3 Sales Tools I Wish I Had When I Was in B2B Sales

salespersonLadies and gentlemen, account executives, and sales reps everywhere, I salute you. I have tried my hand in business to business sales and could just never get a rhythm down. They warned me going in that it’s hard to get your foot in the door these days – boy were they right!

In a market saturated with other office equipment suppliers, I could never quite read exactly how interested my prospects were. I’d knock on doors, get cards (or speak to someone if God was smiling on me that day), log them in the CRM, and then call or email back every few days. When I was super lucky I’d hit just the right person at the right time. Not so lucky I got their voicemail. Really unlucky and I was promptly informed I was literally worse than a murderer to these people. 

It was a numbers game, management would say. Well, that’s not a game I’m great at. I love interaction and nurture, not chasing unqualified leads for months before they finally let me down. But you know, I’ve learned a few things here at Lead Liaison. Things that might have made my short sales career much longer, and much more profitable.  

Here are a few of the sales tools I’ve recently discovered that could have made the difference. 

Send and Track™

I remember sitting in my sales manager’s office trying to figure out how to get a better response. I had a solid cold email template, but I struggled knowing when to make the next touch. I usually didn’t even know if my emails were being read, and I didn’t have any real way of knowing. (Pro tip: don’t use read receipts… well, unless you like getting profanity-laced responses).

“It would be so much easier if I knew when they had at least opened the content I sent them,” I’d say. 

Apparently, I could have known exactly that. Lead Liaison’s Send and Track plugins for Google Mail and Outlook add a tracking code to the links within a tracked email. The first time I tested it, I was pleasantly surprised by a chirping from Chrome and a pop up saying my recipient had opened the email. I logged in to our platform, checked the sales emails report, and saw that they had also clicked one of the links. 

To think, if I could go back in time and use this while I was a sales rep, I could know exactly who to focus on based on interest. I wouldn’t be hounding people just trying to ignore me; I’d be responding to people who actually responded to my communication attempts!

Visitor Tracking

Back then I would have been happy enough knowing which emails were effective, but this would have blown my mind. Imagine knowing the people and companies who are actively checking out your website. For a sales person, this is a huge starting point. What’s that? This person has been to the website 5 times and keeps looking at OCR solutions? Well, time to put on my OCR Expert Hat™ and give them a visit!

But it gets better. Lead Liaison’s ProspectVision™ doesn’t just through a cookie in the user’s browser and tell you what pages they went to. No, we’re able to see what content a visitor downloads, if they watch a video (and how much of that video). With every step, ProspectVision™ builds a more and more detailed profile. It comes down to learning what the prospect wants to know so you can make a real connection with them. You don’t have to spend all month wearing down a gatekeeper to get little bits of info on what this company might want. You get to see it all first hand.

Buying Signals

Now we’re talking leads. And I don’t mean a list of businesses in your area marketing has identified as target clients. I mean honest-to-goodness warm leads. Based on website activity, email response, and interaction with content on your website, we create a score for qualified leads. Once they hit a certain threshold, you get a buying signal.

Think about that for a moment. You’re probably a very busy person with a huge funnel to keep up with. It can be hard to really put together a roadmap of someone’s interest, especially when they prefer to research on their own. But now, without having to breathe down their necks, you know when they’ve exhibited purchasing behavior. That kind of insight would have been life changing for me.

If you’re new to the industry, information is power. If you’re already a sales superstar, you already know that. I won’t say cold calling is dead, but wouldn’t you prefer a warm lead to knocking on a door? I know I would have. And hey, with marketing automation as powerful as it is today, the early adopters are the long-term winners.


The #1 Mistake that Prospective Marketing Automation Buyers Make

marketing automation decisionsWe won’t beat around the bush.  The number one mistake that prospective marketing automation buyers make is delaying a decision.

