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Written by: Sabrina Ferraioli

When the InsideSales.com research lab surveyed sales leaders about their top challenges, one of their questions caught our attention. InsideSales.com asked, which is more challenging, building a pipeline or closing a sale?

More than six in ten respondents (63.48%) identified building the pipeline as a more significant challenge. It stands to reason. If you have built a strong sales force, developed an excellent training program and have clear messaging, then all you need is a pipeline full of qualified buyers interested in what you are selling.

Building your pipeline may not be a matter of attracting and adding more leads into your funnel. You may not be converting enough leads into prospects … buyers that are primed and ready to speak with your sales reps. In other words, it’s not always a problem with leads going into the pipeline; it’s a problem with the output. Leads are leaking out or not filtering down the funnel, and not enough are becoming sales appointments. 

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Written by: Jeff Kalter

Customers will leave you. It’s a fact of business. But while we accept that customers leave, we don’t have to be complacent about it. Instead, we should fight with all we have to retain customers and build a long, happy, mutually profitable relationship. For one thing, satisfied customers tell their friends. What’s more, angry customers tell everyone who will listen. More importantly, your existing customers are the lifeblood of your business. And the longer they remain your customers, the greater their impact on your bottom line.

It’s true. Your existing customers who continue to buy will spend almost 70% more than new customers. According to Bain & Company research, just a 5% increase in customer retention can boost your profits by 25% or more.

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Written by: Sabrina Ferraioli

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Why should you care, as long as the leads are qualified? Right?

It matters more than you think. Of all the leads in your sales funnel, only 3% are active buyers at any given time. Another 7% may be intending to buy shortly. The other 90% are either not yet ready to buy, do not have a need or are not interested in buying from you.

But who falls into what category? Lead qualification can help you make that determination. In turn, a lead—properly qualified—allows your salespeople to focus their efforts where it matters most. 

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Written by: Jeff Kalter

Sales strategies and tactics come and go like the flavor of the month. What’s trending now may be soon forgotten.

And yet, one thing doesn’t change: Customers have problems and needs, and sellers have products and services that can help them.

All sales strategies are designed to bring the two sides together. Whether it’s called solution selling, relationship marketing, SPIN selling, Challenger Sales or consultative selling, the common denominator is finding a solution to the customer’s business problems.

As a 1992 article in Fortune Magazine explained, “the hotshot sales rep of this decade will be a facilitator, not a pitchman, an expert on the customer’s total business who coordinates with colleagues to make buying easy and efficient.”

That was before the Internet changed everything. 

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Written by: Jeff Kalter

If you aren’t personalizing your sales approach, you could be leaving money, appointments and new customers on the table.

While many argue that inside sales are a numbers game, the truth is you can only boost your results a finite amount by increasing your call volume. There are only so many hours in the workday.

But there is another option. You can focus on becoming more efficient, and a great place to start is by personalizing your sales process. 

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Written by: Sabrina Ferraioli

There’s no way around it. Cold calling is a challenge. That doesn’t mean you should stop making the calls. Instead, get smarter about your cold calling strategy, which is possible with today’s data tools. They can help you be smarter about your contacts and provide insight into their buying plans that gives you the competitive edge. Brushing up on your sales techniques and being persistent about making calls also pays dividends.

Here are some quick tips to make cold calling work better than you ever thought possible.

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Written by: Jeff Kalter

If like most B2B companies, upwards of 97% of your calls are going to voicemail, it’s probably time to talk about the critical role voicemail plays in your call strategy. We’ve written about voicemail before and suggested strategies for getting past an executive’s gatekeeper to leave a message. But there’s more to voicemail than simply dodging a roadblock and leaving a message.

Voicemail is more than a missed connection. It’s more than a mechanical process, “Hi, this is Jane Doe from Acme. Sorry I missed you. Please call me at…” Instead, it’s an opportunity to begin a conversation — even if you end up leaving several messages before actually speaking with a prospective customer.

Consider this: InsideSales.com reports that a carefully crafted voicemail can improve your response rates by as much as 22%. A well-crafted voicemail requires planning, preparation, and practice. Let’s get to work. 

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Written by: Aaron Biefeni

As a manager, your results depend on your team’s ability to perform to their full potential. You can enable them with processes and high-tech tools, but to eke out the best performance day-in and day-out you need to focus on engaging your team in their work and developing them to be the best they can be.

Here are seven tips for doing just that. 

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Written by: Giorgia Rosati

Between paid ads, blogging, email and social media marketing, cold calling and more, companies spend a lot of money trying to acquire new customers. However, many act as if the battle is won after the first sale. Not so! Companies that fail to invest in their existing customers are likely to lose their most significant assets. A survey by SAS and Loyalty 360 found that 68% of new business comes from current clients. And, since it can cost five to 25 times as much to attract a new customer as to keep an existing one, keeping your churn rate as low as possible will help you get more mileage out of your budget. 

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Written by: Sabrina Ferraioli

Not long ago, enabling customers to contact your business through multiple channels — voice, email, web forms, fax, chat and text messages — was on the cutting edge. In this way, customers were empowered to start conversations with companies through whichever communication means worked best for them. 

While companies pursing a multi-channel strategy had taken a giant step in the right direction, it turned out that they had not gone far enough. Unfortunately, each channel tended to operate in isolation, and because customers use multiple channels, that’s a problem. For instance, customers may start a conversation on chat, then call to talk with a live human being. When channels operate in silos, customers may need to repeat information they’ve already relayed, leading to disjointed and frustrating customer experiences.

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