Start it @kbc talked with startup Salesflare about what they think are the six most important things to keep in mind when trying to sell something. After all, their achievements are quite impressive! Amongst others, they…
… were voted the #1 CRM on Product Hunt.
… got a 20% month-over-month revenue growth since their public launch.
… service big and innovate players, such as the Silicon Valley-based company Udacity: an online university that’s valued at over 1 billion dollars!
So, yes. These guys definitely have to tell something about the ins and outs of selling successfully. Today, we start with their first tip, but make sure to follow our blog for the five following ones!
Tip 1: Use a Sales Pipeline
The basics of selling are straightforward. People have a problem – and you guide them towards your solution. Simple, right? Right.
No. Because you know what? Humans aren’t simple at all. Au contraire: they excel at complicating things, especially when it comes to making decisions. So, it’s up to you to guide your prospects through the complexities that come with decision-making. You’ll have to go back-and-forth and get your prospect to take micro-decisions, so you can proceed to the next stage of the selling process.
A sales pipeline is a framework that helps you manage all of that. It’s a visual and organized way to keep track of your potential buyers as they move through the different stages. It’s a way of thinking that forces you to streamline your ways into a repeatable and measurable process with clear steps. This will create a shared understanding that will make sales more actionable and scalable.
Boiled down to its essence, the pipeline metaphor can be used for any kind of relationship building, not just sales. You can use it to manage investors, employees, influencers, resellers and just about anything that involves a type of relation linked to a goal. We even heard of people using it to manage their dating lives…
And you know what the best thing about this pipeline is? You don’t necessarily need a CRM to get started with it: a good old spreadsheet will do. Here’s a template to get you in the game. It covers all the basics of sales pipeline management and will do as long as you’re not dealing with, let’s say, more than ten potential customers at a time.
2. Focus on relationships
Sales today are a complex matter. A jungle of channels has taken the place of simple face-to-face chats. Everyone is screaming as loud as they can and ads are literally following people around. This noise is considered a big problem in sales and marketing today.
But you know what? These difficulties are nothing but opportunities in work clothes. Master this complexity to serve the customer and you’ll have an edge over everyone else.
All you need to do, is stop pushing your product and start being human. Develop trusting relationships with as many people as possible. People trust other people, not companies. Think about it: would you rather buy from someone you know or from a Google ad that’s following you around everywhere you go?
Numbers show that 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, whereas only 12% of sales people make more than three contacts. Relationship building is as much a long-term strategy as it is a proven winner, but it’s not for everyone. Make the most out of every contact and build real connections. Don’t be salesy and avoid selling early.
3. Be where your customers are
To build relationships with your customers, you first have to know where they are. This has actually become easier because you can just do it from behind a computer. Find out where your customers look for answers and where they spend their time.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a no-brainer here. Looking for answers and Googling are almost synonyms to each other. Make no mistake: SEO is hard work. You’ll have to do keyword research, craft quality content, optimize your website and gather backlinks. But with 3,5 billion Google searches being made every day, you cannot afford not being findable. Kissmetrics’ comprehensive guide for beginners is a great place to start.
Google is just the first step, for both the customer and yourself. Find out where your industry or niche is being talked about. LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, HackerNews and review websites attract a great deal of customers in search of answers.
Look for these channels, try them out and see where your message sticks. Follow influencers and prospects on Twitter, connect them with on LinkedIn. Get into the conversation, build up authority in your content and trust in your relations. If you’re the one making their lives better, you’re already halfway to a sale.
Last but not least: Facebook. People spend about an average of 50 minutes every day on Facebook. It’s probably the fastest platform to build your know, like, and trust factor. In other words: the fastest platform to sell and a frictionless sales funnel. Existing Facebook Groups are a great way to find customers. Take it one step further and create your own.
Running a thriving Facebook Group will make you a thought leader. You’ll be able to influence a lot of people and reach your target market with zero money spent. Note that this won’t be walk in the park. Just getting a Facebook Group going takes effort, strict rules and regular quality content. Here’s a great resource from online marketing expert Neil Patel to get you started.
4. Data is king
The jungle of channels leaves clues everywhere. Pick them up and put them together to get to know your customers inside out.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great place to look for prospects. Filter on geography, role, industry, experience and company size to get leads that fall in your target group. Connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter, target with cold emails and/or Facebook ads. Possibilities are endless.
Use metrics to further refine your buyer persona and measure success of marketing channel strategies. Combined with UTM-links, Google Analytics can tell you exactly where your website’s visitors come from and what pages they browsed for how long.
5. Automate away
The robots are coming. Embrace them. Today’s technology makes it possible to run most mindless tasks automatically. And with less admin work, you can focus your time and energy on establishing human relationships. This is key to becoming a master of the channel jungle, and enables you to spend your time and energy on human relationships that matter.
For example: you can fill up a tool like Mixmax with email addresses and have it automatically send out a sequence of three emails over the course of, let’s say, a week. If the recipient replies to the first one, the sequence stops and the recipient is added to your CRM. A notification in Slack informs your team of the new sales lead.
This kind of automation among different productivity tools is possible with Zapier. It’ll make your apps work together without you having to lift a finger.
If you’re unsure of how your sales and marketing process can be automated, feel free to check with Salesflare co-founder Jeroen, he’s always up for a chat.
6. Always stay human
The goal of automation is to enable you to have a bigger impact on human relationships. This is where you can make a real difference. Avoid becoming a sales robot yourself at all costs!
Be original and make people laugh. Both business and live in general are often too serious. People appreciate it if you give them a break. Humor works like a charm to lighten the mood and spark engagement. Memes and GIFs are as funny in business context as they are among friends — if not more.
The one channel that allows most for easy human connection is chat. People love to talk and chat is the easiest way to strike up a conversation online. Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or others: take your pick.
For your website or app, consider installing a realtime-chat tool like Intercom, LiveChat or Drift. People are more likely to just start chatting to look for answers than to go through the hustle of typing up an email.