Glance, one of the software tools in my Sales Stack, introduced a very interesting Sales 2.0 concept in their post on Building a Custom Sales 2.0 Toolkit. They framed it in the analogy of the more traditional software stack. My simple definition: the combination of multiple software to create a full-featured, consistent, and stable platform on which you can build solutions.
I think they created a very useful analogy. It structures our thinking on how to enable our sales objectives, not just chase hope-filled sales tools. Using this framework you can quickly identify and setup your sales 2.0 platform and get to selling, confident you have the tools and the platform you need to win.
Here’s a peek into my Sales Stack:
1. Lead Generation: It’s always nice to have a steady flow of new conversations coming into your sales pipeline. Online lead generation is a great way to automate that consistent flow. For me I use a tight combination of blogs (Sales, Lead Buying, Lead Generation), eBooks, and email marketing for demand generation.
Specifically, I use the following software tools:
- WordPress – Some still think WordPress is simply blogging software. I submit that it is a feature-rich, but easy to use and maintain content management system. Don’t just run your blog on it run your entire website on it. Make it your lead generation foundation and home base.
- Thesis (WordPress Template) – Thesis is the WordPress theme that I use [affiliate link] on all my lead generation websites. Again, it is more than a theme. It’s a foundation for good design and SEO. A simple, unmodified base install will get you ahead of 90% of the websites out there in terms of clean design and traffic generating search engine optimization. It gets your lead generation game started with good fundamentals.
- AWeber – I’m continually amazed at how many people neglect this critical component of traffic generation and lead generation. Email marketing is still, hands-down, the most responsive Internet marketing technique. If you don’t have a mailing list start one today. If you start one use AWeber [affiliate link].
2. Prospecting & Sales Intelligence: Attracting sales prospects and generating demand is one channel of opportunities. However, I think you also need to actively engage your market. This means seeking out those prospects that need your products and services, but simply don’t know it yet. That’s right, cold calling. This part of the sales stack also prepares you with better pre-call/pre-appointment preparation.
These are the tools I use:
- Google – Surprised? You shouldn’t be Google is probably the most incredible advance in sales prospect since the telephone. I think of Google as my interface to an enormous database of sales prospects [grab my PDF on Google prospecting] just waiting to be discovered. My clients are continually providing data and information about themselves, their preferences, their needs, and their wants. Selling to them is as simple as segmenting their data and engaging in their own dialogue.
- Linkedin – A big part of any sales person’s success is networking. Linkedin is the de facto giant in networking business people and is my default database for B2B sales prospecting. It allows me to find and analyze companies and individuals I want to engage. It also does a fair job of generating new leads, with a few special Linkedin tricks I use.
- Gist – This is one of the latest tools I’ve added to my sales stack. Gist is a simple way to keep me aware of what my relationships are doing in pursuing their own interests and goals. Using their direct interface and the plug-in for my email I never go into a conversation with a lead or contact without a quick snapshot of their latest activities in social media. As an extra bonus it gives me the opportunity to help them more efficiently, if I see them promoting or requesting something I can assist with on the spot.
- Twitter – People needing immediate help are turning to their social networks. This provides great “targets of opportunity” for sales. And there is nowhere better to find these than on Twitter. I continually jump into discussions and conversations that net new relationships and sales via Twitter. Twitter is always a great place to gather a little intel on the personality of people you are planning to call or meet with–making breaking the ice much easier on cold calls and meetings.
3. Sale Enablement & Execution: At this point in your sales process you have a few prospects on the hook. Now you have to convince them to move forward. This is where the good conversation happens–telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, web demonstrations or webinars. In my business, I do a lot of showing, helping, and teaching. That means making contact and sharing.
Here is how I share:
- Glance – I mentioned Glance at the top of this article, but they need a prominent mention in my Sales Stack as well. I’ve used all the regulars WebEx and GoToMeeting, but most have failed me regularly. Demonstrations are so critical to the Web 2.0 sales process and I often find myself giving impromptu demos. Doing a quick on-the-spot demos really shows off how well you know your stuff or have a software product that immediately adds value. Glance makes this simple. It works in all browsers, on all operating systems, and its simple URLs make it easy to give over the phone–getting my prospect and me quickly into a sale demo.
- Skype – This is an old stand-by that I find creeping back into a more significant role again. Much of my company is virtual (we hire where the talent is–sort of silly to do it any other way, right?) so this is our primary means of communication. However, as our business grows I find myself engaging more internationally and Skype is really the simplest and most universal way to do this.
- Google Voice – Much of my time is spent with clients and traveling. I certainly don’t want to have prospects waiting on me to get back to a desk phone in my office. So, I long-ago abandoned that relic and replaced it with Google Voice. Now my leads and prospects come to me wherever I am and get my live voice, not a voicemail. This is a powerful sales converter in this world of voicemail roulette.
- Twitter – Again, Twitter pops into the stack. Twitter has become an increasingly primary means of communication, fitting in with email and phone. I am just as responsive to a prospect or client here as I would be in these more tradition modes of communication. However, I like the advantage of being able to share valuable (and lead generating) discussions beyond just one person. If I’m giving free advice or counsel away, which often the initial contact involves, I want as big an audience as possible–that’s lead generation! This is why I try to have much of my initial conversations with suspects on Twitter.
- iPhone – This has become my communication command center. Since I spend as much time as possible away from the office. This is the nerve center for email, telephone, Twitter, Linkedin, and Gist. I can manage it all from this little workhorse.
4. Lead Management & Nurturing: Not every lead or even contact turns into a sale (at least not immediately) that where lead management is a secret weapon. Getting every one of your leads into a lead management system and learning to automate the nurturing process is a huge competitive edge.
This is even more significant when you generate many of your leads online. These leads are generally new suspects–they rarely close quickly. In addition, these leads will be at all stages of the buying cycle. Without lead management it will be impossible to manage any reasonable amount of these diverse prospects.
I use (of course) Kaleidico’s Sales Manager. It was one of those “scratch your own itch” projects and has become even more powerful with a strong, serious sales customer base.
Building a solid Sales Stack is critical in a Web 2.o sales world. There is so much data and the prospects coming from online sources are so diverse–you need help. Take some time today and carefully evaluate your Sales Stack–cut what you don’t need and integrate what you have into a seamless sales process.
What’s in your Sales Stack? Can you help me improve mine? I would appreciate the feedback.