Welcome to The Pipeline.

Social Selling University – Webinar15

Triggers Fundamentals (101) – Events

Today – Thursday, March 31, 2011
1:00 pm Eastern Time /10:00 am Pacific

Register here

We are all familiar with the “domino effect”, one domino falls, causing the others to fall in a predictable way, the thing that causes the domino to fall in the first place is the “Trigger”. In sales there are many types of triggers, some simple and visible, others more intricate and not always in plain view.

Events are the simplest and most obvious form of triggers in sales, something happens, and this event sets things in motion, the dominos falling. How well prepared you are in advance will help determine how well you can leverage events when they come to your advantage. Events can include change in personnel in an account, a competing vendor; change in regulation; mergers and acquisitions; regulatory; economic and more. How well you plan, recognize and react to a given event will have direct impact on your success in winning more customers, penetrating and retaining existing clients; all with greater predictability and in shorter time frames.

This session will present the basics of buying modes, strategies and tactics on how to prepare for and act on key events that will advance your sales. You will learn specific steps to execute that will help you identify key events, and execute your plan to take full advantage of and to ensure that dominos fall your way.

About Social Selling University

Social Selling University: the industry’s first collaborative program designed to educate sales professionals on how to leverage social media technologies and methodologies to increase sales productivity and drive revenue throughout the entire sales cycle.

Social Selling University features on-demand and live content, which has been developed by thought leaders, authors and analysts.

About the classes:

  • Classes are designed for all levels of sales professionals (reps-execs)
  • Classes include entry-level social media instruction on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, best practices for managing personal online brands
  • Classes teach how to accelerate the sales cycle by leveraging recent business events, social conversations and social relationships (aka “social intelligence”)

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Prospecting – When Is The Best Time?22

Last week I talked about prospecting, why some like it when most don’t, rejection, and managing them.  This week I respond to the question of when is a good time to prospect, or when is the best time.  How long do I need to prospect, and a few ways to break it down to better manage and cope with prospecting.

The goal is not to convince you that you should love it, but that you should do it; do it in a methodical and productive way.  You’ll get some of that this week, and more next week.

One of the points raised in the clip, is the need to quantify things by using your goal and conversion rates as a means of pinpointing the amount of prospecting one needs to do.  To get more insight on that, you can read a related article “Working Backwards From Your Goal To Get Ahead“.


Look forward to your comments, and invite you to visit our YouTube Channel to view other SellBetter sales videos.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Radio Interview & 2011 Trends Report: B2B Sales22

This past Saturday I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Jay Handler and Trey Pennington of Open For Business Radio Show.  Jay and Trey are out to give business-owners REAL WORLD advice…tips and strategies they can use Monday morning to make their businesses more effective and more efficient IMMEDIATELY!  “Open For Business” radio show is focused on the growth, development and acceleration of local businesses.

You can hear them interview me here:

You can listen Saturdays from 9-10a at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/OpenForBusiness with Trey Pennington & Jay Handler!

While you are at it, you also want to download Focus Research‘s 2011 Trends Report: B2B Sales.

It features input from Bob Apollo, Daniel Zamudio, Dave Brock, Dave Stein, Expert Content, Lori Richardson, S. Anthony Iannarino, and of course me.

The brief is full of information about the latest trends in sales, and more importantly, how you can benefit from them.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Senior Personitis – Sales eXchange – 9016

With all the advances in science, medicine, science 2.0, medicine 2.0, there is still a condition that plagues sales, causing grief and lost revenues to companies across the planet. The illness is “Senior Personitis”.

Depending on your organization, this could inflict you staff as early as a year into the job, or it could take five years or more, but for most sales organization, it is just a question of time before members of your team come down with this sick, and your revenue show the symptoms.

We see it every day, reps who feel they have “earned the right” not to do certain must do things in sales. Most common of these is prospecting, but there are other things including keeping the information in their CRM up-to-date.

You have to give them credit, they don’t bother getting creative in making excuses, they just flat out tell you that they have “arrived” at the point in their career where they don’t have to do that. What’s even more amusing for me, tragic for their employer, is that most of the time these reps are chronic under performers. Not deadly, but usually between 70% – 80% of goal, yet refuse to take logical steps to up their game or their out put. Nothing a little process, discipline, coaching won’t fix.

