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In the past few months, I have been asked several times how it’s possible that we have grown so rapidly during the last year, and specifically how we found such wonderful people.

A great compliment to our people but also completely true. Last year we hired 24 new people with different levels of experience (0 turnover): junior, medior and senior sales roles. As we pay a lot of attention to the recruitment process, we hire two people per month on average.

Practice what you preach: Outbound sales strategy

The same strategy we use for our clients to make sure they get in touch with their ideal prospects (outbound sales strategy), we also apply it for our recruitment strategy. We create different contact moments through different channels with relevant content. By sharing knowledge, inspiring people, and showing something of ourselves, we try to get in touch with the right individuals.

We pay a lot of attention to building the right strategies for our clients in order to appear on the radar of their potential customers. This same attention should also be given to finding and recruiting new people. Working solely with an external recruiter and creating ads occasionally is not enough. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd and hire skillful employees, be personal, and relevant, and at the same time try to get on their radar.

How we help our clients find the right candidates is not for us to share here, but we can tell you something about our approach.

Outbound recruitment strategy – Saleslift Studio

Initially, we define the ideal candidate profile and then we proceed very systematically to ensure that we get in touch with these people. Usually, we prefer to get in touch with SDRs who have a certain level of experience, around 1 to 2 years. We do not (only) look for candidates who have already mastered their sales skills 100%. Our supportive and inclusive environment combined with our deep knowledge about sales enables them to become better in their daily activities. Furthermore, we look for candidates of different nationalities, as our company’s culture embraces diversity.  Based on these criteria, we create candidate lists in Sales Navigator.

The second step is to define how we can approach them. There are multiple ways to approach candidates such as email, LinkedIn message, etc. However, a creative and engaging way to approach these people could be with relevant content for them; a webinar for example. In this way, you make a connection with potential candidates and at the same time, you add value to the first contact moment smoothly and discreetly.

Webinar approach

An indicative example is the case of a webinar. We organize an event on LinkedIn: “Special edition of how to build a modern sales machine for SDRs only”. We invite the people we are considering to sign up. Sign-ups are pouring in, you can share information on your event page, and then you have a list of people interested in the topic. This is a good sign about their willingness to learn.

After the event, you immediately have a reason to contact them personally. You can also share the recording, thank them for being there, or to share the recording in case they missed it.

Following this process creates automatically conversations about the topic or questions that come out of it. It is an opportunity to tell a bit more about Saleslift Studio, but also to show a little bit of our culture. The goal is to give them a positive impression of our organization. We don’t dive right into job openings; after all, we come to bring value first.

A week later, you can follow up with a personal message via email, Linkedin connection request, or in-mail. After all, something of a relationship has now been established. From this moment, you can easily indicate in an accessible way that they have an interesting profile and ask them if they are open to a further acquaintance since there are open vacancies.

Additionally, all of these contact moments come from me or my colleagues, Terry and Daniëlle, and not from an external recruiter or the HR manager. In this way, communication is more personal and people are more likely to respond positively.

(If you want to know more about building modern sales development machines or are looking for a new challenge, click here)

We create these recruitment campaigns in Salesloft, the tool we also use for our sales campaigns. We also use metrics to accurately map the process, measure if candidates meet the requirements, and have a holistic perspective of each candidate. This is also the way we build our community for the future.

The right fit

Although this strategy has been proven really valuable and effective, it works because there is a match between the content and the profile. We are a sales organization, and we are looking for sales professionals. So, we have the relevant knowledge to share with people in this sector. Thus, if you are looking for people who specialize out of the field of your expertise, your approach should be slightly different. For example, if we are searching for a CFO, we couldn’t apply the above strategy, because we don’t have enough expertise in that.

Below there are some examples where the outbound recruitment strategy applies:

  • The Big 4 looking for accountants
  • Advertising agencies looking for creatives
  • IT managed services providers looking for developers
  • Design agencies looking for designers
  • Sports Clubs looking for trainers
  • Banks looking for finance experts

So, if you happen to work at one of the Big Four or have trouble finding the right candidates, please let me know.

