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What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Image 1You, today’s salesperson, have a lot on your plate and a lot is expected of you every single day.

Even with all you do, there are missed opportunities and it could be said that, foundationally, it comes down to ensuring every minute of every day is spent doing the things that matter most.

We created a Sales Time Usage Survey and we would appreciate your help. It will, at most, take three minutes of your time to take part in the survey (participate here).

In return, and only if you desire, we will send you the results of how you compare to your peers.

Thank you for your consideration and your participation.

Related to this important topic of making the most of all you do in your daily pursuit of sales relationships, we asked many of the top sales industry influencers the following question. You can read their responses below:

What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Too many sales professionals still fail to proactively manage their time. They waste time between sales calls, waste time on unqualified opportunities, and work reactively vs. focusing on their most important target prospects.  Discipline and intentional work on the right things are key!

Matt Heinz
President :: Heinz Marketing Inc

 

Salespeople are not taking enough advantage of their mindset. They fire, fire, fire, fire….then aim. If you want to make the sales profession better, spend less time with your nose pressed against a screen, and learn to think before you act. That’s something a third grader learns in school.

Gerhard Gschwandtner
CEO :: SellingPower.com

 

Continuing education. And it’s not just salespeople, but we, as a group are guilty. I always ask my clients if they are practicing their craft as much as they are their golf game, tennis game or other avocations. They should practice their vocation just as much!

Butch Bellah
Speaker, Trainer& Author :: ButchBellah.com

 

Independent thinking. Why? Because they’d rather belong than succeed.

Tibor Shanto
Chief Sales Officer :: Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

 

Today’s salespeople aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities to research the companies in their target sweet spot, nor the people in those companies that they’re going to have to contact. They also don’t research their competitors enough. This lack of research is laziness, and it’s costing these salespeople, and their companies, a ton of business!

Robert Terson
Author & Speaker :: SellingFearlessly.com

 

Cost effective on-line training that is easy to consume.

Why? They don’t know of it, they are too arrogant to realize they can improve, or they are waiting “to see if our company will pay for it.”

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Sales Presentation Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Executive Speech Coach :: Fripp.com

 

Sales people are under utilizing the power of social to gain access to decision makers, identify all the influencers and stakeholders, leverage their connections to get warm introductions and position themselves as thought leaders and subject matter experts.

The power of platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are gateways into the minds and networks of their prospects but sales people rarely take the journey – or if they do they turn back before they bear fruit.

Brynne Tillman
CEO :: SocialSalesLink.com

 

Preparation. That’s what’s missing from sales people today.

The excuses sales people share are:  Time and Don’t Need To (know this business inside and out).  After working with sales teams worldwide for over 30 years, the sales people who adopt Preparation advance more sales and close more deals.

When should a sales person prepare?  Only when they want to make a sale. And the preparation can be as short as 5 minutes.

These 3 questions are the minimum ones a sales person should  ask themselves before picking up the phone or getting out of their car:

  1. What’s the objective of this conversation?
  2. What questions am I going to ask to accomplish the objective?
  3. What am I going to say to launch the conversation?

Alice Kemper
Founder & President :: Sales Training Consultants | SalesTrainingWerks.com

 

Most salespeople are not reacting to the market and to leads in real-time. Research suggests that the faster you respond to an inquire, the more likely that deal will close, yet most salespeople are working on their time, not the buyers’ time.

David Meerman Scott
Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author :: DavidMeermanScott.com

 

Each other.

I train sales reps all over the world and during my training sessions they always ask questions about specific challenges they are facing. My first response to all of them is “does anyone in here have a few ideas on how to address that?”

Inevitably someone in the class has a good answer or good approach they use to address whatever that challenge is.

We rarely stop and think about what we’re doing in sales and we’re always looking for the answer when most of the time it’s right in front of us.

Sales can be perceived as an individual sport but if you leverage your team you can figure things out a lot faster.

John Barrows
Owner :: jbarrows.com

 

Many sales people aren’t actively involved with their current or potential customer until there is an active opportunity. By then it’s often too late, because one of their competitors has likely grabbed customer mindshare and influenced the buying process and decision criteria in their favor.

