How to Fully Enable Your Sales Team

Sales enablement is suddenly the new buzz word. According to International Data Corporation, annual spending on sales enablement is over $66 BILLION per year. That’s billion with a “b”. But what does it mean? And how do you make sure your sales team is “enabled”?

Basically what sales enablement means is just what it says. Providing the sales and account management teams with the information and support they need in order to focus on their main function, which is closing deals and keeping customers happy and their needs met. That $66 billion is spent on a myriad of new types of software, consultants, and trainers. Just Google sales enablement and over 815,000 results come up.

It all sounds great, but unfortunately, a lot of this money is being wasted on marketing materials, software, lead lists, and advice that sales does not find valuable and does not utilize. 90% of all marketing content created for sales enablement actually goes unused by the actual sales team.

With the increasing complexity of today’s business environment, however, sales enablement is not something that it is wise to ignore. The key is to find a sales enablement partner that works closely with your company to make sure every solution, piece of marketing material, campaign, etc. is crafted for your specific needs and handled exactly how you need it to be.

Let’s talk about how we do just that for our customers, creating custom campaigns and marketing materials and designing processes and best practices for the exact needs of each individual organization, so our customers’ sales teams are fully enabled and focusing on what they do best.

Absolutely DO Take “No” for an Answer

One of the trickiest parts about beginning a sales call or meeting is that you’re automatically at a disadvantage. Your prospect may immediately be skeptical of sales people, even if they are interested in your offering. Why do people start off on the defensive with sales people? We all do it. Even people who sell for a living have found themselves on the other end of that interaction and the same skepticism automatically presents itself. The reason is that we’re all afraid that the sales person will not take no for an answer and will try to push us into something that we’re not ready for or interested in.

When a prospect says no to your proposal, the traditional approach would be to rebut and try to talk them into saying yes. But do you really want to start an argument with your prospect and make them feel like you won’t go away no matter what they say? Even if that does end in a sale, it definitely does not result in a strong long-standing business relationship. Instead, try a different approach.

Show Your Prospect that You’re Reasonable

Prove to your prospect that the image they have in their mind of a sleazy sales person trying to manipulate them couldn’t be further from the truth. When they tell you no, accept that answer, show them that you know that they’re knowledgeable about their own needs, and pleasantly surprise them with your professionalism. You just got bumped up several notches in their mind.

Turn a “No” Now into a “Yes” Later

Even if the prospect isn’t ready to buy right now, respecting their right to say no helps establish a rapport of professionalism that can lead to a lasting business relationship. When that person is in a different position and is ready to look closer at the products/services you provide, the first person they call will be the person they have a relationship with and respect and trust. That’s you!

Build a Great Reputation

Treating your prospects with respect and professionalism not only builds a great rapport with that specific prospect, it also enhances your reputation throughout your target market. People within the same industries talk to each other. If your prospects respect your sales tactics and begin to trust you and your expertise, they may pass your information along to their colleagues and even competitors. At the very least you’ll avoid the reputation of sleazy sales person.

Stop Wasting Time

When a prospect says no it could be because they’re just not interested at this point in time, or it could mean they aren’t a fit for your business at all. If you’re pursuing prospects that are not now and will never be a good fit for your business, you’re beating your head against a wall. Listen to your prospects when they say no and move on to those prospects that will say yes. They’re out there. We promise.

In today’s business world, with the unprecedented access to prospect marketplaces that is available to us, we now have the ability to be picky like never before. Especially with a good lead generation system in place, you can focus your time and energy on the prospects that make sense for you, and avoid going crazy chasing leads that will never pan out. Instead of beating your head against that wall, focus on becoming a professional and respectful listener, and gain the trust from your prospects that will make you top of mind when they do have a need.

Dispatches from Modern Day Sales

How I found out we were
going about it all wrong

For the last ten years I was under the impression that if I just worked hard, success would come my way. And while I am routinely a top sales person at my company, I always had that nagging feeling that there had to be a better way.

