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Sales Strategy
Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA Sales show will consider top strategies and tactics to generate leads for SMBs.

Our guest is Patti Pokorchak, Sales coach and award-winning marketing and sales executive.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks Podcast and discover:

* Aligning business strategy with sales channels - How can small companies play to the strengths of their salespeople?
* Unique Selling Propositions - How can companies get a clear statement of their unique value that people will be attracted to?
* What are some tips to create a captivating elevator pitch that will entice customers?
* Who's involved in creating and managing the sales funnel activities?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* How can salespeople get a clear understanding of which market benefits the most from what they have to offer?
* What are the top 2-3 sales activities all sales-focused pros in SMBs must do to build a sales funnel?
* In a world dominated by social selling, how important are referrals to the success of small businesses?

Read the edited transcription:

Bill Banham: Welcome to the Sales Hack Show. I'm your host, Bill Banham, and today we're talking about killer lead generation strategies for sales pros. Our guest today is Patti Pokorchak. Patti, welcome to the show.

Patti P: Thank you, Bill. I'm delighted to be on.

Bill Banham: The main focus of this interview is towards solopreneurs and SMBs and ways that they can really get their sales going and drive interest. So firstly, let's talk about aligning business strategy with the sales channels, this really core, fundamentally important part of it, before you actually start selling. How can small companies play, perhaps to the strengths of their sales people and help that shape their sales strategy?

Patti P: It's good to start right at the top. I call it "the dreaded P word", planning, and it's like when a small business owner has a vision and a mission and they know how they've been successful in the past, when they've grown enough to have a small team, is to make sure that they're trained properly so they know their unique value propositions. They know who their ideal target market is, they know what value to bring to that market. It's about, when you have a small team, I always say it's the Monday morning kickoff, because I don't think anybody should be cold calling, or calling clients unless pre-arranged on a Monday morning, but it should be 8 o'clock Monday you've got your team together, review the wins and losses of the previous week. Review what's in action for the following week, and what are the learnings and how can each sales professional learn from each other, 'cause you have accumulation. Some people are better on the phone, some people are better on social media. It's how can they all learn together, and just create some synergy. Training, making sure your salespeople are trained in the art of selling, and of the art of selling your service or product. That's really key.

Bill Banham: There is plenty of homework to be done before jumping straight in there, then?

Patti P: Yeah.

Bill Banham: In my first role, I remember being taught all about FABing, features, advantages and benefits. Trying to understand what the unique selling propositions were that we had, and you help a lot of companies with this. Before we get into the specifics of generating the sales, how can companies get a clear statement of their unique value that their market will be attracted to?

Patti P: Well, it's asking past clients, "Why did you buy from me?" It's going back and doing a survey. If you're not clear, and to get clarity, I'm a huge ask person. I'm like a three-year-old always asking, "Why did you do this?" Get feedback, and the best people to get it from is your past clients. Really know who your ideal market is and what value you bring to them. Again, like you said, the FAB. Features, people don't buy features, they buy the benefits, so I have something what I call my client’s success sheet or brag sheet, and it's results my clients have achieved by working with me, because you and I, we can sell. It's really advantageous, but the only thing I can keep ongoing is if my knowledge of skills transfer to somebody else. So that's why you should be accumulating and having rave reviews on your website and part of your social media, is rave reviews from your clients, and that's part of your unique value proposition. I guess the only difference is if somebody asks you, "So what do you do?" That you don't list a job title, you actually say, "We help clients like you, do this for these outcomes, these results. Did you want to increase your revenue? Did you want to make sales less fear, or more fun?" That kind of thing, you sort of lead them to, I always call sales a guided journey to knowing your value, knowing your ideal market, it just makes life easier.

Bill Banham: Another area that you help sales folk and entrepreneurs with is, getting that elevator pitch, that all important elevator pitch correct, so that it entices interest. Give us some tips about how on earth we do that?

Patti P: Pro athletes, they practice before they have the big game day. They practice, practice, practice, then the game day and they're ready. Entrepreneurs and many, many sales people, sales professionals, they practice on their prospects and that is so wrong. If you haven't been fortunate enough to have worked at a blue chip company like I did, and got two weeks residential sales training course, before I was allowed out on a real client, is you need to find a club, a mastermind, a group, or even just colleagues, even your small sales team, is get feedback, test and make sure that when you say your schlep. It is a schlep, when somebody says, "What do you do?" You can answer with, "You know when you have this problem? I help you solve it." Then you're already starting into the prequalification, because when you're at a networking event, you want to qualify, or disqualify people as fast as you can. So get feedback, test it when you're ... Talking to a true prospect, is look at their eyes, watch their body language. Are they looking at their watch, their phone? Or are they engaged with you? So test, test, test, ask questions, get feedback, revise. Practice on your way if you're going to a networking event, practice in your car on the way there. You can never practice too much. Don't have it the same, change it up, because people will buy for different reasons. To stop you from getting, sounding too canned, and too salesy. 'Cause nobody wants that, you want to come from the heart.

Bill Banham: We focused a moment ago there on networking and in-person selling, let's jump to the heart of this particular interview now here, and look at it, at a higher level. So in terms of the selling process for small businesses, what are the main marketing and sales channels, which generate the strongest leads? So it's not necessarily the most leads, but the strongest ones. So in-person networking for sure would be one, and I'd be keen to hear if you feel like that's the most valuable, and what are those other ones, which can make an impact?

Patti P: Well it all depends on what you're selling, who your target is, and what the average lifetime value of a client could be. If you're selling millions of dollars worth of, at a time, like a major contract for a SAS product, an enterprise, like SAP for example. You need to have those face-to-face meetings, your sales process is years. But if you're doing a consumer-based business, then you're probably on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. If your target is 30 and under, you're on Instagram. If it's like 35-plus, and you're female, you're probably on Facebook and Instagram. You kind of want to hedge your bets, but if you're business-to-business, it's LinkedIn. Like there's no ... I'm not sure about Twitter, you can waste a lot of time on Twitter, but you just think LinkedIn. Being active in groups, commenting, I mean people forget that social is, social means talking to people, it's like a dialogue, not a monologue. So don't just shout out, and go, "Buy me, buy me." You have to be engaging, you have to show your expertise by commenting on other people’s posts. It's all about engagement, it's all about sharing, and it's not all about you, put it that way. It's about other people.

Bill Banham: So in smaller companies, as this is our focus today. I've personally had a little bit of experience in working for smaller companies in sales and marketing roles. I've had different management styles certainly from the top. Who is typically involved in the creation and management of the sales funnel activities? Is that the sales leader, if there is one? If there isn't one, is it the CEO? I guess the question should also be who should it be?

Patti P: Who should it be? Well, I've been sort of consulting and coaching small business for over 25 years now. One thing I know for sure, just like Oprah, is if you cannot sell your own product or service, you can't outsource it, you can't hire for that. 'Cause how do you train something or manage a person where you'd have no skill set? So the first thing when you're building a company, I believe the strongest companies, when you think of Richard Branson and the Virgin Brand, Gary V. They are real strong promoters, so the vision and the strategy has to come from the top. When you get big enough and you know how to sell your stuff, whether it's a product or service, then you hire a VP of Sales, or a sales manager, or a sales professional. Then you teach them how you've done it, and then you just want to kind of scale and duplicate, rinse and repeat. Once you have a process down that works for you, just go for it, start scaling. I believe now more than ever, if you have, if you're big enough to have a marketing coordinator, or a marketing manager, they have to work hand in hand tightly with your sales professionals, 'cause it's no longer good enough just to say, "Oh here, here's some leads, go close them. Oh what you can't sell, because you can't close my valuable leads?" When the sales person can now say, "You know what, we don't need to do this anymore. They already know what they need to know, they're half-way through their buying process when we finally get them as a lead." So the whole process has been turned on its head, and it's like, they're in the driving seat now. The leads are driving you, you're not driving the sales process anymore.

Bill Banham: Perfect, well that just leaves me to say, Patti thank you for being the guest today.

Patti P: Thank you Bill, it's been a pleasure

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