Friday, September 28, 2012

Experience Matters for Sports Refs and Sales Reps

Just because you know the rules doesn’t mean that you can compete in the big leagues. Let’s take the recent bad-call-heard-round-the-world during the Packers/Seahawks game. Are high school refs qualified to be reffing professional football games?  I have no doubt that they are well-versed in the rules of the game, but they have no experience working at the professional level.  It’s not their fault that they don’t have the experience, but it does not mean that we have to respect bad calls.  Enterprise selling is not that different.  There are over 13 million sales people in the US operating on many tiers. There is no way that that 13 million people can compete at the enterprise sales level.

What makes an enterprise salesperson different?

1.     They have moved their way up the ranks selling at all levels. In other words, they have experience.
2.     They have training.  No one just gets to walk into any high level sales job, one needs to have been taught methodologies to perform at the highest level and prove they can meet and exceed their numbers time and time again.
3.     They are able to see the forest through the trees. (Insert any analogy that relates to big picture thinking.) They not only possess the interpersonal skills that make them affable and trustworthy, but also they are able to understand how the org puzzle fits.  They are able to connect the all of the data points that will drive more closes faster.  They are able to use the tools that they have at their disposal to scale their sales cycle, guiding their prospects to closure.
4.     They not only react, but they anticipate. They see the big picture and they know how to use the technology tools to navigate complex sales cycles.
5.     They possess agility.  When they know the deal is not going down how it should be, they move quickly and bridge gaps.  Not with a sense of urgency, but with calm redirection.  Think of a duck on a placid lake:  above the water they look calm and confident and below the water their feet are moving at turbo speed to stay afloat.

So want to play with the big kids? Arm yourself with the tools and methodologies to take your sales skills to the next level.

To learn more about competing at the enterprise sales level, check out our latest webinar that we are co-hosting with CustomerCentric Selling®

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where Do You Fall on the Email Continuum?

Sales and marketers aren’t that different.  Both teams want to be part of something great.  We want to be proud to represent a product that adds value, and we want to be part of the growth and evolution of a company to greatness.

There are tactical things that we need to do to help that growth.  Email campaigns are one of the tactical approaches.  As you know, there are a wide range of emails that are sent to leads and clients.  Some emails are amazing and some, well, not so much.

Understandably, I get very disheartened when I receive the "not-so-much" version.

Here is an email that recently took up space in my inbox.  To be fair, we are a company whose value prop is to create personal engagement through technology.  We use technology in our favor to start conversations as a marketing and sales representives. This leads us to look at a lot of emails, probably ones that you might, otherwise, automatically delete.

Names have been covered up, because we aren’t interested in demoralizing, but using it as an example to start a larger conversation about communicating valuable messaging.  Share your message with poignancy, or at the very least, show some signs that you have researched your email recipient base.

We have no doubt that all of you can see the many problems in this email and instantly have many solutions to fix it.

So instead of giving you the specifics on what we would change, we want to discuss the most important big picture ideas:

1.     Do your research. Take a few minutes to show that you care about your email recipient.  Do they actually have a need for your services and if they do, which ones?
2.     Enable a strong segmentation process. Only send information that is applicable. For goodness sake don’t send a 500-word pricelist!   One way to help segmentation is by using conditional data to know what is happening with your leads.
3.     Think about what this type of email does to your brand equity?  How would your CMO or SVP of Sales feel if they got a glimpse of this diatribe? You are your brand, so act like you care.

We understand that it is hard to be seen and heard. We have content overload syndrome and there is no easy cure. That being said, we need to put our best foot forward.  Understanding effective communications is the key to driving more leads to closes and creating a lasting (good) impression on your leads and clients!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

How the New Buyer Benefits From a Boost in the Opportunity to Order Process

Today’s buyer is different than from even five years ago.  Today’s buyer has done their internet research. At the point which they choose to engage – they already have their perceptions, which you may or may not need to adjust based on your own value proposition. Going in cold as a marketer or salesperson is sure to lead to a missed opportunity. You can be assured that your competitors are paying attention, so make sure you are one step ahead.

How do you stay ahead as a sales and marketing professional? Use the data to your advantage. Give a bump to the processes you already have in place. Make sure to include up-to-date, conditional event data about your buyers into your opportunity to order process.  In order to stay abreast of any changing conditions to the buyer’s company that might influence their decision process.

There are many stages to the opportunity to order process, but it can be succinctly broken down into three main categories: Find, Work, Close.

Assign Find to Marketing – By knowing the condition of the buyer when they come to you, it is much easier to know what kind of collateral, events, or messaging you want to offer.  The event data lets you lead score with a more complete picture of the buyer and their position to buy.

Assign Work to Sales Representative – Event data is key in this stage to monitor the buyer. Static data is not enough of a reason to start a conversation.  At this point, they have had several touch points and most likely have a lead score within a matrix.  Knowing if they had an executive change, a win or award, a M&A, or worse are in litigation will dictate your next action.  Automation helps you organize, but it is important to add a boost with up-to-date information to know what message you are going to deliver, when and how you are going to deliver it.

Assign Close to Sales Reps and Sales Managers
In order to prioritize which deals are going to close faster, event data plugs in to give that extra boost to your forecast to more accurately predict what deals to go after in the most timely fashion.

The buyer is smart; we must respect their intelligence and offer something of value.  No more cold-calling, simply pushing product that wastes both your time and theirs.  Value each other’s time and you will build an opportunity to order process that is efficient and effective with proven results.  Research is key to understanding the buyer.  I wish we were smooth enough to float by without research, but unfortunately that just isn’t the case, which is why big data, behavior data, and event data are taking center stage. We need to respect our buyer’s and learn from them in order to move the buyer through the process not just quickly, but by building a trusting relationship that will turn then into repeat buyers. 

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