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!
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?
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.
During the opening of the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference this week, Gerhard "G-Ice" Gschwandtner promised that he would perform a RAP to close the event Tuesday night. He did just that with comic Jeff Applebaum during the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Awards Ceremony, of which Green Leads was a finalist in two categories--Sales & Marketing Alignment and Social Media.
The ultimate reward for those diehards that lasted till the end of the day was watching G-Ice bringing down the house!
If you're not here at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference, you can follow it on the twitter stream #sm20.
The keynote speaker is Peter J. Stewart, Senior Vice President, Collaboration Technology Services of PGi, opened up with his overall theme of "Meetings". So I was inspired to share some tips focused on sales appointments.
"Meetings are Everywhere," he said, "All that work we do in B2B goes into getting a meeting."
There are several types of meetings:
- Trust is built
- Relationships are formed
- Deals are closed
- ideas take shape
- Products are created
- People are inspired
Couple tips for Sales and Marketing in a 2.0 world--as it pertains to meetings:
He closed with, "The best meetings are the meetings that are fun."
What anecdotes can you share about meetings?
The Sales Lead Management Association has opened up voting for the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. I'm on the list, so if I've earned your respect in the world of demand gen and lead generation, I'd love your vote.
The list is vast and full of some fantastic peers of mine, and you can only choose 3. So choose wisely. Members of SLMA and non-members are allowed to vote.
Here is the list. If you find someone you want to vote for, click through and place your vote.
Trish Bertuzzi - The Bridge Group
Karla Blalock - PointClear
Bob Bly - Bly.com
April Brown - Rubicon Marketing Group
Michael Brown - Purple Pig Consulting
Michael A. Brown - Business to Business by Phone Troy Burk - Right On Interactive
Brian Carroll - InTouch
Jep Castelein - LeadSloth
Elisa Ciarametaro - Exceed Sales
John Coe - The Sales and Marketing Institute
Greg Coleman - LeadQual
Lisa Cramer - LeadLife Solutions
Richard Cunningham - Right On Interactive
Mike Damphousse - Green Leads
Debra DeCosta - Direct Marketing Partners
Mary Dedrick - Performark Inc
John Doerr - Wellesley Hills Group
Mike Falkson - eti Sales Support
Bob Felsenthal - BtoB Magazine
Phil Fernandez - Marketo
Susan Friedmann - The Trade Show Coach
Andrew Gaffney - DemandGen Report
Sanjay Gala - SMARTe Inc.
Bill Goldsmith - BP Productions
Pete Gracey - AG Salesworks
Bernice Grossman - DMRS Group Inc.
Gerhard Gschwandtner - Selling Power
Ann Handley - Marketingprofs
John Hasbrouck - NewLeads C
arlos Hidalgo - The Annuitas Group
Jay Hidalgo - Annuitas Group
Christopher Hosford - BtoB
Tom Judge - Direct Marketing Partners
Russell Kern - The Kern Organization
Russ King - LeadMaster
Victor Kippes - Validar
Jill Konrath - Selling to Big Companies
Hilarie Koplow-McAdams - salesforce.com
Jim LaBelle - LeadTrack
Cliff Langston - Leads To Sales
Joe Lethert - Performark
Dan McDade - PointClear
JT McDonald - MarketNet Services Inc
Laura McGuire - Saligent dba SmartTracks
Mac McIntosh - Mac McIntosh Inc.
Mark McIntosh - Interlink1
Robert B Miller- Miller Heiman Inc.
Dan Morefield - Leads360
Ken Murray - VanillaSoft Inc
Bill Nussey - Silverpop
Kirtan Patel - LeadOrganizer
Joe Payne - Eloqua
Jeff Pedowitz - The Pedowitz Group
James Pennington - Anderson Direct Marketing
Maria Pergolino - Marketo Barbara Pfeiffer - Nurture Institute Debbie Pierce - NitroMojo
Eric Rabinowitz - Nurture Institute
Sam Reese - Miller Heiman Inc.
Bill Rice - Kaleidico
Jose Raul Rodriguez - Aon
Dan Rogers - SmartLead by The AdTrack Corporation
Anneke Seley - Phone Works LLC
Tibor Shanto - Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.
