Category: Blog

07 Dec

The “Contact Washing Machine”: The Effort to Combat Bad Data

Emily Schantz Marketing 0 Comments

Food for thought:

  • It takes $1 to verify a record when it is in your database
  • It takes $10 to cleanse that record for accuracy, and;
  • It can cost you up to $100 if you neglect to take the necessary steps to ensure that your contact information is accurate.

This is the cost of bad data. Organizations that don’t emphasize the importance of ensuring their CRM database is kept clean and all information on each contact is accurate are simply losing revenue. They are losing because they are working within the parameters of an ineffective marketing strategy while placing little value on the importance of prospect retention.

If you’re losing as a result of bad data, perhaps the reasons can be found here:

  • Form inconsistency. Inefficiency is more often caused by capturing the same pieces of data several times and using redundant methods of doing so.
  • Inconsistent information from one database to another. Having one set of field values set in the CRM means maintaining conflicting information.
  • Uploading lists inconsistently. Ensuring that all available contact information is properly entered into the database means better data to work with in future campaigns. Companies that don’t invest in the time it takes to ensure data is accurate are wasting the money they’ve invested on the lists they’ve acquired.

Yet, there is a silver lining to the story.

One of the most effective ways to battle against maintaining bad data is by developing a “Contact Washing Machine.

A Contact Washing Machine is a uniquely designed program that automates the entire process of capturing contact information. With a Contact Washing Machine, marketing is able to gain more accuracy on contact profiles by inputting all the missing data pieces. Everything from incoming lists, to form submissions, account syncs and various prospect actions are automatically scrubbed, normalized, standardized and cleansed.

With a Contact Washing Machine, sales and marketing become capable of isolating the most important data points for each contact in order to more effectively segment leads with more accurate reports. Furthermore, data that is captured is accompanied by visually produced statistics via reports and dashboards that provide for better insight into all the different activities that are happening in the sales funnel. With access to information like number of inquiries, inquiries by segment, and inquiries by normalized title, information on each contact is compartmentalized while data becomes more organized.

With a Contact Washing Machine, a CRM enables marketing and sales to execute on more targeted campaigns using more accurate messages in an effort to reach the ultimate goal of translating more prospects into revenue.

Have you thought about building a Contact Washing Machine to ensure clean data?

28 Nov

How to Properly Execute on Your Top Sales Objectives

Emily Schantz Sales 0 Comments

Today, more than ever, the sales process has become more complex and challenging as a result of the abundance of information that is readily available to buyers. According to Sirius Decisions, the average sales cycle is 22% longer than five years ago. Buyers have gained greater control of the sales process resulting in a greater struggle to offer differentiated value and improvements in customer engagement.

However, top performers tell a different story. Sales leaders are consistently working on delivering valuable content and aligning this content with sales cycle stages. What’s more is that world-class sales reps are working together with marketing to create data-driven content that arms them with personalized, relevant, and timely messages that enable Sales to achieve success during the face-to-face interaction and in the follow-up stages.

So, what are the most effective ways of making this happen? The aim should be to focus on how to achieve higher sales goals by executing campaigns that optimize revenue using the most relevant messages. Leading sales teams take this a step further. They present greater value to differentiate themselves from the competition in order to increase win rates. How do they do this?

Let’s take a look at four processes that enable companies to properly execute on their sales objectives.

1. Capture new accounts

Targeting the right customers and employing the right demand generation tactics are the fundamentals to inciting interest and closing more business. The lifeline of any organization depends on the ability to acquire new customers — and top performing sales reps know that by working in collaboration with marketing, the ability to plan and execute the right campaigns is key. And so follows the importance of being fully prepared for the face-to-face interaction as well as the follow-up stages to secure new business.

2. Increase Existing Account Penetration

Twenty percent of the largest customers produce 80% of revenue. Sales reps are increasing development into existing accounts by strengthening relationships through up-selling and cross-selling. Through the use of sales force automation (SFA) systems, leading sales reps are now, more than ever, technology-enabled and are setting goals and creating timelines for account development. Best-in-class performers are working on gaining repeat business and are gaining positive results with existing customers.

3. Reduce Sales Cycle Time

Companies face major problems with lengthened sales cycles that result from more informed, knowledgeable customers. Content has become readily available to buyers and they are now learning more about products and services all on their own. Best-in-class performers are changing the ways their organizations sell by switching focus — not on acquiring new leads, but rather on simplifying the decision-making process based on a keen understanding of the buyer’s interests, behaviors, and needs.

