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What should new sales managers focus on? To guide your sales team to success focus on these sales manager tips: 1) Apply “out with the old, in with the new” to your responsibilities 2) Mind your metrics 3) See your team’s motivations and guide them if necessary 4) Follow your gut, but don’t ignore your team either.

Sales managers guide sales teams to success. That’s it. Meeting that goal, though, requires the right combination of skills and drive. The best sales managers are great with people and provide sales coaching without being overbearing or parental to the teams they manage. 

New sales management job? Congrats–now consider how these tips apply to your new sales and management role. 

Apply “Out with the old, in with the new” to your job responsibilities

If you’re freshly promoted, you might still be in ‘salesperson mode’ holding on to the responsibilities and obligations of your previous job. With any new promotion, it’s important to let go and focus on the new mindset and work that comes with your new title. 

  • Delegate: As a manager, you now have a team you can delegate to. Find out who you can trust with what and go from there. 
  • Don’t micromanage: Your old responsibilities that are no longer part of your job description are now probably part of a direct report’s job. Don’t keep them from their work by snagging it back. 
  • New mindset: This also means you’ll have to stop thinking like a salesperson and start thinking like a sales manager. This doesn’t mean becoming out-of-touch or distant, but it does mean taking your whole team into consideration in everything you do. 

If you’re now leading a group you used to be a member of, be careful and make sure old habits you don’t want to bring with you don’t hitch a ride into your new job. 

Mind your metrics

When you’re in charge of an area, group, or department, your metrics are arguably more important than ever. Keeping track of your real time sales insights and knowing your trends enables you to see how you’re doing and make strategic changes whenever necessary. 

  • Sales metrics vs. KPIs: Although these two terms are frequently used interchangeably, they actually do have different meanings. Key performance indicators (KPIs) measure a vital business goal or priority. For instance, the cost of acquisition (CAC) with winning new customers for the organization. 
  • Metric priorities: Similarly, not every metric has equal importance for your sales team and not every metric reflects the entire company’s performance. Some metrics focus on individual member performance, for example, while others are reflective of how the entire group is doing. 

All metrics are arguably important to sales, but it’s up to you and your team to figure out how these metrics will influence your decisions and planning. 

See your team’s motivations and guide them if necessary

It’s no longer just your sales performance you’ll be thinking about. You know your own motivations and how they drive you, but how about what motivates your team? Managing your sales team means considering how your direct reports are motivated–and how they’re wired as professionals. 

  • Discourage a “loner” mentality: Good salespeople don’t go it alone. Friendly competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sales reps should remember they’re all ultimately contributing to the same end goals. Find ways to foster teamwork. 
  • Use the right incentives: Look carefully at the incentives salespeople have for meeting targets and make sure they’re rewarding the right things. 

managing a high-performance team a team is completely different from being one salesperson with your own targets, goals, and concerns to think about. That said, it can be done with the right approach. 

Follow your gut, but don’t ignore your team, either

As you lead a team, use your experience and insight from your sales career to provide inspiration and guidance. Don’t be afraid to listen to what your team has to say. In fact, you’re better off staying in close communication with the group and giving them ample opportunity to share their voice. 

  • Help your team engage with your goals: Great managers inspire their teams to care about the organization’s goals. Unfortunately, 70 percent of US employees don’t feel very engaged with the work they do. Employees who aren’t meaningfully connected to their work aren’t as productive and can even cost their companies more in terms of revenue and missed opportunities. 
  • Be the best manager: Sadly, of the people who leave their jobs, 75 percent do so because of their boss. As a sales manager, it’s your responsibility to do what you can to support your team’s engagement and connection with your organization’s mission. Don’t make people quit. Give them reasons to stay. 

Becoming a great sales manager doesn’t always happen immediately. But it is well worth the effort to invest in your own leadership development and work hard to be a better manager of people. 

A sales manager should apply these tips to drive performance

To get better at your job, it’s important to always be working towards self-improvement. Stay humble and eager to learn from your team even as they learn from you. Remember, too, that many of yesterday’s leadership fundamentals are still valid today and have something to teach today’s sales managers. 

Do you have other sales manager tips for the newly promoted? Share them in the comments. 

The post What is a Sales Manager? Tips for the Newly Promoted appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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The history of rocky relations between sales and marketing teams goes about as far back as corporate culture itself. Despite having the best intentions, sales and marketing professionals often find themselves on opposite sides of a metaphoric language barrier. While marketers tend to focus on content creation to attract leads, reps care more about content curation to capture those leads –– making it difficult to bridge the gap between them with common terms.

As with any relationship, communication is key. Open dialogue lays the groundwork for a fruitful partnership, streamlines business processes, and boosts ROI. By establishing and observing some basic rules of engagement, sellers and marketers can create a common language that suits both teams’ needs and allows business to thrive.

Here are our picks for the top tips that sales and marketing leaders can follow to improve communication and alignment between sellers and marketers.

1.) Don’t ghost your colleagues.

A strong relationship begins with a strong commitment, and it’s important to remember that showing up and being available are both part of the deal. There’s no room for ignoring messages or refusing to meet face-to-face if you’re looking to build a healthy interdepartmental culture.

Always keep in mind that no one likes getting ghosted. The less you engage with your teammates, the less likely it is that you’ll ever get on the same page or be able to secure a satisfying bottom line for your company. Extend your colleagues the respect and courtesy they deserve by addressing their concerns head-on and showing them how devoted you are to your shared goals.

2.) Listen as much as you talk.

