Wednesday, 28 October 2015


A Broke Salesperson’s Guide To Free Prospecting Tools

“Don’t poison the watering hole.” There’s a bit of old-time cowboy wisdom to start your day moving in the right direction. Say what you want about cowboys, but they understood how to do prospecting the right way.
Poisoning the watering hole means overworking your prospecting source. When everyone on your sales team is running the same LinkedIn searches for prospects, there’s trouble on the horizon. You could pay for prospects, but there’s no guarantee that expensive leads are quality leads. Instead, you could find and qualify prospects in minutes for $0 if you only knew where to look.
Don’t sweat it, cowboy. No matter what other Social Selling problems you encounter, finding high quality leads online shouldn’t be one of them. The World Wide Web is a rich gold mine, with somewhere around 3.2 billion active leads. Here are free tools to help you find, qualify and contact them quickly. The rest of your team probably doesn’t know about these tools yet, so feel free to share as you see fit.

Secret Tools for Better Prospecting

1. Sidekick – After competitors, another prospecting source that sales professionals tend to overlook is past prospects that didn’t work out. Things change, and they could be ready to make a purchase now. Find out if they are worth pursuing with this app from HubSpot that alerts you when someone interacts with your content (email, website, blog posts, etc.). The free account comes with 200 free notifications, and the power-user level opens it up to unlimited notifications.
2. Datanyze – Some of the best sources for prospects are your competitors. You know these prospects need what you offer, and some percentage of them will be unsatisfied. This app lets you find out who has started or stopped using your competitors. It also has a free browser extension to help you find email contacts that you can qualify using other tools on this list

3. TimeTrade – Do you hate wasting 10 emails or texts just to schedule a meeting? Scheduling can be a momentum killer. Simplify everyone’s life by trying out this app that allows prospects to schedule themselves on your calendar. The free account gives you five appointments per month, and the paid version allows unlimited appointments. It integrates with Outlook or Google Calendar, and you can include a link within your emails as a call-to-action.
4. Rapportive – What do you know about the person you’re about to email? Tailored emails build relationships while generic ones build spam folders. LinkedIn’s Rapportive is a free Gmail plugin that searches the social web for information about your prospect to qualify them and give you some critical insights into how to get their attention.
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5. Boomerang – Timing is…everything. A good email at the wrong time gets ignored. Just like those tools for scheduling your social posts, this free Gmail plugin lets you write all your emails at once and schedule them to go out at the most effective times. It will also remind you when it’s time to follow up and move your prospects along the buyer’s journey.
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

3 Surprising Skills You’ll Need To Succeed

The New Role Of Sales: 3 Surprising Skills You’ll Need To Succeed

 Jamie Shanks  

Before I discuss the future, let’s look back at how the role of sales professionals has evolved. When I founded Sales for Life on January 1, 2010, I intended to take all of the Sales 2.0 best practices (such as cold calling and inside sales best practices) and coach local Toronto businesses on how to build SDR and ADR inside sales teams. At that time, I had just been exposed to marketing automation, live chat, inbound lead notification tools, and auto-dialers—and was confident that was the absolute future of selling.
However, fast forward one year. By 2011, I had seen a diminishing of the return on investment of calling and emailing random companies and presenting your solution. Traditional selling had gone cold. I realized that I needed to shift gears, and identify a modern way of selling. So I started to experiment. In late 2011 and 2012, I started to experiment with LinkedIn, and I learned that I could take those best practices I discussed earlier and reverse-engineer those techniques using tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. And it began to evolve. By 2013 and early 2014, LinkedIn was an extremely effective tactic.
Now a new trend began to emerge—Social Selling.
LinkedIn has become the tool of choice for Social Selling, but it’s not the future of what a sales professional will become. What I’m starting to see is that the most advanced and effective organizations have recognized that their selling needs to use both the “left brain” and the “right brain.”
The “left brain” is the art of marketing, and the “right brain” is the science of sales and marketing. When you put them together, you get a sales professional who understands that their job is to take a customer through a buying journey, not through a sales process.

Sales and marketing integration: The future of sales

The future sales professional needs to understand the importance of aligning both sales and marketing. And the best companies are finding, recruiting, and onboarding this talent and allowing them to flourish, and training them to evolve the sales culture.

What makes up a Smarketer?

A Smarketer understands that the company has one funnel, one buyer, and one revenue team. They know that marketing and sales are one team, and that not every lead is created by the sales professional. Leads are created through a multiple of avenues, and every action you as a sales professional provide digitally impacts the top of the funnel.
There are three qualities of a great Smarketer:

Great Smarketers share content.

Smarketers share content with ideal buyers, who are connecting and absorbing that information, and sharing it with their peers. This drives traffic back to your website, resulting in increased downloads of assets, more subscribers, and those ideal buyers becoming warmer leads. Thus, the sales professional has a positive effect on the funnel becoming larger through educating companies.

Great Smarketers are willing to be part of content development to enhance the customer experience.

This doesn’t mean that sales professionals actually write the content, but they’re part of the creation process. They’re part of panels and committees that are providing assets for the marketing department. As a sales professional, you know your customers better than anyone—and you can best relay that information to marketing to produce digital content.

Great Smarketers use Social Selling as another tool in the tool belt.

They recognize that every day, they need to apply digital elements to the workflow. Great social sellers:
  • Sell to every customer every day with insights using content.
  • Use triggers mechanized through social tools and channels to provide contextual information about a customer which enables them to have a stronger conversation
  • Constantly road-map relationships of people. Selling is now P2P—person to person selling. And Smarketers are leveraging tools to be able to see potential referrals, and more opportunities between people.
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

How To Replace Cold Calling With Warm Instructions

How To Replace Cold Calling With Warm Instructions

Jamie Shanks

Cold calling is often cited as one of the least-favorite activities salespeople take part in. Even seasoned members of the sales team can feel a touch of anxiety and uncertainty when faced with a prospect’s name, contact info, and not much else. It is a time-proven method of drumming up business, however, and remains a staple for many sales teams.
The key to successful cold calling is to warm up your conversations with relevance and context, but how? Salespeople need to adopt a different approach to making the first move with a new, unfamiliar customer – one that provides better insights into potential customers. Cold calling success requires that both sales leaders and sales reps overcome five major obstacles.

Obstacle #1

Challenge: Not knowing how you’re connected with prospects, decreasing their trust.

Solution: Professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn allow you to see the business contacts you have in common with prospects, making you less of a stranger. This can help potential customers be more open to you and your services. With any luck, you’ll be able to identify former or current clients of yours who are also connected to your prospect, and are willing to put in a good word for you.

Obstacle #2

Challenge: You can’t get a comprehensive view of your prospect’s mindset.

Solution: Social Selling allows you to see 360-degree information about prospects before you ever call them. Learn professional insights from their LinkedIn profile, and identify specific needs from Twitter posts. After perusing the public information available on a potential customer’s social media profiles, you can merge the information you find into a unified concept of the prospect’s wants and needs. This puts the product or service you’re selling into the proper context for the prospect, creating the kind of relevance that allows you to increase sales opportunities up to 20 percent and close deals faster.

Obstacle #3

Challenge: Limited ability to control access to contact data across departments, teams, and individuals.

Solution: Social Selling can eliminate the lost time incurred when members of the sales team need to share information about prospects or collaborate on a project. With so much data available on the web, there’s less need to wait for another team member to get back to you with customer info. You can find a lot of information by simply searching through their social media profiles and getting a good feel for the prospect.

Obstacle #4

Challenge: You don’t know why the prospect needs you.

Solution: Of course your prospects could benefit from the product or service you’re selling, but if you can’t explain to them exactly why, you could lose the sale. Social Selling allows you to more fully understand how your solutions fit into a potential customer’s life. Once you have a firm grasp of the specific benefits you can offer prospects, you can better explain them to your prospects.

Obstacle #5

Challenge: Knowing too much.

Solution: People can share a lot of personal information online. However, no matter how open they are, using too much of that info during the initial contact can come off wrong, and prospects may feel like their privacy has been violated. Instead of bringing up specifics, use the insights you gain to customize your message so the prospect feels like your solutions suit their circumstances.

The cure for the common cold

Social Selling is the cure for the common cold call. Businesses have access to an unprecedented volume of sales data through social media. From general public opinions and trends to conversations about specific companies and products, companies can gain valuable insight into potential customers from the millions of tweets, status updates, and “likes” produced every day. If you can harness this information and apply it effectively, you can both shorten and sharpen the your buyer’s journey, even before first contact.
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Monday, 19 October 2015

13 LinkedIn Mistakes That Could Cost You A Prospect

13 LinkedIn Mistakes That Could Cost You A Prospect

Jamie Shanks

All the leads you need are on LinkedIn. You can contact anyone, even CEOs, and arrange personal introductions. Why would you want to screw that up? Nobody does – yet common mistakes keep occurring. LinkedIn is the largest professional network but many salespeople make major mistakes including poor photos, bad headlines, irrelevant experience, etc. This is detrimental to your personal brand because your prospects are online doing their research on you. Don’t expect to make a great first impression if you’re committing these big LinkedIn profile no-no’s. Fix these 13 unlucky errors and watch your LinkedIn leads bloom like four-leaf clovers.

1. Bad Photos

Everyone has bad photos — they just don’t post them. Review what not to do in your LinkedIn photo and what the most common mistakes are. Then take a look at best practices for the perfect photo by using factors like your awesome smile, eye contact, and professional background. Look like the Social Selling star you are.

2. Self-Centric Headlines

You have 120 characters to generate intrigue. Talking about yourself won’t do it. Write a customer-centric headline where you condense your value proposition into a single phrase. Spend the time to get it right because you’ve got to pause the glance. Most importantly your headline should speak to how you can help your prospects and not just “Account Executive @ Company ABC.”

3. Boring Summaries

People judge books by their covers – and with over 300 million people on LinkedIn, there’s barely time to skim all the best covers to find the best books. A summary that offers value shows respect for the limited time of your future customers. Give them a reason to believe. On the flip side, not having a summary or having a summary that doesn’t include your value proposition, relevance to your prospects or a clear call-to-action then you’re missing out on new potential customers.

4. Random URLs

Do you introduce yourself as Your Name/pub/52/43b/ab4? Let’s hope not. It only takes a few seconds to create a recognizable Custom URL so prospects can find you. Edit your profile, go to “your public profile URL,” and then claim your name.

5. Too Few Connections

Do you have half a thousand connections? Why not? LinkedIn becomes valuable only as you build connections. Work a little bit on this project every week. This is the new ABCs of Social Selling: Always be connecting. Make it a routine to build new relationships each day that can potentially lead to your next opportunity.

6. Not Posting

Elevators are awkward when nobody wants to talk. Don’t turn your profile into an elevator. Prospects look for someone with something interesting to say. Create, curate, or comment, but you need to join the conversation. Work with marketing to help get the right digital assets that will drive more sales conversations.

7. Blank Backgrounds

Do you have a plain white business card with black letters? That worked in the 1950’s. Your LinkedIn profile needs a relevant and dramatic background image to distinguish your personal brand.

8. Staying Static

If pictures are worth a thousand words, quickly add up in your head how many words you can deliver with a video running at 24 frames per second. Your visual interest meter will peg when you add video and motion media to your profile like interviews, explainers, and narrated slideshows.

9. Going Off-Topic

It’s really nice to know that you were field-trained in lion taming while on safari. Show why it matters for sales, or get rid of it. No one has time for irrelevant experience in a professional environment. Especially if you worked at a fast food restaurant during your time in university, do yourself and your prospects a favor and remove anything that lacks relevancy.

10. Being a Lone Wolf

You don’t have any recommendations? Really? Social proof is all about trust and every professional has success stories. Contact good customers and ask politely for brief recommendations. If they are too busy, offer to draft samples for them.

11. Skipping the Proofreader

Your-you’re, than-then, active-passive – how do you remember it all? You’re in sales, not grammar school. Good writers have great editors. Have a grammar expert proofread your profile for the tiniest mistakes. If you’re sloppy with grammar, how can you be trusted with a multi-million dollar sales contract?

