Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

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It’s tough to find a good salesperson — especially if you’re selling commodities. And when you’re hiring sales teams, building an entire group of great salespeople seems impossible.

After all, it takes more than good commissions to make a top seller. You can’t just up someone’s pay in hopes they’ll transform into an awesome salesperson. So who are those rare jewels… and how can they start working for you?

Where to Find the Best Salespeople

When it’s time to hire sales associates, where do you start looking? In reality, the best salespeople are already employed. The best way to find a new salesperson is through referrals. Then you have to recruit them, deal with turnover, and try to keep them around.

Those better-than-average salespeople have two qualities.

1. They love to sell. They can’t get enough of the high after they close a deal, so they’re always looking for the next deal to chase. Plenty of people are good salespeople — they are the people that like to close and like chasing a sale. But the great ones love it.

2. They need to sell. The payout needs to be high enough to warrant the work that goes into closing a deal. If someone’s making enough money to be content without closing new deals, they probably won’t.

Top salespeople love and need to sell. Sales is different from account management. Great account managers are more common, but someone who can go into a business, figure out what they need, and follow through with a sale is a gem.

4 Big Mistakes in Your Sales Recruitment Strategy

Great salespeople may be rare, but they’re out there. When it’s time to hire your next salesperson, avoid these mistakes that could keep you from finding (or keeping) a top performer:

1. Hiring Too Quickly

Sometimes we’re so desperate for another salesperson, we rush the process. Instead, take time to find out more about a candidate and how they operate. Ask them about their other jobs and their lead process. Do they have a “No Client Left Behind” process? What do they do after they leave a meeting? What’s their system for follow-up? If they can’t tell you exactly what they do, that’s a red flag. Great salespeople have systems that result in closed deals.

People can busy themselves with 100 different activities that don’t equate to sales. Checking emails, filing papers, and researching software are all good organization practices, but they don’t lead to sales. So find out from the beginning if they know how to engage in activities that lead to sales, like meetings and phone calls.

2. Poor Compensation Structure

Structure your compensation in such a way that salespeople need to sell and are well-rewarded when they do. If you have a salesperson that loves to close deals, but makes plenty of money after a few big successes, their motivation takes a nosedive. So look at various pay structures to offer enough incentive to motivate your sellers.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

3. Inadequate Training

Sometimes we either skimp on the training so people can get to the field, or we train so much on the product that we forget to train on the sales process. Make sure you train in the things that matter for closing deals — activity levels, how to qualify a prospect, and follow-up.

People need to know what types of work lead to sales and what to look for in a product. They also need to understand the real value of doing business with your company. What problem does the product solve? When they understand and believe in the narrative of how this solution changes things, sales happen.

They don’t need to know everything, but they definitely need enough info to identify the opportunities and solve business problems.

Related: How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

4. Lack of Accountability

We all need accountability. Even the best salespeople work more productively when they know they’ll have to answer for their schedule. So keep your team on target with their quotas. Monitor their activity and check in when the numbers are off. Some people ask their sales team to enter activities into a CRM at the end of the week, but it’s much easier to use an automated CRM like CallProof. Then your team just logs their activities with the push of a button. They’re incentivized to stay on track, and you see who’s really meeting their goals.

Hiring mistakes cost you revenue. They drain your time and distract from potential sales. So when you find the right person, don’t let them slip through the cracks. Do the prep work up front in your hiring, pay structure, training, and reporting to keep the best salespeople working for you.

Why Questions Matter When Qualifying Your Sales Leads

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In the early ’80s, there was a saleswoman who was awesome at selling mainframes. But really, she just walked into businesses and asked questions. Then she took their responses back to the engineers, they told her what the client needed, she told the customer, and they’d buy.

Obviously, the company loved her, so they sent her to school to learn more about the interworking of the mainframes. After six months of intense training, she knew everything there was to know about them. And her sales were thoroughly average after that. Why? She stopped asking questions. She thought she knew what the customers needed and stopped listening to them.

Being a rock star doesn’t mean knowing the most about a subject — it’s knowing what questions to ask so you can find the right solution.

Questions Start the Story

Qualifying sales leads is all about asking questions. Then, as you come to understand the environment of the company, you can tell your story and make a sale.

As you ask questions and talk with them about their business, you’re not only learning the information, but you’re often validating what they’re doing. Plus, they’re thinking through why they do what they do. Either way, you’re now on a deeper level of conversation.

Now you have the chance to reassure them they’re in a good spot or show them how your product meets their needs. If it’s not a good fit right now, it’s okay to admit it. Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end. And when the timing is right for them, maybe you’ll be able to work together.

