Tout Tips: Social Selling Talk with Taylor Miller

In our newest series, we’re talking to Social Sellers and their origin story with Social Selling, how it fits into their workflow and how it benefits them. We’re calling it Tout Tips: Social Selling. Stay tuned every week for a new interview with an Account Executive, Sales Development Rep or Market Development Rep.

This week we’re talking to Taylor Miller, Account Executive at ToutApp. Follow Taylor on Twitter and Connect with her on LinkedIn.

What is your definition of Social Selling?

Social Selling is such a buzzword, but I think it puts a much-needed human touch back into Sales with technology and automation being a new investment for most sales organizations. When I look at Social Selling, I think, it’s not about selling at all. Instead, it’s about how you can provide value in someone’s life or how you can provide more thoughtful insight. More so it’s about how you can use different channels to interact directly with prospects, or offer thoughtful insight to conversations other people are a part of. Either way, it’s about building a more trusting relationship with someone either within or outside of a sale.

Your LinkedIn should reflect and exist as an extension of you and it shouldn’t be something that you’re not. Instead it should help promote your brand, it should help promote trust because when you share content, you’re validating it as something you believe in. And at the end of the day, it’s also validating you as that trusted advisor that we hope to be as salespeople.

How did you get involved in Social Selling?

Like Aoife, I started my career with Oracle in their first Oracle Sales Academy. A huge portion of the sales training was around Social Selling, led by Social Selling Evangelist Jill Rowley. She preached that the industry of sales has changed from the ‘Always Be Closing’ mantra to more of the ‘Always Be Connecting’ motto, which totally resonated with me. Essentially, there’s been a major paradigm shift in how buyers buy, and sellers sell.

Information, whether it’s valid or not, is readily accessible to anyone who’s connected to the Internet. Buyers place more trust in their peers’ opinions than anything a salesperson can tell them. Because of that, there’s now a focus on helping potential customers before they think about selling to them. This completely resonated with me because it placed more emphasis on providing value, solving a problem, or getting them closer to their goals.

When did you realize that Social Selling was right for you?

Social media is actually how I Ianded my first job at ToutApp. Daniel Barber, Director or Sales Development & Operations, posted a killer article on where he thought Sales was moving in light of technology, growth and competition. I loved it, thought my network would too, so I tweeted it out to my connections and made sure to tag Daniel. Thirty minutes later, I received a LinkedIn message from Daniel asking if I had interests in building out the sales organization at ToutApp. A week later, I landed my dream job. I have social media to thank for it, and truly believe in the power it can hold for sales success.

Do you think Social Selling is only for Salespeople because of the word “selling”?

Because the term Social Selling has the connotation of Sales in it, people think it’s just another way for a Salesperson to get in front their prospects. But I think you could look at so many jobs in different departments and apply Social Selling. For example if you’re doing Content Marketing, you’re thinking about what’s going to resonate with your audience, so in a way that’s Social Selling because you’re creating a lot of content that Sales is using on the front lines. I don’t think Social Selling is within the Sales wheelhouse anymore.

Do you have a preferred social channel?

I prefer Twitter – it’s a great way to stay up-to-date in real-time on what drives your industry, your company, your competitors and most importantly your prospects. I use Tweetdeck to monitor social media posts at all of these levels. It helps me target specific information to send out to clients, prospects, and leads, but it also helps me make smart decisions based off of specific triggers that could aid in a sale. It also keeps me up-to-date with what our competition is up to.

Has your practice of Social Selling changed as you moved from a Sales Development role to an Account Executive role?

When you’re in Sales Development, it’s all about getting in front of someone. I think Social Selling is extremely important in that role because as most SDRs are just getting out of college – it’s their first sales role. You get trained on the sales basics of sending a certain number of emails and making a certain number of cold calls. And now, thanks our space heating and we’ve got competitors, SDRs have to do more to stay relevant to their prospects. Now reps are taught to check all these different outlets like social, blog posts, etc. Those reps that are taking the time to research are going to be more successful because they’re doing a bit more and reaching out to people in a humanized way.

As an Account Executive, it’s just as important, but it’s not something that’s front loaded. Being a closer is about keeping and elevating the trust, being human. Adding value through social media is something that should come naturally in a sale and not something that you’re forcing.  It’s important for me now as an AE to look at a relationship and look at what else could be relevant to my prospects.

How do you fit Social Selling into your workflow and what kind of content is compelling to you?

It’s vital to my workflows as a Salesperson at ToutApp. I take a look at a few social channels every morning on my way to work, mainly Twitter and LinkedIn. I try to spend 30 minutes a day focused on my social identity – something I learned from Phil Gerbyshak, Director of Social Strategy at Actiance. 5 things I try to do daily on LinkedIn are:

  1. Share a status update
  2. Participate in a group discussion
  3. Send a personalized connection request
  4. Accept or respond to someone that wants to connect with you
  5. Respond to any inbox messages

How do you go about finding people you want to connect with?

For me, that’s still an area I can improve on. At a basic level, my go-to rule is that I always connect with anyone that I’ve had a conversation with over-the-phone. When I connect with people that I’ve spoken on the phone with, I want to maintain that relationship that we started on the phone. I also look at who’s viewed my LinkedIn profile and see if they were part of a conversation that I was a part of and see how we’ve crossed paths.

I’m not doing Social Selling solely to start relationships online, I’m doing it to add to a relationship that’s already been created. With Social Selling, you can get really caught up in numbers and vanity metrics such as number of views and number of likes you can get. But in Social Selling there’s a difference between quantity and quality, and it’s about putting other people first, not yourself.

You participated in a #LetsGetSelling Tweet Jam, tell me about your experience?

