B2B Selling process is the subject of countless books, yet basic qualification of opportunities is still problematic. As a result, precious marketing, technical and sales resources are wasted on weeks and months-long evaluations for prospects who will never buy. What if your sales team was 90% accurate in qualifying prospects, what would that do for your win-rate and forecasting accuracy?
6 min read
3 min read
This charcoal drawing by Susan Krough from San Jose is a prize-winner, entitled "The Letter."
Topics: sales enablement visual storytelling
3 min read
It will also serve to minimize the inconvenience and continuing lost profits the buyer's company is making without your solutions.
- When a salesperson calls you on the phone, you will stop what you are doing, pick up the phone and smile when you say, "Hello, this is (Your Name), how are you?"
- You will be amused with the variety blurting-out, fumbling, 90-second introductions without breathing, awkward silences and obvious lack of preparation, professionalism and nervousness of the salesperson.
- After they have finished their intro, you will ask, "how can I help you"?
- You will refrain from hanging up, giving excuses about being in a meeting, or chastising your administrator, who let this call slip through.
- If the salesperson is planning a trip to your location in the near future, you will consider it a stroke-of-luck and make space on your calendar to accommodate an in-person call.
- You will hear the salesperson out and never ask them to send more information in an email or to call back at a more convenient time for them, because what they have to say could save you and your company serious money.... even get you promoted!
- You will answer all questions the salesperson asks to the best of your ability, regardless of their nature, how many they ask or the irrelevance to your role and business.
- You will disclose any pain or discomfort in your physical condition, even a minor back-ache, because salespeople ar looking for pain and may have something in their bag that can help.
- You will inquire about the features of their products and be curious about who else is using them and the benefits they are getting and welcome any opportunity to see the product in action in a live demo.
- You will smile knowingly as the sales rep plugs in the Lap-top, fumbles with the LCD technology, or these days, more coolly passes you the iPad and brings up the PowerPoint presentation or video clip.
- Most importantly, during the presentation you will refrain from playing with your smart-phone and stay focused on the bullets and message, because there is infinite wisdom, somewhere in the presentation.
- You will wait until the salesperson has emptied your bucket of potential objections and enjoy the festival of the salesperson digging holes for themselves while trying to counter them.
- You will never promise to get back to the salesperson unless you truly mean it.
- You will nod and promise not to smirk when the salesperson asks any question beginning with "If we could show you a way...."
- You will be grateful when the salesperson interrupts you before you have finished your sentence (while you are discussing the issues that are important to you) and then tells you what you need to do (use their product), because the sooner you find out, the better.
- You promise to engage any salesperson with an earnest and professorial look on their face; possibly wearing a chalk-dusted sports coat with leather elbow-pads, carrying a pipe, wearing a sword on their hip or carrying a lance, or even wearing a measuring tape and carrying a pair of scissors. They are Challengers and are going to challenge your assumptions and to teach you about the hidden jewels in your business, that only they can help you discover.
- This is the biggie - never lie to a salesperson- we can tell!
Content to Support Sales ConversationsWe can help sales, marketing and sales enablement leaders with content deployment, content strategy and to create the conversational content that your team needs to avoid the above, including:
- Ideal customer profiles, including persona's, problems and causes,
- Relevant capabilities and competitive positioning,
- Call preparation guides,
- Why Change and Point of View conversations,
- Inventories of emails and customer stories,
- Key questions to ask and key objections and counters,
- Facts, data, analyst reports, insights,
- Visual support, video, webinars and ebooks,
- Curated 3rd party content to nurture opportunities.
If you found this amusing or have committed any of the sins above, or know someone who needs to read the rules, please pass it on.
3 min read
Ask any marketer or sales enablement professional how many marketing/sales messaging projects they have completed or participated in the past 10 years and you will hear anywhere from none to over a dozen.
Ask those same professionals, how many of those projects actually paid a dividend on the investment and effort to create them and you will get a lot of head shaking.
Topics: sales enablement marketing messaging
4 min read
What is Sales Enablement?
To my surprise, the Wikipedia definition of Sales Enablement has been removed and after a few queries I uncovered this definition from Forrester, which aligns with my take on the subject.
"Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer's problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system".
One of the many objectives of the sales enablement team is equipping client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with customer stakeholders. Note this does not say a presentation, but there may be a point in a customer's problem solving cycle where a presentation is appropriate, but it is usually well into the buying cycle.
