How to manage a remote sales team successfully?

COVID-19 showed the value of working from home. But long before the pandemic, the organizations have realized the importance and benefits of remote work.

Global Workplace Analytics & FlexJobs did a thorough analysis of remote work. And they found that during that one year, remote work has increased by 7.9% in the US market. The remote work growth during the five-year and ten-year graphs was more staggering - 44% and 91%, respectively. And during the last 12 years, remote work has grown around 159%.

However, before COVID-19, remote work has been a flexible arrangement for an organization to boost the morale of its employees. Still, now the companies are forced to adopt a 360-degree approach toward how they manage their teams.

Here are a couple of statistics -

  • As per Gartner’s ‘Coronavirus in Mind: Make Remote Work Successful!’ issue, dated 5th March 2020, 88% of organizations adopted the work-from-home approach, and 91% of Asia-Pacific teams chose to work from home at the outset of the pandemic.
  • According to Owl Labs, 31% of individuals mentioned that COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst that allowed them to work from home.

Statista showed that before COVID-19, 17% of the US workforce used to work from home 5-days a week. After COVID-19, the percentage has increased to 44%. 

Before & After Covid

And if you’re an organization thriving on organizational culture and teamwork, how would you manage to handle a large remote team? For support functions, you can take various measures like video-conferencing, daily status calls, etc. But can you truly handle a remote sales team? Would it be beneficial? Let’s find out.

Benefits of a remote sales team (amid challenges)

Amid this turbulent time, organizations have realized the benefits of a remote sales team. Let’s have a quick look at the merits -

  • A remote team generates more revenue: According to Global Workplace Analytics, if half of the workforce in the US work from home during half of the time of their days, a whopping five million working hours would be added to the economy. It also means that the revenue of the US economy would increase by around 270 billion US dollars. Now think, creating and managing a remote sales team is a boon or bane?
  • Remote work improves efficiency: A stunning study done by the UK’s largest money-saving brand suggests that the average UK worker works around 2 hours and 53 minutes productively out of their whole workday. Since remote work lets an employee choose where to work (and as a result, has a direct impact on her work environment), she becomes more efficient. Even if she manages to work 4-5 hours a day, that’d be more than a typical workday’s productivity.
  •  Companies with 100% remote arrangement can acquire and retain A-players: When you don’t need to source prospective employees from a particular place, you’re in an advantageous position. The whole world is your workplace. And the chances of finding A-players would drastically increase. And retaining also becomes easy for remote working options. As per the research conducted by Owl Labs, 82% of loyal employees stick to their employers for remote working alternatives. 

The best part is from the study done by Own Labs, it was found that 13% of remote workers work in Sales which is higher in terms of any support functions like administration, human resources, operations.

Remote Work Each Department

How to manage a sales team remotely?

Remote sales teams can be your assets if you know how to manage them. These top-notch strategies will help you get started -

Determine the benchmark for the team

Having clarity in how each team member would contribute will put each task into perspective. A research study done by a Gallup Poll of German employees found that when the team has set clear expectations, 38% of workers aim to improve their work performance & feel more engaged. Here are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) you can set for your remote sales team -

  • Percentage of upsell/cross-sell
  • New leads per month
  • Customer engagement rate
  • Minimum deal size
  • Client acquisition cost per new client

To implement this, stick to one particular metric per person. And make sure that when they present their weekly sales call reports, that particular metric gets addressed. And whoa, you get the benchmark for the next week for that individual in the team.

Having a particular benchmark for each team member improves performance, and your remote sales team becomes effective.

Forge great relationships

According to a Harvard Study, great relationships and higher trust among team members ensure the following -

  • 50% more productivity
  • 76% more engagement
  • 106% more energy at work (from home)
  • 74% less stress
  • 40% less burnout

You can see how a team can do wonders if each team member forges excellent relationships with each other. Building excellent relationships would help the team members support each other emotionally & also ensure effectiveness. 

But that can only happen when you (as a leader) encourage your remote sales team to communicate directly and respect both the strengths & weaknesses of their fellow team members.

Since you’d not be spending a lot of time in the same place, the remote team would need more time to build trust, but here are a few strategies that may help -

  • Over-communicate (whenever it’s required)
  • Encourage each other to focus on the strengths (and try to curb the weaknesses)
  • Collaborate and find a sweet spot where you could achieve the desired outcome
  • Use resources like GetRafiki to analyze conversations, replicate the best behavior from top-selling reps, and improve the team selling approach.

When you build relationships remotely, it takes a ton of time, effort upfront, but the team yields the benefits for a long time.

Invest in the resources for your team to do great work

When you allow your remote sales team to access the right resources (and tools), you give them the autonomy to use their creativity to offer the best solutions to the organization’s biggest challenges.

Though you need to protect your data and resources and let your remote team access secured and private networks, you shouldn’t micro-manage at all.

Here are a few resources we recommend - 

  • Private cloud storage to store and sort through the data your remote sales team needs to solve a challenge or to find an alternative solution. It could be Google Drive or DropBox or any other cloud storage services
  • GetRafiki, a conversation intelligence system that analyzes your sales teams’ calls and helps them fix the leaks
  • A direct communication tool - it could be Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Zoom, or your own private video conferencing tool
  • A time tracking tool like Hubstaff would allow you to track the working schedule of your remote sales team 
  • A collaboration tool would also be useful - it could be Asana or Slack

Create systems and implement sound processes

For a remote sales team, it’s essential to build a structure so that the team has direction and clarity. Cisco saved around $277 million by letting their employees do telework and telecommuting.

But if there’s no system, no process, ultimately, you won’t be able to direct your remote sales team toward the right actions. 

So, what sort of system and structure you should build. Here are a few ideas -

  • You can use a tool like ClickUp to manage all tasks at the same place and ask your team to do the same so that you all are on the same page.
  • You could also create processes in regards to cold-calling, cold-pitching, how the entire process of capturing the leads to turning the prospects into paying customers would work, etc.
  • An accountability routine would be useful too. For example, you can ask your team to send you a report daily or weekly. And you could cross-check the details to see whether the tasks got done.

