Customer Service Support Solution Assistance Aid Concept

3 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Sales Calls0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Elizabeth Dupont

How many calls do you handle on a daily basis?  If you’re in sales, you probably make at least 50 calls a day, and that’s not even counting how many you calls you receive. You spend most of your day making connections and engaging customers, but it would be impossible to remember the minutiae of every conversation. So how do you keep track of who you’ve spoken with and when?

The answer is call tracking.

The Basics and Benefits of Call Tracking

When you were in college, no doubt you spent a lot of time taking notes. It was tedious work, but it always paid off when you were able to remember information for your exams. The same concept holds true with phone calls.

Call tracking is essentially “taking notes” on each call you make and receive. You record details on the person with whom you spoke, what type of call it was (i.e., outbound or inbound), and the time and date of any follow-up calls or meetings you may have scheduled. When you save information about the call, you set yourself up for better communication with the customer as well as practical statistics of each call. This way, not only are you gaining critical information on how much phone traffic you receive, but you also make it easier to keep track of your customers and where they are in your sales process.

An added (and very important) benefit that sales tracking provides is that it allows you to create a better overall experience for your customer. Your customers are individuals, and they want to be appreciated and treated with respect. Remembering important snippets and details from previous conversations shows that you understand your client’s needs and want to provide them with solutions, not just make a sale. By logging such details about each sales call you make, you can make each call personal and relatable for your clients.

On the more technical end of the spectrum, call tracking also has the benefit of revealing certain metrics about your business. For instance, you can see at a glance how many outbound and inbound calls you’re making and receiving on a daily basis. You can also view statistics on how many calls you’re missing versus how many are answered, so you know exactly what area of your business needs the most attention.

Top Sales Tracking Methods

Now that you’ve seen the importance of call tracking, the next bridge to cross is implementation. There are several ways to keep track of your calls, but here we’ll go over the three most-used methods that make logging easy and effective.

  1. VoIP Call Tracking: If you’re logging calls mainly for the metrics, then this is the route for you. VoIP systems digitally and automatically track your inbound, outbound, and missed calls, providing you with detailed reports on each area. This allows you to see which hours and departments received the most phone traffic, so you can tell whether you’re staffed accordingly or whether you need to be making more sales calls.
  2. CRM Software: When your CRM software is linked to your VoIP system, the two can work in tandem to give you the best possible tracking available. Place a phone call using your VoIP system, and your CRM will automatically pull up specifics on the customer and your previous calls. When you’ve finished the call, your CRM will prompt you to log the call, and you can add more notes on the call and save it for future. This not only gives you the bare-bones metrics (i.e., whether the call was inbound or outbound, the duration of the call, etc.), but also allows you to add in your own details so you can give a better customer experience.
  3. Call Report Templates: This is the manual, DIY method of tracking calls if you don’t have VoIP or CRM. Call report templates are basically worksheets with areas for you to fill in the particulars of the call yourself. You can make your own template using a program such as Excel, creating a spreadsheet with individual columns for date, time, inbound/outbound, customer name, notes, and any other information that you wish to provide on each call.

Call tracking may seem superfluous, but in an age where businesses are dealing with larger call volumes, it’s critical to have some way of monitoring your call info. Call tracking is the key to keeping tabs on your leads in a systematic, organized manner, so you and your customer will both benefit.

About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Dupont specializes in various fields including business, marketing, and technology, and regularly writes for Fit Small Business and other publications. When she isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her four kids, working on art projects, or reading fiction. Connect with her via LinkedIn or via email at [liz.dupont09@gmail.com].

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sep-16

4 Alternate Ways to Promote Your Business0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Marketing, advertising, and finding innovative ways to promote your business are all part of a strategy to acquire new customers. If you don’t market, you probably won’t gain much more business – and new customers and more sales are something every business needs.

In a traditional sense, there are lots of ways to advertise your business, and you probably feel like you are doing all of these regularly. However, with so much competition, you need to find some ways to make your brand stand out and ensure your current and prospective customers want to do business with you instead of one of your competitors. Take a look at these 4 alternate ways to promote your business:

Build and market a mobile game.

