Why I Haven’t Written Much Lately
People are asking me where I’ve been.
I’ve usually written a new article or two every week for several years. I’ve been lucky to write my thoughts once in a month or two.
Haven’t felt like there was much that I hadn’t already said.
So I’ve been learning new things, gaining answers to hard questions. I’m taking everything in, not giving much back recently.
But I’ve embarked on a new adventure to get back to my roots.
What are my roots?
Within myself, I’ve been getting back to what matters most.
At home, it’s family. Spending time with my wife Crystal and two sons at home and one son nearby at college.
We moved to new home only 10 minutes from work. It sure beats a 40 minute commute each way, which I did for 19 years.
Life is too short, but at least I’ve listened to a lot of audio books in the car.
I’m in a new neighborhood. New friends.
My family is growing. I’m a grandpa. My two oldest are married and I have a new little granddaughter and a grandson on the way.
At work, it’s business development and lead generation; I’m back to inside sales at it’s core.
We hired a wonderful Chief Marketing Officer named Mick Hollison in the middle of last year. I’ve handed off the marketing duties that I had shouldered for last five or six years and it has taken me a while to adjust.
He’s become a great friend.
Why a new CMO when we had one of the best demand generation machines in the world? Because we can get even better. And Mick brings all of the other pieces to the puzzle that we need to build on top of the great foundation of lead generation that we have.
Mick is much better than I am at all of the rest of marketing.
That’s hard to say, but it’s true.
It’s exciting to get to a stage in business where the most important thing you can do to keep growing is to hire people that are better than you.
Why did I get into marketing in the first place?
I’ve always been of the opinion that marketing exists solely to generate leads.
It’s all about the leads.
I’m still of that opinion.
But branding, product marketing, PR, and corporate communications all improve your ability to generate leads.
I needed to reset. Everyone needs to reset now and again.
I’m directly in charge of the business development or lead generation teams; the appointment setters.
Why is the President and Founder of the company in charge of what most think is a secondary function? Well, Dave and I are busy finding people that are better than we are everywhere in the business.
And because business development is the core function of our business.
Of our industry.
If we generate leads our sales people know how to close them.
But who really knows how to generate leads for Enterprise companies, and mid-market, and small businesses? And what are the best practices for inbound lead response compared to outbound? And how do you move marketing strategies into the sales world? And sales strategies into marketing?
We grew 107% last year in revenue. In December we grew 244% over the previous December.
How do you sustain that?
More leads. Better leads.
Mick has the con on generating more and better leads. Michael Critchfield’s sales teams will close these leads. The next frontier sits directly between marketing and sales; contacting those leads, and qualifying those leads. And doing it for different sizes of companies and types of companies.
And building a Business Development Certification and Consulting Division so our clients can use our systems better.
You see we have learned that when we sell our software alone we increase productivity 5x. When we teach people the best practices and research around how to optimize our software we increase 13x
So I’m working with Business Development for a while until we can solve these problems. Then I will take what we have learned and apply it in the consulting practices we are launching.
Then we will have grown the leadership or hired the leadership to step in and take over, like we just did with marketing.
Then I get to spend more time writing, speaking, training, and consulting.
62 Top Sales Experts Share Sales Tips and Sales Quotes
We just passed the 6 month anniversary of The Inside Sales Virtual Summit, an industry event that changed the world of sales and marketing. More than 15,800 sales leaders registered for a day of learning and enchantment on June 20, 2013.
62 sales experts gathered for the largest online event of its kind that the sales industry had ever seen.
We just asked them to unite their wisdom one more time with a tip or sales quote. Salesforce.com had me publish a quote or tip from every single one of them on the Salesforce blog. Forbes published articles telling how it was done in only three weeks from start to finish using collaborative marketing.
Enjoy this summary of the quotes and tips from our 62 authors: Business and thought leaders who participated in the virtual summit that is now part of history.
NOTE: The specific tip or sales quote from each expert is their first statement in italics.
1. Guy Kawasaki, Author, Venture Capitalist and Technologist and former Chief Evangelist at Apple Computer
“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.”
2. Josh James, CEO of Domo and former CEO and Founder of Omniture
“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.”
3. Jeffrey Gitomer, Author of “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling”
“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.”
4. Dave Elkington, CEO and Founder of InsideSales.com
“You have to generate revenue as efficiently as possible. And to do that, you must create a data-driven sales culture. Data trumps intuition.”
5. Matt Dixon, Co-Author of “The Challenger Sale”
“Lead TO what makes you unique … not WITH what makes you unique.”
6. Brian Frank, Global Head of Sales Operations at LinkedIn
“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.”
7. Yusuf Tayob, Partner & Global Lead – Sales Enablement at Accenture
“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.”
8. Jill Konrath, Author of “SNAP Selling” and “Selling to BIG Companies”
“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.”
9. Mike Bosworth, Author of “Solution Selling”
“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.”
10. Ken Krogue, President and Founder of InsideSales.com
“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.”
11. Barry Trailer, Co-Founder of CSO Insights
“When you’re coaching your sales reps, make sure your feedback is timely, consistent, objective, accurate, individualized and relevant.”
12. Liz Gelb-O’Connor, VP Inside Sales Strategy & Growth at ADP
“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.”
13. Jon Miller, VP Marketing at Marketo
“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.”
14. Mark Roberge, SVP Sales and Services at HubSpot
“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.”
15. Aaron Ross, Author of “Predictable Revenue”
“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.”
16. Anneke Seley, CEO and Founder of Reality Works
“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.”
17. Bob Perkins, Founder of American Association of Inside Sales Professionals
“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.”
18. Kraig Kleeman, Author of “The Must-React System”
“There is incredible power in leading with research and leading with relevance.”
19. Trish Bertuzzi, President & Chief Strategist at The Bridge Group
“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.”
20. Art Sobczak, Founder of Business By Phone Inc.
“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.”
21. Tim Ash, Author of “Landing Page Optimization”
“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.”
22. Siva Devaki, CEO & Founder of Mansa Systems
“Sales is not about selling anymore but building trust and educating.”
23. Kevin Gaither, VP Inside Sales at ZipRecruiter
“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.”
24. Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelism & Enablement at Oracle
“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.”
25. Jamie Shanks, Partner at Sales for Life
“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.”
26. Craig Elias, Creator of Trigger Event Selling
“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.”
27. Mark Organ, CEO at Influitive
“Build advocates and mobilize them.”
28. Donal Daly, CEO and Founder of The TAS Group
“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.”
29. Dave Orrico, VP of Enterprise Sales at InsideSales.com
“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.”
30. Matt Heinz, President at Heinz Marketing
“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.”
