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7 Ways to Sell like a Human

An Enterprise Sales Executive, a Strategic Sales Rep, an SDR, AE, MDR, BDR, ZBR, AMR, VP, Happiness Officer, I could be all things.. but really, I’m just Jen.

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently, is that it doesn’t matter what you have as your Linkedin headline, or what your email signature says. At the end of the day, you are essentially just you, and no title can really change that. At the end of the day, we are all only human.

What do I mean by this? Being genuine (and more importantly, sounding genuine) is key to being a successful seller. I think the following quote sums this up perfectly:

“In sales, you are never selling an object or something tangible. What you are really selling at the end of the day is: Opportunity. Confidence, Conviction and Charisma just allow you to take that opportunity and turn it into art.” –Gurbaksh Chahal

So how do we get there?

I’m certainly no pro, but over the past couple years I’ve learned the most important part of selling today is being real with people. I’ve found that conviction will persevere, and your charisma will allow you to take that opportunity and truly turn it into an art.

“The most successful salespeople today are not the Type-A ‘meat eaters’, they’re not the ones that can ‘sell anything, close anything, don’t give a damn.’ Salespeople today could quite frankly be you, the person that hasn’t sold a day in your life, but you are a real person, an intelligent person, a humble person, a self-reflective person, a person that can communicate, a person that believes in delivering value, in solving problems, in being the best that you can be. YOU can be a salesperson.”  -Tawheed Kader

Sell like a Human. Here’s how:

1. Sell with confidence.

You need to sell with conviction. IT IS KEY.  It helps when you believe in what you are selling. Even better, eat the dogfood and practice what you preach. Focus on what you know and support it. Focus on more than communicating, focus on them. Be assertive.

2. Sell with humor.

Dude, you gotta have a sense of humor in sales; without it… all is lost. I’m a huge believer in making people crack a smile or laugh. Sales is high stress, and fast pace, so when you throw humor into the mix at the right time, it can calm that tension. Humor can bring ease into the conversation and help potential customers open up and share insights around their wants, needs, and company. Don’t be afraid to be funny!

3. Selling is solving problems.

“The best salespeople are professional problem solvers.” Stephan Schiffman.

The true beauty of sales is overcoming those massive challenges. I’ll never forget the first deal I ever lost– I was devastated. It wasn’t until TK our CEO told me “Jen, this is not a failure. It’s a learning experience. In the end, it’s only a deal. Not the end of the world. Reflect on the good, the bad, and move on.”

4. Selling is showing you genuinely care.

“Honestly, what’s more human than actually giving a damn about their life, their career, their company. Better yet, stop calling them prospects and start calling them “customer advocates.” — Great insight from the unstoppable Jill Rowley.

5. Selling is being a social.

Hear and communicate effectively with all customers and potential customers (aka customer advocates) on ALL social channels. Make sure you’re leveraging different tools in the proces like (these are my must-haves):

  • Salesforce
  • Gagin
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • ToutApp
  • DocuSign

Always be learning. Attend sales meet ups, webinars, and listen in to sales podcasts.

Follow sales leaders, here is a place to start: John Barrows, Koka Sexton, Jill Rowley, Matt Heinz and Scott Britton.

6. Educate and inspire.

Selling is educating and inspiring your customers. Make sure you’re doing the 5 E’s of Social Business.

  • Educate with content
  • Enchant by being relevant
  • Engage with authenticity
  • Embrace them by starting an open dialogue
  • Empower by giving them the right tools

7. Celebrate the small wins.

In sales, you have to celebrate the small gains. GET EXCITED about that one meeting you’ve been working on for over a month, that one awesome email, that deal you closed, that shout out from your boss, and most importantly celebrate the success of your teammates.

Key takeway.

In the end, we are all human beings. Sell with integrity, sell with conviction, sell as if you are key stakeholder for their success.

If you are a genuine person, an intelligent person, a open person, a self-reflective person, a person that can communicate, a person that believes in delivering value to your customer, in solving problems, in being the best that you can be – you are meant to be in sales.

Above all be you. Because you’re friggin awesome.


11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Social Selling

 

Koka Sexton, a leading visionary on Social Selling (and the Global Senior Manager of Social Marketing at LinkedIn), sat down with our team to share tips on why social selling is important, and rather crucial, to sales.

