Blog - FindThatLead

FindThatLead will be at 4YFN

Yes, it’s true! For the second year in a row, FindThatLead will be at 4YFN with our own stand. For those who aren´t familiar with the event; 4YFN is not only the largest and most important startup event in Barcelona, but it is also one of the most important in all of Europe.

In 2016, there were over 12,500 attendees, more than 500 startups, and over 275 speakers talking about innovation and what the world can look forward to considering innovation. We’re looking forward to seeing what the 2017 edition will bring!

Mayor Barcelona

Last year the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, came by and visited our stand. 

Our Stand

We will be located at Acció Startup Space by the entrance in the G2.7 standCome stop by, learn more about our product, meet our awesome team, and you just might receive a little surprise! We will be receiving clients, doing product demos and making valuable connections all week long. Visit us and find out what surprises we have for our customers … 

ftl 4yfn

 

FindThatLead Prospection Tool

We also have some exciting news – we are launching a new product! Finding new business leads has never been easier before with our new tool: FindThatLead Prospection Tool. Compared to our current tool, our Prospection tool searches over the ENTIRE internet to find your leads, and to top it off – in real time.

We are thrilled to be able to offer an advanced and comprehensive lead generation tool, to help our customers find new potential customers faster than ever.

How does it work? It’s easy, just begin by choosing your audience …

Targeting criteria

Then sit back and relax, as you get your emails!  

Search Results

We will be launching the tool during the 4YFN event, so there will be a lot of exciting news next week.

One last thing … if you sign up for our FTL Prospection tool before February 27th, 2017, we´ll give you a present – $50 off forever! Be the first to try out our awesome new tool!

Come visit us at 4YFN, and if you can’t make it – be sure to check out our new tool.

5 Ways You’re Killing Your Sales Calls

While a great part of modern sales is social selling and emailing, we still haven´t advanced beyond the need to pick up the phone and make an actual phone call. If you’re not that great on talking on the phone, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, you may be making a few mistakes that are killing your calls before you even get started.

We’ve compiled the top 5 mistakes when making a sales call – hope you can learn from it! 

 

 

1. Sounding like a cliché salesperson

You may be a salesperson, but that doesn’t mean you have to sound like one. Huh? I’m talking about those salespeople that call with an overly enthusiastic voice shouting “Hi! I’m so-and-so from XYZ company. I’m calling here to talk about a great opportunity for your business!” or any of the other cliché openers.

When people can automatically detect that it’s a sales call, they´re also likely to automatically reject you – don’t let that happen! Be more casual, be firm, be … genuine. Try it and see if it works.

2. Not having an answer to a negative response

If you’ve ever made a sales call, you know that a number of times (usually higher than we would like), prospects respond negatively. Whether they do that politely or rudely is a whole other story in itself … but typically negative responses range from “I don’t have time right now” … “I can’t say when I´ll have time to have a meeting” … to that straight up “I’m not interested”.

If these responses catch you off guard every time, you´ll never learn how to surpass these problems. Instead, knowing that you are very likely to encounter negative responses multiple times a day, come up with a guide of “tree” or possible responses to counteract the negativity.

3. Not being smart about calling times

While it may be comfortable for you to arrive to the office at 9, have a coffee, catch up on your emails, etc. and then begin calling at 10, you’re making a bad move. Why? Your leads probably have similar schedules, and by the time you call them they will be knee-deep in their daily job and stress.

Be smart about calling times, and you’ll ensure that you’ll be able to actually talk to your leads. Not only are you trying to catch your leads at a time that´s good for them, you also want to be strategic about avoiding gatekeepers. Calling after 6, when you know the secretary has gone but your lead is likely to still be working, is one smart move. Likewise for the morning, calling at 8:30 or 9:00 on the dot before the gatekeepers have settled in, may give you a higher chance of getting through to your lead. Be smart!

