How to Get Past Gatekeepers

One of the least appealing aspects of cold calling is getting stonewalled by gatekeepers. Here are some expert tips the authors of SOAR Selling. For more insight on this topic, download our latest report, Prospecting: How to Help Salespeople Get Past Gatekeepers.

Tip #1: Realize that gatekeepers are just doing their jobs.

When they screen calls and take messages, gatekeepers are just doing what they’ve been hired to do. They’re not the enemy. They’re just responding to you the way they’ve been trained to. Their goal is just to make life easier for their bosses.

However, many salespeople believe that gatekeepers are actively trying to hold them back. This is a negative and dangerous way to think, say David and Marhnelle Hibbard, Sales 2.0 Conference speakers and coauthors of SOAR Selling: How to Get Through to Almost Anyone (The Proven Method for Reaching Decision Makers). As they write in their book: “When salespeople believe that the receptionist is out to block them, they end up creating that result.”

If you want to get past gatekeepers, hold in your mind the belief that they’re simply doing a job. Yes, their questions or trained responses might pose challenges for you; however, it’s important to have faith that, with the right technique, you can get through gatekeepers and gain access to the executives you’re trying to reach.

Tip #2: Don’t give up so fast.

According to the Hibbards, many salespeople make the mistake of giving up too soon. The moment they hear some version of “no” from a gatekeeper, they simply hang up and dial the next number on the list. Know that a simple willingness to explore the situation on your part is often the key to unlocking access to the decision maker.

Tip #3: Hang up and call back.

The Hibbards say that gatekeepers sometime use certain keywords that indicate that it might be possible to get through to the decision maker — even if what you seem to be hearing is “no.” For example, “He’s not available right now,” is usually met with successful results if you pause and ask the receptionist to qualify what “available” means.

As the Hibbards point out, “not available” doesn’t mean the decision maker isn’t in the office. It could mean that the gatekeeper simply hasn’t yet seen the decision maker that morning, or that the decision maker is out getting coffee. If you hear the word available, try to gain clarity on what that means. If the executive you’re trying to reach is simply roaming the office, then ask if it’s possible to page him or her rather than being sent to voicemail.

Tip #4: Don’t give more information than necessary. 

One of the questions gatekeepers ask most frequently is: “What is this regarding?”

Based on conducting thousands of cold calls using the SOAR Selling technique, the Hibbards say the key to moving forward is to 1) decline to give more information, 2) restate your name and desire to speak to the decision-maker, 3) echo the gatekeeper’s language.

In other words, for a salesperson whose name is Joe Smith, the correct response is, “Please let her know the call is regarding Joe Smith.” (Note: the salesperson should be sure to mirror the word “regarding,” as that’s the word the gatekeeper used initially.) Even if the gatekeeper pushes back (for example, by saying, “And she’ll know who Joe Smith is?”), you can simply repeat your name and express confidence (for example, “I’m sure if you mention Joe Smith, it will be fine.”) Almost one hundred percent of the time, say the Hibbards, this approach prompts the gatekeeper to pass the salesperson through to the executive.

There’s nothing magical about getting past gatekeepers. Just approach the experience believing that these techniques and phrases will work — and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying far better response rates.

For more specific advice on getting past gatekeepers using keywords, download our newest Sales 2.0 Conference report, Prospecting: How to Help Salespeople Get Past Gatekeepers.

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Using Video to Improve Sales Success

 

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By Mark Magnacca

 

The most common challenge I hear from national sales managers is that they spend a fortune on live training events such as national sales meetings, yet their reps’ retention of new corporate and product information is almost nonexistent just weeks later. Sound familiar?  

Traditional sales training methods – online certifications, boot camps, and event-based training programs – are fundamentally broken because sales reps don’t absorb and retain the key information and skills that will enable them to be competitive in today’s buyer-driven discussions. In the digital era, sales teams simply can’t maximize their learning and retention of information when they’re flown into an annual sales conference in Florida or Las Vegas, filed into a conference room, and pumped full of content they won’t use right away. Additionally, sales teams are finding it difficult to collaborate and access crucial information when and where they need it – whether that’s on the road; in an airport, hotel, conference room; or at home base in the office.

Allego provides an easier, more effective way to train reps and allow them to share best practices with one another in the field at the exact time they need it most. Our just-in-time sales learning platform leverages the power of mobile devices – which most sales reps rely on every day at work and for personal use – to allow teams to collaborate and share short videos just as easily as sending a text or email.   

