How many benefits to cramp in one email?

No cramming info in an email

Too much information is likely too much for most people. The more information the lesser that will be retained and remembered. Moreover the longer the email the less likely people will read it entirely.

Lead generation is different

However if you are doing lead generation then you probably want and will present all the benefits and advantages in order to have more chance to generate some interest with one of the many benefits or advantages.
In the case of lead generation you have no or little clue what will spark the interest. Hence the need to present the full palette of benefits and advantages.

Nurturing ease

In case of nurturing by email then one benefit or one advantage at a time is sufficient as more will will only make your message more complex and less likely they will retain anything.
Having just one benefit or advantage in one nurturing email allows you to have several possible contacts with your customers or potential customers. As each email has a chance to be read or not. Moreover if they have read and retained the info of a previous email then it is likely they will open and read the next one as they are curious what additional information you have up your sleeves. Each email is almost like a tease for the following step.

Keep it simple and clear

So be careful with the amount of information when you writing emails for getting more leads or nurturing existing or potential customers as they have a limited attention span.

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When pricing requires more explaining than your product

Price list complexity

If your price list requires more explaining than your products then you are obviously doing something wrong.
Of course you can invent very complex pricing methods or pricing calculations. Or confuse people with presenting all the different prices like: End-user price, Direct customer price, Large customer price, Reseller price, Partner price, Distributor price.
A price list or pricing calculation needs to be simple and obvious: requiring no explanation or no room for mistakes. Not only for your customers but also for your sales team as they can make errors too which can result in a lower margin or scare away customers that are getting a too high price.

Less is more

The time required and lost for your sales team or salesmen explaining the price system to customers or resellers or partners or distributors is a waste of time that could be better used for listening to your customers. The more the salesman has to talk the less time he has for listening to the potential customer.

Keep price list simple as well as the calculation method as errors will result in less revenue.

How easy is your price list ?

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Instead Of Saving Time You Should Be More Efficient

Time is money

Vendors propose all kinds of solutions to save time. As time is money, these new systems or methods proposed should save you money: which is true.

However it is not because you save time, that you are also more efficient or performing more efficiently.
The new method can be very fast by using the current methods or the traded pathways. However it is likely to be just a sub-optimum as a much more efficient solution can exist.
Hence we always have to look for alternative solutions.

Example: Outbound marketing vs inbound marketing

Currently Outbound marketing using email campaigns are common and most used. These email systems systems allow you to address possibly almost all potential customers in a certain market. A wide variation of software applications and web services are available that will improve the required time to send an email marketing campaign out.
These email marketing solutions save time in organizing, setting up and administration. But are they really the best to win more customers ?

An improvement over broadcast email marketing campaigns would be if you would only address those companies or people that are really looking for your solution or have interest for a solution you offer.
Inbound marketing is way more efficient than outbound marketing: less is more.

Efficiency improvement instead of saving time

Thus the next time you look for an improvement for your business, look for the alternative solution that brings you a real efficiency improvement and which generates more business.

How efficient is your lead generation ?

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To carry many or few product lines ?

Single product line

Companies that sell just one type of product or product line. the positioning and the solution is clear:
– Less marketing efforts needed to explain the product-line
– More chances to get on the short list as your company stands for this type of product
– Sales people have hardly any efforts for explaining
– Short interesting sales pitch
– Niche market that is entirely understood by management
– Focus by management, marketing, sales, production, development
– Potential buyers know what the brand stands for
– Less training required for both employees, distributors and resellers
– Little chance of cannibalization between products
– Disadvantage when lack of interest or new technology makes product line obsolete.

Multiple product line:

Companies that provide multiple product-lines have serious issues:
– Require a lot of marketing efforts to explain and differentiate the different product lines and models
– Less evident to get on short lists for the not best known products
– High sales efforts to explain all the features, differentiators and benefits of all of the products.
– Sales has longer pitches which decrease the attention
– Large number of product lines for a wide range of markets are too much to be fully understood by management.
– Lack of focus
– Potential buyers can be confused what products the brand has
– More training required for employees, distributors and resellers which they hopefully remember entirely
– Chance of cannibalization between products
– Benefit of jumping to other product lines when lack of interest for a certain product line or new technology that makes a product line obsolete.

What’s your opinion on have single or multiple product lines ?

