LeadSeek Blog

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.

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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!

Trust the Numbers – Traditional Cold Calling is Going Away

If you work in sales, it’s no surprise to you to hear that cold calling has become more and more difficult in recent years. As technologies advance, people tend to screen more calls, guard their direct number more closely, and become increasingly irritated by, even suspicious of, calls from unknown numbers. On top of that, the fact that the internet has become our society’s main tool for information of basically all types ensures that your prospects have access to most of the information they need at their fingertips, without the need to speak with an expert on the product they’re researching. Not only do they have instant access to all the information about your product, they also have access to all the companies that offer it worldwide.

The combination of all of those factors can make sales feel like a terrifying and impossible task. How can sales people still be expected to meet quotas in the face of such seemingly insurmountable challenges? Some people decide they will make more calls. It’s true that if you double your calling efforts you might be able to expect to get double the results – but where are you going to find that extra time? What other responsibilities are you sacrificing in order to find more time to make cold calls? Customer service? Pre-call research? Even if you’ve decided to use this strategy and just work longer hours, you’re ignoring the fact that buyer behavior and sales culture in general is changing. The whole sales world is moving away from cold calling. Rather than doubling down on a strategy that is quickly going by the wayside, it’s time to change our strategy into something smarter.

LeadSeek’s strategy is to reach out to your entire market directly while maintaining that professional and straight-forward communication that comes from traditional sales strategies. We expand our customers’ reach into their target markets and allow them to keep up with the increasing demands and decreased patience of their prospects without sacrificing essential time spent on other functions, and without the de-personalization many companies use to reach out to prospects with generic communications.

<a href=”http://leadseek.net/contact-us/”><span style=”color: #0000ff;”> Shoot us an email</span></a> and let’s talk about how we can use our expertise to help your organization accomplish your goals and realize the success that our customers have.

Why Email Marketing is No Longer an Optional Investment

Staying on top of all the latest business trends can be challenging to say the least. Often your competitors have already significantly benefited from an investment into one of those trends by the time you become aware of it. Those trends that prove to be beneficial enough, eventually go from being just a smart investment to something you can’t survive in the marketplace without. Email marketing is now firmly cemented into that category.

Email remains the most preferred method of communication for business to business communications. In fact, According to a January 2015 study by Marketing Sherpa, email is the most popular channel among customers. Prospects age 35-44 like it the most – 87% said email is their favorite channel. The logic follows that we should all have a robust program in place to make the most of that channel. Email is convenient, professional, and non-intrusive to your prospects. Utilizing email as your first means of reaching out positively influences your reputation within your market, and increases your prospects’ willingness to speak with you.

Email marketing is the most measurable form of marketing that exists today. No other method offers the same level of transparency into results metrics and ROI. There’s a reason why every Sales Director wants to have a measurable ROI to show to their boss – smart business owners and CEOs want proof of success, and understandably so. Email marketing consistently and reliably provides that proof.

According to findings by The Relevancy Group, 23% of US Marketing Executives reported that email marketing accounted for over 25% of overall revenues, the same percentage that those same marketers reported for all of social media combined. Those numbers are supported by surveys conducted by Demand Metric & Direct Marketing Association.

Do you have a robust email marketing strategy in place? Are you realizing the full potential of your target market? Email marketing brings that goal within reach. Drop us a line to see why our customers trust us to make the most of the email channel for their company, and discuss how we can do the same for you.

Dispatches from a Modern Day Sales Rep

Achieving Full Market Visibility
through LeadSeek

For years we knew our company offered high quality services to multiple industries, but as a salesperson, I was always limited to prospecting our service to the businesses listed in our CRM, which were made up of various generic lead lists we have purchased over the years. We always knew that there were far more potential sales opportunities out there, but just could never figure out who they were or how to find them. Our overall company database was always lacking, but until we finally partnered with LeadSeek, we did not understand the full extent of the issue.

By using their expansive B2B database, they were able to uncover thousands of new businesses within our target industries that we did not know existed. We spent years struggling to find businesses through trade shows and other basic lead generation methods, and within a few weeks with LeadSeek, suddenly we had more sales calls than we could handle. They not only discovered numerous new opportunities for myself and our sales team, but also worked with our marketing department to craft different messages for all the different industries we serviced. The end result was a drastic increase in sales and revenue, in addition to now having the peace of mind that we were finally reaching our entire target market.

Why You Should Give Your Prospects Control of the Sales Process

The picture of a stereotypical salesperson painted in most people’s minds is an aggressive, intimidating, and solely money motivated. Think Glengarry Glen Ross. Sign on the line that is dotted! In today’s business world, however, that strategy doesn’t play out, and the most successful sales people are the opposite of that sleazy persona.

With the unprecedented access that your prospects have to information, reviews, and different companies that offer the services that they’re seeking, the control of the power has passed into the hands of the prospect. Your prospects are well-versed in their own needs and how the current marketplace can solve the problems they have. They are in a unique position to be able to choose the suitor that most impresses them.

The unprecedented access to a wealth of information and marketplaces goes the other way too, however. With the access that companies now have to prospect data and the increased reach that has been made possible by digital mediums, both prospects and sellers are able to seek out the most ideal commercial relationships without compromising.

Given this new environment, not only is it more difficult to force your product on a prospect, it’s unnecessary. The sales person’s job has evolved from a role of persuasion to a role of assistance. There are of course still many traditional aspects of the sales process that apply in today’s world, but the big thing to keep in mind is to not be afraid to leave the ball in the prospect’s court.

As sales people, we simply need to present our offerings in a professional and straight-forward manner to the correct people at the correct time, and make sure it’s easy for the prospect to make the decision to choose us. When the offering really is a good fit, the profitable relationship will follow.

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