31. Erik Luhrs, B2B Lead Generation Expert at Front-Loaded Lead Generation
“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?).
32. Nancy Nardin, President at Smart Selling Tools
“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.”
33. Mike Smalls, CEO & Founder of Hoopla
“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.”
34. Sam Richter, Author of “Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling”
“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.”
35. Bryan Kreuzberger, Founder of Breakthrough Email
“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.”
36. Mick Hollison, CMO at InsideSales.com
“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.”
37. Lori Richardson, CEO & Founder of Score More Sales
“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.”
38. Michael Pedone, Founder of SalesBuzz
“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.”
39. Erik Charles, Principal Incentives Strategist at Xactly
“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.”
40. Brian Carroll,
“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.”
41. Brian Kardon, CMO at Lattice Engines
“Find your trigger.”
“Find the qualities that make a lead more likely to convert, and focus on those leads.”
42. Mike Puglia, VP of Marketing at TimeTrade
“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.”
43. Larry Reeves, COO at American Association of Inside Sales Professionals
“Use dual monitors. The increase in productivity is much more than you can imagine – a great addition for around $100.”
44. Richard Brasser, CEO at rFactr
“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.”
45. Atri Chatterjee, CMO at Act-On Software
“80 percent of prospects who eventually buy are originally marked as bad leads. Don’t totally count them out.”
46. Dave Hibbard, Co-Author of “SOAR Selling”
“Delivery of your value statement should take no more than 15 to 20 seconds — generally less.”
47. Jared Haleck, Senior Product Manager at InsideSales.com
“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.”
48. Steve Richard, Co-Founder of Vorsight
“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.”
49. Peter Gracey, President at AG Salesworks
“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.”
50. Josiane Feigon, Author and President at TeleSmart Communications
“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?”
51. James Rogers, CMO at OneSource Information Services
“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.”
52. Dustin Grosse, CMO at DocuSign
“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.”
53. Gary Milwit, SVP Sales at Stone Street Capital
“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.”
54. John Wall, Host of Marketing Over Coffee
“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!”
55. Mike Agron, Author of “WebinarReady”
“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.”
56. Giles House, CMO at CallidusCloud
“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.”
57. Gabriel Padva, Founder of 30,000 FT Strategies
“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.”
58. Brandt “Bubba” Page, CEO & Founder of Launch Leads
“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.“
59. Kurt Shaver, Founder of The Sales Foundry
“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.”
60. Jason Garoutte, CMO and GM at Mintigo
“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.”
61. Fred Shilmover, CEO at InsightSquared
“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.”
62. Lars Leckie, Venture Capitalist at Hummer Winblad
“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.”
He told me that people thought our team at InsideSales.com was nuts for trying to pull off the Inside Sales Virtual Summit in a mere three weeks.
He summarized the whole grand adventure with a quote I’ll remember forever:
“Ken, normal people don’t make history.”
NOTE: Special thanks to Gabe Villamizar, Leo Dirr, and Brittney Griffin for helping to contact each of our 62 Sales Experts and pull together their sales tips and sales quotes before the holidays. – Ken
Sales Operations: Lessons Learned From Fraser Bullock, Mitt Romney, And The 2002 Winter Olympics
What would you ask a man who is Managing Director of Sorenson Capital, Chairman of the Board of the #1 tourist attraction in Hawaii, former COO of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, former Chairman of the Board of Omniture, and a current board member of 7 companies including a new Advisory Board member and shareholder at our own InsideSales.com?
And did I mention he helped found Bain Capital with Mitt Romney and would have been heavily involved in our federal government today if the last election had gone differently?
Yesterday I had an hour and a half with Fraser Bullock, the very man.
My questions were about business operations, specifically sales operations.
When you talk about operations the name Fraser Bullock comes up a lot in Utah circles.
I believe sales operations is the new secret sauce behind successful sales organizations and I’m trying to learn from the best to help define the space better.
My first question: “What is operations?”
Fraser replied, “It’s having a plan. Not moving on an ad-hoc basis.”
“It’s deploying tools, resources, leadership, and people in a way to achieve a goal. It’s a discipline, not an art. And today’s tools, metrics, and analytics allow for true planning around an ROI strategy like never before.”
“Omniture turned what was a fuzzy art into a clear science of web marketing. “
“That is where sales is going now. It’s about knowing your job, the right training, resources that you need, tools that provide leverage, decisive leadership, and clear measurement.”
I was intrigued, “Tell me more about Omniture.”
He sat forward on his seat as he responded, “Omniture and Josh James led the charge in how marketing changed. Before you would buy a television ad and have no idea how well it worked. Now you can buy a keyword on Google and watch your analytics change immediately. You know if your investment paid off or not, and you know where to put your money for even better results. Josh James has now moved his focus to real time executive dashboards analytics with his new company Domo to continue the charge.”
“Marketing is no longer amorphous, and sales is learning these same lessons. This whole world of sales automation tools is uncovering the need for a toolkit that allows for true forecasting and measures ROI.”
“Sales always seems to be the last adopter!” I intervened. “But when they do embrace a practice it changes the business more than anything else. Sales has the strongest impact and is always the last to turn off the light. These new tools are very exciting.”
“It’s all about the tools!” He paused for emphasis, then continued.
“Imagine trying to build something without a power saw and a nail-gun. Would you even consider using a handsaw and a hammer any more? Many people don’t even have the old tools, or they hang them on the wall as a display.”
We both chuckled.
He went on, “I used an HP 12c calculator at Bain and Company. I can’t even fathom not using Excel now. And the big data, machine learning, and new predictive analytics that are on the horizon will change everything.”
“Take the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City for instance. For perspective, most companies have 7or 8 key functions. We had 42 we had to plan for. The worst is always transportation. Every single Olympics prior to then failed just on that one point alone. We had 5000 vehicles to move athletes, media, and VIPs around to all the different venues.”
“The past Olympic Committees used paper to plan.”
“We were the first to use computer modeling to plan and prepare the transportation issues. We modeled traffic patterns with several contingencies for weather and accidents… just in case. We made plans to make sure every athlete was at the proper venue 3 hours before they were due to compete.”
“We put together the best team and to help them succeed, we developed the best operational tools in the history of the Olympics. As a result, the Olympics ran virtually flawlessly and are recognized as the best operated Olympics ever. “
“But even the best tools need people who can react well to unexpected situations. In spite of extraordinary planning and technology tools for operating our transportation system of about 5,000 vehicles, we had one problem arise.”
“On the day of the Men’s Downhill at Snowbasin, one of the parking lots became full and was creating traffic confusion. Mitt Romney, our CEO, got caught in the traffic congestion and proactively became an instantaneous on-the-ground operator.”
