Category: Blog

21 Jun

Are Your Sales Reps Sending Mobile-friendly Emails?

Emily Schantz Sales Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

With profound changes to the way buyers consume information today, marketing and design teams have become preoccupied with the way sales rep emails look on mobile devices.

Smartphones are everywhere. The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to peak at 6.1 billion in 2020. If marketing teams aren’t creating emails that are mobile-friendly, they’re decreasing the chances of the way sales reps can effectively engage with prospects. Let’s take a look at several tips on how to create emails for smartphones so you don’t miss the mark on effectively communicating with your customers when they are on the go.

Simple design and concise content

The more targeted our messages are, the more we are able to get to the point. Consumers have made a decision to open up a sales rep’s email after marketing has nurtured them and they’ve become a sales-ready lead. Keep the design simple, and the follow-up message concise to ensure that communication continues after the sales call.

Make your Calls to Action Hard to Miss

Make your calls to action visible and hard to miss. A campaign launched by WordStream, saw that emails sent with a single call-to-action (CTAs) increased clicks by 371% and sales 161%. Top performing marketers place CTAs right where customers can read them. For example, after a sales call, you can create a CTA for a follow-up phone call; or, perhaps, another demo. If you are clear in conveying to your prospects what you want them to do, it makes it easier for them to follow. If you’re ready to go in for the close, ensure that your email conveys this message, and ensure that the customer will see it at the perfect time – even when they aren’t in front of their desktop.

The importance of fonts

Don’t make it harder than it should be. Use fonts that can be easily read. The best email fonts are the ones already included in Outlook. Color contrast is also key. For example, use a light background and a dark text because people adjust the brightness level on their smartphones to save on battery life; a contrast makes the message easier to read.

Design and Images

Use the most essential images in the email. In B2B emails, the number of images should be less than in B2C emails. Depending on the device’s operating system, images either show by default (iOS) or are turned off (Android). This makes it hard to know if our image is properly displayed. Shy away from adding many images, they might look like chunks of white space if they don’t appear.

Keep reviewing your emails and how they appear on mobile devices. Your customers are spending an average of 3 hours and 8 minutes per day on their phones. We have to be there, paying close attention to how sales reps interact with buyers through this essential channel of engagement.

How effective are your emails on mobile devices? Are you getting a positive response after a follow-up email. Email and mobile compatibility is essential in order to close the deal.

13 Jun

How Video Marketing is a Winning Game for Sales Reps

Emily Schantz Blog, Sales 0 Comments

Top performing content marketers agree that a key formula to sales success is being customer-centric rather than product-focused. This has become a best practice for many successful companies. Ultimately, it isn’t all about you or what you sell; It’s about finding the happy medium between customer centricity and a pitch. So how do we achieve this balance? How do we provide value and also market our brand in a way that doesn’t deter people from our product?

This year has been dubbed the year of video marketing. Sales teams that use videos to educate audiences are seeing positive results by working to speak directly on the benefits of their product to guide prospects through their sales journey. Yet, based on content marketing advice from leading marketing teams, there is a question of whether going into a product pitch is necessary at all.

How Do We Transition From MQL to Sales-Ready

Our goal is to meet the needs of buyers in order to increase sales conversions. And in order to meet this goal, we have to start by asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. In what way can I replicate the sales message in my video?
  2. How can I deliver the message in a way that customers will find this video useful?
  3. How can I keep my audience engaged?

Based on statistics from top performers, there are several approaches to creating content that’s not only product-focused, but also moves leads down the sales funnel. Top-funnel content works to capture interest while building a subscriber base; while mid-funnel content is the stage that works to educate prospects and help them justify a purchase. What separates marketing-qualified leads from sales-ready ones is the use of video. And at the sales-ready stage, content should evolve into demos and product videos.

The fine balance

80% of consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important when learning about the company. Demos and tutorial videos help sales reps continue the conversation after being educated through thought leadership. Marketing collateral works to generate leads, capturing emails, and nurturing prospects; video helps us push the prospect down the funnel in order to make a final buying decision.

The transition from marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads starts when we work on delivering product knowledge to the customer. And videos aid the sales process in this feat. How effective is your content marketing strategy? Are you nurturing your audiences via video content? Your prospects not only need customer-centric content, but they also need product-focused collateral that informs them about your offer. Have you found the right balance between educating prospects through marketing collateral, and then transitioning into helping your sales reps close the deal? Video content could empower your sales reps to close more.

