Monthly Archives: June 2006

Connecting Marketing and Sales

Brian Carroll comments on a critical tenants of effective customer acquisition–bridging the marketing to sales gap, an opportunity on which the vision for Kaleidico and ultimately our product icoSales was formed upon.
 
This is a brief review of how icoSales attempts to efficiently facilitate the collaboration Sherri Leopard advocates on MarketingProfs.com:
 
1. Sales and Marketing collaboring in defining leads and marketing objectives–icoSales allows marketing and sales managers to manage multiple marketing and lead channels directly through the lead management system
2. What gets measured gets done–icoSales tracks both marketing and sales metrics in a single analytics package that hold the entire lead lifecycle accountable
3. Focus on the data points you REALLY need to measure in your CRM–conversion and sales velocity are the fundamental factors to production, so we put them under intense FOCUS
4. Is your value proposition clear? Does your sales team have sales-ready messaging? & 5. Create content that’s relevant for each stage of the buying cycle–icoSales allows sales professionals and teams to manage and track templated and custom email campaigns
 
Connecting marketing and sales with collaboration, feedback, accountability, and transparency will maximize organizational targets. Focus on the complete value chain from customer inquiry to fulfillment.
 
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Using Email Campaigns to Increase Conversion

The sales process is a series of conversations with a customer to build trust, gather needs, educate, present possibilities, finally fulfill their need. Throughout this process it is critical to communicate and keep your customer informed. Silence in any sales process is deadly. It leaves your customer uncertain and anxious about their expectations.

When using an Internet marketing channel this becomes even more critical. Since it is a fairly impersonal channel it is critical to let your customer know you are their, working on their request, and available for questions. Often we do this via telephone, but this is a very inefficient process for standard updates and communication. Email campaigns make a nice way to keep your whole pipeline informed that everything is moving. These campaigns can be reasonably personalied and automated to trigger based on pipeline activities.

These campaigns become particularly effective when they are integrated with your lead management system.

Increase Your Call Velocity with Time-based Selling

There are a lot of solutions like predictive dialer and negative dialers that specifically help call centers increase their call speed, but a successful sales team knows that the real key is increasing call velocity. Velocity is the combination of speed and direction. This describes calls that progressively move sales through your pipeline.

I always emphasize velocity over speed in any sales process. Your calls may be longer and deeper than another approach, but each are designed to move the overall pipeline at a faster close rate. Here are some techniques to increase this velocity:

Organize your call approach based on your customer’s time perspective
Remember all times should be relative to your customer’s time perspective, not your so monitor the time zone:

6-8 am: First thing in the morning (before most even are in the office) use your voicemail pitch to hit as many (work number) voicemail boxes as possible before customers start picking up their phones. You can easily be the first thing your customer has on their mind when they hit the office and set up for yourself 10-20 easy inbound calls for later in the day

8-9 am: Now switch to your two-step pitch and hit the mobile phone numbers. In this pitch you know they are driving to work, you have their undivided attention, but they do not have the comfort to close a complex deal. So, you use this time to set-up scheduled appointments and call-backs. This is an easy commitment and typically how indiviuals manage calls while driving.

9 am-2 pm: These are the hard contact hours. This is when you leverage your earlier work and you have call backs scheduled with appointments or your inbound calls from your voicemails are kicking in. In the open slots switch to home phone numbers and try to contact stay-at-home spouses.

2-5 pm: This is a great time to catch people at work as they are winding down. They are often fatigued from the busy day and are willing to take a call that is about something other than work. This may also be a good time to schedule a follow-up call with their spouse that evening when they get home.

5-7 pm: Pull out the drive time pitch again. This, like the morning call, is a great time to catch customers in their car and focused on you to build trust and repoire and get an appointment scheduled.

7-9 pm: These are closing calls. Especially if they are scheduled appointments. They have all of their information and their spouse. Decisions are often made in this time slot.

Time relative selling helps to make every call forward progress and maximizes every opportunity from the customer’s perspective. So, use time to your advantage to increase the velocity of your sales pipeline.

High Velocity Sales

You have heard me say this before, but it is important to repeat–The Internet is a two-way communication channel! That means you sales process needs to change if you are used to relationship/referral sales or inbound call sales. Not that these are not critical components, they just have a differnet placement and role. So what are the top things to remember in high velocity selling?

    The client is expecting your call, today!–don’t disappoint that means 80 calls per day to cover new leads and pipeline, even in a small shop
    Every one uses cell phones and they all drop calls–start with “Do you have a pen and paper? Here is my name and telephone number…Let me verify yours”
    The client has communicated her intention to buy–don’t open with a sales pitch open with a needs assessment
    The client is using the channel for convenience–don’t make it inconvenient foreshadow the time and the process
    Your competitor is talking to your clients–foreshadow tricks that the other guys play; these seeds will drive up the trust and the client back to you
    Your voice, attitude, and process are your primary sales tools–listen to your calls, have others listen to your calls

Call often, listen to your client’s goals and objectives, and use your 5 min on the phone efficiently. These are the keys to high velocity selling.

Creating Intensity–Do It Daily!

High Velocity Sales requires intensity–every day! When you are driving an inside or telephone sales team you need create intensity. Intensity comes from goals, motivation, and confidence.

    Make sure your sales team members have very specific goals. What are you going to achieve today, this week, this month?
    Ask your sales team members: Why are you here? What is your vision? If you can’t see it there is no question you will not achieve it–“You will see it when you believe it!”
    Confidence comes from training, repetition, and success. Make sure to surround your sales force with success. Send out training scripts, clips, and voicemail–tune your team members’ ear as much as possible.

Are you creating intensity in your team? It only takes two minutes.

Online Advertising Brings New Lead Management Challenges

Advertiser’s notable shift to the online media is causing real challenges in obtaining acceptable ROIs due to a lack of effective lead management. The challenge is created by the lack of realization that online marketing channels are two-way (asychronous, even worse) communication mediums. Whereas traditional print and broadcast media is one way. To be more specific, in these mediums we project the message and wait for customers to take action through an alternate action channel (i.e., a retail outlet or calling my call center). As a result, many companies created very capable, with sophisticated call routing technology, inbound call centers.

Here in lies the problem. I hear objections to online advertising like this: “I advertise online, but the ROI is horrible.” Why? Because, they are waiting for the phone to ring. Meanwhile, all of the customers are in their email box with messages like “I am interested in your product give me a call” or “I want a couple of the XL widgets.”

The online ad channel is a two-way communication channel and that is why it is critical to effective capture and intelligently route these (data) requests for products and services. This requires a lead management system with the same level of intelligence and sophistication that you use to route your calls, or you will lose sales and never achieve an acceptable ROI.