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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

7 posts from December 2009

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December 18, 2009

Better Than Santa?

“Dad do you believe in Santa?” ...a question that many parents field from their children in this holiday season, and not an easy one to answer, at least not for me. Ironically there is a similar question that I ask of Andy Beaupre (at our PR agency) on a regular basis: “Andy, should Glance believe in Social Media?”

Twitter, social media, sales, Glance.net, sales process, selling, InsideView, The Bridge Group, Plan2Win I mean, think about it. Is there really an entity that can circle the Earth in less than 24 hours, and deliver revenue at your door step?
Prior to mine and Andy’s philosophical debates on “believing leads to seeing” I would have told you I understood the theory but was looking for clear proof points and execution.
That was until September, when the Smarketing Team at Glance decided that we would bring in several account intelligence packages for evaluation.
We had just completed our roll out of Salesforce.com, and were building out our enterprise sales organization.
As part of our target account selling efforts, we gather as much g2 on prospects, to insure that we can make an impact on every call, deriving the greatest return on our marketing investment.
We looked at all of the top account intelligence packages, including Hoovers. In full disclosure, I was in a hurry and just assumed that all of these services were alike.  But that night I posted on Mobile Facebook: "About to purchase Hoovers Services, anyone have any feedback? Speak now or forever hold your peace". Before I completed my commute the next morning, I had received three posts in reply, one of them from trusted advisor Steven Harper, CEO of Plan2Win and Consultant at Trish Bertuzzi's The Bridge Group.
It was simple, he said, "Check out InsideView, great service..."
So, I did.
I called InsideView, they called back, I connected with them on-the-fly using Glance's screen share service, got the demo, validated Steve's guidance with my own eyes, placed an order, and was up and running with InsideView in days.

This may not be the best blog post for InsideView competitors, but that's not the point. Instead it’s the fact that with one simple social media post from a Blackberry, I was able to obtain feedback from an industry expert regarding a new and innovative service that I otherwise would have missed. Pretty cool for me as a buyer, but think about it from the sellers' perspective; they get an inbound phone call from a qualified, educated prospect, resulting in nearly immediate recurring revenue.

Yup -- social media -- I believe!

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing

December 15, 2009

Sales + Marketing = SMARKETING = Business Success

Sales vs. Marketing - it's the "Great Divide" in many organizations. Why should you cross this divide (and get rid of the "vs.")? It's simple: improved sales, higher return on resources, and ultimately business growth.Sales, marketing, smarketing, sales 2.0

In Sales 2.0: How Will It Improve Your Business?, Pelin Wood Thorogood and Gerhard Gschwandtner write  "Sales 2.0 empowers sales and marketing to work together like a beehive. The sole purpose of the worker bees and the drones is to continually execute a set of compatible processes that have only one purpose: to keep the queen bee happy. If the queen is not happy, the future of the hive is in jeopardy. Likewise, if the processes and technologies of a sales and marketing organization are not optimized and synchronized in a way that keeps the customers happy, then the company is in trouble."

Or put another way, Marketing is everything an organization does to reach out to and generate interest among prospects. Sales is everything an organization does to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are necessities to the success of a business. You cannot do one without the other. And by strategically combining both efforts, organizations will experience business growth.

Here at Glance, Sales and Marketing works in lockstep -- creating all lead generation and sales conversion programs together -- in fact, we've taken to calling ourselves the Smarketing Team. I've learned more about Sales here than anywhere I've ever worked -- and one big reason is that Sales and Marketing physically sits next to one other. Yup, my desk in our renovated mill building, is right next to Mike and Tom's desks, so that I can hear them talking to prospects and customers all day long. Understanding first-hand what their day is like, helps me design more successful lead generation programs -- leads which they are ultimately responsible for converting! Similarly, they see how much time I invest on our social media, thought leadership, email nurturing, and advertising efforts, and thus can help me design programs which have the greatest sales ROI.

For business success in your organization, invite the Marketing and Sales teams into each other's worlds -- and become SMARKETING!

Follow us on Twitter for more tips on Sales and Marketing.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

December 10, 2009

Sell Yourself!

