Is “Virtual Distance” Getting in the Way of Our Customer Connections?

Jeff Seeley Today’s post is by Jeff Seeley, CEO of Carew International Inc.

 

 

 

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that sales professionals and customers are more “connected” than ever before.

To prepare for the future of selling, we must contend with the fact that we have access to exponentially more information than we had just a decade ago. Companies are investing billions of dollars in sales technologies, such as customer relationship and sales force management systems (CRM and SFA, respectively), to increase the sales team’s insight on customer and prospect demographics and behavior; however, organizations are not realizing a return in sales performance improvement. In fact, just the opposite is true.

According to Accenture’s latest report, “Powering Profitable Sales Growth – Five Imperatives,” the number of representatives achieving their sales goals has declined from 67 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2014 (even with sales quotas generally lower in 2014 than in 2013), and revenue target achievement is down by more than 5 percent.

How is it possible that, in the face of this new insight and our extraordinary investment in performance technology, global sales performance is dropping? Because information does not ensure understanding, insight does not equal connection, and CRM is not a customer relationship.

It is time to consider that we have become overly dependent on technology and perhaps unrealistic in our expectations of its role in our sales performance. The result is an overly complicated, multitasking sales environment with a higher focus on technology and less on customer diagnostics, engagement, and experience. Neglecting the customer relationship undermines the influence and collaboration essential to a productive sales process.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “The Subtle Ways Our Screens Are Pushing Us Apart,” Dr. Karen Sobel-Lojeski introduces the phrase “virtual distance” to explain the dynamic of substituting screen intelligence for human connection. She writes, “Virtual distance is a sense of psychological and emotional detachment that begins to grow little by little and unconsciously when most encounters and experiences are mediated by screens on smart devices.”

Keyboard-tapping sales professionals who dive deep into data without proportional customer engagement and exploratory conversations will lack context that reveals who their customers are, their attitudes, and their motivations. Sobel-Lojeski observes:

…today’s workforce has more than enough tools to send information back and forth to people all over the world. But those tools – and the use of them – do not necessarily constitute collaboration… Genuine collaboration is achieved through ongoing meaningful exchanges between people who share a passion and respect for one another… Ultimately, new innovations and critical problem solving are realized through relationships.

The impact of technological improvements is dramatic and profound; at this juncture, not having the insight provided by CRM/SFA tools would put any sales organization at a perilous disadvantage. The key understanding, however, is that sales technology is not a substitute for the foundational role of the sales professional.

Technology cannot develop customer relationships nor interpret data to identify the strongest business-development opportunities and most valuable insight and solutions for customers. Savvy sales leaders will view sales technologies as tools to facilitate customer engagement, not as a substitute for customer engagement.

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Give Your Sales Team a New Game Plan for Engaging Customers

BillButlerToday’s guest post is by Bill Butler, CEO of Journey Sales. 

 

 

 

In sports and sales, it pays to start the game strong. That’s why we practice and build game plans – so we can command an early lead and build momentum to an eventual win.

When the salesperson starts a sales cycle strong, the probability of winning is greater than 50 percent. Customer engagement early in the sales cycle defines the top performers and separates them from average salespeople.

Most salespeople can effectively manage the later stages in the sale and close in a reasonable amount of time. The top performers understand the importance of early-stage customer engagement and do this instinctively. They’re not following a company sales process. They’re immersing themselves in the buyer’s journey.

Poor customer engagement occurs when prospects believe salespeople add little value and therefore are not worth engaging. Today, customers also prefer to educate themselves, which they can do readily given the widespread availability of information and resources online about companies, products, and services.

To improve customer engagement across the entire buyer’s journey, we need to think beyond our standard attempts to improve in the areas of sales training, hiring, or sales methodology. We need a new and disruptive approach to sales and customer engagement that allows sales reps to consistently perform as consultative, trusted advisors.

