I lead a 5-person outreach team on behalf of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP). I manage the program's outreach strategy to educate veterans with Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other related issues, and encourage the community to take advantage of services available through the EHVP. All of the treatment we provide is at absolutely no cost to the Veteran. So we’re not selling anything. But I believe many of the principles and effective strategies of outreach are the same as those of sales.
i'm looking for advice, guidance, tips, and/or ideas on how train my team on sales-based outreach techniques. Or are there any strategies, resources, or training programs you would recommend?
Lead Veterans Outreach Coordinator
I would highly recommend having them read the book "Selling the Invisible" by Harry Beckwith. It's packed with helpful ideas on how to market & sell a service rather than a product. The book talks about positioning, focus, the psychology behind what makes people take action and how to differentiate what you're doing from others. Sounds like it could help for the situation you're describing. Good luck!
Sales Force dot com has programs specifically designed for non-profits that are especially good for managing campaigns and outreach programs along with response rates, etc. It's not free long term but priced differently than a commercial offer. Added benefit is it gives your employees access to leading-edge cloud based technologies that don't require enterprise-wide adoption.
A good CRM configured to your specific business processes will prove invaluable in getting the outcomes you want. If EHVP is a nonprofit I encourage you to reach out to Salesforce.org, the foundation arm of Salesforce.com. You are likely eligible for some free CRM licenses. Find a good local freelance consultant and have them configure the system to enforce your preferred sales process, then measure and monitor.
Shaun, you are very perceptive in your approach to improving the sales approach to your team. You are on to something and it is the underlying attitude your team members adopt in their every moment of their job. The individuals involved are sensitive to every word and action of the one in contact with them. Calm and soothing words and action will set the tone to place this kind of care in motion. Since this movement starts at the top it will be your decision to start set the tone. This will involve your selecting the right training group and backing that training to your team and then promoting that approach to the prospective audience you serve . The word will spread and you will see a lift in the spirits of those who are served. In our area of business we adopted this approach and our people were drawn to the approach. You may find this approach will elevate you above the attitude of the day to day to a higher level and you will see the results. Wishing you and your team the best. Bob Combs
You've got some really good suggestions here.
I've only got a couple of things to add.
1- develop a marketing plan. This will help you narrow down your audience and develop a message specifically catered to your audience.
2- The Challenger Sale. I've been in sales and marketing for over 10 years now and I've found this book to relate to me the best. It's a modern take on sales and sales strategy.
I know others have suggested books. Read one or read them all. However, at the end of the day, pick one style and stick with it for a while so that you can measure the results.
I hope this helps.
Outreach today is different. If your people are dialing for dollars (sales expression) off of a script and that's the only outreach you're doing it will be challenging to be successful in reaching as many constituents as you could. No amount of training is going to help. People communicate differently now. You should develop a holistic plan for your initiative. Who are you trying to reach, develop the channels they are using (i.e. web, social media, sms, phone). blog, develop content and post to channels, etc.
Also, you said something that caught my eye..."I manage the program's outreach strategy to educate veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
While veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are the people you are trying to help, perhaps a more appropriate target audience would be the families of veterans with these issues.
At your service,
As a sales coach I often refer back to Chip and Dan Heath's book: "Made to Stick" and also "Switch" they are more on the marketing side but the concepts can be applied to sales. One of the best pure sales books I have used over the years is "Selling with Emotional Intelligence" by Mitch Anthony (It might be hard to find). Good luck.
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