Kite Desk and Sales Gravy hosted a Tweet Jam and pulled together 25 Salespeople from all shapes and sizes in their Sales careers and had an hour long Twitter conversation about Sales strategies. It was a Q&A style with the question posed over Twitter and we were all constantly responding to questions and reading answers – but in that hour I learned more about the power of Twitter and how amazingly effective it is as a tool. It made me realize how many people could be following one conversation at one time. There were 25 of us actively answering, commenting and RTing and at the end of the hour the #LetsGetSelling was trending in San Francisco. I hope to see more of those Sales community experiences and I think social is going to get us there.

How has Social Selling helped in getting you ramped in your Sales career?

Since starting at ToutApp, my social selling savvy has grown thanks to Daniel and all of my peers. We’ve even had Social Selling Gurus like Koka Sexton come to our office to teach us helpful tips and tricks. It’s something that’s keeps you relevant, and it’s something I was lucky to realize within the first weeks of my sales career. Inside Sales, because we’re not going out and actively connecting with prospects, specifically allows us to connect with more people from our desks – holding screen shares, video chats, and virtual trainings. Though we’re losing that face-to-face, traditional aspect of a sale, social makes it easy to be listening to multiple conversations online, whether you’re at an event or just taking a look remotely at the #hashtags being used. Listening and responding to those that I’m working with over social media immediately gives you the sense of an advisor rather than a seller – someone truly interested in the success of someone else.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition! 

Tout Tips: Social Selling Talk with Aoife O’Leary

In our newest series, we’re talking to Social Sellers and their origin story with Social Selling, how it fits into their workflow and how it benefits them. We’re calling it Tout Tips: Social Selling. Stay tuned every week for a new interview with an Account Executive, Sales Development Rep or Market Development Rep.

This week we’re talking to Aoife O’Leary, Sales Development Representative at ToutApp. Follow Aoife on Twitter and Connect with her on LinkedIn.

What is your definition of Social Selling?
When I think of Social Selling, I think of authentic networking building during which you’re being sincere and actively building a presence that reflects who you are and what you’re interested in. Your aim shouldn’t be to sell. It’s hard to authentically build a network with an agenda – for me, social selling is about the exchange of ideas and content. Connecting someone with a product that makes sense for them is one result that can take place when people interact and exchange ideas thanks to their similar interests and involvement in overlapping spaces. These online communities are facilitating this interaction. That’s where social selling comes together authentically.

How did you get involved in Social Selling?
I started my career in the Oracle Sales Academy, general sales and specific product training for with a couple hundred recent college graduates. We had training sessions with Jill Rowley where she introduced all of us to Social Selling. During on of her sessions she talked about building our LinkedIn presence and how to add value by being descriptive in our job titles, adding videos, and personalizing our LinkedIn messages. I utilized LinkedIn during my time at Oracle but really dug into Social Selling when I joined Tout. My management team here is really active on social channels and set me up for success with building a presence – introducing me to useful tools and great sources for content. From there, we’re really able to run with it.

Do you have a preferred social channel?
Right now, I’d have to go with Twitter. I come across a lot of great content that I wouldn’t necessarily have found otherwise. Recently, with LinkedIn, I’ve noticed this trend of people feeling pressured to build up a cadence of posting and coming across peoples’ newsfeeds so frequently that I am not sure they’re reading all of the content being posted. I think that steers away from authenticity. Fortunately, I think that trend is changing now – you can see this, for example, in how tools like Buffer (a service that allows you to automate your posts) are discontinuing the “Suggested Post” feature. I think the emphasis is going back toward posting only content you’ve read, from sources you’ve verified.

When did you realize that Social Selling was right for you?
When I was applying and interviewing for companies, I was reaching out to a lot of current employees on LinkedIn, asking for informal chats to learn more about their experiences within companies I was considering working for. I began to build a network without any agenda other than exchanging information. Unexpectedly, those I was speaking with began connecting me with opportunities that I hadn’t sought out and introductions I hadn’t requested – opportunities that just made sense or seemed to be a fit based on our conversations.

This experience is essentially social selling, but rather than a product, I was connecting myself to opportunities through authentic networking. It served to solidify my belief in social selling.

When you go into things with the intention of building a network, it works. Selling socially is one of the many results that come from building your brand and connecting to people that want to exchange content and ideas.

How do you fit Social Selling into your workflow and what kind of content is compelling to you?
Being active on social channels is something that has naturally become a part of my workflow. I use tools like TweetDeck and Buffer and bookmark awesome sources for content. Tout has an awesome focus on continually improving and staying up to date on content in the sales acceleration space.

I think most people, once they get comfortable with the different channels, it will become something that’s naturally integrated into your workflow. Beyond your workflow in the office, once you’re following sources and thought leaders that you’re interested in, you’re going to start checking your Twitter feed when you have a spare moment in your free time. You’ll bookmark your favorite sources and have more and more valuable content cross your feeds once your network continually expands. It’s cyclical and will build on each other.

Any advice for people who are just getting started?
Just like starting anything, you’ll need to acclimate yourself. Sometimes you’re afraid to take the first step, but once you start getting deep into your space, you’ll get more comfortable. A way to comfortably approach social selling, at first, will be to dig into the content others are sharing that you find value in – take note of their sources, reshare their content and build a repository of reputable blogs, thought leaders and knowledge banks.

Once you have a few solid sources, like blogs, news sites or thought leaders, you’ll feel more comfortable sharing information. After a while, you’ll get an eye for what actually has value and what makes sense and then you’ll feel more confident in sharing content. But I think that comes with time. It’s really about having the first few sources that you can rely on and diving in.


Stay tuned for next week’s edition! 

Tout Tips: Social Selling Talk with Dan Smith

In our newest series, we’re talking to Social Sellers and their origin story with Social Selling, how it fits into their workflow and how it benefits them. We’re calling it Tout Tips: Social Selling. Stay tuned every week for a new interview with an Account Executive, Sales Development Rep or Market Development Rep. 

Read our first talk with Dan Smith, Account Executive. Follow Dan on Twitter and Connect with him on LinkedIn.

What is your definition of Social Selling?

I define Social Selling as a way to have a better conversation based on what I know about what a prospect cares about. Social channels like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook allow me to see different facets of their life and understand what’s valuable to them. I think the problem with Social Selling is that it’s easily abused by people who don’t focus first on building strong relationships or they think this is another way to get in front of their prospects and start stalking their prey instead of actually creating a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

How did you get involved in Social Selling?

I got into Social Selling through Koka Sexton. I liked what he was doing and he came into ToutApp for a training. At the time I was brand new to Twitter and knew that people were using it – but I didn’t know how to get started with it on a professional level. Koka described the types of conversations that you can have through Social Selling as being unique that you can’t get on any other medium. I was intrigued.

I tried Social Selling on Twitter and started following people who wrote interesting articles that I cared about, and so that was my early taste for Social Selling. With that early taste I realized that Social Selling isn’t about adding noise or reading a lot of content, but it’s about starting a conversation and interacting on a different medium other than phone or email.

Usually all relationships start off with a cold outreach, but a good way to start a conversation is to show interest with that person and Twitter gave me a great way to start that conversation. It gave me another way to touch base with someone. You can see who people are based on what they post, what they care about and what they comment on. And so having conversations directly about what they care about is a powerful way to build great relationships.

Do you have a preferred social channel?

LinkedIn is my preferred channel. I sell to sales people and I think there’s more valuable content on LinkedIn because people display themselves in more professional way and you can see what they care about very easily. If someone is strong on LinkedIn they’ll have a summary page, videos about themselves and projects they’ve worked on. I can now do better research on the company and person while knowing a bit more about where their focus lies.

There’s a stronger engagement rate on LinkedIn than on Twitter. Unfortunately InMails are becoming more like Twitter DMs and it has become so over automated by so many people, they usually get instantly deleted or declined.

LinkedIn is also a fantastic place for individuals to start their own blog. Some of my posts have kicked off some of my strongest professional relationships, started conversations in companies or people I’ve never heard of, and allowed both my personal brand and the company I represent to flourish.

When did you realize that Social Selling was right for you?

I think the moment that I realized Social Selling was really successful was when I tried something new to win a deal. I went to video to try and re-engage with a lost customer. It was an interesting learning experience that’s a bit outside of Social Selling because it was a different 1-to-1 touch point. But the part that is aligned with Social Selling is when I wrote a blog post and explained how I went about creating it, the philosophy around it, what happened and how other people can learn from it. For me, the goal of the blog was to start conversations and it ended up being a really powerful conversation starter and it inspired other Salespeople that I didn’t have a relationship with directly.

It’s a huge step to go from curation to creation. There’s no way to harness it, you put it out there, people talk about it and learn about it if it’s helpful. When the content is helpful and you start adding value, it starts unique conversations that helps grow your brand and your company’s brand. When someone has a question – they’ll remember that blog post and they’ll come back to you.

That is what’s powerful about Social Selling.

How do you fit Social Selling into your workflow and what kind of content is compelling to you?

I have emphasized Social Selling in my daily routine. I spend about 5-10 minutes specifically on Twitter and 20-30 minutes throughout the day on LinkedIn. The morning is about getting interesting articles, seeing if my connections have posted a blog post and checking out what people are talking about. Then periodically throughout the day I’ll go back and read through LinkedIn.

When I do find interesting articles, I use an social automation tool called Buffer and space out my posts so people can find value throughout the day. I constantly post about things that I’m passionate about, which are sales related, email related, best practices in Sales and time management.

I balance my articles between 90% business and 10% personal so people know that I’m a real person.

But it’s still all related to this brand that I’m building because I want to be consistent both on how I’m displaying myself and what it would be like if we had a real conversation. I want people to know what the conversation would be like before they talk to me. It’s important to be authentic when you’re doing Social Selling.

Are there etiquette rules involved since not all Social platforms were created equal?

Absolutely and that was the scary part about getting into Twitter for the first time. I knew LinkedIn and used it for job hunting. Twitter is very interesting and I don’t think you should follow all your prospects. I think that if they tweet specific things that are interesting to you, you can follow them. But I don’t think you should follow them just so you can have another way to DM them because they’re not picking up your phone calls or responding to your emails.

But, if you genuinely start a conversation based on what they wrote about, then that’s fine. I don’t think you add someone on LinkedIn and your first message to them is trying to sell them. That’s poor form. For LinkedIn, the only time you should ask for a connection is when you feel that there’s a strong connection there. It’s like a first date, you don’t want to get married on the first date, you want to figure out who they are, what they care about and if there’s a strong fit.

Like any tool, it’s important to learn how to use it and not just get the basics and run with it. There are rules and a right way to do something, and I think people should try and be willing to try it out, be uncomfortable and possibly fail. But it’s dangerous to do something that would impact your personal brand negatively. You have to care about what you post and share as it will impact how the world will see you. And if you don’t take that seriously, you’re just going to create noise when Social Selling is all about creating value and bringing something to the table with your perspective.



What Teaching Yoga Taught Me About Sales

I’ve been teaching yoga for the past 3 years and have been slinging sales software for almost a year now. The two have more similarities than you might think.

Every class (and sale) needs something different

As far as yoga classes go, I never know what I’m going to get. Students vary in experience, excitement, and what they hope to achieve. Going in with a single talk track and set of cues leaves many students lost or ignored.

I’ve learned to constantly check on how students react and progress (and yes, check on the 100 degree room as well so I don’t completely cook people).

Same thing goes for sales: one set message doesn’t work for everyone. The best salespeople personalize, listen, and adjust at every stage of the sales cycle. You don’t need to rely on a script, nor will you even be very successful with one.

The uncomfortable stuff is probably what you need most

Tight hamstrings are usually not big fans of forward folds and wobbly ankles get frustrated real quick with balancing postures. Something feels difficult because it comes unnaturally or is a weaker area of your body. The most uncomfortable postures are the biggest opportunities for growth, and actually the most enjoyable to work on because you can so quickly see improvement.

Asking the tough questions? Well yeah, they’re tough for a reason. It’s definitely not in my nature to get into the nitty-gritty off the bat or come back swinging when hit with a difficult objection – I’m the kind of gal who wants to be buds with all my prospects and avoids the awkward moments at all costs.

Yet you definitely need to be able to handle objections and get to a yes or no as quickly as possible to be successful in sales. So practice the tough stuff over and over. As my favorite yoga instructor always says,

“You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Comfort zones are great, but nothing grows there.”

Be your most authentic self

I remember thinking that I’d be a good instructor if I used a ‘yoga voice’, something slow, soothing, calm, a replica of the quintessential yoga teacher you imagine couldn’t possible get stressed or flustered. When I tried, I sounded bored, awkward, and like I’d rather be doing just about anything else.

I get the best feedback when I’m truest to my personality: goofy, enthusiastic, and outgoing. I pump the jams, laugh whenever possible, joke around, and keep it upbeat. I realized I didn’t need to be anyone other than my truest self and that was when I really hit my stride as an instructor.

Delivering an authentic sales pitch comes in a very similar way. Mimicking my colleagues verbatim didn’t work for me because it didn’t showcase my personal flavor and eccentricities. There’s no one way to sell or connect with others – but what I can tell you is that being yourself is going to work better than just about anything else.

I may not be a pro at teaching yoga, and I am definitely not a pro at selling. But keeping it authentic and pushing myself past limitations make it a fun adventure. I love the everyday challenge of honing my sales skills and trying to be a better yoga instructor every time I step into the studio.

So hey – maybe the next down dog you do will inspire a kick-ass pitch, at the very least make you a little more creative and authentic as you hop on your next call.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn. You can Connect with Belinda here or follow her on Twitter @belindakraemer.

ICP + TAM = A Sales Qualified Lead Machine

In the modern world of Sales Development, high quality and high velocity Sales Qualified Leads reign supreme. We find ourselves in a new era of Outbound. Sales Development teams are transforming from Clark Kent’s (suits in a phone booth) to Iron Man’s (suits full of high-tech accessories).

Never before in the history of sales have we really had this big of an advantage.

But listen, it’s not just because the technology is being built for us. Or because data is cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Or because there’s a whole new level of transparency to it. Or because we have unique ways, like social media, to get in front of buyers. No. All of that is awesome, but without knowledge and know-how, it’s just clutter and spam.

So that leads me to the focus of today’s knowledge bomb which is: qualifying leads.

Here are the four most important tactics to build a sales qualified lead (SQL) machine:

  1. Find your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  2. Define your Total Addressable Market (TAM)
  3. Enrich your customers
  4. Meet your future customers

Now let me tell you about the traditional, 1.0 way people qualified leads in the past.

Step 1 – Buy a list (non-exclusive, so a ton of other people are calling it) and likely unqualified other than the fact that they are a business.

Step 2 – Call these people. One by one. Maybe email them a canned message. Both basically spam.

Step 3 – IF you get a hold of someone, ask for more of their time. (Usually in a call/second call, which they’ll likely duck because they just wanted to get off the phone with you the first time and felt uncomfortable saying no).

Step 4 – You call over and over. Maybe send a few emails.

Step 5 – Realize you’ve wasted a ton of time and move on.

Now if you’re 2.0, maybe you’ve done this and added some automated emails and social media in there. But you’re still missing the big picture. Because whether you buy, build, or pull a pretty little list out of your…office drawer, without defining you ICP and your TAM correctly, you’ll just waste time; and time is the most valuable resource for a salesperson.

So why are you here? You’re here because you don’t have a true grasp on your customer profile, and you don’t know who the best people to contact are. This leads us to two very important concepts.

  1. ICP – aka your Ideal Customer Profile
  2. TAM – aka your Total Addressable Market

Here’s how you can use your ICP and your TAM to build leads lists that are pre-qualified, saving you tons of time on those pesky qualification call questions that will likely result in a disgruntled and disengaged prospect.

Finding Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The ICP is broken into two parts: Company and Job Title. This can be broken out even further as you get more advanced for Company Size or Industry.

For example, your target buyer at a 200-person company is the VP of Marketing, but at a 2000-person company, it’s the Digital Marketing Manager. As organizations grow, they hire out for more focused roles.

The better you can target and more granular you can get with your ICP, the more successful your Outbound Campaigns will be.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to identify your Ideal Customer Profile:

What products are my customers using that I compete with, complement, or that might translate to interest in my product?

  • E.g., if you have a Mailchimp-style service, you want to speak to Mailchimp customers.
  • E.g., if potential customers are running Facebook Ads, they might also be interested in Ad Optimization or Analytics software.

Where are these people living on the web?

  • E.g., someone interested in your e-commerce service might have a store hosted on Shopify or built with Magento because these services are built to host online vendors.
  • E.g., if you want to find people to create video courses online, go find people who have already created content on the subject in written or audio form and are selling it on Amazon. Then convince them to try video content.

What do I consider my low-hanging fruit?

  • These are the people already doing what you want them to do, just somewhere else.
  • E.g., An individual who is buying or selling a service on Craigslist that your company provides. It’s easier to get the person to use you over Craigslist than to create a new buyer/seller from scratch. Pinterest has emerged as another way to source potential customers that are already playing ball.
  • E.g., you’re going after their budget focused on ad spend and you see that a potential buyer has a testimonial on a competing company’s website. You know they have budget and are already spending it somewhere else. Time to go get your slice or even the whole pie!

