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Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Sandler Training (Sales Training)

April 15th, 2013 ::

Sandler Training

You may be a natural-born salesperson (or have hired one), but everyone can use a refresher course now and then. Sandler Training has been around since 1967 and has grown into an international franchise with 200 locations worldwide, offering sales training in 27 different languages. Rather than a quick fix, Sandler approaches the sales process with reinforcement and constant coaching. From online tools to local training centers, Sandler offers many ways for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of their vast experience. Check out their blog for smart insights about sales and ask about customizable material for your sales staff.

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Highrise (Customer Relationship Manager)

February 8th, 2013 ::


Keeping your customers’ relevant information updated and handy shouldn’t be a cumbersome endeavor. In fact, many CRM solutions exist to make this task a no-brainer. Highrise is one such solution. You can save and organize notes and email conversations for up to 30,000 customers and contacts. The program also allows you to keep track of proposals and deals, share customer status with your sales team, and schedule texts and emails to remind sales members to follow up. There are different price plans for different-sized teams, starting at $24 per month for up to six users.


How to Spot Trends in Your Business and Turn Them Into Profits

January 4th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

The New Year is here–the time of year when “best of” and “hot trend” lists proliferate. As you look back over all those lists of what was hot in 2012, take a moment to think about what was hot in your own business last year—and what it might mean for next year.

Here are four key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What did your customers buy more of and less of in 2012? Use your sales records and other data to see what products and services were hot sellers last year and which ones were less so. See what trends you can spot. Are customers buying more do-it-yourself items, or are they upscaling to costlier ones? Try to project into the future and how these changes might affect your business going forward.
  2. Who were your best customers in 2012? Was that a change from prior years? Maybe most of your customers used to be college students and now your customer base is skewing younger. Or your customers used to be midsized businesses and now you’ve got a few Fortune 500 clients. What do these trends mean for the future? How can you better serve the new market? What new products, services or sales channels would appeal to them?
  3. How were most of your sales made in 2012? If you typically sell most of your products in-store, did that hold true in 2012 or did you find more customers buying online? Did wholesale accounts grow while retail sales declined? Did customers who previously bought your service on a month-to-month basis sign up for annual subscriptions? Again, consider what this trend might mean in the coming year. How can you sell more through the sales channels that are growing? Should you pull back on the less profitable channels or eliminate them altogether?
  4. Who were your best salespeople in 2012? What did they do that your other salespeople didn’t? Assess your star performers’ actions and habits, and develop best practices you can use to train the rest of your sales team. Consider whether sales quotas need to be reset or whether some poor performers need to be let go (there are plenty of hungry salespeople out there right now). Finally, reassess how you distribute client and customer lists. Can you set your top salespeople loose on the prospects, sales channels and products you’ve identified as growth areas?

Image by Flickr user Images_of_Money (Creative Commons)


Want to Make the Sale? Don’t Wait Another Minute

December 26th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Could your small business manage to make a phone call to a new lead within one minute after it’s generated? If you can, you’ll increase your chances of making the sale by almost 400 percent, according to a report from Leads360.

Leads360 analyzed some 3.5 million leads in 400 companies to see what best practices most increased conversion rates. Calling within the first minute had the most dramatic impact, but here are some other things that helped:

If you can’t reach the prospect with your first call, a second call within 30 to 60 minutes after the lead generation had the next highest conversion rate.

But if the second call doesn’t go through, don’t give up. The study found the best tactic for optimizing conversion was calling leads up to six times. Some 93 percent of all leads that buy are contacted in six or fewer calls.

Reaching out via email also helps: Leads360 found there was a 16 percent higher chance of actually reaching a prospect by phone if they received an email first. However, some 59 percent of prospects in the study didn’t receive an email. It’s not because the businesses didn’t know their emails: 40 percent of those who had an email address on file with the company never received an email.

However, there’s a fine line between the optimal number of emails and too many emails. Within the first month of prospect lifetime, the optimal number of emails to send was five. The conversion rate for leads that received more than five email messages in that time was 36 percent lower than the conversion rate for leads that were contacted after getting one to five emails.

Wondering how your team can possibly follow up this quickly? Download the free whitepaper fromLeads360Then check out Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales, by Andy Paul. It’s a great, practical guide to turning your sales team into a rapid-response machine. Paul lays out specific steps you can take to get your salespeople responding to leads almost instantly. I highly recommend it to help you optimize your sales.

