Prospecting Tips: How to Reconnect With Prospects

Time to reconnect with your prospects.

It’s all about building trust…

In Unlock the Sales Game, author and sales guru Ari Galper writes, “If there wasn’t trust built prior to the client dropping off, then you can’t just reengage them. You have to start from the beginning.”

In this high-pressure, always connected universe, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the fundamental principle of successful sales negotiations comes down to authenticity. We’re accustomed to delivering sales scripts, creating strategies, and pushing hard-core pitches that we believe will realize our goal – closing a sale.

However, reconnecting with prospects is not about our sales goals, it’s about building trust. Galper also claims sales reps sometimes sabotage themselves by only focusing on the traditional selling model. We bypass the most crucial element of sales, “building a conversation.” To reconnect successfully, we must recalibrate how we think about building trust, particularly at the start of a new year, when goals may shift imperceptibly, but enough to influence outcome significantly.

Here are some ways to begin again.

Know your prospect's goals and align your objectives

Reset Your Objectives

The holidays are often one big sales burnout – we’re exhausted by all the family drama, hyper expectations, and incessant rush. Oh yes, there may be some peace on Earth but it’s a hard- fought battle. It takes monumental effort for people to get back into their routine, and chances are they’ll be on guard for all the usual sales drivel.

To engage prospects post-holiday, you’ll need to shift your mental focus to building that conversation. Before you send an email or pick up a phone, restate your goal in your head. It should be to exchange information that builds trust – and only that.

Listen to your prospect and empathize with them.

Open With a Dialogue

Not a Presentation

The essential first steps of any conversation cannot be about what you have to offer or your perfect sales pitch – you must discover what your prospects’ priorities are. Are you aware of their trade show schedules and marketing events? Have they just unveiled a new feature? Ask them about it – find out what they’re grappling with and note it for the future.

Forego the traditional introduction about you and your company and focus on what your prospect needs. As a matter of fact, think of your prospect as a friend in need.

Put yourself in their shoes. What would make their lives easier? Ask them about areas where you can improve. Find out what you need to do to gain or retain their business for another year. Have that conversation before you focus on selling.

Ask your prospects the right questions.

Don’t Forget to “Ask”

This goes back to finding out what prospects are grappling with. You can’t pitch them until you know what they need and that implies a conversation – probably more than one.

Ask how you can help them. Do you know what their recent pain points are? Are they still a good fit, or should you walk away from the sale? Ask them what their future looks like. Your goal should be to understand your prospect’s strategic initiatives. It will help you to map out new solutions and initiate relevant conversations.

When reengaging with prospects you want to become a forward-thinking ally, and to do this you have to revamp your mind set. Your behavior will never change if your way of thinking remains the same. Shifting your objective to building conversations that allow a level of trust is essential.

Nova Personas: A Simpler Way to Create & Utilize Personas

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Let’s chat about sales performance…

As an outbound sales team, you have two options to increase your opportunity pipeline:

  1. Increase the quantity of contacts you’re reaching out to
  2. Improve the quality of the messages you’re sending
sales-equation

There are only so many contacts available in your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), so here at Nova, we think a lot about the above equation, particularly the conversion variable.

You always want to be “leveling up” your engagement and conversion, and therefore, you should always be seeking to increase the sophistication of your messaging.

 

The Process for Creating Segmentation and Tiers

The Process for Creating Segmentation and Tiers

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of one-to-one personalization and the cost of unpersonalized messaging in the past. Today, we’d like to focus on the meaty middle of the above graph: segmentation and tiering.

 

The Problem with Segmentation

There are several factors that can be utilized for segmentation and tiering, such as:

Dimensions for Segmentation and Tiering

Dimensions for Segmentation and Tiering

Our research has found that successfully incorporating these factors into your outbound process can improve conversion by as much as 230%. And it makes sense, right? Wouldn’t you be much more likely to respond to a sales rep who understands your unique context and needs?

What would 2.3x more opportunities do for your company?

The challenge for modern sales organizations lies in incorporating these factors into their outbound process in a way that’s simple and repeatable.

