Mankind as a race has always striven to make its life easier. And as we evolved over the years, we invented tools to help us do exactly that. From the wheel to the airplane, our tools have become bigger and more advanced with time. Now, during the digital era, they have simply become intangible. That is instead of physical tools to help us, we now have online software that simplifies the daily work that we do. When you work in the marketing team of a fast growing startup, you have no choice but to rely on these online tools to help you become a smart worker. Here is a list of online tools that the LeadSquared marketing team makes use of on a daily basis.

To write and edit amazing content:

WordPress:

This is one content publishing platform we absolutely love. Both the LeadSquared website and blog are built using WordPress. We love how easy it is to add and publish content. You can build your own templates, and choose from a wide array of plugins to help improve your website.

WordPress_logo.svg

GoToWebinar:

I don’t know if you have heard, but LeadSquared webinars are pretty popular, thanks to our webinar expert :) To make conducting webinars an easy process, she uses GoToWebinar. It is a relatively simple tool, which allows us to link our landing pages to a particular webinar for registration, coordinate with the presenter for the webinar, allows the attendees to ask questions, conduct polls and to record the entire webinar for later.

business tools - gotowebinar

YouTube:

One of the more popular video hosting tools, we use it primarily to upload recordings of our marketing webinars and product demos. YouTube is an easy-to-use platform where you can simply upload the video you want to your followers. It also provides you with embed facilities coupled with powerful analytics for each video.

youtube

Wistia:

This is a video publishing tool that is meant more for business. You can host videos on Wistia’s native platform and share the link with your audience. You can also embed the videos in your website or landing pages. Additionally, you get detailed insights on the performance of your videos. With nearly 13% offices banning YouTube, Wistia ensures that the video is played without any hassle.

business tools - wistia

Grammarly:

Though all of us in the marketing team hate grammatical errors, you’d be surprised at the little errors that we make sometimes. Which is why we rely on Grammarly to point out the obvious typos and punctuation mistakes. Once you get the chrome extension, the tool will automatically do a grammar check for every small piece of content that you write within the browser.

business tools - grammarly

To help us rank:

Google Keyword Planner:

To ensure that we get the best out of the content that we write, we need to first find out which keywords are in high demand for our target audience. Google’s Keyword Planner helps you find the search volume of a particular keyword, and get new keywords ideas as well.

business tools - google-keyword-planner

Moz:

This is one of the best SEO tools out there. We use the Mozbar to find the domain authority of websites that we establish content partnerships with. The MozPro version unlocks more options such as the Keyword Explorer, Rank Tracker, Open Site Explorer and more. Though we don’t use the upgraded version anymore, we still use the Mozbar from time to time.

business tools - moz

SEMrush:

We have started using this tool recently, just because it offers a little more value for money than Moz does. SEMrush helps you do extensive keyword and backlink analysis as well as spy on what keywords your competitors are using. It also offers site audit options and position tracking for about a 100 keywords.

business tools - semrush

Yoast:

This is a WordPress plugin that helps you to make sure that all your web pages are SEO optimized. This is one tool that we cannot do without. Yoast tells you how well your post is optimized for search engines as well as suggest things you can do it to make the content more SEO friendly. We also use Yoast for setting up an SEO title as well as meta descriptions for the post. If you are republishing content, then Yoast helps you assign canonical tags to the original post.

yoast

To get new ideas:

BuzzSumo:

This is an awesome tool to use while you are ideating for a new post. If you type in the category or topic you are looking to write on, BuzzSumo gives you a list of the posts that are being written on it as well as the amount of engagement that it is getting on social media. You can also catch up on trending topics on the tool.

