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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Prospecting is Dead… Long Live Prospecting

inbound marketing prospecting funnelDid you know that your chances of making a sale go up a gazillion percent when the prospect actually asks to be contacted by you? Of course you knew that! So how do you make this happen?

Topics: content marketing lead nurturing new business development inbound marketing

What's a Marketing Qualified Lead? What's a Sales Qualified Lead?

sales qualified lead vs marketing qualified leadWhen it comes to lead generation, when does the marketing department’s role end and the sales department’s role begin? Very specifically, when should a lead be passed from marketing to sales?

This is a tricky question, and as with most marketing and sales best practices, it’s not always black and white. Every organization is different, and it’s important that your organization has it's own marketing and sales agreement plan that outlines in detail how you will qualify, distribute, track, and ultimately close your marketing leads.

Topics: lead nurturing lead generation inbound marketing lead scoring sales and marketing alignment

Implement These Social Media Best Practices to Enhance Your LinkedIn Social Selling Efforts in Under 1 Hour

implement these social media best practices on linkedinRecently, I shared a blog post called 10 Social Media Best Practices for Salespeople, and I wanted to expand on a few of them specifically related to how you can put these best practices into play on LinkedIn. I’ve gathered some specific examples from our team of experts, so check out the previous post here, then read on for actionable steps you can take in one hour or less of your time, to enhance your LinkedIn social selling efforts.

Topics: key account growth Social Media LinkedIn lead nurturing salespeople

How to Engage a Lead in the First 20 Seconds

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Twenty seconds may not sound like much time at all, but consider this: a hummingbird beats its wings at an average of 53 times per seconds. This means that a 20-second period is just enough time for a hummingbird to beat its wings an incredible 1,060 times.

It’s also enough time for a new lead to decide whether they’re going to listen to you or not. First impressions in business can be ruthless. This is understandable, as no decision-maker has the time to waste on an unwanted sales call, read a spam email, or even organize a meeting with someone they don’t trust.

We call this the critical window of opportunity. The first 20 seconds of meeting a new lead is your one chance to make a lasting, positive impression, so what do you do?

Topics: lead nurturing Setting Appointments

Matt Sunshine to Speak at INBOUND 2016 on How to Find and Keep the Best Sales Reps

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In just a couple of weeks, the LeadG2 team will be heading to Boston for INBOUND 2016—the yearly marketing conference hosted by HubSpot. As a Platinum Partner of Hubspot, we appreciate how HubSpot continues to lead the industry in research studies, thought leadership, and educating marketers. We learn so much each year at the conference.

Over four days, five keynotes, and hundreds of workshop sessions, we’ll be increasing our knowledge so we can better help our clients, and we’re looking forward to that! 

Topics: lead nurturing lead generation inbound marketing

How to Increase the Quality of Your Sales Leads

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There are certain movies and shows that you have to watch if you want to be able to contribute to the water cooler talk on Monday morning or discuss the latest happenings on the show with a client. If you are in advertising, Mad Men was a must-watch for several years. For computer programmers, it might be Halt and Catch Fire. If you are in the business of sales or lead generation, Glengarry Glen Ross is that movie. If you are a sales manager or salesperson and haven’t seen it, you need to spend some time next weekend and catch up on this classic movie.

When I recently re-watched Glengarry Glen Ross, it made me think about how frequently the salespeople in the movie complained about the quality of the leads and made such a differentiation between the “good leads” and the “bad leads." If you are in sales or sales management, at some point in your career you have probably made a similar statement about the quality of leads being provided to you or your sales team. Soon after making a judgment on the quality of the leads, most sales managers start to focus on how to improve the quality of leads for their sales team.

Topics: lead nurturing Sales

Measuring Sales Performance Starts with a CRM

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Recently I wrote a blog post about the importance of sales performance metrics and how keeping score makes sales teams more successful. After discussing this with colleagues and those in the sales performance industry, one thing became clear: you have to be using a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) in order to effectively track sales performance. Without it, you are just making guesses as to how your sales team is performing. If that’s you, you owe it to yourself and your organization to use one of the dozens of good CRMs you can choose from that works best for your organization.

Why a CRM Is Necessary to Measure Sales Performance

Measuring sales performance, by its very nature, entails gathering data about leads from multiple sources and being able to put that information into measurable, quantifiable and actionable information. In 2015, the year some have called, “The Year of Big Data”, there was an increasing interest in the ability to gather massive amounts of information about prospects and leads and use that information to make sales and marketing decisions. Regardless of how much data is collected on your leads or the financials related to your pipeline, without having a way to organize, track, and calculate your sales metrics, all is for naught.  

Having a CRM allows you to do many things that you could never do without—including tracking your leads' activities across your organization, calculating complex metrics, and the ability to add information to custom dashboards and management reports. Measuring sales performance isn’t an easy thing to do with the growing complexity of organizations. You'll need to track the performance of multiple salespeople, report different information to varying parts of the organization, and measure the overall performance of your sales team. Without a functioning CRM, all of this information is left to spreadsheets or disparate systems that don’t communicate with each other or have been abandoned by the sales team long ago.

Topics: lead nurturing Sales brianhasenbauer

The 4 Most Popular Sales Strategy Posts from LeadG2

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Our sister publication, the LeadG2 blog, posts regularly about how to align sales and marketing for maximum results. Today, we're featuring the most popular sales strategy posts from LeadG2.

1. The Gap That Prevents Most Salespeople From Selling More

Most salespeople are pretty good at selling their products and services. They are usually proficient on sales calls—engaging prospects, discovering underlying needs they can address, and suggesting ideas and solutions that could improve a customer’s business. Companies invest significant dollars in training and systems to help their salespeople move the sales process ahead in a professional manner (and the should). But, there is one part of the sales sequence that often prevents salespeople from delivering their quotas, and that is the ability to get an appointment with a key decision maker in the first place. You’ve heard it said about many aspects of life thatbeing there is the most important thing. That certainly applies to selling. 

Topics: lead nurturing inbound marketing Sales

Lead Intelligence or Lead Stupidity? Which Category Does Your Company Fall Into?

24418861_sAs an inbound marketer, I download pretty much every piece of premium content I find. (Premium content? That’s the material for which you need to fill out a form or you can’t download it, a form asking for your name, email, phone number, perhaps job title, and the like.) For me, it’s purely research on marketing trends, learning how to do inbound marketing better, and of course, checking out the competition.

I find it very interesting that even though I sometimes use my gmail account (not my work email) that I constantly get calls from companies where I downloaded some premium content, and they’re trying to sell me marketing automation services. It's not hard to do a search on LinkedIn to find the few Hasenbauers that are out there. It's not like my job title and my company are hard to find. Most anyone can see that I work for a company that does marketing automation and inbound marketing.

So why do these companies bother calling and following up on leads that have no chance of converting? Great question.

Three Questions to Ask Before Making the Call

Before any inbound marketer picks up the phone and calls a lead, there are three questions they should ask themselves:

  1. What is the history of this lead with my company?
Topics: lead nurturing inbound marketing

What You Need to Know About Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing

Lead NurturingThe search for qualified, sales-ready leads is a challenge to almost all sales organizations and as technology continues to advance and all of our lives (and our prospects lives) become busier, the need to uncover and nurture qualified leads becomes increasingly more important.

Topics: lead nurturing lead generation inbound marketing