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

Feb 16, 2022
The most successful salespeople have the discipline to do what will deliver success. And territory sales planning is a critical component of that success. Most salespeople don’t see the benefits of sales planning, so they don’t do it. Salespeople underrate territory planning because they’re focused on short-term calendar-focused targets. They’re highly reactive. 

Today’s guest, Wayne Moloney, shares that the average tenure of a B2B salesperson is only 16 months and it’s steadily decreasing. He believes that having the right territory sales plan in place can lead to long-term success, growth, and longevity in the profession. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Wayne shares how salespeople can transform their plans with some simple questions. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] The largest reasons salespeople discount sales planning
  • [3:20] How to overcome reactivity with territory sales planning
  • [5:17] The ingredients for the perfect territory sales plan
  • [7:53] Attributes or characteristics that make a salesperson great 
  • [10:48] A simple territory sales plan is the key to success
  • [14:10] Top 3 territory sales planning dos and don’ts
  • [16:17] How a simple plan led to global sales success

How to overcome reactivity with territory sales planning

If you’re planning a territory, you’re clarifying and articulating where you want to go and what roads will lead to them. If you’re reactive, you’re reacting to suspects, not the right type of customers. Territory planning helps you target the right customers, establish goals for income, and ensures sales growth over time. It also helps you engage with customers early enough in the sales process to have an impact. 

A good sales plan defines the specific industries and sectors that will offer the most opportunity to you—and why. That’s the foundation of any plan. Then you must look at the characteristics of your high-value clients. That helps you identify your ICP. Focus on the organizations you can best help versus those looking for a white paper offered by your marketing teams. A good salesperson also completes a comprehensive competitive analysis (i.e. what your competitors are doing and why they’re doing it). 

Attributes or characteristics that make a salesperson great 

Accountability is critical. After 40+ in sales and business management, Wayne still has a mentor that he shares his goals with who helps hold him accountable. It’s critical to Wayne’s success and will be to yours, too. Accountability means taking responsibility for your plan and the actions you take. Another critical component? Set goals and write them down. Wayne emphasizes that “A plan that’s not written down is just a thought.” You must define and implement actions to make things happen. 

Great salespeople don’t operate as islands. Wayne worked with someone who got a group of people together and asked them to pull apart and critique his plan to strengthen his approach. One of the biggest opportunities for salespeople is achieving domain expertise. Developing this starts by knowing what businesses to focus on. You can’t be all things to all people. You need to understand and know your addressable market. 

A simple territory sales plan is the key to success

Wayne shares some simple yet strategic questions you can ask yourself to build a successful territory sales plan: 

  • Where are you now? Why are you where you are? Walk back through what’s happened with your territory, your best and worst clients, and even those you’ve lost.
  • Where do you want to be and when do you want to be there? This gives you a starting line and a finish line. The middle is the gap that will grow your territory.
  • What resources will you need? What tools do you have available to aid your planning?
  • How will you measure performance? When and how will you review your progress? When are you going to do it? How are you going to do it? Who will you involve in the process? 

Walking through these questions is the easiest way to build a plan that’s simple, easy to understand, and helps drive you to success. 

What are Wayne’s top three territory sales planning dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

How a simple plan led to global sales success

A man Wayne calls “Jim” used to work for him. Jim was very successful in his sales position but didn’t know why. He was always reluctant to make a plan. Because he was so successful, it was hard for Wayne to argue why he should build a plan. He still taught him the proper framework but never truly enforced it. 

Jim moved on and took a role with a major credit card company. One day, Jim called Wayne and thanked him. Why? Because Jim struggled in the credit card industry. So he sat back and went through Wayne’s planning process. He became the top salesperson in his organization. He closed the two biggest global opportunities because he knew where to focus his territory plan. 

As a sales manager, whatever you teach your team is not wasted if you coach them properly. Wayne’s message to salespeople? Don’t dismiss what you’re taught—it will become useful at some point in your career. 

Connect with Wayne Moloney

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Feb 9, 2022
We live in a noisy world where it’s hard to focus. But you can manage your territories better with great territory planning. If you’re a salesperson in the field every day, proper route planning can be a gamechanger. The right tool not only helps you plan the most efficient route but also helps you prioritize your sales calls in any way you see fit—annual spend, important relationships, and more. Steve Benson joins Paul in this episode to talk about his revolutionary route planning too, Badger Maps. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:46] Territory sales planning: underrated by salespeople?
  • [1:27] Sales territory planning can reduce reactive sales activities
  • [2:28] The ingredients of the ideal territory sales plan
  • [3:54] Attributes and characteristics of a great salesperson
  • [5:57] Tools + tactics + strategies to improve sales planning skills
  • [8:20] What Badger mapping offers field-based people
  • [11:32] Top 3 territory sales planning dos and don’ts 
  • [14:42] The right tool boosts effectiveness enormously

The ingredients of the ideal territory sales plan

It’s important to take your actual territory into account when you make a plan for your territory. You want to figure out how to plan your day in a way that hits the most important customers efficiently. You need to be organized and gather data so you can prioritize in the first place. 

Some people are more organized by nature. Likewise, some people—and cultures—have a better grasp of geography than others. Some people can visualize things and use mapping or routing tools. Those that struggle with geography—and even those that are skilled—can benefit from tools like Badger Maps.

Paul covered the NE part of England when he first started in sales. His trunk was full of maps and he’d use 4–5 every single day. At the time, you had to master driving with one hand and navigating with a map in the other. He wished he had access to a tool like Bader Maps. So what can it do for you?

What Badger mapping offers field-based people

Steve was a geography major in college. He, too, used paper maps. But as mapping tools came out, he realized that sales territory planning was a problem that could be solved with technology and mobile devices. Bader Maps combines the ability to connect their customer’s data (i.e. in their CRM) into a mapping environment. It helps them see their field and determine who to prioritize as a customer (spending can be color-coded, as one example). 

It shows them where appointments are already set and helps them optimize a route based on priority. The app allows you to map out your sales territory in minutes—not hours. The algorithm behind building a route is heavy math that can't be done in your head. Badger takes mapping a territory, prioritization, and route-planning to a whole new level. It also allows you to change your route on the fly and adjust your day to prioritize high-value customers when necessary. 

Top 3 territory sales planning dos and don’ts 

Steve follows these simple—yet effective—when route planning for a sales territory.

  • Take the time to get organized. 
  • Leverage tools to be efficient; don’t design sales territories by hand.
  • Enjoy the strategizing. If you’re in the right headspace it can be fun! 
  • Don’t do it by hand (using google maps, a calendar, and CRM). 
  • Don’t blow things off.
  • Don’t strategize alone, keep your team (including management) in the loop. They can help you brainstorm and improve. 

