The Daily Briefing - May 20, 2020 - Sales Leaders Gain Competitive Edge by Sharing Market Insights

May 20, 2020

On today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Dan Swift, the CEO of Empire Selling. They discussed the creative ways that sales teams are pivoting their teams’ messaging and pipeline generation. Empire Selling’s mission is particularly relevant today. They are all about to bringing compassion, transparency, and trust back to the sales process. Before diving into the data, Dan and Jim shared how their working from home schedules have shifted. “I’ve never worked from home,” said Dan, “not once in 20 years. My wife works full time too and we’re home schooling.” He said that this is now the norm for most people. So, when you’re connecting with prospects over the phone, it’s okay to be human about these challenges. “It’s not just about what you say, it’s how you approach someone about yourself,” Dan added. “We’re seeing real Innovation on how sellers are engaging with buyers.” Jim agreed. “As you’re looking to build pipeline and execute - I think we’re seeing some of the best selling we’ve seen in a decade.” *Slow down and take time to do your research* Like Dan said, it’s about how you are approaching people now. “We’re craving human connection,” said Dan. “This is something we’re teaching. How should you engage with people like me.” He’s a self-professed LinkedIn-er. As he should be, considering he launched their social selling functions. “People take calls from people they trust. Teach people to slow down. Breathe. Look at what that company is going through. Are they furloughing a lot of people? Have their strategies changed?” He added, “Whoever you’re talking to is a human being. Look at the layers. Connect over what real experiences.” We know that video works. And yet sales is still slow to use video in proposals or later stage sales. “We’re learning how to be comfortable on video,” said Dan. “It’s hard. I recorded 37 takes on the first video I sent a few years ago. It’s a comfortability thing. The knee jerk reaction is to go to email. But when you connect to someone on LinkedIn, you should record a really thoughtful message.” Using video later in the sales process can provide some unexpected but incredible results. “You know other people will get eyes on that proposal,” Dan said. “Do a quick video recap to those who were not on the call.” Jim agreed and added: “When I would do a video intro to a proposal, I was always surprised that people high up would forward it. There was so much added exposure to the deal.” The key is to use video for the right reasons and to the right person. If you’re sending content, send a video to explain why that buyer would benefit from reading that content. It’s a thoughtful intro and it’s human to human. “The open rate and the reason why they should talk to them is powerful,” Dan said. *The type of message that always relates: Human.* Dan said that he recommends to always lead with something human. “Keep the value statement short,” he said. “Attention span is not where it should be.” In terms of outbound messaging, there are a few things that companies can invest in to ensure more engagement, and more confidence sending these video messages. Dan suggests that companies - and SDR teams - slow down. “I hope that companies reflect and slow down. We have companies still saying do 100 calls a day. But let’s instead look at conversion rates. Let’s ask for connections for introductions. I’m not saying don't call. Instead, take a blended approach.” *Coaching at scale* Chorus reports that managers are increasing their actions taken on calls by 53% since COVID-19. This implies that they’re coaching, reviewing, and connecting more with their teams to insure success. “They should’ve been coaching like this before the pandemic,” said Dan. “You should really be coaching in terms of how are you using your time each week. Scheduling calls, crafting messages, determining timing. Coach SDRs to use their time well. And allow your SDRs to come to you and let you know what’s working.” Both Jim and Dan are office, person-to-person style leaders. But once we eventually reopen cities and offices, there will be a few lasting changes from this time of mass work-from-home. “From a day perspective,” Dan said, “we have to know what our people’s schedules are. Your team is going to accept those 1:1 meetings, but that might be the worst time for them to accept a meeting. You have to talk to them, understand what their home and life situation is.” When they do their best work should not necessarily be when you schedule your 1:1s or catch up syncs. “We see a lot of companies that really live and breathe this through our guidance,” he added. “If we can look at the 10 deals that are hot for the quarter - where are they getting stuck, who do we know - those are the kinds of things that are working. This allows AEs and SDRs to look across the org and reach out to executives to get a meeting.” *Sales leaders should champion, not take over*

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