Last night I attended a mixer for sales executives here in Boston.  I had a nice time, however, couldn’t help but notice the undercurrent. Although most did their best to “keep on a happy face”, it was clear that these are tough times.
I spoke with senior people, top sales producers; all feeling the pain, many were unemployed.
As these events go there is never enough time, nor quiet, to hold a meaningful discussion.  If its the case that you were one of those folks with whom I had the chance to chat, or simply find yourself reading this and know someone conducting a search during this holiday season, I’d like to pass along a few suggestions to help you sell yourself that came to me in the quiet of my late night commute:
  • Go Social: Whatever your reasons for not being on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter; put them aside right away and establish a social presence for yourself.  Reach out to new and old friends, don’t  be shy.
  • Polish Up Your Shiny Persona: If you already have a social presence then polish your on line persona. Have a professional appearance in you profile pic; no shots of your dog, or sail boat, or girlfriend.  Just a simple clean pic, and a smile is always great.  Along with your new image, review your summary and brush up your employment history.  Make sure your bio sells you, that it is current, hip, and uses language aimed at the industry which you target. If you are not a great writer seek help from pros who are.
  • Tweet & reTweet: Follow every company that you are targeting and master the art of reTweeting their posts.  Essentially, via retweets, pitch their product for them.  As these companies begin to follow you, and trust me if you do this they will, thank each one of them. Leverage this point of engagement to connect directly, if the opportunity presents itself, make them aware of your interest in their firm.
  • Join Groups & Seek Alumni: Join LinkedIn Groups. Speak with other sales pros about what groups they find helpful, sign up and actively engage in the give and take. Be smart and get noticed. Most importantly sign up for old company “alum” groups; you’ll be amazed at the career path of that former 23-year old telemarketer that once made cold calls for you.
  • Evangelize: Blog; if you don’t have a blog, create one.  Write about your own experience, subject matter which reflects your IP, and your philosophies. For example, if you have been selling database technologies for 10 years, discuss lessons learned, new innovation, sales best practices. You may not get 10,000 followers, that doesn’t matter, what does, is that when send your resume yours contains a link to your blog, and the other guys does not.
  • Proof of Concept: There are tons of companies today that need to hire Sales Professionals but budgets simply do not allow the expense that comes with the best of the best.  Find these companies, especially the small ones.  Get connected with the CEO or VP Sales and discuss their challenges. If there is a specific need that you can fill, offer to address it via contract, commission only, or if it has great potential, for free.
  • Join the Human League: Leverage all of the above, but ultimately you have to get out there.  Find events like the one I attended last night, sign up for user groups, go to trade shows.  Don’t solicit for jobs within the venue, but build some rapport, offer a lead or two from your executive network.  Making something happen for them first will go a long way!
-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing

December 09, 2009

Still a Differentiator: Delighting the Customer

CustomerDelight It started with a retweet (RT) on Twitter over the weekend -- @TrishLambert (a Glance customer) thanked Glance in the ubiquitous 140 Twitter characters:

"HUGE THX 2 @glancenetworks 4 handling critical tech issue 4 me at 8 pm! BTW, awesome screen sharing svc! http://is.gd/5cJ6W

And...she included a link to our homepage. This is the best kind of viral compliment a company can hope for!

I asked around the office and found that Glance Account Exec, Mike Walsh, had indeed, helped Trish with a technical issue for a webinar she had scheduled the next day. And he helped her from his home, at 8pm at night. Trish found this unexpected and highly gratifying, and so she tweeted about it.

I recently read a Bain & Co. study that said that while 80% of senior executives believe they deliver superior customer service, only 8% of their customers agree. Ouch! At Glance, we are committed to "customer delight", which by definition, goes beyond "customer satisfaction". To us, customer delight means:

  • living and breathing a company culture of integrity, service, quality;
  • empowering employees to solve customer problems on their own; and
  • giving truly unexpected customer service and experiences to everyone we come in contact with.

Customer delight results in enormous goodwill (which quickly turns viral in this age of social media), and customer loyalty, and sets you way apart from your competition (especially important in a crowded field like ours.)

