Follow HubSpot Sales on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


As a salesperson, a big part of your compensation is variable. Closing big deals takes time. And with such high earning potential, it can be tough to make it through slow months. Worrying about finances weighs on your mind and can hold you back from your full earning potential. After all, why go after that big, uncertain deal, when there’s a smaller fish guaranteed to close?

Passive income provides financial freedom and the ability to take larger risks by going after massive deals -- regardless of sales cycle. It also protects you from the months when you simply miss quote (Which happens to the best of us). But how do you get started? Here are my tips for diversifying your finances and take bigger risks with passive income.

Smart Passive Income
  1. Teach a Class and Put it Online
  2. Collect Rent without Owning Property
  3. Find Interest Income from Crowdfunding
  4. Charge for What You’re Good At
  5. Take Up Photography
  6. Create a YouTube Channel
  7. Drive for Lyft or Uber
  8. Spend Time with Furry Friends
1. Teach a class and put it online

If you find yourself reviewing the same content at coffee meetings, consider developing that content into an online course. For example, if you’re a salesperson who helps social media marketers save thousands in ad spend with your product, you likely have many conversations about social media best practices. Distill that knowledge into an online class.

Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and Kajabi make it easy to create, market, and profit from your online classes. This saves you from taking too many meetings on the same topic, and it gives you an opportunity to earn passive income.

And you’re not limited just to sales knowledge. Consider your hobbies as well. If you’re an expert stamp collector (Why not?), create an online class for experienced collectors of French stamps from the early 20th century.

Not an expert at the topic at hand? That’s alright. Level your course for beginners, and help your audience get a “101” view of the topic at hand.

2. Collect rent without owning property

Renting property sounds like something you’d need a sizeable amount of cash on hand to do. After all, you must own a building and hire a property management group, right?

If you have the necessary funds to do this, great. But, if you’re a less-established salesperson, consider buying a share of a property. For as little as $500-$5,000, platforms like Fundrise, Roofstock, and RealityShares allow you to do just that.

These programs payout dividends quarterly and can net you 6-7% in passive income on the money you deploy. One thing to note here is that each investment has a term tied to it, typically, one-to-five years. This signals when you’ll get your initial investment back on the property. So be ready to part with that initial investment for a while.

3. Find interest income from crowdfunding

Alternative investments, like peer-to-peer debt that pay you interest, can provide nice passive income streams. Platforms like LendingClub make this type of venture easy. You can deploy funds in $25 increments and fund almost anything -- from projects around the house to family trips and refinancing.

Before pulling the trigger on an investment here, you should have access to the borrower’s track record with lending, their credit history, and their household income. In peer-to-peer lending, it’s not enough to get the interest income, you’ll want your principal back too. For this reason, pay attention to the maturity date as well.

4. Charge for what you’re good at

Do you excel at discovery calls, building rapport, or closing enterprise deals? Do your colleagues often come to you for advice or help? Start marketing those skills and charging for classes, one-on-one coaching, or seminars.

Advertise your services on Craigslist, local job boards, and targeted LinkedIn or Facebook groups. If your city has local sales meetups, reach out and ask if you might be able to speak one week and tease your training or coaching services at the end.

Take a look at similar online offerings to judge where pricing should begin, and once you’ve developed a client roster, increase that price by 10-20% with each new client you take on.

5. Take up photography

Already have a passion for photography? Great! If not, invest in some equipment and online classes from Lynda, Creative Live, or Craftsy to create a portfolio you’ll be proud to share. Next, build a website, Facebook group, and Instagram page to showcase your work and drum up interest.

Start by taking photographs of friends and family at a discounted rate, and build out your client base with referrals. Photography is an excellent source of passive income, because you’re able to set your own hours, and work primarily on weekends.

Once you’ve developed an impressive body of work, shop your photos to sites like Shutterstock. If they use them, you’ll receive a royalty each time a customer downloads one of your images.

6. Create a YouTube channel

All the kids are doing it. Create videos of you sharing sales advice, speaking about that stamp hobby, or even cooking your favorite weeknight meal. Create a destination YouTube channel and populate it with a regular cadence of videos.

The monetization comes from the ads that appear on your page and play before or after your content. Put simply, when someone watches one of your videos, you’ll make money from the ads that appear.

The more viewers, the more ads. From channel teasers to copyright regulations, you’ll want to make sure you know how to responsibly run a channel of your own. Here’s a great video to help you get started.

7. Sign up for Uber or Lyft

Have a free Friday night or want to swap that expensive happy hour habit for something more lucrative? Sign up to be a driver with Lyft or Uber. You set your own hours, get paid regularly, and there’s little-to-no cost to begin.

Lyft even offers rentals if you don’t have a car of your own. Get a car any time, and return it when you’re done. One night a week might be all you need. According to Lyft, some drivers make more than $800 just driving on a Friday night.

8. Spend time with furry friends

Like Uber for pets … kind of. Sites like Rover and Wag give you the same freedom to choose your schedule, services, and rates. What you get in return? Snuggles, a little extra exercise, and some epic greetings from your canine clientele.

Pick from dog walking, simply letting pets out in their backyard, or even house sitting. You can even specify what size of dog you’re most comfortable walking. Out of all the ways to make a little extra cash -- this might be the most fun.

As a sales rep, your finances can be a roller coaster. Will you close that big deal or push it to next quarter?

Passive income helps you gain control over your financial future. It also gives you the steady income while maintaining the commission upside of a sales role. So, happy closing and happy earning. Start putting your free time to work today.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
How to Get a Sales Job?
  1. Print Business Cards
  2. Brush Up Your LinkedIn Profile
  3. Create Your Personal Value Proposition
  4. Master the Marketing of Me
  5. Know What the Red Flags Are (and How to Avoid Them)

Preparing for your first sales job is similar to preparing for a big sale. You must do your research, build the right toolbox, and have experienced leaders on deck to help.