Get your game created and start marketing it right away – the marketing part is essential to its success. If you don’t tell anyone about the game, how will people play it? A marketing strategy is the key to ensure you succeed in this highly competitive marketing landscape. So go ahead and share the news on a blog or via social media accounts. Include news about it on your website and even in a press release. You’ll want to make various call-to-actions for different networks such as videos or banners, too. While creating a mobile game may seem daunting at first, remember that it’s simpler than ever to create a mobile game, and the payoff can be huge.

Business cards.

While this one is obvious, a lot of people still run a business and don’t have their own business cards. This is the age of encouraging people to “follow me on Twitter” or “like my Facebook page” — but what if the person forgets your business name before they have the chance?

There are many reasons business cards still matter – in fact, they are ideal because you can hand them to people and they will have all of your information right at their fingertips, literally. There are some business owners who tend to feel that we are in the digital age, so business cards are old-fashioned. However, there are lots of situations where a business card is much more convenient.

Sponsorship.

Many people’s minds go straight to large corporations/brands at the thought of sponsorships, but it’s actually feasible for small businesses, too. Focus on promoting your business at a local level. While something extravagant may not be affordable, you can still find ways to effectively use sponsorship with some creativity.

Think about why businesses turn to sponsorships in the first place—to get the name of the business out there and let people know it exists.  If you own a small pet supply shop, you wouldn’t want to hold a bake sale, but instead think along the lines of a local pet show so people who attend learn all about your site and your business – and hopefully remember you when they need to make their next purchase.

Create local awareness.

It’s ideal to gain coverage in local newspapers, websites, and trade magazines to increase name recognition and inform people about your business.  Don’t feel like you have to hire an expensive PR firm to help you – there are ways small businesses can do some PR on their own.

First, research publications that cover local business – or your industry. Once you know the writers and publications that cover stories, craft a pitch that will pique their interest of our business.  Find ways to explain how your business impacts the local economy, and it’s likely the publication will want to cover a story on you.

Marketing your small or new business is vital to its success, but doing so doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and take up a big chunk of your time. Savvy entrepreneurs can utilize these ways to increase visibility and drive customer acquisition to take their small business to the next level.

What are some ways you market your small business?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

Photo credit: http://www.instantshift.com/2015/05/25/ways-to-promote-your-business/

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How Much Emphasis Should be Placed on the Results of a Sales Assessment Test?0

The Pipeline Guest Post – David Pearce

Trying to distill the answer to the question of how much emphasis to place on the test down to some numerical answer really misses the point and attempts to simplify and quantify a process that can only be quantified to a degree. An applicant may “numerically” be a good fit because he has the right “scores” on the various components (including our test) of your hiring system but he may be someone you still should not hire. Conversely an individual may be weak in one or some areas (including the sales assessment) but you should probably still hire the person.

Special Offer: Want to try Sales Assessment Test – be one
of the first five people to click here, can try one assessment free!

When you are using a Sales Assessment Test in your hiring decisions, how much of your decision should be based on the results of the test? Most prospects and new clients wonder about the degree of emphasis they should place on the test when they are hiring. Some are looking for quite definitive answers to the question-30%, 50% etc. Like a lot of the answers to questions related to testing, the answer begins with “it depends”. It depends on how suitable the person is in the other areas that the sales assessment does not measure.

If it is true that “gut-feel” should not be the only thing that you rely on when hiring, it is just as true that scientific tools like tests should not be the sole factor. If hiring sales people is an art and a science then a balanced approach that relies on “gut-feel” as part of the decision makes sense. There are things that are highly important that no sales assessment test can measure. An example would be “likeability”. An applicant may have all the “scores” he needs to be considered a good hire but he just turns you off. If that is how you react to him, won’t a lot of your customers feel the same way? Another example might be an applicant’s affinity or “love” of the product/industry? For example, what if you sell cars and you have two applicants for a position, one of whom whose test scores are weak but who just loves cars and everything about them? I suggest that the “car lover” might be the one to hire because once he is in an environment that fits his passion he will be likely to stick with the job and work to overcome his shortcomings.

