Blogs & Insights

  • 24/05/2024 0 Comments
    Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their...LinkedIn Engagement Strategy

    LinkedIn is a powerful platform for business professionals to network, generate leads, and establish their brand presence. However, many users make similar mistakes in their LinkedIn engagement strategy that can hinder their success. Here are some typical pitfalls and tips on how to avoid them.

    1. Inconsistent Posting Schedule

    One of the most frequent mistakes users make is not maintaining a consistent posting schedule. Infrequent or sporadic posts can lead to decreased visibility and engagement. To build and retain an active audience, users should establish a regular posting cadence, sharing valuable content consistently.

    2. Overly Promotional Content

    While LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking and business promotion, overly promotional content can alienate followers. Instead of constantly pushing products or services, users should focus on sharing valuable, informative content that addresses their audience's needs and interests. Thought leadership articles, industry insights, and helpful tips can engage followers more effectively.

    3. Ignoring Engagement with Followers

    Failing to engage with followers who comment or ask questions on posts is a missed opportunity to build relationships and foster community. Users should actively respond to comments, engage in discussions, and show appreciation for their audience’s contributions. This interaction demonstrates that the business values its followers and encourages more engagement.

    4. Neglecting Employee Advocacy

    Many businesses overlook the power of employee advocacy on LinkedIn. Encouraging employees to share company content and engage with posts can significantly amplify reach and credibility. Employee advocacy programs can help leverage personal networks and add authenticity to the company’s presence on LinkedIn.

    5. Not Optimising Profiles and Company Pages**

    An incomplete or poorly optimised LinkedIn profile and company page can deter potential followers and connections. Users should ensure that their profiles are fully completed, with professional photos, detailed descriptions, and relevant keywords. A well-optimised profile can enhance visibility and attract more connections.

    6. Lack of Targeted Content

    Posting generic content that doesn’t resonate with the specific audience can lead to low engagement. Users should understand their target audience’s interests, pain points, and preferences, and create content tailored to these aspects. Segmenting content for different audience groups can also increase relevance and engagement.

    7. Underutilising LinkedIn Features

    Many users do not take full advantage of LinkedIn’s features, such as LinkedIn Groups, Polls, Articles, and Live videos. These tools can enhance engagement by offering diverse ways to connect with the audience. Experimenting with different content formats and features can help determine what resonates best with followers.

    8. Ignoring Analytics

    Without analysing the performance of LinkedIn activities, users miss out on valuable insights that could improve their strategy. Regularly reviewing analytics, such as post-engagement rates, follower growth, and demographic data, helps users understand what works and what doesn’t. Using these insights to refine and adapt the engagement strategy is crucial for ongoing success.

    By avoiding these common mistakes, business professionals can enhance their LinkedIn engagement strategy, foster stronger relationships, and build a more impactful presence on the platform. Consistency, authenticity, and strategic use of LinkedIn’s features are key to leveraging the platform’s full potential for business growth.

    Are you aware of any other mistakes that businesses make which could be added to the list?

    Do you have any questions or require help in this area?

    Then get in touch using the contact form by clicking here.

     

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  • 24/05/2024 0 Comments
    Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their...LinkedIn Direct Messages

    LinkedIn direct messages are a powerful tool for business professionals to connect with potential clients, partners, and talent. However, many of those individuals make mistakes that can turn these opportunities into missed chances or even damage their reputation. Here are some common pitfalls and tips on how to avoid them.

    1. Sending Generic Messages

    One of the most frequent mistakes is sending generic messages. These are very easy to spot and recipients can quickly identify and dismiss such messages as spam. To make a meaningful connection, personalise your message by addressing the recipient by name, mentioning shared interests or connections, and tailoring the content to their specific needs or interests.

    2. Being Too Salesy Too Soon

    Jumping straight into a sales pitch in the first message can be off-putting. LinkedIn is a platform for building professional relationships, not just a marketplace. Start by introducing yourself and expressing genuine interest in the recipient's work or profile. Look to build rapport and trust before moving on to discussing business opportunities.

    3. Ignoring the Recipient’s Profile

    Failing to review and reference the recipient’s LinkedIn profile shows a lack of effort and interest. Before sending a message, take the time to understand their background, current role, and recent activities. Referencing specific details from their profile demonstrates that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in connecting.

    4. Using Overly Formal Language

    While professionalism is essential, overly formal language can make messages seem stiff and impersonal. Strive for a balance that maintains professionalism while sounding approachable and conversational. Using a friendly and engaging tone can make your message more relatable and easier to respond to.

    5. Sending Messages at Inappropriate Times

    Timing is crucial when sending LinkedIn messages. Sending messages during non-business hours or on weekends can reduce the likelihood of a prompt response. Aim to send messages during typical business hours when recipients are more likely to be active and engaged on LinkedIn.

    6. Failing to Follow Up

    Many businesses send an initial message but fail to follow up if they don’t receive a response. A polite and timely follow-up can remind the recipient of your initial message and show persistence. Ensure that follow-ups add value and avoid being overly persistent or pushy.

    That said, it may be that LinkedIn isn't the contact's preferred mode of communication so you may want to get in touch via an alternative communication channel.

    7. Overlooking Call-to-Action (CTA)

    A message without a clear call-to-action can leave the recipient unsure of how to respond. Whether you want to set up a meeting, ask for a call, or share information, clearly state what you hope to achieve from the message. A well-defined CTA can guide the recipient towards the desired action.

    Be intentional with your chosen CTA. It may be too soon to request a call, for instance, if they've never responded or shown any interest in what you have to offer.

    Start a conversation and engage with them and if the interest is there then you can move it to the next stage.

    8. Neglecting Message Length

    Messages that are too long can overwhelm recipients, while extremely brief messages may lack sufficient context. Strive for a concise yet informative message that provides enough information to pique interest without overloading the recipient. A few well-crafted sentences are often more effective than a lengthy paragraph.

    Remember that they could be reading your message on the phone and they may be put off by its scroll length so be mindful of that.

    By avoiding these common mistakes, businesses can enhance their LinkedIn messaging strategy, build stronger professional relationships, and increase their chances of successful engagements. Thoughtful, personalised, and timely messages are key to leveraging LinkedIn's full potential for business growth.

    Are you aware of any other mistakes that businesses make which could be added to the list?

    Do you have any questions or require help in this area?

    Then get in touch using the contact form by clicking here.

     

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  • 24/05/2024 0 Comments
    Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their...Cold Call Outreach

    Cold calling remains a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach potential customers, generate leads, and drive sales. However, many companies fall into common pitfalls that can undermine their telemarketing efforts. Here are some typical mistakes and how to avoid them.

    1. Lack of Proper Training

    One of the most significant errors is not providing telemarketers with adequate training. Well-trained agents are essential for successful calls. Training should cover product knowledge or your core value proposition, effective communication techniques, and strategies for handling objections. Investing in comprehensive training programs can lead to more productive and confident telemarketers.

    2. Not Knowing the Target Audience

    Calling a broad, untargeted list of prospects is inefficient and often fruitless. Businesses should thoroughly research and define their target audience to ensure that they are reaching individuals who are more likely to be interested in their products or services. Segmenting the audience based on relevant criteria can improve call success rates.

    3. Poor Script Development / Call Framework

    Scripts that sound robotic or overly scripted can turn off potential customers. Instead of developing a script as such, it's often better and more effective to have a framework in place for the telemarketer to follow.

    This ensures the conversation comes across as natural and engaging, with the ability to adapt as required.

    Telemarketers should be encouraged to personalise their approach and respond dynamically to the conversation rather than sticking rigidly to a script.

    4. Ignoring Compliance and Regulations

    Failing to comply with telemarketing regulations can result in hefty fines and damage to the company's reputation. Businesses must adhere to rules such as the Do Not Call (DNC) list and ensure they are up-to-date with all relevant legislation. Regular training on compliance issues is crucial for avoiding legal pitfalls.

    5. Inadequate Call Tracking and Analytics

    Without tracking and analysing calls, businesses miss out on valuable insights that could improve their telemarketing efforts. Implementing a system to monitor call performance, track outcomes, and analyse key metrics can help identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of different strategies.

    6. Adapting to Your Prospect's Communication Style

    There's a lot that's been said about building rapport with your target buyer but this advice is often misguided and any attempt to butter them up and show false interest can risk doing quite the opposite, resulting in annoying them.

    Respect their time by getting to the point.

    You can do this one of two ways.

    1. Referencing the context behind the outreach, whether it's as a result of a referral "X suggested I got in touch" or some trigger event, "You posted X and I thought Y would be worth considering, can you give me a moment to explain and see if it's for you?"
    2. If there is no specific context behind the outreach then acknowledge that, be honest and your prospect will respect that and may be more amendable to your approach. "Hi X, this is Y. I'm going to level with you, this is a sales call, do you want to end this call now or allow me to briefly explain what I'm calling about?"  Nine times out of ten they will allow you to continue whereby you can go into your elevator pitch and at the end ask if that resonates. Whether it does or not, be ready to ask them some questions to establish fit (if they're interested) or challenge their assertions if they're not.

    Throughout the process, telemarketers should focus on building a connection by listening actively, showing empathy, and engaging in meaningful conversation. Establishing trust and understanding the customer’s needs is more likely to result in successful outcomes.

    7. Overlooking Follow-Up

    Many businesses make the mistake of not following up on initial calls. Follow-up calls are often where the sale is closed or the relationship is solidified. Implementing a systematic follow-up process ensures that potential leads are not lost and demonstrates persistence and commitment to potential customers.

    8. Overemphasis on Quantity Over Quality

    Focusing solely on the number of calls made rather than the quality of interactions can lead to poor results. Telemarketing should prioritise meaningful conversations that have a higher chance of conversion rather than just hitting call quotas. Quality interactions are more likely to build long-term customer relationships.

    By avoiding these common mistakes, businesses can enhance the effectiveness of their telemarketing efforts. Prioritising proper training, audience targeting, compliance, and relationship-building can lead to more successful and sustainable telemarketing campaigns for the business.

    Are you aware of any other mistakes that businesses make which could be added to the list?

    Do you have any questions or require help in this area?

    Then get in touch using the contact form by clicking here.

     

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  • 24/05/2024 0 Comments
    Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their...Sales and Marketing Emails

    Sales and marketing emails are vital tools for businesses looking to engage with their customers and boost revenue. However, many businesses fall into common traps that can render their email campaigns ineffective or even counterproductive. Here are some of the most frequent mistakes and how to avoid them.

    1. Lack of Personalisation

    One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is sending generic emails. Customers are more likely to engage with emails that feel personalised and relevant to them. Using the recipient's name, referencing past interactions, and tailoring content to their preferences can significantly improve engagement rates.

    2. Ignoring Mobile Optimisation

    With a large percentage of emails being opened on mobile devices, failing to optimise emails for mobile can result in a poor user experience. Businesses should ensure their emails are responsive, with clear and concise content, appropriately sised images, and easily clickable links.

    3. Information Overload

    Bombarding recipients with too much information can overwhelm them and dilute the primary message. Emails should be focused and to the point, highlighting key information and calls to action. Including too many different offers or messages can confuse recipients and reduce the effectiveness of the campaign.

    Be specific about the goal of a particular email and only retain what's relevant to that.

    4. Weak, Irrelevant or Misleading Subject Lines

    The subject line is the first thing recipients see, and it greatly influences whether they open the email. Weak, vague, misleading, or overly salesy subject lines can result in low open rates. Businesses should craft compelling, clear, and concise subject lines that pique curiosity and accurately represent the email content.

    5. Neglecting to Segment the Audience

    Sending the same email to the entire contact list is a missed opportunity. Segmenting the audience based on demographics, previous engagement, or behaviour allows for more targeted and relevant messaging. Tailored content can significantly increase engagement and conversion rates.

    6. Failing to Provide Value

    Emails that are purely promotional without offering any real value to the recipient are likely to be ignored or unsubscribed from. Providing valuable content, such as industry insights, helpful tips, or exclusive offers, can keep recipients interested and engaged.

    7. Not Testing and Analysing

    Many businesses do not take the time to test different aspects of their email campaigns or analyse the results. Testing subject lines, content, and send times can provide valuable insights into what works best. Regularly analysing open rates, click-through rates, and conversions helps refine and improve future campaigns.

    8. Inconsistent Frequency

    Sending emails too frequently can annoy recipients, while infrequent emails can lead to disengagement. Finding the right balance and maintaining a consistent schedule helps keep the audience engaged without overwhelming them.

    By avoiding these common pitfalls, businesses can enhance their email marketing effectiveness, foster better customer relationships, and drive higher engagement and sales. A well-thought-out email strategy that prioritises personalisation, value, and continuous improvement is key to successful marketing communications.

    Are you aware of any other mistakes that businesses make which could be added to the list?

    Do you have any questions or require help in this area?

    Then get in touch using the contact form by clicking here.

     

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  • 22/05/2024 0 Comments
    Multi-Channel Magic: Amplifying Your Outbound Sales Efforts

    In today's competitive market, a robust outbound sales strategy is essential for capturing the attention of potential customers. Leveraging a multi-channel outreach approach—combining emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages, and social media interactions—can significantly enhance your sales efforts. Each channel offers unique advantages, and when used together, they create a powerful synergy that maximises your reach and engagement. Let’s explore how these channels can be orchestrated for optimal results and which ones may be the most effective in your outreach arsenal.


    The Power of Multi-Channel Outreach


    **Emails: The Backbone of Outbound Sales**


    Emails remain a cornerstone of outbound sales due to their versatility and scalability. They allow for personalised, direct communication with prospects. Crafting compelling subject lines and personalised content tailored to the recipient’s needs can significantly improve open and response rates. Emails are particularly effective for delivering detailed information, such as case studies or white papers, that can educate and persuade potential clients to buy from you or at least bear you in mind.

    Read more on email marketing - common mistakes and how to avoid them here.


    **Phone Calls: The Personal Touch**


    Phone calls add a personal touch to your outreach efforts. Hearing a human voice can build rapport and trust more quickly than written communication alone. This channel is ideal for real-time interactions, allowing you to address objections, answer questions, and gauge interest immediately. Regular follow-ups via phone calls can also help maintain momentum in the sales process.

    Read more on telemarketing - common mistakes and how to avoid them here.


    **LinkedIn Messages: Professional Networking**


    LinkedIn messages leverage the power of professional networking. This channel allows you to reach prospects in a professional context, making it easier to establish credibility. LinkedIn also provides valuable insights into a prospect’s background and interests, enabling more personalised and relevant communication. By engaging with prospects through LinkedIn, you can foster relationships that might not be possible through other channels.

    Read more on LinkedIn Messaging - common mistakes and how to avoid them here.


    **Social Media Interactions: Building Brand Presence**


    Engaging with prospects through social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook can broaden your outreach strategy. These platforms offer unique opportunities to join conversations, share valuable content, and demonstrate thought leadership. By interacting with prospects on social media, you can build brand presence and keep your company top-of-mind for when the prospect is ready to buy or at least are considering their options.

    Read more on LinkedIn Engagement - common mistakes and how to avoid them here.


    Combining Channels for Maximum Impact


    **Creating a Cohesive Strategy**


    The true magic of multi-channel outreach lies in the integration of these diverse channels into a cohesive strategy. Here are some tips for maximising their combined potential:


    1. Coordinate Your Efforts: Ensure your messaging is consistent across all channels. A well-timed email followed by a LinkedIn message or a phone call can reinforce your outreach efforts and increase the chances of engagement.

       

    2. Leverage Data and Analytics: Use data from each channel to inform your strategy. Track open rates, response rates, and engagement metrics to identify which channels and messages resonate most with your audience.


    3. Personalise Communication: Tailor your messages to the specific needs and preferences of each prospect. Personalisation can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your outreach efforts across all channels.


    4. Leverage Sales Technology Where Possible: There are a a number of automation tools available to streamline your outreach process to enable you to prospect more productively. These include automated emails, scheduled social media posts, and CRM integrations that can help manage and scale your efforts. 


    Note, there are many tools available that will diminish the experience of engaging with you and can harm any prospect of developing a relationship. Personalisation is key to connecting with a prospective client and should always come across in an authentic way, which some tools are unable to do. Therefore you need to be mindful of what systems you use and ensure they are permissible on the platforms you leverage for your outreach.


    5. Monitor and Adjust: It’s advisable to continuously monitor the performance of your multi-channel strategy and be prepared to adjust based on what’s working and what’s not. Flexibility and responsiveness are key to maintaining effective outreach.


    Evaluating Channel Effectiveness


    **What Channels Have You Found Most Effective?**


    Effectiveness can vary depending on the industry, target audience, and specific goals of your outbound efforts. Here are some insights based on general trends:


    - Tech and SaaS Companies: Often find email and LinkedIn particularly effective due to the professional nature of their target audience.

    - Consumer Goods: Social media interactions and email tend to be more impactful given the broader, more informal reach of these channels.

    - B2B Sales: Phone calls and LinkedIn messages are frequently highlighted as top performers due to the importance of direct, personalised communication in building business relationships.


    By experimenting with different combinations and continuously refining your approach, you can determine the most effective channels for your specific purpose.


    Conclusion


    Incorporating a multi-channel outreach strategy can transform your outbound sales efforts. By combining the strengths of emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages, and social media interactions, you can create a comprehensive approach that maximises your reach and engagement. Embrace the magic of multi-channel outreach and watch your outbound efforts soar!


    What channels have you found most effective in your sales outreach? Feel free to share your experiences.

     

    And whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

     

    Sales Strategy Development and Consultation - whether you’re looking to finetune your existing sales strategy to ensure it’s fit for purpose or want to develop one from scratch, I will work with you to provide the clarity and direction you need to give you confidence in how you approach your target market

    Sales Campaign Builder Programme - this programme is designed to support you in the implementation of your sales campaign. I will work with you and your team to design and roll out your sales campaign to develop a pipeline of sales-qualified opportunities for your business while finetuning your conversion strategies

    Managed Sales Campaigns - this is for those businesses that do not have the internal resources to undertake the sales campaign themselves or simply want to outsource this function. Whether that’s to consolidate their position in their existing market or are considering entering a new one

     

    Read More
  • Exploring the Shift: Why More Businesses are Embracing Outbound Sales Over Inbound
    08/05/2024 0 Comments
    Exploring the Shift: Why More Businesses are Embracing Outbound Sales Over Inbound

    Unless you’re lucky enough to have found a niche so great and in demand with very competition you’re likely to find that the competitive environment is fierce no matter what industry you’re in.


    It’s for this very reason you have to be flexible with your sales strategy and prepared to adapt where required. 


    Consequently, one noticeable trend is emerging which is that more businesses are shifting their focus to a more proactive outbound approach as opposed to solely relying on inbound methodologies. 


    This shift reflects a response to changing market dynamics, technological advancements, and the evolving preferences of consumers. In this article, we delve into the reasons behind this transition and explore the benefits and challenges associated with outbound sales adoption.

     


    Evolution of Sales Strategies


    Inbound sales, once hailed as a revolutionary approach, emphasised attracting prospects through content marketing, social media engagement, and search engine optimisation. While effective in its own right, inbound sales has its limitations, particularly in today's hyper-competitive digital marketplace. 


    As the saturation of inbound marketing channels increases and consumer behaviours evolve, businesses are turning to outbound sales as a complementary strategy to drive growth and revenue.

     


    Market Dynamics Driving the Shift


    Several factors contribute to the growing popularity of outbound sales. Intensifying competition in virtually every industry necessitates a more proactive approach to customer acquisition. 


    Moreover, as inbound marketing channels become overcrowded, businesses are finding it increasingly challenging to stand out and capture the attention of their target audience. In this environment, outbound sales offers a way to break through the noise and engage potential customers directly.

     


    Benefits of Outbound Sales


    The benefits of outbound sales are numerous. Unlike inbound strategies, which rely on attracting prospects who are already actively seeking information or solutions, outbound sales enables businesses to initiate contact with potential customers proactively. 


    This targeted outreach allows for personalised communication tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each prospect. Additionally, outbound sales provides the opportunity to reach untapped markets and niche audiences that may not be accessible through inbound channels alone. 


    By engaging in direct customer interaction, businesses can gather real-time feedback, address objections, and build rapport, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and increased revenue.

     


    Technology's Role in Facilitating Outbound Sales


    Advancements in technology have played a crucial role in facilitating the adoption of outbound sales strategies. 


    Customer relationship management (CRM) software has evolved to provide more robust capabilities for managing prospect data, tracking interactions, and optimising sales workflows. 


    Automation tools streamline the process of prospecting and outreach, enabling sales teams to scale their efforts efficiently. 


    Data analytics and predictive modeling help identify high-value prospects and prioritise outreach activities, while artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms provide valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences.

     


    Overcoming Challenges in Outbound Sales Adoption


    Despite its many benefits, transitioning to outbound sales is not without its challenges. Sales teams accustomed to inbound methodologies may initially resist the shift towards more proactive outreach. Compliance and regulatory considerations must also be taken into account when conducting outbound communication to ensure adherence to privacy laws and industry regulations. 


    Balancing automation with the human touch is another crucial aspect of outbound sales, as personalised engagement remains essential for building trust and fostering meaningful relationships with prospects.

     


    Case Studies: Successful Implementation of Outbound Sales Strategies


    Many companies have successfully embraced outbound sales as part of their overall sales strategy. Some notable examples include:

     

    • Salesforce: Known for its customer relationship management (CRM) platform, Salesforce effectively utilises outbound sales techniques to reach out to potential clients and prospects.
    • HubSpot: HubSpot offers inbound marketing and sales software, but they also employ outbound sales strategies to expand their customer base and reach new markets.
    • LinkedIn: LinkedIn leverages outbound sales to sell premium subscriptions, advertising solutions, and recruitment services to businesses and professionals.
    • Slack: Slack employs outbound sales tactics to target organisations and enterprises, promoting its team communication and collaboration platform.
    • Zoom: Zoom, especially in recent years with the surge in remote work, has utilised outbound sales strategies to reach out to businesses seeking video conferencing and communication solutions.

     

    These companies have integrated outbound sales into their overall sales strategy effectively, utilising various channels such as cold calling, email outreach, social selling, and targeted advertising to engage with potential customers and drive revenue growth.

     


    Conclusion


    The migration from inbound to outbound sales reflects a strategic response to evolving market dynamics and technological advancements. 


    By embracing outbound sales, businesses can gain a competitive edge, reach new audiences, and drive growth and revenue. 


    While challenges may arise during the transition process, the benefits of outbound sales far outweigh the obstacles, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses looking to thrive in today's increasingly competitive marketplace.


    So are you onboard with outbound?

