|By Rebel Brown||
|February 1, 2013 07:00 AM EST||
There's no doubt that the buying cycle has changed dramatically thanks to the availability of information and opinions on the web. The impacts on sales and marketing are significant, yet the changes seem to be slow in coming. One area that has always interested me is the training and focusing of new sales reps. It's especially critical in today's shifting world. Relevant information and insights make a new rep effective, yesterday's me-focused info and pushy sales approaches saend buyers running. So how do we evolve? I first met Trish Bertuzzi on Twitter about three years ago. Since then I've come to respect her insights on matters of sales. I asked her a few questions about the big change in sales.
1. The buying process has changed dramatically thanks to the availability of information via websites, social media, communities, research, peer groups and more. Yet sales hasn't changed quickly to keep up. Why do you think that's happening?
I don’t think sales has not changed but I do think they are struggling to change. Making the transition from being the keeper of all knowledge to being the person that has to jump into a sales process at the point where they have to add value much further along than they had to before is not easy.
In the past, when information was known only to a few, the sales person educated their prospect from get to go. They dropped what they thought were pearls of wisdom along the way and the buyer responded appropriately. Now the buyer self educates and by the time they engage with sales they have the basics well in hand and want sales to get very specific. How can your product/solution help me address this very specific challenge better than the status quo and/or your competitors?
They don’t want to hear about features and benefits. They do want to hear about how you have helped other executives and/or companies like theirs address the issue. And oh, by the way, tell me something I don’t know. The sales people who become trusted advisors are those who win and gaining that level of knowledge takes work and is an investment in success.
2. What do you mean by context with regard to sales and marketing messages? What's the big change that we need to make when it comes to training our new sales teams to speak to buyers in context?
The context refers to becoming that trusted advisor and speaking a language that resonates with your unique buyer. Let’s say you can sell to the CFO, CIO and VP Marketing. In the past we would message to these contacts with a vanilla message probably based on what our product/solution does. It didn’t work that well then and it works even less well now. Each of these executives has a unique set of responsibilities and challenges. Putting your message into a context that resonates with them will get you heard.
3. Traditional selling was steeped in a focus on setting goals based on metrics (# of calls, # of proposals etc.) How does that need to change in today's world?
Does it need to change? Maybe the metrics are different but in sales you still need a measuring stick to understand where you are in your attainment of goal and if your only measuring stick is revenue, well by that time you can’t change anything to impact results.
There are a core set of metrics that need to be focused on but those metrics vary from one organization to the next. If you are selling into the enterprise you would focus on a very different set of sales process metrics than you would if you were selling into the SMB. Combine that with whether you are a hunter or a farmer and you can see that metrics are market and sales process dependent but they are a great predictor of future outcomes. Without them we are in a fingers crossed, hoping for the best situation.
4. Why don't we invest in growing the skills of our selling teams? What do we need to do to change that; culturally and tactically?
Why don’t we invest in growing the skills of our team.. that is a great question! We will spend tens of thousands of dollars in a recruitment and hiring process and then balk at spending a small amount of dollars on coaching and training. Why..why..why…
Every day should be a day of learning for a sales rep. Every interaction with a buyer should be viewed as a unique opportunity to figure out more about their industry, their challenges, how they are motivated, what impedes their success… you name it. But what do we do? We go to work the every day and go through the process of selling without stepping back to think about what we are learning.
Worse yet, our sales management teams are not fostering a culture of learning by not giving us the structure and/or the bandwidth with which to be strategic. I hear about it from reps all the time. They are so busy trying to make their activity metrics that they don’t have time to sit down create a strategic plan for how they will make their number.
You don’t always have to spend money to invest money to grow the skills of your team (but please feel free to do so and call us). Sometimes all you have to do is give them some breathing room to sit, think and share what they have learned.
5. We all know the first 90 days of a sales reps organizational life is critical to their success. What are the top 3 things we need to do better, or start doing?
Teach them about the industry/s they will be selling into.
Teach them about the day in the life of their buyers and how your product/solution can address very specific challenges unique to that buyer.
Teach them how to effectively use the tools you have place at their disposal.
Over the last two decades, Trish has promoted Inside Sales as a community, profession and engine for revenue growth. In the process, The Bridge Group has worked with over 190 B2B technology clients to build, expand and optimize their inside sales efforts.
By a combination of hard work and timing, Trish and team's research & ideas have been featured on Inc.com, by associations like SLMA & AA-ISP and across more than 68 sites in the sales and marketing blogosphere.
Click here to download Trish's ebook, Sales Onboarding: The Express Route from Hire-to-Revenue
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
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DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
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As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 449
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Dec. 1, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 545
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Dec. 1, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 354
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Dec. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 307
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 474
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Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 373
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 514
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Dec. 1, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 132
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 578
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Dec. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 482
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 397
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Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 396
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 253
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 515
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 622
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 362
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Dec. 1, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 459