4 min read
Earlier this month, I immersed myself in two and a half days with Mike Bosworth in his Story Seekers workshop and was once again reminded of what makes great salespeople great - their ability to connect emotionally with buyers and to truly listen.
I cannot easily summarize the 2.5 days in 600 words, but I can give you a couple of core ideas.
I've been a Mike Bosworth fan since I read Customer-Centric Selling in January 2005, but I had not read his prior work, “Solution Selling” published nearly 30 years ago, based on his experiences at Xerox and involvement in the SPIN project. Mike was one of the most successful reps in Xerox history at the time and gained much experience in selling, managing and training salespeople before most of us started our sales careers.
While reading his latest book, co-authored with Ben Zoldan, entitled, "What Great Salespeople Do", I could feel myself nodding as I could either see myself in the stories, or agreed with his ideas and training philosophy.
One of Mike’s startling revelations in the opening of the training course is that after nearly 30 years of sales training in both Solution Selling and Customer-Centric Selling (and most of the other mainstream sales methodologies), not much has changed for the bottom 80% of the sales force, who sell 20% of the revenue.
The outcome of these training courses was that the best salespeople got better from using the techniques and processes, but the core group typically stopped using the techniques within a month or two of the training and reverted to prior behavior. Mike points out that in fact the old 80/20 rule is no longer true in fact it’s now 13% of salespeople selling 87% of the business. (Sales Benchmark Index)
3 min read
Recently I spoke to Justin Pirie about his role at Mimecast and his take on the biggest factors to get right in building a successful channel in a SaaS business.
Justin has managed the largest SaaS group on LinkedIn over several years and has adjudicated over thousands of articles on the subject of SaaS. He works at Mimecast and leads Social and Community Marketing. He has first-hand experience in engaging their channel to help them succeed, enabled from spending the majority of his career in the channel.
Mimecast provides Cloud services that augment Microsoft Exchange; Email Archiving, Continuity and Security, whether for on-premise, hybrid or cloud. Mimecast is one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing SaaS companies with growth around 60% a year, fuelled by 400+ channel partners.
Topics: sales enablement saas channels
7 min read
Reducing Sales Ramp 2.
Ramping new hires quickly in a SaaS business is key to accelerating business growth.
In part 1 of this post I discussed the high cost of a slow ramp and the causes of the slow sales ramp problem. I shared some ideas on hiring better quality sales talent excerpted from Mark Roberge's new book, The Sales Acceleration Formula and discussed 21st. Century learning concepts.
In this post I will examine specific high value steps to accelerate sales competency, including;
- Understanding how your customers buy.
- Capturing your "Why Change" Story that everyone can tell.
- The Whiteboard Storytelling Secret.
- Making it Stick, Social Learning and Certification.
Topics: sales enablement sales ramp whiteboarding
11 min read
Mergers and acquisitions hold promise for owners and investors of combinatorial synergies to reduce costs, increase profit, extend market and product coverage, as well as accelerate innovation.
2020 has been a banner year for mergers and acquisitions, with 5500 deals so far. This record volume may be partially due to the Covid-19 outbreak forcing the liquidation or disposal of underperforming non-core or struggling investments. However, mergers come with a great deal of risk as reflected in failure rates that are reported to be between 40% and 70%.
Despite best-laid plans and executive oversight, human factors present the greatest risk and sales-force integration is the toughest merger issue to overcome.
4 min read
Recently I met with a top sales enablement professional whom I'll call Bob, to exchange ideas.
During the meeting I was introduced to the concept of the Three Humped Camel. Bob wishes to remain nameless as he started a new job and does not wish the camel phenomena to be tied back his prior employer.
13% of Salespeople produce 87% of RevenueI raised a question which prompted the discussion after reading Mike Bosworth's recent book, " What Great Salespeople Do". In it, Mike quotes a study of 1100 B2B companies by Greg Alexander of Sales Benchmark Index, which reveals that the old maxim of 20% of salespeople selling 80% of the business is no longer true.
According to Sales Benchmark Index, now 13% of salespeople are selling 87% of the business.
When I asked Bob to draw the quota distribution graph for his old firm, he drew something that looked like this.
This is obviously just a quick hand-drawn sketch from memory, but the point Bob was making is that the majority of the sales team were not making their numbers and were dispersed around 40% of quota achievement, with a smaller hump around 100% and another hump at around 150% of quota achievement.