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 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.

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.

The Secrets of Prospecting Ninjas

This article was originally posted to the InsideView Blog on March 4, 2013.  
It followed a webinar that Jill and Ralph hosted on February 26, 2013.

Ninjas are experts in ninjutsu, which is a technique in espionage.  Espionage is the practice of collecting information and gathering intelligence.

 

4935005Today’s sales world requires superior, relevant, and timely information about prospective accounts and key contacts.  To master this effort, salespeople should model the ninjas.

Jill Konrath is recognized across the globe as an expert sales strategist.  Last week, Jill teamed up with InsideView to broadcast a webinar and share theSecrets of Prospecting Ninjas:

PROSPECTING NINJAS HAVE MAXIMUM IMPACT

  • They slash time to the initial meeting
  • They chop months off your sales cycle
  • They eliminate competitors
  • They catch the incumbent sleeping
  • They prove themselves to be a worthy resource

PROSPECTING NINJAS ACCOMPLISH THESE FEATS BASED ON INSIGHTS

Salespeople that have insights on their prospects have an advantage.  According to Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling, insights from company and people alerts see a 24%-32% lift in response rates.

Insights and intelligence must come from thorough (but smart) research.  InsideView harvests critical insights on companies, buyers, connections, and industries, to name a few.

Once you gain insights on…      Make sure to also uncover…
The company                                How did it perform last year?  The last 5 years?
The buyer(s)                                 What recent purchases did the company make?  How?
Your connections                          Do you or does a colleague already know the prospect?
The industry                                 What challenges does it face?  What trends does it experience?

Jill makes The Buyer’s Matrix available online and in her most recent book, SNAP Selling, to guide salespeople through the buying process.  You can download The Buyer’s Matrix here:  http://bit.ly/how-to-prospect.

PROSPECTING NINJAS USE TRIGGER EVENTS

Trigger events are internal or external changes that influence an organization’s priorities.  When trigger events occur, and you’re aware of them, they can bring forth big opportunities for you.  Jill unveiled some common trigger events, and highlighted what InsideView calls “smart agents:”

Trigger events…Uncover “tells”…Leadership changesNew decision maker might mean new strategy & new prioritiesEarnings resultsPoor earnings might create opportunity for your offeringCompetitive movesCompanies don’t like to be beat by their competitorsNew strategic initiativesInitiatives often come with urgency that could expedite buying cycles
NINJAS USE A FORMULA

When the rubber meets the road, prospectors must engage with relevance.  This means that messaging must be right on point — whether done via email, voicemail, by phone, or in person.  A study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business uncovered that 92% of prospects do not answer their phones or emails.

PROSPECTING NINJAS SEND KILLER MESSAGES

Using newly-captured insights, and knowing the right person to contact, ninjas:

  • Build credibility
  • Pique curiosity
  • Close graciously

And guess what?  Prospecting ninjas get responses to their messages!

NINJAS DON’T QUIT

The business world constantly changes, often by the hour.  Unless you keep your finger on the pulse – by monitoring insights, leveraging connections, and watching for trigger events – the prospecting ninjas will leave you behind.

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