One thing I love about social media, which naysayers will tell you can't be done, is that I build friendships and relationships with people all over the world but may not have talked to them on the phone or met them in person yet. Such is the case with my guest Viveka Von Rosen. An admirer, I've followed Viveka for several years, we've communicated in social channels and developed a personal relationship. When we got on Skype to record the interview that was the first time we'd actually talked to each other personally. It was great fun!
Viveka is the author of best-selling: LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day (http://amazon.com/author/linkedinexpert) & contributing author (expert) to The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn. I help entrepreneurs, corporations, and small business owners use social media for better business and personal branding & more effective conversations with their prospects.
Connect with Viveka on LinkedIn
In this episode of The Razor's Edge I talked with Anthony about his new book - The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need. We had a great conversation about what you need to succeed in sales today and in the future. This book is for you if you are in sales but your performance isn't quite where you want it to be and you don't know why.
Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, best-selling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He's personally built businesses with annual revenue of $50M. He blogs daily at www.thesalesblog.com, a site that generates 130,000 page views monthly, and he hosts a weekly podcast called In The Arena.
In my interview with Deb Calvert, we talked about the idea that salespeople need to stop selling and start leading. An extremely interesting concept that is backed by some very solid research. Deb and her research partners did some extensive work to understand what buyers want from the salespeople they choose to work with. We are talking about specific behaviors that lead buyers in the direction of doing business with you or not.
We talked about:
The buyer research and how buyers view seller behaviors?
Several of the behaviors that buyers said were important to them.
The one change that sellers could make right now that would lead to greater sales success.
Enjoy the interview!
Deb Calvert, author of “DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected”, Top 50 Sales Influencer, President of People First Productivity Solutions, a UC Berkeley instructor (teaching the popular Sales Development Principles course), and a former Sales/Training Director of a Fortune 500 media company.
In this episode, I talked with James Muir, author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales. During our conversation, you will learn what promoted James to write the book. And did you know that the more often you try to close during a sales conversation, your chances of success actually decrease by a pretty significant margin? James also debunks some other myths about closing sales that just might surprise you.
We also talked about:
The traps that salespeople fall into when trying to close the business.
Why intent is a big deal in selling.
Why James' makes a bold statement and says that his approach is 95% effective. Listen to learn what makes it work.
The two questions that lead you in the direction of gaining commitment.
Enjoy the interview!
James Muir is a professional sales trainer, author, speaker and coach. James has shattered records as both a field rep and manager. His guidance comes from experience and the school of hard knocks. Three decades of experience has given James a fresh and practical perspective on what works in real life and what doesn’t.
He is the best-selling author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales that shows sales and service professionals a clear and simple approach that increases closed opportunities and accelerates sales to the highest levels while remaining genuinely authentic.
Those interested in learning a method of closing that is zero pressure, involves just two questions and is successful 95% of the time can reach him at PureMuir.com.
In this episode, I talk with Marietta Davis a seasoned sales professional with an extensive career in the technology industry. Our conversation focused on creating a unified customer communication strategy supported by a Customer Communications Management (CCM) approach and platform. If the goal of your organization is to have deep, meaningful relationships with their customers, relationships are built on communication. If organizations cannot communicate with their customers, then it’s difficult to have a long-term relationship. CCM provides the ability to effectively communicate with customers thereby building and deepening the relationships that organizations desire to have.
Prospecting is a critical element in keep that sales pipeline full and revenue flowing, but as Mark Hunter points out far too many salespeople avoid prospecting like the plague. In this episode, I talk to Mark about his new book: High-Profit Prospecting. Excellent book - highly recommend you check it out!
Mark defines prospecting as "an activity performed by sales and/or marketing departments to identify and qualify potential buyers.
Mark points out that prospecting is not a complex process. He believes that when you are prospecting you are looking for people who can and will buy from you. It is the quality of your prospecting efforts that lead to the development of sales opportunities. Prospecting is NOT talking to friends or people nice enough to take your call. Your goal is to find qualified buyers and that means it is just as important to get a fast no, as it is to get a win with a yes.
In this episode, I talk to Gerald Vanderpuye - CEO of BuyerDeck. It is clear that salespeople need to adapt their selling approach. Buyers are blocking cold outreach, and in fact, Gerald shares a recent story about the number of cold emails he's deleted and why he didn't give them a second look. :)
As a proud co-founder at BuyerDeck, Gerald has three passions: He loves sales, technology and creating happy customers. He has been in sales, marketing and delivering remarkable customer experiences the last 10 years. His last position was at Rackspace where he was responsible for developing sales strategy and driving business growth through existing customers and new Logo acquisitions in key markets. He led and managed a diverse team to deliver on new growth targets for both Enterprise and SMB's. He now leads the team at BuyerDeck to bootstrap the distribution of their B2B SAAS product beyond the initial traction of 12K buyers and sellers.
