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The Modern Selling Podcast
42 minutes | 5 days ago
How to Use Behavioral Psychology to Sell More Effectively with Perry Carpenter, #175
What can sales leaders learn from cybersecurity awareness? A lot! My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is Perry Carpenter, author of Transformational Security Awareness: What Neuroscientists, Storytellers, and Marketers Can Teach Us About Driving Secure Behaviors, and he brings some great insights for sales leaders and marketers. He currently serves as Chief Evangelist and Strategy Officer for KnowBe4, the world's most popular security awareness and simulated phishing platform. Previously, Perry led security awareness, security culture management, and anti-phishing behavior management research at Gartner Research, in addition to covering areas of IAM strategy, CISO Program Management mentoring, and Technology Service Provider success strategies. With a long career as a security professional and researcher, Perry has broad experience in North America and Europe, providing security consulting and advisory services for many of the best-known global brands. Listen to our conversation to learn three things your sellers should do to prospect more effectively. 1. Sellers Must Become Storytellers Any time your sellers are prospecting, they have to: Tell a story about a gap or need within the prospect’s life, reminding them of something that is not optimal in their lives Tell the story about what the prospect’s life looks like without the solution you offer and then paint a picture of the hope, the joy, the risk reduction or whatever happens anytime the seller comes in and fills that gap. “In the security space,” Perry says, “it's all around, so if you do this or if you don't do this you're putting organization at risk, you're putting your family at risk. You've got identity theft or something like that that may happen. And, therefore, you need to either plug this product in, or change this behavior, or adopt this mindset or so on.” Perry says that understanding the customer journey is very important for sales leaders looking to grow their sales pipeline. “On the security side,” Perry says, I want to understand what is the equivalent of that for somebody just walking through their daily life. What is the journey map of a person as they move in and out of their daily life and make decisions that are related to security. And then what I want to find out is where are the intersection points that I can come in and meet that person so I do end up standing in their path, telling a story and then moving them where I want them to be.” 2. Sellers Must Use the Right Terminology Perry and I also talked about understanding the optimal terminology to use when speaking to clients and prospects. “When it comes to describing security things, or products, I've learned that I need to understand the terminology that my prospect is already using and I need to reinforce that. I might need to change the frame later on, but I need to start with the frame that they are already in, and that gets into a whole psychological principle: framing and reframing.” Listen to the whole episode to find out how Perry learned about the importance of terminology when he was hypnotizing people in the streets of Las Vegas (hint: he used what is known as a neuro handle!). 3. Sellers Must Understand the Basic Principles of Human Nature Perry says that everything comes back to the behavior and the psychology of the prospect. The prevalent spray and pray approach of most sales messaging lacks segmentation, personalization, and it’s overall a lazy sales methodology. If you want real sales engagement, your sellers must show they’ve done their research about what makes the person and company unique. Perry cites the research by Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, who created the Fogg Behavior Model, which is the basis of most apps and social media platforms. Fogg says that humans are lazy, social, and they're creatures of habit. And salespeople should take into account those characteristics. “So on the laziness front,” Perry says. “As a sales person, if you can make my life easier somehow, if you can reduce my research, and you can give me trusted sources for things, if you can help with the scheduling of an appointment, if you can give me some kind of sample so that I have less to invest in, then you get my attention.” Sellers must also include social proof in their messaging and position their product as the norm (or better than the norm), as something they must have. Lastly, remember that humans are creatures of habit. “People like to do things the way that they've always been doing them. And so, if we're expecting to disrupt their lives with something that is different than what they've done in the past,we have to help them so they can codify a new behavior and a new habit or we're always going to be coming up against a wall.” If we try to work against human nature, we will fail. Listen to the whole episode to learn about how to grab a prospect's attention in a crowded environment, and some sales email best practices, including what Perry calls Trojan horses for the mind. Finally, Perry recommends two books, Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini and Contagious by Jonah Berger, for strategies and tactics to get executive buy-in.
53 minutes | a month ago
How to Choose and Implement a Sales Methodology with Paul Curto, #174
With so many sales methodologies available, sales leaders ask themselves how they can pick one and how they can actually implement it and drive adoption among their sales team. My guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast is a sales strategy and methodology enthusiast who has great insights about this topic. Paul Curto is the Head of Global Sales Methodologies at Juniper Networks. He is focused on accelerating the performance of Juniper Networks’ sellers, both direct and indirect. Paul develops and delivers a holistic framework for consistently improving the experience and capabilities of all of Juniper’s customer-facing roles from onboarding through ongoing development and seller excellence and skills. Paul has a special passion for sales methodologies as applied in a consistent way to improving sales outcomes, as well as maximizing employee productivity, health, and impact. Listen to this episode to learn from Paul about implementing a winning sales methodology in your organization. Aren’t All Methodologies Similar? The short answer is that they all have similarities but also differences. Paul was trained in the Miller Heiman methodology, but when he came to Juniper he had to learn the MEDDICC methodology. What he found is that they had many similarities. “One example of the alignment I found,” Paul says, “was that the economic buyer in both methodologies has exactly the same definition: the ultimate authority to buy in a particular sale.” Another example is the champion, which is the first C in MEDDICC, and who is basically the same as the coach in Miller Heiman, a person who you have credibility with and who has a lot of influence and control. They can even be the decision-maker that the economic buyer puts in charge of making the decision or the recommendation. Listen to the whole episode for Paul’s insights about the alignment between these two sales methodologies. What about the differences? “One thing I found that Miller Heiman does very well that I don't see really called out in MEDDICC is the use of the red flags,” Paul says. “Most sales professionals like feeling good about the deal. They prefer to ignore these red flags or just brush them under the carpet. But that is not conducive to strong strategies. We're trying to bring out the real vulnerabilities that we have that could actually kill us in this deal. Let's highlight those and let's come up with very strong actions that help us counter those. But we've got to be open, honest and transparent with ourselves with regard to our true position with the customer.” The minimization or elimination of a red flag by means of strong smart actions is how you want to play the game of sales to win. Choosing the Right Sales Methodology As a sales leader, you might be thinking about picking a sales methodology for your organization to really focus on. How do you decide which one is the right methodology? Paul thinks you can make almost any methodology work. “I think familiarity and leadership support is one of the first keys to selecting the right methodology. And once it's selected, you've got to be able to stick with it and reinforce it at every level.” When you're selecting a methodology, think about the accountability you need to that process. It’s very important to have a common language and a repeatable sales process in a sales system that you can rely on to improve your odds of winning deals. “Once it becomes pervasive, once it becomes the common language throughout the sales organization, it really helps us get together and strategize together on how to win important deals and it also becomes the glue between different types of seller personas across the organization.” Listen to learn how they applied a common language across Juniper Networks for the various seller personas who engage at different stages of the sales cycle. Implementing the Methodology What does a successful sales methodology implementation look like? Paul says it's always a work in progress. “In my experience, it's like you're aiming for perfection, but you'll never really get there.” A successful implementation occurs when you have widespread adoption, not because you're forcing everyone to be compliant, but because the leadership team believes it leads to better results. This means that frontline and top leadership are managing the right sales activities that are going to drive the sales outcomes and objectives. “I think we need to start with the managers,” Paul says. “The managers need to feel confident and capable with any new methodology that you're trying to roll out. They have to see the value in doing it because they don't want to feel like it's a complete waste of their time or it's just paperwork to fill out, like a form.” Sales managers also need to be better coaches, teaching the methodology to their reps. “Practice makes perfect. So for better performance, you've got to be practicing all the time. If the sales takes training but their manager is not going to use it for forecasting, for deal inspection, for coaching, then the training just becomes an event and it's unlikely to be used ever again.” Managers must make sales coaching part of their DNA as an organization, analyzing deals with data, and walking reps through what they have done well and what they are missing. For example, one tactic we have implemented at Vengreso to make sure reps implement their training is adding a few required fields to the CRM, as described in our sales tools ROI blog post. Listen to our conversation to learn how Juniper has implemented their sales methodology so it becomes part of their DNA (hint: it involves their playbooks and a cultural and mindset shift). Finally, Paul mentions that although they use MEDDICC at Juniper, they are also looking at other methodologies for prospecting, negotiation, virtual selling, and social selling.
52 minutes | a month ago
Sales Enablement in a Digital Sales World with Kyle Healy, #173
How do you get a traditional sales team to embrace modern selling techniques and engage with prospects digitally? That is the topic of conversation in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest Kyle Healy. Kyle is the SVP of Sales Enablement and Strategy for NFP. A dynamic leader with nearly 15 years of experience in the insurance consulting and sales space, Kyle is a core member of the leadership team at NFP tasked with driving transformation inside the functions connected to the organization’s revenue growth. Kyle is a regular public speaker on progressive sales strategies for complex B2B buyers, as well as total rewards and human capital trends as a result of his background in benefits consulting. Listen to this episode to discover how NFP has transformed its traditional sales force into a modern sales organization. Focusing on Outcomes We started our conversation by talking about some commonly held beliefs about selling that he disagrees with. One of those beliefs is that as a seller you need to talk about yourself at some point early on. “We have a lot of our sellers sort of really vehemently believe that if they don't get something about them or us or their product early, it's a waste, that we need to convey value right up front,” Kyle says. “I don't believe I need to talk about me or us until maybe meeting two or meeting three. We've got a pretty long sales cycle.” His advice is to avoid the product dump or pitch, to avoid talking about yourself as the largest, greatest, baddest in the world. You can talk, though, about your journey, your culture, and the process you have gone through helping others. “Do not go in presuming you know exactly what their big problem is. Try to understand them and what's kind of keeping them awake at night. Let them lead based on what's important and unique to them.” The magic word is outcomes. Especially that first conversation that a seller has with the customer. What is the outcome that they are desiring and does that align with what we do? When the desired outcomes match with what you deliver, you've got an opportunity. But what about when they don't have a really clear sense of what the outcome they want is? Kyle thinks sellers have a great opportunity there. “The discovery meeting is really about learning about them and helping them discover things about themselves for their business that they weren't even really thinking about yet. That's the fun stuff.” The New Digital Selling Environment Kyle says that the insurance industry went through a lot of prospecting challenges because of COVID. “It’s an old school industry and the average age of the typical insurance sales person is 58.” Once they realized they couldn’t visit people in person, they went to emails, but that wasn’t enough. They need an omnichannel approach to build their sales pipeline. “We are trying to get our sellers more comfortable with creating content through social, using video, going back to the phones. Something that we're continuing to hammer and coach and one of our big focuses is, okay, if you're only sending emails you're in trouble.” The modern buyer has changed and sellers must use every available channel to reach their prospects in the channels they prefer. “I don't love high-volume. I don't love Mass automation. There's a time and place for some of that stuff to create some efficiencies to just make business run better. But especially in the early sales motion, the early funnel when I'm trying to really establish that relationship, I think it's got to be hyper-informed, hyper-personalized, super-specific to the person you're reaching out to.” This is at the heart of our own PVC Sales Methodology, which calls for personalization in your sales messaging. Listen as Kyle explains their strategy to customize benefits to each buyer and the success they have experienced with hyper-personalization. Discover how NFP has modernized their sales process and the tension between automation and personalization, and how to use sales cadence tools effectively (hint: it’s not about speed but about quality control). Finally, Kyle has some great advice for sales enablement leaders and sales leaders out there, to be successful in this remote selling environment.: “Make your sales people really effective marketers. I know that sounds really silly or maybe pretty basic but for us, it's hyper-specialization. Make sure you've got something of value to give and then upscale those traditional marketing skills like demand generation and content creation. I want my sellers to be thinking more like marketers and less like sellers, that we get into this digital environment where email becomes questionable as the primary means by which you get somebody's attention. I want people to focus on being fantastic. If everyone of my sellers could be a really successful social influencer, we'd be doing okay.”