12. Accidental Stalking

They can see you, you know. Every time you view a LinkedIn profile, that person will see you under Who’s Viewed Your Profile. It’s one thing to stay on top of the prospects mind, but you don’t want to look desperate. Search anonymously or sign out if you need to go back to the prospect’s public profile. However seeing who has viewed your LinkedIn profile can be a very powerful tool. It’s a great opportunity to see if prospects can landing on your profile and if they are, don’t hesitate to reach out.

13. Neglecting to Optimize

What is a profile? Essentially, it’s a web page. Like all web pages, your profile should be optimized so prospects can find it easily. Mix Twitter-specific keywords with Facebook-specific topics to cover all your bases.
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Monday, 12 October 2015

7 email mistakes that Salespeople should avoid - Cleaning Support Services

In today’s competitive business environment, it is critical that salespeople leverage all available channels to connect with prospects. One often overlooked sales tool is email pitching. Despite commonly quoted statistics indicating around 99 percent of email campaigns are unsuccessful, this channel can be a powerful technique to initiate a mutually beneficial dialogue — but only if done correctly.
Here are seven critical mistakes salespeople make that dramatically decrease the value of their email communications.

1. Boring and Irrelevant Subject Line

The subject line of your email will either encourage your prospect to open and read it, or immediately trash it. Make it interesting and pertinent to their business. Jill Konrath, award-winning sales thought leader and author of Selling to Big Companies, advises using a subject line that is company-specific – such as including the name of an employee referrer or an exclusive factoid of interest. Avoid salesy subject lines that offer services or promote your product.

2. Content Isn’t Personalized

Templates are the downfall of many an email campaign. Kendra Lee, founder of sales and consulting firm KLA Group and author of The Sales Magnet, expounds the importance of crafting relevant emails that speak their language. After making an initial connection with the prospect, clearly demonstrate the research you’ve done to show you understand the company’s business. Use a conversational tone. Make sure your email is addressed to an appropriate individual, and signed by you personally with your contract information.

3. Emails Are Too Long

You have less than 20 seconds to catch a decision-maker’s attention when they open your email. Mark Wayshak, sales strategist and author of Game Plan Selling, reminds us that emails should be sent with the sole goal of eliciting a response – not educating a prospect, not building a relationship, and not making a sale. The ideal pitch email should contain 3-6 sentences and should focus on the company and its needs.

4. Emails Are Too Promotional

Don’t launch into a pitch about the benefits of your product – you’re simply trying to pique a prospect’s interest. Kendra Lee reiterates, “The only way they’re going to pay attention is if they see an immediate benefit that relates to them.” Try describing the experience of similar companies facing comparable challenges, and the results your partnership helped them achieve.

5. Call to Action Is Too Complex

Remember, all you’re looking for at this point is the initial bite. Nobody wants to sign up for a lengthy webinar or presentation that screams “I’m Selling!” Instead, focus on providing something of value to the prospect. Sam Laber, director of marketing at sales intelligence platform company Datanyze, agrees. He reiterates the importance of ensuring prospects understand exactly what action to complete after reviewing emails, such as responding to the email to receive relevant white paper data.

6. Poor Follow-Up Strategy

Nothing alienates a prospect more than excessive follow-up (or spamming). Worse is the salesperson who sends an email pitch and never follows up at all. An email campaign’s success relies heavily on the follow-up tactics used by the salesperson. Kendra Lee recommends cold calling prospects a few days after the email is sent, while Jill Konrath reiterates the importance of providing business value in every follow-up interaction.

7. Not Testing Various Approaches

It takes practice and analysis to determine what components of an email campaign work and what should be improved. Kendra Lee reminds us to “test and test again.” Only by trying out new subject lines, content, openings, closings, length, and other details can salespeople better understand what translates into higher rates of conversion.
Take the time to develop personal and valuable emails that demonstrate your understanding of a prospect’s business. Leveraging email pitches as an opportunity rather than annoyance will help you achieve your sales goals.
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