Photo credit: nicoleneu1
Here is a brief round of interesting posts I have read, found particularly good and thought they were worth sharing.
First of all, a post from David Brock about the companies that believe they have a sales process but, actually, simply don’t. What I like beyond David rather dry sense of humour (notably on things like “gurus” in Linkedin), is the probing of companies that believe they have a process when, actually, it is not being followed or need some updating. The post is here.
Photo credit: Pacheco
Have you seen this slide that is regularly doing the rounds on LinkedIn presenting the amount of time a sales person needs to follow-up with a prospect to get a deal and how many sales people stops too quickly.
You can’t have missed it. It comes back over and over again and is coming from the so-called “National Sales Executive Association”? Well, if you didn’t know already: it is a fake. The NSEA simply doesn’t exist. But this slide seems to make the point there is value in chasing to secure a sale. Is there some sort of ground beyond this fact? Are sales people who do chase, don’t hear back, carry on crossing what I call “the valley of death” courageously (it’s very silent in the valley of death….), are they the most efficient sales people? Or is it a myth. I think it is a myth. So, here is the prospecting flow I follow to make sure a lead or a prospect is a real one or one worth qualifying out:
Photo credit: Dave Gray
I am sometimes asked for some good books to read about sales. If the specific issue at hand is about prospecting, one which is worth knowing about is called “Predictable revenues” by Aaron Ross. It presents the lead generation process that has been implemented within SalesForce around 2004 and helped the company grow to $100,000Mn+. Prospecting is key for young businesses, especially as they can not rely on growing revenues from existing clients or referrals. Or for companies entering a new market. And as many other parts of a company operation, to have a process for prospecting is important (#understatement). The process described by Aaron would however not work for all companies and of course need to be adapted to the company it’s implemented at (companies are living creatures, none of them are identical). A couple of requirements the author details are that the methodology makes economic sense for companies who product and services have a ARR c. $10,000 and for those that have a proven product (i.e. not for those in a product market fit phase). So if you’ve passed that phase and consider scaling, I came across a presentation made by Alan O’Rourke that has been filmed and is a good introduction to the book. Alan is using this approach for Workcompass, a performance management software and author of 30 days to sell. A title that says it all!
Photo credit: Stephen Koigi
Education, education, education. Tony Blair used this motto consistently in his first campaign to get into power. And it worked. A few years ago, as I was getting seriously into front-line sales, I was struggling and was wondering if I should make this motto mine. I had some sales experience, more specifically “bizz dev” experience but no sales “education”. So I was considering if it was a right investment of time and money.
I went ahead with it and never turned back.
The Sunday morning breakfast table was full of home made goodies: caramelised french toasts, chocolate filled brioche and pain brioche. Whilst eating these, the conversation was focused on what we would to in the afternoon after rugby training. And one option was starting to get a lot of the kids excited: going to a massive swimming pool with loads of slides and games. However, there was some work to do that hadn’t been done on Saturday. The conversation went a little bit like this:
Photo credit: Ryan Rahn
“Would you mind doing this psycho-metric test for me please?”
I was at the start of taking the sales training I signed up for. When asked to fill in a questionnaire with loads of questions such as “when this happens, what is your reaction: x, y or z”, my immediate reaction was:
“Complete, utter non-sense” (actually, it was a stronger reaction, self-censored it).
I had been struggling with sales. I was developing a business and I realised that sales was not about doing nice presentations and about relationships. I needed to find a better way. I had decided to do something about it and to invest time and effort in proper some sales training. And part of the requirement was to fill this questionnaire.
Photo credit: Wally Cassidy
I have to confess something. And it isn’t pretty, giving the focus of this blog but here goes: if 10 years ago one would have told me my career would eventually be focused on one thing, sales, I would have been taking him / her for a complete, utter fool. And I would have walked away, feeling rather insulted.
I vividly remember back then, being a product manager in a large organisation, managing the development of product based on new technologies in the mobile space. And I was considering sales to be the easy part of it all. And managing the product development effort the important part. Simply put, I was looking down on sales people. Period. Little did I know….