Scale Your Sales podcast guest article
Scale Your Sales

Scale You Sales Podcast Survey Responses From Expert Guests

Every quarter I compile an article from Scale Your Sales Podcast guest survey answers. These are some of the answers that we did not cover in the live show.  As host of Scale Your Sales Podcast, I would love to know if you found value in their insights.  For some, the pandemic has meant adaption, while the sales industry is in a state of modernisation and renewal.

Feeling connection from your colleagues and creating momentum for your team, where people can share best practices and celebrate wins seems to be one thing, we took for granted before the pandemic, says Julie Mann. We share best practices and stay informed with weekly spotlights where individual team members present and share wins. We also have weekly training where we brush up on product knowledge with a fun game, winners get prizes, and it makes learning fun and interactive.

Liz J Simpson said the pandemic presents the worst of circumstances, and yet I have seen brilliant examples of innovation during this time. Many clients have shifted to digital strategies and platforms like LinkedIn to focus on providing value and a deeper human connection. They have seen those efforts pay in dividends and open up opportunities for profitable revenue streams, despite the pandemic.

 

Scale Your Sales pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3791136

 

I asked the Scale Your Sales guests if B2B sales have shifted enough to be buyer and customer-centric?

Barnaby Wynter said there is no such thing as B2B sales. The buyer is in full control; it is the role of marketing has fundamentally changed.

Too many companies say they are customer-centric, but they don’t act it Jill Konrath advises starting with onboarding.

However, B2B sales have not shifted enough to be BUYER centric to help and enable decision-makers truly. Michael Haynes said, customer advisory panels and briefings can be valuable, and more of the B2B Sales process needs to focus on post-sale implementation and support.

It has not shifted enough says David Priemer, salespeople still use old, outdated tactics rooted in nothing more than historical practice and tradition. Many of these tactics would not work on themselves.

B2B sales still have a long way to go. The data and automation that could fuel a much more customer-centric sales approach, the technology is only just growing, and the people are beginners at using it, says Jeroen Corthout.

Martin MacArthur notes that AI and machine learning will remove the manual aspects of sales, and eventually, we will transition to voice assistance, helping us fill the pipeline.

Julie Mann says customers are way more knowledgeable about what they want and smarter about getting measured improvements and ROI from their perusing vendors. Mapping our prospecting efforts by buyer intent and stage in the journey is working, way more than sending out cold messaging to buyers who have no idea what your company does.

The businesses struggling to be buyer-centric face the challenge of inconsistent revenue growth states Liz J Simpson, verse the companies who embrace digital strategies.

Jennifer Warawa offers that changing your mind and perspective to change your approach and impact is now a requirement.

 

Close-up portrait of his he nice attractive bearded guy boyfriend creating interesting novelty plan guessing clue decision isolated over bright vivid shine red background

 

Asking what practical strategy enable buyers to buy or build a long term trusted customer relationship?

Barnaby Wynter said, make sense of insights.

Martin MacArthur said to use outcomes to prioritize which prospects to contact.

David Priemer offers emotional alignment is the key.

Christine Schlonski says selling with heart, always.

Julie Mann state says creating nurture programs creates success.

Offer your customers open and honest communication, mean it, use it, says Joyce Johnson.

Stay close to your customers, interview them, follow up to help them consistently, automating part of this will make all the difference.

Jill Konrath said to focus on helping customers achieve their objectives.

Customer Advisory Panels help gain insights on WHAT and HOW you must deliver to buyers says, Michael Haynes.

67% of the buyer’s journey is digital, Liz J Simpson said you must meet buyers’ where they are and provide what they need.

Jennifer Warawa makes a number on non-sales related partner calls weekly, to check-in and listen. To ask about their families and friends and connect on a human level.

If you mess up, dress up and fess up, is a philosophy Jennifer Warawa promotes.

Jennifer Warawa says, do not sell to people, instead fix a problem.

 

Scale Your Sales pexels-christina-morillo-1181724

 

I usually ask the guest of Scale Your Sales podcast their experience of diversity in the sales industry.

Barnaby Wynter recalls, in 2000, he partnered in the launch of a gay bank, saying the prejudice was at best unsettling and at worst disgusting. Until we no longer need to ask this question, there is much work to be done. That path to making the issue irrelevant is a long and difficult one.

“Given the nature of B2B buying and what is involved….more women should have a more significant role to play in complex B2B selling as they often have the critical skills needed,” Michael Haynes quoting, Harvard Business Review research.

Jill Konrath states Xerox hired her to meet a government quota because they needed to meet diversity requirements. (Look at the success of the decision)

Martin MacArthur said, “I live it each day, as a blind sales professional who is executing outbound campaigns daily using various technologies that work with my screen reader.” In this podcast episode, Martin shares some of his less favourable experiences.

Julie Mann has been the only female in the room too many times. Gender equality and ethnic diversity are still not where they need to be in B2B sales, as I can see that there are not an equal number of voices from different ethnic backgrounds.

Joyce Johnson says she has not worked in a diverse environment because she is often the first and only.

Liz J Simpson sees a shift with more millennial women as the decision-maker in specific B2B industries.

Jennifer Warawa said there are more women than men in the DIRTT sales team. However, diversity is about more than just gender; they are continually looking at all types of diversity (ensuring they have some extremely experienced people and some people with no experience, race, etc.).

 

Close-up portrait of his he nice attractive bearded guy boyfriend creating interesting novelty plan guessing clue decision isolated over bright vivid shine red background

 

The guest interviewees offered one tried and tested strategy to Scale Your Sales.

Barnaby: Niche your value Proposition and engage only with those who would buy from you.

Martin: Establishing a powerful personal brand on LinkedIn demonstrating vulnerability, authenticity & transparency.

Christine: connect your brain with your heart and stop thinking about commissions in the sales conversation.

Julie: Create an in-depth nurture program to stay close to those folks you had a great conversation (even if it is a long term relationship and not an immediate win).

Joyce: Understand the revenue impact by asking them what it is. Do not assume.

Jeroen: Build a reliable sales process and follow-up approach, such that no deals or valuable information can slip through the cracks.

Jill: Have a well-thought-out onboarding program.

Michael: Productized offers that are constructed with an in-depth and holistic view of the buyers’ needs.

Liz: If LinkedIn is not a key ingredient in your client acquisition strategy, you are missing opportunities.

Jennifer: Prepare the business to scale for their next phase of growth. Outstanding Leadership underpins every great sale along with Systems, Structure and make everyone a brand Ambassador.

 

Please do connect with the experts and influencers.  If you have not already listened to Scale Your Sales Podcast, you will find it on all podcast channels along with the video show on YouTube. If you like it, it’d mean the world to me if you would give the show a rating and review on iTunes!

Read More
Scale Your Sales Book Reviews
Scale Your Sales, Trusted Advisors

Scale Your Sales Lockdown Book Recommendations

I have read many more books in what has been an unusual 2020 here is part two of book recommendations for my Scale Your Sales family of followers. The reason why these made it to my list is that SNAP selling is my all-time go-to sales book and I wanted to share my views the others, to help you develop your skills and mindset.

 

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath

Snap Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers

 

I first read SNAP selling in 2014. Jill Konrath wrote a timeless book that was ground-breaking when it was first published and relevant even today. I love the phases crazy busy and frazzled customers, if anything our buyers are more frazzled, and sellers must make it easy for buyer that have less time to consider the options when status quo is the most compelling. It is masterful how the author helps the reader get in the head of the buyer decision-making journey to move from oblivious to the problem to curious, from complacent to committed to change, from open to view options, to certain of their choices.

SNAP stand for Simple iNvaluable Aligned and Prioritised. The author is an authority on the value proposition. It is no different here, what value means to your prospect and how you must help them differentiate your offer from others that do not add more complexity and aligns to their business goals. SNAP Selling will give your sales team the professional best practice that their customer will appreciate. Highly recommended as essential reading.