If you made it to Philadelphia for the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference last month, you may have heard my presentation, “Using Video to Completely Transform Sales Enablement and Training,” with Allego customer Kate Santoriello, global sales training manager from Medtronic. Kate gave an overview of how approximately 300 users throughout her organization are using video to share and learn from one another’s best ideas.  

At Medtronic, the team was faced with the challenge of how to capture the best practices in the field and how to accelerate sharing of those best practices. They also wanted to further enable skill development and remote coaching in a just-in-time fashion. And finally, they wanted to ensure consistent and effective messages are delivered in a timely manner.

Several teams at Medtronic – global field sales, sales support, HR, marketing, compliance, and management – have embraced video to help them meet their goals. Medtronic even introduced a healthy dose of competition, encouraging reps to share videos showcasing their most creative pitches – which were informative, entertaining, and certainly memorable.

While the national sales meeting isn’t going away anytime soon, what we’ve learned from examples like Medtronic’s use of Allego is that video is a powerful tool to leverage the investment in live meetings and provide ongoing best practices while reinforcing key messages in a just-in-time fashion.

MarkMagnaccaMark Magnacca is president and co-founder of Allego. To learn more about how Allego can help your sales team capture their best ideas, master their pitch, and accelerate their performance, contact salesinquiry@allego.com or call 781.400.5671.

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Sales 2.0 Conference Recap: The Power of Mindset

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The Sales 2.0 Conference on Monday had a significant focus on the power of mindset to achieve success in life and sales.

This was not unexpected, given that several keynoters had baked the topic of mindset into their presentations. It gave a new and impactful flavor to an event that, in the past, has put the dominant focus on technology tools, process, and team culture.

Here are just a few of the ideas that the “mindset” keynoters shared with the audience.

Tips and Insight about Mindset

Dan Waldenschmidt, who had the drive, courage, and tenacity to complete a 100-mile marathon, told the hundreds of sales leaders assembled that part of success is how you start your day. Personally, he drinks a ton of water right when he wakes up and then reads for at least a few minutes to intentionally fill his mind with ideas and concepts that will carry him through the day. Dan revealed he is planning to run the Vol State 500K (315 miles across Tennessee) starting on the July 14th. This is normally a 10-day race; his goal is to finish in 3.25 days and set a new world record.

Matthew Pollard, the “Rapid Growth Guy,” told the audience about his struggles to succeed in a profession where your appearance can be crucial to setting a good impression and winning business. They key, he said, is not to let your outer looks define you. You can gain more confidence from what’s on the inside than the outside.

Dave Hibbard, who has developed (with his business partner and wife, Mahrnelle) a highly effective methodology called SOAR Selling for getting through to decision-makers and having successful conversations with them, opened up to the audience about his experience of “dying emotionally” four years ago, despite being highly successful professionally. He warned the audience that the top performers on your team could very well be feeling the very same hollowness inside. He said it’s important to check in with your top performers in meaningful ways (by spending quality time with them) to assess their mindset routinely.

Dr. Michael E. Bernard, who has made breakthrough findings about the mindset of top performers based on his intensive academic study, supplied audience members with a skills questionnaire to evaluate their current mindset in various key areas. He said that one of the keys to succeeding is to make a mental shift about your emotions. Many people believe their feelings are caused by events and experiences. On the contrary, Dr. Bernard said that you can change the way you feel by changing the way you think about the situations you’re in. By making a simple mental shift, for example, you can actually associate positive feelings with an activity like cold calling, which might otherwise be felt as a painful and difficult experience.

Gerhard Gschwandtner, founder of Selling Power magazine, revealed that we all have an “inner CEO” that we can tap for amazing and powerful results. This potential lives in the capacities of the prefrontal cortext of the brain, which is where neural connections form based on our experiences, emotions, and ideas. However, many people never examine their preconceived notions and feelings, despite the fact that they inform their every interaction and overall perspective on life. This can have a significant impact on your productivity and success. For example, just believing negative ideas about the process of aging can actually decrease your life expectancy by 7.6 years. This means that people with a positive mindset actually live longer! Gschwandtner is currently conducting mindset workshops with select teams around the U.S. (contact him directly for more details).

Thanks to all our fantastic attendees for tweeting and being actively engaged during a jam-packed day of learning and networking. Special gratitude goes out to Alice Heiman for being an amazing Chief Networking Officer and facilitating many wonderful connections throughout the day.

