Lead Nurturing Takes Both Sales and Marketing

In one corner you’ve got Sales and in the other you’ve got Marketing.

That’s the simplest way to describe the disconnect between sales and marketing. But, alignment between sales and marketing is one of the largest customer and revenue growth opportunities out there for companies. Why aren’t we capitalizing on that opportunity?

One way to solve for this crucial problem is for both teams to collaborate and determine just when a lead is a sales-ready lead. Not all customer’s are ready to purchase, and it’s the job of both sales and marketing to nurture those customers into a sales-ready lead.

What is Lead Nurturing?

According to The Ultimate Revenue Engine Maximizing Results Through Inside Sales & Marketing Automation Jon Miller states, “there is a big gap between when a lead first engages with your company and when they are sales ready. Lead nurturing is the process of closing that gap; it’s the process of building relationships with qualified prospects that aren’t ready to buy with the goal of earning their business.”

Until you see buying signals (such as a view on your Pricing Page), you have to nurture and develop a relationship with your lead and continually be top-of-mind in their Inbox.

These early stage buyers don’t want content about your product. Doing this will only overwhelm them and leave a sour taste in their mouth. Instead, warm up to them. Early stage buyers are more interested in general thought leadership and tangible industry specific information.

Let’s take Bob, for example, he’s a VP of Sales at a mid-size B2B Software company. He’s not necessarily on the market for any new tools, but is interested in what’s out there. Don’t send him an email about your product.

Instead, introduce yourself and attach and industry specific article such as “B2B Sales Crystal Ball: Thought Leaders Weigh on the Biggest Trends of 2015” which he’ll find useful in his role. You’ve provided instant value and should continue in the nurturing process.

How Can Marketing Help in Lead Nurturing?

For salespeople, leaning on marketing to source and resurface the most appropriate information, articles, eBooks, whitepapers and webinars is an incredible advantage.

Kyle Poretto, SDR Manager at NewsCred, has his Sales Development team create a calendar for keeping top-of-the-mind touch with prospects that is shared between his team and marketing. Creating a lead nurturing calendar between sales and marketing helps to remind everyone involved on the flow of the campaign and each team’s responsibilities.

It’s the job of both sales and marketing to get onboard with this calendar and work together to create or curate content for every part of the lead nurturing cycle.

Why Do You Need to Get it Right?

Lead nurturing is not a non linear series of five, six or seven emails that pummels your customer with information about your product. Lead nurturing needs to be structured and accommodating to your dynamic customer base.

The lead nurturing cycle is a pre-sales cycle. And, it’s about the customer and solving their problems.

According to the Aberdeen Group, a provider of fact-based business intelligence research, “lead nurturing is, in its simplest sense, is a way to automate relevant communications with buyers in order to drive conversions through every stage of the buyer’s journey.”

Sales and marketing needs to get lead nurturing process right so everyone can work smarter, together. In a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, it highlighted that of the companies that have adopted a lead nurturing program, many of them gained a competitive advantage within their industry:

What About Measurement?

Effective lead nurturing gives companies that utilize it a competitive advantage for both sales and marketing. But, as important it is to have relate content within a nurturing campaign, it’s equally important to measure the overall effectiveness of the campaign itself.

Measure for View Rates

This number indicates how many times a recipient opened and read an email within the lead nurturing campaign.

Measure for Conversion Rates

The percentage of recipients that, through the lead nurturing campaign connected with the received content and converted into a paying customer.

Measure for Time for Conversion

Ask yourself: does this length of the lead nurturing campaign sufficient and effective? This metric is defined as the time it takes for a lead to become a paying customer.

Measure for Cost

The moment of truth: was the work worth the cost. Here’s the ROI metric for both sales and marketing in acquiring a new customer.

Lead Nurturing is for Closers

When sales and marketing work together, as a unified team, during the lead nurturing cycle we can dramatically improve cross-team productivity, the entire sales process and company growth.