What can I decipher from my previous closed deals that I can use in new ones?

  • You keep closing deals with companies, so take a moment to ask yourself, what do these companies have in common and how can I apply this when speaking to companies with the same common variables?

Once you’ve figured this out, you’ll want to build massive lists of these companies.

Here are some good places to look to start building lists of your ICPs:

  • LinkedIn and Facebook groups
  • Meetups
  • Industry conference websites
  • Trade association forums and directories
  • Job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Public Legal Filings
  • CrunchBase
  • AngelList
  • Glassdoor
  • Yelp
  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Any company database or marketplace

There are plenty of databases out there for you to use to inquire about these companies and find even more information! Things to look for might include:

  • Amount of money raised to date (for startups)
  • Timing of last round raised (for startups)
  • Employee head count
  • New employees recently added
  • Job titles and new titles added
  • Company headquarters
  • PR announcements, such as product, funding, key hires, or partnerships
  • Legal filings

For more actionable insights to build your Ideal Customer Profile, check out the book  Hacking Sales.

Now What?

Sounds cool, huh? But we’re not at the finish line yet. Use your ICP to build targeted lists that you know will convert because you know it’s the right person, at the right company, that almost certainly has budget at that moment. Once you have a clear sense of your ICP, it’s time to work out how to define your total universe of potential accounts.

Defining Your Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Enrich your Customers

Your customers chose to partner with you for a reason. Tapping into the commonalities across your customer base will leverage enormous value and build a more complete picture of your customer.

Once you understand the profile of your customer, you can determine how deep the market is for companies with a similar background. Moreover, taking a step back and looking at the customer base will inform you of outlying trends that could support a move into a new industry or market segment.

Map your customer base, using a tiered data framework:

Tier 1: Sales Cycle, Average Contract Value (ACV), Win Rate

The goal of this tier is to understand the sales velocity (i.e. the number of opportunities multiplied by the ACV multiplied by the win rate divided by the sales cycle) of your customer base.

  • These data points will form the basic foundation and expose any outliers in the customer data
  • Invest time to validate your data integrity

Tier 2: Industry (and Vertical), Employee Size, Growth Score, Location, and Technology Stack

The goal of this tier is adding an additional layer of firmographic data that will form the basis for your size and scope analysis.

  • There are a number of large data sources to validate Industry, Vertical, Employee Size, Growth Score, and Location including: Mattermark, FactSet, and Hoovers. When evaluating your potential database partner, the following criteria will help to guide the choice:
    • Matching percentage (i.e. number of your customers that are present in their list)
    • Number of additional data (commonalities) points
    • Data integrity – check third party sources to validate
  • Industry and Vertical are interdependent (and often confused). An example of the relationship (Box is in the Cloud Storage vertical within the Technology Industry)
  • If your customers have adopted a set of technologies, surfacing this data at scale will provide an additional proxy. For the Technology Stack, there are several sources to capture this data:Datanyze, Ghostery Enterprise, BuiltWith, and SimilarWeb. Using these providers you can determine if your customers are using Website Analytics,  Marketing Automation, PPC advertising, A/B Testing, etc.

Tier 3: Company specific data

  • Using freelancers (Upwork, CrowdFlower, etc.) you can add valuable data from competitors websites, the AppExchange, or any website. If you have a hypothesis that you’d like to test (e.g. your buyer is a VP of Marketing), you can have the freelancers do a pass against your customer list via LinkedIn.
  • The scope of this collection is broad, so identify a few hypotheses and you can validate them from your Tier 1 data points

Meet Your Future Customers

Once you’ve collected extensive data on your existing customers, it’s time to flip the magnifying glass onto your future customers. Assuming you invested in one of the databases mentioned earlier, this process will be fairly straightforward.

This next set of steps will draw on your customer list and extrapolate the data across the dataset of your database partner.
Step 1: Map your customer data<

  1. Using Excel, create a datasheet for each Tier
  2. Form a consistent list of your customers across each sheet
  3. Cluster (and sort) the companies with high concentration across each variable – specifically those that perform well across the Tier 1 data points

Step 2: Identify the Early Adopters and Mainstream (see Crossing the Chasm)
Place your customers into two buckets:

  1. High number of variables and high performing characteristics from Tier 1
    1. This list will surface companies that are early adopters and have a faster than average sales velocity
  2. Outside your (assumed) ICP but possess high performing characteristics from Tier 1
    1. This list will provide companies that have a faster than average sales velocity, however may not be in your present ICP.

Step 3: Validate the size and scope

  1. Based on your two customer sets, use the confirmed variables to export companies from the largest database available for your given Industry and set of Verticals
  2. Separate the two distinct buckets (from Step 2) to ensure you can test performance

Make It Actionable

Now you’ve collected all this data – what do you do with it? Empower the Sales team with the same insight you’ve collected.

Step 1: Confirm the variables
When you check the weather, are you interested in the barometric pressure? Probably not, so applying the same logic for the fields you expose. The goal in this step is to understand the optimal information that can be effectively positioned to personalize their outreach.

  1. Take a holistic approach to how the team can use this data
    1. Industry/Vertical will align future customers (see Geoffrey Moore: bowling pin strategy)
    2. Geographical concentration adds degrees of separation and can be valuable for marketing events
    3. Technology providers will allow easy dynamic fields within emails
    4. Competitive takeaways will give great talking points
  1. Limit the variables to 4-5 (to avoid paralysis by analysis)
  2. Choose your filters (for the Dashboard) so that you have overarching segmentation

Step 2: Create custom fields within the CRM
Add a collection of custom fields and be particular about how you present the data (i.e. on the Account record and/or Contact record). This will involve using a feedback loop with the Sales team around what they would find valuable – specific to the sales process.

