Why the Best Salespeople Are SNIPERs, Not Spear-Throwers

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We all remember the adage: Good sales people are like spear throwers, whilst marketing casts the net.

Spear throwing is so ’90s. It may as well be Neolithic.

In this age of modern technology, I’ve found the machine gun is a more accurate metaphor for most salespeople when they begin.

They lack focus and often pick too many targets — many of which are not the right ones.

This often leads to longer ramp time, countless burnt leads, and a non-structured approach that’s hard to measure and even harder to repeat.

As salespeople gradually mature, I think they become more like rocket launchers.

They become more effective in closing deals, but often there is a certain amount of fall out in every deal. This is visible in:

  • Signs of weakness in the handover to customer success
  • Customers confused about features that were misrepresented or not mentioned during the sales process
  • Some internal stakeholders feeling off put by the conduct of the lead salesperson and potentially reluctant to work with them again
  • Incomplete CRM records, making attribution almost impossible
  • Key points of contact on the customer side who feel the sales person was less experienced or careless, diluting experience and brand equity

At a certain level of expertise, my best sales people evolve into revenue ‘snipers.’

They demonstrate an extraordinarily ability to research, select, and close business in a way that you can rely upon.

For ease of explanation, I’d like to introduce the SNIPER methodology. This acronym is extremely helpful in teaching and practicing the approach:

  • Select
  • Negotiate
  • Individualize
  • Personalize
  • Execute
  • Repeat

Select

A sales rep carefully takes the time to make two key selections.

The first is choosing which account to target based on extensive research (most of which can be done online using public data).

The second and most commonly forgotten step is to conduct a second degree of selection as to which POCs (point of contacts) are most likely to exhibit the problems the salesperson knows their product can solve.

A SNIPER salesperson usually updates the CRM with this information, allowing them to personalize subsequent interactions.

Negotiate

We must not forget that in most situations we seek to avoid conflict. That is why a SNIPER must exhibit supreme skills in negotiation — making the client feel as if they are being heard and that compromises are being made on both sides.

Individualize

Elite SNIPERs are known for having a trademark; the signs of their involvement are always clearly visible.

I like to use physical touches, such as wearing a cowboy hat and attending meetings with unique clothing. You can also differentiate yourself by your speaking style, professionalism, subject matter knowledge, and punctuality in replies.

The goal: Make yourself memorable and unique from the other 99 sales people who’ll come knocking on the door.

Personalize

Every effective SNIPER takes the time to tailor a strategy based on the specific characteristics of each target they select.

Although reps consistently use the SNIPER methodology, they tailor their approach to each prospect to create interest and service their unique needs.

Taking time to create one-to-one emails, proactively avoiding common vendor assumptions, and making the effort to meet in person are all signs of SNIPER’s highly personalized strategy.

Execute

Execution separates the good from the best. Often the steps above can be followed directly, yet still most people have something missing when it comes to the close.

SNIPERs attempt to complete the mission at all costs. This is justified because they’re only targeting fully qualified opportunities, as predicated by the first step.

In the unlikely event that despite following this method, something occurs dynamically which may stall the deal (such as a merger or acquisition), they are ready to immediately abort and move on to a target with a higher chance of success.

Repeat

SNIPERs are different from standard performers in that they follow this method time and time again. Stopping only to make minor technique modifications, they generally build further pipeline velocity through the efficiency created.

Additionally, their methodical approach makes them perfect future mentors for new hires and/or sales managers.

Would you rather hold onto the spear, or do you believe that the SNIPER method has a place? Let me know in the comments below.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.

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April 13, 2017 at 05:40PM

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from dw@trustradius.com (Dailius R. Wilson)

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The Most Persuasive Sales Presentation Structure of All

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If you’ve ever sat through a presentation that went around the block a few times before finally arriving at its destination, you understand the need for a clear, comprehensible structure for your message.

Structure isn’t just for keeping you, the presenter, from getting lost in the weeds. As a salesperson, you need to organize your message in a way that has the greatest impact on your audience and ultimately encourages them to take action.

