Here’s a sobering statistic: A 2012 study by the Bridge Group found that 50 percent of sales reps aren’t making quota. The reasons why vary widely from one company to another - maybe your company set unrealistic targets, maybe the market isn’t ready for your offering, maybe there are forces at work beyond your control.
But regardless of what’s happening at your company or in your market, let’s focus on what you can control, starting with these seven habits of highly successful sales reps. If you plan on being in the half of reps that do meet quota this year, you might want to take notes.
1. They cold call on Wednesdays and Thursdays. According to a report from InsideSales.com, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to cold call prospects. Believe it or not, you’re 50% more likely to contact and qualify a lead on Thursday than you are on Tuesday, which is the worst day to cold call someone.
2. They email prospects in the early morning and late afternoon. A study by GetResponse confirms that email open rates are highest between 8-9am and 3-4pm.
3. They jump on web leads ASAP. The Lead Response Management Study says it best: “The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.”
4. They persist. If, like most sales reps, you give up after about two attempts to reach a prospect, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table! InsideSales.com claims it takes as many as 8-12 attempts, on average, to contact a prospect. Successful reps use a combination of emails, phone calls, and voicemails to reach out.
5. They nurture. Nurtured leads make purchases that are a whopping 47% percent larger than leads who receive no nurturing, according to a study from the Annuitas Group.
6. They ask for referrals. If warm leads are better than cold leads (of course they are!), then referrals from happy customers are about as warm as it gets. In fact, a Dale Carnegie study found that 91 percent of customers would be willing to give referrals if they were asked. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of sales reps actually do ask.
7. They embrace automation. Automation isn’t just for marketers anymore. The best sales reps rely on sales automation tools to help them automate time-wasting tasks like logging activity history, tracking email responses, even nurturing cold leads. This frees them up to spend time where it matters most: following up with the most engaged prospects in order to build their pipeline and beat their quota.
Shameless plug: CoPilot can help! Try it free for a week and see for yourself.
What other successful selling habits have you observed? Let us know what we’ve missed in the comments.
You know who they are - the sales reps on your team who consistently beat their quota, never stress about their pipeline, and somehow make it all look effortless.
While it may seem like these reps possess some mystical, innate talent, they’re actually taking a specific set of actions that are proven to lead to success. The good news: You can take these actions, too. Here are four things that great sales people always do.
1. They educate and challenge the buyer. Today’s buyers are savvier than ever about your product - they have access to customer reviews, competitive information, and even pricing, long before they begin the formal sales process. At the same time, this additional information doesn’t translate into more business insight. Buyers still need help connecting the dots between your product and their business needs. A survey of over 6,000 sales reps found that top-performing reps were those who could effectively educate buyers on the value of the product, tailor their solution to each buyer’s unique pains, and even challenge their thinking with new insights.
2. They’re coachable. The myth of the confident, know-it-all sales rockstar is just that - a myth. In fact, humbly asking for feedback (and sincerely taking it to heart) will get you a lot farther than pretending to have all the answers, and we’ve got the data to prove it. A study published in the Journal of Marketing Science found that sales reps who scored high marks for coachability, according to an assessment test, were also more likely to be top performers.
3. They get sh*t done. Hard work may not be glamorous, but the data proves that it pays off. A study by the American Psychological Foundation found that possessing “conscientiousness” is the single best predictor of sales success. If you dive into the study results, this basically means that they work hard, set goals, hold themselves accountable to high standards, and consistently get sh*t done.
4. They share what works. Whether it’s a new cold-calling technique or a new tool to scale up their prospecting efforts, the best sales reps don’t selfishly hoard their knowledge. They understand that their success is tied to the success of their team, and they don’t hesitate to mentor other team members and share their secrets.
The common theme across all these traits is the drive to keep getting better and to help others do the same. Whether it’s educating customers, asking a peer for feedback, or helping a struggling team member, the best sales reps know that staying on top requires an ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth.
It’s time to start paying attention to automation. It’s not just a marketing tool anymore. It just might be the most powerful tool you have to beat your quota this quarter.
