Here’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.
My cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I decided to answer anyway. As soon as the caller told me he was with the San Francisco symphony, I rolled my eyes, thinking, “Oh no, they’re going to ask me for money.”
Soliciting contributions was the reason for the call, and I did donate—thanks to the sales savvy of a young man named Ronnie.
How did Ronnie get me from “no way” to “of course”?
He said that every donation was being matched 4X and that every little bit helped. He wasn’t asking for a lot, so I settled down. When I told him the amount I could contribute, he said that for only $15.00 more, the 4X match would escalate… and I’d get additional benefits. He was courteous, engaging, and made the business case for contributing. How could I refuse?
What if all salespeople acted the way Ronnie did? He knew his facts, had rebuttals for objections, demonstrated what the future would look like if I said yes, and made an irrefutable case. He didn’t bore me with a long speech about how the symphony doesn’t make enough money from ticket sales to support the arts—a fact we all know.
I’m reminding everyone this month that sales is about building relationships, listening, courtesy, and understanding. These are the attributes of account-based sales teams who embrace referral selling. And that’s the reason their sales skyrocket.
To learn more about the role of referrals and relationships in account-based selling, check out this month’s blog posts from No More Cold Calling:
Do Account-Based Sales Reps Really Need SDRs?
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to say this.” That was the subject line of an email I received from my daughter. She explained that my granddaughter, age six and in kindergarten, wanted to wear high-heeled play shoes to school. My daughter, of course, said no. The response was a kicker: “But Sally wears them to school.” Her now-wise mother responded: “If Sally jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you?” We live in San Francisco, and that was the exact question I asked my daughter in many similar situations over the years. What does this have to do with account-based selling? Well, I’ve been waiting my whole life to say this: Account-based sales reps don’t need SDRs. OK, not my whole life … only about six months. But I’ve just been dying to put it out there. (Read “Do Account-Based Sales Reps Really Need SDRs?”)
How Account-Based Sales Reps Can Win New Clients from Lost Deals
I have been in B2B sales so long that I’ve probably forgotten more deals than I remember. But there’s one I’ll never forget. It was 20 years ago, when I was working as an account exec, and I lost the biggest deal of my career. I was so close to nailing a million-dollar deal—something no one in my company had ever done. We were one of 12 vendors under active consideration. I pulled out all the stops. I was attentive to the client’s needs and had multiple meetings with the entire buying team. I knew everyone. When it was bake-off time, I flew in key consultants from our headquarters to participate in the presentation. I could smell a win in the air. We had a stellar account-based selling team. We were thought leaders; we had visibility; and the client loved our solution for advanced sales training.
I was already planning how to spend my commission. I’d redecorate my living room, take a long vacation, donate a portion to charity, and save the rest. Then came the radio silence. I called and called, and was repeatedly told they hadn’t made a decision. Turns out, I had consistently ignored some major red flags along the way. (Read “How Account-Based Sales Reps Can Win New Clients from Lost Deals.”)
How Account-Based Sales Teams Can Make Buying Easy
The love affair began when I put a soft, Italian leather wallet in his hand. It was a done deal. I made the sale. This was decades ago, when I owned a luggage and gift store. My customers had countless choices for suitcases. It was my job to simplify the process. So, I asked many questions to assess how often they traveled, and if travel was for business or with family. I then offered two or three options, and they chose one. This approach made it easy for customers to buy. It’s a lot easier selling a tangible product, versus a service or a cloud solution. Prospects can’t feel or touch what they’re buying. It’s the job of account-based sales reps to make it easy for their prospects to buy, by making the intangible seem tangible. This is a lot tougher today, because buyers are already suffering from information overload. There’s too much to learn, too many choices, and too many salespeople who can’t wait to tell prospects everything about their product. So, how can account-based selling teams sell complex solutions without overwhelming prospects? (Read “How Account-Based Sales Teams Can Make Buying Easy.”)
Do Your Account-Based Selling Teams Need a Strategy?
Do sales organizations really need a B2B sales strategy? After all, pundits tell us it’s the buyer’s journey that matters. They’re in control, so shouldn’t account-based selling pros just be prepared to wing it? Besides, developing and implementing any strategy—whether for sales, service, marketing, or products—can take weeks or months. Once you’ve mapped the company sales strategy, you need to consistently dissect it, revise it, and communicate it. And the hard work doesn’t stop there. Account-based selling teams need their own specific strategy with sales activities mapped to each stage of the sales process, which then needs to be mapped to the buyers’ processes. It’s complicated and time-consuming. And is it really necessary? You know the answer to that question, even if you’d rather not admit it. Without a strategy, salespeople are up a creek with no paddle. And that’s a problem, because even when our buyers are steering the boat, they expect us to help them get where they need to go. That’s why I resonated with this straightforward approach to determining if your existing strategy is working. It’s written by my long-time colleague, Tris Brown, CEO of LSA Global. (Read “Do Your Account-Based Selling Teams Need a Strategy?”)
Test Your Referral Savvy
I’m conducting a study on referrals, and I need your help. Please take my 14-question Referral I.Q. Quiz. The questions are mostly “Yes/No,” and it should take less than four minutes to complete. Rest assured, it’s completely anonymous, with no forms to fill out.
Once you’ve finished, you’ll be bounced over to a results page, where you can see the aggregated answers from everyone who has participated.
My goal is to get a 1,000-person sample, so please invite your network to take the quiz as well. Participation is anonymous, and I promise you won’t be added to any lists. Thanks in advance for your support!