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Sales Reps Blog for Openers & Closers

Building your pipeline and helping humanity, one introduction at a time.

25 Jul

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Charity and Social Media

July 25, 2014 | By |

Fact: 98% of charities in the United States use social media.

Whether it be video, Facebook, Twitter or simple engagement across all channels, charities are taking to social media to spread the good news about what they’re doing.

A recent study was performed by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and included charities listed on the 2013 Philanthropy 400 list, excluding colleges and universities. download13

Key findings from the report include:

  • YouTube/video platforms are the most prominent and widely used social media tool (97%), with Facebook at second (92%), followed by Twitter (86%) and Pinterest (72%).
  • 45% of U.S. charities use social media as a tool to recruit potential employees.
  • 89% write their own original content.

What is their secret?

Most charities are focused on people. They need people to talk, engage and support whatever cause they are promoting. The best way to do this is to be where your audience is. Read More

11 Jul

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Nurturing the Sales Funnel through Social Media

July 11, 2014 | By |

It’s the motto of sales: “Where are they at in the purchase funnel?”

For as long as any sales or marketing employee can remember, measuring the prospect by where they are at in the sales funnel will indicate how much is needed to close the deal. Thanks to the Internet and social media, sales reps can actively track their customers and reach out on various channels, meeting the customer where they are. The process is based on nurturing the prospect through a step-by-step journey that leads to a quality sale.sales funnel

5 Steps to Nurture the Sales Funnel through Social Media

Awareness

Until prospects are made aware of your goods or services, they will remain ignorant of what you can offer. To create awareness, start with quality content that includes a strong call-to-action and optimized visuals. Also, use ads on Facebook and Twitter.

Interest

Now that prospects are aware of your product and/or service, you need to gain their interest. This can be achieved through consistent engagement and community building. Create a social editorial calendar and incentivize people to visit consistently.

Conversion

You’ve got them on your website, now what do you do? Use your landing page! By offering an incentive on the landing page such as eBooks, extended content or giveaways, you can collect emails.

Sale

There’s always more than one way to do things. To achieve the sale, make sure you are prepared with multiple strategies. Try email marketing, product-specific offers, blog posts and newsletters.

Loyalty

In the social media sales funnel, it’s more than just closing a sale. Retaining the loyalty of customers is essential to keeping the good news going about your business. Testimonials and reviews are more important than ever. Also, customers don’t want to be forgotten about as soon as you have their money. Offer rewards and incentives to keep them coming back.

How has your sales strategy changed with social media? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: HubSpot Images

27 Jun

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Get Creative: 5 Unique Ways to Find Leads

June 27, 2014 | By |

Oh, prospecting. As a sales rep, it can be a daunting task to track down significant leads that will blossom into quality sales and solid relationships. Too often, reps get stuck in a rut of lead generation and hit a plateau. But luckily, thanks to the Internet and email, finding new leads doesn’t have to be cumbersome. sales leads

5 (New) Ways to Find Leads

1. Product videos.

You know how people enjoy learning about new products? Not reading about it. Sure, paragraphs of info are good to have on hand, but with the average attention span going downhill fast, one great way to grab a new lead’s attention is to use a product video. Stick to around 30 seconds or less and close with a clear call to action that’s helpful and not annoying.

2. Answer LinkedIn questions.

How brilliant is it that we have social media to directly interact with people on a channel they actually like to be on? Take some time to browse the questions your potential customers are asking and answer them! Look for places where you can chime in some info about your product or service if it’s relevant. Read More

19 Jun

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Shhh! 6 Sales Secrets No One is Telling You

June 19, 2014 | By |

If you are a seasoned sales rep, you have most likely learned some tips and tricks during your Whispercareer that have created a solid recipe to close a sale. If you’re new to the sales world, you’re probably reading blogs like this to learn the secrets of your experienced peers. The truth is that no matter how long you’ve been targeting prospects via email, phone and snail mail, things are always changing.

6 Sales Secrets You Probably Forgot (Or Never Heard Of)

Customers actually want to buy.

A career in sales does not have to be a slimy manipulation of naïve citizens, in fact, it’s just the opposite. Customers really do want to buy things; we’re in the age of consumerism and many people are looking for the fastest, easiest and best quality solution to their problem. Nobody wants to be sold something but they always want to buy.

Elevator pitches don’t work.