Step 3: Mapping the fields to reports in Salesforce
In this section, you want to think about the optimal method for presenting the data so that 1) the Sales team can quickly interpret the chart and 2) you are telling a story with each data point.

My advice for this section is use a combination of different charts, and leverage feedback from the Sales team on how they interpret each report. The longer it takes for individuals to understand the context of the report, the less valuable the report.

Refine & Optimize the Entire Process

Finding your ICP will ensure you’re having the right conversations. Defining your TAM will uncover the breadth and depth of your market. The two exercises are not designed to be set-and-forget. As your customer evolves and you test your outliers, you’ll need to tweak and adjust the model.

In order to create and maintain this process you should have a qualitative feedback loop from your Customer Success/Account Management team; and a quantitative feedback loop to continually improve the ICP and TAM.

This post was originally published on Mattermark’s blog. Mattermark launched in 2013 as a data platform for venture capital companies to quantify signals of growing startups. 

Max Altschuler is CEO of Sales Hacker, an organization dedicated to helping B2B companies and sales reps build modern sales processes that generate more revenue. 

5 Custom Sales Beat Updates You Can Share With Your Team

What Is Sales Beat?

In our last post we talked about Why Your Sales Team Should Use Sales Beat and gave you 10 creative ways to use it within your team. Now, we’re adding to that list.

Sales Beat transforms your Sales team into a streamlined and connected team that thrives on collaboration. With the Custom Update card, it’s your opportunity to make Sales Beat the true nerve center of your team.

Here are 5 custom Sales Beat updates that you can share with your team:

1. Give a Shout-Out



People love shout-outs. It’s a positive public acknowledgement of respect and good work. In Sales Beat, you can give multiple kinds of shout-outs. You can spotlight a top performing rep who’s crushing their deals or boost team spirit at the end of the month.

2. FYI


Your company has just hired a new Sales Development Representative – congrats! Use a Custom Update card on Sales Beat to announce the new hire to your entire Sales team and get them excited about their new colleague.

3. Marketing Announcement


As Marketers, you’ve worked hard on a brand new Case Study, now it’s time to share it with your Sales team. (More on Sales and Marketing alignment here). In Sales Beat, you can seamlessly slip in new marketing collateral right into your Sales team’s workflow.

4. Share Relevant Articles


Your team shares a lot of articles, whether through email or group chat. Until now there hasn’t been a centralized place to share articles and learn about closed deals in one feed. In Sales Beat, you can do just that. Now you can inform your entire team with the latest and most relevant articles straight into their workflow.

5. Ask a Question


Sales isn’t just about asking customers and prospects the right questions, it’s also about asking your colleagues for the right answers. In Sales Beat, you can do just that. Need to ask Marketing a question or need help with a deal? Ask on Sales Beat.


How does your team use the Custom Update card? Let us know in the comments section below. For more information on how to get your team on Sales Beat, watch this video and contact our Sales team.

How to write 5 kick ass emails too irresistible to delete

Of the 200 emails decision makers get per day – how many does she delete before reading more than the subject + teaser? Here’s how you, as a sales rockstar, rise above the noise to have your emails read.

If you want busy people to pay attention and ultimately pay you $$$, keep reading.

Keep it short – real short

No one has time to read your novella email. Heck – only 62% of you read past the headline of this article.

Here’s the problem

I’ve seen a lot of new sales reps blast out really long emails. That’s not what sales is about. Sales is about being personal, building relationships through education and helping solving your customer’s problems.

Keep it short and sweet. Most emails are read on mobile. If your customer has to swipe up, or sees a big block of text – it’s not getting read. If nothing else – split that 6 paragraph email into 6 separate emails focusing on 1 key benefit in each.

The Best Subject Line

Write for your customer, not for your product features. Start your subject line with “Your…” or their first name to see an immediate 20% improvement on open rates. Measure it.

But here’s the secret.

Being persistent is better than the best subject line. When leveraged the right way, persistent follow up is the easiest change you can make to earn more meetings and close deals. And it’s barely any extra work. (We cover this at the end.)

It takes 5-12 touch points to make contact with 80% of your business – most stop after 3 or 4. – James Oldroyd

Remember you’re reaching out to a real human. Keep it specific to their role/location/challenges. Volume isn’t a sales strategy – the goal is to be valuable.

Pique their curiosity and they’ll begin to remember you in a positive light and want to speak to you.

Keep it personal: The 10-80-10 rule

This is it: the 10-80-10 rule. First, use a template but keep your sales rockstar creativity to spice it up. 80% of your email is already written, 2 minutes saved per email – boom.

Ready for your conversion rate to go platinum?

Personalize the first and last 10% of your email. This is where the n00bs get left behind.

If your customer is going to invest 15-20 seconds reading your email, make sure they know you took time to learn about them and what they care about.

(Picture credit Stuart Szerwo

Be Valuable

You know what the customer thinks about 20 times a day? Themselves. Do you think they have 15 minutes to talk to a sales person? Hell no.

But they do have plenty of time to speak with an expert who will help them.

Your job isn’t to lead the ‘horse’ to water. Your job as a sales professional is to make them thirsty. – Tom Freese

Help them solve a problem and educate them about potential solutions – that’s what you’re good at, and that’s what they need you for.

Create templates that are specific for each type of persona you’re reaching out to. Are you selling SDN solutions to an IT Director? Their challenges are different than a CIO, or a VP of Sales.

If you blanket them with the same message, you’re doing it wrong. Show that you value their time and keep it specific to how their life will be better after an email from you.

Here’s How – Sales Drip Campaigns

For your initial outreach to lower tier prospects, link together a few emails to go out automatically. You hyper-personalize the first one, and the customer will now get automated follow ups specific to what they care about.

