Why do salespeople love sales tips and quotes so much? It’s probably because we believe in our own potential, our capacity to learn and grow. We’re constantly striving to conquer new sales challenges, close new deals, and shatter old records.
That competitive spirit drove my team at InsideSales.com to pull off what, at the time, felt almost impossible. We assembled 62 sales experts for one of the biggest online events the sales industry has ever seen.
More than 15,000 sales leaders registered for a day of learning and professional development at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit on June 20. It was so much fun that we decided to hold a Sales Summit Reunion right here on the Salesforce blog.
I hope you enjoy these 62 sales tips and quotes from the thought leaders who participated in the virtual summit.
Enchantment is the purest form of sales. Enchantment is all about changing people’s hearts, minds and actions because you provide them a vision or a way to do things better. The difference between enchantment and simple sales is that with enchantment you have the other person’s best interests at heart, too.
Sales-driven cultures can really differentiate you from the majority of your competition. That doesn’t mean being salesperson oriented, just sales oriented: winning deals, smelling the blood and going in for the kill.
Lead TO what makes you unique, not WITH what makes you unique.
You have to generate revenue as efficiently as possible. And to do that, you must create a data-driven sales culture. Data trumps intuition.
When you have a multi-tiered sales effort, the first thing you want to do is understand the market. You want to go out there and map the competitive landscape. You want to know what your customers are saying.
Sales teams are doing a better job of training field reps on new products. However, research by CSO Insights clearly shows that many teams need to get better at selling solutions, outcomes and business value.
Use your CRM to retain customers. If your main contact leaves, and a new, unknown person takes over, your account is in jeopardy -- especially if the new employee doesn't know about your value to his company. Well, if your Salesforce account notes are detailed (who and when you connected, what happened, what was the client reaction), you can print your past history and present this information to the new person as evidence of how you conducted your relationship. This will help the new employee see the impact you have had. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: Record all interactions AND all outcomes. Keep your Salesforce account up to the minute. It could be worth a customer.
Salespeople today ARE the differentiator. That’s why it’s so critical for you to focus on becoming a valuable business asset to your customers.
The best salespeople know that their expertise can become their enemy in selling. At the moment they are tempted to tell the buyer what "he needs to do," they instead offer a story about a peer of the buyer.
Take a long, hard look at your lead generation methodologies. It’s really all about the leads. Do your best to always move from less assertive methodologies to those that are more assertive and more effective. That’s where the results are.
When you're coaching your sales reps, make sure your feedback is timely, consistent, objective, accurate, individualized and relevant.
Social selling is not just a small-business play. It’s not just a large-business play. It’s a play for every business in every segment of the market. Develop training modules. Celebrate successes. Share social-selling best practices throughout your entire company. And track the results.
Use lead scoring to determine who you send to sales and when you send them to sales. Identify fit based on demographic information, and then pinpoint interest and buying stage by watching prospect behaviors. Actions speak louder than words.
You know you are running a modern sales team when selling feels more like the relationship between a doctor and a patient and less like a relationship between a salesperson and a prospect. When you go in to see your doctor and she asks you about your symptoms, you tell her the truth. You trust that she can diagnose your problem and prescribe the right medication. When she says, "This is what you have. Take these pills," you don’t say, “Let me think about it” or “Can I get 20 percent off?” You take the medication. It's no longer about interrupting, pitching and closing. It is about listening, diagnosing and prescribing.
If you’re doing prospecting, it’s not profitable to focus on smaller customers. Your ideal outbound customer should represent the largest revenue size or opportunity you can find that you can likely win.
Sales 2.0 is a combination of the data, science, metrics and predictability that inside sales has always been known for combined with the art of really getting close to our customers and understanding what they are facing in their businesses.
Today's inside sales teams must continue to take the lead on embracing and adopting the technology that will help advance the sales process and profession.
There is incredible power in leading with research and leading with relevance.
Every company has a vision. But can your sales reps clearly articulate it? Probably not. Why not create a welcome video from the CEO or a founder just for new sales reps? Make hearing the why both personal and motivating at the same time.
Outbound call prospecting is very much alive for those who follow the Smart Calling success formula: relevant prospect intelligence, plugged into planned, practiced, persuasive and proven messaging, repeated persistently, with a positive attitude = sales results. The weak, the meek and the lazy will not do it. The successful pros already are.
Stop distracting people on your landing pages with visual embellishments or motion. Your graphical designer's need to avoid boredom may be costing you a lot of money.
Sales is not about selling anymore but building trust and educating.
A typical sales leader gets hiring right about 50 percent of the time. The most crucial characteristic you should be hiring for is drive. Ask questions that help you determine whether a candidate truly has drive.
The modern sales professional doubles as an information concierge -- providing the right information to the right person at the right time in the right channel. Socially surround your buyers and their "sphere of influence": analysts, thought leaders, experts, peers and colleagues.
Make each sales rep responsible for monitoring a certain number of competitors using LinkedIn. As you gather competitive intelligence, use it to build a central repository. Who is your competitor connecting to? If you see potential prospects on that list, add them to your spreadsheet. Use this spreadsheet to alert your sales team to deals you might be losing.
The next time you hear a decision maker say something like, “I’m thinking of doing something about this. Why don’t you call me back in six months,” DON”T CALL BACK IN SIX MONTHS! This decision maker is in the Window of Dissatisfaction. If you help create their buying vision now, your odds of winning the sale are 74 percent. Call them back in six months, and your odds of winning the business drop to 16 percent.
Build advocates and mobilize them.
The impact on a customer of a bad buying decision is usually greater than the impact on a salesperson of a lost deal. Think about the customer's business and what business problem they are trying to address. This helps you take a solution-centric approach to the sale – and that is better for both the seller and the buyer.
The No. 1 key to success in today's sales environment is speed. The salesperson who delivers the most valuable information to their customer or prospect first, wins the game. The best sales professionals rely heavily on tools like salesforce.com to provide that competitive advantage for information acceleration.
Customer point of view. Always. Filter everything you’re doing, saying and pitching through that and you’ll improve just about every metric you care about today.
When you create a lead generation message (email, letter, blog post, etc.), you lose 82 percent of the audience because of a bad title/headline. This is because you create the headline from your point of view (e.g., what do I want to say?). To test your headline/title look at it from the prospect's point of view and ask yourself: Does this relate to something I really care about right now? If not, go back to the drawing board. Remember, people care about what they care about, not what you want them to care about.
Salespeople should only use social to the extent that it helps them sell more. For instance, if your prospects are active users of LinkedIn, then you’d better make sure that you use LinkedIn to some degree. But I would not advocate that you start getting on board with tweeting and updating Facebook. We already have an issue with sales capacity and spending time with clients. So, it could actually mean death for sales reps’ performance level if they don’t use social the right way at the right time.
Sales managers struggle with motivating their teams because it is often assumed that motivation can only be driven internally from the person or that it requires a coin-operated model, such as prizes and rewards. However, we've seen companies increase sales productivity by leveraging properly structured competition and recognition programs to create motivation and engagement within their teams.
Search on www.yougotthenews.com prior to any sales call or meeting to scour thousands of local and national news and business publications. Find an article about the other person and his/her company that you can reference, so you can ensure relevancy and get the other person talking about him/herself.
Have you ever played the follow-up game? Before you leave a meeting, make sure you and the prospect have a clear next step. This step must be actionable and measurable. Here is an example: You will talk to them next Tuesday at 2 p.m. Here is an unclear example: I will follow up with you. To put this in action, in your next meeting ask, "What makes sense as a next step?" If they say, "Let's talk," then say, "Since we are here, how about we put something on the calendar right now?" Boom, you have your next meeting. If they ask you to send them something, then schedule a time to review it together. "As you requested, I will email you the proposal by this Friday. When does it make sense to review it together?"
Today’s buyers do a tremendous amount of their purchasing research long before they ever speak to a salesperson. As a result, it is critical for marketers to consider every potential interaction with a customer and how those impressions may be shared via social media. Ultimately, this age of the hyper-educated, constantly connected consumer requires that marketing and sales work more closely together than ever before.
Be an example. Are you prompt? Are you professional? Are you engaged? As sales leaders, we have to set the bar high for ourselves as well as our teams. Sales leaders often look distracted while they are talking to their reps. Sometimes, it’s as simple as checking your smartphone when somebody is trying to tell you something important. It may seem insignificant, but it sends the wrong message. How can you expect your reps to stay engaged if you looked distracted and you’re the one who’s supposed to be setting the tone?
It’s amazing how many sales reps fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to leaving voicemails. You’ve got to be prepared prior to picking up the phone. Why not try rehearsing your message or listening to it beforehand? Even better, build perfect customizable voicemail messages with technology, like the PowerDialer from InsideSales.com. The sales platform can be leaving the message while you are already on to your next call.
You have to manage your sales managers, too. When managers are on the edge of making their numbers, they will keep bad reps on the payroll longer in hopes of bringing in just one more deal. Unfortunately, those bad reps are burning good opportunities while the manager is waiting. If managers are hitting their numbers, the turnover is 22.2 percent; if managers are on the edge of making their numbers, the turnover drops to 5.6 percent.
Garbage data in, garbage results out. Whether you do inbound or outbound marketing, the quality of your database and lists has a huge impact on your results. Attaining better information about prospects and where they are in the buying process is one way to improve the quality of sales-ready leads.
Find your trigger. Find the qualities that make a lead more likely to convert, and focus on those leads.
The trust that a customer has in your company and in you strongly outweighs the techniques you use to sell. Establishing trust is better than any sales technique.
Use dual monitors. The increase in productivity is much more than you can imagine – a great addition for around $100.
Social opens a secret door that puts you right in front of decision makers. 70 percent of our sales come through social platforms. The secret door is much more effective than the front door. If you are trying to contact a C-level prospect through a gatekeeper, or the front door, you aren't going to get in. You'll encounter a mote, alligators, guards and all sorts of horrible things to keep you out. But there is a 98 percent possibility that these executives are paying attention to social.
