SalesReformSchool

Today’s Lesson: Press It!

press it

“Press it!” Cousin Ira said.

Ira believes in hot and cold dealers and dice, karma, good runs and bad luck. I had been on a good run of luck and to Ira, this is precisely the time to raise your bet.

Me?

Not so much. I guess I paid attention too much in math and logic classes.

If you’ve ever been in a casino near a hot blackjack or craps table, you’ve probably heard an experienced player telling a beginner who’s on a hot streak and doing well to press his bet. The instruction is to raise the wager because things are going well; Karma or Fortuna is in your favor, so “press” your advantage.

Talk to gamblers and some, like Cousin Ira, will tell you that the way to win big is to press your advantage. Others will say – correctly – this is hogwash, the gambler’s fallacy, that all bets are independent of another.

In gambling, I fall in the latter group, though admittedly, I will sometimes press even knowing the folly of it. I just like the adrenaline rush and regardless only employ a small bankroll considering it entertainment dollars deployed.

In business, though, we are not playing in a game with house odds, but rather one that rewards among other things hard work, preparation, ingenuity, and creativity. In business we weigh upsides and downsides and then take action.

So, when things are going well, certainly keep doing what you are doing to continue with the great results. But, this is also the time for experimentation. To me, this is similar to how thriving companies increase their research and development budgets in good times in order to experiment at the margins. They press it.

My last few months professionally reminded me of Ira exhorting me to “Press it!”

Things at SalesReformSchool are going well and I’ve been “Pressing It” this year. You may have noticed that lately I’ve spent some money and put some time and effort into a few new marketing items.

First, I had the talented Kristen Myers put together the below graphic of the SalesReformSchool Proven Process to help explain what I do for my clients. It took some time, but I think we got it right.

SalesReformSchool Proven Process FINAL

Next, I joined with my partner Frontline Selling and began a live video webinar series. You can get to the first episode here.

And lastly, I went to Fiverr, and hired irfan4 from Pakistan to create a whiteboard video for me. I’m thrilled with the result and early reviews are very positive.  In less than a week and as of this writing, 2,519 people have viewed it on Linkedin. This blows me away.  Please let me know if you want to learn more about this fascinating experience.

 

 

The ideas for these projects came from others. They are all out of my zone of expertise, but with help and some effort, and because things are going well, I decided to press it. I’m confident they were the right things to do at the right time and hey, it was worth the risk.

So, I’ll ask you: If things are going well, what are you going to do to PRESS IT?

SalesReformSchool: Food For Thought 

I’m a DIYer when it comes to personal finance.  I’ve read The Millionaire Next Door and thought it was terrific.  Even better and shorter, please read The Psychology of Money.  It’s the best thing I’ve read on personal finance in a long, long time.

SalesReformSchool: Extracurricular

Full screen, sound on. You’ll thank me.

Yes, suitable for work or home.

Good Selling!

Through SalesReformSchool, I am available to you for Sales Process Design, Sales Messaging Creation, On-boarding/In-boarding Sales Team Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Facilitation, Group or One-on-One Coaching, Pipeline Reviews and other Sales Management Consulting.

Today’s Lesson: Two Existential Questions

For today’s lesson we are going to explore two existential questions:

  1. Why does your company exist?
  2. Why should your ideal client want to talk to you?

Why does your company exist?

The answer to this question should scream at visitors to your web site and all pockets of social media. Every employee, not just salespeople, should be able to recite the answer in some form in every new interaction, whether in a meeting, at a trade show, cocktail party or barbecue.  For us sellers, this question cuts to the very heart of where to place your focus in your initial conversation with your prospects and key players. You’ll return to it as a qualifying tool later and possibly a negotiation tactic at the end of your sales process.

Yes, this is very similar to a mission statement. I worry, though, that the concept of mission statements too often gets lost in translation in actual conversations.