This results in:

  • Lost opportunity cost for your company
  • Jeopardizing your current and future employment opportunities because you are missing out on providing your organization a basic necessity
  • Giving your competition a bigger head start in marketing
  • Failing to support your sales staff (and we’ve never met a sales manager that said “let’s not sell anything for the next few months… while we get our ducks in a row.”)

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons that you might delay your decision (and why you are wrong if you do):

1. You don’t want to be “tied down” to a technology until you are sure that you have found the right one.

The reality: Most commitments are only one year in length.  If you look at three marketing automation providers and choose one within a month, you might be questioning your abilities as a marketer.

2. You want to make sure you have all of the features that you need.

The reality: While this is a very justifiable goal, the reality is that this is a moving target. It’s far more important to do something today, than to worry about not being able to execute an advanced functionality 8 months from now. Why? Well, first of all, 8 months from now you won’t be in a position to use that functionality because you are so far behind already. Secondly, if you lack that functionality at that time, you can make plans to upgrade vendors as you learn from doing. You will still be 8 months ahead of schedule!

3. You are “too busy.”

The reality: If you are telling your management team that you are too busy to maximize the success of your sales and marketing team because you can’t automate, you clearly are not looking to end your struggles anytime soon.


There is a HUGE cost in going through too many rounds of reviews (or looking at too many vendors). Consider one company who went through at least 5 rounds of reviews as they whittled their list from 20 to 3 vendors! Each review had 3-6 employees involved. A conservative estimate is that they spent 450 person hours thinking about which software they would buy. To put another way, they spent $30,000 to make sure that they didn’t overpay for a $15,000 software decision. This doesn’t even factor in the $100,000+ that they lost in missed sales opportunities during that time.

So, what are our recommendations?

  1. Look for products that are highly rated on vendor review sites.  Pay particular attention to reviewers that are in your line of business. G2 Crowd & Capterra are perhaps two of the best sources of legitimate reviews for software products.
  2. Be prepared with 2-3 core strategies that you would like to execute in the first 30-60 days. Insist that the prospective vendors are able to meet those needs.
  3. Once you know you can accomplish your central needs, focus on the marketing automation vendor’s reputation for execution and support. Software is only 40% of the equation. The other 60% lies in how the well that vendor actually performs and supports their clients. We’d much prefer a vendor that has excellent support and onboarding over someone with an esoteric plug-in!

Here are a few tips for success:

  • Have a plan before you speak with any vendors.
  • Know what your budget is.
  • Know what you want to do.
  • Know who will have the final decision on the project.

That information will give you much more leverage to negotiate the best deal for your company and your potential marketing automation partner.

Most of all: Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. Regardless of who you chose to work with; you are going to learn more (and experience more success) by doing. Don’t fall victim to paralysis by analysis in your marketing automation decision-making process.


Interested in seeing what a great demonstration should look like?

Tips on How to Be More Personable on the Phone


There’s a good chance that you spend a lot of time on the phone for work. You might have to prospect for clients or speak to existing clients. Whatever the case may be, you need to be as personable as possible. Follow these tips and you’ll be more personable and engaging in no time at all.

Keep Good Notes

Keep good notes when you interact with people on the phone. Then, you can refer to those notes to add a personal touch during later phone conversations. For instance, the person you are speaking with might mention that he or she likes pizza. Nest time you speak, you can talk about a pizza joint that you found in the area. Your client will be touched that you remembered that detail, and it’s simple to do when you take good notes. It also strengthens your relationship with that person, allowing them to trust you (and your business) more.

Have a Personal Conversation

It’s normal to want to rush off the phone, but it’s hard to make a personal connection if you’re always in a hurry. Set aside a few minutes at the start of the call to have a personal conversation. Ask about the person’s family or talk about what he or she did over the weekend. Share some of your own personal details as well. But, try to also be respectful of their time and pick up on hints that indicate that they want to get straight to the point.

Use the Prospect’s First Name

Some people think that you need to use Mr. or Mrs. when talking to clients or prospects since the formal title is a sign of respect. However, Mr. or Mrs. sounds very formal. Instead, use the person’s first name when appropriate, but do it in a polite way. You can even ask, “Do you mind if I call you Mark?” before proceeding.