As director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and a professor at Tufts University, this is the first piece of advice I give my students. I offer to help each of them find their post-graduate jobs, but they must hold up their end of the partnership. They have to show up and do the work.

I recently had a student visit my office for help landing his first job. First, he brought me the LinkedIn profile of a connection I had at his target company. Then, he shared the front page of the company’s website. Lastly, he presented his value proposition (more on that below). This young man had done the work, and I was happy to send a message on his behalf.

So, how do you get started? I’ve placed students in jobs at LinkedIn, Google, HubSpot, Fidelity, and Amazon, and I’m sharing with you what I’ve shared with them. You’ll find my tips and advice below, but it’s up to you to show up and do the work.

How to Start a Sales Career Have the right tools 1. Business Cards

When I advise students to order business cards, I often get questions like, “Isn’t that presumptuous?” or “Why do I need them?” Think of it this way, if I take you to a business meeting and the host gives you their card, how will you respond?

Without business cards, you’d be in the uncomfortable position of scribbling your contact information on a two-week-old pizza receipt. It’s an unprofessional and unreliable first impression.

Have business cards printed with your name, website, and contact information included. And, while we're on the subject, made sure all of this information is on your email signature. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about you.

2. A Very Good LinkedIn Profile

I've had several hiring managers tell me the only reason they look at a resume is to get the correct spelling of the person's name to find their LinkedIn profile.

When searching for your first (or any) job, it’s important your LinkedIn account be in top shape. You should have at least 250 connections to give you authenticity as a candidate and play to LinkedIn’s algorithm.

After all, while you’re busy finding the right role, it never hurts for LinkedIn to pull your profile into employer searches. Optimizing your account ensures your name shows up when it counts.

You should also source three solid references. Don’t confuse references with skill endorsements on LinkedIn. Ask previous employers, professors, or mentors to write three-to-five sentences about your performance, work ethic, and strengths. This will impress future employers and do more to demonstrate your value than a static “endorsement,” which anyone can submit.

3. Your Professional Value Proposition

In my experience, a good resume is read in less than 60 seconds. Make sure your application stands out by building an airtight, attention-grabbing value proposition.

Each week, in my class, three students present their value propositions. They’re around three bullet points, each approximately two sentences long. And they highlight why the student is passionate about their career path, what sets them apart, and the value they'll bring to the right company.

After each student’s presentation, they conduct self-critique, and the rest of the class offers constructive feedback enabling all of us to improve our own unique value propositions.

I’ve interviewed 10,000 salespeople throughout my career, and I can easily say the value prop is any job candidate’s most important asset. Spend time on it, and you’ll benefit from your efforts for years to come.

Master the “marketing of me”

I often take students through a market targeting exercise. The takeaway of this particular assignment is if you’re selling red pens, you need to market to the persona who wants to buy red pens. I encourage my students to identify the “persona” of the business they’d like to work for, so they know how to market themselves.

We start by answering a series of questions:

  1. Where do you want to work? Start with the geography of where you’d like to live and work.
  2. What market vertical are you interested in? Identify whether you’d like to work in consumer products, the automotive industry, or medical sales. Often students will give me an answer like “healthcare.” This isn’t specific enough. Within healthcare, what industry have you identified? Are you interested in biotech, hospitals, or IT? These are important questions to answer.
  3. Explain the job you’d like to have. Are you looking for entry level sales jobs? Are you interested in getting broad marketing experience? Verbalize what your ideal role entails.
  4. What size of company are you considering? Get specific here. Don’t just say, “middle market.” Decide what the approximate headcount of your target organization is. Are they SMB or enterprise?
  5. What are the best skills you can market? When I say “skills,” I’m talking about skills you’ve been trained in, such as deal closing, discover, or relationship management.
  6. Are their specific companies you’re interested in? Explain why you’re interested in these companies. Don't have a specific company nailed down? Simply say, "I'm interested in companies such as Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Johnson & Johnson."
  7. What’s your value proposition? Pull from the section above for help here.

Once you’ve answered these seven questions, you should have a better idea of the job you want. You also have the foundation for a great cover letter.

Now’s also the time to reach out to your connectors. These are people like me who are connected, experienced, and willing to help. Present your “marketing of me” exercise and value proposition to them, and ask for assistance in reaching out to potential employers. If you’ve done the work, they’re likely to say “yes” to your requests.

Know what the red flags are (and avoid them) Red Flags

Before I agree to help a student, I look for a few things. The first is red flags. If I’m dealing with a person who’s always expecting something from me, I immediately take a step back. I don’t like working with anyone who believes they’re entitled to help or a position -- and my connections don’t either.

I also pay attention to how well the person listens. If I’m working with someone who’s ready to pounce on every word I say, or interrupt and disregard what I’m bringing to the conversation, I already know they’re not ready to successfully tackle a role in sales.

Positive Attributes

What I look for in candidates are attributes. Many people confuse attributes with skills. Skills can be learned, while attributes are usually natural abilities that are harder to pick up. Here are a few attributes I look for in successful job candidates:

  1. Curiosity - This is baked into you. It’s not a skill. You must be curious about your customer, your role, and your company’s success to be a great employee.
  2. Work ethic - When I hire people, I want to know they’re going to work as hard as I do.
  3. Commitment - I want to see you’ve devoted time and attention to something. It might be a job you worked all four years of college, a summer internship, or a hobby you’ve practiced consistently for years. Whatever it is, I want to know you have what it takes to see work through.
  4. Drive - Are you hungry for the job and for the work it will take to get there?
  5. Passion - If someone says they’re “excited” about a job, I want to correct them. Excitement is something you feel about graduation or a big trip. I want to know you’re passionate about the job you’re applying for. Passionate folks do great work.

Not sure what attributes you possess? Take a personality test, such as Myers-Briggs or Predictive Index.

Not everyone is enrolled in a class like the one I teach. You might even be several years or decades into your career. And that’s alright. Reach out to a mentor, an old professor, or even a successful aunt, and ask for their help.