Definition of Social Selling:

Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.

Why it’s really important:

Social selling helps you be proactive vs. reactive in your selling process. It helps you bring more passion to your work. Instead of being “salesy” Koka says,

”Social selling helps you influence your buyers and come across as credible, authentic, accurate, information rich, and service oriented.”


Here are 11 social selling tips that you probably don’t know:

1. Social Sellers are more likely to hit their quota

Salespeople that use social selling to increase their pipeline actually see better results. In a study by LinkedIn, the C-level and VP buyers (your decision makers) are using social media to make 84% of their purchase decisions.

Key takeaway: When DM’s have more information, “they feel more confident about the buying decision and are willing to spend more.” Social buyers make 61% more purchases. Make sure your social media is teaching rather selling.

2. Social Media is kind of like Outside Sales.

This was my ‘A-ha!’ moment and I think this is a great way to look at social media. Since salespeople don’t always get the opportunity to meet prospects in person, think of social media as being the door to their office. It opens up a whole new world for making a personal conversation.

Key takeaway: “As an inside salesperson, I didn’t have the opportunity to go into their office to see pictures of their kids, plaques on the wall, memorabilia from their vacations, and find personal talking points.” By doing research on social media, “You can understand where people are in their lives based on their presence on social media” Don’t be creepy about it, but find something interesting to talk about.

3. Don’t sell like a LION.

LION (LinkedIn Open Network) is a connection philosophy. Meaning, you’re a LION if you push accept on anyone and everyone that asks to be your connection on social media. While some people find this useful for building a large network, other’s want to build more personal relationships.

Key takeaway: Pick a connection philosophy, but make sure the person you’re accepting can add value. Koka’s filter for accepting invites is, “If I can add value and you can add value to me; I’ll connect with you.”

4. Always send a personal message when connecting

I can’t reiterate enough how important personalization is in emails. Take the same mentality when using social media. That extra minute it takes to write a quick note when connecting will make your relationship that much stronger. Don’t get lazy.

Key takeaway: “A good connection request is relatively short (2 paragraphs) and shows that they actually understand me in some way.” Koka always tries to reply to personal messages. “If you write a personal message when connecting, 99% of the time they will write back. How cool is that? These are your buyers talking to YOU!”

Super simple example:

5. You don’t always have to talk about your company

It’s important to MIX up what you talk about on social media. Unless someone is a devout customer, they might not love hearing about your company as much as you do. Instead, take an influencer approach and share the latest and relevant sales content.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you talk about relevant sales content like: the world of email, why analytics are so important, an occasional sales meme, industry news, etc.” Because you’re always doing something new, people will keep on coming back if you’re giving enough helpful information.

6. You’re a part-time CEO

One of my favorite lines Koka said was, “You are the CEO of ME Inc.” At the end of the day, it’s about you. A good brand, “conveys some kind of emotion.” So make sure “your” company looks good on social media.

Key takeaway: Think about what that is for yourself. Make sure you tell your story for how you got there, things you’re dealing with, things that interest you. Be a little more authentic and “channel fun things like birthdays and events to add a level of entertainment and authenticity.”

7. It’s great to shoutout to your customers via status updates

Koka uses a trick to promote his network in his status updates. By saying a simple, “Happy Monday to my favorite connections…(and listing a few), you’ll get the attention of your network and show appreciation.

Key takeaway: When you make shoutouts to your current customers or social media followers, you do two things. “One, you build and strengthen the relationship with that person. And two, you increase the visibility of your posts and personal brand.” In other words, their friends will also see your post and you’ll gain more visibility.

8. Everyone messes it up at one point.

Everyone make a bad post or says something they shouldn’t have, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn how to not take things so personally.

Key takeaway: “One time I tweeted something that went too far into my personal world, and so I took it down. People were upset that I was taking tweets down and got angry. I fired back and took things way too personally.” Instead he says, “Take the criticism and let it go to your logic brain as opposed to emotional brain.”

9. WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know (Tags)

Companies are making social selling a qualifier these days; as opposed to an option.

Key takeaway: Make sure to tag people into groups on your social media accounts so you have quick access to finding the right people. By tagging groups like “all Sales Managers in SF,” you’ll be more organized with your potential leads or customers.

