Need more sales? Tips and tricks for B2B Consultants

The number of people using the internet has grown by leaps and bounds and statistics show that those on the internet is expected to double over the coming years. The internet has changed how people communicate, interact, and discover information. Right now, it is not unusual for customers to research products via their mobile as they browse on brick and mortar stores. People want to discover as much as possible about a product or service.

A lot of marketers are using various marketing channels and strategies for attracting customers. E.g. video marketing, which not only generates an interest around a product but also helps customers learn about it. Video marketing stats show that 6 in 10 people say that watching a product video influenced their buying decision.

Still, the majority of customers will depend on reviews and comments to decide on making a purchase or using a service. Primarily, people want social proof that the products and services they will be purchasing will guarantee great experiences and the only way they can be certain of this is if they see positive reviews from others.  Learn the ways on how you can improve the quality of customer feedback in your social channels so you can get better conversions, ROIs, and an overall healthy reputation.

Live Chat Support

Live Chat Support is an absolute essential to your website. In fact, 44% of online shoppers believe that the best feature an e-commerce website can have is a live chat. Live chat can offer many services and mitigate issues immediately. Customers can have their questions answered promptly about their item and everything that pertains to it including availability, payment, and shipping. The result is great customer service and less frustration on the part of the customer. Chat support also identifies problem patterns so long-term solutions can be formed. Make your live chat proactive. For example, if your customer has been on the website for a certain time immediately flash up the live chat box. Doing this is said to increase interaction by 300%.

Form an Online Community

Your audience and customers are already interested in your brand’s goodies and your services so why not form an online community where you can build engagement and share content? A forum would be a great place to get direct feedback although it will need continuous monitoring. You have to have a moderator whose responsibilities include creating new discussions, posting and updating regularly, responding to feedback, and so on. Having a forum strengthens your relationship with the customer and is an excellent way to get new ideas.

Humanize Your Website

Most people are turned off by a brand’s website that comes across as impersonal but by humanizing your website you are likely to encourage customer feedback and interaction. Adding color, images and humor where it is appropriate, will be greatly appreciated by your customers as well. It’s easier to answer an attractive survey than a plain one. Giving your website the “human” touch makes people feel that they are talking to a real person and not a machine. You have to increase the personality of the website by creating a fictional or real character to symbolize the brand. For example, as a restaurant brand, you can create a character which has their vision of what they find to be delicious and healthy eating. Create an intimacy with your audience that can help them identify with your characters and your brand. Especially nowadays with the pandemic affecting the food and service industry so harshly, it’s more important than ever to show that your service is still impeccable even while working remotely.

Monitor Social Channels

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are places where customers leave their feedback. You can use various tools for social media listening, which allows you to know exactly what your audience thinks about your products and services. For instance, you can use a competitor research tool for monitoring your competitor’s social media engagement. A competitor research tool is extremely useful for generating insights that’ll help drive your traffic and boost your sales. Using such tools for social media listening can help you address any social issues that may arise and to improve your customer’s user experience. Time is important when responding to complaints via social media because bad feedback travels fast. It’s crucial to respond to your customer’s complaint promptly to alleviate their angst as soon as possible.

Give a Prize or Gift in Exchange for Feedback

Usually, people only give feedback if they have had a bad experience. When people have had a good experience, they usually won’t talk about it. You can encourage the percentage of people who have had positive experiences with your site by giving them a prize or gift in exchange for feedback. Gifts you can give may include free shipping, discount coupons, or free merchandise. Unfortunately, your customers may see this move as a way to bribe them into giving positive feedback. You can negate this impression by keeping the tone of your e-mail a genuine effort to improve customer service.

Use Negative Feedback to Show Professionalism

Negative feedback is bound to crop up from time to time. However, you can use this to your advantage. You are bound to have a few disgruntled customers but let it be a way of showing your problem-solving skills.  To manage a bad customer review, you can start by apologizing and responding respectfully. You can then change the platform as a way of diffusing the tension. You can ask the customer to contact you in an email instead of continuing the conversation in the feedback panel. Responding smartly will show how much you value customer service and resolving complaints.

Conclusion

People love reading reviews online, especially on social media. So business cannot ignore the fact that their success is affected by social channels and social media. Customers depend on and freely give feedback of products and services they tried as a form of building communities and sharing their experiences with others. Improving customer feedback in social channels can vastly improve how consumers perceive your brand and can encourage higher profits and ROIs.

