<![CDATA[RepTivity - Our Blog]]>Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:18:43 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[How I qualify a prospect Quickly]]>Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:29:12 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/how-i-qualify-a-prospect-fastPicture
Are your sales reps taking just a little too long to qualify prospects as potential sales opportunities? Perhaps they are deviating from the plan you gave them and going rogue. In many cases, you'll find that some of the more senior reps "know what they are doing" or "it's not their first time to the rodeo". I can honesty say that although I have been selling for over 13 years I am still learning. There is however one constant process that I have been using effectively to qualify prospects fast. Today, I want to share them with you and of course wold love to hear your feedback and critique.

PRIORITIES:  After you're done building honest rapport with your prospect, you need to transition the call or meeting to understanding their priorities. This is a critical piece of information to know. I don't care what you're selling, if your solution does not align with their current priorities you've just become a nice to have or potential solution to a future set of priorities (that may never actually exist). Taking the time to understand your prospects priorities demonstrates maturity and professional business acumen. Remember, it's always about what is most important to your prospect. For example, if you're speaking with a sales manager who is looking for ways to motivate sales reps, and you happen to sell a gamification platform to create sales contests, you might have some alignment. However, if you're speaking with a VP of Marketing whose priorities involve redesigning a trade show booth, you may not want to mention that you're company provides inbound marketing software for lead generation. What I am getting at is, make sure your prospects priorities are a match for your offering. You'll get their attention and have a much easier time compiling a list for what comes next in the qualification process - their problems.

PROBLEMS: The Notorious B.I.G. once said, "more money more problems". For sales people, more problems means more money. When people have a list of priorities, especially in business, it usually stems from a set of problems their attempting to address. Often times priorities change due to a new set of problems to solve for. Does your prospects problems align with your solution? Have you gone from sales rep to problem solver? Prospects buy from problem solvers who help them tackle their list of priorities. If you are pitching an irrelevant solution, you're wasting their time and most importantly yours. Thank them for their time and move on. Fix problems that exist and don't bother creating problems that don't.

Benjamin Frankly coined the phrase, "no pain no gain". In sales, if your prospect has no pain, you gain no sale - period. Pain in business causes anxiety, stress and urgency. Pain promotes motivation to find a cure. Ever have a headache? What is the fist thing you reach for? Aspirin or ibuprofen. What happens when your prospect has a business pain? You guessed it, they seek a remedy. Is your service or prodcut the remedy to their business pain? If so, you just bubbled yourself up on their list of people to talk to. The easiest way to find out if your prospect is in pain is to ask. Seriously. There is nothing wrong with asking a VP of Sales what keeps he or she up at night. There is nothing wrong with asking a CEO what the consequences are of missing their Q4 revenue target.  It takes courage to ask these questions, but difficult questions result in concrete answers.

In summary, your prospects priorities stem from problems that are causing them pain. Can you help or not? If yes, you have a qualified sales opportunity. If not, move on.

<![CDATA[Reasons why #salesforce may not be for sales reps | Part 1]]>Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:45:08 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/reasons-why-salesforce-may-not-be-for-sales-reps-part-1Picture
How do you know if your sales reps like using #Salesforce? Most likely you don't. However, I bet you know which sales reps on your team don't like Salesforce. Think about it. When was the last time you heard from a sales rep, "Salesforce is awesome, I love it!" Seriously though, why don't they love it? 

1.) Salesforce is for managers: You read that right. It should be called Managersforce. Don't agree? Why do sales reps log calls and tasks? So their managers can see they are generating activity. Why is there a dashboard tab with bar graphs, pie charts, and listings of sales reps with their KPI's? So managers can be one click away from having their fingers on the pulse of their of sales reps activities.  Why is there a reports tab? You think sales reps give a hoot about reports? Managers like reports, sales reps like commission checks. Sales reps want tools to make selling easier, faster and less complex. They want to focus on filling their pipeline with sales opportunities and less time on data entry. Does Salesforce provide them with tools to accomplish these things? If you said yes, then why are there so many apps on the #AppExchange claiming to promote or increase sales rep user adoption? Still disagree? Head over to the AppExchange and search for #gamification, sales #leaderboards or #salescontest.

2.) Salesforce User Groups: Question for the sales reps reading this post. Have you ever been to a Salesforce User Group? I hear ya. I have actually been to one. It's essentially a bunch of Salesforce administrators, a vendor sponsor who get's to pitch the entire room of administrators and maybe a few people looking for networking opportunities. There is absolutely nothing there that will teach, advise or assist a sales rep with selling anything. They should change the name of these groups to Salesforce Administrators Listen To Vendors Pitch Group. Maybe change the name of Salesforce to AdministratorsForce? 

