Podcast Episode with Sam Richer

 

Prelude

A healthy pipeline indicates healthy sales. Accordingly, building a strong, predictable sales pipeline is a top concern for B2B sales organizations that want to hit growth targets.

The best path to success in sales is to build a strong, reliable pipeline and fill it with high-quality leads and Sam Richer gives away great tips on how to build a strong pipeline.

 

Topics We discussed:

  1. Take us through your journey on becoming the best-selling author, top-rated keynote speaker and a trainer to sales and business executives worldwide? How does it feel?
  2. How can you build a lean sales pipeline from scratch if you are just getting started?
  3. How can you build a sales pipeline (Before it even exists) using Job portals?
  4. What are the secrets behind building lead lists with LinkedIn?
  5. What should sales rep’s “go-to” tools be to generate leads in B2B Sales
  6. How do you think Sales and Marketing should align around building a pipeline?
  7. How much does social intelligence influence a pipeline?
  8. Do you suggest sales reps to purchase lists and email them?
  9. Can you give some tips on cold emailing?
  10. What are the best ways to conduct targeted searches?
  11. How much do sales reps need to learn Boolean string search? And where can they get trained on this?
  12. What social tools do you recommend for building a healthy pipeline?
  13. To drive top-line growth, sales leaders generally have two choices: hire more reps, or make current reps more effective. Both of these avenues are contingent on building and sustaining a strong sales pipeline. What do you suggest?
  14. Your final tips on growing a healthy pipeline.

 

From this episode, you will learn:

  1. The basic difference between a suspect, prospect and a pipeline.
  2. Techniques to build a sales pipeline from scratch, using job portals.
  3. How to use lead lists on LinkedIn.
  4. How Sales and Marketing should be aligned.
  5. Tips on warm emailing.
  6. Understanding of targeted searches and Boolean search.
  7. Tips on sales team assessment and management.

 

Check out more

Chris Rauf, the founder of Boulder marketing, in this podcast talk about the basics of SEO.

 

 

Search engine optimization is the process of increasing traffic to a website through improving (organic/unpaid) listings in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo for target SEO keywords.

An important aspect of Search engine optimization is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly refined, they still can’t see and comprehend a web page the same way a human can.

 

Questions I Ask:

1. Differentiate PPC vs Search engine optimization.
2. Can you give an overview on how CTR changes for the first, second and the third organic result on Google?
3. According to the search engine giant itself, there are over 200 ranking signals in its algorithm and each and every one of these ranking signals can be placed into one of the five pillars of SEO.
4. The technical health of the website – How much does Google search console help you with this?
5. How do you maintain the functionality of the website? How much do we rely on web design guidelines?
6. Do you want to through light on on-page SEO?
7. Keyword search and how to avoid keyword stuffing and yet make it valuable?
8. Website Content Optimization and Creation.
9. Meta Tag and Alt Tag Optimization and how much is Google paying attention to it?
10. What all is included in off-page SEO?
11. Hyperlinking optimization and how strong are its ranking signals in Google algorithm?
12. What kind of authority sites do you recommend getting backlinks from?
13. What should be their rating with Google page rank or Moz domain authority?
14. Business list optimization.
15. Despite a recent Google algorithm update which addressed the use of press releases for SEO, it still works if done right. How can it be done right?
16. How much does social media marketing help you with the overall SEO strategy?
17. Search engines are constantly changing algorithms, how do you keep up with it and yet be impactful with the inbound strategy?

 

In this episode, you will learn:

1. Why Do You Need A Search Engine Optimization Strategy?
2. Deploying a Winning SEO and Digital Marketing Strategy is Fun.
3. Understanding the Technical Health of Your Website.
4. Writing in authoritative sites.
5. On-page SEO.
6. Keyword research, web content optimization & Meta tag and alt tag optimization.
7. Off-page SEO – Hyperlinking optimization, business listing optimization.
8. Business list optimization.
9. Social media marketing.

 

Check out more

Jani Altonen, Founder of sales communication accession, In this podcast explains how sales and marketing alignment starts with the customer.

According to a report by Aberdeen Research, companies that are best-in-class at aligning marketing and sales experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue. At many of these companies, the sales and marketing organizations report to one senior executive who’s responsible for both attracting and closing business but are never integrated or mapped to each other.

Read More

Yes,

All the great sale persons are shameless and have their obsessions when it comes to selling.

