Why The Salesman Needs The Cooperation Of The Prospect

Sales process and sub-goals

The sales process or sales cycle is flow of events and sub-goals which resembles the climbing of a huge mountain. These sub-goals are in-between successes – like reaching the camps on the mountain.
Although the entire sales cycle is one process, it has been chucked up into several stages just for administrative reasons:
– Initial contactSales cycle is like mountain climbing
– Lead stage
– Prospect stage
– First meeting stage
– Qualified prospect stage
– Follow-up meeting stage
– Proposal stage
– Negotiation stage
– The close
– The deal transaction
– The retention stage

Of course the most important stage is when the invoice gets paid !

No single sales cycle will go through these stages perfectly as there always will be deviations or retreats in the process.

Sales process stages characteristics

Although many steps have been defined with sub-goal achievements:
– None of these steps are equal
– The efforts required reaching each of the sub-goals are not equal
– The time required for each step may differ enormously: some can happen immediately others can take weeks, months, …
– It is the buyer who dictates the speed of the sales process
– The required participation or involvement of the potential customer is not equal neither

Synchronizing sales- and buyer process

This last one is most important as the sale needs a customer going through his buying cycle at the same time as the salesman. The salesman cannot move ahead without the buyer.
In real life no two processes will ever synchronize, there will be discrepancies between the efforts on the sales side and the efforts made or lacking efforts on the buyer side. Hence moving through the sales cycle stages can be painstaking slow.

A sales cycle can only move ahead if both the salesman and the potential customer reach the next sub-goal together. Both have to be involved and engaged.

Leader of the sales process

As the sales cycle should be compared to climbing a steep mountain with the salesman as the leader of the climb. In some cases important sales the sales manager takes the lead although he is not entirely involved in the process but involves and manages reaching the sub-goals. Still it is possible that during some stages the lead or prospect actually takes the lead in the climb as he is under pressure of getting a solution in place.

Retrograding sales process

However whenever there is a problem or an unexpected event occurs or new information comes to the deal, the climb can become a descend instead. This can happen it is required to have an assessment or aggregation at a previous stage.
In such case the prospect retrogrades or moves back to a previous stage, more work and effort lies ahead for the salesman or sales team. In most cases such a retrograding is due to one of the competitors.
The amount off effort the salesman then has to generate and put into the sales process can be huge as it will can stop the sales process for the vendor company.

Customer effort indicator

The best indicators of the commitment of the potential customer to buy is the amount of effort, time and interest the potential customer puts into his buying process.
In order to measure the commitment of your leads, prospects, potential customers and customers all companies should implement a website visitor revealing solution as in all cases people will visit your website. These solutions allow to retrieve and measure from your company website the amount of interest generated by the potential customer as they visit your company website for gathering additional information or want to verify your statement made during sales pitches and conversations.

How do you measure the involvement of your potential customers ?

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The 10 Perks Of A Salesman

Although life of a salesman might seems good, well-paid and wonderful there are many perks and issues for getting the sale closed:

1 – Target stress

Each year the target increases. This results in stress as a salesman needs to achieve his target.
Salesmen should be able to handle their stress.

2 – Target management

The target even increases more as the last year was much over target. Hence it is sometimes better not to over-achieve in one year as next year the target will be even higher. Hence a salesman needs to modulate his sales and sometimes keep new purchase orders in his drawers for next year.
A successful salesman is capable of keeping orders behind when needed.

3 – Obesity

In most cases a salesman will wine and dine with his customers quite often. This can be pleasant at first and seen as an additional benefit but on the long run it can / it is likely to result in obesity.
A salesman should be able to chose food and eat without getting fat.

4 – Family

Salesmen do travel which allows them to see the country, the continent or even the world. However everyday out of the home is a day less with the wife, the kids and less time for the parents.
A salesman needs to be capable of being away from his family.

5 – Alone

Alone on the road: in the car, in the plane or in the train
Alone in the hotel room.
Alone in the meeting with the potential client.
A salesman needs to be able to live and handle alone.

6 – Communicative and interrogative

A salesman needs to be communicative and open to talk to new people or people he hardly knows.
However a salesman that just talks and keeps on talking will never be successful as he needs to pose questions and keep his mouth shut while he is listening. The more the customer talks the more information he will expose.
A great salesman needs to be able to talk but also able to listen.

