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Tuesday, 27 April 2021

The Buyer's Journey from a Malaysian Perspective


Today's day and age is far more advanced and informed than ever before. This is thanks to the vast amount of information available on the internet. Because of this, the balance of power has indefinitely shifted from the sales rep to the buyer in most sales scenarios. This is why guerilla sales tactics are no longer as effective as they used to be.

Instead, to be successful in sales today sales reps must adapt their mindset from sales to helping. The best way to start this process is by becoming intimately familiar with who the buyer is and what is the journey they are taking on their way to making a choice.

What is the buyer's journey?

This describes the buyer's path taken to complete a purchase. In other words, buyers go through a process to become aware of, consider, evaluate, and decision before making a purchase of any product or service.

By understanding the buyer's journey, the pains and the problems they experience along that journey, and the influencing factors that mold their thinking, sales professionals can better empathize with the buyer and position their offers along that path.

To help this process here's the basics of how a buyer's journey can be broken down for you to be able to better grasp what is going on. Here are the 3 stages that describe roughly how advance a buyer is along their path to making any purchase. 

Here's how to conceptualize each stage:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

What's going on during the awareness stage?

The buyer is experiencing several things at the same time. There may be a problem or symptoms of pain and their goal is to alleviate it. At this stage, they may be looking for informational resources to more clearly understand, frame, and give a name to their problem.

What is the buyer doing during the consideration stage?

Having clearly defined and given a name to their problem and they are committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches to solving the defined problem or opportunity.

What is the buyer doing during the decision stage?

The buyer has already decided on their solution. This could include a strategy, method, or approach. Now they will compile a list of available vendors and make a shortlist.

Conclusion: Tailor your sales process to the Buyer's Journey

Always remember, buyers, don't want to be prospected, or demoed, or closed when they're not ready. These steps add zero value, from their perspective when offered at the wrong time. This is where you can shine as a sales professional in Malaysia as you are well informed of the instances when buyers are looking for additional information about your product.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Secrets of Cold Emailing That Delivers Results


Being aware of strangers is nothing but human nature. Therefore striking up a conversation with someone you don't know can be awkward regardless of the situation - especially when the conversation is likely to meet a financial end.

Cold sales outreach can be exhausting and ineffective when you don't know what you're doing - and that's not specific to active communication like face-to-face meetings or phone calls. This applies to email too.

Sending cold emails with the hope of a better conversion of results can be difficult to pull off, but not impossible. If you have some understanding of the practice and how to do it right, you would have a better chance of succeeding.

Let's review what cold emailing is, its effectiveness, some tips and compare the practice to its vocal equivalent - cold calling.

What is cold emailing?

It's a subset of email marketing where usually a sales representative sends unsolicited emails to prospects without having previously contacted them. 

You might even have a few cold emails sitting in your inbox - some of which might be unopened, gathering dust. It's fairly common practice that several companies still employ, but just how effective is Cold Emailing?

Does cold emailing work?

It definitely can because this is a core strategy for a lot of companies. Statistically however cold emails don't convert particularly well.

It's easy for the recipient to shrug off a random email from someone they've never spoken to. After all cold emailing is similar to cold calling.

If you want to get the most of your cold email efforts here are a few pointers you should consider when you write your future cold emails.

Cold Emailing Tips

Cold emails need careful consideration and thought process. If you are targeting consistently and have put enough thought into it your cold emails are more likely to consistently deliver results.

  • Perfect your subject line
  • Make it clear why you're reaching out to them specifically
  • Use social proof and point to results
  • Keep it short, simple, and written like a human
  • Make sure your email is written with a clear intent
  • Touch on a real pain point.

Conclusion: Differences between cold calling vs. cold emailing

Cold calls have their own place and the same with cold emailing. Neither should replace the other as both offer different benefits and suit different situations. Cold calls can be more dynamic but cold emails can be more convenient and can be easily automated, tracked, and forwarded - generally more time effective.

Ultimately, you should look at these few factors before making any allocation such as timing, content, prospect's professional level, and the decision-making authority.

The best cold emails take time, research, understanding, and personalization. If you are willing to put effort into your emailing strategy, you'll more likely be able to see the results you are aiming for.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Beginner's Guide to Demand Planning


Demand planning helps you to make sure your shelves are stocked, but not overflowing. A way to ensure this is well managed is to manage sales planning and operational tactics to get the job done.