Which brings us to their enabled and accomplice, their Manager.  Recently I was speaking with a sales manager recently, when I floored by what he said about one of his under performing reps; when we got around to his prospecting (more accurately the lack of it), he said “he’s earned the right not to prospect”.  Please!

What, he has earned the right not to contribute to the success of the company, he has earned the right to be paid for work he is not doing, he has earned the right occupy space that could be occupied by someone productive?  I don’t see it.

Many mangers are in fear of offending someone that is doing little more than playing concierge to their accounts. Fearing that if they “lost” the rep they would somehow be behind, the vacant territory syndrome. Ask me, they would be better off with a vacant territory than having these under performers who are likely not aware of opportunities in their existing accounts, and have declared their right not to bring on new prospects.

There is a remedy, the logical one is fire them, but I know that’s not fashionable these days.  If you don’t have it in you to do the right thing, you can re-establish expectations around the activity in question, develop a mutually agreed on plan, including targets, timelines, metrics and review process.  This needs to yield results in a predictable time or you run the risk of communicating the wrong message to the rest of your team, which is “with seniority comes the freedom not to deliver”.  Not one of the points on the “Mission Statement” poster in the lobby, is it?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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7 Must-Have Lead Nurturing Recipes for B2B Marketers15

Last Friday I had the opportunity to be part of a high power panel as part of a Focus RoundTable, looking at best practices in nurturing leads.  The RoundTable was a complement to a great e-book recently released by Manticore Technology titled: The Lead Nurturing Cookbook, to which everyone on the panel contributed; the panel featured Ardath Albee, Brian Hansford, Craig Rosenberg, Emily Mayfield, Jeff Erramouspe, Michael Damphousse, and I.

As you would expect the topics covered many aspects of lead nurturing, lead conversion, and interaction between sales and marketing not only in nurturing leads, but nurturing prospect/opportunities.  From content creation, to repurposing content, to fully understanding the difference between just executing a drip campaign, to complete nurturing.

For sales people, there is great insight into the contribution they can make to effective lead nurturing, something sales people don’t see as their “thing”.  In addition, the important role a well executed nurturing plan can play in their success in converting prospect to clients.  It is not just about aligning with marketing which is key, but some of the strategies and tactics that apply to superior nurturing, can be implemented and executed in the sales process itself.

While there were a number of salient points and techniques explored, there was that sales people and organizations can learn from, that is the need to spend some serious time at a white board before moving to technology.  All to many sales leaders throw technology at an issue rather than taking the time to understand the issues, set objectives, and develop a functional and detailed execution plan.
To do the information justice, I suggest you download the MP3 of the RoundTable and The Lead Nurturing Cookbook, I am sure you will enjoy the recipes.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Contact Information is Not Enough22

The Pipeline Guest Post – Koka Sexton

Sales people thrive on information. With marketing  departments providing less leads, sales professionals are having to find new people to contact on their own. For the most part this meant that sales teams were buying into databases of contact information that gave them information like name, title, phone and email. The reality is that collecting sales ‘data’ is much like throwing spaghetti on a wall and hoping that something stick long enough to turn into an opportunity.

Savvy sales people already know this and have started adopting Sales 2.0 tools that augment data and make better decisions on who to contact and when. Sales Intelligence is the next wave in growing and exceeding revenue for a sales team. Sales organizations that adopt sales intelligence tools increase their opportunity win rates by 17% over not using anything. Sales management should do the math, if have 5 reps that carry a $1M annual quota each,  using sales intelligence tools will bring in an additional $850,000 in revenue. This is simply not possible by using the shotgun method of typical sales methodologies that rely on sales data.

There is too much information available online these days that a sales person is walking blind if they are not using it in some way. Sales prospecting lists for contact data is fine but it’s not very effective on a large scale. It’s a lot like trying to drink off of a fire hose, sales people need something to sift through the large amount of data to find the gold. Gathering contact information is only the first step in an effective sales process. The real intelligence comes from contact data and the relevant information about that contact.

