Saturday, November 16, 2013

Balance = Bucks!

When the subject of Inbound demand generation is discussed among members of marketing you will often hear how “Inbound” and it’s sophisticated automation  has revolutionized the process of lead generation.  In many cases somewhere tucked in to the conversation you will also hear how “outbound” and its age old teleprospecting processes are old school, irrelevant and even considered to be dead.  

The reality is today's “Modern Teleprospecting “ makes both marketing and sales better.  For marketing it makes the work and investment done around demand creation more impactful and the activities of sales more productive.  In essence Teleprospecting has become “the glue” between both of these functions.

When teleprospecting teams are functioning properly they are not only instrumental  in enabling the deeper qualification of Inbound leads handed off by marketing but also pivotal in improving sales pipeline dynamics such as sale velocity, deal rates and selling price. As a result , teleprospecting makes sales more efficient.

On average teleprospecting makes about 100-120 dials per day with a conversation rate of about 25%. Whether they are following up on inbound inquiries or initiating self-generated cold call activities, without teleprospecting teams quota bearing sales reps would have to handle these responsibilities themselves. Activities that would occupy about 33% of a sales reps time. Clearly, low yielding activities relative to the yeild that would be produced if a sales rep was 100% focused on activites that closes business.

The most successful organizations recognize the balance required to run a high propensity demand generation campaign through “Modern Teleprospecting”. Both inbound and outbound lead generation not only has merit to coexist but also to be the catalyst to any highly functioning complex sales entity.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fearsome Focus

Time and time again distractions tend to interrupt our groove, take away from productivity and prevent us from reaching full potential.

Had enough?

Two simple answers:

First, put in place segments of your day into focus blocks. I call it "Paytime". This is the time in the day where you prioritize your activities that yield the highest results. Whether it be cold calling or balancing the budget, schedule 45/15 time blocks. Translation...45 minutes of absolute uninterrupted time on the activity followed by 15 minutes of catch-up activity (emails, follow up etc.)
- Alert your peers that you are implementing a new plan to increase sales

- When people interrupt you during these blocks (and they will) gently but firmly tell them you'll connect with them 45 minutes past the hour (or whenever your 45 minutes end). Honor your commitment and follow up with people who need it.

- Be consistent about the application of the process; try to schedule similar activities for the same time every day.

-Condition your colleagues to expect to hear back from you on urgent emails at the bottom 15 minutes of the hour.

-Schedule time to talk to your colleagues rather than dropping in.

Second, get help! You don't have to do everything yourself.
I can do it faster and better myself are the fatal last words of the overwhelmed who never acheive their potential.

Take advantage of available resources. Hire a virtual personal assistant to handle low value activities. Low value activities are the biggest time wasters for sales people. Job out your excessive internet research, data entry, confirming or changing appointments and customer service issues. Be creative...customize your needs/requirements.

For $40 per month you can hire an assistant who will handle basic tasks for you; for around $250 month you can hire an assistant for 20 hours. These assistants are highly skilled at taking care of the administrative and life tasks that you waste time on. You can even try them for free for a week. Go to

Take back your day and make the most of every minute.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reenergize Your Sales Meetings

Is your sales staff tired of the same old weekly sales meetings?

Incorporate some basic technology in the form of video and audio taping to stimulate your team, elevate their skills and create more competition.

Just like a swimmer may be taped under water to see how effectively their stroke moves them through the water, reps can highly benefit from seeing and hearing how they execute and close deals.

For Outside teams- Incorporate videotaping into your training. Pair your reps into buyer/seller teams to simulate a typical meeting. Have your reps be prepared to handle a predetermined selling subject. Incorporate power points, lots of objections, unannounced curve balls and some hostile selling environment scenarios to fully leverage the reps learning experience.

