My good buddy and best man, Dave, has been commissioner of the same Fantasy Football league for over 12 years and a few years ago asked if I was interested in taking one of the empty slots. My obsessive-compulsive, statistically driven, multi-scenario-challenged gaming mind was intrigued. Could I possibly put together a team that could beat other experienced teams week in and week out? Even if the matchup is one-sided on paper?
Sounds simple, but here's the deal. I'm more of an owner and less of a coach, so I did what I do best. I hired Lenny, a co-worker at the time and a kick-ass coach, and learned from someone who knows more about Fantasy Football than I do and still enjoy the results. Now three seasons later, Lenny is gone and I won last year's season. This year opened with a tight match against Dave, and it came down to the last two players--he crushed me. But I'm a coach.
Tips to learn from Fantasy Football when building awesome inside sales teams:
- Be a coach. Understand your team and their challenges, week in and week out.
- Understand the rules. If you know what scores you points you'll make better decisions. Ask the commissioner (your boss) if it's unclear.
- Learn from the pros. We read Fantasy blogs; we also read B2B sales and marketing blogs.
- Look for raw talent that requires the least maintenance.
- Find the studs that, head to head, will overperform every week.
- Think about your deficiencies and hire accordingly.
- If your team needs adjusting, make the shifts. It might mean cutting a player, or drafting a new one, or moving someone up from the bench. Think big picture.
- Don't fall in love with a lineup. If you need to let a player go, cut your losses.
- Track the stats. Every stat -- even the ones you aren't sure are valuable. They will be someday.
- Think Superbowl. Don't forget the long-term play is to win.
- Lastly, have fun. Every day. Have fun. If you and your team are enjoying your jobs, you'll always make the playoffs and be in a position to win!
ps. I do have Tom Brady in both my leagues this year. Maybe I should take some lessons from Belichick?
I just listened to Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime," and it made me smile, tap my feet, rock my head, especially with the banjo player huffing and puffing into the jug. Love it!
...then BOOM! The song is over and I remembered all the times I heard inside sales reps complain that "It's summer, nobody's working."
Folks, that's one of the biggest myths in lead gen. In fact, it's so twisted that some hidden benefits of summer are shrowded. Let's take a look.
Yes, most people take vacation time in the summer. I do to. That said, how many vacations can one take? They can't be gone all summer. In fact, some very important things happen because of vacations:
- Desk time - Most people planning vacations plan some time in the office (ie: not travelling) prior to and immediately after so that they can get their ducks in a row and return hitting the ground running. That is more time for them to be at their desks picking up calls, or paying attention to an email inbox that is organized. Take advantage of it.
- Responders - "I'll be out of the office until Monday, July 21. In an emergency you can call my cell ###-###-####, otherwise, you can contact June, my assistant at ###-###-####, or John, my senior team member at email@example.com". Nuggets: The prospect's cell number, the assistant's name and number, and his trusted underling's email address. Use them.
- Scheduling - It can get dicy trying to pick a date, sure, but use it as an opportunity to book a meeting in close -- to set some urgency.
- Lighten the mood - It's always a challenge to find the common thread in a call to make the prospect feel comfortable listening to the business end of a conversation, what better common thread than "Oh, vacation, I just got back from the Cape, what are you planning?". People buy from people.
- Attitudes - Let's face it, we're all a bit happier. Happier = Approachable.
"We love everybody, but we do as we please
When the weather's fine
We go fishing or go swimming in the sea
We're always happy"
Enjoy the video, and take Mungo Jerry's tip to heart: "Go out and see what you can find"!
This Thursday, starting at 11ET, InsideSales.com his hosting the Sales Acceleration Summit. There will be 80 speakers with topics ranging from Inside Sales and Enterprise Sales to Marketing, Management and Motivation.
Join us tomorrow for as many sessions as you can squeeze in. You can register for free.
