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There are many sales tactics and techniques that you can use to bolster sales and increase profit. Storytelling remains one of the more effective techniques. Simply put, people love stories. And every product or service has one to tell. Why do they work? They engage people emotionally.

The best way to introduce your product or service to potential customers is to tell them a story. It’s a classic marketing technique that definitely generates sales. How does telling stories through advertising work? Let’s take a step-by-step walk through the basics of marketing storytelling.

1. Discover Your Story

Discovering your brand’s story is like finding your voice. It has to be original, personal and easy to comprehend. These promotional stories can vary in content. You could tell how your company was founded, or what your production looks like.

Personal experiences from customers make powerful stories that generate sales. How they use it, why, what your product means to them – there’s emotion in that. And emotions lead to sales. Where to share these stories? Across multiple platforms, from your landing page to social media.

2. Know Your Target Audience

As the saying goes – think before you speak. Plan what stories you will share. Know your target audience. Consider their age, shopping habits, needs or wants from your products and more.

The more you know about your customer, the easier it may be for you to customize your stories for them. You don’t want to bore your audience, or offend them. You want them on your side, immersed into your storytelling.

3. Make It Personal

The best way to tell a story to your target audience is to take a personal approach. Sounds simple? It’s not. It has to feel real, not forced or artificial.

This is why you have to analyze your business as if it were a person. What kind of personality would it have? Once you find that, go with it. Let your brand tell its own stories.

Always ask for feedback, especially on social media. That’s how you create engagement and brand loyalty. That’s how you interact and create followers. Your audience are your customers, and they love being involved in your stories.

4. Create a Content Production Calendar

It’s a well-known fact that content is the foundation of effective marketing. Each post you publish online is another chapter of your story. You should have those chapters ready in advance, which is why you need a content production calendar.

While you can create a content calendar from scratch, all by yourself, you could also use apps or software tools for this. The most important thing is to post in regular intervals. For example, if you make four Facebook posts in one day and then post nothing for a couple of days, your audience might forget about you.

5. To Sell More, Keep Them Wanting More

When you create a compelling story, your audience will hang on to your posts and even look forward to them. This can bolster brand recognition and even produce increased sales.

Always leave your audience wanting for more. Each posts – blog, social media, Tweet – should have a cliffhanger that leads into the next aspect of the story. This will keep your audience tuned in to your brand.

These five steps are simple, but you need to work hard on each one of them. Don’t regret the time you spend planning your marketing stories. Planning eliminates risk.

Use your landing page, your blog, your social media channels. Reach out to your audience and give them stories about your brand that will turn them into customers. That’s how you turn stories into sales.

About the author:
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon

The post Tell More, Sell More: The Art of Storytelling appeared first on Sales Engine.

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The sales department is an essential element of every business. It generates revenue and plays a crucial role in overall business success. This is exactly why recruiters are always on the lookout for individuals who have the skills to attract new clients and bring more profit.

In order to be a successful sales rep, you need to learn how to dominate the world of sales. In other words, you need to have the following five qualities that the most successful sales reps possess.

Product Knowledge

Nothing is worse than a sales rep who doesn’t have knowledge in the industry. No matter what you are selling, you need to know your product and industry backwards and forwards. Many sales agents try to wing it, but you’re mistaken if you think your potential clients don’t see through you. Even a few minutes of preparation and research can make the world of difference in making a good impression on a client.

In addition, you need to make sure you are thinking about how you add value to your customers in every transaction. Instead of sounding likes a salesperson, be more like a partner in their business.

Customer Focus

Customers are everything. Your efforts should revolve around the potential customer in front of you. This is especially true if you sell to small companies. Many small business owners only want to work with suppliers who are willing to partner with them on a project, so now is the time to show them that your product or service is what they need. Bringing industry data and other information is a great way to show you are prepared and care about their future in business.