The Process for Creating Segmentation and Tiers

The Process for Creating Segmentation and Tiers

To alleviate the pain implementing a successful segmentation and tiering process, we’re introducing Nova Personas. This brand-new feature is free for existing Nova customers, and we’re darn excited to tell you all about it.

 

A Simpler Way to Create & Utilize Personas

Within your Prospect base, there are natural groupings of Contacts and Accounts.

Nova Personas enable you to create these groupings through a simple, easy-to-use interface, and then utilize them to:

  • Create shareable, targeted strategies for contacting each of these Personas
  • Visualize the breakdown of your Contact base by Persona
  • View performance and analytics within each cohort of Contacts

Once you have all the data, it’s time to act on it. You can utilize the data that Nova collects across all of the above dimensions to easily set up and administer Personas that are automatically applied to all contacts and accounts, as seen below.

nova personas

 

For example, here is the Persona-based assignment for Nova CEO and humble blog post author – me:

nova personas

 

You can also segment directly within the Nova Contacts interface:

nova contacts

 

And, you can associate different Flows with these Personas, directly from the Nova Flow Builder:

nova flow builder

 

For more information on all the different ways you can use Nova Personas to improve your sales performance, please visit the Nova Knowledge Base.

For those ready to get their hands on all of Nova’s sales automation tools, click the button below to request a free demo of our personalized selling platform today!

The Sales Coach: Nicole Bettan

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Welcome to the fifth installment in our  Sales Coach series. This month we’re featuring Nicole Bettan, a sales leader helping people unlock their personalities, connect better, and build clients for life. Nicole is a Founding Partner at IdeaTrek (JNR Ventures), Chief Marketing Officer at Kriddr, Founder and Chief Coach at Boost Sales E.T.C., and Founding Member of the Sales Enablement Society.



Tell me about your journey into sales.

I got into sales right out of college. The first career step I took was into the staffing industry. I worked for Robert Half International. If you can sell in the staffing industry and do the placement side, you can pretty much sell anything. It was great training to learn how to manage expectations. It’s a service-based business and the product is people. It’s not like you’ve got a product that when it’s not working, you send a text. It’s not this thing that works the same everywhere it goes. Your product is people. Learning to manage client expectations was a big part.

 

You have a lot of sales training experience. Do you think it’s important to do the work of the person that you’re training prior to becoming a manager or trainer?

I’m a big believer that in order to teach something, you have to have been very close to it, if not done it. When I hire people onto a team in sales training or sales enablement, my number one requirement is that they have sold. If you’re going to be working with inside sales reps, you need to have sold in a high volume environment. Otherwise, you don’t have the credibility, the experience, or the instincts to give advice. I’m not saying you can’t teach systems, or teach how a product works, but if you want to tell someone how to overcome objections, you better have done it before.

 

You have a unique perspective now as someone that invests in SaaS companies. What do you look for in the sales development function and process for any potential new investments?

The companies we’re talking to don’t have large teams yet. What I hope to see within the company is, first, a plan to bring people in; additionally, I’m a really big believer that the leader of any of these teams is just as active selling as anyone focusing on the top of the funnel. They need to be doing the work as much as the people they hire to do it.

Right now, I’m a CEO of a new company, and I’m selling just as much as everyone else. Everyone gets their hands dirty in everything. Additionally, I look at the DNA of someone. I want people that are extremely curious – the type of person that, if they couldn’t figure something out at work, they’ll look it up on the train home.

 

You’re also a CMO, which means you probably get sold to a lot! What’s the most successful thing a sales rep can do to catch your eye?

I answer my phone as much as I can. When you’re not in an active selling role, you never want to be so far removed from the people who are responsible for your revenue. You need to know what they’re saying. I pick up the phone and I take demos because I want to see what are people doing today differently from before.

One secret for getting to a buyer: when people connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a cold email, they’re ready to meet and want 15 minutes on my calendar. I respond, “How can I help you?”

When they reply with the marketing speak they were given to pitch, I often don’t understand what they’re talking about. If you’re speaking marketing to me, I reply back and say, “What exactly do you do?”

