How to Build a Successful Sales Development Model

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By Trish Bertuzzi

I’m excited to be speaking at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston on May 2 on the topic of “The Six Elements of Sales Development: What It Takes to Lead a World-Class Team.” In this blog post, I’ll share more details on one of the six elements: crafting a winning sales development model.

Much like Goldilocks and her porridge, your sales development model needs to be “just right” for your organization. Figuring this out early will save you from account executives’ complaints such as, “Those leads weren’t qualified enough. They aren’t worth my time” or “My SDR isn’t passing enough meetings. What are they doing all day?”

  • Setting Introductory Meetings: Let’s be clear on the realities here. The meetings being set here are introductory – from the Latin introda, meaning not ready to buy yet. (Kidding!) This can include face-to-face meetings or a discovery phone call. With introductory meetings, prospects have a sense of your overall value proposition but haven’t been qualified as to their readiness or ability to move forward.

  • Generating Qualified Opportunities: Qualified opportunities differ in that they are, well, qualified. The rep is still closing on a meeting or call but has: a) moved the prospect from curiosity into interest and b) vetted that the prospect meets or exceeds a minimum threshold of “sales-worthiness.”

Introductory Meetings: How to Select Metrics that Work for You

One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is setting internal expectations using introductory meeting metrics (quantity) and then requiring opportunity-level qualification (quality). This seemingly innocuous misstep often ends in total disaster.

“Qualified introductory meetings” is an oxymoron. If your sales development process and expectations are at cross purposes, account executives will lose faith in the team, your SDRs will burn out, your culture will sour, and your group will fail to deliver.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t consider one model universally better – or more effective – than the other. I do believe that, in certain situations, one is likely more appropriate than the other. Here’s my rule of thumb.

Deploy an introductory meeting model when the market for your product is immature and/or when your account executives need more at-bats.

Let me give you an example. Today, customer relationship management (CRM) software is a mature market. Most (if not all) technology-enabled companies already have a solution in place. Those companies have existing contracts with future renewal dates, and the thought of changing providers sounds like a major hassle. In this instance, if your SDRs are setting introductory meetings for the AEs, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. This instance would require the qualified opportunity model.

Compare that to the market for a predictive lead scoring solution. That market is still immature, as the concept itself is new. Vendors are faced with doing the work of educating the market on the problem they solve. Rather than qualify themselves out of a meeting, sales development reps should be closing on meetings at full speed in this category.

In terms of qualification for introductory meetings, you can’t get much beyond right profile, right person, and right high-level pain.

If your SDRs are booking meetings with the right types of companies, the right people within them, and the prospects are at least curious about addressing a potential pain point, then the reps have done their jobs well.

In an immature market, the number one challenge your SDRs face is to arouse curiosity around a business issue that potentially hasn’t even been recognized yet. Sales development should be teeing up introductory meetings so the account executive can do the work of educating the prospect and developing that curiosity into interest.

Overcoming “Empty-Calendar Syndrome”

The second case for the introductory meeting model is when account executives are suffering from empty calendar syndrome. This one is easy. If your sales team is screaming for more “at-bats,” then break glass and set meetings. Conversion rates, qualification criteria, and cost per meeting all go out the window when your account executives’ calendars are anemic. Setting introductory meetings in this scenario is your go-to.

There are pros and cons to each sales development model, but you really need to think through the dynamics of your buyer and market to determine which is right for you. I’ve never met a sales organization that quibbled over degree of qualification when AEs were starving to have more conversations with prospects.

I look forward to continuing the conversation at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston!

TrishBertuzziTrish Bertuzzi is the Best Selling Author of The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales and founder of The Bridge Group, Inc. Her team at The Bridge Group works with B2B technology companies, helping them unleash the power of inside sales. They are on a mission to help technology companies build highly successful inside sales teams. To date they have worked with 240+ companies ranging from global to high-growth SaaS.

