Tag Archives: b2b sales tips

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.


The 3 Qualifying Questions Inside Sales Reps Must Ask


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?


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]

Key Sales Tips for Sales Hackers


The recent SalesHacker Conference in San Francisco. This is literally a start-up conference company pulling together some of the hottest sales and marketing talent in the sales software productivity space. After listening to 12 presentations over an 8 hour period, my head was literally spinning (that was before happy hour!). Thanks to one of the sponsors PipelineDeals, the conference sessions are summarized on the Saleshacker.comwebsite. Here are some of my insights and sales tips on this information packed day.

The Give and Get Spreadsheet (John Barrows, Sales Trainer to the Tech Sales Stars) @JohnMBarrows

John did a great job of kicking off the proceedings. He spoke about negotiations and the “art” of gives and gets. The concept of beating someone in a negotiation is an outdated concept. As a salesperson in today’s interconnected world, you need to understand that every deal you make or blow up may impact your next deal or even your entire career. Developing a reputation as a hard-nosed negotiator is okay as long as your opponent (now your customer) is still standing. John discusses the need to develop a process for creating a balanced negotiation where both parties feel they are receiving a fair value. His simple, but effective spreadsheet helps manage this process.

7 Deadly Sins That Startups Make & How To Avoid Them

Presented by: Gabu Luna-Ostaseski @gabelunao


The following sins directly relate to the sales process:

The All in One Salesperson – One common issue at startups is that their salespeople spend too much time doing things that don’t drive revenue. I encourage startups to focus on figuring out how to make things more efficient, automate, and specialize.

How to Avoid:

  • Segment job roles
  • Delegate or outsource low leverage taks
  • Remove client success from responsibilities

Flying Blind – If you don’t know what should be happening at each point in the sales process, you’re not ready to scale. How are you going to grow your company and reach your goals if you’re flying blind? You need to break down your goals and understand what you need to be doing day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month at each point in your sales process in order to be successful.

You don’t necessarily need to manage by revenue in – you should also be managing by specific actions that should be completed. For example, think about the # of bookings that each sales rep should be making each week, each month, each quarter, etc. in order to grow your business to your goal.

How to Avoid:

  • What gets measured gets managed
  • Trending in reporting
  • Identify and manage lead measures

10 Key Rules to Scale Sales

Presented by Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks


Again, my favorite sales process related rules:


Target your initial customers 

As a general rule, we’ve found that it takes 100 outreaches to get 10 conversations to get 1 deal. Our first 10 customers came from 10 different sources. We obtained customers from email, LinkedIn, conferences, referrals, and social. I had to go out and target customers where they were at.

One key learning that I have had at Betterworks is that your CEO has to do your sales early on. Don’t rely on a hired gun to get your first 10 sales. As you start to scale and gain some repeatability, you can start to bring in more salespeople.

Scaling requires outbound sales

There is a lot of latent demand out there for better solutions. In order to be successful with outbound sales, you need to tighten up your target market definition. By tightening up your target market, you will be able to develop better personas to contact.

I think of my phone as an ATM. I know that outbound reps can turn 10 numbers into dollars. There is so much opportunity out there.

Remember – with inbound leads, businesses already know that they have a problem and they want to know why they should choose you. With outbound leads, you need to identify that there is an issue and then transition to why you’re the best solution for them.



Tips for Leaving Effective Sales Voicemail Messages


For this blogpost, I asked the ConnectLeader sales team to provide tips on leaving effective sales voicemail messages. ConnectLeader uses voicemail as part of our outgoing marketing and prospecting campaigns. For instance, we dropped reminder voicemails in addition to emails and social media messages to promote registration for a recent webinar.

Highlight Singular Solutions

Leave messages that highlight a singular solution that your product/service provides even though it may provide many solutions.  You then create a series of messages that each highlight a separate solution.  The idea here is to be able to touch on something that eventually WILL resonate with any one prospect contact.

Leave Limited Information

Have a voicemail  that only states your name, company name, and phone number and then say  you would appreciate a call back.  This is often mistaken for one of that contact’s prospects or current customers, and thus, gets return calls.

Keep Messages Short and Concise

Try not to have any voice mail that exceeds 20 to 30 seconds. Keep messages concise and to the point. Don’t ramble.

Start and end voice mails with your name and phone number.

Often times your contacts will quickly write down your number and call you back without listening to the entire message.  You might want to leave out the company name at the start but then mention it at the end. This gives you cover when someone thinks you’ve deceived them by not giving a company name.  Truth will be that they simply didn’t bother to listen to the entire message.

Use pre-call planning strategies

Creating a ‘calling plan’ is more effective than calling records randomly without a plan. Taking a few minutes to  plan your session and pre-record your messages will allow you to make more dials and connect with more conversations.

Use a call-to-action

Make sure you ask the prospect to take an action. Call you, visit a website, visit a trade show, etc.

Take time to record a quality message

You may only have one chance to impress the person you are leaving the message for. Take the time to record a quality message even if it takes several times to record it.

The Benefit of Pre-recording Voicemail Messages

Leaving voicemail messages can be a very tedious and time-consuming task for business development and inside sales reps who are making high volumes of outbound calls. By pre-recoding the voicemail message, the sales rep. can simply choose the appropriate voicemail message to drop and move on to the next call.


Early and Often – The importance of meticulous sales prospecting


“Vote Early, Vote Often” was coined by Al Capone to make fun of the  “less than honest”  past political practices. I’m not suggesting you use any “questionable” practices, however, in my experience, “early and often” can result in expanding your sales pipeline and putting a little more “green” in your pocket.


Many times our prospects and clients are focused on measuring sales lead metrics around Meetings Scheduled or Qualified Leads.

I agree — These call results are the absolute best.  However, often times you might be calling prospects but the timing is off or they do not have a compelling reason to try your product at that time.

There is something to be said for the “early and often” factor though.  And it’s what you do with these Follow Ups or these Referral Connects that really matters.

As a real world example, here is how one early lead generated from a sales prospecting session in March 2013 resulted in a Sale at the end of Q1 2014.

March 2013

  • Spoke with the top Marketing executive on an Live Conversation Automation Sales Prospecting Session.
  • The prospect was impressed with the outbound calling technology I was using to get him/her live and agreed our value prop was strong
  • Unfortunately, there was not a compelling reason at that time.  Their sales team was not really “sales forward” and there were no real concerns around marketing program effectiveness etc.
  • Over the next 2-3 quarters, I consistently maintained contact with my prospect.  This consisted of many voicemails, conversations and email.

Mid-February 2014

  • I received a call from my contact that a new Sales VP was hired.  (Key Trigger Event).  Was told I would be introduced to this person.
  • Held a discovery call and demo with the Sales VP, Marketing executives among others.  Discussed their challenges which had to do with lead conversion rates.

Mid-March 2014

  • Client Ran a 7-10 day trial.  Trial Results exceeded Established Trial Criteria.

March 31 2014

  • Closed the Deal!
  • Wrapped up Q1 with a nice win!

Moral of the story?

  1. Stay meticulous — Stay on top of all your sales and marketing generated activities – there might be Gold there.
  2. If you start having conversations with your sales prospects and accounts early and often, who is more likely to win the business?  You or your competitor?  In the example above, I did not even have a competitor.

Now, Go get em!