How has digital impacted your bottom line? What value is your sales force bringing to your prospects early on in the sales process, and do you know which approach is performing the best—and why?
If you haven’t quite nailed your digital sales approach, then this webinar is for you. Building on the successes of some of the industry’s most innovative organizations, you will learn five critical things that you can do to boost revenue and supercharge your sales team.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the weekly sales webinar. My name is George Leith. It is a pleasure to be with you this week as we are going to talk about nailing your sales approach. First, I just want to fill you in on some upcoming travel. We’re on the road. The dust is everywhere. And coming up next Monday, I’ll be presenting at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce in Bradenton, Florida.
And that’s presentation of the McClatchy company, and we’re looking forward to the keynote event in Manatee at the Chamber of Commerce talking about businesses’ online reputation, their online presence and how they can impact paid media as well. That’s coming up on Monday, September 19 and the 20th, 21st, and 22nd. You can join Mandy Newman, Jeff Tomlin, Jed Williams and myself at the Local Media Innovation Conference and Tech Expo.
And it also is meeting of the local media consortium happening the 19th and 20th, and Jed and Jeff will both be speaking at that event. And then we’re going to be in Nashville as well on the 21st and 22nd. I’ll be speaking September 21st on the sales consultant series, Growing Your Business with Big Thoughts and Quick Wins, and that is in the radio space in Nashville at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville.
And then upcoming, Brendan King and myself will be on a jet plane off to local reach 2016 in Slovenia as part of [inaudible 00:01:28] event. We’re looking forward to that working with a lot of international partners, and we’re going to be in Slovenia October 5th, 6th and 7th for the send-off fall event. And I’m very honored to be chosen as the keynote speaker for the Manitoba 88th Annual Convention for the hotel association. That’s happening in Winnipeg on October 24th. And then it’s Gordon Borrell’s local advertising event, West in San Francisco and Brendan King, our CEO, and myself will be attending. So if any of those events are on your travel, make sure that you reach out to me on LinkedIn, and we can set aside a few minutes to have a meeting.
So we’d like to welcome everybody for joining. Just a reminder that a lot of work has been going on inside the VendAsta platform, and we’ve been releasing to beta a number of new features. One of the new features that people have been talking about is the ability to refresh your snapshot reports. And when we launched that a couple of weeks back, I had all sorts of sales people message me with such notes as, ”Thank goodness, you know, you finally listened to me.”
We’ve been hearing about this for about a year and a half. It’d be great to just press the refresh button on a snapshot report that had gone stale. Keeping in mind that the data that’s inside a snapshot report is only live for seven days and what you have to do if you wanted to come up with new data or updated data for a customer was create a brand new snapshot. Well, no longer. You just go in and press the refresh button.
The other thing that is now live in the platform in the sales and success center is that the ability to like and comment on activity records that salespeople are leaving inside the loop. And we’ve had a lot of people messaging us very excited about that. And earlier today, I was on a call with Jed Williams from our Austin office. We’re speaking about the launch of marketplace, and that is going to be happening in the upcoming weeks. We’re going to have a very firm date very soon, and salespeople and partner success people here at VendAsta will be getting in touch with our partners to let them know when that is happening. But it’s going to give you the access to five additional products that you can sell and new products being added on an ongoing basis inside the VendAsta marketplace.
So just a few things that are happening inside the VendAsta platform and inside the VendAsta products, the innovation continues, and you can read all about that innovation inside the Product Insider. If you have not subscribed go to VendAsta.com to subscribe today. And I also would like to suggest that if you haven’t set up a beta market for your instance of a VendAsta solution, please do so and turn on beta so you can see all the latest items that are inside the beta portion of the platform before it’s gone to general release.
The easiest way to do this without disrupting an existing workflow and having to notify customers of things that are changing because things change on a very rapid basis is to put it inside a market. So have a separate market. Turn beta on for that market, and then you can go in there and interact with the new features when they are released to beta before they go to general release.
So this week, we’re talking about a webinar that I actually gave a week or so back on five ways to nail your sales approach, and we did that webinar. We had a lot of great feedback from us. We wanted to share this to the greater sales organization. You know, there’s over almost over 6,000 salespeople logged into the VendAsta platform on a daily basis. And that’s what this webinar is all about on how to sell, and I’d like to talk about five ways that you can help nail your sales approach.
