Women in Sales Blog

A Sales Rep's Dream: Automating Prospecting Research?

Posted by Ali Powell on Feb 16, 2017 1:18:48 PM

There are many ways for sales reps and account managers to track their prospects and customers but most of those ways are manual, take time, take multiple tools, etc.

Some of the more traditional ways include things like:

  • Google Alerts
  • LinkedIn Follows
  • Twitter follows

Some of the new age ways of following your prospects and customers include:

  • Using tools or software like Datafox, Mattermark, Crunchbase paid, etc.
  • Using growth scores or growth indicators to know which companies in your patch or territory you should be focusing on.

Questions for sales reps out there reading this:

  1. How much time do you spend per day on each account you are working on or prospecting into doing research on the account and target people in the account?
  2. How do you do this kind of tracking? What tools do you use? Do you actually do it? Would you want to do it if you could?
  3. Even with using all of these different paid tools or software that help you track growth and triggers on your accounts do you still find the process to be too manual to do it well?

I would bet that the traditional, main stream sales reps out there don't do many of these things because it is too hard, and takes too much time.

I would also bet that even the innovative and tech savvy reps don't want to do these things because it takes too much time and is too manual for them to bother with it. So they just don't do it or do it very minimally.

The holy grail for me when deciding if I want to target an account is:

1. Good researched reasons that mean what I sell could be helpful to the target account

AND

2. Those reasons are timely to us helping the prospect.

If I have both of those things I usually feel like this:


You could do all the research in the world and have all the best reasons to prospect an account but staying on top of those triggers and updating the reasons on all accounts in your name is nearly impossible.

The problem is this:

You have x amount of accounts in your name as a sales rep.

You also have x amount of leads in your name too.

You could also have leads and accounts in your territory that are in OPEN or RECYCLED because you aren't actively working those at the moment.

There are also companies or potential companies you could be tracking or helping but you don't know about them yet because they are not in your database or CRM yet.

But, since you are 1 person and only have so much time in the day to actually sell and do your job you can't watch even 1/2 or a 1/4 of your total accounts.

This is where technology and software should come in to help automate this for sales reps.

I would love, love, love <3 my life if every morning I came into work or sat down at my computer and there was a list of my accounts in my name, in my territory with updates on what I would consider triggers for what I sell listed out.

Then I could prioritize my day on my accounts based on those researched reasons, timeliness of the trigger plus inbound lead intelligence.

Wow, life would be lovely. I would focus on just selling and just the fun part of prospecting. Not spending time on the manual process of research on my accounts.

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Topics: sales prospecting, women in sales

Prospect Wants to Tell the Sales Rep: “Please Email Me and Talk to Me Like a Normal Human Being.”

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 27, 2016 9:25:57 PM

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Topics: sales prospecting, prospecting, smart prospecting, sales prospector, email prospecting

Oh the things we could accomplish with getting back the time spent on prospecting research...

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 16, 2016 1:38:31 PM

Time. We only have so much of it in a day. What we do with the time in our workday is important.

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Topics: sales prospecting, precall research, research in the sales process, smart research, prospecting research

Always Confirm and then Reconfirm the Point of the Next Step in the Sales Process

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 1, 2016 8:20:13 AM

Every part of your sales process should have a point.

You must always be on the same page as the prospect, at all steps in the process.

Before every meeting or each part of your sales process prep for the meeting so you have an idea of:

1. What you have done to get here. What steps have you taken to get to this point today?

2. Why are you here today together? What are you hoping to be the result of this part of the process together? 

If you don't know the answer to these 2 questions you should back up with your prospect to get on the same page. 

If you don’t know why you are at a step in the process with your prospect or why you are in a meeting with your prospect then you need to back up and find out what the point of the meeting is. 

  • What is your ideal outcome of this step in your process?

  • Why are you here together?

  • What is the point of this conversation?

  • How does this help you move the deal forward? 

If you aren’t on the same page as your prospect as to what the point of your conversation is then you missed something important along the way.

You need to back up and confirm where you are at in the process. Get on the same page.

You are in sales for a reason. You likely enjoy helping people solve problems.

  • Your job is to find out if your prospect needs your help.

  • Then, that you can solve their problems and they want your help.

  • The prospect must want to be helped by your company because they think your company is the best fit for solving those needs and problems you have exposed in the sales process. 

Whatever stage you are at in your sales process you should be confirming why you are there and what the purpose of your conversation is. 

Confirm. Then reconfirm why you are doing what you are doing. 

Remember you are in sales to help someone with their problems by hopefully selling them what you sell.

  • Are you on the same page as your prospect?

  • Make sure you are on the same page before moving forward in your process.

If you control the sales process, set agendas in your meetings and confirm why you are doing what you are doing then you will work towards the end goal together.

