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Sales Strategy & Management

Mobility: Buy And Sell On Your Mobile

The upturn in active mobile phone users in South Africa has also affected internet usage and consumer habits drastically.

Felix Erken

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In 2017, it is estimated, there will be over 16 million active smartphone users in South Africa. This number is expected to grow exponentially over the next five years to reach more than 21 million active users.

The rapid rise in mobile phone usage in South Africa can primarily be attributed to the popularity of social media, which in turn has also sparked an increase in mobile phone usage to buy and sell online.

The upturn in active mobile phone users in South Africa has also affected internet usage and consumer habits drastically. Now, more people are using their mobile phones to access the internet than those using traditional access points, and more and more South Africans are enjoying the convenience of shopping online and transacting on their mobile phones, using both web and mobile apps.

Related: 3 Key Criteria When Considering Mobility Solutions For Your Business

Mobile the future of online trading

Business owners and digital marketers have come to understand the influence and importance of mobile phones in the South African marketplace – that mobile is the future of online trading – and have had to adapt their digital and marketing strategies significantly.

Now, more than ever, they are faced with questions like “Does our audience use mobile to access the internet and to transact?” “What percentage of our audience uses mobile?” and “Is our content optimised for mobile and is it user friendly to sell and buy?”

According to the Effective Measure South Africa Mobile Report 2017, in 2016 nearly 70% of South Africans browsed the internet through their mobile phones.

Surveying nearly 5000 South African mobile phone users, Effective Measure has found that, currently, 42% of South Africans use their mobile phones between 30 minutes and two hours every day, and 18% use their mobile phones for more than 5 hours per day. 78% of South Africans have accessed the internet through their mobile phone just the day before.

40% of South Africans use their smartphones to access the internet and 21% use it to access applications.

In South Africa the most common searches on a mobile phone include searches for jobs, maps, directions and weather. The least popular searches include those for product reviews, medical, vehicle and property information.

48% of South Africans don’t use their mobile phones to make online purchases, whereas 43% do, creating an opportunity for online classifieds, like Junk Mail, to develop products enabling users to conveniently buy and sell online.

Related: Mobility: Microsoft’s PC Accessories Offer Convenience And Keep You Productive And Comfortable

Shopping online is not a new concept locally. Purchases made using mobile phones in South Africa include:

Mobile shopping purchases % of South Africans
Airtime 47%
No mobile purchases 33%
Apps & In-app purchases 25%
Books 11%
Travel Tickets 10%
Event Tickets 10%
Mobile phones and accessories 8%
Clothes, fashion and beauty 7%
Technology and accessories 6%
Homewares, appliances and outdoor items 6%
Media 6%
Other 6%

Another very interesting statistic according to the Effective Measure report is that 44% of South Africans use the internet on their mobile phones while they are in bed, 35% reach for their phones first thing in the morning, and 36% use the internet on their phones while watching television.

From these stats it is quite clear that mobile plays a major role in consumer and internet user habits and will for the foreseeable future.

Mobile has revolutionised how we buy and sell online

Not only in South Africa, but worldwide, companies are recognising just how essential it has become to be first and foremost mobile-minded in their business activities and marketing efforts. They are responding to the rising trend in mobile usage by changing the way they offer their products and services to customers. Easy-to-use and convenient mobile trading platforms have become crucial in order to keep up with and cater to the needs of a mobile-savvy generation.

Companies, such as Junk Mail Classifieds, have fully embraced the mobile movement to such an extent that all their product and service offerings are conveniently accessible on a wide variety of mobile platforms, including responsive websites and buy and sell apps.

Classifieds customers are able to conveniently buy and sell through free classified ads, among others, household items, computers, cars and property, as well as search and apply for jobs through the variety of user-friendly mobile platforms online classifieds, Junk Mail, offers.

Related: Mobility, Security And Your Business

Mobile phones have undeniably revolutionised the modern way we buy and sell online. As customers become more connected, their needs are changing. They want what is instant, convenient and simple to use, and mobile phones and mobile internet are offering them this.

The statistics and numbers speak for themselves. Companies who are keeping up with and meeting their customers’ needs by providing fast and efficient mobile trading platforms to buy and sell online, will be the go-to businesses in the future and the ones we’ll not only see survive the competitive market, but put  their stamp on the marketplace.