“He jumped out of his vehicle, took responsibility and began directing traffic. The traffic congestion eased, and people were able to get to the event on time.”
“Spectators were stunned and pleased to see the CEO doing what it takes to help customers. Even with the best tools and operations, you still need great people who take responsibility for results, solve problems and make companies better.”
“Operations is planning: using tools, resources, analytics, leadership, and people.”
There you have it… from someone who knows.
We talked a little further and he gave some personal advice. In fact, he warned me to keep balance and focus on what and who is really important.
A true sage and gentleman.
62 Sales Tips and Sales Quotes Top Trending Article on Salesforce.com Blog
Hello everyone. A while ago I was asked by my friend Amanda Nelson, who runs the Salesforce.com blog to write an article for their awesome blog. I decided that the best article I could write would actually be a collaboration between the 62 different different sales experts, authors and business leaders who spoke at our record breaking Inside Sales Virtual Summit that was held on June 20th.
We had 15,800 people register for the live and archived content with 62 speakers.
Here is a quote from every single one of these incredible sales experts. Sort of like a virtual reunion!
It got posted today, Halloween Day, October 31st, 2013.
Here is the link to the article,
And as you can see, it trended to the top on the whole blog immediately!
Inside Sales Tips: Dialer Software And Why Salespeople Should Make More Calls
I just came from a two-day consulting engagement with the sales team and CEO of one of the largest residential solar power companies in the country. I was impressed because they already had some of the best internal processes, disciplines, and best practices I had seen.
1- Their sales process and personnel are focused into specialties. Our research with Dr. James Oldroyd has shown significantly higher close ratios for companies who focus on a specialist model rather than a generalist model where sales reps prospect, close, and service accounts.
2- They buy and generate leads so their sales reps don’t need cold calling lists. Our research shows leads are dramatically better than lists. A lead is an inbound inquiry with need; a list is an outbound inquiry to generate (at best) interest.
Interest is the counterfeit of need.
3- They respond with immediacy to their inbound leads in an average of 25 minutes, the average company takes 39 hours and 22 minutes to respond to a web-based inquiry.
4- They already persistently make 5 to 6 call attempts to reach out to an internet inquiry, sales reps at most companies only make 1.5 phone attempts.
5- They had learned the value of calling from local calling areas where they display a local phone number instead of a blocked or toll free number (which screams loudly “I am a salesperson!”)
But they don’t make enough call attempts overall.
Now don’t get me wrong…
They had already tripled their call attempts per rep from 20 to 60, which is a big step in the right direction.
We have found the sweet spot is somewhere between 120 and 170 calls per day for business development reps who follow up on inbound leads or go outbound to generate appointments. Sales closers should make less, but they still need to make much more than they do.
My good friend Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group, the leading inside sales consulting firm on the east coast, does an annual lead generation research study which has recently studied call metrics and the impact of dialer technology. She has found that the average inside sales rep is making just north of 50 calls a day. Her study shows that same rep on dialer technology is hovering around 80 calls a day.
That’s like buying a brand new Mustang Shelby GT500 and contentedly driving 65-miles-an-hour.
C’mon, that’s not American. Why would you do that?
My good friend Rick Stapp, the legendary Account Executive at FranklinCovey who covered Michigan and made a lot of money selling Day Planners to the automotive industry, would have a blitz day quite often and make 100 calls a day or more without a power dialer technology.
We have had an inside sales rep make an average of 325-350 call attempts a day for 2.5 straight years just to see if he could. And you know what?
And did. And his results improved the more calls he made.
So… Why make more calls?
We all know that it isn’t about just making calls; it’s about conversations. Sales conversations.
My friends at the solar company were measuring talk time… or conversations. And that’s a good thing, or rather, half of a good thing.
Quality of calls is critical.
But so are quantities of calls. It’s like a teeter-totter. It is a balance between number of calls and how good the calls are.
Here’s why you make more calls…
- So you can have more quality sales conversations.
- If you make 50 calls a day and your contact ratio is 14%, then you have 7 contacts or conversations.
- If you make 100 calls a day, you converse with 14 people.
- 200 calls a day, you talk to 28 people.
- 300 calls means 42 conversations…
More conversations means more appointments, more sales, more commissions… get the picture?
Sales is still a numbers game.
I used to sell David Early Tire Coupons door-to-door right after I returned from my 2 year Mormon mission in South Carolina.
The Commandant at the United States Naval Academy who promised he would get me back in after my mission got transferred out to sea so I had to figure something else to do in my life rather than flying jets.
All I knew how to do was knock doors and handle lots of rejection.
I had learned that the key to selling tire coupons was finding people at home. And everything in between homes with people who answered was wasted time. So I learned to run between doors looking for somebody who was there. It kept my energy high and my waist size down.
That’s like making lots of call attempts between conversations.
When I found somebody home I immediately slowed down and took whatever time to make sure they knew the value of tire rotation and balance and were aware of the three free oil changes I could throw in if they bought right then.
Measuring talk time and dial attempts is the balance between quality and quantity.
One or the other is only half of the solution.
You see, it’s not about calling 1000 people 1 time.
It’s about calling 100 people 10 times so you make sure you reach them, especially if those people have responded on your website.
How many calls should you make? I don’t know. But I now how to find out…
Try a week at 50 calls a day. Then a week at 100, then 200, then 300.
What are your best results?
My record is 460 calls in 7 hours and 45 minutes, dialing by hand I might add.
So why don’t sales reps make more calls?
They tell me they have to research the prospect before they make the call.
I don’t buy it.
Ok, I buy some of it. Sales intel is important, dare I say critical.
But if you are making 50 calls you have 8 minutes around each call. In fact, our time studies show that is about the exact amount of time salespeople take between researching calls before the call and taking notes after the call.
With today’s tools like LinkedIn, Zoominfo, Inside View, and Data.com by Salesforce.com, you can quickly research 3 things to talk about in 30 seconds; often while the phone is still ringing and you are making small talk.
If you take 30 seconds after the call to make a quick note and record an action item you could still actually make 268 calls in a day and take lunch and two 15 minute breaks.*
So consider this:
- Not hitting your quota? Make more calls.
- Bored because sales is easy? Dial more and turn up the volume.
- Not enough leads? Pick up the dang phone; it’s one variable you can control.
- Can’t reach that busy decision maker? Make more attempts. It’s not that they don’t want to talk to you… they are just busy.
Like you are.
Make more calls and all kinds of great things start to happen! – Ken
*Assuming 3-minute conversations and 36 second dial time on non-conversation dial attempts.
31 Twitter Tips: How To Use Twitter Tools And Twitter Best Practices For Business
For years I have wondered what the value of Twitter is for sales and business. Everyone knows the indisputable value of LinkedIn for B2B sales, marketing, B2B prospecting, and entrepreneurs in general. But Twitter is gaining traction in B2B.