First, we need to embrace the fact that customers educate themselves. Smart Rooms by Journey Sales (referred to as the Sales Office in the Cloud) is an innovative solution that allows the customer to self-educate while providing the sales team a platform to engage. Salespeople can rely on the Smart Room to deliver the messaging and insight, allowing the salespeople to focus on two critical sales skills:

  • Agile Selling: In Smart Rooms, salespeople can read the digital body language of the customer.  Instead of guessing, we listen and adjust the Customer Smart Room and Sales Strategy. 
  • Collaborate Selling: It’s rare today that purchase decisions are made by one person. Typically buyers collaborate as a team to review products and evaluate value. Smart Rooms provide the perfect experience for salespeople to become part of that collaboration.

Many salespeople are passionate about improving their selling skills. The problem is, they’re stuck with old sales techniques and tools. The difference between good and great is your game plan. Salespeople need the ability to start the engagement strong and maintain that momentum throughout the buyer’s journey. This skill can be developed with the help of Smart Rooms.

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Tips for Successful Sales Hiring and Onboarding

LeeSalzToday’s guest post is by Lee B. Salz, a results-driven sales management consultant and author of Hire Right, Higher Profits: The Executive’s Guide to Building a World-Class Sales Force. Contact him at lsalz@salesarchitects.com or 763/416-4321.

 

In most organizations, if a new idea is proposed that costs $25,000 to implement, blue-ribbon panels are commissioned, meetings are held, and a decision is ultimately made. After all, the company is considering a significant investment. When a company is hiring a salesperson at a salary of $25,000, however, there isn’t nearly the same level of due diligence performed, yet the cost is the same.

Companies with highly profitable sales teams don’t search for great salespeople. Their quest is to find the right salespeople with the potential to be great on their sales teams. While this distinction may seem subtle, its impact is not.

This quest begins with a 360-degree analysis of the role to determine the factors that impact performance. Once all of those factors are identified, an evaluation program is put in place to contrast candidates with those performance factors. Now, instead of looking across the desk wondering if this candidate is a "great seller,” you’re looking for synergy (or recognizing the lack thereof) between the candidate and the needs of the role.

But a role analysis is just one piece of the puzzle. Onboarding is much more than completing new-hire paperwork and getting the salesperson's office ready to go. When it comes to successful onboarding, start by identifying your objectives and expectations of your new hires. Those expectations are identified in the context of what I call KNOW-DO-USE

1. What should new salespeople KNOW?

KNOW refers to such information as product knowledge and territory analysis.

2. What should they be able to DO?

DO refers to actions, such as conducting sales calls or delivering a corporate presentation.

3. What should they be able to USE?

USE refers to tools or systems, such as a customer relationship management or order management system. 

KNOW-DO-USE provides the framework to identify the desired onboarding outcomes. With that framework, the onboarding curriculum is designed to lead the new salespeople to this finish line.

How do you know when new hires are meeting expectations? Use quizzes, a final exam, and simulations to ensure proficiency has been achieved. If a new salesperson does not meet your documented expectations, there is an opportunity to protect the company by ending the investment early. 

In essence, the worst mistake a company can make is to hire salespeople. Adding head count to a sales team should be viewed as an investment made in revenue. Recognizing that this is an investment is a critical first step toward driving sales-team profitability.

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The Best Advice I Learned from Top Sales 2.0 Conference Speakers

Joanne BlackToday'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!

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How to Create a Successful Sales Presentation

EderHolguin

Today’s post is by Eder Holguin, digital sales and marketing expert, bestselling author, and serial entrepreneur with more than 15 years of industry experience helping companies grow revenue, optimize and improve sales processes. Contact him at eder.holguin@idealmedia.com.

Many sales presentations simply do not address the questions potential clients have. Instead, they often focus on the selling company’s story and product. 

In sales, if you’re not addressing the client’s needs in your sales presentation, you’re wasting your time. When communicating with potential clients, remember, they’re likely thinking, "Why should I listen to you? What’s in it for me?” If you can't immediately answer these questions, chances are you’re not going to get past the introductory call or email.

