The structure of a sales force has significant bearing on its success. For example, a rep used to selling to a given region might flounder when asked to concentrate on just one industry nationwide. If each of your company's products require deep and specific technical knowledge, it might not make sense to have reps sell all products by territory.
It's simply not true that sales talent translates into all situations. Take a software representative who sells exclusively to manufacturing companies, and ask them to start selling hardware across all verticals. They're probably not going to be as good at one of these assignments as the other. Salespeople who excel get very good at excelling in a particular environment, and organizational structure is the bedrock of that environment.
In his book Aligning Strategy and Sales, Frank V. Cespedes, senior lecturer of business administration at Harvard Business School, explains in depth how organizational design impacts selling effectiveness, and emphasizes the importance of choosing a structure carefully. In the chart below, he lays out the pros and cons of four commonly used structures. Accounts and opportunities can be divided by:
- Product/service line
- Customer/account size
- Industry/vertical segment
Take a look, and then think about whether a reorg is in order.
Sales Team Structures
Geography/Territory Org Structure
Organizing your sales team by geography or territory allows each salesperson to develop familiarity with a specific geographic location. They can build rapport with local businesses, get to know regional competitors, and track target accounts.
It can also be easier to evaluate your reps by taking into account the performance and market potential of a specific geographic location. One consideration of geography and territory org structure is that it can lead to sales reps working in silos, inhibiting their ability to develop cross-functional expertise.
Product/Service Line Org Structure
If your company sells several different products or services, it can help to align salespeople to those products and services. Similar to geographical expertise, it allows your reps to become the expert on a specific product you sell, thereby better able to communicate its value and use case for individual clients.
A potential downside of implementing this structure is that reps may focus more on the features of the products they are selling, and not the best solution for the customer.
Customer/Account Size Org Structure
Organizing your sales org by account size is another popular structure. The skills a rep needs to sell to an SMB are different than those of selling to an enterprise account.
These businesses have different goals, will ask different questions, and have very different budgets. By allowing reps to become familiar with the intricacies of these accounts, you'll better meet the needs of the customer and your reps.
With this org structure, teams should be aware that it may be more difficult to manage resources. To be successful, this structure requires constant communication with team members to ensure all clients receive the same quality of service.
Industry/Vertical Org Structure
Different industries will use your product/service in different ways. Make sure your reps are well-versed in how to position your offering to these various verticals by organizing your sales team accordingly.
This can be one of the most expensive ways to structure a sales team.
Sales Organization Chart
Here's an example sales organization chart. This can be modified depending on which organizational structure you choose (i.e., by geography/territory, product/service line, customer/account size, or industry/vertical segment).
Having a clearly defined visual representation of how your sales team is organized can help teams work well together, make communication more efficient, and help other departments identify exactly who to reach out to for better alignment.
Looking for more? Check out the difference between sales and business development next.
Have you updated your professional goals lately?
If you're anything like most salespeople, you aim to crush your number and become more efficient. But how will you do that? Consider attending a professional development event specifically for salespeople.
Professional conferences are an opportunity to hear directly from industry leaders, break yourself out of your usual routine, and pick up new skills. Thankfully, there are many options available for information-packed conferences you can attend remotely.
With that in mind, you have to choose carefully. After all, as valuable as conferences can be, they're still time away from your daily work. So we've compiled a list (in chronological order) of the top virtual sales conferences that should be on your radar in 2020.
2020 Virtual Sales Conferences
1. Virtual Sales Enablement Summit by Showpad
- Date: 4/1/2020
At Showpad’s Virtual Sales Enablement Summit, a remote offering of their Sales Enablement Summit London, you’ll hear how other companies have successfully implemented sales enablement strategies to improve efficiency and sales rep effectiveness and drive revenue growth.
Learn how to create a business case for sales enablement, discover necessary components of an effective sales enablement strategy, learn how to measure ROI of your sales enablement efforts, and improve your coaching skills to boost your team’s performance.
Speakers include: Gabriela Vickerman (Assistant Operator Data Manager at Unilever), Chris Neal (Director of Global Engagement at Blue Prism), Mark Mahoney (Head of Marketing Operations & SME Marketing at Clear Channel)
2. Multipliers 2020 Sales Enablement Conference by SalesHood
- Date: 4/2/2020 - 4/30/2020
Tune in for a month-long series of sales enablement talks hosted by SalesHood. With over 15 talks and workshops to choose from, you will be well on your way to becoming a sales enablement expert.
Sessions include: Sales Enablement IMPACT on Priorities, Processes & People, Delivering Revenue Outcomes at Growth Companies, Keeping Your Teams Engaged, and Team Alignment with Communications & Collaboration.
Speakers include: Elay Cohen (SalesHood CEO and Co-Founder), Shadi Bucklin (Zenefits Head of Sales Enablement), Callie Apt (Domo, Inc. Senior Director Global Sales Enablement & Proposal)
3. Advanced Sales Tools and Strategies 2020 by BrightTALK
- Date: 4/7/2020 - 4/8/2020
This series of live presentations dives into the ever-evolving relationship between sales organizations and their potential customers and the importance of personalization to keep prospects engaged. Join the discussion and hear from experts share how new tools and strategies have streamlined their sales efforts while prioritizing the personalized experience your potential customers want.
Speakers include: Chad Burmeister (BDR.ai Founder and CEO), Ryan O’Gorman (Zoom Video Communications Account Executive), Shari Levitin (Levitin Group CEO)
4. RevGrowth Virtual Summit by Drift
- Date: 4/16/2020 - 4/17/2020
Exchange ideas, provide feedback, and seek perspectives from other sales and marketing professionals from around the globe at the RevGrowth Virtual Summit.
Speakers include: Not announced yet
5. 2020 Summit by Forrester and SiriusDecisions
- Date: 5/4/2020 - 5/8/2020
The 2020 Summit by Forrester and SiriusDecisions offers over 120 live-streaming sessions covering B2B best practices, 10 keynote sessions, 15 customer success stories, credible research and insights from leading analysts, on-demand access to sessions after the event, and more. For B2B sales professionals, this event has everything you need to supercharge your growth in 2020.
Speakers include: Not announced yet
6. Unleash Virtual Summit 2020 by Outreach
- Date: 5/4/2020 - 5/7/2020
Learn what’s next for the future of sales at the Unleash Virtual Summit. This event is designed to bring together sales, ops, and marketing leaders from leading, fast-growing companies. Session categories include outreach best practices, technology to stay ahead of the curve, growth-focused operations, and leveraging playbooks that increase efficiency and drive sales.
Speakers include: Mary Shea (Forrester Research Principal Analyst), Amy Slater (Palo Alto Networks VP of Sales), Dale Dupree (The Sales Rebellion Founder)
7. Virtual Unleashed Summit 2020 by Xactly
- Date: 6/17/2020
This half-day virtual summit is an interactive gathering of sales, finance, operations, and compensation leaders. With a focus on sales performance management, the Virtual Unleashed Summit will offer uplifting keynotes, informative breakout sessions, and virtual networking opportunities for participants around the world.
Speakers include: Not announced yet
- Date: 10/15/2020
Sales Growth Virtual Summit focuses on short, straightforward sessions discussing the latest sales best practices, useful systems, and tactics you can implement to drive sales for your organization. Note: the registration link above directs to the 2019 summit page. Stay tuned for an updated registration link from the event organizers.
Speakers include: Not announced yet
- Date: 12/4/2020 - 12/11/2020
The SalesHacker Success Summit will provide the tools you need to build your 2021 sales strategy to start the year on the right foot. Stay tuned for updated registration information for the 2020 event.
Speakers include: Not announced yet
Interested in learning more about sales this year? Check out these top sales blogs next and get started.
I got a message from a customer the other day that explained her situation and how the coronavirus had effected her and her family, it was quite distressing and a lot to deal with. But in the last sentence of her message she told me that she had “managed to ground herself and she was feeling ok”.
Being able to feel centred and grounded is something that we all need to be able to master over the coming weeks and months.
During the last couple of weeks on numerous occasions I have found myself going through waves of emotion. Usually after watching the news, or reading something on social media, I can sometimes feel a fear sweep over me, and I have to take a deep breath and centre myself.
Taking a deep breath works
The simple things work. Breathing is a great way to centre yourself. Sometimes I think as humans, we do not do the simple things. So if you haven’t tried breathing, don’t over look it, try it, and see how it makes you feel.
Here is how to give it a go this week, should you feel some anxiety come over you with the news;
Take a deep breath and count to 5.
Accept that we have no control over what is happening, and allow yourself to release it with the intention of focusing on what we can control.
This is the act of centering yourself.
For meditation purposes, to centre yourself breath in for a count of 5 (or however long it takes to slowly fill your lungs), then out for a count of 10 (rule of thumb is twice as long as the inhale)
You’ll know when you’re centred when you feel calm and at peace.
Step Outside Into Nature
If you can step outside into nature, and take in some deep breaths, this will help you to centre yourself too. Being in nature is also great for your immune system.
On the news the other day, I heard that a man ran a marathon in his own garden! It is amazing what you can do in a small space outside. Being outside and moving is a great way to centre yourself. Get creative and see what you can do.
Try walking barefoot on the grass in the morning! It is a great way to feel grounded. I love standing in my garden, having a cup of coffee and just filling my heart with gratitude.
These simple things, will help you to keep bringing yourself back to a calm place.
Focus On Your Blessings & Feel Grateful
In our MAGICAL ME JOURNAL that you get for free in our SPRING TRANSFORMATION JOURNALS. You are prompted to write down things that you are grateful for every day.
This is a brilliant practice that helps us to focus on the little joys of everyday. The more we can see the good all around us, the easier it is to stay in a calm and centred state.
Focus On Your Health & Wellbeing
When you are taking care of yourself, it is easier to centre yourself. I hope this week that you will feel focused on making the most of this time in lockdown to get your “weightdown”. There is nothing better that you can do at this time than to focus on your HEALTH.
Get Your WeightDown in Lockdown
Surrounding yourself with other positive people who want to make the most of this time, will really help you to feel uplifted and motivated. In our secret slimmers group you will feel like you are on a mission with a bunch of friends!
