How to Automate Your Sales Processes and Drive More Revenue

A sales process is a plan aimed to turn a prospect into a customer as quickly as possible. It encompasses a defined series of steps a consumer goes through with a company (particularly with a salesperson). 

Basically, it is an outline of a potential customer’s journey that most companies use to simplify and speed up deals closing.

At the same time, there is evidence that an average salesperson spends just about 15% of their time actually selling. The rest of their time is taken by dealing with product issues, getting approvals, participating in meetings, and doing research. 

Imagine what taking some of these tasks off your sales team’s shoulders could do to your revenue? While every salesperson has their own sales strategy, a survey claims that 61% of companies that automated their sales processes have outperformed their revenue goals for 2020.

Source: HubSpot Sales Enablement Report

If you use a platform like Shopify to run your online business, that’s great. This means you can automate many things on the platform. However, it’s still important to see how you can eliminate the routine and drive more revenue with the help of sales automation.

1. Prospecting automation

Scouring the internet for prospects, searching for their contacts, crafting personalized emails is just some part of the work a salesperson has to do daily. Enabling your employees to delegate these tasks to software can free up a lion’s share of time they can use to sell.

Furthermore, when your sales reps can do what they do best, they will be more motivated. By introducing automation to areas everyone hates to do — like cold-calling, for example, — you’ll boost engagement and pleasure from work.

And finally, with a motivated and productive salesforce that performs at its peak level, your revenue will inevitably grow. The only trick is to choose the right automation tools for your business.


Source: Leadfuze

Leadfuze tool allows automation of outbound sales prospecting (aka lead generation) by capturing prospects’ details. A user can type in parameters like organizational role, industry, preferred software, Google Ads spending and get a list of promising leads along with their contacts. All that’s left is to review the crucial information about a person and craft an email.

Leadfuze easily integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier and Google Workspace.


Source: Anyleads

With Anyleads, sales reps can set criteria and generate data-rich reports. The tool also hunts emails for specific prospects. What’s more, the tool comes with a handy email editor where you can choose from a number of templates. Emails can be scheduled and tracked, so you can easily estimate your campaign’s efficiency. Once you made your choice, ensure the automation tool integrates well with your CRM, calendar, and email marketing software. Ensure that your provider’s FAQ tool allows for easy search of necessary guidelines and contact support to see if they can assist you with configuring.

Sales preparation automation

Your prospective customers interacting with your company stay at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Depending on a stage, they need different experiences and are ready for different interactions. Thus, before contacting a prospect, you need to determine how ready they are to make the contact as efficient as possible.

This process can be automated using several tactics. One of them is lead scoring.

Each action that shows interest from the lead in your company’s services or products, is assigned a numerical value. When a lead has accumulated enough points to get an SQL (sales qualified lead), a sales team receives a notification that they should follow up this lead.

Another way to weed out leads who are not the best fit is to use smart forms. These are dynamic forms that can show different fields depending on the information entered. For instance, if you’re B2B only, you can create a form asking if a user is a business or a consumer, especially if you use cloud phone systems. After they select “business”, the form will ask for their company name or display a warning message in case a user selects “consumer”.

With smart forms, you can capture relevant leads’ information and alert your sales team to follow up.

Similarly to smart forms, chatbots can gather information to qualify the lead and integrate it within your CRM. These pieces of software programmed to perform certain actions work excellent for sales enablement and users’ details collecting.

Nurturing workflows is another lead qualification automation tactic. A lead is provided with relevant and encouraging content at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Once the workflow’s goal is reached (say, someone at the awareness stage has downloaded your whitepaper), another workflow is triggered that sends them a series of nurturing emails until they are ready to speak with a sales agent. 

If the lead stays inactive for a while, they are removed from the workflow or left alone for some time to try to re-engage them later.

Sales approach automation

Having a contact email and phone is just a start. A prospect becomes a lead only after they showed interest in your product or service. That’s why cold outreach is important.

With over 4 billion users worldwide, email stays a popular communication channel. And many sales reps use it as a means of first contact with a lead. Yet, email comes with many drawbacks. Thus, you have to stay organized in hundreds of emails, keep track of the need to follow up or check in with a person. If you’re mistaken and send the wrong message or forget to get back to a lead, you can lose that sale.

