Business owners often want to see quick results and instant ROI. That is like putting up the walls of a building without first building a sturdy foundation. Yes, you can throw up some walls but they will be flimsy and won’t stand up to the weather or the test of time!
The same is true in business. You need a strong foundation to build your business upon.
At One of a Kind Sales, we build you a STURDY sales foundation with daily, consistent outreach to your target audience. We work to develop long term relationships with the decision makers who will convert to real, CLOSED sales.
Building a strong foundation is the hard part – the part that takes time and patience, but the part that is most crucial to building a thriving business. And we can do this for you!
If your sales results are feeling a bit flimsy – or you know that your foundation is anything less than rock solid – give us a call. We can build you the sales foundation YOU need to build your business upon!
When hiring sales team members, keep in mind that good Sales Reps need a good six to nine months of ramp-up time before they hit their stride and start delivering real sales. If you aren’t cognizant of this and cut bait before they have a chance to deliver, you are undermining your company’s sales efforts and wasting the time of potentially valuable sales people.
Too often, I hear from impatient C-suite execs who are expecting closed sales on day two from their new hires. Having extensive experience with training both our own sales team and the teams of others, we know what realistic guidelines look like and what you should expect from your sales people and when.
This is NOT to say that they shouldn’t be delivering! It is just to remind you that closed sales take time and legwork. For the first few months, you need to evaluate your salespeople on the activities they control and be sure they are doing that legwork.
Here are some guidelines for what to expect from your new sales reps and when:
A brand new Sales Rep should be out pounding the pavement from day one. They should be networking, both in person and virtually, making connections and finding leads.
And they should, of course, be COLD CALLING! Making calls, EVERY DAY, gathering information and setting appointments with qualified leads is expected from day one and is something that can and should be tracked. (See our post on KPI’s for more on what you should track for sales success.)
Learning about the Company
The new producer should also be making time to learn about the company, the products and/or services as well as the company culture. They need to be able to identify the target audience so they can have the RIGHT conversations with the RIGHT prospects.
They also need to understand your company’s differentiators so they can address those prospects’ concerns, reservations and pain points.
All Sales Reps should then be setting appointments with QUALIFIED leads. Depending on your industry and sales structure, they may pass this along to a closer or they should be skilled enough to close the deal themselves.
Different Industries have different timelines
In some verticals, like the insurance industry, it can take up to 2 – 3 YEARS to validate a book of business. In this case, you, as an employer, may not realize your ROI for 2 – 3 years. This can be difficult but being shortsighted or having unrealistic expectations, will only undermine your sales efforts.
Time to closing can also be impacted by the SIZE of the target company. Larger companies have more layers of management and often more conservative purchasing approaches, so this usually means that it takes longer line up all the RIGHT people and departments to close sales.
Understanding YOUR target audiences’ timeline and sequence, and addressing those factors in your strategy, can make for less frustration and smoother progress.
List Quality is KEY
No matter what industry you are in, lead generation should be happening in the first months. But cold calling results are HIGHLY dependent upon the QUALITY of your call lists. Keep this in mind if your Sales reps do not seem to be ‘producing’ quality leads.
Employers need to set realistic expectations for deliverables and good sales reps need to be diligent and consistent in their approach and delivery. Good sales results come from repetition and reinforcement.
If your sales team is not producing the results YOU need, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get them up to speed and show them how to produce REAL results.
Reach the Goal!
According to an Ask Your Target Market survey, 59% of Americans take vacation sometime during July and August.
Certainly not everyone is away and those that are away are not gone for 2 months. Generally, those in the workforce take one or two weeks.
So why do so many people stop cold calling in the summer? This has a detrimental, long-term effect on sales quotas and year-end results.
Instead, use this time to your advantage to keep your plan on target and get a leg-up on the competition.
Just because people are on vacation doesn’t mean that you should be making only a half-hearted commitment to qualifying leads. In a given week, you’ll reach some people and not others, but you can keep the process moving ahead.
You may reach a prospect before they leave for vacation and the process may drag out because of it. When they return, you can pick right back up where you left off. If you need to, adjust your daily and weekly activity goals.
Just because it is the summer, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. You don’t know if your prospect is away. Engage your usual call campaign, leaving brief messages, following up with emails and calling again.
Use time to your advantage
Because you may have a little more time on your hands, summertime is a good time to reconnect with in-process leads. Review your accounts, check in with them and find out what is new with them, personally and in business. A little interest goes a long way in your relationship.
Call on leads you might have overlooked at other times of the year, opportunities that, for whatever reason, didn’t materialize. As your competitors take a break from cold calling, this is your opportunity to get in front of these folks and build rapport.
Keep your pipeline full
When you take a hiatus from qualified lead generation your pipeline dries up and you have a huge fall-off in closed sales in a month or months following. There’s a ripple effect in your work flow that can have a substantial negative impact on sales for the year.
Let’s say you stop cold calling July 1st and resume September 1st. What will you or your team be working on at the end of July, in August or in September or October? You’ve created a gap in qualified leads that could last months. You’ve lost the momentum of the campaign.
A cold calling campaign is a process of initial calls, emails and building rapport. Interfering with this process will set you back, possibly months.
The pace may lighten up during the summer, but sales activities need to continue. Stay committed and don’t let your business stagnate.
If you cannot stay committed to your inside sales effort, contact One of a Kind Solutions. We can help.
As technology permeates every aspect of our lives, we can lose sight of the importance of staying in touch with prospects. Customer relationships are at the core of sales. When you nurture relationships, you endear your customers to your brand and your business. Without this, your leads will go nowhere and sales will fall far short of goals.
Building a relationship and converting a prospect into a sales-ready lead, raises awareness and establishes a 1:1 personal relationship with each prospect. A successful lead generation campaign engages on many levels.
Keeps their attention. Engage and get the buyer’s attention through a multi-touch approach, routinely throughout the year. Response rates rise with each subsequent outreach attempt. But most sales pros give up after less than two touch points. In fact, on average, salespeople don’t even get to a second touch point when reaching out to a decision maker. This is such a lost opportunity!
Cultivates the relationship. B2B customer acquisition isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time to develop a relationship. Cold calling fails when call campaigns are not given enough time to mature. Continuous one-on-one communication using various channels helps cultivate the relationship.
Maintains awareness for when they are ready to convert. A prospect may not convert to an appointment by the end of one call cycle or even four, but that doesn’t mean that the prospect won’t be interested at a later date. Repeat the cycle to keep you and your company top of mind for when they do want to take the next step.
Engages on multiple levels. Being top of mind is one of the best ways to reinforce your relationship and turn leads into appointments. A multi-level effort using calls, voicemail, email and LinkedIn, with sales and marketing working together can be very effective in raising awareness, keeping you top of mind and getting the prospect ready to make the commitment for an appointment and subsequently a sale. The multiple touches and the continuity of the effort are crucial components of lead nurturing. Touch points are opportunities to prepare leads for the final stage in the buying journey, the point of decision-making. The better the experience and the more valuable each of these touch points are to leads, the more likely they’ll be ready to make a buying decision and convert to paying customers.
A successful cold calling campaign is more complex than you may be able to develop yourself. Contact One of Kind Solutions to see how we can help.
There are two approaches to selling – selling a product or selling a solution. Selling a solution will generate more sales and cultivate long-term relationships with your customers. The key to selling a solution is to understand that you are selling a solution to the prospect’s problem. That means you need to understand communications styles, so you can really get to their problems.
DiSC is an assessment tool that the One Of A Kind Solutions team has been trained in to determine the buying styles of prospects so that we can adapt our communication style to match that of the buyer. By understanding the 4 DiSC profiles, you can adjust your approach and have better outcomes.
A Dominant Type – They typically have fast-paced speech and a strong personality. They tend to think in terms of the bottom line and often have a quicker, more impulsive decision-making style. To improve communication with “D” types:
- Don’t dominate the conversation, listen more
- Create a situation to give them a win
- Ask specific, targeted questions and don’t waste their time
- Keep a fast pace to match theirs
- Give direct answers without a lot of “fluff”
An Influencer Type – They are friendly and talkative. They typically enjoy interacting with people and like chit chat. Influencers respond well to testimonials and hearing about benefits in an upbeat, positive way. They tend to be less detail-oriented and focus more on the big picture. To improve communication with “I” types:
- Be friendly and animated with your conversation
- Ask for their ideas and opinions
- Applaud and compliment
- Don’t dwell on the details
- Provide personal stories on how other people have benefited from your solution
A Steadiness Type – They are patient and easy-going. You can identify these individuals by their reserved, indirect, but people-oriented approach to others. They typically have a deliberate and methodical decision-making style and may resist change or anything they perceive as a risk. To improve communication with “S” types:
- Don’t pressure them to make a decision quickly
- Listen patiently and take time to explain
- Speak with a sincere tone of voice
- Discuss the process
A Conscientious Type – They are methodical and deliberate. They tend to focus on the details and are primarily concerned about doing things the “right” or “correct way.” This buying behavior style can be skeptical and is often concerned with analytics and the effects of change. To improve communication with “C” types:
- Present data to back up claims about your solution
- Avoid asking too many personal questions
- Slow down and answer questions precisely
- Involve them in planning
- Be conservative in assertions
As sales people, we can only control our communication style. We cannot change or control the prospect. They decide if they want to purchase or not, but it’s our job to adjust our style appropriately. If we can help make the prospect’s decision-making more comfortable or easier then we can gain their trust, establish credibility, and keep the sales process moving forward.