Great video on the value of social networking.YouTube – Social Media ROI: Socialnomics.
Like my last post with David Thompson, this video was done for my sales blog, Beyond Snake Oil.Friday, after Web 2.0 Expo, I had the opportunity to sit down with Umberto Milletti, the CEO of InsideView. During the meeting, we talked about the history of InsideView and the driving forces behind the founding of the company, his upcoming Sales 2.0 Executive Series & selling in the current economic climate. It was a lot of fun meeting Umberto and you can see his fun personality come out in this video.If you’ve got a cool Sales 2.0 product and would like to be interviewed, drop me a note or give me a call.
Yesterday I spent some time with David Thompson, CEO of Genius.com. This is cross posted from my other site, Beyond Snake Oil.In the meeting, which starts with me fumbling my camera during the introduction, David & discuss Genius, Sales 2.0 & the current economic crisis and how sales people can still thrive in this environment.Unfortunately, I got a few tweets too late to ask in the meeting, but I’ve asked David to respond via email. When he does, I’ll post here.Got a suggestion (and an intro) for who I should talk to next? Want to be met with? Drop me a note.
Here is the second part of an on going series from my notes at Sales 2.0, hence the goofy title.Gerhard continued his opening keynote by sharing some really stellar recession facts. Prior to listing the actual facts, he shared an anecdote about George Schultz, who was the CEO of Ritz Carlton. George had a great outlook during recessions simply stating that people are going to continue to travel. They may not travel as much, but it is important to figure out ways to get them to stay at our hotel. This requires a huge change in looking at the world.Six Selling Rules for a Recession1.) It takes 15 – 20% more prospects to make the same number. I was really happy to see this as it aligns with my post from last week about making it in a recession. I suspect that this number will hit 25% very soon. Get your lead generation house in order ASAP.2.) Companies that reduce their sales and marketing effort in 2009 will be gone in 2010. As has been said before, now is not the time to stick your head in the shell and wait for this to blow over.3.) 22% of deals in your pipeline will be lost to the status quo. This is one of those things that I think that all sales people know, but most are too optimistic to admit. There are two types of trucks out there, garbage trucks and money trucks.
Which do you want? Don’t spend time with the garbage trucks, look for the money trucks. Score your leads more carefully and focus on companies / industries that are doing well in this market. Here is a good list to start with. Who is going to do the best with the Obama stimulus money? Start moving your marketing and sales dollars there now.4.) Companies lose 10% of their sales due to lack of insight into the sales process. In Six Sigma, one thing is wrong in a thousand. In sales, it isn’t on common to have 30 things wrong in 100.Learn from your losses, record & reduce failures. Focus on a Six Sigma style of sales where you’re always adjusting your process towards perfection. Does your average deal close in 45 days and you’re still chasing something that is 200 days old? It may be time to give that up and focus on newer, fresher opportunities.5.) Relationship quality and deal quality suffer during a recession. Avoid it. Sales people will get knocked down a lot more this year than they’ve been knocked down in recent years. Now is the time to get rhino skin. Stay positive, recognize the adjustments that there will be more failures before success, play the point not the game.6.) Today, it takes 20 – 30% longer to close a sale. Focus your time on how do you close deals faster. I used to work with a guy that said ‘Time kills deals’. Never was this truer than today’s climate. What can you do to accelerate your close time?Next up, notes from my meeting with Ken Rudin, the co-founder of LucidEra.
D’oh, I realized halfway to San Francisco that I forgot my camera. Double d’oh.So early this morning, I embarked on San Francisco to come to the Sales 2.0 conference. This is my second S2.0 and I was really honored to be asked by David Thompson and Gerhard Gschwandtner to come up on a media pass to blog the show. I’m not a live blogger because my spelling is horrendous and my attitude is snarky until I think about things, but I’ll be putting together a series of posts about the conference and the seminars I attended. I had a bunch of real work pop up, so some posts may be longer than others. I’ll finish the series with just a series of random notes throughout the day. If you weren’t here, it probably won’t make sense. Some are snarky.The opening key note was great and David always does a wonderful job engaging the audience. The theme was momentum and exciting. he quickly turned over the podium to Gerhard who asked everyone to point north. It was funny to see everyone point in different directions. I went off of where I thought 101 was, which is usually my barometer when I’m anywhere. The point was that we needed to get pointed towards true north. Tools can help, but there is a limit on to what technology can do and it is important that sales people leverage these tools appropriately to move things forward.In fact, he stirred the pot a bit by saying that sales people are 2 steps behind their customers. Often times, customers are more informed about products than sales people are. He used the analogy that we are like early animals coming out of the water but being stuck in the mud. There is too much information and we can’t get a good footing. The trick is to more quickly weed out the bad information.Entering the Conversation Economy
- Knowledge of what we know can hurt us. Gerhard went on to explain that when a group gets together, reason sometimes goes out the window. It is the Achilles heel of Web 2.0. We are now entering a conversation economy in which sales people need to ‘ditch the pitch’, develop a conversation with their customers and truly help them.
- Transactional sales are going to die in the next 3 years. If you aren’t selling in a consultative manner, you are going to starve.
- You have to live in a world of co-creation. Don’t sell, co-create with your customers. Help them build what they want.
- More science is coming to sales. A big them is around Total Quality Management (TQM). Companies need to take a Six Sigma approach to sales leveraging metrics to drive productivity in the right way
- In the old days, companies created customers. Today, customers can make or break a company.
There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
So here we are full swing in a global economic recession the likes of which we haven’t seen since dinosaurs roamed the earth or something like that.As a sales person, it can be easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom. My first piece of advice is don’t.Here are 10 other simple things that you can do to not only succeed, but to thrive in this environment.
- Eat right / exercise more – In times like this, it is easy to stress out. Your company might be on the rocks, many of your customers may be on the rocks, your relationships are on the rocks. It’s easy to turn to something deep fried and drink something on the rocks. Don’t. Hit the gym, go for a run, instead of pizza, eat salad. Treat your body well and you’ll feel better and that will be reflected in everyone you deal with.
- Check Your Phone Time – When I’m not traveling, I get a report at the end of every day telling me how much time I’ve spent on the phone. My goal is 3 – 4 hours a day, though I lately, I’ve been getting in the 5 hour a day range. Most VOIP services will issue such a report. If you really think that you’re working as hard as you say that you are, this report will tell. Phone time isn’t research time. Phone time isn’t email time. Phone time is time speaking with customers. There are 240 minutes in 4 hours. A voicemail, from connection to you hanging up, lasts about 45 seconds. You do the math.
- Build Partnerships, Not Transactions – In this market, no one wants to buy from someone once and it’s over with. Figure out how to build a long term relationship with someone during the hard times and it will pay off in spades during the good times.
- Set Fiscal Goals – Income goals are something that every sales person should set, but now it is more important than ever. I’ve always started with $1 million dollars a year as a good goal. If you know what it takes to make a million dollars, you can figure out how many transactions that is, figure out how many pilots that is, how many appointments that is, how many cold calls that is. Another good one is to be impacted by the Obama stimulus.
- Double Your Effort – Know isn’t the time to rest, it’s time to kick ass and take names. If you know you need make 10 phone calls to get an appointment, make 20. If you know you need 10 appointments to get a deal, go on 20. The math is changing. You need to do more work to make the same amount of sales. If you’re company is looking to cut people, are they going to cut the person doing twice the work and bringing in more business than anyone else? Unlikely.
- Go to Networking Events – I’m horrible at this. I recognize it as a weak point and when it comes to going to a hotel lobby to see bad PowerPoint or hanging out with my family, family will win 99 out of 100 times. But I need to go and so do you. Get out there, don’t only look for new business, but keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities for partnerships, an introduction that you can make. Tim Sanders always says ‘Your Network is Your Net Worth’. Raise yours.
- Ask for References – This sounds cliche. It sounds like something that every sales training ever has said, but I’ll tell you what, it works. The problem is that it won’t work the first time because you aren’t trusted. It won’t work the second time because you aren’t trusted. It will take you asking about a dozen or more times because until you’re a trusted adviser, no one is going to refer you to anyone. Print it out and tape it to your monitor to remind you. This pays off long term.
- Learn Your ROI Story Cold, Now Figure Out How to Shorten It – During the dotcom bust, my customers wanted to see a proven ROI in 6 – 12 months. Now it is 3 – 9 months. If your story has positive ROI in the second year, you’re fucked. Show revenue, show productivity, show cost savings and show it fast. Refine your story and get stories from your existing customers to help refine it. If you show ROI in 6 months and your customers show it in 12, you’ll win every single time.
- Double Your Effort - Are you paying attention? You’ve gotta hustle your face off.
- Ask Not What Your Company Can Do For You, But What You Can Do For Your Company – I’m paraphrasing Kennedy a bit, but you need to treat your company like it is yours if you want to survive. This isn’t time for you to take an ‘I’m just a sales rep’ attitude. If you’re in sales, you’re in product development, you’re in marketing, you’re in QA, you’re in legal. You’ve gotta do it all. When heads are on the block, do you really want to be ‘just a sales guy?’
- Bonus – Get Rid of Non-Profitable Customers – Do this this week. Sit down with your VP, your manager, your CEO and explain that you’ve got a few customers that are non-profitable time sinks and you want to get rid of them. Evaluate each customer and if they aren’t providing profit in the way of bottom line dollars or PR or product guidance, get rid of them. Now is not the time to hang on to dead wood.
So tell me, what is the single most important thing you’re doing to thrive in this environment?
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the idea of hosting a video blog all about sales, sales management with a bit of a hint of marketing in it. I spent some time looking around and have found a couple of decent ones, but nothing really blew my doors off.Therefore, I am really excited to announce my first foray into video blogging, Beyond Snake Oil.My goal is to post Monday, Wednesday & Friday, with maybe a weekend post scattered in for good measure. I’ve got a bunch of content floating around in my brain, but I’d love more feedback.I’m still getting used to using iMovie, but I figure that by the fourth or fifth episode, I’ll have the hang of editing and lighting. I’m trying to keep things fairly short so as not to have to deal with editing clips and such.So here is my call:What would you like to see? Tell me and I’ll see what I can do. See the site, leave me comments, watch the episode.
This was the first time that I saw advertising on a hotel key. Not a terrible idea, especially if there is no restaurant in the hotel.