     

    And whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:


    Sales Strategy Development and Consultation - whether you’re looking to finetune your existing sales strategy to ensure it’s fit for purpose or want to develop one from scratch, I will work with you to provide the clarity and direction you need to give you confidence in how you approach your target market

    Sales Campaign Builder Programme - this programme is designed to support you in the implementation of your sales campaign. I will work with you and your team to design and roll out your sales campaign to develop a pipeline of sales qualified opportunities for your business while finetuning your conversion strategies

    Managed Sales Campaigns - this is for those businesses that do not have the internal resources to undertake the sales campaign themselves or simply want to outsource this function. Whether that’s to consolidate their position in their existing market or are considering entering a new one

     

    Read More
  • 01/05/2024 0 Comments
    It's not what you do it's the way that you do it - Mastering Sales Prospecting & Creating a Market of One

    Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in a hugely niche business, that has enough demand to satisfy your growth aspirations and where your target market is aware of you and know how to find you (you lucky people) then I’m guessing your sales and marketing plans feature considerably in your thinking. 


    The simple truth is, in most industries competition is fierce and your audience’s attention spans are fleeting.


    You’re not just competing with those directly in your category but also against alternative solutions and let’s not forget the dreaded status quo.


    With that in mind, mastering the art of sales prospecting has never been more critical. It's not merely about finding leads, it's how you approach them that truly sets you apart. 


    And once you have captured their interest, your sales process will be the difference between winning a new client or not.


    In fact, your whole sales approach can be the key to limiting your competition therefore creating a market of one - which of course starts with sales prospecting. So let’s start with that.


    Understanding the Essence of Sales Prospecting


    At its core, sales prospecting is more than just identifying potential customers. It's about forging genuine connections, understanding needs, and building trust. In a landscape inundated with generic sales pitches, a personalised and thoughtful approach can make all the difference.


    The Anatomy of an Effective Sales Prospecting Approach

    → Research and Preparation:
    Before reaching out to prospects, invest time in understanding their pain points, preferences, and objectives. The more you know about your target audience, the better equipped you'll be to tailor your message.


    → Tailoring Your Message: 
    Generic, one-size-fits-all messages rarely resonate with prospects. Instead, personalise your outreach to demonstrate genuine interest and relevance. Whether it's referencing a recent industry development or highlighting a specific challenge they're facing, customisation is key.


    If you’ve done sufficient research into your ideal customer persona then you should have a good grasp of what their problems and challenges could be. Centering your message around this and following up with thoughtful questions to better understand their situation could be the difference between an opportunity for further discussion or not. More on this in the section below.


    And don’t forget to get straight to the point by stating your intent, we are all busy professionals, so meaningless platitudes and attempts to build rapport won’t win you any favours - if anything are more likely to irritate your connection. Asking your prospect how they are when you barely know them doesn’t go down well.


    By acknowledging the interruption and owning the fact it is a sales call, you are more likely to build trust and credibility with your prospect than by playing mind games and going straight into a lenghty pitch that they have not asked for.


    → Leveraging the Right Channels: 
    With a myriad of communication channels available, it's essential to choose the ones that best suit your target audience. Whether it's email, social media, phone calls, or in-person meetings, select the channels that align with your prospects' preferences and behaviours.


    Don’t take it forgranted that just because you have a preference for a certain channel then your prospect will feel the same.


    By adopting a multi channel approach you are more likely to get through to those you wish to engage with.


    → Timing is Key: 
    Effective prospecting isn't just about making initial contact; it's about nurturing relationships over time. Strategic follow-up demonstrates persistence and commitment while ensuring that your brand remains top of mind.


    Not everyone is ready to buy when you decide to contact them. In fact, the vast majority (up to 95%) won’t be. It can take up to 11 touch points before your prospect is ready to engage with you so bear that in mind when making your approach.


    Ensure each touchpoint demonstrates your value and professionalism. An email or direct LinkedIn message stating that you’re simply following up your previous correspondence can be annoying and comes across as desperate. Who wants to do business with a needy salesperson?


    Instead be the person they want to speak with when they are looking to address the problem you solve. Your professionalism, polite persistence and know how will more likely cut through the noise within your market.


    Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


    → Identifying Your Unique Value Proposition: 
    What sets your product or service apart from the competition? Whether it's innovative features, unparalleled customer service, or a compelling brand story, pinpointing your USP is essential for attracting and retaining customers.


    If you’re unsure what this is exactly then talk to your customers and prospects. What you consider unique may not necessarily be what they consider unique. They may highlight something that you have not even considered. And what you have been communicating may be something that is industry standard and expected from a solution provider like you.


    Their feedback could offer you an invaluable piece of information that will set you apart from your competitors.


    → Communicating Your USP Effectively: 
    Once you've identified your USP, integrate it seamlessly into your prospecting efforts. Clearly articulate how your offering addresses your prospects' pain points and delivers tangible value. Remember, it's not just what you say; it's how you say it that resonates with your audience.


    → Differentiation Through Personalisation: 
    In a crowded marketplace, personalisation is your secret weapon. By demonstrating a deep understanding of your prospects' needs and preferences, you position yourself as a trusted adviser rather than just another generic salesperson.


    Creating a Market of One: The Power of Precision


    So what do marketers mean when they talk about the concept of a "market of one"? 


    It revolves around the idea of tailoring your products, services, and messaging to meet the unique needs of individual customers. By leveraging precision in your prospecting efforts, you can effectively reduce competition and carve out a niche for yourself in the market.


    This concept doesn’t just end at the prospecting stage, following these efforts through your sales process can be a huge game changer for your business in terms of your revenue performance. Should you find you’re up against a couple of organisations in your category, the experience you deliver could be the difference between success and failure.


    You’ve already overcome a hugely challenging step by garnering the attention and interest of your cherished prospect, so you don’t want the conversation to end it there. This will be covered in some detail my next blog but for now let’s remain focused ion your prospecting.


    Overcoming Challenges and Refining Your Approach


    While mastering sales prospecting can yield substantial rewards, it's not without its challenges. Common pitfalls include relying on generic messaging, failing to follow up consistently, and neglecting to adapt to changing market dynamics. 


    By remaining vigilant and continuously refining your approach, you can stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge.


    Conclusion


    Without a doubt there are many organisations that can deliver what you do or similar, therefore your sales prospecting approach is everything. 


    By understanding the essence of prospecting, crafting a compelling USP, and leveraging precision in your outreach efforts, you can create a market of one—one where your offering is the obvious choice for your ideal customers. 


    Don't just focus on what you do; pay attention to the way that you do it. Your approach could be the difference between blending in with the competition and standing out as a true market leader.


    And who wouldn’t want that?


    Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:


    Sales Strategy Development and Consultation - whether you’re looking to finetune your existing sales strategy to ensure it’s fit for purpose or want to develop one from scratch, I will work with you to provide the clarity and direction you need to give you confidence in how you approach your target market

    Sales Campaign Builder Programme - this programme is designed to support you in the implementation of your sales campaign. I will work with you and your team to design and roll out your sales campaign to develop a pipeline of sales qualified opportunities for your business while finetuning your conversion strategies

    Managed Sales Campaigns - this is for those businesses that do not have the internal resources to undertake the sales campaign themselves or simply want to outsource this function. Whether that’s to consolidate their position in their existing market or are considering entering a new one

     

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  • 08/11/2023 0 Comments
    Crafting a Targeted Sales Strategy: Step-by-Step Guide to Identifying Your Ideal Customer, Value Proposition, and Competitive Advantage

    In the dynamic landscape of modern business, crafting a targeted sales strategy has become imperative for sustainable growth and success. This strategy involves a meticulous process of identifying your ideal customer, defining a compelling value proposition, and understanding your competitive advantage. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through each step, providing valuable insights and actionable tips to help you create a sales strategy that resonates with your audience and propels your business forward.


    Understanding Your Business:


    Before diving into the intricacies of a targeted sales strategy, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your own business. Start by defining your goals and objectives. What do you aim to achieve with your sales efforts? 


    Next, analyse your products or services in-depth. What makes them unique? What are their key selling points? Understanding your offerings is crucial for crafting a value proposition that stands out in the market. 


    Additionally, take a close look at your existing customer base. What are their demographics? What are their preferences? This information will serve as the foundation for identifying your ideal customer.


    Identifying Your Ideal Customer:


    To create a targeted sales strategy, you need to know exactly who your ideal customer is. Conduct thorough market research to understand the broader market trends and your niche within it. 


    Develop detailed customer personas based on demographics, psychographics, and behaviour. Dive deep into their needs, pain points, and preferences. 


    By empathising with your customers, you can tailor your offerings and sales approach to meet their specific requirements effectively.


    Developing Your Value Proposition:


    Your value proposition is the unique promise you offer to your customers. It's the reason they should choose your products or services over competitors'. 


    Analyse what sets your offerings apart. Is it superior quality, innovative features, exceptional customer service, or competitive pricing? Craft a compelling value proposition that addresses the key needs of your ideal customer. 


    Clearly communicate this value proposition in all your marketing and sales efforts to create a strong and memorable brand identity.


    Analysing Your Competitive Advantage:


    Understanding your competitive landscape is essential for positioning your business effectively. Identify your direct and indirect competitors. Conduct a thorough competitive analysis to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. 


    Determine your competitive advantage based on your unique strengths, innovations, or market positioning. By knowing what makes you stand out, you can highlight these aspects in your sales strategy, showcasing why potential customers should choose you over others.


    Building a Targeted Sales Strategy:


    Now that you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer and value proposition, it's time to build your targeted sales strategy. 


    Align your ideal customer profile with your value proposition. Identify the most effective sales channels to reach your target audience, whether it's through digital marketing, social media, or traditional methods. 


    Develop a sales pitch tailored to address customer pain points and showcase your competitive advantage. Set measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your sales strategy, ensuring that you stay on course and achieve your objectives.


    Implementing and Refining Your Strategy:


    With your targeted sales strategy in place, it's time to put it into action. 


    Roll out your strategy across the chosen sales channels and monitor its performance closely. Analyse sales data, customer feedback, and market trends. 


    Make data-driven adjustments to your strategy based on the insights you gather. Remember, a targeted sales strategy is not static; it needs to evolve with changing market dynamics and customer preferences. 


    Continuously refine and optimise your approach to ensure its relevance and effectiveness in the long run.


    Conclusion:


    Crafting a targeted sales strategy is a multifaceted process that demands careful analysis, strategic thinking, and continuous refinement. 


    By understanding your ideal customer, developing a compelling value proposition, and leveraging your competitive advantage, you can create a sales strategy that resonates with your audience and drives sustainable business growth. 


    Embrace the iterative nature of this process, stay adaptable, and remain attuned to the evolving needs of your customers. With a well-crafted targeted sales strategy, your business can thrive in today's competitive marketplace, securing lasting success and customer loyalty.

     

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  • 06/11/2023 0 Comments
    The Myth of One-Size-Fits-All: Why Tailored Sales Strategies Yield Better Results

    In the fast-paced world of business, companies often seek efficiency and scalability. One common approach has been the adoption of one-size-fits-all sales strategies, aiming to reach a broad customer base with standardised methods. However, this strategy, while seemingly convenient, is far from being the most effective. In this article, we will debunk the myth of one-size-fits-all sales strategies and explore why tailored approaches not only meet but exceed customer expectations, resulting in superior outcomes for businesses.


    The Pitfalls of One-Size-Fits-All Sales Strategies


    One-size-fits-all sales strategies, while seemingly convenient, come with several significant pitfalls that can hinder a business's growth and success. Understanding these pitfalls is essential for businesses aiming to build meaningful customer relationships and achieve long-term profitability. Here are the key drawbacks of relying on generic sales approaches:


    Lack of Personalisation:

    One of the most evident pitfalls of one-size-fits-all strategies is the absence of personalisation. Customers today expect tailored experiences that address their specific needs and preferences. Generic strategies fail to offer personalised solutions, leaving customers feeling undervalued and unimportant.


    Ineffective Communication:

    Generic sales pitches often lack relevance to individual customers. When communication is not tailored to a customer's interests or concerns, it is less likely to resonate. Ineffective communication can lead to disengagement, causing potential customers to lose interest and seek alternatives from competitors who offer them personalised attention.


    Limited Understanding of Customer Needs:

    A critical aspect of successful sales is understanding the unique needs of customers. One-size-fits-all approaches do not allow businesses to delve deep into the diverse requirements of their customer base. Consequently, businesses miss opportunities to provide customised solutions that genuinely address their customer pain points.


    Reduced Customer Engagement:

    Personalised interactions create a sense of connection between the customer and the brand. Without this connection, customer engagement levels plummet. When customers feel like just another number in a database, they are less likely to actively engage with the brand, participate in discussions, or provide valuable feedback.


    Missed Upselling and Cross-selling Opportunities:

    One-size-fits-all strategies often overlook opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. Without a personalised understanding of a customer's preferences and purchasing history, businesses cannot effectively suggest complementary products or services. This limitation results in lower revenue per customer and reduced overall sales growth.


    Failure to Adapt to Cultural Differences:

    In today's global marketplace, businesses interact with customers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Generic sales approaches may not be culturally sensitive, leading to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Failing to adapt to cultural differences can damage a brand's reputation and hinder international expansion efforts.


    Customer Dissatisfaction and Churn:

    Ultimately, the culmination of these pitfalls leads to customer dissatisfaction. Unhappy customers are more likely to switch to competitors who offer them more personalised attention and tailored solutions. High customer churn rates can significantly impact a business's bottom line and hinder its ability to maintain a loyal customer base.


    In summary, businesses must recognise the limitations of one-size-fits-all sales strategies. By embracing personalised approaches that address individual customer needs, preferences, and cultural differences, businesses can create meaningful connections, drive customer engagement, and ultimately foster long-term customer loyalty and profitability.


    So what can you do about it? 


    Read on to find out.


    Tailoring Your Sales Strategies - What it Looks Like in Practice


    The power of personalisation in sales cannot be overstated in today's highly competitive and customer-centric business landscape. As consumers become increasingly discerning, their expectations for tailored and individualised experiences have reached new heights. Businesses that harness the power of personalisation in sales can gain a significant edge over their competitors. Here's why personalisation is a game-changer in the world of sales:


    Understanding Unique Customer Needs:

    Personalisation allows businesses to delve deep into the individual needs, preferences, and pain points of each customer. By understanding these nuances, businesses can tailor their offerings to provide solutions that perfectly match what the customer is looking for. This deep understanding fosters trust and enhances the customer experience.


    Building Long-lasting Relationships:

    Personalised interactions create a sense of connection between the customer and the brand. When customers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty. Long-lasting relationships built on personalisation often lead to increased satisfaction and therefore repeat business, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and increased customer lifetime value.


    Enhancing Customer Engagement:

    Personalised sales efforts engage customers on a personal level. By catering to their specific needs, businesses can create targeted marketing campaigns, product recommendations, and content that resonates deeply with each customer segment. Engaged customers are more likely to interact with the brand, respond to calls to action, and actively participate in promotions or surveys.


    Driving Upselling and Cross-selling Opportunities:

    Personalised sales strategies enable businesses to identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities. By analysing customer data and purchase history, businesses can recommend complementary products or services, increasing the average transaction value. This targeted approach boosts revenue while providing customers with items they genuinely need or desire.


    Harnessing Data for Informed Decision-Making:

    Personalisation relies on data-driven insights. Businesses can collect and analyse customer data to gain a profound understanding of their behaviour, preferences, and purchasing patterns. These insights empower businesses to make informed decisions, optimise marketing strategies, and tailor their offerings effectively, ensuring maximum relevance to their audience.


    Standing Out in the Market:

    In a crowded marketplace, businesses that offer personalised experiences stand out. Personalisation becomes a unique selling point that differentiates a brand from its competitors. Customers are more likely to choose a business that understands their needs and delivers personalised solutions over one that offers generic, one-size-fits-all offerings.


    To sum, the power of personalisation in sales lies in its ability to create meaningful connections, drive customer engagement, and enhance overall satisfaction. Businesses that prioritise personalisation are better positioned to build enduring relationships with their customers, drive revenue growth, and establish a strong, competitive presence in the market. As customer expectations continue to evolve, embracing personalisation is not just a strategy—it's a necessity for businesses striving for long-term success.


    Overcoming Challenges in Implementing Tailored Sales Strategies


    Implementing tailored sales strategies can transform the way businesses engage with their customers. However, it's not without its challenges. Overcoming these hurdles requires careful planning, strategic implementation, and a customer-centric mindset. Here are some effective ways to tackle the challenges associated with implementing tailored sales strategies:


    Invest in Technology and Data Analytics:

    Challenge: Limited resources and lack of advanced technology hinder personalisation efforts.


    Solution: Allocate resources to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data analytics tools, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. These tools can efficiently process large datasets and provide valuable insights into customer behaviour, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and deliver personalised experiences.


    Data Privacy and Security Concerns:

    Challenge: Customers are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their data, making them hesitant to share personal information.


    Solution: Be transparent about data usage and security measures. Implement robust data protection protocols, comply with relevant regulations (such as GDPR in Europe), and clearly communicate how customer data will be used. Building trust through transparency can encourage customers to share the necessary data for personalisation.


    Integration of Systems and Processes:

    Challenge: Existing systems and processes may not be designed to handle the complexities of personalised sales strategies, leading to integration challenges.


    Solution: Evaluate existing systems and identify integration points. Invest in technologies that can seamlessly integrate with current systems, ensuring a smooth flow of data and communication between different departments. Collaboration between IT and sales teams is essential to streamline these processes effectively.


    Staff Training and Empowerment:

    Challenge: Sales teams may lack the skills and knowledge required to personalise interactions effectively.


    Solution: Provide comprehensive training to sales and customer service teams. Training should cover not only the technical aspects of using CRM systems but also soft skills like active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Empower employees to make decisions and adapt their sales approaches based on individual customer profiles, encouraging a customer-focused mindset within the organisation.


    Balancing Personalisation with Scale:

    Challenge: Scaling personalised interactions for a large customer base can be daunting, leading to concerns about feasibility and efficiency.


    Solution: Utilise automation and AI-driven tools to handle routine tasks and interactions. 


    Implement chatbots for initial customer inquiries, automated email campaigns for follow-ups, and personalised product recommendations algorithms. These technologies can efficiently handle a high volume of interactions while maintaining a personalised touch, ensuring scalability without compromising quality.


    Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation:

    Challenge: Customer preferences and market trends are constantly evolving, making it challenging to keep personalised strategies relevant and up-to-date.


    Solution: Implement a feedback loop and regularly monitor customer interactions and feedback. Analyse the data to identify patterns, preferences, and changing behaviours. 


    Continuously adapt sales strategies based on these insights, ensuring that personalisation efforts remain aligned with customer needs and expectations.


    Measuring ROI and Effectiveness:

    Challenge: Measuring the return on investment (ROI) and effectiveness of personalised sales strategies can be complex, making it challenging to justify the investment.


    Solution: Define clear key performance indicators (KPIs) related to personalised interactions, such as customer satisfaction scores, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value. 


    Utilise analytics tools to track these metrics over time and assess the impact of personalised strategies on business outcomes. Demonstrating tangible results can justify the investment and drive organisational support for ongoing personalisation efforts.


    By addressing these challenges proactively and strategically, businesses can successfully implement tailored sales strategies that not only meet customer expectations but also drive revenue growth, enhance customer loyalty, and establish a strong competitive advantage in the market.


    Conclusion


    In the ever-evolving landscape of business, customer-centricity is paramount. 


    The days of one-size-fits-all sales strategies are behind us, making room for personalised, 

    customer-oriented approaches. Tailored sales strategies not only meet but exceed customer expectations, leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue. 


    By embracing personalisation, businesses can forge stronger connections with their customers, ultimately paving the way for sustainable growth and success. It's time for companies to recognise the power of tailored sales strategies and harness their potential to thrive in the competitive market.

     

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  • 10/09/2023 0 Comments
    A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating, Launching, and Running a Successful Sales Campaign

    Definition of a Sales Campaign - What is it?

    A sales campaign is a strategically planned and coordinated effort aimed at achieving specific sales objectives or goals within a defined timeframe. It involves a series of targeted activities and promotional initiatives designed to generate interest, engage potential customers, and ultimately drive them to make a purchase. Sales campaigns are typically used by businesses and organisations to boost sales, introduce new products or services, enter new markets, clear excess inventory, or achieve other sales-related objectives

    There will of course be some overlaps with marketing campaigns as both sales and marketing functions share the similar goal of driving revenue performance for the business. 

    If you want to explore the similarities and differences between sales and marketing campaigns then check out the article I wrote outlining this by clicking here.

    What is the Importance of a Sales Campaign?

    Sales campaigns hold significant importance in the world of business and marketing for numerous reasons. They are:

    1. To Achieve Sales Targets: One of the primary purposes of a sales campaign is to meet or exceed sales targets and revenue goals. By focusing efforts on a specific timeframe and set of objectives, businesses can make measurable progress toward their financial target.

    2. To Provide Strategic Focus: Sales campaigns provide a structured and strategic approach to selling. They allow companies to channel their resources and efforts toward a particular product, service, or market segment, ensuring that their messaging and activities are highly focused and relevant.

    3. To Promote a Product or a Service: New product launches or the introduction of innovative services often require a dedicated sales campaign to create awareness, generate interest, and persuade potential customers to make a purchase.

    4. To Enable Market Expansion: Businesses looking to enter new markets or expand their customer base can use sales campaigns as a means to penetrate unfamiliar territories and reach new audiences.

    5. To Provide Clear Communication: Sales campaigns enable businesses to craft clear and consistent messaging that highlights the unique selling points and value proposition of their offerings. This ensures that potential customers understand the benefits of the product or service.

    6. To Increase Customer Engagement: Sales campaigns often involve various engagement tactics, such as promotions, discounts, contests, or content marketing. These strategies help businesses connect with their audience and foster a sense of loyalty and engagement

    7. To Deliver Competitive Advantage: In a competitive marketplace, well-executed sales campaigns can differentiate a business from its competitors. Unique offers, compelling messaging, and superior customer experiences can give a company an edge in the market

    8. To Enable Efficient Resource Allocation: By defining the scope and budget of a sales campaign, businesses can allocate their resources more efficiently. This prevents unnecessary spending and ensures that marketing efforts are directed where they will have the most impact.

    9. To Ensure Measurable Results: Sales campaigns are designed with specific objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind. This allows companies to track and measure their progress, evaluate the success of their efforts, and make data-driven adjustments as needed.

    10. To Adapt to Market Changes: In today's fast-paced business environment, sales campaigns provide the flexibility to respond to market changes quickly. Companies can adjust their strategies, messaging, and tactics to stay relevant and competitive.

    In summary, sales campaigns are essential tools for businesses to achieve their sales and revenue targets, promote their products or services effectively, and adapt to changing market dynamics. When executed strategically and with a clear understanding of their objectives, sales campaigns can be instrumental in driving business growth and success.


