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The Sales Way
8 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep.13 – Qualifying Sales Opportunities
Qualifying Sales Opportunities Organizations with sales teams fall into one of two camps when it comes to qualifying sales opportunities or customer deals. Either you have a qualification process in place, or you don’t. When we talk about qualifying sales ops, what we mean is that you have a company recognised method of deciding whether a sales opportunity is valid or not – so for example, that could mean, the customer has the budget, the timescales are defined and there is an actual need for your product. Unfortunately, qualifying sales ops is often seen by sales people as a waste of time – some people see it as an unnecessary admin task – but the truth is that properly qualifying your sales ops is as important to a sales rep as it is to the company’s reporting activities. If you don’t have a sales qualification process in place, then we’re going to look at why you should. And if you already have one in place, we’re going to talk about why it’s important to check that everyone is on board with why they’re qualifying leads and to have a check in to make sure your sales qualification process is actually working for you. So, firstly, let’s look at a few reasons why qualifying sales opportunities is so so important. We often create qualification processes for the sake of them, without thinking about why we’re doing it. This can mean we fall into the trap of having an out of date, irrelevant qualification process that no one follows. So, number 1 – it focuses your efforts on customers who are actually going to buy. Salespeople can waste a lot of time talking to people who are never going to buy. They’re just kicking the tyres, stringing you along, or perhaps they fully intend to purchase but the reality is they don’t have the budget or authority. They’d love to buy, but they’re just enthusiastic prospects without the means to actually go ahead and purchase your product or service. Because we get excited when a customer shows some interest, it can blind us to some of the red flags that are missing, namely whether the customer has the authority, budget, business need or deadline by which they need to purchase. A qualification process reminds us of these red flags and helps us to critically assess a sales situation so that we’re only spending time with customers who are actually going to buy. Ok, reason number two why you need a qualification process: it helps us to focus on who we should be looking for when it comes to target customers. Without a qualification process, we can end up with too broad a prospect base to concentrate our limited time and resources on. With a clear qualification process in place, we can whittle down our prospect list to focus on customers who are more likely to have the budget, scale, authority or business requirement that fits our product or service. Reason number 3 for having a good sales opportunity qualification process in place is that sometimes, everything can look right on paper, but something is missing in a customer deal. Something just feels off. Having a qualification process in place where you review deals with your manager or senior colleagues gives you a good check in opportunity to discuss and analyse the deals you’re working on. It gives Sales Enablement and Sales Leaders a framework to discuss customer deals with sales teams – encouraging the sharing of information and insights across the sales department. This not only provides opportunities for coaching to take place, but helps to make sure CRM systems are accurately updated so that opportunities that aren’t properly qualified aren’t being left in CRM tools. So now we’ve talked about the ‘why’s’ – let’s discuss what you should do if you already have a sales opportunity qualification process in place but are feeling like it’s just not delivering many benefits for your business. So, step 1: Find out if people are actually using the qualification process. Speak to your sales teams and find out if it’s being used to help them do their jobs, or is just there as an admin exercise. If sales teams don’t feel it delivers any value to them, then they won’t use your qualification process to its full potential. This means you’ll end up with salespeople working on the wrong deals. If a team of 6 salespeople all work on just 3 deals that don’t meet your qualification criteria, and each of those deals takes up 20 hours of time across the year – that’s 360 wasted hours – and it’s probable that each deal takes much more than 20 hours of time in a year. When you scale the problem across multiple sales people, you can see why not following a qualification process will have a huge productivity impact on your sales operation. Ok, so step 2 is to then review your current qualification criteria and tailor it to your company. Instead of saying – does the customer have the right authority to make a decision – think about the job role within a customer who usually makes the decision. For example, you might need an IT Director or equivalent to sign off deals within customers. Be specific about what that authority looks like in your company. Talk to your sales team about what is working, or what isn’t working about the current qualification criteria. Ask them what would make it more relevant to their sales opportunities. Step 3 – educate everyone involved in the sales process about why a sales qualification process is so important. Explain about the impact on time, resources and internal budgets when you work on the wrong sales opportunities. Explain about how much easier it would be to align resources to their live deals if you could be sure that everyone was only working on qualified customer deals. Share any data you might have collected about the impact of unqualified deals within your organisation – for example, the average time spent working on sales opportunities in your company and how that extrapolates across your company if everyone works on a couple of unqualified opportunities every month. So – we’ve gone through quite a lot there – and in future episodes I’ll go into some of the different qualification criteria exist – but over on Contemsa.com in the Sales Hub – we have a free and downloadable MEDDIC template. MEDDIC is a qualification tool that many companies who have large deal sizes use to qualify their sales opportunities. That’s all for this episode, see you soon.
