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Sales Enablement Using Text Alerts: Instant Knowledge for Sales

An often quoted marketing stat states that “50% of sales go to the first sales person to contact the prospect." This emphasizes the fact that in sales, if you are not first, you are last.

Though most of our marketing and sales processes are automated, we still need to be on our toes when dealing with leads and prospects.
Why you ask? Because 50% of sales go to the first sales person to contact the prospect (like I said earlier, it’s oft-quoted for a reason)
And what better way to keep your sales reps in the loop other than SMS alerts? Text alerts are timely, concise and direct. An automation system with a focus on Sales Enablement will allow you to reap the benefits of this simple, somewhat underestimated, yet powerful feature.
Let’s look at some important ways this feature can boost your sales.
Don’t miss out on important alerts
Since salespeople are constantly travelling, they may not have the luxury of time. Between their selling and follow up and other paperwork, they spend less time proactively looking out for ready leads than is ideal. Instead, if they choose to be notified about the progress of their campaigns, they will be automatically notified irrespective of where they are.
The best part is that you can choose whether you want text notifications or not. For maximum sales effectiveness, you can invest in a system that lets you opt for text alerts. If you are running an important drip, or are keen on tracking some link and see how it’s doing, you can choose to receive notifications via SMS.
Now, if they have a flexible sales automation tool that lets them follow up through their cell phones, your sales reps can’t miss a thing.

Timeliness is appreciated
Often, companies have lost out on prospects due to slow follow-up. Today’s digitally driven buyers are known to flit from one choice to the other in no time. With competition so fierce, your reps cannot be late responders. If you want to close more deals, you have to respond fast, analyze prospects’ needs faster and provide solutions the fastest. The first step to the process is notifying your sales reps about how the prospect responded to your deal.
Imagine Millie opened your email and found something interesting in it on Monday. But your concerned sales rep is on a business tour and will be back only by the end of the week. Do you think Millie is going to wait for you that long? She won’t.  She probably won’t even wait until that afternoon.
In such a circumstance, enabling text alerts for your email campaigns does this: Millie opens your email, find something interesting and this is recorded and notified to your rep on his personal mobile number. Your rep either a) Using his mobile, sends a follow up email to Millie; or b) passes along the notification to a fellow-sales person who can handle it promptly. In any case, you have responded immediately and your prospect won’t fail to appreciate this.
The sooner you are notified, the sooner you can respond. Prompt responses tend to elicit a positive response from prospects. Interesting stats that re-affirms this thought
Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later

If you follow up with leads within 5 minutes, you’re 9 times more likely to convert them

For any organization, it is important that your sales reps don’t waste time doing time consuming things. Keeping them posted with prospect activity lets them focus on their task.
Does your automation software have this feature?

A Sales Enablement Strategy for Managing Data and What You Capture (Part 2)


Last week we saw how “segmenting prospects” is the best way to deal with the overload of Big Data. We also looked at different parameters for lead or prospect segmentation.
This week we move on to the next section of, "A Strategy for Managing Data and What You Capture."
Once you have segmented prospects, the next step is to tackle each of these segments in a way that compliments your segmentation exercise.
Today let’s look at How To Approach Each Segment With Personalized Sales And Marketing Campaigns
Strategize for each segment: Once you know that your prospects are on the first stage of the buying cycle or the sales funnel, it becomes much easier to generate or provide the kind of content that will -interest them further. Likewise, you have to understand each of your segments and devise email campaigns or sales strategies for the same. As you have segmented the prospects depending on certain common grounds, you can choose to engage them accordingly.
Train sales people to pitch as per these strategies: One of the most critical steps of approaching your segmented leads is the interaction between them and your sales reps. Reps must be trained to converse with each segment in a unique fashion. This can be easily achieved if you can equip your reps with a powerful, all-inclusive sales playbook that guides them exactly how to do it.
Personalize your collateral when you interact with these lead segments
You have segmented your leads because you know their precise pain points and you care about addressing them with your product. Personalizing your sales and marketing assets, using an effective Asset management system, will demonstrate this concern. When people see that you have the right answers to their questions, they will undoubtedly be intrigued to know all about you.  
Keep a solid lead-scoring system in place
You can use lead scoring to segment your leads based on their interest in you. You need to track the leads who show an interest in you and develop a deeper understanding of their exact requirements. Depending on the scores for your leads, you can further categorize them as hot, warm or cold leads.
This will help you segregate further the sales ready leads and leads to be nurtured. Lead scoring from time to time will ensure that you primarily focus only on promising prospects. This way sales reps won’t waste time over uninterested leads. This was they can also further segment prospects depending on their level of interest, area of interest, etc.
These are some basic methods for approaching the various lead/prospect segments created by you. Careful approach to these segments will only lead you further to solid leads and better close rates for your sales team.

