Welcome to your sales weekly roundup for April 28-May 5. This week we’ve got the dangers of a social selling only sales floor, priorities for sales leaders who don't want to become obsolete and golden rules for effective sales leadership. Enjoy.
Esteemed sales thought leader Tony J. Hughes writes on the dangers of having a social selling only sales floor. “If you are sitting near a strategic seller, and it sounds like a zen spa in the background, be wary,” he warns.
Luckily, those who know how to properly roll out social selling know it is an additive methodology, as opposed to a standalone one. In any case, here are Hughes’ arguments for how an overemphasis on social can hinder sales performance:
- If you're having a problem with revenue, why does your sales floor sound like a funeral procession? Energy, Hughes says, is what’s missing on the modern sales floor. This energy, this passion, cannot be construed over InMails, email or Twitter DMs. The modern buyer is surrounded by so much white noise that actually picking up the phone will make you stand out (hopefully your call is value-packed because you leveraged social strategies to discover relevant and contextual insights about your buyer, their company and their industry).
- Constraining when reps can call and forcing them to book time on calendars is the absolute height of inanity insanity! STOP the madness! Hughes tells the story of one rep who got punished for “disrupting” the sales floor with his loud outbound prospecting (calling). He was asked next time to book a call pod using Google calendar.
- Make the phone a central pillar of your sales strategy. Hughes is quick to point out he’s not bashing social selling—he’s just saying in a sales prospecting strategy the phone is equally as important. Use both in tandem for best results: “Pull up Sales Navigator, check your common connections, school in common, contacts in your own company that know them, triggers like press releases, expansion, M&A, product innovation, job changes but then pick up the phone to tell them about it. Google their name, pull a quote and call their cell phone to talk about how the quote links into a business case.”
To him (and a lot of other sales thought leaders) video is the next frontier. The platforms combines passion traditionally portrayed over the phone with the in-depth research opportunities social provides.
SBI asked 144 Sales VPs what activities they would eliminate, continue and accelerate in the next quarter. Senior Partner SBI Matt Sharrers summarizes the results:
#1 New Technology - Can you see your buyer over that massive tech stack? The overuse of technology has created tension between sales and marketing over lack of leads.
#2 Forecast Calls - There's too much wasted energy in telling senior leaders things they should already know from the CRM. And, "because the CRM is not properly configured, a manual workaround happens." The whole process is maddening.
#1 Big Deal Reviews - These 1-3 big deals can make or break a quarter. If sales leaders are going to focus their energy on one thing, it’s going to be the whale deals.
#2 Social Selling Initiatives - “An updated LinkedIn profile is not social,” says Sharrers. Social is an obvious initiative because that’s where the majority of buyers are today. The struggle sales leaders are facing is how to best execute a social selling program.
#1 Buying Process Maps - A buying process map that outlines the sales process and the needs of the buyer is essential for understanding the buyer and their needs without them explicitly saying so.
#2 Sales Enablement - Senior leaders realize their teams are taking new products to market without effective training and/or onboarding. Sales enablement is essential to optimize processes and accelerate revenue.
#3 Account Based Marketing - To generate new leads, sales leaders are turning to marketing to implement ABM. They want targeted campaigns to tier one accounts.
Senior Sales Director for Canada and the U.S. at Smarsh Dan Thompson has made an effort to replicate the successful strategies he’s been taught by successful sales leaders over the years. Here they are:
Coach Every Member of Your Team.
There are two main types of coaching Thompson uses:
- In the field sales coaching: jumping on calls and visiting clients with your reps.
- Scenario based sales coaching: Role play out the specifics of a given deal during a pipeline review.
Be The Voice For Your Team.
Your sales team looks up to you—Thompson says you should “listen, say what needs to be said, and speak loudly [to other executives] on the issues that matter.” Your team will respect you more for standing up for what matters to them.
Inspire Your Team To Be Their Best.
As Thompson points out, you’re not doing yourselves any favors by hanging onto underperforming reps. “It’s impossible to achieve world-class results if you don’t have the talent to succeed,” he says.
Be a Sounding Board.
Sales, especially for younger reps, can be an emotional rollercoaster. Provide them support and guidance. Listen to their problems. Advise. This helps vet out roadblocks in their performance, leading to higher productivity and, at the end of the day, more sales.
Thompson couldn’t be more right when he says: "Reps will naturally take coaching better from sales leaders who have their best interests at heart, and who genuinely care about their success." Basically, ehen teams are transparent and honest with each other, everybody wins.
*This is a summary of The Straightforward Truth About Effective Sales Leadership by Dan Thompson.