“Be Human” (5 Social Selling Tips from the Sales 2.0 Conference)

Thanks to our social media sponsor, EndeavorCPQ, for putting together this recap featuring the best tips for social selling that emerged during the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas last month!

Posted in #s20c, Conference Sessions, Sales & Technology, Social Media | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Three Mind-Bending Stats about Sales from Xactly

It’s no secret that Xactly, provider of sales-compensation automation solutions,  is a data-driven company. In fact, over the past nine years, Xactly has collected data on 700 customers and 16,000 comp-plan designs (totaling $15 billion in payouts!) and rolled up that data into a report called Xactly Insights.

Xactly Insights



At the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18, Xactly CMO and EVP Scott Broomfield shared three intriguing pieces of data.

ONE: In companies where sales reps are hitting quota, turnover is higher than at companies where not many salespeople are hitting quota. Why is this so? Because the former are more proactive about filtering out bottom performers.

Xactly Insights

TWO: Women in sales are more likely to achieve quota (70 percent) than men (67 percent), yet women are, on average, paid less in base salary and commissions than men.

Xactly Insights women in sales earnings

THREE: The higher a company’s Glassdoor rating, the higher the percentage of sales reps who have one year or more of tenure with the company.

Xactly Insights Glassdoor rating

Broomfied also spoke at length about the intersection between sales and marketing teams and observed that the traditional “handoff” is a point of divergence. To illustrate this, he acknowledged that some attendees in the room were probably checking their smartphones or busy on their laptops while he was speaking.

“But there’s nothing wrong with that,” Broomfield said. “Why? Because some of you are getting the information you need from other sources or other places, or you’re prioritizing other things for some reason, and you’re just not receptive to my message right now.”

Broomfield says that this is exactly the mind-set that sales and marketing teams today need to adopt. Not everyone is tuning in to your message. Some people will never be tuned in to your message. Others would be happy to tune in, but they currently have other priorities. Still others are open and receptive in this moment. With predictive analytics, Broomfield says that it’s possible to identify those customers who are

  • currently receptive,
  • not receptive now but will potentially be later,
  • not receptive and will never be.

“You can’t blast generic messaging anymore,” Broomfield said. “You need to target the right person at the right time in the right way.”

For more information on Xactly, visit https://www.xactlycorp.com/

Posted in Conference Sessions, Conference Speakers, Motivation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Your Reps to Sell with Insights

selling with insights sales reps

Today, the pressure is on for salespeople to “sell with insight.” But what does that mean?

At the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18, Richardson CEO David DiStefano defined “insight selling.” As he explained, insight is “information or a perspective” that

  1. is based on credible research or relevant experience,
  2. is personalized to the buyer,
  3. opens the buyer’s mind,
  4. creates urgency and causes the buyer to act.

How many sales teams today successfully sell with insight? DiStefano said the numbers do not look good:

  • Only 1 in 10 executives report getting value from meetings with salespeople. (Forrester research)
  • Only 17 percent of executives grant a second meeting to a salesperson. (Forrester research)

Clearly, these numbers indicate that customers feel they are not receiving enough value from their interactions with salespeople. By contrast, someone who sells with insight will have productive initial meetings with customers and be invited back. The insightful seller will hear customers say,

“I never thought about it that way.”

“Tell me more.”

“You know, I hadn’t considered the risk of NOT doing that.”

“My boss was just talking about this the other day.”

These are all promising statements indicating that buyers’ minds are being opened and they’re receptive to hearing more (or, even better, actively taking next steps). But there is an inherent risk to selling with insight, and DiStefano said that many sales leaders are afraid their salespeople will fall flat on their faces (according to Richardson data, 70 percent of US executives are concerned that their salespeople lack the skills necessary to sell with insight). Here are three things that salespeople should keep in mind when selling with insight.

  • Don’t use statistics that “smell funny.” If your data comes from a study you sponsored, for example, buyers will probably be skeptical.
  • Don’t use numbers that are stale, outdated, or overused. You don’t want to hear your prospect say, “That’s an old number. New data actually suggests XYZ,” or “Your competitor was in my office yesterday and quoted the same number.”
  • If you’re referencing relevant experience (for example, customer case studies or informal information based on conversations you’ve had with other executives), watch for holes where the prospect might not see that relevance. For example, you don’t want to hear, “Well, that worked for that particular industry, but our industry is nothing like that.”