10. Stop thinking about your LinkedIn profile as your online resume

Don’t just copy and paste your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. It’s meant to be used for more.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you use your online social media profiles to build your reputation and include things about your industry.” What does this do? “By having rich media on your profile, your page becomes a go-to resource!

11. It’s okay to change your title

It’s okay to have a different title on your LinkedIn profile. Change your title to describe what kind of seller you are along with your company name.

Key takeaway: It’s an added bonus that gives your buyer more information and *sparkle* about you.

*What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask us here!


Feature of the Week: Track Your Content

What’s cooler than tracking links?

CON-TENT!

Did you know that with ToutApp, you can track your presentations, documents, pictures, etc.? See when a prospect or lead clicks on your pricing sheet or e-book. Some examples where you’d use this:

  • Tracking to see if your prospects have opened your pricing sheet
  • See when your presentation is opened
  • Did they look at your case study?

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s how to track your content (in Gmail and Outlook):

1. In Gmail, it’s right in your email next to your other favorite features.

 

**You can choose to upload a new file, or quickly go to the documents you regularly send out in emails. It’s a quick sales trick to grab the presenation or doc you’re always using.

2. In Toutapp.com, it’s in a similar spot above the body of your email.

3. In Outlook, it’s located on the right.

**Have an idea for Feature of the Week? Tell us about it! 


Personalizing Emails- Every trick in the book!

 

Here are a couple of tricks that we constantly utilize to write better emails.

Want to get better response rates? The more personalized and unique you get in your emails, the more engagement you’ll have.

I’ll admit, our CEO contemplated giving away our secret “selling sauce”, but since sales is about teamwork, I’ve convinced him to do so! Here are the core things that will help you write great emails/templates, and above all, close more deals.

8 Personalizing Tricks:

1. LinkedIn

Salespeople live and breathe on LinkedIn, so make sure you know how to effectively customize your searches to leverage your networks. Ways to get hyper specific:

  • Look at Relationships (you want to reach out to 3rd degree connection vs. 1st for prospecting new leads)
  • Geographical location (All VP of Sales in San Francisco)
  • Look for “uncommon commonalities”
    -Adam Grant, the youngest Wharton Professor in Psychology has coined this term. It basically states that a lot of people can find easy commonalities…but it’s more powerful to find an uncommon commonality.

*Sales Hack: Here’s an example: Instead of reaching out to someone on LinkedIn with the subject line, “Fellow Brown Grad…”  Go to their profile, and find something deeper; like their hobbies or clubs. Start with the subject line, “Fellow skier on the Brown team.” It will be more powerful and make you stand out.

2. Google Search Tricks

There are other ways to Google companies that you might not know of–believe me, they’re pretty cool. As a salesperson, it’s important to do research before you make a connection (whether it’s via email or a call).

  • Use the “News” tab vs. the “Web” tab when doing company research to get fresh content; when you Google that’s not always the case
  • Find competitors by searching for “company X vs.”
  • Go to google.com/blogsearch for all the blog mentions on Company X; different than traditional press because you find out what customers, influencers, and industry experts are saying
  • Do smart searches like:
    -“X raises” for funding
    -“X hires” for key hires
    -“X reviews” for online-reviews

3. Company’s Blog

We like to say that, “A company’s blog is the gateway to their soul.” Always make sure you read a company’s blog to understand what is top of mind for them. Are they writing posts about new VP’s or hires? That would lead you to believe they’re hiring. Are they talking about a product release? They really care about product innovation. The trick in sales is to find something in common to talk about, and their blog is a way to find a common denominator. Things to look for:

  • Pay attention who is writing
  • Know their priorities
  • Pay attention to product releases and key hires

4. Crunchbase

This is the go-to place to find intel on companies. Especially when you’re dealing with early-stage or companies raising money. You’ll get an incredible amount of information like:

  • Links to recent press mentions
  • Who their advisors, employees, and investors are
  • The one-line description they use to describe themselves

5. Glassdoor

Our CEO deems this one of his favorite sales hacks. Glassdoor is a great way to get an inside look at company culture. You’ll have a better idea for what kind of vibe your call/email should have. You can use all of this information as ammunition. “I’ve critically thought about your company, and I think your challenge might be this…I can help!”

