99 Problems BUT Prospecting On LinkedIn Ain’t 1

99 Problems BUT Prospecting on LinkedIn Ain't 1

99 Problems BUT Prospecting on LinkedIn Ain’t 1

“Aren’t you sharp as a tack.  Are you some type of lawyer or something/ or somebody important or something?/

Nah I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit/ enough so you won’t illegally search my shhhhh!”

Artist: Jay Z  Song: 99 Problems

On April 2, 2014 Koka Sexton, Sr. Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, posted an article titled, “How I Met Your Prospect on LinkedIn.”  This post grabbed the attention of several sales professionals.  Imagine if your competitor met your prospect on LinkedIn, developed a relationship, and closed them right underneath your nose?  How would you feel if your competitor started picking off your biggest customers one by one using social selling techniques?  You’re asking, how could this happen?  Why did this happen?  Who broke the sales laws?  Let me stop you right there.  No laws, ordinances, guidelines, or rules were broken when that customer decided to do business with your competition.  The competition worked smarter.  They knew that you were out cold calling, doing drop offs, having telephonic phone blitz, and offering them incentives like baseball game tickets…doing sales 1.0 strategies.  The competition 10x’d their game, and proved to the customer that they are a resource using social selling tactics that worked.  These social selling tactics allowed them to get pass the gatekeeper and develop a relationship with the decision maker.  Don’t take my words for it.  Pick up Josiane Chriqui Feigon’s book which is the 2014 AA-ISP Sales Book of the Year titled, Smart Sales Manager, and turn to page 11, chapter 1, as she quotes The DemandGen report, “Breaking out of the Funnel,” that “ 48 percent of customers followed industry conversations on the topic.”  She drops another gem quoting, “37 percent posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions and feedback…41 percent researched papers and postings from thought leaders.”

Think connecting with your customers and prospects is inappropriate?  Think again.  If you are not connecting with customers, you can bet your commission check that a competitor is connecting with them today. (see who’s connecting on LinkedIn by clicking here)  Don’t be afraid to include social media probes in your standard discovery process.  Asking your customer if they are on LinkedIn or any other social media platform can be the first step in developing a lifelong customer relationship.  Just ask the question, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”

Recently during a customer meeting, I witness a savvy sales professional asked the question, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”  She followed up the response letting the customer know that many people in the industry rely on her as a resource.  She informed the customer that she provides helpful insights spanning across multiple business needs that companies face in their day to day operations.  Sounds like an big bold statement?  Think again.  What insights can a sales professional have beyond the current solution they are pitching?  Ryan Maher explains these insights very well in his post, “Forget Cold Calls: 10 Ways to Make Hot Contacts.”  In his Solve a Problem section of the post he states, “tips on leadership, hiring, motivation, productivity improvement, cost control, technology, and any other topics that are relevant to the recipient’s job function.”  Sales professionals insights are not restricted to the solutions their company provides.  These insights can include knowledge of vacant office spaces if the company is planning to move, best restaurants for client meetings, and anything that could impact a business from revenue generation strategies to the most mundane yet necessary exercises that every business performs.  The action item here is take your knowledge and share it with your customers beyond the solution you are pitching.  This will prove to them that you 1) have their best interest in mind 2) you care about their business 3) you are a connector to other resources and 4) you are valuable and worthy of their time.

Include your core industry knowledge that you have and how you can Provide Actionable Communication with Knowledge (*check out the PAC(w)K post).  You can post relevant industry articles, infographics, whitepapers, and your product marketing collateral.  I like to do a 3+1 method of PAC(w)K.  This means for every three articles I share or post, I like to season in our own marketing collateral.   This shows the customers that you are not solely pushing your product 24/7 and you are sharing relevant information that is worthy of their attention.  This will make you invaluable to you customer over time.  You will be the ultimate resource and person of knowledge they seek out for assistance.  Sounds like an abundance of selling opportunities on the horizon, right? You betcha!

