Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
September 6, 2017

#560. The Value of Salespeople According to B2B Buyers. With Steve Martin and Katie Bullard.

Steve Martin, technology sales author, sales researcher, Founder of Heavy Hitter Sales Training, and adjunct Professor at USC, and Katie Bullard, Chief Growth Officer at DiscoverOrg, join me on this episode of #Accelerate! to discuss their new report on B2B buyer preferences.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

[4:01] People hear Steve Martin, and they smile. He has to go by Steve W. Martin. Steve says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is customer attention span. Attention spans have been shrinking for years, influenced by technology.

[5:46] Katie explains the DiscoverOrg report, “Why Didn’t They Buy: A Deep Dive into Buyer Preferences, and Implications for Salespeople,” primarily authored by Steve. The goal is to share knowledge of buyer behaviors to adapt seller behaviors.

[8:18] The report notes that buyers rank feature sets among competing products as equal. Factors other than product determine the sale. The sales cycle is the process of ferreting out the truth from confusing product claims.

[9:53] Buyers are more informed today than ever. One of the findings of the report is the influence of the internet, and how buyers use it. Steve says generalizations have exceptions. Katie talks about selling to sales, vs. selling to marketing.

[13:41] Selling to personas encourages rigidity. People belonging to a persona are not identical. Sales methods fit the pitch around the persona, not around people. Selling fits around people, not personas, so, human connection is vital.

[17:14] In our lifetime, AI will not replace reps. The report gives six topic areas. First is Risk. Buyers see most reps as average or poor. People with degrees in the sciences have a lower view of salespeople, which affects their tolerance for risk.

[23:13] Buyer perception of reps and buyer willingness to take risks are inversely proportional. At the low end of risk are government and health care. At the high end are fashion, entertainment, and real estate. RFPs protect against reps.

[25:09] Group Dynamics is the second topic. There are several influencers on a buying committee, but the main one to convince is ‘the bully with the juice.’ This dominant person is not afraid to go against the flow. Steve explains how they buy.

[32:09] Vendor Market Position Advantages is the third topic. Buyers don’t care if you are the first, second, third, or lower in your industry market, just so your name is known. Buyers do not like unknown quantities.

[36:39] Topic four is Websites. Topic five is Selling Style. Buyers prefer friendly, moderately knowledgeable reps over personally cold, highly knowledgeable reps, and charismatic but unknowledgeable reps. Fit your approach to the buyer.

[42:23] Topic six is Buyer’s Regret. Buyer’s remorse is largely not the salesperson’s fault. Steve asked buyers to explain their buyer’s remorse. He found 10 root causes, and 70% of the time, the root cause was an action of the buyer.

[44:54] It is critical to manage expectations throughout the process, and especially, right after the contract for a complex order is signed, so there is mutual understanding of the deal, and no confusion. Buyers have a short attention span.

August 29, 2017

#555. How to Be a Power Connector. With Judy Robinett.

Judy Robinett, startup funding expert, advisor to investors and startups, and author of a great book, titled, How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:24] Judy says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is getting sales in the first place. New technology is overwhelming. Meeting someone face-to-face means a 10X faster connection and the possibility of getting your ask.

[3:04] Andy recently wrote about a new sales tool, called ‘meeting people face-to-face!’ It got a very positive response. People have to know you, like you, trust you.

[4:46] Tech tools are about the seller. The focus should be on helping the customer gather information to make a good decision with the least investment. Judy says the tools are coming. She recently judged a pitch event in NY about AI/VR.

[5:58] Geoff Colvin writes that people become more valuable than AI for face-to-face connection. Judy shares an experience and smart suggestions for networking and joining groups.

[9:04] Judy’s shares core beliefs of successful connectors, be authentic, be yourself, show a level of generosity. Do a value match. Include people in your network who have a good head, a good heart, and a good gut. Judy would let Oprah in.

[10:43] Business relationships are relationships first. Ask three golden questions: How can I help you? What other ideas do you have for me? Who else do you know I should talk to? Judy gets introduced to billionaires, and is on panels with them.