Try it today and your business will reap the benefits. (Oh, and if you need to contact us here at Glance, I hope we continue to find ways to exceed your expectations!)

Follow us on Twitter for more tips on delighting customers.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

December 04, 2009

Best Advice for Times Like These: Discipline and Hard Work

My father, now 82, is a retired engineer, US Navy.  He is from a generation of Americans that is difficult to find these days.  A war veteran, a husband of 55 years, and a father of 7 children. 

In his 40’s he went for a physical and found he was 210 lbs, had high blood pressure and an incredibly stressful job.  He also was married to my mother (whom I will save for another post), who could generate more Greek food from one small oven than seemed humanly possible. Doc told him that he needed to do something about the weight, particularly given the fact that his father died very young of heart disease.

I think I was 10 years old when all of this occurred, and although all of my older siblings were athletes, I don’t recall my father ever exercising. 

So, with such drastic health news, what did he do?  He bought a pair of running shoes.

He measured the circumference of our yard and did the calculations to determine that 8 times around would equal one mile.  The challenge was that halfway around was a small pond that caught run-off from the road, and drained out through a moat which ran directly across his “track”. 

Ironically, an old toy came to his rescue. We had a metal slide that we all used to play on, which after seven kids and decades of sliding, finally rusted through the joint. Possibly ahead of the recycle movement, or just because of his engineering mind, he dragged the slide to the moat, and found that it fit perfectly across as a bridge. 

And thus, it began. Every day, 8 laps around the yard.  

We lived in Maine, and in that first winter, we thought it not possible for him to continue. But in bitter weather he did -- 100 times around our basement -- that was also a mile.

In the course of the next 4 decades my father went on to run thousands of miles, won hundreds of Masters Races, at one point was nationally ranked in the top 25 -- and oh yes, he lost the weight.

So how’s this all relevant to a blog on a software company's website? It’s very relevant to the creativity, hard work and discipline that all businesses, particularly sales organizations, need to think about these days.

The US economy is not in good shape, the doctor tells us of pending doom; many salespeople feel like giving up, but I would challenge you not to.  Instead, buy a pair of running shoes, measure the circumference of your territory, find out how many laps equal a mile, and START RUNNING!   

-- Tom Scontras, VP, Sales & Marketing

December 03, 2009

Glance Tip: Let Them See Your Smiling Face

No, Glance.net does not provide an official feature for webcam use, but here is a way to do a "video conference" without expensive video conferencing software.  If your computer has a camera connected, there is always a way to wave at your guests. For our Mac users, an easy way is to just load up iChat, click Video at the top bar, and select "Video Preview." For Windows users, you can find a "Video Preview" option from most any instant messaging program.  

"Video conferencing" with Glance.net

As soon as the camera program is loaded up on your desktop and you're running a Glance session, your guests will see your (hopefully!) smiling face!

The frame-rate may not be enough for Monday Night Football, but with our latest Glance 2.5 release, it keeps up about the same as any Skype call you'll ever have.

Give it a try!

-- Scott Baker, Intern

December 02, 2009

The Sales 2.0 Evolution...From Swiss Cheese to Cheese Whiz

As a seller of a SaaS product here at Glance, we've been part of a real evolution in Sales technique. And as the Marketing and Sales functions are tightly integrated here (in fact, I sit right next to one of our sales gurus, Mike Walsh), I've been able to observe this sales evolution closely.

Our screen-sharing product is lean, nimble, subscription-based, and in the cloud. Our customers are smart, busy sales pros and entrepreneurs. Our selling style therefore, had to evolve. Remember the days of golf, dinners, and multi-month sales cycles? Those may still be appropriate in some sectors, but in the fast-moving, cloud-based, customer 2.0 world we live in, there's a better way.

Herewith, then, our summary of "old-school selling" vs. "new-school selling" (or as we like to call it "swiss cheese" vs. "cheez whiz")...

Old school selling, sales 2.0, smarketing, SaaS, cloud, sales pitch, Glance Networks, Glance.net
Tell us what you think. What has been your own experience in this brave new world of sales 2.0?

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing (or "Smarketing", as we're thinking of renaming it!)