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Archive for October, 2011

Incentivizing with Opportunities

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Alec Baldwin’s legendary monologue in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross is concluded with the following sentences, “These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They’re for closers.”

This oft-quoted monologue may or may not be your idea of motivational speaking. But putting aside the discussion of the virtues of tough love, this last part of the speech is a fundamental reality on many if not most sales teams. If you can close leads, you will be given leads. If you cannot, you will not. The incentive to succeed is more opportunities for success. The consequences of failure are fewer opportunities.

Given that this principal is so prevalent on sales teams; it stands to reason that any tool that aims to help sales managers and small business owners manage their funnel should have features that facilitate this doling out of opportunities.

One of the principal benefits of using a lead management system is the ability to quickly and intelligently distribute leads to sales reps. But truly intelligent lead distribution rewards successful sales reps by automatically increasing the number of leads they are eligible to receive based on their hitting performance goals.

Similarly, in order to really make sure your leads are winding up in the most capable hands, it must be necessary to be able to temporarily halt the flow of leads to sales reps whose pipelines are experiencing a bottleneck.

When one sales rep is exceeding his performance goals and another is overwhelmed by all the leads coming into his funnel, it should be possible to re-route new leads so they land in the most fertile soil. With lead management software, it is.

Identify, Isolate, Eliminate

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

When a process breaks down, there are many different approaches to finding the cause and repairing it. But if diagnostic efforts could be distilled into three words, they might be: Identify, Isolate, and Eliminate. This approach is a good guide regardless of if you are fixing a pinball machine, treating a patient, or trying to patch holes in a sales process. Identify the problem, isolate its root cause, and eliminate it. It’s a sound strategy but it is easier said than done.

In the example of a sales process that is failing to perform as needed, it is necessary to have a system that benchmarks and keeps track of work performed by sales reps. Lead Management Software is the best fit for this case. The reason for this is that Lead Management Software, more than CRM, more than Marketing Automation solutions directly addresses the question of “How effectively are my sales leads being worked?”

Benchmarking and tracking the work of sales reps is handled easily by a lead management system that has a robust reporting engine. Small business owners and sales managers who use a lead management solution see ROI data served up in an actionable, easy to read format. Having access to performance data on every stage of your sales process enables you to make real time decisions that help you course correct when lead sources or sales reps are underperforming.

Demonstrating Compliance

Friday, October 21st, 2011

In recent years, an increasing number of regulations have been put in place prevent businesses from operating in bad faith. Whether or not you agree with the efficacy of these regulations, they have become part of what it means to do business. This is especially true if you do business in an industry where a pattern of abuse has been discerned by regulators. Two examples of this would be mortgage lending and for profit education.

There are many reputable businesses trying to stay afloat in both mortgage lending and for-profit education. Remaining in compliance with current regulations is part of the equation for these businesses. It’s not enough to be competitive; there is the added work of not just remaining compliant, but remaining demonstrably compliant.

In the event of a compliance audit, two of the main ways that organizations can demonstrate their compliance with regulations are by being able to provide scripts that their reps used when speaking to prospects and by recording phone calls. When using a lead management system with an integrated lead dialer it is easy to create and maintain sales scripts and keep audio recordings of all phone calls.

Turning Prospects Into Customers

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Being sensitive to the needs of your prospects is the way to turn them into customers. It’s always important when talking about prospects or leads to remember that they are not the same thing as customers. Everyone knows that providing quality customer service is a critical component to the success of every business. Customer service should be thought of as a set of best practices for satisfying customers to maximize the chances that they become or remain repeat customers. Similarly, prospect service should be thought of as a set of best practices the goal of which is to maximize the chance that a prospect becomes a customer.

From a sales reps perspective, being sensitive to the needs of prospects involves contacting the prospect quickly and following up with them consistently. Establishing the kind of relationship with a prospect that leads to the prospect becoming a customer depends on nothing more heavily than prompt professional communication.