    Planning and Creating Your Sales Campaign

    Preparing for a sales campaign is a crucial step that sets the foundation for its success. A well-planned and organised pre-campaign phase increases your chances of achieving your sales goals and ensures that your efforts are targeted and effective. 

    Here are key steps to prepare for your sales campaign:

    1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives:

    Define specific and measurable sales targets and revenue goals. What are you trying to achieve with this campaign?

    Consider other objectives, such as launching a new product, entering a new market, or clearing excess inventory.

    Ensure that your goals align with your overall business strategy.

    2. Identify Your Target Audience:

    Conduct thorough market research to understand your potential customers' needs, preferences, and behaviours.

    Develop detailed buyer personas that represent your ideal customers.

    Determine which segments of your audience are most likely to be interested in your offering.

    3. Develop a Sales Campaign Strategy:

    Craft a comprehensive strategy that outlines your campaign's messaging, positioning, and competitive analysis.

    Allocate your budget wisely, considering various aspects of the campaign, such as advertising, promotions, and marketing materials. What sales channels will you use to get in front of your ideal customer?

    Define roles and responsibilities within your sales team (or the people you have available in your organisations) and establish a robust communication plan.

    4. Assemble Your Sales Team

    Identify the key team members who will be responsible for executing the campaign.

    Define their roles and responsibilities clearly to avoid duplication of efforts or misunderstandings

    Provide training and resources to ensure that your sales team is well-prepared to represent your products or services.

    5. Competitive Analysis:

    Where able, analyse your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

    Identify opportunities to differentiate your offering and messaging in the market.

    Determine potential threats and challenges that may arise during the campaign.

    6. Messaging and Positioning:

    Develop compelling messaging that communicates the unique selling points (USPs) of your product or service.

    Clearly articulate the value proposition to potential customers.

    Ensure that your messaging is consistent across all campaign materials and channels.

    7. Budget Allocation:

    Allocate your budget based on the strategies and tactics outlined in your campaign plan.

    Consider the costs associated with advertising, marketing materials, sales team compensation, and any other campaign-related expenses.

    8. Timeline and Schedule:

    Create a detailed timeline that outlines the campaign's duration, milestones, and deadlines.

    Ensure that you have a realistic schedule that accounts for the time required to execute each phase of the campaign.

    9. Communication Plan:

    Establish a clear communication plan that includes regular updates to stakeholders, such as executives, marketing teams, and sales teams.

    Define how progress will be reported, and ensure that everyone is aligned on key messages and objectives.

    10. Contingency Planning:

    Anticipate potential challenges or obstacles that may arise during the campaign and develop contingency plans.

    Be prepared to adapt your strategies and tactics if necessary.

    11. Legal and Compliance Considerations:

    Ensure that your campaign complies with all relevant laws and regulations, including data privacy, advertising standards, and industry-specific requirements.

    Review and obtain necessary approvals for any promotional materials or offers.

    By thoroughly preparing for your sales campaign, you lay the groundwork for a successful and well-executed initiative. Your clear goals, deep understanding of your target audience, strategic planning, and effective team coordination will increase your chances of achieving the desired results and maximising the return on investment for your campaign.

     

    Launching Your Sales Campaign

    Now that you have a plan to execute, let’s consider the next steps which is how to implement it.

    Crafting your sales campaign is a pivotal step in ensuring its success. This phase involves defining your key messages, selecting appropriate sales channels, creating compelling sales collateral, planning your outreach, and building a sales funnel. Here's a detailed guide on how to craft your sales campaign effectively:

    1. Define Key Messages and Value Proposition:

    What are your Unique Selling Points (USPs)? Identify what sets your product or service apart from the competition. These unique features or benefits should be central to your messaging.

    What core benefits does your solution offer the customer? Highlight the direct benefits that customers will experience by choosing your offering. Make it clear how your product or service solves their problems or fulfills their needs.

    Do you have a clearly defined customer value proposition (CVP)? Craft a concise and compelling value proposition that communicates the value your product or service delivers. This should answer the question, "Why should customers choose us?"

    2. Select Sales Channels:

    Multi-Channel Approach: Consider a mix of online and offline channels that align with your target audience's preferences. Common channels include email, social media, direct mail, phone calls, webinars, and in-person meetings.

    Online vs. Offline Strategies: Evaluate which channels are most effective for reaching your audience. For example, B2B campaigns might rely more on LinkedIn and email, while B2C campaigns could leverage social media and online advertising.

    3. Create Sales Collateral:

    Sales Scripts: Develop effective sales scripts that guide your sales team in conversations with leads and prospects. These scripts should address common objections and provide persuasive responses.

    Email Templates: Craft engaging email templates for various stages of the sales funnel. Personalise them based on recipient characteristics and the stage of engagement.

    Sales Presentations: Create visually appealing and informative sales presentations that showcase your product or service's features, benefits, and success stories.

    Case Studies and Testimonials: Gather and create compelling case studies and customer testimonials that demonstrate the value and success others have achieved through your offering.

    4. Plan Sales Outreach:

    Cold Calling: Develop a structured approach to cold calling, including scripts, objection-handling techniques, and follow-up procedures.

    Email Marketing: Create a sequence of targeted emails that nurture leads and move them through the sales funnel. Segment your email list based on lead characteristics and behaviour.

    Social Media Engagement: Craft engaging social media posts and campaigns that align with your overall messaging. Interact with prospects and provide valuable content.

    Content Marketing: Create informative and relevant content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and videos, to establish authority and attract leads.

    5. Build a Sales Funnel:

    Lead Generation: Implement strategies to generate leads, such as content marketing, webinars, landing pages, and social media advertising.

    Qualification Process: Define criteria for lead qualification to ensure that your sales team focuses on prospects with genuine interest and potential.

    Nurturing Leads: Develop lead nurturing sequences that provide valuable information and move leads closer to conversion. Use automated email workflows to stay engaged with leads.

    6. Develop a Timeline and Schedule:

    Campaign Duration: Determine how long your sales campaign will run. Ensure it aligns with your goals and the typical buying cycle of your customers.

    Milestones and Deadlines: Set specific milestones and deadlines for each phase of your campaign, including content creation, outreach, and reporting

    By crafting your sales campaign thoughtfully, you create a solid foundation for successful execution. Your well-defined messaging, carefully selected channels, compelling collateral, and structured outreach plan will help you effectively engage your target audience and guide them through the sales funnel, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue.

     

    Running Your Sales Campaign

    Running a sales campaign involves the ongoing management and optimisation of your efforts to achieve your sales goals and maximise your campaign's effectiveness. This phase is crucial for monitoring progress, making data-driven decisions, and ensuring that your campaign adapts to changing market conditions. 

    Here's a detailed guide on how to run your sales campaign successfully:

    1. Continuously Analyse Data:

    Track Key Metrics: Continue monitoring essential metrics such as conversion rates, lead generation, revenue generated, return on investment (ROI), and other performance indicators

    Use Analytics Tools: Leverage analytics tools and CRM systems to gather data on customer interactions, sales team activities, and campaign performance.

    Identify Trends: Look for trends and patterns in the data to understand what is working and what needs improvement.

    2. Optimise Sales Strategies:

    Refine Messaging: Based on data and customer feedback, refine your messaging to ensure that it resonates with your target audience. Continuously test different messaging approaches to find the most effective ones.

    Adjust Target Audience: If necessary, refine your target audience based on the data and insights you've gathered. Make sure you are focusing your efforts on the most promising leads.

    Tweaking Sales Channels: Evaluate the performance of each sales channel in your campaign. If certain channels are underperforming, consider reallocating resources to more successful ones.

    3. Scaling Up or Down:

    Resource Allocation: Continually assess your resource allocation, including budget, staffing, and marketing efforts. Be prepared to scale up or down based on your campaign's performance and objectives.

    Expanding or Contracting the Campaign: Depending on your initial campaign goals and outcomes, you may choose to expand the campaign to reach new markets or audiences, or you might need to scale it back if it's not meeting expectations.

    4. Communication and Reporting:

    Regular Updates to Stakeholders: Maintain transparent and frequent communication with stakeholders, including executives, marketing teams, and sales teams. Provide regular updates on campaign progress and results.

    Reviewing and Sharing Results: Share campaign results and insights with the entire organisation. This fosters a culture of learning and allows other teams to benefit from the knowledge gained during the campaign.

    5. Addressing Challenges and Obstacles:

    Handling Objections: Continue to refine objection-handling techniques and adapt to new objections as they arise. Share successful objection-handling strategies with your sales team.

    Competitor Reactions: Stay vigilant for competitive moves and adapt your strategies as needed. Monitor how competitors are responding to your campaign and adjust accordingly.

    Adaptation to Market Changes: In a dynamic market, be agile and responsive. If market conditions change during your campaign, be prepared to pivot and realign your strategies.

    Running a sales campaign is an ongoing process that requires agility and a willingness to adjust based on real-time data and feedback. By continuously analysing your campaign's performance, optimising your strategies, and staying open to necessary adjustments, you can maximise the effectiveness of your campaign and work towards achieving your sales goals. Additionally, maintaining strong communication with stakeholders ensures that everyone remains aligned with campaign objectives and progress.

     

    Reviewing Your Sales Campaign

    Closing your sales campaign, or reviewing it is the final phase where you evaluate its success, gather feedback, document best practices, and prepare for future campaigns. 

    This stage allows you to assess whether you've achieved your sales goals and learn from your campaign experience. 

    Here are the key steps to effectively close your sales campaign:

    1. Achieving Sales Goals:

    Assessing Success: Begin by evaluating whether your sales campaign achieved its primary objectives, such as meeting or exceeding sales targets and revenue goals.

    Comparing Results: Compare the campaign's actual performance with the initial goals and expectations you set during the planning phase.

    2. Post-Campaign Evaluation:

    Gathering Feedback: Seek feedback from your sales team, marketing team, and customers. What worked well? What could be improved? Use surveys, meetings, and interviews to collect valuable insights.

    Analysing Customer Feedback: Pay close attention to customer feedback and reviews to understand their perspective on your campaign and offerings.

    Identifying Success Factors: Identify the specific factors that contributed to the campaign's success. Pinpoint what strategies, channels, or messaging elements were most effective.

    3. Documenting Best Practices:

    Creating a Sales Playbook: Document the best practices, successful strategies, and lessons learned during the campaign in a comprehensive sales playbook. This resource will serve as a valuable reference for future campaigns.

    Knowledge Sharing: Share the insights and knowledge gained during the campaign within your organisation. Ensure that relevant teams have access to the playbook and can benefit from the experiences and successes.

    4. Lessons Learned and Continuous Improvement:

    Identify Challenges: Acknowledge any challenges, obstacles, or shortcomings encountered during the campaign. Understand why they occurred and how they can be prevented in future campaigns.

    Iterate and Improve: Use the campaign's data and insights to refine your sales strategies, messaging, and targeting for future initiatives. Continuously seek ways to enhance your approach.

    Set New Goals: Based on the outcomes of your current campaign, set new, more ambitious goals for your next campaign. Apply the lessons learned to create a more effective and efficient strategy.

    5. Reporting and Final Communication:

    Final Report: Compile a final report that summarises the entire campaign, from its initial goals and strategies to the results achieved. Share this report with stakeholders and executives.

    Acknowledgment and Recognition: Recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of your sales and marketing teams. Express appreciation for their efforts and contributions to the campaign's success.

    6. Future Planning:

    Set the Stage for the Next Campaign: Use the knowledge and insights gained from your current campaign to inform the planning of your next sales campaign. Apply the best practices and strategies identified to improve your future initiatives.

    Budget and Resource Allocation: Review your campaign budget and resource allocation. Determine whether adjustments are needed based on your evaluation and lessons learned.

    Closing your sales campaign is not the end but rather a transition to future initiatives. It's a valuable opportunity to learn from your experiences, refine your strategies, and prepare for continued growth and success in your sales efforts. By following these steps, you'll be better equipped to execute more effective and efficient sales campaigns in the future.

     

    Closing Comments and Conclusion

    In conclusion, successfully executing a sales campaign involves meticulous planning, strategic execution, ongoing monitoring, and a commitment to continuous improvement. 

    Each phase of the campaign, from preparation and crafting to launching, running, and closing, plays a critical role in achieving your sales objectives and maximising your return on investment.

    Understanding the importance of setting clear goals, identifying your target audience, and developing a well-thought-out strategy is the foundation of any successful sales campaign. 

    Crafting compelling messages, selecting the right sales channels, creating effective sales collateral, and nurturing leads through a well-structured funnel are key components that drive engagement and conversions.

    The launch and running of a sales campaign require dedication, adaptability, and the ability to address challenges and obstacles as they arise. Monitoring data and metrics, adjusting strategies, and maintaining team motivation are essential for staying on course and achieving your desired outcomes.

    Finally, closing a sales campaign is not the end but rather a transition to a phase of reflection and improvement. Gathering feedback, documenting best practices, and setting the stage for future campaigns are vital steps to ensure that your sales efforts continue to evolve and succeed.

    By following the steps outlined in this guide, businesses and organisations can create, launch, run, and close sales campaigns that are not only effective but also contribute to sustained growth and success in a competitive marketplace. 

    Remember, a well-executed sales campaign is a powerful tool that can significantly impact your bottom line and enhance your overall market position.

    If you're looking for ways to boost your sales performance and assess your campaign effectiveness then take our Sales Booster assessment and receive valuable feedback on your Sales Strategy, Lead Generation, and Revenue Growth potential by clicking here.

     

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  • 04/09/2023 0 Comments
    Exploring the Similarities and Differences between Sales and Marketing Campaigns

     

    It must be said that sales campaigns and marketing campaigns are two dynamic forces that play a pivotal role in driving success in an ever-evolving business landscape. 

     

    While each discipline has its own distinct objectives and approaches, understanding their similarities and differences is crucial for businesses looking to maximise their impact to create a harmonious synergy between these two crucial elements of their strategy.

     

    So let’s take a look at what they are.

     

    Defining Sales Campaigns and Marketing Campaigns

     

    At their core, sales campaigns and marketing campaigns are both strategic initiatives aimed at achieving specific objectives. While sales campaigns focus on driving revenue through targeted sales activities, marketing campaigns aim to raise brand awareness, generate leads, and foster customer engagement. 

     

    While these definitions provide a clear distinction between the two, the lines between them can often blur, necessitating a closer examination of their relationship.

     

    Understanding the Common Objectives

     

    • Driving Revenue

     

    Sales campaigns and marketing campaigns ultimately share the overarching goal of boosting revenue for the business. The key difference lies in how they go about achieving this objective.

     

    Sales Campaigns focus on converting leads and prospects into paying customers through direct interactions and personalised sales approaches. They are typically short-term, high-impact efforts aimed at closing deals swiftly.

     

    Whereas Marketing Campaigns, on the other hand, adopt a broader, long-term perspective. They create a foundation for revenue growth by building brand equity, fostering customer loyalty, and nurturing leads that might not be immediately ready for conversion

     

    • Building Brand Awareness

     

    Both sales and marketing campaigns contribute to brand awareness, but they do so in distinct ways.

     

    Sales Campaigns enhance brand recognition through personalised interactions with potential customers. These interactions can leave a lasting impression and help establish the brand's reputation for exceptional service.

     

    Marketing Campaigns, meanwhile, cast a wider net by disseminating the brand's message to a broader audience. They employ various mediums, such as advertisements, content marketing, and social media, to ensure that the brand is seen and recognised by a vast number of people.

     

    • Generating Leads

     

    Lead generation is another shared objective, but the approaches vary.

     

    Sales Campaigns main focus is to convert existing leads into customers through direct engagement. These campaigns aim to qualify and close leads swiftly.

     

    Marketing Campaigns, conversely, work on creating and nurturing a continuous stream of leads through content marketing, email marketing, and other strategies. These leads may require more time before they are ready to make a purchase.

     

    What are their Key Similarities?

     

    Despite their different objectives and approaches, sales campaigns and marketing campaigns share several fundamental aspects:

     

    • The Target Audience

     

    Both campaigns require a deep understanding of the target audience. Effective campaigns in either discipline rely on accurate buyer personas, demographics, and psychographics to tailor their messaging.

     

    • Message Consistency

     

    Consistency is key to creating a strong brand presence. Both sales and marketing campaigns should convey a consistent message, ensuring that customers receive a coherent brand experience.

     

    • Data Utilisation

     

    Data is the lifeblood of both campaigns. Sales and marketing teams must harness the data available to enable them make informed decisions, refine their strategies, and track progress toward their respective goals.

     

    What are the Differences between Sales and Marketing Campaigns?

     

    While there are commonalities, there are notable distinctions in how sales and marketing campaigns approach their goals, these are namely:

     

    • Timing and Duration

     

    Sales campaigns are often time-sensitive, with a focus on immediate conversion. Marketing campaigns, conversely, adopt a more prolonged approach, building awareness and engagement over time.

     

    • Content Focus

     

    Sales campaigns prioritise content that directly supports the sales process, such as product information, pricing details, and presentation materials. Whereas marketing campaigns emphasise content that educates, entertains, and engages the audience without an immediate sales pitch. However there may be a call to action included.

     

    • Communication Channels

     

    Sales campaigns primarily use one-to-one communication channels like phone calls, emails, direct messaging and face-to-face meetings. Marketing campaigns, on the other hand, employ a broader range of channels, including social media, content marketing, advertising, and public relations.

     

    How is it best to assimilate the Sales and Marketing teams to enable them to achieve their common objectives?

     

    The most successful businesses understand that harmonising sales and marketing efforts is critical. They do this by:

     

    • Enabling Coordination Between The Sales and Marketing Teams

     

    Sales and marketing teams must collaborate closely to achieve the company’s goals, with each team understanding its role in the overall strategy. Sales teams provide valuable insights into customer feedback and market trends, which inform marketing campaigns. Conversely, marketing teams create content and strategies that support the sales process.

     

    • Leveraging Sales and Marketing Technologies

     

    Let’s not forget that the available technology can have on this process. 

     

    Modern businesses are able to deploy Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to track customer interactions and leverage Marketing Automation Tools to streamline marketing efforts. The key advantage these technologies provide is to facilitate data sharing and collaboration between the sales and marketing functions.

     

    However, it is advisable for both sales and marketing teams to map out their process first to ensure the technologies they use support the process rather than detract from it. Showing restraint in terms of incorporating many of the technologies available will prevent them from introducing complexities into the business that risk hindering them when it comes to achieving their goals.

     

    What this looks like may vary from business to business in terms of their scale and sector type.

     

    • Measuring Success Together

     

    It is imperative that both teams should use key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate campaign success. Metrics might include conversion rates, lead quality, customer acquisition costs, typical sales cycle duration, and customer lifetime value.

     

    Challenges and Solutions - Overcoming Common Obstacles

     

    There are many things that can go awry when setting up campaigns that align the sales and marketing functions. Therefore it is worth being mindful of what the potential pitfalls can be.

     

    Recognising and addressing these challenges is crucial to successful campaign development and implementation.

     

    Potential issues can manifest in terms of established organisational silos, misaligned goals, and inconsistent messaging. It is therefore essential to develop a successful synergy between the sales and marketing teams to ensure a successful roll out of the campaigns.

     

    Many businesses - especially during their early stages - won’t have the luxury of in house sales and marketing teams. Whether they are building their revenue operations from scratch or are outsourcing these functions it is worth noting the observations made previously to ensure that the key stakeholders are aware of what is required when embarking on developing sales and marketing campaigns.

     

    Future Trends - Adapting to the Changing Landscape

     

    As technology and consumer behaviour continue to evolve, it is crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. Going forward it is worth taking the time to explore emerging trends, including personalisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the impact of social media on sales and marketing.

     

    In doing this a business is able to evolve its plans and design and implement campaigns that resonate with its intended audience, thereby keeping them relevant and revenue-ready.

     

    Conclusion

     

    To sum, we have observed that sales campaigns and marketing campaigns are two distinct yet interconnected aspects of a business's strategy. 

     

    By understanding their common objectives, key similarities, and differences in approach, businesses can unlock their full potential for revenue growth and brand success. 

     

    Through collaboration, alignment, and a keen eye on future trends, businesses can harness the power of the two disciplines to thrive in an ever-evolving and competitive market.

     

    Thank you for reading and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

     

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  • 11/07/2023 0 Comments
    A Comprehensive Guide to Developing a Sales Playbook for B2B Organisations

    In the fast-paced and competitive world of B2B sales, having a well-defined sales playbook is the key to success. Whether you've recently acquired a business or are scaling your enterprise, understanding the unique challenges and opportunities of the B2B landscape is crucial. In this article, I will provide you with an in-depth guide on developing a sales playbook tailored to address your specific needs.

     

    Understanding the B2B Sales Landscape

     

    B2B sales differ significantly from B2C transactions, primarily due to the complexity of decision-making, with typically longer sales cycles that could potentially involve multiple stakeholders. 

     

    For someone who has recently bought a business, understanding the intricacies of the acquired B2B operations and aligning them with your sales strategy is essential. Similarly, for a scaling business, adapting and refining the sales process to accommodate growth becomes a top priority

     

    Building the Foundation for a Sales Playbook

     

    To get you started, developing a sound understanding of your target customer, their buyer journey and your sales goals is key to your revenue growth and business success. 

     

    Let’s explore these in turn.

     

    1. Your Target Market and Ideal Customer Profile

     

    It's essential to define your target market and ideal customer profiles. This can be done through analysing existing customer data and conducting market research to create detailed buyer personas to focus your sales efforts effectively.

     

    2. Their Buyer's Journey

     

    Once established, it’s worth mapping out the buyer's journey, from initial awareness to purchase decision. Take the time to identify their pain points, key challenges, and the decision-making process of the influencers involved at each stage.

     

    3. Your Sales Goals and Objectives

     

    Finally define what your sales goals and objectives are based on what your revenue targets, market share expansion, or customer acquisition plans. These goals will serve as guiding principles throughout the development of your sales playbook.

     

    Developing Sales Processes and Methodologies

     

    Once you have a strong foundation in place, it's time to establish effective sales processes and methodologies. These include the following elements:

     

    a. Lead Generation and Prospecting: Determine what the most effective channels and strategies for generating leads and prospecting for your particular business are. You can use a combination of inbound and outbound methods, such as content marketing, targeted outreach, and networking to deliver optimum results.

     

    b. Lead Qualification and Needs Analysis: Consider implementing a systematic approach to qualify your leads and analyse their specific needs. This can be done through developing a comprehensive questionnaire or framework to identify your prospects' pain points, budgets, and desired outcomes.

     

    c. Solution Design and Proposal Creation: You can then tailor your solutions to meet each client's unique requirements. For productivity purposes and increased effectiveness, it is advisable to develop standardised proposal templates that can be customised to address individual client needs efficiently.

     

    d. Presentation and Demonstration: Take the information gathered previously to craft compelling presentations and produce demos that effectively communicate your value proposition. Showcase how your product or service solves the prospect's pain points and delivers tangible benefits to them.

