Sales Success Feed

The Most Powerful Story You Will Ever Tell as a Salesperson

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

 

 

 

In sales, storytelling skills are critical to success. Stories help us sell our ideas, communicate a vision, and inspire commitment. Used properly, they make your message more vivid, enjoyable, and memorable.

Why We Love Stories 

Scientific research supports these facts. Consider findings by neuroeconomics pioneer Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies and author of The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity. Zak has studied the effects stories have on people, and has discovered that the most basic narratives have the potential to trigger powerful chemical responses in the brain. When we hear highly engaging stories, the brain releases cortisol and oxytocin, and we experience stronger feelings of empathy and connection.

Stories are timeless. According to Ryan D. Mathews and Watts Wacker in their book, What’s Your Story: Storytelling to Move Markets, Audiences, People, and Brands, “Long before the first formal business was established … the six most powerful words in any language were, ‘Let me tell you a story.’” That’s why storytelling is a critical skill for salespeople (especially now, when many B2B sales teams are taking the damaging step of increasing their “virtual distance” from customers).

The Most Effective Story You Can Tell

But the most important story any sales professional will ever tell isn’t an anecdote shared to engage his or her audience during a sales presentation; it’s the story the salesperson creates with the customer and for the customer. In fact, it is the customer’s story, and it’s one of problem solving and triumph. The salesperson must tell a story that paints a vision of success and compels the customer to think differently about their business problems. A quote commonly attributed to Albert Einstein shows why this is important – “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

To the degree that everyone loves a good story, consider how your prospects and customers might be captivated and influenced by a story about them, their organization, and their dramatic success. The stories you create with your customers – and about your customers – are the ones that change outcomes and cement lasting and productive relationships.

Three Tips to Use Storytelling in Sales

To build meaningful relationships through storytelling, bear the following three tips in mind.

Tip #1: Listen carefully to the customer’s response to your story.

When your story works, it disarms the customer with new insight. In response, they may tell their own story – one that articulates their issues and motivations (goals) about which we were previously unaware. Be prepared to listen to the customer’s story and look for opportunities or ideas you may have missed.

Tip #2: Be aware of the customer’s competitive concerns (who their “villain” is).

When crafting your story, be aware of the customer’s competition. This is their “villain.” Is the competition winning or losing in the market? What’s the competition doing that your customer isn’t?

Consider the case study of Procter & Gamble (P&G), which essentially owned the disposable diaper business from 1961 to 1982. Sales went up, profits went up, and vice versa. Then, from 1983 to 2000, this correlation ended, and they failed to understand why. Finally, they determined that, for 17 years, they had been using a developing-market strategy (i.e., families were still transitioning from cloth to disposable diapers). By 1982, the reality was that the market had been fully developed, and P&G was trading market share with their competitors. That required a different strategy and approach. P&G’s “villain” was Kimberly Clark and the other competitors who were buying market share.

Tip #3: Know your customer’s definition of value so you can craft a “happily ever after” scenario.

What is important to your customer – historically, now, and in the future? The definition of value shifts depending on where, when, and how your customer’s organization is strategically positioning itself in the marketplace. 

The exceptional sales professional will take it a step further and help the customer visualize the future (their “happily ever after”). They’ll communicate how to collaborate with the customer to achieve that vision and deliver the benefits highlighted in the sales presentation. 

When you approach storytelling from the customer’s perspective, your stories automatically become more engaging, motivating, and inspirational because the story has been developed around the customer’s own experiences, objectives, needs, and insight. Stories help you set goals, build commitment, encourage collaboration, build relationships, create passion and excitement, and encourage innovation and creativity.  With this level of engagement and input, the customer’s story is one in which they have a role as author, star, and hero; it is truly their story.

To learn more, watch my video interview below with Selling Power founder and publisher, Gerhard Gschwandtner.

 

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The State of the Sales Profession: My Insights from the Sales 2.0 Conference

RichBlakeman

Today’s post is by Rich Blakeman of AchieveGlobal, An MHI Global Company

 

 

In April I spoke at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Here are two of the key thoughts that stuck in my mind after the event.

