I recently had the opportunity to appear and interview with Nathan Latka, the Founder of Heyo. In the video, Nathan and I recapped the launch and growth story of SalesNexus in 2003 using real data to inspire other small to medium sized businesses that are looking to increase their market share, customer lifetime, and overall lead generation.
Nathan is a frequent contributor on Inside Facebook, All Facebook, and Social Media Today. His content is taught in the best-selling book, Facebook Marketing for Dummies and he is an expert in Facebook marketing, social analytics and social selling.
Good job! You’ve made it through the first leg of January. You’ve been given sales goals and you are doing all that you can to reach them. You may be starting to feel as if you won’t reach them or you are starting to get behind.
You may even find yourself in a slump where prospects are too busy with the beginning of the year to return calls, your pipeline is drying up, and you can see the “salesperson of the year” award and nice vacation dream fading into the distance.
Let’s stop right there. Let’s leave that mentality in 2018.
Whether you’re starting 2019 off with a bang, or are struggling to keep up, the following tips are for you!
Use these tips to get on the phone with more potential customers, and increase your bottom line to reach those (not so lofty) 2019 Sales Goals:
Make sure your calendars are synced to SalesNexus (How to guides for Google or Outlook). Set alarms for your tasks and meetings to be notified before important events or calls.
Automate Your Email Marketing to your Prospects and Clients (ask us about a SalesNexus Automation plan) Create an email campaign asking your prospects to schedule a time with you, and make your follow ups effortless. Potential Clients will appreciate the consistency and tenacity of your professional communication.
Measure your sales activities using your CRM so you can improve your close rate, monitor your pipeline, and evaluate WEEKLY what’s working and what is not. Shoot for the goal of having 3x your sales goal in your pipeline at all times. (Here’s how to set up Sales Dashboards in SalesNexus)
Continue utilizing your existing network. Have you reached out to your current customers to ask for a referral? Chances are they would love to refer you to friends/family! Consider setting up an automation campaign to do this for you.
Are you asking for more? When you send over a proposal are you also adding additional services for them to choose from? Are you going for that extra sale to make their business “more sticky”?
For more tips you can utilize today, check out our most recent webinars here.
If you own or market a business, you’ll recognize this dilemma: you’re not meeting your goals for new sales. You ask yourself, “Do I need to hire more salespeople?” Of course, that means more money going to your salary line, and less to other key priorities. So, you ask yourself another question, “Are my current sales reps efficient? Are they making the best use of their time?”
On Average, Salespeople Spend Only 1/3 of Their Time Making Sales
The good news is that you probably don’t need to increase the size of your sales team. The bad news is that, if your business is like most, your sales reps are spending a lot of time doing things other than closing sales. According to a recent survey from Inside Sales, for example:
Salespeople on average spend just 37% of their time on activities directly related to sales
Almost 16% of their time goes to meetings and “customer interactions”
Almost 13% is dedicated to your company’s internal policies
About 12% of salespeople’s time is spent researching and prioritizing leads
There’s a Better Way: Marketing Automation
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way for your sales team to spend more of their time doing what you hired them to do, and less on the grunt work they’re currently doing? Fortunately, there is—it’s called marketing automation, defined by Salesforce this way:
“Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes…automatically. With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text…Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximize efficiency.”
How Can Marketing Automation Help Maximize Sales?
That sounds good, but what specifically can marketing automation do for your business? Well, to some extent that depends on where you’re currently experiencing sales inefficiencies. In general, however, marketing automation helps businesses improve efficiency in the following 4 ways:
Prioritize leads with lead scoring: according to HubSpot, only about 25% of the leads marketing sends to sales are “legitimate,” meaning ready to buy. For salespeople, that’s a lot of wasted time following up on leads who are highly unlikely to close. Lead scoring is a process in which leads are ranked based on a variety of demographic and behavioral characteristics, so sales reps know which are the best to pursue. This both saves them time and increases their confidence level.
Empower your sales team with CRM: CRM stands for “customer relationship management.” It’s software which will capture the details of every interaction your business has with customers and prospective customers. That’s a lot of data for your salespeople, all of it neatly organized and accessible through a user-friendly dashboard. With the right (which is to say, customized) CRM software, your sales team will have the critically important information they need to close sales and save a lot of time in the process.
Nurture leads with triggered emails: salespeople spend a lot of their time with follow-up phone calls to leads. With a marketing automation platform in place, much of that follow-up can happen with triggered emails—that is, emails which are sent automatically by your system in response to key actions taken by the lead. If, for example, a lead views a product page or downloads content on your website, the system will automatically send them an email relevant to that action. This frees up your sales team for more important, sales-related work.
