Most B2B companies are using social media these days to find potential customers. They’re using it to connect with them in real-time and build relationships that lead to sales.
This is because social media has become an essential part of business culture. The average consumer spends about five hours daily on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter! That’s a lot of time for companies to connect with potential buyers—and win new clients.
Having More Than One Key Contact Per Account
If you work with just one person in each account and they leave, or something happens to them, you will be left without access to that client. So it’s much better to build a team of people who know you and your product well.
When you have one relationship in an account, you have a greater chance that the other people in that account won’t know you or your value proposition. If they don’t know you or your value proposition, they won’t be able to help you make deals. This can lead to wasted efforts because nobody knows who you are or why you’re there.
On the other hand, if you build multiple relationships within an account and with different stakeholders (for example, executives and mid-level managers), then these people will be able to introduce you to others within their organization who might also benefit from knowing about your product or service offerings. In addition, this strategy allows for more opportunities for introductions and referrals without relying solely on one person who may not always be available due to their busy schedule or priorities within the company.
The fact is that your customers are going to change too. That means that if you don’t stay involved in your customers’ lives and how they use your product or service, you risk becoming irrelevant—and potentially losing them altogether.
You’ve just sent an intriguing and persuasive email to a prospect. You get a reply. They’re interested. They want a demo. They’re ready to speak with you. And then…that’s it. All work and no follow-ups make Jack a dull boy.
When making outbound sales, it’s easy to focus on setting the hook. The initial contact. The opening email. But more likely than not, you fail to continue the conversation and close deals after your first outreach.
In this article, we’re going to explore the often-overlooked follow-up.
What is an Outbound Follow-Up?
You’ve just made a sales pitch. You’re excited and hopeful, but there’s one small thing you need to do before you can put your feet up: follow up.
Following up with a potential customer is a great way to ensure that the customer does not forget about you or your company after the initial contact at the top of the sales cycle.
A sales follow-up can be the key to landing a sale. Follow-ups are a salesperson’s prompt to the prospective customer to take action, whether making an appointment, scheduling a meeting, or placing an order.
Setting your follow-up schedule can be challenging. You don’t want to annoy your prospects, but you also have a limited time frame to get the appointment or sale. The best way to approach this is to send emails or calls, beginning immediately after your initial contact and continuing for about a week after.
Sales follow-up is essential because it helps create a friendly, familiar relationship with your potential customers. It also allows you to answer any questions they might have and ensure they understand exactly what they’re getting into if they decide to purchase from you.
How Many Follow-Ups Should You Make?
When you reach out to someone cold, you must realize that they might not be expecting your email. The best way to get through that mindset is by following up with them multiple times. The first time, you should send a terse and concise email explaining who you are and what your company does, along with a link to your website and an offer that will help them.
You can follow up three days later with another email or call-to-action, but if they haven’t responded, it’s probably time to move on to other prospects.
If the prospect responds positively, it’s time for a more extended conversation—maybe over the phone or in person!
If the other person is a colleague or someone in your network, you might have an opportunity to connect with them again. But if it’s a stranger, you should probably move on.
You can usually tell if someone is interested in your offer when they say something like “I’m interested in learning more about [product name]. Do you have any time next week?” or “I know our schedules won’t sync up but let me get back to you when they do! Thanks for thinking of me!” This doesn’t mean they will buy from you—just that they’re willing to learn more about what you’re offering.
Here’s a general outline you can follow. It is possible to tweak this depending on your product and what conversations you’re having.
1st day: Follow-up #1
3rd day: Follow-up #2
7th day: Follow-up #3
14th day: Follow-up #4
28th day: Follow-up #5
Two months after: Follow-up #6
One follow-up for each month after
What To Do (and Not Do)
DO: Be persistent but not annoying. Inbound leads are easy because they come to you, but outbound sales require a little more work and persistence, so don’t give up too quickly if someone doesn’t respond immediately. If they don’t answer their phone or email, try again later in the day or week. If that doesn’t work, send them another email or call them again later in the week (but not too much later).
DO: Take notes about what worked for each person you call so that you know where it went wrong with others and can adjust accordingly the next time someone from that company calls you back.
