In the United States of America we are guided by a Constitution that protects our right to be individuals in thought, deed, and beliefs as long as we don’t step on our fellowman. We thrive because we’re all different, and our differences are the threads from which our flag is woven. Lumping people and companies into groups; giving them a number, and dealing with them in a generalized mass handling method may not bode well with a nation where people value their right to be an individual.
The evolution of email marketing In 1978 Gary Thuerk, Marketing Manager for Digital Equipment Corp sent out the first mass emailing, earning him the title of “Father of Spam.” It didn’t take long for others to see his approach as a potential gold mine. In theory, it was. When the public protested, action was taken. In 2003 Spam laws were put in place, so the processors of mass emailing had to learn how to adhere to guidelines, and mailings went on. The afore mentioned article does make it look like mass mailing is the be all to end all – but there is a danger when you fail to keep your finger on the pulse of consumer attitude.
Mass Emails: The Seller’s Point of View
- Emails save money. Direct Mail is expensive.
- You save time. You can put your energies elsewhere.
- Emailing is efficient. Click the mouse and you’re done. No heavy bundles to drag to the Post Office.
- You reach an unlimited number of prospects.
- More people will know your company’s name and product.
- You can repeat the process over and over again.
If every ten emails nets you one chance to make a sale; it stands to reason that you’ll get ten chances if you send out 100 emails, and so forth. Do those statistics pan out in real practice or are consumers beginning to see the process as one that shows no respect for the hard work a business owner has put into making their business unique?
Mass Emails: The Prospect’s Point of View
- Who I am, what my company stands for doesn’t matter. I’m seen as nothing more than a random target.
- I’d rather have a meaningful conversation than a bulk sales pitch.
- Tons of time is spent cleaning out my online mailbox, when I have more important things to do.
- Opening emails from an online sender that I don’t know, puts me at risk for computer viruses.
- If I open your email and choose to discard it, I’m annoyed when you just come back at me wearing a variation of your original email address.
- I will remember your name – which may not serve you well.
The Future: Mass Conversations
The bottom line is mass marketing via emails might make a seller’s life easier, but you might be shooting yourself in the foot by forgetting that making a sale depends on you being able to make your prospect’s life easier. To do that you have to learn to adapt and stay current with changing attitudes. It might serve purpose to take Marketo’s fresh viewpoint under consideration in their article Conversations, Not Campaigns. In this whitepaper, Marketo outlines an approach that uses engaging emails that are sent based on the buyer’s interest and behavior. Since these emails are triggered by behaviors such as viewing pages on a website, clicking links in an email, and filling out forms, the content is delivered at exactly the right point in the buying process. These “conversations” become much more targeted and allow for a wide variety of content to be generated but only the relevant information is delivered to the prospect, when it is needed.
At a certain point, companies need to pick up the phone and have a meaningful conversation with a prospect. Incite2, the Salesforce add-on that is offered by ShadeTree Technology makes it easy. Paired with a Marketing Automation program like Marketo, Incite2 can help sales people pick up the marketing “conversations” without missing a step.
Many companies pay significant amounts of money to generate leads for their sales teams, and yet, many of those leads never get called. Salespeople have a tendency, like most of us do to take the path of least resistance, and as a result, many otherwise perfectly viable leads get ignored and become stale. Why is that?
Problem #1: Where to Begin
Some salespeople have a knack for organizing their day and executing on the highest return activities, but they are in the minority. Lacking clear direction and a solid plan, the majority will actually only spend about 40% of their time on the most valuable sales activities. Whether it’s a lack of confidence, or a lack of organization, the result is the same… a lack of worthwhile activity.
Problem #2: But Other Leads Responded
If salespeople are getting more traction with a handful of their leads, others are often left to rot on the vine. Intuitively, salespeople equate activity (any customer-facing activity) as a buying signal, the fast track to sales nirvana, the shortest path to quota attainment. Unfortunately, just because a lead is willing to talk, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the ideal lead that should get the salesperson’s full attention, to the exclusion of others.
Problem #3: I Got Distracted / Busy
Social media, email, customer issues, colleagues over the cubicle wall…the list goes on and on. A recent article by Reuters states that an estimated 2.1 hours of productivity a day is lost, per employee, because of distractions. It’s not necessarily that the distractions themselves are not pertinent, but the refocusing time to get back to the task in a fully cognizant mode after being distracted or interrupted can be as much as 15 minutes!
Problem #4: I Tried Once, but They Didn’t Answer
Experts differ and pontificate on the number of attempts one should make to reach a prospect before giving up. Anywhere from 4 to 18 attempts have been recommended so it’s clear that calling once and giving up should not be an option.