5×5 Method

Set up a targeted sales drip campaign. DO NOT SEND THE SAME EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR PROSPECTS. Specialize your outreach based on your customer’s persona (i.e. VP, Director or C-level). Keep your emails short with a strong call-to-action.

Here’s an overview on how to frame your 5×5 emails:

  1. Introduction: Send a couple lines to your prospect to introduce yourself and how she will benefit from what your company does. Remember, customers buy benefits not features. 
  2. Provide Value: Share a piece of content that educates your customer and makes her better at her job.
  3. Offer Help: Because you know her persona, ask the prospect what her goals are in relation to the top 3 benefits you’ve helped people like her accomplish. Share 1 more piece of valuable content.
  4. Engage for Feedback – ask about the content you sent over – was it helpful? You’ve now established yourself with some credibility.
  5. The Ask: You’ve earned it after providing a bit of value. Do you have 15 minutes for a call next Tuesday afternoon?

Depending on how qualified the prospect is, vary the number of days between each email – a good rule of thumb is 5 emails over two weeks sprinkled with phone calls and social engagement.

Sales is a process. Rock it.


Example: Introduction email


Subject: Jill, your improved sales workflow

Body: Hi Jill,

Congrats on the recent round of Series C funding! I was prompted to reach out as I work with 15+ VP of Sales like you every week as they plan to scale their team.

In a nutshell, {{my_company}} helps sales teams gain visibility into what’s working without throwing a wrench into their workflow.

Are you free for a 15 minute phone call next Tuesday afternoon? I’d like to discuss how we help other great Bay Area companies like Acme, Dunder Mifflin and Gotham Enterprises collaborate to share best practices to crush their sales goals.



Did I miss anything? Any success stories? Leave a message below.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Add Dan to your network here and follow him @JustDanSmith.

Why Your Sales Team Should Use Sales Beat

What’s Sales Beat?

It’s the nerve center for the modern, collaborative sales team that gives you real-time insights on what’s going on across your sales floor. Reps will know what messaging works and managers are better informed to coach their team with the advice they need to close every deal.

There are ten pre-existing cards that your team can deploy on Sales Beat. Here are 10 ways to get creative with those cards:

1. Deal Alert: Get Your Team Excited About the Future


Congrats, you closed a deal and rang the gong! As a sales rep, this is a huge win for you. For a manager, the Deal Alert card is the opportunity to track the future of your company’s sales with revenue and deal size metrics while adding a competitive motivator amongst your sales team.

Think about it – if you close a deal today for $5,000 and that company grows within the next three months, that deal could double – if you play your cards right that means more $$ for your company.

2. Top Reps Across Your Team: Ramp Reps Faster


You’re a new hire, it’s your first sales job and you want to get to know your new company. Where do you start? Well, start looking at the Top Reps Across Your Team card and talk to those reps about best practices. Those top reps are doing it right. And you’re hungry to get to the top – so put time on their calendars and get on that leaderboard now.

3. Top Templates Across Your Team: Get Behind the Scenes


Sales reps everywhere want to know the secret sauce that makes an email irresistible to a prospect. With the Top Templates Across Your Team card, you can get a behind the scenes look on what’s working for your peers, improve your writing and ultimately climb up the leaderboard.

4. Deal Alert: Prep for a Call


A fellow sales rep just closed a deal, don’t simply congratulate them on their win – learn from their win. Analyze and use the information provided on the Deal Alert cards to prep for an upcoming call. If you’ve got a similar company in your pipeline, use this Deal Alert as ammo and leverage for similar deals.

Example talk track: “Your competitor just bought our product and said they’re going to use it to ramp the 10 new reps they hired last week.”

5. Most Used Team Template: Have Some Fun


Sales Managers want to keep a pulse on what’s happening within their sales team. Instead of guessing what’s going on, look at the data provided on the Most Used Team Template and learn what’s popular and working for your team. Take that information and coach them along and provide actionable next steps.

6. Your Top Performing Template: Boost Your Productivity


Stop copying and pasting your emails. Instead, save two minutes per email and use a template. Keep a lookout for the Your Top Performing Template card to amplify your productivity throughout the day.

7. Top Reps Across Your Team: Eye on the Competition


Sales reps are naturally competitive. They want to get ahead on their deals and climb up the leaderboard. Great sales reps will have their eyes glued to the Top Reps Across Your Team card to see who’s moving through the ranks and where they land.

Make a game of it – send more emails, improve your messaging and stay hungry for the top of the leaderboard.

8. New Template Shared With You: Help Others in Their Day-to-Day


Even if sales reps are competitive, some still want to help their peers out. Winning sales teams however will share their most creative emails to see what works.

9. Your Top Performing Email: Get Insightful Research


You already use Tout’s tracking, templates and analytics in your sales process. With the Your Top Performing Email card, get all the research and information you need (because this card is all about you). Get hyper-personalized and real-time insights on how this particular email is your secret weapon and know exactly when to use it next.

10. New Shared Group: Be Strategic


Here’s the use case: a sales rep closes an upsell deal and shares a new email group to that company’s Customer Success Manager to facilitate the onboarding process. Cross-team collaboration for the win.


Have an even more creative way to use Sales Beat? Add yours in the comments below. And for more information on how to get your team on Sales Beat, contact Sales or watch this video:

Increase Revenue by 20% with Sales & Marketing Alignment

Did you know that when Sales and Marketing teams work together, they can experience a 20% growth in revenue? And yet, Sales and Marketing teams are still working in silos, in separate offices, with different tools and no clear line of communication. Instead of being frustrated with one another, organizations need to take the necessary steps to drive alignment between the two teams.

Sales and Marketing need to take a page from each other’s book and work together now. We’ve written a six-part series that gives you actionable steps to solve for alignment. So, in case you missed it, here’s everything you need to know about Sales and Marketing alignment:

1. How Sales and Marketing Can Work Together with Content

B2B companies are investing 28% of their total marketing budget on Content Marketing and 55% said they’d increase their spending on Content Marketing within the next 12 months. And yet, a majority of that marketing content created collects dust. For an industry that’s shifting towards using content, that’s an alarming statistic.

