Women in Sales Blog

A Sales Rep's Dream: Automating Prospecting Research?

Posted by Ali Powell on Feb 16, 2017 1:18:48 PM

There are many ways for sales reps and account managers to track their prospects and customers but most of those ways are manual, take time, take multiple tools, etc.

Some of the more traditional ways include things like:

  • Google Alerts
  • LinkedIn Follows
  • Twitter follows

Some of the new age ways of following your prospects and customers include:

  • Using tools or software like Datafox, Mattermark, Crunchbase paid, etc.
  • Using growth scores or growth indicators to know which companies in your patch or territory you should be focusing on.

Questions for sales reps out there reading this:

  1. How much time do you spend per day on each account you are working on or prospecting into doing research on the account and target people in the account?
  2. How do you do this kind of tracking? What tools do you use? Do you actually do it? Would you want to do it if you could?
  3. Even with using all of these different paid tools or software that help you track growth and triggers on your accounts do you still find the process to be too manual to do it well?

I would bet that the traditional, main stream sales reps out there don't do many of these things because it is too hard, and takes too much time.

I would also bet that even the innovative and tech savvy reps don't want to do these things because it takes too much time and is too manual for them to bother with it. So they just don't do it or do it very minimally.

The holy grail for me when deciding if I want to target an account is:

1. Good researched reasons that mean what I sell could be helpful to the target account

AND

2. Those reasons are timely to us helping the prospect.

If I have both of those things I usually feel like this:


You could do all the research in the world and have all the best reasons to prospect an account but staying on top of those triggers and updating the reasons on all accounts in your name is nearly impossible.

The problem is this:

You have x amount of accounts in your name as a sales rep.

You also have x amount of leads in your name too.

You could also have leads and accounts in your territory that are in OPEN or RECYCLED because you aren't actively working those at the moment.

There are also companies or potential companies you could be tracking or helping but you don't know about them yet because they are not in your database or CRM yet.

But, since you are 1 person and only have so much time in the day to actually sell and do your job you can't watch even 1/2 or a 1/4 of your total accounts.

This is where technology and software should come in to help automate this for sales reps.

I would love, love, love <3 my life if every morning I came into work or sat down at my computer and there was a list of my accounts in my name, in my territory with updates on what I would consider triggers for what I sell listed out.

Then I could prioritize my day on my accounts based on those researched reasons, timeliness of the trigger plus inbound lead intelligence.

Wow, life would be lovely. I would focus on just selling and just the fun part of prospecting. Not spending time on the manual process of research on my accounts.

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Topics: sales prospecting, women in sales

What is the Future of Sales Prospecting?

Posted by Ali Powell on Nov 23, 2016 10:44:49 AM

Over the past 6 years I have mastered what I believe to be fairly good, fairly helpful, fairly researched prospecting.

The art of great prospecting across different industries and across different kinds of sales reps differs. Though, there is 1 thing that remains the consistent: the way we as sales reps prospect today (from industry to industry) remains similar.

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Topics: future of sales

How to Use a Tiered Account Model for Account Based Sales Prospecting

Posted by Ali Powell on Oct 28, 2016 9:57:55 AM

Account based prospecting is probably something a lot of sales reps are already doing. There are certain tricks that will help your team (SDR, BDR, Account Manager, Account Executive, etc) to work the right accounts at the right time in the right ways. There are lots of ways to think about tiering your accounts. Here is how I do it and how I use tools to manage my tiered accounts.

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Topics: target account selling, target account prospecting, account based sales, account based selling, account based sales prospecting, tiered accounts, account based sales development

Account Based Sales is the Hot Term Right Now: What Your Sales Reps Need to Know

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 29, 2016 9:53:53 AM

Account based marketing.

Account based sales. 

Account based sales development.

Account based prospecting. 

Account based this. Account based that.

Account based WHAT?
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Topics: account based marketing, target account selling, target account prospecting, account based sales, account based selling

Prospect Wants to Tell the Sales Rep: “Please Email Me and Talk to Me Like a Normal Human Being.”

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 27, 2016 9:25:57 PM

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Topics: sales prospecting, prospecting, smart prospecting, sales prospector, email prospecting

Guide to Building Credibility Internally and Externally as a Sales Rep with your Personal Brand

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Building credibility as a sales rep internally and externally is necessary if you want to work your way up in sales. 

To improve your credibilitiy internally and externally it is important to understand your personal branding. Sales people tend to think in the moment and in terms of getting the deal in. It is not usually a priority to think about a few years from now or even 10 years from now what you want your personal branding to be. That takes time and effort and let's be honest we are busy spending on our time on our pipeline and getting deals in. Thinking about the future can be daunting and tiring. 

Guess what? It is not as hard as you might think to work on your personal branding as a sales rep. You are actually working on your external brand every day when on calls or in meetings with your prospects and customers. You work on your internal personal brand everyday without even knowing it. 

Your personal brand as a sales rep can help you to improve how prospects perceive you. As your personal brand expands you will see your prospects trusting you more because they have read your insights and content online somewhere. You will become a trusted source of information as you build up your personal brand online. 

Thinking about your personal brand as a sales rep internally will help you as you progress your sales career at company. You want people around you at work to think highly of you and know what you are good at.  By working on your personal sales brand internally and externally your credibility will improve. 

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Topics: women in sales, more women in sales, sales women, women sales managers, how to get more women in leadership roles, how to get more women in sales, credibility as a sales rep, women sales community, sales branding, personal sales branding

Oh the things we could accomplish with getting back the time spent on prospecting research...

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 16, 2016 1:38:31 PM

Time. We only have so much of it in a day. What we do with the time in our workday is important.

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Topics: sales prospecting, precall research, research in the sales process, smart research, prospecting research

Always Confirm and then Reconfirm the Point of the Next Step in the Sales Process

Posted by Ali Powell on Sep 1, 2016 8:20:13 AM

Every part of your sales process should have a point.

You must always be on the same page as the prospect, at all steps in the process.

Before every meeting or each part of your sales process prep for the meeting so you have an idea of:

1. What you have done to get here. What steps have you taken to get to this point today?

2. Why are you here today together? What are you hoping to be the result of this part of the process together? 

If you don't know the answer to these 2 questions you should back up with your prospect to get on the same page. 

If you don’t know why you are at a step in the process with your prospect or why you are in a meeting with your prospect then you need to back up and find out what the point of the meeting is. 

  • What is your ideal outcome of this step in your process?

  • Why are you here together?

  • What is the point of this conversation?

  • How does this help you move the deal forward? 

If you aren’t on the same page as your prospect as to what the point of your conversation is then you missed something important along the way.

You need to back up and confirm where you are at in the process. Get on the same page.

You are in sales for a reason. You likely enjoy helping people solve problems.

  • Your job is to find out if your prospect needs your help.

  • Then, that you can solve their problems and they want your help.

  • The prospect must want to be helped by your company because they think your company is the best fit for solving those needs and problems you have exposed in the sales process. 

Whatever stage you are at in your sales process you should be confirming why you are there and what the purpose of your conversation is. 

Confirm. Then reconfirm why you are doing what you are doing. 

Remember you are in sales to help someone with their problems by hopefully selling them what you sell.

  • Are you on the same page as your prospect?

  • Make sure you are on the same page before moving forward in your process.

If you control the sales process, set agendas in your meetings and confirm why you are doing what you are doing then you will work towards the end goal together.

The end goal is the prospect becoming a customer because you can help them best and the prospect agrees that you are the best fit to help them.

You likely know what is best for your prospect so make that clear and explain why you believe your company can solve their problems and needs the best.

Give them guidance and advice on why you believe this from what you have learned in the sales process with them.

Be helpful and manage the process well by setting agendas and confirming those agendas in the process.

If you just so happen to be a woman working in sales or work with women in your company in sales please invite them to join the women in sales community on Slack here.

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Topics: sales prospecting, sales process, smart sales, smart selling

Beginners Guide to Target Account Sales: How to Use Twitter Lists for Trigger Events

Posted by Ali Powell on Aug 18, 2016 10:16:17 AM

Knowing what to say when you call a prospect is half the battle in prospecting. You don't want to call someone, have them answer and then be like...

via GIPHY

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Topics: trigger events, selling using trigger events, target account selling, target account prospecting

The Basics: Guide for Starting Target Account Sales to Enable Account Based Marketing

Posted by Ali Powell on Aug 17, 2016 2:29:10 PM

Every marketer today is hot on talking about Account based marketing. What about the sales reps? What do the sales reps need to do to enable marketing to market to our target accounts better? 

Since I sell marketing software that helps marketers to do their marketing I naturally start to think about how our software aligns or doesn't align with this idea of account based marketing and account based sales. 

It seems like marketers ask questions about reporting on accounts because they want to understand how sales is interacting with accounts rather than actually DOING account based marketing.

It seems like marketing wants to know how sales is working accounts and how contacts within accounts are interacting with the content that the marketing team is pushing out.