This article shares some of the latest Twitter strategies, tactics, tools, and best practices.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a really cool ebook called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It it gives you 1 thing to do per day on your blog for an entire month. It is for those who never quite get around to it because they are so busy.
Think of this article as “31 Days to Be Using Twitter to Build Your Business.”
1. Decide your purpose. Why are you using Twitter?
Some Twitter users utilize the social media site to build their company brand or generate leads. There are bloggers who use the platform to share ideas and articles and to see what others are writing about. Some people check Twitter for news, while others want to see what celebrities or friends are up to.
Defining your purpose will help you decide who to follow and what kind of information to share.
2. Focus on your passion. There are millions of Twitter users tweeting thousands of pieces of information every second. It is easy to get overwhelmed by and lost in the noise. Rather than trying to soak it all in and repurpose everything, focus on your passion.
Don’t be a jack of all Twitter subjects and a master of none. Tweets surrounding your passion are going to be stronger. Plus, you will attract users who have similar interests. If you don’t focus, you will attract meaningless followers, if any at all.
3. Define your brand. Once you have zeroed in on your purpose and passion, decide how you want the Twitter world to view you.
Do you want to specialize in one subject to attract a targeted audience? Or do you want to be more general, tweeting about numerous topics? Do you want your tweets to be funny and casual or very professional? Is your goal to be a thought leader or celebrity? This will give you direction on who to follow and what to tweet.
4. Determine your strategy. Is your strategy to communicate?
If your goal is to influence, promote or sell, your strategy should be communication based. You are going to want to attract attention. To attract attention, you are going to need to tweet, direct message, engage with other users and focus on getting information out in the Twitter world.
Is it to listen?
If you are using Twitter to keep up on news, learn, provide customer service or perform market analysis, your strategy should be to listen. You are going to want to decide who will provide the content you’re interested in and follow them. You will also want to learn how to utilize filtering tools, including hashtags and Twitter lists.
5. Learn how to use Twitter. Reading this article and articles like it is a good first step. However, to really learn how to utilize Twitter, you’re going to need to get your hands a little dirty and roll up your sleeves.
- Go to Twitter.com, and create a free account.
- Learn Twitter terminology. When you post something, it’s a tweet. When you repost something from another user, it’s a retweet or RT. Trending topics, or TT, are topics discussed by many users at a given time. You can Favorite a tweet by clicking on the star. That is a great way to recognize someone for sharing your content.
- Explore. See who is on Twitter and what people are tweeting.
- Engage. Follow the guidelines in this article and become an active user.
6. Grab your name, brand or persona. (@KenKrogue)
When you are signing up, you will need to decide your Twitter name, which is how people will tag you in tweets and ultimately how you will be known on Twitter. Mine is my name, @KenKrogue. If you can’t get your own name, add your passion or function like @KenKrogueSells or something. My company address is @InsideSales. Choose something that fits you or your business.
7. Take a good picture. Use a close-up headshot of yourself or a logo of your business. This image will show up on your profile page and next to any comment you make on Twitter. You want people to recognize you. Make sure the image is clear and well-lit, with your face in the center. (Or you can be off-center, like me, if you are a little different.) You want to avoid having other objects beside you in the picture.
If you are using a logo, try not to make it too wordy, or it will not be readable at the small image size. Your image can be formatted as a jpg, gif or PNG. The size limit for upload is 700KB. Twitter reformats the image for the profile picture and the smaller image that goes next to comments.
Changing Your Profile Image. To change your profile image, click on the gear icon located at the top of the page, and select “edit profile.” Next to “Photo” select “Upload photo” from the drop down. Upload your photo from your computer.
8. Find your keywords. Use the Google Keyword Tool (now Keyword Planner as of Aug 26) to find the keywords that make up your industry or market. Remember to divert a river, don’t dig a well. In other words, tap into existing traffic rather than generating it from scratch. It is better to know about keywords than even about hashtags, because a hashtag is a keyword or a “theme” that can help amplify your exposure.
9. Research and identify your #hashtags. Hashtags are a tool to make words more searchable. To create a hashtag, place # before a word. Hashtags allow Twitter users to tap into a Twitter-wide conversation. Discover the trending conversations, and decide which ones you want to be included in. This will also help you connect with users who have similar interests.
Use a maximum of two hashtags per tweet. Hashtags are a useful way to get your tweet out to people who are actually interested in its main subject, but too many hashtags in a single post can be overwhelming.
#Hashtags can be a #useful #tool, but this is #toomany in a #single #tweet. #annoying #overwhelming
Five Tools to Help Research Hashtags:
- Twitter Toolbar: You can search terms, keywords and people by entering them into the toolbar at the top of the page on Twitter. For example, if you are in sales, try searching #sales and related keywords you have identified using the Google Keyword Tool. If you want to see tweets surrounding a certain topic enter that term into the search bar, and it will bring you to all related tweets. For example, if you wanted to see tweets related to the Inside Sales Virtual Summit, enter #SalesSummit into the search bar, and all tweets tagged #SalesSummit will show up.
- Hashtags.org: Hashtags.org provides research to help businesses improve social networking strategies.
- Twitter Reach
- Social Mention
(3-5 are social analytics tools that can provide analysis of your tweets and hashtags.)
10. Wordsmith your profile with keywords for search and fun facts for people. Once you have decided why you are using Twitter, what your target audience is and gone through the initial setup, now you want to show up in search. Include keywords in your Twitter profile.
11. Publish your Twitter ID in your other media. I post my Twitter ID (@KenKrogue) in my email signature, at the bottom of articles I write and anywhere else I think applicable. This lets people know I’m on Twitter and helps them find me. A great way to grow your following is to start with people you know and connect with them in various ways.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
12. Check out Twitter Tools like TweetAdder or Tweepi to target who to follow or who you want to follow you. The best way to build your network is to target your content specifically to those who would be interested in following you and make it really interesting and valuable. Check out How to Build a Targeted Twitter Tribe of 100,000 on Jeff Bullas’ blog.
13. The follow-first rule: I follow you then (hopefully) you follow me. This is by far the most common way to get followers. Twitter puts limits on how many users you can follow. Here are the guidelines: “Every account can follow 2,000 users total. Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published.”
14. The favorites-follower rule: I click ‘favorite’ on your Tweet, then you follow me. This method helps you gain targeting following by first finding Tweets that match your interests and targeted keywords. Then you click ‘favorite’ and often they reciprocate. This takes more time, but gives you a much higher quality and engaged following.
15. The offer-follower rule: You follow me, I give you something: information, ebook, etc. Make sure to give away something that your target audience will value. Make it easy for people to claim their reward.
