The Salesperson’s Guide to Using Texting for Sales Prospecting

salespersons guide to texting prospects

Did you know it took the US about seven years longer than Europe to catch onto texting? It gained momentum in Europe in 2001, and quickly became a popular alternative to calls.

But in the US, text messaging didn’t take off until 2008. With the growing popularity of the smartphone, namely the iPhone, texting skyrocketed.

Today, texting is the #1 used app on the smartphone worldwide. In fact, no one even thinks of it as an “app”. It’s not a bonus — it’s an essential.

But are salespeople taking full advantage of texting? Not even close.

In most sales scenarios, salespeople deal with the buyer’s discomfort. In any good sales process, the salesperson builds rapport, the buyer begins to like them, and they become friends. But maybe the price is too high, or the products don’t seem to fit their needs. Now the buyer feels uneasy because they don’t want to give their “friend” (the salesperson) bad news. For most people, telling someone you like that you don’t want to buy from them creates an uncomfortable conversation. So the prospect often avoids the conflict by avoiding the salesperson altogether.

In this scenario, salespeople end up in a cycle:

1. Build rapport with the customer.

2. Ask pre-qualifying questions.

3. Propose a solution via email or hand-delivered proposal.

4. Silence.

In the end, they’re left without a sale and without a reason why.

How Salespeople Can Use Text Messaging

The text message gives people a more comfortable way to communicate. Building a relationship with your clients via text opens a channel of communication where they can more quickly respond and more easily deliver objections.

The secret? Text from the beginning. Here’s how to build this communication channel from the start.

Begin the text conversation with an appointment reminder. Confirm the appointment and include the address so there’s no question where you’ll be at what time.

After your first meeting, text a follow-up message. Summarize the meeting and reaffirm any promises you made during your conversation.

Start the text relationship before you get into the groove of emailing. If you wait to text until you need a response to a proposal, that’s uncomfortable. They’re not used to you texting — it’s a “stranger” text. But if the relationship exists prior, texting can be your secret weapon.

Related: 3 Ways to Integrate Text Messaging Into Your Customer Service

The purpose of the texting relationship is to better move sales through the sales funnel. You’ve built the rapport, asked the sales questions, developed and proposed a solution, but you haven’t closed the sale. In many scenarios, this is where the sale falls flat. What comes between the proposal and the close? Negotiation.

If the customer isn’t talking to you, it’s likely an issue of product, price, or prior relationship. Texting makes it easier for them to communicate these objections. So ask for feedback via text. Be direct and be brief.

Your message may say, Mr. Jones, it was great meeting with you last week. I sent you the proposal on Friday, and I would love to get some feedback. How can we move forward?

Now you’ve opened the door for him to communicate his objections and to start negotiation if he’s still interested.

Short and sweet texts can be your golden goose for moving sales through the funnel. But they won’t work if you don’t play by the rules.

The Golden Rules of Texting

1. Save Emojis for Friends

Anyone talking to the opposite sex faces a challenge in texting. Save emojis (and selfies) for your friends. Texts can appear more friendly than you mean, so play it safe and steer clear of the pics.

2. Keep It Strictly Business

Don’t veer off topic or add flirtatious comments. If you receive a message that’s inappropriate, it’s best not to respond.

3. Keep It Short and Sweet

As you message your busy prospects, focus on the facts. Don’t use text messages as an opportunity to build rapport. You’re searching for facts, so get to the point. Texts don’t need the introductions you’d include in an email.

4. Be Aware of WHEN You Text

Consider the person you’re texting and their normal business hours. It’s best to message them after they’re up, but before they get into their work day. So for people with typical hours, text between 7 and 9 a.m. For someone with night hours (like a restaurant manager), texting around 3 p.m. may be better.

Regardless, avoid early-morning or late-night texts. Most people don’t turn off their notifications, so respect their time.

5. Avoid Abbreviations

You may know all the trending abbreviations, but your prospect may not. So don’t use them. People shouldn’t have to decipher your message, so avoid abbreviations altogether. Steer clear of even the most common acronyms (such as LOL or TTYL) to keep your message as clear as possible.

6. Add Product Pictures

Depending on your product, a picture may communicate better than words. If you’re selling cars or a hot, new product, send a picture. A glimpse of your product will be much more enticing than any description you’ll write.

7. Respond in a Timely Manner

95% of people read their texts within five minutes of receiving them. The average response time is just 90 seconds. So when you get a text, don’t over-think it. Respond quickly.

