I recently attended the Association of Fundraising Professional’s 51st International Conference on Fundraising.  It was a great opportunity for VanillaSoft to interact with one of the key industry verticals we serve – fundraising professionals.  The conference provided a lot of great information and insights to attendees that fundraisers can turn into action in their organization.  Here are a few great insights from the Twittersphere that fellow attendees posted that I thought I would share.

Much in the same way a company has to provide great products and service to keep a loyal customer, a nonprofit has to service its donors.  Being loyal to the donor includes acts like:

  • Email communications that explain how their gifts are serving the nonprofit.
  • Drip campaigns throughout the year that keep the donor apprised of the organizations activities and goals.
  • Special messages that thank the donor throughout the year.
  • Calls during fundraising season that acknowledge and thank donors for past support and praise the wins gained for the organization through that support.

This photo from the event is a great framework for building your tele-fundraising script.  Before you start your next phonathon campaign, ensure your script includes

  • A hook
  • A promise
  • A brief description of the problem/solution
  • Proof – success stories of how donor dollars have helped reach goals
  • The ask
  • Gratitude for the time, consideration, gifts

What a great reminder of the power of language!  As fundraisers, it’s key to remember the motivations that move people to give often come from an emotional, passionate place.  Ensure your outreach messages contain and match the passion of your donors to keep them engaged.

Regardless of your message or cause, VanillaSoft has solutions to help you deliver the right message at the right time to the right donor.  With a combination of outreach options like email, drip campaigns, and calling campaigns. We can help you quickly and easily get your next phonathon and volunteers up and running in no time.

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Cold calling is an effective – but sometimes intimidating – sales tactic.  However, it’s something that anyone can do, but you have to know how to approach it in order to do it well.  It’s a piece of the selling process that is sometimes necessary in order to increase sales.  So, how do you turn cold calling into an art form?  By debunking some of the common myths about cold calling.

If you buy into these beliefs, then they will become a reality in your approach to cold calling.  By taking another look at these myths Cold Callingwe will see cold calling as an important skill rather than a nerve-wracking nuisance.  As a sales rep, it’s easy to buy into these myths as the truth and allow them to hinder your performance, especially if management doesn’t discourage this type of mindset. Read the rest of this entry »

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managing inside sales

If you are mentoring a new inside sales or telemarketing rep, one of the key areas you may need to assist your new hire with is telephone sales confidence.  Even some of your old pros may need a pep talk now and again.  After all, Sales is a career where you hear “no” much more often than “yes.” So, what are the keys to instilling that confidence in your reps? Read the rest of this entry »

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You may recall David’s blog last year on the anniversary of the patent of the telephone. It’s March 7, so it’s time to celebrate this great sales enablement tool again. This year we’ve assembled a list of links – tips for cold calling, history of the telephone, and other fun facts! Enjoy — while you’re at it, why not give us a call to discuss how VanillaSoft can improve your sales by phone productivity? Or, just start your free trial today.

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Appointment setting is sometimes looked upon negatively; however, it’s really a positive experience for the sales person and the prospect if it’s done properly.  This usually means that there has been agreement to take the sales conappointment settingversation to the next step. I’m sure that most of you have heard of the ABC’s of selling (Always Be Closing), but there are critical steps that help get you to the “close.”  You have to know the best ways to get from “suspect” to “prospect” in order to get closer to closing the deal.

Below are some key steps involved in the appointment setting process.  The objective is to get your lead from point A to point B, but knowing how to get there is what will make you successful. Read the rest of this entry »

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cost of leads

Do you ever sit back and marvel at the flood of leads coming in?  You’ve got leads from ads, social media, trade shows, and referrals – but are you managing them effectively?  What are the costs of all these leads to your organization?  Today I’d like to walk you through three areas where you may be leaving money on the table – or throwing it out the window. Read the rest of this entry »

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Did you know that February 10 marks the 18th anniversary of a computer beating a world chess champion? In 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue, a computer capable of 200 million moves per second, won the first of a six-game regulation match.  Ultimately, Garry Kasparov won the match with three wins and two ties.  However, in 1997 Deep Blue took on Kasparov again – and this time, Deep Blue, won the match.

