What is Gross profit and Net profit

Understanding Gross profit and Net profit is important for a sales leader in order to arrive at the right sales projection which ultimately forms the part of financial statements of the business. In this post, we wish to demystify the terms Gross profit and Net profit with simple explanations and examples. By the way, we have also written a similar post on Topline and Bottom-line. If you are yet to read that article, then do check it out.

Now, coming back to our original topic, 1. Gross Profit: Gross profit refers to the profit generated after deducting the cost of goods sold from the revenue from sales. Gross Profit = Revenue from Sales - Cost of Goods sold Example: Suppose your business generated a revenue of $10000 during a month, and the actual cost of the goods sold is $4000. In this case, Gross profit = $10000 - $4000 Gross profit = $6000 2. Net Profit Net profit refers to the final profit after deducting the operating expenses, interest expenses and taxes from the Gross Profit generated earlier. Net Profit = Gross Profit - (Operating expenses + Interest expenses + Taxes, etc.) Here the operating expenses can be payments made towards staff salary, rents paid towards office/building/factory/machinery, depreciation, etc. Example: Suppose the Gross profit generated in your business is $6000 and the staff salary paid for the month was $2000, Interest expenses were $500, expense due to depreciation was $200 and taxes paid were $300. In this case, Net Profit = $6000 - ($2000+ $500 + $200 + $300) Net Profit = $6000 - $3000 Net Profit = $3000 I hope this article helped you understand the differences between Gross Profit and Net profit. Let us know your thoughts…

How to motivate sales teams in startups

Being in sales, you must very well know the importance of motivation. Highly motivated sales teams tend to deliver high performance and are always self-driven without the need for a Sales Manager to oversee every small task.

But having a sales team with all time high motivation is not an easy task. Sales managers have to constantly pour in effort to keep the motivation level of the team high. This not only boosts an individual’s performance but also keeps the team morale high.

Here are some of the tips you can use to motivate your startup sales team.

1. Set challenging yet achievable goals

In sales, every term, be it a quarter or month or week, starts with goal setting where team members get their own target or quota. As a sales leader, you have to ensure the goals you set for your team are challenging yet achievable. Many sales leaders tend to keep the targets so high that it appears obvious that those are non-achievable. This ultimately leads to low-morale among the team and leads to low motivation. While if the goals are achievable, there exists a sense of feeling among the team that they can surely reach their number and celebrate their achievement.

2. Celebrate every small winning

In order to keep the team’s motivation high, the Sales leader should ensure that the team's achievement is being appreciated, be it small or big. Make it a culture to celebrate every small winning of the team. Break down the goals into small milestones and celebrate the win. Call for a small casual get together on the office floor and celebrate the milestone.

3. Bring in Gamification 

Concept of gamification works very well for teams where you want to bring in a culture of healthy competition. Introducing gamification within your sales team lets them enjoy the competition and also help in their personal career growth. In this way, instead of running behind unachievable targets, teams will at least try to improve their own game by learning how the top performers within their team are doing it.

4. Reward performers

Rewarding the best performers can be a high motivation booster for the team members. Recognising the best performers for their contribution not only boosts the morale for the performer but also creates a sense of motivation among the other fellow team members who would aspire to be in the same place during the next term of the award. However as a Sales leader you should also ensure that the criteria for rewarding the employees is logical and doesn’t favor the same person always, which may otherwise not serve the purpose of boosting the team morale.

5. Mentor your team

If there are high performers in a team, then relatively there will always be some team members who would fall into the low performers bucket compared to the average expected performance. The sales leader should take up the responsibility to mentor their team to succeed rather than to try to get rid of low-performing team members. Since no one is a born sales professional, this skill can definitely be learnt given they get good guidance and mentoring. Try to talk one-on-one with the team members, understand their challenges, give them feedback and give them appropriate time to overcome their challenges. That’s how you boost team morale and help them grow.

6. Give constructive feedback

During day to day activities, not everything you plan will go smoothly as per the expectations. There will always be some hiccups and challenges in normal business activities. If something goes wrong, take up the initiative to give constructive feedback to the team instead of finger pointing at anyone and trying to put them on the spot. Giving constructive feedback is a significant morale booster and denotes that the leader cares for the team.

