Salespeople are always looking for new ways to generate more initial appointments. How do you do that? There are many strategies. In this episode, Donald and Carman Pirie talk about utilizing strategies that include co-creating and content building.
Carman Pirie is the co-owner of Kula Partners. It’s a manufacturing marketing agency that helps manufacturers transform their marketing and sales apparatus by making it more digital in nature. He is also a co-host of the podcast called The Kula Ring, a podcast that focuses on manufacturing marketers and telling their stories.
Prospecting is a huge part of the sales process. Carman personally does prospecting every single day and he coaches many salespeople on how to do it right. It can be difficult to pick up the phone and start a conversation with people. Many sales leaders and managers have not explored other options outside of traditional practices. They have limited their sales teams by thinking and training the old methodologies. While picking up the phone as a way to prospect isn’t bad, the answer to prospecting isn’t just activity management.
There are many tools available for sales reps to use in order to prospect. We don’t want to just bombard people with calls and emails or rely heavily on LinkedIn invites. This is where the challenge lies.
In working with B2B manufacturing organizations, Carman’s company almost always interfaces primarily with the marketing function. These marketers have an overwhelming thirst for people in sales to actually care.
Carman suggests three approaches that Kula Partners recommends for co-creating and content building.
The first is through a podcast. The Kula Ring podcast is their primary vehicle to generate prospects. They put out episodes weekly. They expand their reach by simply talking to more
manufacturing marketers and getting them on as guests for the show.
Through the podcast, these guests become more familiar with what Kula is offering and some have eventually become their clients. Sending out emails with a subject line that sounds like a request, or extending a LinkedIn invitation, doesn’t typically yield a positive outcome. Inviting somebody to be a guest on a podcast, asking about their industry and showing an interest in what they offer is a much better opportunity to build rapport. The interview gives you a better insight into their problems and challenges. This information then allows a salesperson to come up with specific solutions to offer.
As a salesperson, you can use an intent data platform and bring in guests that are likely in a buying cycle. However, it’s best to approach them with the pure motive of getting to know them. After a relationship is built, a discussion about business can happen organically. This introductory conversation can even happen by the end of recording a podcast.
Traditional outreach, like a phone call, can typically have a response rate of 10%. In Carman’s experience, they’ve seen that the targeted podcast outreach campaigns have a response rate closer to 50%.
Every business is different so it’s up to the salesperson to experiment with a variety of formats to see what works best for their particular industry. If scaling can work, then go for it. If it’s written content or other similar strategies that work, pick one of those. What works for others may not work for your client’s specific needs so take the time to find the right niche. Look for the right angle or a topic that’s of interest to your client. Create your podcast based on that information.
Another suggestion from Carman for co-creating and content building is to host a peer round table discussion. For example, invite 12 – 20 target prospects in an information-sharing environment and serve as a host to the dialogue. They did this at Kula and they called these meetings marketing leadership exchanges. They brought in marketers who shared common characteristics and fostered an information-sharing conversation.
You can easily make an agenda out of five to six topics or questions and turn them into a 90-minute round table for information-sharing. For marketers who are widely distributed geographically, a virtual round table is more plausible. When you can, however, the preference is to have everyone in person.
Despite the limitations in a virtual setting, the dialogue can still be rich. The exchange of information is still helpful for prospecting and building rapport. The guests are telling you the challenges they are facing in their business and asking their peers for advice. All you do is to play host to the dialogue. How to activate the conversation and transition it into a sales opportunity is up to you. After that dialogue, you now have permission to email them and build a working relationship with them. This is a much better choice as opposed to a cold call.
There’s a difference between the podcast and the peer round table. There is an ongoing continuous recruitment process in the podcast guesting. However, marketing leadership requires more effort as it needs time to get a specific number of people to gather for a particular time. It can be difficult to organize a date where everyone can come together and talk.
When traditional tools aren’t working, these co-creating strategies can be highly effective in moving someone from a prospect to a client.
You can start planning your co-creating and content building by looking at some content pieces related to your niche. If you’re a salesperson in a technical space and you’re selling mostly to engineers, you can look at the challenges common to your prospects and your client base. You can partner with one or two clients or prospects in creating a solution to address challenges specific to that industry.
One of the great results in using the peer round table strategy is that guests naturally follow up with each other and continue to exchange and share information with one another. It’s important to trust the process and let these relationships happen organically.
Marketing organizations are often hungry for sales reps who can offer insight into the sales process and customer needs, as well as someone who is active in the social media channels. Salespeople can be involved in the marketing function and develop relationships with their prospects before the prospect ever even has a need for their services or products.
One of Carman’s guests was on their podcast and this guest had a manufacturing talk radio podcast himself. He used the podcast to give his business exposure and ended up becoming a source to develop his business. As a result, his steel company turned into a broadcasting company. It was unconventional but worked for them. If you want to use a podcast to sell, understand it won’t become daily bread for the next quarter, at least. It takes time for momentum to build.
Podcasts are a natural megaphone for great ideas but it’s really about building relationships, co-creating and content building.
Salespeople can start co-creating and content building with your prospects without other motives but to build a relationship with them and not just because you want to sell to them. Find Carman Pirie on Kula Ring in all major podcast. You can also check their site KulaPartners.com.
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077.
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As salespeople, we often ask ourselves about the main things generating the most leads right now because we always want to be in on everything that works. Consumers’ purchasing decisions are affected by their experiences and we want to know what affects them in order to appeal to those emotions and convince them to buy our products or services. Sales professionals that we are, we love leads and we like getting new prospects.
Vlad Calus is the founder at Planable, a content collaboration plan for freelancers and marketing teams. It is the most visual platform that helps you preview your social media content before publishing it. Planable helps you check and review your content before publishing it. It makes collaboration and asking for feedback from your teammates easier as well as asking for clients’ feedback before finalizing the content and scheduling the posts through social media.