An automation tool can help by allowing a salesperson to schedule follow-up emails to be sent at certain time intervals. The use of templates speeds up the outreach process, as you only have to create a personalized message for a segment of your audience — not every person on the list.

Scheduling a meeting is another tedious and time-consuming task. You suggest a time and a date, a lead returns with a suggestion of their own — the process can take weeks. With an automated scheduling tool, a sales rep can share a link to available slots in their calendar for the lead to choose from. A reminder can be set to come to both the lead and the salesperson before the meeting.

Presentations automation

Creating pitch books takes time and effort. Keeping them up-to-date and sharing with the marketing and content teams to ensure everyone is on the same page takes even more time and trouble. There is plenty of room for error, that’s why many managers seek automated presentation management solutions. Yet, that’s the point where tension tends to build up.

Every sales rep has their own way of selling — including the type and usage of materials. What’s good for a marketing specialist doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of a sales agent. 

So, while a unified product or service proposal is beneficial for all teams, it might not work for each of them the best way. This takes us to the necessity of having a proposal creation tool that allows for flexibility within rigid compliance controls. A salesperson should be able to make illustrations, texts, and rearrange things to their comfort.

Another thing a good presentation automation tool can help with is keeping reports up to date. A CRM integrated solution can build hypothetical portfolios based on the available data and also keep record of everything that has been shown to a particular client throughout their lifetime with the company.Some popular tools for sales documents management are PandaDoc and Qwilr. Qwilr offers a vast collection of templates along with a drag and drop option to create interactive proposals. It also tracks openings and the time a prospect spent looking at the file.

Source: Qwilr

PandaDoc tops all the mentioned features with free access to e-signs. It significantly saves from the necessity to print multiple copies of documents. Some people express dissatisfaction from getting too many notifications as someone makes changes in their documents, but other than that, it is a great tool.

Source: PandaDoc

5. Closing sales automation

Effective sales often come down to having a solid lead list. Yet, searching for potential customers and questioning them if they are interested in your product or service is a draining task. With a list building tool, though, you can get a list of people that are ready for your sales team to reach out. An example of a popular list building tool is LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

For a tool to return a relevant list, give it the desired job title, industry, or location. LinkedIn Sales Navigator pulls the information from LinkedIn profiles. Other tools may use different resources, that’s why it’s recommended to do a little research and before contacting a prospect.

Of course, knowing a person’s name and a job title doesn’t guarantee a successful sale closing. For collecting insights, there is yet another kind of automation tools — tools for lead enrichment.

These tools pull information about your leads from authoritative sources and give you a complete profile, regularly updating the information.

6. Follow-up sequences automation

Many automation tools can also be configured to send sequences of emails depending on a lead’s answers. It is especially useful in the B2B sector, since the long sales cycle increases the chance of a customer quitting the buyer’s journey before they reach its end.

Email drip campaigns help to nurture the lead’s interest, giving bits of value with each email while always keeping the product or service top of mind. Setting up a campaign right after the presentation will minimize the risk of the customer forgetting about your company. Plus, it will reduce the odds of a salesperson missing the opportunity for sale and speed up the sales process altogether.

Among the top popular email drip software, there is AWeber. They offer a free campaign builder where you can design emails, save templates, schedule and apply tags.

Source: AWeber

For minimalists, there is Flodesk. Here, you have several pre-built templates that you can customize. The tool allows time-release sequences and track openings. Online reviews also praise the customer support team’s stellar skills of Flodesk.

Source: Flodesk


Sales automation tools can help close sales faster and streamline the activities. However, none of them will be effective if there is a lack of planning or a sales process undefined. In order to put automation to effective work, a salesperson should be able to pick the right data and know how to use it. 

All in all, sales can be done without any software assistance. Automation tools are called to cut monotonous work and let sales reps direct their energy to pursue customers that are ready to buy. At that, they can increase capacity, not replace the human.

Julia Serdiuk is an outreach specialist at HelpCrunch, an innovative platform to build relationships with customers. She is a seasoned traveller and yoga enthusiast. Appreciates life and believes in the cloudless future of our planet.


