering addresses those pain points
  • The specifics: how exactly you accomplish that solution for your customers

The Problem

Pain points are the most crucial part of beginning a conversation with any prospect. If you aren’t able to solve a problem that they are currently experiencing, they have no motivation to consider you further. Test it out with colleagues in the industry you’re targeting. If it’s not a commonly experienced issue within your target, keep looking.

That key pain point can of course be different for different roles within your target companies. You also need to identify the pain points specific to each persona/role/title. It’s also a good idea to be familiar with the costs/losses that are associated with the problem you’re able to solve for your customers. Nothing is more to the point than emphasizing your effect on the bottom line.

The Solution

Next, think about why your solution/offering exceeds that of your competitors. Why do your customers ultimately choose your company over others? What is it that you are getting right that your competitors are getting wrong? Use these points to have an honest conversation about what you can offer above the prospect’s current solution or other solutions in the marketplace that they could pursue.

Just remember – be honest! You will only gain happy customers by seeking out those companies that are a good fit for what you offer. If you discover that you are a good fit to work together, this is the stage to provide references or case studies for your prospect as proof that you mean what you say.

Put these simple steps together and you’ll have a seamless, coherent narrative that tells your prospects the story of why you’re the best.

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Instantly Improve Your Prospecting Emails

Don’t pin your hopes for sales success on assumptions about what time people read their emails or which emails they’ll read. Take a look at the data – it doesn’t lie.

Keep your subject lines relevant

The subject line is square one for improving your open rates. The only way a prospect that has never spoken with you or maybe never even heard of your company will open an email is if the subject line first catches their eye and then intrigues them enough that they will take time to learn more.

At the same time, you don’t want to raise your open rates at the expense of your response rates, or your email reputation for that matter. Some people will resort to trickery in order to increase their open rates with strategies like making the email look like it comes from someone the prospect knows by keeping it extremely casual – something like “Take a look at this” or “Want to go?”. These subject lines are deceptive and the prospect, having opened your email, will likely be extremely put off when they discover they’ve been hoodwinked. Keep your subject lines professional and as close to a brief summary of the contents of the email as you can.

Shorter is Better

It can be a challenge to squeeze all of the content that you’re eager to share with your prospects into a few sentences, but once you manage to do so, your response rates will soar. In a recent study click-through rates on an email with three sentences were three times higher on average than for an email with seven sentences.

The fact that 53% of all emails are now opened on a mobile device is also notable. Personally, if I receive an email that’s several paragraphs long on my cell phone, I’m not going to bother reading it, let alone responding. Even if you do keep someone’s attention through a lengthy email, you’ll likely lose them if you’re asking them to take action at the end.

Don’t Be Afraid to Name-Drop

Email engagement rates skyrocket when local references are used. If you email a plumbing company and reference their top competitor across town and mention the benefits you’ve been able to provide for them, there’s a strong chance your email will be opened and read, and your content downloaded.

Keep these simple tips in mind and watch your metrics soar! We use these principles in our business every day. Drop us a line to see how we can do take care of this for your organization, so you can sit back and watch the leads roll in!

Surprisingly Common Prospecting Email Mistakes

Tricking Your Prospects

No one likes to open an email under the impression it’s been sent from someone they know or that the email is urgent only to discover that it’s a cold prospecting email from someone they’ve never heard of. When your prospects encounter emails like these, and we’ve all gotten them, they’re immediately angry, and rightfully so.

Not only is it unprofessional and shady, do you really want to begin a relationship with a potential customer by deception? What kind of business relationship will that lead to?

Not Giving Your Prospects the Freedom to Choose

Inserting lines like “I’ll be giving you a call in the next few days”, make your prospects feel trapped. Why warn them if you’re not going to give them a choice in the matter? Instead use language that asks the prospect to take an action in order to schedule some time for a phone call if that’s your goal.

You not only remove the psychological effect of feeling forced into this situation, you also will make sure that your prospect is expecting your call and has the time to devote to it.

Starting with a Call to Action

Every prospecting email needs a call to action. There needs to be some phrasing in the email that gives the prospect some direction as far as how to proceed if they’re interested in hearing more about you. The mistake many prospectors make, however, is to begin the email with a call to action, such as asking for time for a call or demonstration, before establishing the value that they can provide to the prospect.

