How can salespeople turn the impossible to inevitable?
Aaron Ross is the author of the book Predictable Revenue and a proud father to nine children. The book Predictable Revenue is called the sales bible of Silicon Valley. It changed how the fastest-growing sales teams are designed. The book talked about outbound prospecting which can be a very predictable way to drive appointments and if you have predictable appointments, you can create predictable revenue. It also talks about sales specialization instead of letting the sales reps do the prospecting. Managers must break the sales team into specialized groups to assess where they excel.
His new book called From the Impossible to Inevitable is the growth bible. It’s more for C-levels: the managers, executives, and the leaders who understand the few key reasons why a company gets stuck and won’t grow. The book answers three questions:
This book touches on sales models and expands to lead generation. From Impossible to Inevitable will teach you the ways of the fastest-growing companies in the world such as SalesForce and Twilio. The first section of the book is called Nail a Niche as it addresses the hard truth that most companies are not ready to grow and that’s the reason why they don’t grow as much as they want.
You can’t paddle downstream if you’re not even in the stream.
When beginning a business, there’s the tendency of selling everything to everyone. But that doesn’t work. What it does to you is that you either have no customer or you have a bunch of customers who are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. An entrepreneur may sit back and ask which of the customers are easiest to close, or who is the audience that really needs me? It is important to define who needs you.
Aaron was part of Salesforce, where he built an internal sales program. He left the team in 2006 and did what he wanted to do, like going into adventures and other things. Aaron also worked in a venture firm, then on a thing called Unique Genius, then on CEO Flow.
He needed to focus on a niche and figure out where his expertise lies so that he could deliver the most value for his customers. He then thought of outbound prospecting. I wasn’t the general sales consulting.
For us salespeople, this can take a lot of testing, talking, and experimentation with companies to get the right package and the right pricing programs before you nail your niche and start to grow faster. Sometimes it can take a long time because we have all these unrealistic expectations on how fast it should happen.
Twilio is a platform company that provides a bunch of technologies. Twilio is used by many companies that build software or iPhone apps to power their message alerts and phone calls. For example, Uber uses Twilio to make an Uber phone call and text because it’s difficult and time-consuming to build it themselves.
Simply put, Twilio is a platform that companies can use to do many things. The challenge when you are marketing something like Twilio is that it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact help it can offer to a company or a client.
A salesperson must paint a specific picture for people to get it. Twilio researched to get into the minds of their customers, to understand and build empathy with their customers.
The common corporate value which is to walk in the shoes of your customer is something that Twilio really lives by. The company put much effort into walking in their customers’ shoes to know what they want and what they are looking for.
Salespeople need to remember this value at all times, whether you’re writing an email or making a call. You need to know what they need to get your message across. Another secret of Twilio’s success is to let all their employees have a taste of what it’s like being the customer.
Turning the impossible to inevitable is also a result of specific targeting. You need to be more specific in choosing your audience. It’s important to talk to fewer people that are relevant to your products or services.
Having fewer people to talk to doesn’t decrease your number of opportunities. Your goal is to become the big fish in the small pond and specific targeting is the perfect way to do that. It’s harder to change your products and services but you can do the easier part: you change your targeting instead.
Lead generation is the main driver for your growing business. There are three kinds of lead generation: seeds, nets, and spears. The seeds are relationship-driven leads, these include referrals, word of mouth, and friends/families. Since these are relationship-based leads, they are faster to close and with a higher rate. The downside is that it’s more difficult to generate. Word of mouth is hard to grow.
The second type is the nets. These are marketing. You are casting a wide net which means you’re broadcasting one too many. These leads include a podcast, billboards, or online marketing. You get more leads in terms of quantity than in quality.
The last type is spears which are prospecting. It’s when you have typically a targeted list. It’s smaller in number but you get better opportunities out of it.