Normally I would spend my days pounding away at generic lead lists that my company would purchase from various lead vendors. While I appreciated the amount of contact information, I would eventually find that the majority of the companies on the list really had no need for the product we were selling. While the companies I was calling would fit in to a broad description of the industries we worked with, very few of the records were specifically tailored to our products. This both significantly wasted my time as a salesman and cost our company double or triple what they should have paid for that list.

Even when I did find a company that made sense for our service, I would run in to a wide array of issues. Most of the time the contact provided by the list vendor was not the type of employee we usually deal with. After several calls, even after I would find out who was the correct contact, I would almost always run in to another road block, whether it was a stonewalling receptionist, or immediately being directed to a voicemail. It seemed no matter how hard I worked, I was always wasting at least half my day chasing my tail.

Enter LeadSeek.

After meeting with our VP or Sales, they were able to put together an industry specific list containing almost exclusively companies within our target markets. Along with the significantly improved list of companies, they were able to provide contacts containing only the job titles that we work with. Instead of wasting my days getting rejected by the wrong people at the wrong companies, I was now able to immediately get in touch with the correct person.

More importantly, LeadSeek, working with our marketing team, put together several great emails detailing the service we provide for all of our different target markets. Using their email marketing software, they are then able to send these emails, en masse, to every company in our target market at once. This awesome ability to immediately keep in touch with all of our prospects generates numerous positive responses for our sales team.

Our team is now able to organize our day more efficiently because these positive responses mean that a company in our target market now knows who our company is, what we do, and is interested in having a conversation or receiving more detailed information. The difference between cold calling companies without a need for our product to calling a specific contact who has already expressed interest in our product is night and day. Sales have gone up, revenue is through the roof, and company morale is at an all-time high.

My only regret is that we did not partner with LeadSeek sooner.

Trending in 2021

How to Keep Up in Today’s B2B Sales World

Is your sales strategy stuck in 1996?

Staying on top of trends is one of the biggest challenges faced by those of us in the B2B sales world. One word comes up more and more in discussions of how this world is changing: DATA. Big data has become the starting point for any successful sales organization. With the rise of the digital world, all of our potential customers are available literally at the touch of a button (or a few keystrokes anyway). Having a strong prospect database not only gets your name out to more potential customers, it also increases close rates and improves overall efficiency.

Once you have that robust database, however, you also need a way to consistently and professionally keep in touch with all of them. With the number of potential prospects in the thousands, that simply isn’t feasible without an email marketing strategy. Email is the most preferred method of communication among prospects in the B2B space, and best-in-class companies are 67% more likely to have a strong email marketing strategy in place.

Switching from a business model that is heavily reliant on phone calls for instance to a system with a foundation in initial contact by email amplifies your ability to get in touch with more people exponentially. Rather than hiring someone to make 100 cold calls a day, you can send an email to thousands of prospects at once, and allow your sales team to focus on those people that express interest. It’s not only faster, it also is less invasive than a phone call, and your prospects will respect that.

The large-scale contact achieved through email marketing also allows a large enough data set to allow your business to use sales analytics to show where your successes lie and which methods work and which don’t. You can use big data to show you which industries respond to which types of messages, what types of prospects close most quickly, which close for the largest sales, etc., allowing you full control of where your business and revenues are headed in the future.

Email marketing is the most preferred method of contact by your prospects. If you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place – stop living in the past!

With LeadSeek, this crucial facet is available to everyone. With pricing scaled to the size of your business, one man shows and Fortune 500 companies alike can afford to join the 21st century and start contacting prospects the way they want to be contacted.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can keep your company on top of the trends in 2021.

Mastering the Art of Sales Communications

Moving Away from the Typical Sales Pitch

We’ve all sat through the stereotypical long, boring pitch of a sales rep who goes through every aspect of everything their company offers, including all of the information that is largely irrelevant to our specific business. Many of us have probably been on the other side – giving these pitches to prospects.

