Why Your Sales Force Needs to be Chameleons

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chameleon3Two years ago I came across an article in Entrepreneur magazine, and I want to share it because I think it’s still very relevant. It really resonated with me because it speaks directly to the necessity to fill the gap created by customer need. And, to do this takes a multi-faceted approach. Sales needs to think like an entrepreneur, and management has to build systems that facilitate an effective lead to money delivery.

Here’s the article. Take a read and then let me know your thoughts.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec on Great Business Pitches and Why Sales Reps Need to Be Chameleons – May 29, 2014

Earlier this month entrepreneur Robert Herjavec, an investor on Shark Tank, served as a keynote speaker for CallidusCloud’s annual meeting. He shared some of his ideas about entrepreneurial success during a fireside chat with CEO Leslie Stretch, as well as by e-mail — which have been compiled to create this post.

What should we look for in entrepreneurs, I’m sometimes asked.

The first thing all of us look for is you’ve got to engage me. I’ve been sitting in that chair for 12 hours and you come out and you start with this boring pitch?

I don’t care how good it is. I don’t care if you’ve invented the better mousetrap. You’ve already lost me.

A friend of mine runs a very large VC company called Greylock. He has a list of things he looks for in entrepreneurs, from the time they walk through the door to when they sit down, to determine whether he’s going to invest in them.

Customer value should always be at the forefront of an entrepreneur’s mind. Listen to what your customers are saying and more importantly, to what they are not saying. Take these cues and adjust your plan.

Find a customer with a true need then build your business plan around solving this gap. Developing a business and then trying to find a customer is the wrong way around and will make an entrepreneur destined to fail.

And when it comes to salespeople, there are a lot of things that can make them great. But I think one of the most critical factors is adaptability. I look for sales reps who could be blindfolded, tied up, put on an airplane, dropped in any location in the world and not only figure out the rules of the game but how to win. I think that this chameleon-like adaptability, the ability to change your colors depending on your environment, is the most crucial thing.

Speaking generally about people in business, success starts with sacrifice. If you set goals for yourself and intend to meet them, sacrifices will have to be made. But when you finally meet your goals and achieve the success you set out for, the satisfaction always exceeds the sacrifice. Always.

My sartorial choices are a little more formal than other people’s. In my company’s culture, at the Herjavec Group, we believe that we’re a little different. People always make fun of us and say, “Oh, do you guys not have casual days?” and I always say, “Really? Our customers don’t buy on Fridays?” Every day is a professional day in our world.

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How To Get Inside Your Buyer’s Head If You Want To Accelerate Your Close Rate

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FV1782With the abundance of technology at our disposal, it’s pretty easy to reach out and make contact with potential buyers. I liken this to waving hello. Nice, but not enough. We need to give them a reason to want to come over and talk to us. This is where lead nurturing makes all of the difference in your close rates.

When you are engineering your lead nurturing program, each step of the journey must be carefully thought out, answering the question as to why the information is important to the buyer, the logical next step, and what you expect the buyer will do in response to each step. Really get inside your buyer’s head and design a campaign that speaks directly to them. Keep it simple initially and build in complexity as you go along.

Think about the content you already have and how you can use it or what pieces you’ll need to create. But, keep in top of mind that each piece needs to be presented at the right time and for the right reason and have a powerful call to action. Your campaign needs to walk your buyers through the buying process, providing them with the information they need at each stage. Forget this and your close rates will reflect it. Do it right, and your form fills will come. The best part is that you’ll be gathering data along the way, so you can adjust your workflow as necessary.

In addition to designing your program around your buyer’s needs also recognize that the sales cycle plays a key role. Make sure you provide enough touch-points along the way to address each stage of your sales cycle.

What initiative have you implemented that accelerated your close rate the best? Share your ideas with us!

Improve Your Landing Page Conversions In Six Easy Steps

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unknownA landing page is an effective springboard for sales. By directing a prospect to a specific landing page instead of your website, you are guiding your prospect’s journey with your company. You know how they reached your landing page and the reasons behind their clicks. Landing pages give you invaluable information about your traffic and conversions that you can use to increase conversions.