Once you’ve established an open line of communication, make sure it’s a two-way street. Don’t shy away from letting your friends on the other team know about your frustrations, but be prepared to hear their side of the story, too. Make a plan to earn each other’s trust by incorporating feedback from both sides into your shared business practices. Some examples:

  • If you think last year’s winning campaign could use a shake-up, let your colleagues know. Leverage end-of-funnel metrics to support your argument for change, and then offer constructive ideas for revisions.
  • Invite marketers to review pitch videos and pledge to implement their feedback into sales-team processes to make content more impactful in the long run.
  • If you notice that certain pieces of content never hit the mark, don’t settle for complaining about it — instead, set up an investigative meeting between your teams so you can assess the situation together and come up with strategies to fix it.

As is the case with all worthwhile relationships, no single party should ever have the upper hand. When you’re working toward sales and marketing alignment, you should be prepared to speak on equal terms and to give as much as you get in return.

3.) Be a student as well as a teacher.

Sales leaders are uniquely positioned to offer insights to the marketing team based on how reps observe buyers interacting with the content that’s been pitched. Use any applicable tools you can to educate your colleagues regarding the efficiency of content — but don’t forget that this arrangement should also be give-and-take.

Just as sellers can point to end-of-funnel findings to compel the marketing team to up their game, marketers can use top-of-funnel content engagement insights to guide sellers toward better sales strategies. It’s important for both teams to be ready to learn as well as to teach. In the same way that sellers might have a better sense of what happens out in the field, marketers likely have a more intimate knowledge of the content archive. Be willing to take advantage of your teammates’ expertise, just as you would ask them to rely on yours. Make use of a friendly exchange of data and ideas to keep both your teams up to speed and establish a shared vocabulary.

4.) Invest in a digital “mediator.”

Of course, when you engage in data exchange, all of that data has to come from somewhere –– and that’s where martech comes in. It’s essential to have a flow of information between sales and marketing teams, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to keep accurate records on both sides and to aggregate assets and data with the aid of sales tools.

In such cases, the benefits of a software solution can be enormous. A sales engagement platform, for example, can keep precise track of metrics pertaining to buyer engagement (i.e., “Who’s reading our content?”, “How long are they spending on each page?”, “Did the asset help convert to a sale?,” etc.), making it easy for both sellers and marketers to tweak their strategies in order to accommodate buyer trends.

Similarly, a sales enablement solution can serve as an all-purpose repository for content assets and training materials while simultaneously keeping tabs on seller activity across all buyer stages. This type of tool encourages more thoughtful content creation among marketers (thanks to seller engagement feedback and analytics surrounding pitch activity), and more selective content curation among sellers (via carefully constructed playbooks and pitch decks from marketing). If you’re not employing a digital interdepartmental mediator, you’re missing out on an essential “translation” tool that can maintain a clear dialog between both teams.

5.) Remember who it’s all for.

With all the interplay between marketing and sales, it’s easy to forget who gets caught in the middle: your buyers. Sometimes marketing and sales work so hard to ensure their respective needs are met, they begin to overlook the needs of the most important person in the whole business equation.

Nurturing buyers together should always be your primary objective. As Linda Arledge Powell of MediaSource observes, “It all comes down to focusing on the audience,” meaning that, at the end of the day, both sellers and marketers should let buyer behavior dictate priorities. Powell suggests looking to your shared audience in order to “create a cohesive team with all areas working together under a unified structure.” By this logic, buyer trends should be the connective tissue that binds your teams together. After all, your buyers represent the strongest link between your respective departments, and buyers alone have the power to make or break your ROI. Don’t ignore them in favor of short-term satisfaction or petty interdepartmental disputes. Marketers, sellers, and buyers will all walk away a lot happier if you obey this simple rule.

We hope the above suggestions can help guide you toward a lasting relationship with your sales and marketing teammates –– one that’s built on trust, mutually-assured success, and a language that both sides can understand.

Author Bio

Eleni Hagen is a content strategist for Highspot, the industry’s most advanced sales enablement platform that helps organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and customers.

The post Let’s Chat: Creating a Common Language for Healthy Sales and Marketing Relationships appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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What’s holding you back from sales success? Is it a lack of training or a lack of understanding of how sales can work with marketing? In May’s three INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast episodes, my guests shared how the two can help you to advance your sales skills. Read a little bit of information about each episode below to find out which you should add to your podcast playlist.

Episode 26: Increased Earnings Start with Increased Learnings
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In Episode 26 of INSIDE Inside Sales, Andy Paul is my featured guest. You may know Andy from his widely popular Accelerate! podcast or from TheSalesHouse.com, a sales training subscription service. He’s been in sales for more than thirty years and has some great advice to share about self-education.

Andy says you can’t rely on your employer to provide training for success in your sales career. You must continually invest in your own knowledge. He remembers listening to cassette tapes before the age of podcasts to get smarter about sales.

Today, there are plenty of options to learn more about sales – this podcast, Andy’s podcast and others, YouTube videos, posts on LinkedIn, books, web articles, and more. Andy recommends allocating a certain amount of time every day to learn more about your craft. He says, “If you’re in sales, the one thing you should know everything about, or attempt to, is your profession.”

Don’t get attached to one resource for your information, though. Consume content from different sources and individuals with different mindsets and approaches.

The final piece of advice I’ll share here from Andy is that if your employer doesn’t value your successes that come from investing in yourself, it may be time to find a new employer. Tune into Episode 26 to hear more valuable insights that will benefit your sales career.

