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Podcast

Episode 16 – Using personalized gifts in prospection, with Trevor Martin, CEO of Noms Bake Shop

The B2B Sales Podcast

The B2B Sales Podcast

Interviews of thought-leaders, experts and top-performers in sales

Episode 16 – Using personalized gifts in prospection, with Trevor Martin, CEO of Noms Bake Shop

In this new episode, Thibaut receives Trevor Martin, CEO of Noms Bake Shop for an interview on how to use gifts in cold outreach sequences.

Trevor has founded Noms Bake Shop in 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

In this interview, you will discover how to build sequences using physical gifts like cookies. Trevor shares a framework to select a gift provider and best practices to include these gifts in your cold outreach sequence. He also shares his experience validating physical addresses when your prospects work from home.

You can find Trevor on LinkedIn here.

Go check Noms Bake Shop here.

Get the 5 steps framework here.

Get your 10% discount by typing the code “b2bsalespodcast” at the checkout.

Enjoy the show!

Listen on

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Blog

The ultimate guide to inside sales prospecting in 2020

The ultimate guide to inside sales prospecting in 2020

Here is your guide to building a modern inside sales development team.

Building and maintaining a successful sales development team is a daily challenge. Between hiring, onboarding, 1on1s, and call blitzes, it can be hard to zoom out and find new ways to generate pipeline. In this guide made specifically for sales development leaders, I will walk you through the steps required to build a modern and successful sales development team.

But first, let’s cover the roadmap.

Insides sales prospecting basics

  1. What inside sales prospecting currently looks like
  2. What’s wrong with current sales development organizations

The T-shaped SDR

  1. What is a T-shaped SDR
  2. Benefits of a T-shaped SDR

How to build a T-shaped sales development team

  1. Mindset shifts
  2. Assessing your team’s core skills
  3. Assessing your team’s secondary skills
  4. Defining your metrics and goals
  5. Organizing your team’s day
  6. Getting started

What inside sales prospecting currently looks like

If you run a sales organization with 10+ employees, chances are that you have divided the work of these employees into two categories. One set of employees will focus on generating sales opportunities, they are called SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) or BDRs (Business Development Representatives). The other set of employees will focus on turning these opportunities into closed business. They are called Account Executives (AEs).

In certain sales organizations, salespeople take care of the full sales cycle. It’s often seen in early-stage startups, where resources are scarce and role specialization doesn’t make sense yet.

The main job of SDRs is to generate opportunities for the AEs. They do so by dealing with incoming requests (inbound leads) or proactively reaching out to prospects (outbound).

This job is by definition repetitive. They are often required to crunch tens of dials every day and send templated emails to prospects. The answer rate is in the low 1 figure, and rejection is permanent.

Yet this organization type works. Most successful sales development teams rely on cold calling and cold emailing because it simply works. It’s a numbers game and with enough activity, enough pipeline can be built.

But sustaining this kind of structure is becoming more challenging than ever.

What’s wrong with current sales development organizations

According to TOPO’s 2019 Sales Development Benchmark Report, only 48% of SDRs consistently reach their targets.

Problem #1: Traditional outreach channels are largely overused

When I ask prospects what tools they use for cold outreach, I get the same overwhelming answer: cold calling and cold emailing. These two channels have been used for decades but prospects have built strategies to stop being disturbed by pushy salespeople. They often do not answer an unknown number or mark you as spam as soon as the first email of your sequence lands in their mailbox.

When using an email or cold call, you use the same crowded channel as everyone else and you reduce the chance of your message being noticed.

Problem #2: Outreach relevance and personalization are declining

One problematic trend in cold outreach is the lack of personalization and relevance. How often have you received a cold email knowing it is a template? It happens to me every day.

Most SDRs use the same templates as all their colleagues. They are also built using widely known blog posts. That’s why we constantly receive messages that look similar. We often see emails with an introduction, some bullet points, and a call to action.

