A friend of mine was asking me the other day whether I’d run any out-of-the-ordinary sessions with clients lately. With an interest in sales himself, he mentioned that when he attended one of his company’s recent sales meetings, he felt it strange that the emphasis struck him as more information-dumping rather than skill-developing.
I tried to soothe his nerves a touch by saying that what he’d experienced was unfortunately commonplace but it was simple to introduce measures to redress the imbalance. Although not strictly speaking operating in my area of expertise (ie: my pal’s firm are not quite b2b solution selling) I rattled off a few hour-or-so segments I’d been asked to deliver in sales meetings at my customers recently. The one that most pricked his ears was when I said ‘how sales 2.0 can fill your funnel’.
By this, I didn’t mean that you should glue yourself to your chosen software-as-a-service software system that records all activity. Rather, how you use the capabilities of the so-called social networking web revolution to get more deals into your pipeline.
We joked that hardly any reps in my space are doing this, primarily because, I surmised, it takes a lot of time and effort to get cracking on with and most reps don’t feel that their remuneration merits such out of hours investment.
For those prepared to toil away, the rewards will surely come. There’s a whole bunch of free webtools available that can encourage potential prospects to engage with you sooner, rather than never. Some of these turn the salesrep into their own territory’s unpaid marketing exec (another reason perhaps for rare sightings, as salesreps can think it is someone else’s job to support them in this way, but as the saying goes ‘if you want something done, best do it yourself’). And activities, like use of social networks (from Facebook to Twitter), may frighten the rep away worried about repercussions from on-high if they’re discovered using them. I could devote an entire month’s worth of blogging to this final point alone.
Anyhow, the one area where I seemed to add value to my friend’s travails was when I mentioned permission-based monthly newsletters. When you discover that someone is not ready to buy, yet are potential future buyers for your type of offering, ask them if you could keep them informed of what you’re upto in the marketplace. Most people say ‘ok’.
Then you need to follow a few simple rules:
- write no more than one newsletter a month, but make sure you do write one each month
- fill it with tales of what you’ve learned about the successful adoption of your wares
- it is okay to mention recent sales successes but only in passing and where there’s a good description of the new client’s reason to buy
- take pictures with your phone of happy customers, and of them using your wares if possible
- it doesn’t necessarily need to be lengthy, a couple of pages will do
- tell them a snippet about R&D
- the more it comes across as the meanderings of your latest working month, rather than a corporate marketing initiative, the better you’ll fare
You can get quite in-depth with this, but the intention is to make sure that you both accelerate the next purchase decision, and get yourself on top of the podium for possibilities.