Everyone’s been in your position, which makes most of us willing to help. Ask for guidance, and then be willing to put in the work necessary to succeed.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
How to Craft an RFP Response

Identify whether you already have a relationship with the RFP issuer, consider if you have an RFP “Swat Team” ready to go, and don’t let excitement fool you into thinking the deal is yours. Consider whether this is truly a qualified lead, and be willing to walk if it means saving valuable time and resources.

Many salespeople become giddy when they see an RFP (Request for Proposal) that falls within their sales area. Because it looks like there’s strong alignment between what a company requests and what they sell, the deal is as good as done.

Not so fast! Let’s look at this more closely and examine your chances of success with RFPs -- and how you can enhance them.

Are RFPs the Perfectly Qualified Sales Lead?

One of the first things reps are taught is the importance of qualifying new leads. A qualified lead stands a good chance of being won, but an unqualified lead may cost you days, months, and sometimes years of wasted effort.

What is a qualified lead?

  1. The prospective buyer must have a clearly articulated need
  2. There must be a purchasing timeline
  3. The purchase must have an allocated budget
  4. The buying process and its participants must be defined

The question is, how should you treat an RFP? An RFP is a document issued by a purchasing company to a select group of vendors they believe can meet their company needs. The qualification criteria listed above is typically in place. And, on the surface, an RFP appears to be a perfectly qualified lead.

But is it really?

What Is a Request for Proposal?

A request for proposal is a document issued by a company asking select vendors to submit proposals for their consideration. Vendors are usually required to submit timelines, budgets, company information, and even a project. The RFP issuer then reviews all proposals and selects a winning vendor who is awarded their business.

Is the Deck Stacked Against You?

How many times have you and your fellow reps reacted with excitement when an apparently winnable RFP hit your desk? How many hours did you spend assembling a team to write a proposal, gather information and data, answer the questions, revise and review, and finally submit the RFP, believing it would bring you a windfall? And how many times have you failed?

For example, one day, I received a call from the head of sales at a large manufacturer. He had read a piece I’d published online and was interested to learn if my company could help him define a new sales strategy for his team.

Over the next several weeks, my team defined the scope of work, created a project plan to help his sales force, assigned resources to the effort, and selected a kick-off date. Prior to the kick-off date, however, I received an alarming call. He’d been informed the project must be put ‘out to bid’ to at least two other vendors, because its total cost exceeded $500,000.

Apparently, our “slam-dunk” would have some competition. A vendor-selection committee had been formed, and we were not invited because, “There’s no need to worry,” said the head of sales. “We’re still going to do this project with you.”

Despite my protestations and sense of panic, my contact assured me, “Just sit tight. Give me two weeks, and then we’ll pick up where we left off.” True to his word, we were back on the telephone two weeks later rescheduling the project kick-off meeting.

What happened during those two weeks?

Our client had issued an RFP and received proposals from three consulting firms. Even though we were not the lowest bidder, we were the successful bidder because, in the words of my contact, “It was your project. I just had to jump through some hoops to make it work internally.” In other words, the entire RFP process was essentially a sham.

This is a great story if you’re the beneficiary of these shenanigans, but not if you’re the loser. The other three consulting firms had entered an imaginary contest to win an unwinnable project. Imagine the time, energy, and resources expended by all in these two, short weeks.

Before Submitting Your RFP Response, Remember These Lessons

1. RFPs are hard to evaluate. RFPs might have a defined need, timeline, budget, and buying process -- but they’re much harder to evaluate than regular leads.

2. RFPs might look like highly qualified but, often, they’re not. When presented with an RFP, try to talk yourself out of responding to it, rather than automatically assuming you should. Win rates are usually against you. “Losing” the RFP by failing to bid can be a gain, because you’ve not wasted precious resources.

3. No existing relationship with the issuer? You’ve probably already lost. And you’ve definitely lost if the RFP response you send is the first time the purchaser is seeing your name.

4. Your company’s online presence and thought leadership is vital to successfully influencing purchasing decisions. Successful content marketing is key to influencing decision makers, most of whom are already halfway through the decision making process before receiving your response.

5. Create an in-house RFP process and RFP response “swat team” to quickly and efficiently respond to requests without causing an unnecessary drain on internal resources.

6. Don't expect a successful sale. It might seem like the stage is set for a successful purchase. But it’s not necessarily set for a successful sale. Don’t let the excitement of an inevitable purchase fool you into believing it’s your inevitable sale.

I'm not saying you should never submit an RFP proposal, but I am saying there's no golden ticket in sales -- and that extends to RFPs. Consider whether this RFP is a realistic goal, and whether it's the best use of your team's time before crafting a response. 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Best Sales Questions
  1. "What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?"
  2. "What does this purchase mean to you? What does it mean to your company?"
  3. "What is your boss hoping to accomplish in the next year?"
  4. "How do your team objectives play into your department's strategy?"
  5. "What do you perceive as your greatest strength? Weakness?"
  6. "How does your company evaluate the potential of new products or services?"
  7. "Who has your business now? Why did you choose that vendor?"
  8. "What are your buying criteria and success criteria?"
  9. "Where would you put the emphasis regarding price, quality, and service?"
  10. "What level of service are you looking for?"

Today's buyers are complex. They have confusing wants and needs. They're strapped for time. They're hesitant to share information -- yet have endless access to product details online.

To provide value to these modern buyers, we need to ask good sales questions. Whether you're new to sales and looking for a go-to list of sales qualification questions or a manager looking to test new questions with your team, this list of great sales questions to ask customers will help you identify your their core needs.

Then, you can customize your sales presentations and pitches to their specific circumstances.