How SDRs Can Team with Marketing to Close the Gap and Prospect Better

There’s been a long-standing debate ever since the emergence of the Sales Development role and that is, whether or not SDRs should be apart of the marketing team or the sales team. It’s a heated debate and both sides bring great points but it’s certainly not as simple as looking at the title of Sales Development Representative and calling it a day. It’s more complicated than that.

From a marketing standpoint, there’s no denying that SDRs have several responsibilities that would fall under the marketing function. Take email campaigns for example. Both demand generation software and sales applications like Tout are essentially working towards the same goal-turning a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) into a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).  It’s the exact same function, just executed in a much different way.

That being said, if you were to ask me what the job of the SDR is, I would say: the SDR role is bridging the gap between sales and marketing.

It’s not often that you’ll hear an SDR manager admit that working for a company with a very strong marketing department is hard, but it is-and I’ll tell you why. Because when the marketing department is strong, they create a ton of MQLs and this creates a pseudo-hybrid role that balances inbound vs outbound. At the enterprises level, this can create dilemmas such as:

  • Of all these leads, where is the best place to start?
  • How do I passively manage the lower-quality MQLs?
  • What tasks can I offload to ensure I’m focusing purely on high-priority MQLs and my target outbound list?

When you’re underwater in MQLs it’s time to take a look at your processes in place for the SDRs.

My theme has been two fold:

Offload as much low-value work possible

The first step was offloading low-value and time consuming tasks like lead and online research. I found a service that solved this problem for us called Prospecting Zen. Training sales assistants can be difficult. Instead, tools like Prospecting Zen trains sales assistants to do those time consuming tasks such as finding emails, phone numbers, good prospects within their target accounts, etc.

If you calculate how much time your team spends on finding prospects and guessing email addresses—it’s a no brainer to implement a third-party to help in the process.

Centralize Everything

The second thing I did was centralize all the communication between sales and marketing. What I noticed is there are so many mediums we can communicate through now that it creates a huge gap in communication. It actually became so bad at one point my SDRs seemed to work independently of one another, using different tactics, leveraging different pieces of marketing during their campaigns, and some would be successful and others would fail miserably.  I needed to ensure we were all the same page with marketing so I did one of two things….

1. Created a marketing calendar for SDRs

This was huge for us. Now we can pull up a calendar that’s designated for SDRs that will tell us,


Reminder: Should have sent at least two notes to follow up event last week


Focus on webinar outreach. Click here for an awesome template

This calendar is perfectly aligned with marketing department. They actually have access to it and can edit it!  So if they want to add a webinar date or a major marketing push, they can. This information is crucial for success because SDRs all need to easily be able to identify their lowest hanging fruit. This is done with a mix of demand generation scoring, to surface the warmed leads, and the proper alignment of sales and marketing.

2. Creating a daily “flow” that aligns with marketing

What does this mean? Well, since SDRs often struggle with prioritization because this is one of their first sales jobs, they need a lot of direction. The SDR manager’s job is to come up with the most optimal way to have their SDRs spend their day. Managers should be leveraging data to make smart decisions based on historical performance of the company and the industry, but it can be difficult to do when you’re lacking data but Tout has also helped us with optimization tremendously.

What we’ve done is layout our SDRs day in separate views within our CRM. So they have a view where they hunt for the best leads, which is the “MQL Leads” view.

Some sample views would be:


Working MQLs

Top Targets

Cold Call Lists

We will designate times to work through these views and even setting up time for a cold call hour when, after sifting through their overdue tasks, and the views above- they smile and dial.

This practice has been successful for our team at NewsCred.

Kyle Poretto is an SDR Manager at NewsCred, a leading content marketing platform that pairs cutting-edge software with top-notch content.  For more information about Kyle at NewsCred, please contact him at kyleporetto@gmail.com.

4 Ways to Decode the Hidden Sales Cycle

In The Challenger Sale, it states that 57% of the buyer’s decision is complete before a customer even talks to sales. Today’s customer has an upper hand in the sales process. Gone are the days when a customer would pick up the phone and talk to sales. With the information age in full effect, today’s buyer is a sophisticated and well-informed decision maker with a choice.

With a massive amount of information at their fingertips, before the customer even embarks on your sales cycle, they go through the hidden sales cycle first.