Inside teams- Incorporate audio recordings of a typical meeting between buyer and seller. Position your reps so they have their backs to each other. In doing so, tonality is how the buyer and seller read each other over the phone. If you want to take the scenario to the next level, connect a tape recorder to the phone so that your reps can make calls from two separate locations. Add on-line demos to the program where the buyer is in the conference room with the rest of the team and the seller is in a remote office. Have the team make notes on the quality of the on-line demo while the audio tape is running.

Be creative and vary the meeting content/business situations. Design a meeting program that runs over the course of 3 - 6 months. Each month the meetings should progress from 1st meetings , 2nd meetings, negotiations, crisis management to close. Again be creative and adapt this concept to your business model.

Create as much of a realistic selling environment as possible. Conduct all of your taping in separate rooms from the balance of your team.

Throw some twists into the exercise by having an unannounced manager,buying committee member or executive join the meeting. This allows your reps to think on their feet and position themselves for reality.

Once each rep has completed the exercise...hold a sales meeting where the reps have a rating card for each presentation. Have them view/listen/critique and judge the best presentations. The winner receives a cash prize ($ 100 or so). Over the course of the program $600 can be won.

Critique should include:

Tonality, Body Language, Demo Quality, Script, Presentation Process, Engagement/Questioning/Problem Solving Execution, Listening Skills, Closing ETC.

Make the process fun and keep it competitive!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Big Picture -Little Wins Are Big Wins!

Every sales pro is driven by the big deal "wins", the "yes".... and the "multi digit commission checks!" That's pretty natural since we need to prove to ourselves every day that we are superhuman and wired to kick ass on every sales number EACH AND EVERY DAY! Anything less is simply failure! Right? WRONG!

There is no question that the most successful sales professionals are results driven and a special breed! Highly disciplined approaches to planning and execution are on our minds 24/7 in order to crush the numbers! But what happens when, for some reason, we hit some speed bumps and for a day or two.....or even a week or two those highs we're used to from the daily yes and signed deals comes to a stall? What barometer are we going to use to gauge success for these slower days?

The most accomplished reps are very pragmatic. Little wins lead to big wins. Step outside the box for a moment and take a look at your daily activities....those activities that DRIVE your day. A little win can be anything from setting two appointments a day, delivering an on-line presentation, converting a prospect into an opportunity or having 3 high quality 2 minute long (or longer) phone conversations/day. Whatever your criteria may be, set your expectations...get them up on your whiteboard and cross them off throughout the day! These are wins!

Finally, your last activity to cross off is your action list for the upcoming day. Don't blow it off until the next're wasting your time if you approach your day so unprepared. Hammer out, for fifteen minutes, your schedule..... tasks and goals for the day. Be ready to go for the AM!

Selling is very much a mental process. With all of the objection we face daily we must have daily trigger points and feeling of accomplishment ever day to stay focused long term.

So, how was your day? AWESOME!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Deals Stalling On You? Don't Hold Your Breath!

Many of you have been faced with the situation where your "HOT" prospect for some strange reason has gone cold.
The scenario is pretty typical and goes something like this.....For weeks you had great communication with your prospect, demonstrated undeniable value, ability to solve a problem and SEEMINGLY on the verge of closing the deal. Suddenly the prospect goes into hiding.
Days and maybe weeks go by where you can't get a hold of your contact causing you to wonder whether the deal is stalled or dead.
We all know there are most likely roots to the cause here...Did you agree on next steps? Were you at the correct level? Did you ever discuss budget? Whatever the reason you are now in damage control mode to determine where the opportunity stands in the funnel.
What should you do? How do you get the buyer to level with you ASAP?
That's right..GO NEGATIVE!
The fastest way to determine if, in fact, buyer interest and commitment exists is to call the buyer out and test them on their intentions to move forward.
Give them the easy out to "say no".
Your goal is to initiate a responce and realistic intention.
Here are a couple of ways to address the issue:
  • "Your a bit confused as to why you haven't heard from the buyer. Politely mention you were under the impression you were close to having a deal but based on "no response" it is clear that you have no interest in the proposal. Add a line in the message that infers the buyer probably doesn't see a good fit and you will be moving on. Be clear that both of your time is valuable, keep an open invitation for down the road and wish them luck. If there is no further interest it is easy for the buyer to respond to that intention because they do not want to be "hunted" at this point."
  • Let the buyer know that you have been trying to get in touch with them for (days /weeks) with no response. Politely tell them, based on "no responce" it is pretty clear that this is most likely not the "right timing" and the proposal doesnt seem to have high priority- thus you will be moving on/closing the file. Again, if the buyer intends on moving forward you will most likely get an update on a closing timeline quickly. If NO is the answer, you made it easy for them to opt out.
The point is to walk away from a deal when extensive uncertainty exists. Chasing buyers and dead opportunities wastes valuable time, inflates your funnel and negatively impacts your quota.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting The Most From Your Team!