Featured speakers include:
- Matt Dixon, Author of The Challenger Sale
- Steve Young, Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee
- Josh James, Founder & CEO, Domo
- Jill Konrath, Author of Selling to Big Companies
- Grant Cardone, Author of Sell or be Sold
- Ken Krogue, President, InsideSales.com
I'll be talking Marketing Goodness with Thomas Oldroyd of InsideSales.com. I'll be focusing on how sales professionals need to start thinking like CMOs.
Join me and lots of friends and colleagues tomorrow. Don't forget to Register Now!
If you are a Chief Marketing Officer, or report to one, or aspire to be one, you MUST attend dreamforce. Period. I would not normally make such a blanket statement, but I don't want anyone to miss the point of this article.
This week, I was able to speak at dreamforce for data.com, and shared in the frenzy with 130,000 other attendees. The benefits of being here are endless:
- Technology - Aisles and aisles of vendors selling everything from big data (impressed by Tableau), to sales productivity tools such as InsideSales.com, which Green Leads just implemented.
- Learn - Study new marketing techniques. Face it, event marketing is one of the largest challenges of a marketer. Come see what's working.
- Team - Nothing more rewarding than a CMO seeing their team enjoying the conference and learning new ideas and techniques.
- Network - Meeting new people, prospects and network contacts. Walking around I had a bunch of followers introduce themselves. Networking goodness!
- POV - Explore all the branding and point of view. My POV guru buddy, Dave Peterson of PlayBigger told me yesterday, was to just experience the show and absorb. Learned a ton.
- Listen - Some incredible marketers on stage. The list is too long to name, but Marissa Mayer of Yahoo was killer.
- Customers - Setting up client/partner visits. I could have filled my week with nothing but client visits. Great lunch with Steve Lilly of Ziff Davis! B2B Goodness.
- Reunions - I walked into Moscone West and five minutes after I got my badge I met someone I worked with 13 years ago.
- Demand Gen - Find new business. In my particular case, there is nothing better than meeting the VP of Marketing at a booth and them saying "The show is good, lots of tire kickers though." and then when she asks what I do, go into how "Green Leads weeds through all the tire kickers to find you active decision makers."
- Party - Green Day, Blondie, Huey Lewis and the News. Every bar and restaurant is overflowing with sales, marketers and geeks.
- Exercise - Yes, exercise, if you consider walking a few miles a day exercise. Being on your feet all day works the core. It's exercise!
- Press - They are all here. Take advantage of it.
- Vendors - Odds are that if your marketing vendors are here. Check in with them.
- Exhibit - If you target sales, marketing or developers, you have to be here!
- Inspiration - Deepak Chopra! Always some lifestyle speakers here.
Having experienced the largest cloud computing conference on earth, I have one regret. I didn't bring an umbrella. Nobody said anything about the "cloud" being a rain cloud!
Lead Gen Tip of the Day: Not sure how to find new prospects to meet with at dreamforce, Green Leads has been hired to do appointment setting for dreamforce attendees to keep their calendars full.
photo credit: @damphoux
Having just kicked off, the SiriusDecisions Summit in London will be spanning two days with tons of marketing and sales goodness. I'll be adding notable thoughts, quotes, and tweets to this article during the two days, so come back!
@RichardEldh: The relationship with our clients and our prospects is as much digital as it is face to face, if not more.
@maxsangiovanni: The rule of 1: 1 user 1 campaign, 1 campaign many languages, 1 touch once a month, 1 guardian of the send, 1 message all platforms
@jblock: One consistent message across all delivery channels. Do this first then pick the tech to do it. @maxsangiovanni
@izjay: Data buys time and time buys understanding via @maxsangiovanni
@maxsangiovanni: click to chat is very successful channel to capture inbound activity
@Marisa_Kopec: My content is on content, so I have a lot of content to share today ;) 60-70% of content goes unused
@Marisa_Kopec The evolved marketing factory must be engineered to produce content to fuel inbound & outbound marketing
@damphoux: Cocktail party is at 4:30, so see you there. via @Marisa_Kopec #MeaningfulQuotes
@Floriane_Ma_FR: Min 10/12 attempts to get a decision maker on the line in complex sales, builds case for teleprospecting to do the job instead of sales reps
@damphoux: Again @tjaros hits it w/ Demand Types. Read up. It will change the way u present your message md.gl/1b95FpW
@akslipper: Germany leads in budget spent on tradeshows. UK leads in email campaigns
@izjay: Most #SDSummit delegates say their next technology purchase will be in the category of business intelligence/analytics. Nice!