Why does my company SalesReformSchool(tm) exist? Read More

Hubie, T.K., and the Ideal Prospect

When Hubie Brown and I were much younger, he was my favorite basketball coach.  I had just moved to Atlanta and adopted the hometown Hawks – his team.  He was smart and energetic.  In interviews, he seemed like a great guy.  Hubie is in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor due to his stellar coaching and ongoing broadcasting career.  Although nearly 80 years old, he is still top on top of the game.  I find his commentary spot on, educational, and engaging.  He makes NBA game broadcasts better.

I’m happy to remember that our paths have crossed in person. Years ago, while waiting for luggage early one summer Sunday morning at the Atlanta Airport baggage carousel, I spotted him.  I was returning from a business trip, and of course, could not pass up the chance for a short conversation with my favorite basketball guy.  I am 99.999% sure he has no recollection of this brief encounter, and guess it has happened 100s of times before and since.  He did not disappoint me.  Instead, he made the impression we all hope for.  It was the off season, so instead of bouncing around from city to city broadcasting basketball games, he was returning from a Russian basketball camp. We chatted amiably about basketball and travel.  Hubie Brown was a true gentleman, gracious and engaging even with a  fan for five minutes in a nearly empty airport early in the morning after a long flight.

I love the NBA, and this season has been a blast to follow.  Needless to say, Hubie has come across my consciousness more than once in the last few weeks.  SInce my day job is helping my clients improve sales and marketing, but my attention is getting drawn to this weekend’s beginning of the NBA playoffs, I thought I’d combine the two memes by channeling my inner Hubie Brown.  If you don’t know, Hubie has a sui generis talent for speaking in the second person, and yes, you can make a game of this during his broadcasts.

So here it goes.

You’re a successful CEO with an exit dream, but not necessarily a strategy. One of the biggest daily pressures you face is boosting bottom-line profits by spending most of your time, or more appropriately, your sellers’ time on more high-quality “A” prospects.  Or, you are a CEO of a small, but growing, entrepreneurial company that has started making sales but you are worried about how you are going to keep the funnel full. How are you not going to lose track of where the business is going or should be going?

In both cases, you may also be wary of today’s uncertain economy.  Privately, as either of these CEOs, you may stay up at night worrying about whether your sales people or sales agents are spending time on the right prospects – whomever those are.  In staff meetings, you may ask – or should be asking, “Out of the dozens of different lead-qualification techniques, how do you select the most effective one? (sic, still channeling Hubie). How do you hit the ‘bull’s-eye’, which represents the most profitable, most favorable prospects available? Are you ranking prospects or just going after whoever you can?  If you lose a lot of prospects, waste a lot of time, is it because you are shooting at “B” clients?   How can you take aim at – and score more – ‘A’ quality clients?”

Most of the time, when I help my clients with figuring out their prospects, it’s one layer down the process; more about understanding the individual buyer personas and architecting the sales conversations sellers should be having. But sometimes, leadership can’t articulate their ideal prospect. At this one layer up (or lay-up, groan, I know!) lies the expertise of T.K. Kieran, President of T.K. KIERAN & ASSOCIATES, Inc.

(T.K. and I had lunch this month at Alon’s Bakery in Dunwoody, GA. I think Hubie would say, “You go there for a nice business lunch, you can go rich with stuffed sandwiches or cross over to nice and healthy with veggies or salads.  Either way you can’t go wrong.  And you’ll notice it’s a great people watching spot.”  But I digress.)

T.K. calls this process identifying and implementing your “Ideal Prospect Criteria™”.  As a CEO, you need this Ideal Prospect Criteria™ to overcome some of your biggest head-bangers: keeping your sellers from wasting time on losing prospects and keeping marketing from wasting time, effort and money.   To grow revenue more predictably you need to be able to:

1.       Eliminate the pursuit of low potential prospects

2.      Build a common, effective lead qualification process

3.      More consistently pursue “highest potential, highest payoff” prospects

4.      Segment a prospect base into A, B, C, and D priorities

So, how do you do that?  T.K. shares a few hints:

  • Use no less than five, and no more than eight, criteria in your lead qualification process
  • Writing each criteria to reflect the behaviors, beliefs or abilities (with respect to buying/purchasing) of past clients who were “ideal”, who you want your future prospect to also possess/demonstrate
  • Be prepared to answer your criteria with a binary, “yes” or “no”, without further explanation, otherwise the criteria is too murky.