Most of the presentations I read look something like this: “My company is....We provide....We have been very successful at...We work with clients XYZ.” Creating a great sales presentation requires a strategic approach that answers your potential client’s basic question: how will this benefit me?

Use this outline when building a sales presentation. It will help you to brainstorm and build a clear sales proposition so you can better navigate the complex sales process:

1. Product benefits (Always list as many as possible.)

  • What are all the major benefits associated with my product?
  • What are the secondary benefits associated with my product?

2. Potential consumer motivators

  • How does my product relate to my consumer’s two greatest motivations, the desire for gain and the fear of loss?
  • Are there any other motivators that are worth exploring?

3. Product differentiation

  • What makes my product different from competing products?
  • How can I raise the perceived value of my product without significantly raising my price?
  • In light of the cost of the product, cash flow, competitive advantages, and offers, what is the best offer I can make my consumer regarding pricing, payment terms, rebates, volume discounts, premiums, and so forth?

4. Potential consumers

  • Who is my primary consumer, and what percentage of my market does he or she represent? (Consider sex, age range, socioeconomics, geographical location, etc.)
  • What are the primary and secondary motivations for this consumer to buy the type or class of product I’m selling?
  • What objections and excuses might this consumer use to delay or avoid a buying decision about this product?
  • What answers or rebuttals to each of these objections and excuses can I offer?
  • How can I improve the consumer’s perception of my product? (Discuss awareness, credibility, quality, value, etc.)

Spend some time going through these questions. Once you have a basic presentation that addresses them all, reach out and get feedback. You can do this by sharing your sales presentation with friends in your industry or building a survey and offering a reward for participating.

Remember: selling is not about telling your story or what your company does; it’s about uncovering the prospect’s needs and proving how your product or service fills them.

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No Decision: Avoid This Dreaded Enterprise Technology Deal Killer

Drew Wright Today’s guest post is by Drew Wright, cofounder and principal consultant of Technology Finance Partners. Find him on Twitter @DrewTFP.

 

 

In sales, deals can be delayed or lost for many reasons, but almost no reason is more frustrating than the customer’s “decision” to do nothing.  

I know this, having worked with hundreds of enterprise technology salespeople on thousands of opportunities. We’ve faced many competitive selling situations, against incumbents, other market leaders, and niche players. If you lose a sale to a competitive technology provider, at least you can say you fought the good fight, came to closure, learned something, and most importantly, got the chance to move on.

By contrast, losing to no decision keeps most salespeople engaged in the hunt. They waste time and resources and wind up with heartache. These deals, as they repeatedly jump in and out of various forecast categories, drive sales managers crazy.

What’s the Real Objection?

Sure, there are legitimate reasons for no decision (mergers and acquisitions, new management, a project sponsor’s departure), but customers often give reasons that are suspect. For example, if you hear such statements as, “This solution isn’t high enough on the priority list,” or “We don’t have enough budget,” your Spider-Sense should kick in. The customer is probably not interested in moving forward for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You haven’t articulated the total value of your technology solution.
  • You haven’t helped your prospect understand the pain associated with the cost of decision delay.
  • You don’t have the financial decision maker fully engaged (or, certainly, motivated to buy).

How to Avoid No-Decision Delays in the Sales Cycle

For early-stage opportunities, you can take these preventative measures to avoid end-of-sales-cycle decision delays:

  • Support early-stage value messaging through customer success stories that include quantifiable value metrics (e.g., cost savings or revenue increases).
  • Seed early presentations with “value slides” that describe, illustrate, and provide the value calculation for economic-impact elements of your solution.
  • Develop a business-value hypothesis based on targeted discovery questions and public information (as available) to provide a range of potential value and entice a deeper-dive business case analysis.