Listen to the whole episode for more of Steve’s tricks of the trade. 

The right tool boosts effectiveness

Steve works with a company with 300 sales reps. Each one of them manages 10 partner relationships with dentists. But many of them were competing for the same dentists. Their data was a mess. So Steve helped them connect Badger with their CRM. They organized their customers, guided them in the right direction, and their sales jumped 15%. They calculated their miles and meetings throughout the process. Their miles decreased 20% and weekly meetings increased 25%. When the whole company uses the product, the results can be astounding. 

It’s worth spending your time on route planning for your territory using the right tools. You’ll drive fewer miles and bump your sales in a meaningful way. Learn more about Badger Maps in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Benson

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Feb 2, 2022

The best way to stop being reactive is to ask how you can make your targets while doing as little work as possible. What activities are important? What things can you do to make every minute as useful as possible? It starts by knowing your territory and your plan for your territory. Then you must employ some creative laziness. Learn more about Steve's unique strategy in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:47] Why is territory planning an underrated activity?
  • [2:38] How territory planning can help you be more organized
  • [3:33] Steve’s ideal territory sales plan
  • [4:47] Great salespeople need to be creatively lazy 
  • [7:35] Tools, strategies, and tactics to improve sales planning 
  • [8:30] Top three territory sales planning dos and don’ts 
  • [10:07] Focus on your niche in your geographical area

Steve’s ideal territory sales plan

A territory can mean many things to many people. Usually, it’s a geographic territory. Most salespeople believe the bigger the territory the better. Steve says that’s a lie. A focused territory where you know the customers well is better than a large territory where you’re stretched thin. A broader region leads to more challenges. Why? You may agree to take on a new client without making certain they fit in your plan. 

What do you sell? What problems do you solve? Start there. If you don’t know this, you won’t know the types of companies/people you should have in your territory. Once you define your ICP, which specific companies have problems you can solve? Are your company’s customers in a particular industry or sector? Look for people similar to your existing customers. Then you can categorize companies and plan your approach. 

Great salespeople need to be creatively lazy

Steves’s answer probably isn’t one you’d commonly hear. Great salespeople are lazy. If you want a life outside of work you have to plan and strategize. You need the ability to strategize and learn quickly. You need to be creatively lazy. 

If you get inbound leads, you can't just jump on them. Look at your territory. If the company isn’t part of your ICP, don’t waste your time on them. Refer them to someone else that is a better fit for them. 

Steve worked with a lazy account manager who took long lunch breaks and went to football games during the workday. But he was a planner. He looked at opportunities, how to get them, and who he needed to talk to to get them. Once he had a strategy in place, he followed it. He didn’t have to work that hard because he strategized well. If you’re lazy, you don’t do things because you’re “supposed to.” You only do activities that help you reach your goals. 

What are you trying to achieve? What are your end goals? What’s the best way to achieve your goals? Do nothing that doesn’t fit in your plan. Avoid distractions. You can outsource those things. Ruthlessly focus on what gets you where you want to be. 

Focus on your niche in your geographical area

For one of Steve’s first sales jobs in Australia, he was told to cold-call people and sell his software to expand their clients. He called food distributors, manufacturers, etc. He learned his company’s software wasn’t suitable for them. They could modify it but didn't have the manpower to do so. 

So Steve went back to his manager and asked him to allow them to focus on who they served best. So the two salespeople doubled down on their niche and his company became the top-selling publishing software in the world. You need to have the right piece to the puzzle. Match what you have to offer to the people that need it in your geographical territory. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Hall

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Jan 26, 2022

It’s not often that we have the honor of hosting a productivity and systems expert on the podcast, but on this episode we have just that. Liz Heiman is a national sales expert and the Founder and CEO of “Regarding Sales, LLC.” The firm she’s created focuses on building B2B sales operating systems that drive extraordinary growth. Liz and Paul continue the series on the topic of territorial sales planning by focusing on the nuts and bolts of what it takes to build a successful plan for your territorial sales efforts.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] Why Liz believes territorial sales planning to be underrated in general
  • [1:38] The challenge of “reactive selling”
  • [2:35] Ingredients of the perfect territorial sales plan
  • [5:08] What makes for a great territorial salesperson
  • [6:03] Characteristics of a great territorial salesperson
  • [9:50] Liz’s top three territorial sales planning DOs and DON’Ts
  • [11:50] A territorial sales story (that happens over and over)

Why is territorial sales planning underestimated (and underutilized)?

It’s clear from a brief look across the sales landscape that the importance of territorial sales planning is not understood. Liz believes that it’s a huge mistake to think sellers can simply begin calling leads and make sales. A plan is needed to be most effective. But why don’t sellers and sales leaders build plans?

  1. They think that a number (sales goal) is a strategy, but it’s not
  2. They don’t know how to structure an effective plan, try it, and it doesn’t work. So they never do it again because it didn’t work
  3. Management pushes them to sell but doesn’t help them accomplish that goal

Reactive selling: an Achilles heel when it comes to territorial sales planning

Liz explains that one of the worst habits a salesperson can fall into is what she refers to as “reactive selling.” What is it? What is urgent, what comes across their desk or email each morning is what absorbs their attention. This sort of focus on what’s coming to them is misleading because what’s coming to them doesn’t necessarily get them where they want to go. To avoid reactive selling, a plan is in order. It’s vital to have an endpoint in mind and therefore be clear about the activities that will get them there. Planning is the only way to prioritize those specific activities, which is what makes the achievement of sales goals a reality.

What goes into the perfect territorial sales plan?

Before moving into the elements of a territorial sales plan, Liz reiterates a foundational principle: You must have a funnel/pipeline and understand what is in it. Understand your sales cycle and its velocity. Understand your qualifying process. Understand how many leads need to go into the top of the pipeline to generate the number of sales you need. Your pipeline is the main tool you use to execute your plan. When you understand it, you can create your plan by doing the following…

  1. Assess what you sold last year, who you sold to, how it happened
  2. Break up your territory into different segments (top clients, undersold clients, referral partners)
  3. Leverage existing relationships for referrals
  4. Uncover the sales activities that fill in the gaps and generate more qualified leads

A successful territorial salesperson looks like this…

A person who is successful at territorial sales is a person who can and does learn from their mistakes. Instead of beating themselves up over their missteps, they learn the lesson it has to teach them so that they never make that mistake again. It’s learning the skill of leveraging the mistake to serve you instead of holding you back. You use it to reach where you want to go.

