Intelliverse - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Ask someone to define their style, and they’ll probably start listing off adjectives that relate to the clothes they wear, the music they like, the activities they enjoy and the type of car they drive.
For sales professionals, though, style can extend into the way they do business. Knowing what kind of sales style you follow can provide insight into your strengths, where you might need to improve, and how to grow and adapt by using other styles outside your wheelhouse.
Here are some of the most common selling styles — where do you fit in?
You’re an aggressive salesperson whose only concern is the bottom line. Hard and fast is the name of the game, and you aim to close a sale with a single call. These sales reps are usually more prone to being lone wolves than part of a pack, and can become easily discouraged or give up completely if a prospect doesn’t move forward immediately.
Areas of growth include recognizing that sales is often a process, not just a phone call!
The “What do you need?” Seller
This quick-thinking sales professional focuses his or her efforts on adapting to meet a prospect’s needs. They ask lots of questions, with the goal of figuring out their customer’s core need, and then think fast on their feet to propose a solution.
Areas of growth include recognizing that sometimes, sales is about creating a need instead of just fulfilling an existing one.
The Product Evangelist
It doesn’t matter if the product is great or not — the product evangelist seller will be able to convince you it is. If you’re a product evangelist, you focus most of your efforts on touting the benefits of your product. Lots of demos are on your schedule, and you’ll use any product update as a reason to reach out to a lead.
Areas of growth? Realize that sometimes, it’s not about the product — it’s about the person.
They know every single comparable product on the market, and call tell you exactly why their product is better. The competition-focused seller is a professional who always aims to be one step ahead. They’ll never take no for an answer, and will work extra hours to ensure the sale gets made.
As with any hyper-focused individual, the competition-oriented sales professional sometimes needs to slow down and realize there’s more to life – and to selling – than always being the best.
This is the most common style. Matchmakers are focused on building relationships, and as such, are often the most adaptable sales professionals out there. They flex to fit the client their dealing with, and are usually the most outgoing, good-natured person on your team.
Where they can improve is by adding a dash of high-intensity effort where it’s needed, and better recognizing when it’s time to wait versus when it’s time to strike while the iron’s hot.
Whether you’re a cool-headed relationship-builder, a fast-moving aggressive seller or the biggest product ambassador ever, we can all learn from each other’s unique styles to grow into better, more adaptable professionals!
Publish Date: September 20, 2016 5:00 AM
In a perfect world, your team would come to work every day amped about their jobs, ready to sell to the best of their ability, and leave feeling accomplished and satisfied.
Sometimes, that world is a reality. What’s far more likely, though, is facing the challenge of motivating an underperforming sales professional or even an entire sales team.
Some abide by the “get on board or get out” policy, and there are certainly circumstances where firing an employee is an appropriate response, but it should never be the first line of defense when the main challenge is a lack of motivation.
Some abide by the “get on board or get out” policy, and there are certainly circumstances where firing an employee is an appropriate response, but it should never be the first line of defense when the main challenge is a lack of motivation.
Instead, try these tips and techniques for lighting a fire under your lagging teammates and hopefully witness a transformation.
Don’t push off the problem.
If you notice signs that your employee or team is feeling less than motivated, don’t ignore the problem in the hopes it will resolve itself organically. Situations like this can often catch and spread like a virus, infiltrating other areas of your team. That’s a much bigger problem than just one unmotivated team member. Talking to the team member who seems down in the dumps is an important first step, and one you should take at the first sign of an issue.
Make sure you’re looking at the situation objectively.
We’re only human, and as such, it’s easy to let unconscious bias color our behavior and treatment of our team members. In looking at the situation objectively, from a 10,000-foot view, you will be able to do the next step, which is:
Find the core issue.
It may be that this employee is simply a bad fit. That’s an unfortunate outcome, and ultimately one that’s on you, because you hired them. But it also could be that they don’t feel they have the necessary tools or training to do their job effectively, and feel demoralized and unmotivated as a result. That’s another thing that’s on you, but it’s a situation you can fix with the right approach.
Make it a collaborative effort to improve.
If your underperforming sales team member says, “Sorry, this is who I am,” you have a decision on your hands. Hopefully, though, they are amenable to your desire to help them improve, and will work with you to come up with a solution, whether that means mentorship, more frequent check-ins, new tools or training, or any combination thereof.
Make a plan and check in regularly.
Once you have their cooperation and feel they are on board with making a change, lay out a roadmap for improvement and stick to it. By having clear objectives and a clear timeline, you accomplish two things: you empower your employee to improve, and you show that you are serious about the need for change.
No one’s perfect all the time, nor should they be expected to be. When your team members are in a slump, use these steps to identify the problem and create an achievable plan for success.
Publish Date: September 2, 2016 5:00 AM
How many “close more sales” articles have you read lately that all amount to basically the same thing?
There’s certainly value in reading up on the latest cold calling, email, and networking techniques, but if you haven’t taken a look at your website lately, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your industry, and close more sales.
Being an expert in your field makes the sales process easier. You have case studies, posts, calculators, and more at your fingertips. There’s more weight in your name; when a prospect sees your email signature, it garners respect.
Let’s look at some techniques for becoming a thought leader and improving your sales outcomes.
Conduct Case Studies (and share them too!)
Conduct your own, independent research and publish the results via your blog or email list. Having this research in an easy-to-read format is a fantastic way to show your prospects (and competitors) who’s being proactive within the industry.
Case studies don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Depending on what you’re inspecting, you can get much of the analysis and data from your own business or customers.
Make your own case study using these tips.
Show your knowledge with an active, useful blog.
Not only will a keyword-rich blog help in terms of your searchability on Google, it will also demonstrate that you have a deep level of insight about your chosen field.
Blog posts don’t have to be as in-depth as case studies. Trendy topics, breaking news, or simple tips that can be written in 1-2 hours are perfect. Not only does having a blog look good to prospects (and can help them find you), you can use posts as resources; when a client has a question; “hey! We’ve got an answer–in the form of a post.”
Go to Conferences
Conferences can cost a lot of money, but there’s no doubt that they are beneficial.
Firstly, it allows your group to learn from great minds. Keeping up with the latest and most effective trends in your industry is invaluable. Once you’ve learned what the top dogs are doing, you can immediately implement something even better within your organization.
Secondly, brand recognition. During pre-conference breakfasts (and post-conference happy hours) your team should be mingling and getting the company name out there. You never know where a partner or client could come from. Getting to know people face to face can lead to better conversions down the line.
Treat your Employees Right
What makes an employee want to learn and grow within your company?
Yeah, you guessed it: being treated well.
Employees that feel valued are going be motivated to learn new techniques, travel to speaking events, and develop their own skill set. Being able to bring an individual expert into a sales conversation can make all the difference for your prospect.
Keep your employees happy with fair benefits, a few extra perks, and daily motivation.
Have an active, personable social media presence.
All the above ways to become an expert are only as good as how well you share them. Publishing case studies and posts and treating employees with respect are all things your prospects are interested in seeing. Share these items on your social networks so people can see.
Make it about them.
The last thing your prospective customer wants to hear is all about how great you are – because if you are, that will show through in your content and online presence. Instead, focus your knowledge set on what you can do to make your customer’s lives better. Show you understand their needs and challenges and be clear about how you can solve their problems.
Become an industry expert! Get all the leads. Make all the conversions.
Publish Date: August 24, 2016 5:00 AM
Suppose you had all the time in the world and prospective customers with an equal amount of flexibility.
You could spend as much time as you needed explaining the benefits of your product, exploring the nuances of how it can benefit your prospect, and answering any and all questions that might arise.
Sounds like a dream, right?
Unfortunately… it is. Precisely zero sales professionals have all the time in the world to pitch their product, and fewer prospects have the time to listen.
That’s why having a simple, concise, and to-the-point sales message is so important. When you have a severely limited amount of time to communicate the most important things you need to say, being economical with words is paramount.
Here are some ways to ensure your message is hard-hitting and simple.
Know your customer before you utter a single word.
Having a general, simple elevator pitch is great – definitely spend the time and brainpower developing that.
But when it comes to direct interaction with your prospect, do your homework ahead of time to know what specific nuance you can weave into your sales message that will really hit home with that customer and that customer specifically.
Pretend you’re a total newbie.
Being embedded in the industry 24/7 means you probably have a deep understanding of your service, your product, the surrounding market and industry, and the competition. Your customers, though, probably don’t, especially if you’re in a niche market.
So remember, whatever jargon, insider details or deep knowledge you have will go over like an inside joke at a party: badly.
Put yourself in the shoes of a newbie to really trim down your message to the bare – and clear – essentials.
Hone in on the problem.
You may have a laundry list of benefits that your product will bring to your prospective customer, but what they’re really concerned about is what your product will do to solve the problems they have. Turn your sales pitch from that laundry list of benefits into a quick-hitting highlight of the one problem your prospect will no longer face, thanks to your product.
Make it easy.
Remove all barriers to moving forward with your product by making the close of your sales message a clear, distinctive, actionable Call To Action. It can be booking a demo, setting up a group meeting, starting a free trial, or pulling the trigger and going for gold – whatever it is, make it easy as pie for your prospect to take that next step.
Sales acceleration software can help you hone in on your key messages, target customers more effectively, send better emails, and fill your funnels more quickly.
With a simplified sales message too, you’ll be unstoppable.
Publish Date: August 9, 2016 5:00 AM
A simple Google search for Millennials turns up a seemingly unending supply of content.
In particular, you’ll find thousands of posts on what makes Millennials individuals, a generation different from any other.
Some of it might be a bit eye roll-inducing, but there’s definitely something to be said for treating Millennials differently in the workplace.
