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Adios Data.com … Hello 2.0 CRM’s

26 Mar

goodbye

In 2010, Salesforce purchased Jigsaw and renamed it Data.com… On May 4th, 2019, they will be calling it quits.

As a recruiter and salesperson, it has been a tool for many years providing phone numbers, email addresses and titles of prospects. Like Wikipedia and LinkedIn, Data.com was good at getting other people to contribute just-in-time information and share it through their platform. That was a novel idea many years ago when we were still collecting business cards and putting them into our Rolodex (or Outlook if you were tech savvy). The mass amount of DATA (primarily free of charge) was wonderful and we dreamed that the site would only benefit from the Salesforce acquisition.

T-Rex_1_grande Salesforce couldn’t make it really work (or didn’t want to make it work) and now Data.com, a once powerful place to acquire and manage CRM records, is a dinosaur. The primary reason for shutting their curtains is that it was full of a bunch of junk – inaccurate records in terms of titles, phone numbers and email addresses. Today, their data is more inaccurate than ever.

So where do we go from here?

There are many options to gravitate to in 2019 and within the universe of CRM’s, they are all a little different from one another. Most of them are going to cost you some money… and I’m going to let the companies battle a little bit before understanding who will be the quality, long term players. They are going to grow (CRM software grew faster than any other software segment in 2018) and gobble one another up – and I don’t see it sorting itself out quickly.

What is a CRM in 2019? The definition is changing every day. A CRM (customer relationship manager) was created to move us past an Excel spreadsheet to organize and manage all of our interactions with customers and prospects. Today, a CRM is certainly focused on doing that, but it is becoming more interactive pulling records from sources outside of your organization.

Recently, SelectHub provided a 2019 snapshot by looking at a sample set of 254 companies (CRM Survey):

  • Outlook is the CRM tool for 29% of these companies
  • Excel is 22% (what?!)
  • Gmail is 14%
  • Salesforce is a mere 6%
  • Mailchimp has 5% of the market
  • The remaining 24% includes HubSpot (3%), Microsoft (2%) & Oracle (2%)

How accurate is this sample set? Admittedly, the list is made up of primarily companies under 1000 employees (84%) and a majority of those are under 500 employees. For small businesses, I’ll assume this is a pretty good snapshot. 

smh260% of these companies are using Outlook, Excel and Gmail as a CRM! It definitely surprised me that Salesforce has captured a mere 6% of the CRM market. It’s no wonder that Salesforce is hiring salespeople like crazy as they are probably drooling over the market potential. I’m reminded of Coca-Cola in this instance… In 2011, Coca-Cola had over 40% of the carbonated beverage worldwide market. At the time, 55 billion beverages were consumed world-wide per day (excluding water) and Coca-Cola sold “only” 1.7 billion beverages per day. With only 3.1% of the beverage market, they have incredible potential!

Here is another take on who owns the market: CRM market share? Salesforce cites that they have 19.6% market share (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft & Adobe making up the next 20%). This article also says that Salesforce is fudging their numbers a bit – part of this is because it’s difficult to completely define WHAT-IS-A-CRM. Even if this is accurate, the top 5 still own less than 40% of the market.

With the removal of Data.com, Salesforce is going to push their product called the Lightning Data Engine. They have a head start because Lightning has partnered with many players (via their AppExchange which has over 5,000 “solutions”) and they’ve become an aggregator of your CRM options which include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet Optimizer as well as D&B Hoovers
  • Equifax (Business Connect)
  • ZoomInfo
  • Bombora
  • HG Data & HG Insights
  • Datafox Orchestrate (Oracle)
  • Clearbit
  • MCH Strategic Data
  • Compass
  • InsideView
  • Owler
  • Business Watch
  • Aberdeen
  • Relationships promised to come include Thomson Reuters and others

Salesforce’s product isn’t great, but they are winning. Their partnerships may be the driver that moves them from good to great. Another reason they are a decent choice for a CRM is because they have been around for 20 years. This doesn’t mean Salesforce is better – but they have become a name brand. This has driven them way beyond expectations to a net worth today of $122 Billion. Also, Salesforce has a reputation of taking good care of their employees – you can’t underestimate the power of a company with a great culture.

