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3 Steps to Convert Trials into Sales

At Intercom we allow potential customers to trial the product free for 14 days – that’s pretty typical for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies.

These trials are a fantastic way to show potential customers exactly how necessary our product is. They can give potential customers an idea of how much easier Intercom can make their job and leave them thinking, “how did I ever get by without that?”

But they are not without risk. A poorly executed trial gives potential customers the opportunity to realize how little a product has helped them and confirms your product isn’t a worthwhile investment.

But there’s good news. SaaS trials rarely fail because the product can’t deliver what the customer needs it to. They fail because customers don’t use the product in the most effective way.

That’s good news because it gives us the chance to fix it. If most trials failed because the product couldn’t do the things people needed, there wouldn’t be any way of improving trial conversion rates. But by changing the way we manage trials, it’s possible to produce a different outcome. With a few changes in approach, we can close the gap between the value the customer gets from a product and the value it could deliver. Ultimately, that means we can close more business by converting trial users into paying customers.

The Value Problem

The Value Problem

You know you have a value problem when you hear the following:

  • I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
  • It’s pretty expensive.
  • I will once I get the time.
  • We can’t afford it yet.
  • That’s not important for us right now.

You’ve heard these before, right? They all mean the same thing: “I don’t see the value“. You see, cash isn’t the only thing businesses spend. They spend time and focus too.

Using your product or feature has to be worth the time, focus, and money. Money is usually the least of the concerns. $29 per month doesn’t mean a whole lot to a business dropping $20K per month in salaries alone—and that’s a very small business.

Solving a value problem requires strong positioning. It comes down to how you sell your product, how you frame your offering. An Audi looks expensive at a car dealership but looks like a bargain at a yacht show. $29 a month is pricey for “5GB of file storage” but great value for “the certainty of keeping your family photos safe forever”.

Below I’ve broken out some of the things we’ve had success with. The recurring themes: Know your customers’ problems and Show them how your product can help.

1) Understand how participants define success

At the end of a trial, participants might say they didn’t convert because the product seemed too expensive. But that’s simply not correct. Or, more accurately, it’s not complete. What they’re really saying is: ‘“It’s too expensive … for the value I received during this trial”. How do we know? Because they knew what the price was before the trial even started.

Too often, the biggest gap isn’t between the value of our product and our customers’ expectations. It’s between our understanding of their expectations and their actual expectations.

So, contact prospects early in the trial – or before it even begins – to make sure both sides understand what will be evaluated and how. Things like…

What is the user hoping to accomplish?
What problem will that solve for them?
How big of a problem is it? A minor annoyance or “can’t do my job without solving it”? (In other words: how much $ are they willing to spend on a solution!)

The point is, we must know our customers’ needs and how important they are to their jobs.

2) Planning communication and outreach

Communication & Outreach

More often than not, products can provide what our customers need. The problem is our customers might not know how to use the product most effectively.

This is where a well-timed outreach offering a tutorial can make a trial successful. If we’ve done step one correctly, we should already know exactly what our customers are trying to accomplish with our product.

The best part is – customers actually want these messages! At this point they’ve already bought in – now they just want our help doing it.

3) Pre-empt people that are likely to quit

Too many companies wait until someone cancels their service before they reach out to try to turn the relationship around. And when they do cancel, the customer often says it’s because the service is too expensive. So what does the sales team do? Offer a discount. Needless to say, this approach rarely works. (Remember, the service isn’t too expensive. It’s too expensive for the value they’ve seen our product deliver.)

I’ve found we can get much better results if we reach out before they cancel.

Step 1: Identify the cancellation risks by looking for decreasing usage. Intercom allows us to track users in an app and see which ones are slipping away.

Step 2: Message them. Using Intercom we can set up auto-messages, which are sent as email or in-app messages, to send to users who are displaying behaviours that suggest they are slipping away.

Step 3: Workout what went wrong. We use Intercom to send them a message to ask them why they aren’t using us any more.