They look at work, and their place in their chosen industry, in a way that’s distinctly different from their older peers, and job satisfaction in general means more to them than you’ll find among individuals in later generations.
For that reason, recognizing a Millennial for a job well done looks quite a bit different as compared to recognizing a Baby Boomer. Here are some ways to do it right.
However You Recognize Them, Do It a LOT
Millennials value feedback.
They want to hear often and regularly about how their doing, so that they may improve and grow. So whatever you decide to do to show your Millennial staff that you recognize and acknowledge them, make sure you’re doing it often and consistently – and no, that doesn’t mean just at quarterly review time.
Make Ties to Specific /behavior
A generalized show of approval is good, but you can do better, and your Millennial staff will expect it. At every possible opportunity, tie your recognition to a specific act or outcome your Millennial team members are responsible for.
Make it a Surprise
While your Boomer staff might love a note or gift of recognition at their traditional milestone markers like the 10 or 30 year mark, Millennials care about such things far less. They’re more interested in being recognized (as mentioned) for specific achievements, and they want the whole group to know about it.
Personalize your Recognition
There’s a reason Millennials are called the Me Generation.
Whenever possible, your recognition of your Millennial staff, whether it’s in the form of a gift card, letter, item, or announcement, should be custom fit to their personality. If that means getting Jon a gift card to REI because he loves fishing but giving Emily a letterpress kit because she’s a budding artist, so be it!
Motivator tools are another great way to keep your Millennial team members happy, and Intelliverse comes chock full of recognition tools, as well as games, leaderboards, and lots more!
Keep your “Me Generation” team members feeling happy and fulfilled, and they’ll return the favor tenfold.
Publish Date: August 3, 2016 5:00 AM
Determining your key performance indicators (KPIs) can be one of the most important things you do as a sales leader. These are the operating metrics to run your sales organization.
But before we jump into defining your sales KPIs, we have to make an important distinction between two measurements: metrics and activities.
A metric is a lagging indicator. Some examples include revenue, close rate, deal size and sales cycle length. These tell you what has already happened and how well you’re doing. Activities, on the other hand, are leading indicators which are controllable behaviors that you believe will lead to a desired outcome.
For example: Deal size is a metric. It’s not a controllable behavior.
But there are controllable behaviors that would improve the likelihood of increasing that deal size metric, like VP-level conversations, ROI discussions and prospecting into larger companies. If increasing your deal size is a key company strategy this year, then you’ll want to consider establishing activity metrics that align such as those referenced above.
Easy enough, right? Let’s get started on finding the right sales KPIs for your sales team.
5 Steps for Identifying Sales KPIs
1. Define sales organizational structure
You can’t set a single set of KPIs for your entire sales organization as they’ll be different for each part of your team. So the first step is to draw out a rough org chart for the different seller positions within your sales organization.
Below is an example:
Do this for your own team so you understand where everyone fits within the sales process.
2. Develop your own hypothesis
As the person leading this initiative to define your company’s sales KPIs — whether you’re a VP of sales, front-line sales manager or sales operations person — you should create your own hypothesis for the right metrics and activities to measure your sales team by. You’ll mostly keep this to yourself at first, but it helps to take a shot at it so you have a sense of what you’re going for. So list out your ideas for each of the seller positions. In the sample org chart above, you would develop a unique set of metrics and activities for the Sales Development team, Inside Sales team, Field Sales team and Account Management team.
For example, you could hypothesize that the best metrics for your inside sales team are closed deals, deal size and close rate, while the best activities are talk time, VP-level conversations and ROI discussions.
Remember, a hypothesis is just an educated guess. You don’t need to spend an enormous amount of time on this. Just start somewhere, because the exercise will put you in the right mindset for the rest of this process.
3. Interview team members
Now that you have your own hypothesis, it’s time to see what the rest of your organization thinks.
Be sure to explain to your team members that you’re really trying to define the critical metrics for the sales organization, and that this will be a combination of metrics (to measure how well you’re doing) and activities (that measure how people are spending their time that will lead to your desired results). Getting people involved in this process creates intrigue, and ultimately, buy-in because they participated in the process. Even if their ideas weren’t used, they were heard and considered.
Pull together one or two of each of the following people to conduct a one-on-one interview:
- 2 Top-performing salespeople
- 2 Middle-performing salespeople
- 2 Low-performing salespeople
- 2 to 3 Front-line sales managers
- 2 to 3 Executives (such as the CEO or COO and the VP of Sales / CRO)
For your top-performing sales reps, ask them which activities they’re doing on a day-to-day basis that they think makes them so successful. Note that top performers tend to do things naturally and don’t always really know what they’re doing, so you’ll need to probe a bit here. Also ask for their perspective on what they think other salespeople on the team aren’t doing enough of that would help them be more successful.
Interview your middle performers on what activities they think are most important that could help them get more sales. What do they wish they could do more often, but don’t because of other distractions. Alternatively, you can ask what they see top-performing reps do that they have struggle with.
