Great News! B2B Sales Reps are Still Needed!

[fusion_text]business_interactions

Study finds B2B Sales Rep Involvement Still Critical to the Buying Process

A recent study unveiled by business-to-business research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions, found that for more than 50% of all buying scenarios, human sales interactions occurred during all phases of the buying process. In complex scenarios, sales rep involvement begins during the education phase of the buying cycle.

SiriusDecisions recently unveiled the findings from its 2015 B-to-B Buyer Study during a keynote address at its 10th Annual SiriusDecisions Summit.

The SiriusDecisions B-to-B Buying Study identifies the three stages of the buying process as Education, Solution, and Selection. It was commonly believed that 67% of the business process occurred without sales rep involvement. That is, customers would conduct research via the internet and social media prior to engaging a sales rep.

connectingAccording to the report, B2B buyers interact with human sales reps in every stage of the business cycle.”

Another finding that should not be overlooked, “buyers interact with a sales representative from the winning provider organization in all phases of their decision-making process.”

“We found that buyers interact with representatives during every stage of the decision-making process at least half the time, and that the type of decision – or buying scenario – greatly impacted the number and types of interactions,” said Jennifer Ross, Senior Research Director, SiriusDecisions. “Just because buying behavior is done digitally does not mean that sales representatives are no longer required to instigate or facilitate a buying process.”

Making a phone call is a great way to engage – Sales dialing automation makes it better

A phone call is a great way to exchange information between a buyer and a seller. It is easy to do, does not cost much, and can jumpstart the buying process. Inside sales reps should not be shy about contacting prospective buyers as early in the sales process as possible.

Sales dialing automation makes the telephone process even easier and more cost-effective.

Other blogs on this topic that may be of interest:

[/fusion_text]

The 3 Qualifying Questions Inside Sales Reps Must Ask

[fusion_text]

3 qualifying questions inside sales reps must ask

One of the most critical and challenging jobs of an inside sales rep is to ask the right qualifying questions.

Every business and sales executive has a different objective and process, but these three basic qualifying questions apply to any B2B sales situation.

Question 1: What is the unmet Critical Business Initiative (CBI)?

Why are we talking? For instance, the ConnectLeader inside sales team wants to know if their prospect wants to grow faster, increase productivity, or increase sales without adding headcount.

  • How is this measured? In dollars, numbers, percentages?
  • What would be the impact if you could do more at the same level?
  • How fast can you make a difference?
  • What was your past performance?
  • How much do you want to improve?

Pro Tip: This is a great point to add a sense of urgency. “If you can increase revenue by xx% in just xx days, how will that help your organization grow?

connecting

Question 2: What is the buying process?

How can you avoid delays and best prepare for successful on boarding or installation? Your goal with this question is to know who needs to be involved in the buying process and if there are any barriers to closing the sale.

Are there IT, legal, finance or other risks? 

Pro Tip: Moving the deal along. There are often competing priorities within an organization. You need to get your project on the fast track and treated as a top priority. Be careful not to expect this priority. Act as if you’re second in line.

Question 3: Who are the key buying personas involved in the buying process?

In my experience, there are at least two people involved in any sale. For a technology sale that usually means the business driver (sales, marketing, HR) and technical/administrative (IT/Legal/Finance).

Who else will benefit from the solution your product or service provides?

Often buyers have both personal and business motives for making decisions. Understanding those motives will help move the deal along.

Pro Tip: Typical Buying Motives by Function:

  • Sales Team = Better quota attainment
  • Sales Management = Increase revenue
  • Finance = Higher margin, better return
  • Marketing = Better campaign lift

Bottom Line

Asking the right questions when qualifying will help smooth the way to a faster and more profitable sales process.[/fusion_text]

How to be successful in your first business development job

[fusion_text]

new-office-workerFor students preparing to enter a full-time job for the first time, learning how to navigate the office environment can feel intimidating. Fortunately, by concentrating on mastering a few key areas, you can quickly feel comfortable in your new role as a business development rep and a sales professional.