Customers are conducting their own independent research and are forming their own purchase decisions before talking to sales. As a company, you need to make sure that potential customers find you during their initial research process.

I’m talking about leveraging your content as a selling tool to debunk the hidden sales cycle.

Here’s the know-how:

  1. Know Your Ideal Customer Profile

Not to sound like a broken record, but knowing your ideal customer profile is a tried-and-true practice in effectively selling and understanding your customer.

  1. Connect Buyers and Sellers Through Social Channels

Whether it’s having an active voice on Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook — social selling is the best way to connect and interact with prospects. It’s a great way to conduct lead nurturing in a scalable way.

  1. Develop Thought Provoking Content

Content marketing is important. It’s one of the most accessible ways to personalize content and convert prospects into customers. It’s up to your company to curate resonating and useful content that ranges from blog posts, case studies, videos and customer testimonials.

  1. Enlist a Proactive Sales Team

Don’t wait around for prospects and leads to come to you. If you don’t have one already, think about starting an Sales Development team that focuses on outbound prospecting and bring the leads into your pipeline.

Part 2: What I’ve learned from 1000 interviews

In Part One, we discussed why people are the heart of every successful organization. Treating hiring like demand generation and applying rigor to the process sets the foundation for Part Two.

Now we’ll explore why you should develop an Ideal Candidate Profile and how your Hiring Rubric will guide the right decisions. But before we dig in, I’d like to share another underlying trait of successful candidates:

Art & Science

Why are we so focused on whether sales is an art or a science? Perhaps sales was once an artform, but, at any rate, it has evolved into a nexus of the qualitative and the quantitative. To the sales industry at large: move on, and embrace it.

Bottom line: Candidates who understand the art of communication and the science of technology are your next hyper-performers.

Ideal Candidate Profile (ICP)

New customers come from the actions of past customers.

– Eric Ries

In Recruiting, we can apply the same technique and the characteristics begin to become statistically significant after your first few hires (applying the 100 Rule from Part One).

Understand your hyper-performers – look for trends, similar experiences, and any commonalities that emerge:

  • University background
  • Internship experience
  • International travel
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Technical skills
  • Past failure
  • Prior employer

In working with Sales teams across a broad spectrum of industries, I often hear unique characteristics that hiring managers look for in their candidates (eg. exclusively baseball players, specific colleges, only those with door-to-door experience).

My advice, test your assumptions with more than one individual. Basing performance on a small sample skews your perspective.

Emotional IQ Spectrum

Self awareness is shaped by experience.

That’s the hard thing about hard things—there is no formula for dealing with them

– Ben Horowitz

Knowing and identifying one’s failures is the first step to self-improvement. Using your ICP, dig deep into how a candidate’s experiences shaped their level of self awareness.

This process involves three crucial steps:

  1. Form a foundation of empathy through sharing your own challenging experience
  2. Tap into an experience from the candidate that evokes a level of sincerity (e.g. their move cross-country, their backpacking trip around South East Asia, the short stint on the resume that was probably a learning experience)
  3. Listen – body language tells a story, so make sure it’s the right one.

This process is only possible if you meet the candidate in-person. Self awareness is exposed at higher levels when you can share eye contact and really connect with the individual. In my experience, emotional intelligence is the difference between an average performer and your future VP of Sales.

Kick-ass Checklist for Hiring Sales Talent

Every hiring manager should ask themselves: what’s foundational and what’s coachable? This simple question will lead to the formation of a hiring rubric for required and coachable skills and core attributes.

I assess four core attributes, each with critical components:


Sales is hard, and as Steli Efti illustrates, we need to look for candidates who can embrace rejection:

When forming your Ideal Candidate Profile, spend time looking for the right data points but include opportunities to uncover how an individual addressed a position of failure.

Proceed with caution if a candidate has taken the easy bus through life 1) gained entry into school through relatives 2) landed a post-college job with family or 3) works for a friends’ company not because he believes in the work or the mission, but because he secured a “gravy” role.

