The $9 Million Cold Call - Do Salespeople Still Sell That Way?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 @ 10:10 AM

cold callerI just completed an interview on behalf of a client and learned that this candidate landed $9 million in brand new business, from a brand new account over a period of 18 months from - are you ready - a cold call.

I'll be the first to admit that cold calling is more difficult than ever.  It's more frustrating than ever.  It's less productive than ever.  But that does not mean that your salespeople should stop making calls.  Hardly.  Finding new opportunities is more important than ever, but there are alternative methods so that calls are more productive, less frustrating and more effective.

Wasting time trying to reach prospects that never seem to be in?  There's a tool for that.

Trying to figure out how to get someone to take your call?  There's a tool for that.

Frustrated with going back and forth trying to find a mutually convenient time to meet or talk?  There's a tool for that.

Trying to generate more leads?  There is a tool for that.

Need a more salesperson-friendly, elegant CRM replacement/Pipeline Management solution to track progress?  There's a tool for that.

As a matter of fact, there are so many new tools available that it will make your head spin.  The key is to understand which tools will actually help you find/reach/connect/schedule/track new opportunities, as opposed to tools that are more versions of noise - novel or fun to play with but with little gain in productivity.

In the end, your salespeople still need to pick up a phone and make a call.  If the prospect isn't expecting the call, it's a COLD CALL.  Today, there are finally tools to make that a more enjoyable, productive and effective experience.  Is your sales force taking advantage?

Failure to take advantage of new tools, methods, and alternatives to cold calling is a combination of stubborness and sales obsolescence.   

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force development, Sales 2.0, crm, essential sales tools, leads

Enough Already with all the Sales 2.0 Talk!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 @ 23:08 PM

When fax machines were first introduced (I remember the day a salesperson cold-called me with an "opportunity" for me to own my own fax machine back around 1987), experts wrote (magazine articles) about the power of the new machine and the many innovative ways it could be used in business.

When email went mainstream, experts wrote about how to integrate and use it for their sales activities.

Today, some experts are making a business out of writing about and teaching only Sales 2.0.  The thing is that Sales 2.0 is not a new way to sell but it is similar to email and fax.

Where Sales 2.0 is the umbrella for the tools that help you get found, it's not really any more than those tools and how to best use them.  Using some of these tools will surely lead to improved effectiveness but it can only happen if the tools are integrated into a sound sales process, used at the right time and used in an appropriate way.

One blogger sent me three emails pestering me to read a Blog article she wrote about her favorite Sales 2.0 tools.  I'm not interested in sending readers to her article because the tools she selected are not essential tools.  They are more like some of the apps one would find for mobile devices that are merely apps for the sake of being an app.

So what are the essential Sales 2.0 tools?

Believe it or not, one that you use every day, that has been around for years, that is worth billions of dollars - Google - but only if you show up on the first page when someone looks for what you sell.  For instance, if you conduct a search for Sales Force Evaluation, Objective Management Group and one of my Blog articles appear in the first two non-sponsored results.  If you conduct a search for Sales Force Development Experts, Kurlan & Associates and another of my Blog articles appear in the first two non-sponsored results.

LinkedIn - but only if you use it.  You must connect to top quality people that you know as opposed to connecting to everyone you know and even those you don't know.  Identify the connections not of yours, but of your contacts, that are in your sweet spot, and get introduced to those people  Join appropriate groups and when possible, participate in the group discussions. Answer questions when you have either the expertise or a strong opinion on the topic.  But use LinkedIn!

People Maps - When you know who you want to be introduced to, People Maps shows a visual representation of the people you know and paths you can take to get introduced.

Blogging is a an activity, and there are many Blogging tools on the market.  I use and recommend Hubspot's incredible platform. For many, Blogging is the most useful of all the Sales 2.0 tools, but if you build it, will they come? Realistically, you must be able to write or contribute frequent, useful, original content, create an identity and set yourself apart or nobody will come.  This Blog?  It generates more than 20,000 visits per month and nearly 200 leads.  While many of those leads are not in our sweet spot, or not ready, there are plenty of quality leads to keep us hopping.

Companies also use Twitter and Facebook but I'm still not sure that they are essential unless you have very frequent (multiple each day) updates that people want to know about.

There are hundreds of other tools - most of them cool - but not necessarily essential.  I'm sure that some of you have your favorites but remember, to qualify as Sales 2.0, it must help you to get found or introduced.

CRM is essential, it reached its peak during the Sales 2.0 era, but it doesn't help you get found or introduced so although it is worthy, I won't devote space to it here.  There are proposal writing apps, slide show creating apps, apps for accessing your apps that are all good, but not really apps to help you get found.

The point is that Sales 2.0 is not new, and we shouldn't be seeing so many articles written about what is essentially the marketing or, more specifically, the inbound marketing side of selling.  That's right. It's marketing, but marketing that some of you can actually participate in.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, sales force evaluation, sales force development, Sales 2.0, crm, essential sales tools

Top 3 Steps to Successful Sales Force CRM Implementation

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 @ 11:12 AM

crmEarlier this week, I was asked to recommend books or articles that would drive a successful CRM implementation.  They had already chosen Landslide as the application, a good choice, and now they wanted to be sure that their decision paid dividends.  This article is not about the merits of Landslide (UPDATE - Landslide was just named the 2010 Top CRM Solution), although there are many, nor is it about how to choose an ideal CRM solution.  Instead, I will share my top 3 steps to a successful CRM implementation:

  1. Skip the books - they're a waste of time.  They cover logistics which, if you make the right choice of CRM, is all covered thoroughly in training.
  2. You must set proper expectations including why the company is implementing this particular solution at this point in time, how it will help the company, how it will help the salespeople, and the importance of thorough, timely updates.
  3. Implementation is simply a three-ingredient recipe. The recipe is: 7 parts buy-in as in "this is not optional"; 1 part training, as in "Look at how easy we can make this"; and 2 parts accountability, as in "This is a condition for continued employment".

Some CRM is better and/or more appropriate than others.  They all work if you implement according to the 3 steps.  None of them work if you fail to implement.  Implementation is up to you from the top down, not your salespeople.  If you plan to leave any of the decision up your salespeople, don't even start the process. If you don't have or plan to have an effective CRM application, optimized for the way people sell, you are years behind curve.

Click me

Topics: Dave Kurlan, crm, sales management accountability, Landslide

Optimize Your Sales Force Without Spending a Dime

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 16, 2010 @ 15:08 PM

makeoverEnter to Win a Free Sales Force Makeover!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a company that wants to grow more quickly....

If you can state your case effectively than anyone else, your company could win a Sales Force MakeOver worth up to $250,000!

Four companies have partnered to create the Sales Force Makeover and between them, you could have the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen sales experts over the course of about one year.

The companies are:

  • Landslide Technology
  • Objective Management Group, Inc.
  • Strategic Compensation Partners
  • Kurlan & Associates

For contest details and to Enter to Win your FREE Sales Force MakeOver click here.

I wrote an article for Alister Paine's Digital Business Site on How to Close More Business where I discussed the importance of optimizing the sales process. Check it out!

Topics: crm, omg, kurlan, sales management function, free sales force make over, dauphanais, objective management group, Landslide

My Salespeople Won't Use CRM

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 @ 06:03 AM

Yesterday, we discussed whether you can really get salespeople to change. I mentioned that the key rule was #9, Consequences, and that I would discuss consequences today.

There are three primary ingredients to having Consequences.

  1. You must make the consequence very clear to the salespeople as in, "And I want to be very clear about the importance of this.  Anyone who fails to comply - who doesn't keep the CRM up to date - will face serious consequences. Let me detail exactly what those consequences will be..."
  2. The consequence must be significant enough for a salesperson to avoid at all costs.  There are levels of consequences, depending on whether it is a first-time offense or a repeat offense.  You might not reimburse a first-time offender for cell, gas or entertainment expenses.   Your consequence for a third time offender might be termination.
  3. You must, no matter how uncomfortable it is for you, follow through. It only takes one false promise of consequences for your salespeople to ignore the threats in the future.  Just one!  Think about this concept with children.  "I'm warning you, if you don't finish your dinner you can't have dessert."  And then, ten minutes later, "Alright, just have two more pieces and you can have ice cream."  That is called training and surprise, surprise, it's not the child that is getting trained, it's you.  You are being trained to give in.  The child, a very quick learner, has already been trained and it only took one time.  Ignore the threat of consequences because it is simply a bluff.

Every day we hear from Owners, Presidents, CEO's VP's and Sales Managers who are frustrated that they can't get their salespeople to comply with something.  I provided the CRM example because that is simply the easiest to solve.  When you can't get them to hunt for new business and new opportunities, you'll need more than consequences in your tool box.  The issues preventing consistent prospecting run much deeper and they must be identified before they can be overcome, coached to and penalized.

Will the proper use of consequences help you with simply compliance?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Force, sales motivation, crm, compliance, change management, salespeople won't comply with CRM, salespeople won't prospect

Are Sales Tools the Solution?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 @ 21:08 PM

When Sales tools are used properly, they become tremendous solutions, for example:

  • your salespeople update their opportunities in your Sales Force Automation application of choice (mine is Landslide.com) in real time (a minute here, a minute there)
  • your salespeople create slides for presentations, proposals, webinars and demos
  • those in your company that blog use it to generate credibility, visibility and leads
  • other social networking, like the use of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are also used to generate leads
  • email is used for updates but not in place of conversations that should take place on the phone

But how often do you observe your salespeople doing any of these things?

  • taking a couple of hours, during the day to update the pipeline
  • taking a couple of hours to work on a power point presentation they'll need next week
  • spending time using a social networking site to communicate with others
  • responding to emails that can wait until evening
  • doing something other than focusing on finding, moving and closing opportunities

When your salespeople focus and play with the tools instead of using the tools to support their selling efforts, the tools become part of the problem. Am I suggesting a 15-hour work day? No.  You need balance, you should spend time with your family.  But salespeople must do the work that doesn't involve interacting with their prospects, at times when they can't reach their prospects.

(C) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, sales, sales management, selling, Salesforce, Sales Force, crm, time management, sales tools

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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