It’s an easy trap to fall into as a sales person. The fear of missing some important aspect of our offerings and the desire to be thorough can lead to overly long-winded presentations. What if we missed some key feature that would have made the sale? We also have a different perspective than our prospects. We love our own product and we want to talk about it and share the love! But our prospects don’t feel that way. Once you start to cover aspects of your offerings that don’t apply to them, they completely check out for the rest of the presentation and all of our well thought out words are for naught.

So how do you avoid the mistake of missing something critical while avoiding alienating your prospect in the process? Let’s talk about a few simple guidelines that apply whether you’re emailing, calling, or giving a full presentation.

Make your communications honest and straightforward.

Never start with a pitch. Your prospects are tired of being pitched products and services that aren’t even relevant for them. Start your initial communications with a straightforward statement of who you are and what you do. If that’s not relevant for the person on the receiving end, they are given the opportunity to either ignore your communication or let you know that it’s not for them.

Follow that up with an invitation for a conversation to allow you to learn more about their business. Making sure you understand their needs and processes will allow you to tailor the next part of your explanation to their specific interests, avoiding the lengthy and irrelevant “pitch”.

Know your own offerings

Think of your conversations with prospects like a job interview. It’s an opportunity not only for them to learn about your product, but also for you to learn about their business and to see if there is actually a fit. Make sure that you know exactly how your product benefits specific types of businesses and be honest! Don’t be afraid to walk away from a prospect that isn’t a good fit for your product. If you won’t end up with a happy customer, there’s no reason to proceed.

Don’t go into a sales conversation with the goal of selling your product to the prospect no matter what. Go into it with the mindset of finding whether there will be a mutual benefit for both parties. Keep asking questions and giving honest answers. Not only will the prospect appreciate your straightforward attitude, but you can take the pressure off yourself and you will appear more confident and trust-worthy. It’s a win-win!

Keep it short and sweet

This simple rule doesn’t require much explanation. Give the basic overview of what you offer, ask questions, tell the prospect what they need to know, and end it there. We’re all busy and we all appreciate people who respect that fact. Prospects will also appreciate your professional approach to the fact that they will make their own decision and they don’t need you to stick around to convince them.

End with a positive

Wrap up your communication with a quick (one sentence) overview of the biggest benefit you can offer your prospect. We all know the adage of the importance of first impressions, but the impression that you leave them with is also key. What do you want to stick in the prospect’s mind? What steps do you want them to take next? Ending on a high note will make the prospect more likely to engage further and take those necessary next steps.

Don’t Give Up! Keep in touch.

After making initial contact with the prospect, one of the biggest and most common mistake that sales reps make is to drop the ball on follow ups. Of course you don’t want to appear too eager or harass your prospects, but most people will expect the sales rep to take the initiative in keeping the communication lines open.

Timely and professional follow-up communications go a long way in staying top of mind for your prospect and in motivating them to engage further and move to the next step in your sales process. Even if it turns out that the prospect is not immediately ready to buy, be available and easily reachable and make sure you touch base periodically to stay engaged.

Stop Wasting Leads!

How to make the most of your inbound pipeline.

So you’ve done your research, chosen the best strategy for your business, got your lead generation system in place. Great! Now what?

If your strategy stops there, you’re missing some important steps. You’ll have lots of leads, but probably not a big increase in sales. So what do you need to do once the leads come in? This is where lots of companies make some common mistakes. These are definitely worth discussing if you want to make the most of your lead generation strategy.

Have a specific process in place

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising amount of companies don’t have a specific process in place for exactly what to do when an inbound lead comes in. Who is delegated to deal with the inbound leads? If it’s multiple people, what criteria are used to determine which person each lead goes to? Is that person able to follow up in a timely manner on all leads? What process do you have in place to qualify inbound leads?

Answering these questions will help make sure you’re not missing opportunities.