Getting along with co-workers

Succeeding in a job is not a do-it-yourself venture. Even if you are brilliant at your position, your boss will notice if you fail to work well with your coworkers. You do not need to be best friends with these people, but you do need to learn how to work well with them so that your team, and you personally, can succeed.

  • Avoid gossip at all costs, this includes seemingly harmless gossip
  • Be willing to give credit to others when it is due
  • Even though you are eager to get started at your job, be aware that you have to earn others trust
  • Keep any disagreements professional rather than personal

Understanding office politics

Office politics will dictate how well you fit into the fabric of an organization. Although most people do not care to acknowledge it, workplaces are generally run through office politics. Certain organizations are completely dominated by politics, where people regularly try to out-maneuver each other. Other organizations will be significantly less political, and most guidelines about employee interactions and advancements are clearly spelled out and followed.

Generally the best way to master the office politics is to watch those skilled at politics and learning how they handle various situations. Focus on what you can do to improve a particular situation while also refusing to take sides in disagreements. Remember the rules for getting along with your coworkers and actively work to avoid being sucked into office battles.

connecting

Mastering office etiquette

Office etiquette will touch upon many subjects, from what you wear to how you address your superiors. Generally, all workplaces will expect the following considerations:

  • respect your coworkers’ space and do not pop over their cubicle or enter their workspace assuming they can speak without checking first
  • avoid bringing food to your desk, but when it is necessary, avoid food with particularly strong odors
  • do not have loud phone conversations or insert yourself in the conversations others are having just because you can overhear them
  • when speaking with others, give them your full attention and avoid using phones or social media

The parts of office etiquette specific to your job, such as titles and clothing, can be learned by observing others or asking HR.

Getting up to speed

Just because you are not in school anymore, doesn’t mean the learning stops. Your ability to succeed in your business development job will be directly related to how fast and thoroughly you learn.

Key Subjects to Master:

  • Company history
  • Company executives
  • Products
  • Sales Technology
  • Competitors
  • Industry
  • Sales process

What to expect about the flow of the office

Each office will have its own system regarding when people work, how people take time off, and how vacation time is accumulated. Most offices have procedures in place regarding how days are taken off to avoid having too many people off at once. It may also be common to let senior members get their pick of time off before new hires. Since you should avoid taking time off right after starting, use your first few months to learn how the office works. Ask the person training you about these procedures as well.

Beginning a full-time business development job after finishing school can feel daunting, but a well-prepared inside sales professional can also use this time to lay the foundation for a fantastic career. Learning how to successfully navigate an office environment largely comes down to watching others and erring on the side of caution, but keep the above areas in mind as you step into your new building and you will quickly be on your way to finding your place at the organization.[/fusion_text]

Sales Productivity Trends – What Sales Executives Need to Know

[fusion_text]Sales Productivity TrendsImproving sales productivity continues to be a leading concern for senior sales executives. Understanding these concerns and how executives are solving these problems can help sales leaders boost their sales revenue.
Dr. Richard Rocco of DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership shared his findings of over 7 years of research in the field of sales productivity in a presentation earlier this year.

Learn about:

  • Top drivers of sales effectiveness
  • 3 key drivers
  • Sales productivity trends for both B2B and Consumer companies
  • Methods to improve sales process

Click here to download presentation.[/fusion_text]

Our Favorite Outbound Calling Blog Posts

[fusion_text]

allabout

Have you ever wondered if outbound calling could help your sales organization get better results?

Here at ConnectLeader, we live and breathe outbound calling everyday. Our customers do too. We compiled a few of our more popular blog posts from the past year or so.

10 Ways Your Sales Team Can Benefit from Outbound Calling Software

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM by Rick Hussey

Rick is one of our most successful account managers and has had great success using outbound calling as his primary lead gen strategy.


