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I went to Atlanta last week for SalesLoft’s Rainmaker Conference. It was a great three days of networking, learning, and inspiration. I wanted to share with you my favorite sessions from my time there.

 1. B2B Buyers are Acting More Like Consumers

Mary Shea, from Forrester, presented a great amount of data on the 21st Century Buyer. Here are a few nuggets:

  • 68% of B2B buyers prefer to research online on their own- that’s up 15% from 2015
  • 67% of B2B buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep. as the primary source of information
  • 62% of buyers say they can now develop a selection criterion for the final vendor list- based solely on digital content

She said that in order to reach your buyers while they are doing their own research, you need to meet them where they digitally reside.

“Direct messaging on Twitter is 100x better than sending an email”, says Shea.

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Here’s some other knowledge she dropped:

  • Accept that buyers will continue to evolve

  • Place the buyer at the center of all your strategies

  • Understand where your sellers are on the continuum

  • Commit to change and adapt your team

 2. You Need to Know How to Sell to the Millennial Buyer

Jake Dunlap, from Skaled, had one of the most interesting and fast-paced sessions at Rainmaker. Here’s what I learned.

  • 73% of 20-30 yr. olds are involved in a product/service decision at their company.

Millennial buyers are now the new norm. Do you understand how their buying criteria is different from a GenXer? Millennial want to be 57% of the way through the buying process before they involve a sales rep. I actually think that 57% of low. I think they want to be closer to 70% of the way through.

Jake believes that LinkedIn is the most important social network for Sellers. Here are what he thinks are the 3 must haves for selling using LinkedIn:

  • A solid profile
    •  Highlight yourself as an expert
    •  Show off your problem-solving skills
    • Highlight previous work examples
  • An Engagement Strategy
    •  Build social proof
    •  Nurture and give value- what if there was no CTA on the 1st couple of interactions on social
    •  Create buyer affinity
  • A conversion plan

If you’d like to see all of Jake’s Breakout Session, he’s got it posted on YouTube.

3. Direct Mail is back... But not in the way you remember.

41% of outbound “cadences” that SDRs and AEs are using are now including a Direct Mail touch. This isn’t your father’s DM. No post card, no tri-fold marketing piece or even a hand-written letter (which I’m still in favor of btw). This is a personalized “gift” that is relevant to the receiver and shows that the rep. has done their homework.

Thanks to start-up companies like Sendoso and Greetable it’s easier than ever to send a personalize gift to a prospect or customer to get their attention. These companies allow your Sales Manager to pre-select a set of gifts that the SDR can then choose from, based on research they’ve done on their prospect. Sendoso is integrated into Salesforce, SalesLoft and Outreach so your SDRs can send, track, and analyze the impact of that gift on the conversion rate of their prospect, while never having to leave the office.

You don’t need to use a 3rd party company to do this, all you need is a credit card and Amazon! The key to making this strategy successful is the personalization of the gift. You need to have done your homework to make this impactful.

I recently learned, thanks to his Twitter account, that a prospect I’d been chasing was a Belgium beer lover. A six-pack of Blue Moon later I got the appointment I was hoping for.

4. The Employee is Always Right.

One of my favorite session is always the Key Note talks and SalesLoft didn’t disappoint! Shake Shack owner Danny Meyer closed out the 1st day of Rainmaker.

Danny doesn’t believe the customer is always right, and often believes the employee is right. As a result, Danny looks for six what he calls Emotional Skills when interviewing an employee.sa2.jpg

6 Emotional Skills

  • Kindness
  • Curious 
  • Strong work ethic                              
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Integrity

My favorite quote from Danny, “Your culture will always change, your core values shouldn’t.”

I hope you get a chance to attend an industry conference this year. You’ll come away from it with new ideas, new friends, and motivation to have your best year ever.


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