How To Create Better LinkedIn Message Ads

At its core, social selling is about building relationships and helping others. You need to convey empathy, interest in collaboration, and a problem-solving mindset—and these characteristics can be reflected via LinkedIn and its message service, LinkedIn Message Ads (formerly known as Sponsored InMail).

What are LinkedIn Message Ads?

As most professionals know, LinkedIn is one of the best places to connect with other people in your industry. An active and helpful presence on LinkedIn can help you gain familiarity among B2B buyers, making it a goldmine whether you’re trying to expand your reach or generate new leads. It also helps that the platform provides plenty of tools to make your sales activities even easier.

One such tool is LinkedIn sponsored InMail, which has since been rebranded into LinkedIn Message Ads. Message Ads allow users to send direct messages to your prospects to spark immediate action. The service offers users a means to reach out to potential buyers outside their network and capitalize on opportunities. It’s a great way to reach industry experts and generate new leads, making it an indispensable communication channel for B2B sellers. 

There are three main reasons why LinkedIn Message Ads work:

  1. It delivers a targeted message with a single CTA: The straightforward, no-fuss layout allows you to communicate clearly and effectively with your prospects without worrying about character limits or broken email layouts. 
  2. It lets you see the impact of your messages: LinkedIn Message Ads, like any other digital ad platform, offers analytics to keep track of ad performance. Users can track campaign metrics such as sends, opens, open rate, clicks, clickthrough rate, cost per lead, and more.
  3. It drives stronger engagement compared to traditional emails: Message Ads are prioritized in the recipient’s inbox. They are highlighted and delivered in an uncluttered environment so your brand stands out. According to LinkedIn, more than 1 in 2 prospects open a Message Ad—and that’s a huge statistic.

Email vs InMail 

We often get asked if LinkedIn InMail should or has replaced email as the most effective communication medium for B2B sales. For certain buyers, certain markets, and certain companies, this is definitely the case. 

One of the biggest problems with sales prospecting emails is that they often arrive in your inbox from out of nowhere, with generic messaging that bears minimal relevance or value to the recipient. And since they are unsolicited (not to mention usually part of a sequence), they tend to be more annoying.

On the other hand, Message Ads are exchanged on a platform that your prospects are already using to converse and network professionally. The relevance and purpose are built-in. Plus, they can see your name and face and can click on your profile to learn more about you.

In an impersonal world of digital interactions, this goes a long way.

Another thing that makes LinkedIn Message Ads better than email can be attributed to the principle of double potency. When someone sends you a message on LinkedIn, you’ll also get an alert in the email connected to your LinkedIn account. The sender hits you in two spots because you’ll see the message in both your LinkedIn inbox and your email, increasing your awareness of the message.

Making Your Message Ads More Potent

how to send better LinkedIn Message Ads

Before you fire off another LinkedIn message, be mindful of the best practices you should follow in order to maximize the impact your message will make.  

  • Consider your first message to be a conversation starter. Don’t sell your service immediately at the first point of contact—that’s too much, too soon. Use the platform to build a relationship with your prospect the same way you would do so in a non-virtual world: By offering them something that will help them in their professional lives. This is the most natural way to get the recipient to warm up to you and your company.
  • Be brief and to the point. Keep your messages as simple as possible. The decision-makers who’ll be reading your messages (probably on their phones) don’t have the time to read too-wordy messages. Optimize your messages for mobile, try to limit the word count to around 100 words (less is best), use bullet points and short paragraphs to keep the reader’s attention, and have a written CTA.

    The same logic goes for the subject line. Keep your subject lines short and personal—aim for 5 words or less
  • Adopt a conversational, enthusiastic tone. It’s tempting to use a formal, overly polite tone when conversing on LinkedIn—you’re representing your company on the platform, after all. Shouldn’t you put your best foot forward?

    However, it’s highly recommended to keep your LinkedIn messages polite yet informal. Your recipient shouldn’t get bored while reading about the benefits of your products or services, and a soulless message that reads like a formal introduction can drive them away.
  • No credits, no problem: You don’t always need to buy more Message Ad credits to be able to send messages to the people you need to sell to. By joining the LinkedIn groups where your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) can be found, you’ll have access to everyone within those groups and you can send them messages for free.


LinkedIn’s promoted message service allows you to easily reach out to leads within your ICP, making it a B2B seller’s best friend. But if you don’t use it well, you’ll end up being ignored by potential leads, wasting time and money.

Take the time to build a worthwhile campaign. Craft messages that resonate with your audience, optimize them for maximum impact, and use the platform’s analytics tools to track your results.

pipeline development

Creating The Optimal Business Development Strategy

For a lot of people, business development is practically synonymous with sales. And while they have their similarities—both are geared towards profit, after all—they are two distinct entities.

What is Business Development?

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization via customers, markets, and relationships. It’s the sum of all the strategies, tactics, and activities used to acquire new clients and expand existing ones.

Given this definition, we can assume that business development representatives are in charge of growing your business. This means finding opportunities for expansion and having expert knowledge of the current market, their target audience, and potential business partners. Thus, they’re the ones who have to prospect and qualify leads before handing them off to the sales team, who will then nurture the new relationships in order to close the deal.

Business Development vs. Sales vs. Marketing

The lines between business development, sales, and marketing are very blurry. There are several overlapping responsibilities between the three teams, and it doesn’t help that business development can look very different from company to company.

Let’s take a look at their differences:

Marketing: Marketing is the customer-facing branch of your organization, and its primary goal is to attract customers.  The marketing team is responsible for brand management, using websites, social media, advertisements, and other channels to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds. They are also in charge of educating customers about your company and your products, and they handle offers and promotions.

Sales: The difference between business development and sales is murkier. Some companies even treat the two departments as one team, interchanging the responsibilities of the two.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Business development and sales operate in separate stages of the same customer journey. BDRs are responsible for top-of-the-funnel activities: finding leads, starting conversations, and educating potential customers. They are in charge of filling the sales pipeline, while sales representatives nurture the pipeline by turning qualified leads into prospects, eventually convincing them to buy.

The Optimal Business Development Strategy

When planning your business development strategy, it helps to think of it as a system with several interconnected parts.

This is because a lot of business development strategies tend to lack clarity and focus. Oftentimes, they’re too complicated and have lost sight of the revenue team’s overarching goal—which is to answer why a potential customer should buy from you instead of the countless other options in the market. The inability to answer this question can lead to useless tactics, poor execution, and confusion for both your revenue team and your clients. 

The story and the purpose of your business should be the cornerstone of your business development strategy. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition. All of your revenue team’s actions should be able to reflect your unique position in the market.

As mentioned above, business development intersects with the other departments in your revenue team. Though the lines are blurry, it’s not really a matter of reassigning certain tasks to the other team. Instead, the affected teams should work together towards the common goal: The company’s continued growth.

Business Development and Marketing

Marketing and business development should work together to tell your organization’s story and strategize how to generate leads. Together, the two teams can help prospects make informed decisions about engaging with you and availing of your company’s services via the following factors:

Your Positioning In The Market: The way your company is positioned in the market defines the backbone of your entire business development plan. It provides a clear blueprint of your target market, effectively acting as a North Star for every business decision you make. 

Customer Traffic: The right amount of traffic and traffic from the right people to solidify your position in the market. Exposure to your company and your core message is required to get results.

Messaging: Your message should be compelling enough to be able to stop people in their tracks when they hear it. Remember: The more you can gain and keep someone’s attention, the more chance you have of landing a new client. 

Channels: Your marketing channels can greatly affect your overall business development and marketing strategy. For example, to establish authority and solidify your position as a thought leader in your market, you’ll need to post insights on social media, speak in events and interviews, and publish original content regularly. 

Business Development and Sales

Your sales process starts with finding the right clients—after all, you can’t close deals when there are no customers to begin with. With this, let’s go back to your company’s position in the market. Your positioning helps dictate the people your business development team will reach out to, filtering out all but the best prospects through a stringent qualification process. 

Now, your sales strategy should support your qualified prospects’ ability to make good decisions—specifically, to sign contracts with you. Inversely, your sales process should also eliminate customers that fail to meet the criteria in your qualification process. Otherwise, you may experience unnecessarily long and unpredictable sales cycles, which could affect your quota attainment. 

Business Development and Product Delivery

Business development doesn’t end when the contract is signed. Before the ink is dry, you should be able to deliver on your promises.

The product delivery experience can create additional value for your customers, opening the door to more opportunities for your business development program. Let’s look at the three main components of the delivery process: your product, your service, and your customer life cycle. 

Product: The product you deliver should speak for itself. It should demonstrate your company’s value to your client, making employees tell their friends and colleagues about how great of a job you’re doing. This increases the chances of getting referrals

Service: The quality, speed, and ease of using your service can likewise boost business development by inspiring referrals. It’s important to fulfill your deliverables, don’t forget to create a good customer experience as well.

Life Cycle: Your customer life cycle is tied directly to your positioning. Telling your brand’s story increases traffic through the right channels, which you can take advantage of by creating a sales process that targets the right people with the right offer. When the contract is signed, you should deliver a product in a way that creates more value for your client and lets them see what else you could help them improve upon, effectively selling more of what they need along the way. 


In the end, there’s no such thing as a perfect business development strategy. Leads can enter your sales funnel in unexpected ways and can be removed from your pipeline just as well. 

By understanding the different components that drive business development, the different departments of your revenue team can work together and adjust your strategy to minimize risk and grow your profitability. 

b2b sales

How To Identify Your Customers’ Pain Points

Heart disease is the top cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It accounts for 16% of the global death toll, and the number of its victims keeps rising year on year given the lifestyle we’ve cultivated.

There are ways to decrease your risk of suffering from heart disease, such as adopting a healthy, balanced diet, exercising for at least 2.5 hours per week, and giving up vices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These things aren’t that difficult to do. But why isn’t everyone doing them?

It’s because those who aren’t shifting to a healthier lifestyle haven’t experienced the pain of heart disease.

People buy for one main reason: To improve their condition. In the B2B context, this boils down to either helping your customer make more money or helping them mitigate risk.

Whatever the driving force is, the customer is, to a certain degree, dissatisfied with how things are. They know their situation could be better. And the fact that a stakeholder is thinking about shaking up their status quo means that there is a pain point that you, as a seller, could capitalize on.

What are customer pain points?

Pain points are the specific problems or issues that your clients may experience while on their customer journey. Since there could be a lot of problems, it’s important to prioritize which ones really need to be addressed. Think outside the box and put yourself in your customers’ shoes: What could be done to improve the account’s profitability?

As a modern seller, you need to focus on helping and educating your customers rather than selling to them. In the age of digital selling, your customers are bombarded with information and advertisements from all fronts. What will work best is a targeted, personalized approach centered on their agenda—not yours.

Always keep in mind how uncomfortable it could feel to be at the receiving end of a relentless sales pitch. You don’t want to be the pushy kind of seller that people can’t help but avoid. So shift your messaging slightly and focus on your genuine desire to help your buyers. While nobody likes being sold to, everyone likes to be helped out—and if you prove your value to your customers, they’ll be more inclined to purchase your product. 

Identifying Your Customers’ Pain Points

Before you can address your customers’ pain points, you need to identify them first. Your customers could be facing several problems at the same time—which issue should you address first? How can you unlock opportunities within an account by addressing this problem?

1. Social Listening

Social listening is probably the easiest way to reveal a customer’s pain points. Keep your eyes and ears open to see what your current and target buyers are doing online and what they’re saying on social media. You’d be surprised by the amount of valuable information you can from an account’s decision-makers, employees, industry peers, and competitors.

2. Qualitative Market Research

Qualitative research allows sellers to get detailed responses from customers about their buying journey and the problems they face. It’s harder to conduct than quantitative research—you’d need more time and effort to write sentences compared to encircling a number on a scoring system—but it yields better results given the fact that no two pain points are exactly the same. Since qualitative research lets the customers explain their problems in full, you’d be able to see the most common problems and the most serious roadblocks in your transactions.

You need to ask the right questions in order to properly conduct qualitative research. As we’ve said earlier, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to visualize what your problems would be. Ask open-ended questions that can help you get to the root of the issue.

3. Your Customer Service Team

A customer’s pain points can change during their buying journey. What might be their most pressing priority while evaluating your purchase might cease to be a problem after signing the contract.

This is when your customer service team comes in.

