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Sales Prospecting

5 Research-Backed Strategies To Increase Your Sales Revenues

Most businesses put too much emphasis on generating web traffic and not enough on optimising for conversion.

John Stevens

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Without awareness and traffic, your website will never be able to convert customers. On the other hand, most businesses put too much emphasis on generating traffic, and invest insufficiently in optimising their websites for conversion.

According to research from Eisenberg Holdings, for every $92 that the average company spends to attract people, it spends just $1 to convert them. This explains the abysmal conversion rates many companies suffer from (with rates typically under 3.5 percent, according to Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly’s data). It also explains why generating revenue and staying profitable are among the most pressing challenges that businesses face today.

Thankfully, your business can be made more profitable. Ample research has been conducted on what it takes to take your company out of the red and into the black.

Related: The Sales That Really Count

Here are five research-backed principles guaranteed to hike your revenue.

1. Smart, personalised email marketing

Research shows that email is the most effective of all marketing channels – both inbound and outbound. Data from the Direct Marketing Association shows that you can expect an ROI of $38 from every $1 spent on email marketing. And research by Monetate, which analysed over 500 million shopping experiences, found that email (at 3.19 percent) beats search (1.95 percent) and social media (0.71 percent), combined, when it comes to driving sales.

If you haven’t invested in segmented or triggered email-marketing already, it’s time to start, since doing so could double your revenue. Once you’ve gotten started with  email, take things a step further by fully personalising your messages.

According to Marketing Sherpa, simply personalising your emails can boost your sales by up to 208 percent over using the general “batch-and-blast” email approach.

2. Up-selling and cross-selling

Extensive research has shown that up-selling and cross-selling are two of the most effective ways to boost revenue in a business.

At one point, Amazon attributed up to 35 percent of its revenue to cross-selling, and JetBlue was able to generate $190 million in additional revenue in 2014 simply by up-selling its users. According to social ecommerce platform Viral Style, simply enabling upsells can “automatically increase your average profit by an additional 15 to 25 percent.”

The two challenges involved with upsells and cross-sells are relevance and timing. Make sure that your content-management system is capable of associating related products together. That way, when you offer an upgrade or a multi-item bundle, that move will make sense, given your site visitors’ browsing patterns.

Also, to ensure that your offer doesn’t turn off a prospect who would otherwise become a converted customer, consider setting it to appear as part of the checkout experience instead of as a suggestion on a product page.

Related: You Can’t Succeed At Sales Working In Failure Mode

3. Increase your trust factor

Trust plays a major role in the average customer’s decision whether or not to buy from you; and unless you can effectively optimise and increase your trust factor, your business will basically be leaving money on the table.

While there are many ways to amplify your company’s impression of trustworthiness – and, ultimately, every tip in this article will help you do that in some way – here are some of the most effective ways:

Enable SSL: Enabling SSL (Secure Sockets Layer security technology) has been observed as massively boosting sales; when people see the green padlock and “HTTPS” in their browser’s address bar, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Use security seals: Research shows that displaying security seals on your website is the foremost way to get people to trust and buy from you. Simply embedding a familiar security seal will go a long way to increase your trust factor and maximise sales.

Make an address and phone number visible: Available data shows that having a visible phone number and physical address on your website can boost sales by up to 5 percent.

Have a social media presence: Even if you’re a brick and mortar store, you’ll lose out on a lot of business if you don’t have a diverse digital footprint. In addition to your website, you should maintain an active, attentive presence on each of the major social networks.

amazon-website

4. Opt for a faster website

How much do you think each one-second delay in site loading time costs ecommerce giant Amazon? That’s a massive $1.6 billion annually. Yes, every single year! And it’s not just Amazon we’re talking about. It’s been estimated that a one-second delay in any site’s load time will result in a 7 percent loss in conversions.

People simply don’t have the patience to watch web pages slowly render in today’s “everything on-demand” climate. Slow websites cost the U.S. ecommerce industry as a whole around $500 billion annually.

Simply making your website faster can – and will – boost sales dramatically. According to data from Gomez, which monitored real user data from 33 major retailers, decreasing page load time from eight to two seconds increases conversion rates by a whopping 74 percent.

5. Leverage the authority of social proof

The “Milgram Experiments” of 1963 were designed by psychologists at Yale to observe the extent to which humans are willing to go when it comes to obeying authority figures. Surprisingly, the studies found that approximately 60 percent of people will remain obedient  even to the point of inflicting significant harm on others.

Thankfully, converting customers with your website involves harming no one, and it’s relatively easy to use the principle of human obedience to amplify your site’s sense of authority and improve your revenues.

The key here to boosting sales lies in using this psychological phenomenon as a form of social proof: Simply having someone respected as an authority in your niche endorse your product can double or triple sales. Just ask Weight Watchers.

When Oprah Winfrey announced that she had invested in the company, a form of authority endorsement, its stock prices shot up by 110 percent overnight. If you are struggling to convert sales and generate revenue, consider sponsoring a relevant industry authority – or influencer – to endorse your brand.