DO: Be specific about what you want from them. Don’t just say, “Please reply if interested in scheduling a meeting next week at 3 p.m.,” because many people will simply delete that email without replying or taking action. Instead, clarify why they should respond (e.g., “If interested in scheduling a meeting next week at 3 p.m., please reply with confirmation and availability details by Tuesday morning”).
DO: Send them your email only when you have something relevant to send them. Don’t send random emails just because you haven’t sent one in a while. That will annoy them more than anything else.
DO: Follow-up with them if they reply to your email with a question or comment. You don’t have to write an essay every time, but at least acknowledge that you received their message, so they know you read it and care about their response.
DON’T: When you send an email asking someone for their information or a quote, you mustn’t make them feel guilty about not responding. If they haven’t responded yet, that means they’re busy and haven’t had time to get back to you yet. If you contact a prospect and they don’t respond, it’s not necessarily because they’re ignoring you. It could be that they just haven’t had time to reply. Or maybe they’re waiting for something else (like a response from another sales rep). Or perhaps they’re just not interested in what you’re selling.
You’ve reached your first revenue milestone once a customer makes the initial purchase. But your sales opportunity doesn’t end here — it’s just beginning. While products sold are a great way to measure revenue, there’s so much more potential beyond this initial transaction.
Cross-selling is a term that gets thrown around a lot in business, but do you know exactly what it means to cross-sell?
Cross-selling is the concept of encouraging a customer to purchase additional products in conjunction with the primary product. This is critical and very powerful in the subscription business model, where recurring revenue is the goal.
What is Upselling?
Millions of dollars are wasted every year because of the inability of salespeople and other customer-facing staff to upsell effectively. A lack of precise questioning on the value of a product often leads to costly, low-quality purchases that never even get used.
Upselling is a strategy focused on encouraging these purchases through improved and enhanced products, but it can be challenging to pursue. Your first business sale was only part of the way towards financial growth; you must now do everything possible to ensure that customers will return for upgrades and add-ons. Here is where upselling comes into play.
But take note – The idea behind an effective upsell is to build rapport with clients and show your expertise so that they understand you’re suitable for their needs.
What is a Renewal?
A renewal sale, or a repurchase conversation (“repurchase” only if it is the same product/service), occurs when a customer has a question, concern, or issue needing resolution.
The challenge is that customers will likely not come directly to you with a renewal question unless they have some form of complaint, issue, or problem. A renewal discussion often occurs at the right time. There are five primary categories of renewals — based on the date when the existing contract expires –, and each can be handled differently based on the company policy and sales strategy.
For anything you sell (SaaS, recurring billing, etc.), renewal conversations constitute a significant component of any sales strategy.
One Thing in Common
Salespeople are constantly using different strategies to find leads. This can be limiting, though, since new sales reps may not have the tools they need to find leads. Enter outbound marketing: one of the best tactics you can use to reach leads and generate new business. Using this method, you’ll be able to get prospects and stay on their radar intelligently.
The best salespeople always reach out to their leads and existing customers to stay connected and make sure they’re both happy with the deal they’ve struck. The more they build that relationship, the easier it’ll be to find that next opportunity together – an upgrade, an expansion of services, or a renewal.
Sales, like any other profession, is a game of numbers. Hopefully, you already have your sales machine in place and are starting to see sales trickle in for your product or service. The next step is to build a stronger team to handle these incoming sales and help you reach even higher numbers. Renewals, upsells, and cross-sells are highly effective at achieving this goal.
Outbound sales sequences are a foundational component of an outbound sales strategy. Think of them as your digital playbooks: you create the structure that guides how your team initiates and closes new business opportunities.
How to Analyze and Improve Your Outbound Sales Sequences
Sales sequences are among the most potent tools that outbound sales teams use to close deals and provide value to potential clients. Sales sequences allow reps to execute predictable, consistent workflows. But not all sales teams are using outbound sales sequences — many still rely on organic email outreach, cold call/cold email, or general best practices. This can result in wasted time, missed opportunities, and unsatisfied customers.
Your Targets Should Be Clear and Defined from the Get-Go
Your outbound sales strategy is only as good as your target.
So what makes an outbound sales sequence successful? It all comes down to knowing your target audience. Your target for each sequence should be either a persona, industry or specific company. Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s easier to tailor your messaging and get them excited about using your product. You’ll also be able to create a consistent tone that resonates with them.
If you can’t define your target audience clearly, it’s impossible for any of this to work. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, how will you know how to sell them?
