This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.
-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I was in college in the 4 years leading up to the new millenia. As we climbed our ladder, our professors would often tell us “ you will enter the workplace during one of the most unprecedented economies in the history of the world. One where there just aren't enough people to fill the demand of what we are setting out to accomplish.”
In the Spring of 1999, the message began to change. The energy of our Economics and Business courses were off. I could feel something wasn't right. I came back from a Summer abroad, and their messages began to change.
“You might need to compromise.”
“You’ll need to practice resilience.”
“You may need to take jobs you never would have otherwise.”
In February 1998, it would take 1hr and 45min to drive from San Mateo, CA to San Jose, CA at 8am PT. On October 1st, 2001, that same drive would take just 48minutes.
Why do I remember that? Probably because it was my defining moment and a drive I was very familiar with.
During college I worked for a communication construction company. Often I would pick up and deliver plans. Most of our Jobs were in San Jose while some of the best General Contractors we worked with had offices on The Peninsula (Silicon Geo Slang...sorry).
One moment, my phone is blowing up because because I am stuck on a freeway full of Out-of-State plates and the General Contractor appt is about to be blown; the next, I am getting pulled over for doing 85 in a 55 and I’m shocked because I just wasn't used to an open freeway.
Right now, at 7:55am, I can see that same strip of freeway via a webcam is just as empty. Perhaps worse in moments.
What’s it going to take to get back to ‘normal’
The last time I was in this position, I was 20 something with a college degree and a girlfriend who had relocated with me so that I can attend college without being apart. When I graduated, I was automatically furloughed because I was part time and didn't have any children or dependents.
This time, it’s the opposite. I am married, 3 kids, and I was furloughed because I was middle management and didn't touch any orders- thus I am a cost.
This is the Half Glass Moment
INSIGHT 1: GET OVER IT.
It’s not personal, even when it is. It happens/ed. Take a moment to grieve, and then start working the problem.
INSIGHT 2: THE NEW NORMAL IS COKE CLASSIC.
The ‘new normal’ is just a rebranded experience that helps us cope. People who succeed in this moment will be the ones who not only realize this but also empathize with people who are coping via the rebrand.
INSIGHT 1 + INSIGHT 2 = SOMEONE’S ADVANTAGE OR DISADVANTAGE.
The momentum in the current economy, as well as the micro economies, has halved. It has not stopped. Right now, someone is taking advantage of this situation. Positively or negatively. This is the half glass moment- which half are you going to be on?
When I was hired at Siebel Systems in 2004, it was after a down-year in founding. What does that even mean? There were fewer companies founded in 2003 than in the 5 years previous. This means the economic momentum had slowed to an achingly slow pace.
I was told, “use the phone first, and then use it again. If it’s worth writing, it’s worth saying.”
We would send 1 email and make 3 dials for every email. Translated, everytime someone received an email, they were guaranteed to receive 3 calls over the next 8 business days.
We went from speaking with AEs struggling to recall the last SDR meeting they received to struggling to find a spot in their calendars for our SQL.
Right now, you are either talking yourself out of the market and talking your way in. Plain and simple.
Objections you are hearing that we’ve all heard before
Here’s a few objections we heard then that you are hearing now along with the ways that they have been solved over the last 20 years
The phone numbers don't work. Companies have closed. Locations have closed. People have been moved to home office or consolidated to new locations. Half our numbers in the marketing database don't work
Does this sound familiar? We heard the same thing during these economic crises:
2001 (dot.bomb + 9/11)
2007 (Mortgage/Financial Crisis)
My questions I asked my teammates:
Do they still have a main number? (great, why don't you call that?)
Do they still have a support number? (great, why don't you call that?)
Do they still have a general inquiry email address? (great, why dont you email that?)
Is Google still in business? (great, why don't you ask her where to find your prospect?)
Is anyone else there we need to know? (great why don't we call SOMEONE who still works there and just ask if they can help us connect with your prospect? LinkedIn says there are people still working there.)
If you don’t try, you can’t succeed. These are simple actions that have huge effects.
Everything is at a standstill - we’re putting all projects on hold.
I call bullshit. Do they have job reqs out there? Are they still in business? Do they still need deals? How many gaps do they have with the workforce that just exited?
At this moment, it is a giant math equation about optimizing fiscal efficiencies so that the company survives.
I dont think it’s appropriate to be asking people to buy things when there is so much going on.
Disclaimer on this one: There is a huge difference between being insensitive and being available. Make sure you are acting on the latter.
As I responded, I looked for a source to cite, but couldn't figure out where I first learned this. Feel free to share the source,
Somewhere along the line, I learned and then confirmed that in sales, just as in publishing, no one cares what you WANT, THINK, FEEL, or LOVE. And the way I was told was that no one f@#%ing cares.
