[Sales Class] – How to Leverage Sales Automation to Land More Deals – A Lesson by Krish Ramineni

In this video course, Krish Ramineni explains that effective sales comes down to two things: your ability to be a great salesperson, and your drive to reach a large number of leads.

His theory is that the more people you reach out to and follow up with, the more chances you will have to be a great salesperson and close deals. To save you time and energy you can implement several easy sales automation tools and processes to manage and personalize your outreach messaging.

Sales automation has three main pillars:

The three pillars below are the main elements that will be in play when setting up any type of sales automation process, and each is equally important to make sure your strategy is successful:

  • Process: Your playbook, what you and your manager are figuring out to help you send out the right type communication to the right person.
  • Data: Your CRM needs to be updated, your leads list needs to be accurate
  • Tools: Leverage tools ot take advantage of the process and data that you have in place. Take 1 to 1 communication and turn it into 1 to 100.

Three key parts of Process:

Within the element of “Process” there are three factors: Outreach, Follow-ups, and Data Entry.

  • Outreach: Number of people you are reaching out to, number of emails you’re sending, “top of the funnel.”
  • Follow-ups: You need to follow up consistently, sometime up to 7-8 times, before finally getting a response.
  • Data Entry: Keep CRM and other systems updated so you know what your next steps after each outreach/followup.

Three key parts of Data:

Within the element of “Data” there are three factors: Conversations, Activities, and CRM.

  • Conversations: Qualitative information, asking questions, and insight into if a deal with close or not.
  • Activities: Actual actions you are performing. Number of calls you’re making, number of emails you’re sending, how busy you are
  • CRM: The CRM fields that tell you what stage a deal is, how big a company is, how many employees there are, what domain they are in, what job titles you are reaching out to, etc. This helps you understand and organize your information.

Three key parts of Tools:

Within the element of “Tools” there are three factors: Email Sequences, Dialers, and Scheduling.

  • Email sequences: Email outreach tools that allow you to create templates, craft personalized messages, schedule follow up emails, and track results.
  • Dialers: Power dialers that help you call outbound dialing lists and notify you when someone picks up.
  • Scheduling: Tools like calendly that help you schedule meetings with people without needing to email or communicate back and forth trying to pick a date.

Data tools:

Krish provided a list of data tool examples, including Clearbit, Fireflies, and Zapier.

  • Clearbit: Allows you to upload information from LinkedIn into CRM and do lead scoring.
  • Fireflies: Enters information from meetings into CRM by recording and transcribing the conversation.
  • Zapier: Allows you to take all the information that is collected from your apps and load it into your CRM.

How to be more effective at sales:

  • Outreach is important, but the other part of it is personalized and unique messaging. One way is to manually personalize the initial message, and automate the follow ups.
  • Leveraging new channels: Don’t just email and phone call, look at other channels that you can reach leads through. Examples can be through Facebook groups, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
  • Product Triggers: Reach people when they are visiting your website, or using your product. You can then send personalized messages related to their recent interaction with your product.

Sales automation helps you manage, optimize, and personalize customers journey. Even though it gives you the power to reach tons of new leads, it comes at the risk of becoming “spammy” so you must keep a balance of what is seen as friendly, personal outreach and generic and overly persistent messaging.

[Sales Class] Call Coaching – A Lesson by Lauren Bailey

In Lauren Bailey’s video on call coaching, she explains that call coaching was recently ranked as sales leaders worse skill.

She explains that the majority of call coaching that happens is informal, and many people do not have structured call coaching meetings, training sessions, or conversations. This is because sales is one of the busiest jobs and most call coaching is done informally on the fly.

76% of managers say they coach 3-6 hours per month per rep, but half of reps disagree with that statistic. This might be because when managers interact with reps, they may speak in a “coaching style” but it is not a formal coaching moment as seen by the rep.