#1: Put Customers at the Center of Your Sales Efforts

We’ve emphasized this at MHI Global for many years. But, listening to conversations and presentations take place at the event, it struck me that this is the first year that nearly everyone spoke about the importance of helping customers achieve their goals. We've been talking about putting customers at the core of your sales efforts for a long time. In other words, I heard a ringing endorsement for the need to have a sales culture that’s oriented around the customer.

This is a major shift – and I’m in a position to know, because I've attended six or seven Sales 2.0 Conferences since their inception nine years ago. And I’ve been a speaker at three of these events.

As I recall, many of the conversations at those events were focused on us. We talked about:

  • Sales techniques and selling skills,
  • how we could close more sales, and
  • which latest and greatest tech tools we should be using. 

We were very “me” focused in those years. And it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to attend a sales conference and discover these topics still dominating the discussion. Yet, at this event, the customer was getting all the attention. I couldn’t be happier about this shift, and I think we should consider calling this movement Sales 2.5 (at least!).

#2: Your Intention Matters

What’s the other interesting thing I learned? I heard from some of the attendees that they felt there was a clear separation between speakers who were there simply to speak, and speakers who were there as fellow members of the sales profession.

In other words, a speaker who shows up to an event to get some stage time and jet off to the next engagement is not truly a member of the community – and people can sense that. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless their intention is to make an authentic connection with attendees at a peer level.

Personally, I feel that I am a member of the sales profession, and, as such, I truly wanted to be at the event to listen, learn, and connect. That meant taking time to sit and listen to presentations and chat with fellow attendees in addition to my stage time.

It was a great feeling to hear that validation from attendees. And I should not be so surprised, because I always try to live by the edict of one of our founders, Bob Miller. He used to say that it’s incumbent on us to “be the best examples of what we represent.” I am committed to promoting, enhancing, and developing the profession of sales so we can all live up to our fullest potential.

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4 Ideas to Help You Build Rapport and Relationships with Clients

LaVon Koener 2 (1)Today's post is by LaVon Koerner, chief revenue officer of Revenue Storm, a global sales consulting and revenue acceleration firm. Join LaVon and Selling Power for this Webinar on June 3rd, "How to Accurately Qualify Opportunities." 

 

What’s the best way for sellers to build relationships and rapport with prospects and customers these days? 

Back in the golden era of selling, you’d walk into a client’s office and desperately search for something on their walls or desk to talk about. The goal was to find something that mattered to them and connect on a more personal level. If you weren’t thrown out, you’d quickly leverage one of your tried-and-true relationship weapons – lunch, golf, dinner, a gift, or even the occasional ride on the corporate jet. 

Boy, how things have changed! Besides the governance policies that most companies employ today – where accepting even a coffee mug with your logo on it is a violation – admiring the stuffed swordfish on the wall and asking, “What keeps you up at night?” isn’t going to cut it. The old rules of selling simply no longer apply.

The fact is, today’s business relationships – and all relationships, really – are built on value. Executives want to know what’s in it for them before they will consider investing time in you.

Most executives aren’t interested in golf games or idle chatter that leads to you showing them a 100-plus-slide capabilities presentation. Nor do executives want to train you on their company and issues so you can turn around and try to sell them something.

But don’t lose heart. There are potentially many ways you can deliver value. Consider the following four ideas.

  1. Provide thought leadership around how you might help them improve results or attain certain goals.

  2. Help them achieve recognition in their organization or industry for something they are doing or something you can help them do.

  3. Make key connections and introductions for them.

  4. Support events, programs, committees, or charitable/community organizations that are important to them.  

The most successful sales professionals understand that individual human beings – not companies – make decisions to buy. Relationship development is an intentional process that requires you to invest time doing careful research before walking through the door to determine the potential value you can offer. Additionally, it requires continued nurturing. You need to continually ask yourself, “what have I done for them lately?”  