Almost any structure will help you get your arms around information, prioritize, and organize it. However, the right structure can set you up for success and increase your odds of winning the business.

The Basic Three-Act Presentation Structure

Breaking content into an opening, a body, and a conclusion is the basis of most presentations, movies, TV shows, and speeches. This basic three-act structure was invented by Aristotle and has stood the test of time. It’s familiar to audiences, digestible, and easy to follow. In fact, if you’ve ever felt uncomfortable or confused watching a movie, it’s often because the writer has broken the three-act structure (Memento and Inception are two examples).

A three-act structure is a great place to start for just about any presentation. But within this framework there are several variations. For instance, you could sort information chronologically, by process, or priority, and so on.

If your goal is to educate or inform, these variations are fine — but they’re not optimal for persuasion. To do use, that the Situation, Complication, Resolution framework.

SCR: The Best Sales Presentation Structure of All

Situation, Complication, Resolution is really just a way of identifying:

  • Our present state
  • The problem
  • What should we do about it

First identified in Barbara Minto’s book The Pyramid Principle, the SCR structure is an effective way of establishing a persuasive case and will be familiar to anyone who consumes movies, TV, or books.

Here’s an example of the SCR structure in a story:

Situation: A girl is kidnapped. If a steep ransom is not paid by midnight, a bomb will explode.

Complication: The girl’s family can’t get the money together. No one knows where the bomb is except the hero. The hero is stuck on a remote island.

Resolution: The hero jumps on a plane, finds the girl, detonates the bomb, and saves the world.

If that sounds like the framework of most movies you’ve seen, there’s a good reason. The SCR structure organizes content in a way that takes people on a journey that leads to a natural conclusion. It builds up tension in the audience which increases their attention and their desire for a resolution.

By following this proven structure in sales, you can produce the same effect on your business audience. Let’s look at how you can leverage each act in your sales presentation.

Situation

To take someone on a journey, you must first know where that journey begins. In this first act, define the status quo. What is the critical business issue or challenge your prospect is experiencing, how is he addressing it, and what is the impact?

This act lays the groundwork for why your prospect needs to change and assures him you have a clear understanding of his situation. Ending this first act by painting a brief picture of where this journey can lead (i.e., current state versus potential future state) creates an uncomfortable but necessary disparity between where your prospect is and where he wants to be.

Complication

In this act, introduce complications or consequences that are likely to arise as a result of your prospect not taking action, or choosing an inadequate solution to his problem. Create tension which will make sticking with the status quo or putting off a decision less desirable.

Because most people are uncomfortable with indecision, tension taps into our innate human desire to solve the problem. Widening the gap between pain and relief increases your prospect’s urgency to take action.

Resolution

Finally, when tension is at its peak, relieve that tension by providing a clear solution to the problem and making it easy for your prospect to act upon. While many structures require the presenter to deliver a heavy handed close at this point, in the SCR structure, the resolution comes as a natural conclusion to the journey.

The SCR Presentation in Action

Let’s look at how you might use the three-act SCR structure in a business example.

Situation: An HR department is doing most of their reports manually. This currently takes 1.5 days per week of each HR person’s time.

Complication: The company is growing at a rate of 20% per year. Projected HR workload will escalate to two days per week if nothing changes and the chances for errors will increase. Employee satisfaction will decline and turnover rates will go up.

Resolution: Deploy an HR workforce application that will reduce time spent on current processes from 1.5 days per week to .25 days per week, resulting in greater efficiency, fewer errors, increased satisfaction, and a lower turnover rate.

In sales, you need every advantage you can get. Following the Situation, Complication, Resolution structure gives you a jumpstart on presenting a persuasive case for why your prospect should choose your solution and make the desired change.

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April 13, 2017 at 04:40PM

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from julie@actingforsales.com (Julie Hansen)

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Algorithms, Rules, Values, and Artificial Moral Intelligence

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I have no way to know whether or not what was reported is true, but I read that an algorithm decided which passenger was to be removed from the United Airlines flight that caused such a stir. It makes sense to me that a computer would analyze the factors determining who stays and who gets off the plane. And it shows us the limits of artificial intelligence now.