Businesses almost always start with the word of mouth but as you start to grow, you will want to venture into content marketing and prospecting. As a company, you need to know the kind of leads that bring in clients. Figure where you excel and put more effort into that first before you move on into other types of leads.
Pick the one that’s right for you at first and do more of it. Do not do all the three leads at once unless you’re a huge company with millions of funding. It might take years for you to figure out what works best, it might take years for your sales design team to come up with a plan that works, but it’s all worth it in the end.
One section in the book Impossible to Inevitable is a lesson from Mark Roberge, the CRO of HubSpot. He has hired hundreds of people and the number one thing they look for when hiring is coachability. It’s an individual’s ability and desire to learn and their ability to connect, change, and adapt.
Companies who are expanding and hiring people should look at the coachability of a person. Aside from that, as a company, you also need to know the kind of roles you need.
If you are a startup business, start with the basics. The CEO starts selling, then he hires a junior person to do prospecting and appointment setting. After a few months, you can promote that person to closing or you hire a closer. You look at your company and you see that there are now two people selling, the CEO and the newly hired close. You also have the junior person to do the lead generation.
Think of smaller steps instead of going too quickly and hiring the wrong individuals in the process.
The social media is always surrounded by stories of fast success but the reality in sales and in business is that it takes years before you get to the top.
Everyone is struggling especially entrepreneurs because it’s your job to struggle and solve problems. So the next time you are discouraged, just remember that many others are in the same boat. #Entrepreneur
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Joshua Smith serves as CEO of a real company called FizzyBlox on the front lines of revenue acceleration. He’s the co-founder of a couple of businesses and the author of the book Stacked: How to Guarantee Qualified Sales Meetings With Real Decision Makers.
He recalls that his team wondered where the people at the top of the sales profession go to upscale. Where do they go to be educated? Their challenges are much bigger than the average seller because they are responsible for multiple billions in revenue.
People constantly tell me that they could close more deals if they could just get in front of more people. Research suggests that 65% of sellers’ time is spent on non-revenue-generating activities. For people whose job is selling, that’s a huge number.
So how does any business optimize their lead generation process?
The bad news, according to Hubspot, is that for B2B lead generation, it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint which of the channels was most effective at lead generation. If I had to guess which channel was most effective, I’d guess it’s web-bound leads. In truth, though, Hubspot reported that the most effective channel was one labeled “other.” They simply don’t know which activities generate the most leads.
Truthfully, though, that uncertainty creates a huge opportunity. It suggests that there are tons of amazing tools out there that sellers can utilize to generate quality leads. They aren’t all publicized, so our job as sellers is to identify the different tools we can use and more importantly, how we can automate that process.
Josh’s mission is to create the number one sales platform in the world for senior sales leaders to network, to mindshare, to problem solve, and to intimately discuss the pressing topics of revenue generation.
This tool won’t be news to anyone because so many of us are getting leads from LinkedIn, but we must realize that data is fuel for the economy of the business world. We’re on a long business journey and we can’t rely on a single gas station. As amazing as LinkedIn is, we can’t rely on a single place for our fuel.
Sellers need to become their own content marketers to really meet the demands of the modern buyer. LinkedIn can do wonders for your business in terms of connecting with prospects, especially high-level decision-makers, in a space where they feel safe. Be mindful, too, that if you upgrade to premium, you can see what your social selling index is. You can measure yourself against the other people in your network or industry, which is a really good indicator of where you are.
I recently had a conversation with someone as a direct result of my LinkedIn efforts, and it turned into an opportunity. It was easy to move the conversation from LinkedIn to a phone call without feeling sleazy. He raised his hand and engaged with me because of the content I shared.
Your content positions you as a person who can help people. Focus on genuinely providing value rather than posting for the sake of posting. You don’t have to post every day. Josh engages with the sellers’ reps of the companies he’s pursuing and then gives his feedback on the buyer’s experience. If the experience is good, he’ll say so. If it’s bad, he’ll say so. The companies often engage with him after seeing his review, and it launches a natural dialog.
