Monthly Archives: April 2015
Sales Prospecting Tips to Become More “Social”
To be successful in sales, you need to be vigilant in sales prospecting and looking for new leads. How to do that in the most time-efficient way is the question.
One crucial bit of information is to know your retention rate of business. If you retain, say, 80% of your business each year, that means you lose 20%. That 20% of lost business is the minimum amount that you need to replace. Knowing this number helps you be more strategic in your prospecting.
Like B2B sales, the element of prospecting has dramatically changed in today’s mobile, social, and digital world. There’s a lot of talk about the ultra-informed buyer who uses the Web for research before ever contacting a seller. Well, two can play that game. The same tools are available to buyers and sellers alike. It’s the savvy user who works them to their advantage.
In my previous blog post, I offered prospecting tips targeted to using LinkedIn: Tips for Using LinkedIn as Part of Your Prospecting Strategy. But, LinkedIn is only one of many free social tools that can amplify your prospecting results. The following are a few others, and new ones are appearing on a regular basis.
Google Alerts: This free service from Google allows you to “Monitor the web for interesting new content.” You might » Continue Reading.
Using LinkedIn for Sales
With “Sells” as my last name, it seems inevitable that I would make a career in sales.
I not only love sales, I love corporate B2B sales, even as the playing field has changed considerably during my career. When I started selling in the late 1980s in Los Angeles, we didn’t have cell phones. You had to pull over on the freeway, find a payphone, and keep a pocketful of quarters.
Now there are cell phones, the Internet, and social media platforms as tools of the trade. I often ask the 20-somethings in my training sessions to raise their hands if they’re on LinkedIn. Most raise their hands. When I ask how they use it for sales prospecting, I hear crickets and get blank stares.
Effective LinkedIn Prospecting
The key to using digital prospecting and in particular, prospecting on LinkedIn, is to not only be on it, but also to use it effectively as a professional sales tool. The following are some tips for effective LinkedIn prospecting strategy.
Profiles: Make sure your profile is professional, accurate, and complete. Choose your photograph carefully. If it’s a selfie, make sure it looks professional. Don’t use a party pic or cut yourself out of a group shot. Save pictures with your family, kids, and pets for Facebook.
Upgrades: Review the additional options available » Continue Reading.
Philadelphia, PA — April 24, 2015 — Richardson, a leading global sales training company, announced today the launch of a new and improved, back-end, real-time reporting analytics platform that will further enhance the effectiveness of their award-winning, mobile sales training reinforcement tool, Richardson QuickCheck® powered by Qstream®.
Richardson QuickCheck is an e-mail-based program that leverages salespeople’s mobile devices in order to deliver daily, bite-sized learning that is designed to help reinforce and sustain the knowledge and skills taught in Richardson’s sales training programs.
The new reporting analytics platform includes real-time performance heat maps that continuously analyze and present data, enabling a real-time understanding of how users are adapting to the desired behavior change and where additional coaching and skill development may be needed. QuickCheck analytic data is now able to be filtered, analyzed, and exported in many different ways through Qstream’s flexible tagging system.
The platform provides management and administrators with a set of new and standard sales management dashboards that feature hierarchical views that drill down on individual reps, team, and region performance. These new dashboards also provide weekly snapshot reports that display performance and engagement summaries, as well as proficiency comparisons within and across groups.
“At Richardson we regularly counsel our clients that training cannot be an event; it has to be bigger than three days of relevant learning and great facilitation in order to get behavior change back on-the-job. It » Continue Reading.
Social Selling: What It Is and What Sales Reps Should Be Doing
The old ways of selling are gone. In fact, you could say that the cart has officially come before the horse. The “cart” is, of course, a shopping cart (or the moment that a decision is made to buy offline in B2B terms), and the horse is the informed and influential salesperson. The reason for this turn of events is clear and simple: the Internet.
The familiar scenario of the bygone era in which the seller educates, informs, and convinces the buyer seems quaint now. As a buyer, can you imagine not researching something that you intend to buy before talking to a salesperson? The scales have certainly tipped in recent years to make selling a greater challenge than ever before. So much information is readily available for both sellers and buyers. Sales reps no longer control the information needed by buyers to make purchasing decisions. Customers are self-educating online.
For many purchasing decisions, the primary question is no longer, “Why should I buy this,” but rather, “Why should I buy this from you?” Savvy sales reps are tackling this dilemma by starting the process of social selling.
As defined in a recent article in Forbes*, “social selling is about salespeople building a strong personal brand. It is about understanding the role of content and how content can be used to tell a powerful and emotional story. And, » Continue Reading.
Benchmarks to Becoming a Trusted Advisor
In our last blog post we discussed, as a trusted advisor, how to earn your seat at the table as part of the buying process so that you are able to help shape opportunities rather than just react to them. Today we are going to review the road to becoming a trusted advisor to buyers and the several relationship benchmarks that sales professionals need to keep in mind on their journey.
Few things are more important than preparation when meeting with a buyer. How well you prepare can immediately differentiate you from the competition. The focus of your efforts should cover three important areas:
Strategic impact: What business goals and objectives is the buyer supporting with this purchase? Buyer needs: What’s important to the buyer on both a business and personal level? Technical preparation: Do you have a thorough knowledge of the product or service you’re selling?
Being prepared in the right ways, focusing on these three areas, can go a long way toward securing that elusive second meeting with buyers, especially on the executive level. If you don’t ask the right questions, if you can’t provide executives something they don’t already know, why should they buy from you?
Another important consideration in your preparations is to focus on leading, not lagging, indicators of success. Doing so adds relevancy to the conversation.
At Richardson, » Continue Reading.
Becoming a Trusted Advisor Can Earn You a Seat at the Table
“The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to.”
That is the first sentence of “The End of Solution Sales,” an article about the changing environment in business-to-business (B2B) sales that appeared in the July 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review.
At the heart of the matter lies the fact that buyer behavior has been radically altered by the Web, even in just the last few years. We have all seen the now magical statistic many times that buyers are 60% of the way through the buying process before they consult with a salesperson.
Moreover, the buying process itself now typically has more decision makers, often involving a committee that must reach consensus, instead of a single contact. This adds delays to the selling process, resulting in slower pipeline velocity, more stalled deals, and even the dreaded “no decision” status. Only those who are transactional sellers in a transactional business or those who become trusted advisors have the ear of the right buyers and can move deals through the pipeline effectively.
The problem is, “trusted advisor” status can’t be claimed. It has to be earned — and the only opinion that matters is the buyer’s.
So, what can sales reps do to differentiate themselves and elevate their status with buyers to become trusted advisors? Here are five tips » Continue Reading.
What Do You Really Expect from Your Front-line Sales Managers? Do They Know It?
Anyone who has climbed the ranks of a sales organization can appreciate the complexity of the front-line sales manager’s job. It is usually the most critical position in any sales organization and can make the difference in determining success or failure. So, reach out to your sales managers today, and ask them this: “Name the two most important things we pay you to do.” If their answers don’t align with your expectations, then it’s time for some course correction.
Great sales managers are not always top-ranked salespeople. Clearly, the job requires an above-average level of selling skills, but it also requires a unique blend of multiple skills. It can be like wearing the hats of coach, parent, counselor, advisor, sounding board, and psychiatrist, all at once. The job gets more complicated because of its location in the corporate food chain. A sales manager is caught between the front line, client-facing salespeople, and upper management. Many times, the view of reality on the front line varies greatly from that in the ivory tower. Successful navigation within this food chain can be challenging, even for the most successful sales managers.
So, what are sales managers’ primary points of focus? There are many things to expect from sales managers, but none are more important than these two:
To drive results To develop people
Which » Continue Reading.
How to be a Successful Salesperson (or Recognize One on Your Team)
You may recall that oh-so-70’s TV series called The Six Million Dollar Man, in which a secret government agency rebuilds former astronaut Steve Austin after an accident into a spy with bionic speed, strength, and vision that make him unstoppable.
Leaders and sales managers, when faced with a steep goal or taking on a new business, will naturally look at their sales team and think, “How am I going to hit this new goal with the same team?” First, you come to terms with the goal and that, reluctantly, surgery and bionic implants are out — budget, OSHA, HR issues, etc. So, you turn your attention to less extreme methods, such as strategy, recruiting, sales training, and coaching. And then, you begin to focus on the question what are the “8 attributes of a highly successful salesperson?”
Consider the following sets of personality qualities:
A B Social Insightful Vocal Soft-spoken Aggressive Patient Gregarious Empathetic Quick on their feet Thoughtful Funny Serious
Question #1: From which column of qualities would you choose if you were: Throwing a party? Hiring people most like you? Seeking people to do a lot of outbound calling, meetings, and presentations?
Question #2: What if we turn around the question to instead ask: If you were a buyer, responsible for making a significant and complex purchase for your organization, under great pressure and » Continue Reading.