 

 

4. Not having clear talking points

If everytime you call, you improvise, you’re again making a mistake. You’re likely to forget exactly what you want to say, especially if the person on the other line is somewhat aggressive or hostile, and you find yourself a little flustered. It’s perfectly normal to get nervous or feel flustered, especially if you’re a newbie to this business!

The best way to ensure you get your main message across everytime, without fail, is having a little guide or script with your main talking points. The best sales people have different scripts for different kinds of customers and sectors, but the idea is to help guide you so you always deliver the right message.

5. Delivering a monologue

While in the previous point we mentioned that it’s a guide idea to have a script with talking points to help guide your calls, you also need to remember it’s not your time to shine. People don’t want to listen to monologues – especially from someone they’ve never met! Use your script as a guide, and don’t think of it as a one-man-show. Improvise and most importantly – listen to your lead!

We hope some of these tips will help you to succeed when you make your next sales call!

How to be a More Efficient Salesperson

As the main goal of any salesperson is to sell more, more and more – that also means that any way you can be more efficient and faster and work will help you to sell even more! Have you thought about how you can be more efficient and work smarter? There are probably many things you could be doing to optimize your time, and with just a little effort too.

 

Know the Purpose of Every Action

Rather than just sending out a wide net and hoping to catch some leads (which sometimes does work), it’s better to have a clear vision of your pipeline and your actions. Instead of sending out a million emails, or making a million calls and hoping that some of them will work – try this instead:

Cleary set the purpose for every action

How can you do that? It’s simple: before you make that call, or send that email, decide what is the outcome you would like to achieve. Obviously the end goal is to close a deal, but there are multiple steps throughout the process. Is it setting up a time to do a demo, calling to answer some specific questions, putting the lead in touch with current customers? When you know the point of each action, your communications will be clearer and more concise, helping you to achieve this specific goal.

Be Transparent

While many salespeople will argue that you should avoid mentioning the costs until the absolute last moment possible, those salespeople will also have experienced numerous lost opportunities due to this. Of course price shouldn´t be the first thing you open with, but by being transparent about costs you not only gain trust, but time. In case your pricing is out of a potential lead´s budget, you’re saving all the time spent on trying to close this lead. And when you’re clear on prices, customers feel respected by not having last minute add-on fees thrown in at the end.

 

 

Prepare for Sales Objections

Rather than every time a sales objection comes up, having to create a response in the moment; the best thing is to have prepared responses to frequent sales objections. Try and test your responses to see which are the best ones, and once you’ve figured that out all you have to do is repeat them. You can print out the objections and the perfect responses and use it as a guide book any time you’re on a call, or responding to leads.

Make it Easy to Schedule Meetings

Time lost to communications going back and forth about the perfect time and date to schedule meetings is not only valuable time, but also valuable momentum for a sales lead. If it gets too annoying and difficult to find a time to meet, chances are your leads will lose interest. And if you don’t lose their interest, you will have nonetheless lost time that could have been spent on selling.

One idea? Use a tool that makes it easy to book meetings and put it directly in your email signature. We like to use Calendly at FindThatLead, but any option that allows you to easily share your calendar will work.  

 

 

Automate Tasks

You probably spend a lot of time repeated the same tasks over and over again – why not save some time and automate these repetitive tasks? This could be actions such as searching for someone´s email address and contact information, or writing the same prospective email over and over again.

To find a prospect´s contact info, FindThatLead is the great tool to easily find someone´s email address within a matter of mere seconds! And there are many other handy tools that allow you to save email templates, such as Streak.

Do you have any ideas or tips that help you to be more efficient? Make a comment on social media and let us know!

5 Ways to Help Your Sales Team Grow

One thing every sales manager wants is to have an awesome sales team who performs to their best everyday. However, we all know that’s not always the case. How can you make that possible?

Whether you work for a small startup or a large company, these 5 tips to help your sales team grow will work for you. And whether you’re the boss, middle management or a sales manager, you can start applying them right away! Let´s get started … 

 

1. Coach rather than give orders

The number one mistake most managers make is giving orders and bossing their employees around, whether it’s unintended or a chosen type of management style. Although this has been proven to clearly be an outdated technique, it is still very common in many companies and industries. However, when it comes to sales teams it’s a truly terrible way to help employees grow!