11 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep.12 – Rebooting Your Sales Strategy After COVID Lockdown
Episode Notes Coronavirus has turned everything upside down – and so it’s not surprising that most sales teams across the world are in a state of flux. Customers aren’t buying, or maybe they are, but they’re not buying what they’d planned to buy 12 months ago – in fact, in a B2B sales survey on the impact of Coronavirus that we conducted, 73.9% of B2B salespeople said their sales opportunities have decreased over lockdown. Strategies are out of the window, annual reports and multi-year programs have been ditched in order to survive the here and now. Teams have shrunk, some are still furloughed, or maybe staff have been moved around to focus efforts on keeping the day to day business functioning. So what does this do to your sales strategy? In short, it’s probably worth throwing out the strategy and goals you put in place 12 months ago and start again. 50% of salespeople said that customers postponing decisions was the biggest struggle they were now facing, so we have to look at how to reach customers when they’re in a completely different place to where they were last year. Think about your customers: their priorities have likely done a 180 degree turn since Coronavirus hit, so going in focusing on the same projects from 12 months ago, will likely only frustrate your customers and create even more distance between them and you. Instead, use lockdown as an opportunity to set up calls and videoconferences to all come together and reassess what life looks like now. With increased uncertainty ahead, it’s hard to say that we’re out on the other side of the Coronavirus yet, but now that a few months of the ‘new normal’ has passed, businesses are likely making plans about how they need to operate in order to survive and thrive now. This brings opportunity for sales teams. The key now is looking at how your product or service can align with your customers’ new goals. So what are these new goals going to be? You obviously need to get out there and talk to your customers to find out what they are specifically, but if we look at industry in general, the goals will likely centre around: Reducing operating costs to make the business as lean as possible Reducing staff and trying to automate more parts of the business in an effort to survive whilst revenues aren’t at 100% normal levels Looking for new business opportunities as a result of Coronavirus (i.e. videoconferencing solutions, better connectivity to support remote workers, for example) Implementing remote working and collaboration services It’s likely that some of the bolder ambitions have fell by the wayside for many customers – those big expansion plans are probably on the backburner right now, and will be for some time as the economy sluggishly recovers, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. It’s just that how you approach those opportunities is likely going to be different. Can you show customers how you can help to save them money? How you can improve staff satisfaction levels? How they can better retain their own clients through outstanding service, thus reducing any possibility of customer churn or further revenue loss? Can you come up with new and interesting business ideas to help them make use of existing resources and staff? Can you share your contacts and put customers in touch with other companies and businesses where there are interesting synergies? So, with all this in mind, here are a few steps to reboot your B2B sales strategy after coronavirus: Update your product messaging First things first, get your product messaging right. If you haven’t changed it since before Coronavirus hit, then it’s probably a really good time to take another look at how you can tweak messaging to suit the industry you’re selling into now. If you’re selling a luxury, nice to have (rather than a cost-saving must have) item, then what can you tweak about how you position your product to make it more relevant to customers who may have less available funds to spend and need to make use of every bit of budget in order to operate? It’s not impossible, but it requires a bit more thinking than usual in order to make everything more relevant to your customers’ ‘here and now’ situations. You could even create Coronavirus-specific sales plays (sales scenarios) or sales playbooks to centre your teams’ focus on your clients’ current issues. Update your marketing Take a note from TV advertisers who quickly scrambled to remove ads with lots of people congregating together or in crowds – readjust your marketing to suit the audience you’re pitching. For example, in our own messaging, rather than talking about how to have better customer meetings, we’ve been discussing how to plan better sales calls – as salespeople are likely now connecting through calls instead of face to face meetings. Get in your customers’ mindsets Talk to your customers. Read what they’re publishing. Think about what’s going on at their company, and how they’re likely feeling. Assess whether that project that was all systems go before lockdown is now even a remote priority. Be realistic, and be where your clients are (virtually, of course!). By pushing the same messaging and same projects, you’re likely going to alienate customers who have more pressing issues to focus on. Use this time to brush up on fundamental sales skills There will never be another time when you have the time and space to get your teams to polish up on their sales skills – such as social selling or sales call planning. Look around at what you’ve not managed to work on with your teams over the previous year – perhaps your Sales Managers need some coaching training, or maybe your new sales hires need some additional training in fundamental sales behaviours. Put in place a lockdown Sales Enablement Plan Create a specific plan on how you’re going to sales enable your teams (i.e. support them to sell better) over the lockdown period and beyond. What content will they need to support their selling? Ideas could range from very targeted playbooks through to case studies focused on where you have helped other clients during lockdown. What training will you be offering to your teams over this period? What kind of sales team do you want to have once lockdown is over and we (hopefully) return to some kind of normal? What skills do you envisage they’ll have? What have they struggled with over the lockdown period? What technology could help your teams to do their jobs better? Does your videoconferencing software need an upgrade? Or perhaps you need to look at ways to enable better document collaboration between customers and your salesforce so that tasks can be worked on remotely? Or – do you need to work on creating better presentations for sales teams so that they can share these with customers over videoconferences rather than face to face discussions? With everything being virtual, this actually gives you an amazing opportunity to gain more insight into how your sales teams sell. You can jump onto sales calls, watch your teams present to customers, and engage in real time with client activities, in a way that might have been possible when most activities were carried out face to face. Your Sales Enablement Plan created in 2019 is likely to not be relevant to what you actually need from your sales teams right now. Be hyper-aware of sales productivity Now that your teams aren’t driving to meetings and customers have maybe backed out of a number of sales opportunities, how are your sales teams ensuring they remain productive? It’s hard to be super-focused at the moment against the backdrop of a global pandemic, but you do need to keep an eye on ensuring productivity stays up, and sales teams stay engaged. This could involve scheduling regular check-ins, or giving out weekly goals that aren’t necessarily sales revenue-related, but ensure that reps are engaging with customers or creating content. And finally… Let’s also remember that it’s a tough time for everyone; salespeople will likely be worried about keeping their jobs and the potential for an economic recession, so let’s try and build in some compassion to your new sales strategy, so that reps can feel supported in their roles as much as possible. Music Bleeping Demo by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/7012-bleeping-demo License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
5 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep.11 – Being an Introvert in Sales
Being an Introvert in Sales We often think to be successful in sales, you need to be an extrovert. True, lots of salespeople are extroverts. Sometimes, maybe a little TOO extroverted. We all know that person. Sales can involve a lot of speaking to new people, engaging an audience, presenting to customers, cold calling, reaching out, interacting, and taking clients out for dinner, for example. But that doesn’t mean that being an introvert is a bad thing in sales. It can bring with it some great sales superpowers. So what does the science say about being an extrovert in sales? Research actually found that in studies of 4000 salespeople, there was almost zero correlation between extroversion and sales performance. (See here and here.) So, why do we associate extroversion with choosing B2B sales as a career? It’s probably to do with a number of things: • Extroverts already working in sales are likely to hire other extroverts – in effect, we are hiring people with traits that we ourselves have. • Secondly, because we tend to assume that to work in sales you need to be an extrovert, many introverts don’t even consider sales as a profession. • Thirdly, sales is associated with some extrovert qualities – such as engaging with customers and reaching out to new people – however, in many other types of jobs people have to do these activities too. It’s just more common in sales. • And finally, and maybe most importantly, our own perceptions of sales are skewed. We exaggerate the extrovert qualities of the typical salesperson, and ignore other, more introverted qualities that are required in sales. So, how does being an introvert actually help improve your chances of success? Firstly, you are more aware of what’s going on in your environment by sitting back and listening, rather than jumping in and talking. In effect, you make your customers the centre of attention instead of yourself. Secondly, this ability to listen means you are great at really hearing what your customers are telling you. Are they saying one thing, but implying something else? Does their body language match what they are saying? Thirdly, you will probably ask great questions. Your focus will be on asking useful and pertinent questions and considering your customers’ responses, instead of ‘telling’ or ‘talking at’ your customers. So this brings me to an important point, that buyers probably don’t even like the stereotypical ‘extroverted’ salesperson figure that we are used to hearing about. Put yourself in their shoes: if you were making a large purchase, would you want a salesperson who was thoughtful and considered in their approach, and was attuned to your way of thinking and intently listening to your