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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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30 Seconds or Less: 10 Best Practices for Delivering an Efficient Buying Experience


Sales Prospecting Perspectives is pleased to bring you a guest post from Craig Rosenberg, the Funnelholic and a co-founder of TOPO. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

Sales ClockWhenever we think of sales and marketing efficiency, we typically focus on what we can do internally. Don’t get me wrong, you have to optimize your sales and marketing processes for efficiency. However, it is absolutely critical that you optimize the buying experience you are delivering so it is as efficient and easy for your buyer as possible. At my day job with TOPO, I have interviewed hundreds of buyers. They typically mention efficiency and ease of use as the top requirements for their preferred buying experience with a vendor. If you don’t believe me, then here's Homayoun Hatami, co-leader of the Sales Growth practice at McKinsey: “Sophisticated customers are not interested in traditional sales models. They demand faster, more seamless, and even enjoyable sales experiences.” Time is the enemy for everyone in today’s crazy-busy world. Your goal should be to make every interaction with your buyers easy and quick.

In this post, I present to you a list of best practices that provide buyers with the fast and efficient buying experience they want and provide you with higher conversions and ultimately more revenue.

  1. < 10 seconds to respond to someone in your live chat – As a consumer, I love live chat. It allows me to interact with a company while I am on their website and allows me to avoid having to pick up the phone. Instant gratification. Most B2B companies use live chat to identify and qualify leads and for many companies, it works. However, the rules of the consumer Internet apply. If you keep someone waiting, they will move on. If you are going to have a live chat pop box, then make sure you are properly resourced to respond immediately.
  2. < 30 seconds for someone to fill out your registration form – Registration forms should be painless for the buyer or they will eject. A good rule is to only include the absolutely essential fields you need to convert. For most, those are: name, business email, job role/function, phone number, and company. Marketo doesn’t even ask for a phone number and instead uses a third party vendor to look up the phone number after the lead has registered.
  3. < 2 seconds to load a landing page – I watched an impatient buyer click off a website the other day while working next to her at Starbucks. She didn’t even blink. Page load time was taking too long, so she sighed and moved on. Not good.
  4. < 30 seconds to explain what you do and how you are differentAnthony Iannarino asks sales leaders and individual contributors to try this exercise and as he says, most fail. You have to be able to deliver the value prop and differentiation in 30 seconds. Can you? It’s hard. Here is the easiest piece of advice I can give you: “Work on it.” It’s one of the most worthwhile exercises you can do as a sales organization. People don’t have time to try to understand your business. And no, the old Jedi mind-trick of “getting them to talk first” doesn’t work anymore. In order to get the buyer to invest time with you, you have to earn buy-off in a very short amount of time.
  5. < 22-25 seconds is the max length for a voicemail – Rule number #1: Don’t leave long voicemails. Voicemails are torture, even for personal ones. My mom always asks me: “Don’t you listen to my voice mails?” I don’t and I am not alone. I find that leaving a quick voicemail and referring to an email which you send immediately improves email conversion rates. In other words, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time making them listen to my voicemail. We know buyers prefer digital communications so save any extra messaging for your email. You are more likely to get a response from the buyer as a result.
  6. < 5 seconds to capture your buyers’ attention on email – Subject line and first sentence are where you win the first part of your battle for a buyer's attention. Buyers get hundreds of emails every day. If your buyer doesn’t, then you are probably not reaching out to someone very important. A buyer has to be able to quickly scan the subject line and first sentence on their mobile device or preview pane in order to make their decision to read on. If you aren’t compelling in the first 5 seconds, you will be deleted.
  7. < 30 seconds to win them over in the body of an email – Okay, you got them to open the email. Now you want them to read something. You gotta be quick.  Focus on 1-3 important points, use bullets, and make the next step clear and easy for them.
  8. < 30 seconds for someone to evaluate your LinkedIn profile – According to the people at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, the vast majority of people look only at your picture, headline, and summary. Translation: optimize the areas of your profile first. If you have a picture of your dog, your job title, and a summary about how you closed 185% of year-over-year business, then you are off to a bad start. Instead, use a professional image and create a headline and summary built for buyers, not recruiters, that communicates to people who you help and how you help them. I love Greg Alexander from Sales Benchmark Index’s headline: “Helping Sales and Marketing Leaders Make the Revenue Growth Number.”
  9. < 3 minutes when you first connect with an unsuspecting prospect – If you catch someone out of the blue on the phone (formerly known as cold calling) you have 2-3 minutes to earn their trust and schedule a meeting with them.  In the old days, we used to train people to get people talking on the initial call. While you can get buyers to chat you up on the first call, most don’t want to. They appreciate the fact that you will make it quick and move the conversation to a different time. Repeat after me: “I know you are busy. The purpose of my call is to set up a 20-30 minute call to talk about…”
  10. < 30 minutes for your first phone call – If you want to schedule time with a prospect, you should ask for 20-30 minutes or less. I know you want an hour, but buyers prefer to give you 30 minutes. A decision maker’s calendar will be stacked and they don’t know you yet. An hour is too valuable to give up for someone they don’t know. Your goal is to win them over in 30 minutes so they let you “sell” them another 60 minutes or more. 
These are few good examples of making your buying experience fast and efficient. I look forward to hearing your best practices.

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