Account based marketing(ABM) strategies are one of the hottest trends in sales and marketing. This strategy usually involves targeted emails, unique website pages, pay-per-click ad campaigns, and social media. But there is one complementary strategy to ABM that cannot be ignored: calling your prospects.Continue reading
Officials at United said that their attire violated the dress code. Cries of sexism echoed around the world. Calls for boycotts followed. How could a company possibly recover and make anything good come out of a travesty such as that?
You know you need more live conversations, but what is it worth?
As is the case when considering any new money saving solution, the return on investment you attain from a Live Conversation Automation solution is an imperative step when deciding whether or not to move forward. You know in your gut that a dramatic increase in live conversations with customers and prospects will pay off for your company. The challenge is determining how much value it will bring and whether it is worth it for your company to spend the dollars, cost and effort required for deploying any new solution. Outlined below are some of the top reasons ConnectLeader’s customers tell us how they have attained ROI with Team Dialer.Continue reading
In most organizations, sales groups are split into business development teams and sales teams. However, there is a growing trend, especially in smaller organizations, to utilize full-cycle (or full desk) sales representatives. Full-cycle reps are responsible for the full sales cycle from prospecting to closing to account management.
This model works well in early stage companies that have a smaller client base. But as the business grows, these sales reps take on more and more responsibility. Full-cycle reps end up taking on a lot of different responsibilities and managing existing accounts and their current pipelines take up more and more time.
The result, less time is spent on qualifying and prospecting. If a strong lead generation program isn’t in place, then these full-cycle reps can see their sales pipeline dry up really fast.
Increasing Sales Without Adding Headcount
The first solution appears to be obvious, just hire more salespeople or hire business development representatives. If budgets are limited, this may not be possible or cost-effective. Are there ways to increase the sales pipeline without adding headcount? Below are a few tips to help your full-cycle sales reps to keep their pipelines full.
Organization – Sales reps can easily get distracted and do the activities they like to do instead of the activities that will make them more money. Sales managers can make daily calendars and set aside time for specific tasks. Designating one or two prospecting times per day keep the reps focused. Using a calling automation technology makes this option cost effective as dialing rates are 8 to 10 times that of manual dialing. We recommend creating an outbound calling playbook to set prospecting goals, keep track of voicemail scripts, sales positioning statements, campaigns, and new product information.
Technology – There are many software tools and applications that can help sales reps be more productive. The most important tool is the CRM which should be the center of your sales process. Integrating other sales productivity tools with your CRM will make it easier for your reps to use the tools.
Some of the technology tools and services we use at ConnectLeader (in addition to our own Team Dialer and Personal Dialer products) include Salesforce.com for our CRM,HubSpot for marketing automation, ZoomInfo, TriggerQuest for prospecting data,GotoMeeting for online meetings, LinkedIn and Twitter for social media, GaggleAmp for amplifying our social feeds, and Adobe EchoSign for electronic document transmittal.
Coaching – When sales teams get busy, non-selling tasks need to be minimized. However, training and sales coaching time should not be reduced. As the speed of the sales cycle increases, sales teams need to be well-informed and capable of responding to a constantly changing market. Coaching for inside sales reps can be challenging unless you have a way to monitor the sales calls and provide advise. Our products include a feature called Remote Coach offers the option to monitor the call or "whisper" to the rep. during the call. This feature really helps us speed up the onboarding process.
Prospecting Strategies – Uncovering new sales opportunities should not be an unpleasant task for salespeople since the benefit of their efforts will directly affect their success. If the well seems to be dry, try some different strategies. Here are a few ideas we find successful:
Target Account Profiling
Profiling People: Identifying all of the parties in the sales cycle (for ConnectLeader we want to know everyone involved in the sales process including C-level, senior executives, group managers, sales operations, and marketing). Your account profiles will vary based on your product or service.
The purpose of target account profiling is to understand each person’s responsibilities, involvement in the sales process. Essentially we want to know who is who.
- Profiling the account for existing technologies, processes, and methodologies.
- Understand issues or challenges in the selling process.
- Profiling the corporate process around budget cycles, purchasing, and technology evaluations. This helps you understand what to expect when there is a buying event.