Let your sales reps know what’s working: members of your sales team shouldn’t need to guess about which of your marketing strategies—and which of their sales approaches—are bearing fruit. With marketing automation, you can effortlessly measure the effectiveness (and the return on investment) of all your sales and marketing initiatives. That helps your sales team focus on those activities which are most likely to produce results and frees them up from having to make those determinations on their own.
Think about it: with your sales reps spending little more than 1 of every 3 hours actually selling, you’re wasting their time and, more importantly, losing a lot of potential sales. Said differently, the investment you make in sound marketing automation tools will, if your business is like most, more than pay for itself in increased sales and profitability.
Fortunately, there are experienced, competent agencies which can help you choose the best automation tools for your business. To learn more about the ways our CRM, marketing automation and sales lead generation services can help your business boost sales, contact us today.
Successful salespeople rarely credit their organizational skills for their accomplishments but instead consider their art of persuasion to be their strongest asset. Yet those same people readily acknowledge that being organized, motivated, and able to multitask will do wonders to boost their closing rates and overall success. Many sales managers have found the SMART goals concept be one of the most successful techniques for improving the performance of their sales force, particularly when used in tandem with a CRM and lead generators.
The SMART Goals Broken Down
The SMART acronym employs the following components to help salespeople reach their goals:
An exploration of each SMART element can reveal its true value and ultimate impact through improved results.
Creating a Specific Sales Approach
Your sales team needs to know what is expected of them. By creating specific guidelines and directions, you are laying the groundwork for their success, which in turn feeds the success of the company. Vague and uncertain commands (like “Go sell a lot!” or “Do your best!) are worse than no direction at all. After all, what is a lot or what is a person’s best?
Effective sales managers understand the importance of their role in kickstarting a sales campaign. By plotting out clear expectations, along with a proposed plan of approach, the sales team is given focus and a map to their success. With nothing left in the dark, you have a sale force ready to zero in on the job at hand: making sales.
The Importance of Measurable Results
Even the best-laid plans can go awry, which means that the ability to measure the results of the specific approach given to the sales team in the first stage of the SMART goal setting is of utmost importance. Typically, all that is required in most cases is the modest tweaking of certain goals.
For instance, if the original plan assumed that the sales team will close 20% of their new prospects and the first week comes in with a 15% closure rate, this measurement indicates a need to boost appointments, reexamine their sales approach, or a combination of the two.
Establishing Attainable Goals
Equally vital to the success of your team is the establishment of attainable goals. While every sales manager wants their team to conquer the world, by setting interim goals that are attainable for the average salesperson on the force, top performers are already motivated to smash those interim goals while the rest of the force are encouraged to sharpen their own sales skills without feeling as if an ax is delicately dangling above their head, threatening to drop at the first misstep.
The other value of setting attainable goals is that, as your sales team reaches them their interim goals, they are encouraged and inspired to improve their initial results and to climb in the sales ranks. There is nothing a sales manager loves to see more than a team of salespeople vying for top position and breaking personal records in their effort.
Creating Realistic Objectives
In addition to setting attainable goals, creating realistic objectives are just as critical. By providing top tools to your team, like the Sales NexusCRM, you effectively give each team member their own brilliant and dedicated assistant. Such an automated assistant can perform miracles when it comes to juggling the many prospects that require following up and continue churning out new leads to chase down and add to the pipeline.
With the advantage of such intelligent automation and client management, a sales force can deliver awesome numbers and become superstars in their own right. It’s no wonder that the top salespeople turn to the best CRM programs; they are interested in achieving the best bottom-line results so they can keep setting new records.
Set Timely Goals
Finally, there needs to be a finish line so your team knows where they are going and when they have arrived. By setting timely goals, the sales manager puts the final piece of the sales puzzle onto the table. Now it is up to the team to put it all together and see the larger picture.
Most importantly, with a deadline put on the calendar, the sales force can set a steady but strong pace to meet, and hopefully surpass, their sales goals. Reaching or exceeding goals means the paychecks keep coming and may grow bigger over time.
A smart sales manager will employ the SMART goals strategy to draw the best out of their sales force. An even smarter sales manager brings on the smartest CRM and lead generator, SalesNexus CRM, to skyrocket those results and profits.
Sales Team Metrics – So, how good is your sales team? If your answer is fuzzy (as in, “they’re pretty good,” or “I’m sure they know what they’re doing”), you could be wasting a lot of salary on salespeople who lack either the proper training or adequate motivation to do their jobs right—and that could be hurting your business, big time.
How Good Is the Average Salesperson?
