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I'm Skip Miller, Founder and President of M3 Learning, Ask Me Anything

Hi all, I'm Skip Miller, I'm here to answer your questions on October 28th at 1PM EST.

Ask your questions below to win an autographed copy of my book & an "I Hack Sales" Tee

Here are my key areas of expertise, research, and commentary:

• Why companies need to go outbound to get new leads, especially during times of uncertainty (such as COVID)
• How viewing prospect meetings as opportunities to use problem-solving skills can lead to better results
• Specific road-tested sales tactics to raise the success rate – and even the enjoyment of – outbound sales
• How the outbound sales process has changed in recent years
• Why and how outbound leads should be treated differently than inbound leads
• The multiple touch strategy of outbound prospecting and how to implement effective communications across channels, including email, Zoom, phone, and social media
• How to tailor outbounding to approach individuals at both the C-suite and manager level

I am the author of a new book Outbounding: Win New Customers with Outbound Sales and End the Dependence on Inbound Leads [November 3, 2020 – HarperCollins Leadership].

I am the Founder and President of M3 Learning, a ProActive Sales and Sales Management Training Company based in the heart of Silicon Valley, which has provided training to hundreds of companies around the world including Zoom, Tableau, Apple, Google, and Stripe, along with hundreds of startups.

I is also the author of seven previous titles, including the runaway bestseller, ProActive Sales Management, which has been ranked #1 on Amazon for five consecutive years, and has become the classic textbook for Sales Managers, new and seasoned alike.

Prior to starting M3 Learning, I was a Vice President for Dataquest, a leading high technology market research firm.

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    • 0
      Profile picture of Naief AlShibli
      @naiefalshibli
      ( 280 POINTS )
      1 year, 7 months ago

      Skip, from your experience, How could one tailor their outbounding to approach individuals at manager level to supercharge my open and reply rates for individuals that work in finance?

      What are the levers I can pull to catch the attention when prospecting into an industry with individuals with a short attention span and are extremely time poor?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Jim Hilliard
      @columbo
      ( 190 POINTS )
      1 year, 7 months ago

      It’s easy to identify the Top Officer… what’s the best way to get his Gate Keeper to become your Gate Opener or Guide to the Corporate Power Players

      • 0
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        1. Make sure you use them and work with them.
        2. Use the question “where”. It’s directional and you’re able to navigate through the organization.
        3. Be genuine, honest and respect their time.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Kor Foekens
      @korfoekens
      ( 330 POINTS )
      1 year, 7 months ago

      We are a producer of sustainable cooling products/solutions and we sell via distributors. How can we optimize outbound sales together with our distributors. What do we need to do to get optimal result form outbound sales.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Kallie Johnson
      @kallienofornia78
      ( 190 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      I’ve been doing outbound for years. ( my father handed me the yellow pages when I was 12 to set meetings for my parents janitorial company) I’m a firm believer in outbound and typically have more success via the phone versus email. I’ve had a difficult time being my normal self during Covid. Do you have any advice on how to approach things now versus a year ago? I think mentally I get hung up on “ it’s a global pandemic, here I am calling to discuss changing IT vendors”

      • 0
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        From Skip- “What you’re doing is helping your customers right now, during Covid, make changes. People hate changes and right now your senior level buyers are having to make a lot of changes. Instead of asking them “do you think it would fit”, ask “as you look at 2021, where do you see the biggest risk with changes, etc.”.
        Get hung up on people having to change, people needing help- so help them with the change. Not focused on the pandemic.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      What causes someone to open your emails?

      1. Poeple’s names that you both know, also called a referral.
      2. Make me curious, about my title, company or industry.
      3. Ask me a question. It actually kicks in something called instinctive elaboration. We are wired to answer questions.
      4. Ask for help….you’ll be surprised.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Miguel Martínez
      @mijelangel
      ( 310 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Hi,
      In Europe we have problems accessing companies and client offices.
      How can we work with clients that we cannot see face to face?
      Thanks!

