3 Tips Sales Representatives Use to Win New Customers

sales representativesInsightSquared describes their company as “#1 in Salesforce Analytics for Sales and Marketing” that “delivers powerfully simple business analytics for companies of any size.” Their recently released one page research paper, “Should Your Sales Reps Keep Calling That Prospect”, includes important tips you can begin to utilize for your sales force.

InsightSquared’s Data

In a  three month period from June through August of 2013, InsightSquared studied over 21,000 sales calls in compiling their report that suggests three solid points for sales teams to consider:

Sales Call First Dial Importance

It appears that a sales person’s first call attempt is the best opportunity to reach a prospect as “connect rates drop 33% after the first dial.” Here are a few tips to make your representatives more effective:

  • Reps must be prepared and have their sales script polished and ready for the first opportunity to sell
  • Document and schedule the optimal time to call prospects
  • Make sure reps continue to follow-up on accounts when they have a decision maker’s contact number
  • Stop attempts to connect on weaker accounts after 6+ “touches” and return when lead flow is slow

How Many Times Do You Dial? 

According to InsightSquared the real gold is often found in the fact that “there are a lot of conversations buried in seemingly unreachable prospects.”Although it may seem incorrect to continue to call on a prospect after four or five attempts, according to their research, “even after 10 attempts, our reps were able to connect with their prospects almost 5% of the time.” Even though there is a rapid decline in “connect rates” at the beginning, there is a leveling off after the sixth dial.

Sales Call Organization

How many sales calls should you have your sales reps make on each prospective client? According to InsightSquared’s data the number of sales calls a rep makes to a particular client is “dependent upon your lead flow.” If your reps are working with an abundance of new leads then first contact calls should be the focus. Conversely, if the lead flow slows or is absent for the time being then representatives should spend the majority of their time trying to connect with old leads they have yet to contact.

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Content Writing for the Non Writer

Writing ContentGoogle’s move away from old school link building as the cornerstone of search engine optimization, to a more content friendly algorithm, places the importance of content creation front and center for many companies. If you are a marketing consultant, work in a marketing department, or own a small business you must understand how to create the types of content that your clients will benefit from and continue to support. Here are some ideas that may help you.

Where do I start?

Blogging: Before you begin formulating your content, you must have a publishing platform that matches your goals. For people tasked with writing for their brand, a well positioned blog sitting on your website’s domain is the ultimate place to begin. Blogging software, most notably WordPress, provides marketers with the platform to begin creating messages (posts) that will support your product(s) and service(s).

Where do I create my content?

Setting: Many people will disagree with this statement but the fact is there is no correct setting, place, library, office, or dungeon that fits every person. If you need total silence and privacy you know a place that works best for you. On the other hand, if you thrive on social noise and chaos a local coffee house may suit your needs. Think about the most comfortable place you enjoy thinking; that may be your spot.

How do I get my ideas?

Dreaming: One of the best places I find ideas for content is while dreaming during a restful night’s sleep. I have  dreamed about writing ideas and acted upon them the next day. If you are passionate about your company, sleep is the perfect launching pad for ideas. An important tip is to keep a pad of paper and pen on your nightstand. If you awaken with an idea write down notes documenting your ideas.

Niche: Another place to research is your business niche. What is the latest news? Who are the most influential players? Why has the niche moved in a certain direction? Where is the next trend coming from in your niche? Look for evidence of something new or developing.

Experience: Detail your experience(s) that have an impact on your business. Tell a customer story that illustrates the impact your product or service plays in their life. Testimonials are great but you don’t necessarily need a testimonial to write a great piece of content

Social Media: Twitter is my leading idea engine! The shear volume of content I can tap into at any given moment is amazing. Whether mining my real time stream, my lists containing tweets from niche specific accounts, competitor’s lists, trending subjects, or hashtags, Twitter is the mainstay of fresh breaking news and information.

Events: Networking events, conferences, lunch and learns, business trips, and client meetings are some of the live in-person events you attend each year. Look for great stories to tell from your experiences.