For opportunities that are deeper into the sales process, you can take these actions around prioritization, budget, and engaging financial decision makers:

  • Collaborate with your prospect to develop a business case to demonstrate the value, economic impact, and likely return on investment in your solution. The analysis can be leveraged to move your initiative up the priority list. Also, if your sponsor does not want to invest time or energy in the business case, you’ll have learned that you’re not as far along in the sales process as you thought.
  • Use the math from the business case to show the cost of maintaining the status quo and decision delay.
  • Structure the deal so that solution costs are overwhelmed by receipt of benefits or spread out over multiple budget cycles.
  • Combine this effort with a time-sensitive incentive offer that creates urgency, but don’t forget to show the multiyear value of the incentive offer – lower price, lower out-year maintenance, or lower subscription pricing (if providing a Cloud solution).

Much more could be written on each of these strategies, but the key takeaway here is that value selling throughout the sales cycle can help to overcome no decision and decision delay. It requires rigor, leveraging resources, and collaborative customer engagement. The alternative, however, is deal slippage, sales reps’ not meeting quota, and forecast inaccuracy…and you get only so many hall passes for those results.

For more information, read “Overcoming No Decision,” a white paper written by Technology Finance Partners principal analyst Alex Corman. You can also join us at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, April 27-28, 2015, where we’ll elaborate on this topic in a breakout session.

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The Power of Sales Analytics

Mike Moorman_contact imageToday’s guest post is by Mike Moorman, managing principal of sales solutions at global management-consulting firm ZS. ZS is the publisher of The Power of Sales Analytics, written by more than 20 of the firm’s thought leaders who share insights on how companies can use analytics to improve key sales-force effectiveness drivers, such as customer targeting, sales process design, and sales force size and structure. 

 

Companies in the United States alone spend more than $900 billion every year on their sales forces, and executives want to get the most out of this expensive investment; however, leading a sales force to deliver profitable revenue growth in today’s complex business environment is a big challenge.

Not so long ago, sales leaders relied primarily on their own experience and intuition, as well as input from field sales managers and salespeople, when making critical sales force decisions. Today, sales leaders need to do more.

The current perfect storm of big data, new technologies (e.g., Cloud and mobility), and innovation provides opportunities for companies to gain insights about customers and use advanced analytics to improve both strategic and tactical sales force decisions. In turn, this knowledge helps to dramatically increase the effectiveness of the sales force. 

When it comes to sales analytics, it’s important to recognize that data and technology alone are not enough. What matters is how analytics can help sales forces improve fundamental business decisions and processes.

For example, companies have leveraged analytics

  • to help salespeople understand customer/prospect needs and potential, so they can target the right accounts and more effectively use time;
  • to enable sales managers to have more impact as coaches and make more informed decisions about issues such as sales territory design, goal setting, and performance management;
  • to allow sales leaders to make better decisions about issues such as sales strategy, sales force size and structure, and the recruiting of sales talent.

To benefit from sales analytics, companies need a diverse set of people, processes, and tools for addressing a wide range of needs. Some are quite strategic, such as formulating sales strategy or designing sales force structure. They require people with evaluation/issue expertise and flexible and creative tools to enable insightful analysis.

Other sales analytics needs are more operational, such as overseeing sales force goal-setting or administering the sales-incentive compensation plan. These require people with a work style that is process  and detail oriented and tools for efficiently and reliably delivering information.

It’s a big challenge for companies to cost-effectively develop and continuously improve this diverse range of sales analytics capabilities, especially because the business and technology environment is constantly changing. Many companies build strategic networks that include both internal (company) and external (outsourced) resources to deliver the needed breadth of capabilities.

What’s your game plan to achieve world-class sales analytics capabilities? If you’d like to learn more about how your company can leverage sales analytics to build competitive advantage and increase profitable revenue growthregister now to join me at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, April 27–28, 2015.

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How to Evolve Your Sales Process

19192c8Today’s guest post is by Bill Butler, CEO of Journey Sales.

