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Misconceptions Matter: August Referral Selling Insights

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account based sellingHere’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

There are many misconceptions that trip up modern sales leaders. For example, if you believe that 57 percent of the buying process is complete before buyers ever contact account based sales reps, you’ve lost the deal before you’ve begun.

Whoever touts the latest app, the latest technology, the latest productivity tools, the latest stats—we can’t wait to check them out. It’s similar to people who line up in the wee hours of the morning in the cold and rain to get the first iPhone, the first … you name it. But technology doesn’t seal deals. People do.

If you think your account based selling team has a closing problem, you’re mistaken. Closing is never the problem. Rather, it’s a step, an action, a conversation missed earlier in the sales process.

If you believe that video is the end-all, be-all for sales training and content marketing, you’re mistaken. As exciting as video content may be, it doesn’t work for everyone. I’m in the supposed minority who prefers reading over watching, which is why I was intrigued by a new tool that lets you turn written copy into a video. Viewers don’t actually need sound, although it’s an option. Curious? Take a look at this short video of my blog post, “Why Closing Is Never a Problem in Account Based Selling.”

Don’t want to watch? That’s fine. You can read this and other August blog posts below:

Why Closing Is Never a Problem in Account Based Selling

You’d be surprised how often I hear, “My account based selling team can’t close.” Closing is never the problem. “Never” is a bold statement, but savvy sales leaders will nod their heads in agreement. Closing is the easy part of account based sales development. It’s prospecting that’s hard. Then why do so many account based sales reps overlook critical sales activities that occur earlier in the sales process? Trying to teach reps how to close without addressing the broken links in your lead generation system will not yield sustainable B2B sales leads. It’s like trying to treat an injured back with pain medication. Unless you address the actual cause, not just the symptom, that nagging pain won’t go away. (Read “Why Closing Is Never a Problem in Account Based Selling.”)

Is Video the Next Big Thing for Account Based Sales?

We all know that video killed the radio star, but now it’s coming after the written word, too—at least that’s the consensus among many experts. In fact, LinkedIn just released native video capabilities to 500 people. I’m not one of them, and I’m cool with that. I didn’t want video anyway. According to research compiled by LinkedIn, 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video, and 59 percent of senior executives would rather watch a video than read text. Fifty-nine percent is certainly a lot, but what about the other 41 percent your account based sales team wants to reach? I’m in that supposed minority. My learning style is not compatible with video. And I’m not the only one. We all have best ways to learn—including your buyers and your account based sales reps. (Read “Is Video the Next Big Thing for Account Based Sales?”)

Why Peer-to-Peer Selling Works for Everyone

You know it’s true: All things being equal, we work with friends. All things not being equal, we work with friends. And when we need a specialist, we ask a friend. Account based selling teams find it increasingly challenging to reach their target prospects. No one answers the phone anymore, and buying committees have increased on average from 5.4 to 6.8 members. So, how do you get that first call? By asking for referrals from friends, colleagues, and (best of all) current customers. Buyers take meetings with salespeople who’ve been introduced by people they know and trust. It’s called peer-to-peer (P2P) selling. Or you can call it what I’ve always called it: referral selling. Either way, it works. (Read “Why Peer-to-Peer Selling Works for Everyone.”)

Why CEOs Are Failing Account Based Sales Reps

Salespeople used to say “I carried a bag” to prove that we knew selling. We were the feet on the street—literally. You don’t hear that phrase very often anymore, but account based sales reps still carry a bag. They’re expected to land and expand within their named accounts. But it’s their managers who are left holding the bag when reps don’t meet or exceed quota. According to CSO Insights, only 55.8 percent of sales reps made quota in 2016. The problem is that many sales managers were raised in Sales 1.0 or 2.0 environments. They don’t have the skills or tools for success in a Sales 3.0 world.  So, perhaps we should stop pointing fingers at sales managers and look at a different culprit—upper management. Learn why CEOs are on the hook for sales successes and failures in this month’s guest blog post by Colleen Stanley. (Read “Why CEOs Are Failing Account Based Sales Reps.”)

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.

Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz now.

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!

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