Today's guest post is by Joanne Black, America’s leading authority on referral selling and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™ and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. Connect with her at www.NoMoreColdCalling.com or call her at 415.461.8763.
This month I talked to a number of speakers who will deliver presentations at the Sales 2.0 Conference on April 27 and 28 in San Francisco. What did I learn? Here are the five takeaways you need to know if want to create a successful sales future for yourself.
Takeaway #1 from Tiffani Bova: “Current sales metrics don’t match the buyer’s journey.”
Ever watch a bouncing ball? It goes from one side to another, up and down, and all around. It's tough to follow. That's the digital buyer. These prospects come into the sales process at different stages and go bouncing around, collecting new information and shifting their focus back and forth.
Yet, salespeople are still measured on legacy metrics, as if customers start with zero knowledge of us. Reps are measured on calls made, social touches generated, and emails sent. “But legacy metrics don't work anymore,” says Tiffani Bova, “because the digital buyer is no longer linear.”
Tiffani will discuss other dangers sales organizations face in her presentation, “Who's in Control of the Sales Process? The Customer!”
Takeaway #2 from Matt Heinz: “Sales operations should be a marketing function, not sales.”
When Matt Heinz offered this advice, I thought it was another case of marketing trying to take over sales –- until he pointed out that sales teams boost productivity by better utilizing marketing resources. He explained, “Sales operations has evolved into sales enablement –- which should be handled by a group that can systematize and scale the repeatable tasks that are essential to sales.”
Then salespeople can focus on what they do best: Building one-to-one relationships.
Matt will suggest other time-savers in “How Sales Operations Can Double Your Sales Team's Productivity.”
Takeaway #3 from Patricia Fripp: “No matter how experienced you are, you can’t ‘wing’ a sales presentation.”
Prospects don't care about you. They don’t want to hear how great your product is or how long you’ve been in business. They're only interested in what you can do for them. Those answers require research and practice.
Patricia Fripp says salespeople should spend at least 30 minutes rehearsing and personalizing every client presentation. “People get cocky,” she told me. “They’ve been selling for years, so they think they can wing it. No way. When all things are equal, your presentation determines whether you win or lose.”
Don’t miss her breakout session, “Superstar Sales Presentations: The Inside Secrets.”
Takeaway #4 from Michael Nick and Drew Wright: "When prospects won’t decide, walk away.”
You've already "spent" your commission. Now the customer says he's not moving forward, with you or anyone else. Losing to “no decision” is even more embarrassing than losing to a competitor. You’ve committed to a forecast, and now you have to backpedal with your sales manager.
Michael Nick and Drew Wright will demonstrate the cost of waiting in their breakout session, “Overcoming No Decision.”
Their caution: If you’re hemorrhaging dollars, get out early. If you expect a delay, make a go/no-go decision.
Takeaway #5 from Jamie Shanks, Kurt Shaver, and Anneke Seley: “The most important component of social selling is marketing.”
I had serious doubts about this advice from Jamie Shanks. Then he explained how a marketing-driven social media outreach helped him create a referral network of advocates and influencers.
As Jamie said, “LinkedIn is a tool that enables social selling. It’s not social selling. It’s the medium.” Jamie will share his secrets on the “Generating Revenue Using Social Selling” panel, alongside Kurt Shaver and Anneke Seley.
Kurt agrees that marketing should drive social selling. Everyone has to publish content now, including sales. But instead of creating new content, he says salespeople should focus on sharing content from marketing. “Marketing is staffed, trained, and authorized to create content on the company’s behalf.”
Anneke points out that because social selling is new territory, many sales leaders don’t see its value. Without the right motivation and compensation package, reps won’t follow the plan. “Managers will just be adding one more thing to their day,” she explains. “All the training in the world won’t make a difference until their peers start getting results.”
Anneke says to stay for their panel. Cocktails follow.
Thought leaders aren’t supposed to rehash the same old ideas. They’re supposed to add something new to the conversation. I learned tons from these thought leaders, and I look forward to learning more at the Sales 2.0 Conference on April 27-28 in San Francisco. As a guest blogger, I’ll share more words of wisdom throughout the event. Hope to see you there!