Empower Sales Agents With Consumer Insight

Empower-Sales

Let’s face it: Business-to-business sales is not for the fainthearted. While B2C salespeople can rely on charm, good looks and wit to help close deals, in the B2B “jungle”—where the stakes are high and consumers are more sophisticated and discerning—these traits won’t get you far.

In B2B sales, it’s not what you sell that matters (although that’s not to be completely overlooked), it’s how you sell that matters most. To be successful, you not only have to know your consumers, but you have to know their world—their industry, their geography, how big their company is … the list goes on.

Every sales rep knows you only have one shot to make a connection with a buyer, so you better make it a bull’s-eye. Having access to comprehensive consumer insight allows salespeople to properly craft more relevant sales pitches and have meaningful conversations with prospects. But, where does one get this informational insight? Believe it or not, it’s right under your nose, as follows:

  1. Social media: Through “social listening,” agents are able to hear firsthand what prospects are saying about their brand and, more importantly, their competitors. By connecting and engaging with potential buyers, reps can dig deep into buyers’ needs, pain points and challenges to facilitate more meaningful, relevant conversations. According to research, 78.6 percent of salespeople using social media to sell outperform those who aren’t using it.
  2. Contact database: Your contact database is filled with untapped business intelligence. While it might seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning, as a surprising number of salespeople don’t use their contact database to its full potential. That’s because data is often outdated and/or inaccurate given the rapid rate of data degradation. Clean it up, maintain it and use it for all it’s worth.
  3. Marketing department: Just like you, your marketing department associates are in the trenches day in and day out, combing through piles of data to reveal insights into buyer behaviors, preferences and sentiment. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains once in awhile; chances are you’ll learn something new.

What steps do you take to empower your sales teams? Let me know in the comment section below.

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SalesProspex for Salesforce: A Match Made in Targeting Heaven!

SalesProspex for Salesforce

The data found in Salesforce.com is the lifeblood of most sales organizations today.  However, even armed with one of the most powerful CRM systems available, CSO Insights found that 42 percent of sales teams feel that they do not have the right information before making a sales call.

Given this current level of frustration with the quality and completeness of data found in CRM systems, we’re extremely excited to announce the availability of SalesProspex for Salesforce.com, a new app that puts millions of verified business contacts at a salesperson’s fingertips, directly within the Salesforce.com environment they already know and use. Using SalesProspex for Salesforce.com, sales teams can easily search for net-new, verified contacts in their territory or target accounts, and seamlessly import leads into Salesforce.com – without ever leaving their own instance.

SalesProspex harnesses Big Data intelligence and NetPropsex’s award-winning database to offer full contact details and other helpful prospecting information on over 40 million contacts. Additionally,  SalesProspex for Salesforce.com offers “social listening” capabilities. This enables sales teams to preview prospects’ Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and other social channels all within the app and without ever having to click elsewhere or violate their companies’ web usage policies. Never before have social listening and prospecting come together in a single platform. Armed with this intelligence and insight, a salesperson’s “cold call” immediately becomes much warmer, increasingly the likelihood of a productive conversation and higher conversion rates of Leads to Contacts.

With SalesProspex for Salesforce.com, the ability to target the right offer to the right person in the right organization is a whole lot easier – and more effective. The app is easy to install, simple to use, and helps quickly drive more productive conversations. Other features include:

  • 18 unique contact, company, and location filters for creating searches
  • More than 80 different job functions to target
  • Accuracy assurance by NetProspex’s proprietary CleneStep verification technology
  • Suppression options for existing customers and do-not-call lists

SalesProspex for Salesforce.com is available now. To learn more, visit http://www.netprospex.com/Products/ForSales.aspx, or check it out on the App Exchange.

Download it today and accelerate your pipeline generation for 2014!

Three Tips to Always Be Closing

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Written by Brian Serino, Senior VP of Sales, NetProspex

You never know who your next customer might be or where your sales team might find him or her. That customer might be revealed during active sales prospecting or might bump into a sales rep in a coffee shop. This is why it’s crucial that your employees are always on the tips of their toes, ready to make a sale when the opportunity presents.

