Roy's Blog: Sales

November 22, 2018

How to found and grow an amazing sales culture — guest post

There’s a significant correlation between culture and success, and many teams know exactly what a positive sales culture is all about.
Transparency, a strong mission statement, and communication are common buzzwords. But it’s tougher to know exactly how to build the culture you envision for your business.

Successfully crafting the ideal sales culture for your business requires teamwork at all levels, from hourly workers to C-level executives. With research backing objectives being published regularly, it can seem difficult to keep up with the latest trends in team building.
Whether you decide to focus on better understanding key results methodology or increasing communication, there are many different avenues to consider.

Amazing sales culture

Here are some of the most powerful ways to effect change in your company’s culture and help you stand out from the competition so, in the end, you can improve your bottom line.

Share common goals

If you’re serious about improving your sales culture, you need to ensure that everyone involved is on board with the changes and feels that their voice is heard.

Management needs to make the expectations and goals of each individual member clear so that everyone is on the same page. Rather than rigidly enforcing change from the top down, leaders must be open to input and feedback.

Improve interdepartmental communication

While your main goal is to improve your sales culture, you can help implement those changes by working closely with other departments, especially marketing.

Businesses that closely align marketing and sales see substantially higher retention and win rates. Both sides bring a valuable perspective to the table. They can also offer suggestions for how each department can help the other succeed.

Continually adapt

A team culture can’t be created overnight, and it requires constant improvement and adjustment. Weekly meetings and open communication over other platforms are important. They allow both salespeople and managers to check in and see what aspects of their approaches are successful and which can be improved.

If you allow your sales department to get complacent, your actual sales probably will too. The best sales teams are those that are willing to blow up the current sales model. Instead, they’ll focus on constantly learning and striving to improve with innovative tactics and new strategies.

Sales event

Promote group interaction

A great sales culture doesn’t see its employees only as workers. Team members are recognized as valuable individuals with unique perspectives. Everyone will perform better, both in and out of the office, if they feel acknowledged.

Getting the sales team together for events outside of work will have a hugely beneficial impact on communication and team-building.

Allow for light competition

In the end, your salespeople are all on the same team – but that doesn’t mean a little competition can’t help maximize results. The goal here is to create a sense of competition that doesn’t lead to a negative or “everyone for themself” dynamic.

One great way to encourage healthy competition is keeping it directed at the right targets. Rather than having salespeople work against each other, challenge them to improve upon their own individual sales histories, or to do better than your competitors. Mix things up by using a variety of incentives and goals.

Maintain a sense of accountability

While this aspect of sales culture isn’t always as pleasant as the others, it’s one of the most important. Everyone on your team should understand their goals and quotas as hard targets rather than simply guidelines or parameters. This involves clearly communicating all expectations.

In the event a member of your team is beginning to fall behind their goals, it’s important to talk rather than simply allowing them to underperform. Ask them what they’re struggling with and work together to find a way to bring them back up to speed. It’s important to remember that you’re all working together, and your job is to help them reach their sales potential.

Sales churn

Decrease turnover

This will hopefully happen simply as a result of the other changes, but keeping turnover as low as possible is vital to a healthy culture in any work environment. It’s always more expensive to bring in a new employee than to retain an existing one; not to mention, turnover can have a detrimental impact on morale.

Two methods of reducing turnover are: Attracting better talent, and having better communication with your team. Give them a way to communicate what they don’t like about the position, and keep your compensation at or above the average rate for each position. Making each employee feel valued as an individual will make them more likely to stay with the company long-term.

Benefits of a thriving sales culture

Following the ideas laid out above is the key to establishing a successful sales culture. In doing so, you can differentiate your business from your competitors. Also, a great sales culture can be a key element in your recruitment approach. It can become one of your main competitive advantages as it not only helps you attract talent, but also enables you to get the best possible performance out of all your employees.

Changing your business’s sales culture is a long-term that requires a time commitment from everyone involved. It can do wonders for your overall productivity and employee engagement levels, which will in turn help employee retention rates.

Many forward-thinking companies have started to prioritize a strong company culture at all levels, and they have typically seen extraordinary results.

—  Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. You can find her on Twitter here.

Rae

  • Posted 11.22.18 at 04:59 am by Roy Osing
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October 24, 2018

5 easy ways to use Instagram to grow your business — guest post

If you have successfully set up an Instagram account for your business, then you are on the right track. However, setting up the account is the easier part, finding followers and converting them into customers is the hardest part. You must be looking for strategies and methods to grow your business with Instagram.
Worry not, we’ve got you covered with our 5 different ways to grow your ecommerce business with Instagram.

These tips will help you connect with your audience, build relations with influencers, and bring in more sales for your online business.

Create content your customers want

Make sure that you craft a niche for yourself and create content that resonates with your audience. If you have a fitness-related business, then your posts should be a mix of fitness tips, product showcase, motivational quotes, etc.

Instagram

It’s up to you to figure out what your audience likes and what they want to see. If there are any content themes or style that resonates with your audience, then you should cover that aspect. Once you figure out what works and what doesn’t, start posting images, videos, quotes, and promotional content that ties into your business and resonates with your target audience.
A great way to find out what your audience loves is by researching your competition. Check out what your competitors are posting and take that as inspiration for your content.
You can also take inspiration from popular websites and blogs in your industry. Always keep in mind that engagement is the REAL King. You need to populate your account with content that gets real engagement.

Actively engage with influencers in your industry

One of the easiest and fastest ways to go higher in Instagram ranks is to build and maintain relationships with Instagram influencers in your industry. These influencers already have a massive fan-following and getting your brand a mention (shout-out) from one of these influencers can give your Instagram profile and your overall brand image instant credibility.

Bloomingdales

Influencers get approached by popular brands and companies on a very consistent basis because their single post provides a lot of value to these brands. So, most of these influencers offer paid shoutouts while some of them do so organically for free.
You can start off by commenting on their photos, videos, and other posts. You can also tag them in your content, they will receive a notification every time you tag them in our posts. This way they will become familiar with you and your brand and will be more receptive to your offer.
You can also offer them free samples of your products so they can review them and mention them in their posts. This way your products will be in front of a large audience that trusts the particular influencer and value their word.
However, be very selective of who you connect with. Look for influencers that have a high engagement rate and are known to get their followers to take some action.

Use strong call to action on your profile

There are a lot of companies and brands that have started posting on Instagram. Sadly, their content lacks any goal. They never tell their audience where to go or what to do.
For this purpose, you need to always use (Call to Actions) in your content, on your bio, etc. The call to action should be clear and should direct your followers to your store or product page. You have nearly 150 characters to use in your Bio, so make a witty CTA that works best with your audience.
If you are selling physical items, then posting images and videos about your products should be your go-to strategy. However, what adds extra oomph to your content is when you add CTA in your comment section. Mention your item in the comments section, provide a link to the sales page and direct people to the page.

Make your product images shoppable by tagging them

We already talked about using Call to Action in your content and bio. Now, comes the advance CTA usage. Having your product images tagged is a great way to increase your overall sales.
Tagging your products in your Instagram images provides a very clear CTA and makes it very simple for your followers to purchase from you. Instagram has recently allowed business accounts (in select countries) to tag items in their content, similar to how you tag people.

Instagram1

The setup is quite simple. You can quickly transform your Instagram profile into a sales channel with just a couple of clicks.
Here are the steps to get you started:
— Create a “Shop” section on your Facebook Business page which is connected to your Instagram business account
— Add your products to the Facebook page. Wait for a notification from Instagram that says you can now start tagging products. It takes a few days for the approval.
— Now, Whenever you are posting an image on Instagram, click the “tag a product” option, and you should see a list of all your product from the Facebook shop. Tag each product accordingly.
Whenever a viewer clicks a product tag, they are taken to the product page to buy it.

Pay attention to analytics

Finally, you should keep a close eye on the analytics inside your Instagram account. This area provides you with very useful information and data that can be used to increase the engagement on your content.
You can also see when your followers are active on Instagram under the “Audience” tab. You can break this down to each hour and plan your future content according to the peak times.
Pay attention to the photos and content that gets the most likes and comments, this is what your target audience prefers. You can use this data to curate content that your audience loves and increase overall engagement.

Hopefully, these easy-to-follow tips will help you grow your business with Instagram. Feel free to let us know what other methods you use on Instagram to grow your business.

Saleem Ahrar is well-versed in knowledge about ecommerce strategies, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. He spends his time testing new approaches, hacks, and tricks to help the e-commerce community.

  • Posted 10.24.18 at 03:55 am by Roy Osing
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July 23, 2018

12 simple reasons to kill the old sales model

Adapt or die —we have seen this consequence play out for centuries.

Now it’s time for sales to pay attention.

Old school traditional sales has outlived its usefulness.

It no longer works.

If sales is to maintain relevance in today’s world, a transformation of the way it is practiced is required.

Not just incremental change, but a complete approach.

Blowing up the old model; building a new discipline.

Blow up

This is why it’s such a big deal:

1. The drivers of customer demand have changed. What motivates a person to buy today has changed dramatically. New buying behaviour requires different sales methods.

People have unlimited choice

2. People have almost unlimited choice today from a variety of suppliers that grows daily. Fierce competition steps up the challenge to attract and keep customers.

Selling the sales relationship is the new mantra.

3. “Me” personal markets are replacing “many” mass markets. People want their personal desires taken care of; they are turned off by the assumption that they are like the crowd in any way.

Crowd-based messaging is returning less as a communications investment.

4. Customers wield the power now; organizations no longer can dictate to the market what they get.

Customers are fickle

5. Customers are able to switch suppliers with ease. Barriers that once existed are disappearing as switching costs approach zero. Fickle customers use this opportunity to hop from one organization to another much more frequently than in the past.

The sales focus should be on creating barriers to customer exit.

Barrier to exit

6. Sales is less of an island in the organization. It is only one element an organization has to deliver as part of its value proposition. The sales identity is rapidly blending with marketing and customer service to respond to the holistic needs of a customer.

Sales itself is morphing to the service arena.