Eagle Point Software Doubles Outbound Calling with ConnectLeader Team Dialer

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 12:30:00 PM by Ken Smith

 

When Randy Ambrosy of Eagle Point Software learned two of his highly-skilled sales reps were leaving the company, he needed to quickly “shore up the holes” and find a way to replace their productivity. Instead of hiring new sales reps or outsourcing to a third-party lead generation firm, Randy decided to implement the ConnectLeader® Team Dialer™ outbound calling solution.

Read More…


Tips for Building an Effective Outbound Calling Strategy

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 5:00:00 PM by Ken Smith

ConnectLeader customers share 5 different calling strategies they use to boost their sales process.

Outbound Calling Playbook

5 Tips for Developing an Effective Inside Sales Call Scripts

[fusion_text]

SuccessfulFirstCall

For an inside sales rep, your first sales conversation with a prospective customer is not only your most challenging, it is easily your most important. Having an effective inside sales call script is the first step in converting your conversations into revenue.

So no pressure. Here are 5 tips to help you develop an effective inside sales call script:

12 Bad Habits Destroy Inside Sales ProductivityTip #1: First impressions count

You only have one chance to make your first impression on the phone. Social media and email correspondence can warm up your leads, but it isn’t until you actually speak to your prospect on the phone, that you will be able to introduce yourself and move your prospect to the next step in the sales process. Just as important, it is also your chance to qualify or disqualify your prospect.

Tip #2: Go Slow

Early in my career I always tended to rush the call. I’m not sure why, but I wanted to get all the information I wanted to convey into the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Through experience, I learned it was much better to go slow. Slowing down allows the customer to understand and listen to your message.

 

Tip #3: Keep goal of sales call in mind

Sales is a series of discrete steps.Keep the goal of your call in mind. For instance, if this is your first call (cold call), your goal may be to simply establish contact and determine if you are speaking to the right person. Your next step may be a demo or discovery call where you spend more time qualifying your prospect and understanding their needs. Third might be a demo. Don’t try to do it all at once in the first call.

Tip #4: Simplify

Another rookie mistake is to try to recite the ENTIRE script you learned in training… word-by-word… in one breath… without giving the prospect a chance to answer…

Instead, get to the point quickly, but don’t read your script. Keep it short, concise and to the point. Identify the purpose of the call and work towards your goal.

Tip #5: Be Prepared

When manually cold calling you may go through a lot of dials before getting a connect. You can lose focus with the tedium of dialing, leaving messages, and dealing with gatekeepers. You can certainly day dream and then be “surprised” when someone answers the phone.

If you’re using a high-speed sales dialing solution, like ConnectLeader Team Dialer, the connections come fast and furiously. You need to be ready to jump right into that call in less than a second. You need to be prepared to greet the customer and accomplish your goal (See Tip #2). A few ways to improve your calling skills is to conduct a “self-audit”. Are you using a lot of non-verbal fillers (i.e. ahhh, umm, so)? Are you “speaking over” the customer? Preparation helps you project confidence. Even if you are a new inside sales rep, being prepared helps you get up to speed faster.

Your sales manager or coach can help you by listening in on the calls and providing feedback during the call. Role playing can help too.[/fusion_text]

ConnectLeader® Announces the Award of Three Patents

[fusion_text]

Press Release


CL_logoConnectLeader, a pioneering innovator of technology used by B2B sales reps to accelerate the sales process, announces the issuance of three patents for visibility and control features, online scheduling of calling sessions, and remote coaching technologies.

ConnectLeader LLC announces the issuance of three patents (U.S. Patent numbers 8594308, 8964963, and 8938058) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for which ConnectLeader is the exclusive licensee. These patents protect many aspects of the company’s innovative sales acceleration technology, and are key components of a comprehensive international patent portfolio that includes many pending patents worldwide.

ConnectLeader is a pioneering innovator of technology designed specifically to give B2B sales reps visibility into the calling process, allowing them to make real-time updates on-the-fly. ConnectLeader refers to these features as ‘visibility and control’. Using the visibility features enable users to see which target leads/contacts are queued up for calling next. The ConnectLeader Sales Dialing Platform control feature enables users to update the status of leads/contacts that are queued up for calling. In turn, the user may dynamically change the order of calling, create a “do not call” status, or a “do not call until a specific time” status.