If you upgrade to BuzzSumo Pro, you will able to analyze the amount of back-links that you as well as your competition is receiving, analyze the type of content that is getting more engagement as well as analyze what content is popular on Facebook.

business tools - buzzsumo

AnswerThePublic:

This is a free platform that we have been using for a while to zero down on one topic. AnswerThePublic gives you a list of topics that are being searched for when you type in a keyword. The search results cover the how, what, and why of the topic, and this can give you new ideas for the heading of the post as well.

business tools - atp

To help us manage our leads:

LeadSquared:

Our native tool, we use this extensively to manage the flow of leads that come in every day, courtesy our marketing efforts. LeadSquared helps us automate lead capture from our various sources as well as segment the leads into appropriate buckets. We can also add them to lists and use these lists for both marketing and sales activities. As the tool tracks every interaction the lead has with the company, Interacting with the lead becomes more personalized.

business tools - leadsquared

To communicate internally:

Outlook:

The official email provider that we use for our business communications is Outlook. Specifically designed for professional use, it comes with a lot of features to ensure that you don’t miss out on emails. You can set up tasks, schedule meetings, categorize similar emails, ensure that emails of a certain nature or from a particular person are automatically added to specific folders.

business tools - outlook

Skype:

Our internal IM tool, Skype is how we communicate with literally everyone in the office. Since it comes with a video calling option, we can also hold online conferences with our remote employees. Skype also allows you to share documents, images and videos with each other. We also use the tool to have some light-hearted banter from time to time.(sssshh, don’t tell!)

Business tools - Skype

Sharepoint:

The perfect place to upload all your internal as well as sales and marketing documents to share with the entire team. Sharepoint’s cloud storage tool helps the team to access documents themselves without having to raise individual requests each time.

SharePointLogo_Web

To send engaging emails:

LeadSquared:

When we want to send bulk emails for our marketing efforts, such as webinar invites, product updates and more, LeadSquared is what we turn to. It comes with a rich text, as well as a visual editor with an easy-to-use drag and drop feature. You can also choose from already created email templates from the template library or create you own awesome emails.

business tools - LeadSquared

To create our own URLs:

Bitly:

This tool is useful when we want to shorten long URLs for sharing on social platforms. Additionally, Bitly also helps you to figure out how many clicks the links that you create are getting. This way you can find out which platform is performing the best. If you go premium, you can create custom URLs as well.

business tools - bitly

LeadSquared:

We use this tool to create tracking URLs for content we share on different platforms. You can specify which platform you wish to share and also assign a name for the URL so that you can recover it later.

business tools - LeadSquared

To create and edit visual content:

Canva:

One of my personal favorites, Canva is one of the best online image editing tools out there. They have a variety of image specifications for your social media, documents, blogs, marketing materials and more. You can choose from their many templates and personalize it, or you can create your own by uploading images on to the tool. Most of their image templates are free, but you would have to pay to access their premium collection.

business tools - canva

Camtasia:

We use this tool for our video editing needs. Camtasia by TechSmith is a simple tool and we mostly edit our webinar videos using this tool. You can add filters in the video, do live screen recording, use it along with ppts to create videos. You can also add cool effects to your videos and add quizzes at the end as well.

business tools - camtasia

LeadSquared:

We create and design our landing pages using LeadSquared. It comes with an easy to build designer that you can use to create responsive pages on your website. You can customize your URLs and also choose from pre-defined templates. Plus, you get to capture leads from the landing pages and get detailed analytics on its performance as well.

business tools - leadsquared

Photoshop:

The designer’s imperative, Adobe’s Photoshop is what our design team relies on to create amazing creatives for us. We use this on a daily basis to help create images for our ads, blog posts, infographics, website images and more.

Buisness tools - photoshop

To take quick screenshots:

Jing:

Another tool by TechSmith, that you can use to take screenshots with just a click. Jing helps you to capture only the part of your screen you want to capture without having to edit the image later. You can also highlight sections of the image using arrows and boxes as well as adding text. We use this when we want to share screenshots among the team and also when we write content and need screenshots to back what we claim. Best part: the tool is free.

busienss tools - jing

Snagit:

Another gem by TechSmith, Snagit is a paid screen recording tool that helps you capture your screen while you navigate. This means that you can use it to make great tutorial or demo videos for your leads and prospects.

Techsmith-snagit-software

To get constant alerts:

Google alerts:

When you want to know who is talking about a topic that you are interested in, all you have to do is set up an alert on Google alerts. This way, you will get them right into your inbox. You can check up with them regularly, and if they fit the bill always reach out to them for back-links or content collaborations.