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Talk Sense To A Fool And He Will Call You Foolish

Addressing the knowledgeable

The issue we all have in sales is that we need to address and adjust our pitches and smalltalk to the potential buyers.
If the people in the meeting are specialized, experienced and knowledgeable about the products or services you provide you don’t need to give a generic approach. You will need to go into details of the most important features, advantages or benefits. It’s like ‘Cut The Crap’ as they are probably as well informed – if not better – in the matter as you. So you need to show some respect to them by not treating them as absolute beginners.

Pitching to the Newbies

If you would take the same approach with their CEO or COO, who is not specialized in the matters and issues of the solutions and drawbacks of products or services, then the CEO or COO reaction might be that you are missing the point or you miss providing the appropriate solution. This is likely to result in a lost sales as you haven’t convinced the CEO or COO.

Testing knowledge before starting

All depends on the level of knowledge or experience of the people you are having a meeting with. Hence before you start you should inform yourself of the different people in the meeting and try to figure out what is their level about the issues and problems and the products or solutions you and your competitors are proposing.

Mixed party

In a meeting with a significant difference of knowledge or experience you will need to adjust to the lowest level, still addressing the important more specialized for those who are mature in the matters. This is probably the most difficult as you might go to quickly or briefly for the ‘newbies’ and being too generic or not interesting enough for the knowledgeable people.

Correlate

One situation to avoid at all times is to have the less educated or less informed in the matters look stupid or make them feel as lagging behind.

Talk sense to a fool and he will call you foolish.
Meaning a pitch too complex or specialized for ‘Newbies’ will not have you score the sales as they will impose upon the knowledgeable – especially as they are in most cases from a higher hierarchy.

How do you address a mixed party ?

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The Future Of Employment: Bring Your Own

It all has started with Bring Your Own Device in order to work mainly with iPads. This has benefits for the company as the employees pay for their office tool and the company doesn’t need to invest. Still this BYOD has some security issues for the company.

Wondering if this ‘Bring Your Own’ could turn into an evolution for the employees:

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
Your iPad, netbook, smart phone, … for using during work in order to work.

BYOO – Bring Your Own Office
Your own chair, desk, drawer, … to work at as you already have brought the computer and the telephone.

BYOW – Bring Your Own Work
Instead of your employer giving you work, you have to sell in order to have work – like most consultants and partners have been doing since many years.

BYOM – Bring Your Own Money
Just like partners of companies and associations you could be asked to fund the company in order to get or keep you employed. You fund in order to be able to use their brand name. To work under their umbrella. Similar to a franchise.

BYOS – Bring Your Own Social security
You pay your social security instead of the employer just like independent consultant, contractors already do. As you already sell and fund then you should pay also the social security instead of the company.

BYOR – Bring Your Own Retirement fund
That’s just one step beyond as the company nor the government will have a pension fund for you in the future. Hence you have to pay all social security and medical insurance yourself.

Will the future be like this ?

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You decide what your customers should buy !

Data overload hinders decisions

Too much data disables the decision making as stated by Ron Friedman, Ph.D. in his blog post.
We live in a world where ever more data is available and we seem to crave for ever more information as if this would help us making better or more rational decisions. However it is not!

Proposition overload disables purchase decision

The same applies to the proposition you make to your customers. if you propose many products they will have the problem of digesting and processing all of your data.The purchase decision might not happen as the overload disables it.

In the end they might choose for solution of the competitor who proposes just three products, services or solutions. Making them easier to select and compare without getting confused.
The role of the salesman is to predict which product, service or solution is most likely suited or fitted for the potential customer and propose this product amongst two other solutions: one a bit higher on the solution scale – the other a bit lower on the solution scale.

Limit and target your proposition

This is why the salesman has not to ask questions but also have insight into the market and the business of his potential customer. He needs to understand the problems and issues of his customer allowing him to propose the best matching product. Still in order to give the customer the idea of choice two other products are added to the offering. Having only three products to compare the amount of data and information to be processed and digested is much lesser and thus easier to make a decision.

Decide what customers should buy

Don’t overload your customers with information and data by offering them too many choices. Limit yourselves to the strict minimum in your offering. Less is more.
Your sales will increase as you decide what your customer will buy.

Do you overload your customers with information and data about your entire product range ?
How successful has it made you ?

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How to compete against the market leader

Competing with the market leader is hard to do. However it is feasible.

