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Embrace the Sales 2.0 Movement to Increase Sales and Outsmart Your Competition
by Justyn Howard
Embrace The Sales 2.0 Movement To Increase Sales And Outsmart Your Competition. By Justyn Howard email@example.com
Please share freely under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license. Copyright © 2007, 2009 by Justyn Howard All Rights Reserved Editor: Preston Hull, Layout: Valerie Spencer
Note from the Author
It’s been almost 2 years since the first edition of this book (then titled the Passive Pipeline) was written. In that time the processes and tools available to help Sales Professionals work smarter have been enhanced dramatically. Tools like LinkedIn and targeted email marketing have become commonplace. Technologies like Twitter and the iPhone have given us new opportunities, and a whole new breed of software like InsideView, Genius.com and SlideRocket has emerged. Many of the tools I wrote about in 2007 have been replaced with more powerful and easier to use resources. In terms of efficiency and productivity it’s a better world for professional sales today. Unfortunately, our economy has also temporarily handicapped us, so it’s more important than ever for Sales Professionals to work smarter and more efficiently. It’s more important than ever to embrace new tools and processes when engaging with prospects and customers. Those of us who take this as an opportunity to grow will increase their business dramatically while our competition and those around us who choose not to do so will find this business climate very difficult. We’re facing reductions in sales forces across the globe. Companies will be forced to do more with less. Those of us fortunate enough to stay employed will have to become better than ever at maximizing our productivity and finding new ways of conducting business.
That has always been the spirit of this book, as well as improving the buyer-seller experience by bringing a more professional level of sales to the mainstream. Sell Smarter will give you new ideas and increases in efficiency. There are lots of ways to be more effective in your work, many of them coming from advances in intuitive web technology. Consider this book an opportunity to grow your skill-set and leave your competition and coworkers wondering how you blew out your sales quota in the midst of a recession. Did I mention you no longer have to cold-call? I haven’t made one in nearly three years, yet I still managed to have a record year in 2008 and a 300% 4th quarter during the economic collapse. Yes, I am a current quota-carrying Sales Professional who uses everything written in these pages. I simply won’t share a tool or practice that I have not used and found success with. I hope you embrace the ideas presented. If they help in some way, please recommend this book to a friend or colleague. Thank you, and I wish you all the best in 2009. - Justyn
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. Assessing Your Current Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Then And Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 A New Era In Email Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 40 42 44 53 56 57 Quick Tips: Client Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 v . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 How Sales Managers Perpetuate Dysfunctional Selling Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 The Broken Model . . . . . . . Turbo Charge Your CRM . 63 Standard Email Equals Lost Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Quick Tips: Professional Selling . . The Power Of Queries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Data Is Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Adopt Or Perish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What’s Possible? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 How Salespeople Perpetuate Dysfunctional Buying Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 How To Use This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 What You Will Learn . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Why Email Marketing Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 The Power Of Data In Sales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Customer Relationship Management Software . . . . . . Choosing A CRM Tool .
. . . . . . . 110 Easy Ways To Build Blog Traffic. .Choosing The Right Email Tool . . . . . 123 Analyzing And Tuning Your Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Building Your Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 72 73 74 76 78 80 85 88 88 90 91 92 93 Important Lessons About Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crafting Emails That Get Responses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Build Your Mailing Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reporting & Analytics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Avoid The Most Common Email Mistakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Legal Considerations For Email . . . . . . . . . . . . Building Your Email Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Elements Of A Good Email Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Newsletters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 vi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Reasons Why You Should Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Maximize Your Reach With Quality Content. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Using Email Templates To Boost Productivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Is Blogging Right For You And Your Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Permission Based Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Absolutes For Email Success . . . . 96 Why Should Sales Professionals Blog? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Email Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 132 133 135 141 144 148 153 157 How To Create And Deliver A Great Sales Presentations . . . . . . . . Virtual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Your Personal Business Network – Compliments Of Web 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Quick Tips: Sales Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . Developing A Social Networking Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . How LinkedIn Can Impact Your Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 . . . . . . 181 vii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In Person vs. . . . . . How To Build (Or Enhance) Your LinkedIn Network . . . . To present last? Or first? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 The New Professional Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . Slides. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 Additional Tools And Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Twitter: A Quick Guide For Sales Pro’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0-Powered Personal Business Networking. . Slides. . . . . . Presentation . . . . . . . . . Managing Your Online Reputation . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 Discovery vs. . . . . . . 174 Creating A Defined Short-List Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 160 162 167 173 Quick Tips: Meetings . 180 SlideRocket! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Slides.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enter Web 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. Jigsaw. . . . . . . . . . . .LovelyCharts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Microsoft Live Writer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Blog Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sales Success Forums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CRM Resources . . . . . . . . . . . Google Reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 201 201 202 202 204 viii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Tying It All Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 Putting A Plan Into Action . . . . . . . . . . . . Additional Software Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LeadLander. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Email Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Xobni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Remember The Milk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zoominfo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Google Alerts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Recommended Readings . GetAbstract. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Many of the ideas presented will increase your effectiveness throughout the sales process but our focus will be on getting you to the closing table. find more opportunities and increase your close rate. You “Must be present to win”. “Must be present to win.” 1 . They work 24 hours a day to promote you and your business and they do so more efficiently and with better results than you could possibly achieve alone. many of the components are automated. poised to win.Introduction There are many absolutes in sales. While there are many stages in the sales process. This book is a collection of tools. I call this your Credibility Upon Entry (CUE). but one supersedes all others: In order to earn business you must be invited to the table. techniques and processes designed to increase your effectiveness in these two areas. the rest become useless. This book will help you build a set of processes and tools to dramatically increase your presence. Best of all. Another absolute is that your chances of winning are directly affected by the stature with which you enter the equation. without an effective means to execute the first two.
2 . these truths will no longer limit your success. The same is true with the Passive Pipeline. but there are dozens of new. Networking will always be a staple of the business community. Networking has always been the process of forging relationships that will capture future business. The concepts embedded in this book have been in use since the onset of trading and selling. more effective techniques emerging that are easy to use and less taxing on our most precious resource…time! In addition to increasing your market presence. most traditional sales wisdom was established before these new tools were invented or widely accepted. Unfortunately. and the opportunities they present in sales are staggering. but on a much grander scale. these techniques will create a sphere of influence around your sales process that will make it nearly impossible for competitors to derail you. It’s no secret that cold-calling no longer works well. With the tools and technologies available to sales professionals today. And it’s an unfortunate truth that less than one quarter of your time is spent actually selling.New advances in sales have been absent for at least 30 years. It’s a fact that you spend more than half of your time working on deals that you have little chance of winning. An example is traditional professional networking. Well-executed networks continue to generate business with very little maintenance. There have been tremendous advances in technology in the last ten years.
A power shift is ensuing in our field between those who embrace technology and those who do not. even if it seems dysfunctional. better skills and if they get better results. I plan to show you ways to advance your own selling practices beyond the majority. Even if changing the way you work seems a little daunting. Otherwise they will fall back on what they know. Others are so busy trying to reach quota and are too entrenched to realize they’re being left behind.” – Mahan Khalsa In fact.“My belief and experience is that if people have a better model.0 tools. it’s often acknowledged that new innovations in sales process have been absent for at least 30 years. At this very moment. get started now. Many sales professionals are already using the techniques I will discuss and these early adopters are cashing in. you have a head start. though adoption of these tools has not yet hit critical mass. Fortunately there have recently been major developments in Sales 2. In this book. It will become increasingly harder for those who don’t embrace technology and new methods to capture business. Seize this opportunity to advance your sales career to a new level! 3 . It will be years before widespread change occurs. by reading this book. they will change. The gap between sales professionals who understand how to be effective in today’s business climate and those who don’t is widening every day.
The entire process creates an automated. Skillfully intertwining these ideas will elevate the effectiveness and professionalism with which you work.What You Will Learn Sell Smarter is a series of tools and techniques that operate on the same premise as networking: build your pipeline. The System 4 . The second component involves chaining all of these tools and techniques together to unlock their real power. and increase your income. either through generating opportunities. securing the opportunities you have. 2. while the core of creating a passive pipeline chains these components together to create a perpetual business-building process requiring minimal upkeep. or enhancing your influence and outreach. The ideas we will discuss cover two major components: 1. cyclical pipeline-building “machine” with many points of entry and a single uniform purpose. all while spending your time working with high-potential prospects and adding a great deal of value to their buying process. The first are the tools and techniques designed to positively impact your sales. Each component of this system serves this purpose in some way. infuse your influence via the network. all while saving you a tremendous amount of time.
5 . You can create at least three times more opportunities than you are capable of generating with your current efforts. before you ever even speak to them. Here are some of the things you will accomplish in the following chapters. You will be able to execute the most precise and effective prospecting efforts possible. You will become an invaluable resource to your prospects. You will build a highly visible list of professional references that will turn your contacts into your greatest lead source and eliminate the need for self-promotion.What it can do for you. someone whose expertise they would not consider moving forward without. Your prospective clients will prefer to do business with you. You will manage your prospects’ buying and selection process with exclusive authority. without wasting your time on ineffective and outdated methods. You will obtain the most comprehensive set of demographic and contact data possible for your market. You will save hours every week in building your business. You will know who is buying before they ever tell you (or your competition).
Own your territory.
while seeing exponentially better results. You will effortlessly build tremendous credibility that will increase your stature before ever interacting with a prospect. You can “own” your territory in a manner that was never before possible. You can be the first person into every deal you work. You will close more business, make your boss smile, frame your next W2 and steal your competitor’s commission!
These are pretty aggressive goals, and without the advances in technology over the last 10 years, they would be impossible. Sales is a fast moving occupation. We tend to get so overwhelmed with the task at hand that we fail to recognize innovation. Our profession as a whole is notorious for being stuck on what worked yesterday (in some cases it didn’t even work then). Small pockets of sales professionals such as real estate and recruiting have admirably embraced change and have found great success in doing so. The biggest change that will work to our advantage is that these tools and techniques are no longer exclusive to those with tremendous resources and technical savvy. The learning curve is gone. Anyone can use these techniques with similar results, but the reality is that not many are today. You still have a great opportunity to outmaneuver your competition.
Imagine if the following were true: You could be alerted when a prospect was evaluating a competitor’s product or service. Prospects sought you out for advice and expertise at the beginning of the buying process. You could see in real time when a prospect or client opened your email or visited your website. Your sales presentations were more relevant and more valuable. You were involved with every buying process in your territory. You could be alerted when potential clients were unhappy with your competition.
All of these things (and many more) are already possible. The next few pages contain three real-world examples of how we can leverage widely available technology to increase our sales and outsmart our competition. As you’re reading the next few pages, ask yourself how these scenarios differ from your current business practices. Focus on not only the practice being executed, but also the ease and “passiveness” with which it is performed.
Email marketing that isn’t targeted is useless.
Real-World Example #1 Yesterday I received a press release from our marketing department regarding a client in the banking business. Within five minutes, I had personally emailed every contact I had in the financial industry. The email included a note stating that I thought their team might find the attached article of interest. I also included several links to various articles I wrote and published on the web, to product pages, to downloads, and I closed with a call to action. This is pretty basic, right? You can do all of this today, right? But do you? The real WOW factor came a little later in the day. By utilizing one of the tools we will discuss later, I was able to see who opened my email, whether it was forwarded to any coworkers, and precisely which links in the email were followed. Sounding better? My call to action had prompted a few responses already, but what about the ones that hadn’t responded? I noticed a contact I hadn’t spoken with for some time had downloaded the RFP template that was included as a link in my email. I called and told her I noticed she had downloaded the template. I had the opportunity to chat with her regarding her future business plans. I asked her the following questions:
The days of ineffective practices are numbered.
“Is your team planning to source in the near future?”; “Would you like a sample business case that some of my clients have used in the past to sell the project to executives?”; and “Anything else I can help you out with?” Using traditional practices, this would have been just another marketing email sent off into the abyss. I would have never known that she visited our website, or that she was even interested in buying at this time. This particular contact is just one of a couple dozen that took measurable action as a result of this email. Realistically, I probably never would have sent this email if it weren’t for my Passive Pipeline. I simply never had the time or the data for precision marketing of this nature. If you’re like most people, you may send out a mass (untargeted) email or newsletter once or twice a month. Once in a while you may even get a response and close new business. The days of those ineffective practices are numbered. We will discuss some more amazing things you can do with your marketing efforts in 2009.
Manage your prospects’ buying and selection processes with exclusive authority. Today. but what you might not know is that it can be the #1 source of new opportunities for your business. Be the first person into every deal you work.My prospect was following me. before you even speak to them. and tens of thousands of people make a living at it. Have prospects that want and prefer to do business with you. 10 . I noticed that a top-level manager for a company I have been courting for over a year downloaded an RFP template (the same one I mentioned in the previous example) that I had posted on my blog. Know who is buying before they ever tell you (or anyone else). I called the contact to follow up and ask him about his current plans for sourcing this solution. We’ve all heard of blogging. Blogging is a very important opportunity for sales professionals. This in itself is a great thing because the template was authored by my company and was understandably in our favor. Real-World Example #2: (this one hits on several fronts) Establish yourself as a sought-after expert in your field. so I have dedicated an entire chapter to it.
Furthermore. they found my articles very useful and began to use my insight as a measure of their project strategy as they moved forward. I was now the first person in the deal and the prospect was predisposed to rely on my expertise. I was able to manage the buying process through my RFP template. I cannot imagine a better example of Credibility Upon Entry (CUE). I was able to. jop openings. Determine any contacts I had in common with the person I was calling including current and past employers (e. How hard do you think it’s going to be for another salesperson to get the upper hand in a sales process like this? Real-World Example #3: Prior to my calls in both of the previous examples. locations.Establish yourself as an expert in your field. I learned that my blog had a direct feed into his team’s intranet site and that they had been following it for some time. Dave used to work at IBM with Joe’s current boss) See buying triggers including acquisitions. On top of that. his team was using my materials to develop their strategy. Not only did this prospect see me as an expert. etc. competitors. As the conversation progressed.g. from within my contact management software: See all relevant company data including size. news 11 .
each with very different requirements and procedures. “my company handles all of our marketing efforts” – mine too. I was able to deploy and develop the techniques in this book with very little 12 . The power of combining these strategies is even greater the more tactics you utilize. In both. I thought about the salespeople who are process-regimented and not creatively encouraged. I played devil’s advocate for a minute and went over the possible scenarios: “that’s not how my company works” – mine either. The good news is. “my company dictates what email programs and relationship management software I use” – mine too. these tools won’t turn your company upside down or mean that a battle with IT is imminent. I have worked for two organizations in the past 10 years. which is exactly why I had to embrace and develop these techniques. My point is that I am well aware of the typical structure and tools available on today’s sales floor. etc. There are dozens more in the pages of this book. “I don’t have time for all of this stuff” – neither did I.It works. These are just a few examples of how the tools we will cover can be combined to elevate your business to a new level. announcements. “These things won’t work for me!” As I was writing this book.
Some of the ideas make more sense for my other endeavors. don’t be afraid to start with the few you think will provide the greatest benefit. Those of you working independantly or running your own business will have even more flexibility in building your Passive Pipeline. Some of them are not a good fit. the better the results. I don’t use them all in my 9-5 (err…7-7) job. While the ultimate power of the Passive Pipeline is in using all of the tools combined. The more ideas you can adapt to your business. You don’t need to adopt everything presented in this book to make a dramatic impact on your business. resistance. You can do away with the tools that don’t make sense for your business. I have also used these practices in my own businesses.Implement the ideas that make sense for you. 13 .
someone else will. Your competition might be three chapters ahead of you in this very book. Adopt Or Perish We need to face the fact that there are people working smarter and more efficiently than we are. If we don’t start to recognize that the business climate has changed and start using the powerful tools available to us. Start today and stop letting someone else steal your commission! 14 .Adopt or Perish.
. they stopped posting certain metrics because they didn’t want the 15 . In some cases. but it may as well have been a million years because of the way technology advances. I was in a competitive industry at the time (I still am). but I didn’t employ many of the practices they were teaching and measuring. or motivational speaker. and I quickly realized I was going to need a more effective way to build my pipeline and get a head start on my better-known and more seasoned competitors. and desire to excel began forming the ideas that evolved into this book. As I began learning and applying the strategies I will be discussing in this book..I have been able to remain at the top of the sales board for nearly my entire career by defying tradition and finding new ways to excel. I presented a problem for my employers. This was only nine years ago. I was at the top of the sales board (usually by a good margin). a believer in helping my clients succeed. And one more. When I first entered the sales profession. My natural curiosity. and an observer of human nature. computer savvy.About me. I pounded the phones to make contacts and attempt to secure clients because that’s the way I was taught... My Story I’m not an established author. What I am is a top performing Enterprise Sales Professional with a creative mind and a knack for technology and writing. I am a student of sales. sales coach.
but this was not always the case. and some converted. It’s time to embrace today’s tools and take our profession to a new level.Embrace today’s tools. some managers were accepting of my “alternative” ideas. Technology has provided advantages that weren’t available when the “legendary” sales books were written. or when your company’s founders established their “tried and true” sales system. Luckily. Yet I’ve had former employers later request that I teach them about the methods I was using to succeed. or when your supervisor entered sales. 16 . I was doing very much the opposite of what was taught and required of salespeople. I’ve been called un-teachable. rest of the sales staff to see that I had the highest sales and the lowest “metrics” of anyone on the sales floor. difficult and lazy (though not according to my sales numbers).
any means to help me expand my skills. I was simply trying to discover a better way to succeed in my profession. I began to look around for other resources: books. Over the last couple of years. When I finally stopped long enough to evaluate my evolving business approach. My Motivation I absolutely love what I do and I hold a 110% conviction that we maintain one of the most important.Love what you do. and it breaks my heart to see salespeople who. I had no intention of writing a book. unfocused methods. You’ve probably heard the phrase “nothing happens until someone sells something”. I came to an unexpected conclusion: my techniques really were unique. Technology became integral and allowed me to do my work even more efficiently. challenging and respectable jobs that exists. by using senseless. I really started to develop a system for my approach to business. are perpetuating the false notion that we are to be avoided and mistrusted. workshops. I didn’t really think what I was doing was that uncommon. then I was determined to make the most of it. It’s true. seminars. I had to rely on books and seminars for Internet entrepreneurs and online 17 . As I developed the practices I will be sharing with you. If I was going to be doing sales for the long haul. I rapidly came to the conclusion that this type of support didn’t exist for sales professionals.
or targeted email campaigns at the sales representative level. There is not a single book targeted at sales professionals regarding the effective use of a CRM system. the way that business is evolving. but tell me about something that can really make a difference in your sales potential! There are some phenomenal sales tools available today. online personal business networking. how to ask questions. negotiating and creating rapport. I think it was simply because they were unfamiliar concepts and widely unadopted. There are hundreds of books published every year about the human and psychological aspects of sales. The great authors and speakers and coaches in the sales world had either missed these advances or chose to ignore them. It was frustrating because no educational opportunities were put into a context that spoke to our profession. 18 . when was the last time you read anything about using technology in a sales book? You may have read about how to manage your time using a PDA or the “do’s and don’ts” of email marketing. However. there is little about how technology can be used in sales to do our jobs more effectively. selling style. No one can argue with the fact that the greatest impact in the last 50 years of business evolution is technology. To date. and they will play an important role in your success.marketing experts to learn more. and how we must adapt.
At the time this book was Understand. the real power of what you will learn will be realized when several of these ideas are working together simultaneously. make note of the concepts and methodologies that can be applied to your business. I have included a direct link to the software download. Focus on implementing those ideas first. Whenever possible. Don’t stop and begin work in any one area. While engaged in this book.How To Use This Book This book is composed of both explanation and application. Software & Links Throughout the book you will see references to software. website. This may result in several half-attempts resulting in your failing to obtain the benefits of each concept. don’t attempt to pull all the methods together at one time. then implement. While most people will find all the concepts are applicable. websites and blogs. it will serve as a workbook and you can begin to implement the ideas immediately. etc. move on to the others later. As I have mentioned. However. article. I recommend you read through once to fully understand the concepts. 19 . certain elements will have a more substantial and immediate impact. as you will likely find yourself overwhelmed. After your first reading.
please email me at justyn@ passivepipeline. published all links were active. The majority of the tools and services discussed in this book are either free or available at a very low cost.com. If any of the links stop working. 20 . They are also all easy to use.The tools are easy to use.