Ron Poiel was very exuberant and created a market for himself, Larry Ellison was the king of aggressive technology sales. He was famous for calling sales managers late at night and asking pointed questions on the deal’s status, Zig Ziglar used to be extremely shrewd when it comes to setting goals and quotas, or for that matter, Napoleon Barragan was obsessed with using technology to drive sales.

 

A sale is not something you purse; it’s what happens to you when you are ruthlessly immersed in serving your customer”.

 

I have outlined a few successful habits that all the top sales people possess: (Only a few and not all)

Sales people are shameless about achievement orientation

Top sales people know what they want to accomplish and they plan their approach and style accordingly. They are not the ones who would blame it on issues like internal problems, tough competitors, the economy, or anything else.

They are aware their actions alone will determine their results and they do what is necessary. Their goal orientation instinctively drives them to meet with key decision-makers and very well know that results alone will determine them and their success.

We have noticed the most successful sales people on our platform spend an extensive amount of time with identity module to find more account in order to get in touch with the key decision-makers and spend time researching the accounts and it’s various key people.

 

Sales people are shamelessly curious

Most sales people are just not curious enough about the lives of prospects and customers they encounter. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts and have a childlike curiosity and understanding. They have a genuine interest in the lives of their prospects and customers.

Curiosity demands a lot of questions. They aren’t worried about being interesting as they are always interested. They typically start with “Tell me more about that” and from there they find a way to encourage the other person to share on a deeper level and eventually win a great relationship with the prospect.

Read More: Marketing Requires Romance, not A one Night Stand

 

Sales people are shameless hype success stories

Successful sales people are amazing storytellers and do not hesitate in hyping the success and value they have created for their customers. Successful salespeople recognize that price is a factor in every sale, but it is seldom the primary reason someone chooses a particular product or supplier.

They know that a well-informed buyer will usually base much of her decision on the value proposition presented by the sales person.

They know how to create this value and they create this by bringing out stories of similar customers and make the prospect feel that they are making the right decision.

 

Sales people are shameless control freaks

The worst facet for salespeople to be in is to surrender account control and to be operating at the direction of the customer, or a competitor. In opposition, top salespeople take command of the sales cycle process to control their destiny. They are absolute control freaks; they take their jobs very seriously and are always in the ruling mode.

 

Sales people shamelessly ask powerful questions

In preparation for important meetings, Top sales people write a list of questions to ask. They anticipate what the other person’s needs or concerns will be, and point their questions around that. Many people prepare for an important meeting to talk about their product, by practising their routine speech about what they’re best at. A top salesperson will stand out from the rest as they go into the meeting or presentation with a list of questions that delve into what the actual needs are.

 

Sales people shamelessly follow up, follow up and follow up

The truth is most sales people aren’t good about following up. Top sales people think “Why to spend time meeting new people and targeting new prospects if you’re not going to work on making yourself and your product unforgettable?”

These people take the time to follow up in a strategic and recurring manner, which makes them instantly ahead of the competition by 90%.

Read More: How To Generate Sales Without A Marketing Budget

 

Sales people are shamelessly thankful

Top sales people don’t forget anyone that helped them create a new connection. They make sure that they sincerely thank them and offer to help them with any connections they may be seeking. They understand that it is a huge effort and they make sure they do it as they very well know that routes them to a new business in the future. They make phone calls and schedule regular ‘keep in touch’ breakfast and lunch meetings with people who have helped them.

 

Last Words

What other shameless qualities have you seen in the sales people around you? Interested to know!

Sales Competition can be Healthy

In this post, I am not diving into details as to how we salespeople can crack a deal, Instead, I would outline on how you can stay ahead of your sales competition when you are primarily being evaluated by your prospect.

I love my clients! They are a wealth of information for me. Upon a personal survey that I had conducted with my clients, I found an interesting fact: Did you know that in the B2B space, every business before choosing a vendor, evaluates at least 4- 6 companies on an average? Out of which, post their initial meeting the number drops to 2-3 companies. This leads to a series of discussions with the shortlisted companies and finally, the deal happens with the best company that matches their fit.

With that idea, I asked my clients as to why they choose me and my business ahead of my Sales Competition? I compiled their answers into a single word which was refreshing and motivating for me. Well, they said they felt “CONNECTED” and hence my company could make it into the shortlist.

Now you can ask me, “So, How do I be connected to the prospect instantly and gain trust?”

The answer is simple, it’s information.