7. Design motivating sales compensation structure

Though every other non-monetary effort is good, it would become worthless if the sales professional is not being compensated well for his effort. Sales professionals tend to be number driven and they apply the same math on their personal career growth in terms of compensation as well. Having a well designed sales compensation structure is essential for motivating the team. Try to have a balanced structure with base compensation and sales incentives in order to keep the motivation level of the team high.

8. Ask about their career goals and provide a fulfilling career path

As a sales leader, your goal is to build a long term relationship with your team. This necessitates that you understand their career goals and aspirations in order to provide them a fulfilling long term career path. As sales professionals are very ambitious and career driven, they would not stay for long in an organization where they cannot visualize a better future version of themselves. Hence it is important for the Sales leader to build the right culture and career path where the team can foresee a long term relationship. Motivation is directly related to the length of relationship expected. Since the rewards of long term association is high, if the team doesn’t see a long term career path, it will lead to low motivation and ultimately leading to low performance as well.

Having said that, Motivation is an ongoing need and you need to embrace the above activities as part of your ongoing organization culture in order to derive the best outcome.

By the way, one of the best ways to assess your sales team performance is using a good Sales CRM tool which lets you track your sales figures and metrics accurately. 

If you are yet to try out a Sales CRM tool for your team, do check out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM.

Must have Sales Hiring tips for Sales Managers

Being a Sales Manager in a growing and ever expanding team, one of your key responsibilities would be to ensure you hire the right folks in your team. Any wrong hire to your team can severely impact your revenue goals and also put you behind your current stage making it difficult for you to recover. In addition to that, it also impacts your overall team motivation and confidence, ultimately hampering their performance as well.

Though you cannot always ensure you hire the best, you can definitely make sure you hire the right candidate having the right attitude and hunger to succeed in sales. 

Here are some of the must have sales hiring best practices you should follow to hire the right candidates for your team.

1. Be specific and accurate while giving the Job description:

Hiring Managers sometimes tend to be lazy in writing detailed job descriptions of the position and leave it at the mercy of the recruiters. While an experienced recruiter will certainly ensure to write a correct job description based on their past experience, they may not be aware of the specific nuances of the job roles. Recruiter may post the job with generic job description applicable for the sales roles, which may lack certain descriptive information about the roles and responsibilities expected out of the candidate. 

Ultimately this leads to hiring wrong candidates who tend to know about additional things later and feel unhappy about it if the expectation doesn’t match. Hence it is important for the Hiring manager to provide specific and accurate information while giving the Job description of the position. If the job requires any specific expectations, ensure to explicitly mention it so that it attracts the right candidate and helps the recruiter close the position faster. 

2. Get involved in Sourcing efforts as well

Hiring managers who leverage their networks to hire candidates tend to get more qualified profiles than those who rely only on the efforts of the recruitment team. Share in your social media that you are hiring on the listed positions and ask for your networks to refer anyone whom they might know. Candidates who come through the referral sources tend to have lesser drop out rates and they are more likely to stay with you longer. 

Though it doesn’t guarantee 100% commitment, it does ensure both you and the candidate understand the work culture and expectations well in advance and ensure the candidate is aligned as per the expectations. This helps avoid any unexpected surprises later and ensures the work goes on smoothly.

3. Have a structured assessment process for Interviews

Very often we observe that different interviewers are sent for different interviews for the same positions based on the availability of the interviewers. In these cases, Sales Managers should ensure they have a structured evaluation process and parameters on which the candidate needs to be assessed. 

Otherwise in case if there is no structure of the interview questions and evaluation process, different interviewers may rate the candidates differently and the scores arrived may be subjective in nature. Subjective scores without any common process for all candidates can never be the right measure to compare the candidates.

4. Rely more on Future potential than on Past performance.

Many interviewers tend to be a bit biased and evaluate candidates only based on their past performance. The bias comes because of a thought process that if the candidate has done good in the past, he will do good in future and if the candidate has not done any good in the past, they cannot do any good in future as well. While this remains a valid measure in the majority of cases, exceptions do exist. 

Being successful in sales requires the right attitude, hunger to succeed as well as interest in the product they sell. If they have keen interest in what they sell, they can quickly learn and succeed irrespective of how they did in the past. Hence ensure to hire more based on the future potential of the candidates than their past performance.

I hope you loved reading these essential tips for Sales hiring. 

By the way, if you are looking for a Sales CRM software to make your Sales team more productive. Then do try out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM.

What is Lead Nurturing and How to do it?

