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10 Sales Hacks the Pros Use to Maximize Every Prospect Save time and increase your bottom line with these easy to use methods for improving your sales numbers.

By Gary Smyth

entrepreneur daily

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As sales professionals, your most important assets is time. Regardless of the industry you prospect and sell into, we all have one thing in common: there are only 86,400 seconds available each day to ensure consistent success and execution of your sales strategy.

To help you implement a predictable, scalable sales process and fully take advantage of those precious 86,400 seconds, I have compiled ten sales hacks to help exceed your sales goals and make an impact on your business today.

1. Growing your sales organization.

Identify and connect with sales talent through SourceHub. Employee referrals are an excellent way to engage potential candidates and tools like ROIKOI allow you to keep a consistent pipeline of future team members. Leverage University sales programs to decrease ramp time, increase retention and identify talent who have already made the decision to pursue a sales career. There are over 100 sales programs worldwide, and candidates can be identified through organizations such as the Sales Education Foundation, USCA and Pi Sigma Epsilon.

Related: Build a stellar sales team.

2. Social selling benchmark.

Social selling is definitely integral in how we sell today and should be incorporated into daily activity and metrics to realize a true ROI. Leverage tools such as LinkedIn, Social Selling Index and Klout to establish a benchmark, get a personal social score and measure effectiveness. It can also create healthy competition and be used to gain support for social strategy.

3. Unusual meeting times.

Maximize your time with prospects and internal meetings. Typically most meetings are scheduled for a full hour or 30 minutes. Try scheduling for 20 minutes or 45 minutes to allow time to make notes, debrief or send follow-up emails. This will allow timely follow-up and prevent long evening hours.

Related: How to manage time with 10 tips that work.

4. Prospect with more information.

Customers now have more resources and information at their disposal to navigate the sales process, but so do sales professionals. Leverage tools such as Connectifier to integrate with LinkedIn and build prospecting lists quickly and access direct contact information, or Newsle for trigger events.

5. Meeting preparation.

How we sell has changed greatly over the last several years. Sales professionals have gone from selling features and benefits solution selling to becoming insight leaders. Leverage technology to effectively prepare for sales presentations. Charlie App will scan hundreds of resources to provide a concise summary of anyone you are meeting.

6. Data science and sales collide.

Sales acceleration, predictive analytics and machine learning are now the norm in sales. Establish relationships and improve communication through empathy, emotional intelligence and personalization. Technology such as Crystal will separate you from the competition and engage in meaningful conversations based on individual personality.

7. Engage in ongoing conversations.

The number of tools and technologies available to sales professionals and customers is only increasing, it can be hard to maintain consistent interaction with existing and potential customers. Leverage social content management and scheduling tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Meet Edgar, Unfollowers and Rignite to free time and focus on additional revenue generating activities.

8. 5 W's to decision making.

The number of individuals involved in the decision making process is increasing. According to recent CEB research, on average 5.4 people now have to formally sign off on each purchase. To navigate the decision making process think of who is responsible for the financial, business and technology decision. Then, understand how the overall process ties together:

  • When will a decision be made? (work backwards from here)
  • Who will make the decision?
  • What is the process?
  • Where will decision be made?
  • Why the decision is made this way?

9.Paid to be pessimists.

Approaching the end of the month, quarter and year while maintaining forecast accuracy can be daunting. I encourage you to think of every eventuality that could prevent an opportunity from closing. One of the most powerful questions to ask a prospect for any deal is, "What is the impact on your business if you do not move forward with a purchase before a certain date?" Ask early and based on the response you will either reaffirm the opportunity or identify potential obstacles.

Related: Surviving fourth quarter madness -- how to handle the year end sales crunch.

10. Email for sales success.

Email should not be a standalone activity but integrated into a broader prospecting strategy. Although there is no sure fire way to guarantee an email response, you can increase your rate of response. A few tips include:

  • Keep mobile in mind: 4-7 words for subject line
  • Create a sense of urgency: "Still on track for…", "What would be a good next step?"
  • Leverage social triggers. Social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook will let you know when a prospect has posted. Use this information to follow-up via social or email
  • Emails with "Re: " have a greater chance of being opened.

These are only a few of the sales hacks that I have seen enable success and have worked for me. What are the sales hacks, tools or technology you are using to enable both personal and professional growth?

Gary Smyth

President of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, Austin Chapter

Gary Smyth is a sales professional with more than 12 years of sales and leadership experience within the technology and manufacturing industries. Most recently, he has nine years of experience at Oracle America, Inc. building a successful sales and business development organization of 98 sales professionals and 10 sales managers, being hub lead for over 200 sales professionals, driving a multi-million dollar business, and consistently growing new markets. Smyth has been recognized for leadership and exceeding quota at all levels.  He is a published sales author, a certified sales professional, and is also president of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Austin Chapter.

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