answers? Or would you prefer a gregarious, over-confident salesperson who talked over you and told you information rather than trying to ask you sensible and well-thought-out questions? In reality, many salespeople are somewhere in the middle between full extroverts and introverts. However, we shouldn’t assume that people who are more on the ‘introvert’ end of the spectrum can’t make good salespeople. And we also shouldn’t let our own bias about the ideals of the stereotypical salesperson affect our judgement when hiring into new sales roles. We need to instead understand what our customers need and want from a salesperson, and use that information to inform who we hire – or how we conduct ourselves as professional salespeople. So, if you’re an introvert, and wondering where you fit in, in the world of sales – remember there are so many qualities that introverts can bring to the table. Or, perhaps you’re a sales leader and wondering how to manage a team of extroverts and introverts – or you’re concerned about hiring an introvert. Hopefully today’s episode has given you some food for thought about not just hiring based on those stereotypes we have about salespeople. Links to any research mentioned in this podcast will be in the episode notes, See you next time. Research: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/05/01/why-you-mistakenly-hire-people-just-like-you/#6b7239813827 Find out more at https://the-sales-way.pinecast.co
7 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep.10 – How to Create an Amazing B2B Case Study
How Do You Write a B2B Case Study? Link to a FREE guide on creating B2B case studies: https://contemsa.com/sales-hub/closing/case-study/ This week, we’re looking at case studies – why we need them and how to create an amazing case study for your brand. A case study is your product’s story – it’s the story of how your product is helping organizations to achieve success – how it delivers success, who helped them to achieve that success, what results that success delivered, and so on. It should take prospects on a journey from where the customer started in their business, through to where they ended up as a result of purchasing your product or service. Humans learn through storytelling – in fact, marketing and selling is all about telling good stories: stories that show how a product will help you to supercharge your business, stories about how you can help customers overcome their biggest commercial challenges, and stories about how you will help your clients to achieve phenomenal results. And stories are so important – in fact, nearly 80% of people say they want brands to tell stories in their marketing. Plus, storytelling can make marketing messages up to 22 times more memorable than just presenting facts. That’s a huge opportunity for any marketer! But many of us aren’t telling good customer stories. And the best way to tell customer stories is with case studies – it’s a chance to tell your prospects and wider industry about how you helped a customer to achieve success by working with you or purchasing your product. We’re going to take a look at why case studies are so important and what makes a good customer case study. For a detailed overview of how to create great B2B case studies, take a look at the links in the episode notes where we have a free guide on case studies. So why should we even care about case studies? Case studies reassure potential customers – by showing prospects how other organizations have achieved success by working with you. It reassures potential customers to know that other clients, especially well-recognised brands, have trusted you and achieved good business results. They help to show customers a solution to their problem – by demonstrating how another customer, in a similar situation, overcame a particular challenge. Case studies show you’ve been there, done that, and wrote the case study to prove it – in other words, it’s a written record that you have actually delivered this product or service successfully. Case studies can help you win against the competition – by showing why a customer chose you instead of the competition, and what the results were. They provide an opportunity to talk about your product – without just droning on and on about product features. Perhaps your invoicing software is the most user-friendly in the market – well, show that by referencing that fact in a case study. One good customer story can create lots of additional content – if you turn that case study into a video, a presentation, a blog post, some PR, and lots of social media posts. So, now we’ve covered why case studies are so important, let’s look at how to actually create one. So what goes into a good case study? There are a few key elements you need, and here’s an overview of each area you need to include in your next case study: Step 1: Explain who your customer is and why we’re going to want to hear about them. Tell your case study readers who the customer is and why they’re so darn interesting that you decided to feature them. Are they world-class in what they do? Do they serve amazing customers? Do they build phenomenal products? Well tell us about it! Step 2: Provide a foundation for the case study to build upon. Start at the beginning – what did the customer’s life look like before you came into it and swept your them off their feet with your amazing products and services? Step 3: Talk about what your customer was struggling with before you came and solved all their problems. Step 4: Show readers why they decided on you. Give some insight into the customer’s thought process in the run