Tips for improving call coaching for managers:

Keep a consistent calendar for call coaching meetings. Be on top of these meetings and don’t let them slip into an irregular schedule. When coaching meetings are cancelled or changed last minute it can lead to rep disengagement.

The top 6 mistakes or “coachastrifies” to avoid.

  • Call coaching is not deal coaching, its rep coaching, its rep engagement time.
  • Don’t ask the rep to “be more like you.”
  • In a call/meeting – Take notes on your observations and turn them into questions for the rep.
  • Find the right level of questioning to make the rep think about the scenario in an actionable way.
  • The biggest way to drive rep impact, let the rep choose what they will work on.
  • You get 10x the commitment by letting the rep choose what they work on.

Steps in Coaching:

  • C – Clarify Expectations (We’re going to start a formal call coaching program and look at examples)
  • O – Observed behavior (“I heard you did this on this call, and the outcome was ____. Let’s talk about it.”)
  • A – Ask Questions (Ask at least 5 questions)
  • C – Commit to Action/Improvement (Why don’t we work on this, what do you think?)
  • H – How can I help? (Why don’t we rollplay it right now, or do you want to shadow another rep?)
  • N – Next steps  (Ask what prevented the sale, look at the call impact, ask if anything affect the call positively or negatively and make adjustments for the next call)

Remember, managers should not focus on coaching for a specific deal, they should focus on building up the sales rep as a whole.

And of course, don’t forget to give the “atta boy”/”atta girl” approvals as they come in the moment.

[Sales Class] – A Lesson on Introductions by Lauren Bailey

Lauren Bailey from Factor 8 lays out some of her most useful introduction tips when making cold calls as a sales rep. It’s easy to fall into a routine of mediocre and mundane intros that often lead nowhere, and her insight outlined below will put a stop to that and help sales reps both new and experienced be more effective at cold call introductions.

6 Sales Intros to Avoid

1. “The show up and throw up”

Saying hi and going right into company backstory, awards, and numbers without giving them any time to talk or respond. The person answering the phone will just get off the phone as soon as possible.

2. “The yeah, its my value prop”

Sometimes starting with the value prop is mistaken for an intro like the “show up and throw up” and the person answering will try to get off the phone.

3. “The get out of jail free intro”

In your pitch, you may say: “Are you the person who’s in charge of [job title]?” Be more compelling than starting with asking them if they are in charge of their obvious role.

4. “The good for you intro”

“I’m just calling to introduce myself” – Good for the caller, but not always good for the answerer.

5. “The setup intro”

Asking a question they can’t say no to… “would you be interested in saving money?” People can tell they are forced to answer a question to keep the conversation going.

6. “The toucher intro”

People don’t want to be checked in on or have their bases touched.

Good intros should be SWIFT

So What’s In it For Them = Swift.

The key is not to tell them who you are and what you do. The key is to get them talking about what they do and what they need help with.

When starting off a call, use the name of the person you are calling during your intro to get their attention. Then, tell them who you are and who you work for in a quick, abbreviated way. Quickly explain why you are calling and how your services will benefit them directly.

Once you have their partial attention, you can lead off with questions to get them talking. The bottom line is that people care most about saving time and making things easier for themselves.

Pick a feature or aspect of your product that you know will make the prospects life easier. Try to use the word “Value” when possible.

  • “Hi this is Lauren, I wanted to call to help save you time on ______.”
  • “Hi this is Lauren, I wanted to call to help you increase your profit margin.”
  • “Hi this is Lauren, I wanted to call to help make ____ easier.”
  • “Hi this is Lauren, I wanted to call to help make sure you’re the hero when it comes to ____.”
  • “Hi this is Lauren, I wanted to call to help ensure you’re protected from ____.”

Here’s an outline to jump into this method:

Don’t just start off asking if they can tell you more about their company. You should know everything about their company already by researching online. Go into the phone call with the swift questions. These are meant to be closed questions (1-5 word answers), not open-ended questions.