But if you ask the right questions, you’ll know if they have needs you can meet. Then you share your story as a part of that conversation. Maybe you say, “This is why we’re here. Our clients are the same way you are. That’s why I asked you the question. We can solve your problem. You just need to decide how important this need is to your business.”

Related: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

If You Don’t Qualify Leads

So what happens if you don’t qualify a lead? Well, a number of things can go wrong. Here’s a few:

  • Lose sale opportunities
  • Waste time
  • Send wrong marketing material
  • Nurture prospects in the incorrect way
  • Propose the wrong solution
  • Never figure out what’s really going on

Some of those problems can be avoided if you plug prospects into a marketing analysis to see user variables. But qualifying a lead through conversation takes the business relationship to the next level. Sales happen when you have conversations that lead to the right solutions.

Signs of a Qualified Prospect

So how do you know if a prospect is a good fit? Well, during the conversation, you’ll know if your product lines up with their needs. But in order for them to pull the trigger, they’ll need trust, timing, and money.

Trust begins as you start the relationship and develops over time. As you’re building trust, be consistent. Stay in contact and follow through with what you say. The timing also has to be right. If you have the right process, you’ll know if it’s the right time for them. Money is the easiest factor to check. Look at their business size compared to your cost and see if they can afford it.

Deal With the Decision Maker

You’ll never sell if you’re not talking to the right person. Knowing how to qualify leads is irrelevant if you aren’t dealing with the decision maker. Ask yourself, “Does this person have the authority to make purchasing decisions?”

In a business, there are asset owners (the owner of the business) and asset custodians (the directors). And the priorities of owners and custodians are completely different. If you’re selling a commodity that’s all about lowering the price per product, talk to the asset custodian. The focus is on offering products for less money.

However, if you’re selling value of service, talk to the asset owner. A service is all about the relationship. So you need to explain the benefits of the service to the person who has the most liability. Once they’re on board, they might pass you off to the asset custodian to work out the details, but it takes owner buy-in first.

Qualifying prospects doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about a conversation. Ask questions that help your prospect talk about their needs. Then you’ll know if you have the solution to make the relationship worthwhile.

 

3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

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Improving your sales team comes at a cost. But what if you could pay for it in time you’re spending elsewhere rather than the actual price of hiring a new salesperson?

An increase in sales productivity doesn’t have to mean hiring another person — sometimes it just means using the team you have more efficiently.

So what do productive sales teams do? Collectively, they increase their market share. You want your business to gain as much of the market share as possible. The company’s success depends on it. Highly effective sales teams also create “sticky” clients. Once you onboard a customer, they won’t slip away to your competitors. When you’re highly productive, you’re able to do more for your clients than anyone else.

So, if you’re a sales manager looking to make your team more effective, here are three tips that can boost your productivity.

Tip #1: Play to Your Strengths

Here’s a secret: a highly productive sales team comes from highly productive individuals. When each salesperson is working efficiently in their area of strength, the team becomes a more productive force. Then you’re able to do more with less.

It’s important to understand role distinction. Someone who’s great at finding new business may be horrible at following through with account management. So rather than trying to solve the problem by giving each person fewer accounts, separate the roles. Then you may not need more people and you can give each person a more specific job.

The sales job consists of three different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. Ideally, people work only in their area of strength. People who are great at connecting with prospects and closing deals are hunters. Farmers then cultivate those relationships and onboard customers. Then another person manages the accounts in the long term. Usually, individuals who do best in each of those phases aren’t the same people. If your company is big enough, you’ll divide those job responsibilities for the best results. Your hunters find new business, farmers bring them home, and account managers keep them around. When people have specific roles, they become experts at their work. They’re more efficient, and customers stick around because their experience is so good.

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

Tip #2: Create Systems, Not Cycles

Systems boost productivity too. Sales managers usually notice the need for a system from fluctuating sales cycles. If sales aren’t consistent, even after you factor in the time of year and the product, a system may be your solution.

Maybe you have a top salesperson with a great month, but then two bad months follow. Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find those salespeople have created a cycle for themselves. They focus on prospecting one month, appointments the next month, and then on closing deals.

But you want them on a system, not in a cycle.

If prospecting, appointments, and closes can happen at the same time, months won’t rise and fall. Instead, sales will steadily increase. So help them find a routine of scheduling time for each of their tasks. Rather than spending an entire month prospecting, help them designate specific time weekly for working on each task.

Tip #3: Use Sales Productivity Tools

Rather than adding personnel when you need to up your productivity, use tools that maximize effectiveness. An app like CallProof keeps people accountable to the systems you set and makes their job easier with follow-up reminders, a database of prospects, and easy note-taking. It helps each salesperson maintain a system of prospecting and follow up on a pre-scheduled basis so that they can close deals year-round.