up to choosing you as a supplier/vendor/partner. Why did they choose you? Why didn’t they choose the competition? What was special about you? Step 6: Talk a little about the product or service you delivered. The key is in the ‘little’. Don’t go on and on about your product – but reference it where relevant. Pepper your case study with little nuggets of detail about your product. Step7: Show the results your customer achieved. This is the critical part of your case study. At the heart of it all, prospective customers are wanting to know what other customers achieved by working with you – what did it lead to, what business results, what increase in sales, what decrease in problems, and the rest. And finally, think about what wider business impact your product or service had on your customer’s organization – not just the direct impact of the product (i.e. invoicing software can help speed up invoice processing – but that also helps with making the company more productive as a whole). So, we’ve gone into lots of detail there about case studies – remember we have a FREE guide on creating B2B case studies, over in the Sales Hub at contemsa.com, and you can also find downloadable case study templates and supporting documents over on our website. We’d really appreciate a subscribe or rating over on iTunes (or wherever you listen to The Sales Way) if you’re enjoying it – help us get the word out to more Sales Enablement and B2B Sales leaders! Research cited in the podcast: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/06/22/infographic-80-people-want-brands-tell-stories https://www.quantifiedcommunications.com/blog/storytelling-22-times-more-memorable Case Study Templates: https://contemsa.com/case-study-template/ # Episode Notes Notes go here Find out more at https://the-sales-way.pinecast.co
5 minutes | 10 months ago
Ep.9 – Racial Diversity in Sales
Episode 9 - Racial diversity in sales In this episode, I wanted to talk about an important issue – racial diversity in sales teams. The more diverse your sales teams are, the more likely they are able to align with your customers – as customers themselves have increasingly diverse workforces, sales teams also need to reflect that same diversity to ensure we’re better understanding our customers’ challenges, their business aspirations, their needs and objectives, and how they operate. Sales is notoriously a male dominated environment – with not a huge amount of racial and ethnic diversity. I tried finding some specific statistics around diversity in sales specifically, but the data points just aren’t there for everything we wanted to look at. There is data for gender diversity in sales – which we’ll cover in another episode, but in this episode I wanted to focus on what we found regarding racial diversity stats in business. And the statistics we did find paint an interesting picture – and certainly show that whichever way you look at it, diversity is not just the ‘right’ thing to do, it’s also good for business. So here are a few interesting stats we found around racial diversity statistics in business. ✔️ In research from McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to achieve financial returns above their national industry average (McKinsey) That’s a big uplift – and shows that diversity just makes sense for business – it brings in new influences, new perspectives and new thoughts on how to drive the business forward. It stops us working in an echo chamber where the same people, with the same background and same outlook, share the same views. ✔️ The UK does slightly better when it comes to racial diversity at a senior leadership level compared to the US. 78% of UK companies have senior-leadership teams that don’t reflect the demographic makeup of the country’s labour force and population, compared to 97% for the United States. (McKinsey) So, whilst the UK is ahead of the US in that regard, the racial make up of the majority of companies’ senior leadership teams do not accurately reflect the demographic makeup of the country’s population. In short, many senior leadership roles in companies are not being filled by leaders from a range of different ethnicities. Drilling down on the UK specifically, more than half of the largest UK companies do not have a director from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background on their board. Just 9.7 per cent of directors in the FTSE 100 were people of colour, compared to an even lower 5 per cent of FTSE 250 firms. Clearly more needs to be done from the top down to ensure that there is more racial diversity on company boards, resulting in more diversity across senior leadership roles, and throughout different management layers. ✔️ In the US, there is a linear relationship between racial diversity, & better financial performance: for every 10% increase in racial & ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8%. (McKinsey) So, that shows a clear relationship between increasing diversity and improved financial performance. ✔️ Companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels of racial diversity. (Science Daily) That’s a startling statistic – 15 times more sales revenue than companies with the lowest levels of racial diversity. We cannot ignore numbers like that – because the correlation is so strong that clearly racial diversity within companies – at all levels, delivers financial benefits – in addition to all the important wider benefits that having a diverse workload offers. So – I’m not here to say what companies should be doing to improve their racial diversity – there are people much more qualified than I am who can advise on that. I just wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the disparity between the majority of companies’ racial diversity – and the clear business benefits that enterprises can achieve by broadening their hiring criteria. That’s all for this week – I look forward to speaking to you again soon! Links to the statistics mentioned in this week’s podcast are below: FT: https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2020/02/05/uk-companies-have-poor-record-on-ethnic-diversity/ Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090331091252.htm McKinsey: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