Your customer service team is on the frontline of your business, fielding calls and complaints from your clients. This makes them crucial sources of information when it comes to fine-tuning your messaging. The key is digging deeper into the problems the customers have presented, distilling them into the simplest possible point. For example, if a customer said that they didn’t purchase again because they weren’t offered a discount, that could be an indicator of a financial pain point—and you could be missing significant opportunities because of this practice.


As we’ve mentioned at the beginning of this blog, people buy to improve their condition—and the fact that they’re thinking about purchasing from you is significant.

One final bit of advice: The next time you have a conversation with your client, try asking them outright why they think you and your company can help them. This can reveal significant information about what differentiates you from your competitors, and how you can improve your messaging.

We hope this helps!

sales strategy

3 Ways To Establish Authority In Your Market

When people think of sales strategies, outbound prospecting methods usually come to mind. Cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn networking, direct mail—all these tactics have been proven to generate positive results.

But these aren’t enough to turn you into a leader in your field.

The world’s best sellers have established a great inbound prospecting strategy. They don’t just seek out potential customers—they’ve also found a way for people to seek them out.

They’ve become lead magnets, attracting clients even in their sleep.

Their secret? Brand authority.

Why is it important to build authority in your industry?

The thing about outbound strategies is that they only work while you’re actively doing it. If you don’t send emails or make cold calls or reach out to your social networks, nothing will happen.

However, being known as an expert in your field will change the game.

Always remember that, in order to succeed in sales, it’s not enough to know that you’re selling a great product. Think of it this way: You might be great at what you do, but it doesn’t matter if no one knows it.

It’s not enough to do the things that authorities do. You also need to do them incredibly well, and you also need your efforts to be known.

Basically, you’re competing in a market not only to sell, but also to be known as an authority. 

Establishing authority strengthens your personal brand, increasing the level of trust that both your clients and potential customer base have in you and your business. It drives conversations and accelerates customer conversion. 

Here are three ways you can establish your authority as a seller.

How To Build Authority In Your Market

1. Go to where the people are

As a seller, you should know where the people in your market are. Where are your ideal clients now, and how is the competition in the space they occupy? And where will they be in the future?

In the context of digital selling, the playing field across all channels is exponentially more crowded now than ever before. Just a little over a decade ago, you can easily get a web page on the front page of Google by stuffing it with keywords. You can’t do that now, and even if you could, the competition is extremely fierce.

But it’s never too late to adopt and adapt.

Take a look at the platforms where your clients do marketplace research and seek recommendations and answers. Are they spending most of their time on LinkedIn? Are they on Twitter or Facebook? Are they watching videos on YouTube, or listening to podcasts? 

By spending time on the platforms your clients inhabit, you’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps in your industry. Capitalize on these, and use these angles in your content to set yourself apart from your competitors.

2. Get associated with the other authorities in the industry

Who are the foremost thought leaders in your field? Look for them and take note of what they’re doing. How did they gain their reputation? What are they doing that others aren’t doing? And most importantly, what are they doing to establish their credibility?

What’s interesting is that you don’t necessarily have to be the best in your field for other people to consider you as the best in your field. Perception is reality. Take a look at the most notable names in your industry—you might be surprised by the number of people who are seen as an authority in your field despite not having all the professional credentials. 

The bottom line is, you don’t have to be the world’s foremost authority in your industry to validate your claim as an expert in your field. The key is to be known by the right people. Position yourself correctly and take your cues from the established authorities in your field.

3. Make a habit out of content creation

If you want to be seen as a leader in your field, positioning yourself as a source of original knowledge is probably the most effective way to do so.

There are so many ways to make your voice heard. You can create a blog, guest on a podcast (or start your own), churn out content on social media, shoot videos, publish ebooks, start a newsletter. Keep in mind what we’ve mentioned in the previous item: the medium should depend on where your target audience is hanging out and consuming information.

What’s important is consistency. Make a habit out of publishing content. Create a publishing schedule and churn out content on a regular basis.

sales fundamentals

How To Ask For A Sales Referral

Pop quiz: What’s the sales tactic with the highest ROI?

It’s neither email campaigns nor PPC ads. It’s not social media marketing, and it’s definitely not cold calls.