In researching Beyond the Sales Process, we learned that the average executive spends less than 2% of their time buying from you. What you do during the remaining 98% of that customer’s time can prevent you from falling into that fatal trap—only getting involved when there is “meat on the table.

Dave Stein
Author, Beyond the Sales Process :: davestein.biz

 

Salespeople are not learning how to uncover a client’s decision criteria and their values, because once they learn how to uncover a client’s values and beliefs, there will be no resistance to your proposal.

Alen Mayer
Sales Expert, Author & Speaker :: AlenMayer.com

 

Sales people do not effectively follow-up on leads. Mostly it is because:

  1. They are conditioned to expect poor quality leads from marketing
  1. They don’t know how to  follow-up on leads
  1. They give up too early – “I called them and they did not call me back so they must not really have been a lead”

This  blog goes into detail about how to effectively follow-up on leads. It also shows the actual vs. the perceived percent of leads that by month-by-month after a lead is generated:

Chart

Dan McDade
President, PointClear

 

As a field coach, I would like to see more salespeople asking more high-quality questions (and fewer low-quality ones).

High-quality questions are purposeful. They yield the information desired. They don’t sound random, oddly phrased, misplaced in the conversation or manipulative. Instead, they invite buyers to share fully and thoughtfully.

To ask more purposeful questions, a salesperson has to pause and consider ‘what do I really want to know?’ The question should be worded to plainly request the information that’s really desired. When driven by an intent to help the buyer, there’s usually a mutual benefit to purposeful questions.

Low-quality questions work against individual sellers and against the profession of selling. I cringe, along with buyers, when I hear trite questions (“what keeps you up at night?”) or obvious set-up questions (“if I could show you how to save, you’d like that wouldn’t you?”). Buyers resist time-wasting, low-value meetings featuring these kinds of questions.

By contrast, buyers respond favorably to questions that make them think or engage them in stimulating conversations. My book, DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, is packed with high-quality questions from actual sales calls. Salespeople in any field will ask higher quality questions and advance their sales more quickly to a close after reading this book.

Deb Calvert
Author of the Bestseller DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected :: People First Productivity Solutions

 

Salespeople today are not taking enough advantage of utilizing social media.

Other than the time invested, social media is free. Social media has fantastic branding features combined with incredible reach.

Salespeople often think in terms of sales and not marketing. To reach the highest levels of sales, you must learn to market yourself and create a brand. It is easier to do today than ever because of social media.

If you utilize the power of “Intentional Congruence” in cross channel communicating and marketing on social media, you create a power positioning of expertise.

In sales, if you position yourself as an expert giving great content, you will no longer be positioned as a beggar as most salespeople are.

Also, remember that social media is just that social. Interact, engage, create conversations along with utilizing some marketing aspects but do not sell through social directly all the time or you will turn off your audience. It’s social media, not selling media.

Also, on social media such as Facebook, you can now take your customer lists, potential customers lists or segment potential audiences however you wish and reach them with paid ads or dark posts and utilize targeting marketing and retargeting at a very inexpensive price.

Compared to traditional advertising, social media is more effective for a salesperson and allows anyone to create a strong presence and get sales fast for low to no cost.

Mark Tewart
Author of How To Be A Sales Superstar :: Tewart.com

 

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3 MORE RECOMMENDED SALES TOOLS

Tools_3_-_310_shadowAs sales pros, we know that the hardest part of making the sale is often connecting to new business.In this day and age, rallying new sales

In this day and age, rallying new sales relies heavily on developing your prospective relationships – so that by the time your potential clients are ready to make a move, you’ve already been established as a trusted expert in their sphere of influence.

But, how do the most successful sales professionals climb the mountain of social media, in order to stay on top of their client conversations?

They do it by using the best tools available to gather info and gain insight into their clients’ needs – and then leveraging this information to drive relevant and engaging conversations with their potential customers.

Need some help kickstarting your conversations? I’ve reviewed a few tools which can help you identify your best prospects and open the door to more productive dialogue.

SocialPort (by rFactr)
http://rfactr.com/product  //  @rFactr

SocialPort is an all-inclusive content management system, which enables streamlined sharing via social channels. It helps users engage in more productive conversations, by allowing them to write, schedule, and share posts which have been optimized for social media.

It allows managers access to in-depth data and analytical insights helpful for tracking and monitoring the impact of social campaigns, as well as enabling sharing of corporate-approved content for use by sales staff. SocialPort simplifies the alignment of marketing, sales, and customer experience – and makes it easy to attribute revenue directly to sales initiatives.
 

Pros – Effective content syndication and easy integration with most major CRMs.
Cons – Auto-posting could be improved. Syndication functionality is also somewhat lacking.
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Riffle (by CrowdRiff)
http://crowdriff.com/riffle  //  @CrowdRiff

Riffle helps maximize their use of Twitter, by providing information regarding the reach and potential value of each user. This allows sales professionals to identify industry influencers, and prioritize, personalize, and tailor their interactions to develop more in-depth relationships.

The Chrome extension is simple to install and manage, integrates well with Hootsuite and Salesforce, and provides instantaneous insight into contact interest, engagement, and activity via the Twitter platform. It provides at-a-glance contact metrics regarding social stats, retweets, and network reach – as well as quick-links to your contacts connected social profiles and preferred platforms.

Pros – The simplicity of use basically eliminates the learning curve – making this a great tool for the less tech-savvy.

Cons – Riffle is less data-focused than its rivals – and strictly relevant for frequent users of Twitter.

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Discover.ly (by Google)
http://discover.ly  //  @discoverly

Discover.ly is a Chrome extension which connects your LinkedIn profile to your Facebook connections – allowing you to leverage “in common” connections, and develop stronger relationships.

Once installed, Discover.ly allows you to view any mutual Facebook connections from within LinkedIn – enabling sales professionals to shift their conversational focus to those prospective clients with whom they already have connections in common.

Pros – Discover.ly presents data within LinkedIn, so there is no need to move away from the social network you use most. It also places the emphasis on strength of connection and developing pre-existing social relationships, as opposed to merely identifying influencers or social reach.
Cons – This plug-in simply streamlines access to information which is already accessible to you (from a data privacy perspective). It also only supports one Gmail account per LinkedIn account, so consider carefully before installing it – it can be glitchy if you attempt to make changes.

At the end of the day – there is no cure-all app for streamlining your social sales. Still, used in conjunction, all of these programs can offer helpful insights which can be leveraged to improve your social selling, and improve sales effectiveness.

For more information on how SalesFitRx can help you leverage data to improve your sales efficiency, contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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SALES ORGANIZATIONS: WHY DOING NOTHING COSTS YOU SOMETHING

Dollar_Burning_403_shadowHow much would it cost for you to do nothing?

If you were on a vacation, and you did nothing, it would cost you $0.00. If you stayed at home on a Friday night instead of going out to eat or watch a movie, it would cost you $0.00. Again, it would cost you nothing to do nothing.

What if your business did nothing because of a belief that, although the status quo isn’t as good as things could be, it’s better than actually doing or trying something new and potentially setting your organization back further than the rather comfortable existence currently experienced in the status quo?

Doing nothing as a professional sales organization not only does cost you something [a lot, in many cases], but it also projects a false sense of security that a cost is not being paid.

Don’t take my word for it, although I have seen this occur consistently throughout my 30+ years in our industry. Instead, take the word of a much smarter and researched man than I.

Research Fellow and Managing Partner at @CSOInsightsJim Dickie (@jimdickie), has some potentially surprising things to say about the true cost of doing nothing. He also has the research to back up all of it.

Meaning…listen up.

In his recent blog post for the MHI Research Institute titled, “Sales Process: Calculating the Cost of Doing Nothing,” Dickie begins by dealing with the elephant in the room head-on:

“Inevitably, when I talk with research clients about what they could/should be doing to increase the effectiveness of their sales teams, the topic of money comes up. What will it cost for training, for technology, for additional sales coaching, headcount, etc.? All of a sudden dollars start adding up, people get nervous, and the room gets quiet.”