One of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like you’re being talked at rather than talked to. Ditched the well-practiced elevator pitch and find out a little bit about your customer before you ramble on about your product’s greatness.

Cold calling is good for you.

Practice makes perfect. Strengthening the emotional muscles that deal with rejection will give you reason to keep going and will make you strong enough to handle anything.

Selling=listening.

Believe it or not, your product can probably fit almost every customer, but only if you make it so. If you’re not listening to what the customer needs or wants, you’re not going to sell them anything.

Introverts usually outsell than extroverts.

That loud sales rep in the corner cubicle who is slick as hell and seems to be able to land customers fairly often? He might not be doing as well as you think. Introverts tend to be excellent listeners, (back to point #4) and make more quality sales more often.

Loyal customers are better than new ones.

Cold-calling or emailing a brand new person is terrifying. You don’t know what is going to happen, how they’re going to react or what they’re going to say. But calling up a loyal customer who loves your product is easy and inexpensive. Take care of your customers and they will make your job a lot easier.

What other sales secrets can you share?

Based on the original slideshow article by Geoffrey James.

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13 Jun

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Gamification & Sales: How to Keep Reps Motivated

June 13, 2014 | By |

Did you attend Gamification Summit this week? Hopefully you were able to pick up a HitQuota coin from our team!

Conferences aside, gamification is sweeping the sales population with its incredible ability to keep sales reps motivated, increase profits, engage employees and create an environment of fun competition and bragging rights. According to Xactly, “by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.” While it used to be that having a job was motivation enough, sales reps now require a little extra to keep themUntitled at the top of their game. While not every sales rep desires to be number one at their company, the average employee wishes to succeed and enjoy going to work every day.

According to Inc.com, gamification “can enhance company sales by getting people focused and energized around a goal.” By personalizing these competitions to fit all employees, including your average sales rep and top performers, gamification can motivate each person to excel on a daily basis.

3 Ways to Motivate Sales Reps Using Gamification 

1. Incentivize 

It doesn’t work to throw together a bunch of competitions, give out random badges and expect people to be motivated. If a manager takes the time to thoroughly think through proper incentives then they can target individuals at their level. Focus on incentives that lead to sales, such as lead conversion, prospecting, face-to-face conversations and advancing stages. Of course, don’t throw all of these goals at the sales reps at once.

2. Focus on Engagement 

If you want something to last, you have to keep it interesting. Focus on maintaining engagement through gamification that allows sales reps to brag a little. Amp up the competition with leaderboards and give reps the ability to share their results on social media. Give real-time feedback and keep up with the changing opinions of your team. Finally, make the badges and level-ups as easy or challenging as you like, so long as they maintain a strong motive.

3. Don’t Get Stuck on End Results

Believe it or not, the final prize is not what motivates your sales reps to keep their numbers high and bring in money for the business. Focus instead on the buzz of competition, the positive camaraderie and process of seeing sales reps meet their goals and push forth to the next one. Celebrate small victories along the way.

Have you used gamification with your sales reps? What are some tips you could offer?

Photo Credit: VFS Digital Design

05 Jun

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Demand Gen & Content Marketing: How to Get Teams to Work Together

June 5, 2014 | By |

Like many departments in a company, there are those that simply can’t seem to really mesh. Sales and marketing butt heads while the CMO and CFO battle it out on whiteboards in countless meetings. When it comes to getting demand generation numbers up, the content marketing team gets charged with producing stellar content. But what happens when the content isn’t matching up with funnel needs?

According to SiriusDecisions, as much of 70% of that content goes unused and will only the round sides of a recycle bin. Here are three ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.

3 Steps to Clear up Communication

  1. Get on the same page.

 

A lot of content creating teams are put on their own little island surrounded by creative-inspiring colors, figurines and motivational messages. They receive assignments without knowing exactly what the end goal may be. If the demand gen team wants a steady stream of valuable content they can use, everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone should know what the inbound strategy is, the key buyer personas and planned lead nurture tracks.

 

When everyone is on the same page and communicating clearly, specific targets can be tackled and traffic, awareness and sales can increase.

 

  1. Play on the same field.

 

Does your demand gen team know who is driving traffic, improving the SEO rank or in charge of marketing automation? Does the content marketing team understand specific metrics and benchmarks set by demand gen? If the answer is no, your teams aren’t playing on the same team, let alone the same field.

 

Set specific goals for the process of how content will be received and at what stage of the funnel. Keep people incentivized with these goals through rewards and recognition and constantly push for a holistic approach to production.