An outbound sales campaign is not always the solution for your empty pipeline issues. That sounds weird from someone whose job it is to sell outbound sales campaigns, don’t you think?

Well, let me phrase it this way; I am a big fan of outbound sales campaigns but there are cases where you should approach your prospects without focusing solely on sales.

Sales campaigns can help you to have a clear product-market fit, achieve organic growth for a while, establish a steady client base, etc. However, there are several situations where you may need to do some sort of outbound campaigns but a direct sales approach is not suitable. Such typical examples are:

  • When you launch a new product in a new market
  • When you enter a new country for the first time
  • When you are a start-up and haven’t built yet brand awareness
  • When you offer very complex or innovative products or services

If your company deals with one of the above examples, you must know that the gap between prospecting and scheduling a business meeting is hard to cross without a step in between. In this crucial step, you should get in touch and start a conversation with your potential customer first. 

Luckily, there are plenty of alternative methods to apply at the initial stage rather than focus on new business meetings directly. For instance, “research” campaigns, “networking” campaigns, and “knowledge sharing” campaigns are some powerful techniques to approach your potential clients and can eventually make the business meetings a natural part of the communication process. 

 

“Research” campaigns

Example: You want to launch a new product/service in the market

When you launch a new product or service in a new market or enter a new country your target is to validate the feasibility first.

The “research” campaign’s purpose is to get in touch with experts in your field and ask them for their input for research purposes. This approach could be beneficial for your company as you get the opportunity to pitch your proposition and presume upon feedback from experts. Their opinion is of great value to your company. You can also offer them a stage to let them shine and share their knowledge. In this way, it’s easier for you to create awareness and build a strong engagement with them. Consequently, if there is a product-market fit, it often turns automatically into the next meeting. 

Don’t forget to stick with the initial goal of the meeting which is mainly informative and don’t try to turn it into a sales meeting. You can follow up later or they will do it by themselves. 

 

“Knowledge sharing” campaigns

Example: You are a scale-up without brand awareness

Sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the crowd in a well-established market. Using Call To Actions (CTA) for an introduction meeting often does not match the expectations of your prospects or even worse can also be annoying. Again the gap between the meeting and the first contact with your company is huge. 

Thus, if you want to overcome this gap, you should change the purpose of the outbound campaigns. Specifically, at this initial stage, an effective tactic is to first expand your network through webinars, masterclasses, (online) client events, etc.

This tactic can be beneficial as the prospects stay anonymous to each other since they are part of a broader audience and simultaneously you can easily monitor which of them show interest in the topics that are presented. Then, you can use these insights in your next contact moment. 

 

“Inspire” campaigns

Example: You provide complex/innovative products or services

There are several innovative and complex products/services in the market. If your company deals with one of them, you may know how difficult it is to penetrate the market even if you have determined the right target audience. You have to educate them first. 

For instance, we work with a company that builds metaverses that can improve the customer experience. The problem here is that the meaning of the metaverse itself is complicated and many people are not aware of it. 

Thus, before starting thinking about sales campaigns, you have to explain what metaverse is, which is its use, and how they can benefit from such technology. An effective way to create awareness for your service is to invite them to an (online) breakfast session, relevant webinar, or share a related video. Keep in mind the customer journey and try to move them to the next stage in your sales process by highlighting your competitive edge or specialty.

 

To conclude, regardless of your industry and expertise, the most important learning is to find the balance between what you offer and your prospect’s needs in a timely manner. It’s a matter of patience to guide them through your funnel. 

Be creative and experiment with your channels, contact moments, and CTA’s all the time. 

 

Business meetings are an integral part of the sales process and are therefore of great business interest. Salespeople usually make a great effort to make business meetings meaningful and productive, provide a constant flow, and eventually close the deal. But what happens next? 