The Broken Model The world of buying and selling is constantly changing. the more disconnected our selling practices become. Buyers today have what are often unreasonable expectations. If you sell to businesses. you’ve likely heard. For success in sales today. If buyers truly had the expertise to pull this off.” If you want to secure a sale. while mysteriously our approach to sales is not. we have to identify means to change the apathy in the sales industry and deliver value to our prospective customers in a different. The more prospects resist. The buyer’s request or demand that no meaningful discussion take place between you and the very people whose needs are meant to be met. more subtle. mediocre selling and buying practices have become the norm over the years. leaving buyers skeptical and sellers willing to compromise in order to make a sale. “it’s all in the RFP. Because of past experiences and skepticism. Unfortunately. (but quite deliberate) fashion. some buyers attempt to answer all of their own questions and then simply look for the best bid. you must follow the outlined process and ask all 21 . they wouldn’t need outside vendors at all. You must know how to meet the consumers’ needs but they provide you with little or no useful information with which to do so.
but it’s very real. These are just a few examples. Receptionists have been reprimanded for allowing salespeople through.” In an honest effort to do what is in the best interest of the client. Salespeople continuously cold-call people who have no interest in the product or service being offered and add absolutely no value to the prospect’s day. in most ways. 22 . In dealing with consumers. though it’s usually a silent matter.Buyers have unreasonable expectations. Executives have had their time wasted. The sad reality is that the buyers are not to blame for this scenario. you may be perceived as just a commissioned salesperson who knows little about the product and who certainly doesn’t have the consumer’s best interests in mind. The problem stems from thousands of salespeople before you who made buyers feel compromised. Any attempts to consult directly with the business owners or to uncover what really needs to transpire in order to meet their needs are often met with scrutiny and you will probably (unknowingly) be labeled as “difficult. but you get the idea. justified. The skepticism we face is. By no means are you to vary from these rules. questions in a public forum. Salespeople have been using inadequate selling practices for so long that the consumer’s suspicion is justified. Consumers have been conditioned to avoid and mistrust salespeople even more than corporate buyers. You can’t take it personally. you are seen as making the buyer’s job harder. It’s not personal.
If we can infuse the system with more effective practices.” We have learned how to leave vague or urgent messages that prompt a response. As much as I would like to see a change in this grim reality. We’re never going to be exceptionally successful in sales if we must continually battle the poor buying and selling practices that we (as a whole) have created. We ultimately want to associate with the clients who appreciate our hard work.Commit to working above the standard. What we can do is commit to working above the standard that exists in sales today. we will be able to disassociate ourselves from this pattern. not the ones that lump us in with the negative stereotype of what a “salesperson” is. Change is urgently needed. Instead. It’s much easier to stand out in a crowd when you adopt an approach that promotes a winning situation for all parties. it’s unlikely to happen (at least not in the next couple of lifetimes). In the grand scheme. 23 . we need to move forward from this point by building a new foundation which fosters success for both the buyer and seller. We develop “elevator pitches” to sell our product in 30 seconds (because we are conditioned to think that’s all the time a salesperson should expect to get). We have the capacity to turn a poor perception of salespeople into a powerful tool for change. we can see this as an opportunity to be the trend setters for a new approach to sales. As a result we have been trained to get past the “gatekeeper.
How much better do you feel about your job when you are seen as a trusted advisor to your clients rather than an annoyance? My goal is that you never experience the latter again. but it’s true. We are mindful of our prospective clients’ time and therefore we work hard to best meet their business goals. We don’t need an elevator pitch because the people we serve respect and value our opinions and recommendations and will allow us the time needed to help them be successful. They are part of the perception created by our cohorts and many salepeople before us. Sales professionals like you and I add value to the people we serve. It may be surprising that something as impersonal as technology might be the key to regaining the respect and trust of our current and future clients. and I hope it is yours. The distrust and skepticism we face in the sales industry is no reflection of the way we do business. We take our chosen profession very seriously. 24 .Value the people you serve. this approach allows you to do so on terms that are conducive to a successful sales process. This is my reality. In addition to providing you the ability to uncover more opportunities.
A call without value is a prospect lost. but how many of them do you alienate and irritate using the methods we currently employ? More often than not. book 2-3 appointments and make one sale (or some similar version of this nonsense). those opportunities are lost forever. 25 . You are told it’s a numbers game. by calling these folks constantly you are putting yourself at risk of being categorized as the type of salesperson they would like to avoid. I argue that the more ineffective calls you make. how many of them will need your product or service over the next couple of years? Many of them probably will. the lower your chances of success in the long run. you are just another needy salesperson about to waste their time (especially if they don’t need what you are selling). you will speak to 10 people. Out of the 100 people you call. At some point in your career. In their opinion. How Salespeople Perpetuate Dysfunctional Buying Practices The single biggest way that salespeople perpetuate this broken model is the manner in which we solicit opportunities (prospecting). More contacts equates to more sales. you have likely been told that if you make 100 phone calls. However. The fact is that a very small percentage of the people you contact are in fact ready to buy today.
Even six months later when they actually need what you are selling. rather than returning your calls. Why? Because they have ignored you for months and they actually feel bad about it. then you probably haven’t cracked a sales book in the last decade). another one would. they won’t return any of your phone calls or emails. If you didn’t. something important happens that most of us fail to realize: that person makes a subconscious decision at that very moment to never contact you. your bank account will not. and they assume you’d be calling them again next week anyway. even if you have the best product for their particular needs. They didn’t call because they viewed you as the stereotypical salesperson. they will avoid the situation altogether and call someone else. Sales are driven by emotion (and if you don’t believe that. At some point during this one-sided exchange.Stop pushing buyers away. Your sales manager may applaud your persistence. The best thing we can do is keep buyers away from that emotional pitfall. they will not be calling. 26 . Maybe they should have called you and simply said that they didn’t need your services at that time. Not only did they ignore you. The second reason you won’t be hearing from them is that because people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong. but your persistence made it worse. The consequence of this “tactic” is that prospects don’t call you back. simply to avoid any guilt. Ultimately. In fact.
Traditional methods also lead to poor time management. that the person will not be interested in what you have to sell. If you’re like me. Ninety percent of the time we never get that chance. you probably don’t have an endless supply of prospects. if that hour were spent calling on people who are actually in the market for your product or service. other than to annoy the people we are trying to reach. Every time you put one of your prospective clients in the situation I described above. you have a limited number of prospects. Similarly. It might be your territory. You practice below-average sales methods and you alienate your prospects even further. a vertical or named accounts. what happens? You get desperate for sales. you could substantially increase your success. When your prospect list gets smaller but your quota continues to grow. or that the person is ready to purchase your product or service. the results would be exponentially higher. you are essentially diminishing your territory. through email or in person) is to deliver a message. This means that 54 minutes of every hour spent seeking new clients yields no results. If that same hour were spent on efforts that could reach thousands and build your Credibility Upon Entry (CUE). There are three possible outcomes of cold-calling: that you will not reach the intended contact. The purpose of a cold-call (over the phone.Your prospect pool is not endless. 27 . The point is.
28 . The Passive Pipeline is about being in the right place ALL the time. “But the person is ready to buy!” you say. but other circumstances need to be considered. you will be their choice. There are better ways to find opportunities. it never feels like prospecting (to you or the prospect). Let your competition perpetuate the poor sales processes so that when a buyer is ready. None of those scenarios have much value to you. I’m not saying that cold-calling will not benefit your business.Be in the right place ALL the time. They either had an inside line or they were simply in the right place at the right time. One sale out of 100 calls will certainly help (though I doubt the ratio is even that high). and while this was a result of your efforts. and have clients who are grateful to be working with you (not the other way around). Sure. Maybe they even reached the client first because of a cold-call. You must break the cycle of inferior sales methods while maintaining and building your professionalism and credibility. and reaching opportunities with the right timing and credibility needed to win. What I am saying is that there are other ways to prospect and find opportunities. Another salesperson (maybe more than one) is probably already leading the charge. You build credibility before entering any sales process. The beauty of the approach taught in this book is that your prospects will begin to find and approach you.
You are constantly trying to prove your usefulness. They didn’t find you by chance. simply because of the way you approached the opportunity. They found you because of some very calculated efforts on your part toward building your credibility and presence. 29 . You will be passed off to someone who collects information. It puts the client in control.Build your credibility and presence. This is a perfect example of how a sales effort doesn’t have to mean being a “salesperson”. or manages vendors for a living. People prefer to do business with people they seek out. Here are a few more examples of why traditional prospecting methods don’t work: Real decision-makers rarely take time for pitches or cold-calls. It creates a brand around your very name that tells prospects that you are someone they should do business with. Gatekeepers are never going to connect you with the real decision makers. You have no competitive advantage when you enter the sales cycle using these methods. The people who will take your calls don’t have real power. integrity and respectful nature. not the other way around. has little authority. expertise. This new approach brings the client to you because of your knowledge.
it’s no longer necessary to “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.” 30 .Do the things that work 100% of the time! If you’re a subscriber to the 80/20 rule (it’s hard to argue with). So the question becomes: why don’t you get rid of the other 80% and do the things that work 100% of the time? Technology and advances in sales process have allowed us to identify these effective practices. then 80 percent of your opportunities come from 20 percent of your efforts.
While it is an easy metric to track. as well as the most effective buying and selling practices. have changed. Accepted sales “wisdom” tells you it’s all about persistence. persisting in doing the wrong things has no real purpose. Pushing salespeople to consistently court buyers who aren’t ready to buy is not going to work either. 31 . While it’s true that persistence is paramount to success. Today. Most managers don’t attach enough importance to the CUE with which you enter the sales process. the number of calls and appointments made doesn’t translate into sales. it is simply activity with no results. Along with the rest of us. Most sales managers (and salespeople) also operate under the misconception that the product with the best features or lowest price will succeed. Finding opportunities and failing to turn them into business is worse than not finding an opportunity at all because of the drain on your time and resources. if your efforts aren’t resulting in sales. How Sales Managers Perpetuate Dysfunctional Selling Practices Most sales managers were salespeople at one point in time. They have been operating on the same traditional buying and selling practices as everyone else. they fail to realize that the business climate.It’s our fault. Traditional sales theory (especially around prospecting) simply does not apply in today’s business environment.
We are spread too thin. CRM software that we were never properly trained to use and unrealistic urgency pushed upon us that leads to more frantic and disconnected sales effort. among other things. tools and techniques needed to correct the situation are readily available. We have marketing departments that that waste our time with unqualified leads. and sitting in meetings. before you ever speak to them. led to our inefficiency and lack of success. Successfully obtain prospects that want and prefer to do business with you. in part. The good news is that the practices. trying to force-feed our expertise to prospects or inefficiently drafting responses and communications.There are many other factors at play that create such a misguided buying/selling relationship. which has. . I’d like to recap the outcomes this book can deliver: 32 The tools are readily available. The two hours that we do spend selling are primarily wasted on unlikely opportunities. forecasting sales. Know who is in a position to buy before the client tells you (or or your competition). working with CRM systems that aren’t working for us. Directly manage your prospects’ buying and selection process with exclusive authority. Most studies reveal that we spend less than two hours a day actually selling. The rest of the time is spent on ineffective prospecting.
Save hours (days in some cases) every week in building your business while seeing exponentially better results. make your boss smile. Build a highly visible list of professional references which will make any competing sales person wonder why they even attempted to take your commission. Obtain the most comprehensive set of demographic and contact data possible for your market. frame your next W2 and steal your competitor’s commission! 33 . Close more business.Get better results. without ever picking up the phone or asking for the “person who handles such-and-such”. Effectively establish yourself as a sought-after expert in your field. Execute the most precise and effective prospecting efforts possible. Be the first person into every deal you work. and present them with a “billboard” of your credibility before ever interacting with them. Create at least three times the opportunities you are capable of generating with your current efforts. “Own” your territory in a manner that was never before possible. Locate and be introduced to the people you want to do business with.
provide them with useful information. Maybe two or three agree to an appointment. Of these.A better way. you may find a legitimate buyer with a genuine need. but you are the ninth vendor they have spoken to! This is not a sales model I choose to participate in. You have now entered the sales process on an equal footing with the prospective client and you are no longer perceived as a salesperson. Ninety percent of the people you reach become irritated and make a mental decision not to work with you. few have any buying authority. You help the buyer manage the purchasing process. Here are two very different approaches to courting a prospect which summarize the ideas presented in this book: With the traditional model: You have a list of companies to call and dial furiously to make just a couple of connections. 34 . You may spend months trying to convince them to buy your product or service when the people with authority don’t have a need for your product or don’t even know you’ve called. A Smarter Model: A buyer finds you because you have established a presence through your passive pipeline. Or. and begin to mutually explore solutions with them. The buyer contacts you.
You may start to wonder why these techniques have not been made available before. The concepts we will explore have simply never been widely applied to professional selling.Set the standard. Final Thoughts Before We Move On . In addition to this buyer. You are seen as a professional and you have the luxury of only working deals you have a high probability of winning. I’m going to get off the soapbox now and detail exactly how you can start using technology to make today’s selling climate work in your favor. The buyer is thrilled and satisfied to be working with you. Many top performing salespeople. thousands of other potential prospects are finding you through your Passive Pipeline. real estate professionals and internet businesses are using them today with exceptional results. These are not new ideas. . They are proven and they work. they are simply accepted as a matter of process. . Other vendors and salespeople are being measured against the standard that you have set. 35 . Let me address that now. The sales cycle is shortened. and if by chance more vendor quotes are required. Much of what you will read in the next few chapters will be entirely new to you.
These are uncharted and unfamiliar waters to most people in the sales industry. Human nature often resists change in favor of what’s comfortable and familiar. speakers. I simply think we need to augment these teachings to match the pace at which the business climate is changing. I am not in any way discounting the excellent speakers and authors out there and I think we should continue to rely on the best of them for guidance. Chances are you aren’t satisfied with your current selling situation or you wouldn’t be reading this book. closing. and sales coaches of our time simply are not in tune with the new resources available to us today. They are superb in teaching the human aspect of selling. prospecting.“No one has ever found success by doing the same things tomorrow that resulted in mediocrity today. 36 . But the sales world is no longer a comfortable place. time management and so on. No one has ever found success by doing the same things tomorrow that resulted in mediocrity today.” Great authors.
You must invest time to stay abreast of your industry. Very few salespeople reward and thank their internal support teams. you will accomplish your work faster and your clients will be given priority. it’s time to have a chat. shut down completely. 37 . Determine with your boss at what point a different approach is required to achieve the results you both want. Don’t beat yourself up for downtime. marketing.). operations. If your boss is demanding more of an activity that isn’t yielding any results. Take it when you need it and enjoy it.Quick Tips: Selling Quick Tips: Professional Selling The most important sales skills you will ever learn come from a true desire to help your clients succeed. Don’t let someone else come to the table that is more knowledgeable than you. Anyone who has a hand in your success or product delivery deserves your appreciation. Your relationship with your sales management team is the relationship that will have the biggest impact on your success. etc. Show gratitude to your internal support team (product managers. When you need to shut down. By working as a complete team. Top performance requires rest.
If one form of prospecting gets you going and gets results. Stress comes with the territory. Being able to effectively plan and follow through with goals is the mark of very successful sales professionals.15%. lean towards being a “sandbagger” as opposed to a dreamer. do the things that really charge you up. you can overcome any other deficiency. Be honest with yourself and your boss. do more of it. Become an expert on setting goals. 38 . When this crosses the line to stress. but learning to manage (and eliminate) it can help your career and enrich your life. Don’t mistake this with doing the things that are easy. If you can’t be consistently +/. schedule more of them. Don’t fall into the common trap of feeling pressured to project a large number. If face-to-face meetings leave you feeling accomplished. By coming into every situation with the commitment to helping your clients succeed. you don’t want your results to suffer in favor of fun. You will only destroy your credibility with your management team. Nobody cares how much you forecast at the beginning of the month. make an effort to manage that. they care how much you close at the end. Some of us run at peak performance during our busiest times. despite your ego. Whenever possible. There are tons of books and online resources.
Data Is Power The Power Of Data In Sales Most of us have that little plastic keychain card that saves us a few bucks at the local grocery store. This information is used to determine which products are popular in certain regions. which products have lost popularity. I receive marketing material (even from very well known companies) containing products or services that I have absolutely no interest in purchasing or using. On the other hand. which coupons to print on your receipt.com’s email marketing program. and which ad campaigns have been effective. The cards have both saved and earned billions of dollars for these businesses. I think these Utilize data properly. Intuitively. An excellent example of the power of data collection is Amazon. The information you receive is remarkably relevant to you. 39 . How did the folks at Amazon know those books would interest you? How did they know to leave irrelevant books out of this valuable advertising space? Amazon.com is amazing at utilizing data to increase their outreach and ultimately their sales. but do you know that these cards have become standard not only at every major retail chain in the world but also at small community businesses? It’s because these cards provide these companies with the most lucrative set of demographic and purchasing data you could imagine.
Data is the key. but it is important to be cognizant of how professional your efforts appear in the public domain. accurate data is your #1 resource. What does this relay to your clients about your professionalism? I recently signed up for a workshop offered by a leading Internet Marketing firm. They simply hadn’t utilized data properly. There’s a good chance you are doing the same thing to your contacts. you need to re-evaluate your marketing strategies. Ask yourself a few simple questions: Do they really have any need for what you are sending them? Is there relevant information in every communication that you send? Are they even involved in the buying process for what you sell? If so. I received an email asking why I hadn’t reserved a seat and stating that if I didn’t act soon the workshop would be filled.Relevant. 40 . Even the best businesses falter from time to time. have you appropriately related your material to their specific role in that process? Do you know what that role is? Here’s an embarrassing scenario: are your existing clients getting emails about buying a product they already own? If they are. A few days later. I wondered how a prominent internet marketing company could make such a simple mistake. companies are crazy for spending the time and money on marketing these items to me.
Most salespeople and managers confuse the purpose of these systems.Lay the proper foundation for success. Sales Logix). Enterprise systems which are typically housed on a company’s network (Microsoft CRM. and reporting capabilities. 41 . many of the other ideas presented in this book depend on it. CRM systems come in a few flavors.com. There are standalone applications which operate on a single computer (like Act!). it is important that we lay the proper foundation. The typical vehicle for housing data for sales professionals is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software tool. These systems vary widely in interface. CRM systems do not simply hold contact information or provide reports for management. Customer Relationship Management Software Before we go any further. Accurate data that is easy to manage is one of the most important tools a sales professional can have. Further. These have also come to be known as Sales Force Automation (SFA) platforms. and increasingly popular Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions which are simply accessed through your web browser (Salesforce. ease of use. Sugar CRM). but they all serve the same purpose. Landslide.
a company trains sales staff in the points and clicks of the software but fails to train employees in why proper use of the CRM tool is so important. the value to the sales organization is lost. The decision to buy a CRM solution often falls in the hands of the IT department. that it consumes too much time. give them a raise and sit them near their colleagues who don’t quite get it yet. Management is primarily to blame for the failed adoption of CRM solutions by salespeople. When you find the one person who lights up and tells you how lucky they are to have such a tool. or the company itself treats the CRM system as a digital rolodex. and that it interferes with the sales process. Your company has wasted a great deal of money if this is how they use their CRM systems and in turn. It is often the case that the management team doesn’t fully understand CRMs capabilities either. you are wasting a great deal of time and opportunities if this is how you are using it. By the time the software reaches the end-user. 99 of them will tell you that it’s a hindrance. hire that person.Operate ten times more efficiently. If you asked 100 salespeople to share their feelings about their CRM tools. The system is seen by salespeople as a burden with no value. and how they operate ten times more efficiently using it. and millions of dollars have been wasted. If they already work for you. 42 . The problem typically falls into one of two categories: either the salespeople were never properly trained to use the system. Most often.
etc. HTML. If you are currently using Salesforce. Act! or another popular product. Are you able to properly capture all data that is relevant to your line of work? Or. do you find yourself without the fields required to properly capture all the data you need? 2. Microsoft CRM. Can you easily sort or group your contacts based on a specific set of criteria (location. then you are in good shape. etc. Text. employee size.Are you capturing all the data you need? Assessing Your Current Solution It’s time to find out where you stand in terms of your current CRM tool. Can you export this data in a commonly usable form (Excel.)? 3. answer the questions below: 1.)? If you are unsure.com.)? 4. and then ask yourself. If you’re not sure how well your current solution stacks up. Make a list of all the relevant contact information you want to store. Can you save the criteria you selected to easily go back and see an updated view? 5. industry. etc. Is the system flexible enough to allow you to specify several criteria on which to report or with which to view your data (location + company size + industry. is there a place for it all in your CRM package? Try to view 43 . try all of this with your current system.
Chances are it has the functionality I mentioned. Ask for a Microsoft Excel® export of your entire database (just your records) and spend some time learning how to manipulate it. do a little more research.Look at your options. determine whether you can use another system. Now see what options you have for retrieving that specific “view” out of the system. they just requires a few more steps. Personally. or if you use one of the tools I mentioned earlier. If you were able to answer “yes” to all of the above questions. but they offer a prettier interface and apply some compelling business logic. but you weren’t trained properly. a list of contacts that are in the banking industry and are located in a specific town. If you are part of a large sales team that has a standardized CRM system. If the standardized system doesn’t suit your needs. I would not work for an employer who didn’t provide the functionality I required to do my job well or didn’t allow me to use alternatives tools. CRM products are essentially just databases themselves. You will be able to achieve the desired results using Excel. If you answered “no”. If you’re feeling defeated right now because you’re absolutely stuck with a system that won’t meet your needs. then you can skip the next few pages of this book. there is a final option. 44 . you’ll need to look at your options.
I will outline a few options available to you. you are in an enviable situation if you are planning to use a new CRM tool. On the next few pages you will find summaries of rthe eadily available tools which I think are best suited for today’s salesperson.Get organized. or if you are feeling compelled to re-evaluate your CRM after reading the last section. For what it’s worth. I use Microsoft CRM for my primary job and Salesforce. Choosing A CRM Tool If you don’t currently use a CRM tool. In my opinion. You have a clean slate and my organizational habits love a clean slate! No fat-fingered data entry from previous salespeople to clean up and no stagnant contacts. The options I have reviewed simply represent the CRM tools I find to be popular and feature-rich. Don’t consider this a comprehensive list. 45 .com/Landslide for my other business ventures. There may be a product built for your specific industry that offers a lot of convenient tools.