Unshorten.It: Open Unidentifed Links with Confidence

This guest post from Innerarchitect.com, digital marketing agency based in San Francisco, takes a look at content curation security. Opening links in today’s world is often a dangerous activity.

Safety in today’s Web world is often threatened by a wide array of malware, hackers, and unscrupulous cookies designed to steal your information. Marketers are often faced with security issues when curating content in their everyday duties. With the now industry standard link shortening services, marketers are faced with opening links that have no identifying attributes. What lurks behind a shortened link can be nothing but a great article or something that could cause real problems- until now.

Unshorten.It

Unshorten.It is a tool designed to take the fear out of opening unidentifiable shortened links. According to Unshorten.It “Unshorten.It takes any bullets for you, analyzing the website for safety and letting you see it before you decide whether to proceed.”   Unshorten.It provides:

  • Identifies the URL the link points to
  • Title and description tags of the target web page
  • Screenshot of the target website
  • Safety ratings as provided by Web of Trust 
  • Alerts you if the website is found in the HPHosts blacklist

Unshorten.It Results

Unshorten.It for each shortened link input returns a post title, destination URL, description, and safety ratings:

And the final output a screenshot:

15 Places to Learn About Social, Digital, Search, News

Our social digital world, ever expanding growth through rapid adoption, continues to evolve as information is shared and created at a mind numbing rate. Whether you are a professional digital marketer, web journalist, or hobbyist, keeping up with the onslaught of news, new networks, applications, devices, strategies, and messages is a 24-7 proposition. The following list is my personal library of blogs, publications, and agencies I rely upon to keep informed and on point. Please let me know if you have a favorite.

Learning List (in no particular order)

  1. Mashable: up to the minute news, self help guides, massive volume
  2. Techcrunch: I miss Arrington, who would’ve ever thought. Up to the minute tech news, tell-it-like-it-is stories
  3. GigaOm: Om is not scared to say it and he has a staff of excellent writers. Great fresh takes
  4. RWW:  up to the minute tech news, social media news, solid writing
  5. Gizmodo: Fantastic gadget posts, raw language, in your face don’t care attitude- awesome
  6. Compete: great articles packed with data
  7. ComScore: solid case studies with data
  8. Searchenginewatch: massive volume of important search engine optimization articles, case studies, strategies
  9. eMarketer: webinar offers, case studies, graphs, statistics, solid writing
  10. Webguild: a bit snarky but solid breaking tech news
  11. Fortune: traditional print giant with online magazine feature top business stories, case studies, social and tech news
  12. Forbes: more establishment than Fortune yet still able to return great value through consistent writing and research
  13. Time: once the most important news print magazine should have a place on this list
  14. Searchenginepeople: excellent social media, seo articles. Nice mix of guest contributors and subject matter
  15. Searchengineland: a very well written site packed with search engine optimization strategies

CNET Increases Social Media Reach 5x Through Organic Growth Strategies

The following is a guest post written from the archives of Innerarchitect and modified for deansguide. The study centers around social media ROI and case studies of success stories within the tech and media industries. The example below, CNET’s successful campaign which yielded a five times increase in social network growth, is further proof and indication that social media activities can lead to profits. What is most important to remember is that ROI studies must examine specific actions taken by marketers within a strategic framework.

Are you are in-charge of your company’s social media marketing program? If so you have a difficult decision tree to maneuver.  You must figure out if you should rely upon a massive ad campaign to drive consumers to your Facebook page and follow your Twitteraccount? Or should you instead implement a grass roots, multi pronged, organic approach that utilizes fundamental principles with testing as the backbone of your program? The decision was easy for CNET’s new social media manager Nathan Bransford: go organic and don’t throw cash at the challenge.