     

    e. Negotiation and Closing: Develop negotiation strategies and techniques to ensure win-win outcomes. At this stage, create a structured approach for handling objections and align with customers on pricing and terms.

     

    f. Onboarding and Customer Success: Outline a seamless onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition from each of the sales stages to customer success. Establish clear communication channels and define what metrics you will use to measure customer satisfaction and success.

     

    Creating Sales Collateral and Tools

     

    To support your sales efforts, you'll need compelling sales collateral and tools. This begins with:

     

    a. Having clear Sales Messaging and Value Proposition: Craft a compelling value proposition that resonates with your target audience. Utlise the research carried out previously to create concise and impactful messaging that highlights the unique benefits of your offering.

     

    b. Curating Sales Scripts and Templates: Develop scripts and templates for common sales scenarios, ensuring consistency and professionalism in your team's communication. Include objection-handling strategies to address common client concerns.

     

    c. Publishing Case Studies and Success Stories: Showcase past successes and customer testimonials through case studies and success stories. Highlight how your solution delivered measurable results for your clients.

     

    d. Assembling Sales Presentations and Decks: Create visually appealing and informative sales presentations that support your value proposition. Include key product features, benefits, and relevant industry data to their best effect.

     

    e. Harvesting Competitive Analysis and Objection Handling Resources: Research and analyse your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Equip your sales team with objection-handling resources to counter competitive threats effectively.

     

    Implementing Sales Technologies and Systems

     

    So now you’ve come this far you will need to ensure your sales technologies and systems are fit for purpose to streamline your processes. Leverage your resources effectively and utlise customer relationship management (CRM) software for managing and tracking sales activities. Automate routine tasks where able, and integrate with marketing and customer support systems for a seamless customer experience. Deploy sales analytics tools to gain insights and make data-driven decisions.

     

    Sales Training and Enablement

     

    Invest in comprehensive training programs for your sales representatives. Conduct role-playing exercises and provide ongoing coaching and mentorship to enhance their skills. Continuous learning and development should be encouraged to nurture their potential. Ensure that opportunities to do so are regularly available.

     

    Sales Playbook Launch and Adoption

     

    To ensure successful implementation, communicate the value of the sales playbook to your team. Conduct periodic training sessions and a platform to share success stories - tracking overall adoption. 

     

    Establish metrics and KPIs to measure performance and provide feedback for improvement.

     

    Refining and Iterating the Sales Playbook

     

    Continuous improvement is key to ensuring sustainable growth so encourage regular feedback from your sales team, foster an open environment to ensure the performance metrics you gather is reliable and that sound conclusions can be drawn from its analysis. 

     

    Use this information to refine and optimise your sales playbook, staying agile and able to adapt it to your market dynamics and evolving customer needs.

     

    Conclusion

     

    Developing a sales playbook for a B2B organisation requires careful planning and execution. 

     

    By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build a robust sales playbook that aligns with your business goals to drive success for your organisation. Remember, it's an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and adaptation. 

     

    With a well-crafted sales playbook, you'll be equipped to navigate the challenging B2B sales landscape with confidence and achieve remarkable results for your business.

     

    Thanks for reading and feel free to share your comments on the topic.

     

    If you have any questions relating to sales playbooks then send me a message or schedule a call.

     

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  • 05/07/2023 0 Comments
    Developing a Sales Mindset: The Importance of Persistence and Consistency in Sales Success

    In the world of sales, success hinges on more than just product knowledge and persuasive communication skills. It requires a sales mindset too - a mental framework that embraces persistence and consistency as fundamental pillars of achievement. 

     

    Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting your journey, cultivating a sales mindset centered around these two virtues can propel you towards unprecedented success. In this article, I will delve into the importance of persistence and consistency and provide practical tips to help you develop a winning sales mindset.

     

    Understanding the Sales Mindset

     

    The sales mindset encompasses the attitudes, beliefs, and habits that drive sales success. At its core, it demands unwavering persistence and consistency. Persistence fuels resilience in the face of rejection and setbacks, while consistency builds trust and credibility with clients. Developing these qualities is essential for overcoming challenges and achieving long-term success.

     

    Cultivating Persistence

     

    In sales, rejection is an inevitable part of the journey. To cultivate persistence, it's crucial to develop strategies that keep you motivated and resilient, these include:

     

    • Setting specific goals and creating an action plan. Clearly define your sales objectives and break them down into actionable steps. This provides a roadmap and helps you stay focused and motivated.
    • Embracing a growth mindset and reframing failures. View setbacks as learning opportunities rather than personal defeats. Embracing a growth mindset allows you to learn from every experience, adapt, and improve.
    • Seeking mentorship and learning from experienced professionals. Connect with successful sales professionals who can offer guidance, support, and insights based on their own experiences.
    • Developing a positive attitude and practicing self-care. Maintaining a positive outlook and prioritising self-care activities can actually boost your resilience and overall well-being. You will need to be on form and maintain your energy levels to thrive.

     

    Fostering Consistency

     

    Consistency is the backbone of success in sales - particularly as it builds trust and reliability with clients. Here are some tips and techniques to maintain consistency in your sales activities.

     

    • Establish a daily routine and prioritise sales tasks. Create a structured routine that includes dedicated time for prospecting, follow-ups, and relationship-building. Prioritise these activities to ensure sustainable progress.
    • Leverage technology and automation tools. Utilise customer relationship management (CRM) software, email automation, and other sales tools to streamline your processes and maintain ongoing communication with your clients.
    • Implement effective time management strategies. Practice effective time blocking and find ways to eliminate distractions. You should be focusing on high-value activities that align with your sales goals.
    • Regularly review and analyse sales performance. Monitor your sales performance regularly, analying the data available to identify areas for improvement. This allows you to make informed adjustments and maintain a consistent upward trajectory.

     

    How to Overcome Obstacles to Persistence and Consistency

     

    While developing a sales mindset centered around persistence and consistency is crucial, it's not without its challenges. Here are some common obstacles and tips to overcome them.

     

    • Dealing with rejection and managing self-doubt 

     

    Embrace rejection as a natural part of the sales process and maintain a positive mindset. It’s easier said than done so if required, seek support from colleagues, mentors, or find other supporting networks to help you build resilience.

     

    • Battling procrastination and staying focused

     

    Break down tasks into smaller, manageable steps to avoid overwhelm. Practice time management techniques and utilise productivity tools to stay on track.

     

    • Balancing workload and avoiding burnout

     

    Prioritise self-care and set boundaries - learn to delegate or outsource tasks when necessary. Take breaks and practice stress management techniques to prevent burnout.

     

    You don’t have to scroll your Linkedin feed too long to discover that numerous sales professionals have achieved remarkable success and this is by cultivating a sales mindset centered around implementing the measures outlined above. 

     

    You will find that these individuals have put in place specific strategies, such as setting ambitious goals, maintaining a positive attitude, and leveraging technology to enhance their performance. Social media is awash with stories that inspire and demonstrate the transformative power of being disciplined in sales.

     

    Conclusion

     

    So what can we conclude from this?

     

    Developing a sales mindset that revolves around the art of being persistent and consistent is a transformative journey that can lead to unparalleled success in the sales industry. By embracing the former attribute, you can overcome rejection, setbacks, and self-doubt, while the latter builds trust and credibility with clients, creating lasting relationships. 

     

    Remember, developing a sales mindset takes time, effort, and dedication, but the rewards are well worth it.

     

    If you have any stories to share around how you’ve overcome your sales obstacles, I would love to hear them.

     

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  • 26/06/2023 0 Comments
    Exploring the Key Sales Channels for B2B Companies

    Sales channels play a crucial role in the success of B2B (business-to-business) companies. These channels serve as the pathways through which companies reach their target customers and drive revenue. It represents the entire process, from the initial point of production or creation to the final point of sale. 

     

    In this article, I will delve into the various sales channels commonly employed by B2B companies and explore their characteristics, advantages, and challenges.

     

    Before going into detail the main sales channels come under the following categories:

     

    1. Direct Sales
    2. Indirect Sales
    3. Digital Sales
    4. Hybrid Sales

     

    1. Direct Sales Channels

     

    A direct sales channel refers to a method of selling products or services directly to customers without the involvement of intermediaries or third-party retailers. In this channel, businesses engage in direct interactions with their customers.

     

    Its core benefit is that it allows companies to have complete control over the customer experience.

     

    So what are the direct sales channels available?


    Inside Sales

     

    Inside sales involve selling products or services remotely, typically over the phone or through online platforms. Inside sales representatives are responsible for reaching out to leads, nurturing relationships, and closing deals. With the aid of advanced tools and technologies, inside sales teams can efficiently manage their sales processes and track customer interactions.

     

    Field Sales

     

    Field sales, on the other hand, involves face-to-face interactions between sales representatives and prospective clients. Field sales representatives build relationships with key decision-makers, demonstrate the value of products or services, and negotiate deals. While field sales can be more time-consuming and expensive, it offers the advantage of building stronger personal connections with customers.

     

    Account Management

     

    Account management focuses on nurturing and maintaining relationships with existing customers. Account managers serve as a primary point of contact, ensuring customer satisfaction, identifying upselling or cross-selling opportunities, and addressing any concerns or issues. Effective account management is vital for customer retention and long-term business growth.

     

    2. Indirect Sales Channels

     

    Indirect sales channels, on the other hand, refer to a method of selling products or services through intermediaries or third-party entities. These sales channels can provide the added benefit of a wider reach and distribution network, as these intermediaries often have established customer bases and expertise in specific markets.

     

    These include:

     

    Channel Partnerships

     

    Channel partnerships involve collaborating with resellers, distributors, or other intermediaries to reach a wider customer base. These partners leverage their existing networks and expertise to promote and sell the products or services of B2B companies. Channel partnerships offer benefits such as extended market reach, increased brand visibility, and access to specialised industry knowledge.

     

    Referral Programs

     

    Referral programs incentivise existing customers, partners, or industry influencers to refer potential customers. By offering rewards or incentives for successful referrals, companies tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Referral programs can be a cost-effective way to generate high-quality leads and expand the customer base.

     

    Online Marketplaces

     

    Online marketplaces provide a platform for B2B companies to showcase and sell their products or services to a large audience. Participating in reputable online marketplaces can enhance brand exposure, drive lead generation, and facilitate seamless transactions. Choosing the right marketplaces that align with target customers and industry niches is crucial for success.

     

    3. Digital Sales Channels

     

    A digital sales channel refers to the use of online platforms and digital technologies to market, sell, and distribute products or services to customers. It involves leveraging the internet, websites, social media, email marketing, mobile applications, and other digital tools to reach and engage with potential buyers.

     

    Commonly used digital sales channels include:

     

    Inbound Marketing

     

    Inbound marketing focuses on attracting and engaging potential customers through valuable content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos. By creating informative and relevant content, B2B companies can position themselves as industry experts, drive organic traffic to their websites, and capture leads through lead magnets or opt-in forms.

     

    Content Syndication

     

    Content syndication involves distributing valuable content to third-party platforms or websites with a large audience. B2B companies can leverage content syndication to amplify their reach, enhance brand visibility, and generate targeted leads. Choosing appropriate syndication platforms that cater to the desired audience is crucial for maximising the impact of syndicated content.

     

    Email Marketing

     

    Email marketing remains a powerful tool for nurturing leads and converting prospects into customers. B2B companies can build targeted email lists, create personalised campaigns, and send relevant content to engage their audience. By leveraging automation and analytics, companies can optimise their email marketing efforts for higher conversion rates.

     

    4. Hybrid Sales Channels

     

    And finally we come to the Hybrid Sales Channel. A hybrid sales channel refers to a combination of different sales channels, incorporating both direct and indirect methods, to reach and engage customers. The hybrid approach offers the benefits of both direct and indirect channels

     

    By adopting a hybrid sales channel, businesses can effectively adapt to changing customer preferences and market dynamics while maximising their sales opportunities. So let’s explore how this may look.

     

    Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

     

    ABM involves tailoring marketing and sales efforts to individual target accounts, focusing on personalised experiences and building relationships with key decision-makers. By aligning marketing and sales teams, B2B companies can create targeted campaigns, deliver personalised content, and increase their chances of closing high-value deals.

     

    Social Selling

     

    Social selling leverages social media platforms to connect with potential customers, build relationships, and establish trust. Sales professionals can use platforms like LinkedIn to share valuable content, engage in industry conversations, and identify prospects. Social selling enables a more humanised approach to sales, enhancing customer experiences and driving conversions.

     

    Conclusion

     

    In the fast-paced world of B2B, selecting the right sales channels is crucial for driving revenue and achieving sustainable growth. The direct sales channels of inside sales, field sales, and account management provide opportunities for personal connections and tailored experiences. Whereas indirect sales channels, such as channel partnerships, referral programs, and online marketplaces, help expand market reach and leverage existing networks. 

     

    Then you have digital sales channels which includes inbound marketing, content syndication, and email marketing. Here you can utilise the power of online platforms to attract and engage potential customers. 

     

    Finally, with a hybrid sales channel, such as account-based marketing and social selling, a company is able to combine personalised approaches with the benefits of digital platforms.

     

    As the sales landscape evolves, it is essential for B2B companies to continuously optimise and adapt their sales channel strategies. By understanding the characteristics, advantages, and challenges of each sales channel, companies can develop a well-rounded approach that maximises customer acquisition, retention, and revenue generation. Embracing a diverse and flexible sales channel ecosystem will position businesses for success in the dynamic world of B2B sales.

     

    Thank you for reading and am always interested in gauging your thoughts on the topic.

     

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  • 06/06/2023 0 Comments
    What makes a good sales strategy & who should be involved in its implementation?

    In the world of business, a well-thought-out sales strategy can make all the difference between success and failure.

     

    A good sales strategy sets a clear direction for your sales team(s), it aligns your efforts with your company’s goals, and helps you stay ahead of your competition. In this article, we will explore what makes a good sales strategy and who should be involved in its delivery and implementation.

     

    Elements of a good sales strategy

     

    A good sales strategy is built on several key elements, including: 

     

    1. Your Sales Growth Goals and Objectives
    2. Identification of Your Target Audience 
    3. Analysis of Your Market including the Competition
    4. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or alternatively your Customer Value Proposition (CVP)
    5. Your Sales Channels and Go-to-Market Strategies
    6. Sales Forecasting and Measurement/ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

     

    Each of these elements plays an essential role in building a comprehensive and effective sales strategy.

     

    Your Sales Growth Goals and Objectives

     

    If you’re not clear on what you’re looking to achieve then how will you know you’ve achieved it or are even close to achieving it?

     

    Are you sure that you’re even heading in the right direction?

     

    Articulating your goals and objectives is the best way to get off to a good start in terms of scaling your business.

     

    Sales goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Your sales team should have a clear understanding of what they need to accomplish and how their efforts will contribute to the overall success of your company.

     

    From there you can develop your sales tactics and highlight the activities or specific actions you require your sales team tol take to achieve your sales goals and objectives. This can include various lead generation approaches including prospecting and cold calling to product demonstrations, and closing sales. Basically, the sales approaches that fit with the nature of your business.

     

    Identification of Your Target Audience 

     

    Target audience identification involves defining your ideal customer and understanding their needs and preferences. This information will help you tailor your sales approach and messaging to resonate with your target audience.

     

    This will involve developing a persona or personas of your ideal client(s) - those people within the businesses you are targeting with your solution.

     

    Elements to consider are:

     

    • The role of the individual within the business you are targeting
    • What goals are they looking to achieve in their role?
    • What challenges do they face? What’s stopping them from achieving their goals?
    • How your solution suppports them in overcoming their challenges and reaching their goals?
    • What are the personal impacts of them achieving achieving their goals or not?
    • And various other considerations

     

    Knowing your customer is central to the success of a business and understanding this will support everything else that follows.

     

    Analysis of Your Market including the Competition

     

    Market analysis involves researching your industry and identifying market trends, competitor activity, and customer needs. This information will help you identify opportunities and challenges that your sales team will need to address.

     

    There are many tools available and activities that can support you to gain access to the information you need to make informed decisions for your business based on what the market is doing.

     

    Creating a systemised process around this area can get you off to a good start in the initial stages of your business or can help you identify where you are and from there you can decide how best to proceed.

     

    Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or alternatively your Customer Value Proposition (CVP)

     

    A unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your product or service apart from your competitors. It should be clear, concise, and communicate the value that you offer to your customers.

     

    Oftentimes, what someone believes to be unique isn’t necessarily so. It is therefore by taking a deep dive into your business and understanding what exactly you do for your customers that separates you from others in a similar category that can help you define what you uniquely do that is of benefit to them.

     

    This is whereby having undertaken market analysis in the previous section, you will be better placed to understand and express your unique selling proposition.

     

    Your Sales Channels and Go-to-Market Strategies

     

    A sales channel refers to the various methods or paths through which a company or business distributes and sells its products or services to its customers. It is essentially the route or platform that connects the producer or seller to the end consumer. Here's a brief overview of the various sales channels available:

     

    • Direct sales (direct to customer)
    • Retail sales (via third party retailers)
    Wholesale sales (selling in bulk through an intermediary to retailers)
    • Online sales
    • Indirect sales (through distributor networks, agents and independent sales representatives)
    Partner and Affiliate sales (collaborating with other businesses or individuals to promote and sell products)

     

    Then there are different strategies within those from telemarketing and prospecting to developing business networks and attending exhibitions and/or other business events.

     

    It's important for businesses to carefully consider and evaluate their target market, product characteristics, and customer preferences when choosing the most suitable sales channels and lead generation approaches. 

     

    Often, a combination of different sales channels is utilised to maximise market reach and increase sales opportunities.

     

    Sales Forecasting and Measurement/ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

     

    Sales forecasting and measurement involve tracking your sales performance, identifying areas for improvement, and making adjustments to your sales strategy as needed. This information will help you stay on track and make data-driven decisions.

     

    There are many tools available to support you in tracking the sales performance of your business and this is where things can get a little complicated and perhaps overwhelming.

     

    Understanding the core metrics important to the growth of your business is paramount as many can get sidetracked and obsessed with vanity metrics that don’t contribute to the bottom line.

     

    It’s always best to start with something rudimentary in place and develop as the demands of the business become more sophisticated. 

     

    So now that you have your sales strategy in place, it’s crucial to know who is required to ensure it is successfully implemented within your business.


    Let’s explore this.

     

    The importance of involving key stakeholders - who should be involved and why

     

    A good sales strategy requires collaboration and buy-in from several key stakeholders. This generally includes member from the sales team (of course), the marketing team, the customer service team, the product development team (yes, really), and the executive leadership team.

     

    Each of these stakeholders brings a unique perspective and expertise that can help you build a more effective sales strategy.

     

    Let’s look at them in turn.

     

    Sales team members are on the front lines of your sales efforts and can provide valuable insights into customer needs and preferences. 

     

    Marketing team members can help you craft a compelling message and promotional materials that resonate with your target audience. 

     

    Customer service team members can provide feedback on customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. 

     

    Product development team members can provide insights into product features and benefits that can help you differentiate your offering. 

     

    Finally, the executive leadership team can help you align your sales efforts with your company’s overall goals and provide guidance and support as needed.

     

    Strategies for involving key stakeholders

     

    To effectively involve key stakeholders in your sales strategy, you should establish regular team meetings, use collaboration and communication tools, incentivise and motivate team members, and establish feedback and evaluation mechanisms. 

     

    Regular team meetings can help you stay aligned and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. Collaboration and communication tools can help you stay connected and share information and resources more efficiently. 

     

    Incentivising and motivating team members can help you maintain morale and productivity, and feedback and evaluation mechanisms can help you identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed.

     

    So there you have it - your sales strategy framework.

     

    Conclusion


    A good sales strategy is critical for business success, and the fundamental components of creating one include:


    1. Being clear on your goals and objectives
    2. Understanding your target buyer
    3. Knowing the market you operate in and the other players within it
    4. Articulating your USP/CVP
    5. Developing the sales channels and process that is fit for purpose
    6. Deploying a system for measuring and tracking performance to ensure you know whether you are on track to hit your goals or not.

     

    Furthermore, involving key stakeholders in its delivery and implementation can help ensure that your strategy is well-rounded and effective. 

     

    By taking the time to go through the elements outlined above to develop a comprehensive sales strategy that involves input from across your organisation, you can create a winning approach that helps you stand out in a noisy market.

     

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  • Sales Trigger Event
    17/11/2022 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Sales Trigger Events - What are they and how do they support your lead generation?

    Lead generation and creating a healthy sales pipeline are usually towards the top of the list when it comes to the biggest challenges many businesses face.

     

    Yet sales opportunities are everywhere.

     

    This means we must become more effective in how we identify them and then respond to them if we want to stand a chance of seizing upon them.

     

    So what are these opportunities and how do they appear?

     

    How do you know when you’re faced with a potential sales opportunity?

     

    Sales opportunities can simply be defined as a sales trigger event. These are events that happen to an organisation as a result of external forces or within an organisation as a result of internal initiatives that prompt them to look into options on what to do next given the change in their status quo.

     

    Note that a trigger event is a neutral term. It can be initiated either by a positive or negative event which will inform how you approach them

     

    It can alternatively be referred to as a buying signal which means it could be a great time to reach out to a prospective buyer for the purpose of starting a relationship with them. This will enable you to position your solution as the viable option that will see them through their changing circumstances.

     

    So what are these trigger events or buying signals?

     

    These vary according to the nature of your business and what you sell.

     

    For example in the hospitality industry, it can simply be an upcoming birthday or celebration.

     

    Whereas for a software development company it could be an investment round or that your prospect is going through a change in organisational structure requiring a change of process. This means that their current infrastructure may not be fit for purpose so an alternative is required. Enter your solution.

     

    Hiring velocity is another great and all too common signal which could indicate that a particular company may imminently require training and development professionals to support their onboarding process.

     

    As the examples above demonstrate, they can vary in complexity and as a result, require a different system or mechanism for identifying and approaching them.

     

    So take for example the birthday or anniversary trigger in the hospitality industry.

     

    This simply requires creating a booking form requesting that specific piece of information which then feeds into a database, triggering an offer as the event approaches. Simples.

     

    The other two are slightly more complicated and will require a higher level of trigger management using numerous systems and channels to identify.

     

    Whether that’s setting up an alert online using tools available on platforms like Google and Sales Navigator, subscribing to industry and special interest newsletters, or developing daily disciplines to manually detect any opportunities.

     

    The truth is, with the proliferation of opportunities available the management of them becomes a task in itself.

     

    But the good news is with a bit of preparation, prioritisation and systemisation you could set your sales operations up to increase the flow of decent leads into your sales pipeline.

     

    In the past 2 to 3 years we have never experienced more turbulence in the economy which is throwing out all manner of challenges for businesses requiring them to adapt.