Our brains are pattern recognition machines. When you see a cold email with an intro, some bullet points, and a call to action, your brain immediately recognizes the pattern and dismisses the content. That’s why so many people do not even read your messages. And it’s the same with cold calls. When you ask “Is it a good time to talk?”, people know you are trying to sell them something, and they shut down.

That’s what Josh Braun calls “Being a white circle in a sea of white circles.”

A second problem is the lack of personalization, or even worse, lazy personalization. When an SDR approaches me, congratulating me for attending the same school as her, my first reflex is to shut down and dismiss this person.

And that’s a critical thing to remember. Cold outreach and prospection are marketing activities. An important aspect of marketing is to catch the attention of a target audience.

Sending cookie-cutter emails or reading cold call scripts doesn’t achieve that.

Problem #3: Most SDRs are incentivized to become AEs

I was discussing with a Head of Sales a few days ago and he shared his goal for the quarter. He told me: “My main goal for Q2 is to change the perception of the SDR job, from just being a stepping stone to becoming an AE to becoming a career path in itself.”

This sentence summarizes the current incentive for SDRs. Their goal is to bite the bullet for a few months and get promoted to Account Executive as soon as possible. The average tenure for an SDR is 15 months.

I find that pretty long when you know what the job entails. If I was an SDR, I’d do everything possible to become an AE or change jobs.

But the good news is that it can change. Meet the T-shaped SDR.

What is a T-shaped SDR

The best way to understand what a T-shaped SDR looks like is to look at the illustration below.

T-shaped SDR

As you can see, the T-shaped SDR has a vast range of skills. Some of these skills are very developed, we call them core skills. The vast majority of skills are not as developed, they are secondary skills.

If you look at the illustration above, you can see that the T-shaped SDR is proficient in 3 key categories (in turquoise), Network building, Outreaching, and Content building. These 3 categories include a set of domains (in red) and specific skills (in blue).

As you go deeper into the level of knowledge, you see that a T-shaped SDR has a general understanding of domains like lead sourcing, cold calling, or design. Going even deeper, you observe specific skills like lead generation, scraping, or objection handling. In this example, pitching and objection handling are two core skills. It means this SDR has a strong focus and expertise in these two areas. All other areas are also developed, but not as much. They are secondary skills.

Now let’s study each bloc in detail.

The central bloc is comprised of the outreaching category, with specific domains and skills, as shown below.

T-shape core bloc

The two secondary blocs include network building and content building categories, as well as specific domains and skills.

T-shaped secondary blocs

Keep in mind that this illustration is just an example. A junior SMB SDR will typically have core skills like pitching and objection handling, where a senior Enterprise SDR may have core skills in account research and account networking.

Being a T-shaped SDR means that you have a broad knowledge covering a wide range of sales development tactics, with in-depth knowledge in one or two specific areas.

The benefits of a T-shaped SDR

What’s the point of building a T-shaped sales development team?

I see a few key benefits, based on the current situation of sales development in B2B sales organizations.

Benefit #1: It allows you to start more conversations

A T-shaped SDR will be able to start more genuine conversations with prospects, using a creative and relevant approach. Take two SDRs. Your standard SDR, relying on cold calling and cold emailing as only channels to outreach. This SDR will perform tens of dials every day and send templated emails, with minimal answer rates and booking rates.

Your T-shaped will take a totally different approach. Using her copywriting skills, she will send a non-threatening LinkedIn invitation to a prospect, following up with a personalized LinkedIn voicemail. She will then use her scraping skills to find secondary contacts and share a slide deck she built to provide value to the prospect.

Which one of these two SDRs will start more conversations?

Benefit #2: It makes the job more diversified

Your traditional SDR’s job is pretty repetitive. Find a hundred leads, cold call them, send templated emails, book a few discovery calls or demos, and repeat.

OK, I may oversimplify here. But ask any SDR about his job and he will tell you it’s a pretty repetitive one.

