Learning from Existing Customers

One of the best ways to figure out how to structure your offer is to talk to some of the people who’ve already bought from you. Call them on the phone and say, “What was it about this product that you like? Why did you buy in the first place? What was appealing about it to you? What are some of the best benefits you’ve … [ Read more ]

Hire Two Salespeople at a Time

Spanning’s Jeff Erramouspe likes to hire salespeople in pairs. “You spend the same energy training one sales rep as two,” he says, “and it promotes healthy competition from the start.” It’s also a hedge against high turnover: “You don’t want to spend all that effort and be back where you started.”

Understanding Your Product-Market Fit

Interview Last 5–10 Lost Sales Prospects

Ask your sales reps to give you a list of customers that fit your target profile, but for some reason the deal was lost. Send a quick email and ask them to spend 15 min of their time to understand why they went the other way. If needed, give them a $20 Starbucks gift card. The goal here is to … [ Read more ]

How Effective Is Your Current Message?

Product-market fit is all about finding a product that solves a problem and a message that resonates with your target customers. Evaluate internally and externally whether your current message is consistent and effective.

Internal Evaluation: How consistent is your sales team in communicating product value?

The following exercise is a great way to get a quick understanding where your sales team stands. Send each of your sales … [ Read more ]

Create a Sales War Room for Better Post-Merger Integration

After a merger, it is a mistake to expect sales reps on their own to address all of the inevitable questions from customers and tactics of competitors. Unfortunately, sales managers are often too preoccupied with integration issues, so the front line is left to its own devices.

To resolve this problem, successful acquirers create a temporary sales war room, or interim leadership group. Led by two … [ Read more ]

Introduce a Secondary Domain for Better Email Inboxing

By creating multiple sending domains, email marketers have a great opportunity to increase inboxing as a result of segmentation.

First, marketers can use multiple domains to mail different subscriber segments (more and less engaged) or different types of campaigns (one domain dedicated to marketing campaigns, another dedicated to support emails, a third dedicated to triggered, etc.)

Domain separation also helps maintain a consistent deliverability rate by setting … [ Read more ]

Listening to and Using Customer Feedback

Global manufacturer 3M has collected thousands of reviews and comments from more than a dozen retail sites and mobile apps, as well as Facebook postings, using them to improve marketing campaigns or create new ones. In one case, the company’s Precision Ultra Edge nonstick scissors were selling below expectations. 3M changed its product copy, quoting the language consumers used online (“they’re great for cutting fabric … [ Read more ]

Surprise Your Best Customers When They Least Expect It

Surprise your best customers when they least expect it. A guerrilla marketer mails lottery tickets to her best customer every time the jackpot hits $5 million. This unusual gesture generates a lot of goodwill and keeps customers talking about her.

A Frequency Opt-Out

Consider adding a frequency opt-out option to the standard “fine print” at the bottom of every electronic mailing. Instead of just seeing an unsubscribe link, recipients can take their choice between that and an option to reduce frequency, which reads: “If you would like us to decrease the frequency of the emails sent to you, click here. This will reduce the number of mailings by … [ Read more ]

Foment a Fun and Fast Fundraiser

That’s how firefighters in the town of Toluma got a badly-needed but expensive piece of equipment, a deluge gun, without asking their cash-strapped city council for a single dime.

Here’s how. Business was slow all over their town. The firefighters were getting nowhere when they asked for donations from business owners experiencing a weak economy.

Yet when they approached the manager of a Pizza Hut he said … [ Read more ]

Improving the Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

If you have a disparate relationship between sales and marketing and want to get it together in rapid order than try the following gambit that has worked for Mark Walker, Head Coach of Marketing Whisperers, Ltd.

Give the sales team carte blanche to build an outline for a Marketing ROI model – without any marketing input. They will love it! Then tell the marketing team … [ Read more ]

Collect All the Testimonials You Will Ever Need

We’ve all seen those generic testimonials that are totally contrived: “Oh wow, this is the best product I ever bought and it changed my life forever!” You need real testimonials, and the best source is people that have bought your products. Send them an email that says, “Hey, hope things are going well. So happy to see how everyone is doing.” Then tell them to … [ Read more ]

Telling Your Company’s Story in Video

There’s a new story at your business every day. Maybe you dreamed up a great idea or shot down a bad one. Maybe a customer surprised you with the way he or she uses your product. Perhaps a client or an employee came to you with a suggestion for something you’d never thought of before.

There are hidden opportunities in these everyday moments. They make great … [ Read more ]

Hunting vs. Farming in Sales

It’s easy for organizations to fall into the habit of seeking sales growth only through existing customers. Even though the sales force is typically best placed to find and approach potential clients, individual reps may shun the uncomfortable task of cold-calling in favor of selling to customers they know well.

One large distributor of auto parts tried tackling this problem by separating these activities. Its … [ Read more ]

Create an Owner’s Manual for Your Product or Service

Every business, product, or service can and should create their version of an operating manual that contains various forms of higher education delivered in a variety of available formats and mediums.

Here are some specific ideas that might get you started producing your manual:

  • Create a getting-started guide for your product, company, or service
  • Create a series of how-to videos and promote the

[ Read more ]

Use Humor

Use your sense of humor to add a positive experience to the sales call. People love to laugh and feel good. If you don’t have a sense of humor, your prospect is not someone to practice on. Sarcasm, joke telling and self-deprecating humor leaves you on thin ice. I’ve seen sales people crash and burn with an underdeveloped sense of humor. If you use … [ Read more ]

Stream of Commerce Model

What we’re saying is if you’re going to message somebody, if you’re going to advertise or whatever you want to call this new medium, the best time to do it is right in that stream of commerce. So you go to that site to sign up for a paid subscription. It’s $21 a year. That’s a great time to say, when their wallet is now … [ Read more ]

Monitor and Exercise Control Over International Distributor Sales

When exporting a product, it is a smart practice to ask a distributor what they anticipate selling in the first year. Then, request that their first order be 20% of that anticipated volume, prepaid, which allows them the opportunity to have exclusivity. You should expect the balance of projected sales to be ordered during the rest of the year (preferably in quarterly periods), with each … [ Read more ]

Surefire methods to build your word-of-mouth business

  • Offer incentives for referrals that turn into business. They can be in the form of discounts on future business, free estimates or samples, or just plain cash. Even a small offer will catch their attention.
  • Create a referral form, and send it to clients or customers with your invoice for services rendered. If you’ve done a good job, the time to leverage yourself is

[ Read more ]