The correct answer is asking for referrals.

Referrals work because people are more likely to purchase products that are endorsed by people whom they actually know and trust. According to a Harvard Business Review article, “ 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.”

Those are impressive numbers, especially when you take into consideration the declining success rates of cold calling and email marketing. What’s even better is that asking for referrals doesn’t entail spending money.

Why Do People Trust Referrals?

Sales referrals leverage the goodwill between the referred customer and the person making the referral. A referred prospect will be quicker to trust you and your product because they trust the person who referred them to you. And since they are more confident that you can deliver, they will move through the purchasing process faster than cold opportunities.

In fact, according to a 2015 Heinz Marketing survey of over 600 B2B sales and marketing leaders, 69 percent of respondents said that referral leads close faster than non-referral leads, while 71 percent of respondents said that referrals have a higher closing rate compared to leads from other sources.

This probably has to do with buyers’ wariness of traditional sales tactics, which could come off as pushy and self-serving. The shift to social selling—using social media platforms to research leads, prospect, and provide insightful content—allowed sellers to build relationships in a less hard-sell manner, proving their value until customers are ready to purchase.

So why doesn’t it seem like salespeople are using referrals to their advantage?

Perhaps they just don’t know how to ask for referrals properly.

Building Your Sales Referral Strategy

Building Your Sales Referral Strategy

1. Time it right

“Referrals need to be a process as much as prospecting is a process,” says Amar Sheth, Sales for Life’s COO. “It should be done when a customer has crossed a certain lifetime value with you—for instance, customers that have been using your solution for 6 months or 3 months, or whatever term you think is appropriate.”

It’s important that sellers first demonstrate their value before asking a customer for a referral; otherwise, they could come off as self-serving. But at the same time, don’t wait to pounce until it’s too late and the excitement over your product has run out. You need to strike when your happy customers are still buzzing about your product and how great it is.

2. Be precise  

As much as possible, don’t leave it up to the customer to decide whom they’ll introduce you to. 

“Traditionally, B2B salespeople, when they ask for referrals, they’re asking the customer to determine who they should be introduced to,” says Sheth. “That’s actually very dangerous, and it’s not a smart thing because the customer has to now think about it, which means that there’s a high likelihood that this request may not even be fulfilled.”

Use social tools like LinkedIn to check their sphere of influence to see who they’re connected to. This lets you ask for strategic and surgical referrals, allowing you to enter and penetrate accounts of your choice instead of being at your customer’s mercy.

3. Use referral templates

Having templated emails ready allows you to ask for referrals quickly in a polite and professional manner.

Here’s an email template you can use for your customer advocates:

Dear [name of advocate],

I hope you're doing well!

I’m so glad to hear that our [work/service/product] has been working so well for you and your team. I knew that by working together, we’d be able to drive significant impact for [their company].

You’ve been a great advocate for [your company], and I would greatly appreciate if you could recommend us to any/all of the following people:

1. Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life
2. [Name of person you’d like to be introduced to] from [company]
3. [Name of person you’d like to be introduced to] from [company]

I’d love to help them achieve the same results you’ve gotten.

Thank you so much in advance!

[your name]

Asking for referrals is one of the simplest ways to generate new business. But while referrals have a higher success rate, don’t expect immediate results—these things can take time as your referred prospects might not need your product or service at the moment. Qualify these opportunities carefully.

In the meantime, keep building value, and have your account executives check in with your advocates and prospects to see how they’re doing. And don’t hesitate to ask your advocates if they know anyone who could benefit from your services—you’ll never know unless you ask!

sales pipeline

Compelling Events Signals: Adding Meaning To Sales Intelligence

For over 9 years, Sales for Life has been training sales professionals across the globe in the art of social selling. It’s a concept that didn’t exist back when the company was established.

And it was our CEO Jamie Shanks who pioneered the concept while looking for customers for his sales consultancy business.

“My little consultancy was making no revenue, I barely had customers, and I would stare at my laptop, trying to figure out, how do I prospect for myself?” he tells top sales trainer Victor Antonio in the podcast Sales Influence – Why People Buy!

That’s how Jamie created the Sphere of Influence sales play, which lets you discover viable leads by leveraging your happy customers’ existing social networks.

