They just need the right tools.
As a solopreneur, I can't tell you how many times I've wanted superpowers. Like Pierce Brosnan playing Dr Fate in Black Adam, I wish I could project myself into multiples of myself - each able to act like I would. Or like Pierce Brosnan playing Bond, have access to all these thingamajiggy tools that give me a serious edge over whoever I'm butting heads with. Or, on really bad days, like Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele, I want someone else to do my job so I can just read the newspaper (just for 15 minutes, not a lot).
Or maybe I just want to be Pierce Brosnan.
The point is I'm always on the lookout for smart ways (Smart is a core value at SmartCue!) to do things quickly, and in bigger volumes than my tiny team and I otherwise would.
In a nutshell: Multipliers.
The good news is that these tools exist, and no, you don't need to have James Bond's security clearance to use them.
Multipliers at each stage of the sales process
Stages: Prospecting, Making Contact, Qualifying Your Leads
Multiplier: Sales Intelligence software
Think of a tool where you get to specify your criteria, and it goes off and crawls millions of publicly available websites, gathering relevant data, and matching it to profiles in its database. It then spits out verified lists of customers with up-to-date contact information (often, with preferences!). The really good sales intelligence tools don't stop there - they help you narrow this list to those customers who are ready to buy.
That's a really great starting point for your SDRs. Moreover, they have the prospect's preferred mode of contact, and a whole bunch of other information they can use to prepare themselves, before getting in touch. At SmartCue, we use LinkedIn Sales Navigator because, honestly, it's the best out there. It gives us a lot of great information and lets us filter down to a very granular level. What's more, it doesn't wait for us to run the search over and over - once we've set the criteria, it keeps adding people to the list!
What's more, it makes connecting with people on LinkedIn a real breeze, and many of our customers prefer being contacted that way.
Stages: Making Contact, Nurturing Your Lead
Multiplier: Email Tracking Tools
You know how sending out emails to prospects can feel like screaming into the void? Not anymore. Email tracking tools give us a veritable goldmine of information about our email campaigns. Did the prospect open our email? How many times? Did they click the demo link? Did they download the case study? These are things we don't have to wonder about anymore. We. Have. Data. We can do A/B testing, and tweak and tweak till we have it just right.
Moreover, email tracking tools are filled with the smartest automation. Gone are the days when you could just send one template to your entire list. Nope. Not only can you send out personalized emails en masse using templates that are customized to buyer personas, industry, and whatever way you slice your prospect leads data; but you can also set up rules for intelligent follow-up. Yeah. Multiplier.
Not only that, you can set up alerts on particular triggers like if someone has opened your email a few times, or if they've finally clicked on the demo link you sent them, or even if it's been 3 days and they haven't read your email. More opportunities for intelligent follow-up, without having to carry any of that in our heads. Freedom, and reliability. In one package.
Stages: Nurturing Your Lead, Presentation, Overcoming Objections
Multiplier: Demo automation, demo libraries, self-serve demos.
You know that awkward time between discovery and demo, where the prospect is just waiting? It doesn't have to be that way anymore. Demo automation is here.
Yes, you're still making custom demos, but you're making them toot suite. You're also spending no time learning another tool, it works with your demo environment and all it takes in terms of deployment is a Chrome extension. No joke. It's called SmartCue, and it's a tool made by a sales engineer who needed to find a better way and did.
So you know it works.
To the extent that a lot of SmartCue's customers actually use it to make demo libraries. Yep, their sales engineers have the time to go make demos, in advance, as an investment.
These demo libraries make it possible for sales reps to turn boring discoveries into disco demos (which aren't as entertaining as they sound, but far more effective), and in so doing, go much deeper into discovery. They also get to nurture internal champions by giving them self-serve demos to play with and giving detailed feedback which can then be used to strengthen the final solution. When internal champions fall in love with your solutions, they talk you up internally, to the right folks, making your job that much easier.
Moreover, SmartCue relegates demo scripts to the past, by replacing scripts with 'cues'. So now, your sales reps don't need to spend all that time memorizing scripts. Which means they can do more demos. And they can do them with greater confidence because all the cues they need are provided in context, based on where they are in your product screens. Higher confidence in the demo = higher confidence in the prospects' minds.
Did I mention multipliers? :)
Stages: Presentation (offer) and Closing
Multiplier: Proposal software or Proposal templates
Finally, it's time to make the offer. And you've fallen into the infinite revision loop that proposals tend to fall into. Or maybe it's us. Proposals make all of us nervous: did we get the config right, are we offering the right discounts, did we get all the approvals, and so on and on and on. The worst part, the client is often changing their minds too, in reaction to these proposals and the conversations around them.
For a sales rep, this is an activity that adds Zero Value. It's boring for them: staring at the 18th draft of a proposal that needs yet another revision makes for a sales rep that is bored to tears.
If you can afford it, I would recommend using Proposal software. Even if your proposal game is strong, I can guarantee that the first draft that a proposal software spits out is far stronger than what your team comes up with. Then, everyone gets to work on it in real-time, and quickly build consensus.
If you aren't big enough for Proposal software, I recommend creating templates. Everything gets easier with templates. While you're at it, create a decision matrix that brings some science into which offers and pricing apply in each case. Not only will it make your pricing more consistent but it will also save you a ton of time.
Time saved here is time spent on more productive tasks. Also, it makes for happier customers and a shorter time to close.
All good things.
Small teams have some serious advantages: we're light on our feet, we're usually on the same page, everyone subs in for everyone else so we're all semi-skilled at everything, and usually, we're all really good friends. These are superpowers, and for startups (or any new business), they're ethereal. They're here today.
Use this magic. Make things as easy as they can be, automate as much as you can, and set decision-making criteria for as many processes as possible. Elevate this superpowered team to the level of miraculous.
Years from now, when we're giant legacy organizations, some will look back at this team that worked miracles, and they'll wonder how we did it.
You, of course, will know.