How to Choose the Right Accounts for ABM (and 3X Your Average Deal)

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There’s no doubt that Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is hot right now. According to the SiriusDecisions 2016 State of ABM, 70% of all B2B companies are focused on driving account-based selling programs. That number is up 350% from the previous year’s study.

Research from the ABM Leadership Alliance found B2B marketers saw a 171% lift in their average annual contract value (ACV) when implementing ABM strategies.

But while many are talking about what ABM is and why you should adopt it, few are teaching the tactics.

At Engagio, we’ve set out to create the most clear and complete guide to ABM. In this post, we’re going to dive into the first and most important part of account-based sales: Selecting the right accounts to target.

How to Choose Target Accounts for Account-Based Marketing 

Building an ABM Engine with Data

Using the right data fuels your ABM rocket. Neglecting to use data, or even worse, using the wrong data, can lead to internal combustion and complete system failure.

A study by SiriusDecisions proves better data results in better account selection, which leads to a 35-40% higher average sales selling price (ASP). How much would 35-40% add to your bottom line? Using the right data points allows you to scientifically identify the accounts with the highest likelihood of doing business with you. This data can also tell you which existing customers are likely to expand.

The two key types of data you’ll need to draw better company-level insights are firmographics and technographics. Firmographics are company characteristics that best predict a good fit including company size, industry, number of employees, estimated revenue, estimated growth, and number of locations. Technographics are the technologies your target accounts currently use or are looking to invest in — for example, complementary technologies to yours, technology that rules out your solution or makes it less necessary, or competitive solutions where you know you have a highly win rate.

Get Insights on Contacts to Shorten Sales Cycles

Next, identify the contacts you’ll need to reach out to within your target accounts. Take the time upfront to research the customer stakeholders, their place on the organizational chart, personal goals, and the level of influence they each have. Targeted sales prospecting lets you get to the right people in less time.

The specific details you’re looking for include:

  • Job title
  • Tenure
  • Decision-making hierarchy
  • Account affiliation
  • Activity/engagement history
  • Skills and proficiencies
  • Experience with your category

Once you’ve collected these details, you can build an “influence matrix,” which will give you and your team members more clarity into the buying and decision making processes within the account. This step can decrease your sales cycle by as much as 50%.

Getting Access to Decision Makers with Market Insights

According to 75% of executives surveyed by ITSMA, prospects welcome even unsolicited material when the ideas are relevant to their business. After you’ve found the right accounts and the right contacts, deliver relevant business insights.

To organize your account based plays effectively, you need to know:

  1. The target’s industry and market trends
  2. SWOT analysis of the target account
  3. The relationships inside the account
  4. Your connections to the account

This information will lead you to the content and delivery methods you should use with each account. Providing compelling insights generates credibility, trust, and ultimately more business.

From Idea to Execution: How Engagio Selects and Tiers Accounts

Selecting target account is a rigorous process. We use three funnels:

  • Funnel 1: Target accounts
  • Funnel 2: Qualified but non-target accounts
  • Funnel 3: All other accounts

Target accounts are hand-selected by the individual account executives (AEs) with help from Marketing (which provides firmographic data and a definition of the Ideal Customer Profile).

Funnel 2 represents all the non-target accounts that meet our ICP and have become a Marketing Qualified Account (MQA). MQAs are similar to MQLs; however, when you’re taking an account-based approach, you focus on accounts rather than leads.

Funnel 1 accounts are further broken out into three tiers. Each AE selects roughly five Tier 1 accounts, 45 Tier 2 accounts, and 150 Tier 3 accounts. These tiers are important because they decide how we will treat each account:

  • Tier 1: This is ABM in its truest sense. We use deep research, a customized account plan, personalized content, bespoke campaigns, and one-to-one communication. There’s no automation.
  • Tier 2: These accounts also receive individual research, but they’re limited to a few key points of information for each account. We won’t use completely personalized plays and custom content but will still deliver highly relevant touches based on their industry and persona.
  • Tier 3: This bucket includes all the accounts that you want to target but don’t have the resources for personalization and customization. ITSMA calls this Programmatic ABM. It’s traditional marketing with account-level targeting and customization. The key difference from demand gen is that instead of scoring leads, you track account-level engagement and wait until the account hits a sufficient threshold to label them an MQA.

After you select your target accounts, it’s time to map out the players. Use data and predictive analytics to identify the individuals who represent your key personas inside each target account Once we have the accounts and contacts, we use our own platform (ABM Analytics) to understand key engagement metrics inside each account.

Identify the Right Data with Insight Resources

If you want to be successful with ABM, you need to invest in new resources. The proportionately larger deals you’ll be closing will make this investment worth it.

Here are some of our best tips and lessons we’ve learned around implementing ABM:

  • Insight generation has to be somebody’s job, or it’s nobody’s job.
  • Incentivize your people: Compensate your Sales Development Reps on insight collection metrics, or run a SPIF.
  • Utilize third-party vendors that specialize in collecting insights on companies and people.

This is just the beginning of the ABM process, but it’s the most important piece. Get this wrong, and you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Get this right and your business will see growth like it’s never seen before.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

The B2B Outreach Strategy That Helped Us Win Our First 10 Customers

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Early-stage companies often cast too wide a net when defining their target customer base. They believe the more prospects, the better — but pursuing the wrong types of prospects wastes precious time, cash, and sales resources. There’s a high opportunity cost to chasing someone who won’t buy (or buys and quickly churns).

All the while, your competitors are entering the market and getting to large and enterprise clients more quickly than you.

I’ve now helped three early-stage tech companies go from zero revenue to cash-flow positive. Honing in on the most valuable accounts and customer stakeholders has helped me accelerate B2B sales at each of these. In fact, the company I currently lead, Spotted Media, used this three-step plan to acquire our first set of customers before we even had a fully functioning web site.

Step 1: Create an Ideal Customer Profile

An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) should consist of five strict bullet points that you will not waver on. This means you can’t work any prospect who does not check all five boxes of your ICP.

An ICP might consist of the following:

  • Revenue size (e.g. more than $200 million in annual sales)
  • Employee count (e.g. no fewer than 1,000 verified LinkedIn employees)
  • Organization’s employee structure (e.g. the brand must have an in-house media team)
  • Type of product sold (e.g. a direct manufacturer)
  • A mutual goal (e.g. a manufacturer that cares about increasing brand awareness)

Once you’ve created your Ideal Customer Profile, the next step is thinking through the people who work for this ideal customer. Stop asking yourself surface-level questions like, “Are they in marketing?” and start asking yourself in-depth, meaningful questions about these professionals’ motivations.