6 minutes | a year ago
Ep.8 – Smashing Stereotypes in Sales
Episode 8 - Smashing stereotypes in Sales: In this episode, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the stereotypes we have about what makes a typical salesperson – and why we should be seeking to challenge some of these stereotypes. We often have a clear picture in our heads of what makes a successful salesperson – they probably look like the salespeople you see in films, in adverts, or on social media posts. This salesperson is usually wearing a dark suit, looking super smart, and the words that are associated with this salesperson are all about being strong, succeeding, being confident, and never giving in. Whilst these characteristics can be very useful at times in sales, it doesn’t accurately reflect all salespeople – and neither should it – because these stereotypes can actually be damaging to the sales process in some cases. Because, very often, by pushing this stereotype of what a salesperson should be, we can often lose sight of some of the other valuable skills we should be encouraging in sales – such as being a good listener, being able to pick up on signals from customers, or being able to think critically about customer challenges to come up with creative and engaging proposals that capture customers’ interest. Sales enablement leaders have a big impact on the type of salesperson that an organisation hires, but also the type of salesperson they seek to develop – through sales training programmes and the sales methodologies that are put into place. So we as sales enablement leaders need to be conscious of whether we are enabling, or challenging, stereotypes in sales, and ensuring we aren’t simply hiring the same salespeople we’ve always hired, and that we aren’t just training new sales hires to act like our existing salespeople – we have to always be asking the question – what behaviours, skills and culture do we want to train and develop here? And where does that image of the type of salesperson we’re trying to develop come from? Is that image based on our own biases about what a salesperson should be like? Or is it based on what we see our customers needing? For example, we often associate salespeople with being extroverted and very confident, but some of the best salespeople I know are often much more introverted than you might expect. Speaking personally, I am an introverted person and never thought that a career in field sales would be for me – but on a lot of levels, it suited me really well. Being an introvert meant that I was more focused on listening to the customer and watching for subtle hints from their body language, I was very diligent about planning for meetings and researching my customers prior to speaking to them. I made sure I put lots of time into creating business plans for my resellers which would deliver value for them, the customer and my company. In fact, research actually found that in studies of 4000 salespeople, there was almost zero correlation between extroversion and sales performance. It’s just that we tend to associate more extroverted behaviours with being a successful salesperson. Today a salesperson is expected to deliver a wider range of services than they were traditionally ever expected to do, so being able to cold call, negotiate and deliver presentations is no longer the be all and end all of the job. Nowadays, salespeople are expected to straddle the line between marketing and sales – and also be adept business managers and create programs and business plans for their customers, partners and companies. But despite this, many of the sales training programs and strategies out there still seem very focused on teaching those core ‘stereotypical’ sales behaviours. And they can often end up alienating many salespeople who feel they just don’t fit the mold of a typical salesperson. If you look at any of the advertised sales trainers – it’s all about asserting your power over the customer, or using gimmicks to almost ‘trick’ customers into action – which rarely ever work in the real world. Customers today are much more attuned to salespeople using manipulation techniques and a lot of the sales training based on methods developed almost 100 years ago now just don’t stand up to how buyers operate today. In fact, this is an area which I’m really passionate about – whether that’s shining a light on suspect sales training methodologies or breaking down the stereotype around what it takes to succeed in sales. So my message in this episode, is to look more critically at whether we are just hiring and training our salespeople based on antiquated stereotypical ideas about selling, or whether we’re training and developing the salespeople we actually need to better support customers’ buying cycles and to better solve customers’ business challenges. Find out more at: https://thesalesway.com This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
5 minutes | a year ago
Ep.7 – What is Sales Enablement?