Liz also points out that consistency is a multiplier. When you have a well-considered plan for your sales territory and implement it every day, regardless of what comes to you, success is going to come. The right behaviors done repeatedly build success.

This episode is full of actionable tips and powerful insights to help you build a territorial sales plan that will win. Listen to get all the details from Liz Heiman.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Liz Heiman

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Jan 19, 2022

Sales superstars who work a territory — be that a geographic area or a particular industry segment — are hard to come by. But great salespeople with no experience in territorial sales can be trained, nurtured, and taught how to create an effective sales plan for their territory that leverages their natural ability into great growth and profitability. This episode features sales coach and trainer, Michael Griego who shares some of the characteristics of sales territory superstars, what goes into a great territorial sales planning process, and more.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:19] Michael Griego:Sales leader, author, speaker
  • [1:02] Why territorial sales planning is overlooked so much
  • [1:50] The fundamental part territorial sales planning plays
  • [2:53] The ingredients of a perfect sales territory plan
  • [6:48] What are the attributes of a territorial salesperson?
  • [10:54] Michael’s tips for building your own territorial sales plan
  • [12:35] Michal's top 3 Sales Territory planning DOs and DON’Ts

Why is territorial sales planning so neglected?

Micheal is quick to agree that territory planning is often overlooked. He says the simple reason for that is that reps are too busy running deals, chasing situations, trying to get deals done, doing the admin side of things, etc. He explains that when there is no clear planning process that guides daily activity those other things take the stage and planning gets pushed to the side. A salesperson without a plan can even be very successful but not necessarily in a strategic or orchestrated manner.

That’s on an individual level, but Michael says the problem exists on an organizational level as well. Often, when he goes in to consult with a company they have some type of planning process in place but it’s many times a legacy process that needs to be revamped. It may also be a sloppy attempt at planning that needs to be tightened up. Michael insists that planning at a hierarchical level (from the territory level down to the daily activity level) is critical.

The components of an ideal territorial sales plan

The good news from Micheal’s perspective is that many things that need to be done to plan effectively are intuitive. Most sales professionals who begin a planning process start with assessment of the current state of the territory — which IS the place to start. Michael explains that a good structure is needed to put a stake in the ground and say “This is what the territory is and this is what I see, currently.“ Next, Michael suggests working out a “Top 10 opportunities” list and a “Top 10 prospects” list. Doing this forces sales reps to clarify what they are really dealing with and helps make the distinction between targeted prospects and active deals.

Beyond this is the need for a development plan. The question to be answered is “What are you doing to develop the pipeline?” Webinars? Mailing campaigns? Launches? Cold calling? Once implemented the development plan needs to be reviewed and updated on a 30-60-90 day basis. Listen to hear the rest of Michael’s recommended territorial sales planning process.

Attributes of a sales superstar that carry over into a territory planning mindset

In his book, “42 Rules to Increase Sales Effectiveness” Micheal outlines the attributes of sales superstars. He says these same 5 characteristics need to exist for those who excel in territorial sales. What are the 5 attributes?

  1. Be a driver (Be motivated, on top of things, eager to implement and take action)
  2. Be a technician (Become competent with your product/solution/industry through study)
  3. Be a facilitator (Learn to be an excellent communicator)
  4. Be an empathizer (Develop your people skills and learn to be relational)
  5. Be a servant (care for customers)

Michael’s insight into organizing a sales territory is so relevant and applicable you’ll want to listen to this episode a number of times. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mike Griego

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Jan 12, 2022

To you, is territory sales planning as simple as, “I’ve got a territory, so my main goal is grow the client base within my territory”? If so, this episode’s guest, Paula White, says you could be missing the practical details that will enable you to do just that. Paula is a returning guest on this episode of Sales Reinvented and provides a significant bit of insight into how intentional and detailed planning, broken down into bite-sized pieces can help you grow sales volume within your territory.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:19] Paula White: Champion of stand-alone digital sales channels
  • [0:43] The underrated activity of territory sales planning
  • [1:18] How planning fits into day to day activity and the benefits of doing so 
  • [3:28] Intentionality includes a “leave-behind”
  • [5:11] The power of a 30, 60, 90 day plan for every salesperson
  • [6:05] A summary of Paula’s quarterly plan, broken down into 30, 60, 90 day intervals
  • [6:55] Paula’s top 3 territorial planning DOs and DON’Ts
  • [9:22] Lesson-Learned: A favorite territory planning story from Paula 

Paula’s number one ingredient for sales territory planning: Quarterly snapshots

When Paula thinks about her sales territory, she doesn’t allow herself to view it as a huge, nebulous whole that has to be grown over the course of a fiscal year. She breaks it down into possibilities, by quarter. This enables her to work with manageable groupings of existing clients and potential clients without being overwhelmed… and she does this on a quarterly basis. 

When asked what that quarterly plan consists of, Paula says that in her approach she’s identifying who she’s going to target each month within the quarter. The rhythm that works for her is to focus on target customers or prospects during month one, what she calls “bottom customers” during month two (those who perhaps do a lower volume of business or have made minor purchases to date) and then her “middle customers” during month three. One of the things Paula likes about this approach is that it allows her to fit seasonal targets into her planning in a practical manner.

Great territory sales professionals are intentional

As you hear Paula speak about her approach to planning for her sales territory, one thing becomes evident: she’s intentional. She sets goals and integrates the steps she’ll have to take in order to reach those goals into her day to day planning. This plan guides her preparation for appointments and calls and even helps her stay on track during those calls. It also enables her to create what she refers to as a “leave-behind” for each appointment — a review of everything discussed during the call for the prospect or customer to review once the call is over. This kind of intentionality increases your confidence as a seller but more importantly, enables you to serve prospects and customers in a professional manner. 

30, 60, 90-day planning is essential for territorial sales

Paula integrates intentionality with her quarterly planning by breaking each quarter down into further blocks. She creates 30, 60, and 90 day plans for herself, much like a new salesperson may be required to do as they onboard with a sales organization. She says it’s a discipline that serves veteran sellers as well as newcomers. In these smaller plans, Paula writes down who she wants to meet with, what she hopes to accomplish, how she wants to get those things done, in detail, and more. At the end of these 30, 60, 90 day blocks, she evaluates by asking a number of questions...

  • How did she do at hitting her goals?
  • What prevented success?
  • What didn’t go according to plan?
  • How can she optimize her opportunities during the next 30 days?