The right tools can also help people schedule their time more efficiently. Think of an account manager who only visits current clients. Let’s say they visit a customer on Tuesday. On Thursday, they go back to the same area to see another customer. They’ve just wasted hours. But if the account manager looks at client assets and group visits together to save time, they become significantly more efficient. Then you’re positioned to grow and scale more quickly. And that kind of efficiency becomes much easier with the right tools.

Tools can also help you measure productivity. As a manager, it’s tempting to use closed deals as your only measure of effectiveness. But there’s more to it. Instead, measure activity. Use an app that tracks real-time activity. When you see how many prospects someone meets, how many phone calls they make, and how many meetings they have, you’ll know how productive they are. So focus on the numbers. Activities lead to sales. You can fix the details later if necessary, but the key is getting the numbers up.

The tools you need to improve aren’t far-fetched. They can be right at your fingertips with an app like CallProof. If you have the right people in the right roles, the right tools will skyrocket their success.

 

Why Pharmacy Reps Should Use a Sales Tracking App

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Ever played the game “telephone”? You know how it goes — you give someone a message, and they pass it on down the line. Maybe they think they heard you clearly, but by the time the last person says it aloud, the message isn’t so clear anymore.

Isn’t that how it is to be a pharmacy sales rep? Your job is giving someone a message they can clearly repeat to someone else. Maybe you thought you had a good conversation with a doctor, but the results don’t turn out like you’d hoped.

Pharmacy sales is all about professional referrals. The customers are the patients. But the patients choose you because of their physicians. So your job is to maintain those professional relationships so the doctor remembers you when it’s time for a referral. And the best sales tracking apps will help you stay at the front of their minds.

The #1 Mistake: Being Forgettable

Your success depends on doctors remembering you and your product at the right time. Maybe you have a great conversation with a practice provider at a “Lunch and Learn” event. You tell them all about the advancements in your therapy, medication, or pharmacy, and they realize you’re a great match for their practice. But, if you never talk to them again and a referral opportunity doesn’t come up for months, they won’t remember you. Why? Keeping up with your information isn’t their main job. So you need to stay on their radar.

You want to be their first thought when the opportunity arises. So, for actively writing practices, visit every 30 days. For practices in your nurturing process (maybe they already use a compounding pharmacy or it doesn’t come up much), visit once a quarter. Meanwhile, keep in contact via email or messaging to develop your relationship and raise their awareness of your business.

Related: Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

Multiplying Your Efforts

What’s great about the rep-doctor relationship is that a referral partnership with one doctor usually means a relationship with many. Doctors tell their colleagues what works. So news spreads fast.

That means your return is exponential when you meet new clients. Establishing a relationship with one new doctor could lead to many more referrals. So don’t just visit your current clients. Make time to see new practices where you hope to gain referrals. Because a new relationship with one client may unlock the potential to work with many others.

Essential Tools for a Pharmacy Rep

Now, you need a way to keep track of it all. Here’s what you need:

  1. Reminders for maintaining relationships
  2. Opportunities to build more relationships
  3. A way to keep track of meetings in real time
  4. An easy mechanism for managing follow-ups

A sales app like CallProof gives you all those tools. First, you’ll get regular reminders to visit your clients (based on how frequently you need to see them). Then you’ll have access to a non-typing mechanism that shows you even more prospects. As you meet those prospects, you’ll be able to log their location and contact info with the push of a button on your phone. Plus, you can track your notes with a voice-to-text feature so you don’t even have to take the time to type it out. After that, you’ll just select your frequency for making contact. Then the app will remind you when it’s time to contact them again.

Related: 7 Must-Have iPhone Apps For Salespeople

But I’m Already Great at Finding New Prospects…

Many providers and practices are in medical complexes. So, when you stop by to see a regular client, you can visit other doctors nearby to develop new relationships. Ever realized the problems that can cause?

Without the right tracking mechanism, meeting unscheduled prospects costs you time. The first problem is forgetting to follow up. If you spend time beginning those relationships but do nothing with it, you’ve wasted time you could have spent more productively.

But maybe you mean to follow up, so you take their contact info, spend Friday afternoon entering them into your system so you can follow up — but you never do. Why? Following up is easy to put off. There’s almost always something better to do, so you rationalize your way out of it. Then you’ve wasted even more time. Making new contacts is great, but if you don’t do anything with the new leads, you’ve cost yourself time that doesn’t pay off.

Until you have an app to help you manage new contacts, you’re giving your competitors the advantage. They may not be out there getting cold leads, but they’re also not spending their time on fruitless activity.

Use Tools to Make Work Actionable

The key is getting a tool to make your work actionable. With a sales tracking app that tracks your contacts in real time (so you don’t have to take the time to enter them) and reminds you when to follow up (and won’t leave you alone until you do!), you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.

