Best Practices: Effective Strategies for Sales Prospecting. ToutApp

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1 ToutApp

2 Table of Contents Introduction 3 Part One: is Still A Relevant Sales Tool 4 Part Two: Challenges Faced By Sales Professionals Using 5 Part Three: Best Practices for Sales Tools 7 Conclusion 12 2

3 Introduction The goal of this white paper is to explore as a tool for sales prospecting, discuss issues related to its use, and to provide you with a guide to best practices for maximizing its benefits. Our sources include studies from well-known research organizations and industry-related publications as well as information provided by solution providers in the market. 3

4 Part One: Is Still A Relevant Sales Tool In recent years the advent of social media and the concept of social selling has emerged as a hot topic across many different industries and has become increasingly important for both B2B and B2C marketers. While these new channels compete for more and more of buyers attention, however, remains the foundation upon which most sales-related activities ultimately occur. marketing, whether one-to-many or one-to-one, has proven to be one of the most cost-effective methods for reaching out to your prospects and to your customers. Imagine your day as a sales professional without . How would you introduce yourself and your offerings to new prospects? How would you provide links and resources online? How would you schedule calls and meetings? The fact is, is here to stay, and it is the challenge of every sales professional and marketer to intelligently harness its power to generate more leads, communicate more efficiently and effectively, and ultimately to close more business. According to Forrester Research (2010), is: Universal-- Reaches any person Familiar--Like walking Powerful--Handles all scenarios Extensible--Handles new situations Adaptable--Works on most devices That s the good news. But also according to Forrester Research (2011), marketers expect to get more effective, even though they don t yet comprehensively employ best practices. 1 1 Source: Forrester Research, May 27, How US Marketers Use Marketing Adoption, Budgets and Best Practices in 2011, by Shar Boskirk. 4

5 Part Two: Challenges Faced By Sales Professionals Using Most salespeople would agree that doing business via is a necessity, but there are some inherent challenges when using as a sales prospecting tool. Here are some common issues: 1. Gathering addresses is time-consuming, expensive, or both. Whether you manually locate and input addresses or your organization purchases or otherwise provides you with contact information, it takes a significant amount of time to organize the information and get it ready for ing. If the organization purchases lists, there is added pressure to produce quantifiable results, because of the expense of acquiring those lists. The typical cost for high-quality data is anywhere from $0.26 to $1 or more per name. And as any sales or marketing pro can attest, the cost of bad data is even higher. 2. It is time-consuming to craft the right message using the right tone and approach to successfully reach out to a new sales prospect. Then, once you ve got it perfect, you re reduced to copy and paste over and over. A sales rep could very possibly spend entire days every week simply copying and pasting the same basic message to many people. 3. Marketing Automation Systems such as Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot, though becoming more accessible and affordable, are still not widely utilized by smaller businesses. Even if your organization has a MA solution in place, messages are not individually tailored to each prospect or customer. A similar challenge exists with mass-mailing systems such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. Even though these tools exist and are being utilized, they are optimized for mass outreach. clients are still where the one-on-one business gets done. 4. Personalization is key, as one message truly does not fit all. In the best-case scenario, sales reps and marketers would be able to target each individual message to each individual prospect quickly and efficiently. 5. What happened? One of the most common complaints of sales reps is the lack of visibility into what happens to their message once it s been sent. Has the prospect received it? Did they open it, click on a link, view the embedded media? Is one message more effective than another over time? In a recent research study by B-to-B Magazine 2, an astounding 43% of survey respondents said that the most important purpose of their marketing program was customer 2 B-to-B State Of Marketing: Best Practices, February,

6 acquisition --not customer retention, which garnered a mere 28% of responses. In that same study, 38% of the respondents answered that personalization was a key concern for improvement of their marketing strategy. Given the fact that nearly half of businesses today are relying heavily on for sales revenue generation, and that so many of them already recognize the necessity for relevant and personalized content, the challenges mentioned above become quickly elevated from mere inconvenience to legitimate business operation issues. In the next portion of this document, we will discuss some solutions for these problems, and methods for increasing sales effectiveness. 6

7 Part Three: Methodologies For Increasing Effectiveness Now that we are aware of the issues facing sales and marketing organizations when using for prospecting, it s time to explore solutions and best practices to help improve our results. The basic issues we have outlined are as follows: 1. Time 2. Cost 3. Personalization/Relevant Content 4. Visibility/Analytics Pardot ( a leading provider of Marketing Automation solutions, has a slightly different slant. They have produced an ebook 3 addressing the same general set of problems. The key issues they deem relevant are called The Four T s : Tailoring Testing Timing Tracking Pardot s Four T s introduce the elements of testing and timing, which are also valuable considerations when designing your sales prospecting efforts. Therefore, we will include them as we discuss methodologies for increasing effectiveness in sales prospecting. The areas where Best Practices can be utilized for maximum benefit are: Time, Cost, Personalization/Tailoring, Testing, Timing/Scheduling, and Visibility/Tracking/Analytics