Lead Nurturing refers to the act of engaging with the your leads in order to develop a relationship. The purpose of lead nurturing is to create brand awareness and create a positive brand image of your organization in the minds of the prospect. 

Lead nurturing may not lead to immediate improvement in sales revenue figures. The objective of lead nurturing is not outright sales but to play a long term game of building brand trust and loyalty. 

Most of the leads which usually fall on the top of the marketing funnel are usually not ready to make a purchase immediately. Nurturing them helps to build an everlasting relationship due to which, whenever the prospect is ready to make a purchase, they shall choose your organization's products or services to make the purchase.

How to Nurture Leads?

Nurturing leads usually means engaging with the leads at various stages of his buying journey. This can be achieved by providing them the much needed information to solve his pain points. 

Buyers may have a needs of different types of information depending on the stage of his buying journey. Top of the funnel leads might be looking for information about his specific pain point awareness while the bottom of the funnel leads might have already done their research and would be in the stage of evaluating and comparing different products which may include yours as well as competitors' products. The goal of nurturing should be to quench the thirst of information for various leads depending on the stage of their buyer's journey.

Some of the ways by which you can nurture your leads are preparing contents around the pain points you are solving, the challenges faced in the Industry to which you are catering to, and the solutions which you offer to solve those pain points and challenges.

You can write blogs, prepare whitepapers, ebooks, social media posts, email newsletters, run sequence based email marketing campaigns, etc. One of the simplest approaches is also to create user guides or knowledgebase of your products which are available in the public domain or can be accessed easily via an email opt-in form. 

You may also try out by writing on topics which lead your customers to succeed. For e.g. ToolsonCloud is Sales CRM which helps to improve sales productivity of sales teams. This motivated us to write on topics which help our customers to improve their sales and sales productivity.

Sharing contents regularly to the leads serves two purposes. Firstly showing up regularly ensures that leads feel you are alive and they can trust you for a long term engagement. Secondly, when they find the content to be helpful for them to make purchase related research and decisions, it builds much needed brand awareness and builds loyalty.

I hope you liked reading this article, do let me know your thoughts on this.

By the way, If you run a startup or a small business and are looking for a Sales CRM software to track your leads better, then do try out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM. You will definitely love using it.

Top 3 Small Business side hustle ideas which can be done remotely

During the past couple of years, Covid pandemic resulted in a large number of people working remotely. This led to a number of people starting a side hustle alongside their regular job as an additional source of income. Side hustles in the form of small businesses not only provide an additional source of income but also help you get freedom and financial stability considering the uncertain worldwide economic scenario.

Here are some trending Small Businesses which you can start as a side hustle and can later convert to a full time business.

  1. Copywriting service

Copywriting is one of the skills which you can pickup without the need for any technical skills provided you have a strong command of the English language or the language you prefer to write in. In order to polish your copywriting skills you will also need a bit of marketing knowledge in order to write things which can entice readers. Once you start writing, you can surely gain those skills over a period of time. Follow some fellow Copy Writers in your niche who share tips and resources to upskill you as a copywriter. 

Once you gain credibility among your clients, you will surely land up more via referrals. Overtime, you can turn from a copywriting freelancer to a full fledged agency specialising in this niche.

  1. Digital Marketing Consulting

If you have experience or interest towards digital marketing, you can quickly get started providing digital marketing services to fellow small businesses. You may start with one particular niche based on your interest say healthcare, retail, real-estate, etc, and can vertically expand in the same industry by acquiring more clients.

To start with, you can start providing services such as Social Media Marketing services which may include tasks such as creating and scheduling social media posts for client's business pages, sharing the posts on groups to increase reach and followers, etc.

Then you can move on to a more advanced Performance marketing niche involving works on creating and managing the paid ads on social media platforms and search engines. This is a highly paid niche yet requires a bit of experience in order to provide reasonable ROI to clients.

  1. Website Development services.

If you come with a software development and programming background, then web development would surely be something which may interest you. In the age of digital, every business is striving hard to improve their online presence and hence there are a lot of website development opportunities. 

Though static website development work would be a one time affair, but if you are able to land up clients having dynamic websites such as ecommerce or CMS websites, then you can get a consistent flow of revenue in the form of website maintenance and new feature development on the website. Most of the website development services business is centred around WordPress and Magento based web development which can make it even more easier. 