To learn more about how to be a successful B2B sales leader, plan to join us at our events in 2016. We will be in Boston on May 2 and San Francisco on July 18-19. To receive an update when agendas are announced, email events@salesdottwoinc.com.

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Can Your Sales Team Run a 100-Mile Race?

Do you believe that driving sales performance is about the tools you use? The people you hire and work with? Or is it more about the environment and culture we create?

Edgy, extreme athlete Dan Waldschmidt thinks that the key to outstanding performance is our mindset.In his book, Edgy Conversations, he recounts honest, no-holds-barred stories about confronting and fixing the beliefs and behaviors that limit our ability to be amazing. He speaks to powerful truths about how pain, fear, and love have a huge impact on success.

Consider how Waldschmidt cultivated the dedication and drive to complete an amazing 100-mile race. In this video interview with Selling Power magazine publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner, Waldschmidt details the challenges and triumphs involved in running and finishing the race (which was the equivalent of four traditional marathons). Interestingly, he talks about how his mindset practices influenced and enhanced his physical capabilities. Specifically, he talks about how his mantra kept him going (despite hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and injury) and how his meditation practice helped him control his anxiety and fear. These mindset practices helped keep him motivated to finish the race despite overwhelming challenges.

According to Waldschmidt (who currently maintains a blog that the Wall Street Journal calls one of the Top 7 Sales Blogs anywhere on the internet), the hard truth about business performance is that most of our sales training efforts are a waste of time. In fact, he goes so far as to say they have almost no impact on driving revenue growth. That’s because leaders teach new skills, but fail to cultivate an environment where salespeople develop the will to apply what they learn and exceed expectations.

By contrast, look at how champion athletes train. Look at how leading researchers and scientists achieve scientific breakthroughs. In these disciplines, you can begin to see the importance of nurturing a winning mindset. In other words, the same skills that allowed Waldschmidt to run a 100-mile race can help sales teams succeed with customers and beat quota.

At the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16th, Waldschmidt will reveal those skills during his presentation, “Creating a Culture of Super Success: Seven Proven Strategies to Empower Outrageous Results from Ordinary Salespeople.” He’ll outline seven proven strategies used by unlikely Olympic champions, billion-dollar business startups, and industry juggernauts to cultivate winning mindsets – and ultimately become unstoppably successful.

Register now for the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16. For more information or questions about the event, email larissa@salesdottwoinc.com.

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Eight Steps to Avoid Dreary, Boring Sales Presentations

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By Patricia Fripp

You have great products and services – often complicated and technical – that require trust in order to sell them. Even if you’ve made a compelling presentation, it often takes weeks before you get a response. Therefore, you must burn vivid examples and key ideas into prospects’ minds so they cannot forget how you’re different from your competition. This is critical if you are one of several individuals or teams competing for the same business.

The structure of your presentation is the skeleton under the flesh of your words. You must design and deliver your presentation to be remembered and repeated. What is the typical structure?

“Hi, I’m Fred Smith. Let me introduce my team: Tom, Dick, and Harriet.

Thanks for your time.

We’re from the ABC Company…

This is what we do…

This is how long we’ve been in business…

This is what we’re known for…

These are our clients…

We would like to work with you…”

That is a dreary presentation at its worst. What’s an effective structure? This simple, eight-step process frees you to make an engaging presentation.