In this episode, we talk about what is Sales Enablement - and try to give a simple answer to a difficult question. We look at some of the challenges facing salespeople that Sales Enablement helps with - across customer knowledge, sales skills, tools, technology, processes and content. For more information, head on over to https://contemsa.com to find out more about sales enablement and access simple, but effective, sales enablement tools. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
6 minutes | a year ago
Ep.6 – Creating Your Sales Messaging
We follow on from the last episode, where we talked about how to use a Sales Messaging Hierarchy to tailor sales messaging to different industries and buyer roles. In this episode, we talk you through a super simple framework for creating your own sales messaging, across: The types of organizations you are focusing on The buyer roles within those organizations Challenges your customers are facing End points that your customers are trying to reach How your product aligns Keywords and industry terminology Sector trends and news We also talk a little bit about The Sales Hub - a content hub packed with free sales templates, tools and resources - over at https://contemsa.com/sales-hub/ Subscribe to the podcast over at: https://thesalesway.com This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
9 minutes | a year ago
Ep.5 – Tailoring Your B2B Sales Messaging
In this episode we’re going to be looking at how you can craft your sales messaging, and specifically how you can start to think about how you can apply different types of sales messaging – more impact, deliver greater results. Let’s get started today looking at the different levels. So firstly – we have your Company Level messaging. This is where you position your company as a whole, and the aim is to help your buyers understand where you fit in the market at a company. So what are you known for? What differentiates you? What value are you, as a company, bringing to customers? I also like to think of company level messaging as being about helping customers to place you and figure out where you fit in their ecosystem. So for example: I’ve been following a company on LinkedIn who help businesses with podcasting. So immediately, as a potential customer for them, I am trying to figure out where exactly they fit in the podcasting ecosystem. So, are they helping companies with launching a podcast, or are they helping with recording and editing podcasts, or perhaps they help with marketing podcasts or repurpose content from podcast episodes into other marketing materials? So the messaging helps me to understand who they are, what they do, where they fit, and how they can bring value to me, as a customer. Ok, let’s move on to Solution Level messaging. This is where you’re proposing a method or solution option for the customer. You could also think of it as customer challenge level messaging. If I use an example of outsourcing your IT as a solution, this isn’t exactly a product or service, but it’s a solution to a customer’s challenge. Underneath this solution, you might have multiple products or services that you would use to deliver that solution to the customer. Now another solution might be a completely different method, such as keeping your IT running yourself instead of outsourcing IT. So when we talk about solution-level messaging, we’re positioning a journey to customers – so we want to demonstrate in our messaging how our proposed solution would help them to overcome their challenges and enable them to meet their business’ aspirations and goals. But, the important thing to recognise here is to make sure you’re delivering the right message at the right time – if your customer is still at the solution stage where they’re deciding what route to take, it makes no sense to be positioning your products here. Likewise, if your competitors are positioning their sales messaging at a solution level, you need to make sure you’re not responding with product-level messaging. Take this example: Imagine you’ve decided you want to find an alternative way to get to work instead of using your car everyday. You’ve decided to talk to a company who sells electric bikes, and a company that offers an on-demand carshare service. You’ve not decided which option or which ‘route’ you want to take yet, never mind being in a position to decide on a specific supplier. The company offering an on-demand car service has sales messaging focused on the benefits of moving away from owning your own car and paying for travel when you need it, instead of investing up front in a car. But when you speak to the company selling electric bikes, they start telling you how their latest electric bike goes twice as fast as competitors but uses half the energy, and has 20 gears. These are two different levels of messaging, and the detail about the bike’s features is only relevant once you have decided you are going to purchase a bike. Instead, the electric bike company should focus on selling at a higher level – focusing on the benefits of moving away from car journeys towards less pollutant modes of transport, or why the exercise benefits of non-car journeys deliver amazing health benefits to their customers. Then once you decide that an electric bike is the right choice, you can then look at product level messaging. So, that leads us nicely on to product messaging. Like in the example I’ve just been through – it’s about positioning how your product delivers value to your customers, how it aligns to their challenges and business objectives and what it enables them to do or achieve. Each of your products will likely need their own sales messaging that forms the basis of any product briefs, brochures or sales presentations that you deliver. Now, let’s look at how you can further tweak your company, solution and product level messaging. This first way is by making your messaging customer industry specific. So this is about tailoring your messaging to align with the different sectors in which you operate. So for example, you might sell outsourced IT services into the Financial Services Sector – in which case, you might want to have specific messaging about why Financial Services organisations should choose your company to work with, specific messaging about how your solutions support financial services organisations’ specific industry challenges, and specific messaging for each of your products to align them with the challenges, objectives, initiatives