Take time to research and qualify

Before you can reach out to an inbound lead, hop online to get as much information about the person and the company as possible. Hopefully, your lead generation system will provide you with information such as industry, company size, location, etc., so take just a second to make sure that those criteria meet your definition of a good prospect. Every lead that comes in will not be an ideal fit, so just taking a quick second to check that will save you a lot of time by eliminating time spent following up with dead ends.

It’s also worth taking a few minutes to check the contact’s social media and to check out the company website to get more specific information. Just because a company is listed as being in the manufacturing industry doesn’t mean that the specific type of manufacturing they’re involved in will be a perfect fit.

Once you’ve determined this lead is legit, take a look at what communication they responded to in order to gauge what caught their eye and why they may be interested in your business. Even though inbound leads have “raised their hand” and initiated the contact with your organization, you still have a very narrow window to cement that bit of interest into a real conversation. One of the quickest ways to lose a prospect is to start talking their ear off about things they’re not at all interested in. Even if you do end up going over what piqued their interest in the first place, if you bury it in other irrelevant information, there’s a good chance the prospect will leave the conversation either confused or irritated.

Follow up right away with a personalized message

If someone initiates contact with your business, they expect timely, personalized contact. Some sales people will not prioritize inbound leads and follow up with a delayed, impersonal email. Most of the time when prospects take the time to reach out, they are probably also reaching out to your competitors as well, and they’re evaluating your business alongside your competitors. If you send a generic, impersonal message, your prospect will not feel like a priority and immediately be more inclined to work with your competitor (who will be personalizing!).

Don’t give up too soon

If you don’t reach an inbound lead on the first attempt, stay persistent. With an inbound lead you have even more reason to not give up. This is not a cold lead that may or may not hang up on you once you do get through. This person reached out to your business. If you give up after one or two calls, that shows the prospect that you’re not making them a priority.

It takes an average of six attempts to secure a sales appointment (check out our blog article on this topic here), including with inbound leads. You’ve taken the time to reach out to this person with lead generation, they responded, and you took the time to do the research to determine they could be a fit. Don’t give up on something this good after a couple of calls.

Having a solid lead generation strategy in place is a boon for any business, and is becoming increasingly necessary to keep up with the competition in the changing sales landscape. In order to fully realize the benefits though, it is also necessary to think through how to handle those leads once they come in to make sure you’re not missing opportunities. It’s definitely worth it to make sure you, your sales team, and your lead generation partner are on the same page and to outline a specific process for moving these valuable leads along in the sales cycle.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about this and other strategies for making the most of your sales pipeline.

Dispatches from a Modern Day Sales Rep

How Email Marketing Changed My Work Life for the Better

Just ten years ago I was your typical run of the mill sales rep, toiling away in the daily obscurity of cold calling and constant rejection. I was a hard worker, but you can only do so much when giving a list of companies and told to “call them and see if they are interested”. I found that every day I was spinning my wheels, finding that not only were most of these companies uninterested, but that I was spending the majority of my day just trying to find the correct contact to tell me that they were not interested in our solution. Even when I would have a good conversation, it would normally turn out that our solution was not the best fit for the company on my list.

I was at my wits end, and the frustration was endless. Pleas for improved leads would go unheard, and no one seemed to have any idea on how to increase sales opportunities. The fact that my company had just spent a lot of money, however misguidedly, on immense call lists amped up the everyday pressure to find interested prospects, and everyone in the office seemed on edge, concerned about their jobs, and the future of the company.

Enter email lead generation. Suddenly instead of fruitless cold calling, every day I started receiving replies from my target contacts at companies that already were interested in us. The partner we chose got to know our business, what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, who our product benefits the most. Through their lead generation database, they were able to compile tens of thousands of new companies, in our target market, that were not included in our current lead database.

Not only did they completely revamp our leads, but they then put together great emails, marketing our service and what we do best, and began sending them off to the thousands of companies that were now in our database. Once that occurred, everything changed. All of a sudden I would get in to work in the morning and have several emails sitting in my inbox from companies who responded to email campaigns expressing interest in our product. Every day I would have the opportunity to actually reach out to interested companies and have highly productive conversations about our offerings. Suddenly opportunities were everywhere, sales skyrocketed, and morale was at an all-time high.