In the next and the last part of this series, we will look at how you can benefit from segmentation.

Is Your Sales Enablement Software Flexible?


Sales Enablement. The business catchphrase so far for 2014.
If you Google the term, you get many search results telling you what it is and what it’s not.
We believe that sales enablement is about making your sales reps’ lives easier. It's about handing them the right tools that will help them deliver the right message at the right time.
However, we must understand that these tools should enable them to sell more. You cannot expect sales reps to be tied down to their desktops because of lengthy workflows and complex software. That is why we recommend that firms opt for a Sales Enablement software package that ensures that your sales reps enjoy maximum flexibility.
Take mobile application, for instance. Does your sales enablement software have a mobile application? Let’s look at few ways your sales reps can benefit from a mobile application that’s part of the overall sales enablement software package.
What you can do with a mobile application?
View contact activity anytime, anywhere
Your reps need to be in the loop about your prospect activity from the beginning. Access to prospect activity on their mobile devices allows them to keep up with how your prospects react.

However, many sales enablement or marketing automation systems have prospect activity information only on desktop applications. This is a severe limitation for sales people who are on the road, or away from their desks for extended periods.

With a well-designed mobile application, you can get an extensive, detailed feed of all your lead activity. You can also sort and filter the activities of the leads however it bests suits your needs.

Immediate follow-up with prospects
With the ability to track lead activity in real-time, you may face situations where it will be necessary to follow–up ASAP. If you happen to be in the field, or on your way to meet some other client, will you have wait until you get back to the office to follow up?

If that’s what you are doing now, you need to stop.

Unless you are in an important meeting, you can always spare some time to send a follow-up message. Immediate follow-up with prospects yields better results.

Easily add contacts from your phone's address book
Maybe you attend some sales event and happen to meet a potential prospect there. Where will you save her number and contact information? In your cell phone, of course. Now ideally, at the end of the day (i.e. if time permits) you will have to re-enter the number in your CRM or Sales Enablement system. Ugh.

What if, instead, you could directly add contacts into the system? Then, as you meet people throughout the day, anytime, anywhere, you will always be able to update their contact information in the system, without a second step later for your CRM.

Get contact information easily
Mobile apps are quick and easy--not just for saving contacts, but also for retrieving them. If you want to learn details about a certain contact, you needn’t call your colleagues to co-ordinate or you needn’t wait till you get to work. Your contacts will be just a touch away. If you synchronize your CRM contacts with the system, you can access them on your mobile phone.

Send e-mails at the press of a button on your phone
As constant interaction with leads and prospects and customers is core to you, sending emails is a very important and useful feature for sales reps.  You can access any email template you wish and personalize it using your contact database to send to your leads. This means that you don’t have to bother about sending emails at odd hours of the day. You set a reminder for your pre-drafted email and send it on time, irrespective of where you are.
Map contacts to relevant drips
When you see that some of your contacts are passing your lead scoring threshold, you have to be quick to establish contact. A drip campaign, perhaps? When you are on the go, it would be great if you could add new contacts to your existing drips or create new drip campaigns.  

