Welcome to The Pipeline.

Don't Beat Yourself Up – Deal with it!17

Today’s Grab-N-Go slice of time looks at how to deal with missing a plan or the pressures of time.  Some who do practice time in a disciplined way, at times miss, or do not get the plan/desired results.  The key is to examine and understand what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to incorporate it in to your actions moving forward.  As mentioned in Monday’s snippet, it is important that we don’t let time manage us, by understanding if this is a recurring factor, an anomaly, or something we should have known in advance, it allows us to deal with it confidently and properly in the future.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4HU3Lepa_w&feature=related

Again, if you want to see the whole interview, you can see it here on youtube.com.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Multi-Tasking?!?21

Continuing our Grab-N-Go content for the holidays, today we look at the follies of multi-tasking.  While computers seem to benefit from continuous improvements in multi-tasking capabilities, does the same ring true for sales people?  Can sales professionals be more productive in terms of driving revenues; can they do a better job of answering clients’ needs; or does it just merley increase the speed of the treadmill they are on?

Take a look at my response during a recent interview about time and the impact on sales professionals.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcuTg54xZoE

You can see the entire interview on youtube.com.

What’s in Your Pipeline?

Tibor Shanto

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Sales Happen In Time – Sales eXchange – 7619

I recently completed an extended interview looking at time and how it impacts sales professionals, I have posted the entire interview here, and on youtube.com.  In light of the fact that we are in the throes of the holiday season, a scramble to get things done while simultaneously stimulating the economy through consumer spending, I wanted to offer up something a bit different.  I thought it would deliver content this week that is very much in line with the core topic of the interview, in a way that is consistent with the theme of the interview, better use of time.  As we approach the New Year, time will be the only thing that will not change, but your use of it can and should.  For the next four days, you will see a snippet dealing with specifics things you need to be aware of and integrate in to your planning and selling.  Think of it as Grab-N-Go content, load it up, watch on you phone, pad, where ever you may be.  Friday will be a bit of a different video, somewhat timeles.

Today, I speak to the difference between Time Management and Time Allocation.  How one of the two is more honest, advantageous and productive for sales professionals, especially proactive sales professionals, like you.

Apology!

This past Tuesday, due to technical difficulties, (don’t ask me I am not a techie), were unable to deliver the planned Top Sales World MasterClass Webinar: Execution – The Last Word In Sales.  I guess you can say we failed to execute.   Fear not, we go our elves on the job, hard thing this time of year, and we are set to go again.  We have rescheduled it for January 15th, yes a Saturday, you can watch relaxed in your jammies from home, at 1:00 pm Eastern.  Don’t worry, we will be giving notice again.  In case you cannot make it, or have better things to do with your Saturday, it will be recorded and available for viewing later, over and over and over.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

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Great Product and News19

Download Express

Leads are the lifeblood of prospectors, the more quality leads you have, the easier it is to vet, qualify and prioritize and start prospecting.  We can talk about the process, means and degrees of vetting or qualifying, but it all starts with the lead.  To validate this, “a lack of leads” is one of the battle cries of people looking for an excuse not to prospect. So when it comes to leads, having a rich reliable source has always been key to my success in prospecting. That’s why for the last 25+ years I have relied on Scott’s Directories as my go to source for leads.  In fact when I started Renbor Sales Solutions in 2004, first thing I did was put my house up for sale in Jersey (on my way back to Toronto), bought a lap top, and called Scott’s to order my directory, secret stash of leads.

Let me state here that I get no commissions or payments from Scott’s.  I have bee a user for years, I have worked at events with them, since we both service sales professionals, and they have sponsored events where I was presenting, but my comments here are purely as a result of the product, and the value it presents users.  There are few sources for Canadian data, and even less that are provided by Canadian vendors.

I am writing the piece because Scott’s has now improved things for users targeting Canadian buyers, especially casual users, or those reps left to source their own resources. The improvement is the introduction of Download Express, a new on demand service that allows users to search the website for free to create list counts based on customized searches.  Search criteria include Business Type, Industry Classification Code (NAICS), Province, City, Employee Size, and Job Function.  Once you have generated your list, you can set the amount you want to spend, complete control over your budget.