A sales assessment test measures the person’s potential. As such it measures what a person “can do” not what they “will do”. As you know there are a lot of people with high potential who do very little with that potential. Conversely there are a lot of people with seemingly little potential who get an awful lot done and are very successful because they use whatever they do have very well.

Fortunately or unfortunately people are complicated. View the sales assessment test for what it is, a tool to perform a specific function. As a tool it is of course not the only tool. Like all tools it works best when used with other tools that are performing their intended purpose. Depending on the particular hiring challenge you face, you should be prepared to adjust the relative importance of the sales assessment test to suit your needs.

About David Pearce

David Pearce is the President of SalesTestOnline.com. Established in 1986, SalesTestOnline.com is North America’s #1 provider of pre employment assessment testing of sales candidates as well as sales profiling tools used to evaluate sales employees for sales competency. SalesTestOnline.com has over 1400 satisfied customers (97% re-order rate) who use our personality sales test to measure sales aptitude when hiring. Our online sales assessment test is customized to your unique criteria, fully automated, instantaneous, extremely accurate and very economical.

 

Cross training

Five Reasons Your Sales Team Should Be Cross-Trained0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Chase Hughes

As small companies grow, they often see a specialization emerge in their salesforce which only grows to increase its segmentation from one another. The sales department grows to become independent from the customer service, marketing, and other areas of the business. As a startup company, many sales forces intermingle with other departments as they are often in the same floor, right next to one another, and may even be the same person. As companies grow, they can learn from these early stage companies by cross-training their sales team in other areas, or at least promoting engagement with other areas that impact sales. This admittedly does require an investment, but in this article, we will explore five points for why it is helpful to cross-train your sales team.

1. They have a deeper understanding of the customer

The most effective companies have a very strong understanding of their target customer including their demographics, psychographics, and on an emotional level. If a lead generation salesperson has very little interaction with the customer, it would be very difficult to understand any of these points. However, if they interacted with the marketing department, they would be able to effectively understand the quantitative variables from the marketing team and the emotional aspects from the account managers.

2. They understand how their behavior impacts the company more

When a person playing a single role within a company does not have substantial interaction, it is unlikely that they will understand how their behavior impacts others in the company. For instance, a salesperson that only focuses on closing may say things to the customer that negatively impacts the relationship. They really may not care so long as the deal is sold, but the customer may not last long.

3. They feel more engaged with the company

If salespeople understand the role that they play in the pipeline, then they may see the significance of their engagement with it. If they are highly isolated from the company, they do not have much interaction to see how their results influence others in the company, the customers, and the company in its entirety.

4. They have a better understanding of the unique selling proposition

The unique selling proposition for a company is generally not something simply listed on paper; it must be fully understood. If salespeople are interacting with everyone and cross-trained in some other areas, they may see the ‘big picture’ about how the company is actually unique, not just read a script which states why.

5. Other customer facing employees may benefit from their sales experience

Cross-training sales teams and getting them exposure to other parts of the company isn’t just for the benefit of your sales team. There may be product managers which can benefit from interaction with your account managers and ‘closers’ benefiting from training from lead generation experts. Everyone has something to learn and it may not be your sales department at all.

About Chase Hughes

Chase Hughes has six years of experience working in the consulting sector and three years in the private equity sector for large multi-nationals and emerging startups. He is the founding partner of Pro Business Plans, a service that writes business plans for debt and equity capital for startups.

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6 Things Every Good Sales Person Should Know About Personal Branding0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Today, nearly every person has a personal brand. The good news is, there are a lot of things you, as a salesperson or small business owner, can do to build a really awesome personal brand. You can choose to guide and cultivate the brand or select actions so it’s defined on your behalf – whichever way you choose to build your personal brand, never brush off its importance. You may wonder how to become the complete salesperson – that’s not an easy feat. However, start by taking a look at these six things every good salesperson should know about personal branding.

The importance of being seen as an expert in your field.

It’s harder to be a salesperson today in many ways – it’s the age of the educated consumer. The best salespeople have the ability to curate excellent content and share it via social networks and blogs. They remember to keep it purposeful and relevant and entertaining when possible. Once you decide how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can become more strategic about your personal brand.