  • See if employees are happy and read reviews
  • Are they hiring?
  • Get an eye into day-to-day challenges, issues, pros and cons

6. Indeed.com/Job Sites

Job sites are important to see where the company is growing. Are they hiring for marketing roles? Perhaps they need more marketing tools to handle their growth. Every position a company has open says something about that company. This gives you:

  • Glimpse into their strategic roles
  • Tells you about corporate priorities–>all the way up to the board level!
  • Ex: “Hey, we work with a ton of companies that have large sales teams too (if they’re hiring for a lot of sales roles), let me know when you’re free to chat…”

7. Similarsitesearch.com

You can type in a domain and it will give you similar sites and competitors based on data.

  • Use as a leverage or to better understand the landscape

8. GageIn (Google Alerts on steroids)

  • Get up to date articles on companies or people you want to watch
  • Finds real-time sales opportunities including websites and blogs
  • Displays a unique 360-degree view of companies

Recap:

All of these tools will help you pick up clues and put together the bigger picture for who you are emailing, what they care about, and deeper information about the company. If you get into the discipline for using these personalization tools, you’ll become a better seller. For more Do’s and Don’ts on these sales hacks, watch the full webinar:

 


User of the Week: An SDR’s Prospecting Tricks!

Chris Reaby, from Oracle | Responsys

1. What’s your company/role?

I work at Oracle | Responsys as a Sales Development Representative selling the Oracle Marketing Cloud. I’m responsible for outbound lead generation which involves sending nifty emails, new business development, and warm calls!

2. Why do you love ToutApp? How do you use it for your job?

  • Tracking: Definitely my favourite feature. I am able to lead with insight, then prioritize follow up with my prospects based on their engagement or lack of.
  • Attachment Tracking: This is my second favourite feature, and is similar to the first, but it definitely deserves its own bullet point. I’m able to upload case studies, content and reports and attach them as a linked-pdf to my emails. From here, I can see what pages my prospects viewed, what pages they spent the most time on – another tool in the toolbox!
  • Relationship: The easy import feature in ToutApp, makes it extremely simple to batch upload contacts, with personalized fields.
  • Efficiencies: I have a template with personalised fields for every occasion – whether it is, InMail Follow Up with No Response, Relevant Content with a Call-To-Action – I’ve even tested subject lines within ToutApp (practicing what I preach & sell!)

3. Why Tout vs. other sales tools in the market?

Honestly, I wasn’t involved in the decision to use ToutApp, but what I can share is that I have been impressed with the customer service. If I have a query, question or issue, I hear from a Happiness Office within 12-24 hours.

4. What was your journey into sales?

Awesome Question! I started my journey in the workforce, at IBM where I did a 4-year internship, studying Business and Information Systems at RMIT University, as well as a few tech courses like Cisco Certified Networking Associates (CCNA). I was a Software Asset Manager, surrounded by a great group of people who were vested in my success. I got the opportunity to attend a few sales meetings with software vendors – which I loved!

After 5.5 years, I made the switch to Microsoft as a Software Engagement Manager, which was predominantly a customer facing role with back office work – again, fuelling my desire to move into a sales role. I took a step sideward in my career, and joined the Victorian Government, which was a great role working with all government agencies, but it just wasn’t for me …. I decided that I had to get into a sales role …… and here I am, Sales Development Rep at Oracle | Responsys– I couldn’t be happier!

5. What’s one of your favorite sales tricks?

One of my favourite, yet simple tricks, is a very simple outreach strategy (which I’m still perfecting –5 months into my role)!

Research your prospect (company + employee), just to name a few:
a. LinkedIn (common connection, companies followed, people followed)
b. Facebook (look for common ground, i.e. restaurants, retail brands etc.)
c. Google Search (in particular recent news articles)
d. CRM tool

It’s important, to ensure you establish an outreach routine to ensure continuity in your follow-ups. Creating tasks in your CRM tool acts as a friendly reminder every morning. A task is created for a reason; so don’t weasel your way out.

In my experience, if a prospect I’m dealing with likes a particular retail brand on Facebook that happens to be a customer of ours – I’ll be sure to mention the success they have seen since making the shift to the Oracle Marketing Cloud! Also, using ToutApp on all email is a must.