The specific cost organizations consistently fear is the removal of funds from their budget. When in fact, as you will see after reading Dickie’s post, the greater cost is likely not using those funds.

It’s much like the man who buried his master’s money because he didn’t want to potentially lose it, but he lost so much more in the end because his great fear led him to doing nothing.

The meat and potatoes of this post is when Jim brings in findings from the CSO Insights’ 2015 Sales Management Optimization Report. Specifically, around the analysis of the four levels of sales processes they saw companies adopt (these are defined in the post):

  • Level 1: Random Sales Process
  • Level 2: Informal Sales Process
  • Level 3: Formal Sales Process
  • Level 4: Dynamic Sales Process

The post then goes into the backing data supporting the theme of the post. It’s must-read information for anyone involved with your organization’s sales department budget.

Dickie closes the post with this essential point:

“So, before you shy away from allocating funds to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales organization, take the time to determine if/how the status quo is impacting your sales performance. The size of the potential payback may make it clear that looking at costs, versus ROI, is the wrong thing to be focusing on.

QUESTION: Were you already sold on the true cost of doing nothing, and just needed this ammo to make your case? Are you now sold on this concept? Or, are you still unconvinced?

Let’s talk about it…

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3 SOCIAL SELLING TOOLS YOUR COMPETITORS ARE USING

Social_Selling_6_-_354_shadowAre your competitors gaining an edge on you due to the social selling tools they know about [and use with effectiveness] and you don’t?

In an increasingly digital world, your business’s social media presence is worth more than ever – but even with a strong call-to-action, it’s increasingly difficult to convert potential customers to clients via online interaction.

Which leads us to the question: How do the most successful sales professionals break through the white noise of social, to establish long-lasting relationships?

The answer is clear – the best social sellers know how to use social media to engage in the ongoing conversations that establish credibility and create a sense of connection. And, the best sales reps know how to leverage technology to streamline and facilitate the process.

While linking to your business’s social media presence via your website, digital advertising, or other marketing efforts is a great start, waiting for your prospective clients to come to you isn’t the same as opening a dialogue, or driving engagement – and it’s not nearly as effective for increasing audience interaction.

Which is why I’ve compiled this short list of helpful and accessible tools – all designed to assist you in establishing and maintaining a strong social presence.

nimble_125_shadowNimble
Nimble.com — @Nimble — LinkedIn
Nimble is an easy-to-navigate tool, which streamlines management of social contacts. It finds your contact’s social media pages, pulls relevant data from numerous social media sites, and consolidates your contact’s social presence from all channels into one detailed, comprehensive social profile.

This social profile also contains a record of all social engagements, tracks engagement history and lead interaction, and saves historical data.The Pros ::: Nimble lives everywhere, so you don’t have to. It stores your log-ins and passwords for numerous social media streams, consolidating your social presence into one easy-to-navigate dashboard. It streamlines interaction with numerous sites, makes it easy to manage contact interaction, and easily integrates with larger CRMs, such as SalesForce.

The Cons ::: Nimble has basic task management and sales tracking, but few advanced CRM features – and browsing by deal is non-existent. There are also few tutorials or training resources, which means there is a bit of a learning curve before you’ll gain proficiency and build a natural workflow.

For a more in-depth review, check out this article.

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wisestamp_186_shadowWiseStamp
WiseStamp.com — @WiseStamp — LinkedIn

Wisestamp is a Google Chrome extension which allows users to personalize their email sign-off, by adding concise connections to more than 40 social media networks, in one attractive and professional signature. It also allows users the ability to connect app features (for instance, displaying your most recent tweet or blog post).

Wisestamp is a fast and simple way to promote one-click connection to your social media presence. It promotes accessibility within the context of your current client interaction, and (in the case of instant feed display) potentially adds value to your email conversations.

The Pros ::: Wisestamp is both user-friendly and free, and works with both Firefox and Chrome.

The Cons ::: It may not play nicely with other browsers – and it can only be used in the browser with which it was initially activated. Wisestamp is also not currently optimized for mobile – so your signature will not be included on emails sent from your phone or mobile device.