16. The fan-follower rule: You follow a celebrity, they tweet you about them. You follow a celebrity types to keep up on their tweets. Twitter helped this process a lot by featuring the Twitter address of famous people in the Twitter registration process.
17. Choose your lists: Twitter lists allow you to listen to relevant conversations, identify influencers and filter out the noise so you can focus on the people and topics you care about.
18. Two ears and one mouth rule: Listen (and research first) before you speak. It is much better to listen about twice as much as you tweet if you want a strong following that is engaged and targeted to your purpose and passion.
19. Listen with Topsy. Topsy.com is a Twitter search engine that let’s you see if anyone listens or cares. Let’s you see the latest Twitter results in the past hour, day, week, 20 days, month or all time — with a cool trending graph.
21. Create and tweet great original content that fits your purpose. Create content that is informative and entertaining. Write about industry news, especially if you’re in a position to break the news. Stay on top of trends and provide commentary that adds context. If somebody releases groundbreaking research in your industry, write about this research. But don’t just regurgitate it. Use your own expertise to explain why this research is important. Show others in your industry how they can apply it to their work.
Use a combination of short-form content, like tweets, and long-form content, like blog posts, to establish yourself as a thought leader.
22. Summarize and curate great content that fits your purpose.
Share facts, insights and statistics in 140 characters or less. Try to keep your tweets to about 100 characters to leave room for links and hashtags and to increase the likelihood that somebody will retweet your content. Use your Twitter lists to curate relevant content. Set up keyword searches to track content by keywords.
23. Spend your time on really great headlines with keywords. Your headlines have the greatest impact on how many people share and read your content.
Here are some proven headline formulas:
- Lists: Headlines with numbers in them consistently perform well. Example: 7 Undeniable Reasons People LOVE List Posts.
- How to: “How to” titles promise a benefit to your readers. Example: How to Use Sales Data to Increase Sales Productivity.
- Target a Shark: Refer to a shark, which is an important company or person in your industry. This allows you to feed off the shark’s popularity to call attention to your content. Example: What Steve Jobs Can Teach You About Startup Success.
- Include Keywords: If you want to be known for sales motivation, make sure to include that keyword phrase in your headlines. Example: 6 Insanely Useful Sales Motivation Secrets.
24. Keep tweeting — Resend tweets with different angles. Some social media experts (Guy Kawasaki for example) recommend that you send the same tweet four times to cover all four U.S. time zones.
If you want to mix things up, here are some different angles you can take:
Use statistics to show significance: 90% of your sales come from 10% of your list
Address tweets to the individual by including the word “you”: Why You Should Focus on 10% of Your Prospect List
25. Alternate tweets by time of day and day of week. Social media scientist Dan Zarrella says that the best time to tweet if you want to be retweeted is on Friday at 4 p.m. EST. That’s based on aggregate data he has analyzed for millions of retweets. The engagement levels on your Twitter account may vary based on your industry and other factors.
Use the Buffer Tool (one of my favorites) to schedule your tweets. Test different days and times. Monitor engagement by using Buffer’s Analytics tab. Identify patterns among your Twitter followers. Schedule your tweets for your optimal days and times. >Don’t overlook weekends. Some Twitter users see higher engagement over the weekend. But the only way to know is to test and monitor your results.
26. Bridge Twitter with other media. Create a dynamic experience for your Twitter audience by including different types of media, such as images and videos.
Here are some tools you can use:
- Twitpic: Go to Twitpic.com, create an account, upload photos and easily share them on Twitter.
- Yfrog: Yfrog is another popular photo-sharing service.
- YouTube videos: Simply paste a YouTube video URL into a tweet. Your followers will be able to view the video right in their Twitter stream by clicking on the “View Media” link that appears in your tweet.
- AudioBoo: Use AudioBoo to share audio files. Once you have an account, sharing an AudioBoo link is super intuitive.
Twitter is a very passive media, but great to build awareness and start conversations. I recommend bridging to more assertive media like email, Chatter, LinkedIn, phone conversations, and live meetings. Live meetings are the most assertive, and work great at common events like Trade Shows, etc. Use Twitter to bridge to more assertive media as soon as you can.
27. Retweet great content. When you see something worth sharing in your stream, retweet it. This means that you are sharing somebody else’s Twitter content with your own followers. Retweeting somebody else’s content accomplishes two things:
- It helps you make friends with other influencers on Twitter.
- It shows your followers that you’re an active member of your online community.
Retweeting is simple. Here’s how:
Click the Retweet button on any tweet. This will publish the original tweet in your followers’ streams. The tweet will appear exactly as it did when it was first tweeted, meaning it will appear to come from the person who originally tweeted it. A message will appear at the bottom of the tweet telling people that you retweeted it.
Retweet the old-fashioned way. When viewing a tweet, click Reply. Copy and paste the original message into your tweet box. Place the letters RT in front of the original tweeter’s Twitter handle, or @ sign. Click Tweet. The post will be published in your followers’ streams as if it came from you. Many users prefer this method of retweeting because it’s better for building your own brand.
28. Send direct tweets as a great form of communication. Direct tweets are one-to-one messages as opposed to one-to-many. So, these tweets are more personal by nature. Use direct tweets to build strong relationships and to communicate important messages.
There are two types of direct tweets:
At-replies: Send an at-reply to another Twitter user by hitting the Reply button on any tweet. Type your message into the box that pops up and click Tweet. Your at-reply will show up in this person’s Interactions stream, which means it is more likely to be seen than a regular tweet. Just remember, your at-reply will also be visible to the public as part of your general Twitter stream.
Direct messages: If you don’t want anybody but the intended recipient to see your tweet, use a direct message. Click on the gray gear icon at the top of your Twitter profile. Select Direct Messages and create a new message. Once you submit it, it will appear in the recipient’s inbox.
29. Use great #hashtags. Hashtags categorize your tweets, which makes it easier for others interested in your topic to find them. Turn the keywords you want to be known for into your hashtags. Create a hashtag by placing the # symbol in front of your keywords. For example, #insidesales, #sales and #salesdata are popular hashtags in the sales space. Remember the rule though: divert a river, don’t dig a well.
Find existing hashtags with lots of traffic by searching for them using the Search Bar at the top of your profile. View a list of related tweets by clicking on a hashtag inside a tweet.
Make a hashtag for every event and presentation you do. #salessummit was our hashtag for our big Virtual Sales Summit. It already had lots of exising traffic (divert a river.)
Put your hashtag right at the bottom of every slide in your powerpoint to make it easy for people to see it and tweet while you are presenting.