That leads me to the next step.

Step 2: Create a Persona Map

Choose the three primary roles that you sell into (e.g. the VP of Advertising, the VP of Media, and the VP of Brand Marketing), then outline the following for each of these three roles:

  1. The buyer’s 2-3 primary daily responsibilities (projects they work on and think about every day)
  2. 2-3 ways your company can help make the buyer’s daily responsibilities easier
  3. The buyer’s 2-3 longer-term goals
  4. 2-3 ways in which your company can help further the buyer’s longer-term goals
  5. How your company can get this person promoted faster than their peers

This approach will save you and your team a great deal of time in the future when you’re at your laptop thinking, “What messaging and language should I use when reaching out to this person?” By filling in the five points above for each of your target roles, your outreach messaging will practically craft itself. Repurpose points #2 and #4 specifically for your email outreach.

These should appear within the first few sentences of your outreach emails to the target contact. Here is an example:

Ideas for [prospect’s company] re: [goal]

Dear [prospect’s name],

I am reaching out to you given your role in media at [prospect’s company]. [Vendor] can help [prospect’s company] improve [point #1] with its millennial customers by [point #2]. [Vendor] is helping [Client A] and [Client B] media teams achieve a [point #3] that is [X%] more efficient through [point #4].

Do you have 15 minutes to hear about the unique ideas we have for the [prospect’s company] media team on [date] or [date]?

Thanks in advance,
Janet

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You’ve mapped out the specifics of your ideal customer, the personal motivations of the stakeholders — now where do you go from here? To focus your outreach on the right people, you have to prioritize.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Personas

Prioritize your personas by ranking each buyer on a scale from one to five on the following:

  • Alignment with your solution
  • Size of their budget
  • Level of influence within the organization

Once you’ve calculated the scores for alignment, budget, and influence, lay out a strategic plan for your outreach starting with the buyers with the highest totals. (In this example, the VP of Media ranks the highest.)

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This exercise will drastically reduce wasted time and optimize your outreach while allowing you to get in front of the right people faster.

What’s the result of this upfront investment in strategy? Efficient outreach that specifically addresses the needs of your various buyers. Your messages will resonate more, and your prospects will respond more frequently.

Say goodbye to the typical results at early-stage companies, and say hello to more calls, meetings, and closed business.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

15 Bad Habits That Make Salespeople Seem Pushy (And How to Correct Them)

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Salespeople get a bad rap. In HubSpot Research’s newest study, Buyers Speak Out: How Sales Needs to Evolve, respondents were asked to submit the word they most associated with salespeople.

The #1 response? “Pushy.”

Yikes.Persistence is part of being a salesperson. In fact, 80% of sales require five or more follow-ups. And there’s an obvious difference between consistently adding a bit of value with each check-in and doggedly pursuing prospects who have, in no uncertain terms, told you they’re not interested.

But the contrast between persistence and pushiness isn’t always so clear. If you’re doing any of the things on the list below, you might be coming off as pushy without even realizing it.

15 Reasons Buyers Think Salespeople Are Pushy

1) You call or email without new updates to share.

What you think: You’re keeping yourself top-of-mind and on your prospect’s radar.

Why it’s pushy: You’re keeping yourself top-of-mind, all right — as that annoying salesperson who won’t stop calling. Don’t reach out unless you have something new to share; otherwise you’re taking up your prospect’s time without providing any value.

2) You ask the same question multiple times.

What you think: You haven’t gotten the information you need, so it can’t hurt to ask again … right?

Why it’s pushy: Your prospect has already answered your question to the best of their ability, so why keep beating a dead horse? Try phrasing your question a different way or coming at it from a different angle to avoid exhausting your prospects.

3) You start talking about your product right away.

What you think: Your product is great! Why wouldn’t a prospect want to hear about it?

Why it’s pushy: Never lead by talking about your product. Unless your prospect is already quite familiar with your product’s value proposition, starting with the value it brings and how it will change your prospect’s business is a more effective way to get a conversation started.

4) You use a lot of declarative words and phrases (“should,” “have to,” “need to,” etc.)

What you think: You try to spend time during each sales call giving advice and sharing best practices with your prospects.

Why it’s pushy: Your intentions are noble, so keep doing what you’re doing. The problem here is a matter of semantics. Telling a prospect repeatedly what they “should” or “have to” or “need to” do comes off as bossy and condescending even if your only intent is to help. Instead, try phrases like, “Businesses like yours have seen success …” or “What we’ve found drives results is …”

5) You make statements instead of asking questions.

What you think: You’re an expert on the vertical you sell into, so there are a few safe assumptions you can make about your prospect’s business.

Why it’s pushy: While your prospect’s business might function like the hundreds you’ve seen before in their industry, you don’t necessarily know the specifics. Even if you have a pretty good sense of what the answer might be, asking questions such as, “So I’ve seen X problem a lot at companies like yours, are you experiencing something similar?” shows your prospect that you care about their unique perspective, while simultaneously showing off your expertise.

6) You start every objection answer with “But … “

What you think: You’re just trying to handle objections, and “but” is the first filler word that comes to mind.

Why it’s pushy: Constantly saying “but” comes off as argumentative and puts prospects on the defensive. Instead, try the Ransberger Pivot:

  1. Acknowledge your prospect’s objections.
  2. Understand their hesitation, or ask questions until you do.
  3. Find a common goal burned in your prospect’s objections, and build on it to convince them your offering is the best way to achieve that end.

7) You treat all objections equally.

What you think: You (understandably) want to make the sale, so sometimes you find yourself on autopilot when answering objections.

Why it’s pushy: There’s a significant difference between, “This problem is a priority for us, but let’s wait until next quarter to talk … “ and “We’ve had seven straight quarters of losses — we just can’t afford to implement anything right now.”

Not all objections are created equal. Some can be resolved simply by educating your prospect. Some are a result of inertia and can be mitigated by creating a sense of urgency. But there are always objections that stop a deal in its tracks, and treating those like minor concerns that can be talked away won’t endear you to your prospects. Learn to spot the difference between brush-offs, points of confusion, and true blockers.

8) You won’t let your prospect off the phone.

What you think: Your prospect actually picked up! You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity and cover as much as possible.