When I was asked to come up with five ways to nail it, it’s difficult because there’s tons of things that we do in sales management and sales leadership on a day-to-day basis. A lot of that stuff, we take for granted. So to put it down into just five things was difficult, but I think we managed to do that. I want to delve into those five ways to nail your sales approach right now.
So understanding your sales performance is really number one. And you know, I remember when I started the sales business 30 years ago, understanding my sales performance was looking at my paycheck, and seeing how much commission I got. Or looking at a sales report on a day-to-day basis to see how many deals that I’d closed and we didn’t have any sort of technology back then.
It was you had a piece of paper. You’d write an order. Sometimes, you would fax that order or you would drop it off into the sales manager’s in-basket for him to sign. And you’d write down on a piece of paper, and you’d hoped that the number that you came up with at the end of the month match the number that they calculated your commissions.
There was no visibility in the commission plans. So understanding our sales performance 30 years ago, and even up to maybe 20 years ago or 15 years ago was just had to keep track of it and you looked at one number and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m winning or I’m losing.” But now, there’s all sorts of things that we can do to understand what our current situation is. And when we’re looking at large sales organizations, and some of those big media companies that I work with have a very large organizations, they segment into teams. And they say, “We’ve got this team that does this thing and this,” and that’s just a great way to get bite-sized pieces of an annual budget or a monthly budget, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the rep saying that we have to do 20 million this year. We break it out and…
But there’s a lot more than just that performance based on budget. There is making sure that the things that your reps are saying are resonating with the customers. And you know, we call that a talk track and my good friend Craig Dibble [SP] who is the vice president in Fort Worth. He is the guy that introduced me to the term talk track about two years ago.
And it really is true. The things that a rep is saying can impact the performance of that final number at the end of the month to the end of the year. And then the other thing we need to do is we need to dive deep into the sales process, and I remember over the years and in working with sales teams and working with some fabulous sales managers that, you know, taught me a lot. A lot of it was take care of the presentations, make sure that you’re making presentations, keep that as your number one thing. So always be presenting to customers and asking for business and the sales will take care of themselves.
An owner of a radio company that I worked with 29 years ago told me that. George, just take care of presenting. Make sure that that’s your number one thing, and the sales will take care of themselves. And he was right, but I think if you dig deeper into that, there are certain things you can do after the presentation whether it’s follow-up, whether it’s adding value. Those types of things can also help you impact that individual sales performance.
And we have this thought of a pipeline, you know, #pipeline. Everybody in sales is talking about pipelines. It really is as simple. If you go back to what that radio company owner told me, we put enough things in the top of the pipe, and money will fall out of the bottom of that, but there’s a lot of stages there. And depending upon what you’re selling or who the prospect is, there are different stages that you need to be concerned about in fact those stages of the pipeline can be specific to the various personas or verticals that you’re pitching to.
So if we’re going to go out and pitch to a guy that runs a plumbing company and he’s a playing coach, meaning he’s actually doing some of the plumbing himself, you’re going to have a presentation that resonates with that customer. And he’s going to give you a yes or no probably on the spot. In fact, following up with that person may be very difficult.
So that, pitching to that plumber, you’re probably going to have to make that presentation at a different time of the day, because they’re pretty busy during the day. And pitching to a plumber is completely different than pitching to a law firm. Because if you’re going to pitch to a law firm, there’s probably an office manager. There’s a gatekeeper, the receptionist that is built and programmed to block people like us from getting through.
If you finally do show enough value and get through to the gate keeper, then the gatekeeper office manager will vet your solution against all the other ones, and then takes it to a group of the partners of the law firm where a decision is made. So that sales pipeline is all quite a bit longer, and it’s gonna be way more touch points. So being familiar with the pipeline is a lot more than just saying, “Yeah, I’ve got all this stuff in my pipeline.” It might also be digging into how does my pipeline relate to the persona that I am selling to.
