8 Ways to Better Manage Your List of Contacts and Business Relationships

This video is about your list of business relationships. If you're a business owner or leader and you want to get better sales and marketing results, check out what I have to say about one of the biggest and most-costly mistakes business owners make - lame list management, or no list at all.

What does it take to build and manage a great list of business relationships including prospects, customers who love you, customers who left you, vendors, partners, even family, and friends?

Caring, most of all. Then there's the art and science (tech) of list management.

Here's the list of 8 ways to better manage your contacts and business relationships.

  1. Size of your list. Size is not everything, but the bigger your list of contacts, the bigger your network and reach. This is important if the rest of the list aligns with your strategic plan of action. This means you have to do everything on this list to get sales results.
  2. Quality of your list. Quality counts big time. Measures of quality are based on how you build your list. You have to earn or buy your list through disciplined ads and promotion. You can't steal a list and win customers for long. Karma will get you. Focus on quality.
  3. Engagement of your list. Engagement is when people open your emails, click through your landing pages, and buy what you sell. If you can't or won't engage, you'll never get people to like you enough to give your products or services a chance. Engagement is a must.
  4. Fruit of your list. The fruit means the byproduct of size, quality, engagement and the list that follows. The fruit is abundant when you manage relationships well at all levels. Great fruit is customers and cash flow. If you stink at winning and keeping customers, you might not bear much fruit.
  5. Management of your list. Everyone who uses the system that manages your list must be aligned. This means quality in. Your contact information is up-to-date because everyone stays on top of the list and does what the administrator directs.
  6. Love of your list. If your prospects and customers don't feel your love, they will do business somewhere else. Love is simple, not easy.
  7. Keeper of your list. This is the administrator on your team and if you own the business, this person is not you. What I mean is if you're good at running a business, you need to focus on your highest and best use of time as the owner or leader and delegate list and system management to a qualified administrator who will maintain the integrity of your list, system and the users.
  8. Technology. I put this last for a reason. You need to have a written strategic plan of action to grow a real company or organization. This plan reveals your purpose, vision, mission, goals and all the other elements of a real plan. The reason this is key is your technology selection and investments are part of this plan. If you buy technology at seminars and blindside your team, shame on you. Empower your people to tell you what technologies for customer relationship management (CRM), email, social media, website, blog, etc.

If you care about your business then you will place far more value on your list of contacts or business relationships. It's that simple.

In summary, focus on these 8 keys or disciplines for better managing your list of contacts and business relationships. I'm sure many of you reading this can add much to this list. Feel free to leave a constructive comment here on my blog.

If you're like to discuss strategy, planning, team performance, and technologies, feel free to schedule a free ROI strategy session with me.

Click here to connect with me now.

Sales Pipeline Case Study for B2B E-Commerce Powered by SharpSpring

This is a sales pipeline case study prepared for a successful, business-to-business E-Commerce company based in the Northeast U.S. The purpose of this case study is to demonstrate the successful implementation of SharpSpring marketing automation as a way to drive better customer engagement, sales and bottom-line results.

Here's a summary of what I walk you through in the video.

What could building a better sales pipeline mean for you and your company? If you're interested in running through a few case studies, or having a conversation about your sales, marketing and business goals, contact me here.

What made the biggest difference?

In this case the company was losing touch with customers, and losing customers to key competitors in their market. The biggest difference here was the complete alignment of sales, marketing. The way this happens is when a team of people are compelled to follow a plan of action to improve systems and processes for sales results, and everyone on the team buys into using the system well. We do this by training and coaching everyone to learn the power of SharpSpring marketing automation and CRM, or customer relationship management software.

Is SharpSpring the best marketing automation and CRM solution for you? I have no clue!

The key is to do your homework by doing a thorough vendor comparison and analysis which I provide for free.

How much would my 15 years of building and optimizing content marketing campaigns and sales pipelines be worth to you?

Maybe it's worth a 20-minute conversation.

Remember help your people by improving the sales process that will sell more of your products or services.

Connect with me here, now.

How To Measure and Accelerate Your Sales Pipeline Velocity

How many new customers can you handle a month if you knew you could measure and increase your sales pipeline velocity? Get your sales pipeline flowing at new levels and you're on your way to getting what you can handle and want.

This article will teach you how to measure and accelerate your sales pipeline velocity. If you want to grow your business and improve cash flow, you need to know how to get better marketing and sales results. Check out my white board video sales training session and model your sales pipeline after what you see in this article or in the video.

What's your #1 goal for your business right now? If it includes firing up your sales machine and getting better sales results, here's how to understand, measure and accelerate your sales pipeline velocity.

Sales Pipeline Velocity Defined

What is sales pipeline velocity? And why is it so important, especially for emerging company owners, sales and marketing leaders? Because knowing your sales pipeline velocity means you have a disciplined sales process, sales pipeline stages, a customer relationship management (CRM) and/or marketing automation platform to support your most important investment; finding and winning new customers and cash flow.

Velocity - the speed of something (your sales pipeline) in a given direction ...

Sales Pipeline Velocity

Sales Pipeline or Funnel?

If you watch enough of my videos you'll notice I love sales funnels. To me, they'r metaphoric for the essential practice of finding and winning enough customers to achieve your business goals. So, is there a difference between a sales pipeline and a sales funnel? Yes, and it's a matter of your perspective.

Most sales organizations don't close 100% of their deals. But they do a great job of measuring results at each stage of the sales pipeline. Now, if you're a big oil company and you own and operate oil pipelines, do you see the pipelines get smaller as the oil gets to the end of the line? No. That's because the money guys at the oil companies want as close to 100% of their oil to push through the entire pipeline.

But you're probably not in the oil business. And your sales force probably doesn't close 100% of the deals they get a shot at closing. If they do, maybe you should raise your prices.

I prefer five stages in the sales pipelines I build. Simple is better. Heck, if you only want three, use these stages ...

  1. Attract - You capture the attention and interest of a prospect.
  2. Engage - You being the conversation and move the prospect closer to decision.
  3. Convert - You win or lose the deal.

Now, if you want five stages, use something like this ...

  1. Initial Interest - You get them interested.
  2. Engagement 1 - You begin the buyer-seller dance.
  3. Engagement 2 - The dance continues.
  4. Pitch, Propose, Present - You do your magic.
  5. Win or Lose - You win or lose the deal.

Sales Pipeline Velocity

How much money moves through your sales pipeline every day? This is what knowing your sales pipeline velocity will tell you. Let's take a look at one example.

Sales Pipeline Velocity Killers

If your business or career is your "best investment" providing you regular income and the potential to create some serious, long-term wealth, why would you want to wing it on maximizing your sales pipeline velocity, marketing ROI, technology or any other investment you would make in growing your business?

There are many sales pipeline velocity killers. Be vigilant and disciplined about your sales pipeline, or suffer the consequences and get your lunch eaten by the competition.

One of the biggest killers is lacking proper systems that support your team and sales pipeline velocity. For example, customer management relationship software is essential for managing people such as customers, prospects, vendors, referrals partners, employees and anyone else crucial to your success.

Another pipeline killer is unqualified people coaching, managing and leading the sales organization. Ever meet a small business owner who was really lousy at managing sales people, had massive sales turnover, but couldn't understand why? I see this all the time. Another major sales management blunder is promoting your top dog into the sales manager roles. A great sales pro makes not a great sales manager. These roles require different skill sets, and when there's alignment better sales management and sales producers, you get flow; cash flow.

Last, be aware of how you hire, pay, coach and fire your sales people. If you follow the guidelines I've laid out in this article, and you focus on hiring the best sales talent your money can buy, and empowering your people with the strategy, plan and tools they need to get the job done, you and your people will see the results in your sales pipeline velocity.

Build A Better Pipeline Velocity

In closing, if you want to grow your business, focus on increasing the volume and velocity of your sales pipeline. The best way to do this is develop a solid strategy and plan of action, get the right people to help you, use the sales and marketing systems that work best for you, and be relentless when it comes to increasing sales activities and focus. Measure results as you go, learn and adapt as you grow.

Got a question or comment about taking your sales pipeline velocity to the next level? I always appreciate your comments and questions here on the blog.

You can also contact me here.

Super-Simple Sales Pipeline Activity Tool

Check this super-simple sales pipeline activity tool you can use for getting better sales results by being more disciplined with making and tracking a higher level of sales behavior.

What can you do to improve sales results? Work harder, smarter or both.

  1. Increase sales activity volume, pipeline activity and revenue. (Volume)
  2. Close more of what you get into the pipeline. (Margin of success, close ratio)
  3. Both

Let me ask you a few questions about your business?

If you need help getting better sales and marketing results it's up to you to raise the bar and commit. Some people get "comfortable" where they are in business. Others don't.

Ever meet a CEO or business owner who had trouble getting and keeping enough customers? I do, all the time. Because this is what I do for a living, and I love my job!

Did this article and sales training video help you? If so, thanks for subscribing to my YouTube channel, maybe even leaving a positive comment, or sharing this video with a friend.

Want to connect for an ROI Strategy Session and explore what I can to help you get better marketing ROI and sales results?

Connect with me here.

11 Steps To Empower Comfortable Salespeople

Salespeople don’t mean to get comfortable or be lazy. It just happens. This article gives you 11, powerful steps to take to empower your salespeople, even if it's just you.

When salespeople can’t or won’t perform at the highest possible level, it can get very frustrating for business owners and leaders. If you’re a business owner and in charge of your own sales and marketing investments, you may be frustrated with the salespeople you employ, or you may be frustrated with yourself.

So what's it going to take for you to get your sales into a higher gear?

Sales Is A Contact Sport

When I analyze sales organizations, pipelines, processes and follow up activities, the #1 thing that breaks down is the volume of sales activity. It’s not the sales script, or crappy leads, or a lame territory that typically holds people back. It’s behavior, or lack thereof. Have you ever met a salesperson who didn't like making sales calls? I have and it's not fun.

The fastest way to shift the sales mindset, behavior and habits combines training and coaching salespeople. You need a process to follow that helps you stay focused on the goal - take the actions that produce better sales results.

But how?

Here’s the process I teach in my workshops and coaching programs. It’s all about focusing on consistent, daily behavior and staying laser-focused on your sales goal.

  1. Desire a better result. It’s that simple; want it! Desire is not the root of getting new customers or growing a business. It’s the shifting point.
  2. Decide and commit. Make a commitment to yourself, or your team if you manage salespeople. Decide if this is something that you really want to achieve.
  3. Set up a sales meeting. If it’s just you, block up to an hour of time. Or, invite your key sales people to. Follow the agenda elements below and set the pace for new results.
  4. Restate your company vision. After you welcome everyone, state the purpose of the sales meeting - to talk about the team, sales results and implementing a new plan of ACTION for everyone. This is when you tell your entire team what you see for your business over the months ahead.
  5. Restate the strategy. Make your strategy very clear to everyone. Hopefully you have a plan of action that details your strategy and the action steps you need to take. If not, connect with me and I’ll send you one.
  6. Restate your purpose - the mission. Share a clear purpose (mission) statement. Purpose is bigger and more bod than a typical mission statement. It’s what your brand and marketing story is all about - what you do best. It’s the song your people sing every day with prospects and customers. Purpose is a massive part of your company culture. Purpose powers your why, and nothing can stop you.
  7. Put the right process and systems in place. People who follow clear processes and have the right tools produce results. Systems include Customer Relationship Management or CRM, your marketing content and marketing automation that empowers your people to do what they do best - interact with well-qualified prospects and create revenue.
  8. Attract, engage, nurture and convert your best prospects. Always identify and segment your top prospects for active, appropriate follow up. Give your sales people the marketing materials and content they need to close deals. Dial in your website, free downloads, online courses, testimonials, white papers, videos, email templates, personalized landing pages, brochures, trade show materials, etc.
  9. Manage your pipeline. Spell out five sales stages (keep it simple) it takes for your team to convert a prospect into a happy, paying customer. Most companies don’t have these stages clearly outlined for the team, and there’s no dashboard that keeps everyone focused on the end goal; sales results.
  10. Keep everyone accountable. Every high-performing team includes people who know how to do their part really well. Accountability and commitment is the glue the for every great team; be and hold everyone accountable to their part of the plan.
  11. Measure, learn from the failures, celebrate. Business, sales and marketing is a game of failing forward. Small companies grow into big companies by measuring results, reviewing their plan, learning from mistakes and celebrating the wins.

There it is - my 11 step process to empower comfortable salespeople, even if it’s just you. This is a simple process that works if you work it. And remember, why would you stop working a process that helps you and your salespeople find more customers?

Test Drive for Performance

Take my sales process for a spin. See how it works. If you feel like you’re in over your head with sales and sales management, fear not. I’m here to help you if you have any questions. Check out my YouTube channel and other articles on the blog.

Trust me when I tell you that these steps have helped hundreds of small business owners and top-producing corporate sales superstars to reinvigorate their sales production, especially if they’ve been in the game for a while and find themselves a little too comfortable.

Set the stage for new sales success starting now. Commit to raising the bar, follow the steps and get ready to celebrate the victory if you do the work suggested.

I always appreciate your comments and questions here on the blog.

If you're feeling stuck with sales, connect with me for an ROI Strategy Session.