So how are you separating yourself from the pack? Are you THAT person customers see as a resource, industry knowledge expert, and thought leader if you are not employing social selling in your sales process? If you are a no show on social media and using outdated sales 1.0 tired baseball tickets tactics, do you think your customers see you as the “go-to person” to address their current and future business challenges?  Do you want to meet your competitors customers, build a relationship with them, and acquire them as new business?  I know I do.  You can start this process by asking the simple question to you customers, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”  NOTE: what if you customer is not on any social media platform? Craig Jamieson’s post, “What If Your Prospects Are Not Using Social Media?”  gives essential steps on how to deal with these few customers.

Need help creating more social media probes in your discovery process or want to learn more about social selling to generate leads, get to the decision maker, and close more deals?  Contact us at insidesalesmagic.com.  We can help you get started.

CONTACT US TODAY

Follow us on twitter @insidesalemagic

Connect with us on linkedin

Visit our website insidesalesmagic


Nuclear Physicist, Stunt Double, Astronaut, Farmer, Plumber…all and more are on LinkedIn. So why aren’t you connecting?

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

We turned up in the studio late night/
That’s why the songs that you hear are comin’ real tight

Song: Who Do You Love
Artist: YG and Drake

LinkedIn has the world’s largest professional network with over 277 million users and increasing users every day. So I wanted to test things out and see what type of professionals are on LinkedIn. I did this because a common objection and miss conception by some sales professionals is that “my customer is not on LinkedIn.” I have also heard, “my customers are very private and they are not that tech savvy to be on LinkedIn.” Another one I have heard is, “LinkedIn is for people looking for jobs. I don’t think anyone is on there that is a decision maker.”

Okay, so to help my fellow sales professionals step into Sales 2.0 I did some research on LinkedIn statistics. I also ran some fun outrageous searches to demonstrate that 1) for the most part, EVERYONE is on LinkedIn 2) LinkedIn is a tool that you can connect with people in every vocation known and 3) jump on the connection bandwagon before you get left in the cold because more sales professionals are using social selling (LinkedIn) to build relationships, generate leads, and turn cold calls into warm calls. So why aren’t you connecting?

Using statistical stats from Craig Smith of Digital Marketing Ramblings (DMR) along with my fun outrageous searches I believe after you read this you will jump to action and start connecting to build your network. Trust me, you will reap the benefits of taking time to grow your network.

DMR states that LinkedIn has 84 Million U.S. users. I ran a search for Stunt Doubles and found over 100+ Stunt Doubles. Hmmm, if I were looking for stunt doubles I now know they are on LinkedIn. There are 2.1 million groups in LinkedIn. You think there is a group for Stunt Doubles? I bet they do have one and all you have to do is join it. Your next step is to actively participate in the discussion to show you are a resource. This is one way to grow your network.

My curiosity started growing after the first search so I ran a query for NASA Astronauts. I admit that I don’t know anyone that is an astronaut but I did a search and yep, I found them on LinkedIn. I’m thinking about connecting with them to get some dry ice cream. 40% of users check LinkedIn daily. This means that sales professionals have a huge opportunity to deliver meaningful content that will get seen by decision makers. This beats knocking on doors and leaving “leave behinds” or your business card with the office manager. We all know where those “leave behinds” and business cards go…Chateau De Trash Can.

Let’s see what happens when I run a search for Nuclear Physicist. You think these guys are on LinkedIn? There are more than 300+ on LinkedIn. I’m going to connect with them and build a Sales 2.0 flux capacitor for the DeLorean sales approach being used by those not utilizing social selling. We are going to usher them into the new world of sales and update those 1985 tactics. There are 200 conversations per minute occurring in LinkedIn groups. I have a hunch that customers are doing research, learning about solutions, and making buying decisions. You can become part of the conversation if you are connected and join in the discussion.