And then when we look at our performance, a lot of our performance is based upon how good of sales people we have in the organization. And something still holds true to this day is that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your salespeople. If we are able to make the other 80% perform better, that’s where we start to see very good lifts in revenue.
And what I mean by that is developing top talent. It is one of the most important pieces. In fact, I was at lunch a couple of months back at a convention in New York City, sitting beside a CEO of one of the largest newspaper publishers in the world. And I asked him what his biggest challenge was. And he said, “George, my biggest challenge is attracting talent, and I’m always recruiting. I’m always looking for that next person that’s going to move the needle.” And that’s for those large organizations.
But also I found that even in small agencies, if you could get yourself a hunter that can go out and just generate revenue, that can be the difference between being successful and not being successful. So retaining those top talented sales individuals, training and developing them on an ongoing basis, removing all the blockers, and I find this a lot of times. I spend way more time blocking and tackling than I do playing offense, it seems sometimes. But what I’m trying to do is remove barriers so the sales people can do what they do best and that’s selling.
And then this idea of mentoring, and I wanted to make sure that we have this as part of the top talent discussion because I think that mentoring is one of the number one things that you can do in your organization. And I think it’s something that you should just expect of your senior team members. And one of the ways that I found, and it’s a very effective way of doing this, is having a quarterly review with everyone that gets a paycheck from your organization.
You know, you have this quarterly review. It very clearly sets out what’s expected of the people that are in your organization, and that’s where you can set expectations of those individuals. So as they start to move up the talent runs, they go from junior to seasoned to rising star to senior. And you’re probably paying them more money as they start to move up that ladder as well. You can put other items into that quarterly, and annual review. That really sets the stage.
So when you look at a quarterly review, it’s not just sitting down with the person at lunch, and saying, “How are things going and I hope you’re not going to leave me.” What a quarterly review should be is something that as a manager or as a VP of sales, you put a lot of effort towards. You plan it out months in advance. In fact, you’re spending the entire quarter building up to that one hour or two hours that you do a quarterly review with your people.
And inside that quarterly review, it is a line-by-line description of the top talent or the talents, the idea is to get them all to be a top talent, so of your talents’ job description, line-by-line. Everything that I expect from you, and you grade them on each one of those things, and as you move that person up the rungs of talent in the organization, you can add in other expectations.
It’s amazing to me how many people have not been taught that in management. It’s such a basic thing that needs to be done. It’s a great opportunity. Four times a year you said… And the other thing that I want to caution you on, if you’re going to adopt doing quarterly reviews and annual reviews, please do them right.
The first thing that you shouldn’t do is put it on the calendar and say, “Here they are for the year.” I found that for certain members of your organization, they will lose sleep the two weeks leading up to their quarterly review. If you promise to do the quarterly review and you don’t do it, well, then they’ll lose sleep until it’s rescheduled.
So what I found to be probably the best way to do it is just 48 hours before the quarterly reviews, you send out an invite. So then they’re maybe only gonna lose sleep for two nights. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but we have found that it is. And this is talking to some sales leadership that I work with all over the world that employ this technique. They found that it’s just easier to just spring it on him, and say, ”Tomorrow, we’re doing all the quarterly reviews.” And then they lose a little bit of sleep one night.
And the other thing is don’t use a… I made this mistake for a while. Don’t use a five-rating scale. It really doesn’t give you room in the middle there just to show some growth. You know, if you’re a three, it can be seen as you’re pretty good. But a three can be a lot of things, a three could be from four all the way up to a seven.
Well, that now… so always use a ten. I found that a ten is a way better scale to be able to show some growth. You know, you were a six last time we did this, and over the last three months in your one-on-ones, we’ve really focused on this one piece, and now you’re seven. Or you used to be a seven and now you’re a three in this, what the hell happened? You know, one of the things that we need to be working on to help you get back to being a seven again.
So one of the things I found as a great way to retain top talent is by setting expectations, getting a very clear roadmap for those people. It’s a heck of a lot more than just looking at their monthly performance and saying you either hit your targets or you didn’t because there’s a lot more things that go into making those top talents.
