Category Archives: Uncategorized

View Webinar Recording: From First Day to First Sale

How to have your new reps hitting their numbers in record time.

View the Recorded Webinar

 

One of the keys to achieving aggressive growth is the ability to significantly compress the amount of time it takes to have new sales reps hit their numbers.

This live webinar will feature Edwin Castillo, Board Member and Advisor for Playboox and former VP of Sales Training at Salesforce.com.

Sales executives and managers will learn best practices for developing onboarding programs and sales productivity tools that will have your new sales reps achieving quota in record time.

Our Featured Speaker: Edwin Castillo 

edwincastillo_100w

As the former Vice President of Sales Training at Salesforce.com, Edwin brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience regarding best practices for how to design, implement, lead, and evolve top-tier Sales Enablement and Training programs that help drive superior performance and achievement of aggressive growth targets.

He has expertise in the areas of onboarding, sales university development, sales management training, enterprise deal management methodology training, strategic account planning, inside sales training, and training certification. He has led development and deployment of these initiatives at companies like BlueCoat, DocuSign, Juniper Networks, ServiceNow, Apttus, Appirio, and Wells Fargo, among many others.

Edwin is responsible for defining, developing, and delivering Playboox consulting strategy and programs with a commitment to helping our clients drive measurable and transformational change. He has a JD from Hasting College of Law at U.C. Berkeley.

View the Recorded Webinar

Sales Acceleration Dialing Solutions Help Acquire New Customers

StateofSalesforce_borderSalesforce.com recently published a State of Sales Report for 2015. They surveyed 2300 sales executives who indicated their top 3 sales objectives are to acquire new customers, grow value of existing customers and create deeper customer relationships. Sales dialing automation tools are designed to help companies generate new revenue by increasing sales productivity.

The sales executive’s primary job is to generate new revenue and acquire new customers. Revenue growth is typically related to increased spending in the form of hiring new reps, expanding marketing expenditures or increase sales productivity through coaching, training, and investing in better technology.

Sales acceleration dialing solutions increase revenue growth and decrease the dependence on hiring new reps.

Sales acceleration dialing solutions help inside sales reps make more calls and have more conversations in less time. These solutions typically lead to productivity increases ranging from 30% to 800%. So how can these tools help sales executives meet their top 3 objectives?

SalesProductivityInfographic_withcaption

 Sales reps selling to businesses need to identify and speak with potential buyers. Sales reps often make the mistake thinking they can influence the buying decision solely with email or social media communications. This may be true for highly transactional sales or ecommerce websites, but for B2B sales reps in industries like high technology and business services, a telephone conversation is a necessity to engage and qualify the customer prior to conducting a discovery call or demonstration.  Business sales are often more complex and sales reps need to understand the buyer’s needs in order to recommend the best solutions. For these companies, the telephone is the most cost-effective method for conducting these conversations.

Envision Technology Advisors Increases Sales Productivity by an 8-to-1 factor

Envision Technology Advisors offers best-in-class technology services for businesses and organizations of all sizes. They know technology and understand the value technology can provide a business when properly implemented.

“You can put a rep on the phone and have them dial 100 people, they’re going to spend a day getting that done, said Knapp. “Or you can put that same rep on the phone and have ConnectLeader dial that same 100 people and get it all done in an hour. I’m picking up an 8-to-1 efficiency gain.”

Todd Knapp, CEO, Envision Technology Advisors

12 BAD HABITS THAT DESTROY INSIDE SALES PRODUCTIVITY

4 ways B2B Marketers can benefit from sales dialing

4WaysB2BMarketersBenefit

Sales dialing solutions are commonly used by B2B Sales teams to accelerate their sales process. In particular, sales dialing tools make telephone calling easier by eliminating the mundane tasks that make “cold calling” so unpopular. Depending on the application and type of technology, sales dialing automation can increase productivity from 25% to 800%

Since B2B marketers play a large role in generating and qualifying inbound leads, sales dialing automation tools can help them boost their own productivity. A new whitepaper from ConnectLeader suggests 5 ways B2B Marketers can benefit from sales dialing.

These 4 benefits include:

  • Generating more leads by promoting events and trade shows
  • Qualifying leads faster
  • Reaching out to media and analysts
  • Boosting channel partner programs

Download Whitepaper

Guest Blog: SALES PROSPECTING: EARNING PRESIDENTS AND BENJAMINS FASTER

[fusion_text]Posted by John Ferguson, Senior Consultant with ASLAN Training

John can be reached at jferguson@aslantraining.com
JohnFerguson_SalesProspectingSpending too much time on low probability prospects can put a serious damper on your sales execution and the receptivity of your audience. A sales team that is not effective at qualifying prospects before they begin their sales process is a bit like someone holding a heavy metal concert for a group of classical music enthusiasts. You may have gotten people’s attention, but they aren’t going to like what they hear. Prospecting is one of the most critical activities for any sales team, but it needs to be handled effectively in order for your reps and your organization to reap the maximum benefit.

Why Prospecting Matters and How We Get Distracted From It

Sales Prospecting is one of, if not the single most important activity that sales reps can engage in. It represents the very top of the sales funnel and the first activity that needs to be completed in order to establish new sales.

It seems counterintuitive, then, that many sales reps seem to be opposed to prospecting. They constantly make excuses not to do it, claiming they have other concerns to tend to, that they don’t get paid to prospect, or that they are already filling their quota. They end up putting it off indefinitely until it never ends up happening. Even the sales reps who don’t postpone their prospecting are often hindered by a less obvious foe: low probability prospects.

Avoiding Low Probability Prospecting

One of the most important things for a sales rep to learn is how to avoid low probability prospecting, or targeting prospecting efforts towards those who are not well qualified. There are several kinds of unqualified prospects; in some cases, prospects may be unqualified because they do not currently have the budget for what you are selling, but will, soon. Other prospects may appreciate the value of what you offer but don’t have a need for it right now. Although it is certainly worthwhile to keep these prospects in mind for future efforts, it is important for a sales rep to be prospecting for those who are currently qualified to purchase what they are offering.

Envision Video Testimonial

How can a well-meaning sales rep avoid the trap of low probability prospecting? It’s not always easy. Even the most seasoned sales reps have moments where they are engaging with a prospect they thought was qualified, but ends up not being a good fit for their products or services for whatever reason.

One of the easiest ways to avoid low probability sales prospecting is to use quality prospecting processes. Prospecting tools, such as CRM platforms, are designed to help make it easy for sales reps to determine whether or not they are targeting prospects that need what they are selling. With the right CRM, you can develop a sophisticated buyer persona, allowing you to set out your guidelines for a perfect prospect:

  • Need: there should be an issue or problem that your service or product can help address
  • Willingness to act: will the prospect be willing to purchase what you have to offer any time soon?
  • Decision-maker access: do you have access to the one who is capable of making this kind of decision?
  • Priority: does your solution rank high enough in the organizational priority list?
  • Budget: they should have enough money to afford what you are offering

These are five things needed for a prospect to be qualified, but these characteristics are only the beginning. Sales reps also have to work to make a connection and relationship with the prospect so that your business can be considered a suitable vendor with whom the prospect will choose to spend money.

Remember that for any organization, a sales rep is not the only method for prospecting. The creation and utilization of marketing content through marketing automation platforms can be a great asset for helping with qualifying prospects in the early stages. Also, make sure to ask for referrals from past business partners or groups to aid in your qualification process.

The potential for prospecting is endless. Once you and your sales team understand that saying “no” to a prospect isn’t the end of the world, you will succeed in your efforts to find qualified customers for your business and stop wasting time on low probability prospecting. Take a few minutes to review your pipeline and sales activity from the previous year and it should be easier to identify and highlight some of the low probability prospects from your pipeline and learn to focus on the ones that have the best chance of helping you meet your sales goals.

