How would you do if you and your clients (and prospects) were on the Newlywed game? [Read more…]
Who is your biggest competitor?
If you’re in IT sales is it IBM. Apple, Google, Wipro, some dudes in Bulgaria? Probably not. You’re biggest competitor is Status Quo Inc. Boy those guys are tough to beat! [Read more…]
Every time a holiday comes around I can hear “Uncle Paul Castain” reminding us sales people not to slack off. He’s totally right about it too.
Whenever you think it might be a bad idea to call someone or send an email because “people aren’t working”, just do it! (For example, some of the best emails I’ve sent were sent to business executives on the weekend.)
It sucks that so many of us (including your target senior executives) work all the time but if you want to do well in sales, run away from the herd and contact your prospects when your competitors have nodded off.
Here are a couple of great reminders from “Uncle Paul”:
I Hope You’re Not A Part Of This Foolishness?
by PAUL CASTAIN on NOVEMBER 21, 2014
So here it is the Friday before Thanksgiving and I can guarantee you that there are sales reps out there that have begun their “Mental Shutdown”.
I’m all about recharging and enjoying holidays but . . .
For those that need to milk a week out of a 4 day weekend;
3 Days Of Admin . . . Really?
As we head into a holiday week here in the states there are some people who are going to make a poor choice!
I’m talking about those who are about to work on “Admin Stuff” this Monday – Wednesday!
On the surface, it seems like a good thing to do because
a) They didn’t take the whole week off
b) They didn’t mentally check out
But 3 days of admin?
If you work in a startup, or are planning one, definitely check out this Slideshare from Matt Heinz.
There are some great points in here. I’ve added a few ideas to my plans from this deck.
For more of Matt’s great ideas go visit his blog. I’ve been reading Matt’s stuff for a while now and he’s got some of the best thoughts out there on sales and marketing in today’s world.
I’m a big fan boy of David Meerman Scott dating back to his (in my opinion) classic book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I read that book in 2008 and it rocked my world. Now he’s got a new book focused on sales, The New Rules of Sales and Service.
David pretty much defined content marketing about the same time Hubspot were thinking that way and now Hubspot is a newly-minted public company. He was the keynote speaker at Hubspot’s first Inbound conference. A couple of weeks ago I went to the 2014 version of Inbound with about 10,000 other people and was thrilled to not only attend David’s talk but get him to do an interview about his new book and his thoughts on social selling.
Here’s top 5 points from that interview. Some of these points may seriously imact your sales career.
1. Sales people need to make a choice. Ouch!
David says we are halfway through a 40-year revolution brought on by the Internet. He says in the future people will look back at this time period and see it as the era of massive change, something like the industrial revolution.
He believes companies and sales people need to wake up to the fact that buyers are now in control of the purchasing process and act accordingly.
One upshot of that is that he sees sales people as having to become providers of useful content as a means to being found and as a way to be always be helpful to prospects and buyers.
I asked David what a sales person should do in a company that has not yet embraced these new behaviors (social selling). For example, a company that still insists on cold calling and judges reps by the number of calls made per day etc. Sound familiar?
David’s answer is sales people have 3 choices:
(1) Don’t do anything. Knuckle down to how things are and keep your head down. You won’t be great in this new world of buyer-lead sales but maybe you’ll keep your job.
(2) Become the agent of change. Try to move your company to the new sales model. This is very risky but you will be doing the right thing for company and yourself in the long run—but you may lose your job as you will be “fighting the system”.
(3) Leave and go find a company that has its act together on social selling
2. Sales managers are the biggest problem
Changing existing companies is bloody hard (OK, David said “very very hard”).
It’s easier for a brand new startup to establish its sales and marketing processes the right way, changing existing processes and structures even just a little is really hard.
David points out the main champions of the sales status quo are your sales managers.
Most sales managers, directors and VPs came up through the ranks. They were once top sales people. They figured out what worked in selling. They want that stuff repeated by their reps today.
Here’s the problem: times have changed. Buyers have changed. Selling has changed. And many sales managers have NOT changed.
They want things done the “right way” from what they know. Unfortunately what was right when they sold is now wrong.
3. CRM is the second biggest problem
CRM is the second biggest problem. Up to this point most CRM systems really just help sales managers get reports. What they don’t do is help sales people sell.
The reporting and structure of these CRM’s is based on the traditional way of selling, e.g. how many cold calls did you make today. These CRM’s have old sales processes “baked” into them, encouraging you to sell the old way.
Fortunately new CRM’s are on the way—check out Hubspot’s brand new CRM and Nimble. (I’m not so sure that new sales managers are on the way. Let me know.)
4. Your company needs a “customer expert”
This point actually is etched into my mind. I may go on about this a lot in future posts here.
David states that every company needs at least one “customer expert”.