Paula’s top 3 dos and don’ts for territorial sales planning

To sum up Paula’s perspective on planning for success in territorial sales, she offers three “DOs” and three “DON’Ts”:

DOs

  • Be intentional and specific
  • Create a 30, 60, 90 day plan
  • Keep a smile on your face (positivity empowers your planning and production)

DON’Ts 

  • Waste your time by creating a plan but not following it
  • Assume everything will be fantastic. You have to course-correct as you go
  • Get down on yourself. Sales is tough and requires perseverance and confidence

Connect with Paula White

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jan 5, 2022

If you are a sales leader, how do you go about planning your organization’s sales territory approach? Whether you’re dealing with geographic territories or industry niches and companies within those niches, you need to use every resource available within your team to establish your territories wisely. Brynne Tillman has a wealth of insight into this sort of planning and specializes in using LinkedIn to find the best territorial fit between the target territory and the sales professionals on your team. Listen to this episode to get all the details from Brynne’s experience.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:18] Brynne Tillman: The LinkedIn Whisperer
  • [1:16] Territories help with organization and sales networking
  • [3:44] Brynne’s ingredients for the perfect sales plan
  • [5:36] A bonus for those establishing sales territories
  • [6:33] What makes a great territorial salesperson?
  • [9:43] Brynne’s DO’s and DON’Ts for sales territory planning
  • [13:57] A favorite territory sales planning story from Brynne (and the lesson learned)

Territorial sales planning can make a bottom-line difference

Strategically approaching your sales territory planning will yield tremendous results if you take the time to do it. And those in leadership within sales organizations especially need to learn how to establish and assign territories for maximum impact. Brynne says that when doing so, every element that goes into creating a lead list should be very focused. When you can define not just what to do but with whom to do it, you can be much more productive and focused. This is where Brynne’s expertise with LinkedIn shines.

She suggests that sales professionals search their ideal buyers (titles, positions, companies) and their geography using LinkedIn. Even the free version can perform searches like this on a granular level. You’ll be able to build a sizeable list of leads to qualify and approach using the advanced search functionality offered on the platform. When you do this, you don’t waste time cold-calling people who aren’t a good fit for your offering. That results in more targeted conversations, which will impact bottom-line sales. 

What is the most effective way to sell what you sell?

Many sales leaders grab a map and set of pins to begin their sales territory planning, but Brynne says that’s one of the least effective ways of going about it. She suggests that you examine your existing book of business to first, understand who your target market is and what they typically buy from you. Using that data, look at the territory in question and find the companies and organizations that possess what you might call a “look-alike” profile. In the end, you want to ensure that the filters you’re using to create your territorial sales plan produces a list of prospects that are achievable for the sales rep, both in terms of profile and geography. Brynne calls this “the planning before the planning” and says it’s a huge step toward empowering sales reps for success.

The ingredients of an effective territorial sales plan

Too often, sales leaders don’t consider their sales team’s existing relationships when assigning territories. Brynne says this is a huge mistake. As a sales leader, you can do your own research to ensure you are assigning the right sales rep to the right industry niche or geographic territory using Linked In. First, ensure you have connected with the sales rep yourself. Next, use LinkedIn’s search functionality to research your sales rep’s connections by industry and geography. You may find that a rep you intended to assign to a specific city has very few existing relationships there while another on your team has many. A successful sales rep rises and falls on relationships so don’t leave out existing connections when devising your territory strategy.

Brynne’s DOs and DON’Ts for territorial sales planning

DOs

  • Ensure that your LinkedIn profile clearly speaks to your target buyers
  • Sales leaders: Search your rep’s contacts to ensure they fit the territory
  • Talk to your reps to ensure they fit the territory you’re assigning them to

DON’Ts

  • Don’t use a map and pins to assign territories
  • Take an account-centric approach, not just account-based
  • Allow for flexibility when assigning territories because of relationship opportunities

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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Dec 29, 2021

When salespeople were forced to switch from face-to-face selling to virtual selling, they were forced to learn a different medium of communication. What you used to be able to communicate with your face, body language, energy, etc. has to be squeezed into a small square on a computer screen. Your customer doesn’t have the context of face-to-face. It requires learning new skills. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Julie Hansen shares how acting skills can benefit a salesperson and help them succeed in this virtual reality we now live in. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:43] The difference between selling face-to-face and selling virtually
  • [2:38] How businesses can improve virtual selling
  • [4:47] Julie’s virtual selling blueprint
  • [6:54] Attributes + characteristics that make a great virtual seller
  • [9:34] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve virtual sales 
  • [11:55] Julie’s virtual selling dos and virtual selling don’ts
  • [16:07] Get the virtual training you need to succeed in your role

The difference between selling face-to-face and selling virtually

Julie has a background in acting. Most actors/actresses start their careers doing live theatre. You can see your audience and what lands—or doesn’t—and adjust accordingly. Virtual selling is similar to moving to on-camera work. 

When Julie moved from live audiences to camera, she did what she did for theatre. But the director pointed out she wasn’t looking in the right place, she was out of frame, and was distracting. She learned she had to get new training to communicate in the new medium. Salespeople need to acknowledge that and learn new skills so they can communicate in a virtual environment. 

How businesses can improve virtual selling

Organizations learned that they can be more cost-effective doing sales calls virtually. Plus, McKinsey found in their research that more than three-quarters of B2B buyers prefer remote interaction versus face-to-face. You need to adapt to the new reality.

Most organizations throw tools and technology at their salesforce but haven’t realized that communication differences need to be addressed. How does the camera read behavior? What about your eye contact and facial expressions? Are you communicating what you need to? 

You have to learn to connect one-on-one on camera because sales are all about building relationships. People buy from people they like and they feel confident with. So you have to learn to establish those relationships through a camera. That’s where the growth needs to be. If you can do that, you’ll rise to the top and stand out. 

Attributes + characteristics that make a great virtual seller

Julie believes that the qualities needed to succeed are the same, whether in person or virtually. You need to be credible, keep your word, be authentic, show empathy, be an active listener, etc. But those qualities are often lost in a virtual exchange, so you have to adjust the way you communicate them.

In a face-to-face conversation, if someone stared at your shoes the whole time, you’d feel like they weren’t interested. But it happens on video all the time. You may be looking at the customer’s image, screen, tools, etc. You need to understand that the quality of active listening requires you to behave differently. You have to know when to look at the camera directly. Your fave must communicate the emotions you think it is.

What tools, techniques, and strategies does Julie recommend to improve how you portray yourself on video? Listen to learn more! 