Karen Sheehey - interlinkONE
Gary Skidmore - Harte Hanks
Jeff Solomon - Leads360
Paul Staelin - Birst
Jim Steele - salesforce.com
Drew Stevens – Drew Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens - eMarketing Strategy
Chris Tremblay - Event Technologies
Tann Tueller - Harte Hanks
Frank van Veenendaal - salesforce.com
Jenny Vance - LeadGen
Mari Anne Vanella - The Vanella Group
Chris Williams - Compusystems
Keith Wolf - Virtual Appoint
Steve Woods - Eloqua
Fred Yee - ActiveConversion
Scott Zimmerman - The Cyrano Group
If you don't see the name of your favorite Lead Gen Experts, drop us a comment...
Craig Rosenberg, the demand gen expert from Focus.com recently asked me to participate in putting together the eBook, The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.
Despite my whimsical title for this blog article (little link-baiting), the eBook is full of industry expert's takes on today's sales and marketing's demand gen and selling flow -- the path from universe to prospect to client. I took a different approach to the discussion, and came up with the concept of a Demand Gen Cloud:
With the advent of Social, Sales and Marketing 2.0 techniques and tools, optimized Inbound Marketing strategies, and a much more sophisticated buyer, the days of a funnel are gone.
Buyers put themselves in the funnel where they want to be. They jump around. The influence of content and word of mouth jumps them from side to side to back and down again.
The demand gen funnel is now in the cloud. As marketers, we must constantly measure the status of the cloud and make adjustments. Combine strategies and tactics in order to maximize our results.
Harness the chaos to our advantage. Control the Demand Gen Cloud.
Get the eBook and read what these other experts had to say about Pipelines and Funnels:
Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions
Michael Brenner, Director of Online/Social Media at SAP North America
Michael Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads LLC
Christopher Doran, VP of Marketing at Manticore Technology
Barbra Gago, Social Media Manager of Cloud9 Analytics
Steve Gershik, CEO of 28Marketing
Sue Hay, CEO of BeWhys Marketing Inc.
Matt Heinz, Principal at Heinz Marketing LLC
Carlos Hidalgo, President of The Annuitas Group
Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Marketo
Adam Needles, VP of Demand Generation Strategy at Left Brain Marketing
Tom Scearce, Principal at Scearce Market Development
Matt West, Director of Marketing at Genius.com
Steve Woods, Chief Technology Officer of Eloqua
Written by Craig Rosenberg - The Funnelholic
Get the eBook here: The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.
Appointment Setting is a part of demand generation that is done through vendors that specialize in the task, or by inside sales teams that add it to their roster of tasks. Building a performing team of appointment setters, as a business or a function of inside sales, requires best practices, tips and tricks -- and most of all -- discipline.
I get asked the following question a lot when I’m on the road, be it from clients or prospects or from folks I’m chatting with during industry networking events:
“How do you get the most out of your appointment setting team?”
That's the $64,000 question. Getting the most from appointment setters is always something that’s at the forefront of our minds -- especially when maintaining both quality and quantity in the results. The minute you stop thinking about driving performance is the minute production and quality drops, and a minute lost is a minute you'll never get back.
There are several ways that you can keep your B2B appointment setting team cranking and happy, too. If your team is happy, they’re going to be executing at a higher level.
Incent Them Strategically - If you want to get the most out of your appointment setting team, you’ve got to incent them to achieve the right goals. If the most important measure is to have meetings with a positive outcome (read: logical next step in the sales process), then doesn’t it make sense that your appointment setting team is compensated on the quality of meetings rather than dials, pitches and meeting count? Old school call center tactics work, but need adjustments. We're not selling new paper subscriptions here.
SPIFF Them Periodically - Everybody loves competition, fun and reward, and a SPIFF is a great way to way bring it. If your team is chugging along but you’re looking for something to push performance or direct it in a certain direction, a SPIFF is a great tool. Do you know what your reps hold dear. Is it cash? Is it time off? Is it gift cards? Is it ego? Whatever it is, surprising them with a contest is a great way to up the team’s production and incent teamwork.