6. Favorite email you’ve ever received?

A favourite email I received was a boomerang (appropriate given I’m an Aussie). I sent an email to a prospect; it then made its way to a competitor – the competitor then wrote a message back to me!

**Congrats to Chris + Responsys for winning this week! We couldn’t be happier to have you on board with ToutApp. If you’re interested in being the next featured superstar, please apply here. **


Feature of the Week: Save Your Searches

 
As a Salesperson, one of your main goals is to cut out the “busy work” and get to the point… Selling!

Here’s a tip where you can do exactly that. We want to remind you about the “Saved Search” function on our emails page. Since copy/pasting is for amateurs, here’s a way to remember searches that you’re often looking up.

Some examples where you’d use this:

  • To always get a quick macro view of all of the people that are highly engaged, but have yet to respond to your emails. (Views, Clicks, and obvious interest but No Response).
  • If you’re sending group emails, you can save your search for that specific group and filter by engagement level.
  • Managers can filter by emails sent across the team, and quickly look up reps. (ie. Which templates did Brittany use, and what was her engagement this week?)
  • When you want to quickly filter a person or company by time, and find yourself doing this often. ( Yesterday, Last week, 90 Days, etc.)
  • Filtering your “successes.” Whether you define success as getting a meeting, a response, or closing a deal, you can use saved searches to quickly do this. (Also helps you see engagement on a macro level)
  • When you want to quickly see which activity has “no activity.” Since you’re not going in blindly, you can stop communication/wasting time if there isn’t any traction with a  lead.
  • If you’re testing your messaging, you can look up the contacts or groups you want to do so.
  • You want to find groups that have certain criteria for automated drip campaigns .

Sample of what you can search:

 

If you have an idea for Feature of the Week, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


5 Things I Learned at the Sales Hacker Conference: Part 2

I was lucky enough to attend my second Sales Hacker Conference. The first time around, I learned some of the most valuable “sales hacks” in my career.

This time around, I learned a few more! As our CEO TK always says, “Don’t be lazy. You’re in Sales.” Here are my notes so you can hack be a Sales Hacker yourself:

1. What type of emails do executives respond to?

John Barrows breaks it down best…

2. Always use humor

No joke. Carolyn Betts (CEO from Betts Recruiting) got 250 salespeople laughing with this video: S*** Not to Say In an Interview.

 

3. Do your research and keep it personal.

I try to always have a personal “talking point” with each customer. Whether that’s knowing where they’re from, which school they went to, or their favorite sports team.

3 personal hacks that will cut down your time:

  1. Setup LinkedIn saved searches to catch trigger events right away
  2. Feedly will aggregate all your news
  3. Use Gagein for instant company alerts

4. Collaborate

I loved Sales Hacker New York, but one of my top takeaways from Sales Hacker San Francisco remains true.  Post-it advice from Doug Landis.

5. Become a Superhuman

Be personal on a large scale. How? TK’s 5×5: Personalizing Relationships at Scale.

Quick tip for sales emails:

*Bonus Hack: Love your team and customers

Stay tuned for Customer Success Hacks at the GainSight Pulse Conference!


ToutApp’s New VP of Sales: C’mon Eileen, tell us everything!

Eileen Wiens defining career moment is happening as I type. Our new VP of Sales started last week, and she has already gotten our team off and running. I’m not joking, our sales reps are having ‘A-ha!’ moments on a daily basis. With a cheery demeanor and a lot of excitement, she tells me, “I think the biggest career move I’ll look back on is now. We’re in such a hot space, have high visibility, and I get the chance to sell to and meet the most influential people.” Right now, she says, “Is a new journey.”

I asked her to expand a little more on why she wanted to join ToutApp.

“C’mon Eileen (obviously a reference to the famous 80’s song), Why ToutApp, and why at this moment?

She gave me three main reasons:

  1. A great career opportunity
  2. The team
  3. The chance to be a part of something at the exciting and early stage.

“The Sales acceleration market is an emerging space, and we’re certainly an early player…and quickly becoming a leader. I’ve also been a customer for the last year (as the Director of Sales at Hoopla), and had such a great selling experience with ToutApp. It had major stickiness with my own sales team, so I knew it was powerful.”

