As part two of this Top influencers to watch post, here are 4 more that we think are worth watching because they do something clever.
5. Measuring how you progress with your sales (e.g. results) is the next important thing to consider. Digital Marketer’s Richard Lindner puts it right when he clears misconceptions around the Sales Funnel in his blog post (“How To Architect The Perfect Conversion Funnel For Your Business”).
“Conversion Funnel – A multi-step, multi-modality campaign that seamlessly and subtly leads a prospect toward a desired action. Let’s break this definition down…
- multi-step, multi-modality – You don’t turn cold prospects into leads, customers and multi-buyers all at once. A solid conversion funnel anticipates each step necessary to lead the prospect to the conversion.
- campaign – Depending on your business and what you sell, a conversion funnel can require all types of different elements… sales appointments, consultations, landing pages, email follow-up, phone follow up, visits to your store and more to accomplish the ultimate goal. The important thing to remember is that it’s a process, not a single event.
- seamlessly and subtly – A well-oiled conversion funnel removes the friction between the prospect and the conversion.”
CATEGORY #1: “Acquisition”
CATEGORY #2: “Activation”
CATEGORY #3: “Monetization” Funnels”
(click on the above link to read the whole post)
As you can see, without a consciously built up conversion funnel, there are no results to measure.
- To Do: develop (or review if you already have one) your conversion channel and test it, validate it!
6. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been around for a long time now, and more companies than ever have jumped on the CRM software/system/automation bandwagon. Essentially this is the software where you have space to input all your data and knowledge on a given customer and then track them as your sales team progresses along (with selling the given customer your offer). We at Leadberry believe that a great CRM software should be very much part of your business if you want a smoothly running business.
Pipeliner CRM’s CEO, Nikolaus Kimla, recently wrote a blog post on Sales Analytics and the Changing Role of Sales Management, in which he says:
“Ask any sales manager: putting sales forecasts together requires a lot of time. Because of this time factor, a very important aspect of sales management—coaching and mentoring of salespeople—is often reduced to a bare minimum of checking on various sales and pushing them along. Accurate and truly useable sales analytics—found in an intuitive CRM solution—can bring about positive changes in this scene if implemented correctly. With considerable time freed up, sales management can then focus on actually helping reps improve sales skills with mentoring and coaching. Through sales analytics, a sales manager can see each salesperson’s closing ratio. But instead of just noting these ratios, the sales manager can now put in the necessary time and effort to improve them. What happens when closing ratios improve? Overall sales improve also.”
Pipeliner’s CRM software allows modern businesses to navigate clearly through the complexity. Unlike traditional CRM, Pipeliner has moved well beyond the concept of a standard dashboard to more targeted and innovative ways of delivering instant intelligence to the user. Worth checking it out to help your business close more sales!
- To Do: think about your own CRM (if you have one) and how you could exploit it even more to your advantage.
7. Sales and marketing collaboration is trivial, yet many companies fail to syncronise their efforts when push comes to shove. We spoke of many things already in this blog post and those topics should all be a part of this collaboration, using technology to your advantage. There is, however a human factor that cannot be ignored.
Charles Bernard of Criteria for Success, a New York based sales strategy and sales enablement consultancy describes how they went from 1000 hits to over 20,000 hits per month in a few short years, connecting sales and marketing. He says the deeper understanding of Inbound, Content, Buyer personas, Workflows, Outbound and CRM, along with the use of a Sales PlayBook have vastly helped their efforts to win over more customers and improve their sales and marketing processes. Worth checking out: their free Sales Management Planning eBook as well!
“Both teams help each other to discover what our buyers want and how they want us to communicate with them. It involves analyzing data gathered by marketing, feedback received from recipients of our emails via our sales team, and constant revisions to our branding and messaging in our marketing and sales campaigns.” – highlights by Charles in his blog.
- To Do: review your marketing and sales processes and think of synergies and possibilities for an even tighter collaboration between the two. Use a Sales PlayBook to connect departments and create a seamless process.
8. As our final concluding point, let’s talk about lead generation and how it works. There are so many bloggers out there weighing in on this topic that it is hard to see the forest for the trees. You have inbound, outbound, social media, direct marketing, etc., etc. At the end of the day, you would kind of wish (expect?) that you knew where you leads come from. But to a large extent, you don’t. Hubspot ran a research lately trying to pinpoint where participating companies (in the research) attributed their leads, and this is what it looks like.
Jeremy Smith recently wrote a nicely rounded blog post on The Daily Egg, about what really works in lead generation, based on his experience and of the collective experience of others. This image below sums it up easiest:
- the importance of using social media strategically (how to use LinkedIn to your advantage and avoid over-use of Twitter)
- launch a consistent content marketing plan (we have touched upon that in this blog post as well)
- the importance of giving away tools for free (a kind of content marketing)
- and exploiting marketing automation’s possibilities.
So these are the influencers and blogs we thought should be on everyone’s radar, if you are in B2B sales and/or lead generation. If you liked it, please share it and let us know your thoughts!