Avoid Hands-Free Devices and Speakerphone

You’re going to sound much more personable if the prospect or client has your undivided attention. You can’t give that when you’re using a hands-free device or a speakerphone. You’ll start shuffling papers or completing other tasks, and that will make it hard to be stay focused. Speak directly into the phone so the prospect or client knows that you are concentrating on the conversation.

Provide Verbal Feedback

Verbal feedback gives you the opportunity to connect with others. Let people know that you’re listening to them by providing this feedback. Remember, they can’t see you! The only way they know that you are listening is if you make comments that indicate you are listening and absorbing everything that they have to say. This will help you form another connection with the person at the other end of the line.

Use each of these tips when you speak on the phone. Soon, the actions will become second nature. You will find yourself going back to your notes, offering verbal feedback, and more every time you talk on the phone.

Interested in practicing your phone skills on us? Give us a ring! We’d love to talk to you about other tips that we can offer marketers, sales people, and business people of all kind! 1 (888) 895-3237

The Qualities of a Good Salesperson

salesmanIf you work in sales, you want to be the best salesperson possible. In order for that to happen, you have to know the qualities of a good salesperson. Then, you’ll need to work on those qualities so you can boost your sales.

Helpful Instead of Pushy

Some salespeople believe that if they push products and services, their customers will bite. Pushiness doesn’t sell, though. Helpfulness does.

You need to believe that your products have features that will help the customer. Then, you can provide insight that will help the customer make a decision.


Anyone can learn about a product’s features, but only charismatic salespeople can connect with customers. When salespeople are charismatic and likable, the products almost sell themselves. Sure, the salespeople still have to do some work, but customers actually want to buy from them because they like them.


It doesn’t matter how skilled a salesperson is. He or she is going to suffer quite a bit of rejection over the years. Some people can’t handle the rejection. They lose faith in themselves and become less effective. A good salesperson is resilient and bounces back after a rejection. That is necessary in the sales world.

Ability to Take Initiative

Good salespeople take action when action is needed. They don’t sit back, waiting for something to happen. Instead, they make things happen with their ability to take initiative. If you find yourself sitting on the sidelines, it’s time to get involved. You can’t be successful unless you learn how to take initiative.


Coachable people are willing to learn and adapt. They take a suggestion and incorporate it without any fuss. This allows salespeople to adapt to various systems and requirements. If you’re a lone wolf, you will have a hard time excelling in different environments.

All salespeople want to meet and exceed quotas and earn a nice commission. The best way to do that is to continually refine your process, be aware of your strengths, and work on the things that you aren’t so good at.

Interested in getting even more support as a salesperson? Click here!

How Your Personality Affects Your Sales

Have you ever thought about how your personality affects what you’re doing at work? When it comes to sales positions, personality types can reveal some particular insights. One that’s often relied on is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Known as MBTI, this test helps to delineate certain personality traits into predictable, understandable categories that are supposed to provide insight into why you make certain choices and how you perceive standard situations. By answering 93 questions, respondents are able to receive four key personality indicators, such as introversion versus extroversion.

When it comes to sales, those personality indicators can explain what you prefer—say face to face versus phone interactions—or how you process information—whether you trust experience or symbols, for example.

Each personality type has advantages and strengths in sales, and nothing rules out someone from making a success in the field. View the entire graphic here to understand more about how personality affects your sales effectiveness.

Psychology of Sales

When Should Sales Contact Marketing Automation Leads?

When Should Sales Contact Marketing Automation Leads?Automated marketing is making it easier to attract and nurture leads prior to a sales engagement. But when should a sales agent contact a lead from a marketing automation platform? Today’s B2B companies are adapting their marketing to the customer-is-in-control environment, and marketing automation platforms enable sales teams to monitor inbound behavior and nurture leads through the marketing funnel. So at what times should sales be in touch with marketing automation leads? We’ve got three that work.