Ways to Use Texting With Text Templates

1. Follow-Ups

Whether you’re following up with a new potential client or a prospect that’s been in the funnel a while, text messaging can be a great way to stay on their radar. Use one of these templates to touch base:

First Follow-Up

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless. We talked about looking into Sprint for the best possible deals for your cell phone service. Please let us know your availability, and we will reach out to schedule an appointment to get you saving sooner!”

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. I’d like to work with you like we discussed earlier for the best possible cell phone plan to fit your needs. Please let us know your availability, and we will reach out to schedule an appointment to get you saving, sooner!”

Second Follow-Up

“Hello again! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. I am touching base regarding an appointment to help you switch over to save more. I’d be happy to send you home with a phone accessory without any obligation just for stopping by our store to explore your options. Thanks!”

“Hello again! I am touching base regarding your appointment with Absolute Wireless for Sprint to save you more on your service bill for your cell phone. Could I give you a quick call this week to follow up on your options?”

2. Automate Monthly Follow-Ups

To make following up even easier, use an app (or your phone’s built-in feature) to automate texts. So, if you’re thinking about work late at night or prepping when it’s not appropriate to text, write a batch of texts to send later. You can even schedule your messages months in advance.

Related: Follow-Up Emails: When Should You Stop Pursuing a Prospective Client?

3. Ask for Referrals

Texts offer a great way to ask for an introduction while your phone number is easy to access. LinkedIn messages often go unnoticed. So use the network to find connections, then send a text. When you see a connection between a client and prospect on LinkedIn, ask for the referral via text message. Then they’ll see your number and hopefully forward it to their contact.

“Hi John! I saw that you work with Sarah from Sprint on LinkedIn. Would you be willing to introduce me? I’d love to offer her the same great service we provide for you. Thanks!”

4. Send Happy Birthday Wishes

Use your social networks to find clients’ and prospects’ birthdays. Then send a message on their big day. So you don’t forget, set these up to send automatically. You can even offer an incentive as a birthday gift:

“Happy birthday from Team Absolute Wireless and Sprint! Best wishes on your special day. Respond to this text within 7 days to learn more about birthday incentives for our customers.”

5. Confirming Appointments

Like we mentioned earlier, text messages eliminate the questions of where and when before an appointment. Sending the address and the time assures the customer you’re ready to meet them.

“Hi John! This is Prat with Absolute Wireless and Sprint. It was great speaking with you recently. I am confirming our appointment on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Thanks!”

6. Recapping Meetings

Let the client know you were paying attention during your meeting. This shouldn’t be a long text, but it should summarize your discussion. If you made a promise, affirm it.

“Hi John. I am recapping our meeting from earlier today. Let me know when you have a moment to briefly chat.”

“Hi John! It was great meeting you this afternoon. I’ll talk to my design team this week to see the cost to add this to the proposal. Look forward to working with you.”

7. After Meeting People

Texting can be a great way to connect with someone new. If I meet someone I could do business with (but don’t have a card with me), I can ask for their number and text them right away with my contact info.

But even if we do exchange cards, it’s still a great idea to text after we meet. Business cards are easy to misplace, while messages are easy to find. I may not need a particular service when we meet, but then something happens weeks later. Now I’m in the market for your service. Rather than searching for the business card, I’ll just look through my messages to find your information.

Consider texting as your virtual handshake. You meet someone, shake their hand, exchange contact info, and send them a message like this:

“Hi John! It was great to meet you. Earlier this week, we talked about saving you money on your cell phone service with Absolute Wireless for Sprint. As a service rep, I’m able to work out the best deal for your plan. What time would you like to schedule a quick phone call to follow up and start saving?”

“It was great to meet you recently, John! We talked about looking into cell phone service with Sprint for savings on your monthly bill. As a service rep, I’m able to work out the best deal for you. What time this week can we briefly chat to explore your options?”

8. When They Haven’t Responded to Your Proposal

The most irreplaceable benefit of text messaging in sales is the ease of communication objections. So, when you haven’t heard back about a proposal after you’ve cultivated the relationship and messaged for the seven reasons above, reach out via text. Say something like:

“Hello again. I am checking on the status of the proposal I sent you earlier this week. Please let me know what you think. Thank you!”

Texting shouldn’t only be the most used app with friends, it should also be the most used app in sales. Take full advantage of this essential tool to communicate with your clients as effectively as possible.

Conference Calls Are Killing Your Sales Team – Use This Free App Instead

marco polo sales team communication

Ever feel like the phone is broken when you’re communicating with your sales team? You talk, but the words just aren’t getting through — especially during conference calls.