While there are all sorts of tips and tricks sales professionals can remember to help them acquire more customers, make sure to engrain the following three tips into your sales team’s brain in order to give them the best chance to always be closing:

1.    Know Your Customer: You have to know who you’re selling your product to, and you have to know their world—their industry, their geography, how big their company is or is not. Odds are you wouldn’t pay your barber to fix your plumbing. So know what you’re getting into before you approach your prospect and craft your sales pitch to be as relevant as possible.  You only have seconds to make a connection, make each one count.

2.    Stop Talking and Start Listening: No two businesses’ needs are precisely the same, even if they’re direct competitors. While your solutions might benefit both companies, you might have to take a different approach to each sale. Listen to what your customers have to say, and present them with customized offerings that are made with them specifically in mind.

3.    Follow-Up and Be Persistent: When you’re in the market to buy a car, do you open up your wallet for the first one you test drive? When it comes to making decisions involving a significant amount of money, very rarely is a deal closed on the first try. It’s important to give your customers space, while at the same time following up with them and being persistent. Show your willingness to work with them. Prove to them that you’re truly interested in helping them better their business by using your solutions. Polite persistent always pays off.

While there are a variety of tips your sales agents can keep in mind when approaching a closing, adhering to these three bits of advice will help them inch closer to finalizing business deals.

Empower your sales team to find their next best customer, quickly.  Uncover potential buyers, champions and influencers at a target company or in any sales territory in seconds using our extensive crowd-sourced contact database. Check out more information about NetProspex Sales Prospecting, SalesProspex, tool by clicking here.

 

The Right Data Creates More Conversations Every Step of the Way

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Big Data is all the rage, and lets face it, everyone is on board with this revolution. However, it isn’t always about adding more fuel to the fire, you can’t just continuously throw logs in and hope that it ignites; it’s about incorporating a solid framework in order to sustain the blaze. As time continues and new technologies emerge, marketers are continuously faced with opportunities to improve their process and deliver better results through the buying cycle. But here the question emerges, how can this be done?

AG Salesworks, iLantern and NetProspex have come together to give you the winning combination to create the ultimate framework for maintaining your fire. It isn’t always about adding more data; it’s about understanding your data and using it to your benefit. In this webinar we will demonstrate best practices for increasing engagement during your buying cycle. Having a handle on data management, knowing how to use triggers to append clean, complete data, and ultimately using the right technology to arm your sales reps with pertinent information creates conversations that build lasting relationships and is vital to future success.

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Here’s how we see the full-circle process:

NetProspex is the smarter B2B data partner, helping marketing and sales organizations optimize their revenue impact through a suite of innovative data services. Thousands of B2B organizations rely on NetProspex to acquire targeted contacts, maintain and enhance their marketing data, and fuel high-performing sales prospecting efforts. At the core of NetProspex is an innovative crowd-sourced database, cleansed with proprietary CleneStepTM verification technology. NetProspex State of Marketing Benchmark Report shows that 50% of companies are currently working with unreliable data. At NetProspex we live and breathe data management, so that you don’t have to, and can help you to maximize inbound conversions, cleanse and enrich your data, as well as add verified net new contacts to fit your target profile. Data tends to be last on your list, however a recent report from Sirius Decisions shows a 66 percent increase in revenue from companies who embrace data best practices.

iLantern then comes in to help give that already clean and complete data more relevancy, and even more timeliness—trigger data appended to your existing data for even more precise lead scoring.  Having a handle on what is happening at the companies of your prospects and leads is key to starting conversations and building relationships.  You now know what territory, market, size, revenue, and a plethora of other important information, now you want to know what is happening at those companies – right now.  Providing all the data in one easy to access location, whether is be in your CRM, Marketing Automation or your own personal portal – having knowledge is more than half the battle, I think that’s what GI Joe used to say.

And finally, AG Salesworks provides the best teleprospecting solution to reach out and action to those contacts. The conversations aren’t cold calls anymore; they are relevant; they are timely; they will be well received.  Instead of saying, “I’m Joe and I want to tell you about Product X”, (that’s simply telemarketing and there is a difference {See Pete Gracey’s post in Boston Business Journal}) Using the right data can change the conversation to be a teleprospecting call: “I’m Joe, congrats on the big sales win you just had – your boss must be psyched! We might be able to make it easier for you to ensure more sales wins in the future” This is talking about them first, and who doesn’t want to hear good news about their achievements, and ways you can simplify their job.