At this point we ask for feedback and identify why they stopped using Intercom. Often it’s because they couldn’t find a feature they wanted or they couldn’t figure out how to do something. Either way, it’s an easy and productive conversation.

Best-case scenario: Our product can do what they need it to and we can show them how

Worst-case scenario: We get great feedback on what customers need.

The key is getting those conversations started when we detect a gradual slowdown. Once the customer is gone, a coupon isn’t bringing them back. Solving their problem will. And that only happens when we take the time to understand what our customers need to accomplish and show them how we can help.

What else have you found helpful when running trials? What hasn’t worked? What did we leave out? Let us know in the comments.

 

Like the content that you see here?

Learn more about the next Sales Hacker Conference that I’m speaking at on November 6th in San Francisco!

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The Top 3 Startup Sales Mistakes

If you’re a startup founder or part of an early-stage sales team, it can seem like a daunting task to develop a solid sales process. There’s so much you could do to increase sales that it can be hard to prioritize.

Here’s how to score some easy wins: simply fix the most common causes of lost deals. Read about three easy to avoid, but shockingly frequent sales mistakes startups commit.

Mistake 1: Failing to follow up

I can’t overstate how many sales people underestimate the importance of following up. They follow up politely once, timidly twice, and maybe embarrassedly a third time, but few people go further than that.

Want to know where winning happens in sales? In the follow up. You want to be the one who’s still running when everyone else already gave up and is out of the race.

If you’ve had a conversation with someone, and you didn’t get closure… keep following up! Friendly, professional, polite, but shamelessly. Follow up until you get a clear response. It’s better to get a strong no than a friendly maybe.

Mistake 2: Closing like a coward

Many people deliver great sales presentations, convey all the benefits, manage all the objections, customize their value propositions to the prospect… and then fail to ask for the close!

They end their presentation with vague words like: “Thank you for your time and attention, we sincerely appreciate this opportunity and hope it will lead to a fruitful partnership.

They shake hands, pack up their stuff and go. Maybe they ask the prospect hopefully: “Well, what do you think?”

No! That’s not how you close. Selling isn’t an effing gala dinner. Ask them to buy. Ask early. Ask often.

Expect a yes when you ask, and embrace a no when you get it. If they still tell you no at the end of your presentation, ask them: “What do we need to do to win you as a customer?”

Then listen and learn.

Mistake 3: Dull demos

A lot of startups screw up their demos before they even start giving them. How? By not pre-qualifying people who request a demo.

Only demo to qualified prospects.

Understand the prospect’s wants and needs before you start giving the demo. This enables you to

a) assess in advance whether they’re potentially a good fit, and thus worth giving a demo to.
b) customize your demo to their specific needs, rather than just robotically going through a one-size-fits all demo, which would fail to push their hot buttons and get them excited.

Next thing you can do to avoid a dull demo?

Keep your demos under 15 minutes.

Keep your demos short, even if you have a complex product. Share the most valuable benefits of your product, and leave out the nice-to-have features.
Here’s what you should do during your 15-minute demo:

  • demonstrate your product
  • tell a story
  • sell.

Afterwards, take another 10 to 15 minutes to answer their questions and further explore what they’re most curious about.

Why just 15 minutes? Because most people won’t stay focused any longer than that. You can’t afford to lose their attention. 15 minutes of concentrated listening is a lot better than 15 minutes of concentrated listening and 30 minutes of absent-mindedness.

Demonstrate value, not how to use your product.

The purpose of a demo is to sell them your product, not to teach them how to use it. It’s a product-focused sales presentation, not a tutorial.

Demonstrate value. Training and support comes after they buy.

Don’t guide them through step-by-step instructions. Show them the magic of your product, and what it can do for them.

Conclusion

By fixing these three very basic, but widespread sales mistakes you can easily start closing more deals without having to spend a lot of time or resources on sales training. It’s the low hanging fruit of sales process optimization that will lead to the biggest wins early on.

I’ll talk in much more depth and detail about advanced ways to improve your sales performance in the upcoming Sales Hacker Conference. I hope to see you there!

 

Browse the other speakers!