[12:30] Judy talks about how she did some homework, found what Mark Burnett needed for an upcoming production, lined up resources, and got a meeting with him, where they agreed they could help each other. Get out of your comfort zone.

[15:45] Take initiative, research, find ways to give value to people, and you will grow your network. Everybody has problems and needs. Judy talks about how she was invited to the White House the first time.

[17:52] Judy gives some examples of how she has helped various billionaires and other influencers, and how she was asked to be a CEO of a company.

[18:50] Elevator pitches are off-putting if not expected. Listen to people about their family, their pet, their finances, and their health. Don’t pitch before a relationship exists. Have a diverse, network of people you know. Treat them as good friends.

[24:06] Judy recommends making it a point to let people know you are humble about your success, and grateful for it. Show people you are a human being. Automation will not replace you. Please help me are three powerful words.

[27:40] Ask, “So, tell me, how are you doing?” This is much different from “How ya doin’?” Judy gives groups of three questions that can push discussions and decisions forward.

July 19, 2017

#514. BAM! Pow! The One-Two Punch of Knockout Prospectors. With Tony Hughes.

Tony Hughes, Founder and Managing Director of RSVP Selling, blogger, and author of a couple of books, including The Joshua Principle, and his latest book, Combo Prospecting: The Powerful One-Two Punch That Fills Your Pipeline and Wins Sales, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:59] Tony says the biggest challenge facing sales reps is breaking through to the people they need to engage, to help them. Buyers are bombarded with email and lots of noise.

[2:48] Combo Prospecting: The Powerful One-Two Punch That Fills Your Pipeline and Wins Sales, is enthusiastic and energetic. Tony addresses why he wrote it at this time. Insufficient pipeline is a symptom that people don’t have the right mindset.

[4:24] Tony thought there were some aspects missing from prospecting, that he wanted to include in his book. One is to use the phone again as a social selling channel. The point is to create a human engagement with people. Social is one part.

[7:04] Sales is hard, but Andy doesn’t find it harder than pre-internet days. Cold calling is not dead, but it is difficult. Tony recalls the gatekeepers; now voicemail is the gatekeeper. It is a shock to get through to a live person.

[12:01] Sellers have become passive, quiet, fearful, and lazy. It is easier to look on LinkedIn than make a call. Tony gives a couple of company case examples. No phones on the sales floor! All in on social! Tony says the phones came back!

[14:31] Tony says it takes a multi-threaded strategy with the right combination. He suggests Sales Navigator to identify the powerbase of an organization — all the influencers that would matter. Message with value by phone, cell, email, and text.

[19:26] Tony explains the Law of Principal Disinterest. Don’t be desperate, especially about the prospects you already have. If you come across as overeager, you push people away. Look for people you can help with a really good fit.

[21:50] 3-5X coverage of your pipeline is needed. Tony gives some ideas how to get there. First, know your ICP. Do win reviews, not loss reviews. Ask the client what trigger caused them to go down the path that ended with a buying decision.

[23:45] “Selling is not about me or my success. It’s about my customer and my commitment to helping them achieve a far better state of affairs in their business and their personal life.” — Tony Hughes

[24:23] Conversion rates of pipelines are dropping, and deal size is getting smaller as well. Tony says the way we open is far more important than the way we close. Anchor the business case up front.

[28:22] Tony talks about failure to reach quota. Some quotas are too high. Assess the territory and the prospects, to set quotas. Don’t raise it by a percentage. Watch out for expense management, which is a scheme to limit commissions.

[31:52] Revenue is the metric that matters. We need to recognize the long-term value of the client. The way people are buying has changed. We need clients to be market advocates for us, as well.

May 25, 2017

#467. How to Use CRM to Nudge Sales Forward and Get Things Done. With Michael FitzGerald.

Michael FitzGerald, CEO at OnePageCRM, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:42] Michael is also the product person at the company, and he asks clients to contact him by email with product issues.

[3:24] Michael follows David Allen’s GTD task management philosophy. OnePageCRM focuses on getting things done on time. Sales is a sequential set of tasks, and OnePageCRM organizes the tasks proactively in order. Tasks rise as needed.

[6:48] You should always know the very next action to take with your prospects. So, right after you take an action, you input the next action, while the encounter is fresh, and you have good insight for what is needed, and when.

[9:13] Each message of value to the prospect should have an expected response, and the response should be followed by a planned new message of value to the prospect. With OnePageCRM, you readily anticipate the prospect’s needs.

[10:38] Michael designed OnePageCRM for the salesperson, and built it out to meet management reporting needs without burdening the salesperson. It is meant to be as easy as email, and to approach zero admin. Add a contact with one button.

[17:37] Michael works to reduce the number of questions in people’s heads, both in sales, and for salespeople using the app. Just as the prospect should have a clear buying path, the salesperson should use the CRM easily, without challenges.

[20:09] The business owner seller is not the intended user of the OnePageCRM; it is most valuable for small sales teams, selling to companies with multiple stakeholders. As its name indicates, it is an interactive list page you work from all day.

[23:22] Only relevant actions show up on the page. Each sequence is a perpetual loop that continues to the next action and date you have specified, until the sale is complete.

[26:32] OnePageCRM focuses attention on the one thing to be done, so nothing happens late, or out of sequence.

[28:27] As Michael learned sales, he kept finding the message, “To increase sales, increase sales actions.” He took this to mean increase calls, mailings, appointments, and other small consistent interactions to build trust. He calls these nudges.

May 6, 2017

#451. How to Engage the C-Suite. With Sharon Gillenwater.

Sharon Gillenwater, Founder of Boardroom Insiders, and CXO engagement strategy expert, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:35] Boardroom Insiders provides in-depth executive profiles to large tech vendors, to engage the C-suite on a personal level. Sharon was a consultant, and was asked her how to sell to the C-level. After research, she started the company in 2008.

[5:08] Boardroom Insiders has around 12K executive profiles in their database, which is constantly updated, and available by subscription. They have tracked some of the executives, from company to company, for almost 10 years.

[6:05] LinkedIn and contact databases tell you who to contact. Boardroom Insiders tells you what they want to talk about. If you call an executive with no credibility of your own, you won’t get a second chance.

[7:31] Sharon discusses decision makers outside the C-suite. Sometimes they come to no decision, which is a bigger obstacle than the competition. Teams demand integration between unlike products. C-suites can influence the sale.

[12:16] Sharon says you work with stakeholders, decision makers and the C-Suite. It is not simply a matter of engaging the CEO. Work all the levels.

[14:05] Sharon includes business unit heads in the C-suite category, as they make many of the tech decisions. The perception of what C-suite is has expanded as new titles have proliferated. Sharon discusses new digital expectations.

[15:57] Sharon walks through the enterprise sales process, including automation tools, brand presence, content marketing, and the one-to-one value proposition CEOs expect. Most sales teams save the CEO focus for the largest accounts.

[19:07] The ABM/ABE model needs to be in place at an enterprise for the Boardroom Insiders database to be useful. The data gives the opportunity to personally engage at the highest level, within a very targeted group of accounts.

[21:41] ABE allows you to define plays and develop playbooks. But a generic invitation does not work with the C-suite audience. It takes a personally relevant call from their executive peer.

[27:24] The human touch in selling is making a ‘comeback.’ There are no automated silver bullets.

[29:38] Sharon explores why field marketing controls the data, and feeds it to sales. Sales may not have the budget. It’s often the way SaaS is organized.

[31:12] Sharon would like sales to have better access to the data.

 

April 6, 2017

#425. How to Engage the Interest of Prospects. With Jeff Schmidt.

Jeff Schmidt, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Services at ClearSlide, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:41] Jeff got started in sales selling contingency placements as a search consultant. He moved into a full-time sales job for VMX, selling call processing software (early voicemail). He sold by cold calling on the street.

[2:08] Jeff tells of his SaaS sales journey, leading to his move to ClearSlide to sell solutions for sellers and marketers. Jeff is excited to be selling a product he uses everyday!

[4:00] The biggest internal challenge facing sales reps, is getting the sales stack to work effectively. The biggest external challenge, is aligning buying and selling processes effectively; knowing where the customer is, and what they need next.