Buisness tools - galerts

Warble alerts

This is more specific to Twitter. You can set up Warble alerts for a keyword to come to your inbox. And if anyone is tweeting on the topic you will know immediately. You can then share the content, follow the person who tweeted or use the content to interact and network with people of common interests

Business tools - warblle

To analyze the results of our work:

Jetpack:

This is another WordPress plugin that we use extensively and cannot do without. Jetpack helps simplify how we manage our site, by securing the site against outside attacks, giving reports on site downtime, collecting traffic insights and stats, enabling social sharing of our content, displaying similar content and more. Using this tool, we know how well our posts are performing and how many people are sharing our posts.

business tools - jetpack

LeadSquared:

Our native tool comes with one of the best analytics dashboards out there. You get everyday reports right into your inbox on how many new leads have come into the system and how many are engaged. You can create custom marketing and sales reports that appear on your dashboard. You can also get reports on the performance of your landing pages, your drip campaigns. email campaigns and more. This is our go-to tool for knowing everything that is happening with our leads and customers.

business tools - leadsquared

Google Analytics:

Once you link your website or blog with Google Analytics, it starts capturing site traffic data, site behavior of your visitors, demographics, mobile usage, traffic sources and more. You can even keep a track of leads that come in through your AdWords. Conversion data based on the goals you set can also be gotten from this tool.

business tools - google analytics

Addthis:

Majorly a social sharing tool, Addthis also gives you data such as the total number of traffic that you get, how many people hav shared your content as well as the top performing content on your blog/website.

addthis-logo-vector

To generate invoices:

Zoho:

Our finance team makes use of Zoho’s invoicing software to create order receipts. We use this for our customers, as well as for internal uses. It is easy to use and helps us keep accurate track of our company expenses.

business tools - zoho

QuickBooks:

Another new discovery that we came across was Intuit’s QuickBooks invoicing software. They too offer instant payments and they also track income and expenses by connecting to your bank account. Not only that, but they also give you quarterly estimates on your taxes which are automatically calculated for you.

business tools - quickbooks

Now that you know what business tools we use to grow our business, I am waiting to know what tools you have found useful for your business. Do let me know in the comment section below!

Originally published on the Exotel blog.

I joined Exotel from a sales outsourcing company. Oh, yes, it is a real thing. I worked for companies that outsourced their leads to us. We had to talk to their customers and sell the product/service. However, in my new company, it was like a whole new world for me. I felt like I was learning to climb a mountain here. And I’m afraid of heights. So, you can imagine my plight.

Where I came from, the sales process was much more straightforward, like this:

Typical sales process

Change is inevitable and change is constant.

Benjamin Disraeli

This is very true in the context of sales. Selling has remained constant, but the way people sell evolves with the market and customer maturity.

1. Consultative selling works:

As I mentioned earlier, the kind of sales I was familiar with was centered around me – how well I knew my skills, my target, my sales pitch, my selling – me, me, me!

On my first day, I knew I was in trouble. My strength lay in the power of grunt work. I counted on calling people endlessly and pitching my product to them. But now, the customers I spoke to knew what they wanted. They knew about our product, sometimes even our competitor’s, and they understood our pricing. This left me very unsure of what I was supposed to do if they already understood most of what would talk to them on a sales call.

SaaS Sales meme

What am I supposed to sell if the customer already understands everything that my sales pitch covers?

The answer came to me when I observed what everyone around me was doing – I was supposed to be selling solutions. And there is a world of difference between the sale of a product and a solution.

Alcohol is a solution meme

In a SaaS company, product and services are available over the cloud. The pricing is usually transparent and the customer has access to all the data (s)he needs to make a buying decision. SaaS companies in the West aim to sell without ever talking to their customer. The process is usually designed to be that way. But, in India, it is unusual for a company to buy a critical system without talking to a real person.

And phone support is critical for businesses in India.

This is how a typical sales call goes:

A typical sales call

There are two directions in which I could take this conversation. I could just tell the customer what he wants to know and set up the Exotel account as he asked me to. I would’ve done my job.

This is what I would’ve done before. And that would’ve made me a sales person. However,

Lou Diamond, the CEO of FOBIA says:

“Similar to a lawyer who establishes trust and rapport with a client, a consultative seller seeks to do the same with a buyer. Rather than make a pitch to the buyer (“let me explain why you should buy our product”), a skilled consultative seller initiates a substantive dialogue with the buyer. It’s through this conversation where the buyer reveals how the salesperson can help them. In a way, a consultative seller influences the buyer to make the pitch, not the other way around.”