He believes the customer expert should probably reside in the marketing department. Marketing people should dedicate themselves as a primary job function to understanding their buyers—in a lot of detail. They should spend plenty of time and effort researching your buyers needs, behaviors, mindset etc.
What’s so eye opening for me about this is that now I realize that so many of the revenue problems I’ve had over the last 20 years of sales and marketing really started by not understanding our buyers well enough.
You can be amazing at sales (or marketing) but unless you intimately understand your buyers you’re going to run uphill forever.
I’ll stop for now on this point but it’s so fundamental that I recommend writing it on a Post-It note and affixing it to your monitor or getting a tatt.
5. Become a content curator
Getting tactical, I asked David how a sales person could really hope to provide their buyers with content day-in-day out. (Assuming they lived in a “normal” company, i.e. without marketing supporting them with the right content and sales managers asking them to make cold calls every day.)
David’s recommendation is that you become a content curator (rather than a content developer). This means you don’t need to spend hours writing blog posts and ebooks. What you do need to do is go find great blog posts and ebooks that other people have written and then send these links to your prospects and clients.
Content curation is pretty much what I’ve done for the last 10 years with Sales 2.0 and I can attest that it works. People associate the value they are getting with the sender not just the author, so this approach seems to make total sense to me.
You may think David Meerman Scott is off his rocker with some of these suggestions but I believe he’s spot on.
It’s tough to bet against him. Just about everything he wrote in the “New Rules of Marketing & PR” 7 years ago are now standard operating procedure for marketers. It seems quite likely he can see the future of professional sales too. I’d bet on it!
Should you want to see the future of your sales career, I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book on Amazon here. It’s a fun read and cheaper than a crystal ball. Or check out David’s Slideshare below.
I don’t know what the rest of the voicemail said because I hit delete.
I was having a bad day. I was working on a big project that had become seriously complicated. I was up to my ears in spreadsheets and comparing data. My brain was starting to hurt.
So I was trying to figure out an Excel formula to do some data manipulation I’ve never done before and then my phone started ringing. Like so many prospects working in the technology space, I feared a major diversion from my priority project if I picked up this call. My caller ID told me this was not a call from someone I knew. “Probably someone selling something” I thought. So I hit my second favorite button on my phone “DND” (“Do Not Disturb”) and let the call go to voicemail.
About half an hour later I was having a coffee break. I’ve learned I need these coffee breaks every hour or two to let my head cool down. “Oh yes” the light is on on my voice mail. I better check that out now. So I played it.
“We have a proprietary video processing technology that takes advantage of YouTube’s API and significantly beats industry benchmarks for throughput”.
OK that’s off my list. I feel better.
Good for me. My day did not get any more complicated. My brain was still pretty overheated from my project work and I had to get back into that taxing stuff in a few minutes. Oi!
But what if…
What if that company’s products could have made my company lots of money? What if it could have made my group wildly successful? What if it could have made me a hero at work?
I did not think of any of that then. All I wanted to do was simplify my day and get this darn project finished. I mean this is the project that’s a priority so I need to get it done.
But what if…
But what if that sales person had told me their product could have made my company lots of money? What if they told me their service could have made my group wildly successful? What if they told me their product could have made me a hero?
Would have a deleted this message so quickly?
I think I would have saved it, especially if I believed them!
What if they had not only told me I could be a hero but they had served up a few examples of companies similar to mine that had made lots of money, or digital groups like mine that had grown like bonkers because they worked with them or dudes like me that had risen like a rocket through the ranks after working with them.
What if they had thrown in a few dollar signs or operational metrics that mattered to blokes like me and that correlated with things I am struggling with? What if I they mentioned mid-sized media companies that had implemented their solution had grown their digital group 50% in a year.
Would I have deleted this voice mail
Nope. Almost certainly would keep it.
What’s my point?
Develop your prospecting script from the point of view of your prospect. Tell them what you will do to make their situation better. Tell them how much better off they will be after working with you.
Then throw in the best proof you have that this improvement will come about. “Such an such similar company ended up better off by working with us”. Throw in some metrics if you can: “such and such company ended up with two hundred thousand more in revenue from working with us.” Metrics add credibility and sound good too.
You see when a prospect gets your first call (or email) they don’t really care how you get something done. You could be using the world’s fastest Youtube API or a monkey’s foot. I don’t care. What I care about is me!
I care if you what you have is going to make my life better. I’m selfish.
I’m wondering if what you’re talking about is going to make me more successful at work. Is it going to help me achieve my goals.
If you help me blow out my revenue goals, then my CEO is going to be very happy. If he’s very happy, then he may give me a pay raise soon–or at least keep me around for a while.
You see when I’m seriously busy, which is at least half the time, these days, I need you to show me the way to my better life.
I can’t figure it out from your gobbledygook message. I can’t make the jump from your “seriously fast API” to my better life. I need you to lead the way. I need you to keep it simple.
So when you’re prospecting to fried buyers, even though they’re probably very smart people, remember to KISS (them).