The amount of time and effort you put into your outbound sales sequences depends on who you’re targeting. Your sequence may last longer if you’re targeting a VP-level persona, and you may need to manually touch the lead more often than you would a lower-level persona.
In other words, the more critical your target customer is to your business, the longer your outbound sales sequence should be. The longer the sequence, the more chances to make an impression on your target customer before they become part of your company.
A/B Testing is Crucial to Success
Do you know how your outbound sales sequences are performing?
If you’re not testing, then you’re flying blind. And we all know that flying blind is a bad idea when trying to land a plane full of passengers!
Why? Because even the best product in the world won’t be able to sell itself if the sales sequence is poorly written and structured.
There’s a reason why the best-selling products don’t use generic email templates: they know that it’s not just about writing copy that’s good enough but also about writing copy that converts.
That’s where A/B testing comes in. By running A/B tests on your emails, you’ll be able to learn what works best for your audience and what doesn’t work at all. You’ll also be able to see which versions are most effective at getting signups or sales from customers who have given their contact information in exchange for information about your product or service.
You might think that having a great product is enough, but if no one knows who you are or what you do—let alone cares—then how will anyone buy from you?
Use the “Right” Mix of Sequences
As you’re reviewing your sequences, make sure you look at the types of steps involved in your email and call sequences. Some sequences lend themselves to more calls, while others are email-heavy.
But no matter what sequence type you’re reviewing, make sure you have a mix of step types. This is what makes sellers appear authentic and genuine to buyers. And that quality, in turn, ups the likelihood of a response and builds rapport.
When building out your outbound sales sequences, make sure you have a mix of step types.
It’s easy to think that all you need is an email. But if your buyer is expecting a call or LinkedIn message, they’ll be disappointed and annoyed when you don’t deliver on the expectation you set. This will hurt your chances of getting a response and building rapport with the buyer.
So what does it mean to have a good mix of step types?
Let’s say your sequence has three steps: email, call, and LinkedIn touch. If those are your only three steps, it might be time to add something else there! If this is true for you, think about what kinds of calls would work best in this case—maybe two emails followed by two calls? Or perhaps a series of emails followed by one call and then another email?
Consider Adding More Steps to Your Sequences
Yes, you can add another step to your outbound sales sequence.
If you’re following a sequential sales process, you can use the same logic to determine when to add more steps.
The reply rate for each step will tell you how well your target audience is receiving your product and give you insight into where they’re getting hung up. If your first step has a low reply rate, then it’s likely that people aren’t interested in what you have to offer. If the second step has a low reply rate and the third step has a high reply rate, then it’s possible that people are interested but don’t know how they can get started with what you’re offering. And if all three steps have high reply rates, then it means that people are ready to buy!
If you want to increase your sales success rates, try adding another step and see how much impact it has on your overall reply rates.
Note: It’s easy to feel like you should keep adding steps to your outbound sales sequence. You want to be sure that you’ve exhausted all possible resources, right?
But what if adding another step doesn’t help?
It’s tempting to add another step to your outbound sales sequence because it seems like it could help—and it might! But you also have to consider the cost of doing so.
Every time you add a new step, there are associated costs: time spent creating and refining the content and time spent running A/B tests on the content (if applicable). It increased the cost for each contact who will receive the additional message.
So before you start adding more steps, look at how many contacts are still clicking through from your last step (or from the first step). If their click-through rate is still high, go ahead and tack on an additional step if you think it might help! If their click-through rate has dropped significantly, you can feel confident that you’ve exhausted all resources and won’t see any gains from adding additional steps.
Change the Focus of Your Language
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “outbound sales?”
If you’re like most people, it’s probably “pushy” or “annoying.” But if that were true, why would we keep doing it? Why would companies spend so much time, energy, and money on outbound sales when all they get in return is a bad rap?
Because it works.
The truth is that inbound sales—when your customers come to you—aren’t enough anymore. With so many options for customers to find what they want (and for them to do it without talking to anyone), it’s no wonder that inbound sales have become less effective than ever before. That’s why outbound sales have taken over: because they work! They get your potential buyers’ attention in ways that other techniques don’t.
The key is not being pushy or annoying; instead, it’s helpful. Your buyer doesn’t care about how great your company is, how many awards you’ve won, or how great your product is. They care about how you can make their job easier and make their business more money.
