Get Yourself Out of Agency Sales By Hiring and Training for Outbound Sales
Would you like to attract more clients with outbound sales? Do you need to build a successful sales team that gets results? Today’s guest is a sales expert who helps agency owners get out of sales and build a successful sales team. It’s all about building consistency and using your network to create relationships that will help you grow your agency.
Dan Englander is the CEO and founder of Sales Schema, a B2B agency that secures ideal prospect relationships. His team goes out to the market and helps clients get meetings and focus on new business. Earlier in his career, he led new business for a creative services company and helped them get to seven figures. After starting his agency in 2014, he has learned a lot about how companies go after new business. More recently, he shares his perspective on sales and how to improve at it in his new book, Relationship Sales at Scale.
In this episode, we’ll discuss:
- How agencies can do better at outbound sales.
- Using your network to get to your ideal clients.
- What works when it comes to finding and training salespeople.
Sponsors and Resources
E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.
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When is the Right Time to Transition Out of Sales?
Transitioning out of sales requires two main steps, according to Dan: who’s doing what and developing consistencies in the sales process.
We all fall into the trap of dedicating too much time and energy to clients and none to your agency. Once you stop focusing on sales you’ll be on another level to focus on growing your agency.
If you’re an agency owner and the salesperson, think about spending half your time on sales. Eventually, get yourself to the point where you can just focus on the top of the funnel and have someone help set meetings. Clear the other half of your time to focus on your agency. Do this with the mindset of gradually getting out of sales altogether.
Agency owners commonly try to hang on to sales because they feel clients only want to talk to them. That’s a misconception, considering how many owners have managed to grow their agencies to massive proportions by getting out of sales. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but once you have a repeatable sales process it becomes easier to get someone else in that seat.
Where do some agency owners go wrong with this transition? They jump to it too early before figuring out the repeatable process. They just throw a salesperson into it the mix and expect them to figure it out. That sets them up for failure and, once they do, it is easy to convince yourself that you’re the only one that can handle sales successfully.
How to Create a Repeatable Sales Process
Agency owners struggle, sometimes for years, to find the right salesperson and this has a lot to do with having the right systems in place. Dan likes to break it down into a process where you start at the very top of the funnel.
- Think about how you’re getting meetings.
- Break down your conversion process from the first appointment to the proposal.
- Follow that with breaking down the process from proposal to close.
Of course, this may vary depending on how complex your sales process is — documenting everything is key in order to set up your salesperson for success.
When it comes to how to get meetings, Dan and his team find outbound is a really good way to do it. Whatever you’re selling it stands to reason that your market will be relatively small. Your target audience is not everyone in the world so you don’t have to build a massive inbound funnel. There are really a finite number of relationships you can build in your area. With outbound, you can start building those relationships before the client actually has a need. Then you are top of mind when the need is there.
Building Relationships With Outbound Sales
One of the things Dan’s agency does for clients is referral-driven campaigns where they make a list of ideal clients and identify who could introduce them to those clients. Basically, they identify friends of friends, narrow them down to contacts in the first degree and ask for an introduction to someone in their network. A lot of people have no problem making that connection once you’re upfront about what you want.
They usually start with an accounts-based list of thousands of companies. Instead of trying to find the golden company that you may want to work with but have no meaningful connection to, find a number of companies you’re actually connected with. The connection you make as a result might not get you a campaign that lasts very long, but it will help you get that level of trust in order to get you a referral.
What Works When it Comes to Finding Salespeople?
This is something Dan still struggles with to this day. Being a sales hirer is part of your job as an agency owner and part of getting out of sales. You have to dedicate part of your time to finding the right salesperson and training them because you’re essentially investing in someone that’s going to help your agency grow.
Dan’s agency gives the hiring funnel as much importance as the sales funnel.
Also, to weed out candidates that are ultimately not a right fit Dan usually asks for video interviews. It’s a way to see how invested the candidate is and avoid wasting time on long interviews in-person interviews. Once he’s made that hire, he invests in sales training every week. New team members do role-playing exercises and listen to sales calls every day to get ready. It is a lot of work, he admits, but it is worth it.
Another good tip is to not assume the person is perfect for the job after a good interview. Ask the candidate to make a 90-day plan and see if what they present truly aligns with what you need.
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of not just hiring the right person for the job. It’s equally important to put together the right framework for your salesperson to model, evaluate, and make new recommendations on.
How to Face Client’s Skepticism
The hardest part of sales is getting someone to agree to take your call. Once you’ve done that, they are now investing time. They would not be spending time in that conversation if they didn’t have a specific need. Just make sure the conversation flows in a way the client is comfortable and feels heard. Spend more time listening than talking. Give space to ask questions and don’t make the prospect feel interrogated.
Don’t underestimate the importance of asking the right questions to pull the client in. A lot of salespeople tend to push a lot and makes people feel they have to push back. It’s a completely different thing to present yourself as the trusted advisor through the right questions.
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