Forget every old-school rule you’ve ever learned about prospecting. When 60% of the purchase decision is completed before a prospect even engages, you can’t cold call your way to success. You can’t spam your way there, either. With a little luck and skill, however, you just might be able to automate your way to your best quarter ever.
No, we don’t mean that clunky Salesforce.com integration with your marketing team’s automation tool. We mean powerful, scalable, automated prospecting that lets you grow your pipeline and beat your quota. Do we have your attention now?
It’s a tough pill for sales teams to swallow, but prospecting has changed. To keep beating their quotas, sales teams need to change, too. It’s not just about high volume, and it’s not just about hot leads. The sales teams that succeed today will find a way to both scale their prospecting to reach more leads, and be able to spend most of their time following up with engaged leads.
They also need to dramatically reduce the time they spend manually logging activity in Salesforce.com (a recent report found that burdensome tasks are the #3 reason reps don’t meet their quotas). Finally, they need a way to measure which email messages resonate best and iterate quickly. Tracking open rates in Excel won’t cut it anymore.
In short: successful sales teams will maximize the time they spend engaging prospects and building pipeline, and minimize the time they spend on everything else.
Sounds impossible, right? Kind of like having your cake and eating it, too? That’s where sales automation comes in. With the right sales automation tool, you can focus your time on the hottest prospects, close more deals in less time, and beat your sales targets.
Ready to give automation a try? CoPilot is the fastest, simplest way to scale your prospecting, grow your pipeline, and crush your quota.
Trust us, that’s all you’re going to need.
When we set out to build CoPilot, our goal was to remove the manual work from sales prospecting. A big part of this was ensuring that we provided our users with the best possible insights into how their drip email campaigns were performing, so they could make informed, intelligent decisions about which of them were driving the best results.
This led us to our partnership with GoodData. By powering CoPilot's analytics with GoodData, we're able to provide our users with the most cutting edge reporting there is, right inside CoPilot itself.
When it comes to analyzing drip email reports, it's often hard to drown out the noise. For the typical sales person, they simply want to know what's driving engagement with their prospects, and what isn't. In CoPilot we've leveraged GoodData to provide sales people with the ability to view performance at both a campaign level, or drill down into which individual touch point is driving the most engagement. This makes optimizing a drip email campaign simple.
Another reason for partnering with GoodData was their focus on ease of use. Many email reports are time consuming to configure, difficult to interpret, and well...ugly. This was really important to us, given our goal to deliver the most easy to use sales automation tool available. GoodData allows us to provide advanced email reporting in CoPilot, without sacrificing ease of use.
Just two weeks after its launch CoPilot's clients such as KISSmetrics and SendHub are using its advanced analytics on a daily basis to enhance their sales prospecting efforts, and to generate predictable revenue.
Give CoPilot a try yourself with our 7 day free trial.
While doing a press interview for the release of CoPilot I was asked “What actually is it? Marketing Automation, CRM, a new combination or something else?”. The answer I believe speaks to a wider trend happening in the world of sales and marketing tech we live in today.
We call CoPilot a Sales Automation application, but I think it speaks more to the convergence of marketing and sales technology in general. It's not marketing automation, it's not CRM, it fits into this gap in the market that is completely unserved.
From speaking with hundreds of marketers and sales teams we realized this gap exists in almost every B2B company. In one corner marketing has marketing automation, in another corner sales has CRM, but there is this third corner where sales development representatives live and that's who CoPilot was built to serve.
Marketing doesn't want salespeople using their marketing automation solution, and CRM doesn't have the technology to help automate outbound prospecting (yeah that’s right, Salesforce mass blasts were never a great idea). So instead, we've seen task driven applications try and tackle this problem: email tracking, email reminders and template management for email clients like Google Apps. All of these are great tools, but as a result of their use, sales development reps have to become taskmasters and rely on manual tasks everyday to stay on track. In fact, they've become so busy being taskmasters they hardly focus on creating opportunities, qualifying and having conversations with engaged prospects.
CoPilot removes all of these manual tasks and allows sales development teams to add prospects seamlessly to CoPilot. CoPilot will automatically engage prospects through an outbound campaign (that sales teams can design and test) based on the prospects' behavior. CoPilot will then automatically follow up and only land engaged prospects into the sales person's inbox. A real time activity feed and sophisticated reporting give sales teams complete insight into prospects' behavior whether that is clicking on a link or opening one of several touches.
In sales teams, the ultimate goal is predictable revenue. For every 5,000 prospects I reach out to, X% will become qualified leads, Y% will become qualified opportunities and Z% will become new closed business. Everyone talks about predictable revenue in sales by having a process, but the problem is the process of today turns salespeople into taskmasters, outputting so much energy for each of those 5,000 prospects. CoPilot removes the manual work from prospecting. Whenever a prospect engages with an outbound campaign, CoPilot can automatically send a personalized response based on that person's actions. Interested prospects land directly into the salesperson's inbox while the rest continue to receive automated nurturing giving teams more time to invest in engaged prospects.
The magic of CoPilot though is really the feeling you’ll get when the first time an engaged prospect who is ready to buy lands in your inbox and the first conversation you have is about getting a deal done. That's the predictable revenue dream, that’s CoPilot and that’s why I’m so excited today to announce its launch.
Finally, Prospect Ace works seamlessly with CoPilot, so if you want a solution for finding targeted and verified prospects and then engaging them with outbound prospecting emails it’s the perfect combination!
SAN FRANCISCO, CA May 20, 2014
Marketing Automation Platform Autopilot today announced it has raised $10mm Series B financing led by Rembrandt Venture Partners with participation from Southern Cross Venture Partners, Blackbird and personal investments from Tim Draper, and Terry & Katrina Garnett. As part of the funding round, Scott Irwin, Partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners will join the board of directors.
Autopilot’s next wave marketing automation platform consolidates applications marketing teams use on a daily basis into powerful and easy to use “apps” hosted on a single platform. It removes the requirement for long implementations and the high cost of ownership typically associated with marketing automation software. By removing the complexity, Autopilot allows marketers to focus on the strategy and execution using agile marketing practices. This round of funding will be primarily invested in accelerating growth and product development.
“Innovation died out in the first wave of marketing automation software. It was heavily tethered to CRM and it’s main focus was around email marketing. It’s hard to use, takes months to implement and has an unjustified high cost of ownership. Today there is this exciting explosion of marketing technology that can help marketers outmaneuver their competitors, but the real problem is access to this technology,” said Michael Sharkey, CEO and co-founder of Autopilot. “We’re giving marketers an ecosystem to access this technology on an open platform with a consistent experience and interface that every marketer can easily use. Today we’ve built the first of these powerful apps and have a laser focus on making the technology more accessible to the wider market.”
Autopilot will open their marketing technology SDK to developers later this year, enabling marketing technologists access to a number of sophisticated APIs including Autopilot’s lead intelligence and automation applications. Developers will be able to deploy new and existing marketing technology to the Autopilot Marketplace with ease. Autopilot’s unique SDK will allow developers to modify core applications to customize and configure the software to meet the ever changing requirements of marketing.
Autopilot was founded in late 2011 by the “Sharkey Brothers” - Michael, Peter, and Chris. The three Australian-born brothers were frustrated by the complexity and difficulty associated with setting up marketing technology in their previous startups. Autopilot is the first marketing automation platform built with an open software development kit that provides marketers access to the next wave of marketing technology on a single platform - without the complication of complex integrations, the involvement of IT or expensive consultants. With ease, Autopilot allows marketers to focus on strategy and execution, which leads to a higher return on investment.
Autopilot’s platform today (including users of their popular targeted prospect building application Prospect Ace) has over 3,000 users and includes customers such as Microsoft, Nokia, Bosch, Voxer, Sol Republic, Cambium Networks, SendHub and Model N.
Developers can register their interest for Autopilot’s Marketing SDK here: http://www.autopilothq.com/developers