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Sales Prospecting

Conquering the Customer Challenge

This is an excerpt from The Startup Owner’s Manual, a recently published step-by-step guide for building companies.

Steve Blank

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There are a million-plus apps for sale on mobile app stores and an infinite number of commerce, social and content websites, so the mere fact that you’ve launched a new one doesn’t make it a successful business.

Building your product is the easy part. The hard part is getting customers to find your app, site or product. It’s a daunting, never-ending challenge to build customer relationships, quite literally, one customer at a time.

Acquisition and activation

Let’s get started with the first two steps for “getting” customers: acquisition and activation.

In the acquisition phase, customers learn about a product before they buy. With web/mobile apps, the effort focuses on bringing as many customers as possible to the company’s “front door” – the landing page. There, they’re introduced to the product and hopefully buy it or use it.

The second phase – activation – is when the customer shows interest through a free download or trial, a request for more information, or a purchase. Customers should be considered “activated” even if they don’t purchase or register, as long as the company has enough information to re-contact them (whether by e-mail, phone, text, etc.) with explicit permission to do so.

Pull, don’t push

Unlike the door-to-door salesmen of yesteryear, your job on the web is to “pull” customers to you rather than to push your product at them.

Your first step in customer acquisition and activation is understanding how people buy or engage with your product. Here’s how it happens:

  • Step one: People discover a need or want to solve a problem. They say, “I want to throw a party,” or feel lonely and decide to find a hot party or a dating site. Then what?
  • Step two: They begin a search. Overwhelmingly, in this century, that search begins online. It often happens at Google.com, but it can happen on Facebook, Quora or hundreds of other special-interest websites from Yelp to Zagat to TripAdvisor.com.
  • Step three: They don’t look very hard. In fact people often only pay attention to the first few things they uncover (how often do you search beyond the first page of results on Google?). You must make your site, app or product as visible as humanly possible, in as many of these places as possible where your customers are likely to begin the search.
  • Step four: They go where they’re invited, entertained or informed. You don’t “earn” interest from your customers with hard-boiled sales pitches or bland information. You earn it by providing inviting, helpful or entertaining information in lots of formats (copy, diagrams, white papers, blogs, videos, games, demos, you name it) and by participating in the communities and social media your customers are likely to be.

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How to Handle Big Corporate Clients

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Free or paid tactics – they both work

When it comes to acquisition, you can use free or paid tactics. Free is obviously the best cost, and includes public relations, viral marketing, search engine optimisation and social networking.

After you get the free acquisition programmes going, you should start to test paid tactics, such as pay-per-click advertising, online or traditional media advertising, affiliate marketing and online lead generation.

You’ll want to run some quick and simple acquisition tests to gauge customer reaction. Try controllable, inexpensive, easily measured tactics:

  • Buy R2000 worth of AdWords and see if they’ll drive customers representing five or 10 times that amount in potential revenue to the site or app and at least get them to register. Monitor performance and drop ineffective ones.
  • Use Facebook messages or Tweet to measurable audiences to invite at least 1 000 people to explore the new product. If none of the messages work, the product or offer may well be the problem.
  • Buy an e-mail blast list of targeted customers for R2000 or R4 000. Send at least two versions of the offer and expect to generate at least three times the potential revenue to at least sign up, if not purchase.
  • Find traffic partners, which are typically contractual relationships with other companies that provide predictable streams of customers or users to your company while you provide either customers or fees to the partner.

For web/mobile businesses, activation is the choke point – the make-or-break place where customers decide whether they want to participate, play, or purchase.

Quick activation tests include:

  • Capture the customer’s e-mail address and get permission to follow up with further information. Follow up with 1 000 customers and expect at least 50 or more to agree to activate.
  • Offer a free trial, download, or white paper or a significant discount to 500 or 1 000 customers. Try this with at least three different offers, hoping to find at least one that generates a five percent or greater response rate.
  • Call 100 prospects who don’t activate immediately. See if the phone calls generate enough of a response-rate improvement to warrant the cost. Three times the response rate is probably needed.
  • Try free-to-paid conversion: Offer a seven- or 14-day free trial of an app, service, or web/mobile product. Or offer the use of some but not all of the site or app’s features.
  • Monitor the results of all tests and, when you’re not satisfied, revise the programme and test again.

Steve Blank is a professor of entrepreneurship and former serial entrepreneur. His latest book is The Startup Owner's Manual.

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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Sales Prospecting

3 Ways You Should Use Data Science To Skyrocket Sales

Sales business is getting harder and more competitive day after day. Both physical retail and e-commerce offer a wide variety of brands and products, which makes it more difficult for an average sales person to seal the deal with potential customers.

Olivia Ryan

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Data Science

Sales professionals have to be clever and extremely analytical before even approaching their clients. That’s why they use data science to skyrocket business. Data science is a contemporary statistical model which seeks to provide meaningful information from large amounts of complex data.

According to the study, this type of business analytics is expected to generate almost USD170 billion in 2018. If you want to keep the business stable and highly profitable, you should consider embracing data science in everyday work. This post will show you 3 ways to do it successfully.

Prospect Analysis

Data science is based on artificial intelligence that has enough analytical power to give you remarkable insights into the traits of all prospects. Using this tool, you can personalise sales negotiations so as to match the exact needs of each client individually.

For example, data science will tell you the basic demographic features like age, gender, and location. But it goes beyond that and reveals income levels, professional titles, or personal interests based on online searches. All these inputs allow you to customise offers according to client’s preferences.

At the same time, you can prioritise prospects based on company size, predicted revenue, long-term potential, industry influence, or any other feature you might consider relevant to your business. This way, you can dedicate more time to the more important prospects and increase profitability just because you know who to talk to first.

Upselling

It’s much simpler to sell products to existing customers than to attract new buyers. Data science can help you to upsell products and increase the profit using the base of loyal clients.

Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

The system is simple – data science analyses the purchasing history and the preferences of every customer and suggests complementary products. That way, you make sure that your upselling suggestions stay relevant, which not only reduces bounce rates but also strengthens the base of loyal clients.

Create Ambitious Sales Quotas

Creating sales quotas has never been an easy job. Most companies are selling dozens of products in many cities, regions, or even countries, which makes it difficult for sales managers to manually determine ambitious but realistic quotas for their agents.

It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why managers underperform and fail to meet company requirements. However, data science makes this task a lot easier because it can automatically conduct the research and decide how much is enough for every sales representative in your team.

Company Aussie Writings uses data science to make sales forecasts and here’s what they say about it: “The new business analytics model goes through huge volumes of data within minutes, detect sales trends, and givesus a good plan for each agent, product, or region. With such powerful tool at our disposal, we don’t put too much pressure on sales representatives, but we also don’t have to worry about underachievement.”

The benefits of data science

Data science helps businesses to analyse potential clients more comprehensively and increases the odds of keeping sales high in the long run. It’s a perfect model for entrepreneurs who want to stay competitive in the abundance of brands, products, and services.

Related: Get Those Quotas Moving (Upward!) In 2018! 5 Things Your Salespeople Can Do

In this post, we showed you 3 ways you should use data science to skyrocket sales. Which tip could give your company the biggest boost? Let us know in comments and don’t hesitate to ask us if you need any additional information about this topic.

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Company Posts

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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