What does she mean by ‘stickiness’? She was sold on our product when her sales team revolted when their trial was coming to an end. “They loved it and many said ‘I’ll just pay for it myself’ if it doesn’t happen. Very few sales reps would take money out of their own pocket. I knew right then; ToutApp was a powerful and game changing tool.”

Eileen’s background

In her exact words, “I got into sales when the earth’s crust cooled.

She’s spent the last 20 years in both inside and outside sales, and most recently, worked for Hoopla as the Director of Sales. Her first ‘sales’ role was working from the ground up– working in Lead Gen and making cold calls. She admits, “I waited till everyone went to lunch to make my first cold call.” Quickly getting over nerves (that lasted a millisecond), she moved up to Lead Gen Manager, and on to strategic alliances and Biz Dev during the .com days. She worked for a few startups, a Fortune 500 company, and emerged early into the SaaS space in 2004.

What drives her?

“For me it’s always been a combination of culture, product, and challenge.” A common theme in her background is building stuff. “For me, building a team, and building a company, is what ultimately drives me.”

What does she want to build? Something simply stated, but extremely powerful:

“A repeatable sales model that exponentially grows the revenue and the value of the company.”

How will you innovate and BUILD ToutApp?

She brings a tremendous amount of passion and ability to motivate salespeople.

She explains, “It’s Two-Fold: One, being able to design the sales strategy, and two, you have to be a good leader to craft a sales mission. She says being a leader means having the ability to get in the trenches with your team. “It’s important to get respect from your team by getting on the phone with them.” I asked what kind of leader she would describe herself as…“ People say that I’m a nurturing coach.”

Building a Sales Team: Her 3 C’s

  • Capacity: I’m always looking for a person’s aptitude and the ability to learn
  • Clock-speed: We’re a fast-growth company, and we want our sales people to reflect that.
  • Captivating: I want my salespeople to be captivating. They are the entire image of the company, and I want the customer experience with ToutApp salespeople to be memorable.

How Sales has changed, from her perspective.

In 20 years, she’s seen sales change tremendously.  “I think the biggest difference is that Sales is now an integral part of companies; companies run their entire business purely on inside salespeople.” This profession is now very much looked at as a respected role, with companies using inside sales as their go-to market sales model.”

Best Sales Win. Shoot!

As a leader, she gave the best answer, “It was actually a team effort for one of the largest social networking sites.” She went on to tell me an amazing story of building champions, hard work, with many hands involved. “It was a Global initiative with very specific engagement rules, and we were late to enter the competition.” Being a competitive bake-off, Eileen and another company were in head-to-head competition for the spot. “My Sales rep spent a significant amount of time of building relationships around the world. With a 90 day sales-cycle, and many stakeholders involved, our team had to continuously build champions, and we did it!” What does this teach us?

Sales is a collaborative effort.

The last important question.

And of-course, I had to circle back with TK, who tirelessly spent the last quarter meeting with over a dozen sales leaders to figure out who would be the right fit for our VP of Sales role. I asked him, “Why Eileen?”

“When it comes to hiring, I look for two crucial elements. I first look for a person that understands our mission and is willing to join up. We already had that in Eilleen because not only was she a loyal customer, she had already sent us a ton of referrals our way. The second thing I look for are people that are not just looking to be great at their jobs, but are looking deeply to advance the very craft they are in — and I saw that in Eileen the very first time I saw her speak at an AA-ISP panel.”

“We’re super excited and super lucky to have Eileen on-board as our VP of Sales. I consider myself to have one job, and that is to build a crack team of bad-asses. And with all the hires we’ve made this year, we’re well on our way to dominate in this space. I couldn’t be more excited.”


User of the Week: How To Measure Your Productivity at Work

 

ToutApp has a bunch of cool features that shows you your email analytics around templates, open, and click-through rates. BUT, we don’t want you to forget about our awesome timesaving feature that shows you the amount of minutes you’re saving each week (or whatever time period you want to look at)!

Here’s how to measure your productivity at work:

1. Go to your toutapp.com page

2. Click on the Analytics tab

3.  Click on your name highlighted in blue

4. See how many minutes you’re saving!

What will you do with your extra time? 490 minutes…Happy hour anyone?