  1. Their name
  2. Your name & company (quick version)
  3. Swift purpose (what’s in it for them)
  4. 1-3 swift closed questions

When they ask “who are you with again?,” go into your value proposition and ask the open-ended questions.

Lauren’s Tips for managers:

  • Don’t let reps call to “touch base”
  • Count and track decision-maker conversions over 2 minutes long
  • Add intro training to coaching forms
  • Reward reps with longer average talk times
  • Hold team contests for who can get on “first base” the most with cold calls
  • Do A/B testing with reps to refine the best introduction methods.

The Role of Sales within Account-Based Marketing Strategies

For as long as enterprise software has been around, the default go-to-market (GTM) strategy was to create as much noise as possible to garner attention around your product and go after hand-raisers and high-fit prospects with a sales team. This is what some refer to as the volume lead-based model.

Though this model is not entirely obsolete, it’s proving to no longer be as effective as it once was. This is partly due to the fact that it causes many inefficiencies throughout the sales process but more likely due to the fact that, regardless of the field, most markets software organizations target are becoming overcrowded with vendors. This oversaturation is leading to a lot of noise within people’s inboxes and making it much harder to stand out to actually capture someone’s attention.

What many have proposed as a solution to this problem is an idea called Account Based Marketing or ABM for short. If you’re already working in sales or marketing for a tech organization it’s likely an acronym you’ve already heard many times before. However, it seems to have many different meanings to different people, which begs the question, what exactly is ABM?

ABM takes the traditional lead-based model and flips it on its head. Rather than targeting as many people as possible and having a sales team try and find the needle in a large haystack, this process starts first by identifying high-value clients the company would like to have a very specific focus on. Once this target list has been identified, highly personalized and tailored strategies are then put in place with messaging that will hopefully prove to be too enticing and relevant to ignore.

It is a means of finding greater success with outbound marketing & sales campaigns through more effective collaboration. There are benefits to be gained from simply improving communication among the various departments, tips for which we’ve written about before, but when that isn’t enough leaders need to consider systematic changes to their GTM strategy that can provide greater efficiencies which in turn will hopefully lead to greater revenue.

To some, this may mean simply adding digital advertising campaigns to focus on companies that the sales team is planning to go after. The additional air coverage will very likely have some impact in improving engagement results but ultimately that would only be a piece of the puzzle.

ABM in its entirety should really be a cohesive effort to have a 1:1 conversation with an organization on why and how your solution can provide value the prospect currently doesn’t have at their disposal today. There should be the same unified message being delivered across every channel used to reach these leads/prospects and this message should evolve as the sales cycle continues to develop. 

For example, if we were an ABM platform vendor the first course of action would be to raise awareness on the value of ABM in general to develop an internal need. In a true ABM strategy, there would ideally be material related to each prospect’s situation or environment to more easily help them more concretely envision what benefits they can achieve by adopting a new solution as opposed to proposing hypothetical scenarios.

Once the need has been developed, the next course of action should be to differentiate your solution from other vendors in the market. The messages being delivered here could touch on how your solution works better with the technology investments a company already has in place or superior capabilities you have over your competition. Relevant case studies and customer testimonials would also be gold at this stage in the process. 

As these conversations develop the onus to develop these responsibilities will fall less on marketing and more on sales to receive the baton the bring it across the finish line. From a high-level perspective, there should be a gradient pattern of share in responsibility where early engagements have the ball in marketing’s court and later phases of the engagement would be on the sales side.

Now as a sales professional, marketing will essentially view you as another arm or channel they can use to reach target accounts. Typically though this would be reserved for those accounts that are showing some level of interest. 

From a day to day perspective, your responsibilities won’t change in terms of how you’re carrying out your job. A switch to an ABM strategy will more than likely simply mean a switch in focus for what companies you go after and why. You’ll still need to go through the motions of qualifying your opportunities and facilitating the conversations with a personal touch to bring to close.

In summary, the true role of a sales professional within ABM should be to provide a human touch or element through rapport and empathy that’s often hard for marketing teams to achieve through their typical channels. If you’re interested in learning more please comment below and let us know what you’d like to learn more about.