Rely on the best sales tracking apps for your business. You can’t rely on the individual diligence of your entire sales team. Not everyone is a top performer. Let technology do the work of logging contact info and reminding you who to contact. Then you can focus on building relationships, advocating for your pharmacy, and being the one physicians remember.

 

How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

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Most builders live by the rule “Measure twice. Cut once.” Sure, it takes more work on the front end, but it saves time, money, and frustration for the overall project. It wastes less material and gets better final results.

But most builders probably learned this rule the hard way. Early on, they skipped those extra measurements and ended up with something that didn’t line up. Then they had to backtrack until they found the wrongly measured piece. In the end, they learned the extra time measuring is well worth the investment.

Isn’t the same true in sales? Sales measurements aren’t taken in inches and feet — they’re taken through a sales process. If you can check measurements of success continually, you’ll be able to catch problems before they destroy your deals.

Here’s how a measured sales process keeps your sales team on track.

Why Sales Process Mapping Works

Any time you put a process in place, you have something to measure. And in sales, a routine sales process gives your salespeople a launching point for success. Sure, people do different things. Some salespeople approach a process with more creativity. Some clients need a more tailored approach to sales before they buy. But the groundwork of a sales process can be the same for everyone.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

The Basic Sales Process

A consistent sales process keeps your customers on the same track. Perhaps your sales process steps look something like this:

  1. Schedule an initial meeting
  2. Follow up after the meeting regarding any action items you discussed
  3. Give them a quote
  4. Make sure they received the quote
  5. Make contact regularly until they buy (every 30-60 days)

With sales process mapping, not only do beginning salespeople have a foundation for pursuing prospects, but these sales steps also help you troubleshoot three common problems.

Problem 1: Low-Performing Salesperson

If a salesperson isn’t meeting their goals, you have a starting point for identifying the problem. Look at their sales process. Are they scheduling enough initial meetings? Do they respond with quotes promptly? Do they make contact regularly after sending quotes? If they’re missing one of these steps, you’ve likely found the issue they need to work on in order to improve.

Without a process, it’s hard to identify the problems. Why isn’t this salesperson performing? When you have the same sales steps in place for everyone, you can identify low performers and pinpoint the problems.

Problem 2: Disappearing Prospects

A process also keeps your clients on a marketing path. Maybe a deal gets delayed or a prospect seems to disappear for a while. At one point, this prospect seemed interested, but something happened. They managed to fall out of the sales funnel either by choice or because a salesperson didn’t follow through.

But sales process steps help you pick up where they left off. If a prospect already received a quote, you can follow up on that quote rather than starting over when you resume contact.

Problem 3: Inconsistency

A sales process gives your clients consistency. And consistency builds trust. Your clients will come to realize everyone at your business is on the same page. They trust that you’ll be in contact regularly and know the next steps. And when they know they can count on you, they’re more likely to give you their business.

Setting Up the Sales Process

Paint broad strokes as you come up with the right process for your business. You don’t want to box people in. Instead, show them what general activities lead to sales. Then tie those activities to different steps, but leave room for salespeople to tailor their approach to the clients.

Then teach the process from the top down. Use top salespeople to outline the activities that led to their sales. After they have collectively outlined their sales process, they can teach it to others. If everyone follows that outline, each salesperson will be on the same page as they move clients through the funnel.

Make Sure It Works

You’re measuring the activities of your sales team along the way, but now it’s time for one extra measurement. Evaluate the sales process itself. Look at your sales process at least every six months to see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll start to notice trends like when people buy, where people fall off, and where individual salespeople succeed or struggle. Don’t isolate individual sales situations, but look at the whole sample. Then you’ll be able to make better decisions about what actions to take.

Sales is a marathon, not a sprint. It evolves over time. As the market changes, your sales process changes. So evaluate it regularly to make sure it matches up with the results you want.

As a manager, you’ll find a sales process makes it much easier to manage your team, replicate effectiveness, and scale your success.

4 Ways Auto Glass Salesmen Can Make Their CRM Work Harder for Them

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In the auto glass industry, you can’t create sales. You can’t increase sales by closing deals. Unless you go out and smash windshields, you can’t generate a problem to solve. You’ve got to wait for something to happen.

The waiting game can be hard. After all, in auto glass sales, success depends on how well you can sell to professional sources, like auto shops and insurance agents. And it’s tough to make the top of their list. Maybe you have a great meeting, but then it’s months until they have a claim. By that point, they’ve either lost your contact info or forgotten how great you were.

So how do you stay on their radar? Stay active! And how do you stay active? Use a CRM to keep you on track.