@jblock: When it comes to live events, you're judged by the quality of the coffee. via @akslipper
@siriusdecisions: @Marisa_Kopec "Understanding buyer personas is where b-to-b meets b-to-c" http://t.co/9LyNGOZx0W
@GBalarin: "There is no rest for the technology-weary in marketing. IT is changing dramatically" and alignment is key. @jneeson
@JarmilaHYu: John Neeson at #SDSummit "the sales rep is changing: by leveraging marketing data, tools & tech cold sales calls should no longer exist".
RT @BabcockJenkins: Portrait of the modern marketer and sales person. via @jneeson #SDSummit http://t.co/gSC5ztKDJo
More to come...
photo credit: me
As a business owner, I manage my tasks, take care of clients, look at my numbers, work hard, attend to quality, work with my team...you name it. Does that sound much different than a sales or marketing professional? Tasks, Clients, Quotas, Energy, Perfection, Peers.
You all own your own businesses! Congrats.
So now that you own your own business, where can you go for some advice and inspiration?
This week is the innagural issue of Owner Magazine. Owner is the brainchild of Chris Brogan, a leading speaker, author and blogger focused on digital business.
Chris and I were sitting down last week talking about the first issue of Owner. His passion for ALL things makes you walk away from any interaction with a "can do" feeling and a smile on your face. His passion for his new online magazine launch is one I share and hope you will too.
"The concept of an Owner is simple," says Chris. "It is for someone who seeks to improve worth by growing capabilities and connections. You can be the CEO of your cubicle as long as you’re accepting responsibility for your intentions to grow your abilities and your network. But more so, you’re likely an entrepreneurial spirit, either helming your own organization, or just about to leap out into the fray and make your own path. That’s who we’ve created Owner magazine to serve."
I'm honored to be asked to contribute to Owner. It's great to be surrounded by some fantastic-smart people (Chris, S. Anthony Iannarino, Marsha Collier, John Morgan and others).
Subscribe to Owner Mag here and be the best owner you can be.
Last week at Inbound, HubSpot announced a new product, Signals. In simple terms, Signals is a Chrome extension that tracks and notifies you when someone has activity on emails, LinkedIn, Salesforce and HubSpot. You get an on-screen notification, as well as a summary list of activity that you can review. In short, Signals is an app that lets you know when and how to engage your leads--timing, intelligence, and relevance.
Sales people now have actionable intelligence from the prospect. Knowing that they have seen your email or they clicked through a link or they are reading your website is gold. It also tells you one other fact...the prospect may be sitting at their desk, or at least not occupied with other activites. It's time to call them. If no response by phone, maybe email them again with a secondary email that you would logically have sent (ie: don't just respond saying "I know you are sitting there doing emails".
If you get them and have some intel such as a new LinkedIn update, or the knowledge that they read certain pages on your website, you can now open the discussion in a relevant way that the prospect will respect and resonate with. "Hi Brian, it's Mike from Green Leads. I was hoping to speak with you about Appointment Setting." (knowing he just read three pages on my site relating to b2b appointment setting).
Brilliant work HubSpot! Enhancing the Inbound experience for sales people.
Screenshot from HubSpot site:
Notification summary (as of the date of this post):
- A contact opens your email
- A contact clicks a link you’ve enabled tracking for
LinkedIn (after you mark a contact as a VIP)
- When a VIP changes their position
- When a VIP posts an update
- When a VIP adds a new connection
- When a contact becomes a new lead
- When a contact opens an email sent through Salesforce
- When a contact visits a page on your website
Note: The email open notification only works if the prospect has "display images" enabled. If they do not show images in their emails, email open notification will not work. Solve this issue, and the Gold Medal gets a Gold Ribbon with it.