Low performers can also help this process by having them identify what they think they need to be more successful. As with middle performers, asking these reps what they think top performers spend their time doing or do differently than them can yield some insights.
For your front-line sales managers, asking what they think the most important things their salespeople should be doing (besides closing deals) is a good place to start. You can also ask more specific questions, like what activities they think middle or low performers should be focusing more on.
Finally, interview a few of the executives in your organization who either have experience with sales or are familiar with your sales organization. Here you can focus on some higher-level questions, such as what the behaviors they think salespeople in highly productive organizations focus on. Another great question here is to ask what kind of metrics they’d like to be able to show to board members or investors.
4. Identify metrics vs. activities
As you go through your interviews, make a list of each suggestion. You might end up with 20+ items on your list or just 10, but take each one and sort it into one of our two groups: metrics and activities.
You might find that your initial hypothesis is validated, or you might learn something important you didn’t think about before.
For each sales team you want to measure, use your judgement based on your hypothesis and interviews to select 3-4 activities and 2-3 metrics to focus on. Selecting too many measurements will result in lack of focus. Don’t overwhelm people with numbers and information — this process is supposed to help them prioritize and succeed.
Bring back a few of the people you interviewed before and present them with your refined list of measurements, as well as the ones you put to the side in case there are some strong reasons to re-prioritize. If you get agreement from members of each team that those metrics and activities align with your sales process and current initiatives, then it’s time to roll out the first version.
5. Roll out, measure, repeat
Once armed with the metrics and activities to measure your sales organization, you’ll probably be excited to get this moving as quickly as possible. But keep in mind that this could be a big change for certain team members, so keep a pulse on your individual teams and check back throughout the implementation process. There’s also software solutions out there that can help you go through this entire process and manage all the activity metrics over time, including our company, LevelEleven.
Once KPIs are rolled out, track their progress carefully. If you find that the metrics and activities you choose aren’t making an impact on your sales organization, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and try a few new ones (but don’t get caught up in changing these too frequently, which would create a lack of consistency).
If you do see a positive impact on your sales organization — even if that just means a small boost in productivity from your middle performers — then congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a data-driven sales leader.
Publish Date: July 28, 2016 5:00 AM
The best sales outreach efforts don’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, they’re part of a strategic, multifaceted approach that spans across a variety of mediums and avenues.
They’re integrated and complementary, and make it easy for your prospect to move forward however he or she chooses to do so.
That sounds great, right? Unfortunately, it also sounds time-consuming.
When a big part of your job is making meaningful contact with as many people as you possibly can, there’s a fine balance to walk between being strategic and integrated, and moving at the speed of light!
Our sales acceleration software lets sales professionals call someone to leave a voicemail, and then immediately send an email related to that first point of contact. It’s a simple and integrated approach that’s proven to be more effective than just a call or just an email, so it makes sense to take the time to do it. Luckily, there are ways to make the process even quicker!
You’re able to save email templates to your Intelliverse Dashboard so you don’t have to spend the time and brainpower drafting individualized, specific emails to every single person you reach out to. Often times, effective sales strategy calls for those individualized, customized approaches, but at first contact, often a simple, straightforward email will do.
Here are a few templates for emails you can save to your own dashboard – one casual, one more professional – that will automatically go out after you make your first phone call to a prospect. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!
The Casual Approach – Template #1
Hey there [FIRST NAME],
So sorry we couldn’t connect today. I left you a message with some info on something I thought you’d be interested in. [Line here about why your product fixes a problem or meets a need this prospect has.]
I’d love to take a few minutes to chat more about this if you’re game. I’ll keep it quick, promise! When do you have a couple minutes this week to connect?
Looking forward to chatting. Have a great day!
Polished and Professional – Template #2
Dear [FIRST NAME],
My name’s [NAME], from [COMPANY], and I’m reaching out today because I’d like to share something with you that I think you’d be interested in. [Line here about why your product fixes a problem or meets a need this prospect has.]
Would you have a few minutes this week to talk more about this opportunity? I’d love to learn more about your team’s needs and how we might help. I’m free [SEVERAL DATES AND TIMES HERE], if any of those work for you.
Thanks for your time, and I hope we’re able to connect soon!
Use templates to save yourself time and brain energy, and to be more effective with your outreach. Gauge which approach is best based on your prospect’s position in the company, and fire away!
Publish Date: July 26, 2016 5:00 AM
Sales mostly boils down to creating and then building upon relationships.
It also boils down to numbers, time, and speed. In reality, though, those two things – building solid relationships and moving quickly – are often opposed to one another!
Creating trust is essential for securing a solid sale, but how can you create a trusting relationship with someone when you don’t know them, and are looking to create a relationship based upon a business transaction?
Let’s talk heuristics.
They’re pretty popular these days – a simple Google search will show you that – but that’s for good reason. They’re mental models humans use to reduce time or energy for a task when making decisions. We’re faced with tons of decisions on a daily basis, some large and some small, so we use little mental shortcuts to help reduce the cognitive overload.