This is where demand planning comes into play.

What is Demand Planning?

Demand Planning is a way to anticipate the volume of upcoming sales. This forecast predicts and prepares sales to be prepared in what to expect as a way to ensure proper resources are available to successfully fulfill those sales.

Demand planning is an integral way to support the sales of physical products. Ways to do this include the fulfillment of purchase orders, extension of labor services, or ensuring adequate staffing.

Demand Planning vs. Demand Forecasting

Demand Planning and Demand Forecasting are two different scopes. Demand Forecasting is a necessary function of Demand Planning however, Demand Planning encompasses a much wider scope. Which includes a cross-functional collaboration between the forecast analysis, adjustment of inventory, and customer support requirements. 

Why is Demand Planning important?

Without Demand Planning, customers may have to wait much longer than expected for their products or wait too long to get help from your understaffed team. This is directly attributed to a poor customer experience. Which leads to customers being less likely to becoming repeat customers or avid referrers.

Other problems that you may face include overstaffing and overstocking which are very costly mistakes even in the short-term. 

The Process

Your most important step: Hire someone with forecasting experience

Demand Planning always carries uncertainty. No one is able to predict the future with 100% accuracy, but the big question is "by how much?".

Here are the 3 basic steps you can take to compensate for any experience that you may not have at your disposal:

  1. Collect and analyse data
  2. Define business goals
  3. Collaborate across teams

1. Collect and analysis of data

Collecting data isn't difficult but collecting 'clean' data is important to support the foundation of a strong demand planning strategy, but that data can come from a variety of different sources. This is part of the process that is also known as demand forecasting.

  • Historical Data
  • Contextual Data
  • Sales Forecasting

2. Define business goals

After analysing your data, you might come to some actionable conclusions. 

Customers will be taking more online courses this fall, and fewer in-person workshops

Historically customers have a tendency to take more classes during the winter and there are fewer in-person classes due to COVID-19. Forecasters would have already seen a drop in the in-person workshops pipeline and an increase in online sign-ups.

This would help to develop clearer business goals.

This winter, we aim to drive 90% of would-be in-person workshop attendees to our online courses.

3. Collaborate across teams.

To realistically accomplish these goals would require teamwork which requires a buy-in from leadership across multiple different departments. It's important to make sure all key stakeholders are briefed on the demands, and what their part is in meeting those demands.

Conclusion

Building for a strong sales funnel is important for any small malaysian business, but make sure you plan for your demand. Strong sales with inadequate demand planning could lead to a detrimental sales delivery.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

10 Big Steve Jobs Quotes That Will Help You Through Any Tough Spots

Regardless of whether you find Steve Jobs prophetic or poralising, Apple's late CEO had a swagger about him that not many can match. He did what not many other business leaders could. He touched many with his passion and creativity for creating beautiful and functional products. Until today his products continue to live through the legacy of Apple and the many lessons he's left the world. Here are 10 of the biggest Steve Jobs quotes that will change your life.

1. "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do"

2. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful...that’s what matters to me.”

3. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

4. “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So, it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

5. “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

6. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

7. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

8. “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

9. “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each others’ negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.”

10. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

5 Ways to Find Out to Call Or Email When Selling to a Prospect in Malaysia


Your first impression will set the tone for your entire sales and negotiation outcome. There are conflicting pressures to productively make first contact with a prospect. You want to reach out enthusiasticly but you don't want to do it in an obstructive manner. Productively making first contact with any prospect is a delicate art for sales reps.

How you reach out to your prospects during the first connect makes a significant difference in response rates. The key to deciding which method to use depends on which method you feel your prospect will be most responsive to.

What's the difference between a cold email vs. a cold call?


Cold emails vs. cold calls are both effective. The difference is a matter of volume, convenience and directness. Emails are easier and less time consuming than calls, but calls are more effective when gathering a direct reponse. It's also easier to convey emotion during a call compared to a written email.

A call is inherently more personal than an email. It gets an immediate response and let's you address a prospect saying no. Calls are also more dynamic as it allows you to adjust your strategy to fit a prospect's needs as your conversation with them progresses.

However, calls do have some downsides. They are by nature intrusive. People are usually not receptive to receiving them and many will get frustrated when you use one to reach them. There's also a chance that you may get frustrated / impatient during a call when it isn't going smoothly.