51 minutes | a month ago
Product-Led Growth and the Future of the Sales Force with Doug Landis, #172
Sales and marketing have evolved significantly in the past few decades, especially in the SaaS space. In the 90s, for example, we had sales-led growth, with sellers doing cold calling and hitting the phones. In the 2000s, it was about marketing-led sales or marketing-led growth, with events, inbound leads and SDRs doing outbound prospecting. Now, according to my guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast, we are moving into a new era of product-led sales. Doug Landis is a Growth Partner at Emergence Capital. In this role, he is responsible for capturing, creating and sharing go-to-market strategies and ideas with the Emergence Capital portfolio companies and the greater SaaS community. Join us in this conversation about the future of the sales force and how to better qualify your leads. What is Product-Led Growth? “I would argue in this generation and especially over the next three to five years,” says Doug, “you're going to see a tectonic shift to product-led growth, meaning the product is leading every single interaction. Instead of us doing outbound prospecting to a brand new client cold, we're actually reaching out to people who are deeply already involved and getting value out of our product.” He gives the example of Slack, Dropbox or Twillio, where people just go to their websites, enter some information and can start using the product right away, getting full value. In this scenario, people have a need and instead of having a sales conversation with a rep or requesting a demo, they can try a product for free and immediately know and understand whether it is the right fit for them, the solution they were looking for. After customers try the product, an SDR would call them and help them get more value out of it. “So now an SDR’s role is different,” Doug says, “because I'm no longer cold calling people who I think are a good fit. I'm actually looking for signals in the product based on how you're using it to call you and help you learn how to get more value out of the product and in doing so you will then become a paying customer.” This scenario implies we are moving from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to a Product Qualified Lead (PQL). And when working with PQLs, both sellers and marketers have a different role in the buying process. SDRs become Product Specialists, now having conversations with prospects who have tried the product, and marketers focus on leading people to a product trial, not a web form. Listen to the whole episode to learn Doug’s predictions about the future of SDRs and how their role will dramatically change. From SDRs to Product Specialists Here are some ways Doug sees the SDR and AE roles shifting: Sales conversations will focus on discovering why a free user should turn into a paying customer. It’s all about upselling opportunities and how the product could be used more broadly across the client’s organization. Using data on product usage to create more sales opportunities. Although many SaaS companies are already doing this, Doug predicts it will be more common in the next two years, as companies ask themselves, how do we get people into our product with the least amount of friction with the most amount of value? This is the future of the sales force and as sales leaders, we must think differently about the characteristics of our sellers and the metrics we use to measure sales success. “What we're looking for is more product signals versus the prototypical marketing signals, like the MQL and the SQL,” Doug says. Listen to the episode to hear how the PQL is more valuable than the MQL, and why Doug thinks the MQL actually doesn’t exist (Hint: they are just contacts until someone talks to them and validates they are a good fit). Also learn why modern sales organizations must change the way they qualify leads and the real job of an account executive.
59 minutes | 2 months ago
Interviewing Techniques for Landing a Great Sales Job with Richard Harris, #171
Whether you are a sales leader looking for a new role or an aspiring sales rep looking for your first sales job, you will want to listen closely to what my guest has to say. My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is Richard Harris, a seasoned SaaS leader and consultant. Richard has 20 years of sales and sales training experience with companies like Google, Visa, SiriusXM, Pager Duty, Gainsight, Salesloft. He is also the author of Owning Your Job Search: Your step by step guide from application, to salary. The goal of the book is to teach people that they have way more control in the interview process than they think they do. It's all about the mindset. “When you go to a job interview,” Richard says, “you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.” Listen to the episode to learn some tips on how to land your dream sales job. How to Get a Sales Job These are the basic steps to apply for a sales position, according to Richard. 1. You have to update your resume -- that means LinkedIn Although you may still need a resume, your LinkedIn profile is your most up-to-date resume. And in Sales, people will surely find sellers on LinkedIn. “Nobody wants to look at a four-page resume, but they'll scroll till the end of the Earth on LinkedIn,” Richard says. “So LinkedIn is my most optimized page.” Listen to the episode to discover the type of information you should put on top of your LinkedIn profile as a sales professional. 2. Contact the hiring manager The second step is to go to LinkedIn, find the highest person in HR you can or find two or three people in HR and send them a message that says, “Hey, I just applied online. I'd love to know who I should follow up with directly.” Whether they tell you or not, you should try to figure out who the hiring manager is and contact them. If you are connected to them you may see their email and phone number. Richard says you should call them or leave a message. “So when I apply to a job, I'm not applying to a job. I'm applying to the whole company. I'm taking this much larger approach because I already know it's going to be a six-step process, anyway, so I need to put my name in front of as many people as I can. And the beautiful thing about us in sales is that this will be seen as the right thing. It will show that we are tenacious, that we don't take “no” for an answer. When you hire me, this is what you get.” We need to run a sales campaign about us as the product as much as if we were actually selling an individual product for a company. 3. Ask the right questions during the interview One piece of advice I give to people looking for a sales job is, “You get to choose who you work for and you get to choose the company that you work for. So choose wisely.” Richard agrees and says you should be asking some key questions to the interviewer so you can actually choose wisely. “I want to be able to ask politely, when it's my turn, what are the things that you see here that make someone successful and what you know about me so far, what do you think I have and what do you think I don't have?” You want to ask that question to show that you can ask tough questions and you can handle the answers. Another question is: If you could snap your fingers right now and three things in the sales world, in your sales environment can change, what would they be? “They come back and they give me three things and I say, great, so what's preventing it from happening? Because that gives me insight into the culture of the organization and it gives me insight into this person's ability to push for it.” A third question is: Aside from me hitting my number, what do you need someone in this role to do to help you be successful? This is a good question to ask a potential boss because now they are thinking what those things are and now they know you got their back. And another great question is: How many people have been promoted from underneath you? That's a big indication of how good a leader they are right because your job is assuming you want to be promoted. “The whole purpose of the first interview is to get shortlisted to the second, to the third, to the fourth. And what you need to do is you go back to your personal board of directors and you say hey, what do you think they're going to ask? What do you think I should be prepared for?” “And if for some reason you don't get the job you now at least go back and go.Okay, where do I think I missed right where you know,I thought I did this. I thought I did that.” Compensation: Base Salary vs Options A lot of sales reps interviewing for a job may have to decide between a higher base salary, options and commissions. Should you take the higher base salary or more options? Richard says it depends on the career goal and where you are. “If you're an SDR, the options are never going to cash out. So I would take the higher base salary at that role and once I start to hit the manager roles, maybe, but I have to see what it's worth. Options are worthless and a tax liability.” Listen to the episode to learn more about how options work and whether to take the salary or not.
47 minutes | 2 months ago
The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs with Brian Margolis, #170
Most sales professionals operate without a strategy, which results in a reduction in sales productivity. How can we fix this? That is the topic of discussion in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, with my guest, Brain Margolis. Brian is a former environmental/fisheries scientist turned entrepreneur. He is the founder of ProductivityGiant.com and author of the book The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs. His client list ranges from individual sales reps to Shark Tank entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. Brian's Pillar System helps sales pros and entrepreneurs create a strategy so simple, it fits on an index card, but so powerful it’s helped create 7 figure earners and has been licensed by some of the largest companies in the world to train their sales teams. The Need for a Sales Strategy Brian says that sellers can grind their way with their skills and work ethic, but at a certain point they will hit an upper limit, because there are just so many hours they can put into their work every day. What most sales professionals never stick with consistently is having an actual strategy. A strategy is a predetermined place to focus those skills and work ethic. That way, they get the biggest return on investment instead of winging it and being reactive. “When it comes to sales professionals,” Brian says. “I think there are two versions of everybody's business. One is the reactive version, where she just reacts all day, flying by the seat of her pants. And the problem with the reactive version of the business is most of the output doesn't give you anything back. The other one is the intentional version, where she determines ahead of time-based on good criteria, good thinking, where to put her skills, effort, talent, and work ethic so that she gets the biggest return.” And the difference between those two versions of the exact same business, is the difference between failure and success. The challenge that we have is salespeople don't know how to develop a strategy and how to focus on the right areas. Building an Intentional Plan So, how do you build a strategic plan to be intentional? Brian says there are three components or pillars of an intentional plan. 1. Consistency Pillar What are those things that you need to do consistently? What do you already know how to do effectively, that if you just did more of it, you would have the biggest impact on your business? 2. Effectiveness Pillar Many sellers are working hard but they are not getting better at their jobs. They don't become more effective at the skill. “A lot of salespeople consider making 25 cold calls productive,” Brain says. “But yet if I said, would you be willing to spend an hour a week getting better at something, working on your messaging, working on your direct response copywriting, most of them don't see that as work. And so you have to intentionally put time and effort into getting better at those skills so that when you do send the email you get a higher response.” 3. Strategic Pillar Make sure you're doing the things upfront that make everything else more effective. For example, a seller can just make 50 dials, but taking an hour each week to do research on the clients would make those same dials more effective. Brian calls this the pillar system. A pillar is an activity that you control whether it gets done or not. As long as you hit your pillars every week, everything else takes care of itself. Sellers should start every week with a plan of who they are going to call and what they are going to do every day according to those three pillars. Planning their week in advance will revolutionize their results. Be sure to listen to this podcast for more tips and strategies to help your sellers become more productive and successful at their work. Plus, Brian talks about the Index Card Business Plan, where sellers can use index cards to plan out their sales activities.
54 minutes | 2 months ago
Why your Sales Pipeline is the Headlights of your Business with Scott Walston, #169
9iu Pipeline generation is one of the biggest challenges to the sales force today. No matter where you go or whatever the organization is, whether it's consulting services or SaaS, pipeline generation is the Achilles heel for most organizations. So how do we solve that problem? That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest, Scott Walston. Scott is the President of North American Sales at Micro Focus. In this role, he works with Senior Executives to make sure they are receiving incredible value from Micro Focus’ digital transformation solutions, helping them identify solutions that deliver essential business insights, operational efficiencies, and process automation. Don’t miss this great conversation about building and managing the sales pipeline. Why is a Sales Pipeline so Important? For sales leaders, the sales pipeline is the headlights of the business, allowing them to do sales forecasting based on their amount of pipeline and their close ratios. “Now when you're thinking about it from a rep’s perspective,” Scott says, “the pipeline is what allows them to make life-changing money. It's what creates wealth for them.” For example, if a sales rep knows they have a two million dollar quota and they only have four million dollars in the pipeline, they are not going to hit the goal ― not too many sellers have a 50% close-ratio. Scott says that sales leaders should coach reps on interpreting the numbers, knowing the statistics of their industry and understanding the volume of the pipelines they need to be able to achieve their sales goals. Now, how much should you have in your sales pipeline? “That's a data-driven exercise,” Scott says. “I have multiple product groups that roll up to me and each one has a different data set. One of them actually needs 2.7 coverage from pipeline. So if it's a million-dollar quota, they need 3.7 million dollars in pipeline if you do the math. Another group needs 6x coverage. So if they have a million, they need six million dollars. So it really goes back to your Operations and Finance teams to inform the sales leaders on really what historically has been closed because once you understand those historical metrics, you can apply those with some rigor and some certainty.” These numbers can change over time, so sales leaders should look at their pipeline ratios every six months to see if they need to make adjustments. Listen to the episode to learn how Micro Focus reinforces the pipeline ratios in their sales organization. Pipeline Generation Best Practices Scott uses a couple of practices that help his team generate more pipeline. First, he says you should make pipeline generation easy. Provide your sellers with the right sales prospecting tools so they can easily get a message out to multiple customers. “If you give them the content and you give them the tool to disseminate the content, that makes it very easy for the reps to send out thought leadership pieces.” A second practice is what he calls pipeline generation days, which are 2 or 3 days where all they do is attack the pipeline itself in a fun way (with costumes and awards, for example). Listen to find out the fun activities they do at Micro Focus during pipeline generation days. Another best practice is for sales leaders to lead from the front when they have a pipeline generation problem, reaching out to their network, making phone calls and asking for and giving referrals. “There's no better way to build trust with a sales team than getting in the foxhole with them,” Scott says, “making some calls, talking to some customers. That is a show of your commitment to them to be successful.” When Should an Opportunity be Entered into the Pipeline? Scott says there are three areas you need to look at before an opportunity enters the pipeline. Metrics - what metrics is the customer giving you? Indication - is there an indication of pain and a time to resolve that pain? Champion - is there someone inside the organization that will shepherd the deal through? “Oftentimes that takes three or four discovery calls to get there,” Scott says. That's not one and done. It's usually multiple calls to understand if you have an opportunity.” The Role of Content in Pipeline Generation What is the role of content in building a pipeline in a remote selling environment? “If you don't have good content, you’re just not going to reach your customers,” Scott says. There are three types of content: Content that comes from the sellers that shows to the buyer that they understand their business and can add value to the conversation. Thought leadership content created by marketing to help sellers reach their buyer personas. Social media content to develop relationships when prospecting on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Our jobs as sellers is complex because we need to figure out what is the channel each prospect prefers to engage with (email, video, text, phone) and we must stand out from the crowd in a world where buyers are bombarded with tons of information. That’s why we need a sales methodology that works with the modern buyer, who is digitally savvy and video hungry. Managing the Sales Pipeline So how do we as leaders successfully manage the sales pipeline? Scott says it must be done through data and inspection. “Make sure you inspect the ingest, that you actually understand if this a real opportunity or not. And then, you know, pipeline gets stale. It just happens and it's very difficult. So you have to clean up your pipeline and kill stale opportunities.” Finally, you need to train your frontline managers to identify good opportunities and to look at the data constantly. Only then, you can start building the sale pipeline and creating more sales conversations. Learn more about this fascinating topic in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast.
