In honor of National Email Week, I thought it might be nice to share some tips on emailing as it relates to lead nurturing. Emailing is an essential part of any lead nurturing program, but it is only effective when it’s done right. Here are some email tips to help your lead nurturing program be successful.
Initial Email Follow Up – After your initial conversation with a prospect, it’s important to follow up with them based on the result of the call. You can personally send the email or if you use VanillaSoft, the system has a feature that allows you to automatically send email responses based on call results. The important thing to remember is to follow up with them to let them know you listened to what they said during the call.
Send Emails with Pertinent Information – Make sure to continue your lead nurturing process with follow up emails that contain content that is useful to your prospect. Take note of the pain points mentioned during the call so that you can find articles, infographics, etc. to share with them via email. VanillaSoft also allows you to set up email templates, which will give you the opportunity to set up email templates with specific articles or statistics based on common pain points, so you can easily share useful information about the issues that the prospect may be experiencing. Sharing useful information with them will help to build rapport, position you as a trusted advisor and potentially encourage them to be more prone to purchase your product.
Email Drip Campaign – An email drip campaign can be helpful during the lead nurturing process. Sales reps are extremely busy and setting up an email drip campaign will help in the process of lead nurturing. The VanillaSoft system allows you to set up email drip campaigns to regularly send emails after or between calls. This will allow you to continue building the relationship with the prospect while working on other sales leads.
It’s important to have a lead management tool that will help you stay on top of your new leads and also continue to follow up and nurture your current prospects. VanillaSoft has the features to help you do this. The simple set-up process will help you manage the emails you need to send out to your leads and prospects quickly and easily!
No Comments »
Every sales team has some members who are real characters. Maybe you didn’t realize how closely their behaviors align to characters of the animated kind. Do you see any of your agents in this colorful bunch?
Bugs Bunny – The Bugs Bunny on your team is the one who always has the answers. He can slip his way out of most any situation. The only problem with the Bugs Bunny rep is that he always seems to be making a “wrong turn at Albuquerque.” Instead of saying, “let me get back to you on that,” the Bugs Bunny just figures out his own way to answer the question or fix a problem. That tends to get him in some situations that are hilarious for cartoons but painful for clients and support staff.
The fix: Next time you see your Bugs about to make that wrong turn at Albuquerque, consider using it as a training opportunity. VanillaSoft’s Monitor and Eavesdrop feature allows you to perform real-time training and verification with those sales reps who may need a little extra help staying on track.
Spongebob Squarepants – You know the Spongebob of your group. He’s the one whose mantra is “I’m ready! I’m ready!” Spongebob loves to help others, and he is kind hearted to a fault. He usually ends up in a crazy predicament no thanks to his good nature. Do you have a Spongebob on your team? He or she may be great at teamwork, relationships, and collaboration; but the urge to please and make friends can make negotiations sway so far in the customer’s favor that it ends up to your detriment.
The fix: Help keep your Spongebob types on track with call scripting. Call scripting can help your people-pleasing reps move the sale forward with less opportunity for them to squirm or change up the process when it comes time to close. VanillaSoft’s logical branch scripting feature can help any Spongebob stay cool.
Homer Simpson – Doh! You know who the Homer is. He’s that guy that everybody enjoys – if only for the comic relief he brings to the workplace. Homer is lazy. If there’s an easy way out or a way to avoid work at all, he’s going to find it.
The fix: If you have someone who is actually as lazy as Homer, then that’s probably an issue to fix through disciplinary action. However, there may be a way to redeem the Homer on your team. VanillaSoft provides tools that help increase productivity. By using Automatic Real-time Lead Distribution and VanillaSoft’s Auto-Dialing services, you can keep your Homers busy and on track.
Chicken Little – Chicken Little is in a perpetual state of panic. He’s worried about everything. Any little disruption to his flow, and suddenly “the sky is falling.” Everything and anything freaks out your Chicken Little sales rep.
