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We’re all about helping salespeople get ahead but, with the increased competition today, it’s getting trickier than ever. To be a top salesperson you can’t rely on the same everyday strategies and tactics everyone else is using. It’s not enough to simply outwork the competition.

You have to be smarter.

You have to be ahead of the curve, using techniques and methods the mainstream hasn’t even heard of. With that in mind, here are five of the best growth sales hacks you can start using to up your sales game today.

5 Sales hacks every salesperson should know:

Make use of automation tools

desk conceptWondering how other salespeople have closed hundreds of deals in the month while you’re still struggling to close your first? This is when the typical salesperson will double down on the effort, working 20 hour days and forming an unhealthy addiction to Red Bull. The good news is you don’t need to kill yourself to get ahead. In fact, it’s possible to work fewer hours and get more done, all without sacrificing quality (and your health). How? Sales automation tools.

Now, it’s likely you’ve heard of sales automation tools. You’ve probably tried out a few but may have ended up disappointed with poor results or the lack of control and restrictions on the software. It’s true that sales automation tools aren’t a magic bullet. In fact, the earlier apps usually took more time to set up than they saved! However, if you’re still doing every part of the sales process manually, there are plenty of high-quality tools out there that can save you time without having a negative impact on your results.

The first step is to map out your sales funnel, from start to finish. One big concern people have is that automation will make the whole process at best cold and impersonal or, at worst, spam.

It’s a valid concern. If you’re automating every single part of every single step, your sales pitch will end up sounding like the Terminator.

The secret is to automate the fiddly steps of the process, the parts that are behind the scenes, the bits your prospect will never see. This is why having a clear picture of your sales funnel is so important. If you’ve never automated any part of your sales process before, then start with the boring stuff.

For example, how about automating your meeting scheduling? Rather than going through several emails, a tool like Calendly means your prospects can pick a date and time that suit both of you, all without you having to endure a lengthy back-and-forth. Taking things a step further, promises to arrange ideal meeting times for you and your prospects just by copying it in your next email.

Once you’re comfortable with the background activities, you can experiment with your messaging. The best email software allows you to automate your email campaigns while still keeping things personal. Tools like Reply offer useful features like AI response sorting (seeing at a glance how many positive or negative replies you’ve received) or automated follow-ups when a prospect hasn’t replied.

In the end, you’ll find there’s plenty of opportunities to outsources the time-consuming parts of the sales process, whether it’s inbound or outbound sales, giving you more time on the bits you do best.

Know your prospect

Okay, I can hear you from here. This one’s hardly revolutionary. It’s also something that seems to be sorely lacking today. Judging from the pitches I receive, most salespeople are content to use a spray-and-pray method, blasting out impersonal messages to any email address they can find. This is the dark side of automation and a great example of what not to do.

Yes, it’s important you’re able to scale up your sales, but they should never become purely a numbers game. It’s a waste of resources and can end up coming back to bite you in all kinds of ways. For example, too many emails going out at one time, or too many messages being flagged as spam, will damage your sender reputation. That means there’s less chance your prospect will see your message in the first place.

Instead, the smarter salesperson knows their ideal customer. They know what they do for a living. They know the best way to contact them. They know what they’re struggling with. They know what keeps them awake at night.

Notice I said they know. Not what they think they know. Your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas should never be based on assumptions. They should be based on hard data, ideally from conversations you’ve had with actual customers. However, as that means extra work, way too many salespeople feel they aren’t able to spare the time and skip this step.

Big mistake.

The insights you’ll get from those customer conversations is invaluable and will pay back your time and effort many times over.

Taking this a step further, it’s important to know your individual prospects as more than just a name and email address. This is where automation can come to the rescue again, with enrichment tools like Clearbit Connect and Sales Navigator. These give you all kinds of information on your prospect, showing you at a glance their recent online activity that can come in handy for your pitch.

It’s about as unglamorous a hack as you’ll see, but getting to know your prospect will put you ahead of the majority of salespeople.

Stand out from your competition

This is a little more difficult to define than the other hacks, as it can’t be distilled into a single step or action. At its essence, it means knowing what other salespeople are doing, then doing something significantly different. When you see them zig, you zag as if your life depended on it.

Human psychology means we remember the different, the unique, the unusual. Our eye is drawn to something that’s out of place, giving it extra attention. Conversely, if something wants to stay hidden, the best way is by blending in with the surroundings. A stick insect is practically invisible in its natural habitat because it’s almost impossible to tell it apart from all the other sticks.

Our goal as salespeople is to do the exact opposite. We need to stand out from all the noise in our prospect’s inbox. We need to be memorable. We need to make an impact.

How about some practical examples? Let’s start with the time and day you send your message. When are other salespeople typically trying to contact your prospects? Chances are they’re sending the emails 9-5, Monday to Friday. Well, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to try messaging at 4 am on a Saturday. Or 11 pm on a Sunday.

I’m not saying those times will guarantee you get a response. I’m saying if you’re emailing when everyone else does, you’re much less likely to be noticed.

Most salespeople are sending prospecting emails that are indistinguishable from the hundreds of emails a prospect will receive that day. So why not stand out and send your prospect a handwritten message?

Of course, there’s a reason why most salespeople send emails rather than handwritten notes; it takes significantly more effort to write a message by hand. Often, the things that’ll help you stand out will take more effort. After all, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. But making the effort to stand out is infinitely better than sounding like every other salesperson.

Don’t be a stick insect.

Make full use of your available resourcesdesk

Imagine a farmer that only harvests a field once, before giving up on it. Or a company digging a coal shaft, but closing down after not immediately finding coal. It’d be ridiculous and a total waste. Yet, statistics show most salespeople are doing the same with their resources. Of all the hacks in this list, this is probably the easiest to implement yet most salespeople bizarrely waste their resources.

The most obvious area is follow-ups. While most give up on a prospect after only a couple of attempts to get in touch, statistics show that most sales occur after this. It can easily take seven or more goes to get a response, but most salespeople aren’t willing to try. While you should never try to pester a prospect, there’s plenty of reasons a prospect might not respond to earlier messages while still being interested in your pitch.

Another opportunity comes from your existing customers. A happy customer is much more likely to buy from you again than a complete stranger is. Look through your past and current customers and think about what other products or services you offer that they’d find helpful.

You can also make better use of your resources with your targetted outreach. For example, if you’ve tried pitching (and following up with) one prospect without success, try pitching someone in a different position at the same company. I know several salespeople who’ve had great success reaching out to multiple people at the same company at the same time.

If you’re smarter with the resources you already have, you’ll be able to close more deals with less effort.

Be the center of your prospects’ conversations

Most salespeople are happy enough with inbound and outbound sales, but social selling seems to be a different game. Some salespeople have a negligible presence on the social networks, sharing a vague post every couple of months before going back to silence. Others relentlessly beat prospects over the head with a relentless stream self-promotion. They’ve completely forgotten the social part of social selling.

Let’s be clear: social selling doesn’t mean goofing off on Facebook all day, posting funny memes and cat videos. But if every post sounds like an advert for your company, you’re missing out on what makes social selling so unique.

Social selling allows salespeople to engage with their prospects in a way that’s impossible with the traditional channels. Think of it as a party; If you go in handing out business cards to everyone and going on about yourself all night, you’ll end up alone in a corner. However, if you make an effort to talk to the other guests and learn about them, you’re going to be more popular and have a better time.

Wherever possible, join in with the conversations your prospects are already having in a way that brings value to them. Answer their questions. Help them with their problems. Then, when your prospects are ready to buy, they’ll come to you as someone they can trust.

To be better than the average salesperson you have to be willing to try the techniques and methods the average salesperson ignores. You have to be familiar with the latest and best tools, to make the most of your resources, and be brave enough to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It’s may not be easy, but if you put in the effort you will reap the rewards.

About the author

Lucy, VP of Marketing @ Reply. Lucy is #3 employee in Reply with 8+ years of experience in different fields of B2B Marketing. Her main areas of focus are SEO, Content Marketing, Analytics, CRO and a bit of PPC for SaaS companies. Fond of working, traveling and Sci-Fi.

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5 Sales Hacks Every Salesperson Should Know

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