Bridging the Gap to the Close Through Inbound Sales and Marketing

The process of sales and marketing is not new to us. It has always been there and traditional methods have been handled to tackle sales processes, especially inbound sales. The inbound sales representatives were never clear on their roles and in turn business was lost.

It is of utmost importance for your inbound sales representatives/agents to understand their roles and have knowledge about the company’s products and services. It means the agents must be able to manage the conversation with the client by understanding his needs and giving satisfying answers.

The following tips will help inbound sales agents and representatives to improve their inbound sales and achieve customer satisfaction.

  • Give agents a calling process – This means train your agent to answer the call politely and greet well. An automated response creates a gap and should be avoided. The response must show that the agent is listening to what the caller is saying. The next step would be to offer a solution in such a way that the customer believes in it and gets hooked up. This would also be the time to offer promotions and discounts. Thus starts your inbound sales process
  • Say Please – This is where your manners should ‘kick in’. Make sure you are using the word please and thank you in your conversation. It gives a personal touch and has an edge over automated responses
  • Blend telling and asking – A great conversationalist knows how to ask questions and give answers at the same time without irking the customer. This strategy is called the question/answer pair technique. For e.g. I would like to fill out your billing address. Could you please provide one?
  • Pronounce the name correctly – If you are doing business with American customers, you know pronouncing their names can be tough. You don’t want to offend a customer by pronouncing his name wrong. Try your best to pronounce the name correctly and immediately confirm by asking Did I spell that correctly? Another tip would be to listen when the client pronounces his name
  • Adjectives boost your inbound sales – Train your agents to use nice language. It does not mean throwing in jargon or using flowery language. It means practicing sentences that exactly describe your product by using adjectives which will engage the customer
  • Don’t be too pushy – A lot of orders get lost simply because the inbound sales agent was too pushy. If you pressurize the customer to buy your product instead of creating interest, the call is bound to get stopped sooner than later. It has to be a gradual process wherein you create interest and explain the value of the product
  • Be prepared to overcome objections – The use of word ‘but’ can send your efforts down the drain. Even if the customer says No to your product, don’t get discouraged and get into the ‘rebuttal’ mode. Instead empathize. Try to put a positive note in your question and ask if there was a specific concern that the customer had regarding the product

Conclusion

Inbound sales are fast becoming a backbone of today’s business world. If you work on your call handling skills, you are sure to have a happy customer. Needless to say, it is important that your sales agents take care of your customers who want to place an order from you. Pay attention and Listen up!

Are Your Sales and Marketing Strategies Working For You?

Have you been missing your sales target for more than a year? Are your competitors taking away most of your potential customers? Or are you perhaps simply looking for a bigger market base to sustain your business? One of the most innovative electronic sales and marketing solutions for all types of businesses could be your answer: e-commerce.

E-commerce is a one-stop online solution where businessmen like you can sell products, check inventories, promote products and services and communicate with other companies to manage your supply chain.

  • Benefits of e-commerce

In 2012, a medium-sized media company based in Ohio reported almost double income growth from the previous year when they improved their 20 online stores. It claimed that e-commerce was now their fastest-growing business.

E-commerce provides more benefits than just accepting orders. It has all the capabilities to offer a full back office support to companies and a comprehensive shopping experience to customers. The key areas of e-commerce are customer service, operations, technical systems, online merchandising and marketing. The media company exploited all these in their websites, and because of which they were able to build and accommodate more services.

E-commerce customer support provides online assistance and tutorials anytime a customer needs them. Because of the inherently fast-paced nature of e-commerce, customers are able to have their issues addressed much quicker than traditional methods.

Shopping cart is one of the most important applications in an e-commerce site. It is what customers use to view catalogs and make their purchases. It is also what connects them to the back operations and technical systems of the website. Not a few companies compete for customers by how their shopping carts look and perform. To get the best of both worlds, many of them go for custom module development and template installation.

Successful e-commerce sites make use of other features such as online content and blogs that contain tips and stories related to their line of business. This makes them more than just a shopping site, but a destination site as well.

Additionally, innovative marketing applications such as autoresponders, ad trafficking and affiliate programs help to draw traffic to a website. Businesses that are content on just selling merchandise and using minimal marketing features may find it hard to maintain and expand their clientele.