The difference between a good and a great business often comes down to the small details. Companies who show that they care about their customers and what they have to say are generally more successful and more popular. Any prosperous business will tell you that part of the secret of getting to the top is to be good at both eliciting and listening to customer feedback. So here are some tips on how to improve the quality of your customer feedback for better conversions, engagement, ROIs, and an overall healthy reputation.

Building Rapport in a Remote Sales Team

The remote working trend is gaining traction and is currently one of the most sought after work benefits an employer can provide. According to Global Workplace Analytics, forty percent more US employers offer flexible workplace options than they did five years ago.

It’s easy to see why telecommuting is proving so popular with both employers and employees alike. GWA’s research also reveals that if people with compatible jobs and wanted to work from home did so half the time, companies could save an average of $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year.

Working remotely can help employees and freelancers focus better, save time and money on commuting and achieve a better work life balance, particularly if they have some autonomy over their working hours. However, there can be downsides, including the tendency to feel isolated.

For this reason, it’s really important to make sure, as an employer, you build rapport with your remote sales team. Building rapport can improve communication and help people feel happier in their remote roles. The result? Higher employee retention rates and a better bottom line.

Gallup researchers studied the differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged teams. Findings show that those in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom quartile of teams by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity.

Here are four remote team building activities and approaches to help you succeed.

1. Organize regular meetings

Meetings are critical to building team rapport, but only if done right. The (not-so) secret is to organize meetings that people actually look forward to. Firstly, make sure your meetings are regular and don’t exceed half an hour. Factor in everyone’s time zone and stick to the same time every week. 

In the virtual meeting itself:

  • Let everyone have their say so that each person feels involved and has the opportunity to contribute to the company’s goals. 
  • Have an agenda but allow time for casual chit chat; expect participants to be on time but allow them to skip the meeting if they’re not needed.
  • Establish a routine – many remote workers appreciate things that give them a routine so stick to the same time and channel (e.g. Skype or Zoom).
  • Encourage videocam usage in online meetings as opposed to just calling in; face-to-face interaction drives up engagement, clarifies meaning and encourages participation. 

2. Create a virtual water cooler

Coffee breaks and lunch times are when workers get to know each other in an office situation. Of course, it’s impossible to replace this scenario remotely, but channels like Slack and Facebook Groups can provide “social” spaces for remote teams to chat about non-work things. 

Consider setting up a casual Slack channel for sharing cat videos, silly GIFs and motivational messages. Always enable people to opt in and out as they see fit. 

It goes without saying, but to build rapport with people as a manager, you should take an interest in people’s personal lives too. A good way to do this is to ask about weekends at the beginning of a 1:1 or group virtual meeting to make up for those casual convos you’d have in the office.

3. Check in periodically

As well as team meetings, leave time to check in with each remote worker individually. It will make people feel like they are part of a company that cares about them and you can catch any problems or concerns early before they blossom into something more serious.

You might also want to consider surveying your remote workforce. Anonymous (or not) surveys are a good way to collect quick feedback about how effective your management style is. A simple survey can bring up issues that individuals might not feel comfortable talking about over email or video chat. 

4. Encourage human interaction

It can be tricky to meet everyone in a distributed workplace, especially if they live in different countries. Still, you should aim to meet up with individuals whenever you can. If you’re based in an office that has surplus space, why not invite your remote workers in to hot desk from time to time? 

This is a great way to utilise unused space and gives people the chance to meet other employees and maintain rapport with you. Alternatively (and depending on your budget), you could also contribute to or pay for a part-time desk pass for individuals at their local coworking space. 

Coworking on an ad hoc basis provides remote workers with networking opportunities as well as a productive space in which to work. Most operate flexible membership schemes that allow you pay for what you need. You can also utilise their meeting rooms for face-to-face catch ups. 

Conclusion

So there you have it: four ways of building rapport in a remote team. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to create a workforce that’s enthusiastic about logging in and working together. It’s not always easy and involves a trial and error approach, but keep learning and you’ll get there in the end!