Attention to detail

Based on my experience, there are two types of people in this area 1) those who take an extra 15 seconds to read over an email before clicking send and 2) those who don’t.

  1. Layer the interview process with exercises (preferably written) to evaluate their ability in this area (e.g. sales prospecting email, customer feedback request, objection handling)
  2. Look out for a well-crafted “thank you email” – they mean the difference

Prospecting Sample Email to LuluLemon’s former VP Digital Marketing

Work ethic

Athletes will often train their entire lives to one day participate in the Olympics. Similarly, candidates who are passionate embrace the 6AM alarm clock to invest time in their future.

  1. Interview in the morning (before 9AM) to gauge grit (learning Andrew Riesenfeld)
  2. Evaluate candidate’s extracurricular activities – community projects, sports, college internships
  3. Have they helped their peers or collaborated with others?

Critical thinking

The evolution of inside sales has just shifted the delivery and noise, with executives often now receiving 500+ emails per day – candidates who think beyond the proverbial door bell and look for the unlatched window will be infinitely more successful.

  1. What’s the most creative approach you’ve taken to engage a future customer?
  2. How do you teach your future customers – what channels do you use?
  3. When do you walk away from a dead opportunity?

Why these three? Based on my experience, these three are foundational and not coachable. Candidates that are passionate about their future, invest time into refining their message, understand the value of time, and strive to look for the path less travelled.

The Road Doesn’t End Here

We’ve explored why passion is a good gauge of performance, learned how hyper-performers will impact your team, delved into the basics of interviewing 101, created a framework for an Ideal Candidate Profile, and formed a checklist for success.

For those in hiring roles, take ownership. Leave resource allocation to Human Resources, and invest in talent to create future leaders. Conversely, if you’re going for that hot job: focus on the details, share your experiences, and develop a relationship with the hiring manager.

Alignment Between Sales and Marketing Starts with the Customer

Customers want a resolution to their problems and answers to their questions. Therefore, in sharing content with your customer, capturing value is a must.

How do you hold the balance between sharing content while solving problems?

By aligning sales and marketing to focus on the customer and the buyer’s journey.

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

Having an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) that clearly defines who you’re selling and marketing to streamlines not only the sales process, but it impacts how marketing can work with sales.

Much like the ICP, marketing has a target audience for every piece of content. Chances are there’s a ton of overlap between the ICP and marketing’s target audience. We’ve noted before that only 80% of Marketing Content Generated Goes Used by Sales and both teams need to communicate on a two-way street in order to produce effective results.

Listen up: sales and marketing–you need to exchange your ICP and target audience notes with each other and team up to tackle your customer’s problems and solve them. If both teams work together to define your customer’s journey and map out valuable content for each part of the sales cycle, it’ll make for more streamlined sales process.

Define A Working Relationship

What is Sales about?

Telling the truth and selling it.

What is Marketing about?

Telling the truth and sharing it.

The common thread between a role in sales and a role in marketing is the need to answer a customer’s questions across all stages of the sales process–whether a customer is awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty and evangelism stage.

The outcome of every piece of marketing content used by sales should be this: the customer bought your product. There has to be an invested return with every piece of content.

The role of marketing is to produce content and collateral that addresses questions and concerns–and ultimately works towards relieving those tensions and closing deals. For sales, your role is to leverage those pieces of content and do what you do best–sell.

Define a Lead Scoring Process

According to SiriusDecisions, a leading B2B research and advisory firm, “lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.”

Lead scoring involves both sales and marketing. And, when done right, lead scoring increases the effectiveness of sales and marketing. Here’s are a few general practices sales and marketing need to define (together):

Rank Leads Based on Sales Readiness

  1. A sales-ready lead is a prospect who is in your defined ICP that has the buying power for their company and is interested (Think of a VP of Sales who found an eBook rather a Sales Intern who went to your Product page).
  2. Once you’ve determined a sales-ready lead, be sure to curate appropriate content based on their stage in the sales cycle
  3. If they’re not a sales-ready lead: Put them on a sales drip campaign so you’re always top-of-mind in their Inbox when they’re ready to buy

Origin of the Lead

Did the lead click on a Call to Action button on your website to talk to sales or did the lead come in through an inbound marketing channel?