If you’re looking for other sales advice you’re also welcome to check out our other articles on the Rainmakers blog. Of course, if you’re looking to break into or find a new opportunity within tech sales you can also find listings for your future job on our website at https://www.rainmakers.co/

Tips to Improve Communication Between Sales and the Rest of the Company

Businesses strive to keep lines of communication open between all of their departments. In particular, organizations aim to keep the sales team in conversation with the rest of the business. The sales team’s gathered information is a goldmine of opportunity for every department, from marketing to finance.

Companies that keep the conversations and discussions happening see numerous benefits. From improving sales processes to aiding project management, teams that implement effective communication channels can continue to grow their sales opportunities.

Why Communication is Important

Sales teams spend an enormous amount of time gathering information about a prospective client during the sales process. Even after a client has signed a contract, sales team members hold valuable information and notes from client discussions, all of which are valuable insights for other departments in the company.

By sharing this information, sales teams can lead the company to a successful relationship with a client. Material collected by either sales or other departments benefits everyone in the company. Sharing this information or organizing it in one location through project management helps everyone use it. Sales teams that take the time to discuss when projects need to be completed and what information they’ve gathered on a client aid in the continued success with a client.

Suggestions for Improving Communication

How do businesses bridge the transmission of information from sales to the rest of the company? Try some of the following suggestions to open the lines of communication between the sales team and other departments.

Encourage face-to-face meetings

Businesses can help build conversations between departments by setting aside time for face-to-face discussions. In the digital age, companies can fall prey to doing everything via email. Sitting down for a meeting can help clear up any confusion or reduce the time spent going back and forth with team members.

These sit-down meetings are also an opportunity to discuss goals for each department. Companies can either review individual department goals or cross-department collaborations. Individuals who understand client goals are less likely to spend time doing irrelevant tasks.

The sharing of information during these meetings has benefits for everyone. For the sales department, information swapping helps them gain insights into what options they can offer to prospective clients. For the marketing team, they’ll learn what problems new clients had in the past and what solutions they’ve used.

Find a way to share client data with various departments

Companies need a system to share the sales team’s client information with the rest of the team. This information should include all the relevant data from calls, emails, and in-person visits with a client during the sales process. When the sales team shares this profile with everyone else, other departments have a clearer picture of their client.

Businesses can purchase software systems or platforms for storing and sharing data. Once companies implement this technology, they should do their best to establish a procedure and stick to it. Right now, businesses are using multiple platforms or singular platforms for data collection or predictive analysis.

Project management components of an enterprise resource planning system can help transition new clients from sales to delivery departments. Through planning tools and collaboration abilities, an ERP system keeps data in one place. An additional benefit of this system is businesses can use this data for creating future financial predictions for clients.

Include more cross-departmental roles

In many companies, only sales team members sit in during sales calls. Companies could do better by offering members outside of the sales team the opportunity to attend these calls. By including these people on the call, individuals gain insights from not only what sales does, but what the prospective client wants from the company. This gives non-sales team members a head start on fulfilling client needs after the deal is closed.

Businesses should also offer the opportunity for sales team members to visit other departments. By bringing sales into other business areas, organizations build cross-functional collaboration opportunities and individual understanding of what other people do for a client.

Another way for companies to shift their communications is by creating a place for individuals to share their process- or product-improvement ideas. Requests from individuals can range from different ways of completing a task, to a new product for completing a job. Businesses need to sift through these ideas in order to find the best solution for helping communications or improving processes. By listening to their employees, organizations can increase employee morale and productivity.

Closing Remarks

Companies benefit from encouraging dialogue between departments. This improved communication can help better define client goals, share knowledge for better product delivery, and create new opportunities for productivity gains.

To encourage dialogue, organizations can hold more face-to-face discussions, create procedures for individuals to follow, and expand opportunities for employee inclusion. Companies that carry out any of these practices can help their whole team and their own bottom line.

Ways to Track and Present your Personal Sales Brag Book

Nutshell.com defines Brag Book as “a collection of testimonials, case studies, or pictures collected from satisfied customers. A sales rep can present their brag book to prospects to illustrate their prior successes and how they’ve exceeded their clients’ expectations.”

As someone in a sales position at a tech company, you know what your sales manager loves to see out of your key metrics. Those same metrics can be used when applying to future sales positions, and that’s why a brag book is an asset to your continued success.

Your brag book should contain any records, key metrics, or verifiable numbers that speak to your skills. Include items like:

  • Three years worth of sales figures, ranking reports, and awards
  • Any standout accomplishments like “#1 sales rep” in the company
  • Email examples that speak to your talent of communicating with active and prospect clients
  • Three years worth of W-2’s and YTD earnings to back up any sales claims you make

The key metrics can be broken into two categories: Quantity and Quality.

Quantity driven metrics include:

  • Accounts called
  • Leads sources
  • Emails
  • Calls
  • Connects
  • Demos
  • Opportunities

Quality driven metrics include:

  • Contacts sourced per account
  • Calls per lead
  • Unique leads called
  • Connect Rate
  • Demo to opportunity Conversion
  • Calls per opportunity
  • Connects per opportunity

The question is, how do you track those, where do you store them, and how do you present them to future hiring managers to ensure you get the job that you deserve.

We have found some tools that can help you track, store, and share your metrics in an accurate and somewhat variable way with future hiring managers as you advance your career.

Call Activity Scorecard

This call activity scorecard helps you set goals and track the number of calls you make each quarter and how many conversions, opportunities created, and wins were the result of those calls.

Weekly Email Tracker

This easy weekly email tracker helps you track the number of emails set, unique people emailed, how many new prospects are being contacted, number of deals closed due to emails, etc.

Sales Activity Worksheet

This sales activity worksheet assists in tracking metrics like the amount of hours worked per week, your weekly/monthly/quarterly goals, leads generated, the size of details, and contracts signed.

Rekener

Rekener is a sales rep scorecard software provider that helps you track leads, quotas, opportunity stages, and KPI trends.

Rainmakers

Recording your metrics is an important habit to get into that will pay off when it’s time to look for new sales opportunities. When you sign up for an account on a job site like Rainmakers.co, your numbers and sales figures are displayed on your profile for companies that are looking to hire proven salespeople.

Rainmakers Brings the First-Ever Sales Talent Marketplace to the East Coast

Rainmakers.co, the leading technology-focused sales marketplace, is excited to be launching its easy and efficient recruiting platform in the New York City area. Taking what has been proven to work on the west coast with 100’s of companies, Rainmakers is opening up new opportunities for an entirely new region of tech sales professionals and employers.

Rainmakers is led by a team with significant experience in tech sales recruiting including Michael Ferguson, former co-founder and CEO of Swoopt (acquired by theScore) and COO Mike Theron – former director of GRN Recruiting.

From the employers perspective:
“Rainmakers provides an excellent and qualified list of candidates who are open and actively looking for new opportunities. Their platform is easy to use and gives a great high-level overview of the candidate’s experience.” – Zaviear Lue, Recruiting at Algolia.

From the talent perspective:
“If you take your career as a salesperson seriously, Rainmakers is the place to be. I am ecstatic about the company that hired me and I would not have found it without the platform.” – Palmer Johnson, an SDR hired off Rainmakers

To read the full press release, click the image below:

How to Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts Before An Interview

Resumes used to dictate your job search, and while they still impact the first round of interviews, you also have a digital resume that recruiters will be looking at. All of your social media, from LinkedIn to Facebook can be found with the click of a button. This has its pros as well as its cons. It was reported that 54% of employers have decided not to hire someone based on their social media profiles.

To help get your social media affairs in order, Panda Security has visuals that teach you how to spring clean your social media. Follow through their tips and tricks to make sure your account is safe and isn’t hindering your job search.

LinkedIn

The first place some recruiters may check is LinkedIn. First, make sure that your profile image is clean and professional. Look at the profile images of other professionals in your industry and try to get a similar headshot for yourself.

Update your job history

Look back at your past roles and specify your tasks and the positive impacts they had on the company. You can also upload any relevant links/media that you were a part of.

Leave out the typical buzzwords

Recruiters are used to seeing common words like “passionate,” “strategic,” and “specialized.” Stand out by finding unique words that pack a punch to describe your experience.

Collect endorsements and recommendations

This is a good way to build up your credibility as well as the credibility of others in your direct network. Reach out to people you have worked closely with and ask them for an endorsement that is specific to your skill set, and do the same for them!

Tweak your security settings

To edit your public visibility: Privacy & Settings -> Privacy -> Edit Your Public Profile

To edit the broadcasting of your activity: Privacy -> Share job & education changes -> Yes/No depending on preference

Adjust your activity feed: Privacy -> Blocking and Hiding Followers -> Your Connections

Edit your profile viewing settings: Privacy -> Profile Viewing Options -> Private Mode

More info on LinkedIn

LinkedIn collects a variety of data on its users to improve the user experience and gain insight into the user base itself. Examples of data collected by LinkedIn include:

  • Outlook contacts to improve your networking on LinkedIn.
  • The URL of sits your come from when opening LinkedIn, and the sites you leave to.
  • If you log in with LinkedIn on other websites that use LinkedIn plugins, your data will be collected.

Facebook

After LinkedIn, Facebook is where recruiters will be poking around for anything questionable.

First, update your “About” section to match all of your other social media accounts. You don’t want there to be any inconsistencies with schools, jobs, or your current city.

Look through all your photos with an outsider’s perspective. Yes, that one epic photo of you doing a keg stand in college might make you laugh every time you see it, but do you want it public for everyone to see?

Scroll through your old posts and delete any unprofessional statuses, especially about your old jobs or classes. To look through old posts that you have liked, you can go to: Timeline -> More -> Likes -> Edit. The same rule applies for statuses, you may want to “unlike” any unprofessional public posts.

Double check your privacy settings. Platforms like Facebook are always changing and it’s important to go through and make sure your page is being displayed to others how you want. Here are some settings to go through:

  • Past Activity: Settings -> Privacy -> Your Activity -> Limit past Posts
  • Future Activity: Settings -> Privacy -> Your Activity -> Who can see your future posts -> Friends
  • Facial Recognition: Settings -> Face Recognition -> No
  • Location: Facebook App on Mobile -> Settings -> Privacy -> Location -> Never share
  • Reviewing Tags: Timeline and Tagging -> Review -> On

More info on Facebook

Facebook collects information on how you use their products, features that you use, the actions you take within the products, and how long your sessions last. Information on the types of devices you use, including battery level, signal strength, storage, mouse movements, and internet providers are also collected.

Twitter

Lastly, scroll through your Twitter and check for similar privacy settings as Linkedin and Facebook.

Choose between public and protected Tweets. Public tweets are visible to everyone, while private Tweets are only visible to your followers. To protect your Tweets, go to: Privacy and Safety -> Tweet privacy -> Protect my Tweets -> Save

Go through pasts posts and clean them up with the advanced search feature. If you want your Twitter to remain public, you can go through old posts using the advanced search option and remove any inappropriate or unprofessional Tweets.

Choose who you follow. Unfollow any inappropriate users, low-quality accounts, or inactive or irrelevant users.

Stop Twitter from using your data to push ads. Turn of Twitter’s ability to use your data for the purpose of serving your advertisements by going to: Privacy and Safety -> Personalization and data -> Edit -> Disable all settings.

More info on Twitter

Twitter collects your personal and device information, including IP address, email address, phone number, address book, and public profile. They also collect data on what you have read, liked, or retweeted.

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