Before You Look for the Next Gig

When I’m on the road, it’s Uber that usually gets me around town. (I need to try Lyft, too!)

One morning, though, I chose a taxi. Mind you, I’ve heard cab drivers all over the world complain about Uber. THIS cab driver, however, had no case.

He started driving and “kinda knew” the “general vicinity” of my destination. It turns out he had recently gotten a new phone but wasn’t yet acquainted with the map apps (Google Maps, Waze, etc.). Dude, what?!

I handed him my phone. He held it in his right hand while he steered with his left. Needless to say, we arrived safely, but homeboy did not have his shit together.

Consider this: Half of a company’s employees are disengaged at work, looking for another gig.

If you’re one of them, make sure you’re a) at the top of the leaderboard, b) significantly contributing to the business, c) bringing a positive, bright attitude to work every day, and d) able to show / support / backup / prove your track record of success.

If you cannot demonstrate these traits, you have no case. Get back to work – on your job, on your habits, and on yourself.

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My friends at AlwaysHired asked me to answer a few questions for their blog. The first part is here and the second will get published this summer.

How to Prepare for a Sales Development QBR

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.” Sun Tzu

It is common practice in business to have field sales reps (those in a closing role) present Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). The reviews are held just before a new quarter begins.

Sales Development Reps (SDRs), however, usually participate in the QBR presentation vs. prepare one themselves.

Two reasons why SDRs must learn to prepare a QBR:

(1) They learn to plan their work and work their plan and

(2) elevate their competencies, for when they are in a closing role.

Whether or not you’re asked to prepare and present a QBR, prepare one anyway – for yourself and the field sales reps you serve.

QBR’s are typically created in PowerPoint or Prezi, but can take on a variety of forms. Download this template.

The following suggestions assume the SDR is in a business-to-business (B2B) selling environment. They support field sales reps in a given territory, and are responsible for inbound lead qualification, outbound prospecting, or both.

Questions You Should Consider While Preparing

Thought-provoking questions (of yourself) will ensure you’ve thoroughly planned through the upcoming quarter. They’ll also open-up your mind, allowing you to approach your QBR creatively and with confidence.

  • How well does my QBR align with the overarching goals of the entire sales team?
  • How closely have I looked at the data in my CRM?
  • Can I articulate the milestones and trends in this territory?
  • Have I reviewed this with the field sales rep(s) I support?
  • Is this QBR insightful, informative, and concise?
  • How well have I anticipated and prepared for questions that may come up?
  • Is this the best I can do?

Most QBR presentations last one hour, so plan to build no more than five, maybe six slides. Tell a tight story for each slide, stick to the agenda, and you won’t need more slides.

For example, when reviewing the previous quarter, you could talk about the challenges you faced at the start of the quarter, and how you planned to address them. Then show the results of your efforts, and what insights you now have, heading into a brand new quarter.

Agenda Items to Include in Your QBR

When considering the agenda, think past, present, future. Use a tone of ownership, accountability, and leadership – telling things like they are, and no worse than they are; with an action plan you’re excited to execute.

The QBR summarizes your most current 30-60-90 day plan for the territory.

(1) Review of the Previous Quarter

Wins. For SDR’s, wins could mean a few things. Show the results, and also highlight how well you did against quota.  

  • # of opportunities created from inbound leads or target accounts
  • # of completed meetings
  • % of completed meetings with decision makers
  • # of completed online demos

Losses. For SDR’s, losses are defined by opportunities NOT added to the pipeline…or added, but removed, within a specific timeframe.

  • # of opportunities created that fell through (Closed Canceled or Closed Lost)
  • # of leads or contacts that have not responded
  • # of competitive takeaways
  • % of target accounts not yet contacted
  • % of meetings booked that have not yet occurred

Findings. Tell the organization what you’re seeing in the territory or in the role. Are people taking your calls? Have you run into the same competitors over and over again? Is your product offering resonating in the territory? Is Marketing supportive of your efforts?

  • The territory is comprised of only two verticals (oil & gas and manufacturing). We sell very little to those verticals.
  • There are two potential channel partners in the territory that we should contact.
  • In 80% of my conversations, these 3 features drove the whole discussion.
  • The competition will continue winning these RFP’s if we can’t update this particular piece of our product.

(2) Approach for the Current Quarter

When qualifying accounts or prospecting in a territory, you DON’T want to wake up and learn your high-value prospects went with a competitor. That news stings even more when you never even had a conversation with them.

Approach the quarter proactively – get started on the action plan, meet with key stakeholders (territory managers, counterparts from other departments, colleagues from your Sales Development team, your sales leader), and manage risk.

  • Key logos you have targeted, plan to engage, and intend to convert to pipeline
  • Competitive landscape (incumbents, FUD they’re spreading in your territory, relevant news)
  • Action plan (demand generation efforts, upcoming industry events, referrals, outreach cadence)

(3) Recommendations

This is your chance to suggest where help is needed and from what resources. Perhaps Sales Engineers can get involved in more initial calls; or maybe Marketing can craft relevant case studies to align with your territory; or the Sales Enablement team can invest in a tool to help automate and track your emails?

