Sales Articles from Cloud Artillery

Creating a More Sales Conducive Office Environment: Tips for Sales Managers

Creating a More Sales Conducive Office Environment: Tips for Sales Managers

Chaos has arrived. Your office, once so pristine and calm, is a series of little failures, with project timelines shattered, paperwork stacked in every corner, and team members scrambling to return client calls. You can’t trace the source of this depressing spiral. You simply know that it’s now beyond your control.

Creating a conducive sales environment proves challenging for even the most experienced managers. It requires patience, dedication, and an understanding of how to improve both the office and morale. It is also a major key to sales effectiveness, so it’s worth striving for.

Inspiring Staffer, Creating Sales: Four Ways to Improve the Office

To build a stronger office foundation, embrace these four elements:

Hiring

It may be hard to find good help, but it’s necessary. Employees are the foundation of any office, and your responsibility is to choose the best individuals available. Find complementary staffers, utilizing diverse skills and experiences to bolster each sale. Be certain to avoid toxic influencers (those with impressive resumes but less than stellar personalities) since they will negatively affect the team dynamic. Choose the right people for each position.

Fostering Team Mentality

To ensure steady sales and effective closes, foster a strong sense of community among your team. Schedule daily or weekly meetings to address any concerns as well as establish communication. Plan team outings to solidify bonds. Create an open environment, with staffers able to easily interact with each other. Stress the importance of teamwork and its effects on the company’s overall success.

Providing Feedback

Mistakes happen, and correcting those mistakes helps to establish a positive environment for self-correction and improvement. Provide feedback to all team members, assessing both strengths and weakness. Offer suggestions for improvement and reward positive behaviors. This better defines company goals and builds relationships, both which translate to enhanced office performance.

Introducing Natural Light

To improve each member’s mood, introduce sunshine into the office. According to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, productive environments are well lit. The mind and body both respond to spectral lighting, with an increase in focus, stress hormone management, motivation, alertness, and emotional stability. Make your office bright and airy for the best team results.

Note: if it’s impossible to add natural light to an environment, consider LED bulbs and mirrored walls. Together, these mimic spectral lighting.

Conclusion

Achieving high sales requires far more than methodologies and playbooks. A positive, team-centric environment is needed instead to ensure success.

5 Ways to Close B2B Deals More Efficiently

5 Ways to Close B2B Deals More Efficiently

 

B2B selling is far more complicated than B2C selling. As B2B expert and noted author Geoffrey James told Forbes in 2011, closing deals at the B2B level involves more than just knowledge of “products and people,” but also of “industries, trends, organizations, and internal business processes.” Building that knowledge about your industry and your sales leads is obviously the most important thing you can do to guarantee success, but here are seven techniques that can help you close your deals once that knowledge has been attained.

  1. Build a library of testimonials from previous or existing clients

Most B2B buyers tend to take everything said in sales pitches with a grain of salt, because they aren’t sure how much of the pitch is truth and how much is exaggeration. By building a library of testimonials from previous customers or existing clients, you can back up every part of your pitch with evidence.

  1. Offer sales prospects the chance to try your product/service on a trial basis

It’s difficult to close a B2B deal on a pitch alone, simply because your prospects are always going to be hesitant to make a substantial investment in a product they haven’t tried or a service they haven’t seen in action. If you can provide potential clients with “hands on” time with your product—either in the form of a complimentary service, a product demo, or a trial period—then you will have a better chance of getting your foot in the door.

  1. Quantify the impact

Whenever possible, offer quantifiable information about how your product or service can help your prospective client. Is your product cheaper than competing products? If so, provide information about how much cheaper. Has your service helped businesses expedite their project timelines in the past? If so, by how much? Businesses love numbers and cold hard statistics, so the more your company can quantify the impact of its products or services, the more success you will have at closing deals.

  1. Don’t be afraid to use humor

Many B2B salespeople don’t know whether or not using humor in sales pitches is a good idea. After all, B2B pitches are by definition a more formal, professional situation than B2C pitches. However, the need to put your prospective clients at ease remains the same in both scenarios. In other words, don’t be afraid to use humor: it will break the ice and encourage your sales prospect to engage with your words more than they would otherwise.

  1. Don’t use the hard sell

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that pressuring sales prospects into making a purchase rarely works at the B2B level. So use the techniques above to work your way toward a close, but let the opportunity for a close arise naturally instead of pushing for it with the hard sell. Your prospective business clients have a lot to think about when making a deal, and pressuring will only sour the atmosphere of the pitch.

Keys to Creating an Effective Sales Playbook

Keys to Creating an Effective Sales Playbook

A sales playbook is a dynamic document that contains the best practices and most effective selling methods for a company and its products.  The sales playbook plays many roles including a reference manual for newly on-boarded reps, a clear definition of your company’s sales methodology as well as a bridge between marketing and the sales team.

Make the sales process clear

The sales playbook should be organized by each stage of the sales process.  It might start with “prospecting”, then “qualification” all the way through the “close”. Each stage having it’s own page with a clear definition of what it means to be in that stage and some useful information and content to be used at that stage.  It should also be clear what needs to be accomplished at each stage of the sales process in order to keep the deal moving forward.  The sales person should be able to open the playbook, find the stage that they are in and know what to do in order to move the deal closer to close.

Easy access

The up front investment in creating a sales playbook is substantial.  So you want to make sure people are using it.  In order to be sure of this, it has to be easy to access.  If your sales team spends a lot of time in a CRM system like Salesforce, the sales playbook should be available from the CRM.  If they spend a lot of time on the road, they should be able to access it from their mobile device.  Just remember that the harder it is to access the playbook, the less likely it will be used, so try to remove as many barriers as possible.

Keep it dynamic and updated

Your sales methodology will probably not change frequently, but the contents of your sales playbook should.  Marketing spends a lot of time producing great content that should be shared and delivered to your prospects and customers.  Marketing can use the playbook to keep the latest content and latest slide decks in front of your sales team to make sure they are delivering the freshest message to your prospects.

These are just a few keys to creating and maintaining an effective sales playbook.  We’ll be writing more posts on sales playbooks as well as other salesforce best practices in the weeks ahead.

photo credit: Becoming an open leader via photopin (license)

Why can’t I see this field in Salesforce? (a checklist for troubleshooting)

One of the most common issues that a Salesforce admin hears about is someone not being able to see a field.  This is going to be a quick checklist that you can use to troubleshoot this issue and figure out why someone can’t see a field in Salesforce.  Let’s get started!

1) Is the field on the page layout?

pageLayoutAssignment (1)

Salesforce Page Layout Assignment button

Before we get into complex things like object and field level security, lets just do a sanity check and make sure the field is on the page layout.  But first, you need to figure out which page layout to look at, which means you need to know the end user’s profile. Once you know what their profile is, you can go to the Page Layout Assignment page to see which page layout they have.  To get to the assignment page, go to Setup, then depending on whether its a custom or standard object, go to the object’s page under “Create” or “Customize”.  Then click the Page Layouts link, then click on the Page Layout Assignment button.
Once you have the Page Layout that they are on, click on the link to view the page layout and verify that the field that they want to see is there.  If it’s not there, add it to the page layout and ask if they can see it.  If they can, great.  if they still can’t see it, go to the next step.

2) Check field level security for their Profile

salesforce field level security

Salesforce Field Level Security button

There are a couple of different ways to do this, but the easiest way is to go to the list of fields for the object in the Setup area.  You can do this using the Force.com Quick Access menu, or you can go to Setup, then go to the object that you are investigating, then click on the Fields link.  Go to the field that you are investigating, and click on the field name link.  On this page there should be a Set Field-Level Security button.  Click on that, and the next page should show you which profiles have read and edit access to this field.  Make sure that the profile of the user has read and or edit access.  Click the box or boxes and click save.  This should allow them to see and edit (depending on if you checked the edit box as well) the field.  Nice work!

Limits of Salesforce Campaign Statistics

Salesforce campaigns are a simple and powerful way to track campaign effectiveness without any customization of the Marketing Cloud.  If you’re already using campaigns you probably already know the many benefits of using Salesforce campaigns in conjunction with your various marketing automation tools, event lists and even purchased lists.  But that’s not what this article is about.  This article is about what to watch out for when defining your campaigns and the limits you might face related to campaign statistics.

Many companies who are using a marketing automation tool like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot… (there are a ton of them out there), are using their marketing automation tool of choice to send leads to Salesforce and attach them to a campaign.  This is a great way to measure effectiveness and quality of the leads that are coming in through different channels on the website.  One thing to watch out for however, is using one campaign to bucket a very large group of incoming leads.  For example, if you a have trial signup page on your website for your product, and you have your marketing automation tool automatically send those signups as leads to Salesforce (a common practice), you might be sending them all to one individual campaign.  This works fine, until you hit a certain limit (somewhere in the tens of thousands).  The problem is that each time you add a new lead (or contact) to a campaign, the statistics for that campaign will be recalculated automatically by Salesforce, and when a campaign has tens of thousands of members, this can take a significant amount of time, and this time delay can cause other leads to not be able to be added to the campaign because the campaign is busy updating statistics.

One solution to this issue, would be to create a new campaign each month or year depending on how quickly your campaigns get filled up.  This takes a little bit more effort, however its worth while considering the fact that if you let your campaigns get too large, it can prevent leads from being created all together.  With reporting, you will still be able to aggregate your overall statistics as well, if you are interested in seeing those stats over a longer period of time that one month or one year.

Can’t find your new field to add to a Salesforce report?

Let’s face it, Salesforce reporting is not easy.  Even though the newer drag-and-drop feature makes it a little easier to use, it’s still not an intuitive system for non-super users.  One of the most common issues a Salesforce administrator faces, is helping people create reports.  It’s a major issue because you have all of this data at your fingertips, but if you can’t extract the data into meaningful reports… what’s the point?

So you just added a new field to track something interesting, and you want to report on it.  But when you go to the nice drag and drop report creator, the field is missing?  Don’t give up just yet.  The solution is not simple, and you will likely forget how to do it after the first time you get it done, so feel free to remember this article the next time you try to create a report and can’t find a field.  So here we go.

First, you will have to create a “Custom Report Type”. To do that go to Setup>App Setup>Create>Report Types. From there you want to give it a name, and make sure it’s deployed so you can use it immediately.  On the next page you’ll choose which related objects this report type will report on.  After you save, you should be on a page that shows you the details of the report type you just created.  Here’s the sneaky part, click on the “Edit Layout” button at the very bottom of the screen in a section called “Fields available for reports”.  That will take you to the really old and ugly screen in the photo below (click to enlarge):

salesforce report type fields

So basically what you are seeing on this screen, is a piece of the OLD Salesforce reporting tool, before the days of drag-and-drop (Somehow this is still alive and hasn’t been updated).  On the left side, you see all of the fields that are available to report on (this is everything you already see when you try to create a report).  In that little box in the bottom right corner of the image are fields that you can add to be available for reporting (this is where you will find the missing fields).  You can page through that box and look for any field that might be missing (I suggest you add all fields to be able to report on anything).  Once you’ve added your fields, you can save your report type.

Finally, you can go to the reports tab, create a new report and make sure you choose the custom report type that you just created.  Now in the drag-and-drop report creator, you will see the fields that you added.  Wasn’t that easy and intuitive?  Not really, but I’m hoping this is an area that Salesforce is looking to improve.  Until then, keep this article as a guide the next time you’re missing some fields to report on.

Why can’t I inline edit this list view in salesforce?

One of the most convenient “out of the box” features in Salesforce, is the inline editing in list views.  Everyone finds this useful, from sales people to administrators.  But have you ever noticed how sometimes your list views are not editable?  Maybe you created a new list view, and all of a sudden you can’t do inline editing in your new list view.  Well, there is a simple but not so obvious fix for this.

The reason why some list views are editible and some are not, is because of Record Types.  A list view is only inline-editable if the list view is only showing one record type.  If you aren’t using record types at all, then you’re in luck, any list view you create will have inline-editing automatically.  However, if you are using record types, you will have to include Record Type in your list view filter criteria, so that the view is only showing one Record Type at a time.  Not a very exciting solution I know… and the reason why this limitation exists is unknown which makes it extra frustrating.  But at least you know how to fix it! Now go on, and spread the inline editing love.

Salesforce Tips for All Roles

I hope to share Salesforce best practices, tips, tricks and any other knowledge that you may find helpful (feel free to request any topics via the comments section or emailing javi@cloudartillery.com).  The posts won’t be very frequent, hopefully twice a month, but I want to share some insight into the many nuances that Salesforce has. If you’re totally new to Salesforce, or a wily veteran, you should find the content of this blog useful and hopefully slightly entertaining. This blog is targeted to sales people who use Salesforce, Admins who manage Salesforce and even Developers who customize Salesforce.  If you’ve ever used Salesforce, you know that there are some “weirdnesses”, that you’d only know about from experience.  I hope to bring those to light and share some wisdom in the greyer areas of Salesforce.