They’ll have much more content like this on the 6th. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Are you ready for the Sales Hacker Conference San Francisco!?

Are you ready for the Sales Hacker Conference San Francisco!? This event is going to be packed with actionable, practical, and cutting edge hacks to give your sales teams something to feast on. When I look at this lineup I can’t help but be giddy for this event.

The lineup consists of seasoned sales execs, sales focused CEOs, proven entrepreneurs, and for the first time, leaders in customer success. All of these speakers are doing things that are revolutionizing their industries. I guarantee you’ll pick up nuggets of useful information from every single session. If you don’t need convincing, check out the lineup!

Sales Hacker Workshop

For the first time ever, we’re offering a second day workshop. This unique Sales Hacker Workshop will equip you with the tools you need to build massive leads lists for cheap without any technical experience with Matt Ellsworth. Then, you’ll get 3 hours of Prospecting training with John Barrows, the man who trains Salesforce, Marketo, Box, LinkedIn, Zendesk and other’s sales teams.

Don’t you want to know how John gets C-level execs to respond to his cold emails? Don’t you want to know what he does next? Come and learn it for yourself!

This half-day workshop is the only way to get John without paying his full day or half-day rate. Startups and SDR teams take advantage of this!

Here’s what others are saying about the Sales Hacker Conferences.

“The Sales Hacker Conference is the best event to attend to learn about practical sales ideas that actually work (not just blah blah blah blah talks). It’s full of ideas you can apply right away in your business.” – Aaron Ross (CEO, Predictable Revenue)

“World class sales execution is often the main ingredient behind company success. The Sales Hacker team brings together the best minds and cutting edge ideas into a fun, energetic, thought provoking event.” – Mark Roberge (CRO, Hubspot)

“I took notes throughout the day and picked up a number of new ideas. This really is a great new event.” – Dave Govan (CRO, Dynamic Yield)

“The Sales Hacker events connect people, ideas, and moments to drive results. Anything I can bring back to the team and implement tomorrow is key.” – Daniel Barber (Sales Development and Operations, ToutApp)

“This is the only sales conference we send our salespeople to.” – Ryan Buckley (COO, Scripted)

Learn from Top Sales Leaders

Questions to ask yourself, so you can ask your boss.

  1. What’s your company’s average deal size? Ok, so if you land even one deal from something you learned or a connection made at this event, you’re on top!
  2. If you learn one new thing you can implement at your company, what is that worth?
  3. Is your company hiring? This is a great place to find talented salespeople who actually care, and want to master their craft as a salesperson.
  4. Hey boss, do we like saving and making money at this company? Because what we’re able to implement in our sales process after attending this event will do both.
Sweet, they’re in! Reserve your spot now!

The Agenda

John Barrows – The Give/Gets of Negotiations
Mike Haylon & Sara DeBrule – The New Relationship Between AEs and Their Directors
Panel: Steli Efti & Gabe Luna-Ostaseski – 10 Deadly Sales Mistakes Startups Commit & How to Avoid Them
Kris Duggan – 10 Biggest Mistakes Startup Founders Make in Sales
Craig Rosenberg – 5 Ways The Top Salespeople Are Hacking Sales
Lincoln Murphy – Customer Success as a Growth Engine: Ideal Customers, Advocates, and Upsells
Cliff Cate – Aligning Sales and Customer Success
Des Traynor – From Trials to Triumphs, the Role of Customer Success in SaaS.
Sally Duby – The NextGen Sales Process – Incorporating The Buyer
Sam Blond – What I Learned Scaling From 2-72 Salespeople in Under a Year
Brendan Cassidy – The First Order of Business for a New VP/Head of Sales
Jason Lemkin – The 10 Key Revenue Mistakes I Made Getting to $100 Million ARR

+ HAPPY HOUR!

Reserve Your Spot Today!

Thanks for stopping by and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the 6th!