Why it’s pushy: Your prospect is busy. Really busy. If they’re a good fit for your product, schedule a longer call when they have more time and follow up with helpful resources so you stay on their radar.

9) You keep bringing up new, seemingly unrelated, offerings.

What you think: You’re trying to pique your prospect’s interest by mentioning new product lines or services that could benefit them.

Why it’s pushy: Offering an add-on or trying to go for an upsell isn’t inherently bad. Just be sure you’re telling a coherent story that ties all your offerings together. Making it clear that you’re tailoring a specific set of products for your prospect avoids the impression that you’re throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

10) You don’t know when to say when.

What you think: If you just try a little harder, maybe your prospect will buy.

Why it’s pushy: It’s unfortunate, but let’s face it — you won’t win every deal. At some point in most closed-lost deals, it becomes apparent that there’s no more you can do, and continuing to pester a prospect will leave a bad taste in their mouths. So know when to throw in the towel. Your time is better spent on prospects who stand a good chance of closing.

11) You don’t try to get buy-in from your prospect.

What you think: You’ve gone through this sales process hundreds of times before, and you know what makes sense for your buyers.

Why it’s pushy: Besides the fact that it’s just not smart to try and run a sales process without confirming your prospect is okay with it, it’s also bad manners. At every step of the way, check to see whether your proposed next steps make sense. Not only will your prospect appreciate your solicitousness, getting their buy-in on small steps will psychologically make it easier for them to say “yes” to the big ask — would you like to buy?

12) You talk fast and interrupt.

What you think: You’re naturally a fast talker and an enthusiastic person.

Why it’s pushy: You’re understandably excited about your product and eager to share its value with prospects. But blazing through a conversation creates the impression that you’re just waiting until your prospect’s done speaking so you can talk again. Cutting prospects off is a no-no as well — in fact, the less you speak, the more useful information you’re likely to get.

13) Your calls-to-action don’t align with your prospect’s buying stage.

What you think: You can tell your buyer has the business pain your product solves, and you want to help them by jumping into a formal sales process.

Why it’s pushy: Just because you can tell a buyer suffers from X business pain doesn’t mean they’ve realized it yet. So even if a call-to-action will eventually be useful for them (like a product demo), offering it when they’re still in the education stage just makes it seem like you’re rushing them along because you want to close a deal. Instead, move the sales process forward by teaching your buyers about their problems and helping them devise a solution that includes your product if appropriate.

14) You won’t take no for an answer.

What you think: You know certain commitments make prospects far likelier to close, so if at first you don’t succeed in getting the buyer’s phone number, an introduction to the signing authority, or a meeting with Procurement, you keep trying.

Why it’s pushy: Your prospect has rejected your request for a reason. They don’t feel comfortable giving you the information or help you’ve requested, and asking again will only make them more uncomfortable.

The issue probably stems from how and when you asked. If you haven’t explained why your ask will benefit your prospect and timed it appropriately, of course they’ll say no. It’s fine to ask for their personal number on the first call (provided you give context, such as, “It’ll make it easier to answer questions and schedule future meetings if we have each other’s cells.”) However, it’s typically not a good idea to ask for an intro to the decision maker — you haven’t yet proven your value. 

15) You don’t vary your outreach.

What you think: You have the buyer’s email address, so when you’re trying to connect with them or engage them after they’ve gone dark, you keep sending emails.

Why it’s pushy: It’s the “boy who cried wolf” effect. After a while, your buyer will completely tune out your messages. The ssalesperson-seems-pushy-compressor-181681-edited.jpgame holds true no matter which channel you’re using — if you keep calling them or nudging them on social media, you’ll quickly become a nuisance.

To avoid this issue, spread your outreach across multiple mediums. Here’s a sample schedule:

  • Day 1: Email.
  • Day 3: Call (leave a voicemail.)
  • Day 4: Like their post on LinkedIn.
  • Day 6: Call (don’t leave a voicemail.)
  • Day 8: Email.
  • Day 10: Send a break-up email.

Simply mixing up your outreach decreases the chances you’ll seem stalkerish.

The behavior that comes off as pushy to buyers likely sparks from your excitement to share insights with your prospects and help as many as possible. This isn’t a bad attitude to have. But realize that you won’t get through to prospects who are frustrated with yet another “pushy” salesperson. Avoid these bad habits so you never lose a deal for the wrong reasons.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

3 Startup Sales Mistakes I'll Never Repeat

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Moving from a successful corporate sales career to being the co-founder of a tech startup was a steep learning curve. I passionately believed that great success lay in repeating what I had done previously and, although the majority of my efforts were as effective as before, I found myself relaxing some principles integral to my previous success.

However, the following mistakes in the early stages of selling the product allowed me to revalidate the importance of all I had learnt.

1) Making Assumptions About the Potential Customer

The product I was selling had a complexity I had never seen in the corporate environment and, upon first inspection, was an easy sell that solved a clear need. However, it quickly became apparent that it didn’t solve my customers’ needs, but my customers’ customers’ needs, and I made the error of assuming they were the same thing.

The product was a smartphone app that removed the need to queue within any venue. For example, rather than waiting to order in a busy bar, the user would both order and pay on their phone. The bar staff would receive this directly, and the customer would be alerted when drinks were ready to collect. Being someone who passionately loathed queuing, this app seemed to be the easiest sell I could imagine. Every venue would want happier customers and more revenue, especially when trial studies had shown an increase in orders when using this technology, right?

What the founders believed and focused on:

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However, the venues saw something different. In their minds, operational obstacles outweighed any benefit, despite the potential increase in revenue and superior experience for their customers.

What the venues hosting our technology believed, i.e. our actual customers:

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What we should have done differently:

We should not have confused our “vision” with solving the current needs of our “real” customer, i.e. the venues hosting our technology. We figured it out eventually, but it would have saved time to formulate a tighter sales strategy and process from the outset.

2) Approaching the Wrong Type of Customer

New products are best built in collaboration with customers who share your vision. This way, the business has orders, sponsors, and revenue when launched. However, sometimes, this doesn’t happen. The core difference between this happening in a startup or corporate business is the amplification of consequence. Startup resources are typically scarce, and a change of direction or lack of insight saps budget, wastes precious time, and stalls revenues.

In our case, the first test cases were not the ideal customer profile. We then made the mistake of chasing anyone who would buy, regardless of whether they were good for the business. The theory was to collect as much “low-hanging fruit” as possible but, couple this scatter-bomb strategy with potential customers promising to buy if we added extra functionality, and you quickly descend to chasing your tail with no revenue.