Episode 27: Part 1 -The Sales Rep’s Secret Weapon is… Marketing?
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Matt Hayman, Marketing Manager at Refract.ai, joined me for Episode 27. He has a deep passion for finding common ground between the Sales and Marketing teams. Yes, this is a sales podcast, but we’re talking about how marketing and sales can work together.

Misconceptions of what the other team does often cause a disconnect between sales and marketing. Traditionally, their activities have been quite different. As the business world changes, we need to get the two parties to understand how each other work and find a way to collaborate.

I recommend defining expectations of how the two will engage. Consider the following while gathering input from both sides:

  • What’s a lead?
  • Who is the target persona?
  • What are the rules of engagement, i.e., speed to lead and cadence?
  • What are the consequences of not following the rules of engagement?

Matt takes it a step further and says to talk to people in different sales roles to get even more information. By doing this at Refract.ai, he was able to improve their click-through-rates, acquisition costs, deliver better-qualified prospects, create better content for sales, and more.

Don’t miss this episode to hear more from Matt and me about cooperation between marketing and sales to reach the same end goals.

Episode 28: Part 2 – The Sales Rep’s Secret Weapon is… Marketing?
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Refract.ai’s Matt Hayman is back for the second part of our conversation in Episode 28. During this segment, we talked more about getting sales and marketing to work together. Don’t miss the strategy; focus on the outcome instead of the tactics.

Matt mentioned that he’s always testing – an expected quality from an adept marketer. After getting some really good engagement on a video he posted on LinkedIn (1500-2000 likes), he decided to reach out to the individuals that liked the video. However, he didn’t do it in a pushy, salesy way. He reached out and offered value with something like, “I’m pleased you found the video enjoyable. By the way, did you know we also have a podcast? We also have this piece of content…” This personalized outreach resulted in a 500% to 600% in followers on LinkedIn.

As a salesperson, you have the insights into your customers’ pain points and what keeps them up at night. Matt says to think about what marketing can create as a lead magnet from that insight. Make a list of ideas, get marketing to test it, and “you’ll see big improvements in the quality and number of MQLs that you start to get.”

Remember that marketing wants to support you in reaching your goals and driving revenue. Listen to this episode to hear more about how you can make peace with marketing and ultimately help each other out.

What do you need to work on to improve your sales career – your relationship with marketing or your intentions for learning? Listen to episodes 26 through 28 to learn more about these topics. Let me know if you have any suggestions for future episodes of INSIDE Inside Sales in the comments below. You can also reach me via Twitter or LinkedIn.

The post May 2019 INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast Recap appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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Scheduling appointments seems pretty simple, right? You pick up the phone, do a little cold calling, and attempt to book some appointments over the phone.

“It will only take 15 minutes. When is a good time to meet?” your reps ask — hoping to convince decision-makers to set a time and date for a demo. Some do, and your schedule looks great.

However, all that time, your appointment setters or sales development reps (SDRs) took to prospect on the phone may not be yielding results. Do you have a lot of “no shows”?

Perhaps the contact just wanted to get off the phone; they agreed to an appointment they had no intention of keeping. Others may show up, but they could be a poor fit for your product or service because you didn’t properly qualify leads. Salespeople aren’t happy. The sales manager isn’t pleased.

Nobody benefits when prospecting calls lead to appointments with people who don’t intend on showing up or eventually buying.

Do Your Appointment Setters Need a New Approach?

If you’re using appointment setting as part of your sales development process and experience a lot of “no shows” or unqualified leads, you may need a new approach. Try shifting your teams focus from trying to persuade someone to spend “just 15 minutes” with a salesperson to a call that’s a little more investigative and consultative.

Your appointment setters need to make each sales call about qualifying the prospect and then helping those qualified contacts see value in scheduling a meeting or demo. Encourage your team to ensure they do the following with each prospect.

Discover A Prospect’s Needs

Sure, you or your team has a quota to meet. You need to set a certain number of appoints. However, you’ll never get there by only focusing on your goal. You have to think about the prospect’s needs first.

The “Sandler Pain Funnel” — a sales methodology developed by David H. Sandler — is a questioning approach that digs progressively deeper with pain questions.

These include, “Tell me more about that.” “Can you be more specific?” “How long has that been a problem?” “How much do you think that has cost you?” and “How do you see me helping you?”

Appointment setters can better qualify leads and provide enough information to decision makers suggest that your product or service is worth the time of a meeting or demo appointment.

Set the Value and Book the Appointment

Most people don’t want to be sold to, and their time is precious to them. However, if the appointment is positioned as a low-pressure meeting where they will benefit in some way, they may be willing to meet with you or one of your other sales reps/account executives.

A compelling close is to suggest meeting briefly to get acquainted, learn more about the problem, and see if you’re a good fit for each another. Let the prospect know that if it turns out not to be a good fit at the time, you will provide useful information they can refer to in the future.

This value-oriented close keeps the focus on prospects and their needs while also giving them an out if they are not interested. Overall, you’ll want to ensure your actual appointments live up to the promises you make when setting an appointment.

Provide Gentle Reminders

To reduce the likelihood of no-shows even further, use a system — such as email reminders or brief phone calls — to gently remind your leads of upcoming appointments. Be personable and remind your prospects that you look forward to meeting them at the appointed time.

Appointment Setting Sofware Can Tie Things Together

Appointing setting software is designed specifically to help you get organized with multiple calendars, quota management, schedule blocking, and more so you and your sales team can have a more productive and efficient process.