ASLAN for Life: Life is full of prospects where you can invest your personal time and effort. Choosing who and what you will serve determines the measure of success at the end of the race.

– See more at: http://www.aslantraining.com/blog/sales-prospecting-earning-presidents-and-benjamins-faster#sthash.nfTL8pl3.dpuf[/fusion_text]

Envision Technology Advisors improve sales efficiency by 8-to-1 factor

envision

Envision Technology Advisors offers best-in-class technology services for businesses and organizations of all sizes. They know technology and understand the value technology can provide a business when properly implemented.

Todd Knapp, CEO and Co-founder of Envision needed a solution to help his inside sales team deal with an ever growing flow of inquiries from their customers and new business prospects. Todd discovered ConnectLeader and when he first heard about the sales productivity gains their customers were realizing, he didn’t totally believed it. So he continued researching. But after looking at a number of different sales dialing solutions, Todd came back to ConnectLeader because he found that they were both unique and integrated with Salesforce.com.

Once Envision started using ConnectLeader, they found out there were other benefits. Envision provides data visualization and storage services so they resell equipment from Dell, Cisco, VMWare and others. Envision was able to receive a 30% increase in MDF from Dell because they were able to spell out a structured process using ConnectLeader.

 

 

Once Envision started using ConnectLeader, they found out there were other benefits. Envision provides data visualization and storage services so they resell equipment from Dell, Cisco, VMWare and others. Envision was able to receive a 30% increase in MDF from Dell because he was able to spell out a structured process using ConnectLeader.

“Dell is one of our key partners,” explains Knapp.  ” The company you’re working with wants to know you’re spending money the right way. Our MDF with Dell increased 30% because of ConnectLeader. This happened because I went to them and said I want marketing funds. They said what are you going to use it for and I was able to point to a definitive and meaningful process that they were excited about. Very excited.”

Knapp also credits ConnectLeader with a major increase in his inside sales productivity. His team was able to use ConnectLeader as the centerpiece for creating a structured selling process.

“You can put a rep on the phone and have them dial 100 people, they’re going to spend a day getting that done, said Knapp. “Or you can put that same rep on the phone and have ConnectLeader dial the same 100 people and get it all done in an hour. I’m picking up an 8-to-1 sales efficiency gain.”

B2B Sales Productivity Trends Presentation 

About Envision Technology Advisors

We are technology consultants focused on innovation and cloud evolution.Founded in 1998, Envision Technology Advisors offers best in class technology solutions delivered by the best people in the industry. In addition to cloud and managed services, we specialize in both desktop and data center virtualization, as well as assessments of existing virtual environments. Other integrated solutions include wireless infrastructure and design, network consulting, and web site design and development.With two offices – one just outside of Providence, RI and the other a few miles from Downtown Boston, Envision is one of New England’s most comprehensive, business oriented technology companies.Envision has been named a “Best Place to Work” for the past 7 years – a testament to the wonderful people of Envision who have helped us establish a company culture like no other.Learn more at www.envisionsuccess.net

How Can Busy Full-Cycle B2B Sales Reps. Make Time for Prospecting

[fusion_text]toomanydirections

In most organizations, sales groups are split into business development teams and sales teams. However, there is a growing trend, especially in smaller organizations, to utilize full-cycle (or full desk) sales representatives. Full-cycle reps are responsible for the full sales cycle from prospecting to closing to account management.
This model works well in early stage companies that have a smaller client base. But as the business grows, these sales reps take on more and more responsibility. Full-cycle reps end up taking on a lot of different responsibilities and managing existing accounts and their current pipelines take up more and more time.

The result, less time is spent on qualifying and prospecting. If a strong lead generation program isn’t in place, then these full-cycle reps can see their sales pipeline dry up really fast.

Increasing Sales Without Adding Headcount

The first solution appears to be obvious, just hire more salespeople or hire business development representatives. If budgets are limited, this may not be possible or cost-effective. Are there ways to increase the sales pipeline without adding headcount? Below are a few tips to help your full-cycle sales reps to keep their pipelines full.