Best Questions to Ask in a Sales Meeting

When you're speaking with a prospect for the first or second time, it's crucial you ask the right questions. As a salesperson, your job is to discover their core needs quickly and succinctly. Here are a few questions to begin with:

  1. "What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?"
  2. "What does this purchase mean to you? What does it mean to your company?"
  3. "What is your boss hoping to accomplish in the next year?"
  4. "How do your team objectives play into your department's strategy?"
  5. "What do you perceive as your greatest strength? Weakness?"
  6. "How does your company evaluate the potential of new products or services?"
  7. "Who has your business now? Why did you choose that vendor?"
  8. "What are your buying criteria and success criteria?"
  9. "Where would you put the emphasis regarding price, quality, and service?"
  10. "What level of service are you looking for?"
  11. "What do you like best about your present supplier? What don't you like?"
  12. "What do you look for in the companies you do business with?"
  13. "What might cause you to change suppliers?"
  14. "What do you like best about your current system? What would you like to see changed?"
  15. "What do you perceive your needs to be? How important are they?"
  16. "If you were me, how would you proceed?"
  17. "Which trade associations do you belong to?"
  18. "What will it take for us to do business?"
  19. "How soon can we begin?"
  20. "What is my best shot for getting back the account?"
  21. "What did we do in the last sale that impressed you most?"
  22. "What do you look for in your relationship with a supplier?"
  23. "Who was the best salesperson who ever called on you?"
  24. "If you could change one thing about your organization, what would it be?"
  25. "Do you struggle with [common pain point]?"
  26. "What deadlines are you currently up against?"
  27. "Which resource could you use more of?"
  28. "Would you rather cut costs, save money, or increase productivity?"
Best Sales Questions to Ask Customers

When you're checking in with current clients with the hope of either upselling, cross-selling, or renewing, it's imperative you ask the right questions.

If you fail to ask tough questions about the good and bad of your product/service, you risk missing warning signs they're unhappy and would consider churning to a competitor. Don't leave the door open. Close it with these questions:

  1. "On a scale of one to 10, how happy are you with our product?"
  2. "Why did you give us that score?"
  3. "Can you explain the weaknesses or challenges you've found in our product/service so far?"
  4. "What do you love about our product/service?"
  5. "How likely are you to recommend product/service to a friend or colleague?"
  6. "How has adoption and internal use gone?"
  7. "Do you feel you've received outstanding customer service?"
  8. "What can we do to earn your business for another year?"
  9. "Are you ready to renew today?" (Only if the first seven questions have had positive answers)
  10. "Would you be interested in our new add-on Feature X?"

Great sales questions enable you to tailor your messaging to your prospects' goals and show them your solution is the best choice. Which sales questions will you use on your next sales call?

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Inside vs. Outside Sales

Inside sales reps often sell remotely, from an office base, while outside sales reps travel, brokering face-to-face deals. 47% of all salespeople work in inside sales, with 53% representing outside sales. But who has higher on-target earnings, better quota attainment, and brings in more revenue? New research has those answers.

Outside or inside sales? It’s often argued these two strategies are at odds with one another. But, in today’s market, the two roles are blending -- and both have become a vital part of sales organization structure.

Inside sales offers a leaner, more automated approach, while outside sales capitalizes on the in-person interaction and power of face-to-face communication. So, which go-to-market should you choose? Let’s explore the inside sales vs. outside sales equation and study how each fits into modern sales teams.

What's the difference between inside and outside sales? Inside reps are sales professionals primarily selling remotely, while outside sales professionals primarily broker face-to-face sales.

Out of the 5.7 million professional salespeople in the U.S., approximately 47.2% are inside sales professionals. Outside sales represents 52.8%.

So, are the lines really blurred? Is inside sales just sales as usual? Let’s dig into recent InsideSales.com research below to find out.

The Blurred Lines Between Inside and Outside Sales

Outside sales reps spend almost half their time (45.4%) selling remotely -- an 88.4% increase from 2014.

The activities and tools inside and outside sellers use are so similar, there’s really no more inside vs. outside sales anymore.

It’s all sales.

Image source: InsideSales.com

Small Companies Have The Most Inside Sales Reps

If you haven’t decided whether to hire inside or outside sellers on your team -- the answer will be a frustrating: “It depends.” It depends on what stage of development your company is in and what sales model you’re using.

InsideSales.com analysis shows large organizations (revenue > $500M) are currently dominated by field sales reps (71.2%). However, we expect this number to decrease as more organizations adopt a hybrid or inside sales model.

Small organizations (revenue <$50M) have the highest percentage of inside sales reps (47%). Interestingly, large companies are continually adding inside sales and expect to see the biggest increase with 4.9% more inside sales reps in 2018.

Inside and Outside Sellers -- Finding the Balance

In 2017, inside sales made up 43.5% of professional salespeople. But that number is expected to grow by 4.59% in 2019, as it moves towards sales teams reaching a 50/50 balance of inside and outside sellers.

Image source: InsideSales.com

The main reason for the continued move is that most companies report the ideal split to be nearly 50/50.

Data shows as companies grow, a pattern emerges in how they structure their sales organization. In a relational sales model -- with deal sizes over $32,000 -- certain roles emerge more than others.

In our research, the relational model started stronger with an outside sales team and a partnering sales development team. As revenue grew, we saw account roles split to provide better customer support. The inside sales and sales engineer teams each build a strong presence in this area.

To continue, the inbound function of partnering with marketing is strongest in conjunction with a renewals function to support the account management team. Lastly, the channel program is added at the end of the growth process.

Image source: InsideSales.com Sales Compensation is Relatively the Same For Inside vs. Outside Sellers

To retain top talent, companies need to pay market value for salespeople. Our study revealed the average base salary for inside sales account executives in the US is $42,833 with average on-target earnings (OTE) of $96,299.

Often, sales leaders believe outside reps bring more experience to a role, so they demand a higher base salary. According to our data, companies who had the majority of outside sales reps had a base salary that was 36% higher than inside sales.

Interestingly, the OTE for outside sales was only 9.2% higher. OTE should be an indicator of expected earnings, so inside sales positions actually earn relatively close to the same amount as outside sales.

Quota Attainment

We know only 60.9% of reps reach quota attainment each year. Interestingly, outside sales reps have a 29.6% higher quota on average than inside sales reps.