58 minutes | 3 months ago
5 Keys to Sales Success with Robert Paylor, #168
On May 6, 2017, Robert Paylor broke his neck. On national television. During the Rugby collegiate championship game. Doctors said he would never walk again and would actually be lucky if he could regain any movement below his neck. Yet, almost four years later, Robert is telling an amazing story of recovery, hope, and forgiveness. I’m super excited about having Robert Paylor as my guest in this episode of The Modern Selling podcast. Robert is an international public speaker and, in his own words, a “quadriplegic on a journey to walk again and inspire others.” Don’t miss this episode to hear Rob’s story, some amazing life lessons, as well as valuable keys to sales success for leaders and sellers alike. 1. Mindset Rob was a rising star in UC Berkeley's Rugby team, with a bright future in front of him. But it all changed in an instant. The medical prognosis was that he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Rob, however, refused to accept that. Rob’s attitude and mindset after his injury helped him get through the pain and the grueling recovery process. “Don’t take negativity in,” Rob says. “Don’t listen to hopelessness. You have control of your mindset.” One of his secrets is to go on a mental diet. Just as with a food diet where you avoid foods that are bad for your body, a mental diet will avoid bad information into your brain. “Audit your thoughts,” he says. “Decide what is good for you and look for inspiring stories.” I love how Rob’s advice can be applied to the mindset of a seller. Salespeople hear “no” all the time. Rejection is a constant in their work. So, as a sales leader, how do you help your team deal with rejection? Through a mental diet where sellers are inspired by the wins of others and negativity is filtered out. 2. Perspective Another one of Rob’s secrets to stay positive is perspective. “Perspective is a powerful tool. You can compare yourself to others up or down, to what you’ve accomplished or to what you have failed at.” Rob recommends that when you are going through a struggle, you ask yourself, “compared to what?” That will allow you to put your problems into perspective and feel empathy for others. Rob keeps a gratitude journal where he writes down three things he is grateful for every day. Perspective in selling takes many forms. “When pursuing a sale, always keep the buyer's situation in perspective,” says Kurt Shaver, Vengreso’s CSO and Co-Founder. “They may not be on the same timeline as you. They may even be having personal challenges outside of work. Slow or no response from a prospect doesn't always mean there's no interest. Sometimes it just means other priorities are more important right now. Don't risk future business by pushing too hard.” 3. Give It Everything You’ve Got Compared to Rob’s physical trauma, many of our problems in the sales profession pale in comparison. Still, selling can be hard, especially during these times when remote selling is the new normal and we can’t keep doing business as usual. Rob’s advice is to give everything we’ve got, no matter the circumstances. “We have one life,” he says. “Don’t live it as a quitter. Fight and get everything you want.” 4. Find Vision and Purpose His recovery process involves doing physical therapy for three hours every day. But remember that for him, even doing simple things is hard work. The way he motivates himself to keep going is by turning it around and finding purpose in his recovery journey. “I don’t do it for myself, but to inspire others. Find the ‘why’ to keep going forward. You must have a vision.” 'Vision yourself where you want to be in 6 months' time, 1 year time, and 5 years' time in your sales career,” says Diego Garcia, Market Development Manager at Vengreso. “Once you find your purpose and 'the why' of your goals, you can then reverse engineer your plan into daily, weekly, and monthly habits to get where you want to be!” 5. Accountability Accountability has also been an important part of Rob’s journey. He works with a mentor (one of the coaches at UC Berkeley) who helps him set goals and is there to support him. This is an important lesson for us as sales leaders. Our words and coaching are not for our sake, but to help our sellers succeed. Inspiring, moving, and brilliant. Those are just three of the words used to describe this episode with Rob Paylor, that actually moved me to tears. Listen to the whole episode to learn about the power of forgiveness, gratitude, and resiliency.
40 minutes | 3 months ago
Accelerating Sales Through Partnering Skills with Fred Copestake, #167
Organizations don't partner, people do. As sales leaders in a remote selling environment, we must teach our sellers how to create successful partnerships that will ultimately increase your sales pipeline. This is the topic of conversation with my guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, Fred Copestake. Fred is a sales consultant, trainer, and author of Selling Through Partnering Skills, a book that looks at the evolving world of sales and sets out what people need to do to refine their approach. It explores how they can take it to the next level through understanding partnering intelligence (PQ) and using what Fred calls the VALUE Framework. Put simply, it helps individuals and businesses improve how they sell in the modern sales environment so they will achieve better results. The Partnering Quotient PQ or Partnering Quotient refers to the skills that people who are good at partnering have. PQ has the following six elements. 1. Ability to trust Trust is the foundation of relationships and good communication. The trust equation includes credibility, reliability and intimacy. Fred says sellers earn trust when they do what they said they were going to do, when they are knowledgeable and keep their buyer’s information safe. 2. Win-Win Focus Salespeople must understand what value means to their customers, they must listen to what they want, which may be different from what the sellers offer. Both parties have to be happy with what they're aspiring towards. A win-win focus can also help sellers negotiate and resolve a conflict. It can help them make better decisions because they're always focusing on trying to get that mutual benefit, that balance. 3. Comfort with Interdependence Fred says sellers must be willing to give up a bit of control to other people because they're going to have an impact on their success. “I am going to have to give an element of this up,” Fred says. “As an account manager, I would say, I can't do every single thing. I'm going to have to get my team members involved. If the customer says they're going to do something, I have to trust them to do that.” 4. Self-Disclosure and Feedback Self-disclosure is about the sellers giving a little bit about themselves to help clients know what their expectations are. “You might be quite good at getting the customer to talk about what they want,” Fred says. “But we don't always say what we want. So for this to be a good deal for us, this is how it's got to be. Now, feedback is about getting people to tell us whether we're doing a good job or not and whether the partnership is working. Sellers should be looking for it, they should be doing quarterly value reviews.” 5. Comfort with Change Salespeople are change agents. They are always trying to move customers from the status quo to take risks and see the benefits of the solution being presented. Sales leaders should train sellers to understand change and how to move clients faster through the sales process. 6. Future Orientation Salespeople should always be looking forward, making decisions based on where they're going rather than what they've always done and what might have worked in the past. The VALUE Framework So, how do you bring these PQ elements into a modern sales approach? Fred says he uses the PQ elements along with traditional selling techniques and applies them using the VALUE framework. Validate - Is this an actual opportunity? Align - How can I bring some value to the relationship? Leverage - How do I create a good sales conversation? Underpin - How can I prove that this is the right way ahead and that we can work on it together? Evolve - How do we turn this relationship into a partnership? Listen to this episode to learn more about the VALUE framework and how to apply it to your existing sales activities.
48 minutes | 3 months ago
How to Go From Rep to Sales Manager with Scott Leese, #166
Every sales leader has a story of what they've learned and what they've gone through in their sales careers. From times when they thought they should have gotten a promotion but didn't get it, to times when they finally got it and then felt they were the worst managers in the world, or realized they were better reps than managers. How can salespeople advance in their careers and become better at their jobs? That is the topic of conversation of this episode of the Modern Selling podcast with my guest, Scott Leese. Scott is a 6x Sales Leader, 3x Author, 3x Entrepreneur and 1x Unicorn builder, who serves as a strategic advisor and consultant to dozens of companies around the world. He specializes in building sales processes and salespeople, maximizing new customer growth, increased average contract value, and upselling and retaining customers. Scott and his coauthor, Ryan Walker, wrote From Rep to Manager for anybody who wants to improve as a sales leader. “There's a lot of books about leadership in general,” Scott says. “There's actually not that many books about how to be a good sales manager or how to become or get a sales manager job.” There's also a gap in the sales training world. There are a lot of virtual sales training courses, but where is the training for sales managers? “One of the reasons that so many reps complain about their bosses is because there's people who are in sales leadership who got no training whatsoever. Nobody taught me how to be a sales manager. I just figured it out along the way, and having done it for nearly 20 years now, I just felt like I got something to give back.” Listen to this episode to learn how to advance your sales career and some great tips on sales management. How do you go from Rep to Manager? If you want to lead, you need a specific mindset and a plan to get into management. Here are four questions you must ask yourself. Am I very good at my job? You don't have to be the number one sales person in the company, but you must be good, building your sales pipeline and hitting quota consistently. Do I really want to move into leadership? If you get more satisfaction out of helping your neighbor close the deal than you actually closing one yourself, even if you're really good at it, that might be an indication that you have the right kind of DNA to be a sales leader. Do you want to make less money? It’s very important to set the right expectations when going into leadership. Do you like helping people in mass quantity? Whether managing a remote selling team or in-house SDRs, you will be helping others become better at their jobs. How do you Go from Good to Great as a Sales Manager? Very few companies have sales management training that teaches how to be a great sales manager, sales director, or VP of sales. So, how do you become a great sales manager? Here are Scotts’s top five tips: 1. Become an apprentice The best way to learn is to align yourself with a mentor, like an apprentice. Find a great VP of Sales or Director that you can learn from. 2. Simplify “You have to understand that your job is to simplify, simplify, simplify,” Scott says. “That means simplify the pitch, simplify the rebuttals for your reps, simplify your feedback to them. So if they do ten things wrong at the same time, don't tell them all ten things. Start with just one thing. Just simplify their lives in general by removing blockers.” Ask your team members, “What can I do to help you today?” Then follow through and deliver, because the moment you stop delivering on that, the trust is broken and it just sounds hollow. “But if you deliver on that consistently for your people, they'll ask you more, which will force you to work a little bit harder and get a little bit better and get a little bit faster at identifying blockers, noticing trends that are blocking more than one rep.” 3. Collaborate with others Sales managers must interact and have good relationships with other departments in the company. They will need the help of Product, Marketing or Customer Success at some point, so they must nurture those relationships. 4. Teach your sellers what they need to know As a sales leader, you must train your reps on the best sales messaging techniques, how to use video for sales and other information that they usually are not aware of. For example, sellers need to understand the financial metrics that will help them sell, such as how much they can discount before losing money. “Reps usually just hear, ‘no, you can't have that discount’, so taking the time to not only explain why they can't have that discount but walking them through how that metric impacts the whole business, will help them understand and trust that you are not only just looking out for them, but you're looking out for the business’ best interest as well.” 5. Make it known that you have a desire to go into leadership Many reps or managers don’t get promoted because they never tell their bosses they want to have a new leadership role. “There's nothing wrong with making your ambitions known,” Scott says. “Say, look I'm interested in moving into leadership. Here are the reasons. Why what do I need to do? What do I need to show you? How can I improve? What are the things I need to work on? Tell me what I need to do. Give me a list and I'm going to go do all of those things and if I do all of those things, I hope to be considered for this particular role.” Don’t miss this episode for more great tips on sales management and don’t forget to grab your copy of Scott’s book From Rep to Manager. Outline of this Sales Managers Episode [10:00] The need for a book for sales managers [14:50] How do you go from rep to manager? [24:42] How do you go from good to great as a sales manager?