Why? You can’t tell someone to make a sale, you have to teach them and show them how. Without having the right techniques and skills, a new salesperson won´t know the first thing about closing contracts. The best way to help your sales team grow is by coaching them, guiding them throughout the process until they are top sales people.

There are a myriad of ways to do this – not only just through your own management style, but by sending employees to sales seminars, provide internal training, creating a program of internal mentoring … try out a few different approaches and see what works best.

2. Help middle performers become top performers

Your top performers already know how to get the job done, so while you may be attempted to focus your efforts on them, chances are they have discovered what works for them and will continue to improve and improve as they implemented these lessons learned.

The part of your team that could really use your help is the middle performers. Why is that? They’re the core of your team, so if you look at it just from a practical standpoint; if the majority of your team improves, it will yield much greater results for the company.

Not convinced? See what Vadim Zorin has to say about this approach: “A five percent gain in the middle 60 percent of your sales performers can deliver over 91 percent greater sales than a five percent shift in your top 20 percent”.

3. Use the top performers to help the bottom ones

Since you won’t have time to help everyone (and while we’re not saying you shouldn’t pay attention to the lowest performers), you do have limited time and won’t be able to focus on everyone, at all times. Use your team and put them to work – internally! Ask the top performers to guide and coach the lower performers, and see how everyone benefits. The best performers will feel positive about their work and valued employees – and those benefitting will get a hands on coach in their own team, and could even build up mentor relationships. It’s a win-win all around!

4. Use the right tools

Your sales team will only be able to perform as well as the tools and resources they have. While some of that is the knowledge and mentoring you will be giving, they will also need the right tools to get their job done faster. Make sure they have the technological tools that will help them to save time and work better. We can’t help but recommend FindThatLead – a plugin that finds almost anyone´s email address in mere seconds. A tool that stops salespeople from wasting countless hours searching on the internet for email addresses! 

 

5. Listen

Make yourself available to your entire team, at all times. Just because we recommend focusing on the middle, that doesn’t´t mean you should ignore your top or bottom performers. If members of the team don’t feel valued or appreciated, that´s one sure way to see performance drop! Encourage your sales team members to come to you with any problems, to ask question or for advice. An open door is the best policy to maintaining communication and avoiding any surprises.

What do you think? If you try some of these methods, let us know how it worked for you!

New Year’s Sales Resolutions to Make NOW

It’s a new year – and that means a fresh start to your 2017 sales goals! Surely you’ve created some personal goals – but why leave out your professional life when imagining the new and improved you? It’s time to make a fresh start at work and begin with productive habits to help you reach your goals even faster this year.

We´re sure you have already found many ways to be successful and are a hard worker, but one can always improve. Why not take the time to think about your performance last year, and how you´d like to improve for the year to come? Take a look at some of our suggestions, and let us know what you think!

Focus on Building Relationships

If you think of your sales prospects as just that – leads in the pipeline – chances are they too, will feel they are just another number in your daily work. Try to focus more on building sales relationships, and your leads will feel the difference and appreciate it.Ask questions, make jokes, have an actual .. conversation!  Even when it’s for a small deal – a little bit of humanity will go a long way.

Nurture Existing Customers

While every company has a different billing plan, don’t think that a relationship is over just because you have closed the deal. That customer doesn´t cease to exist – in fact their relationship with your company is just beginning! If your company doesn´t take good care of your customers, not only do you lose the possibility to upsell, extend the contract; you will be making a very negative impact on your marketing and word-of-mouth strategies.

If you’re not personally responsible for customer service, client relations, etc., make sure that department is doing their job well. And it never hurts to periodically call some customers to check if everything is going well. You never know – they just may have a friend in need of your service!