Julie’s virtual selling dos and virtual selling don’ts

Julie shared some amazing tips to help you improve your skills:

  • You have to record yourself and you have to review it so you know how your customer sees you.
  • You have to bring more energy to a virtual call because the camera takes some away. You can be natural and comfortable but you can’t come across as laid back and low energy. Get yourself in a good high-energy state before jumping into a conversation.
  • Make sure that you are managing your tools and technology and engaging your customer. Salespeople tend to go into monologues because customers aren’t responding. Recognize that people are more passive on video and engage far less. You have to work harder to foster engagement. 
  • Don’t stare at your customers' image when they’re talking—look at the camera. But if you’re looking at the camera, how do you read body language? There are different techniques, one of which is using peripheral vision to glance at their image. 
  • Don’t assume that your customer will answer you right away. Give them a second to respond. If you ask and answer your own questions, you’ve trained them that they don’t have to respond. Silence is uncomfortable, but you have to allow them time to process and answer. 

Get the virtual training you need to succeed 

Julie got a call from an experienced enterprise sales rep who was a top biller before things moved virtually. He felt like he wasn’t connecting with his customers and that he had lost his superpower. When Julie worked with him on camera, it was obvious his personality wasn't coming across. He felt scripted and his discomfort was obvious.

She worked with him on improving his eye contact, body language, energy, and what his face was portraying. After working together, he went back to a customer where he had been shut out of a big deal. He put together a compelling and engaging personalized video that got him back in the running. 

You have to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and get the help you need to adapt to this new environment. Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Stand up for yourself and get the training that you need to succeed. 

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Dec 22, 2021

According to Walker McKay, a salesperson’s actions, attitude, and approach can lead to digital improvements. What should those actions look like? What characteristics do you need to embrace? What approaches are successful? Walker McKay answers these questions—and more—in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:07] Improve digital selling with your actions, attitude, and approach
  • [3:37] Walker’s ideal digital selling blueprint
  • [5:26] The attributes or characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [7:27] Tools, techniques, or strategies to improve digital sales
  • [8:42] Top 3 digital selling dos and top 3 digital selling don’ts
  • [11:04] Digital selling opens up a whole new world

Actions, attitude, and approach = digital improvement

Digital selling is important because it’s nearly impossible to get face-to-face with people anymore. People are working from home and you can’t just show up at their “office.” So you have to find other ways to connect with people and hold conversations. Organizations need to create expected behaviors around digital selling regarding:

  1. The actions you take
  2. The attitude you have
  3. The approach that you take

You have to start with the actions. What is the expected behavior? How many LinkedIn posts should somebody do? How many times should you reach out per week? Companies need to get comfortable that this is the way things are being done. So it’s time to build behaviors around getting appointments via text, phone, social media, and video. 

Walker’s ideal digital selling blueprint

Where should you go to find business? If it’s on LinkedIn, you can download your connections onto a spreadsheet. You can match it with your client list and make sure you’re connected with people you’re already doing business with. 

Secondly, Walker would take that list and look for some low-hanging fruit you hadn’t talked to yet. How will you get in touch with them? You can send LinkedIn messages, DMs, text messages, phone calls, and emails. You need to touch people 6–7 times using different channels to get their attention. The goal is to set an appointment, right? Set a meeting over Zoom or a similar channel. 

The attributes or characteristics of a great digital seller

Old school B2B salespeople might be in their 40s, 50s, or 60s. Even so, an openness to technology is key to their success. Secondly, salespeople need to have a strong why behind their success. You have goals you want to accomplish and achieve in life. Are you disciplined enough to reach out to people, send messages, and keep track of it? It is discipline and a desire to win being put into place.

Are you posting things on different channels? Walker has found posting a video or a how-to on social channels to be effective. If you’re selling insurance, you might post “5 Ways to Make Sure You Get the Right Insurance.” You have to be able to write well and teach people with your posts. If you’re seen as a teacher, people will come to you for help and you’ll become the professional in your space.

Digital selling opens up a whole new world

Walker is always looking for sales experts to be guests on his podcast. He was using LinkedIn to reach out to people but wasn’t getting a great response. He was reaching out to 5 people a day. But he connected with someone named Casey Jones. She didn’t respond. 3 days later, he messaged her again and they started a conversation. Turns out, they had a great connection. She was one of his best podcast guests and they’ve since collaborated on three different business deals. 

There is a network outside of you through the digital world that is much bigger and better than what you could have face-to-face. Work to build your network and ask for what you want. There’s a tremendous world of business out there. 

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Dec 15, 2021

A digital sales strategy can include social selling, video communication, and great content as a mechanism to communicate with a prospect. Whether selling digitally or in person, Liz Heiman believes that every successful seller models the 4Cs of selling. What are these characteristics? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to learn more! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:43] The difference between digital and social selling 
  • [1:55] How to improve your digital sales
  • [3:42] Liz’s digital selling blueprint
  • [5:46] The attributes/characteristics
  • [7:22] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve 
  • [8:33] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [10:13] Be creative, curious, and compassionate

How to improve your digital sales

Liz emphasizes that good selling is good selling whether it’s digital or in-person. You can’t get away with bad habits anymore because digital noise has become so loud. Just “checking in” isn’t effective. You need to be heard through the noise. If you’re going to be a good seller, you need to understand who you’re selling to and what matters to them. Then you need to have a valid business reason for interacting with them. Be relevant and intentional with your selling in the digital world. That starts with putting in place better basic selling skills. 

Liz’s digital selling blueprint

Most of Liz’s clients deal with complex B2B sales (with multiple people involved). So her digital strategy starts with an account-based approach. She works with sales and marketing to reach out to the people who influence buying decisions within a company. It takes a targeted approach with clear messaging and predefined actions that each team takes. 

Secondly, Liz recommends checking in on buyers with intention. She has her sales team—the moment they finish the last action—identify what the next action and message will be. That goes into their CRM so when they make the next interaction they remember what they’re supposed to do. 

If you have a CRM, take careful notes and list your next action. Use the tool to help you be effective. When Liz makes a call to a prospect, she looks at their last conversation. Secondly, Liz believes sending a video is imperative. If you can’t pop your head in, sending a quick video is a great way to do it. 

Liz’s Four Cs of selling

Liz believes it’s the same skills that any seller should have: the “Four Cs of selling.” You need to care about and be compassionate for your customers. You also need to be creative and curious. These skills will help you be effective. If you’re curious, you’ll do research, take notes, and look for pain points. You’ll hear what your customers are telling you and acknowledge and engage with what they’re dealing with. 

If you can’t get their attention with one strategy, you’ll get creative and try another. If your solution doesn’t work, how can you find one that does? Those are the things that matter, digital or not. You have to work harder to develop the human connection. 