One the other hand, the T-shaped SDR will develop strategies and tactics to start conversations and generate opportunities. The best way to do so is to be creative and relevant. It means being able to use a vast array of tools and tactics to grab the attention of a prospect and make them stop in the course of their days.

It is not rare to see a T-shaped SDR quickly building a landing page using Unbounce, creating a slide deck with Powerpoint, or recycling a company page LinkedIn post to share it with more context to his audience.

As a T-shaped SDR, you are not expected to hit the phone all day long, you are expected to start more conversations and generate opportunities. And cold calling is just one aspect of it.

Benefit #3: It develops a wide range of useful skills

The SDR job is an entry-level position. Most SDRs are graduate and belong to the millennial generation or gen Z. For them, money is not the strongest motivator. They are interested in personal growth and development.

Knowing this, do you think cold calling tens of prospects every day to make money is really a strong motivator?

I don’t.

Instead, if you can train them, mentor them, and help them develop a wide range of business skills, chances are that you will attract SDRs for something else than just a pay check.

Benefit #4: It helps increase the tenure of an SDR

Following benefit #3, a T-shaped SDR will stay in this job longer. When your job requires you to learn how to cold call, build landing pages, map accounts, and develop partnerships, you’ll need more than just a few months to become proficient. This makes the job a lot more diverse and interesting.

Benefit #5: It allows for a different career path

The current SDR career path is pretty standard. The logical step after SDR is Account Executive. Even during the recruitment process, most SDRs are promised a quota-carrying position within 9 months.

This dynamic makes the position of SDR pretty challenging to sustain on a long term basis. And what happens to SDRs who do not want to be promoted to an Account Executive position?

As a T-shaped SDR, you can build a different career path. Imagine the possibilities offered by the vast amount of skills you develop. For example, an SDR with copywriting as a core skill could develop in this role and build a career training SDRs on copywriting.

The career opportunities are more diverse, which can be a good retention argument for an employer.

Mindset shifts

Building a T-shaped sales development team requires a few mindset shifts. Experienced sales development leaders may have a tough time understanding a few key concepts, as they directly contradict business development practices that are commonly accepted.

Shift #1: It’s not just a numbers game

That’s the first thing I heard about sales. At the time, I was studying at HEC Montréal and we had a class about sales management. The teacher told us that sales was purely a numbers game.

And it’s partially true. Sales is a numbers game. The more calls, emails, and touchpoints you perform, the more answers you will get. I’ve also experienced that strategy with great success when I was working at Applause.

But things have changed. Buyers are tired of receiving the same templated emails. They receive tons of them every day, and their brains are trained to ignore them.

What if you could send a fraction of the emails you send, to get the same results?

Shift #2: If you hire humans to do what a robot could do, hire the robot instead

We all heard AI is coming for our jobs. If you think about how most sales organizations function, 80% of the job could be done by robots. Most SDRs are sending automated sequences, with dynamic fields. They don’t even personalize their messaging to their Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP).

Think about it. What are your SDRs doing that a robot couldn’t do? Finding leads and emails? You can use Hunter and automate that part. Sending templated emails? You can use Salesloft or Outreach for that.

The only thing that cannot (yet) be automated is cold calling. If you use scripts, I guess you will soon be able to use Alexa to do some cold calls.

And instead of hiring 10 SDRs, you’ll be able to hire 1 nifty campaign manager and an army of robots and scripts.

As exciting as it sounds for your balance sheet, this will not happen. The job of the SDR is to start conversations and build business opportunities. You should focus on providing sales enablement tools so they can automate repetitive tasks and focus on the human part of the conversation. I’m talking about discovery skills, empathetic listening, or objection handling.

Shift #3: Diversification of tasks does not always reduce productivity

This one sounds counterintuitive. In general, when you reduce the diversity of a job, you make it more productive. That’s the underlying concept of Taylorism and what you see in factories.