      • 0
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        Invite your customers, maybe 2-3, to join a 30 minute chat and ask for opinions on what theyre doing. The goal is not for 3 hours, but 20-30 mins max. Focus on networking and discussing whats happening with them and those around them. “Throw a virtual party”

    • 0
      Profile picture of Senthilkumar Deivasigamany
      @senthil
      ( 300 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      My biggest challenge is to get the attention of the C Level officers as most of the work I do is related to them. How can I best tailor my outbound messages to attract their attention?

      • 0
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        What do C-Level Executives care about?
        1. Cause-What would cause you to look at my stuff? What has happened that causes you to make a change?
        2. Whats the outcome expected for change being made? C-levels know what the overall business outcome.
        3. Decide- buyers don’t like to be closed, they LOVE to make decisions! Ask a buyer, a buyer centric question.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Joe Latchaw
      @jlatchaw85
      ( 5.9k POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Thanks for being here Skip! How do you get leaders to see the value in hyper-focused campaigns versus random acts, small event lists, etc.?

    • 2
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Keep the questions coming. I’ll get to all of them Weds!! Data shows the C-Suite is open to Outbounding. You need to work on your messaging though!

    • 1
      Profile picture of Philip Parenteau
      @philip_yul
      ( 490 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      We sell hyper-local – one city only, as our services are for the new luxury homeowner and new condo unit automation and require local technicians to implement our systems. How can we tailor our message to a company that builds nationally, but needs to partner with us locally? Our industry is heavily based on who-you-know and have-done-business-with (construction) type of deal.

      We are seen as a nice-to-have, not need-to-have in our industry. How can I tailor my message around the need-to-have?

      Thanks

    • 0
      Profile picture of Stan Beal
      @stanbeal
      ( 210 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      If your solution is a complex sale, how do you “co-ordinate” the lead gen and early stage sales interactions to minimize the appearance of stumbling through a lot of individual exchanges?

      • 1
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        The best way to do it is to keep the focus on the buyer, not the seller. “I can tell you’re really concerned, Im going to turn you over to a more experienced person who has better understanding of this.” Helps the customer feel more important because they are being passed to someone who knows more.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Grace delosSantos
      @gdelossantos
      ( 220 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Outbounding is a balance of quality and quantity, with quality being at the forefront. How are you able to maximize your output while still putting out customized outreach that reels people in and generates interest?

      Thanks for your time, Skip! Would love to be less dependent on inbound leads 🙂

    • 0
      Profile picture of Michael Ras
      @mikeras82
      ( 1.4k POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Good to to see you involved in this Community Skip! I’ve had the privilege of getting Sales trained by you TWICE during my Cisco-WebEx days! A few of the best sales trainings I’ve ever had in my entire sales career so far, topnotch!
      I tailor my outbounding to approach individuals at both the C-suite and manager level quite a lot, it works! However hyper-personalization is very time-consuming and takes a lot of effort! My response rates and conversion are great and quite high because of it. Do you have any tips or guidance on how to do it at scale?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Love people who have taken the training before. We’ll address this issue! Find important trains, time travel, and get numbers. More later.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      You are NEVER a nice to have. If you are not helping to solve a problem, then you probably are not selling.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Jonathan Jones
      @jjonesitkti
      ( 210 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      We’ve never found outbound to be valuable in the MSP space…maybe times have changed with Covid? How do I sell thousands of dollars a month in Proactive IT support to companies who haven’t seen a need or reached out to us?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Mike Rogers
      @mike_4wl
      ( 240 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      My biggest issue is getting the c-level executive to have a conversation on a topic they normally don’t involve themselves (logistics) and yet is one of their biggest line item expenses, and want to pass me off to lower-level managers, who perceive my service as something that can make them look bad. How would you approach this?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      OK, what’s wrong with how they are doing logistics now? What other outcomes are they wanting? Less cost? More efficient so they can ship faster? Is there some pressure from their customers that logistics can make a dent in?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      We are a producer of sustainable cooling products/solutions and we sell via distributors. How can we optimize outbound sales together with our distributors. What do we need to do to get optimal result form outbound sales.

      Ever try parachuting? That’s when you go into their territory, and since you have no skin in the game, you parachute in and use go for it. No fear of rejection and a lot of fun.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      No more questions?? Come on folks. I did 9 months of research on this and talked to some folks who get 60+% open rates and 20-30% meeting rates. Just sayin’.