Just prior to Seth Godin stepping on stage, for what was an entertaining and thought provoking keynote, HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe, announced that "We saved the world from 2 Billion cold calls!" And they did. I personally may have benefitted by 1 or 2 a day.
Inbound marketing techniques continue to evolve, and HubSpot is the pioneer for Inbound. The tribe they've created in the past few years is amazing. Almost 6,000 attendees to this year's Inbound conference were gathered for lots of marketing goodness, not just the orange kool aid.
In the world of sales, selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Getting that conversation going has been revolutionized with Inbound Marketing. The prospect is typically educated more than an outbound generated lead, they are thinking about the topic that your product or service addresses, and the time is fresh to start the conversation. In short, they may be further along in the funnel (waterfall if you're a SiriusDecisions follower).
The top outbound marketers have embraced inbound marketing, not shied away from it. Compared to a purchased list or even a list of prospects warmed up with other marketing assets, an inbound list is the cream of the crop. However, unless your inbound lead comes in the form of a calendar invite, date, time and phone number booking one of your sales reps for a appointment, there is still work to do. The outbound function assigned to these leads is typically referred to as Inbound Response.
Things to remember:
- Scrub the data. Have a data team do list hygiene to correct and/or append needed data fields. Or use tools such as DemandBase to dynamically append data.
- Know your history. Use tools such as HubSpot, your CRM, or other tracking systems to know how your company has interracted with the prospect in the past.
- Intel. Research the prospect on LinkedIn, Google, Social Sites. The more you know, the warmer that lead.
- Score your inbound leads. Don't assume they are all orders ready to be had. Don't waste your time on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pounce! Once you have your ducks in a row, call them. If they don't answer, email them. The effective value of leads deteriorates every hour after they submit a form.
I just tested the above with a lead that came in through our HubSpot system within the hour. It took me 2 minutes to correct their missing title, see that her colleague talked to us at the SiriusDecisions conference in May, add her LinkedIn url to her profile, note that we're connected by 8 people, and she visited 5 blog articles today. Reviewed and scored -- 2 minutes.
Create great content. Socially surround your market. Optimize all conversion techniques. Gather these inbound leads, then follow the process above, and your ROI will go through the roof.
Let's get back to the 2 Billion cold calls saved. Inbound marketing certainly does reduce the number of cold calls an outbound marketer has to make to get the conversation started. It streamlines the process. The blended approach of Inbound and Outbound will increase the top line faster than any other methods available.
Is that lead an Innie or an Outie?
(took restraint not to post a pic of a belly button)
Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe (BANT) qualification is scrambled and outdated. Having budget was important in the days of "Our contract is up for renewal next year, we need budget". But with so many new products and technologies flooding us, from evangelical to emerging to faster and better, Budget not only doesn't exist, many times those with Authority don't even know they have a Need or that they need it now.
Granted, as the sales process advances, you would hope Budget is being allocated so that the decision maker with Authority can solve their Need in a Timely manner. But read the beginning of that sentence..."as the sales process advances". There is no place for BANT in a lead gen scenario, it is for later in the sales cycle. BANT is dead as it pertains to Lead Gen. I'm singing the praise of Ken Krogue and company at Insidesales.com with ANUM -- it all starts with Authority!
I've been known to say "The sales process doesn't start until a conversation with a prospect does". And in Lead Gen, especially b2b appointment setting, the goal is to get the conversation started. Finding the decision makers and influencers are half the battle, then getting the conversation started is the other half. Just make sure to identify the proper prospect, one with Authority, and then have a valuable conversation that brings value to that prospect and helps them see the Need you want to fill. If they have the Need, a real Need, they will feel the Urgency to then justify the decision and get the Money for the project.