” –Salesforce. they offer a free single user version. Salesforce gives them fast access to data—online.com Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Free Single User Version: Yes Cost: Free for Personal Edition.com Salesforce Automation (sfa) Description “Reps need solutions that make their jobs easier. Team and Enterprise versions start around $65 per user per month. it does everything a salesperson could ever ask of a CRM product.com has taken the CRM industry by storm and for good reason. Second and maybe most important to you. Salesforce is the one SFA solution every sales rep will love and use. With the absence of “views” in the personal versions. 46 .Software Review Publisher: Salesforce. the user can still use the report builder to meet the same objective but it’s not quite as powerful. not more complicated. Concerns My primary word of caution about this product is that you need a browser to use the non-enterprise versions. First and foremost. With a user interface rated “simple and intuitive” by PC Magazine. offline. and via mobile devices—and links easily to popular tools like Microsoft Office and Outlook. If you don’t have a constant internet connection (or have a slow one) this may not work well for you.com My Review Salesforce. Salesforce .
measurable improvements in every business process.com My Review As I mentioned. though you may be able to find it cheaper.” –Microsoft. the email tool built into Microsoft Dynamics CRM leaves a lot to be desired. enabling closer relationships with customers and helping to achieve new levels of profitability. and this may just be my experience. and affordable solution that drives consistent. this is the tool that I use in my daily job. and the available documentation for this product is difficult to obtain and not very comprehensive. from first contact through to purchase and post-sales. Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers a fast.Software Review Publisher: Microsoft Dynamics Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes (30 days) Free Single User Version: No Cost: Starts around $395/user annually. marketing. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Description “Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that provides the tools and capabilities needed to create and easily maintain a clear picture of customers. Microsoft Dynamics is a powerhouse and really delivers on functionality. Finally. One of my favorite features of this CRM is its excellent out-of-the-box query engine. Concerns Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not as user-friendly as some of the other systems. and customer service. With modules for sales. flexible. The standard import tool is limited. 47 .
It’s really in a league of its own.Software Review Publisher: Landslide. Licensing beyond trial requires 5+ seats. It delivers all of the tools you would expect. and certainly worth a look. To maximize its potential. this product also requires that you take a deep look at your sales process.com My Review Landslide is a breath of fresh air in the contact/opportunity management space. while being more aligned with your actual sales process. Author’s Choice! LandSlide Sales Production System Description “As a Sales Production System. 48 .with predictability and replicability” –Landslide.com Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes (6 Months) . Concerns This product is for forward thinking sales organizations. conceptually new. While SFA/CRM systems focus on capturing data about your pipeline & customers. Landslide’s Sales P3 is a new category of sales software that helps move deals faster through your pipeline. traditional CRM solutions. which requires some work. It’s going to be tough to get traditional-minded leaders to abandon their existing.here Free Single User Version: No Cost: Not Available. the focus of a Sales Production System is on helping salespeople close more deals faster .
Concerns As an individual user. Outisde of my research for this review. Act! is a great solution. and track all contact-related communications. manage and prioritize activities. 49 . It fosters the growth of productive business relationships. I have never used the product. As a large organization. but I have known many salespeople that are committed to it.com’s free product.” –Sage Software My Review Act! has everything you need and is feature-rich. I would choose Salesforce. Renowned for its ease of use. It also provides a desktop installation so you do not need connectivity to use it. For a small. Act! 2009 Description “ACT! enables individuals and small business customers to instantly access key contact and customer information.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The product is updated frequently and current owners upgrade for a minimal fee. I would go with Salesforce. ACT! can be tailored by each user and offers robust integration with the tools you use everyday.to medium-sized team that requires data to be shared and centrally stored/reported on.Software Review Publisher: Sage Software Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes (30 days) Free Single User Version: No Cost: Currently $230 for the single user version. The built-in integrations with Microsoft Word and Excel are solid.
Before you import your existing data. 50 . the custom fields are set up by your administrator. take a look at the next section to cleanse your data before you bring it in.com. If you are running a network-based version of these tools. but the applications I have mentioned are fairly straightforward. The first is to create custom fields you will want for your contacts and accounts. Accessible documentation is included to walk you through a complete data import (with the exception of Microsoft Dynamics CRM).The time spent cleansing your data will have tremendous rewards. The second thing you need to do is to import any of your existing data. This step is vital! CRM Setup Notes A new CRM system requires that you do two tasks right away. Act! 2009 and personal versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM are simple to set up. The fields you choose to add will vary depending on what you sell and your target audience. Note: Custom fields in Salesforce. contact your administrator and simply ask them to add the desired fields. I don’t have the space in this book to explain how to achieve this for every CRM product. In this case. CRM software allows the user to add custom fields because everyone’s needs are different. Unfortunately.
I’ll give you a real-life example: A previous salesperson in my territory couldn’t understand the last name of one of his contacts. As a result. This is undesirable for the obvious reasons. We regularly plug a person’s first or last name directly into email campaigns to personalize them. House Cleaning Whether you’ve chosen to stay with your current CRM tool or are about to import existing data into a new one. Incomplete information is of little value. it’s important to cleanse your data. If you plan to target a specific industry. You’re going to spend a lot of time on this cleanup. you won’t be able to use the sorting and other features of your CRM software to their full advantage. It’s also important to augment the data you already have. So he entered “Can’t Understand Name” in the last name field. you’ll be staring at a gold mine! 51 . but the good news is. Your data will be less effective if not cleaned properly. How embarrassing for us and frustrating for him! Another mistake to be wary of are names entered in ALL CAPS or all lower case characters. but half of your contacts don’t have an industry associated with them. Can’t Understand Name.Prepare to sell smarter. this poor contact has been getting emails addressed to Mr. when it’s all done.
Do a search for any accounts (companies) that don’t have contact records associated with them. 3. Find any duplicates. Unless there is a compelling reason not to. etc. Print or Export all of your contacts. You can gain additional information and contacts easily. View. If there is pertinent information in the record.) and correct these for consistency. look for accounts that aren’t located in your region. Look for any oddities in the capitalization of names (all caps. and merge the records together. all lowercase. delete these accounts. etc. Missing data is a good reason to reach out to your clients and have conversations under the guise of cleaning up your records. If you work a specific company size.). This is usually done in a few clicks. If you work in territories. If you work in verticals. then why doesn’t it have a contact? 2. Print (or export) a list of all of your accounts. eliminate companies that don’t 52 . 4. Find any accounts that don’t belong in your database.Define: Clean Data Here is a list of things to do to clean your data: 1. get rid of the companies that don’t match. They are only place holders. 5. primarily because it isn’t technically a sales call. Spend some time now to complete all of this information. employee size. Do a search for any contacts or accounts that don’t have data in the fields which you will use to target your audience (industry.
your effectiveness will be cut in half. 53 . In the next chapter I will show you exactly how to build queries. but why clutter up your database and spend your time marketing to a client base that is outside your area of expertise? 6. but get them out of your database and let your sales manager deal with them. you will never have to clean data again! If you settle for incomplete or inaccurate data now. Data cleansing is vital. instead of doing laborious manual searches. Look for contacts that don’t have a company associated with them. If you are unfamiliar with how to do the things I’ve described above. I don’t mean permanently delete these records. During this process. If you complete this right now. consult the program’s “help” menu or someone who is experienced with the product. at least.Do not skip this step. You may be hesitant to drop accounts. plug your criteria in and let the software find them for you. Unless you sell to individuals. and in any future data imports. match your size criteria. match them up with an account or delete them.
and get a snapshot of all records matching those criteria at any point in time. Within 30 seconds. analyst.Open up new levels of efficiency. Next to having clean data. . I have separate saved views for all contacts within each industry I market to. Send an email to everyone whose name starts with “T” and who works for a company that has franchise locations. a new level of efficiency will open up to you. prospect. you say? Probably not something I would realistically need to do. 54 I have saved views for every relationship type (client. but easily possible using queries. The Power Of Queries The concept of a “query” is not one many people are familiar with. While that’s fundamentally true. I also have a modified version which includes only contacts with email addresses. learning to build queries is the most important (and beneficial) asset to effective use of your CRM. the real value of queries is that they are stored for future use. If you learn how to properly query your data. I have close to 50 queries saved in my CRM and I use them all the time. You can define the criteria or “rules” of your query once. Most people think a query is simply jargon for searching. I can see just about any group or subgroup I need.
They might as well just have a huge filing cabinet in the middle of the sales floor. Look for an “advanced find” or “custom report” tool in your software. accounts. If you were to look over the shoulder of 95% of CRM users.) and views for just about anything else I need.media. or that they just had queries that came pre-loaded in the software (either by the publisher or by their company). Next you will choose the search criteria. If you are fortunate enough to have well-thought-out queries or views already saved in your system. etc. but it’s also a shame. Any company that is not actively grouping and manipulating data to perform targeted sales activities is wasting money and losing business. Most software will also . opportunities. etc. How To Build Queries That Sell The process of building a query varies by product. get familiar with them. 55 Target your sales activities. You will likely need to make a few changes to get them just right. which we will discuss in the next chapter. and I don’t intend to alienate anyone. This is typical. you would find thet they either had none of their own queries built. You will start by indicating what type of records you intend to search (contacts. but in this regard all CRM products basically work in the same way.).
I hope I made it clear in the beginning of this chapter that your goal is not just to become organized. each time you run this query. Make sure the report is dialed in exactly the way you want it. you now possess a tool more powerful than anything that most of your competitors have. It’s to build a foundation that allows you to operate more efficiently and make all of your customer interactions valuable. Determine which queries would have been helpful over the last 6 months. have operators such as “and” or “contains data” which allow you to complete advanced data dissections. Some of my favorite queries: Contacts I have not contacted in last 60 days Contacts with no email (shows me where I have work to do) ______ Industry Contacts with Email Addresses Companies with > _____ employees Opportunities with <50% probability of closing (more work to do) These are just meant to get your mental wheels spinning. Afterwards. or what efforts or advances you could have made if you only had ______ data. After following the steps I’ve outlined here. Your effectiveness will grow exponentially. and then save it. 56 . it will be updated with any new data acquisitions.Customize your reports.
” . As I’ve mentioned. CRM software is not a rolodex! It should provide insight and data modeling which allow the sales professional to be precise. business profiles.com and offers a standalone version). They offer a tool called Sales View which I have found to be an incredible asset. Here’s a description from their website: “SalesView is an on-demand sales intelligence application. relevant and intelligent about the way they approach their prospects and customers.Turbo Charge Your CRM There are many technologies being developed to increase the efficiency and results of a traditional CRM tool.salesview. Oracle and Salesforce. news stories. possible connections and buying triggers for your contacts. the tool provides contact information. that brings you insights from traditional editorial sources and emerging social media to increase sales productivity and velocity. The tool also has fantastic list-building capabilities and can weight potential prospects by custom buying triggers.com In summary. You can see an example of a view from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM at the left (SalesView also integrates with Landslide. SugarCRM. 57 . One company that has recently made great progress toward enhancing the CRM experience is InsideView.
0 Strategies.Chapter Summary and Resources.free] Selling to Big Companies [Book] 58 . Fourth Edition: CRM 2. pre-order] Salesforce Fundamentals Module 3: Using Salesforce [Tutorial . Remove errors and add relevant demographic information. you must have clean. when properly used is your best weapon in sales. and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers [Book. Summary For successful marketing efforts. complete data. vertical. Start by scrubbing your data. More Great Resources CRM at the Speed of Light. etc. Data. Tools. Build queries to segment your contacts by interest. Choose a CRM tool that will empower your marketing efforts. size. The biggest reason for CRM resistance is that its value is not fully understood by its users.
The expectations you set for yourself are often more demanding or urgent than those established by the client. they will tell you. you will see them become tense if you appear to be wasting someone’s time. tell them you will have it in 3-4 days. Let your contacts present your great ideas to their peers. Ask your contact’s opinion about how you can add value to your meetings. If you’re not able to get someone the information they request by tomorrow. Likewise. Any chance to make him/her look good is ultimately good for your commission check. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. A middle-manager who doesn’t feel important can kill a deal just as quickly as their superiors.Quick Tips: Client Relatioships Quick Tips: Client Relationships Treat every contact like they are the CEO (but remember to speak their language). You have not earned the right to be introduced higher in the company until you have demonstrated your ability to add value. If that’s not acceptable. 59 . You will often notice that the person who invited you to a meeting will start to relax once their superiors have accepted you.
that’s still better than the schedule most salespeople maintain. You’re going to uncover additional needs. Any side-stepping or assignment of blame will only discredit you. schedule those calls late in the day. they won’t have the rest of the day to dwell on it. If there are certain clients that always seem to drain the life out of you when you call. Tickets to a play. Equally. To the client. do something special 60 . Nothing productive comes from this type of drain first thing in the morning. It doesn’t matter if the mistake wasn’t yours. If you have to do it only 2-3 times a year to fit everyone in. a gift card or an extra seat at a ballgame can earn you a client for life. We’re often so busy chasing the next sale that we forget the one we just left behind. If you make a mistake. be honest and fix it. you are the face of your company. Meet face-to-face with any client that contributes 5% or more of your annual quota at least once a quarter. if the call is unpleasant for your contact. then you’re the exception. Show your appreciation to your clients every chance you get. If a client spends 100K or more a year with you. (If you happen to be one of my clients. curb any future problems. honest). and I regularly schedule our meetings at 4:00 pm. and solidify your relationship.
and your client will be reminded of your appreciation every thirty days. Sixty dollars a month is minimal compared to the commission you earn. If you can’t expense this.such as a monthly wine club (my editors have asked me to recommend Castoro Cellars Wine Club – 1-888-DAM-FINE. ask for Jan). write it off at the end of the year. 61 .
This allows you to work with the same tools as the marketing elite. online retailers. The biggest difference between traditional and leading-edge email marketing is that in the latter. used to supplement other marketing methods (cold-calling. and newsletters.). Another important difference is that this type of email marketing will help you establish credibility and rapport with clients. etc.A New Era in Email Marketing Email marketing has traditionally been handled by marketing departments and has been associated with spam. you are working with a rock-solid set of demographic data that you created in the previous chapter. print ads. such as Amazon. Google. I mean targeted email communication with a personalized message delivered from the salesperson. and others. We’re all doing it wrong. I’m not referring to the kind of email you send to your entire database in hopes of getting one or two people to take action. both of which have been absent from traditional email marketing. Email marketing is often an after-thought.com. 62 . This is unfortunate because email marketing (when properly used) is the most effective form of marketing. Successful sales professionals are managing their own email marketing efforts today with great results! It’s easy and anyone can do it.
Seth Godin (my favorite voice on marketing and common sense in business). I don’t have the time to constantly engage companies that are using the competition or aren’t presently interested in buying. was geared toward the typical challenges companies face with their current providers. This effort took me about 30 minutes and I was able to personally reach 30 decision makers to get my message in front of them. 63 . My objective was to stay in front of decision makers who were currently using a competitor. In addition. I increased my stature and credibility with these contacts.” For example. it’s broken. it’s broken.” – Seth Godin Then And Now Email is “the most personal advertising medium in history” . I invited them to take a look at the changes. I also included specific links to a couple of my most popular articles. this morning I sent out an email to decision makers in my territory letting them know I had moved the contents of my blog to a new server. more than 30 decision makers at Fortune 500 companies had not only opened the email but clicked through to read the articles I had positioned. it’s powerful and it’s only possible due to technology. I’m busy.“If your email isn’t personal. Like you. while unbiased. The content of my articles. It’s subtle. “If your email isn’t personal. By noon. It’s worth mentioning that the articles I linked in my email told me exactly where that contact was in the buying cycle based on which article he or she read.
3x the ROI of traditional marketing. Approximately 146 million adults use email everyday. what would their perception of my call be? A cold-call from a salesperson who needs their business! Instead I was able to reach them. even if you have an existing relationship with the person. 64 . 82% of marketers consider email their most important advertising tactic. you are three times more likely to get a timely response through email than through the phone. but I had specific reasons which I will discuss later. Why would I choose to reach these folks on the Friday before Spring Break even IF I had time to call them? Friday is a terrible day to send business-to-business emails. In my experience. what are the chances they would have allowed me the time to share my message? Also. and that email isn’t effective and that it won’t allow you to build rapport with your clients. Why Email Marketing Works We’ve been told throughout our career to call people on the phone. If I was able to reach them by phone. in a manner that positioned me as a valuable resource and trusted advisor. I would like to share some compelling data: Email marketing has 3x the ROI of traditional marketing efforts. Before we continue.
yet only 4% of marketers currently engage in these practices. The information in this chapter may be a little overwhelming. I have compiled what I feel to be the essential information on email marketing for a professional salesperson in order to save you time and money. 65 . In my opinion. If this is something you feel will enhance your marketing and aid in your success. that’s OK. when it comes to building credibility. There are hundreds of books on email marketing. email will never replace lunch or a day on the golf course as a means of building relationships. Just remember that one of your competitors is likely already doing it to some extent and reaping the benefits. email is the undisputed champ. Email has reached 32% of total market penetration.Email marketing saves time and money. If you don’t believe that email marketing will be effective in your business. This doesn’t mean that managing your own personal email marketing is hard or time consuming. taking out all the guesswork. and you want to learn more. engaging prospects. and passively growing your pipeline. Personalizing emails and segmenting your audience more than doubles the effectiveness of your email efforts. efficiently managing your territory. topped only by television which has 39%. by all means seek other resources. However. I spend roughly an hour a week on email marketing. and I will now lead you through it.
impersonal junk mail. Two. it’s a beacon of poor taste. the chances are very high that any email addressed to more than one person. It is imperative that each email include simple dynamic content such as first name.” 66 . company name. it exposes each person’s email address to everyone else on the list. either by using “cc” or “bcc.). Yahoo.” but for my needs. There are a couple of reasons why this is important. First. Standard Email Equals Lost Business Standard email clients such as Outlook. web based email (Gmail. You also NEVER want to include more than one recipient in the “To:” field for a couple of reasons: one. and the email interface built into most CRM systems. do not meet my personal preferences for email marketing.” will be blocked. Here’s why: Reason #1 They do not (easily) allow me to send personalized emails. etc. I want one-click access to this functionality. This can be accomplished through various flavors of “mail-merge.It better be personal. Reason #2 They do not allow me to automatically send the same email to multiple recipients individually. You might as well title your email “unprofessional. etc.
I need my external email client to manage this task. etc. The business value of tracking who opened and who didn’t open an email is not significant. these techniques alone have doubled the effectiveness of my prospecting efforts. I currently have nearly 50 mailing lists. but it can prove helpful now and then. CRM programs accomplish this nicely. I want to know who actually opens my correspondence. Each serves a different purpose and targets prospects and clients meeting different criteria. browsing. This is pretty basic. 67 . Reason #5 They don’t allow me to track who opens my emails. As you discovered in the last chapter. Reason #4 They do not allow me to (easily) segment my mailing lists. More importantly. I include links strategically to allow relevant follow-up and to profile recipients (as ready to buy. In fact. etc. but because the built in email systems are lacking. images.).) I want to track who follows the links I send in my emails. I want to know which specific link they click.Who opened it? Reason #3 They do not allow me to track clicks within my emails (links. This information is priceless.
and threads of emails easily. Outlook’s scheduling functionality is pretty basic. It will get the job done. Reason #7 They do not (easily) allow me to set varied “auto-responders”. A few days later. Shortly after the first two emails. they are sent another email asking whether they need to revise their listing criteria. and so-on. Can you see some uses for this in your business? 68 . it sends another email asking them how their search is going and whether they would like to speak with you personally. Here’s an example of how auto-responders might be used in the real estate industry. but they’re basically a tool internet marketers have been using for a few years to help boost their sales.Automate your email. More robust email tools will allow you to schedule emails. We’ll discuss auto-responders in more detail later in the chapter. but not the way I may want it to be done. The auto-responder sends them an email with an introduction and a few listings. A buyer signs up to view your home listings. This process is fully automated. Reason #6 They don’t allow me to automate and schedule email campaigns. follow-up emails.
Choosing The Right Email Tool If you want to get serious about email marketing. Sending emails to someone who’s asked not to be contacted is the quickest way to ruin your marketing endeavors. Adding another piece of software to the mix may sound daunting. I still use Outlook and web mail in my day-to-day communications even though they do not meet my strategic marketing requirements. Reason #8 They do not (easily) allow me to manage my subscriber and opt-out lists. By sending a few unwanted emails. you will need to get a tool with additional functionality to be effective. The following two software tools are viable options for adding a successful email marketing venue to your business: 69 .Your email tool needs an upgrade. You’re still going to use your normal email interface. you can easily end up on a “black-list” which essentially means your email will not reach 90% of recipients. but I promise it will have very little impact on your day. you’ll just be adding a second tool when it’s time to send targeted materials.