Focus on the specifics of the team selling approach

When you build a remote sales team, your selling approach would be way different from your default settings for selling. According to a study done by Gong.io, team selling rather than selling solo, the chances of closing a deal increases by 258%.

Thus, you need to approach things quite differently. Here are a few things to consider -

  • Since most of the selling would happen via phone or emails, it’s crucial to analyze how your remote sales team is talking to the prospects (and customers). That’s why a cost-effective, conversation-intelligent tool like Rafiki should be the most critical tool in your resource tool-box.
  • Autonomy is the key to more sales. When you’re leading a remote sales team, it’s all about giving them the liberty to decide the way they work when they produce the outcome. Micromanaging your remote team would only deteriorate the team morale.
  • A lot of conversation would happen via email. You may organize training on email etiquette & telephonic discussions so that they know how to respond when things go awry. You may collect data directly from Rafiki’s smart conversation intelligence.

Put your emphasis on team happiness & engagement (and less stress)!

When you help your team collaborate on different aspects of a project, not only the remote team achieves the desired outcome, each individual feels a sense of happiness. As per the American Psychological Association, organizations lose $500 billion due to workplace stress. 

When your remote team feels happy and connected and collaborates with other remote teams, team engagement increases. 

As per the study done by Owl Labs in the year 2019, it was found that remote workers are happier at work.

Remote Working Stats

Collaboration also helps. If your remote sales team and remote marketing team collaborate, you would be able to generate more leads and would be able to increase the revenue of the organization 

Take the sales call reports seriously (and create sound feedback loops)

The cost-effective tool GetRafiki allows your sales team to improve their performance. Here’s how -

  • Rafiki would analyze each sales call and suggest improvement points.
  • Based on the improvement points, your remote sales reps can work on not-so-perfect parts of the call and double down on their strengths.
  • Rafiki would help you close deals and will improve the performance metrics of your remote sales reps (and as a result, you’ll save a lot on training costs)

It’s essential to take the sales call reports generated by Rafiki. You’d be able to save time, effort, money, and energy to improve the skill level of each remote sales representative. As per the Topo research, it takes 18 calls to connect with a buyer.

To err is human. But that doesn’t mean your remote sales team needs to stop there. With Rafiki’s sound feedback loops, they’d be able to improve their calls 2X, 3X, even 10X.

Ensure productivity & help them strike a healthy work-life integration

The best way to make your remote sales team productive is by following a bunch of practices -

  • Find out a chunk of time when each individual of your remote sales team is most creative. And see whether it’s realistically feasible to allow them to work during that period. All you need is a 4-hour window where they’d be at their best. This approach will do two things -
  • Firstly, your remote sales team will feel excited to work during that specified time. And you wouldn’t need to create any external carrot & stick model to keep them motivated & productive. Plus, as per the Global Analytics Report, on average, you’d be able to save $11,000 per employee by letting them work from home (WFH).
  • Secondly, the performance of each team member would drastically improve.
  • There’s no work-life balance, only work-life integration. Accountability is a vital factor when your remote team is working from home (WFH). And it’s equally important to let them handle the home front whenever it’s required. If you allow them to integrate their work & life, ‘how to manage a sales team remotely’ wouldn’t remain a question anymore.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, we’re clear that the value of a remote sales team can’t be overemphasized. Here are three critical factors you should remember while managing a team working from home -

  • Since your remote sales team don’t bump into each other, your team selling approach should allow the team members to keep a virtual chat messenger open so that they can talk with each other whenever it’s necessary.
  • Always run a competitive sport among your remote sales team members. Even if it’s crucial to collaborate, a healthy competition always pushes remote sales members to outperform their past performances.
  • Pay attention to analyze, improve, and enhance your sales edge. GetRafiki or Gong.io  could help.           

Best 10 Sales Pitch Templates 2021

A strong sales pitch can mean the difference between closing a difficult prospect and having them slip through your fingers. It’s always a good idea to have your sales pitches perfected before meeting with your potential customers. Your sales pitch is not just a simple talk track, it is a condensed presentation of your thoughts to convince these prospects to buy your product. Good sales pitches can convince even the most hesitant ones.

How Do You Make a Sales Pitch?

To make a sales pitch, you have to understand the value your product brings to the customer. A customer isn’t going to buy your product unless you’ve convinced them that your product is going to solve their problems. And that’s exactly where you need to start your pitch creation process. 

Always remember this - customers are purchasing your solutions, not your products. They do not want to hear how many advanced features your product has. All they want to hear is what your product can do for them to ease their pain points. If you’re selling a bed, they want to know how it can improve their sleep. If you’re selling an application, they want to know how it can improve their business operations. 

More importantly, every sales pitch has to be unique and personalized for a prospect. They are pretty useless if they’re generalized. Look into their verticals, see what problems they are facing, and how your product or service can help solve those problems. Use the information you’ve gathered to customize the pitch to their particular vertical or needs. 

Your prospects are always going to be on the fence. It’s the job of your sales pitch to get them to your side of the fence. Make the customer understand what they will lose if they don’t buy your product. Also, make the risks known. 

10 Great Sales Pitch Examples

Here are some great examples of a sales pitch that you can templatize and use for your own prospects. The templates can be used for both emails as well as telephonic conversations - 

#1. Solve a Problem

This template can be adapted to any online medium. Use the problems your prospect has to your advantage. Do the prior research needed to understand what your customer is looking for. Then build the pitch in such a way that you first talk about the problem and then solve it for them with your product. 

Here is a handy template -

Salesperson: Hey Marshall!

Prospect: Hey, how you doing?

Salesperson: 

Doing great! Thank you!

I understand that you are having trouble understanding what’s going on with most of your sales accounts.

Prospect: Yea, that’s true

Salesperson:  In that case, you should try using Rafiki.

