This brief video explains how retaining the details around your closed won deals can create the building blocks of an Account Based Sales Organization.
Demand Generation as we know it is broken.
Just check your junk folder and find the unrequited emails asking for 15 minutes or following up on an email never read. When was the last time a retweet, like, or comment ever yielded any fruit on social media. Think of the last cold calling phone blitz – what were the results of that little exercise? R2 Integrated studies have found that less than 1% of demand generation activity produce any meaningful result.
What worked in 2015, 2016, or even 2017 won’t work in 2018 because sales technology has automated best practice to the point it is no longer a best practice. Our buyers are numb and apathetic to our message. They are busy and can see right through the automation. Sellers need a new and proven approach to meet our demand generation needs. As is always the case, what was old is new again. In 1998, Michael Boylan wrote a landmark book called The Power to Get In to help sellers with demand generation before the advent of sales tech.
The concept is very simple.
- Write a letter that shows you understand the goals of the organization. This can be found in the form of press releases, annual reports, or news searches. It is a good idea to stay on top of these trigger events because they are constantly changing.
- Connect your solutions and service to the attainment of these goals. If you are unsure how to link your solution then refer to use cases or Win Stories. Not only making the connection but sharing how you have done it already with a comparable company will give you credibility.
- Take a census of the entire buying committee. If you are unsure who all is involved – work with the end in mind. If the deal closed, who would be on the training call, who would be responsible for implementation, who would sign the deal, who would be on the evaluation committee – what are their titles?
- Send the letter to the entire buying committee and reference them inside of the letter. This part is key because if you reference someone who is no longer at the company you lose credibility. If you miss someone, then inevitably that will be the person you need the most.
- When calling behind the letter – start at the top and get sponsorship for the evaluation. Demand Generation is like gravity, start with the CEO and call the CEO’s admin to start the process.
This is called a “Circle of Leverage” letter by Boylan and truly fits into modern account-based demand generation tactics. The research shows you are invested in the company, the linkage shows you have the understanding, and the use cases show you have the experience. Although that alone isn’t enough – copying the entire buying committee and starting with the CEO to spark an evaluation means your probability for sponsorship goes way up. A buyer can ignore your solicitation – they cannot ignore their boss.
Mike Scher of Frontline Selling teaches us to embrace the CEO’s admin. “We think of the call-screeners and/or admins as Tour Guides on our journey to the deal. Briefly explain your value proposition and ask for their help in identifying the person who would be part of that decision-making process. With the right approach, you can easily gather names, titles and email addresses—as well as internal referrals that establish credibility within the organization.”
In closing, if you are relying on sales tech alone to crack into your key accounts then be prepared for disappointment. Try a new approach, an account-based demand generation approach. Even if you don’t secure the appointment, then at the very least you have educated yourself on your key account and have become fluent on how you can help them. That will come in handy when they are ready to buy in the future. Besides – it beats a 1% efficiency rating any day.
With two months left in the year many Account-Based sales and marketing professionals are switching their focus to closing out the year and planning for 2018. If you are one of these people let me say one thing. STOP! There is still time left to add to the pipeline this year if you know what you are looking for.
Find your old customers at their new job. Think about all the branding, familiarity, and trust you have built with your customers that just walks out the door when they take a new job. It’s maddening! Unless that person contacts you when they start their new gig – it is all but impossible to find out where they landed. We live in a transient society where the workforce turns over 2-3% every month so this is a problem for all of us – or better stated an opportunity.
RampedUp tracks employment history on our contact records and our CLEAN functionality will identify the loyal, raving fans that have left their old company. We will also tell you where they are employed today in the form of a lead in Salesforce.com – complete with title, email and phone number to reconnect. The process is so simple and impactful it can be done today literally with the push of a button. Account-based sellers can go to their book of accounts – press the CLEAN button on RampedUp – then create leads of old customers that have moved to new companies.
Think of the shortened sales process a former customer requires to move your service into their new company. You have already branded, marketed, sold, and serviced this person. Go find them to make an impact this year!
Find new executives at their new job. New executives are brought in with new agendas and initiatives. Craig Elias – author of Shift – Turn Prospects into Customers states, “A new Vice President of Sales will spend close to a million dollars in new projects in their first hundred days.” It goes without saying that new executives are empowered with decisions that are not dictated by the calendar and want to make in impact between now and the first of the year – so help them.