I won’t do an economic course here. But a sales floor is not a factory.

Moreover, the job of an SDR is extremely unproductive by nature. In what other profession do you see someone doing a hundred calls to book one meeting? Most of the time spent building messages, pitching or any sales activity will not yield any results. The average win rate of a deal is around 20%. It means that 80% of the deals generated do not close.

And this comes from various reasons, the main one being that sales is about dealing with humans. And humans are unpredictable.

The approach with a T-shaped SDR is different. By diversifying the skills developed by an SDR, you give her a set of tools she can use to be more relevant and creative. I’ve seen fantastic results using LinkedIn voicemails or curating content about sales on LinkedIn.

More skills mean more tools and a lot more resources to start conversations.

Shift #4: What worked yesterday won’t work today. What works today won’t work tomorrow

In sales development, new tools and tactics get old pretty fast. If you find a kickass email subject line, you can be sure that it will stop working if you do not update it after a while.

Prospection is a bit like military technology. When you develop a tactic, strategy, or technology, the opponent is surprised at the beginning and you win. But soon enough, a counter technology is developed and your secret weapon doesn’t work anymore.

The same holds true in sales development. Right now, video prospecting is all the rage. Give it a few months and people will be tired of it.

If you develop a kickass cold outreach sequence, it will become antiquated. If you enable creativity and resourcefulness with your reps, they’ll keep adapting and developing new ways to start conversations.

Assessing your team’s core skills

T-shape core bloc

As we can see in the illustration above, a T-shaped SDR has 1 to 2 core skills. One important step in determining your team members’ T-shape profile is to identify which skills these are.

Your team’s core skills can only be under the outreaching category. A T-shaped SDR has to have outreach skills and a focus on starting conversations with strangers. If their domain of interest is in product development and they have no specific skills in cold outreach, they will not suddenly become good T-shaped SDRs.

Here is the list of core T-shaped SDR domains and skills:

  • Cold calling (domain)
  • Cold emailing (domain)
  • Social selling (domain)
  • Rapport building (skill)
  • Discovery (skill)
  • Pitching (skill)
  • Objection handling (skill)
  • Referral prospecting (skill)
  • Setting next steps (skill)
T-shape core bloc

To give you an example, my two core skills are discovery and rapport building. I have a deep understanding of these two skills. I know many strategies, tactics, and techniques to use. I am familiar with all other skills, but not as proficient.

Here are the steps to help your SDRs find their core skills:

  1. Share the T-shaped Canva with your team
  2. In the list of skills listed above, they have to select 1 or 2 core skills (blue), based on their natural interest
  3. Once their skills are clear, they can define 2 domains (red)

Assessing your team’s secondary skills

Now that you know what your team’s core skills are, you can start defining your team’s secondary skills. In that case, it is also important to keep in mind that they cannot pick random skills. For example, being able to use Excel to build pivot tables is not a necessary skill.

Secondary skills are categorized in two buckets, network building, and content building.

Here is a list of domains and skills related to network building:

  • Lead sourcing (domain)
  • Account Mapping (domain)
  • Automation (skill)
  • Lead generation (skill)
  • Scraping (skill)
  • Account research (skill)
  • Account networking (skill)
T-shape network bloc

Here is a list of domains and skills related to content building:

  • Copywriting (domain)
  • Design (domain)
  • Distribution (domain)
  • Storytelling (skill)
  • Templating (skill)
  • Creative thinking (skill)
  • Landing page building (skill)
  • Demand generation (skill)
  • Content curation
  • Growth hacking (skill)
T-shape content bloc

Here are the steps to find your core skills:

  1. Have your team go back to the T-shape Canva
  2. In the list of skills listed above, they have to select 4 secondary skills (turquoise) for network building and 4 skills for content building, based on their natural interest
  3. Once their skills are clear, they can define 2 domains (red) for network building and 2 for content building

Note that you can develop a more granular aspect of your domains and skills. This example is based on a simple canvas, to help you get a simple understanding of the T-shaped SDR concept.