Some of the additional skills which you may need is a bit of design skills which you can pickup if you start using design tools and try to take inspiration from various UI designs at Dribble.

Over time this can surely turn into a full fledged agency business earning you a handsome income.

I hope you found this article useful. Let me know your thoughts.

If you are looking for a CRM software to track sales leads for your business. Do check out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM.

What is Customer Retention and How to improve that?

Hey guys, welcome back to this new post. In this post, let us explore the term Customer Retention. If you have been associated with startup ecosystem, then I am sure you would be hearing this term a lot by now.

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention as the name suggests is an ability of an organisation to engage with its existing customers in order to maintain repeat purchases from them and also prevent them from switching to another competitor.

Why is Customer Retention important?

The simplest reason as to why it is important is because of the well known fact that,

  • Acquiring new customers is 10x more costlier than retaining existing customers.

  • More you are able to retain your existing customers, the more you get the validation of your product market fit.

  • If you keep existing customers happy, slowly they turn into evangelists and it can lead to word of mouth marketing.

Now the question arises, how do a business retain their customers for longer in spite of growing competition with similar products and services offering. Here are some ways using which you can improve your customer retention.

How to Improve Customer Retention?

  1. Give best Customer service.

The best way to keep your customers happy is by providing the best support and service whenever they need it the most. Strive to solve customer tickets and queries with best possible turnaround time. Faster you revert to your users, the more satisfied they are.

  1. Personalize your conversation.

With the advent of technology, every organization is trying to personalize their conversation with the customers as per their context. This saves time for both customers as well as your own staff and leads to higher customer satisfaction. A person always feels more empowered when the conversation is about him and his context compared to a generic conversation.

  1. Regularly Engage with Customers.

If you are not regularly engaging with your customers, then it is highly likely that you will be forgotten early. This may lead to early defection of customers. The more you interact and engage with your customers, more they feel you are alive and care about them. This also gives them an impression that you are constantly working to improve your offering and hence customers are likely to benefit from their long term association with your business. 

You can use any channel to engage with your customers such as email marketing, social media or anywhere your customers are present.

  1. Take Feedback and Suggestions.

Taking regular feedback and suggestions from your customers shows that you value your customer experience and are striving hard to improve that. With this, customers feel more empowered since their voice is getting heard.

Ofcourse, as a business with limited resources, you may not be in a position to straight away go ahead and implement every suggestion. But you can always use the 80-20 rule to arrive at the 20% of recommendations which can bring in 80% value.

  1. Monitor your Retention metrics.

In business, there is a saying that if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Though it's debatable, it still holds good in many aspects of business. Bring in systems to regularly track and monitor your Retention metrics. This will let you uncover many gaps which are leading to customer defections. Fixing them overtime will automatically improve customer retention.

Hope you liked reading this article. If you are looking for a CRM software to improve your customer acquisition as well as customer retention. Feel free to try out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM.

Difference between Inbound and Outbound Sales
Hey friends, if you have been hearing about Inbound and Outbound sales and feeling confused about these two terms, then you have landed up at the right post. In this article we shall explore what exactly is Inbound and Outbound sales.

Inbound Sales:

As the name suggests, in this sales approach, customers will approach you first, in order to make a purchase.

In this case, customers tend to do their research well in advance and are well informed about the product or solution before they approach the seller. 

After doing initial research, customers shall reach out to you if your product or organisation is having a good brand image or reputation in the market.

In the case of online search, they may land up on your website in case you are ranking better on the search keywords being used by the prospective customer.

These types of leads tend to have a high conversion rate since they are already aware and can be termed as Hot leads. 

Inbound leads shall contact you directly or may leave their contact details requesting for call back. As a sales person you shall be required to reach out to the lead to do a quick lead qualification call and move the lead through the purchase process.

Marketers can also improve the number of inbound leads by having lead magnets in their website. Some of the examples of lead magnets are free ebooks, whitepapers, reports, etc. If the lead is genuinely interested in the lead magnets, they would be willing to share their contact in exchange for any valuable insights.

This type of sales approach works well if your product is easy to understand, needs less handholding and customers tend to be well aware of the product or brand

Outbound Sales:

As the name suggests, Outbound sales is more about going outside to find a customer. In this case sales people shall try to find qualified leads by trying to cold email or cold call leads. 

In case of outbound sales, the sales team may get an initial database of leads either from a directory, social media or from any database provider.