and perspectives that are bespoke to the financial services sector. This makes your messaging more compelling and allows you to drill down into specifics for each of your customers’ industries. Secondly, you can tailor your messaging to fit specific buyer roles. So you can customise how you position Product A to buyers in the HR Department, compared with how you position the product to buyers in the finance department – and so on. In our playbooks, we usually include around three Buyer Roles for each product or service to help sales reps have more credible conversations with different buyer profiles across their customers. You could do this across departments or even across Managers versus their staff – so for example, as IT Administrator will have different motivators to the CIO. The key is obviously creating sales messaging for roles which have an impact on your sale – so either they are decision makers or they influence the sale in some way. Ok so that’s all for this week, so to recap we’ve looked at how to think about splitting your sales messaging out for greater impact, across: Company level messaging Solution or customer challenge level messaging Product level messaging Industry specific sales messaging Buyer role sales messaging You could also create messaging focused on specific customer challenges, and on each of your customers’ objectives. It depends how detailed and bespoke you want to go in defining sales messaging for your teams. Find out more about how to build sales messaging over at https://contemsa.com/sales-playbook/ Find out more about The Sales Way Podcast: https://thesalesway.com Contemsa: https://contemsa.com This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
6 minutes | a year ago
Ep.4 – Social Selling: Why Your B2B Salespeople Should Care
Hi everyone, so the topic of today’s episode is Social Selling: Why Should Your B2B Sales Teams Care? Over the next few minutes, we’re going to be diving into social selling, specifically for B2B sales teams. So what is social selling? Well, it’s about using social media to connect and build relationships with customers and prospects. In research from CSO Insights, 33% of respondents said that social selling had enabled their teams to increase the number of leads they had, and 31% said it enabled them to build deeper relationships with clients. (Source: https://blog.hootsuite.com/what-is-social-selling/) If your salespeople aren’t already incorporating social selling into their sales kit bag, now is the time to do so. So why should B2B salespeople care about social selling? We look at 3 important reasons why reps should start thinking about incorporating social selling into their prospecting. 1) It lays the foundation for sales reps to go in and contact customers. So by posting on social media, connecting with the right prospects and getting known for sharing valuable and useful content that is pertinent to their prospects, sales reps are laying the groundwork for when they first make contact with those customers. Prospects are more likely to recognise your sales rep if they’ve been an avid poster about topics that the customer cares about on LinkedIn for example and if they’re connected into their prospect’s network already. So when that new business account manager then emails or phones the customer, they have some common ground already. 2) It helps reps to build a name for themselves We live in the age of personal branding, but not enough salespeople are harnessing this amazing opportunity to build a personal brand for themselves across social media platforms. The great thing about social media, is that it’s almost like a CV for sales reps – a tool they can take with them as they move into new jobs. Think about this – you’ve got two sales reps that you’re considering hiring. If, on paper, each of them has the same level of experience and skill set, but one has built up a following on LinkedIn and Twitter by regularly engaging in discussions about topics in your industry, they regularly share insights that are useful and thought-provoking to their customers and they have thousands of followers across social media – which one is going to be a more attractive proposition as a sales hire? Social selling is a chance for reps to build their own thought leadership platform – to help them connect with more customers, sell more and improve their career prospects. 3) It helps salespeople to build a bigger, broader network of partners, prospects, customers and influencers. Social selling isn’t just about connecting with customers – it’s also about building and strengthening your network so that you are connected to the people who matter. If you only sell into one contact at a customer, then social media can help you to expand your reach to other contacts, across other departments, at your customer. So maybe today you speak to the IT department at your customer, but in time, you might use social media to start engaging with different business units such as Finance and Marketing to ensure you’re involved in new discussions about their own IT requirements. Or perhaps it can give you access to more partners who sell into those prospects where you want to gain access. In simple terms, it’s the door into a whole world of contacts who can make your job easier – and help you to be more successful. And again, reps should care because that network moves with them as they change jobs – so it’s a win-win for sales reps. In future episodes, we’re going to look at how you can build a social selling culture across your sales organisation, how you can get sales reps posting and social selling, and tips and insights for how to get the best results. So to recap today’s key points for why your b2b sales reps should care about social selling, I’m going to summarise the points quickly: ** Social selling lays the foundation for reps making their first contact with customers It helps salespeople to build their personal brand It enables your reps to build stronger and wider networks ** For more information on B2B sales enablement, head on over to https://contemsa.com – and we’d really appreciate a share, follow or review on whichever platform you use to listen to us on! To find out where to listen to other episodes of The Sales Way – just go to https://thesalesway.com and you can get links to find us on iTunes, Google, Stitcher and Spotify. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
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