  1. Sincere compliment. Start with something they’re proud of; that shows you’ve done your homework:
  • “Congratulations on your recent product launch.”
  • “Your latest advertising campaign is spectacular.”
  • “Your stock price is up three points while most of the market is down. Your strategy is on track.”
  1. Introduction to their challenge or problem. Do not mention your product or solution now. Instead, talk about their current responsibility, challenge, or opportunity. Then, follow up:
  • “This is the time to make a bold move and…”
  • “Your board of directors has challenged you with…”
  • “Your competition is increasing in…”
  1. Differentiate from your competition. Everyone else thanks prospects for their time. Don’t. Instead, say, “Thanks for the opportunity to discuss how our company (be specific with your service or product) can…
  • “help you accomplish your goals.”
  • “minimize your risk in…”
  • “expand your markets in…”
  • “demonstrate how our technology will be able to…”
  1. Make heroes of your contacts. If you have a champion – or, if individuals have helped prepare you for the meeting or have taken you through the discovery process – thank them now.
  • “Thank you, Mike and Theresa, for your time and knowledge to help us understand the ABC Company’s goals, commitments, and challenges.”
  • “Mike tells us that your vision is to…” or  “that your priorities are…”
  • “In the next 30 minutes (60 minutes, three hours), you will hear (learn, discover, see demonstrated) how our solution (company, technology, unique methodology) can help you achieve that goal.”
  • Never say, “I’m going to talk about…” or “What I would like to do…”  
  1. Provide examples, experience, and social proof. Knowing your product or service isn’t enough. Your prospect must understand how it could improve their business and that you are not just a salesperson but also a trusted advisor. Tell stories and case histories about satisfied clients.
  1. Review key ideas. Do this with a rhetorical question or a simple statement based on your premise:
  • “How is ABC Company better off by doing business with us?”
  • “As you heard, we would help you accomplish your goals by…”
  • “Our technology would increase your efficiency by…”
  • “Our training would improve your…”
  1. Head into the close with confidence, not a question. Many of your competitors close on questions. No. No. No. Close on a high, and let your last words linger. Make sure they’re yours. The warm-up to that is a question: “Based on what you have heard, what are your specific questions?” After you answer questions (and possibly objections), drive the sale forward. Depending on the complexity of your offering or how many people are involved, you may want to say,
  • “At this point, our most logical step is…”
  • “At this point, may I recommend we…”
  • “At this point, our best clients elect to…”
  1. Reinforce your key idea. Your last words are the most important you’ll say, so never introduce a new idea that you have no time to develop. Good copywriters often write the P.S. of a sales letter first, because it confirms the key idea in the letter. Your approach might sound like this:

“Again, thank you for the opportunity to demonstrate how our approach could be what you’ve been searching for. We look forward to our next meeting. In your discussions, remember the results of [other successful clients]. Be secure in knowing we pioneered this industry.”

Depending on the situation, you could also say you “are more nimble than our competition,” “can get started as soon as you say yes,” or “are a one-stop shop.”

Most professionals are fairly smooth in the body of their presentation. Very few, however, open and close effectively and memorably. Take these eight steps and apply or adapt what is appropriate to your situation. Script your opening and closing for specificity and brevity. You won’t read it, but work from an outline. In the middle of the night, if your spouse asked, “How will you open and close next week’s presentation?” your automatic response should be exactly what you will say.

Hear Patricia’s dynamic presentation at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16. For more information or questions about the event, email larissa@salesdottwoinc.com.  

Patricia FrippFor over 25 years,Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, has taught individual salespeople and sales teams how to speak more powerfully and boost their sales beyond expectations. Visit www.FrippVT.com and join her at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16.

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11 Surprising Things You Can Do to Increase Your Sales

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By Alice Heiman

What really separates great salespeople from the rest? Is it their knowledge, their training, their personality?

I believe it is their mindset.

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According to Carol Dweck, a leading authority on mindset, “In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

How does that translate to sales? According to Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling, salespeople need to keep learning. “Being successful in sales is an ongoing challenge. Everyone wants to do well. When you’re in a new job, it can be overwhelming. If you’ve been around for a while, dealing with all the changes can be hard. To keep on top of your game, you need to always be learning. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated, but it is your responsibility.” What allows that motivation is the mindset.  

Gerhard Gschwandtner, the publisher of Selling Power magazine, has been researching how mindset affects salespeople and sales teams and has created a new course to teach salespeople mindset. He focuses on mindset, skillset, and toolkit. Mindset always comes first. He has observed that skillset and toolkit just don’t have any impact if the mindset is not right. You can hear his thoughts on this in this podcast.

I have my own guidelines for creating a positive mindset. The first is easy to do but often overlooked.

  1. Take a walk. It makes you more creative so you can approach your customer’s problems with fresh ideas. In a recent New York Times article, they described how walking in nature changes the brain.
  2. Smile. It makes you and everyone else feel good.
  3. Take a break. It gives mind and body a rest and reset to come back to your work with new intention.
  4. Sing a song. Belt out a tune, sing your favorite songs! You release endorphins when you sing.
  5. Have fun. Need I say more?
  6. Meditate. It has immediate benefits improving your mental, emotional and physical balance.
  7. Exercise. You know what to do. Just do it!
  8. Be nice. Easier said than done on some days but you can do it.
  9. Help. How can you help someone today? Be conscious and intentional about helping.
  10. Compliment. It’s easy! Do it several times a day.
  11. Take a vacation. It’s imperative for your heart, mind and health.