Salespeople shall do cold outreach either on social media, emails or calls and try to initiate a conversation with the lead. This helps them to qualify the lead and understand if the lead is a good fit for the solution they are selling.

If the lead is qualified, it will be taken forward by the Sales executive through the regular sales process involving further discovery call, product demo, negotiation, etc.

Since this method involves cold outreach, the conversion rate in this case tends to be low and the initial leads are mostly top of the funnel leads, say Cold Leads.

This sales strategy is mostly used when your organization is relatively new or unknown in the market and you do not want to wait forever for inbound leads.

This sales strategy is also used in case of large and complex B2B deals which is done by reaching out to only targeted leads who are key stakeholders at big organizations.

Early stage startups tend to use a lot of outbound sales in initial days. This helps them to get some interested leads quickly and they are able to get first hand feedback from their prospects. This helps them in early validation of the product market fit and helps them to iterate and improve their product based on feedback.

Having said that, modern sales organizations tend to sell using a hybrid approach by combining both inbound and outbound sales strategies to maximize its benefit.

Let's say you got an inbound lead who downloaded a research paper on your website. But he or she may not be the right person for you to sell a complex solution. In that case you may do an outbound cold outreach to certain key stakeholders in that organisation to pitch your solution.

Hope you liked reading this post. Let me know your thoughts.

By the way if you want to track your inbound as well as outbound leads, feel free to try out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM software for free.

 Mistakes every Entrepreneur should avoid

Entrepreneurship is a lot about doing experiments and learning from it. But often some mistakes turn out to be too costly. Many times when you realize where you are going wrong, it becomes too late for the corrective actions to undo the negative impacts.

Journey of every entrepreneur is unique and different from others. That’s because everyone starts the journey from a different stage of skill, experience and financial situation. So it is tough to predict who will make or never make big mistakes. But you can always learn about the commonly observed mistakes to stay aware of them. This will significantly reduce your chances of repeating similar mistakes in your venture.

In this post, we shall explore some of the common mistakes Entrepreneurs tend to make while they start their venture.

Startup (Image credits Freepik)

1. Bad Cash Flow Management

Cash flow management is one of the biggest struggles of not only a newbie entrepreneur but also common among established Businesspersons. If you run a business, you need to have required financial processes and controls in place to ensure financial stability of your venture. 

For cash inflow, Ensure to keep a tab on your outstanding payments and credits extended to your customers. Make strict rules and timelines to raise invoices, payment collection deadlines from the date of invoicing, follow ups, etc. 

For cash outflow, remember to spend judiciously and avoid burning a lot of cash before you start earning. As a startup, try to be as lean as possible. This shall also help you adapt to the right amount of financial discipline required to nurture a growing venture.

2. Hiring a Wrong candidate

In a startup, the initial few hires are extremely critical and can make or break a startup. If you are a founder, it would be wise on your part to be in Hiring Interviews till you hire your 100th employee. Hiring a wrong candidate who may not fit your culture and expectations will surely gonna have a long term impact.

3. Over-stretching

Nurturing a startup is not an overnight job and takes a while before your venture starts to take off. Often newbie entrepreneurs get a wrong impression by reading and watching the videos of social media influencer entrepreneurs who tend to glamourize it by showcasing their hypergrowth. This creates a FOMO and you may tend to think of it as a race. 

If you try to beat time by overworking on your startup, you will quickly end up burning out. Remember Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Building a startup takes time. If you try to compare with others and try to beat them, you will never find peace with yourself. 

Instead, be patient and try to work by timeboxing your working hours. This shall leave you with ample time to think creative ideas in the meantime. Remember to enjoy your journey. Your goal should be to compete with yourself and improve yourself every single day. Slowly you will realize you have accomplished a lot over time.

4. Finding Customers for their products instead of finding Products for their Customers

Startups tend to suffer a lot due to wrong Product validation. They tend to make a product first and then they try to find customers who will buy their products. In this case you never know whether there is an ample market for what you are building or not. Also, you never know whether the features and pricing point for your solution is apt for the potential customers whom you are targeting. 

Instead, the right approach should be to find products or solutions for your customers or the market which you are targeting. Always have a target audience and market ready, and then you can try to build a product or solution apt for your audience. This will drastically reduce your probability of failure and you will reach your Product-Market fit early.

