Category Archives: Sales

How to use Sales Navigator to generate your prospect list

Every seller has two big challenges to find a qualified lead.

1.Finding the right contact

2. Starting a conversation with your prospect when you have their co-ordinates.

The first challenge is more to do with database. To an extent marketing can help you with getting email addresses and phone numbers by doing inbound and outbound marketing activities. But to have a real impactful database which has right information about the clients, you need to get your hands dirty. The second challenge is about how good you are in finding the right sales trigger events.  Sales trigger events are something which can fetch you an immediate qualified prospect.

If as a sales person you are struggling with these two challenges and are not using LinkedIn sales navigator, then you definitely will end up having a bad sales pipeline.

Assuming you have a complete and optimized profile, below are the steps you should follow in order to make most of your prospecting using LinkedIn :

Step 1 : Prepare a target account list : Doing an Advanced search on linkedin can help you to give an approximate size of your database. For ex. in US geo, there are more than 1000 accounts with employee size of 200-1000 and revenue between 100M – 900M for all industries..  You can further narrow down your search by filter the results with industries, growth etc.

Step 2: Prepare a lead list : Save the above search and then start finding the relevant people. You can find them based on their titles, job roles etc.  This will appear in your Lists as below :

Step 3 :  Use TeamLink : You still don’t have any contact information of  your leads. You may think of sending invitations / writing InMails. This may not give you immediate results. For immediate results you should use TeamLink feature of LinkedIn Sales Navigator.  TeamLink feature helps you to utlizie the power of your entire team’s network. With this information, you can easily see who can help you connect with potential leads and make a warm introduction. For example : in the below screenshot the lead can be introduced by 4 people. You can either “Ask for intro” or get their contact information.  You got to be patient with this because there is no instant gratification using this method.

image

Step 4:  Look Sales Triggers :  To begin with use the Sales Alerts feature of Sales Navigator , which is on the left side in the Home Page of your account:

imageSales triggers are the events which can help you start a “meaningful” conversation with your leads. You don’t need to pitch your services/products. You just need to look for an opportunity to get their attention and start have a conversation.

Step 5 : Create , curate and publish content :  You would have heard this many times from many people about the importance of publishing content and being consistent.  We all understand it, but struggle to remain consistent. From my own experience, publishing contents can help you succeed almost immediately. By publishing content in 3 consecutive days, I got a jump of 9% in my Social Selling Index :

imageIf you are really looking for a formula to succeed in Social Selling them then here it is :

The more you interact with people, better the chances are you will get a qualified lead. 

People fail in Social selling because they lack planning and they want instant gratification. Both are detrimental and if practiced for long will soon derail your focus. You got to track the important numbers and you also have to focus on consistency. Remember, sales is all about consistency.

3 ways of making an unresponsive prospect speak

I have always believed, prospecting is the toughest part of sales. When you have closures and qualified leads, you are ecstatic, you are focused and just everything in the world seems perfect. You think you can do wonders in your career. But when you don’t have a pipeline, that’s when you start feeling the pinch of Sales.

So the question is why prospecting is the toughest part of sales. Because it’s frustrating to find a person who has a genuine need and most of the times prospects don’t turn up. They will not answer your call, they will avoid your emails. And you will end up making that “one last attempt” when a prospect will answer your call or email.

So in this post, I am going you 3 tips to make a prospect speak.

  • Understand the purpose you want to talk to that person : Quite often it happens that we end up putting a lot of efforts behind a prospect without even knowing why do we want to talk to him. Sometimes we wan to talk to them because he of his designation, because of the brand of the company, because he might have responded to our marketing campaigns or may be even silly, because we have the phone number.
    That shows disrespect to the prospect and the lack of  preparation at your end.  Remember the purpose of  prospecting depends on products/service you are trying to sell. There should be namely 3 purpose of you reaching out to the prospect :

    • Fixing a meeting
    • Establish familiarity
    • Getting more info
    • Closing a deal
  • Try different touches and tactics  : Don’t call any customer to an extent that he will not just respond to you, but he become unresponsive to your entire organization and want to blacklist it . If you think that prospect is so valuable, try other channels like Facebook, linkedin, their blog etc.  It’s also important to add a value to your conversation on social media.  What you are doing is trying to find a trigger event in the conversation where the customer finally notices you and thinks you are not trying to just sell something to him. For example you can do following :
    • Send him a whitepaper
    • Send him an invitation to a marketing event related him industry or topic of interest
    • Keep your LinkedIn timeline uncluttered to get updates only from the people truly matter to you
    • Join their groups
    • Send personalized birthday wishes etc
    • Contribute to the content they post
  • Stick to the basics : LinkedIn is not a tool which will give you closures or where deals are possible to be closed. That’s very unlikely. Use linkedin to grow your brand value, establish yourself as an expert in your field. And you do that curating and creating content. There are sellers who don’t update their linkedin profile for ages and just keep on sending linkedin requests, which is of no value. Some of the best practices which you can do are :
    • Try to find the Teamlink connections and request your colleagues to introduce you to the person you are trying to get in touch with
    • If you have any shared connections, use them as reference to break the ice
    • Use InMail as the last resort to get in touch with the prospects, as you will lose credits if you don’t get a reply and they will not reply you if there is no value for them.

Prospecting is painful but this is the cost you bear to earn success in Sales.

How to start “Insight Selling” ?

Consider you got a call from a sales person.