Defining your T-shaped SDR team metrics and goals

Now that you have a clear understanding of your team’s T-shape profile, it’s time to set your metrics and goals.

The T-shaped SDR is still an SDR. Her main goal should be to create opportunities.

Below are metrics you can track for each category.

1. Outreaching

These metrics are pretty traditional. They are typically tracked in conventional sales development organizations.

  • Quantitative
    • #dials
    • #emails sent
    • #social touchpoints
    • #leads touched
    • #demos booked
    • #discovery booked
  • Qualitative
    • #touchpoints per lead
    • #touchpoints per discovery/demo booked
    • Answer rate
    • Booking rate

2. Network building

Network building metrics are centered on the number of connections and leads an SDR can add.

  • Quantitative
    • #leads scraped
    • #LinkedIn invitations sent
    • #LinkedIn invitations accepted
    • #automation scripts launched
    • #accounts mapped
    • #referral discovery booked
  • Qualitative
    • LinkedIn invitation acceptance rate

3. Content building

Content building metrics are focused on design and distribution of marketing content.

  • Quantitative
    • #LinkedIn posts created
    • #reactions on a LinkedIn post
    • #comments on a LinkedIn post
    • #shares of a LinkedIn post
    • #profile views
    • #discovery/demos booked from a post
  • Qualitative
    • post engagement (reactions + comments + shares/post view)
    • #discovery/demo per post

Need help understanding which metric to choose?

As you can see, there are tons of metrics you can implement to track the progress of your T-shaped SDR team. Keep in mind that their goal should always be to generate opportunities by starting conversations with prospects.

Organizing your team’s day

With all these domains and skills to focus on, it can be challenging to organize your team’s day in an effective manner.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Tip #1: Time block and organize team sessions

With diverse areas of focus, it can be easy to lose productivity without a good structure. That’s why I suggest to time block and organize team sessions. For example, your SDRs could block the slot between 09:30 and 10:00 to browse LinkedIn and post thoughtful comments. You can also block two hours every Friday morning to build content for the following week, with your team. You can see my calendar for an example of time block.

Calendar illustration

Tip #2: Use automation to build your team’s network

This step is extremely important to save your team’s time. Depending on the structure and instrumentation of your company, you will have automation and sales enablement tools available. Make sure your team is regularly trained and uses these tools to automate tasks like scraping LinkedIn profiles, sending connections requests, or sending email templates.

Don’t know which automation tool to use for your sales organization?

Tip #3: Develop inspiration habits

As the content building part of the T-shaped SDR requires inspiration, it is important to develop healthy inspiration habits. I suggest following thought-leaders in your industry to get a good understanding of recent trends. This will allow you to share content with your team and feed your team sessions.You can also use tools like FeedlyTrello or Pocket to get inspiration and capture it on the go.

Tip #4: Keep your priorities in check

This point is crucial. Switching from a traditional SDR role, where the job requires doing 2 or 3 repetitive tasks, your team will experience a lot of temptations. For example, if one of your SDRs has a strong preference for content building and connecting on LinkedIn, he may forget to do cold calls or build his network.

Make sure to keep your team’s priorities in check and remember that starting conversations and generating opportunities is what matters most. In most cases, your team is anyways compensated for discovery or demos booked, not for creating a viral LinkedIn post.

Getting started

Now that you have a good understanding of the challenges of inside sales prospection and the T-shaped SDR concept, it’s time to get started. If you have followed this article, you should have all the basic requirements to have your team building its network, build content, and outreach prospects.

There are other important aspects to cover, like optimizing your team’s LinkedIn profile for outreach or understanding the learning curve of a T-shaped SDR. If you want to discuss these options and how to do it, you can book a call with me.