Do you ever wonder why your outbound sales sequences don’t seem to be as effective as they should be?
It’s not your product. It’s not your salespeople. It’s not even the market.
It’s all about the buyer.
No matter how great those things might be, your buyers aren’t interested in hearing about you or your company. They want to know how you can make their job easier and how you can help their business make more money.
So what does this mean for your sales process? It means that it’s time for an overhaul! You need to start making it about THEM, not YOU, from the very beginning of your outbound sales process until the end.
If your job was to prospect for potential clients looking to buy from your company, what strategies can you use to help close more deals?
Ten years ago, just about any business owner that possessed a camcorder, a tripod, and the ability to turn on the recorder could film a commercial. These days, video marketing needs a little more creativity and professionalism. Video offers a personal touch when communicating with prospects and lets them know that you care enough to put in extra effort for them.
If you’re looking to create a video that will truly stand out, then it’s essential to follow these guidelines:
Keep it short and sweet. Keep your sales prospecting videos under two minutes. This ensures you can get your point across without overwhelming your customer.
Make sure your script is on point and tight. A poorly written script for a sales prospecting video can lead to even worse results than no video. You want to make sure you’re saying what you need to say to get those prospects on board with your brand message and sales pitch.
Keep it simple and easy to understand. Don’t overcomplicate things by being fancy or clever — it won’t work in this situation! Everything about this video makes sense for your audience, from start to finish.
#2: Always Leave a CTA.
A call to action (CTA) is simply an instruction that encourages people to take some kind of action. This could be signing up for something, buying a product, or even sharing the video with their friends.
It can be anything from signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, sharing, subscribing, or following you on social media.
There are many ways of including a call to action in your video. Here are some ideas:
At the beginning of your video – If you want people to take action at the end of your video (for example, subscribe or share), then it’s best to include the CTA in the beginning. This way, viewers will remember what they’re supposed to do when they reach the end of your video.
In the end – This is probably how most people include CTAs in their videos. You can either ask directly for viewers to take action (for example, “please subscribe”) or use a subtle hint – for instance, by saying something like “make sure you don’t miss out on our next video.” You can also leave it up to the viewer’s imagination by asking, “what should we talk about next?”
#3: Be Prepared. Have a Script Ready.
We’ve all been there. You’re recording a video, and you realize that you don’t know what you’re going to say.
It’s not a good feeling, and it can make the difference between a successful video and one that flops.
To avoid this scenario in your videos, write down your talking points before recording. When it comes time to record, you’ll be prepared with ideas for what to say next.
This can be as simple as writing down bullet points on paper or in a word processor — whatever works best for you.
It’s common for people to get nervous about being on camera and forget what they want to say, so you must have everything written down ahead of time.
You can use bullet points or complete sentences, but it’s best if the notes are short and concise. Don’t worry about the length of the talking points — just get the main points out there.
Once you’ve written down your talking points, you’ll need to memorize them. Practice saying them out loud until they feel natural. If you’re not sure how to practice, try reciting them while driving or doing chores around your house.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for help if they notice something that needs fixing or improving in your presentation style. You’ll be surprised at how better people will react when they see that you’re trying hard — not just winging it!
#4: Connect with Your Audience.
When speaking to someone on camera, your eyes are the most essential part of your body. When you talk to your audience on camera, make sure that you look at them as they watch what’s happening in front of them with interest and focus.
When we speak to someone, there’s an unconscious connection between our eyes and theirs. To make it work in a video, simply turn the camera toward yourself to capture your face from the side while you’re talking. Then, turn the camera back toward whoever is listening to you so they can see what you see onscreen.
The viewer will be able to see that connection between their eyes and yours through this process — making it easier for them to feel like they know who you are and what you’re experiencing together in real-time.
Because video is an emotional medium, it’s important that your viewers feel connected to you through their feelings about what’s happening onscreen — rather than just watching passively from an outsider’s perspective.
#5: Add Some Personality To Your Videos!
A sales prospecting video is one of the best ways to get your message to your target audience in a way that they can relate to. It’s a great way to show off your personality, and it offers you an opportunity to be yourself.
For example, if you’re a consultant, you might want to show how easy it is for people to reach out and ask you questions. Maybe you want to explain why you do what you do, or perhaps you just want to give some tips on how they can get started on their businesses.