As we mentioned earlier, you want your appointment setters to dig deeper; that requires more effort and preparation than calling endless amounts of leads, making a short pitch, and hoping to set an appointment. However, taking that more investigative and consultative approach will help give your sales team an appointment schedule filled with more qualified leads and with fewer no-shows. Here’s where appointment setting software with logical branch scripting and onboard messaging helps drive productivity.

Successful messaging is essential, and call center scripting software allows you to create and update scripts instantly easily. Additionally, a logical-branch script with dynamic messaging will help reps to build rapport, handle any initial objections, and ask probing questions that dig deeper.

A few other productivity-and-efficiency-enhancing features to look for in appointment setting software include VoIP integration for preview or progressive dialing and voice drop; call monitoring capabilities, call recording, email capabilities, and team calendaring.

Ready to Set Some Appointments?

Do you or your team get too focused on targets to the point where you may be missing out on the best appointment setting opportunities? Maybe you’ve got even more great tips to share with our readers about a mindset for success when it comes to booking appointments. In either case, we want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post Discovering the Best Methods for Setting Appointments appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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April’s INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast guests shared a ton of valuable insights and tips for salespeople. As experts in different elements of selling, each of these interviews breaks down a certain aspect of sales. Keep reading to hear what we talked about regarding LinkedIn, planning, cold calling, and using multiple channels.

Episode 21: Demystifying LinkedIn for Account Execs

Daniel Disney of The Daily Sales has over 400,000 followers on LinkedIn. In Episode 21 of INSIDE Inside Sales, we’re demystifying LinkedIn so that account executives and sales representatives can rocket their sales and exceed their quotas.

We talked about three main points: profile, search, and engagement.

1.     Profile

Daniel says salespeople should ensure that their profiles are “the best possible, professional representation of themselves.” In addition to a professional headshot, people should utilize the background banner to its full advantage as a digital billboard. Include your company logo and a few words about what you do.

Think beyond visuals and answer the following questions in the Summary section of your profile:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your abilities?
  • How do you help people?
  • Why do you want to help people?
  • Who have you helped?
  • What are you offering?

Invest in your profile and make it customer-focused. You can pay someone to do it or take the time to do it yourself.

2.     Search

Daniel reminds my listeners to use the filters when searching on LinkedIn. When conducting a search, narrow the results down by location and title.

He says search “is where LinkedIn really comes alive.” On the podcast, he revealed a valuable way to search content and find quality prospects. Don’t miss it!

3.     Engage

Engaging on social media helps to build rapport and earn trust. The simple action of Liking your prospects’ posts can leave them with a positive impression.

You don’t have to spend hours on LinkedIn to see results either. Daniel recommends a regimen of three five to fifteen minute long sessions, once in the morning, around lunch, and again towards the end of the day. Each time you log on, engage with a few of your prospects’ posts and create a post of your own.

Not sure what to share? I gave a few ideas on the podcast! Tune into this episode to get a better understanding of LinkedIn and how you can use it to blow by your sales quotas!

Episode 22: Stop Getting Attached to Outcomes

Shawn Sease of The Sales Developers says that you shouldn’t get attached to outcomes. That’s a problem, though, because aren’t all salespeople measured by results? Stay with me on this one.

Define your outcomes by looking at the long term objectives. Shawn’s team strives for four outcomes, yes, no, not me, or not now.

The first hurdle is getting people to talk to you. It’s critical that you “talk to people who are willing to talk to you.” By calling more people, you’ll eventually reach those that are willing to share information.

If you get someone on the phone and they’re not the right person to be speaking to, Shawn says to ask questions like:

  • Who should I talk to?
  • What is their direct number or email address?
  • What kind of person are they?
  • Do you have any tips to help me get a meeting with them?

Sometimes when a person says no, what they really mean is not now. Shawn points out that contracts are getting longer in part because so many decision makers are involved in a purchase. Tune in to hear the types of questions a salesperson should ask to find out when to contact prospects again and other strategies to help you detach from outcomes.

Episode 23: The Anatomy of a Cold Call

Episode 23 features my conversation with ConnectAndSell CEO Chris Beall about the anatomy of a cold call. It all starts with knowing that the cold caller is the problem. You don’t truly know peoples’ problems the first time you get them on a call. You can assume, but you don’t know them.

I was shocked to hear Chris say, “The interruption is a wonderful thing.” Working together to solve a problem mutually builds trust, and he says the interruption of your call is the problem at hand during a cold call. You should quickly acknowledge that your call is the problem and offer a solution.

His recommendation is to get them to listen by saying something emotionally compelling that has an economic component. Chris’s team uses this phrase to transform trust into curiosity.

“I believe we’ve discovered a breakthrough that completely eliminates [insert the problem your product solves here].”

Once you’ve piqued their interests, you can ask for the meeting. Listen to our conversation for more insights about cold calls and their composition.

Episode 24: Multi-Channel for the Win

I recorded Episode 24 at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Leadership Summit in Chicago. My guest, Chad Burmeister of ScaleX.ai and BDR.ai, talked to me about the importance of using multiple channels to connect with prospects.

Multi-channel is the idea of using every form of communication and engagement available to connect with prospects. Many of us have mediums we aren’t comfortable with, myself included. Social media was my least favorite channel before starting with VanillaSoft, and nearly two years later, it’s my primary calling card.

Chad used fishing as a metaphor for multi-channel sales efforts. The top and middle hooks are emails and social media, while the phone is at the bottom where a majority of the fish reside. He says it’s key to fish at all three levels because you don’t know where the fish are swimming.