[7:02] Sales reps already know how to send out emails, but as far as calling goes, they need to know better what their audience wants to talk about, to have it ready to discuss, and to conduct the interaction to move the sales process forward.

[9:19] Managers need to coach reps on their engagement skills, and also on their reporting compliance.

[10:22] ClearSlide, a sales engagement platform, has three pillars: Content (for interaction), Communications (reporting the interaction), and Insights (helping sellers prepare for the next conversation).

[16:18] The last mile of the buying journey is critical. Jeff tells how to inform the prospect, and align with their progress.

[17:44] Sales insight into stakeholders is crucial, whether in small companies or large.

[18:46] Jeff asks, how do you solve ‘hopecasting?’ There is a reticence to adapt processes to fit reality. Leadership must be accountable for insights; marketing must provide and curate content; sellers must be accountable for executing sales.

[21:59] “We can live and work with yeses and noes, but maybes are killers.” — Jeff Schmidt. Engagement data provides important qualitative insights.

[24:16] Proceduralize and understand what you want from each tool in the sales stack. Integration involves not only the technical flow of data, but insights informing the conversation.

[25:33] Jeff explains how to qualify prospects. Qualify properly, or disqualify properly. These directed events provide additional insight to work on productive leads. Percentage of conversion of pipeline is an important metric.

March 22, 2017

How To Create Value for Your Prospects. With Jack Kosakowski. #412

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Jack Kosakowski, Global Head of B2B Social Sales Execution at Creation Agency.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:58] A sales professional for 12 years — in manufacturing and tech — Jack found a niche in social sales. His passion is integrating social into B2B sales.

[2:55] Jack gives his straightforward assessment of the single biggest challenge sales representatives face today. He follows up by describing a general problem with the SDR model.

[4:35] What happens to the sales process, in companies under high pressure to grow?

[5:36] Jack talks about shortcuts that turn out not to be pathways to sales success.

[7:36] The discussion turns to training issues.

[8:40] Jack has advice for marketing and sales alignment.

[11:27] What is different about B2B selling today, than before the use of the account-based sales model?

[14:22] The Art vs. the Science of Sales: the Debate. Jack would like to know the sales equation, if there is one.

[15:10] Jack covers building the right team, creating the right processes, stacks, and sales training strategy.

[18:05] Jack talks about questions sales representatives ask.

[20:57] How to dig deeper.

[23:50] Jack has learned more empathy for the buyer by being pitched. What skills has he seen lacking, among sales reps who called on him? Could they have given more memorable value?

[30:11] How does social media selling allow the sales professional to sell proactively?

March 18, 2017

Small Talk Leads to Sales Talk. With Stephanie Melish. #409

Stephanie Melish is an inspirational speaker and certified business coach.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:09] Stephanie learned sales, and is certified as a business coach and trainer. She wants to impact her community.

[4:39] Stephanie finds the biggest challenge for salespeople today to be lack of experience. Stephanie’s experience came in fund raising. Some entrepreneurs have no sales experience.

[6:00] What does Stephanie say about process, procedure, and scripts? What is the role of knowledge and authenticity?

[6:54] Stephanie has suggestions to replace verbatim scripts. How does she feel when somebody reads at her?

[9:28] To build rapport, embrace who you are, and learn who the prospect is. Know the area code you are calling, and current events there, like sports, and research the social profile of the person. Small talk leads to business talk.

[13:33] Stephanie wrote an article on November 7, about her convictions on the election. What did she say that spiked her unsubscribe numbers?

[15:18] Is it necessary for one woman to break a glass ceiling, either in politics, or in the sales profession? Stephanie urges people to continue to improve themselves, and put their work ethic to good use, to strive to get ahead independent of their gender.

[20:10] Stephanie gives advice to females. Don’t think of sales as a dirty word. Salespeople build relationships. They don’t conduct transactions. Sales is a service. If you are excited about solving problems through relationships, that is sales.

[24:31] Stephanie wrote about Scandal, and Olivia Pope. What is a fixer, and how is a salesperson a fixer in a positive way? Sales is leadership.

[26:19] Stephanie discusses behaviors of a successful leader. What is most important?

[29:04] How do you discover prospect expectations? How can unknown expectations derail a deal? How can you make sure that you exceed expectations?