The fix: VanillaSoft has every base covered when it comes to the anxieties experienced by the Chicken Little on your team. Data is secure in a SSAE16 certified server environment. The software itself ensures an easy flow through most any sales call with logical branch scripting to help with handling objections, message drop to allow the rep to move quickly on to the next call, and lead nurturing features like email drip to keep those leads warm.
Papa Smurf – Papa Smurf may be you or your sales manager. He knows everything that’s going on in the village and is able to jump in to help the other Smurfs when they need it. Papa Smurf isn’t a know-it-all, but he is a wise mentor and guide to his Smurfs.
The fix: Papa Smurf doesn’t need a fix, of course – he’s Papa Smurf after all! But, since you or your sales manager lack Papa’s magical talents, VanillaSoft can fill in where mere mortal powers leave off. Real-time Dashboard for reviewing all sales campaign and sales rep activity, online reporting for drilling down into details, and with the Monitor & Eavesdrop feature Papa can listen and know all – all that’s happening on sales calls anyway. With all this information, your Papa Smurf will be able to talk about sales activity until he’s blue in the face…pardon the pun!.
Who are the characters on your sales team? Make sure that you understand the nuances and behaviors of your various sales team members and truly know what makes them tick. Also make sure that you utilize the appropriate sales productivity tools to keep them on track, monitor their performance and help them succeed!
NOTE: With the exception of Chicken Little, which is in the public domain, characters mentioned in this post belong to their respective copyright holders listed below. VanillaSoft is in no way associated with these properties.
- Bugs Bunny – Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP (PWH)
- Spongebob Squarepants – Viacom International Inc.
- Homer Simpson – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Papa Smurf – Pierre Culliford d.b.a. Peyo
No Comments »
Lead Nurturing: How to Make a Long Lasting Impression
I ran across a quote recently that stated, “Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression” (Sonya Parker). That quote got me thinking about lead nurturing. In sales, we’re always trying to make a good first impression, but do we always…
Read the rest of this entry »
No Comments »
In business, as in our personal lives, it is sometimes easy to identify the problem but hard to take action to solve it. This is particularly true when the struggle is one between the heart and the mind, when your instinct is telling you something but your mind doubts the conclusion. And just as with your personal life, this probably happens more often when it comes to decisions around relationships.
I was reminded of this recently over the course of several discussions with an inside sales manager who wanted some help trying to identify why the results weren’t meeting expectations. They were selling advertising in support of a non-profit and had proven the model before, so they didn’t understand why the sales weren’t happening. On the first call they explained that they thought it was a problem with the way that they had defined the routing logic, so we went over everything and made some tweaks. On the second call they ran me through the history of their different lead sources. They explained that the first source they tried had been OK, but when they tried a second one it was a complete disaster. They were now onto their third lead source which they felt was the best. Although they had not imported the lead sources with the contacts into their VanillaSoft account they were able to give me the dates so we could insert the data after the fact. This allowed us to do some quick analysis that showed that in fact the first lead source had been the worst, and the second and current lead sources had performed about the same.
Having run through the routing logic and the data itself I was able to steer them towards looking at the actual performance of the individual sales people. It didn’t take long to see where the real problem lay. As it turns out the sales manager herself jumped on the phone once in a while and called on the same list. The pre-built stacked ranking report showed that she was one of the highest in calls per hour and the highest in close ratio – and no, she was not cherry picking. Report after report showed three clear groups of salespeople. The first group made lots of calls but was very poor at closing. The second group was pretty good at closing but made very few calls. They were obviously happy once they hit a certain number. Unfortunately for the third group they were not only a bit lazy but also not very good at closing.
With the data now front and center the manager finally admitted to me that she had felt that maybe the problem was simply her people. She had worked with many of them before, however, and was reluctant to confront them. She had a good idea of what the problem was but had been looking everywhere else for a culprit to avoid tackling the real issue. This was a clear case where the heart had a good feeling for the problem but the mind needed more data to be able to act on it.