Being on plan helps you to improve your health. We all need to be as healthy as we can, especially at this time. If you get the virus, you will have a better chance of fighting it off if you getting all your nutrients, being active, and having a calm and centred mindset. It will also feel amazing when lockdown ends, and you step out into the world, looking and feeling like a new you!
Come & Join Us This Week In Our Inspiring & Friendly Support Group
This week we are kicking off a 5 DAY TOTAL FOOD REPLACEMENT CHALLENGE in our online community.
This was a great success last week with many people losing up to 12 pounds in just 5 short days!!
This total food replacement 5 day challenge is free to join. You can register for it in our secret slimmers group on facebook.
It will kick start your mindset, and weight loss and hopefully help you to build momentum so that you can continue to do plan for 12 weeks and lose 3-4 stone with our plan.
I hope to see you in our Secret Slimmers group this week!
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When I was in middle school, I used to write songs with my best friend.
We were sure we'd be famous one day, so we decided to keep track of who wrote what parts, so we could properly designate the percentage of revenue.
Let's say I wrote 60% of the song, then I'd take 60% of the revenue.
Yes, we actually did this. And although we didn't know it then, we were practicing attribution.
In business, companies usually try to attribute the percentage of revenue that came in from marketing and sales.
While marketing attribution might not be top of mind for a sales rep, it's important that marketing and sales work together for attribution.
In fact, when marketing and sales teams are aligned, sales reps can understand how marketers impact sales efforts and vice versa.
Below, let's review what marketing attribution is and how it can impact your sales team.
Ultimately, marketing attribution will determine which channels and messaging converted more leads and led to a purchase.
A popular marketing attribution model is the multi-touch model because it provides contextual insight into how, where, and when a customer interacted with a brand.
With the multi-touch approach to marketing attribution, it's understood that customers don't just go to a website and make a purchase.
First, they might read a blog the marketing team wrote up. Then, they might contact a sales rep. All the while, they're probably following your brand on social media.
Each of these touchpoints impacts the decision to buy. That's why marketing attribution should consider all of these touchpoints.
So, you might be wondering, "Why does marketing attribution matter to sales?"
As a sales rep, understanding marketing attribution can help you make more sales.
For instance, your job will be much easier if you know what messaging a consumer was exposed to, on what channel, and what touchpoints make the greatest impact on their decision to purchase.
With marketing attribution, you'll have access to this information.
As a company, your marketing attribution and sales reporting should be integrated so you have a better understanding of how the two interact to make a sale.
Additionally, if your marketing and sales ROI measurements are calculated separately, you're probably double-counting leads and prospects, making your calculations unreliable.
So, what should your team be doing? And how can you integrate your marketing attribution and sales reporting?
Well, you should use an attribution system that accounts for both marketing and sales.
For example, you should know if a prospect came through:
- An inbound marketing tactic and directly made a purchase through your site (no sales involvement)
- An inbound marketing tactic and then contacted a sales rep
- An outbound sales rep closed a deal (no marketing assistance)
- An outbound sales rep made the first contact and closed the deal with marketing assistance
Once you've categorized your leads, you can associate revenue with each lead type and calculate your cost per acquisition.
When this happens, you'll begin to see the positive affects marketing attribution can have on a sales team. Let's dive into the positive effects below.
5 Ways Marketing Attribution Impacts Sales Teams
When done correctly, marketing attribution should account for the impact of both marketing and sales teams. When this is done, marketing attribution can:
1. Eliminate the friction between your sales and marketing teams.
When sales and marketing attribution is aligned, you'll eliminate the friction between the two teams.
For instance, there shouldn't be any question over who is responsible for bringing a certain prospect on board.
By strategically partnering sales and marketing, you'll learn how marketing impacts sales, which will help you close deals faster.
Additionally, marketers can run more efficient campaigns to help sales reps close more deals, and accelerate the sales cycle.
With marketing attribution reporting, you should be able to see the friction points in your sales cycle, and eliminate them.
2. Allocate the budget for marketing campaigns and sales efforts.
Marketing attribution can also help allocate budgets for efficient marketing campaigns that will facilitate sales.
For example, if you know that inbound prospects are more likely to close with the help of a sales rep, you can allocate more money to inbound marketing.
Additionally, your sales reps can focus more on their inbound prospects.
If you don't align marketing and sales attribution reports and have a clear picture of your ROI, how can you properly optimize your budget?
That's why it's important that your ROI calculations are reliable.
Plus, if there's friction during the sales pipeline, you can invest in sales training and development.
3. Improve reporting for both departments.
Not to reiterate, but reporting is important. You need reliable numbers to make proper decisions.
When you align your marketing attribution and sales team, you'll improve your reporting so you aren't double-counting leads and prospects. That's why you need to integrate your attribution reporting.
Once your reporting is perfected, you'll be able to better understand your performance and efficiency.
Plus, with this model, you can accurately report how sales and marketing teams work together and impact each other.
4. Introduce software integration to streamline processes.
With all this talk about integrating marketing attribution with your sales team, you might be wondering, "How will I integrate my attribution reporting?"
Well, it's actually a simple concept.
If you integrate your CRM and marketing automation software, your reporting will be in one place. Your sales reps will have all the information they need from marketing to close a deal. And your marketers will understand what tactics helped make a sale.
Integrating your marketing and sales software will help keep track of when both teams interact with a prospect, so a sales rep has the full picture when they go on a discovery call.
Plus, both marketing and sales teams can track, monitor, and report the performance and strategy of their efforts.
If your software isn't integrated, successful attribution is nearly impossible.
5. Drive strategic decision making.
When marketing attribution and sales teams are aligned, you can analyze the results and make better decisions.
For example, aligning your teams will help you learn whether you both have the same definition of a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead.
With that in mind, you can attribute marketing and sales efforts easily and see how your teams are impacting each other the most.
For instance, do sales reps have an easier time closing the deal when marketing assists?
As marketing attribution evolves, it's important that your marketing attribution and sales attribution models are aligned. When this happens, you'll be able to streamline your sales process and drive more revenue.
At The New You Plan, because we are a food company, we fall into the category of essential services and are therefore permitted to continue shipping our products. However, stringent changes have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and customers during the Covid-19 crisis. Here’s everything you need to know…
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, measures have been put in place in order to adhere to new government policies within our business. This means the following:
Our customer services team
Our customer service team are now all operating remotely. However, we will still be taking calls / live chats and emails so you can easily get in touch. The nature of this access still also ensures we adhere to data protection regulations. The only impact we have here is that call volumes have increased so if you are unable to get through to us on your first try, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as one of our agents is available. If you prefer, use the live chat function on the website and ask for us to call you back.
Our dispatch team / warehouse
Again, we have seen a recent increase in orders, however we have increased capacity to ensure that all orders are being dispatched within the promised timescales. If this changes we will be updating this blog immediately and contacting affected customers where possible. We have set up additional spaces to ensure
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Learn how to stock your pantry to make healthy meals quick and easy! If you’re wondering what to buy to easily make healthy recipes with what you have on hand, keep reading. Where to buy healthy groceries You can shop for healthy food at any supermarket or farmer’s market. You don’t have to shop at…
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I myself was diagnosed with a fibroid by my PCP about 3 years ago. I didn’t have any of the possible symptoms. No heavy or painful periods that can sometimes be a sign of fibroids.
At the time my doctor suspected a fibroid during a routine pap smear and sent me to get an ultrasound. I got a call from the doctors office nurse to tell me over the phone that I indeed did have a fibroid and then was like ok good-bye. But hold on I have some questions. What can we do about it? The nurse then told me that the doctor doesn’t do ANYTHING about my fibroid until I start to develop symptoms. What! This is NOT ok and should not be how our healthcare system works. In my mind fibroids are a symptoms of something deeper going on and with my own experience (and with all my clients) that was absolutely the case!
I was told that the best “treatment” for my fibroid was birth control pills. But I had already been on birth control for many years and it actually likely caused my fibroid in the first place vs preventing one from growing. Because guess what, BCPs can contribute to estrogen dominance and fibroids are linked to estrogen issues.
Some of the common conventional recommendations for fibroids include birth control (as was in my case), a doctor can go in and try to cut off the blood supply to the fibroid, or sometimes in
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According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 30.3 million Americans. Of those individuals, only about 23.1 million were diagnosed. Additionally, it’s estimated that about 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year.
This debilitating disease has a huge impact on those who live with it. Type 2 diabetes can cause increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination and headaches. It can also lead to more severe health complications, such as heart disease and blurred vision, which is referred to as diabetic blindness or retinopathy.
What is Diabetic Blindness?
According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is the most common type of eye disease in the U.S. It’s caused by high blood sugar levels leading to the swelling of the blood vessels of the retina, which often leads to leaking fluid. It may also cause the blood vessels to close, which can stop blood from passing through. This ultimately shuts down the retina and can result in blindness.
“NPDR occurs when tiny blood vessels leak.”
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are two stages of diabetic eye disease: non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. NPDR occurs when the tiny blood vessels leak, causing the retina to swell or close off. Most commonly, this leads to blurriness in vision.
PDR is more severe. The retina goes through neovascularization, which causes the retina to grow new blood vessels. The problem is these vessels are very fragile, and they often bleed into the vitreous. This can cause dark spots in vision but can also lead to blindness. The new blood vessels may also make scar tissue to form, which can cause the retina to detach.
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
According to the NEI, symptoms are minimal or non-existent in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, making the disease to progress and impact vision before knowing when to take action. But there are ways a professional can detect the disease. A comprehensive eye exam that measures one’s ability to read and see objects from a distance can determine if you’re dealing with something that’s impacting your vision.
How to Protect Yourself
Early detection and treatment are the safest ways to protect yourself from diabetic blindness. However, we recommend taking care of your body to avoid diabetes in the first place. A healthy, wholesome plant-based eating regimen like the Hallelujah Diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and regulate your blood sugar levels to avoid a debilitating disease like diabetes. Ultimately, this will help you avoid the need for insulin and other medications. God created the natural sustenance of the Earth as the fuel for our bodies, but also as the natural medicine to teach our bodies how to self-heal. When you eat organic foods and stop treating your body like a garbage bin, it will reward you and help you live a long, fulfilling life.
Learn more about how our faithful followers have kissed diabetes goodbye with our plant-based diet!
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Well are at the end of March now…
I think this is a month that we will all remember for the rest of our lives. It is a month that has changed the world forever, and it is a month that will go down in history.