Strategically, executive leadership looking to grow exponentially or prepare for an exit, must consider constantly where future sales are going to come from.  If you are smart, you will figure out your Ideal Prospect Criteria™” and call T.K. She can help.

Oh, and one last thing.  You have to have the Heat over the Thunder in six games.  As Hubie might say, “You have to respect LeBron James athleticism and the Heat’s attention to detail defending the goal.”

Good Selling and Thanks Hubie.

A Q&A on Sales Methodologies and Pragmatic Marketing

My friend and colleague, Jon Gatrell of Pragmatic Marketing interviewed me for a recent newsletter article on sales and marketing alignment. Enjoy it here.

Unleashing Our “Inner Steve Jobs”

Carmine Gallo writing in Entrepreneur magazine last month offered up his seven principles that drove Steve Jobs success.  Gallo suggests that “any of us can adopt them to unleash our ‘inner Steve Jobs.'” So, to unleash your “Jobs-siness” in sales I suggest reading Gallo’s list and considering the following –

1) Do what you love.  I’ve never been someone who could sell ice to eskimos.  If I don’t believe in my product, love my product, I can’t sell it.  For me, life is too short to work on something dispassionately.  If you don’t love it, why should someone else?

2) Put a dent in the universe.  What’s the big vision for how your prospect’s world will look if you work together?  Consider whether you have created a vision big enough to excite others.

3) Make connections.  If you are reading this blog post you probably already consider yourself a life long learner.  Why else read a blog on sales?  Good for you!  Now, think of all the meaningful events and activities in your life.  How can they contribute to and inform your next important client interaction? For Jobs, among other things, it was the connection between calligraphy, India and designing computers and electronics.

Me? I went to law school and practiced law for a few years.  Hated the career, but loved the education. Believe it or not, it helped me learn to empathize with my prospects.  Much the way a lawyer needs to analyze both sides of a negotiation or dispute, a good seller understands his prospect’s point of view. So, my law studies helps me be a “student” of my prospects.

You are the sum of your experiences.  So use them to relate to others.

4) Say no to 1,000 things.  Can you disqualify an opportunity and rationalize your pipeline?  Can you fire a customer who isn’t worth it?  Saying “no” and “No Way” can help clarify why you are working on the good opportunities and with the attractive clients.

5) Create insanely different experiences.  Are you offering up anything that differentiates you from your competition? Or, do your conversations, presentations and websites fill up a Buzzword Bingo card?

6) Master the message. Create and practice your personal and company stories and DON’T WING IT.

Your stories should seduce both sides of the brain – inform and inspire, educate and entertain your prospects.

7) Sell dreams, not products. The things or services you sell are only props that help your clients achieve some goal or objective.  So, talk with them about their goals, objectives, challenges, struggles.  Then show how using your stuff can help make the dream come true.

Good Selling.

Intro to Intro Rocket

Many companies struggle with the opening, leading marketing piece.  If you have been in sales and marketing for any amount of time, you have received emails or seen brochures that describe offerings in the same tired, flowery language –  terms like robustdynamicseamless, and integrated are inserted haphazardly without explanation.  Many are just plain forgettable – the worst result you can get from a marketing effort.

How can marketers and lead developers create memorable emails and other pieces?  I have four tips:

  1. Lead with a story that includes a scenario with which the reader is familiar.
  2. Go for the heart by triggering an emotional response.
  3. Writing skills count.
  4. Forget the ambiguous, vague and overused words unless you include an explanation.

IntroRocket is one company I have been working with on its initial sales and marketing strategy. I’ve pasted one of IntroRocket’s email marketing piece below. I hope you agree it follows the above four tips.