Is LinkedIn going to be a player in this universe? Microsoft will claim they already are with their CRM Dynamics 365. I’m disappointed in the results so far but since Microsoft owns LinkedIn, I would imagine that they have a gold mine if they can figure it out as quickly.

boxing

8 Bullets on 13 Players:

  1. Based on history, I’m concerned that Microsoft isn’t moving fast enough.
  2. It feels like Salesforce is trying to think for us by driving its users towards any old CRM tool.
  3. Does Oracle or SAP even care about being a solid CRM for the small business community? Is Adobe going to be a major player?
  4. Is Google’s Copper CRM (formerly ProsperWorks) making a dent in the market?
  5. What about the unified CRM’s like Pega, BPM Online and SugarCRM?
  6. HubSpot, Zoho and Mailchimp have garnered significant growth over the last five years. Are they going to take us to the next level? I think they can push everyone to innovate.
  7. I’ve heard good things about Intelligent CRM by Avtex – which so far hasn’t partnered with Salesforce’s AppExchange.
  8. There are many others that aren’t even on my radar (yet)…

dandelion

I’m disappointed that Data.com didn’t survive… I wish they’d continued with a shared platform and just made it better. The fact that it was free made it pretty cool too. I’m not investing in any of the above at the moment, but I’m curious to see how this plays out and what innovations are to come.

I’m not the expert on this topic. I’m just another user of the products that is trying to understand how it is shifting. Per usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/adios-datacom-hello-20-crms-drew-schmitz/

 

 

How to Maximize LinkedIn Groups

5 Mar

alone

This is my 6th entry in a 7-part series about LinkedIn. Feel free to check out my previous posts at: BlueOctopus. Next week, I’ll finish this series by covering recommendations.

Last August, LinkedIn updated the group section of their site and now have a dedicated team of engineers to support and focus on it. For a while, many of us were wondering if they were abandoning groups altogether – but even though their changes were subtler than I’d prefer, it’s a great sign that LinkedIn is now recognizing the importance of groups.

There are 6 primary reasons to join a LinkedIn group:

  1. Find a group that is specific to your industry.
  2. If you are looking for your next job.
  3. You are hiring.
  4. Your organization sells something.
  5. You’d like to lead a niche group (specific to your industry or otherwise).
  6. Discover various learning opportunities outside of your industry.

Searching groups on LinkedIn is a bit clumsy but can be done one of two ways:

  • Go to Groups by clicking on Work in the upper right. At the bottom of the page of your groups, you can click on Search other trusted communities that share and support your goals.
  • Otherwise, just use the normal search box in the upper left. Then you will have to define your search under More and change to Groups.

SUPER GROUPS. The largest groups have the most activity. That doesn’t always translate to being the best options, but it’s a great place to start. Here is a list of the biggest LinkedIn groups as of 2019: Top 50. By joining some of the larger groups on LinkedIn – including some specific to your industry – you give yourself further exposure to others.

Image result for i got a job

GET A JOB. If you are looking for a job, there are some obvious groups to join. If you aren’t looking for a job, you probably will be in the future, so joining a job group still isn’t a bad idea.

Here are three options for you: Linked: HR, Hub.Careers & Engineering Jobs Worldwide. These are larger group options but don’t forget to find smaller ones in your area and industry (LinkedMinnesota, Minnesota Job Seekers & Minnesota Jobs.com are examples in my home state). Also note that any and all groups can help a job seeker. They usually allow openings to be posted and can be extremely supportive for someone promoting themselves for work.

Image result for recruit

RECRUIT YOUR NEXT HIRE. If you are hiring, there might not be a better place to find your next hire than on LinkedIn. The Recruiter.com, The Recruitment Network and HR Jobs are great for full time recruiters and HR professionals. Also, join the three job groups mentioned above. And again, find a niche group to your industry and look for those specific to your area.

Image result for catching fish

LAND A NEW CUSTOMER. If you’ve read my past articles, being active on LinkedIn as a salesperson is a no-brainer. Figure out where your prospects hang out and join all those groups. Worst case scenario, join all of the largest groups as this will allow you to directly message more people.