Conference Calls Are the Worst

Everyone hates conference calls, but why? To have a “successful” call, we have to stop what we’re doing. None of us can be busy during the time we talk. Now, multiply that by the number of people on a conference call. Each person has to stop the clock, engage in the conversation, and eliminate distractions. That’s highly unlikely — especially if it’s just to hear everyone’s weekly updates.

During a typical conference call, everyone’s distracted. Because they only have to pay attention to the audio, they can continue multitasking during the call. So you’ll pick up the background noise of each person’s location. Some people may be taking their kids to school. Others are grabbing their breakfast at a restaurant before work. By the time an entire group dials in, you can expect plenty of audio distractions.

Plus, there’s no good way to take turns talking. So you’ll deal with the awkward interruptions people experience as they reply at the same time.

Even dialing in can be an obstacle. You dial the 800 number, but then you have to enter the access code. If you’re driving, then trying to find the email, copy the access code, and type it in is extremely difficult (and impairs your driving!). Then, once you’re in the call, the audio can malfunction or someone dials in late and needs a full recap.

Bottom line: conference calls are too hard to focus on. Even the best conference calls are a poor substitute for a face-to-face interaction when everyone’s engaged.

Why Use the Marco Polo App

Marco Polo takes the age-old idea of the phone call and makes it better. Whether you’re calling a group or an individual, you get to respond face to face on your schedule, and avoid all that wasted time. Here are a few of the perks.

1. Works With Everyone’s Schedule

Instead of being stuck in a conference call, Marco Polo frees you up to enter the conversation on your timetable. So, rather than setting an alarm to dial in and going through inevitable hassle and distraction, you get the message and reply anytime.

It’s also a great alternative to individual calls. Phone calls trap us in endless loops of voicemail and call-backs. If I need to advise someone on my team, I can call, but often people can’t pick up. I leave a message, they try to return the call, I’m busy. And so the cycle begins. We end up playing phone tag until the message becomes more cumbersome than helpful.

But with Marco Polo, I plan what I’m going to say, then I say it to the person via video. They respond when ready. And if one of us forgets to respond, that app reminds us intermittently.

Related: Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

2. Offers the Insight of Face-to-Face Communication

True communication consists of more than words. As we interact face to face, we benefit from non-verbal cues. People can neutralize their voices to mask emotions, but it’s much more difficult to disguise facial expressions. If I have a conversation with an under-performing salesperson via video, I’m more likely to understand what’s going on than if we’d only talked on the phone. Audio simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

3. Reduces Wasted Time

People need time to think. When we don’t have to respond immediately, we form more developed ideas. In a conference call, there’s a pressure to reply right away. However, if you present a problem via Marco Polo, I can think through solutions and respond with more valuable input.

Video also encourages people to get to the point. Most people don’t want to send a video of themselves thinking and stalling for the right words. It makes them self-conscious. So they come to the conversation with their thoughts prepared and save everyone’s time in the process.

4. Motivates Your Team

As a sales manager, you should spend about 80% of your day motivating people. Your job is to remind your team of the obvious. Remind them what to focus on and praise them when they do a great job. Marco Polo gives you the opportunity to publicly praise them face to face.

When I look at sales data, I jump on my app and send a quick video saying, “Great job!” to my team. Then I name the people who really stood out in their sales. When I send this out to the team, the top performers feel great, while the people who weren’t named are usually motivated to win recognition the next day.

A lot of sales organizations send out emails to report their wins, but so much is lost in email. A video communicates much more.

How Do I Use Marco Polo?

1. Create a group with each member of your sales team.

Marco Polo identifies people by phone number. So just enter the numbers of salespeople to create your sales team group.

2. Check in with the team via the app.

Instead of a Monday morning conference, click on your Marco Polo app, get on the group, tap on the group, and say, “Good morning team! Looking forward to seeing your game plan today. Reply with your goals for the week!”

You can also use this to communicate other items on the sales meeting agenda, such as company updates or upcoming opportunities.

3. The team gets a message notification and replies.

Each person will get a notification when new messages come in. After they listen, they can make their own recording.

You’ll get replies like, “I’m ready to crush it today! I’ve got three appointments today and four more this week. I expect to close the Johnson deal by Thursday at 4:00.”

Related: 4 Simple Strategies for Becoming a Better Sales Manager

4. Listen when ready.

Just like that, you end up with a face-to-face report from each salesperson you can listen to right away, or when it’s convenient!

What About Reprimanding?