46 minutes | 4 months ago
How Sales Leaders can Build a Model for Success with Phil Harrell
The average tenure of a sales leader is 18 months. And while there are many reasons why VPs of Sales don’t last long in their jobs, one strong reason (according to my guest) is the lack of a model for success. My guest in this episode is Phil Harrell, VP, Group Director Sales Research at Forrester. He has spoken to many sales organizations around the world and has gathered valuable insights for sales leaders that he shared with me during the podcast. Phil is an industry thought leader in sales and marketing with more than 20 years of experience building and leading high-performance B2B sales teams worldwide. He has held executive-level sales and marketing positions at well-established companies and hyper-growth technology startups and has proven success in growing revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Phil joined Forrester through the acquisition of SiriusDecisions. Prior to SiriusDecisions, he was vice president of sales at HubSpot, where he was responsible for building the mid-market and enterprise businesses. Listen to this episode to learn how you can build a model for success in your sales organization. B2B Buyers Expect B2B Companies to be as Efficient as B2C Companies Phil says that their research at Forrester has shown what buyers expect from sellers and organizations: To be transparent and open, being straightforward with their pricing. To understand them at a very deep level, using the information they gather to personalize every interaction. To be immediate, answering right away when they ask for something. B2C companies have created an expectation of efficiency in the consumer’s mindset, who now wants the same experience in the B2B world. “So as a sales leader,” Phil says, “when you're thinking about your sales organization, you have to think about how to design and optimize the experience your buyers are having to be almost like a consumer experience. Remove friction and make it really easy for your sellers to engage with buyers.” The pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Buyers now are much more comfortable interacting in the virtual world and interacting with salespeople digitally. Remote selling is here to stay. Even after the pandemic, buyers are going to prefer digital engagements (perhaps not all the time), so sellers have to get comfortable helping buyers virtually. Phil says that instead of pushing for a close, the new role of the seller is to help buyers through their journey, help them get the information they need to make a decision. Typically, sellers withhold information to get that 15-minute meeting, but consumers are pushing back for more transparency. Three things that sellers can do to be more transparent are: Publish pricing upfront Ungate content Educate and provide information instead of pushing for the sale Buyers want sellers to anticipate their needs and be hyper responsive, so they can have a great experience. That’s when customer loyalty and advocacy happens. Four Things Sales Leaders Need to Build a Model for Success Phil says that sales leaders need to think about how to build a model for success instead of relying on last-minute deals to hit quota. Most sales leaders don't have a system to make their results repeatable, scalable and predictable. But Phil says that sales leaders should be able to explain the processes they have installed for acquiring and managing talent, managing leads, and managing the execution against opportunity management and against their sales pipeline. If leaders have a really good handle on the productivity and the health of their organization, they’re going to stand out and keep their jobs. Here are the four things you need to build a model for success: A process, from lead generation to onboarding. Infrastructure, including sales prospecting tools and technology to help sellers do their job faster and better, automating processes. Insights about buyer engagement and the buyer’s journey coming from the CRM or AI software, so they can hyper personalize the interactions. Talent with the right competencies, trained in remote and virtual selling. Sales is 51% science and 49%. And the science part has to do with CRM hygiene, gathering and entering the right data (touchpoints, for example) into the system. Sales leaders must use data to help their reps be successful at selling. The Importance of Sales Planning How can sales leaders ensure that they're going to get off to the right start at the beginning of the year? Phil says you got to make sure you've done a really good job on sales planning, from territories to quotas. “One of the critical things you have to do is make sure that you have your sales plan ready early in January and when you get to the kickoff, you roll out the quotas, you roll out the comp plans and you tell the marching orders of exactly what the expectations are from a product perspective and how they're going to get to their number.” Another thing sales leaders must do is prioritize the processes and the technology tools they need to start the year strong. Sales Productivity One of the biggest challenges that is burdening sales organizations is sales productivity. At many companies, only 30% or 40% are hitting their numbers, mainly because of quota over assignment. Phil says he recommends no more than 10% quota over assignment from the VP of sales down to the rep level. Another problem with sales productivity that Phil mentioned has to do with organizations getting bigger and the processes that are put into place affect productivity. “In a startup, it's simple,” Phil says. “Everything is about the buyer and so processes get designed from the buyer into the organization. As you scale, invariably you put in more processes and it gets designed by headquarters and pushed out to the field. And before you know it, you look around and you see all these processes that are designed to actually help the organization, not the customer, and salespeople say it's really hard to get deals done here. Everything takes too long.” Phil recommends doing a survey of your reps to understand what's keeping them from being productive. What are their top challenges? Then you can prioritize the top two or three things that are really in their way. “If you're making it hard on your sellers to do business with the companies that you're trying to do business with, you're making it hard on the buyer. All buyers want immediacy. And if you can't turn something around quickly, if you can't respond within 24 hours from the very start, that's a signal to them that you're not an organization they want to do business with.” That is one of the reasons why here at Vengreso we develop a free sales productivity tool, to help sellers respond to messages on the fly, with well-crafted templates that can be used in any web-based messaging platform with just a few keystrokes. Listen to my conversation with Phil for more tips on how to build a success model for your sales organization and how to make your reps more productive. Outline of this Episode [6:25] B2B Buyers Expect B2B Companies to be as Efficient as B2C Companies [14:30] Four Things Sales Leaders Need to Build a Model for Success [30:25] The Importance of Sales Planning [36:09] Sales Productivity
49 minutes | 4 months ago
How to Lead Sales Transformation in a Remote Selling World with Chris O’Brien
Large and small companies alike must adapt to the reality of remote selling. The sales landscape won’t fully be what it used to be, so to thrive, sales leaders must push for sales transformation in their organizations. My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling podcast is an experienced leader from a 16-billion dollar company, who has a lot to say about digital sales transformation. Don’t miss this conversation with Chris O'Brien, Chief Commercial Officer at C.H. Robinson, a global company in the services and transportation industry. Chris has global enterprise wide responsibility for all customer related strategy and functions including overseeing sales, account management, and marketing. In addition to corporate support for these functions, his teams oversee the Global Account Centers and lead the company’s integrated relationships through the Collaborative Outsource® solutions portfolio. At work Chris is passionate about developing the careers of others and driving change for improvements. His areas of expertise are in the fields of sales, customer management, European supply chain management, leadership, mergers and acquisitions, retail supply chains, inbound transportation, transportation outsourcing and Transportation Management Systems (TMS). The Tenure of a Sales Leader Chris has been at CH Robinson for 28 years, an incredibly rare tenure. The typical tenure of a sales leader today is 18 to 24 months, as people move around companies all the time. So, I asked Chris if he thinks his experience can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. “I've always tried to make it an advantage,” Chris says. “I've been in a lot of different roles. I've been in three different countries and I think for all of us in the sales and customer-facing world, that it becomes an advantage because you're in front of customers, you're talking to customers, you’re learning their language, you get a bit of exposure to everyone.” Another advantage of growing in a company, according to Chris, is that you would be leading a job you had done before, so you would understand better those who report to you and you can lead by example. Personally, one of the best pieces of advice I can give to the selling community is that before you take a jump from one position to another or from one company to another, make sure you've proven that you've been successful in that particular role. You must build a track record to prove that you can actually succeed in another company or position. The Impact of COVID-19 in the Salesforce The pandemic not only affected C.H. Robinson’s industry but also their salesforce. They had to make decisions and adapt quickly. One thing that they did was to treat this change as permanent in order to really maximize what was going on in the world. “We would act as if part of this was going to continue,” Chris says. First, they adjusted their sales messaging to resonate with what was going on in the Covid environment. For example, during the pandemic companies were trying to cut costs, so C.H. Robinson began to promote their outsourcing services even more. Chris says that their sellers had to adapt and embrace video for sales. “So we jumped right away on training do's and don'ts, the good, bad and the ugly of showing up on video. We tested new technology. We really made sure that we were doing anything that we could to make this fun to keep the world connected.” How Sales Leaders can Drive Sales Transformation A lot of leaders are still not getting the support that they need from senior leadership to leverage the tech tools required for remote sales. For example, we know that video is the hottest thing out there right now, both face-to-face synchronous and asynchronous communications. But it is an area that many sellers have not leveraged fully. So, how do you get the senior leadership team to drive the change and invest in the sales organization? Chris says it starts with company culture. More than just having leaders willing to implement changes, you need a culture that is “just ready to go.” “I think the first component is owning it and living it,” he says. “It is your own personal commitment to say, ‘I see this as a challenge, I will personally commit to coming up with the solution’ versus ‘This is a problem, what am I going to do about this?’ And I think that's too common of an approach. To me, the most important component is leadership commitment.” I totally agree with Chris on this. As leaders, we cannot be in an Ivory Tower. We've got to be in the field, whether it's emotionally or tactically. This is especially true in a remote selling environment, where many sellers feel isolated and even depressed. Sales leaders must offer coaching and support to them. “I believe that sales leadership and sales leaders will need to become much more of individuals who can talk on an emotional level,” Chris says, “not just work through specific items to get the deal closed. We've got to be able to relate to our people. If you needed to do it in person, how much more do we need to be doing it now in a virtual environment?” Career Advice for People Starting in Sales Chris has some great advice for new sellers. Given his position and authority in the marketplace, as well as his years of experience, you should listen carefully to what he says. Think like your customer: “I think that the first step for me is walking in their footsteps and understanding what they really want out of the engagement.” Be curious, always learning: “Your education doesn’t stop when you get a job. Keep reading books, listen to podcasts, be curious.” Do not worry about your career: “Don’t worry about that next promotion. Take care of your customers and your teammates and your career will take care of itself. As I reflect on my career path, I don't recall ever putting together a plan for a promotion. I had plans for customers and developing others and I think people just notice if you're in it for them or if you're in it for yourself.” Listen to this episode to learn more about Chris’s exciting career and how you can drive sales transformation in your own organization. Outline of this sales transformation episode [11:25] Advantages and Disadvantages of settling in a company for a long period of time [23:00] How Sales Leaders can Drive Sales Transformation [36:50] The importance of video in remote selling [43:20] Career Advice for People Starting in Sales
53 minutes | 4 months ago
Shifting your Sales Strategy to an Outcome-Based Model with Christoph Schell
One of the biggest challenges for companies in the new normal is serving B2B and B2C customers working from home. Priorities and needs have changed, so sales leaders must also change their sales strategy to match the new commercial landscape. I’m very excited to have a leader in the trenches in this episode of the Modern Selling podcast, who has the experience and the insights to help you navigate through these shifting times. So don’t miss my conversation with Christoph Schell, Chief Commercial Officer at HP Inc. and a member of the HP Executive Leadership Team. The HP commercial team is accountable for all aspects of go-to-market, category and 4P management and manages revenue, margin and Go-to-market OP globally. Listen now and keep reading! The New Commercial Landscape One of the most significant changes across the commercial landscape since the pandemic began is the move of thousands of workers to work and learn virtually. Christoph says that because of the new work-from-home and learn-from-home reality, we have created a new customer segment. It’s not just a consumer, family entertainment segment or a commercial (SMB and Enterprise) segment, but a mix of both, called the prosumer. This has become an opportunity for companies like HP, who serve the business needs of those working from home, but now also have a “foot on the door” to serve the entertainment needs of the worker’s family. This shift to remote selling has impacted the sales strategy at many companies in an interesting way, creating new business opportunities. Organizations are moving very rapidly into outcome-based value propositions across all segments, which, of course, presents new challenges. For instance, with subscription-based models, consumers are not locked into long-term agreements but can cancel at any time, so companies have the pressure to make their services relevant all the time, focusing on workflow and design, and not just hardware. Chistoph says that at HP they are very excited about the subscription model in their printing business. They had planned this change would happen in the next 4 to 5 years but it happened in 5 months because of COVID. Upselling opportunities “I define prosumer as you leave it up to the prosumer to design their own products,” Christoph says. He cites HP’s 3D printing service, which allows consumers to design their own products to obtain their desired outcomes, printing components when and where they are required. The same happened at Vengreso. As a sales training company we used to have one-day in-person events but now have pivoted to a subscription-based model, becoming an exclusively virtual sales training company. The recurring question we ask ourselves and our customers is, what is the recurring value of our products and services? That is a question all salespeople must ask in this new commercial landscape, so we can create new offers that bring upselling revenue. Personalized Offers HP has a subscription service called Instant Ink, where customers pay a fee based on the number of pages they print and not the amount of ink they use. In the backend, the printer is communicating with the HP cloud and as soon as the cartridges are at a 25% fill level, HP sends new cartridges to the customer. This service was available before COVID but it became more popular when people couldn’t go out. It became more convenient. Subscription services are personalized to the needs of the individuals but also allow for adjacency business models, where new services or products can be offered, connecting the different value propositions of the company to particular customers. Christoph provided a great example of how to move from a transactional business into a subscription-based business while personalizing it to the customer. In his example, he says that instead of buying a laptop, people could rent one and pay a subscription. The subscription plan could be personalized to the usage patterns of the machine, such as one rate for weekdays when the CPU usage is normal (work-related tasks) and another rate for the weekends when the CPU usage is high (gaming and entertainment) and the customer may need to connect to certain cloud services. The bottom line here is to find relevance within your customer base, create solutions that drive subscription-based revenue and make it easy to upsell features. Shifting the Sales Conversation How do you bring that relevancy and personalization discussion to the sales conversation? “First, you need to have a value proposition that is relevant,” Christoph says. “Then you need to change the pitch and the engagement approach because you are moving from a transactional sale to an outcome-based sale.” For example, in B2B, transactional sales occur with a procurement team, but an outcome-based sale occurs with the C-level executives or the heads of the departments that need that outcome. That kind of sale requires daily or weekly interactions. It’s not just dropping off the hardware after the sale, but providing continuous service once the sale is awarded. In today’s virtual engagements, where video calls are ubiquitous, people sometimes turn the camera off and sellers can’t see their prospect’s face, so it’s harder to pitch. That’s why sellers have to stand out using social media, engaging with the prospect way before the call, knowing who they are and what is important in their lives. They must connect, engage and build rapport with prospects through social networks, so when they get to the pitch, prospects already know who they are. The Future of Social Selling “Social selling is very important,” Christoph says. “You are now mixing the brand with your own brand, representing your company, their values. Sellers need to be consistent with their personal brands and align them to the company’s brand.” Christoph says he builds his brand on LinkedIn and teaches his team to do the same. He spends 90 minutes every day on LinkedIn, finding leads and opportunities, and engaging in conversations. “The future of social selling is that you will have a direct touch through social selling channels with every single customer, so the value propositions will have to be hyper-personalized.” Today, modern sellers must be digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile-attached, and video hungry, because that is the description of the modern buyer. Listen to the whole episode to learn more about shifting your sales strategy to an outcome-based model and how HP is innovating with subscriptions and annuities, so you can implement similar strategies in your organization. Outline of this Sales Strategy Podcast Episode [2:00] About Christoph Schell [8:15] How has the commercial landscape changed since the pandemic began? [13:20] How has the shift to remote working affected sales strategy? [18:52] Personalized offers [31:20] How do you bring relevancy and personalization to sales conversations? [47:47] The future of social selling