Target Account selling or target account sales is not a new concept.

It is just a hot topic today. I can see why and how this has evolved and has come to the top right now. 

We started with lead intelligence on a CONTACT record. The contact record's lead intelligence has now evolved to understanding the contacts under the company or account level. 

Lead intelligence has helped sales reps for a while to sell smarter as well as help marketing to market smarter to contacts we are working as sales reps. It seems like a natural progression to go from thinking about the individual contact records in your database to thinking about the account level with contacts below that account and marketing to those people differently based on context. 

Sales reps have been doing target account selling and target account prospecting forever.

Good sales reps target accounts that they think they can help with what they sell. Within those target accounts there are contacts that can be further looked at and researched to gather more insight into the account to understand how to approach them and prospect the account. 

This target account strategy should not be the sole responsibility of marketing. 

Account based marketing can only be effective if the sales reps are picking and targeting high quality target accounts. The information needs to be up to date in the accounts and contact records in CRM for marketing to do anything worthwhile with those accounts and contacts.

I have always believed that you should care about quality over quantity in sales.

I don't want to waste my time reaching out to anyone and everyone to see if we can help. Why not put myself in a better spot and only reach out to people at companies that I know we can probably help based on research done. Seems pretty straight forward to me and what I have been doing for a long time. 

Sales reps should be thinking about certain things when defining their target accounts for marketing to market to on behalf of the sales rep.

There is an ideal process you can follow for account based sales and marketing by following these steps: 

1. WHO should you target and WHY should you target them? 

A target account should have characteristics that make this account a TARGET. You should only target accounts that have need and where timing is potentially on point based on your research. 

You need to know who you want to go after and why. Sales reps set the potential ROI by defining high quality accounts. 

Instead of waiting for people to come to you, you decide you want to go to them because you think you can help and you target them strategically through sales prospecting and through marketing.

You have a reason to think that you could have value for this company so you are actively going to approach them and see if you can help them based on what you have learned about them from your research. 

  • The account should have reasons that you have found out and researched about the company and contacts at the company that make you want to work them.
  • Those reasons need to be TIMELY.

To be a really good target account the company should have both of these qualities: reasons you think you can help with what you sell AND those reasons and triggers must be TIMELY. You get both of  those and that is a high quality TARGET ACCOUNT. 

You must have good reasons that you think what you sell could help the company AND those reasons must make you think that what you sell could be timely. 

If you don't have both of those then you should not mark the account as a target. Target accounts need to be marked as target accounts for a reason and those reasons MUST ALSO BE timely. 

2. Mark about 10 target accounts a week and make sure you update those accounts with next steps and next step dates.

WHY are you reaching out to them? 

This is where your research comes in to play. 

  • Do research on the accounts that you are marketing as a target.
  • Write all of your research down in your notes in the account.
  • Create a next step date and next step field in your CRM on the account level so you can mark down what is going on with the account and what the trigger is for you working it right now as well as a next step date so you know when to follow up on your last prospecting activity.

3. Map out the people in the account that should know about what you sell and that you think you could help based on your research.

  • Put every contact into CRM under the account.
  • Make sure you mark those contacts as high, medium or low dependent upon the buying power and need they might have in your product or service.
  • This will help you in targeting the right contacts in different ways via marketing tools that your marketing team will use to do account based marketing off of your contacts in your target accounts.

Once you have your accounts marked as target accounts you should work with your marketing team or your territory marketer to define the process you want marketing to do with your accounts and contacts. 

No company is the same as another for how this process will work. You can use this framework to build your target account sales process around for your own sales and marketing teams. 

Now that you know how to target accounts and why to target them you have to figure out what you want to market them with marketing's help.

Think about what would be helpful for marketing to do with your contacts in your target accounts.

1. Should people under your target accounts be marketed to differently by industry or by title?

2. Should you be using marketing automation to certain contacts and not for others?

3. Should you use personalization of content?

4. What is the best way to market to them and how? What channels are best?

5. Should you market by persona and is that messaging different from persona to persona or territory to territory? 

Make sure that you track your success of your target accounts so you can see how marketing helped to impact new opportunities on your target accounts as well as how marketing impacted helping you win a deal. 

This idea of account based marketing is not just a marketing initiative. It is an initiative that should include both sales and marketing working together. 

To make account based sales and account based marketing work really well together this must be a joint venture. It must be a continuous process that you both are working at all the time to define the right process.

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Topics: account based marketing, target account selling, target account prospecting, account based sales, account based selling

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