RampedUp monitors the news wires for triggering events and provides our customers with the very first Trigger Event search engine. We categorize our triggering events into 13 categories but perhaps the most popular is the PERSONELL field. Users can select the PERSONELL field, and firmographic filters important to them such as company size, location, industry or technology the company uses. The result is an actionable of new executives that fit search parameters. Last week alone we identified 4000 new executives – all with new agendas that you can help execute.
A little trick in building instant credibility with these new executives is to send them a LinkedIn invite and congratulate them on their new role. This will almost always get accepted as the new executive doesn’t know if you are a current vendor, friend of the firm, or well wisher.
In summary – it’s not too late to impact this year’s pipeline. Look for your old customers at new companies and help them get your solution in its rightful place. OR find new executives that aren’t going to wait until next year to get their agendas off the ground. Let us know if we can help you with either or both.
Craig Elias, author of the award-winning sales book “SHiFT! Harness The Trigger Events That TURN PROSPECTS INTO CUSTOMERS,” was sharing his thoughts on selling with the RampedUp team recently. As the first company to create a Triggering Event search engine inside of Salesforce.com, we were excited to hear the father of Trigger Events Selling’s thoughts on the topic.
In his opinion, the silver bullet in sales is timing and to reach the right person at the right time with the right message is how you find that silver bullet. Sellers looking for silver bullets should focus on the three P’s:
People – New executives are hired to bring in new agendas and are often looking to replace existing relationships in their first 3-6 months. Identifying the executives that are important to your sales process and “helping them unpack” allows you to earn the right to help them set their new agenda. Even better, by following your OC/NC’s (old contact / new company) to their new place of business shortens sales cycles due to the familiarity with your product.
Product – New products and services receive the lions-share of a company’s attention to help them get off the ground. They are promoted with press releases and social media posts that are easy to spot. What isn’t easy however is connecting your service to the success of the new product unless you have access to a relevant use-cases. Make the connection simple and effective by providing a reference library for your sellers.
Places – When companies expand to new markets they make for great triggering events for sellers. Companies that are moving into new states or countries also have compliance obligations that are non-negotiable. If your service can help with this compliance then you are in a great position. New markets like EMEA or APAC require completely new go-to-market strategies that in-country services can uniquely provide.
At RampedUp, we monitor triggering events around products, places, and personnel to help our customers facilitate new opportunities. With 15 fields to narrow down trigger events to a specific company, team, or individual – our salesforce.com integration can help any size business. Lastly, with 180 Million professionals under management, our best customers have global needs. You can try it yourself for 30 days free!
Prospecting into Targeted Accounts can be challenging. After all, these are the best and most-likely-to-close accounts sellers have in their territory. Many Account-Based Sellers labor over the perfect message to penetrate these accounts only to have an email (that took 3 hours to write) go unread by the recipient. The problem with writing the perfect pitch is that today’s buyers are just too busy and your competition is saying the exact same thing you are saying. But Account-Based selling requires tailored messaging based on the unique aspects of the account that cannot be mass-created. Sellers today see themselves in a no-win situation stuck between these two options.
The answers is a perfect blend of traditional multi-touch business development tactics and tailored content that focuses on the account / recipient. There really is no reason to spend more than 3 minutes creating tailored content if you have the 4 C’s of Account-Based Selling at your fingertips.
Company – Account detail such as industry, size, revenue, and description of course give some context to the pursuit but understanding why the company is in the news and what technologies they use empowers specific messaging. If the company uses a competitive technology, you can start with a replacement verbiage. If the company is in the news for expansion or growth, you can tie your solutions with their stated initiatives.
Contacts – By reverse engineering your own sales process and taking inventory of the titles involved in the training calls, kick-off, signature, approval, and demonstration you can ascertain your buying committee. These titles should of course have people associated with them that work for your targeted account. Start at the top (C-Level) and work your way down (V-Level) looking for sponsorship and referencing the entire buying committee in the process.
Customers – Your customers and their success stories are the secret weapon to your campaigns. A recent SAP study found that 90% of buyers want to hear relevant success stories to help them make a decision. When prospecting to targeted accounts reference relevant customers by industry, size, and location. Also, referencing similar titles and their experiences along with products and competitors to quickly raise your credibility.