The key to me is access to premier source of Canadian companies, a powerful search tool, making it easy to get to the information you need without a collage degree in library science.  Best of all, you can set your own budget!  Rather than being locked in to monthly fees, you can source leads when you need them as you need them, in an affordable way.  This is great news for individual sales professionals, marketing consultant, and small business owners.

If you’re selling in Canada, this is a great way to have access to the quality data Scott’s is known for in a way that makes sense for you.

THANK YOU!

Bronze Medal Winner Top Sales Book 2010

I want to thank everyone that voted for the book I co-wrote earlier this year on trigger events.  The book won the bronze medal in the Top Sales Awards Book of the year 2010.  I want to also thank the judges who the readers vote.  I also want to congratulate Jill Konrath and Art Sobczak, who won silver and gold respectively.  But mostly I’d like to thank Jonathan Farrington who not only conceived the awards but pulled it all together is a short time and presented a great awards ceremony.  Jonathan, have a GRRREAT weekend!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto


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Focus Roundtable: Trigger Events25

WHEN

Today, December 16, 2010 – 2:00 pm Eastern

WHERE

Toll Free United States (866) 951-1151
Toll United States (201) 590-2255
Conference #: 4999006

WHAT

Join us for this exciting roundtable teleconference on December, 16th at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET with Tibor Shanto, Nigel Edelshain, Umberto Milletti, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, and Craig Klein where we will discuss how sales professionals are using trigger events to engage prospects at the optimal time with the right message.

To follow the conversation and to submit your own questions use keyword FocusRTTE on Focus.com and #FocusRTTE on Twitter 

Moderator:

Tibor Shanto, Sales/Marketing , Renbor Sales Solutions Inc. 

Panelists:

Nigel Edelshain, CEO, Sales 2.0
Umberto Milletti, CEO & Founder, InsideView
Craig Klein, CEO, SalesNexus.com
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Chief Results Officer, Advanced Systems

Please feel free to RSVP on our LinkedIn event page via the REGISTER button below.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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3 Specific Actions You Can Take for a better 2011!20

As we are about to enter 2011, it is time to think about how you are going to improve your sales, while we all sell different products in different markets and ways, the one thing we all likely have in common is the fact that our stakeholders will be expecting “more”. Whether that is more revenue, more new clients, more transactions, or some combination of all; the other certainty is that we will not be getting any more time with which to deliver more.  So it is down to us to figure out how to go further next year; to be fair, some employers will be providing training, tools and support, but the key element for sales success, execution, will be left to each individual sales professional.

To help, we want to focus on three specific actions you can take to improve your output regardless of which sales approach or methodology you employ.  They are in no specific order, at different times during the year or sales cycle one may be more important than another but over the course of the year, all three will figure and be a factor in your success.

  • Collaboration
  • Proactive
  • Differentiate
  • Read On…

    What’s in Your Pipeline?
    Tibor Shanto

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    Masterclass: 1:00 PM Eastern Today – December 1410

    Execution – The Last Word In Sales

    Join me today at 1:00 pm Eastern for this unique look at sales.

    There are many great sales methodologies out there, SPIN, Miller Heiman, EDGE framework and others. No matter which dogma you choose to bite on, they all have one common weakness, as good as they look on the page, and they all need to be executed to matter.
     
    The fact is that they usually fail for one simple reason, lack of execution. The sad truth is that sales people know what they have to do, they just don’t do it. You can train them, but can’t make them do it.  It’s the age old difference between the “doer and the thinker”, in sales, doers executes and win. 
     
    This Masterclass will look at four key components of Execution.  Regardless of what approach you currently use, these four elements will help you move from Should to Do.
     
    Are you looking for that silver bullet in sales? There are many great plans gathering dust on shelves, but the winning plans are the ones actually executed, everything else is just talk.  That is why Execution is – The Last Word In Sales.

    What’s in Your Pipeline?
    Tibor Shanto

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    Please Vote

    If you look to the left, you’ll see that I am also a nominee for two categories in the annual Top Sales Awards. Please take a minute to vote. Thank you in advance.

    Death Of The Salesman – Sales eXchange – 7538

    Again?