7 – Waiting and patience

Waiting at the airport for the departure.
Waiting before the meeting with a potential client.
Waiting at the telephone for the customer to answer the call.
Waiting for the purchase order to arrive.
Waiting while life goes by.
Without patience you can’t be a successful salesman.

8 – Risks

The more travel the more risks for accidents or diseases.
Staying in the office at a desk is a much safer life.

9 – Depression resistant

Even after a long sales cycle the client can decide to opt for the competitor.
This is major drawback and could make a salesman depressive.
Successful salesmen need to be resistant to depression.

10 – Repeat until boring

When selling the same stuff for many years the same pitch is being hold over and over again, until it becomes boring. The same jokes, the same questions.
A salesman needs to keep up his pitch fresh and lively over the many many years.

How about your perks as a salesman ?

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Being Ready For Success Is Not Enough To Succeed

The Secret Of Success

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes according to Earl of Beaconsfield .
That’s great to know
However while a salesman is waiting for his opportunity he will not get sufficient commissions to survive.

Alternatives For Success

Before becoming a successful salesman you need to get a series of minor successes in order to obtain the necessary sales to make ends meet and to stay ‘ready’.
Waiting for the big opportunity can take long. Hopefully not forever.
There are three approaches:
– Waiting while remaining at the same company
– Waiting but switching companies in the same industry or business
– Waiting in a different industry

Where To Wait For Success?

Waiting at the same company can take forever if the company is not successful or has products or solutions that aren’t competitive. Also companies with innovative products and solutions might demand years before they become successful.

Waiting at a different company in the same industry can give you a leap forward if the company has better products or solutions that are more competitive. This seems to be the easiest alternative as you can stay in relation with your existing customers.

Waiting in a different industry has several hurdles: changing industry comes with different technology, different competitors and different customers. The change will take at least 6 months before you are up to full speed again.

Hence if you feel you are ready but could be waiting very long for your opportunity to arrive maybe you should consider switching companies in the same business.

How often have you successfully switched companies ?

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Six Ways To Increase Website Interest: Stay Return Convert

Your website traffic will flourish or die with its’ content. The content is required for generating interest which will result in more traffic.

Keep it simple

If you explain your solutions in a complicate way only nerds or experts will understand. You need to tell people in a simple and easy to understand manner your solutions or products even in case they are high tech. If you can’t then the interest will be minimal and there will be no forwarding of your website to peers.

Observations, info or stats

Analysis, key numbers or stats that can be mentioned to other people will help generate interest. People will remember this info or info-graphics. This can be social or generic observations, data or statistics that are worth telling to peers.

Interactive website

A website that looks like or is just a catalog will not engage much people. For a start is visual content a must have: pictures, photo’s, video, charts, graphics – this is because people will take time to look into the visuals instead of the written content. Moreover visuals will be remembered much better. You can drive people to engage by adding a test, polls or downloads. tease them with more free info if they leave their email address.

Surprise

The unexpected helps to create interest and will be remembered. Moreover the surprise will be told to others or forwarded to peers. Emotion works very effectively with consumers but works almost as well in Business-To-Business. Creating the unexpected is very challenging as the visitors (audience) need to understand and feel related. Moreover it has to be renewed over time as the unexpected wears out.

Product and solution information

You can be losing 50% of potential sales due to inadequate online information about your products, solutions or even your company / management information. Hence make sure your product and solutions information is complete and understandable)

Educate

Nobody is too old to learn. And nobody knows everything. Hence your website must seize the opportunity to educate its’ visitors. Once you have learned someone something he is not likely to forget your website or company.

How strong is your website in attracting and converting visitors ?

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How Much To Explain On Your Website

Reveal all or limit?

A website needs to show and explain the products or services you provide in order to sell. The question and challenge is how much can or have you to explain?
If you explain too much and too much in detail:
– Becoming too technical most people will not understand at all
– It might get too complicated and scare off possible customers
– No inquiries or contacts as all is revealed
– Too long and time consuming to understand making people leave the website

In case you only give a short introduction:
– People might not understand the benefit or differentiators
– People might not have the impression of being industry leading
– Too much mystery will not engage visitors

Teasing information

Hence you need to publish just enough information to have your products or services explained in order to trigger the attention and interest. Still keeping in mind that the main goal is:
– To attract visitors to your website that are looking for a solution to their problems or issues.
– To trigger their interest in order to engage
– To tease them in order to stay on their mind

Compare it to a striptease: just show enough but not too much as else the totally is revealed and the interest will decrease.