Now, what we’re talking about here is optimization actually. We are optimizing a whole bunch of things inside our sales process. We’re also optimizing the assets that are implementing that process. So what I mean by optimizing is we’re looking at the scripts, the things that they’re saying. We’re looking at the budget cycles. We’re looking at the products that we’re selling and the way that we’re selling them. We’re looking at the various times of day that we’re calling on prospects.
I find when I’m back at headquarters here where VendAsta is located, we are in the Mountain Time zone right now. So I’m two hours out in the summer from you know 8 a.m. on the east. So you know, I adjust my calendar where I am on calls at 6 a.m. That is 8 a.m. in the east, and for some of the people that I deal with, that’s even late because they’ve already started their day. They’re on the floor working with their sales teams. If I really want to talk to some people, I’ve got to phone them at 5:00 my time.
Well, that’s just me being aware of the various times of day that I have to call to talk to the customers that I need to talk to. Well, we need to always be prospecting, and it’s something that has been a bit of a lost art. And I also have found in certain verticals, meeting certain types of people that we deal with, it is something that it’s not even on the radar. The sales people, they’ve never had to do it before.
But you know, I came from the radio business, and anybody that’s on this call that’s been in the radio space, you know that you face high churn. Maybe the customer doesn’t leave you, but they just decide not to advertise one month. So you’ve got to go and find somebody else to fill that hole. In fact, I was told by a radio sales manager here about a year and a half ago that month to month, he faces 70% churn.
It doesn’t mean churn in the way that some people think of it where somebody just cancels, you never speak to you again. That they divorce you, and they move to another state or another province. That’s not the churn I’m talking about. I’m just talking month-over-month churn where an advertiser might say, ”I’m not going to advertise with you this month. I’ve had a budget cutback.” And maybe they come back the month after that.
So I found that radio people are really good at prospecting because they’ve always had to be. They’ve always had to be looking for that next deal. But the data behind why you have to be prospecting is 14% of your customers… and this can vary by a couple of percent. But on average 14% of the customers that you had last year won’t shop with you next year meaning they’re just going to leave. They’re going to find a competing product or service. They’re going to die. They’re going to move out of the marketplace. They’re going to change jobs. There’s all sorts of things that can happen as to why they’re not going to do business with you. So right there, I got to be prospecting 14 new deals for every 100 deals that I had last year.
Just on that one thing alone. Not to mention all of the other things that could impact your pipeline of business, budgets being cut back. You know, that the economy starts to suffer because there’s been a big layoff in your community. I remember a month or so back, we were in Newcastle in Australia, and working with the Joel Brewer from Fairfax, and he was telling us that in that market of Newcastle, they have shut down the cold distribution center.
And thousands of people were out of work, and the Newcastle market had had to work really hard and be very innovative to keep their revenue going. Those are the things that faces in business are an ongoing basis. So the thing that we need to be doing is testing and perfecting our offer. We need to make sure that the packaging or the solutions that we’re offering in the marketplace are meeting what’s going on in the market at the time, and we also need to know our customers.
The days of a sales manager sitting at an office and just lording over the sales team are gone. You need to be on the street talking to your customers. I spend a very large part of my day talking to our customers. It’s a very important piece of my job because then I can relay those stories and learn and be working on adjusting our offers to fit what’s going on out there in the marketplace.
And then we also need to be delivering value to the prospect. Just an important piece of the puzzle. We need to be showing the customers that number one, we’re going to do these things and here are the benchmarks that we’re going to measure this by. And then we need to meet with them on a regular basis to show them proof of performance. And I find that those proof of performance calls where we go face-to-face or we get them on the phone can be an awesome opportunity to upsell them into other products and services and to build a deeper relationship.
So this whole delivering value to the prospect, a lot of times the value that we deliver is us as a sales rep. The way that we are executing the tools, and the solutions that we put in place for the business. And by spending more time with the prospect or the customer builds more rapport, we sell more things to them.
So prospecting and coming up with new business is something that we always need to be thinking about, and the easiest way to do that is by delivering something that they don’t know about their business. And we always talk about the snapshot report is the best way to prospect for business. We got a lot of data to support that. We’ve got tons of salespeople that create these on a daily basis. We have organizations that have told their sales staff, ”Don’t leave home without it. Always create a snapshot report when you’re going out to talk to a customer,” because it gives you something to talk to them about. It gives you data on the customer that they don’t even know about themselves.