The fact is, most salespeople don’t do a particularly good job. Consider for example these metrics from Propeller:
On average, a successful sale requires a minimum of 5 follow-ups, but more than half of all salespeople stop after just one
More than 90% of salespeople never get to that critical 5th follow-up
Just 8% of a company’s sales representatives are (on average) making a whopping 80% of all their sales
Just 63% of sales reps regularly meet their sales quotas (eMarketer)
It Might Not Be Their Fault
Does this mean the bulk of your sales force is taking afternoon snoozes or playing Candy Crush when they should be reading sales reports or following up on leads? Probably not. For many salespeople, including some with the weakest performance on the team, the problem is a lack of training, performance tracking or proper sales tools (like CRM and marketing automation). The good news is that, while lack of motivation or talent is tough nuts to crack, having salespeople who are simply ill-equipped is a problem you can fix.
So, How Do I Fix the Problem?
Well, first you need to determine what the problem is. If it’s a lack of training, you need to put someone (either internal or external) in charge of effectively educating your sales reps. If it’s a lack of automation tools, you need to find the best ones for your business and buy them. And, if you’re not adequately tracking ever rep’s performance, you need to start doing so—today, and that means tracking the right sales metrics.
What Metrics Should I Be Tracking?
Of course, every business is different and only you can decide which data will give you the sales edge you need. In general, however, you’ll want to track at a minimum the following 5 data points:
The number of new leads identified: generally, identifying qualified leads is the responsibility of your marketing team, not your salespeople. If fact, the poor quality of leads they received is one of the chief complaints registered by sales teams.
There are several solutions to having an inadequate number of qualified leads in your pipeline. You could, for example, bring your marketing and sales teams together so that salespeople have more input constructing criteria. You might also implement a “lead scoring” system to rank leads so salespeople know which leads are most likely to produce sales.
The number of calls sales reps make to new leads: as noted above, most successful sales require at least 5 follow-ups, so you need to know which of your reps are giving up after 1 or 2. You could ask your reps to track this metric themselves, but the truth is, some won’t, and some of those who do won’t tell you the truth. To get an accurate count, install some good CRM software if you don’t already have it.
The number of calls made to previous leads: sometimes sales reps make the requisite number of calls to new leads, but those new leads at some point fall off the radar. Successful salespeople know how to go back to the trough and restart the process. For that reason, you need to know how many calls they’ve made to each previous lead.
The number of follow-up calls reps make to already-engaged leads: sometimes sales reps think that getting an appointment equals “mission accomplished.” In truth, the appointment is simply the start of phase 2. Leads who are interested enough to meet with a sales rep aren’t necessarily (or even likely) sold yet. That means you need to keep track of how many calls your reps are making to leads who are already engaged.
The number of proposals generated: when a lead is sufficiently engaged to request a proposal, your odds of generating a sale have just increased exponentially—think of it as being on the 10-yard line. So, you need to know how many proposals each of your reps is generating. You also need to know the dollar amount of each proposal, as well as the aggregate dollar amount for all proposals.
If your sales team isn’t doing its job, you’re not going to make enough sales, and if you’re not making enough sales, your business is going to fold. Take the time to bring some precision to the performance of every sales rep. Reward those who lead the pack. Help those who have the ability to improve, and kindly usher those in neither of these categories out the door.
To learn more about the ways our CRM, marketing automation and lead generation services can improve the performance of your sales team, contact Sales Nexus today.
Blog Content – Sometimes salespeople are confused to spend their times working on blogging rather than cold calling leads or emailing old accounts. In fact, blogging could be the key to rekindling those relationships by using new, interesting content. Additionally, blogs are a source of incoming traffic that could generate the next sale you were not even considering. That traffic comes via SEO and organic interest in the topic. In all, there are many reasons for companies to engage in persistent, innovative blogging over time.
Creating Valuable Assets
The marketing team and sales team must work together to create the blog topics and content. These have to be applied on a regular basis and by creative writers. They require expertise and deep research. Potential areas of interest include:
The lifetime cost of ownership comparisons
Service Level comparisons
These type of topics are actually top of mind for the client. When they see this type of content, their interest is stoked and they invest the time and energy to learn about the content that was created. At the very minimum, it will help them understand how to operate their business better by using products or services better. Ideally, it will create a value proposition for the salesperson to discuss.
Once the value proposition is established, it is much easier to pursue and close the sale. Salespeople can engage in much more wide-ranging conversations. For that reason, the team has to create as valuable content as possible.
For example, imagine a salesperson calls on an old lead. The first thing they might say is, “We did an in-depth study of all the products on the market, would you like to take a look?” Rather than asking for something, the salesperson is offering something. That is much more likely to create a long conversation. The client will be interested to understand the pros and cons of all the offerings, without doing the work themselves. For that reason, they will address the salesperson and come back into active conversation with them.