 

Yes, with information about their company, you will be able to relate to their problems 52% faster than trying to understand their needs on the first sales call.

Below are the quick guidelines on how you can gain insight into a company that you want to work with:

 

1. Company news

This is the most under viewed section by the sales executives when they visit their prospects website. The easiest way to stay on top of a discussion while on a sales call is by knowing the history and current happenings in their company. In today’s world, more than 73% of companies update their website.

Primary sources are company’s RSS feeds, blog posts, and make sure you follow your potential prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as social platforms are updated first. Some of the other sources for gathering information on public companies are BusinessWeek Online, Company Research, and Hoovers Online.

 

2. New funding

A company with strong funds is a very comforting factor for sales executives. When on their site, click on the “Investor Relations” tab. For large companies, you will be able to access and listen to publicly available quarterly earnings and annual reports. These reports also cover information including new products, company risks, and whether revenues are growing or stable. If you are talking to a start-up, check out its profile on Crunchbase, Angel list or lead411.

 

3. Are they hiring?

This is one of the most important pieces of information any salesperson needs to know before a call. If a company is hiring for a position, it talks so much about their growth plans/ current situation or needs.

For example, if you are selling marketing software and you notice that your target company is looking for an SEO specialist, then they are very good chances that they would listen to your offering. It will also give you enough intelligence to build a strong relevant story.

Company’s career page, linked in the career section and few local job portals can give you this insight. Also, keeping a track of the HR profiles of your prospect company on LinkedIn can give valuable feedback as they are always on the hunt for talent.

 

4. Territory expansion

Territory expansion is solid proof that the company is growing and is ambitious. One of the key reasons to expand overseas is diversification. Another reason to expand internationally, of course, is to fuel financial growth. Foreign markets offer new sources for revenue and profit margin expansion.

The best way to know if they have geographically expanded is LinkedIn. If you run an advanced search on the employees of a company; you would have the information as to all the locations the employees are located in. Many companies tend to have smaller teams or sales teams in new locations and that can be valid evidence about their presence.

 

5. Upcoming events

You must be aware of the events taking place in the organization that you are talking too. Google News is an easy way to dig up the recent press.

Go to news.google.com and search for the company name and read the stuff posted out there.

The person that you are scheduled to talk may have been mentioned in the recent events and being able to actively engage in that conversation comes across as impressive.

It’s good to follow the company and its leaders on an ongoing basis. (Even if you are not scheduled for a meeting with them.) Newsle is a great source. You can enter anyone’s name and the site will keep you updated any time there is press on that person. Google alerts can be very helpful here too.

Relevant: How to Arrange Events to get Leads

 

6. LinkedIn profiles

Running through linked profiles of the employees gives you a great insight into the kind of people that work, their skill level, and organizational hierarchy. With such information, you will know whom to address over the call.

Culture and office environment are so important. If you are a vendor looking to service them for a long period, the company will want to know if you are a good fit with their culture. Information on this can be found in lots of different places like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

 

7. Shared contacts

There is an old saying, “People only want to do business with people whom they know”. Always pay attention to all the shared contacts you have. Bringing out their names on the call builds trust by 37% more than a cold reach.

LinkedIn and sidekick software provide these awesome features on shared contacts.

I once had a call with the CEO of a mid-sized software company. Out of my research, I had a common contact who knew the COO of the company. Over the call, when I mentioned that I knew John who is a friend of their COO, I gained the instant trust and I could get a lot of their attention for the rest of the call.

 

8. Rivals of your prospect

Look up Sales Competition competitors by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. There should be a few sales competition there. Do the same thing with the competition you find until you have a pretty good sense of who the big players in the field are. (Or, if the company has a Crunchbase page, you should be able to find a list of competitors on its profile.)

These are just some of my views. I would love to hear from you on what has worked for you? Feel free to share your experiences.

 

Conclusion

Remember that, throughout your sales call, your objective is to be convincing when you say, “we would want to work with you and we see a great fit” Back this up by being able to talk about what makes both your company’s unique, and express your enthusiasm by showing off your knowledge and the value you bring in.

Prelude

Sylvester Stallone was rejected 1,500 times when he selling the movie script with himself as “Rocky”

Now, that’s a lot of rejection before a victory!

Drawing inspiration from the man himself, I wanted to outline the rejections we typically face in B2B sales and the options we have to deal with them.