Your first customers are critical to the success of the business. The most important attribute is not that they “quite like the idea”, but that they are “committed” to the same vision and goals. Startups must find the rare breed of early adopters or visionaries who wholeheartedly support your efforts and, ideally, pay for them. Cash is king. The faster customers pay, the sooner the business is stabilized and out of the danger zone.

What we should have done differently:

We should have been far more stringent about whom we targeted and worked with. We launched with very supportive customers who were ideal in the beginning, but it soon became apparent they weren’t influential enough to appease naysayers. In this regard, we didn’t adapt quickly enough to the changing requirements of the business and wasted too much time having faith in the original business model.

3) Allowing Passion to Interfere With the Sales Process

These are bad practices to avoid:

Believing your time has no value.

Passionately believing in your startup can lead the founding group to devalue their time, because an immense commitment to success drives a willingness to work all waking hours. However, time is as precious as your budget, and there must be a rigorous failsafe on time, energy, and resources, as not monitoring the ROI of your actions can lead to a downward spiral of productivity.

Believing that “founder” status makes you a better salesperson.

Sales is sales, right? It should be, as long as you are adhering to a defined sales strategy and process.

If you ever get the chance, ask a first-time founder to pitch their product, and then ask one of their salespeople to do the same. The chances are that the former will deliver an impassioned vision that tries to convince you of the bigger picture, but the salesperson will be more methodical and ask more questions to first establish the need. The former assumes and convinces, while the latter looks for the actual opportunity.

Despite 15 years of sales experience, I did things I never would have done previously. The emotional connection to my product clouded my judgement, distracted me from my defined sales processes and, if I am brutally honest, lowered my standards of professionalism. I disconnected with customers in a way previously unheard of. It was part ego, part inexperience, and part over-determination to succeed.

A defined sales strategy and process is never more important than in a startup environment. 

Believing you can compensate for lack of commitment with effort.

In a startup, there is a heightened drive to create an amazing customer experience. This is to reward their belief in you and your vision. The tendency is to do anything for them, from developing new features to forgiving behaviors that never would have been acceptable previously. This is wrong. Just as investment rounds are based on results and paid in installments, the sales process must have micro-stages of commitment. Sounds obvious, but when everyone is keen to please, these standards and procedures are easily swept under the carpet.

I am never proud of getting it wrong, and the most frustrating part is these behaviors would never have entered my head in the corporate environment. The good news is that knowledge, and experience, make you better.

If you value this article, please share it, connect with me, and comment below. If you haven’t yet received my 2017 research paper, it discusses the differences between selling in the UK vs. the USA, as well as how digital networks are impacting multinational businesses differently on each side of the pond. Download from my homepage here.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.

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Source: 3 Startup Sales Mistakes I'll Never Repeat
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The 16 Worst Sales Email Writing Mistakes

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And when that first impression is made via email, it’s even harder to come off the way you want to. Without the benefit of an in-person interaction, you can’t exactly build rapport or pivot your strategy if something you’re saying doesn’t resonate.So it’s imperative that you get that first email right. While you can’t control whether your email garners a response, you can control everything else — and you should.

If the core of your email is an insight or resource, think of your writing as the packaging. Even if you’re an expert, it’ll be hard to build credibility if your online communication is riddled with spelling and formatting errors. Below are the worst errors that’ll cause salespeople to embarrass themselves over email. Beware!

16 Sales Email Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

1) Misusing “your” and “you’re”

They sound the same, but they certainly don’t mean the same thing. It’s easy to slip up, but asking your prospect, “Do you have any time on you’re calendar to chat tomorrow?” makes you look sloppy and unprofessional.

2) Misusing “there,” “their,” and “they’re”

Another common grammar mistake that makes it harder for you to be taken seriously.

3) Misusing “its” and “it’s”

The last member of the trio of frequently confused homophones.

4) Misspelling your prospect’s name or company

Maybe you were tired when you sent the email. Maybe your eyes were blurry from staring at the screen for too long. Guess what? Your prospect won’t care — they’ll think you haven’t done your research, are sloppy in your work, or flat out don’t care about accuracy. None of the above bode well for your ability to make the sale.

5) Misspelling your own company’s name

This isn’t nearly as insulting to a prospect since you’ve fumbled your own company, not theirs, but it still gives the sense that you just don’t care that much.

6) Mistyping your phone number

This is a mistake I made (and learned from) the hard way. My email signature contained my phone number, but I’d mistyped one digit. I got a frustrated email from a client a few days into his project demanding to know why I never picked up the phone.

If you’re going to provide a way for your prospects to get in touch, make sure it’s correct. If they actually take the initiative to call you, ensure it’s not a waste of their time.

7) Fumbling the date

Scheduling a meeting over email is enough of a pain. Asking your prospect for a meeting on “Thursday, November 16th” when November 16th is actually a Wednesday creates confusion and necessitates an additional two or three emails to correct the mistake. Make sure you’re referencing a calendar when including dates in your emails.

8) Not using paragraphs

If your email’s only two sentences long, this isn’t as much of a problem. But when you’re writing a long follow-up email or a recap of an important call, make sure you’re breaking the text up so it’s easy for your prospect to read.

9) Using inline lists instead of bullet points

To make your prospect’s job even easier, break out lists into easily scannable bulleted lists. Would you rather be asked if a meeting on “Monday at 3:00 p.m., Tuesday at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday at 1:45 p.m., Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday at 4 p.m., or Thursday at 12:20 p.m.” works better for you, or receive this email:

Let me know if any of the below times work for you:

  • Monday at 3:00 p.m.

  • Tuesday at 12:00 p.m.

  • Tuesday at 1:45 p.m.

  • Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.

  • Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

  • Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

You prefer the second option? Yep, me too.

10) Failing to format

In a real conversation, you can use body language, voice tone, and gestures to accentuate important points. But it’s harder to convey tone in emails, so if your email is longer than a paragraph and it contains information your prospect absolutely must read, bold or italicize it to make sure it catches their eye.

One caveat: Don’t go too crazy. An email where every other word is bolded or underlined is jarring to read and looks unprofessional.

11) Including too much information

You can use #10 above to gut check this point. If you’ve written 800 words, but only felt the need to bold one statement, take a moment to check whether you actually need to include everything you’ve written. Save your prospect as much time as possible by cutting right to the point — they’ll appreciate it.