How do these things help your sales? They put you in the right mindset. They help you be your best. They make you likeable. They show people you are real. They inspire you.

To be a great salesperson, you need to have a positive mindset, believe in what you sell, and enjoy the people you deal with. Product knowledge, sales skills and tools, and a great network are important, too. But they won’t make a bit of difference if you don’t have the first three.

Be positive, believe, enjoy, and increase your sales.

Learn more about mindset and network with Sales Professionals at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16th.

P.S. Use my code for 50% off your ticket! Code: s2lcah50

Alice Heiman is Founder & Chief Sales Officer of Alice Heiman, LLC.

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How to Improve Sales Results Using Video and Mobile Technology

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By Mark Magnacca

As a sales leader, how can you communicate new messaging and key product information to sales reps, encourage collaboration among teams, keep teams motivated, and ensure information is absorbed?  The answers lie with two simple tools we use in our everyday lives: mobile and video.  

Empowering teams to work the way they live eliminates the learning curve associated with adopting new training tools and helps encourage adoption. The majority of humans – 60 percent – are visual learners, processing visuals 600,000 times faster than text. Video allows for easy absorption. But what’s the rub? If you’ve ever tried sharing videos, either personally or professionally, you know this is no easy feat. Connectivity and compression issues make it difficult, if not impossible, to share even the briefest videos.

After two years of hard work honing our mobile, just-in-time (JIT) sales learning platform, Allego makes it possible for you to leverage the power of video as easily as sharing a text or email. Allego defines just-in-time learning as the combination of just-in-time content, practice, assignments, field knowledge, and collaboration – coupled with traditional certification and live training.  The ability to harness the accessibility of mobile and the storytelling strength of video helps companies convey impactful messaging.  

Like most salespeople, you probably spend a lot of time on the road, so mobile technology is a must.  We built Allego mobile-first, so you can easily access the platform anywhere, anytime – with or without a network connection. With the power of video to communicate large amounts of information, we’ve simplified JIT learning and real-time collaboration so you can quickly capture and share your best ideas from the field with the broader sales team. The platform also incorporates coaching and feedback, so you can receive coaching you need from your manager on specific deals, ensuring you’re prepared ahead of meetings.  

Heading into Sales 2.0 in November, we look forward to hearing more about the challenges you face with collaboration, message consistency, and sales training in your organization. I’m especially excited to deliver a breakout session on the very topic of using video to transform sales enablement and training and discuss how your peers are deriving a competitive advantage in their organizations. The session will look at how short, peer-generated videos can help your organization maximize its performance and productivity. I’ll be joined onstage by Kate Santoriello, global sales training manager from Medtronic Advanced Energy, who relies on Allego to onboard reps faster, improve message consistency across its sales team, and share competitive intelligence and best practices to improve sales performance. We’re also exhibiting at the conference, so stop by to say hello and tell us how we can help your team improve sales training and enablement.

See you in Philadelphia on November 16. If you can’t make it to the conference, drop me a line anytime.

Mark Magnacca is president and cofounder of Allego. To learn more about how Allego can help your sales team capture their best ideas, master their pitch, and accelerate their performance, contact salesinquiry@allego.com or call (781) 400-5671.

 

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Learn How to Change Your Mindset for Amazing Results

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What’s the critical element that dictates success at sales organizations? A huge budget? An arsenal of technology and tools? An army of top performers?

Sales 2.0 Conference host and Selling Power founder Gerhard Gschwandtner says that mindset is the critical element of success in any sales organization. Your mindset is a set of attitudes and beliefs that influence and shape your behaviors.

Each one of us starts creating our mindset the moment we’re born. We store our ideas about the world and ourselves in a particular area of our brains, called the prefrontal cortex – where neural connections form cognitive elements, memories, and associated feelings from past experiences. Some call this the executive function of the brain – Gschwandtner considers the prefrontal cortex as our “inner CEO.”

When your mindset is functioning at optimum levels, you’re better able to excel in tough sales situations. That’s because – according to scientific research conducted by Professor Michael Bernard at the University of Melbourne, Australia – high achievers consciously create a belief system that helps them cope effectively with difficult situations at work.

