I have been working as a full time SEO Exec for just about a year now and a few things have become apparent in that time, most notably that SEOs love tools and are always on the lookout for that elusive competitive advantage to give them a ranking edge. So it strikes me as odd that every agency already has access to a free tool that will (amongst other things) get them high quality links, improve their keyword research, increase their PPC CTRs and conversion rates and keep their clients happy and informed. But they very rarely use it to its full potential.
So what is this free SEO tool? It’s your sales people. OK, so ‘free’ and ‘tool’ may have been used somewhat loosely, but bear with me.
How salespeople can help your SEO
The vast majority of SEOs are pretty awesome at what they do, and there are plenty of link building tactics where quite frankly it helps to be a computer geek, but one of the best ways to get great quality links is simply by asking, and this is where a lot of SEOs can come unstuck. I’m pretty sure you will see where I’m going with this already… but rather than sitting there trying to craft the perfect email, or spending hours talking on the phone uncomfortably, get your salesperson to do it and free up your time to do what you’re best at. I can pretty much guarantee that they will have a much better success rate and will do it a hell of a lot faster. And as an added bonus, they may just pick up a new client from it: after all, these sites need SEO too.
So once they are done with a few link requests, how about some keyword research? If you’ve exhausted all the obvious keywords and are prospecting for some longer tail gold, why not ask the people who sell all day to help you? Your salespeople will spend hours every day either consciously or unconsciously perfecting the language they use and studying the language clients use as well – put this to good use. This applies doubly if you have access to your clients’ sales teams. Get them to sell to you; listen to the language and terms they use, and ask them what terms the customers use. You never know they may provide a term that you’d never even think is related but that will send conversions through the roof for little or no SEO effort.
Tip – Most larger companies will have sales scripts that their team work from and will record calls for “training and quality purposes”, so why not ask if you can have a look/listen.
How salespeople can help your PPC
Q1. How often do you sit and look at your CTR and conversion rates and wish they could be higher? Most days?
Q2. How often have you asked the professional salesperson in the office for their input? Never?
This is the most obvious area where even a little sales experience can go a long way. Your salespeople will have spent their working life approaching people, having to summarise your services in a few words to spark someone’s interest enough to get them the opportunity to explain more. Is it me or does that not sound similar to what a PPC ad is trying to achieve? Use their experience and expertise and get them to write some of your PPC ad text, or at the very least get them to brainstorm some call to action phrases for you.
Tip – Every salesperson in the world at some point will have done an elevator pitch. Get them to do one for the client’s site and then chop it down to hit the character limit.
How salespeople can help your account management
I think it’s fair to say that if you work in SEO long enough, you will invariably come across a client you explain an SEO concept to and you know full well that they have no idea what you’ve just told them. The problem is that if a client doesn’t understand a concept, they are pretty unlikely to be fully supportive of it. The next time it happens, make a note of it, go and explain it how you would normally to one of your salespeople and then get them to explain it to you as if you were the client. Salespeople make a living from taking advanced concepts they probably won’t know the technicalities of and selling them to people who may never have heard of them.
Tip – If you’re having a real problem getting past your contact to speak to the member of the development team you really need to do some work for you, ask your salesperson to have a go – getting past “gatekeepers” should be second nature.