 

 

 

How can sellers take control of today’s sales cycle?

Today’s buyer is well educated, always connected, and likely to move in any direction at any time. So why are sellers relying on a one-size-fits-all sales process built around CRM systems?

The CRM system is a management tool for internal reporting, and it’s not agile enough to handle an evolved sales process – it’s like a football team using one play all season long. We often guess or interpret buyer activity, but to drive an effective sales process, we need actual data on buyer behavior.

At Journey Sales, we decided CRM needed some help. By adding our Smart Rooms to Salesforce, we allow companies to engage customers in a secure and personalized space that’s available 24/7. Once the sales team invites a buyer into a room, buyers can do the following:

Work independently or with sales, invite colleagues, and collaborate. These personalized experiences support the buyer’s entire journey.

Access relevant content that delivers powerful insight. Many buyers prefer thought-leadership content early in the sales process. Toward the middle of the process, they want product differentiators. At the end, they want proposals. You can nurture the customer’s Smart Room with content to increase insight and engagement.

Stay in touch with sales. Sellers get real-time alerts when a customer enters a Smart Room. This way, sellers can review the customer’s “digital body language” to increase engagement. Compare the engagement index across multiple opportunities to improve predictability.

The new sales process is about delivering powerful insight to everyone involved in a decision. More than five people, on average, participate in a B2B purchase decision, so consensus building is critical. Smart Rooms are designed for closing deals, but they benefit the entire customer life cycle:

  • Acquisition – close more new customers

  • Expansion – improve new-product introduction and cross sell

  • Onboarding – effectively share best practices to drive customer success

  • Retention – continue education and engagement to improve retention

Companies need a sales process that consistently and predictably grows revenue. Engaging the buyer along the buyer’s journey is the new sales playbook. Take control of your sales cycle so you can turn average reps into star performers, successfully launch new products, and drive predictable sales growth across the entire organization.

You can learn more about Smart Rooms by going to journeysales.com, or visit the Salesforce AppExchange.

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What Salespeople Can Learn from Kenyan Marathon Winners

Sam KariukiToday’s post is by Sam Kariuki, a sales trainer and strategist based in Kenya. He is the author of The Guy Who Fired His Boss: Discover the Secret Entrepreneur in You

 



Kenyans have dominated top positions in marathons for years; most of the top 10 fastest marathon runners in recorded history have been from Kenya. What can salespeople learn from these running superstars? Here are four important principles world-record champions can teach you.

1. Winners thrive on passion.

If you want to fly high, then you need to spend time with eagles, not chickens.

Although most world-record holders come from the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, and no one is sure whether genetics, diet, or environment accounts for their success, there’s a single place they come to train: the town of Iten. In fact, athletes from around the world (including Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, and Stephen Kiprotich) have trained in Iten.

They come to Iten to practice with the Kenyan superstars. They want to see what Kenyans do, but they also want to be consumed by the passion for winning that burns in Kenyan runners.

When this passion consumes you, you will want to pursue the goals that champions want to pursue. You will want to do whatever they do to win. When you spend time with people aiming to exceed their quotas, break records, and win trophies, then you are likely to start desiring the same.

If you want to become a sales superstar, you need to have the passion and drive of those who consistently win. You need to care about the things they care about; you need to start feeling how enjoyable it is to win. Ordinary runners won’t bother to reduce their time by a second, but a fraction of a second becomes an obsession for champions.

2. Winners stretch beyond their comfort zone.

Salespeople need to spend time with those who put them in a position to stretch beyond what is comfortable. If you run with those who have consistently beaten world records, you are likely to perform beyond what you thought your physical abilities and skills could allow. You will be pushed to endure more than the ordinary. You will be forced to run longer distances. Your muscles will be stretched and become sore. You will wake up earlier. You will avoid unhealthy foods. This ultimately sets you at a level higher than where you were before you started practicing with the champions.