Here are 4 ways to make your CRM work even harder for your success.

1. Keep Real Prospects in Your CRM

Make sure your CRM has the right prospects. Do you have everyone who could send you a referral in your database? Your CRM should house your clients and your prospects. So think of every potential client who could possibly refer you for a car window replacement. Then include the contact information for those professional referrals in your CRM. From there, you can organize your notes and keep track of your contacts.

2. Methodically Contact Them

Now that you’ve got the right prospects and clients in your CRM, contact them regularly and methodically. Determine what activities lead to a referral. How many people do you need to see in a day, week, or month to meet your goals? A CRM will hold you accountable for making those touches.

Plus, you won’t miss a contact if you’re using a reliable CRM. Sometimes we mean to go see someone but forget. Then, when there’s a claim, the agents refer someone else because you weren’t on their radar. A CRM keeps track of your activities and reminds you when it’s time to make contact. That way, no prospect gets overlooked.

If you rely on “one-off” conversations, you’ll never make consistent sales. You need to have activities and accountability in place. A good CRM keeps you on track.

3. Inspect What You Expect

Use your CRM to follow up and keep track of your team’s activity wherever you are. If you’re managing a team, you can see who they’ve contacted in real time. So, if you expect 10 contacts a day, a mobile CRM helps you make sure your team is following through.

4. Tie Commissions to Activity

In an industry like auto glass, don’t just reward sales. You can’t rely on the same traditional compensation mechanisms that other sales industries use. Why? Because closing deals doesn’t generate more sales.

Instead, figure out a way to connect commissions to activity or offer bonuses for activity. Activities lead to sales. It’s the most important thing. If you focus on activity, orders will follow.

Being an auto glass sales rep is about keeping good rapport so that, when accidents happen, you’re the person professionals refer. So let your CRM help you stay at the top of their list.

 

4 Mobile CRM Advantages Your Sales Team Will Love

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Mobile phone use is no longer new or progressive. It’s expected.

99% of people old enough to work, own a cellphone. And 90% of those devices are smartphones. There are even more mobile devices in the world than people. So why not add an app to the device everyone has in their pocket?

If you’re not using a mobile CRM for your sales team, it’s time to start.

Keeps Your Sales Info in One Place

A mobile CRM keeps all your information in one spot. It doesn’t live anywhere else — you don’t have to upload from one system to another or worry about what information you stored where. With a mobile CRM, you know where everything is.

A Mobile CRM Boosts Confidence

Because you’ll use the CRM regularly on your phone, you’ll quickly become comfortable with it. You know the process and how it works. And the more confident you are in storing and accessing the data, the more confident you are in your delivery.

Related: How to Implement A CRM With Your Sales Team

Remember when you were scared to check your bank balance in college? You were poor, and you didn’t know how bad the numbers were. So what’d you do? Avoid it. The same happens with CRMs. If you’re not comfortable with the program, you may avoid it and skip follow-ups. But if you feel good about your CRM (and it’s helping you reach your goals), you’ll follow up.

Why Not?

As great as a CRM mobile option is, some people are hesitant to buy in. Why? Usually, it comes down to the decision maker’s needs and accountability.

Different people in the organization want different things from their CRM. Marketing and IT people want the reports and integration. Salespeople want a tool that’s easy to use. And whoever purchases the software decides which needs are most important.

Plus, a CRM mobile app is a newer concept, and some people don’t want to carry the responsibility of making a company-wide software change. It’s like my friend who was having trouble with IT equipment told me when I asked him why he didn’t change, “No one ever got fired for buying Cisco.” He knew other IT software worked better, but he was protecting his job. If a brand-name product had problems, blame wouldn’t fall on him. But if a lesser-known product messed up, he’d likely take the heat.

The Biggest Advantages of a Mobile CRM

But in reality, it’s not that big of a gamble. A mobile CRM like CallProof offers all the spreadsheet options marketing professionals love about traditional CRMs while increasing the reliability of your data and offering some great options for your sales reps. Here are its four greatest perks.

1. It Updates Data Immediately

The biggest advantage of a mobile CRM is the ability to update data as you go. You don’t put it off until later. Because you update the info right away, you won’t forget about it. After all, if you don’t have the data, you can’t get an accurate report.

Plus, you don’t miss the nuances. See, this is what usually happens: people write down their notes. Then, at the end of the day or week, they update the CRM. But they miss some things. When you wait, it’s easy to forget the details of the conversation. But if you update immediately, you keep the spirit of the message and still remember the details.

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

2. You Always Know Who’s Around You

A mobile CRM gives you the option to search by location no matter where you are. That means you can get real-time information on each business nearby. If you walk into a medical plaza, you can pull out your phone and see exactly who your customers and prospects are in the building. And if you have a GPS feature on your app, that’s even better.