Much like chess, making a sale requires strategy.  Don’t panic – I am not recommending that we replace sales people with computers or robots.  However, I do suggest that you evaluate software options that can make you and your sales team more productive and efficient. The sales process has become more complex over the years.  There are more steps involved, especially with the advancements in technology and how we interact with one another.  Below are some of the steps that often get overlooked from the lead management process.  Ensuring you have the right lead management software allows you to easily implement these steps to increase your sales team’s likelihood of success. Read the rest of this entry »

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lead managementLeads are the lifeblood of the sales pipeline; therefore, it’s important to make sure your lead management process is the right one for your team. Did you know that “only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales”? (Source: HubSpot). This raises the question of how your team’s next lead is generated and passed along to an agent.

In the past, one of the primary ways to discover good leads was to dig into a long list of contacts to try to find the right ones who may be the right fit for your product. Today, we have list-based platforms to help with the sifting and queue-based platforms that automatically do the sifting for you to serve up the most qualified leads for your sales team. Read the rest of this entry »

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We are one month into 2014 and some of you may be wondering what this new year holds for sales. We’ve put together an infographic to identify some of the trends we expect to see in B2B sales during 2014.

VanillaSoft is committed to helping you improve your lead management process in 2014!

lead management

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Lead management software is an excellent tool for improving your inside sales team’s efficiency and productivity.  However, “tool” is the operative word in that prior statement.  Too often CRM and lead management software integrations fail to meet expectations because buyers forget that the software is merely the means to an end.

Here is another example to consider.  A car is a great tool that can help you get to work on time, but the car itself isn’t going to get you there on time.  Several things are up to you:  learning to drive, getting a license, getting insurance, ensuring your car has gas in it, setting your alarm clock, getting up instead of hitting snooze, etc.

Have you made the mistake of thinking software is the “end” rather than the “means”?  If so, here are some ways to help you ensure your lead management software will facilitate your team’s productivity and efficiency:

Document and define your lead management process.

  • Create and publish definitions for Marketing Qualified Leads or Sales Accepted Leads.  Ensure everyone on your team understands the difference and gain agreement on what is a qualified or accepted lead.
  • Define the process from lead generation through closure.  Ensure your process, as well as your software, address each of these critical lead management steps:
    • Capture/import of online web leads
    • Lead/call routing
    • Lead scoring
    • Lead nurturing
    • Standard messaging (scripting and email templates)
    • Policies for data management – when to archive/delete

Monitor for compliance and quality assurance.

  • Use a real-time lead management dashboard that can help you see calling statistics and performance broken down by each user.  This can clue you in on team members who may need additional training or monitoring.
  • Monitor sales performance in ways that help improve future sales efforts.  A recent article on Inc.com states, “Most of what is measured is outside of management’s ability to control. The research indicates that 83 percent of what is being tracked by our CRM and sales systems is just reporting, not influencing in nature.” (source: http://www.inc.com/tom-searcy/sales-metrics-that-you-should-be-focusing-on.html)  To influence outcomes, you have to look at assessing and addressing behavior that influences future sales.  Most metrics measure history.  Use a tool like VanillaSoft that can help you evaluate sales call execution through features like Intelligent Call Recording and Monitor and Eavesdrop.

Develop lead nurturing workflow.

  • Before you throw everyone into the same email drip or voicemail campaign category, take time to map out personas and messages that will be relevant to that persona.
  • Create a series of messages that will help move that prospect forward in the sales process – a generic email won’t cut it anymore.  With the right lead management software, you will be able to develop criteria to ensure the prospect receives relevant messaging based on how your sales rep results the call upon follow up.

Are you ready to put great lead management software to work in your organization? If so, I encourage you to start your VanillaSoft free trial today.

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