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10,000 Leads in 10 Minutes: Using Web Data to Generate High Quality Sales Leads in Mass

*Editors Note: Guest post by Andrew Fogg, co-founder and Chief Data Officer of Import.io. Import.io a free tool that allows you to transform the web into a table of data or an API quickly and easily without having to write any code. This blog post is based on a presentation he gave at HustleCon on August 1st 2014. Slides are embedded below.

 

What is a lead?

Ok, let’s start with the basics. Leads represent the first stage of the sales process.  In its simplest form a lead is any “person or entity that has an interest and authority to purchase your product or service”. Or in other words: someone you can sell to.

Sounds good. So, what information do you need about that person or entity for it to be an actionable lead? A good rule of thumb is to look for the information that you would find on a business card, i.e. a name, associated company and contact details.

Where do leads come from?

The most traditional way to get leads is by buying databases of telephone numbers, email addresses or mailing addresses. As you can imagine, these lists are immense, which gives you a high quantity of leads, but the quality is notoriously very poor.

Alternatively, you can attend trade shows and other industry events and collect business cards the old fashioned way. Or you can stalk people on social media and try to get in touch with them that way, through channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Leads generated in this way usually have great quality, but come with a high time-cost which limits the quantity that you will be able to generate.

But wait, there’s another way!

I want to share with you a new approach to lead-generation that will deliver both quantity and quality – it is based on web data. This approach was developed by some of our earliest users, and it is both ingenious and simple:

  1. Find a website where your ideal user can be found
  2. Build an API to that website (using Import.io naturally) and extract as much data about each lead as you can
  3. Pull that data into a spreadsheet

That’s it. Three simple steps and it takes about 10 minutes, after which you will have thousands of quality leads to work with.

Show me that again!

Right, let’s look at each of those steps in a bit more detail. To help you visualize how this can work for your business, I’m going to step through an example. Let’s imagine that I’m in commercial real estate and want to talk to real estate brokers.

Step 1: Find your ideal user

The first step will require a little bit of imagination and thinking on your part. Where your ideal user can be found of course depends on who that person is. You’ll probably need to spend sometime getting to know your user and looking around the web to see where they hang out. Is it a forum? A professional association? Are they on social media?

The key here is to be as specific as possible when defining your ideal user (lead). The more specific you are the more targeted your messaging can be. In our real estate example, I am going to use this real estate listing site in NYC. If I click through to one of those properties I can see the broker’s name, email (as a link from his name) and phone number – that’s the data I’m after!

Step 2 & 3: Extract the data and get it in a spreadsheet

I’ve combined steps 2 and 3 together here, because they are closely tied to the same process.

To get this data I could use a number of different options. The simplest way to do this is to build a Crawler, which will then go to each part of the site and pull data from all the pages that match the ones I train it on. This means I will end up with a big list of names and contact information which I can export into Excel, CSV or Google Sheets.

That’s great, but Crawlers only create static data sets, which means that to get new data from this site I would have to re-crawl the whole site – and that would take a while. Instead, I can do something a tad more complicated by building an Extractor to one page. Then I use the URL pattern of that page to generate all the other URLs for that site and use this batch search Google Sheet to pass all of those URLs through the Extractor. This has the benefit of being able to quickly refresh whenever I need to.

A quick note about getting the email addresses. You’ll notice, if you visit the page, that the email address is displayed as a link to the estate agent’s name. When I map this data, I need to make sure I map it as a link. It may look like I’ve only mapped his name, but when I export the data into Excel or Google Sheets, I will get one column with his name and another column with the text of the link – in this case his email address.

In this particular example, I would also need to do a bit of data cleansing, because many of the properties are being sold by the same estate agent so I am likely to end up with a lot of duplicates. This is easily done in either Excel/Google Sheets or most mass e-mailing software like MailChimp.

Contact those leads

Use the data you collected to create a conversational, extremely personalized message to send to each lead. Seriously. Make it freaking personal. I CANNOT emphasize this enough. Something like this should give you an idea of how to begin:

Hi [first name], I was browsing [website name] and I came accross your profile. I noticed that you mentioned [profile keyword], and I thought you would be interested in what we do….