Selling as a consultative seller and not a sales person:

One of the things I do now is, before picking up the phone to talk to a customer, I try to find out as much as I can about the person I’m about to speak to and the company. Even a simple google search can tell you a fair bit about the business and the person you’re about to talk to. Spend some time on their website. Understand their business. In addition to this, I’d recommend the use of tools like Rapportive, LinkedIn, etc to understand a little more about the person you’re about to speak to as well.

Encourage the customer to talk without any interruptions. The more they explain the problems they’re facing, the easier it gets for you to understand how you can solve the problem for them. Here are a few questions that you could ask her to understand the problem they need to address.

  1. What is the nature of your e-commerce business?
  2. How are you managing customer calls currently?
  3. Why did you think of a solution like Exotel to help you right now?
  4. What are your call volumes?
  5. What is the image you’d like to project to the customers who call?
  6. What CRM do you use?
  7. Do you have a ticketing software you use?
  8. Do you offer cash on delivery to your customers?
  9. Do you inform customers of the status of their orders? If yes, how do you do it?
  10. Do you already have sales agents or are you planning to hire them?
  11. Would you be interested in automating repetitive tasks?
  12. What kind of advertising do you do for their e-commerce startup?
  13. How do you keep track of your ROI?

Except for the first 4 questions, most of the other questions are not directly related to their problems. But they’re essential to the problem they are trying to solve. Spending time talking to the customer also gives me an insight into the workings of their company. This will help me suggest a solution that will not just solve their problem but also integrate Exotel into the core of their business.
It’s a win-win situation. I win a long-term relationship with the customer (not to mention the revenue), and the client has a better solution to manage their customer calls.

There are six principles to the consultative sales process:

  1. Research
  2. Ask
  3. Listen
  4. Teach
  5. Qualify
  6. Close

These six principles should provide the basic outline of the consultative sales methodology that you create for your business.

Teach – this brings me to my next learning.

2. Always challenge your customers:

This is something that usually happens during our sales calls here.

sales call

While the client always assumes that they know best about what they need, do not be afraid to challenge the customer. After all, you have a better understanding of your product and the kind of solution that will fit in with their needs better.

Being a good salesperson is not always about saying yes. It’s also about saying no when you think the customer is making the wrong choice.

While this may be the antithesis of everything they teach about sales traditionally, this is the best way to win a customer’s loyalty.If you’re serious about selling better, I’d recommend you read the book “The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixon. Here are some quotes from the book that have influenced the way I talk to my customers:

“How you sell has become more important than what you sell.”

“(Challengers have) a thorough understanding of the client’s business and use that knowledge to push the customer’s thinking and teach them something new about how their company can compete more efficiently.”

“A Challenger is really defined by the ability to do three things: teach, tailor, and take control.”

“The world of solution selling is almost definitionally about a disruptive sale.”

“If you’re on the journey to more of a value-based or solutions-oriented sales approach, then your ability to challenge customers is absolutely vital to your success going forward.”

“Shift the discussion from price to value.”

“Challengers aren’t so much world-class investigators as they are world-class teachers. They win not by understanding their customers’ world as well as the customers know it themselves, but by actually knowing their customers’ world better than their customers know it themselves, teaching them what they don’t know but should.”

A final note

SaaS sales is not a “one size fits all” process. You need to treat each customer’s requirements uniquely and offer them something that works.

My biggest learning has been – Throw away the script you’ve been working with. It’s not going to work. Be genuinely interested in your customer’s success and have their best interest at heart.

Come with selling guidelines or checklists that help the entire team work as one entity and give the customer what’s best for them.

Do you have any additional inputs or stories about your own sales experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Zapier integration - coverWe have been having a good few weeks here at LeadSquared. Just last week, we celebrated the fact that Jyoti Bansal, a Silicon-valley based tech entrepreneur, had invested in us. Now this week, we have one more reason to rejoice. The LeadSquared and Zapier integration has finally been released.

So why is this a reason to rejoice, you ask? Because you can now integrate your LeadSquared with over 750+ other apps on the Zapier platform!!!

What is Zapier?

For the uninitiated, Zapier is the tunnel that links two destinations. Let me elaborate. What if you are trying out the new lead generation ads on LinkedIn? To capture these leads on your LeadSquared system, you would need to integrate the two. which means you need someone who can code and create magic. But now with Zapier, you can simply use a zap, and ta-da! Your lead forms on LinkedIn become leads on LeadSquared.

How do you use this?

To make the most of this integration, the things you would need to have are:

  • A Zapier account
  • A LeadSquared account with access to webhooks
  • Your imagination

We have written a step-by-step guide on how you can connect your Zapier account with your LeadSquared account. Once you have done this, simply choose from over 750 apps that Zapier has, and get zapping!

Here are some zaps that we have created for your convenience. But remember, Zapier is not limited to just this and you can create your own use cases. All you need is creativity and the sky is the limit

For a complete list of all the apps available to you, you can visit Zapier’s App Directory.

Happy Marketing!

Creating a smart content marketing strategy is crucial to success in any sales or marketing profession. Sounds like a cliche, doesn’t it? But, it is the truth, and you cannot afford to ignore the plain truth.

The most successful marketers use proven strategies that increase an audience’s interest in their product or content. This is why the ads you see online contain catchy titles and eye-grabbing visual components. If you’re looking to increase the audience for your content, you’ve come to the right place.

Why is it important to have a content marketing strategy?

You might be wondering why it’s necessary to create a proper strategy, as opposed to simply posting your content. It seems like a lot of extra work, doesn’t it? As technology continues to develop, more and more content is uploaded to the internet every day. Without a strategic approach to marketing, your content is much more likely to be washed away by a flood of new material being uploaded every second.

content marketing strategy - Infographic

Since 2011, the number of internet users has increased from 2 billion to more than 3.4 billion people. This may sound encouraging, as more the audience size, more likely it is that your content will be viewed, right? Wrong.

This isn’t how things will work unless you are strategic with your approach. If you don’t have the right content marketing strategy in place, the 400 hours per minute of YouTube videos, 2.5 million Facebook posts per minute and 4 million Google searches per minute will likely make your content as hard to find as a needle in a haystack; that is, if you don’t create a proper strategy.

Here are some tips for creating the best content marketing strategy possible:

1) Establish your goals

Establishing your marketing goals will prevent you from wasting time on strategies that won’t lead to your success as a content producer. Just like any project, having a clear understanding of what you intend to accomplish will pay off in the long-run.

In order to establish your primary goals, ask yourself:

  • What do I want my content to market?
  • Why do I want to create this content?
  • What kind of content do I want to create?
  • Who is my target audience (Ex: age, gender, profession, interests)

By establishing answers to these questions, before you begin developing your content marketing strategy, you’ll have a much clearer idea about how you should market your content based on your personal goals and the interests of your audience.

If you are having trouble deciding on one type of content to create, remember that many popular content marketers produce a variety of different types of content to appeal to a wide range of viewers. You can write blog posts, post videos, conduct quizzes, or publish e-books. If you are a writer, posting an occasional video will help your audience put a face to what they’re reading, which is almost always going to benefit you as a content producer.

Take your time coming up with answers to these questions. This step is the foundation of your content marketing strategy, so develop it fully and properly before moving on.

2) Research your target audience

As a content producer, you need to know everything about your target audience. The best marketers not only know the existing interests of their target audience but are also able to think ahead and produce content that will become interesting to their audience. For example, health and fitness bloggers often create new food and exercise trends by researching, discovering, and creating content that they know hasn’t “caught on” yet, but will appeal to their audience based on past popular posts.

content marketing strategy - audience

The characteristics you need to research will relate to every aspect of your target audience’s interests. What issues are most important to this population (Ex: environmental, health, art, wealth)? What kind of education will your target audience have? These questions will give you a solid understanding of both the content that will appeal most to a certain group of people, as well as the writing style you’ll need to adopt. An academic writing style on a blog that targets an audience looking for an easy-to-read post will be detrimental to your success in the long-run.

3) Decide on your content management system

The next step is to choose a content management system. If you’re an experienced content producer, you likely already have a platform that you post content on. Sites such as WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are good resources to get you started. Of course, the content management system that works best for you will depend on the type of content you produce. If you create videos, using resources such as YouTube will be much more beneficial than WordPress or other blog sites designed for written content. Tumblr and Pinterest are sites where visual content finds a huge audience. So, the channels you choose depends on the kind of content you produce.

4) Brainstorm ideas

After you’ve established your goals, audience, and the platforms, you’ll need to establish some clear, cutting-edge content ideas. To do this effectively, search popular blog posts that have been catered towards your target audience. Use these posts as a reference for how to design your own posts. Then, ask yourself how you can provide something more to blog posts that are already popular. Producing content that’s been done time and again won’t give you the edge you need in order to be successful. Resources like Feedly and Buzzsumo are a great way to explore popular topics and increase your chances of having your content viewed.

5) Post your content

content marketing strategy - blog

Now the next step is to write, film, or create your content. Before posting, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you’re putting your best content forward:

  • Proofread
  • Create organized content
  • Use SEO keywords

When readers come across grammar or spelling issues, or poorly edited videos, they’ll take the content and the content producer much less seriously, and your credibility drops. If you’re hoping to find success by producing content, take editing very seriously.

Additional tips:

Creating a structure that’s easy for your audience to understand is another way to optimize your content. My most popular content uses clear sections for easy readability. For example, blog posts with no subtitles and long blocks of texts won’t appeal to readers as much as short paragraphs with clear headings. Have you ever searched for a recipe online? The last thing you want when you’re cooking or baking is a wordy essay. This is why the most popular recipes online have bullet points with easy-to-read instructions.

content marketing strategy - structure

Finally, make sure your content is search engine optimized (SEO). Viewers will be more likely to find your content if you include strategic keywords and catchy titles. To get started, take a look at the keyword planner on Google AdWords. Subtly insert keywords into your writing to make your posts more search-friendly. In doing so, you’ll direct significantly more traffic to your page than by not using keywords.

Effective content marketing involves a lot of pre-planning and revision. But, don’t let it get tedious, stay patient and sip on some nice cool lemonade as the results keep pouring in.

Have something more to add? Tell us in the comments below!

Being a sales person for so long, I have come to learn that sales forecasting is a skill that is honed over time. Everyone has the acumen required for it, they just don’t realize it. When I was a kid, I was really smart. Not the Einstein kind, but the kind that knew how to get their way around obstacles. This could be to get just a little bit more pocket money, approval for a trip with friends, or to get me out of trouble. But I could read the unconscious emotional cues that told me what my father and, sometimes, my mother was thinking.

Now, years later, as a sales guy, I apply the same logic to my prospects. Right from the very first call or meeting, I would watch out for clues to predict whether they would convert or not. If there are increased ‘Danger signs’ then I would know that this lead would probably not convert.

Let me give you an example. The other day, I was called to demonstrate our product to an educational institute. I arrived right on time and proceeded with my demo. The audience consisted of users/counselors from their centers across India. I knew then that this prospect would convert – and they did! It was one of the easiest deals I had closed.

How did I predict that? Well, a house—full attendance told me that the users were serious about my product and were genuinely looking to use it. Typically, that is half the battle.

What is Sales Forecasting?

The bookish definition would be “The process of predicting, monthly, quarterly or annually, the estimated amount of sales that is going to happen for the business over that period of time”. These sales forecasts are then used by the management to make important business decisions.

Sales forecasting methods - comics

I have now learned that sales forecasting or predicting sales of a client is one of the most crucial talents that I can have, and that is what makes me a good salesman. Sales forecasting is not as complicated as you think it is. If you just sharpen your observatory skills, you also can predict sales with a 90% accuracy just like me.

Here are some signs that will tell you the sales is highly likely to close.

Positive signs to watch out for:

1. They know what they want:

Right from the outset, when you start speaking to a prospect, they would communicate why they are looking to purchase your product. Their requirements, as well as their urgency, in finding a solution to their problem will become apparent to the sales person in the first few conversations.

2. They are eager and curious to know more:

To know if the lead is really interested in buying what you are selling, there are some emotional reactions that you should be looking out for.  If they are excited to talk with you about the deal, or if they are curious to know more about your product, then that is a definite sign that they are interested.

3. Their budget and timeline fit your business:

Remember that time and money are the two most important things for businesses. Positive clients give you a clear timeline on when the deal would be closed and don’t dodge around. Best of all, their budget would fit perfectly for your business.

