The term “sales stack” has become common in the digital marketing world as more entities seek to streamline their sales processes and get more customers. A sales technology stack simply refers to the collection of sales tools that a particular sales team uses. In this blog post we are going to walk through the stack we use for outreach and getting guest blog posts.
With the way technology is advancing rapidly, sales managers and SEOs are increasingly being challenged with the task of embracing new technology or risk becoming overshadowed by competitors who are taking advantage of better and advanced systems. This calls them to need to adapt various software tools in order to maximize their key performance indicators. This is where a sales stack comes in.
What is a Sales Stack and Why Do You Need One?
Budgets for sales tools is the biggest discrepancy between the smaller (1 to 20 person) teams and the larger (Enterprise 100’s) teams. That budget discrepancy allows enterprise-level SEO agencies to afford a more efficient toolset or software system.
Smaller teams can use sales stacks to “mimic” the larger enterprise level tools by grouping different pieces of software together. Sales stacks are not supposed to be rigid but borrowing an idea from a successful entity is not harmful.
Each piece of software stacks on top of the other. They each do their job and maybe work well with one another. Most of the time it is just about finding tools that do the “one” major piece you need for that part of the process.
Example of Guest Posting Sales Stack
I first learned about sales stack from Start Ups. They implement this process because of “growth hacking” and limited budgets. Here is a great post with illustrations of a very similar sales stack.
- Lead Grabber
This tool is just used to scour the internet and find people that would be a good fit for your service. For guest posting this maybe something as simple as scrapebox, ninja outreach, buzzstream, or just a google search open.
If you are looking for targeted people to email then finding people on LinkedIn or through various list buying services works just the same for this step.
- Email Finder
This is something as simple as hunter.io to look up each email or something as amazing as proleads (Now http://hexa.ai/) and get huge capabilities. The goal here is to track down people’s information. You want to identify your customers and locate how you can contact them.
- Data Enrichment and Cleaner
This tool finds your newly found emails and contacts other information. This searches through twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn for extra pieces of information about your contacts. Nimble.com offers this as well as ninjaoutreach.com. The main provider is Clearbit no matter who you are going through.
Your goal here is to find the most relevant various ways to interact with your potential prospects. You can also explore their personal interest and find ways to speak directly to them when in conversation via email. This obviously does not necessarily help you on your mass send efforts. It is great for the responders though.
- Email Sender and Marketing Automation Scheduler
This can be anything from just your regular email sender (Gsuite or Gmail) or a great tool like Gmass.co. The goal is to get inbox deliverability. I have looked at a lot of these. The best is SendBloom but it cost $1,200 dollars upfront. No monthly options.
You can look at Drip or Woodpecker as well. There are a lot of options that go into the sending of the emails. You just want to hit the inbox every time. I like sending through my gmail for that reason. I can adjust via domains etc. very quickly inside of my gsuite.
- Customer Relationship Management Software
CRM’s are a dime a dozen. The difference is what you are selling. Salesforce (if you are enterprise) is probably you option here. I hate salesforce and it’s “fit everything” mentality. I specifically want to see sales leads and close them. I want to service current customers. That is all I want. Period.
My choice (I am just now using it so you can try it as well) after much research and from recommendations is Close.io. It seems to be focused on closing deals. That is what I want to do for Content Club and Content HOW.
If you are trying to develop long-term relationships with guest bloggers then you may want to explore Close.io and how it can help you with that process as well.
Either way, your CRM is just the hub. That is what makes the sales stacks so great. You can flex your email sends and try new tools without dismantling your entire system. Adapting and pivoting to different projects and ideas you have can help you catch profits you may have otherwise missed.
Unless businesses are the same and have similar systems in place, there is very little chance that copying an entity’s sales stack will work and yield the same results for another firm. This is, in fact, a common mistake that most business owners make.
A better approach would be to take a step back and take a deeper look into your business’ nature. Look at enterprise solutions for your problems and develop a sales stack to attack in the same nature they attack the problem.
Looking Into Your Marketing Sales Stack Needs
Which marketing techniques are more likely to garner you more sales?
Do you have enough resources at your disposal to sustain the techniques in question even if the
ROI is not that much during the initial period?
Do you have a backup in case things go South?
Are your ROI measurables?
KPI for each portion of the stack and reporting on that?
These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself when developing a sales stack. You don’t necessarily have to throw out all your existing software or systems and assume that you can’t get any value out of each. The key here is to assess them and try to find out more opportunities and different ways of doing things in a stack’s particular aspect that you can use as a basis when developing your own.
Introducing Yourself For Guest Blogging and Content Marketing
In recent years, more and more marketers have moved away from traditional blogging in favor of video and picture content seen on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Such actions can be justified, but the statistics prove otherwise.
Blogging is still very lucrative and numbers show that it generates more leads compared to video and image content published on the web. You can, however, add a fantastic image or video to give a post a more in-depth take of the content being discussed.
Take a look at some borrowed statistics below from Codeless concerning blogging.
- An average blog post is 1,050 words long.
- Longer and more detailed blogs produce nine times more leads than shorter ones.
- The median time span people take to read an article is 37 seconds.
- Marketers who are wary of committing blogging mistakes are 13 times more probable to get better returns.
- Over three-quarters of digital marketers plan to churn out original content for their blogs.
- Great Headlines increase the chance of getting a click by 10%.
- 44% of marketers see producing quality content as their major challenge
In a nutshell, these statistics allude to a couple of things. Bloggers are numerous on the internet and their number is ever increasing, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that most of them are meeting the need for quality content.
Quality blogs are still the most lucrative ones. The other thing deduced from the highlighted numbers is that the neglected features of blogs like headlines significantly impact the effectiveness of blog posts. Lastly, digital marketers acknowledge the significance of blogs but do not know what it takes to monetize them effectively.
