Welcome to your weekly roundup for Aug 18 - 25. This week we’ve got 15 innovative prospecting strategies that don’t involve picking up the phone, 7 ways to build forward-thinking, collectivist-minded sales teams and how to measure the ROI of social selling.
Okay, so the title of this post is misleading (cold calling isn’t dead), but Richard Stephens, co-founder of inbound marketing agency Angelfish Marketing, hits the right notes with this post: there are a swath of other consistent, targeted prospecting strategies that yield a high return, and can even potentially be used in conjunction with the phone.
1. Share relevant content that helps buyers solve their pain points. Once you've built up your personal following, you'll have a natural flow of buyer engagement you can mine through.
2. Blog. Focus on the overlap between your expertise and your buyers’ pain points and opportunities.
3. Create a consistent routine to engage on social media with the right people (i.e. users who fit your ideal buyer profile) and grow your audience.
4. Join LinkedIn groups and answer questions.
5. Share relevant blog posts or interesting articles in online groups to help kick off the conversation.
6. Work with marketing to create a series of sales emails designed to provide inbound leads with helpful information. Help prospects learn during their research and consideration phase, so they’re warmed up by the time you get on the phone with them.
7. Track your web visitors' behavior in your CRM and understand when the time is right to reach out with a call.
8. Set up email notifications when prospects are researching articles on your website that signify buyer intent such as demos, price lists, product walkthroughs or even late-consideration stage posts.
9. Sell based on your expert knowledge, not Jedi mind tricks.
10. Use an integrated and intelligent CRM system so you have a context for every buyer before you reach out.
11. Keep in touch with buyers after the sales process. Continue to send them valuable insights even if they decided not to purchase to stay top of mind.
12. Ditch the script: Be human, relatable, and consultative in your calls.
13. Offer free half-hour consultations on your area of expertise. Once you've earned credibility and trust with a potential customer and delved into their challenges, explain how your product can help.
14. Ask your happiest customers to refer you to others who might benefit from your solution. Make your request as specific as possible ("Do you know any companies of X size in [industry] who struggle with [challenge]?" ) so a name immediately leaps into your customer's head.
15. Make a video featuring your tips for solving a common challenge or capitalizing on a timely opportunity. At the end, tell viewers you're willing to give them personalized recommendations on the topic if they'd like. Share the video on your social media platforms and send it to your customers.
*This is a summary of Cold Calling Is Dead: 15 New Prospecting Strategies Salespeople Should Use by Richard Stephens.
Earlier this week, we published a highly controversial post centered around the idea—is the no commission model the future for sales? In it, Graeme Hawkins, the author, mentioned the Australian-based HR tech startup Culture Amp as an example for this model.
The Global VP of Sales, Ramon Elzinga, who started debate on the topic, writes on 7 steps to build a rock star sales team. Here’s what he says.
1. Hire for humility. Whereas empathy and ambition are more commonly associated with sales, humility is not. Humility means being humble, it’s the quality that allows a rep to realize he or she can always learn from others, regardless of what they’ve achieved.
2. Co-locate cross functionality. Have members of the team who are responsible for the buying journey sit next to each other. This means salespeople will be held accountable for customer support if they overpromise. As a result, customer satisfaction, renewal and referral rates will improve.
3. Replace the “Sales Process” with a “Buyer Journey”. When you start thinking like a buyer rather than a seller, you will create real value for buyers and the business. Instead of closing maneuvers, discounts and limited time offers, you’ll think of what information the buyer needs to make an informed decision, the risks they’re worried about, and how to get others involved in the purchasing decision.
4. Replace individual leaderboards with team dashboards. Skip the qualms about territories and so forth; team dashboards allow everyone in the team to focus on what matters for the business, rather than what matters for the individual.
5. Consider fixed comp (plus equity) instead of variable comp & calibrate often. As Elzinga details in his last post, commission plans create alignment issues. His company has seen huge success with the fixed pay model (the fixed pay is reasonably higher than the variable compensation model), with quarterly calibrations, and significant opportunities for learning support and flexibility.
6. Celebrate achievement of the team as a team rather than idolizing individuals & recognize randomly. Instead of putting the rep who closed a huge deal on a podium, why not recognize everyone who was involved in the deal?
7. Build something awesome. If your team truly believes in the product, they’ll be internally motivated and everything becomes much easier.
A study last year by CSO Insights found that effective social selling sales training services could improve win rates and quota attainment by 14.9% and 10.9%, respectively. So how can businesses measure social selling to get the most of out it? Monika Goetzmann of CSO Insights reveals:
Individual Engagement Rates. Since social selling involves engaging with potential buyers on social media sites, it makes sense to monitor engagement rates for each rep. Measure the number of content pieces each rep is sharing over a period of time, which will reveal their commitment to social. Then measure the engagement on each piece, which will provide insight into each rep’s social media influence.
Sales Training and Sales Coaching ROI. Just like going to the gym, to maximize social selling training, sales leaders and professionals need to invest time, effort and money into their training.
To measure ROI on training, track the following:
- ROI: Did the training investment provide a positive ROI?
- Results: Did the training have a measurable impact on performance?
- Impact: Did the learners’ behavior change as a result of the training?
- Learning: Did knowledge transfer occur?
- Satisfaction: Did the learners enjoy the training?
Most companies fail to do this, only focusing on tools such as LinkedIn and lacking a more comprehensive change to the overall sales process.
Second Degree Connections. Being referred by a mutual connection makes a buyer five times more likely to engage with a sales rep. Make sure reps know how to view second degree connections so they leverage the connections of others in their prospecting efforts.