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.

How to Nail an SDR Interview: 7 Tips

6108332SALES DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVES (SDRs) play a critical role in B2B organizations. They are responsible for inbound lead qualification and outbound prospecting. SDRs drive revenue pipeline for the business, by qualifying (and disqualifying) prospective accounts. 

Interviewing well for a spot on the sales development team is equally critical.  Just as SDRs must give fabulous first impressions to potential customers, interview candidates should do the same to hiring managers.

Use these 7 tips to nail the face-to-face interview and ensure a next step in the hiring process. 

#1  Know Your Audience

Find as much intelligence as you can on the company and the hiring manager. Make sure to also research anyone else interviewing you. Your findings will help break the ice and drive your questions.

Gather information from management team bio’s, press releases, upcoming events, and customer case studies. This will acquaint you with who buys from the company, as well as what’s most important to the company’s ecosystem.

How involved the hiring manager in the industry? How long have they worked at the company? Where were they before? Who do you know that might know the hiring manager? What milestones have they accomplished in their career, so far? Perhaps there’s a video of them as a panelist or giving a presentation.

Your awareness will give you a sense of company and manager personality, interest, and disposition. Your preparation will immediately differentiate you from the other candidates.

#2  Prepare A 30-60-90 Day Plan

New SDRs consume value, or “ramp up,” for the first 4 ½ months in the role. When they reach the “breakeven point,” they start to contribute value to the organization. The faster you touch the breakeven point, the better – everyone wins.
Go into the interview having outlined a plan for tackling the first 30-60-90 days in the role. When you invest time thinking about and visualizing the first three months, it’ll amaze you how many deep, thought-provoking questions will surface. Write these questions down and have them with you at the interview.

#3  If You’re On Time, You’re Late

Don’t arrive late for the interview! Some hiring managers will send you home. Actually, don’t arrive too early either. This could make you seem anxious or desperate.
Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the meeting. Work closely with your recruiter or hiring manager to confirm time, location, and people involved with the interview.

#4  Look Sharp

7503781Legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden, personally showed players how to properly put on socks and lace shoestrings, to underscore attention to detail.  “A casual approach to executing the details of a job,” he once said, “ensures that the job will be done poorly.  And then another job will be done poorly.  It grows.

”Hiring managers want the best version of you. They want you to demonstrate that you’ve got your act together, that you “want the ball.”

Dress sharp.  Contrary to popular belief, gentlemen still wear suits and ties to the interview. And ladies still wear business suits. This also includes having copies of your resume, a pen, and a notebook on-hand. Every detail is noticed.

#5  Keep It Conversational

The best interviewees (and SDRs) keep things conversational and ask open-ended questions. You need to do the same.

Based on your research (see #1), have at least three relevant points to mention or inquire about during the interview. For example, you can bring up a recent article, video, or event that featured the company or interviewer:  “So, in learning more about the company, I came across an article where you said ‘Innovation is at the top of our list this year.’  Tell me about that!  What areas will you focus on first?”

Start from a macro level – think corporate initiatives, industry trends, product innovation, competition, and market cap. Then move to a micro level – think SDR team, recent performance, expectations in the role, needs of the hiring manager. Macro-to-micro questions will make for a productive, informative conversation.

Lastly, avoid asking yes-no questions.  They limit discussion and box you and the interviewer into a corner.

#6  Smile!

4598049The best managers hire candidates with great attitudes!

Managers also look for integrity, work ethic, intelligence, and a proven ability to get things done and accomplish goals.

Sales Development is freaking hard work.  It’s a grind that requires fierce discipline, time management, exceptional communication, pure determination, and overcoming rejection. It is not for the faint of heart, the miserable, the unorganized, or the rain clouds.

Exude enthusiasm, confidence, and leadership from the outset. People always remember how you made them feel. Prospective customers will, too.  Know “how others would describe you,” particularly your references.

#7  Close ‘Em!

Closing the hiring manager at the end of an SDR interview is imperative.  It is your duty and obligation, as a fledgling sales professional.  
“So, can you tell me what the next step is?” is not a closing question.
Consider asking these closing questions:
 – “I enjoyed our discussion today! Based on what you learned about me, are there reservations you have that I can address right now?” 
 – “Considering what we’ve talked about today, how do I compare to current SDRs on the team?”
 – “I’d welcome an opportunity to join the team. Based on today’s conversation, I’m confident I’ll immediately contribute. If it makes sense, can I spend a few minutes talking with your best SDR?”  
Closing this part of the process also means closing the loop. Thank everyone involved. A follow-up email is important, but a handwritten thank you note is essential.

Start Preparing Today

The need for great SDRs will continue to increase. Be mindful of these seven tips when interviewing for a Sales Development Representative role.  

You will have an advantage over competing candidates, leave a strong impression in the hiring manager’s mind, and likely advance to the next step in the process. Use the slides below to keep you on track and go get that job!

 

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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.

Zen-of-Thank-You-Cards

The Zen of Thank You Cards

You are blessed.  If you’re a professional reading this article, you represent the Top 1% of the world’s wealthiest people.  You are surrounded by opportunity and should take none of it for granted.

1734958Living with an attitude of gratitude, and acting on it, will infuse more joy, respect, and awareness into the business world, and into your life.

When is the last time you sent a thank you card to someone?

Keep a box of blank thank you cards nearby; in a desk drawer, in your bag or purse, or your car.