Then start sending out your messages. Be creative about the channels that you use – email isn’t the only way to contact people – try other channels like Twitter, text message, et cetera.

It’s fine to automate your messages, but don’t send out too many at once – you want to avoid appearing spammy. And remember that you are starting a conversation with a real person and you need to be able to respond and engage as people start replying to you.  If you send out 1,000 messages and you get 1,000 responses you will be swamped.  10 messages a day is a good start and go from there.

Eat your own dog food

At import.io, we actually followed these exact steps to bring in new users. We’ve created a platform that allows anyone to turn a website into data without the need to write any code. A key group who benefit from our platform are developers, they can save a lot of time and effort using Import.io instead of writing code to get web data.

There are lots of developers on oDesk, so we built an Extractor to all 13,000 who mention “scraping” as one of the services that they provide.  We pulled this list of users into a spreadsheet. Then, we created a personalized message template inviting them to apply for a real job on oDesk that requires the use of import.io. The message also quickly outlined the benefits of using our platform over traditional methods and included a link to our website.

Quick tip: use Google URL Builder to send out your link so that you can track how well each different campaign is doing.  You can also shorten the link using the Google URL Shortener.  If you are using Google Apps for Business you can use your own domain name, which makes it look less spammy.

Next, we built a connector to oDesk, this time to the messaging system.  The API logs in to oDesk, navigates to an individual user’s profile and sends them the personalized message. Every time a user follows the link to our site, we can follow them all the way through to account creation on our platform in our own analytics.

Using this method we have begun experimenting with getting 1,000s of quality leads to our site.

Credit where credit’s due

Props to Matt Ellsworth from Storefront who pioneered a lot of these methods for lead generation. If you want more information on how to use his methods for your business, you can take his Udemy course or come take his workshop at the upcoming San Francisco Sales Hacker Conference and Workshop.

 
 

The Gives & Gets of Negotiations

*Editors Note: John Barrows is the top sales trainer for industry leading tech companies. He trains reps from Salesforce, LinkedIn, Box, Marketo, Zendesk, and more. Come see him speak and attend his exclusive Prospecting Workshop at the Sales Hacker Conference in SF on November 6th/7th.

It’s All About the Win-Win

True negotiations are all about coming to a mutual agreement on something where both parties feel like they got something out of the deal. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t “win” a negotiation by making the other person lose.  Both parties need to give and get along the way. The more equal those gives and gets are, the healthier the relationship is and can become.

The problem in sales is that we tend to be ‘givers’.  We give and give and give and expect one very large thing in the end as our ‘get’ (i.e. signed contract) and we think we’ve earned it because we did everything they asked for. However, if we give throughout the process without getting much in return, we condition the client to treat us like a doormat.  They end up having little respect for us towards the end which is why they either keep asking for things (discounts) or they just flat out disappear on us and don’t even give us the courtesy of a call back.  We need to find a way to create and condition equality from the start of the relationship.

Creating Equality in Negotiations

To create equality, most negotiations focuses on a quid pro quo approach to getting things in return for what you’re giving away which is necessary sometimes but tends to lead to a more contentious relationship.  There is something else that can be even more powerful to leverage which is a human condition called the Rule of Reciprocity.  This rule effectively states that we (as humans) are all bound, even driven to repay debts.  We don’t like owning anyone anything.

If someone asks us for something, the receiver actually feels obligated to give them something in return. The sooner we ask for something in return, the easier it is for us to get. By understanding all the gives and gets along the way and matching them up, we can know exactly what and when to be asking for in order to move the deal through the pipeline to closure, or get out before it’s too late.

Don’t Jump to Discounting

Often times people jump to discounting to speed up negotiations. Discounting has such a negative impact in so many ways that it’s worth pointing out a few things to gain some perspective.