The best reaction is somebody laughing, or responding with humor. If someone can laugh at themselves, I’ll take the call. I like to see personality come through. Humor and personality are so important. You have to have some fun doing it.

 

What recommendations do you have for continuous training a sales rep can do on their own to improve their performance?

The number one thing is, if it isn’t working, stop doing it. Start by knowing your expectations. If you know everyone across your company is getting 20% reply rates on emails, but you’re getting 15%, you need to find out why.

Also, very often people declare something as “not working,” or that it sucks. I’ll give someone advice one-on-one, and the first time they try it, the prospect yells at them. Then they tell me it doesn’t work. One person, one conversation, one demo does not make a data set. Getting hung up once or twice is not a big enough sample size to prove that cold calling is dead.

Finally, advice that was given to me by my then CEO at Robert Half was, “If you’re not uncomfortable every day, you’re not doing it right.”

You have to be trying and doing new things all the time. Unless you’re 200% past your quota, fine, you can go do the same thing every day.

 

What advice do you give to SDR Managers about training their staff and keeping them on point, fresh, and motivated?

I don’t like when people call out others. First, we’re dealing with a population of salespeople that are relatively new to their jobs. It’s management by fear. Second – just because someone doesn’t understand their sales process or product, doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. That’s a salesperson who needs to be trained.

I don’t have the silver bullet answer, but I can tell you what I’ve done and what I’ve seen work. Yes, the job is tedious, but if it’s so tedious that you’re bored, chances are there’s more you can do to make it interesting. When management acknowledges the job can be tedious, SDRs feel have an ally.

You need to make sure you’re providing the information or tools to make it interesting. Instead of mass mailing, and setting up sequences and cadences, and doing system setup, make it interesting. Arm them with the tools they need to find better information. Get them a service that can help them personalize their connection. Make the job fun for them, or they’ll go find a job somewhere else.

 

Thanks so much for your time, Nicole! That’s it for this time, folks. Check back next month when we interview yet another sales leader.

3 Questions to Ask Before Offering a Free Trial

should you offer a free trial

Free trials are an enticing option for software companies, particularly those just getting started, to consider as part of a marketing and sales strategy to attract new customers. However, software trials are not always the best path for your business or product.

If your sales or marketing teams are considering offering a free trial of your product, consider the following questions before taking the next step.

free trial intuitive

Is your product intuitive?

One mistake that companies make when offering a free trial is that they underestimate the learning curve required to adopt their tool or technology. This is especially important if the product on offer is attempting to create a new market or change the way your target customers do business.

Complicated products that offer free trials can often do more harm than good: in the best case scenario, your confused customers will be a major drain on your customer support team; in the worst case scenario, your confused customers will get frustrated and give up on your product altogether.

If your product team isn’t sure how intuitive the product will be, offer free trials for a small group of new customers. Be sure to take note of how many times they ask for help, and how long it takes them to become proficient users. If you want to create a new market and still want to offer a new product, be sure to invest upfront in high-quality training, onboarding, and support materials to ease the burden on your support staff.

free trial tiered

Are your services tiered?

Another mistake that many companies make in the initial phases of a free trial is in giving everything away for free. Before offering a free trial, make sure there is enough incentive for your free customers to upgrade to the full or paid version.

Perhaps you offer a free trial below a certain number of users, or, you offer a free trial that has limited features. In either of these scenarios, you can ensure that your customers use of your product will scale as their business grows. Be careful to select the right features for your free trial, or run the risk of attracting lots of new customers that never want to upgrade.

Finally, carefully consider any inclination to offer time-based trials. Only offer time-based trials if you are certain that your customers will want to stay customers once their trial is over.

free trial sales team ready

Is your sales team ready?

The final thing you’ll want to do before offering a free trial is ensure that your sales and marketing teams are set up for efficiency. If your staff lacks the tools and training to take advantage of the leads that come in through your free trial, you might as well throw handfuls of money out the window instead.

Providing your team with the proper tools and training to time their outreach properly and personalize their messages for each individual user will ensure that they are able to build rapport and create lasting relationships that translate into converted customers.