Desktop Widget
Apart from the mobile application, you can also enable your sales reps with a desktop widget. This is especially beneficial when reps are too busy to log in and check the system on a timely basis.
The best sales enablement software includes a desktop widget feature. With this widget, you will know when a prospect opens your email or clicks on a link, so you can follow up instantaneously.
You will get instant notifications and alerts when prospects visit your website, social media page or other communication materials.
All you have to do is log into the desktop application when you turn on your computer. It will run in the background and keep you connected to your prospects—even when you are not working with the software.
Desktop widgets are like a gateway to live prospect feeds, dynamic contact synchronization, one-touch e-mail creation and instant dashboard and profile information access.

So while you may come across definitions and explanations for Sales Enablement, what is important is whether you are, in fact, enabling them to perform better with tools that encourage flexibility and more effective, efficient selling.


A Strategy for Managing Data and What You Capture (Part 1)


Did you know that…

35% Americans prefer their coffee black while 65% prefer it with cream and sugar
65% of coffee consumption takes place during breakfast hours.
Women think coffee is a great way to relax
On the other hand, men think that coffee helps get the job done
Seattle has 10 times more coffee stores per 100,000 residents than the United States has overall.

We all love and swear by our daily cuppa.

But, what differs is how we like it.

Humans are a most unpredictable species for the simple reason that each one has different tastes. No wonder, then, that marketing and sales teams have a tough time dealing with people.

As the barrage of more and more prospect information is being dumped on us, we find ourselves struggling to cut through the clutter and determine what information matters.

The answer to this problem is simple: Segmentation of information (and as a result, segmentation of prospects)

For the next three Tuesdays, beginning today, we will look at

How to segment prospects and customers
How to approach each segment with personalized sales and marketing campaigns
Benefits of segmentation

Today we are going to look at: How you can segment prospects and leads

Truth be told, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about segmenting. But there are some methods of segmenting that have proven to yield better results than others.

You can segment your prospects based on

1. Attributes
Attributes refer to the general characteristics of your prospects. Most commonly, these are the basic demographics such as region, gender, age group, income, education, industry types, etc.

For instance, a target group of CFO’s from different industries will have similar needs with respect to finance software and tools. They have a common interest in being updated constantly about what peers are using to make their finance departments function better. A software organization can easily tap into this group with similar job functions and cater to them.

Job functions are one of the best and concrete ways to segment your prospects if you are working in a business-to-business (B2B) environment. Based on similar functional attributes you may be able to segment a major portion of your prospect base.

2. Behavior
Behavior is usually defined by a prospect’s tendency to act in a given situation. Unlike attributes, behavior is highly dynamic. For instance, if a buyer is looking for sports shoes on some online site today, this pattern is bound to stay only until the buyer finds what she wants.

In order to effectively identify and segment key attributes and behaviors, a basic requirement is a Sales Enablement software that can easily gather, collate, organize and make prospect data actionable.

You should be able to

Segment based on stages of the buying cycle

Segmenting prospects depending on where they stand in the sales cycle allows you to create highly personalized campaigns.

Top of the sales funnel
The prospects in this stage are either unaware or slightly aware of your product. To generate an interest in your product at this stage, you must generate useful content. At this stage you need the kind of content that answers generic pain points of your typical buyer persona. For this, you need a solid understanding of your buyer persona and their related industry. Your Sales enablement system should allow you to create social media posts and blog posts on a frequent and automated basis so you can always keep your prospects engaged.

Middle of the funnel
By this stage, a marketing automation platform should separate the solid prospects from the ones that need to be nurtured further. These prospects are ones who have shown considerable interest in you. You now need to address their specific pain points based on what they want to know from you. A system that can track and identify the areas of interest of prospects will be able to do this for you. Based on which of your content, email or any offering they pay attention to, you can sort these prospects accordingly.

Bottom of the funnel
This is where your segmentation matters the most. Once you have narrowed down the most interested leads, you MUST be able to interact with them in a highly personalized manner. Be sure that you have a very good system that can allow your sales reps to respond with precision. Also, these reps will need a detailed account of these leads from the beginning of their purchase cycle. Hence, the focus is on enabling your sales reps using an excellent Sales Enablement system.

If prospect segmentation makes a marketers life easier, customer segmentation is a sales person’s ally.
Segmenting your existing customers is a great way to understand their buying patterns better. This method of segmentation is helpful in predicting future buying patterns.