Emails on the other hand lends a different strategy. They are more efficient and make it more scalable. In the time it would take to make a single call you could distribute several emails to several people. There's also an opportunity to be more visually appealing and informative with targeted content. Emails are also less intrusive and recipients tend to be more polite in their response. Emails can also be automated, tracked, and forwarded, making it easier to distribute and keep tabs on.

Emails have a downside as well. It's the risk of having your emails ignored. Some prospects receive many emails every day, and in some cases your email may also get blocked. 

To help you decide if you should reach out through phone or email, here are 5 tried and tested ways to find out whether to use a call or email when selling to a prospect for the first time in Malaysia.

1. Time / Day of the Week


Statistically phone connection rates increases as the day progresses and as the week progresses. In other words a prospect is more likely to answer their phone later in the workday and workweek. If someone doesn't reply leave a voicemail. Calling late usually is a great strategy.

2. The Ask


What's your objective for your first outreach? Is it to set up a meeting? Get some more information? Receive a referral? Categorize what you are asking for as "weak" or "strong" will help you to determine to choose between a call or email.

Strong asks require commitment and if it's a strong request you should always pick up the phone. This requires more from the prospect and you may need to employ sales skills to secure a "yes". On the other hand if the ask is weak. Draft an email. Don't let fear block you from connecting with a buyer. Reverse this equation and watch your response rates climb.

3. The Level of the Prospect


Do individual contributors have assistants? Not usually. but do C-level executives? Almost always. That is why the higher up your prospect is in an organization the more likely you are to reach a live person when you call. If individual contributors don't answer their phones, no one else is going to pick up - and they're not likely to return a call from an unknown number.

4. The Buyer Persona


Some buyer personas favor a different communication style than others. Preferences are dependent on multiple factors such as, age, nature of job, their industry, and more. Millennials prefer to communicate via email but professionals in customer-facing roles are more amenable to speaking on the phone.

5. The Deal Momentum


Are things moving along at a swift cadence? If this is so then you should not stall your deal an email will not get in the way. However, if your prospect is unresponsive or on the fence it might be faster and easier to pick up the phone.

Conclusion


Follow up. If you follow the criterias above you should be able to choose between email and a call. In our opinion, the beginning and the end of each sales engagement should be phone-heavy, since that's where the strongest asks are and in between email should work as a rule of thumb.

Friday, 19 March 2021

5 Tested Tactics That'll Get People to Buy Product


Selling to people who are already interested in what you have to offer should be straightforward. These are people we call warm and they would have likely done some initial research and have more a less decided that what you have an offer can solve that. This leaves the final push to your sales team. It's the ability to answer their questions, overcome any objections they have and bringing to light the solutions you are helping them to solve.

The best salespeople know how to quickly distinguish between prospects who are interested vs. those who are uninterested, quickly. This is an entirely possible and repeatable process. With sufficient practice of relevant skills, the empathy to understand people and well thought through plan it's likely that you will be able to get people to continue to purchase from you.

In order to persuade anyone to buy from you, first solve a problem that they have. Sell how your solution can help them from their perspective, how it can provide a valuable resource and emphasize the positive experience they will encounter. There's no right balance, but there is a fair balance between logic and emotion - which will help gently move them towards a decision.

1. Sell the dream

Not everyone you sell to will be immediately captivated by the product's features. However, one thing is certain. People always care about themselves. Help them to envision what their prospects of life might be like when they purchase from you.

Let's have a look at this. "Hi! I'm Adam from Sales Group, and I sell sales training and consulting products. I'd like to introduce my services. Is this a good time?"

Compared with this. "Hi. I've got you live on my first dial, and when you hire me, I'll teach your sales reps how to do the exact same thing."

If you sell copywriting services, you might look for errors on their website and add, "As your copywriter, I'd ensure your site (and other materials) will be 100% typo-free at all times."

2. Pique their curiosity.

Here's how you can keep their attention.

At the beginning here's what our sales reps usually say, "Before I forget, I want to ask you something related to our last conversation. Let's get into the agenda now, but will you remind me?"

At the end of the call, they'd usually respond, "Hey, what was that thing you wanted to talk to me about?" or they won't mention it. This is a great way for me to know if they were engaged and present.

3. Use past successes as your guide.

Look for trends in past successes and repeat those successful approaches with future prospects. The best answers for how to sell can usually be found from the people you have already closed.

4. Enlist your prospect as a teacher.

One of the fastest ways to earn engagement and interest is to understand the fact that your prospect wants to be respected and heard. Learn the opinion of the person you're speaking with and take that opinion seriously.

If you look at it from the perspective that we generally agree that we do not speak to strangers. However, this would not be the case if a stranger approaches you to ask for help. Use this to your advantage and find a way to get them to speak.

5. Create a sense of urgency.

We don't encourage you to use scare tactics to make a sale. There are other ways you can create urgency to get your prospect to consider your offer quickly.

  • Offer a short-term discount or incentive
  • Emphasize the immediate benefit of your product
  • Communicate scarcity

Conclusion

Make what you sell irresistible to who you sell to. There are a few different ways to sell your products and services to people who are ready to make a decision. The common thread that ties these tactics together is usually customer empathy. Appeal to your prospect for help, and you'll satisfy their desire to be heard and earn their interest in helping you close the deal - yes, it's really that straightforward, just ask for it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

7 Steps on How to Create an SEO Strategy for your Malaysian Small Business for 2021


Search engine optimisation (SEO) isn't what it used to be. Keywords should no longer be your focus, these days the basics of SEO has changed and it's important to understand it to help your small business to thrive on search engines.

Here we'll explain the latest 2021 SEO Strategy you should adopt and how you can create your own version to boost your content marketing goals.

What is SEO Strategy?

An SEO strategy is a process of organizing a website's content by topic to improve the likelihood of you appearing in search results. This is a process you implement in order to maximize your opportunity to obtain organic search results from search engines.

It's difficult to stay focus and to stay on track, and this is where the SEO strategy will help you. It helps you to solve how your content will come to be seen in search engine result pages (otherwise known as SERPs). If your content is not organised, search engine bots will have a hard time to decipher your content and therefore make it hard for your website to be found (your page rank wouldn't be good).

Don't Forget Mobile

In today's age, there are numerous studies that have shown that more and more people today use mobile in their everyday interactions with the internet. Optimise your content and webpage to ensure that it is easily accessible through mobile. How is this important? Google now practices mobile-first indexing.

This isn't a separate process, however, there are distinct considerations for mobile SEO like page speed, responsive design, and localisation. Regardless high-quality content is a mainstay no matter which device you target for.

Here are some steps you can go over to ensure your SEO Strategy is geared for success

1. Make a list of topics

Although keywords form the foundations of SEO, however, they are no longer the only step to achieving organic growth. Today it's important to create content that is truly useful and valuable.

To start compile a list of 10 words and use an SEO tool. Do this to find out popular slightly longer keywords (short-tail keywords).

2. Make a list of long-form keywords

This is a step to take when you begin to optimize your words for specific long-form keywords (otherwise known as long-tail keywords). For every short-tail keyword identify 5 to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original short-tail keyword.

For example, rather than just talking about SEO we write about how to conduct keyword research, optimize images for search, and other subtopics under the SEO universe.

3. Build pages for each topic

Websites rank better when they have a focus. Getting your webpage to rank for a handful of keywords is next to impossible. Ultimately the number of topics you create should coincide with your business needs and products. This will make it easier for people to discover you when they conduct a search.

4. Set up a blog

In item 3 it was noted that websites rank better when they are focused on delivering one topic per page. Blogging can be a potential game-changer for you as it is an incredible way to rank for long-tail keywords and engages with your webpage's visitors. After all, every post is a new web page and an additional opportunity to rank better SERPs result. 

5. Create a consistent blogging schedule

Every blog post or web page you create does not need to belong to a specific topic. There's value in writing about topical ideas your customers care about, and this has surprisingly helped build authority with search engine algorithms.

The secret formula is to make it a point to write an article a minimum of once a week.

6. Create a link-building plan


The first 5 steps above represented all the ways you can attract traffic on your own webpage (on-page SEO). Link building on the other hand is the process of attracting other web pages to guide visitors to your website.

7. Compress your medial file sizes


This is an often overlooked step in the SEO process and is especially important for mobile optimisation.

As your web page grows this means you will have more images, videos, and other related media. Although these assets help to retain your visitor's attention but these large files affect your page speed. Make sure you control the size of the files you upload to your site.

Conclusion


SEO is an ever-changing mechanism as search engines continue to improve on their algorithms and customers need change. Here are 5 great resources to stay up-to-date with SEO: