Tag Archives: Leads

How Do You Optimize Your Sales Organization? Seven Points

Situation: A company currently has inside and outside sales teams, and coordinates efforts with SalesForce.com software. Their strategic initiatives are to double inbound leads, create a triage approach to new leads and to lower the cost of sales. How do you optimize your sales organization?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • When outside sales claims that they have limited band width, it is necessary to find how they are spending their time.
    • If they are not spending most of their time developing and closing sales, adjust the system so that they are concentrating their efforts in these two areas.
  • Decide what the sales teams are selling – set up the organization so that it complements the sales goals and objectives. Below are alternatives used by others.
  • One company has evolved “product managers” who are like sales engineers but more experienced. They are highly paid and highly skilled. They are business oriented, with good communication skills, well rounded, and have successfully closed sales.
    • In contrast, the role of this company’s “salespeople” is to follow up. Lower level salespeople are tasked with generating leads for the product managers
  • Another CEO observed that what the company has done up until now all has worked well. The question now is how to mature their system?
    • This company’s solution has been to use outsourced Inside Sales Support (ISS) based abroad to find prospects.
    • ISS personnel are teamed with and managed by the company’s salespeople. Salespeople develop their own system. The ratio is  1/1, but outside personnel are ½ time for each salesperson.
    • This allows the company to reduce services quickly if they become overwhelmed.
  • A third company uses a 3-tier system:
    • Prospect development.
    • Inside sales for lead evaluation.
    • Outside sales – get hot leads from inside sales, develop, close.
  • Consider this alternative: instead of a shotgun approach, target three accounts – Elephants. One company did this with an intense 6-month focus. The President and CEO drive these sales. The result: they have closed one, one is pending, and a third is likely to close.
  • Another CEO observed that the essential issue appears to be an efficiency problem.
    • Too much of the outside sales time adds limited value to marketing or the company.
    • Redirect their efforts to hunting.
    • Once an account is closed, sales is out of the picture. The customer transitions to the customer service organization for additional sales and service.

How Do You Manage Culture as You Grow? Six Solutions

Situation: A tech company has grown to twenty people. The CEO is concerned that if they grow much beyond this their culture will start to change. The principal question is whether team leadership structure will remain tight and focused, while teams will continue to be flexible and have fun. How do you manage culture as you grow?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Other companies have grown to twice this size and continue to increase their number of employees.
    • One uses component owners as leads, with people under them. Leads are more technical than managers and aren’t expected to be superb managers.
    • They grow middle managers organically instead of hiring from outside.
    • If an individual’s plate is full, give them the ability to delegate work to an up and comer.
  • Active communication has number limits.
    • The optimal functioning group is 7-12; higher functioning teams are even smaller with 7-8 members.
    • Create flexible teams that maintain communication pathways and culture.
    • Consider using reconfigurable space.
  • When one company grew from 25 to 60, they noticed that at 30 people it became difficult to track people; they needed to develop systems and internal management tools.
    • Much more attention was needed on sales forecasting and expense elasticity. The solution was to study peaks and valleys and built a model that could function within historic peak /valley limits.
  • How do you maintain the contractor pool?
    • Keep a list and actively communicate with them about current and anticipated needs.
    • One company’s rule: consultants are 100% billable – functionally they are only able to realize 98%, but the rule keeps this number high.
  • Use contractor pools to supplement project tasks. If your primary differentiating focus is on successfully closing projects, focus contractors on ramping new projects.
  • Hire people who embody you and your culture. Hire in your own image.

How Does Social Media Aid Sales Efforts? Three Factors

Interview with John Lima, CEO, Coffee Bean Technology

Situation: As with anything new, there are varying adoption rates for social media. Many top executives aren’t sure  how social media can improve their sales. How can social media effectively enhance sale efforts?

Advice from John Lima:

  • Business is about people, and people are increasingly using social media to connect with others and to express themselves. Social media platforms encourage us to be ourselves – to take off the business mask that we normally present to the world. This enables the savvy company to better know their customers.
  • First, social media enable you to find customers more quickly. Almost everyone is somehow connected to social media. The problem is the inefficiency of searching for them through LinkedIn, Facebook Twitter, etc. Software-assisted search makes this more efficient. Develop a customer Social ID: a profile of what you believe your customers interests and buying behavior to be to serve as your social media connector.
  • Second, find people who fit this profile and engage with them in social media. Let them bring their conversations and interest to you, and refine your Social ID as you gain additional information. This gives you insight into the person – who they interact with and what interests them – and enables you to approach them as a human being. Envision an open marketplace where people connect first and then tell their stories. This allows salespeople to quickly build empathy and smooths the sales process.
  • Third, your evolving customer Social ID can help generate new leads. As the Social ID becomes more sophisticated you can develop key words to find similar customers. Software robots use these key words to find relevant conversations in Twitter or Facebook and flag then for a sales person who can then dig deeper to determine whether the individual identified is a competitor or a prospect.
  • To make this work efficiently, you want to have an integrated system with a set of tools that allows you to cost-effectively sift through the millions of daily entries logged through social media.

You can contact John Lima at john.lima@coffeebeantech.com

Key Words:  Sales, Marketing, Technology, Social Media, People, Mask, Customer, Connect, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Software, Social ID, Follow, Profile, Empathy, Relationship, Trust, Leads, System

WOW – Great Press! Now what do we do? Five Follow-ups

Situation: We just issued a press release that generated great media coverage. This resulted in increased call traffic and “hits” to our web site. How can we to leverage this response into sales?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Everything starts with a Marketing Plan. Without a plan, there may be little that you can do right now. The most important benefit is that you’ve established a presence in your market that may make it easier to gain coverage from future press releases.
    • What can you do short-term? Try to use reverse DNS to look up the email addresses of those who recently viewed your site. These will enable you to send email materials to capitalize on interest once you have a plan.
  • Develop a holistic marketing plan, including incentives for prospective customers to respond to your product or service offering.
    • When your marketing plan is in place, send out a series of timed press releases to develop and maintain interest in your technology.
    • Feature your offering and incentives both on your web site and in non-web collateral for prospects and leads.
    • When interested customers respond by visiting your web site or calling, use the incentives to convert this interest into sales.
    • Put different response codes on web, snail mail and other collateral so that you can track the source of leads. This will tell you which channels generate the most and highest quality leads and will improve future planning, budgeting and allocation of resources.

Key Words: Press Release, Lead Management, Lead Conversion, Lead Tracking, Marketing Plan