<-- Lead Gen & Research
<-- Appointments & Conversations
Thank you Ken!
ps. Check out the Inside Sales Virtual Summit on June 20. Never before have I seen so much Inside Sales knowledge flowing for one day.
Every sales organization I talk to these days is ramping their Sales 2.0 technologies. It's a fun topic for a guy like me who loves sales and loves technology. The Sales 2.0 conference is coming up and they have done some studies on buyer behavior in the market, so I took the opportunity to interview Lisa Gschwandtner, the Editorial Director of Selling Power. Selling Power is a media cosponsor of the Sales 2.0 Conference.
Mike: What made you decide to create the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey?
Lisa: From the very first Sales 2.0 Conference in 2007, it was clear that Sales 2.0 could yield explosive gains in all kinds of areas. A simple e-signature or automated outbound dialing tool, for example, could collapse certain stages of your sales cycle from weeks to hours. At that point we were seeing a real revolutionary excitement about the potential of Sales 2.0 technology. And as early as 2009, we started to see companies like Brainshark implement an entire Sales 2.0 architecture to create growth in productivity and effectiveness in a variety of areas.
At this point in the evolution of Sales 2.0, we can now point to year-over-year patterns that tie Sales 2.0 usage to revenue results. We felt it was time to poll a generation of Sales 2.0 users and let the statistics tell the story of how Sales 2.0 influences success.
Mike: What are the biggest Sales 2.0 trends for 2013?
Lisa: Content marketing is a trend to watch. B2B companies have pushed themselves to establish online selling channels, implement inbound marketing automation solutions, and integrate social selling as part of their sales process. You need high-quality content to see real gains in these areas. Businesses are realizing they need to start acting like publishers if they want to use content to attract customers.
Another trend with staying power is the growth of inside sales teams. Moving from a field sales model to an inside model (or some blend) isn’t a new thing -- what’s startling is the rate at which this is happening. Online is where buyers live now, and expensive field reps just aren’t necessary for as many business models anymore, especially with so many Sales 2.0 tools (including video conferencing and screen-sharing tools) available to help us connect and collaborate online.
Any Sales 2.0 trend you see will stem from one root cause: buyers are controlling the sales cycle. Buyers and sellers have a different relationship these days. And you can choose to respond to that shift in many ways. The leadership challenge is where to put your focus. What technology do you need to adopt today, and what do you need by year-end? What’s the plan for implementing technology and adjusting your processes? This is why high-level executives come to the Sales 2.0 Conference. They get educated on what other sales leaders are doing, and they identify which trends and technologies would be the best to bring back home and implement.
Mike: What's the biggest change in the Sales 2.0 world from the time you started the conference to now?
Lisa: I would say more than change I see expansion. Since we started in San Francisco, we saw Boston emerge as the Silicon Valley of the east. And last year we took the Sales 2.0 Conference as far as London. The demand for Sales 2.0 solutions just keeps getting broader.
The technology solutions themselves are also expanding. More specifically, lots of smaller companies that were around when we first started out, like Jigsaw, have been absorbed into larger ecosystems. That means the market now has different expectations about how technology will or should work. They expect integration of highly tactical automated tools and solutions as part of their investment in a broad-base technology solution, like a CRM system.
Mike: I saw this number: "50% of sales organizations surveyed plan to increase spending on Sales 2.0 solutions in 2013" on a couple blog posts, it sounds as though sales people are getting ready to spend on technology.
Lisa: Yes, that stat is one of the initial numbers we were excited to release from the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey. B2B companies are absolutely primed to invest in Sales 2.0 technology this year. The survey also gave us intriguing information about who’s owning implementation and purchasing decisions internally. We’ll be sharing all of that with attendees at the Sales 2.0 Conference on April 8-9 in San Francisco
Mike:. What do you prefer red, yellow or green curry?
Lisa: I like my curry the way I like my Sales 2.0 logo. Red!