One of the most striking things our analysts see is the lack of standardization that exists in most sales organizations. There’s a staggering number of “one offs” – gerrymandered sales territories, custom comp plans, salespeople who “just do it their way”, content created by individual reps… The lack of sales standards should come as no surprise though. Sales leaders and salespeople alike are strongly incented to make decisions in the context of achieving quota in the current or next period (whether that period is a quarter or a month). This results in short-term, one-off decisions, like allowing one sales rep to own a vertical, even though the 99 other reps on the team have geographical territories. Sales management and CEOs rationalize these decisions with the mantra “we need to hit the number”.
TOPO recently held its first ever event – a meeting of the TOPO Sales Development Council. The event was a terrific success, bringing together 26 of the world’s leading sales development practitioners for a half day of in-depth learning and collaboration. Our objective for this event was simple – put a small number of smart people in a room to talk about their specific experiences building and managing sales development teams.
In many markets, the sales organization has a huge impact on the what the buyer experiences. Despite this, the vast majority of sales teams spend no time thinking about how to design and deliver a great buying experience. It’s unfortunate because companies that deliver a great experience to the buyer grow 2X as fast as their peers. Turning sales into a function that thinks about designing and delivering an experience isn’t that hard. In a recent presentation, we examined ten ways that sales could deliver a great buying experience.
Here are five of the best posts we read last week: Do you have a Whale, Dolphin, Minnow (WDM) go-to-market strategy? Hany Nada’s framework is inspired by Vegas, but has applicability in a range of markets. What the Music Business Can Learn From the Gaming and Gambling Industries Craig Rosenberg (the Funnelholic) went beast-mode on the who, what, why, when, how of sales development this week. It’s essential reading. The Sales Development Team: A Proven Framework for Success
Sales development is one of the most important processes an organization can build to deliver a seamless, efficient revenue machine. Sales development is a phone-based team that identifies, connects with, and qualifies leads. When a lead is qualified, they then pass the qualified lead to a sales person who takes over for the rest of the sales process. From Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Sales Lead Qualification and Sales Development: “Put simply, SDRs (Sales Development Reps) pass the baton between marketing and sales.” In this post, we want to explore best practices for designing, building, and optimizing a sales development team. For other posts on this topic, consider a post on building sales development stack or the framework for sales development success.
Better late than never! Here are five of the best posts we read last week: If you work in marketing (or sales) and think about demographics at all, Tyler Cowen’s new book Average is Over is a must-read. Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation Usually when my kids tell me I have to see something online, it’s pretty good. This prankvertisement for the remake of the movie Carrie was no different. Horror-Movie Stunt With Freaky Telekinetic Girl Is Frighteningly Good
Nowhere is the buying experience changing more than in the software industry. As little as five years ago, large sales organizations and low quality products dominated the market for business software. In fact, many of the world’s largest software companies were notorious for their aggressive, in-person sales tactics and hard-to-use products. Given the importance of the buying experience (our research suggests that companies that provide great buying experiences grow 2X as fast as their peers) and how fast the software buying experience is changing, it’s critical that marketing and sales professionals understand how buyers are purchasing software today.
Here are some of the best posts we read this week… Technology is for people. Marketers, sales professionals, designers, and product development types forget this simple fact all the time. Computers are for People Hootsuite has 7M users and 350 employees. Fast Company asks whether the company will endure and Ryan Holmes has a great response that’s all about being smart, longevity, and culture. How Hootsuite is CEO Ryan Holmes is Building a Yoga-Loving Maple-Syrup Mafia
Here are 5 of the best posts we read this week… Have you seen the GoPro ad about the firefighter saving the kitten? It’s getting rave reviews, but left us feeling a little uncomfortable especially since the kitten died later that night. What do you think? GoPro’s Firefighter Spot Companies have been astroturfing or buying fake online reviews for years. Now, the FTC and prosecutors are starting to take notice and are fining offenders. Operation “Clean Turf” and the War on Fake Yelp Reviews
The sales profession is undergoing some pretty radical changes. The buyer is in charge, field sales is moving inside, technology is transforming the profession. It’s so bad that some people are predicting that 15M sales jobs will disappear in the coming years. To survive in this environment, salespeople need a new set of skills. Here at TOPO, identified a core set of 18 sales skills by analyzing these trends and watching what makes some of the world’s best salespeople successful in the new sales environment. The best salespeople:
- Understand what the buyer wants
- Sell in a buyer-responsive manner
- Use psychology to engage the buyer
- Establish trust with the buyer
- Communicate succinctly
- Act on what the customer is saying
- Demonstrate subject matter expertise
- Help (as opposed to close) their prospects
- Tell really compelling stories
- Are great copywriters
- Sell effectively over the phone
- Are socially active with target buyers
- Personalize their interactions
- Use a variety of marketing skills
- Help prospects achieve next steps
- Are more productive because of sales technology
- Tie daily activities to quota achievement
- Manage their pipeline like a portfolio