Following Initial Inquiry

This may seem counterintuitive to the automated marketing paradigm, but early introduction of a dedicated sales agent can be effective as a method to deepen the relationship with a lead. A simple “Hello. How are you? Can I help answer a question?” with an agent’s contact details provides a lead with a human connection to your company.

Some MA vendors recommend repeated outbound calls following the initial inquiry. We don’t advise an aggressive policy but companies that ignore opportunities to introduce sales early in the engagement process may be missing out on potential conversions. Sending a simple introductory message via email when possible can provide assistance to your leads, an opportunity to accelerate the relationship, and a way to qualify leads early in the process.

(Chat plug-ins are effective but all too often we see chat pop-ups appearing within seconds of a page display. Timing is essential when setting chat enablement. Page visitors should be allowed to digest content before a chat is offered.)

Following a Specific Inquiry

Once you’ve discovered that a lead has engaged with your brand through a specific marketing asset, there is an opportunity to address needs, questions, etc. A robust marketing automation platform will allow you to deliver a message that is specific to a lead’s interest at the moment. This provides a great opportunity to provide value to the relationship.

For example, when a lead arrives on a landing page through an organic search for ‘marketing automation prices’ your MA platform should send an alert to the sales rep who “owns” the account. The rep will know that the lead is focused on pricing and can take the opportunity to engage by following up on the message that was delivered.

At a Lead Score Benchmark

Your MA platform should have a lead scoring feature that allows you to define scoring parameters. Determine a scoring threshold that will be used to deliver the lead record to your CRM and use that threshold as an opportunity to immediately send an automated message.

Once a lead has achieved a score, which is a combination of explicit (attributes) and implicit (behavioral) data, a message with a time-sensitive offer can be effective. At this point, the lead will be marketing-qualified and ready for sales engagement. Your sales rep can then follow up on the message to try to convert early in the sales pipeline.

Automated marketing is recognized as being a powerful B2B sales tool. To make it even more effective, deploy sales engagements at times that will be recognized as helpful but not intrusive. For more thoughts on using marketing automation effectively, visit our blog.

Lead Follow Up and Personalization: Getting the Sale

Lead Follow Up and Personalization: Getting the SaleWhen your salespeople do their routine lead followup, they could be using client personalization to better appeal to clients. You may find that many sales people in your company do this without prompting. It might not be difficult to remember the location, job title or basic info of your warmer leads. Having more advanced data allows sales people to connect more heavily with the potential client and to demonstrate they’re listening to the client’s needs. Lead personalization is also viewed as a precursor to excellent customer service for many warm leads

Lead Followup: When to Personalize

Potential clients who enjoy talking to salespeople on the phone disclose many trivial details. Things like favorite vacation spot, recent travel or names of family members or pets tend to slip out. Many salespeople are so focused on getting the sale during lead followup that they tend to leave out the trivial details that personalize a lead’s experience.

When notating a lead, sales people often make notes about the potential client’s work schedule, any hesitations to buy, best times to call back and more info about the competitor products the lead currently uses. Personal details are often seen as sketchy to discuss or are outright neglected by sales people, but discussion about any personal snippets you pick up – when done the right way – can help a salesperson strategically close a sale.

Recording Personalization Information

The last thing a sales person wants is to feel they’re getting over-personal with a potential client. The modicum of respect necessary for good communication in business dealings is always on the table – however, throwing in personal details that warm the relationship can nurture the lead when done strategically.

Here’s an example lead followup and personalization scenario – a sales call to a particular warm lead isn’t accepted because the lead mentions she’s taking her sick dog to the vet. Let’s say that the lead gives more information about her pet – the nature of the problem, the name of the pet, is it a routine vet visit, etc.  Rather than blanking on these details or scribbling them in a personal notebook, tools exist that allow salespeople to map out these personal details for future use. This is particularly helpful when lead follow up is conducted by multiple members of a sales team – e.g., “HI Anne! Dave told me what was going on with your dog Scrapper – is she okay?”