The importance of authenticity in relationships.

A good salesperson knows that at the end of the day, human-to-human relationships are what it all boils down to. It’s easier to maintain current customers than sell new ones. A recent survey by Marketing Metrics found that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5-20%. This is why it’s so important to stay connected with customers on social networks or via email marketing or blogging. Make it a point to learn how to develop an authentic online voice — sounding robotic and giving sales pitches gets you nowhere.

Make sure to keep it personal.

No one wants to feel as though they are just another number, another sale. Good sales people know that they need to do everything they can to learn more about their prospects and clients to make them feel special. Understand the value of promoting your business at a local level. Always remember to personalize any mass emails. Don’t become overly reliant on automation to pull leads. Data can inform but not replace their brain function and intuition.

Never doubt the value of the network.

Networking should never be an afterthought or something that is squeezed into a day. Good sales people look forward to it and it becomes part of their daily routine. Social networks and digital tools help build networks. Good salespeople realize that they can make new connections any day of the week from any location.

Realize it’s crucial to show up and make a statement.

Always wear your Sunday best for presentations and when meeting others. Clean, neat clothes that fit well and neatly combed hair make a good first impression. Take pride in your work: edit letters for errors; check emails before they’re sent, etc. so you don’t look unprofessional. Make sure everything about you makes a positive statement.

Accept that persistence doesn’t do anything good for you.

Good salespeople know the importance of pulling back and think before they overdo it and turn people away. While being assertive is okay, and even coming back to people who previously turned you down is acceptable, it is never okay to hound people. You don’t want to come across as desperate – or even worse — bothersome.

Salespeople always concentrate on their personal brand, and know that the interactions they have leave a trail of bred crumbs straight to their business doors. Good salespeople want people to spread positive word of mouth about their business, and want those words to flow long after they’ve left the room. Most importantly, good salespeople and successful small business owners always remember that a strong personal brand should be ever evolving.

What are some points you think all salespeople should know to make them more successful?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

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Why sales reps are always “Just touching-base”!3

The Pipeline Guest Post – Gerald Vanderpuye

Just Touching Base!

In baseball, a player who is touching base is not in danger of being put out. In sales, we must continue to touch-base or follow-up as it’s also known to stay in the game of sales.  When your rep loses a real opportunity, it’s because of a poor follow up. You sales rep couldn’t touch base either in the right manner or failed to follow-up enough.  

Time kills deals!

Professional sales people know time kills deals and deals get stuck in the infamous black hole where nothing happens for days weeks and months. This is the moment when it is more important than ever to touch base.

The Follow-up challenge!

Although sales managers would argue some sales reps are simply lazy and refuse to follow up, the problem for the majority of salespeoplesales people is more about effectively following up rather than the will to follow up.

An effective follow-up strategy gets a sales deal out of the black hole and back on into the light (the sales process).  We use the term black hole because sales have no idea what’s going on with the buyer and the deal, all they know is the deal is slowly getting out of their control and getting harder and harder to touch base.

This lack of information about the buyer leaves salespeople following up blindly which ends with disengaged Buyers who get spammed and annoyed.  We delved deep into thousands of deals and got an insight into what was happening on the Buyer side.

Know when to Follow up!

Opportunity win rate  for our customer is between 8%-40% for all new sales. At least 60% of buyers were never going to buy and ultimately waste the reps time.  We then measured how much time buyers spent on reading the sales and marketing content shared and discovered hundreds of Buyers often show initial engagement, then drop off, however, come back at a later stage. Without these insights, sales reps were often touching base at times totally out of sync with the when the buyers are most interested.  Imagine a Buyer that is disengaged during the month of February yet receives seven follow-up emails from the sales rep.  The sale is lost in the CRM. However, there is no follow up when the buyer come’s back to the shared marketing content months down the line when the interest is real and sale is back on.

Give your Buyer a reason to act now!

There is another 25% of Buyers that are genuinely interested in the problem you are solving! They simply do not have a compelling reason to act now.  In this scenario, the touching base is mostly about being consistent with the relevant content that either generates a compelling reason for the buyer to act.  

Helping your buyer sell Internally

Finally,  prospects who are struggling to sell your product internally. There are other stakeholders they need to bring into the picture, and they need the right messaging and content to capture these stakeholders interest.  Can you help your champion get their interest with your content and follow ups?   

Professional sales enablement organisations understand that an excellent follow-up strategy is a must for success as 80% of closed deals require five follow-ups before close. Although this Data for why sales reps need to follow up is evident still 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up.   BuyerDeck provides sales reps real data about where the buyer is in the buying cycle (Not the sales process ) and suggests the perfect content/message to follow up effectively.

If you are interested in helping your sales teams better follow up with technology that is fully integrated into your CRM here is an opportunity.  We are now giving away 5000 free licences to broaden our feedback pool. Visit our giveaway site to see if you qualify.*

About Gerald Vanderpuye

As a proud co-founder at BuyerDeck, I have three passions: I love sales, technology and creating happy customers. I have been in sales, marketing and delivering remarkable customer experiences the last 10 years. My last position was at Rackspace where I was responsible for  developing sales strategy and driving business growth through existing customers and new Logo acquisitions in key markets. I was leading and managing a diverse team to deliver on new growth targets for both Enterprise and SMB’s. I am now leading the team at BuyerDeck to bootstrap the distribution of our B2B SAAS product beyond the initial traction of 12K buyers and sellers.

 

* I do not receive payment of any sort from BuyerDeck, just looking to help them give away 5000 licences. Tibor Shanto

 

CC 4-2016

Ways to Get More Leads, Sales and Customers0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Businesses always want to find more leads and turn them into customers.  If you know your products are amazing, your services solve a need in the marketplace, and can back up these claims, then you’re in good shape. Now it’s time to consider how you want to invest both your time and money into this endeavor. There are lots ways to get the ball rolling. Take a look at these ways to get more leads, sales and customers.

Search Engines

Search engine optimization tactics drive visitors to your website via organic search results. All someone does is type a few words into Google and it takes them to your business website – however, some strategies work to get them to your site better than others.

If you have a really good product or service, you probably have done the research. Next, you need to apply what you have learned to your marketing strategy and write content that will speak to those customers. Think about the questions your customers may have, and write a question and answer section to help your current and potential customers. Remember that questions should educate your audience.

As you select keywords, base your decision on research and relevance.  You want to choose keywords that will resonate with your readers to bring in the best traffic. As you place your external links, make sure you have a strategy.  Link to high quality content your readers will find helpful and compelling.

Last but not least: post frequently. It’s important to blog- companies that published 16 or more blog posts had nearly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published four or less posts, according to Hubspot.

Network

Get out there and talk about your business to potential customers – it will act as a growth catalyst for your business.  Community engagement is not easy to beat. A human connection is powerful, even if it’s in the digital space.  Work hard to connect with online communities on forums and message boards– it’s a great way to forge powerful relationships. Meanwhile, it will help you acquire insight on industry trends, garner feedback on your products, and discover any community needs.

The relationships you foster come from conversations that allow you to build trust within the community. Show who you are, let others know you care, and always be genuine. These actions place you one step closer to more customers.

Social media

Similar to networking, focus on engagement to build a social media following. Ensure you interact with those inside — and also outside — of your circle. Remember to include links to your business website to make it simpler for your audience to find you and learn about you and see just what you have to offer.

If you haven’t yet, figure out how to create a social media automation strategy that works. Tools can help you get serious results and save you precious time — and time is something that you can’t afford to sacrifice.

There are a lot of options and helpful tools to help you get more leads, sales and customers. Make the very most of your available assets, track the strategies you implement, evaluate what works best, and then do it all again.

How have you successfully generated more leads – and turned those leads into conversions?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

The Key to Improving the Effectiveness of Sales Meetings and Team Building Retreats0

annetwitter

The Pipeline guest post by Anne Thornley-Brown

Sales meetings and team building retreats can be important vehicles for developing effective sales teams. A few of the benefits include an opportunity to:

  • paint a clear picture of the strategic direction and corporate culture for the company.
  • obtain feedback from the employees who interface directly with clients before implementing rolling out key initiatives .
  • win support for key corporate, sales and marketing initiatives.
  • break down silos and improve cross-functional team work between sales and marketing.
  • brainstorm solutions to organizational issues and sales challenges.