Hi Sir !!! I am calling from a company ABC and do you have plans of buying a TV ? It’s a 50” TVs, on which you can play YouTube, browser internet, check emails and we will give you a 20% discount.

After sometime you got another call from some other sales person

Hi Jai, I noticed that  recently you went to see your favorite movie, but you missed it because of traffic.  How about creating a theater like experience  for you at your home and that too without compromising on your holiday plan.  All I need is 10 mins to discuss to tell you how.  Would you be available in the evening ?

Which one you think has more chances of a positive out come? Which type of seller are you ?

A lot has been changed in Sales because of internet and technology advancement. There has been 3 types of Selling techniques :

1. Alligator Selling : Selling happens based on features and quite honestly how loud you can shout in a market place. 

This is an old style selling technique only because it’s difficult to achieve competitive differentiation. Competitors can easily come up with the same features and quite honestly in no time they will bring something better than you.

2. Solution Selling: Selling happens because of your understanding of customer’s issue.

That’s what’s happening right now. But this selling technique is becoming archaic because there are lot many who are doing this. To understand customer’s issues sellers ask open-ended questions and trust me there are many who are asking lot of questions to the prospects. They have got irritated with them because they themselves can find the answers online and they don’t have time to be questioned by many.

3. Insight Selling :  Selling happens because of your intelligence.

As I said, there are lot many who are asking questions to the prospects to an extent that they just don’t want to give time. To be heard you need to say something which is useful

Insight selling is based on 4 factors and how well you understand them.  And to excel in these you need 4 qualities: persistence, knowledge, patience and building your own brand.

Industry

What you need to know ?

Focus on how the industry is changing, where is it  heading and what are the influencing factors ?

How can you do this ?

The best way is to create a list of few players from that industry. Then try to connect with them on LinkedIn.  Also, if you have Sales Navigator save those accounts to get regular feeds from them.  You should also think of finding a mentor from that industry if possible.

Technology

What you need to know ?

If you are a seller, you still need to be technical and have good understanding of the technology. I went to a TV store and asked the person what’s the difference between a Smart TV and  an Internet TV. Similarly if you  are in IT let’s say you are handling a Blockchain consulting services, you must understand Blockchain. You ofcourse don’t have to be a programmer.

How you can do that ?

Just develop the curiosity. You can find plenty of resources around. You can use Udemy, Udacity, other MOOCs, or you can get a book, magazine etc. The only thing you need is a curiosity of how things work.

Competition

What you need to know

Your understanding of your competitor’s offerings should be as good as yours. Customers do a lot of research online and they are already 70% ahead in their buying journey. You can’t fool them.

How should you do it ?

If there are certifications available, do it. If possible consume their offerings too. Don’t ignore the people who are already using your competitors’ offering.

Buyer

What you need to know ?

The more you know them, then better it is.  You should atleast know about their past experience, their job profile, their education and their personality.

How should you do it ?

Connect with them on LinkedIn.  Try to find a reference.  Follow them on Twitter and yes, if they don’t have an immediate requirement, just be updated with what they are sharing and keep the interaction going on.

Recognize Sales as a process

 

My professor used to say “If the process is in place, results will fall in place for sure“. Quite often we the sales community overlook the importance of process and focus too much on what’s the end result.  If you are one of those who really want to exceed in sales and improve the pipeline then you must step back for a moment and think what is it that can  be improved at every stage of the process.

Every sales is different, every company is different and so will be the corresponding pain points.  If you belong to a start up or let’s say you have a niche’ product/ service then for a sales process the typical use case would look like this :

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Engagement
  4. Purchase

A sales person should plan everyday so that all his activities fall in one of the below categories. You can’t just surpass one and step on to next. For this you also need to hone your skills to progress your prospects from one stage to another.

Awareness

Building awareness has two components :

  • Awareness of who you are : You want people to recognize you and remember you. This is something which you will live with forever. Who you are as a person ? What qualities you have? The best way to express that is to tap in to Social Media. Don’t think that you will spend sometime on LinkedIn and you will get some leads or closures. Not that’s not going to happen. Use it as a tool to know people and let people know you.   Show your expertise, share your views, start a discussion, contribute to a community by creating some valuable content.  That’s when people will know you and it will be easy for you to break the ice.
  • Being aware about what you sell : A lot is done by the marketing team of the company you are working for. But never assume that what you company is doing is enough for you. People are busy and they are always on to something else until they face some challenges.  You job must be keep people educated about the challenges which may or may not happen. And in case it happen you are the one to whom they should come for solutions.

But can you control this. YES, you can. Make a plan of how you will be spreading the awareness.  Make a plan to enhance your skills.

Consideration

I get thrilled when someone reach out to me out of the blue moon with a requirement without me putting any effort at that point of time. It happened recently to me that one of partner from Mumbai replied to the email I sent to him in 2016 about SAP HANA. We had a casual conversation and after that we never spoke.  Once people are aware of you and what you sell and if you are talking to the right person, he will come back to you. That’s your consideration.

But can you control this. NO. You can’t.

Engagement and Purchase

All that we need to succeed in  Sales is a good pipeline  of qualified leads.  Once you have it you don’t win or lose alone. There is a whole team which helps you out.  Just focus on the dialog to happen and getting in front of someone who is qualified to buy what you are selling.

You don’t have control on every aspects of Sales, but you can certainly your sales process to a large extent. Don’t let anything deter your focus from building a solid pipeline which starts with you reaching out to as many people as possible.