Our Deal Desk feature gives you a clear picture of what is going on in your accounts. 

You get to know how your reps are handling the objections, are they engaging with stakeholders at the senior levels, and are they having the right discussions.

#2. Bring Up Old Conversations

One of the best sales pitch examples comes from knowing your prospect beforehand. People are more likely to trust people they’ve spoken to before. Whether this is through email or phone, by bringing up an old conversation, your prospect will be more than willing to listen to what you have to say. 

Here is an interesting pitch idea - 

Salesperson: Hey Rachel

Prospect: Hello, Who’s this?

Salesperson: Remember me? We had met last week at the Gartner Tech Event?

Prospect: Oh yea, I remember chatting with you after the event.

Salesperson: 

Yes. We had a really animated conversation about how things are going on at your workplace.

In fact, I vividly remember you mentioning your team having difficulty organizing meetings and recording them.

Did you know I faced a very similar challenge in my previous organization?

Prospect:  Oh is it? It’s pretty frustrating.

Salesperson: Absolutely, no one better than me can understand the pain.

But now at Rafiki, I help teams breeze through their calls by automatically scheduling calls, recording those calls, and transcribing them to capture interesting insights.   

I think I can help produce very similar results for your organization as well.

#3. Start with a Question

Although we said you’re here to deliver a solution, sometimes the best sales pitch starts with a question. A good question makes your prospect think about their problems and how your solution can alleviate that problem. Here are some interesting questions you can start with - 

  • Have you ever noticed that your sales reps sometimes struggle while talking about pricing?
  • Do you think it will be great if you could capture all the calls and discussions and store them in a system to get a complete picture? 
  • How would you feel if we could point out your deal risks and upside opportunities for every call?

#4. Benefits, Not Features

Customers don’t want to know what features your solution has. They want to know what benefits it can give to them. Benefits can be experienced, features only serve to fill out a spec sheet. 

Here is a simple example - 

Salesperson: Hey Adam

Prospect: Hello 

Salesperson: I am calling from Rafiki and we help sales teams extract valuable insights from their calls and help them improve conversions.

Prospect: Ok...

Salesperson: I know that your team regularly uses Zoom meetings for all their sales conversations.

Do you think it would be nice if a tool could connect with Zoom, record all your conversations, transcribe them and throw some interesting insights at you about how a deal is shaping up?

Prospect: Yes, it will be pretty useful.

Salesperson: Well, Rafiki could do that for you...

In the above conversation, we haven’t mentioned how Rafiki seamlessly integrates with Zoom. Instead, we have talked about how the integration helps their cause.

#5. Data Sells

If you’re wondering how to make a perfect sales pitch for your prospects, know that data could be your trump card. For example, If you are promising improved insights into customer behavior using Rafiki, identify what kind of data you can have to back it up. Remember - The numbers will sell the tool by themselves. Here is an interesting conversation pattern you can try - 

Salesperson: Hey Ronald

Prospect: Hi, How may I help you?

Salesperson: I am calling from Rafiki and we help sales teams extract valuable insights from their calls and help them improve conversions.

Prospect: I see...

Salesperson: Did you know that continuous training gives you 50% higher net sales per employee?

Prospect: Is it? Could you shed some more light on that?

Salesperson: Absolutely...I would love to...

#6. Storytelling

People love hearing stories, whether they’re real or not. If you’ve got a customer who’s willing to give you the time to tell a story, using a storytelling pitch can help not just sell your product, but can go a long way in terms of customer retention.

Salesperson: Hey Liu,

Prospect: Hello

Salesperson: I am calling from Rafiki and we are a conversational intelligence platform that helps improve conversions for the sales team. 

Prospect: Ok...

Salesperson: Just a little curious? Are you from Yunan

Prospect: Yes. That’s where I am from.

Salesperson: That’s awesome. I was in Yunan for a year. It’s an amazing place. Once I was working as a sales rep for a glove manufacturing company when……

#7. Don’t be Formal

The best sales pitch is often not formal at all. You’re not trying to impress your boss, you’re trying to convince another human being. A conversational tone through email or phone can help make you seem that much more human. You’ll seem warmer, more friendly, and prospects will be encouraged to like you. Here is an interesting conversation - 

Prospect: So, what do you do at Rafiki?

Salesperson: I build ropes for our clients

Prospect: Huh? What does that mean?

#8. Voicemail Pitch

In sales, you’re often going to be met with rejection. Voicemail pitches are based on the fact that sometimes, the prospect doesn’t want to talk. Leaving a voicemail by establishing your identity, where you’re coming from, and what you want to talk about will help them get accustomed to you before they finally make the purchase. 

Salesperson: 

Hey Anne

This is George from Rafiki

It’s really unfortunate that I couldn’t talk to you personally about how our product can help ramp up your sales team’s productivity in no time.

Do reach me back if you think you really need help regarding this

#9. Name Dropping

Name dropping, or letting your prospect know that you know their contacts or friends, is an excellent technique that tells your prospect that they’re dealing with someone their friends, family, and colleagues already know. Using this can breed familiarity and ease the sales process. 

Salesperson: 

Hey Julian

I am a close friend of your colleague Nicholson...

We worked together at Siemens…

Prospect: I see...How is Nicholson doing now?

#10. Use Social Proof

Very few people trust salespeople, and that's no fault of the buyers or the salespeople. Social proof is when you use the public to validate your claims and convince your prospects. Testimonials, reviews, and third-party opinions can be great sales tools. 

Salesperson: Hey Katie

Prospect: Hi

Salesperson: I am calling from Rafiki, a platform that can help ramp up your sales team’s productivity in no time.

Prospect: Ok...

Salesperson: Did you know that Barbara, the CEO of Genpact had a lot of nice things to say about us?

Prospect: Oh is it?

Salesperson: Yea! She even spoke about it in her interview with Saasclub? Can I share with you the link to that podcast?

Bonus: Some Words and Phrases to Avoid in a Sales Pitch

So far, we’ve seen what to say in a sales pitch. But there are some no-nos you should avoid in every sales pitch you write. 