 

7 Type of Common Rejections

Considering the fact that prospects are masters of resistance, the most vital task is to overcome their objections. This has been proven to be frustrating at times. Let’s look at ways you can overcome some of the most common sales objections that prevent your prospects from buying RIGHT NOW!

Here are some valuable tips to deal with them.

 

1. Price/Budget

Objection: “Your product is too pricey. I can get similar benefits from a cheaper alternative!”

Quick Tip: If you drive the sales discussion only on price, there are very good chances that the customer’s focal point would remain price and will haggle.

Response Options:

  • Break down the total cost into smaller amounts, in that way it does not look like a huge investment
  • Focus on your product’s unique value and its benefits <– This is very critical!
  • Have your stats ready for justifying your price vs the price of your competitors
  • Your solution/product benefits should be spot on
  • Be creative and split an invoice in two, for example – charging the customer for the software in March and the maintenance in April. Sometimes when payments split, the order fits better into their quarterly budgets

What Your Goal Bust Be: Ensure that you portray the value exceeds the price you quoted by 75%

 

2. Call Me Back in a Quarter

Objection: “This is probably not the right time to decide. Call me back in a quarter.”

Quick Tip: This is doublespeak. They mean to be soft on you and not be “that guy” who said no. These words sound positive and you might even believe them. They don’t want to buy.

Response Options:

  • Make the customer be specific. “Thanks for letting me know that next quarter is better for you. What date would you want to place the order?”
  • Or, “I would be happy to call you back. Would Monday, October 11th at 10:00 in the morning work for you?”
  • You can ask: “Will anything change till the next quarter” Once the prospect assures you that they want to do business with you, you can respond with: “Great! Let’s get in touch a week before the next quarter and we can have the ball rolling”. If they do not intend to get back then he is just trying to get away from the situation

 

3. I Am Not the Decision-Maker, Need to Check With My CEO

Objection: “I need to check with my boss/coworker/CEO before taking the final decision”

Response Options:

  • Keep the conversation going to understand more about the decision-maker so that you can more easily move the sale forward
  • Increase your brand awareness by sending great content (brochures/insights reports) to the concerned party and the decision-maker. But never get direct with the decision-maker without the concerned party’s consent as that will break your deal
  • You may also find out that the person you’re speaking with DOES actually has influence or even partial purchasing power — a valuable b
  • Politely and without hurting their ego, ask if you can set up a joint meeting with both parties.

 

4. We Are Satisfied!

Objection: “We don’t need this right now, we’re okay with the way things are right now.”

Quick Tip: Be careful not to instantly get into the typical selling mode. Instead have a causal relation and be in touch. Redirect this contact to your marketing team.

Response Options:

  • Keep sharing information about their competitors and how they’ve moved on
  • Show them your blog posts/case studies of customers who are into a similar business area
  • Provide hard data/statistics
  • Show examples of positive change within their respective industry to boost their confidence levels

What your goal must be: Never give up with such kind of prospects and always be on top of their head!

 

5. Occupied Right Now

Objection: “I’m too held up with other priorities. Need to think about it.”

Response Options:

  • “Well then, why not we catch up for a call while you are on your drive to the office? How’s Wednesday at 7:30 AM?”
  • Suggest a time-limited offer that will expire soon by the time you speak next
  • “Why don’t I quickly help you see whether you get real value? I could help you with the trial/implementation and you just have to spend not more than X minutes.”

 

6. We Have a Vendor in Place

Objection: “Sorry! I’m hiring my friend’s company for our next project.”

Quick Tip:  Trying to get in touch with them after you get a response like this might not be successful at all times.

Response options:

  • You can respond by saying “ That’s great to hear! Most of the companies are using [your solution] to complement what they’re already doing to give them the best possible chance of making the right marketing decisions for the company
  • Be in touch constantly and keep updating them with your new innovations

What must be your goal: Sometimes, a lot of things may be happening behind the scenes that you don’t know about, such as quality control issues, poor customer service, delivery delays, etc? A weak moment can help you get through. 

 

7. Never Heard About You Before

Objection: “How long has your company been in business?”

Quick Tip: Be as transparent as possible. Credibility is critical to moving your prospects to action

Response Options:

  • Show testimonials, printed recognition, awards in the form of articles or press releases
  • Give them the reason why you’re offering them the product – people will feel more comfortable
  • Include your picture – seeing a face with your name helps people trust you more

 

Other Responses

“Not Interested”

“Leave us alone”

“Unsubscribe”

Don’t annoy them by replying to them. It will make the situation worse. Give it a time frame of 6-9 months and reach them back with a fresh approach!

