Welcome to your sales weekly roundup for March 10-17. This week we’ve got the best sales prospecting email you’ve ever seen (if you’ve seen something better, leave a comment below!), the coaching habits of great sales managers, and new research about why it’s no coincidence your quota crushers are often social sellers.
Director of Marketing at Engagio Charlie Liang breaks down what he calls “by far the single best sales prospecting email I have ever received.” So, what makes this email so special? Let’s find out:
Subject line: “The post-Marketo Summit “follow-up dance” (as you put it)”
According to Charlie, this subject line was so attention-grabbing because it reiterated language he used himself, “follow up-dance.” This also showed that the salesperson had done his research and was familiar with Charlie’s content.
Relevance/Personalization: The salesperson crafted a highly personalized email by mentioning the CEOs name (Jon Miller), identified a problem Engagio is having (poor event follow up) and even included a shot of the demo with Engagio’s teal colouring.
Problem/Solution Presentation: The problem is articulated through the lens of loss-aversion: the opportunity cost of not following up with 20% of tradeshow leads; the detail is presented in an easy-to-understand demo; and, the sentence under the image clearly outlines how filtering is part of this solution’s competitive advantage.
Urgency: Charlie says a sense of urgency was created because “show season is coming up & we don’t want to leave money on the table.” The CTA to a 15-minute meeting also keeps it short and sweet, yet conversational and casual.
CEO of LevelEleven Bob Marsh sees a problem that only 20% of sales managers spend their time coaching. Especially when, according to 74% of leading companies surveyed by Forbes and BrainShark, coaching reps is the most important role front line sales managers play.
So as a sales manager, what can you do better coach your reps and increase sales performance?
1) Regularly Coach Your Salespeople. The key word here is regularly. Without ongoing reinforcement, reps lose 84% of what they learned during sales training in 90 days.
Coaching, Marsh says, doesn’t mean just walking by each rep’s desk and asking them how their key deals are going; it means regular pipe reviews, coaching reps on their opportunities, and sitting in on prospecting meetings to give advice on delivery, messaging and value prop. On top of this, weekly one-on-one’s is a must.
2) Mentor Top, Middle and Low Performers. The Sales Executive Council found that a 5% increase in productivity across middle performers on your team yields over 70% more revenue than the same productivity increase for top performers. This is because there are a lot more middle performers than top ones. Giving equal attention to all reps—not just top performers or laggards—can actually help you meet quota faster.
3) Use Clear and Consistent Agendas. CSO Insights found that 62% of reps either meet or exceed quota at companies with formal processes. By that logic, Marsh says your coaching sessions should be more structured by covering only 4-5 topics each time.
4) Leverage Data. While old-school managers rely on their emotions, research from Aberdeen found using more data accelerates the sales cycle, boosts the percentage of reps meeting quota and reduces sales turnover. Pipeline and revenue are obviously essential, but Marsh suggests tracking activity data with sales scorecards or activity management systems. That way, you can share what top-performers are doing well with the rest of the team.
Talent Management and HR brand strategist Meghan Biro writes about KiteDesk’s recent study, which found: “Seventy-four percent of salespeople who beat their 2014 quota by 10% or more say they have an excellent understanding about the use of social media for prospecting, nurturing relationships and closing deals. They were over 6x as likely to exceed their quota than sales peers with rudimentary or no social media skills.”
If you’re savvy on social, you’re way more likely to meet or exceed your sales targets.
But Biro doesn’t stop there. She turns to key sales practitioners to give specific examples of when social media played a key role in closing deals, why social selling often lacks C-level support, and if you’re going to implement a program, what to include:
LinkedIn connect leads to $51k: Keith Weightman, an account executive at Bullhorn, Inc., “Recently, I connected with a VP who was part of my LinkedIn group. He reached out to thank me for inviting him to the group. This led to a warm conversation and 4 months later a $51k contract. What’s even more rewarding is I led a social selling session for our entire sales team in 2014, and following my example, a colleague told me she created her own group. Within a week she was contacted by a potential buyer, which turned into an $11k contract. She couldn’t believe it actually worked and is now a diehard social seller.”
Lack of C-level support could be generational: The study uncovers 37% of sales pros received training on social media in 2014, compares to 25% in 2012.
Sales trainer John Barrows posits older professionals who occupy decision maker roles, “grew up pre-internet, and many of them see social media as a drastic waste of time, mainly because how they see their own kids using it. The younger generations are the ones who have grown up with social media and can’t imagine a life without it. Unfortunately, since some of the decision makers still don’t really understand it or have a misperception of what it is and how it relates to business they are hesitant to invest money in it.”
Personal branding takes centre stage: Kjael Skaalerud, Major Account Sales & VC Partnerships, ADP: “Helping reps to essentially brand themselves as thought leaders in their space is something that many social sales toolkits leave out – how can you educate the marketplace in an unbiased way, by perhaps posting content on LinkedIn? If you attend an industry event or conference and tweet your thoughts or takeaways, what does this demonstrate about you as a business professional? What factors influence the decisions of your buyers and how can you establish yourself as the expert they should turn to? One could argue this aspect of social selling is more art than science, but it should nonetheless be incorporated in training so reps are at least exposed to those that do it well.”