80 percent of prospects who eventually buy are originally marked as bad leads. Don't totally count them out.
Delivery of your value statement should take no more than 15 to 20 seconds — generally less.
Sales reps are competitive by nature, but too often that competitive energy doesn't get utilized on the sales floor. Gamification harnesses that energy by systematically placing them in direct competition with one another. As they are recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments, they become even more motivated to work harder.
Join LinkedIn groups. You are 70 percent more likely to get an appointment with someone on an unexpected sales call if you cite a common LinkedIn group than if you don’t. LinkedIn groups are a wonderful venue to engage in meaningful conversations with those who have similar interests. Groups allow professionals to understand what the hot topics are in their area, socialize with colleagues, ask questions and give helpful answers. Do NOT join groups to spam them and just share your content. You have to be engaged in the dialogue. But what most sales reps fail to do is reference a group in common with a prospect when they make a cold call. This proactive use of social media is an easy way to improve your conversion rate.
Automate your outbound and benchmark the results. If they don't stack up, re-evaluate your messaging. Chances are it's what you are saying, not how often you are saying it, that is costing you sales.
By the year 2020, 85 percent of the buyer-seller interaction will happen online through social media and video. Prospects now participate in sales presentations via Skype, web conferencing and video. These tools are quickly catching on and overtaking face-to-face visits and traditional meetings, which are expensive and too time consuming for busy buyers. Inside sales will soon surpass field sales. The only real question is: Are you ready?
The buyer's journey is no longer a standard funnel. Sales and marketing need to team with tools, process automation, analytics and discipline to be successful.
Sales professionals and marketers, especially in technology start-ups, will talk in depth about features and functionality without considering what really matters to their customers. You must take a few steps back and look at your product or service positioning from your customer's perspective.
A coach takes the “what to do” and marries it with the “how to do it." Coaches are the “how to guys." Coaches are expected to get employees to performance levels to reach maximum potential. Coaches have to engage with players, encourage players, have rapport with players and earn trust from their players. When they do, they will be able to correct all of the little things that matter during the sales process.
When you're sending emails, you live and die by your subject line. Making it personal or funny can increase your open rate 10 times or more. At the very least, try to pitch some value rather than pointless bragging. “Work Faster!” is better than “Version 10.4 now available!”
Webinars, as a form of content marketing, are a great vehicle to educate and inform potential buyers, and the real goal should be to make sure they are engaged in the webinar so they are inspired to want to have a conversation with you after the event. That’s the time to start the sales process. Part of the post webinar follow-up is to use the intelligence and analytics collected before, during and after the webinar to start segmenting the leads into one of three buckets: sales ready, those that need nurturing, and those who aren’t qualified or a good fit.
There's no silver bullet, but the most common challenge I'm hearing from sales leaders is time. If you can give a B or C player more time, you will almost certainly see a performance lift: more time to prospect, more time in front of customers, more time to prepare. Common things to cut: disputes around comp plan, time spent preparing quotes, time spent training.
The new role of sales professionals is to educate their prospects on relevant industry issues, facilitate their decision-making process, and provide compelling evidence that makes it easy for their prospects to say yes.
When a prospect asks you to send some information, turn this into an opportunity to set an appointment. Gather the prospect’s email address and send your marketing collateral while you’re still on the call. Ask the prospect to click the link to make sure it works. Once they’ve seen your value, set the appointment.
Social selling in the enterprise has to start with strategy. Many sales executives who would never go without a common sales methodology or CRM system have yet to establish a common social selling methodology and set of tools. The result is a wide variety of individual skills and processes that cannot be managed effectively.
90 percent of your opportunities come from 10 percent of the names on your house list, so don’t waste time with prospects who aren’t a good fit. Figure out what your ideal prospects are interested in by analyzing data from websites and social networks, especially LinkedIn and Twitter. New technologies, like Mintigo, are automating this kind of research. But even if you do nothing more than ask interns to research titles and shared content, it can still be enough information to double your prospecting success.
Analytics is not just about tools and spreadsheets. It’s about culture. In order for any analysis to be effective, it needs to be part of your culture. If you are not inspecting people’s data in a conspicuous manner on a regular basis, and if you are not integrating it into your pipeline review meetings, your authority as a sales leader will be tenuous at best.
If I had a dollar to invest in a sales effort for a company, it would go to building inside sales process and execution. It will be the dominant model for the next five to 10 years, and the payback of doing it well is 10 times that of field models.
Ken Krogue brings more than 24 years of experience in sales, development and marketing in both domestic and international markets and is a key thought leader for the inside sales industry. Prior to founding InsideSales.com, Ken was one of the original founders of UCN, now inContact (NASDAQ:SAAS), where he held a number of positions including Chief Operating Officer. Prior to inContact, he built and directed the inside sales division at FranklinCovey (NYSE:FC). Ken has received many industry awards, including being recognized among the Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2010 and 2012 by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP). He is a weekly contributor on Forbes.com.