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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.

Sales Prospecting

3 Steps To Healthier Client Relationships

Do you have clients that constantly push the boundaries, who have unrealistic expectations and inconsistent feedback? What if you could have a client base of only people who value your work? Firing the wrong clients can help you get there.

Dominique Sandwith

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It’s not easy to admit that a client is actually doing your business more harm than good. When it gets to the point that you are spending all of your time and energy trying to please one client, then it’s time to look at what they are contributing to your success.

In the early days of your business, it’s understandable to hold on to difficult clients as every penny counts. However, as time goes on, firing a disproportionately time-consuming and challenging client could free you up to go looking for new and better business.

Here are three steps to take to healthier client relationships:

1. Get perspective

Step back from everyday tasks to make some notes about the client relationship in question. Ask yourself what you value in your client versus what drains your energy and puts you in a bad mood.

Understand what the deal-breakers are and whether the client in question has crossed the line. It’s possible that you just need to have a frank conversation with the client, but often these kinds of client relationships are too far gone.

Related: 1 Simple Rule To Avoid Bad Client Relationships

2. Fire the wrong client

There’s no one-size-fits-all for this process – you have to do this in your own way, but be clear on the reasons. If the client has been as unhappy as you are, they will most likely understand that this relationship is not a good fit.

However, there are times when a client has no idea that they are being unreasonable or thinks that this relationship is productive. That’s when it’s difficult to explain why you are deciding not to take their money.

Make it factual and don’t bring in your feelings. If you have examples of situations or email threads as proof show them that this is not how you believe a successful relationship should be. Be clear on your values and what you envision for your business.

Be polite and professional throughout the conversation and focus on the relationship fit, rather than pointing out their personal flaws. Explain the next steps and how the handover process will take place. You want to make sure that the end of the relationship is as amicable as possible.

3. Find the right clients

Firing a difficult client is likely to affect your bottom line in the short term but it will give you the motivation, and headspace, to go looking for the right clients.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you know what you want in a client – make a list of things you won’t stand for again with future clients, and one that describes your dream client.
  • Use your time and resources wisely, and aim high to secure clients that will be worth your while.
  • Identify potential clients and projects that are profitable, that will inspire you and that you enjoy working with.

Tip: make sure the Terms and Conditions on your website, and in your quotes, are well-defined. State your prices clearly, don’t leave room for interpretation. Don’t back down if a new client quibbles over a cost estimate. Take complaints of this nature as a warning sign and walk away.

Related: How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

Don’t ever think that you’ve wasted your time with the wrong client. Each client you work with helps you to refine your offering and progressively understand what you’re good at. Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity for the successful and sustainable future of your business (and your sanity).

When you fire the wrong client, you can streamline your business to play to these strengths, and ensure you offer a world-class service or product.

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Sales Prospecting

7 Steps To Master The 80/20 Revenue Model

Imagine a world where 80% of your revenue came from 20% of your customers. Now what will it take to make it your reality?

Emma Donovan

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We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.

Understand what you want to achieve

When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!

Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.

Nurture relationships

Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.

Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’. 

Related: This Is What Bevan Ducasse Did When He Realised wiGroup’s Revenue Model Wasn’t Working

Provide solutions

Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:

  • set up regular one-on-one calls
  • catch up over coffee
  • or email them a quick survey to complete.

Add real value

Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.

For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.

Paint a picture

To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.

Incentivise

Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.

Related: Bob Skinstad On Making An Impact With The 80/20 Principle

Create capacity

Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.

The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.

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Sales Prospecting

Empower Your Team To Make More Sales

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help.

Grant Fleming

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Much like the business cliché that your company is only as strong as its people, in marketing, behind every successful marketing campaign there is an empowered team. But how do you help your team increase their sales?

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help:

1. Become clever at dealing with data

It is essential that teams have the right platform at their disposal to reach the agreed-to goals. Teams also need to become more adept at dealing with data to learn about their customers. Teams should segment data, send marketing messages and receive instant feedback to learn from. They should also optimise their messages and dig into the demographics of their audience.

2. Curate your audience

The above enables teams to curate, and continuously engage with their audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is focusing their communication to a base, instead of cultivating an audience through learning from insights and feedback. This doesn’t foster an incentive to learn anything from one week or one campaign to the next. Teams end up sending out an email/SMS blast one week after another, with the same results.

Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

3. Market more smartly

Rather than marketing ‘harder’, teams should be marketing smarter. There are a few ways to do this. Given teams have the appropriate automated marketing tools at their disposal, they can automate certain repetitive activities so that they continue to learn while the system executes.

Teams are also best served by breaking down their goals into measurable insights and build logical marketing lists (data lists) rather than lumping everything into one list. Often, splitting data by its original source works well, but so does sectioning lists according to category.

Consider using “Remarketing” for the direct marketing space too. This is similar to AdWords marketing, where teams ‘slice and dice’ their data, and insights about engaged audiences are retargeted using the platform.

The other options is “Long Run” campaigns. Here a campaign is live over a longer period of time, essentially establishing a level of cadence for direct marketing efforts. 

4. Do lean marketing

To empower your team, adopt a lean marketing process. This sees teams marketing in small batches, sending e.g. 2000 SMSs, reviewing the results, then another 2000, and then tweaking the marketing message if needed.

By sending five different marketing messages, your marketing teams will be able to whittle down to the top two that returned the best results, and then scale them up.

This, rather than just sending a million SMSs (for example) to your entire database, is a lean marketing approach that can help your team incrementally improve their efforts for an optimal return.

Related: What You Need To Know About The Lean Start-up Model

5. Value testing and metrics

Both testing and metrics are critical to helping your marketing team become more successful, with A/B testing in particular critical for learning.

When you tweak campaigns, resist the urge to make larger changes; these make it difficult to measure results. Rather do small-batch testing, even if it is just from your newsletters. Try and bleed the marketing messages out over a logical timeframe – don’t just blast out to the entire list in one go.

Regarding metrics, concentrate not only on the number of messages sent, but clicks and click-through rates as well as conversions, even if the latter happens down the line. Understanding these metrics across demographics is equally important, as this allows you to curate audiences that you can personalise marketing to.

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