If you’re a freelancer or contractor, your prospecting videos should focus on why clients should hire you instead of everyone else offering similar services. Show them why they should choose you over all the other options!
When producing a sales prospecting video, it’s tempting to use stock images and generic music. You may think that having a generic look will help as many people hear your message as possible.
That might be true, but it also means that your prospects will be less likely to pay attention. If they’ve seen a million videos just like yours, they’ll tune out before you get started.
The best way to promote yourself is to show off who you are through the videos you create. Don’t hide behind the camera or pretend that you’re someone else — let your personality shine through so that prospects can see who they’re dealing with.
Here are some tips to achieve this:
Show off your office space.
This is a great way to give prospects a chance to see what working at your company would look like, but it also gives them a chance to see where the work they do every day happens. If you have any cool features like slide shows or other office amenities, definitely include those!
It goes without saying: people love humor, especially when it’s used effectively—and the best part is that there’s no wrong way to do it! Just make sure that whatever jokes or puns you use are appropriate for the audience you’re reaching out to
Sales professionals have always used storytelling to persuade and inspire. Abraham Lincoln used advertising stories to speak out against slavery with the help of the newspaper. Mary Kay Ash took part in personal development classes through storytelling.
Today, salespeople and other professionals rely on marketing stories for different purposes such as sharing tips, inspiring, or even persuading customers. Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook was initially built because he wanted people to share their stories.
Have you ever had a salesperson tell you how good a product or service was, and it just left you cold? You’ve heard the story before from another seller — the same features, the same benefits, the same story — and decided to buy from someone else.
I’m not interested in telling you that my product will save your business $10,000 per month. I’d rather show you. This is the mindset you should always have when making your pitch.
How To Craft Stories That Sell
#1: Create a connection powered by relevance
Stories have the ability to create a connection between your audience and what you are trying to sell. It should be based on real-life experiences and not be theoretical or too much in the future.
For example, if you’re selling advertising space for a website, don’t talk about how great it would be to have an unlimited supply of targeted traffic. Tell them what happened when your client ran out of targeted traffic and couldn’t afford to pay their bills.
If you sell medical insurance, tell them about a client who lost her job due to an illness and had no way to pay her medical bills.
If you sell financial services, tell them how you were able to help someone get out of debt or plan for retirement by using those products.
#2: Compel through concrete storytelling
When we tell stories, we’re not just recounting events — we’re building connections. A story is a way of showing the kind of person you are and the values you hold.
When you tell a story, you’re doing more than just sharing an experience — you’re creating an emotional connection with the other person. And when they connect with you, they see themselves in your story and realize that they can relate to it as well.
To make your stories memorable, use concrete details.
In order to make your stories more powerful and compelling, you need to be able to tell them from different angles. That’s why most people have a hard time telling good stories. They can only think about one angle at a time.
But when you understand how stories work on multiple levels, you can change your perspective on any given story and see it from many different angles. This will help you make your stories better and more engaging for your audience.
#3: Honesty is still the best policy
Storytelling is an art form that can be used to connect with your audience, create a sense of community, and prompt them to take action.
The best sales stories are simple, authentic, and memorable. They’re told in a way that feels natural and relatable to the listener.
Stories help you connect with your customers on a deeper level by getting inside their heads and making them feel something genuine — empathy, excitement, or even fear.
But too many salespeople fall into the trap of using canned or trite phrases when they try to tell a story. This makes it harder for listeners to relate to what you’re saying because it doesn’t sound like something they would actually say.
A great way to illustrate concepts or processes is by using examples from your own life or from other people’s lives. For example, if you’re selling software that helps businesses track their inventory, talk about how this software has helped other businesses reduce costs because they didn’t have to ship out extra inventory when they sold out of a particular item. Or if you’re selling an online course on personal finance management, share stories about how people have been able to pay down debt by setting up savings accounts for emergencies and sticking to their budgets.
#4: Tell your story with flair
Storytelling is about more than just telling a tale; it’s about sharing an experience that connects with the audience. And this is how you get customers to buy from you: by making them feel something.
So if you want to be an effective salesman, be an effective storyteller first!
