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!
Ladies and gentlemen, the sales automation revolution is upon us. SFA/CRM? Old School, table stakes. The highly optimized sales organizations of today has a collection of sales automation application that work on top of their CRM. As I declared in a previous blog post: The Seller has Changed Forever. It's exciting times for sales people -- marketing is becoming more sophisticated in their lead generation efforts (more leads is always great) and sales organizations are making the lives of their sales people better with automation.
On December 13 at 11AM Pacific, I will be joined by Matt Heinz, Brian Vellmure, Nancy Nardin, Koka Sexton, and Miles Austin in a free webinar: 31 Must-have sales tools for 2013. I have had a lot of fun learning about the tools everyone is going to discuss. In today's post, I present three tools to you. Join us for the 28 others.... I had a lot to choose from so I decided to keep it simple and highlight the three sponsors. Keep in mind, that we chose sponsors based on technology we wanted represented. We didn't find sponsors and then decide whether they should make the list.
1. DocuSign -- I just started using DocuSign last year. DocuSign is one of the vendors in the fast-growing e-signature space. In layman's terms: Get contracts, paperwork, etc signed electronically instead of printing paper and faxing. It's a god-send. There is nothing sales and everybody else for that matter hates worse than paperwork. It holds up the sales process and is the most painful part of one of the best parts of the sales process: the last mile. Let me give you an example: Last year, I decided for some reason to do a face-to-face sales call at the end of the quarter. (Don't ask). My rep calls me: "I can get this deal if you can sign off on the SOW". My reply:"Can't I'm in my car and won't be back in the office for an hour". Rep: "Dude, pull over to a Starbucks and 'Docusign' it on your Ipad". Boom. Signed, deal closed. E-signatures are a "why wouldn't you?" product.
2. InsideView (client) -- Sales intelligence, use it to sell better. How's that slogan? If I told a sales person 20 years ago that in 2012 prospects would use the internet and especially social media to update you on what they care about, what they do, and what they are doing, they would say "I want some of that". The best sales people are always researching, preparing, and seeking opportunities. The internet has changed the research game forever. Information about your prospects has never been more available yet finding and tracking that data can be cumbersome. Sales people want it easy and in front of their face. InsideView gives sales people a single interface to view your the accounts and their latest news. You can also set up triggers to be kept abreast on the latest happenings at your target accounts.
3. Kred for CRM -- One feature I love with Kred for CRM is the one that allows you to figure out "who" in your organization is connected to and interacting with your key influencers or prospects on a particular deal. Here is an example: You are selling to an account and you go in and find out that one of the key influencers is connected to someone in your organization. Not only that, they have tweeted to each other in the last 60 days. You are able to leverage that internal relationship to further solidify your relationship with the prospect. I just talked to a buddy who did this with Linkedin a few weeks ago. He was going into a scary client meeting and realized that a product marketing guy was a business connection of his contact. His friend reached out before the meeting and they walked in knowing each other. Meeting went great. Now imagine doing that with Twitter. Also, you can measure the social influence of your customers and prospects. You can use this data to decide how to handle them in the selling process. All great data to have in this brave new world.
Talking about sales automation is fun. I think its because selling has been so hard and so lonely all these years. Now people are making technology just for us and our lives are better for it. Join us to learn about all 31 must-have sales tools.
My latest post: Content Reflections: A personal and intimate journey into the mind of Craig Rosenberg
I'm at the AA-ISP conference in Boston today (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals). There are ideas and tips flowing faster than the coffee and ice water.
Everytime I visit a conference I like to check out the speakers' blogs. I figured you may find value in a compilation of the speaker blogs from today (or the blog of their company):
Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group, Inside Sales Experts
Tom Scontras, Glance Networks, The Upside: Killer Sales Tips
Steve Richard, Vorsight, Inside Sales Tips
Gary Ambrosino, TimeTrade, The TimeTrade Blog
Koka Sexton, InsideView, B2B Sales Productivity
Cliff Pollan, VisibleGains, Visible Gains Blog
Dan Hughes, Broadlook Technology, The Official Broadlook Blog
Antarctic Mike, Selling at 90 Below Zero, Antarctic Mike's Blog
Lori Richardson, Score More Sales, Score More Sales
Patrick O'Mally, 617-PATRICK, Social Media Super Blog
Mark Ruthfield, Zoominfo, Zoominfo Blog
Ken Krogue, InsideSales.com, Ken Krogue
John Baker, The Asking Formula, The Asking Formula
Sam Richter, SBR Worldwide, Know More Blog
Todd McCormick, PGI, PGI Blog
Ken Jisser, ConnectAndSell, Sales Singularity Blog
Mark Roberge, HubSpot, Inbound Internet Marketing Blog
and then shameless self promotion (I am one of the speakers)...