Organization – Sales reps can easily get distracted and do the activities they like to do instead of the activities that will make them more money. Sales managers can make daily calendars and set aside time for specific tasks. Designating one or two prospecting times per day keep the reps focused. Using a calling automation technology makes this option cost effective as dialing rates are 8 to 10 times that of manual dialing. We recommend creating an outbound calling playbook to set prospecting goals, keep track of voicemail scripts, sales positioning statements, campaigns, and new product information.

Technology – There are many software tools and applications that can help sales reps be more productive. The most important tool is the CRM which should be the center of your sales process. Integrating other sales productivity tools with your CRM will make it easier for your reps to use the tools.

Some of the technology tools and services we use at ConnectLeader (in addition to our own Team Dialer and Personal Dialer products) include Salesforce.com for our CRM,HubSpot for marketing automation, ZoomInfo, TriggerQuest for prospecting data,GotoMeeting for online meetings, LinkedIn and Twitter for social media, GaggleAmp for amplifying our social feeds, and Adobe EchoSign for electronic document transmittal.

 

Coaching – When sales teams get busy, non-selling tasks need to be minimized. However, training and sales coaching time should not be reduced. As the speed of the sales cycle increases, sales teams need to be well-informed and capable of responding to a constantly changing market. Coaching for inside sales reps can be challenging unless you have a way to monitor the sales calls and provide advise. Our products include a feature called Remote Coach offers the option to monitor the call or “whisper” to the rep. during the call. This feature really helps us speed up the onboarding process.

Prospecting Strategies – Uncovering new sales opportunities should not be an unpleasant task for salespeople since the benefit of their efforts will directly affect their success. If the well seems to be dry, try some different strategies. Here are a few ideas we find successful:

Target Account Profiling

Profiling People:  Identifying all of the parties in the sales cycle (for ConnectLeader we want to know everyone involved in the sales process including C-level, senior executives, group managers, sales operations, and marketing). Your account profiles will vary based on your product or service.

The purpose of target account profiling is to understand each person’s responsibilities, involvement in the sales process. Essentially we want to know who is who.

  • Profiling the account for existing technologies, processes, and methodologies.
  • Understand issues or challenges in the selling process.
  • Profiling the corporate process around budget cycles, purchasing, and technology evaluations.  This helps you understand what to expect when there is a buying event.

Obtaining Referrals

We often hear customers complain about bad data in their prospecting lists. Just to be clear, having an incorrect contact name or wrong title is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is an opportunity to gain intelligence about your target account without the pressure of having to make a sales pitch. Most people strive to be helpful to other salespeople (especially if they are in sales themselves). They are often more than willing to pass you on to the person you are looking for.

Multi-Channel Prospecting

There seems to be an ongoing debate over whether inbound leads are better than outbound leads. We find a better strategy is to use a multi-channel strategy to reach out to our prospects. We use a combination of email, outbound calling, social media, and automated voicemail drops to touch our prospects in as many ways as possible.

.[/fusion_text]

How to Avoid Losing The Inside Sales Team When You Miss Your Goals

[fusion_text]

WrongDirectionIn an ideal world, your inside sales team would never miss their monthly and quarterly goals, but anyone who has ever run a sales department knows, that is not possible. Between summer slowdowns and just occasional ‘off’ months, every company will have months where they do not reach their goals.

Image: bigstockphoto.com

 

Although occasionally missing sales goals will not be completely detrimental to the company, you want to make sure that one bad month will not turn into two or three. You can do this by ensuring that your sales team remains motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs while also determining what exactly went wrong in the last month. Here are a few sales coaching steps you can take to avoid losing your team when you miss your sales goals.

Diagnose the problem

You should begin by breaking down the month and determining exactly what went wrong. This services two purposes. First, it will help the inside sales professionals learn from their mistakes to avoid making those errors in the future. Secondly, it can help keep sales professionals from becoming too discouraged. When people have an identifiable reason why their last month went wrong, they can be inspired to do better in the future.