What tools, techniques, and strategies can you use to improve your communication? What are Liz’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts? Listen to learn more!

The 4 C’s of communication in action

Liz tells people to use video but she hates video. But a year and a half ago, she decided to send her follow-up notes as a video. She had a client that hadn’t been responding, so she sent a video. One of the prospects had been in the process of firing someone. She asked if he was able to make a decision. 

He wrote back and said, “You must have the most amazing CRM that you can remember what we talked about last time.” She cared enough to remember what they talked about and reach out to see if they needed her help. When you care about people and listen to them, it works. Reach out to customers in a way that’s easy, convenient, and helpful for them. 

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Dec 8, 2021

Salespeople are still struggling to adapt to all of the changes that the Covid pandemic has brought about. Virtual selling is still largely at play, with some in-person interaction still sprinkled in. Tom Pisello believes that to adapt, you need to become laser-focused on helping prospects become aware of and solve their problems. To do that, you have to identify your own struggles to become more effective. Tom shares insight into this process in this episode of @SalesReinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [3:21] How to succeed with virtual selling
  • [9:32] Tom’s virtual selling strategies 
  • [10:59] Attributes and characteristics of a great seller
  • [12:04] Tools, techniques, or strategies to improve virtual sales
  • [14:15] Top 3 virtual selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:17] Foster engagement in virtual sales presentations

How to succeed with virtual selling: identify your gaps

Sellers are frustrated with how much longer purchasing decisions are taking and how many people are involved in the process. It can be difficult for them to manage. But Tom emphasizes that if you look for what buyers are saying their challenges are, it can be a turning point. When the Rain Group surveyed buyers on what they thought of sellers in the digital environment, four gaps that were recognized:

  1. Leading a prospect through a thorough discovery: Don’t just show up and throw up and make discovery as part of the process. Give a presentation with an interactive demo. 
  2. Mapping solutions to the problems that were identified: Do your best to address the root cause problems that the buyer is facing. 
  3. Listening skills: Many sellers don’t stop talking. There’s a loss of eye contact, talking over the other person, etc. You have to slow your roll in virtual meetings. Don’t be afraid to stop early and leave a cliffhanger and time to talk next steps.
  4. Making the ROI clear to the buyer: Tom’s nickname is “The ROI Guy.” Buyers care about the problem they’re solving and the business outcomes you can assure they get. Focus on the outcome you’ll give them—not what you’re selling. What can your product solve? What can it deliver in terms of quantifiable business value? Make it clear

How to succeed as a virtual seller

How do you present your sellers with discovery guides and interactive presentations? Can you provide your sellers with an interactive diagnostic assessment or a problem/solution guide to use with customers? You have to provide an interactive value assessment tool so sellers can collect data from the customer and do the number crunching to make a business case. 

Make sure you’re implementing conversational intelligence tools so you don’t have to have your head down to take notes. You need a good video presence and the ability to listen more than they talk. So learn how to maintain eye contact on video calls. 

When you do talk, you need to ask good in-depth discovery questions that help buyers be introspective. A good seller is armed with good content and tools. They’re leveraging dynamic presentations and assessment tools to add value, insight, and guidance. 

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve virtual sales

Tom recommends that content enablement groups work to examine PDFs, videos, guides, etc, that are being provided to their salespeople and think about retooling them. Can you make them interactive? Can you click on elements? Customers don’t have the patience to sit through a deck. You have to be able to pivot the conversation to what the customer wants to talk about and have content to support it. 

Tom loves doing diagnostic assessments to assess a company’s maturity and where they are in the journey. You can map out improvements that they’d like to make and give intelligent recommendations. You can benchmark them against peers. 

What about business value assessments? What challenges are they facing? What is it costing them? What’s the value potential of implementing a solution? What evidence can you share that you can deliver on this? The right tools can make a difference. 

What are Tom’s virtual selling dos and don’ts? Listen to learn more!

Foster engagement in virtual sales presentations

Tom once had 16 people in a company’s buying committee in a virtual meeting. With a crowd that large, you want to be mindful of who is paying attention. What does everyone care about? The customer was early in their decision-making process. So instead of talking about the solution, Tom mapped a day in the life of their customer’s customer and how they helped to overcome their problems. They went into how they could help address the friction this prospect was dealing with in their selling process. 

As they walked through the pieces of their sales process with the customer, he got almost everyone on the call to participate. Tom made sure he got input from everyone to make sure everyone was engaged. They took notes on what was important. When they went into the solutions part of the call, they tied back to specific people and pain points. 

Tom notes that people can be afraid to speak up in front of their CEO and other executives, so you have to be conscious of the political dynamics within the environment. You can overcome that by calling on specific people to contribute to the conversation and be heard. Above all, spend time walking through discovery with the group and make sure everyone is engaged in the pain-point portion. Be aware of the dynamics that occur and be ready with strategies to engage everyone. 

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Dec 1, 2021

Digital selling encompasses a variety of different communication channels. Whether it’s via social media, texting, email, or video, a great digital seller has to be agile and willing to use whatever medium their prospects and customers prefer. Why is that so important? Lori Richardson shares her thoughts in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:40] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [1:56] How to improve digital selling
  • [2:40] Lori’s digital selling mindset
  • [3:46] Attributes of a great digital seller
  • [5:01] Tools, techniques, and strategies 
  • [6:35] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [9:42] Communicate how your prospect prefers

Attributes of a great digital seller

You have to be able to prospect digitally. You need to do value proposition work. You need to be able to connect well with people. Then you need to build your communication skills and tools to have ongoing conversations to build trust with your buyer. You must help them with services you offer—or don’t. You want to help them in any way you can, even if it means referring a prospect to someone else. 

Lori believes there are some key sales competencies that aren’t based on personality that must be mastered. These traits help people sell more:

  • A desire and commitment to sell: Do you take responsibility? Do you have a good outlook? How motivated are you?
  • Consultative selling skills, selling value, and learning to avoid discounting.
  • Are you coachable and trainable? 

These things are critical to successful selling.

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve digital sales

Do you have a solid methodology and process in place? Are you engaging in tasks that lead to closing sales opportunities? There are thousands of tools available for marketing and sales success. Lori emphasizes you must master social selling and video, know how to follow prospects and clients on social media, and learn how to use fundamental tools like Sales Navigator. 

Lori’s top tips for digital selling

What are Lori’s digital selling tips?