And, while there’s certainly a long way to go before salespeople have 100% quota attainment, these are not lackluster results.

Better collaboration and communication between inside and outside sellers and marketing and sales, along with increased productivity (Thanks to AI) will significantly elevate sales performance in the future.

It’s crucial many companies support inside and outside sales collaboration for increased chance to reach sales targets. While they’re sometimes assigned territories based on specific roles (inside/outside), companies often allow inside sellers to close smaller value deals on their own -- and support the outside seller when working on key strategic accounts.

Inside and Outside Sales Activities

The sales profession is hard work, as we’ve already discussed. But who does it better, inside or outside sellers?

Sales organizations primarily made up of inside sales reps made 42.5% more dials, left 10.2% more voicemails and sent 8.8% more emails than organizations with primarily outside sales reps. They also focused more on social media, with 49% more social touches than outside sales reps. (18.1% vs 12.1%).

Overall, companies with sales teams dominated by inside sales reps have a 9.8% higher quota attainment than companies dominated by outside sales reps.

At the same time, there are other things to consider:

  • Companies who have a majority of outside sales reps have a 30.2% higher close rate than companies who have a majority of inside sales reps.
  • Deals worked by outside sales teams tended to be 130.2% bigger on average than those worked by inside sales teams.
Transactional Versus Relational Sales Models

Now, before you look at these numbers and fire your entire outside sales team, I should warn you they are the result of sales activities performed in specific sales environments.

Certain sales models, like the transactional sales model, with low-value deals and fast sales cycles, lend themselves to an inside sales model. A relational sales model, with high value deals (over $35,000) and long sales cycles, will benefit from having outside sellers on your team.

Transactional Sales ModelRelational Sales ModelThe seller tries to close a deal without attempting to form a relationshipSuited for companies with a large number of employees (<100)Small number of decision-makers (1-3)Build rapport with a large number of decision-makers (4+)Fast sales cycle (<90 days)Slow sales cycles (>90 days)Small deal sizes (under $35,000)Larger deal sizes (over $35,000)

Finally, when choosing sales organization structure, you’ll always be at the whim of your customer. How do your customers prefer to be contacted? How do they allow you to close a deal? Can you close a $1m deal over the phone? Only your customer can decide that.

I don’t believe there’s a specific vertical, industry, or product where a field sales model is indispensable. Sure, there are industries that have a field sales model. But, this doesn’t mean it’s the optimal sales model in the current market.

You must meet the outside (or field sales) model in industries that are slow to change. It’s usually an issue of someone on the executive team saying: “Oh, well, we’ve always done it this way.” We must find a way to break out of these traditions and find room for experimenting with new concepts.

The buyer of today is becoming more digitally savvy. As they’re purchasing more goods for personal use on Amazon and other websites, they’ll naturally expect this model to work seamlessly in the B2B environment as well.

You must be ready to meet them with a solid digital sales model -- and this means including inside sellers on your team.


There really is no manual when it comes to inside and outside sales. Companies are trying different models, testing different organization structures and making sure they find the right fit for their product, their buyer, and their market. Find what’s right for you.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
What Is a Value-Added Reseller?

A value-added reseller is a business that creates integrations, products, and features enhancing existing products or services. These companies then package the existing product/service with enhancements and resell the offering as a full-service solution. Value-added resellers often specialize in software, hardware, and other technologies.

If you're an IT reseller, value-added reseller (VAR), or channel partner advising clients on any part of the front office (marketing, sales, or customer success) -- especially for businesses under 1,000 employees -- there are a few trends you should be aware of.

Front-office SaaS development is booming, software is getting cheaper and more intuitive, and CEOs are concerned more about growth than point solutions. So, what does this mean for value-added resellers? I'll explain that, and more, below.

Four Software Trends IT Resellers, VARs, and Channel Partners Should Watch Trend 1: Front-office SaaS development and spending is exploding

If you follow Chief Martec’s Scott Brinker, you already know the marketing technology landscape has seen explosive growth over the past ten years, growing from just 150 software businesses in 2011 to over 5,000 in 2017. But did you know this happening in sales technology now too?

Over the last three years, the number of sales technologies has grown from 300 in 2015 to 715 in 2017. And it’s not just happening across sales and marketing. SaaS spending across the entire business has grown between 75-100% each year for the past six years, according to Blissfully’s 2018 Annual SMB SaaS Trends Report.

Image source: Blissfully 

Trend 2: Software is getting cheaper

The “freemium” model has been around forever (i.e., bars giving away salty snacks to sell more alcohol), but it has only recently been adopted by tech. The freemium debate has raged back and forth over the years as companies like Dropbox, Slack, MailChimp, and more have seen success with the model itself while more complex products have failed.

While freemium might not be the right strategy for every software business, 2015 saw approximately 22% of businesses adopting a freemium model. The world has shifted to a “try-before-you-buy” mindset. And that, coupled with freemium sales equaling a lower customer acquisition cost, makes it attractive to more businesses every year.

Trend 3: Software is getting more intuitive and requires less technical expertise

Software is getting immensely simpler to use. You don’t need to look too far back in time to see that software has evolved into a faster, more elegant, and more intuitive tool for non-technical end users.

Take this example from HubSpot’s own UI (user interface) in 2010 versus 2018.

HubSpot Landing Page UI, 2010

HubSpot Landing Page UI, 2018

Which page would you rather spend time on? The needs and expectations of users has grown as well. Mobile apps and free technology make it easy for users to engage with once-complex platforms and tools.

This is great, but it also means your offering must follow suit. In 2018, you can’t release a clunky UI that isn’t responsive on mobile. As user experience and interface improves, user expectations rise and tolerance for poor UX/UI reduces.

Trend 4: SMB CEOs care about growth, not point solutions

The lines between sales, marketing, and customer success are blurred. Today, SMB CEOs care about growth, plain and simple. They no longer consider marketing separate from sales and customer success.