__________

The Deal that Got Away

 

I have been part of sales organizations for almost 20 years, and have won and lost more deals than I can remember – but will never forget a particular lost sale.  As we reviewed the deal near the end of the sales cycle, I learned that our competitor’s salesperson had a personal connection with a major influencer at the prospect, and I understood immediately that the relationship had tipped the scales against us.  We hated losing this deal because it was an ideal customer for us.  And what we learned in an internal executive review made the loss even more painful: we had our own personal relationship with a key player at the prospect and one of our trusted channel partners knew the CEO.  We should have been aware of and leveraged those relationships to win the deal.

 

This is just one example of “the deal that got away”, and everyone reading this is likely to have similar stories.  Your “one that got away” experiences may involve co-worker connections with a product manager, developer, office manager, board member, or CEO.  The common denominator is that there are existing relationships in your company network that sales reps are unaware of or fail to leverage – and the result is lost sales.

 

Start every customer relationship with a personal introduction

We live in The Age of Networking: a time of unparalleled ability to connect with people across multiple networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Salesforce.com.  These connections provide businesses with entirely new opportunities to discover relationships that exist between companies and their prospective customers.

 

But even with these incredible opportunities, many companies struggle to break through traditional barriers to discovering relationships: not all co-workers are directly connected, co-workers rely on multiple networking services such as Facebook and LinkedIn, channel partners may not be part of your networks, etc.  Regardless of the specifics, there are trusted relationships and opportunities for personal introductions that exist right now to help build better customer relationships and to close more deals.

 

People buy from those they know and trust.  In today’s world where unsolicited communication is growing exponentially and the effectiveness of traditional marketing is at an all-time low, the value of trusted relationships is at an all-time high.  This decade’s most successful companies with be the ones that understand their network of relationships and take advantage of the opportunities for trusted introductions.

 

Social Networking for Sales

IntroRocket provides Instant “Social Networking for Sales” because we enable companies to tap the value of their company network.  We mesh multiple social graphs (LinkedIn now, Facebook soon, webmail later), add intelligence about the quality of relationships, and make it extremely simple to see and benefit from existing co-worker relationships regardless of who at the company has the most relevant and valuable connection.

 

We connect the dots between co-workers across a company, automatically display connection information inside salesforce.com, and enable employees to engage directly with current and prospective customers via trusted co-worker relationships.  The purpose is simple: IntroRocket gives sales people an advantage in their accounts and helps companies close more deals.

 

 

Start Ahead, Stay Ahead

If you would like to discuss how you could keep your deals from getting away, please contact me.  Until then, please feel free to try IntroRocket free at http://www.introrocket.com/install/.

 

Michael Leeds

CEO, Founder

Mike at IntroRocket dot com

1.650.468.6901

 

 

 

Marketing Automation Software Headwinds Portends Sales Effectiveness Checklist

In her Software Advice blog item “Tailwinds for Marketing Software”, Lauren Carlson makes several excellent points regarding the growth of this relatively new software niche.  She correctly notes that marketing software providers are doing well directly due to the difficulty of B2B sales and hints at a checklist for sales effectiveness.

  • Explanations, not jargon
  • Storytellers not pests
  • Track and audit sales process steps

Just look at her first three insights:

1)    Buyers want content of real value.    Change the medium and the lesson is the same.  Sales managers and execs should learn whether sellers have cut out the jargon when engaged in buyer-seller conversations.  

What-not-to-say

For example, can they explain why or how offerings are “integrated”, “user-friendly” or “”robust”?

 

2)    Buyers are increasingly wary of the phone.    Has your phone been ringing off the hook this election cycle like mine?  Sellers need to appreciate that buyers take this “at-home” experience to the office and treat their phones like a germaphobe handling a tray at a cafeteria.  Like I tell my clients, “if inside sales was easy, everyone would do it.” 

Are salespeople using stories and seeking alignment in their phone conversations, or are blabbering on about the greatness of your company, and therefore, spreading germs? Cold-germs

3)    Desire for Marketing Accountability.     As far as I can tell, starting about ten years ago sales process engineering went mainstream, and this was a good thing.  Now it’s Marketing’s time for the examination.  What the process folks are finding is that “Wanamaker’s” quote – Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half, should be treated as heresy.  So, if marketing is tracking their effectiveness, sales has to as well.  

The checklist item for sellers: 

Are we tracking and auditing our sales activities in the same fashion as marketing tracks their efforts?  Are we using the same terminology and metrics?

One last thing...  I would add another area of angst for sales due to the automation of marketing processes.  Salespeoples' behaviors and activities are being scrutinized more than ever.  For years, salespeople complained that marketing doesn't produce enough good leads.  Well, with good marketing processes automated with the technology Carlson discusses, this sales whine rings hollow.  

So, the question to ask if your company has automated a good marketing process becomes: Do your sellers appreciate the pace and quality of the marketing's output or are they sabotaging it and annoying prospects?

Putting it another way and channeling Coach John Wooden. Alg_wooden_net
Do you quickly and properly follow up when marketing generates interest, or do you hurry too fast and make a mess of it?

 

Good Selling!

 

Intro to Cross-Selling

How do you leverage success with one customer into a cross-selling opportunity with another?
I hope the below presentation that I delivered earlier this week helps.

View more presentations from Adam Shapiro.

Two Networking Events, Two Authors, Two Books

 In addition to coaching, consulting, and facilitating, I
spent part of last week attending two networking events aimed at sales and
marketing professionals.  Monday,
the Atlanta
Chapter of the Sales and Marketing Executives International
hosted Jeffrey Hayzlett for an evening
presentation.  Wednesday, Anneke Seley spoke to
the Atlanta
Chapter of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals
.  Channeling Jessica Stein, I let the
lessons presented “marinate” for a while.   

 

 Sometimes these events are boring and potentially only
valuable for the drinks, hors d'oeuvres and networking with other
professionals.  I try to bring the
same ear to these events as when I listen to a color commentator during a
televised ballgame.  Is the speaker
telling me anything I did not know? 
Is theirs a perspective I have not considered? Would my clients gain
from my note taking? Thankfully, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

 

 My thoughts and notes below.

 

 Hayzlett, now former Chief Marketing Officer at Eastman
Kodak, has penned The
Mirror Test
, a book asking whether the reader’s business “is really
breathing?” Find a Q & A here
on Hayzlett. 

 

 He’s a very entertaining, physical speaker – he’s a large
man – who certainly knows how to work a room.  I was impressed by his ability to connect with his audience
and maintain his energy.  Perhaps
this is some insight into why he performed so well on Celebrity Apprentice.  I was a bit disappointed that he
started out talking about a worn-out sales and marketing tool – the elevator
pitch.  He does, however, have an
interesting spin on it:  According
to Hayzlett, “It’s 118 seconds, because eight seconds is the average attention
span of an adult, and 110 seconds is the average elevator ride. So, you got
eight seconds to hook me, and 110 seconds to sell me.”  So, here’s something we can
practice.  Eight seconds is long
enough to generate interest; 110 definitely long enough to make sense of the
hook. 

 

 Hayzlett then described his thoughts on leadership.  He said leaders set the conditions of
satisfaction. “What's the implicit promise to the customer?”  Leaders make sure that promise is set,
understood, and fulfilled.  Leaders,
for Hayzlett also cause tension.  I’m
thinking he would agree that true leaders use stress to push their teams to
greater creativity and results. 
Next, he urges leaders to be themselves letting their personality come
through.  This may lead to leaders
having to be willing to get rid of those that can't keep up.   A favorite saying of his seems to
be, “we love you, but we’ll miss you.”  Finally, sales and marketing leaders should realize that due
to their decisions, no one is going to die.  So, don’t take everything, including you, too seriously.

 

 Especially for marketers, Hayzlett suggests the following
maxims:

 

 1) Buzz is not sales – Marketing executives must recognize
whether the work they are doing will actually generated sales or just
buzz.  Go for the former.

 2) Have an operating philosophy.  

 For him, it’s FAST: 
Focus Accountability Simplicity Trust (each other)

 3) Never compete on price – not exactly original, but a
necessary reminder.

