As 2018 began to fade and 2019 was on the horizon, I realized that I was in need of a new "Word of the Year". I've never been a New Years Resolutioner, rather I enjoy using a word to help me stay focused. 2018's word was "Authentic". It had served me well, although I knew not everyone in my life had been a fan. As I thought about the challenges I had faced with my clients in 2018, I quickly realized that DISCIPLINE was going to be 2019's word.
I had the privilege of moderating a panel of SaaS sales experts last night at the 1st SalesMentour STL event. So much great conversation around old school and new school sales and marketing techniques by John True, Kathy Gereau, Tom Hanrahan, and Mark Kosoglow.
I've got to admit, I don't focus very much on Social Selling when I speak to reps. about best practices. It's not that I don't think that it's a tool in the tool box that should be considered and used where appropriate, but I don't grab my pom poms when the topic comes up and shout "Three Cheers for Social Selling". I have been known to say, "No one sells anything over email! You still need to pick up the phone." Well, something happened yesterday that got my attention.
I watched the most unbelievable, come from behind, win I'd seen in college basketball in years last night. If you know or follow me you're already aware, I'm a huge @kuhoops basketball fan and NCAA bball fan. I watch about 200 hours of NCAA basketball a season. But, you didn't need to love the Jayhawks to appreciate what happened last night.
Would you get in the car to drive to a place you've never been without directions, GPS, or Waze? Of course not. So why do so many companies think they can get to the "next level" without metrics, goals, or KPI's?
I'm seeing Sales teams without revenue goals, Marketing teams without monthly lead, MQL, or SQL targets, and Customer Success teams without renewal or up-sell goals. It's baffling. How do your employees know when they leave work each day if they have had a successful or unsuccessful day? How does the company know if they are on track to reach their revenue target for the year?
I was working with a couple of reps. last week helping them prepare for a very important onsite demo with a large prospect. They had smartly scheduled a call with an IT influencer to make sure they had their presentation and demo all buttoned up.
The sales reps. were a bit concerned going into the call that the IT influencer might not be on their team and they were going in a bit guarded in their approach and wanted to keep their cards close to the vest. As the meeting progressed, the sales reps. became more bold in their questioning and to everyone's surprise, the prospect gave us insight and information we never expected to get. He shared not only the names and titles of everyone that would be in the meeting, but also who the three key stakeholders were and what was in it for them. He shared why the last implementation had failed and the concerns about deploying a new system. He even told us who our two competitors were, not the two we thought they were!
You’ve spent the last couple of weeks narrowing the field from 100+ resumes to one final candidate. Now, it’s time to close the deal. You’ve come this far so we don’t want you fumbling the ball on the 2-yard line. Here are the steps I take to ensure I seal the deal.
After doing the Behavioral-based interview, you should have a good idea what makes your candidate tick. Now is when I like to run them through some sort of assessment to see if they have the same competencies as other successful sales reps. who are doing the job today.
I'm not your regular March Madness fan. If you follow me on LinkedIn then you know I went to the University of Kansas and I'm a huge Jawhawk Men's basketball fan. If you don't follow me, then hopefully my "March Madness" profile picture was a tip off (basketball pun intended). I calculated that by the time March Madness starts I've watched no fewer than 200 hours of NCAA basketball. I never miss the Jayhawks play. Then there are the games I watch for scouting purposes. I estimate I see 70% of all Big 12 games. This year I was keeping a close eye on UNC, Duke, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, etc- you get the point. I watch a lot of NCAA basketball. So imagine my disappointment to be tied for 16th in my March Madness pool!
If you had the pleasure of watching the last 4 days of basketball with me, you probably heard the following from me at some point: "Is this happening?", "Yep- this is happening!", "Did that really just happen?", "Did Michigan State really lose to Middle Tennessee?", "What conf. is Middle Tennessee in?", "A&M is in overtime? I switched that game off with a minute left- it was over!" Ahhhhh, I love March Madness.
The candidate has made it through the resume review and the phone screen, now it's time to meet them in person or virtually and learn more.
In Part 1 I reviewed how I attract and select candidates to move onto the next step, the phone screen.
Now it’s time to meet the candidate.
The first step, when I go in search of a sales candidate for a client, is to help my client put together a hiring profile of the ideal candidate.