The webinar intends to go into this in great detail. So don’t miss out! We hope to see you there!

Who: NetProspex, iLantern, AGSalesworks

What: The RIGHT Data Creates More Conversions Every Step of the Way

When: September 26, 2013 2:00PM EST

Where:  Free Online Webinar

Why: Because understanding all the possible ways you can grow your business with simple technologies makes good ole fashioned sense.  Furthermore, these technologies have proven results to grow your business.

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Register for this Webinar by clicking here.

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Clean Data: The Key to Scoring a Sales Touchdown

Lauren's Blog Post

Written by Lauren Morgenstern, Sales Development Representative, NetProspex

It’s that time of the year again—kids are getting ready to go back to school, it’s starting to get darker and the weather is cooling down. Those can only mean one thing: football season is right around the corner.

To be honest, on a scale of one to football aficionado I come in around a strong two and a half. That being said, I still try my best to join my friends in discussing the upcoming season at parties. To avoid being sidelined during the heated debates, I attempt to keep up with all the new NFL drafts and trades (even though I’m a lot more interested in who’s joining next season’s cast of the Real Housewives of Orange County).

Staying up-to-date with a regularly changing roster of football stars isn’t easy. Similarly, as we learned from the NetProspex Marketing Data Benchmark Report, sales teams have their fare share of headaches too. In fact, 48 million people in the United States changed jobs in 2011 alone, and at NetProspex, we’ve welcomed eleven new people in just the past two weeks.

So what does this mean for me as a sales development rep? Using a sales-prospecting tool that contains contacts that are only verified once is nearly useless—it’s like drafting a quarterback that’s good on paper, but can’t perform in the games. In order to be successful, I have to rely on the most effective tools available, and those are the ones that regularly verify contacts by email.

Have you felt the humiliation of revealing to friends that you thought Wes Welker was still with the Patriots, rather than acknowledging his trade to the Denver Broncos? Well, unfortunately, I have. I also know that it’s equally as embarrassing to reach out to company XYZ and ask for Mr. CMO, only to find out that he hasn’t worked at the company for more than a year. What’s more, it’s also bad for business. When the gatekeeper figures out that I’m a cold caller and blocks me from the new decision maker, I’ve not only wasted my time and energy, but I’ve taken two steps back from reaching my goals.

As AG Salesworks states in their Inside Sales Managers Guide to List Development Guide, “a long, tidy list of names, numbers and email addresses may seem impressive, but are of no real value unless they are accurate.”

An ideal sales-prospecting tool will have all the information I need to make my cold calls and reach my quotas, because, after all, these tools are supposed to make my job easier, not more difficult.

While I may not be able to predict the surprise plays and objections during a game this season, I’ll at least be armed with websites to tell me the names of key players and their appropriate teams. The same goes for my teleprospecting efforts!

Interested in learning more, Check out our SalesProspex solution!

Recommended reading: Inside Sales Managers Guide to Resourcefulness

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We’ve all heard the phrase “the tools make the man.” Well, male or female, inside sales managers are the lifeblood of a B2B prospecting and lead generation program. Are you arming them with the best tools to get the job done? Our friends at AG Salesworks, a teleprospecting and closed-loop marketing firm, developed a guide for Inside Sales Managers full of tools to help get the job done.

“The AG Salesworks’ Inside Sales Managers Guide to Resourcefulness is designed for anyone who is managing an inside sales team or for sales and marketing professionals involved in demand or lead generation.  In this guide you will find resources to support your B2B prospecting efforts and increase productivity by finding accurate contact data faster.”

Click here to check out the guide, and thank you to AG Salesworks for including NetProspex in their set of solutions recommendations.

2013 Software Advice Inside Sales Survey

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According to research conducted by InsideSales.com, growth of the insides sales roles was outpacing growth of the outside sales profession by a rate of 15 to 1. While the economy has played a significant role in this shift, other factors such as the evolution of technologies that enable remote selling (e.g. Cloud-based CRM software) are contributing to this changeover as well.

To gauge the 2013 inside sales market, Software Advice–a site that analyzes the inside sales software market–is teaming up with InsideSales.com to survey sales professionals. The survey seeks to discover the size of the inside sales market, average compensation rates and performance across key sales metrics.