DiStefano stressed that sales leaders cannot expect salespeople to make a quick switch to insight selling. “We know the buyers have more power and more knowledge and engage us later in the sales cycle,” said DiStefano. “That is a significant challenge, and the switch to selling with insights is not something that just happens. You can’t just tell salespeople, ‘Go do this,’ and expect them to do it differently.”

To learn more about insight selling, visit http://www.richardson.com/What-We-Do/Learning-Solutions/Generate-Opportunities/Richardsons-Selling-with-Insights/.

[Image via Flickr / 드림포유]


Posted in Collaboration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

4 Powerful Public Speaking Lessons for Sales Leaders

This post is by Sales 2.0 Conference host Gerhard Gschwandtner and appeared originally here on the C-Suite Network blog. Join Gerhard at the next Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18. Register using code ggv200 for a $200 discount.

microphone speech

As a leader, you probably give speeches and presentations frequently — both formal and informal. I always see these experiences as opportunities not just to convey information and ideas, but also to motivate people and inspire them to action.

Whenever I host the Sales 2.0 Conference, for example, I love to improvise. It’s a lot of fun for me to be on stage in front of hundreds of B2B sales leaders. Because I’ve been in their shoes, I’m able to empathize with them and respond with authenticity to their concerns and challenges. I often skip slides or abandon them altogether so I can walk among the audience to ask questions and engage in a spontaneous dialogue. In my experience, the whole room becomes electric when I go off script because the audience doesn’t know what might happen next.

Although I’ve been on stage many times, I still find it valuable to learn from the speaking and communication styles of powerful and ultra-successful people. Some years ago, I accepted an invitation to attend the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. When I attend a conference, I always like to sit up front to enjoy a closer view of the speakers. As I walked down the aisle, I spotted an empty seat at the left front table and asked the people if it was okay to join them. They were kind enough to offer me the last empty seat at their table. As I introduced myself, I realize that I was sitting next to the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, opposite Maya Angelou and right across from Oprah and her friend, Gayle.

We spent the next two hours discussing ways we can help address world hunger and combat poverty. Everyone at the table shared their views, and Maya Angelou, in her booming voice, summed up the crux of the problem saying, “Poverty begins with poverty of the spirit.” Oprah was down-to earth, charming, disarming, authentic, lovable, and thrilling to hang out with. After this high-octane event, I researched her and some of the other extraordinary people I met. I read about their struggles and triumphs, travels and difficulties, victories and disappointments.

The biggest lessons I learned are these:

  1. It’s important to stay curious because we’re never done learning.
  2. If we study successful people from all walks of life, we’ll have a far greater chance of becoming a success.
  3. Most success comes from overcoming great difficulties.
  4. Sometimes not getting what we want can be a wonderful stroke of luck. It is often the beginning of a magnificent struggle that can lead to extraordinary success.

Keep these four things in mind the next time you speak to an audience, and your words will carry both wisdom and emotion.

I invite you to join me at the next Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18. Register using code ggv200 for a $200 discount.

Gerhard GschwandtnerGerhard Gschwandtner is founder and CEO of Selling Power and host of the Sales 2.0 Conference. 

[Top photo via Flickr / Will Marlow]

Posted in Conference Speakers, Sales Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mastering the Art and Science of the Sales Conversation

sales conversationAll great salespeople develop a talent for winning sales conversations. How can you tell when you’ve mastered this skill? To start, look at what you’ve gained (or lost) at the end of the exchange with the prospect or customer. The net result of a winning sales conversation should be at least one of three things.

  • The salesperson has establish rapport and/or a relationship with the prospect or customer.
  • The salesperson has advanced the sale.
  • The salesperson has closed the deal.

These very basic outcomes of sales conversations haven’t changed for decades. However, the environment in which those conversations are happening has changed drastically — and so have the tools we use to communicate with customers. So while your team might be focused on the right outcomes, they might not have the best tools to get the job done. Here are some of the most common obstacles to successful sales conversations in today’s selling environment.

Outdated or generic sales materials/demos. Customers are doing their own research online and they have less time and patience for materials that tell them what they already know. Also, they don’t want to hear information unless it’s relevant to them and their business — generic won’t cut it.

