Spend Less, Sell More

How do we sell more?

Ask this question to a group marketers and you are liable to get a bunch of different answers. However, you will find some common trends.

One solution that is used all too often is – spend more money. The thinking goes like this:

If we spend more in advertising, we will drive more leads, and some of those leads will turn into sales. Hence, if we spend more, we will sell more.

It’s not wrong. Statistically speaking, most companies can grow revenue by growing their advertising budget. But there is a limit to that. Besides the fact that many companies simple can’t afford to spend more money today for revenue that may or may not come in tomorrow.

Good thing for them that there is a better way. You can actually sell more by spending less. How, you ask?

Conversion Rate Optimization

Today, you drive people to your website. And I am willing to bet that most of those people leave without ever buying anything from you.

Why is that? Were they unhappy with the prices? Did they get lost on your website? Did they want to review your competitors first?

We don’t know for certain, but we can test new approaches to find out.

Conversion rate optimization is a tactic for marketers who want to sell more without spending more. It is a tactic for turning more of your existing visitors into sales.

By focusing on improving the overall conversion rate of your website, you can grow your revenue without growing your advertising budget. And that does wonders for your bottom line.

Check out our recent series on conversion rate optimization tips and get started today.

No Two Leads are Alike

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Salespeople are all trying to refine their sales approach. Sales managers are all looking for that perfect script. Businesses think that if they can just figure out the right combination of emails, in-person meetings, offers, and benefits, that they can sell to anyone.

But the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to selling. And that’s because every lead is different.

Customers are human beings. And companies are unique. You can’t expect that exact same techniques to work for everyone.

How Are Leads Different?

  1. Leads come from different sources. It is unwise to assume that a lead that finds your product or company organically is the same quality as one who was driven through an advertising campaign.
     
  2. Leads come with different amounts of knowledge. Some people will do a lot of research before you ever connect with them, while others will need a basic introduction.
     
  3. For B2B sales, leads will have different amounts of power. Some of the sales leads that you speak with will be able to pull the trigger, while others will require approval from several layers of management.
     
  4. Leads will be in different financial situations. For B2B or B2C sales, one of the biggest things for salespeople to understand is how pricing and discounting will impact different types of buyers.
     
  5. Leads will have a different understanding of the competitive arena. Some leads will know who your competitors are and what they offer, while others will be starting their research with your brand.

These are just a few of the many ways that sales leads can vary. They will turn up at different places in the sales funnel, asking different types of questions and expecting a personalized experience.

So the question becomes, how is your sales team equipped to handle them?

What’s a Sales Team to Do?

  1. Ask lots of questions. The best salespeople are great at getting the information they need to craft the appropriate strategy. Asking questions at the outset of a conversation allows you to ascertain who the buyer is and what they are looking for.
     
  2. Target specific segments of the market. It’s important for companies to know what types of customers they are most likely to convert. Rather than trying to create a one-size-fits-all approach to selling, fine tune an approach that works for one specific segment of customer.
     
  3. Prepare for surprises. Having the right kinds of promotional resources (case studies, whitepapers, testimonials, etc.) for different stages of the sales funnel will allow a salesperson to tailor their strategy to each individual buyer, rather than a static sequence that will work for some leads and not others.
     
  4. Measure and optimize. The worst thing a sales team can do is settle into a pattern without understanding how they’re performing. We need to continually update our approach based on real-life feedback and metrics, always pushing to convert more customers.

How to Improve the Middle of Your Sales Funnel

How do you talk about your leads? Are all leads the same—a person expresses interest and they’re just a lead, no matter what?

If that’s the beginning and end of your lead qualification process, then you’re probably not collecting enough data and you’re not doing enough to make sure your customers get through the sales funnel with as little trouble—and as much chance of conversion—as possible.

For starters, you as a company have to ask yourself: Who is your ideal customer? Although they’re all different, what characteristics do they share and how can you monitor them for some specific actions? What actions should they be taking to let you know that they’re moving along—and when are you going to lose them (or when will they get stuck in the sales funnel)? This graphic helps you understand more about the sales funnel and what you can do to improve yours.

Click To Enlarge

Encourage Customer Journeys and Improve the Middle of Your Funnel

Via Salesforce

How to Create an Effective Sales Call Script

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Depending on who you ask, the advice you are likely to get on how to conduct an effective sales call will vary. Some people insist on having an airtight script that works more times than not. Others insist on the opposite, that the best salespeople don’t work off of scripts, they cater each conversation to the prospective client.

The truth, as you likely already know, is that for most people the answer falls somewhere between these two extremes. While it may be that sticking to a script forces salespeople to sound overly robotic, having no script at all is not a recipe for success.

So the best sales call script is a loose outline that can be made to fit any conversation with any potential customer. To create this script, you must first know two things:

  1. Who are you talking to?
  2. When are you talking to them?

Salespeople and sales managers should have a clear understanding of who these potential customers are before talking to them. Why do they need what you’re selling? Do they know who you are or are they hearing about this for the first time? How does your product meet their needs and beat the competition?

You can’t create an effective sales call script without knowing who you will be talking to and where they are in the marketing funnel.

Once you know those things, your call script outline should look something like this:

Pique Interest

Right away, a salesperson should establish the value of the conversation. For the most part, the person on the other end of the line is looking for a way to end the call. It is up to the salesperson to create a reason to keep them involved. Lay out the basic value proposition in a way that keeps them engaged.

Ask Questions

Once you have a person’s interest, it is important to establish a rapport. The best way to do this is by asking questions to learn more about their needs. By listening to them speak, you can learn the proper way to frame the solution so that it makes sense to them. Different benefits or aspects of your offering will carry weight with different customers.

Ask for the Close

Once you feel confident that you have communicated the benefits of your product or service successfully, always make an attempt to close. Transition the conversation to pricing and the steps necessary to complete the transaction.

In closing, it is important to understand the likely hurdles you will encounter. These are the reasons potential customers may give for not wanting to close. An effective sales script will have rebuttals for each of these common hurdles.

Schedule Follow-Up

Not all sales calls end in a successful sale. That’s where the follow up comes into play. Once you’ve effectively asked for the close and still not gotten it, don’t give up. A follow up is a strong secondary goal for each call.

When you schedule a follow up, make it as specific as possible. Pick a time and method to follow up with this person when they will be ready to take the next step. In the meantime, there might be more information you can share with them to help make their decision simpler.

Bad Sales Incentive Practices

Finding the right sales incentives is critical to building a more effective sales organization. But regardless of the incentive system you have in place, there are things management can do to injure its effectiveness.

Let’s review three of the worst sales incentive policies I’ve seen. They are:

  1. Capping incentives
  2. Treating all salespeople the same
  3. Not measuring and adjusting over time

Capping Incentives

The idea behind capping incentives is short-sighted, and goes something like this. “What if Salesperson X gets all these sales, that will mean we have to pay him all this cash. Let’s put a maximum on the amount we have to pay so we can save on the cost of this program.”

It doesn’t take much time to recognize the flaw inherent in this solution to a problem we should all be so lucky to have. If Salesperson X gets all those sales, those sales equal revenue for the company. So long as the incentive structure is built in such a way that the company profits from the sales after the incentive, there’s no reason to cap it. All capping it does is tells Salesperson X and the rest of your sales team not to work so hard.

Treating All Salespeople the Same

No two employees are the same. And we should not expect them to respond to incentives in the same way. Nowhere is that more true than in sales.

Your high performers might need different incentives than your more average salespeople. New hires might require more support and therefore a different set of expectations than more experienced staffers. People selling different products or to different client types might see starkly different performance.

Your incentive structure should be flexible enough to allow for these kinds of differences. The key is clarity and fairness, not rigidity.

Not Measuring and Adjusting Over Time

Putting an effective incentive plan in place for your sales organization is a time to “Set It and Forget It”. Just like most other marketing practices, it is important to continually optimize the incentive structure over time. Test until you find the one that leads to the maximum benefit for the company and then monitor it for staleness or slippage over time. You may need to inject a little excitement every once in a while if you have a sales team that gets used to the status quo.