Management Quotes

“Using a sales acceleration platform is like driving a sports car.” stated Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader. “When you drive a sports car, it is important to have excellent visibility into where you are heading and have total control on the road you take. The ConnectLeader visibility and control features in our sales acceleration platform are analogous to the exceptional visibility and control of a sports car. These important features facilitate user adoption of our sales acceleration platform and expedite productivity increase for our customers. In addition to the obvious business benefits, our customers tell us it is fun to use the product.” Soundar added.

“These patents enable ConnectLeader to assertively maintain its status as the leader of ground breaking innovations in sales acceleration.” Said Matt Stanton, VP of Sales at ConnectLeader.

Customer Quotes

“I like to change my list as I’m calling. I can easily de-select a name and the system won’t call that number.”Scott Serpa, Inside Sales Manager, formerly with Xangati, Inc.

“Before we used Team Dialer, we used another tool. Some of our representatives were reluctant to use the dialing technology because they would be caught off guard when a call was connected. With ConnectLeader, they have much more control.”  Rob Consoli, VP of Sales & Marketing, Liaison Technologies

In addition to the Visibility and Control features, these patents protect many other innovative sales acceleration capabilities offered by ConnectLeader (or planned for near future), such as:
Multi-touch campaign with calling – Enables sales reps to easily plan and execute multi-touch campaigns including various touches like calling, leaving voice messages, sending texts, and sending emails

Remote Coach – Enables sales managers to actively listen to and coach sales reps during calls
Online scheduling of calling sessions – Facilitates time management for sales reps
Dynamic Agent Allocation – Allows the system to optimize agent’s time utilization.

About ConnectLeader

The ConnectLeader® Sales Dialing Platform helps B2B sales organizations improve personal and team sales productivity by reducing non-productive calling tasks. We were the first in the market to offer a single dialing platform giving sales teams the ability to choose from a range of dialing speeds to match their sales productivity needs. ConnectLeader solutions feature our patented visibility and control features and provide bi-directional synchronization with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle on-demand CRM, NetSuite CRM, Zoho CRM, Bullhorn, and other CRM systems.

Click Dialer™ is a click-to-call softphone embedded into the Salesforce.com CRM environment. Sales reps simply click on the phone number to start dialing. Users also have the option to select multiple names and let the software dial in a list mode. Call results, emails sent, voicemail drop, and follow-up activities are updated for analytics within Salesforce.com in real time. Sales reps using Click Dialer can increase their calling productivity by up to 30% over manual dialing.

Personal Dialer® is cloud-based power dialing technology that takes calling productivity to the next level. Personal Dialer provides visibility into calling, allows the reps to control the selection of the next call, progress to next call quickly, and a host of many other features. Reps can increase their calling productivity by 50% to 100% over manual dialing.

Team Dialer® is a sales acceleration solution for organizations who want to further boost dialing productivity for outbound prospecting, business development, and lead qualifying. Team Dialer accelerates the sales process by delegating non-productive calling tasks and integrating with sales automation systems. The Team Dialer solution combines state-of-the-art cloud-based software with a team of human agents who assist with call navigation, allowing your sales reps more time to sell. Team Dialer customers typically have 8 to 12 live conversations per hour, an 800% increase over manual dialing. www.connectleader.com

ConnectLeader, Click Dialer, Personal Dialer, and Team Dialer are trademarks of ConnectLeader, LLC.

All brand names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
###

[/fusion_text]

Inside Sales Management Debate: Sales Lead Assignment

[fusion_text]sales_territory_debate

Image: Bigstockphoto.com

You’re a new inside sales manager and one of your first jobs is to to set-up a sales process. How do you structure your inside sales organization? Do you use a traditional sales territory process or do you use a round robin process. There are pros and cons to both methods. So we did some research and received input from industry experts. You can decide which system works best for your organization. Of course, we would love to hear your thoughts. You can share your comments on this blog and we’ll share them via Twitter at #salesterritorydebate.