Lack of multiple communication modes (mobile, social, etc.). Customers want to communicate with your company when it’s convenient for them, in the mode that best suits their style. If that means they want to reach out via Twitter at 3 a.m., you’d better have a way to respond quickly. 

A stale and product-focused pitch. Again, customers no longer need salespeople for information about products and offerings. They have no need to hear all about you and your company. Instead, they want to hear about how you’ll deliver value to them in a way that addresses their unique challenges.

At the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas on September 18, many speakers will provide more detail about how you can help your salespeople avoid these missteps. In particular, these two breakout sessions below will be focused around insight related to the art and science of sales conversations.


Leon has been thinking differently about what mobile technology can do for sales and marketing. Learn from this disruptor who has developed some of the most forward-thinking mobile sales tools available. In this session, you will learn why the “pitch” no longer works; what to do differently to relate more effectively to your customers; and how mobile technology can support visual, interactive stories, providing a gateway to customer engagement.

FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT SALES PRODUCTIVITY INCREASE WITH ADVANCED SALES ACCELERATION — ARE YOU SERIOUS?!, a panel discussion moderated by Chad Burmeister, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at ConnectAndSell

Chad will be joined by panelists from Ceridian HCM and ClearSlide; they will share advanced sales-acceleration techniques that have helped them drive up sales-productivity improvements by an impressive 400 percent. Chad will also reveal what he’s learned based on personally delivering more than 15 million dials and 770,000 sales conversations in the past 12 months. (Note, this session will also feature $500 worth of giveaways  — in Vegas poker chips, of course!)

Register now for the September 18 Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1488784.

[Image via Flickr / opensource.com]

Posted in Conference Sessions, Conference Speakers, Sales Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What Type of Networker Are You?

by Alice Heiman

“It’s who you know.” People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Building these bonds generates business and keeps you on the forefront of your industry. It takes time, but it is critical. One of the most effective ways to build these bonds is to attend networking events.

Attending is just the start. How you interact and conduct yourself is crucial if these are to be successful ventures for you. If you’ve been to these events, you know that some people have an approach that is more successful than others. We are drawn to some people and repelled by others. Let’s have some fun finding out how to network successfully. Which type of networker are you?

The_WallflowerThe Wallflowers: These are the quiet and shy people who tend to show up, stay in one place the entire time, and not interact with anyone new. They wait to be approached. While they are polite, because they aren’t outgoing, they will leave with no new connections or acquaintances. If you are a wallflower, take an extrovert with you to your networking event so that he or she can introduce you to people. If you don’t know one, call the organization conducting the event. Ask if you can arrange for someone to meet you and take you around to meet people. There is no shame in that!


The Clingers: These people are a bit more “out of the shell” than wallflowers, but they’re comfortable only with people they know. While friendly, they tend to stay in the same circle and leave networking events having only caught up with their friends. If this sounds familiar, set a small goal of meeting two or three new people at the event, and ask your friends to make these introductions. You can still hang out with your usual pals and benefit from the new connections you make. If you’re having trouble meeting the goal, have some fun and ask your friends if they want to split up and each bring back one person for everyone to meet.

The_PusherThe “Pushers”: These are the ones everyone is trying to avoid. Pushers show up to networking events intending to tell everyone about what they sell and close the deal on the spot. They pitch at every moment and hand out more business cards than they can count. To those who do this: STOP. It’s annoying and won’t get you anywhere. Instead, relax. Stop selling. Make friends and build relationships. Ask questions and listen. While you are doing this, people will ask you what you do, and you can briefly tell them in a way that is engaging and makes them want to know more. If they do, you can make arrangements to meet after the event and continue the conversation.

The_ListenerThe Listeners: Talkers love this type. Listeners are afraid to talk about themselves because they don’t know what to say, so instead they stay focused on the other person. It’s nice to listen to others and learn about them, but they want to learn about you, too. Relationships require give and take, but if you only listen, then how do you have a mutually beneficial relationship? If you’re a listener, the best thing to do before attending a networking event is to prepare. Think about the type of people you may meet and what you will have in common with them. Practice how you’ll answer the question “What do you do?” Make your response engaging so that people want to know more. Have a story or two ready so that those you meet will be able to relate to you, and be prepared to participate in the ensuing conversation so that it doesn’t turn into an interview.