 

 

 Next up was a breakfast discussion on Sales 2.0 with Anneke
Seley.  Seley with Brent Holloway
wrote Sales 2.0, a guide for
deploying or re-deploying sales teams for better results. Think of it as a
primer of the combination of modern sales strategies and web 2.0.  We should take notice of the Seley’s
leadership in this area:  She was
employee 12 at Oracle and built the OracleDirect sales operation from scratch
into a Billion Dollar organization. 
A Good
Q & A
.

 

 From my perspective, Seley is all about putting the right
resources in the right places and measuring the results.  As a consultant now, she suggests the
following priorities for optimizing sales:
Strategy-Process-People-Systems. 
One at a time –

 

1)     Set your strategy.  Are you a direct selling team?  Indirect?  What’s your go to market strategy?

2)     Assemble or re-assemble your processes.  What are the steps marketing and sales
will take from generating interest to closing opportunities? Which steps can
happen online or over the telephone? 
Which have to be face-to-face? 

3)     Hire or re-deploy your people so you are
taking advantage of their best skills at the right point of your process.

4)     Use technology to both enhance the
buyer-seller experience and measure results.  The best Sales 2.0 companies are taking advantage of social
media technology at the front end of the buyer-seller relationship, using
virtual meeting tools during buyers’ evaluations, and measuring success through
their Customer Relationship Management tools.

 

 After a concise summary presentation, Seley took questions
from the audience.  The best had to
do with how to hire inside sales 2.0 reps. Some pearls of wisdom:

 

      
Of course, everyone likes experience, but Seley
stressed that her best hires were “out of the box” thinkers. 

      
Have the first conversation over the phone so
you can judge the applicants voice.

      
Ask the applicant to sell you on your
company.  By this time, they should
have done enough research to give some thought to how they would hold
conversations about your offering(s).

      
Most innovative question for an applicant Seley’s
heard: “Tell me ten uses for a brick.” It shows the applicants ability to think
broadly and on her feet.

      
Lastly, what was the applicants follow up?  Did they write a thank you note?  Try to track you down to follow
up?  As a hirer, consider being a
little scarce and see what happens.

 

 

 So, a good week’s worth of lessons on marketing leadership
mixed with Sales 2.0. 

 

Good Selling!

 

Integrate Sales and Marketing NOW!

Here is one marketing professional's experience with integrate marketing into the sales process.  Go to  - http://tinyurl.com/ykmlpsv.




Back to School….

I spent the early part of this week going back to school
myself: At the CustomerCentric Selling® partners retreat.  Lots of pearls of wisdom and enlightenment.  This is Part I.Backtoschool

 

First off was an impressive keynote address from Greg
Alexander, CEO of Sales Benchmark
Index.
  After mentioning
that his research shows that sales force effectiveness is the #1 objective of
today’s CEOs, he discussed four main points that I’ll break out for you below.

1)  Product and Price are no longer a sustainable
competitive advantage
.  Everything
cool and useful gets copied within 18 months or so these days.  In the global economy, there seems to
always be someone pricing their comparable stuff even cheaper than seems
possible.  See Michael Porter, Thomas Friedman, etc.   

2)  The key question executives need to answer then
is “What is your strategy for maintaining or achieving a dominant
position in your market?” Since it’s can’t be product or price, what’s left is
The Customer Experience
.  
Where does Customer Experience start?  MARKETING AND SALES.  

How? 
That experience starts with empowering your sales team to make your
customers’ buying experience world class – that is, make it easy and enjoyable.

 

Idea_lightbulb_cartoon2 At this point, my mind
wandered a little:  (c’mon, I’m a
sales guy, like my attention can be held in a vice without hypnosis).  I started thinking about a recent success
story I heard from a customer of mine.  Seems they were locked into a hyper competitive opportunity
against their archrival for a large contract from a F500 company – we’ll call
them F500 for short. After awarding the business to my client, F500 actually
told them, “You won because of salesmanship.  When we asked your competition about differentiators they
talked themselves up and then bashed you. 
You, though, described yourself in terms we could understand and then
talked up your strengths without even mentioning your competition.  We felt you must really care about
doing things the right way.”  THAT is caring about the customer experience. 