<![CDATA[why sales contests sometimes dont work]]>Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:44:52 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/why-sales-contests-sometimes-dont-workPicture
As sales leaders, we're always looking for creative ways to motivate our teams. Many sales organizations use sales contests to fire up team competition and drive sales revenue past quota. Sales contests can work sometimes but frankly I feel they fail more times than not. Let's look at a few reasons why sales contests can sometimes fail

1.) The playing field is not level - How many times have you looked at your salesleaderboard and noticed the usual suspects at the top? Then as you scroll down to the bottom of the leaderboard you see mostly newer reps either going through their ramp up period or just starting to have a decent sales pipeline to sell to. Ask yourself, how can you implement a sales contest that gives everyone a fair shot at success? I do have a suggestion. Keep the metrics, goals and parameters of the contest exactly the same for all reps. Then, take the reps who have been selling for you less than 6 months and place them in a separate contest or leaderboard. Let the more senior guys and gals duke it out and give your newer reps a chance to showcase their skills and earn some positive public recognition. Trust me, once they feel the joy of winning it will pay huge dividends down the road. The way I would summarize this approach is the minor leagues vs. the major leagues. Asking a rep who has been selling for you for 3 months to compete in a sales contest with a rep who has been with you for 2 years is a tough feat to take on. More importantly, it's deflating and can make a rep feel like they are losing before the game even begins.

2. The prize is the same old same old: A gift card for Best Buy! Sweet. If this was 2008. Gift cards are great and all, but is that really enough to get the competitive juices flowing? Doesn't a Friday off in February with a free lift ticket to ski Killington, VT sound so much better? Quick tip: survey your reps. Ask them what they do when they are not selling for you. Get to know your team! If Janet likes sushi and doing Yoga, do you think a gift card to Best Buy is really going resonate with her? The end game of a sales contest is the same for all, but the motivational drivers within the contest that will deem it a success must vary rep to rep.

Good luck with your next sales contest!

<![CDATA[Never put your product launch before the horse]]>Sat, 01 Mar 2014 02:48:10 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/never-put-your-product-launch-before-the-horsePicture
There is a reason you should never put your cart before the horse. See the image to the left. The same time tested logic should also apply to companies who plan to launch a new product without a marketing strategy. To be more specific, I am referring to a marketing strategy that begins 6-12 months prior to the actual launch. 

For the purpose of this post, I am going to pose a question. Would you rather launch your product with a mass following of prospects eagerly awaiting the launch or would you rather launch your product and try to find an audience who actually cares? Do you think Apple releases a new iPhone without telling their loyalist 6-12 months in advance? Would it be easier for Cold Play to sell out a concert by marketing the show for the 6 months leading up to the the actual date? What if Cold Play just showed up unannounced to TD Bank Garden in Boston tonight to play a concert? Do you think the venue wold be sold out without marketing and no pre-sale ticket opportunities?

So why are you waiting to announce your new product on the same day it launches? Also, who are you announcing your news to? Did these people ask to be a recipient of your news? Are you emailing a list of people you purchased or a list of people you earned?  Let's explore four methods you should consider practicing  to ensure your next product launch is a success.

1.) Build momentum 6-12 months prior to launch. Even if your product is still in a state of concept, you should still be talking about it. Write a weekly blog post of your progress. Solicit beta testers. Share your progress and beta tester recruitment via social media. I would focus on leveraging Twitter and LinkedIn Groups. Be sure to have forms located throughout your website where visitors can become leads for you.  Avoid using 'Contact Us' and other low percentage conversion forms. Instead, allow visitors to sign up to be a beta tester, receive weekly product announcements and "insider information". Perhaps even offer a 10% discount for signing up to be a part of your new launch.

2.) Turn social sharing on: I can't tell you how many product related emails I get that don't have social sharing options available. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what social sharing is, let me explain. Social sharing allows you to easily share content with your social network. Content includes blogs, emails and landing pages. When you send someone an email, be sure to include the option of sharing your email socially via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. For more on the topic, here is a great blog post from HubSpot: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Social Media Buttons.

3.) Segment your email list: As your website or blog begins draw attention from individuals interested in your product launch, it's imperative that you segment your new leads. The easiest approach is to collect an individuals likes and interests on your lead capture forms. If a person is interested in becoming a beta tester, assign them to the beta testers email list. Be sure to send them emails and various content mostly on your beta program while periodically mixing in offers and promotions.

4.) Invest in website intelligence: This one is probably the most important from my perspective. Invest in analytics and web site intelligence that empowers you with clarity. The best way to understand your audience is to identify what they're interested in. Companies that have websites and lack visitor intelligence are doing so much harm to their business. If you have a new product webpage up right now and do not have visitor intelligence implemented, stop what you're doing and get on it! Google Analytics is free. HubSpot has an amazing prospects tool if you want to really do it right. You have no excuse.

