Seven Best Practices for SMB Sales Success

Insights from top industry experts help companies focus on driving sales leads and acquiring new customers heading into 2016.

If you're in a small or medium-sized business, you're always looking for an edge to maximize your sales success. We recently hosted our first annual Accelerate Sales Conference to bring together the top minds in sales and marketing to share what high growth companies were doing to excel. Seven best practices emerged from the keynotes and sessions as the difference makers for sales excellence in SMB.

Jack Daly fires up the crowd at Accelerate Sales

Jack Daly fires up the crowd at Accelerate Sales

“The best sales machines are those with a focused team, resources, intelligence and plan, and following these seven practices accomplishes this,” said JP Werlin, CEO of PipelineDeals. “PipelineDeals has extensive expertise as to what does and doesn’t work for any business type, enabling us to give businesses the power to focus sales and dominate their markets.”

PipelineDeals’ Seven Key Practices to Sales Success

  1. Help… don’t sell
    • Be on the customer’s side. Focus conversations on customers’ needs and goals by listening and answering questions.
  2. Collect the right intelligence to strengthen the pipeline
    • Work smarter, not harder.  Understand people change roles and jobs. Keep an eye on these changes to find new leads and maintain existing customer relationships.
  3. Focus on what’s in it for them
    • Stop selling products and start selling outcomes. Focus on what leads and customers can accomplish with the product to meet their bottom line. It’s about their needs, not sales compensation plans.
  4. Show up early
    • No, not getting up at the crack dawn, but arriving at the beginning of the decision-making process. Focusing on prospects that are ready to buy now is starting too late. Engage in conversations earlier to learn about their needs for the best sales pitch possible.
  5. Use the 3 P’s: Preparation, practice and planning
    • Get a system down. Prepare by spending a bit of time researching a company or person before contact. Remember that practice makes perfect. Constantly rehearse pitches and anticipate questions to improve it over time. Plan with measureable goals and create a system of accountability to stay on track.  Each meeting should have a desired end-state to measure success rates.
  6. Prioritize by understanding the quality of a lead
    • Time is money. Invest it on the sales leads with the most potential first. Referral and word of mouth are best, followed by those generated by direct outreach programs, with website and marketing programs next.
  7. Establish fans for life
    • Sales is like a relay race. Getting a meeting or closing a new deal is only the first leg. Strong customer relationships have long-term benefits, including repeat business, referrals, and positive market perception.

These best practices are easily integrated into a company’s sales workflow with PipelineDeals. We offer small and medium-sized businesses a comprehensive CRM and sales productivity suite that eliminates the cost and complexity found in more expensive and difficult to manage enterprise systems. Our intuitive and powerful solutions enable businesses to focus resources, talent and intelligence precisely when and where needed to accelerate the sales process.

The Accelerate Sales Conference was held from August 19-20 in Seattle. The conference is uniquely designed with a focus on SMB sales, sales performance and productivity. The inaugural event gathered more than 100 sales leaders and experts, including a lineup of the industry’s most respected sales consultants, authors and executives as speakers. This included Craig Elias, creator of Trigger Event Selling, Lori Richardson, CEO of Score More Sales, Mark Ruthfield, VP of Sales at ZoomInfo, Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, Jack Daly, author of Hyper Sales Growth, Craig Rosenburg, co-founder of TOPO, Marylou Tyler, CEO of Strategic Pipeline and Lincoln Murphy, customer success evangelist at Gainsight.

Further information on PipelineDeals is available at For more information on the conference, check out this wrap-up post.

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Tweet to Leads Using Zapier

By Christy Kondo, Customer Ambassador at PipelineDeals. Follow her @PLDChristy

In the growing world of social sales, Twitter is a valuable tool for making connections and growing conversations. The downside is that it can be so easy to lose track of potential leads that you have a passing conversation with. I use PipelineDeals to track sales and commissions for a small custom art business. Because I generate and nurture most of my sales through Twitter, I was looking for something that would allow me to enter warm leads—people actively expressing an interest in my product rather than just people I was having a conversation with—into my PipelineDeals database without interrupting the flow of my conversations on Twitter.

The solution is an integration between Twitter and PipelineDeals through Zapier, which enables you to turn tweets containing certain keywords or hashtags into leads in PipelineDeals. If that sounds a little daunting to you, don’t fret—setting up a Zap on Zapier is easy to do, even if you aren’t particularly tech–savvy.

Setup your own Tweet to Leads Integration

After creating an account with Zapier, create a Zap which connects Twitter to PipelineDeals. After you select the trigger app (Twitter) and the action app (PipelineDeals), you’ll be asked to confirm your account information for each app. For PipelineDeals, it will ask for your API key, so make sure that you or your account admin enable access to the API for your account. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can find instructions here.

Zapier will ask you to clarify specifically what kind of tweets will trigger the creation of a lead. Of course, you’ll want to start with the keyword that you’ll be triggering the tweet off of. Here, I’m using a hashtag (#HBDoodleSales) to trigger my Zap. You can trigger your tweet-to-leads off of anything you want; perhaps your company name, a product name, or certain keywords that apply to your process would make a good trigger for you.

If you want to make sure that you only capture people who are tweeting directly at you and not just anyone who tweets the things that trigger your Zap, you can add a filter that only triggers the zap when your Twitter username is mentioned. You can add additional filters to further narrow down your criteria to make sure that only pertinent tweets become leads in PipelineDeals.

Next, you need to fill out the PipelineDeals people creation form using data gathered from the tweet. One potential issue you may run into while using tweet-to-leads is that many Twitter users don’t use their full name or even their real name on Twitter, so you will need to be creative about how you identify your Twitter leads. I found using the Twitter “Full Name” field by itself to not be very helpful, but neither was just using the username.

So when setting up this Zap, I put the “Full Name” value from Twitter as the First Name in PipelineDeals and the “username” value in as the Last Name in PipelineDeals. This does mean that I have to edit the information down once I determine what the person’s actual first and last name are, but it gives me the most identifying information on a lead possible. The “User URL” value from Twitter returns the website that the user has listed on their Twitter profile, which keeps you from having to hunt down their website information.

I’ve set up Twitter as one of my Source options on my Account Settings page of PipelineDeals, and I’d recommend if you are using tweet-to-leads that you do the same. As a summary of the lead, I include the full text of the tweet that triggered the lead creation as well as the date and time the tweet was created at. Using “User Profile Image URL” in the image URL field will automatically upload the person’s profile picture from Twitter as their picture in PipelineDeals.

Naturally, the Twitter “username” value is the perfect fit for the PipelineDeals Twitter Username field. You may have some custom fields that could be filled out with some of the other data Twitter offers, so I would recommend looking through what’s possible in terms of the things you can pull from Twitter to see if it matches with any of the other data that you track.

Here’s an example of the Zap in action. Here is a tweet directed at the target account with the trigger hashtag:

And here is the final result in PipelineDeals:

This allows me to keep track of those tweets which could lead to potential sales. While the contact information that Twitter provides isn’t perfect (Twitter does not let you pull the user’s email address, for example, and there is no way to make sure you’re getting the person’s real name), it’s a great place to start a conversation. By bringing that conversation into PipelineDeals, you can make sure that you never lose track of that potential sale. Combined with our powerful Automations platform, for example, you can automatically apply a task template that is specifically designed around sales originating on Twitter. The possibilities are endless.

Have you built any integrations with Zapier or itDuzzit that streamline your sales process? Got any tips or tricks on bridging PipelineDeals with other applications? Share them in the comments below!

Christy is a Customer Care Ambassador at PipelineDeals and is passionate about helping others achieve their goals. She's also passionate about craft beer, the San Jose Sharks, and puns.