The point? Your job is to listen to learn. And by listening to learn, you show that you care. This moment with your customer? It’s about how THEY feel, what THEY love, and what THEY think they need to do. If someone asks you what you THINK, what they are really saying is:
What do you KNOW about what I THINK, FEEL, LOVE, or WANT?
No one has any budget for anything now. The sky fell and the world is collapsing.
How is this any different than yesterday? It only illustrates why BANT is NOT the best pre-sales technique out there. ANUM is a critical requirement right now. In fact, it’s a guarantee that NO ONE has a budget for anything unless they WANT, THINK, FEEL or LOVE to stop something extremely painful. No one wants a tourniquet until they need one.
And in that moment, they would LOVE to have one. But do you LOVE applying them? No one does.
One company I’m aware of, furloughed 20% of their staff and then went to market looking for 3 solutions to optimize the loss of headcount. Right now, they have $300k in software solution investigations going on right now.
Should you call or should I (your competitor)? Because one of us will get our unfair share of that $300k, and with the attitude, I’m betting on me.
No one is calling me back, responding to my emails.
This is a timed response. How much time do you spend doing versus the time you spend planning to do.
In Sales, you exist only in those two states. We spend 80% of our time planning to do, and 20% of our time doing. Sure it may not be exactly that, and mileage can vary, but the fact of the matter is, in these times you have to ask yourself: How am I making that 20% the most valuable, worthwhile, engaging, and pleasurable experience for my customer?
In this world, more than ever before, we are exposing the sales people who have NOT been about the customer. Those who have NO IDEA how to be about them are stuck with this piece of self-doubt and cancerous defeatism.
If it’s about the customer, then you will spend more time on:
Experiences that will help them solve the problems of TODAY and TOMORROW.
Afterall, isn’t that what life’s problems are always about?
None of our SDRs were making quota....
Rewind the clock a few years, I was at a Unicorn, everything should have been going great.
But our 25 SDRs were struggling. Each week we gave them over 3,000 fresh MQLs, but none of them made quota. We just fired our 2nd CMO and 3rd SVP of Sales, both of whom were successful at previous companies.
I was asked to step in and “fix” it.
What the hell was happening? We were a billion-dollar SaaS unicorn, the movie wasn’t supposed to end this way.
The problem it turns out was simple. Most of the prospects filling our funnel were not prospects at all.
The 3,000 MQLs had been ‘qualified’ using basic Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) criteria like # of employees, industry, and annual revenue. While helpful for sizing, this ICP told us nothing about what our prospects actually wanted or needed.
And at the end of the day, that’s why prospects buy -- when you can fulfill their wants and needs.
Does my unicorn story sound familiar? It should.
In Sales Development today, only 1 out of 100 MQLs will convert to an opportunity. And poor fit is largely why.
Pair this with the common misperception that more leads = more sales, and when leads flood in but sales don’t materialize, you lose your job. Don’t blame the lead, blame the seller, right?
Today only 43% of sales reps make quota – a number that’s declined every year from 63% in 2011. We need to change how we sell and by focusing on what prospects actually want and need, we can.
How to sell prospects what they want.
So, how do you figure out what prospects want and need? Great question.
The wants and needs of a person or business are known as ‘psychographics’. It sounds fancy, but it’s been around since the 1960’s in B2C and is incredibly powerful in selling.
For example, if you’re expecting your first child, you’ll have a strong personal interest in new baby products and services. Those are psychographics. If I sell baby clothes, you are my perfect prospect. It’s that simple.
Do psychographics really work?
Have you ever bought something Amazon recommends? If so, you’re not alone. Amazon sees a 30% sales increase from psychographic-driven recommendations.
How about NetFlix or Spotify Discover? NetFlix attributes over $1B in retention to psychographic content suggestions and Spotify delivers 31% of its music based on psychographics.
These are multibillion-dollar businesses using psychographics every day to deliver valuable goods and services that you, the consumer, want and need.
3 ways to use psychographics in B2B Sales Development
Traditionally it’s been very difficult to figure out business psychographics. What does a business really want or need? They rarely take surveys and they keep their data closely guarded.
But we live in an amazing time for Sales Development. The massive surge in public web data and digital communication makes it easier than ever to know what businesses want and need. Here are 3 ways you can leverage psychographics in B2B to improve prospect fit and close more deals:
Matt Belkin is the founder of GrowFlare, a prospect intelligence platform focused on helping B2B sales professionals sell better with psychographic data. https://tenbound.com/company/growflare/
He also serves as the COO of eSUB, a construction SaaS company, where he oversees all sales, marketing, and client success efforts.
Jason started off studying biology, but quickly realized he didn't want a research job. Instead, he wanted a career where he could interact with people and solve problems. Specifically, he was always fascinated by how people make their buying decisions. That fascination has helped him excel in Sales Development.
In this interview, he shares how his team is raising awareness of a new industry, why they no longer use data enrichment tools, and how they keep their messaging relevant.