30. Leverage your tweets in Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. Share your Twitter content with your audience on other networks by reposting your tweets on Facebook and LinkedIn, when appropriate. You also can embed a tweet into your blog or website. Click on the date in the upper-right-hand corner of a tweet. Then click More and select Embed Tweet. Copy the code and add it to your blog or website.
SEE IF IT’S WORKING
31. Check where you stand on social media tools, like Klout.com, Peerindex.com, Kred.com, Wefollow.com. Your influence on social media matters. The higher your score is, the more influential and relevant you are to others in the social media realm. One of the most popular tools is Klout. Quickly set up an account on Klout to see your score from 1 to 100.
Use these Twitter tips to help you build your business.
NOTE: I’ve been asked a lot to receive more details on how to do these 31 Twitter tips. If you follow me on Twitter and practice by sending me a Tweet, I’ll copy you with a link with a more complete version of this article to help you do each of the 31 tips. Good luck! – Ken
Cold Calling Is Dead, Thanks To LinkedIn (#1 on Forbes)
Or should I write it the way two entire industries, sales and marketing, would probably exclaim:
“Cold calling as we know it is dead… thank you LinkedIn!”
Last week I received an email from my friend Ralf VonSosen, Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions from LinkedIn.
He brought to my attention a blog post from Steve Masters, Campaign Delivery Manager and UK-based journalist who writes for BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY (B2C) and several other blogs and digital media outlets.
“I have since reached out to Steve Masters, and invited him to join us on a Google Hangout last week to talk more about his original blog. He responded with an entire article called “Cold Calling Defined by LinkedIn in Hangout.” – Ken
I was only hours away from speaking at the largest single webinar I had ever done in my life — “The Science of Using LinkedIn, Technology & Social Selling for Cold Calling” — with my good friend and partner Steve Richard, Co-Founder of Vorsight.
Disclosure: I try not to do this, but I mention several things in this article from my own company, InsideSales.com, as it directly pertains to the events that led up to this article. Ken
The blog author was appalled by an email he received from us inviting him to our webinar.
He was bothered that Steve and I were going to show people how to use LinkedIn “as a source of leads for you to cold call.”
He even said, “If I was LinkedIn, I would just ban them before their webinar even got started.”
Wow, he obviously didn’t even know what the webinar was truly about and was already calling for it to be banned.
My first thoughts were that this guy was some purist marketer or journalist who had probably never sold a thing in his life. If he did, he would know what everybody in sales knows …
LinkedIn is the single most powerful sales information tool on the planet. It makes it so you don’t have to cold call … ever!
He was getting hung up on the words “cold calling.”
What is the definition of cold calling?
Think about it …
Calling somebody cold.
Out of the blue. No referral. No information. No relationship. No trust. No credibility. No rapport. No introduction. No qualification. Just cold.
Why would anybody with half a brain and bills to pay ever do that?
Then I read more of his article and found he made some pretty good points and I cooled down a bit. I wish he had given Steve Richard and I the same courtesy.
No, we don’t advocate using LinkedIn to spam, broadcast anonymous messages, or devalue it the way marketers have done to nearly every great media (like phone, email, fax, etc.) in the past.
In fact, just the opposite! If anyone does that to me on LinkedIn, I kindly request that they not use LinkedIn to spam. It ruins it for all of us.
I tell every salesperson I know that they need to use LinkedIn the way it was intended, just like when I took a stance and told every Search Engine Optimizer they should use Google the way it was intended in my “Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content” article that went to #1 on all of Forbes for a week a year ago.
Sales Navigator, the Premium service by LinkedIn, is foundational to success, just like salesforce.com! If a salesperson can’t sell their company into paying for it, it is one of the few tools worth paying for out of their own pocket. How important is your own success?
LinkedIn was intended to warm up the sales process through referrals, relationships, recommendations, groups, discussions, sales intelligence, rapport.
Not cold calling … warm calling; ideally through existing relationships.
But people still call it cold calling … don’t they?
Can I help that? Maybe through education and discussion, I actually can. Oh wait, that was what I was trying to do, wasn’t it.
Steve Masters was obviously using a strong headline to make a point … just like I had done in my email. Without strong headlines, nobody responds and shows up to a webinar. Can’t fault a person for using Marketing 101, now can we?
To prove a point, we found the topic of cold calling was powerful enough to fill the largest online webinar we had ever done.
Several weeks earlier, it was one of the hottest topics at the largest online sales event ever held, the Inside Sales Virtual Summit.
It was the topic of the most downloaded eBook we have ever done.
I went to Google Keywords and found that 110,000 people search on Cold Calling every month, and How to Cold Call gets 135,000 searches.
Obviously, the rest of the world still has a fixation with cold calling.
Ralf knew I would educate people that cold calling, true cold calling, is dead. So contrary to Steve Masters’ call that we be forever banned from LinkedIn, webinars and online marketing altogether, the webinar went on, and it turned out great.
Thousands more people now know that cold calling is dead … thanks to LinkedIn.
I have even invited Steve Masters to join Steve Richard, Ralf VonSosen and myself in a Google Hangout for a lively discussion on using LinkedIn so you don’t have to cold call or do something similar.
I hope he can make it.
How InsideSales.com Pulled Off The Biggest Virtual Sales Event Ever… in 3 Weeks
Hello everybody, Ken Krogue here. I wanted to take a little bit of time and walk people through how the whole Inside Sales Virtual Summit came together.
But first I want to say thank you to the speakers. Thanks for all your work. Thanks to the authors that participated. Thank you to our sponsors, especially ON24 for the awesome technology that pulls it all together. The event was wonderful; we’re gonna do it again.
We believe we started a new model—or at least been able to participate in it—called collaborative marketing. David Williams, the CEO of Fishbowl Inventory, wrote an article on Forbes about what we did called “Collaborative Marketing Is The Next Big Thing.”
This whole tradeshow was people who got together because they wanted the same thing. We knew that attendees wanted great content, authors wanted influence and promotion and experts and the vendors wanted introductions to people who might be interested in learning more about their companies. It was a win-win, and it all came together. Everybody pitched in.
You can also watch my original presentation during the summit on how we pulled this whole thing off below:
I want to remind you of the definition of inside sales. Inside sales is remote sales or professional sales done remotely. We decided that we could do a remote tradeshow, and that’s what we’ve done.
So what the heck just happened? How did this all come together?
I had just finished a Forbes article on tradeshows, “The 12 Commandments of Incredibly Successful Trade Shows,” and it had caused quite a stir by itself. We had a lot of interested people. With three weeks left of our yearly contract with ON24, Todd and Thomas, our MVPs for this crazy event, decided we would make an online tradeshow happen. They came to me and said, “What if we actually pull together a virtual event with all these great speakers from these keynotes, and we can have the sales event of sales events and not even leave our office?”