From the perspective of the sales manager or small business owner, being sensitive to the needs of prospects means quickly assigning the right lead to the right sales rep. When one sales rep has expertise that equips him to provide better service to a certain segment of prospects, that rep should be given the opportunity to provide service to those leads.

Sales managers must also be able to spot trends in performance metrics that indicate which campaigns, agents, and lead routing strategies are performing. Matching prospect to rep quickly and intelligently is work that must be done continuously and automatically in order to make sure that sales reps can provide the best possible service to prospects.

Using a lead management system, all of the pieces of prospect service fall into place and more prospects become customers.

Email Marketing, Lead Prioritization, and User Scripting: Leveraging Technology and Keeping the Human Touch. Or “Did you get that email I sent you?”

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Email Marketing is important. It’s a good way to keep your name in front of prospects, letting them know that they are still on your mind. It enables you to affordably target different segments of your prospect base with relevant messaging. Providing you are careful to avoid spamming; receiving regular, relevant content from your company builds trust and strengthens your brand.

But as prospects are becoming more tech savvy, and their email inboxes are becoming increasingly populated with marketing emails, the tendency to skip over emails that contain marketing messages is gradually becoming more entrenched.

When prospects receive emails at regular intervals, they will either conclude, “I am on Your Company’s mailing list.” Or, “Mike Jones at Your Company is trying to reach me.” There is a big difference between these two conclusions in terms of customer experience.  And whichever conclusion they draw says a lot about how they regard your company and what kind of service they will expect to receive.

So how can Email Marketing be executed most effectively? Without being perceived as spam? Without giving prospects the sense that they are just a name on a mailing list? Assuming first that your Email Marketing practices are sound, (e.g., not too many emails, always containing relevant communication) the next best thing you can do to make sure that your emails penetrate the spam barrier is to follow up on emails with phone calls.

So using a Lead Management system that can automatically send out targeted relevant emails is only half the battle. To leverage this technology while effectively providing a human touch, the Lead Management system must also have Lead Prioritization and User Scripting capabilities. Using Lead Prioritization it is possible to put a lead at the top of a sales reps lead queue the same day that an automated email has been sent. And with User Scripting, the sales rep will have easy access to verbiage that references the automated marketing email. As in, “Hi Ms. Wilson, This is Mike Jones, I sent you an email today about some opportunities that have come up as a result of current market conditions. I wanted to check in and see if you had a chance to look it over, and if you have a couple minutes to talk through some scenarios.”

Lead Management software automates the following:

  • 1. Sending of Marketing Emails
  • 2. Prioritization of Leads
  • 3. Putting Scripts in front of sales reps that are relevant to that leads unique history

Taken alone any one of these features is powerful. Used in a coordinated way, in an integrated Lead Management system, they are able to successfully leverage the benefits of technology (speed, automation, etc.) without losing the human touch.

The Benefits of Sales Scripts

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Consistency of sales messaging is important. In today’s regulatory climate, it is often critical. Helping make sure that employees are saying things that represent your brand well and remaining compliant with current regulations isn’t always easy, but there are tools out there that can help. From a compliance perspective, ensuring that employees are using approved language can have legal ramifications but that is only one good reason to use sales scripts. Your bottom line benefits from sales scripting in many ways.

First of all, consistency of sales messaging strengthens your brand and builds trust. When prospects reach different members of your sales team and get varying levels of service it contributes to an idea that the company is not managed well. And in the age of customer empowerment, one bad apple can tarnish your reputation when the dissatisfied customer posts reviews about their poor experience.

Secondly, scripts can help establish best practices and spread through your team and take hold. When certain questions and statements have been identified as being helpful at distinct phases in the sales cycle, that language can be put in front of employees at just the right moment. This is particularly useful in a ‘new hire’ scenario where you want to provide extra guidance for new employees as they are gaining experience.

Knowing what to say to whom and when is one of the fundamentals of successful salespeople. Creating scripts that put successful language in front of sales people makes it easy to create and enforce standards around your sales efforts.