Nova Sentiment: AI-Powered Response Disposition

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“Salespeople are hustling each and every day, outbounding and reaching out to folks with messages on new products. This elicits a lot of responses, and often it’s hard to take the time to gauge the meaning of those responses.”

-Will Dinkel, Nova Founder & CEO

Introducing Nova Sentiment, an AI-Powered Response Disposition that understands the intent and sentiment of different email responses. This flow response will help to identify how different people and personas are responding to your sales team’s messaging.

 

Understand What Your Prospect is Really Saying

When an SDR reaches out to prospective clients the response they receive can essentially be classified as positive, negative or neutral, and that’s what the new Nova Sentiment feature focuses on.

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Identifying the sentiment behind each response helps SDRs and sales managers alike better understand what messaging is most effective and leads to positive sales outcomes. It also allows sales managers to see which reps on their team are performing well, who’s driving the best responses, and how different messaging flows perform.

 

Refine Outreach Emails & Flows Based on What Works Best

A manager can also dissect the flow to determine the level of positivity at each stage. It becomes clear the equation shifts a bit as you get deeper into the messaging flows, which can be helpful in trying to understand the performance of messaging on a stage-by-stage basis, like identifying the right number of touches and which touches within a flow are doing poorly relative to others. You can also scope it down to an individual flow and see what percentage of messaging is generating appointments.

sales-ai-response-use-cases.png

Meaningful Analytics, Maximum Productivity

“Where it really gets interesting is when you compare different types of messaging and look back at the stats in aggregate,” says Nova founder and CEO William Dinkel. “You can look back a few months and dive in to figure out the positivity or negativity of the responses, and with Sentiment you can do this on a ‘per-message’ level.”

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Dinkel also expressed his excitement over how useful the analytics are for this response disposition, highlighting that they take away some of the busy work of the very repetitive actions involved in reviewing and analyzing responses, stating:

“Sentiment will make people’s jobs a lot simpler and easier by giving more transparency on what’s working well and what’s not. This will help sales reps understand their prospect base – who they’re having the most success with on a persona basis and who they should target, more or less of.”

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For those ready to get their hands on all of Nova’s sales automation tools, click the button below to request a free demo of our personalized selling platform today!

Prospecting Tips: Warm Calling in 2018

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Successful warm calling demands research, resolve, and some good old marketing elbow grease. When done correctly, warm calling positions your company as trustworthy and creates new opportunities.

Warm calling is based on a prior connection. You believe the prospect fits the profile of your best customer. Perhaps the prospect is a referral or someone you met at an industry event. It could be someone who responded to a call to action on your website, downloaded a whitepaper, or signed up for a newsletter. The important thing to remember is that once you’ve identified a warm prospect, the real preparation begins. Here’s how to succeed.

Do Your Research

Know everything about your prospect before you pick up the phone or draft an email. Have an opening value statement based on solid research. Never assume a warm lead is ready to close. Check out the company’s social media presence, along with executive profiles, and press releases. You need a sense of their accolades, pain points, and future goals. This will help you hyper-tailor your opening. It’s about having enough ammunition to improvise – though you should have an informal script prepared.

Use a Script, But Be Flexible

Script exactly what you’ll say in that first 10 seconds – it’s the most critical stage of your call. Use a template sales script you can customize – a framework that allows you to veer away from the script but sound as real and warm as possible. Incidentally, practice makes perfect. Rehearse your first 10 seconds several times.

Assume the Role of Consultant

Think of yourself as a consultant in the initial contact. What tips can you give the prospect to improve their business? Send a follow-up email with even more information after your initial discussion. Have you come across an article that highlights an issue your prospect is grappling with? Send that along too. As a consultant, you are offering your expertise and in doing so, solving their problems.

Ask Questions

Research provides the opportunity to ask the types of questions that lead your prospect to trust your judgment. Can you identify the challenges your current customers commonly encounter? This is a great opportunity to ask the prospect if these are the same challenges they face.