I can easily view opens. Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes (60 Days) Free Single User Version: Yes (up to 100 addresses) Cost: Tiered based on size of email list. including list management and reporting— and we give you free live support when you need it. and more. you can create and send top-notch email newsletters and promotions with no technical expertise. The template function is great and the cost. clicks. $30 per month for up to 2. 70 . We make everything easy for you. you have everything you need to be successful at an affordable price. Free Trial Here Constant Contact Description “With Constant Contact. how my campaigns compare with industry standards. Inc.com My Review I use this tool for all of my email marketing.500 addresses. With Constant Contact. is quite affordable. My Concerns I wish ConstantContact would build in the auto-responder function. You don’t have to worry about your ISP’s email policies.Software Review Publisher: Constant Contact. The emails I send have high deliverability and all of the tracking I desire. The biggest advantage here is that all of your email is sent from the Constant Contact servers themselves. Update: They have released this functionality since the original publishing. in my opinion. The reporting engine could also be simplified.” –ConstantContact.
com Ease Of Use: Intermediate Free Trial: Yes (15 day) Free Single User Version: Limited Cost: Varies based on list size.Software Review Publisher: iContact. but the user-interface could use some work.” iContact. but at a price that is affordable for a small business. My Concerns This is not really a concern. Free Trial Here iContact Description “iContact has all of the features you’d expect from an enterpriselevel email marketing service. which is my browser of choice. however it offers a lower price point for smaller lists. whereas ConstantContact currently charges an additional fee for these. 71 . Also. Features such as a large array of custom templates make iContact perfect for people who are just starting with email marketing. iContact does not support Google Chrome.com My Review iContact is similar to Constant Contact. This service also offers auto-responders and survey creation in the base price.
primarily due to the analytics and A/B testing.’ We make it easy to send email newsletters to your customers. My Concerns There are no auto-responders yet. and when they become available I will strongly consider moving from Constant Contact. a/b testing.com My Review First. we don’t ‘dumb things down. so you can get an idea of how well your campaigns are performing. and we make them accessible to anyone.Software Review Publisher: MailChimp.com Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Free Single User Version: Limited list size Cost: Varies by list size MailChimp Description “MailChimp is a do-it-yourself email marketing service for ‘the Google generation. the analytics they offer for email tracking are superb and easy on the eyes. manage your subscriber lists. Unlike some of our competitors. They also offer A/B split testing which allows you to test the effectiveness of different subject lines. 72 . Another cool feature is that your email stats are compared to industry averages. and track campaign performance.” – MailChimp. and ROI tracking).’ We take extremely powerful tools that sophisticated marketers use (like segmentation. They are due in March ‘09.
unless you are adding them as you go. automating this process with one of the tools I will introduce later. targeting messages to individual groups is as easy as a few mouse clicks. or depending on the uniqueness of your audience. search your program’s “help” files. a couple dozen lists in your email program.txt” format. a separate set of queries is useful. and in turn where the files you will load into your email program are located. From here. For this purpose. you will need to export them into “. Help with this import can also be found on the email software’s website because this is a fairly common task. Now you should have a dozen. If you have any trouble importing your lists.Are your contacts organized by industry yet? Build Your Mailing Lists Now that you have chosen an email interface to use.xls” “. You’re going to want to create a folder on your computer where all of the files you export from your CRM program are housed. Once a month you will want to update these lists with your new contacts. you will want to import the queries you built in your CRM program into your email program. Before you can import these lists into your email system. so keep your storage organization consistent.csv” or “. you will want to modify the queries to include only contacts with email addresses. If you haven’t done so already. or even better. 73 .
74 . Every email should be conversational in tone. 6. followed by Wednesday and Thursday. 4.* 10. Email must be sent directly to only one recipient (no “cc” or ”bcc”). 5. Wednesday is the day that most marketing emails are opened. Tuesday is the most popular day to send marketing email. 2.* 9.Email Rules: The Absolutes For Email Success These principals and tips govern any and all business email communications you send and should be memorized. 11:00 am is the most popular time for emails to be opened. 9:00 and 10:00 am are the most popular times to send email marketing. Your email should not ask to do business (unless your business is truly transaction in nature). Every email must establish credibility. 7.com from various industry studies. Every email should contain at least one dynamic field (such as a first name). 3. 1. Every email must have value specific to each reader.* 8.* *Source: EmailLabs.
97% of email recipients accept HTML formatted emails.* 14. You may have a monthly event or offer you plan to send. 75 . I recommend sending an initial email once your groups are established using the “conversational” example below.* 12.Keep it simple. 11. You may want to send a quarterly account status email. which I will outline below.5% more success. you may want to send them out to the appropriate contacts as they are produced. Building Your Email Strategy At this point. Keeping your subject line to less than 50 characters achieves 12. If your company is like mine and generates a lot of press releases.* 15. Every email must contain instructions for opting-out. *Source: EmailLabs. Images are blocked by default by more than half of your email recipients.com from various industry studies. Sending marketing emails at a frequency of 2-3 times per month yields the best results. a plan to market to your contacts should be taking shape.* 13.
In fact. a solid plan will keep you on track. Example Email Strategy: First Monday: Recent articles from your Blog Third Monday: An article or press release relevant to each list Quarterly: “Catching Up” emails As available: Related press releases or client testimonials A solid plan will keep you on track. The effectiveness of email marketing is close to zero if you only do it once. You setup emails in your email program once or twice a month. Now you’ve reached every contact 2-3 times per month. How long would that have taken using your current approach to email (or worse. and they are sent as scheduled. You might want to send an announcement that you have a blog or provide monthly updates on recent articles (these should be targeted to your audience as much as possible). with personalized and valuable information. I recommend you set aside just a few hours at the beginning of each month to draft and schedule all of your email communications. sending a maximum of 2-3 emails to each contact per month. while building credibility and rapport. Regardless of your strategy. Plan your different types of communications at intervals of at least one week. 76 This isn’t something that’s going to take hours. using the phone)? . Then simply send additional emails as necessary.
Templates save time. You will want to create a basic email template. but every component has a purpose. On the next page is an example of a signature that I use. This can include your signature block and any other information that you feel is necessary such as confidentiality information and information about unsubscribing from the mailing list (note: if you use Constant Contact. By using templates. 77 . It may look busy. you will only have to spend time on the areas of the email that are unique to that communication. iContact or MailChimp the opt-out information is included by default). Using Email Templates To Boost Productivity You can save a lot of time by using templates for your email communications.
.. State Zip Your Phone Your Email CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE: The information contained in this transmission is privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above................ Your Name Corporate Account Manager <Company Logo or Tag Line> Street Address City... Thank you.....yoursite..Sample Email Signature Block Client Quote of the Day: “Insert a client testimonial here” – So and So from Such and Such Read more: www...... If you are not the intended recipient.....com/testimonials Your Blog Name (and Link) ............... If you have received this transmission in error..... you are hereby notified that any dissemination.... please immediately reply to the sender that you have received this communication in error and then delete it. distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.. 78 ........
They are also going to position your 79 . This is a great opportunity to use link tracking to see which articles your recipients are interested in. etc. It does not say “my blog. I keep it short (3 or 4 titles). My blog link is simply the name of my blog with a hyperlink. I choose one that I think speaks well to the specific email. you are losing an opportunity to build credibility and increase sales. Instead of a link to my blog.Include Testimonials in your signature. For example. I will include a quote from a banking company. if I am targeting executives. If I am targeting banking institutions. I might include links to articles (from my blog) relevant to the email I’m distributing. If you aren’t including a testimonial in every email you send. I will include a quote from an executive.” In fact I don’t care if the recipient knows it’s my blog. The Elements Of A Good Email Signature My client quote of the day is actually taken from a long list of testimonials I have compiled. I like to include a default quote in my template simply to remind me to add a relevant one. The purpose of including links to your blog is to increase your CUE and position yourself as an expert. We will discuss blogs in more detail in the next chapter. The articles you link in your emails must be well-written and place you as a thought leader in the particular market you are trying to reach.
Of course. I’ll tell you how to start making that happen too. this becomes tremendously more effective if the client finds your articles independent of you. except for the text of the release. that has the email prepared. Everything else in the signature template is pretty standard stuff. though the content certainly paints a good picture for my products and services. Remember the story I told you earlier about the very large corporation that had been following my blog for some time? Although they think they found it on their own. The idea is to create these templates now. for example. You can develop a press release template. Take note that I like to separate my name and title from the rest of my contact information. so you can send them out later in seconds rather than hours. For example: I may write an article about choosing the right “such and such” in which I tell readers what to look out for and what key features to look for when shopping and buying. I’m not directly pitching a product. As you continue to experiment. you will most likely fail to implement them. This works to subconsciously brand around your name and title.Include articles that you wrote. simply providing expertise. they found it through my Passive Pipeline. company and their products in a positive light. 80 . If you don’t make these tasks easy. without directly promoting them. the truth is. you will find many other uses for templates. or you may want to save a template for a typical introduction letter.
Subject Line The maximum on your subject line should be fifty characters. Crafting Emails That Get Responses Because we are using targeted lists and personalizing our emails. Because we are using targeted email marketing. Here is the typical format of my emails. Most email programs do not show any more than this and shorter subject lines have been shown to have a higher open rate. 81 . we have the ability to be conversational in every communication we send and to sound natural. we have the unique ability to establish our credibility and foster a positive working relationship.Emails should be conversational in tone. It’s not my intent to change your approach to sales copy. but this has worked quite well for me. email is the only way you will ever communicate with your prospects (until you do business with them). It’s important to incorporate a conversational tone because it puts you on equal footing with your prospect or client. It’s important that you present the right image. In some cases. your primary objectives are to establish integrity and ensure that you are seen as an expert in your field. As with many concepts shared in this book. You may want to use a different spin.
Ask yourself before you send: Is there value in this for my audience? If there isn’t. I may put the title or a variation of it in the subject line. or simply an update on what your company is doing. I just make sure it doesn’t scream “I want to sell you something. I don’t spend a lot of time crafting my subject line. feel free to put this in the subject line. Value Whether it’s an article.Include value in every email you send. These offers have tested well. I usually use something like “<My Company Name> follow-up” or if I’m sending a press release or article. you need to create a separate list. a testimonial. First Name. Value. “I thought you and your team would be interested in this. there MUST be some value in every email you send. Re-work the criteria for your 82 . Conversational dialogue This might be something like. don’t send it. Value.” The idea is that you have a very human purpose for this communication.” Note: If in your business it makes sense to include a time sensitive offer or discount/sale/promotion. Tip: If your email doesn’t have value for every contact in your mailing list.
list.” Every time I 83 . If your prospect has no plans of buying. Tip: I keep a spreadsheet called “own your territory. even with a “No”. this is just one I often use. until your email has value for every recipient. Permission to tell me no “If this isn’t something that fits your current strategy. I’m asking for an update. I’d like to know that as well as I am in process of my quarterly account updates. Call to action “I’d like to chat with you in the next couple of days to get an update on <Company Name>’s current situation. I can’t count the amount of time I have saved in my career by inviting prospects to tell me that they weren’t currently looking for my services. I would love to know that as well as it allows me to more effectively use my time and plan my follow up efforts. nothing more.” – Put any appropriate call to action here.” The point is that you want a response.Make it easy to respond. or the content of your email.” Sometimes I also use “If this isn’t something that fits in your current plans. Even prospects that are not interested will take the time to help you if you invite them respond in the negative. you want to know that too.
Permission to pass me off to someone else “If this isn’t something you are currently responsible for. etc. This example reads much differently than a typical sales email. After a while. but it works. Every component of my example serves a specific purpose. Try to add one more item of value here. please share my contact information with the person who is and let me know who I should expect to hear back from.” Signature Block P . Any information is good information. I can send the same email to a thousand contacts and each of them will read it as though it was written 84 . you’ll have a snapshot of your entire territory in one place. The idea is to get a response. an upcoming product update. While it seems fairly specific.S . I also add competitor and future project information into my CRM system so I can query that information later. regardless of what that response contains.Permission to pass you off. I put that information into my spreadsheet (along with company name). Something along the lines of: “budgeting for solution in 2010” or “currently contracted with Competitor X until Q4” and so on. get a response from this type of email. possibly an article from your blog.
and my response rate to this type of communication is many times higher than that of standard email marketing efforts. Sending an email to a thousand people only to find out that the formatting is completely off will quickly deflate your enthusiasm. create one for this purpose. send it to a web mail address (like Yahoo or Google) and a corporate email program like Outlook. 85 . always send it to yourself first. A blank greeting or last name where the first name should be are just as embarrassing (and unprofessional) as poor formatting. If possible. etc. When you use this list to send your test emails. This way you can see how it appears in different readers (they WILL vary). complete with first name. send it to a friend who does and ask them to send you a screen shot from their end. This is crucial.Ooops! specifically to them. Test Every Email Before you send any mass email. company name. If you don’t have MS Outlook. The responses I get back prove it. you can also make sure that your dynamic content is working properly. If you don’t have a web mail account. An even better way to test your bulk email is to set up a mail list in your program which includes your test addresses. last name.
It also makes it very clear that you only see this person as a name on a list. verify values and test your email first. it’s worth repeating. he sent it to her by accident (sending to a person mentioned in your email happens often because that person’s name is on the top of your mind)! I accidentally revealed an office romance between two friends of mine and didn’t realize it until I heard chuckles from neighboring offices.No CC:’s. No exceptions. never include more than one name in the “To:” field. Avoid The Most Common Email Mistakes I’ve learned most of my mistakes from experience. I’ve sent a thousand emails with my name in the greeting line. leave the “cc” and “bcc” fields empty. Always enter the recipient name (or list name) last Re-read. If you enter the recipient name or list name first. Also. In any marketing email. Sending a mass email using these fields will expose all email addresses to everyone on your list (and they may end up in a competitor’s inbox). Most email programs will kick 86 . A close friend of mine intended to send me an email about how attractive he thought one of our vendors was. one slip of the finger or mistaken mouse click can doom you! Never put more than one address in the “To:” field Although this has been mentioned before.
Never make a derogatory remark about anyone in your emails. simply say. If something is confidential. Don’t send too much information This isn’t about volume of text. Karma’s law says that is exactly the person who will end up reading it. 87 . Write every email as if it will be viewed by others.Keep it professional. how do you know their brother doesn’t work for the competition? Never assume that a recipient will recognize confidential information.” especially if it’s something like pricing information. either. Never assume the recipient is the only one who will read your email This applies equally to both internal and external email. Just because you have a confidentiality statement in your email doesn’t mean it will get read. “please consider this information confidential. If you send a prospect your brand new pricing matrix. out an email if the recipient’s name isn’t in the “To:” field. Always consider email a permanent record. Email marketing programs like the ones discussed in this chapter automatically send an individual email to each recipient.
I will occasionally send emails on a Friday around 11:00 am if it’s a popular vacation weekend. Send emails at the right times Unless you are marketing to consumers. Friday. but it still looks unprofessional. or late in the day.Timing is everything. It gives the impression of privileged information or that the recipient might be getting a better deal (when price is included). even if it’s not that vital. These emails get buried under everything else that comes in that night or over the weekend. It’s not optimal. we’ve all done it. 88 . Wednesdays and Thursdays before noon are the best time to distribute. Tuesdays. Google the phrase “email mistakes” for other common and uncommon email mishaps and checkout “MessageGate” for some entertaining email blunders. don’t send emails on a Monday. You may even want to throw “please consider this confidential” into your email strategically. Don’t forget attachments It’s not too big of a deal. but often people are looking for anything to take their mind off of the work at hand.
emails sent to people who do not fall into the permissionbased category are a waste of time. The terms “spam” and “mass” emailing don’t apply to permissionbased email. your work is truly ineffective. Here is a summary: The bill permits e-mail marketers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail as long as it contains the following: An opt-out mechanism. A valid subject line and header (routing) information. and 89 . these emails are always targeted and always add value. Permission-Based Email Permission-based email is making the medium more effective as a marketing tool. The legitimate physical address of the mailer. Aside from professional and legal concerns. When used appropriately.000 recipients but few are actually interested in what you have to offer. or those who have chosen to give you their contact information and have agreed to receive your emails.Nobody likes a spammer. The idea is that you only contact people you have already had communications with.000. Legal Considerations For Email The federal laws governing email are contained in the CAN-SPAM Act. If your contact list is over 1.
or National security messages. 90 . For a full list of legal considerations regarding email. A label if the content is adult oriented. this means don’t send emails to addresses you gleaned from a list. and always allow recipients to easily remove themselves from your list within 10 days. For marketing purposes. Content that broadly complies with the marketing mechanisms specified in the law. visit LegalArchiver. The content is exempt if it consists of: Religious messages.Remember to give them a way out.
You can easily see which recipients clicked on the links and images embedded in your email.More data. It is also useful to see which links have the most draw for your audience. Tools like Constant Contact. this allows for additional targeting and very successful follow-up efforts. However. Click-Through This information is incredibly valuable when used properly. Reporting & Analytics You could spend hours a day analyzing the data you receive from your email campaigns. What you can do is view a few critical data points for the emails you send that can help boost sales and add value to future interactions. As I’ve illustrated previously. 91 . iContact and MailChimp have built-in reporting features for the most useful analysis. and some people do. most professional salespeople have little time for data processing. Here are a few of the things you will want to keep an eye on: Open Rate Keeping track of which emails and audiences have the highest open rates (the percentage of emails which are actually read) will help you fine-tune your email marketing efforts.
Simple “touches” are better suited to this and can be managed in your other email marketing efforts. So. I don’t use these in my corporate business. the ability to automate additions to your email list and to automatically send a series of emails to your list at set intervals. I will caution you that I think 6 or 7 progressive emails will not go over well in most B2B situations because you cannot adjust for buyer feedback. You’ve probably heard that it takes 7 “touches” before someone buys.Email Automation In addition to scheduling emails. Each one typically reinforces and continues to build the sales pitch over the span of the email string. I encourage you to do some research if you think this might fill a niche in your business. but I do use them to promote my book and websites. Auto-responders have a few fantastic features. specifically. Let the software work for you. I call these progressive emails. Internet marketers who want to drive return traffic to their site or automate “touches” in order to sell a product favor this technique. create 8 or 9 progressive messages in your auto-responder and let it do the rest. 92 . auto-responders may have additional benefits to your business.
We’ve been taught to send out mass emails regularly in order to stay on the clients’ radar. The most common and effective use of newsletters is to entice prospects to share their contact information with you. Newsletters I’m sure you’ve heard that newsletters can add significant value to your marketing endeavors. The instant access to information available today has decreased the effectiveness of top-of-mind marketing dramatically.” The reality is that it’s much easier for your audience to do a Google or Blog search for something than it is to search through their inbox (more likely through their deleted items) to find your newsletter. The other challenge is that “top-of-mind” no longer works. but only those coming from people I value highly.Invite prospects to share information. Do you really read any of the newsletters that show up in your inbox? I read a few. Beyond capturing contact information. I personally feel that two to three personalized and targeted email contacts a month will serve this purpose much better. “You never know when someone is ready to buy. Perhaps you’ve even tested it. 93 . newsletters are typically used to stay in front of potential prospects. The truth about newsletters is that the real benefit to you occurs before the newsletter is even distributed.
Summary Email is the most effective form of marketing at your disposal. Continuously analyze and test your email marketing campaigns.Seth Godin [Book] Constant Contact Learning Center [Tutorials & Best Practices] 94 . Every email must add value to the individual recipients.Chapter Summary and Resources. it’s broken.” .Seth Godin Choose a modern email marketing tool designed for sales professionals. “If your email isn’t personal. More Great Resources Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friend and Friends into Customers .
but I’m hoping you might be able to assist me. Taking the time to listen to voicemail. There are a finite number of potential buyers in your territory. 95 . Use every interaction as a means of making a good impression. and call someone back doesn’t fit well into most people’s schedules. it’s three times (at least) more likely than a phone call to get a response. Another example. What approach do you think will have the best impact with your team?” “How does Susie like her meetings to run?”. Never underestimate the power of playing dumb.” Our egos make it difficult to communicate in this way. Technology makes it easy for ideas to spread. write down the message. “Well. this can open a lot of doors. “I’m embarrassed to say I have no idea who I should be talking to and the receptionist didn’t know either. let me ask you. and enough rumbling can cripple a company or salesperson.Quick Tips: Communications Important Lessons About Communication Word of mouth is the most powerful force in sales. You never know which interactions will be remembered. even from someone you know. but when you’re stuck. For example. Hitting reply when they have a few extra minutes does. Email is no longer taboo. Any dissatisfaction should be taken seriously and escalated to management. In fact.
It appears needy and implies you don’t trust them to contact you when something changes. which can sideline your efforts.” If you are suspected to be a salesperson. ask for your party in a tone that suggests you already know that person: “Jack Murphy. Ask for the department. People begin to perceive you are always away from the office. Many salespeople mistakenly think that a half-day meeting or sales conference warrants an outof-office message. don’t call. please. ask for the most appropriate person to speak with. Don’t use out-of-office replies unless you won’t have access to email for an entire day. even if you do in fact know the individual you are calling. 96 . you’re going to set off alarms in the mind of the receptionist. Never ask the receptionist to connect you with someone whose name you don’t know (the IT Manager for example). then when connected. The person who answers the phone at the department level is much less adept at screening calls than the main receptionist.“How would you sell this product to your company?” When inquiring with a receptionist.” If you don’t have something of value to communicate. Always leave your call-back number twice on a phone message. Never call someone just to “check-in.
are multi-faceted. so I’ll elaborate. The information found in (most) blogs is untouched by any corporate agenda. There is no marketing spin. The third was the day I discovered blogging. In the last few years. and blogging professionals. The first was when J. corporate blogging. Since I started implementing blogs into my business I have uncovered opportunities and closed business that I simply could not have captured using any other means. I assumed it referred to some distraught teenager pouring out their emotions in an online journal. information and ideas flow freely and quickly! Good “Blogs are telling it like it is at the street level” – Brad Inman Inman News 97 . If you haven’t experienced this for yourself. it’s difficult to fathom. Like many of you. Coldren took a chance with me and gave me my first “professional” sales job at 19. The benefits. The second was when I finally had enough knowledge to place real solutions in front of my clients and offer thought leadership. but the results can be tremendous. Then I started hearing about political blogging.C. as I will share later in this chapter. whenever I heard the term “blog”. That’s a bold statement. I have been enlightened and I will go on record as saying that blogs are the most important source of information on the internet.Blogging How Blogging Has Revolutionized Selling I have experienced three major turning points in my professional career.