Image result for niche

 

FIND INDUSTRY & NICHE GROUPS. If you are in marketing, social media or just curious about this industry, join SocialMediopolis, Digital Marketing, Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital, Marketing Communications and Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide. These are huge groups because marketing folks are among the most active on LinkedIn for obvious reasons. But if you are a project manager selling SaaS software, join a project manager and SaaS group… if you are fascinated with cryptocurrency, join those groups.

Niche groups are wonderful for everyone. Join a few and determine which ones are the most active. Even the smallest can be wonderfully effective depending upon their activity (and the manager that runs the group).

Image result for lincoln color

BE A LEADER. You may want to consider starting and running your own LinkedIn group. As a promotional tool for you and your business, this is a great way to build awareness, position yourself as an expert, showcase your company, generate interest and nurture relationships. You may also be a part of a smaller group of people that you just want to “collect” for internal discussions (I’ve done so for two alumni groups). Just make sure if you start one, that you are actively leading the group and contributing to discussions at least on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. For more detail on starting and managing your own group, here is a resource: https://buffer.com/library/linkedin-groups.

Related image

GROW YOUR BRAIN. Sometimes the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t a job, a hire or a new client. LinkedIn is a great place for educating yourself about the latest and greatest trends in business, technology, your industry/interests and other happenings in the world. There are people like me that post articles but within groups, there is all sorts of additional content – and you can post questions to the group. People love helping people and LinkedIn can be a great example of that.

If you want to join groups privately: 

  1. Click the Me icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Communications tab at the top of the page.
  4. Under the Channels section, click Change next to Email frequency.
  5. Click the Right icon to the right of Updates from your groups.
  6. Check or uncheck the box next to the group you’d like to receive updates from.
  7. For more detailed control, click Manage to the right of the group name.

Once you’ve joined a few groups, you can message other members directly, post new conversations within the group (like “I have an opening!”) and comment on others’ posts without requiring a first degree connection. 

I highly recommend doing some work searching and joining groups. There are too many benefits, so join a few more this week!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

Better Sales Series

4 Oct

I’ve started doing a video series on YouTube titled “Better Sales”. Please check out my latest two videos below!

It’s time to grow faster~

Drew Schmitz

blueoctopusllc.com

Ask for the Referral

19 Sep

referral

Over half of buyers consult third party sources before reaching out to a company (https://www.avanade.com/~/media/asset/point-of-view/the-new-customer-journey-global-study.pdf).

Almost 3 out of 4 executives prefer to work with companies referred by someone they know (https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/sales-solutions/global/en_US/c/pdfs/idc-wp-247829.pdf).

Your next customers are likely going to be referred to you. Are you doing enough to seek them out?

Let’s pretend you sell software. Here’s what you should NOT say:

GeorgeI really appreciate your business over the last few years. I’m wondering if you know of any other organizations that might benefit from our software?

“Any other organizations” is really broad. Most people can’t think of a good referral off the top of their head and five minutes later, they aren’t thinking about you or your request. Instead, be very specific when phrasing your question. When you paint a vivid picture of WHO makes a good customer, then they can more easily narrow it down in their mind.

George, we are looking to expand our business next year and our ideal customer is a college or university like yours. Would you be willing to introduce me to another school’s IT Director that might benefit from our software?

Being specific is likelier to increase your referrals. I’d suggest asking for an introduction either over the phone or face to face. I don’t like the idea of requesting this via email as you are asking for a big favor – and you don’t want it to sound impersonal.

How can they facilitate the referral? 

Unlike the last step in making a phone call, I like using email in these introductions. If your customer can draft a 2-3 sentence email introducing you, it’s easy and they are completely off the hook; the rest of the conversation doesn’t require their inclusion. Offer to write a draft email for them that they can simply cut and paste. I get referrals – but I often must remind them two or three times before it actually happens.

If the referrer wants to be more involved, great – but an email is a relatively simple step for them and it puts the onus on you to carry it forward.