5. Pricing too low to attract

In the beginning, when startups are unable to find traction or interest for their products, they tend to slash their prices to increase sales. This is the biggest mistake many entrepreneurs tend to make. 

The reason why your product is not selling in the early stage is because of low awareness about the problem or the solution. But startups tend to think that the problem is the price and they reduce it to gain traction. Sometimes this helps in gaining traction and sometimes even price reduction also does not work until and unless there is product-market fit.

Pricing too low leaves you with a very thin profit margin to invest back in your business. If you are unable to invest back ample cash into the business, you will not be able to grow further. This will negatively impact your financial position in the long run. 

In addition to these, you will also end up creating a customer base who will always seek discounts in your offerings, leaving you with no room to grow.  The right way to price your product is to price based on the value of your offering.

I hope this post will help you avoid making these mistakes in your venture. If you are looking for CRM software to organize your sales better, do check out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM. It’s Free.

What is ATL, BTL and TTL Advertising?

If you are into Marketing, then you will surely come across the 3 terms ATL, BTL and TTL advertising. Do you know what exactly these 3 terms are and how they work?

By the way, these three terms were initially introduced by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) in the 1950s when they started paying differential rates to their marketing agencies based on the different categories of advertising being undertaken. 

In this post, we shall discover these three categories or strategies for advertising.

Marketing Image by Freepik

1. Above the Line (ATL)

Above the Line strategy primarily involves promotional communications which are broader in nature and have a large reach. The goal of this approach is widespread brand awareness in order to build a good Brand image and Goodwill in the market. Since it is done on a large scale, It is usually not targeted or focussed on any particular market segment.

This strategy may not generate any kind of instant sale or an instant intent to buy among the consumers but may generate awareness and interest over time.

Some of the examples of this strategy include Nationwide broadcasts on TV, Newspapers, Radio, Magazines, etc.

2. Below the Line (BTL)

Below the Line (BTL) promotional approach is more focussed and is targeted towards a particular segment. This strategy is used when the primary goal of advertising is to increase conversion. This is more aligned with a direct approach to marketing.

Some of the examples of this approach include Geo Localized Ads, Direct Marketing, PR, etc.

Here, Geo Localized Ads may include Billboards, Fliers, etc. In the case of Direct Marketing, it may include Targeted Email Marketing, Social Media Ads, SMS, Telecalling, Pamphlets, etc. 

PR may also be adopted in this case, but it has to be targeted and focussed Press releases.

In addition to the above examples, Sampling, In-store promotions, Visual Merchandising is also widely practiced. 

3. Through the Line (TTL)

Through the Line (TTL) approach is more of an integrated approach. In this approach, both ATL and BTL strategies are combined to generate interest and drive conversions. This strategy aims for 360-degree marketing. The brand tries to be present at every touchpoint in the customer's journey throughout their buying process..

Some of the examples of this strategy include TV, Newspaper, Social media posts, Contextual ads, emails, etc.

Hope this post will help you plan out your advertising strategy. Do let me know your thoughts.

By the way, If you are interested in trying out CRM software for your team, do check out ToolsonCloud CRM. It's free!

Practical Cold Emailing tips for Entrepreneurs

Cold emailing is one of the powerful tools in an Entrepreneur’s arsenal. If used well, it can do wonders for a startup. You can use it for sales, getting deals, getting investments, getting mentors and many more. But the fact is most often cold emails get ignored. If your approach is incorrect, you may rarely get a reply from the recipient. 

In this post, I would like to share some tips to make your cold emails more appealing. This shall surely help you get more replies to your cold emails.

1. Personalize and Customize

The most important element of any cold mail is personalization. People won’t even bother to read any email from an unknown person let alone reply to it, unless it is relevant to them. You can make your emails relevant to the recipient by personalizing your email. 

Remember, sending cold emails is different from a mass email campaign. Since cold emails are sent to a limited set of people, you should be able to do a bit of research about your prospect before sending them a cold email. 

You may look out for publicly available information on company websites, their social media profiles in Linkedin or Facebook, any newspaper articles, etc. In your email, you may cite such instances such as you liked reading their article on Linkedin or liked reading their thoughts on media publications, etc. This will help you warm up your prospect.

2. Keep it short, quick and easy to read

When you are sending your first cold mail, ensure to keep it short and concise. Avoid sending any detailed business proposals in the mail content when you are just trying to initiate the conversation. A short and to the point content is faster to read and act. The easier it is for the reader to understand and act, the faster you tend to get replies.