  • The average S&P 1000 company would suffer a 12.8% drop in profitability by giving a mere 1% discount assuming no increase in volume
  • Salespeople make a bigger deal about price than buyers do (Salespeople (8.3) Buyer (6.9)
  • Whoever feels the most pressure will make the most concessions
  • Discounts kills credibility and creates a negative perception of you and your solution
  • Discounts set the stage for future discounts

So what’s the best way to combat discounting you ask? Well, there are some negotiation and objection handling techniques that can help but the best way I’ve ever come across is quite simple, just have a BIG FAT PIPELINE.  The more legitimate, healthy deals we have in our pipeline the less desperate we are to close deals, and the more confident we are in dealing with people who are trying to squeeze us. We can also work more along the lines of the client’s buying cycle than our selling cycle. Too often we try and force a client into our buying cycle which typically is driven by the end of the month or quarter. We all know Sales should be about the client and not about us, so we need to do what we can to get them to buy when they’re ready to buy, not when we’re ready to sell.

This is why prospecting on a regular basis (even month or quarter end) is so critical. Spend 30 minutes a day prospecting in some way shape or form. It can be cold calls, direct e-mails, searching through linked in, asking for referrals, whatever, just do it.  If you’re sick of feeling cheap and using discounts to close all your deals then prospect every day to have a consistently full pipeline and see what happens to your confidence and abilities to deal with discounting. I’m running an exclusive Sales Hacker Workshop in SF on November 7th where you can learn all of my best tactics and strategies for prospecting and building massive pipelines.

 

If you’re interested in learning how to develop a simple scorecard that you can use to objectively measure the health of any opportunity in your pipeline and improve your forecasting accuracy you can join me where I’ll be speaker at the Sales Hacker Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, November 6th, 2014.

Important Lessons Learned Growing From 0-80 Reps in Under a Year

*Editors Note: This is a guest post from the current VP of Sales at Zenefits and former Director of Sales at Echosign, Sam Blond.

 

When I joined Zenefits last December, there were only 18 employees and just two people actually selling. Fast forward 11 months and we’re closing in on 350 employees, including more than 100 in our sales department.

As the VP of Sales for an organization undergoing such dramatic change at so frantic a pace, I’ve learned a lot about how to grow and, just as importantly, how to manage this increasingly large and complex sales force.

I’ll share more about what’s worked well for us in my presentation at the Sales Hacker Conference on November 6th in San Francisco. In the meantime, here are some quick-hitting best practices I’ve had success with.

Lessons learned growing the sales force

1)   Use multiple recruiters – and get to know them all!

If you’re scaling quickly, align yourself with several external recruiters. Even if you’re already working with someone and he’s been excellent, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. At Zenefits, we use five recruiters and very rarely do two of them send us the same candidate.

By the way – do what you can to make friends with these guys! Get to know your recruiters. Take them out for a drink, meet up for lunch, stay in touch.  That way, you’re top of mind when they find the best candidates.

2)   Talent costs money

It’s so important to pay high-performing sales reps well. In order to attract great sales people, you must become known as a place that pays well.

Feel free to reward performance in other ways like award ceremonies, Presidents Clubs, etc. if you wish, just remember – money comes first. People might stay with their company if they feel like they’re well recognized for a job well done, but they don’t take a job for the award ceremonies, they do it for the money.

Building Zenefits’ reputation as a place that rewards its sales people has been a big focus of mine and I’m proud to say that in my time here we’ve had just one person decline an offer… and they called back a few months later asking to get on board.

3)   Hold off on hiring a sales exec until you’re big enough to attract a “real” one

It’s always dangerous to put make hard-and-fast rules that will be appropriate for everyone, but in general, I recommend companies get to at least $1 million in recurring revenue with at least two reps closing business and a good pipeline of leads before they bring on a VP of Sales.

Why?

Because, quite simply, that’s what the candidates are looking for from you. And until those things exist, it will be difficult to attract a qualified candidate.

Another side note here – Often times when a VP of Sales comes aboard they bring some sort of team with them. So, all you individual contributors reading – align yourself with your VP because at some point they will probably move to a new company and take you with them. Three of my best sales reps came with me to Zenefits and they now have equity in a great new company.

Running a rapidly growing sales force isn’t just about effectively recruiting talented sales reps and sales leadership. It also requires managing a frequently changing and increasingly complex organization, and that starts with an effective sales structure and compensation plan.