We often hear customers complain about bad data in their prospecting lists. Just to be clear, having an incorrect contact name or wrong title is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is an opportunity to gain intelligence about your target account without the pressure of having to make a sales pitch. Most people strive to be helpful to other salespeople (especially if they are in sales themselves). They are often more than willing to pass you on to the person you are looking for.
There seems to be an ongoing debate over whether inbound leads are better than outbound leads. We find a better strategy is to use a multi-channel strategy to reach out to our prospects. We use a combination of email, outbound calling, social media, and automated voicemail drops to touch our prospects in as many ways as possible.
One of the most common questions our sales and customer success teams hear is what is the best way to create an outbound calling strategy?
There could be a number of ways to answer this question depending on your sales process and business objectives. For the most part, list selection depends on the goals you want to achieve and your objectives.
Tip #1 - List-based calling is more productive than random dialing
Being organized is a proven method of improving productivity. Having a daily plan is a second reliable method to keep yourself on track. I like to make a list of my daily projects, meetings and appointments so I don't get surprised. We have learned from our customers that providing business development and inside sales reps with a daily or weekly calling plan is more productive than 'one-off' random dialing." In fact, in our latest webinar, "SalesProductivity Trends for 2015", our audience indicated that 70% of their companies have formalized sales processes in place.
Liaison Technologies learned that a lot of the (sales team’s) day was spent doing research, making the direct dials, then sending an email. According to Steve Haverdink of Liaison's Enterprise Data Group, “We were doing a lot of ‘one-off’ campaigns. Now our sales representative selects a calling list in Salesforce.com."
Tip #2 - Using a Process-Based Dialing Strategy
Once you know that you want to use a list-based process, the next big decision is how to organize your lists. A big question we hear is who do you call first? Another question is how do you prioritize? Again, your internal sales process will be a major factor in this decision. The most straight forward strategy is to use a dialing method that matches your sales pipeline process. In most cases that starts with prospects or leads and progresses through the sale.
Eagle Point Software develops tools that help users of Autodesk software work more productively. “Every salesperson has 4 one-hour calling sessions every week,” according to Executive Vice President, Randy Ambrosy. “Accounts that are the closest to close we call first, the deals that are newest into their pipeline we call last, then if we have executed through all of their calls, we load prospecting calls into that list so they’re prospecting at the end of their session. Commonly they’ll be able to plow through their entire pipeline during that session.”
Tip #3 Persistance Can Make a Difference
It's a fact, as social media, email, and texting are becoming more commonly used in business sales, getting a decision maker on the phone continues to get harder. Industry studies estimate the average number of attempts to reach a decision maker on the phone can range from 7 to 10. For C-Level executives, that number can be as high as 20 attempts. The other often quoted fact is that the best sales reps will often be the most persistent.
Steve Serpa, Inside Sales Manager for Xangati, Inc. helps IT leaders manage virtualized data centers is one of those inside sales reps who doesn't give up. "I call them until I speak to them live,” said Serpa. “Our sales dialing solution has really been great as far as contacting people and getting in touch with people we’ve been having a hard time connecting with.”
Tip #4 Inside Sales Reps Need to be Flexible
Sales reps in fast-growing companies know that marketing strategies and new product releases can come fast and furiously. Being able to adapt to a changing environment can help sales reps. be more productive. Being able to call to multiple lists and change the contacts while dialing helps sales reps stay focused on dialing.
I like to change my list as I’m calling, "explained Steve Serpa from Xangati, Inc. I can easily check a name and the dialing agents won’t call that number."
Tip #5 Sales Dialing Automation Integrated with CRM Makes List Dialing Feasible
Using technology can help companies boost their sales velocity (i.e. shorten the sales cycle), increase outbound calling productivity, and reduce administrative costs. Sales dialing technology uses lists created by CRM systems like Salesforce.com or Oracle CRM on Demand. When sales reps. complete conversations they can record their activity notes and instantly synchronize with the CRM. This tight integration eliminates duplicate entries and allows reps. and managers to monitor calling activity on a real-time basis.Continue reading