Feeling really curious, I ran a search looking for Farmers, Plumbers, and Butlers. Ha! They were all on LinkedIn. It’s pretty conclusive to me that any and everyone is on LinkedIn so why not use this valuable resource to help you connect with your customers and “ski downhill” versus “swimming upstream?” No matter what industry you are in, your customers and decision makers are on LinkedIn and they are connecting. LinkedIn has over 1500 School and University profiles. I bet you that professors, and school administrators are on LinkedIn. BTW, I have found Judges, Mayors, and even Press Secretaries on LinkedIn.

Here are some more DMR stats on LinkedIn. The stats are pretty impressive and you have an opportunity to take advantage of this to grow your network, connect with customers, build your pipeline, and close deals.

• LinkedIn more than 277 million total users.
• 41% of LinkedIn visits is via mobile.
• LinkedIn is available in over 20 languages.
• Every second there are two new LinkedIn members joining the network.
• The average number of groups a LinkedIn user joins is seven.
• There are 8000 new groups created weekly.

The message is pretty clear. Start connecting and growing your network. (thanks DMR for the LinkedIn statistics)

Follow us on twitter @insidesalemagic

Connect with me on LinkedIn at CJ Webster

Stay updated on new blog post at inside sale magic and check out our last post, PAC(w)K = Provide Actionable Communication with Knowledge. PAC(w)K gives you guidance on how to build and strengthen relationships efficiently in your sales/professional role as well as your personal life.


PAC(w)K It Up!!!

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

What does Ben Horowitz and I have in common? We both love hip-hop and have a blog. So in Ben’s Blog style, I’m adding a lyrical quote to my blog.
Here’s the rules: chop it, bag it, stash it, stack it.
Get in, get out – that’s an O.G.’s classic.
Song: 1-900-Hustler Artist: Jay-Z

PAC(w)K It Up!

We sat at the edge of our chairs, legs locked and core engaged as if we were at the bottom movement of a squat. Our eyes were focused at center of the room, listening eagerly to one of the many messages that would change our professional and personal lives at the University of Notre Dame. Our professor addressed our EMBA class in South Bend, Indiana. On this day, his class would transcend beyond the needs of driving revenue performance, shareholder value, and blossom into a resource we could use in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. It was on that day, that all 60 of us learned how to create and maintain relationships with a purpose. PAC(w)K is an acronym for Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge. Obviously with this being a sales blog, I will explain the concept with a sales slant, but you can take these same steps and use it beyond sales as it truly extends to all aspects of business and personal lives.

What is PAC(w)K?
Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge (PAC(w)K) is a concept you can use to create, establish, maintain, strengthen, and nurture any relationship you have with another professional or person in your life. Think about that prospect you have in your current pipeline. You conducted a demo, or given a proposal to them and suddenly what you thought was a slam dunk deal forecasted for the month is now in jeopardy because the prospect/customer has gone radio silent on you. They are no longer returning your calls, and not answering your emails. You are thinking, “What’s up? I thought this was going to happen.” You start recalling your conversation with the prospect because you are questioning what could you have done better. Why are they not responding to your communication? Chances are you probably did execute the first appointment, demo, and proposal meeting well. But, did you connect with them on a professional or personal level to truly understand the needs and wants of their business as well as what motivates them? During these moments of silence, reps go crazy trying to figure out how to get the attention of prospects. They send emails with lowered pricing or extra add-ons in an attempt to sweeten the deal. They also continue to call, drop in, and leave messages with product specific information hoping the prospect looks up and responds. PAC(w)K assists in decreasing the radio silence. PAC(w)K helps you know what your prospects care about professionally and personally. PAC(w)K gives you an advantage because it gives you an overall better relationship with your customers. Having a better relationship with your customers will create more selling opportunities than you can ever imagine.

First rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest in the relationship you desire to cultivate and nurture. This is important because you cannot PAC(w)K everyone. There is a limit to the people you can PAC(w)K.

Second rule of PAC(w)K is to think about the 10 – 20 relationships you want to create, establish, maintain and nurture. These are the people that you will communicate or PAC(w)K as frequently and naturally as the relationship grows. Think about those key decision makers in the key targets accounts you are trying to win.