Mike Damphousse, Green Leads, Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen
The topic of Quality vs. Quantity in demand gen has been a constant debate. Whether it's inbound marketing or outbound marketing there are costs associated with a lead, there are costs associated with the time and effort needed to convert that lead to an opportunity, and there are costs tied to the quality of those leads and how that impacts conversion rates.
As David Greenberg, Sr. Director of Marketing at Jive Software shares with us, "With the focus we all have right now on building pipeline that will convert to revenue, quality leads are called for. We just don't have the time to waste managing anything but."
In this example, with b2b appointment setting and pay-for-performance vendors, it is a very straight forward study as the costs per appointment are fairly standard and as SiriusDecisions and IDC have discussed, the rates of production and conversion are uniform over time.
Executive Summary: Lead gen programs that manage to Quality metrics provide sales ready leads that result in an overall higher ROI. Whether an internal team or a third party vendor, if the reps are incentivized to produce Quality appointments, the cost per pipeline opportunity can be as high as 14% more effective. In an appointment setting program, this is due primarily to cancel rates, rejection rates, and the overall quality of the meeting. Other costs to consider are the costs to manage the vendor relationship, and the cost to the sales team for attending low quality meetings.
The Numbers: In order to remain somewhat statistic-neutral, we have asked our clients to provide stats based on their experience with other appointment setting vendors and ourselves (ok, so a bit self-promoting, but stick with it). The percentages used were calculated by evaluating 5 clients' stats comprised of 1100 meetings set by Green Leads and over 2000 set by 3 other appointment setting firms. The numbers showed a significant difference in cancel/reject rates as well as pipeline conversion. The percentages used for calculation were:
|Conversion to Pipeline Rate
Typical Appointment Setting Program Stats:
|Convert to Pipeline
|Cost ($750 per Completed Meeting)
|Cost per Opportunity
The Quality Vendor resulted in a 13% better investment per opportunity.
Your Checklist: Your vendor choice is obviously the most important factor in determining how your program is going to play out, so below are some things you can do to screen your vendors and aid in making a good decision. It's not a litmus test, so look for trends and patterns:
- If they keep talking about LOTS of meetings and production - beware
- If they won't let you interview their reps - beware
- If they pay their reps to SET meetings as opposed to COMPLETE meetings - beware
- If they are squeamish about discussing detailed stats, or if they don't track detailed stats - beware
- If during a reference check you ask the client about stats and they don't match what the vendor told you, or the client doesn't know - beware
- If they over-promote their call counts, talk time, or other non-results oriented stats - beware
- If when you ask them what their confirmation and scheduling procedures are they don't have convincing answers - beware
- If their rejection policy is too loose or has gray area you don't like, ask for and document specific examples. If they won't do that and you're still not understanding the policy - beware
- If they have a short period of time by which you have to notify them of a rejection, cancel or reschedule (or the meeting is automatically billed) - beware
Also look at reputation. When asked formerly for a reference, they will probably send you to their friends. So listen when they mention client names off the cuff during conversations. Then you check them out with your network. It's a small world--find out who you or your colleagues know at those companies (use LinkedIn). Then make some of your own inquiries.
Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group shared, "Mike, what a great checklist for vendor selection. There are literally dozens of vendors in this space both domestically as well as off shore. People need to understand that picking a vendor is picking a PARTNER. We wrote a blog post Third Party Vendors for Lead Qualification on this very topic. Here are some questions your readers may want to add to their list:
- How many years have you been in business?
- What is your attrition rate?
- Who are your 4 largest clients? What is their size? and How many employees do you have dedicated to their project?
- Do you provide web based reporting?
This is just a sample but you get where I am going...you have to ask the vendor as many questions about their business as they should ask you about yours."
We all know LinkedIn is the hidden gem of all sales people, and we're all looking for better LinkedIn Lead Gen Tips. At Green Leads we have a custom button that can query a person's LinkedIn profile with the click of one button. It doesn't hit 100% of the time, but I would say 85% isn't bad for an automated task. We train our reps to not just review the profile, but use it for better selling--especially the public URL. This allows you to find the record again or share the record with others.
Save it. You could bookmark it in a folder called Prospects. But why not go a step further and save the prospect's public URL in your CRM system. It's simple enough to do. We have a field called LinkedIn URL, and we copy and paste it from LinkedIn to the field. This allows our sales reps never research again, it's one click away. It also stores it so that the URL is shared with other reps that may be looking at the same prospect.