3. Talk about solving a business pain point

If you are selling to a B2B client, then everyone’s goal is to solve some or the other business challenges in their organization. Instead of selling the features of your product you will be required to talk about solving a business pain point being faced by your prospect. This will generate more interest and will help you improve your reply rate.

4. Don’t sell anything in the mail 

Many beginners tend to make mistakes by trying to sell their products within the first cold email itself. This approach is bound to just worsen your brand image and you may never get a response. The purpose of a cold email is to get a meeting or an appointment with the prospect. The best approach is to ask for a short discovery call to begin with. The first discovery call will give you enough information to decide whether it is a qualified lead worth pursuing further or not.

5. Avoid describing product features

As I wrote earlier, avoid describing your product features in your first cold email. This is because, in the beginning, even you will not be aware of your lead having any real requirement for your products or services. Additionally, you should avoid pushing any unsolicited information to the lead such as product features and specifications without gauging the level of interest from the leads.

6. Avoid sounding like a template

Many beginners tend to make the mistake of using cold email templates available on the internet. While it is not wrong to use templates, often they send the same email contents to the prospects without modifying as per their context. While you may feel confident with that, the fact is people can smell templates because those are so common. People want to hear from People instead of Machines. So you must bring out your personal tone in your emails. This shall help build a connection and a relationship to initiate a conversation. 

7. Follow up till you get a reply.

Success in sales lies in timely tracking and follow-ups. Many research suggests that salespersons tend to get replies after the 8th follow-up. You may not need to wait till the 8th one if you do a timely follow-up. It is highly likely to get a reply in your 3rd or 4th email. So always ensure to follow up with your prospects. Ideally, you should follow up within 2-3 days otherwise the prospect may forget.

Hope you found these tips useful. If you are interested in trying out CRM software for Cold Emails and Lead tracking, Do check out ToolsonCloud Sales CRM. It’s Free!

 How to prepare a Marketing Plan?

As a Marketing Manager or a Chief Marketing Officer at your organization, periodically you may be required to prepare a Marketing Plan presentation to various business stakeholders as well as your team. If you are not sure of how to go about it, then read this post to learn about the key elements of a perfect Marketing Plan.

Typically, your presentation should include these 10 pointers with each one in a separate slide.

Image credits - Get2Growth

1. Business Information

Include a brief summary of the business, your products, the industry you cater to and type of customers you sell your products to. This slide may appear redundant at first, but if you are a CMO presenting the plan to a group of Investors or board of directors who have been onboarded recently, then you may need this. Also if you are a Marketing consultant or an agency hired to do marketing for another business, then you may definitely need this slide so as to keep your team on the same page.

2. Define Goals

In this slide, try to define your long term and short term marketing goals. Ensure to keep reasonable yet challenging goals. You may use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) framework for creating goals. Having a clearly defined goal helps other business stakeholders and business unit heads to be aligned with your Goals and they shall align their departmental activities accordingly. 

3. SWOT Analysis

Before you go big bang executing any marketing plan, you should do a deep dive of your internal and external situation as well as current and future potential. Keep a slide with SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the business from a marketing perspective.

4. Competitive Analysis

Before planning out your marketing strategy, you may want to do a deep dive on the competitors who work in the similar space as yours. Explore what they are doing for Marketing, their standing in the market, comparison against your offerings, etc. In short you may want to have a summarized SWOT and key points you want to highlight to the stakeholders about the market competition.

5. Target Market

Often, marketing teams put a lot of efforts on marketing yet fail to get any traction or interest from prospects. Most of the time, the root cause of this problem lies in incorrect targeting. They tend to choose the wrong marketing channel which appears cool yet has little or no one from your ideal customer profile. Define your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and then commit to your Target Market. Include this slide in your marketing plan presentation to keep everyone on the same page.

6. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

When you start executing marketing campaigns, you may start getting a flow of leads who might be interested in your offerings. But often the deciding factor which helps your sales team to close the deal is a unique selling proposition which is attractive from the buyer's perspective. Define your USP and include it in the marketing plan. This will help the stakeholders from the Sales team to stay aligned and they would be able to provide their inputs during the presentation to iteratively carve out a perfect marketing plan.

