The Marketer’s Guide to Collaborating with Salespeople

(In Part 1 of this series, we addressed the marketer’s needs vs. the designer’s needs. Part 2 explored the marketer’s needs as compared to the developer’s.)

Marketing and sales are two related, yet completely different, functions.

Marketers focus on theoretical strategies about buying behavior. Salespeople close the deal and bring in revenue.

Marketers experiment with various advertising techniques. Salespeople work directly with prospects to convert them into customers.

It’s important to understand your salesperson’s needs and how they compare with a marketer’s needs. And it’s even more crucial to understand how they can work together to help your business succeed.

What Marketers Need From Salespeople

Marketers are strategy oriented. Their job entails creating the advertising plan and discovering the most viable ways to implement it. They are responsible for exciting the target market and priming prospects for buying.

Marketers want:

  • Specific input and feedback from the sales field.
  • Materials salespeople can use to positively impact prospect conversion rates.
  • Technically sound marketing materials that salespeople can’t ruin. (You’ve probably heard horror stories about poorly modified PowerPoint presentations. A bad presentation negatively impacts your brand.)
  • Time to experiment and manipulate ad elements,and test their effectiveness.
  • Salespeople who recognize the difference between features and benefits.

The biggest challenge for marketers is to make their theoretical approaches timely, understandable and practical for salespeople  

What Salespeople Need from Marketers

Salespeople have face to face contact with your customers, and they have their own perspectives about what makes a prospect buy.

After your ad campaign has gone forth, your salesforce must represent that your marketing claims are true.  Then they must convince prospects to part with their cash.

There are sales quotas to meet and time is of the essence, so salespeople want:

  • Marketing collateral that comes ready-made. Salespersons like to hit the ground running. Just give them some sales sheets and business cards so they can get going. They’re in the moment and need great visuals to close those sales.
  • Specific information about the product. Your salespeople should learn all the details about your product. That knowledge offers solutions when prospects have questions. Product knowledge builds trust. People buy from you if they trust you.
  • The ability to create or modify sales products. Salespeople encounter many questions in the field. For example, a prospect may want to know how to use your product in a new way. Materials that can be adapted on the spot will show your versatility.
  • Current advertising media. Sales can be negatively impacted by ad materials that still carry your old logo. Your salesforce shouldn’t promote new products with old marketing materials. Your media should also keep pace with new software releases.
  • An understanding of features vs. benefits. Features are specifics like embedded social media or ecommerce solutions. Benefits are valuable results such as building social connections or reaching consumers globally. Your best salespeople recognize what’s most important to each prospect, features or benefits, and use that knowledge to close the sale.

Achieving Sales and Marketing Consensus

Marketers don’t want salespeople messing up their ad media, but they should be open to the feedback salespeople bring from direct experience with prospects.

Populr combines quality design, sound marketing and sales strategy, and solid development. It creates a winning solution from all points of view:

  • Marketing. Populr creates a multi-media platform in professionally rendered one-page formats. These pages can be branded and customized for any product, service, or marketing strategy.
  • Development. Our developers have worked hard to create a great user interface. The responsive layouts are simple to modify and adapt easily to your content.
  • Sales. Populr’s pages are technology’s exciting, mobile, and interactive answer to the printed sales sheet.

Selling your product or service will only see success when all of these perspectives can find harmony.

Luckily, Populr has something for everyone.

Each of your team members will have their needs met, while also creating seamless collaboration with their peers. That kind of teamwork will positively impact your business growth and make things much easier along the way.

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3 Ways To Personalize Your Sales Process

Most conversations about online sales and marketing revolve around the seller. How do we best present ourselves, our product, and our pitch?

Yet, the best salespeople aren’t thinking about themselves at all.

The best online salespeople are thinking about how to make a potential customer feel more like a person.

According to Monetate.com, “40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience.” This means that 40% of your potential customers spend their money with those who treat them like a person instead of just another faceless customer.

With that in mind, here are 3 painless ways to personalize your sales process for your customers that any company can execute. As you’ll quickly see, the key is to find small ways to improve every stage of your prospect’s experience, from the first point of contact to the last.

1. Take Your Sales Tracking To the Next Level

By tracking your prospect’s activity with Populr, you can easily see if they’ve opened the materials you emailed them and how long they’ve spent reading it. You’ll know if they read your emails and pages and if they downloaded any attached files. A tool like this makes your followup far more intelligent because you can tailor your responses based on where they are in your sales process.

Populr Overview

For example, you can easily track whether or not your prospect opened, viewed and download your proposal after a few days. If they haven’t opened it, you can send  them a quick reminder to review your proposal. If they did check it out, you can see exactly what they looked at on Populr Analytics and for how long. That way you know what they’re interested in and how to tailor your follow up email or call.

You’ll notice in the example of Populr’s analytics below, you can scroll over each email on the left and see the individual analytics for each person that visited the page. You can also see where they clicked how and much time they spent.