The right marketing automation system will help sales people keep track of lead followup and personalization details across platforms. Lead Liaison’s easy-to-use customer details interface allows you to input custom fields where you can store customer birthdays, pet names, preferences or any general details that will help sales people relate with a client and get closer to a sale.

To find out more about lead followup and personalization, visit us at

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Understand a Lead Score

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Understand a Lead ScoreLead scoring is a common component to marketing automation. Often, when a lead achieves a specific scoring threshold, that record is automatically migrated to a CRM for sales contact. However, not all lead scores are the same when they are passed to the sales team. In order for sales to be effective at converting a marketing-qualified lead to a win, it’s beneficial to for each sales agent to understand how a fresh MQL has been scored.

The total lead score is often comprised of a letter grade (A, B, C, etc.) that represents the lead’s explicit attributes (company size, industry, job title, etc.) and a numeric score (70, 80, 90, etc.), which represents the lead’s implicit characteristics as evidenced by its online footprint (web page views, email open, social click, etc.). The lead is graded against other suspects according to how well it fits a lead profile or customer persona then given points for engagement activities with your brand.

Why a Score Breakout is Important

The lead grade is fairly standard. The closer it fits to your typical customer, the higher the grade. CRM users can typically view the information used to generate a lead grade in the CRM interface. It’s the implicit score that a sales agent is typically blind to. If your sales agents see a lead score in the CRM, it is usually the total score. But how did the MA system calculate that total score? If your salespeople can identify what factors contributed to a lead’s total score, they will be better prepared to approach that lead and understand his or her motivators, research strategy, and MA awareness level.

Our Lead Management Automation™ platform breaks your lead score “out of the box”. Users can see what tracks a lead has taken to earn its implicit score. Various point values are assigned for each activity. For example, a single ’email open’ activity may receive 5 points; a web form submission may receive 30 points. Each activity-related parameter is assigned a value which contributes to the implicit score.

This implicit score can reveal a lot about how the lead behaves, where he or she is in the buying cycle, how influential the lead may be in the purchase decision process, and other factors that can be critical to both the salesperson’s approach and the likelihood of conversion.

Scoring Weights

Every digital footstep doesn’t deserve the same scoring weight. Website pricing page views typically reflect a higher level of interest than a home page view. A lead that has engaged in a chat is often more sales-ready than one who has submitted a web form. Therefore, it’s critical to improving sales productivity for sales agents to view the lead scoring baseline in order to get a more complete impression of a sales lead.

Within your scoring matrix, the implicit activities should be weighted to account for the importance of each activity to the buying process.

If you’ve gone to the effort of deploying a marketing automation system, you should be able to view a breakout of the lead score. If your system provides this granularity, make sure your sales team is leveraging the information provided within initial and follow up contacts. Your sales conversion rate will rise and your sales team will become more efficient.

If your lead management/marketing automation system does not have a lead score breakout, take a look at our Lead Management Automation platform!

8 Ways to Improve Sales Productivity With Lead Management Automation

8 Ways to Improve Sales Productivity With Lead Management AutomationIs your B-to-B enterprise challenged to uncover ways to improve sales because of stiff competition? If so, here are 8 ways to improve sales productivity with lead management automation. Often, the solution is how well leads are managed from the point of acquisition to the point they are handed to your sales team. The way to improve sales productivity is also the answer to increased marketing and sales efficiency – lead management automation.

Within most traditional lead management programs, there are multiple factors that impact sales outcomes, such as outreach or lead qualification. The problem is that most of these factors take time to develop, implement, and evaluate. Even with all the automated functions available to B-to-B companies, there are still countless small, mid-size, and (yes) large enterprises that continue to acquire and manage leads manually. This leads to lost time, discarded leads, and inefficient sales practices.

Lead management automation provides several key functions that, when implemented properly,  can reduce sales cycles, increase close rates, and generate greater revenue. Here are 8 cornerstones of a strong lead management platform:

Sales Prospecting

Sales agents can search a database of over 200 million companies to find industry, company, and contact details. System users can target prospects by company, job title, or state. Additionally, agents can search your existing database for social and behavior profiles of your prospects.

Lead Generation

Identifying leads can be a difficult and time-consuming activity. Through an automated lead generation function, your sales team has an additional member – your website. Lead management automation supports your sales agents’ prospecting by tracking website visitors and delivering only interested prospects to your sales team.

Lead Nurturing

Most experienced sales professionals will tell you that 80% of leads are not ready to buy when they are first contacted. Companies can improve sales productivity through an automated process of consistent outreach and escalating messaging as leads advance through the sales pipeline.

Lead Qualification

It’s tough to close sales without reaching the right person with adequate buying signals. Leads can be easily qualified through a lead management automation solution that identifies whether a prospect is viable and appears ready to buy.

Sales Pipeline Management

One of the more effective ways to improve sales is to recognize where a lead is in the sales pipeline. Contacts that are approached too soon or too late result in failed sales attempts. Lead management automation provides a lead scoring matrix for sales to identify when a lead has become marketing-qualified and is ready for a sales call.

CRM Integration

Today’s sales force uses customer relationship management software to manage sales activities. To optimize your sales team’s ability to understand its prospects from first contact through sales support, a lead management automation platform integrates with existing CRM software.

Buy Signal Detection

When a prospect is ready to buy, there are often digital buy signals that indicate sales-readiness. Salespeople can be alerted when a signal is transmitted, such as opening a time-sensitive email message or submitting a web form.

Email Campaigns

With lead management automation, the return on email campaigns can be markedly improved. Users can create multiple email messages at one time then schedule delivery throughout a specified time period. Sales agents can focus follow up activities with only those that performed specific activities like opening the message or clicking through a link.

Despite the term “marketing automation” being often used to describe products that provide a digital lead management process, lead management automation is just as effective at improving sales productivity as it is at improving marketing practices.

Automatically Nurture Leads on Behalf of Sales

Automatically Nurture Leads on Behalf of SalesLead nurturing is the process of advancing leads from suspect status to sales-ready buyers. In the past, lead nurturing was the responsibility of salespeople who received homogenous contact information from the marketing department. There was no process of determining which leads were preparing to buy and which leads were “kicking the tires”.

With our Lead Management Automation™ platform, you can automatically nurture leads on behalf of sales without the man-hours that were typically required using traditional lead nurturing practices. Users can schedule messaging to prospects, create specific digital assets such as email messages, surveys, and landing pages, and move leads to a point where a sales contact can advance the relationship.

Using the Lead Management Automation platform, marketing can develop relationships with prospects without engaging sales agents by:

  • scheduling your marketing campaigns to be delivered sequentially without the need for staff interactions along the way
  • creating and delivering email campaigns with personalized messages
  • distributing surveys for existing customers to uncover up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
  • creating customized landing pages that provide specific responses to lead activities such as filling out an online form
  • creating customized web forms that can be added to landing pages to collect information for progressive profiling of engaged leads
  • assigning a lead score calculated by the number of activities a prospect engages in, such as opening an email message or visiting your website
  • nurturing leads through a digital “conversation” by automatically delivering a response email following an activity trigger such as a request for information
  • segmenting prospect lists according to response activities so sales agents can target engagements with leads that have shown interest in specific features or benefits of your products
  • automatically delivering leads that have reached a scoring threshold to an existing CRM program like Salesforce

Our customers find the user interface easy to manage when lead nurturing. Users start by creating a marketing program then adding a campaign for each marketing effort. Once responses occur leads can be targeted for nurturing based upon geographic, demographic, or behavioral criteria. Lead nurturing through our Lead Management Automation platform allows smaller sales and marketing teams to nurture more leads using less man-hours and allows larger sales and marketing departments to become more agile and effective in their lead nurturing practices.