Most importantly, building successful relationships requires you to take risks and work outside your comfort zone. Instead of “safe” discussions around your products, features, price, and company, you have to be savvy and brave enough to earn the right to have discussions around personal agendas, what they really want, and the personal motivations that are driving them. Only then can you begin to create bonds based on mutual trust, value, and success.

Business relationships today are oftentimes situational and temporary. They exist as long as the other party believes you still deliver value. Keep in mind that business relationships do not necessarily equal friendships. Just because someone “likes” you, doesn’t mean they will buy from you. Sure, everyone knows your name and smiles when you visit, but when was the last time your “friends” actually bought something from you?  

The next time you have an important meeting, think of it as a first date. Don’t make the critical error of talking about yourself, your company, or your products. The harsh reality is that no one cares about you until they understand what you can do for them. Do your homework, leave the logoed mug and your capabilities presentation at home, and (whatever you do) don’t ask about the stuffed fish on the wall!

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Three Ways You Can Sell More to Existing Accounts

JenniferStanley_2Today’s guest post is by Jennifer Stanley, expert associate principal (marketing and sales practice) at McKinsey & Company.

 

 

 

There is a long-standing belief that salespeople are naturally “hunters” or “farmers,” but what do you do in a mature market where there seems to be little to hunt and no new fertile ground?

The key is finding pockets of profitable, micro growth opportunities to explore. It takes some effort and analytics, but it’s worth it. Companies whose sales forces routinely excel at finding latent demand, among other strategies for sales growth, tend to grow revenue almost 50 percent more than their peers.

Here are three steps you should take to build the insight needed to grow your business with existing customers. 

1. “De-average” customer sales trends.

An account’s historical growth rate is useless information. What you need to know is exactly where there could be growth tomorrow, and you need to know it at the micro level. There are two methods I regularly see succeed in all industries, though they are by no means the only ones to try:

  • First, map tiny territories inside your larger sales territory. For multilocation customers, know in which zip/post codes their business is growing. Measure your share with those customers in those tiny territories, and go after growth where you are underpenetrated (versus your average share across the territory).

  • Second, keep an eye on each customer’s plants or distribution points. Regularly ask where your customer plans to add capacity or more salespeople, and prioritize your new proposals there.  

2. Know the next product to buy.

Sometimes business-to-business sellers are so accustomed to exacting requests for proposals (RFPs) that they don’t prioritize bringing new ideas to customers. Take a page out of the consumer retailer’s handbook. One easy analysis that can come out of any customer relationship management system is the basket of products customers similar to yours are buying. Again, go micro: check to see which individual products or services are missing from your customer’s basket. Outside the RFP process, talk with your customer about new options. It could be a rich source of profitable growth, possibly up to 20 percent.

3. Investigate SKU swaps or repricing.

At an even more micro level, SKU swapping and repricing can lead to 3 to 5 percent improved account profitability. When customers are buying highly specified products, getting them to switch or pay a little more may seem an impossible task – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. I spend a lot of time in the chemicals industry, where producing to a detailed spec is a basic requirement. There are always a few customers, however, who have been willing to explore switching or have accepted a revised price when sellers present compelling data, such as the following:

  • Your company is losing money on that specific SKU to that specific customer. If you are consistently unprofitable, that’s clearly not good for you, but it is also not good for your customer who may need security of supply. If another SKU is available with appropriate specifications, see if it’s possible to switch. If not, work to obtain a net price that is fair for both of you, or agree to strip out extra services the customer may not value.

  • Your customer isn’t buying a SKU that its own customers may value more. Is there a profitable product you have that could provide incremental benefits down the value chain? If so, bring it to your customer’s attention, and calculate for the customer what it could do for his or her profit.

In today’s world of flattening or low average growth rates, salespeople should embrace “hunting on the farm” as the new normal.

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Off to the Races: 3 Essentials for a Strong Start to Your Sales Campaign

Lavon Today's post is by LaVon Koerner, chief revenue officer of Revenue Storm, a global sales consulting and revenue acceleration firm.

 

 

One of the greatest sales cycles of all time is currently being played out right now, on center stage, for the world to observe. The United States 2016 presidential race has begun! As media coverage heats up, this campaign of more than 18 months affords those of us in the sales profession a chance to see and observe what works and what doesn’t in this most public of contests.

The easiest day of a presidential campaign is the day when he/she announces the bid. It’s downhill from there; the hardest decisions concerning both strategy and tactics are made at the beginning, not the end. Now is when the die is cast! The actions taken and the messaging proclaimed now will constitute irreversible acts.

It’s most important to get out of the gate strong and hit your stride as early as possible. Here are three essentials every salesperson needs for a strong start to his or her sales campaign:

  1. Grab, set, and maintain the dialog. 

You want to establish the content of the discussions in your meetings with executives and decision makers. In doing so, you are embedding the buying criteria and setting up others to talk about your stuff. If your vision becomes the talk of the town and resonates with the voters, you are off to a very good start. If they buy the vision, they will buy the visionary behind it; therefore, don’t sell the visionary but always sell the vision!

  1. Define yourself before the competition defines you and define your competitors before they define themselves.

    First impressions set in quickly and are very difficult to change later. If the competition defines you before you define yourself, you will be pigeonholed and forced to play defense. If you define both yourself and the competition, however, your competitors will be the ones in a hole and having to spend their energy playing defense while you are playing offense. This allows you to gain more ground and secure your competitive advantage.

  2. Establish your win theme. 

What is the one memorable line by which your sales campaign will be known? What both differentiates and distinguishes you from all the other competitors? Pick something catchy that could be plastered on bumper stickers or displayed on billboards. Make sure it resonates with the masses and that people instantly understand it. Think about President Obama’s 2008 campaign slogans: “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In.”

The candidates that get these three things right out of the gate will have competitive advantage. While the race may be long, and there may be plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, make sure the race is yours to lose by starting off strong.  

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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 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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What's the Difference between Sales Leaders and Sales Managers?

LaVonKoenerToday's blog post is by LaVon Koerner, Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Storm, a global sales consulting and revenue acceleration firm. 

 

 

While the terms “sales leader” and “sales manager” are often used interchangeably, there is a huge difference between these two roles.

Leaders rally employees around a vision. They have the ability to influence, motivate, and inspire others to contribute to the fulfillment of that vision.

Managers, on the other hand, are more adept at directing employees on how to systematically execute the leader’s vision. They can see all of the intricate moving parts and understand how to sync them.

Leaders aren't always managers, and managers aren’t always leaders, but both are critical to the success of an organization. Properly pairing salespeople with either leaders or managers can have a significant impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and revenue. 

Consider, for example, the characteristics of hunters and farmers. 

Hunters

  • Assertive
  • Tolerant of risk
  • Hungry for recognition
  • Focused
  • Competitive
  • Impatient
  • Keen on variety 

Farmers 

  • Relational
  • Resistant to risk
  • Collaborative
  • Predictable
  • Dependent
  • Partial to known environments 

Hunters are tasked with winning high-risk opportunities (i.e., opportunities that are competitively held, were previously lost, or are in adverse environments) or accelerating the acquisition of new markets, geographies, and accounts. Meanwhile, farmers are tasked with cultivating, growing, and protecting revenue in existing accounts while achieving high customer satisfaction and building valued relationships.

Based on these definitions, you can probably guess the best pairings: Leaders will be more productive if they lead hunters. Managers will be more successful if they manage a group of farmers.

So why is it important to distinguish between your managers and leaders? We all yearn to be understood and accepted for who we are, and working for a boss who has very different DNA can be unsettling. You can see this disconnect clearly when it comes to motivation. Leaders and hunters tend to become bored when things are too predictable or comfortable; they love to confront new, risky, and suspenseful opportunities. Conversely, managers and farmers tend to choose comfortable surroundings devoid of risk and have an orderly approach to resolving challenges. They prefer deep relationships.

It’s certainly true that some managers can inspire, and some leaders can execute systematically, but these are not their core strengths or dominant characteristics. Understanding who your leaders and managers are will help you create an organizational structure that builds strong morale and a culture that effectively addresses core business functions and needs. 

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