Putting a lead generation process in place not only allowed us to reach out and contact thousands of companies at once, the partner we chose also continuously manages that database, reaching out to these potential customers on a regular basis.  This allowed us to maintain consistent contact with our base, so that when they’re ready to sign on, we’re top of mind and easy to reach. We went from struggling to just have a good conversation or two every day to struggling to handle the amount of leads coming in.

We chose LeadSeek as our lead generation partner and once they entered the picture our sales took off and we never looked back! Life is good!

Don’t Give Up!

Securing Appointments Takes More Tries Than You Think

As a sales person the line between professional persistence and harassing peskiness is always on your mind, and it should be! The minute you become irritating in the eyes of your prospect you can kiss your chances of a sale goodbye. But that line is harder to cross than most sales people think.

In a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, the data showed that 90% of all sales appointments are set after six attempts with the same prospect, and only 4% of sales people make that many attempts.

Why? Time. As a sales person, you have a long list of other things to do rather than sit at your desk and make call after call to try to secure a commitment from prospects. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense that so many approaches are necessary. Think about your own day. You don’t even have time to make the ideal number of approaches to each prospect, let alone take calls from outside vendors. That’s the case with most of your prospects’ daily schedules as well.

With that in mind, repeated contact attempts are not the complete solution. If you simply call six times and then give up, you’re still not using the ideal strategy to get your foot in that door. What you need is a non-invasive, professional, straight-forward approach that compels your prospects to request a contact if they’re ready to talk now, or to request a follow-up at a time when they will be.

That’s where having a great lead generation partner comes in. A great lead generation partner will take care of the first few steps in the sales process, and by the time the prospects reach you, the first few contacts have already been taken care of. You’ll spend more time talking to people who have raised their hand and requested to speak with you and less time on dead end phone calls trying to sift through all the cold prospects that have no interest in speaking with you, or following up with prospects you’ve already spoken to who are still just not ready to buy.

We want to become your trusted prospecting partner. Let’s talk about how we can take the first, tedious steps of the sales process off your plate.

Warm Calling

How Lead Generation Enables Sales People to Make the Most of their Time

The traditional prospecting method has changed.

The obvious first step is to work any inbound leads. Any prospects who have reached out to you expressing interest are obviously your first priority. But when those are exhausted, what do you do then?

A good lead generation program will bring you both inbound hot leads ready to talk now, and warm leads – those that are a good fit for your business but may not be ready to buy right this minute, helping you close leads now as well as build your pipeline for the future. In the up and down world of sales, this is key.

Identifying Good Prospects

The benefit of having a lead generation partner begins with sifting through the mountains of data available in prospecting databases to identify those companies and contacts that are the best fit for your company. This is no longer the responsibility of the sales person. Having a partner to take care of this step for you allows sales people to spend their time doing what they do best – closing deals.

To identify which prospects are best to pursue, just take a look at your customer base. Who are your best customers (those that make up the bulk of your customer base… not necessarily the largest)? What do your best customers have in common? Those are the traits that you want to identify in your prospect base.

Qualify the leads

Taking the time to find the important details about each company, those details that tell you at a high level whether this company really is an ideal prospect, is also no longer the job of a sales person. An efficient sales department needs a partner to take the time to find this information and allow the sales person to make an immediate decision on whether this prospect is even worth pursuing.

In today’s sales world, you don’t have to pursue every lead that comes your way. Choosiness is now a luxury everyone can afford.

Opening doors

Making initial contact with a prospect is an extremely delicate business. On any introductory call you have about 15 seconds to make a good impression and pique the prospect’s interest enough to make them want to take valuable time out of their day to speak to you. Easier said than done.

When you approach a warm lead, however, and the introduction has already been made and interest has already been expressed, much of that pressure is taken away. A good lead generation partner does the leg work and holds those doors open for you, allowing you to concentrate on the essential step of moving this prospect along through the sales cycle, rather than focusing on keeping their attention.