     

    These constantly changing circumstances require all manner of solutions to enable an organisation to steer its course to steadier ground and along with that, comes your opportunity.

     

    You just need to make sure you’re ready for when that happens.

     

    If you’re looking for some help with this, click here and you will receive a list of sales trigger events that you could deploy in your business to get sales conversations started along with the tools that can alert you to them.

     

    Happy lead generating!

     

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  • LinkedIn Posting
    05/10/2022 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    To post or not to post on LinkedIn - What's stopping you?

    We've all heard the mantra, "To succeed in business you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable".

     

    One of the areas many business owners struggle with is posting content on LinkedIn.

     

    As we all know, LinkedIn is the number one social platform for businesses, so to leverage the potential reach, we have to become more visible.

     

    Another truth is that getting the attention of your target buyer is one of the biggest challenges many businesses will have with their marketing.

     

    Yesterday I was doing a talk on LinkedIn to my networking group and I could see the fear on their faces as I was making this point.

     

    The point is, everyone - even the most seasoned poster on LinkedIn will have that nagging voice in the back of their minds questioning whether what they're about to share is good enough. That is, if they've had an idea of what to post at all!

     

    Many people struggle with coming up with ideas that others think are good enough. If this sounds like you, you are not alone.

     

    And once they have taken action and created a post, they then wait for feedback. That is if anyone decides to engage with what they've shared.

     

    Depending on the nature of the post, you're either going to get raving supporters or massive detractors.

     

    We have seen an increasing number of posts where people are becoming a bit more candid about their experiences - specifically personal ones. Maybe sharing images of high emotion.

     

    Surprisingly enough for a business platform, these posts tend to perform significantly better than your standard business communications.

     

    BUT you will get a great many people slating these posts saying they have no place on LinkedIn.

     

    I've heard those comments.

     

    So let me ask, does this matter?

     

    Not at all.

     

    Which side of the argument is right? That is the share your experiences and make it personal tribe v keep this about all about the business tribe.

     

    The reality is they both are and both tribes can be equally aggressive about the other.

     

    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which side of the fence you reside on you will have support on both.

     

    Equally, it doesn't matter if one group doesn't like what you say, there will be many others that do and if you try and target both you will fail.

     

    People pleasers don't tend to fare well in life and business.

     

    So if the reason for not posting is around the fear of what people think, then you'll probably find you're doing a disservice to those who may find your stuff valuable - because there will be those who do.

     

    You just have to find your tribe & vibe. There are enough people out there who belong in it.

     

    So good luck and happy sharing!

     

    And share your thoughts on the topic.

     

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  • Origin Story
    11/07/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Integrow Sales - The Reason I decided to set up in Business

    There are many reasons for starting in business and these are often very personal to the founder.

     

    It's for this reason I decided to put into words the journey that led me to undertake the rocky road to setting up my own business.

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  • 08/06/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    How to support your technicians & engineers sell more effectively

    I don’t know about you but with less than 2 weeks until the next lot of the lockdown measures are lifted and we take a step towards pre pandemic normality it seems that businesses are ramping up efforts and the wheels of industry are certainly turning at a more accelerated pace.


    Sales conversations are flowing and business confidence is on the ascendancy which has been reflected in the upgrading of UKs growth forecast over the past few weeks.


    An effective sign of business confidence is when opportunities surface, the team moves around and people get promoted and we are certainly seeing signs of that!


    This is a great thing, right? Absolutely! However it does come with a caveat, just how well thought out are these moves? How much consideration is given to enable a successful transition? And how well supported is the recently promoted team member? No one can question the good intent behind the move and equally it is up to the incumbent to prove themselves and make a success of their new position. That said, there are also potential “unforeseen” traps that can lie ahead that would neither be the fault of the incumbent nor their employer.


    This happens a lot in my world whether that’s sales professionals becoming sales leaders or engineers and technical personnel moving into sales positions. In this post I’ll be covering the latter scenario. 


    In industry it’s very common for technical personnel to be moved into sales positions and rightly so owing to their deep understanding of the product or service they sell and the value they bring. Yet this can equally pose a problem and cause friction in the sales process.


    By nature they are typically detail oriented. However if they are engaging with buyers who are not then their tendency to go deep could potentially be baffling to the buyer and scare them off thus shutting down the conversation there and then.


    What is happening in this scenario is that the technical sales person is far too immersed in their world and their solution to consider what is going on in their prospects world and how their offer could solve their prospects problems. This requires a shift in thinking to avoid a potentially combative conversation which could result in a dead end and silence. What you’re looking to do is get the prospect to open up and lean into your solution, receptive to your ideas.


    Getting back to basics, selling is about changing the buyer's state - what you are asking them to do is change their status quo, move out of their comfort zone and step into your solution. You’re looking to create a transformation and that is an incredibly uncomfortable experience for anyone - so with that in mind it’s about creating the right environment for the sales conversation to take place.


    So what can be done? Create the right environment for the conversation to take place. Think about the buyer's journey and put the systems in place to support them through it. Develop customer centric processes to enhance their experience of working with you. After all, the sales process will define how they perceive working with you after the contract has been signed.


    Some simple steps to do this are:

    1. Learn what their challenges are then define what they are to verify you have understood

    2. To do this requires active listening to appreciate what's going on in their world

    3. Share readily based on what you have learned. Provide them with information that is relevant, timely and thoughtful. Anything that will bring value to the relationship and will support them in considering their buying options

    4. Deliver value. You will know what this is having taken the time to listen and learn as noted in the previous points

    5. Earn trust. You must earn the right to develop the relationship and make the sale

    6. Create a feedback loop where you're constantly looking to improve your offer based on how the conversation goes


    So let’s put this in context of the technical sales person. Although their in-depth knowledge and technical expertise is indeed an asset - and the reason they have been selected to represent your organisation - they don’t need to put it all out there at the earliest opportunity and potentially overwhelm the audience. Discuss the pertinent issues as they arise and mention anything that is relevant to the conversation at the time it becomes relevant. You may well need to delve into your knowledge bank at some stage and when this happens, ensure it makes the right impact rather than risk blowing their mind apart.


    Showing a little restraint could pay dividends and remember, less is more!


    I would love to know your thoughts on the topic so feel free to comment however if you want to understand more about the revenue generation ability of your business then click here to take the FREE scorecard.

     

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  • Prospecting small talk
    17/03/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Quit the jibber jabber and get to the point! How NOT to start a sales call

    We all get them and for many of us starting in business we have to make them which can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience.

    What I’m talking about is picking up the phone and making a sales call.

    With this in mind it’s understandable that we try to make the task pleasant for ourselves by attempting to befriend the person on the other end. It’s here you get the typical pleasantries and small talk that is delivered under the guise of building rapport but it actually serves to deviate from what we’re trying to achieve which is to engage with the prospect and identify if there’s an opportunity to make a sale.

    It’s at this point I want to share that inane small talk is a pet peeve of mine. From my perspective as a recipient of these types of calls it’s incredibly annoying getting asked, “how are you?” from a stranger who is obviously trying to sell me something - it simply comes across as insincere. I know I’m not alone in my frustrations given the conversations I’ve had recently where this topic has come up.

    So what does it look like?

    It’s throwaway questions or statements that do not add value to the conversation. It typically manifests itself as; “how are you?” (as if that will elicit a genuine response). Any mentions of the weather or anything else equally innocuous - I’m sure you get the point and have examples of your own.

    And why do we do it?

    My reasoning is twofold:

    1. Like I’ve mentioned previously, many of us feel uncomfortable picking up the phone for the purpose of making the sale so in order to get through the ordeal we try to be as affable as possible. We look to get the call recipient on side so that we can seemingly raise the matter of what we sell and hope that the person we are speaking with is charmed into submission.

    Naturally many of us experience anxiety when it comes to rejection which is why we often deviate from the task. This is perfectly natural yet it is counterproductive as chances are you are likely to irritate the person you are speaking with who will be in a rush to get you off the phone. This could result in the prospect giving you into a false sense of security by agreeing to your request for them to ghost you from that point onwards or they could even hang up on you.

    2. Because we’ve subscribed to the outdated notion of rapport building.

    This stems from all those sales training sessions we’ve attended where emphasis has been placed on building rapport by deploying ice breaker questions. These are typically meaningless comments that bring nothing to the relationship. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t attempt to build rapport but do it in a meaningful way. Put it this way, the quality of your conversation openers could signal the quality of your product or service in the mind of your prospect. From experience I am far more receptive to an assured sales person than I am with someone trying to be my mate.

    So what’s a better way?

    That’s simple - just be frank, open and honest - which is always a good way to start a relationship. Remember that this is an unsolicited call, your prospect is busy and you are interrupting their daily flow so acknowledge it. Thank them for taking the call, state you will be brief in your introduction then be brief.

    If you have positioned your offer well and done some rudimentary research on your prospect and their business then they may well be open to continuing the conversation. That said, they may not and in which case you withdraw from the conversation politely and move on to the next call whereby this person may be more receptive to your offer.

    In essence business development is a matter of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time however this all starts with initiating the sales conversation.

    If you take the time to be thoughtful in terms of your approach rather than regurgitating meaningless phrases you might get further with your prospect but if not then at least you won’t be wasting your time on conversations that don’t go anywhere!

    I would love to know your thoughts on the topic or if you have any pet peeves when it comes to sales.

    Thanks for reading!


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  • 18/02/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    How understanding "Jobs to be Done" can drive revenue performance

    In spite of the challenging economic environment we are going through there are many businesses that have actually experienced strong(er) growth during these uncertain times.

    With certain routes to markets being closed off, albeit temporarily as a result of lockdown restrictions, many businesses have had to rethink their strategy to enable them to reach their customers more effectively.

    Great products that serve the customer well will always perform strongly and we can see that from scrolling our linkedin feeds. However great products backed up with great insights, a well thought out marketing plan and a comprehensive sales process that puts the customer at the centre of what the business does will really drive revenue performance to another level.

    So what contributes to rapid growth?

    One concept that really makes an impact on the desirability of your product and therefore your sales volume is jobs to be done theory yet for some reason it’s not often covered in the usual sales and marketing guides. Although some of the themes run through the resources you come across, as a practice it somehow does not get the recognition and prominence it deserves.

    So what is “jobs to be done theory”? Jobs to be done (frequently referred to as jobs theory) is a theory of consumer action - it’s built around the theory that people buy products and services to get jobs done. It helps you solve the right problem for your consumers by describing the mechanisms that cause a consumer to adopt an innovation. As people complete these jobs, they have certain measurable outcomes that they’re attempting to achieve.

    That is generally the essence but what you’re effectively doing is aligning the company's value creation activities (your offer) to customer-defined metrics (their intention to buy and physical purchase). As a rule revenue generation follows value creation, so it’s your job to find out how your target market values your product. What emotional triggers does your product create? What does purchasing your product mean to them?

    Too many times product businesses fail because they don’t focus on the right problem and building the right product. Jobs to be done theory helps you prioritise your product features by focusing on the job that people are hiring your product to do. The theory states that markets grow, evolve, and renew whenever customers have a Job to be Done, and then buy a product to complete it (get the Job Done).

    So what does this mean for your business and how can you apply the concept to grow your business?

    Only by getting answers to the question, “what job is your product being hired to do?” can you develop your messaging in a way that creates an emotional uplift with your customer and gets them to take the desired action.

    To explain this in a more succinct way I have attached a link to a 7 minute video to demonstrate how McDonalds adopted the theory which unearthed a surprising discovery and as a result they were able to apply the findings with great effect.




    Businesses often market too readily on product attributes and features which really limits their scope and may result in their offer becoming transactional and commoditised leading to desperate sales tactics to close a deal.

    However by looking at the bigger picture based on truly understanding the value your product brings you will be able to come up with the messaging that resonates with your audience and of course by developing these insights you will have a stronger platform to increase your sales volumes and smash your revenue goals. Much like some of these companies that have experienced rapid growth during a pandemic have done.

    There’s no escaping the fact that business development becomes a whole lot easier when selling an awesome product that completely addresses the requirements of your market and therefore out manoeuvres your competition.

    So do you know what job is your product being hired to do? I would love to know your thoughts on the subject.

    If you want to better understand the revenue generation ability of your business in context of how you perform in your market then take the FREE Revenue Gen-ability scorecard to get your results in an instant. https://revenuegenability.scoreapp.com
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  • Sales Productivity
    07/02/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Sales Productivity - How can you achieve more with less?

    In business we’re constantly being challenged to do more with less as economic constraints take effect across numerous commercial sectors. So with that in mind business leaders need to figure out how their business processes can be optimised to get the best out of the resources available to them.

    To enable this to happen it’s never been more important to find ways to improve our productivity within our respective industries. Whether the business is a start up or turning over billions - it’s essential to eliminate any activities that don’t contribute to the attainment of our business goals.

    One area frequently overlooked in terms of productivity is within the sales function yet that is where typically a lot of time and energy is wasted. The impact of this can be incredibly significant given the department is chiefly accountable for generating revenue for the business.

    These issues become apparent when observing businesses going to market with their products. There are a lot of conversations to get through to make a sale so with that being the case the salesperson doesn't want to spend the majority of their time in admin mode - drafting emails, writing up notes, digging out relevant information and so on.

    The stats speak for themselves…

    Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects so where does the rest of the time go?

    • 21% of their day is taken up with writing emails
    • 17% of the time is spent on entering data
    • 12% is taken up with going to internal meetings, and 
    • 12% on scheduling calls.

    So with that in mind wouldn’t you want your sales team to spend their time actually doing what you pay them for - selling?

    It really doesn’t have to be this way and by no means should we accept these practices as the status quo as there’s so much technology available, including free technology, to address these issues. You just have to think about it in the context of what you need for your business.


    So why is addressing sales productivity so important?


    Put simply, it's critical to the success of a business. It helps those in charge make better decisions. If you know the optimum rate at which your organisation should be performing at then you will have a better understanding of the resources required to achieve your business goals.

    Within the sales department, it’s unrealistic to expect the team to be spending 100% of their time on business development activities as there will always be downtime that has to be accounted for. For instance a salesperson will have to invest some of their time in training or being coached. Plus they will inevitably be involved in occasional business meetings, not to mention other absences including holidays and potential sick days.

    Therefore a good productivity benchmark in terms of time spent selling is 65% - this is double the amount mentioned in the statistic cited earlier. Think about what can be achieved with double the capacity available to you.

    Furthermore unproductive salespeople are not happy salespeople. Convoluted systems and processes affect the sales team’s performance which impacts their morale and therefore their ability to do their jobs.

    Being in business is challenging enough without having a demotivated sales team. Therefore it’s in the business’s interest to support them with sales enablement systems not only to improve return on investment but also to improve staff retention and reduce costly impacts of high staff turnover.



    What mistakes do business leaders typically make in terms of their sales productivity?


    1. Assigning the sales team to ad hoc / non sales related tasks

    Using the sales team to carry out ad hoc business tasks like answering all incoming calls regardless which department it is for. In smaller organisations without the luxury of a reception desk or switchboard there is a temptation to request that the sales team pick up these calls.

    The problem with this is that it devalues their roles which is far from ideal given they’re accountable for generating revenue for your business.

    Handling all calls coming into the business takes them away from what they’re meant to be doing and can be particularly demotivating when they have challenging quotas to achieve. Especially when they’re spending significant time transferring calls to operations or the finance department.

    Nowadays with so many low cost options that can help with this it’s really worth considering using one of the many call answering services available on the market to address this issue.

    2. Increasing the sales team too fast

    Another all too frequent error is to take on new hires as a knee jerk reaction to achieving sales quotas rather than thinking how you can better utilise your existing sales team.

    It happens when you see your sales team working at capacity and instead of understanding what they’re doing to determine if they can work more efficiently you opt to make a new hire.

    The consequence this has on cash flow is significant. There are many businesses that have expanded their team too fast and have consequently imploded because their revenue does not cover their overheads. By evaluating this ahead of time you would have been able to predict the situation in advance and therefore avoided this unfortunate outcome.

    3. Introducing too many tools and applications into the sales process

    The abundance of apps and productivity tools on the market has made the task of deciding which ones to adopt increasingly difficult. One consequence of this is that many businesses have incorporated way too many tools into their sales process and they’re therefore getting in the way of what they were designed to achieve.

    It’s at this point you need to evaluate your technology stack in the context of your business and look for ways to simplify your processes to enable your sales team to get on with the job at hand.


    4. Analysis Paralysis


    Conversely the proliferation of the technology available has resulted in analysis paralysis meaning that many other business leaders have resorted to doing nothing, taking no action and are simply standing still.

    As the maxim goes in business, if you’re not going forwards you’re going backwards and once momentum moves away from you it’s difficult to get it back.

    The truth is there is no perfect solution when it comes to selecting the right system, it’s simply about finding the best fit for your business and then committing to it.

    You could always do an audit at a later stage and make a change when the time is right but the trick is to take action that will get you to the next step in your business growth journey.



    What can you do to improve your sales productivity and effectiveness?


    So you’ve come to realise that this is something you need to address but how do you go about it.

    First of all, evaluate your business and business goals.

    What is the current situation within your sales department?

    The simplest way to start is to measure your productivity, track the activity of the sales team and understand what they are spending their time doing? If it’s disproportionately being spent on admin or other non value added activities then you need to take action.

    Document your findings to assess the areas you need to address and once you have done this you should have a better idea of what you need to do going forward.

    But it all starts with having a good understanding of where your business is at and then mapping out where you want to be so that you can determine what steps will help you get there.

    Simply undertaking this activity will give you greater clarity and with that greater confidence to move forward with your growth plans.

    If you want to a better understanding of your company’s sales effectiveness and productivity position then take this FREE quick fire test which will give you immediate feedback on your current situation https://revenuegenability.scoreapp.com

    Alternatively feel free to get in touch to discuss and issues you may be having around your sales productivity https://meetings.hubspot.com/sianthomas/initial-co...
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  • 27/01/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    How do you prepare for a sales call?


    Ever since I first attended my local brownies group all those years ago the mantra “Be Prepared” has always stuck with me and carried me throughout my life so far.


    By no means am I virtue signalling as I have not always executed with the best effect but find that when I go back to the basics and apply these principles I tend to get on better with the task at hand.

    This has been further impressed on me by the saying, “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail.”

    If this is conventional wisdom it’s always surprising to see many business development professionals overlook the preparation stage of their interactions. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to business meetings but I see it many times when salespeople prospect which is a problem given this is the first impression they give to a potential buyer.

    With the tools readily available and a lot of information within relatively easy reach then why is it that many sales people skip this step?

    For instance, we all get fed up with those phone calls from canvassers who call your business and ask to speak to the owner. For me that is a red flag because you should know who the business owner is, had you taken the time to research. Not only does it demonstrate your keenness to work with me it also makes the relationship less commoditised and more valued.

    This does not mean you have to labour over the process but simply spending 5 to 10 minutes researching online will provide enough information to earn you the right for a more detailed discussion with your prospect.

    I am not saying the information you may get is correct but at least it shows good intent rather than laziness. Even if it is not quite right - for instance if the contact has moved on, then this is at least a better position to start a conversation from rather than having done no research at all.

    And where such information is not available is not available (some sectors / organisations aren’t as open or transparent as others) then at least you know that and can allude to that in how you approach your conversation.

    In terms of how I approach a conversation, I have a preparation checklist which covers:

    What type of lead is it?


    Is it a referral lead, inbound lead, target account lead, closed / lost lead? This is important to know as it will determine your approach.

    Their Linkedin presence:
    • Company page.

    What industry are they in? How many years have they been in business? How many employees do they have? Are they social media savvy? Do they use video?

    • Personal page
    What is his or her background? What interests does he or she have? What does he or she stand for, what causes is he or she passionate about? And so on

    This provides you with clues as to what drives the business and the individual. It will help you determine the tone of the conversation., the language to use and provides other information to help you tailor your approach.


    Their website


    What do they offer? What’s their messaging? What clues are there as to whether they would be a good fit for your offer?


    Social Media


    Where do they communicate most? Who are their customers? What does their audience look like? Check out their feeds for news, recruitment etc.

    This really should not take longer than 10 minutes as there are no guarantees that you will get hold of the right contact so you don’t want to spend too much time on this. That said, if you do connect then the impact you will create is worth it as it demonstrates your interest in them and who doesn’t like working with those who show an interest?

    So how do you prepare for your calls? Is there anything you think I may have missed. I would love to know your comments.

    If you would like to understand more about your effectiveness when it comes to preparing and starting sales conversations then please take the FREE Revenue Gen-ability scorecard.

    https://revenuegenability.scoreapp.com

    Alternatively delve deeper into a sales topic by attending one of my pending business development events.

    https://www.integrowsalesbristol.co.uk/events

    If you just want to have a conversation around your sales challenge then by all means book a meeting with me by clicking the following link.

    https://meetings.hubspot.com/sianthomas/initial-co...

    Thank you for reading.
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  • 11/01/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    How do you know what to believe?

    It’s difficult to know what to believe these days.


    As we enter the first day of lockdown 3 it is beyond belief that there are many out there who still think covid-19 is a conspiracy.


    Added to that there are those who believe that by accepting a vaccine we are putting ourselves in danger.


    As someone eager to get back to some resemblance of normality I’m chomping at the bit to get vaccinated as in my view this is our way out of the pandemic so I really can’t fathom where those other opinions have come from. However this year instead of getting embroiled in a social media stand off I have resolved to understand the situation from another perspective. 


    So with that in mind the purpose of this post is not to thwart any argument that contradicts my own but rather examine the idea of where beliefs derive.


    I’m sure I’m not alone in rolling my eyes when hearing the term fake news. Somewhat jaded by its overuse as over the last few years it's something we hear with frequent abandon in modern day parlance exacerbated by the omnipresence of social media. That said, the abundance of fake news is a genuine problem, impacting every facet of our lives and therefore something we need to pay real attention to. 


    Having recently geeked out on the excellent Ian Hislop’s Fake News: A True History and British History’s Biggest Fibs series with Lucy Worsley we know that this is by no means a new phenomena yet I was astonished to observe that historical inaccuracies are still shaping our modern day thinking. 


    The manifestation of these events are still being experienced in our lives to this very day and it’s specifically pertinent given the UK is embarking on it’s journey outside the EU this week.


    Again I’m not here to pass judgement on anyone as to how they voted in the referendum. The purpose of this post is to challenge ourselves to question our world view as the polarisation of opinion over the past few years, whether on the topic of brexit or the pandemic, is a reflection of how we see the world which is shaped by the information we digest.


    Simply put, our beliefs shape our thoughts which leads to our actions or inactions and therefore our ability to move forward.


    The thing that surprised me most when watching Ian Hislop’s programme is that in many instances the misinformation we are fed mostly on our social media channels is not meant to make us believe a certain way but rather make us cynical about everything we read. Effectively encouraging us to not believe in much at all and reject anything we come across, in other words become cynical. 