NetProspex understands the challenges faced by inside sales professionals. That’s why we offer a verified sales prospecting solution to enable highly efficient telesales efforts, without the out-of-date contact information that gets in the way of targeted hunting. Click here to learn more about our sales prospecting solution.

To add your voice to the survey, and enter into a drawing to win an iPad, by clicking this link. 

Inside sales promotion ideas for St. Patrick’s Day

NetProspex-leprechaun

Read the original post on the Heinz Marketing blog.

From our friends at Heinz Marketing, here are a set of inside sales promotional ideas to help drive activity, morale and performance in the next few weeks.

Some of these are specific to the day itself, but most could start early (say this Friday, the first day of the month) to generate quick momentum into March.

Fill your pot o’ gold
Give everyone on staff a small, plastic cauldron (party stores will have them) and award reps with chocolate coins for activities, milestones, great calls, etc. Distribute coins liberally every day. Reps who fill their pot of gold get a prize, or are entered to win something big (as long as they don’t eat the coins first).

Hit a sales goal by March 10, and someone’s dressing like a leprechaun
Could be your president, founder, VP of Sales or someone else. Put an aggressive goal on the board for the first third of the month. If your team hits it, someone dresses like a leprechaun on St. Patricks Day.

Feeling lucky? Spin the wheel!
Daily challenges and milestones for reps, and if they hit it they spin the wheel the next day. Every spoke on the wheel has a prize, some little and some big.

Lucky Bucks
Print a bunch of fake currency, each equal value. Distribute “lucky bucks” for hitting daily and weekly milestones. Post a set of prizes that reps can exchange their Lucky Bucks to receive. Think of this like getting tickets and redeeming for decoder rings and such at Chuck E Cheese.

Trivial Pursuit, Lucky Charms style
In Trivial Pursuit, you have to collect all six wedges before you can answer a final question and win the game. Play a similar game with your inside sales team, but replace plastic wedges with marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal. Each marshmallow type can be achieved by hitting a particular milestone – days with more than XX talk time, your 10th presentation of the month, etc. First to get every marshmallow wins a prize, but everyone that gets all marshmallows by St Patrick’s Day wins something, or qualifies for a St Patrick’s Day party.

Read the original post on the Heinz Marketing blog.

7 Steps to Exceed your B2B Pipeline Goals this Quarter

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With the US athletes exceeding their goals in London right now, we thought we should keep the winning momentum going with a post originally written for Business2Community by NetProspex VP of Marketing, Maribeth Ross.

 1. Assess the quality situation – Your marketing database of prospects and contact records is at the core of your future pipeline. How accurate is the contact and company information in this database? In 2011, 37% of the workforce changed jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NetProspex research shows that an individual contact records degrades in quality at the rate of 2% each month. Is poor data mucking up your marketing and preventing your pipeline from growing to its full potential?

2. Assess the targeting situation – Ensure that you have crossed the “T” in targeting. To ensure you have all the right targets in your database, look at historical purchase data. Identify as much as you can about the target buyer and other influencers that were involved in the buying process. This is a great time to append missing contact info (phone/address) and demographic/firmographic info (industry/title) or append installed technology data. In addition, take note of the length of the buying cycle. It will tell you a lot about what you need to do today to hit future goals.

Once you’ve confirmed your target buyers and influencers, you’ll need to evaluate your prospect databases to confirm that it has these buyers, both the primary targets and influencers. The shortest path to a sale is to involve all the influencers from the beginning to get them aligned and marketing can play a key early role in doing this.

3. Play the volume game – To really understand the volume of marketing activity you’ll need to hit your target for the quarter, run numbers through a marketing waterfall or marketing funnel. (Try this handy demand-gen funnel calculator: http://bit.ly/funnel-calculator) Using conversions at all stages (either your own or published averages), you’ll be able to predict how much activity you’ll need to generate in order to hit revenue numbers. Sometimes, marketers will find that their prospect database does not support the amount of volume they need to generate. This is a great exercise to help identify the need to augment the database with new, targeted contact data.

4. Line up your messaging – Double check your messaging. Is it truly matched to your buyer persona’s pains and needs? Does it clearly show how your solution can alleviate their challenges? In order to resonate with buyers, your content needs to address the challenges they are currently facing in their business.

