Here’s the obvious…things have changed. Companies are still trying to figure out what to do, how to stay afloat, how to handle customers, how to grow, and how to operate differently (think doctors, schools, athletes, musicians, farmers markets, etc). Given this directional change, sales is still the foundation of sustainability and growth, so reaching your customer in different ways is required. In fact, many companies are pivoting completely to enter new markets right now. Look at distilleries that are pivoting to make hand sanitizer. Or, how about a Columbus startup, Aunt Flow, that’s pivoting to manufacturing and distributing PPE supplies. Pivots are one way to handle the kind of changes we’ve experienced. Another way is re-engineering your sales efforts.
Have you heard the term inside sales? It was originally called telemarketing, and now has many names you’ve likely heard such as telesales, sales support, virtual sales, business development, digital sales, etc. Regardless of what it’s called, the practice has been around for years and many companies see massive revenue gains and efficiencies from an inside sales strategy. This is becoming more normal as everyone went home and sellers had to adapt to selling remotely. Whether you are being forced to embark upon this strategy or opting to continue a growth model focused on it, here are a few things to consider to better optimize your planning and execution.
This has been the conduit to a successful inside sales strategy as it allows us to connect to buyers through many different channels such as phone, email, video, text, social, and direct mail (some really cool tech around this from Sendoso, SendOutCards, Thanks.io, etc). We are also seeing technology deliver speed we’ve never seen before. Companies are building growth strategies remotely by hiring people in other states and countries to grow their business, incorporating technology to do it at scale, and closing deals through multiple channels. Suddenly, a few people can leverage tools like Seamless.ai and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to quickly build a contact list of relevant buyers. Then add in sales acceleration tools like SalesLoft, Outreach, Connect and Sell, and /or Exceed.ai to launch an outbound acquisition strategy. Sprinkle in a little Zoom and Salesforce and you’ve got a connected tech stack enabling you to acquire customers from the comfort of your living room!
Focusing everything in your strategy around your buyer WINs (Wants, Interests, Needs) and is the only way companies will continue to succeed and dominate. Omnichannel is a word that’s used more frequently now and it’s because buyers want to communicate through the channel they prefer, not necessarily the one you prefer. It’s reshaping the golden rule. No longer is it “treat people the way you want to be treated” it’s “treat people the way THEY want to be treated.”
Now more than ever, companies need to relate the value of their products and services to the pain points of their buyers. Solve a problem or go away! Nothing is truer in sales. Often you aren’t just competing with a vendor, you are competing against the status quo and other internal priorities. So how do you stand out? Exploit the problem! Is the problem big enough and does it hurt enough for them to want to take time and money to solve? How are you going to solve that problem? This is where your value proposition comes into play. There are acronyms like ICR (interest creating remark), UPS (unique positioning statement), UVP (unique value proposition), etc and they essentially mean the same thing. How are you credible in solving major problems for your buyer?
Here’s an example, “We’ve helped accounting teams reduce errors by automating these three key tasks…A, B, and C, and seeing operational reductions of 40%-55%. One client specifically, purchased our X package and, within 180 days, paid for the system in savings.” The more specific you can relate your message to a buyer problem (ie from the example above, accounting errors and manual tasks) the better foundation you have to build from. Think about these types of messages during outreach, during demos, during presentations, objection handling, proposal review, you name it.
This is, by and large, one of the most overlooked strategies in many organizations I’ve seen. You want speed? Attack the market where you have the highest probability of serving (relating buyer pain to your value proposition). You want volume? Attack the market you have the highest probability of serving. You want marketing, testimonials, long term value clients, etc? Yes, you got it, attack the market you have the highest probability of serving.
Doing this isn’t too difficult, but requires data. Who are your best customers (most profitable, highest revenue, longest buying, etc)? What problems did you solve for them? Are there common denominators in geography, size of customer, industry, etc? Those are a few things to consider about customer value, or lifetime value (LTV). The flip side to that coin is customer acquisition cost (CAC). How long did it take and at what cost to acquire those customers? Sometimes it takes longer but is less expensive. Sometimes it’s more expensive and shorter. And other times it’s expensive and long! So, which customers do you want, how quickly do you want them, and how much are you willing to pay? The more data you have relating to CAC and LTV the more you can streamline your list building process, create outreach strategies, and ultimately stack the deck to grow your revenue in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
Covid-19 and remote work have changed the way we do sales, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Investing in the right technology to reach your target market can make remote sales not only possible but better than ever. If you’re looking for a sales support technology but nothing offers you exactly what you need, consider investing in a custom software built for your specific needs. AWH works with Startups, Mid-market companies, and corporate innovation leaders to build custom digital products. Your sales pipeline doesn’t have to suffer just because your team is remote, but your team does need to pivot to take advantage of our new working environment. During these unprecedented times make sure you have the right technology, messaging, and segmentation for competitive advantage.
-Written by Ed Porter, a guest author who is passionate about sales, leadership, and helping businesses improve.