Lenka-Lutonska

Lenka Lutonska

Energetic Selling and Marketing: A New Way to Create Extraordinary Growth in your Business

 

If you are not into energetic power, you may struggle with this book. However, 2020 has shifted the consciousness to consider beliefs like the law of attraction, purpose, spirituality, and energetic power has led many to consider a concerted practice. This book will guide you through an energetic approach that will improve not only your sales but your life. This book is for small and micro business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders. I love the author’s character, and if you like a sassy spirit, you will follow Lenka Lutonska.

Nikki Rausch

The Selling Staircase

 

The selling staircase is a simple, easy to follow guide to selling with confidence and empathy.

This is a no sleaze approach to giving people, customers, or buyers what they want. The author has the gift of helping you see sales from the buyer point of view. The author has the skill to present the use of language, from her NLP mastery, so that you can help your buyers make the right decision. The Selling Staircase is Introduction, Curiosity, Discovery, Proposal and Closing all presented with examples and stories that help bring the framework to an aha of that makes perfect sense. Throughout the book, the author asks you to complete the practical exercises to apply the staircase using the framework.

Whether you are a seasoned sales practitioner, you will gain from the choice of language; or a novice, this will demystify the selling process; you will all benefit from Nikki Rausch guidance.

Donald Miller

Building a Story Brand 

 

Since reading this book, I have heard many other marketing specialists quote the material as their own. The book helps you to apply the story brand method or to create a story that your customers can easily engage with through your website. If your viewers are confused by your message, then they cannot and will not buy. Easy to read with three-section why marketing is a money pit, the story brand structure explained and then implementing the Story Brand, brand script. The story structure is nothing new, but it is the practical way you can apply it to attract customers that are looking to buy. Essential strategies to ensure your customer are clear about what you will do for them.

Carlos-Gil-500x500

Carlos Gil

The End of Marketing 

 

This book is one of the most enlightening and refreshing read. The author makes well-placed observations and gives excellent examples to illustrate his point. I love the chapters analysing the success of DJ Khaled and Kim Kardashian and transforming advocate into the faces of your brand. Along with the power of personality and persuasion. There are many books on marketing promoting nothing different from what has been said before.

This is different; it is real and relevant. If you want to upgrade your thinking on how marketing has changed, then this is it.

Tony Robinson OBE

By Tony Robinson OBE & Taryn Lee Johnston

The Happipreneur – Why MicroBizMatters

 

This book tells the story of the life and challenges of Tony Robinson OBE. A man that always swims against the current and dares to travel the road less travelled. Throughout the book is of an avid campaigner, generously given back and representing the underdog and championing of real businesswomen and men. I was shocked to be mentioned in this book as a role model; this is not why I am writing the review; it is another demonstration of the authors’ generosity. There are not many gentlemen that put others. First, that openly admit to their failings, that is as passionate about what is truly important, and that is the love of people over the love of money. There is so much insight in the pages quoting John Lennon “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote “happy”. They told me I did not understand the assignment and I told them they did not understand life.

Starting a business micro business:

  1. Bootstrap do not borrow.
  2. Test trade first (get customers)
  3. Get a business owner mentor who understands your customer.
  4. Build multiple income streams.
  5. Enjoy!

Happipreneur is all about doing what you love and are good at for your customers, being resilient, having fun, cherishing family and friends, and the love of being happy. You will not go wrong reading how Tony Robinson OBE has negotiated his life, and the by-product is creating a legacy of happipreneurship. Highly recommended

Tayo Rockson

Tayo Rockson

Use Your Difference to Make a Difference 

 

There has been an imbalance for so long that people do not recognise in the moment. If at all that, their assumptions are wrong, and their communication is culturally incorrect or demeaning. The author gives many personal examples which anyone who is culturally different will recognise or has experienced. However, the author offers practical solutions with cross-cultural training and education in the workplace. I love that the author champions and celebrates difference and encourages those that are not in a diverse environment to take a small for definite step out of their binary world to experience and not fear differences. It is natural to fear what is outside of our comfort zone. This book is a gentle and positive message rather than to live with fear and mistrust. To step out and experiment, to try something new. I highly recommend reading this book it is a fabulous addition to the diversity and inclusion and human arena.

Perry Marshall

Perry Marshall

80/20 Sales and Marketing 

 

This is two books in one—first, the 80/20 rule and analysis and secondly, how you could apply 80/20 strategies in Facebook marketing. The second half did not interest me at all. I wish there were more on the theory and evidence of 80/20 sales and marketing. Facebook marketing is part of the Perry Marshall marketing machine and kicked into an assault of email, contrary to the focus strategy of 80/20. I enjoyed the level of research to demonstrate the application of the theories.

 

On to my stack of half-finished and not yet started pile of bedside table books 🙂

Let me know your views if you have read any of these books and if not share your most insightful book of 2020 and why?

 

 

Read More
2020 Scale Your Sales Book Reviews
Scale Your Sales

Janice B Gordon 2020 Scale Your Sales Book Reviews

My 2020 book reviews and recommendations for my Scale Your Sales family of followers.  Some but not all have been guest of Scale Your Sales podcast.  Although my favourite book of 2020 is Becoming by Michelle Obama, the reason why these made it to my list is that I have learnt something new and I wanted to share these lessons with you.  I have read many books in lockdown, here is part one of two, I hope they help you develop your skills and mindset as they have me.

Amy Franko image

Amy Franko

The Modern Seller: Sell More and Increase Your Impact in the New Sales Economy

So much has changed in the world, and those closest to the end-user have had to adapt quickly. B2B sellers have further to travel than buyers who directly link to their customers. The author has provided a framework and five dimensions required to successfully adapt to the modern environment: Agile, Entrepreneurial, Holistic, Social, and Ambassador. I love that Amy Franko shares her own experiences and how she has had to adapt not only to becoming an entrepreneur but also as a modern seller. There are many case studies examples and actionable steps you can take to develop as a modern seller. It is not easy navigating how a traditions industry can and must change to ensure continued relevance, some will, and others will hang on to the past. The Modern Seller will help you to sell more and increase your impact in the new sales economy.

Fred Copestake image

Fred Copestake

Selling Through Partnering Skills

I enjoyed the references to other sales methodologies throughout the book. It was a good reminder of the landscape of research and theories. These models were excellent support to the new skill of Partnering Intelligence PQ. I wanted to read this book because in the Scale Your Sales Framework creating relationships and moving into partnerships is a key outcome of the programme. The author uses an adapted VALUE framework to explain the modern selling approach practically: Validate, Align, Leverage, Underpin and Evolve. Then practically demonstrates how VALUE works with each of the methodologies. Selling Through Partnering Skills is undoubtedly a well-researched book. If you are looking to modernise your sales practice as you should, then you will not regret reading this book.

 

Colleen Stanley_MAR2020

Colleen Stanley

Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success

It was a pleasure interviewing Colleen Stanley for the Scale Your Sales podcast series. Colleen Stanley is an expert on emotional intelligence and sales leadership and author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success. Colleen published Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership in July 2020.

I love reading Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success, published in 2018. The author gives many real-life and practical examples of how you can apply Emotional Intelligence and how it works to benefit both parties. A lot is said about empathy is a critical skill in the global pandemic world. However, I am not sure you can be empathetic without first practising the skill of Emotional Intelligence is sustainable. Colleen Stanley explains how EI is about self-awareness and self-management. The author gives many scenarios and the action steps to create better questioning and listening, to become relatable and trusted the base-line for all good sellers. In a time when empathy is critical, this book shows you how to practice and apply it.

You may have the best solution for the customer; however, there are so many more hurdles to balance and mastering the conversation is one of them. If you do not know how to conduct the sales conversation in a humanistic Emotional Intelligence way, more now than ever, this can cost you are the sale. Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success is your resource and guide.

Sales Differentiation

Lee Salz

Sales Differentiation: 19 Powerful Strategies to Win More Deals at the Prices You Want

Buyers are overwhelmed with the amount of information coming at them. If you want a chance of getting noticed, you must differentiate through your selling approach says, Lee Salz. The author shows you how to disrupt the buying process through sales differentiation. The book helps you identify your set of compelling differentiators and why it is essential to align this with the decision-makers you want to influence and how to communicate your difference which distinguishes you from the rest. I loved it when the author said, ‘sales is not about being unique but rather being different relative to other buyer options’. Another great one is ‘How you sell, not what you sell, differentiate you’. You will not regret reading this book.