Populr Email analytics

2. Don’t Rely on the Contract to do the Selling

Prospects want to have a tangible picture in their mind of what they can expect from you.  Instead of including a list of deliverables in a proposal or contract, give them a peek of what’s on the other side.  Show them the deliverables they can expect as soon as they sign the contract. You can give them a standardized template that walks them through the first month of working together.

This positions you as a partner instead of a vendor, and it’ll also show your prospects that you are always a step ahead.

Here’s a simple, web-based onboarding template from Populr that you can easily personalize and share with new prospects.

Populr onboarding

3. Surprise and Delight

One way to improve your customers’ experience and create advocates  is something you can start doing right now.  And it doesn’t cost a penny.  Find small ways to go those extra couple feet, not even the extra mile. Even a small, meaningful interaction with the client can make all the difference. Or as Napolean Hill says it, “people buy personalities and ideas much more quickly than they buy merchandise.”

Here are a few examples:

Add a little personality to your emails. Check out this email below from Nuts.com. Notice all of the places they squeezed in their personality in what would have been a boring product delivery confirmation email.

Populr personality email

Give small and unexpected gifts to clients. You don’t have to be Zappos to empower your salespeople to make someone’s day. Something small like a $5 gift card to Starbucks (below) or an unexpected discount can turn a one-time buyer into a life-long customer and advocate.

Populr thank you page

Your documents and processes shouldn’t remove you from your prospects, they should free up time so you can focus on serving your prospects. If you’re looking to create deeper connections with your prospects, start with these three simple steps in your sales process. Then watch how they can spread throughout the entire lifecycle of the client.

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11 Free Templates To Make Your Work Faster and Easier

What are we really talking about when we talk about templates?

Processes? Leverage?

When we talk about templates, we’re really talking about ways we can make our business more efficient so we can scale and grow. We’re talking about spending less time on the repetitive tasks to enable us to focus on what matters.

Creating the right templates in your business will help your team to be more efficient and reduce the number of mistakes made throughout your entire organization.

Here’s three quick reasons templates accomplish that:

Keep priorities.

When working with a template, you can spend your creative energy and critical thinking on what needs to be done next, rather than the arbitrary craft of design and layout.

Scale quickly.

Once a template is created or copied, you and your team can repurpose it quickly to reach various audiences.

Increase professionalism.

Just as letterhead brands a company via snail mail, so does a shared template via the web. Sharing a template with your team will keep your brand consistency throughout the organization. Nothing will shred your credibility faster than inconsistent branding.

That’s why at Populr, our quest to put the power of the web in non-technical business people’s hands is so important.

Here are 11 templates that will help streamline your work. Look through each of the web-based templates below to see which one’s you need. Then, just click the image to start editing one of our free Populr templates and create your own!

1. Proposals

Proposals tend to get complicated quickly. They need to be updated constantly and you can have multiple variations for each of your services. That’s why it’s so important to have one central place for the different types of proposals your company uses to allow your salespeople to create variations of those templates while keeping brand consistency.

 

Populr proposal

 

2. Internal Updates

Internal updates are critical for keeping your team in the know. If you already use a project management tool, internal updates are helpful for creating a quick big picture view while your project management software deals with the weeds.

Populr internal updates

3. Profile pages

A profile page template  is a great way to position yourself if you work in multiple industries. You can create several variations of one template for each industry you work in, giving client specific examples and information in their niche. This is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Populr profile page

4. Case Studies

Case study templates are simple outlines that anyone creating a case study knows what information they need to gather from a project. Don’t forget how your prospects read case studies. They never just read one, they are usually read several case studies at a time. Ensuring you have consistent information across each case study can be the difference between getting the contract and looking like an amateur.

Populr case studies

5. Press Kits

The Press Kit Template is especially important for brand consistency. This is a template that can be used over and over again for specific PR campaigns as well as generic press kits that only get updated occasionally. Be prepared to create these on the fly for PR opportunities that come up unexpectedly.

Populr press kit

6. Email Newsletters 

Newsletters are something we are all familiar with and hopefully have a template for. What we love about Populr is that you can send a POP as a newsletter which makes it extremely simple to update segment of your email list and at the same time, update your social networks with the content.

Populr newsletter

 

7. Thank you pages

It’s sad but a genuine thank you is a rarity in a lot of businesses these days. It doesn’t take much to  to express a small amount of gratitude with a customizable page and even something like a Starbucks gift card attached to it. How would you react if someone emailed you this? Use a Thank You Page Template as a follow up to prospect meetings and recognizing your best clients.

Populr thankyou

8. Job Descriptions

This is another template that can quickly get complicated if you don’t have a system to organize your different job descriptions. Your job descriptions can be the first impression to new hires you’re trying to recruit.  They should be organized in a place that makes it easy to customize, update and send them.

Populr job description

9. Events

If your customers don’t know about the events you are putting on, you probably have a bottleneck in your event promotion process. One commonality we’ve seen is that most of the event pages can only be created by graphic designers. That’s why we recommend taking that off their plate using something simple like Populr to create event pages so anyone in your company can do it.

 

Populr marketing event

10. Promotions

Promotional templates can vary across department and activity but one thing is critical. They need to be easily accessible anytime and anywhere for your company and your prospects. Creating templates for your promotions can give clarity to your marketing messages and reduce on necessary back-and-forth approval time.

Populr promotions

11. Onboarding & Next steps

What happens after your client signs a contract?  You may know but they probably don’t. Having a easy step-by-step template you can send them so they know what to expect can turn a new client into a lifelong customer in advocate for your business.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.47.52 PM

 

Don’t reinvent the wheel the next time you create a proposal. Spend your time and your colleagues time communicating more effectively and quickly with this set of free templates.

 

 

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How Many Paying Users Do You Have?

Here’s a simple question: How many paying customers do you have? As a startup with a freemium business model, understanding this most basic of questions is vital to understanding the health of our business (or rather, since we’re a startup, the health of our business potential). But it’s a question that we struggled to answer for a long time.

It’s not that the question itself is hard. But until we joined Batch 007 of 500 Startups, defining the problem took a back seat to building the product. Does a user count as paying upon entering a credit card, or only after being charged? What about a user who signs up as part of a team account? We’re being paid for that user, but that user didn’t make the decision that Populr was worth paying for. The boss just said sign-up. Does that designate a conversion or not?

As part of 500 Startups, we started being asked growth and acquisition questions much more frequently. We were asked by our advisors, mentors, and potential investors. We needed to chart growth, a task requiring measurable data week over week. But we were simultaneously wrestling with existential questions of identity and building out the product (it wasn’t until late-December that we finally supported IE & Firefox in the editor). And every time we needed to provide an answer, we were daunted by the same questions.

After far too much time attempting to extract answers from our disparate sources of data, we bit the bullet and made a decision. Here it is:

  • A user is converted when we first receive payment from that user.
  • A user churns when a converted user chooses to downgrade, deletes his account, or has a repeated card failure that causes an automatic account downgrade.

Now that we’ve made the decision, it seems obvious. It completely sidesteps all the concerns about free trials and coupons and team users that muddied the water before. And most importantly, it ties directly back to the number that most closely represents our prospects as a company: revenue.

On a related note, if you are struggling with answering questions about churn, LTV, and ARPU, and you use Stripe, then check out Baremetrics. They provide a fantastic dashboard with insight into all manner of financial related questions. If you use Mixpanel, check out our page on Tips for a Successful Mixpanel Integration.

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8 Tips For One on One iPad Presentations

When you think of how to deliver a great presentation, you usually think of delivering it through a projector. But what about one-on-one sales meetings? Obviously projectors are out of the picture for anything less than a room of people.

Most salespeople stick with what they’ve always done: paper slides, sketches or just talking the prospect through a presentation without any visual aids.

But presentations have evolved. And the iPad has made personal presentations possible. When used intelligently, this mobile device is a game changer for any presentation or audience.

 

image

Here are 8 ways to take advantage of the iPad’s strengths when delivering your next presentation.

1. Show. Tell. Touch.
Touching something has the power to decrease anxiety and increase positive thought patterns. It is also a long forgotten tool in our modern era when attempting to connect someone to an idea.

No longer does our idea have to live on a screen 5-12 feet away from our audience. The iPad enables us to not just show and tell, but to show, tell, and let them touch. Play to the iPad’s strengths by passing it around a board room or, in a personal pitch, letting a prospect hold it while you flip and point.

*Quick tip before starting any presentation on your iPad: Always make sure to disable notifications. You don’t want unexpected pop-ups and alarms going off in the middle of your presentation! (more…)

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Top 5 Tools for Intelligent Pitching.

Once we’ve employed our TOP 5 TOOLS FOR INTELLIGENT SALES PROSPECTING to get the lead, we don’t have to resort to our antiquated pitch decks and presentations.

If you’re in sales and don’t currently use these five tools, you may want to reconsider.

1. JOIN.ME

The easiest way to share period. Its also less expensive than GoToMeeting & easier to deal with. If you need to ‘schedule’ a repeating webinar, try mixing it with Eventbrite.com. (more…)

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Top 5 Tools for Closing a Sale.

There’s only one way to get money in the bank. Once we’ve employed our TOP 5 TOOLS FOR INTELLIGENT PITCHING, it’s time to close.

If you’re in sales and don’t currently use these five tools, you may want to reconsider.

1. TINDERBOX

Though it takes some upfront effort, TinderBox makes any average salesman a proposal master. Templates, sections, and tracking wizardry. The cadillac of proposal delivery. (more…)

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The Top 5 Tools for Intelligent Sales Prospecting.

Prospecting is hard. No one’s going to argue with that.

However…

it doesn’t have to be THAT hard.

If you’re in sales and don’t currently use these five tools, you may want to reconsider.

1. RAPPORTIVE.

Use Rapportive to connect with everyone you email on LinkedIn. It’s the quickest way to not only build your Linkedin network, but to begin a social relationship with potential clients. (more…)

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