Today’s modern marketing methods are shrinking the sales world and making it more and more competitive every day. Having a solid lead generation strategy is absolutely essential to any sales team. We want to be the foundation of that strategy. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how.

How to Close Inbound Leads

The way your buyers learn and make decisions is changing.  With the wealth of information available at the click of a mouse, people are more informed and further along in the buying process by the time they reach your sales team.  The old idea that all you need to be successful in sales is to be deceptively forceful and refuse to take no for an answer no longer applies.  The entire profession of sales is moving toward inbound sales, and if you have the right infrastructure in place to provide those inbound leads, your sales team can pursue less leads, waste less time, and focus on meeting the needs of those people that are already informed and interested in you, rather than trying to convince every prospect that you are right for them.  But how do you work those inbound leads once you get them?  There are some key differences from the traditional outbound model.

Understand the buyer

When a prospect “activates” or expresses interest in engaging with your company, they may be in any one of several stages in the buying process.  It is crucial that the sales person understands which stage, whether they are informed and have a specific list of needs, or they’re simply looking for some general information and are looking to learn more about what solutions are out there.  Those two scenarios are approached in completely different ways, and a lack of understanding of that fact will alienate your prospects fast.

With every one of your competitors at the fingertips of your prospects, they have the advantage of being able to choose whichever company they trust the most, and that listens the most to their specific needs.  Your sales process should be based on letting the buyer drive the conversation and letting them discover at their own pace that you are the best solution for them.

Be an educator

The popular viewpoint in sales used to be that the closing call or meeting was the most important part of the process – not anymore.  Now that your prospects have the ability to easily educate themselves before they even think about speaking with you, the most important conversation you will have is the discovery call.  If you handle the discovery call correctly, you will learn everything you need to know about your prospect’s needs and wants, and they will learn all about how you can help them.  You will build trust by conveying that you care about their needs.  By the time you reach the closing call, your job will be done.

Get emotional

During this discovery process, it is crucial that you really dig into understanding your prospect.  Two people with the same pain points may feel completely differently about which is more important.  If you don’t understand that subtlety, you may end up focusing on how your company can meet a need that is low on the priority list for the prospect, while your competitors may be focusing on those that are higher.  That small difference may drive your prospect to the competition.  Make sure you’re really taking the time to get to know the people that you’re speaking with and to genuinely understand what they do, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they feel about where they’re going and the problems they want to solve.

Questions first, answers later

The traditional approach of going into a meeting with a canned presentation and the goal of convincing each prospect that your company is great, regardless of what they’re looking for, simply doesn’t work anymore.  Again, due to the fact that your prospects have so many options available to them so easily, it is key that the sales person understands the prospect’s pain points and tailors the information presented to those specifics.  You need to learn about your prospect in order to know what it is that they need to know about you.

Let them go at their own pace

This goes back to our first point about understanding the buyer.  They may be in one of several stages of the buying process when they engage with you, and it may take them widely varying amounts of time to move to the next stage.  It can be frustrating, but it is crucial that you allow the prospect to move at their own pace through the sales process.  Attempting to force them through faster than they want is one of the fastest ways to lose a sale.  Also back to the point about being an educator, the modern inbound sales person must learn to nurture prospects, maybe even keep in touch for months or years, waiting patiently until that person is ready to go.  Just remember, if the process is a long one, you have a great opportunity to become a trusted thought leader by the time they’re ready to move on to buying.

 

Inbound sales is about working smarter, not harder.  With the right strategy in place to deliver inbound leads, your sales team can focus on prospects that are happier to speak with them, get results faster and easier, and still exceed quotas.  Ultimately, you will waste less time and make more money.

Part of that key strategy is having the right lead generation partner to take care of finding those inbound leads.  That’s where we come in.

Let’s talk about how we can help your business get started on the right path to the future of sales.