Missing the Mark

Unfortunately, ..sales meetings and team building retreats often miss the mark and they are perceived as time wasters by members of the sales team.

Many sales meetings are uninspiring gatherings where one presenter after another flips PowerPoint slides and drones on while participants try their best to stay awake. Far too often, childish and frivolous recreational activities are used as substitutes for real team building. No wonder It is not unusual to hear members of the sales team murmuring:

“Work is piling up on my desk. I need to be on the road making sales. I don’t have time for this.”

The main reasons this happens is that:

  • the steps for designing effective sales meeting and team building retreats have been forgotten
  • many of the essential ingredients for effective sales meetings and team building retreats are missing

Essential Ingredients for Designing Effective Sales Meetings

The strategies in my blog post Essential Elements for Designing Effective Team Building apply equally to sales meetings. Here are 5 of them:

1. Short conference call or meeting with CEO.

4. Content outline reviewed and signed off by the CEO.

5. Kick things off with a CEO briefing.

7. Checkpoint meeting with CEO and corporate contact at end of first day (or half day for a full day session).

8. Allow sufficient time for debriefing and application exercise.

Consult the original blog post for the others.

Make Sure Senior Executives Aren’t MIA

Notice how the role of the CEO or his or her designate is critical. It’s not enough for senior executives to just show up on the day of the sale meetings and read from pre-prepared slides. Executive engagement is often the missing ingredient when designing sales meetings and team building for sales teams. Participants perceive their lack of buy-in. As a result, the session comes off as time waster and an irrelevant exercise that is divorced from the day-to-day realities that members of the sales team confront.

Team Building Guide for Executives outlines the specific steps that sales executives can take to design targeted and relevant sales meetings and team building retreats that hit the mark with sales teams.


Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA, is the President of Toronto based Executive Oasis International. Anne is an experienced management consultant and team building specialist. She has designed and facilitated executive retreats and team building sessions for sales teams from 16 countries around the world including Canada, USA, Malaysia, Dubai, Egypt, Barbados, Singapore.

Her company’s Apprentice inspired team building session Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in Our Shifting Corporate Landscape is directly relevant to executive and sales teams.

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Feb 16

6 Little Things You Can Do to Make Your Business Shine0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

If you want to make your business stand out, that doesn’t mean you have to make big changes. Sometimes the littlest things can make a significant difference. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to the tiny tweaks that can make a positive impact on your business – make the things you were waiting to do tomorrow happen today. Make the changes happen now and don’t push off doing the things that can help make your business stand out. Here are 6 tips to help you make effective changes to your marketing efforts and improve your business.

Discover the features of a strong website.
Every website should be one of a kind. However, there are certain features that many of the best websites have in common. Choose a design that is clear and tasteful and one that makes it easy to figure out what the next step is for customers. Your website is the chance for you to communicate effectively with your customers’. Use simple visual themes over busy graphics so your customer’s eye goes where you want him to go. Remember that your website is part of your marketing program — so make it strong.

Integrate your email marketing with your social media efforts.
Email and social media are both vital parts of many marketing plans- they’re just two different avenues to reach your customers. If you are having trouble with either method, the solutions may be getting them to work with each other. Shareaholic says that Facebook is the number one referral traffic source for websites. However, email has a lot of perks too. Instead of turning this into a social media marketing versus email match, work to integrate the two methods so they actually help each other (and help your business). There are many ways you can become the smartest internet marketer of 2016 and integrating email and social media tops that list.

Improve your sales funnel.
What is a sales funnel? It is the process people go through as they purchase products or services from your business. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes through the process to be able to improve your sales funnel. It’s ideal to shorten the sales cycle to quicken the sales process – so you need to understand the buyer’s perception of time. No matter how good a business’ product may be, the ability to guide customers through the sales funnel to bring in revenue can be the difference between success and failure. Time is a scarce commodity, so make it a point to figure out how to ramp up the buyer’s sense of urgency.