8 Time: One of the key issues most salespeople face is simply not having enough time in the day to get everything done. We are all looking for ways to accomplish more, reach more prospects, and engage in meaningful dialogue with the hottest prospects. Tools such as templated s, allow you (or your marketing department) to create tight, relevant and targeted messages and can save significant amounts of time. However, most template solutions are rigid and don t allow customization prior to sending an , so the recipient sees a form letter where the only customization is their first name. No matter how useful the content may be, prospects tend to skim past these obvious stock s. Ideally, then, a customizable template solution would be deployed to every salesperson. In an ideal solution templates could be shared across teams so that once effective content has been created by an individual, the entire team could benefit from using that consistent and professional messaging without having to create it from scratch, and further allowing time-savings and efficiency. Best Practice: Customizable, shared templates for the use of the entire team to ensure quick creation of messages and widespread adoption by team. Cost control: When contemplating any technology solution, cost is always a key consideration and point of concern. However, as more and more solutions move to the cloud, or the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, costs continue to go down. With cloud applications, small and medium businesses have access to enterprise-level tools and systems that previously were only available to the biggest and most sophisticated companies. Cloud computing has not only lowered the cost of entry, but has leveled the playing field for smaller business to compete with industry giants. In addition, mobile apps have developed far past flying birds and faux-mafias, to offer rich functionality to business users. For sales prospecting, mobility is often a must-have to help ensure increased productivity as well as a truly exceptional customer experience. Best Practice: SaaS/cloud productivity solution; mobile apps where available. 8

9 Personalization/Tailoring: Utilizing a customized, personal, targeted message can help elevate a standard sales pitch to a highly relevant dialogue with a prospect or client. Not only does personalization bring in the human touch, it also allows the sales professional to recap key points gleaned from earlier conversations with the prospect, others in the prospect s organization, or the company s website, annual report, or other resource. To quote from the earlier referenced Pardot report 4 : The copy writing and copy editing phase of your campaign message is critical to how it will be perceived by its recipients. What you say is important. But so is the way you say it. To get the best results, your s must distinguish themselves from the typical generic sales pitch. Blatant sales s get ignored; informational, conversational messages get results. The winning formula is a combination of tone and substance. While this quote is intended for a Marketing audience, it rings true for the individual sales rep, or sales manager, as well. A prospect is far more likely to read and be responsive to a message that they perceive as conversational and interested in meeting their needs, vs. a brochure that simply tells them what you have to sell. According to B-to-B Magazine 5, a whopping 66% of all B2B marketers say that delivering highly relevant content to their audience is their chief concern in Clearly, personalization, customization, and industry or role-specific s are far more likely to compel reading, and action by the prospect. Best Practice: High levels of customization possible within templates or other communication channels. Testing:

10 Testing messages can mean many things, from testing the effectiveness of one message vs. another over time, to physically testing out the visibility and clarity of your designed (HTML) messages across various and browser platforms. Within the scope of this document, as it relates to sales prospecting, we will concentrate on testing the effectiveness of one message over another. One widely utilized method that could be utilized for this purpose is A/B Testing, also commonly called split testing or bucket testing. When A/B testing, you simply send one message ( version A ) to one group of people, and a slightly different message, ( version B ) to another group of similar size, with similar characteristics. Then you simply measure the differences in the results. Some changes to experiment with include time of day, day of week, subject line, call to action, etc. It is generally best to make only one small change at a time from version A to version B, in order to pinpoint the factor that causes an improvement to the desired response or behavior. Within marketing departments, this is accomplished rather easily, because they tend to have access to large lists, and the tools to automate sending to those lists and to interpret the response rate data. In the sales department, however, the messages tend to be sent over a long period of time, to much smaller samples of recipients (often one at a time), and the results are often gauged on a gut feeling rather than any actual analytics or hard data. Sales departments need costeffective, easily deployed and easy-to-use methods of testing their messaging. Ideally, the testing metrics would be provided automatically in the background. Best Practice: Automatically generated test metrics provided on demand, for individual s. Timing/Scheduling: Timing or scheduling s is a little-understood but valuable tool in the arsenal of a smart salesperson. Reasons to schedule delivery of an include: time zone differences, holidays, optimizing for most likely opening/reading, and more. Scheduling delivery is also a useful tool for sales professionals who travel, or work off hours: write the when it s convenient for you, and then schedule it to be sent it when it s convenient for the recipient to receive and read it. Opinions about optimal send times vary widely, but it s commonly agreed that s delivered on Monday mornings, for instance, are less likely to be read than those received at other times. Other times and dates that are sub-optimal include holidays (of course), as well as the day before a long weekend, and Fridays after lunchtime in the local time zone. However, each industry and target role may very well have its own workflow idiosyncrasies, so what works best for an enterprise software sales rep ing Fortune 1000 CIOs will probably not work as well 10

11 for the sales manager attempting to contact consumers directly about a weekend promotion at a retail location. scheduling should be based on your observations of the patterns of your target market, and adjusted as experiments prove successful or unsuccessful--but it should be done. One challenge, however, is that most corporate systems simply do not support scheduling of sends. The sender ends up needing to rely on drafts folders, and remembering to send an when intended. Best Practice: Easily utilized, integrated scheduling for sending s. Visibility/Tracking/Analytics: With most standard clients, once an message is sent, the only way to know if it s been read is by receiving a reply, or by requesting a read receipt. This puts the sales professional into a reactive state, having to guess whether a prospect even opened an , and if so, what particular pieces of content attracted their attention. Highly complex Marketing Automation or Mass Mailing systems solve this issue, but only on a mass- basis, so individual s sent from a sales rep to a prospect or customer do not get the same type of visibility. Imagine how much more powerful your position would be if you were able to send a personalized, targeted to a prospect, see when she opened it, and even know which of the three included product or collateral links he had clicked on. When you call that prospect to follow up, you would be prepared to speak in detail about the things that you already know they are interested in learning more about. This allows you to tailor your conversation to a pinpoint degree, saving time for all parties, and adding significant value in the mind of the prospect. This type of visibility, tracking and analytics would be invaluable to sales reps, however, it is not a feature in clients, or even commonly available in most CRMs. Where it is present, it tends to require the rep to engage the functionality prior to sending each . Best Practice: Fully automatic tracking/visibility/analytics on every , to provide the rep the same functionality employed by MA solutions without requiring them to trigger the action. 11

12 Conclusion This document is intended to layout a roadmap for Sales Managers to consider, evaluate and implement Best Practices for the use of in sales prospecting activities. We have explored common issues faced by sales reps, and discussed solutions for each issue. The issues explored in this document are: Time Cost Personalization/Tailoring Testing Timing/Scheduling Visibility/Tracking/Analytics The Best Practices recommended include: Time: Customizable, shared templates for the use of the entire team to ensure quick creation of messages and widespread adoption by team. Cost: SaaS/cloud productivity solution; mobile apps where available. Personalization/Tailoring: High levels of customization possible within templates or other communication channels. Testing: Automatically generated test metrics provided on demand, for individual s. Timing/Scheduling: Easily utilized, integrated scheduling for sending s. Visibility/Tracking/Analytics: Fully automatic tracking/visibility/analytics on every , to provide the rep the same functionality employed by MA solutions without requiring them to trigger the action. When considered as a whole, implementing these Best Practices may seem to indicate a need for various complex systems. Only a few short years ago, that impression would have been correct, however with the advent of cost-effective and rapidly deployed cloud applications for business use, achieving these goals is now within reach for small and medium sized businesses. ToutApp provides simple software that helps you communicate better, and addresses each of the issues and Best Practices discussed in this White Paper. Tout s Enterprise Plans, starting at $8/month per user, offer customizable templates that can be shared across an entire team to ensure consistent and professional messaging and allow for easy personalization with every send. Because ToutApp is SaaS, deployment to your team is cost-effective, instantaneous and requires no IT involvement. s can be scheduled for optimal delivery with just a single click. Analytics are a key feature of the Enterprise offering, and each Tout is automatically tracked for views, clicks, and opens--requiring no action on the part of the sender or recipient. 12

13 In addition, A/B testing is easily executed with a simple change to a template (shared or individual). Automatic updates to your CRM of choice are also included, with integrations to Salesforce, Highrise, Batchbook and Capsule, among others. ToutApp s iphone app, available free with a Team or Enterprise account, provides all this functionality on the go. For more information on how ToutApp s productivity solutions can be put to work boosting your sales prospecting productivity, please visit or contact us at ToutApp, Inc. 154 Grand Street New York, NY

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