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Author: Steve Watts

Definition of a Qualified Prospect and the Curse of the “Slow No”

We’ve all heard of the “Curse of the Slow No,” or the “Slow No Death Spiral”—sales reps wasting time pursuing prospects that they ultimately never had a chance of closing.

Anyone who’s spent any time in sales has likely had a phone call that went something like this: “Oh, well, it looks like the CFO already sent a check to Vendor X, so, um . . . sorry?”

The problem inexperienced reps often have is that they got dumped long before the so-called “final decision”—they just didn’t recognize it.

Which got me thinking, “What is the real definition of a qualified prospect?”

A traditional definition might resemble something like, “A qualified prospect is someone who meets the minimum criteria for buying a product or service, and has expressed a minimum level of interest to do so.” Hardly earth-shattering, right?

But try this trick and see what happens: add the words “from us” to the end of the definition—”A qualified prospect is someone who meets the minimum criteria for buying a product or service, and has expressed a minimum level of interest to buy from us.”

The idea is that on the surface, a potential buyer may meet all of the boiler-plate . . . .

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ELF Receives Major Improvements in Latest Release

The ability to nurture your leads overtime through ELF just got a whole lot easier. With the most recent release of InsideSales.com’s ELF, users gain additional powerful features making their drip marketing and lead nurturing tools even more effective. In the latest announcement, ELF now allows users the ability to trigger events based on actual dates and events. Previously, everything was done manually by selecting a frequency of contact. In the latest addition, for example, you can now enter the date of a tradeshow, June 6, 2012, and have ELF generate a campaign for exactly 3 weeks before the start of the date. This new feature allows campaigns to be more specific and more powerful in terms of relating the campaigns to events. Additionally, this release allows ELF to update information in any database field. In the previous ELF, users could only change the status of the lead and the lead owner. But now, the ability for more automation has enhanced allowing the ability to update fields. Within the new ELF you can say, “If this happens, update this field with this value. If that happens, update that field with that value.” For example, if a client’s contract expires on a specific date, you can have the ELF update a field one week before ensuring that you contact that client immediately. The new features honestly add endless possibilities to...

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The Social Selling Catch-22

Like sports, travel, and Justin Bieber, Anchorman provides a nearly unmatched wealth of metaphors applicable to the sales industry (and I’m only half-kidding about Bieber. Hate the music, but give the kid some props—he definitely understands his target audience and their needs).

With salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff making it the entire focus of Dreamforce 2011, “social selling” is, in the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “kind of a big deal” these days. In a world where attention spans are short, having an edge in connecting with prospects makes every step of the sales process easier and faster. Professional sales reps–particularly inside sales reps who sell remotely–seemingly can’t afford NOT to be connected to the various social platforms.

Inside sales expert Ken Krogue notes that a LinkedIn invitation with the exact same content as a marketing-generated email is 8x more effective at getting responses than the email by itself. Hubspot reports that companies that blog get 55% more Web traffic, 70% more leads, and 57% of organizations have acquired a customer through an interaction on their blog. In addition, companies with an active Twitter account get 2x as many sales leads, and organizations with 1000+ followers get 6x more traffic.

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Sales and Marketing – “It’s Time to Ask Yourself What You Believe”

It’s been nearly three months since the Sales Insider’s last blog post.

I’ve been heavily involved with the new InsideSales.com Certified Administrator project, and various Dreamforce 2011-related projects, so other than an occasional tweet, and interacting with clients, time for our online presence has been in short supply.

However, a few weeks ago in a company meeting, we watched this presentation on TED.com. And I was absolutely compelled to write a post on its contents.

It’s 18 minutes long. The ideas presented within it are simple and easy to comprehend.

And I cannot stop thinking about it.

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Inside Sales Tip: 7 Slump-Busting Ways to Get Your Mojo Back

Everyone goes through sales slumps. If you haven’t yet, you’re either too new to the profession . . . . or you just haven’t been doing it long enough.

We’ve got some sharp sales reps here at InsideSales.com, so I thought I’d talk to them about what they do to get out of their personal pipeline woes.

  1. Separate the real opportunities from the fluff: “When I hit a slow period, sometimes I’ll throw some stuff overboard and just start over. When your pipeline sucks, it means you’re wasting time chasing stuff you can’t really close. Focus on generating better deals instead of chasing garbage.” — R.J. Tracy
  2. Focus on “touch” quality, in addition to quantity: “Our software [the InsideSales.com Lead Response Management Suite] has built-in safeguards to make sure we do enough follow-up, but let’s be honest, not all follow-up activity is created equal. A call is a call, as far as your numbers are concerned, but being ready and engaged . . . .

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