March 11, 2017

WOW Your Prospects to Take Their Eyes off the Price. With John “JD” Dwyer. #403

John “JD” Dwyer, CEO of The Institute of WOW, on the Gold Coast of Australia.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:45] The Institute of WOW is all about creating wow factors, to take your client’s eyes off the price. Andy asks how JD got Jerry Seinfeld to star in an Australian building society’s ad campaign. There’s a great story!

[10:02] Companies hope to be different, but “live in a sea of sameness.” Without a real wow factor, like the Apple iPhone, you’ve got to create an artificial wow factor. McDonald’s Happy Meal toy takes your eyes off the price.

[11:41] JD had a moving company differentiate themselves by offering a two-person holiday to the Gold Coast, to have Mrs. Homemaker take her eyes off the price.

[12:57] JD has a framework system for adding the wow factor. Identify your most profitable customer, and look for more who look like them; decide on the wow factor. JD has tested them all, and holidays, fuel discounts, and alcohol, are “evergreen.”

[16:38] A turf farm didn’t care to discount, but they had an end-of-season surplus. They offered a carton of Crown Lager Premium with every home’s worth sold. They ran out of turf, even though landscapers could have bought their own beer!

[17:28] Buyers of goods have short attention spans, decide quickly without analysis, want to satisfy a demand, and like something of value for free. So, capture their attention, and they won’t look at the price.

[18:50] How do B2B sales professionals create their personal wow? JD gives sales behavior advice.

[19:25] JD suggests you will double conversions by offering a premium and a deadline: “I will give you an XYZ bonus, if you make a decision by 5:00 p.m., Friday.” Or, “I’ve only got 52 of these available, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

[21:03] The law of reciprocation says offer something of value with every contact. Have a landing page to showcase your value. Most sales professionals don’t even do LinkedIn well, but a personal website of your own, with your video, is best.

[26:18] Everybody buys a solution to a problem. Theatrically highlight to the audience that you are the solution to their problem. Marketing and Sales share this tactic.

[26:40] People will pay more to eliminate pain, than they will pay to enjoy pleasure. They will pay more, if it is an enduring solution to the pain.

March 2, 2017

Boost Conversions with “Email-First” Cold Calls. With Conor Lee. #395

Conor Lee, is Founder and CEO of HipLead.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:57] HipLead helps B2B sales and marketing teams scale their outbound sales, by providing very high-quality targeted lists. They consult with organizations to help run high-performing outbound sales.

[2:48] Conor discusses SaaS team “email-first” cold calling. Cold calling without email is extremely cold. HipLead ran tests that showed “email-first” cold calls produced a two-to-three times increase in prospect-to-meeting rates.

[8:15] The first 0-9 seconds of a call serve to put the contact’s defenses up. If the client has read an email, and is expecting a call, the SDR has a reason to follow up, and it eases the transition to the topic of the conversation.

[10:59] A pithy subject line is relevant, with industry specifics, or client specifics, or asks a relevant engaging question that matters to them. It passes the Turing Test.

[13:25] HipLead usually creates a matrix of the audience, their industries, why their industries care about this, and relevant body content. They make a second matrix of contact role to company size, and a matrix of pain points by organization role.

[15:44] The matrixes are divided granularly so that the pain point matches the group of contacts. It may not resonate with everybody, but it produces a predictable response rate. The more information provided, the better the response.

[16:50] A/B testing of emails is essential to measure results, and there is a cumulative effect with continuing A/B testing and branching on the positive side. The copy needs to evolve.

[21:10] Andy wonders exactly what Connor meant when he said that 20 years ago, selling was simpler! Conor meant today there are a lot of channels and tools being thrown at salespeople, and it’s a lot to balance. A key skill is prioritization.

[27:14] HipLead tags emails as interested, neutral, not interested, take me off your list, and no reply. They prioritize calls to the interested, and the neutrals, before not interested. Call everyone that replies, except for asking to be removed.

[31:52] If the list is very targeted, send out 50 at a time, and call everyone who opens it. Call each within 20 seconds, if possible. Call no later than five minutes after they open it.