    One of the subtle theme behind many of the “pitches” at vendor booth last week at Dreamforce was the death of the sales person.  Not in so many words, but that was certainly an underlying theme behind some of the messaging.  “The new reality is that the customer is in charge, knows all, and does not need the sales person until they are ready to transact”; “Web 2.0 has changed everything (again), buyers can make decisions on their own, they don’t need the vendor till after the decision has been made”; “Third parties first, vendors last”.  Hmm, sound’s like WalMart and Piggly Wiggly will soon be adding new isles for SAP and Oracle applications; just imaging buying a CRM on a Kmart lay-away.

    All very compelling messages; until you step back, and take a couple of things into consideration.  First consider the audience, potential buyers, leery of pushy sellers, what better way to put them at ease than to cloak yourself, message, and product in softer covers.  Until you got close enough to the booth, at which point they pounced on you in their web 2.0 ways, the sheep’s clothing shed to reveal the wolf, which was very reminiscent of the pounce I used to experience in 1990, well before the web.  Since I wasn’t buying anything, I had the luxury of being able to purely be a spectator.  First thing, I noticed is that many of the people making the pitch, were sales people who were carrying a quota, and who would be in deep 2.0 explaining why their forecast was off because the buyer was “in charge”, I wonder how VP 2.0 or Manager 2.0 would handle that?

    There is no denying that buyer have more access to information and data than ever before.  There is also a lot of opportunity to network and get input from peers and others.  This could include input on products, service, reliability and even info on individual reps.  It would be silly to pretend that this doesn’t happen, and if you have a quality product, service and reputation, you would be smart to encourage this.  But it is also true that there is much misinformation out there, and vendors are much more active in managing their social media reputations and resulting message.  In fact, many are much more proactive in ensuring that noise is balance, and if possible skewed to the positive.

    There is also an overwhelming amount of information from an unprecedented number of sources, of varying quality and reliability.  Based on a number of factors some will have more influence on buyers than others will, influence does not equal accuracy.  A number of surveys have also shown that decision makers are deluged with information and data, and ultimately despite the amount of information and input available to decision makers, they are not always sure of its dependability, and therefore the majority of their decisions are based on interactions with sales professionals.  Add to that what John Cousineau of AMACUS – Innovative Information Inc. points out, the number one thing buyers are looking for is help.  The sort of help sales professionals provided by sales professionals

    There is no doubt that it is a new playing field out there, but let’s not forget that the same opportunities presented to buyers by Web 2.0 and the social media/networks, are also available to sales professionals.  Add to that the fact that intelligent proactive sales people, you know the one who go out and make things happen rather than waiting for it to come to them, are actively using these channels to identify, influence and interact with potential buyers and influencers.  It is very much a two way street, and sales people are very adept at working both side of the street.  Couple that with their expertise, their knowledge of how different companies have used and have been impacted by their products, taking that experience and becoming formidable subject matter experts who continue to be indispensable to a smart buyer.

    To quote Mark Twain, as a sales professional: “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!”.  Oddly the ones who benefit most from this truth are not only the intelligent buyers, but many of the companies hanging on to the bandwagon while it is in town.

    What’s in Your Pipeline?
    Tibor Shanto

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    Socially Proactive!32

    I had the opportunity to present at Salesforce.com‘s Dreamforce this past Wednesday, thank you to InsideView for inviting me.  I was one of a number of people talking to social selling (as opposed to anti-social selling of yesterday, still my favourite, I am actually thinking of doing a Gordon Ramsay style sales show, get right in the faces of sales reps, stripping their last ounce of confidence away while yelling “you call that a f%#*ing sales call…).  Being that I co wrote a book about trigger events, that was the topic I was asked to cover.

    The further I got into preparing the presentation, specifically in the context of social selling, the clearer it became that triggers, by definition should trigger a reaction, which in turns leads to action, which makes them proactive.  Events, are defined by time and space, and have to take place before one can act and benefit from them.  While one can prepare, and anticipate, and position themselves, whatever results is still a reaction to the event.  As a result one question kept coming up: is selling based on events, be they compelling events, critical events, or trigger events, reactive by nature?  Unless you are in a position to cause them, which is triggering the event, the answer seems to be yes.  Then came the next question, does putting the two together do anything to change the event side of the equation, or does it dilute the triggers side?

    Now those of you who read this blog regularly (thank you), know that I do have some hang ups, two being my preference for proactive approach to selling, the other my lack of shame in describing sales as a hunting exercise.