Does a Work-Life Balance Exist in Tech Sales? 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout

8 AM: Internal sales meeting
9 AM: Client meeting prep
10 AM: Client meeting
10:45 AM: Take a call on your way to a client lunch
11 AM: Client lunch
1 PM: Another client meeting
2 PM: Take a call on your way back to the office
2:30 PM: Product launch prep at your desk
3:30 PM: Send follow up emails
4:30 PM: Recap meeting with your manager
5 PM: Go home and think about work until you go to bed

Sound familiar? It should if you’re a sales representative working in the tech industry. As you know, hustling can reap really great rewards, but how far can you push yourself before eagerness turns into burnout?

Below, we’ve compiled a list of warning signs to watch out for, along with actionable tips to prevent burnout and truly find a rewarding work-life balance.

Signs of burnout

If you’re experiencing burnout, you are probably already well aware of the related symptoms, including:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Panic attacks/nausea on Sunday nights
  • Loss of concentration

If you can relate to one or more of these, you may be reevaluating a lot about the way you are currently living. You also may be wondering if a work/life balance is even achievable in this field and profession. The good news is that, yes, it is possible. But, it will require you to really evaluate your current daily habits and make shifts in your diet, surroundings, and mental state.

How to manage (or, ideally, prevent) burnout

1. Start exercising

We often make the excuse that we simply “don’t have the time” to make our physical health a priority—especially in this field. Between the demands of work and ensuring quality time with family and friends, you’re not alone in putting your physical health last on your list of daily things to put your energy towards.

The issue here is that lack of exercise only increases feelings of burnout. Without physical activity, we become irritable, tired, sluggish, bloated, stressed and downright unhealthy– especially after sitting for the majority of the day (did you know a sedentary lifestyle significantly increases the risk of all forms of mortality– yikes!). Here’s the trick: pencil in a workout, just as you would a client meeting– and don’t back out on yourself! Workouts don’t have to be long, either. Most group fitness facilities offer classes from 30 minutes to an hour long. Block out your lunch hour 2-3 times a week for a quick workout, or catch a class on your way home from work

2. Improve your diet

So we just talked about physical activity, but that is only half of this equation. What is your daily diet like? It’s not uncommon for those in this profession to go all day on just their morning coffee and the occasional birthday cake left in the office breakroom. A poor diet not only makes burnout symptoms worse but, when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, it also puts you at the risk of gaining weight. Which, in turn, puts you at even greater risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and a slew of other diseases in the future. Plus, in the short term, weight gain can just be downright frustrating, discouraging, and uncomfortable.

Along with a regular exercise routine, put a plan in place to develop healthier eating habits. Like everything else, the key here is to work smarter, not harder. Lifehack: keep things easy by signing up for a personalized weight loss program that fits your lifestyle. Coming up with meals to prep and finding the motivation to do so can create additional stress in your life. Subscribing to a weight loss app takes the guesswork out of healthy eating, keeps you motivated, and also teaches you about nutrition along the way!

3. Change your surroundings

They say that the most creative people have messiest desks and offices, especially when compared to their left-brained colleagues. While creativity is an asset, the state of your surroundings can have a huge impact on your mood and state of mind (yes, it is possible to be creative and organized).

Take some time to organize your files and tidy up your workspace. While you’re at it, add some fun office decor to truly make your workspace your own. Put up pictures of your spouse, children, or dog, hang up some motivational posters or quotes that really inspire you, invest in a standing desk to get your blood following or even pick up one of those relaxing feng shui mini water fountains.

4. Find a mentor

Research has shown that having a mentor to guide you may create a shift in your behavior. Many mentees have been documented re-engaging in their workplace, increasing their skill set, creating meaningful networking relationships, and ultimately advancing their career under the mentorship of a trusted coworker.

If your company doesn’t already have an internal mentorship program, consider reaching out to your human resources department to pitch the idea, as such programs have been known to boost morale and productivity of all employees– even for the mentor. The same research has shown that many mentors found their interactions with their junior colleagues therapeutic and helped to force them to really reflect on their growth and success over the course of their career and tenure with the company.

5. Disconnect as much as possible

This one is easier said than done. Polls consistently show that Americans put in overtime hours– working nights, weekends, and holidays when we should really be fully present to the world around us and our loved ones who need our devoted time and attention. We are constantly glued to our phones and computers, armed and ready for those unexpected client calls and questions. When something goes wrong, we are the ones on the frontline– and as we know, that can happen at any time of day.

