Today's sales teams must adapt to remain relevant in the minds of their buyers. Here are four inbound sales tips to help you connect with your prospects.
Jeff Lambert: Today's sales teams must adapt to remain relevant in the minds of their buyers. Here are four inbound sales tips to help you connect with your prospects.
Jeff Lambert: Hello everybody. Welcome to Inbound Academy. I am your host, Jeff Lambert. This podcast of course is brought to you by Rizen. I'm very excited to be representing them. They are a leading voice down here in Miami and growing in other places in inbound marketing and sales and we are going to talk about a topic today that has to do with inbound sales for a change. We have focused on inbound marketing a lot on this podcast, but certainly the inbound philosophy goes both ways in terms of how you implement strategies to just better connect with customers and grow your business. To talk about some inbound sales strategies that can help you streamline your processes and save some time and just overall convert more leads, I've invited Rogelio Rodriguez, he's the CEO of Rizen into the studio and he is a sales veteran. Rod, thanks for coming by.
Rod Rodriguez: Thanks for having me Jeff.
Jeff Lambert: Rod, how long have you been doing sales for?
Rod Rodriguez: Since I was a little kid convincing my parents to get me a toy, so a long, long time, over 30 years.
Jeff Lambert: Okay. We're going to draw on that experience, see what you can do to help our salespeople who are listening or people who have been put into a position of trying to increase sales. Could be a small business owner, could be an entrepreneur, could be someone who doesn't have any experience at all with marketing and sales. Maybe we can help them, give them some tips today. Why don't we start off by talking about, I guess the current experience that a lot of salespeople face on their day to day jobs. Just I guess the frustrations that come with a traditional approach. You talk to a lot of people that are in sales. What's the normal things that you hear about how their days go?
Rod Rodriguez: Sure. They're doing a lot of prospecting typically through cold calling. A lot of sifting through haystacks, if you will, looking for needles. Which is investing a lot of time in finding these individuals. And sometimes they're not the right fit. They may not be the right fit lead or may not be qualified to work with them. They spend a lot of time pitching, but not a lot of time converting individuals into customers. And most of them, they want to find something easier. An easier way to do their job.
Jeff Lambert: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's important to stop and if you're listening to the show and you feel like you've just been unsuccessful in your sales efforts lately, this is a normal feeling, a normal situation for a salesperson to have to deal with, you're saying.
Rod Rodriguez: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: It seems like this is the way you got to do it. You've got to get your name out there, you've got to hustle, you've got to call people. You have to get the word out in any way you can. But you're saying that there's different methods that you could adopt that's a little bit different from the traditional route.
Rod Rodriguez: Yes. In really in sales the inbound way, or the inbound sales methodology is a different way to take a look at everything from prospecting to interacting with the leads and turning those leads into customers. The reason why inbound sales is now more effective is because buyer's behavior has changed over time. They're more educated, they engage with competitors' websites and social media very easily, they don't really need salespeople all the way from the beginning. Before, a long time ago, it was more like buyer beware because the salesperson had all the power, they had all the product knowledge, they had all the information, they were the gatekeepers essentially to getting what you wanted.
Rod Rodriguez: And today, with the power of technology, the internet, search engines, voice search, Alexa, Google Home, all these different elements allow you to have access to information very easily and you can very easily become educated about a specific product or service. The sales, the need for salespeople is different. They're more, or salespeople should be there as guides to help them along this process. To help them make a decision, the right decision.
Jeff Lambert: You think about, just let's take a step back and think about how the process has changed overall. We're both borderline millennials, so our parents probably came to purchasing power in early seventies, late seventies. You think about the world that they were in, if they wanted to go buy a new vacuum cleaner, they'd go to JC Penney's, Macy's, Sears, somewhere like that. And there's five vacuums there. The only way that you can find out the main differences between these vacuums is either getting a recommendation from a family friend or the salesperson because they have the information on these products. What other options do you have? You going to call the manufacturer and have them send you a manual and then read five manuals and figure out what the best option is?
Rod Rodriguez: Basically yes. If you were going to be an educated consumer at that time, I think that was the only option at that time.
Jeff Lambert: So much work.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah, a lot of work.