So much has happened this month and a lot of us have felt disorientated and not sure exactly what day of the week it is!
A lot of us are still processing what is actually happening, and in a way we are grieving for our normal lives.
The human race is born to win.
We will figure this out and we will get through this time. It will pass!
In a way it is good that it is a global problem, because that means that the whole world will come together as one to solve it.
For most of us, our role in overcoming this is to simply stay at home.
While we are at home, the best thing we can do is establish new healthy routines, and focus on our health and fitness.
Without routines; we will feel depressed.
Without healthy eating & movement; we will gain weight.
To help us stay focused on our healthy routines and habits having an exciting image of the future will help us to keep going.
I read a post on Facebook today that described so well, what we all have to look forward to. I have edited it
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Now is the time more than ever to take care of our health.
With the given phase of life, we’re experiencing right now, being intentional about our health and how we’re choosing to nourish our bodies from a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual perspective is more important than ever.
It’s a great time to pay gratitude to your health, your body, and all the amazing things it allows you to do each day like think critically, experience love and community, call your loved ones, to use your voice to speak up and spread compassion, and so many other amazing things we often take for granted.
In addition, just like with any news or collective event that happens, everyone has something to share about it so I want to make sure you’re getting the most accurate, helpful, and healthy resources for your health, your family, and your community. That’s why here in this article you’ll learn what foods can support your immune system, what supplements we know can contribute to supporting your immune system or specific health conditions.
The key here and whenever you’re reading articles online related to your health and coronavirus is to keep in mind since this is such a new virus there are no specific studies just yet that are conclusive stating that one specific food or supplement or lifestyle action can prevent, treat, or cure this virus.
So what you’ll find in this article are the studies and health conditions or ways foods, supplements, and lifestyle
The post How to Support Your Immune System With Food and Lifestyle Habits appeared first on Top Seller Website.
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For the last fifty years, every company would live or die by the strength of their sales funnel.
Closely scrutinized by everyone internal to the company — from individual sales reps all the way to the CEO — the sales funnel has been a staple of sales culture for decades.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a metaphor for a traditional sales process from beginning to end. It is called a funnel because of the conical shape that forms as you add additional criteria to each deal.
On a macro-level, a sales funnel will start with a large number of potential buyers at the top Based on certain criteria, this pool of potential buyers is reduced to a fewer number of prospects. Towards the middle of the customer journey, the number of prospects reduces to a handful of opportunities, and after the decision-making stage, the sales process ends with a closed-won or closed-lost deal.
As each individual deal moves through each phase, the probability of closing the sale will change. The further along the sales funnel, the more information is exchanged and more apparent it becomes using the product will be advantageous to the customer. At this point, there is a higher potential for that deal to be ultimately successful unless the deal is moved to closed-lost in which case, the probability moves to zero.
During my sales career, I’ve seen the sales funnel solve several problems for sales leadership:
- It was a clearly defined process to model how to close more deals.
- It helped quantify the value of future sales.
- It allowed sales teams to build statistics around the size and the number of deals required to mathematically exceed quota.
- The sales funnel helped define a methodology to teach salespeople how to move customers through a logical sales process and into a closing sequence to maximize rep productivity and cost per lead.
Sales Funnel Examples
With this definition of a sales funnel in mind, let’s walk through a few real-life sales funnel examples.
Audible is an Amazon-owned producer of audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. This platform builds awareness and brings potential subscribers into their sales funnel by partnering with authors of books featured on the platform to promote their audiobook using a free one-month trial for the service. When users sign up for the free trial, they are given 30 days to use the service before being automatically enrolled in a monthly subscription.
HoneyBook offers business management software for creative entrepreneurs. Their business personality test lead magnet helps business owners identify their strengths, having participants provide their email addresses to receive their results. Based on the results of their quiz, they are then added to an email nurturing campaign that provides tailored business advice for their personality type, with the option to begin a trial using HoneyBook.
Now let’s discuss how to create your own sales funnel, and if using a sales funnel is the right approach for your business.
Track the final results and analyze sales data.
A traditional sales funnel describes discrete stages of a potential customer from first touch to closed deal.
But the modern sales process has changed dramatically in the last few years and those changes make the traditional sales funnel obsolete.
The best part of the traditional sales funnel was that salespeople could move prospects through at their own pace based on their needs to close a deal. Today, customers are in control of the sales process. A modern buyer spends more time upfront researching a purchase before they engage with a salesperson, reducing the value of sharing information.
Armed with extensive online information, a modern buyer requires different skills from a salesperson and frequently exhibits different behavior than buyers of the past. A modern buyer may get very excited about a purchase and spend a lot of time in the research phase and then abruptly stop, ending the sales process sometimes without any reason at all. Often, modern buyers want to reduce the friction of buying and using a product to make it easy for them to achieve the value.
These behaviors are why we suggest that you leverage a flywheel instead of a sales funnel.
A flywheel is a circular sales process with the customer in the middle, that leverages the inbound sales methodology.
This model lets your customers show the value that they have experienced to your prospects. Rather than having your sales team explain your product/service, it provides a credible third party with actual user experience to explain the value. A flywheel allows you to reduce SG&A costs, focus on the customer experience, and find better good fit customers.
Using a flywheel, you can build a community or ecosystem of customers who help other customers. For a modern sales process, a flywheel destroys is a better model than a sales funnel because it puts the prospect and customer at the epicenter of the process.
How do you build a flywheel? Start with 3 simple steps.
1. Understand your current customers are more powerful than any other influence.
Prospects trust the stories and experiences of your current customer base. In fact, 84% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Leverage this by making sure you have lots of use cases, customer testimonials, and references that showcase your current clients explaining your product or service’s strengths.
2. Have your strong customers create social proof.
Social proof is the psychological idea that people determine what’s correct by finding out what other people think is correct. Customer reviews are 12x more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers. Social media is a powerful tool for creating social proof. Let the stories and experiences of your happy customers create converting content for you.
3. Identify areas of force and friction.
Force moves the sales process forward. Areas of force include accurate and timely information, a good understanding of the problem, your ability to listen and overall responsiveness. Friction slows down the sales process. Essentially, when your prospect has to jump through too many hoops or faces obstacles or inconveniences throughout the sales process, this creates friction which makes your job more difficult.
By identifying areas of force and friction, you can double-down on the activities that will bring more momentum to your ability to drive the sale, and remove unnecessary obstacles to create a frictionless experience. This will keep the flywheel moving forward, and your buyers happy.
Continue honing your sales strategy by reviewing these popular and effective sales methodologies.
Certain things are supposed to last forever — memories, diamonds, honey's shelf-life, The Spice Girls' friendship. Frankly, that list is pretty short, and I assume most people saw it and thought, "Wait a minute. I don't see love or sales strategies on that list. There's no way this is accurate!"
I understand that it's presumptuous and probably off-base to guess that's what you were thinking. But for the sake of this introduction, I'm just going to assume that's the case and lay out two facts of life.
First, love is fleeting. Second, a sales strategy's success can be, too.
There's no guarantee that your sales strategy will always deliver the results your business needs. And there's a good chance that your sales team might have to adjust the way it approaches prospects and customers. Pivoting your sales strategy is a significant, difficult decision, but if your business needs new life, it might be the way to go.
Here is how some companies shook up their sales strategies and some insight into what those changes meant for their business.
In 2017, Nike's sales growth hit a standstill. By Q3, its year over year growth had effectively stalled, and its profits had dropped a whopping 24%. Up to that point, the company had invested mostly in its brick and mortar retail outlets, but that model had clearly run its course. Those dismal numbers prompted Nike to reevaluate its sales strategy, and ultimately, inspired a pivot.
The brand shifted its focus toward ecommerce and a direct to consumer sales strategy, connecting more immediately with customers online. More recently, the company has looked to streamline its ecommerce efforts by cutting out third-parties. In 2019, the company stopped distributing its products directly on Amazon in an effort to draw consumers to its own site.
The company also significantly stripped back its retail efforts. In 2017, the company did business with roughly 30,000 retailers. Around the same time it cut ties with Amazon, the company announced that they would be prioritizing about 40 partners — mostly brands willing to give Nike a separate space in their stores.
The results? Nike's stock price hit a two-year high in 2018 — a bump that experts largely attributed to the company's direct to consumer shift. It was also estimated that Nike’s DTC business' gross margins were 62 percent in 2018, compared to 38 percent in its wholesale business that year.
Nike noticed a changing tide in retail. It realized that staying the course with its brick and mortar-heavy strategy wasn't going to cut it. The company looked to where consumers were and adjusted accordingly. It pivoted its sales efforts to keep pace with digital transformation and saw the results it needed.
In the 2010s, Porsche made a conscious effort to put customer experience at the center of its sales strategy, paying more attention to its buyers' individual needs and expectations.
The auto manufacturer wanted to turn the process of buying one of its cars into a more unique, personal experience for drivers — to make every phase of Porsche purchasing and ownership as seamless and satisfying as possible.
In order to suit those priorities, the company had to pivot its sales strategy. It needed to adjust how it understood and interacted with customers, and it found the resources for that adjustment with an investment in new technology. Porsche shook up its sales efforts by leveraging its own CRM.
The company took a holistic approach to improve its customer experience with the platform. It consolidated customer, vehicle, relationship, and transactional data from customers' pre-purchase, purchase, ownership, and re-purchase phases.
That information provided insights that enabled the creation one of Porsche's most valuable sales assets — its "predictive customer segmentation" function to inform more efficient sales efforts.
The investment paid off. In 2019, the manufacturer moved a company record 61,568 vehicles in US retail — a gain of 7.6 percent from 2018 to mark its tenth consecutive year of annual growth. Porsche also ranked first in two key J.D. Power Studies in the same year: the 2019 Customer Service Index and 2019 Sales Satisfaction Index.
Porsche pivoted when it noticed the shifting preferences of the modern luxury car buyer and the rising tide of digital transformation. In order to best accommodate both of those factors, it leveraged powerful new technology with its customers' needs at heart.
Nike and Porsche are two valuable reference points to consider if you're looking into pivoting your sales strategy. Their success shows that shaking up your sales efforts is often a necessary, sensible course of action.