There are three things that helped Vlad to get leads. The first one was writing a book. He wrote a book called Marketing Themes of the Future which gained them over 2,000 leads in just a couple of weeks. They also published the Content Academy and it generated them more than 500 people in just a couple of hours.
Publishing is one way to generate leads and that’s what Vlad and his team did. They also did a content calibration report where they reported on the state of content marketing and how content marketing teams are working. For them, their team wasn’t able to generate many people by just a sudden initiative. They did the planning on how to create their content and spent a lot of time on it. The content are called special initiatives. They worked on it for about 12 months and all of the people involved were on the same page. They then had press releases for client launches and they constantly repurposed their content.
Vlad’s team looked for the problem in their industry and wanted to address it. Research shows that there have been no content calibration reports done for the last nine years. They wanted to understand the state of the market but there are only old data available. In marketing, data are key players to a business’s success. They then understood the need to generate a lot of data and started the project with their customers, connections on the net, and the people they met. They generated leads by using the data of the report they collated.
One of the data they have is on how to repurpose content for their followers. There’s also the part where you need multiple stakeholders as part of your content strategy. They also discovered in their research that broken collaboration is wasted time and communicating with your stakeholders vie spreadsheets and emails is one of the most broken workflows there is. They use all these data and share their marketing reports to their clients and potential clients to motivate them to jump on a call with them and start using their Planable.
It’s applicable to other industries as well regardless of the size of the company. You can make reports using the data from the audience that you are working on and start by sending your audience Facebook polls or sending them a simple type form they can fill out. You can collate the data and use it for your marketing strategies.
Publishing a book to get more leads works especially if you promote it yourself. Put your email signature in the book and see the number of people who click on it every single day.
People who have read Vlad’s book started recommending it to other people they know. The book presented the benefits of collaborating on the content and using many different platforms to create a more collaborative market. The ebook also presented solutions that you can use for your content marketing collaboration as a marketing team.
Every email we get, we put them into an email marketing flow and we ask them to jump on a call with us for them to find out more about Planable. We send people case studies on how Planable has been helping companies.
The other thing that helped them in generating the most leads right now is their Content Academy. They interviewed over 30 experts in content marketing from different industries. These people are the front line in creating content, from the ideation, editing, writing, publishing, and generating leads. The Content Academy includes seven-step videos with topics like ideation strategy, content editing, content publishing, promoting, and so on.
Vlad’s team presents it to potential clients and we give them sneak peeks of the things they can learn in the Content Academy.
He makes snippets and minute-long videos showing how it would help businesses and publishes the videos on his LinkedIn and other social media.
In content marketing, don’t be afraid to try creating content and putting yourself on camera. Get yourself out there and just start creating content. Listen to the feedback of the community and write again until you are able to make quality content.
Reach out to Vlad Calus via his LinkedIn.
Go ahead and hit me up for concerns and questions about sales. You can also reach out to me via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Use these practical sales tips and let me know how it works for you.
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. Our next semester starts on November 8 and we would love to have you.
The episode is also brought to you by Sales Live Miami. It’s an event put on by a group of friends and it’s designed to help sellers and sales leaders improve their sales game. It’s going to be this November 4-5, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Come and join us. You can find more about this event on The Sales Evangelist website.
We want you to join us for our next episodes so tune in to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to.
Read more about sales or listen to audiobooks at Audible as well and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial.
Sales From the Street gives us an opportunity to hear from other sales professionals about the challenges they face and how they approach them. Today’s challenge is scaling a sales force.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Dimitar Stanimiroff explains how he handled building and scaling a sales force while he was still managing his own quota.
Stanimiroff is the co-founder of Heresy, a sales platform designed to help increase collaboration and improve agility among sales teams.
Dimitar realized that hiring is a full-time job, and training people is intense as well. Trying to do both of those things while still hitting his own target would be extremely challenging. His challenge was scaling a sales force.
He started by introducing a regular cadence in an attempt to improve efficiency. Beginning with the idea that there are about 23 sales days in a month, he broke the month down into smaller components.
Instead of forecasting for an entire month, his team operated in blocks of five sales days. At the beginning of each new block, the team would meet to discuss past performance and evaluate how well they were doing. They also looked for places to improve.
In the end, each person committed to a certain amount of revenue for the next block, which gave him a good understanding of how the team would perform.
The meetings gave him a chance to share his own experiences with the product since he had been selling it for six months. They also gave his two new hires a chance to share their own knowledge.
Dimitar realized that he needed a way to leverage his own time. Because the two guys he hired came from very different verticals, he needed to share his own knowledge and best practices with them.
By giving them good visibility on the company’s mission and progress, he created a collaborative culture. Instead of operating with one sales manager, they established a framework of sharing.
Each time the company added a new cohort, the trajectory was quicker because they were very good at generating knowledge. Each generation of team members ramped up more quickly than the last.
Most sales organizations fail to recognize that the industry is built on faulty assumptions. The notion that most salespeople would sell their own mothers for a profit is perpetuated by Hollywood.
If you believe this is true, the only place to manage such a group is with a heavy hand. That kind of environment will create tension and competition and will prevent reps from seeing each other as teammates. It will also increase attrition.
Without that culture, you won’t have as much knowledge to share because you have fewer people contributing to the conversation.
Sharing knowledge, on the other hand, is your company’s biggest lever when it comes to scaling your team.
Consider giving a copy of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading as a thank you gift to someone who provided a referral. It’s a blueprint for sellers based upon years of research about the things buyers hate.
We’re so convinced that you’ll love the book that we’re providing a free excerpt to our listeners here.
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