ProSales Connection Blog

Over the years I have developed some concepts that have enabled me to be successful in the sales field as a sales person, sales leader and as an entrepreneur. One concept that I often write about is my personal principle, the “Rule of Thirds".

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What I am asked the most about by professional sales people is for cold calling strategies to get past gatekeepers. It is a tricky task that can frustrate even the most successful sales people. However, if growing your business is the goal, then you will have to find more new clients. That means you will have to pick up the phone and make cold calls, thus conversations with gatekeepers will be inevitable.

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This is a question that is often debated or even argued over in staff meetings and budget planning meetings the world over. Both Sales and Marketing departments can make a reasonable case for who the telemarketing or outbound lead generation team should report to.

The Marketing department will argue that telemarketing is a marketing function whose primary objective is to qualify and nurture leads until they are ready to meet with a sales person and be promoted to the sales pipeline report. They would claim that this is no different than an email marketing program designed to generate leads for the sales floor.

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Every marketing investment a business makes should have an estimated return on investment (ROI). This is necessary to be able to properly frame the expectations with the marketing budget holder as well as the sales department. The sales team will obviously benefit from the investment and they need to create a plan to support the program.

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The ultimate role of marketing is to not only increase awareness and consideration, but to generate quality sales leads for the sales team. And of course, the role of the sales team is to convert the leads into opportunities that will close quickly and for top dollar. So, if it is marketing’s responsibility to help sales “fill the funnel” or “build the pipeline” we wanted to dig into some of the most effective ways to accomplish this is today’s B2B marketing world.

In most organizations a prospect isn’t added to the sales pipeline until there is an introductory or discovery meeting where the sales person has identified the sacred “BANT” (Budget, Authority, Need and Time-frame). This 1st meeting allows the sales person to understand the prospect’s challenges and where they can begin to introduce your company’s products or services as a potential solution to that challenge.

So, if it all starts with the qualified lead… how can the marketing department help the sales team by generating more quality sales leads?

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As a professional marketer there are a number of channels at your disposal to attract and engage your target prospects. You can potentially leverage any or all of the following:

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Marketing has always shared some responsibility for this process by; increasing brand awareness while promoting the company and solutions. This is generally achieved through print and broadcast media, direct mail, online marketing, events marketing, PR, email campaigns, and other wide reaching marketing channels.

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Recently I had the pleasure of joining Deb Calvert, President of People First Productivity Solutions, on the CONNECT! Radio Show. Deb interviewed me on the important subject of cold calling. We discussed cold calling strategies, as well as telemarketing and inside sales for B2B environments. I have included a recording of the interview below where I explore cold calling best practices and some of the lessons we have learned while delivering successful B2B telemarketing and inside sales programs for our clients at ProSales Connection, LLC.

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 Poor questioning habits are some of the most significant reasons salespeople are not consistently successful.  Struggling salespeople have unproductive sales meetings every day that could easily be saved with just a single, well-timed qualifying question. The challenge is that the single question is never the same, and therefore can’t be given to the salesperson to ask and can’t be paid for with a high dollar sales training program. The skill and the right to ask that question must be earned. How is it earned? It is paid for with lots of other questions for qualified lead generation.

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We set a lot of sales meetings for our clients… in fact, our clients are consistently surprised at the number and the quality of those sales meetings. Obviously, as an inside sales and marketing firm that specializes in B2B appointment setting you would expect us to be good at this.

We love hear that we have set a meeting for one of our client’s dream prospect. They tell us stories of how long they have been calling and all the things they have done to try to penetrate the account. That is invariably when we get the magic question, “What is your secret?”

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