I would guess it looked at a person’s status. You aren’t likely to remove someone who has flown 1,000,000 miles with you. I am certain it looked at the price paid for the seat. It might make sense that the person with the cheapest seat has a smaller claim than someone who paid far more for theirs. I imagine that the gentleman removed from the plane was the last to check in, or something close to it.

Right now, this is a weak algorithm on which to base a decision.

I am doubtful that the decision included factors like identifying the person with the best chance of getting to their final destination on another flight and arriving at close to the same time. These people may have been more easy to sell another flight, especially if you somehow sweetened the pot.

Because the airlines operate from a scarcity mindset, I am certain the decision did not factor in other flights on other airlines that might have been leaving and arriving at close to the same time, or  direct flights to the final destination on other airlines for people who may have opted for that flight.

The algorithm isn’t yet programmed to take into account any complex factors, and it isn’t likely to have considered choices that would have cost the airlines more money but protected their brand and their relationship with their customers. Worse still, the hand off to the humans was done in the same way the decision was made: rules-based.

The problem with rules-based decisions is that you remove the “human” from “human relationships.” Values-based decisions are better. I am certain that somewhere at United Airlines headquarters, there is some written statement about their commitment to their customers. I am certain that the decision to use force instead of persuasion is at odds with their values, and I can’t imagine it being otherwise. I am certain that United Airlines wants empowered employees to exercise their resourcefulness and solve problems like this without resorting to physical violence, the end result of their decision to follow the rules instead of their values (which appear to be very legalistic and not very human as written here).

This isn’t about AI. But if it is, it’s about Artificial Moral Intelligence, something that isn’t being widely discussed as we blaze into a future where our reliance on computers is already beginning to exceed our reliance on our machines. Right now, humans still possess an ability that computers cannot, and may never be able to possess. That ability is the ability to be compassionate (or empathetic, if you like that word better).

In situations like this, the easiest way to decide how to move forward is to imagine how you would want to be treated. Resourceful employees, operating with a values-based approach instead of a rules-based approach to this decision could certainly have found a way to get a single passenger to leave the plane without physical harm.

The post Algorithms, Rules, Values, and Artificial Moral Intelligence appeared first on The Sales Blog.

April 13, 2017 at 07:55AM

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from Anthony Iannarino

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The Buyer’s Process Will Beat You – Episode 88

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A bad buying process can beat a good salesperson. The way to increase your odds of winning is to control the process by gaining agreement on the commitments you need to win–and do your best work.

The post The Buyer’s Process Will Beat You – Episode 88 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

April 12, 2017 at 10:02PM

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from Anthony Iannarino

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Machine-to-Machine Salesforce Integrations in Java with REST and SOAP

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Integrating with Salesforce is a vast area with tons of options for languages, libraries, methods, and products. I put together two projects that will help you get started doing machine-to-machine integrations in Java using the REST and SOAP APIs. I’ve specifically classified these projects as being for machine-to-machine integrations due to the difference in authentication flows.

When doing a human-to-machine integration you should use the OAuth web or mobile flow so that the credentials never pass through the integration application. In the case of machine-to-machine integrations, the integration must have an integration user’s credentials and use either the username & password OAuth flow for REST or direct authentication for SOAP. Also, I have included both REST and SOAP because there are distinct use cases for each. REST is what most people use today because it is flexible, while SOAP is more strict but provides a better out-of-the-box experience due to the Salesforce-provided client libraries. Let’s dive into each of these.

Salesforce REST Integration with Java

REST has emerged as the de-facto standard for service integration because it is a simple protocol which uses HTTP and its semantics instead of putting the semantics into the payloads. So if you want to create an Account on Salesforce you perform an HTTP POST to http://ift.tt/2p6fkzE with a JSON body like:

{ 
  "Name" : "Foo, inc." 
}

The HTTP response code and body tell you about the success or failure of the operation. For example, a successful create will have an HTTP 201 “Created” code and a body like:

{ 
  "id" : "001D000000IqhSLIAZ", 
  "errors" : [ ], 
  "success" : true 
}

To work with the Salesforce REST API you just need an HTTP client and a JSON library. Numerous community-maintained client libraries also exist for pretty much every programming platform. This example will just use REST directly instead of using a client library. If you would rather use a client library with Java, check out the Force.com REST API Connector.

Now let’s walk through a sample Java project that does this integration. You can see the full source on GitHub or grab a zip of the sample. For this example we need an HTTP client and a JSON library, so we’ve set those to the Apache HTTP Client and Jackson JSON library in the Maven build. The full application is in a single Java file. The easiest way to run this kind of sample is on the command line, so it first asks for the Salesforce username, password, OAuth Consumer Key, and OAuth Consumer Secret. To run this sample, create a Connected App in Salesforce to obtain the OAuth Consumer Key & Secret. This sample prompts for those values but in reality, externalize them to configuration like environment variables.

Once the username, password, and OAuth Consumer Key & Consumer Secret have been obtained we can login to obtain an access token. This uses the username & password OAuth flow. Now to actually use REST to fetch some Salesforce data! This is pretty straightforward:

final URIBuilder builder = new URIBuilder(instanceUrl); 
builder.setPath("/services/data/v39.0/query/") 
       .setParameter("q", "SELECT Id, Name FROM Contact"); 
 
final HttpGet get = new HttpGet(builder.build()); 
get.setHeader("Authorization", "Bearer " + accessToken); 
 
final HttpResponse queryResponse = httpclient.execute(get); 
 
final JsonNode queryResults = mapper.readValue(queryResponse.getEntity().getContent(), JsonNode.class);

This performs a SOQL query to fetch the Contact objects. Let’s see what it looks like when we run all this:

~/salesforce-rest-starter $ ./mvnw compile exec:java 
[INFO] Scanning for projects... 
[INFO] 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] Building salesforce-rest-starter 0.0.1-SNAPSHOT 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] 
[INFO] --- maven-resources-plugin:2.6:resources (default-resources) @ salesforce-rest-starter --- 
[INFO] Using 'UTF-8' encoding to copy filtered resources. 
[INFO] skip non existing resourceDirectory /Volumes/Home/http://ift.tt/2o5Zn82 
[INFO] 
[INFO] --- maven-compiler-plugin:3.6.1:compile (default-compile) @ salesforce-rest-starter --- 
[INFO] Changes detected - recompiling the module! 
[INFO] Compiling 1 source file to /Volumes/Home/http://ift.tt/2p6aBhl 
[INFO] 
[INFO] --- exec-maven-plugin:1.5.0:java (default-cli) @ salesforce-rest-starter --- 
Salesforce Username: t@t.test 
Salesforce Password: 
Salesforce Consumer Key: 3MVG9y6x0357HlefecAM3Fyy5j8AeQBEqRCchpemMuxwwIY7AEcFFudt 
Salesforce Consumer Secret: 
{ 
  "totalSize" : 2, 
  "done" : true, 
  "records" : [ 
    { 
      "attributes" : { 
        "type" : "Contact", 
        "url" : "/services/data/v20.0/sobjects/Contact/0031a000004oQ9eAAE" 
      }, 
      "Id" : "0031a000004oQ9eAAE", 
      "Name" : "Rose Gonzalez" 
    }, 
    { 
      "attributes" : { 
        "type" : "Contact", 
        "url" : "/services/data/v20.0/sobjects/Contact/0031a000004oQ9fAAE" 
      }, 
      "Id" : "0031a000004oQ9fAAE", 
      "Name" : "Sean Forbes" 
    } 
  ] 
} 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] Total time: 36.291 s 
[INFO] Finished at: 2017-03-27T15:43:11-06:00 
[INFO] Final Memory: 23M/178M 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

From there you can build any kind of integration with Salesforce data! Note that there is also a REST API for working with the Salesforce metadata if you need to work with the data that describes the data.