3. Keeps Info Accessible

Once you see who’s nearby, you can pull up their full history. You’ll know exactly where you (or another salesperson on your team) left off and can pick up where the last conversation ended.

4. You Always Have Your Phone

A mobile device is the one thing you always carry with you. So you don’t have to think of another thing to bring to appointments. Having full access to your CRM is as simple as grabbing your phone.

Usually, you’ll use your mobile CRM immediately after an appointment. But there are some features even your customers will notice as a perk. We work with a lot of farmers. They love the speech-to-text feature (like I do) and the other hands-free options. Recently, I got a call from the VP at a farm equipment company. When I asked how he heard about us, he said, “Well, we were having a contest at an Ag show. As people entered, it took a while to get their answers to our questions and enter their contact information. Then this guy comes up to me and asks, Why don’t you have what my seed guy has?! He just hollers into the phone, and my seed shows up!’ When I talked to his seed guy, he told me about CallProof.”

Turns out, the seed guy used order forms on his mobile CRM. And not only did it make his life easier, it made the process better for his customers too.

A mobile CRM works better for everyone — it gives the salespeople an easy-to-use app where they can enter data in real time. And it gives the marketing and IT department information they can count on. Even the customers notice a difference in your efficiency. So, if you’re not taking full advantage of the device everyone already has, give us a call and see how CallProof can work for you.

A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

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Want a more profitable business? (Dumb question. Of course you do.) Whether you’ve been around for a while or are just starting up, every smart business owner wants to increase their sales.

So what’s your lead tracking process?

Too often, a quality system for tracking leads falls through the cracks — and so do potential customers. It’s tempting to take each lead individually and patchwork your responses based on what’s worked in the past. But that’s not the most effective method.

Instead, you need a sales lead management process you can count on. And good sales lead tracking does one thing: follow the right leads systematically.

How to Qualify Your Leads

Before you meet with people, ask yourself, “Who is a real potential client?”

Make sure leads can afford what you sell. Not sure? Try this simple calculation.

Perceived cost x 1,000 = Minimum Business Revenue

Let’s say your product costs $12,000, but clients pay monthly. That means they perceive the costs to be $1,000. When you multiply $1,000 by 1,000, you’ll know you should be selling to businesses who bring in at least a million dollars. Otherwise, it’s too expensive for them.

Then find a niche so your leads can be more specific. A specific market lets you stand out as a specialist for your product, as it applies to certain clients.

Related: Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

Let’s say you sell scissors. Everyone needs them, and all businesses are prospects. But you’ll get a better result if you tailor your specialty. So become an expert at selling scissors to insurance companies. Now, when you sell, you can say, “I know everyone sells scissors, but I work with people just like you. Here’s my story…” Through the course of your story, you’ll show your understanding of how they use scissors in their industry and how you can help with that.

Selling isn’t just about what they literally want (i.e. the scissors). Selling is about the aggregate experience that you have in dealing with people just like them.

How to Handle Leads Systematically

Once you find leads that can afford your product and fit your niche, put them in your “mechanism” immediately. This mechanism, or system, for following up helps you know what action to take when. Here’s how it works.

1. Start the Funnel

Contact your leads at regular intervals. I start with an email and a phone call. To begin a “trust bond” — a connection point that starts building their trust — I’ll email them, “Hey! I got your name from here. I’m going to call you right now.” This isn’t about marketing or a grand introduction. It’s just a way to make the first contact.

Then I call them. If they don’t answer, I leave a message and immediately email them with the subject: Just left you a voicemail. More often than not, people will respond to the email but won’t call back, even if they’re interested.

After this first touch, I start my call funnel. I’ll call back the next day (and leave a message if I don’t reach them). Then I call back at these intervals:

  • 2 days later
  • 1 week later
  • 2 weeks later
  • 1 month later
  • every 60 days until they buy

You’ll need to tweak your timing depending on your industry. But the key is to be professionally persistent. You don’t want to be in their face. And you don’t want any of these touches to seem like triggered responses (even though they are). Instead, you want clients to feel like they’re your only lead. Make it seem like they’re the only client on your agenda.

2. Script the Process

In reality, all these responses are triggered. So establish a way to respond every single time. Whether you’re a one-man business or a 20-person team, you need the process scripted.

Related: 5 Things Your Sales Script Should (and Shouldn’t) Include

3. Tweak It

Then tweak it if it’s not working. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Once you have a place to start, you just need to edit.

Think about the sales lead management process like writing. The hardest part is getting the first draft on paper. It’s much easier to critique and edit. It’s the same with the sales process.