Every seller wants more leads but few are willing to do the prospecting necessary to generate them. With the rise of AI and automation, sellers feel entitled to not do the work and instead rely on technology. LinkedIn is an established platform for lead generation, and Josh estimates that about 70 percent of the total sales revenue he has generated during his career has been a product of it.
Even his other interactions like those at trade shows eventually land on LinkedIn, because eventually his prospects will look there to see who he is and what he’s about. Allocate time for LinkedIn.
From a content perspective consider using automation to help you produce content without manually uploading it every day or every week. There are also plugins that automatically message people as soon as you connect, but if you rely on those you miss out on the personalization that is so important.
Humans fundamentally need interactions. We’ll never be eradicated by technology because you must be genuine if you want qualified leads. Use automation, but don’t abandon your humanity.
Many people in the states opt to use ZoomInfo, but Josh reports that it’s expensive and the data often lacks accuracy. Instead, he suggests SalesOptimize, a tool that’s about 40 percent cheaper than ZoomInfo with much better accuracy and functionality.
It’s a market intelligence platform that scans the Internet to extract company data like what technology it uses to build its website, who the hosting provider is, what are their annual revenues, and what are the associated brands? Additionally, it provides the contact information for the people who work there.
Consider that searching for humans may be less effective because they won’t work for the company forever. Instead, search for companies because they represent the accounts. Your prospecting list includes companies, not people.
SalesOptimize allows you to type in the kind of company you want to target and receive a list of all the different companies you can approach. It also gives you the details around each company so you can determine whether it’s actually a good fit. Once the company passes that qualification process, you can generate insights around people.
Given that the average sales rep stays in position for about 18 months, and given that there are multiple people at each company that we need to connect with, it simply makes more sense. Especially in the tech world, it’s rarely a single person that makes the buying decision. More likely, you’ll interact with five to 10 people on your way to a decision. Why, then, are we constantly searching for a single person?
Even in organizations that have consistency, job functions change slightly. Additionally, titles might differ among companies because of differing hierarchies. SalesOptimize is cheaper, more accurate, and it’s GDPR compliant.
This tool is for the lazy sales folks who want a super-automated way of doing outreach and getting effective leads. It’s kind of an amalgamation of SalesOptimize and ZoomInfo, but it automates the outreach. Qualifier.ai is about 12 months old, and in its first year, they’ve gained more than 1,000 clients organically.
It won’t be ideal for everyone because although automation is fine to an extent, personalization is still important. But if your company won’t pay for the other two tools, this is one you can afford for yourself. If you haven’t been given the actual tools you need to do a proper job, spend the money on this tool.
It sends auto-sending sequences to your prospects and it measures and optimizes and tracks your open rates. You can set the sequence the way that’s best for you.
The last tool isn’t just a tool. It’s a weapon. Josh calls it a freak of nature.
With lead generation, we’re collecting data. Our job is to get enough fuel to actually move the vehicle. This tool takes your prospect information and plugs it into this tool and turns it into jet fuel. ConnectAndSell allows you to provide basic data like prospect name, company, and office number in a spreadsheet. This tool navigates you past the receptionists and directories and connects you directly to the person you’re trying to reach without you doing anything.
Typically in two hours, you might do about 30 dials. With this tool, Josh managed 411 dials in two hours and connected to 15 prospects. These weren’t sales managers or low-level people, but C-level people in Fortune 500 companies, the hardest people to get hold of.
It’s expensive, but the ROI potential is huge. For two hours every day, you’ll be plugged in speaking to people.
If you’re seriously looking to scale your business, get SalesOptimizer or ZoomInfo and even consider stacking it with ConnectAndSell to dominate the market.
Find out more about Josh’s event at csouk.com. In October, they’ll release CSOConnected, an online pool for education that will provide access to all the interviews. After October, look out for CSOConnected.com.