 

 

Have a Positive Attitude

Do you want to know how you can have guaranteed success? It’s so much easier than anyone tells you – by believing in yourself. Scientists have proven time and time again the power of believing in yourself. If you don’t believe you´ll be able to close a deal – chances are you won´t! So set yourself up for success rather than failure, and don’t be too surprised when success follows.

Go the Extra Step

At the end of the day when you’re tired, frustrated and ready to give up a deal – take a deep breathe, relax and make ooone extra last push. Stay just 5 minutes longer, make that extra phone call, send that extra email. At the end of the day you’ll feel better that you made the extra effort – and your pipeline will see the results.

Manage Your Online Presence

Social selling is the way of the future now, your prospects don’t expect nor want to receive cold calls. However, they are much more friendly if you send them a message on Linkedin, Twitter, etc. They can respond in a relaxed way, and don’t have to feel like you are interrupting them. It’s also a great way to sell much more subtly and build up branding – by posting content about your company on a frequent basis, you are communicating all the benefits and assuring that you stay fresh in people´s minds.

Use the Right Tools

Lastly, use this year to take the time to research on the tools that can help you best. Tired of using the same platforms and tools that don’t really work for you – but are what´s easy? Having the right resources available and ready to use can help you to save so much time – meaning you´ll be more productive.

Our tool FindThatLead helps people to find emails within mere seconds – so you don’t have to search for hours on the internet only to find an email address you’re not even sure is correct. Stop wasting time on tasks that don’t help – and start saving time using tools that will help you get the job done faster! Download our FindThatLead plugin today!

How to Awesomely Close Your Sales Year

As we are nearing the end of 2016, it’s a great moment to take a look back on what you’ve accomplished professionally with your team. It’s also your last chance to close any pending deals for the year to help you end 2016 strong! What´s the best ways to close out the year strong and ready for an amazing 2017?

Focus and Go!

Just as you are preparing to end the year, your leads are also preparing to end the year. Any budget they had for 2016 often needs to be used and allocated before the following year. So it’s a good chance to close leads that have a budget and still haven´t used it. All you need to do is put on your game face and work hard! Make a strong effort to contact (by calling or emailing) all new leads and explain clearly your benefits, knowing that they might be in a better position to buy than before.

 

Clean out the Pipeline

Do you have some leads and deals that have been lingering in the pipeline forever, just floating around? Now is the time to try to move these leads. There´s no point in dragging dead weight for years and years, especially when the possibility of closing them is null to zero. So now´s the time to work hard and try to close any old leads that have a possibility of making a sale. If not, move on and clean house!

Begin January Prospecting

We know you’ve got to put the maximum focus on closing out the year strong, but don’t forget to set up some leads and appointments for January! Otherwise you´ll come back fresh from your holidays looking at an empty calendar and an empty pipeline … SCARY! By setting up some contacts for January, you can come back from holidays with something already cooking in the pot.

Analyze the Year

Take the time to analyze your sales efforts throughout the year, individually and on a team-wide scale. Not only to congratulate the highest performers, but to better understand what went well and what went wrong. Was there a common reason leads did not convert into customers? Did you hear the same question over and over again? By analyzing why you didn’t close deals, you can learn from it to have an awesome 2017!

 

Celebrate!

Now that you´ve analyzed the year, why don´t you celebrate the team wins? It´s important to begin the new year on a positive note, and your team will appreciate it too. Hold a team meeting, dinner or party and celebrate with your colleagues the hard work done. This will help to keep up the motivation for the new year and your team unity.

At FindThatLead, we´ve had a great year from closing many new clients, expanding our team and improving our tool. We hope you´ll have a happy end of 2016 and see you in 2017!

The Perfect Out of Office Responses

Christmas Santa Clause Vacationing on Tropical Beach with Drinks Close-up

The holidays are coming closer and closer, which means it’s time for a VACATION!! Who doesn´t love a good break by the beach, a romantic getaway, or spending quality time with your family?


