Presented by Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring, and Kristen Nicholas, senior sales executive with Ad Sales Genius
Today's focus (during Part 1 of this Digital Selling Skills series). Sales enablement plays a key role in today’s consultative selling process. Prospecting, which is today's focus, means more than cold calling. Through automation, you can better enable your sales team to create in-bound, outbound and referral lead generation based on thoughtful market segmentation. Professional proposals and the way your team presents itself will help to differentiate yourself in the market.
Know where leads are sourced. It’s important to know what percentage comes from customer referrals, outbound marketing, B2B email, advertising, community events, internal lead generation, etc. Charity Huff said she is always surprised when sales teams don’t know where their leads are coming from. Knowing this data will tell you what’s working and what’s not.
Make the most of your whole toolbox for advertisers. Use your own marketing services to reach targets. Put together an ad campaign that helps your sales team reach advertisers (for example: an awareness campaign, SEO tied to content marketing, social media, etc.).
The role a CRM can play in your success. Are you recording your sales touches for each contact? Kristen Nicholas says automated recording of calls and emails leads to more informed prospecting. Visual pipeline management (showing leads as cold, warm, hot, closing) makes it easier for sales reps and managers to better plan their follow-up efforts. Tag your prospects by category (summer advertiser, sporting goods, steakhouse, etc.) to make it easier to send targeted messages to the right groups at the right time. Automated proposals and contracts translate to better organization on your end — and a better sales experience on your advertisers’ end. For managers, the data can help identify training and coaching opportunities needed by the sales team.
You asked: If your company doesn’t use a CRM, what suggestions do you have to build and manage a pipeline? Kristen Nicholas made the case for doing some research and for investigating whether this might be a possibility for your company. If it's not an option, she noted that some sales reps use Google sheets or Excel; while that works to a point, it’s just a lot more work and not as efficient.
Why You, Why You Now. Outbound is not the same as cold calling. Understand who you are reaching out to and why that individual would care to engage with you. Be persistent. Expect that it will take at least 12 follow up emails or other outreach to get the attention of decision makers.
You asked: What’s a realistic timeline for making those 12 touchpoints? Charity Huff suggests 2-3 weeks (using a combination of emails, phone calls, videos and case studies every few days).
Do your homework. Well-researched personal introduction emails will establish you as the authority in the marketplace. Research companies in your pipeline through their owned-marketing properties (their website, Facebook page, etc.), through third-party tools like Spyfu, search them out on Google and look at how their top three competitors portray themselves online (compare that to what you find for your target).
Referrals … regardless of what we are buying … are the most effective leads. Charity Huff hopes all sales reps will ask their long-standing clients for some referrals. She cited a Salesforce statistic that shows 84% of prospects usually respond to a sales rep when recommended by someone inside the company. Keep your emails asking for referrals short and sweet!
“I’ll be candid with you.” Your front-line sales managers shouldn't be using phrases like this. Charity Huff finds role playing can help sales reps learn to avoid saying things that are fluff and don’t portray them as someone who can be helpful to a client’s business. Another good tip: add research/notes to your CRM about past clients so your sales reps don’t feel like they are starting from scratch.
Use expansion questions with your prospects to learn more about them. Tell me about … Walk me through … Describe for me … And, then Kristen Nicholas wants you to listen with the intent to understand (not the intent to respond).
You asked: What are some of the things to consider when picking a CRM? Charity Huff says it begins with what is most important for them to manage. This can be as simple as managing contacts … and as robust as setting workflows, the production process, accounting features and more. Start with defining what’s most important to you.
Best practices with email marketing: Subject lines drive open rates. Follow the rule of three (three words in the subject line and three sentences per email). Use voicemails to drive email response. Be careful to not sell features and ad products while trying to earn the appointment. Focus on relevant case studies and the prospect.
Say it with video. Videos will grab people’s attention. Charity Huff suggested creating brief videos by category that can be emailed to prospects sharing a recent success story. Put a one-page case study on the screen and speak to what you did for that client. “You’ve always been a great client of mine and I wanted to be sure you had this information.”
Do your reps know their numbers? Sales and goal reporting are both crucial to managing and retaining a healthy, productive sales team! When your reps know where they stand with regard to monthly, quarterly and annual goals, it's very motivating.
You asked: How do we keep our real estate clients running in the paper versus through the mail, online and on their own websites during the pandemic? Charity Huff says newspapers are finding success by making it very easy for realtors to swap an ad in listings as they need to and making it as multi-media as possible. Newspaper websites are favored through Google, so there is benefit there, as well.
You asked: A lot of clients during this time have found that they can do their own ads through social media. How can I continue to show the value of using our company while being cost-effective for them? Part 4 of this webinar series will look at this in more depth, but Charity Huff always goes back to the value of the audience your local newspaper offers. “You have a unique value proposition in your market. You need to puff up your chest, take your very best Superman pose and own your brand. Sell based off of the value of your brand and your audience.”
Connect with our presenters:
If you took part in the first module on Sept. 16 (Jump-Start Sales — Building Your Pipeline), you do not need to sign up again for the additional modules. We'll send you a link to join Part 2, 3 and 4.
If you missed Part 1, simply register at this link for the upcoming modules.