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Sales Prospecting

“So There We Were…”

Every business has at least one success story. Whatever business you are in, from web design to selling socks, you have stories just waiting to be told.

Elaine Porteous

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Stories have the power to turn satisfied customers into a powerful marketing asset. Testimonials can give you some credibility but they don’t educate or validate your capabilities.

You can set yourself ahead of the competition by introducing future customers to your products and services in a real live way that doesn’t feel like a hard sell. Happy customers will work with you to promote your business because it gives them free exposure and reflects well on them too.

Here are three ways to engage new prospects:

1. Build case studies into your sales training

Your sales team needs to be armed with the stories that have made your business what it is today. Equip them with the information they need to excite and educate potential customers.

Case studies will really work for you when you tell a story about who the customer is, why they are doing so well, and what you did to contribute to their success and make them a big fan of yours.

Here’s how to use customer cases to open up sales opportunities:

  • Include a few slides in your sales presentation pack that showcase a couple of your real successes, tailored to the prospect’s business and his industry. They must be about companies or individuals that they know or recognise.
  • In your targeted sales letters, get their attention by kicking off with a compelling customer story, expanding on how this could also work for them.
  • When developing proposals and responding to tenders, use short customer case studies to illustrate the benefits you can bring to the party and showcase your capabilities with real examples.
  • Prepare one-page full colour printed handouts of different types of success stories for your sales people to select from. They can use these on sales phone calls and as prompts at face-to-face meetings.

Related: It’s Sell Or Die Because Sales Are The Lifeblood Of Every Company

Your potential customers are busy people. Well-constructed customer case studies engage a person’s attention quickly on an emotional level with a powerful story. They include images, graphics and information about the key players involved in the relationship.

sales-references-on-website

2. Put them on your website

All businesses need a functioning website that is regularly refreshed with new content. It’s an obvious place to introduce your company to prospective customers and to highlight your achievements. Tease and link to new customer stories right from the home page.

You can provide the full stories on your product and service pages, sorting them into the industry or business sectors they support. This reinforces your know-how and abilities that your prospect can directly relate to.

Alternatively, you can allocate a page specifically and call it ‘What our customers say about us’ or ‘Our success stories’. Don’t hide these pages in sub-menus, make stories easy to find. Remember to include a quote or testimonial from your satisfied customer.

3. Email marketing and newsletters

Customer case studies used in email marketing can explain to prospective customers how other companies are using your products or services successfully. This can introduce them to benefits and opportunities that they are unaware of.

Newsletters can be targeted by industry or size of customer or can be further customised and sent to specific targets or even to only one hand-picked recipient. To provide real reading value, get the reader’s attention up-front with a short, sharp summary of the customer success story inviting him to ‘read more’.

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

Your communication of these heart-warming stories should go out, not only to prospects but to your employees, your suppliers, partners and your loyal customers. You never know where your next referral will come from. People love to read about other peoples’ successes in growing businesses.

Follow up by re-purposing the newsletter content into sales brochures, handouts and also include the story in technical white papers and special reports. Re-engage with ex-customers who have gone quiet; revive their interest in new innovations.

What makes a good customer case study?

  • Who is the customer, what is the business about?
  • What were the challenges that the business faced?
  • How did we go about solving their problems?
  • What was the outcome/the results achieved?

Conventional promotional and sales material and web content is often dreary, repetitive and indistinguishable from that of your competitors. Customer success stories can set you apart and bring your offerings to life.

Read next: The Sales That Really Count

The author, Elaine Porteous, is a business writer and commentator on procurement and supply chain issues. She also writes on human resources and career topics. For more details, see her website www.elaineporteous.com

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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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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