We all have the capacity to direct our minds to become powerful, positive, productive forces for ourselves. Gschwandtner has spent the past few months working with Dr. Bernard and will unveil a High Performance Mindset workshop for sales leaders at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16. He has also collaborated with the Sales 2.0 Conference team to assemble an agenda of speakers for the event who will share their insights into how their mindset create high performance. Here are some highlights of speakers and session titles.

  • Rich Blakeman, Managing Director of the Channel Sales Center of Excellence of MHI Global will present “The Hybrid Sales Channel: How to Ignite Growth by Bridging the Gap Between Direct and Indirect Sales.”
  • Patricia Fripp, Executive Speech Coach, Speaker and Sales Presentation Skills Trainer at Fripp & Associates will present “Powerful Leadership Presentations: Build Commitment and Action.”
  • Dustin Grosse, CEO of ClearSlide will present “Selling with Digital Insight: Transform Your Sales Team’s Performance.”
  • Dave Hibbard, Co-founder of SOAR Selling will present “2 Techniques for Breaking into a Salesperson’s Mindset.”
  • Nayaki Nayyar, SVP Cloud for Customer Engagement of SAP will present “From Tweet to Receipt in the Digital World.”
  • Matthew Pollard, ‘The Rapid Growth Guy’: Speaker, Author, Coach and Consultant of Rapid Growth Coach LLC will present “Overcoming the Seven Self-Destructive Sales Mindsets.”
  • Dan Waldschmidt, Managing Director of Waldschmidt Partners International will present “Creating a Culture of Super Success: Seven Proven Strategies to Empower Outrageous Results from Ordinary Salespeople.”

We hope you can join us November 16 in Philadelphia to create a winning mindset for sales and life. For questions about the agenda or registration, contact larissa@salesdottwoinc.com.

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How Salespeople Can Stop Chasing Bad Leads

By Brett Sheppard

As a busy salesperson, you have a lot on your plate – relationships with your top accounts and prospects, keeping your boss informed and off your back, maintaining a clean pipeline so you can see what’s likely to close this quarter, and a whole lot more. Sales analytics? That sounds like just more overhead.

Except when the sales analytics are integrated into the tools you already use every day and the results make you more productive.

At Adobe, the inside sales team was overwhelmed. They tried fixed rules – e.g., call every lead within 48 hours, and call back again within one day, etc. – but the problem was they were chasing too many poor quality prospects. That was before they started using DxContinuum.

“With the DxContinuum lead scoring solution, we had a double-digit increase in conversions with half the number of leads chased quarter over quarter,” says Pawan Goyal, senior director of products, Print/Scan and TechComm at Adobe Systems Inc.

Best of all, the opportunities are prioritized directly in Salesforce tabs – no new software to learn or manuals to read. Just click on the Salesforce tab and see which are the leads to call that day that have the highest likelihood to convert, at the biggest dollar amount, and in the shortest period of time.

How does the DxContinuum software do it? We’re not talking about dozens of data scientists in lab coats or magicians waving Harry Potter wands. Instead, DxContinuum software analyzes your group’s complete win/loss history and looks back through the lead-to-conversion funnel to find which attributes make for the best leads and most important opportunities. Likewise, the DxContinuum software finds those clunkers that should be deprioritized so you don’t waste time on that student sitting in his underwear in his dorm room who downloads a software trial or white paper and who barely has a budget to buy pizza – much less what you’re selling.

Salesforce.com surveyed more than 2,000 sales leaders in North America and overseas. Guess what was the number one trend? Analytics use is soaring among top teams.

Salesforce.com found that high-performing sales teams are 3.5 times more likely to use sales analytics. For these leading sales teams, analytics provide visibility into accounts and help dictate where to focus energy for the most productive prospect and customer conversations.

Folks over on the marketing side have been using predictive analytics for a while now. But there really haven’t been many options for inside sales and account executives. That’s where DxContinuum comes in.

High performers are moving beyond basic sales analytics to gather insights across the entire customer lifecycle. According to the Salesforce.com survey, while 19 percent of sales teams are currently using predictive analytics, 26 percent are piloting or plan to use it in the next 12 to 18 months.

What you want to ensure is that not only does the predictive software work, it doesn’t require you or your sales team to input new data or redo your whole sales process. Likewise, your IT department will want to ensure that you pick an offering like DxContinuum that keeps data within your corporate firewall so you don’t risk exposing information about your customers and prospects.

Gartner has identified the value of predictive analytics for sales teams. Gartner Research Director Todd Berkowitz finds that “SaaS-based predictive analytics applications are helping B2B salespeople and marketers more effectively generate demand and win deals.”

