The Ultimate Follow-up Strategy

No matter what tools you use to bring new leads in to your business, it all comes down to emails and phone calls. No matter how many great leads you’re receiving, if you miss the mark with your follow-up strategy, you will miss the mark with your quota.

But what is the best way to set yourself up for success? Thankfully, there is a robust body of research on this subject to provide us with some best practices backed up by solid data.

First, remember the importance of first impressions and speed of service. When a prospect “raises their hand” by replying to a communication, leaving a message, or requesting a contact, following up directly with that person as soon as possible will greatly increase your chances of continuing that conversation further. Not only will you make a great initial impression on that prospect, by following up within a few minutes with an inbound lead, you can ensure that you are reaching your prospect when your offering and company is still forefront in their mind.

While timely follow-up is essential, overzealous follow-up can be detrimental. The goal is to be persistent without crossing the line into annoying. As much as we may want to at times, you can’t really brow beat someone into become a customer – at least not a happy customer. The best you can do as a sales person is to make sure you are optimally presented as a good option so that when your prospect is ready, they can make the choice themselves to pursue doing business with your company. If you follow up too often and try to force the sale or conversation, you will end up losing some contacts that otherwise would have been ideal prospects for you. Just try to keep in mind how frequent of contact you would find professional if you were on the other end of the exchange.

None of these strategies should be anything new to sales people, and yet these simple steps to success are actually practiced by a shockingly small number of sales people. To be successful in sales we just need to remember to focus on strategies that expand our reach to enough people to allow us to focus on prospects that are interested on their own, rather than focusing on strategies to convince uninterested prospects that they need to buy.

LeadSeek can help you expand your reach and allow you to focus on interested prospects. Spend more time closing and less time selling. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how.

Simple Steps to a Customer-Winning Sales Email

Sales people are always looking for the perfect prospecting email. Hours are spent agonizing over subject lines, length, copy, ideas, and bullet points. Then when anyone in the office has success with a certain email, you can guarantee every other sales person will give it a try, thinking there must be some magical element that mysteriously gains customers. But really, writing effective sales emails is simple and straight-forward. There is no magic bullet. It’s the way all of these elements come together.

The first thing to remember, and the first challenge to overcome, is to limit the length of your email. Your prospects will not read through a lengthy email about you, especially if you’re introducing yourself for the first time, regardless of how well it is written. Most people don’t even like to read lengthy emails from colleagues, let alone strangers asking to take up some of their valuable time. Eliminate any sentences you could call unnecessary or too general and try to get your email down to the bare essentials of your message.

Along the same lines of keeping the message short, make sure that your message is consistent and straight-forward throughout. It’s tempting to try to fit everything that’s good about your company/product into your message to your prospects. After all, you don’t want to risk losing their interest because they didn’t see the one aspect that will solve all their problems. But the larger risk is losing the prospect with too many value propositions. You are far more likely to find prospects that are interested in one of the positive aspects of your business than you are to find prospects that are willing to read a lengthy email detailing each of the benefits of your services.

Also remember to keep the focus of your email on the prospect and their needs. No one likes to hear someone talk about themselves. People are immediately turned off by a proposition that is focused on the product or company, rather than how it can solve the prospect’s problems or make their lives easier. Especially in the B2B world, prospects are motivated to buy because of something causing them pain, not because they are blown away by a great product or service.

Finally, don’t try to get fancy. With all the buzz around finding the perfect elements of an email that will make prospects immediately buy, sales people can easily get carried away with overly fancy or elaborate email templates, which make your emails seem impersonal and immediately give the feel of mass marketing. If your email looks like an ad, your prospect will assume it’s an ad, even if you have included personalization like their first name. Making your email stand out is even easier if you keep your message straightforward and direct, and emphasize to the prospect that you are reaching out to them personally.

Keep these simple guidelines in mind when writing your next email and see if your response rates improve. We bet they will.

For help crafting and distributing your next great prospecting email, drop us a line.

How to make your sales cycle run like a well-oiled machine

Everyone wants to make more money.  Doing it faster would be great too.  The internet is crammed with different fool-proof ideas on how to do just that.  Software, outsourcing, coaching, and just general process hacks that will make you a better sales person, make you more money, and make your life easier.  How to sort through the noise and find how to actually make your sales cycle more productive and predictable?

There are some simple steps you can take. First, take a look at your typical day. What non-selling tasks are you spending the most time on? If there are tasks that are eating up time you could be spending closing deals like researching prospects, cold-calling, or sending out introductory emails, it might be time to consider automating those tasks or assigning a dedicated person to handle them.

Even determining which tasks are “selling” tasks has changed in recent years. A typical day for a sales person just a few years ago involved hammering out upwards of 80 phone calls a day to cold prospects, getting hung up on frequently and quite frankly more often making people mad than gaining any headway. Cold-calling has gone by the wayside as an effective strategy for gaining viable prospects.

In the current sales environment, every sales person needs a strategy to bring in prospects that are already interested and open to a conversation with you or your sales team. LeadSeek specializes in just that. We begin with a database of all of your target prospects and narrow that list down to those who are in a position to seriously consider your company’s offerings and interested in exploring what you can provide.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about exactly what that looks like for your organization.

What’s so great about you?

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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