Third rule of PAC(w)K is to recall the conversation you had with them and what needs, concerns, or interest revealed. Think beyond the sale. Go passed your product and your interest to get to what is the driving force behind their need. Apply the same thought to them as a professional. Use your tools, social media, and the internet to learn more about them. There is tons of information out there. Use it, learn from it, and apply it to your strategy when you communicate with them.

Fourth rule of PAC(w)K is to take what you learned from the third rule and support it with substantial information. This is where you want to use resources like Pulse from LinkedIn (personal favorite) , Flipboard app, news and magazine resources, and thought provoking messages like TedTalks, and Kahn’s Academy. Remember the first rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest so be open to all forms of information. It can be a comic strip or a funny youtube video. Let the relationship you are developing establish the boundaries of the information you are using. As the relationship grows so will the boundaries because you are consistently learning more about your customer’s interests.

Fifth rule of PAC(w)K is to never forget the first rule. It is not about your interests. It’s about the interests and needs of the other person.
How often do you PAC(w)K? Is it once a week, monthly, or quarterly? The truly depends on the relationship and natural flow of information. I have some people I PAC(w)K weekly because our relationship has evolved to that level of communication and others I PAC(w)K quarterly. Sales professionals, I think you will need to read the situation first and then start applying the PAC(w)K rules to enhance your communication to the prospect.

Applying the PAC(w)K
PAC(w)K is the easiest thing to do. You can do it with a phone call, text, an email, a letter and more. You can use LinkedIn, facebook, and other social media as well. Variety is best used when dripping. I opt for using the phone or email so I can ensure that my message is specific to the person. Social media like linkedIn and facebook are powerful because you can share articles and TedTalks. Kim Nicol, who is building a meditation business, targeted to professionals in the legal industry around mindfulness uses social media to PAC(w)K her clients. She shares articles and her blog to reach and stay connected to her clients.

Can you have two PAC(w)K list?
I have a professional PAC(w)K list and a personal one. I have ten people on each list. These are the people and relationships that I deemed valuable and ones I’m working to maintain.
Now you know the rules and how to apply it…what are you waiting on. Create your list and PAC(w)K it up!

P.S.
1. Check out the 6th Annual AA-ISP Leadership Summit happening in Chicago, April 6th – 8th. You will learn from the best experts in sales at this meeting.
2. Looking to take your financial intelligence to another level? My dear friend, Jackie Koski wrote a book, titled Money Letters 2 My Daughter. It is an excellent book that will educate you about money. It is also the perfect book for anyone graduating from high school or college.


Territory Planning for Success

The saying goes that you should hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst. I believe this is especially true in sales and the main reason why YOU HAVE TO DO TERRITORY PLANNING. Most reps hate writing territory plans and I believe the reason they dislike it is because many don’t know or understand what goes into a good territory plan, and how often it should be measured. Secondly, the accountability, execution, and consistent review of the plan rest first with the sales professional and secondly the sales manager. Trust me, if done correctly and executed precisely, your territory plan will become the most invaluable asset you have each day of your career in sales.
WHAT IS A TERRITORY PLAN? A territory plan is a strategy that is written down detailing the actions, tasks, and objectives you must complete to exceed your sales quota. Most territory plans include awards and other personal motivational items. These items include pictures of desired vacations, family vacations, dream cars, houses, lifestyle pursuits, and much more. One of my reps included a picture of a Harley-Davidson with all the extras. It was truly an honor to see him achieve his goal and purchase the bike. So now that you know what a territory plan is, let’s start with the first step.
SEGMENT YOUR TERRITORY: To have a good territory plan you need to analyze your territory – this is where most territory plans fall short. You do this by segmenting your territory into prospects that do not have your products and to customers that do have your products. You should use all resources you have to do this. Your marketing department or CRM are both great sources of information that you can use to collect this data. If the role in your company is pure new business then you would focus on the prospects that do not have your products and vice-versa for sales professionals that support a retention or base business motion. For this post I will focus on new business.
SEGMENT YOUR PROSPECTS (GO DEEPER INTO THE SEGMENTATION): Your next step is to segment your prospects by size, specialty, or class. The point here is to align it with your business segmentation process. Some companies segment their customer base by size or potential revenue. You should follow the segmentation process that your company has. Once you have completed this step you are ready for the next step. This step will help you understand the market potential in your territory.
MARKET POTENTIAL (AOV X # OF PROSPECTS): Now that you have the number of prospects in your territory and you have segmented these prospects by your company’s segmentation you can now take the average order value (AOV) of a sale by the number of prospects in your market to calculate your market potential. If your average order value for companies with 10 employees is $15,000 annually, and you have 150 companies with 10 employees in your territory your market size for this segment is $2.25 million ($15,000 x 150 prospects = $2,250,000). You will continue this exercise with your other segments and add all your segment market dollar amounts to get your total territory market potential. Now to the next step and YES, you will need your sales ratios and metrics moving forward.
MATCH UP YOUR SALES RATIOS TO YOUR QUOTA AGAINST YOUR MARKET POTENTIAL: Now it’s time for you to pull out your ratios and bump it up against your sales quota and your market potential. THIS IS CRITICAL. If you don’t have this information then I suggest you call your manager and ask him or her for them. You will need to know your core ratios and metrics such as first appointments to opportunities, and opportunities to close. You will take these ratios and begin calculating how many first appoints, opportunities, and closes you need to exceed plan, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. This will tell you how many sales are needed in each segment within your territory to exceed your quota. Now you are ready for your next steps and this is creating your target list.
TARGET LIST: It is now time to go back to your list of prospects by segment so you can put together those prospects that you must have as your customer base. These are the prospects that you know are the most influential prospects in your territory and having them as customers will help you build a solid book of business. These are the prospects that you call on often. I have heard some sales professionals call this their elephant hunting list or whale hunting list. The point I am making is that you have to know your territory and know where the big hits are so you can start building rapport with these prospects immediately. Closing a few of these deals throughout the year can help you exceed your number that much faster.
MEASURE YOUR OUTCOMES (MONTHLY, and QUARTERLY): Break down your objectives and goals into months and quarters. Then you need to review your outcomes each month and quarter to ensure that you are on track and executing your territory plan. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU MIGHT AS WELL THROW YOUR PLAN AWAY BECAUSE IT IS WORTHLESS. Not measuring your outcomes means that you have taken a W.A.G. approach as my finance MBA professor from the University of Notre Dame would say. W.A.G. means wild a_ _ guessing as opposed to S.W.A.G. which is scientific well-thought analytical guidance. Decide on using the later and measure your outcomes. Keep in mind that territory plans are not static or inflexible. Territory plans are dynamic, and always changing with the needs of the business. You must review your status continuously and adjust as needed.
REWARD YOURSELF: How will you reward yourself for all the work and effort you have put into executing your territory plan. Think of something big and really worth your effort. Have a photo of it and hang it in your office, car, bedroom, and everywhere else you can. This is your motivation. Now imagine how great it will feel when you achieve your goals. I can only imagine how great it felt for my rep to buy his first Harley and the ride he took when he drove it off the lot. It had to be a great feeling.
In conclusion, territory planning is critical to achieving success each year in sales. A territory plan defines how you will spend your time and who you will spend it with. This is why you must measure your outcomes monthly, and quarterly to ensure you are on track or you will need to adjust your plan. The bulk of the work that goes into a territory plan is done in the analytical stage. This is where you segment your territory and truly map out your territory market potential. Furthermore, you must consistently review your territory plan against your outcomes to ensure you are on track. Lastly, reward yourself for all the hard work and effort as your begin executing your territory plan and having success.
(Special thanks to all that helped make this post. You each are living examples that sales is a noble profession)Great selling!!!
Insidesalesmagic….believe in the power of the telephone!!!