So always be prospecting. You know, that’s a snapshot piece, and another thing you could use for prospecting is to create alliances with people that have lists of prospects in the marketplace like a Chamber of Commerce. So Tim Ritchie and Christina Santos and [inaudible 00:21:05] and the gang at the Modesto Bee did just this.
They went to the local Chamber of Commerce, and they said, ”Can we send out snapshot reports to all of your members?” and the Chamber of Commerce said, “Yeah, what’s it going to cost us?” And they said, “We’re not gonna charge you anything for it. We’re going to pay for everything. All we need you to do is endorse this data,” and then they showed him what the snapshot was all about, and the Chamber of Commerce said, “Absolutely, we want to send that to our customers.”
It tells a bunch of things that they’re doing wrong or doing right about their business. While the Modesto Bee was able to take that and turn into $55,000 to revenue in a very short period of time. Because they were utilizing the snapshot reports, they get these amazing open and click-through rates that give you a conversation with a customer so you can close business. And we’ve had other large publishers that have utilized this on lists. I don’t care where the list came from, Chamber of Commerce from your billing system, a list of businesses with an association that you work with, and they’ve been able to see digital increases. So we have a number of case studies that prove out that this is a good tactic for you to use to come up with lists that you can start to have conversations.
Number three in our list of the five things you need to do to nail your sales process and success is quite simply, automate the hell out of it. So anything that we can do to automate to talk to more customers is going to be a benefit for our sales organization. Now, we’re also asking you to monitor performance, and come up with data, and prospect and do a whole bunch of other things.
So anything that we can do to automate those thing, and to reduce admin is going to benefit our organization. Marketing automation or leads cycle management where we’re able to take leads and life cycle management where we take a lead and we put them into our life cycle and we just take care of them, utilizing automation and that’s one of the key tenets of the VendAsta platform. It is automation, and it’s something that gives you the ability to pinpoint businesses when they are ready to buy.
Because people buy when they’re ready, and we also can contact those customers as close to that moment as possible. So that’s by knowing when they’ve opened an email that they received through the life cycle management, and then by knowing what they did inside the platform, and that is our product catalog.
So when they click on a link and they land in business center, and they interact with the product and product catalog, you know what they’re interested in. So what I mean by that is as we send our marketing automation campaign, and inside the content is all about why you need to be doing social marketing, and maybe it’s got a case study in it. Or maybe it’s got some steps, you know the 13 things you need to do to nail your Facebook thing. And the customer reads it, and they find it very valuable. On the bottom of it, it has “Click this link to find out more.” And that link drives them into your agency’s product catalog in the VendAsta platform for social marketing or for some social solution.
Hot lead lights up for the sales person inside their dashboard. They’re actually not at their computer. They get an email on their phone while they’re out for lunch with a customer and it says, “Client XYZ is interested in the social program that you have.” You phone them up. You’re not going to talk to them about listings. You’re not going to talk to them about reputation. You’re not going to talk to them about whatever it might be. You’re going to talk to them about social, and that’s what’s top-of-mind. That’s what they’ve shown an interest in.
It’s a great way to be able to talk to a customer and warm everything up. So that is at the heart of the VendAsta platform. And we also give the ability to manage that pipeline using the sales and success center, and we’re working very closely with product development to hone that solution, so that it really fits the needs of our partners.
So when you’re talking to your partner success manager, make sure that you’re speaking to them about the things that you would like to see inside that sales and success center because we’re going to help you manage your pipeline more effectively. That’s our goal, and at the end of it, we want to automate some of the things that your sales reps are doing on a daily basis.
We want really, again, the heart of the platform, give you the ability to take a more personal approach with the prospect or with your existing customer. to know things about them so that you can take the conversation in a direction that they’re interested in. And that is what the product catalog, the life cycle management, the sales and success center in the platform allows you to do, and what it’s going to do is lower that cost of acquisition or lower your overall cost of sales.
Because we’re only going to call the people that raised their hand. Meaning they take some sort of action in the platform, open an email, click through an email, landing product catalog, visit a marketing page inside product catalog. Let’s call those people first. They declared their intention by doing something in the platform. That is what we have been building, and we really feel excited because we’re getting very close, and we’re hearing from our partners, “You’ve really nailed this. And we are generating a lot more revenue.”
There is this thing that I keep hearing over and over and over again. You don’t want to boil the ocean. When I first heard that, I was like what the heck is that all about. But when I started learning more about it, here’s what still happens to this day with sales organizations. They give them a one-sheet, and they send them out door-to-door in a territory. Knock on every door and see if somebody’s interested in this. In 2016, I just don’t think that that is an effective use of the salesperson’s time. What we should do is utilize all the technology that’s at our avail to have people raise their hand.
Now, here’s what I mean by that. If you’ve got a whole bunch of leads out there and you’re just going door-to-door or you’re just running around, trying to find the people that might be interested in it because you sold a mattress store you run to another mattress store to try and sell them something, that’s what we mean by boiling the ocean. Ineffective use of your time. That’s the one thing we don’t get more of in a day is time.
So the platform, the VendAsta platform allows you to save time and talk to the people that have declared their intention by clicking through some things that they’re interested in a product or service. So getting conversations with potential customers is a challenge for our partners. And Swift communications increase the number of counts they were able to contact by a whopping 1,500%. And we continue to work with that sales organization and those beautiful markets like Aspen and Lake Tahoe. And I got to do some market visits to those folks.
But they’re utilizing the solution. I talk to those people on a regular basis, and we’re very excited about the results they’ve received utilizing the platform. What we want to do is drive real engagement with people that are interested in our products and services, and relevant data or data allows us to get that engagement.
What we found is that when we send out those snapshot reports with the information that they put together with basically just a click of a button in our easy account create, we’re getting enormous open rates and click-through rates. The industry average for marketing automation solutions on open rates are 15.5% in the click-through industry average is 6.3% and look at those open rates at a typical targeted marketing automation campaign with the VendAsta platform are receiving. Just unbelievable open and click-through rates.
And as a salesperson, you know about it instantly in the platform or through the email notifications. So you know when to contact them. We’re increasing the number of people that we can contact, and then based upon the data that’s shared inside the snapshot report and the marketing automation campaign, we are increasing the quality of the conversation.
It also gives us the ability to rekindle old relationships. Our CEO, Brendan King likes to say, “People buy when they are ready.” An example of that is I know one day, I’m probably going to buy an Apple watch. But I haven’t done it yet. I’ve read all the literature. Apple does a great job of sending me ongoing communications about their products and services.
I’ve asked for them. I’ve clicked something that said or maybe not unclicked [inaudible 00:29:33] sometimes. I’ve not unclicked their email notifications, and they keep sending them. And I know that someday I’m going to justify. And I’m going to spend the $300, $400, $500. I almost got closed last week when I was in San Francisco, was right beside the Apple store, but the guy told me to wait because they were releasing a new version. So I waited. And now, I haven’t bought it yet, but eventually.
So what we’re talking about here is with life cycle management and the technology that’s built into the product catalog and the marketing automation, we give you the ability to go back to customers that you may have prospected with a snapshot report and rekindle a conversation.
You can either send them a new snapshot report with the snapshot refresh functionality. Or you can send them new content through the life cycle management. You can help them acquire, adopt and upsell into their funnel. So acquiring new prospects, adopting, getting the people that you’ve sold to do things in the platform. And upselling is where you get the opportunity to upsell either old customers that have been on your platform for a while or new features that you’re able to offer.
The other thing that marketing automation is fantastic at is nurturing relationships. You know I did a bunch of research over the past couple of weeks. We’ve been looking at one thing in particular. When we as a sales organization, and the we here being VendAsta, but I also was able to dig into some of our largest partners, and some of our small partners as well. I find that, you know, we send a campaign of emails and then we stop. Well, I think that we should keep sending stuff, but the challenge is getting that content that we can send to people that is engaging.
So one of the ways that we can nurture a relationship is to continue to knock on the door and talk to the prospect. And in 2016, knocking on doors is done through marketing automation. So what we need to be doing is thinking a lot further than sending out one email or sending out four emails or sending out six emails. We should continually be campaigning to our prospects to nurture those relationships, and maybe it’s people that have bought and are completely happy with us.
Maybe it’s people that are longtime customers, but what we need to remember, there’s always somebody out there trying to eat our lunch. So we may be innovating at our organization and adding new features, we need to constantly be communicating with our potential customers and our existing customers about the innovation of our organizations.
So the next thing, and when I first saw the script for this webinar, I was like, “Oh, I can’t believe that I’m talking about being agile in a sales organization.” Now, agile is a software development term. When I arrived here at VendAsta just a couple of days over four years ago, I learned all about being agile because that’s all developers talk about is being agile. Well, and playing foosball and ping pong.
But I think that we also need to be adopting that in sales organizations, and I’ve come to this realization over the last four years of being tied very closely to a technology company. Because what I’ve noticed is that technology company will try things or they’ll try to develop something that solves the problem without building something massive.
So you know the way that I can share this using a technology analogy is, we want to go from point A to point B and there’s a couple ways that we could do that. We could build a car, and that would take years of development tons of R&D and tons of money. Or we might be able to accomplish going from point A to B with a skateboard and that would make it a heck of a lot easier to get from point A to point B.
But the other thing is we need to keep looking at the process because we may be able to just send an email to point A from point B. We never had to build the car or skateboard. So I think that we need to be looking at this in sales as well, and the only way that we can be agile in sales organizations is continue to measure things.
We need to always be measuring, but we don’t want data overload because we want to be selling too. So A/B testing has become a very big thing in sales organizations. Some of the most successful sales organizations that we work with on a daily basis utilize A/B testing. So if you would like to start doing some testing in your organization, meaning you got this idea and you think that it’s going to be a great way to speak about one of the features or products that you have, you don’t want to send your entire sales team to go out and do that.
You want to just send one person, and have them go out and talk to… And in fact, maybe in your organization, you could just do it yourself as a sales leader. I said earlier, back a couple of these five steps ago that I spent a lot of my time talking to customers. What I’m doing is I’m the guy that’s doing the A/B testing. I’m going out. I’m talking to some customers, and I’m saying, “Yeah, you know we’re doing this thing, and it’s going to be pretty fantastic.”
It’s a whole new talk track, a whole new script, and I like to do it when I’m face-to-face because I can look them in the eye, and I can see, you know, they’re looking at me like, “Wow, George has finally lost it.” Or they’re looking at me like, “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.” You know. So that’s what I mean by being agile, measure what’s working.
So maybe you’ve been making presentations for the last 10 days or 20 days or 30 days whatever the time frame is and you’re not closing any business. You better get in there and figure out what the problem is. You better figure out what dials you’re going to turn and by measuring, you could start to be agile.
The other thing about being agile is I think you need to be a little bit fearless. Now, what I don’t mean is don’t go blow something up that’s working. We got all sorts of things that we know work and we don’t wanna touch it. You know and maybe that’s John. You’ve got a sales guy named John. He’s been with you forever. John’s one of the top performers, and you don’t know how he does it. You know what I would say? Just let John do it. Do not mess with that.
But I mean in being fearless that the space is changing so fast. When we are looking at selling digital marketing solutions to businesses, that space is changing at a massive rate. So we need to be experimenting based upon data. Don’t just go out there shooting all over the place. We want to go out there with a game plan. And you know we spend a lot of our time here at VendAsta helping you with that game plan. But I think we need to try some new things because that next new thing might be the one that just helps you knock it out of the park for 2016 last quarter. We’re all thinking about last quarter right now, or we may be even starting to think about our budgets for 2017 and how we’re going to hit those. You know, being fearless and trying new things is important piece of that being agile.
And then the other thing is we need to set some realistic goals. What I mean by this is we could set this goal that’s just, if we hit it would change our lives. We sell the business that we have. We all drive Lamborghinis in Miami. But that just doesn’t work when it comes to motivating a sales force. What you need to do is to set some bite-sized goals. So we’ve got our annual goal. We’ve got our quarterly goal. We got our monthly goal. We got our weekly goal. We got our daily goal. And that’s a revenue number usually, but then there are pieces of that, there are things we need to do to hit that revenue number. I call that measuring the effort.