If you want to increase your potential to close a deal with your prospect, it is essential to understand that each step in the sales funnel is important. Having applied the right processes before and during your meeting, your goal is to continue the collaboration by keeping the channels of communication open, also when the meeting is over.

Two of the most powerful tactics that can help you achieve this goal are to stay “In-control” and have a concise Action Plan with the following steps.

Stay “In Control” 

The most successful salespeople take control of the whole sales process and constantly try to be precise and adaptive . But what can you do to apply this tactic? 

The “in control” definition basically boils down to some traits of human psychology; your attitude and your ability to lead and simplify the process. 

Attitude

In fact, If you are willing to stay in control after your meeting, your attitude plays a key role in the way you approach and communicate with your prospects. Naturally, this falls under three categories, passive, assertive, and aggressive. Below are some key phrases that represent each of the categories. Nevertheless, in most cases being assertive is the most beneficial for both you and your prospect.

Lead & Simplify 

Another key tactic that will help you to stay “in control” after your business meeting is to take the lead in the process. This is the moment, you should be confident to guide your prospects through the next steps. At the same time, don’t forget to simplify the process. In other words, make each step accessible, easy and short. 

Useful Tips 

  • Add value in the process (Make sure that you add value in every step of the process).
  • No commitment, no party (equality in the relationship between you and your prospect)
  • Make them participate (although you are the one who leads, make them also contribute)
  • “This is how it always works”

 

Action Plan: “Control after your new business meeting”

The second key step after your business meeting is to follow an action plan. This method is similar to the playbook and each step will help you come closer to your ultimate goal which is to close the deal. Initially, you must create a storyline, use a variety of media, and adapt the steps below to your needs. 

 

Why do you need an action plan?

-Collect more actionable information 

-Possible higher conversion rate

-Prospects are moving faster through or out the funnel 

-Pipeline is more predictable/accurate

-Greater influence in the decision-making process

 

To learn more, you can watch the full webinar with Terry van den Bemt and Davy Guijt here.

Good luck!

Do you want to grow your sales? A powerful way to stand out from the crowd is to build a modern sales development machine that helps you to create a predictable way of scaling your sales. Regardless of your industry, modern sales development has been genuinely altering and redefining sales growth. But you can’t be efficient without a specific skillset. This skillset is based on three fundamental pillars: the right people, the right strategy, and the right technology. Combine the three, and you get results. 

Outbound prospecting – How can you grow your sales?

Even though organic growth is critical for getting your business to the next level, usually companies at some point confront a fluctuation in their sales pipelines because their organic growth reaches a saturation point. This is why you should be aware that, in order to continue enhancing your sales, you need proactive growth. This requires the establishment of an organization and a system that provide you with a constant flow of business meetings with the people of your choosing. In this way, you will be able to control and predict your growth and revenue.  [Read more…] about How to build a modern outbound sales machine

When you start building a modern sales development machine, you have a goal in mind. Often, this goal is predictable growth in your pipeline. In other words, you want to build a machine that can generate a predictable number of new opportunities every month. 

An important element here is monthly predictable growth. So not a boost once a year, but always, every month. The strategy and structure required for this is often not well thought out and is substantially different than filling your pipeline for a short period.

Another reason you want to spread your outreach, besides predictability throughout the year, is the learnings you get from the campaigns. You want to be able to incorporate these findings so that the campaign is continuously optimized. Think about the content you use, like different CTAs, tone of voice, and the different channels.

Before you start with your outbound campaigns, you need to map out several things, including your ICP (ideal customer profile) and the size of the addressable market. We use our Playbook for this. 

If your target group consists of 1500 profiles that match the ICP and you can add about 100 per week in a qualitative way to an outbound prospecting campaign, then after 15 weeks, you’re through your lead list. And then what?

In this example, I am still spreading it out over 15 weeks, but I have also seen campaigns where 1500 relevant leads are burned in 1 month with poor outreach. You cannot approach these people again the following month. We usually use a break of at least 6 months with the same kind of outreach from the same person. 

Here are 5 tips for staying in touch with those 1500 ideal prospects. 

Tip 1. Vertical specific content

Besides Account based or Persona based campaigns you can also do outreach by industry when you develop content for it. This is more focused on brand awareness where you generate an extra reason to contact your prospects with very targeted content. What works to your advantage is when you generate recurring vertical content. That way, you always have a logical reason to come back on the radar at set times. Think about industrie specific market trends, top 100 lists, top 5 quarterly trending topics etc. 

Tip 2. Approach from a different person

In advance, you devise two campaigns for the same target group, but from a different person’s perspective. In the first six months, you do a campaign that comes from yourself. You will get results from this, come into contact with people, but you will also reach many people with whom you have not come into contact. These people can be followed up after 6 months by someone else (for example Jamie, sales director at Saleslift) with a different approach. 6 months later vice versa.

Tip 3. New results in your Sales Navigator search

When you use Sales navigator in Linkedin and you make searches of your target group, you can save them. When you look at the search again after three months, you will see how many new people match the criteria you set earlier.  The list refreshes itself automatically when you save it. Please note that there are also people who only received a promotion. 

Tip 4. Always on campaign

Think of an always on campaign. Everyone you have approached intending to schedule an appointment can be kept in the loop by adding them to a campaign with far fewer contact moments, but with brand awareness content throughout the year. So it’s not about making an appointment, but about sharing knowledge, inspiration, etc. You are still on their radar for when it becomes relevant.

Tip 5. Different market

Perhaps out of the box and perhaps not within everyone’s reach, you can conquer another market. Think of another country, a new vertical, or an extra buyer persona. 

The tips I wrote above are all seen from a new business perspective. For more variety, you can also combine following up on less cold accounts or prospects such as old customers, lost deals, contacts that switched employers or you can follow up on old inbound leads.

These are a few pointers we’d like to give you to keep your outreach alive and continuously generate that flow of business meetings. Think this through in advance and not a week before your lead list is completed. 

If you’re still looking for leads and contact details, check out leadstudio.salesliftstudio.nl

 

Good Luck. 

davy@salesliftstudio.com

 

How can the perfect combination between sales activation & brand building increase your sales development success?

Last week I shared a video of Les Binet presenting the ideal combination between sales activation and brand building.

The core of our business is sales activation and short term results, we build modern sales development campaigns which produce a predictable number of new business meetings with your ICP. However we also initialise and build long term relationships with potential customers.

Parallel with personalised outreach which includes a clear CTA we run “Always On” campaigns focussed on brand building. Through this we try to stay at the forefront of each individual’s mind who matches the ICP criteria of our clients in the most relevant way. Throughout the year, without a CTA.

We call this Lead Cycling. The ability to get full benefit out of the valuable contacts you’ve invested in capturing. Minimising effort waste in searching, identifying and enriching your leads. In essence, don’t let them out of your sight.

The Always On campaign is focussed and dedicated to brand building. We try to achieve long term memories with inspiring content focussed on the emotion that can influence sales in the long term. Not only for the audience that is willing to buy now but the audience that is coming to the market in maybe 1, 2 or 3 years.

You can even broaden your audience with your brand building campaigns. When you stay at the forefront of prospects’ minds through brand building you build recognition for when it becomes relevant. When there is a need for your product or services it’s highly likely that you will be placed on top of the short list. You are able to use the power of your sales force and technology to work on your brand.

The consequence of implementing Always On within your sales development strategy with focus on the long term is that your sales activation campaigns will produce to a much higher level whilst delivering more consistency over time. The trick is to formulate the ideal way to orchestrate these activities over a prolonged period.

But that’s where Saleslift Studio steps in. And to quote (Guillaume Moubeche): B2B doesn’t have to stand for boring to boring.

 

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