If I want to learn about the local real estate market. or by an author whose work I am thinking about reading. If I am considering the purchase of a product or service. be more educated and find experts who share insider information not privy to mainstream media. I turn to blogs. Most marketers develop web pages to promote a product or an idea. bloggers are the first to know. bloggers do. there are experts in the know who are blogging about it. Blogs are written by real people just like you and me and are an innovative and personal means to reach the public. essentially advertising. If a company is acting as a corrupt corporate citizen. If you think about it. Blogs empower people to make better choices. If your particular industry is poised for major change. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular in all aspects of society. Go to Technorati and key your industry or company name into the search box to see what the blogs are saying. traditional media outlets simply don’t have the bandwidth or desire to cover all that goes on in our world. I look at the blogs posted by people I am considering doing business with. 98 . Bloggers number in the millions and cover an innumerable number of topics. You will be surprised by the number of resources and the depth of information they contain. they have been the first place I look for credible and uncensored information.Blogs: the most important source of information on the internet. I will research the “blogosphere” first. Since I discovered blogs. blogs provide unfiltered information with both personality and credibility.
Blogs offer tremendous opportunity to sales professionals.
There are interesting demographics about blog readers themselves: Blog readers are 11% more likely to earn over $75K. Blog readers are 30% more likely to buy products or services online. Blog readers spend twice as much time online.
Why Should Sales Professionals Blog? Until the last few years, blogs were most popular for entertainment, social or news related material. However, before too long the influence and topic base grew. More recently, blogging has been adopted by online marketers, authors, large corporations, real estate professionals and experts (real and self-proclaimed) in just about every other field you can imagine. The group that has not been widely represented is professional salespeople. Google the phrase “blogging for sales professionals” and you will see a long list of irrelevant material. Aside from Real Estate professionals, salespeople have been slow to jump on the blog-wagon. It is my belief that blogs offer tremendous value to sales professionals, perhaps more than to any other professional group.
*Source: Internet Marketing Company. 99
Blogging establishes credibility.
I’m not suggesting that all salespeople develop a blog. An overinflux of self-promoting bloggers hyping products that offer little or no value to the readers will taint what is presently a valuable resource. However, true sales professionals, who have valuable knowledge and expertise to share, should definitely consider it. For sales professionals, blogging serves to establish credibility and reach potential customers. If your prospective customers find your blog when conducting a web search, or see your articles reprinted by other credible sources (another benefit of blogging I will discuss shortly), they will automatically see you as a trusted advisor and will be inclined to do business with you. This is amplified when your blog posts contain targeted, valuable information that is not found elsewhere. As a consumer, if you were searching real estate online and found a useful blog that was candid about the market you were considering and also offered other useful information that wasn’t readily available or compiled in any other place, wouldn’t you be likely to consider using their service? Furthermore, hasn’t this person instilled more trust and credibility than the typical website or yellow-page ad would? Of course!
Reach new clients and stay in touch with current ones.
Reasons Why You Should Blog
Reason #1: Credibility It is difficult to build credibility with people you don’t know through traditional sales efforts, with the exception of through word-of-mouth. You simply don’t have a voice in the market that carries an effective means of endorsement. You might already distribute an e-newsletter that provides your existing contacts with amazing information about you and your services, but what about the people who you aren’t currently in contact with? Blogging can be your answer to reaching new clients AND staying in touch with current ones. Some forward-thinking salespeople have boosted their credibility by actively participating in online forums related to their field. This serves as a way to answer questions and provide valuable information. However, there are two problems associated with online forums that blogs solve. First, online forums are typically a one-time activity. Unless the viewer contacts you via email from the forum, the moment has passed as soon as they leave the venue. Second, few people have the time to visit every relevant forum, monitor questions regularly and engage in conversation in dozens of places.
Become a sought-after advisor.
A good blog allows your “presence” to be in thousands of places at once, 24 hours a day, ready to shake hands, answer questions and be a trusted advisor. With a blog, instead of self-evangelizing you will have people quoting you, posting links to your posts, etc. Now when/if you do participate in forum discussions, you can provide a link back to your blog, with more of the great ideas you have to offer. Reason #2: Interest Level With a newsletter your audience is limited. People have such tight schedules, not everyone on your contact list will have time to read it. With a blog, your readers have essentially asked you to keep them in mind and they will seek out the information you have to share. These people are much more likely to not only read what you have to say, but also to buy what you have to sell. Further, blogs are not typically perceived as a sales mechanism, while newsletters are. Reason #3: “Power-Linking” This is a term that means sending your prospects to material published online instead of them hearing it directly from you. Imagine you have a prospect who is gathering information to build an RFP. This is a great opportunity to manage the buying process, but it has to be accomplished as an advisor,
Now instead of just sending prospects to your blog. you have just enhanced your profile. You can’t build much more credibility than that! Now your prospect not only understands your business approach but also views you as an expert in your field. but it is much more powerful to point them to a well-written article on a popular blog (authored by you) that will walk them through the buying process. You’ll appear in search engines. Once your blog gains some traction. you have a presence. and it’s a good thing! If an even more popular blogger or trade publication picks up your article. the forums and everywhere else people are talking about your industry. Reason #4: Presence Without technology it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. your chances of securing a client are minimal. You could simply inform them of what to look for and what to be cautious of. Through your blog. the references to it. not as a salesperson.Let others tell your prospects that you are the expert. you can also send them to an unbiased 3rd party who thought your article was important enough to re-publish on their website. your articles are also going to show up on other sites. and the re-prints of your information. 103 . If you aren’t considered early in the evaluation process. This is common practice in the blogging world.
Your credibility essentially snowballs because of the human tendency to keep up with the Joneses. but others are turning to you for advice. When you become a sought-after commodity. This brand supersedes your company’s public image and follows you everywhere you go. you create a brand which defines you. and it promotes your site in the search engines automatically. Be everywhere. you become independently marketable. Reason #6: Building Potential Customer Relationships Blogs give you a chance to interact with your audience and build rapport even without direct communication. your search engine ranking will soar. As your content grows. The interactions you have within others can be an integral part of your blog. Reason #5: Branding People like to be associated with high profile people and do business with them. Linking between blogs and posts is part of the current blog culture. If you become a valuable source of information. Visitors will see that not only do you have relevant expertise. Reason #7: Traffic Blogs are more search engine friendly by design than most websites are. and more and more people link to your dialogue. 104 .
some of my blogs have appeared in the top three results in Google searches after only a couple of days. Even with no links. many excellent job opportunities have arisen for hard working bloggers. 105 . One of those inquiries led to a great business relationship. it’s still a company website. Within just a few days of starting my first blog I was contacted by several industry analysts asking for further information on a particular article I had written. they aren’t thinking about parallel opportunities that may surface as a result. but it’s likely these opportunities will arise. Even if your company’s website gets good search traffic. Many bloggers will also find themselves with opportunities for syndication in trade magazines or for speaking engagements. I don’t know any way to make this kind of visible splash with typical sales efforts. Finally.Personal growth. A blog in the top search results on Google or MSN can have a huge impact on your pipeline. Reason #8: Springboarding When most people start a blog.
You can set up your posts for an entire month in the same amount of time budgeted for one day of cold-calling! This doesn’t require any more work than the things you are doing now. Blogging may not be for you or it may not fit into your business model. It’s likely a very new concept for you. And it is still remarkably more effective than traditional networking. That’s OK. Like many of the ideas I share in this book. You certainly don’t want your entire sales force.Blogs: not for everyone. Below are a few questions taken from a checklist posted by a prominent blog managed by Darren Rowse. but many of you will be thoroughly pleased with the results you can achieve with very minimal effort. with varying degrees of communication and writing skills. competing for real estate in the blogosphere. but the initial shock is much worse than the actual application. Darren is considered a leading expert in blogging. This checklist will help you determine if you possess the right motivational skills and interest to develop a blog: 106 . but the questions are universal. Is Blogging Right For You And Your Business? Blogging is not for everyone. the idea of setting up a blog might seem overwhelming. you can have a blog up and running in 10 minutes. and I discoverd many of the ideas I’m sharing with you on this topic through Darren and his work. I have modified the explanations a bit for my audience. in fact it requires quite a bit less. In fact.
or you are not passionate about your subject. Stale content will diminish your subscriber list rapidly. This is especially important in the early stages. Are you a self starter? Starting a blog takes initiative. If you don’t 107 . Do you enjoy writing? Blogs are a written medium. While blog software makes it simple to start a blog. A single post may take 30 minutes to write but can reach thousands. If you do not enjoy writing. However. it also requires you spend time regularly to keep the content fresh.Content is king. then you have the time to refresh your content. it’s going to take more work to establish your internet presence. if writing is your only hang-up. a blog doesn’t run itself. you can simply post content a few times a week (or daily) and respond to reader comments. Do you have the time? In addition to the work required to get the blog off the ground. then perhaps you should not consider a blog. and it takes a motivated person to get one off the ground. There are few things more disappointing then an abandoned blog that had real potential. If you are currently doing any type of prospecting. I wouldn’t rule blogging out entirely. Once your blog is up. At the onset. Many people have been successful with blogs simply by compiling information from other resources and making it available to their readers in one place.
Do you have any technical ability? This is not a limitation in most cases. Do you have perseverance? The development of a large subscriber base doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to customize your blog. If you can check your email. see yourself writing posts several times a week. only your audience is much larger. 108 . Most blog software will automatically display your posts at the times you set throughout the week. As you start adding useful content. you will see your efforts rewarded with an increase in subscribers numbers but it will take time. most blog software makes any customization pretty simple. You will need to be able to “roll with the punches” and maintain a professional persona regardless of how your readers might respond.Opinions: everyone has one. then spend a few hours on a Friday afternoon preparing your posts for the following week. you can manage a blog. you will need some skills. It’s no different than presenting your opinion in daily conversation. Not everyone is going to agree with you (especially your competition). Are you thick-skinned? People are going to read what you write. Thousands of “plug-ins” are available to add some functionality to your blog. and technical savvy will come in handy however.
He presents a wealth of useful information.net. 109 .I recommend visiting Darren’s blog when you are ready to get started. The web address is www.problogger.
This is attractive to the user because it doesn’t require any contact information. A blog is essentially a chronologically ordered series of written posts with built-in reader interaction (comments or forums). The popularity of RSS is exploding. It might be original content. or span a couple of pages. Definitions What Is A Blog? The term blog is short for “Web Log”. a quote or a link to another article or post. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order so that the most recent posts are displayed first. the content of your posts 110 . What Is A Post? A post is simply a blog entry. It might be quite short. What Is RSS? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Blogs are typically misperceived as personal online journals. Readers who visit your blog can subscribe to your RSS feed (usually by clicking a single button).The basics. and it’s one of the key reasons that blogging is so beneficial to sales professionals. Feel free to visit one of my blogs at http:// www.passivepipeline. Once a visitor has subscribed to your RSS feed. placing them in the ranks of the most popular sources of mainstream media. The fact is that some blogs have readership in the millions (per day).com for an example.
but I suggest you stay focused on one primary theme.Indirect selling. Once your readers have grown to expect a certain type of experience from your blog. Visiting multiple websites on a regular basis to get information is out. RSS feeds are in! Building Your Blog If I’ve done my job representing the valuable role blogging can play in your professional sales. Most of the information available today is for the personal blogger or those who want to make money with their blogs directly. 111 . will be instantly transmitted to whatever service they use to read their news (Google Reader. then you’re probably ready to get started. Step 1 Identify your theme and goals Before you set up your blog or write your first post. for example). Are you going to review products? Provide insider information? Educate your audience? Provide property listings? Your blog can have any purpose or even have more than one. it’s important to determine the overall theme. We are taking the indirect path. I have summarized the steps to begin blogging in a way that lends itself to sales. one which further promotes our expertise and builds our credibility without pitching a specific product or service. changing your focus may cause them to look elsewhere. Below.
If you are a mortgage lender who is licensed it several states. You may send your readers to a trusted colleague in a different area or specialty. If you offer a local service in rural Montana for example. If you handle a small territory. it might make sense. I suggest you establish up-front how you might be compensated for a referral. if you are a true team player. Another consideration in identifying your audience is your actual sales reach. then I advise you target the broader audience. .Identify your readers. This is particularly useful if you are in a position to gain referral business. 112 It is also important to determine how people will locate you. purchasing agents. If this is the case. it is important to focus on content relevant to that reader base. but you need to make sure your content is serving them all equally well. You might also choose to keep your audience very broad. there is no need to expand your reach. if you have a relationship with a trusted colleague in a nearby area. Or. However. Step 2 Identify your audience Who are your target readers? Are they HR professionals. you might flip leads to a co-worker who handles the area outside your region. consumers or CEO’s? You can cater to more than one audience.
Don’t lose sight of this important design element. “Chicago condos”).e. but your writing style and underlying message will be distinctively different. Someone searching for real estate will likely use a city name when researching online (i. Not only will your content be different. If you have been in your field for any length of time. you know best what will benefit your audience. so it makes sense to aim for a broad audience. If you sell enterprise software. A CTO looking for new storage hardware will not. real estate or lawn care). HR professionals want to determine how they can enhance service to their employees. Step 3 Identify your audience’s specific needs If your audience is HR professionals. CEO’s want to know how other companies have instituted change using the products or services offered by your industry. Salespeople want to make more sales. IT professionals prefer details and information on the latest technology. If potential clients are likely to search for your product or service on a local scale (i.And their needs. it is not likely anyone will be searching with geographic location as a buying factor.e. then distinguish yourself as community-committed and target that audience. 113 . your content is going to be different than if you are serving IT professionals.
the intent of this entire book is to maximize your business while spending more time selling. The necessary components of your blog will certainly change as it develops. I recommend you start out by posting a few times a week. external links. As you get the hang of blogging and what your readers are looking for. but initially you will need to determine which elements are most appropriate to include. Remember. it will become easier to set aside an hour or two a week to pre-load all of your content. 114 . Block out a 30 minute window in your schedule to write. and a list of recent posts. an “about the author” page. Step 5 Plan your schedule You will have to decide how much time you can commit to your blog. Step 4 Plan the structure of your blog Common components of a blog include posts. You may be able to work it in a few times a week or choose to load all of your posts on a Saturday afternoon.Making time. comments. You will also want to schedule a couple of times a week to check on comments and interact with readers. among others.
e. the simplicity of Google Blogger will outweigh that one drawback. 115 . Another reason more advanced users lean toward other products is that they want to have their own web address for the blog. you may want to try a more flexible service like TypePad or WordPress. so you can customize your blog to the nth degree (Google’s Blogger is catching up and now offers most of the functionality and flexibility of these more purist products and you can always upgrade to one of these other platforms down the road).com (which is the Blogger default). Step 6 Select a blog service If you’re just launching into blogging. As an added bonus..Choosing the right blog software. Unless you are experienced with website hosting and domains. They offer some additional bells and whistles. It’s hands-down the easiest to use of all the choices available. Google (who happens to own 60%+ of online searches) heavily favors blogs that use their platform (i. If you are more technically inclined. as opposed to yourblog. use Google’s Blogger product.blogspot. and it’s free. more search traffic to your blog). Setting up a blog with Google Blogger is literally a 5 minute process.
Description Your blog’s description will be seen by readers who visit your site.com). visit www. You will want to choose descriptors that possess keywords related to your topic. To get started with Google Blogger.blogspot. which will be shown in the heading. Step 7 Configure your blog For this next step I will assume you’re using Blogger. and the second is in the web address of the blog (yourblog. then you’re probably experienced enough to know where to find these settings.Name carefully. Naming your blog There are two places to provide a name for your blog. If you aren’t. and it will also appear in search engine results.blogger. After that. When choosing a name. be sure to keep your audience in mind. You will either sign in using an existing Google or Gmail account. or create a new one. pick a template and you’re done. but don’t sacrifice keyword use for a clear message. 116 . keep it short but relevant.com. What will attract your target viewers? When choosing a web address. name your blog. One is the title.
3-10 is appropriate. The answer is yes. Blog address Devise a short and relevant address. it gives the appearance that your blog is not very popular. Send pings This option tells your blog software whether you want to notify search engines about your web and blog indexing. and is fairly easy to remember. Depending on the length of your posts. You can archive or categorically arrange posts so that readers can easily access the ones that have been bumped from your home page. 117 . Comments and back-links At first. something that contains keywords relevant to your topic. is short. you may want to keep this option off until your traffic increases.Involve the reader. you can turn them back on. As time goes on. Number of posts to show This option tells the software how many posts (articles) to show on the home page of your blog. it’s expected that a new blog will not have many comments so it’s not a huge concern. you may want to disable comments from your posts. If you have few or no comments. if your posts are still not receiving any feedback. However. Once you get steady traffic.
This MUST be accompanied by a second post which has valuable information for your readers. the author of several blogs including Entrepreneur’s Journey and Small Business Branding. Step 9 Create your “pillar” posts I borrowed this term from Yaro Starek. A “welcome” post by itself is not going to compel anyone to come back. the other sites which link to your blog will also grow (though this is heavily dependent on the quality of your content). Site feed This option allows you to offer an RSS feed for your blog.Now write! Back-links are a way of showing your readers other blogs that reference your posts. You will also need to add buttons to your site to allow people to subscribe. Step 8 Create your first post Begin your blog with a “welcome” post with a brief statement about why you have created your blog and what interests you intend to serve. you will need to activate feeds by turning this option on and naming your feed. There are a couple of different formats which you can investigate. As your reader base grows. For now. Here is Yaro’s description: “A pillar article is 118 .
Share with the world. usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Step 10 Spread the word When your blog is set up and you have your welcome post and one good article.“This style of article has long term appeal. you are ready to present it to the world! 119 .” Yaro suggests that you begin with at least five pillar posts.“. You don’t want to post these articles all at once or even in succession.. The more pillars you have on your blog the better. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. The idea is to have at least five high-impact articles at your disposal to give your readers above-average value.. stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. These pillar posts are also the ones most likely to be picked up and linked by other sites.
In the interest of time. Here are some additional ways to ensure your blog is poised for maximum traffic: Post Quality Content Posting quality content is consistently cited as the number one factor generating blog traffic. This is easier to do than you might imagine. Technorati is the premier blog indexing engine and it will play a big role in your blog’s initial success. Bloggers are a curious bunch. you will need to get the word out.Easy Ways To Build Blog Traffic Now that your blog is ready for the public to utilize. your first visitors may come through no efforts of your own. I will discuss this in the next section. but I would be breaking blogger protocol if I didn’t mention it now. www. so don’t be surprised if your first visitors are fellow bloggers (who are probably well worth knowing).com. #1: Quality content. I have provided you with the most effective online directories. 120 Submit To Online Directories There are thousands of online directories for blogs. but most of them are either not very useful or they will eventually find your blog automatically. Google Blogger will automatically inform Google about your . In fact.technorati.
but I prefer this one because it has a high Google PageRank™. having a link from a page with a high PageRank™ will help you appear higher in search engine results. download the Google Toolbar so you can see each site’s PageRank™. it will typically create a hyperlink that other readers can follow to learn more about the individual that commented. Look for sites that have a rank of five or higher. Post Comments On Other Blogs When you comment on another person’s blog. This tool is free and offers several benefits. Blogcatalog. Do not leave comments strictly to promote your own blog. If you have 121 . Many blog index sites exist. If you’re not using Google Blogger. In addition to being listed on their site. Sign up for FeedBurner. I’m using blogcatalog. visit Google Blog Search Pinging Service to complete this step manually. this is considered “comment spamming” and these comments will most likely be discarded by the author.Participate on other blogs. If you do. You may consider spending some time getting listed with the other directories. most importantly that of distributing your blog posts via RSS.com. It also allows you to quickly view your blog statistics such as the number of visitors and subscribers. blog.
valuable feedback for the author or additional information for other readers. Second and most importantly.com eZineArticles is a place where authors and columnists can submit articles to be viewed and re-used by the masses. it makes your articles available for syndication. Anyone who re-uses your content must credit you and include your signature block (with a link to your blog). This is a valuable tool in building a base of return readers. Submit Your Posts To eZineArticles . they feel engaged in your blog and develop a personal relationship with you. it gets your name and ideas out there. Each article you write includes a signature tag that allows you to include your blog address. If you’re commenting on a site with a big reader base. blogs.Syndicate.com. Always submit your “pillar posts” to eZineArticles. but wait a few days after posting so that Google indexes yours as the original. comment all you like.com to find articles to include in their newsletters. this additional traffic can lead many readers to your blog. 122 . Encourage Comments On Your Blog By encouraging readers to participate. Publishers and content providers constantly scour eZineArticles. and websites. This accomplishes two goals. First.
