Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hacking Sales Growth: The Pain

Who knew that there was a conference about Hacking Sales? Aaron Ross gave a presentation about "five fatal mistakes that companies can avoid that will boost their sales." One: Pick a Niche!!! How many times have I said that? You cannot afford to advertise to everyone and you cannot be everything to everyone -- otherwise it is about price.

What value do you bring to what subset of the marketplace? Target them. [What is your Elevator Pitch? Do the exercise.]

Who are your most valuable or profitable customers? Who has the highest lifetime value? Simple: Get more of them. On the flip side: who is your least profitable customer? Fire them - and stop duplicating them!

Remember that you don't need Everyone as a Customer. You need 1000 or 2000 or 5000 that can afford to pay you enough to make it profitable. The problem most people have with marketing is saying that some people just aren't a good fit. Learn to dis-qualify faster, so you can spend the limited amount of time and attention that you have with the most qualified prospects you can find (or who find you).

"Fatal sales mistake #3: Using Jargon and buzzwords". Trying to rank for UC or unified communications or hosted pbx is a waste of time. That isn't what people search for. Talk to your customers to find out what they do search for. Google analytics just shut off the organic search help feature so you will have to add a widget to get this info from your website visitors. (Look at Lijit.)

"A VP of sales at a startup should be willing to do sales themselves!" Any sales manager for an SMB should still be selling. Even a director of sales. Everyone needs to be selling -- pulling in revenue -- there are salaries to pay.

Cold Calling is Dying and Prospecting is Expensive. Sure. It would be great if all leads were inbound. It would be great if all it took was a fancy website, some old fashioned marketing and word-of-mouth to ring that phone with orders. It doesn't work that way, except for Amazon and Wal-Mart. The rest of us - K-Mart, Sears, JC Penney, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Winn-Dixie and so many more including you - need to design and turn on a marketing plan that gets executed on weekly. There has to be a Sales Plan as well. That Sales Plan has to include some social elements, networking, working referrals actively and customer retention. Customer Experience is something that salespeople need to be aware of and get feedback on.

Personally, I think cold calling isn't dead - it is harder and more expensive, but most people that do it are lazy, use robo-callers, no script, wing it badly and don't understand what they are doing. What is the goal of that call? get help. "It takes 6.25 hours to set a single appointment," says Jasper from taskus.

Email marketing is still king. It is about the list, the headline, the call to action, the offer - and most of all the value! Not every email is about you, your service and what they should buy. Some emails have to be just about providing value to your customers. If you are confused on this point - if your brow creased - you are NOT providing any value in your email. Stop! Now!

Retaining customers and growing wallet share of your customers is a huge part of profitability. You retain and grow by excellent customer service. Fanatical support.

One other twist on this is to examine your service to see if it is Remarkable or Awesome. If not, how can you make it so?

An interesting article about website metrics. However, don't get hung up on metrics. Be customer-centric. It's about the story, the searchability, and the progression. Huh? I know. The website copy is about the story that you are telling the prospect. The story that has to capture their attention in 6 seconds. And that Google's robots can find and want to index. Then it is about stepping the website visitor through the sales process - from interest to what do you want them to do next? Sign up for a newsletter, call you, join a webinar, get a white paper, what action?

And finally: how do they contact you NOW?!

It's about The Customers! See here.

More growth hacking.

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