Conquer your fear of writing your business plan.
Fear. It is one of life’s greatest sources of regrets. It can hold business owners back from doing many things – but you should not allow that to happen. If you are thinking of starting your own business, get over your fear of writing your business plan. Know that you will make mistakes – all business owners do, but hopefully you will have more successes than failures. Keep that in mind.

Overcome barriers to creativity.
Innovation is an important part of running a business. However, barrier to creativity come up on occasion, so it’s crucial to think creatively through all stages of business growth. It’s easy to slip into bad decision habits that limit business, but work hard to keep your business thinking creative.

Take the occasional sabbatical.
From time to time, it can be beneficial for you and your business if you take a deep breath and step back from your day-to-day tasks. This can help you gain a fresh perspective and help rejuvenate you for the future. Step away and press the reset button from time to time. Whether you take a staycation, enjoy a break outdoors, go to the spa, or learn something new – step away and enjoy the power of the pause.

It’s normal for the optimism and energy to subside after the newness of a business wears off. However, a successful business needs to be nurtured and grown in the right way in order to meet your expectations. The right strategies and efforts will pay off one hundredfold if you stick to them – get ready to see your business shine.

What small changes have you made in your business to help it stand out?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

Photo Credit – Shutterstock

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Get It Together! Marketing and Sales Collaboration That WORKS0

Dec 15

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Once upon a time, the business world operated in silos. The accounting department worked in its own silo, while the human resources department worked in a separate silo. Sales and marketing teams also had unique silos. Everyone worked independently and everyone seemed happy – until conflict arose.

Today, more businesses recognize the distinct problem with this setup: each department is working toward a common goal, yet no one is communicating.

The problem with organizing your business in silos goes deeper than lack of communication (although that’s a pretty big deal in any organization). When conflicts arise, the other departments are quick to point fingers. This is especially true of sales and marketing departments. Too often, teams hear the rallying cry of, “but the others don’t get it!” Sales teams fail to see the value in marketing, while marketers see salesmen as lazy.

Instead of listening to what the other department has to say and then collaborating toward a solution to benefit both people, the two teams bicker.

Sales and Marketing Don’t Have to Go Head to Head

All this bickering is stealing from your company’s bottom line. Instead of finding a positive solution to honor the common goal of growing the company, the two teams debate who is right. It’s unproductive…but it doesn’t have to work this way.
Smart companies today realize the problems of communication breakdown between sales and marketing teams. It’s costing them money. If your company is tired of hearing the two teams whine about the other’s performance, it’s time to bring these groups together. Here’s how:

Clarify Qualified Leads

Many sales teams believe the leads coming through aren’t qualified so they’re a waste of time. This is an easy fix. To help the marketing department bring in higher qualified leads, ask each department to define what a qualified lead looks like.
Then, pair the results side by side and consolidate the information. Where is there overlap? Where are the gaps? Whittle away until you reach a consensus between both departments about what a qualified lead looks like.

Collaborate on Content

Sales teams pound the pavement talking to potential customers. They hear more objections than anyone else in the company and they know what the market is looking for.
This is valuable information for marketing teams.
When sales teams can express these objections and define current market trends, the content created for marketing materials becomes far more compelling. The sales team’s job becomes easier and your business starts attracting more people because you “get it.”

How to Get Buy In From Both Departments

The trick to break away from the silo mentality and encourage healthy collaboration between these two departments is showing the benefits of working together.

For sales teams, working together means:
● Higher qualified leads
● Better resources to attract new customers
● More opportunities to reach potential leads
For marketing teams, working together means:
● Having an ear to the ground to know what people are saying instead of having to guess
● Ideas for content creation that drive success by overcoming objections before the customer voices them
● More successful marketing campaigns based on improved communication

Bridging the Gap

It’s time to say “so long” to outdated business concepts. To succeed in business today, your company must bridge the gap between sales and marketing. When you use your CRM to manage collaborative teams, you make it easier and faster to share information. Break away from the silo approach in your business. Start seeing bigger results with stronger teamwork across departments.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

Image credit

Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

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