Dig in to the information provided and determine if the lead is sales-ready or sales-drip-ready. You want to see a lead’s clear path to closure–if that’s not visible, put that lead on a sales drip and nurture them onto that path.

Fit & Interest

Just because a lead has interest doesn’t mean that they want to buy your product. Compare leads to your ICP. Make sure your marketing collateral aligns with your ICP for full effectiveness.

Define Your Company’s Alignment

For true alignment between sales and marketing, it starts with the customer and their purchase of your company’s product. Whether you’re in the HR, Data or Social Media industry–you’re here because of the customer.

80% of Marketing Content Created Goes Unused by Sales

There are a handful of factors that affect your everyday job in sales. Some of those factors you have no control over–such as a company’s buying budget. Then there are other factors you do have control over, such as using content to leverage your sales strategy.

In a recent report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) it stated that “sales team members don’t use as much as 80% of the content that marketing generates even though most of it is created for sales and channel enablement.”

That number is shockingly high. So, why should we care and what are we going to do about it?

In short, we need to talk about how to effectively align sales and marketing. Sales and Marketing needs to be a two-way street, not a dead end.

Solve For Buyer Insight

According to Forrester Research “buyers do want to work with salespeople who deeply understand their roles, their companies and their challenges.” What does this mean for your deals, pipeline, product demos and prospecting processes? It means that you should share credible content with your prospects that quantify a prospect’s role, industry, company and challenges.

Share a piece of invaluable content or on-trend piece that you found on the web that tackles a prospect’s specific problem, industry or role. Gaining a common footing with a prospect not only establishes camaraderie with a prospect–it creates credibility for yourself and your product.

Furthermore, consider dipping into your company’s repository of marketing collateral and share a Case Study, video profile, white paper or customer testimonial that supports your company’s core message and value proposition that is relevant to your specific prospect.

Solve For Better Communication

So far, the general consensus is that sales doesn’t use marketing generated content. Like any machine, you need to have all the parts moving in unison to get it to work–that’s no different for sales and marketing. To get both teams to work together, there has to be a two-way system between them.

Start with the root of the problem: communication.

Both teams should meet regularly with talking points to better understand your needs:

  • What types of content would you find useful for each part of your sales process?
  • What challenges are your prospects experiencing?
  • What kinds of content would be useful to relieve those challenges?

Transparent communication is extremely powerful and can create a better working relationship between the two teams.

Solve For Simplicity and Organization

Show of hands: how many times a day do you get frustrated because you can’t find a specific file on your computer? Chances are it’s a few times a week.

Despite marketing’s attempts to build a content library, between Box, Confluence, Dropbox and Google Drive–it’s enough to overwhelm anyone. Instead, sales and marketing should collaborate on prioritization and organization efforts in order to ensure that each team succeeds.

Break it folder down into each specific part of the sales cycle so when a salesperson is on a call, they can quickly reference any piece of content in a pinch.

Sales and Marketing Powers Unite

At the end of the day marketing wants to produce credible content that is used by the sales team; and sales wants to close deals and grow revenue. Everyone is working on the same team and we all want the same thing: accomplish our company’s mission statement. In collaborating together, both team’s can become the Avengers and drive to success.

Storytelling for Salespeople

Last Thursday, I took a Storytelling class at General Assembly taught by Andy Raskin, an advisor and acting CMO for B2B startups. After the class, I walked away and learned an invaluable lesson: storytelling isn’t just for content marketers, company Execs pitching to VCs for funding or company about pages.

Storytelling is for everyone. And especially, storytelling is for salespeople.

As a salesperson, you know more about storytelling than you think. It’s ingrained in what you do every day. Every prospecting call, inbound lead call, discovery call or product demo has a story to it.

If you want to gain a competitive advantage in your sales conversations and overall sales pitch–get ready to roll up your sleeves, find a pen and a piece of paper and define your sales story.

Define Your Sales Story

The most important Sales story is your company’s product story. In order to create your company’s sales story, put yourself in the mindset of the hero, or your customer. He wants to save the day, but how does he go about doing just that?