The_JesterThe Jesters: The jesters are the life of the party! If this is you, then you already know how fun you are. This person warms up a room and is always surrounded by a crowd. Attracting others is easy, but making a lasting connection may be harder when you are the entertainer. Here’s the key: remember that it’s still business. They may remember you, but will they know what you do or who they can refer to you? The goal of networking is to build relationships that lead to results. Try having a few smaller, intimate conversations. Make a lasting impression that will benefit your business.

Recognizing what type of networker you are is the first step. Then decide what type of networker you will be to get the best results. Try the “new” networking you at the next event you attend.

Join Alice Heiman as she emcees the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas as chief networking officer. To attend, register at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1488784.

Posted in Sales 2.0 Conference | Leave a comment

The Quest to Make Sales Training More Effective

sales training

Traditionally, the way we teach and train salespeople has looked a lot like the way we educate students in the public school system. As experts at CommercialTribe note, the approach is a simple combination of 1) teacher, 2) student, 3) curriculum. On their blog, they write:

“The students come through on the conveyor belt and they either understand, absorb, and apply that information to graduate to the next level, or they’re left behind.”

That model hasn’t changed much — but that’s not because it’s the best model out there. In fact, that model doesn’t account for a lot of factors. For example, some salespeople just don’t absorb information as well when they’re at the receiving end of a lecture as opposed to hands-on, experiential learning. Plus, we have all kinds of tools to communicate information that we lacked in the past, including interactive platforms that represent a far cry from the static lecture model.

According to experts at CommericalTribe, the application of sales training “hasn’t meaningfully changed since Dale Carnegie introduced his approach in 1937.” Lectures, classrooms, webinars, audio conferences — these are still the norm today, but they don’t have to be.

CommercialTribe is helping to bring sales training into the social age. In Las Vegas on September 18, CommercialTribe founder and CEO Paul Ironside will speak during a breakout session and share more about how interactive video and social tools are making sales training far more effective. If you’ve ever been frustrated by sales training, you’ll want to join us for this session. Attendees will learn the following.

  1. Why existing sales training consistently fails to stick.
  2. How new online video and social media tools can be leveraged to train in a whole new way that actually gets rep to practice.
  3. What results have been generated from this new approach.

Register now for the Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1488784

[Image via 1shots at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Posted in #s20c, Conference Sessions, Conference Speakers, Sales Training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Do You Embrace Change?

embrace changeWhat can sales leaders do to face the challenges that go along with change?

One theme that has carried throughout our events this year is the need to embrace change. Sales organizations are constantly facing unique challenges and unprecedented levels of competition. Many of our attendees report that achieving increased performance and higher levels of effectiveness is a struggle.

Scott Poore, Regional Manager, Customer Experience (CX) Applications at Oracle, will address this pressing question at the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas (see the full conference agenda here). On September 18, Scott will share:

  • how to build a modern sales organization that leverages the power of analytics and forecasting to help win more deals,
  • ways to maximize revenue potential and improve cross-sell and up-sell opportunities,
  • strategies to optimize sales performance and productivity by adopting an effective mobile deal management approach, and
  • how to improve sales alignment and effectively manage incentive-compensation plans.

Join us on September 18! Go here to register. (Want a discount code for $200 off? Use code ggv200 courtesy of Sales 2.0 Conference host and Selling Power magazine publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner.)

[Image via Flickr / kwanie]

Posted in Conference Speakers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

3 Unmissable Presentations for B2B Sales Leaders

We have assembled some terrific presenters for our September 18 event in Las Vegas. Here are some highlights we’re looking forward to. Haven’t registered yet? There’s still time. Book your spot by August 15 and save $130.

jenny dearbornJenny Dearborn, SVP & Chief Learning Officer at SAP will present “Driving Measurable Business Results with Strategic Sales Training: Intro to the Six-Step Process.” Sales-training results are among the easiest to measure. So why do some training organizations still miss the boat? Find out the answers with an action-packed 30 minutes of data and analytics, measurement approaches, and a straightforward six-step process that you can confidently take back to your sales leaders.

Register now to hear Jenny Dearborn in person on September 18 in Las Vegas. 