12) Burying your ask

Sometimes, though, you will need to write a longer email. In this case, make sure to pull out your ask into its own line or paragraph so it’s not lost in the rest of the text.

13) Not including an ask

Whether it’s asking for 10 minutes to discuss resources you’ve just sent over or offering a product demonstration, every action you take should be designed to advance a prospect through the sales process if it’s a mutual good fit.

14) Asking too much

Of course, what you ask has to be reasonable. If it’s the first time you’re speaking with a prospect, it’s ridiculous to ask them what contract terms they’d be comfortable with. Tailor what you ask for to your prospect’s stage of the buyer’s journey.

15) Including broken links

Including a link or two in your sales emails is great when it’s applicable. You’re providing more content and an opportunity to click around your site and learn more about your product. Make sure those links are updated and work, especially if you’re using a template — if your prospect is actually interested enough to click through, make sure you’re giving them a good experience. Just as importantly, you’ll appear unprofessional and sloppy if you include links that don’t work.

16) Copying and pasting

Have you ever gotten an email where a single section is much smaller than the others or appears in a different font? If so, you know how distracting it is. This weird issue is caused by copying and pasting without removing the formatting.

To make sure this doesn’t happen with your emails, highlight any sections you’ve pasted and click the “Remove formatting” button in your email browser.

If you’re using Inbox or Gmail, you can also remove formatting by highlighting a section and pressing command + the backward slash key (). Outlook users, press control + space.

Writing good sales emails is an art and a science. Different subject lines and strategies will work better for different prospects and industries. But these are the building blocks of professional correspondence. Get your writing rock-solid so you can focus on selling.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

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Source: The 16 Worst Sales Email Writing Mistakes
blog.hubspot.com/sales

The 5 Most Common Objections During Prospecting and How to Overcome Them

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When we talk about objection handling in sales, it is often focused on the later stages of the buying cycle, usually during negotiations. We focus on pricing and timing issues — the types of objections that prevent a deal from closing. A crucial yet overlooked aspect of objection handling occurs at the very beginning of the buying process, during prospecting. Sales reps who do their own prospecting and sales development reps encounter a myriad of objections in their attempts to connect with and qualify prospects.Get 25+ sales experts' playbooks for free. Reserve your seat at Inbound Sales  Day today.

Prospecting is hard. You are typically barging in on someone, so you’ll hear objections such as, “I’m too busy, call back next quarter,” “Just send me some information,” “We don’t have budget outlined for this,” and so on. The good news is you will begin to identify a set of common objections during prospecting. The key to success is to be prepared to overcome them and move prospects to the next step.

The vast majority of objections heard during prospecting are knee-jerk reactions from busy people who don’t yet see the value in working with you. Nearly all objections at the prospecting phase of the sales process fit into one of two categories:

  1. I don’t understand the value and I’m too busy to think about it.
  2. I’m not ready for a buying conversation. 

Here’s how to avoid and/or overcome these objections.

First, articulate value early and concisely. You can mitigate the value objection by simply respecting the prospect’s time and explaining what you want early in your outreach. Every email, voicemail, and phone interaction should lead with an assurance that you won’t take much time, followed by a short (30 seconds or less, or one to two sentences), buyer-centric, and customized value proposition. For more on the quick value prop, check out this post.

Second, don’t sell the product, sell the next step. It does not matter if the prospect is ready for a buying conversation yet. How could they be? It’s possible they’ve only just learned about you and your product from this call. Don’t get into a discussion of the product yet. If they ask a product question, recommend that you show them in the next meeting.

The Top 5 Prospecting Objections

Here are the five most common objections prospectors face, along with some very simple approaches to responding to them.

1) The Brush-Off

What this sounds like: “Just send me some information.”

This objection varies in intent depending on when it comes up in your call with a prospect. If it comes up before you have had the chance to deliver your value proposition and explain who you are and what you do, it’s very clearly a brush-off. If it comes afterward, but before you’ve had the chance to ask qualification questions, there may be interest, but the prospect isn’t yet willing to talk about it further.

If it comes at the end of your call, after you’ve gone through both your value prop and qualification, the prospect may have decided this isn’t valuable somewhere along the way. No matter where it comes up in the call, it’s the SDR’s duty to uncover what is really going on: Do they not yet understand the value, or are they not ready for a buying conversation? Why not?

Responses: There are a few potential responses to this one, depending on what stage the call is in.

  • Before you’ve delivered the value proposition: “Can we take 30 seconds now for me to explain what we do, and you can then decide if it’s worth a follow-up?”
  • Before qualification: “Can I ask you a couple questions now to better understand how we might help?”
  • After qualification: “Typically, people find it more valuable to see how this works in a demo.”

2) Competition

What this sounds like: “We already work with Competitor X.”

This is where it’s important to know why you are unique, and be able to explain that value clearly. Your prospect just heard, “Hi, we do X” and thought, “Oh, we have a vendor for that, we’re good.” Your prospects are busy — they don’t want to fix things that aren’t broken. It is your duty to change their mindset, and explain why they need the specific value you provide.

Response: “At this point, we aren’t asking you to rip anything out. A lot of our customers used to or still use Competitor X. We’d just like the opportunity to show you how we are different and how we have provided additional value to our customers. We can present some use cases of other companies like yours who work with us and with Competitor X. When is a good time to schedule a follow up call?”

3) Procrastination

What this sounds like: “Call me back in a quarter.”

Prospects are busy. They will push anything off to tomorrow because today is swamped. Don’t let them! You have a solution they needed yesterday. Reassure them that this is not a buying conversation. You just want to show them what you do, and see if there’s value for them.

Response: “Of course. If it really is bad timing, I’m happy to do that. However, I would still like to set up a five-minute call to show you what we are doing and how we might help. That way, if it’s not interesting, we don’t have to worry about me chasing you next quarter, but if it is, we’ll have more to talk about then. When is a good day/time for us to chat?”

4) Budget

What this sounds like: “We don’t have budget for this.”

If budget is an important part of your qualified lead definition (e.g. traditional BANT) this may be a stopping point. Even with BANT however, it is important to dig a bit further to understand what not having budget means. Can they not afford it? Has your buyer burned through her personal budget for the year? Could your buyer find the money elsewhere if you show enough value? In most cases, the prospect doesn’t need to have a budget at this stage of the process, and SDRs should leverage this fact to overcome this objection.