    A cynical world is a very dangerous place to be as we get blindsided with distractions and take our eyes off the ball to opportunists, so the main takeaway I got was to be skeptical instead. 


    You can do this by asking yourself the following questions when consuming information online:

    • Who is telling me this?
    • Why are they telling me this?
    • Do they actually know anything about this?
    • Can they be trusted?

    As we navigate our way through the most challenging times many of us will experience in our lives we have never been in more need of help to make good decisions. Misleading information and interpretations will hinder our ability to do this and move forward both personally and professionally.


    It would be great to get your thoughts on the topic and share how you undertake your due diligence on processing information. 


    Musing over this topic I entered the rabbit hole of the internet and came across the following article discussing the differences between cynics & skeptics and the impact it can have on your business especially if you are looking to grow your team.


    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130506120216-6587...

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  • 11/01/2021 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Not all leads are created equal

    New year and a new set of goals come into play as we forge our way forward intending for this year to be better than the last.


    Irrespective of when your financial year ends, January is still the month where businesses are most likely to focus on the activities that will support their growth for the months to come. This means once the plans have been drafted attention will turn to sales and revenue generation.

    Whether you have internal sales teams or have opted to outsource the function, one of the key activities in business development will be lead generation to ensure you keep the sales pipeline flowing giving you confidence that sales will result at the end.

    Now here is the rub, a sales lead is a catch all term that can have different interpretations depending on what your expectations are and there lies the problem.

    Let me explain, technically a contact name with an email address could be considered a lead but it is nowhere near as desirable as having a prospect that is primed for a conversation with a sales rep - yet the two fall under the lead category.

    It’s for this purpose I wanted to share the different types of leads there are which will help you determine your lead generation goals and will enable you to set your expectations with those assigned to develop leads for you.

    In the main they are:
    1. The Unwitting Lead
    2. The Marketing Qualified Lead
    3. The Sales Qualified Lead

    1. The Unwitting Lead


    The unwitting lead is not an industry term but one I’ve adopted for this example. This exists at the very basic end of the lead spectrum and is effectively a contact that has been merely identified as a lead. Here you will only have rudimentary information such as a name, email address and perhaps a mobile number. Typically you will acquire this information from a company specialising in selling data unless you assign someone to research this for you specifically.

    Although the lead will be known to you, you will not be known to the lead so your only marketing option is to email them. The problem with this is that it’s a complete stab in the dark and chances are, even if the email gets through to their inbox having by passed their spam filters, they are more likely to blanket delete it along with all their other unsolicited emails.


    I'm not saying it doesn’t work but the chances are slim and may require intensive nurturing to get them to a stage where they are ready to engage with you and that is without even starting a debate on GDPR implications.


    2. The Marketing Qualified Lead


    A step up from that is a Marketing Qualified Lead, often abbreviated to MQL.

    This is defined as a lead who has indicated interest in what a brand has to offer based on marketing efforts or is otherwise more likely to become a customer than other leads. An MQL has taken the first steps to becoming a customer and is primed to receive additional contact.

    Now this is where things are getting interesting and you can begin engaging with the prospect. However just because interest has been expressed doesn’t mean it will go anywhere as there could be numerous factors involved in the decision making - much of which you will not be aware of and will certainly have no control over.

    Although categorised as more likely to convert into a customer there may still be a lot more nurturing required so at this stage you can label them as lukewarm.


    3. The Sales Qualified Lead


    Finally we have Sales Qualified Leads or SQLs. This is a prospective customer who has been qualified and deemed ready for the sales team to contact and close a sale. Your sales team can answer specific questions and provide one-on-one time.

    Assessing the three different types I’m confident in betting that I know which one businesses would prefer to work with therefore concluding that in fact not all leads are created equal.


    So why does this matter and what does it mean?


    As mentioned earlier it’s all about being clear in terms of your expectations with those you’ve assigned the task of lead generation.

    Whether you have internal capability or have decided to outsource the role we all have to be conscious of budgets and ensure we assign the right value to the right activity - especially during these challenging economic times.

    It’s with this in mind whoever you engage to do this for you need to be clear on the quality of the lead you require for the resource you have available. Therefore due diligence is required to assess lead generation performance.

    Maybe even consider what hand off criteria you require to progress the lead into a sales conversation or appointment.

    This will take some effort to develop initially but you will reap the rewards in the long term in terms of the time and money you will save on appointment no shows and other disappointments resulting from your lead qualification process.

    If you would like to have a conversation to discuss your lead generation or business development strategy then simply complete the contact form here. Alternatively take the FREE Sales Effectiveness Scorecard which will report on your lead generation performance https://saleseffectiveness.scoreapp.com.
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  • 8 Ways to Get Better at Sales Prospecting
    17/12/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    8 Ways to Get Better at Sales Prospecting

    How much time do you spend on sales prospecting in your business?


    Given that more than 40% of salespeople say this is the most challenging part of the sales process it is little wonder that the average amount of time a salesperson would spend on prospecting is 10%

    So what exactly is Prospecting?

    According to Shopify, “Prospecting is the first step in the sales process, which consists of identifying potential customers, aka prospects. The goal of prospecting is to develop a database of likely customers and then systematically communicate with them in the hopes of converting them from potential customer to current customer."

    The original use of the term “prospector” refers to the efforts of individuals to find gold by visually scanning creek beds and rock formations. When flecks of gold were spotted, the prospectors would spend time sifting through dirt to find the valuable nuggets and flecks that were left behind when dirt was washed away.

    It’s this historical reference which could explain why so many in business are reluctant to do it, as to be fair prospecting can be considered painstaking, boring and repetitive. It’s about graft rather than glamour.

    Yet it is an essential part of the sales process as HubSpot Research found that 72% of companies with less than 50 new opportunities per month didn't achieve their revenue goals, compared to 15% with 51 to 100 new opportunities and just 4% for companies with 101 to 200 new opportunities.

    However if some digital “experts” are to believed then there’s hardly any need to undertake prospecting at all as by implementing a few SEO or Inbound hacks here and there - all your lead generation prayers are answered.

    BUT as any savvy business owner will know, that’s not the case and it is indeed a mistake not to allocate sufficient time to this activity. Especially if the business is young, limited on resources and has ambitions to grow beyond being a micro business.

    The uncomfortable truth about sales prospecting is that the majority of the time is spent being rejected as unlike most other jobs, rejection is a significant part of the process. Therefore it’s crucial to develop the right mindset when prospecting.

    The good news is that there are steps you can take to improve your results in this area which can make the job of prospecting more interesting and rewarding. So it’s with this in mind I wanted to share the following tips.

    1. Be clear on your objective

    What are your prospecting goals?

    For the most part it’s to establish whether a prospect is a right fit for your offer so you can either qualify or disqualify them. If it’s the former then be clear when to move them to the next stage of your sales process and have a plan for that outcome.

    2. Be clear on your audience

    This is a theme that runs through the majority of my articles and the reason is that it’s always at the centre of everything you do in business.

    It affects your approach, your tone and your message. The more aligned you and your offer are with the audience you are targeting, the more likely you are to proceed to the next stage.

    Not everyone you speak to will be a good fit for your business but that’s ok. This is as much about knowing who you cannot do business with as much as it’s about who you can do business with.

    3. Develop your messaging

    Again another common thread in my posts is to be clear on your messaging.

    Keep it simple and concise, develop a positioning statement that aligns with your target audience. The aim is not to show up and throw up over your prospect or pitch “at” them but rather position your offer to establish an expression of interest. Then undertake active listening to determine whether there is scope for further discussion.


    4. Build a prospecting mindset


    I know it's easier said than done, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s something that has to be done if you want to succeed in business.

    Yet with most things it’s about knowing thyself. What time of the working day do you have the most energy? Block out this time for prospecting as you will need the energy and motivation to get through the work and engage with those you want to speak with.

    Shift the focus away from being tasked to sell to the fact that you’re looking to solve a genuine problem your prospects are experiencing and this is the first part of that process.

    Your only job is to determine whether to progress them to the next stage so take the pressure off yourself in terms of having to close a sale in one conversation. Breaking the activity into bite size chunks makes the task of prospecting more palatable.



    5. Practice!


    Practice makes perfect so practice your call opening until you're confident to proceed. This can either be done alone or with a nominated practice partner.



    6. Be persistent


    Persistence does indeed pay as the likelihood of getting a response is pretty low so make sure you have a system for following up the opportunities you’ve identified.

    So many opportunities go wasted because salespeople give up too early, make sure you don’t fall into that trap.



    7. It’s all about activity and measurement


    Prospecting is a numbers game after all and sales follow actions so to ensure you have confidence in the cash register ringing you need to build a healthy sales pipeline and that starts with prospecting.

    Once you have a baseline of the number of contacts you need to make to build your pipeline you can then refine your approach to optimise your process resulting in you accelerating your desired outcomes.

    If your numbers don’t show it then you don’t know it and a business cannot be built from ignorance.



    8. Dare to experiment


    Businesses are always evolving and therefore the way they do business will change too. This means that approaches that were once successful may no longer have the same impact so don’t be afraid to try new things out.

    For instance the recent pandemic has affected the ability to make phone calls as more people are working remotely. Unless you have a mobile number then the likelihood of connecting is reduced as switchboards are less likely to be able to transfer calls. This means emails and other forms of communication have had to work harder.

    Technology is also a disruptor so introducing some new methods into the prospecting mix can work wonders on your results.

    In summary, there is no escaping the fact that prospecting is crucial to the success of a business and can be the difference between those that thrive and those that make do or even fail.

    Given its significance it’s understandably a huge topic which can be covered more comprehensively.

    With some considered actions it’s very possible to reduce the fear and reluctance of sales prospecting and you never know, it could even become a rewarding task.

    I would love to know your thoughts on the topic so if you have any questions or comments then feel free to comment in the box below. Additionally if you would like help with your prospecting then fill out the contact form here.

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  • long and winding road to business growth
    16/11/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    5 reasons businesses owners take longer to grow their businesses then they would like

    Business owners does this sound familiar?

    • You’ve built your business and as you’ve established your presence in the market you’re now in a position to outsource your business development / lead generation allowing you to focus on what you’re good at however you’re not getting the results you’re expecting from your sales campaign.
    • You’re having a lot of conversations with “interested” and “engaged” prospects but you’re not quite getting them over the line and converting into customers.
    • You’re putting so much effort into winning new business that you’re dropping the ball when it comes to your existing customers and wonder why they’re not coming back and placing more orders with you.
    If you can relate to this, let me shed some light on what might be happening in this situation as listed below are common oversights business owners make in terms of their business development.


    1. Not being clear in what they do and who they do it for


    You’ve done very well in growing your business this far getting customers on board and taking the business to a level where you can work with external agents yet this can be as much down to luck rather than judgement.

    As you’re now in a position to scale and rely on others to communicate the value of your products, have you really taken the time to explore the benefits from your audiences’ perspective? Are you able to paint a picture of the type of customer who stands to benefit most from your solution?

    I’ve worked with many business owners who say, “well anyone really” but the problem with that is unless you have an idea of who you are talking to then understanding how to approach them and what to say becomes challenging. You’re likely to misfire in terms of communicating your true value and therefore your messaging won’t resonate resulting in missed opportunities. This is bad enough when it's you making the approaches, but further amplified when someone else is doing it on your behalf.


    2. Not setting expectations with their sales team


    Speaking with many business owners, I’m not surprised that many are often disappointed with the results they get from working with sales agents, whether that’s direct hires or outsourced business development agencies.

    For example when working with appointment setters, many business owners are too vague in terms of what they qualify as a lead. There is a vast difference between a lead that is considered marketing qualified and one that is sales qualified. This is a crucial distinction because they’re two very different things.

    The main difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead and Sales Qualified Lead is the lead's perceived willingness to make a purchase. Marketing Qualified Leads are very curious, while Sales Qualified Leads are leads handed off to Sales because they are considering a purchase and typically agencies are more likely to provide the former.

    If you want conversations with those considering a purchase then you need to communicate that to your sales agent to ensure you move towards your sales goals.


    3. Not having a process for converting their prospects into customers


    So now you have got your prospects interested, what can you do to take them over the line and convert into a paying customer?

    The ability to convert customers consistently and sustainably is more involved than simply talking your way into a deal. You need to consider your “what now? strategy”. This involves going through every step of the customer journey and thinking about what is required to take them to the next stage. Do you have any gaps in the process they could fall through? If so then what are they and what can you do to fill them? This will vary depending on what it is you sell as well as the emotional and financial considerations involved in making the decision.

    Take time to review the system you currently have in place to enable customer conversions. Also reflect on what supporting materials you can provide to facilitate your buyer's decision. Even the simplest system for progressing a lead is still a system, whether that is using a simple spreadsheet to fully adopting a complex CRM. So what’s your process and is it fit for purpose?


    4. Not analysing their performance


    You’ve heard the phrase, “you cannot improve what you don’t measure” or “if your numbers don’t show it then you don’t know if’ well that’s so true!

    Performance analysis comes in two types, qualitative and quantitative. Simply put, are you doing enough to warrant the results you require? There’s no escaping the fact that success in business comes from developing the right habits and routines. Are you doing enough activity to grow your business? Sales success and business revenue are in fact lag factors that follow a series of events like prospecting and sales presentations. So are you doing enough prospecting? And is that resulting in enough sales conversations?

    Once you’re confident you’re hitting the numbers and you then find you’re not converting enough you can then review the quantitative information and explore what is getting in the way of customer conversions. By doing this you could establish whether there is a need for sales training or coaching. Maybe even there is some friction in your sales process that needs to be removed.

    Unless you take time to review sales performance then you will never know what is getting in the way of you growing your customer base.


    5. Not developing a customer success strategy


    Finally something that is all too common in business. So much time and energy is focused on winning new business we sometimes forget to value the customers we have already got. Therefore any new customers that sign up are only serving to replace the ones that have been lost so the ability to grow the business takes a lot longer than hoped.

    So what programmes are in place to support your customers once they’ve signed up with you? How are you helping them get the most from working with you? What needs to be done so that you become more than a vendor to being a trusted supply partner?

    If you can crack this then you are well on your way to growing your business as loyal customers are cheaper to service, less likely to screw you down on price and more likely to facilitate your business development by providing referrals and spreading good word of mouth.

    So if there’s all those benefits to looking after your customers then why do many businesses not invest in delivering customer success programmes?

    Does any of this resonate with you? If you would like to discuss any of this in the context of your business then feel free to get in touch with me to discuss how you can overcome some of these challenges.

    Or feel free to take a sales effectiveness test to asses the sales effectiveness of your business.


    Thanks for reading.


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  • Buying Email List
    31/10/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Before Buying an Email List, Read This!

    Perhaps you're a new company and don't have a customer base. Maybe you have a service you're sure that people will love... if only they heard about you. Whatever the reason, buying an email list seems like an easy, low cost way to grow your business but there are some serious consequences to purchasing one. Even better, try using an opt in list as there are real benefits to using one!


    What Is An Opt-In List?


    You'll often see terms like opt-in, permission based, signups and subscribed. When used properly, they all mean that the email list is comprised of people who:
    • Are recent customers of yours, or
    • Agreed to receive email updates directly from you, or
    • Subscribed or signed up through an online sign-up form on your business' website, landing page, or social profile.

    What Is A Purchased Email List?


    There are many vendors out there who sell lists or rent them (though renting means that the list seller maintains ownership and control of the email list). These are collections of email addresses that the vendors sell to any business or individual who can pay the fees. Your email list is considered to be a purchased or shared list if it’s provided to you by a third party, like an email list vendor or affiliate. There's a few ways that vendors build these non opt-in email lists.

    One common method is something you've likely come across. Think about those flashing banner ads you see across the web. They say things like "Congratulations, you've won a free iPad". Or "You're our 1 millionth visitor, click to claim your prize!"

    If you were to click on that banner, you'd wade through survey questions where they ask about age, income and collect other info relevant to placing you into categories that they can then offer as "targeted" options for marketers. They also collect your email address.

    Another collection method happens when list vendors buy emails lists from industry trade shows (or other events) where people give their info during the registration process. This is not the same thing as folks who signed up with you, directly, at your trade show booth! This is where list vendors purchase the entire registration list from the trade show itself.

    Online consumer surveys can often be a source of email addresses. The web surfer may be asked to fill out a survey and enter their email address to receive deals that they'll find interesting.

    If you sign up for something and the terms include words like "Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you'll like," your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other sites. They try to legitimise this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it's not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.

    The least salubrious method of creating these lists is email harvesting. This is when the vendors use bots to crawl the web and collect email addresses from websites, forums and comment sections. Sometimes, low wage and long suffering people are paid to manually grab email addresses off websites. Not very nice!


    Can I Buy An Opt-In List?


    The claim:
    Opt-in email lists for sale are lists of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from third party senders.

    The truth:

    No. There's no such thing as an opt-in list for sale! The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don't consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in, at all. They call it unsolicited bulk/commercial email. If the people you're emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you) then it's considered unsolicited.


    What's The Worst Than Can Happen?


    Well, that's easy enough to answer. There's a big downside to purchasing an email list rather than growing it yourself. Here are 5 reasons it's not a good idea to buy an email list:

    1. Purchased lists harm your delivery to inboxes

    Using a purchased list means you're not adhering to the ISP and email client guidelines. Furthermore, purchased lists often generate really high bounces, get flagged as spam by recipients and have low read rates.


    All this means that you'll soon be noticed by ISP filters and instead of reaching potential customers, you'll be hanging out in the readers' spam folder.


    But wait, there's more!


    There are organizations called blacklists like Spamhaus as well as other filtering organisations like Cloudmark and Brightmail. Email clients like Yahoo and Gmail and Hotmail rely on them to help block spam. These blacklists leave spam traps or honeypots for shady list sellers to collect. Then, if one of those email addresses ends up in your purchased list, you're in big trouble! It's like having bad credit - it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to rebuild trust with blacklists and until you do, you'll have poor delivery results even if you've stopped using the purchased email list.


    2. Reputable email marketing services won’t let you use purchased lists


    Reputable email newsletter apps don't allow purchased email lists. This means that in order to send to those lists you bought, you'll need to use a “disreputable” service which is likely already on ISP and blacklist block lists.


    You're known by the company you keep and sharing IP's with senders known for unsolicited mailings will get you bad results and a bad reputation.


    3. Low response rates because your recipients don't know you


    When a company you've never heard of sends you a marketing email you probably flag them as spam or simply delete the email. Sending to a purchased email list won't engender trust nor will it won't create a relationship with the potential customer.


    When you buy an email list you're not taking steps to create positive engagement with customers. Instead, you're hoping that the few results you may get will somehow outweigh the overall negative responses that unsolicited emails usually receive.


    Low response rates are down to the email addresses being poor quality. Many people use throwaway email addresses when pressured into giving their info. This is especially true for the methods that list sellers use to collect email addresses.When you buy an email list, you're really buying a large amount of defunct and unused email addresses.


    4. List fatigue is also a concern. If you're buying a list from a trade show, keep in mind that the other vendors at the trade show, and even businesses elsewhere who bought the list, are also emailing these recipients. By the time you reach the recipients’ inboxes, those readers are going to be exhausted by the barrage of unsolicited commercial email they've been receiving.


    5. Lousy ROI (return on investment)

    As a business you should maximize any investments you make, including the investment in email marketing. Purchasing a list is a waste of money, damages your sender reputation and lowers the value of any legitimate email sending you may do. Seriously, it's not worth it!



    So How to Build a Healthy, Effective Email List?


    There's a few things you can do to grow your email list in a positive way without resorting to buying a list.

    One of the most effective ways of growing your list is to use the signup forms on your website. Adding the Facebook signup form to your business page and also sharing the signup form link on other social networks like Twitter yield great results.

    Tap into your existing customer base to grow your email list and offer special deals exclusively in your email newsletters. Ask customers to sign up each time they purchase something and offer incentives if they spread the word.

    Stay active on social channels and make sure to share your newsletters wherever you can. This expands the reach of your newsletters and encourages sign-ups.


    Don't give up! Growing a healthy email list takes time but the rewards are worth it!


    I hope you this has given you some food for thought and by all means feel free to share yours.

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  • Why fight the gatekeeper when they can be your ally?
    08/09/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Tips for Handling Gatekeepers

    Why fight the gatekeeper when they can be your ally? Tips for handling gatekeepers


    You’re gearing up to make the phone call and you go through the scenario in your head. 


    You visualise the dream conversation that will take place with the very person that will sign the deal to edge you closer to reaching your sales quota. You can almost taste the commission payment and BOOM....denied! Someone gets in the way and tells you this is not going to happen, grrr!

    Those darn gatekeepers are ruining it!!! Sound familiar?

    So what’s your plan when it comes to dealing with gatekeepers?

    Do you even have a plan for handling gatekeepers?

    And what do you think about those people tasked to guard your prized decision maker against your advances?

    The fact that they’re referred to as gatekeepers implies the natural trepidation salespeople feel towards them.

    Since my sales career began some time ago I can still recall the amount of time and energy sales teams would invest in developing unscrupulous tactics to side step the gatekeeper and land the goal of reaching the buyer.

    Such tactics can range from mild intimidation or the use of power play to simple distortion of truths or using nuances of the english language to mislead. To cite an example I’ve come across in the recruitment industry is, “this is a personal call” for the gatekeeper, which changes to, “this is a personnel call” for the decision maker.

    By no means am I suggesting that these don’t work as I have seen them achieve their aim but it does come at a cost and that is the integrity of the business executing them. Especially as the glaringly obvious question is why would you start the relationship with a lie?

    If you’re in the luxurious position of being able to burn through leads and don’t rely on repeat business then by all means carry on but if you truly value your reputation and want to invest in a sustainable business relationship then there is a better way.

    Whatever the business one of the greatest attributes you can possess is to understand what the person you are dealing with wants. If you understand the motivation of the person you are speaking with, it will facilitate the interaction you have with them and therefore will put you in a better position to achieve your aims.

    This may require some guesswork on your part and some calculated assumptions but it is safe to say you won’t be far off the mark. That said, if in doubt then feel free to ask them questions.

    Simply put when applied to the gatekeeper it’s worth remembering they have a job to do and will act to serve the best interest of their colleague and organisation.

    Think about it, while navigating your way through Linkedin have you ever come across anyone with “Gatekeeper” as their job title? The answer will almost certainly be no and that’s because the position does not exist. So here's some tips I want to share with you when dealing with the gatekeeper.

    Be Human

    So first things first, remember that you are dealing with a person and not an obstacle so take this into consideration and apply a human approach to the interaction. Make them complicit in your request and ask for their help in taking you a step closer to that elusive conversation with your desired contact. “How do you do that?” I hear you ask, well read on...