Grab a copy of his book, Stacked: How to Guarantee Qualified Sales Meetings With Real Decision Makers.
If you haven’t already, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
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Behind the scenes at The Sales Evangelist, we’re working to increase organic engagement and interact with our audience, and we’ve discovered a powerful way to develop new leads through Instagram.
According to Jaeden Schafer, Instagram typically accounts for about 10 percent more organic engagement than Facebook, so it’s a great place to gain a new audience and develop new leads.
When Instagram initially launched, its goal was to share nice looking pictures. If you’re following that original idea, your company will likely benefit from it.
But what if you’re a refrigeration repair company? How do you post compelling pictures of refrigerators? Posting photos of refrigerators all day won’t really prompt much growth.
So if, for example, you own a refrigeration company in Miami, post pictures of the area you serve with information about the services you provide. Target people who are the customer persona you’re trying to attract.
It basically just needs to be pretty.
Many people will offer the same tips for setting up an Instagram account:
Then they expect people to just show up.
If the engagement doesn’t happen, they just let the page die, which is the worst possible thing you can do on social media. Since social media is about social proof, outdated accounts are worthless.
When people want to buy something online, they often check online to make sure that the social media accounts are updated. If they aren’t, they might assume you’ll be unresponsive.
Plan to post at least once a week if you want to appear actively engaged. If you’re trying to grow, you should post every day.
If you find yourself thinking that you don’t have the team or the resources to post every single day, remember that there are tools available to help you.
Later.com is a scheduling tool that will let you schedule 30 posts for free. You can schedule a new post every day that will keep you active and growing.
Bulkly is a social media automation tool for marketers and entrepreneurs who want to save time scheduling updates. The folks at Bulkly have created an extensive guide to help you post more consistently, create engaging content that generates new followers, and schedule your Instagram posts to automate your process. If it seems like a good fit, Bulkly offers a 7-day free trial to get you started.
Though Instagram is a great place to find new leads, sellers will also want to move those leads from interested to purchasing.
Avoid letting your account just sit. Instead, use your account to find new leads. You can do that with targeted Instagram ads or automation. Better yet, use your account to like and comment on people’s posts that are in your target audience.
Consider the food truck business that launched an Instagram page and then shared images of the food it would serve. On launch day, the owners went to its main competitors’ page and they liked and followed 1,000 of their followers. They repeated that activity every two days for a different food truck.
It grabbed attention because those people would see the business name on their phone as someone who liked their photos and followed their accounts.
It’s a phenomenal strategy, especially for companies that are just starting.
For B2B companies, it’s important to understand how the transition will look after you follow new prospects on Instagram. How do you move them to your website or prompt them to download something?
When a user sees that you liked some of his photos and followed him, then he’ll likely click on your account name to check out your Instagram account. Your account bio will act a little like a splash page or a sales pitch.
Make sure your bio includes your website, and make sure it really clearly outlines what you do and what your call-to-action is. Direct them to your website or your podcast.
For sales reps who might be wondering what kind of content to post, let’s use an example of The Sales Evangelist to talk about what that might look like.
For a service-based business, people tend to limit their thinking about the kind of images to post. Choose high-quality images that look really good.
If you don’t have a high-quality camera, it’s ok.
Start with websites that offer free, copyright-free images, like unsplash.com. Type in your keyword and find hundreds of high-quality photos related to your niche. High-quality photos will make your account look very professional.
Include your own “flavor” that meshes with the way you pitch, but make sure that the people who follow your account feel like they are getting some kind of value out of it.
Some organizations use inspirational quotes or even tips such as how to care for your a/c unit. Choose information that will give something back to your audience.
You can use entire blog posts as an Instagram caption.
In short, be there, post information your customers want, and do it consistently.
Videos have a much higher likelihood of going viral. Jaeden reports that an account he manages might get 400-700 likes, while a video on the same account might get 1,000-14,000 views.
As a result, videos are a really good way to grow your business because videos are more engaging.