“Trust Me”

These words are used by salespeople when they don’t have any confidence in what they’re saying, or they have no proof to back up their claims about their product. 

Words and Phrases to Avoid in a Sales Pitch

“Buy”

This might sound weird, but using “buy” is a surefire way to encourage prospects to not buy your product. Instead, use “Own” or “take-home” 

“Honestly”

Anything that has “honest” in it is a huge no-no, it just implies that everything you said before that point are lies. 

“Cheap”

People don’t like the word cheap, even when it’s value-oriented. By referring to your product as cheap, prospects are less inclined to purchase your product. Use words like “Value” or “competitive” to make your point understood. 

“I Haven’t Heard Back From You”

Using this is a great way to lose a prospect. They know why they haven’t reached back from you. They don’t want to talk to you, and using this phrase just reminds them of that fact. 

Avoid using these words and phrases, whether you’re selling through the phone, email, or even chat. Prospects usually become dead ends when you use them. 

Conclusion

Sales pitches have been a part of most businesses since time immemorial. Learning how to create a sales pitch and using it effectively is a great way to crack even the toughest of prospects. If you want to know more on how to manage your sales process, or how to bring out the A-game of your sales team, check out some of our other blogs

Or if you think you need additional insights to help prepare your sales pitch for your next sales call, get started right away with Rafiki. Rafiki helps you track what topics your reps and customers are talking about using the latest AI technology. It parses your customer conversations and offers you rich topical insights to help you frame the perfect pitch that can convince any prospect. 

How to make a cold call: A definitive guide

Did you know that 82% of the buyers become customers only after repeated sales calls? 

Even if the definition of cold calling has evolved a lot over time, it’s still one of the best ways to turn your prospects into paying customers.

Let’s understand what is cold calling and how cold calling has changed over time.

What is Cold Calling?

When a prospect receives a call from a salesperson for the very first time (without any prior connection), it’s defined as a cold call. Historically, a cold call was a process consisting of numbers laid out on a piece of paper and a teleoperator dialing the numbers one by one without prior research.

Cold calling as a sales practice was first introduced by John Patterson, the NCR Corporation founder, in 1873.  However, the cold calling meaning has evolved over the years due to more customer-centricity.

Cold calls are now more personalized. The sales team does thorough research on their targeted personas before reaching out. The sales team also reaches out to their target audience via social media and email before dialing their numbers.

Here is a cold calling definition according to Investopedia

“Cold calling is the oldest form of marketing for salespeople. It means the ‘solicitation of a potential customer who has no prior interaction with a salesperson.’”

Mario Martinez Jr., Founder & CEO of Vengreso, says that you have to be crystal clear on who you intend to serve and what pain-points you solve. He says - 

“If you want to resonate with your buyers - and not fall on deaf ears - you must get super clear on who you help and how you help. If you don’t clearly communicate the business problem that you actually solve, you’re never going to be able to build value!”

Difference between cold, warm, and hot calls

Cold calling has evolved over time, and organizations have been trying out an inbound approach while making cold calls. Here’s an equation that’s working well for the sales teams -

Outbound calls + Inbound Approach = Optimized Results

When you call a prospect who has never interacted with you before or never heard of you/your organization, you will need a series of calls, set appointments, and great sales skills to close. When you call prospects who have already shown interest in your product/service, you improve the conversion rate. The more you know the prospect, the hotter the call gets.

On that note, here’s a comparative analysis between cold calls, warm calls, and hot calls -

different between cold, warm and hot calls

Things to remember before making a cold call

Here are some prerequisites for a cold call -

  • Start with the research: The sales team calls this a ‘pre-call ritual.’ You need to collect key information about the prospect before you make a cold call. Here is a classic pre-call research checklist compiled by Yesware
  • Create a quick outline of your call’s flow: Creating this outline will save you a ton of effort. It doesn’t need to be super-detailed. Just find answers to questions like how you’ll introduce yourself, how you’ll create a connection, how you’ll pitch, how you would handle the common objections, etc.
  • Go through your list: Spend some time looking at your prospect list. Find out the basic information about them. But don’t go overboard. Limit this activity to 1-2 hours.
  • Overcome the cold calling reluctance: Shannon Goodson and George Dudley conducted a study on sales call reluctance. They found that 80% of newbie salespeople fail in the department of sales call reluctance. 40% of experienced salespeople stop prospecting because of the same. Reminding yourself of the purpose of making the call will help you get over this reluctance. It’s like a muscle, and it gets better with practice.
  • Work on the introductory sentence: It must be strong and should pique the interest of your prospect. You can try the below approach -
  • I saw that your organization had got a new round of funding (exciting news)
  • I noticed you’ve been hiring for more sales reps (recruitment news)
  • Congratulations on taking the new role (promotion)
  • I was reading your feature on XYZ magazine, and your insights on sales enablement were inspiring (something personal & noteworthy)
  • Send an email to the prospect before you make a call: This will break the ice and turn a cold call into a warm call. If your prospect checks the email, he/she would already know who you are and why you’re calling. Even if your prospect doesn’t check their email, you have a reference point to go back to.

Effective Cold Calling Tips and Techniques

  1. Run a few mock calls with your colleague before you start making actual calls. Have your colleagues critique you in the harshest manner possible during these practice calls. So every time you get told ‘no’ during your actual calls, you can remind yourself that at least it wasn’t as bad as that rejection. This also helps you get used to your script as well as prepare for any negative outcomes that may occur.
  2. Purchase a quality headset. According to data from Peak Sales Recruiting, it may be possible to improve your cold calling effectiveness by almost 60% just by using a headset.
  3. Practise using the right vocal tonality when engaging and speaking with your prospect. You will have to strike the right balance between sounding enthusiastic and confident. If you sound monotone and robotic then there is a high chance that you may not make the sale.
  4. Do not be afraid to use your prospect’s voicemail. You can also leave a message with the gatekeeper or your prospect’s colleague. Make sure to include this in your cold calling script as there is a high chance that most cold calls do not usually reach your target prospect in the first few tries.
  5. Always give your prospect time to talk. Every good salesperson knows that listening is the most important of all sales skills. Once you have mastered the art of active listening and identifying your prospect’s true motivations, it's only then that you can truly perfect your sales pitch.
  6. Finally, don't give up easily. Always remember that cold calling is difficult. Prioritize learning in every interaction and seek to improve by analyzing call recordings and transcripts.  Keep perfecting your sales outreach and you will soon be on your way to mastering cold calling.