Response: “That’s okay. We don’t expect you to buy anything right now. We’d just like the opportunity to share what we are doing and see if it’s valuable to your company. Can we schedule a follow up call over the next couple days?”

5) Getting in the Weeds

What this sounds like: “Does your product do X, Y, and Z?”

This isn’t so much an objection as an obstacle to closing a call with a prospect and getting them to the next appointment, (e.g., a demo, or a discovery call with the sales rep). However, it is one of the most common obstacles that prevent an SDR from converting the lead to an SQL. Not only does getting in the weeds waste time, you also run the potential of devolving into a features/benefits conversation. The good news is this generally means the prospect is interested. Use this fact to end the conversation and set up the next appointment.

Response: “I am glad you asked that. I think it will be helpful to set up a time where we can answer this question and others with a specialist. When is a good day/time for us to talk?”

When No Means No

Prospects often don’t give you a chance to explain the value you think you can provide. They are too busy, and have too little faith in the hordes of SDRs and sales reps that reach out to them on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they have learned through experience that these knee-jerk objections are the best defense against people wasting their time. This forces salespeople to be more assertive and persistent.

That said, at a certain point no means no. The responses to the common objections above give you a way to pierce through the reactionary objections prospects give without thinking. However, if you have said your piece and the prospect still objects, let it go. Nobody is going to buy against their will. Get as clear as you can on the objection and try to determine what your prospect is really concerned about, but don’t push past the prospect’s point of comfort. Rule of thumb: if the prospect says an objection twice, it’s real. No means no.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

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Source: The 5 Most Common Objections During Prospecting and How to Overcome Them
blog.hubspot.com/sales

How to Win Against the Competition

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Salespeople and prospects rarely want to talk about the same things. You want to talk about the buyer’s budget, timeline, and role in the decision making process, while the buyer wants to talk about pricing and the nuts and bolts of the product.

This conflict is especially clear when your prospect brings up the competition. It would be great to keep the focus on your own product — but if you say too little (or nothing at all), you’ll miss an opportunity to differentiate it from their other options. Say too much, and you typically come across as insecure or desperate.

To walk this line and ultimately win the deal, follow these six guidelines.

1) Acknowledge the Elephant in the Room

You and your prospect both know you’re biased. So why would they ask for your opinion on the competition in the first place? Sometimes, it’s a sign of trust: The buyer believes you’ll put their interests first, even though you have a financial incentive not to.

But sometimes, it’s a test. Your prospect is trying to figure out whether you’ll steer them the right way or give them bad information.

Rather than ignoring the elephant in the room, call it out. Say, “Obviously, I have skin in the game. Happy to answer all of your questions, but I can also point you to some third-party resources you might find helpful.”

Your transparency will make you seem 10 times more trustworthy; plus, you’ll set the tone for a candid conversation.

2) Use External Reviews

While you might not be able to convince the buyer yourself, a third-party review will be very persuasive. Look for testimonials comparing you and your competition where you come out ahead — maybe from a customer who switched to your product after using a rival one or one who trialed several different tools before choosing yours.

If your prospect asks, “How do you compare to [competitor]?” or “What do you think about [competitor]?”, you can respond:

“That’s a good question. I’m going to send you a review from a customer who [moved over to us after X amount of time, chose our product after evaluating Y different ones, went with my company for Z reasons]. If you have any questions after reading it, I’m more than happy to answer them.”

If you can’t find any online reviews, look for happy clients or users in similar situations. Then ask them to write testimonials that you can send to future buyers. Or, if you work a relatively small number of high-value deals, see if the customer is willing to act as a reference.

3) Turn the Question Around

To avoid talking about the competition and refocus on your product and the buyer’s situation, try these responses:

  • “Before we go down that road, may I ask why you’re interested in that?”
  • “Quick question first: Is [use case, feature, result] one of your top considerations?”
  • “Would you say X is one of your ‘must-haves’?”

For example, if your prospect just asked, “How does your safety lock compare to Saltzer’s safety lock?”, you’d respond, “We can talk about that. But some context might help me give you a better answer. May I ask why you’re specifically interested in the safety lock?”

The buyer will normally say it’s a priority or key feature. Explain the strengths of your product in that aspect, then end with, “I think Saltzer could give you more details than me about their safety lock, so I’d ask them.”

4) Be Honest

Sometimes, honesty truly is the best policy. Tell the buyer, “I don’t want to comment on [competitor] because I’d hate to give you out-of-date information. They’re nice people over at [company] — I’d recommend asking them.”

This matter-of-fact, straightforward reply will earn you points with your prospect and keep you from smearing the competition.

Alternatively, try a little levity: “I plead the fifth! But seriously, I steer clear of discussing [competitor] — they’re the best people to ask about [competitor’s product]. Getting back to how [prospect’s company] could use [product] … ”

Politely yet firmly refusing to talk about your competition shows the buyer you’re a class act. More importantly, it suggests your offering is attractive enough to stand on its own.

5) Set the Record Straight (When Necessary)

Not everyone plays fair. You might discover one of your competitors is spreading misconceptions (or even complete lies) about your company, products, or clients.

Imagine a buyer lets you know she’s also considering Vendor X — whose reps routinely mislead your prospects. The worst thing you can do is say, “Don’t believe what they tell you about Y or Z. They’re liars.” Not only will you sound like you doubt the buyer’s intelligence, you’ll also make the claim sound more believable by addressing it.

However, if you know what your competitor usually attacks, you can proactively bring up those elements in your sales conversation. Maybe they typically say your customer service is non-responsive. During your presentation, highlight your support team’s lightning-fast response time and high satisfaction ratings. This strategy will put your prospect’s mind at ease without directly calling out the competitor.

What if the buyer says, “Vendor X told me … ”?

According to sales consultant and trainer Jeff Hoffman, the most successful response is simply: “That’s not true.” This statement will satisfy most prospects. If they still don’t believe you, they’ll ask a follow-up question.

6) Lose the Deal

High-performing salespeople understand that winning the war often means losing the battle. In other words, if you realize the competition is a much better fit, be honest with your prospect.

Here’s a sample soundbite:

“Based on what you’ve told me about your [budget, use case, objectives, needs], I think [competitor] might be a better fit. But if you know anyone that fits [2-3 buyer criteria], I’d love an introduction.”

Buyers are blown away by this level of genuine service. They’ll reward you with positive word-of-mouth, referrals — and if and when their situation changes, new business.