Have an Agenda

Identify yourself and your company immediately. Make it clear what your intent is. Your goal is to offer a warm prospect something that will actually benefit them. Focus on their needs and think of this as a collaboration. Did they download an e-book about SaaS providers from your website? Make sure you give them at least one piece of information that helps them understand the process or deployment of cloud computing.

Take the Next Step

Each touchpoint in the process needs to build on the last and create a pivot to the next interaction. Always ask for something before the call ends. Do you have a whitepaper that you’d like the prospect to review? Do you want to set up the next call with a decision maker? Do you have a pilot solution you can deploy? Make certain you define what you want next and ask for it.

 

Warm calling is all about providing valuable insights and actionable ideas during the sales process. It’s about asking questions to understand your prospects needs and anticipating what you can offer that will provide solutions. It’s not about you or a perfect sales pitch – it’s about what you can offer the prospect.

Ready to stop guessing and start closing? Check out our free guide that walks you through how to sell to anyone and download our free e-book – Good Sales vs. Bad Sales.

 

For daily updates and sales tips, follow Nova on Twitter and LinkedIn.

7 Tasks Your Virtual Assistant Should Be Doing

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Today’s top sellers are always on the hunt for one thing: time! Developing time-management skills and improving efficiency are both powerful ways that can help elevate sales performance to top-performer levels.

Frequently, however, sales reps at all levels feel a serious strain on their time. Between prospecting, following up, moving deals through the sales cycle, and keeping management tasks at bay, time can easily slip away from even the most experienced rep.

One secret that sales reps employ to combat strains on their time is to hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are remote contract employees that, for relatively inexpensive rates, can plow through your to-do list on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, freeing up your time to focus on building relationships and managing the strategic elements of your job.

But what tasks are best suited for a virtual assistant? Delegation can be tricky. Cindy Bastron, founder of Cindy Bastron Virtual Assistant, suggests delegating tasks that keep you organized, while focusing your energy on things that help you build relationships.

“Even with flawless systems and organization, there is still a level of human interaction needed in business that can’t be replaced with automation,” Bastron told Nova. “These are tasks that, if neglected, can greatly impact your client’s perception of you and your product. These are the tasks that we specialize in as VAs.”

Here are seven things to delegate to your virtual assistant today:

appointment-setting

 

1. Appointment Setting

Even something as simple as setting up a calendar appointment, when multiplied, can end up eating hours of your month. By delegating these tasks to your virtual assistant, those meetings get booked and any requests to reschedule are handled promptly.

 

meeting-planning

 

2. Event & Meeting Planning

In-person client events can be just the push you need to close a deal, but meeting and event planning can be time consuming. Schedule coordination, room reservations, travel, agendas, and finding the right restaurant for a casual lunch can take time. Call in your virtual assistant to be your planner.

 

vacation-response

 

3. Vacation & Leave Response

Burnout is common in the sales world. Not anymore, with a virtual assistant on your side. Ever find yourself on vacation, responding to emails just so you can have a full calendar upon your return? Kiss those days goodbye.

 

deal-tracking

 

4. Deal Tracking

Deal tracking is vital but tedious, especially when it comes to updating notes in your CRM. With a virtual assistant, you can jot down your notes in an email and hit send as soon as the call is over. Rest easy knowing that any tasks will be recorded and reminders sent when the time is right.

 

process-implementation-1

 

5. Process Implementation

A well-implemented CRM or marketing automation platform can be a huge time saver, but what sales rep has time to create flawless workflows or automation rules? By assigning your virtual assistant to this special project, automation can work for you, rather than against you.

 

client-appreciation

 

6. Client Appreciation

Sales reps know that the personal details are the most important when it comes to clients. Have your virtual assistant track and recognize important milestones in your client’s life, project, or company. Your commission check will thank you.

 

sales-research

 

7. Research

New client research is important, but it can be time consuming. Implement a process with your virtual assistant that allows you to be organized for your calls every single day without fail, without draining another minute on the clock.

 

Ready to stop guessing and start closing? Check out our free guide that walks you through how to sell to anyone and download our free e-book – Good Sales vs. Bad Sales.

 

For daily updates and sales tips, follow Nova on Twitter and LinkedIn.