How to make a cold call?

In the olden days, cold calling was all about luck. It was simply picking up the phone and calling as many prospects as you can - because it was a number’s game. Now, with the advancements in technology, one needs to approach cold calling differently. Here’s how you should approach cold calling now -

  • Cold email first: It’s quite easy to send a personalized email rather than pick up the phone and call a stranger. You get a chance to build a relationship before you even call.
  • Think about the timing of the call: Tim Ferriss found out that whenever he called between 7:00 -  8:30 a.m. and 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., he sold more. And instead of pitching, he asked questions. You also need to be creative when you make the cold call and how you approach your prospect.
  • Autodialers vs. Standard Phone: Autordialers have made cold calling relatively easy. You don’t need to pick up the phone and dial the phone number manually. Autodialer pulls the numbers from the list, makes the call on your behalf, and connects to a prerecorded message or a live agent.
  • Use of CRMs: You can also use CRM for cold calling. It saves you time, effort, and errors. There are conversational intelligence tools like Rafiki that can help you analyze your performance in the call.
  • Use of social media/apps: You can use apps like Whatsapp, FB Messenger, or chatbot to qualify the prospects and even call them for building more rapport and connection.

What Rafiki has to do with cold calls?

Now that you know what is cold calling, it is time for some action. To get better as a salesperson, you need to monitor your calls constantly.  Rafiki is a cost-effective tool that suggests areas where you can improve your pitch, narratives, and more. Plus, you can use Rafiki for opportunity intelligence, customer intelligence, and organizational intelligence to accelerate your sales growth. To know more about how Rafiki can help your organization, contact us today.

The Top 10 Words to Avoid in Sales Meeting

Salespeople talk. Talking is necessary to connect with prospects. But when the conversation becomes garrulous, prospects immediately lose interest.

So, what would you do, if you have a habit of slipping off the wagon?

Catch hold of your tongue while uttering these 10 specific words while you pitch a prospect.

10 Specific Words to Avoid in Sales Pitches

Here are the top 10 rejection words in sales.

  • No prospect in using the word ‘prospects’

https://giphy.com/embed/7zJZgRRVrKfzo71lnR

via GIPHY

Yes, we know. Prospects are prospects.

But while talking to them, if you use the word ‘prospects’; they can never conceive of the status of being your clients.

Use –

  • Would-be clients 
  • Future clients
  • Would-be partners (for B2B) etc.

The idea is to help your prospects become your clients.

  • No ‘I’, but ‘you’

‘Can offer you a suggestion?’

I want to talk to you about…’

You may want to help or build a connection with your prospects, but once you use the word ‘I’ and ‘my’, you don’t sound ‘helpful’.

Instead, use the word ‘you’, ‘your’.

The question you need to ask yourself before you make a sales call is – “What is in it for my prospects?”

If you begin thinking from their perspectives, stating ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ becomes easier.

  • No ‘Problem’

There is a big problem with the word ‘problem’.

The word ‘problem’ has a negative connotation.

And if you use it, the prospects will go with their first impression and perceive you in the same light.

Instead, use the word ‘challenge’.

‘Challenge’ sounds more positive.

  • Hope, Think, Guess, etc.

With these words to avoid in sales, there will be no hope for your sales pitch.

A remote sales rep that says “Umm..I hope this is the case” has already lost it.

It’s the same when you say “I think”, “I guess”, etc.

Don’t make that mistake.

When your prospect asks something or requests confirmation, be honest instead.

If you don’t know the answer immediately, take your time, and get back to them.

And be direct in your interaction.

  • No ‘objections’

There will be times when you need to deal with objections.

But while dealing with the objections, don’t ever use the word itself.

Rather mention the word ‘objection’ as the ‘area of improvement.’

It will keep you ahead in prospecting and will increase your chances of making the sale.

  • Avoid the word ‘guarantee’

If you ever eavesdrop on a sales rep talking to her prospect, you would hear a word repetitively –

“Guarantee.”

And this is the word you should never use while making a sales pitch.

Give your prospects more than that.

While talking to them, tell them that you empathize with how they feel (talk about their pain-points) and the possible solutions.

Once you build a rapport, schedule a call with the prospect.

Promising something grandeur at the first call is too good to be true for a prospect.

  • Don’t use ‘cost’

Because talking to you is an investment for a prospect.

And if he decides to buy the product you’re selling, it’s an investment too.

The word ‘cost’ is negative when it’s about asking your prospects to buy your products.

‘Cost’ is one of the rejection words in sales pitches.

Use ‘investment’ instead.

  • No ‘advice’ pls

We all have the habit of jumping on to conclusions quickly and on an endnote, we add our sweet, little advice which no-one bothers to pay heed to.

Well, don’t make that mistake during your sales pitch.

No.

Even don’t use the word ‘advice’ ever.

You can say ‘recommendation’ or ‘suggestion’ that too after taking the permission of your prospects.

Remember, it’s for them and not for you. 

  • No ‘but’ business

‘But’ kills more business than anything else.

And it can even kill your sales pitch.

Because ‘but’ puts doubt into the mind of someone listening to you.

It creates a sense of fog while they listen to you.

So, don’t use ‘but’.

Try ‘and’ instead.

If you disagree with your prospects, tell them – “Yes, and..”, not “Yes, but”

This single change makes a huge difference.

  • ‘Honestly’ isn’t conveying honesty, really

Look at the headline of this section. 

Adding a really makes the headline weak.

When you speak ‘honestly’, it does the same.

It weakens your statement.

It loses the value of your pitch.

So, don’t say –

“Honestly speaking…”

Rather speak from a sense of honesty and you’d be able to create better rapport.

Words to Avoid in Sales meeting

  • Contract - Agreement sounds more professional.
  • Buy - The word ‘buy’ doesn’t give you the oomph factor. Instead, use the word ‘own’. This makes sure that the buyer is investing his money and it is not a simple purchase.
  • Problem - This is a negative word. A better alternative is ‘challenge’.
  • Hope - Hope doesn’t mean 100% success. It makes you sound less confident.
  • Obviously - Most of the time this word reiterates the fact - “everyone knows that. You don't? This makes the other person seem less smart.
  • Quota - Again as a salesperson it concerns you but not the customer. If you use this word it would seem like you are trying to fulfill your monthly target and not fulfill customer needs.
  • Cheap - Always value your product even if the price is low. Avoid using words like cheap
  • Maybe - Again stay away from words that make you sound less confident.
  • Guarantee - The word doesn't make any sense, use the word warranty instead.
  • Discount - This might seem like your product is overvalued or you are devaluing your product.
  • Forbidden - Try to avoid negative words.
  • Objections - It will seem a little pushy. Instead, use ‘areas of concern’.
  • Commission - Both sides know that as a salesperson you get a commission for the sale. No need to iterate that.
  • Pitch - Avoid ‘salesy’ words. Instead, use presentations.
  • Customers - ‘Client’ is a more sophisticated alternative.

Now, let’s talk about Positive Sales Words

Positive sales words are the words that inspire, encourage, and persuade your prospects to take action.

And as it’s prudent to avoid using the above 10 rejection words in sales, it’s equally essential to include the following words in your sales pitch so that you stand out and close the sale.

Let’s look at these words and understand why they’re powerful –

Instant

Prospects love to gratify their desires immediately.

When you use the word ‘instant’ or ‘instantly’, your prospects get connected to their desire and persuasion becomes easy.

There’s no wonder why we are so habituated with the word ‘instant gratification’.

Now

It does the same job as using ‘instant’ does.

Brief

Use the word brief and keep your pitch brief. It will close more deals.

Best

Try to include the word ‘best’ in your pitch. Often what seems obvious needs to be uttered for everyone’s interest.

Easy

The word ‘easy’ makes the prospects feel that it will take almost no effort to fulfill their desires. So ‘easy’ rings good to them.

Because

According to a study done by Ellen Langer, it was found that when you use ‘because’, you are able to get a ‘yes’ to an explicit query.

Thank You

Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ whenever you get an opportunity.

Conclusion

Words are powerful.

Words can either make or break a deal.

And at the same time, if you use positive sales words and avoid the improper ones, you’d be surprised to see how well you do in your sales pitch.

To improve your sales pitch and to watch your words, you can use an affordable tool like GetRafiki to analyze your sales calls and help you improve your sales calls.

As they say – Watch your words and you’re golden.

How Would You Manage a Sales Pipeline?

Making the optimum use of a sales pipeline is of critical importance to your remote sales team. When it’s about the perpetuity of your business, you need to know how to manage a sales pipeline well.

What is Sales Pipeline Management?

A sales pipeline depicts where your sales prospects belong in the sales process.

Consider that you’ve hundreds of prospects. Each of your prospects is going through the sales funnel – the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage.

Top of the Funnel

[Note: Please note, that ToFU means Top of the Funnel, MoFU means Middle of the Funnel, and BoFU means Bottom of the Funnel]

And each of them is at a different stage of the sales funnel. The visual representation of how a prospect travels through the entire sales funnel is called a sales pipeline.

Why Sales Pipeline Management is Important?

As per the Harvard Business Review a well-managed sales pipeline can get you an average growth of 15%.

In addition, when organizations focus on the following practices for managing their sales pipelines, they earned 28% revenue growth on an average –

  1. Have an articulated sales process
  2. Invest a minimum of 3 hours for sales pipeline management
  3. Provide training & development to your remote sales team on sales pipeline management.

When your remote sales team is able to effectively manage the sales pipeline, it can provide the following benefits –

  • Finding leaks and fixing them whenever they’re visible in the entire sales process. The leaks include the bottlenecks, the areas of improvement (e.g. sales calls that could be made top-notch by using a cost-effective tool), etc.
  • Do a pre-mortem and post-mortem of every sales deal to understand why a sales transaction closes and why another doesn’t
  • Do a possible forecast analysis to prevent the possible downfall and to take charge of the areas where growth can be possible

These are the reasons why you and your remote sales team need to manage a sales pipeline and understand it well.

How to Build a Sales Pipeline?

Imagine that you’re visualizing your revenue goals backward.

How would you know how many opportunities you need at every stage of your sales cycle?

Well, here is how you find out:

  • Articulate the stages of your sales cycle: Before you can ever visualize, it’s important that you know the specific stages of your sales cycle. According to LucidChart, there are seven specific steps of a sales cycle –
  • Identify the potential prospects for leads. Understanding both your target audience and the products/services you sell are keys to the right identification of the prospects.
  • Connect With Potential Buyers. You need to choose the right channels to reach out to potential buyers.
  • Filter out the potential buyers. The first filtering starts at the first stage of your sales cycle. The next one once you connect with your potential buyers. Engagement brings in more clarity.
  • Presentation is the next stage. This is critical because at this stage you would present to the qualified buyers what you have for offer.
  • Handle the stones. Yes, once you present your product/service, you will face objections. How you handle the objections has a big impact on your closing rate.
  • Close. Once you handle the objections, it’s time to close with the similar attitude/type of objections of the potential buyers.
  • Request for referrals: This is the most critical stage most choose to omit. And as a result, they leave a lot of money on the table.
  • Identify an average conversion rate for every stage: When you understand your potential prospects and look at various sales pipelines, you will get an idea about the average conversion rate. The ratio is like the following – 100:50:5, meaning if you find 100 potential prospects, you end up qualifying 50 qualified buyers, and close 5 customers. The more you handle sales pipelines, the prediction of the ratio will improve. 
  • Now think about your revenue goals: Once the ratio is clear in your mind, you need to work backward to see how many potential prospects you would need to reach the revenue goal. And then aim for the same.
  • Pinpoint the KPIs: Use cost-effective tools like GetRafiki to analyze the sales calls to improve the conversion rate or use Slack for better messaging or chatbots for improving the customer experience. The idea is to pinpoint the right KPIs that will provide the maximum results.
  • Build a revised sales process: Once you take the above steps, it’s time to create a revised sales process that would help you improve the conversion ratio and generate more revenue.

What are Sales Pipeline Stages?

According to SalesForce, sales pipeline stages can be divided into seven parts. Let’s divide these sales pipeline stages as part of the sales funnel stages –

Awareness

  • Prospecting: At this stage, you help your potential buyers discover your business (or products/services). You run ads, reach out to your ideal prospects. At this stage, your prospects don’t know what sort of challenges they’re going through that your products/services can solve.

Consideration

  • Lead Qualification: Here the prospects enter the second stage of both the sales funnel and the sales pipeline. At this stage, the prospects name their challenges, and the businesses also qualify their target audience from the pool of prospects. To filter out the leads from the prospects, you need to offer them lead magnets such as eBooks, webinars, checklists, etc. 
  • Demo: Once you qualify the leads, it’s time to show them what you’re offering with a demo or meeting. Remember that this is also a way to filter out some more and reach your ideal clients/customers.

Decision Stage

  • Proposal: Here the ideal prospects enter the third stage of the sales funnel and the fourth stage of the sales pipeline. At this stage, you would propose the scope of work and communicate your competitive advantage so as to differentiate from your competitors.
  • Negotiation: At this stage, you’d be rethinking the scope of work and resetting your prices as per the requirement of the clients/customers and according to the customization your customers require. This is the pre-stage before closing.
  • Opportunity won: Once the negotiation is done, you close the sales and move ahead to the next sales pipeline stage.
  • Post-purchase: There’s a term that organizations are focusing on right now – customer delight. Customer delight comes from when you go beyond what your clients/customers expect. You can serve your customers most after they buy from you. You can also upsell and cross-sell if you have a variety of offerings.

How Would You Manage a Sales Pipeline? 

Here are a couple of statistics before we talk about how to manage a sales pipeline –

  • As per Super Office, 63% opine that their organizations don’t manage sales pipelines well
  • According to the research done by Vantage Point, 72% of the company’s sales managers conduct review meetings on the sales pipeline many times every month

From the above stats, it’s clear that even if sales managers put in the effort to manage their sales pipelines, the results don’t show forth the effort.

Let’s have a look at how you can manage a sales pipeline that not only helps your remote sales team; rather it will also reflect the effort in the results.

Following up is the most critical factor in closing

To manage the sales pipeline well, you need to pay heed to improve your process of following up with your prospects. 

Since it takes more than 8 calls to close a deal now (which is more than double of what used to be 10 years ago, i.e. 3.68 calls to close a deal), if you don’t follow up, you hand the deal to your competitor.

However, not many follow up. 

According to Super Office, only 2.4% of the organizations follow up.

It’s because following up is the third most challenging factor for your sales team.

The best way to overcome the challenge of following up is to set up reminders that would help you remember to follow up with your prospects. 

Use 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule states that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of leads.

You need to apply the same rule while looking at the high-value and low-value leads.

Since it takes a similar amount of time to close each deal, if you focus on the 20% of the deals that would generate 80% of revenue, you won’t squander your time, effort, money into low-value deals.

As a result, your whole sales process and sales pipeline will improve.

Work on Your Sales Cycle

You need to keep your sales cycle shorter.

The research says that 75% of sales in the B2B domain take around 4 months to close; whereas, 18% of all B2B deals take 12 months to close.

For a deal, the sales cycle of 4 months to 12 months is a lot of time.

And that’s why, as per the report of CSO Insights, 27% of all the salespeople said that a long cycle acts as a barrier to the sales effectiveness.

To shorten your sales cycle, you need to be ultraclear on the type of leads you’d like to generate for your business. If you focus on the right qualifying methods (for that you need to be crystal clear on your target audience), you’d have to spend less time closing deals.

Be Clear on Your Pipeline KPIs & Control them Closely

The most important KPIs for your sales pipeline is –

  • Number of prospects attracted to your sales funnel
  • Number of qualified leads you generate, and
  • The number of close deals you get out of every campaign

Of course, there are other factors that may decide the outcome you’re trying to reach, but the above three tops the lot.

If you’re not attracting enough prospects to your sales funnel, how many would you qualify as your valuable leads? And how would that affect your number of closed deals?

Along with looking at the quantity, it’s also important that you use the right filers to qualify your prospects – 

  • Set your own filters (be crystal clear on the target audience)
  • Narrow down your marketing initiative for your niche (if it’s for everybody, it’s for nobody)
  • Address the challenges of your ideal customers and show them how your products/services solve their struggles, etc.

Improve the Overall Sales Calls

Though it seems obvious, if we can improve the sales calls, we would be able to improve the conversion ratio.

For example, if you’re calling your prospects for setting up a meeting the words you use, the way you introduce yourself, the way you carry out the call, the tone of your voice, and the way you handle questions have a lot to do with whether you’ll close the deal or not.

But how would you monitor your sales calls and improve upon them?

Use a comprehensive & affordable tool such as GetRafiki or a more expensive tool Gong.io to monitor, analyze, and improve your sales calls.

Content is the New Magnet

No matter how underrated the content marketing initiatives look like for the founders, without producing more and more effective content, it’s impossible to attract a good pool of prospects.

The idea is to out-educate your competitors.

The question you should be asking is what kind of content you should create at every stage of the sales funnel instead of questioning whether to create content at all!

Here’s how many times you should blog as per HubSpot for organic traffic and brand awareness.

Conclusion

Managing a sales pipeline isn’t the task of a faint-hearted.

You need to constantly monitor, analyze, course-correct, and see whether your remote sales team is feeding the pipeline well.

As a sales leader, it isn’t an easy job.

However, if you tap into the right aspects, managing the sales pipeline will become a process instead of a tedious chore.

Before you ever focus on the sales pipeline, it’s important that you pay equal attention to the sales funnel. Since the sales pipeline is the way you approach the stages of the sales funnel, you need to first build the foundation. 

And then use the above six core steps in managing your sales pipeline.

How to Set Sales Goals (with Examples)

If you’re a sales manager or leading a team of salespeople, the most critical metric is the sales goals.
And the best way you can serve your organization is by increasing the sales and revenue of the company.
To increase the sales of your organization, you need to set and achieve sales goals repetitively – every week, month, quarter, year, decade.

In this guide, we will understand how you can set sales goals and what sales goals should be meaningful to you and your sales team.

How to Set Sales Goals

Sales goals are the means to achieve where you want to go. If you’re currently at A and you want to reach B, sales goals will take you there. The best way to set any sales goal is to use a framework that works, i.e. SMART.

To ensure that you achieve any sales goal that you set, you need to set a goal that is –
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound

Let’s take an example to illustrate this.

Let’s say that your organization is currently at $10 million in quarterly sales. You want to reach $20 million in the next quarter.
Is it a SMART goal?

  • Is it specific – Yes
  • Can it be measured (in quantity) – Yes, exactly double of what your organization achieved this quarter
  • Is it attainable – Yes, it’s a stretch goal, but doable
  • Is it relevant – Yes, the metric and the context are relevant since you’re aiming at the same goal, just better numbers
  • Is it time-bound – Yes, your deadline is the next quarter

If you follow the SMART goal while setting any sales goal, your chances of achieving that goal increases.
Here’s why –

You gain clarity. And you know exactly what to do.

Sales Goal Examples – Simple & Advanced

Now, let’s look at some sales goal examples that you can implement in your business.

Some of these you may never think of since they’re so obvious. And others are a little advanced.

Number of Units Sold Per Sales Rep Per Month

If every sales rep improves the number in your team, the overall number would improve as well.

If the number of units sold per sales rep per month is 10 units [10 units * 10 sales reps = 100 units per month].

And you set a sales goal of making that number 15 the next month and you have ten sales reps, the overall number would improve by 50 units [15 units * 10 sales reps = 150 units per month].

It’s a 50% increase in sales for your organization.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

This is how much your team produces month by month in terms of revenue.

Let’s say that your remote sales team generates $100,000 per month for the last quarter. Your goal should be to increase the monthly recurring revenue by 5%, 10%, 20% whatever seems SMART to you.

To encourage your sales rep, you can create a commission system designed to reinforce more MRR month after month –
If you (every sales rep) achieve the monthly target, you will achieve a 30% commission; if you don’t, you will achieve a 10% commission.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

The target should be to reduce your CAC to a minimum.

Customer acquisition cost includes –

  • Salaries and commission paid to your sales reps
  • The fees for the marketing & automation tools you use
  • Promotional expenses for lead generation
  • Calling costs, costs of the net recharge, etc.

Add all of the above and you get the total cost of customer acquisition.

Now, divide the total cost of customer acquisition by the number of customers you acquired during the period.
And you get customer acquisition cost (CAC).

If you have invested $1000 this month to acquire 4 customers, your CAC is $250 per customer.

The goal should be to reduce the CAC and still gain the same or more customers.

Qualified Leads

If you have an organization that separates the marketing & sales teams, then the job of the marketing team is to generate leads for you.

The sales team then qualifies and closes the deals.

Let’s say that the goal of your marketing team is to generate 100 leads per month with certain qualifications and a set qualification score* [let’s say 60%]

The goal of your sales team would be to turn a certain percentage of leads into customers. The percentage can be 10%, 20%, or more.

* Note: Qualification score means the percentage of characteristics that match your ideal target customer.

Sales Cycle

The sales cycle is measured in time.

Let’s say that the marketing team generates 100 leads on 31st January.

And the sales team turns those leads into paying customers (10% of the leads) by 21st February.

It means the sales cycle is 21 days.

The goal of every sales team is to reduce this interim period.

The shorter the sales cycle is, the more effective the sales processes are.

Sales Activity & Ratio of Every Sales Rep

If you’re a sales manager or a team lead, your job is to track the activities of every sales rep.
Here are the activities you should track –

  • Number of sales calls
  • Number of customer visits
  • Number of a demo presentation
  • Number of closing

If you track these every week, every month, every year, your sales rep will improve.

You can also introduce an affordable tool like GetRafiki to improve their sales calls, make them effective sales reps, and close more sales.

Plus, you can ask your sales reps to improve the ratio of the activities.

For example, if your sales rep X makes 20 calls every day that generates 5 customer visits, 3 demo presentations, and close 1 sale each week – the ratio of your sales rep is 20:5:3:1.

It means that to generate one deal per week, X needs to make at least 20 calls.

You, as a team leader, should encourage your sales reps to improve the ratio so that with the same number of calls, they can close more deals.

Conclusion

Since every business is unique and has varied scope, your job as a sales manager is to set sales goals that are relevant to your business.

MRR may not be very relevant to you if your business sells a few products a year. You may then opt for the sales goal of shortening the sales cycle.

The idea is to choose the metrics that help you succeed.

It is not to multiply the complexity, but to gain more clarity, you should set sales goals.

We’ve shared a few examples. Choose the ones that seem relevant to you.

And if you follow the SMART approach in setting your sales goals, you will achieve more, make more money, create more impact.

SMART Sales Goal Examples from 30+ Sales Professionals