Organizational ideals matter

7. The nature of customer engagement has morphed from transactions-based to more of an idealistic alignment.

People are more and more doing business with organizations that demonstrate the same values (social responsibilities, environmental-friendliness, philanthropic intent and so on) that they believe in.

8. Experiences are trumping products and services. Material goods don’t create long-term happiness; experiences do.

Flogging products is moving to the back seat behind creating memories.

9. Customer loyalty has to be earned at every touch point be it personal contact, an organization’s web site, communications media and social media.

All customer interfaces must work together seamlessly and synergistically and must carry the same message and engage the customer in the same way.

Why should I buy from you is unclear

10. Communications clutter is making it very difficult for customers to decide whom to do business with. Every supplier looks the same and gives no compelling reason why they should be selected over their competition.

Most messages talk about price; any value reference is aspirational and vague. The need for sales to practice their art like no one else is critical.

11. Pushing general advertising messages to the masses is no longer an effective investment.

Targeted personalized sales communication to individuals is required to ensure customers get the precise value they want.

12. Acquiring new high value customers is now a function of fans talking an organization up to their friends and associates.

The sales referral is now a critical success factor.

New sales muscle is required to address these new realities.

Are you re-inventing your sales machine?

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.23.18 at 04:33 am by Roy Osing
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May 7, 2018

How to turn a service nightmare into a sales win

My assistant burst into my office with a horrified look on her face!

The General Manager of one of our premier hotel clients in Vancouver was on the line and wanted to speak with me IMMEDIATELY.

My EA warned me that he was going ballistic.

So angry

Apparently we had somehow put his entire communications network out of service earlier that morning and he had been “in the dark” for at least 3 hours.

I was the executive leader for business services at the time, and he chose to escalate the service breakdown to my office.

I took the call of course and listened to his concerns. He “wailed” on me with wild abandon. He couldn’t contain his anger; he screamed and let it flow.

He wanted my head!

His demands were quite simple. He wanted to be compensated for the lost business he suffered by virtue of having no communications service and he wanted it taken care of fast.

I told him that I was extremely sorry for our screwup (exact words) and that I would take care of this right away.

I called my sales director who was going apoplectic over the situation and asked him if there was a ”secret desire” the GM had that we could satisfy and perhaps turn things around.

The sales guys had done their job and discovered through the GM’s assistant that he had been coveting an antique telephone for his office credenza for quite some time but had never make the decision to buy it. For some reason this particular type of phone was almost a fetish of his; an itch he had never scratched.

Armed with this information, we executed our recovery plan.

Our recovery plan

First, I got a cheque cut for him as my way of responding to the business he had lost during the service outage. There was no way I wanted to get into a negotiation of exactly how much business he thought he lost.
My strategy was to preempt that whole process. (Important side note: I didn’t tell our lawyers what I was up to as they would only tell me that I SHOULDN’T do it because it would be tantamount to admitting that we were in the wrong. REALLY?)

Next, I contacted our installation folks and asked that they get the specialty phone the client wanted and join me at his office within the hour.

Deco phone

Finally, cheque in hand, I headed to his office with my sales director riding shotgun.

About an hour and a half after his call to me our team arrived at his office.

This is how it played out.

At his office

I apologized (again) for our shabby treatment and handed him the cheque as restitution for our sins. Right away I could see him “come down” from his emotional peak. “It’s ok” he said. “Mistakes happen”.

I then asked the installation team into his office (with his permission of course) with the object of his affection and asked where it could be installed. He could not contain himself when he saw the phone.

Suddenly our meeting was not about the egregious way we screwed over his business that morning. And it wasn’t about whether the cheque actually was sufficient to recover his lost business (which by the way we were not obligated to do by law in any event).

The conversation and energy in the room was channeled to the actions we took to recover from our blunder rather than the blunder itself.

The meeting ended with our sincere apology (once again) and an offer to do more to atone for our sins if he thought more should be done.

He was quite frankly delighted with where we ended up; we could do no more for him.

This sales tale ended miraculously; it couldn’t have been better.

Forever

A fan forever

After the service incident and our recovery, I heard stories from other clients who recounted how this GM told the story of our service OOPS! and how amazed he was at how far we were prepared to go to make amends.

This client never left us in spite of what we did to him.

In fact his loyalty to our organization intensified over the ensuing years.

The morals of the story

1. Always apologize (endlessly but earnestly) regardless of the circumstances. And NEVER quote company policy or “it was beyond our control” reasons that caused the service disaster.

2. Don’t consult lawyers or anyone else; don’t ask for permission; do the right thing to serve the customer’s best interests;

3. Act quickly to remedy the offence. You don’t have much time before the customer leaves screamimg how crummy your service is to one and all.

4. Charge sales with the role of discovering customer secrets which contain the power to recover from the inevitable client screw over;

5. If done correctly, a mind blowing recovery actually build loyalty and turns the victim of the offence into a raving fan who tells everyone they touch how great you are.

P.S. This is not an isolated story illustrating the power of service recovery. Over my 33+ year career I have used the strategy to build remarkably successful sales organizations.

Brilliant recovery when you screw a customer over always works.

Try it and see.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.7.18 at 02:30 am by Roy Osing
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