Given the explosion of data about customers and prospects, the biggest impediment to sales readiness is not a lack of access to information, but an intelligent method of consuming it all to uncover and close the most sales-ready opportunities.   There are literally tens of thousands of business news publications available online, as well as SEC filings, press releases and an array of other business information.   Add social media to the mix, and it becomes practically impossible to decide where to start!  To make matters worse, the problem of looking for a needle in this ever growing haystack is exasperated by the difficulty of assessing the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of all of this information.

While identifying the right people to talk to takes effort, determining a compelling reason for the prospect to respond to you can prove even more difficult, not to mention the challenges of identifying the right time and venue to conduct an initial outreach.

Leveraging “Trigger Events” the way Tibor explains catapults sales people ahead of their competition because you are now able to build sales opportunities off of real world events and not spending hours of “discovery” to find out what your prospects pain points are.

As a sales person I have always found it more fruitful to call prospects based on events within their organization rather than calling a VP out of the blue to see “if they had time to talk”. Tibor is a part of a great project called Social Selling University where his part is to educate the growing group of sales professionals learning to leverage social networks and social media tools on identifying new opportunities. Sign up for the Triggers Fundamentals 101 webinar.

About Koka Sexton

Koka Sexton started in inside sales and was an early adopter to using social media for sales. Currently Koka is the Inbound Marketing Manager for InsideView the leader in Sales Intelligence. Recently launching the industry’s first ever Social Selling University.

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Prospecting – It’s a Start14

Prospecting, sales people hate it, businesses need it to continue growing.  Like most, I must say it is not my favourite activity, but I do it because without it, my pipeline is just not going to be where it needs to be, and I’ll have a sad response to my favourite question, what’s in your pipeline.

As you would expect, I think there are definitely things you can do to execute things more effectively, in the video below and next week I will look at specific things you can do to prepare for a better prospecting experience, and steps you can take to make execution more bearable and productive.

We’ll look at attitude, head space, metrics, preparation, objection, rejection and everything we face in our effort to find new prospects.


Next week, more prospecting fun.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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The R Word! – Sales eXchange – 8912

Last Friday, Dan Waldschmidt prepared a great post for my regular Friday Guest Post, titled “Retarded Sales Behavior and The Reasons We Under-Perform“, a must read.  It got some really rave feedback, right across the spectrum.

Some readers loved, and a few did not respond positively at all.  What was interesting to me was those who reacted positively, discussed the content and specific topics and actions the post examined and talk to.  In fact one reader was moved to the point of saying: “Dan, You Hit the Nail on the Head!! This article has so many good points to take away for me. I’m asking myself why won’t I stop in at the Big Scary building and introduce myself just see where it takes me?”

On the other hand, ALL detractors’ reactions and comments were strictly limited to one word in the title, to the point where one commentator could not even bring himself to write the word, and referred to it only as the “R Word”.  It took me a second to realise he wasn’t talking about the word Reason, because the comment was so devoid of any reason.

Having a day or two to reflect on it, it is interesting to see how the REACTION to the piece is very reflective of the issues in sales today, and just served to legitimize the piece.  Too many sales people spend too much time reacting instead of exploring and discovering what is really at hand.  If they were not so reactionary, they would have seen that Dan did define the word “Retarded” a few lines into the piece, which gave greater context to the whole piece.   But hey, why cloud the issue with facts, when I can just jump to conclusions from the title, and skip the time, work and energy to deal with the actual thing, and become informed.

We see this unfold in sales every day, people not taking time to fully discover all they can, all the facts, all the possibilities.  It is so much easier to REACT, than to be proactive and work past the surface.  It is so much easier to make assumptions based on a few words a prospect says early in a conversation.  It is easier to base the rest of the sale reacting rather than challenging oneself, and the buyer, to get all the issues on the table and deal with them to deliver a solution; and if you can look PC in the process, all the better.

