🏈 Philly Special
As fans of the sports ball here at EBH, we are gearing up for the biggest event of the year. Nearly 100M people will tune in to watch Super Bowl LVI, but the more interesting competition of course is the game outside the game – the commercials! As astute readers of this fine newsletter, you understand that the ultimate business flex is spending $6M for 30 seconds of air time. I mean every CEO dreams of spending that kind of money to sing out of tune to promote their company right? 👀
Everyone knows all publicity is good publicity and this undoubtedly had us running out to buy Oatly milk [Editor’s Note: Don’t look at the stock chart]. But what can the rest of us mere mortals do who don’t have an extra 6 million bucks to blow in the name of brand awareness? How can we be more effective in growing our sales?
As loyal readers of our newsletter, you could not be blamed for jumping straight to the conclusion that software surely is the solution. Well let’s just say….
☕️ Coffee Is For Closers
Ah, what a classic scene. Turns out, the modern customer acquisition playbook has come a long way since Glengarry Glen Ross. Just look at all the amazing products at your disposal!
Yes, those are company logos. Over 8,000 of them
Kudos to whoever went through the painstaking process of putting this together, but woof! Any time you are forced to use your magnifying glass to read the map, you are probably up shits creek. Sales professionals are trained to sell you paddles and canoes, but what’s worse than salespeople selling sales software? Clearly, people are willing to pay for sales & marketing tools and venture capitalists are more than willing to fund them so there must be some value there right? Indeed, there is and the EBH team is here to help you cut through the noise.
Admittedly it’s going to take some time to wade through this mess, so we will break this down for you over the next few months. Before we dive down this rabbit hole, we have to first start with the wise words of Coach Kilmer.
He did win 22 District Titles and 2 State Championships
Take stock of what you have today Many businesses we meet with treat sales more like account management. Meaning it’s much more passive than active. The sales effort relies on 1-2 key people and their rolodex to drive sales. There is little to no process for prospecting, tracking, data collection, pricing or a feedback loop to improve the process. If you do have existing processes and systems, write them down. Focus on identifying the gaps and bottlenecks in the process. Why do we bring this up? Shouldn’t software solve these issues for me? Unfortunately for this part of your business, software systems are necessary but not sufficient. They won’t fix a broken system. Crap In, Crap Out.
Understand your ideal customer profile What pain points are you solving? What does he or she care about? How can you contact them? What’s the best medium for delivering your message? It’s possible they just love that you take them golfing once a year – it’s all about the relationship you say! Relationships matter, people matter, but selling is not just about golf nor is it about feature comparisons or price breaks. It’s about how you help your customer navigate getting out of their own way to buy your product. Usually it’s helping break down barriers within their own org.
Identify what sales channels are available to you The art of the cold call is real and still effective, but you also have email, Linkedin, Facebook, webinars, etc. available to you. If you think just having a website is good enough, you’re wrong. Building a modern web presence is essential. Every time someone clicks on an email or visits your website they provide you insights into their behavior and what they care about allowing you to more appropriately tailor your message to them.
Only after you have taken the time to process these 3 steps can you start to consider the software tools to help you build an effective Sales & Marketing engine. The core of this software stack will be a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – your workhorse for tracking sales activity, prospects, and pipeline. Even if you have a system like Salesforce in place today, the steps above still play a critical role in ensuring you get the most out of your software. The balance of using any out-of-the box software is that the core product is meant to appeal to the broadest set of potential customers, therefore it requires some effort to make sure it works for you.
🎯 Assessing a CRM
There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to which CRM will work best for you, but there are a number of factors that you should consider. The main mode of failure is not taking any action at all.
Usability – It’s easy to be sold on fancy bells and whistles, but the crux of this whole exercise is avoiding the Crap In, Crap Out problem. Therefore, your top priority should be finding a system you and your team are most comfortable using. The fancy features will sound exciting, but they aren’t worth a damn if your team can’t figure out how to use them.
Automation – To be clear, this is not about AI, yet some software systems will automate particular tasks or workflows. For instance, Hubspot can plug into your email and can be set up to automatically send emails to prospects based on parameters you set.
Integrations – Admittedly, this is a lower level of priority to start especially if you are implementing a CRM for the first time. Eventually, we want you to build your “business system” which will require APIs. Software providers range considerably in their focus on building APIs. While it may not be critical for you today, it’s worth understanding what’s currently available and what future integrations are prioritized on their development roadmap.
Mobility – This is simple. Ask for a demo of the mobile app. Oftentimes the web app doesn’t translate well to the mobile app or the provider doesn’t invest as much focus in the mobile app. This may not be critical for you, but if you or your team are on the road a lot, you want to make sure you have access at your fingertips.
Training & support – this one is tricky since you don’t get to demo customer support before purchase, but don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. How long does a typical implementation take? When is customer support available? What does the service level agreement look like? It’s more profitable for a company to deflect support calls and put the onus back on the customer so again, ease of use makes a big difference. Feel free to ask to chat with their customer support / implementation team rather than relying on the sales rep and be sure you can get to a person when you need it most.
Price – Most SaaS software is priced on a “per seat” basis: a monthly or annual subscription based on the number of users. The good news is that there are great options at all levels. Be on the lookout for additional costs for data integrations, # of contacts, implementation services.
Implementing a new process and system can lead to pushback from your sales team. They probably have strong relationships with key customers so you are hesitant to rock the boat. They have a process that “works” for them today they tell you and it will be hard for them to change. The resistance is usually for fear of accountability because when process is reduced to data and not relationships there is nowhere to hide.
🤬 Hard Truths
It’s nearly impossible to find a truly independent assessment of the software that is right for you and your business. Everyone (websites, consultants, etc) has an agenda and many of them might be hidden. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and no replacement for doing your own work, but because this is such a critical component of your business system, it’s worth the effort. Insight into your sales process and funnel is what allows you to properly allocate resources in every other area of your business – production, inventory, customer support, new product development, etc. You can’t afford to be flying blind.
There are trade-offs for any path you take. The important thing is to just be mindful of the trade-offs you are making. Here is a quick guide to help you get started