Felix Erken is the MD and co-owner of Junk Mail, the largest local classifieds exchange in South Africa. His agility and tenacity ensured Junk Mail’s early adoption from purely traditional print to include digital and mobile platforms to ensure his customers were best served, no matter where they were or how demanding the digital rules. Junk Mail launched mobile offerings as early as 1999 and extended its digital footprint into East and West Africa.

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Sales Strategy & Management

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

Fewer than half of salespeople make quota, on average. Here are some best practices for to help them hit their targets in the new year.

John Holland

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Whether they had a tremendous 2017 or a difficult one, sellers likely hit the re-set button with the start of this new year. And that button push probably was accompanied by more aggressive quotas for those sellers to achieve in 2018.

So, what should sellers do to gear up for the coming year? As 2018 gets under way, here are five things I can share to help sellers get off to a good start.

1. Avoid stale quotes and proposals

Unlike fine red wine, proposals that have been in the sales pipeline more than 45 days old aren’t getting better. Many of them, in fact, are likely to have “no decision” outcomes.

So, if you’re the seller, what’s going on? There may be instances where your prospects have chosen a competitor and not given you the bad news. My suggestion is to send a snail mail letter, “return receipt requested,” to the highest level you’ve called on within the account. State in the letter how long the proposal has been outstanding, noting that you haven’t been updated on its status and that you intend to withdraw if you don’t hear anything back.

Related: 3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

The hope is that your letter will cause the buyer to contact you and say there is still interest. If that’s the case, you can ask to revisit the opportunity (help facilitate a cost vs. benefit analysis) and see if a revised recommendation can be made.

If your letter doesn’t elicit a response, you can safely remove it from your forecast. While that’s not the desired outcome, you’ll have the benefit of a more realistic view of the size and health of your pipeline.

2. Create add-on opportunities

Sellers often believe that if customers have additional needs, they’ll proactively reach out. Certainly, close rates will be higher when there is an existing relationship vs. when sellers are closing new accounts. That’s why sellers should take a look at each client and try to determine potential business needs that might be addressed through the use of their company’s offerings; they should then proactively contact the key players who might be interested.

The key to initiating add-on opportunities is taking executives from latent to active need for a company’s desired business outcomes.

3. Be realistic with nurtured leads

If the cost of your offerings exceeds $50,000, you may want to take a hard look at the entry level that nurtured leads provide. My view is that many of those leads get sellers in touch with people that are doing product evaluations. So, those people may not be working with budgets and have not identified potential areas of value/payback that can be realised through the use of your offerings.

Ask yourself if the contact you’ve been given is a potential champion who can provide you access to the key players you must call on to sell, fund and implement the offering being considered. If not, I suggest you treat the contact as a coach that may be willing to get you an introduction to a higher level that may then serve as your champion. My thought is to gain access to people who will see value in your offerings.

Related: How South Africa’s Small Businesses Plan To Invest Their Money In 2018

4. Ask for referrals

Satisfied customers can be under-used assets, especially if sellers can help them quantify results.

My preference is that sellers break down benefits and values specific to titles and outcomes that have been achieved using those sellers’ offerings.

Once quantified, sellers can ask if their customers know of any other individuals or companies they could be referred to.

5. Plan a sales cycle ahead

When I was in engineering school, I was a “just-in-time” learner in that I studiously avoided professors who assigned homework and also approached midterm and final exams with some last-minute cramming.

Some sellers follow my academic model – and that’s not smart: In terms of their year quota, many sellers who are not YTD against their numbers believe they can close enough business in the last quarter to make up for their previous gaps. But this is a very stressful strategy, and there will be times when sellers run out of runway.

An alternative I’d suggest is for sellers to break their quota into monthly increments and multiply that number by the months in an average sales cycle. They can then estimate their close rates and set pipeline thresholds they should try to exceed.

Once they’re at the stage of interviewing committee members, sellers can then negotiate their activities and time frames via a written document with buyers (I call this pipeline “E”). Here’s an example of how to project ahead:

  • A seller has a $2.4 million quota ($200,000/month).
  • Her average sales cycle is four months and her close rate is 50 percent.
  • Therefore, her “E” target is to close $800,000 or more every four-month period.
  • At any time, if she is YTD or better, her E target will be $1.6 million in her pipeline.
  • In a given month, any shortfall from YTD must be doubled and added to that $1.6 million; business development efforts must be ramped up.

Being aware of YTD performance to date and projecting the sales cycle that’s ahead on a monthly basis can reduce stress levels during Q4.