In the next part, we will be discussing more about how you can approach each segment.

Why Your Channel Management Software Should Personalize Channel Content.


Recently, retailers have been making tremendous changes to adapt to today’s internet savvy customers. However, they are still up against the challenge of personalizing content to adapt to their target groups.

Marketers are still out there pointing out how underused personalization is when it comes to channels. But, why do channels need to personalize? 

If a national vendor has personalized his selling strategy, then what role does a channel have in this scenario?

To start, content personalization for channel sales has three main benefits


  • Personalized content appeals to prospects better.
  • It gives your business an edge over the competition.
  • Customized marketing and sales strategies are known to convert a higher number of leads

Channels typically function on their own, separate from the marketing campaigns of the vendors whose products they sell. Channels generally do little or nothing to highlight specific brands or products. Consequently, as a product or service vendor, you have to take the necessary steps to ensure that your channels personalize your products for their prospects (while maintaining your brand equity and standards.)

Automation systems are the ideal tool to enable sales in the channel partner model. Optimally, there are three goals expect from a sales enabling automation system.

Personalized collateral

First, if a channel partner is going to personalize your marketing collateral, you will need to make that process completely hassle-free. This means that channels don’t have to spend time developing assets to promote you. A good marketing automation system should be a sales enablement system for your channel partners.

Track Asset Performance

A lot of time is invested in conceptualizing and designing assets. But if your channel management software doesn’t track how these assets perform, you are hitting a dead end. A good system will be able to not just track performance but all also parse information about the prospects that interact with you.

This means that you will be in a better position to target your audience with more personalized collateral. The result? Your prospects will consider your brand to be more value-added than the others.

Set-up Micro Sites for Channels
Personalization is not just limited to your email marketing campaigns. Your prospects expect an over-all personalized experience with your brand, every time they interact.

When your prospects become interested in you, they will want to check out your website first. Today, when every possible interaction with prospects is personalized, a generic website is pretty much a non-starter. A study by Janrain and Harris Interactive suggests that nearly 74% of online consumers get frustrated when website content (offers, ads, promotions) has nothing to do with their interests.

Opt for a system that offers the set-up of micro sites for your channel partners.
Having a good channel management system is not enough. You have to consider some key elements that are a must when you want to personalize for your channels.


What Should You Personalize?

Email messaging
Despite the other numerous marketing methods, email marketing still garners the highest ROI. Also, email is the closest that comes to human interaction on the internet. Addressing them personally is the first step for customizing the email content and drawing the reader’s attention to what you are saying.  

It doesn’t stop there. The most important part of your email is your text. If your content is not what the prospect is interested in, chances are your emails won’t be of any importance to your prospects. To avoid that, design content based on your prospect’s data. Use your system’s Big Data feed to understand what your prospects need.

At regular intervals, provide value added content to your emails like free eBooks or whitepapers. While doing so, keep in mind about responding directly your prospect’s needs.

Website
According to a research, 94% of marketers agree that personalization of the web experience is critical to a brand’s success. Your micro sites must speak the language of your targeted audience. The age of static websites is gone. Besides the regular content on a website, you need to make room for dynamic content too. Channels, especially, need to rely on visitor data and audience interests and motivations.

In order to optimize your website effectively, your channel management system must be able to define and segment your audience based on defined demographics.

Social media
Another busy point of interaction is social media. Empower your channels to create personalized videos, Facebook fan pages, timeline or cover images, twitter backgrounds, etc. While it is important to focus on your demographics for social media, you also need to personalize as per the site you are posting on.

TIP: While posting on social media sites, always post recognizing the timing when your target audience more is likely to be reading them.

Landing pages
Landing pages have to be optimized based on the most searched keywords on popular search engines. However, keep in mind that landing page content MUST address the pain points of your prospects. This way your prospects (or leads) are more willing to share their details with you.

If you have the right software that is focused on supporting channel partners, then they’ll see you as a value-added vendor that is worthy of extra promotion.

Interested in learning more about Automation for your Channel partners? Download this e-guide right here.