Effort is emails we send. Effort is phone calls we make. Effort is in-person calls we make, presentations that are completed, follow-up that’s done, LinkedIn conversations that’s had because we have to be doing some social media as well in 2016. So setting those realistic goals is important and depending upon your organization, you what might want to set specific goals for salespeople, specific goals for the appointment setters, specific goals for the marketing team.
I think everybody in the organization needs to have those goals that we’re measuring against, see and then making sure that we make those changes. Here’s an example of an organization that was fearless. They measured that they needed to add something to their organizations drive more revenue, and the Excite media group has added 20% to their bottom line this year, by adding digital products and services to their suite.
They just went out, took a bunch of customers that they have today, and they up sold them and look who wouldn’t want 20% added to their bottom line revenue. One other thing that I want to talk about on this webinar is this whole idea of outbound to inbound. And I hear lots of presenters and they talk about this and say, “You know, we’re gonna turn outbound to inbound,” and let’s talk about what that means.
What does that really bold statement mean? Well, outbound marketing is cold calling, and it’s not very successful a lot of times. Most of times why it’s not very successful is organizations don’t stay at it long enough. Because we know in measuring outbound leads, if you’re just cold calling or you’re just hammering at phones, or you’re taking a list and you’re marketing to them, it’s not overly effective unless you stay at it for a long period of time.
With the VendAsta platform and the snapshot and sending out relevant content, you’re able to turn outbound efforts into inbound success. We all know that somebody who phones your agency, like dials the number and says, “I have a need for a social marketing solution,” is the best type of lead. Everybody knows that. That’s what we mean by inbound leads.
But what we’re able to do with the marketing automation is to get those lists and maybe that list is a list of customers that you haven’t talked to in 18 months. Maybe it’s a list of customers where you create a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, so that you have the ability to send them information. Maybe it is a list of prospects that your sales team has that they haven’t been able to contact because they haven’t had time to go door-to-door with them but they have all their business cards they collected out at an event.
Let’s take that and put it into some technology and send out messages to them that are relevant. And what we’re starting to see, and you saw earlier with those open rates and click-through rates that are far above the industry average, we are really taking an outbound strategy which is send out a whole bunch of information or knock on a whole bunch of doors or call a whole bunch of businesses, and we’re starting to get those inbound leads that we know what they’re interested in because of what they interacted with. And we can start to see that inbound conversion rate at the end of the month.
So five things that can help you nail your sales approach. Number one, understand your sales performance and continually optimize it. Number two, give your salespeople something that will help them prospect. Number three, do everything in your ability to automate the process, and then engage with your customers because you never know when they’re ready to buy. And make that commitment to constantly be measuring and changing and adapting your sales approach for the best results.
Those are the five things that we’ve chosen this week for our weekly sales webinar. We’re going to open up the floor to some questions. And we don’t have too many right now, but if you would like to ask a question, feel free to do so right now by typing it into the question box. Just keep in your mind that we also record this presentation, and we post it on our support resource portal.
So all of the weekly sales webinars are there. Maybe this is something that really caught your attention and you think it’d be great for your sales team. The recording’s there. The presentation is there, and you can utilize it for your own efforts.
Would like to thank everybody that attended this week. Weekly sales webinar happens every week at 1:00 Eastern time, and my name is George Leith. I’m going to be away next week, but I’ll be back in two weeks’ time. I’ll see you when I see you.
Chief Revenue Officer
George is responsible for business development with Vendasta’s large media partners, as well as managing our in-house sales team. A digital interpreter, George has preached the gospel of online reputation management directly to the local businesses of hundreds of cities across North America. He translates his knowledge of the digital landscape into accessible information for those still stuck in the rut of traditional media.
With nearly three decades of experience in marketing, sales and promotion, George is a highly compelling speaker, always in demand across North America — vital content and emphatic delivery are combined for an enlightening presentation. George’s expertise in sales, training, networking, management and marketing comes from the numerous executive and ownership positions he has held across multiple media and service related businesses. His track record of success is continued here at Vendasta.
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