Sales teams today face an uphill battle.
Leads are overwhelmed with options and are constantly bombarded by competitor marketing, making deals much harder to close.
At the same time, this diversity of options means that it’s harder than ever to find the right leads, specific to your niche and exact offerings.
As HubSpot research shows, over a third of salespeople say that prospecting and lead qualification is their greatest challenge.
Fortunately, solutions are out there. Virtually all salespeople (97%) consider sales technology “very important” or “important.” To that end, we’ve looked at 13 simple ways to increase sales, with a focus on using technology to your advantage.
Question and answer sites can be powerful ways to reach your audience, as users on these platforms—like Quora and Yahoo Answers—are considered “high intent.”
They’re people who are already interested in a particular subject, and are motivated to know more.
While users who enter queries on search engines are immediately met with millions of results, meaning that it’s hard to stand out and get noticed, users on Q&A sites who post a question are met with a blank page, presenting a green-field opportunity for marketers. When you post a question on a site like Quora, you’re awaiting an answer, instead of hitting the first link you see (like on Google).
That said, it’s important to craft thoughtful, educational, and transparent answers, instead of salesy messages. Make it clear that you’re there to provide value, and you’ll gain views and a following over time.
This isn’t an overnight approach to increase sales, but it can be a valuable tool for your arsenal.
People are motivated by appreciation and recognition. When we accomplish something, we like the feeling of getting noticed for it.
Tools like Google Alerts and Hootsuite’s monitoring tool are great ways to get notified when potential leads accomplish something - whether it’s landing a PR placement, closing a raise, or a big new business deal. You can also use Akkio’s Twitter sentiment model to notify your sales teams when leads post status updates with a particularly positive sentiment.
If you can provide a valuable solution to those leads, they’ll be more receptive to it after a big accomplishment, especially one that may mean a bigger budget.
You can reach out to those leads with tools like ZoomInfo to find phone numbers, using LinkedIn InMails, or sending emails by leveraging tools like Hunter to accurately find email addresses.
When potential buyers search for solutions on search engines, they’ll often come across articles that compare various products, as well as case studies, educational guides, and other resources. For example, we released a guide comparing 26 no-code AI solutions, an educational resource on no-code AI, and more, as potential buyers are often seeking educational content before making a purchase decision.
By creating valuable, informative content, you can gain qualified leads in a natural, organic way that grows over time, instead of relying on inconsistent and unreliable paid ads strategies or cold messages.
Every business has competitors, and every business faces customer churn, which means that your competition can be an ongoing source of new customers for your business.
Customers churn for a number of reasons, with common causes including poor customer service, a lack of a comprehensive user guide, or simply a lack of value for the money.
If you’re able to outperform your competitors in these areas, you can pick up their churned customers, or even “steal” customers who are on the edge, by marketing directly to them.
You can check out review sites like G2Crowd, Capterra, or even Facebook Business Pages to find your competitors’ clients. Additionally, many users nowadays share their comments and feedback on social media sites like Twitter.
Using Akkio’s Twitter sentiment analysis model again, you can watch your competitors and reach out to dissatisfied customers. This is an innovative yet easy way to boost sales.
The sales funnel visualizes the process that leads follow before becoming customers.
Sales funnels generally have four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. The goal of all sales funnels is to maximize how many leads move through it, which requires sales funnel optimization.
Most businesses (74%) say that converting leads into customers is their top priority. A highly-optimized sales funnel has a high conversion rate at each step, and makes it easy to identify which stages are causing bottlenecks.
Traditional sales funnel optimization is like stumbling around in the dark. OptinMonster recommends a host of strategies, including blogging, social networking, PPC, public relations, contact forms, autoresponders, referrals, and more. That’s a lot to consider, let alone actually do well.
In short, businesses can’t just try everything imaginable to increase conversions. There needs to be a data-driven strategy that tells you exactly what to change. This is where AI comes in.
Sales teams can use Akkio to make predictions on historical sales data, and deploy a model to focus sales efforts on the leads most likely to convert. Read our full guide on sales funnel optimization to learn more. Also be sure to check out our guide to Machine Learning for Digital marketers.
Tools like Owler and Crunchbase are great tools for finding more information about businesses. If you’re B2B, then these tools are a great way to dig into interesting events and the potential goals of your leads in order to create more calibrated sales messages.
By being aware of details like their fundraising status, their current investors, and the space they’re operating in, you can be known as the salesperson that cares enough to truly learn about your leads.
Referral systems are the bedrock for some of the biggest names in tech today, including PayPal, Dropbox, Airbnb, Uber, Tesla, and more.
Fortunately, referral systems are easier to set up than ever before. For instance, Stripe has a number of referral plug-ins at low prices, such as Rewardful. This is a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to boost sales.
Website visitors today have shorter attention spans than ever before. They want to be able to easily find the answers they’re looking for, without putting in too much effort.
This is where live chat comes in. Prospects can quickly get their questions answered, without having to wait on an email response or make a phone call.
Integrating live chat into your website provides instant answers and builds trust with potential customers, as you’re able to resolve any issues they have in real-time. Indeed, live chat support has higher customer satisfaction rates than other methods, which can boost sales down the road.
When a website visitor is about to leave your site, it’s generally considered a lost cause. After all, if they weren’t interested in what you had to offer, why would they stay?
Exit intent pop-ups are different. They appear when it seems like a user is about to leave your site, and offer some sort of incentive to stay - whether it’s a discount code, an ebook, or something else entirely.
Statistics show that exit intent popups can "save" up to 15% of lost visitors.
Video hosting platforms like Wistia make it easy to add personalized messages and images into video content that you create for leads and customers - further increasing engagement rates.
Personalized videos can help increase sales by increasing clickthrough rates and conversion rates on landing pages and email campaigns.
Webinars are great lead generation tools. They’re live events that potential customers can attend without having to leave their desk, and they’re a great way to build trust and credibility.
Tools like Zoho Meeting make it easy to set up and host a webinar, including features like automatic email reminders and post-webinar follow-ups. You can use webinars as standalone lead gen tools, or integrate them into larger sales funnels for maximum impact.
People are skeptical of buying products sight unseen, which is why free trials are such powerful selling tools. Free trials let people experience your product for themselves, without any risk or commitment.
This is an ideal way to increase sales, as you’re able to increase conversion rates by addressing any hesitations or reservations that your leads may have.
The sales process today is far more complex than it was just a few years ago, given the number of different content formats, touchpoints, and channels involved - making automation more important than ever before.
Fortunately, there are now a number of great sales automation platforms on the market, such as Salesforce and HubSpot. These platforms make it easy to automate repetitive tasks, freeing up your time to focus on selling.
If you’re a new market entrant, it’s harder than ever to close sales deals, as consumers have more options than ever before, and incumbents are strengthening their positions. All the while, traditional tactics like paid ads are getting harder to use, as most of us drown out the marketing noise.
This calls for creative sales solutions, like using Q&A sites, social monitoring, creating sales content, sales funnel optimization, and so on.