06 Jun

Removing Silos with Technology: Achieving Marketing and Sales Alignment

Emily Schantz Blog, Marketing, Sales 0 Comments

Ask any Best-in-Class company what their biggest hurdles were on their way to achieving success and they will often say that compartmentalizing departments and teams was a problem. Why? Because when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, processes result in miscommunication, mistakes, and disharmony.

And although this rings true to companies in different industries and their various departments, when it comes to closing the deal, we see that organizations that don’t uphold best practices result in marketing and sales teams operating in silos. This is evident in a study by SiriusDecisions that found that 58% of B2B companies rated their own alignment of sales and marketing as “poor.”

When we break down the traditional functions of sales and marketing, we see the function of the first is to generate leads, and the latter – to follow up on them and push for the close. So what happens when sales and marketing work on the development of the customer journey from the start, until the end stages of the customer lifecycle when they have become a sales-ready lead? We see this streamlined process succeed.

A recent survey showed that that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates. Alignment happens when teams have the same goals in mind: When marketing nurtures leads to the point that they become sales-ready, and when sales gains quality leads provided by their marketing department that are ready for the close.

Creating harmony between sales and marketing is key. And this is possible now more than ever. Why?

It’s all about technology

Technology has made companies experience a paradigm shift across every aspect of their internal processes, and, as a result, marketing and sales alignment has become possible. With the adoption of Sales Enablement and its addition to a CRM and a marketing automation platform, marketing and sales teams can now speak the same language. Sales and marketing can point out where each lead in the pipeline belongs – and devise campaigns to target specific buyers. The technology that’s available to marketing and sales teams today has made it possible for top performers to conquer their closing rates.

Sales Enablement has improved sales and marketing processes, and has allowed for the two teams to close the loop in the sales process. Once a marketing-ready lead becomes sales-ready, it is passed from the marketing automation platform to the CRM, and then we gain granular visibility in the customer journey in order to improve future campaigns.

Removing the silos means having a clearer picture of the sales pipeline like where each lead is in their journey, and, as a result, gaining knowledge about which content should be delivered at what time, through which channel, and to which prospect.

Why Sales Enablement is the answer

Sales Enablement is the future of that boardroom, face-to-face interaction. It opens up communication, and when lines of communication are open, everybody wins. Sales Enablement works to ensure that sales reps are capturing customer data, and bringing it back to marketing for further message refinement. When this practice is applied to the marketing and sales process, companies are operating within the bounds of sales enablement strategies that enable them to experience 13.7% annual increase in deal size or contract value.

How effective and efficient are your sales and marketing processes? Does your sales department need a boost? If you are looking to close deals, the right technology can get you there. Sales Enablement works to refine your messages, put the heads of sales and marketing together, and focus on enabling your sales reps to sell more and sell smarter.

 

 

30 May

Closing More Deals with Storytelling

Emily Schantz Blog, Sales 0 Comments

How important is storytelling in our society? Is it as important as sharing stories between friends? Does it go beyond our social circles and impact humanity in some way?

If you’ve answered “Yes’ to these questions, here’s another: What’s the role of storytelling in business?

Paul J. Zak, an expert on the neuroscience of human connection and professor at Claremont Graduate University, suggested that strong character-driven stories increase oxytocin production and leads to a higher willingness to act or participate in something new. In other words, we have an affinity to stories because once we have heard them, they become our stories.

This begs the thought: What role does a story play in helping consumers decide to participate? How can stories help in closing deals? Why do the stories even matter?

Let’s explore the role of storytelling in closing deals.

What’s in a story?

The difference between a badly told story and a well-told, compelling story can be the deciding factor in how attentively your audience is listening and what they end up feeling. Until you are able to draw on such raw emotions that create a call to arms within your audience, a story is just a collection of facts. A story needs to be more than just facts: it needs to be theatre. As Glengarry Glen Ross author, David Mamet, puts it,

“The audience requires not information, but drama.”

When you’re telling a story, your audience wants to see themselves in it. What role do they play in this narrative? The key is to not only to speak to emotions that result in a singular decision, but perpetually make them loyal advocates of your brand.

So what in a story makes it compelling? Let’s take a look.

Elements in a compelling story

The Set Up

Introduction to the brand. Establishes a main conflict audiences must overcome. There must be something at stake for the buyer – a reason why they deal with a challenge.

The Build Up

What a brand can do to resolve the conflict for the audience. The build-up points toward the how customers can overcome the challenge they are facing.

The Pay Off

This is the story’s climax, in which the challenge is solved for the buyer and the resolution ends on a positive note.