Also, though, if the video includes you talking and sharing information, it builds a relationship with your customers because they get to experience your personality in a way that they wouldn’t in a photo. It creates trust.
Many people go to Instagram just for the stories. If you can create a story that captures people’s attention, it’s a huge new piece of real estate.
When you have a new promotion or a new post, consider using your story to encourage followers to check out your new post. You can promote a podcast, a sale, a deal, or whatever you want people to know.
Once you have 10,000 followers on Instagram, you can put links in your story so people can just swipe up on the story to access your links. That’s when stories become super powerful because it’s a free ad that you can push to everyone who follows you.
Hashtags can be incredibly beneficial or they can be useless, depending on how you use them. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per photo, and users should take advantage of all 30 of them to be super specific about the content in the photo.
The platform’s artificial intelligence scans photos to see what are in them, and if you use a big list of random hashtags, your photo won’t perform well. The value of hashtags is that if someone clicks on one, they go to a hashtag page that shows all the images that used that hashtag.
For smaller businesses, use longer hashtags that have fewer people using them, ideally 20,000 to 100,000 uses. Be super specific in your hashtags and use those that fit the size of your business.
Jaeden had great success with a luxury travel company. He set up unique accounts for different geographic locations: one for Maldives resorts, Bora Bora resorts, Greek resorts, and so on.
Each bio directed users back to the main page.
He said it was an easy way to tap into a saturated market that is often expensive to advertise in. Within a month, they were getting about 20 percent of their traffic from Instagram.
If you don’t have time to go and follow 1,000 users on a single day, consider using tools like Ninjagram or Jarvee to automate your Instagram efforts. You put your account into it and then select your competitors, and the tool does the work for you.
Connect with Jaeden at Fiund.com with any questions you may have or to get additional advice or tips.
This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.
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Mikael Dia wasn’t always an entrepreneur. His first business venture enjoyed early success. But it also revealed to him that he knew nothing about selling to people other than family and friends. As a result, he invested his efforts in learning to effectively acquire inbound leads.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Mikael shares the power of the funnel in attracting your dream customers and turning them into real clients.
Mikael and his roommates launched a t-shirt business (he uses that term loosely) right out of college, and the group saw a fair amount of success. They had 5 or 6 designs, and lots of college friends and family who supported the venture.
They got cocky, he said, and ordered a lot more t-shirts. The problem was that they had already sold to all the people they knew, and they didn’t know how to sell to strangers.
He started researching SEO and affiliate marketing, as well as information about setting up websites.
In the 2010 lead up to the Mayans’ predicted “end of the world” in 2012, he created an affiliate website where he sold survival knives. He figured people would be looking for survival equipment, and he theorized that if he could get the site ranked, he’d be in good position to make money.
By the end of the experience, he had invested $100 in his marketing and had earned $5.23.
He made the same mistake that many companies make when generating leads online: they create ads to send people to their sites and then hope that the person finds the right links to complete the purchase.
Mikael discovered along the way that people are distracted. They don’t have much attention, so if you send them to your website to browse around in hopes that they’ll find something, they’ll likely get distracted before they complete the transaction.
Sales funnels work differently. They target your dream customer, and at each stage, they give him the option to proceed to the next step or leave.
You might, for example, create an ad to grab his attention. The message is this: if you’re having this particular problem, click here, which takes him to the next step. The only choice he has to make is whether to proceed to the next step. There aren’t multiple options. Only two.
The sales funnel will always give the customer a simple choice, and it will direct him until he either schedules a phone call with you or he leaves.
If, for example, your simple funnel allows you to track that 1,000 people landed on your page, and 100 of them made it to your application page, then you know that your page converts at 10 percent.
Of those who made it to the application page, 50 of them scheduled phone calls, so you’ll have 50 new leads.
Every landing page has the same goal: to encourage customers to provide a name and email address in exchange for valuable information.