In the article titled 80% of Marketing Content Created Goes Unused by Sales, both Sales and Marketing will learn the following:

  1. How to have a cross-team meeting with an pre-planned agenda
  2. How to collaborate and actually work together
  3. How to organize and test shared content

2. How to Get Visibility Into Your Sales Team

Today’s leading marketers are realizing the treasure trove that is sales data and are beginning to use that data to inform their content creation. Instead of content that only caters to the marketing funnel, smart marketers are now driving content that reduces friction points within the sales funnel and aids sales.

If you’re a frustrated marketer and want to get visibility into your sales team or a frustrated sales rep who can’t work with Marketing, you’ll want to follow all the steps outlined in How to Get Visibility Into Your Sales Team.

3. Top Three Metrics Sales and Marketing Should Track Together and Why

Sales and Marketing keep track on a lot of numbers. But, based on our research, we’ve uncovered that out of all the metrics – there are only three metrics that Sales and Marketing must track together. In this article, we’ll talk through these three metrics and articulate how they can drive important conversations, result in alignment and positively impact revenue.

For a sneak peek, here are the three metrics:

  1. Revenue per Lead
  2. Conversion by stage in funnel
  3. Usage of marketing content in the sales process

Read the in-depth post on the three metrics that matter the most.

4. Salespeople Are Becoming Mini-Marketers

The sales world is changing. As sales is moving towards being more consultative and customer-focused, sales reps must adopt new strategies that blend their sales know-how with marketing savviness. Today’s top performing sales rep is a hybrid between Sales and Marketing and leading sales organizations are priming their sales reps to become mini-marketers.

In Salespeople Are Becoming Mini-Marketers, you’ll learn all the key strategies to ramp up your reps in no time.

5. Using Engagement Data to Gauge Effectiveness

Alignment between Sales and Marketing is about taking action and for both teams that involves looking at engagement data. Salespeople don’t have time to write emails, they’re focused on building relationships and closing deals. Now that Marketing has learned how to get visibility into their Sales team, Marketing needs to take action and write email templates for Sales.

But that’s not all, in the article How to Effectively Use Engagement Data to Accelerate Your Sales Process, you’ll know what to do with those email templates and how to incentivize Sales to use them.

6. Don’t Send Emails on Behalf of Sales

Email templates are an entirely different beast than sending an email on behalf of sales. Here’s the new rule of thumb: Sales, don’t let Marketing send an email on your behalf. No one wants a sales email that’s disguised as a marketing email. It’s a disservice to the entire sales process.

Instead, in the article Don’t Send Emails on Behalf of Sales, you’ll learn what to do and what not to do to avoid any email snafus.

Parting Thoughts

Armed with the right content, data, statistics and actionable steps to drive alignment between Sales and Marketing – it’s up to you and your organization to implement new processes sooner rather than later. So, if you want alignment – follow these steps and take action now.

How to Effectively Use Engagement Data to Accelerate Your Sales Process

In our previous articles, we’ve articulated how marketers can get visibility into their sales team and define which metrics the two teams must track together. Now let’s dive deeper into how to drive real-time alignment and make it truly effortless.

Sales and Marketing need to have a comprehensive understanding of the engagement data that’s driving deals forward.

Here’s the sales engagement data that you need to look at and how to get that data:

Package Content for Easy Access for Sales

Salespeople don’t have time to write emails, they’re focused on closing deals. Marketers are frustrated because they don’t have insight into which pieces of content sales is using and if they are using the right messaging.

Here’s the solution: marketers need to package up content as an email template to incentivize sales to use it.

Marketers need to keep a pulse on what’s happening on the sales floor. If a prospect requires multiple touches of nurturing during their sales process, Marketing needs to arm Sales with the right content (more on the types of content to generate here) to educate prospects. Having an arsenal of case studies, product one pagers and industry research studies packaged into an email template is indispensable.

Sales and Marketing need to have access to consistent messaging, data-backed engaging content and real-time insights into what types of content your sales team is using across the team.

Contextualize and Track Email Templates

If Sales and Marketing truly want alignment, Marketing cannot just write an email template, send it to sales and simply walk away. Marketers need to put context around their content and email templates, so their content doesn’t end up adding to the 80% statistic.

To truly arm sales with great email templates, Marketing needs to make it extremely explicit on when and why Sales needs to use an email template that they’ve created. Before sending out a packaged email template to Sales, Marketing needs to contextualize the email and simply say this email template is for this part in the sales process for this industry, role, etc.

This segmentation will then facilitate usage by the sales team because they can take immediately deploy the said email template to their appropriate prospects.

Then, for every email template that’s written for Sales, Marketing needs track the usage and engagement data attached to each email and discern its success rate. Additionally, Sales and Marketing can A/B test templates side-by-side to see what messaging works best.

This engagement data and template data then becomes a shared metric that resonates with both Sales and Marketing. Both teams will know what works, how the numbers prove that it works, how many deals were closed by using this specific email template and the timeframe it took to close a deal.

Parting Thoughts

Taking what we’ve learned in the previous sections of this article, Marketing will get a better understanding of the sales process and will know how to concentrate their resources in building a refined, agile and fully-packaged content library for each stage in the sales funnel. For Sales, they’ll have to resources they need to have a more streamlined and hyper focused sales process and are overall better equipped to do their job.

While sales engagement data is instantly actionable, there are also long-term metrics that Sales and Marketing must track together. In a previous post, we’ve narrowed down the list of metrics to the top three that directly impact your company’s bottom line.

For further insight on how to drive alignment between Sales and Marketing, read more about how salespeople are becoming mini-marketers.