Competitors advantage taking

By revealing too much about products or services your information will be used by:
– Your competitors for their advantage as they have more insight than you do about their solutions.
– Your potential customers will use it while meeting with your competitors.

Registered downloads

If your solutions require to reveal more information in detail then you should consider to have this additional or more technical information to be available by a download for which visitors need to register. Just make sure they don’t register with a common web email address (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, …) or add a visiting company revealing web service so that you at least know what company is interested.

How much information does your website reveal ?

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Comparing Email vs Social Media vs Content Marketing

Email Marketing

Using Email Marketing is aiming at a herd (selected population) hoping the hit someone interested and having a demand for your solution at that very moment.
Almost shooting in the wild as there are too many coincidences needed to be successful.

Social Media Marketing

Using Social Media Marketing allows you to aim solely at people who know your company or people that are part of an interest group in your business.
Hence limited but focused with higher chances to success than email marketing.

Content Marketing

In Content Marketing you aim to attract interested parties.
Hence you directly address to possible interested parties which should result in a relatively high success rate.

If none of the above work then there is always Cold Calling or you could aim for the synergy between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing.

What do you prefer or what allows you to score best ?

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How To Create A Website That Sells

The competition on the Internet is high as all websites are screaming for the attention of the potential customers.
You need to stand out and capture their interest.

Providing useful information

Not self-promotional content but valuable and useful information about your industry as the potential customers will research the Internet for information and answers.
Hence invest your time to create white papers, case studies, informative tutorials, blog posts, how-to guides, presentations, videos and eBooks in order to share them on your website.

Demonstrate expertise

Besides the useful information on your website and published documents, a blog about the business or industry is needed to show your expertise. When customers are deciding to buy they are likely to remember the source of the information that is being used to make the decision. This will lead to your company and solutions.
Additionally the blog will improve your search engine results.

Calls to action

Wherever possible you must include calls to action for obtaining additional that has to be ‘paid’ by offering up their contact information: at least their email address.
Once this contact data collected marketing needs to remind about your business or solutions and encourage to engage further. On their turn sales needs to follow-up and try to nurture.

Drive traffic

You will need to add new and original content on a regular basis in order to keep your search ranking on Google and to keep visitors coming.

Make noise

All new published content should be shared or at least mentioned with a link on all possible social media. This noise could spark more interest as people forward or re-share the content.

Enhancing inbound marketing

Your content marketing of your website will generate inbound marketing. In order to enhance this you should use a web service that reveals the companies visiting and their interest in your products or solutions. This allows sales to focus solely on really interested companies as (several) employee(s) have been visiting the website and sales knows what they are interested in by the search terms used and the pages visited.

How well scores your website for selling ? Place for improvement ?

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Creating And Engineering New Technology Or Products Are Not The Challenge: Marketing And Selling Are

Engineering – R&D creating technology or product

For any company innovation is probably a must for continuation. New technology or new solutions.
When R&D has developed a new solution or is using a new technology achieving to make a new product is only the initial step and effort.
The big challenge is not the engineering and technical parts but in marketing and selling.

Marketing creating the demand

First marketing needs to understand what and why Engineering or R&D have invented a new technology or have created a new product. next marketign needs to figure out who the potential customers could be. Why would they buy ?

Then Marketing needs to make clear to all potential customers that there is a new technology or new solution. Stipulating the benefits and the advantages for the customer is utmost important. Moreover the customer needs to see and understand these benefits or advantages. He needs to see what the new stuff brings for his company. Somehow Marketing should create the need and demand. In the best case the potential customer contacts the company – but that is rather rare.

Sales getting the deal

If Marketing has achieved to create the demand or need for the new technology or product then the Salesman would just need to come in and have the Purchase order signed.
However that would be too easy.
First the Salesman needs to find interested and potential customers. This can be achieved by knowing who is visiting the website and the specific webpages of the new technology or new product. A web service that reveals the companies visiting does this work.
In most cases the potential customers have much doubts. They will not be rushing in to buy a new technology or solution as this is B2B and not B2C.