He shared an example of an instance when he sent a video to a prospect and then followed up with a phone call. The person was receptive and said, “I meant to give you a call.” Because he took another approach and reached out on another channel, he was able to speak with them directly.

Be intentional about improving your weaknesses to boost your likelihood of sales success. If you’re struggling to use social media or pick up the phone, you don’t want to miss this motivational episode!

Episode 25: Have a Plan, Work the Plan

The final episode in April features Kevin Kelly of Pace Digital Solutions. Also recorded at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit, we discussed the need to have a plan and what it should include.

On the podcast, you’ll hear Kevin recommend a plan for the day and a plan for your engagements or telephone calls.

Before picking up the phone, you want to create a pre-call plan. This doesn’t include research, but more so what you’re going to say. Identify the objective for the call, whether it’s to get the decision maker’s name, phone number, email address or something else. You also want to plan your responses for pushbacks from the gatekeeper and objections from the decision maker.

Executing the call should be seamless. Refer back to your prep work and let your personality shine through to connect with people.

After the call, you want to document everything that was discussed, so you have it for the next conversation. The post-call documentation is essentially your prep work for the next call.

After reading these recaps of last month’s episodes, I hope you’ve found a few to listen to on your podcast player. Do you have any suggestions for future podcast episodes? Post them in the comments below, send me a tweet to @ohpinion8ted, or message me on LinkedIn.

The post April 2019 INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast Recap appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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Sales reps want to make successful contacts with prospects and leads. Unfortunately, most reps don’t use sales call scripts. So, why do companies let their sales development team or inside sales reps wing it by making up their own sales pitch on-the-fly?

In some cases, sales managers may not realize the effectiveness of an excellent cold call script. In other instances, people on the sales team are resistant to using scripts because they think scripts make them sound inauthentic.

Here’s the deal. If your sales call script doesn’t help you start a conversation — a real conversation where you uncover whether or not you can help a prospect who is a good fit — then what you’ve got in front of you is a crummy monologue.

A successful sales call script is designed to facilitate better sales calls; it’s a useful tool, not a crutch. Some of the most successful salespeople use them to build relationships with prospects and meet sales challenges and goals.

Qualities of an Excellent Sales Call Script

We’re pretty passionate about sales scripts here at VanillaSoft and the power they have to help you close more deals. If you aren’t currently using them in your sales process, here’s a look at the qualities of a great sales call script.

Great Scripts Don’t Sound Like Scripts

A script should help a salesperson uncover pain points and hit on product or service benefits that are of interest to the potential buyer; it should not, however, make you sound like a salesperson.

If your script has you hitting your decision maker with features and “why we’re great” garbage right out of the gate, throw it out and start over. A winning sales call script helps you frame the conversation, sound natural, and lets you gracefully move to the points, questions, and objections you need to address.

The Best Sales Call Scripts Focus on the Prospect, Not the Product

I touched on this point a bit above, but I cannot stress it enough; you have to address “what’s in it for me?,” (WIIFM) from the prospect’s perspective. This concept applies to social media, voicemail, and cold email interactions with potential buyers, too. The best sales call script opener helps you start the conversation with a focus on the needs of the decision maker; it encourages you to ask the right questions.

Believe it or not, a sales script is as much about providing clues to listen as it is about helping reps talk. Also, did you know that your phone comes with a “magic button” to help you and your script be even more effective?

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, has a great blog post about this magic button on your phone. It’s the mute button.

Why is it so magical? Because it can stop you from inadvertently talking yourself out of a sale. It forces you to be quiet and listen.

A terrific sales script has questions that help you uncover information about your prospect and his or her needs. What good are those questions, though, if you don’t pause to let your contact fully answer?

Mike points out that by using the mute button after posing a question, you give the prospect time to elaborate before you jump back in with your next question or answer.

Here are three scenarios where he recommends using the magic mute button:

  1. When asking about the prospect’s current vendor. Press mute after you ask about their current vendor to allow them time to elaborate.
  2. After providing pricing information and a related follow-up question. (Example: “how does that fit in your budget?”) Press mute to give them time to answer and provide feedback that lets you know how that answer landed with them.
  3. After asking a prospect to elaborate when they’ve given you an objection (ask them to clarify, for other questions, etc., then hit mute). Press mute after asking for clarification to let him or her more fully explain the objection.

By forcing yourself to listen instead of trying to fill dead air while your prospect formulates a response, you can uncover more details that make your job of selling a lot easier.

Well-Planned, Dynamic Scripting Preps Reps for Most Anything

Dynamic scripting software, sometimes referred to as logical branch scripting, provides the script in segments to the salesperson and adapts to the conversation based on prospect responses.

With this messaging guidance, an SDR or rep has a conversational framework with the flexibility to change gears to overcome objections and answer questions as they occur. The salesperson can select options and responses based on the direction of the conversation that, when clicked, offers the next segment of the script.

With this approach to sales call scripts, management can offer sales team members a variety of micro-messages or bullet points that help move the conversation to its ideal conclusion: an informed decision on the part of the prospect.

Encourage team members to practice with the script before taking time to call prospects. They need to be familiar with how to handle the scripting software, and they need to feel confident enough to use the script as a guide, not a crutch. Role-playing with a colleague can be useful, too.

Ready for Sales Call Scripts to Guide More Productive Conversations?

The purpose of a sales script isn’t to provide a set of words that every salesperson must repeat verbatim on a sales call nor is it a magic incantation that secures a sale when said correctly. No, a script is a robust framework that helps a well-trained sales rep masterfully guide an interested prospect closer to a decision.

