Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Has "Cold Calling" ever really been "Cold" Calling? #sales20

Cold calling – secret weapon or waste of time? #sales20

· Have you ever wondered why some sales people (usually the top 10% of your sales organization) consistently 'luck out' with solid leads found through 'cold calling'?
· Is your Sales Manager driving the other 90% of you crazy by pointing to these high performers as an example of why you have to make more calls to hit your number?
· And just how many cold calls do the ‘lucky’ ones really make? How do they do it? What is their secret? Have you ever asked?
· Does your Sales Manager really care how many calls you make? Or is he/she looking for results?

Maybe you should consider this: the best sales trainer I've ever known started his program by saying ‘‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. Likely, these consistently 'lucky' people have done their homework. They work from a skeleton script that is augmented by specific insights they've researched about that particular prospect to grab initial attention – and they use a reference story to support it. They are also likely to find a 'trusted advisor' or personal contact that they can use as a referral to gain trust. The point is they prepare uniquely for each call to ensure that it makes an impression and differentiates them from the myriad of other sales folks who call that potential buyer every day. And they make the most of the connection – ensuring that the second call will be ‘warmer’.
There are lots of messaging techniques that can be used to make this approach personal and more effective. I'm hoping we'll see some good comments from some sales ‘stars’ to help us all learn how to more effectively engage prospects using this ‘secret weapon’.

So, stay tuned. My next discussion will focus on how to leverage newer 'Sales 2.0 Technologies' (most are available free or at a nominal cost) to make this important part of every sales person’s life even more productive.

Thanks for your comments and insight.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, June 1, 2009

What is Sales 2.0 Really?

There has been a lot of noise recently about Sales 2.0 with every Saas service jumping on the bandwagon. But what is it really? And, what does it mean for a sales producer?

In my opinion, a key element of Sales 2.0 is a methodology to leverage Social Media techniques to increase direct sales results. From a B2B perspective (my personal area of interest), companies need to implement a process to integrate Social Media tools into their day to day prospecting and communications processes. This includes tools like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and most importantly Social Media Monitoring and Analytics. Linkedin also has an application option to implement "buzz monitoring" right on the home page.

These tools should become a part of the CRM no differently than current use of email and telephone. The analytics tools will help understand industry issues, find prospects and monitor their ongoing needs relative to your products and services. From there, the communications vehicles can be used for effective relationship building and communications at the "opportunity" level. There are many instructional blogs to help your sales people learn how to use them.

Take a look at solutions like Insideview or Google's new Wave as examples of how best to integrate these capabilities.

But, stay away from pure advertising, it doesn't work!

Be sure to develop reasonable policies around the use of these tools so that everyone is able to clearly understand how best to leverage them within the organization. Some terrific examples are publicly available from IBM, Intel and others. These companies have baked Social Media into their daily sales and marketing practices and seen exceptional results.

Then, encourage your sales teams talking about Sales 2.0 applications in sales meetings and share successes or ideas. This is likely the best way to get started.

Looking forward to your comments and thoughts!