Big data is the buzzword of the moment and will play a very important role in marketing and sales strategies in the future. Data will not come up with all of the solutions, however. It will not replace the importance of a good business sense but rather will help validate those hunches and feelings that a good sales manager has. This is just like in scientific research where you start with the hypothesis and use the data to validate it. With the SaaS solutions now available even small- and medium-size businesses can capture lots of data during the sales process and use it confirm and back up their decisions. And when it comes time to make those difficult decisions, it really is better to know.
No Comments »
The Sales line rings and the young inside sales rep is eager to answer and talk with a potential new customer.
The prospect shares that she was just doing some research on the website and wanted to know more about your company’s services and how you differ from your competitors.
The confident young sales rep boldly jumps headstrong into his sales pitch. He leads with the company background, name drops some of their prestigious customers, talks about value proposition and total cost of ownership. He also shares that his company really doesn’t have competitors because the others in the market lack compelling functionality and offer poor customer service.
He closes the call by providing the anonymous caller with his direct number and looks forward to hearing back from her. The sales rep is feeling pretty good. After all, this is the spiel that he has overheard the other senior sales reps repeat over and over again.
The positives here are that we have a sales rep that looks forward to pick up the phone and talking with prospective customers. It is also a good sign that he is open to peer coaching and is willing to learn by observing others. Unfortunately, he is mimicking the wrong behaviors and it is the sales manager’s fault.
With young, willing and impressionable inside sales reps, the sales manager’s role is vital. They need to implement a sales methodology along with coaching, mentoring and other sales training opportunities to empower their inside sales team members.
Instead of blindly jumping into a sales pitch, the inside sales rep should take the opportunity to find out as much information as possible from the caller first. Here is a quick checklist to get started;
Name – so you can personalize your conversation
Company – skew conversation and provide examples relevant to their industry
Phone Number – in case caller ID isn’t accurate, you get disconnected and need to call back
Email Address – offer to send white paper, case study, email drip campaign
How did you hear about us? Lead source, customer reference?
What product/service are you currently using?
What don’t you like about current provider? Pain points
What do you like?
What other features & benefits are you looking for? Help select the right solution for them
What are your Priorities? Price, TCO, Support, Ease of Use
Who else is involved in the Evaluation process? You will need to engage them, too
Who is the ultimate decision maker? Buy-in from the check writer is key
What are timelines to buy? Ready to buy or just kicking tires
Are you evaluating other solutions? If so, which ones?
These are just a sample of some probing questions that an inside sales rep can ask a prospect. These details are vital morsels of information that will allow you to create a New Lead record for the appropriate follow-up later. If you rush into your sales pitch and don’t know who your audience is and what is important to them then you are doing yourself a disservice.
A good sales manager will employ onboarding and on-going training techniques, such as role playing, peer mentoring, call recording and call scripting. This way inside sales reps are provided the necessary tools to engage with prospects, gather pertinent information and then tailor their sales pitch to the prospect on the other end of the line.
Feel free to share our infographic on your social networks!
2 Comments »
I want to give a shout-out on Administrative Professional Day to all of those people working in the background to keep sales processes running efficiently. As a company offering a hosted sales solution we perhaps have a different perspective into the functioning of sales groups through our interaction both during implementation and ongoing support. We often end up dealing with upper management, lower management and sales people within the same organisation and are exposed to their different and sometimes contrasting approaches. At the sales person level they expect their sales software to work and simply take for granted that someone must be looking after the day-to-day details. At the management level they too often think that bringing in a sales force automation or CRM package means that somehow everything will now take care of itself and that they no longer need to involved in the day-to-day. All they need to do is run reports.
Who brings these two groups together in many of the most successful sales processes that we see? The admin. This person is actively involved in managing the day to day: taking feedback from both management and the sales people to continually tweak and optimize performance. They realize that sales software is a fantastic tool that allows you to gain greater visibility into sales and greater control over the process, but that to benefit from these advantages you need to put in the work. You need to adjust the lead flow, the scripts, monitor the performance of different lead sources, etc. You don’t just turn it on and leave it run. This work doesn’t always get the appreciation that it should, however. Much of it is in the background. It is gradual and incremental, not flashy. In fact I have been on many calls where I have heard sales managers showing very little love for their admins or appreciation for what they do.
So I encourage everyone to consider the importance of the admin in successfully implementing and running a CRM or sales force automation system. And don’t forget to show them a little love, and not just today but throughout the year.
No Comments »
According to a recent article from By Tamara Weintraub on Business 2 Community, “55% of companies don’t respond to new sales leads at all.” There were a few other key facts that we just had to put together for you in the form of this infographic. Enjoy and share! And, don’t forget to prevent the heartbreak of lost leads by starting your VanillaSoft Free Trial today!
No Comments »
Have you ever needed to recruit volunteers to help out with your telefundraising project? If the answer is yes, then you know how difficult it can be to find the right volunteers, prepare them, and keep them coming back. In some cases, you also have to think about the community and the key institutions that makeup that community (schools, churches, neighborhoods, community centers, etc.). Gaining insight into this information may be critical to being able to target the right audience to solicit volunteer support.
It may be helpful to think of the volunteers as consumers. Think of ways to motivate them to volunteer just like you would motivate them to buy your product. Identify the positive aspects that your organization has to offer that may be used to draw people into wanting to volunteer for your cause. Here are some ways that may help you to draw in potential volunteers:
- Social Media – Post to various social media outlets that you’re looking for volunteers and make it appealing to the audience.
- Guest Blog – Write some guest blogs for various news sites.
- PSA – See if local radio stations will let you broadcast a Public Service Announcement.
- Involve Current Volunteers – Ask your current/past volunteers to reach out to their friends about becoming a volunteer.
- Local Organizations – Contact local organizations to see if they have anyone that may be interested in volunteering (churches, community centers, volunteer agencies, clubs, honor societies, scout troops, etc…).
- Flyers – Ask businesses if they will allow you to post a flyer in their establishment.
If you’re doing a telefundraising volunteer project, then you may be thinking, “I know how to get volunteers…Now what?” The answer is VanillaSoft! VanillaSoft is the perfect tool for a telefundraising project or organization. There are many features that will help take the pressure off of your volunteers and provide them with what they need to be successful. VanillaSoft understands the importance of making sure the volunteer process is simple and easy for your volunteers to ensure you have returning volunteers. Here are some of the features that will help make volunteering with your organization is a pleasant one.
- Preview Dialing – Preview Dialing allows your volunteers to preview the contact information prior to initiating the call. The call can then be easily initiated by clicking the number. This can help to ease some of the anxieties that volunteers may experience with blind calling.
- Calling Period – The Calling Period feature will route calls to your volunteers based on certain criteria entered into the system based on appropriate times to call donors. They won’t have to think about different time zones, lunch hours, or inappropriate hours when making calls. Your volunteers are donating their time so help make it a pleasant experience for them.
- Logical Branch Scripting – The Logical Branch Scripting will equip your volunteers with the knowledge they need to help your telefundraising project be a success. It can be difficult and stressful for a volunteer to call complete strangers and not really know what to say. This feature will provide them with the tools they need to be prepared and speak intelligently about your fundraising project.
These are just a few of the features that VanillaSoft has to offer. There are multiple other features that will help you to have a successful telefundraising project/organization. It can be difficult to find volunteers and keep them coming back. If you provide them with the tools that will make it an easy and pleasant experience, then they will most likely be a repeat volunteer. Let VanillaSoft help you to create an enjoyable experience for your telefundraising volunteers to keep them coming back!
No Comments »
Email drip campaigns can be an effective way to warm up leads and help prospective buyers advance to the next level in the buying cycle. The key to ensuring an email drip campaign’s effectiveness is the creation of valuable information to help the prospect move through your sales funnel to the ultimate step of making an educated purchase decision. A well-executed campaign can help reduce the time required by each sales rep in the sales process, thus providing more time to reach more prospects.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when setting up your email drip campaigns:
- Set a clear goal. Are you trying to:
- Educate prospects?