Here are some storytelling techniques that will help you sell like a pro:
Use vivid details
Tell stories that reflect your audience’s concerns (and not yours)
Create characters with whom people can empathize
Focus on what matters most to your audience
Storytelling is an art form that engages people at an emotional level — it’s not just about facts and figures. It’s about connecting with people as human beings who have problems they want to be solved or desires they want to be fulfilled. When you tell stories in your presentations, you make yourself approachable as a person instead of just another vendor trying to sell something.
Alternatively, use analogies and metaphors to explain complex concepts more clearly.
Storytelling is an ancient art form.
It’s been around for thousands of years and has been used to tell all kinds of stories. The Bible, for example, is full of stories about people’s lives, struggles, and triumphs. Ancient Greek mythology is full of tales about gods and goddesses. And today, we are still telling stories through books, movies, television shows, and more.
But storytelling isn’t just for entertainment purposes — it can be a powerful tool in business as well. If you haven’t already realized this, then you need to start incorporating storytelling into your sales process immediately!
Social selling is more valuable than ever before, with over half of the world’s population using social media. Sales leaders who like to stay ahead of trends rather than pursuing them should start integrating the process in their businesses.
For companies, social selling is leveraging social media to create leads and fuel your sales funnel.
This does not imply copying and pasting cold templates into LinkedIn and sending them to your connections. This is similar to spammy selling, where your odds of closing are nil.
It varies from standard sales strategies in that it places less emphasis on a quick response. Individual sales reps, on the other hand, focus on the “long game” and cultivating relationships over time.
To increase “organic” sales, sellers use social media to develop long-term connections, communicate authority and trustworthiness, and surface on decision-makers’ radars.
Data reveals that those that stay in the game for the long haul get rewarded. Top-performing sales agents, for example, consider social networking sites “extremely vital” to their performance, closing transactions 51% faster than their counterparts. Leaders in social selling also generate 45% more possibilities.
Social selling also makes it simpler for sales professionals to receive referrals from their LinkedIn networks, which is important because referrals account for 65 percent of new business for most businesses.
In the digital age, social selling is a must.
The development of digital technology has skewed the scales in favor of purchasers in business transactions. They’ve regained control of goods sources. Social selling is a prospecting method that returns power to the seller while maintaining a personal touch. Thanks to an active and non-intrusive presence, the seller has been able to return to the beginning of the purchasing cycle.
Social selling, like telephone or email marketing, is not a closing tactic. It’s the blend of the points of contact that allows you to reach out to new prospects in the places where they’re most comfortable. Social selling is a logical progression of sales professionals’ prospecting strategies.
Even if the two techniques are complementary, social media marketing must be separated from social selling:
The goal of social media marketing is to cultivate and maintain a relationship between a business and its audience through content to raise brand recognition.
To boost quality leads, social selling enables sellers to engage with their prospects and be acknowledged as experts in their professions.
Because there are fewer “personal” networks on Twitter and Linkedin, this strategy is easier to implement, and consumers are more comfortable and receptive to the concept of engaging in a dialogue with a vendor.
How can social selling help your company?
You already know how to perform social selling if you’ve spent time on social media conversing with friends, sharing images, publishing status updates, and so on. You may be already aware of it.
So here are a few pointers to help you improve your social selling skills and start connecting with prospects:
Make a listening station.
You may “listen” for hashtags because individuals love to use them in their social media posts. Create a column in Twitter’s Tweetdeck program, for example. Create columns for phrases pertinent to your industry. Help out whenever someone shares anything you can help with, whether it’s a query or an article they created. Respond to their queries and promote their articles with your social media accounts. This establishes a rapport with that individual, and you become a valuable resource.
You may also look for hashtags on LinkedIn and follow them on Instagram. Pay attention to them as well, and engage in similar dialogues with others.
Make your material.
You already have industry knowledge and skills, so share it! Don’t merely wait for opportunities to sell. Write blog posts that assist individuals in resolving a specific issue. Take pictures of your solution in action and share them with us. Hold webinars to educate people about a specific topic. Bring potential clients on as guests to your podcast and invite them to share their knowledge.
If you provide enough material, you’ll ultimately get the credibility and a reputation, which will aid you in your sales calls.
Social selling allows you to develop your knowledge so that you don’t have to prove it every time you meet with a new prospect. The evidence element of the sales process is complete if they contacted you because of your social media post. They are aware of your abilities and have self-qualified to join your sales funnel.