 

If you have an idea for Feature of the Week. Let me know here.


7 Ways to Train the Modern Salesperson

Dear Brittany,

          How do I tackle a growing sales team? I’m trying to plan for the scope of training starting with onboarding and moving through formal group trainings to individual coaching/development. Specifically, I’d love to know:
1. Content/learning goals for sales people
2. Best Practices
3. What ongoing development looks like

          -Sales Manager from a Hustling Startup

Dear SM from a Hustling Startup,

Great Question. In fact, we get asked this a lot as we coach our customers on how to implement our software across their Sales Process. To help get your answer, I pulled together our CEO, VP of Customer Success, Director of Sales Operations, and lastly, one of our top performing Sales Reps. Basically, the Sales powerhouse. 

As a growing company, almost doubling in size in the last two months, I figured they would know a thing or two about training new team members.  I pulled them into a room for a whiteboard session.

We’ve come up with 7 things that will help you when training your team and becoming a better salesperson yourself:

1. Follow the Leaders.

This answers your first question around content. Teach your team to tap into the infinite amount of sales resources online. Social selling is very important. Make sure your team is constantly learning new sales tips and knowledge, and then sharing that information with potential customers. It gives them more “sales cred.” Here are five blogs we like to follow:

2. Keep trainings short and precise.

In a study based solely on lectures, it was determined that students (salespeople in this case)  have a 10-18 minute window of prime focus in an hour.  “Then, no matter how good the teacher or how compelling the subject matter — there would come a lapse. In the vernacular, the students would lose it.” Sometimes their attention would come back, “But in ever briefer packets, falling “to three- or four-minute spurts.”

Thus, no matter how compelling your sales hacks are, key points to your training can get lost in translation; even if you segment topics. Our VP of Customer Success, Cliff Cate says, “Think about the demographic of salespeople these days; they can have short attention spans. You need to have training very easy to consume, that’s bite sized, quick, and engaging. Show them a two minute video that shows them how to make a cool template in two minutes or less.”

3. Onboard at separate times.

Daniel Barber, our Director of Sales Operations makes sure new hires always start on a different day. By starting salespeople on different days, they gain more one-on-one attention. It helps with culture by having a personal introduction to the team, and a personal experience with their manager. Even one day or week apart can make a big difference. Also, Daniel says, “Give them the what, why, and how of your company the first hour of the first day. It will set up the training for the entire week.”

4. Create a buddy system.

This creates an open environment to have new salespeople ask as many questions as they need. By working with a “peer,” there’s less intimidation. Meghan “Oops I close Deals” O’Donnell says, “Having a buddy system gave me a go-to person from day one. Create an environment where it’s normal and encouraged to ask for help.”

Also, onboarding at different times creates an automatic buddy system where your newbies get taught by people that started right before them. Odds are, the two-week salesperson has already asked the question that Day 1 Salesperson wants asked. It’ll save time and be a more engaging environment for both salespeople. They'll learn twice!

5. Sell to your Uber Driver.

No, we’re not joking. Our CEO TK says, “Before you can train a whole bunch of salespeople, you need to sell yourself and know the ins and outs of your business.” He thinks talking to your cab drivers, or any new person you meet, and telling them about your product is the best way you can figure out if you’re doing a good job at selling. Make sure you’re very clear on the right language you want to use, and find out what resonates with people. “Salespeople need to understand the value, why people should care, and what the benefits of your company are. You need to figure this out for yourself first.”

6. Reflect, reflect, reflect.

These days, Salespeople are trained to follow what is on their calendar. Teach your team to book 15 minutes to reflect and find key takeaways from each meeting they have. Whether it's a group training, or a call they just hopped on. Get in the habit of booking 15 minutes on your calendar after each meeting that will have an important takeaway. They'll retain the information better! 

7. Use your data for ongoing development.

Lastly, ongoing development takes your whole team. Find the things that your top reps are doing and figure out ways to share it with the rest of the team. For example, ToutApp will measure the best performing email templates across your sales team. Once you identify it, you can share it with the whole team and up everyone’s game.

Using data to identify best performing pieces of content, messaging and approaches and sharing it with the rest of your team is a powerful way to drive on-going training.

What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask me here or tweet at me!