As you begin to pack up your bags and prepare to leave work for a few days, don’t forget to set up your Out of Office Reply on your email so people know you’re unreachable! These can get VERY boring, fast. We´ve come up with some good ideas to help put a little pep in your step.

Basic Information

This is the boring stuff and what usually these auto-responses dull, but it is necessary. You will need to include the basic information such as the beginning of your vacation until the end, so people know when they will be able to get ahold of you. Additionally, you will need to list a contact person in case of an urgent issue.

Now that that´s covered, let´s get creative …

Lead Generation

If you´d like to be productive while you’re away, and even try to maintain your sales speed, you could use your email responder as an opportunity to help with your lead generation. Some possible ideas:

  • Include a link to an e-book, email course, or any marketing materials you have readily available
  • Provide a link to your calendar to book a demo straight away, with your availability clearly marked when you return
  • Link to your company´s most popular blog posts to get your leads to start visualizing how they can use your solution

Add a Quotation

Do you prefer for your leads to think of you as the scholarly type? Why not include a quotation from a famous author, poet or philosopher at the end? People will think you’re away reading Proust or writing a novel! Some ideas to get you going:

  • “Leisure is the mother of philosophy” – Thomas Hobbes
  • “The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone” – John Locke
  • “Happiness is the highest good” – Aristotle

The “Don’t Bother Me”

If you really don’t want to be bothered, try a variation on Josh Kopelman´s auto-responder:

I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return – but that’s not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

  • If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to interruptyourvacation@firstround.com and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.
  • If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona (fiona@firstround.com) and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,

Josh

Go Crazy

Next up, why not get a little crazy? You are on vacation after all, no? And besides, humor is a great way for your future customers to remember you. We´ve got some fun ideas…

  • Add a gif related to what you will be doing.

“Hey dudes! I’m out at surf school with my dog and couldn´t bring my laptop with, so I won´t be able to respond to your email until XX/XX date. If you need anything, ask my dog´s babysitter “xxxx@findthatlead.com” who can help you with anything you need. Sayonara!”

  • Add some fun facts. Whoever is emailing you is probably sitting in the office, meanwhile you’re out enjoying yourself. Why not brighten their day and share some interesting facts? Google Facts is a great place to find ideas. Here´s a few…

“Pink “albino” dolphins are extremely rare but do exist in the wild.”

“Twitter has enough money in the bank to run for 412 years with current losses.”

“Steve Jobs was infamous for parking his Mercedes in handicap parking spots. He also didn’t use license plates.”

The sky is truly your limit! Don’t let your creativity hold you back – thinking of your auto-responder is the first step to your vacation.

Do you have any other great out of office replies? Let us know in the comments!

4 Ways to Rock a Remote Sales Team

In today´s modern age, the age old belief of having physical offices with a boss watching over employees until the end of the day is losing popularity. We are now constantly connected – via our laptops, smartphones, Whatsapp, facebook, twitter, etc. There is a constant stream of communication and thus, there is no longer the need for everyone to be in the same place at the same time.

This makes it very convenient for startups and companies that hire many freelancers – such as sales representatives. In FindThatLead while we have a physical headquarters, we often work remotely and are happy to have collaborators all around the world. The flexibility it brings, and we find the productivity, is enormous!

That´s not to say it’s not without its own unique challenges. If you’re managing a remote sales team, we have some tips to help you navigate this new unchartered territory. 

1. Trust

The most important thing in order to manage a remote team, is trust! This setup will never work for your team unless there is a high level of trust for everyone – from the boss to the employees. If you are the type of boss who doesn’t believe your employees are working unless you see them sitting at their desk, this will never work for you.

In the end, you will clearly see the results of who is working and who is not. Especially for a sales team, where their efforts are measured more in the deals closed, and not in hours logged. Providing freedom of movement and a flexible timetable for sales teams is often the key to success – by allowing them to work when it’s the best time to contact their customers, you’re increasing their chances to close more deals.

 

2. Clear Communications

As we mentioned above, nowadays there are endless possibilities to communicate constantly. So there’s no excuse not to communicate clearly and continuously with your team. It’s just as important for the team to be available, as it is for the boss. In case an employee has a question or a problem, they need to be able to go to their superior to get feedback.

In order to manage this, decide on a general timeframe that it is acceptable to communicate regarding work. Choose a time block where everyone is working (for example, from 11:00 – 4:00), during this time everyone will be available for quick questions and answers. The rest of the day will depend on each person’s unique schedule.

3. Decide on resources

If there is to be constant communication within your team, then in order to be organized you will need to decide which channels and resources you will communicate on. Receiving messages through many different places – email, Whatsapp, facebook, etc. – will only result in a great amount of frustration. Choose one or two main communication channels to be used teamwide: for example, email and messenger, or email and slack.

Just as deciding clearly on which communication channels to use, you will also need to choose a cloud storage system. One of the greatest dangers of remote teams is if it’s not organized well, it’s all too easy to lose work documents, such as sales contracts. There are many cloud solutions out there today, such as Google Cloud or Dropbox, depending on what your needs are different solutions will be better for you. Once you’ve chosen a cloud solution, take the time to organize it and communicate clearly how to upload, store and find documents. You wouldn´t want to lose a customer due to a misplaced contract!

4. Connect

Find times to bring everyone together, otherwise it can become a lonely job. Schedule weekly catch ups with the whole team, not just so people are tuned in on others´ tasks, but to create a sense of team unity. Find moments to meet in “real life” so the team can form bonds and connect on a personal level. As much as the team may be working independently and remotely, there´s no reason they can’t be friends!

 

These are just some ways we manage our remote sales team at FindThatLead. We help sales team around the world to save time and close more deals – by downloading our Chrome plugin you can find almost anyone´s address and social information via Linkedin. Very handy, no?

Do you work in a remote sales team? Do you have any other suggestions for how to work best with your team? Let us know on social media!

6 Magic Words to Help You Sell More

What does a salesperson have to sell their company’s product or service? Words! Words are the magic that salespeople use to get new customers to buy what they are selling. In order to be truly successful, you need to choose your words and message carefully. A long email written without thought is much different than a well thought out email, with the message and word choice analyzed in advance.

So how do you know which words are the best? We’ve investigated and found 6 magic words that will help you to sell more.

1. You

When you are trying to sell something to another person (be it sales or marketing), the essential key to remember is you have to make the sales pitch relevant to them! No one wants to reciprocate with someone who only talks about their company, their solution, bla, bla, bla! People want to hear what is relevant for them, how it affects them, why it’s interesting for them.

So when you practice your sales pitch, find a way to bring the customer back into the pitch. Try to always make it about them!

Pro Tip: Instead of asking “are you” change to “you are”. For example “Are you the Director of Marketing?” to “You are the Director of Marketing?”. This subtle change is more direct, and so long as you keep it as a question it’s not seen as too aggressive. It also puts them in a position of agreeing with you, rather than answering questions. This subconsciously puts their mind in a position to agree with  you later down the line.

2. Their Name

In line with the point above, people want to talk and hear about themselves. In addition to meaning “you” as much as possible, finding ways to repeat their name throughout your communications is a great trick to keep them engaged. Your customer will feel like you’ve created something customized just for them, and will help them to stay focused on your pitch. Why? Psychologically, we are wired to pay better attention if someone says our name.

3. Value

So now you know that you will need to focus on bringing the customer into the conversation, and repeating their name throughout your communications. But how do you make the pitch interesting for them?

Put yourself in your customer´s shoes, and take yourself out of the equation. You need to communicate strongly the value that your product or solution offers, not a long list of features and product details. People don’t care about details, but they do care about the resulting value from using a potential product.

For example, in FindThatLead we don’t necessary go on and on about how we connect to Linkedin to find anyone’s email address, or that we are compatible with Google Spreadsheets, how you can import and export contact details easily, etc. Instead, to focus on the value we would communicate the value: how with FindThatLead you can easily find your leads´ email addresses and other contact details, saving time, with the end result of helping you to close more deals.

4. Imagine

Imagine is definitely one of those special, magical words that help to convey your message. Instead of just “telling” your lead why they should buy your product, you should explain its value through a story. By having your lead imagine a story, especially a story very similar to their situation, they will be imagining themselves in that situation using your product.

5. Because

While the word “because” may not be as magical as “imagine”, it serves a strong purpose for sales. Instead of just saying why your product is better, why they need to buy it, etc. — back yourself up with good reasons using because.

For example: FindThatLead is the best email tool out there! Better: FindThatLead is the best email tool out there because we connect to Linkedin and find emails within seconds.

6. Opportunity

Instead of focusing on your customer´s “problem”, focusing on presenting an “opportunity” to them. Problem is a negative concept, and by discussing how you will create new opportunity it will shine a positive light on your argument.

Have you tried any of these magic words? Do you have any secret words you use to help you sell more? Let us know on social media!

Never Surprise Your Sales Team

“SURPRIIIIIIIISE!”

While that may be a fun word to hear when it’s your birthday, it usually does not bring good news for a sales manager. Anyone who wants to properly manage a sales team, let alone a business knows that surprises are not good.

While it’s good to have a positive energy, a sales team cannot run on hope and hope alone. Because a sales pipeline run on hope results in surprises… and more often than not they are not good surprises.

When you build up a pipeline full of hard-to-reach customers, big clients, or just plain “long shots”, you are setting yourself up for bad surprises. It’s much better to set up a realistic pipeline, thus avoiding all surprises (good and bad), because being realistic, you already know what is likely to happen.

Communicate

When a new salesperson joins your team, be very clear and honest about what is expected from him/her. What do you expect from your sales team on a daily basis? How do you recommend they meet their goals – what actions do you recommend they take (active calling, emailing, etc.)? How does the company want its salespeople to act and treat customers? Some of this may seem like common sense when you’ve been with a company for a while, but remember for new team members this may not seem so obvious to them.

 

Plan, plan, plan

While we know that planning is the bane of your existence, it’s still necessary. Since you already know how to create the perfect pipeline, you know that the key to success is to plan. When you have a pipeline full of qualified leads, with action throughout the entire process, you will know exactly where you stand on meeting your sales goals. When you see you are lacking something in any area of the pipeline (qualified leads, email communications, meetings); you can plan ahead and try to prepare to fill out the pipeline.

Speaking of filling your pipeline, if you are lacking more qualified leads, the fastest and easiest way is to use our FindThatLead plugin to find email addresses for your future customers, all within a few clicks and a few seconds.

Follow Through

Once you’ve organized your pipeline and planned the steps you need to take, don’t forget to follow through! After failing to plan, the easiest way to get surprised is by a simple lack of follow through. Forgetting to re-contact leads, sending proposals, or not re-scheduling meetings that get cancelled will cause your leads to fall through the gap. Always follow through until the last step possible.

Be Honest

When a sale isn’t going as expected, don’t try to hide it from your sales team. This way you are surely setting yourself up for a negative surprise. Not only is this the best way to prepare your company pipeline for a future letdown, your colleagues may be able to help you. If you’re dealing with a difficult lead, it’s quite possible a colleague has had a similar customer and may have some tips to change your strategy or approach.

 

But Really, No Surprises?

Ok, ok. We know that sometimes (good) surprises can be fun! We’re not telling you to set yourself up for a very boring work existence, with every move planned down to the T that there´s no longer any excitement in the sales process.

You can keep a few “dream clients” in your pipeline base. These are leads that you know will be very difficult to close, but if you do close them, the hard work will be well worth your effort (whether the customer has a high reputation, is able to afford an expensive package, or any other value). Then if and when you do close the lead, you will have a great happy surprise!

However, it’s important to remember only to keep a few of these types of leads in your pipeline, lest your days become full of bad surprises.

Agree of disagree with surprises on a sales team? Let us know on social media what you think!

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