 
Tbis success is gratifying to me.  With
this competitive situation, they were demonstrating the CustomerCentric Selling
core concept – which I taught them –  of “Make yourself equal
THEN make yourself different… Otherwise you’re just different.
  And you make yourself different by
building a vision of usage and value around what makes you special.

 

(Back to Alexander’s Keynote)

3)  Alexander then asked, “Why Now?”  Well, because within a few years half
of the sales talent is going out the door.  It seems the US census tracks this sort of thing and reports
that there are 20 million sales people give or take a few in the United
States.  Half of them are nearing
retirement age.  Someone needs to talk to these people!!!

Alexander is NOT suggesting a focus on the Willy Loman's out there that sold only on relationships. He's referring to the sales leaders who are planning to retire without so much as an exit interview, let alone a thorough interview about what made them successful.

For many
companies, all that knowledge is going to go out the door without anyone writing down the tools or methods the "non-Lomans" (my term) have deployed over the
years.  Yet, writing down the tools, methods,
processes a successful sales person uses is the first step in implementing a sales methodology
.  And having a sales methodology is the first step in focusing on the Customer's Experience, especially for B2B companies.

Stunningly, Alexander reports that many companies do not have a sales methodology even though his company’s research shows that it is a statistical fact that you will do better if you have one installed.  Alexander points to Seth Godin and Zipf’s law – that is, in a winner take all society, the difference between #1 and #2 is huge, perhaps 10%.  #3 is much further behind than that – for further evidence of the importance of focusing on Customer Experience and documenting why your salespeople are successful. 

Folks, you're successful sales people are retiring, you haven't figured out how to clone them by recording the secrets to your success, yet you need to focus on Customer Experience. So,….

4)  Where to start? Well, you had better
benchmark.  Sales Benchmark Index
has data on 11,000 companies.  Only
7.3% qualify as world class.  That
is, they are in the top 25% across 11 categories of metrics.  Where do you stand? Do you have a sales process?  Is Marketing involved?  Do Sales and Marketing work together to insure a positive customer experience?

Thanks Greg for a thoughtful and entertaining keynote.

More from my "Back to School" days later….

 

Nuggets from sitting in the back and really listening….

At least once per year, I serve as a sales training coach for another CustomerCentric Selling® 

practitioner. Last week, I helped Frank Visgatis, co-writer of the CustomerCentric Selling® methodology at a Workshop in Atlanta.  This serves a few purposes: 

1) to improve my delivery; 
2) As Stephen Covey suggests – I need to constantly Sharpen my Saw; 
3) as a re-inspiration mechanism for why I love what I do.

So, in no particular order, here is a peek at my notes.  Consider these the "yeah, that's it" or "Hmm, interesting way to put it" moments for me.

 - Query: Who pushes an enterprise forward? Is it Sales, Marketing, Product Development?   
Answer: None of the Above.  At a for-profit enterprise, it's the Customer!  This is the foundational element of CustomerCentric Selling®.

 - Our goal is to help everyone involved in revenue for a company think of themselves as being part of the enterprise becoming better at being "Buyer Facilitators."

 - In order to defeat "No Decision, Inc.", sellers need to help buyers realize that the cost of the challenge (or pain in the old nomenclature) is greater than the cost of change.

 - Too often, sellers think linearly, station to station instead of  - again Covey – keeping the end in mind and working backwards.

 - No one goes into a hardware store to buy a quarter-inch drill bit.  They need to buy a quarter-inch hole!

 - One of the biggest differentiators for CustomerCentric Selling® is our use of messaging tools in the sales process.  Imagine your 20-something sales rep has finally, after months of trying, netted a first meeting with an executive at a target organization.  Happiness, right?  Well, when the door to the corner office opens, and your rep walks in and shakes the execs hand, do you know what the content of her conversation will be?  Is it best-practices?  Will it show off that this 20-something knows the goals, challenges, issues that exec likely is facing?  Or, will they try to wing-it?

Good Selling,

Adam