It takes guts, conviction, and effort to do what Dan did, just as it takes guts, effort and work to be proactive in selling, to challenge the prospect to make sure that they get the best solution.  The seller in return gets a good long term client and source of referrals, and the satisfaction of work well and completely done.  I guess Dan, like all good sales people was focused on the other “R Word”, REVENUE.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Retarded Sales Behavior and The Reasons We Under-Perform33

The Pipeline Guest Post – Dan Waldschmidt

We’ve become a generation of retarded under-performing sales semi-professionals.

Instead of being thought-leaders we’ve become frenetic, selfish territory managers.  Trading one Mickey Mouse sales idea for the next.  Always looking for the quick (and easy) way to make our quota without needing to care too much about the people we happen to be dealing with at the moment.

And our retarded attitudes limit our ability to do anything outrageous.

It’s that simple.

Now before you start thinking that this discussion is another pretentious, irreverent look at intangible sales attitudes, think again.

In fact, forget about everything you thought you knew.  Let’s start with the basics:

Webster’s dictionary defines retarded as: “to make slow; to delay the development or progress of a process or action; hinder or impede”

In essence, retarded sales behavior is about the self-limiting attitudes we put off fixing for way too long.

1. We retard getting therapy

Frankly, most of us need our heads-examined.  Literally.

We’ve become a craft of neurotic protagonists all running around spouting the latest “closing lines” and hoping again hope that we have the luck to churn out a respectable quota this quarter.

It’s all silly.  Olympic champions, super-star athletes, and high-performing executive all use smart peer pressure to bring out the best possible talent in whatever they are doing.

It’s a strategy we all need.

2. We retard doing what matters most

There are a dozen sales tasks we put off because they are scary – calling back decision-makers or prospecting for the right point-of-contact at our optimal contact.  We put off doing the things that make us afraid, that make us vulnerable.

And that’s holding us back and making us losers.  Instead of tackling what scares us most, we do what’s easy and harmless.  And so what’s most important – increasing revenue – is something that never seems to happen.

It’s because we never get started working on it.

3. We retard learning what we don’t know

Ever notice how sales people never tell you the number of times that they fail.  Certainly that makes sense.  None of us want to talk about our idiot moments.

But those idiot moments are the lessons that make us outrageously successful.  Right?  You learn from your mistakes and avoid making them again.    But if you put off ever learning, you never start the process of being successful.

Let’s be frank, it’s not what you do right that makes you bad-ass — it’s what you learn from what you used to do wrong.

4. We retard our investment in others

Instead of caring about others, we decide to keep the conversations about the weather, kids, and our lines of product.  It’s all skin-deal and wonderfully boring.  We don’t venture to care too much.  If at all.  Ever.

Frankly, in our minds, it makes sense that way.  Why care about someone who doesn’t have any money to give to us.

But that’s completely wrong.  It’s about giving to others first.

As an attitude.
As a way of life.
As a belief system.

Look.  Anyone can give when it’s easy, but you’ll transform your business when you give to others without trying to take first.

It’s the difference between being a rock star or in living in denial.

We’re retarded. Underperformers.

And we don’t need to be.

It’s sad how we limit our potential with our fear and denial and procrastination.

Live a higher standard.

Be the legend that you dream about.

It starts with doing that thing you still haven’t started yet.

About Dan Waldschmidt

I am a people strategist. I help people arrive at business-changing breakthrough ideas by moving past outdated conventional wisdom, social peer pressure, and the selfish behaviors that stop them from being high performers.

Using my experience as a technology CEO and my fascination with neuroscience, I help companies build radical conversations in their marketplace.  I have helped companies in Africa, the Middle East – literally all over the world – use extreme behavior to blow away the competition and become the high performers in their industry.

The Wall Street Journal called my blog one of the Top 7 blogs sales blogs anywhere on the internet and hundreds of my articles on unconventional sales tactics have been published.

I’m just an “ordinary dude with an outrageous vision“.

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“Did You Just Say…?” #218

In this instalment, we have a new high (or low depending on your perspective) in call reluctance.  In working with a rep who has avoided prospecting activities lately, during our most recent meeting I asked what he accomplished last week and what his plan was over the next two weeks.  He responded that because of his faith “I am giving up prospecting for Lent”.

Not sure how he meant it because he did not crack a smile, to his credit he did do some prospecting this week, but there you have it.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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