Good news: you can use these heuristics to more quickly establish trust with a prospect through first contact, whether that’s through email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting.
Gain trust through cold email through the mutual bond/ingroup bias
We seek out people who are like us: it’s simply human nature.
Use this basic human instinct to build trust by establishing a mutual bond with a prospect. A little LinkedIn digging goes a long way here. Find out what you have in common – a mutual college experience, a common job or career choice, even a shared love of a sport or team – and use that as your intro line in your email.
Don’t rely TOO heavily on it, or it’ll look obvious. Just a quick mention and a follow-up sentence about why it’s relevant is enough.
Use the affect heuristic to set the right tone for your first phone call.
The affect heuristic states that we make decisions (in part) based on our mood at the time of the decision. Obviously, someone who is annoyed, rushed, or otherwise feeling more negative than positive will be less likely to make a favorable decision regarding you and your pitch, whether that means scheduling a demo, another phone call, or even listening in the first place.
Tune into your prospect’s tone: if they’re sounding perturbed, it might be better to cut your losses, or offer up some conversation less focused on the sale and more focused on improving their mood.
Then, try again later – they’ll remember you as the person who didn’t push them, and be more open minded the second time around.
Tap into body language to make a good first impression, in-person.
This isn’t exactly a heuristic, but it falls in the same psychology category: we’re talking about mirroring, or the subtle act of mimicking your prospect’s body language and actions while interacting in person.
The trick it to be subtle and not creepy about it!
If your prospect shifts his or her weight, wait a few seconds and then do the same. If they lean forward and gesture with their hands, wait a moment and do the same. Even consider repeating back certain key phrases throughout your conversation.
This works by putting your prospect at ease, showing them you’re willing to provide a “united front” with them. Doing so creates an atmosphere of ease and trust.
Whether you’re typing up a quick email, hopping on a call or meeting a prospect in person, you can employ a few Jedi mind tricks to boost your prospect’s comfort and trust level quickly, making the entire sales process move more smoothly as a result!
Publish Date: July 19, 2016 5:00 AM
Wouldn’t it be great if the very first person you reached out to at a prospective customer organization turned out to be the exact – and only – contact you needed?
Unfortunately for most sales professionals, that scenario is more fantasy than anything else.
What’s far more common is hunting around for multiple contacts, reaching out several times to different people, and making as many inroads as possible before securing a deal. People change jobs, misconstrue their purchasing power, or just plain ignore you – so having a multifaceted outreach strategy is critical.
The trick is conducting effective outreach without being overbearing or even annoying. Prospects often have quite a few people vying for their attention. Standing out from a cluttered inbox or getting past the voicemail black hole isn’t easy. Multiply that times several contacts at a single organization, and thorough organization of your efforts becomes even more critical.
That’s why a methodical and in-depth approach to selling to an organization is the best route. Often that involves talking to more than one person at an organization until you land on the most effective sales avenue.
Depending on how involved your sales process is, it’s possible there are multiple people who could be involved in the sales decision, from a C-suite level executive to an on-the-ground director — even the development or accounting team.
Here are some reasons why this deeper approach is more effective
- It helps mitigate any challenges or roadblocks you might face should a contact or two change positions, or leave the company entirely
- It gives you multiple avenues for sharing the usefulness of your product for a variety of applications, departments, etc.
- It helps create an internal dialogue and familiarity among contacts, which supports your efforts
- It gives you a clearer idea of who the true decision-maker is
Another factor to consider when infusing your sales strategy with more depth is how complex your product is.
If more than one person or department would ultimately be involved in using your product, that means you have lots of opportunities to make inroads at several touch points within the company.
What your product does for designers, for example, could be vastly different from what it does for project managers, administrators or writers. And, often times you have to “go through” a particular department or individual (administrative assistants are one such common barrier point, so getting to know them is a smart tactic) to get to the true decider of an organization.
If your first contact doesn’t work out, don’t get discouraged – simply move on to the next, all while keeping a consistent and thoughtful strategy in place for your original and subsequent efforts.
It’s less of a straight line from point A to point B and more of a web of relationships. The most successful sales professionals will take the time to cultivate multiple relationships within one company, thus upping their likelihood of success!
To keep better track of your prospects, check out Intelliverse’s sales acceleration tool.
Publish Date: July 7, 2016 5:00 AM
Sales is a numbers game in more ways than one. The amount of data that one salesperson can generate – let alone an entire sales team! – can be staggering.
More, though, is not always better.
When it comes to your team’s key performance indicators, or KPIs for short, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Revenue, cost per lead, conversion rates, engagement; the options are pretty much endless. Which is why it’s important to focus on the handful of KPIs that, when monitored, provide the most insight into how your business and sales team is performing.
Let’s look at five KPIs your team should be tracking, if they aren’t already, and why.