Features

Competing with the market leader on features is an impossible mission as the product of the market leader has all the possible features.
So instead of a full featured product go for number of features that suit a specific market segment or allow for competing on price with less features.

Services

In most cases the market leader will only offer a standard service or no service at all.
You can compete by offering personalized services for implementation, deployment, training or support. This is where the market leader due to its’ size can’t compete.

Positioning

Find a way to position your product or solution differently.
This doesn’t need to be the features or service, but how you market your product or service. Take a different approach to the market for your marketing by not copying the market leader. Make sure you and your marketing stand out
Else with marketing similar to the market leader you won’t be noticed.

Holes

Investigate in order to find what is missing in the offering of the market leader or what market segment has been neglected.
What has been overlooked or neglected by the market leader should be your opportunity.

Taking these approaches you won’t directly compete with the market leader but you can win a market segment from them or access a market segment that hasn’t been exploited previously because it was too small, to low cost, too complex, too specialized for the market leader.

How do you compete with the market leader – or are you working for the market leader ?

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Why the more leads generated isn’t just better

Leads

We all are eager to get more leads. Each lead gets us some kind of thrill or adrenaline due to the perceived projected revenues and great future each can bring.
If possible we would like to grab all opportunities to generate leads.

Leads Quantity

However the more sales leads that are generated the more sales people that are required to follow-up as a salesman can only handle a certain amount of leads. The number of leads a salesman can effectively handle varies from business to business in the same industry and from industry to industry. The lead handling number per salesman depends on the kind of business, industry and revenue size of deals.

In most cases and for most businesses hiring more salesmen is just not possible as they need to get searched, found, evaluated and hired. An once a salesmen is hired, he needs to get training and gather experience in the market and with the customers or potential customers.
There is a limiting capacity problem to the number of leads a company can handle due to the limited number of sales people a company can support financially and manage.

Lead Qualification

Generating more leads is a good start, but implies that each lead before it gets passed on to the salesman requires decent lead qualification. This needs to be done systematically and using a uniform method across all leads of a company. If not then the salesmen will waste their time on leads having less potential.
Hence lead qualification is utmost important for the success and sustainability of any company.

Lead Quality

Instead of generating many leads requiring a large capacity in processing, qualifying and following up on all those leads, generating just quality leads is much more profitable and more beneficial for the company as it creates less overhead for the sales team.
The quest is to generate quality leads instead of a massive amount of leads. This requires to tune and target your marketing in order to get the best leads only. In order to achieve this you will need to define your type of quality leads and trial and error in order to find out what will generate the quality leads you need.
However as markets and customer requirements change and your products change too over time, this tuning and targeting will be continuous process.
Less is more.

Are you generating massive amount of leads or mainly quality leads?

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The perception in the purchase process

The perception that buyers or decision makers have of the salesman is important.
Besides the evident interest in the product or solution, people will also show interest in the image and external indicators of wealth and success.

The car of the salesman

If the salesman travels with an above average business-like car it indicates for most people the company and the salesman are successful. However if he parks his expensive saloon or sports car (Don’t posh with your Porche) in front of the building, people will associate high prices and possible rip-off. On the other hand if the sales rep drives a small budget car people assume business is not so good.

The clothes of the sales rep

The same applies to the clothing of the sales rep: just above average is good, whereas fancy, chic or expensive requires caution as the price will be too high. Way below average with cheap suits gives the perception of not so successful business.

The accessories of the business development manager

– Expensive watches versus normal or budget watches
– High end brands for portable computers vs common brands
– iPhones versus Android smart phones
– iPads vs a piece of paper

Subjects of interest

During the initial small talk more indicators for success or or lacking of success can be revealed by the use or comments on certain topics by the salesman. Even then he should be careful as people quickly get the wrong impression. Especially if there are several people present at the meeting: what please to one person or seems to please, can cause rejections amongst the other people in the meeting.
Not all people want to hear about the last golf holiday in an exotic location by the salesman as it can create jealousy and miss all possible sympathy.
If the salesman is into extreme sports he shouldn’t brag about as it will influence the perception for risk taking and being different.

The expected perception is required in the sales process

All these matters can generate a different perception by the influencers or by the decision makers leading to a change in the buying decision.
The image you portray of your self (and thus the company) should match the image your probable customer expects. Anything that differs from the normal expectation will be seen as an additional risk in the decision process.
Less can be more in sales.

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