Get your process on paper — even if it’s wrong. Then, if you’re losing people, figure out where you’re losing them and fix it. That doesn’t mean you make changes with every piece of feedback, but you look at the big picture to see where a repeated breakdown happens. Then adjust.

If you want to know the best way to make changes, ask your clients. After they’re on board, just say, “Thank you for your business. I know you’re a new client, and I’m looking forward to working with you. By the way, how did you feel through the process?” They’ll tell you what they liked and didn’t. Then you’ll know firsthand where to improve in the future.

Solid sales lead management can make all the difference in your revenue growth. A CRM like CallProof will help keep you on track.

 

Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

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If you’re new to field sales, there’s no sense wasting time. You have people to see and sales to make.

But there’s a learning curve. Being a field sales representative is tough work. You’re out of the office more than you’re in it — meeting people, building relationships, and trying to remember who said what so you know how to follow up.

So, as you navigate the obstacles, try these 10 tips and tools to take your field sales to the next level.

#1: Have a Sales Process Before You Meet With Prospects

Every sales representative needs a solid process before they meet a new prospect. When you have a process, you stay in control of the results. A plan keeps you on track and establishes a call to action. Then you know the possible outcomes and can be prepared to guide the prospect through their responses.

In doing so, you’ll show them you’re organized, and they’ll know they’re in good hands.

#2: Stay Organized

Have a plan for dealing with people at every stage of the sales process. Always know your action. And have a system for everything. Then, no matter where a prospect is in the funnel, you know the next touchpoint.

Moreover, don’t over-complicate your touchpoints. They’re molehills, not mountains. It’s easy for a new field sales representative to think of making contact as a giant task when it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you realize the simplicity of the task so you don’t put it off.

#3: Don’t Keep Anything in Your Head

As you work your system, use tools to keep you on track. That way you won’t overlook something (or someone) by accident. It’s a little easier to keep track of things mentally when you’re younger, but the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to mentally track it all.

So trust your calendar. Trust your CRM. Even if your memory is great, you cloud your judgment by mentally trying to keep track of everything. Instead, use a reliable CRM to track your data so you can stay focused on what you’re doing. A clear mind frees you up to be more strategic.

#4: Tell Your Story

Qualify your prospects before you meet with them. Then focus on your story. Work on telling the story of why your company exists and what your business brings to the table. It will allow you to see how that applies to your customers.

When you meet with customers, center your conversation on the story. Tell your story and listen to theirs. Customers need time, trust, and money before they buy. So build that into your story. How does your product bring value to their company?

Related Post: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

Once you hear their story and tell them yours, you’ll know if their needs align with your product. When you have conversations with the right people (people who want to buy now, not those who may want to buy “one day”), your stories will match up.

#5: Admit If You’re Not a Good Fit

If you’re not the right fit, be the first to admit it. There’s no problem in saying, “Hey, I can’t help you, and here’s why.”

But even if your product won’t solve their problem, point them in the right direction. Give them a recommendation of a person or company who will meet their needs. Then ask for a referral. I usually say, “I know I’m not the right person for you, but if you know someone else…” They almost always refer. And I almost always make a sale by telling them no.

#6: Balance Your Goals With the Customer’s Goals

Before you take on a customer, make sure it’s a win for both sides. You have a responsibility to your customers, employees, and vendors to make good decisions that benefit everyone involved.

To keep that balance, you need a direct line of sight to success. So figure out what “success” is to each person involved. As you sell to new clients or adjust to current customers’ needs, ask them what they need to be successful. Then see how you can help meet those needs. When your clients are successful, you are too.

#7: Keep the Price Fair

Price your product accordingly. You’re working with customers, not against them. So don’t gouge people. But also, don’t cheapen your product. Instead, charge a fair price where you can explain why you charge what you do.

When you’re offering a product that helps clients be successful at a fair price, you’ll see good results. Why? You’re working towards the same goal. With a fair price, the customer gets good value, and you make enough for it to be worthwhile.

#8: Take a Team Approach With Vendors

If you use vendors, don’t forget to consider their success. In the past, I didn’t want to hear about the vendors at all. I just wanted the results. Worst idea ever.

Vendors should be treated as part of the team. You have a responsibility to make sure the customer gets a good product. So everyone involved needs to be on the same page — including vendors.

Vendors are good at what they do. They’re experts — you just don’t need them full-time. Even if they only work for you temporarily, make your efforts collaborative. When you do, you’ll see better results for everyone involved.

#9: Communicate During Onboarding

You want new clients to become lifelong customers. Good onboarding sets the stage for a long-term working relationship. Onboarding is all about communication. Make sure you know what pieces need to be in place to make it successful. You’ve onboarded customers before. You have experience. They don’t. So guide them down the path and make them feel comfortable with the process.