Jeff Lambert: Man. And you think about now, you and I, if I need a new shirt, I can just do a quick Google search for shirts made of a certain material, shirts for certain activities. I'm going to get 10 results right there and I can look it all 10 and find out everything I need to know in the span of time that takes my mom in 1970 to drive to Sears and flag down a salesman and ask him that question.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: That's crazy.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: It makes sense that traditional frustrations don't have to be the same today as they were 30 years ago. Why don't we talk about that a little bit more. You have some methods and strategies that you've learned over time just from being in sales, from adopting an inbound sales philosophy yourself. Why don't we share some of those methods with some of our listeners, things that they can do in their processes to kind of save time and streamline operations and just find more success with their sales efforts. Can you give me a one method that you've used that's improved your sales methods over time?
Rod Rodriguez: Sure. I'll give you an example. I started in sales doing cold calls. That was a important part of my sales career. It taught me a lot. It taught me to have a tough skin, but it was a lot of the same thing. I was sifting through this haystack, looking for these needles, and it was drudgery. And what I found over time is that you need to really be precise in your prospecting. When you put up a blog post or offer an ebook, people will view it and download it and return to it later again. You're putting content out there that's specifically used to attract individuals to you. It doesn't mean that everyone in that audience that reads it or consumes it will be a potential lead. And you can cut down the time that you're chasing down these forfeit leads by developing really a standard of what a sales qualified lead is. You're almost reversing the way that sales works. You're trying to attract individuals and those individuals are the ones that are actually looking for you through content that you're outputting.
Jeff Lambert: Just to give an example of what you're saying, 10 people sign up for my email newsletter in a week instead of calling all 10 of those people, there could be more to say, "Okay they downloaded the newsletter but there should probably be another step and that defines who I should go after?"
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. Absolutely. There is, as in keeping with how buyers are changing and their behavior is changing, you got to think about things like is it a worthwhile lead to you? Is it someone who listens to a podcast? Or is it someone who has had a chat with a customer service rep already? Signed up for an email newsletter like you mentioned? But the idea is to have a constant access to the data that you're collecting and being able to see that data and take the appropriate actions based on where the customer is in the buying journey. Then you'll know which ones are worth chasing. Someone that signs up for a newsletter at this moment, I really don't follow up with, I let the newsletter do the work.
Jeff Lambert: It's not enough.
Rod Rodriguez: That's the marketing you can do. Right, it's not enough. But I'll give you a live example of lead that came into our agency just last month. It was a law firm. They signed up for a new letter back in October and in November they clicked on a link on the newsletter that was the ultimate guide to business development for law firms. They read the whole thing. Then they clicked on another link and then downloaded an ebook. Then after they downloaded the ebook, they came back and came back to another one of our pages for an inbound marketing assessment. At that point that lead was ready. They actually requested information to meet with me personally and booked an appointment on our website to meet. Definitely worthwhile to go and sit down and speak with that individual.
Jeff Lambert: That's more of a qualified lead that you should spend time nurturing than like you're saying, one person, they randomly signed up for the email newsletter, which is great and you should keep nurturing that individual, but calling him, putting in heavy effort, maybe not so much.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: I think that that makes a lot of sense, but that's going to depend on the business, right?
Rod Rodriguez: Yes. Yeah. It definitely depends on the business, whether it's, the approach is different with each business. A service business versus maybe an eCommerce business, where the sales a lot smaller. You may take a different approach or a different way to nurture that relationship, but you're still, the idea is to be mindful of the data you're capturing and where that individual is, what are they consuming? And have that understanding beforehand, before you reach out and talk to them. Try to understand the context of the conversation that you're going to have with them before you have it with them.
Jeff Lambert: Yeah. Why don't we go ahead and jump into that because I think that's a really good point you make. Each business kind of has to look at what factors make a good read, and that's precision prospecting. That's one that we talked about. Now you mentioned about context, approaching the customer with context. Can you talk about that a little bit more?
Rod Rodriguez: Sure. You got to as I said, you have to make sure that you're starting with understanding the context before beginning the communication with them. Who are they? What stage of the buyer's journey are they currently in? Really try to research them as much as possible. I usually take these three steps. Research is step one. You check them out on social media, look at their company's website, find out what their role is, how long they've been there, who their boss is, and what the company's possibly needs may be. Before talking to them, I already know a lot about them and it makes it easier for me to build a rapport when I finally call them or reach out to them.