A sales strategy pivot can be any shift in how your sales efforts are carried out — from leveraging new technology to switching up your sales process or methodology to adjusting how you train your salespeople.
It's any stride you take to make your sales strategy different and ideally more effective. It's not the easiest decision to make or implement, but if you're sensible, careful, and committed when you make it, you'll put yourself in the best place to see success with it.
One of the essential pillars of a successful business is a robust and organized sales territory strategy. Studies show that effective territory management can increase overall sales, improve customer coverage, and reduce costs.
Territory planning requires careful thought and consideration because it's crucial to get it right the first time around. Constant changes in territory division hurt salespeople's productivity and take a toll on employee morale. And from the client's perspective, frequent changes in account managers lead to unstable relationships.
Understanding, planning, and managing sales territories can make or break your sales efforts. Your reps need a firm grasp on the specific customer segments they're accounting for and the general framework of your team's territories over all.
The way you structure, define, and distribute the territories you work with has massive implications when it comes to your organization's sales efficiency and bottom line.
A solid sales territory plan and exceptional territory management can be significant assets to a successful sales team. Here's some perspective on how to do them right.
Sales Territory Planning 101
1. Define your market.
To effectively set up territories, sales leaders must first understand the environment of their business. There are numerous ways for a business to define a market. Factors could include geography, size, and consumer demographics — among others.
Know what is unique to your business and prioritize based on what your climate demands. A solidified market will lead to lowered costs, increased sales, and a foundation for setting up effective sales territories.
2. Assess account quality.
After a target market is determined, sales leaders need to evaluate the value of each account. The measurement could be either quantitative or qualitative depending on the product or service the business offers. For example, a beverage company might rank the value of their accounts by net profitability while a company that relies heavily on customer recommendations could focus on accounts that are more likely to provide a referral for their company.
By identifying the value of each account, you can prioritize accordingly in your sales territory planning. If you are looking for a way to assess your organizations’ clients, click here to calculate your custom information. Here is a quick example of what your calculations would look like:
3. Assess territory quality.
After assessing the quality of each account, it is important to rank territories. As with the accounts’ values, this process is subjective based on different business needs and priorities. If your business sells products across industries, your territories could be divided and quantified by those industries. Determining what sales territory supports which areas of the sales funnel will also help you score territories into high, medium, and low value.
To get a better picture of territory value, include your sales team in these discussions. After all, no one knows the territories better than the reps who work within them each day. That way, you can assign the appropriate reps to maximize the potential of each territory.
4. Assess rep strengths.
The next step towards effective territory management may be the most important of all. After determining the quality of each sales territory, it is crucial that you assign reps with the applicable skills to develop and optimize each set of accounts. For example, a territory that is defined by large enterprise deals needs to be handled by a rep who has experience closing big deals. By strategically assigning qualified reps to accounts, you will empower your reps and ensure the client receives the best possible service.
Here is an example of how to calculate your rep’s performance. Click here to find out who is the strongest performer in your organization.
5. Review and consolidate.
The four steps outlined above prepare a business to put a sales territory plan into action. The last thing a business needs to do is a final diagnosis of costs associated with each territory. Analyzing cost metrics — like comparing ideal versus actual number of visits and mileage per rep in each territory — will help managers zero in on specific inefficiencies in the system.
After you have reviewed your plan, consolidate it. By following these five steps, your business will be on its way to having a more satisfied workforce, as well as increased customer growth and profits.
There are some strides businesses can take to ensure their sales territory management is as efficient and effective as possible.
Practice sound cadence management.
Proper cadence management — the process of prioritizing, structuring, timing, and conducting account interactions — is central to successful sales territory management efforts. Your reps need to be able to gauge account priority level, group accounts based on that assessment, and determine the best frequency, pattern, and nature of touches between them and contacts.
A solid cadence might look something like this:
Cadences will differ from territory to territory. It might take some trial and error, but properly managing territories often hinges upon how you contact the prospects you're trying to reach within each one.
To learn more about sales cadences, check out this article.
Consistently keep track of your data and customer needs.
Territory management is dynamic by nature. You can't expect a specific territory to remain stagnant in terms of how it responds to your sales strategies. Circumstances change, and you need to be able to change with them.
That's why your reps need to keep records of their sales data in a CRM — making sure you're keeping tabs on what is and isn't working for you. Have reps maintain notes from their appointments and keep them on record. Stay abreast of every trend within each of your territories to ensure that they're being catered to as effectively as possible.
Don't forget to pursue new leads.
Effective sales territory management isn't specific to existing accounts. Though that's obviously a crucial component to the process, it's not the only one. Always pursue new business — one way or another.
That doesn't mean forgetting about current accounts. You still need to keep them happy — particularly high volume ones. But if you want to grow your business, you have to consistently pursue new opportunities within your territories. Both kinds of customers serve their own essential function to the health of your business, so both need their fair share of attention.
Remote Territory Management
Not all sales territories require an in-person presence, and there are instances when your reps will have to work remotely. If this is the case, your reps still need to abide by the best practices mentioned above, but in all likelihood, they'll need to adjust their cadence.
A cadence that rests on in-person interactions is going to have to change if those interactions can't happen anymore. It might mean finding a new progression that incorporates more phone time and remote tools like video calls.
It might take some trial and error, but you have to land on a cadence better suited to handle remote interactions — and that might not look like the one your reps are used to using.
An effective sales territory plan can be the difference between well-organized, cohesive, successful sales efforts and inefficient, scattershot wastes of resources. It's essential that you have a properly structured sales territory plan and the proper tools in place to help your reps manage their customer segments.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 3, 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
The power of a plant-based diet can never be underestimated. For more than 25 years, the Hallelujah Diet has been effectively eliminating sickness and helping people get back to living a strong and healthy life. By boosting the immune system with the nutrients and vitamins of raw, leafy greens and vibrant fruits and vegetables, the body’s miraculous self-healing abilities kick into gear. There is not one area of health that raw eating does not impact.
Take a look at how a primarily raw plant-based diet can help reduce and prevent allergies:
What Causes Allergies?
Numerous studies have indicated that diet has an effect on asthma and allergies. According to Asthma UK, avoiding certain foods and focusing on fresh, whole foods can help eliminate the severity of asthma as well as other allergies. Foods high in saturated fats, sugar, salt and items that are overly processed can trigger symptoms and make them worse.
Specifically, arachidonic acid found in red meat has been linked to allergic inflammation because of the cytokines and leukotrienes it brings into your body, the Naturopathic Medicine explained. The necessary amount of arachidonic acid that the body needs is already produced naturally, eliminating the need for the consumption of red meat.
Essentially, the Standard America Diet can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to allergens. Avoiding the SAD can eliminate risk factors for allergies, as the Rev. George Malkmus has explained.
Asthma and allergies impact thousands of Americans each year.
Focus on Diet, Not Pills
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Having a healthy relationship with food can be really challenging.
We see messages every day that says there’s “good” food and “bad” food or that you should eat this and never eat that.
Food is our nourishment for our physical bodies and nourishment on a cellular level, so it’s incredibly important to pay attention to consuming a wide variety of foods that contribute to your health and prevent chronic disease.
But food is also more than just that physical nourishment. It’s a way of connecting to others, to other cultures, exploring new things, experiencing pleasure and enjoyment from it.
Food is something we can’t live without — meaning that it’s present in our day to day life for as long as we live, and most of us eat 35+ meals a week which is 35+ opportunities to nourish our bodies or 35+ ways we stress out about food.
But stressing out about food can sometimes contribute to more unhealthy behaviors than just practicing balance.
So in this video, I’m going to take you through 5 steps to practice to begin making a healthier relationship with food.
First things first, cultivating a healthier relationship with food isn’t impossible and it’s not something that happens overnight. It requires a lot of self-compassion, patience, practice, and many times professional practitioners who can support your journey.
You’re also not alone if one of your goals is to cultivate a healthier relationship with food.
There are so many factors that influence and play a
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Jellyfish are the most efficient swimmers in the ocean. The Dyson AM09 Fan Heater was one of the results that came up when I searched "most efficient space heater" on Google. And Peyton Manning broke the NFL record for Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt in 2004 before losing to Tom Brady in the playoffs.
We want efficiency out of just about everything — it's not specific to sea creatures, space heaters, or quarterbacks. It's true across the board, and sales is no exception. That's why sales efficiency is one of the most important metrics for businesses to understand, track, and ultimately improve.
Here are some explanations, tips, and resources to help you do all three.
Sales efficiency is, in large part, a measure of the speed of your sales operations. It's usually considered within a specific timeframe — often by quarter. It shows how quickly your reps are converting prospects into leads or making hard sales while still generating high returns on your investments.
Sales efficiency can be tricky to calculate in some cases. It might be that not all of your revenue is a direct result of your immediate sales and marketing investments. For instance, if a repeat customer returns to your site and spends more money, is that because of their previous experience or a result of money you spent that quarter to reach them?
The figure isn't always black and white, but finicky as it can be, it's still an important benchmark to consider.
Why Sales Efficiency Matters
It's crucial to keep tabs on sales efficiency. The figure is one of the most straightforward, definitive metrics for understanding whether your sales processes, methodologies, and overall strategy are actually worthwhile. It can expose deeper-rooted, more systemic problems in your sales efforts — revealing if your sales operations are sustainable.,
Let's assume all your sales reps hit their quota one quarter. You hit your revenue target, and everyone is ecstatic, but your business is at a standstill. Your company is barely breaking even, and it's certainly not growing. You're hitting your revenue target, but something else is at play here.
Sales efficiency makes you take a good, hard look at everything that's going into your sales efforts. If you see that your sales are inefficient, you might look to bump up quotas, strip back certain expenses, or adjust any other costs or expectations that could be holding you back.
Ultimately, examining sales efficiency provides a starting point — one from which you can gauge both what you've been doing well and what you can be doing better.
How to Calculate Sales Efficiency
Sales Efficiency Ratio
A sales efficiency ratio provides a high-level overview of how long it takes customer revenue to pay back sales and marketing costs.
The inverse of sales efficiency is payback period. If sales your team generates $2 million in annual revenue at a cost of $1 million, your sales efficiency would be two — meaning it would take half a year to reimburse sales and marketing costs.