4. Improve the Customer Experience

The reality that comes with more knowledgeable customers is the demand to create tailored customer experiences. From touch points at the marketing stages, to sales-qualified leads followed by a face-to-face interaction, to customer service and support, top performers know the customer experience must be deepened in order to increase customer engagement and win rates.

The Role of Sales Enablement

With the advent of mobile sales enablement, sales organizations that have adopted the game-changing technology are leading the way and driving revenue ahead of competition. The potential of mobile devices to help grow sales productivity is staggering. IDG research shows that 73% of organizations who have implemented a sales enablement platform realized a significant gain in productivity. The tablet has come into play in the face-to-face interaction allowing reps to get involved in the selling process at earlier stages of the sales cycle. To stay on the cutting edge of sales performance, companies that adopt mobile-enabling technology are closing the loop between sales and marketing teams, arming sales reps with targeted collateral and advanced opportunities to close more customers.

20 Nov

The Power of Data Segmentation: Making the most out of Your Database

Emily Schantz Marketing, Sales 0 Comments

Working with What You Already Have

Your existing database is a goldmine, and making use of it is a key part of customer acquisition. You can always execute more campaigns to generate more leads, but you’ve won more than half the battle with what you already have. By focusing on your existing database, you can drive, track, and respond to customer activities with customized, relevant and meaningful interactions.

The database in your marketing automation system is capable of automatically creating and managing customer profile activities for any touchpoint throughout any one of your channels. Best-in-Class performers use marketing automation (MA) to filter contacts into or out of marketing programs to achieve precise targeting and campaign effectiveness to create any type of data segment imaginable. Let’s take a closer look at data segmentation and its role in MA.

Segmenting your Database

Segmenting your database in your MA is crucial to engaging with leads and working to drive the sales cycle. Having easy access to demographics and marketing activities segmented on virtually any criteria is vital to understanding prospects, leads and customers. Best-in-Class performers use data segmentation to define a target audience, launch a campaign, trigger real-time lead alerts and gather any report on any engagement.

Data segmentation can become very complex and off-putting for many marketers. Leading marketers, however, have tested and tried many segmentation models and have achieved perfectly viable and often very successful results. Below is a list of different types of segmentations that have worked for Best-in-Class marketers to help you make choices on ways to segment your own data.

1. Granular Lists

Segmentation can be used for smaller, more specific lists. Want a list of people that have requested product demos? What about a list for decision makers, geographical locations, age, gender and more. Creating lists based on these segments will allow you to target communications on a more granular level.

2. Lead Scores

MA enables sales rep to create lists of the highest scoring prospects. This can be used for distributing content to prospects that are most likely to close. Segmenting by lead stage and tailoring content appropriately is an effective and important part of segmentation.

3. Event attendees

Attendees at trade shows and webinars can also be a powerful segmentation list. You can use such a list to communicate with prospects based on topics covered at these events and push them through sales funnel based on targeted content.

4. Product Lines

B2B or B2C companies with multiple product lines create another important segment. Marketing can deliver content based on the products of most interest to prospective customers.

5. Lost Opportunities

If prospects don’t turn into Won business it doesn’t mean that they should fall off the radar. These leads have tremendous value and can be put into further lead nurturing program.

MA and Data Segmentation

Marketing automation allow marketers to target long lists of contacts without losing sight of the details. A powerful MAP enables you to manage hundreds of thousands of potential customers while delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time. Many lagging companies are dealing with a large amount of imperfect, inconsistent data that restricts them from creating meaningful interactions with prospects and customers. The smallest of things like misspellings and variations in titles result in companies missing valuable prospects and accumulating inaccurate reports. The right MA enables marketers to consolidate all customer data and interaction in a single location. Developing powerful prospect and customer profiles means launching more campaigns, generating more results and demonstrating a higher marketing ROI.

09 Nov

The Importance of Forecasting for Better Sales Results

Emily Schantz Sales 0 Comments

Getting to the Real Numbers

As a sales rep, you’ve got a heavy load to carry. Every time you’re asked to commit to a forecast number, you wish you had a crystal ball. “What’s really happening with this customer?” How far along are they in the sales cycle?” What are the chances they’ll make a purchase decision in the next 2 months?” Instead, you end up guesstimating when the deal will close and end up applying fuzzy math to your forecasts.

Sales forecasting is the process of predicting future performance based on past performance. Companies that devote resources to in-depth forecasting are increasing the likelihood of success, and those that forecast, ultimately perform better.

Companies that adopt the right technologies have the competitive advantage in capturing real-time analytics on buyer behavior. Without answers to questions like: When is the best time to reach out to a customer? … Did the customer open an asset download post-sales call? … What is the customer’s immediate need as based on her buying stage? … It becomes hard to arrive at real, tangible numbers to improve the forecasting process.