 

Conclusion

Here are your Key Takeaways from this article

  • View the objection as a question
  • Answer it with a question
  • Repeat the objection before you answer it
  • Take a pause before responding
  • Use past experiences and testimonials
  • And finally, never argue with the customer.

Next time you have a tough time about sales objections, don’t give in.

I personally feel that you need to be as creative as you can get to handle them, while not taking things personally.

The secret lies in knowing yourself, your customers and your marketplace. Stay equipped with a game plan and face objections head-on with confidence.

In sales, you need to master the talent of asking questions, listening openly and intentionally, and gaining information, instead of just giving!

Everyone in sales wants to be associated with big brands! Don’t we?

In the B2B business, I am very sure that CXOs receive at least 3 emails a day asking for a meeting or a call from various vendors around the world. Upon a survey with my customers, they have pointed out that they have been deleting these emails because no one takes even a minute to write a well-crafted cold email.
“What does this email have to do for me?” This question applies to a lot of things, especially cold emails, introductions or when asking someone else for something

I am with a company called coMakeIT and we specialize in building offshore software delivery centres for big technological companies or software makers around the world.

I would like to share my experience as to how I went on to win a deal with one of the largest translation and interpretation services company that I wanted to work with.

 

First Email:


Hi Ken,

I am Sampath.

I love the way [Company Name] does business with regards to translation & Interpreting services. I have been following your company and noticed the new initiatives you are taking for your products like translation management and interpretation management systems as you process approximately 50,000 documents a day for your customers.

As you are the CTO, I wanted to find out if you are planning on expanding your software development team and build an offshore delivery centre to build a strong technical competency?

We are a Netherlands-based company and we have helped other software makers of your size and please find our references:

http://www.comakeit.com/en/references

Let me know if we can have a chat at 3 PM UK time this Friday?

Regards,

 

Follow up email after 3 days:


Hi Ken,

Trust you are doing well. I wanted to check if you have had a chance to review my last email?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

 

Ken’s Response:


Hi – I do, please send me some light, but informative info on what you can offer and the typical rates. If I’m interested in there we will arrange a call.

Regards,

Ken


 

Bingo! From there on there had been multiple discussions and eventually signed up a two-year deal with the brand I wanted to be associated with!

 

Below are a few of my guidelines:


 

How I found my target?

I start by making a list of companies I’m interested in. LinkedIn is the first logical place to start looking for contacts inside these companies, but I also look into other social networks.

People who are more active on Twitter and constantly blog or contribute to their community are more likely to answer cold emails and more importantly – are likely to listen to our offering.

 

I made sure I was not an unfamiliar person

Sure, I have never met Ken before, but I made sure I was not a stranger. I did my research and I had been reading a lot of material about their company and Ken’s background. I knew them as well as anyone can without actually meeting — and that knowledge transferred into the rest of the email.

 

I knew their weakness

My client is based out of Leeds, UK, and my research says finding great talent is always hard in that particular region. They are a very aggressive company and with their growth, they must have the best technology to support their offerings to their clients, and for that to happen they need the best talent pool (So the need was there).

 

I kept it short and gave references

The email did not exceed 120 words. Even if the email was checked on the mobile, I made sure it would be an easy read. I did not want to beat around the bush –I introduced myself, showed them what I could offer, and asked them if they were interested.

 

I followed up

Following up has some amazing benefits. It reassures the prospects that we are genuinely interested in working with them. In this case, I could get Ken’s attention in the 2nd follow up. In other cases, you might have to be a more persistent and follow up with your prospect for the 3rd or the 4th time or even more.

 

Timing is everything

Being in the right place at the right time isn’t something that you can control — sometimes it’s just luck. Honestly, I had luck in the equation, too. Sometimes when pitching others, you won’t be quite as lucky (and this has happened to me before too). So if it’s not a great time at the exact moment you email, but you have the rest of these elements down-pat, chances are the person you’re pitching will ask you to follow up with them in the future.

 

Conclusion

I feel “researched” cold emailing is a wonderful way to generate leads, in your email’s just focus on the following points for great responses.

  1. Be extremely relevant and make sure to compliment them
  2. Provide benefit
  3. Be credible with strong examples
  4. Provide a call to action instead of leaving the email open-ended
  5. In the end, just make it an easy read

I hope this post would be of help! I look forward to more suggestions and ideas.