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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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Now displaying: April, 2020

At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

Apr 29, 2020

Better sales engagement is what drives sales, but many salespeople are fumbling with the concept. Sales engagement platforms give you the confidence to follow-up with leads and help guide your conversations with prospects. Many salespeople aren’t utilizing a sales engagement platform—but according to today’s guest, Darryl Praill, it’s absolutely necessary. 

Darryl Praill is the Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft and is a marketing executive with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He excels with B2B marketing, is passionate about mentoring, and loves viewing obstacles as challenges. Listen to this episode for his rapid-fire advice. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] What is productivity?
  • [2:00] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [2:49] Steps to improve productivity
  • [4:16] The 5 attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [6:27] Use a sales engagement software
  • [8:03] Top 3 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [10:24] Darryl’s favorite productivity story
  • [12:15] BONUS: Pitch-slapped

How to improve productivity

According to Darryl, productivity is doing what you say you’re going to do, in the timelines you’ve committed to, at the activity levels necessary to achieve your goals. While Darryl admits that it’s a cliche—sales IS a numbers game. You need to operate with the right frequency, cadence and activity levels. 

Most often, sales professionals struggle to be productive because they don’t plan. They struggle to manage their calendar. Darryl implores sales professionals to block time on their calendar and protect those time slots as if your life depends on it. 

He also recommends knowing your targets—to define your target and chase it relentlessly. You have to know your product inside and out, typical objections, and be able to explain why what you’re offering matters to your target. 

The 5 attributes of a productive salesperson

Darryl believes the top-performing sales professionals embody some of these traits—If they don’t, they’re working hard to develop them:

  1. Competitiveness. A sales professional should strive to have the highest conversion rates and the highest quality calls. They enjoy overcoming obstacles.
  2. Committed. They must be committed to knocking things out and hitting numbers.
  3. Measurable results. Focus on what can you improve and measure. Try different scripts and see which works better. 
  4. Brutal honesty. Acknowledge your shortcomings and weaknesses and get a plan in place to improve them. 
  5. Willingness to learn. Always improve. Model after those who are more successful than you. 

You need to invest in sales engagement software

Darryl is the CMO of VanillaSoft, a leading sales engagement platform. He points out that you don’t necessarily have to use VanillaSoft, but emphasizes that a sales engagement platform is something you need to invest in. It helps feed you the right leads so you can call (or connect) at the right time using the right channels. 

He notes that 48% of leads never get called, and if they are called usually only 2-3 attempts are made. Many salespeople wait 36-63 hours before calling a lead. All of these errors kill the ability to develop leads.

Darryl recommends using a sales engagement platform, because it “bridges the gap between marketing automation and CRM software”. It can help you improve your interaction with your prospects and increase close rates. They serve you the best lead and help you qualify and triple your pipeline. 

Learn to eliminate what distracts you

Darryl admits that productivity doesn’t come easily to him. Just like many others, he’s apt to get easily distracted by social interaction and technology. The few times he’s consistently kicked butt, he’s bent on being hyper-focused. He locks his door and refuses to leave until he gets the task done. Each step he takes he sees himself progressing against his goal. As he gets closer to reaching said goal he becomes more confident. Having that one productive day amplifies his entire week. 

Darryl also recommends scheduling important activities during times when you’re at your best. He’s not a morning person and works best in the afternoons. You can’t work well when you’re tired, hungry, fuzzy-headed, etc. Above all, don’t avoid doing the work that you dislike. Instead, focus on improving it. Listen to the whole episode for his recommendations in detail!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Darryl Praill

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Apr 22, 2020

Staying productive is an ever-evolving problem as a sales professional—but leveraging the power of referrals could help. Salespeople wear many hats: they prospect, write proposals, work with internal teams, handle customers, and more. Utilizing any tactic to help smooth the process can be a gamechanger. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Joanne Black joins Paul to share her take. 

Joanne Black founded No More Cold Calling 23 years ago and has been helping sales leaders drive revenue for their teams ever since. She is a referral consultant, speaker, and author of multiple books on sales. Her goal is to help sales professionals ensure qualified pipeline leads and shorten prospecting time and increase close rate. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:19] Joanne Black joins Paul!
  • [054] What is productivity?
  • [2:00] Salespeople need to focus on discipline
  • [3:43] Do what’s closest to cash every day
  • [5:55] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [7:13] Joanne’s #1 recommendation 
  • [9:45] Top productivity dos and don’ts
  • [11:32] Joanne’s favorite productivity story

Sales professionals must face a hard truth

Joanne doesn’t mince words—she believes many sales professionals are lazy and lack discipline. She notes that salespeople do everything they can to avoid prospecting and connecting with customers. Salespeople resist CRM and systems because it is more work. It’s expected that marketing will source and send leads down the pipeline. 