    Develop Rapport


    If they answer the phone by mentioning their name, repeat it back to them and if you didn’t hear what they said ask them to repeat it. By doing this you can quickly gauge their tone and make that snap decision on how to best engage with them. Do they come across as matter of fact? If so then keep to the point. Or are they chattier in nature, in which case you have the opportunity to develop rapport and maybe elicit some invaluable company information or insight.



    Be careful with assumptions


    Make no assumptions about the gatekeepers role. In modern organisations it’s not unusual for senior colleagues and decision makers to take calls so how you approach the conversation can determine whether you succeed or fail in your sales interaction so try not to fall at the first hurdle. Furthermore advances in technology means your targeted organisation can block future calls and emails from you and your organisation.



    Be Prepared


    Always enter the conversation prepared to speak with a potential gatekeeper. Have your positioning statement ready in condensed form and ensure you cover the following 3 bases:

    1. The purpose of the call in brief.
    2. Outline why it’s worth your desired contact taking the call - what’s in it for them? And finally...
    3. Set expectations. Respect your contact’s time and say that you wish to be granted a couple of minutes to state your piece and if there is no perceived value in continuing the conversation then you will respectfully end the call.

    By following the steps above you are getting the gatekeeper onside by demonstrating your value and professionalism so that they are seen as credible internal referrers by their colleagues.

    If these steps don’t result in a sales conversation then and there then graciously accept the next option the gatekeeper offers.

    In these challenging economic times it’s not unusual to be offered an email address, whether that’s to a personal or group inbox as more than ever people are working remotely which limits the ability for calls to be transferred.

    And in these situations it’s increasingly important for emails to work harder to get the attention you require but let’s leave that for another time.

    Suffice to say that with due consideration and respect to the process you can indeed turn an old sales adversary that is a gatekeeper into a friendly business ally. Furthermore wouldn’t it make your working day more enjoyable having delightful, less combative conversations that ultimately put you in a better position to achieve your goals. Who wouldn’t want that?

    I would love to hear your stories on handling gatekeepers and let me know if there is anything you think I have missed.

    Whether you have any comments, observations or questions around the topic then feel free to share them in the comments section below.


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  • Humanise the sales experience for better results
    01/09/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Humanise the sales experience for better results

    Fundamental to success in any business is the ability to make sales so with this in mind just how is your business geared towards making sales?


    Fear not, thinking about this very question does not mean you have to break out into sweat. 


    It will come as no surprise how many people have justifiably negative feelings towards sales people and this often translates to the feelings of dread from business owners when it comes to undertaking sales activity, but it doesn't have to be this way.


    Having spent my entire 20+ year career in numerous sales roles it’s crazy to consider just how far we have come in terms of what it takes to become successful. We all have many stories of when selling has gone badly for us, but how about when it has gone well? As a consumer I'm always impressed by a seamless sales process whereby I've felt good about a purchase I've made and more often than not the whole sales interaction has always started way sooner than I've expected. It's with this in mind I wanted to explore the act of selling a little further and consider how the process can be made to feel more engaging, connected and above all human to ensure the best results for everyone involved. All for the purpose of reducing the feelings of anxiety that is commonly felt around the topic.


    The internet is flooded with sales statistics to illustrate this point. For instance you may have heard that as a result of the internet explosion in recent years, anywhere between 70% and 90% of the purchase decision is made before a buyer engages with a sales representative (this number varies according to the source of the information).

    This means that the whole process has been disrupted and never has it been more important to align the sales and marketing functions in accordance with the buyer's journey. Every touch point you make with your audience must be designed to create a positive experience so that customer conversions follow naturally rather than having to employ pressure tactics that cause many to baulk when they think of selling and sales people.

    The downside is that it now takes a lot more work, effort and investment to deliver these positive touch points but on the plus side, once they've been developed and embedded the business development process becomes scalable so that you can train your team to achieve better outcomes and therefore the resulting revenue opportunities are sustainable. Furthermore, by taking a longer and more strategic approach the less likely your offer is to become commoditised whereby you have to discount to get the deal. So now instead of breaking a sweat when picking up the phone you will have confidence in the process and speaking with the buyer feels more like an enjoyable conversation rather than a combative call.

    One organisation that has really indoctrinated these trends with great effect is Hubspot. On reaching the eureka state and noticing how sales interactions have evolved since I was a fledgling sales rep, I identified the need to partner with an organisation that would help me achieve my goals. My wish list was to find a partner who could help me create a sustainable business development model that would enable me to better serve my clients going forward.



    And it's never been so critical to better serve your clients. If you run the clock back several months you couldn't have ever anticipated that we'd be enduring the ground swell that is the covid-19 pandemic meaning that our priorities have shifted since the year began. Simply surviving the commercial impact and keeping our heads above water means we are doing something well. It has never been more important to reach out and make the buying experience more human and that is why I jumped at the chance to participate in Hubspot's “Lions” Pipeline Generation Programme.


    Core to the programme is how we reach out and connect with those businesses we can help. As mentioned previously our priorities have changed and the ability to get our prospects attention is becoming increasingly challenging so during the programme we were challenged to do exactly that and consider how we can cut through the noise.

    If I was to consider my key takeaways they are:

    1. Understanding the lizard brain. The one thing sales people fear is making the first call, how do you get the buyer’s attention and gain permission to proceed with the conversation? Well the first consideration is the opener and this is a key element that gets drilled into us. If you learn to do this well then you earn the right to continue the conversation with your prospect.

    2. Not giving up too early. To cite some industry statistics:
    • 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up.
    • The average sales person only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect.
    • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting.
    As we know this stuff, why are we still not adhering to these insights? Success only comes from execution - it’s not enough to simply know this stuff. This could be the difference between getting the deal or not.


    3. Leveraging advances in technology. We know that the evolution of technology has served to increase barriers between human interaction but this does not have to be the case.

    Thanks to the opportunity to participate in the programme I now have a full kit of cool tools that will increase my levels of insight and improve productivity going forward. What’s more, I can share them with my clients and business networks to support their growth.

    It’s not only that I believe that by signing up to the programme I have put myself in a great position to succeed in my business ventures going forward (which of course is my main priority). It’s also the knowledge that I am supporting my business ecosystem which is some way I can make a contribution during these challenging times therfore supporting my mission to improve the prosperity of my wider community.

    After all if we create a society where everyone benefits then surely we all win! Who does not want that?


    So what steps have you put in place to enhance the sales experience? How is this helping you to get better results?

    Thanks for reading and feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.


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  • Ditch the Sales Tricks
    17/08/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Ditch the tricks and become a trusted sales advisor

    We’re in business for the long haul right? If that’s the case then why are so many sales people still employing sleazy sales tactics that prizes closing the deal over serving the customer well? It’s as if they’re competing objectives which of course they’re not, if anything these objectives should be aligned to create the longevity of success we desire. After all you’ve heard the phrase once bitten, twice shy? If you are looking to continue working with those customers then why would you start the relationship on the wrong foot?


    I’m sure you have fallen prey to some of these tactics as have I and it never feels good, the result? To effectively blacklist these organisations forever. No wonder people generally feel antipathy towards sales people and when professionals from other disciplines have to rely on selling to grow their businesses their deep rooted anxieties surface and they do everything to avoid it.

    So let’s explore these main culprits:



    1. The scarcity sell


    This is based on the principle that when a product or service is limited in availability (or perceived as being limited), it therefore becomes more attractive.

    Yes, this is a very powerful technique when it’s actually true and what you’re selling has some meaningful value to its intended audience however it has been ruthlessly hijacked by organisations when it’s not actually the case. This tactic is easy to spot, especially when promoted aggressively. The consequence of employing this tactic is that when you’ve been caught out your integrity is immediately brought into question.



    2. The pressure sell


    This is a selling approach where the salesperson attempts to control the sales interaction and pressure the customer into making a purchase.

    In addition to the standard direct approach, this comes under many other guises including time limited offers and back of the room sales. Relying on manipulative techniques this approach rarely ends well as it often uses NLP to rouse the prospects' emotions and pressures them into buying on the spot. All without consideration and the ability to conduct due diligence which opens the door to buyers’ remorse where it is unlikely you will ever see them again.



    3. The assumptive sell


    This is defined as the practice of trying to sell something by acting as though the person that you are trying to sell it to has already decided to buy it.


    This is a close relative of the alternative close, “do you want it in green or red?” Because you’ve assumed the sale you’ve fast tracked the process of building a relationship and truly understanding the customers’ situation which could result in missing out on other opportunities with them or indeed their network. Just imagine this in a dating scenario, you’d run for the hills!

    Although a non-exhaustive list (I’m sure there are many more tactics you could add which would make for interesting conversation) I want to conclude on a positive note and reassure you that there are some excellent sales practitioners out there. Simply what puts them heads and shoulders above their peers in terms of both closing business and retaining it is that they take the time to understand those that stand the best chance of benefiting from their solution.

    Selling effectively is very much a skill that can be learned but it begins with the customer so taking the time to develop the relationship and become a trusted advisor will pay you dividends which vastly outweigh the impact any outdated shady tactics will provide.

    I would love to hear your stories, experiences and insights on the topic so feel free to share your comments below.



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  • Coming out of Lockdown - Will Shifts in Consumer Buying Behaviour be cause for Optimism for UK Manufacturers?
    17/06/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Coming out of Lockdown - Will Shifts in Consumer Buying Behaviour be cause for Optimism for UK Manufacturers?

    It’s fair to say the game has changed beyond any recognition since February where the biggest challenge to the UK economy was coming out of the EU and many of us were coming to terms with the damaging impacts of Storm Dennis.

    With a mix of good old fashioned British stoicism and denial, who could have ever imagined a health crisis taking place on the other side of the world would ever hit our shores and confine us to our homes?

    And confined to our homes a great many of us were so how were we going to navigate our way through the lockdown in what has so frequently been defined as the “new normal”?

    Three months on and we now know the answer to that with a great many heroes stepping up to the challenge whether employed within the public sector or business, of course we mustn’t forget members of the local community who rose to the challenge the pandemic thrust upon us. Indeed we should also acknowledge the fiscal support many (not all) have benefitted from so that now as we come out of lockdown our attention is turning to the state of the nation going forward.

    Manufacturing is often cited as an indicator of the health of a nation economically meaning much has been made of their response to the covid-19 challenge and as always there will be those who have fared better than others.

    Referencing the Make UK & BDO Manufacturing Outlook 2020 Q2 Report the key findings are:

    • Output plunges to lowest level in 30 year survey history
    • UK and export orders at lows comparable to financial crisis
    • Employment and investment suffer significant cutbacks
    • Just over 10% of companies operating at full capacity
    • Industry forecast to contract by almost 10% in 2020

    As bleak as these figures are there are some sectors that have at least performed well considering these conditions which include (but are not limited to):


    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Medical Equipment Manufacturers and Supplies
    • Logistics & Delivery
    • Streaming Services
    • Supermarkets
    • Food & Drink

    On the flip side industries such as automotive, petrochemicals and those relying on the hospitality sector have seen a serious decline in performance which may affect their ability to come out of the lockdown on the other side.

    Although this is not uniquely a British problem it will acutely be felt here due to our disproportionate reliance on global supply chains in terms of both imported components and finished products as well as exported goods.

    So what now?

    As always there are two schools of thought in terms of the UK’s recovery from lockdown with the optimistic camp predicting a “V-shaped” recovery at best or a perceptively pragmatic “U-shaped” recovery meaning we should exit the situation at a similar pace to how we entered it. Conversely the pessimistic camp foresees many bumps in the road with us only getting back to something resonating normal deep into 2021, therefore an elongated “U-shaped” recovery.

    This should not come as a surprise but the real telling factors come from how this has impacted consumer behaviours and whether there will be any lasting impacts as a result.

    A recent survey commissioned by the Manufacturer on the attitudes of UK adults show that:
    • 75% now believe more strongly in the importance of UK manufacturing
    • 71% believe that manufacturing has risen to the challenge of Covid-19
    • 76% are concerned about the UK's reliance on cheap imported goods
    • 74% now believe that a strategic long-term plan to support the sector to become more productive and competitive will help insulate the UK economy from future shocks

    Therefore this presents a real opportunity for UK producers to promote the benefits of localised production across the supply chain and review their internal structures to optimise ways of working with key business partners.

    Over the past few years there has been a shift in mind-set whereby consumers are buying into the concept of localisation and provenance evidenced by the championing of product quality that we have come to expect from buying goods made in the UK. Furthermore a particular driver in terms of consumer behaviour has been triggered by our increasing concerns for the environment as well as employee and animal welfare.

    This is now ramping up to another level by us demanding that we protect the industries that contribute significantly to the economic health of the nation. We’ve been overwhelmingly impressed by how these businesses have responded to the crisis and transformed their operations to accommodate changing demands. This ranges from hearing stories about how one company shifted focus (albeit temporarily) from gin production to producing sanitisers and how a luxury handbag manufacturer supplied much needed PPE to the health service. This is all just as well given recent events show that in times of crisis our reliance on getting hold of much needed equipment from overseas has not served us well and understandably many countries put their own needs first, leaving the UK exposed.

    It is this realisation that may well drive consumer tastes away from cheaper foreign imports and take a more responsible approach to consumerism, adopting the less is more philosophy or rather substitute quantity for quality, buying the best the budget allows.

    Over the past few years we have demanded convenience from our retailers, developing a want it cheap - want it now culture from where behemoths like Amazon have risen to shape consumer habits and why we see our high street shops on their knees. Yet as our lives have been massively disrupted we are taking stock to reevaluate our priorities, reviewing our relationships manifesting in how we interact within our environment going forward. This is why although globalisation may never be over, our over reliance on it may well be.


    Just a thought....a feel free to leave yours in the comments section below.


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  • Sales Strategy, Sales Process & Building Sales Teams
    08/06/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    3 Key Problems Business Owners Must Overcome to Scale their Businesses to the Next Level

    Whatever industry you’re in there are some very common threads as to why some businesses have not got into their stride and developed any momentum in their growth journey and this is indeed a huge source of frustration which can lead to some questioning the wisdom on their venture.


    This is acutely felt when we hear so many stories of businesses seemingly coming out of nowhere and are well on their way along the growth trajectory which begs the question - “why is this not happening to us?”

    Don’t be disheartened, many business owners share similar doubts and it’s easy to benchmark ourselves based on what we read without truly scratching the surface. Put it this way, you will mostly hear about the success stories and positive outcomes rather than the ugly truths behind the outcomes which can only distort the reality.

    The overriding myth we fall prey to is the narrative of overnight success. The truth is that 99.9% of these businesses will have undergone a long process of development to fine tune their offer before getting on the radar and public consciousness.

    Anyway once in the public domain, just what should we be doing to optimise our chance of success? Or to put it another way, what major problems do we need to overcome that get in the way of our growth?

    They are generally covered in the following three areas:
    1. Having little or no sales strategy
    2. Having too much, too little or no sales process 
    3. Misdirected Assignment of Sales Roles


    1. Little or No Sales Strategy


    You have invested a lot of time and money in setting up your business and having validated your offer which is generating some revenue so now what? How are you going to ramp up your efforts to increase your customer base and market reach?

    What sales and marketing strategies have you put in place to enable? What stage of the business lifecycle do you currently occupy?

    One of the biggest obstacles to growth is that many business owners don’t factor their business lifecycle stage into their planning and often adopt strategies that don’t work given their current context. Whether you are a start-up, going through a growth phase, mature and so on, the strategies you adopt will have to reflect the stage you’ve identified as occupying as by opting for the wrong ones can lead to costly mistakes that are completely ineffective and offer little value in terms of insights.

    Other key considerations of an effective sales strategy include:
    • The Business Vision
    • The Business Mission
    • The Key Stakeholders including Target Audience
    • The Business Purpose
    • The Conversion Plan
    • The Sales Playbook
    • The Customer Success Roadmap
    • The Available Resources
    This is a useful framework to focus your efforts on to provide direction and track your progress against. Without it the foundations will not be strong enough to support your growth aspirations going forward as it’s very easy to get distracted with other initiatives that delay your progress.


    2. Too Much, Too Little or No Sales Structure


    Once you’ve worked on your sales strategy how will you execute it? It is surprising the amount of businesses that do not even have a rudimentary system in place to organise their activities let alone track what is working or not working.

    The central question here is to identify your objectives and design a process around delivering them. Clearly your requirements will evolve but the key here is to have something in place that you can build on.

    The advantages to developing a sales process is that they:
    • Provide a scalable structure to grow your business by ensuring consistency of approach
    • Are a great way to identify how your route to market channels engage with you so you can map out a process that is designed around them as after all having a process that puts your customer at the centre is the best way to succeed in an ever increasing competitive environment
    • Enable tracking of progress so that you can figure out what is working and what is not working. In the case of the latter you can work out what:
      • can be modified and implemented with success
      • cannot be modified and therefore consign to history
    • Empower your sales operations to work efficiently as you implement your learnings and become better at engaging with your customers therefore potentially shortening deal cycles
    • Can encourage the development of the right sales habits. You will be able to identify what activities your team are undertaking and use this to strip out the activities that don’t deliver value to your sales conversations. Did you know that most sales professionals are only spending a third of their time actually selling?
    The purpose of the sales process is to support the growth of the business and not detract from it as the flipside of not having a process is to become enslaved by it.

    All too often over zealous business owners driven by data implement tools to measure KPIs (key performance indicators) and other metrics that can often misfire and can lead to the wrong types of behaviours.

    This is where you have to come back to your objective and understand what activities can add to and detract from the sales conversation and then develop the process around what will promote the desired outcomes.


    3. Misdirected Assignment of Sales Roles


    Finally and all too often an overlooked problem faced by business owners is how to get the best from the resources you have available.

    This relates to the resource you allocate to your sales efforts whether that is the systems you adopt, the team you employ, the functions they perform and the structure they fit into.

    Again this depends on where you fit in your business lifecycle as the options available will differ.

    All too often when starting out you have to be a generalist in terms of the sales roles you undertake as you will not only be responsible for generating leads and converting them, you will also have to ensure that you keep your new customers happy so they keep on coming back.

    These roles actually require different skill sets which when you don’t have the luxury of a sales team you have to ensure that whoever is accountable for sales wears each hat with reasonable competence. If you’re at the stage where you can outsource your sales, it is crucial to have an understanding of what and who you are looking for. You only have to go on any freelance sites to understand how many business owners have given this little thought and post three sentence job ads with the expectation of finding a sales superstar that will provide a silver bullet on a shoestring.

    Even larger, more established businesses have not always got this figured out, often promoting top sales performers into sales managers with little support or training to help them become effective sales leaders. That’s on the assumption that sales management is a progressive route for them in the first place.

    Aside from the specific skills required to meet the demands of the differing sales functions, there’s always the question of how you can leverage technology to support your sales team and business to operate successfully and efficiently.

    While technology serves a purpose and can be a great tool in facilitating sales conversations there are many examples where their overzealous adoption can be sussed out in sales platforms and potentially risks the integrity of those conversations. I am sure many of us have examples of this like receiving a message on Linkedin which is clearly a sales “bot” which is no way to begin a relationship with a prospective client. This along with other cynical tactics contribute to why sales people in general are perceived in negative terms.

    As with all things in business these key problems do not exist in isolation so any successful enterprise will have to factor in the development of a sales strategy, what process will support it and who will be involved in its implementation in order to take the business to the next level.

    Indeed it would be fair to say that many of the businesses that suddenly come on our radar as performing strongly have been working on these very areas long before we knew they existed.

    And I want to leave this on the point that it’s not beyond anyone's imagination that this can’t be what you achieve for your business too!

    Should you wish to discuss any of the above in relation to your business then please get in touch by clicking here to schedule a conversation.

    Thank you for reading.


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  • ​5 common mistakes manufacturing businesses make with developing channel partners
    01/06/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    ​5 common mistakes manufacturing businesses make with developing channel partners

    With the continual lifting of lockdown restrictions many businesses are initiating a return to work for those who were unable carry out their responsibilities at home meaning they are having to pick up from where they left off when they do eventually make it back.

    Whether there were any elements of business continuity in terms of setting up remote working or not one thing is clear, there is no getting away from the stark reality that this situation has hit many of us hard and will continue to do so for some time to come.

    As reported in the Guardian, “A survey by the manufacturers’ lobby group, Make UK, found that 25% of companies are already drawing up plans to cut jobs in the next six months. A further 45% say they are considering redundancies. Only 30% said they expect to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with all their staff on the payroll.”

    It will come as no surprise that the industries hit hardest are hospitality, retail and leisure but the impacts felt will not stop there. Although there are a great many factors we cannot control there are some we can influence to limit the extent of the damage endured.

    Below I’ve listed the predominant mistakes being made by many manufacturing businesses. Not all will apply but by addressing them we can take action to turn our businesses around.

    1. No customer persona

    • Why it’s a mistake
    You know the saying? “If you try to be all things to everyone then you end up being nothing to no one.”

    By not fully understanding the customer you serve you will fail to communicate why your product will either remove a pain they are experiencing or enhance their lives in some way so your messaging will be lost. This means whatever you invest in your sales or marketing efforts will at worst be wasted and at best not reach its full potential.
    • What to do about it?
    Do some soul searching and develop insights about your customers. At least engage in conversation with those representing your market and / or conduct some observational research.

    Look beyond the obvious and focus on the “job” your product performs. The answers may surprise you and therefore you may well find ways to open your market up. You could potentially find multiple personas your product serves which will inform your outreach strategy going forward. This nicely leads us on to the following mistake which is...


    2. A uniform business development approach

    • Why it’s a mistake
    Now that we have developed some customer insights or at least a best guess we can now go out and start having conversations. The problem is that many businesses seem to think that one size fits all.

    With an ever more competitive commercial environment we are now all competing for a limited amount of attention that’s available so when we actually get it we may not prize it highly enough. If the framing does not align with the buyers’ situation the outreach misfires and therefore the opportunity is wasted.
    • What to do about it?
    There is no silver bullet to this so testing different approaches may be required to find a winning formula.

    To enable this, implementing some form of business development process will help. There are many great free and inexpensive CRM tools to support you so you can cluster your buyers into groups based on common behaviours. From there you can design a campaign around each.

    Analyse performance and measure what works and more importantly what does not. This is a great way to build a scalable sales engine for your business.


    3. Deal Structure - No transparency or consistency

    • Why it’s a mistake
    We’ve all been there, made a purchase and felt great about it to then discover a friend or neighbour got a much better deal. We’re not feeling so great about it now!

    Buyers remorse is commonly felt post purchase and it increases significantly the more expensive the purchase is. The manner the vendor behaves post sale will impact on the level of buyer remorse experienced. At best this could block any potential of repeat purchases being made and at worst could damage the reputation of the vendor from the resulting negative word of mouth. 