Larry Levine Headshot

Larry Levine

Selling from The Heart: How Your Authentic Self Sells You!

The author talks about the difference between a sales rep, and a sales professional is knowing yourself, having done self-reflection and becoming self-aware. Larry Levine shares his lessons learned how he consistently hit sales target and that showing his true self and doing the best for his customers was the winning factor. I love the author honesty, demonstrating the sales skill of how an authentic sales professional operates. The world has changed that servant-led sales leadership is the only way to navigate this new world successfully. This book is packed full of practical steps to do away with the ’empty suit’ ‘commission-breath’ that the industry is known for and replace it with selling from the heart.

Chimp Paradox book

Prof Steve Peters

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness

A fantastic book that helped me understand the way my mind works and why I sometimes find myself struggling to control my brain. The book also allows you to understand and empathise with how others might react and therefore, not to take it personally – it is their monkey brain at work. This book is easy to read and most enjoyable in understanding why you or those around you do not always make the best decisions. I can thoroughly recommend reading this!

Rebel Ideas book

Matthew Syed

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking 

The diversity that the author refers to in this book is not as simple as gender or ethnicity, but age or just having a different experience can add a new and relevant thought perspective. It is what the author calls cognitive diversity, i.e., diversity of the way you view a problem. A pre-existing knowledge of the problem may in fact be limiting factor to see outside of the problem such that someone with no experience is likely to view the problem differently and apply different thought processes to solve the problem. In the book, Matthew Syed gives examples where a woman and a Muslim man provided missing insights that aided the solutions of complicated or challenging tasks. Because they were able to see things that the white middle-class men traditionally in this role could not see.  I loved the CIA example, and there are many others which helped to give the book grounding in an uncommon sense. As a Black British woman that campaigns on diversity and inclusion, Rebel Ideas has challenged by views of diversity for the better.

 

Let me know if you have read any on my list and make sure you connect with the authors. 

Read More
2020 Reflections image by Janice B Gordon
Scale Your Sales

Many Challenges in 2020 Brings Opportunities to Highlight

We have all experienced many challenges and changes in 2020. On the professional front, as I reflect on 2020, there have been many highlights. When you look back on the past 12 months, how was it been for you? What were your highs, and what were your lessons?

As you begin to wind down for the end of the year, I encourage you to take some time and reflect on the lessons that 2020 has taught you because there are always opportunities to learn, but unless you reflect, you can miss the lessons.

Year end review of highlights

2020 Highlights

The first thing that I am grateful for is that I have so far avoided contracting COVID19, mind you, I live like a nun. At the beginning of lockdown, I had all these grand ambitions and started getting up at 5 am and meditating for an hour with my yoga coach. It reminded me that regular meditation is so powerful.

My hair came out of plaits (no hairdressers to DIY) I had a social distance photoshoot and revised my websites. I achieved a long-held dream and built my studio garden office over the summer, and I love it all. 😊

I have loved working through Cranfield School of Management with Swissport, although this started in January, supporting their progress as leaders despite what a challenge it has been for airports and travel industries. It is a pleasure to work with great companies like Swissport, AON and BBC which started in October.

Now exciting that the Scale Your Sales Podcast listed 8th of 42 Best Podcasts for Sales Every Sales Professional Must Listen to Right Now! It goes to show, hard work pays off. The best thing is getting to know and interviewing excellent guest thought leaders and influencers on the podcast. If you have not listened yet, please do, and if you like, please leave a rating and review.

It is an absolute honour to be listed as one of the Top 150 women B2B Thought Leaders You Should Follow in 2021, and even more special is to be amongst a fabulous list of Influential Women. 

Added to this, I am listed as Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Customer Experience

Janice B Gordon post speaking at PSASummit

In March, like many professional speakers, a large chunk of my revenue stream postponed or cancelled, but once the dust had settled several new opportunities came my way. I am honoured to be the international keynote speaker presenting eCommerce is the New Retail at Virtualized https://buff.ly/2zMG8wg

Co-presenting with Marlen von Roth at AA-ISP Women in Sales Summit on bridging the gap of women and ethnicity in Sales Leadership. It was an honour to co-present with Bev Hancock at the Professional Speaking Association Summit an interactive session using video, surveys, polls and presenting stories. The feedback was terrific.  

This year my biggest audience was 1800 people attending my Accountex: How to Scale Your Sales in a COVID World. Check out the accompanying article How to Deepen Your Client Relationships in a Virtual Environment 

This year I became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts FRSA.

New Horizons image by Janice B Gordon

Recommended Must Do for You 2021

I have the Scale Your Sales CustomerX Quiz for you. The resulting downloadable report will help you Get Consistent Growth of Your Most Valued Customers, Boost Key Customer Experiences, Satisfy Your Buyer Needs and so, Increase Your Sales Revenue. 

Please take time out to list your highlights and accomplishments. I promise you; you will feel there have been opportunities through all the challenges of 2020.

And finally, spend some time to create the life and work you want; not by wishing and resolutions, but by dreaming bigger than you imagine (who would have imaged the year we have just had – so go for it). Then planning the strategy, and work the plan 😊

I wish you the most peaceful and joyous Christmas. 

Stay safe and look forward to a new year. 

Janice

Read More
Scale Your Sales Podcast experts pexels-ivan-bertolazzi-2681405
Scale Your Sales

Experts of the Scale Your Sales Podcast Talking Top Tips and Diversity

This is part two of Scale Your Sales podcast expert interviews compendium of experience and insights that answer how diversity in sales has progressed and the interviewees offer of tried and tested strategies to scale sales.

Scale Your Sales Podcast experts

On the question of whether the B2B sales industry has progressed around diversity?

Tom Williams stated that there just is not enough diversity in sales leadership positions.

Rakhi Voria quoted a recent study by Gartner that revealed that women are underrepresented at all levels in sales. And according to a recent LinkedIn report, women represent 39% of the workforce in sales overall. This percentage increased by only 3% over the past decade. Not surprisingly, the percentage decreases as seniority increases, with the lowest rate of women represented in VP and CXO positions.  Rakhi said only 21% of Vice Presidents in Sales are female. Shockingly, the CEB Global reports that the sales function has the second largest gender equity gap of all corporate functions after supply chain. The lack of diversity goes beyond women, stating that it is essential to recruit from non-traditional sources, we need a sales force that reflects our overall customer base and world population to connect with prospects.

It is the reason for her new book, She Sells, says Lori Richardson. Lori believes right now we have an opportunity to improve sales leadership with more diversity and inclusion – and hopes that the time is not squandered. This is a difficult time for women sellers, said Lori, women have many demands while working from home, with home-schooling, worried about elderly relatives and increased the potential for illness to happen.

Nikki Finucan said diversity is the key to every aspect of an organisation and not just Sales. When we are buying something or looking to advance our careers, we all want someone we can relate to on many different levels. More must be done, said Nikki, to consciously to achieve this result. Companies need straightforward programmes, explicit quotas, as this will be the only way to turn the tide. Naturally, you can argue that the best person deserves the job, and that is true, however, with ingrained bias, to begin shifting mindsets, drastic short term actions are needed.

Enza Burgio said we have a long way to go on diversity in sales.  Enza was lucky to work for a large US Corporate who put diversity extremely high on its agenda.  Hence, she worked in sales teams where 50% were women although much reduced when it came to minority groups.  It is positive that Sales have always been predicated on capability, but there is still deep bias.

Similarly, Carole Railton said she was lucky enough to feel there is no glass ceiling. Carole managed nine sales and marketing operations in the Middle East for Xerox, another major American corporation. Carole ran an international software house and was the first female sales training manager in Xerox UK. She has been in the unusual position of being the only businesswoman in first class on a BA flight she said the cabin crew had no idea what to do with her.