 

  1. Have the same calendar.

 

If your demand gen leader says “I have no idea when I’m getting content,” you have a problem. Have a clear calendar so that everyone on the team knows who is doing what and when they’re doing it. Create an editorial calendar so that people know what campaigns are coming up and how to prioritize. This will give you the chance to know where you can recycle content, where you might need some more collaboration and brain power and what needs to be created now. Visibility is key in proper communication.

Implement these three steps and watch the tension between demand gen and content marketing dissipate and turn into the start of a wonderful friendship.

Based on the original article by Jesse Noyes

02 Jun

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5 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want To Do

June 2, 2014 | By |

If you’re reading this blog post in the middle of the day, it’s probably because of one of two things: 1) You’re on a lunch break and you saw the captivating title and thought it would be a good read with your heated up leftovers, or 2) You’re avoiding picking up the phone to call a potential client and/or procrastinating completing a task you simply don’t want to do. Don't Want to Do it

We get it.

It’s very rare that there is a job out there where every task brings a smile to your face. Sometimes, you just don’t want to do it. In sales, the phone call with a particularly difficult prospect or taking the time to tweak a pitch is pretty low on your list of fun. Unfortunately, because we’re adults, the tantrum doesn’t work anymore. So instead of just telling you to suck it up, here is a list of 5 ways to do what it is you just don’t want to do, but a little happier.

5 Ways to Just Get It Done

Really think about why you need to do this.

The answer to this question may honestly be “because my boss said so,” or “it’s in my job description,” but you’ve got to give it a little more substance if you’re going to accomplish it well. Find the good in what you’re doing, think about who and what it will directly affect and focus on the outcome.

Let go of failure.

You’re most likely avoiding a certain task because you honestly are fearful of it. You’re scared of failure, imperfections, unfamiliarity with the task or tedious steps. Let go of that ideal expectation and just perform the task well. Forget about the results and simply focus on the intention.

Embrace the suck.

Life sucks sometimes. Work is hard. Decisions are tough. It’s the way it is, so embrace it! It’s not going to suck all the time (if it is, look for a job somewhere else) so put a smile on your face and trudge through it. You’re going to feel awesome after it’s done.

Give yourself constraints.

If you’ve got all day to get something done, it’s not going to get done. Give yourself 10 minutes to focus on that one task, then take a break. No answering your phone checking email or visiting another website until this one task is complete. You’d be surprised how fast you can get something done this way.

Be thankful!

Guess what, you have a job! You have food and shelter and you’re able to pay your bills. You have the necessary abilities and talent to complete the task. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and remember that.

It’s necessary to give yourself breaks here and there and escape from tasks by reading blog posts such as this. Now that you’ve had some time, get back to work and let us know how it goes!

Photo Credit: greg westfall

27 May

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Blog: A Lead Generation Machine

May 27, 2014 | By |

Every business, specifically B2Bs, wants to create a lead generation machine. Countless hours have been spent in the past on telephones and through lost emails trying to get those precious leads that will help close the sale. While there isn’t some magical invention currently on the market (though we all certainly have our fingers crossed), B2B businesses can produce quality lead generation via a blog. Untitled

Blog writing has taken off in the last decade and search engines are hungry for more. Google gives brownie points for having a blog and rewards you by making your business more “findable” due to the amount of content you are regularly producing. A blog is also a great way to generate leads because it can function as a “kind of triage for your sales team, fielding and answering questions organically,” according to Entrepreneur. But the key part of having a successful blog that produces lead generation is effective momentum that causes your visitors to become buyers.

3 Ways to Turn Your Blog into a Lead Generation Machine 

1. Make the blog an extension of your website. 

It’s likely that the first interaction a potential customer will have with your business is through a blog; they might never visit your actual homepage. To generate leads, make the blog a sub-domain of your main domain (e.g. blog.website.com). Blogging on the same domain will link everything together, meaning that those inbound links give your main website some serious mojo.

2. Solve the problem or share the resources; don’t shill. 

Entrepreneur coined the “shill” term when they noticed an overload of blogs that were indecisive. In order to create successful lead generation, focus on your customers and either solve their problems or share your resources. A blog is not a space for press releases, ongoing fodder about your product or regurgitated marketing that your customers don’t understand nor care about. Instead, find out what they’re looking for. This can be done through inquires, FAQs or talking with your sales people about the problems and questions they hear on a regular basis.

