We all know the customer is always right, but it’s equally as important to listen to what they might not be saying. No potential customer will reach out with instructions on how to contact them, so marketers have long used tactics that read between the lines to determine the best way to get their message to resonate with their audience. Through CRM, social listening tools and other data-driven techniques, a marketer is adept at communicating the right words, the right way, at the right time.
Here are three marketing strategies that sales pros can put to work right away to maximize your opportunities and drive sales.
A/B Test Your Pitches
Robert Edell, Founder of restaurant app Servy, states that while “sales conversion rates make baseball batting percentages look miraculous,” there are tricks to turn these odds in your favour by using each win or loss to your advantage – one of which is A/B testing.
Marketers use A/B testing to challenge the status quo and test their assumptions on new ideas or business questions, all with improving the customer experience in mind. This could be anything from testing headlines on a corporate blog post to the call to action used on a website landing page. Edell recommends applying this simple tactic to your pitches to start quantifying which elements are performing best.
An easy way to get started is to pick one product or service and an element of your pitch, known as a variable, that you’d like to test. This could be the solutions you focus on, data or results referenced, or which client testimonials you choose to highlight. Log your progress with each call through a mobile sales app or spreadsheet and you’ll quickly determine what’s working, and most importantly, what’s not.
Think back to the last sales call or email you received. The one that comes to mind the fastest likely wasn’t the best experience, and may have shaped your perception of the company for good. The person you were dealing with may have been the problem, but timing could also have come into play.
In an article on the best time to place cold calls, Rapid Learning Institute highlighted a study by the Kellogg School of Management that reviewed over a million sales call logs. It determined early morning (8 to 9 a.m.) or late afternoon (4 to 5 p.m.) as the most effective times to call, and Thursday as the most successful day of the week. However, this time frame might change depending on your target. Bob Croston on Rain Selling Blog shares that a colleague “has had great success reconnecting with prospects when he sends emails first thing in the morning (4 a.m.)!” He recommends off-hours (before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m.) for reaching insulated business leaders, who may not follow traditional hours.
While you’re likely already mindful of the time of day you reach out to prospects, try taking it one step further by segmenting out different audiences by function, seniority, or geography. Then keep track of what time or day of the week has the highest success rates in a spreadsheet or CRM tool. Marketers use this approach, called dayparting, to scheduling emails and social media posts, strategically targeting different groups at different times depending on when they’ve historically chosen responded.
Savvy marketers actively use social media as a way to keep their finger on the pulse of their industry.
And with 56.7 per cent of Canadian adults actively using social media, it’s more than likely that your prospects and customers are on there too.
Take Twitter, for instance. When executed properly, your home feed should be a live, up-to-the-minute broadcast of news, events, trends and topics that matter to you and your business. Even if you’re not ready to join the conversation, it can be a great way to keep up with the industry and build credibility as a thought leader with your customers by being in the know. The same goes for other social media channels, like LinkedIn or Facebook, which supply an endless cycle of information relevant to your selected interests. For inspiration on who to follow, check out your company’s profile page, influencers in your industry, or your competitors to see who they’re connected with. Then sit back and watch for patterns in conversations, upcoming events you might want to attend, and other industry-related news.
If you’re still not keen on social media or are looking to delve even deeper into your industry, set up Google alerts to your inbox based on keywords, products or services, company names, or other suggestions prompted by Google. While keeping yourself informed, sending an article to a client or active lead that you think they might find interesting is a great way to open a new line of conversation while showing your investment in their success.
Great salespeople never stop learning and are always on the hunt for new tips, tricks or ideas that could help them be the very best at what they do. Inspiration can come from anywhere (even your kids!), so keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to try something new—your customers will thank you!
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