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June 2012

5 Ways You Can Use Data to Motivate Reps

ChrisCabreraToday's blog post is by Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, the industry leader in sales compensation automation.



The data you already collect is your company’s secret to creating a competitive environment where salespeople thrive and departments collaborate.

Here are five ways we at Xactly have seen this work:

1) Deliver real-time results with individualized reports.

When salespeople have access to their up-to-the-minute progress toward quota, they're motivated to work harder to reach that next accelerator or bonus—especially if it’s in a location where they spend a lot of time already, like Salesforce.

2) Post results in a public place—and publicly recognize your top performers.

Like athletes, salespeople are naturally very competitive people. The more you publicly recognize your winners, the harder your team will work to win. For example:

  • Send out a simple results dashboard to your team every day via email, like Cascade does—you’ll probably see incredible results.
  • Display contest results on TV screens near your sales cubicles or offices. We do this at our San Jose office, so we know how hard everyone works to be at the top of the list.
  • Post news of closed deals on Chatter. It’s like giving a virtual trophy.

3) Customize reports to view results by product, service, and SPIF.

Dive deep into your analytics to better understand what you’re doing well and what you can do better. Analyze data across multiple periods—months, quarters, years—and also by product, territory, role function, or even internal contest.

4) Use your data as a tool to train people.

Data means nothing if it doesn’t give you insight. Find out what your best performers do differently than the rest; then share these best practices in team meetings. Look at each rep’s performance individually, and use that insight to improve your sales coaching.

5) Give both sales and finance teams what they want.

Finance wants controllable costs. Sales wants to earn a huge bonus. With the right incentive rules, you can make both departments happy. Virtually test new incentive plans to make sure you’ll meet forecasts—while offering motivating rewards to your top reps.

You’ve worked to get your data. Now it’s time to make it work for you.

The Queen's Wave and the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London - Part II

Clip_image006Prince Philip showed off a snappy salute while The Queen inspected her launch. 

Clip_image007The Queen was happy to be on the water…

Clip_image008where she could show off her royal wave.

Clip_image009Makes you wonder if she uses a personal wave coach! 


What's interesting is that The Queen's wave speaks louder than her words. It reminds me of John Lennon's insightful comment, "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, but she doesn't have a lot to say."

BMW, the owners of the MINI car, have cashed in on the urge to copy the royal wave and created a Facebook page, where people can upload their own wave, which will be showcased on a virtual royal balcony…a nice nod to a world that's moving up to 2.0. 



Based on my personal observation at The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, England is still very much 1.0.

That's why we're welcoming a group of British Sales and Marketing VPs to our first European Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London on Thursday, June 7. If you are a sales or marketing leader and happen to be in London this week, please join us. Face paint optional.  


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The Queen's Wave and the Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference in London - Part I

I went to London a few days ahead of our Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference. On Sunday, people were celebrating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, thanking The Queen for 60 years as their royal Monarch. 

Clip_image002Revelers wear their national pride on their faces…

Clip_image003and on their heads.  

Even young children look British and toot British. 

The Duchess of Cambridge and a white-gloved Prince William stole the show. 

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How Do You Get the Prospect's Direct Line?

3dad4f8Today's blog post is by Steve Richard, co-founder of Vorsight, an award winning sales training firm focused on prospecting, qualification, and discovery.

Sell more by calling the prospect's direct line. Here is how.

At Vorsight, we call on directors, VPs, and C-level execs at large organizations. We tracked six of our associates over three months on two key areas: percent of direct lines on their call list and number of appointments completed that month.  Though I’m no statistician, I do know a straight line when I see it.  


Average Meetings Per Month

% Direct Lines on Contact List

Pete Best



Ringo Starr



George Harrison



Paul McCartney



John Lennon



George Martin



The moral of the story: You can triple the effectiveness of your outbound-calling effort (or lead-qualification effort) if you double the number of direct lines on your calling list. 

