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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

Sales Weekly Roundup: What Works in Sales Calls, SKO Best Practises & More

Posted by Sales for Life on Nov 25, 2016 1:39:09 PM

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Welcome to your sales weekly roundup for November 20-26. This week check out some awesome research by Gong.io, OnePageCRM, LinkedIn and a few SKO speaker best practises by Social selling expert Kurt Shaver. Enjoy.

We analyzed 25,537 B2B sales conversations using AI — here are the 5 things we discovered

Chris Orlob, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Gong.io, writes about his team’s mission to answer the question: what actually works on sales calls? The team analyzed the recordings of 25,357 B2B sales conversations on carried out on platforms like GoToMeeting, join.me and Webex. Each call about about 43 minutes. After the calls were transcribed and cleaned up, Gong’s AI machine made some key findings:

  • There is a direct correlation between listening time and win-rates. Most B2B sales reps spend 65-75% of time on the call talking/pitching, whereas top closers only spend 40-45% of the time talking/pitching. 43% talk time and 56% listening time seems to be the golden ratio, Gong found.

  • How often pricing should come up: roughly 3-4 times during a call, typically after value has been established. When pricing should come up: when discussed too early, less than 3 times or more than 5 times, the probability of the deal closing decreases. Use these as benchmarks, not absolute rules.

  • When a prospect uses the word “probably” to estimate project timing, the accuracy of forecasting timing of the project climbs to 73%. Conversely, there is a negative correlation of closing a deal when a prospect responds to a timing question with “We need to figure out X.”

Original research study here

4 Questions to Answer Before Hiring a Social Selling Speaker for Your SKO

Social selling expert Kurt Shaver outlines four main questions sales leaders should answer before hiring a social selling expert to speak at their Sales Kickoff (SKO).

  1. What is your desired outcome? Professional speakers can do a lot of things: inspire, raise awareness, motivate. But sales leaders should recognize within the span of 60 minutes, no speaker can deliver a mastery program. “Like mastering your company’s CRM system or a perfect golf swing, it takes more than 60-minutes,” Shaver says.

  2. Are you ready to commit to post-SKO training BEFORE the SKO? Many sales execs use the keynote to benchmark if they will go with post-SKO training, but Shaver says it minimizes keynote’s punch, and you lose the opportunity to announce the training during the event.

  3. What’s Marketing’s role in terms of ongoing content support? Most salespeople are familiar with outbound sales, however inbound techniques are still fairly new to them. Inbound requires salespeople to share content, becoming subject matter experts and advisors to prospects. Ensure sales and marketing are on the same page to optimize efficiency and ability to reach next year’s goals.

  4. What’s the current skill level of your team? Be sure to gauge the skills of yours sales team before hiring a speaker. In essence, you don’t want to insult them by repeating the basics. Instead, aim to hire someone way above their skill level, Shaver says.

The New Formula for Connecting with B2B Buyers

LinkedIn’s original social selling expert Koka Sexton discusses how social selling plays a critical role in converting leads into customers. 3 ways social selling has changed the B2B sales process:

  • How You Engage With Buyers Matters: Sexton brings out the stat that 53% of buyers turn to social media for peer recommendations in 2013 compared to just 19% in 2012. Can you imagine what that number is today? Stats also show 53% of customers think less of brands that still use cold calling. In short, the way you engage with buyers affects them. Don’t annoy them with old tactics; sell how they want to be sold to.

  • Meeting Buyer Expectations: Buyers engage with brand they feel affinity towards, brands they have similar beliefs to and brands who they connect with. This is why it’s important for salespeople to maintain a consistency of brand messaging, tone, and value.

  • A 4-Step Path to Improving Buyer/Seller Engagement: In Sexton’s words: First, you need to establish yourself as a professional brand. Second, find the right customers who will benefit from your product or service. Third, once you’ve decided on who to reach out to, engage them in meaningful conversations. Finally, make sure you continue to build trust and rapport with your leads over time.

Is Your Sales Strategy Out Of Step?

The folks over at OnePageCRM reported the results of a study of 250 salespeople conducted by the CRM reviews company, suggesting that modern sales strategy isn’t as far removed from the old techniques as we thought. Some takeaways:

  • Almost half (46%) of sales professionals surveyed see price as the number one priority for customers.

  • Less than 10% think that consumers are looking for personalized customer service.

  • Only 5% believe that potential customers prioritize knowledgeable sales staff.

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