But sales professionals are accountable for what they produce. They must take a long hard look at their behaviors and systems in place. Society as a whole wants the end results without the work that goes with it. Sales professionals must work hard to overcome the preconception that people have that they’re lazy. That starts by learning to be disciplined and staying accountable

Do what’s “closest to cash” every day

Joanne’s mantra is “do what’s closest to cash every day”. What do you have to do to move things along and meet your quota? Is it writing a proposal? Do you have to corral a team and strategize? She points out that your job is all about prospecting and proposal writing—and whatever it takes to move forward. 

To stay focused, you must prioritize and time-block what’s important. Limit how often you’re checking email and don’t get lost in the social media time-suck. She also recommends exercising and eating healthy. If you are tired and unfocused, you won’t be able to do your best work. 

STOP cold-calling and embrace referrals 

According to Joanne, it takes at least 8 touches to reach someone with cold calling. But if you get a referral? It’s one phone call and you’re in a conversation with someone who wants to speak with you. Her #1 recommendation to be more productive is to STOP cold calling and embrace referrals

This allows you to spend less time prospecting, shortens the sales process, and helps your conversion rates soar to over 70%. How? Trust. When a client refers someone to you, they have already forged a level of trust with that person. That bond of trust gets transferred to you and completely changes the conversation you have.

Focus on what customers are saying (or NOT saying)

Joanne believes many salespeople are so bent on “doing” that they don’t think to ask what customers actually need. Every customer needs and wants different things and you can’t assume you know what those needs are without listening first. Joanne believes, “Every individual has a different need to know at a different time”. It’s your job to find out what that need is and provide a solution. 

You also need to be able to know when a client is giving you the brush-off—by understanding their silence. Joanne worked for a company that was contacted to submit a proposal for what would have been a million-dollar deal. They were looking for some advanced sales training and their current vendor didn’t offer what they needed. But her contact gave her the runaround and Joanne ended up losing the deal. 

The constant stalling and dodging of calls was a red-flag that Joanne missed. Be sure you’re paying attention to a potential client to get a concrete answer—”maybe” or “not sure” isn’t good enough. Getting a concrete “yes” or “no” will keep you from wasting your time and lead to more productivity. Listen to the whole episode for all of Joanne’s strategies to stay productive!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Joanne Black

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Apr 15, 2020

Communication skills are necessary across all job fields, but Anthony Solimini adamantly emphasizes its usefulness in sales. You must be able to connect with prospects on a relational level. You need to effectively communicate the desired outcome of meetings. Above all, a salesperson must be able to ask for the sale. The foundation of a sales professional’s job must be excellent communication skills. According to Anthony, it separates the winners from the “averagers”. 

Anthony Solimini has worked internationally in London, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong in banking and sales. He is currently the Business Development Advisor at CSI Financial Group and starting his own training business—AGS training. He is the author of multiple books on sales and enjoys putting his comedic skills to good use on the side. He shares his expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] Anthony’s definition of productivity and its importance
  • [2:42] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [3:57] Steps to improve day to day productivity
  • [5:22] Excellent communication skills are an important attribute
  • [10:03] Tools you can use to improve productivity
  • [14:53] Anthony’s top 3 productivity tips
  • [19:17] Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

When salespeople confuse efficiency with effectiveness

When Anthony was in banking in Singapore, he was told by his boss that he needed to double the number of meetings he was having weekly to increase his sales. When he did so, his sales plummeted even more. What he learned was that doing more of the wrong thing makes you less successful—and less productive. 

Salespeople are often numbers-focused. They assume that if they schedule more meetings, make more phone calls, and get in front of more people that it equates to more sales. Anthony points out the error in this thinking and iterates that it’s about quality, not quantity. If you have fewer—but more focused—meetings you will have a higher closing percentage. 

He also notes that salespeople need to be in front of the right people who have a want, need, or desire for the product or service they’re selling. If they don’t, they are taking advantage of your time and expertise to gain information or knowledge. Don’t fall into this trap

Salespeople need to have excellent communication skills—and confidence

According to Anthony, salespeople need to be laser-focused on what they want to achieve. They should go into every meeting confidently, with the ability to take control of the situation. A good salesperson should walk into a meeting with an agenda and a specific outcome they're hoping for and be able to openly communicate that to their prospect. 

Anthony points out that most top-performers are great communicators. They have the ability to build a relationship based on trust with their prospects. They show that they aren’t just there to make a sale and move on. A good communicator can present their pitch in a style that makes the other person feel comfortable. 

Anthony knows that young up-and-comers in the sales world don’t immediately embody confidence. It takes time to become proficient at what you do. You’ll fail and learn from those failures. He believes that you can rely on the confidence your company has built—that it can come from the organization until you feel confident and prepared. 

Set the scene for your meeting 

Too often, sales professionals are laser-focused on their presentation and closing the deal that they forget about the human element. Anthony believes it is important to do your research—learn as much as you can about your prospect before you show up to that first meeting. Adding a personal touch is a means of differentiating yourself from everyone else pitching to them. 

Go into the meeting and set your agenda: clearly state what you’re going to talk about and what your desired outcome for the meeting is. Anthony believes that “The sales process is 70% setting the scene and 30% closing”. After you set the scene you must adapt to your audience, listen and learn, evaluate and explain—only then do you sign and seal the deal (His SALES acronym). 

Anthony shares his basic methodology in this episode, but you can get full details by reading his book that’s listed in the resources below. 

Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

Anthony inherited an account from his boss—an account that his boss had been trying to close for 2 long years. His company had been courting this person by taking them golfing, paying for elaborate dinners, and giving away tickets to sporting events. Anthony was fed up with this prospect. He was flying every time he met with him and it had gone on far too long. 

He finally switched tactics. The next time he met with the prospect, he prepared a summary of the last two years. At the end of his presentation, he said “I get the feeling you will never do business with us” and succinctly stated it was time to stop wasting each other's time. The prospect conceded that he wouldn’t be doing business with them.

When asked why he didn’t tell them sooner, his response was a simple shrug—“no one ever asked”. Anthony’s company had wasted years on this prospect when they could’ve spent 20 minutes discovering the reasons they could never do business together. The potential client would never ruin the relationship with all of the FREE stuff he was getting!

From there on out, Anthony adopted a new policy: He would meet with a prospect a maximum of 4 times (if they sale was under a million dollars) and then ask for a yes or a no. Salespeople sometimes forget that even if they get a no, they are still closing the deal and can move on to someone who does want their business. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Anthony

Connect With Paul Watts 


Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Apr 8, 2020

It’s a day and age where accountability is key to obtaining results, but seldom put into play. According to Kristie Jones, productivity is the ability to identify and execute on tasks that will result in providing the highest value outcome from that task. But you must hold yourself accountable to the goals you’ve set—and the quotas your company sets. Kristie joins Paul to share her thoughts on how sales professionals can become more effective in their roles.

Kristie has over 15 years of experience in SaaS management with expertise in training and coaching. In 2016 she founded the Sales Acceleration Group, which specializes in helping small and mid-size businesses increase their revenue. Kristie believes many sales professionals struggle to meet their quotas because they aren’t held accountable to their goals. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to learn strategies to become a more productive salesperson. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] Kristie’s definition of productivity
  • [2:58] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [6:04] What can salespeople do to increase productivity?
  • [10:56] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [15:26] Productivity tools that Kristie recommends
  • [17:43] Top 3 dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [19:44] How Kristie landed a job with accountability and consistency 

A lack of productivity may be due to a lack of accountability

Kristie notes that productivity is a blend of art and math. You need to understand your sales math and what exactly it takes to hit your quota. If you don’t know what it looks like to reach your goals, how do you know you’re doing what it takes to make quotas? Kristie points out that you must know how many prospects you need in your pipeline at any given time. 

You also need to know what your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is. Wasting your time talking to the wrong people with the wrong businesses will halt your productivity. She recommends learning your niche—your specific region, industry, persona, etc. Once you’ve done these two things, you’ve laid the groundwork to improve productivity. 

3 ways to stay accountable to your goals

Kristie sees a shortcoming in the industry where sales leaders are not holding their reps accountable. It’s becoming a rampant cultural problem. Sales leaders need to understand their reps’ sales math and ICP. If they know this, they can track if their reps are on target to hit their goals. If they’re behind, they can step in and provide support and guidance. 

But they also need to set meaningful expectations on the front end. So how do they accomplish that? 

  1. Take advantage of coaching/mentoring your reps. It is critical, but many aren’t being coached. Sales leaders need to give their reps feedback from call monitoring or sitting in on virtual or live meetings. 
  2. Do a pipeline review meeting weekly: Kristie recommends a 15-minute meeting to go over the sales cycle checklist (link in the resources below) to look at your reps’ pipelines and gauge if they’re on target. 
  3. Complete a weekly tactical review: It’s a weekly (or monthly) one-on-one to go over goals and lay out a game plan for meeting quota. 

It takes discipline to yield results

Discipline is a character trait that nearly every guest on the show points out as an attribute a sales professional must have. Kristie also believes that past success is an indicator of future success. It’s one reason why she likes to hire former athletes—she knows they have drive and discipline. They have grit, determination, and understand the concept of hard work to reach goals. 

Kristie loves people who have a system in place. People who’ve done their due diligence and have nailed down a strategy that works for them to be productive. She knew a young rep who came in and did prospecting every day from 9–11:30 am, without fail. She refused to let deal prospects creep into her morning and was fiercely protective of that time. Anything else that needed to be done would land in her afternoons.

It’s all about finding a formula that works for you and staying consistent with it. Keep listening to hear Kristie and Paul discuss the mentality that athletes encompass that makes them ideal reps in the world of sales. 

Consistency and accountability go hand-in-hand

Kristie has found—both personally and professionally—that developing consistent (good) habits will yield more positive results. When you do the same thing every day, you begin to form habits. She believes you must hold yourself accountable to the structure that you’ve created for yourself.

Kristie was unexpectedly let go from a job she loved, and what she did next is what got her into her next job. She set up a home office and got up every day and spent her morning prospecting for jobs. She’d workout over lunch to get over the midday hump, then spent a couple more hours job-searching.

She set up networking meetings, sent out resumes, and watched webinars to continue learning and growing. She treated finding a job like it was her full-time job. After two and a half months of hard work and consistency, she landed her next job. She believes if she hadn’t kept herself accountable and followed a structured schedule her story might’ve ended quite a bit differently.

Listen to the whole episode for her top 3 dos and don’ts and more strategies to improve productivity!

Connect with Kristie Jones

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Apr 1, 2020

Today’s guest, Lisa Leitch, believes that proactive prospecting is key to productivity as a salesperson. It takes discipline, rigor, and drive to achieve results. It’s important to learn to be efficient and get into a rhythm. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lisa shares her take on productivity and a few key strategies that can help you become a more productive sales professional.

Lisa is the President and Sales Strategist of Teneo Results. She’s been a sales and training coach for over 15 years and worked with thousands of salespeople in over 250 different companies. Her mantra is “Be strategic. Be Proactive. Be Brave”. She brings years of experience in the sales world to this episode—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Lisa’s definition of productivity and its importance
  • [1:56] Why aren’t salespeople as productive as they could be?
  • [2:58] Steps to improve day-to-day productivity?
  • [4:30] What are the attributes of a productive salesperson?
  • [6:10] Lisa’s foolproof strategies to improve productivity
  • [11:58] Lisa’s favorite productivity story

Don’t get stuck in the day-to-day

According to Lisa, being in the sales industry requires rigor and determination. You need to achieve results—and discipline and rigor are what get you there. But in the sales world, no two days are the same. It puts you at a disadvantage because it’s difficult to get into a rhythm and be efficient. 

Instead of focusing on improving day-to-day productivity, Lisa proposes setting 3-year goals. Where do you and your team want to be in 3 years? You can then break those goals down into yearly, quarterly, and weekly goals. You dissect those weekly goals into 7-day tasks. It’s about having a long-term vision for success and being future-focused. 

Be clear on your ideal clients

Salespeople are often so focused on making sales and creating revenue that they lose sight of their ideal prospects. It’s not all about getting a yes—sometimes it’s about saying no. You must walk away from clients who won’t help you yield results or who you know will be high-maintenance. 

If you have clarity on your ideal client it helps you focus your prospecting. It helps you attract and do business with the right people, where you can help them grow their business. One strategy you can use is to refer clients who aren’t a good fit to other people who “serve those types of clients better”. In that way, it’s not a hard no, but the offering of a better fit.

The concept of Proactive Prospecting

A strategy that Lisa has found greatly improves her productivity is Proactive Prospecting. Salespeople always want to be growing their business and keeping their pipelines full. Lisa blocks time to prospect, reach out to existing clients, schedule meetings, and more. She points out that to grow the business you need to move the needle on your dashboard. 

Lisa blocks Thursday mornings from 7:30 am to 8:55 am. She has found that this is the most productive time to be prospecting. You catch VP’s of sales (or other senior leaders) in their offices before their 9 am meetings. They’re also more likely to respond to an email or answer their phones. She sets a goal to make at least 10 phone calls in that time slot. 

Another strategy that Lisa finds simple but effective is the “Double Whammy”. People are more likely to use email, but it is easy to accidentally delete a message. If that’s your preferred method of reaching out she recommends following up with a 2nd point of contact with a different medium such as call, text, or message on LinkedIn.

Lisa’s tips to keep you efficient

Lisa points out that if you’re trying to be more efficient you need to maximize your time. If you’re traveling to a meeting with a client, always look for a 2nd client to meet with. She also recommends shutting off your email notifier. It’s an unnecessary distraction and your messages are likely not urgent. 

Above all, don’t be a transactional seller. Do your best to answer client questions and respond to whatever they need, but focus on being consultative. When you focus on building relationships with your clients and understand their needs you can provide solutions to their challenges—and be more productive.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Lisa Leitch

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

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