    Put this in a B2B context, the problems are amplified with there typically being a narrower customer base (depending on industry). Make no mistake, businesses talk and contacts move around so if someone feels unfairly treated then it is unlikely you will ever do business with them again.
    • What to do about it?
    Put a pricing structure in place that is consistent according to the size and market your business operates in. Of course there will always be elements of negotiation but as long as there is a framework in place then it can be defended.

    This can factor in the different channels you support but avoid scenarios where you compete with your customers for a similar market. Believe it or not, I have heard many stories where that has happened and it does not end well for either business or their channel partners.

    Finally be in a position to advise on RRPs (recommended retail price) to ensure that consistency and transparency applies throughout the whole supply chain.


    4. Little post sale customer support

    • Why it’s a mistake
    Ok, you got the deal and are very excited which is understandable but that is not the end point...in fact it’s just the beginning.

    The work is not complete once the order has been shipped and invoice paid. The reality is that you’ve actually created a new problem for your channel partner. How are they supported in reselling your product?

    This ties in with another commonly made mistake which is to focus too much on new business at the detriment of existing clients. We have all heard countless times that retaining customers is less expensive than finding new ones yet many businesses are not addressing this in any meaningful way.

    You want your hard won customers to come back so what are you doing about it?
    • What to do about it?
    So what does your sales infrastructure look like? Actually what does your business infrastructure look like? Everyone within an organisation has a role to play here so what systems are in place to ensure the whole business is pulling in the same direction?

    Have you appointed any customer success specialists to hand over new clients to? Even in small businesses where resources are limited there are measures that can be taken to deliver a programme of customer onboarding and development to get the relationship on the right foot from the very start.

    Is there a marketing pack in place to support your channel partners in selling your product? What merchandising support can you implement? The levels of sophistication will vary according to the resources available but every business should at least have some rudimentary process in place.


    5. Disregard of industry standards

    • Why it’s a mistake
    Ignore innovations to your industry at your peril.

    History is a wash with examples of businesses that have closed their doors permanently due to failure in identifying trends, remember Blockbuster Videos? Kodak? The culmination of not understanding the customer along with developments in technology has effectively sealed their fate.

    Ensure this does not happen to you.
    • What to do about it?
    Keep innovating! This does not have to be in terms of huge game changing developments but rather looking for opportunities to better serve your customer.

    A great rule of thumb is to be easy to do business with. Can any points of friction in terms of trading be removed?

    What is your competition doing? If everyone else is doing same day delivery then can you? Think about how you can disrupt disruption from your business. Engage with your community and especially your team who speak to your customers regularly to develop initiatives that not only reverse the negative impacts of the current situation but can put you in the driving seat going forward. Consider what will not only put you on the road to recovery but more importantly will increase your chance of future prosperity in business.


    I hope this gives you some food for thought and a level of optimism to keep you going through the challenging times ahead.


    If there is anything I have missed, you would like to add or other general observations then please share them.

    Should you wish to discuss any of the above in relation to your business then please get in touch by clicking here to schedule a conversation.


    Thank you for reading.

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  • Adapt, innovate or reframe your way through the pandemic
    11/05/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    Adapt, innovate or reframe your way through the pandemic

    It’s fair to say that this year has been like no other experienced in the lifetime of the vast majority of us (barring some centenarians of course) and it is clear to see that the impact of the pandemic has completely blind sided everyone to differing degrees. After all, who could have seen this coming?


    We have been told by our elected administration that we have passed through the worst of the pandemic and are now on the other side of the proverbial mountain but must still tread carefully as, to continue the analogy, the descent can be more dangerous than the climb.

    So it is surely to be expected that we would now be receiving guidance from the government as to how we will navigate our way out of the situation and at the weekend we were given the framework of a plan as to how this would unfold but suffice to say there has been a lot of criticism to the government's response about lack of clarity.

    It’s not my aim to scrutinise those plans here but rather try and draw some conclusions as to how this will impact my business community going forward.

    As a deviation from the themes I would normally cover I want to explore the roadmap from an innovation point of view inspired not only by the constant advice we are seeing on social media as to how we pivot our businesses to turnaround the economic impact of Covid-19 but also following an excellent Enterprise Nation webinar I attended earlier today covering the topic of innovation based on the needs of your customers.

    As with most good practical advice for seasoned business professionals nothing really should come as a surprise and no ideas will be completely new or revolutionary here as the real value of sharing comes from serving as reminders and to vindicate your actions or decision making going forward.

    So let’s start with the situation that’s right in front of us. From this week construction companies and manufacturers have been told that they can return to their commercial activities however to quote James Durie from Business West, the Bristol Chambers of Commerce, what about those businesses that have experienced a complete drop in demand? Many businesses have lost their customer base so what do they do?

    It’s very easy to promote the idea of innovation but just how easy is it to implement?

    So getting back to the webinar, what is clear is that we need to find ways to meet the needs of your customers which given how things have shifted could mean how do we find new customers and fast.

    To address this challenge, I will outline three possible options which can reassuringly run alongside each other or alternatively can be your central focus depending on your situation and the resources you have available. Please note that this is on the assumption that your current customers have pressed the pause button.

    They are:


    1. Repositioning or reframing the application of your current offer

    Are you able to fulfil the evolving requirements of your existing customer base? Are you able to fulfil the current requirements of a new customer base? Are there any conversations you can revisit to position your offer as the best viable option given your potential buyer's evolving situation?Are you able to fast track conversations with those prospects in new markets?

    This is the best possible case scenario as to your current situation and something that can be acted upon instantly to yield quicker results in the short term with the right strategies in place.

    2. Complete product innovation

    This is your opportunity to revolutionise your offer and get your new ideas to market. Do you dare trade off your current customers that are potentially on hold or look for new ones to serve with vastly different requirements?

    Clearly this is a high risk, high reward strategy. It could be the most radical thing you do to completely turn around your fortunes however it is an extremely time consuming tact to implement. It would also require a completely new levels of research to develop true insights to provide any information of value. So just how ready and able are you to follow in the footsteps of notable industrialists and business disruptors namechecked in daily parlance?

    And finally the halfway house option which sits between the previous two.

    3. Adaptation of an idea


    This is not as powerful as option 2, as it’s considerably easier and quicker to implement with less associated risks.

    Simply take time to pause and reflect on what is happening in the market. Can you adapt ideas from other industries and apply them to your market? Can you collaborate with other businesses to develop a more complete solution to address a wider problem?

    Look at the bigger picture as to what is happening within your business community and develop an ecosystem to solve it. Most seasoned business professionals will already have the infrastructure in place to enable so it’s just a case of leveraging it to reach your lightbulb moment.

    Ok, I accept the answer is not as easy to achieve as the previous options suggest as there may well be pitfalls in terms of the execution. That said unless the first move is made then the most inevitable scenario is to remain stuck and put it this way that is a challenge in itself as momentum is with us, after all, we are in the process of climbing down the mountain.

    I would love to know your thoughts on the topic so feel free to share your comments below and if you would like to chat about your business in the context of the current situation then click on this link to initiate a conversation.

    Thanks for reading.


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  • Selling to Resellers
    06/05/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    ​What to Consider when Selling to Resellers

    A mantra you will hear time and again in business is that without sales there is no business and that's so true. However it's understandable for business owners and entrepeneurs to get exacerbated by this stating if only it was that simple. Well, it’s certainly not my purpose to over complicate matters and blindside professionals into working with me, that said it's not as straightforward as some suggest either as due consideration needs to be made to ensure your approach is fit for purpose.


    Yes there are simple tools and techniques that can yield quick wins and inspire the salesperson into replicating them with the intent of repeating this success thus generating more sales, however to leave it there could quite easily lead you to a false dawn in the longer term as you may well not understand what you are getting right and why that is. Like many in business will agree, you learn more through making mistakes and “validated learning” rather than hitting the right mark in the first instance. Take this for example, ever tried a new sport or leisure activity to discover that you get a great result initially and then on further attempts your ability wanes and you struggle to understand what made you successful in the first place? That can pretty much apply to sales and indeed sales is about confidence but you must develop the right mindset to build that confidence, note that there are some great books out there which can delve deeper into this topic for you. I also want to add that during this blog I will be referencing some great sales resources which I will flag up to you to enable you to read further should you wish.


    At this point I am going to make a confession, I've not always been the best sales person in my previous roles and unlike some of my sales peers in other published material I will declare that I have on occasion struggled in some sales environments. You know those ones you see parodied in the media, “hit those phones” “have you made your 100 dials for the day?” “smile while you dial.” It’s no wonder why many hard-selling companies have high staff churn and us sales professionals get a bad name.


    Suffice to say, having been inspired by Frank Bettger’s awesomely titled, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” I wanted to share that it’s really ok to admit that this might not be your strength - yet, but with the determination to succeed and a willingness to learn it may well become the greatest tool you possess in your entrepeneurial arsenal. Like those who do come to master their art, it takes discipline and commitment to get you there.

    So let's cut to the chase, what I will outline going forward is how to get resellers on board. Addressing questions like, how can you get your product on the shelves of those companies supplying your market? What you need to consider and how do you get buy in from those who decide what they put in front of your target customer?


    To answer those questions, I will share tips and insights gained from my career in sales going way back from when I was selling automotive lubricants (or engine oil in laymen terms) to automotive dealerships (the people servicing your cars) whilst at Shell UK to a more recent campaign of selling pollution masks into distributors from around the world.


    For simplicity I am going to break this down into 3 main areas:
    1. The Sales Plan: You need a strategy to get started if you really want to create a sustainable business development model. This is crucial no matter what size the company is or lifecycle stage they operate in.
    2. The Sales Process you will adopt to deliver the sales plan you wish to follow.
    3. The Sales Campaign and its execution. By giving careful consideration to steps 1 and 2 this is where the activity comes into play to achieve your revenue results and growth goals. Some authors will take it a step further by detailing how to engage with personality types according to various tools like DISC profiling, although worth consideration there are others better positioned to explain this then me.


    The Sales Plan

    So looking at the strategy part, we have all heard the saying, “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail.” As true as this is, it is amazing to consider how many organisations do not do this.


    Here is where you start creating your sales playbook. Yes, this is the bones of a document you will use as your bible for business growth. This business manual will be refined over time as you develop your processes, tools and templates for success and the way to do that is to get started.


    Important components of a sales plan are:
    • Your Ideal Customer Profile. Take the time to develop your customer profiles, understand the people who will benefit most from your product or service. 
    • When selling to distributors and resellers there is an additional complexity involved. You have another layer to consider and that is not only the prospective end user of your product but also those in the buying team. This would require some research as to the composition of the roles involved in purchasing your classification of product and the challenges faced within those individual roles. To learn more about this I would recommend the following post: https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/ideal-customer-...
    • Your Offer in context of the customer profiles you have just identified.
    • Your Selected Sales Channels. This is where you decide whether to follow a direct or indirect sales channel. If you have opted for a distributor or reseller channel then you are following an indirect business development model and it is from here your process may vary which will influence…
    • Your Key Messages to the customer (both the indirect channel partner and their customers as identified in the profile analysis above)
    • Your Sales Team. Who will you assign to each channel? This can either be internal if you have the infrastructure to support it or external / outsourced, if not.
    • Your Sales Process. This covers the whole spectrum of the systems you select to enable your business development to take place to the tools and techniques required to guide your sales team to deliver it.
    For further reading on the topic I recommend the chapter on Building Out Your Sales Capability in Automate & Grow by Michael Devellano.


    The Sales Process

    This is when you get into the nitty gritty and add further detail to the sales playbook. It's such a huge area that it has become a sales specialism in its own right. You may have heard about Sales Enablement but not truly understood what it meant or maybe recognise it under another name such as the newly in vogue portmanteau “Smarketing.” Put simply, it is the infrastructure, tools and techniques used to generate Sales Revenue. That is the process of creating alignment between sales and marketing for the purpose of achieving your revenue aspirations with the goal of producing predictable and sustainable revenue being paramount.The sales process can vary in complexity depending on the requirements of your business with many starting out on spreadsheets. Although sufficient when starting out, please consider that there are some great software and CRM (customer relationship management) tools available that support a rudimentary sales process enabling you to scale as your proposition develops. Starting from free versions they at least can map out a basic process that monitors progress from generating leads and starting conversations to closing deals and retaining custom. Once in place you can begin refining and adding tools and materials to improve momentum and sales performance.

    In addition to your process further consideration must be given to the sales team infrastructure, whether internal or external, basically those adopting these processes. The best visual reference comes in the form of Aaron Ross’s infographic below articulated in his book, “Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com” whereby he is an advocate of splitting out sales functions into 4 core roles which is achievable no matter what size the business is.




    So having completed a lot of work to get this far, now for the fun part (depending on your point of view, of course).


    Sales Implementation and Campaign Execution

    Without taking time to go through the steps outlined above then the implementation and actual business development part becomes tricky. That said, this is a process in itself which will be refined, developed and improved the more iterations you undertake. The aim at this stage is not to make it perfect but rather have a framework that develops and scales along with your business.

    Once you have organised your sales resource as per the previous sections you will find yourself in a good position to reach out to those qualified prospects you have identified as a good fit for your business. This structure can best be illustrated by referencing Hubspot’s inbound methodology highlighted below:


    Hubspot’s Inbound Sales Methodology



    Once you have identified which prospects are a good fit for your offer and having then connected with them via your sales development team resulting in a meeting, you now have an opportunity to develop a relationship with them. You will be in a position to really get to know your prospects to further confirm if a good fit exists between your businesses.

    To better position yourself as a credible supply partner it is always worth adopting a framework that enables the conversation to take place that adds value to the interaction going forward. The best example of this I have seen again borrows from Hubspot in the form of their CGP, TCI, BA exploratory call framework. Simply put it covers the following elements which is key to aligning your offer to your prospects buying situation.


    C = The CHALLENGE your prospect is trying to overcome

    G = The GOAL your prospect is trying to achieve

    P = The prospect’s PLAN for overcoming their challenge


    T = The prospect’s TIMELINE for achieving their goal

    C = The negative CONSEQUENCE of failure

    I = The positive IMPLICATIONS of success


    B = The prospect’s BUDGET

    A = The AUTHORITY required to move forward with your solution


    Taking time to go through this process better equips the sales person to advise on a solution (their solution) going forward. Whether that’s via a demo or an on / offline presentation and it is here where sales people normally come unstuck. How else would you know if they are going to be a good customer if you don’t take the time to learn more about them?

    Furthermore, by taking the time to go through this step better equips the sales person to handle objections as they can reference their prospects previous comments and demonstrate alignment so therefore the value of their proposition which makes the process of closing far simpler.

    You may think this is pretty generic stuff and what has it got to do with resellers specifically. The truth is resellers share the CGP, TCI, BA characteristics outlined above but the answers they provide may differ.

    The main point of difference I can share in my experience of selling to resellers is in terms of how to retain them as customers. This is where it is worth assigning a customer success or “account manager” to champion them within your business. Providing them with the support required for them to succeed. That can be done by developing marketing collateral to share with their customers, providing them with staff training (on or offsite, maybe even via a webinar) or simply using crib sheets.

    Put it this way by being strategic in your approach to this specific market and thinking through each individual step into delivering success for them is the best way to ensure a great commercial relationship that is sustainable going forward.

    So to reiterate my earlier comments, as someone who cannot profess to being a naturally talented sales person who never really had “the gift of the gab” it was always my intention to develop a business development framework or approach to support me in becoming effective in sales which it has done. Moreover, it has supported my mission to enable others in similar positions to become successful in sales too. I hope this has provided some useful insights that can be applied to deliver success in sales for your venture going forward too!


    So what do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below.


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  • 5 Key Considerations to Power up Your Sales Engine during Lockdown
    04/05/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    5 Key Considerations to Power up Your Sales Engine during Lockdown

    So we are into week seven of the lockdown and it looks like some of the restrictions we’ve become accustomed to may be lifted in the coming days which surely is welcome news to many businesses whilst at the same time presenting logistical and operational challenges.


    Suffice to say there are going to be more questions than answers with the most significant being how are we going to come out of this with our business intact?

    It’s been widely reported that many manufacturers have been successful in reframing their offer and finding new channels to reach new consumers but at the same time a survey carried out by Make UK, the body that represents manufacturers, show that a many of its members have experienced dramatic fall in sales and question whether they can recover to pre-pandemic levels. Its survey showed:


    • Over three-quarters of companies said sales have decreased.
    • Four-fifths of companies have reported a decrease in orders.
    • One in five companies said their orders have fallen by more than half.
    • One in five companies have furloughed up to a quarter of staff, 15% by up to half.
    • One-third of companies will wait for an increase in orders before taking staff off furlough
    Unfortunately I cannot predict what will happen to these businesses post lockdown but having been actively involved in sales during the pandemic one thing is clear and that is there are still opportunities for those businesses supplying great products.

    I want to share with you some of what I have learnt firsthand and as a result of conversations with industry peers over the past few weeks. Please note that none of the suggestions should be anything new to seasoned sales and marketing professionals but sometimes we need to go back to basics and reflect on these especially during unprecedented times.


    1. Take Action


    The one thing that’s certain is that nothing is certain. Uncertainty usually brings about two kinds of behaviours: A complete standstill or some knee jerk response that can lead you down a rabbit hole.


    The businesses I have seen that are faring better are the ones that are taking stock with view to finding a path through this. I cannot recall the number of times I have heard business owners concerned about engaging with prospects and clients alike through fear of coming across as opportunistic but this thinking could be doing yourself and your market a massive disservice.

    The real opportunity here is to recalibrate and find a better way to engage with your audience, you never know you could come out the other end with a better offer that really addresses what your market wants and is fit for purpose going forward. So take the opportunity to:


    2. Understand your customer

    There is much being said about pivoting your business so by taking the time to observe what is happening in the economy and engaging with your market you may find that your offer serves alternative applications which you never previously considered. This could then appeal to a new audience or your existing audience in a different way. For example, customer A may have not placed an order recently as it is not a priority for them but could think differently if it serves another purpose that they consider is more critical to them at this moment in time.

    3. Review your outreach strategy

    The past few weeks have affected people in vastly different ways so factor this into how you approach conversations with your clients and prospects alike. Think about the tone you are setting during these conversations. Like I said, there is still an active market for great products but give thought as to how you communicate as you want to invite the opportunity for dialogue rather than diminish it.

    4. Refine your conversion process

    We are all working differently so the way you convert opportunities into clients need to reflect that. How easy is it to do business with you in the current climate? This is a great time to review your conversion process to determine whether it is still fit for purpose given the many restrictions we are currently under. Does your process present any obstacles or friction points which could impede progress? Adversity brings about creativity and there is an abundance of technology solutions which could make doing business with you far easier and therefore increasing your chances of bringing on new business.

    5. Implement a programme for delivering customer success

    Of all the suggestions provided in this article this one should surely be the most obvious but for some reason it’s the one that is most frequently overlooked. It’s simply a case of looking after your customer, offering the best service and experience you can and thinking about how you can support them make a success of doing business with you.

    After all (as it is proclaimed with frequent abandon) we are all in this together so how can you work together to come out of this at worst, still operational but at best in better shape than you were in before?

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the article so feel free to comment below however if you want to discuss any of the strategies above in context of your business then message me here.


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  • Outsourced Sales Teams
    23/01/2020 - Sian Thomas 0 Comments
    How to Engage with Outsourced Sales Teams

    Never has it been a better time to set up in business.

    With the combination of low cost technology platforms, the numerous communication channels giving you direct access to your market and increasing deployment of remote teams whether direct or indirect means that any business that addresses the needs of the market and delivers it well stands every chance of success.

    Well okay, I acknowledge that in reality it’s not that simple. Choosing the best systems that scale can be daunting, the ever increasing number of communication channels available make the task of deciding where to focus your time overwhelming and selecting who will help you achieve your mission...well, it can really question whether all these considerations are worth it.

    Business is not for the faint hearted but for those who want to venture out and at least start realising a dream then note, it is a path well trodden and can be extremely rewarding.

    Having spoken with many business owners and entrepeneurs it’s surprising how much oversight has been made in terms of their infrastructure going forward. Here I have outlined 4 considerations to make note of in terms of working with an outsourced sales agency.

    Good outsourced sales businesses really want to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you but they need your help so:

    1. Know Your Business (and Your Market)

    This may seem dumb but it’s surpring how many businesses are unable to articulate this. It’s not about what you sell, it’s about the problem you solve. So to adopt a well used mantra, you are not selling the drill but rather the hole. This effectively comes under jobs theory, think about the job your solution is being employed to do.

    If this is challenging to do then ask around, send a survey to your customers to find out how they get the best from what you do for them.

    As regards your market, it can’t be everyone. Look at your data to understand who gets the best from what you supply. And if you don’t have data then create a hypothesis and test. Effectively there will be trial and error but until you get started and test it out you will never be any the wiser.

    2. Decide on Your Goals

    Unless you have thought about what you want to achieve then how will you know if a campaign has been successful? Again, when working with a client I have often asked what they are looking to achieve and have been met with “some sales.” This is not going to get you anywhere.
    It is best to be as clear as possible here to stand a chance of achieving your goal whether that is number of appointments made, demos completed, attendees on a training course or simply revenue created.

    Also be clear on the qualification requirements to ensure the numbers reflect a good fit between what you sell and what they need to not only stand a better chance of conversion but retention too! And if you miss the mark then you are more likely to get genuine insights when conducting the campaign post mortem.

    The main objection external sales teams get from prospects is whether they will get a decent ROI. Well, by giving due consideration to the above points you should be halfway there.

    3. When Engaging with an External Agency...

    ...whether you have searched them on Google, Linkedin, a freelance site or asked for a referral my top tip is to observe how they interact with you as a prospective client. Do they look after you and offer you reassurance in a way that you want to translate to your prospects?

    How prepared have they come to the conversation? Are they asking you questions that are enabling them to learn enough about your business that fulfils the brief whether that’s at the lead generation / prospecting end of the conversation to closing the deal?

    Are they presenting themselves in a way that you can see yourself or your team working with them? To be successful this must be an effective working relationship.

    Are they setting expectations in line with the brief? Are there SLAs in place?

    If all looks good here then at least you’re starting out on the front foot.

    4. Ensure You Follow up

    You have invested a lot of time and money in the process so don’t fall down here. Ensure there is a system and process in place to continue from what your outsourced service provider has achieved. Whether that is to keep the appointment made, call as promised or ensuring they are properly taken care of once they have made their purchase as that is really when they do become valuable and should be valued in turn.

    So how have you got on with these musings? I am conscious I’ve skirted over a few details but only intended to give you enough food for thought while keeping it relatively light.

    I would love you to share your thoughts on this or let me know if you have other similar topics you would like me to cover. Equally if you want to find out more or arrange a call to see whether I can offer help to your business then click on the following link. https://www.integrowsalesbristol.co.uk/contact-bri...

    Thank you for reading.



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