Instead, they understand the value of marketing generating leads for sales, sales engaging those leads, and customer success retaining, cross-selling and up-selling existing customers to fuel growth.

And as these front-office software tools proliferate, CEOs no longer consider “front-office” separate from, “back-office.” They view the entire ecosystem and brainstorm ways to create a beautiful, powerful, end-to-end customer experience. This is why SMBs today need more than marketing automation. They need a growth stack.

What Does This Mean for Value-Added Resellers?

In a world where there’s a free, beautifully designed point solution for everything, the role of the value-added reseller must change.

These are the opportunities I see for businesses like yours today:

If you’re ignoring the front office, you’re ignoring a growth opportunity

SMB CEO’s need help. These SaaS spending categories comprise more than 50% of total spend -- Marketing (~15%), Sales (~10%), Customer Support (5%), BizOps (~25%, think tools like Slack, Zoom, CPQ, ERP, etc.).

Back-office spend has been shrinking since 2009, which suggests there’s more opportunity in the front office moving forward. You might have built your business on providing back-office solutions -- and I’m not suggesting you give that up entirely -- but transitioning some time to the front office represents a path towards sustainable growth.

Image source: Blissfully

Customers need help evaluating and integrating technology, and developing clear reporting

The average SMB has more than 20 SaaS subscriptions across nine different categories and spends over $186,000 per year on those products. This is up from only about $10,000 per year in 2013, and it’s creating major efficiency issues for most businesses. For example, 60% of marketing teams spend 10% of their budget to integrate, maintain, and manage tools.

And, 72% of salespeople spend up to one hour every day on data entry and connecting records from different sales tools. At minimum, your opportunity lies in helping customers understand the proliferating technology landscape and selecting the right technology to fuel future growth.

The opportunity lies in helping customers eliminate some point solutions, integrate the remaining software, develop coherent business-wide reporting (With tools like Databox), and provide training and support to make it all work.

But there’s just one problem: It doesn’t create a scalable business. This brings me to the last big opportunity I see for businesses like yours today.

Offering front-office growth services is your next big opportunity

If you’re only offering services around technology selection, integration, reporting, and some basic training, you’ll struggle running a business with “lumpy” cash flow.

That’s because the nature of these traditional VAR services is project-based. You might win a consulting deal, do some work for three, six, or maybe even 12 months, but what happens after that? The client doesn’t need you anymore. They look at the hourly rate you’re charging for your work, decide you’re an opportunity to cut cost, and part ways.

But what if you didn’t have to replace your entire client base? What if you shifted from being a project-based, cost-center consulting firm to an ongoing, strategic partner driving revenue and profit for your clients? It would change the trajectory of your business, right?

This is the next frontier for businesses like yours, but it doesn’t come without investment in training to learn the types of services you could be providing to clients.

These are services like lead generation (e.g., outsourced content marketing and marketing automation), sales acceleration (e.g., automation, efficiency, enablement, and training solutions), and customer success enablement (e.g., connecting the pre-sale and post-sale experience, building customer support and chat experiences, designing the customer knowledge base, etc.).

Done well, this means your business can transition away from $25-$50K one-time consulting projects that aren’t in step with many of today’s SMBs and into long-term, recurring value-added service engagements worth $50-$100K+ per year.

Then, you’ve got to deliver. Provide these services well -- all of them -- and you’ll save clients from hiring an army of full-time employees.

Want to learn more about how my team and I help businesses like yours make this transition, reach out to us directly (salespartners@hubspot.com) or click the banner below.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

New research from Richardson Sales Training reveals the biggest focus for sales professionals in 2018 should be articulating value. This stems from strong competition and an increasing number of decision makers on the buyer’s side.

Top challenges facing salespeople in 2018 included:

  1. Creating a targeted prospecting strategy
  2. Understanding how buyers make decisions
  3. Gaining higher prices
  4. Combatting the status quo
  5. Balancing sales and relationship management
  6. Building the right sales skills

Hundreds of survey respondents helped us identify these pressing challenges. So, what are the next steps, and how do you develop practical solutions? We’ve got a few ideas.

6 Challenges for Salespeople in 2018 1. Creating a targeted prospecting strategy

The Challenge: Selling today requires more resources. Therefore, sales professionals must identify the right buyer profile early to use those resources efficiently.

The Solution: Creating a targeted prospecting strategy begins with a clear definition of best practices. And this means adopting a brand-marketing mindset.

To do this, you must identify the right leading message and communicate that message with the right voice. Sales professionals can develop this message by asking, “Who should we be talking to?” “What do they care about?” and “What value can we offer?”

2. Understanding how buyers make decisions

The Challenge: When a group, rather than an individual, is making the buying decision, it’s difficult for sales professionals to get all the pieces necessary to create a comprehensive pitch or strategy.

The Solution: Sales professionals must be aware of the competing priorities and the different needs those priorities represent within the buying organization. To do this, they must ask the right questions to get to the core of their buyers’ challenges and develop an understanding of how decisions flow through the organizational chart.

Questions like, “What has made this a priority for your team right now?” “Who else is affected by these challenges?” and “How will solving this issue affect your team?” are all great ways to learn how individual teams think about the challenge at hand, and how their views fit within the larger organization.

3. Gaining higher prices

The Challenge: Customers are taking advantage of increasing competition among sales professionals by demanding low-cost solutions. This dynamic puts the sales professional under increasing pressure to maintain the full value of the sale.

The Solution: Trust is the foundation for gaining higher prices, and information exchange is the foundation of trust. Sales professionals can build trust by offering customer-relevant insights that earn the designation of a trusted advisor.

Sharing relevant content, advising prospect on how new features will benefit their business, and finding ways to differentiate their product/service in the marketplace are first steps in maintaining product value in the prospect’s eyes. Show what a higher price tag gets the prospect -- and make it worth their while.

4. Combatting the status quo

The Challenge: Access to vast and conflicting information paired with complex internal decision-making hierarchies slows and even stops the sales process.