Another reason landing pages are so popular is because they are a great vehicle to test offers, design, content, etc., that you would not normally do on your website home page. So, here’s how I recommend you approach creating more effective landing pages:

  1. Keep It Simple

The last thing you want to happen when a prospect visits your landing page is for them to miss the point of why they are there in the first place. Keep your message clearly visible without lots of scrolling and clicking.

  1. Stay Focused

Don’t dilute your message by offering links to lots of other offers. This will only distract your prospect from the message you’re trying to convey. By keeping the message focused, you are better positioned to gage the effectiveness of your call to action without the distractions (and confusion) of other offers.

  1. Deliver Value

Your prospect has clicked on a link to get to your landing page, now it’s your job to deliver on the promise you made with clear and compelling content.

  1. Ease Into The Relationship

The temptation with a landing page is to try to capture too much information right off the bat. That’s a mistake. Initially, you want to capture just the basic information – anything more is a real turnoff. As you build trust, you can ask for more information.

  1. Test

Landing pages provide greater flexibility for testing than other more traditional forms of marketing just don’t provide. Take advantage of this and test which offers and design work the best for you.

  1. Be Selective

You created a landing page for a good reason – to reach a specific market. So, don’t try to make the landing page appeal to everyone. Instead, focus your content, design, and offer to speak directly to your targeted prospects. This is the way to increase conversions.

If you follow these six steps, they will guide you toward creating landing pages that speak to your prospects where they are in the buying process. That should help you see an improvement in your landing page conversions.

 

5 Ways To Help Your Brand Stand Out Among The Competition

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brand-standoutIt doesn’t matter which business vertical you happen to be in, every market has plenty of competition – make that global competition. So, if you’re to compete, you have to figure out how to make your product or service stand out among the saturated market of your competitors. You have to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Every business has something that is inherently unique and bankable. The challenge lies in identifying it and then communicating it to your market. This is differentiating. This will take effort on your part, but it will pay off in the end.

5 Ways To Differentiate Your Product Or Service

  1. Share Your Story – How did you get to where you are today? What are your corporate values? Your backstory brings inherent value and is perhaps the easiest way to show how you’re different. But, always bring it back to the customer and explain the benefit to them.
  2. Define Your Target Market – Be crystal clear about the customer you are trying to attract and know what value you bring to them that others do not – that’s a difference.
  3. Explain Your Process – Do you have a unique process that adds value…or can you develop one? If so, share it and explain the benefit.
  4. Know Your Limits – Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Don’t ask how you can be better – ask how you can be different. Pick the one or two things that truly differentiate you and focus on those.
  5. Forge New Ground – Aim to be a thought leader, offering a compelling viewpoint. Don’t aim for greater sameness.

You likely noticed that I didn’t mention price, product, service, or branding. That’s because all are ineffective differentiators. Don’t get me wrong. These are all important, but you have to establish your difference (value, uniqueness, and importance) before these elements come into play.

By identifying the distinct ways you bring value to your clients, you differentiate yourself in a way that gains the attention of your customers. However, this is not a one-time assignment. Every market polices itself. So, what was once a differentiator now becomes industry standard. Differentiation is an ongoing process.

How do you differentiate? Share your experience and ideas with me in the Comments section.

Looking To Increase Profits? Give Your Website A Facelift.

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website-constructionAll too often companies create a website and then forget about it. Or, they just upload some new content and call it a day. This is a mistake. Your website is a powerful sales tool and keeping it fresh, interesting, and updated is essential. Here are seven signs your website is due for some TLC.

  1.  Too Much Flash – Not only do iPhone and iPads not support flash, but also search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo can’t read it. This means flash is hurting your search engine optimization (SEO).
  1. Your Search Engine Rankings Stink – Most online experiences start with search engines. Make sure you are designing your site with SEO in mind. If your website was not written with current SEO trends and ever changing algorithms, it might be time for an update.
  1.  Your Prospects Are Not Converting – You should be tracking the percentage of visitors to prospects conversions. And, if you are not happy with the number of leads you are generating, it might be because you are not offering valuable content in exchange for contact information. Your redesign can help address this.
  1.  Your Site Looks Like It Was Designed In 1993 – Business evolves and so should your website.  Make sure your website design is consistent with your brand image.
  1.  Content Changes Are Difficult. – The ability to make changes on your website has changed significantly.  It should be easy to make design and content changes.  If this process is labor intensive, it’s time to research a faster, easier, and overall better content management system.
  1.  It Doesn’t View Well On An iPad and Mobile – If you are working on a website facelift, make sure that it is a responsive re-design. The percentage of online experiences on mobile is increasing fast, so your site needs to keep up with this trend.
  1.  Your Message Has Changed – As mentioned on number four above, if your message has evolved, you should make sure that the content on your website communicates your brand’s new story.

Pay attention to these seven key areas relating to your website, and you’re sure to have an online presence that helps you increase sales.

How Digital Body Language Helps You Target Your Prospects

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datawoman-189x300Most of us can remember the day when just about all sales calls were done face to face, but that is no longer the case. With the advent of telesales, web technology, go-to-meetings, and other virtual sales mediums, face-to-face time has taken on a whole new meaning.

The advantage of an actual (as opposed to virtual) face-to-face meeting is that you can more easily read your prospect and judge interest. That’s not so easy these days. Or is it? This whole idea got me thinking: Is there digital body language? The answer is: absolutely! If you pay attention to your analytics, they’ll tell you the story that your face-to-face meetings used to provide you.

If you haven’t convinced your prospect that you can deliver on your promise, then you’re not going to close the deal, right? Right. So, take a look at your data and see what your prospects are doing with the informational content you send them. You are sending them content, right? I hope so because this is your opportunity to build your relationship with prospects while simultaneously educating them on what you can do for them. And, if you take a good look at your data, you’ll see that it’s clearly telling you what each of your prospects wants and needs from you.

Chances are high that once you take a look at your data, your prospects will fall into groups based on their actions or lack thereof. So, how do you gather this digital behavioral data? Marketing automation tools provide you with the ability to weigh and score a prospect’s behavior. Assigning a score to specific page visits, clicks, and actions (like downloading content, for example) will help you segment the hot prospects from the ones that need further nurturing.

Using this valuable information you gather, you can easily see what microsites and content materials need to be created and which groups of prospects you want to direct to each one, effectively creating a metric that will help you see your prospects’ online body language. The next step will be in seeing what further actions your prospects took and steering them accordingly by adapting your message and the content you send them.

5 Elements of a Successful Online Campaign

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ContentMarketingResults-oriented engineering of traffic streams is essential to achieving successful digital marketing campaigns. The way you go about doing this is by using the following five elements to help you create targeted online campaigns that will really work for you:

  1. Demographics: The demographics are all of the characteristics of the people you are targeting. They define who belongs in the target group and who does not.
  2. Offer: The offer is the element that will help convince your target market to exchange their contact information with you for something of value like an e-book, white paper, etc.
  3. Landing Page: The landing page is the page that your target prospects land on right after they click on the e-mail, advertisement, blog post, etc. Most likely this is on the franchise website, so it is very important that the website provides all of the information that the prospect needs to make a decision about revealing who they are.
  4. Traffic Source: Traffic sourcing is when you figure out what type of traffic you are trying to generate. Are you trying to create traffic you control? Or are you trying to create traffic you own?
  5. Advertising Copy: Your advertising copy is crucial. In order to have a successful online campaign, you need to make sure prospects click on the ads! Prospects can be persuaded to click, but it takes time with trial and error to discover how to best make this happen. A/B tests and years of knowing what works and what doesn’t work is very important in this step.

By strategically combining each of these five elements, you will be able to build an online campaign that best speaks to your targeted prospects.