  • E-commerce gains in 2012

E-commerce has been helping many businesses find new success by making sales and marketing activities cheaper and more efficient. As more and more customers move away from physical stores to retail websites, companies are introduced to new opportunities for growth. In 2012 e-commerce sales in North America grew by 13.9% to $364.66 billion, compared to 2011′s $301.69 billion. This was according to eMarketer.com, one of the world’s leading provider of information related to trends in e-commerce and digital marketing. Furthermore they expect growth to top $409.05 billion by the end of 2013.

ComScore, another leading e-commerce analytics firm, estimated 2013′s first quarter retail sales in the US to be at $50.2 billion. Evidently there is great potential for growth for any company in e-commerce. This is supported by the fact that more people are shifting to doing business online not only in the US, but also across the Pacific.

If you are looking for ways to amplify the results of your sales and marketing strategies, try e-commerce, one of the hottest and most effective sales and marketing solutions for any business to date.

Why You Must Increase Sales and Marketing in a Recession

I have often read, and have heard many a pundit declaring that in a recession you must reduce your marketing spend. Based on my experience with previous recessions I have strongly opposed these views. I do have to say, that it is often very difficult for businesses to maintain their sales and marketing spend when times get tough. However, as you will see, the impact of a downturn in the economy plays havoc with established sales and marketing metrics. The effect of this should be to demonstrate clearly that in fact a company needs to increase its sales and marketing activity if it wants to survive a recession.    Philosophically this has always made sense, as for at least as long as we are going on a downward curve, there are more sellers than buyers. Those buyers, because they are short of money, will spend less on purchases to help them balance their reduced income. What I have tried to do is to quantify the effects of a recession on sales activity.

I have made some simple assumptions which are as follows:

1. To continue trading the company needs to achieve three sales in a month.

2. Its success rate from prospects to sales is 33%.

3. To get a meeting with a prospect requires ten cold calls.

So in a normal sales environment our simple model would deliver this: 100 Calls @10% Success Delivers 10 Prospects @33% Gives 3 Sales Essentially what we are saying is that you need to make 100 calls to get 3 sales. Now let’s assume we get some softening of the economy and things get more difficult so instead of getting 3 sales for ten prospects we only get 2. So to keep up our 3 sales per month we now need 15 meeting. Because the conditions are a bit tougher it gets a bit harder to get meetings and we now need to make around 16 calls to get an appointment. Suddenly our model looks like this: 250 Calls @6% Success Delivers 15 Prospects @20% Gives 3 Sales The result is that we now need to make 250 calls for our 3 sales.

Lets now go one step further and accept we’re in a full blown recession rather like we have now. Our success rate is half what it is in normal times (These new metrics based on the evidence from some of my clients and further anecdotal information). You end up with figures that look like this: 400 Calls @5% Success Delivers 20 Prospects @15% Gives 3 Sales You can see that the implication in this simple model is quite devastating. It’s clearly impossible to go from 100 calls per month to 400 overnight if at all or in the longer term find a regular 20 prospects per month. Typically sales will go down; just how far down depends on how well the sales team is managed and the local market (sector) conditions.

Many companies would soon exhaust they’re prospect list at that level of calling, which partly explains why it doesn’t happen. So how do we protect ourselves in these difficult times? Well first of all, don’t panic! Secondly, before you go rushing off to contact people, you need to understand where you are. What I mean by that is you have to have some of information about the current performance of your sales and marketing activities. Your baseline should be to understand what your current sales of metrics are. If you don’t have that information one simple way of creating some is to take the total number of bids, quotes, proposals you have made divided by the number you have won.

Next, make your marketing accountable, critically analyse the return on investment you get from your various marketing activities. In some cases this will be easy, for example if you use yellow pages or Yell.com you have their invoice which tells you the cost and you should be able to work out how much business you got from that investment. In simple terms than if your return is less than your investment, stop it. Stop it now if you can. If you can’t, stop it as soon as you can. With those more fuzzy situations where you spend time and effort rather than cash you must still assess where you get the best or least reward for your effort.

Only now that you have this information in your possession should you go out and up your marketing and sales. Using your new metrics as a guide you’ll need to adjust your activities accordingly. This simple exercise will have done two things; firstly it will have told you what your baseline is which will enable you to understand your effort to sales ratio. Secondly, it will have identified your most productive marketing channels. You now need to go out using those channels and communicate with your best customers, your good customers, and then the rest of your customers to identify sales opportunities. From here you need to move it into new business development.

Choose your best channels first as they are most likely to deliver the quickest results. And set yourself targets for activity to see what your new sales metrics are, and if you can, pursue them relentlessly. It will be tough in the early days, but if you stick at it while others fall by the wayside you will have created a stronger sales and marketing base to take you into the next upswing.