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Four Basic Tips to Optimize Sales Performance

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By Solomon Thimothy

Sales, especially B2B sales, is a difficult job. Whether you’re cold calling, emailing, or trying to convert inbound leads, every salesperson hears dozens of “nos” before every “yes.” As a sales manager, your job is to coach and guide your sales team toward overcoming the dreaded “nos” in an efficient and strategic manner.

An efficient and optimized sales department is key to increasing sales and scaling the company, regardless of industry or size. That’s why optimizing your sales process and operations is vital to increasing revenue and the success of the company.  

As a sales manager, there are four basic steps to keeping you grounded and focused on increasing sales efficiency and revenue goals.  

Create the Big Picture

Everyone needs something to aim for. Making more money or closing more deals isn’t enough, though. A sales manager needs to create the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for the entire sales team. Everyone on the sales team has to be aware of your BHAG. Whether that’s closing $5 million in new revenue in a given year or reaching a quarterly revenue goal, it has to be specific. Your BHAG also has to be audacious enough that it motivates everyone to work just a bit harder while understanding the big payoff for doing so.

Optimize for One Metric

After you set the big picture, it’s time to get down to business. Before you can start making any real changes, it’s important to select one metric on which to focus. What is the one thing that will help you get closer to the big picture? Is it more calls? More appointments? Whatever that metric is, optimize for it and don’t stop until you’ve gotten there. Once you’re happy with that one metric, you can move on to optimize another metric. This focused approach will allow you to continuously make your sales operation more efficient without keeping track or trying to take on too many things at once.

Track and Analyze

Once you’ve chosen that one metric for optimization, it’s time to start tracking and analyzing. Gather sales numbers, call data, appointment numbers, or whatever other metrics you typically review, and start charting your progress for that one metric. Analyze how that metric differs from day to day, month to month, or even from salesperson to salesperson. Review these numbers with your sales team so everyone is on the same page.

Incentivize the Right Behaviors

As a sales manager, it’s easy to fall into the “performance trap.” In highly stressful and competitive companies, the sales manager usually defaults to a mindset of “perform or you’re out.” While it’s true that salespeople are paid to sell, they also benefit from the traditional incentives and mentorship other employees get. Incentivizing your sales team beyond meeting their quota numbers can go a long way. After all, you need a committed army of salespeople if you’re going to make your big picture happen. Incentivizing and energizing your sales team creates a sense of “we’re all in this together.”

Always Be Learning

Today’s sales tactics are vastly different from those of 10 years ago. Technology and the availability of information on the Internet have changed the way most people make buying decisions. While fundamental sales tactics may not have changed, there are many new things that can be learned. As a sales manager, you are expected to be the best at what you do, so make sure you’re on top of the latest tactics by attending sales-focused workshops or conferences – like Sales 2.0. You never know what new trick you’ll learn. Even better, you will find yourself surrounded by other salespeople who might have just the solution to your current problem.

Being in charge of improving sales is no easy task. Viewing sales as a broader goal – not just an individual’s performance – and optimizing will make it easier to achieve that one huge goal you’ve set. Making iterations to processes or tactics, measuring and tracking, incentivizing your team, and continuing to learn will make that once Big Hairy Audacious Goal a lot more attainable than you first thought!  

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.32.13 PMAs the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy.

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Tips to Double Your Productivity and Active Selling Time

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By Matt Heinz

Most sales teams – and sales professionals – waste an astounding amount of time. Some is due to lack of discipline; some is due to poor corporate policies, processes, and requirements.

At the Sales 2.0 Conference on May 2, I’ll discuss the most frequent and heinous culprits reducing the productivity of sales team, and will introduce numerous strategic and tactical best practices to increase selling productivity – without breaking the bank. Here’s a quick preview of some of the tips I’ll share.

Make your CRM available online: Contacts, accounts, and notes – the more of this is available anywhere, the more likely you have whatever data you need at your fingertips.

Use voice controls: Control CRM by voice? It’s possible. Check out Nuiku.

Organize your apps better: Which do you use most often? Which do you use in succession? Sort them more effectively on your phone and/or tablet so you spend less time fumbling and more time doing.