Provide Them With Sales 2.0 Tools - Don't just help your team, implement Sales 2.0 tools and techniques and make your whole organization more agile. Run a training class on LinkedIn tips and tricks. If your average appointment setter is taking 100-120 dials to get an appointment, why not demonstrate techniques that can shorten those cycles and provide better quality in the process? Add click-to-dial software for your CRM, Jigsaw and NetProspex subscriptions, or social media tools for prospecting purposes, and you’re all set.
Give Them Freedom to Work - I've seen this job done a hundred different ways. Provide freedom of technique. If someone is better starting the task with research and others are better as hard core dialers, accommodate them. Maintain best practices, but give your team the freedom to work in their comfort zone. Find ways to measure them that takes into account "their personal best practices".
Provide Them With Support - Don't just give them a pitch and a phone. Back up your appointment setters with resources and staff. Help them with things like list-building, email creations, scripting, etc. If your reps can spend less time on support tasks, that leaves more time for production. Simple as that.
Ultimately, what you want to do is get the most from your B2B appointment setters, and these are some of the ways we do that for our clients and ourselves. How do you push your team to greater achievements?
Photo Credit: ianturton via Flickr
Last month was the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston (my comments here). I connected with friends and colleagues with similar desires to increase sales and marketing production with no holds barred.
I had the opportunity in Boston to present on the topic of Increasing Productivity Without Increasing Headcount and then participating on a panel discussion on the topic. (video below)
Since my attendance at the first Sales 2.0 Conference, I had discussed with Gerhard that the topics of sales and marketing in a 2.0 world just can't be discussed separately. So the highlight of my day was when he closed the session by announcing that the next "Sales 2.0 Conference" will be known as the "Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference".
Thanks to ConnectAndSell for inviting me to speak.
Video of my presentation:
Not sure I'm going to pick up the new iPhone just yet. I'm hearing about issues with the antenna, but I'm sure I'll have to make a decision when one of my daughters drops her phone into the pool this summer and I need to sacrifice my current iPhone as a replacement. It's been a tried-and-true pattern the past 3 summers.
The iPhone 4 brings Apple customers a nicely improved design and several new features: the ability to make video phone calls, to record (and edit!) HD videos and true multi-tasking, just to name a few. What this means to me (and you) is its connection to Sales 2.0.
It's all about the evolution and use of technology -- I feel as if Apple values prospects and customers and wants to bring them value. The nature of technology is that it has to evolve, and the technology we have today is astounding. The cool part is that it's only getting better!
Sales 2.0 is all about evolution as well. It's about changing the way sales and marketing do our jobs and adapting. Sales 2.0 means that we have to evolve.
Here are three ways we can keep that evolution going:
- Improve our prospect's interactions with us - These interactions make or break the sales process. Got a poorly designed website? You and I both know that if you do, your prospects aren't coming back. Got a content-rich, informative website? Chances are they'll keep coming back even after they purchase. Is your marketing value embedded within the content prospects see as valuable? Does the sales team have the tools and information it takes to make prospects feel they are gaining value and in control of the buying cycle? Prospects want what prospects want, not always what we want.
- Better qualify MQL's - We've evolved how we bring value to prospects; now we've got to do a better job at qualifying them as MQL's (marketing qualified leads). Evolve the Quality vs. Quantity. Apple doesn't market the new iPhone to kids and teens in hopes that they will be prospects walking in to talk to an Apple Genius. They market to adult users who can afford the premium phone/service. Salespeople want the same kind of leads. Whether you do this through appointment setting, teleprospecting or lead scoring, make your sales reps want to thank you for every lead.
- Accelerate word of mouth marketing (WOM) - How many of you bought iPhones because someone let you hold it? Testimonials and referrals (word-of-mouth marketing) is one of the best -- if not the greatest -- source of new prospects for most companies. Is this Sales 2.0? Optimizing it and helping sales and marketing teams take advantage of it certainly is. Create tools, buzz and reasons for customers to bring you prospects.
Have you bought an iPhone 4? What do you think of the changes?
(Side note: what do you use it for as it pertains to sales and marketing? Me ... I've loaded Salesforce, LinkedIn and even a link to my presentations should I meet a prospect on the road.)