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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

2 posts from October 2011

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October 28, 2011

The New B2B: Belief System-2-Belief System

Traditionally within B2B transactions, buyers were dependent on sellers to provide expert advice; ultimately leading towards courtship, evaluation, and acquisition.

 Of course they could pay consultants or purchase analyst research but ultimately all roads lead back to the seller; even in the Google era search results returned vendor controlled content.

 Conversely social networks promote a free and open exchange of information which continues to drastically impact traditional buyer-seller-relations and associated engagement models.

In other words, the rise of social selling and customer service will not jettison marketing, sales or support organizations however it will create significant challenges. This will happen in the early stages of development where competitive separation, trust and credibility would have been previously established directly through these channels, and in many cases, face-to-face.

 Add to this the record breaking rate at which mobile apps have invaded our work and home lives, or as Rick Segal, Worldwide President at Gyro HSR puts it, making both “a state of mind”; and you begin to get a sense of the broader shifting landscape.

 “(Technology) has changed the way we talk to business decision-makers. Being at work is no longer a place; it is a state of mind, a kind of continuing oscillation that people are making between their work life and their personal life.” – Rick Segal

 Managing home-work boundaries is a continuous effort for many of us, a separation which obviously needs to be maintained; at least until “Generation Z” arrives.

 I’m “GenX”, part of a generation born between the 1960’s and late 1970’s.  Unless your Dad worked at NASA you did not have a computer in your upbringing.

 My nephew on-the-other-hand is “GenY”. 

 He and his friends grew up watching extraordinary innovation change the world.  In fact, as part of a 2007 Strauss and Howe study of Y-students, it was revealed that 97% owned a computer and 94% owned a cell phone. They also found that 76% used instant messaging, of which 92% reported multitasking at the same time.

 And then there are my kids, “Gen Z”; born in the early to mid-1990’s through the early turn-of-the-millennium.

 Generation Z is highly connected, with lifelong use of communications and media technologies, earning them the nickname “Digital Natives.”  They carry smart phones in grade school, text more than talk, and prefer technology for communications; communications which are abbreviated, highly transactional, and out in the open. 

 Gen Z’s don’t think of innovation as their predecessors do; a utility to make life more efficient. Instead, and which makes them extraordinary, they see it as basic need, “Maslow-like”; food, clothing, shelter, and technology. 

 Gen Z’s  currently fall into the age range of 11-21; placing the eldest within the workforce as both buyer and seller later this year, where they will not gasp at the thought of conducting critical b2b discussions socially, nor will they wonder if work-life-balance is out of whack.

 Instead, paired with their Gen Y management team, they will move at speed of Z, ignoring those who cannot keep pace; driving permanent change to B2B and the most fundamental of systems – the belief system.

Maybe this is where we are heading, or maybe not. Regardless, today’s customers have options, they are no longer relegated to call or email a business to gather information.  

Instead they engross themselves in real-time conversations, through various business and social networks seeking answers through peer driven conversation, engaging our business’ as part of their process – at any time, from any device – never hesitating to outwit, or simply ignore our master plan for them.

I suppose this evolution has put us all in a position to make some tough decisions, less traditional, even outside of our own personal comfort zones, possibly way outside. 

Yes, in order for our business to remain accessible, available, knowledgeable, hip, and most importantly competitive; I believe that this is exactly what is going to have to happen.

Or I suppose, we could just put it off for a couple of years and let our kids deal with it.

 

-Tom Scontras, VP of Sales & Marketing, Glance Networks

October 27, 2011

Screen-sharing demo tool from Glance Networks helps Reed Construction Data reduce sales cycles/time-to-revenue by 60 percent

Who

Lisa Fiondella
Chief Customer Officer, Reed Construction Data

About Reed

Reed Construction Data, headquartered in a suburb of Atlanta, is a leading information provider to the construction industry, delivering targeted and timely project information, cost data and market intelligence that simplifies decision-making for Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) professionals throughout North America.

Lisa’s Challenge

Demonstrations are a key element of the selling process for Reed. For years, rather than providing one-on-one demos, the company had used a homegrown demo system that gave prospects access to its production data for a short period of time. The access was unguided, which caused several problems; chief among them, many prospects simply accessed the data they needed but then didn’t purchase the service from Reed.

Another downside of the homegrown system was that it did not automatically track prospect demo activity, leaving it up to the salesperson to manually update records in Reed’s sales force automation (SFA) system. Often reps neglected to do that, meaning follow-up sales efforts post-demo were erratic and sales managers not could accurately track demo activity or the impact of demos on closure rates.

How Glance Helps

Reed’s management team decided it was time to scrap its existing process and bring on a real demo tool to help its sales reps take charge of the process. Fiondella discovered that several inside salespeople had already adopted an instant screen-sharing tool called Glance to give demos, and it had helped

improve their closure rates considerably.

Simultaneously, Fiondella was working on an upgrade of Reed’s SFA, from an internally developed system to Salesforce.com. When she learned there was a version of Glance for Salesforce, she made the decision to move forward and implement Glance across Reed’s entire sales force.

Results

With Salesforce CRM and Glance for Salesforce now in place, Reed reps can now launch demos from within Salesforce. Participants are connected with one click, in just seconds. All activity is automatically recorded with no action necessary by the reps, and Reed sales managers can easily access reports such as number of demos per rep, average demo length and the impact demos have had on conversion rates.

According to Fiondella, Glance for Salesforce has helped the Reed sales team:

–         Build Salesforce stickiness by providing reps with all the apps they needed within the Salesforce.com interface.

–         Reduce sales cycles by 60 percent.

–         Improve lead conversion rates by 40 percent.

–         Increase the volume of demos to new leads by 66 percent.

Fiondella says other benefits include:

–         Reducing inside sales-cost-per-close by improving the lead conversion rate.

–         Reducing the marketing-cost-per-close.

–         Reducing the costs associated with its former demo system.

Overall, Reed estimates that it achieved payback on its investment in Glance for Salesforce in just four months.

“Reed is constantly striving to build a stronger sales force and Glance for Salesforce has transformed our sales process,” says Fiondella.

She says that the reporting in Glance for Salesforce has given the Reed sales management team unprecedented insight into inside sales activity, including the quantifiable impact of demos on sales. It has also enabled Reed to target and improve its training and development for sales reps in order to make them more successful.

“Demo-related metrics are the most important ones we track from an efficiency and effectiveness standpoint, because demos have such a strong impact on our close rates,” says Fiondella. “The analytics that Glance provides have vastly improved our ability to move the needle. We now have a much better understanding of the drivers for success.” Based on this success, Fiondella reports, a number of additional business units within Reed have recently begun using Glance for Salesforce.

Learn more about Glance for Salesforce.com Here.