The Solution: Sales professionals need to impress upon their buyers that avoiding a decision carries risk. Sellers need to help the customer develop a proactive mindset and shape the buying process around the fewest possible steps to make it easy for the customer to move forward.

If you feel your prospect slipping away, ask questions like, “What will happen if you don’t solve for this challenge right now?” “If you choose not to address this issue today, will you still have to address it in the future?” and “What is the cost of leaving this problem unaddressed right now?”

Remind your prospects why they reached out to you in the first place. You can’t tell them why now is the right time to buy, but you can lead them to that conclusion on their own, with targeted questions like these.

5. Balancing sales and relationship management

The Challenge: Increasingly complex sales require more follow-through. As a result, the sales professional has less time to pursue new opportunities.

The Solution: Sales professionals can balance ongoing demands while pursuing new opportunities by vocalizing their intention to keep new product discussions separate from those about work already implemented. This allows the sales professional to focus on “whitespace” in the account, without encroaching on the value expected from previous work.

Upselling and cross-selling are still more effective techniques than selling new business opportunities. While it’s important to maintain a balance of prospecting and relationship management, allocate time to check in with clients, ensure they’re happy, and then -- and only then -- upsell or cross-sell to them.

6. Building the right sales skills

The Challenge: With limited resources and large quotas, sales organizations must focus on building the selling skills that have the greatest business impact.

The Solution: Build skills that train sellers to ask insightful and relevant questions to understand customer needs and challenges. To reach a close, a sales professional needs a path. The customer’s answers are that path. Explain the rationale for asking the question, and practice using role-play exercises.

Regularly revisit scripts, conduct call reviews, and encourage feedback among reps. If someone is killing the close, have them lead a training session on how they achieve that success. If someone is struggling to get past discovery calls, pair them with a rep who crushes that part of the sales process.

Invest in maintaining and improving your team’s sales skills, and you’ll stay in-tune with customer needs and one step ahead of the competition.

For more insights, download the research, “Understanding Selling Challenges in 2018,” from the Richardson website. 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As a rule, salespeople should never call or email outside normal business hours -- before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m.. You’ll read many articles recommending salespeople call after hours to get past assistants or front desks -- but I wouldn’t recommend it. Why?

Well, the only time you should reach out to a prospect is when you assume they’re also working. When sending emails over the weekend, it’s likely you’re the only one on the job. To your prospect, weekend correspondence looks like you can’t manage your time efficiently or, worse, you’re desperate.

Of course, there are circumstances when a weekend email might be appropriate. Luckily, I’m sharing three emails you should never send over the weekend and two that are O.K..

If you take one thing away from this piece, remember a busy and efficient sales rep isn’t spending weekends calling and emailing prospects. They’re enjoying their time off, because they kicked ass all week. Take a look at these email do’s and don’ts, and always send the right message.

3 Emails to Never Send Over the Weekend 1. Question or exploratory emails

Never send an email asking a question or attempting to explore a new topic over the weekend. You’re likely unsure whether your prospect will or can answer your question outside the office, so it’s best saved for regular hours when they have access to the information and people they need for a timely response.

Questions like, “I wanted to check the status of our contract in procurement,” or “Were you able to check with accounting on the status of your budget?” might seem easy to fire off over the weekend, but your prospect won’t be able to answer until Monday.

So, avoid the Monday morning slog through countless weekend emails and slide into their inbox with a fresh message they can answer immediately.

2. Opportunity advancement emails

Don’t attempt to advance an opportunity over the weekend. If you send an email to a prospect who’s skeptical of doing business with you, you’ve just handed them an easy way out.

Because your emails are not a priority for them, they’ll likely wait to respond. And, when you check in a few days later, you’ll probably hear a line explaining, “I don’t check email over the weekend.”

You want to encourage every prospect to answer your questions immediately after you ask them. By sending an advancement email over the weekend, you pollute the close by giving prospects too many excuses not to return your correspondence.

Prospect’s generally need approval from management, accounting, or legal to move deals forward. Don’t ask for something your prospect can’t give you over the weekend. You’ll dilute your ask and risk losing steam on your deal.

3. Prospecting emails

Email open rates and click-through rates on the weekend are notoriously low. This means most companies aren’t sending emails on Saturday and Sunday, leaving your prospect’s inboxes gloriously uncluttered.

It seems like the perfect time to send a message, right? Wrong. The only thing a lead or prospect will think when they see your email arrive in their inbox at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday morning is that you’re not successful enough to enjoy your weekend free of work. And why would they want to work with an ineffectual rep?

You also risk them thinking your email was sent by mistake, as part of a mail merge or email campaign, which removes their obligation to respond.

2 Emails It’s O.K. to Send Over the Weekend 1. Organic or inspirational emails

If you come across something over the weekend your prospect might find interesting or thoughtful, by all means, send it.

For example, let’s say your prospect is leaving on a trip to Iceland next week and you happen to watch a documentary on Icelandic Sheepdogs on Saturday night. It would be perfectly fine for you to send a note letting them know you thought of them -- and that they’d better take a photo of any sheepdogs they meet on their trip.

This genuine thoughtfulness translates well in a weekend email. It’s topical, not trying to move the deal forward, and friendly.

2. Preparation emails

If you have a customer-facing project or presentation due Monday and your performance is in jeopardy if you don’t get an answer to an important question over the weekend, send an email.

Apologize and own up to your mistakes by saying, “When we spoke on Wednesday, I made a mistake. If you get this email over the weekend, could you please share the updated user count with me? Thanks.”

Be humble, apologetic, and never demanding. It’s not their fault you made a mistake. All you can do now is send an email and hope they read it before Monday rolls around.

Don’t confuse persistence with self-confidence. Self-confidence drives sales behavior. But when you’re persistent without confidence, you’re annoying. When you have confidence, you can be persistent without pestering.

Before you send an email over the weekend, make sure it sets a confident, helpful tone. Then -- and only then -- press send.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

These days, almost every new hire in sales is told to read "The Challenger Sale."