Your sales efficiency also informs how you should invest in and evaluate your sales strategy. According to Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures, "When sales efficiency figures fall below one and elongate payback periods, it’s likely time to revisit sales and marketing techniques or explore up-sell and cross-sell. When these figures exceed one, it’s likely time for a business to invest more capital into the sales and marketing efforts."
5 Ways to Improve Sales Efficiency
1. Set clearly defined SMART goals.
Clarity is key when looking to improve sales efficiency. Your reps need to know what you're hoping to achieve before they can really lock in on their objectives and streamline their efforts. That's why you need to set SMART goals — specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-based.
With sales efficiency, the "measurable" component might be the most crucial. Having appropriate KPIs to serve as benchmarks for how your reps are selling and what's expected from them. Are they expected to close a minimum number of deals each month? Do they have an individual revenue target?
By establishing clear objectives for your reps, you're giving them the necessary guidance to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
2. Have a clear picture of who you're selling to.
Again, clarity is key here. Having clearly defined buyer personas gives your reps a better, more comprehensive picture of how they should be conducting their sales efforts. If reps know who they're meant to be targeting, they can have a better picture of what they should be doing to best appeal to them.
You don't want your reps indiscriminately trying to appeal to prospects that are inherently unlikely to take to your product or service. Give your team a solid picture of who they're supposed to be engaging with and, in turn, set them up to know how to best reach them. That kind of clarity can streamline sales efforts and save your company time and resources.
3. Work according to a sales process.
HubSpot defines a sales process as "a repeatable set of steps a sales team takes to move a prospect from an early-stage lead to a closed customer." It's essentially a blueprint your sales team uses as a reference point through their sales efforts.
A sales process typically contains a company's preferred approach to prospecting, connecting and qualifying, researching, presenting, handling objections, and closing. It's generally specific to each company's target audience, that audience's buyer's journey, and that company's reps' strengths and weaknesses.
Efficient sales efforts have structure. They need to have some sort of model that indicates whether their prospects are worth pursuing and how they should be pursued.
If your team has a clearly defined sales process, you'll know what you're reps are getting into and how well they're doing — and you won't unexpectedly waste resources on reps who are figuring everything out as they go.
4. Conduct active and effective sales coaching
Sales coaching is an ongoing effort where sales managers actively support, engage with, and advise reps while reinforcing what they learn in training. It's an iterative, individualized, routine process — focused on improving reps' skills and reinforcing correct behavior.
It could include activities like reviewing calls with sales reps and discussing what went well and where they could improve. Another example would be looking over reps' email conversations with prospects throughout different points in the buyer's journey and providing constructive feedback.
Ultimately, sales coaching is an engaging, productive process that allows you to make the most of your training budget. Organizations that implement sales coaching programs see considerably higher win rates than those that don't. Implementing this strategy will help you get more mileage out of your training investments and improve your sales efficiency as a result.
5. Consider using a sales liaison.
Sales and marketing are inherently connected. Salespeople rely on their marketing departments to feed them qualified leads, and marketers need to know what their sales teams expect in terms of the personas they’re appealing to and the channels through which they’re reaching prospects and customers.
Despite that, many marketing and sales departments are siloed — operating on their own with minimal communication between one another. A sales liaison is an intermediary who relays information on a sales team’s efforts, preferences, and needs to their company's marketing department.
Sales liaisons can help foster cohesion within a company and ensure that its sales and marketing efforts complement each other as effectively as possible. The role lends itself to seamless understanding throughout a business and better-constructed sales and marketing initiatives.
In terms of efficiency, a sales liaison ensures that a sales team is getting the support it needs from its marketing department. The position can help trim costs a sales team might incur as a result of unfocused marketing efforts and save time and effort by putting those reps in touch with more receptive prospects.
How Inside Sales Can Make Your Business More Efficient
Adopting inside sales tactics can provide a quick but significant boost to your sales efficiency by cutting overhead. Since inside sales are conducted remotely, reps don't have to travel to connect with prospects. Naturally, that lowers your budget by slashing direct travel costs and time that could be spent connecting with prospects lost to time on the road.
If there's anything to take away from this article it's this — always keep track of your sales efficiency. It can expose flaws in your sales operations and offer perspective on whether you need to switch things up.
Steve Jobs claimed humans go from being the least to the most efficient animals when given a bicycle. A low sales efficiency ratio will tell you when you need to tighten up your sales operations and take the proper strides to get your business on a bike again.
The beginning of the new year is a fantastic time to reach out to buyers. Your prospects are focused on starting fresh, driving change, and setting yearly goals — if you reach out with a relevant suggestion or compelling value proposition, they'll be primed to respond. Double down on this effect by referencing the holiday in your message.
Adding some humor and levity to your sales emails will improve your response rates as well. Most messages are relatively cut-and-dry, so prospects are usually surprised and impressed by anything with a little personality.
To be clear, there are many ways to use the New Year as an ice-breaker to re-engage with a client, which is why we included the messages below.
Use the New Year-themed sales email templates below to connect, follow up, and close the loop with prospects — and start 2020 off strong.
Happy New Year Email Templates
Prospecting email templates
These prospecting email templates will start off your year of prospecting on the right foot.
1. "Don't drop the ball ... "
Why this works: To motivate your prospect to respond, remind them of a timely opportunity and offer your expertise.
Hi [prospect name],
The ball might've dropped in Times Square, but I'm guessing you don't want to drop the ball on [initiative, recent company announcement, industry shift, likely challenge].
I have a few suggestions on [improving/addressing business challenge]. Are you free on [date and time] to discuss them?
2. "I can't do this alone ... "
Why this works: The self-deprecation will give your recipient a chuckle and make you seem more human and relatable. In addition, they'll appreciate your focus on their goals.
Hey [prospect name],
This year, I'm resolving to help you [solve X challenge, accomplish Y goal, pursue Z opportunity]. Oh, and [work out more often, eat less dessert, get organized] … but I'm less confident about that one.
Will you help me keep at least one of my resolutions? If you're available on [date and time], I have X suggestions that may help in [business area].
3. "New year, new you ... "
Why this works: This email is short, easy to read, and engaging. If your prospect has already started thinking about the trend you mention, they'll be impressed by your timing. If they haven't started thinking about it, they'll be eager for your help and insights.
Hi [prospect name],
Thanks to [trend], [business area, strategic focus] will be a major focus in 2020 for companies of [prospect's size] in [prospect's space]. How does [prospect's company] plan to capitalize on this change?
4. "Congratulations ... "
Why this works: Show your prospect you've done your research by referencing company news. And because your prospect simply needs to say "yes" or "no," responding will feel nearly effortless.
Hello [prospect name],
Most people are still toasting to the new year, but I'm lifting a virtual glass to [prospect's company] in honor of [recent announcement].
Typically, businesses who do X [struggle with A, pursue B next, double their return by investing in C, minimize risk with D strategy]. Have you considered this approach?
5. "Time is of the essence ... "
Why this works: The cheeky subject line will entice your recipient to open the email — and its helpful, relevant, non-pushy contents will prompt them to respond.
Hi [prospect name],
To be fair, since it's [date] 2020 I've only waited X days … But when it comes to [likely challenge, opportunity, industry shift], time is of the essence.
How is [prospect's company] planning to [deal with challenges, capitalize on X opportunity, respond to industry shift]? This [blog post, podcast episode, white paper] has some interesting tips.
6. "First of your kind ... "
Why this works: Your prospect is far likelier to respond to an offer to help than a request for their time. Once you've added value to their life, they'll be eager to learn how your offering can help them even more.
… to wish you a Happy New Year, that is.
Now that we've gotten the last scraps of confetti out of our hair, I have a serious question. Would you be interested in [an introduction to a helpful person, a feature in a post I'm writing on X, a recommendation on achieving Y]?
7. "Proton pack weapon not included ... "
Why this works: Who doesn't love a Ghostbusters reference? This creative email shows off your personality while demonstrating what you can offer.
I might not have a proton pack weapon, but I do have a few suggestions for [solving pain point]. Is that a challenge [prospect's company] is currently dealing with?
8. "Most expensive breadsticks ever ... "
Why this works: The unexpected subject line is guaranteed to boost your open rate. And the punch line is memorable, which means your prospect will be thinking about your email all day.
Hi [prospect name],
That's how much the restaurant's Times Square location charged people to attend its New Year's Eve party last year.
But whether you ate lots of pasta this New Year's or settled for good old-fashioned libations, I'm sure you're thinking about how to [solve X likely challenge]. I have some ideas — want to hear them?
- [Your name]
9. "Let the good times roll..."
Why this works: Highlight a success your prospect has had over the past year and use it as a conversation starter. Who doesn't like talking about their wins? This is a great way to engage and be top of mind as they begin their year.
Hi [prospect name],
I've been following you on LinkedIn for awhile, and couldn't help but notice all of the incredible strides your company made this year.
I have some ideas for how you can capitalize on your momentum in the new year. Are you free on [date and time] to discuss them?
Follow-up email templates
Is your prospect ghosting on you? Use these follow up email templates that are sure to get a response.
1. "If at first you don't succeed … "
Why this works: Your honesty will impress the buyer and help you earn their trust. Even if they're not currently dealing with the pain points you've included, they may be impressed enough with your straightforward approach to respond regardless.
Hi [prospect name],
I've reached out to [prospect's company] a few times over the past [X months, year] but haven't heard back. What I talked about clearly didn't resonate. In honor of the new year, I'm refocusing on your needs.
The companies I work with in [prospect's industry] of [prospect's size] typically struggle with these challenges:
- [Challenge #1]
- [Challenge #2]
Are you experiencing either of these?
2. "Looking forward ... "
Why this works: "Prediction" articles are a dime a dozen around this time. Find one that applies to your prospect's industry, geographic territory, product space, target demographic, and/or internal policies and pass it along. They'll be grateful for your helpfulness, likely leading to an opportunity to present your solution down the line.
Hey [prospect name],
I came across this post on [2020 predictions for prospect's industry or market] and thought of you. The author thinks [X event] is highly likely — does [prospect's company] have a plan in place for [responding to, minimizing the impact of, profiting from] this change?
3. "No sales pitch, guaranteed ... "
Why this works: If you've been unable to get a prospect on the phone, this template may do the trick. The unexpected approach will surprise them and pique their interest. In addition, they'll feel like you're doing them a favor rather than the other way around.