Keep landing pages minimal. Don’t provide multiple options. When customers set their own path, they get lost and don’t realize what you want them to do.
Attract the person to your site, and then guide him to do whatever it is you want him to do.
Give him value.
Realize, too, that if you can’t find a customer on Facebook, you aren’t advertising properly, because everyone is on Facebook.
Mikael stresses the importance of qualifying customers early in the process in order to make sure they can afford what you’re offering.
During discovery calls, Mikael asks customers to acknowledge that the price range is within their budget. Realizing, too, that humans sometimes lie about what they can afford, he also engages other opportunities to qualify customers.
He calls them micro-campaigns, and he equates it to homework. During the process, he asks customers to answer 3 or 4 simple questions like “How much traffic do you generate per month?” As part of that document, he asks them to type “Yes” to a question about being able to afford the services.
He says that the simple commitment improves the closing. It ensures that they are only developing proposals for serious customers. As a result of the effort, they closed 70 to 80 percent.
Finally, Mikael never sends proposals to his customers. He asks for 45 minutes of their time so he can present the proposal using ScreenShare.
If they ask him to send the proposal, he agrees to send it after the presentation.
Doing so ensures that the important details aren’t overlooked, and it eliminates room for error.
Because proposals are intended to be presented, they benefit from storytelling and live interaction.
The sales funnel will help you generate inbound leads without having to constantly create new content. Use your funnel to target your dream customer and walk him through the correct series of steps. It will drive him to schedule a call with you.
We’ve been recommending the book the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley for quite some time because we believe in the message. Based upon interviews with buyers, it offers specific information for sellers to help them become trusted advisors.
As part of the series this week, we have a SlideShare available for you to download, or you can link to it here. As always, we also have a free excerpt of the book so you can try it out for yourself. We believe you’ll like it so much you’ll want to grab your own copy.
Today’s episode was also brought to you by Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and making your brand pop using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
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Qualified leads are some of the most important things to salespeople. However, often times when leads come in, they are not qualified effectively.
Today, I’m sharing some business development concepts to help you get to the next level of success. You will learn my most leads seems they are not qualified. Listen and learn more.
So you get a lead then you think they’re not ready. They have no money, they have no time, or they’re still using other systems. Marketing is giving us all these “leads.” And you see, there’s a misalignment here.
First, make sure you define what you’re looking for from the get-go.
Just let your business development rep get you appointments.
That’s just their job. It’s the closer’s job to educate the customers. This way you get to have a more qualified lead.
Again, really define to your business development reps what they’re doing. You need to clearly explain them what kind of leads you want so you get better, more qualified leads
Are you just setting appointments with anyone in your ideal customer profile?
Or are you really qualifying and getting someone a lead on a silver platter?
To get yourself better at getting better leads, check out The Sales Development Playbook if you’re trying to build a pipeline or trying to build some processes in place.
Or if you want to figure out how you can attract qualified companies into your pipeline, check out Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand.
The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
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Taylor Bellefeuille is the VP of Sales at Jebbit, where they’re tasked with going out and hunting new business every day. She calls her team small yet mighty. They’re partnering with companies like Snapchat, Cathay Pacific, Ebay, and more.
Jebbit is a Software as a Service (SaaS), with expertise in declared data and consumer attention and mindset through dialogues.
Today, Taylor is going to share with us the power of data capture and how this can help you generate more powerful leads and grow your business.
1. Personalized messaging
At Jebbit, they have both inbound and outbound teams as well as partnership teams that work closely with their partners to continue to drive revenue.
3. A two-step sales process
A lot of times, they have to be an evangelist for what they’re doing and the idea of declared data and mobile attractive content. It’s more of education in those spaces.
First, they get them to buy into the idea of what and why they’re doing it. Second, they walk them through the Jebbit platform where their capabilities and expertise lie.
It’s all about personalization. Make sure you understand your buyers and you personalize every message.
Connect with Taylor through email at email@example.com or call her at 781-248-8274.
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