It should be clear that you understand their challenges and have experience solving challenges for others in similar situations. Ideally, your audience will understand th

at your solution is in a unique position to help them meet the challenges based on a combination of your understanding of their issues, your experience with others, and your ability to sell the way they want to buy. Finally, ensure your message is carried throughout the entire buyers journey, from the marketing website to call scripts

5. Qualify your leads – are all of your marketing leads being qualified? Fully qualifying your marketing leads into sales ready opportunities via teleprospecting can dramatically improve the amount of leads that end up in your sales pipeline.

More often than not, many marketing leads are never followed up on (as much as 80% in some cases), as sales folks who are also responsible for closing business do not have the cycles to fully qualify and convert marketing leads. However marketing leads that are fully qualified into sales ready leads are followed up upon, particularly if sales and marketing sit to agree on what constitutes a fully qualified sales ready lead.

With tougher economic conditions, sales teams are under more pressure, have bigger quotas/territories, smaller average deal sizes, and even less time, so it really does not make sense to provide them with any leads that are not fully qualified sales ready opportunities.

6. Get Feedback – Close the loop on all the leads and opportunities passed – how else will you be able to truly assess the level of success of your marketing programs? Set up a process to close the loop on all the leads and opportunities passed to the sales team, as getting their feedback is essential to ensuring success. This feedback will allow you to optimize the process, ensure all the leads are being followed-up (or added to a nurture campaign if appropriate), and will provide you with a complete data set to measure your results.

7. Measure and Analyze – measure the effectiveness of your campaigns in real-time, and adjust to ensure you are meeting your goals. With the tools available today there is no excuse for not being nimble and adapting in real-time. This analysis will not only allow you to more effectively meet your goals, but it will enable you to plan and scale for growth.

This article was written in partnership with AG Salesworks – a B2B teleprospecting and marketing services firm that helps technology, media, financial services, and communications companies si

gnificantly increase their sales pipeline. With NetProspex contact data services, AG Salesworks offers AG Pipeline Connect, a solution guaranteeing fully qualified sales leads.

 

Fueling the B2B revenue machine

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The latest in our series: You bought a list – now what?

We always talk about marketing automation as the engine in a Ferrari – it only runs with quality fuel, in our world, that means quality B2B data.

Robert Rosenthal recently posted a great article “B2B Marketing Is Now a Revenue Machine. Really The post is a great summary of the opportunity for B2B marketers today to create demand with on-demand data prospect services, digestible content, short videos, and powerful marketing automation.

Until recently, it could take B2B marketers years to dramatically expand a prospect database. Now, thanks to newer data sources, you can do it quickly – for a small fraction of the conventional cost.

These records include email addresses in compliance with CAN-SPAM. So you’re able to regularly market to prospects via cost-effective email advertising – without constantly paying rented media or offline production charges.

One question that NetProspex customers face when using a targeted list is what to send this list. The content is just as important as the list. Robert suggests videos without a registration form, as they’re educational, fascinating, and easily digestible. We just finished a similar video for our Data Assessment Report, check it out!

Of course, this also means prospects can tune you out by ignoring your email – or simply opting-out. And if you ask prospects to fill out a form to receive a reward, the overwhelming majority will essentially say “Thanks but no thanks.”

So while B2B marketers are able to grow the database rapidly, they won’t win hearts and minds so fast. What’s typically needed is an email campaign that breaks through, makes the right impression on prospects, and gets them to act.

Web video is an increasingly popular way to educate B2B prospects. It’s the power of television, without the waste. Video enables you to run a conceptual series packed with emotional ideas – pulled off in brand-appropriate ways. When Web video is executed properly, engagement rates often soar.

To get the most out of every prospect list, Robert suggests automating your marketing efforts.

Marketing automation technology not only takes results reporting to another level, it transforms the relationship between sales and marketing. The two functional areas agree on precisely what constitutes a sales-worthy lead. Marketing finally stops hearing “All the leads suck” from sales. And sales continually sees more genuine prospects to pitch through real-time reporting and instant lead-routing; triggered campaigns; and other good stuff from the marketing team.

Place all the stars in alignment and B2B marketing really, truly can become a consistent revenue machine.

Read the original post. 

Thanks for letting us share your thoughts, Robert!