If you’re not tracking this key indicator… you’re probably about to go out of business! Not to be obtuse, but tracking revenue is, for most businesses, the single most important indicator of the company’s health. For sales professionals, this boils down to tracking the revenue their activities and closed deals generates.
Customer Lifetime Value
Keeping your costs low isn’t always the best way to make your customer acquisition process more efficient.
By looking at Customer Lifetime Value, you see what value your team is getting from each long-term customer relationship. You can use this information to hone in on the channels and strategies that land the most valuable customers.
This sales-specific figure shows you how many leads are coming into the sales department each month. You can use this to identify slow times, boom times, and hone in on what sales professionals are pulling in the leads versus who might need a boost.
Leads are great and all, but only if they end up turning into paying customers, right?
The rate at which your leads convert into paying customers is your conversion rate, and is a very strong indicator of a variety of things, from how truly “qualified” your leads are, what sales professionals are having the most success converting leads, and what characteristics define a qualified lead.
Customer Retention Rate
Just like it’s great to have leads only if they end up turning into customers, it’s only great to have customers if they stick around! Your customer retention rate reveals what portion of your paying customers stay, what portion bounce, and strategies that work to keep customers coming back for more.
One search online generates dozens, even hundreds of suggestions for KPIs you need to pay attention to. Stick to the ones listed above, though, and you’ll have a firm grasp on the health of your sales department and your organization as a whole.
To better track these KPIs in your Salesforce dashboard, install something like our sales acceleration tool. You can meet and beat your KPIs by end of year.
Publish Date: June 28, 2016 5:00 AM
Ah, summertime. The time of year for vacations, pool parties, BBQs, and staring longingly out the window waiting for the clock to strike 5.
It’s no secret that staying motivated can be tough in the summer. Sales professionals aren’t immune to this. But, there are ways to keep your team motivated, forward-thinking and maybe even excited about making progress and meeting goals during the warmest months of the year.
Let’s look at some practical – and also fun – ways to keep morale and motivation high all summer long.
Establish a rhythm.
Things like vacation can really throw individual team members and their whole teams off, and it can take a while to get back into the swing of things. So, use automation software and tracking tools to ensure that things keep moving forward, even if only a little bit, while team members are away or settling back in. Keeping a rhythm will make it even easier for returning team members to get right back to the beat of the team’s drum.
Make it fun.
Gamification strategies are proven as a productivity tool, and more and more companies are realizing that it helps improve team performance and improve customer relationships. Since sales professionals are pretty competitive by nature, gamification software like the kind Intelliverse offers lets you connect accurate sales metrics and real-time feedback to make work less like work and more like fun.
If you have a competitive team (sales teams, by definition) use these gamification software metrics to reward them throughout the summer. For example, the person with the most calls in a certain week receives a gift card, the team member with the most closes at the end of summer gets an extended Labor Day weekend, etc.
Recognize team and individual accomplishments.
There’s nothing more demoralizing that doing a great job, landing a huge contract, and having no one else even acknowledge your efforts because they’re disengaged or distracted on account of the season.
Take special care during the summer to be even more recognition-oriented than usual. You can do this in a variety of ways; sometimes just a word of acknowledgement or a shout-out at a team meeting is enough. Othertimes, more tangible rewards, like a team lunch, half-day Friday for meeting a team goal, or something similar will be plenty to help team members feel worthwhile and motivated.
Don’t forget to include peer-to-peer recognition as well. Do like Zappos and allow team member nominations for doing great work.
Lastly, make the office a place they want to be.
No one wants to feel trapped in a dreary corporate box. So do whatever you can to bring light, energy, and a little bit of Feng Shui into your office space. This could mean brightening up the decor, bringing in easy to maintain plants, changing window treatments, offering new refreshments and snack, and much more.
For many people, summer is the best time of the year. With a little effort, you can ensure your team still enjoys the summer season while crushing sales goals at the same time.
Publish Date: June 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Salesforce is a veritable behemoth of knowledge, resources and tools for sales teams and individual sales professionals, and their AppExchange is no exception. With nearly 3,000 apps on the exchange, sorting through them all and weeding out the wheat from the chaff is no small task.
To make your life a bit easier, we’re sharing our take on the exchange’s best apps for sales professionals, including some insight into what makes these apps better from the rest. Get ready to app-ify your sales process.
SwagIQ Intelligent GiftingBrandVia Alliance, Inc. on Vimeo.
SwagIQ allows you to send gifts to prospects and clients at the ideal time. You can send branded items, custom messages, or elegant food with ease. It also keeps track of your budget so your team doesn’t go overboard. This eliminates stress for admins who typically spend a chunk of their time running around fufulling requests and documenting expenses.
Box is a widely used free app that helps teams improve their collaboration by enabling individuals to easily share and manage files within Salesforce and Salesforce1. The main appeal of this app is its simplicity; it’s intuitive and easy to use. It helps teams move faster by cutting out email back-and-forth bottlenecks, and helps teams understand how to drive customer conversations by identifying the assets that are most effective.
Want a way to easily gather feedback from customers and prospects? Clicktools does just that. It lets you send simple surveys quickly to non-Salesforce contacts, Salesforce contacts, leads… pretty much anyone! The surveys are uber easy and fast to build, and you can export your findings into nifty, useful analytics reports.
The initial set-up for this app is free, but to get the full power, you’ll need to pay. The Timesheets.com app is quick to set up, and the sheets provided can be used for billing, payroll, time-off, accruals, and project billing and analysis. Individuals, small- and medium-sized companies can easily track hourly time, project time and non-standard time and expenses, making HR and book keeping’s jobs easier, and giving you more time to focus on sales.
Sending a custom proposal can be time-consuming for your sales team. Even worse is when you draft a proposal, your prospect requests a few changes, you spend time editing it, all to find out that she’s left for a vacation for two weeks. With Proposify, you can create templates, quickly edit details, and keep track of stats in one dashboard. They offer a free trial period, so we recommend checking it out for 30 days.
Intelliverse Sales Acceleration
We’re giving ourselves a little pat on the back right here because our app will save your sales team a ton of time. Shorten the sales process and close more deals with sales acceleration. Never heard of it? Check out our video below:
We live in an increasingly app-ified world; embrace it and bring some ease and speed to your workflow with these apps from the Salesforce AppExchange!
Publish Date: June 2, 2016 5:00 AM
Not all prospects are created the same – as a sales professional, you know that better than anyone. So when the demo calls, special deals and borderline begging doesn’t work to seal the deal, sometimes you’ve got to break out some special techniques to get the job done. Yes – we’re talking about booze. But how can you know what drinks your dear prospects will respond to?
Let’s start with the least intense approach. Beer is pretty much universally beloved, and even people who don’t like it will lie and say they do, because let’s face it – it’s cool to like beer these days. With a new “craft” brewery popping up on every corner, you won’t have to go far to slam down a pint.
How to tell whether your prospects will be into beer:
- They possess a beard or are clearly trying to grow one
- You’ve seen them wear flannel at least once
- You’ve heard them refer to like IBUs and hops
If you don’t love beer, never fear – it’s easy to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about. Just start saying things like, “I prefer this beer warm, actually,” and “The finish and mouthfeel of this nitro is superb.” Instant beer snob.
Drinking cocktails with your prospects immediately increases the odds someone, at some point, will let out a loud and enthusiastic “Woooooo!” with their hands joyfully in the air at some point during the night. You decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
What your prospect’s “signature drink” says about them:
- Jager bomb: You’re probably not gonna make this sale.
- Long Island Iced Tea: They want the most bang for their buck.
- Margarita: They have, like, 15 friends they can totally refer your way.
- Manhattan: They have less money than they say they do.
- Cosmo: Getting them to commit won’t be easy.
What you order says something about you, too, so be a boss and order a scotch, neat. No messing around here.
It’s hard to knock wine. Unless you put ice in yours. Then all bets are off.
Drinking wine can infuse your evening with a happy buzz, but beware… there are stages on the way to “wine drunk” and once you pass a certain one, there’s no going back.
Stage 1: I am a classy and sophisticated professional. I will sip on this wine delicately.
Stage 2: Damn, actually, this stuff is delicious… hit me with a refill, good sir.
Stage 3: The buzz. You’re feeling good, making some great jokes… aim to stay here as long as possible.
Stage 4: Honesty hour. Danger alert: get too deep into this stage and you risk dropping clues about how your product might not be quite so perfect for your prospective client.
Stage 5: Sleepytime. You have no game left.
Anything beyond stage 5 is full-on failure territory, so if you even get to that point.. Danger, Will Robinson, this night will not go how you planned.
Time to bring out the big guns. If you’re meeting with a true party animal who’s on spring break 24/7, you’ll need to slap down a $20, order a round of tequila, and suck on some salt.
How to tell whether your prospects will be into shots:
- They suggest a Mexican restaurant.
- They reference their college days more than once.
- They talk about their favorite liquor and it’s not “a good craft beer”
- They’re in an overnight parking spot.
Other reasons to buy your prospect a shot(s)
- If it’s a nice day outside.
- If you’re of Russian, Irish, Hollish, and/or Mexican descent.
- If you challenge the notion that you’re “getting older” and may “feel like crap tomorrow.”
- If you want to risk saying something potentially damaging to the sale.
- If you want to risk saying something potentially awesome to the sale.
So there you have it. Once you’ve boozed up your sales prospects, had a heart to heart chat, and picked up the bill, they’ll be all about signing. Need to funnel them through the sales cycle even faster? Try Intelliverse’s sales acceleration software.