Looking to implement a new strategy that will immediately impact your sales team performance?

If so, step outside "the box", be creative and implement a concept that enables your sales team to draw off of each other's individual skills. Let's be clear.. I'm not referring to the typical generic role playing sessions or tag alongs. I'm talking about "micro-mentoring".

Pair each rep with another rep that has strengths the other may struggle with. Do not pigeon hole yourself by simply placing new hires with tenured or rookies with seasoned reps. Regardless of tenure or experience there are always valuable skills to be learned from each other.

The key is to be deliberate in your evaluation of each reps strengths and weaknesses and assign proper mentor placement.

As a general rule of thumb refer to your sales team Policy and Procedure Play Book. Execute a thorough evaluation of of each reps acumen and current knowledge base. Determine which steps in the sales process the other excels in and pair strengths to weaknesses accordingly.

Example: Some reps are stronger cold calling, utilizing technology, corporate mapping, administration and networking while others are stronger in the transitional phases of the sale, conceptualizing, questioning/closing tactics, CRM navigation, etc.

Take the time and drill down on each detail!

Assign quotas for each team and allow them to leverage each others skills to be more productive and close more deals.

Allow each mentoring team access to private conference rooms to nurture skills, brainstorm, build business plans and prepare for client presentations.

Create sales team contests to build relationships and a more competitive environment.

Evaluate each micro-mentor team as one unit.

Finally, keep the approach fresh and periodically switch the teams up ( recommend annually) . The goal is to allow your team to continue to educate and elevate each others performance!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gatekeeper Tips

Among all of the roadblocks faced in the sales process most would arguably agree that the GATEKEEPER is one of the biggest obstacles. Charged with the responsibility of carefully screening calls, gathering information for their boss and, in many cases abruptly forwarding your call to lower level staff, the GK can be your best friend or worst enemy.

So, the question is how is the best way to hurdle these barriers?

Here are some tips:

  • When the GK is open to learning more about the reason for your call but not willing to connect you to the DM (Decision Maker) get the GK involved and engaged. Tailor your presentation on how you can help the GK. If they ask for information send a hand written note/envelope- - better chance to be opened! Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn to see what topics and what individuals they are following. Be polite and ask for their advice. Do your research, be prepared and be genuine at building your relationship! Executed properly will get you a plug to the DM and on the calendar!

Ex- If you sell insurance products the value to the GK may be all of the administrative tasks associated with health care, payroll and HR are handled by the vendor- thus saving the GK multiple hours of administrative work. Be creative!

  • When the Gk is stone cold and not very receptive the challenges are a bit more complex. How about sending the GK and the DM a handheld tape recorder with a customized greeting and invitation to meet. Always send two recorders with two separate recordings customized individually. Follow this up with a calender invite or a creative and fun greeting card to both the GK and DM. The DM's card can even have a picture of him/her on the front of the card..This will get their attention!

Don't let the GK stop you cold in your tracks. Remember the movie "Wall Street"? Bud was persistent, creative and personable with the QUEEN of all GK's and finally got in to see the MASTER behind the 20 foot tall double doors!