Whatever the need, backup your observations, suggestions, and requests with data. And socialize the need with the respective department, prior to raising the issue in the QBR.

One More Thing

Start preparing your QBR 2-4 weeks in advance of the new quarter. If Q1 begins on January 1, for example, then start framing-up your QBR around December 7.

If you’re NOT in Sales Development, and want to see what QBR’s look like for other roles, check out these articles:

 

If You Choose Sales Development as Your Profession, then Represent

If You Choose Sales Development, then Represent

Live from Dreamforce 2014

For technology fans, this year’s Dreamforce conference was off the charts. Bruno Mars and Cake performed, Tony Robbins kept everyone inspired and out of their seats; and influencers from Neil Young to Marc Andreessen to Reid Hoffman graced the stage.

Meanwhile, exhibitors like InsideSales.com hosted a number of Sales Experts, speaking on a wide range of sales topics. It was an honor joining the likes of Trish Bertuzzi, Anthony Iannarino, Jill Rowley, Barry Trailer, Kyle Porter, and Ken Krogue (to name a few) to share thoughts on our beloved profession.

They are all esteemed representatives of Sales and Sales Development, which fell right in line with the theme of my presentation: If You’re in Sales Development, Then You Must Represent.

“Representing” means leading by example, showing Sales and Sales Development in the best light, and serving the ecosystem. If you’ve chosen this as YOUR profession, then represent us well.

An Introduction to Hiring for the Modern SDR

An Introduction to Hiring for the Modern SDR

An eBook to Help Sales Development Leaders

Betts Recruiting is the premier recruiting firm that partners with the fastest growing, most innovative technology organizations in the US and Europe. The Betts team works intimately with hiring managers to fill Sales Development and revenue-generating roles.

A newly published eBook reveals what Betts Recruiting sees as “the modern SDR” (Sales Development Representative). The book helps Sales Development leaders find the best SDR’s on the market and build that dream team.

It’s exciting to see the Achievers SDR organization featured! Many Achievers SDR’s were sourced from Betts, and have continued to exceed quota and lead by example. If you’re building a team and seeking the best SDR’s, this eBook will certainly guide your approach.

How to Kill It in Sales in Q4

This was written to promote two different webinars.  – Wednesday, October 22, 2014 hosted by BrightTALK.
 – Thursday, October 23, 2014 hosted by Data.com

The Secret: Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

4899931October is a special month for sales teams. Most companies in the US follow a calendar fiscal year, and see October as a start to the final quarter of the year (Q4). This is when sales teams need to close-out deals and finish the year strong. At the same time, sales plans and Quarterly Business Reviews need preparation, to ensure the coming year starts right. No matter how you look at it, October is when salespeople need to plan their work and work their plan.

Think and act with these mindsets, and you’ll kill it in Q4.

Everything is Urgent

Major events like OpenWorld and Dreamforce BOTH occur in October; and each carves a week out of attendees’ schedules. People return to the office with maybe six weeks left in the quarter. December is typically when businesses wrap-up the year and head out for the holidays (which makes scheduling a meeting difficult).
  • Whip your email inbox into shape. Invest time responding to the most important messages, deleting the irrelevant ones, and organizing the others.
  • Schedule same-day or same-week appointments. Don’t procrastinate! Whether following-up on inbound leads or prospecting into an account, suggest meeting with the prospect that afternoon, or just 1-2 days later. After all, you’re just as booked as everyone else.
  • Walk faster. That’s right. When you put pep in your step, and literally pick up your pace, you generate a sense of hustle that becomes infectious to everyone around you.

Make Each Week Super Productive

There’s no time to screw around in Q4. Hack away at the unessential and tackle the tasks that will move you forward. Plan your success.
  • Take a “bookends” approach to the week: Mondays and Fridays are for internal meetings, research, and administrative work; Tuesdays to Thursdays are for sacred prospecting and meetings with prospects and customers.
  • Zero-in on who and what are most important. Talk to people you must contact or hear from to get things done.

See the Ball, Hit the Ball

People already know what’s required to win, but most don’t do that stuff. If you had a crappy year in sales, then create new habits, new rituals. Act like the best and you will become the best.
  • Select tools that will fine-tune the machine that is you. From Evernote to Momentum to Outlook, there’s a bottomless toolbox of technologies that will help.
  • Simply decide to finish the year strong. There are so many helpful ways to make it happen, so pick a few that make sense to you.
Try these out today and Q4 will be a breeze.
How to Motivate the Hell Out of Your Sales Team

How to Motivate the Hell Out of Your Sales Team

Tech businesses are experiencing a movement, called sales acceleration. It means to increase the velocity of the sales process. Ken Krogue and Dave Elkington, founders of InsideSales.com, hosted an online summit this year that featured thought leaders, authors, and specialists in sales acceleration.

In order to move any sales process along, sales reps must be motivated. Leaders regularly struggle with inspiring and re-inspiring their teams to take action. The problem is they, the leaders as people, aren’t motivating or inspiring.

