The Daily Briefing: May 8, 2020

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In today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Lars Nilsson, Founder, and CEO at SalesSource. They discussed how outbound teams can adapt their messaging to cut through the noise and the benefits of mentorship.

The company we reach out to, we have to believe in our heart of hearts that they have a problem we can solve.

Dials are more effective than emails

Outbound activity is down, but connect rates are holding steady. People are willing to connect, and it is likely that outbound teams are reaching out more targetedly, increasing their efficiency.

Efficient outbound activity is about who you are reaching out to, and how.

Our inboxes are flooded, which means there’s more noise to cut through. “Emails are way more down than calls are,” said Lars. “The phone is working more than emails are. The phone is more relevant than ever before.”

It’s not always clear which platform is the best for each prospect, but consistency matters.

“You don’t know if the person you’re reaching out to resonates more with phone, email, or social touch, so you have to do them all,” said Lars. “At SalesSource, we help companies set up their outbound sequences. When I was at Cloudera, we did 3 - 5 email touch patterns over a week and a half. Now we’ve found that they’re more effective over a few weeks.”

And with a lot of different kinds of touchpoints. “It’s going to be 25 touchpoints by the end of it. You have to stay in there. That’s the beauty of sales engagement - orchestrating all of this.”

Making sure that outbound teams are targeting the right people, with the right message is key.

You have to believe in your solution. “The company we reach out to, we have to believe in our heart of hearts that they have a problem we can solve. And it has to be the right persona. Are we targeting the people who will be part of the deal eventually.” said Lars.

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Is it impacting initial conversations?

Most deals are getting scrutinized by the CFO. if you’re trying to sell something, and you can’t prove extreme value - I’m talking 10x or 20x ROI - then it’s not worth it for them to make the change.

Extreme value and ROI

As deals come under more scrutiny, revenue teams need to level up their conversations to match the leaders who will inevitably join their calls.

“Most deals are getting scrutinized by the CFO,” said Lars. “If you’re trying to sell something, and you can’t prove extreme value - I’m talking 10x or 20x ROI - then it’s not worth it for them to make the change.”

Lars recommended that sales teams come prepared with an ROI calculator. “Bring it into the qualification discussion, and run it with their data,” he said.

You have to prove the enablement, the onboarding, the quicker ramp time, and development factors. “Conversation intelligence is a must-have for a young up and comer or a tenured salesperson to learn from each other,” said Lars. “Everyone wants to benchmark themselves, they want to get better.”

Jim agreed. “Staying connected to remote teams is immediately important right now.”

We all learn from failure. If you can take five of your failures and find someone who can help you learn from them, then do it. You have to have the courage to ask.

Learn from failure and follow up

Lars shared his passion for mentorship. He encouraged leaders to consider becoming a mentor, and sales professionals to seek a mentor.

“We all learn from failure,” said Lars. “If you can take five of your failures and find someone who can help you learn from them, then do it. You have to have the courage to ask.”

There’s a distinction between coaching and mentoring. Both are necessary to make a salesperson - and a sales team - successful.

“Frontline leaders are the heroes in sales,” said Lars. “Frontline managers need to coach. They need to lead from the front - get on the phone and show them how it’s done. The most impressive thing for me is when a Frontline manager can get on a call and show their team.”

When you start to build what best looks like, you can create a best practices playbook. Lars calls theirs their Hall of Fame.

In the past, Lars would manually keep track of everything. “At the end of the month, I could show my global SDR team was having thousands of calls. If I had access to Chorus back then…!” He mused.

Reaching out to a mentor can seem daunting, but that first brave step of asking for help will take a salesperson into new, uncharted territory in their career.

Lars had some advice for sales professionals looking for an internal team mentor:

  • Find someone who you’ve spent 6 - 9 months with
  • Ask them boldly what you want them to be your mentor, and why
  • Set an agenda each time you meet
  • Make them feel good - let them know that there’s a reason why you picked them, and why you’re excited to learn from them

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There’s another kind of mentor; one that Lars admits is vastly more influential over a person’s life: The external mentor.

“The external mentor is the career and life mentor,” he said. “This could be someone in your family or your network. They’re at the dusk of their career. They’re going to be there with you throughout your career.”

Jim agreed, “They can be especially powerful if they’ve been in a role you ultimately want.”

Lars has mentored hundreds over the years. But there are a few he will keep through the course of his life. Here is why:

“Every quarter, they reach out to tell me what they learned last time, what success they had. And then they tell me what they want to cover next. I am blown away that they listened, focused, and followed through,” he said.

People will take the time to help you if you follow through.

Are more leaders participating in buying conversations?

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