Visit BuyerDeck and sign up for a FREE trial IF you tell them that you heard Gerald's interview with me on The Razor's Edge.
Connect with Gerald:
In my latest podcast episode, I talked with Cian McLoughlin, Founder and CEO of Trinity Perspectives. Cian is also the author of a new book called: Rebirth of the Salesman: The World of Sales is Evolving. Are You?
We discussed the changes that have eclipsed sales during the past 10 years and why salespeople need to be thinking about how to adapt their approach. We talked about the following:
He hails from Dublin, Ireland, originally, but spent much of the past 18 years in Sydney, Australia. With a sales career spanning almost 20 years, including senior management roles in a number of the world's largest software companies, Cian is the found and CEO of Trinity Perspectives. A boutique sales training and consultancy firm, Trinity is committed to helping businesses unlock the latent potential of their customer insights.
Tim Sanders Interview: Dealstorming
In this episode of the Razor’s Edge, I talk to Tim Sanders about Dealstorming, a term he coined. Tim is also the creator of the Dealstorming sales process and Dealstorming is the title of his recently released book.
Tim’s book is so meaty and packed with great information that my book pages are already dog-eared, sections are highlighted and I’ve been writing notes in the sidebar. Really good stuff!
There are lots of great nuggets of information that Tim shares about the best way to brings deals to close. We also talked about:
You won’t want to listen to this podcast just once! So listen and enjoy and be sure to get your copy of Tim’s book here.
The 21st Century has ushered in the information age, and with it a new set of rules for success. In this current episode, I talk to Keenan about his new book – Not Taught. What it Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century that Nobody’s Teaching You.
Not Taught shares how the rules of 20th century and the industrial age no longer work and that if you want to be successful you must learn the new rules of success. Get ready for a dose of reality about work today and offers clear strategies on how to be successful in this crazy information-driven world.
We talk about:
In his blunt, motivating and passionate style Keenan tells you why doing what you’ve always done is no longer an option!
Enjoy the interview. Then go buy the book!
Keenan, is CEO of A Sales Guy Inc., a sales consulting and recruiting firm. He’s a Forbes Columnist, a Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencer, author of the popular sales blogA Sales Guy and is a highly sought after speaker. Keenan is the father of three crazy (but in a good way) girls, a PSIA Level 2 ski instructor for Vail Ski Resort and a finder of the elephant in the room.
Sales teams who are the most successful sell differently, not just more effectively. Largely, according to George, this is being spurred by global competition and the internet. Makes sense that salespeople need to be able to differentiate themselves from the competition. You can do that by helping your salespeople become skilled at consultative selling, which is married together with a solid sales process that is consistently followed. Avoid the common temptation to simply measure activity, because the right activities should be progressing the sales opportunity forward.
During the conversation, we talked about:
-Why sales organizations need to institute a solid on-boarding learning and development process for their people. Get beyond teaching product features and don't assume your salespeople really know how to sell.
-Setting salespeople up for success by starting with a clear set of expectations. Don't assume salespeople know.
-Key reasons why salespeople need to follow a process and stop killing deals by skipping important steps in that process. Did you know it can take 60% longer to lose a deal and that's the result of not following a process consistently. Your salespeople need an actionable checklist that they can follow.
-Sales coaching and why that's critical to ensuring that salespeople not only follow the process, but that you keep reinforcing the skills and behaviors that will help them achieve their sales objectives.
Finally, learn how the Membrain platform drives the right sales actions with a solid sales process. I've started to use the platform myself and love it!
In my latest podcast conversation, I talked with Stu Perlmeter about why sales organizations should conduct a thorough win/loss analysis to understand why deals either closed or did not.
Stu is an expert in designing and implementing market research that incorporates a deep understanding of social psychology and behavioral economics. Stu leads a team of ten talented researchers at 1st Resource, covering all relevant components of research: primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative.
Salespeople always seem to be looking for that quick fix, as if one actually exists. Rather than taking a targeted and focused approach, salespeople often resort to a "spray and pray" approach by broadcasting the same message to everyone.
Now with social media, spamcasting has taken on a whole new level of "please don't do that". Broadcasting over social channels is a quick way to created a less than positive brand impression - for you and for your company.
In this episode, Barb Giamanco and Doug Lehman talk about the common misuses of social channels and why you should avoid them.
Most sales messaging is overly "me" centric and are focused on what companies and their sales people want to sell versus actually caring about what buyers want and need.