4. The upper echelon is directly involved:

More often when you sell to businesses, you will have to cross various gatekeepers to get to the right decision maker. When the decision makers get actively involved very early on in your communications with the lead, you know that the sale has higher chances of closing.

5. They request for a trial:

Some clients insist on trying the product/service before taking a buying decision. This is another clue for you, the salesperson, that a successful trial would mean a willing customer.

6. They start haggling prices:

Remember how our mothers start bargaining for something as soon as they like it? The same way once your lead starts to negotiate on the price, you can go right in, because that is a firm clue that they are in need of what you are selling.

If a combination of one or more of the other signs can be seen in your lead, then you would know that the customer is ready for closure. These signs tell you that the lead is what you can term “low hanging fruit”. All you have to do is pitch the right way and ensure that you give them no reason to make a shift to the competition. The logic is simple, you spend 90% of your time running after clients who have lesser chances of conversion trying to nurture them. Instead, using these cues, you can identify those who have higher chances of converting and 10% of your time on those that are less likely to buy.

But how do you know that they are less likely to buy? There are some danger signs that you can look out for:

Danger signs to look out for:

1. Unclear requirement:

These leads are not really sure of why they want to buy a product. They tend to beat around the bush and keep delaying the purchase. Nine times out of ten, a lack of a solid requirement translates to a no deal. Of course, the wise salesperson that you are, should consider this a bad sign, and try to move on to better opportunities.

sales forecasting methods - bad requirement

 2. Product mismatch:

Before you get down into the whole process of selling, you should have a talk with the client about why and how they planning on using your product/service. Get a use case of sorts and analyze how your product can help them solve their problems. If you think that you cannot help them out, it is wiser to make this clear, instead of finding it out later when you have spent months on the deal.

3. Budget constraints:

Every company has a budget set aside for each department in the business. You should establish what their budget is right at the beginning. Sometimes, this is rather obvious. If you are selling a villa, you cannot try and sell it to a person who has just gotten out of college, simply because they cannot afford it.

4. Reluctant Gatekeepers:

If after 5 meetings, you are still talking with the same, say, regional manager, then that is a sure sign that something is wrong. This is especially true when the organization is large and you know that the decision makers are usually in higher position.

5. Negligent attitude:

If they do not respond to your emails or calls or keep postponing a meeting, then this is your hint to stop contacting them and move on.

6. Fluctuating timelines:

During your initial talks with the lead, always ask for a tentative timeline on when the deal should be closed. If they keep postponing and don’t give you a clear date, alarm bells should start ringing for you.

So there you go! These are the general indicators that I use to predict how much sales I can do for a particular month. But, remember that change is constant, and just because a prospect has given you negative vibes does not mean that you should ignore them altogether. Budgets can be adjusted, attitudes may change and requirements may arise. Use the methods that I have indicated as a method of sales prioritization rather than sales qualification.

Go to Chapter three

You may be a business that runs the best marketing campaigns that are out there. You have amazing advertisements that your audience relates to, your social media following is increasing every day, and you run wildly popular webinars with huge attendance rates. But, if you haven’t perfected sales management, you might find yourself in trouble. Because you have to admit:

“Sales is the ultimate goal of any business”

And as any salesman can tell you, convincing people to buy from you is not really easy. With people trying to sell things to you left, right and center, most people have developed an aversion towards ‘salesmen’. It has now become the job of the salesman to not only sell his business but also to dispel this dread and build a relationship with his customer.

Why should you read this guide?

When you are in the field of sales for a long time, you learn a thing or two. And if you are notorious in your company for closing big deals, then you have started executing what you have learned. The authors of this guide have a collective experience of 8 years in the field of sales and are some of the best in our team. They

This guide has come together with the intention of sharing their knowledge with you and helping you hone and tone your own sales process.

List of chapters:

Sales Management

Sales forecasting methods

How to design a sales strategy

Sales funnel management

Why do you need sales tracking

Why a field sales app is important

About the author:

Having worked a year in field sales and now working as a marketer in a sales focused environment, I have learnt a few things about how sales should work. With the help of my more experienced colleagues, I am taking an attempt at decoding the complicated process of sales.

sales management - delshya

Delshya Selvaraj, Content Marketer at LeadSquared

Go to Chapter one