Stay On Topic Some people. The focus should be on your content. making sure that your posts are visible to as many readers as possible. The rule of thumb is that if it’s not of direct value to your readers. While you want to add elements that make it easy to subscribe to your blog and find relevant links. They may have found a great new Chinese restaurant and can’t wait to tell the world. can get off track. even the best bloggers. Keep The Design Simple Be careful not to add too much distraction to your blog. Furthermore. if it’s not what your readers expect to see. don’t post it. don’t post it. 123 .No fluff. you don’t need to add a ton of bells and whistles. Update Frequently Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping content fresh for your readers. it belongs somewhere else. visit his article: 13 Tips on Asking Other Bloggers for Links. Get Links From Other Bloggers Darren Rowse is again a great resource. If the content is not on topic. frequent updates prompt the search engines and blog reader robots to visit your site more frequently.
Follow these basic guidelines with your specific audience in mind: 1. Direct them to something meaningful in that amount of time. use a different tone or write in a humorous fashion. 3. Maximize Your Reach With Quality Content The definition of good content will depend on your audience. make sure there is something distinctive and memorable about your blog and its content. 4. This doesn’t mean your blog has to contain all original posts. Make your material useful. If your target audience is learning something new and relevant to your topic. If there are 100 bloggers writing on the same topic. 124 . Capture the audience’s attention quickly. What makes one blog legendary could prove useless to a different audience. just make sure that you are providing information that is not posted on every blog in your industry.The right target can make your blog legendary. what makes you different? Why should readers subscribe to your blog? Dare to be different! Take a different stance. Whatever it is. Develop unique material. 2. Make yourself stand out. they will be drawn to your blog. Assume that you have about two minutes of time with your reader.
you are meeting the goal of maintaining a dynamic blog. Finding External Content There are two reasons why you might need to look outside your own brilliant mind for content ideas. Some of the most popular blog sites have multiple posts per day. but this can be a great service to your readers. there are plenty of other resources which you can share with your readers. 5. The second is that you can provide your readers with access to terrific information from other valuable sources. Consider Quantity of Posts – The ideal number of posts will vary.Write 3 to 5 good posts per week. but this is due largely to their specialized content. you may not have anything to write. Subscribe to the RSS feeds from other respected blogs on related topics. If not. such as technology news. 125 . How often you post should be dictated purely by the amount of useful information you have to share. but generally one a day or three to five per week is a reasonable goal. If you can easily write three to five good posts per week. Here are some ideas for finding material: Subscribe to Google Alerts to keep you informed of all the latest news in your industry. One is that at any particular time. Our egos may shudder at the thought of posting someone else’s ideas.
Don’t expect a 126 . First. Browse online trade publications for helpful articles. It’s a very good indicator of how the public receives your site. which articles they are reading. Most blog software allows you to determine how many people are visiting your page. the blogger you reference may become a friend and establish a reciprocal link to you. Copying and posting an entire article (even when you provide credit to the author) is discourteous. and how they reached your site. I would caution against linking to another blog that targets the same exact audience as yours and by all rights is better than your own. you give your readers something useful. The idea is that you retain your readers! Analyzing And Tuning Your Blog Once you have traffic to your blog. it’s a good idea (and responsible blogging) to provide a brief summary. This information is helpful in many ways.Establish links. Second. When incorporating external content. Inform your readers of upcoming events. Establishing a link to other blogs will benefit you in a couple of ways. you will want to look over the usage statistics. followed by a link to the full article. The measure you are most interested in is of how many people are visiting your blog.
of course). the more you can be assured that your blog will run smoothly with less effort. 127 . knowing which posts are well-liked will enable you to decide what to write in the future. This becomes important when you try to determine where to put your efforts in promoting your blog. It is valuable to determine how the users have found your blog. Remember that you don’t need a large amount of blog readers to have a big impact on your sales. The ultimate goal is to turn your blog into an entirely passive entity (except posting. Finally. writing more on that subject should please your audience. If a post on a specific subject is wildly popular. and it’s more about quality than quantity: some of my first readers were from major corporations and still follow my posts regularly. lot of traffic in the first few weeks (or even months in some cases). The traffic will arrive.Evaluate your readers. The more time you spend at the onset attracting visitors.
FeedBurner FeedBurner is primarily for managing your RSS feeds and subscriptions. see where there are from.Analyze. It also has a handy tracking tool and other options to enhance your blog. see which site referred them. By using FeedBurner. I use the following tools to analyze my usage and traffic . and even see which operating system they use. Google Analytics This tool is full-featured for a free product. see which pages they accessed. you can ensure that all of your readers are getting the same RSS feeds. Google Analytics has a lot of versatility. but the most helpful tools are those which allow you to view visitors by hour/day. 128 .
Chapter Summary and Resources.
Blogs are an opportunity to gain authority and credibility, and to have prospects seek out your expertise. Use blogs as a place to publish great content that increase your traffic and reach. Content and perserverence are the two primary attributes of a successful blog. Stay on topic and maintain a consistent voice. Participate in other blogs and industry forums to help drive traffic and increase exposure.
More Great Resources
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income Darren Rowse [Book] Blogging Tips for Beginners [Article] Choosing a Blogging Platform [Article]
Quick Tips: Sales Process
Quick Tips: Sales Process
Never stop experimenting. Don’t reinvent your sales process during the slumps, but always be open to new ways to impact your business and help your clients succeed. If you don’t interact with more than one contact at a company that is purchasing a complex (or expensive) solution , you will very rarely win. You should have three regular contacts per opportunity. If you are going to lose a deal, let it happen as quickly as possible. Know when to cut bait. An opportunity with a 10% chance of closing will take just as much of your time as one with an 80% chance. You can only effectively work on so many deals, therefore it’s best to weed out the low probability prospects and focus on those you are more likely to contract. Even if you don’t have back-fill, spend the time you save finding more positive opportunities. If you’re working five deals and they all fall through, your quarter is blown and you’ll spend the next one trying to re-build your pipe. This is easier said than done, but your passive pipeline will give you the backfill you need and you can turn away low probability deals. A buyer who approaches you is many times more likely to buy.
You should never have to “close” a prospect. Signing the contract should simply be the next step in delivering what they want/need. Your intent is to foster a long-term working relationship with a client. Never let a “presentation” precede a discussion. If you explain to the prospect that you don’t make blind presentations without fully understanding their needs, they will respect you for it. If they don’t, they’re not a decision-maker. Set the stage early for access to power. Whenever you can, make it clear that you need access to the stakeholders in order to bid on a project. If you don’t set this precedent, you will be forced to work with the information gatherer for the entire sales process. The value that you personally bring to the buying process is the single most relevant indicator of how likely you are to win the business. The hardest questions to ask are often the ones that most need asking. One of my personal heroes Mahan Khalsa says that if you are truly trying to help the client succeed, you can get away with some questions that would scare most salespeople. For example, “I haven’t heard anything that would compel me to change providers if I were you, can you share your thoughts with me on that?”
Never rely on anyone else to sell for you. They aren’t salespeople. If someone offers to pass your information on, offer to speak with the intended recipient personally. In this way, you can directly send them information that is actually relevant. Marketing material doesn’t ensure sales. Selling at the C level makes sense sometimes, but not all the time. Most buying decisions are delegated to the director level or lower. It never hurts to engage the CEO, but they do not warrant the brunt of your sales efforts. Besides, they are the names everyone knows, they get assaulted by salespeople all of the time. If you can show someone lower in the hierarchy how your solution will benefit them personally, you have a great chance at a glowing endorsement. Expect (and earn) the same respect and consideration from your clients that they demand from you. Creating the illusion that you are somehow lower than your prospect or client will hinder the entire relationship. This is very common in situations where the relationship was started with a cold-call. If you didn’t get into the relationship on equal footing, work hard to get there quickly.
The New Professional Networking
Your Personal Business Network – Compliments Of Web 2 .0 It’s commonly agreed that people buy from people they know and trust. But unless you provide a local service in a very small town, you don’t have the luxury of being known or trusted by all of the people you would like to do business with. With the overabundance of information currently available in our society and the pure saturation of mainstream media and marketing, it has become more and more difficult for salespeople to stand out. People are so overwhelmed with marketing and solicitations that they are forced to fall back on recommendations from people they trust. In your business, have you ever known a buyer who was so overwhelmed with choices and information that he simply bought from someone he knew or who came recommended, even though it may not have been the best choice? Personal business networking has the potential to overcome this major selling obstacle. One major advantage that networking has over advertising and other forms of revenue generation is that it’s free. The other attraction is that it’s primarily passive, and with a little work and attention can produce opportunities that you simply wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Stand out from the crowd.
You probably already know that I’m referring to LinkedIn. With $12.Are you using LinkedIn correctly? Enter Web 2 . which presents salespeople with even greater opportunities. Regardless of whether you have or haven’t discovered LinkedIn. More than 100. I’d like to share a few fast facts: More than 37 million business professionals currently belong to LinkedIn (26 million more than in 2007). 134 . but you may not be harnessing its full potential. and it continues to develop new ways for users to benefit from its services. you find yourself with a tremendous tool. LinkedIn has taken business networking to new heights. I’d like you to pay special attention to how LinkedIn can have a significant impact on raising your income.0-Powered Personal Business Networking . When you combine the natural benefits of business networking with the power of the internet and the genius of Silicon Valley.000 new business professionals join weekly.8 million in new revenue. Before we dive into of the anatomy of LinkedIn. and the developers are building additional tools such as LinkedIn Answers and Services Directory. LinkedIn has promised to experiment with even more powerful tools in the coming years. LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool even with just the basic functionality.
000/year. I have yet to find a situation where someone I wanted to reach. Members spend an average of 20 minutes on LinkedIn per week. 135 . you can be directly allied to the people you most want to do business with. The average experience level of LinkedIn users is 15 years. Best of all. “People realize that relationships matter in business. Membership includes 89. By simply adding the people you already know and work with to your network. All of the Fortune 500 are represented at the executive level. which. even a CEO.000 C Level Executives (as of 2007) LinkedIn is a connection engine that does not operate on random introductions. you don’t have a big brand behind you. was more than two connections away. The average Harvard Business School graduate has 58 LinkedIn connections. The average Google employee has 47 LinkedIn connections. in some ways.000 CEO’s and another 750. The average user is 39 years old and earns $139. the more powerful the site becomes for you.Build trust. you arrived as a trusted referral and your accolades are immediately apparent to your prospects. As a small business. The more people in your network. People want to find and do business with people who are recommended by people they know.
your long list of satisfied customers can go with you. Even better.” – Konstantin Guericke Co-founder and vice-president of marketing at LinkedIn. the endorsements and connections you’ve built will follow you as well. classmates and business associates. your LinkedIn network will follow you wherever you go. but how can this networking tool actually boost your sales and your career? Reconnecting More than just a way of making new connections. Create A Mobile Network Because it’s a personal vehicle for business development. How LinkedIn Can Impact Your Sales By now the benefits of LinkedIn are probably obvious. Should you choose to change careers. People are less likely to respond to you because they don’t really know who you are. It also gives you an opportunity to put your product or service on the top of your contact’s mind.Boost your sales and your career. LinkedIn enables you to reconnect with previous colleagues. 136 . makes your work harder. Having a profile and endorsements on LinkedIn can help. growing along the way.
line of business and even find former employees of companies. This is not a business scenario. LinkedIn. the man located the French General Manager for United Airlines through LinkedIn and got an introduction to an Israeli contact. you guessed it. The more adept you become at using LinkedIn. Introductions Key contacts and introductions can be fostered through a simple search using your network. The meeting was arranged through. A group of friends and relatives who were scheduled to fly from Israel to attend a man’s wedding in San Francisco encountered an underbooked United Airlines flight. the larger your network and the more valuable your searches will become. Before long the contact had the flight reinstated and United’s French General Manager emailed the man to let him know that all passengers had safely boarded. He liked the entrepreneurs’ pitch and offered to contact them in a few days with a decision. Another article I discovered recounted a meeting between two entrepreneurs looking for capital and the founder of LinkedIn (who invests heavily in startups). You can search by company. keyword. but illustrates my point.Meet key contacts. I read the following in an article on the power of connections on LinkedIn. 137 . While at the airport in Israel.
either as an employee. is at least ten times more likely to garner a response than a cold-call or letter. even without mutual contacts. In fact. Once you have built endorsements. because regardless of how many people you are connected with. blog and anywhere else you 138 . you now have the ability to present credentials and testimonials to potential LinkedIn connections. you add instant and visible credibility to your name. I recommend you also display a button linked to your profile in your email signature. so they are still used sparingly enough to be taken seriously. peer. By having members of your network endorse your work. This is unfortunate. The LinkedIn communications networks aren’t inexpensive. many professional salespeople rely 100% on LinkedIn as a means of prospecting. I haven’t seen any statistics to support this. you won’t likely gain much ground without positive feedback from people who have personally worked with you.Instant credibility. Endorsements Endorsements are the most under-utilized feature among LinkedIn users. Aside from simply adding praise to your profile. InMail By using InMail you can directly contact any other member without the need for a mutual connection. or client. but I would estimate that this type of direct communication.
You might use this strategy to locate a champion for a project beyond your primary contact. I want to know who they know. or to introduce yourself to a key stakeholder who may not yet be directly involved. who has endorsed their work. You can even ask contacts in your network to put in a good word for you ahead of time! Research Competition I research my sales representative competition on a regular basis. It is obviously important to learn as much as you can about a competing company. It’s a great way to monitor who may be courting your best clients. You can find the buttons to cpoy into your signature on your profile settings page on LinkedIn’s website. but I also like to know about the individual people I will be competing against. and as much other information as I can garner. or if you are connected to others in their organization. can make connections. Research Your Prospects LinkedIn allows you to learn about a prospect and their business relationships before you turn to direct communication.Know your competition. I have also made it a habit to browse my contacts to see which competitors they may have recently added to their networks. In this way. you have a chance to ascertain whether you might have a mutual contact. 139 .
sites so he posted a question on LinkedIn. If you want to find out what is important in a business partner. just ask! Another example. Ask For Advice LinkedIn Answers is a survey tool which allows you to pose questions to your entire network. not just your connections. including a referral to someone who could get him a flight! The types of questions you can submit to LinkedIn Answers are limitless. etc. A profile with twenty or more connections on LinkedIn is thirty-four times more likely to be approached with new job opportunities than is one with less than five. Companies like Microsoft and Google spend hundreds of thousands a year on LinkedIn services in order to find good candidates for open positions. 140 . uncover turnover concerns. involves a gentleman who needed to find a flight to the Netherlands to visit a sick relative. Get A New Job A complete and endorsement-rich LinkedIn profile makes an excellent resume and is also bait for potential employers. Within one hour he had six responses.A more powerful resume. see who has endorsed your potential new boss. He wasn’t having any luck with travel. similar to the Israeli scenario I mentioned earlier. LinkedIn also offers a great opportunity to learn more about future employers.
determine the most popular features of a product or service.Get listed. Those in the closest network relation position to the searcher will appear first in the results. your recommendations will appear under that service. but it goes much further than that. etc. Be Listed In The Services Guide A new feature on LinkedIn is the services tab. it is stored in the services directory. You can have your new blog posting critiqued. It’s a way to search for recommended providers. all you need to do is indicate your line of business in your profile and have people write recommendations for you. 141 . When someone within two network-relation levels of you searches for a service provider in your field. It’s completely automated. When someone submits an endorsement for you.
2. I recommend you add all past employers.How To Build (Or Enhance) Your LinkedIn Network Creating your profile on LinkedIn is an intuitive process. This will give you a step up in connecting with more people. schools and groups. Develop your network. colleges and degree(s). Once you have completed step one. The website provides detailed instructions on how to accomplish this. You can also use the toolbar to view LinkedIn information on anyone you communicate with via email. you can scan your mailbox for potential connections and send invitations. club participation. community outreach and any of your other achievements to your profile. Make sure you complete your profile. you can also search for personal contacts by name. Adding your current profile and educational accomplishments isn’t enough. and send invitations to join your network. you can use the “People” tab to locate and add new contacts from your current job. LinkedIn will automatically find these people and provide you with a list to choose which to add to your network. previous jobs. but I have included some instructions to guide you. Once you have done the automated searches. If you download the Outlook toolbar provided by LinkedIn. 142 . 1.
or to request many introductions. you might want to consider the investment. so don’t take it personally if an invitation is not accepted. My LinkedIn network has served me well without paying for any premium membership package. 4. 143 . Now that your contact list is populated. Consider a Premium Membership. It is useful to have recommendations from all contact types (former employers. You never know who will be viewing your profile or why. Some people use LinkedIn regularly. Many people have just as many pending invitations as active contacts. request them from people you have worked with directly and have served well. However. LinkedIn allows you to send a courteous request for endorsements. coworkers and clients). start asking people for recommendations. Demonstrate your diversity and ability to work in a variety of settings. or may have a company policy against using networking sites. with no introduction. For the strongest recommendations.Get the competitive edge. 3. if you want to begin contacting prospects directly. so allow appropriate time for a response. and others every few days. The right endorsements provide you the competitive edge. Some people just don’t commonly use LinkedIn.
This allows for greater outreach. very long A-list. did most of them fit this criterion? The membership will continue to consist of those who are thought of highly in the business world. it does go against the original intent of the service. While no rules exist against adding people you don’t know or have mutual connections with. but built into the minds of its members. Sites like Myspace. When you chose which contacts to invite to your network. LinkedIn is all business. known as “LIONS”.A quality network. Some power networkers. LinkedIn has a brilliant (possibly accidental) system of self-regulation. will display their email address as part of their username to assist strangers in adding them to their networks. Be a good network citizen. FaceBook and even YouTube have caused the general public to profile online networking as a social tool. Professionals are inclined to invite contacts at their level of expertise or above. 144 . 5. This quality is not built into the software. but many would argue it takes the value out of an introduction from a legitimate contact. making LinkedIn a sort of very.
It’s what you’re reading. First. A quick Twitter search will turn up all mentions of your business or product on Twitter. Twitter is a way to connect with the world and update them on what you’re doing. what you’re struggling with. but it must be used correctly (I’ve compiled a short outline of the rights and wrongs of twitter for sales pros). It also gives you an opportunity to connect with customers.Twitter: A Quick Guide For Sales Pros By now you’ve heard of Twitter . what you suggest. Twitter is a fantastic resource for sales professionals. Twitter is often used to vent. and to crowd-source a very large audience. Use 145 . I have found people who are unhappy with the competition and I have found ways to help. and vice versa. and many people include company and product names while doing so. how you can help and how you can give back. to connect with people who are interested in your area of expertise. here are a few of examples of how Twitter has helped me professionally: I have found people who are happy/unhappy with my product and I have made sure they all end up in the former category. Quite simply. I didn’t see much value in that professionally until I realized it’s more than just what you’re doing. or even dabbled with it.
but don’t go into thinking of Twitter as a lead source. In fact. so I want to focus on just the things I feel are important for sales professionals to remember. Yesterday I posted a tweet about a software tool that I really like (@SlideRocket) and a link to read more about it on my website. 146 . Twitter is not for prospecting . I have found people who are considering using the products and services I sell. I often find tweets (individual Twitter messages) from people who are in meetings or demonstrations with my competition. It was good press for everyone! There are plenty of articles on the subject of Twitter.Twitter is not a place to sell. It’s just not. Add Value . At least not in the traditional sense. and included my web address. and. your posts need to add value to the reader’s day. But the venue has evolved. The company reposted my tweet (known as re-tweeting) to over 1. Tweet them back! I have been promoted. This is especially true for people who recieve hundreds of updates per day. You will likely build relationships that turn into prospects. from a business perspective. Twitter Search or your favorite application to find them. Twitter’s tagline “What are you doing?” is partly to blame for the “just ate dinner” and “watching Gossip Girl” tweets.800 followers. the original intention of Twitter was to share just that sort of information.
you can simply exclude the period (justynhoward) and Twitter will recognize it as a seperate email. it adds value to your followers and will likely gain you some additional ones. Use Direct Messages (DM’s as they are known). those I want to get new ideas from. The latter is full of re-tweets and @ responses (a message directed to a certain person on Twitter has an @ symbol in front of the users name). or those who have followed me that also have some useful posts of their own. If you’re having a two-way conversation with someone. It’s not a popularity contest . but I find that a lot of the communications I have on Twitter aren’t necessarily useful to my followers. I have found to share an interest with me. Note: You’ll need a second email address to make a second account.howard). If you use Gmail and have a period in your name (justyn. I use one which consistently adds value to my readers (I hope). I have some of those in my outward facing account as well. I only follow those people who. Don’t start following everyone in hopes that they will follow you back. ReTweet the good stuff . use direct messages. It’s courtesy. through search. That’s what the second account is for. The other I use for more informal things like connecting with vendors or asking questions of my peers. These 147 .And it’s not a popularity contest Have two Twitter accounts . but your messages will still go to the same address.
