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?
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!
When I was in college, one of my roomates used to watch The Baseball Bunch. It was designed for kids, but I loved it. You had Johnny Bench, All-Star Hall of Fame catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, teaching a group of young kids how to be better players, and each week they also got professional tips from guest ballplayers like Jim Rice, Pete Rose, Cal Ripen, Jr, and even Ted Williams! Add to that, Hall of Fame coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda, as “The Dugout Wizard,”and the San Diego Chicken, and I’m telling you, any kid who loved baseball was glued to the TV when that show was on, even the older "kids".
What I loved most about the show, though, was the advice that each guest shared with the team. I felt like I was getting a one-on-one coaching session with an All-Star right in my dorm room.
What does all of this have to do with B2B sales and marketing? Well, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of Business Development Reps over the years, and I wanted to share with you some of their “All-Star” outbound calling tips. Rather than just spout off to you a dozen or so tips that I’ve gathered over the years, I thought it would be much more beneficial for you to hear from them.
Special thanks to all of those BDR’s who helped put this together. They really are, in my opinion, the best and the brightest in the industry:
Lenny - When calling a list rather than starting at the top with the "A" companies, work the list in reverse starting with companies that begin with "Z". That way you most likely will hit the companies that get called the least.
Mira - Repetition has its benefits. However doing the same things over and over again can make you stale. This stunts growth! Listen to your peers and change things up a bit. Break out of your old routine and try something different.
Jessica - It's really just a numbers game. The more you hear no the more you hear yes. Be aggressive but nice, quick and to the point. People are busy. They want to know what you want and don't want the BS. Be yourself, have personality, and be a straight shooter. And don't be afraid to ask! The worst thing that can happen is they say "no". Be persistent, be confident, and go into every call knowing you can close.
John - When dialing high (C-level or VP) pick times to dial when the gatekeeper would be on a break (best times are 7:45am-8:00am, 10:45am-11:00am, 12:45pm-1:00pm and 4:45pm-5:00pm, in each timezones). When you do speak with an admin, and they give you a referral, ask them politely to transfer you to the referral you get.
Todd - Always have a good strategy for overcoming objections. Prospects are always going to have objections, so if you can handle the initial objections with relative ease, it will go a long way to getting an appointment for your sales team. Simplify it into a playbook. List the objections, match up the ways to overcome them. Then have those techniques memorized and natural.
Meghan - Make sure you are calling the right contacts/targets. Simply ask the prospects. Ask admins and operators. Don’t waste time calling the wrong people!
Aaron - Don't let failure stop you from pressing on. Cold calling is a numbers game and you are going to fail. And because it is a numbers game you have to press on to get to the success. Every dial is a new dial, and every smart dial is a better dial.
Bill - Make sure you let the prospect know that an admin referred you. This is a great way to add credibility to your call.
Tim - Remember, don't get discouraged with hang-ups! Everyone has a bad day once in a while! Give them some time, and try them back.
Andy - Your job is to make each prospect that picks up the phone want to learn more about your product. Your job is not to teach them about your product -- that's the sales guy's job. In otherwords, listen to their needs, and focus accordingly. No one cares about the technology you're hawking if it doesn't make their life easier, or make them more money.
Coleman - Be yourself. Though you may be selling something, if you push through the call not treating the prospect as a person, you might as well hang up the call. When you are yourself, you are able to meet the prospect at their level, and can guide the conversation.
Some good stuff, right!? What about you? What outbound calling tips can you share with the rest of the Smashmouth crowd?
If you're like me, last night you spent over four hours consumed with watching the finale to the television series LOST. Now I'll give you that it probably wasn't the best use of four hours of my life, but I've enjoyed the show so much over its six seasons that I just wanted to take the final episode in as much as I could, and for Smashmouth, that means inspiring a blog article.
The finale offered the best of what the show had given its viewers over the last six years -- confusion, excitement, joy and sorrow. It got me thinking, though -- is there a way that this relates to appointment setting? Naturally it does. Our reps feel all of those emotions while they're making dials, right? So here is my take on how those four emotions that the series LOST gave its audience parlay themselves into appointment setting:
Confusion - Our reps feel this all the time, especially when they fail to do the most important part of the job -- and that is focus. My reps' No. 1 focus is to schedule an appointment with the prospects of our clients. When they lose focus of that, naturally they're going to get confused. Teach your reps to take some time at the beginning of each call session and write down what their main goals are. Your reps don't like to be confused, and I'm betting your clients don't want them to be, either. They sell appointments, not software package XYZ.
- Excitement - Nothing builds momentum in appointment setting and inside sales like "excitement." What are you doing to raise the level of excitement for your team? It's important that you get just as excited about your reps' successes as they do! The rest of the team will glom on to that and ride that wave throughout the rest of their day, so don't lose sight on that. We SPIFF the reps several times a week. Fun stuff, from DVDs to lottery tickets, to cash bounties -- and always in a clear competition with others.
- Joy - This one's a little bit different than excitement. Joy comes from within, so help your reps to be joyful by making sure they understand the importance of their job. I've often found that when I understand why I do what I do, it makes what I do much more enjoyable. When your reps enjoy what they do, you're going to have a much more productive team, and a team that produces more tends to do what? They breed excitement, and you're right back at No. 2 from above.
- Sorrow - Sometimes you're going to have reps who gets bummed out because what they thought were going to be leads for their client turned out not to be so. Sometimes they can have a bad day, which can lead to a bad week. That can get frustrating for your reps, so help them through those times by teaching them to remember their successes. There's very little time to get negative in this job; in fact, I'd argue that there's none. If you go a day without setting meetings or generating leads, that's a day you'll never get back. So help your reps get back in the saddle by remembering times of higher achievements.
Is your team LOST?
I just made Alton Brown's Fruit Cake recipe again. All organic, btw. I've done this for several years and not only is it incredibly good, the apricot brandy I spray on it brings extra holiday cheers. Ok, so the brandy wasn't organic and was shipped from somewhere far away, but you can't green everything. Seriously, this is NOT the fruit cake you know with the artificial colored fruit bits in it. This is Good Eats!
How cool is the latest iPhone TV ad for UrbanSpoon. Free app where you simply shake your iPhone like shaking dice, and it rattles and tumbles like a slot machine and spits out a restaurant. It can use your GPS location and you can refine it by cuisine, neighborhood or price.
And then there's Shazam. Hear a song on the radio or on TV, quick, hold up your iPhone and it will identify the song for you. Thought I would test it with an arcane song an it pulled it up.
So both apps are wonderful and intuitive, but the real Hall of Famers...the marketing folks at apple, their agency and the creative team. 30 second spots on TV, showing the coolness and simplicity of the application. If they could measure click throughs of ads to downloads, I'm sure the relationship is huge. I personally have downloaded 4 apps I've seen on TV. 3 of them within 30 seconds of seeing the ad. Brilliant!
And of course, kudos to past Hall of Famers, the iPhone designers and the iPhone software developers.