While keeping it as short and concise as possible, give the prospect an idea of why they would want to pursue that next step with your organization before you ask them to actually do so. When you begin with phrasing like “I’m reaching out to introduce myself and see if we can schedule a 15-minute conversation”, your prospects will immediately tune out and likely not read the rest of your message. After all, why would they want to have a call with you without knowing why?

Focusing on More Than One Value-Add

In the same vein as keeping your emails as short and concise as possible, you want to try to focus on one benefit you provide to your customers per email. You know your company is great and you have all kinds of things to offer, but your prospects don’t want to hear about it all at once. They won’t read it all, and therefore they won’t reach the end of the email and the call to action. At that point you’ve lost them.

Keep your message straightforward and focus on what’s important to the prospect. Avoid wasting lines bragging about things about your company that, while good, are not important to the prospect’s immediate needs.

We utilize all these principals on a daily basis when crafting messages for our customers, and it works. Let’s talk about how we can craft concise, straightforward, professional communications for you.

Simple Steps to the Perfect Prospecting Email

Writing a good sales email can be difficult. You know your offerings are great. You know you would be able to help your prospects with their businesses and that once they give you a try they’ll be happy. But how to convey all of the information you want your prospect to consider in an email that’s short enough that someone who doesn’t know anything about you will take the time to read through it?

Luckily there are some simple steps to follow to master this art of sales communications.

1) Use strategic formatting

No matter how much time you spend on making sure your message is perfect, a large number of your prospects are going to skim it at a glance and only decide to read it all or respond if something catches their eye and inspires them to do so.

Insert paragraph breaks every couple of lines, utilize bullets for lists, use bold and italics to emphasize important points that will stand out to your prospect and your call to action, and include a prominent signature to emphasize that these emails are from an individual who is easy to contact directly.

2) Use the prospect’s first name

This is a basic rule of all effective communication, whether written or verbal, sales-related or not. Not only does using a person’s first name emphasize again that you are reaching out directly to this person in a deliberate manner, it also is the first step in the establishment of trust, which is key to any sales process.

It is, of course, possible to go too far. Don’t insert their name into the end of every sentence, but do make sure that it’s in the introduction and closing.

3) Avoid adverbs and non-assertive language

Adverbs are words that describe verbs (i.e. very, quickly). Adverbs tend to oversimplify your otherwise compelling point. Instead of saying “We are very, very good at what we do,” try “We are a leader in our market because we excel at what we do.”

In the same vein, staying assertive and confident throughout your communication is key to an effective email. Using sentences like “I actually just wanted to see if you might be open to a call,” is much less effective than wording the sentence “I am reaching out to see when you might have a few minutes to discuss how we can help.”

Use the confidence you have in your own brand. Avoid sounding like you’re asking for a favor by asking for some of the prospects’ time, and instead give them a reason why they should be interested in speaking with you. Your goal is to further discuss why you might be a fit to work together for mutual benefit, not to convince the prospect to give you some time to pitch them on something they don’t want to hear about.

4) What’s in it for them?

Along the lines of giving a good reason the prospect would like to speak with you, you want to provide a concise and compelling value proposition. Wording that emphasizes the success your company has had, especially if it’s specific to the prospect you’re currently targeting, is very powerful.

5) Keep it short

Many people in the business world don’t even read entire emails from their colleagues if they’re too long. When they get an email from someone they don’t currently work with and aren’t familiar with, that concept applies to an exaggerated degree. The best way to combat that is to keep it short enough that the prospect doesn’t feel like it’s too big of a risk to spend some of their time reading through it.

This point is, however, one of the biggest challenges for most sales people. There is, of course, a lot of information you want to convey to your prospects. But don’t worry, you can still include that information in your communications, but instead of including it in the body of your email, link to an external piece of collateral like a brochure or a white paper. Give your prospect the freedom to choose whether they would like to learn more or not, and save some of your enthusiasm and desire to tell all about your offerings for the phone call once they respond.

Your prospects will also respect the fact that you have respect for their time and your response rates will increase as a result. Courtesy begets courtesy.

Writing effective communications to your target market is always a challenge. That’s why we at LeadSeek specialize in crafting customized messaging for our clients and making sure that their message reaches the right people at the right time, turning prospect data into increased revenue.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can do the same for you!