Got any other LinkedIn Lead Gen Tips? Send em on.
As many of you are aware, Green Leads has announced the acquisition of Target 250. What does this mean to you? Read on for answers:
What was the acquisition about?
Green Leads has grown by a factor of 2X each year for four years running. In a bad economy, that's a feat. We looked at 2011 and realized that one way we could grow by 2X again was to do it through acquisition -- but only with the right partner. Expanding our service in the EMEA markets as well as growing our business in North America were priorities. To achieve this, we decided the most efficient path was to add a company to Green Leads' team that had the fundamentals needed to deliver quality demand gen services to our clients. Target 250 not only has those qualities and a dominant position in the European market, but also provides services in North America. So we got both European expansion and North American growth in one package. On May 4th, we grew by 2X again -- in one day.
What does a European and North American presence of Green Leads mean to me?
As demand gen professionals, you now have a one-stop shop for both sides of the Atlantic. You can work with one program manager, and in many cases, the same Green Leads reps. The same reporting, data management and quality standards will exist in both locations. And in most cases you can have one contract and invoicing source, simplifying your management of two programs.
Will Target 250 stay the same?
The logo and the email addresses will change. Then, as we blend the two companies' best practices, you should see a noticeable increase in the level of service from a production, delivery and quality standpoint. Commercially, we will novate the existing contracts over to Green Leads contracts. This may take a few months.
Will our service level change?
In general, the only differences in service you should see are improvements. Over time we will implement some process enhancements and share best practices; we are hoping both Green Leads clients and Target 250 clients will benefit from the marriage. In the near term you will notice that we will be launching a new Client Portal tied directly to our Salesforce back-end that will allow you to view program reporting, upload new target lists, provide meeting/lead feedback and review activity.
As a Green Leads client, what does this mean for me?
Our services will only get better and our offerings will expand, including the ability for you to work on both sides of the Atlantic with one single point of contact and 7 supported languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Arabic).
As a Target 250 client, will I be getting Green Leads invoices now?
As the transition matures, you will definitely start getting Green Leads paperwork. Some of this relies on our converting contracts and legal documents over to Green Leads. This will take a bit of time but is a priority for us. One benefit of the merger is that you will now have the option of being invoiced from the U.S. or Europe. This can be beneficial to your procurement process, budgeting and logistics.
Who is my main contact with the company? Will my reps change?
Your current liaisons will remain the same and other than normal project resource allocation changes your reps will remain the same. Our intent is to make the transition as smooth for our clients as possible.
Will pricing and/or pricing model change?
In the short term, no. Over time the answer is yes. As it pertains to appointment setting, Target 250's business model was to sell contract commitments with a volume of meetings agreed to and then invoice for meetings when they were set. Green Leads' model eliminates the word "campaign," structures open-ended contracts and then invoices for meetings when they are attended and meet the service level agreement (SLA) criteria agreed to by both companies. We will eventually migrate all appointment setting models to the Green Leads format.
We currently get face-to-face meetings, yet I've heard the U.S. does a lot of conference calls, is that changing?
The U.S. is more accustomed to making the first introductory sales call by phone. We actually studied it a couple years ago and found that 69% of respondents found a phone meeting satisfactory for the purposes of an introductory meeting. Understanding that in the U.K. and other European locations many prospects are just a drive or train ride away, face-to-face still makes sense. We're not going to push our clients one way or the other, but we definitely will recommend that you consider the option. The results are typically: no change in the outcome of introductory appointments (they have the same effectiveness), and sales execs can spend less time travelling and more time selling. Give it a shot, and measure the outcome.
Should you have any further questions, please post them here.
Guest Post from Gareth Morfill, Inside Sales Blackbelt at Green Leads.
If you were talking to a prospect face to face, do you think that would make you pitch any differently? More confidently? We feel that it absolutely does. The simple act of having a real person to look at while you are having the conversation makes the building of rapport much easier.
If they have a photo in their LinkedIn profile, look at it. You may even be able to click on it and enlarge it.
Science backs this up. Physiological studies show interesting correlations between perceiving and responding to eye contact, a salient social signal of interest and readiness for interaction. And although the response to a picture is less than to a live face, there may be an impact. Our reps have been practicing it and the general consensus is, Put a Face to a Name:
- Improves the ability to quickly build rapport
- Personalizes the conversation
- Humanizes the typical "cold call"
- Make dialing all day a bit less mechanical
- Looking at the photo means you have to look at their LinkedIn profile first -- scan it
...ps: If you're an Inside Sales Blackbelt, we're hiring.