Communicate every step of the way. It’s just like the sales process. In sales, you close a call with, “Here’s what’s going to happen next…” The onboarding process should work the same way. Make sure there’s no question about what comes next.

#10: Quote Quickly

Quotes need to be prompt. Don’t say, “I’ll get it to you soon.” Instead, tell them exactly when you’ll send it. Leads and deals are like fish. The older they get, the more they start to stink. So move fast — the more touches you make in a short time (especially during the quoting phase), the faster you’ll build trust in the relationship.

Your product is not their world. They don’t spend days thinking about your solution. That’s just something they did once and don’t want to deal with again. So get started, pull off the band-aid, show them what they need, tell them what’s going to happen, and deliver.

I typically leave a meeting, send a handwritten thank-you note, email the proposal, call them to make sure they received it, then give them their next steps. The goal is to meet their needs quickly.

These 10 tips are no great secret. The real secret to success is doing them. So don’t be one of those people who know what to do but fail to follow through. Instead, let these time-proven practices change your work.

How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

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We all need motivation to do our best work – and money is a great source of motivation.

But the structure of salesperson commissions can only matter as much as the actual amount. We aim for salespeople compensations to reward for big sales, give opportunity for growth, and keep people motivated to sell even more. Here’s how we do it.

Foster the Mini-Business Mindset

Good salespeople have spirit. When they use that spirit to operate their sales like their own mini-business, they’re successful. Start by making them financially literate about the business so they understand how and why they’re paid. That doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the company’s financial information to them. Instead, explain how the company gets paid. Does the company earn recurring revenue from a sale, or is all payment up front? Then structure their pay similarly. If it’s a one-off sale, they’ll get paid once. If it’s recurring revenue, they’ll earn a recurring commission.

When salespeople understand how the company makes money, they’ll mimic that in their sales approach. Plus, they’ll learn that what’s good for the company is good for them. The more ownership they take in growing their own “business”, the better they become at their job. They’ll foster a consultative relationship with their customers, doing whatever it takes to keep that customer satisfied and offering additional products and services that meet their needs. In turn, they understand the business on a deeper level, which makes them an even better salesperson.

But, if they don’t get paid the same way as the company, mistrust starts to grow. If you get paid recurring revenue, but the salesperson doesn’t, they feel cheated. They start to distrust leadership. And they stop treating their job like a business.

The Average Commission for Salespeople

Since salespeople want opportunities to grow their business and income, try to match commission structures to how the company is paid. As a rule of thumb, the average commission is one sixth of what the company makes. So, with every sale, the company makes six times what the salesperson is paid.

The 3 Phases of Sales & How to Separate Them

Should you offer more commission for a new sale or a retention? If you offer more for a new sale, will your retention levels drop? How you weigh salespeople compensation depends on the business. But separating types of sales strengthens your business and better equips your team.

Think of sales as three phases: hunting, farming, and account management. We want to separate those roles as much as possible so people can focus on the area in which they’re most skilled.

Hunting

Hunters are the people who go out and find new sales. They find prospects and qualify them — and they’re good at it. If you have someone who finds new opportunities, keep them hunting. You want them capitalizing on their strength of bringing you new customers.

Farming

Once a prospect becomes active, you move them to the farming category. This is the nurturing and cultivating stage. It is where you want the salespeople who can close a deal. Farmers are people in front of customers, moving deals through the pipeline.

Account Management

These are the people who keep the client happy. They provide customer service to the client, answering their questions or coordinating repairs. Maybe this is your technology person who can keep things running smoothly. Sometimes the best technology or service people aren’t great salespeople. It’s just a different personality type.

The more separate you keep these roles, the better. But also, remember to move clients between categories. You don’t want a salesperson servicing the copier, but they can still coordinate the relationship between the client and the service technician. And, when the client is up for renewal, it’s the farmer’s turn to deal with them again.

Capping Commissions

When you have a cap on a salesperson’s commission, you’ll stop making money off of them. And it’s an easy way to make your sales team unhappy. Find a solution where, if they make a million dollars, you make six million – then it’s worth it for everyone.

The exception comes when the salesperson no longer services an account. Let’s say someone just gets paid on monthly recurring revenue from something they sold but no longer manage. In those situations, limit the timeframe on the payout or scale down the commission over time. Maybe the first year they earn 5%, the second year they earn 2%, and then the third year they earn nothing. Why? Because if a salesperson always gets a piece of the pie, they’ll stop hunting. They won’t look for new prospects because they won’t need to.

Bottom line: make your sales commission structure clear to your salespeople. Make sure they know what it’ll take to succeed and that sales are worth their time. After all, when your sales team does well, your company does well too.