A good manager praises in public and reprimands in private.

With these recorded updates come extra levels of accountability. If someone isn’t meeting their numbers and closing expected deals, go back and listen to their reports. Then talk to those salespeople one on one. Marco Polo backs you up and directs your conversation. Maybe you say, “In your Monday report last week, you said you would close the Johnson deal on Thursday at 4:00. Why didn’t that happen?” You can even play back their report to fact-check.

Meanwhile, Marco Polo also gives you another way to praise your highest achievers. Give top salespeople kudos in the group thread. You want everyone to know they’re a rock star!

Why Does Marco Polo Work?

Give the app a try, and you’ll be hooked. Why? It’s a “time-shifting” app for meetings.

Meetings and conference calls force everyone to be on the boss’s schedule. Everyone stops what they’re doing to be in a meeting they don’t want to be in. Even your best sales meeting ideas keep people in the office when they want to be out selling. But with Marco Polo, you time-shift your agenda. You change the clock so meetings are convenient for the manager and the team.

But you don’t sacrifice the face-to-face benefit and can still set a schedule of expectations throughout the day. Set timelines for the meeting (maybe 8-4 on Monday) and set deadlines for status updates. Then the reps chime in anytime, and you listen when you’re ready.

Plus, if you want to emphasize something, use the text feature. You can easily overlay text on videos or pictures. Sometimes I’ll just type Goals? to remind everyone to send me an update.

Sure, traditional sales meetings and conference calls have their perks, but Marco Polo utilizes the best aspects of each.

marco polo app sales teams

On the surface, this app looks like an easy way to chat with family and friends. But it can also transform your business. You’ll be able to establish a higher level of accountability while giving everyone a little more flexibility in their schedule. Marco Polo frees up your salespeople to sell… while keeping you in the loop.

The Average Salesperson Wastes 2 Hours a Day — Here’s Why

salesperson time management

We’ve all experienced decision fatigue — when we’ve made so many decisions we can’t make one more. But we’re exhausting ourselves on the wrong decisions, namely, figuring out who to call.

If we eliminate all those choices about who to call, we’ll be able to focus our thinking on more important tasks during the day. So how do you get that decision off your plate?

First, you need a central place to store your previous contacts. Most people don’t have an easy place to store their data. Some just try to remember it. Others use a notebook. But sometimes they forget to take thorough notes. And even when they don’t forget, they have to go through each page to decipher and sort information.

The choice of whom to call becomes clear when you can see a chronological list of whom you last contacted. Then you simply go in order. So what’s the best way to gather all that info?

Don’t Collect Data — Make the CRM Do It for You

Any worthwhile CRM collects data automatically. Don’t rely on people to enter it. Some people think they can remember it all, but they just can’t. Can you remember whom you met with three days ago? There’s little chance you’ll be able to recall the details. (And even if you do, why use your brainpower to remember something an app can remember for you? Channel that effort towards sales!)

Each company cares about two things: existing customers and prospects. And every person you contact is a potential customer. An automated system makes sure no prospect (or client) goes unnoticed.

After storing the contact info for each person you see, an app like CallProof sorts the data. With a click, you can see whom you need to contact. The app has done all the sorting and filing for you.

Moreover, you can set reminders about how frequently to call your customers. We all know that it’s harder to get a new client than an existing customer to buy. So make sure to contact existing customers as regularly as they buy from you.

Identify Hunters and Farmers

You can also maximize effectiveness by making sure your salespeople work to their strengths. On your team, you have hunters and farmers. Farmers build relationships and take care of existing customers. They handle accounts and keep customers happy.

Hunters find new customers and close deals. But then they move on. The key is identifying the different types of salespeople you have. When you find hunters, keep them hunting! Once they close a deal, hand off the account to someone who will cultivate the relationship. Then you keep your hunters free to sell.

There’s a real danger to your profitability if you force your hunters to be customer service reps. Strong hunters grow your business. So eliminate anything that slows them down. You don’t want them bogged down by paperwork or dealing with customer service issues. Instead, keep them selling as much as possible.

3 Questions to Ask Your Salespeople About CRMs

Is it time for you to change CRMs? Your CRM should make everyone’s job easier — documenting data automatically, keeping salespeople on task, and preventing missed opportunities. If you think your CRM is lacking, ask your team these questions.

Does our CRM dis-incentivize you?

If each client requires manual documentation, you may be crippling your top salespeople. That means the more sales they close, the more updates and entries they’ll need to enter each week. Instead, automatic data entry logs their contacts without slowing them down.

Do you know how many calls you made yesterday?

When you do something repeatedly, it’s easy to lose count. You may think you called 40 clients yesterday when you actually talked to 20. If it’s not recorded automatically, these numbers are hard to track.

Have you every forgotten to follow up?

Let’s say I have a prospect I cold-called, met for an appointment, but forgot to follow up and document. Now, that sale goes away. So how many calls will it take to make up for that missed sale? Automatic entries and follow-up reminders keep prospects from falling through the cracks because of human error.

The right CRM eliminates wasted time — whether it’s time you spent deciding whom to call or logging a contact. A CRM like CallProof simplifies everyone’s job while making your business more successful.

When Is the Right Time to Hire Your Next Salesperson?

You’ve hired your first salesperson, and business is going well. But you know the only way to grow your revenue is to find more prospects. And the best way to do that is hiring a salesperson. So is it time for you to make your next hire?

Consider the Demand for A New Salesperson

First, consider your supply and demand. If you have enough supply, then you need more demand. Maybe the demand just needs to be notified that you have the supply.

In B2B sales, this usually requires a representative — a person who knows all the features of the products. This rep can show your product to prospects, answering their questions and teaching them how it works for their organization. So how do you find more demand?

1. ID the Marketplace

What type of prospect is your salesperson missing? One person can’t reach your whole market. So identify the areas they aren’t reaching.

2. Segment the Field

Then decide how to divide the territory. Do you want to segment your salespeople based on types of industries, types of sales, size of the organization, or location?

3. Run the Numbers

Hire the right number of salespeople to reach your market. On average, a sales rep should have about 500 prospects to target in a year. So, if your marketplace has 2,000 prospects, you’ll need four strong salespeople.

Are You Ready for Another Sales Rep?

Before you hire your second salesperson, ask yourself these questions.

1. How many prospects are there?

Run the numbers to calculate your prospect to salesperson ratio. Remember 500:1 is the average ratio. If you only have 50 prospects, you don’t need another sales rep.

2. What’s the buying frequency?

Your specific ratio will vary based on the product and sales cycle. If you’re selling a commodity that’s needed every month, you’ll need more salespeople. After all, you have multiple opportunities to sell to the same client. If you have a contractual service where clients sign up for a year or two (i.e. health insurance or satellite providers), you may not need as many reps.

3. Can you afford to hire two salespeople?

Add to your sales team in pairs. Don’t just hire one person at a time. Instead, hire two, knowing you’ll only keep one. Only rarely will they sell the same amount. Rather, one will overachieve — and you’ll know who’s better. It’s easy to see a winner and a loser when they do the same work.

And, if you hire two competitive people, they’ll win over tons of business trying to beat each other.

How to Hire Salespeople Starting Up

If you’re just starting your business, don’t hire only one person. Hire as many as you can afford for the first two months. If you hire just one person, it’s tough to gauge how well they’re doing. You’re going to go through sales reps anyway. So begin with too many reps, and you’re more likely to find that rock star salesperson early on.

How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

3 Keys for Keeping Sales Leads Fresh With a Sales Tracking App

keeping leads fresh sales tracking app

I’m a multi-tasker. And because of that, I love Audible — I can listen to a book while doing just about anything. But recently, there was one book I was ready to read that wasn’t on Audible, so I picked up the hard copy. I hadn’t finished page one before I got distracted!

Why? My attention span is short. But it’s not just me — it’s all of us. Now, in our instant gratification culture, even a goldfish has a longer attention span than we do!

Naturally, our leads have the same issue. They have an itch to scratch when we get their referral. As soon as they find a solution (even if it’s not the best one), they move on and that opportunity disappears.

But what if you have old leads? No matter how good your CRM is, if your leads are old (10 years or 10 weeks), you’ve got a problem. So, before you blame the CRM for your sales plateau, ask yourself these questions to get to the root of the problem.

Is Marketing Talking to Sales?

Marketing and sales departments need to work together. Marketing spends major money to buy ads that bring in phone calls and find leads through outside sources. But, if they aren’t communicating with sales, your company may miss the value of your leads.

Marketing knows what a campaign costs, but they don’t always know how many leads it generates. Instead, they need to figure out the number of leads that come in because of each marketing strategy. Then they can calculate the cost of each lead — helping to develop their marketing strategy for the future and place an immediate value on leads for the sales team.

How many people filled out a form, gave information, or contacted you because of your $5K campaign? Once you get hard numbers, marketing can tell you exactly how much each lead is worth.

How Quickly Do You Respond to Leads?