Categories
Podcast

Episode 15 – How to build employment security, with Scott Leese, CEO & Founder of Scott Leese Consulting

The B2B Sales Podcast

The B2B Sales Podcast

Interviews of thought-leaders, experts and top-performers in sales

Episode 15 – How to build employment security, with Scott Leese, CEO & Founder of Scott Leese Consulting

In this new episode, Thibaut receives Scott Leese, CEO & Founder of Scott Leese Consulting for an in-depth conversation about Scott’s sales career.

Scott has been in sales leadership in 6 tech startups and built 9 figures revenues multiple times. He’s now fully focused on his sales consulting business.

In this interview, you will learn about Scott and his career, understand how to quickly become a sales leader, and why he had the idea to create The Surf and Sales Summit.

You can find Scott on LinkedIn here.

Buy Scott’s book here.

Go check the Surf and Sales Podcast here.

Enjoy the show!

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Videos

The T-shaped SDR – Your guide to modern prospection

The T-shaped SDR – Your guide to modern prospection

In this webinar recording, Thibaut offers insights on how to become a T-shaped SDR.

Here is what you will learn:

  • What is a T-shaped SDR
  • Key skills to develop as a T-shaped SDR
  • Your first 30 days as a T-shaped SDR

This recording is aimed at the following people:

  • SDRs/BDRs
  • Sales Development Managers
  • AEs, AMs, CSMs
  • Sales Managers, Sales Leaders
Get the slides here.
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Podcast

Episode 14 – A customer success guide for salespeople, with Saood Shah, VP Customer Success at Contentful

The B2B Sales Podcast

The B2B Sales Podcast

Interviews of thought-leaders, experts and top-performers in sales

Episode 14 – A customer success guide for salespeople, with Saood Shah, VP Customer Success at Contentful

In this new episode, Thibaut receives Saood Shah, VP Customer Success and Professional Services at Contentful for a conversation on customer success and how this crucial business unit can help sales.

Saood has a strong experience in building professional services units, and more recently, customer success teams.

In this interview, Saood and Thibaut exchange on how sales and customer success work together, especially on the handover and onboarding, churn reduction, and expansion.

You can find Saood on LinkedIn here.

Go check Contentful here.

Enjoy the show!

Listen on

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Podcast

Episode 13 – How to run a solid SaaS demo online, with Veronika Riederle, CEO & Co-Founder at Demodesk

The B2B Sales Podcast

The B2B Sales Podcast

Interviews of thought-leaders, experts and top-performers in sales

Episode 13 – How to run a solid SaaS demo online, with Veronika Riederle, CEO & Co-Founder at Demodesk

In this new episode, Thibaut receives Veronika Riederle, CEO & Co-Founder at Demodesk for a conversation on how to run an online SaaS demo.

Veronika has experience working in the corporate world and consulting, before founding Demodesk, an intelligent online meeting tool for sales teams.

In this interview, Veronika and Thibaut exchange on how to prepare for a good online demo, mistakes to avoid as a junior rep running a demo and tips and tricks around scheduling or keeping control of a sales process.

You can find Veronika on LinkedIn here.

Go check Demodesk here.

Enjoy the show!

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Blog

Sales Process vs Buyer’s Journey

Sales Process vs Buyer’s Journey

Here are the differences between a sales process and a buyer's journey?

If you are in sales, you probably hear the word sales process all the time. But one equally important concept is the buyer’s journey.

Find out more about these two concepts in this post.

What is a buyer's journey?

The buyer’s journey is the mental journey your prospects are going through when making a buying decision.

According to Gong.io, it is composed of the following steps:

  • Latent pain
  • Active pain
  • Solution Development
  • Evaluation
  • Decision

We’ll use my washing machine as an illustration of each phase.

1. Latent Pain

Latent pain is the first phase of the journey. Your prospects are typically aware that they have a problem, but it doesn’t hurt enough for them to do anything about it.

For example, we started thinking about buying a new washing machine, when we had to clean it every 10 cycles. Nothing was preventing us from washing clothes, but it was a bit annoying.