Organization

If you are going to succeed in sales, you need to learn how to leverage technology to help you stay organized and productive. With the right tech, you can spend more time improving your sales techniques and attracting prospects – and less on reporting and data management.

Try using Slack to stay in touch with your colleagues and clients, TripIt for your itinerary and OneDrive for cloud storage. If that’s one app too many, see if your company has purchased the MS Office 365 license. This is a household name that recognized the needs of dispersed mobile teams.

Your clients will appreciate working with you a lot more if you show you’re able to stay organized, punctual and make sure their needs are met.

Passion

Without a doubt, passion is a vital character trait needed in sales or in any business for that matter. You cannot expect success and progress unless you are excited about the product or the service that you are selling and the variety of individuals you come across.

With all of the options that your customers have today, you need to show that you are honest and passionate about what you are selling. Passion is infectious and it shows on your face whether you have it or not.

You need to show you understand the product or service you’re offering and are excited to share it with others, help individuals and businesses grow their sales and profits. As mentioned earlier, showing partner mentality is key.

Confidence

Finally, have confidence in yourself and what you’re selling. There will be days when you struggle to make one single sale. Keep in mind that the great ones have failed as well. But, they became successful leaders by having the confidence to get back up.

Approaching sales with the “anyone-can-do-it” mentality could backfire before you know it. People have tried it and quit after a while, because they couldn’t get a pitch accepted. Use rejection as a learning tool for future opportunities, identify areas for self-improvement and you will build a rich portfolio in no time.

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking, the success of your company largely depends on their marketing and sales department. There’s a market for quality salespeople and if you are ready to take your career to new heights, delve deep into your character, be honest and recognize what to improve. Above all, always keep the passion burning.

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

The post 5 Qualities of a Rockstar Sales Rep appeared first on Sales Engine.

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Sales Engine by Vanna Logothetis - 8M ago

Checklist Created By: Sales Empowerment Group

The post Sales Prospecting Checklist appeared first on Sales Engine.

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 Think about your fellow salespeople. Are all of them hard-charging and never-take-no-for-an-answer? Probably not, and that’s because there’s no one ideal type of salesperson. Everyone that takes this as a career has different strengths that play to different types of situations and customers. Some are fun—but always close the sale. Some will dive into the details of benefits.

So just as there are many types of salespeople, there are many types of customers. But the only commonality all salespeople have to have is figuring out where their customers come to them—what they’re looking for and what those salespeople can do to help. That’s it. When they do that, then no matter their personality type, they’ll be meeting customers’ needs.

Does it sound complicated or overly analytical? It’s not. But understanding this approach to sales can help you cement those essential relationships. Read this graphic to figure out more.

Click To Enlarge

The post Why There’s Only One Ideal Type of Salesperson appeared first on Sales Engine.

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Leads are a double-edged sword to many companies and salespeople. Companies who cast too wide a net may end up wasting other businesses’ time, and ultimately hurt the morale of their employees. While there is always a chance of converting an unlikely prospect with the right words and product, eventually leaders will need to decide if these long-shots are worth it. Bringing departments together and increasing lead accountability may be the answer to getting better leads.

Numbers, incentives, and change

Sales is all about numbers, but these incentives can skew the real goals. Sales is really about making the relationships that lead to profit (hopefully for both parties).

Sales expert Zig Ziglar observes, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

For those who rely on leads to earn their living, they may ignore the more extreme versions of these barriers in an effort to meet their quota. There are some people who will never do business with you under any circumstances, and pestering them may only decrease your chances. Whether people understand game theory or not, they’re always coming up with ways to get more for less. So when the people who are responsible for leads aren’t responsible for converting those leads, you may see a large disconnect that hurts everyone in the company.

When quality is forgotten

Speaking of numbers, there are companies out there who do not place a huge emphasis on the quality of leads. If a company’s goal is to simply onboard droves of salespeople to contact as many businesses as humanly possible to see what sticks, then sales reps should understand this before diving in. They should know that they’re likely going to be met with a lot of uninterested parties before meeting their quota.