Let’s take us for example, our story is made very clear on our front page:

The hero or our customer wants to close more deals. How does he do that?

He uses Tout’s Sales Tracking, Templates and Analytics, put the most powerful sales acceleration platform to work for you and your team.

Suddenly, he closes more deals.

So, to define your company’s sales story, think about it as three questions:

  1. Who is the hero?
  2. What is the obstacle that the hero is trying to overcome?
  3. How does the hero overcome those obstacles?

Everyone loves a good hero story. Let your product be the hero in every sales story.

The Inciting Incident

Of the many things that I learned in Andy Raskin’s master Storytelling class was the inciting incident.

The inciting incident is a plot device tactic taken from screenwriting, but, as I learned can be applied to all types of storytelling from Taken 3 to your sales calls.

According to Scribe Meets World, a screenwriting how-to website, the definition of the plot tactic is:

Inciting comes from the Latin word incitare which means “to put into rapid motion, urge, encourage, and stimulate.” And that’s exactly what your inciting incident is: it’s an event that catalyzes your hero to “go into motion” and take action.

Sales world translation: your prospect is looking for a solution to their problem and your product could be the answer. That’s the inciting incident.

Need further proof, here’s a few examples of sales inciting incidents:

  • The Entelo Customer Success and Sales teams needed a tool that gave them measurable results that are crucial to understanding their interactions with their customers and prospects. (Read the conclusion to their story here.)
  • The Golden State Warriors Outside Sales team needed a tool to measure a prospect’s engagement level via email alone and wanted to move prospects along in the sales process. (Read the conclusion to their story here.)

So, after the inciting incident, what are the next steps?

Ask yourself this: What kind of future does your customer want?

Does he want a future that’s productive and flourishing? Or does he want a future that’s the same drudgery that they’re currently in?

When you’re on your sales calls, think about these questions and steer the story in the right direction (and hint, the right direction is your direction.).

Your Call to Action

We’ve talked about defining your sales story and the inciting incident, now let’s talk about your sales call to action.

Whether it’s through your company’s brand messaging, your outbound prospecting calls, daily sales calls or renewal conversations–it’s important to present your product as the vision of the future that’s just too attractive to deny.

Your product is the great. Now, turn it into a story and an immediate call to action that your customer cannot deny.

And when the hero buys your product, be sure to to be there by their side–whether it’s through a Customer Success Manager or a Twitter Retweet–make sure you’re always there to writing a good sales story.

So, what’s your story?

How to Effectively Manage Your Calendar and 21 Sales Reps

Ash Alhashim is a busy man. As the Director of Sales and Market Development at Optimizely his role is unique.

Ash heads up two separate teams: the Sales Development and Market Development teams. Together, the two teams are responsible for handling the inbound and outbound leads.

And here’s the mind blowing part of it: Ash has 21 direct reports. Yes, you read correctly, twenty-one reps.

How does Ash make it seem like it’s all in a day’s work?

In having 21 direct reports, Ash quickly found that he had to prioritize his time. Before getting into the groove of his optimal operating rhythm, Ash found that he was spending a lot of time toggling back and forth between activities. His schedule was all over the place:

  • 30 minute block 1:1 with an MDR
  • 30 minutes of no meetings
  • 30 minute block 1:1 with an SDR
  • 30 minute Ash and Marketing sync
  • 30 minutes of no meetings

Ash’s calendar was ineffective.

Now Ash’s calendar looks like this:

“Meetingless Mondays was designed to be a day where you work on your projects that you have set for yourself,” said Ash. “I do a lot of my project based work, such as any big goals that I have for the month, quarter or year, I do on Mondays.”

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, that’s when Ash conducts his 1:1s–whether it’s with his direct reports, his boss or any other team at Optimizely. Then, Wednesdays and Fridays are his catch-all days where he focuses on recruiting, hiring and cross-departmental collaboration.

So, take a page out of Ash’s book and see if his operating rhythm works for you and your SDR team.

Illustrations by Daniel Walsh.