When to Send Thank You Cards

There’s rarely an unacceptable, inappropriate time to send a thank you card.  However, make sure to send one after:

  • Face-to-face interviews (every person that interviews you should receive one)
  • Productive sales calls (that are in-person, by phone, or online)
  • Successful chats with an exec admin or anyone that puts you in touch with a targeted contact
  • Events sponsored by a business or person (send it to the sponsor, as well as the host)
  • Acquiring new customers (start that long relationship now, on a positive note – pun intended)
  • Losing a customer (thank them for their business, then make things better so they’ll return)

 

What to Say

It’s the gesture that counts, so write a brief note.  Think about slipping a gift card in there, too.  It always brings a little excitement when the gift card falls out of the thank you card.

In just three lines, you can say something like:

  • Thanks for this opportunity.  I appreciate your time.  Look forward to working with you.
  • Powerful advice & feedback.  I brought it right to my team.  Thanks for sharing with me.
  • The event was fantastic!  Met a ton of great people.  Thanks for hosting (or sponsoring).
  • Thanks for your business!  Here’s to many years together.  I’ll talk with you soon.
  • Such a fun time.  Thanks for including me.  Next time, dinner’s on me!

Where to Buy Thank You Cards

It takes minutes of your time, but leaves a lasting impression on the recipient.  It also demonstrates that you’re mindful of others and on top of your game.  A handwritten thank you note makes everyone feel good.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 2 of 3)

A second excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – a webinar presented on May 7, 2013.  Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life.

TIP #4 is to send pre-emptive emails.  Alerting your prospect that you plan to call them, during a stated window of time, increases your (and their) options.

YOUR PROSPECT’S OPTIONS

  • Prepare for your call, now that they know it’s coming.
  • Reach out to the exec whose name was mentioned in your email, to find out if you’re legit.
  • Visit Google and gather some intel on YOU.  (Googling your name yields value-added results, right?)
  • Respond with a better time for you to call.
  • Respond that they’re not interested in taking your call (hopefully explaining why).
  • Forward your message to a more appropriate person.
  • Ignore your message.  (This will happen if it’s poorly written, too long, or if it lacks relevant info.)

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YOUR OPTIONS

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  • Find 3 points of research that you will actually use in the call.  Learn more about 3×3 research here.
  • Craft 2 brief emails:  One to (re)confirm the call, if they respond; one to offer more value, if they don’t.
  • Schedule the call on your calendar, so you don’t miss (or forget) the window of opportunity.
  • Save the email as a template for other prospects, especially if it’s successful.

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TIP #5 is to attract prospects to you.  The late Jim Rohn said that “success is something you attract by becoming an attractive person.”

If you bring value to the marketplace, you will become valuable.  Your prospects will seek you out vs. the other way around.  Your reputation will precede you.

Examples to consider:

  • Promote and host a webinar with industry experts and share best practices
  • Present a relevant topic at your industry association meetings
  • Start a blog and write useful articles
  • Film yourself discussing tips and techniques with your peers, and upload it to YouTube
  • Record a podcast and have your best customer join you on an episode
  • Tweet (and retweet) powerful articles, videos, or status updates

Jamie Shanks and Steve Richard, shown below, demonstrate these examples well.  Google them and you’ll see.

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TIP #6 is to make rapid-fire calls.  If your organization manages a large volume of inbound leads, you no longer need to manually dial them all.  Technologies offered by ConnectAndSell, ConnectLeader, InsideSales.com, and others manage the dialing for you.

There’s a scene in the film The Pursuit of Happyness where homeless stockbroker, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) finds a way to get through large lists of phone numbers — he never hangs up the phone!

He also calls CEOs and gets right through the gatekeeper.  Watch…

The days of crossing out names on a call list are over.  Check out one of the aforementioned solutions.  Note that you still need to research before calling.  You should also sort by title, industry, event, etc. which drives a consistent talk track.

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Part 3 will follow, but no need to wait.  Nothing should stop you from applying these tips today.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 1 of 3)

An excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – a webinar presented on May 7, 2013.
Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life

The term “cold calling” is real.  It exists.  It’s completely preventable, though.  If you are looking to engage prospects for your business, connect with valuable, relevant reasons.  Applying these 7 tactics to your prospecting efforts can help.  When done right, and done consistently, you will eliminate the term “cold calling” from your vocabulary.

TIP #1 is to automate your outreach.  Mail programs like Microsoft Outlook and Boomerang allow users to send messages whenever they’d like.  If you’re a user of Hotmail or Yahoo! check out LetterMeLater.For example, you’re going through your inbox at 2:37am and want to respond to your prospect’s message.  When they awake later that morning, your message will get deleted with the spam (89% of their messages) that also arrived in the wee hours.

Instead, your message could arrive at 7am, or on a weekend afternoon, when they’ll likely READ the email.

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TIP #2 is to use three sentences in your emails (no more than five).  The average professional receives 115 emails a day, and reads 43% of them from their phone.

If you send a novel of an email, it’ll get trashed, skipped for “later viewing” (which won’t happen), or partially read.  People have time to read texts and tweets, so write brief, concise emails.

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TIP #3 is to have sales intelligence pushed to you.  Sales reps and account managers have overwhelming amounts of data and insights available to them, but they waste time gathering it.

If they, instead, used an intelligence offering like InsideView, key insights would get pushed to them via email or right within their CRM.  And the email would contain the essentials:  leadership changes, new product offerings, earnings, expanding operations, etc.  Try out InsideView’s free offering here.

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Parts 2 & 3 of this article will follow.  In the meantime, work smart by putting these three tips into practice.