CNET Social Media Program Results

Since his hire and take over of the CNET social media marketing program in December of 2010, Nathan Bransford has accomplished the following growth by utilizing a grass roots, advertising cost free, organic social media program:

  • Facebook Page: increased likes from 69,000 to 430,440
  • Twitter Followers: increased from 24,000 to 106,222

Organic Social Media Marketing Strategies

The following are some of the strategies implemented by Bransford

  • Facebook and Twitter Buttons: include these buttons in your sites toolbar and make them available on every page
  • Customize: optimize the size and look of the Facebook and Twitter buttons
  • Testing: monitor what works and what does not work aka test and observe
  • Over messaging: post no more than 4 to 6 times per day on Facebook and tweet between 10 to 20 times per day on Twitter (Note: in the case of a media firm posting 4 to 6 times per day on Facebook is permissible but this is a violation of Facebook etiquette for virtually every other business niche)
  • Interact: social media is about interacting with people not simply and repetitively broadcasting of your message
  • Tools: use Hootsuite and Bit.ly to schedule posts and track links
  • Competition: utilize Wildfire to understand how your competition is performing on Facebook and Twitter

Inner Architect Testing Tips

We believe the most important strategy highlighted by Nathan is testing. The following are some tips to keep in mind when testing your messaging on any channel:

  • Subject Lines: do you utilize email as a channel to engage your customers? If so testing copy for the subject line can make the difference between a consumer opening your email or sending it to the trash
  • Time Frame: do you analyze the best times and days to post your Facebook messages, Tweets, blog posts and other communications?
  • Call to Action: do you test your call to action copy to determine the best method to ask for a consumer to perform a specific act?
  • Control Group v Test Group: are you setting up your testing with the correct parameters? You should have your control group, consumers receiving messaging you have utilized, and test the results against a test group of consumers who receive new messaging
  • Keep Your Laboratory Clean: assuming you are utilizing a control and test group to understand the effectiveness of your testing, are you keeping the “laboratory clean” by ensuring each group is the exact same sized population? Are you sending the messages out at the same time on the same exact day?
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Find New Business Within Your Local Business Community

If you are a Realtor, consultant, or service provider, targeting your local business community for leads is a huge opportunity if you understand how to begin the process. There are many different ways to begin prospecting your business community. Here is what I would do if I were in your shoes.

Steps to Prospecting Your Business Community

  • List: all contacts who are friends or acquintences working in your local business community. Prioritize the list by importance or level of executive.
  • Lunch & Learn: create a free lunch and learn curriculum based on your real estate knowledge and what you believe would attract a audience. Partner with an equally valuable affiate for a team lunch & learn.
  • HR: approach HR depts with your offer to perform free lunch (you buy) and learn workshop for their company at their facility. Offer sandwiches remember your food at Open Houses?
  • Media: contact your hyper local newspaper offer same thing for their staff. Contact real estate writers offering interview or blog content they can convert into a news piece.
  • Affiliates: contact your trusted inspector, title insurer, landscaper, stager anyone who works within the real estate industry who you have a relationship with currently. Look for ways to trade referrals.
  • Affiliate program: offer a commission (if legal in your state) to referring affiliates.

Conclusion

It’s all about offering free value to your target prospects. It’s also very important to be liked. Do NOT underestimate the “likeability” factor.

Handwritten Thank You Notes: The New Social

When is the last time your company decided to thank customers? Normally this occurs after a sale, holiday, or conference you both attended. Do you make a practice of planning your outreach “thank you” efforts? If you do plan this type of campaign throughout the year, do you measure the results of your efforts? Do you know if your customers were “wowed” by your thank you? Without a plan or a method to measure your strategy, how can you move your business forward?

How do you thank your customers, affiliates, and peers for their support in the age of social media? If you are like me you tweet your gratitude, post thanks via a wall post or message on Facebook, or contact them on their favorite social network. The result is a nice response in return. But how memorable are these outreaches when they are so common?

Go Postal: How Do You Do That?

Do you want to make a memorable impression on your customers? One that creates the “wow” factor? Sit down and write a thank you note and send it via old fashion “snail mail” Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Card Stock: buy simple, clean notes made of quality (heavy) card stock
  • Content: include a story or shared experience in your thank you note
  • Handwriting: write legibly
  • Business Card: place your business card inside the envelope

Social Can Be Offline

We mailed 40  Thank You cards to customers, affiliates, and industry peers in December. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and warm. We have received phone calls expressing gratitude and surprise, Twitter messages with pictures of our card, and face to face handshakes and hugs. Without a doubt going “old school” is, in today’s world, considered going the extra mile.