The 5 Books Every SDR Manager or Aspiring SDR Manager Should Read (or Read Again)

As you start 2015 and Q1, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick up a refresher course in sales management. The “I Need to Read More” always seems to be a top New Year’s Resolution for people–and SDR Managers are no exception.

Of the managers that we talked to for our new eBook The Definitive Guide to Building an SDR Team, many of them had the following five books on their bookshelves:

  1. Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives by Keith Rosen

When Chris Flores, the Manager of Inside Sales at Namely, was promoted from Sales Development Representative to Manager, he read a ton of Sales Management and Inside Sales Management books.

“I read anything I could get my hands on,” said Chris. “I was ready like crazy and it helped me align my goals and continues to help me in what I do every day as a Manager.”

Coaching Salespeople helped Chris in his transition from everyday prospecting to managing those that prospect. This book acted as a playbook on how a manager can effectively coach their reps around best practices and core competencies.

  1. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

Give and Take was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon and The New York Times. Its author, Adam Grant, is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton and also happens to be a leading researcher on success, work motivation and helping and giving behaviors.

In a truly engaging book, Grant is able to classify the world into three buckets: takers, matchers and givers. Throughout the book, Grant combines both data and anecdotes that lend to the book’s main thesis: givers achieve the most success in their careers.

  1. The Challenger Sale:Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

For anyone in sales today, The Challenger Sale is the book on sales. For many companies, managers and sales reps alike–this book is the secret sauce to not only their business, but understanding their customers.

Based on the studies conducted by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, The Challenger Sale explains that the classic relationship building approach is dated, especially when it comes to selling intricate B2B solutions.

But what’s the new solution? Read the influential book to find out!

  1.  FYI: For Your Improvement – For Learners, Managers, Mentors, and Feedback Givers by Michael Lombardo

Michael Gultz, the Lead of Inside Sales and Direct Response at Informatica leans on FYI: For Your Improvement as a framework for training methodology and sales competencies. FYI is an easy-to-use development guide and tool that features actionable tips, outlines competencies, leadership skills, assignments and suggested readings.

  1. Cracking the Sales Management Code by Jason Jordan

Cracking the Sales Management Code is the book for sales managers and executives who want greater control over sales performance. The book provides detailed best practices and is an invaluable operating manual for sales management.

So, which books are on your shelf?


One Clever SDR Outreach Email That’s Going to Get That Prospect

As an SDR, you’re one of the many people that reach out to a single prospect on any given day. So, when the entire SDR team at GuideSpark decided to employ the 5×5 Method in their prospecting tactics — they emphasized the importance of email authenticity. As a whole, the team itself, touts itself as being a lively team with a sense of humor. That culture and humor should pour into their prospecting emails.

The end goal for an SDR is to book more meetings. Writing persuasive emails is one thing. But, getting people to respond to them is another hurdle. How can you write a persuasive email, be authentic in your messaging and eventually book that meeting?

Thankfully, the SDR team over at GuideSpark is here to help.

Last week, we learned about Mike Fidler’s 5×5 Campaign efforts as an SDR at GuideSpark. This week, Dillon Katz, a fellow SDR at GuideSpark, is sharing one incredibly creative email template with us.

It was right after the holiday season and Dillon wanted to follow up with his prospects. It was also the last email in his particular 5×5 campaign. He wanted to make this email count. He wanted to make sure that this email caught the attention of this prospects.

Subject: {{First_Name}} – Last Attempt

Email body:

Hey, I haven’t heard from you and it makes me think something happened to you:

  1. You’re not interested in us
  2. You haven’t had time to get back to me
  3. You have a project in mind, but not aware of how we’re going to fit in
  4. You’ve been kidnapped and I’ll call 911 right now

That last sentence caught the attention of Dillon’s prospects. Many even replied.

Some prospect replied with “I was out of the office for the holidays” or “I was jam-packed with closing out 2014, but it’s nice to see that someone has a sense of humor.”

Through that sense of humor, Dillon was able to book a few meetings from prospects who were about to fall off the deep end.

Moral of the story: be authentic, even when prospecting.