Competition – By understanding your targeted accounts’ largest competitors you truly understand them. All companies are similar in that they are looking for something they can claim as unique. By tailoring your pitch to help drive differentiation and referencing the competition by name, you will be seen as someone who is more of a consultant than a seller. Competitors are also great sources of leads once the targeted account becomes a customer!
The 4 C’s of Account-Based selling is the back bone of the RampedUp product. We are sellers and created the RampedUp Battlecard to fit on the account record inside of Salesforce.com. The 4 C’s are pre-populated on every lead, account, and opportunity to help sellers keep their research down to a minimum and optimizing selling activities.
RampedUp can empower sellers with critical intelligence that sparks buying decisions. Trigger Events are corporate initiatives (either positive or negative) that generally proceed new purchases. Unlike following a company and waiting for the trigger to occur – RampedUp finds triggers then provides company detail in context to make a sales call.
Craig Elias – Founder of Shift Selling coins the term as such, “You’ve been told for years that there is no silver bullet in sales. But there is. It is called timing – getting in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. When you have the right timing, the sale almost closes itself – you have fewer challenges getting to the prospect, understanding their dissatisfaction, presenting a solution, or selling at a much higher price.”
Here are the trigger events we are following and how you can use them to advance a sale process.
- Partnerships and Joint Ventures – New partnerships require new personnel, process, and software to manage the pursuit.
- Mergers and Acquisitions – When companies are acquired, it’s a lot like Noah’s ark – there are two of everything. All is put under review to see what is staying and what is going.
- Corporate Expansion – New markets require new go-to-market strategies including new personnel, facilities, and administration.
- Products and Services – New products need fresh advertising, branding, and marketing. They also need new channels and sellers.
- Personnel – New executives come with new agendas and most likely are a 180% different from the predecessor. As an example, a new sales executive will make $1,000,000 in her first 90 days in the office.
- Legal Issues – Companies that make it into the news for legal reasons want to tell customers and shareholders they have a plan of resolution.
- Research or Analysis – Companies release independent research to share thought leadership within a certain industry or subject. These are great partner opportunities.
- Investment and Financing – New money means new funding for initiatives. Venture Capitalists don’t invest their money to watch it sit in the bank.
- Real Estate – Changing or adding locations is the consummate sign of growth. New employees and new office space means new investments.
- Awards – Companies want to show leadership that transcends profit and loss. These are often pet projects for key executives.
- Events – Events are the perfect opportunity to see your prospects in person or help drive attendance to a user conference.
- Earnings, Performance, Dividends – Public companies are beholden to stockholders and poor earnings often means changes are on the horizon.
Savvy Sellers combine Trigger Event Selling with Account-Based Selling by looking for these potential selling activities within their targeted accounts. I wrote this blog on how to use trigger events for Account-based prospecting to help get your foot in the door.
A recent study regarding sales efficiency found that sellers spend 27% of their time on completely non-sales related activities. Examples of those activities include looking up information about the contact or account, finding relevant uses cases to reference, or even looking for competitive technology. But let’s put into context what 27% of a seller’s time actually means; that is one week of the month or one quarter of the year. Imagine giving a seller an additional quarter to make their number or week to make their month. That would have impact.
Sellers can recover their proficiency by breaking down call prep into three parts – each one minute a piece with the right tools. The key is having the information all in one place and to not over analyze the process.
Minute One – The Account. Companies make purchases because they are either dissatisfied with what they currently have or they have a pain they have yet to remedy. Its the seller’s responsibility to understand which one to make the right sales play. First, ascertain if the prospect is using a competitive solution to see if they have already addressed the issue your company can solve. It they have not, look for triggering events to link your solution to solve stated pains or goals. Use the News!
Minute Two – The Buyers. CEB has stated that the average B2B purchase has 5.4 decision makers and most sellers are talking to the lowest one on the org chart. Successful sellers uncover the entire buying committee by name and position. Then they have these individuals ready for the reference as individuals to contact for unanswered questions or invites for the next steps of the sales process. By letting the contact know – you know the other players in the process and are going to bring them into the evaluation gives you power later in the sales process.
Minute Three – Use Cases. Buyers want to understand how their peers have used your solution to solve similar problems. Having specific use cases available by industry, size, location, competitor, title, and product before the call will show the prospect you are knowledgeable and prepared. It will also show you are a trusted resource and perhaps a notch better than your competition for that reason alone.
Most sellers don’t have much of this information available to them, much less so to be able to prepare in three minutes. However, this data is readily available, whether inside or outside of Salesforce.com. Gathering this information and placing it inside of the Account / Lead / Opportunity record is core functionality for RampedUp – but it can also be uncovered in other ways. But then we are back to where we started – 27% of a sellers time is spent looking for this stuff already.
Jill Konrath coined the term Use the News – when she unveiled her breakthrough methodology of Trigger Event Selling. The concept is very simple; companies share their achievements / goals in the form of press releases and we as sales people should align our products and services to help reinforce those achievements / goals. If a company takes the time, energy, and effort to create a press release then that company obviously thinks the topic is very important. The opposite is also the case. If a company is receiving bad press then that company wants to be able to tell the media, stock holders, and customers that that company is doing everything within its power to rectify the situation. And more importantly, has the process in place to ensure it won’t happen again.
Savvy Sellers combine Trigger Event Selling with Account-Based Selling by looking for these potential selling activities within their targeted accounts. This isn’t a new idea, Google News Alerts can be set up for every targeted account inside of a seller’s territory and has been available for over a decade. The best part about Google News is that it’s free as well.
The problem with Google News alerts however is that it sits outside of Salesforce.com, and as my old sales manager told me, “If it’s not in Salesforce.com – it doesn’t count.” Trigger Events need to be inside the Salesforce.com account record available for the entire account team to see. A BDR needs to reference an account using the same trigger on which a sale person is building a business case that will be strategized with a sales manager. Only then can we link Triggering Events to Account-Based Selling successfully.
Let’s use a real-world example, Dropbox Is Moving From the Internet to a Private Network
BDR: The BDR notices that the target account is moving away from a hosted AWS solution to an in-house infrastructure. This will open many opportunities for internal hosting.
Sales Person: The sales person shares relevant stories about how similar customer moved off of AWS due to recent outages and hacking scares.
Sales Manager: The Sales Manager identifies a former satisfied customer that moved to Dropbox in a position to help influence the opportunity.
Account Based Selling empowers reps to invest the time and energy needed to create meaningful content for their targeted accounts. Successful sellers use this newfound empowerment to tailor messaging that results in action. Unfortunately, too many sellers used canned / boilerplate content focused on the achievements of their own company that they never see any results. Try these three tricks to write the perfect demand generation campaign.
- Acknowledge the Buying Committee. Nothing shows that you have done your homework more than switching the generic line, “If you aren’t the most suitable person then please connect me with someone who is’ to “I would like to schedule 15 minutes to discuss Account Based Selling. I am also scheduling time with Jane Dixon to get her input as well”. Try this approach and then copy the other members of the buying committee as well.
- Align with Triggering Events. Using the News to align your company’s deliverables to the stated goals of your buyer is a sure-fire way to get noticed. Companies make the news because they want to – i.e. a press release promoting a new product, market, or partnership – or they don’t – such as a law suit or poor earnings. Either way, by positioning your solution to help promote a stated initiative or mitigate unwelcome news, you will quickly get noticed.
- Reference Customer Success Stories. Buyers are busy people that have been given the responsibility to make financial decisions because it’s their name on the line. Make it easy for them to take a meeting with you by giving them relevant use cases by industry, company size, and location. 92% of Buyers stated in a recent SAP survey that they want this type of information to help them make a decision.
Using any of these tricks will improve the performance of your demand generation campaigns but using all THREE will show the best results. Here is an example of what that would look like.
As the VP of Sales at Tellio, I am looking to get 15 minutes of your time to discuss improving seller results through Account Based Selling tools. If this doesn’t fall under you directly, perhaps you could forward me to Jane Dixon in Sales Operations.
I recently saw where Tellio has a new product line helping HR professionals, complimenting your already strong presence with Finance. RampedUp has helped similar companies in the Human Resources space such as Ceridian and Workday by improving seller productivity by 27%. How? We provided company, customer, and contact details all inside of the account record in Salesforce.com. Now sellers don’t have to search for time-consuming sales data outside of their CRM.
Again, if you are free for 15 minutes next Tuesday afternoon then I can share in greater detail.