“I started using LinkedIn and reverse-engineering and finding these backdoors and these hacks,” Jamie recalls. “People didn’t realize you could use a tool like LinkedIn for the left and the right brain, [for both] research intelligence and engagement.”

Being the first to occupy the social selling space was a learning experience. He quickly found out that, surprisingly, a lot of B2B companies would still insist on traditional sales methods despite the availability of social media platforms.

So he devised a social selling and account-based sales enablement certification that will teach revenue teams how to prospect easily and efficiently—but later found out that sellers usually had too much on their plates to apply what they have learned properly.

“A seller knows inherently that 11% on average of their week needs to be, unfortunately, spent on research. They need to gather intelligence about their key accounts—what’s happening, are competitors going into that account, are there job changes, relationship roadmaps?” says Jamie.

“We’ve been teaching this ad nauseam, but Pareto’s Law kicked in and people just don’t have the time to do it.”

Compelling Events Signals: A Seller’s Secret Weapon

When the pandemic hit and the demand for digital sales training increased, Jamie came up with the idea of building a new company focused on Compelling Events Signals—specific events and insights that distinguish the most promising target accounts from the rest of your total addressable market.

Compelling Events Signals help revenue teams identify areas of opportunity and risk within their account lists, allowing sellers to focus on nurturing the accounts in their pipeline that have a higher probability of producing positive results.

“I told my business partner that I wanted to tackle this idea of building a managed services firm or a business processes service firm, in which we will monitor signal intelligence at a global scale on behalf of our customers and actually deliver this intel directly to the sellers so they can gain back their 11% a week [of research time],” says Jamie. 

This was how Sales for Life’s sister company,, was launched in July.

“It’s a full services firm that takes on any group of customers, prospects, or white space that you want to monitor, and we’ll deliver that intelligence to every seller, directly into any sales tool you have so that you can buy back your time and take action right away,” Jamie explains.

How PipelineSignals Helps Sellers Achieve Their Sales Goals

“As a salesperson, it’s really important to understand that people buy from people,” says Jamie.

“[It’s important to monitor Compelling Events Signals because] people are the ultimate leading indicator of the priorities going into a business or leaving a business. When you track human capital migration, that singular change is an indicator. You’ll realize that when that CXO joins a company, they’ll want to shake things up. When the person you’ve been calling leaves, the whole priority in that whole project could leave the door.”

Let’s say a stakeholder in one of your happy customer accounts in Austria left the company last month to join another company headquartered in Brazil. Do you think your sales reps in Europe will tell your reps in South America about it?

Another example: One of your target accounts just hired a new COO. Where did that new person come from? How is that person connected to your customers and competitors?

“It’s intelligence that [your sellers] inherently know they should mind,” says Jamie. You need to gather all this information on a global scale so you can get a better picture of how you can maximize your chances of entering your target accounts.

And that’s exactly what PipelineSignals does.

“We’re giving you a name, a LinkedIn profile, a job title. What happened to them? What was the compelling event? Did they come from a competing customer and are now with a prospect? Did they just get hired? It’s this kind of intelligence,” says Jamie. “We can tell you who’s going into a company, who’ll be promoted into a company, who’ll leave a company, or if an IT department doubles or shrinks in half.”

PipelineSignals’ team of analysts is then responsible for gathering, cross-referencing, and processing all these Compelling Events Signals before delivering them to the client in an easily digestible format. All you’ll need to do is to combine these Compelling Events Signals with your other customer data, such as buying intent and product usage, to know when and how to best approach your target accounts.

Replacing $5/hour tasks with $500/hour value creators

Compelling Events Signals can make prospecting so much easier, boosting pipeline and reducing risk. Jamie knows this better than anyone else, his previous selling woes remedied by sales intelligence. 

That’s why he decided to set up PipelineSignals: to pay it forward, helping other sellers achieve their goals and make a greater impact within their revenue team.

“I’m a big believer of exchanging $5/hour tasks for $500/hour value creators,” says Jamie.

“Your sellers need to be doing $500/hr value creators, so we’ll pull the $5/hour tasks out of their hands.”

Learn more about how Compelling Events Signals can help your revenue team achieve their sales goals. Book a meeting with us today.