Also, know what keywords your customers are searching for when they land on your site. The quicker they can get a relevant response, the faster you can generate quality leads.

3. Offer subscription services. 

You can’t count on people to visit your blog every Friday at 12pm for the latest content, they are much too busy for that. Instead, allow your visitors to get regular updates via email and RSS. Whenever you post something new, subscribers will get a notification to check it out. This will encourage people to view your content regularly, comment and share.

How has your blog helped generate leads?

Photo Credit: Mike Licht

16 May

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5 Ways to Improve Lead Generation

May 16, 2014 | By |

When it comes to tracking down prospects and improving lead generation, there are traditional tactics and there are modern methods. In a world that is transitioning to an online-only state, it’s important to understand how to gain lead generation through online vehicles.

It’s easy to fall into the trap that website traffic means more business. Sure, you might see a couple more footprints wandering through your site, but do they belong to your targeted audience? Are they walking through your door? Below are 5 ways to insure that the traffic driving through your website leads to quality targeted conversions. UntitledBLOG

  1. Optimize

An optimized website and blog caters to your targeted audience through keywords, relevant and interesting content as well as impressive solutions. If you want your leads to fill in their info on the contact form, make sure you give them a reason to do so.

  1. Promote social media

If it’s hard to find your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest page on your website, then you are going to see a decline in traffic. According to this infographic, 70% of digital marketers gained new leads through Facebook.

  1. Free is good

People like free things; they always have, always will. Don’t be afraid to do free giveaways of products or services. People have to give their information to be put in a drawing for free stuff which means you just got a new direct lead.

  1. Limited edition content

Ebooks and white papers are amazing resources that can generate a ton of leads, especially if you are offering the content for a limited amount of time. A full-sized eBook is of extreme value to many people and if they can get it for a special price or free, that’s even better.

  1. Get personal

Create a video of yourself or your clients talking about the product in an awesome and creative way. Viral videos targeted toward specific audiences will not only keep people on your website longer, but it might also have them coming back for more.

These are just a handful of ways to build lead generation in the online world. What other tactics have you found to be successful?

Photo Credit: StartUp Stock Photos

09 May

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How to Make Your Sales Pitch Not Suck

May 9, 2014 | By |

As a sales representative, it’s possible that your sales pitch has lost some of its mojo. It’s gotten a little dry, lacks enthusiasm and maybe, it just plain sucks. Many people will hit a plateau in their pitch and their A-game strategy is no longer producing results.  Untitled

Sound familiar?

Creating the perfect sales pitch is a process that has to be repeated. Constant tweaks allow for flexibility and creativity to thrive, and that gives you the chance to hit your quota. If you’ve been struggling with a lame sales pitch lately, we’re here to help.

5 Ways to Make Your Sales Pitch Not Suck 

1. Ditch the “Pitch” 

It turns out that simply using the word, “pitch,” can be intimidating or leave a sour taste in the mouth of sales people and potential clients. According to Wendy Weiss, known as The Queen of Cold Calling, “sales people sometimes think it means they should talk at someone, but that’s not an effective way to communicate. A good pitch is one where you ask questions, listen to the prospect, and offer them a solution to a problem.” The pitch needs to become an interaction and an active conversation.

2. Research your audience. 

If you have one method in sales, it is guaranteed that you will fail. Tweaking your pitch to your audience makes it personal and gives the customer what they actually need, not what you think they might want. Take the time to really research your audience and get to know what interests them. Are they focused on the cost factor? Or are they searching for the best quality and don’t care how much it is?

3. Address objections with (respectful) objections. 

Are you prepared to be fought? Make sure that you know how to address the four most common objections: Budget, authority, need and time (BANT). It doesn’t need to be an argument, but it’s great if you can defend your product/service against these objections.

4. Identify your objectives.

Sure, you ultimately want to close a sale. But do you want the customer to agree with you? Do you want to conquer BANT objections? Write out your main goals before you even pick up the phone and keep them in front of your during the course of your sales call.

5. Ask questions.

In social media, we use the 80/20 rule: 80% of content is catered to the reader with tips, tricks and knowledge related to our service while 20% is specifically about our company and what we are doing. Take that same principle and apply it to your sales pitch. You should only be talking 20% of the time while the other 80% should be devoted to the customer asking questions, answering your inquires and telling you about themselves.

Try out these tips on your next sales call and let us know how it goes!