Hi [prospect name],
In honor of the new year, I'm doing something that might sound crazy: I'm giving my time away for free.
The last time we spoke, you [expressed concern, demonstrated interest] in [business area related to rep's expertise]. If you want a no-strings-attached [15-minute, 20-minute, half hour] consultation on [rep's area of expertise], just [book a slot on my calendar, respond with your preferred date and time] — no sales pitch, guaranteed.
There's no catch — I'd rather commit to this resolution than try to exercise more (and fail for the third year in a row).
Looking forward to discussing [how to solve X, drive Y results],
A note of caution: Don't bait-and-switch anyone who takes you up on the offer. Buyers will get annoyed if you turn your consultation into a sales pitch — and rightfully so. Once you've spent 15 to 30 minutes helping them, request another meeting to talk about your product's ability to help them with the same goals.
4. "I'm not giving up on you ... "
Why this works: It cheekily references the number of people who abandon their resolutions a few months out — then shows you've got more stamina.
Can you believe most resolutions are abandoned by the second week of February?
I'm not giving up on you so easily. Let me know if [addressing X, doing Y] is still a priority in Q2.
5. "It's not you, it's me... "
Why this works: We can all admit we've been turned off by receiving overly sales-y messages in the past. This follow-up template recognizes this, and offers a more human approach.
I'm sure your inbox is jam-packed, so I wanted to make sure we didn't lose touch.
I would love to follow up on our conversation from last week to discuss how I can support your 2020 business plans. Are you available at [date, time]?
Breakup email templates
If your prospect just doesn't seem interested, send them a message using a breakup email template.
1. "Not just because it's New Year's ... "
Why this works: This classic line from When Harry Met Sally will elicit a smile from your recipient. Meanwhile, hearing this is their last opportunity to work with you will incite some much-needed urgency.
Hello [prospect name],
I promise I'm not just reaching out because it's New Year's ...
I'm reaching out to ask if you're still interested in [driving X results, investing in Y business area, fixing Z issue]. If this is no longer a priority, do I have permission to close your file?
2. "Reevaluating your strategies ... "
Why this works: This short and sweet message gives buyers one last chance to respond before you professionally move on.
Hi [prospect name],
As [prospect's company] enters the new year, you might be reevaluating your strategies for X. Are you still interested in discussing [solutions to/opportunities in] X for [prospect's company]?
If not, please let me know so I can stop reaching out.
3. "We don't talk anymore ... "
Why this works: Playfully put yourself back on the buyer's radar without guilt-tripping them.
Hi [prospect name],
We don't talk anymore, like we used to … But it's a new year, and I'm ready to try one last time.
When we last spoke, we discussed [pain] and how [product] could help [drive X results]. Are you still interested in continuing that discussion? If not, please let me know so I can stop playing this song.
4. "I'll be here when you need me... "
Why this works: Sometimes it's ok to be a rebound. Let your prospect know you'll be there when they're ready to proceed.
Hi [prospect name],
I'm sure your new year has gotten off to a busy start.
When you're ready to discuss a solution for [problem] to help solve [result], I'll be here to help.
These templates will make it easier to hit your first quota of the year. Now that deserves a toast.
Looking for fresh real estate email templates for the new year? Look no further.
There are many challenges that come with any part of a sales process — and prospecting is no exception. Weathering relentless rejections and spending hours pursuing a prospect just to find out they aren't actually a good fit for your product or service can be annoying at best and soul crushing at worst.
The amount of time put into content creation, emailing, cold calling, and other lead generation activities can seem tedious. Especially when results created by these activities lean towards the lower end.
That’s probably why 42% of sales professionals say prospecting is their least favorite part of their job. So when a potential customer responds to your efforts, all the pain and stress of the process can seem worthwhile. But even though finding a prospect who appears to be a good fit to your offering might feel like a slam dunk, there's no guarantee they're willing to buy.
Over my career spent as a lead generator, I have come across several different kinds of campaigns. Here is a breakdown of the easiest and hardest campaigns I have taken part in to book sales appointments with various clients. This information is compiled from my time at TRO Lead Generation and Cobalt Iron using email marketing, social media, digital ads, and other strategies to book sales appointments.
1. Current and past customers (the easiest).
As far as sales is concerned, no potential customer is easier to close than someone you have already sold to before. Ideally, you have already built trust and loyalty with this prospect. This means getting an appointment should be as easy as a quick call or email.
If your relationship is really strong, you might just be able to instantly upgrade them on the first call or email simply because they trust your expertise.
If you’re in the B2B services space like me and you do weekly check-ins, try upselling your clients while recapping your work. You’re already talking to them and any opportunities can be discussed right then and there. You can check out some other ways to upsell current customers by checking out this blog post.
2. Client referrals.
If current and past customers are the easiest to book appointments with, then their recommendations are easily the next best thing. This is why word of mouth is one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to generate new customers.
When it came to acquiring new clients at TRO, a larger percentage of referral clients would convert to customers than customers that never heard of us before. This trend is aligned with metrics that say referral customers convert at about 13%.
Not only do referrals convert at a higher rate, but a lot of the outreach is done for you by your customers giving the referrals. If you aren’t utilizing referrals or a referral program you are missing out on a great opportunity.
3. A direct end user with influence, but no decision-making authority.
Prospects who haven't interacted with your business are tougher to register with. These are targets that are typically worked by a sales or marketing person to bring into the sales pipeline.
Your product or service might be something a decision maker needs, but for some reason you can’t get in contact with them. Even though they might understand your offering, they aren’t the ones ultimately using it.
On top of this, they most likely have other activities they have to prioritize over considering new offerings. They might be managing their teams, interacting with vendors, determining budgets, or taking on other similar responsibilities. If you are encountering prospects like this, it might be easier to reach out to direct end users that have some influence on the decision-making process.
This is because your offering impacts them directly. Additionally, since they don’t have decision making authority, they are less likely to be preoccupied with tasks and responsibilities unrelated to your offering.
A real-life example of this was a software campaign I ran while at TRO. We had a client who offered property management software that automated maintenance alerts as well as the assignment and cancellation of job tickets.
Our first approach was to go after decision makers directly by targeting building and real estate company owners. However, lead trickle was slow. To fix this problem, we started to target end users directly by engaging with the property managers themselves. Instantly, our sales appointments increased for this client.
We achieved 5 times the average appointments we were getting within the first week. This helped create a steady lead flow for our customer, enticing the end users to bring the real decision makers on a follow-up call. At one point, we even had to turn off the campaign just for our client to catch up with the demand for appointments.
Examples of these prospects include property managers, assistant managers, business development managers, recruiters, and architects.
4. Small business owners with no middle management.
These are the last of the relatively easy prospects to get sales appointments with. Small business owners with few to no employees and no middle management are great customers to go after.
They might take a bit longer to get to because of all the hats they are wearing, but they are also more likely to tell you yes or no and not waste your time. This is because small business owners with no middle management don’t have to consult with others in their business to make a decision.
These business owners know the ins and outs of their businesses. They don’t have to drag out the sales process by bringing in others like a CFO or CIO for input. This means you can often get an appointment by repeatedly asking or having killer ad copy to book a demo or consultation.
At TRO, these were the primary people I would target. Using one simple email campaign, I could often book 2-3 appointments per email. The best part? I only had to send to about 200 prospects to get these appointments.
Examples of these types of clients include consultants, personal accountants, public speakers, business coaches, and mom and pop shop owners.
5. Small businesses that have multiple owners.
Small businesses with multiple owners face the same challenges as small businesses with one owner. However, you now have to take additional steps to repeat the sales pitch you already did for the first owner.
It can be rare to get both decision makers to agree to an appointment at the same time. One can take the time to go to the meeting while the other takes the time to run the business while the meeting is taking place.
Worse yet, the business owner that you do end up booking an appointment with will often say they will just relay the information onto the other owner, lowering your chance to convert and increase your sales cycle length.
For this type of business, make it clear that all decision makers need to come to the meeting at the same time to equally hear your pitch. This way you can have an equal chance to answer everyone’s questions and not risk something important being left out.
6. Small to medium sized businesses that have middle management.
Here is the thing about middle management — they often have experience with the problem you fix but aren’t actively dealing with it on the same level as lower employees. They also don’t have decision making authority, but they can still be influencers to ones that do. This poses two possible problems.
The first problem is that if you go after decision makers directly, they will pass you off to middle management as a way to get rid of you. This means that, because they most likely don’t directly deal with the problem you solve, you have to try that much harder to convince them to see why what you're offering matters enough for them to take the appointment.
The second problem arises when you try to go directly to the person that feels the pain of the problem you solve. Instead of just two levels of appointments — the end user and decision maker — you now most likely have to convince at least three levels of involvement to listen to you, the end user, middle management, and finally the decision maker.
This means you’re adding an additional layer to your sales cycle. This makes the close take longer with a chance you might not get to even book the needed appointments to close. Expect sales processes like these to be on the longer end of the spectrum.
7. Medium to large sized businesses that have director level decision makers.
As you grow in company sizes, you can get more specialized with your departments. For a salesperson, you would think this would make things easier. After all, if departments are specialized, that means you just have to find the title of the director that handles the problem that you solve, right?
The problem is, job titles are often vague, and multiple directors and VPs can have the same job title. This means not only do you have the problems associated with middle management, but your prospecting process takes longer simply to find the appropriate contact or department.
This means, if you don’t have appropriate targeting, you can spend a good amount of time chasing the wrong prospects, which wastes everyone’s time and gets expensive.
8. C-Level executives of enterprise level companies (the hardest).
We have come to the hardest of the hard to book sales appointments with. C-level executives of enterprise companies have a lot on their plates. Connecting with them offers all the difficulty that the previous examples listed:
- They most likely aren’t actively involved with the problem you solve.
- They have to bring in multiple perspectives to determine how a solution will impact the business.
- They are constantly receiving ad and sales material from several other companies for various solutions, so it can be hard to stand out.
- Their days are packed with different activities, so their time is limited.
All of this amounts to the longest sales cycle of any prospect — with a good majority of the time spent just trying to get in front of them. And when you finally do, they can easily pass you off to one of their subordinates to start the process all over again
If your product or service requires you to go after executives like CIOs, CFOs, CEOs, or presidents of large organizations, understand you're in it for the long haul. Expect needing multiple touchpoints from both your sales and marketing team to be effective.
