By now, it’s no secret that the companies who are most successful sell more. Today, John Harris, EVP of Sales and Marketing for EnerBank USA, talks with social selling pro Ken Krogue, President and cofounder of InsideSales.com, one of the nation’s leading experts on social selling and sales automation. Harris recently interviewed Krogue, named the world’s #2 Top Social Selling Influencer for 2014 by KiteDesk.com.
Here’s what Krogue had to say:
|John Harris||Ken Krogue|
Harris: What is the single greatest thing a home improvement contractor (or a salesperson) can do to increase sales?
Krogue: The single greatest way to sell more is to make selling more efficient. In fact, our research shows that this one step alone can produce up to 13x higher sales from existing salespeople. Every salesperson is more motivated and effective when the company invests in training and tools to help them increase efficiency. There are sales-specific tools from organizations such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics and my own company, InsideSales.com, which can help. As a start, contractors should continually look for ways to improve processes and efficiencies (such as connecting with customers immediately on social media, getting their information into a contact management database, etc.) that can make it easier to close more home improvement customers.
Harris: How can a business, such as a remodeling contractor, make best use of predictive analytics?
Krogue: Predictive analytics has become more sophisticated in time. As I’ve spoken about in my Forbescolumns and in a recent interview with Tech Republic, the initial use of predictive analytics for salespeople revolved around predictive dialer technology. That was helpful, but today the technology has become much more sophisticated and can tell a salesperson when to call, how many numbers to try, and even determine which time zone the prospect is in and will result in the most fruitful time for a call. All of this is about accelerating and shortening the time from contact to sale.
Harris: What about additional customer service reps and expanded inbound sales staffing?
Krogue: These steps are very helpful. Our data suggests that most selling happens remotely. In fact, the hybrid model of combining phone and Internet with outside sales is more powerful than either approach on its own. But of the two approaches, remote selling (or inside sales) is growing more quickly. All that your company can do to streamline this process will be highly effective for you.
Harris: How can companies best support their ability to get the sharpest salespeople possible?
Krogue: Besides providing business continuity and a strong sales platform with predictive analytics capabilities, contractors should offer a performance-based compensation plan and better automation capabilities to their best salespeople to help them excel even more. For those who thrive in the new arena of inside sales, the ability to accelerate their career growth and income will help them to excel even more. In this scenario, everyone wins—and in a highly competitive market, these advantages will ensure that your solutions will rise to the top and succeed even more.
Harris: What about face-to-face events? Are there any secrets for maximizing their success?
Krogue: Trade shows are one of my favorite sources of sales growth. Before attending any show, make sure that you know in advance how you will generate enough leads to pay for the event. For example, at a recent Dreamforce event, our company used preregistration lists, LinkedIn and Twitter data to set 1,057 appointments before the show ever began. Also, think about trading leads with aligned vendors. If you each have 1,800 leads of your own, now each of you has 3,600. And never attend an event you can’t speak at. But when you speak, don’t pitch your “stuff.” Concentrate on building your industry. Being willing to create value for the ecosystem you work within will be the greatest sales strategy of all.
In summary, it is clear that sales strategies are largely universal. The best secrets apply to any region and industry, worldwide. With these insights, you will be able to produce your strongest revenues yet.