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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: September, 2021

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

Sep 29, 2021

Salespeople haven’t gotten many if any face-to-face meetings in the last year. They don’t get to take their clients to ballgames to build rapport. The result of COVID quarantines and working from home accelerated the trend toward digitalization 5–6 years ahead of where we’d be without the unexpected catalyst. 

Video has been huge—both synchronous and asynchronous—for the last 18 months. But what is a “sleeper” tactic that Kurt Shaver believes will be strategically implemented as part of the sales process? How does he believe you should leverage LinkedIn? Learn more in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] The difference between digital selling and social selling
  • [2:27] Why is digital selling important? How can you improve it?
  • [4:05] The blueprint for the perfect digital selling strategy
  • [5:32] The attributes that make a salesperson excel in digital sales
  • [6:50] Tools, techniques, and strategies to use
  • [8:50] Kurt’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [12:16] Your LinkedIn profile is a resource—not a resume

Kurt’s blueprint for the perfect digital selling strategy

What is Kurt’s ideal sales strategy? 

  • You have to figure out what your goals are and how you’ll measure them.
  • Once you identify your goals, figure out who you’re trying to reach, what the buying personas are, and what content does the company has to address the different buying personas in different parts of the sales cycle. Content is a huge play. 
  • On the selling side, you need the right tools in place. LinkedIn or Sales Navigator? Will you use video messaging tools or content sharing tools? 
  • You need the right training, coaching, reinforcement, ongoing metrics, and make sure it’s woven into sales so everything sticks. 

What are the attributes that Kurt believes make a salesperson excel in digital sales? Keep listening to find out!

Tools, techniques, and strategies to use

The first activity that Kurt categorizes as outbound prospecting is looking at LinkedIn as a database. Who can you target? What’s your outreach? Can you get an introduction? Can you approach them with a certain buyer persona? He advises that you take advantage of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zant, Outreach, Sales Lock, VanillaSoft, etc. 

As an individual seller building a network, you have to share relevant content on social networks about your company, industry, and yourself. You must build a reputation as a subject matter expert and go-to resource. People will come to you as a credible resource. Video is a huge area where you can use tools like OneMob, Hippo Video, Vidyard, etc. 

Kurt’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts

What strategies should you adopt? What should you avoid? 

  • Learn how to master the social network that the majority of your prospects use. In the B2B world, it’s likely LinkedIn. People in Sports and Entertainment may skew toward Twitter. If they're in advertising they may use Instagram. Be present on that network.
  • Embrace and get comfortable with being on video. All the apps are adding video—and it isn’t just social networks. 
  • If you want to get ahead of the curve, experiment with texting prospects. This strategy is the hardest to succeed with. In North America, sending a text will get you the highest response rate of any communication medium. But the bad news is that you have to be in someone’s inner circle of trust and you can’t violate that.
  • Don’t treat LinkedIn as a resume (unless you’re trying to get a job). It needs to be more like a website and a resource.
  • Don’t pounce on people when you send someone an invitation. The first words out of your mouth shouldn’t be selling. You court before you ask someone to marry you.
  • If you're trying to build rapport and you get a video conference, turn on the camera so they learn to know, like, and trust you. 

Your LinkedIn profile is a resource—not a resume

Kurt runs a program called “Selling with LinkedIn” where they help sales teams transform their LinkedIn profiles. They always start with the headline. You want it to be a customer-oriented benefit statement. It can’t just be “account executive” or “sales engineer.” You want to say “I help manufacturing engineers streamline processes to drive productivity.” 

They helped a client in a recruiting and staffing business do that. Before the training, his headline was “account executive.” In the workshop, he changed it to “I help fast-growth technology companies source and retain top programming talent.” What was the result? A VP of HR at a fast-growth technology company who couldn’t source and retain talent saw that headline. 

She reached out to him and he got into the sales cycle with her. Two months later, he closed a six-figure recruiting retainer deal with this company. It all started because he invested 5 minutes to reengineer his headline. He called out the types of customers he works with and the outcomes he hopes to achieve for them.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kurt Shaver

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Sep 22, 2021

If organizations didn’t have a social selling strategy pre-COVID, they certainly do now. But many salespeople struggle to bridge the gap from selling face-to-face to selling digitally. But is it really that different? According to Diane Helbig, it shouldn’t be. Social selling is still all about building relationships. The approach to building relationships simply starts differently. Learn all about it in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [1:39] Why is digital selling important? How can you improve?
  • [3:11] Diane’s social selling strategy 
  • [4:36] The characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [5:46] Improve your digital selling with these tools
  • [7:55] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [10:46] Sales is a verb: take action consistently

Why is social selling important? How can you improve?

Diane notes that we better have a digital selling strategy. No one knows what will happen next. Selling digitally simply increases your capacity for doing outreach. Before the pandemic, people just thought they’d work locally. Now, they’ve added digital selling into their toolbox. Because of this, organizations need to pay attention to how they interact in the digital space. 

People think it’s different than face-to-face—but it isn’t. The prospect wants the same engagement, discovery is the same, outreach is relatively the same. Even the conversations you engage in should be the same. Digital selling shouldn’t be more salesy. Too many people change their processes in a digital format and don’t see the same success. 

Diane’s social selling strategy 

Diane believes a social selling strategy needs to start with relationship-building online. It helps you consistently build and nurture relationships with people in your sphere. It allows you to be in contact with people you want sales conversations with. 

So Diane would spend time connecting and engaging with people and getting them on the phone, a Zoom call, and move the relationship forward. You can use LinkedIn to research your target market to see how you’re connected to your target market to get an introduction. These things go hand-in-hand and help you get a warm introduction. 

Improve your digital selling with these tools

Something everyone should be using is an appointment scheduling software like Calendly. Block out time on your calendar when you know people will fill it. Don’t go back and forth with someone to try and get an appointment. Use your calendar because it’s your friend. There’s real value in looking at your calendar and choosing slots where you will engage in digital selling activity. It can be connecting with people, engaging with their content, etc. Use your calendar as your way to stay structured and consistent. 

What are Diane’s digital selling dos and don’ts? Listen to learn more!

Sales is a verb: take action consistently

Diane had a friend who sold customized gift baskets. She was great at what she did. Diane had built a business relationship with her and trusted and respected her. She went through Diane’s LinkedIn connections and found 5 people she wanted to be introduced to. They tried to do the LinkedIn connection process but no one responded. 

So Diane emailed every single one of them and told her friend’s story. Every single one said they’d take her call. She did business with ⅘ of them because she got the conversation. She was discerning about who she asked to be introduced to, did her homework, and asked Diane for an introduction. Because there was a level of trust between everyone, the conversation happened. She did the rest. 

Diane learned that it’s important to know the people that you’re connected to. There is value in the quality of the relationships. Secondly, take it upon yourself to do the research and make the request. Instead of waiting for someone to be referred to you, go out there and take action consistently—with a strategy.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Diane Helbig

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Sep 15, 2021

Jamie Shanks believes all businesses have come to recognize that customer acquisition has forever changed. You no longer need to deploy endless amounts of people into the field. You can do 8-figure deals from the comfort of your own home. So sellers need to learn new skillsets to aid customers in their journey, knowing they will never be face-to-face like they were before. One of those necessary skills that must be embraced is signal intelligence. Jamie shares more in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] The difference between social and digital selling
  • [2:20] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [3:35] Signal intelligence in account selection and prioritization
  • [5:00] The attributes of a great digital salesperson
  • [6:40] Take advantage of your sphere of influence 
  • [9:18] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [12:56] Jamie’s favorite digital selling story

Signal intelligence in account selection and prioritization

According to Topo, 50% of sellers don’t meet their sales quota. 83.4% of those sellers had poor time management skills. Account selection and prioritization was the single biggest determining factor to great or poor time management. Jamie would focus on teaching teams signal intelligence. What does that mean?

Not all accounts are created equal. You should prioritize accounts based on buyer intent, relationship roadmaps, and time-based signals like maturity and job changes. These compelling events or triggers are the reasons doors get opened, whether a new account or into the core customer you want to upsell or cross-sell. You need to recognize the signals and turn them into something prescriptive. 

What are the attributes of a salesperson who’s willing and able to embrace digital selling and succeed? Listen to hear Jamie’s thoughts!

Take advantage of your sphere of influence

One of the signal categories has a sales play called “the sphere of influence.” James says to take a sheet of paper and draw a logo in the middle of a happy customer. Draw a circle around it and spiderwebs that come off it. Ask yourself: Who cares about this story? Who would this resonate with? You’ll realize that you have advocates that are being recruited to other businesses. Where is the talent going? Focus on those companies. 

Do referral road-mapping. Work with your customer success team to find out who your happy customers are. Drop into those people’s LinkedIn profiles to see who they know and have access to. One customer can give you a map of 5–10 prospective customers that are within one degree of separation from your happy customer.

Jamie’s digital selling dos and don’ts

Jamie implores salespeople to learn the skills of mining, indexing, and gathering intelligence from tools like LinkedIn. Once you’re able to extract key insights and turn them into conversations, engagements, and opportunities, you can amplify your efforts by paying for something like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It allows you to tag, save, and organize your total addressable marketing in a prescriptive way.

Don't expect that the new normal will revert to the old playbook. Unless your company took a 50% hit in revenue because you couldn't sell in person, any good CFO will re-deploy those funds to increase the yield per seller, acquire more sellers, etc. The world is reverting to normal but face-to-face meetings aren't coming back. 

The power of signal intelligence

Jamie has a customer in the UX design/software business scaling rapidly and raising hundreds of millions of dollars. They’ve started to embrace the power of signal intelligence. They’re advanced digital sellers that are mining at a global scale. A sales professional found out that one of their customers—a top 10 global bank—went to Tinder and put in an RFP for a UX design. This was one of their happy and active customers that sought an RFP from another vendor. 

So they paused and turned on their signal intelligence and recognized that a department who was looking into this solution decided to select a vendor that he was accustomed to (not realizing that Jamie’s customer was their customer). Jamie’s customer realized that there were past advocates from other customers who were newly appointed inside this bank. While they weren’t the direct buyer, they were part of a buying committee—people who could influence the action taken. 

His customer assembled those happy advocates and gave them a playbook to reach out to the decision-maker to share who they’ve used and why they had to go with this particular company. They ended up pausing the RFP, reverting back, and awarding it to Jamie’s customer. It was a $300,000 deal. If they hadn’t thought through the categories of signal intelligence (buying intent, product usage, competitive intelligence, relationship road-mapping, and time). They might’ve just walked away but they realized they had options.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jamie Shanks

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Sep 8, 2021

Brynne Tillman believes that digital selling is vitally important today more than ever. She believes that things will never go back to the way they were before—especially with prospecting in the first conversation. Going to conferences, knocking on doors, and going to trade shows will come back. But Brynne believes many companies will still do all of the top-of-the-funnel activities digitally. With the sales world bent on digital strategies, what does Brynne embrace to be the most effective? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:27] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:15] Why is digital selling important? How can you improve?
  • [5:03] Brynne’s social selling strategy
  • [9:30] The attributes of a great digital seller
  • [11:45] Tools, techniques, and strategies
  • [13:43] Top 3 social selling dos and don’ts

It’s time to add value + insight

Because people are searching digitally, you have to make sure that you are creating a first impression that’s strong enough that they’ll keep digging into your solution to their problem. According to Corporate Visions, “74% of buyers choose the sales rep who is first to add value and insight.” The only way to do this is to show up digitally. You need to be the vendor that’s the first to add value and insight. 

Brynne’s social selling strategy

You’ve got to position your professional brand as a thought leader and subject matter expert. Brynne’s strategy is focused on selling on LinkedIn. Your profile needs to shift from a resume to a resource. People are choosing the sales rep that provides value and insight—so make your profile a resource.

Secondly, you want to engage in social listening. What does Byrnne mean by that? Make sure that you know what your buyers care about. You can read through their profile, look at their client recommendations, read the content that they share, and even check out the hashtags that they use.

You also need the right content strategy. You have to create good content and engage on that content. All three of these must resonate and create curiosity in your buyer. It needs to teach them something new that gets them to think differently about how they’re doing things today. Brynne emphasizes that “A salesperson’s #1 competitor is the status quo.” If you want to have conversations around your solution, you must be compelling. They must see that what they’re doing isn’t optimal. 

You also have to nurture your existing connections. Brynne likes to call it conducting “CPR” on current connections. It’s identifying clients, prospects, and referral partners. You can do this by searching first-degree connections on LinkedIn. Who are the people you should be talking to that you’ve been ignoring? Brynne had a client that did this exercise and found an old client and within weeks closed a $1.5 million deal. Her commission paid for her daughter’s college education. 

You also need to do warm market prospecting. There’s an epidemic of cold-calling on LinkedIn (i.e. “connect and pitch” and “bait and switch”). When you’ve identified prospects, you want to search your connections to identify who they know that you want to meet. You can leverage those relationships to get warm referrals to start new conversations.

What are the attributes of a great digital seller? What are her favorite tools to use? Listen to hear Brynne’s thoughts!

Top 3 social selling dos and don’ts

There are a few things that Brynne emphasizes you must do—and a few things you should NOT do. What are they?

  • Do NOT connect and pitch. Start real conversations as if you were in a room together. Tailor your messages to be personal. Slow down your outreach to speed up your outcome. 
  • Don’t connect and forget. Everyone is guilty of this. People connect and never start conversations. 
  • Don’t post and ghost. People put out content and don’t engage with likes and comments. It takes time to build a fanbase.
  • Send a personal note with every invitation. A lot of people don’t agree with this but Brynne believes there are three reasons to do this. Taking the time to personalize the message doesn’t feel automated. You can see and remember why you connected in the first place. Lastly, it’s polite
  • Search your connection’s connections to find who they know and leverage your relationships to get introductions.
  • Capture your genius. No one reads 2,000-word blog posts anymore. People are interested in videos and quotes. 

How to leverage your connection’s connections

Eight years ago, Brynne recognized that a client was connected to one of her top prospects, Rob Curley of TD Bank. Brynne had been trying to connect with him for over a year without a response. So she went to her client and asked how they knew each other. They were in a group for parents of children with diabetes. Brynne asked if he could make an introduction. Within twenty minutes, she was given an address for a 10 am meeting the next Monday morning. Brynne would have canceled a trip to Disney World for that meeting. 

She showed up and walked in and he said, “Okay, go.” She asked why she got the meeting. He said he would do anything for his buddy. So she said, “If I can show you how your commercial lenders can get in the door the same way…” He looked at his calendar, picked a date three weeks out, and said “By the way, how much?” It was the fastest Sale Brynne ever made. He’s still her client eight years later. It shows how powerful LinkedIn is as a sales tool.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Brynne Tillman

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Sep 1, 2021

In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Bob Apollo points out that for a long period of time—because of COVID—digital selling represented the only means of engagement with a potential client. He notes that it’s hard to predict where the balance will lie going forward. We likely won’t revert to the world before COVID but we’ll see a blend between face-to-face and digital selling. So how do you succeed in a world where digital rules? Listen to this episode to learn more!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:14] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:24] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:44] Bob’s digital selling strategy
  • [8:10] The attributes of a great salesperson
  • [9:34] Tools, techniques, and digital selling strategies
  • [13:30] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:23] Focus on quality over quantity

Bob’s digital selling strategy

Bob believes one of the great things about the last 12–18 months—where most of the customer dialogue has happened digitally—is that we’ve had an opportunity to record and analyze the dialogue. Bob has observed that enlightened sales organizations have invested in intelligent analysis of their salespeople’s calls. It opened a window to see how the shape and structure of a conversation unfolds. This helps make the salesperson aware of their interactions with their customers and what they can improve. It can be a great coaching asset. 

Bob believes that there are certain competencies and skills that are important. There are a lot of salespeople who used to just “wing it” during a customer conversation. They didn’t prepare or clarify their role—and they got away with it. In the digital world, preparation and structure are key to the success of your sales conversation. An agenda, timeframe, and conditional next steps are all important. 

What are the attributes of a great digital seller? Bob shares a few characteristics he looks for, so keep listening! 

Tools, techniques, and digital selling strategies

Firstly, Bob points out that you have to make sure your salespeople are working from a professional home environment. You can’t rely on a dodgy webcam, poor quality microphone, or poor internet connection. Sales organizations have made a modest investment in making sure their salespeople have digital tools that work in an environment where they can be productive. 

There’s also a great benefit of using conversational intelligence and analytics tools. Social media—particularly LinkedIn—is a powerful ally for the salesperson when it comes to doing research. It gives a salesperson something relevant to say to the customer. Anything that allows and encourages a salesperson to do thoughtful research is a good thing. Research should be a platform for better conversations and better outreach. You have to go into a meeting with a clear sense of what you want to accomplish while recognizing that you still need to validate your planning in real conversation with the real customer. 

One of the techniques that Bob believes has been used for quite some time is “upfront commits.” In the early part of a significant dialogue—after you’ve agreed on goals, priorities, and an agenda—you want to say something like: “Would it be reasonable if we achieve the objectives that we agreed on that our next steps would be…” You talk about where you want things to go next. It’s simple, yet powerful. It helps you achieve a meaningful advance and is a great way to keep the momentum going. Listen to the whole episode to hear Bob’s top three digital selling dos and don’ts!

Focus on quality leads over quantity of leads

Bob believes that some of the best salespeople are not the ones that have the largest number of deals in their pipeline. The successful are the ones that have chosen to focus on a more qualified pipeline. They have the discipline to not pursue every attractive opportunity. A lot of good selling comes down to hard work rather than brilliance. 

Bob notes that it also partly comes down to personal confidence. Effective salespeople are confident and they will discard an opportunity when they know it’s not worth chasing. Their less confident colleagues lack that self-assurance to disqualify a weak opportunity. They’re fearful their management will question their pipeline. The bottom line? You need to be confident in your own judgment. A lack of confidence causes you to engage in useless activity that doesn’t drive the needle. It’s not about the number of calls you make, demos you've booked, and activity level. Activity doesn’t always lead to progress.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bob Apollo

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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