Scale Your Sales Experts pexels-anna-shvets-3727469

Carole Railton’s advice is to call out any and everyone at every opportunity even if it is your manager, as only by improving behaviours can we learn and become the society we deserve to be.

Bev Hancock said the sales industry is a place that all people can thrive.  As a woman in business, she has found that my ability to connect and find common ground has been one of her greatest assets.  In South Africa, Bev sees the industry opening up, especially with young millennials coming into their own, bringing a breath of fresh air into the world of business and sales.

Colleen Stanley said diversity in sales needs to first start in the home and schools, and not corporate America or the UK.  How many parents are encouraging their children to go into the sales profession? Universities are finally catching up by creating minors and majors in sales, demonstrating that this is a career path, just like accounting or medicine.

Kristie Jones said diversity is slowly, at best and racism is alive and thriving. She admits that some of it is unconscious bias in hiring, but some are not unconscious. As someone who works almost exclusively with tech start-up companies, Kristie sees more diversity in companies with Millennial Founders. However, Kristie said, women, minorities, and LGBTQ founders are still being underfunded by white-male run VCs. Until we increase minorities founders, Kristie does not think you can expect to see an increase in diversity and inclusion. Kristie said, “we can fix the diversity issue, but the concept of inclusion is in the eye of the beholder. Just because we hire women, minorities or LGBTQ, doesn’t mean we will feel included or equal”.

Scale Your Sales Experts pexels-august-de-richelieu-4427815

Some sectors are promising when it comes to diversity and inclusivity, said Leigh Ashton, but most salespeople and sales leaders in the 21st century are men. There are initiatives to attract more women, and from my experience of being a judge at the Women in Sales Awards, there are some amazingly talented women in sales that manage their careers and family commitments with grace and grit.

In episode 42 of Scale Your Sales podcast, Lisa Earl McLeod and I discussed Black Lives Matter, with our personal experience of growing up for Lisa in the USA, and me the UK. We discuss the inequalities of our experiences, so check this out.

Answering what one tried and tested strategy experts would you offer on how to scale their sales, there was a wealth of insights:

McLeod offered three tired and tested discovery questions:

  • Identify how you make a difference? So, you are moving from pleasing customers to improving customers.
  • How your offer makes a difference? How do we do it differently than the competition?
  • On my best day, (self-reflection) what I love about my job?

These three questions help you to shifts the lens of how you bring your Noble Purpose to life in your sales process.

Rakhi Voria said they split inbound and outbound – Topo benchmark report suggests 59% of companies have already moved to this model. Helps build the competence of skill to focus on the two activities separately –the Initial results have been positive.

Scale Your Sales Experts pexels-pixabay-256559

Talk to your client about potential next steps early in your relationship, said Enza Burgio.  Show that you are there for the long term, not merely to get the sale and turn a transaction.   She said it is not just about giving hires the initial tools and formula for sales success but being there over time with a road map to help them achieve the next level.

Everyone has a list of prospects, existing clients and past clients. Lori Richardson says an often overlooked way to grow sales is the third list of those who could refer multiple clients on an ongoing basis. These are your strategic referrers, follow up methodically with them in the same way as prospects and clients.

Know the macro and the micro, said Tom English Get a handle on the pains and opportunities of the market you serve and then zoom in on your customers to understand more about their needs and how you can help them specifically.

Bev Hancock said to get your foot in the door and then focus on the relationship, relationship, relationship.  The old adage that people buy from people remains true even in this digital age.

My recipe has always been to strategically partner with my clients.  Make a point of getting to know their business, always give more value than they pay for.  After the first couple of deals, it is not a sales conversation but rather a continuation of the relationship.

Colleen Stanley said consistency is key!  Consistency in executing sales activity.  Consistency in setting aside time to develop into a trusted advisor.  Consistency in practising new skills. Consistency in reaching out to mentors for advice. Talent is overrated; sellers and sales leaders are consistent.

Building sales processes and strategies for clients, it is always in the back of her mind, said Kristie Jones, that it must scale. Maybe there are only three sales reps now, but it must be sustainable at ten or more. Have a solid and formal sales process that is proven to be successful said Kristie.

Scale Your Sales Expert spexels-sharon-mccutcheon-1212406

Carole Railton body language expert said, understand yourself and your actions/body better. Only by knowing yourself and how others perceive you, can you adapt to the needs of your client. When you can do this, she said, then you can manage, understand and adapt to many different situations that will help you succeed faster than you thought possible.

Nikki Finucan said to be human. Especially right now. Relate to people and stop pushing! Do not call or email, vomiting how great you and your company are, instead, identify and understand the problem the client is facing. Once you know their specific pain point, you can fix it as partners or walk away. Set a task to follow up 12-months continue to interact with them on social media without expectation. You never know what may happen and be OK with recognising right now is not the right time.

Leigh Ashton said a crucial element to scaling your sales is to understand how your thoughts impact your results. Change your thoughts that get in the way of sales success, to thoughts that have a positive impact on sales growth.

Tom Williams said to manage your time diligently. Set aside a block of time each day to prospect and do not let naysayers get in your way of getting it done. If you have a full-funnel of opportunities and are good at service customer needs, you will always make or exceed your sales quota.

If you missed part one, the expert interviewees discussed how customer-centric the B2B selling environment is and offered practical strategies to enable buyers to buy and seller to build long-term trusted customer relationship. Make sure you check it out.

Scale Your Sales podcast is a weekly show interviewing experts and influencers that offer insights to scale your sales. It is a platform for B2B executives, sales leaders, key account managers and customer serving professionals engage with lively conversations on customer experience and buyer behaviours, business growth and modern sales know-how.  You can view the show on YouTube, iTunes or the popular podcast platform.

 

Read More
Scale Your Sales Podcast experts pexels-anna-shvets-3846038
Scale Your Sales

What the Scale Your Sales Experts Advice on What’s Relevant for Customers, Buyers in Sales NOW

Over the previous four months, Scale Your Sales Weekly Podcast has had fantastic guests that have generously given their knowledge, experience, and insights. I founded the Scale Your Sales framework to help growth companies scale through leverage their customer relationships and accelerate sales revenue through customer experience. I asked the guest of Scale Your Sales Podcast how customer-centric the B2B selling environment is? The guest also offered practical strategies to enable buyers to buy and built a long term trusted customer relationship. So, let get started:

summer 2020 Scale Your Sales Expert

First, on the shifting to be buyer and customer-centric, this is what the experts had to say:

Nikki Finucan does not think B2B sales has shifted nearly enough to make it more customer-centric. You can see that through the phone calls you get, through the LinkedIn messages. Everything they write or speak is wholly about them and their company, rather than a problem they can help a potential client or even existing client solve. This comes from top-down behaviours as well.

Kristie Jones thinks we are making strides, but we are not where we need to be as professional salespeople. Sales reps must understand the need for discovery; they are doing a better job of asking better questions to uncover pain. However, the issue is that sales reps think that discovery is a one-time event and are not weaving discovery into every step in the sales cycle. For example, most demos Kristie Jones sit in on are me, me, me! She recently did a demo with a CRM vendor with a client of hers for an hour and not only did they not ask one question, but the Sales Engineer was the only one on the call, the sales rep did not even bother to show up!

Although we have made great strides says Bev Hancock, we could still be far more effective in this space. Customers are looking for a personal and integrated experience. A great sales experience is integrated with the employee experience through the entire organisation. Leading the customer experience journey is at the heart of sales leadership.

Tom Williams says every organisation claims to be customer-centric and many have a nice diagram that they show to their customers to prove it. However, most organisations do not understand how their customers buy, so they follow their sales process and then they are surprised when customers do not buy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused all messaging in sales to be scrutinised, reviewed, and pivoted, says Lori Richardson. There are still a good percentage of sellers out there who are more like order takers and price-droppers. They do not understand consultative selling or selling value. The consultative sellers will keep doing what they have done – listening to their buyers and solving problems.

Scale Your Sales Podcast experts Image by pixabay.library-1147815_1280

Leigh Ashton says it has had to shift because the client/customer/buyer is so much more informed. There are still many old school corporates and sales professionals out there, but they are not as successful as they could be because they focus on the numbers rather than the human relationship and the long term.

Colleen Stanley says, do not focus on what has changed as much as what has not changed in sales. Sure, buyers are more educated; however, they are also more overwhelmed with data. A professional salesperson still provides value by helping buyers cut through the clutter and focus on the sales levers that are genuinely going to make a difference in sales outcomes. The modern seller still needs to develop good old fashioned selling skills such as listening and diagnosing the real business problem, not just presenting the problem.

Today, customers want us to meet them on their terms, make it personal, and keep making it better for them says Rakhi Voria. Customers want an experience that is channel-agnostic and consistent. They want to self-serve and know that we can meet them where they are and engage at the right time. They want a more personalised, streamlined experience, designed to meet the specific needs of their business. Sellers need to bring real value to the conversation to drive successful business outcomes and build trust. Finally, Agility is key to customers’ expectations of services – they expect Sellers to anticipate their needs and be ready to produce solutions tailored to them.

B2B used to be all about the solution sale, based on fulfilling your organisational objectives. The way the world is now must focus on a deep understanding of the client’s needs, said Enza Burgio. If you do not have that synergy and joint vision, there is no place for you. Your words, actions and services must support the client and them alone. What works is understanding your client before you approach them and knowing what they want. You should already know if you are a fit for them – this will come across as genuine authenticity when you start the dialogue.

Tom English said, there has been a shift towards customer-centricity since he started working in B2B sales. With the higher engagement of end-users when their needs are met is an example of customer-centricity. A massive win-win for you and your customers is ensuring that your buyers’ buyers get maximum value from our products.

Scale Your Sales Podcast experts pexels-maksim-goncharenok-5605063

Discussing what practical strategies would enable buyers to buy, or sellers to build long-term trusted customer relationships:

The first thing in this climate you want to do is breathe, said Lisa Earl McLeod. You need to identify how you helped customers in the past and ask. Is that still valuable? Is that still helpful, or has it changed some? When you have a super clear story in your head about how you could make a difference to your customers, only then do you have the right mindset to reach out.

Rakhi Voria said having a digital platform that is a one-stop-shop for all our customer needs is critical. We have the IBM marketplace. In one place, customers can find products and services to fit their needs – analytics, blockchain, cloud, AI, Its infrastructure, etc. they can search by technology, by business needs, by type (i.e. software vs hardware), customers offers and trials.

Sales begin with a trusted customer relationship said, Carole Railton. Body language is a way of understanding both the customer and yourself better. When you are in sync with your own and your customer’s body language, says Carole, you have a much better chance of influencing and building a lasting relationship. The first sale becomes easier your time with the client is reduced because you are speeding up communications working on the same wavelength as the client.

Enza Burgio said you must have a plan for your client and yourself, creating a joint vision that will be good for both parties. If you have something new to offer, then be direct but humble about it. Hidden agendas do not work these days.

The strategy of asking more powerful questions and listening to the answers, said Lori Richardson, solve problems and helps to up-level buyers.

Tom English said you must understand the job that buyers are ‘hiring’ your product/service to do. As Theodore Levitt put it, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Bev Hancock suggests using conversational strategies that build loyalty and retention – the pot of gold for sustainable business. These strategies are designed to move customers (both internal and external) from resistance to co-creating value and innovation. Conversational techniques quite literally rewire the brain and are designed to build trusted relationships which are the heart of culture.

Colleen Stanley said the most effective strategy that is talked about a lot and used little is customising the prospecting approach. We all receive one-size-fits-all prospecting messages every day that end up deleted. Customising requires empathy and delayed gratification skills, which is why so few sellers conduct effective outreach.

Trust is earned and not given, says Kristie Jones. Trust between a customer and a company starts day one. Kristie suggests:

  • Everyone at the company walks their talk.
  • They show up for appointments: On-time.
  • Get prepared for meetings with client’s – respecting their time.
  • They do what they say – sending follow up emails/resources.

“ownyourownsh.t,” says Kristie Jones, everyone screws up now and then; it is how a company/employee handles those issues that make or breaks the relationship with the customer. Own it and ask the customer how we can make it right?

Leigh Ashton said it is always the human element. Help them achieve what the customer really wants in a way that is super easy for them. Really understand their map of the world and not just from a business perspective but a holistic perspective that takes in all pieces of the jigsaw!

One of the things we have used for years is a Collaboration Plan or Mutual Action Plan, said Tom Williams. It is a plan between the buying and selling organisations to explore the joint feasibility and benefits of a partnership. It is a sharing of ideas, concerns, capabilities, and obstacles that must be addressed and overcome in formalising an agreement. The Plan guides the buyer and seller through a complex decision process that otherwise might be delayed, stalled, or set aside. From the seller’s perspective, the Collaboration Plan keeps selling activities buyer-focused and connected to the needs of the customer. For the buyer’s position, the Plan ensures joint efforts navigate the hurdles and barriers and ensure that the buying organisation is change ready.

Scale Your Sales Podcast experts pexels-gustavo-fring-4173268

Next week I will post part two of this article discussing diversity in sales and they also offering practical tried and tested strategies and top tips to help you Scale Your Sales. To not miss it this rich advice from influence and experts in sales.

 

Read More
Janice B Gordon Employee Advocacy perry-grone-lbLgFFlADrY-unsplash 1
Scale Your Sales, Social Relationships

Scale Your Sales 9 Steps to Initiating your People Social Engagement

Since 2008 the economic crisis, brand loyalty and trust are at an all-time low, and traditional sales techniques are less effective. Almost all your customers are online researching, engaging, and connecting on social.

COVID has meant a boom in technology adoption with remote working; we are yearning for real human connection. At a time when our thoughts are with our families and friends, we can empathise better with our colleagues and customers experiencing similar.

Get Social to Reach Your Customers – Here’s How? 

You may have seen in March 2020, while we were all coming to terms with enforced lockdown, EE, the mobile network offered free data to National Health Service key workers. Now I am not a key worker, but this does not only win over keyworkers, but I would also look favourably on this brand because of what they are doing for key workers. What about you?

Customers are watching what you do; customers will remember how you treat them and how you treat your people, employees and colleagues and other stakeholders. This is how they measure your brand values; it is a demonstration of your company walking their talk.

Janice B Gordon Employee Advocacy slide 004

During March, I started sewing scrubs for the NHS keyworkers at the weekends, Scrubs Hub this community based voluntary movement. I posted in LinkedIn, and the engagement I got was off the roof. LINKEDIN the business network! 

What has changed is professional, and business communication has become personal. Trust is a human value; engagement happens between people, not companies, but the individuals in within businesses. Customers trust what they know; they need to know what you stand for and your values. According to Edelman research, more people trust a regular employee (53%) than a CEO (47%). Even more people (65%) trust a company technical expert.

Why Leverage Your People to Become Your Greatest Asset and Resource?

You may have a competent marketing department; however, the collective power of people/colleagues is higher than the efforts of the marketers. 

Ten people X 1000 followers x 2 posts per week = 20,000 potential viewers of your content per week! X 50 weeks = 1,000,000

If at least one colleague commented, shared, and liked this post or one person from their personal network and so on… The result is like the R rate of COVID19, it is exponential distribution 2 million, becomes 4 million, becomes 16 million potential viewers.

Why People Empowered Social is Best

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer has focused on what they call the Employer-Employee partnership to look at levels of trust at work. Technical experts and ‘regular employees’ consistently at the top on trust; however, the biggest rise came from “A person like yourself.”

Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 Trusted Voices Janice B Gordon Employee Advocacy

People, including your customers, perceive experts as objective and employees as trustworthy, and they trust their peers or people like themselves. Leveraging your employees and experts, to convey your brand values and message is utilising your best resource to engage in mutually beneficial social media conversations. 