  • Be genuine and authentic—it’s more important now than ever.
  • Build your brand and gain visibility on different platforms.
  • Be consistent and follow-up with prospects with a clear process in place.
  • Don’t do the spray and pray on social media. When you meet someone at an event, you don’t sell to them immediately. Why do it with digital interaction?
  • You’re in it for the long haul. You don’t have to get a deal today, so don’t push yourself on people. Sell products and services that you trust and believe in that add value for your buyers. 
  • Always add value in every interaction with a prospect or current customer. If you do this every time, people will want to talk with you. 

Communicate how your prospect prefers

Lori helped a company that had found her virtually and reached out through texting. By returning their texts, Lori answered enough questions that they felt comfortable having a phone conversation. The phone conversation led to Lori offering them some services. That turned into a solid six-figure deal. It all started with texting. They turned out to be a great client that Lori still works with today.

If someone emails or calls, Lori responds immediately. If you get back to people quicker, you have the highest chance of closing business. Even if you just schedule a time to talk further, people are blown away. Likewise, if texting is your client's preferred mode of communication, by all means, text them. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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

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Oct 27, 2021

According to Fred Copestake, social selling is using the platforms and technology available to you to create a personal brand and start conversations. Digital selling is using technology to continue conversations. The use of video (synchronous or asynchronous) is a piece of the puzzle that’s often neglected. Hear why Fred thinks that’s a huge mistake in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] The difference between digital and social sales
  • [1:49] How to improve digital and social selling
  • [2:36] Fred’s perfect digital selling strategy
  • [3:50] The attributes of a great digital seller
  • [4:51] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve
  • [7:55] Top three digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [9:58] What not to do when recording a video

Fred’s perfect digital selling strategy

Fred’s digital selling blueprint is built around video. What do you need to do on video? What’s the purpose? To communicate or achieve a goal, right? Salespeople need to be equipped with the time and skills to utilize video with their prospects and customers. The use of video in digital sales is what will keep them engaged and move the sales process forward. 

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve

Fred recommends Vidyard all the time as an asynchronous video option. It’s free and easy to use. If you’re talking synchronous video, you’ll need Zoom, Teams, etc. Then you need to figure out where and how to apply it. Where can it be used in the process? With prospecting? After-meeting follow-ups? To send a proposal? 

What is the video trying to achieve? Fred emphasizes that you must be succinct and punchy. You can get a lot across if your video is well-constructed. Another expert tip? Fred recommends investing in a great microphone to make sure you’re recording great audio. If people can’t hear you, they check out and lose concentration. The perceived credibility of the speaker also lowers if they can’t hear you. 

Top three digital selling dos and don’ts

Fred shares some great dos and don’ts: 

  • Get a good microphone.
  • Don’t mess about with childish backgrounds in your videos.
  • Use a natural background that is tidy.
  • Avoid moving off-screen or out of the shot. You are on the video all the time—act like it. 
  • Encourage your customer to have their video on. People will feel more engaged and it’s closer to the real-life environment. 
  • Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do things that some salespeople are holding back on. It’s still in its infancy and you need to take advantage of video.

What NOT to do when recording a video

Fred decided to embrace sending video emails, especially because it’s something that he preaches. He was trying to get a guest on his podcast to talk about virtual selling. In fact, he was sending a video to Tyler Lessard, one of THE experts on digital selling. So he recorded a video using Vidyard. 

Fred tried to be clever in his video and hid behind his chair, saying, “People are scared, please come on, share all of these great tips…” He sent the video without reviewing it. Turns out, he sent the video without sound. He sent a silent video of him cowering behind a chair. He prepped for the video, reflected best practices—making it relevant and personal—but forgot to double-check before he sent it. Tyler did end up on his podcast, Fred jokingly saying it was likely out of pity more than anything else. 

It’s all about preparation and follow-through. He thought about what he was going to say, how he was going to say it, and the purpose behind it (what he wanted to achieve). It was punchy and short and interesting. Give yourself a moment to prepare—and execute—well. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Fred Copestake

Connect With Paul Watts 


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Oct 20, 2021

The world is virtual—that’s not going to change. So Joanne Black emphasizes that we must learn to sell in this virtual world. That means organizations need to give their salespeople the right tools to sell virtually. How do you look into the camera? How do you have a conversation and build relationships? These are the things salespeople can do in person but struggle with digitally. If that’s you, listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for some tips and tricks from Joanne Black.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:13] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [1:45] Provide the right tools and training
  • [2:46] Joanne’s digital selling blueprint
  • [4:37] The attributes of a great digital seller
  • [5:41] Tools, techniques, and strategies 
  • [7:25] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [10:19] Share, comment, interact, and invite

Joanne’s digital selling blueprint

Joanne believes you need to have a written strategy that is clearly communicated. How does it apply to each person in your organization? How can you give them the skills to carry out the process? Joanne believes KPIs need to be attached to a social strategy and outreach. Managers tend to shoot from the hip and it leaves salespeople confused. Joanne has been virtual for years and has taken courses on how to sell virtually. She believes you must train and coach your salespeople, allow them to practice, and help them get results. 

The attributes of a great digital seller

Joanne notes that the attributes are very similar to in-person selling. You need to build relationships and play the long game. Some people believe that it’s tough to develop relationships with digital selling but Joanne disagrees. If you are well-trained and know how to look into the camera and have a conversation, you will build those relationships. Most people sell complex solutions which means you likely won’t close in one or two calls. You have to think about how to meet the buyers that are essential to closing the deal.

Digital selling dos and don’ts on LinkedIn

You have to learn how to use digital and social selling tools such as LinkedIn. People go on LinkedIn and pitch, send automated requests, and spew garbage. The best practice is to look at shared connections and read people’s recommendations. You can refer to people’s education, work history, and things they’ve written to reference in a conversation. People forget to be just as social as they would be in person. What are the rules of engagement?

  • Don’t stalk people and send automated messages: Joanne gets LinkedIn invitations and decides who to connect with and who she thinks will pitch her. Joanne connected with someone who pitched her when she responded to her acceptance. Joanne immediately removed her as a connection. This woman messaged her and asked why she removed her...Don’t pitch people in your invitation! 
  • Engage in conversation on LinkedIn. It’s so easy to “like” something. But look at the conversation and share your point of view. Comment and interact with what other people have said to build relationships. 
  • Invite people to connect who engaged with your comments with a personalized invitation. Never send a standard invitation. 

Share, comment, interact and invite

Joanne saw a post on LinkedIn from a head of sales all about referrals. People were commenting all over it and there was a lot of interaction (15–20 were chatting). Joanne added her voice to the conversation and it continued to develop. She decided to write to the head of sales and asked if he wanted to do a webinar about referrals and invite the people who had commented. 

He didn’t respond to that question. Instead, he asked her to come in and chat with his group. She had made an offer with no strings attached and it turned into business for her. If someone posts something within your area of expertise, don’t be afraid to share a best practice. It’s about being open and sharing as much as you can.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Joanne Black

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Oct 13, 2021

Graham Hawkins despises the phrase “social selling” because he believes you’re not selling—you’re solving problems. Modern selling should include leveraging data, tools, and platforms to give the buyer the experience they expect and deserve. Organizations need to acknowledge that the buyer has changed the way they behave and sales professionals must adapt. How can you create a “wow” experience for your buyer at every touchpoint? He shares his process in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] What’s the difference between digital and social selling?
  • [1:55] Why is digital selling so important? 
  • [3:30] Give your buyer a “wow” at every touchpoint 
  • [5:12] Successful sellers are specialized
  • [7:25] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [11:21] Top three digital sales dos and don’ts
  • [13:45] Sales are all about the long game

Give your buyer a “wow” at every touchpoint 

Graham’s digital sales strategy is focused on education—solving, not selling. Brute force sales aren’t necessary anymore. The buyer will never be just a number. The goal now is to educate the buyer and solve their business problems. 

When you educate, you build rapport, trust, and credibility. Once you’ve done that, Graham recommends that you use the digital platforms and tools to get the information you need to give the buyer a delightful experience at every touchpoint. Your focus should be how you can create an enjoyable experience that’s not pushy, pitching, persuading, manipulating, closing, or objection-handling. 

Successful sellers are specialized

In Graham’s book, “The Future of the Sales Profession,” the key tenant is about specialization. Buyers expect four things from salespeople:

  • That you do your research to understand them and their industry
  • That the salesperson has to personalize everything to their context
  • The buyers want to learn something from you
  • Buyers expect that the salesperson will anticipate future needs (as well as current needs)

How do you make sure you’re seen as a specialist with a high level of credibility? You need to be a resource to help them solve their business problems. 

Tools + techniques + strategies

Graham firmly believes that anyone in sales needs to invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a starting point. If you’ve identified your ideal customer and buyer personas, Sales Navigator can map an organization and show you who the key players are. 

Tools like Bombora and 6sense can actually show you who might be looking at certain topics in real-time. Seismic and Outreach can help you facilitate the delivery of educational content. Amplify your efforts with technology

Buyers are being bombarded by salespeople resorting to old tactics. If you’re being bombarded every single day, focus on differentiation. How do you become memorable

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

Sales are all about the long game

Graham’s largest client is Lloyd’s Bank in the UK. How did he win their business? Graham had engaged with Rob Michael from Aon on LinkedIn which led to him leading a workshop at Aon. He took a selfie with the group at the end and shared it on LinkedIn. He’s not afraid to show the world what he does. Plus, those photos usually get engagement. One of Rob’s friends who worked at Lloyds Bank (Wayne) liked the photo

So Graham sent a connection request to Wayne. He initiated the engagement and Wayne responded by asking to hear more about what Graham does. That’s how their conversation got started. He built credibility over 3+ months by tagging him in posts and sharing value. Eventually, Wayne reached out to connect with him in London. 

After 2.5 years of working with them, Lloyd’s announced a new CEO. Graham reached out to him immediately and introduced himself and shared that he’d worked with them for a couple of years. The next day, the CEO looked at his profile and accepted Graham’s invitation. The moral of the story? Sales are all about the long game. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Graham Hawkins

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Oct 6, 2021

Paula White jokes that digital selling was the red-headed step-child for a long time—but it was true. Because of the pandemic, we’ve learned that things can be done via the phone and technology. For salespeople to excel in this digital sales world, Paula would suggest implementing the right technology immediately. To do this, organizations need to understand what salespeople need to succeed in a remote digital sales world. Part of it? Simply remembering that you can still pick up the phone.

Outline of This Episode

 

  • [1:02] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:01] How to improve digital sales
  • [2:52] Paula’s blueprint for digital sales
  • [3:30] The attributes that make a great salesperson
  • [4:30] Paula’s favorite digital selling strategy
  • [5:23] Paula’s digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [9:03] Always sell with kindness

The attributes that make a great salesperson

 

If Paula was to build a blueprint for digital selling, it would start with training salespeople how to pick up cues over the phone. Then she’d go into assessing someone’s competencies and whether or not they can sell digitally. But salespeople who naturally have certain attributes may excel.

 

Paula believes the first attribute you need to have is active listening. You have to be able to hear and understand when a person is bored, isn’t paying attention, or isn’t interested in a product. You must understand their cues. You must actively listen for door opening signals. You need to be able to pick up on that to close the sale. Secondly, you need to be able to work remotely and not be afraid of using the phone. 

 

Paula recommends using gamification to bring competition to your teams. The best strategy is to get on the phone. Paula has always implemented a “10x10” rule i.e. making sure that your 10 calls happen before 10 am. The goal is 30–35 calls a day to reach your customers. The bottom line? A salesperson’s income comes from closing sales. 

Paula’s digital selling dos and don’ts

 

It’s easy—pick up the phone. Secondly, only sell on a need or want. What does Paula mean by that? People buy on emotion and justify it logically, so you need to find out what someone's needs or wants are. If you’re speaking to a CEO, are their needs or wants financial? Will the product make an end user’s life easier? If you’re speaking to a manager, how will it help both the end user and the financials? Pinpoint who you’re speaking with to understand their needs and wants. 

 

Paula emphasizes that you shouldn’t fake a connection. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. People feel like they’re hidden behind a screen or phone, so don’t forget to bring the human element. Don't try to oversell or you’ll lose the sale. Don’t lose the competition aspect of selling. If you go into the history of sales, you always made a sale with a handshake—it meant something. We don’t have that anymore. So you’re pushing to be in the top 4%. If you don’t have the competitive edge to win ethically, truthfully, and honestly, sales will be a challenge for you. Keeping that in mind makes you better every day. 

Sell with kindness

 

Many years ago, Paula called a customer and spoke to him around April/May. She asked for his business and he said, “Give me a call back the first week in July.” So she did. He answered the phone and he asked where she was from. She answered, “Ohio.” His response? “You don’t read the paper very much, do you?” Turns out, he had gone out of business. 

 

He was an EMS flight pilot carrying passengers to the hospital. His only plane had gone down. When she hung up, her heart sank. So she sent him a simple condolence card. He called six months later and she got all of his business, simply because of her act of kindness. She learned to do her pre-call planning—and that everyone is human. It’s only with kindness that you can grow.

Connect with Paula White

 

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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 

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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