Customer Stories

Telling your customers’ success stories is one of the most time-proven methods to establish trust quickly. Today any ride-sharing customer will report at least one conversation with their Uber or Lyft driver about “What it’s like to work with them.” In a market where peer-to-peer marketplaces are growing with companies like AirBnb and the handcrafted goods eCommerce site, Etsy, new customers love to hear what other customers are saying about these platforms.

How your customers feel about you is a huge indicator of how well your product or service actually works. Telling that story with their words can help you build the trust needed to bridge the gap between a lead and a sale.

How to bring stories into the sales process?

Gather the stories.

Include everyone that can contribute to the story-pool. Not just marketers, but salespeople, developers, managers, customers, and even IT can bring stories that can add to your brand.

Decide how to tell your stories.

Deciding the platform on which to tell your stories is important. You need to cater your stories to resonate best with the audience of that platform. Be it web, mobile or person-to-person, your story needs to motivate your users to get more curious and eventually make their decision.

Test your stories.

Knowing which stories are successful and which ones aren’t progressing potential users through the sales funnel is a key metric for you to evaluate. This way you can re-write stories to be their most effective. Routinely testing your stories can mean the difference in reducing wasted time and efforts, and reaching your audience effectively.

Maintain your stories.

Once you identify stories that don’t work, try to discover the underlying reasons why they don’t resonate. Updating these parts of the story can help you pivot your selling strategy whenever needed.

The Takeaway

It is vital to realize that your story is not just a series of events. Ever heard the crickets after a badly told story? Dull and uninspiring stories have no place in your lives and definitely not in your sales process. If you aren’t inspired when you hear your own stories, your users and customers won’t be either. Does your story have a strong protagonist? Is the problem big enough to demand a solution? Is your journey narrating a fantastic transformation that your customers will experience with your product or service? Engage your customers in the history of your being, and tell them exactly what your product means to you. Tell your story well, and watch your audience tell it better.

 

23 May

The 5 Most Important Words in any Sales Rep’s Vocabulary

Emily Schantz Blog, Sales Tags: , , , 0 Comments

There is a kind of power in words – and choosing just the right expression could be critical to closing a successful sale. Confucius said: “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”

There’s always a place for an attractive image, an eye-catching infographic, even an impressive chart or two – but the power of persuasion, and the real weight of our arguments lies in the way we use our words.

Sales reps can benefit from knowing how to weigh their words carefully, and there are a few words that never fail to hit the mark when it comes to persuading a prospect to make that final decision to purchase.

1. “Instant”

Our culture is an impatient one. We demand instant gratification. Why wait? Who’s got the time?

In the business world this is probably more valid than anywhere else. Nobody has time for solutions that take days, weeks – or heaven forbid – months to take effect. Customers want immediate solutions to their problems. They want tangible results now.

Using words like “instant,” “immediate,” “fast,” and, if you’re feeling adventurous, “rapid,” or even “prompt,” can give your pitch a sense of snap and urgency that customers will be attracted to, subliminally.

2. “Result”

This is what we’re all after, isn’t it? It’s what drives our companies, and pays our salaries and bonus checks. Managers demand results from employees. Customers demand results from service providers.

When discussing a customer’s specific needs and pain points, it’s useful to sprinkle this word into the discussion from time to time. Make sure he knows that the “results” are going to be positive ones, and of course, if it’s feasible, “instant results!”

3. “How”

A sales pitch that deals in generalities and vague concepts lacks power. A customer wants to know exactly how your product works, and how it is going to help him.

The word “how” is always going to be connected to a practical solution. Practical solutions always sit at the top of a customer’s wish list. For example: “Let me show you how this relates to your specific problem.” “This is exactly how it will impact your ROI…”

4. “You”

Not everyone is a narcissist, but even so, the word “you” is probably the most important in a sales rep’s arsenal.

Using “we” or “our” might be seen as polite, or even diplomatic, and create common ground to work from, but ultimately it takes the focus away from the person making the decision – the customer. What you’re selling isn’t going to benefit “us” it’s going to benefit the individual you’re talking to. It’s a customer-centric market, after all.

5. “Known”

This word relates to how dependable, reliable and trustworthy your words are. It reassures the customer that he’s not in uncharted territory, and he’s not a guinea pig for a new and experimental product. What you’re saying is tried and tested, and you’ve got the research and experience to back it up. Social proof can add weight to your argument, and proven results can clinch the deal.

The right words can influence a decision to purchase. They might operate on a subliminal level, but they have power.

If you’re a top-performing sales rep preparing your line of approach, consider peppering your speech with some of these power-words. They could add a subtle but persuasive edge, and help you secure new clients, or cement your ongoing relationships.

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