Publish Date: May 27, 2016 5:00 AM
A primary role of sales leaders is to motivate their sales teams and improve their performance. As technology, data and science have now become primary drivers in the sales industry, these provide powerful tools to help improve motivation by increasing productivity, efficiency and perhaps the strongest of all – sales performance and results. Gamification technologies have been shown to be effective at improving the productivity of salespeople. Sales automation technologies offer the clear advantage of improving sales team efficiency. Sales acceleration technologies speed up the sales process, allowing sales personnel to achieve successful results and completed sales more quickly.
1. Gamification – Increase Sales Productivity
The sales industry is often a fast paced, high-pressure environment so sales leaders seek to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty in the sales team. Many organizations are using “gamification” in their sales activities, which Gartner defines as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.”
Given the competitive nature of salespeople, the application of digital game design techniques to the sales environment is a natural fit. The organization can construct contests, competitions and leaderboards around a number of different metrics; using the game mechanics to create fun, challenging, competitive and visual experiences with goals, achievement levels and rewards. The goal is for the individuals or teams to engage with the “game” and participate. This participation can be used to increase product knowledge and build skills, as well as helping to keep the sales team engaged with customers and the sales process – increasing lead conversions.
2. Sales Automation – Increase Efficiency
Sales people can view routine tasks as mundane and thankless, although these can be crucial to the overall sales process. Sales automation technologies allow many typical administrative activities to be automated, greatly increasing the efficiency of the sales team.
These platforms can be used by marketers to schedule and track campaigns, and by sales personnel to efficiently manage and track contacts, directly inputting into the CRM information such as the logging of call activity, call attempts, voicemail attempts and email correspondence. The systems can go further and trigger reminders for appointments and actions; automate such tasks as sending predetermined follow-up letters and emails at set times; or sort and prioritize leads into categories such as qualified, interested or already contacted based on pre-specified parameters.
These technologies can also help ensure the accuracy of information as well as prevent lost information and opportunities, such as failure to follow up with a lead. The automation saves the sales team time by automating time-consuming tasks, increasing their efficiency and freeing them for other sales efforts- a significant motivator to maximize productivity.
3. Sales Acceleration – Increase Conversions
Sales acceleration as a term generally encompasses a variety of technology solutions under an umbrella as tools to accelerate sales – to shorten the sales cycle and a buyer’s purchase path so that opportunities are converted more quickly into actual sales and customers. These rapidly expanding technologies are considered to bridge the gap between CRM systems traditionally part of sales and the marketing automation systems; and while not fitting precisely in either, improving marketing and sales collaboration across a platform.
These solutions generally allow organizations to maximize use of their data resources; and rely on speed in data analysis, data presentation and responsive actions. These technologies cover a variety of areas – sales intelligence, analytics, data visualization, gamification, automated email, email tracking, webinars and on-line video conferencing and social media. The specific tools that will most effectively accelerate sales may vary by organization and by industry and change over time. However, tools that help salespeople accelerate sales and increase conversions into actual purchase transactions faster clearly enhance sales motivation.
Technologies are crucial in today’s sales industry, which increasingly relies on data, speed and science. The three discussed above, gamification, sales automation and sales acceleration, can be effective tools for sales organizations to motivate sales teams by increasing productivity, efficiency and conversions.
Publish Date: May 25, 2016 5:00 AM
Sales is sales… right? Well, not quite. The fundamentals may remain pretty much the same, but the realities of today’s top sales professionals are changing as rapidly as the technological landscape those professionals find themselves in.
To get to the heart of what those changes look like – and what they mean for your team and your sales acceleration efforts – we drilled down to the numbers. Here are some sales acceleration stats that may surprise you. Or, maybe you have sensed these changes yourself. Either way, knowledge is power, so now you know, what will you do to improve your team’s efforts?
Sales people make, on average, 25 calls to get just one conversion. Those numbers get more and more challenging every year, with more calls required for an even smaller conversion rate. That’s why working smarter, not harder, is the name of the game in sales today.
One third of sales calls are virtually a waste of time. This is due to sales people being given poor sales information, information that encourages them to chase down an unqualified lead.
Without sales acceleration, the typical sales rep can make less than 20 calls in an hour. With sales acceleration software, that spikes to more than 40. That equates to an average of 14 more appointments and 1,200 more dials per month among sales professionals using sales automation tools.
Here’s a surprise: 44 percent of sales professionals will quit after just a single “no.” That’s unfortunate, because 80 percent of deals are closed on the fifth to 12th contact!
Leads are time sensitive: 50 percent of deals go to the vendor who calls first. Yet less than 40 percent of leads are contacted within an hour.
What do all of these stats add up to?
There’s a clear need for sales professionals today to improve their lead quality, accelerate their outreach, broaden their contacts and bring a sense of urgency to the outreach process. That’s where sales acceleration efforts come in.
Intelliverse increases sales productivity by 42% and generates 200-400% more conversations by eliminating dialing and delivering more live conversations and opportunities in much less time. Turn 8 hours of work into 2 – really! Learn more about how to do it with Intelliverse.
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM