I recently when fishing with John by boat to his favorite position that "always" gets him fish. As we cast our lines, I look at the fish-finder mounted on side of the boat and said to John "The fish-finder is showing there are no fish below?"
He said laying back "Just wait, there will be!" So, we waited and waited. For next 4 hours we both waited.
I thought to myself, "Was it the bait or are there no fish like the fish-finder was telling us for the whole 4 hours we waited?" John, a great friend, is like most sales people I meet who feel their problem for the lack of sales is they are using the wrong bait, when the analytics tell us the customers have moved.
Analytics Tells Us The Customer Has Moved
Analytics is a tool you use in sales and marketing, it is just like a fish-finder. It can tell you were the customers are and were they are not. The analytics is about using business data to harness and better understand what is happening with customers behaviors and trends.
It is now acknowledged by most people that more customers are using internet, mobile phones, and social media to find what they are wanting and are making buying decisions online. (more people indicated buying online (71%) than in the last three years. Australian Sensis Study 2016)."
But I still find many sales people are just waiting for the customers in wrong places and are blaming their (bait) sales message. It is not the sales message, its where you are fishing for customers that has changed. In selling using Internet or social media, I use the term called "Social Selling".
Social Selling Is Using Right Tools
Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect's questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. (see Linkedin). Social selling is not a new way of selling, but I'm talking about using new sales tools. Just as fish-finder was a great tool for fishing, you still needed use bait, fish line, etc.
In social selling, I find its easy to teach by breaking the sales process into four phases called Identify, Connect, Explore, and Advise.
Identify Using Social Selling
Timing is everything in most things in life. This goes for fishing as well as selling. If you contact a customer right after they purchased, they are not going to bite (pun intended). However, if you identify they're in the market for a new product or are actually beginning to research for a new product or service, your sales message will be received with much more interest.
An occurrence that creates an opening for a sales opportunity is called a trigger event. Most salespeople will have to tune in to the right channels to detect subtle shifts that can warm up a cold outreach. That is what I call trigger events.
But considering that customers rarely announce when they're ready to buy (and in some cases, might not even be aware of their problem). My favorite sales trigger examples I teach sales people to identify are;
- New Job/Role for Current Contact - If a existing customer assumes a different position in their company or moves to a new organisation, reach out to them and see if they'd like to bring your product or service along for the ride.
- Company Expansion - A new office show a sign for new supplies and services.
- Bad Quarter/Good Quarter - Is the company losing/making money? Do you sell a product or service that could help with either? This is a great time introduce yourself.
- Buyer Opens Your Email - When a prospect is physically looking at an email or newsletter that was sent to them. Even though this isn't so much a trigger event for them as for you, it's still a primary chance to hold their attention while you already have it.
- Evidence of Interest - If you sell a new kind of car, and a customer posts an article on Facebook about the benefits of such a vehicle, they're displaying their interest for the whole world to see. If the topic coincides with what you sell? Pounce on it.
- Event Announcement - Is your customer putting on a conference, or going to a conference, or some other kind of event? If so, they'll need assistance. Offer your help, or suggestions etc.
These are just a few of my favours, but there many other types of b2b trigger events.
B2C Sales Triggers Examples
Whether our customers like it or not, their actions and words say it for them. For example, as a shopper I tend to linger over products a longer time, I will check the price and look for reviews. All of the these are triggers for follow up.
As Dr. BJ Fogg (founded the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University) gives the example of an effective trigger for a small behaviour can lead people to perform harder behaviours. For example, if you can trigger someone to walk for 10 minutes a day, that person may then buy some walking shoes without any external triggering or intervention. That’s elegant persuasion because the walker doesn’t feel like she’s being persuaded to buy shoes.
In the B2C, it about following using tools like remarketing and email automation to move customer forward in the sale cycle. For great results ensure you are tracking these digital b2c triggers
- Email Interactions - When customers open and interact with your emails (by clicking a link, for example), they show a clear interest in your brand and what you have to say. Great opportunity to contact by phone.
- Pricing Page Visits - Pricing page visits are a strong sign a prospect is starting to seriously think about buying. This is usually most indicative of a ready prospect when they have had time to look around and explore your offerings a bit beforehand. You will find that many prospects land on your website and go immediately to your pricing section. These prospects might be interested, but they’re likely still in their initial information gathering stage. On the other hand, a prospect who signed up for your free trial, actively tried your product, and then visits your pricing page is probably strongly considering buying.