Sales reps should respond to leads immediately. How do you think of leads — as a treasure or a task? Some salespeople treat leads as a task they need to complete within a week, while they need to respond within minutes. Otherwise, they loose the prime window for a sale.

InsideSales.com found that if you follow up with a lead within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. Sales managers need to hold their team accountable to responding immediately.

Immediately? Yes. As soon as you see it. Do you want to close the sale? If so, call them right away. If a lead comes in at 4:00, don’t wait until the next day. If someone submits a form at 9 pm, call them then. And if you don’t get to it right away, call as soon as it’s acceptable to do so.

It’s not a matter of waiting until you get to your office to return calls. Sales don’t work that way unless you’re the only person selling something. Otherwise, leads are gold.

Is There an 800 Number on Your Contact Form?

People with wallets spend on phone calls. It’s also quicker to close on a call. A lead form (without an 800 number) tells potential buyers that their entries aren’t very important — they’ll be answered when you have time.

But any good sales organization makes time to answer sales questions. And any good salesperson would love to get a phone call from a client. The problem is solved when you add a number to the contact forms. That’s why we use custom phone numbers.

How Sales Tracking Apps Solve Your Problems

Sales tracking apps make it easy to solve these problems with two functions: displaying each prospect on a map and tracking communication with your prospects.

Provides Location

Sales tracking apps show you each lead’s location. Often, someone will fill out a lead form but not respond to your calls or emails. If you’re using the app, you’ll see your leads on a map. And a pop-in visit can be extremely beneficial.

So, if you just received a lead in Franklin, Tennessee while you’re in the area, you stop by to say hello. This person was interested in your business but didn’t want to talk to a sales rep. Now, since you’re standing in front of them, they may ask you about an objection you can resolve.

Tracks Responses

Sales managers, do you know how many leads are NOT contacted? An app like CallProof shows emails, calls, and texts sent to clients so no lead gets overlooked. See, a lot of salespeople make judgment calls on the leads. If they see a fake-looking email address, they skip it. But if their manager asks about it, they don’t say, “I didn’t call him because the email was fake.” They’ll just say they called and that he wasn’t interested. So, unless you have a record of the call, don’t assume they made it.

Other leads are only contacted once. Most of your leads are busy. You are not the only issue in their world. So, even though you could solve their problem, they put you off. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow-ups to close the deal, but 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. So, if leads say, “I’m busy right now, you’ll need to call me back,” don’t assume they aren’t interested. You have to reach out several different ways to get their attention.

Here’s how I tell the salespeople in my organization to handle a lead: call, email, and text.

The next day: call, email, and text.

And the next day: call, email, and text again.

And the text message matters. Texts can’t be random, generic, or impersonal. Make the message understanding: “I understand you’re busy. What’s the best time to call?” Don’t text about your product and if they want to buy. Rather, ask a question about when they’d like to communicate.

Leads are valuable. When your marketing and sales departments work together and each lead is contacted promptly and repeatedly, you’ll see your numbers climb.

What’s the value of a lead that you don’t call? Nothing.

The Value of Having ALL Sales CRM Data in One Place

value of having CRM data in one place

Have you ever made a list, only to lose it before it was even used?

It’s frustrating to take notes and keep track of information, only to misplace it later. But while it may be frustrating in some circumstances, it’s costly in others. Client information is one of the most valuable resources in business. If you misplace it or the right people can’t get to it, your business suffers.

We want ALL client information in one spot. No matter who talks to the client at what time, all calls, emails, files, interactions, and notes need to be in one place.

How It Helps

Centrally located information helps in many areas, but transition periods reap huge benefits. When you promote a salesperson and reassign their territory, a new person shouldn’t start from scratch. Often, outside salespeople work a territory for a few years, and when they leave, they take their information with them. Then the new person gets a new prospect list and spends months re-creating those relationships.

But what if they could pick up where the last person left off? With a CRM that stores information in one place, they can. And the transition becomes smoother for everyone prospects, customers, and salespeople.

How It Works

So how does that happen? You could require salespeople to log all client interactions diligently (and hope they do it). Or you could use a system that automatically updates itself.

That is what CallProof does. It logs all the phone calls, emails, and meetings automatically. Salespeople handle clients the way they always have, while CallProof syncs up and logs the interactions.

Here’s what used to happen. First, I had to remember to call or email Joe. If I remembered (and didn’t snooze my calendar alert for six months), I logged into the CRM afterwards, and made my notes.

