We have been a HubSpot agency for a little over a year now. During our first year with HubSpot, we invested a tremendous amount of time learning about the HubSpot growth stack and applying this platform to help our customers grow. We and our customers are absolutely thrilled with the results.
Our primary focus in 2018 is to: 1) continue driving growth results for each and every one of our customers, 2) begin aggressively growing our growth agency, and 3) build the foundation to begin building a sales team.
During our collaborative sales planning session with our HubSpot customer account manager, Oliver Baron, Oliver suggested I attend the HubSpot LION Agency Pipeline Generation Bootcamp in Cambridge, MA.
The HubSpot LION Agency Pipeline Generation Bootcamp was led by two legends at HubSpot: Dan Tyre and Dan Weinhaus.
FUN FACT: Dan Tyre was HubSpot employee #6.
Both of these gentlemen are longtime HubSpotters with decades of experience growing businesses and shared with us a wealth of practical knowledge and cutting-edge sales skills.
Below are the key takeaways I had from the Sales Prospecting LION Bootcamp.
1. Shift in Context:
As we are all well aware, the Internet has transformed the way we buy things. Think about the last time you made a major purchase. What tools did you use to do your research prior to making an informed buying decision? The answer is likely Google’s search engine. During that research process, you encountered useful content (i.e., blogs, eBooks, InfoGraphics, Videos, etc.) that helped educate you in making an informed buying decision. Once your research was complete, you likely made contact with the company that appeared to be a good fit, and ready to make a purchase. At this point in the sales cycle, you were just needing help and guidance from a sales rep to make your purchase. Our job in sales today is to align with this shift and be viewed as a helpful adviser helping our prospects make informed buying decisions.
Action Items: 1) Access and update our personas and buyer’s journeys for each service line we provide (e.g., Inbound Marketing, and eCommerce Inbound Marketing) to help our prospect educate themselves prior to making an informed decision on hiring a growth agency to help them grow their business. 2) Ensure that every encounter with new prospects is about helping and advising them (it’s all about them), versus selling and closing them (which is focus on us and not the prospect).
2. Setting SMART Goals:
Any great achievement starts with setting goals. This may seem obvious; however, a majority of people in life don’t have clear written goals. Research has proven that Goals should be SMART. To ensure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
- Time bound
Action Items: Refine short-term goals/tactics (monthly & quarterly) in sales plan required to achieve annual new customer acquisition and revenue goals.
3. Positioning Statement:
At some point in a conversation, a prospect may ask what your company does. This could happen on a call, at a networking event, at meeting or even in an elevator. In the past, we used to call this your elevator speech. A good way to answer this question is using a Positioning Statement. You can also bring up your positioning statements proactively.
Action Items: Develop a positioning statement for each persona we might encounter during your sales outreach efforts.
For example, for an eCommerce prospect, I might state that “We are a growth agency that works with owners/executives of eCommerce companies ($5m-$100m) growing annually at 15+% needing help with lead generation, customer acquisition and customer retention to continue strengthening their competitive advantage.
4. Prospect Fit Matrix:
Prior to investing in any outreach program it is vital to define the attributes of your ideal customer. This can be done using a prospect fit matrix. Attributes can include but not be limited to: company size, industry segment, website traffics, product and service types, etc.
Action Items: Complete prospect fit matrix for every market segment we will be focusing on.
5. Time Management:
Time management is vital to success. Research has found that prospecting calls are most effective between 8 am and 9 am.
Action Items: Block out time on your calendar in advance dedicated to prospecting. This could be as little as one hour per day.
6. Connect Warm Calls & Building Rapport:
In the past, we would “cold call” on prospects using generic call scripts knowing very little about the prospect. Those days are over. None of us enjoy these types of calls.
Instead, we can “warm call” prospects. What the difference? Context.
Prior to a warm connect call, you’ve identified a prospect that aligns with your prospect fit matrix and you take 10 minutes to do some research online about this prospect. Research could include: information about pros/cons of the website, LinkedIn profile (where the prospect went to school, work history, volunteer work, etc.), social media accounts, blog post, news articles, etc.
Armed with this information, you can quickly build rapport with a prospect and begin building the foundation for a new relationship. An example of a warm connect call (standing up, smiling and high energy) could sound like this:
"Hello Dirk, this is John with digitalJ2."
"How are you doing today?" [Good…]
[Quickly developing rapport] "I noticed that you and your business partner both went to Wake Forest University, received your MBA’s at Babcock Graduate School of Management and worked at Hannesbrands together before starting your business. Very cool and go Demon Deacons!"
"The reason I am calling is I took a look at your Shopify eCommerce site and wanted to share some thoughts with you on how your site could work harder to further catalyze growth. Is this something you are interested in?" [Sure…]
"First of all, great job on design, nice merchandizing and excellent job on the blog. Well done!"
"I noticed you are using MailChimp. In your view, how effective have your customer retention strategies been in growing existing customers sales to extend the lifetime value of your customers base?" [insights from prospect of this questions and a question of what we do]
"We are a growth agency that works with owners of Shopify sites helping them with customer acquisition and customer retention to grow customer lifetime value."
"Would you be interested in scheduling a 1-hour exploratory call to dig a little deeper on this topic to determine if we are a good fit in help you?" [Yes].
"Excellent, do you have your calendar handy, so we can schedule that call? Do you want anyone else to attend?"
"Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, and I look forward to our exploratory call."
Action Items: Conduct approximately 10 minutes of research prior to every connect warm call. During the call it is ideal to be standing, smiling and have high energy.
7. Voicemails & Follow Up Emails:
On many occasions while making outbound connect warm calls, you’re likely not to reach your prospect and speak to them on the first call. Therefore, leaving well planned voices and sending a follow up emails are vital to improving the performance of your outreach campaigns.
For example, a voicemail could include the following:
"Hello Dirk, this is John with digitalJ2.
I trust you are having a great day!
I noticed that you and your business partner both went to Wake Forest University, received your MBA’s at Babcock Graduate School of Management and worked at Hannesbrands together before starting your business. Very cool and go Demon Deacons!
The reason I am calling is I took a look at your Shopify ecommerce site and wanted to share some thoughts with you on how your site could work harder to further catalyze growth.
Again, this is John with digitalJ2 and you can reach me at 813.205.3745.
Thank you and have a great day."
A following up email could include the following:
Subject Line: Growth opportunities for Xtreme Commerce
I trust you are having a great day!
I just left you a voice mail. As I had mentioned in my voicemail, I noticed that you and your business partner both went to Wake Forest University, received your MBA’s at Babcock Graduate School of Management and worked at Hannesbrands together before starting your business. Very cool and go Demon Deacons!
Again, the reason I am reaching out to you is I took a look at your Shopify ecommerce site and wanted to share some thoughts with you on how your site could work harder to further catalyze growth.
We are a growth agency that works with owners like you of ecommerce companies ($5m-$100m) growing annually at 15+% needing help with lead generation, customer acquisition and customer retention to continue strengthening their competitive advantage
I would enjoy the opportunity to connect to determine if we are a good fit in helping you grow.
Thank you and have a great day.
8. Video Voicemails:
To help improve the effectiveness of your outreach campaign, video voicemails can be used to help differentiate and humanize your sales outreach campaigns. Research has shown that a video voice mails are opened at a 42% rate versus a typical follow up email that has an open rate of around 10%.
Wistia has a free Chrome extension called SoapBox that allows you to quickly and easily record videos and embed them into emails.
Below is an example of a video voicemail.
Below is an SoapBox video I recorded for a friend highlighting the features and benefits of video voicemails.
Action Items: Use video voicemails to improve effectiveness of follow up emails.
9. Leverage HubSpot CRM and Sales Hub to Increase Sales Velocity
HubSpot has done an amazing job developing a CRM and Sales Hub to help rep’s increase sales velocity. What is sales velocity? Sales velocity is about saving time and being more effective in your sales efforts. Below are some features I use to help improve sales velocity:
- Branded Meeting Link: Use HubSpot branded meeting link (https://app.hubspot.com/meetings/jt7) to save time in scheduling meetings. Prospects can click on the link, pick a time that is convenient for them and invites are automatically sent to each calendar. See – “How to configure your meetings settings and create meetings links.”
- Email Templates: You can create email templates and personalize them using contact and company tokens. See – “How to create and edit your email template.”
- Email Tracking & Logging: Email tracking and logging is awesome. You can track when and how many times someone opens an email and clicks on links. This provides you real-time information of what level of engagement you are getting from your prospects. In addition, all of this tracking information is stored in the contact, company or deal CRM records automatically. See – “How to set up your email tracking.”
- Email Sequences: With the email sequences tool, you can send a series of timed emails to nurture a prospect over time. This tool gives you the ability to: send one contact a series of templates at specified time intervals, automatically end the sequence when the contact replies to an email, customize any of the templates in the sequence when you enroll individual contacts and add tasks to your sequences and assign those tasks to task queues. See – “How do I create sequences and enroll my contacts?”
- Document Library: Sales documents (e.g., eBooks, Case Studies, Price List, Catalogs, etc.) can be stored in HubSpot for easy access in sales outreach campaigns. See – “How to add and use documents in HubSpot?”
- Call Queues & HubSpot Calls: You can create a call queue in the HubSpot CRM using task queues. This queue allows you to preselect contacts that you would like to call one after another. Calls can also be made within the HubSpot CRM system, recorded and logged in the contact record. See – “How do I create a call queue in the CRM?”
The biggest challenge for most people need to overcome in prospecting is FEAR. This is pretty common. The good news is there is nothing to fear.
From a growth agency prospective, our purpose is to help people and companies grow. This is a good thing.
Some people use vision boards of their goals and aspirations to motivate them every day to overcome their challenges and fears and create the breakthroughs necessary to grow.
11. Practice, Learn & Optimize
At the end of the day, you have got to put all of these best practices to work and “Just Do It.” Start this process with the intention of mastering this very important part of the sales process. Teaching others what you have learned also helps accelerate your own learning toward mastery of this topic.
In summary, I am grateful for the insights I received from Dan, David and other HubSpotters during my 2-day boot camp. A lot of the information I received from this program will serve as the foundation for our sales team training for pipeline generation.
This boot camp can be attended on-site or remotely. I would highly recommend investing the time and money to attend this program on-site. Connecting with other agency peers, learning and supporting each other is HUGE.
I would love to hear your comments on this topic. If you would like to speak to me directly, you can schedule a call with me by clicking here.
Around this period, our friends at Triple20 shared a great post on Six Strategies for Creating Digital Content that Engages Prospects, which further compliment the effectiveness of any outbound sales enablement strategy.