Why is this so?  There are four reasons why you get more people on the phone with direct lines:

  1. Caller ID looks different. If you are a heavily solicited exec, would you pick up a call that shows as coming through the switchboard or reception?  Not a chance.
  2. Sometimes the dial-by-name directories are turned off after hours. That’s precisely when you have a better chance of catching execs.
  3. You avoid call routing. You can always bypass the switchboard and sometimes even bypass the assistant.
  4. You can make more calls quicker. When you hit that magic window of 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you want to crank out a lot of calls (on a tool like the Power Dialer), the last thing you want to do is fumble around with dial-by-name directories.  

How to Get Direct Lines

Though I'm not willing to reveal all our secrets (you have to see one of our sales prospecting training workshops to learn it all), I will offer three primary places to get direct lines:

1.  Sales intelligence tools – There are tons of paid sources for direct-dial phone numbers, with varying degrees of accuracy.  If you sell into IT departments, you need to have a look at DiscoverOrg,which boasts 94 percent direct lines for contacts in its database, and RainKing,  which offers a bunch of direct lines, as well as deep intelligence on IT execs, projects, and systems used.

Not selling into IT?  Check out InsideView, which offers a bevy of direct lines, as well as aggregated information on the company and contact, pulled in from all over the web.  Vorsight is a big user of InsideView's sales intelligence tool for doing 3x3 Research prior to calling.  ZoomInfois an interesting data source based on Web crawlers that constantly refresh the data.  In the same vein is NetProspex, which also uses human beings to verify each record (novel concept, right?).  Finally, (formerly Jigsaw, but now owned by is another source of names and direct lines. 

These data sources are all great, but they get you only to first base in the quest for direct lines.  To up your percentage, you need to call into the target account.

2.  Calls into the account – If you close your eyes and think of an executive assistant, does an image of a big, burly bouncer at a nightclub pop into your mind?  For every professional gatekeeper, there are 100x more people who have access to the same directory and have not been trained in the ways of the gatekeeper.  As a salesperson, you need to be savvy enough to find these people and ask them for the info in just the right way to get it. Try calling into some of the following places and probing for direct lines:

  • Switchboard operators at different locations or different countries
  • Floor receptionists or admins that don't directly serve the executive but still sit near the executive
  • The IT help desk
  • Sales and customer service lines
  • Random employees who really don't care
  • The mail room

Calls into admin and support people at a target account are the surefire way to get accurate direct lines.

3.  Voicemail systems – If you have been in sales for any period of time, you likely have heard, "Your call is being answered by Audix."  Next time you get into someone"s voicemail and hear that, punch in **6.  It will say, "Enter last name followed by pound sign."  You key in R-I-C-H-A-R-D-# and, voilà, you hear, "Steve Richard, extension 4237."  Many voicemail systems have codes that take you to an automated directory that spit out direct extension numbers.  You then need to determine the area code and middle three digits – called the exchange – in order to put together that magic, 10-digit direct line.  Vorsight has identified eight voicemail systems with corresponding codes. 

Though getting direct lines can be a bit of effort up front, the time is paid back in spades with the increases in quality conversations you have directly with executives.

I'll offer this little story:  Vorsight does custom, on-site sales training workshops for clients.  Rather than center on PowerPoint presentations, our workshops center on live calling into target accounts.  We prove that our techniques work, instead of just talk about it. 

ABC ERP asked us for a prospecting workshop in 2010.  One of the reps challenged us to get the CFO of a $200m manufacturing firm to book a meeting.  She told us that there was absolutely no way we were going to get him.  She had been trying for more than two years, with no luck.  We pulled up the contact record in her company's CRM system: no direct line to the CFO, only a switchboard number.  We then called the IT help desk and got the direct line.  We prepared for the call by doing our 3x3 Research to customize the talking points to this CFO at this company.  Turns out, the CFO used to work at a company that was a big user of ABC ERP's software – a great conversation starter.  We dialed. One ring, and that CFO picked up.  All we had to do was say the name of the client, "Hi, this is Steve Richard from ABC ERP," and the CFO said, "I'm glad you called.  I'm talking to Oracle and SAP right now and have been looking for a third option." 

We landed a meeting that turned into a seven-figure opportunity for ABC ERP.  The sales rep was stunned.  We accomplished in two phone calls what she couldn’t in 100 or more over two years.  All it took was one direct line.       

Try out these ideas and have fun with them.   


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