7. Marketing Strategy

Use this slide in your deck to write about your Marketing strategy. This slide should be in line with the classic 4Ps of Marketing which are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. In case you are involved in a Service Business, then you may want to include another 3Ps of service marketing which are People, Process and Physical Evidence. Having a marketing strategy clearly defined under these heads prevents you and your team from getting misaligned and going off the track in future.

8. Marketing Channels

Distribution plays a crucial role in marketing execution. You may have the best product in the world with the best marketing content, yet it may fail due to bad distribution. The organizations who invest in building marketing channels and distribution tend to sustain longer in the business. Keep a small slider with your plans around marketing channels you want to pursue. 

9. KPIs for measuring progress

Lots of execution without performance measurement prevents you from getting to know what works and what doesn’t. Having a defined set of KPIs to measure your efforts and outcomes will help you deep dive into what works for you and where you may need to pivot in order to get expected outcome. Have a plan to monitor the KPIs frequently, say weekly, biweekly or monthly as per your context. Keep these KPIs in your slide so that your team will commit to meet those KPIs and align their efforts accordingly.

10. Conclusion & Summary

At the end, you can have a short conclusion and summary about your marketing plan to close the presentation.

Hope you found this post useful to prepare a marketing plan presentation. 

If you are looking for CRM software to help you track and manage your leads, deals, contacts, then do check out ToolsonCloud CRM which also comes with a free plan for startups.

 How to generate B2B Leads organically?

If you are into a business involving B2B clients, then you have landed at the right post. In this article, we will explore how you can generate B2B leads for your business via organic approaches.

Here is what you can do to get organic B2B leads…



1. Linkedin Outreach

Join Linkedin groups in your similar domain or groups having people with similar profiles as your ideal customer profile. Next, send them a connection request to add to your network. After a few days of the connection, you may send them a cold message for a short discovery call. You may be required to warm up your connection a bit for a few days with your LinkedIn posts to avoid getting ignored when you send a cold message.

2. Business Marketplace/Forums

If you sell a known B2B product that is not too complex to understand and doesn’t require an elevator pitch, then you may try this. Look out for joining various online marketplaces and forums dealing with B2B businesses. You will find B2B buyers and sellers in these marketplaces who are genuinely looking for both buy and sell business opportunities.

3. Join professional networking platforms

If you are a startup or building any B2B products for startups, then you may join professional networking platforms such as angel.co or other startup networking platforms. Try to network with various startup founders and executives to create a connection and get business opportunities.

4. In-person Business conferences

You may look out for various offline/In-person business conferences being organized in your Industry domain by various media houses, industry bodies, trade unions, government, etc. These conferences are attended by the leaders and executives of various companies with the sole motive of networking with fellow business leaders for business opportunities.

5. Cold Outreach like Cold Emails, Cold Calling

You may reach out to various businesses via Cold emails and Cold calls. If you are dealing with small and medium businesses, then you may get their contacts from various online business directories as well as their websites. If you are dealing with a large organization, then you may have to work a bit more to get the contact details of their stakeholders. 

6. Inbound Marketing/Content Marketing

Create the content on the topics around your business. This will attract readers who might be interested in your business. You may create content on Blogs, Social Media, Youtube, write Industry research papers, Whitepapers, Case studies, ebooks, etc. Ensure to write content that is useful to the readers having your ideal customer persona. 

Also, an important element of content marketing is to build distribution. If you do not plan out distribution well, then you may create high-quality content, but there won’t be anybody to read those contents immediately. This creates a longer feedback loop. So, whenever you create content, try to distribute it at more and more channels in order to reach more readers instantly.

7. Short Video Marketing 

In recent years, usage of short video apps such as Tiktok, Reels, Youtube shorts has skyrocketed making them yet another largest marketing channel. Short video platforms were initially apt for B2C products, however, in the recent past, it is becoming equally good for B2B business opportunities. You can make short video clips about your products to attract more B2B leads.

Also, read- Instagram Reels Ideas for Small Businesses

8. Tender Marketplaces/Portals/Blogs

There are some marketplaces that regularly publish tenders of government as well as public companies. This brings you a good opportunity to directly go ahead and bid on existing business opportunities without going through the hassles of business development efforts. 

Also read one of our case studies on How to get Organic leads using Social Media

I hope you liked reading this post. If you are interested in trying out CRM software for your business to track your leads, do check out ToolsonCloud CRM. It comes with a free plan for startups.