51 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Drive Predictable Sales Revenue with Kevin Knieriem
One of the most common struggles for sales leaders is forecasting, understanding what is going on with the business and how to get predictable revenue. In this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast, my guest, Kevin Knieriem, CRO at Clari, talks about using Artificial Intelligence for sales forecasting. Clari’s Revenue Operations Platform automatically gathers data from across your emails, meetings, marketing campaigns and CRM data, and then uses its AI to create dashboards and execution insights. Kevin brings more than 20 years of experience driving revenue growth and building successful sales teams for leading enterprise giants and high-growth startups. Most recently, he spent more than four years at Oracle where he held several leadership positions, including CRO at DataScience.com (acquired by Oracle in June 2018). In this role, Kevin led DataScience.com’s demand generation, field marketing, sales and customer success initiatives from pre-revenue through acquisition by Oracle. During this time, DataScience.com helped define and then lead the Forrester Wave for Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning Platforms. Prior to that, he spent over a decade at SAP where he led regional and national organizations. Don’t miss this exciting conversation to learn how to use AI to predict revenue. This podcast is brought to you by Postal.io. A Sales and marketing engagement platform that generates leads increases sales and improves customer retention. Request a demo to learn how to integrate direct mail and gift into your existing strategy by visiting Postal.io. Why is predicting revenue a challenge for sales leaders? The market has changed significantly in the last few years, where buyers don’t engage with reps at the top of the funnel, but later in the sales cycle. Modern buyers are consuming content and finding information on their own about the solutions they are seeking. And although there are many touchpoints in this process, CRMs don’t gather data from them, but only from those interactions between the buyer and the sales rep. The customer journey is not linear, anymore, especially in B2B enterprise sales, where sellers deal with multiple buyer personas within the same company in long sales cycles. Furthermore, most sales reps are not trained to gather and interpret prospects’ buying signals correctly. That’s why sales leaders need data to understand everything that is happening in the sales process to identify risks and opportunities. Traditional B2B sales forecasting are often inaccurate and lead to missing sales targets, but many sales AI-based predictive analytics tools are now available to help sales organizations obtain predictive revenue. AI-based forecasting methods are the most accurate, such as Clari’s technology. The Impact of Missing your Sales Forecasts Kevin says that the single most important number to any company is their ability to forecast. The forecast is a direct input into the operating plan of the company. If you know what you are able to overachieve, you can make investments to accelerate the business; and if you can predict where you will underachieve, you can forego some investments and figure out how to close that gap so you can hit the numbers. Data Needed to Forecast Revenue Every seller is different and every manager is different. That is why sales don’t have a consistent way to be measured or a consistent process. In traditional forecasting, the sales manager interrogates every sales rep in the team, enters some data into a spreadsheet and forecasts future sales from that data. Kevins says that sellers should be savvier when analyzing data to get a clear view of their opportunities. For example, they should ask themselves if the customer is actually engaging with them, replying to emails and opening documents. By the way, the best way to achieve engagement is with the right sales methodology. “All that is a signal of where you’re going,” Kevin says. “With that data available, both the manager and the rep will know where they are and what to do to change the narrative and assess whether it is worth pursuing a deal or not. We need a process to tell us what a healthy opportunity looks like as it goes through the funnel. With years worth of history, AI can make predictions of what a good opportunity is.” Instead of relying on intuition or the sales pipeline stages, sellers need to focus on engagement and activities that show that the deal is moving forward. For example, are they engaged with the executive buyer? Do they know where the budget is coming from? Where are they in the paperwork process? In the security process? Kevin says that companies need to establish what a good deal looks like, what a bad deal looks like and what one in between looks like. Data is vital in a sales forecast. The right data can help sellers know where they are and what they need to do to close the deal. “You need the ability to look forward,” Kevin says, “to look at the pipeline and know if you are building the right kind of pipeline with the right persona moving through the sales stages the way they should. In other words, having visibility up the funnel, see how it moves and use that information to predict if you have enough pipeline to hit your target for the quarter.” Good sellers will know how to use this data to their advantage, to figure out where they are; and managers and leaders will lead differently, knowing where to invest their time. According to Kevin, a sales forecast must have these three inputs: Current quarter opportunities: What does a healthy opportunity look like? Collect the data in your CRM and non-CRM systems to get a view of healthy opportunities. Renewals business: Most SaaS companies have renewals as part of their business model. Collect data for healthy customers, customers impacted by COVID or customers booming and categorize them. Activity across the board: Review if sellers are building the pipeline they need to reach the forecast. “If you have the data in real-time,” Kevin says, “you can know which deals are going to slip and not wait until the end of the quarter to find out. Then you can take action immediately.” Predicting revenue is an art and you must get good at it and have consistent wins. Forecasting well starts the quarter before. You should be able to forecast the quota of Q4 while still in Q3. The earlier and more accurate the forecast, the more valuable it is to the company to make decisions.
41 minutes | 5 months ago
Sales Prospecting Tools that Will ROCK your World, with Mario Martinez Jr., #161
With digital selling taking over traditional sales methodologies, there has never been a more exciting time to be in sales. Leveraging technology, social selling and sales prospecting tools has ushered in a new era for anyone pursuing a career in sales. For the first time ever, buyers and sellers are completely aligned. Buyer behavior and selling motion are completely in sync and it is through correct B2B prospecting that we can succeed in this always-evolving field. However, with so many sales prospecting tools out there, how do you know which ones are worth your time and money? To help you out, I’ve put together a compendium of my favorite B2B sales prospecting tools: a list of both free and paid tools that will surely turn heads and help you get the best out of your sales team. But before we start, let’s define what sales prospecting is. What is Sales Prospecting? Sales prospecting is the art of searching for customers, buyers, and potential long term clients to help you grow your team’s sales pipeline. It is the art of finding those who most resemble your target buyer and initiate conversations or engage with them. When scouting for a sales prospect it is important to identify those who are the best fit for your offerings. Traditional sales methodologies were heavily focused on closing deals and not much on identifying whether or not, both the buyer and the organization, were a good fit between them in the long run. That’s why we created the PVC Method, a sales methodology that focuses on prospecting. Prospecting is not to be confused with lead generation and prospecting tools aren’t lead generation software. What is the difference between a lead and prospect? This is one of the most common misconceptions among those just entering the sales field. I’ll quickly elaborate on both. A lead is someone who expresses interest in your product or service, visits your website, watches your videos or even fills out a form. It is often associated with the inbound sales process. A prospect is someone potentially qualified, aligned with your target persona, that has engaged with you in some way, shape or form. It is more outbound related. Both leads and prospects need to be nurtured and driven down your sales funnel in order to ultimately become buyers. Now let’s dive into sales prospecting tools. Listen to Episode #161 of the Modern Selling Podcast where I talk with Vengreso’s CBO and Co-Founder, Kurt Shaver, about my favorite sales prospecting tools. What are Sales Prospecting Tools? In any industry, the competition is high when it comes to finding potential buyers and convincing them to buy your product or service. This is a challenging task, and in order to achieve your sales goals, it is critical to be open and knowledgeable about new strategies, tools, and technologies that can level up your team’s prospecting game. A sales prospecting tool is any software that helps you automate small, repetitive tasks, so your sales reps can save time and deliver the right messaging to your prospects. These tools will give your sales reps all the necessary information, as well as help you make the best decision to determine whether a person is a good fit or not for your organization. It helps with sales productivity and efficiency that will leverage the engagement with your buyer persona. Prospecting tools will essentially help you gather more information, move faster, target the right people and engage prospects in a more meaningful way in order to close more deals. Sales Prospecting Tools to Find Contact Details Within the realm of sales prospecting tools, there are a myriad of use cases, designed for specific tasks. Here are a few of tools that allow sellers find contact details: Seamless and Zoominfo - Often called the Google of contact searching, these tools allow sellers to not only search for prospects’ email, website, and contact info, but also export these newly found prospects into a CSV. Prospect.io - By using their Chrome extension, sellers are able to instantly search for decision makers within a domain name. Using AI, Prospect.io pulls up a list of emails, phone numbers and other relevant information within any organization. Additionally, with Prospect.io you can save a contact or, within seconds, send them an email. If you’ve sent an email, prospect’s tracking tool allows you to see if they’ve opened it, replied, and even converted on your website. LinkedHub - Instead of spending time on data entry from LinkedIn to Hubspot, this B2B prospecting tool allows users to synchronize all info and messages directly into HubSpot. This beats the hassle of copying and pasting with the possibility of skipping valuable information. It tracks and synchronizes sales messaging from LinkedIn. Tools to Qualify Prospects A second category of sales prospecting tools I’d like to dive into are those tools that help B2B sales teams qualify prospects. These tools help sellers assess how likely it is that a person will eventually buy from their organization. LinkedIn Sales Navigator or LinkedIn - LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are two separate tools. The later features a more powerful set of search capabilities and personalized algorithms to help your sellers reach the right decision maker. Learn more about the difference between the free LinkedIn and LinkedIn Premium, including Sales Navigator. Crystal Knows - This is an AI sales tool that allows your sellers to get an inside scoop on any prospect before they reach out. This somewhat eerie tool reads all the information on the prospect that is available in the web and summarizes anything —from latest news to the kind of tone a prospect prefers to be reached out. For example, should the seller greet “Hey Mario” or “Dear Mario;” should they use a “best friend voice” or sound casual. Crystal Knows allows sellers to decipher how to reach out before they actually do. It’s like having their own crystal ball before they contact a prospect. Tools for Booking Meetings Once sellers have the contact information and have qualified these prospects, they need to book a meeting because, let’s face it, the end result of successful prospecting is starting a conversation and eventually booking a meeting. Nevertheless, there are often instances where there are more than two people involved in a sales meeting. In order to successfully schedule the availability of several parties, here are a few of my favorite tools to complete this task: Calendly Time Trade Hubspot Meeting Links Doodle Many sales professionals will incorrectly send their info and expect a prospect to instantly engage and book a meeting with them. Instead, I recommend using one of these tools, sending a link and have the prospects choose the best time for them. Tools for engaging your sales prospect There are over 700 tools in the sales tech stack in the market today and many specialize in the function of engaging prospects. Which is why I’d like to further divide this category into sub-categories. Sales Engagement, Sales Productivity and Sales Efficiency FlyMSG - This is one of my favorite sales tools as it falls not only under the sales engagement platform category but is also in the realm of sales productivity and sales efficiency. FlyMSG is the first text expander tool that was thought of and built for the modern seller. The tool was developed by us, here at Vengreso, and it allows sales pros (as well as marketers) to quickly pull up their favorite sales messages, emails and scripts using a few simple keystrokes. With these abbreviations (known as flycuts) users won’t have to look through old emails and notepads to find their favorite content. The tool is a Chrome Extension that will instantly increase your team’s sales productivity and uniformity across your sales messaging. Here’s a use case example. Say someone offered me the opportunity to guest blog for Vengreso’s blog. Instead of looking through the last email I sent a former guest blogger, I created a flycut where I've already copied and pasted the desired content. This email’s content can be instantly pulled up using an abbreviation. This tool is great not just for sellers but also sales leaders and marketers who wish to increase productivity, especially during the remote selling era where every minute working from home counts. Sales Cadence Within the sales cadence realm there are four main tools: Xant Outreach SalesLoft VanillaSoft While a sales productivity tool like FlyMSG will help with 1 to 1 messaging, sales cadence tools will grab these individual messages they’ve created and throw them all together in a sequence, thus improving their chances of sending prospects directly down their sales pipeline. By harnessing the power of both types of tools, you’ll not only save time and create uniformity, but you’ll also become more organized in your sales prospecting techniques. Sales/Content Engagement Platforms These tools help sellers look at the different pieces of content they have available from marketing and help them create 1 to 1 level engagement in prospecting. A great hub to save all of your content in one place and know what to use and when. Seismic HighSpot Big tin can Showpad Postal.io Sendoso The last two are known as gift and direct level marketing tools. These are used by sellers to engage with their buyers offline through sales gifts. Sales Video Still within the realm of sales engagement, but worthy of its own category, video for sales prospecting has been huge in 2020 in the world of virtual selling. We offer a selling with video training program specifically for this type of engagement platform. With in-person events postponed until who knows when, video (both synchronous and asynchronous) is the next best thing to have prospects see and build trust with sellers. A few of my favorite video selling engagement platforms are: OneMob HippoVideo BombBomb Vidyard Videolicious CoVideo These tools allow sellers to not only create and send videos but also add various filters to make them more engaging, as well as allowing sellers to see how many times their videos have been viewed. Tools for sales prospect meetings Now that your sellers have a date for the actual sales meeting, they’re going to want to know what tools to use to host the meeting, what to do during and what to do after said meeting has finalized. Zoom Video Communications - The preferred tool to host virtual sales meetings. OrgChartHub - A tool that lets sellers build an org chart directly within HubSpot. Not necessarily a tool that is used with the prospect directly, but a tool that I use in every meeting. This helps bridge the gap between customer success, support and sales. Gong.io - Gong will both record meetings as well as take notes for you. A sales intelligence tool to both prospect and revisit meetings with your sellers thus improving their confidence and cold calling abilities. Tools for social content sharing, inbound prospecting, and social selling A few sections ago I spoke about the difference between a lead and a prospect and how they relate to inbound and outbound sales respectively. One of the ways to generate inbound traffic is by teaching your sellers how to share content on social networks thus, build credibility and visibility. It isn’t necessarily part of a social media strategy but it will help keep buyers engaged. There are two types of content sharing platforms sellers can use. It can either be 1 to 1 sharing or one to many. On the one to many, we have tools that are also known as employee advocacy programs but are most commonly known as content sharing platforms. The content can be filtered by a plethora of categories to share both personal and business-related information. A few of our favorites are: EveryoneSocial GaggleAmp DynamicSignals GrapeVine6 On the 1 to 1 content sharing, I’d like to highlight the benefits of FlyMSG. Sellers who notice a new view on their profile can instantly send a pre-created, tailored message to the prospect who has viewed their profile. In this case, I have created a message for this particular scenario where someone has viewed my profile and, by using the flycut /thxview, within a blink I can send them an elaborate 289 character message thanking them for viewing my profile. The Best Sales Prospecting Tools to Use in 2021 if you’re a Sales Leader I’ve gone over quite a few sales prospecting tools over the course of this article, but to wrap this up, I’d like to summarize the best sales prospecting tools to use in 2021. If you have a limited budget or would like to narrow down the tools to only the ones that you can’t do without. Here is a list of my favorites. FlyMSG - For an all-in-one sales productivity, engagement and effectiveness tool, look no further than FlyMSG. Save time on tedious tasks and standardize your sales messaging and personalized emails. LinkedIn Sales Navigator - For sales qualification and sales engagement. This platform isn’t a requirement, in fact, most of our current clients aren’t LinkedIn Sales Navigator users. But if you have the budget, we recommend you use this tool. LinkedHub - The best tool to find prospects and sync them directly on to HubSpot. Seamless.ai - For looking up contact details this is my favorite tool. Seismic - For sales engagement and content platform, Seismic. One of the 800-pound gorillas in this segment. Postal.io - For gift marketing and direct mail. OneMob - For video for sales, OneMob’s salesforce integration makes them my choice for top video for sales platforms. HippoVideo - Similar to OneMob but their integration to HubSpot makes them a sales leader’s favorite. Both HippoVideo and OneMob allow sellers to create custom, content landing pages which ensures your prospects engage with sellers directly. Gong.io - For meetings, I would leverage this tool as it not only records every call, but its ability to also take notes makes it well worth the investment. Calendly - My favorite tool for booking meetings. EveryoneSocial - For social selling and content sharing. With virtual selling potentially setting the stage for a new line of sales prospecting methods, in just 6 months time, we might just be adding to this list of tools, so stay tuned.
