EP Huddle #43
We hear it all the time. Inside sales doesn't work in a relationship business. "We're a handshake and a hug kind of selling organization".
Some companies don't emphasize prospecting for new business, because their client base is built on relationships. In most cases, however, this is incorrect. Even relationship driven sales need prospecting, and there's no better way to prospect than to utilize an inside sales department to help drive qualified opportunities and set the stage for a solid relationship with a customer.
Think about it this way. Relationship sales are valuable, and many profitable businesses have been created on solid relationships. But those relationships had to have started somewhere. Was contact first made at a tradeshow? Was a networking event responsible for the introduction? Did the customer (now friend) first hear of your company on a radio commercial or via your website via Google? Regardless of where the relationship is now, it started somewhere as a cold or lukewarm introduction.
Prospecting has a place for helping to build relationships. Prospecting calls and emails can lead to a conversation. During the conversation, a relationship begins to form.
Prospecting also has a place for helping to weed out potential customers who aren't a good fit. Some of the most important data an email marketing campaign can provide is the list of people who've unsubscribed from your campaigns. They don't want to build a relationship, and that's fine. You'll get the same information from people who tell you on the phone they aren't interested. The data the salesperson permission not to spend time trying to build a relationship with that prospect, and can instead focus on prospects who might be open to new ideas and forming new relationships.
As a team:
Write down a list of 10 or 20 of your most profitable customers. Where did they come from? You will likely have a mixture of sources such as referrals, tradeshows, cold calls, etc. Figure out what that mix is. I bet you have a good number of clients who did not come from direct "hug and handshake" sources at first. They became that over time.
Write down a second list too. Write down the top 10-20 relationships in your book of business. Complete the same exercise and figure out how those relationships started. There was a time before you were invited to his daughter's wedding that you didn't really know him. How did it all start? I bet you'll see many of them came from the activity of simply prospecting to find new business.
EP Huddle #40
Webinars are a great way to effectively showcase a product or service without spending too much money on travel. The available technology has improved so much that sales teams can now accomplish the same goals that used to require travel, face-to-face meetings and expensive travel budgets. Now, inside sales teams can do the same things from within an office.
Tools such as FaceTime, Skype, Go-to-Meeting, Web-Ex and Uber Conference are examples of the web conferencing and video technology that can help connect sales teams with customers. Here are two major ways to utilize these technologies to generate revenue.
As a team:
How can you leverage technology to build more awareness of your company within the market? You should have prospecting goals aligned to number of webinars delivered and number of prospects who attend these webinars. Your major focus is to create a way for prospects to learn about you and then find a way to get them into your sales funnel. In addition, how can you build a customer on-boarding curriculum to help your sales and product teams better equip your customers to be successful?
EP Huddle #36
Many companies view 'sales' as a one-size-fits-all department within an organization. But, it's important to understand that in the modern age of selling, there are specialties within the sales process that help create a more efficient and productive approach to customer acquisition and growth.
Here are the key sales roles that maximize revenue, reduce cost and allow for effective training, hiring, on-going coaching and management.
Inside Sales: Inside sales combines outbound and inbound sales activities with a mixture of phone calls, emails, webinars, lead generation, target research and a variety of other "in the office" activities. Inside sales professionals can generate new business, develop opportunities and move them through the sales process resulting in a purchase order. And, inside sales reps can also work with customers after the purchase to grow accounts with cross-selling, add-on sales and renewal sales. Inside Sales is cost efficient, leverages technology to have maximum activity while maintaining high quality, and can either be the primary selling strategy or compliment a field sales team to help keep field reps in-front of prospective and current customers.
Key Inside Sales Activities:
Sales Development: Sales development is a subset of inside sales that focuses exclusively on generating new business and filling the pipeline with new opportunities. Sales development representatives focus on heavy prospecting, nurturing leads to stay top-of-mind, and are focused on qualifying opportunities. Sales development is a critical component for any sales team, as new opportunities are the lifeblood of any company's success.
Key Sales Development Activities:
Account Management: Account managers work with existing customers to ensure a high customer experience. They typically pick-up the relationship with a client once a purchasing decision has been made, and account managers are responsible for coordinating the on-boarding process. Account managers also review product usage information, help resolve customer problems and make sure everything is working properly to guarantee the customer continues to renew.
Key Account Management Activities:
Field Sales: Field sales is the traditional approach to selling. Sales reps are out in the field, working with prospective customers and clients face-to-face. Field sales leverages the personal touch method, but can be inefficient and time consuming as the rep needs to travel from one appointment to another. Field sales is most effective for high value sales and heavy relationship sales. Field sales reps are most effective when appointments are scheduled, and much of the in-office sales work is completed for them. This means they should be partnered with an inside sales rep (at the very least a sales support staff member) to ensure the high activity work is also completed.
Key Field Sales Activities:
Sales support: Every sales department needs support, and it's in the best interest of the company to make sure the field reps or inside sales reps are not the employees doing this work. Sales support includes list generation, target customer research, data analysis, data cleansing, quote generation and purchase order processing. Sales support is critical for an efficient sales team. The work is important to ensure a successful sales campaign, but it's preferred to have a staff member who's not tied to a sales number completing these tasks. Revenue generating sales professionals need to spend most of their time in front of customers (phone or face-to-face).
Key Sales Support Activities:
As a team:
Talk about all of the key sales activities that are done by each member of your team. Are there certain activities that should be completed by someone else in the organization? Are your salespeople spending as much time as possible in front of customers or prospects? How can you generate more business by creating a more focused and streamlined process? Are there certain skills that any of the above roles require that aren't in-line with your current structure?
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