New industry challengesSegment is a customer data platform that allows companies to capture the complete customer journey by tracking their first-party touchpoints, then leveraging that data to provide personalization at scale in a way that respects users’ privacy needs. It’s a new approach, so some education is needed.
To meet this challenge, Segment is serving as a thought leader in the space. They’re talking to companies and introducing the idea of a customer data platform, explaining what challenges it solves. The category is defined by their messaging, so it’s important that their message is clear and consistent.
Another big challenge for any company is reacting to inbound requests fast enough. A slow response leads to a huge drop in conversion. To ensure they’re responding as quickly as possible, Segment has people in various parts of the world so they can reply promptly to customers wherever they are.
It’s also important to properly qualify prospects. This a rigorous process so that, when a prospect is handed over to an account executive, they have a strong understanding of what the customer wants to accomplish and what particular solution will best help them.
Using the right tech When a customer visits the Segment site and submits a demo request, the experience should be as seamless as possible. By using Chili Piper, companies are given the option to book a time with an SDR immediately. They can select the time that works for them and it’ll be routed to the appropriate rep, without any of the back and forth trying to schedule a meeting over email.
Other tech tools, while potentially helpful, don’t fit in with Segment’s philosophy. As a company, they pride themselves on respecting customers’ privacy wishes; if somebody chooses to provide Segment with their contact information, that's great, but they no longer use enrichment tools to uncover data that hasn’t already been shared.
Using multiple approachesWhile his team is supported by a healthy amount of inbound activity, Jason also wants to be regularly experimenting with new ways to create as much pipeline as possible. To that end, the team runs campaigns on three separate levels:
Whenever the team does outreach, they make sure it’s relevant and specific. That involves looking at what’s happening with a prospect company (if they’ve just raised funding, changed their tech stack, etc), but also the signals they’re giving out directly to Segment. Are they viewing content? Are they signing up and attending webinars? These signals are taken into account so they’re able to personalize their messaging.
Sales Development in 2020A lot of customers are starting to understand the importance of customer data, personalization, and delivering personalization while respecting customer privacy. Segment is developing their story across those three areas, so understanding and conveying their positioning on those topics is something that's top of mind for Jason.
Going forward, Jason is working to keep their messaging consistent with the direction the company is heading in. Rather than talking about the details of what Segment does, he wants to drive conversations with companies about their initiatives and their strategy, and how Segment can be a part of that strategy.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your Sales Development program and overcome similar challenges, contact us at Tenbound today for a no-obligation exploratory call.
From her first retail sales job to building and leading a global Sales Development team, Karlie Morien has had plenty of experience at all levels of Sales Development. In her interview with Tenbound, she shared her process for closing more retail sales, the lessons learned over nine years in Sales Development, and why she wants to redefine the SDR role.
Getting to the third NoKarlie learned a lot from her time in retail sales. When you're standing in front of someone who is either going to buy something or not, right there, there’s very little time to help them. That’s when Karlie came up with her process of ‘Getting to the third No.’
If you ask someone if they want to try on a pair of jeans and they say they’re not interested, our default reaction is to leave it at that. Sometimes, though, you just have to talk to them and dig a little deeper to figure out what's going on. Taking that interaction a couple of steps further—past that initial no—and learning a little bit more about them can often get us a better result.
Lessons from different SDR rolesKarlie’s first SDR job was calling real estate offices and convincing them to let a sales rep come in and pitch them. She soon ended up helping manage the outside sales reps, essentially acting as the office manager. It was here that Karlie realized she also liked the management side of sales.
She later moved over to Comcast. Sat with 140 other reps in a huge room, she would take calls from business owners setting up their phone/internet. The goal was to upsell them right there on the phone, getting them to sign before they hang up—a true one call close environment, with no room for error.
Karlie got her first taste of tech sales when she moved to Qlik. She was soon leading an inside team there but, even though the company had an SDR engine, it wasn't optimized. That meant she had to do a lot of her own prospecting and, as a result, she quickly became adept at building programs and campaigns.
When the opportunity came to build Monetate’s SDR function for the North America and EMEA regions, Karlie took it. Now she’s taking all the lessons she’s learned along the way and doing the same for NetBase Quid.
Top Sales Development challenges
Sales Development in 2020The common view of SDRs is that it’s an entry-level role, and Karlie believes companies don't generally give as much love to the SDR team as they should: “It's considered entry-level, but it's one of the hardest jobs. How does that make sense? How do we pay people entry-level, treat them entry-level, but then ask them to do something that no one else in the company would be comfortable doing?”
Karlie wants to break the mold so that SDRs are recognized as a valued expert, just as important as an AE. They have the ability, but as companies and leaders, it’s our job to enable them.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your Sales Development program and overcome similar challenges, contact us at Tenbound today for a no-obligation exploratory call.
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