In this brief talk, five areas are exposed to help leaders turn things around and motivate their team. A motivated sales team drives sales acceleration, which drives revenue to the bottom line.

The Advantage of Sales Plybooks

The Advantage of Using Sales Playbooks

Today’s B2B sales leaders keep talking about sales playbooks.  Google the term and you’ll see.
Over the last three years, for example, the largest Inside Sales association has featured playbook presentations in a third of its local and national events.

Experts like Reality Works GroupThe Bridge Group, and Qvidian advise and even craft sales playbooks for organizations, while powerful CRM apps guide sales teams through complex buying cycles online.

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If your company is considering a playbook, or looking to modify one that’s already in place, focus on WHY, WHAT, HOW, and WHO.  Then you can determine WHEN to empower the sales team with it (Hint: Now!).

WHY YOU NEED A PLAYBOOK

  1. To generate pipeline and drive revenue.
  2. To gather disparate, decentralized information into on place.
  3. To standardize messaging.
  4. To ramp new hires.
  5. To reinforce struggling reps and remind experienced reps.
  6. To increase productivity of reps.
  7. To drive a corporate initiative.
  8. To prevent things from falling through the cracks.
  9. To influence behavior.

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WHAT YOU NEED IN A PLAYBOOK

  1. A Table of Contents!  Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em.
  2. Checklists at the end of every section / chapter.  Leave no stone unturned, skip NO steps.
  3. Inspirational quotes.  Keep the team fired up and ready to rock at all times.
  4. Methodologies.  Whether it’s Solution Selling, Miller Heiman, Sandler, Challenger SellingJohn Barrows, or a hybrid of them all, it’s imperative to include them in your playbook.
  5. Email templates, talk tracks, qualification and discovery questions.  (Remember: Keep the questions open-ended.  Avoid yes-no questions!)
  6. A map of where to get / when to use marketing collateral, testimonials, and customer success stories.

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HOW YOU’LL DISTRIBUTE THE PLAYBOOK

  1. The “old school” way.  Hardcopy, spiral-bound book.  We’re talkin’ coffee stains on the pages, notes chicken-scratched throughout the book, and easy to carry around.
  2. eBook format.  Really simple to update and maintain version control.  Downloadable and portable.
  3. Mobile.  There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.  It’s simply where professionals live.

3786832WHO TO CHOOSE AS A STAKEHOLDER

  1. A sales leader that can oversee the project, collaborate with other teams (Marketing and Sales Ops, for example), and write well.
  2. A senior executive that supports the effort and drives adoption and usage.
  3. A representative from the Marketing organizationthat provides collateral and influences use of an SLA.
  4. A great graphic designer.
  5. A team lead.  An account executive that will gather feedback from the team and share use cases.

 

So, hop to it!  Start framing-up your sales organization’s playbook today.  The resources, the purpose, and the revenue targets are there.  If you’ve got questions or feedback, please share them in the Comments section below.

Apply These Five Philosophies to Your Work

Apply These 5 Philosophies to Your Work

The past does not equal the future, unless you choose to live there.  Infuse these philosophies into your daily work and incredible things will happen.

Get serious about your career; decide today to be a big success in everything you do.
Raise your standards.  Whatever your role, strive to become an expert.  Learn and absorb, then apply and contribute to the marketplace.  Help people get what they want.  Serve.

Success is something you attract by becoming an attractive person.
Success is not something you pursue.  The more value you bring to the marketplace, the more valuable you become.

You’re not here to survive this; you’re here to take charge of it.
Take initiative, ask questions, and find the purpose behind everything.  Treat your responsibilities as your business within the business.  Own, grow, and be accountable to your business.

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
You’re here for a reason, with unique gifts that are wasted if they’re not shared.  Leave it all out there.  Every day.  Go to bed exhausted from serving others.

Student: I’m discouraged.  What should I do?
Master:  Encourage others.
Face outward.  Stop thinking about yourself.  Stay in the sunlight.

Salespeople, Don’t Ignite All Your Fireworks at Once

There once was an annual fireworks show in San Diego that encountered a major malfunction.  All 7,000 fireworks blew off at once, with the ‘show’ ending in less than a minute.

Often times, sales reps light all their fireworks at once, too.  Without investing time and energy in researching or engaging their audience, salespeople unleash an arsenal of ambiguous noise about their company, their products, and themselves.

You hear it in their 80-second voicemail messages. They do it in online presentations, while you have the mute button on. It’s spelled out in their three-paragraph emails.  You see and smell it from a mile away.

And when fireworks like that are over, you just roll-up your blanket, pack your bag and head home. Maybe the next show will include space between each explosion, allowing you time to adore, process, and absorb the value.

20 Motivational Quotes for Salespeople

20 Motivational Quotes for Salespeople

Quotes can inspire, motivate, and just plain fire salespeople up.

Whether they’re beneath an email signature, framed on the office wall, or on a billboard, motivational quotes can drive salespeople to “get after it.”

Here are 20 motivational quotes to consider as you close out the month, begin a new quarter, or approach the day.  Just click here and download them from SlideShare.

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