- Why FirstRain
- Customer Success
Time is money, and salespeople often find themselves with too little of both. They are constantly trying to figure out how to become more efficient and shorten their sales cycle, in order to win more deals and meet (or exceed) their quota faster. It is a huge task, but there are a few ways you can, at least, make the most of your time.
1. Target the right people
Though salespeople wish that everyone would buy from them, that’s unfortunately not the case. So don’t waste time targeting the wrong people. Understand who and what teams in the organization would most benefit from your solution, given their particular business needs and challenges. And keep a pulse on critical changes affecting them: did they miss their revenue goals? Are they getting eaten alive by their competition? Find the person or people who oversee these goals, and increase your own sales productivity by not wasting time with someone who really won’t be interested in what you provide.
2. Aim high
According to Mark Suster for Inc., instead of pitching your product to a lower-level employee, you can increase your sales productivity by cutting out the time you’d have to spend giving demos and repeating yourself to many different levels of the organization by going as high up as possible. People higher up in the organization have buying authority, or direct access to the person who does. If you’re pitching to a senior executive, they may even send you down to the person who actually does the purchasing—and you’ll have executive endorsement.
Having a champion is invaluable, but if you’re pitching to an executive, you must make sure that you’ve done your research so you don’t waste their time. Executives are busy people, and if you don’t wow them on your first shot, the odds are that you won’t get another. Prepare by using a personal business analytics solution that will help you align your value proposition to exactly how it will solve their specific business challenges.
3. Create value
A salesperson’s job is to sometimes lead the customer to the correct conclusion. In order to do that, you need to truly understand their business. If you point out challenges and opportunities that they may not have even realized and then suggest a solution to address them, they will see you as a trusted advisor. Because there is so much information out there about your customer and their markets, only with access to personal business analytics can you truly understand how your solutions can benefit them, based on their particular customers, competitors and market.
A recent David Williams Forbes article, Why You Should Fill Your Company With Athletes, highlighted seven traits to look for when hiring. David didn’t mean that you should hire only real athletes, but rather, try to hire employees that have “athlete traits that make any individual an exceptional hire.” With the winter games off to an exciting start, and many of our own fiscal years starting up, sales teams are looking to be fast out of the gate. There are many lessons sales teams learn from the best winter athletes in the world.
What traits do athletes have that can translate to sales? Quite a few, actually. Athletes, especially Olympic-caliber ones, are very driven. They know that they have to put in the work at practice to see results in the games—and sometimes that means practices every day, or twice a day. Moreover, they have a never-say-die attitude, and they know how to work through adversity to see results. Managers should try to find salespeople who put in the time and work to prepare for client meetings. Chances are, they’ll be more successful.
The best athletes focus on the smallest aspects of their sport. They know, for instance, that anything that isn’t streamlined during the ski jump can subtract precious tenths of a meter. They have impeccable timing, whether it’s changing positions mid-air, or releasing the puck. And world-class curlers know exactly how much force to put behind the stone. Salespeople have to show the same attention to detail in their accounts. To be truly successful, they should strive to be intimately acquainted with every aspect of their accounts. The smallest event, or hint of an emerging trend, can be the key to making or losing the sale.
Lastly, the best athletes have the best equipment available. In fact, they need the top-of-the-line gear so they don’t fall behind their competition. Even if one person is an inherently better athlete than another, a slight edge in aerodynamics can mean the difference between the gold medal and 10th place.
Of course, the same is true in sales. How can you expect your salespeople to be the best and achieve world-class results if you don’t equip them with good tools—or any tools at all? In order to succeed, they need to be able to have a deep view of their clients’ business and markets. They need to be given the opportunity to react to a management change, or a market shift, and if they have to sift through all of the noise that’s on the Web, there’s a good chance they’ll miss it, or never get to it at all.
As a hiring manager, you need to look for salespeople who are driven and dedicated, but are also creative, detail-oriented, and have finesse. Once you’ve assembled your team, you have a responsibility as a manager to give them the tools they need to be successful. The right people will use the right tools wisely and move the needle for your business.
What can each of the winter sports teach your sales team? Check out the infographic below to find out!
If your routine is like that of many professionals, you are probably attached to your phone. You check your email while on the subway, waiting in line for coffee and maybe even on your lunch break. Now think about what happens when you get an email that isn’t mobile friendly, or click a link that just never loads. You probably move on from that message pretty quickly and never look back. Once you start looking at it from your customer’s perspective, it quickly becomes clear that you need to think in terms of mobile.
The first thing you should do is switch to a campaign platform that automatically does mobile optimization, or create your own responsive design. This means the email will open with its format intact and won’t require too much maneuvering on the part of the viewer. Now it’s time to start writing.
If you thought subject line space was at a premium before, this is a whole new ballgame. Doing research using customer analytics could help you determine the key buzzwords for your customer’s industry. But use them wisely. According to email marketing platform Constant Contact, you only have about 30 characters. Creating a decent subject line with such limited space is a challenge. One thing to keep in mind is that you should try to come up with a line that actually reflects the content of the email. Think of it as the world’s shortest elevator pitch. Sometimes, posing a question is another good way to get users to open your message.
Nope, you’re not done yet. Most email providers show a preview of the email after the subject line. Just like the subject line, it shows up immediately. This is prime real estate, so use it to provide consumers with another incentive to open the message. According to digital marketing expert DJ Waldow for Entrepreneur, you need to make sure the first line is something important. It could even be a good spot for a call to action.
Generating email messages that are easy for your customers to read will help you keep them engaged, giving you the opportunity to improve sales productivity.
We are pleased to announce that Penny has been chosen to emcee the Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision awards banquet. The banquet honors women who make significant contributions to technology, and one company that has demonstrated measurable results in attracting, retaining and advancing women in technical roles at all levels. The banquet is attended by thousands of women technologists each year and will feature Hilary Mason, Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners and Scientist Emeritus at bitly.
Congrats to Penny!
You can see the full press release, published January 7, here.