2. Active Pain

Active pain is the second phase of the journey. In that case, prospects have a clear pain. Inbound leads typically come in that phase.

Coming back to our washing machine story, when ours started to make worrying noises during the spinning cycle, we knew we had to quickly buy another one before it breaks.

We had an active pain.

3. Solution Development

Solution development is the phase in which your prospect is trying to gather information and build use cases to fix a problem.

In our case, we went to an appliance store and started comparing models, price, energy consumption, and all these specific details.

4. Evaluation

When entering the evaluation phase, things are getting serious. This is when prospects ask about pricing and try to figure out if the investment will bring enough value.

For our washing machine, a discussion with a rep helped us understand if the delivery was included in the price, if the machine was really worth that investment and if we could buy it in multiple payments.

5. Decision

And finally, the decision phase is the moment when a prospect decides to buy or not.

We decided to move on and buy the machine online, as the rep didn’t want to give a discount for the model we wanted to buy.

As you can see, a buyer can always decide to move further with a competitor, even at the end of the buyer’s journey.

What is a sales process?

According to Hubspot, a sales process or sales funnel, is a repeatable set of steps a sales team takes to move a prospect from an early-stage lead to a closed customer.

There are many types of sales processes, but here is one that I particularly like.

It is composed of the following steps:

  • Discovery call or meeting
  • Usecase demo
  • Contract or proposal review
  • Negotiation

1. Discovery Call or Meeting

A discovery call or meeting is an initial conversation to understand if a prospect has a concrete, qualified pain, and to find out if your solution could potentially be a fit.

It is not a demo, and talking about the features of your solution is not what it’s made for.

Running a good discovery is an art as much as a science. But with good training and a lot of practice, it allows you to keep control of a deal and have a clear understanding of the steps required to close that deal.

2. Usecase Demo

When your discovery has confirmed that the prospect has a qualified pain, within a reasonable timeline, it’s now time for a usecase demo.

A usecase demo is not a product or solution demonstration. It is actually a call or meeting to build a solution. That solution should solve the pains or challenges identified during the discovery.

It is a collaborative process with your prospect.

You are not expected to bring polished slides to regurgitate for 2 hours.

If a usecase demo proves successful, the next logical step is a contract or proposal review.

3. Contract or Proposal Review

Some prospects will ask you to “send an offer”. Never do that.

Instead, going through the details of the offer with your prospect, outlining specific payment terms, or discussing over deliverables is a great way to keep a level of control on the deal.

4. Negotiation

And finally, negotiation is the last part of the process, where a prospect is trying to get the best deal possible. This part is complex, because it often involves many stakeholders, and it is almost always emotionally loaded.

But with a good framework and concrete usecases, you can always build a win-win scenario and close a deal.

Wrapping it up

If you respect these 4 basic steps, you should be able to select qualified deals and drive them to close.

Now you know how a basic sales process looks like. You also have a better understanding of the mental journey of a buyer.

Before you go...

Are you having difficulties building your sales process? If you can’t find any way to make it work for your sales team, book a free consultation with me.

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Blog

3 easy ways to get started with social selling

3 easy ways to get started with social selling

Find out how you to get started with social selling, in 3 easy steps

If you hang out on LinkedIn, you have certainly heard of social selling. But what is it really about? And how to get started?

Find out in this post.

What is social selling?

According to Hootsuite, social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.

It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.

For this post, we will focus on how to use LinkedIn.

How to get started with social selling?

We’ve all been there. Someone is adding your on LinkedIn and 10 seconds later, you receive a templated message, asking to book 15 minutes in your calendar.

Here’s how it often looks:

I know, it’s gross

Now you have a better idea of what not to do, but how do you get started?

It’s actually simple, you need to follow a structured, 3-steps framework.

1. Content Creation

Creating content is at the core of social selling. Traditionally, it’s the job of marketing, but you cannot expect to be successful without sharing content.