Are you using scripts as part of your sales process today? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Sales Call Scripts: A Sales Rep Tool, Not a Crutch appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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You did it. You’ve got your first job as a new sales development rep (SDR). Congratulations!

I’m sure you’ve already gotten a few important things out of the way, right? A full cup of coffee? Check. LinkedIn profile in social-selling shape? Check. A terrific email signature set up? Check.

Your cold-calling game face? Err. Umm. Check-ish(?).

If you find yourself in the “check-ish” column, don’t worry. A lot of us have been in cold call reluctance mode before. You aren’t alone.

Maybe you are one of those “cold calling is dead” types who don’t see the value in cold calling. First, you’re dead wrong about that idea. Second, cold calling is an excellent complement to other forms of outreach (making it warm calling), which you’ll read about in just a bit.

Whether you’re just new to sales calls or you aren’t a believer, keep reading for some encouragement to get you started.

10 Cold Calling Tips to Try Now

Even the most experienced members of a sales team can feel stressed, frustrated, and even intimidated when it comes to making cold calls. As a new SDR, maybe you feel too inexperienced. Perhaps you’re afraid you won’t meet quota. Maybe picking up the phone puts you outside of your comfort zone.

These cold calling tips and techniques can help you master the art of the cold call.

1. Shadow a Successful SDR

Your sales manager likely put you through onboarding and training. Maybe your new boss even sat with you on a few calls. If you still find yourself struggling or feeling anxious, set up some time to shadow one of your peers. Listen in to learn how he or she pulls off so many successful conversations, and ask questions afterward to learn why a specific approach works.

2. Quickly Follow Up With Inbound Leads (Just Not Too Quickly)

If you want to baby-step your way into the role of the cold caller, contacting inbound leads is a great place to start. After all, these people filled out a form on the company website. They are interested.

When calling these prospects, you need to get in touch with them within the first hour. However, don’t fall for “within the first five minutes” myth. Fake news — or at least, outdated news. Telfer School of Management from the University of Ottawa found that when it comes to the inbound leads, “the best odds for first contact with a lead are between 10 – 60 minutes of a query, and not the first five minutes.”

3. Be Persistent With Your Follow Up

Now, I know you would never treat the contacts on your call list to the old “one and done” method. Right? But are you calling more than four times? I mean, only 10 percent of sales are closed after four follow-up attempts while 80 percent of sales are closed after five – 12 contacts.

OK, so all of your five-to-12 attempts don’t have to be phone calls, but you do need to ensure that calling is one of your touch points and that you remain persistent in your efforts.

4. Call Every Day Throughout the Day

Telfer School of Management found that all business days and business times have a similar response ratio from leads. Instead of trying to avoid a bad time or attempting to find the “magic” times to call for your industry, make your call attempts throughout the day, every day. Varying your times on follow-up calls to specific contacts to rule out issues with individual schedules, but don’t get hung up on recommended, “best times to call.” After all, don’t you think those are the times when everyone else will be trying to call, too?

5. Focus on Call Durations

Our friends at Telfer School of Management have another tip when it comes to sales reps making cold calls: keep the decision maker on the phone for as long as possible, within reason, to build rapport and improve the likelihood of a win. Telfer’s finding is that for every increase by minute in call duration, you increase your odds of success with the lead by 6X.

6. Prepare Yourself for Every Call

You’ve got your product or service knowledge down pat. You are ready to dial now to dazzle people with your sales charm, but have you taken enough time to familiarize with your cold call script?

Ugh.

I know! A lot of salespeople hate scripts, but you don’t have to read them word for word. Think of your script as a guide. Don’t memorize — use the points to help you have a natural conversation.

Another prep tip to consider has to do with getting to know your prospect. Now, you may know every potential pain point the typical buyer persona has, but what do you know about THIS person whom you’re about to dial? A quick review of someone’s social profiles can provide you with some useful information to help you build rapport or home in more quickly on a real point of pain for the contact or a recent trigger event for the person’s business.

7. Focus on a Prospect’s Needs, Not What You Want

Tip seven can be a tough one for people who are new to the sales development game. After all, you’ve got a quota to meet. Your manager expects you to set a certain number of appointments or qualify a certain amount of leads per month. You’ve got a goal, a MISSION.

Guess what: your customer has his or her own goals, too. More likely than not, listening to you wax poetic your product or service is not at the top of the list. However, people will often stop to listen when you’re focused on them and their needs.

Don’t start your call spewing off product features. Ask questions that help you get to know what someone needs and how you can help them get what they want through your brand’s offering. If you can’t meet the need, give some advice or a useful idea. When the prospect is ready what you have to offer, he or she will remember how helpful you were and may call you first.

8. Learn to love “no” and manage all the other stuff.

Unfortunately, you will hear many shutdowns as an SDR: “no, “not interested,” “we already have a solution,” “we don’t have the budget,” as well as just the silence of unreturned calls. All that NO can be a little disheartening if you don’t learn how to love it.

First, learn to love the hard “no.” A firm “no” where the prospect sees no value or has absolutely no interest is freedom. You can leave disqualified and disinterested folks in your rearview mirror and move on to the next contact in search of a “yes.”  

Second, learn to live with some silence. As I mentioned earlier in this post, only 10 percent of sales are won after four follow-up attempts. You need to make eight or more attempts for success, meaning you’ll be sitting with a lot of unanswered calls and emails. Be persistent. Don’t give up until you’ve made enough tries to count a lead out of the running.