Some prospects will even say, “[Competitor] might be a better fit product-wise, but based on how well you’ve treated me before I’ve even become a customer, I’d rather go with you.”

It doesn’t matter who you work for or what you sell — you have competition. And that means buyers want to talk about their other options. Instead of staying silent, or equally damaging, going on a rant, earn your prospect’s trust and influence their opinion by using these six strategies.

HubSpot CRM

Source: How to Win Against the Competition
blog.hubspot.com/sales

9 TED Talks on Effective Communication That Will Help You Close More Deals

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Effective communication helps you forge strong connections, collaborate with internal and external stakeholders, close deals, and convince people to share your views. It’s critical to your success, whether you’re a sales leader, manager, or front-line rep. So what makes you an effective communicator? You must be able to explain complex ideas simply and clearly, speak in your own voice, tailor your message to your audience — and that’s just to start.Improve your communication skills by watching these nine TED talks. They touch on every aspect of communication, from what we say, how we say it, whom we say it to, and equally importantly, what we don’t say.

9 TED Talks on Effective Communication

TED Talks for the Workplace

1) “Listen, Learn … Then Lead” by Stanley McChrystal

If you think the United States Army is a rigid organization where decisions and orders come from the top and must be followed without exception, you might be surprised by former U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal’s TED talk.

In this talk, McChrystal — who joined the Army at age 22 — shares the different leadership styles he encountered as he rose through the ranks, then shares the lessons he’s learned as a general. As the armed forces changed, McChrystal found himself leading groups of people who had vastly different experiences than himself.

“We’re operating a force that must have shared purpose and shared consciousness, and yet [direct reports] have different experiences, in many cases a different vocabulary,” McChrystal says.

To bridge gaps of understanding, it falls to leaders to build credibility through being transparent, willing to listen, and open to being reverse-mentored, McChrystal says.

2) “Remember to Say Thank You,” by Laura Trice

Productive communication doesn’t require agreement — in fact, some of the best meetings I’ve ever had involved disagreement. And that’s to be expected when you work with smart people who have strong opinions. But in order to have productive discussions and keep your team moving forward after conflict, people need to feel heard and appreciated.

In this TED talk, doctor and life coach Laura Trice poses a simple question — why don’t people ask to be thanked for the value they bring to the table, whether in their personal or professional lives? She thinks it’s because by asking for praise, we make ourselves vulnerable.

In this talk, you’ll explore the value of saying “thank you,” asking to be thanked, and the implications of freely giving gratitude.

3) “The Danger of Silence” by Clint Smith

In this powerful spoken word TED Talk, Clint Smith addresses what happens when we simply don’t communicate. Smith, a teacher and poet, gave up speaking for Lent one year — and realized how much he’d already silenced himself.

How many times do you see something happening in the workplace or your personal life that makes you uncomfortable? How many times do you speak up for yourself, a coworker, or a customer? In his TED talk, Smith argues that the price of staying silent is injustice — and that’s too high a price to pay.

4) “The Secret Structure of Great Talks” by Nancy Duarte

Whether you’re in sales or not, you pitch people every day. Want to hire more people on your team? A promotion? A new project? You have to influence the people around you to get your way — and that’s where Nancy Duarte comes in. Duarte, a presentation expert who helped Vice President Al Gore with “An Inconvenient Truth,” believes that all great presentations follow a specific arc.

As a presenter, it’s your job to tell a story that draws in your audience and convinces them of something. In this TED talk, Duarte shares actionable tips to rework how you tell stories — and hopefully help you get closer to what you want.

5) “How to Save the World (or at Least Yourself) From Bad Meetings,” by David Grady

Communication is a good thing. Transparency and openness are both good things. Pulling people from different teams to give input on important projects is a good thing. So you would think that the concept of the work meeting — something designed to deliver information, gather opinions, and make progress, would be good as well.

Unfortunately, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. David Grady, a cybersecurity manager, believes that we’re being deluged by pointless meetings that waste our time. In this TED talk, you’ll learn Grady’s “No MAS” technique for making meetings more productive and valuable — so that when you’re communicating with your coworkers, you’re only talking about what really matters.

TED Talks on Communication Skills

6) “Connected, But Alone?” by Sherry Turkle

We live in a world where it’s easier than ever to reach out to people across generations, cities, and even continents. Yet go to any restaurant, concert, or even funeral and you’ll find people disengaged from their companions because they’re on their phones, MIT social sciences and technology professor Sherry Turkle says.

Besides the fact that it’s bad manners, this increasingly common behavior is preventing us from relating to each other and self-reflecting. In Turkle’s TED talk, you’ll hear about how being overly connected is actually isolating us from our communities, and what we can do to unplug from our phones and plug back into our relationships.

7) “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation,” by Celeste Headlee

Words are our primary way of relating to other people — whether it’s building strong friendships, getting into arguments, or persuading coworkers to follow your plans. And yet we suck at it — a Pew Research study found that Americans are more polarized than we’ve ever been.

Radio host Celeste Headlee has some experience using words to move people. In her TED talk, Headlee explores the components of a truly great conversation and shares 10 strategies to improve conversational competence.

8) “The Power of Vulnerability,” by Brené Brown

Of course, true connections can’t be formed if we don’t bring our whole selves to our relationships — no matter how conversationally competent we are. In this TED talk, Brené Brown, who researches vulnerability, courage, and shame, suggests that only by confronting what we’re most afraid of can we truly connect with other people.

In her research, Brown found that her subjects who felt the most love and belonging had one thing in common — they were willing to make themselves vulnerable. It’s not easy to get to that point, but Brown argues that if we’re willing to put in the time and effort, we’ll be able to reach a kinder, gentler world.

9) “Comedy is Translation,” by Chris Bliss

When I was younger, I thought Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show were just funny. And they are, but they’re also shows that delivery commentary in a way that makes people laugh and think at the same time.

In this TED talk, standup comedian Chris Bliss explains that comedy isn’t just about entertainment, although humor is obviously central. The elements of comedy — misdirection, its inherent virality, economy of language, and deliberate juxtaposition of seemingly opposite or unrelated concepts — make it a delightful way to entertain people and convey important messages.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for freshness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

Discover Whether You're a Sales Hunter, Farmer, or Trapper

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My coaching client Daniel asked me, “Bill, are you a Hunter or a Farmer? Do you constantly prospect for new business, or do you focus on the clients you currently have?”

I replied, “I’m more of a Trapper. I like to apply the principles of value-centered marketing so people see me as a resource and come to me for further assistance.”