- Sustained Product Usage - This one should be obvious, but most people don’t track how customers are using their products. If a customer is highly engaged during the free trial, they are much more likely to buy. For an online retailer, customers who repeatedly visit your site, explore products, search for airfare, etc, are showing strong buying signals. The key here is identifying the most important interactions customers have with your offerings.
Connect Using Social Selling
The connect stage is to take the lead with a message personalised to the customer's context of were they are on their buying journey. The context could be the customer's industry, role, interests, common connections, etc. This stage is to for you to reach out and invite the customers to the explore stage while building trust and being helpful.
Pro tip: Gone are the days of people happily getting “spam, spam, spam” in their daily email mail … now they just hit “delete, delete, delete”. So it is important to be helpful and build trust.
But in sales, the last thing we want a customers to do is hit “delete” on our emails. One way to overcome the deleting of email is to be helpful using a method that works well with CRM programs like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM.
Send other people's content.
Don’t only send your content. Customers will be less suspect of your intentions if you send other people’s or other companies' content that could be helpful for their situation.
Congrats on closing your seed funding. That means you're probably starting to think about how you'll raise your A round.
Other founders report that it's 100x easier to raise money if they've already figured out how to profitably acquire customers.
I've found that David Skok's articles on unit economics are an amazing resource to help with that.
Here's one: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/
Have you read them?
Here’s how to create the perfect outbound prospecting strategy, in five steps.
1) Create your email templates.
For your first cold outbound email, follow these guidelines to boost your chances of getting a reply.
- Aim for three to five sentences and no longer.
- Mention a common professional connection or interest, offer congratulations on a new job or award.
- You should be able to distill the value of your product into one sentence.
- What action do you want your customer to take next?
- Sound like a real person: Remember, people want to connect with people.
- Choose a relevant subject line.
2) Set up your campaigns.
Set up different campaigns for different segments of your list. The more you can segment your list and speak the language of each segment, the better your chances for a reply.
3) Add your leads.
It’s time to start importing your leads and dropping them into the appropriate campaigns. If you’re using the right platform, like HubSpot CRM, at the end of each working day, you can drop the newly discovered leads into ongoing campaigns without having to start a whole new campaign.
The trick here is to make sure you don’t have the same leads in different campaigns. Depending on what system you're using, it might be wise to double check.
4) Launch your campaign.
Now, the only thing left to do is hit send!
5) Analyze and adjust.
Give your campaign enough time to run, I recommend you use a sample size of least 50, but I prefer to analysis campaign of at least 100. In analysing, it is helpful to benchmarks and compare how each touchpoint is performing.
Explore Using Social Selling
In the explore stage, it is about you being in control while allowing your customer to feel like they are being empowered to make the right decision. In my experience, I find most experienced sales teams are able to handle the process themselves using their existing skills and training programs. (If you are new to sales, I suggest to do the HubsSpot Inbound Sales Course.)
However, your potential customers are much more informed about you and your competitor's products and services, have identified their own needs, and have started to design their own solutions -- all before even thinking about talking to a salesperson.
As a salesperson, we have no control in this situation. So, to be helpful, it is important to ensure the explore stages include the step to determine; what are the goals, plans, and challenges of the customer? Knowing this extra information will help the sales by providing a more tailored solutions, in words the customers will better understand, and feel that you totally understand their needs, and will build trust.
If you are finding your close rate is below average, I often find for most sales teams it because they are not asking enough of the right questions to understand the customers need and wants.
Advising Using Social Selling
This is were you tell the customers how you going to help. Provide the your product or services features and benefits here. However, because of technology, customers are expecting higher level of personalised communication and will buy from the company that can provide this. The customer is wanting to know how the features are specifically going to help them and their situation.
The most powerful tool for sales teams is use presentations like PowerPoint, because you can add slides quickly to a base sales presentation. Presonalisng sales presentations is too big to explain here, but a great resource and free eBook you can download is called How to Create Sales Presentation that Close Deals.
You will learn
- How to create an intro that commands attention
- Why social proof is so importantHow to make your ideal price point stand out
- The best approach to competitive analysis, and how to use it to your advantage
- How to seal the deal with a call-to-action
- And even more about how to create a persuasive sales deck
Or you can contact us for sales team training here.
Embracing Social selling has helped our sales team and clients spend time wisely, so that they have more time to spend helping more people. I'm on a mission to to make marketing fun and simple using technology. We can't do that without a lovable sales process, too.
Does having a lovable marketing and sales methodology? Or looking for a framework that your sales team might employ? Leave your question or comments below...