Because it is based on true sales concepts such as creating connections and trust, social selling works in sales. However, it’s a time-consuming and intricate procedure. Rather than a race to the finish line, social selling is a relationship-driven marathon.
You may open the floodgates to bigger transactions, quicker sales cycles, and recurring referrals and sales once you’ve created crucial contacts and earned confidence.
It’s no secret that departments, such as sales and marketing, may struggle to communicate and collaborate successfully. To resolve this, the connection between these departments must shift from competitors to routine partners for a business to work successfully and productively.
How to Improve Communication Among Departments
There are several methods and tactics that a business may employ to improve communication between its departments. Here are some tips to think about.
Working in silos isn’t a good idea
The first issue to consider is the significance of functioning as a cohesive unit, which is especially vital when departments are working remotely, as many do these days.
The fact that animosity can often arise between the PR, marketing, and sales departments is a difficulty. This frequently occurs when one party believes their contribution is undervalued or when the other department fails to keep half of the contract.
In some cases, sales and marketing departments can actively work against one another. Therefore, systems used by all departments must be integrated to ensure a harmonious sales process. Marketing and PR departments must believe that the marketing qualified leads (MQL) they pass on are being followed up on, and sales must believe that marketing is assisting in the development of the appropriate sales funnel.
This is why you’ll see more and more mid-sized enterprise companies combining sales, public relations, and marketing operations under the leadership of a chief revenue officer or chief growth officer. The CRO is in charge of all revenue-generating activities. They are responsible for teams such as marketing/public relations, sales, channel sales, and customer success.
Even if you are unable to reorganize, basic efforts such as agreeing on what constitutes a sales qualified lead (SQL) upfront and working collaboratively to set lead and income objectives may make a significant difference. It’s a fantastic approach to bring departments together so they all benefit from their efforts.
And, let’s face it, this is a great opportunity for everyone to rethink how we collaborate. For certain companies, team structures and established ways of doing business may alter. Make regular (video) calls to ensure that everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction.
Communicate in the same language
Define your funnel as the first step in getting departments to speak the same language. Make sure to explicitly define each team’s function in the funnel with important department stakeholders.
It’s now important to define the phases, determine what qualifies customers for each level of the funnel, and make sure your departments are aware of this information.
This is how the final product should appear. Everyone in your company should be aware of the distinctions between a prospect/visitor, lead, SQL, MQL, prospect, and client. All subsequent phases in getting the departments to collaborate and unify their processes at your company are built on this foundation.
Set consistent objectives
Misalignment among departments can cause gaps in the conversion of leads to clients and block sales funnels. This imbalance may be exacerbated by segregating your department goals. If both divisions work toward a common set of objectives, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your revenue targets.
Prospecting is one of the most difficult phases of the sales process for sellers, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018 study, but the problems may be lessened when sales and marketing departments communicate. When the two teams can work together toward the same objective, the goal is more likely to be achieved.
Define your sales funnel stages clearly
A company’s funnel stages must be precisely defined so that marketing and sales departments speak the same language when it comes to prospective clients.
An imbalance might result in lost opportunities, preventing businesses from converting leads to consumers. Qualified leads can fall through the cracks if a company doesn’t comprehend how leads are defined at each point of the pipeline and how the handoff procedure goes.
Create a Service-Level Agreement
In the Hubspot study, turning leads into customers is one of the top marketing goals for the next 12 months for 69% of respondents. This conversion is supported by a full service-level agreement.
SLAs may be a useful tool for establishing clear and direct communication routes between marketing and sales departments. There is less possibility for error or misinterpretation when a roadmap or blueprint is presented. SLAs frequently contain details such as the ideal customer profile, lead definitions, objectives, and how to manage and assess success.
SLAs are also an excellent tool for ensuring a smooth transition from marketing to sales. Processes are in place, for example, to calculate an expected follow-up timetable for MQLs that have been forwarded to sales.
Closed-loop reporting can also benefit from an SLA. While marketers have data on how prospects have reacted to marketing messages, such as opening an email, completing a form, or visiting the website frequently, sellers have the chance to learn even more about prospects through one-on-one discussions.