It's a great book based off one of the largest studies ever done in sales. Problem is, when you're learning how to sell on the job with a giant quota hovering over your head ... you don't have any time to read.

Download more free summaries of top sales books here.

That's why this post is a five-minute review of the Challenger Sales Approach. (I also summarized the entire 240-page book into 15-pages for those looking to read the whole book in sparknotes fashion. Grab it here.)

The Challenger Sale research revealed that every B2B sales rep falls into five different profiles.

These profiles define the skills and behaviors sales reps use when interacting with customers. They also describe a rep’s natural mode of interacting with a prospect, and are not mutually exclusive –

The “Challenger Approach” to sales most correlated with actual sales performance among high performers.

... hence the name of the book. In the study, they found that –

  • 40% of high sales performers primarily used a Challenger style - as opposed to one of the other four sales styles the book identified.
  • High performers were more than 2x likely to use a Challenger approach than any other approach.
  • More than 50% of all star performers fit the challenger profile in complex sales.
  • Only 7% of top performers took a relationship-building approach – the worst performing profile.

We should note that the Challenger approach only worked better among high performers. Among average performers, all profiles were roughly as successful as one another.

This is a disruptive finding, as most sales training and sales teams today are geared towards creating and encouraging the "Relationship Builder," the least effective of the five profiles.

The Challenger Sales Model believes all five sales profiles can learn to be a Challenger.
What is The Challenger Sales Model?

The Challenger Sales Model is a sales approach in which the seller actively teaches their prospect, tailors their sales process, and takes control of the customer conversation. The Challenger Sales Model believes anyone can become a Challenger if they build the right combination of skills.

The Challenger Sales Model is an approach to sales that is tailored to how the Challenger teaches, tailors, and takes control.

The Challenger Sales Model believes with the right training, coaching, and sales tools, all reps -- even those falling into one of the other four categories -- can take control of the customer conversation like a Challenger.

The book also discusses the fundamental principles serving as the foundation for this sales model. They are as follows:

  1. Challengers are made, not just born
  2. It's the combination of skills that matters
  3. Challenging is about organizational capability, not just rep skills
  4. Building the Challenger sales force is a journey, not an overnight trip

By embracing these principles as you implement the Challenger Sales Model, you'll take your organization on a transformative journey turning traditional solution selling on its head.

To learn more about Challenger sales reps and their specific traits and tactics, feel free to download our full summary of the book here.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We’ve all been through the same sales training and coached on the same sales playbook. When it comes to qualifying high-potential sales opportunities, salespeople look for:

  • Senior decision-maker involvement
  • Buying authority
  • Customer consensus
  • Approved budget
  • A clearly articulated need

However, in a world where customers learn far more on the their own and progress further along a purchase path before reaching out to reps, yesterday’s winning playbook is today’s losing recipe.

Why? These attributes are symptomatic of “Established Demand” -- meaning customers have not only figured out exactly what they need, but how much they’ll pay. The more boxes your opportunity checks, the less likely there’s anything left to discuss but price. Sure, the likelihood of a win might be high, but the likelihood of a great deal is incredibly low. In this world, the sales team is little more than the customer fulfillment team.

What’s a better alternative for effective opportunity qualification?

How to Identify (Truly) Qualified Leads

At CEB, now Gartner, we’ve studied this question extensively and landed on a surprising answer. After studying several thousand sales professionals around the world, we found star performers place one attribute above all others when qualifying and prioritizing sales opportunities: They seek out organizations -- or opportunities -- undergoing some sort of change.

Why change? For two reasons:

1. Emerging vs. Established Demand

While sales leaders preach the need to “get in earlier” to sway customer thinking in the supplier’s favor, few have any concrete ideas for how or when to make that happen.

Star performers, however, have discovered a way. Unlike criteria such as “budget approval” and “clear need” which indicate the prospect is close to their final decision, star performers use organizational change as a leading indicator of purchase potential.

Change boosts the likelihood a company must buy something specifically because it increases the likelihood a company must do something -- or, at least, do something differently. It’s the canary in the coalmine for Emerging Demand. Because change undermines a company’s status quo, it’s the earliest possible indicator of an emergent purchase process.

2. Willingness to Take Action

Star performers also gravitate toward customers in a state of change because they intuitively recognize that’s what they’re ultimately selling. In fact, that’s what we’re all selling. In one way or another, we’re all selling change. Organizations undergoing some sort of change already are far more open to buying the one thing we’re selling.

Identifying Companies in a State of Change

So what does organizational change look like, and how do you spot it? It’s pretty straightforward once you know what to look for. Drivers of organizational change typically fall into one of two categories: Internal versus External.

Internal Drivers of Change

These company-specific circumstances usually lead to a moment of “organizational reflection” where current thinking, behavior, processes, structure, etc. all fall under increasing scrutiny. For example:

  • Ongoing poor commercial performance
  • Recent mergers, acquisitions, or divestments
  • Significant changes in strategic direction
  • Senior leadership turnover
  • Widespread discontent with current processes, tools, data, systems or workarounds
External Drivers of Change

External drivers of change typically impact wide swaths of organizations simultaneously -- often leading the most agile to act first, many to follow fast, and the most reluctant to fall dramatically behind. These can include:

  • Changes in regulatory reform (e.g., the impact of regulatory reform on financial services companies)
  • Changes in legislation (e.g., the impact of healthcare reform on the entire healthcare industry)
  • Changes in technology (e.g., cloud-based computing, blockchain, mobile technology)
  • Changes in micro-economic trends (e.g., the move to subscription-based services)
  • Changes in macro-economic trends (e.g., shifting centers of global economic power)

Given their scope, external changes typically represent a huge opportunity for the best sales reps to anticipate and then act on their impact as they come over the horizon.

But whatever the cause, change is the mechanism star performers rely on to initiate a purchase process rather than simply respond to one, as it significantly reduces organizational inertia to do -- and therefore buy -- something different.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview