Approaching 2015 From a Sales Perspective

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 06:12 AM

newyear

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

You’ve made your New Years resolutions to exercise, lay off the carbs, lose weight, be kind, leave the cell phone in another room at night, close the laptop by 7PM, and be an all-around better person. You may have even set your goals for 2015. But what can you do to kick-off the New Year so that 2015 is your best sales year ever? Here are my top 10 tips: 

  1. Go All In on Your Goals and Write a Plan. If you know how much money you want to earn in 2015 and have a compelling reason to earn it, the next step is to figure out how. Subtract your salary as well as commissions on booked and/or residual business to determine the remaining required income. Based on your existing commission or bonus plan, how much new business must you close? How many new sales or accounts are required? What are the metrics to close one – in other words, how many proposals, demos, qualified opportunities, prospects and suspects does it take? Multiply that by the number of new sales or accounts required. You now have the activity required. Divide that by the number of selling days in the year. That gives you your daily metrics. Chapter 3 in my Baseline Selling Field Guide will step you through this entire process. Finally, where will that business come from? How much of that is already in your pipeline and how much of it must be found?
  2. Live in Your CRM. Resolve to begin each day from inside your CRM and specifically, in your pipeline. I love the ready-to-use Baseline Selling version of Membrain for this purpose. From the exercise above, you should know how many opportunities are required for each of four stages of the pipeline. A pipeline with typical conversion ratios might have 12 Suspects, 6 Prospects, 3 Qualified and 2 Closable. Determine how many opportunities must be added to your pipeline, which opportunities need your attention to move forward, and which opportunities are ready to be closed. Use email as a tool to make your pipeline work; not the other way around.
  3. Use the Phone. Use email to confirm dates, times and numbers and exchange agreed upon information. Do what old-school salespeople do and have ALL of your non face-to-face meetings over the phone. Follow my lead and conduct video conferences. Quickly create a page like this one that I built in Postwire for a professional, slick, and impressive way to share necessary documents, collateral and content instead of sending via email.
  4. Improve Your Sales Capability. Skills are only a part of what can make you effective. The truth is that your Sales DNA is an even more critical part of a salesperson’s makeup than skills. Sales DNA is represented by strengths that support your ability to execute, or weaknesses that interfere. My SalesMind CD uses powerful self-hypnosis and affirmations to help you quickly overcome your weaknesses and strengthen your Sales DNA. Quickly improve your ability to ask great questions, push back, talk about money, become rejection-proof, overcome call-reluctance, control your thoughts and emotions, reprogram your self-limiting beliefs, become a better decision maker and much more.
  5. Be Productive. Use powerful web applications or device-specific apps that sync across all of your devices so that you can get more done. I like Wunderlist for tasks, Google Calendar, Evernote for notes, Schedule Once (Membrain users have our own version of this) to make it easy for people to schedule a meeting with you, ToutApp for managing email lists and templates, Hubspot for my Blog and inbound analytics, Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets, Wistia for video, and Dropbox for file storage. Shufflr is great for sharing PowerPoint files with my team as well as quickly and easily building presentations from slides you’ve already used in other presentations. I use Zoom for HD video conferencing and AdobeConnect for my Webinar/Video Broadcast platform. It’s only with email that I use different applications on different devices. On my Mac desktop and laptop, I use Outlook for Mac. On my Android phone, I use MailDroid, and on my iPad, I use Acompli. So while the emails apps are all different, they still sync across all of my devices.
  6. Become a Consultative Seller. I’ve written about this enough. You know what it means. It’s time. Be like Nike. Just do it.
  7. Become a Value Seller. I’ve written a lot about this recently. Check out this series of value selling articles on my Blog.
  8. Follow a Proven, Milestone-Centric Sales Process. Check out this series of articles on Sales Process from my Blog.
  9. Look at that - You skipped over tip #1 – it’s so easy to skip that; I included it twice because it’s really the first thing you need to do in January!
  10. Be More Productive. Use ConnectAndSell to reach more prospects by phone than you ever believed possible. Using their service, you can connect with 7-8 prospects per hour instead of per week.

There you have it.  Follow my 10 tips for getting 2015 off to a good start and this could be your best year ever!  I wish you Happy Holidays and a safe New Year.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, postwire, sales CRM, membrain, selling value

Sales Efficiency - Has Google Provided Us With the Golden Egg?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

It's 6 AM and we need to plan our day.  Oh boy.

There are 87 emails that came in since 6PM yesterday, 2 internal meetings, 3 external meetings, 5 phone meetings and 14 items on the to-do list that must be completed today, including proposals, follow ups, job offers and CRM updates.  Whew!

Does that sound like you and your typical day?

With all of the demands on our time, it's more important than ever that we become more efficient.  Some of that can be accomplished through the use of tools, but as with all automation, if you don't have a good manual process, the automated process probably won't help.

If you or your salespeople sell in a territory and you use an Android phone, or an IOS phone with Google Search, then Google tracks your every move.  Just go to https://www.google.com/settings/dashboard and click on location history and you'll see what I mean.  Creepy, right?  But their "Big Brother is watching you every single minute of the day and tracking every single place you go as well as when you go there" thing can be put to good use.  Click on the days in the calendar to see exactly where you traveled and when you traveled on that day.   
google dashboard
 Does it look efficient to you?  Could it be more efficient?

Another important tool for efficiency isn't really a tool, as much as it's an important feature on your tools and that's syncing.  You must be able to find exactly what you need, when you need it.  That goes for files, tasks, events, notes, websites and pages you frequently work with.  So here is my list of suggested applications, tools and services that meet my syncing and always available criteria:

  • Chrome Browser -With Google's free browser, your bookmarks, browsing history and favorite sites are synced across all of your devices so regardless of whether it's from your desktop, tablet, phone, or laptop, you have access to exactly the same information.  Two things make this work very efficiently.  The first is when you make liberal use of organized bookmarks like this:
    bookmarksThat eliminates typing in the URL's of any sites you visit; the second is a plug-in for Chrome called LastPass, which stores and enters your passwords and then automatically logs you in to each site you visit.  Boy, do these two things save a ton of time!
  • Wunderlist - a free to-do-list application does lists and tasks the way they were meant to be.  Your lists can have sub-lists that can be shared, you can add notes, customize the interface, and it syncs in real-time across every device.  It won't matter where you are, when you are there, or which device you are using, you will know and be able to edit exactly what it is you need to do.  
  • Calendar - If you use Google Calendar, then your calendar can sync across all of your devices too by using the IPad and IPhone application, Calendars, by Readdle.  And the Mac can access the Google Calendar via your browser or with the CalendarPro application from the Mac Store.  As with Wunderlist, you'll always know.
  • DropBox - My favorite file storage application for all the reasons we've been discussing here.  Quick, easy, and secure, with the ability to share specific files with others.
  • Postwire - Awesome platform for easily sharing specific content with customers, prospects and others.
  • Membrain - My all-time favorite Pipeline Management/CRM application.  Live in it.
  • Wistia and YouTube - You need video!  And the video must be served from a high-end video server like Wistia, or  for the masses, a search engine like YouTube. 
  • ToutApp - For excellent email template sharing, mail groups, and email marketing along with live email tracking.
  • Zoom Conferencing - For very easy, fast, video conferencing for up to 4 participants, Zoom Conferencing is very tough to beat and you can record some very good, quick video using the service while you're at it.

The world we live in calls for a more organized, efficient approach to selling and I hope that the tools I shared with you today will help you to optimize your approach to selling and sales.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, postwire, membrain, sales tools, toutapp, wunderlist, google calendar, dropbox, zoom conferencing

Is There a Lack of Clarity on the Current State of Selling?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 @ 15:04 PM

clarityLast week, I wrote this article questioning the Death of SPIN Selling.  Over the years, I have questioned the impending death of other important areas like cold-calling, selling, sales process, salespeople and more.  As we continue to discuss these issues and more like them, let's think about why there are two camps - those who continue to prophecise the eventual death of salespeople and selling; and those who defend its existence and continued importance as we march into the future.

I believe that if you do some digging into who is writing relative to each topic, it becomes fairly easy to see that most of the deathmongers hail from isolated areas of the industry. Some of them are marketers who, in order to push their applications, must convince you that marketing can handle both finding and closing sales - all via the internet.  Others are from the big, new, inside sales industry.  Those bloggers too must convince you that traditional sales is on its way out the door in order to get you to buy their services.  It's no coincidence that because most inside sales groups are responsible for the top of the funnel (following up on leads or generating leads and/or meetings) or selling low-cost, high-demand products and services (transactional of course), they have little insight into a longer, more complex sale.  Then there are researchers who simply fail to talk with the right people. 

On the other side of this discussion are those, like me, who are saying, "Sorry, you just don't get it.  You don't know what you're talking about."  We are actually in the field, working with companies, their leadership teams, their sales management teams, their salespeople and helping them navigate these choppy waters and develop modern, effective sales processes, strategies, tactics and styles.

Without question, the internet, inbound marketing, and social selling have replaced traditional sales - IN CERTAIN AREAS.  But they are relatively small areas and most B2B sellers will NEVER, EVER find themselves in that situation.

If your company has a long sales cycle, a complex sale or sells a high-ticket product or service, you will always require great salespeople.  If your company is not the market leader, low-cost alternative, or the maker of the products that people wait in line to buy, you will always require great salespeople.  And if your company and/or your technology is new, you will require great salespeople.  It's really that simple.

There is some clarity though.  It's clear that most of the inside sales/marketing folks lack clarity when it comes to writing about sales.  What they write about certainly applies to what they are doing in their corner of the sales world, but it is no more representative of sales and selling than Palm Beach resorts and Orlando Theme Parks are representative of Florida.  People who visit there experience life in a controlled environment.  It's an aberration - a bubble - because the real Florida has violence, crime, pick-up trucks, cowboy boots and large metal belt buckles. 

Yesterday, during our 2014 Objective Management Group (OMG) International Conference, I was speaking with Cliff Pollan, CEO of Postwire, my favorite content-sharing application and one of our great Strategic Partners.  Despite leading a company that essentially helps companies market via an ability to push, pull and track content engagement, Cliff sides with those of us helping traditional B2B companies to sell their products and services.  

OMG introduced its brand new, fourth generation Sales Candidate Assessments at this conference and they go live next Monday, April 21.  I will be leading a webinar and walking end-users through the new report on Thursday, April 17, at 11 AM ET.  Even if you aren't a current user, you are welcome to join us and learn why there is so much buzz about OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.  Register here.

Image credit: rtimages / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, inside sales, postwire, cliff pollan, b2b sales, sales assessment testing, objective management group

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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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