Ever wonder if your enterprise sales team should be on the road heading to an introductory first meeting with a prospect? I was recently in the UK for business and saw sales reps investing a half day or more traveling for 30-60 minute meetings. Do the results differ if they were to have taken those introductory meetings by phone? Many would say yes, but the data begs to differ.
Green Leads measures the sales outcome of our client's b2b appointment setting programs. We do this to gain an immediate measure of the program as opposed to waiting out long sales cycles to show true ROI. By measuring this immediate outcome, it brings short term metrics to the program.
We measure sales outcome of the meetings in three ways:
A) Immediate Sales Activity: the meeting results in immediate sales activity (proposal, trial, second meeting, addition of other decision makers to the process, etc.)
B) Nurturable Activity: the meeting was with a prospect that had the right decision maker profile, and it has potential, but needs nurturing over time. A portion of these will convert to sales activity over time.
C) Not a Fit: the meeting was with a prospect that had the right decision maker profile, but one or both parties decided there was not a fit, the lead is closed out.
With 5 years of data, the overall distribution of meetings is roughly a third, a third and a third:
It's marginal, but the resulting outcome between phone meetings and face to face shows that phone actually has a higher percentage of immediate sales activity.
Don't get me wrong, the value of face time is huge, but isn't the value of having an active sales process more important? Things to consider:
- Sales reps can conduct more meetings if using phone, and more meetings converting at an similar rate to face to face means more efficiency.
- Reduced travel costs impacts the budget with phone meetings.
- With the advent of technology, web meeting capabilities, and trends in time management, more prospects are inclined to take introductory meetings by phone (poll results). This may result in sales reps being able to have more conversations with prospects they might otherwise not have been able to.
One drawback to phone meetings, they are more likely to blow you off. It's easy to miss a phone call, it's harder to say no to someone sitting in your lobby. Our data shows that phone meetings reschedule/cancel 20% more than face to face.
Me? I would much rather have a sales rep prove to me in a 20 minute phone call why he should come visit and use my face time. You?
Green Leads is pleased to announce that we will be a Gold Sponsor at the SiriusDecisions 2011 Summit--B2B Sales and Marketing: Forging a New Alliance. The event is scheduled May 4-6 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Resort. This event is considered the premiere B2B Sales and Marketing event of the year and if you are into Sales, Marketing, Demand Gen, and any discipline that surrounds it, this is the event to attend.
The Summit is a unique three-day conference where SiriusDecisions analysts and top sales and marketing leaders from companies of all sizes share how b2b organizations are solving critical issues that hinder predictable growth. Each year, the theme focuses on aspects of how sales and marketing can, and should, intersect. Green Leads' interest in the event is the continued focus SiriusDecisions has placed on the topic of demand generation as it pertains to building and converting quality pipeline.
"There will be a great deal of discussion around quality vs. quantity as it pertains to pipeline," explained analyst Jim Ninivaggi of SiriusDecisions’ Sales Optimization Strategies advisory service. "Our recent study shows that marketing/sales organizations that focused on the quality of leads — and not just quantity — out produce their peers with reduced lead waste.”
Demand gen specialists have long debated the topic of Sales Ready Leads--Quality vs. Quantity. I'm looking forward to hearing SiriusDecisions' findings and discuss them with my clients and peers how quality can impact the pipeline. If you had a choice of Quality vs. Quantity as it pertains to high value sales ready leads, which way would you lean? Come to the Summit and find out what the experts think about the topic. I hope to see you there.
I can’t be at the Sales & Marketing Leadership Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 11, but I encourage you to check it out. The event features keynotes from John Grosshans of SAP Americas and Justin Shriber of Oracle (the latter will be reprising his presentation from the recent Sales 2.0 Conference, which sparked a debate a pretty good debate about the future of predictive analytics and CRM.)
There will be a big emphasis on how the many ways sales & marketing can (and should) work together to shorten sales cycles and optimize lead gen. Conference host Gerhard Gschwandtner explains:
"A recent Aberdeen survey showed that 47 percent of the sales forecasts at successful companies were generated by marketing, as compared to an average 5 percent among other companies. Yet few opportunities exist for today's sales and marketing leaders to come up with a joint definition of success. The Sales & Marketing Leadership Conference will allow both groups to collaborate under one roof and walk away with tons of ideas that will give everyone a chance to advance to best-in-class status."
I also highly recommend you check out the session with Steve Richard of Vorsight. He is an inside sales/appointment setting genius and shares his expertise on stage--sometimes doing live calls to demonstrate his tips.
Register for the event using discount code SPONL2 and save $75 off the current rate.