And it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.

First, you have to pick your voice and make sure it fits with your target audience, or Ideal Customer Profile. For example, I chose to be direct and authentic, because it is how I am and a lot of decision-makers tend to appreciate these traits.

Once you’ve picked your voice, the best thing to do is to identify problems your prospects are trying to solve.

For example, if you’re selling an expense management software to consulting companies, a common problem your prospects are facing would be to get VAT invoices from airlines like Easyjet or Ryanair.

As soon as you understand the problems your prospects are trying to solve, you can either create or curate content, in the form of posts, checklists or any other format.

In our expense management software example, producing a 5-steps checklist post to show how to request an Easyjet or Ryanair invoice is a great content idea.

2. Network Building

As you start creating or curating content, an important step is to proactively build your network. 

You can create the best content in the world. If your network is composed of your colleagues and your friends, you won’t get far.

What I always recommend is to build an Ideal Customer Profile Matrix before connecting with strangers. It will help you build lists of potential customers, based on their job title and any other segmentation factor.

Once done, you can run a search with the corresponding criteria and invite people who fit with your ICP to connect.

This is what I call a soft connect. A semi-personalized invitation, that provides enough information to your prospect, without sounding too threatening or salesy.

3. Strategic Outreach

With your content creation ongoing and your network slowly growing, you are in a good position to start outreaching your prospects strategically.

And I insist on strategically.

The goal is not to put your prospects in an 18 touchpoint automated sequence. The goal here is to approach a prospect with relevance and creativity.

To do so, I recommend using a trigger. A trigger is an indication that a prospect may have a problem you can solve.

Take our expense management software. A startup hiring 30+ sales reps is a strong indication that expense management may become a burden for the organization.

And this kind of information is available publicly, through job boards.

With that in mind, you could approach a prospect, who is connected to you and send a LinkedIn voicemail.

Yes, you can send voicemails on LinkedIn. Just go on the mobile app, enter the message section, look for the person you want to contact and hit the microphone icon to record a 60 seconds message.

Wrapping things up

If you follow this framework, you’ll be able to provide value and start generating attention and traffic to your LinkedIn profile. Start by creating or curating content that reflects your personality, build your network proactively and outreach prospects strategically, using triggers,

When you do that, you are both relevant and different. And this is why social selling is so powerful.

It positions you as a resource for your prospects, not another pushy sales rep.

Before you go...

Getting started with social selling on LinkedIn can be overwhelming and challenging. If you can’t wrap your head around a clear strategy, you can book a free consultation.

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Videos

The New SDR – A tactical guide to start more conversations

The New SDR – A tactical guide to start more conversations

In this webinar recording, Thibaut offers insights on how to be a modern SDR and book more meetings.

You can find the slides here.

Here is what you will learn:

  • What your job as an SDR/BDR could look like
  • How to be creative and relevant with your outreach
  • Simple steps to get started and book more meetings

This recording is aimed at the following people:

  • SDRs/BDRs
  • Sales Development Managers
  • AEs, AMs, CSMs
  • Sales Managers, Sales Leaders
Categories
Podcast

Episode 12 – How to coach and develop sales people, with Robert Anders, Head of Sales at Comtravo

The B2B Sales Podcast

The B2B Sales Podcast

Interviews of thought-leaders, experts and top-performers in sales

Episode 12 – How to coach and develop sales people, with Robert Anders, Head of Sales at Comtravo

In this new episode, Ara receives Robert Anders, Head of Sales at Comtravo, for a conversation on how to develop and coach sales people.

Robert has experience building companies and sales teams from scratch. Before joining Comtravo as Head of Sales, he co-founded Travelcircus.

In this interview, Robert and Ara exchange on how to develop and coach sales people, how to make sure boundaries are clear when your direct reports are also your friend, and how to implement coaching programs for your sales team.

You can find Robert on LinkedIn here.

Go check Comtravo here.

Enjoy the show!

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