55 minutes | 6 months ago
A Successful Sales Plan Requires these 4 Pillars
A sales plan or sales strategy can be the difference between an organization merely surviving and a company exceeding all sales objectives. With so many ups and downs this year, as well as company pivots and new long-term strategies, sales planning is more important than ever. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a born leader to devise a master marketing plan or hit your sales objectives. The best sales manager isn't measured by how many degrees they have or accolades received. They are molded through their years of experience. As the host of The Modern Selling Podcast, I relish the opportunity to speak to successful sales leaders from all sides of the spectrum. This week is no exception, as I speak to Remy Piazza, Chief Sales Officer of Bureau Veritas of North America. Bureau Veritas is a global testing inspection and certification company. They test everything from the food we eat and the water we drink to airplanes that we’ll eventually go back to when we travel. The 4 Pillars for a Successful Sales Plan In this episode, Remy and I discuss the four pillars for a strategic sales plan. These pillars have been Remy’s mantra through his years at the helm of various sales departments of world-renowned organizations. They cover everything from go-to-market strategies, sales prospecting, and even having the right team for the job. There’s a notion that, as sales leaders transfer from one company to another, they tend to stay within the same industry. While most leaders vertically align themselves with the industries they know, Remy has found joy in being in a leadership position and hitting a sales goal in a variety of industries. For this reason, business leaders can apply Remy’s four pillars to any industry. Note: Before we go through the pillars, you need to understand that Remy’s sales plan template needs to be carried out in order. You must go chronologically from Step one through four. Those who begin in the middle - and/or go out of order - are unlikely to achieve success. If you feel you’ve got all four pillars covered, I highly recommend a more granular sales methodology called the PVC Sales Methodology. #1 - Define and Document your Segmentation Let’s face it. A sales leader doesn’t get hired when things are prosperous in an organization. Leaders are hired to either put out fires or to devise a pivoting strategy. Remy recommends, before starting the blueprint, to look at all addressable markets. For instance, which industries do you sell to or want to sell to? Once this is done, you zero-in on the accounts you want to serve. Then, it’s about buyer segmentation and analysis. Learn about who your ideal customer is, what they look like, and why they are looking for what you offer. Once you understand your target audience, you can understand the buyer journey; what they’re looking to receive from your sellers at every stage. Next, you need someone to extrapolate and analyze the data. If you don’t have this, in the words of Tony Robbins, “You’re running east looking for a sunset and no matter how fast you run, you’re never going to catch it.” Data without analysis is just simple Xs and O’s. A marketing strategy is crucial to speak directly to your potential customers. According to Remy, you need to have a wartime plan to have a successful sales strategy. Prior to COVID, businesses could just continue to target those who had purchased from them in the past. Today, the buyer persona might have changed. For this reason, sales management must be more aligned than ever with their sellers and marketing. You come up with the tactics, but it is the individual sellers who will execute. Which brings us to the second pillar. #2 - Set a Go-to-Market Strategy Once you have your segmentation, you can hit the ground running and implement a strategy. We’re living in a time where buyer behavior is completely aligned with selling motion. Since we’re all digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile attached, and video hungry, sales leaders have no choice but to embrace digital sales and social media. But now comes another decision: Within digital sales, in which direction will you strategize? Direct models? Partnerships. Major or small markets? Now we have reached the third pillar: a key element. #3 - Successful Sales Leadership Depends on Having the Right Players on your Team Many NFL fans would agree that without Tom Brady, Bill Belichick likely would not have had the support of his cast. It takes a great leader to run a team of successful sellers. However, the sales rep not only has to execute the strategies. They also have to buy into the leader’s vision. Underperforming sales managers will skip pillars one and two, and head straight to hiring the right people. Yet, unless you know the first two pillars, you will not know who you need to hire. But how does a great sales leader know when they have the right people on their teams? According to Remy, you need to get in the field and ride with them in addition to digital sales coaching. Interact with your salespeople and experience what it's like to be with them in front of prospects or customers. Do your team members understand your company’s value proposition and sales pipeline? When sales leaders understand what their team members do well - and where they struggle - it’s easier to determine who can meet expectations moving forward. Back when I was an SDR, my company used Predictive Index to evaluate my performance. This tool provides great insight and information on how - and where - your team needs coaching. It will not determine whether or not someone would be a good hire, but it can reinforce a hunch. #4 - Importance of Sales Enablement in Every Sales Plan This relatively new field is all about leveraging data and supporting your sales team. Sales enablement is the beautiful orchestration point between sales and marketing. You can: Create a Value Proposition Research buyers and markets Learn where they digitally hang out Discover what kind of content will resonate with them Learn how and where they’ll consume the content Successful sales leadership is 50% talent and 50% sales-team support. Sales enablement is an instrumental component in helping your sellers. Back in the day, the role of a salesperson was different than it is now. To engage with potential and existing customers, all you had to do was give them a brochure with all of your information. Now, prospects can get all that info and more just by visiting a website. Modern-day sellers are consultants. And sales enablement teams feed your sellers the right data to fulfill that role. Achieving Successful Sales Leadership Successful sales leadership requires defining and documenting segmentation, having the right people, and eventually embracing sales enablement. Once you’ve gone through every one of these pillars - in order - you will have a starting point for your current sales leadership role, as well as future leadership positions.
55 minutes | 6 months ago
The Death of Relationship Selling in a Virtual World with Marcus Jewell, #159
If you're a sales leader of a 21st-century business, you will not be successful unless your sellers understand how to use sales tools and engagement strategies and their impact on relationship selling. Virtual selling engagement strategies have no doubt trumped what we commonly refer to as traditional relationship selling methods, and it's not even a close second place. The art of selling and your individual "net worth" to a business used to be solely focused on how good you were at building relationships that converted into building trust with your customers, which in-turn created closed-won revenue. Though this is still extremely important, my guest on this podcast episode says, "you can't have relationship-building be your seller's home run swing." Gone are the days where in-person sales meetings would last hours on a golf course, and deals were closed over a few bottles of wine. Those were the good ole days of relationship selling. The market demands a new breed of salesperson, a Modern Seller. Someone who is not just a relationship builder and sales closer, the market has molded the ideal seller to be a data manipulator and analyst. Capable of building strong relationships virtually, agile enough to leverage data to help determine key actions, and can quickly identify the purchasing stage a prospect is at, all the while he/she can come up with concepts that can help their buyers' business. This salesperson is not just your smooth taking relationship builder, no. Rather, this seller is a modern seller capable of building a personal connection through the digital selling process. Our guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast is Marcus Jewell, Juniper Networks CSO and E.V.P., and race car driving aficionado. Marcus brings more than three decades of experience working for organizations such as Xerox prior to being at the helm of Juniper as their Chief Sales Officer and EVP. Subscribe to Modern Selling on the App of Your Choice! This podcast is brought to you by Postal.io. A Sales and marketing engagement platform that generates leads increases sales and improves customer retention. Request a demo to learn how to integrate direct mail and gift into your existing strategy by visiting Postal.io. What Happened to Relationship Selling According to Marcus Jewell, COVID killed off what was left of relationship selling making it very difficult for B2B sales professionals to build a personal relationship with a prospective customer. This slow death began during the early days of the internet when lack-of-time hindered frequent lunch meetings with buyers thereby hindering building a relationship. The gradual digitalization of sales processes continued this downward spiral. Finally, COVID19 in 2020 solidified the transition, as sales became more about data analytics and customer value than conversation-skills and building relationships. [bctt tweet="Even before COVID changed the relationship in selling, #sellers began using data analytics to generate successful sales conversations by knowing the buyer. Thank you, @JewellMH from @JuniperNetworks and @M_3jr from @GoVengreso for sharing this in the @GoModernSelling " username="GoVengreso"] While salespeople still need to be inherently good at building a business relationship, they can't rely on just business selling face to face trust-building skills. Today's business buyer is more knowledgeable and has access to more information than ever before making them a business customer that is harder to reach, engage, and build a relationship with. Frankly, with knowledge comes power and a more informed possible customer makes it harder to build a trusting relationship as fast as we used to be able to do. The psychology of previous sales motions was more about building empathy and trust whilst asking a series of open-ended questions. These questions, coupled with a personable seller, would allow an organization's salesperson to build a rapport and familiarity with its customers. In fact, it wasn't uncommon for buyers and sellers to go on vacation and spend time with families. The rise of the internet took time away from everyone. The recent effects of COVID have not only put a stop to travel but have also generated safety concerns among us all in terms of gatherings. Thus, making it very difficult to create customer loyalty, a strong relationship, and building trust through a handshake. How Do You Build Relationships with Clients These days, sales relationships are built not by how much a buyer likes what you have to say, but more by how a salesperson approaches buyers with concepts that can help their businesses. Today's digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile attached, and video hungry buyer will build trust with their salesperson. This eventually leads to building a relationship if the seller's consultative selling skills bring value to solving a valid business problem. However, as Marcus identifies, buyers are looking first for value by the seller not a transactional selling sales pitch. Once the value has been established, trust and a long term relationship can be built, thus the start of relationship sales. The world has become very outcome-based as Marcus states. Therefore, a salesperson with analytical skills is more likely to succeed than the seller solely focused on being personable or trying to book that face to face. Social skills are still required for today's modern seller. Yet, they are now only part of your sellers' makeup. Processing and analyzing data, then interpreting that to a buyer is what my guest discusses as the key to being a relationship builder with customers. [bctt tweet="Knowing that the world has become so outcome-based, I want to improve my analytical skills to increase my sales results and be more prepared for the buyer. Excellent insights from @JewellMH from @JuniperNetworks and @M_3jr from @GoVengreso in the @GoModernSelling " username="GoVengreso"] The Modern B2B Buyer Journey Traditional selling methodologies dictated that on every cold call or discovery call, both the buyer and seller are trying to figure out if they're good fits for each other. Today's buyer has done ample research, so by the time they speak to your sellers, the buyer often wants to go straight to the demo and pricing making the potential customer relationship difficult to establish. This forces the professional salesperson to rethink their sales strategy and ultimately their relationship selling skills. Time is much more precious now than it was back during the early days of the internet. To build a lasting relationship it used to take a lot of meetings and eventually successful salespeople would close a sale. Today, buyers want to avoid as many meetings as they can, and they only want to streamline the buying process. A sales and B2B buyer journey used to begin at the same time. Both the buyer and sales rep would use an initial call to discover and qualify each other. If the seller was personable and could articulate ideas well, the buyer would accept a second and third call. This was all part of the sales technique to become that trusted advisor and the beginning to build a good relationship with a potential customer. Today, the seller also has to be able to identify (using data, analytics) where in the buying journey the customer is. Analytics tools such as the sellers CRM inform sales teams how many pages users search and where they spend most of their time on their website. There are even tools that tell you which competitors they've searched allowing sellers to get ahead of the customer possibly. Analyzing and developing a professional selling sales strategy plan with data requires sellers to be influencers and a marketer not the "pushy salesperson" gunning for their own agenda. In other words, today's relationship selling skills require modern marketing acumen. Successful relationship selling and analytics-based reps are those who can understand what their possible customers are saying (as well as what they're not saying). They can disseminate, grab data to identify what the buyer needs, and close the sale. According to Marcus, "Too many sellers talk about what their organizations do. And sadly, most customers don't care." They're only interested in what your business does that will help their organizations and teams grow. Social Selling Skills in a Virtual Selling Environment A client of Juniper, running a six billion dollar organization, asked, "Why do I need to be on social media or possess social selling skills?" To which CSO Marcus replied, "If you're the leader of a 21st-century business, you will not be successful unless you understand how to use 21st-century tools." I consider an "old school" seller someone who is 45 or older (my age) and made their way up the ranks leveraging relationship selling the traditional way. Whether their style was out-in-the-trenches cold-calling, showing up to events to shake hands and/or face-to-face meetings, that breed of seller possessed different skills than those required by the market today. According to Marcus, many organizations are providing early retirement plans to their "old school" sales teams. It's not that they think that breed of seller is incapable of adapting. However, most organizations know it's harder to teach modern skills to traditional sellers. It is becoming more affordable to train someone younger than it is to create a social seller out of a traditional salesperson. [bctt tweet="Thank you, @JewellMH from @JuniperNetworks and @M_3jr from @GoVengreso for this @GoModernSelling episode. Organizations need #ModernSellers that are updated with the modern skills to understand the #ModernBuyer" username="GoVengreso"] Modern sales demands workforces adapt to today's buyer. They need sellers who are not just tech savvy, but socially engaged and video hungry. They need modern relationship selling skills delivered through the sharing of content, understanding of data and analytics, and modern day omnichannel engagement. So much more is asked of the modern seller, which is not in line with what sellers 45 or older were taught. Determination, hunger, gregariousness - all of these intangible skills are still important. However, what the sales workforce now needs are those sellers who can also analyze data, possess non-verbal reasoning skills, and read pattern information. But contrary to what some organizations think, remote selling is here to stay. That eventual transition back to face-to-face selling will happen but not in the way things used to be. There will continue to be more virtual selling. The good news is, a recent study by Mckinsey says, sellers are now better than they were pre-COVID. From Relationship Selling to Virtual Selling Sales has always been known as a numbers game. The more people you reach out to, the higher the probability of speaking to someone, and the more conversations you have leads to the more opportunities you create and the bigger the chances you have at closing a prospect into a customer. Though this was the notion of traditional sales, Marcus says sales isn't solely a numbers game. Sales is about making sure each interaction comes at the right time and delivers the right message. It's about not targeting for the sake of hitting. It's about being specific and sending messages that are so on point and hyper-personalized that prospects have no choice but to engage. According to Marcus, virtual selling will eventually evolve into something of a hybrid where it used to be and where we are at now. Even if things go back to what we knew as normal (pre-COVID), virtual selling has made too much of an impact to go away. Outline of this Relationship Selling Episode [1:40] About Marcus Jewell: From Engineer to Sales Leader [7:25] The Death of the Sales Leader [11:20] Balance relationship building with relationship selling [13:00] How trust is built today [23:50] The importance of research [25:20] What skills are needed in today’s selling environment [39:15] How are you digitizing your sales force?
50 minutes | 6 months ago
3 Virtual Selling Tips that Enable Powerful Sales Presentations
A successful face-to-face seller doesn’t always translate to a virtual selling superstar. In fact, virtual selling requires a particular set of skills that will keep your customer engaged and eager to continue to connect with you. Today’s buyer is tech-savvy, digitally connected, and socially engaged. Additionally, with most buyers and sellers working from home, keeping a customer engaged in a virtual sales call can be difficult. My guest in this week’s episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, Andy Springer is the Chief Client Officer of RAIN Group and co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, Virtual Selling: How to Build Relationships, Differentiate and Win Sales Remotely. Andy is an “old school” salesperson with a keen interest in how the modern buyer digitally behaves. He and his RAIN Group colleagues, Mike Schultz and Dave Shaby like many of us prior to the pandemic hitting, were out in the trenches looking to provide virtual sales training. Like most organizations, Andy and RAIN Group were not prepared for such a catastrophic event and in just a few weeks realized they needed to change their value proposition and sales process in order to continue to really help their clients. They realized their old way of doing things wasn’t enough and they began to gather all of the information they had from buyers and sellers about virtual and social selling. Their research and knowledge gathered, served as the foundation for the book that was never intended to sell a lot of copies, says Andy. Instead, RAIN Group executives, Andy, Dave, and Mike were looking to build a solution that a lot of people could leverage to successfully adopt virtual selling. Andy joined me on this week’s edition of The Modern Selling Podcast and shared with me 3 Virtual Selling Tips that Ensure Powerful Sales Presentations. Virtual Selling Tips that Ensure Instant Customer Engagement It’s no longer a matter of expecting the very best from your top sellers in this new digitally connected selling world. Success in virtual sales requires a new set of skills. Customers will likely continue to have the same problems as they did working from an office, but how we identify these problems has drastically changed. According to research conducted by Andy and RAIN Group, the number one thing in this new virtual buying environment from a buyer (that was going to influence their purchase decision), was knowing the seller had made a thorough discovery of their wants, needs, and concerns. A second study showed that only 26% of sellers were effectively performing needs discoveries in a virtual selling environment. Younger sales professionals don't have adequate sales hygiene. They ask prospects for a lot of the information that can be found online and/or on social media. But in addition to this, what else can we do to be successful in virtual selling? Create the Right Buyer Engagement in your Virtual Sales Meeting One of the many discoveries found in virtual selling is that it is hard to keep customers engaged during long sales meetings. Back before the pandemic (seems like ages ago now), you could have a group of buyers and sellers in your conference room, networking and building relationships prior to the actual meeting. The meeting would begin and you would share slides and resources that everyone could engage with in person. Today’s modern seller doesn’t have the luxury of face to face meetings and must make their virtual meetings more interactive. Andy states that studies are finding that the max attention span in one particular topic for virtual selling is 20 minutes. The adult concentration span today is about 20 minutes. If your meetings are lasting an hour, maybe an hour and a half, find a way to make the meeting into a 20-minute highly engaging discussion and then do more of those. The Ringelmann Effect in a Virtual Sales Environment Secondly, Andy references the Ringelmann Effect when he highlights that there is no need to have so many people in a virtual meeting. As a quick reminder, this effect is the tendency for individual members of a group to become increasingly less productive as the size of their group increases. Previously in a salesroom, you can have the buying and selling team together engaging but in virtual sales, Andy discovered that in the sales world, the more people in a meeting, the greater the chance for disengagement. Similar to the old game of tug of war, instead of adding more people and each side being more productive, each newly added team member would make the group actually work less hard to pull. “The more people you add to virtual meetings, the higher the chance of people hiding.” Organizations think that because they put a whiteboard or 30 slides on a virtual call will make people engage in the same way as they would in face to face. Instead of yielding success, that will only yield failure. As sales leaders, “we’ve got to think differently with how you show up on this screen. Those who are realizing that and thinking of how to drive sales engagement and building relationships and those who are figuring out virtual ways to collaborate are starting to win really well.” Helping your Customers feel Comfortable with Video Calls During the early days of the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges by sellers was "how do I get my buyer to turn their video on?" A lot of buyers aren't used to or ready or wanting to engage in this. They’ll go off on a tangent and say things like “my hair isn't good, I’m wearing my PJs” truth be told, people think they're even invading their space. There has to be a really good reason as to why I need to turn my video on. It’s different, you're dealing with people that have transitioned to working in a completely different environment and we're expecting them to behave the same as they were in the office. It’s like newer generations being baffled by the notion of parents wanting to call vs. just texting. We can’t expect modern buyers to immediately buy-in. Those sellers who are thinking about all of this, step by step, are thriving. But you need to be deliberate. Buyers need to get warmed up to turning on their videos, look for creative ways to engage with people. I have a very interesting approach to this and it’s worked quite well for us here at Vengreso. I send a calendar invite to a prospective buyer or client and ask on that invite if they will have access to a camera. I don’t ask them to turn on the camera but I ask them if the camera option is available to them. This not only lets the buyer know that it can be a video call, but it also warms them up to the idea. As sellers, we should always use video for sales, it sets an example and encourages others to get comfortable. Tips for Working from Home Effectively as a Virtual Seller According to Andy, a workstation isn’t sitting on the couch with your laptop on your knees. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable, but it can also do more harm than good to your body. Instead, create a separate space and stick to it. It can be a part of a bedroom, somewhere quiet. You don’t need to break the bank in setting up an at-home office but do make sure it’s comfortable and quiet for you to feel at ease. Remember, you will be presenting yourself on camera more often than not and you’ll present as professionally as you feel. You never want to turn up too casual as buyers will think you’re not taking them seriously or that they’re not important enough. Setting up the right office at home is pivotal for improving your on-screen performance and the way your customers perceive you. Regardless of whether or not you’ll be seeing them in person, a sloppy appearance and questionable surroundings will not have your buyers feel at ease. If you feel uncomfortable with your current set up at home, be sure to change your backgrounds with green screens. Andy and I have both interviewed a ton of people during the pandemic and sadly, they don’t dress the part. Many think that because visiting an officer is no longer necessary, that they don’t have to look their best, that results and results only will be the game-changer. Though this is partially true, as a sales leader interviewing for an SDR position, can you really trust a seller to look their best for your prospects if they didn’t look their best interviewing for the job? The Present and Future of Virtual Selling Sellers who weren’t hitting their quotas and upon entering a virtual selling position were nervous, have no fear. It is now a level playing field and the opportunity for you and top sellers to learn new strategies. If you can find a way to identify customer needs, wants and concerns, convert random social selling activities into digital selling, and leverage correct use of video, you will come out on top in this changing virtual selling world. Remember, we’re still scratching the surface of what this digitally evolved sales world will look like and it’s a great opportunity to start fresh or pick up where you left off as a top seller. Outline of This Virtual Selling Episode [3:00] About Andy: Chief Client Officer of the RAIN Group. co-author of (amazon best seller) virtual selling: how to build relationships, differentiate and win sales remotely [7:55] Why was the book written? [13:00] What is the #1 thing buyers look for out of sellers in this virtual selling environment? [20:46] What should virtual sellers do to ensure their customers stay engaged in sales meetings? [23:30] The Ringelmann Effect. [24:30] What is the right number of people and perfect amount of time for a sales meeting? [30:00] Helping customers feel comfortable with turning their video on. [42:30] Home offices and avoiding distractions.
54 minutes | 7 months ago
How to Prospect Using Personalization to Create Sales Engagement with Ed Calnan
One of the most important qualities a sales rep must possess is knowing how to prospect. Many argue that due to the number of tools available to sales professionals, prospecting is as easy as ever. But sadly, many still continue to call their prospect list and ask questions that could have easily been avoided had you performed proper sales prospecting. In this article, I will go through expert tips on how every salesperson should approach their ideal prospect and how by using personalization and storytelling, your sellers will be able to create sales engagement. The Importance of Knowing How to Prospect If this COVID addled 2020 has taught us anything, it's that experts' predictions of the world going completely virtual, happened way before any of us expected. Countless organizations have had to adopt virtual selling and improve their sales prospecting skills to reap the benefits of all of the readily available information. Old school sellers prior to the internet didn't have the luxury of locating anything from company size down to a trigger event and even competitors. On the contrary, a sales person from the pre-web era had to rely on good old' fashioned phone books to get most of their information. It surely is a wonderful time to be in sales. With prospecting and other sales tools being introduced left and right, sales leaders have a plethora of options to ramp up their sales team. But can these tools be overwhelming? Of course. Sales Automation Tools When it Comes to Prospecting In this episode of Modern Selling Podcast, I speak to Ed Calnan. Ed is the co-founder and CRO of Seismic, where he leads the company’s go-to-market efforts. Ed brings more than 20 years of sales leadership experience from ADP, Thomson Financial, S&P, and EMC to Seismic. In 2016, he was named a Top Boston Startup Founders Over 40 by Tech.co. This episode highlights the tools that are part of every sales team’s arsenal as well as how incorrect usage can do more harm than good. That’s right, we receive countless emails and phone calls where it appears that proper prospecting wasn’t done. This in turn, instead of being beneficial, it leaves the sales team looking lazy by not using all of the readily available information. Lazy Reps Yield Poor Sales Engagement Results It’s an interesting time to be in sales. Those who have been in the game for 15+ years are excited to see that new age reps have access to so much information prior to any call. Before picking up the phone, previous research is pivotal to create a real conversation with your leads. If your sellers call a lead asking what problems they’re facing, they’re likely going to waste both parties’ time. Instead, if they leverage the information found on social platforms, even if it’s just flattery, they’ll spark the interest of prospects. They should use what I like to refer to as, “show me that you know me.” This is at the very minimum what prospects expect out of any call they take. A correct prospecting plan is all about using the tools at your disposal but not relying on them entirely. Ed says that “automated tools get reps headed in the right direction but there is a point where the system ends and people need to take over.” In layman’s terms, tools like Xant are fantastic sales engagement platforms but it’s up to sales leaders to ensure their team is humanizing them. The Concept of Personalization In the B2C world, some of the world’s biggest brands are already where they need to be. Brands like Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon grab what they know about you and people like you (thanks to similar interactions within their platforms), and provide their users with recommendations. For example, Netflix knows what shows you watch and grab similar titles that other people have watched, and provide you with a list of suggestions. The same goes for Spotify with their weekly playlist for every year. And Amazon knows that you have an infant at home and tells you when you need diapers and or formula. Sales automation will eventually get to that level of intuition but we’re not there yet, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done manually. Here’s a great example of a conversation Ed proposes. “I understand you, I think I know what your organization is going through and I’ve helped organizations and people very similar to you. Here’s what I’ve done and here’s how their problems were resolved.” It’s not quite as intuitive as Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon but it does create real conversations that will let your prospects know you understand them. It will also ensure you’re talking to the right people because let’s face it, you don’t want to be speaking to a leader whose problem you can’t solve. What Does it Take to Book a Sales Meeting with a Top CIO? I wanted to share an interesting anecdote about a business relationship I had once upon a time with Mckesson Corp., one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and medical supplies companies and current fortune 6 company. My relationship was with the then CIO, Randy Sprad. I decided to open up a can of worms and ask why out of all of the calls he received on a daily basis, being prospected by just about everyone, did he decide to take my call? What did it take to have him become a potential customer? Randy succinctly answered, “everyone seems to be in a hurry to explain product specs and how they can save me money. Sure, these are things that are important, but those who go out of their way to explain to me what my competitors are doing and what they can do to give me the competitive advantage, that’s what I’m looking for.” But how is this done? Through the art of storytelling. Storytelling: The Key to Personalization Storytelling is fundamentally important, it’s a skill that can be honed but can’t be left out of any sales process. A sales raconteur is someone who is skilled at telling stories and it is these individuals who can spark up immediate interest. Tenured reps have a barrage of stories in their repertoire and some don’t even know it. From past experiences, stories and memories will inform your ideal customer of the experience you have in similar situations. Buyer personas might not all be created equally, but letting qualified prospects in on what has happened in their peer group will create genuine interest. The best reps will work with their marketing teams to leverage these stories to create compelling content. It isn’t just about sharing these stories with their prospects. It’s about creating content that will be used as resources on your company’s website to send new prospects to. It will also help your training team to teach incoming reps about what information attracts new buyers. Here’s some great sales prospecting advice: decision-makers want to feel like they’re part of a movement. If you can show these companies (through stories and real-life examples) that you know what they’re going through, they’ll listen. Show a decision maker that other companies in their peer groups are going through a similar predicament and they’ll surely want to be part of your solution. Using video and social media to improve your prospecting strategy The modern buyer is as knowledgeable as they ever have been. With so much information available to them as well, a personalized email or text might not even be enough. Adopting omnichannel is fundamental to getting ahead with today’s buyer. Social media, text messages, cold outreach, calls, they need to all be interwoven with your business strategy. The best sales reps are masters at the social game. They have also mastered the art of video prospecting. Failing to recognize the importance of these as part of your current strategy will have you looking ancient. Sales leaders need to learn what’s available and coach their teams to use every arrow in their quiver. If you don’t and continue to think the sales world hasn’t evolved, you and your business will become obsolete. Become socially engaged, adopt omnichannel and video-centric and you’ll pave the way for your team’s success. Both your potential client and existing customers will appreciate the extra effort. How to train your team on sales engagement tools With new sales engagement tools being released periodically, the sales world is looking bright for those high-performing sales professionals. Organizations are forced to digitally engage, which makes training for this virtual world a lot different than it was 10 years ago. I predicted 3 years ago that in 2022, the world would go completely virtual. Unfortunately for many, the COVID era has expedited this process and many are struggling to keep the lights on. Every sales leader has a list of their favorite tools, but these tools aren’t as important if your team isn’t using them correctly. Along with training them on how to best use these tools, as a leader you need to hone your team’s digital sales training skills. Social skills aren’t inherent to all millennials and before approaching any prospect they’ll likely have the following questions. How do I engage well on social media? What do I say? What’s the right way to say it? Who am I looking for? If you’re going to be using cold calling, or cold emails it’s important to look for as much information about your sales prospect as possible. Make it a habit to find out 3 important things about each prospect before you call. When using video, don’t overdo it. You have 7-15 seconds to capture the attention of your prospects, make it count. Lastly, we’ve seen countless individuals reach out to us on LinkedIn and even via emails with abysmal spelling skills. Ask your organization to invest in Grammarly, it might not close deals but it can break deals if your spelling isn’t on point. Wrapping up There’s an interesting idea Ed shared with me on this episode that I think is a great practice to consider. Once a week, Ed likes to take a B2B sales call and listen to a rep's sales pitch. Not only is it good sales karma for the universe but he also stresses the importance of rewarding creative young people. Of course, this is all predicated on correct prospecting but those who have done their homework and know where they want the call to go, deserve to be heard. Content, storytelling, and personalization require a three-headed team. This team is marketing, sales leaders/reps, and sales enablement. Without these three teams in sync, it’s impossible to be effective in today’s sales world. Think of these teams as an NFL roster. If offense, defense, and special teams aren’t working together, they can have the best players, but they’ll lose every game. Outline of this Episode [1:04] About Ed: From Student of the Game to Founder and CRO. [9:12] What is Prospecting? What do we consider prospecting to be? [18:33] Why aren’t more sales leaders helping reps focus on bringing content that serves me up as a buyer. [22:32] Learning to leverage sales content for storytelling [23:53] Your prospects will react better to stories if they feel they’re part of a movement. [32:02] What role does video play within social media for sales reps? [42:06] Early predictions of a completely virtual world. Resources Mentioned in this Episode Connect with Ed on LinkedIn Follow Ed and Seismic on Twitter: Ed & Seismic Seismic’s Website Ed’s favorite movie: Empire Strikes Back Connect with Mario! www.vengreso.com On Facebook On Twitter On YouTube On LinkedIn Subscribe to Modern Selling on the App of Your Choice!
46 minutes | 7 months ago
How to Use Sales Gifts in Your Account Based Marketing Strategy with Erik Kostelnik
Any modern sales strategy must include offline engagement with sales gifts. In the COVID era, prospects, customers and even employees are craving something that will break the pattern of their daily activities — and nothing beats a physical gift delivered to their home to do just that. This is the topic of this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest Erik Kostelnik, the co-founder and CEO of Postal.,io, a sales and marketing engagement platform that generates leads, increases sales, and improves customer retention. Prior to Postal.io, Erik founded TextRecruit, one of the fastest-growing HR technology companies in the world, leading it to acquisition in 2018 by iCIMS, Inc. He also served as the Head of Sales at Wrike from 2014 to 2016 helping it reach #116 in 2015 Deloitte Fastest 500. Erik was named an Upstart 50 Top Inventor by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2017. Listen to this episode to learn more about using sales gifts in your account-based marketing strategy. The Ever-Evolving Selling Environment In this new virtual world, sellers need to think differently about how they approach their business and, more importantly, sales leaders who grew up selling in a very different way in a completely different environment. Years ago it was all about the phone and cold calling. Sellers came up with different strategies on how to use the phone, how to make people engage during a cold call. “How to cold call was a big thing in the late 2000s,” Erik says. “And books were written on how to cold call but then you realize everybody got that book. Everybody got that memo of how to cold call, so then the impact of cold calling got suppressed and ultimately we had to change the way we do things.” Then in the 2010s, came along platforms for sales cadences that allowed a salesperson to schedule emails and call sequences. But as it happened with the cold calling playbook, now everybody knows about that. According to Erik, the new trend today centers around social selling, video for sales, and sales gifts sent through direct mail. “You're starting to see this differentiation happening,” Erik says. “And by the way, 10 years from now everyone's going to have this Playbook. So don't think that this is going to be where it stops. You always gotta be learning. You always got to be figuring out, what are competitors not doing? What can I do more effectively and how can I scale that?” Sales leaders need a scalable system where they can dedicate technical and human resources to increase pipeline and revenue. Such a system is Account-Based Marketing (ABM) or Account-Based Selling (ABS). According to HubSpot, account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated across the entire company to pursue a target number of high-value accounts. An ABS strategy is a hyper-personalized approach to go after strategic accounts. Erik says you must ask yourself several questions, such as: How do you attack these strategic accounts? How much do you want to spend on each target account per lead? What do you need to do for that opportunity (what is the cost per opportunity)? What channels will you use in your omnichannel approach? Using Sales Gifts in your Account-Based Marketing Strategy A successful account-based strategy will seek sales engagement through a variety of channels, both online and offline. Erik’s company, Postal.io specializes in helping companies engage prospects and customers offline, with physical corporate gifts sent by mail and tracking them within the CRM’s workflows. These gifts may include a gift certificate or gift card, a gift basket or any kind of personalized gift, like a mug or a holiday season card with their names and interests. He says he is educating people on how to leverage and how to scale the offline in direct correlation to how they scale the digital. Unfortunately, not every company has even scaled the usage of their digital sequences (like email automation, for example). Today, however, it’s imperative that every sales leader understands what sequences his or her team must use, what works and what doesn’t. “You got to look at what it is in your opportunities,” Erik says. “So how many calls did it take to get an opportunity? How many emails did it take to get an opportunity? And then with Postal what we're able to do is, because everything is tracked inside any CRM that you use, you can then see how many offline pieces that I've had in this account for in this opportunity. How much did I spend on this gift? If that cost for that lead or that opportunity to that meeting was $80, you got to make sure that that's in the account record. That is the key.” Sales leaders in mid-market and enterprise companies are very familiar with account-based selling or account-based marketing. Instead of focusing on lead volume, they define well their target buyer personas and industries and go after specific clients or accounts. According to Erik account-based marketing has everything to do with blueprinting, appointment dialing, sequencing, and running demos. You need a strategy or policy per account, knowing how much you are willing to spend on them, through advertising, social media, or direct mail. “Define the dollar amount that you want to spend per account,” Erik says, “and then develop your sequences for your sales reps on those blueprints that you’ve created within that account. And that really for me is scalable.” Offline Engagement with Sales Gifts Anytime a sales gift is sent, the salesperson must include a personalized message. That message must be aligned with the overall branding of the company and follow marketing guidelines and policies for product promotion. For example, there might be a policy against sending alcohol to a client and your sales reps must be aware of that. There must be a process within your company to approve sales gifts, budget, design and messaging. Listen to this episode as Erik explains why sales and marketing alignment is necessary for a successful account-based strategy. Erik states that Direct Mail today is more relevant than ever and should be part of the new normal of selling. “We got a lot of folks saying I'm just not sure about sending Direct Mail pieces or things to people at their homes,” he says. “Believe it or not, people are extremely receptive to receiving anything at home, anything that takes them away from the daily norms that they're facing: Zoom calls, phone calls, putting data into whatever system they have. People want a break. So, break up the day and give someone something that they can physically engage with.” Offline engagement is about engaging with people where they are, but your sales team must do it through the right message with the right branding, at the right timing and must be relevant in the sales process. “You create a different brand experience when you actually engage with someone offline,” Erik says. “The data that supports why you need to be using offline engagement and why you should be sending things to people's homes. I have not heard yet anybody tell me that they are not happy to see the UPS man.” Offline engagement is not only a great prospecting strategy but also a way to engage with employees. Listen to our conversation to find out how gifts are a valuable strategy to motivate and engage remote employees, prospects and existing customers. As a sales leader, you must have an omni-channel approach to touching every sales prospect. You already have email and phone, but you must also add social selling, video for sales and offline engagement with platforms like Postal.io. Outline of this Episode [2:00] About Erik: From Seller to Entrepreneur and CEO [10:00] What sellers need to be doing differently to reach today’s modern buyer [17:30] How to effectively engage your audience with online and offline efforts [21:54] Account-Based Selling or Account-Based Marketing? [29:30] Offline engagement with the perfect gift [31:10] Is direct mail still relevant? Resources Mentioned in this Episode Connect with Erik on LinkedIn Follow Erik and Postal.io on Twitter: @erikkostelnik and @postalinc Postal’s website Erik’s favorite movie: Braveheart Connect with Mario! www.vengreso.com On Facebook On Twitter On YouTube On LinkedIn Subscribe to Modern Selling on the App of Your Choice!
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