Personal Insights from Patrick Purvis, Director of Sales, DiscoverOrg

As far as our no territory/round robin system, I’m a fan and have us holding on to it for as long as possible. I see the pros as:

  • Even playing field for the reps performance (for us anyone who got the Bay area would automatically become our top rep by default)
  • This creates better morale and healthy competition
  • Even distribution of leads so no one has too many or too few leads in their pipeline
  • Quick reaction to inbound leads, if our SDRs get a hot inbound lead they have 18 Account Execs they can put on the phone right then

There are some cons of course:

  • The biggest challenge is handling lead distribution in systems like Salesforce & Marketo, which aren’t set up for a round robin system, especially when you start putting exceptions in (i.e. we have a major account list that actually IS assigned to our most senior reps).  It gets pretty messy and we’ve had to create a fair amount of custom workflows
  • You could also argue that we lose out on becoming specialists in a territory/vertical.  i.e. if we had one guy always handle Information Security companies, he would become really knowledgeable about that space
  • Our SDRs aren’t paired with AEs, and you might get better communication if they were paired up by territories.  At the same time, you lose out again on the even playing field – a bad SDR or bad AE could screw the other member of that team

We’ve debated the strengths/weaknesses of no territories for a long time and will undoubtedly continue to do so, it may become unmanageable at some point, but until then I’m a fan.

What are the pros and cons of round robin lead assignment?

Posted by Steve Richard on Thu, Nov 15, 2012

After reading our article in the Washington Post, Lanham, MD based PR and communications software juggernaut Vocus invited us in to see how we could help them with lead generation sales training.  During the conversation, they told us about an interesting process that they use to ensure that each of their inside sales reps are equally fed intro sales meetings by the separate lead generation team.  I asked them if I could share it with our community and they said OK. Here are the details:

  • Each member of the lead generation team calls into their territory of accounts to generate qualified sales meetings.
  • Whereas most companies pair a lead generation rep with one or more sales reps, Vocus has no such pairings.  Each lead generation rep is independent.
  • When a lead generation rep schedules a phone meeting, it simply goes to the inside sales rep ‘closer’ who is next in line.
  • The inside sales rep ‘closers’ are simply in a rotating queue ensuring that each rep is well fed with qualified opportunities from a rotation of lead generation reps.
  • They use a snazzy implementation of salesforce.com to ensure that this rotation continues without a glitch.

So I sat back and thought about the pros and cons of this process:

  • Closers no longer feel short changed if they get a weaker lead gen rep.
  • Everyone gets meetings from all of the lead gen reps.
  • Everyone gets the same number of meetings, so from closer to closer, every calendar is balanced with the same number of meetings showing the true sales skills of the rep.
  • Because of the rotation, the inside sales reps have no territory. This eliminates every issue and complaint commonly associated with sales reps and territories — It’s not possible to complain!
  • Lead generation reps and inside sales closers never get the chance to develop that chemistry that, at its best, can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • – I could see the closers getting frustrated over the lack of continuity.  For example I’d be willing to bet that the notes on how the meeting was scheduled vary wildly from rep A to rep B.

 From B2B Lead Blog

2. Match leads based on product or industry vertical expertise

People sell from different backgrounds, giving them unique talents based on their past experience, current and past customers, personality and motivation. Leverage this. The more you know about your salespeople, the more you can use that information to match them with leads they’ll have the most success with. This is why round robin lead distribution can be deadly to conversion. It assumes every salesperson is the same.

 

How to Create a Round Robin Lead or Case Assignment Rule

Posted on  by shellblack

First off, what is a “round robin”? Simply put, it’s a rotation through a group. In the context of Salesforce.com, the term round robin frequently comes into play when assigning Lead or Case records to users. For example, you might have five sales reps working new Leads and, as an administrator, you want to divvy out all new Leads equally among the five reps. So if you had a 100 new leads, you would want each rep to get exactly 20 Lead records.