When you respond to someone with an @ reply. For more advanced twitter tips visit www. If your name is commonly misspelled.Follow me @sell_smarter. feel free to follow me on Twitter @sell_smarter.Twitter. it’s pretty useless. For more beginner-focused information on getting started with Twitter check out this article from CNET . 148 . which is another great place to include a misspelling.com. include the misspellings in one of your tweets. and because they are only seeing one side of the conversation. This tip was modified from one that was passed on by Jill Konrath regarding LinkedIn. are not shown to all of your followers. Finally. so they keep your timeline clean and useful.com [Twitter Search] Twhirl [Twitter Desktop Application] TweetDeck [Twitter Desktop Application] Note: The two desktop applications above are great once you get familiar with Twitter and want a little more functionality/flexibility when viewing and posting Tweets. More Great Twitter Tools: Search. Include keywords and misspellings of your name in your tweets so people can find you.twitip. everyone sees it.
and chances are you already have a few that you are active in. I highly recommend both Twitter and LinkedIn for sales professionals. Facebook. Below are a few things to consider when deciding on a plan that works for you. Where to set up shop? First you need to decide which communities you want to participate in. Specifically. A strategy will increase your effectiveness and also reduce the potential for information overload and productivity drain. but it can be a huge source of traffic and reach if used properly. though.Developing A Social Networking Strategy If you are serious about using social networking to increase your reach and influence. with its over 200 Million users. I have gone back and forth over the idea of using Facebook. 149 . Some recent developments.” which are intended to allow businesses and professionals an opportunity to connect and build relationships on the platform. but you may want to consider others. have made having a business presence on Facebook a lot more appropriate. it’s important to have a strategy for managing these efforts. is often overlooked as a business tool. which I have always considered too personal for business use. I am referring to the launch of Facebook “Pages.
you should visit WhyFacebook. Be aware that your personal profile may need an overhaul to be business-ready. Make sure you read and understand them. who is the authority on the subject and coaches many high profile sellers on using Facebook to increase sales. The terms of service for promoting business on Facebook are very specific and strictly enforced. If you are spending too much time managing your social networking activities. The important thing to remember is not to spread yourself too thin. There may also be other communities where you want to get involved. 2. you are defeating the purpose. 150 .com. Your personal profile will still play a big part in your efforts. such as industry specific networks. this would degrade the quality of your involvement across the board. Business If you are interested in developing your business presence on Facebook. You also need to be mindful of your time. a blog by Mari Smith. since you cannot add friends with ‘Pages’ (they can only add you). Two things to keep in mind when it comes to using Facebook for business: 1. The intent of this book is to develop resource-friendly processes that will grow your business.Personal vs. You cannot possibly have meaningful interactions on a dozen social networking sites.
Link them up . Being active in 3-4 different communities is a great way to network and gain tremendous exposure. etc. share news and participate in conversations. articles. Each of the networks we’ve discussed has a place for other links. Have a common purpose .Be consistent to increase reach. This will help potential “followers” understand what they can gain from networking with you. By consistent I mean the objectives (not the activity) in each should be uniform. An example of using multiple networks effectively might be using your blog to post original. Make it easy for viewers of your Facebook profile to follow you on Twitter. Ideally you want each network to feed the others. While maintaining a common purpose. but you want to stay as consistent as possible. you also need to avoid being redundant. useful content while using Twitter to point users to your blog. etc. so having the same updates or posts on all of your networks is counterproductive. Each of your networks should link to the others. You should also post some of your best work (blog posts. 151 . You can use LinkedIn and Facebook both to network and to introduce users to your work by pointing them to your Blog and Twitter accounts. make sure your Twitter profile has a link to your blog.) to your Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Choose a voice . Be mindful of your time. without participation and adding value. you can participate in the Answers area by posing or answering questions. That’s not to say you can’t mix it up from time to time. there’s not much point to establishing a social network. You can also be recognized for giving quality answers and resources to others. On Twitter. but you should choose a primary “voice” for each. The point is. Setting up profiles and occasionally updating content are not enough to see the real benefits of social networking. comment to others. On Facebook. for example. You want to stay consistent with your tone and personality in each of these environments so that users who choose to interact with you will have a familiar experience. pose questions and provide value. they’ll stop and take notice. Participate .setting up your profiles. Initially you’ll spend a lot more time with these tools . You need to be active in discussions. When people start seeing you everywhere. and is even more true of your Twitter account. On LinkedIn. Your blog may embody much more of your personality than your LinkedIn profile. adding users and making minor tweaks 152 . you can join groups. Note: Using the same photo for each community is a good idea because it helps promote your personal brand.Participation drives traffic. you can seek out others with common interests or help someone solve a problem.
You may also find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of great information (on Twitter for example). you’ll still need to keep up with the outside world and your normal duties. but the long term benefits can be phenomenal. Plan this time in your schedule and stick to it.than you will eventually. along the way . 153 .Plan time to cultivate. Once you get the hang of things and build your network. just know that until your networks gain critical mass. it’s not necessary to spend more than 5-10 minutes a day on each of your communities. Develop a plan. Social Networking does not usually bear immediate fruit. It’s OK.
Whether someone is actively looking for this information. My suggestion.com and search for yourself. religious beliefs. and the purpose of this section. it’s highly likely that you spend a good deal of time on the web (If you don’t. Things that may seem trivial among your circle of friends may not be as harmless to professional contacts. Want proof? Go to www. or that picture of you doing a keg stand at your family picnic. but this is becoming increasingly popular and it’s the first thing I do when I’m researching a contact. Not every prospect or potential employer is going to google you or lookup your Facebook profile. It’s worth the time and effort to make sure you’re putting your best virtual foot forward. is to scrub this information and make sure that your professional reputation is represented in the best possible way. the amount of individual information available online might surprise you. Because of the proliferation of the web and the explosive growth of social media. 154 .pipl. people ARE seeing this information. you should). What you might not realize is the permanent footprint you leave behind. or just browsing and clicking links. This is especially true when it comes to things like politics.What does the web say about you? Managing Your Online Reputation As a sales professional.
In some cases (such as with public records) you cannot remove the information. it’s probably best to keep business contacts off your friends list. or it may involve deleting an account from whatever site the information may reside on. which is fine. If you’re trading jabs with friends. ranting about the last movie you saw. Keep your professional and social lives separate . or posting private pictures on Myspace or Facebook.Did you know? Google is a verb. Here are some tips to help you tidy up your online persona: Start with Google To start. visit the links that you would like to remove from the search results and look for ways to either hide or delete that information. You need to decide what level of distinction you want between social networking and your business. It may be a simple step. but you may be able to push it off of the front page using some ideas I’ll share a little further on. Take note of anything in the first 2 pages of results that you wouldn’t share with a first date. It might also be necessary to contact the site owner. google your name. Use quotations around your name in your search so you will only get exact matches. Now. results that actually refer to you may not even appear in the first few pages. If you have a common name. 155 .
It may also be useful to delete any outdated profiles. While your daily social site might be up to date. My suggestion is to start by using your favorite social network for friends/family. it’s time to make it shine. you don’t want to forget about an old profile from your college days that could come back to haunt you. but you need to be cognizant of this. though Facebook has presented businesses with some compelling opportunities. Another thing to keep in mind is the recent popularity of tagging people in photos. Your name can be associated with a photo that someone else posts. Here are a few good ideas for increasing your online cred: 156 .Keep business seperate. and use a site such as LinkedIn for business contacts. If you decide that you want to use Facebook or similar sites for business networking. and you may not even be aware of it. as discussed in the previous section. You can also control what content is available to your “friends” in the most popular online communities. Of course most of us aren’t being caught in tabloid-worthy photos. Load up on the good stuff Once you have sterilized your online presence. I prefer to keep them completely separate. make sure you clean up your profile so that it is suitable for this purpose.
yourname. or job role.com. you can simply redirect it to your LinkedIn profile or something similar. and it will benefit you to keep these things in mind. buy www. There are also services such as Reputation Defender that you can use not only to monitor your reputation.ezinearticles.com. Ask colleagues and clients for testimonials.Post more good stuff. As Bing Crosby said. 157 . Your online persona is going to become increasingly important in any profession. If it’s available. they also do very well in search engine results. Sites with large amounts of traffic rank very high in search engine results. you’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. A good LinkedIn profile should be as complimentary as a well-written resume (and can be used as such). Participate in online forums related to your industry. You don’t have to put anything there. but to help to clean it up and make sure people are only seeing the things you want them to see. Not only can these sites be informative. Make sure you have a complete LinkedIn profile. Have some useful information to share with the world? Have articles published on sites like www. The reason this is good to have is that search engines will often place sites with the search term in the domain name higher in the search results. interests.
don’t buy anything published before mid-2008. Include a link to your profile in your email signature and invite prospects to join your network.com [Blog] LinkedWorking: Generating Success on The World’s Largest Professional Networking Website [Book] Note: If you’re looking for other books on the subjects presented in this chapter. not to sell directly. Summary A complete and testimonial-rich LinkedIn profile is a must for any sales professional. Develop a specific strategy and don’t spread yourself too thin.Chapter Summary and Resources. Social networking is a way to build relationships. too much has changed since then. 158 . More Great Resources Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time [Book] WhyFacebook. Consider Twitter and Facebook as additional networking avenues.
If you want to provide greater value and a vastly more enjoyable experience for your prospects. these are all bad). chances are you give sales presentations.How To Create And Deliver A Great Sales Presentations If you sell larger-ticket items or services. And chances are you’re doing it wrong. 159 . It’s OK. Are your first slides full of company information? Do you use the same slide deck for every presentation? Are your slides full of bullets? Are your on-screen sentences more than 6-8 words? Does any slide require more than 5 seconds of reading? Do you spend time on demonstrations when a screen-shot would suffice? Are you guilty of lousy presentations? Most of us are guilty of a few (or all) of these things. we should explore some ways you can improve this process. If your product/ pricing/reputation is superior enough. you may make an average number of sales this way. You’re doing things exactly the same way your competitors are. Here’s a quick checklist to decide whether your sales presentation needs work (hint.
but ask yourself if every part of your presentation adds value. reschedule the meeting. It’s your job to understand what will add value to your audience and to deliver nothing more. If your slides are full of information that is easily found online or in your brochures. the second will focus on what’s in the presentation. 160 . So how do we do things right? The next section will be broken into two parts. fine.Do your research. The first will focus on the technical aspects of delivering your presentation. all but 2 or 3 of them remain silent. Does the number of years you’ve been in business matter? Salesforce. Does the location of your corporate office have any impact your audience? If it does. are there people from your company involved in the meeting that don’t need to be? I have a competitor who regularly brings 6-10 people to every presentation. If it doesn’t. get rid of the useless. Your sales presentation should tell a detailed story of how your product/ service will improve life for those involved. ditch it. yet it is probably the most respected. My point is.com is one of the youngest companies in the CRM space. If you haven’t had enough dialogue with the prospect to understand where the value lies. unplug the Internet and start over. It overwhelms the conference room and makes the prospect wonder if your bulging travel budget is reflected in your pricing. On the subject of useless.
right?) but you need to set an agenda and use it. when you present (relative to the other vendors) can be a major advantage. Discovery vs . 161 . It’s a waste of time and a cause for frustration. if you haven’t done discovery.Your competition is slacking. Presentation Always treat discovery and presentation as two separate steps. That should take plance in a separate meeting involving the stakeholders to determine where the value is. and it should be addressed briefly at the beginning of your presentation so that everyone knows what to expect. The first half of your presentation should not be spent asking questions to determine how the second half will go. To present last? Or first? In a competitive selling environment. Again. Use an agenda It doesn’t need to be on the slides or in the handouts (which you never give until after the presentation. reschedule the meeting. You also need to make sure that your team members understand this and that they show up to the dance armed with the information you’ve already gathered. Don’t make the prospect repeat themselves and reset the foundation. This should be a set of objectives mutually agreed upon by you and the prospect. and can suggest changes if needed.
when presenting last you have a unique opportunity to determine how you stack up against the competition. Finally. or if I feel like another presenter is in the lead. I like to go first to set the bar for the other presenters. During the first presentation. unique advantages and a powerful story to tell. So when do you go? Personally. if during my discovery I have uncovered that I have major. or any capabilities that we have not yet demonstrated?” You’re the only presenter with this advantage. so the chances that you will be able to pick your spot are pretty good. When going last. I like to go last. as the prospects are probably already fairly well informed and tired of being in the conference room. you should be extra careful to exclude unnecessary information and education points. By simply asking.Present last. they didn’t know what to ask. 162 . Another advantage of going last is that the audience will typically ask more questions and give you more opportunity to show value. I also like to make sure I show the prospect a few things they haven’t seen before. are there any areas where you do not feel we are the best solution. If my discovery has not uncovered many ways in which I have an advantage. Be cautious: while going last has its advantages. or first? Most sales professionals don’t think to suggest when they’d like to present. “Considering all of the presentations you’ve seen.
they are probably shuffling around before you arrive. However. I will reiterate them just in case. and vice-versa. there are things to consider for each situation which. check out our job boards). let them see your enthusiasm (if you don’t have enthusiasm for what you sell. It truly makes a difference as far as the vibe in the room. In a conference room setting. In Person Establish a time to arrive which will allow you to properly setup. Virtual There are times when meeting in person is more appropriate than meeting virtually. them” seating arrangement. Don’t speak from behind the audience while they look at the screen. Don’t assume the contact knows you will arrive early. test the Internet connection. although they may fall into the common sense category. The prospects’ eyes should focus on the screen for no more 163 . There shouldn’t be much there to look at anyway! You are the mascot. Get cozy. During discussion periods it should feel like a roundtable discussion. grab a drink of water.Face-to-face. be a team. avoid the “us vs. Always get a cell number for your contact . You hope to be working closely with these people. In Person vs . etc.
Good ones aren’t cheap. Don’t walk around handing out business cards one-by-one while everyone is sitting down. Use a presentation clicker. This is just a pet peeve of mine. Spread the love. Virtual Send the virtual conference details when you set the meeting. You can do that at the end if needed. the rest of the time they are witnessing wisdom and value spewing from your happy face. Nothing screws up your momentum like walking back to the laptop to change slides. You’re going to invite these guys to join your LinkedIn network tomorrow anyway. Anyone in that room can roadblock your sale. There are also some cool iPhone applications that can be used to advance your PowerPoint slides from your phone (sure to impress the IT folks in the room). Your contact wants to get people scheduled before calendars fill up. 164 . Don’t do that. than 5-10 seconds. no handouts. in my opinion. aren’t you? Some of us have a tendency to focus eye contact only on the people they are familiar with. Don’t make them send an update when you get around to setting up the virtual conference. not the day before/of the meeting. Here are some options.No cards. but they are worth it. but business cards are dead.
Though you can tell their voices apart. Otherwise. give each members title and explain why you have asked them to join. Make sure someone is watching the chat window. If there are more than 5-6 people on the prospects’ side. Ask the prospect to arrive a few minutes early so you can work through any technical issues without eating into your meeting time. Having your team introduce themselves can also be awkward. Each member of your team should be accustomed to stating their name before they speak if there are more than 2-3 of them. When introducing your team. your prospect probably cannot.these programs are updated often. the prospect can be confused as to who is talking. even if it’s one they use regularly .Manage introductions. Instead. Invite prospects to use the chat box for questions so that they don’t forget them while you are talking. don’t ask for introductions . find out who is coming in advance and acknowledge them. Ask the prospect to test out the virtual conference tool in advance. just pause briefly for each to say hello if you are more comfortable with that. 165 . You should get an attendee list in advance regardless.it can be awkward.
166 . Practice. If someone needs to get up.studies show most people’s attention span lasts about 15-20 minutes. Practice. By the end you’ll be so comfortable with the delivery that it will flow with ease on game day. The other (and maybe this is just me) is that the cord keeps you from wandering away. As such. One benefit is that you have your hands free to run the presentation. Because every presentation should be mostly unique based on the prospect’s situation. and I would have to trek back to my computer (sometimes rooms away) to change the slide. here are a few more tips to keep in mind. well conducted meeting. Every time I give a presentation. I still use a fairly long cord. they’ll do it. Use a headset. so now we’ve laid the groundwork for a professional. 1. it’s important to run through it once to yourself. start from the beginning. especially executives). Do it out loud. If your meeting is long enough to require breaks. have it in person (and consider shortening it . I used to have a bad habit of this. It’s just too difficult to manage. When you goof up. it is the first time I have given it.Practice. OK. Before we move on to the presentation itself. No breaks in virtual meetings. these should not be canned presentations that you can give with no preparation. Practice your presentation.
join a local Toast Masters group. If there are people from the prospects’ side that won’t get any value out of the meeting. Anyone who tells you to just “picture them naked”..Make sure there’s value for everyone in the room. Kindly reject RSVP’s. Otherwise it almost seems as if you’re just seeing the slide for the first time yourself as you gather your thoughts. only touching on technicalities if needed. 3. let them know and suggest setting up a separate meeting. On to the presentation. hasn’t spoken in public. This happens often with IT people who are brought into meetings unnecessarily. Practice is the only way to get over this hurdle (which is especially common among folks who transition from inside sales). Print your slides 6 to a page and keep them handy. If you are not fully comfortable with speaking to groups. 2. 4.. Why are they invited? Because your competition gives the dog-and-pony that includes every piece of irrelevant information that can be fit on a slide. You tell a story about a brighter day for their business. I find it useful to know what slide is coming next so that I can make an intelligent transition. or volunteer to give internal presentations to your company. 167 .
Slides . devoid of any fluff and full of value. There’s a common phrase involving PowerPoint and “death. while unfortunately common.” which I dislike so much that I can’t bring myself to string it together here (I am allergic to cliches).99% of slides are terrible. structure a meaningful presentation. Not everyone is great in front of an audience. your prospect and your ideas. at some point you are probably going to have to put together a slide deck to educate a group on the value of your product or service. A presentation would just be you. slides wouldn’t exist. They expect boring slide after boring slide. Not everyone has the polished look or charisma of a news anchor. Everyone can. But the client is going to want to see the solution in action. and slide presentations or virtual demos are the ways they are used to doing so. most slide presentations bore the snot out of a large portion of your audience. is to lose a great competitive advantage. If you give them any reason to think your presentation is the same (bullets 168 . Even if you are excellent at solution selling and gaining buy-in from power. this is the area where most salespeople come up WAY short. To do otherwise. Slides . Slides . These things do not need to be disadvantages. Believe it or not. however. In a perfect world. Half of them are there because they were told to be and would rather be doing just about anything else. But the fact is.
169 . Your value is your expertise and your ideas. Your company probably breaks all of these rules. They could have come from anywhere. the good stuff should be coming out of your mouth. anyone?).Less is more. you’ll lose that group immediately. facts) More Pictures/Diagrams More “storytelling” More prospect More focus on the presenter and their ideas This is quite a bit different from what most of us are familiar with. There is no enthusiasm or emotion in words on a screen. Here is a quick formula for a good slide deck. clip-art. Every presentation you’ve ever seen probably breaks all of these rules. The other half will suffer through the typical presentation because regardless of your lousy slides. they are no longer your ideas (in the prospect’s mind). That doesn’t make it OK. Less words Less bullets Less slides Less fluff (transitions. what use are you as a presenter? A document would suffice just fine. they need to solve a problem or harness an opportunity. If all you have to offer is bullets and drawn out text. A slide should be a representation of an idea. As soon as you put them in a slide.
you’ll begin to see the beauty of this and you can shoot for the 6 word mark. they are not paying attention to you. In the second example. Seth Godin. but they are rare. Text on the screen should not take more than 5 seconds to read. And they will. They audience can read too. Smarter 170 Now. See the images to your left for an example of old thinking vs. vs. Don’t. There are exceptions to this rule. How different would that be from the 42 slide presentation your prospect just sat through? . Never repeat the information on the screen verbatim (or even close). It’s just dumb and I don’t think I need to explain why. if done properly. In fact. such as in the case of a quote. When you get good at it. not a single item on that list is going to resonate. you may be inclined to use more slides. you reference emotion and then YOU tell the prospect about why your customer experience is so extraordinary.Usual You can read. I tend to agree. If they spend more time than that reading. you can probably give your whole presentation using just 5-6 slides. if you adopt this idea (which I hope you do). So what?! Nobody wants to be read to. In the first example. new. one of my favorite idea people. It’s all stats and every vendor who has walked through that door has had them. has said in his articles and books that you should never use more than 6 words on a slide. but I understand this will be too dramatic a change until you get used to presenting in a different way.
Another great (free) resource is my. get good quality stock photos from istockphoto. You can read more about Lovely Charts here. things that your solution can help with that your prospect had not yet considered. One thing that every presentation should also include is new ideas. Then. decide if an image or diagram can properly relay the message. consider giving each item a separate slide. though. that Office 2007 does have some very well formatted “Smart Art” for creating diagrams. or samples of previous work. You can use things like similar case studies. This could mean simplifying a process. Content Every slide in your presentation should tell a story about how the prospect’s life will be better with your solution. If you still find yourself left with bullets.com or stock. make sure they are not cluttered or tough to understand. When using diagrams. give it the attention it deserves. prospect-specific samples. Do not use the lousy clip art provided with PowerPoint.lovelycharts. It’s worth noting. eliminating 171 . If it is really important enough to leave in the presentation.Text is for proposals.com.xchng. When choosing pictures. Images A picture is worth how many words? Use one whenever possible to accent your point. A well-thought-out diagram is just as good. All of them.
I go through the buffet and look for slides with similar ideas that I can re-purpose. and I often come up with better ideas for the current presentation after browsing previous ones. Is the prospect really going to forget which company is presenting to them and need to be reminded with a logo on every slide? 172 . You wouldn’t believe how many presentations are put together like Frankenstein’s Monster. say so. after I have conceptualized the presentation.Start from scratch. there may be extra information on those slides that doesn’t need to be there. Design Your company may have standard branding guidelines. impacting a separate business unit or simply doing something better than was expected. These are the moments you should aim for. This saves me a lot of time. A poorly designed template can distract your audience or give an amateurish impression. redundant solutions. Make sure your progression of slides is logical. As I mentioned. and in what order. I save all of my slides and add concepts that I may want to use later in a sort of master file which I call my buffet. I build every presentation from scratch. or even templates for presentations. We’ve all had those moments when the audience starts nodding in agreement and talking amongst themselves. In addition. Then I go about creating my slides and putting them together. Later. I determine what I need to display to accentuate my message. If they are trash.
which is discussed in detail in the Additional Tools chapter. I highly recommend a book called Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. Conclusion While there is a lot more that could be said on this subject. is SlideRocket. and I could probably write an entire book on it (I might). This is not necessary: white space can dramatically enhance the aesthetics of your presentation. Your prospects will thank you for varying from the garish slides they are used to. It is an easy.Don’t be afraid of good design. Another awesome design tool. For more excellent information on slide design. but we’re not trying to turn you into a graphic artist. Don’t be afraid of white space. 173 . There are many other concepts to consider in design such as alignment and consistency across pages. I hope I have given you enough information that you might be able to modify some of your current practices and make the presentation process better for all involved. online alternative to PowerPoint that creates stunning slide presentations. Some people feel the need to fill every inch of the screen with something.
virtual) Give the audience less to read Bring the focus back to the presenter Use images and diagrams to relay ideas Focus on the prospect and how specifically you will help them succeed Cut WAY back on bullets and text Use a professional and well-designed template More Great Resources Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Garr Reynolds [Book] How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You From the Competition [Book.Chapter Summary and Resources. preorder] 174 . Summary Be prepared and conduct thorough discovery Eliminate the useless Plan for your environment (in-person vs.
present a solution. Technical demonstrations should account for no more than 30% of your allotted time unless they clearly show how your solution will meet the exact needs of the client. If someone you have never met will be attending a meeting. If a business decision warrants the prospect’s CEO’s presence. Don’t let your sales engineer or product manager sidetrack your meeting. it might warrant yours as well. Open-ended agendas show a lack of preparation. they will spend 175 . do not schedule a virtual conference. Provide adequate structure to ensure that you will cover the most important items on your agenda. Stick to a well composed agenda and encourage conversation. They most often don’t understand the direction you have intended for the dialogue and if allowed.Quick Tips: Meetings Quick Tips: Meetings Never demonstrate a product. Never leave a meeting without knowing the name and role of everyone in the room. Match power with power. The one person you do not introduce yourself to may be crucial in securing the deal. You have only one opportunity to make a first impression and an in-person meeting is by far more effective than a virtual meeting.
Whenever possible. Decision-makers crave real world applications. If you bring your superiors into a first meeting for no reason. especially if one that involves one of their competitors. You will be surprised by how many of your competitors fail to do this. 176 . and the feedback will be immediate. you are giving up power. Have this discussion before the meeting. Your demo should tell the story of exactly how the needs will be addressed. The prospect will either see you as incapable of meeting their needs or they will prefer to communicate with your superiors. This is also a great way to resurrect a dead audience. One of the most valuable pieces of information you can provide to a wide-eyed board room is how a similar company is meeting the same challenges using your product or service. demonstrate your understanding of the prospects’ needs.time on features and benefits that are important to them and not to the client.
You’re a finalist. you’ve learned new ways to increase your credibility. especially those involving RFP’s. So far. but compared to the 3-5% chance most experts suggest. will gain the most from this chapter. especially when working with RFP’s. regardless of predisposition. it’s quite a leap. I think a short-list vendor has at least a 25% percent chance of winning the business. repeatable process for engagement during the final stages of the selection process. I think that sales professionals who execute this process skillfully can raise this percentage to 50% or higher. I don’t fully buy into this theory. if freelancers using eLance to win business were to use these methods. though the ideas presented have value for all sales professionals. 25% is not staggering. you have an incredible opportunity to block out your competition if you develop and execute a defined. their sales would increase dramatically. when using the techniques discussed in this chapter. Traditional wisdom suggests that sophisticated buyers have already made a selection at this stage of the process. develop more opportunities and give a stellar presentation. For example. Since 177 . so what? Creating A Defined Short-List Process Note: Readers who engage in highly competitive sales processes. Now that you’ve made the short-list. Further.
I knew that with an easily repeatable process. the buyer goes mostly quiet. my success rate (executed contracts) has been 80%. He also suggested that you either change the game (engage in dialogue with the buyer and insert inherent advantages and differentiators into the evaluation criteria) or decline to participate in the RFP. I wanted to develop a way to increase prospect engagement during this stage of the sales cycle. totaling over $1. implementing these practices in the second half of 2008.80% win rate. I exchanged some notes on a napkin with my boss suggesting that we had won 4 of 5 mostly blind RFP’s in the past 6 months. we could still capture revenue from these types of buying scenarios without expending too much in the way of resources (outside of the drafting of the responses and a few conference calls). considering only opportunities in which I was not the first person in the deal or “blind” RFP’s. I attended a seminar in which the speaker again cited that you only have a 3-5% chance of winning an RFP when you are not the first vendor in the deal. The challenge I was attempting to address when I started experimenting with this process was a typical one. and you check in from time to time and essentially sit on your hands until a decision is announced. During a sales conference in January (2009). and to figure out things that would set me apart from my competition and increase my chances of winning. and I decided to further define and enhance my short list process. 178 . You make the short list.3M in contract value.
Sample process: The final process will look different for everyone. Every item on this list has a purpose. Here is an example of what it might look like (I have omitted timeframe from this example): Short List Notification Send Thank you and Sequence of Events Begin drip campaign of testimonials from similar clients Begin drip campaign of relevant white-papers Invite additional contacts to join your network on LinkedIn Begin “ownership” phase Schedule scoping call with IT Resources Schedule Implementation Overview Call Send Commitment Letter from Executive Send detailed information regarding what the buyer can expect after the sale. to reduce the perceived risk of your solution (risk concern is at its highest point during this part of the sales process) by sending testimonials . but the real intent is to engage the prospect in ways that your competition does not. including sample project plan Continue to revise sequence of events with buyer input 179 This is very close to the process I used to achieve the 80% win-rate I mentioned.
You can even use a template for several of the items. what can you do during the decision phase to provide more value and demonstrate professionalism in ways that your competition does not? 180 . and to begin to transfer ownership to the buyer by introducing key players and resources which are typically held until after the selection. so why not spend a little more and dramatically increase our chances of winning? Many people may disagree with me on this subject. Ask yourself. these items are resource friendly and easy to implement. The sale has cost us money up to this point. Your primary goal during this process is to eliminate fear and transfer ownership of the solution.Hedge your bets. With the exception of the scheduled calls/meetings. but I consider it hedging my bets. and white-papers. but these methods work. Summary You can dramatically increase your chances of winning competitive opportunities by developing a repeatable short-list process. Some may consider this to be throwing money at a long-shot sale.
Free as they may be. Every tool listed in this chapter is highly recommended and has increased my productivity or sales performance in some way.usually with very limited restrictions. Every tool here is also free. please let me know! My favorite chapter. these are some of the coolest tools discussed in this book! 181 . I am constantly looking for new tools to share with my readers. If you feel that something is missing or have a suggestion for another tool that I can include in an update.Additional Tools and Resources On the following pages you will find some of my hand-picked favorite resources for sales professionals. or has a free trial .
Whereas common PowerPoint presentations can be spotted by their drab appearance.Website: SlideRocket. but that’s about where the similarity stops. it’s similar to PowerPoint. SlideRocket presentations can be identified by their stunning graphics. $20/mo (Business) Key Benefits: Visually appealing presentations User-friendly tools Great template and imagery options Web-based Presentation analytics Flikr integration Quote search tool Collaboration Conduct meetings from website SlideRocket! SlideRocket is one of those tools I’ve been hoping would come around for a long time. $10/mo (Individual). 182 . information.com Ease Of Use: Intermediate Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free (Basic). endless bullets and clip-art. In that sense. It is an online tool for creating and delivering presentations. modern elements and focus on ideas vs.
because they are a very simple and extremely efficient way to intelligibly represent even the most complex ideas.com Purpose: Chart/Diagram Creation Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Key Benefits: Superior Charts Chart Library Export to Presentation Software Easy to use Easy to customize LovelyCharts If you’ve ever tried to build a chart or diagram in Word or Excel.Lovelycharts. we draw!” . “Diagrams are great.Website: Lovelycharts. you know the process can be cumbersome and the results leave something to be desired.com [sic] 183 . LovelyCharts takes all of the hassle out of creating elegant and logical charts & diagrams. But drawing diagrams can also be very complicated. It’s also super easy to use and it’s free. Lovely Charts’ motto is “You think. simply because most diagramming software require you to draw.
com Purpose: Find Contacts/Prospects Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Plans Vary by Activity Key Benefits: Find exactly the contact you need 11. mount effective campaigns and conduct business with greater ease. build targeted lists and better promote your website.. and the free information they provide. It’s become very popular because of it’s ease of use. Jigsaw also offers powerful tools that enable you to make robust searches. Company Wiki and Research Tab let you quickly dig deeper to secure those hard-to-reach contacts.9M Contacts from 2.. accuracy of data. “Jigsaw is more than a go-to place for those looking to conduct vibrant.” -Jigsaw. maintain and constantly update our vast database of millions of business contacts. efficiency and success.000 members who contribute to. efficient and successful B2B campaigns.Website: Jigsaw. for free! Dynamic features like Free Company Data. We’re also a global community of 700.com 184 . completeness.2M Companies Pay-per-use option Earn credits for adding contact info Easy to use Most popular online contact database Jigsaw Jigsaw is the most popular place online to get and share contact information.
Click here to visit the forums and create your profile.com. It’s always free to use and interact with other Sales Pros from around the world. or simply get advice from others on any variety of topics.Website: Passivepipeline.com Purpose: Connect and share ideas with other Sales Professionals Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Always Free Key Benefits: Free to use Personal Profile Network and share ideas with salesprofessionals from around the globe. to presentations. Get feedback on your sales copy or pitch. closing and more. fine tune a presentation. RFP creation. Discussions range from topics like prospecting. Searchable Knowledge Base New users join daily Learn from the experts Sales Success Forums The Sales Success Forums are an online discussion tool hosted by ThePassivePipeline. 185 .
com Purpose: Company & Contact Information Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free for basic search Key Benefits: Easy access to information sourced from all over the web. “ .their name. access to the right person .Website: Zoominfo. but it’s free. or the engineering manager or the vice president of IT. Whoever it is. “You spend hours researching and making cold calls to find the right person within the company you’re targeting. OneSource).Zoominfo. their phone number. their email address .opens the door for you.com 186 . whatever their title. Maybe you need to connect with the head of human resources. It is not as comprehensive as some of the paid services (Hoovers. Every minute spent making fruitless phone calls is a minute lost in closing deals and making money. See updated news stories/press releases/whitepapers See key contact information See detailed contact information (paid version) Zoominfo Zoominfo takes the hassle out of finding detailed company profile information and building lists.
I highly recommend this tool to anyone who manages a blog. It works with most popular blogging platforms and allows you to create great looking blog posts. 187 .Website: download.com/writer Purpose: Blog Authoring Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Key Benefits: WYSIWYG Interface Easily Add Photos/Video Preview Your Posts Save Drafts Publish Automatically Create great looking posts Microsoft Live Writer Microsoft Live Writer is a free and incredibly easy to use tool for writing blog posts.live. to preview them before you publish and to send them directly to your blog.
188 .Website: RememberTheMilk. and that’s it. easy to use.com Purpose: Task Management Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Key Benefits: Web/PC/Mobile based . you’ve tried several different tools to keep yourself on task over the years. Remember The Milk If you’re like me. I’ve tried everything from PDA’s to Outlook to Notepads and just about everything else. It always goes OK for a few days. portable and engaging .meaning it emails you daily task lists which can help remind you to use it while you’re adjusting to the new process. based on the Get Things Done (GTD) model developed by David Allen. Remember The Milk is intuitive. Sound familiar? Finally I found a task management software that works for me because it was built intelligently.use it anywhere Intuitive grouping and priority labeling Exceptionally easy to use and update Email Reminders Flexible sorting and filtering Add Tasks Via Email Take a tour here.
189 .offering summaries and the key points of thousands of business books as PDF or Audio files. You can download a few abstracts for free using the link on the left.com Purpose: Business Books Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Varies by subscription type Key Benefits: Digest dozens of books in the time it takes to read one. Their team of editors does a fantastic job of grasping and relaying the concepts of hundreds of books each month.Website: GetAbstract. Evlaute the book before you buy PDF/Mobile and Audio Formats All the latest titles and bestseller Try it free GetAbstract Did you ever read CliffsNotes when you were in school? GetAbstract is the business equivelant to CliffsNotes .
and even aside from the extra features. relationship building. more efficient Outlook experience Xobni Xobni (“Inbox” backwards) is a free tool for Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 which offers a very compelling set of features for Sales Professionals. it’s free. it makes your email history much easier to deal with.Website: Xobni. Overall it’s a great tool (see all the features on the left). and productivity. These features come in three main areas: organization. any increase in productivity is highly desirable. more comprehensive search Detailed user information LinkedIn and Facebook integration Email history with user by conversation History of files exchanged between you and the user Ability to schedule time with the user based on your calendar openings Hoovers company profile information Contacts you have in common with the user An overall better. 190 . In a year when experts predict the average adult will spend 41% of their work time managing email.com Purpose: Outlook Enhancement Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Key Benefits: Faster.
.com Purpose: Prospecting Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Varies by use Key Benefits: See who is accessing your site See what content they are veiwing See company profile information from the dashboard Run Reports Automated email notification View the keywords they used to find your site LeadLander LeadLander is a very cool utility that allows you to see what businesses visit your website and which specific pages they visit. Salespeople can identify their own territory in the settings. This is a fantastic opportunity to find warm prospects and identify their specific interests. You will likely need to talk to your webmaster to follow the instructions which are sent when you start the trial. 191 Note: There is a script that must be placed at the bottom of your web pages in order to use this product. and LeadLander can also send automated emails in real time as the prospects visit your site.Website: LeadLander. Powerful stuff.
com/reader Purpose: RSS Reader Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Key Benefits: Manage all of your blog feeds in one place Discover New Feeds Much quicker than visiting each blog Include Google Alerts to monitor search engine results Google-Simple Google Reader Google Reader is the preferred reader for reading and managing RSS Subscriptions. It’s a free tool from the folks at Google Reader Labs. By using RSS you can keep current on all of your favorite blogs. search results and more.Website: Google. 192 .
This makes it very hard to stay in tune with what’s happening now. and you are continually updated whenever there are new additions to the web that match your criteria.Website: Google. Instead of thousands or millions of search results. Google will provide you with links to only the latest articles. Because of the algorithms that search engines use to rank search results. I’ll give you an example of how I use Google Alerts to illustrate why this is important: I have Google Alerts set up to search for entries containing my industry and the term “RFP”. Any time those two phrases appear on a website or article. the first dozen . It works very much like a traditional Google Search. It’s also probably the easiest to use. A big portion of my company’s business involves formal bid processes.com/Alerts Purpose: Market Intelligence Ease Of Use: Beginner Free Trial: Yes Cost: Free Google Alerts Google Alerts is one of the most powerful single tools on the internet for sales professionals. 193 If I were to simply do a Google search for those terms. except the results are delivered to you automatically via email. and it’s free. Google tells me about it. newer articles and blog entries would very rarely make it to the top of conventional search results for quite a while. blog entries and websites containing the search terms you specify.
I am able to find these new opportunities without sorting through thousands of pages of search results.000 to my company’s pipeline. By working more efficiently and using the tools that the advances in 194 . This week alone a single Alert has added over $400. Let’s say that you participate in 12 formal bids per year (this could be quite low depending on your industry). It would take an entire staff of researchers to find this kind of data manually. with 5 minutes of work. By using Alerts. The results are indirectly skewed by age. If by using Google Alerts you uncover only one additional opportunity every 2 months. Let’s also assume that ½ of your business comes from formal bid processes. you have increased your pipeline by 25% annually. This is a great example of the essence of the a passive pipeline.or so pages of results would be either companies that I compete with or results that are very old. they would already be awarded and I would have to re-run this search constantly! Not all of the results that are emailed to you will be relevant. This means that you participate in 24 projects per year or an average of 2 per month. so the first fifty thousand may be from more than a year ago. which will only deliver new entries. Once a week on average I find a prospect who is issuing an RFP for my product that no one on our sales team knew about previously. but the ones that are will have great value. If I waited for these RFP’s to appear in search results.
Here are a few others: Your Competitors Find out what is going on with your competition today. That’s just one example of how you could use Google Alerts. Your Best Clients Discover what’s new with your clients. more importantly. Read their press releases and case studies.technology have made available to us. Find out what the web community is saying about them. Be aware of mergers. we can be more productive than anyone before us. Know just as much about your competition as they know about themselves. Uncover new ways to help your clients succeed before they think to ask. Industry News & Events Partners Emerging Technology Sales Tips Stock Prices 195 . acquisitions and key personnel changes. we can be more effective than our competition.
Effective marketing increases the efficiency with which you find opportunities. Your CUE and endorsements make your prospects comfortable with your managing the buying process. Early entry ensures you will have the ability to manage the buying process. Reprints of your articles increase your reach. Your increased reach ensures you will be more likely to enter a deal first. your ability to win business. in turn. Targeted messages increase your CUE and. Your email signature showcases your testimonials. Clean data results in more efficient and effective marketing. the real power of the Passive Pipeline is realized when all of the techniques we’ve covered are used simultaneously. 196 . Your blog articles position you as a thought leader. Making it sync.Tying it all Together As I’ve alluded to several times in this book. Each additional tool that you use increases the effectiveness of the others.
While your previous methods all but assured that you would spend the rest of that relationship trying to prove your worth. Your new efficiencies allow you to spend more time focusing on winning business.Cause and effect. You’re reaching people through multiple means which operate on one common basis: efficiency. you now have the opportunity to reach hundreds. Twitter and LinkedIn profiles constantly build your contact list. which starts the cycle over again. Not only are you reaching more people than ever before. Your testimonials foster new relationships in which you are seen as a trusted advisor. allowing you to enter business engagements with an absolute upper hand. Your blog. Winning more business yields more testimonials. In the time you would spend making just one “real” connection. your CUE is being constantly increased and promoted. which in turn feeds your email marketing. 197 . you are now working with prospects who are glad to be working with you. Winning more business allows you to focus on deals in which you have a high probability of winning.
plant the seeds and your Passive Pipeline will continue to bear fruit endlessly. It really is that simple. Spend a few hours per week building. Work intelligently. Execute a solid email marketing plan. With each little stone you turn over. 198 . tuning and participating in your social communities. Create smart queries.Simple steps: Now let’s look at a summary of the steps involved in achieving these things: Clean your data. Putting A Plan Into Action This section will provide you with a basic roadmap for implementing your Passive Pipeline. it really just comes down to execution. credibility and reach. Update your blog a few times a week with new content. Participate in Social Networks to gain visibility. While we’ve been discussing these techniques for nearly 200 pages now. you’ll start to see immediate benefits and motivation to keep moving forward.
The ability to track who opens your email and which links they click is paramount. 4. or a new one). Make sure you have all the fields you need to properly segment your market. Create your queries. 2. 7. As you begin to send more targeted campaigns you can create more. Determine which techniques discussed in this book suit you best and over what length of time it is realistic for you to implement them. Import your email lists from your CRM. 6. 5. Here are my standard recommendations: 1. Choose an email platform. Do not take this for granted. 199 . Clean your data. I do not know what line of work you are in and I do not know which aspects of this book will be most useful to you. Create your email templates. For those reasons. I have not included timeframes or tremendous detail in this roadmap. You can refer back to each chapter as you put your own plan together. Create a plan. Settle on a CRM system (either the one you have. One or two templates for now is fine. 3.Keep moving forward. You should have one query for every story you have to tell.
Spread the word about your blog using the techniques we’ve discussed. Rinse. Add new contacts and regularly search for previous contacts that have recently joined LinkedIn. 13. Build a complete LinkedIn profile. Include links in your email campaigns to your blog articles that are specifically useful to the exact recipients you are sending the email to.Continously innovate. repeat. Add your LinkedIn profile button to your blog. 12. Create a blog. Add all former contacts whom you feel would be useful professional connections. Look for new and creative ways to promote your work. 18. 200 . 9. 15. build relationships and increase your reach. Write your first posts and create a schedule for updating. 8. 11. A complete profile includes endorsements. Grow your professional network. Follow each campaign with an analysis of opens and clicks. 16. 14. 17. 10.
we have failed to match that pace. But we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us. 201 . This is a quality that I hope I have helped to foster in your professional sales career. and I hope you will choose to take advantage of it. but one promise I will make is that the payoff will be far greater than what you will get by continuing to do the things that aren’t yielding results today. As a profession. Once you have conditioned yourself to leverage technology and a new way of approaching opportunities. you will enable yourself to continuously innovate. It is my goal that as a student of this book. The key is learning to adapt and to position yourself to take advantage of new opportunities for greatness as they are presented. The business world is moving exponentially faster than at any other time in history.Learn to adapt. in some circles they are already commonplace. In fact. you will uncover new and exciting ways to increase your reach and your CUE before I even have a chance to revise this book. The tools and techniques we have covered will not remain privileged information forever. Some of these techniques will be more fun than others.
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