Jeff Lambert: Yeah, you're taking the cold out of cold call.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: Got you.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. And really, so one of the things that I did in following up with that lead that I was telling you about, her middle name is Christmas and it was right around Christmas time.
Jeff Lambert: Huh, Christmas.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah, Christmas. She's awesome. And yeah, I sent her a video actually and let her know, hey, by the way, I love your middle name, it's my favorite time of the year. And she responded immediately from that video.
Jeff Lambert: And you didn't find that out from just looking at the date and saying, "Oh she downloaded an ebook or she listened to a podcast." You did research.
Rod Rodriguez: I did. I found that her middle name was Christmas on LinkedIn.
Jeff Lambert: Okay. You are immediately kind of created a personal connection.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: Doing the research. Yes. That makes perfect sense to establish context. Do you have any other, you said there were three steps.
Rod Rodriguez: Yes, the second step is using lead intelligence. A lot of CRMs have the capability to show you insights into how people are interacting with your website, with your customer service reps or sales reps. Internally we use HubSpot. HubSpot helps us capture this type of information. How they're interacting with our website, how they're interacting with us on social media. Then also if they've interacted with us in terms of downloading information from us as well.
Jeff Lambert: Great.
Rod Rodriguez: But the idea behind using the lead intelligence is to really understand where they are in the buyer's journey. One of the, some of the elements that we look for, or the questions that we ask are, what phrase did they type into Google when searching for you? You can see that inside some of the insights reports inside HubSpot as well. What blog post have they read on the site? Someone reading the beginner's guide to law firm marketing is going to be different, at a different mindset than somebody that's looking for a comparison report for law firm CRMs. Very different mindset. We have to keep that in mind and understand that when we're talking to them. What emails did they open that you sent, what content did they download? And then when you make your first call, use the info to take advantage to start the conversation.
Jeff Lambert: You already know where they are. You can instead of trying to play the whole get to know you game right off the bat in terms of trying to understand what company they work for, where they're at, who's the decision maker, You're already into the conversation. Hey I saw you downloaded these things and this is a need you seem to have. Let me tell you what we can offer you.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: That's amazing. And just real quick, we're talking about using a CRM, it's amazing what customer relationship management software can give you in terms of data. And for our listeners, if you didn't get the chance, if you go back to episode 41, I sat down with Will, who talked about why you should adopt a CRM for your company. If you have questions about what a CRM is and what that software can do for your business, go back to episode 41 and check that out. All right, we covered two steps to take, Rod, when you're trying to create context with the customer, with the potential lead. Do research up front, check them out on social media, check out the company website. You're saying news lead intelligence. That's great. I think, do you have any more? It's just two right?
Rod Rodriguez: No, just keeping in mind that you have, that not every lead is a decision maker at the company. They may be passing information to that individual and just being mindful when you're talking to them to, your objective should be to create a champion and help them help their boss if that needs to happen. Oftentimes I think most companies do decisions by committee at this point. They take into consideration a lot of their team's influence. A marketing manager will definitely influence a chief marketing officer, for example. And vice versa. Somebody in the finance may influence the CFO and CEO as well.
Jeff Lambert: The lesson here really is, just because the person that contacts you isn't a C level executive, that doesn't mean you should just write them off, right?
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely. I think you got to make a champion out of them, be a friend. Be helpful because they're going to be able to get you into the right place. They were just tasked to do the research and find the information.
Jeff Lambert: And that goes back to the whole thing we talked about before. They don't necessarily need you to sell them on the product, they need you to help fill in the gaps with the questions they have because they're trying to solve a problem.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: Got it. Okay. Any other final tips you have for optimizing sales? Any little tricks that you find effective? I know you do a lot of video.
Rod Rodriguez: Yes. Yeah. I think a final tip would be, don't try to push the sale. Don't be old.
Jeff Lambert: Used car salesman.
Rod Rodriguez: Used car salesman. That's the only thing that comes up to mind. Obviously I think you have to remember to be as helpful as possible and ask yourself, is this good for the individual that I'm talking to? Is this going to be the right thing that I'm doing for them? Are you helping or exploiting? You shouldn't be exploiting, obviously. You got to just remember that they don't need the salesperson necessarily and they need your help in making their decision. And can you provide them value at this point? And if you can, then your chances are higher closing the sale. And if you take the high pressure low assistance route, your chances are going to drop. Your chances are going to drop if you push them.
Jeff Lambert: It's true. I tend to avoid people that were the first. You go into a store and that first person that greets you, it's just trying to take you over and pressuring you into buying a certain thing. You kind of try and distance yourself from those people.
Rod Rodriguez: Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: And yeah, no one wants to deal with that.
Rod Rodriguez: No. I think the way I was going to go, lead into it actually, the way that you adapt to today's world I think is building your own brand as a salesperson. Being the connector, being the most helpful person in your group or your network and trying to solve issues for people. A problem solver. Be different. Don't be the salesman that pushes people into buying the Ferrari. And the other, one of the ways that I've been doing, I've been using this strategy is, or leveraging some of this experience is by putting or using a video in my prospecting. I found it very, very effective.
Jeff Lambert: Can you give us just a quick example of how you use the video? Are you sending a message on Facebook Messenger? What do you do usually?
Rod Rodriguez: Not Facebook Messenger. Typically on LinkedIn or a cold email essentially. Although not really that cold because I do a lot of research beforehand. I'll do prospecting. I'll do research on what, who I want to meet and the type of companies that I want to meet. And then I find an individual and I create a video using, I have a tool from Wistia and I also use another tool from Go Video that allows me to do these videos that they record my face and they record the website that I'm approaching. The website of the company that I'm approaching. And I do a simple video just saying hi and letting them know that I have some experience that I'd like to share with them that could help them. And then to book a meeting with me. That I'm there to help. Typically we're converting around 20% of the videos that I send out.
Jeff Lambert: That's a lot higher than I think what the traditional approach would be.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah. As I'm fond of cold calling, but it is a tough job for salespeople. You have to have some pretty tough skin because people hang up on you. They're just, they're not as receptive as you would for a video. We live in the world where everything's on demand. Netflix. Sending them a video that they can watch whenever they want at their own leisure, at their own pace, I think just goes in line with that on demand nature that we're, or behavior that we're looking at.
Jeff Lambert: That's true. It's on their terms.
Rod Rodriguez: It's on their terms. Absolutely. They can choose to watch it whenever they want.
Jeff Lambert: Well I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit, Rod, because you're mentioning that you want to be helpful and not just sell a product here. Are there ways people can connect with you, anybody listening to the podcast, if they want to maybe see what you do personally? Maybe some of the videos you put out. I know you're active on social media.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah, no, absolutely. They can interact with me on Instagram, on TicTok, on Twitter. I have the same user name, R-O-D-U-S-M-C. Yeah, and I'm constantly trying to post more. I'm trying to go to the Gary V. way, 60 posts, but we'll see. We'll see if we get there. But yeah, they can send me a message wherever. I'm open to talking to almost anybody. I enjoy what I do. I love sharing all the information that I get.
Jeff Lambert: Rod, thank you for coming and sharing some strategies that have worked for you and I guess putting yourself out there as a networking opportunity for our listeners.
Rod Rodriguez: Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: We'll see you again soon, I'm sure.
Rod Rodriguez: All right.
Jeff Lambert: And to our listeners, thank you so much for joining us for today's episode again. And remember we put out a new episode every week and it's always going to be filled with advice that's going to help you grow your business. And remember, if you are looking for an experienced, friendly and results driven team that can help your business grow, you can check out Rizen by going to gorizen.com. You can also follow them on Facebook maybe if you want to do a little research, a little feeling up the company before you're ready to take the jump or start a conversation. They are active on social media, they're on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and you can search for them with the username RizenInbound. That's one word, RizenInbound.
Jeff Lambert: And just one last thing. If you're a regular listener, you can help us out a lot by just going and leaving a review on the podcast app that you use. That helps us get in front of new listeners and we want to just reach as many people as we can and help them out, be able to improve their marketing and sales. Thank you for your support and we will see you on the next episodes.