Lessons learned managing a growing sales force

1)   Specialization is good…generally speaking

About half of our sales staff is comprised of “Sales Development Reps” who do the cold calling and lead creation. The other half, our so-called “Closing Reps” are responsible for – you guessed it – closing deals.

The idea is fairly simple – if you’re focused entirely on uncovering leads, you will be better at uncovering leads. If you focus entirely on closing deals, you will be better at closing.

However, as we’ve grown we’ve recognized an opportunity for a hybrid role. Previously, our customer acquisition cost made it unproductive for our SDR’s and Closing Reps to spend their time on deals of $10,000 or less, even though we had a sizable number of those opportunities.

Now, our team of hybrid reps focuses solely on those smaller deals and works them from start to finish. This allows us to capitalize on all of those smaller opportunities without pulling the SDR’s and Closing Reps away from larger deals.

More recently, we’ve added sales support staff to further help all of our reps focus on their specific responsibilities by taking much of the non-revenue generating sales tasks off their plates.

2) If you want your reps to listen to you, set realistic quota targets

My philosophy is that at least 70% of reps should be hitting their quota. If a solid majority is not, your quota becomes unenforceable – not to mention discouraging. Think about it, if a sales rep isn’t close to hitting her number but the rest of her teammates are in striking distance of their quota, she’s likely to blame her own performance. But if she sees that half of her team is in the same position, naturally she will focus the blame on the quota (and probably rightfully so!)

Check out more of my lessons learned at the Sales Hacker Conference in San Francisco on November 6. In the meantime, share your thoughts! What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Let us know in the comments!

 

Shorten the Sales Cycle with 3 Key Hacks

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Series – Hacking the Sales Cycle in Dublin are brought to you by Betts Recruiting. Betts Recruiting helps companies teams staff and attract talent for all revenue generating roles. Follow us @BettsRecruiting. Slides from the session are embedded below the text.

This session is titled Shorten the Sales Cycle with 3 Key Hacks by the EMEA Channel Manager at HubSpotMark Stoddard (@mdstoddard).

 

Your sales process should be structured – don’t think “well it depends”. Structured so that you can define and correct your mistakes to both streamline your process and close more

STOP CLOSING AND START HELPING

  • How can I help my prospects achieve their goals? How can I solve their problems?
  • “Changes the mentality to how do I close them to how can they close me”
  • Have them disclose their goals and you can help them from there.

DEFINE YOUR TARGET PROSPECT

  • Don’t just rely on your company’s verticals, know YOUR ideal prospects
  • Find your unique experience that gives you an unfair advantage over the competition

Sales Hacker Series Dublin was Sponsored by Betts Recruiting and PipelineDeals.

Laying the Foundation for a Smooth Sales Cycle

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Series – Hacking the Sales Cycle in Dublin are brought to you by Betts Recruiting. Betts Recruiting helps companies teams staff and attract talent for all revenue generating roles. Follow us @BettsRecruiting. Slides from the session are embedded below the text.

This session is titled Laying the Foundation for a Smooth Sales Cycle by the CEO of Youth Nation, Jamie White.

 

Jamie started as a flyer promoter on the street in Temple Bar district, which helped shape his confidence and sales approach. He set up Youth Nation about 1 year ago and just hired the 33rd employee

 

Jamie’s Keys to Success

“If you don’t focus on the little things, you’ll never get to the big things. Get your foundations right and you’ll grow from there.”

Know your value – you have to know what you’re offering to a customer – i.e. know how much money you can make for them and know if you can’t offer them anything

Know your customer – even Jordan Bellfour (wolf of wall street) doesn’t jump right into his pitch…ASK QUESTIONS and IDENTIFY NEEDS

Have a structure – Don’t let clients take you away from approach or get a discount

Recognize Bad Clients – GO AWAY! Don’t be afraid to say no – some people LOVE to waste your time.

Invest in yourself – Positive people attract positive results – people are attracted to interest, always work to live and people are drawn to people who generate their own interest. Be exciting.