Third, learn to overcome objections that may merely be deflections. Not every objection is a hard no, so don’t take them that way. Find out why someone isn’t interested when they say “not interested.” Ask questions when they mention that they already have a solution. When is the contract up? What if you could offer comparable or better services? Check out Mike Brooks’ blog for plenty of tips on how to overcome objections.

9. Use other touchpoints to warm up calls

So you aren’t terribly fond of cold calling? Lucky for you, you can use other touchpoints to warm up your cold calls. Try engaging with a prospect on social media before calling. Share a relevant blog post, comment on a prospect’s update. Be authentic and friendly, but don’t get all stalker-y or spammy.

Other options include SMS text messaging (if you have permission) and email.

10. Embrace technology to help you make more calls.

There are tons of terrific sales tech options to help you be more effective and productive in your sales job. We’ve previously written about several fantastic tools for improving your sales outreach when it comes to searching for prospects, learning about companies and industries, and connecting with prospects.

Ready to Cold Call?

The tips above should point you in the right direction if you’re new to the world of sales development and cold calling. However, don’t forget that you’ve got your sales manager, peers, and a ton of sales resources online to help you improve, too.

What’s your biggest question as a first-time cold caller? Let’s discuss it in the comments below.

The post Cold Calling Tips for New SDRs appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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A guest blog by Diego Pineda, Senior Content Creator at CloudTask

We all want to buy stuff, but we don’t like to be sold to. There’s a problem right there for all of us involved in digital marketing and sales.

How do you generate better sales leads without being pushy or sounding too salesy on your website? Read on to find out.

Let’s start with the basics. What is a lead? A lead is someone in the first stage of the purchasing process, a potential buyer who is interested in your product or service.

There are three steps in your relationship with your leads:

  • Attract them
  • Qualify them
  • Convert them to customers

So let’s look at 4 tips to generate better sales leads online.

#1 – Create an awesome problem-solving, benefit-loaded landing page

A well-designed landing page has one key purpose: to turn the visitor into a lead by getting his or her contact information.

How do you accomplish that? Delivering value.

Your product or service surely has many benefits that will improve the life of your buyer persona in many ways. Your landing page must communicate those benefits clearly and in an appealing way.

Check out this great landing page from Uber.

Your landing page should only have one action step: to sign up for a demo, download an ebook or schedule a call – and it must be very obvious, without distractions or other buttons that may pull visitors away to other pages. In the example above, Uber has a big form high up on the page with a clear call to action: Sign up now.

Both copy and design are essential, so work with your team to create an awesome landing page, or use one of the many apps out there to create it.

#2 – Drive traffic to your landing page or website

Your beautifully designed landing page is of no use if you get no visitors. So the next step is to drive traffic to your site.

You can use social media selling, content marketing, and paid for methods to drive traffic.

  • Social media selling is about connecting with people on social networks and posting helpful content that will attract visitors to your site. If you’re in B2B sales, focus on LinkedIn; if you’re in B2C, focus on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, depending on your client’s demographics.
  • Content marketing is a long-term strategy to drive organic traffic to your website, providing free content related to your product or service. Content marketing will establish you as an expert in your field or industry, through the publication of blog posts, videos, reports, white papers, infographics and more. You can distribute this content through different channels and always link back to your landing page. The reasoning is that if people like your content, they will click on your link and sign up for more.
  • Paid methods to drive traffic can take different forms. You can do paid search advertising, bidding on keywords on search engines like Google or Bing, and place your ad in front of people already searching for those terms (this is known as pay-per-click or PPC). Or you can do social media advertising, placing boosted posts or customized ads in front of your target audience. Every major social network has its own advertising platform.

Use a combination of all these methods to drive traffic to your landing page and obtain better leads.

#3 – Qualify them quickly with live chat

It used to be that to qualify a lead you had to email back and forth during a matter of days or months. Now, you can do this in no time with the power of live chat.

In fact, the call to action button on your landing page can be “Chat with Us Now” or something along those lines. Once you are chatting with them, you can use a series of questions to know if they match your offering and where they are in their buyer’s journey.

Some things you may want to find out are:

  • Are they the decision maker?
  • Do they have the intention to buy or are they just researching?
  • Do they acknowledge that you can resolve their pain point?

There are a few best practices for using sales chat that you can learn, but the most important one is to give a quick and personalized response. This is known as direct engagement with your leads – and more engaged leads means a better experience for them, which results in more sales and more referrals.

Be mindful though, that having a team available to chat live with your website visitors around the clock, may stretch out your resources, especially if you’re a growing company just starting out. You have two options: use chatbots to prequalify your leads through an initial contact or outsource sales chat to a managed service team – or do both!

#4 – Optimize your website for conversion

There’s no point in having lots of traffic to your website if you don’t have an effective strategy to convert them into customers.

Here’s where optimization comes in, especially in two areas: search engine optimization (SEO) and website optimization.

SEO is about making your website friendly to Google and other search engines so they will rank you up higher in their search results (which, of course, results in organic traffic). Although SEO can seem technical and complicated at times because we are working with algorithms, it’s basically selecting keywords related to how leads would search your product and then writing quality content with those keywords in such a way that search engines would understand it.

Optimizing your website for conversions, on the other hand, is about focusing on a specific goal you want for your visitors, and guiding them towards that goal. Whether you want them to buy or subscribe or schedule a demo, be specific on that goal and lead them there.

Some websites are like mazes, where you can take different paths and get lost in a myriad of information; others are like a one-way street, where you’ll inevitably get to a unique destination. A website optimized for conversions is like the latter.