According to a CSO Insights survey, sales reps research as many as 15 different sources prior to calling a prospect. 82% of sales teams feel challenged by the amount of data available and the time it takes to research a prospect before making a call.
You’ve got some hard working salespeople. So why are they struggling to make quota? The problem could be that they are busy doing a lot of the wrong things. Equipping your reps with the right tools can make all the difference. If you could give your reps more time to sell, more focus, more confidence, a guide to prioritize who to call and when, and what to say to them, what might that be worth? How would that speed up sales cycle times?
Get involved in the conversation in the comments section below!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts;
Your thoughts become your words;
Your words become your actions;
Your actions become your habits;
Your habits become your values;
Your values become your destiny.”
The truth is that in an effort to keep things simple we often do them the most complex way. It’s just human nature, or is it? Think about it; how many versions of the sink or swim story have you heard? Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn’t know someone whose father threw them in the water, to teach them how to swim? What about no pain, no gain? How many believe that if you don’t learn it the hard way, that you don’t thoroughly learn it? Is it possible that we were taught the hard way and then adopted it as the only way?
Five Missteps when doing it the Hard Way and
What to Do about Them
1. Failure to Organize
Cold calling is hard enough, but tackling it without a plan is harder. Take advantage of your ability to create lists in Salesforce. Lead pages already have a “Status Field” but if you add such to your Contacts pages – you now have the ability to create a productive list to work from based on status. Calling just got a whole lot faster.
2. Neglecting Research
While many step over the research step in their day, likely because it’s time consuming and only a few calls in an hour actually net a conversation, doesn’t mean there isn’t any value in being prepared. When you know a company’s product, you know what you can do for them. If you know about their achievements and recognition’s you just might get your foot in the door. If they have newly acquired another company, you may be able to play to that fact. While it may not be practical to dig deep for every single call, even if you just use the account note field in Salesforce to note small details as you learn them, you’re better off than having no research. Buy your lead generators a cup of coffee once in a while – and they might just be willing to make a few notes for you.
3. Skipping the Call Script
When you ad lib the conversation you give up control. The Internet has a wealth of information. With just a little research you can find the elements of conversation that are most likely to get you a second call. You have just seconds to get it right, and quite possibly only one crack at it. Leaving it to chance can be sales suicide.
4. Lack of Follow Up
Despite the fact that you make hundreds of calls a week, it’s important to always keep your word. In the sales jungle, it is truly survival of the fittest. You have to do ten things right to erase one wrong thing. Best practice: If you say you will call back on a certain day; at a certain time – do it. If you promise to only take a moment of their time – do it. If you are asked not to call them again – don’t. Find someone new to call. Make your word your bond. Follow up, and follow through.
5. No Time Taken to Document
Documenting all activity may be the last thing you want to do when you hang up the phone, but failing to do so means that the numbers fed into analytics will give back a false reading. It is a numbers game, and everyone’s paycheck depends on them. You should know that without documenting where you’ve been, there is little chance of knowing where you should go.
It is possible to take control of the process, and success can be achieved doing things the easy way.
What about Bob?
We all know someone who goes through life with a rainbow overhead. He just does what feels right and makes his quota every month. Somehow, we all wish we could be like him. It would be such bliss, wouldn’t it? Just go out there and sell your socks off and live the life; carefree and bonus-bound. Park that in the category of dreams, because in reality, most of us could use at least some help staying on task in order to make our number. Think about this:
How can we get in front of the curve?
Wouldn’t it be awesome every sales professional could be a rockstar? Trust us when we say it doesn’t always happen by chance. In order to make quotas consistently, a solid plan needs to come into play. Once a plan has been established, measure and track execution of the plan. Track progress towards goals and make changes as needed. Sales will ultimately gain confidence in their work when they can effectively manage their time and resources.
Sometimes we are so focused on the design (our relationship with our customer, their needs, their timing, their sense of value) that we hate to leave the “important stuff” to go and figure out what we actually need to be doing next. When we get in “the zone” we get so focused on resonating with our customers that when we are finished talking with them, it’s hard to switch gears and start thinking about what comes next. Where am I now? Where do I need to go next? What do I need to do now?? How can companies automate this process so sales representatives know exactly what to do next?
With this question in mind, our developers here at ShadeTree have made it possible to automate this very process with our product, Incite2. To see how this tool helps sales professionals know what to do next, watch a short video or schedule a demo and process discussion with a sales advisor.