Related: 3 Online Marketing Strategies To Kick-Start Stagnant Sales

Conclusion

As the studies referenced here show, increasing your business revenue by 30 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent or even more is certainly within reach. Leverage the above principles in your business, and watch your revenue and profit skyrocket.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

John is the CEO at Hosting Facts, a start-up he created to ensure consumers can find clear, unbiased facts about web hosts.

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Exclusive Offer: Get 50% Off For This Premium Masterclass On Influence And Persuasion

Sales are the life blood of any business and the ability to make sales is a critical component of a business regardless of its size. But one of the biggest ongoing challenges for many entrepreneurs and sales people is to find new business.

Matt Brown

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Special offer exclusive to Entrepreneur Mag readers

  1. Visit http://www.qkt.io/salespersuasion
  2. Just above the “Order now!” button, click on the “Use a promotion code” link
  3. Copy and paste this word in: MATTROCKS!
  4. Now you will see that a ticket is R125 instead of R250

What to expect from the masterclass

Over the past decade, many marketing options have been promoted as “sales prospecting tools” with very limited results for sales people. The reality is that nobody cares about you, your company or your products. They only care about if they can be better off from buying what you are selling.

Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth.

The Matt Brown Show partners with Sales Guru and The Influence Institute for this ‘one of a kind’ show. The expert panel consists of Gilan Gork, Expert Mentalist; Mark Keating, CEO of Sales Guru and Matt Brown, CEO of Matt Brown Media and host of The Matt Brown Show.

Together they will explore the topic of how to use influence and persuasion to get what you want in business.

Why you should attend

Every business owner will agree that in 2018 the ability to make sales is the ultimate game in business. Whether it’s selling a product or a service, knowing how to sell yourself and your ideas to decision makers is critical. With the competitive nature of a business, everyone should be learning more to get a competitive edge over their competitors.

Mark Keating, CEO of SALESGURU had this to say to entrepreneurs: “Do you know what sucks more than cold calling? Being broke”.

Gilan Gork, an expert in influence and the founder of the Influence Institute had this to say about influence:

“People under estimate the relevance that influence has in all our lives. From leadership to sales, from social to personal, and even the ability to influence ourselves in what we do every day in business.”

Who is the masterclass for

The Sales and Persuasion Masterclass is for entrepreneurs, business owners, small businesses, sales teams and anyone who sells a service or product or just wanting to learn how to sell themselves better.

The Show takes place on 4 April at Mesh Club, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Limited seats are available and we advise that you book your seat here today still to avoid disappointment.

“The ability to get what you want in business is a skill that anyone can learn but very few ever master. Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth”, said Matt Brown.

Follow Matt Brown:

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Sales Prospecting

3 Strategies For Closing Sales Without Picking Up The Phone

Cold calls generate follow-up conversations only 10 percent of the time, and lead to in-person meetings less than 2 percent of the time. Use these three strategies to skip the cold calling and get straight to decision-makers today.

Ryan Robinson

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Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a sales cold call, which is virtually everyone with a phone number, can attest to how annoying these unsolicited sales attempts often are. Even if you stay on the line long enough to hear what the caller is selling, your first question probably isn’t, “Can you please tell me more?”

It’s more like, “How did you get my number?” Or maybe, “Can you please remove me from your calling list?”

Yet cold calling has been a widely used sales tactic for decades, and is often considered a rite of passage for veteran salespeople. But it’s high time for that to change. There are simply more efficient and effective ways to sell products in the digital age.

Time not well spent

Cold calls generate follow-up conversations only 10 percent of the time, according to a Harvard Business Review study. The other 90 percent of the time, they’re most likely alienating potential leads, even the ones who may actually benefit from the product or service being sold.

Related: Have We Lost Our Face-To-Face Sales Ability?

Moreover, not even 2 percent of sales calls lead to an in-person meeting, according to HubSpot research. That means you have to spend a lot of time on the phone before you get the chance to make an in-person pitch.

All of that time spent researching prospects, refining sales scripts and training your sales team to pitch your product on the phone, drives up your cost of customer acquisition immensely. Not surprisingly, HubSpot also reports that cold calls cost roughly 60 percent more per lead than acquisition methods like email marketing and social selling.

Cold calling is an aggressive approach, and today’s consumers don’t want to be pressured into making a purchase, they want to buy into your product and your company on their own terms. The internet has changed how consumers make buying decisions, and buyers now want to be in charge of the purchasing process.

Instead of interrupting customers with annoying sales calls, rely on the following three guidelines to build a better sales strategy:

1Start With Inbound Marketing

The guiding principle behind any successful inbound marketing program is to provide value first and sell second.

If customers understand the value that your company is offering, they’ll be far more likely to do business with you.

HubSpot helped pioneer this approach, and now companies like Sapper Consulting are taking it to the next level where they combine precise targeting and unique, creative email content with the insights — generated by big data to help companies get B2B leads and secure high-quality meetings with decision makers.

A successful inbound marketing campaign is based on a specifically defined audience or a set of customer personas. Companies like HubSpot and Sapper help people target content directly to your personas and establish a voice that resonates with them. According to a study by marketing company Captora, 61 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from companies that use custom content to reach them. Clearly, knowing your audience is key.

Related: Click-2-Call: Securing Sales By Retaining The Customer’s Attention

2Don’t be afraid of public speaking

TED Talks

The popularity of TED Talks and similar forums is evidence of the fact that people want to hear what experts have to say, either in person or over video. But even if you don’t consider yourself an expert yet, public speaking can help you achieve that status.

By speaking at industry-relevant meetings and events, you can start developing brand recognition and a unique perspective on topics related to your business. Plus, you can repurpose speeches as content to use in your future inbound marketing efforts.

A well-delivered speech can be one of the most effective ways to generate sales because you’ll often have prospects in the room when you’re speaking. Grab their attention during your speech, and you’ll likely be handing out business cards afterward.

3Keep an eye on ROI

Content marketing is only effective if you actually use your content. In 2013, SiriusDecisions reported that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of B2B content goes completely unused. That’s a problem. It shows that many companies are essentially throwing away time and money and calling it content marketing.

Instead of wasting precious resources on your content marketing efforts, clearly define the business objective you hope to achieve with each piece of content you create — beyond page views and click-through rates.

Work to understand the ROI you’re getting out of each piece of content. Quantify your customers’ pain points and create a sales strategy around the solution to those pain points.

Related: 5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

Thought leadership and content campaigns will also help you engage with consumers and get a better sense of how your content is contributing to sales. Then, repurpose high-performing content and update content that becomes dated to continue attracting new leads.

Likewise, you should keep content that demonstrates your company’s capabilities and other valuable knowledge gated so that you’re not giving away intellectual property — such as industry analysis, buying guides and RFP templates — for free.

Cold calling is a time-honored practice, and it’s likely not going away anytime soon.

But with these tactics, you’ll have much more success acquiring new customers and gain a big advantage over competitors still glued to their phones.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Sales Prospecting

When Your Market Is Declining Fish Where The Fish Are

Shift your focus from barren and ‘over fished’ markets to customers who are looking for the right solutions.

Ed Hatton

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Just as some anglers forlornly cast their lines into fished-out waters, some companies and sales people continue to focus on markets where nobody is buying any more. Sales and profitability decline and business owners blame downgrades, corruption and labour issues, while their real problem is chasing non-existent sales.

Many sectors in the economy have declined, and suppliers to those sectors will face reduced sales and increased competition. The poultry, steel and mining industries have experienced sharp reductions and face serious challenges. The automotive and manufacturing sectors have experienced reduced volumes, cost cutting and retrenchments. If your primary target market is in any similar sector, and you continue to operate as if nothing has changed, you are taking very high risks.

In some instances, the decline of the target market stems from an event like the horrific massacre at Marikana and the changes that brought to the mining industry. Then you know you need to react, but most change is gradual, and some entrepreneurs may not notice, or shut their eyes to the bad news.

Related: Savvy Sales Skills To Grow Your Franchise Footprint

Others cling to the hope that this decline is temporary, and do nothing. We all love our comfort zones and find many excuses to stay there, and so we sink with the declining market.

Making the right change

Once you have appreciated the problems with your current markets, look for similar markets that are stable or growing. For example, if you sell mining supplies, the construction industry may offer good prospects. Be creative; think how you can use your expertise to supplement declining markets by entering more successful ones.

Focus on high growth business sectors. Perhaps health and fitness, education, green energy or IT services could provide opportunities. Where could you leverage your technology, source of supply and sales processes to enter growing markets?

Look for success stories, there are many, including those profiled in this publication. It is clearly preferable to sell to a company growing rapidly than to one clinging to the edge of the cliff by its fingernails. If you sell business to business, examine the state of your customer’s customer.

If your customer is operating in a declining market, you will follow them downhill unless you take action. Find ways to use your products and services to make them more competitive, to halt their slide and grow at the expense of their competitors.

This is a good time to look deeper into the real needs of your existing customers. While we are selling well, we assume that we are satisfying customer needs appropriately. Are we really doing that? Are there other products or services that would be valuable to our customers? Find out, and then provide solutions.

Get out of your comfort zone

fishi-in-a-basket

It’s easy to say that you should move out of your comfort zone and switch your efforts to more lucrative sectors, but less easy to do. Institutional knowledge, systems, databases, credit records, sales processes and products are all geared to the once-successful industries.

Related: Have We Lost Our Face-To-Face Sales Ability?

Instead of throwing away all of this know-how, it makes sense to adapt the systems and information to new markets in a gradual transition. Start new initiatives by withdrawing resources from the old and using working processes and skills to open new markets.

You are likely to need a core of your operations for your existing markets and customers, but your focus should be on the new initiatives.

Your sales teams may need additional training to work in new areas. They must learn to understand the customers and their needs and adapt to their terminology and business practices.

Continual retention of sales people is a good idea even without change; it is highly desirable if you want to enter new markets successfully. Train all staff who will be a part of that drive, so your whole company becomes capable of delivering great products and even better service to new customers.


Successfully enter new markets

  • Which sectors are similar to yours?
  • How can your current solutions be repackaged for different uses?
  • How can your solutions help customers to be more competitive?

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