Hopefully this post was helpful or at least got you thinking differently about your product launch marketing strategy. Good luck!

<![CDATA[why your sales reps need inbound leads]]>Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:19:46 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/why-your-sales-reps-need-inbound-leadsPicture
Full disclosure, I am a sales rep who gets inbound sales leads. I have also been selling for over 13 years. I've knocked on doors using the only leads database available at the time - the Yellowpages. I have been chased out of local businesses, told to "f" off, to never come back here and of course hung up on. 

Then around 2005, the emergence of tools like Jigsaw made life a little easier for a salesperson. The ability to get something like an email address for a decision maker was like finding gold. Not only was I able to leave a voice mail but I could also follow up with an email. The only problem with this method is I was one of twenty sales people who followed the same approach when requesting the time of this decision maker. Although breaking through got a little easier, the sales game still remained a contact sport for me, often times requiring 50-60 phone calls per day. This doesn't include emails. I was seeing sales rep after sales rep come and go. Fatigue, mental burnout and rejection were often the reasons for sales staff turnover. Furthermore, management did nothing to solve for this epidemic. To their defense what was the solution? Sure they could dump a ton of cash in the Adwords machine and pay $8-$9 per click and upwards of $25 per lead. But how would they ensure that these leads were the right leads? 

Next, around 2007 - 2009ish, companies were subscribing to lead intelligence databases such as ZoomInfo, NetProspex, Insideview, Hoovers and RainKing. I have used all of these services and although they were great services at the time they still lead to the same shitty tactics and sales processes. These services still required the sales rep to cold call, investigate, search for potential problems to solve for and most importantly, disrupt busy professionals who never asked to hear from you in the first place. Believe as you may, this hurts your companies brand. Would you rather be known as the sales organization who annoys or the sales organization who consults and advises? 

Then came along my dream sales job, HubSpot. Now this is a sales organization. I am supported with a plethora of tools to make my job so much easier. The only thing I stress now is hitting my number every month. I am given every tool under the sun to be successful. For example, I use Signals - a Chrome extension that integrates with my email and Salesforce.com. I can see who has opened my emails, if my prospects have returned to my website, what they are looking at and when new leads are assigned to me - ALL IN REAL TIME! Furthermore, I am provided with warm inbound leads such as demo requests and contact sales requests via the HubSpot marketing platform. Lastly, and perhaps the best part is I get to provide the same education, method and technology to other companies so they can experience what I do as a sales rep. 

Some resources you can check out to learn more about HubSpot:

What is HubSpot? - Video

The ROI for Companies Who use HubSpot : Get the Full Report

Also, feel free to send questions my way via the comment section below!

<![CDATA[Reptivity vs. Hoopla | Sales Motivation for Salesforce.com]]>Tue, 28 May 2013 01:29:01 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/reptivity-vs-hoopla-sales-motivation-for-salesforcecom
I get this question a lot. "How do you guys compare to Hoopla Scoreboard?" My answer is pretty straight forward. RepTivity is free and Hoopla Scoreboard is a paid subscription. We provide a real-time leaderboard for sales teams with the option of displaying leaderboards on large screen TV's. Then I say we have over 100 customers using RepTivity and have not raised a single dollar from investors in the process.  In summary, we offer the same service for free. 
INstall RepTivity For free!
<![CDATA[Blogging: the perfect elixir to Cold calling fatigue]]>Tue, 30 Apr 2013 13:13:06 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/blogging-the-perfect-elixir-to-cold-calling-fatigueBefore I started blogging, my release from the brutal exercise of cold calling was to get frustrated, go for a walk and come back to making more cold calls. This wasn't working but frankly I didn't know what else to do. I knew I had do something that would attract prospects to RepTivity's website.  According to a 2009 study conducted by inbound marketing software leader Hubspot, companies that blog increase their website traffic by 55%. So in 2011, instead of spending the majority of my day using outbound sales techniques I decided to allocate a portion of my day to blogging.

After writing my first 3-4 blog posts I almost gave up. I just wasn't seeing the results that I thought I would. I was still cold calling a ton and leaving voice mails. My conversion rates on cold calls were less than 3%. After all I was calling on sales managers and sales operation folks who use Salesforce.com. I was asking if they would be interested in installing our free sales leaderboard app available on the AppExchange? Rejection was high because at the time we were the only company offering this type of application and trying to bring a new app to market. I decided to stick with blogging and proceeded to write 4 new blog post. The result was an additional 100 Twitter followers, 50 new LinkedIn connections and 5 new sales leads! People also started commenting on my blogs which gave me the green light to initiate conversation. Bottom line: blogging works!

In summary blogging works if you stick with. It's been a proven stress reliever for me personally. I encourage you to give it a shot and not to give up after your first few posts. ]]>
<![CDATA[The key to sales reps hitting quota starts with a solid on-boarding plan]]>Thu, 25 Apr 2013 17:50:29 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/the-key-to-sales-reps-hitting-quota-starts-with-a-solid-on-boarding-planPicture
I have been a professional sales rep since 2001. I have held multiple positions for all sorts of companies. While it's true that companies hire you based on your skills, qualifications and history of  quota attainment, not all companies are alike. Not all companies have the same sales process, customer profile or operational structure. Even though you hit quota or made President's club at your previous roles, the past means squat if you fail to perform in your current role. The key to hitting quota starts with your companies training and on-boarding process.

How many of you have worked for a start up? When you interviewed they told you all about their start up culture, ground floor opportunity, stock options and the benefits of "getting in early." These are all very exciting things and should absolutely be part of your decision making process. Start ups can have the coolest new product or service and global domination may be on the horizon, but if their on-boarding process is not defined or even worse vacant, your chances of hitting quota decrease dramatically.  My advice to all start ups is to develop an on-boarding process during the infancy stages of your venture. You can always modify the process as your business matures and you learn more.  If you're expecting a sales rep to take the plunge and attach themselves to your dream, you can at least train them on your industry, company objectives and how to properly position your offering to potential prospects. Show them what has NOT worked and the pitfalls they should avoid.  The outcome will be an increased opportunity at hitting quota. Lastly, collect feedback from your sales reps and apply this data to your on-boarding and training process.

What if your company is an established player with industry credit, a recognizable brand and a kick ass product? What if your company has competitors and  product displacement is the name of the game? What if your product is complex therefore a complex sales process is the norm? Or, better yet, you sell over the phone and web demo? Should this be the case then the on-boarding process has never been more critical. The best on-boarding process is made up of 4 parts: Company Introduction, Industry Introduction 101, Product Positioning vs. Competitors and finally The Sales Process.

Company Introduction: Articulate your companies history, how it started, it's core values, cultural positions and what makes it remarkable. Have your executive team present one at a time and hold a Q&A session for the new trainees. Transparency is rare in most companies yet it has a lasting imprint on your new hires. If I could define Company Introduction with only word, it would be Transparency.

Industry Introduction: Educating new hires on your industry and how it has evolved is crucial to their ability to properly sell your products and services.  How can you sell within an industry if you don't fully understand it? For example, before you sell Inbound Marketing Software to marketing professionals it would be wise to understand the impact such software has had on the industry to date.

Product Positioning vs. Competitors: This one is pretty self explanatory.  Sometimes it's almost better to know your competitors products better than your own. Well...maybe. The point I want to make is to be sure you educate your new hires on your most viable competitors. Define with specificity why your product wins over theirs. Test your new hires on this knowledge. 
The Sales Process: I don't care where you've worked before. I don't care what % of quota you were at during your last job. Every company should have it's own well defined sales process. Methods for winning deals vary company to company. Well established companies usually know what works vs. what doesn't (based purely on experience and data). It's often very hard for new hires, especially sales reps to break away from their traditional methods of selling. This can sometimes lead to new sales reps failing early on. However, those who embrace the sales methodology and process of their new company will increase their chances of hitting quota consistently. It is important to approach each new job with a clean slate and open mind. 

As always, feel free to contribute your ideas and comments.

<![CDATA[Take our poll | How Valuable are AppExchange reviews? ]]>Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:33:24 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/take-our-poll-how-valuable-are-appexchange-reviews
<![CDATA[What percentage of reviews on the Appexchange are fake?]]>Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:10:36 GMThttp://www.reptivity.com/our-blog/what-percentage-of-reviews-on-the-appexchange-are-fakePicture
Do you ever wonder how genuine or authentic app reviews are on the AppExchange? It boggles my mind when I see an app receive fifteen 5 star reviews all on the same day. How is this possible? What are the motivators behind 15 people leaving app reviews all on the same day? Furthermore, are these reviews legit? Are they authentic? I treat our app reviews like I like treat our social media followers - I earn them. I don't buy them. 

I think most reviews these days are fluff. In my humble opinion, I would bet at least 50% of all app reviews these days are favors. How else would a company with half our customer base have 20 times more app reviews than we do? Perhaps I am being ignorant here. For me it truly is a head scratcher. Your feedback on this topic is appreciated but for now I broke it down into three possibilities.

1.) Companies incentivize users to leave reviews.

2.) Companies have their friends and family leave reviews.

3.) Companies ask their employees to leave app reviews on their behalf.

Does your sales team need motivation?