In my experience, it can take several months — sometimes even years — just to get in front of these decision makers to simply set up a first meeting. That's why when you do finally set up that meeting, be prepared with a tailored solution that fixes their specific problem.
For Cobalt Iron, our value proposition talked about how we made data backup easier to manage with automation while simultaneously cutting costs. Additionally, we would attach case studies that were relevant to the target company’s industry and have a brief pdf description of our offering.
We would then highlight three to five individual snippets from this material in the email response or landing page to make it easier to read.
How to Book Sales Appointments with Hard-to-Read Prospects
The key factor to reaching these prospects is persistence. Keep trying and experiment with your marketing and sales tactics to see what works best. Here are some tactics and mindsets I have used to get in front of these prospects.
1. Don’t be intimidated.
Mindset is a key factor to success. When reaching out to C-level executives of enterprise companies, it can be easy to feel intimidated. After all, these prospects could have hundreds to thousands of people directly under them and can influence a company’s direction with one email.
You might be thinking: "Somebody with that level of authority won’t talk to me." You’re wrong. C-level executives are people with problems — just like everyone else — and they are looking for ways to solve them. If you happen to have a solution to what they are looking for, they will talk to you.
This doesn’t mean they will buy from you, but they will at least listen. The reason these conversations aren’t happening though usually arises in the pitch to these prospects. A bad opener is what gets 99% of sales people ignored.
2. Talk about the problem you solve, not what your offering does.
When it comes to pitching to decision makers, we tend to think they already know everything. Salespeople think that if they just pitch the problem they have without listing details, that the executive is just going to ignore them. This is what salespeople think C-level execs are like:
“I already know what my problem is and how to solve it, tell me your features so I can see if it fits the solution I’ve already thought up.”
From my experiences let me tell you, very few if any executives think like this. They are constantly bombarded with different fires to put out every single day. Do you really think they want to take the time to dissect your offering right off the bat?
They don’t. Instead, pitch a simple solution while highlighting outcomes of what your solution has done. Additionally, you can use audience segmentation to talk about specific insights related to your prospect.
For example, at Cobalt Iron, we use a combination of cloud and automation to provide backup. However, if I was to simply state that to a prospect, chances are they are going to ask me “Okay, so what?”
Instead, I have seen success pitching how, using automation, we have helped cut backup times for companies by upwards of 90%. Now instead of providing just a feature, I’ve established a cause and effect, which will resonate better with prospects.
3. Use specific insights, but don’t overdo it.
Making yourself stand out from the crowd is critical. If you want to get through the barrage of noise that plagues C-level executives, it would be wise to tackle a specific piece of information related to that target.
Mention seeing them in the news in an email or LI Message. Target your ad copy for specific landing pages prospects looked at using a web pixel. Follow up with webinar signups addressing specific points in the presentation they deemed important.
What you don’t want to do is spend more time researching than doing. Perfection is the enemy of progress here. Why would you waste your time researching a prospect for hours at a time, only to find out they aren’t qualified when you engage with them?
Using email, I was able to book a meeting with the head of infrastructure at a Fortune 500 — just by talking about the problem I solve. Sure, I could have done a bunch of research on the company and talked about the specifics. The problem with that approach is that it's hard to scale, and most of the time, it can run the risk of turning into fluff.
Get to the point as quickly as possible to make sure they get what you’re offering as soon as they can. Otherwise you risk losing their interest. So, try and narrow the company insight down to less than 15% of your copy.
For instance, If I saw that a CIO was on a TV interview, I wouldn’t mention the interview and then talk for 2 paragraphs about the specifics of the interview. Instead I would pick one topic point and address it, then go into my pitch.
Each business is different and has unique approaches. Company size, product offering, location, and price can all impact the likelihood of closing prospects. If you take the time to know the kind of prospects you should be going after ahead of time, you can save yourself future headaches and wasted time.
Over the last 10 years, inbound marketing has proven to be a great way to generate leads and acquire customers and help you hit your quota.
Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach that leverages content on your website to attract buyers researching your products and services online. And then convert them to leads so you can close more deals.
It mirrors the way people buy in today's digital environment and works in both B2B and B2C situations.
But what if you don't have a marketing department or your marketing team doesn't practice inbound? What if you have to generate your own sales leads?
Many sales professionals don't have the marketing support to rely on a steady flow of inbound leads, but still have to hit their quotas. Luckily, the inbound sales methodology provides many ways to fill that need. Here are a few ways you can start generating inbound leads on your own.
Inbound sales is a way to identify and connect with prospects by leveraging the inbound mindset of building relationships way before someone is ready to buy.
Most successful salespeople already practice some version of solution selling. They know sales is about consulting around the prospect's problems, not closing the deal. It's about letting the prospect define the pace of the process and offering education and advice as a way to build confidence and trust. This makes it easy and safe for a client to buy. Here are a few ways you can make it scalable and efficient on your own.
1. Optimize your social media profiles.
When was the last time you actually updated your LinkedIn or Twitter profile? Keeping your social media profiles fresh and up to date is a great way to bring in more leads.
LinkedIn is hands-down the most beneficial social media platform for salespeople. Make your profile stand out (and potentially show up in search queries) by drafting a stellar LinkedIn headline and descriptive summary that tells those who visit your profile exactly what you do and who you serve.
Twitter is another social media platform that salespeople can use to connect with leads and generate interest in their business. To get the most out of your Twitter profile make sure you have a professional-looking profile photo, tag your company’s account, include a link to your LinkedIn profile, and try including a few hashtags that are relevant to your buyers.
Making these simple changes to your social media profiles puts you in a better position to show up in the search results of potential buyers, making it even easier to connect.
2. Find prospects you can help on relevant social media networks.
Most salespeople are on LinkedIn, but may not be using it effectively for generating top-of-the-funnel activity. It is a salesperson's dream to be able to connect in a high-value, low-effort way to find interested prospects, and social media is a great way to do so.
A few quick recommendations to leverage your social media presence for lead generation:
- Try to connect with as many people as you can. The more connections you have, the wider your reach will be. You don't have to be best friends with the people you connect to. Tangential connections can be amongst the best for potential prospects.
- Post in the "Share an Update" section you're currently looking to identify and help a specific type of prospect with a specific type of problem by a specific date. For example, "We are looking to work with three new commercial landscaping companies by September 1 that are interested in building their business in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area".
- Get three recommendations from current clients demonstrating high-quality work that can vouch for your value, professionalism, and effectiveness.
- Extra credit if you can broaden your professional brand to Facebook for Business, Twitter and Snapchat, although this does increase the amount of work involved.
3. Post a blog article on LinkedIn with an offer for a 15-minute consultation.
I speak on behalf of HubSpot 50 times a year, and often when I mention "blogging" to my audience, people's eyes glaze over. They think of blogging as a structured and difficult way of writing a college essay — and writing is up there with public speaking on the list of things that people hate and fear.
But blogging is really just a conversation, and a blog topic can be as simple as answering the standard questions about your product that you do every day, such as "The Beginner's Guide to [Common Business Challenge]" and "X Things You Need to Know About [Business Area]."
4. Ask your current customers for referrals.
In the course of my work helping digital agencies fill their sales funnel, I frequently ask my clients the last time they pinged their current clients, thanked them for their business, and asked for help in generating more business.
Everyone agrees that referrals are effective, but for some reason, it's hard to implement it effectively. You can follow the seven steps below to get started:
- Check with your account manager to make sure the customer is happy (and if they're not, set up a call anyway to see how you can make things better).
- Ping the client with a phone and an email and ask for a 10-minute conversation.
- Thank the client for her business, explain that you value your relationship and you're always interested in making it more valuable to your client.
- Ask if there are any other contacts or companies she can think of that would be interested in the same level of service.
- Get the name, phone number, and email of the contact, and why your client thinks it is a good fit.
- Ask if they can tee you up with a quick introduction email.
- Extra credit: If you can, send them a handwritten note or small item like a T-shirt thanking them for the referral. Little touches go a long way.
5. Work with your personal network to identify potential leads.
Working your personal network is another sometimes-overlooked option that is fairly easy to get started with because you have built-in trust. There are certain people you'll meet in a personal context that you wouldn't think of as a lead generation machine but can be incredibly valuable.
In today's busy world, you have yoga friends, work friends, neighbors, and more — but they exist in these separate buckets that don't necessarily intersect. The key is remarkably simple — if you're at the point in your relationship where you can talk business, let potentially useful acquaintances know. Identify the type of company you're looking for (size, employee number, revenue amount, location, etc.) and send an email they can forward to make the connection.
Of course, mixing the personal and professional like this needs to be effective and respectful — but it is a great way of broadening your reach.
6. Actively engage with new leads at networking events.
When possible, attending these events should be part of your routine because they're a great way to grow your reach and potentially drum up business.
Below are four basics I remind people of before they dive into networking:
- It's about mingling and being human and having fun. Don't take things too seriously!
- Explaining your "always be helping" philosophy face-to-face is usually a pretty big differentiator.
- Bring business cards to hand to your new acquaintances.
- Offer to connect on LinkedIn from your phone while you're standing next to someone. I usually respectfully ask — would you like to connect on LinkedIn? If they say yes, I just hand them my phone and say, "Can you find yourself and connect?", which makes things a lot easier.
7. Revisit closed/lost opportunities.
These are businesses that already know what your company does. They might have seen a product demo or made it through a discovery call and it just wasn't the right time to buy.
Touch base with these prospects every six months. Ask how their priorities have changed, if their business and team goals have shifted, and what their challenges are.
Invest in marketing to these prospects, because they're already more qualified than new, warm leads. Enroll them in appropriate marketing email drips, send them relevant blog posts, and keep communication personalized.
It might not be the right moment the first or third time you follow up, but it could work in your favor the fifth.
And you never know when a prospect will change jobs and finally have the budget or business case to implement your solution. By staying top of mind, you'll be the first vendor they call.
8. Implement an email sequence.
Blond explained that one of Rainforest's most successful email sequences is addressed from their CTO. Rainforest's SDRs send the email to the CTO of a prospect's company, framing the message as if their CTO asked them to reach out.
"It's creative, it grabs attention, and it allows us to cast a wide net over each prospect's company," Blond said.
To send a successful email sequence, have a clear purpose for each one. For example:
- Email 1: Address pain points
- Email 2: Explain a value message
- Email 3: Name drop a big client
- Email 4: Qualify your message
- Email 5: Include a product message
- Email 6: Reach out one last time
Implement a comprehensive, purposeful email sequence and see it work for you.
9. Contribute informative articles to other websites and blogs.
Are you writing blogs yet? You should be. Start by writing about what you're an expert in.
It could be sales process optimization, referral marketing, or your product/service — but whatever you do, start writing, and share it on your company's blog, your personal social media channels, and your customers.
In 2018, it's important for you to be a visible expert in your field. Not only will it display your expertise, but you'll educate your prospects as well. Need some help on your first post? Reach out to your resident marketer or blog editor for a quick lesson. They might even offer to help you write a post or two.
10. Embed a meeting scheduler on your website.
If you're a rep in charge of bringing in your own leads, you don't have the resources to send three back-and-forth emails coordinating schedules with a prospect. It's a waste of your time and a waste of theirs.
Instead, embed an appointment scheduler on your website and your email signature. HubSpot's free Meeting Scheduling Tool syncs with Google and Office 365 calendars, so your prospects always see your updated availability.
Plus, if there's no designated sales rep, you can set a round-robin meeting link, so prospects are able to schedule meetings with the rep who's availability best aligns with their own.
Make it easy for leads to get in touch with you and schedule time to learn more.
11. Engage with live chat users.
Another way to vet leads is through an easy-to-use chatbot builder. There are a lot on the market today, but HubSpot Conversations gives you the tools and context you need to have unlimited, personalized conversations at scale.
Customize your widget so that it matches the look and feel of your brand and pops up on your prospect's screen with a welcome message that's actionable and matches their intent. Use your chatbot to qualify leads, book meetings, answer FAQs, and more.
You can respond to chats through the Conversations inbox, Slack, on even on the go with HubSpot's mobile app. Because it's part of your HubSpot CRM, every conversation is saved.
12. Lead an online workshop or webinar.
While sharing articles and blog posts are a great way to share your knowledge, nothing tops getting the opportunity to actually teach. Hosting a webinar or online workshop sharing your expertise on a relevant topic is a great way to generate leads online.
For example, if you sell social media scheduling software for small businesses, you could host an online workshop for entrepreneurs showing them how to build engagement on social media. By sharing your knowledge on a relevant topic in an intimate format such as video, you are building trust with leads quickly.
Don't like your leads? Get out and generate new ones. Try these tactics and close more business this quarter. Looking for more ways to generate leads? Check out these social selling techniques next.
No matter what a viral YouTube video tells you, you don’t need to sanitize your fruits and vegetables. Here are evidence-based tips for grocery shopping safely during the COVID-19 outbreak – from registered dietitians.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery shopping is understandably a cause of stress and anxiety for many of us. When at the store, touching surfaces and objects such as shopping carts, freezer door handles, and grocery items are inevitable. You may be asking yourself if you need to disinfect your groceries? Is it okay to use reusable bags? Could the virus be transmitted from objects and food? These are all valid questions, considering the grocery store is such a high-touch space with possible risk.
The good news is, there are no documented cases of COVID-19 that indicate viral transmission through food. However, given that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for some time, theoretically, it is possible to pick up the virus if you touch a surface or an item someone infected has coughed or sneezed on. While grocery chains have ramped up cleaning and sanitation measures to keep customers safe, it is essential that we also maintain proper hygiene when grocery shopping.
How to grocery shop safely during the COVID-19 outbreak
Mind the shopping cart/basket/food packaging
The shopping cart, basket and food packaging carry a certain level of risk. Bear in mind; it depends on the amount of virus deposited on surfaces as well as the dose you are exposed to.
According to estimates, from the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus remains viable on hard surfaces – making these potentially high-risk surfaces
- Plastic and steel, for up to 3 days,
- Cardboard, for 24 hours
- Copper, for four hours
It makes sense then, as a best practice measure, to use disinfecting wipes to clean high-touch surfaces of the shopping cart or basket. Remember to discard used wipes immediately after use. Alternatively, you could wear disposable gloves, but we wouldn’t recommend this for several reasons. Latex gloves could soon be in short supply for healthcare workers – who need them most. Plus, they are not durable and designed for everyday activities, like grocery shopping. There is a high risk they could rip.
What’s really important is to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, as you leave the store and wash your hands immediately when you get home after your grocery trip.
What about packaged foods and containers? From what we know currently, you could set aside non-perishable groceries for three days before using them.
All that said, let’s not forget that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the transmission of the virus is far more likely to spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person and much less likely via surfaces or food.
Keep your distance when grocery shopping
Though stores are not as crowded as they used to be before the pandemic, it is vital to keep a safe distance between yourself and fellow shoppers. Consider keeping a minimum distance of two meters away from other customers and staff. You want to be especially mindful of this one when lining up at the cash. Plus, use a credit or debit card at the checkout. That way, you limit the amount of contact handing and receiving money. Also, use your own pen to sign receipts. It’s also a good idea to visit stores during less busy hours to avoid crowds as much as possible.
If you’re anxious, consider bagging your groceries yourself to minimize touching by the store clerk.
Do not use chemicals on produce
It is not safe to use disinfectants such as bleach, chlorine or isopropyl alcohol when washing fruits and vegetables. Neither is it a good idea to use disinfecting wipes to clean your produce. The use of any of these products could be harmful to the body and cause digestive problems. Unfortunately, natural products such as vinegar are not effective at killing the virus. To that end, the best strategy for cleaning fresh produce is vigorous washing under running water.
Despite what you’ve been hearing about washing food with soap and water, remember this: the USDA advises that we should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap because these are not approved or labelled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on foods. There’s a chance that you could ingest soap or detergent residues absorbed on the produce. Your stomach may struggle to handle these residues, and you could experience nausea and a stomach upset.
Similarly, it’s essential to wash all fruits – even fruits that have a peel, such as bananas. Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling produce. You may consider using a scrub brush to cleanse your produce better. Don’t forget to clean the scrub brush thoroughly with soap and water after each use.
Wash all containers
Consider washing all containers and non-porous packaged products with a small amount of soap and water before placing them in the fridge or cupboards. This includes all cans, bottles, dairy containers, and frozen food packages. If you are unable to wash certain non-perishable products, “quarantine” them in an out-of-the-way place for a minimum of three days.
Rethink bags when doing your grocery shopping
It would be best to avoid reusable grocery bags during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 28th, 2020, the BC Centre for Disease Control released a 3-page guidance document for food retailers. In particular, the report lays out:
- Customers should not use their own reusable bags, containers or boxes
When using single-use grocery bags, consider discarding them as a precaution, and wash your hands after handling bags.
Foods with a long shelf-life and what to do to make your fresh fruits and veggies last longer?
Aside from food safety concerns while grocery shopping, you may also be wondering what to do to make your fruits and veggies last longer. Of course, we should all limit our trips to the grocery store to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
Besides fresh produce – frozen essentials, pantry and canned food items also serve as excellent options, given the current circumstances. If you’re on the hunt for some Desi~licious recipe inspiration, here is a list of 44 easy and healthy recipes using pantry staples and frozen foods.
If you’re considering purchasing fresh vegetables and storing them for longer, think about blanching them.
- Wash and chop vegetables and blanch them in boiling water for one minute.
- Then immediately rinse the vegetables under cold running water. This step helps deactivate the enzymes that result in food spoilage.
- Store the vegetables in airtight freezer bags or containers before freezing.
It’s all about treating them well and storing them right. Remember, blanching works best with vegetables that have low water content such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and green beans.
No matter what a viral YouTube video tells you, here are evidence-based tips for #groceryshopping safely during the #COVID19 outbreak – from registered dietitians. #foodsafety #dietitian
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What about fruits and vegetables that literally last longer? Like with anything you buy, the length of time it will last primarily depends on the state it’s in. When purchasing fruits, choose options, such as apples, oranges, potatoes, and squashes, to name a few. Perishable fruits, such as berries, could be stored in the freezer. Fruits such as pineapple, cantaloupe, mangoes, and peaches can be chopped and placed in an airtight freezer bag or container before storage.
How to Store Food Sources of Protein after grocery shopping
Perishable items, including tofu, eggs, and yogurt, should be consumed by the best before date on the package. Beans, canned or dry, are an excellent option as they have a very long shelf-life. When it comes to fish and seafood, meat, and poultry, place them in airtight freezer bags and store them in the freezer – for at least two months. Be sure to date all foods placed in the freezer.
Handling Food and Preparing Meals Safely
Always start by sanitizing all surfaces with a disinfectant. You could use any of the following:
- Household cleaner or disinfectant
- Soap and water
- Bleach solution (use four teaspoons of bleach per litre of water
- Alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol
When preparing food safely, follow these four key steps:
Step 1: Separate
- Keep raw poultry, meat, fish and seafood separate from other foods (especially fresh vegetables and fruits)
- When using utensils or cutting boards for preparing meat, fish and poultry, wash them thoroughly with hot water and soap
Step 2: Chill
- Do not leave raw poultry, meat, fish, and seafood at room temperature for more than two hours
- Refrigerate all the above items at below 4°C
- Frozen food should be thawed in the fridge or microwave – not at room temperature
Step 3: Clean
- Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before, during, and after handling food.
- Wash all fresh produce under running water
- All utensils, cutting boards, and serving trays should be washed with hot soapy water
Step 4: Cook
- All poultry, meat, fish, seafood, and eggs should be cooked to 74°C; this would kill COVID-19 and all other pathogens in food
- Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of food
- All hot food should be kept at above 60°C
Once the food is prepared, be sure to practice good hygiene to minimize hand contact. For example, when serving food, make use of utensils. And don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.
What food safety questions do you have? Are you surprised by any of the precautions about grocery shopping? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this blog post, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, or share a photo and hashtag #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
This blog post was written in collaboration with Sanaz Baradaran MSc, RD, OCT, BEd
Sanaz is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Human Biology, Secondary Education, and Food and Nutrition, as well as a Master’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences. As a Registered Dietitian in private practice, Sanaz is trained to provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition using the best available evidence coupled with good judgment about the client’s unique values and circumstances.
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