Use Dial2Do: For $2.49/month, leave yourselves a voicemail and it’ll translate that message into text and email it to you. Huge time saver – not to mention master capturer of far more ideas, tasks, etc.

Prepare in advance for your day: The night before, make your to-do list. Keep it handy so you can quickly switch to priority tasks when you have time between meetings. Do research on your next day’s meetings via LinkedIn, Charlie, and others. Do the math on where you need to be first, when, how long it’ll take you to get there, and when you need to leave your hotel, office, or home. Life savers.

Avoid distractions as best as possible: Your email will be there for you when you get back to the office. Voicemails, too. You’re on the road for a reason – focus there and get the job done.

Carry paper: Seriously, as awesome as note-capturing apps can be, sometimes what you really need is to write something down! Depending on the circumstance, writing a note on pen and paper may be better etiquette than pulling out your smartphone or tablet.

Capture and triage to-dos before day’s end: Don’t stop working until you’ve captured your next steps somewhere in a trusted system. Pull them out of your notes and brain before they get lost.

Set up Evercontact back at the office: It’ll automatically capture updated contact information from emails in your inbox, keeping your contact list up to date. That way, when you need that updated phone number on the road, it’s right there for you.

MattHeinzMatt Heinz is a prolific author and nationally-recognized, award-winning blogger, and president and founder of Heinz Marketing, with more than 15 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience in a variety of organizations and industries. He has helped organizations such as Amazon, Seagate, Morgan Stanley, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others create predictable, repeatable sales and marketing engines to fuel growth. Matt has repeatedly been named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management and Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers. Hear him speak on May 2 in Boston at the Sales 2.0 Conference.

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Why Your Salespeople Should Spend Less Time with Customers

Sales 2.0 Conference spend less time with customers Jennifer Stanley

As we plan for our next Sales 2.0 Conference on May 2 in Boston, we’re hearing some interesting solutions to emerging selling challenges.

Last week, Sales 2.0 speaker Jennifer Stanley, expert partner (Marketing and Sales Practice) at McKinsey & Company, published a post on the Selling Power Blog, “An Unexpected Way to Improve Your Sales Pipeline Conversions by 50%,” about an interesting paradox for B2B sellers these days. As she said: 

Today, salespeople have more ways than ever to find and connect with prospects. In fact, they’re drowning in data and interaction opportunities across the customer’s many digital touchpoints. But these many insights and channels often overwhelm the typical B2B rep.

Stanley has found some very basic and simple time-management practices that can help salespeople cut through the avalanche of data and customer touchpoints. The secret, she says, is to actually make fewer and shorter sales calls.

Stanley says she’s seen this approach work wonders for a sales professional who works in the industrial sector and has a complex sales cycle. His prospecting approach is disciplined and strategic, and has consistently landed him a top spot on his team’s leaderboard. Here are the steps he follows.

Step #1: Blocking shorter segments of time (between 15 and 30 minutes) for in-person meetings with prospects.

Why this approach works: Stanley points out that B2B customers today conduct intense amounts of research on their own, online. They visit websites of competitors, download research and reports, and make use of online tools. By the time they talk with a salesperson, they’re deep into the sales cycle and ready to talk brass tacks. Sometimes they even know more than the salesperson does. Consequently, it’s a mistake for B2B salespeople to assume that the complex sales cycle requires hours’ worth of meetings to move the sale forward. Instead, you’ll get more traction if you set up a process that respects the prospect’s time (and your own).

Step #2: Reserving dedicated time to research/study a prospect with relentless focus.

Why this approach works: Again, today’s B2B customer is highly educated. No matter how good your marketing team is and how much information they give you, it’s still in your best interest to invest your own time in researching the prospect and studying their business challenges. According to Stanley, a recent McKinsey survey showed that lack of preparedness is a huge turn-off for prospects and can endanger your deal.

Step #3: Building “time buffers” into his planned meeting times with customers.