Last but not least, valuable blogs have a habit of creating brand new customers from thin air. As these blog topics circulate online, interested potential clients find them in their search queries. That leads them to make an inquiry in the contact form on the site. Soon enough, a salesperson is in contact with the lead and closing the sale.
From this perspective, creating a blog is extremely cost effective because it can produce unlimited leads over time. The cost of the lead is the time and effort of the salesperson or contributor to the blog.
Search Engine Optimization
In addition to creating organic new leads, blogging is great to increase SEO results. The search algorithms prize consistent, original content. Additionally, they are very receptive to links from other sites pointing to your site.
A new, unique blog will generate a lot of links from other authors or people online. Whether the links are from other blogs, traditional sites, Twitter, Facebook or another platform, the links will increase your page’s search rankings. Blog content helps the entire site do well and get organic traffic for purchases.
SalesNexus is a leading provider of digital marketing and sales strategy. The firm has great expertise in producing innovative blog content. For more information, please contact us.
Salespeople CRM Excuses – Salespeople can be finicky, but you don’t want them any other way. After all, they are the divas of your company, setting their own schedules and driven by results instead of sitting at their desk waiting for the whistle at the end of the shift.
That being said, you still want your sales staff to have access to the top tools designed to boost their closing rate. Of course, the top tool that any salesperson should be armed with is a CRM, formally known as a customer relationship management program. A good CRM works better than the sharpest secretary you can hire; it will remind you of when you need to follow up with a prospect or client, as well as offer you reasons to reach out to them and remain in their memory, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
So why wouldn’t your sale staff want to leverage their skills by automating aspects of work so that nothing falls through the cracks? Here are four excuses your salespeople will typically proffer, along with appropriate responses to help them get beyond their stubbornness and on to increase their closing rate.
1. It’s Too Complicated
Of course, a quality CRM program will be complicated! It is attempting to juggle and control a growing list of prospects and clients, with the intent of making sure that salespeople can keep their promises. Even the sharpest salesperson can be tempted to throw their arms up in despair at first glance of a comprehensive CRM program. It’s the sales manager’s job to change that despair to enthusiasm by demonstrating how that comprehensiveness will serve them better than a human assistant.
A good sales manager understands that salespeople want to be taking action, not inputting stale data, such as phone numbers, emails, and other pertinent data concerning their clients and their prospects. By showing sales staff how to import much of this information from their computers or phones, salespeople will quickly see how to get on board and running with little delay. Often, a little work on the front end will relieve tons of future tasks.
2. I Didn’t Have Input in the Purchase of the CRM
As mentioned earlier, salespeople are prima donnas and want to be treated specially. Sometimes their egos are easily bruised when they feel as if they have been overlooked or ignored, particularly in their area of expertise. To have a manager plop a new program onto their desk with the command to “learn it” as quickly as possible often ruffles their delicate feathers.
Of course, new sales staff coming on board are less inclined to complain about adapting to a system that is in place and used by other sales colleagues. However, when introducing a CRM to an existing sales staff, offering a heads up and asking for input prior to acquiring the software will help immensely and solidify their support and enthusiasm for the new software. In fact, the sales staff may suggest some excellent features that are worth including in the final software package.
Most importantly, emphasize that, as sales manager, it is your job to streamline their work; asking them to do the grunt work of researching and testing out different CRM packages would unwisely take them out of their sales game, which is their strong suit and why they were hired. In essence, stroke their egos and assure them that their worth is too great to waste on trying out different software programs, but that their input is highly valued and respected.
3. Management Can’t Help Me Through CRM Impasses
This is a valid concern and excuse but can be easily surmounted and dismissed by making sure that management knows the CRM inside and out. When a salesperson is firing on all cylinders, every manager wants all systems to be running smoothly and swiftly. If that salesperson is getting bogged down on what should be simple tasks, they will lose steam fast.
Over time, every salesperson will learn the ins and outs of their CRM, but if they know that their manager already knows the ropes they can tap into that knowledge without losing a beat in their sales efforts, thus learning practical applications on the go.
4. It’s Too Hard to Set It Up
Again, this is a no-brainer to overcome. Installing software is never that tricky and by finding the right CRM that will smoothly support the integration of existing data, your sales staff will be delightedly surprised at how quickly everything can be set up.
Most importantly, as manager, being by their side as they are being introduced to the new program can remove any discomfort or hesitation they may be feeling. Even more important, assure the sales staff that regular memos will be sent around offering tips and shortcuts that will help them get more out of their CRM, as well as tricks designed to increase their productivity and closing rates.
Once their concerns are heard and addressed, sales managers usually find their sales team quick to adapt to the chosen CRM system and often the first to sing the praises of automating their sales process, which both simplifies their lives and boosts their income.