3. Winners have a strong mind-set.

In Iten, you meet many people who believe they can set new records, beat the world’s finest, and achieve greatness in the world of athletics. You meet young men and women practicing without shoes who believe that they will shine on the world’s biggest stage and pull themselves out of poverty. They have seen hundreds of others do that; therefore, it is not hard for them to believe the same.

Ordinary people have ordinary beliefs; champions have the beliefs of champions. Sales superstars have the beliefs of superstars, while ordinary salespeople have the beliefs of average salespeople. When you spend time with superstars, your ordinary beliefs are altered.

Seeing champions practice, feel pain, and be human demystifies them. When you discover that the champions are just like you, then you start believing you can become like them. If you keep pace with them during practice, then you believe you can do the same in the real race. That is how many pacesetters from Kenya upstage the stars for whom they are supposed to set the pace.

4. Winners behave like champions.

Watch and model the behaviors of the sales superstars. Wake up at the same time they wake up, prepare for a call the same way they do, build rapport as they do, care for customers as they do, follow the same steps when making a presentation, and you will see the same results.

Remember, you don’t have to travel to Iten to feel the spirit of Iten. Iten can be a place in your organization or city where you can meet sales champions. It can be a biography that you read or a group of superachievers you spend time with or shadow. The more winners you study and emulate, the more you’ll succeed.

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How to Supercharge Your Sales Pipeline with Predictive Intelligence

AmandaKahlow_300Amanda Kahlow is CEO and founder of 6sense. Prior to 6sense, Amanda spent 14 years as the CEO and founder of CI Insights, a big-data services company that used multichannel analytics to help enterprise companies generate as much as $300 million in net-new business. 

 

What would it take for your sales team to stay on top of the pipeline and effectively manage sales opportunities? Better incentives? Micromanagement? Magic?

We say the answer is predictive intelligence.

Every day, your buyers and prospects are leaving digital footprints, buying signals that indicate whether they are in the market to buy, what products they prefer, and perhaps the vendors they are considering.

By tying together billions of rows of time-sensitive data, predictive intelligence distills all these digital signals into insight that sales professionals can use immediately, leading to faster close rates and increased sales.

For example, our customers’ sales teams receive regular alerts about new prospects that 6sense has found and regular notifications about prospects’ progression through the funnel. All this valuable information is captured with no extra work required from the sales teams.

The results are tangible. Here are two ways predictive intelligence helps sales teams better manage the pipeline. 

1) Fill your pipeline with new prospects who are ready to buy.

Think about how fast you’re going through leads. If you’re running through them, you’re not alone; ample lead supply is a common pain point for sales. The predictive intelligence platform by 6sense alleviates this issue by identifying entirely net-new prospects who are either in the market to buy your specific product or actively looking at other options in your industry. Say a company is showing intent to buy your type of product but hasn’t discovered your brand. The 6sense predictive engine will detect that this prospect is in the market to buy and will inform your sales team, who can jump on the opportunity.

One of our customers used 6sense to identify business that resulted in the third largest deal in the company’s history – and this prospect was about to buy from a competitor! Another 6sense customer was able to double its opportunity sizes, and 70 percent of those opportunities were net-new prospects who had never “raised their hands” and were not in marketing-automation or customer relationship management systems.

2) Get a full-funnel picture of all your prospects.

So now that you have plenty of new leads, what about everyone else? Your reps must understand where potential buyers are in their journey. With predictive intelligence, that’s possible. 

Say you want to sell to 10 specific people; however, if their activity doesn’t indicate that they’re in the market to buy, then you know you don’t need to focus on those 10 prospects for the time being. Instead, jump on the ones who are showing active interest in your products. Stop guessing and start selling. One of our customers told us that, before using 6sense, 33 touches were required to convert a lead to an opportunity. After using 6sense, it took only 10.

Interested in learning more? Hear Amanda Kahlow, CEO and founder of 6sense, speak at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on April 28. Or contact us now.

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