Salesforce SOAP Integration with Java

SOAP can be used over any transport protocol so it does not use the semantics of HTTP. Instead it encodes operation information (i.e. create, get, etc) and data types into the payload. This results in a much more verbose protocol which is not often used directly. SOAP also includes the concept of a service descriptor, called a WSDL. This enables client libraries to be generated from that description.

Salesforce generates SOAP client libraries for Java with every new release and publishes them to Maven Central so they can easily be specified as dependencies in Java project builds. You can see the Salesforce SOAP client artifact list and the dependency information on Maven Central. These client libraries have transitive dependencies on the underlying HTTP client and XML libraries that are used under the covers. So you don’t have to work with the protocol, just a type-safe wrapper around it.

Let’s walk through a sample integration Java project using the Salesforce SOAP library. You can see the full source on GitHub or grab a zip of the sample.

First in the project build definition you will see the dependencies on the Salesforce SOAP library. The application is a single file to keep things simple and can be run from an IDE or the command line. It gets the username and password from the command line parameters or asks for them. In the real world, externalize your integration user’s credentials possibly using environment variables. The credentials are then used to login to Salesforce. Once logged in we can invoke a SOAP operation like a query for contacts:

final QueryResult queryResult = partnerConnection.query("SELECT Id, Name FROM Contact"); 
Arrays.stream(queryResult.getRecords()).forEach(System.out::println);

This example uses the Partner WSDL which can be safely used against any Salesforce Org because it does not have type-safe representations of Salesforce metadata. You can also use the Enterprise WSDL which does include an Org’s metadata and can thus be used to generate Java types that map to that metadata. Read more about the differences between these two WSDL types in the docs.

Here is what it looks like to run this example from Maven:

~/projects/salesforce-soap-starter $ ./mvnw compile exec:java 
[INFO] Scanning for projects... 
[INFO]                                                                          
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] Building salesforce-soap-starter 0.0.1-SNAPSHOT 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO]  
[INFO] --- maven-resources-plugin:2.6:resources (default-resources) @ salesforce-soap-starter --- 
[INFO] Using 'UTF-8' encoding to copy filtered resources. 
[INFO] skip non existing resourceDirectory /Volumes/Home/http://ift.tt/2o5Xok2 
[INFO]  
[INFO] --- maven-compiler-plugin:3.6.1:compile (default-compile) @ salesforce-soap-starter --- 
[INFO] Changes detected - recompiling the module! 
[INFO] Compiling 1 source file to /Volumes/Home/http://ift.tt/2p64ZUo 
[INFO]  
[INFO] --- exec-maven-plugin:1.5.0:java (default-cli) @ salesforce-soap-starter --- 
Salesforce Username: t@t.test 
Salesforce Password:  
Querying Contacts 
XmlObject{name={urn:partner.soap.sforce.com}records, value=null, children=[XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}type, value=Contact, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Id, value=0031a000004oQ9eAAE, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Id, value=0031a000004oQ9eAAE, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Name, value=Rose Gonzalez, children=[]}]} 
XmlObject{name={urn:partner.soap.sforce.com}records, value=null, children=[XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}type, value=Contact, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Id, value=0031a000004oQ9fAAE, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Id, value=0031a000004oQ9fAAE, children=[]}, XmlObject{name={urn:sobject.partner.soap.sforce.com}Name, value=Sean Forbes, children=[]}]} 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
[INFO] Total time: 53.987 s 
[INFO] Finished at: 2017-03-27T16:31:39-06:00 
[INFO] Final Memory: 19M/176M 
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now we are reading data from Salesforce via the SOAP API! You can use this as a foundation to build all sorts of integrations on.

As you’ve seen, using the Salesforce REST and SOAP APIs is an easy way to get data into and out of Salesforce. And it is easy to use these APIs from Java. This can be a foundation for all sorts of machine-to-machine integrations. For a deeper dive into the Salesforce APIs, be sure to check out the API Basics Trailhead module, and the additional reading below.