The Hunter Sales Persona

The Hunter is constantly on the lookout for new prospects. They go to many networking events, join other types of organizations, use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to reach out to people, make a lot of calls, and ask for referrals on a regular basis.

An effective Hunter will track down every lead to its logical conclusion. They find it easy to be persistent, but rarely cross the line into pushiness.

The Hunter will thrive in a role where they must generate their own sales and where the problem they can fix isn’t always evident to the prospect. For example, a financial professional may have to ask the right questions and teach the right things to get her prospect to realize there’s a gap in his financial plan.

Likewise, a social media expert or business consultant may have to help their prospects uncover pain that’s currently unknown — but causing problems.

The Farmer Sales Persona

The Farmer is most comfortable fertilizing and watering existing relationships. They may have built a successful business with clients gained when another rep left the firm or with internal referrals from another part of their company. The Farmer rarely loses a client for lack of caring.

An effective Farmer is service-oriented and won’t run away from problems. They build a large number of business friendships.

Unlike The Hunter, The Farmer does not usually have the DNA to beat the bushes for leads and self-generate opportunities. The Farmer loves to nurture existing relationships. They will plant and nurture new seeds when handed to them (like interested prospects raising their hand to say, “I’m interested”), but won’t usually contact strangers to get a relationship going.

Typical Farmers are high-level customer service reps responsible for maintaining and growing relationships while keeping an eye out for new opportunities within the account. They are often found in inside sales and service operations.

The Trapper Sales Persona

The Trapper focuses on client attraction through marketing. They develop value-added tools to send to prospects and share on social media and often work to establish a high-profile reputation in their target market. They’ve also crafted a fine-tuned way to communicate their value in both concise and longer-form methods. For example, a Trapper likely has a client-centric LinkedIn profile that tells a good story and pulls people into their message.

The effective Tapper has probably embraced the power of SEO, YouTube videos, and great content. They’re adapt at generating various forms of social proof, such as testimonials and case studies.

The Trapper is usually a business owner, marketing manager, or business development manager. They don’t mind farming, but hunting does not appeal to them. Trappers are creative people who like to figure out the right bait for the right prey. Trappers become versed in the languages of attraction marketing and direct marketing.

Can You Change Sales Personas?

I’ve been in the world of sales, marketing, and business development (pick a name, any name) for over 30 years. It is rare to find someone who is truly well-developed in more than one of these personas. For example, my predominant persona is the Trapper. I enjoy determining my market, finding prospects, and crafting the right message to pull them in. As I’ve honed these skills, the less hunting I need to do — although when I bring someone into my world, I still need to bring the sale to fruition. I’m a good Trapper, decent Farmer, and okay Hunter.

I no longer attempt to help companies turn Farmers into Hunters or Hunters into Trappers. While there may be some overlap in the DNA, the basic wiring is different for all three.

As you have probably already guessed, every industry, business model, and personal style will ultimately dictate the right blend of these three personas. Great marketing will bring people into your world, but you still have to “close the deal” so to speak. Sometimes they come into your world through marketing, but you have to keep tracking them until the time is right and they truly see your value.

If you’re a front-line salesperson, focus on cultivating the strengths of your sales persona rather than becoming a different one or imitating their approach. If you’re a sales leader or business owner, hire the personas that compliment yours and work together to build a fast-growing, profitable company.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

The 10-Part Checklist for Starting a Successful Referral Partnership

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Hopefully, you have already realized that a great Referral Partner can be worth a lot more to your business then any one client.

My question for you is, “Do you have a clearly laid out plan — and are you working that plan — to meet great Referral Partners on a regular basis?”

I believe you shouldn’t let a week go by without some activity to meet new Referral Partners and/or strengthen current Referral Partners. Here is a 10-part checklist to maximize your partnership results.

Referral Partnership Checklist

1) Identify at least five categories of Referral Partners.

Every industry has what BNI founder and the “Father of Modern Marketing” Ivan Misner calls “Contact Spheres.” Identify at least five natural Referral Partner categories. Create a plan for meeting them.

2) Ask clients and other Referral Partners for introductions to more.

You can certainly meet potential Referral Partners at networking events, but your best source will always be your clients and other Referral Partners who can vouch for you and your product.

3) Provide value before trying to get referrals.

Your first goal with a potential Referral Partner is to provide value. Look for ways to contribute to their business with resources, idea, introductions, and thought-provoking questions.

4) Determine the business chemistry.

You’re not going to get along or connect with every potential Referral Partner. Do you generally like this person? Will you enjoy interacting with them? Would you do business with this person? Do you feel comfortable sending people their way?

5) Have a clear, concise way to explain the benefits of your differentiation.

Your Referral Partners will want to know how you, your processes, and your products or services differ or stand out from others who they perceive are in the same business as you. And always, always, always translate how that difference creates one or more concrete benefits for your clients.

6) Make sure you are referable.

One of the most effective ways to become referable in the eyes of a potential Referral Partner is to walk them through your full value proposition. This takes some time, so you both have to be committed to forming a productive referrals partnership. The more they see your process and the many places you deliver value to your clients or customers, the more they will feel comfortable sending people your way.

Hint: Just because you sent your potential Referral Partner one or more referrals, don’t assume that this automatically makes you referable. It doesn’t.

7) Determine your Referral Partner’s ideal customer.

If you believe your Referral Partner is looking for a reciprocal referral relationship, be sure to get crystal clear on who makes a good prospect for them — whom they serve the best. (Note that not every Referral Partner will want or expect reciprocal referrals. Some just want to have a great resource to whom they can recommend others.)

8) Teach your Referral Partner about your ideal customer.

One of the prime reasons why Referral Partners don’t provide great introductions is that they aren’t sure how to recognize someone who is a good prospect for you. Make sure your Referral Partners know how to recognize a great fit.

9) Get clear on how each of you want to be introduced to ideal prospects.

Never assume a Referral Partners knows how you like to be connected with your new prospects. You definitely want more than just word of mouth. You want to be introduced in some way.

10) Agree on how often you will meet.

Productive Referral Partnerships require a certain level of ongoing communication. You both need to remain referable in each other’s eyes. You want to make sure you are meeting each other’s expectations for the relationship. Agree on how often you’d like to meet — monthly? Quarterly? Semi-annually?

HubSpot CRM

Source: The 10-Part Checklist for Starting a Successful Referral Partnership
blog.hubspot.com/sales