      And for you managers, the best out bounders worked for great managers. What made them great? #1 – “my manager challenged me”.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Skip Miller
      @skipm3
      ( 765 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      We’ve never found outbound to be valuable in the MSP space…maybe times have changed with Covid? How do I sell thousands of dollars a month in Proactive IT support to companies who haven’t seen a need or reached out to us?

      Really??? Come on. Make them curious. OK, what are the 3 biggest changes to the MSP space for 2021?

      40% said they expected to reduce their growth projection by between 10% and 20% ……..this sucks. WHY? What is happening that they are not staying cometsatiue. And PLEASE don’t say price.
      23% said they expected to remain on plan or reduce their plan by less than 10%………So the market is growing and changing, that they are going to remain flat? Are they nuts?
      11% are revising their growth projections upward, expecting revenue to increase during the crisis compared to their original plan ….. OK< so what are the risks they need to mitigate and time issues they need to attack?

      These are questions they have with no answers…Trains in the train stations…. stop talking about what you provide, and look at the outcomes you make a dent in….

    • 0
      Profile picture of Ace Singh
      @itsace
      ( 260 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Skip, how different is the sales process (at the top of the funnel) when pitching services (consulting and systems integration) as against SaaS products. Since service sales are more high-touch and require a deeper understanding of the buyer’s business what percentage time should a BDR/SDR spend on researching a prospect?

      • 1
        Profile picture of Skip Miller
        @skipm3
        ( 765 POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        Hunting for trains is hunting for trains. I pitch consulting services, fyi.

        I have sold to SaaS, HVAC, shoes, airlines, medical devices, tech, cannabis, travel, health, IT, and a host of others.
        Homework is based on dollar of the sale and title of the person you are talking to. If I’m going to talk to a VP or above and the sales is 6-figures, I’ll spend 15-30 min on homework max. How? Let’s talk about it.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Maria Correa
      @belencorrea
      ( 200 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      How would you recommend we approach an outbound campaign to expand the business with existing customers? The goal would be to connect with different stakeholders that likely have different needs

      • 1
        Profile picture of Skip Miller
        @skipm3
        ( 765 POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        1. Leverage the contact to get in
        2. Hunt for 2021 trains and gaps to maximize their investment

        More on the podcast. It’ll make sense!

    • 0
      Profile picture of Ola Ayeni
      @claimacademy
      ( 210 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      How to start a out boundcsales program

      • 0
        Profile picture of Skip Miller
        @skipm3
        ( 765 POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        Don’t know what that is, sorry.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Cameron Marks
      @silverskier208
      ( 410 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Skip, I provide accounts receivable management services to the healthcare industry. The impact of our service on revenue is miniscule in comparison to other sources (Medicare reimbursements, for example) and this factors into a glacially slow sales cycle. What tips would you have for instilling urgency in the decision maker in a scenario where the work required to implement my service is seen as more of a hassle than staying with their current service provider?

    • 1
      Profile picture of Macky Bradley
      @mackybradley
      ( 15.9k POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      Hi Skip! @skipm3
      Glad to see you here on Sales Hacker, Thanks for doing the AMA!
      Where do you see the future of sales happening?
      Is it Remote-Work from Home or do you see everybody going back to the office?
      What are your insights?

      Thanks Skip, see you later today!
      Macky

      • 1
        Profile picture of Macky Bradley
        @mackybradley
        ( 15.9k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        That was amazing Skip!
        Thank you!

    • 0
      Profile picture of Jessica Hoopfer
      @jhoopfer
      ( 230 POINTS )
      1 year, 6 months ago

      How do you blend email, phone calls and LinkedIn touches when outbound prospecting? Do you feel one channel works better than the others?

      • 1
        Profile picture of Katie Ray
        @katie_ray
        ( 14.5k POINTS )
        1 year, 6 months ago

        Multiple Channels are always better. They get you to 20-30% response rate. Lead with what you’re good at, and practice/get better with what you’re struggling at. People rely on what they think they’re good at, but most importantly, practice!

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