Further Reading

REST Docs
SOAP Docs
SOQL for the SQL Developer

About the Author

James Ward is an Engineering and Open Source Ambassador at Salesforce.

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April 12, 2017 at 08:35PM

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from James Ward

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7 Intriguing Questions to Include in Your Prospecting Email

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Ending your first email to a prospect with a question gets their mental gears turning, demonstrates your subject matter expertise, and helps kick off a meaningful conversation.

Perhaps most importantly, it makes your message memorable. The Zeigarnik effect states that people fixate on unfinished tasks — so leaving a question dangling in your prospect’s mind causes them to think about your email long after they’ve read it.

What should you ask buyers? Great question. These seven options will help you end prospecting emails on a strong note. 

If you’re more of a visual learner, click here to jump straight to the infographic we created with 24Slides.

7 Questions to Use in Prospecting Sales Emails

1) “Would you like to learn about the opportunity I think [prospect’s competitor] is missing out on?”

Nothing is more interesting than competitive intelligence. The buyer doesn’t know if you have real insights to offer — but they’ll want to get on the phone to find out.

Citing another player in your prospect’s space also proves you’re not spraying and praying, since this email could only apply to them.

2) “I see [prospect’s company] uses [X strategy]. Why?”

Not only will you learn valuable information about why the buyer is using a specific approach, you’ll also make them wonder if you know about a better way.

3) “I see [prospect’s company] isn’t investing in [Y area]. Why not?”

This question is a variation on #2. The response will tell you whether your prospect doesn’t know about the opportunity, is unsure how to capitalize on it, or doesn’t have the resources to do anything about it.

No matter the answer, you’re in a good position to help. Prove the opportunity is worth their time, help them create a plan, or show them how your product makes it far simpler to execute.

4) “Is [likely challenge or opportunity] a priority for [prospect’s boss]?”

Use LinkedIn to discover to whom your prospect reports (or to whom their boss reports). Do some digging to identify their top initiatives — maybe they wrote a blog post discussing their current focus, spoke at a webinar about their success in an area, or belong to a niche community.

Use this intel to craft your question. Your prospect will be eager to learn if you can help them impress their boss.

5) “Do you want to get on a call with [expert within your company] to discuss [prospect’s business focus]?”

Offer to connect your recipient with an internal expert. For example, if she works in Sales Operations, you might write:

“Our Sales Ops senior manager recently built a new lead scoring program from the ground up. Do you want to get on a call with him to discuss Clearize’s lead score strategy?”

You’ll immediately distinguish yourself from the other reps trying to win time on her calendar to talk about their product — unlike them, you’re adding value from the get-go.

Of course, you won’t be able to do this for every deal, so save it for important accounts and hard-to-reach prospects.

6) “Have you considered trying [X technique]?”

If you know of an easy fix for your prospect, suggest it in your first email. They’ll feel indebted to you for your help — which starts the relationship off on strong footing and makes them likelier to listen to your future suggestions.

Wondering what this might look like in practice? Suppose you sell an event hosting platform. Your prospect runs two-plus events per week, but you’ve noticed he doesn’t promote them beyond email. You might ask, “Have you considered advertising your webinars on Twitter? One of my clients doubled attendance with less than $500 of sponsored tweets.”

7) “Should I save a [seat, ticket] for you?”

My coworker received an email letting him know a webinar he may be interested in was nearly full. The salesperson asked if he’d like her to save him a seat.

Although my coworker wasn’t planning on attending, discovering how popular the webinar was changed his mind.

Use this question to incite the fear of missing out in your prospect. The offer doesn’t need to be about a webinar — you could ask if they’d like a spot saved in your organization’s networking event, online community, conference, workshop, and so on.

Once you’ve made the connection, you can learn more about the buyer’s needs and objections and craft an appropriate pitch.