The key to making this process a success is creating a positive, collaborative environment. There should be no accusations about who made mistakes. Instead everyone should work together to learn what the problem was and try to motivate each other to succeed next time.

sales productivity review

Give people concrete areas to work on

Once the source of the problem has been identified, you then need to give people concrete directions about what can be improved. Vague instructions, such as “be more helpful when making initial contact with qualified leads” will not be beneficial. Instead, give your sales team ideas that they can easily implement as they begin contacting new leads. For example, guidelines about how to identify the customer’s pain points and examples of the types of assistance and offers that will resonate most with that customer will help them close more deals.

Celebrate small goals

Every sales team has something to celebrate, even when they did not reach their overall goals. Maybe someone new to the team managed to close their first sale. Perhaps the team was able to close a sale with a very big name client that had been nurtured for some time. Whatever the victory may be, find a way to celebrate it. Having a small party, luncheon or other fun gathering can help your team take their mind off the past disappointment and get them ready to tackle the next month. This type of recognition of hard work will also help them feel appreciated and therefore motivated and inspired.

Look for ways to improve

Part of the sales manager’s job is to provide the tools and training to help their team improve. Look for ways to improve your sales productivity. Are there ways to generate more leads? Are you optimizing your IT systems by using a CRM system and marketing automation? If you are looking to grow at a faster rate, there are a number of sales acceleration software applications available. Many of them integrate with popular CRM systems like Salesforce.com, MS Dynamics CRM, and Oracle CRM (aka Siebel).

Key your eyes on the target

When the inside sales team does not reach their goals, it can be disappointing for all the professionals involved. As the leader, however, it is your job to get everyone excited and ready to succeed in the upcoming month. Use the above ideas to let your team know that they can reach their goals and that you believe in them.[/fusion_text]

Keeping your B2B sales team motivated during the dog days of summer

[fusion_text]sleeping_dog

The summer has a reputation among those in the B2B sales world as being a time of massive slowdown. Inside sales and business development representatives get discouraged at the low sales numbers and frustrated when trying to reach leads that seem to be perpetually on vacation. Morale begins to suffer and people end up wasting time in the office.

Encouraging your B2B sales team to keep pressing forward through the summer months can help keep the company in the black and help ensure that everyone hits the ground running when fall arrives. Here are some fantastic and fun ways to keep your sales team successful throughout the summer.

Lively department contests

Since you know that the sales slump is likely to occur during the summer months, use the time leading up to the slow months to build momentum with some fun contests. Learn what matters most to your sales team, such as a new iPad, an extra vacation day, or other type of fun prize. Then invite people to participate in a fun contest that challenges them to keep their numbers high. Some fun ideas for contests might be:

  • prizes for those who complete the most demos
  • prizes for the entire team if customer satisfaction of a particular level (such as 95 percent of polled customers) can be reached
  • prizes for new clients

Some teams might also find success if they assign a particular number of points to different tasks, such as 20 points for a new client, 15 points for a demo and 5 points for a new qualified lead, and having contests to see what team can obtain the most points in a month.

12 Bad Habits That Destroy Inside Sales Productivity Whitepaper

Keeping sales teams engaged when the office is slow

Sometimes, despite the most exciting contests a supervisor can imagine, the office is still slow. Even the most motivated salespeople cannot sell to customers who are on vacation. To keep the office engaged and enthusiastic about their jobs, there a few ideas you can use to help people relax and have fun while also moving towards sales success.

Celebrate small successes

Recognize hard work by celebrating even small successes, such as closing a big deal or the newbie making their first sale. Have a small party so everyone can celebrate and feel reinvigorated.

Screen inspiring movies

There are a variety of fantastic sales movies that can be used for inspiration or just some laughs such as The Boiler Room, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Goods – Live Hard, Sell Hard and Glengarry Glen Ross. Consider screening one occasionally over lunch breaks.

Role-playing and breaking down sales

Pass the time when business is slow by doing some fun role-plays or breaking down past sales. Look for what went wrong, what went right and what sales teams can learn. It is a great way to practice skills even when not speaking with customers

The summer slump is commonly acknowledged in sales circles as people struggle to find clients through the slow, hot months. To keep your sales team motivated and engaged, you have to be creative, but with proper preparation, it is entirely possible. If you find yourself staring down the approaching summer with dread, consider implementing some of the above ideas and keep your team moving forward towards the more productive autumn.

[/fusion_text]

12 Bad Habits that Destroy Inside Sales Productivity

[fusion_text]

12 Bad Habits that Destroy Inside Sales Productivity

12Habits_Cover

Download this digital guide to learn how to avoid the bad habits that drain inside sales productivity.

We’ve compiled two of our most popular blog posts into one convenient digital guide. Bad habits can drain any inside sales team’s productivity. Don’t make these mistakes in your organization.

 A few highlights:

  • Having a cluttered workspace
  • Procrastinating
  • Not using the best sales acceleration tools
  • Not getting enough sleep

Request the Digital Guide

.[/fusion_text]

A B2B Sales Executive’s Summer Reading List

[fusion_text]summer_reading_listIf you are planning on a vacation this summer, or will be spending a lot of time traveling for work, you may find yourself with a few hours of downtime. This book list offers suggestions of books that will peak your interest, stimulate your business thinking and give you insight into how to boost your sales for the rest of the year.

Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com

Aaron Ross

Learn how author helped Salesforce.com become a CRM powerhouse by instituting a predictable revenue machine. He shares his best practices about hiring, coaching, and retaining top salespeople.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Ashlee Vance

This book offers a look into the life of Elon Musk, written by veteran technlogy journalist Ashlee Vance. Vance interviewed Musk as well as his associate to get the inside story on his companies, PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity. Vance looks at Musk’s story and compares him to other historical inventors such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Huges and Steve Jobs.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Lazlo Bock

Bock, the head of People Operations at Google, discusses why Google is considered one of the best places to work, and looks at methods of changing the interface between managers and employees in the workplace to make work a more rewarding place to be. Using a playful approach, Bock offers insights into how to stretch the boundaries of the employee relationship with management for the improvement of the workplace.

Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry

Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff

This book tells the behind the scenes story of the success and fall of Blackberry, once a leader in cellphone technology. Acclaimed journalists, McNish and Silcoff tell the story of this compelling business story.

The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million

Mark Roberge

Learn how software startup HubSpot mastered the science of developing a B2B sales process built on small, incremental steps. Learn how to deal with the hurdles that can derail business growth.

The Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale

Erik Peterson, Tim Riesterer, Conrad Smith, Cheryl Geoffrion


12 Bad Habits That Destroy Inside Sales Productivity Whitepaper

 


This book provides tools to differentiate yourself from the competition and maximize sales interactions along the entire sales funnel. Offering hands-on, practical concepts, lessons include how to create value for prospects and engaging them on all levels in the buying cycle.

 

The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing: New Tactics, Tools, and Techniques to Compete in the Digital Economy

Kim Ann King

This guide touches on all aspects of the B2B marketing process from getting your message out, working with sales personnel and generating demand. King discusses cutting-edge marketing tips around automation, personalization and experimentation as well as how to leverage SEO, mobile and customer insight. Excellent comprehensive guide.

Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business

Adelle Revella

Revella’s action guide as to how to understand the customer experience and how they make decisions, as used to develop marketing techniques delves into the driver of customer-focused marketing. Developing buyer personas involves in-depth research into what the customer wants, and then how to apply that knowledge to content creation and marketing.

Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)

David Butler, Linda Tischler

Learn how Coca-Cola uses design to help grow its revenues by combining scale with agility to respond to marketing conditions. Look behind the scenes to understand how this is done through case studies from Coca-Cola and applying this process to your own company.


[/fusion_text]