And you know what? Only three of our targeted list of speakers said no. We ran out of sessions spots before we ran out of people who wanted to join us. In three weeks we had 62 speakers, 15,000 registrants and people all around the globe; the Philippines, and Europe, and all over the United States. That’s where these seminars were recorded and done from.
WHY A VIRTUAL EVENT
I learned while working at FranklinCovey the importance of planning ahead to pull off an event. FranklinCovey would plan six months ahead to book the hotels and to get all the venues in place. Eight weeks before the event, they would get on the phones and start dialing to fill it up.
Things have changed. You don’t need to plan eight weeks ahead if you don’t have to book a hotel or a flight, and if you don’t have to get everything ready in terms of your people. The whole schedule changes.
I wrote an article on Forbes called “Why Waiting Until the Last Minute is the New Best Practice.” Don’t get me wrong, you still need to plan, but in that whole three week period of time that you try to get people to change their schedules before an event, you now get that back.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONTENT
Our mantra has always been great content. If you have things people want to hear, they will come, and they will spend the time. That’s where we decided to start. The most valuable lesson I learned from my article on Forbes.com, “The Death of SEO: The Rise Of Social, PR, And Real Content,” was that companies generate fake content that is only designed to get rankings in search engines. I call it pulp content.
Why game the system?
People want real great content, and Google’s mission is to give it to them. It’s the same for any virtual event on the planet. You must have the best people, with the best content, that help solve problems for people in the audience. Then the audience will show up.
LOGISTICAL EXECUTION — THE HOW
To pull off this event, we arranged separate rooms all over the office for our teams to handle and support the presenters. We even sent some of our team to a backup locations so they could take over if something happened in our main office. DOMO pitched in, gave us an offsite location in case our bandwidth went down. We tried to plan for every contingency.
There were many 14 hour days. Every person on the team had his or her plans and schedules in place. We mapped out who was where and when. And as we predicted, the last three days people just began to register like crazy. It was pretty cool. We were watching the events live as they started to happen, and we had people standing by ready to help all of our speakers. There were seven simultaneous tracks, 62 speakers in an eight hour period of time.
The rest of our employees were standing by, trying to keep quiet with all of the things going on. It was quite the effort, and it was quite the event.
I just want to close with the words of Lars Leckie who is a member of the venture capital firm Hummer Winblad, one of our advisors. We were saying, you know, Lars, people think our team is absolutely nuts, they think we’re crazy for trying to do this in three weeks. And a quote I will remember forever, he said, “Ken, normal people don’t make history.”
Jeanette Bennet of BusinessQ Magazine Interviews Top Sales Leaders – Ken Krogue’s Answers to Top Sales Questions
Interview taken from the Summer 2013 issue of Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine
Jeanette Bennett, BusinessQ: What are common traits of successful sales people? Can anyone learn the traits?
Ken Krogue, InsideSales.com: When I was at FranklinCovey years ago, we started the first inside sales department. We interviewed 450 people through the process to find specific indicators of success amongst top performers. We found those with a background in competitive athletics were almost always successful in sales. But it doesn’t have to be athletics — a chess champion was one of our top reps. LDS missionaries create another factor — no where else in the world do young people knock doors for two years. The other predictors were Eagle Scouts and a background in technology.
With two universities in Utah Valley, we are one of the most technical cultures on the planet. We really are Silicon Slopes, and local companies have built and imported strong senior sales leadership.
We use Persogenics to determine personalities, and we even put our personality profiles on our nametags and on our doors. When you walk up to a door and see that this person is an “Dominant/Dominant,” you better be ready with the bottom line because you only have a few seconds. With those who are Amiable, you need to build trust, and for Analyticals, you better have a sound argument with visuals. We can find out in the first 30 to 60 seconds what kind of personality type we are talking to amongst our buyers and then adjust our process. But sales people need to know their own style first. It’s all about learning — learning is what we choose to do for ourselves, training is what someone else does to us.
All the training in the world without learning has no value.
“The Challenger Sale” tells of a study of 6,000 sales people and breaks them down into five clusters. There is the lone wolf, the hard worker, the relationship builder, the reactive problem-solver, and the challenger. Everyone used to think it was all about relationships, but the new position of the challenger is now the best with 54 percent of high performers having the challenger mindset. Relationships are still important, but it’s no longer about buying you Jazz tickets or lunch and then you owe me. The challenger challenges you and they are willing to tell you, “No, that’s not the right way to go; you actually need to do this.” They tailor their solution to what will help you, and then they take control of the situation when the obstacles come up and help you push through the reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
Bennett, BusinessQ: What are the elements of a good compensation plan?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: It’s also about alignment. InsideSales.com measures the “first downs” Griffin Hill talks about. We have researchers, business development specialists who set appointments, closers at three different tiers, and then account managers. Each are incented for the job they can do and are paid for things they can control. If it’s outside of their control, it’s hard to stay motivated. We even include effort incentives for what we call the four-minute-mile model — we gamify the process. For example, we’ve learned when we’re helping a new team get going, someone has to break that four-minute mile — or in our world, that 100-dial day and then a 150-dial day. If they do it, then within the next week everybody on the team has gotten it and the whole culture shifts to competitive productivity.
Bennett, BusinessQ: When a company is forced to change the compensation plan in order to stay viable, how can they do it without upsetting the sales reps?
Krogue, Inside Sales: Tell them why. They are adults — help them align themselves with corporate interest. Co-op them into the process early-on and build a ramp or a safety net during that transition so they know you’re not trying to hurt them.
Krogue, InsideSales.com: As Todd said, we put data on the wall; we have whiteboards everywhere. We have real time data dashboards. As soon as we put numbers on the wall, numbers go up 20 percent. We also do our best to get people committed to life’s big milestones. When they get married, sales go up 20 percent. Do everything you can to grow the people, and they will grow the business. We celebrate marriages, babies and homes. As they grow, their competency and commitment grow.
Bennett, BusinessQ: What role does traditional education play in preparing sales professionals?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: A bachelor’s degree is critical, so we are requiring that of all of our new hires. Neither Josh James (who is on our board), Dave Elkington (CEO) nor myself finished our degrees. We are serial entrepreneurs who were doing too well and didn’t have time, but we are regretting it and hiring MBAs like crazy. We still have to overcompensate for lack of education. Our on-boarding process is two and a half weeks of just pure classroom, plus several weeks in the department. I’m really disappointed there aren’t more sales degrees offered out there. The sales industry has got to rally.