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According to Gartner, predictive lead scoring has received the most attention in the marketplace and is the most common in terms of Gartner inquiries because it most directly impacts marketing and addresses an increasingly common problem.

Companies like DxContinuum – that offer both lead and opportunity scoring – are relatively rare. So is the fast time-to-value of software like DxContinuum, which Fortune 500 companies have gotten going in days, without buying expensive professional services or armies of consultants.

That’s why leading Fortune 500 enterprises like Adobe, Akamai, Cisco, and Dell have chosen DxContinuum. By adopting DxContinuum, sales teams at these companies have accelerated their lead-to-deal conversion by up to two times, deal size by 20 percent, and sales velocity by 25 percent.

Attending the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16, 2015? DxContinuum will be there, too, if you would like to talk in person there.

Brett Sheppard is VP of Marketing at DxContinuum, Inc. To learn about how predictive analytics can add value to your sales team, contact DxContinuum at info@dxcontinuum.com or call 510/497-4062.

 

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Tips to Find and Hire Salespeople via Referrals

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By Joanne Black

Sales leaders know their current salespeople are prime resources for finding new talent. That’s why many put “refer a friend” programs in place.

I often write about this topic because I strongly believe in the power of referrals in all situations – including hiring. My first job out of college came through a referral from my uncle, who knew the buyer at a prominent retail store. The buyer personally introduced me to the head of human resources (only then it was called “personnel’). Because this executive trusted her employee, his recommendation was far more persuasive than any résumé or list of credentials (which was a good thing, considering I didn’t have any yet).

Joanna Weidenmiller, CEO and co-founder of 1-Page, presented a unique perspective on these programs when she spoke at the 2015 Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Afterwards, I got the chance to sit down with her and discuss the topic further.

Why Your Salespeople Don’t Want to Refer a Friend

Joanna says traditional employee referral programs don’t work. Most businesses ask workers to post company job descriptions on their social media pages, but employees really don’t want to and many don’t do it. Even when friends come to them looking for job referrals, they feel uncomfortable about making these introductions.

I was confused. As a referral seller, I’ve always found that people are happy to vouch for people they trust. I personally refer people all the time. The difference, Joanna helped me understand, is that clients who refer us have already experienced the quality of our work and can attest to the ROI we deliver. But we don’t always know whether our friends are qualified for the job.

“Employees are nervous about the responsibility,” Joanna explained. “What if they refer a friend and it doesn’t work out, or the job is not what the friend was looking for? Maybe this friend isn’t the quality person the employee thought, or just wouldn’t be good at the job. Employees don’t want to look foolish, so they don’t buy into their company referral programs. When they do, it only takes one failure to prevent them from doing it again.”

Want to Retain Sales Employees? Get Referrals.

In a candidate-driven market, less than 5 percent of in-demand professionals are job hunting, and more than 70 percent of professionals from Fortune 500 companies constantly receive messages from recruiters. Here’s the kicker: 59 percent are “passive candidates.” These people are currently employed, and – while they’re open to discussing opportunities – they’re not actively looking for new positions. Traditional referral programs don’t work for these passive candidates and neither does social media.

So how can companies meet top-notch candidates who are actively looking for work? By getting employee referrals. Joanna says referred candidates are the strongest hires and the highest-quality candidates. They get hired more quickly and stay 45 percent longer than other new hires (200 percent longer than anyone who comes off a job board).

How to Get Referrals Without Asking for Them

Now I was totally confused. If referral programs don’t work, yet referrals are the strongest hires, what’s left? How can companies woo talented people and get employee referrals – without putting the burden on workers to refer their friends?

Joanna calls it “Strategic Sourcing,” which is exactly what her company does. When employers hire 1-Page, they gain access to the enterprise platform with more than a billion profiles. 1-Page pulls out a subset of candidates who are affiliated with the company’s employees. The company gets deep professional profiles with data that shows which candidates are most qualified and which employees are most closely affiliated to these candidates.

It’s then that employee referrals work. Hiring managers can ask the closely-affiliated employee to make a referral introduction, and, because the candidate has already been vetted, employees feel more comfortable doing so. This takes the “ready, fire, aim” approach out of the hiring process, and employees no longer have to worry about their reputations being on the line if their friends turn out to be slackers.

Joanne Black cold calling Sales 2.0Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral sellingthe only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of two books about cold calling and referrals. You can follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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