And reducing stress is good, right? I hope these tips can help make your 2018 a great, and de-stressed, year.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Sales Strategy & Management

(Podcast) Are All Prices Negotiable?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Nicholas Haralambous

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What is up for negotiation? When should you be negotiating prices, and when should you be open to negotiating prices with your customers?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Listening time: 8 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Phone Calls Often Solve Email Problems

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Sales Strategy & Management

Sales Leadership: The New Frontier

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less.

Dirk Coetsee

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“Once upon a time only certain people were in sales. Every day, these folks sold stuff, the rest of us did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day, the world began to change. More of us started working for ourselves- and because we were entrepreneurs, suddenly we became salespeople, too. At the same time, large operations discovered that segmenting job functions did not work very well during volatile business conditions-and because of that, they began demanding elastic skills that stretched across boundaries and included a sales component.” – Daniel Pink

The transformation of sales persons to Sales Leaders is not only the essence of this article but increasingly becoming a necessity, considering the skills demand required to convince people to buy your product or service within an modern environment wherein the consumer is spoilt for choice.

Related: 3 Strategies For Closing Sales Without Picking Up The Phone

In general staples in the make up of old school sales training was and in some cases still is: Product knowledge, fielding sales calls in a friendly way yet creating urgency, learning the ability to overcome client objections and of course do not forget the all-important methods of upselling.

All those elements of selling are still important in general yet “soft skills” such as active listening, handling conflict, and above all removing the emphasis from selling a product or service to selling an enhanced lifestyle or life experience has become the new frontier for the sales game.

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less. The “parrot method” of drilling sales scripts into the salesforce of the company is slowly but surely becoming obsolete as people want to feel that they are being cared about and considered within the sales process as individuals. “Caring for the other person is the only leverage in any conversation”, Gary Vaynerchuk says.

The above theory calls for a balance between Sales Leaders whom inspires their sales teams to create a personal, professional, and vibrant environment for their customers wherein which they are highly motivated to buy, and Sales managers whom monitor the key sales metrics and checks that sales procedures are being followed. In the modern world both Sales Leadership and management are needed at each end of the balancing scale.

Still, to this day an unfortunate large proportion of sales people are like lambs put to the slaughter, within some situations, as the only weapon taught to them is product knowledge and wearing a smile and then suddenly a very unhappy customer unleashes their anger upon them, and now the poor sales person has no knowledge in terms of how to deal with conflict, generally speaking. How to cope with and overcome conflict and other negotiation skills has become paramount in sustaining very good client relations.

Ethical Leadership is also strongly put forward as a necessary component of any sales training or course through this article. Sales techniques filtered through the companies Vision, mission statement and value system to test its validity and alignment to the companies’ culture can be increasingly effective as opposed to simply applying generic methods of selling which is not always aligned to the company ethos. A high level of ethics amongst Sales Leaders can ensure that after sales promises are kept and that the product sold is in effect as good as propagated by the sales person.

Related: The 5 Best Actions You Can Take To Improve Sales Calls

When a servant leadership culture is prevalent within your company it goes a long way to ensure that your sales people create a caring and positive experience complimented by an enhanced after sales service. Servant Leadership within a sales context is to put the customers’ and teams’ purpose above the individual team members purpose and that by itself is a potential multiplier of sales performance.

A highly important factor within the context of sales performance is the sales Leaders’ ability to formulate the right questions to be asked of the client in order to create a very pleasant experience. Statements in general can be quite dangerous as it is normally viewed as final and very hard to take back once communicated. Questions on the other hand requires an answer and when posed in a caring way can quickly establish rapport with a client.

Subtle nuances picked up by the Sales Leader through asking the right questions can greatly assist in creating positive client engagement. A practical example would be to refrain from the very obvious question of:  how are you? People are so used to being asked this question that they are not likely to give you a very open and honest answer and will be likely to provide you with very generic answers such as, “Fine thank you, “Well thanks and you”, and so forth.

By very simply changing the question to: “How are you feeling today? “, the very perceptive Sales Leader can relatively easily pick up on the client’s emotional state and adjust the conversation from there in order to create rapport.

In Summary, this writing actually asks one question to all CEOs’ and/or boards that must take their companies forward towards a desired future state: Do you want sales people and managers whom are likely to maintain the status quo, or do you seek Sales Leaders whom will challenge the status quo and will always be willing to ask more of themselves in terms of increased skill levels and performance?

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