  • 84% of consumers’ value recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising.
  • 59% of survey respondents stated that they recommended a company to a friend or colleague in the last 12 months.
  • 77% of consumers are likely to purchase after hearing about it from someone they trust. 
  • Nearly 86% of employees involved in a formal advocacy program say it had a positive effect on their careers.
  • LinkedIn found that employees of a company tend to have ten times more followers than the company itself.
  • LinkedIn discovered while only about 2% of employees reshare their company’s social posts, they are responsible for 20% of the overall engagement.

 People, including customers, trust their personal connections, and your employees and colleagues are already connected online to hundreds or thousands of people. 

Employee advocacy works because peer-to-peer marketing influences 20-50% of purchasing decisions. It taps into established relationships to win credibility and grow engagement. Content shared by employees and colleagues receives 8X more engagement than content shared by and on brand channels. 

I recommend having a higher purpose beyond selling your products; this is most important in the current environment. Think back to the EE example, having a higher purpose around what the company does for customers, based on the collective values of the people within the business, makes it sharable.

Check that the company culture and employee trust are in a healthy state and if not, fix this first. Employees who trust their employer are twice as likely to engage in employee advocacy. 

Janice B Gordon Employee Advocacy clayton-cardinalli-GwOqUzrDSRM-unsplash

Scale Your Sales 9 Steps to Initiating your People Social Engagement Programme

  1. Start slow and learn what works for your company culture and customers.
  2. Identify those colleagues that are already creating content on their personal social channels and those that have a notable following, influence, or expertise, are ideal for a pilot group of advocacy colleagues.
  3. Remember, this is a two-way process; it is as much about listening to the pilot participants ideas about the best way to engage colleagues and customer through the social programme.
  4. Give support to leverage what they are already doing and help them to do it better.
  5. Co-create content and test what is working, sharing the analytics within the group.
  6. Remember, this must be mutually beneficial; how can the company help to amplify the individual’s profile and reach? 
  7. Phase two is to deliver company-wide training on the success of the pilot group and help the whole company to see the benefits and support the initiative. 
  8. Offer company-wide training in social media and social selling focused on helping employees and colleagues know the value of building their online profiles and giving them the tools to create and share engaging content and the company brand values.
  9. Once you have created a robust learning social engagement practice, consider further investment in and rolling out an employee advocacy software tool. Along with training your trainers drawn from your pilot advocacy group, to help to maintain support across departments and company-wide phase two roll-out.

The mistakes that companies make, they invest in expensive software and expect all the whole company to get involved with little support or training. Colleagues think what is in it for me, and usually, only a small group maintain their involvement and the employee advocacy programme fails to deliver long-term. Before you invest – test a pilot programme using the tools you already have within your marketing armoury.  

Janice B Gordon Employee Advocacy husna-miskandar-FC4z3l4sUYc-unsplash

The aim is to create stories from employee content by sharing what they do that portrays the business values and culture and to encouraging employee and colleagues to share what the company does that is great. 

You want your colleagues to be proud not only of what they do but to share the impact their work has on the customer.  

You want your colleagues to take over your channels to create and share engaging content that is relevant to customers. 

You want your colleagues to be the face of the business using video, stories and as such, actively engaging with your customers. 

The Edelman Trust Barometer employee engagement survey substantiates the value of employee advocacy and social selling not only for sales professionals but as your most cost-effective marketing resources.

Read More
Scale Your Sales Expert view from the top
Scale Your Sales, Trusted Advisors

View From The Top Experts on Scale Your Sales Podcast

Over the last three months, Scale Your Sales Weekly Podcast has had fantastic guests that have generously given their knowledge, experience, and insights. In the previous article we look at the responses to the COVID19 question, here are their answers as we plan not only how to survive but thrive the pandemic.

I founded the Scale Your Sales framework to help growth companies scale through leverage their customer relationships. I asked the guest of Scale Your Sales Podcast how customer-centric the B2B selling environment is? We discussed diversity in sales and they also offer practical strategies and top tips. So, let get started:

What The Expert Advice on COVID Scale Your Sales Podcast

Question: Have B2B sellers shifted enough to be customer-centric?

Adam Gray said, still it seems that most companies only pay lip service to be customer-centric. All of their narratives tend to be about their products/services or their clients’ challenges ONLY where it interacts with their own solutions’ key benefits.

Caryn Kopp agrees with Adam Gray when it comes to getting in the door; sellers are still thinking and communication too much about themselves. Caryn said salespeople say things like, “I’d love to meet with you.” They communicate why they would love to meet with the buyer. What they leave out is why the buyer would love to meet with the seller!

Mic Adam confirms, still too many salespeople are focussed on their own pitch, with the advent of ABM and Social Selling; however, this is slowly changing.

Adrian Swinscoe states that the relationship between customer experience and sales is direct and complete; the sales process and experience is part of a customer’s experience. What’s working in customer experience there is much activity, but the problem is that too many customer experience programmes are formulaic affairs that produce disappointing results. I love this quote from Adrian;

“this is just like painting by numbers, you may create nice pictures but… it won’t be art, and it definitely won’t give you a chance of creating a masterpiece”.

Karen Dunne-Squire said there is a real conflict here and that is that the salespersons key objective is to hit a target – if that objective is managed wrongly by the individual and the company then it remains in direct conflict with the client’s needs. When the salesperson’s desire to sell with value is the primary goal, then the client’s needs can be met—the culture of the business and how the practices of the organisation must reflect the customer’s requirements.

Cian Mcloughlin said the balance of power has certainly shifted, although not as far as it will eventually move from:

  • Seller led to customer Led
  • Product led to Service led
  • Complex & cumbersome to Simple and agile
  • Outbound Push to Inbound Pull
  • Hard to do business with to, Easy to do business with.

David JP Fisher, The easy access to information, has given the power back to buyers, and it is imperative that you are customer-centric organisation. Customers are on their own buying journey, and your goal is to be the guide that helps them make their decisions better, faster, and with less risk; being a Sales Sherpa.

Kendra Lee said clients want sellers to be buyer and Customer-centric and if you haven’t adapted, it will be difficult to earn their trust enough that they want to talk with you let alone buy from you.

Scale Your Sales Expert Interviews

Question: What practical strategy could you offer that has enabled buyers to buy?

Adrian Swinscoe Stop trying to sell. It’s not about you. It’s about your customers. Zig Ziglar got it spot-on when he wrote “If you help enough people get what they want then you will get what you want,” from his book See You at The Top. The key is figuring out what people need. That requires you to focus on them, to listen, to put aside your own targets and aspirations and to focus on them genuinely. That can be hard, but it is your challenge

Cian Mcloughlin A customer is only truly a customer when they buy from us for the second time. The first time they are just giving us an opportunity, how well we deliver on your promises will often dictate if you get a chance at the bigger prize. The strategy is to deliver on your commitments, under promise and over deliver and manage risk better than anyone else.

Patricia Fripp said organise your presentation around what you believe the customer wants and is of interest to them and weave what you want them to know about you into it, not the other way around.

Viveka von Rosen said you want to take a fair amount of time to find your ideal buyers and prospects on LinkedIn, and if they are active on linked in, engage with their content along before you send them the invitation to connect! This way you build the Know, Like, Trust factor before you try and sell them anything.

David JP Fisher Two strategies for building long-term relationships with customers: 1) Have regular reminders to contact them regardless of whether or not you want to pitch them. Consider it as networking and try to have 2-3 conversations a year to find out about what is going on for your contacts and their organisation 2) leverage LinkedIn to connect with them and post industry-relevant content a few times every week.

Patricia Fripp Be specific with your message, says Patricia, especially when presenting to diverse audiences where English may not be their first language. You must be sensitive to changing the images of your presentation and the language. When you tell stories, said Patricia, it is crucial that you populate the stories with real people relevant to the audience and customer.

Suchi Pathak said some companies are utilising multiple data points for KPIs and starting to look at composite, or big data sets to get a more accurate picture of what is happening. It is essential to understand what ‘good’ looks like in a sales role objectively. Too often we rely on CVs, interviews and experience to determine whether someone is going to be a good fit for the role, said Suchi. What matters is the key behaviours that drive trust, customer relationship and better performance. For example, assuming someone who has come from a seemingly similar role will be great at your company, while we have found that this is often not a predictor of performance. The data shows that company size, stage and product complexity can make a significant impact on if someone is good for the role, and unfortunately, many companies still do not have the right people in the role for this reason.

Viveka von Rosen said most people have a resume. The first thing that you must do is create an attractive personal brand. Create a brand that is buyer-centric so that the prospect or buyer knows that you care about them. You want to share helpful useful content that your buyer can see as a resource. This gives them the opportunity of engaging on your content as well as sharing it to their bank committee.

Scale Your Sales Janice B Gordon Landing-Podcast-banner-1024x576 

 

Question: What’s your view on how diversity in the B2B selling industry has progressed?

Adam Gray said diversity is important and we try hard to have a diverse makeup of our people. As a white, middle-aged man, he said, “I cannot personally empathise with the challenges of a young ethnic woman.” Adam makes the point that although many organisations seem to be behind having a diverse workforce, they do not have one!

Karen Dunne-Squire said the gender balance in sales has always been an issue and sometimes this is connected to the recruitment practices, which are generally led by men and is an issue with the industry as a whole. Words such as aggressive, killer instinct and hard hitter, are often used to describe sales acumen and often these words are not appealing to women. Initially, said Karen, she was reluctant to join the sales industry, until she created her own definition for the work she did.

Cian Mcloughlin said, there is a significant amount of progress that needs to be made in the area of diversity. There is a stereotypical salesperson that people think of when they hear the terms salesperson and this stereotype has delivered a tremendous amount of negativity to the industry. Gender and cultural diversity are incredibly important in ensuring strong cultural fit, transparent and empathetic communications and a sales team that is reflective of the broader society.

Kendra Lee said the sales industry is predominantly male, but it has not held Kendra back who has been successful. Kendra said she has always gone for what she wanted, and when she felt someone was holding her back, she pivoted. Kendra had a complacent, old, arrogant manager that that did not believe in her abilities, although a top performer. Kendra found another job and never looked back.

Caryn Kopp agrees that diversity does not matter; she does not feel that her gender has ever held me back.

Suchi Pathak said she could see that companies are trying to increase their diversity and inclusion by putting initiatives and incentives in place. The by-product is that while companies are raising awareness, more could be done to tie diversity figures to the increase in performance for a department or company perspective. Apology’s platform helps companies to find people that are highly likely to meet or exceed their KPIs, and the predictive models reduce the bias associated with people-based decisions.

Viveka von Rosen, We are not there yet, but we are getting there! I belong to a women’s sales pros group, where we are always trying to increase the skill set and visibility of female sales professionals. I have been invited to speak on several sales panels, that while being mostly male, at least have one female on them! We have some way to go.

13 Experts have their say on Scale Your Sales Podcast

Question: What’s your top tip?

Derek Arden Recommends the law of know, like and trust.

Kendra Lee Be consistent.

Mic Adam Focus on the relationship and be prepared to give!

Adam Gray Be more visible.

Caryn Kopp Focus: Narrow the criteria and select prospect groups which have more urgency around the meeting.

Cian Mcloughlin Extract feedback from every sales cycle in which they engage.

David JP Fisher Use technology as a support to your offline conversations, not a replacement.

Kendra Lee Take personal responsibility for your success and do not let someone else’s “no” hold you back. Sales are your business.

Mic Adam Social selling is not just LinkedIn, and do not only do a LinkedIn Training and then hope for the best.

Suchi Pathak  Use objective data.

Frank Furness Use the Boolean search and recommends a great little tool called recruitin.net

Patricia Fripp Open with “Congratulations” then talk about something the customer is proud of, a marketing campaign, a core value experienced, or the stock price.

Karen Dunne-Squire recommends that customer journey mapping supports encourages businesses not only to create sales journeys that are customer-focused

 

These are only a few of the many insights from the Scale Your Sales expert guests. Some of the words were adapted to ensure that there is a flow of content. The majority of answers are selected from the questionnaire completed prior to the guest interview with some text was taken from the audio transcription.

Go to Scale Your Sales Podcast where you can select the expert interviews and listen to the full recording. Please subscribe to the Scale Your Sales Podcast on your favourite channel. You can visit the YouTube channel to watch the interviews, comment and hit subscribe to ensure you do not miss future interviews.

 

Read More
Janice B Gordon Pexel not-today-covid19-3952231
Scale Your Sales

How Sales professionals Can Thrive in a Post COVID World

I believe we are at a digital crossroads in sales, between those that can adapt and change to the socially connected commercial world and those that sit and wait for it to pass believing that B2B sales will continue as before. Some estimates say that we have moved up digital adoption five years on three months.

The Scale Your Sales weekly podcast has hosted many insightful experts over the last quarter, April to June 2020. I asked all the guest their advice on how sales professionals can ride out the global pandemic and come out stronger; these are the answers. I thought it would be beneficial to compile all the expert answers to support you to ensure you are able to adopt the right mindset and actions to thrive through the challenges that COVID19 has presented.

The idea that you can take service as usual and turn up the volume is just not going to cut it right now, says Adrian Swinscoe. You must think about this time as service as unusual. The key to understanding and dealing with COVID19 is being mindful of what other people are going through as they transition to remote working and how you can help them do the best job. But also, how can you communicate with your customers to help manage and set expectations of business as unusual.

If there is a gift in COVID19, said Viveka von Rosen, it is that we are all experiencing some version of the same disruption. This will allow you to understand your customer as a human rather than a client. Salespeople must learn how to use LinkedIn to build relationships online. We must empathise the customer point of pain as the pandemic is making us realise that we are all human.

Janice B Gordon logan-weaver-gTyj_tABGsQ-unsplash

For the foreseeable future, we are not going to have conferences, trade shows and in-person networking, even leveraging your network is going to be done differently, Caryn Kopp. COVID19 is unlike any situation that we have experienced before, and sellers must master the art of developing business in this virtual world.

COVID19 has forced us to do the relationship building a little different, said Mic Adam, through Zoom, Skype, Teams or whatever technology you have available because it’s all done by video, we must get over our fear of recording messages on video.

Patricia Fripp said, COVID19 is not so much a time to sell but a time to keep in touch and be of service. Many clients are not spending money, and others are investing more. Always remember the clients that gave you the business when they had money and to help them along when they do not have money.

Patricia advises her clients to revisit, refocus and re-script, to look at your automatic messages and ask, “is the message relevant now?” FrippVT is an excellent resource if you want to brush up on your presentation skills. This is a great time to learn today and earn tomorrow, said Patricia, all the things you do not have time for, now you have no excuse.

Janice B Gordon austin-distel-VvAcrVa56fc-unsplash

Empathy is a Consistent Theme

David JP Fisher said, “It’s irritating t to hear so many sales gurus, talk about how empathy is essential right now because I’m like – when wasn’t it? Why does takes a pandemic, to think that empathy and being a human is important? Nevertheless, David said, if you are going to prospect and engage if you are going to talk with your existing clients, do use more compassion. Do not ignore the fact that there is a lot of stuff going on right now.

Adrian Swinscoe said the exciting thing about it is that empathy does not exist at an organisational level. Empathy is a human and individual thing, and unless you are predisposed towards it, or you have had an experience of developing it; empathy is a habit and behaviour that you can all learn. However, Adrian emphasises, that it takes effort, time, discipline, and commitment. If we all try to empathise, we will all get better at it.

Cian Mcloughlin said you must change your approach in COVID19; the sales professional cannot do cold outreach or call their customer and not mention that fact that the business might be struggling or that the customer might have stopped buying. Lead with empathy and authenticity and just be real when having a conversation and try to add some short term and immediate value. Cian said to focus on what you have that can help their urgent problem, and if you do not have anything to improve your customer’s current climate, then now is the time to focus on relationship building. He offers that to ‘sew the seeds’ now will reap the rewards down the track, however, being tone-deaf to how the current climate is affecting the client will stop you getting the sale and will also ruin your relationship in the long term.

Sellers need to be in constant contact with their target market of prospects and customers, said Karen Dunne-Squire. You must understand what the impact of the pandemic has been, how to adapt and flex to be able to continue to present value and solve customers’ problems. Sometimes salespeople assume, not realising that the thing that adds value last week or last month might not be valid now.

Talking to Kendra Lee about COVID19, she recommends sellers to keep calling, talking and offering help with more compassion and emotional intelligence than ever before. Kendra said sellers must stay with it and not give up as she believes opportunities will present.

Janice B Gordon Image pixabay 165106

What Can You Do?

David JP Fisher said of the many blanket statements that are being made, especially on LinkedIn, that right now every situation is different. There are lots of fun debates that ‘is a great time to sell’, or ‘it’s it a horrible time to sell’. The reality is that it is different for all of us. For some industries, this is not a good time to sell, and for others, it is a fantastic time to sell. Their context matters greatly!

Suchi Pathak said, one of the biggest strengths of COVID19 is that many people have many more one on one time and fewer distractions. Suchi has seen that rather than having a solid relationship with just one person in the client organisation, this time has enabled sellers to branch out their network within the company. The previous issue of developing a fantastic relationship with a primary contact of the company that left the seller vulnerable if that contact left. With more frequent communication across several different people in the organisation and the expansion of the network, Suchi says the experience of COVID19 is going to improve sales in the long term.  

Caryn Kopp said the one thing that has changed is that the emails of decision-makers are filling up fast, everyone is bombarding buyers with emails with the word COVID19 in the communication. COVID, makes the email vanilla and prospects know it is a cold email. Few people are calling. Caryn said the significant change is to use the phone. People that were working in an office are now at home they are crazy to hear a voice and have a relevant conversation.

Mic Adam said that this time is great for companies to start on their employee advocacy. Adam said he is seeing many employees that are now willing to share messages from their company pages. Those messages are often related to the COVID19 crisis. However, they are willing to take the messages from the company page and share it on their personal networks.

Adrian Swinscoe said you must tell the customer what is going on and that you are working hard to resume service, and that right now this is services unusual. Adrian gave many examples of how companies frustrate their customers by not communicating effectively. Adrian said that COVID19 shined a light on what good customer experience can and should look like, he said, the best just know and get it, and everybody else is far behind.

Although quite a difficult and soul searching experience, Adam Gray said Now is a perfect opportunity to invest time in making sure our footprint reflects precisely how good we are. Your online profile must reflect and communicate your USP. When COVID19 lockdown finishes, he said, the improvement in your footprint is there forever. Do not waste this time, says Adam, you will never get another time like this.

Mic Adam says agrees that we need to lay down the foundation now, and not wait until this crisis is over. Mic noted this is the time you need to reach out to your customers with content; you need to reach out with conversations, and that way, you start building and develop the relationship and trust.

I have made minor amendments to ensure the information given by each expert flow and is easily actionable. Please do connect directly with each of the experts through LinkedIn. Look out for part two, which will profile some of the answers to questions on diversity and customer-centricity in sales. Please listen or watch the Scale Your Sales Podcast of your favourite expert and subscribe on your favourite channel to ensure you do not miss future episodes.

Read More
Janice B Gordon CX Sales Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy from Pexels
Customer Experience, Scale Your Sales

Buyers Value Emotion and Ease in Customer Experience Sales

When you think of Customer Experience, you may think of how you can provide an excellent experience to your customers and buyers.

The most significant influence on customer and buyers’ experiences are easy to use and emotional engagement. Customers rate effort and feeling higher than product or price. 

74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. Salesforce confirms not only do you miss out on short-term sales with a problematic buying experience; you will miss out on long-term loyalty and higher LTVs.

Ease is not an easy thing to control. Any interaction, no matter how well planned, is dependent on several variables between internal supplier and the external customer. Ease is also subjective and personal.

Janice B Gordon CX Sales Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

My view is that the experience stands like a barrier between your customer or buyer getting what they want.  Your job in sales along with everyone in the supplier organisation is to identify and remove those barriers. And when you do, ­the benefits of improved experiences along the customer journey are increased loyalty, lower cost to serve, higher recommendation and the ability to charge premium prices. 

Even in these times of COVID19, we see patients coming out of the hospital. They are full of gratitude for Nurses for being there to hold their hand when they felt alone and fearful away from their families. The patients were grateful for the words of encouragement and the care these Nurses gave. Even our Prime minister was humbled by the Nurses that sat by his side watching over him getting him through the night. Patients rate how the experience made them feel at over 50% while the outcome of treatment was only 20%.

Like smokers who despite the warning on the box that ‘Smoking KILLS’, some experience severe illness like pneumonia through damage to the lungs, however, they then go back to smoking as soon as they can take a full breath. It is the young son or daughter pleading with the parent smoker to stop because they will die; this message has a more significant emotional impact and eventually stop the parent from smoking. The feeling of pain that the smoker causes others, is worse than the result of ill health and possible death.

Smoking Kills Flickr

Moving a customer from 7 out of 10 to 8 out of 10 in satisfaction score has a massive impact on repeat purchases and customer lifetime value. However, the cost to eliminate errors for customers to score 9 or 10 in satisfaction, will increase costs but have little effect on increasing purchases. Customers do not expect or value perfection.

Why many companies are not achieving the minimum standard of customer satisfaction?

Sellers put the needs of the supply company first, not in a malicious way, but because it is familiar; what they know, like, and trust. It is not easy to see things from the buyer or customer perspective. You must put customers first and centre of every decision if you are to

  • anticipate the customer needs,
  • make it easy for buyers to purchase
  • co-design solutions they want
  • and create emotional engagement
  • understand how they want to feel.

The closer you are to your buyer having customer improvement conversations, the easier it is for the buyer to purchase the easier relationship the quicker the sales cycle the higher the value and sales revenues.

Selling is no longer just a function of the sales function it is more about how you achieve the mission of the business in partnership with your customers.

Janice B Gordon CX Sales Photo by Emre Can from Pexels

The starting point is to map your customer’s journey in 6 easy steps:

  1. Map the customer journey, all their interactions from awareness to consideration purchase and post-purchase.  
  2. Do this across platforms to capture all the entry and exit touchpoints.
  3. Investigate each touchpoint for all the interlinking resources and responsibilities of the interaction.
  4. Access the level of ease and satisfaction such as the number of complaints, conversion and failures and cost of interaction at this point and then score the touchpoint.
  5. Interview the stakeholders, users, buyers, and customers to assess the value they place on the touchpoint.
  6. Prioritise the areas that you can gain the most significant return for investment. i.e. is it moving the customer from 6 to 8 rather than to 9 or 10?

Listen to your communication with customers through your marketing material, frontline customer service and sales pitches:

  • Are you relaying a process that suits you or your customer?
  • Does it make sense to you but is illogical to your customer?
  • How much flexibility is there to service each unique customers and buyers need?

It is not easy to create organisational cross-functional alignment and to put customer needs above internal priorities. You may or may not have a customer experience team in place. Realistically, it is not one person or a team that can change the perspective of an organisation. It is the whole company culture, the organisational vision, and values ‘of how we do things around here,’ this is what creates consistent customer-focused interactions.

Janice B Gordon CX Sales Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I learnt when working with a customer experience consultancy that your customers are the best sellers of your service to others and they are your most innovative product creators or service improvement agents. All you need to do is emotionally engage your key customer, treat them well and satisfy their needs and they will return the investment. According to McKinsey, brands that improve the experience of the customer’s journey see revenues increase by 10% to 15% and cost to serve, reduce by 15% to 20%.

At every meeting, you must pull out a chair labelled CUSTOMER, and have the customer sitting at the table, either physically, remotely, or imaginary. Research from the Temkin Group found companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to gain an average additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience.

The sales internal message has moved forward from “buyers, buy what you sell” to ‘Buyers do not buy products and services they buy solutions’. Now it is moving from ‘customers buy experience’ towards the personalisation of relationships and the value placed on ease and emotion which moves the revenue needle ‘customers buy ideas and experience from you that create an impact that they value in feeling and ease.’

Read More