Building The Sales Stack
Moving over to the gist of our topic, the initial step is to critically assess the sales process. This system should be ideally smooth, efficient, and profitable for the business entity to survive.
A great process should also be deterministic and causal. Lastly, reps should be capable of scaling the process to accommodate increased capacities. A successive sales stack should be somewhat similar to this:
- Generate leads
- Convert and manage leads
- Try things out
- Finalize everything
This is the initial step of our sales stack. As mentioned above, quality content is an amazing way to get leads. There are a couple of ways you could go about when it comes to generating leads.
Manual prospecting is an old-fashioned way that has one major limitation—speed. How long does it take you to land a qualified lead? The choice of which way to pursue when getting leads solely depends on your business and its systems.
Finding potential leads require a very intelligent sales system software. This software should gather all the relevant information needed to ascertain whether a specific lead is qualified. One notable tool capable of doing this is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. There’s actually been an increased number of people joining LinkedIn because of this and it’s where most prospects can be found.
Another way of generating leads that’s good for entities that are too focused on other matters to venture into manual prospecting is third-party lead sourcing firms. Some notable ones that give qualified and legitimate leads are ZoomInfo and Datanyze. In this scenario, you are forced to spend money as opposed to time during the prospecting process. The only main bone of contention is how valuable the leads are.
The last option when it comes to generating leads which we will use for our sales stack is outsourcing.
Hiring freelancers from numerous platforms available on the internet is a great way of outsourcing qualified leads through blog posts. However, one should be cautious with this approach as some freelancers are simply unreliable and incompetent.
By getting a qualified and diligent team of writers, you greatly reduce the cost of each lead without compromising your valuable time. When outsourcing, ensure you hand out concise instructions on how the content should be written and test several writers at once. Eliminate the bogus ones and remain with the ones who can accomplish your requirements.
Some notable sites you could visit when looking for freelancers are Fiverr and Upwork. When working with freelancers, you also need to be aware of how they’re working. Using tools like Rapportive and Kickbox.io could help you keep tabs on the progress of each task you’ve assigned.
Rounding up the lead generation section, I would recommend LinkedIn Sales Navigator as the perfect tool for reps choosing to do sales the intelligent way. It has the advantage of being the largest connected network of professionals along with having the most accurate information about individuals on a professional level.
Datanyze is a great option as well as it has a strong sales force integration while making it simple to build lists. InsideView and DiscoverOrg are also great options worth considering. Reps opting for the costly lead sourcing can make do with either ZoomInfo, Lead411, and Salesforcedata.com.
Lead Conversion and Management
On paper, this is where Customer Relations Management or CRM comes into play. Practically, CRMs have a significant impact on the speed and smoothness of any sales process particularly at the top of the stack where the numbers are quite astonishing. For this reason, most reps are often thought to prefer outbound processes more. Don’t be deterred by this move as inbound processes are more lucrative basing on numbers alone.
CRM is essentially the cog of the whole process and there should be an efficient communication between the outbound and CRM reps. Currently, the best CRM you can bet on is Salesforce.
When it comes to achieving a high lead conversion rate, ensure you look into a couple of critical matters. First, focus on the right blogs and avoid being irrelevant. An ideal blog should be authoritative, active, and flexible enough to give you several options when referencing yourself.
Work on the content format and focus on topics that entice readers. Sell tactfully, not brashly and redirect readers to specific resources on your website as opposed to just your home page. Lastly, on your guest posts, offer readers options to upgrade and access more in-depth information on the topic they just read as a way of increasing your following.
In a busy sales process, the amount of outbound sales communication is huge and no tool can really efficiently handle these numbers while still ensuring that leads don’t disappear in the midst of all the huge numbers.
Successfully establishing and sustaining an effective outbound lead campaign can be daunting at times and one only needs to look into the critical factors to determine the efficiency of their campaign. Successful campaigns are the ones that are very specific and relevant to the needs of the customers as opposed to being merely generated by a machine or being repetitive. People can easily recognize when something is automated and not personalized.
In this part of the sales stack, you need to be very tactical in your approaches while being adventurous as well. Try different ways of doing things and see the likely returns of each method. Focus on the productive ones and scale them up to see how they take on the increased capacity.
Establishing and managing customers are things that can be handled immediately. There might be other tools in the market but there’s no doubt that this is the best when it comes to handling a guest blogging sales stack.
Try Things Out
When things are heading in the right direction and a large number of leads generated from your guest blogs are being converted to calls and appointments, the next best thing to do is to give a demo.
You have come a long way and you should be careful not to mess things up at this stage. Trying proven tools like Calendly, ScheduleOnce, and Assistant to help you manage any converted leads. The mentioned tools are very popular since they are very dynamic and work well with typical Google applications.
The critical areas of concern when setting up a demo are your existing schedule calendar and your tool of choice. Your desired tool should be efficient enough to avoid cases of repeated bookings among other flaws. For conferencing, Joinme, UberConference, and Webex have emerged as great options for managing converting the leads.
Once you’ve set up your guest blog post, gotten leads, and converted those, it’s now high time for you to wrap things up. In this stage of the stack, ensure you use tools that make the buying procedure seamless. For those that require contract signing of some sort, DocuSign and HelloSign can easily help with digital signatures.
Unfortunately, there are no known tools to help round up the buying process. There’s one point worth noting though and it pertains to how much automation you need at this stage. Make sure there’s a secure and reliable service that can match the high standards you require.
Establishing the correct sales stack for guest blogging is a matter of looking at the entire process from different perspectives and not only with the tactics you need in mind. Information is critical in establishing a guest blogging stack as all the tools and procedures set should be proven to work. The parting takeaway here is you should avoid investing in tools and platforms that can’t integrate well into your sales process.