Now, CallProof tells me to email Joe. I email Joe, and CallProof automatically updates itself. If I included an attachment, it automatically uploads that attachment to the client’s file. If anyone else on our sales team emails Joe, it stores the information too. CallProof aggregates the information for us.

I hate change. So I do the same things I always did. But CallProof figures out the way I work (so I don’t have to change), and then puts the information where it needs to be.

Why It Works

CallProof offers this solution, but no one else does. Why? We found out what the people who buy and use CRMs want. Only after talking with usability experts, aesthetic consultants, and many marketing and IT buyers, did we build our CRM.

Salesforce.com was one of the earliest “software to service” solutions. Buyers consider it a safe buy because it’s well known. No one will fault them for buying this age-old service. But just because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.

The Right CRM

If you want to buy the right CRM, recognize each solution for what it is. Figure out why it works the way it does. Was it built to market or built to work?

CallProof was built to work, then we just happened to sell it later. We built it because we realized that the other CRMs didn’t work. They operated, but they didn’t fit with sales culture. When they were effective, it was because salespeople changed their mode of operation. They took on extra work to get data into the system.

Marketing buyers think about the end goal. They want to be able to market to any potential demographic middle-aged dog owners who live on the east side of town and drink coffee. They want options to create “cool charts” with the variables. But they forget to think about how that information gets in the system to start with. Sure, the marketing options and campaign potentials are appealing, but they’re useless without accurate data.

IT people look at solutions in terms of technology. They want a solution with a solid operating system. Since they know how to build systems, CRM services sell to these buyers with discussions on certifications and firewall technology. CallProof has all that too, but that’s not the most important factor.

No matter how solid the technology or what demographic specifications it pulls (which CallProof does too), the solution won’t work without data. And that’s the last thing people think about when they’re buying, even though it should be the first.

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How to Calculate the Real Cost of a Sales CRM

calculate cost of CRM

The best deal on paper isn’t always the best deal. Your CRM invoice may look like you’re spending a few hundred dollars when you’re actually investing thousands. So how do you know the true cost?

When you’re calculating the real cost of a CRM, start by adding up the setup fees and monthly costs, but don’t stop there. You also need to calculate the value of your time.

Time: The Hidden Expense

Time is money especially when you’re on the job. When a CRM requires a large time investment from you and your employees, you lose money. So ask yourself, “Do I make more money for the company updating the CRM or doing my job?”

Here’s an example. If an engineer’s billing rate is $100/hour, and they spend six hours managing the CRM, that time investment results in $600 lost revenue.

If you decrease the time you spend managing the CRM, you save major money. Let’s say this same engineer now uses a different CRM that only requires two hours to manage. That time shift saves the company $400.

How to Figure Out Your Total Cost

Start with setup fees and monthly fees. Then factor in the time it takes to set up the CRM, who does it, and what their time is worth. Now, add the amount of time that each employee spends in the system every week according to their approximate hourly rate. That’s your true cost.

Here’s how it adds up. Which of these solutions costs less?

  1. You spend $10 per user/per month. Then each user spends 40 hours a month updating data.
  2. You spend $30 per user/per month. Then each user spends five hours a month updating data.

When you factor in time value, B is your obvious deal.

A CRM may seem like a good deal on paper, but when employees have to spend numerous hours working for the system (rather than it working for them), you lose more money than you may realize. Instead, calculate the real deal. Spending a little more on an efficient solution saves you thousands in time.

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Why Everything You Know About CRM Is 100% Wrong

Everything You Know About CRM Is Wrong

Successful companies have always recognized the need for a CRM. They have a responsibility to their employees, vendors, and customers to keep information organized. But old CRM methods no longer make the cut.

Now, as people work anytime from anywhere, salespeople need customer information at their fingertips. They need data in one place that they can access or enter from a phone. Fancy spreadsheets and unique demographic pulls are no longer the priority any service can do that. What matters is accessibility.

The Problem

When business leaders decide to shop for CRM solutions, they usually delegate it to marketing or IT. Some plan to use that information from a marketing perspective to nurture prospects. Others send it to the IT department because it’s a technology solution. And IT technicians can figure out what will work with current software. What leaders don’t think about is the end user the salesperson.

What Typically Happens

CRM solution companies know who buys their solution and it’s not the individual sales rep. Therefore, most products appeal to marketers or IT technicians and disregard the ease (or difficulty) of entering the data.

After salespeople make calls and visits, taking notes and tracking appointments, they need about five hours each week to enter all that data. But they lack either productivity or time. Low performers often make up their data, completely skewing the CRM information, while top performers don’t have time to enter all their activity.