In these circumstances, the people at the top are only interested in those who can survive under these often brutal conditions when it comes to being aggressive enough to get the sale. These environments typically are only conducive to the most ruthless salespeople, and would definitely benefit from a little finesse.

Increasing accountability

If your salespeople are voicing a constant thread of complaints that they can’t find interested prospects, then perhaps it’s time to start a conversation.

When your best salesperson is struggling, then they may be the person to single out for information to see how prospects are reacting. The software company Ektron had a major problem with their cost-per-leads because they weren’t taking the time to nurture them, essentially creating a database with disinterested parties based on rented email lists. Instead of accepting this as their fate, they made it a point to change their strategy. When they focused on their content instead of lists, they began to see a turnaround for their business.

In fact, 93% of businesses state that content strategy does more for them than marketing strategy does. Once Ektron recognized this, they focused on creating segments based on demographics that would eventually lead to strategies of how to best target different groups of customers with relevant information.

More creativity, better leads

Creativity has always been necessary in business, and it may be crucial for lead generation too. Just as we saw with the case of Ektron, they created more content as a way to improve the quality of their existing leads.

While email still ranks as an influential source of information (behind recommendations and intermediaries), success will likely end up being a combination of research, analysis, and timing.

It doesn’t mean that those who generate leads need to be afraid of taking risks. There are very few companies that don’t have untapped markets — and those subgroups will take some time to explore. It does mean there should be some consequence to sticking with the same strategies that clearly aren’t generating the right leads. Whether creativity means employing SEO experts or just doing more background work on each company, it will mean making additional investments early on in the sales funnel.

Laying out the future of lead generation

When you’re planning your new year sales strategy, you should highlight several ways to modernize your approach. And this should definitely include finding higher quality leads. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake either. As entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.”

Even when your mission goes awry, you’ll still learn something. What you should be fearful of though is continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again. If your company has been focused on quantity, it may be time to make an important shift over to quality instead.

Danny Wong is a marketing consultant, sales strategist and writer. He does marketing at Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. Connect with him on Twitter @dannywong1190.

The post Lead Generation and Accountability: Increasing the Quality of Prospects appeared first on Sales Engine.

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Voice controlled digital assistants may not sound that exciting, but if you’re in sales, sales management or in any position responsible for revenue, they should be. When properly implemented, digital sales assistants let reps update the CRM with simple voice and text instructions. No logging in required. No screens, menus, dialog boxes and commands. No excuses for not updating the CRM.

Though the technology is relatively new, it’s already been shown to drive better ROI from your existing sales technologies. Here are three benefits users are seeing.

50% Faster CRM Adoption

Voice controlled digital sales assistants help break down two barriers to CRM adoption.

First, there’s the ramp up. Reps need to learn your implementation—your screens, menus and requirements. Then adapt to new requirements as they evolve. These assistants have been shown to flatten that learning curve, asking reps for information rather than forcing them to learn a computer interface.

Second, and perhaps more important, high-performing salespeople engage well with others. Their natural rhythm is to talk, listen and build relationships. CRM turns them into data entry clerks, a job more suited to introverts. It disrupts the flow of what makes them successful.

Voice-controlled assistants let reps talk to the CRM the way they talk to a client—following a basic script but essentially using their own words and personality. The artificial intelligence engine extracts the information you need and puts it into the right CRM fields.

Improved Forecasting and Pipeline Management

Companies with voice-controlled digital assistants report capturing up to 300% more data.

That’s because the digital assistant is like a human aide—one who reminds you to do something and asks you about it when you’re done.

A bit of a nag, maybe. But now reps have no excuse for not updating the CRM. Or for just entering the bare minimum. A digital sales assistant can be configured to know what’s required and prioritize what isn’t. You get more data and you get it immediately after each activity.

The data should also be error-free. The voice interface captures all the data and asks the rep to check the work, usually in a text message format. If the speech recognition engine misunderstood or got a spelling wrong, the rep simply texts the correction to the assistant.

More data + accurate data + timely data entry = better analytics.

Up to 100 Extra Selling Hours Per Year Per Rep

According to Hubspot, 29% of salespeople spend an hour or more each day on data entry and 17% of cite manual data entry as the biggest challenge using their existing CRM.

Oddly enough, it’s the best reps who data entry hurts the most. They have more deals in the pipeline, they capture more information, and have that much more to enter into the CRM.

Voice-controlled digital sales assistants eliminate manual data entry. That frees reps up to generate leads, research accounts and yes, sell.

Which, when you think about it, is what all sales technology should be doing.

Jake Soffer is CEO and founder of Rollio, a New York City startup that focuses on artificial intelligence and sales technologies. For more information visit gorollio.com or follow Rollio on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post 3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve your Sales ROI appeared first on Sales Engine.

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Sales revenue is one of the most important factors in determining the success and progress of a company. With this in mind, it’s extremely important to develop a strategic plan for propelling your business forward. A successful sales strategy requires a lot of thought, commitment, and hard work, but is well worth the time. Here is a simple five-step process for creating a winning sales strategy:

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a savvy business tool that will allow you to think about your business in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This analysis is designed to help you see your business in a big picture way and identify new areas of opportunity and focus.

Take a look at your previous sales and identify what worked well, what didn’t and see where you can implement improvements. This careful analysis is a great starting point and will provide you and your team more with more direction.

Set Goals

After you’ve reviewed the SWOT analysis and identified any opportunities for your business, you’ll want to generate goals related to these findings. You’ll want to guide your team through a focused goal-setting exercise.

Any goals you set should follow the SMART template and should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and contain a timeline for completion. These specific guidelines ensure there is no ambiguity and clearly communicate the long-term goal to the team. Consider putting your goals in writing and referencing them with your team on a regular basis. This will keep your sales team motivated and focused during the sales process.

Define Your Target Market 

The next step in the process is to clearly define your target market. Your product or service does not appeal to everyone, so it’s important you focus your energy on an audience who will actually be interested in what you’re selling.

Begin by creating a list of relevant markets. Work with your team to narrow the niche further until you have a manageable market size and a winning marketing message that relates to the entire group. While you do want to narrow your market as much as possible, make sure you aren’t leaving any potential clients out of the mix. Work hard to blend multiple markets as much as you can so the numbers are on your side.

Refine your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Every time you develop a new sales strategy you should revisit your USP and make sure it is strong enough to help you stand out from the competition. To appeal to your ideal customer, you will need to develop a sales pitch that resonates with your target audience.

You can never assume you know what a consumer wants and needs. It’s extremely important that you take the time to ask and observe. Once you’ve done all your market research you’ll need to find a way to differentiate and solve their biggest woes. You’ll also want to be aware of your competitor’s approach to the market. This will allow you to tailor your message and land a larger portion of the sales.

Track Your Progress

As with many areas of life, it’s not enough to put together and execute a strategy. You’ll also want to continually evaluate your progress and adjust as necessary. As you are drafting your sales strategy, make sure you include defined metrics for success. These written and transparent metrics should be communicated clearly to the team and each member should be held accountable for executing on this carefully crafted plan.

Consider scheduling regular meetings with the team and reporting on progress. You should also include a rewards and recognition process anytime a goal is achieved. Celebrating each victory is helpful in keeping your team motivated throughout the year and will be appreciated by your team.

Final Thoughts

These tips are just a guideline for developing an effective sales strategy. You may need to tweak the steps in a way that best suits your needs, but taking the time to analyze your business in this way will offer a great return on your time investment. If you’re looking to boost your sales revenue this next term, consider these five helpful hints. 

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

Image source https://pixabay.com/en/strategy-board-marketing-791200/

The post 5 Steps to a Successful Sales Strategy appeared first on Sales Engine.

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