    When I say hunt, I am not referring to hunting prospects, but to hunting revenue. After all, when there is one opportunity to close, and three companies send out their respective warriors, one comes home with the deal, the other two, well, as Anthony Iannarino say, have skinny babies.  So whether you are hunting big game or big revenue, you’re much more likely to succeed by being proactive, rather than taking a reactive stance wait for something to happen.

    There is no doubt you can take a number of proactive steps in positioning and readying your self for an event and the actions you will take when the event occurs, it is nowhere as proactive as developing a plan that and action that causes the actions and reactions that bring about the event.  Better yet, create the interaction and engagement with a potential buyer that leads to a sale without the impending event.

    Thee are a number of ways to achieve this, much the same way as you would prepare for a trigger event, know what lead to success in the past; knowing understand and articulating the impact your offering will have on the buyer.  The difference being that rather than waiting, as you would for a bus, you open the client’s eyes to the possibilities not an event that other sellers can also leverage, which just makes for a crowded bus when it finally arrives, late or on time.

    What’s in Your Pipeline?
    Tibor Shanto

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    Sales Options Exchange18

    Sales Options ExchangeAs much as sales people are alike, they also differ in so many ways.  One way they differ is how their outlook on sales and selling is impacted by what they sell and who they sell to.  This brings me to a great conversation I had with my friend Josh who sells into the financial community and is therefore exposed to some creative thinking.  Beyond sales, the other interest Josh and I have in common is a fascination with derivatives.  Neither of are studied enough to get into some of the exotic instruments and strategies, but we both follow and talk options.

    As we were talking about pipelines, pipeline management, which included a laugh about closing probability, and sales people’s odd love/hate relationships they have with their deals or sales in progress.  It was one of those moments where a throw away statement leads to deep discussion.

    The statement, made by me during my third pint, “Hey Josh, imagine if sales reps or their manager, or their companies could write or buy options on opportunities in their pipeline.”  After a good laugh, we started thinking about the possibilities.

    At first, we looked at it from the stand point of managing cash flow for good sales people, sort of like factoring for manufactures.  You feel good about your pipeline, a specific deal, cash in your commissions now for a bit of a discount, (assuming you can find a buyer); deal comes in, they get the commission everyone is good.

    Josh played out a few scenarios, mostly poking fun at the fact that if they are willing to bet on sub-prime, why not on a software sales rep’s commissions.  Imagine if you could hedge your deals, he kept saying, “I’d hedge my whole 2011 Q2”.  You see he has some fairly big deals that will close at that time, little doubt, “so why not write some calls, pocket some of the cash, by some puts just in case, and voilà”

    I began to look at it from the a pipeline management point of view, what if instead of dealing with probabilities, sales people had to deal with the financial accuracy of their forecast.  Now, on the one hand they already do, but only in a simple way, they either do or do not make their commission.  But in the context of the overall success of the company, there is a bit of misbalance, while a rep who delivers only 70% of a reasonable quota, may make less money, the impact on the company is entirely different.  When you consider that according to CSO Insight only 51.8% of sales reps made quota in 2009, down from the previous year.  (It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers for 2010 will be.)  Much like when a rep discounts as little as five percent of a deal, the impact on commissions, minimal; the impact on the company’s margins could be dramatic.  Given the circumstances, why would a company not want to buy some puts.

    Another potential upside involves deal times.  While shortening sales cycles may be an ambition for many is sales, there is a point beyond which you can’t expect to accelerate or shorten your cycle.  On the other hand,  most sales leaders would settle for predictability, rather than doing some thing in less and less time, they would much prefer to have deals done in a predictable timeframe.  Not only could they count on it, more importantly it would indicate that they are able to communicate their sales methodology, and have their teams consistently execute.

    Options have a finite life, as do sales.  Man sales people don’t buy that, they don’t distinguish between the active part of a sales cycle and the over all client acquisition cycle. Things would change if there was an expiration date.

    In the end it was all good fun, but both Josh and I went back and reviewed our pipeline, looked at what we would keep, what we would dump.  What we would cover, and which deals we would write or buy puts on.  I am sure we did not come up with a new pipeline management process, but we did get a new appreciation for selling and our pipeline.

    What’s in Your Pipeline?
    Tibor Shanto

    BTW – for those of you at Dreamforce in San Francisco, I will be presenting at the InsideView booth at 11:30, stop by, there some other great presenters.  See you there.  TS

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