Ready to generate better sales leads?

It’s hard work to set up and optimize your website, then drive traffic and convert them to customers – but it’s worth it. So chop-chop!


About the Author

Diego Pineda is a Senior Content Creator at CloudTask, a managed workforce provider for growing companies looking for Sales, Customer Success and Customer Support solutions. Their mission is to find prospects, nurture leads, close deals, and retain customers, to enable you to reach your business goals.

The post 4 Tips to Generate Better Sales Leads Online appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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Telemarketing. Something about that word makes people’s skin crawl. However, B2B telemarketing is a valuable option when it comes to high-quality lead generation, something that 28 percent of respondents pinned as their biggest challenge in a survey by GetApp.

Is your team having actual conversations with potential customers? Authentic human interaction can have a far greater impact than a digital correspondence such as a social media advertisement or a cookie-cutter, templated email.

Telemarketing can help your team generate qualified leads with business-to-business customers. Your reps just have to keep some points in mind when making those phone calls if you want to be successful.

If you’re exploring B2B telemarketing at your company for the first time or have hit a rocky spot, you’ll want to keep reading. Discover how to make B2B telemarketing work for your brand with our eight tips for success.

Apply These 8 B2B Telemarketing Tips for Success

B2B telemarketing is not an easy task. You can’t simply set up a call center, hire people, give them a phone, and expect results. These eight tips will help you lead your telemarketing team to success.

1. Set realistic goals for telemarketing campaigns.

Establishing tangible goals for your telemarketing campaigns allows you to measure progress and adds something for your salespeople to strive towards. Don’t forget to include deadlines for your goals. If you’re working with long-term goals, split them into smaller milestones to make them more manageable for you and your team.

2. Be quick and persistent with follow-up.

Don’t expect to get the results you’re looking for on the first attempt — or even the second, third, or fourth contact attempt for that matter. Reps must make an average of 5.7 contact attempts to reach a positive outcome with a lead; that is true even for leads who are a good fit.

You’ll also want to take into account that most leads won are contacted three to four times within the first four to five days of being a lead in the sales cycle. Formulate your sales cadence so that your reps reach out early and often.

3. Build and/or buy quality contact lists.

There are many ways to build lists. A few methods are to use LinkedIn, purchase lead databases, or create lists based on website visitors – a tracking software can identify your site visitors’ companies. On-page forms can help you collect interested prospect’s information. You can make inbound and outbound marketing work to your advantage.

Have your team update your lists as they make calls. You want to keep those lists updated and clean, right? If an individual is no longer in a specific role, note that information to ensure that someone else on your team doesn’t call them again with the wrong info.

When purchasing lists, make sure you’re buying them and not renting. When you rent a list, you cannot call the individuals after a set time if they haven’t purchased from your company. If you’re nurturing leads, you’ll “lose” those opportunities when the list rental expires.

Check that the list includes adequate demographic data for your sales team to identify ideal customers. Look for data points such as industry, number of employees, annual revenue, and decision maker roles.

4. Use sales scripts as a guide.

Even the best reps can benefit from a top-notch script. However, don’t expect your sales reps to read your B2B telemarketing scripts word for word. Consider scripts as more of a guide and give your team the flexibility to be natural and authentic in their sales conversations.

Consider these Top Tips for Scripts That Get Bigger Deals when you’re creating the sales scripts for your team. You may also want to think about adding a mention about a loyal and well-known client into the script. Referencing a brand leader that has similar pain points to your prospective buyers intensifies your company’s credibility.

5. Coach your team to improve their skills as B2B telemarketers.

Companies equipped with coaching programs achieve their sales objectives 9 percent more than those that do not. Here are a few ideas of where to focus your ongoing coaching attention:

  • Ensure your sales representatives know how to overcome common objections or delay tactics like, “send me more information,” or  “we’ve already got a solution.”
  • Present your team with ways to overcome cold call anxiety. This could be through role-playing or having a shadow on a live call.
  • Train them on how to leave voicemails that invite a step forward in the sales cycle, not necessarily a callback. Learn how to map out and develop your voicemail strategy in The Sales Voicemail Playbook for SDRs.
  • Provide your team with ongoing product training. As products evolve and new ones are added, it’s important for salespeople to be informed and trained so they can explain the features and values to prospects.
6. Integrate B2B telemarketing into your overall strategy.

As a business in today’s market, you’re likely using a variety of channels to connect with your prospective customers, i.e., social media, email, telephone, SMS messaging, etc. Instead of thinking about telemarketing as a separate piece of your business, incorporate it into your omnichannel approach. Use it to as another outlet to create a touchpoint with your prospects.

7. Analyze and adapt.

Identify what’s working, what’s not, and then make the necessary changes. A/B test your scripts to see what resonates with your prospects and look at segments to see what is generating the best leads. Continue with the practices producing the best leads and end the others.

8. Use the appropriate software.

A sales engagement platform like VanillaSoft enables your team to spend more time engaging with prospects and less time inputting data or searching for information. Keep them on the phone selling! Our queue-based lead routing technology has helped sales teams triple their contact attempts.

Are You Ready to Conquer B2B Telemarketing?

B2B telemarketing results can vary significantly due to industry, but your strategy and adherence to best practices like those above can have a positive impact. Expect a considerable effect on your B2B telemarketing results from applying these eight tips.

Do you have any other B2B telemarketing advice that works well for you? Please share it in the comments below!

The post B2B Telemarketing: Make it Work for Your Brand appeared first on VanillaSoft.

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