Instead, you need a CRM system that updates activities automatically. When a CRM depends on each sales rep spending hours each week correctly recalling their activities, your data won’t be reliable.

With old CRMs, you needed to remember to email your prospect. Then you’d craft the email, send it out, log into the CRM, and make a note of what you did. Now, CallProof reminds you to email your prospect, you send the message, and then it automatically copies your email to the contact record (along with any attachments). The activity is automatically updated, and you’re free to move to the next task.

CallProof also updates in real time. Why? So you can manage in real time. It’s not about micromanaging, but rather keeping your thumb on the pulse of activity so you know what’s going on. You can check in or follow up as needed.

The 3-Minute Sales CRM Test

How long does it take to enter data in your CRM? If it takes more than three minutes, that’s too long.

With CallProof, you can make any data entry in under three minutes. You can also find information you need for a visit, select the result of your appointment, or book a new meeting within that short time.

Your sales team (and people in general) procrastinate tasks that take too long. In fact, they often put tasks off so long, they never complete them. That’s why CallProof keeps the process quick and easy.

CallProof gives you a solution that stores functional, accessible, and accurate data in a central location. Because of that, our adaptation rate is stellar. It’s the easiest CRM for salespeople to use, which means companies get more reliable information and better results than from any other service.

Instead of thinking of CRM as a tool to generate reports, focus on how you’re going to get the information into the system. How can you take this burden of documentation from your day-to-day employees, and yet have data at your fingertips? CallProof is a solution that automatically does this for you.

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5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Sales CRM [CHECKLIST]

choosing a crm

You’ve realized that your company needs a sales CRM? Good. Now how do you choose?

Keeping customer data under control is key to growing your business. So ask these questions to choose the right CRM.

1. Are There Extra Charges?

CRM solutions were built for sales, yet most CRMs are purchased by marketing and IT departments. Therefore, most CRM services prioritize IT and marketing needs over the needs of a salesperson, which creates data problems. And fixing those problems costs extra. Here’s how it usually works.

For IT and marketing people to get the data they need, salespeople need to spend four to five hours each week entering their information. But salespeople can’t afford to spend that much time entering data. So they input data inconsistently, and the reports are unusable.

Then IT/marketing asks the CRM solution for different types of reports which cost extra. These companies were built to sell, so they’ll nickel and dime you as they offer extra services to “solve” the problem.

CallProof takes a more proactive approach. We built our service for sales reps. It’s easy to enter the information into the system, which makes the data reliable. Moreover, we offer a lot of support at the beginning, and the system is completely customizable. We charge one flat fee without a maintenance agreement or other up-charges. If we have to customize a report, it’s included in the price. We’re not smart enough to charge for every little thing, and we want to give you a service you need for the long haul.

2. What’s The Length Of The Contract?

Most companies offer a six-month or year contract. They want to get your revenue, so they use contracts to ensure your business is worth their investment.

CallProof uses month-to-month contracts because we feel it’s important that we earn our clients’ business every month. Plus, it proves that we’re on the same team we want our product to work for you.

Let’s say I have a year-long contract with the CRM vendor, but they charge for extra support. We’re not on the same side anymore. I’m tied to a CRM that should be working well, yet they earn extra if it does not. The model gets me to call in and spend money, leaving me and the vendor with different goals.

We want everything working so that if you don’t call us, we’ll make more money. If you don’t have problems, we’re in a better position. That way, we’re truly on the same team.

3. How Is Training Handled?

Make sure you know what training you’ll receive for the CRM you purchase. Ask:

  • Are we responsible for it?
  • Is there a link to a YouTube channel, or is there formal training?
  • How much does it cost?

4. What Types Of Integrations Are Necessary?

You also need to understand how this software will work with your current technology. Ask:

  • What types of integrations are necessary with line-of-business applications and other ancillary software that our organization uses?
  • Are emails, phone calls, and day-to-day activities automatically updated?

5. How Does Existing Data Get Into The Solution?

Someone needs to import, manage, and clean up your organization’s existing data. Will you or the vendor be responsible for this process?

You want the vendor to make the transition for you. If you import and convert data for the first (and only) time, the result is probably going to be poor. It’s like tying your shoelaces. The first time you do it, it takes a long time and the knot isn’t very good. But someone with experience does it perfectly.

If you rely on a person who manages the software daily, they’ll get a better result. Why? They “tie shoelaces” all the time. And when they do it, it gets done quickly and there’s a solid knot when they’re finished.

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