Amanda Kahlow Amanda Kahlow, CEO of 6Sense will present, “Using Big Data to Create a Sales-Marketing Handshake Relationship.” Traditionally, marketing has been viewed as a strictly “pre-sales” discipline—kept separate and silo-ed from the majority of the sales process. With today’s advances in big data and predictive modeling, companies can drive the critical “handshake relationship” between sales and marketing teams. Kahlow will discuss how B2B companies like Xactly, Blue Jeans, and Cisco are increasing lead conversions and surpassing revenue targets by leveraging big data and predictive intelligence. You’ll learn how to:

  • Understand where new revenues and customers are going to come from
  • Find and target net-new prospects as soon as they appear
  • Determine where prospects are in the sales cycle, what products are of interest, and the value of the opportunity
  • Focus marketing budgets on customers most interested
  • Deliver better-qualified leads to sales

Register now to hear Amanda Kahlow in person on September 18 in Las Vegas. 

Jon FerraraJon Ferrara, Founder & CEO of Nimble will present, “Growing Sales through Social Content, Conversations & Influence.” 

Buyer behavior has changed. Today’s buyers are Web and social-media savvy, informed about your offering – and your competitors’ – and starting the sales process without your salespeople and marketing messages. If you aren’t in the customer-influence discovery loop, you’ll find yourself locked out, and with multiple social channels available to engage prospects and their influencers, how do you determine who matters most, how to engage them, and how to manage it all?

During this engaging and informative session, you will learn

  • the power of influence,
  • how sales and marketing align with the buyer’s dynamic decision journey,
  • tips to amplify your social-selling story,
  • how to nurture relationships that lead to closed deals,
  • customer 2.0 expectations and engagement strategies,
  • the 5 E’s of social business.

Register now to hear Jon Ferrara in person on September 18 in Las Vegas.

Posted in #s20c, Conference Sessions, Conference Speakers, Sales 2.0, Sales 2.0 Conference | Comments Off

How to Measure the Strength of Your Customer Relationships

By Tom Cates

In the business-to-business (B2B) world, building great customer relationships is often the fastest and easiest way to meet or beat your sales numbers, as I discussed in my last post on this blog. I call this building “sales equity,” an expression for all the advantages you gain when you build trusted-advisor relationships with your clients.

I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation at the recent Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston, hosted by my friend and colleague Gerhard Gschwandtner. In the presentation, I showed how sales equity is crucial to rapid sales growth for B2B companies. For those of you who couldn’t attend, here’s a quick recap:

Customer Relationships: The Key to B2B Sales Success

Ultimately, companies don’t have relationships – individuals do. In my 30 years of research on this issue, I’ve found that a customer relationship is

a process, always changing, always moving;

a climate involving six distinct dimensions;

a perception based on logic, not emotion;

a value existing to meet professional and personal needs.

Essentially, a 1:1 relationship is a mutual investment, but what does it take to become invested in this kind of relationship?

Sales Equity As a Tool for Growth

Sales equity differs from product equity and brand equity. Product equity refers to the value of your product, while brand equity refers to the value of your corporate reputation. When you build these types of equity, you encourage people to buy things. In the B2B world, however, people don’t typically just buy things – they buy a relationship with you, and that makes sales equity a top priority.

product equity brand equity sales equity

Sales equity builds on product and brand equity to create an engine for sales growth.

My research and experience have revealed four levels to 1:1 B2B relationships:

Antagonistic: “I’m fuming!”

Transactional: “You’re fine.”

Predisposed: “You’re my favorite, but…”

Trusted Advisor: “You’re fantastic!”

The closer you come to being a trusted advisor to your clients, the greater your sales equity. As this occurs, you’ll benefit from reduced costs, more cross-sells and up-sells, longer average customer tenure, and a greater share of wallet.

Unfortunately, most company leaders don’t have a strong understanding of how their clients view them. That’s because they’ve never taken the time to measure these relationships on a 1:1 basis. I founded The Brookeside Group partly to address this problem. OurSalesEquity.com™ is a scientific and data-driven client feedback and coaching tool that has helped scores of clients boost revenue and cut marketing costs by strengthening 1:1 customer relationships.

Have you ever scientifically measured client relationships? If so, what were the results? I’d love to know.

As president of The Brookeside group, Tom Cates has established a research-based approach to uncovering the true value of a client relationship. As counsel to a wide array of industries and organizations, he helps companies tackle issues such as market research, customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty, process improvement, and change management. Cates has collaborated on three business books and is a recognized speaker at many events each year, known for his natural storytelling that inspires audiences to achieve better client relationships.

Posted in Sales 2.0, Sales Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment