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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: November, 2021

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

Nov 24, 2021

Gartner’s research has shown that buyers complete 57–80% of their buying journey digitally well before they even talk to a salesperson. That’s why—according to Subhanjan Sarkar—you have to find a way to engage with your buyers before they become a lead. How do you accomplish that? Subhanjan shares some thoughts in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:35] How can you influence the customer in their buyer journey?
  • [4:51] Subhanjan’s ideal digital selling strategy
  • [7:04] 5 attributes of a great digital seller
  • [8:29] Tools + techniques + strategies to improve
  • [11:33] Top 3 digital selling dos and digital selling don’ts
  • [13:48] A genuine interest in the customer’s benefit is key

How can you influence the customer in their buyer journey?

Gartner’s research shows that about 17% of a buyer’s journey is spent between multiple vendors. You may only have 2–3% of their entire journey dedicated to you. So you need to find a way into the 57–80% of the journey that the buyer experiences independently. That’s why digital selling is critical. 

You must build your position as a thought leader to do that. Buyers don’t want to buy from vendors who only compete on price. Pricing cannot be a tool that everyone uses. To differentiate yourself, you have to understand your buyer. You can learn what a buyer is doing long before you meet them. 

Subhanjan’s ideal digital selling strategy

Subhanjan recommends mapping a buyer’s universe and start interacting early using technology and adding in a physical meeting when necessary. He recommends that you start gathering and learning about your industry verticals and create a thought leadership position in the industry. 

If you aren’t a good fit for a client, send them toward a competitor—don’t create a dissatisfied customer. If you direct them to a better fit they’ll remember you and become a fan because you cared more about solving their problem than getting a sale. Next time they have a problem, they’ll come to you first. 

What are the five attributes of a great digital seller? Listen to hear Subhanjan’s thoughts!

Tools + techniques + strategies to improve digital sales

Subhanjan believes that one of the most critical strategies a salesperson needs to embrace is early engagement. You can’t just start with a lead. By the time you get a lead, 80% of their journey is over, right? But what if you've already engaged with this lead somewhere online because you’re a thought leader in the industry? 

He also emphasizes that you need to be able to start a conversation and continue it without friction. You can share information and bounce ideas off of each other. That will prove extremely valuable. 

Lastly, you must master the specific tech tools that your company uses. He points out that everyone uses spreadsheets yet everyone is awful at them, even after 40 years. Salesforce, Hubspot, etc. are complex things you have to invest time in to master. Do this with whatever tools are necessary for your trade. 

A genuine interest in the customer’s benefit is key

A very large company in India wanted to build a vendor relationship management system (VRM). They had multiple vendors engaged. One particular vendor started the conversation by saying, “You don’t have to buy from me—have you thought of applying design thinking to the process?” The company didn’t know what design thinking was, so he offered to run a design thinking workshop for the leadership team. 

He put on a one-day virtual workshop with an expert from MIT. They learned about digital thinking and applied it to the software they were creating for managing vendors. At the end of the day, the buyers got a better spec sheet for their VRM. They came back and took consultative input from this rep and ended up buying from him. The other vendors had no clue what was going on. This is living proof that a genuine interest in the customer’s benefit is key. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Subhanjan Sarkar

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Nov 17, 2021

Kendra believes the way we sell has changed forever. Now, we have a whole new way we can work with people that we can layer onto traditional selling. You don’t have to get on a plane or drive to meet a prospective customer—you can still connect with people digitally. Digital selling allows you to meet with more people and connect with them in bite-size pieces. 

Plus, if you’re going to be successful with selling, you need to try new things. Kendra points out that you should have been selling digitally before the pandemic hit. The pandemic should have just accelerated your current strategy. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:03] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [1:41] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [3:11] The perfect digital selling strategy
  • [5:02] Attributes and characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [6:33] Continued communication is key
  • [8:05] Kendra’s top 3 digital selling dos and don'ts
  • [11:13] Be on the leading edge of technology

Attributes and characteristics of a great digital seller

They can be trained on a CRM, how to use LinkedIn, etc. but people most often get tripped up on video. Why? Because you are front and center. You can’t look down and take notes and it’s difficult to look someone in the eyes. Salespeople have to master connecting and engaging through video.

Kendra also emphasizes that writing has never been a more critical skill than it is now. You have to be able to write emails, text messages, and social media posts. Emotional intelligence is also critical. Can you sense another person’s feelings when you’re limited with body language? 

Continued communication is key

Kendra believes that continued communication is important from a strategy perspective. Whether it’s recapping a conversation via email, video, or text—you need to stay in touch frequently. In the past, salespeople didn’t always do this and could get away with it. But things are more competitive now than ever before. If you’re going to differentiate yourself, frequent communication via a variety of tools is important. 

Kendra’s top 3 digital selling dos and don'ts

Kendra’s digital selling dos and don’ts are stellar: 

  • Don’t shy away from using your camera, even if your client doesn’t turn there’s on.
  • Communicate more frequently using different mediums—including text messages. 
  • Pay close attention to what your prospects and clients are saying so you can tailor your discussion. 
  • Don’t use the same canned email for every sales situation. Sequences can help you streamline the process but the sequence needs to be tailored so your prospects and clients feel heard.
  • Don’t use the same communication method. Kendra had a prospect that wouldn’t respond to email or voicemail. So she sent a LinkedIn message to mix it up. If you have their cell phone number—and they use it in their email signature—it’s perfectly acceptable to send them a text. 
  • Don’t shy away from using the phone. It was the “first” digital strategy. 

Be on the leading edge of technology

When Kendra first started in sales, she had too many clients to cover on her own. Kendra had 300 installed accounts. She didn’t have time for everything she had to do and still hit her quota. She couldn’t go out and meet with every single client and collect orders, which felt like the most important part of the process. You need that face-to-face interaction and connection. 

But why couldn’t she get some of the information from a fax (which at the time was new technology)? She’d simply start to accept orders from clients via fax. Ever since, she consistently looks at her process and asks, “What can I do that’s different from everyone else? How can I be the leading edge and stand out?” 

Kendra got an award for taking orders over a fax machine because no one had done it before. All because she took initiative and focused on being on the leading edge of technology. 

Connect with Kendra Lee

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Nov 10, 2021

Darryl admits that digital selling is hard because there’s a lot of noise out there. The sales industry has a propensity toward reusing what’s been done before—the same emails, same LinkedIn sequences, the same ad layout, etc. and it becomes noise. So what do you need to do to improve? Hear Darryl’s thoughts in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] The difference between social selling and digital selling
  • [2:41] Understand your customer profile
  • [5:15] Darryl’s evolving digital selling strategy
  • [8:50] The attributes/characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [12:07] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve digital selling
  • [16:17] Top 3 digital selling dos and digital selling and don’ts
  • [19:19] Build thought leadership on social media

Understand your ideal customer profile and personas

Who are you targeting? It can’t just be “anyone in high tech.” You have to be granular. Having 10+ granular customer profiles is fine. Then you develop your personas within those profiles. Darryl is the CRO of VanillaSoft and they target people who are the head of sales, head of marketing, head of operations, head of finance, and the head of IT. If you don’t know their world, you can’t create hyper-personalized messaging or content that resonates with them. Salespeople drop the ball by being too generic. You need to be specific to catch more fish.

Darryl’s evolving digital selling strategy

Darryl’s digital strategy starts with account-based marketing and selling. You identify your ICPs and personas and build lists. This can give you 50 unique lists with a specific message. Then you need to advertise where they live (Google, LinkedIn, industry forums, etc.). When they come to your website, you want to be able to track their IP to see where they’re coming from. You present content on the website related to that persona. It’s about building a collection of signals. 

Then, you put programs in place to nurture and grow the leads. It takes 9–12 touches before someone responds. So you want to use a combination of social, email, SMS, and even a phone call to get them to engage. Make sure you have a sales enablement platform in place so you can see when they’ve opened the content, if they’ve shared it, if they’ve watched a video. All of these things are signals that help you have a hyper-personalized engagement attempt to get someone to a conversation. 

The attributes/characteristics of a great digital seller

A great salesperson logs into their CRM and looks for signs of engagement or conversion. If there is a signal, they use their digital tools to identify their top targets and get them in cadences to engage with them. 

Secondly, they must schedule time to go to forums, discussion groups, or wherever conversations are taking place and engage without pitching. It’s about establishing your own brand and thought leadership. Darryl emphasizes that you must also plan engagement so that everything is hyper-personalized to a prospect’s personas and signals. 

You can’t send people a generic template email or social touch. You can’t look for shortcuts and means to spam people because it’s a “numbers game.” If you aren’t converting, it doesn’t matter what your numbers are. People buy from people and if you don’t make it relational and relevant to them, they won’t trust you or find you credible. The buyer will walk away. You’ll have spent a boatload of money with no ROI because you tried to scale and take shortcuts.

Engage in your community and contribute to conversations without the expectation of receiving anything in return. It’s a long game to build your reputation and street cred. But Darryl emphasizes that it’s amazing the volume of deals that come to you when people like and trust you. It’s the lowest acquisition cost and highest conversion rate. 

Build thought leadership on social media

When Darryl started at VanillaSoft in 2017 he had zero social media presence. LinkedIn was simply a vehicle for his resume. He recognized that he didn’t have a lot of budget, so he couldn’t compete on a digital spend strategy. So he took the route of LinkedIn. He saw traction within 6 months when he had a crowd around a trade show booth. 

One year later, after continuously sharing content on LinkedIn, that same trade show booth was packed. People knew his name. This was happening around the world. Everyone came to the booth looking for him. That’s when he learned branded content and contribution to conversations was a powerful driver. 

VanillaSoft got a ton of business they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Nothing else had changed at the company. The only change was a personal brand presence geared toward building a network.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Darryl Praill

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Nov 3, 2021

Digital sales are about leveraging yourself, your service, your products, and the available digital platforms to build relationships. Social selling is where you get to socialize, connect, and have conversations. Liz Wendling emphasizes that social channels are connected to real people in the real world having real conversations. You have to humanize the connection so they feel you’re there to help. One of the ways Liz connects with potential clients is through her “Verbal 2x4.” Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to learn more about her social selling strategy!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:21] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:27] How to improve your social selling skills
  • [3:36] How to use Liz’s “verbal 2x4”
  • [4:48] The characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [5:55] Stop apologizing and stop being self-serving
  • [7:41] Top three digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [10:11] Liz’s verbal 2X4 put into practice

How to improve your social selling skills

Liz sees room for improvement in both empathy and understanding as well as flexibility and advocacy. Selling isn’t about pushing your products but listening to your potential customers to understand what they need. Only then can you solve their problems. You also have to be flexible with the changing marketplace. Potential clients want to work hand-in-hand with someone who wants to help and believes they can do so. 

Liz’s strategy is perfect because it works for her. She makes sure her message hits someone with a “verbal 2x4.” She wants to get their attention to move them toward a conversation. What can you do to get someone’s attention? What can you do that lands with an impact?

The characteristics of a great social seller

Authenticity, flexibility, and dedication are necessary attributes for any seller. Liz emphasizes you must be flexible in your process, authentic in your approach, and dedicated to follow-up and follow-through. You have to be able to have conversations (and resurrect the dead ones). Many people give up on themselves far too early in the process and blame it on the customer because “they don’t know what they want.” Be flexible and shift the message or conversation to re-engage potential clients. 

Stop apologizing, stop being self-serving, and start serving

Liz implores salespeople to stop apologizing and being self-serving with messages. What does that mean? Liz gets far too many messages saying, “I’m so sorry to bother you…” or “I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.” It not only puts the salesperson in the less-than position but does nothing to build confidence in the person you’re reaching out to. Get rid of apology language.

Secondly, don’t make it all about you. Make it all about your customer. Don’t say things like, “I’d love to get on your calendar” or “I’d love 30 minutes of your time.” You’re telling someone what YOU want instead of inviting them into a conversation that they want to be a part of. 

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

Liz’s verbal 2X4 put into practice

Liz teaches her clients to prospect on LinkedIn with a “verbal 2x4.” Liz focuses on the pain, problem, challenge, issue, or dilemma that her target market is muddling through. One area she focuses on with her consulting practice is family law attorneys. They’re spending a fortune to get leads. But they often fall short in sales conversations and conversions—so they’re losing a lot of money. 

Liz’s message hits home: “Many of the firms I work with are struggling with this, they’re spending a fortune on that, but here’s what the end result is.” Then she’ll ask for a conversation. They often respond with, “Are you a fly on the wall? How do you know this?” 

They think their attorneys are bad at closing, not fully realizing that they’re actually bad at opening. Instead of her pushing for a conversation, they’re the ones asking to get on her calendar. The outcome is always a great conversation. If you have a message that lessens the noise, you can have real honest conversations from an authentic place. 

Connect with Liz Wendling

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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