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Nicolas Vandenberghe is a CEO and entrepreneur. Nicolas is originally from France but has now lived in the U.S. for a good part of his career. He’s been working for tech companies, working at Chili Piper since 2016. The company’s biggest vision is to improve sales and completely transform the industry by using digital tools.
Big companies like SalesForce specialize in back end algorithms and can miss the opportunities on the front end. This is where Nicolas’ company helps its clients thrive.
Salespeople used to be technophobes and hated the idea of using technology in their sales process. As new technologies have become available, salespeople now adapt to a variety of tools and have become savvier.
Next wave in customer-facing solutions
The sales industry tends to move in waves. First, it was about automating internal processes, and that’s why we have CRM. It ensures that everything is recorded so, in any situation, much of the sales cycle happens in the backend.
The next generation helps with the interaction and is referred to as customer-facing tools. This is the next wave in customer-facing solutions.
An opportunity that Nicolas’ team addresses is in the booking, or scheduling a meeting. In sales, even before the first meeting, an opportunity has to be created to book a time and engage with a prospect. The easiest example would include inbound products, called the concierge. In earlier days, the concierge occurred when prospects visited your site, and let you know they were interested in learning more by filling out a form that provided contact information for the follow-up. Upon clicking the submit button, they’d be brought to a thank you page and told that someone would be in touch. The prospect was left wondering who would get in touch and when. In some cases, there would be no follow up so retention was lost. Many companies are losing more than half their pipeline due to a broken process. Businesses can lose up to 80% of their leads because they don’t act fast enough.
Qualifying the prospects
Nicolas and his team built an intelligence solution to address this problem. In their version, once the prospect fills out the form for submission, Nicolas’ company uses the information from the form to qualify the prospect right away. They look at the prospect’s company size and the criteria set by their client to qualify. They’re able to do this, and reach out to a salesperson, in real-time. They call the prospect’s number and when they pick up, the prospect is connected immediately to a salesperson. If the sales rep isn’t available, a calendar is made available so the prospect can book a time that works for them, all with one click.
Streamlining the front of the sales cycle allows for more direct revenues. Companies that work with Nicolas’ team have seen an increase in revenue and conversation rates between 50-100%. They’ve even seen many companies double their conversion rates. Some companies have even started to work with them with as little as 30-40% conversion, losing 60-70% of their leads.
Business to small businesses
When a prospect wants to purchase a product or service, the quickest company to reply is typically the one that will get the account. This concept is called business to small businesses, where a bigger company is sending to small businesses. They don’t have an army of people to go through a procurement process. Instead, they’re going to look for a variety of vendors. These are the types of prospects that bigger companies are losing. It’s because they fail to act quickly and respond to their prospects’ needs.
For a larger enterprise, the buyer has more time but they’re also going to look at how they are going to be served. The solution to this is called the red carpet. This means showing up, taking the form, and immediately offering the option to talk to somebody. This strategy of being direct is another boost to your conversion rate.
As a salesperson, you need to remember that the very beginning of the sales process is to make sure that things end on a very good note.
B2B and B2C
Things don’t go as fast for B2B because of the different teams involved in the sales process. The marketing team is in charge of bringing in traffic to the website. The sales team is in charge of managing the resulting. Each of these teams follows their own processes. The problems can begin when there’s nothing that brings these two teams together. The greater the number of people involved, the more inefficient the process becomes.
It takes a long time for people to adapt to the changes. Different teams can have their own incentives and may not be completely aligned with the company’s goals.
The breakdown of the decision-making power between the marketing team and the sales team is the reason why B2B may not be as effective as B2C.
Increased conversion rates
There have been many companies that have sought Nicolas’ company’s services and some have doubled their conversion rates. Every customer with Chili Piper increased their conversion rates by at least 50% or more. The company called Grow.com and its marketing operation were very keen on optimization, especially after they plateaued at a 40% conversion rate. The company went to Chili Piper. Upon implementation, they went up to 68% in their first month and 72% in the second month. That is a drastic jump from 40%-72%. More revenues mean more pipelines, and more pipelines mean more profits.
It can take time to get everybody on board to adapt and accept the changes. However, when that’s done and the solution has been deployed, it becomes a beautiful success story.
Re-educating the market
There are people working for a company whose sole job is to make calls and set an appointment. When they are able to set a schedule, they get a commission. These middlemen aren’t needed under the new system. This can understandably lead to resistance.
This process needs more education so people know how to use the resources available. This knowledge ensures that everyone is aligned. Everyone using this system will be better off.
What can you do?
Collaboration between sales and marketing is a recipe for success. When you meet your prospects, you need to be prepared. Have prior meetings so you can make the most of your time with the client. The marketing team prepared the presentation and the sales team meets with the customers. There must be something that connects the marketing team and the sales team.
To address this, Chili Piper created the events workspace where it becomes easier for both teams to schedule. The marketing team will be able to explore the sales team’s calendar. They then schedule meetings ahead of time. The sales and marketing teams need to collaborate with each other to ensure an increase in revenue.
Salespeople need to understand these new customer-facing tools and their massive impact on their business. This a hyper-competitive market. Companies who are struggling should rethink their sales process and look for ways to optimize the opportunities that are currently available. Companies that ensure the buyer has the best and fastest experience all the way through the entire deal will have a much better chance at closing. Map out your journey and look at the places where your processes are optimal.
“The Next Wave: Customer-Facing Solutions” episode resources
Reach out to Nicolas Vandenberghe via their website to know more about the next wave in customer-facing solutions. You can also call out to Donald if has some time.
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