Selling is hard work, and it’s only getting harder. For more than 20 years I’ve been writing and teaching about the fundamental shifts that have taken place with the flow of information in the buyer-seller paradigm.
Frankly, up until about 1997 sellers had the advantage, and buyers were forced to play by the seller’s rules. As Daniel Pink shares in his latest book To Sell Is Human, this information asymmetry has, at best, become an information balance, and in many ways has swayed to the benefit of the buyer. Sellers today must increasingly play by the buyer’s rules.
This information disruption has increased the lack of synchronicity between buyers and sellers, and made forecasting new sales seem like a virtually impossible undertaking. Too often salespeople are left to guess what a prospect is thinking, where they are in their buying process and when they should reach out to them.
Simply put, salespeople struggle to understand and adapt to the buyer’s context. I, myself, have agonized over when I should send an email to a prospect or how to best follow up.
What’s interesting is that the marketing side of the house has had access to all types of insights into the online actions, behaviors and interactions with your company’s products and website. Their use of tracking has allowed marketing to hone the message and provide valuable intel to an organization's go-to-market efforts.
So leave it to a marketing oriented company to create one of the simplest and most powerful tools in a salesperson’s arsenal. As part of their annual Inbound Conference, HubSpot has launched a new tool called Signals. Signals is a notification app that helps you know when and how to engage your leads. It lives in Google Chrome, and connects to many of the other tools that salespeople use on a daily basis. Signals shows you real-time notifications based on “signals” coming from emails you’ve sent, your website, and your CRM system.
What kind of “signals” are we talking about? Here are a few examples:
- When a lead opens or clicks an email I’ve sent from Outlook, Gmail,or Salesforce, I get a notification, giving me insight into the lead's level of engagement and where they stand in the sales process. I’m notified when they open my email, or if (and when) they click a link in the email.
- When a long-term lead who I thought was cold returns to my website after months of absence, I get an instant notification, right on my desktop.
Just today, preparing for a call with a prospect, I was able to see my prospect engagement. I was notified the three times he opened the email I sent him, I saw the links he clicked (and therefore those he didn’t) and the pages he viewed on my website. This allowed me to be far more prepared (with little actual prep) than I could have ever been before.
Last week I was notified of a prospect who I hadn’t talked with in over six months and saw that they visited a high value page on my website. Naturally I picked up the phone, called him and he called me back. What’s more, the core app is free to anyone.
While I rarely use this blog to recommend tools or applications (there are many other sites that provide these insights), Signals is new and valuable enough that I thought it worthy of sharing. I highly recommend you check it out – and use it.