Why this approach works: Thanks to his preparation techniques, this sales professional finds that customers often want extra face time with him to discuss their business challenges and potential solutions more in depth. Again, this ends up saving time, since he can take advantage of the initial customer meeting to move the sale forward.

Step #4: Entering “debriefing” notes into his CRM and planning next steps (he allots 30 minutes for this, per customer).

Why this approach works: The Sales 2.0 team has observed that many successful sales teams run on automated platforms and advanced software. Tracking the pipeline and forecast in Excel spreadsheets isn’t going to cut for much longer. Without a functional CRM system that everyone uses in a disciplined and routine fashion, sales and marketing teams won’t be able to gain access to advanced tools like predictive analytics.

At the Sales 2.0 Conference on May 2 in Boston, Stanley will share more details about how B2B salespeople can create a similar process with their own customers and potentially improve early pipeline qualification conversion rates by up to 50 percent.

See the agenda for the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston or register now — discounted rates end March 17.

 

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Fresh Insight to Dramatically Improve Sales Performance

Sales 2.0 Conference David Meerman Scott

This year, Sales 2.0 is all about the DNA of a high-performance sales team. In Boston on May 2, sales leaders and experts will take the stage to provide you with fresh new insight so you can dramatically improve your team’s ability to bring in more revenue, faster. Here are just a few of the sessions we’re excited to share with you!

Why Your Reps Should Spend Less Time with Customers

Today’s purchase decision journey for B2B customers is upending many sales organizations. Not only are customers increasingly turning to digital channels, their expectation for more “consumerized” experiences is also increasing.

These trends are putting enormous pressure on sales leaders and their teams to re-examine how they can most effectively sell. Those who can manage the change and embrace “Sales 2.0” – such as understanding that face-to-face time is not necessarily the best way to sell – can turn the changes to their advantage and be even more effective than ever before.

McKinsey & Company’s Jennifer Stanley, a partner in their Marketing and Sales practice, will share insights about why it may be better to spend LESS time with customers, what customers really want, and what the value of sales reps is.

Sales Technology Overload: How to Select the Right Tools for Your Sales Organization

There are thousands of sales technology tools to consider, and all of them are jockeying for your time – and, more importantly, your budget. Most of these tools sound the same or promise very similar benefits. Many promise to deliver a huge ROI, as well as ease of use and implementation.

In this session, Sam Capra, RVP of Sales, East Coast, DxContinuum, Inc., will lead a candid conversation about steps you can take to eliminate some of the noise around identifying and selecting the right technologies for your sales team. You will walk away with a clear strategy on how to identify and select the right sales technology partner(s) for your company based on your goals, industry, and budget.

Bring your questions, as this will be a candid and interactive dialogue.

Coach by the Numbers: Using Call Outcomes to Drive Efficient and Effective Improvement (with Real Live Call Recordings!)

We all want to coach more, and more effectively, but how can we efficiently focus on having the most effective coaching conversations with those reps who need the most help? And how can we measure improvement immediately and reliably without waiting for whole sales cycles to play out?

Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectAndSell, will use real CRM call disposition data plus recordings of actual sales conversations to share a practical method of using dispositions to drive (and measure) coaching efficiency and effectiveness. Come prepared to “be the coach” as we get real about improving rep performance one step at a time.

Bring your questions, as this will be a candid and interactive dialogue.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves about Our Sales Performance – and Why We Believe Us!

Join J. Steven Osborne, Owner and CEO, Top Gun Sales Performance, for a (slightly) humorous view of the world of sales, sales leadership, and sales performance. We’ll explore why, as leaders, we don’t always get the results we want (and need) from our sales teams, and how the lies we have been told (and still believe) might be contributing to our disappointment. In the end, we think, you’ll see the sales world in a new light. And, you’ll be armed with a new and improved approach to how you build and lead your sales team.

Register now to join us in May at the Westin Boston Waterfront; early-bird registration rates expire March 17! For questions about this event, please contact events@salesdottwoinc.com.

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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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