Sales can be tasked with gathering crucial campaign details and informing marketers as to what worked in terms of client acquisition through these more customized interactions or even provide little pieces of information that the marketer may be unaware of, such as a blog article being referenced in a webinar on a different webpage. This new information is valuable since it will assist marketing in fine-tuning initiatives to improve their chances of success.
From ‘competition’ to ‘collaboration’
It takes a lot of teamwork to guide a prospect through the purchase process. It would be irresponsible to argue that one department is more vital than another because they all must work together to achieve total organizational success.
For example, it is not only the responsibility of marketers to attract the desired prospects, but it is also the responsibility of sales to assist marketers in better understanding their clientele and which leads have successfully converted into clients in previous encounters.
Marketers pique clients’ attention, while sellers keep them engaged. Working together, departments do not erase the inherent disparities in their roles; rather, they create a more efficient and cohesive task force within the company.
Different customers consume content in different ways. Some prefer videos, some prefer infographics, while some prefer well-written copy. And that’s why there’s no singular magic bullet-type of messaging that will have the same effect on all your customers.
The best sales processes use several stories and touch points for each account. These are designed using storyboards, taking into consideration various messaging themes, data points, and engagement mediums.
At Sales for Life, we recommend developing multiple storyboards for your account engagements, or sales plays. By applying a variety of themes, styles, engagement strategies, you’ll have more chances of providing value to your customers during the activation cycle.
Here are five sales plays you can try:
1. The Sphere of Influence connection
The Sphere of Influence is a process we use to determine social proximity.
It starts by identifying existing customers and advocates, thinking outwards from inside of your customer base to map the companies and people that have the highest social proximity to your best success stories. These people or companies could be past employees of your customers, former colleagues, vendors, partners, fellow alumni, or other key social connections to your best advocates.
A high social proximity implies a stronger relationship, increasing a seller’s chances of winning the account.
Deploying the Sphere of Influence Connection sales play accomplishes two things:
It humanizes the seller and
It demonstrates the high social proximity that you and the customer share.
It gives the illusion of familiarity, decreasing the prospect’s apprehension of an unsolicited engagement.
2. Stack-Ranking the Account Against its Peers
This sales play pits the account against its competitors to objectively highlight the target account’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats.
One example of this is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, which rates several vendors based on their completeness of vision and their ability to execute. A vendor’s score will determine its placement in one of four quadrants: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players, and Challengers.
Leaders have the highest total score for both completeness of vision and ability to execute, and they often dominate the market. Challengers have strong products and sizable market share, but they still lack the influence that Leaders possess.
Visionaries deliver innovative products, but haven’t quite captured the market yet or exhibited sustainable profitability. Niche Players are usually focused on specific verticals or markets, or are in the process of developing new or existing products for a new market.
By ranking an account against its competition, it will have a better idea of its current performance, as well as a clearer view of areas they should improve on.
3. Applying Market Intelligence and Trends
In this sales play, the seller assumes an advisory role to strengthen their relationship with the customer.
By providing industry secrets and relevant business advice, the seller becomes a trusted source of reliable, useful information.
4. Envision Success
One way to sway a customer’s decision is to help them visualize how successful they could be if they were to become your client.
Show them the results they can get in a quarter, in half a year, and one year later. You can accomplish this via case studies, white papers, and trial programs.
Think about how Dorothy was persuaded to go to Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. She saw herself in Emerald City, and she got a glimpse of the flying monkeys and talking trees she would eventually see. By doing the same thing for your customer, you can reduce their apprehension over purchasing.
5. Focus on the People Instead of on the Account
Sometimes, even the best sellers forget that they’re not selling to companies, but to people—human beings with feelings and needs.
Always remember that you’re trying to win over accounts by winning the people within it.
Instead of focusing on account-centric messaging, think about how your product can benefit your prospect in their role. How can you help them, and what value can you offer?
Keep in mind that sincerity goes a long way. By exhibiting a genuine desire to help your prospects, you can create customers for life.
Does your sales team have 6-18 months sales cycles? Is the buying committee involves 5-10 people on every customer transaction? Does it feel like your sales team needs to draw from everything they’ve learnt in The Challenger Sale, Customer Centric Selling, and Value Selling… insert sales methodology here?
Sales for Life was founded with one goal – to become the most trusted sales resource for its customers. During our journey, we’ve had the privilege of serving thousands of sales professionals and leaders around the world, from start-ups to Fortune 50 corporations.