If you are reading this, you surely know the importance of sales for achieving business success. You rely on your sales team to create new revenue for the organization, and are probably constantly trying to find ways to enable them to focus on their primary role. At the same time, you know they spend too much of their precious time on activities that do not contribute directly to your revenue.
Research shows that sales reps can be spending as low as 22% of their time actually selling! Even the most optimistic data, don’t put time dedicated to selling above 50%.
And after we “discount” the breaks everyone needs to take, it leaves plenty of time spent on different administrative tasks, dealing with stalled proposals, preparing presentations, putting contracts together… but the biggest time eater seems to be prospecting. A very important task, but also the one which shouldn’t be done by the valuable sales reps.
Although things might seem dim – there is a solution. Read on if you are willing to put in the necessary work and get your sales team back on track.
Before you start – FOCUS
To fight the stats, you need to find ways to maximize time for selling and relationship building. You need to keep it in front of you all the time, and look through it at every change you think about introducing.
This will help you setup your sales process in a way that enables your reps to concentrate on selling. If you provide them with right tools and resources, they can excel at their work.
Read on to find the points you must think about if you want to improve your results. We mention a lot of different things that can become a part of your sales strategy, but it’s up to you to pick and choose those that can be applied in your organization.
Please, please – Know your market
You wouldn’t believe how many people just jump into selling without getting to know who they are selling to, and with whom you are competing for those same customers.
Getting to know what your (potential) customers are like, how much they will spend, what do they need… are just some of the information that can help you gain a better understanding about what you can offer them. In other words, how your sales reps can show them that your product has all the right ingredients to satisfy their needs.
And if you follow what your competitors are doing, you will get valuable insight from a different angle, and one which you can apply to the way you are selling.
The better understanding of your market you have, the chances of success are higher!
Adapt to different verticals
Once you get to know your market well, you will be able to split it into different verticals. And you need to do it if you want to achieve greatness in your sales results. No two verticals are the same. They have different needs, and will see different benefits from your offer. They might also have different purchasing processes in place. You have to know all you can about different verticals you are trying to sell to, and adapt your approach to each of them.
“One size fits all” approach will definitely not work here!
Take a look from the product’s side
Another way of optimizing your sales strategy and sales process is to look from your product’s perspective. You know what your products and/or services do, what their features are, what benefits different customers can have…
When you know all this it connects with previous points – it’s easier to define what your ideal customers look like, research them, and split them into verticals when you know key benefits of your offering.
These first three steps practically have to be done together in order for your sales strategy to be properly optimized.
What about different locations?
If you thoroughly researched your market, you will know where your potential customers are geographically located. Although that information might not influence any changes in your sales process, if you sell around the globe – you really should consider it.
People in different countries have different reactions to the same types of outreach you are doing. So you need to find out what works where, and to adapt your process according to these findings. Somewhere you might need to call before sending any emails, while in other places you must not call before scheduling it via email.
Think about the time of day when you want to reach out. Even if you are doing everything the same – if you send your email at 4PM EST to a European sales lead, they will most likely read it next morning, but only after all the other emails that have arrived during that morning – so you might get lost in the ocean of emails that need more urgent response.
Who are you reaching out to?
Your sales strategy must adapt to the type of leads in your outreach program. You just can’t send the same type of message to C-suite members and other managers, or to the guys that will directly use your product and/or service, but are not make buying decisions (while at the most they might influence it).
To the guys thinking about their organization strategies, you need to send shorter emails, give them the most important benefits, talk about how much their organization can save in terms of money, time, and other resources.
And to the guys that will directly feel the benefits, you can give more details, but with focus on what features will make them happy. Turn them into your ambassadors who will “sell” your product to their bosses.
How to start email outreach?
Be smart about it! Nobody wants to read long emails that mostly show how good is your creative writing, but don’t mean much to the potential customer. No matter if you’re reaching out to a cold lead, or you’ve got a recommendation, or even met this person previously, keep your first email short.
Write up to 3 sentences, with the most important info about why you are reaching out and what you are offering. Do not add any marketing BS, write in plain text, and include only one link where they can get more information before deciding if they will write back.
Once they reply, you can send PDFs, infographics, and other types of information they might find useful…
Automate as much as you can
If you are serious about your outreach efforts, and want to get the best results possible – you need to start automating. Not everything at once, do it at your own pace, but start doing it.
Using specialized solutions, you can become more efficient not only with email outreach, but also with different marketing efforts that contribute to your sales process. You can automatically show your prospects messages that correspond to the customer journey phase they are at.
You could also automate lead management, and especially lead qualification. How do you know if somebody to whom you sent your email is a good lead to continue working on? Using automation tools, you can, for instance, define that keeping your email open for certain period of time, and clicking the included link is enough to give that lead to your sales reps to develop further.
When you get going in the automation direction, you will feel the benefits and start automating more elements of your sales process. And how many benefits you will feel – you can’t know if you don’t try.
The importance of prospecting
You know you need leads your sales can contact. And most likely your sales reps are doing a lot of prospecting to get those leads, but that isn’t the only way. There are cheaper and better ways to get good leads to work on.
And no, we don’t mean that you should go out and buy packaged email lists. This might seem like the cheapest option, but no matter how well segmented they might be you will get too much noise – non-functioning emails, people who switched jobs, and people who are not relevant for your sales outreach.
The best option is to outsource your prospecting to a team (like ours ) who can create high quality verified up to date B2B lead gen lists, under your criteria. And it’s better for your team to have i.e. “cold” 200 leads that you know are fitting your perfect client profile, than to waste time going through lists of thousands of email addresses of people you have no idea how interested they could be in your product.
Be smart and don’t choose what may seem to be the cheapest way!
Document the process
In order for your sales team to know what they are doing and when and to be able to onboard new people in an effective manner – you need to have guidelines in place for every step of your sales process.
It needs to be written in such a way, that anybody who goes through them knows exactly what to do next in the sales process.
For instance, you need to define how many emails are being sent to new cold leads, how to segment your potential customers, what conditions must be met in order to move to the next phase, etc.
You can’t be a top-notch if you base your decision on assumptions. Your philosophy might make sense inside your head, but out there in the real world, only the results count. That is why you need to start introducing changes even if everything is working ok. And when you start changing things you must test and measure to know if they make any sense.
Compare different approaches to same steps, and over time go into details, all the way down to the email subjects and the way you include link into the outreach email.
When something works better than the current sales process – change the process, and update your sales guidelines.
The checklist that will help you sell more
Don’t try everything at once. Do one thing at a time, in the order that makes sense to you, and then come back for more.
To make it easier for you, here is a checklist of the things we talked about:
Get to know your market, but really
Segment it into verticals and sub-verticals so you can customize every element of the sales process
Look at the sales process from the product’s perspective
Think about geographical locations and what variables can affect your outreach
Adapt your messaging to different seniority levels and verticals
Start your email outreach by targeting small batches of emails and apply the customization
Automate sales and fine-tune it as you start getting first results from your experiments
Outsource prospecting ad lead generation in a smart way
Document the process so everyone is on the same page and you can easily scale up
Test everything, always
Go through the list and establish a better sales process. Contact us for a consultation if you are not sure what you should do next. And for verified B2B lead generation – you know you can rely on us.
We do not have the solution to save time on dealing with customer contracts, but after you start introducing changes based on our recommendations – contracts will be the sweet problem to deal with…
Contact us for a free consultation.