Image by Flickr user julianlimjl (Creative Commons)

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: PipelineDeals (Sales Tool)

October 19th, 2012 ::


If you find yourself missing out on sales opportunities because your sales team is disorganized, you may just need PipelineDeals so you don’t miss out ever again. Import and track all your contacts, then organize contacts by status, source, tags and more. Set recurring tasks to remind your team to follow up, then collaborate between team members. You can even customize deal stages to suit your process. Dynamic charts make it easy for everyone on your team to see the big picture and set priorities. You’ll have a complete overview of the whole process so you won’t miss anything.

FatStax 2.0: Sales Application for iPad: Small Business Resource

July 13th, 2012 ::

FatStax 2.0

Salespeople are almost expected to show up with their iPads on a sales call these days. FatStax 2.9 can help turn an iPad into a sales tool guaranteed to impress their clients—and eliminate “fat stacks” of brochures and sales materials. FatStax 2.0 for iPad is an app that allows business owners to upload and push updated marketing material to sales teams in the field.  FatStax CRM integration allows reps to email sales collateral to customers on the spot and automatically push that sales activity to various CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com.


Concur: Expense Report Solution: Small Business Resource

June 20th, 2012 ::


More sales means happier salespeople and more profits, but also more expense reports to wade through. Concur can help keep expense report entries accurate and ensure employees get paid faster. Credit card expenses automatically appear in your expense report, Google Maps configures reimbursement for driving expenses and drops it directly in the report, and salespeople can snap a picture of a receipt on their smartphones to have the data entered automatically. What’s more, it can all be accessed from anywhere, since all of the data lives in the cloud. The features specifically for small businesses include mobile apps for busy entrepreneurs on the go.


How to Upsell and Cross-Sell for Better Profits

June 8th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you struggling with how to get new customers for your small business? Are you desperately seeking leads or trying new marketing methods to attract new clients? A simpler way to boost sales and profits might be right under your nose: Try upselling or cross-selling existing clients.

Upselling or cross-selling refers to selling customers on additional products or services beyond what they’ve already purchased or committed to. We’ve all experienced this in a restaurant, for example, when you order an entrée and the waiter asks if you’d like a side salad too. How can you make upselling or cross-selling work for your business? Here are some ideas.

Identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. Go through your customer list and think about what products or services each customer could potentially use that naturally relate to what they’re buying from you right now. Also look at your product or service offerings to determine which products or services naturally complement each other and make sense to cross-sell or upsell.

Consider time. Cross-selling isn’t limited to tangible products or services. For example, if you’re selling someone a yearlong gym membership, can you upsell them to a longer contract? If you’re selling a product, can you upsell an extended warranty? Typically, you make the cross-sell work by lowering the price per time segment when the customer purchases a longer contract or commitment.

Train your sales team. Cross-selling and upselling works when it seems to arise naturally, not when it feels forced or like a blatant attempt to wring extra cash from a customer. Make sure your salespeople can execute the process smoothly, or their efforts could do more harm than good.

Use technology. If you have an ecommerce site, a recommendation engine that suggests related products based on what customers are looking at or what they have in their carts is a great way to automate upselling.

Create bundles or levels of service. A three-tiered scale with low-, mid- and high-priced products or services is effective way to bundle related offerings together without having to upsell them separately.

Cross-selling and upselling is an effective tool for every small business—and can lessen your reliance on a constant stream of new customers.

Image by Flickr user rarbol2004 (Creative Commons)

Small Biz Resource Tip: Nimble

April 26th, 2012 ::


If you’re hooked on social media, it’s a good bet that Nimble’s approach to social CRM is going to be right up your alley. Nimble takes a social network approach to organizing your contacts, sales and activities, and ties into all your communication such as email and social media outlets. Nimble also offers project management (called “Activity Management”), and its sales tools can help you keep track of all your business opportunities in one place. Nimble also integrates with other solutions such as HubSpot and MailChimp, and unifies all your notifications and comments from your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts in one place.


Small Biz Resource Tip: SalesCrunch

March 29th, 2012 ::


Worried that your sales team is disjointed and losing focus? Maybe the lack of cohesive management is making them feel lost and confused about company goals. If so, it’s time to get the team together with a variety of sales tools from SalesCrunch that allow you to get organized with sales analytics, training and online meetings. SaleCrunch gives you your own personalized online meeting room, where you can hold scheduled or impromptu meetings, share slides, share your computer screen and record meetings for future reference. You can also use SalesCrunch to monitor sales staff activities, give feedback on sales pitches and track accountability. Each meeting invitation is a trackable link that lets you see who opens and reviews your presentation after the meeting is over.