How do I thank my referring client?

When you land the business, absolutely send a hand written thank you note. If you know the customer well, then maybe you can customize a gift or send a gift card.  One method that isn’t going to offend the person regardless of their internal policies is buying a donation gift card from TisBest (http://www.tisbest.org) to send your customer that can be used at one of 300+ charities of their choosing.

When is the last time you referred someone to your client?

I’m guessing if you have introduced a prospect to your client, it’s going to be easy to ask them to return the favor. We need to build symbiotic partnerships with our customers.

You don’t get referrals unless you deserve them! So be selective about who you are asking.  Requesting a referral is a small effort that can lead to big results.

Forward, never straight~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

 

 

Time to Purchase a Sales CRM?

23 Aug

Customer Relationship Management

The short answer is, YES.

Last year, Salesforce, the largest sales CRM provider, grew their revenue by 26%. Companies are getting on board with CRM’s earlier than ever. If you are a small company in a growth stage, I would strongly recommend that you implement a basic program like Salesforce immediately. I honestly don’t have a strong opinion about the best CRM – there strengths to all of them and I’ve consulted within many business using different programs. 

Here are 3 resources for investigating the software that works best for your business: 

https://zapier.com/learn/crm/best-crm-app/

https://www.nutshell.com/blog/infographic-capterra-best-crms/

https://www.softwareadvice.com/crm/small-business-comparison/

We can’t afford it right now. They aren’t that expensive relative to other software purchases and there are many options at a reasonable price. A business with 2-3 users can find a basic SaaS CRM for less than $100 a month.

Our business is too small. I’m amazed at how many companies are still using Excel or another type of spreadsheet! If you only have two people selling inside your business there is a daily need to share information on prospects and customers. Simply put, you are never too small for a sales CRM.

My salespeople don’t like using it. Too bad – it’s a part of the job in 2018. It won’t slow them down and, in fact, should help them with pipeline management and efficiently sharing information with colleagues and management.

If your sales team is battling you on using a sales CRM, then you have some training ahead of you. Technology isn’t a burden, it’s a necessity… and this expands way beyond the use of a CRM. More selling than ever is happening via email, social media and eCommerce and not on the telephone or in person.

As a manager, the sales CRM will provide you with better visibility to customer/prospect analytics, pipeline revenue, real-time insights and long-term forecasts. With the ability to automatically convert your current information, it’s a much easier implementation than you realize.

If you are putting this off, bite the bullet and get this in place before the end of the year. Or how about tomorrow? Let me know if you have any specific questions that I can answer regarding purchasing and implementing a sales CRM. 

Forward, never straight~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

It’s time to grow faster.

 

The Dog Days of August

31 Jul

dogdays

How was your summer? Nope, it’s not over, but it is getting closer to Labor Day…

When it comes to my business cycle, August is always similar to the January turn at the beginning of the year. It’s still a bit slow – but we all know a busy season is approaching us. Given the Blue Octopus’ pipeline, it may be the busiest fall/winter yet! So… I can stall a few more weeks – or get “back on the horse” and prepare as if I’ll have no time September through December.

An August To-Do List:

  1. Email, Paperwork, etc. Are your files in order? If you don’t clean out that inbox this month, you are going to find July emails at the bottom of your inbox in January! Delete ’em, refer them onto someone else, file them away or take action.
  2. Finances. Personally and professionally, where is the cash flow going to fall for the rest of 2018? Match this up with the planning that I suggest below in #8.
  3. Networking. I vacationed twice in June and July and my networking plummeted. I have a lunch, three meetings and a networking event set for the first half of August. I’m shooting for at least 12 of these in August before I start getting comfortable.
  4. Marketing. I have a nearly finished second sales management book that I’ve been sitting on since April. It’s time to finish proofing and editing so I have a prayer of getting it out this fall. Partnering with Elite Holding Co., I also released a YouTube video last month (https://youtu.be/jkMq-HS-iZM)… and we need to get two more done this month.
  5. Sales. Not everyone is working hard this month, but those that are in the office aren’t getting as many emails and phone calls. This is a great month to keep the sales push going. Catch them now and you probably double your chance at a meeting with them in September.
  6. Old Connections. A different bent on sales & marketing is simply dropping an email to those that you haven’t talked to in the last few months. My best clients and referrers are practically friends. Don’t forget to proactively reach out to them regularly (and ask in return if there is anything you can do for them).
  7. Management. My personal responsibilities are to my recruiting team. I’m the salesman and they do the bulk of the recruiting and screening work. It’s time for a simple 2-way review. I certainly evaluate their performance but a one-on-one with each of them is important to make sure (a) Are we on the same page? (b) How is your boss doing? (c) What do you need in order to hit our numbers the rest of the year? This one hour interaction goes a long way towards better retention of your employees.
  8. Planning (and Thinking). It might sound stupid, but this could be your last chance to really think before the boss, clients, spouse and kids start dictating most of your schedule. Lay out your year and 4Q goals. Are they still achievable? What actions need to take place?

People are generally happier in the summertime (particularly here in Minnesota), so it’s a better time to catch them on a good day and bend their ear.

Don’t let your August blow away without some serious planning as well as taking action on that plan. What are you going to accomplish before Labor Day??

It’s time to grow faster.

Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

 

How to NOT Sound Like a Salesperson

16 May

Stopx

Before you meet a prospect, or even speak to them, you are probably trying to catch them via email or LinkedIn (or in some type of written format). You may get lucky reaching the decision maker through a call or knock on their door – but usually it’s not that easy if you have any type of complex solution.

Here are two examples of how I was approached by salespeople this week:

#1) Hey Drew! I’m curious – how long have you been a coach and who is your target audience? I ask because I see Business Coaches being incredibly successful here on LinkedIn in terms of finding new clients and winning new business. The key is replicating the real life, 1-on-1 relationship building you do with prospective clients here on LinkedIn. (I have a whole system I teach on how this works and the Business Coaches I’ve shown it to have had great success.) Happy to share some free tips and strategies if you’re interested. I can send over some free resources. And if you’re not interested, no worries at all. Joe.

Good:

  • He started with a question.

Bad: 

  • He starts out with “Hey” (too casual) and an exclamation point. Salespeople shouldn’t use !’s in an opener. It’s salesy.
  • The question is followed by a bunch of “blah, blah and blah” (too long).
  • Joe tells me in detail, his opinion of why he’s awesome.
  • There’s no call to action at the close.

#2) Drew! I am doing a giving experiment… What’s a challenge or question you’re facing right now related to Facebook Ads or acquiring more users for your SaaS company? My agency helps numerous SaaS companies to dramatically increase user acquisition with Facebook Ads. How can someone like me help you? I would love to help solve your challenges. Be in touch, Aaron

Good:
  • It’s short enough that I read it all the way through upon receiving it.
  • There is a promise that Aaron may reach out again… but it’s still not necessarily a call to action.
Bad: 
  • EEEEEEK – exclamation point.
  • “Doing a giving” is a weird start and I had to take the time re-read it to understand his message.
  • I’m not a SaaS company.
Email Tips:
  1. Keep them short and sweet. Greeting, 2-3 sentences, a call to action and signature.
  2. Make sure your messages are clear so an 8th grader can understand it (the Star Tribune is written at a 5th grade reading level and the Wall Street Journal at an 8th grade level).
  3. Make sure you understand your prospect’s company and role.
  4. Don’t use exclamation points when prospecting.
  5. Ideally, get an introduction – or approach them with some commonality through LinkedIn. Now it’s a WARM lead which tremendously increases your odds of a response.

Note that I generally love exclamation points! I literally remove a couple of them every time I re-read a message before sending – as I typically have 3-4 of them. It makes us sound dumber and too familiar to a stranger. I use them with my internal employees and long-term clients, but not my prospects.

Whatever you say, keep it short and sweet – or they may not even read it. If you’ve established them as a strong prospect, follow-up 5-6 times afterwards (emails or phone calls). Persistence often pays off.

Good Luck! ~Drew

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

What is a Salesperson Exactly?

27 Mar

whatpic

I was having coffee with someone last week that does online sales assessments. We started to break down what a B2B salesperson really means in 2018. I tend to oversimplify and think of salespeople as an inside or outside employee. Smaller companies tend to only have those two positions – but let’s break down the roles into individual sales skills sets (this blog will not cover the growing list of marketing & social media roles).

In an ideal situation, you have all these people on your team. If not, it’s important to think of these nine roles and who takes on these responsibilities inside your sales team. Some people can do 2-3 of these positions, but almost no one is very good at more than a couple.

  1. Sales Leadership: it could be more than one role depending on the size of your organization.
  2. Sales Trainer: someone in the company that teaches the product or service (and company culture) to the sales team. Typically, “how to sell” (and close) is still taught by the manager.
  3. Sales Admin: they are the organizer and support for all the roles on this list.
  4. Sales Channel Manager: this position focuses on managing and selling to distributors. Many companies obviously don’t need this title depending on how their product or service is sold.
  5. Account Manager: I have a hard time calling this a sales position unless they are servicing and focused on account penetration (or else this is simply customer service). They typically work full time at a desk. In many companies, the inside salesperson has this responsibility.
  6. Inside Salesperson: works the phone and email and converts conversations into appointments or demos. They focus on generating leads at the top of the sales funnel.
  7. Technical Salesperson or Sales Engineer: they are the topic expert. In software, they do the demos and discuss content. In other technology companies, this is the Sales Engineer.
  8. Outside Salesperson: someone that opens the door to a proposal stage. They work the entire sales funnel from lead to close.
  9. Closer: sometimes it’s the sales leader that comes in to help close all the deals. Often it is the responsibility of the outside salesperson. Regardless, closing is a trait that many do not have and separating this role should be considered.

It starts at the top. Many companies end up promoting their best salespeople into sales leadership. I’m guessing a promotion to Sales Manager/Director/VP is successful half the time at best (unless the executives above are matching their other abilities to the position). Sometimes effective sales leaders are only average salespeople, but they understand the science of sales and how to motivate a team.

Regardless of how many different sales titles you have in your organization, it starts with the sales leader. He or she is going to have a lot of input into how these roles are divided. In an ideal scenario, they look at every individual on the sales team and place them in the right role to suit their talents.

I’m a big believer in Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept; there are 3 circles for defining what someone is best at: (a) Passion (b) Skills and (c) Money. If you are skilled and passionate about a certain area of sales, that is where you will have the most value. Understanding someone’s passion, skill set and economic engine lead to more success and less stress. These three circles help define where someone best fits into a sales team.

There are a lot of assessment tools that I use for hiring but start with the Hedgehog Concept and you have a quick litmus test of how to design your sales team.

Forward, never straight~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

Better sales recruitment. Better sales coaching. Better sales. 

It’s time to grow faster.

 

11 Ideas for Generating Leads

6 Feb

Leads Week 2

I’m following up on my last blog “Generating Leads” (http://bit.ly/2nOpCSt) where I lamented the constant struggle of small businesses in finding enough balance to be able to focus on the top of the sales pipeline.

I asked the question – Who inside your business will be selling on Monday morning and is focused on lead generation?” Lead gen is MUCH more effective if your customer service/operations and sales & marketing functions are divided. With that in place, we can tackle some of the following actions…

11 Ideas for Developing More Sales Opportunities:

  • Referrals. The best lead is one referred by a client. Offer an incentive discount program for these. You should be asking every happy client for referrals on somewhat of a regular basis.
  • Affiliate Programs. Are there others in your industry that can introduce leads in return for a small percentage of the sale?
  • Testimonials & Reviews. These are crucial and can be shared on your website as well as various places on-line; they will generate exponentially more leads than any brochure about your company.
  • Understand SEO. Whether it’s organic or through a Google Adword campaign, this is no longer an option but a necessity. The success behind search engine optimization lies in understanding the keywords pertinent to your company (and your customers). They are the words that you should be repeating over and over and over again online. This should be the #1 focus on your existing website (as well as most of your online content). Check out this great video specific to Google Adwords: http://bit.ly/2E6ky2S.
  • Write a Blog! Who is the best writer on your staff? Using topics relevant to your customers, what stories do you have to share? Consider guest blogging on other sites – or pay an industry expert to promote your company through their blog.
  • Offer Free Education. What do your potential customers want to learn in 2018? Create a video, a presentation or offer a free consultation. Videos are cost effective and can be shared online through your website, YouTube and countless other platforms. Use Slideshare to broadcast a presentation. Consider sharing the information through a series of emails.
  • Be Effective on Mobile Devices. More than half of your visitors are probably viewing your online content from their smart phone, so be certain it is compatible with mobile browsing.
  • Collect Info. Be sure you are gathering information on prospects who are visiting your site. Offer a quiz or white paper for signing up. Add pop-ups to capture their attention and increase the probability of them sharing their name and email address.
  • Social Media Mining. Uncover and interact with prospects on various social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook and many other sites offer a wealth of information in regards to topics and trends being discussed surrounding your business solution. These also provide an ability to interact with others discussing that content. Go back to your keywords under SEO and you’ll quickly be on the right track to drumming up leads through mining.
  • Public Relations. Share a feel-good story for potentially free PR. It takes a special story if it gets picked up by others – but give it an hour of brainstorming and you might have a great experience to share that is right underneath your nose. Start a pro bono program – or community service project and you have the start of a PR story.
  • Industry Conferences. Attend one either as a displayed vendor or attendee as these are great opportunities for helping you zero in on your best prospects. You’ll likely return to the office with a stack of warm leads.

You can’t do all of the above immediately… but you need to do more if the top of your sales funnel is light. The beginning is focusing on some new methods and brainstorming the best way to implement. It requires some time, but probably not as much as you think. Then you’ll have to answer the next question – WHO is going to follow up on all of these leads? That will be a more exciting challenge!

I’d love to hear from you on some of your successful lead generation programs. Each of my bullets could probably be a blog unto itself… so drop me an email if there is one that you’d like to learn about in more detail.

DREW SCHMITZ
It’s time to grow faster.

If interested in a complimentary copy of my eBook, Sales Neutrinos, please let me know.

Generating Leads

16 Jan

LEADS

One of the business development problems that I see all too often is a failure by companies to create enough leads at the top of the sales funnel.

  • A business tends to worry first about their existing operations – servicing existing customers and fine-tuning their product or service. With leadership typically spending a majority of their time here, business development lags behind…
  • When some companies talk about “sales”, they think it means interactions with existing customers (which is customer service) – and the closest they actually get to sales is working on expanding their business within these accounts…
  • In sales meetings, a majority of the time is usually spent on the aforementioned customers and prospects in the middle or bottom of the sales funnel that are ripe for closing – versus efforts in finding new leads.

None of this is “wrong”… BUT WHERE IS THE LEAD GENERATION?

Large companies have the luxury of hiring people in sales and marketing at many different levels:

Level 1 – They have customer service and operations completely separate from the sales function.

Level 2 – Bigger businesses have outside salespeople, consultants and “closers” that are typically in front of the customers closing deals. They also have a marketing department supporting the efforts of these roles.

Level 3 – They have marketing employees that are constantly focused on generating new leads.

Level 4 – AND they probably have an inside sales team also generating new leads.

If you are an organization with 100+ employees, this probably describes you, but what about those of us in the 1-99 employee category? Who’s worried about lead generation in your business on a Monday morning? In small businesses, this isn’t easy. We are wearing a lot of hats and roles are often crossing over between the operations and sales teams.

I would strongly recommend that you separate the service and salespeople in your business. The salesperson shouldn’t ignore existing customers, but there needs to be a different daily contact for the customer.

With that accomplished, you then need to develop a balanced pipeline. The top, middle and bottom of your sales funnel requires a three-pronged effort of time and resources. Your marketing and sales teams are working together on a weekly, if not, daily basis – and management is leading an organization that has a consistent focus on lead generation, account penetration within existing accounts and closing new prospects.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss specific methods for making this happen. In the meantime, I want you to contemplate once again – Who is worried about lead generation within your business on Monday morning?