The end goal is the prospect becoming a customer because you can help them best and the prospect agrees that you are the best fit to help them.

You likely know what is best for your prospect so make that clear and explain why you believe your company can solve their problems and needs the best.

Give them guidance and advice on why you believe this from what you have learned in the sales process with them.

Be helpful and manage the process well by setting agendas and confirming those agendas in the process.

If you just so happen to be a woman working in sales or work with women in your company in sales please invite them to join the women in sales community on Slack here.

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Topics: sales prospecting, sales process, smart sales, smart selling

Personalized Prospecting does take LONGER & that is Okay

Posted by Ali Powell on May 20, 2016 9:35:54 AM

Prospecting should take time.

If someone asked me to put a number on the amount of dials and emails a rep should send I don't know if I could answer that. 

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Topics: sales prospecting, prospecting, smart prospecting, smarter prospecting, email prospecting

No More “Spray and Pray”: A Step-by-Step Guide to Targeted Account Based Prospecting

Posted by Ali Powell on May 5, 2016 9:42:09 AM

Some salespeople view prospecting as a numbers game. They reason that the more emails they send and calls they make, the more conversations they will have, and the more customers they will eventually sign. So instead of spending time customizing and personalizing their outreach for each individual prospect, they mass blast generic emails, and follow the exact same script on every single call.

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Topics: sales prospecting, smart prospecting, smart sales process, sales prospecting tips, target account selling, target account prospecting

The Sales Email Sequence That Balances Personalization with Productivity

Posted by Ali Powell on Apr 21, 2016 11:15:04 AM

I get this question from fellow salespeople -- both inside and outside my company -- all the time:

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Topics: sales prospecting, email prospecting, email sequences

How to Shake the "Scaries" When Prospecting

Posted by Ali Powell on Apr 20, 2016 10:19:17 AM

We all know the feeling.

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Topics: sales prospecting, trigger events, prospecting, smart research, more human sales prospecting, sales prospecting success stories, sales prospecting tips, sales research

Sales Lessons Learned from Iris Apfel- Your Style Should Come Out in your Sales Process

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 28, 2015 4:11:43 PM

This weekend I watched the Iris Apfel documentary and I loved it. I love her. 
She is not a sales person but part of me sees her as someone that sales people can learn from and relate to. 

She is an odd duck but in an amazingly, funny way. I dig her. 

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Topics: sales prospecting, sales process, smart sales, smart sales process, smart sales rep, lessons learned in sales

Framework for a Sales Rep Mentoring a New BDR or SDR in the First Few Weeks on the Job 

Posted by Ali Powell on Jul 28, 2015 2:23:31 PM

I have always worked with BDRs here at HubSpot. A BDR at HubSpot is the position a person would take early on in their career (for the most part) to begin a career in sales. I started at HubSpot as a BDR (one of the 1st ones, there were 2 of us actually and we are both still here!) 5 years ago as of August! Thought I would share some of my secrets to "managing" or mentoring or teaching a new BDR that has come onto your sales team. This is going to be more specific to a software sales process but I hope it helps sales reps and sales teams in other industries as well. 

1st week Mentoring and Training a new BDR or a new SDR as a sales rep 

  •  Obviously introduce yourself to them. Take the BDR for coffee or lunch to get to know them. I would suggest just starting those conversations very broadly and getting to know each other. You will want to ask about each others backgrounds, why you do what you do and what you want to do in the role. Make this conversation the foundation for the beginning of your relationship with each other. 
  • One of the first things you should do is open up a Google Doc with the BDR and the sales rep. That will help leave the lines of communication open. Ask the BDR to share questions on here from things they are learning as they get started in the new job. You as the sales rep can then comment here on the questions they have. I would share this document with the manager of the BDR as well if you are not the end manager. This will allow everyone to be on the same page for 1-1s later on as you start to have them. 
  • Set boundaries at the beginning with the BDR. Explain to the BDR how you want to work with them and what you expect of them in return. 
  • Explain how your day works so they understand what you do and how you would like to support them. 
  • Learn about how your BDR likes to learn and how fast or slow they go at learning new things. Match your speed to them. 
  • Make sure you know what their schedule is like and what the training team has them doing that week, month, etc. Make sure you as a sales rep mentoring and teaching them know what your company is teaching them. Add to the training with your own twists and tricks but make sure you let your training team do their job. 

Make sure that you think about what this person wants to learn and make sure you keep communication open as they get going on their new job. BDRs are like sponges. They typically want to learn a ton and are enthusiastic to get going. It is your job as a sales rep to teach them everything you know and help them to do their job the best way they possibly can early on.

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Topics: sales prospecting, women in sales, more women in tech, more women in sales, sales reps, bdr, bdr tips, sdr, today's great sales rep, SDR tips, how to manage a bdr, how to mentor a bdr

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