The skills of the salesman are required to take away the risks involved in the decision of buying a new product or solution. The Salesman needs to take away or convince the potential customer there are no risks involved.
For an existing product or technology this is rather easy as a list of references must exist. In case of a new technology or product no such list is available.
This is where the Salesman needs to use the relationship and the trust he has build-up with the customer or he has to gamble on the brand name of the company in order to assure the potential customer.

The biggest challenges are Marketing and Sales for any new product or technology. Creating demand, finding customers and getting the customer sign the Purchase Order.

What’s the biggest challenge in your company for any new product or technology? The R&D or Marketing or Sales ?

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What A B2B Website Really Needs For Lead Generation

All B2b companies have a website which has to support the sales team and should generate leads. However many websites will get traffic but don’t generate leads at all or very little.

So what is required for having a scoring B2B website ?

SEO Search Engine Optimization

B2B search is quite different from B2C. For a start the number of people searching is much lower but also have much more specific search phrases. In most cases the keyword string are much longer. Hence the SEO is different too.
Tips on SEO trends in 2015 video

Search display

As the searches are much more specific it is required to have matching subject text that is displayed on the search engine result page. Hence it is required to have at least one page for every different solution or part of solution you propose. Business people and employees are not going to waste their time on websites that doesn’t seem to correspond to their requirements on the search engine result page.

Expertise publishing

You need to publish content that demonstrates your expertise on the matters or solutions you tend or intend to solve. You should relate problems and solutions to the industries you are targeting selling to.
– Present the problems of your potential customers and the solutions you can bring
– One subject, solution or concept per page in order not to confuse visitors
– Optimize titles, descriptions and keywords per page (problem / solution)
– A White paper that can be downloaded per solution
– Additionally an RSS feed

Clear website structure

The menu items need to be structured efficiently and effectively allowing your visitors to find easily what they are looking for during their purchase process:
– Search: Finding their described problem
– Solution: Finding the solution to their problem
– Company evaluation: Finding the company information
– How to buy / where to purchase

Effective Calls-To-Action

Without Calls-To-Action the visitor is less likely to take any action.
– More visible or prominent Call-To-Action button placement
– Multiple and different Call-To-Action
– Different levels of engagement: “Contact Us”, “Newsletter Subscription”, “Price Quote”, “Download White Paper”, “Webinar Sign-up”, “Podcast”,…

Missed visitors

Even the best designed websites will still have a large percentage of visitors who don’t take any action. In general only 2 to 3% of all visitors will contact you. In order to improve this low score you should install a web service that reveals the companies visiting and what they were looking for.
This will allow your sales teams to contact the visiting companies with a suiting message according what they where looking for.

Response control

Incredible or not but a large quantity of web leads just get lost as they remain unanswered. So make sure you have a system in place for follow-up on each inquiry that is being received.

How is your website scoring in lead generation ?

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Getting Inside Information About Your Potential Customer

The Sales Meeting Is Superficial

When a company is looking for a solution they will invite several vendors or resellers to have informative meetings. However often the complete picture of issues and problems isn’t presented during these meetings as companies don’t want to expose their problems and issues to the outside world. It’s more or less like the reason why consultants are required to show or to tell the problem everyone in the company knows about but nobody dares to raise the issue.

The Digging For Information

If you want to sell then you need to know what is or are the real problems.
At the informative meeting there will be several employees present. However most of them don’t dare to speak out freely as they are restricted by the hierarchy present in the meeting.
It is crucial to get the contacts of every person present in this meeting. After the meeting you will need to contact each of them and asking questions about issues or events you (supposedly) didn’t understand during the meeting. The goal is to get one or more people talking.

Finding The Sales Pitch Information

In most midsize to large companies there are people who are frustrated or unhappy for reasons of being passed by in promotion or degraded or on a dead road or whatever reason.
These people are craving for interest and attention.
So when you encounter one of them it is likely they will start to tell more than what you heard in the informative meeting. Keep the person talking. The more they talk the more they will reveal. This will be valuable information for you. At the same time you will be building a relationship with him as he feels you care about him.
Of course if possible double check.

This valuable information you can use for your sales pitch as you can focus on the real problems.

Where else would you get your information for your pitch ?

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