- Sell more to current customers?
- Position yourself or your company as a thought leader?
- Build relationships with prospects/customers?
Your messaging and triggers will be different depending on what your purpose for the campaign is.
- Develop each message with the intent to provide value. Simply broadcasting something about your business is not enough. Great examples of valuable information to share include,
- White papers,
- Announcements of upcoming industry events,
- Information about industry trends,
- Links to webcasts and education video.
- Ensure messages help build relationships. Make sure your messages are:
- Personalized with the recipient’s name,
- Timely – sending an update that includes expired coupons or events that have already occurred don’t show your attention to the recipient’s time or interest,
- From a person at your company versus the company itself. Knowing your company has a representative ready to talk feels more personal and personable.
Email drip campaigns take time to plan, but they can be a great way to help warm up leads for your inside sales team. When you use the VanillaSoft system, you can rest assured that your representatives will know when prospects are taking action on the messages you’ve scheduled and be able to react with a phone call when the time is right.
Kevin Thornton is EVP Sales & Marketing for VanillaSoft. Follow Kevin on LinkedIn and Google+
No Comments »
Outbound calling campaigns are tough even for professional inside sales reps, so imagine the stress that a volunteer may face when asked to perform fundraising by phone? It’s important that you provide the tools and training that keeps your volunteers confident, passionate, and productive. Remember our outbound call campaign infographic? We’ll be using that as our guide here.
There are three key components in the planning process:
- Definition of goals
- Identification of targets
- Preparation and volunteer training
As a fundraising professional, you know best how to form the goals and select the right targets. We won’t jump into the how-to’s of those tasks here. However, as part of your preparation, you should document these goals and targets for your volunteer fundraisers. Just throwing them a list of names to call may not be enough to help them connect with the purpose of the calls they are about to make.
In addition to educating your volunteers on your organization and your campaign-specific goals, give them a script to help them make effective calls that stay on point. Not only will it ensure a consistent message, it will make them more confident about what to say and how to represent the organization. Using a solution like VanillaSoft with logical branch scripting can make it incredibly easy for your volunteers to follow the script, record the details, and work from the comfort of their own home office.
During the execution phase of your telefundraising campaign, it’s important to help your volunteers to stay productive and positive. You can rely on outbound call campaign software that employs:
- Auto Dialing with Message Drop to make calls more productive. Progressive and preview auto dialing ensures your volunteers and donors experience a seamless call experience. For those calls going to voice mail, you can add a tool like VanillaSoft’s VOIP Line feature, Message Drop, which is technology that allows your volunteer agent to move on to the next call while the system drops a pre-recorded voice mail message with your donor.
- Listening and Call Recording tools for training and quality assurance. A solution like VanillaSoft can help you “hand hold” your new volunteers. As the fundraising coordinator, you or your senior volunteers can listen in on new volunteers’ first calls. This lets you instantly provide help and feedback to those who may not feel as confident with telefundraising activities. And, call recording gives you an additional record of interactions that take place between volunteers and donors.
- Email Drip and Social Selling Tools for warming up cold calls. Solutions that give you additional tools to warm up leads will make the “ask” that much easier for volunteers. Email drip and marketing keeps your past donors in the loop, and integration with platforms like LinkedIn lets your volunteer get to know a little bit more about the donor before he or she picks up the phone to make the call.
Another way to ensure your calling campaign’s success is the ability to measure progress at any point in the campaign’s life cycle. Select a campaign tool that provides:
- A Real-Time Dashboard view of activity. This allows you to see at any instant, in real time, where your team stands with their calls and success rate.
- Customized reporting to share with the team. It’s important to provide feedback to your team so that they know how their hard work is paying off or to reignite their motivation if results are lagging.
Make sure you have a way to touch base with your volunteers at every step in the process. Educate in the planning phase. Support them in the execution. Inform them of the results through reporting.
No Comments »