Learn not to be afraid or feel guilty for putting your electronics away and turning your phone to silent on nights, weekends, and holidays. Take this time to connect with your family and friends, read a book, get in a workout, and start watching that Netflix show you’ve heard all about!

The Most In-Demand Soft Skills for Salespeople at Startups

If you’re joining a sales team for a tech startup, it’s not enough to just have hard skills. In an interview with Michael Cardamone, we discussed how a salesperson should examine the investors of an early-stage startup, and how knowledgeable the CEO is to predict the evolution of their success. Once you’ve determined whether their goals align with yours, it’s time to move forward. However, in today’s highly competitive job market, soft skills are in more demand than ever at startups, and are an essential part of any well-rounded candidate. In fact, a study by Comeet found that the candidates most likely to get the job are those who are directly contacted by recruiters or hiring managers. By showcasing these skills in your resume, you’re more likely to stand out from your competition. Here’s a list of some skills you should aim to cultivate as part of the sales team:

Ability to listen to what’s being said

In the sales world, making a consumer want to buy your product is the main goal of the profession. According to an article by Forbes, this involves effective two-way communication. Knowing how to ask great questions and truly listening to the customer’s response is the key to making a successful sale. “It’s too easy to stick to the script or to plan your next statement. If you want to sell, you have to understand. To understand, you have to listen with true empathy! Practice is essential to this skill.”

Ability to negotiate and connect

If a client is on the fence about whether to purchase your product or service, it’s up to you to convince them to choose you. In order to do so, you’ll need to practice patience, gather what is needed, and deliver high value while keeping prices reasonable. When you do manage to successfully sell, you’re creating a relationship with the client which will hopefully set the stage for more sales in the future. Keeping level-headed and maintaining a sense of humor will help you bond with your client, forming a sense of connection and positivity.

Ability to cope with chaos

If you want to work at a startup, more often than not, you’ll have to deal with unpredictability and chaos. As a salesperson, the ability to stay organized and disciplined even with multiple projects to juggle will be an essential part of your life.

Medium explains how hitting growth targets can be extremely challenging, and even more so during the early stages of a business. If you let potential sales slip through the cracks due to not following up, you’ll definitely fall behind. The good news is that “if you join a startup already better equipped to expect these chaotic moments, the wild wins will feel even more euphoric.”

Ability to anticipate client needs

It’s a universal truth that everyone wants to feel special. By making your customers feel like you can read their minds regarding what they want, you’ll leave them feeling like they’ve had an experience specifically tailored to them, leading to an increase in their trust and loyalty. To cultivate this skill, Inc. suggests taking advantage of industry research and trend reports to see what the next big thing is. You’ll stay a couple of steps ahead, and be able to cater to the future needs of your clients and expand their current scope.

Ultimately, not everyone is cut out for a life in sales. It can be a physically demanding job, but working on this list of soft skills can help you land a coveted role at a start-up, provided that you’re up for the challenge.

If you’re a salesperson looking to jump start your career or make the next big move, Rainmakers can help connect you with companies seeking a skilled sales rep just like you. To join our career market place, visit www.Rainmakers.co

Personal Branding: How to Successfully Build Your Brand as an Industry Expert

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels (https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-holding-white-teacup-in-front-of-gray-laptop-842567)

What do business magnate Sir Richard Branson, SEO and social media marketing guru Neil Patel, and best-selling author Mark Manson have in common? 

A solid personal brand. 


What is personal branding? 

Personal branding has become a crucial part of success for anyone with a skill or service to offer the world—the modern-day entrepreneur, merger & acquisition consultant, author, artist, independent contractor, sales and marketing professional, or self-employed freelancer. Through personal branding, renowned experts can set themselves apart from others in their field.

Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. It encompasses your reputation, expertise, skills, personality, values, and attitudes among a multitude of other things. It is the image that other people see or think of when hearing your name.

Why is personal branding important? 

Nowadays, even large companies no longer solely rely on their corporate brand. Instead, they also hinge on an individual’s personal brand (usually their founder or CEO) to build their image and reputation.

Individuals who build their business around their area of expertise like authors, speakers, coaches, or freelancers also make use of personal branding strategies to distinguish themselves from would-be competitors and to attract clients. The reality is, nowadays, without a powerful personal brand, even experts will find themselves struggling to grow or even maintain their business.

Below are seven clear and actionable personal branding tips and strategies you can follow to kick-start your branding strategy.

Find your niche and build your expertise

The first and biggest step to creating your personal brand strategy is finding your expertise. Whatever industry you’re in, you’ll want to shine in a particular niche within that industry. There’s a common misconception that it’s better to be broad about your specialization for you to capture a larger market. Perhaps this might have worked for some at the start, but in the long run, those who go on to be successful are those who have found that one specialized field they can excel at.

Take Pat Flynn‘s example. From the broad industry of online entrepreneurship and digital marketing, he found his niche as an expert in creating passive income. This can be done in any field or industry. Finding your niche will help unlock two important questions: who your target market is and what your unique selling proposition will be. 

Have a consistent visual brand identity (that’s tied to your personality)

Your brand identity is often the first impression your potential customers will have of you. It includes your choices on what to name your business, logo design, color palette, graphics, and even photos you choose to share on your blog, website, or social media.

It even encompasses the way you dress for success. It can be hard to understand why it’s important to build consistent visual brand identity or even to have one at all, but visuals play an important role when it comes to differentiation, recall, and even perception of quality.

  1. Develop a strong value proposition

After finding your niche, the next step is to position yourself within it. Research your competition and figure out what sets you apart. Some questions you can ask to determine your USP  or unique selling proposition are:

  • What specific problems are you trying to solve?
  • What are the skills you have, and what can you offer to your audience?
  • Why should your audience care about what you have to say?
  • What new insights or solutions are you offering?
  • What are you passionate about? What do you stand for?

Create your content and social strategy

If you’re seeking to establish yourself as an industry expert, content marketing is going to be your best friend.

Remember, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising, yet costs 62% less than traditional marketing.

Content marketing is also what’s going to help your website rank. Focus on creating long, in-depth articles (1000 words or more) that answer a question or problem within your niche. You can search for top keywords or search queries using free tools like AnswerthePublic or Ubersuggest.

Make sure to stay on top of social media trends and topics relevant to your industry. Offer your audience useful content like infographics or free ebooks.

Figure out your modes of communication

Ask yourself: where can I engage with people from my target audience? Then be there for them. Let them find you where they already hang out. Take advantage of the social media platforms available to you and engage with them by replying to their comments on your posts or any feedback they leave on your social media page. 

Consider investing in an official website for your brand. Or, you can start with publishing on platforms such as Medium. What’s important is that you have a platform for sharing your expertise and allowing people to find you.

Seek out mentors and build your network

Building a successful personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does it happen alone. A study found that 80% of CEOs said they have had a mentor help them in their respective careers.

Mentors can be a great asset when you’re just starting out on building your personal brand. The right mentor can show you how they achieved success and how to avoid common pitfalls or mistakes, and, very importantly, introduce you to more experts and mentors you can learn from.


Final Words

If there’s one key thing to remember when creating your personal brand, it’s to be authentic. A personal brand isn’t a persona or a facade to put on in front of an audience. People have a way of finding out if a person is being genuine or not. Your personal brand should be just that: personal to you. Consider your brand as an extension of all the good things about your personality, values, skills, and expertise.

Moreover, becoming an expert in your industry won’t happen overnight. As they say, there is no shortcut to success. You’ll need to put in countless hours of hard work, create lots of useful content, experiment with different techniques and tools, and above all, be yourself.

Author: Barbara Davidson

The Offical Rainmakers 2019 Dreamforce Party Guide

Dreamforce 2019 is right around the corner! I hope that everyone has their pitches rehearsed and their business card ready. Networking is an important piece of running your booth, but don’t forget that the networking doesn’t end when you leave San Francisco. You can’t forget the parties, and who has time to research all of them? Don’t worry – Rainmakers has created a 2019 Dreamforce Party Guide, sorted by date, so you can plan accordingly.

Register soon before all of your favorite events are filled!

Featured Event

 

All Events

Monday, November 18th, 2019


Simplus Power Up Party

Time: 8:00 pm

Hosted/Sponsored By: Simplus, Salesforce, MuleSoft, and Prodly

Summary: This don’t-miss party has everything you need to charge up and kick off the week in style! Whether you are looking to blow off some steam from all your Dreamforce prep or want to relax before a very important week, this is the party for you. Food, drinks, friends and great views of San Francisco await you at Cityscape at the top of the Hilton Union Square. The view alone will get you energized for the week ahead. Dance, eat, and game the night away upstairs. Then, when you’re ready to relax, journey to the recessed Zen Room for massages, shoe shines, and more. 

Where: Cityscape at The Hilton Union Square

Sign Up Here

Karaoke for a Cause

Time: 7:30 PM

Hosted/Sponsored By: PepUp Tech

Summary: We are back for the third year in a row with Karaoke for a Cause! Come out and meet PepUP Tech supporter Bret Taylor. Bret Taylor is the President and CPO at Salesforce.com and co-Founder of Quip. Bret was also co-creator of Google Maps, CTO of Facebook, and is responsible for Facebook’s “like” button.

Your ticket purchase includes drinks, food, amazing company, lots of fun and will help PepUp Tech support tech training programs for underrepresented children and adults across the United States. Help us make a difference and have fun while doing it! 

Where: Pandora Karaoke (please note this is a new venue location at 50 Mason Street in San Francisco)

Sign Up Here

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019


ZennFest

Time: 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Hosted/Sponsored By: Zennify and Salesforce

Summary: Are you interested in joing Zennify and Salesforce at Black Cat, a swanky jazz lounge, cocktail bar and New American bistro? They’ll be plenty of appetizers, craft cocktails, and a live band to accompany a night full of networking and connecting with like-minded individuals.

Black Cat is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the historic arts and entertainment district once home to great supper clubs and fabled live jazz venues.

Where: Black Cat, 400 Eddy Street

Sign Up Here

Dreamforce’s Silent Disco

Time: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Hosted/Sponsored By: Conga

Summary: Sign up to be the first to know all the details of our highly-anticipated Silent Disco. Join us across the street from Moscone where we’ll transform ThirstyBear Brewing Company into a one-of-a-kind dance party you won’t want to miss. Enjoy sets from multiple DJs, complimentary food and drink, and an all around unforgettable night.

Where: ThirstyBear Brewing Company

Sign Up Here

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019


Party at Anaplan Headquarters

Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Hosted/Sponsored By: Dreamforce

Summary: Kick Dreamforce 2019 off right and join us for a blowout party at the Anaplan headquarters. Come for the refreshing drinks and delicious appetizers and stay for the live band, high-energy DJ, old-school arcade games, and more!

Where: 50 Hawthorne Street (Between Howard and Folsom)

Sign Up Here

The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

Time: 6:30 pm – 1:00 am

Hosted/Sponsored By: Salesforce & UCFS Benioff Children’s Hospitals

Summary: At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, a steadfast commitment drives everything we do: to deliver world-class medicine to every child in need. But it’s not just what we do, it’s who we are. It’s clear in the doctors who expertly tailor care to each child’s individual needs, the researchers who discover new cures previous generations could not have dreamed of, and the therapists who use the healing power of music and art to give children the power to hope, dream, and heal. This commitment is also upheld by our generous supporters, who have partnered with us for more than 100 years to ensure that even the most vulnerable families in our community always have access to top-tier medical care. Together, we are moving medicine forward for kids around the block and across the globe.

Where: Oracle Park

Sign Up Here

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Party @ Temple

Time: 9:00 pm – 12:30 am

Hosted/Sponsored By: Demandbase

Summary: Leave the presentations and meetings behind and get ready to unleash your inner dance nerd! Join fellow B2B peers at this Dreamforce fan-favorite party for an unforgettable night of premium cocktails, tasty appetizers and a whole lotta boogie.

You don’t want to miss out on the hottest Dreamforce shindig, where the best of the ABM world come to party.

Where: Temple Nightclub, 540 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

How to Become a Successful Sales Manager

Your boss just promoted you to sales manager after years of working hard as a sales representative for your company. Now what?

Many think sales managers have it easy because they are devoid of having a sales number on their head. However the role is far from that. Instead of an individual quota, they have a whole team’s. Instead of being measured by their own performance, they’re held accountable for how each of their sales reps perform. Below, we’ll look at how to become a successful sales manager in your company by discussing these three key functions: support through coaching, prioritizing recruitment, and having good communication.   

Support Through Coaching

Coaching a sales team is one of the most important tasks a sales manager has. Coaching puts your leadership skills to the test by motivating and helping your sales reps refine and improve their selling techniques to elevate their results. Small Biz Trends explains how people with big egos may not make the best sales managers, because the role entails putting sales reps first. Successful sales managers want to see their team continuously improve and provide them with the right skills, mindset, and support.

Often, it helps to set individual meetings with sales reps once a week. These sessions should talk about how to put a sales plan in action, how to improve on weak areas, as well as how to bounce back when a sale doesn’t push through. It’s important that these coaching sessions also include feedback for the manager about how the rep feels the coaching is going and how the manager can better help them. Moreover, coaching sessions should also positively recognize the sales reps of their existing efforts.

Prioritize Recruitment

Being a manager means taking charge of the hiring and firing of staff. One thing sales managers overlook is the importance of allocating time for recruitment. It’s vital to make time for finding the right person for your team, and being familiar with the different types of recruitment strategies you can use. More often than not companies work with recruiters on either a contingency or retained basis. The Undercover Recruiter defines contingency recruitment as a set up where recruiters are only charged a fee when their candidate takes on a position within the company. This means recruiters are quick to refer candidates, sometimes at the expense of quality recommendations. 

Retained recruiters on the other hand charge an upfront fee to conduct a search, but take their time in thoroughly looking for the right candidate for the company. This type of dedicated search is common in all industries, whether it is business or law, in order to find the best fit. Special Counsel details how retained search engagement saves time and resources for a company, while still hiring the very best. Another reason retained recruiters are effective is because they will also have inside knowledge on the industry and where to find the best talent. Investing in quality recruitment ensures that you hire the right people who can achieve the results you need, and when your team succeeds, the whole company succeeds.

Have Good Communication Skills

During the sales process, teams spend a lot of time gathering necessary information about a client. Once a sale has been made and the clients are passed on to another department, these valuable pieces of information aren’t always turned over properly. Michael Ferguson reminds us that inter-office communication is important and can lead a company to having a successful relationship with a client. All Business states that integrating with other departments also helps facilitate a smooth integration for sales reps in their first few months at a company.

Ultimately, the task of chief communicator primarily falls on the laps of sales managers. They need to be able to articulate their teams’ needs to other departments and to the executive level. For example if there are times when the quotas being set are unrealistic, it’s their role to articulate this to upper management to resolve the situation. Not only does proper communication help you as a sales manager, it helps companies move forward as a cohesive workforce.

[Sales Class] How to Not Lose a Deal During the Close – A Lesson by Steve Benson

Closing deals is not a matter of luck, it’s about skill, perfecting your sales process, and overcoming any objections that would prevent a deal from closing.

According to Steve Benson, it’s the salesperson’s primary job to uncover the real reason why people are unsure about what you are trying to sell them. He explains to not let a prospect take time to “think about it” and attempt to follow up with them next week. Mastering how to avoid these “soft rejections” is a must for closing more deals and you need to gauge their interest in the moment and figure out what information they need to hear to better understand the value of your product.

What a prospect is hesitant on can be one of three things, says Steve. First, ask them specifically what they are uncomfortable or unsure about — once you get a better understanding of what they are truly thinking, you can re-engage and go deeper with them on the issue.

All types of hesitation typically fall into the following three buckets: Fit, Functionality, and Finance.

  • Fit: Give them a free trial or a demo of your product being used in an environment or with a product that is similar to your lead’s product or environment. Introduce them to a company that is already using your product and make a comparison for how it can be useful to them too.
  • Functionality: If they say they aren’t sure if it will work for them at their unique company, they may believe there is a risk that your product won’t work for them or their business. Uncover what they think the functionality risk is and then overcome the objection. They could be worried the product doesn’t work and need to see a demo. Or they could be worried about implementation and that their employees/customers won’t use the product – show other companies implementing the product. Provide references and case studies of other companies using the product successfully.
  • Finance: “This seems too expensive for me.” To overcome this, find out the real objection behind the price objection, since price might not be the real reason. Find out if they don’t think your product is valuable and help them add up the value to show them that your price is fair. Another tip is to show them the cost of not using your product, or how your product will save them time and money.

You may find that a prospect’s concerns fall into several of these categories. Try to narrow down what the primary objection is and focus on educating them in order of what is most important until all of their questions are fully answered. From there, you can continue discussing your service offerings and pricing.

Steve’s Steps to Overcoming A “Soft No.”

  • Gauge interest
  • Uncover true objection
  • Overcome objection
  • Ask questions like “if I can prove to you that you can master the product within a week, would you buy the product?

Through your questions and by reading into the prospects answers, you can uncover additional objections and address them as needed. Remember to include why your product is a good fit, how it will function properly to fit their business needs, and why it is a smart financial decision to use your product.

[Sales Class] How You Can Close Larger Sales More Consistently with Terry Hansen

How you sell is one of the biggest differentiators between you and your competitors. By using methods like the PIMAT discussed here in Terry’s video, you can overcome common sales speed bumps and maximize your potential to land larger deals.

Speed bumps in closing large deals:

Long sales cycles

Figure out a way to shrink the sales cycle. Decrease the amount of time between when you meet a prospect and make the sale. Sometimes this can drag on for months or years.

Tough sales objectives

If you can’t overcome the prospects concerts about your product the likelihood of you selling them on large deals is weakened.

Stiff competition

Getting into price battles with our competitors. Differentiate yourself from them with your value and not just your price.

Low value deals

Try not to focus on the smaller low value deals and instead on bigger deals that can move the needle. An example would be for a printer to take an order for a $50 business card order vs $5,000 for a catalogue order.

PIMAT – 5 important topics that we need to talk about with a prospect during the “Needs Analysis” stage of the sales cycle.

1. Introduction

2. Needs analysis

→ [P.I.M.A.T]

3. Sales presentation

4. Close the sale

P: Problem – When you start your needs analysis conversation, ask about the goals they want to accomplish and where they are currently. The gap between where they are and where they want to be is the “problem.”

I: Impact –  What damage are the problems causing to the company. This could be a financial oriented problem, time oriented problem, or employee moral/personal oriented problem.

M: Money – Figure out a budgetary range that you can use to create solutions for the prospect. GIve them different price ranges to solve the variety of problems that you have uncovered.

A: Authority – The “who” factor. Who is the decision maker and who else should be involved in the decision to approve a deal. Also ask what factors they are going to consider, if there is a timing perspective to the decision, and what process they go through when making the decision.

T: Technical – The nitty gritty details. If you are building a car, its asking what’s the make, model, color, and interior elements. You have to determine how you will customize what you are selling to suit their needs and create a win-win for both of you.

As you go through the PIMAT process you can eliminate any and all objections that the prospect has upfront and prevent any objections from coming up at the end of the sale.

[Sales Class] Understanding Buyer Psyche with Zach Barney

Zach Barney has valuable insight into the different aspects of a buyer’s psyche, and in this video he explains why understanding the mind frame of a lead can make or break your chances at eventually landing a deal with them.

If you’re familiar with sales and marketing then you know that a buyer’s journey is the process a client goes through when moving from being just a prospect to being a signed customer.

An example of a buyer’s journey is: Prospect -> Awareness Stage -> Research Stage -> Consideration Stage -> Decision Stage -> Customer. As a salesperson, you have to be their guide and take them through these stages while overcoming any obstacles that you encounter along the way.

The problem with the traditional buyer’s journey, Zach explains, is that it misses the analysis of your Total Addressable Market (TAM).

When you reach out to a company for the first time, you need to pay attention to the “signals,” that speak to their interest in needing your product. The signals can be conversations a colleague had with them, company press releases, public information, etc. These, along with your initial conversation with them, will help you gauge which of the below TAM buckets they fall into.

  • 30% of your TAM know they do not need you
  • 30% of your TAM don’t think they need you
  • 30% of your TAM doesn’t care
  • 7% of your TAM is open to a conversation
  • 3% of your TAM is actively trying to solve a problem you can fix

A lot of people think the purpose of their initial conversation with a lead is to take them through the entire buyer’s journey of not knowing about you to being a signed customer. Instead, Zach says, your job is to get them from “I don’t need you” to “I don’t think I need you.” Next, you need to get them from “I don’t care” to “I’m open to a conversation” and so on and so forth.

It often takes time to move a prospect through these stages, so focus on the long game. By understanding their buyer psyche, you can make them aware of the benefits they gain from working with you, address any objections they have, and take them through the TAM stages until they are your newest client.