Bennett, BusinessQ: What advice do you have for integrating the sales department with the rest of the staff? How do you keep everyone on the same team?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: We look at every department in sequence, and sales is not the first department. Hiring and training and lead generation comes before sales. Every department has a quota and an incentive plan based on responsibilities, and sales has to deliver its piece. It’s like a bowling ball going through the snake, you have to make sure everyone is aligned. I learned this in Boy Scouts and the military — we do a debrief so if we bring on a customer who had promises made by sales, the implementation teams can give feedback like, “Hey, do you realize we can’t deliver that?” The “brief and de-brief” model brings accountability during every stage of the process. It is an ongoing adventure, but we treat the whole company like sales, because without sales nothing else happens.
Bennett, BusinessQ: How do you use technology in a sales cycle?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: One study showed outside sales people got a 40 percent close rate when they went face-to-face, while the inside sales reps got a close rate of 16 percent, but they had 700 percent more contacts. What we are finding with InsideSales.com is that technology is a way to mimic the face-to-face sales call. We put our photographs with signatures on e-mails and find that makes an impact. We don’t like the robo-call concept where the computer takes over. The model we love is “Iron Man” where you have a human encased in technology; the human is thinking, acting, doing and speaking. Vivint has embraced inside sales, but they also get people out face-to-face, which is the best of both worlds. Technology is about leverage of human interaction; it should not replace it. Predicative analytics is where the computer is using statistics to tell us who we should be calling now and what we might say, but a person needs to do it. Technology has its place in sales. Text messaging is not for prospecting, but it’s great when you have an appointment to send a reminder via text 20 minutes before to double the show-up rate.
Bennett, BusinessQ: How does social media fit in with sales?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: Social media is wonderful, but research shows it is still a bubble. LinkedIn is powerful for researching a person’s background instead of talking about the weather. Facebook is great to find out someone’s hobbies. You used to go face-to-face and look up at the wall and see a stuffed fish and know you have a fisherman. LinkedIn is the most powerful sales tool ever invented if we use it well. Technology is exciting and it’s fun, but it should augment the human interaction or it’s cold and harsh. Also, you better be good at what you do or technology is just a gigantic crowbar with more leverage to hurt or help you. If you make a mistake in spelling and then you blast it out a thousand times, you multiply it.
Krogue, InsideSales.com: You just hit on a huge principle. Grade your technology by the level of assertiveness it adds to the sales process. You always want to be bridging to a stronger, more assertive media. E-mail is the worst. You want to bridge from e-mail to social media or LinkedIn — if you cut and paste an e-mail and put it in a LinkedIn message, it will improve results 700 percent.
Bennett, BusinessQ: Lastly, what do you love about what you do? Why are you in sales?
Krogue, InsideSales.com: I have to caveat mine a little bit — why do I love inside sales? In the early 1990s at FranklinCovey, outside sales and field sales ruled the day and inside sales was a second-class department that got all of the hand-me-downs and scraps off the table. The stress was incredible. They first tried to crush us, then they tried to control us, and then they tried to co-op us. I would come home at night after battling and grind my teeth off. I’d wake up in the morning with little bits of teeth in my mouth. Life’s too short for that! It’s not revenge but it is more of a crusade to promote inside sales, and I absolutely love what I do. It is finally bearing fruit — inside sales is growing 300 percent faster than outside sales.
Bennett, BusinessQ: Sold!
Why Waiting Until the Last Minute is the New Best Practice
How many times have you heard, “Plan ahead, don’t wait until the last minute!”
There is mounting evidence that only the first half of that advice is still a hard and fast rule.
In some situations, waiting until the last minute may be the best thing you can do.
We are putting on the world’s largest online sales trade show called the Inside Sales Virtual Summit with only 3 weeks to invite people. And we think we will break the world’s record!
A book I like by Kaihan Krippendorf tells us to “Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists See Options Others Ignore”
The Fast Company blogger and former McKinsey consultant calls these people “Outthinkers” and defines them as:
“Entrepreneurs and corporate leaders with a new playbook. They see opportunities others ignore, challenge dogma others accept as truth, rally resources others cannot influence, and unleash new strategies that disrupt their markets. Outthink the Competition proves that business competition is undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift and that during such revolutions, outthinkers beat traditionalists.”
Take events like seminars and trade shows for instance.
I worked at Franklin Quest (before they became FranklinCovey) from 1993 to 1997. They were the largest training company in the world. I ran the inside sales department and it was our job to fill 300 or more public seminars a month in hotels around the country. We had 70 salespeople hitting the phones inviting 30 to 40 people to experience each seminar. We learned that we needed to start filling seminars 8 weeks ahead of time. The Marketing and Meeting Planning departments started many months before because of all the printed schedules, mailers and hotel room arrangements they needed to make.
At 6 weeks prior to the full day seminar the sales teams kicked into high gear and finished about 3 weeks prior with only sporadic efforts after that. We learned that after 3 weeks it was hard to get people to come.
Booking travel and setting schedules were difficult less than 3 weeks from the event.
But virtual trade shows and webinars seem to be changing those rules.
Don’t get me wrong; you still need to plan ahead.
Nowadays you don’t print.
You don’t mail.
With virtual events right from your office or home, you don’t travel.
With no hotels you don’t book rooms.
So why do we think that we need to start 6-8 weeks out for online events?
Our company, InsideSales.com, has embarked on nearly a two-year process to learn the best practices of online webinars and most recently, virtual trade shows.
Here is what we learned.
The old rules don’t apply.
People who register for online events 3 to 6 weeks out don’t show up nearly as well as those who register 3 to 5 days out… even 1-2 days out.
We even register people the same day and almost all of them actually attend our event.
Has the Internet given us all Alzheimers or A.D.H.D? (I say that facetiously, not intending any disrespect.)
But honestly, I don’t think people remember what they were doing a month ago, and it doesn’t mean as much as what I’m doing today. So, when today’s events are weighing heavy, I let the old one’s go.
Don’t you do the same thing?
Does the motivation fade after a week or so to attend an event we scheduled a month ago if we don’t have to buy a plane ticket and make a hotel reservation?
We spent the last year and a half testing all kinds of webinar approaches: inviting people far ahead, recently ahead, and barely ahead.
The “barely ahead” worked the best… every time.
Admittedly, it may just be that all of us on our team have A.D.H.D. and we need to fuel our deficit by doing things last minute.
We’ve been likened to a “circus” and more. But it works… really well.
Are the old and fast rules still rules?
We believe we will soon find out. Right now we are testing the process of registering people for the world’s largest online virtual summit (until we or someone else breaks our record), with only three weeks of lead-time. So there’s my public declaration (gulp) and no matter what, for better and worse, I commit to share with the Forbes audience what we learn.
Which speaks again to what we think the new rule will be. If everybody else is doing it the old way, do something different, even when it means you’re taking a risk.