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April 12, 2017 at 05:32PM

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from afrost@hubspot.com (Aja Frost)

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The B2B Outreach Strategy That Helped Us Win Our First 10 Customers

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Early-stage companies often cast too wide a net when defining their target customer base. They believe the more prospects, the better — but pursuing the wrong types of prospects wastes precious time, cash, and sales resources. There’s a high opportunity cost to chasing someone who won’t buy (or buys and quickly churns).

All the while, your competitors are entering the market and getting to large and enterprise clients more quickly than you.

I’ve now helped three early-stage tech companies go from zero revenue to cash-flow positive. Honing in on the most valuable accounts and customer stakeholders has helped me accelerate B2B sales at each of these. In fact, the company I currently lead, Spotted Media, used this three-step plan to acquire our first set of customers before we even had a fully functioning web site.

Step 1: Create an Ideal Customer Profile

An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) should consist of five strict bullet points that you will not waver on. This means you can’t work any prospect who does not check all five boxes of your ICP.

An ICP might consist of the following:

  • Revenue size (e.g. more than $200 million in annual sales)
  • Employee count (e.g. no fewer than 1,000 verified LinkedIn employees)
  • Organization’s employee structure (e.g. the brand must have an in-house media team)
  • Type of product sold (e.g. a direct manufacturer)
  • A mutual goal (e.g. a manufacturer that cares about increasing brand awareness)

Once you’ve created your Ideal Customer Profile, the next step is thinking through the people who work for this ideal customer. Stop asking yourself surface-level questions like, “Are they in marketing?” and start asking yourself in-depth, meaningful questions about these professionals’ motivations.

That leads me to the next step.

Step 2: Create a Persona Map

Choose the three primary roles that you sell into (e.g. the VP of Advertising, the VP of Media, and the VP of Brand Marketing), then outline the following for each of these three roles:

  1. The buyer’s 2-3 primary daily responsibilities (projects they work on and think about every day)
  2. 2-3 ways your company can help make the buyer’s daily responsibilities easier
  3. The buyer’s 2-3 longer-term goals
  4. 2-3 ways in which your company can help further the buyer’s longer-term goals
  5. How your company can get this person promoted faster than their peers

This approach will save you and your team a great deal of time in the future when you’re at your laptop thinking, “What messaging and language should I use when reaching out to this person?” By filling in the five points above for each of your target roles, your outreach messaging will practically craft itself. Repurpose points #2 and #4 specifically for your email outreach.

These should appear within the first few sentences of your outreach emails to the target contact. Here is an example:

Ideas for [prospect’s company] re: [goal]

Dear [prospect’s name],

I am reaching out to you given your role in media at [prospect’s company]. [Vendor] can help [prospect’s company] improve [point #1] with its millennial customers by [point #2]. [Vendor] is helping [Client A] and [Client B] media teams achieve a [point #3] that is [X%] more efficient through [point #4].

Do you have 15 minutes to hear about the unique ideas we have for the [prospect’s company] media team on [date] or [date]?

Thanks in advance,
Janet

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You’ve mapped out the specifics of your ideal customer, the personal motivations of the stakeholders — now where do you go from here? To focus your outreach on the right people, you have to prioritize.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Personas

Prioritize your personas by ranking each buyer on a scale from one to five on the following:

  • Alignment with your solution
  • Size of their budget
  • Level of influence within the organization

Once you’ve calculated the scores for alignment, budget, and influence, lay out a strategic plan for your outreach starting with the buyers with the highest totals. (In this example, the VP of Media ranks the highest.)

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This exercise will drastically reduce wasted time and optimize your outreach while allowing you to get in front of the right people faster.

What’s the result of this upfront investment in strategy? Efficient outreach that specifically addresses the needs of your various buyers. Your messages will resonate more, and your prospects will respond more frequently.

Say goodbye to the typical results at early-stage companies, and say hello to more calls, meetings, and closed business.

HubSpot Free Sales Training

April 12, 2017 at 04:31PM

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from janet@spotted.us (Janet Comenos)

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