NOTE: This example will be for Leads, but the same concept applies to Case Assignment Rules

A round robin assignment rule allows you to equally distribute new Lead records without having to manually assign them using a rotation.

Read More…[/fusion_text]

ConnectLeader® Introduces Click Dialer™ for Salesforce

ConnectLeader® Introduces Click Dialer™ for Salesforce.com – Easy-to-Use
Click to Call software for B2B sales reps

Click_Dialer_Monitor_blog_imageConnectLeader Click Dialer is a new click to call dialing app being launched as part of the ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 upgrade. The app, which can be downloaded from the ConnectLeader AppExchange listing (for Salesforce Professional Edition & higher), now provides B2B sales teams with three sales acceleration solutions to boost their sales productivity. With the introduction of Click Dialer, Connectleader expands the range of dialing speeds available for B2B sales reps, increasing sales dialing productivity over manual dialing from 30% to 800%.

Salem, NH – ConnectLeader®, innovator of the Personal Dialer® and Team Dialer® sales dialing technology, is pleased to announce the introduction of Click Dialer™, a click-to-call software native to Salesforce.com. Click Dialer helps sales reps save time by automating dialing and data entry tasks, all from one simple interface.

While Click Dialer can be used by any salesperson, it works especially well for inside sales reps and account managers. Click Dialer works great for reps who typically make lower-volume calls and have longer conversations. Sales reps who prefer to conduct more research or use social networking sites like LinkedIn, will appreciate the amount of flexibility and control that Click Dialer provides.

Click Dialer included with new ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 software

request live demoClick Dialer software can be downloaded for free as part of the ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 application on AppExchange. This download includes also includes Personal Dialer® and Team Dialer® integrated within the Salesforce.com environment.

“We are very excited about the introduction of Click Dialer,” explained Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader. “Our customers have asked us to develop technologies that meet their unique selling style. Now with the introduction of Click Dialer, ConnectLeader provides a full range of dialing speeds unmatched in the sales acceleration industry.”

Click Dialer features an attractive, easy-to-use interface, includes the ability to pre-record voice messages, update call results, schedule follow-ups, send emails, and most importantly, provides real-time analytics within Salesforce.com. This tight integration ensures higher data quality and saves sales reps time by eliminating the need to record data in multiple locations.

“Click Dialer gives B2B sales reps another tool to improve productivity by spending less time on non-productive tasks and spending more time selling,” said Matt Stanton, VP of Sales at ConnectLeader. “We’re excited to extend this new product to our existing customers who can increase the value of their ConnectLeader investment by extending dialing solution to their entire sales team.”

Live Webinar for Inside Sales: The High Cost of Bad Data

[fusion_text]HighCostofBadData_CoverSlide

Live Webinar: The High Cost of Bad Data and What You Can Do About It

Date: April 15, 2015

Time: 1:00 PM ET (10:00 AM PT)

Place: BrightTalk Inside Sales Summit

Presenter: Henry Schuck, CEO, DiscoverOrg

Sponsored by: ConnectLeader and DiscoverOrg

Description:

Data quality is an often overlooked success factor in prospecting. Sales departments lose approximately 550 hours and $32,000 per inside sales rep from using bad prospect data. Most companies know that their data is a problem, but few realize the high costs involved with ignoring it.

If Bad Data is plaguing you, learn proactive measures to combat and treat bad data at its source. Join DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck as he demonstrates:

• Understanding how good data goes bad
• Measuring the impact of bad data
• Identifying problems in your data management
• Assessing what to look for in a data management solution

About DiscoverOrg

DiscoverOrg is the leading sales and marketing intelligence tool used by the top technology vendors, staffing companies and consultants targeting IT, Finance and Marketing departments of Fortune-ranked, Mid-Market and SMB companies in North America and Europe.

Register Now

DiscoverOrgConnectLeader2[/fusion_text]