Be honest – You can’t lie in our social media generation

It’s hard not to appreciate an honest seller – it’s the #1 commodity presently

Undersell and Overdeliver – Exceed expectations by slightly underselling yourself and then overachieve, word of mouth by customers will become your next greets marketing/salesteam

Charge Accordingly – Knowing the underselling philosophy, but be firm on your value.

 

Sales can be demoralizing, mentally and physically, so don’t undervalue yourself, find your interests, be positive, and be honest and success will come.

Sales Hacker Series Dublin was Sponsored by Betts Recruiting and PipelineDeals.

Sales Acceleration Through V2MOM and Alignment

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Series – Hacking the Sales Cycle in Dublin are brought to you by Betts Recruiting. Betts Recruiting helps companies teams staff and attract talent for all revenue generating roles. Follow us @BettsRecruiting. Slides from the session are embedded below the text.

This session is titled Sales Acceleration Through V2MOM and Alignment by the VP of Sales at DataHug, Kieran Carrick (@kierancarrick).

 

Kieran helped build the EMEA headquarters for Salesforce in 2002.

What did he learn?

  • ALWAYS put the customer first – the leader’s philosophy
  • Alignment is Key – getting your philosophy into employees’ minds
  • Make every month count. There are 12 quarters, not 4!
  • It’s not just about product – business model says a lot and show how you can use your product
  • Customers start to be your best sales team
  • Specialization – differentiate inbound and outbound, let sales professionals close not prospect; some people have different skills.
  • It’s never too early for renewals
  • Education and certification drives productivity
  • More salespeople = more revenue = more growth

 

V2MOM – 1999 Alignment method by Marc Benioff for Salesforce

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Methods
  • Obstacles
  • Measures

Never forget that you need to give money to MARKETING…once you state it you must feed it!

DON’T FORGET CUSTOMER SUCCESS

Forecasting and discipline REALLY counts!

90% of open opportunities have no future meetings in the books

Make Salesforce a buddy, not a Big Brother!

Solve for the customer, the company, and the employee, & GIVE BACK!

 

Sales Hacker Series Dublin was Sponsored by Betts Recruiting and PipelineDeals.

Sales Qualification, Landmines, and Acceleration

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Series – Hacking the Sales Cycle in Dublin are brought to you by Betts Recruiting. Betts Recruiting helps companies teams staff and attract talent for all revenue generating roles. Follow us @BettsRecruiting. Slides from the session are embedded below the text.

This session is titled How to Accelerate a Sales Cycle by the EMEA Director of Informatica, Charlie Weijer (@charlieweijer).

 

Content must be relative – don’t put them to sleep

So how do you speed up Sales Cycle? GET QUALIFICATION PERFECT!

You should sit down at the end of every deal and ask, “why did I win the deal?”

It helps you understand on a positive note, what the pain points identified were and the gains you were able to demonstrate. You’ll get some negative feedback that should help you in the future as well.

Now you have a real relationship, and it’ll help you develop this, and maybe future accounts into even larger ones.

 

Landmines?

  • Basic: ignore competitive threats – never underestimate.
  • Budget and ballpark figures – be careful!
  • Don’t ignore the customer’s industry! Know their business.
  • PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
  • Selling too low
  • MCP – Mutual Close Plan
  • JEP – Joint Execution Plan
  •  Keep the prospects on an agreed timeline – how do you keep it on time?
  • Get early insight – am I talking to the decision maker?

 

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE – you’ll get strung along. Validate and qualify EVERY STEP.

DON’T GET TRAPPED : close every step of the way, always agree on next steps, qualify, qualify, qualify, don’t waste time without MUTUAL commitment, don’t spend lots of time working on proposals when you don’t understand the clear next steps.

 

THE BEST SALES CHARACTERISTICS (even though none of these are really true)

  • Naturally curious/interested
  • People who truly believe they can do well for their customers
  • Hold themselves accountable

 

Sales Hacker Series Dublin was Sponsored by Betts Recruiting and PipelineDeals.

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