This laconic quote hits the nail on the head and distills the essence of prospecting.
But, what if you, a sales rep, are that person with the problem?
Ironically, 42% of salespeople singled out prospecting as is their biggest challenge in the sales process. It comes before closing (36%) and qualifying (22%). The list goes on as there’s a number of other struggles and hurdles to overcome if you want to hit that monthly quota and bring in revenue.
The outcome? An average salesperson spends more than two-thirds of their time dealing with non-revenue generating activities, which means that they can dedicate only 36% of their weekly schedule to their prospects and selling.
Being in this business for more than 15 years, we at Autoklose have had our fair share of these challenges, which actually prompted us to create our automation platform and help all of you out there do your job.
Lead Generation Finding new leads for your business and turning them into customers is a complicated process, especially in the B2B industry where people often have a hard time identifying a problem and finding the right solution.
Get Them to Respond
a) a carefully crafted, compelling offer,
b) an effectively communicated USP,
c) a catchy subject line,
d) a CTA which your prospects can’t help but click.
Failure to Follow Up Stats say that the sweet spot for getting a response from your prospect is situated between the 5th and 7th attempt. And yet, many sales reps (44% according to some surveys) give up only just one follow up.
Smarketing Alignment… a reliable Smart Lead Scoring system that identifies when leads are sales-ready and notifies you, meaning that your sales department will get only prospects that are worth their time and energy.
Too Much Administrative Work Sales reps spend less than 36% of their time actually selling. This means that they’re up to their ears in paperwork. Use automation tools to streamline reporting and data-entry tasks, don’t insist on unnecessary meetings, and free up your sales reps’ time.
1. Lead Generation
Finding new leads for your business and turning them into customers is a complicated process, especially in the B2B industry where people often have a hard time identifying a problem and finding the right solution. The thing is that you need to educate them before you can even start pitching.
However, you can’t just start sending your email campaigns and newsletters to random email addresses that you’ve come across on the internet. That’s the part that everybody knows, but where can a new startup find contact information about their potential customers and inform them that there’s a product or service they might be interested in?
Many of them resort to buying lists on the internet which is the worst possible scenario. These lists are usually full of incomplete, outdated, and generally bad information which means that your delivery and open rates will plunge, not to mention that this is a surefire way to be declared a spammer and get blacklisted by your ISP. Namely, ISPs are using defunct or dormant email addresses as honeypots for capturing shady marketers who flood their recipients’ inboxes with useless and invaluable emails.
So, these generic lists will only pollute your CRM with all that dirty data.
Ok, so we’ve established that this practice is a big no-no, which leaves you clueless as to where to find the good, reliable data which will help you find fresh, quality leads and grow your business.
Autoklose comes with an interesting feature – DataUnlimited.
It’s actually a huge database, packed with millions of clean, relevant B2B data which you can use for your lead generation efforts. Every single contact we provide has been verified both manually and with the help of our sophisticated proprietary technology.
DataUnlimited is also super useful when it comes to segmenting your contact lists because you can apply different filters and pick the location, position, seniority level, and industry. There are advanced filters too, so you can refine your search and find exactly the profiles you want for your email campaigns.
Of course, that’s not the only way to start generating quality leads with Autoklose.
You can also run campaigns with your existing contacts, import .CSV files with contact information, and add contact information manually. So, we’re offering you 4 different ways for generating leads, all accessible from our intuitive dashboard. To cut the long story short, this easy-to-use campaign manager will help you fully control your outreach.
2. Get Them to Respond
The first issue on our list of common issues faced by sales reps has been successfully solved. But that’s just the beginning of your sales cycle, and if you want to actually land more clients and make more sales, you need to roll up your sleeves and get your prospects to actually open your email, read it, and preferably take an action.
The recipe for this is pretty straightforward.
- a carefully crafted, compelling offer,
- an effectively communicated USP,
- a catchy subject line,
- a CTA which your prospects can’t help but click.
Basically, you need to offer your potential customers something of value. This can be a useful blog post which is addressing their issues, a helpful industry report, a how-to video showing them a helpful procedure, a discount or free trial, or anything that they might find interesting.
So, you need to understand your target audience and know what makes them tick if you want them to press that CTA button in your email.
These four ingredients can be difficult to mix properly, so we can exactly say that this is a piece of cake.
Just imagine how many companies out there are trying to find their way to your prospects’ inboxes, which means that you’ll need to do your best to stand out from that crowd.
A proper subject line holds the key to capturing your recipients’ attention, and we’ve already discussed what constitutes a catchy and compelling subject line. To put it in a nutshell, we’ll quote Shakespeare and his “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And one more thing – subject lines formulated as questions perform better than those in the form of a statement.
As for the body of your email, it’s also important to be concise and to-the-point, because, remember, your prospects are busy professionals and they don’t have time to read novels. To learn more about creating high-converting email copy, check our blog post with more details on the topic.
We’ve already mentioned that you need a CTA which will be striking both in terms of wording as well as its visual appeal. Another disclaimer: don’t use more than one offer and CTA per email. That is, unless you want to confuse your prospects. And, as you might guess, we’ve covered this topic too, so find more instructions about crafting a successful CTA here.
However, sometimes we’re in a hurry or simply can’t find the right words, let alone think of a witty and gripping subject line.
Quick solution — if you opt-in to get a free trial -today- you’ll get access to a number of premade, high-converting sales email sequence templates suitable for different business situations. Simply pick the one you like, customize it, and add it to your campaign.
3. Failure to Follow Up
Stats say that the sweet spot for getting a response from your prospect is situated between the 5th and 7th attempt. And yet, many sales reps (44% according to some surveys) give up only just one follow up.
This means that you need to be persistent if you want to hear that “yes” eventually. But, persistent doesn’t always mean pushy and aggressive. Finding the balance is tricky, but hey, if they don’t tell you “Call me or email me one more time and I’m getting a restraining order!” you’re good to go. Also, people who don’t unsubscribe practically give you their blessing to keep on sending your offers and newsletters.
So, what stops you?
That complicated process of identifying who replied, who unsubscribed, and when you sent your previous follow-up. Yes, that can be a problem because you don’t want to send the same email twice, or contact that person who threatened you with a restraining order again. Try Autoklose Time-Saving Tools!
Our smart algorithm keeps tabs on every email you send, and it prevents the above-mentioned disasters, which means that you can be sure that you’ve sent a follow-up only to those who didn’t reply. You get to choose the intervals between follow-ups and pick the days of the week, as well as whether you want a drip campaign – all of which will allow you to build to create an effective follow-up strategy.
That’s not all.
Autoklose allows you to make the most of your persistence with its Always Running Campaigns. This is the next level of sales automation, as its name already suggests, you can run campaigns until the end of time. Or until you get a reply.
Nurturing your prospects has never been easier, as you can set your campaigns in advance and tweak them in real time by adding or removing contacts, pausing them, and restarting finished campaigns. This last functionality is great if you identified a winning campaign, and instead of creating it all over again, you can simply restart it by adding contacts. The campaign will keep its structure, meaning that predefined time intervals for follow-ups won’t be changed.
4. Smarketing Alignment
This is a problem that many companies encounter, and since it’s a huge time-waster it leads to productivity issues, missed opportunities, and financial loss.
If these two departments aren’t on the same page, then you can expect that marketing will send half-baked and poor quality leads to sales.
Autokolose has a reliable Smart Lead Scoring system that identifies when leads are sales-ready and notifies you, meaning that your sales department will get only prospects that are worth their time and energy.
But before you even start engaging with your prospects, it’s important to understand that not every one of them carries the same weight in the sense that unless you know who decision-makers are, you might as well be barking up the wrong tree and wooing a contact which isn’t authorized to put a signature on your offer and seal the deal.
Autoklose, on the other hand, lets you identify top managers and other big shots in any company you’re eyeing. With this information, it’s much easier to do additional research and tailor the outreach which will put you on their radar and give you a chance to show what you got.
With real-time analytics, you can always plan your next move and improve your campaigns. Precise and reliable KPIs will allow you to monitor the performance of your campaigns and keep an eye on all the members of your team and the effectiveness of their efforts. OK, yes, you can spy on them from your dashboard, if you want to put it that way, and make any necessary changes – add or remove team members, intervene and tweak their campaigns, or lend them a hand.
5. Too Much Administrative Work
Sales reps spend less than 36% of their time actually selling.
This means that they’re up to their ears in paperwork. So, instead of focusing on their high-level work such as prospecting and nurturing potential customers, they waste hours inputting data and creating reports.
Even when they’re trying to schedule a meeting with prospects, they have to engage in an endless game of email ping pong.
But, all this doesn’t have to be like that as there are tools that can help sales reps delegate non-essential tasks to different tools and automate them.
For example, instead of waiting for your prospects’ reply about a meeting, you can simply leverage our Calendly integration. In other words, you can add a link to your calendar to your email or signature, and ask your prospect to pick a date that suits them, and book a time slot.
Staff meetings are yet another productivity killer. If your sales reps (and other employees, for that matter) have to attend meetings unselectively, it will drain their energy and prevent them from focusing on their job.
This issue can be solved by inviting only essential employees that will benefit from the meeting and that can add value to it. Think about whose presence is crucial for every meeting you plan and inform all the others about the decisions and outcomes in an email.
When we combine all these useful features and functionalities, it’s safe to say that you will easily overcome one more common pain point which plagues our profession – a long and sluggish sales cycle. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as we’re upgrading Autoklose on a regular basis to make it even more helpful.