One of the most common questions Charles Gaudet gets from executives who seek out his coaching is why their sales team is consistently underperforming. As one of the most sought after business strategists for seven and eight figure companies and their founders, Gaudet, with his company Predictable Profits, has become a “CEO whisperer” of sorts when it comes to solving complex sales problems.
Scaling any company, let alone the specialized businesses that Gaudet and his team advise such as marketing agencies, consultancies and even a travel agency in the midst of the global pandemic, is perhaps one of the most difficult journeys an entrepreneur can undertake. Reaching profitability is one thing; maintaining that profitability while constantly evolving your systems and processes to meet new levels of growth can humble even the most seasoned executives. Predictable Profits helps its clients not only achieve that but often in vastly shorter periods of time than it would take if they went it alone. Gaudet is never shy about his opinions on what it takes to build a successful company and we sat down to get his take on how entrepreneurs should be approaching the new year.
What are the biggest stumbling blocks to how companies are positioning themselves in 2021?
Charles Gaudet: The biggest stumbling block for companies positioning themselves in 2021 is they forget that prospects have become researchers.
The average prospect looks at 12-14 information sources before making a buying decision. This means your buyers are comparing you against many competitors!
To stand out, you must establish credibility, authority and a strong unique advantage. You must also provide social proof and information to aid in the buying decision.
Which sales channels do you think are the most underutilized right now?
CG: Rather than underutilized sales channels, what’s overlooked is the benefit of using multiple sales channels together in what we call the “preheating phase.” The preheating phase is when you warm up your potential clients before you actively prospect them and request an appointment.
We know that people do business with others they know, like and trust. The problem is, the average salesperson prospects someone who doesn’t know, like and trust them.
To get over this stumbling block, serve advertisements by retargeting your leads using platforms such as AdRoll, LinkedIn and Facebook. This way your prospects see your ads repeatedly. Also, create lead lists using Sales Navigator so you can engage with prospects’ content daily. Throughout this phase, they start to know, like, and trust you — and you begin turning cold leads into lukewarm prospects.
The preheating process is so effective our coaching clients have experienced up to a 2x increase in appointments AND improved sales conversion rates by as much as 300%.
When the goal is scaling, it is better to take a diversified approach to sales channels or double down on just one or two?
CG: Most sales professionals focus on a single channel, rather than multiplying the impact of their sales process by using diversified channels.
Using an omnichannel combination of retargeting, LinkedIn, email, telephone, LinkedIn Voicemail, and good old-fashioned direct mail produces optimum results.
While this may seem overwhelming at first, a number of technologies can make an omnichannel sales approach easy to manage.
How much time should you give a sales channel that isn’t working before moving on to another?
CG: Rarely does a sales channel not work. Instead, the problem is often the strategy for maximizing the sales channel.
Variables that have the biggest impact on success include lead quality, message, cadence, and sequence. Fixing any of these variables often corrects the issue.
It’s also good practice to split test your subject lines and messages to see what’s working. This also allows you to collect data as quickly as possible.
And remember, before making any changes to the sales channel, look for statistical significance in your data of at least 100 names (and, ideally, much more).
What are three mistakes every company needs to avoid in how they nurture their prospects?
CG: The three biggest mistakes every company needs to avoid in how they nurture their prospects are:
They give up too early. Our research shows that only 7.5% of all MQLs convert within90 days. Yet as much as 42.5% of all MQLs convert between 90 days and 2 years from now.
They’re not persistent. The laws of effective frequency dictate that it takes 20 brand impressions to make a conversion. Each email, advertisement, and social media touchpoint improves the odds of a sale.
They’re always selling. Clients don’t need to be sold; they need a reason to buy. Focus on building the relationship by delivering value and providing relevant information that educates prospects toward achieving their desired result.