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Don’t Let Your Sales Team Get Spooked: October Referral Selling Insights

sales teamsHere’s what you might have missed this month from No More Cold Calling.

The goblins and ghosts that come out at Halloween aren’t all that scary, especially when they’re yelling “trick or treat,” “trick or treat” as they canvas their neighborhoods. Sadly, kids have forgotten the “trick” part of Halloween. They hold out their pumpkins and wait for you to load them up with candy. Much to the chagrin of my family, I now ask trick-or-treaters for a trick. They look at me like I’m from Mars. I then ask them to solve this riddle: What does a rabbit use to keep its hair smooth? (A hairbrush!)

Kids go from house to house, go home, count all their yummy candy, and maybe trade a piece or two. (My daughter used to inventory everything so she’d know if any of us got into her stash.)

No, Halloween isn’t so scary, but account based sales can be. Sales leaders and their teams have lots of fears: “We have a quota looming over our heads. How do we get meetings? What if a buyer tells us her problem and then switches gears? What if we’re in a bake-off and lose? What if we land but can’t expand?”

Yes, there’s lots that’s scary about account based selling. But the good news is that referral selling mitigates these fears. Find out how in my blog posts from this month:

Why Your Account Based Sales Team Will Never Be Good at Referrals

When I read a checklist of account based sales development strategies that omitted referral selling, I asked the creator why. After a long pause, her response was, “I don’t know.” That sent me over the top. It also made me curious: Why is it that posts about lead generation for account based sales never mention referrals, but tout emails, phone calls, videos, custom content, direct mail, social media, ads, webinars, events, testimonials, case studies, etc.? I posted that exact question on LinkedIn and received 35 comments and more than 31,000 views. Such a hot topic seemed worthy of sharing on my blog. Here are the answers some people proffered to my question, and my response to their ideas. (Read “Why Your Account Based Sales Team Will Never Be Good at Referrals.”)

5 Reasons Your Account Based Sales Team Flunked Referral Selling

Why? Why? Why don’t account based selling teams ask for referrals? Why is asking for referrals ad hoc and not a discipline? It makes no sense at all, because every sales leader and account based sales rep knows that referrals are their hottest leads and best business. Are you wondering? I was. So, I asked around on LinkedIn and got lots of answers. Now, here’s my point of view and advice for sales leaders about how to overcome the five organizational barriers that stand in the way of your team asking for referrals. Sales leaders, here’s what you’re up against. (Read “5 Reasons Your Account Based Sales Team Flunked Referral Selling.”)

3 Hidden Secrets About Key Account Management

Attracting key accounts is the #1 challenge for account based selling teams. (No big shocker there, right?) Their charter is to land and expand within their named accounts while fending off substantial competitors and navigating an increasingly complex buyer landscape—while simultaneously coordinating an internal team to devise a strategy and assign a myriad of tasks. Yes, it’s a tough job, 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 need to be mapped to the buyers’ processes. It’s complicated and time-consuming. And is all this talk about planning really necessary? You know the answer to that question. So, what’s the secret to creating a successful Key Account Management plan? Here are three suggestions from Jonathan Farrington, CEO of Top Sales World. (Read “3 Hidden Secrets About Key Account Management.”)

The Truth About Why Salespeople Get No Respect

Sales leaders complain that their account based sales teams don’t get enough qualified leads, their pipelines are fluff, gatekeepers block their access to the C-suite, and the sales process is way too long. Leadership can’t count on accurate forecasts when pipelines are unqualified. Big problem. Most account based sales reps would give their right arm for a chance to bypass all the middlemen and talk directly to their buyers—not just once in a while, but routinely. Too bad that almost never happens. After all, CEOs and other senior decision-makers don’t have “meet with salesperson” on top of their list of priorities, nor do they take cold calls. These challenges only continue to escalate—despite all the promises that business leaders have heard about how disruptive technology will automate account based sales development and make lead generation effortless, seamless, and scalable (you know, just throw together a lot of buzzwords and you’ve got the gist of it). So, why do account based selling teams still struggle to build and maintain strong pipelines? (Read “The Truth About Why Salespeople Get No Respect.”)

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