How You Can Make Better Decisions with Better Data

Your success largely depends on how accurately you can forecast your sales. Analytics can make you more empowered in the process of effectively uncovering and benchmarking closing rates based on the buyer’s level of engagement and where they are in the sales cycle. If your sales exec is hounding you for results, having access to this data arms you with the kind of knowledge that would enable him or her to understand your progress without the need to interrogate you when sales aren’t coming in. This is why Sales Enablement (SE) is so important. The application of the right technology can consistently capture data and make for better forecasting. This not only benefits you but allows your sales exec to work with you on reaching your quarterly, monthly and yearly goals.

Using SE to Your Advantage

Top performers are using SE to capture customer insights. They are empowering their reps by enabling them to become more effective at forecasting purchase decisions. SE works for the benefit of marketing teams as well, enabling them to set timeframes that predict closing rates at each stage of the buyer’s journey while making it possible to assess the effectiveness of their marketing assets.

With analytics that make it possible to compare data across the entire sales team, your sales exec can see how you fair out when it comes to your performance. Are you realizing success with post-sales call emails and are you producing engaging presentations during the face-to-face interaction?

Sales Enablement is the most effective solution if you want to take out the guesswork out of the Marketing and Sales process. Before the adoption of effective sales enabling technologies, sales and marketing execs were working with guesses. Sales performance was a black box for them. Today, SE is a means by which sales reps can improve their closing rates. It is the closest thing to a crystal ball.  What’s more is that detailed sales forecasting helps teams develop sales strategies and leave execs with time for big-picture solutions. Sales forecasting will give you real revenue numbers and will show you what you can expect with the budgets that are currently available to you. Tracking and predicting the behavior of consumers is the basis for successful customer engagement, and the information you will gather as a result will address unmet customer needs and will work to abandon trends that scale down your sales efforts. And what was once a biased best guess and a black box for sales execs, is today a means of improving closing rates.  Sales Enablement is the closest thing to a crystal ball used to help sales reps make buyer-predicted forecasts.

Facing challenges when it comes to accurately forecasting sales results? Perhaps you need to implement the right analytics strategy to predict customer behavior.

30 Oct

Top 5 Management & Leadership Tips for Proactive Sales Execs

Emily Schantz Blog, Business, Sales 0 Comments

Sales execs play a vital role in the success of the sales team. They are responsible for setting the tone and culture of a sales organization, and they have the ability to make or break a company’s fortunes. Building a high-performance sales team is no small feat, but when done right, it can be worth a great return to an organization.

But what is it about sales execs that get the best out of their teams? What differentiates them from managers that don’t achieve the same results? Although it may be difficult to define what makes a sales exec great, there are qualities that differentiate top performers from those that lag behind.

As a sales exec, in order to get the most out of your sales force, you need to assess the state of your sales reps and your own contribution to the improvement of their efforts. From focusing on them on an individual level, to making them feel like they are contributing to a greater cause, below are the top 5 tips that will help you propel your team to sales success.

1.  Focus on the sales rep on an individual level

Sales execs that invest time and effort into training, motivating and gaining a true understanding of their sales reps achieve great results. Figuring out what your sales rep wants and why they want it can be achieved by working with them on an individual basis. Through motivation and belief in the abilities of your sales reps, it becomes possible for them to achieve anything – and that means, enabling them to achieve their goals out on the field.

2. Training on adopting the right attitude

Adopting the right attitude makes a big difference when it comes to seeing sales reps succeed. By changing their beliefs and attitudes, it becomes possible for them to be highly productive as a result of acquiring a positive mental attitude. The more positive the sales rep, the more likely they are to not get easily discouraged and the more likely they are to be motivated to see more results.

3. Giving the feeling of making a team effort

Encouraging sales reps to see the importance of contributing to a common cause works to increase overall performance. From Sales Call, to follow up and beyond, when sales reps contribute and share their customer knowledge with the whole team, they are able to achieve great results instead of working inwardly to achieve small-scale successes.

4. Keep Communicating frequently and effectively

The difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager dictates what should be done by their sales reps – and usually without an explanation. By keeping communication lines open and providing an understanding of where they are coming from, sales reps gain an understanding of why they are being asked what to do instead of being told what to do.

5. Recognizing sales rep success

The key to sales rep success is showing praise for a job well done. As a sales exec, it is important to demonstrate that a sales rep has achieved a goal or hit a sales target. Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of a bonus, but a simple “job well done” or “thanks” can go a long way.

How effective are you at motivating your sales force? Are you seeing returns as a result of being an inspirational and engaging sales exec?