"According to sales management, the salesperson's ability or inability to communicate value messages is the biggest inhibitor keeping salespeople from achieving quota." --SiriusDecisions
Can you really blame buyer's resistance to dealing with salespeople? Their experience is, more often than not, a waste of their precious time. The inability to create a value message is at the heart of this problem. Feature dumps don't cut it, and simply making more phone calls, sending more spam emails, or broadcasting your pitch to more people on social channels aren't helping you. Your sales messaging has to change!
Barb Giamanco and Doug Lehman talk about why your message matters and what yours is probably saying about you!
In this episode, Barb Giamanco and Doug Lehman chat about strategies for generating higher quality leads, in less time.
In this episode, Barb Giamanco and Doug Lehman break it down for you in Lehman's terms. There is no easy button called social selling. Like all aspects of being good in sales, how you utilize social channels as part of your sales process takes work.
Patience, planning, the right mindset and sales and technology skills all factor into the success equation too. In response to a different kind of buyer, salespeople and their leaders need to change their mindset and selling behavior.
With 2016 right around the corner, now is the perfect time to put your strategy in place, or to adjust the one you already have.
Remember, you cannot slap new technology - social channels - onto outdated sales approaches and expect to win. Cheesy selling, or is that sleazy selling, is still cheesy and buyers hate it. Adopting a new type of selling mindset means change. It means doing things differently, regardless of what worked back in the day.
It all starts with a sound strategy, backed up with great sales skills and consistent execution of your strategy.
In my recent Razor’s Edge podcast, I talked with Robin Saitz, CMO at Brainshark. The focus of our conversation was sales productivity and specifically, we talked about what is behind the sales productivity gap and what companies can do about it.
Though we’ve heard through the years from CSO Insights that roughly 52% of salespeople do not achieve quota each year (and that’s in a good economy!), Robin told me that the TAS Group reported that the number is as much as 67%. If that doesn’t keep a sales leader up at night, I don’t know what does!
As with all my guests, I learned a lot in talking with Robin.
Sales Productivity Defined
She defined sales productivity as the yield per sales rep. In other words, hitting quota in the most efficient way possible. As I came to learn and as the TAS Group numbers suggest, productivity in sales is way off the mark.
What Causes the Gap
In particular, I was struck with Robin’s point of view regarding why we have such a problem with sales productivity at all. She told me that it comes down to several things, like:
Lack of an onboarding process and specifically, a lack of focus on training selling skills. Some 38% of companies lack any kind of formal process or program for preparing new reps.
Salespeople cannot find the content/information they need when they need it. Up to 40% of their time is spent searching or trying to create the content that they need. Breaking it down that equates to 2 out of 5 sales days each week.
Sales conversations are not effective enough and there is a lack of visibility – on management’s part – in terms of understanding the behavior and knowledge of their salespeople.
What Companies Can Do
During the interview, Robin shared her suggestions for what companies need to do to close the productivity gap, who needs to be involved in addressing the issues and what to measure to ensure that you are closing the gap.
With C-Suite and corporate Board members extremely concerned about sales productivity, this interview is certainly worth 35 minutes of your time.
Learn more about how Brainshark can help your organization close the sales productivity gap.
Follow Robin on Twitter.
According to Gallup, 71% of American workers today are disengaged or actively checked out of their jobs, which creates a serious problem for organizations.
Why? 70% of customers' brand perception is determined by the EXPERIENCE with people. I'm not surprised. I see this a lot in sales. From the first interaction or touch point with a prospect what perception are you creating in their minds?
Recently, I had a conversation with Jill Rowley about selling in today's digitally disrupted world. She has some great insights into buyer behavior and the data that shows that when sales and marketing departments are working in alignment, the sales funnel is impacted at pretty much every stage of the sales cycle. While Jill told me that not enough research has been conducted to clearly shows how that inter-departmental alignment also affects customer advocacy, Jill feels strongly that there is a positive correlation there as well.
Today's savvy salespeople are incorporating social media into their sales process. The understand that we are both sellers and marketers in a digitally disrupted world where buyers can block access via the phone and email.
In my conversation with Julio, you'll learn:
It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy.
Follow Julio on Twitter.
Learn more about rFactr and their social selling platform.
Follow Tracy on Twitter.
Recently, I sat down with Carter Hostelley and Karri Carlson from Leadtail to talk about how Leadtail social insights helps marketing and sales leaders develop the right social, content and engagement strategy to reach their targeted buyers. I first learned about Leadtail when Carter reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I'd be interested in their How Sales Leaders Engage on Twitter insights report. Of course, I was immediately interested. The report, which was a collaboration with Hoover's, provides fresh insight into how sales professionals are embracing social media to better perform on the job, share what interests them and engage in conversations with customers, prospects, and influencers.I found the report to be extremely insightful. And, of course, I was pleasantly surprised to see my name on the list of people that sales leaders mentioned most often on Twitter. Nice! Get your copy here. I'll know you'll find it worth the read.