For a more in-depth review, check out this article.

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LittleBird uses a variety of tools and data to help users discover and target social networking opportunities. It provides users with the information they need to engage with industry influencers, by identifying and tracking persons of interest and aggregating their trending conversations cross-platform.

What sets LittleBird apart from competitors (such as Klout) is its ability to identify thought leaders and influencers in quantity, as opposed to merely earmarking individuals who are active posters. It also provides an array of features intended to help users progress past simple identification of influencers, and transition into active social engagement and relationship-building.

The Pros ::: Simple, effective, and easy to use – with helpful conversion features not provided by any of its competitors.

The Cons ::: You’ll need to review and scrub your influencer lists before exporting them, just to be safe. And, while LittleBird will provide you with a comprehensive list of influencer social accounts and blogs, it does not filter inactive or dormant accounts – so you’ll have to review this information on a case-by-case basis, when deciding where to focus your communications.

For a more in-depth review, check out this article.

QUESTION: What tools can’t you live without for doing social selling effectively and efficiently?

Let’s talk about it…

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SALES PROSPECTING, MANAGEMENT, STRATEGY & TOOLS ::: FSG LINKS

Prospecting_2_-_342_shadowThis week’s list of links focuses on sales prospecting, sales managers, sales strategy and sales tools. It’s a one-stop shop for sales professionals like you.

Come back daily and be sure to visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career.

Be sure to bookmark and explore our Friday Sales Growth Links archives as well.

PROSPECTING :::

TheSalesBlog.com
The Prospecting Rule of Thirds
International speaker, author, sales leader [and noted instigator/agitator] Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) is back in my list of links with a valuable description and perspective of what you have there in your list of prospects and some direction on what it takes to get the most out those phone numbers.

KEY QUOTE: “But it feels like this middle third is more like ninety percent of companies, even though that isn’t true. You can develop the case for change within this third, even if it isn’t easy.”

Figure out how you need to answer those final three questions of his and you’ll be well on your way toward a sales career others will envy. #makethecalls
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SALES MANAGEMENT :::

EcSell Blog
Sales Manager Check-Up
Director of marketing or the EcSell Institute Anna Schott (@anna_schott) wrote this post focused on 5 excellent questions every sales manager should be asking themselves here just past the midway point of the year. It’s based on an article written at the end of 2014 by the president of EcSell Institute, Bill Eckstrom.

KEY QUOTE: “As our research proves, nothing impacts performance more than coaching; therefore, it starts with the sales management team, not the sales people.”

Answering these questions honestly, and then acting accordingly, could lead to greater success for your entire sales organization. #coacheffectively
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SALES STRATEGY :::

Salesblog.com
Wanna Make More Sales? Think WHY? Not How To!
Sales trainer and author Jeffrey Gitomer (@gitomer) makes a brief, but strong case for how understanding the core motive(s) of a buyer, much deeper than we may realize, can lead to sustained sales success. This should motivate you to uncover the motivations of others.

KEY QUOTE: “Old world sales tactics, closing techniques, and other sales drivel is over. The Internet has replaced the pitch man. All facts are retrievable in a nanosecond. The Internet has made business buyers and consumers smarter than ever. Even smarter than salespeople.”

The true motive may not be what you first believe it to be. Look deeper and train yourself to identify the true motive within every buyer, then enjoy the rewards for both you and them. #getmotivated
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TOOLS :::

Fill The Funnel Blog
Email Addresses – How To Find Them When You Need Them
Entrepreneur, author, teacher, coach [and Harley owner]  Miles Austin (@milesaustin) penned this  post about a very practical tool to use within your browser to help you locate more email addresses when you need them.

KEY QUOTE: “What I have found very useful is the exposure to other names within the company that I had not been aware of, including the senior level executives that are normally not readily available and not on LinkedIn, etc.”

As a Bonus: I also like to use this site to discover the email address syntax of websites/organizations. Neither tool will work every time, but they can save you time when other tools fail. #fillyourtoolbox
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>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

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