Author: Alex Limeres

What are Targeted B2B Introductions from Swarmsales?

What are Targeted B2B Introductions from Swarmsales?

The Problem

Companies of all sizes need to break into accounts. Tenured Enterprise Sales Professionals have developed dozens of trusted relationships. These relationships might be active, or dormant if the sales professional no longer covers those accounts.

The Solution

On Swarmsales, companies create sales campaigns in which they indicate the solutions to sell, target accounts they wish to break into and compensation for the sales pro upon completing a successful targeted intro to a decision maker.

How much does it cost?

Typically companies will pay the sales pro a small retainer in the range of $500/mo for them to invest 5-8 hours sending out emails, making phone calls and getting intro meetings scheduled. An intro consists of a face to face meeting or a conference call brokered by the Swarmsales Sales pro and includes the decision maker at the target account as well as a designated executive at the vendor company to whom the opportunity will be handed off to should there be next steps.

Upon completing an intro, sales pros will collect a payment in the order of $300-500 for achieving that only milestone, and they will hand over the opportunity to the vendor company’s internal sales team or to a business partner to continue progressing the opportunity to closure. If the opportunity is won, an influencer fee in the range of $1000 to $10,000 will be paid out to the sales pro as well.

What is the ROI with Swarmsales?

Check out this spreadsheet and let us know if we need to walk you through it

How do engagements work?

By using Swarmsales, companies can invite sales professionals to broker introductions into accounts and viceversa. Sales professionals can review a vendor company’s sales campaign and could suggest an account they’d like to broker an introduction for. Companies and Sales Pros have the ability to Accept or Decline engagements based on their level of interest.

Is your company looking for targeted introductions to b2b decision makers?

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After all, vendor companies just need targeted b2b introductions to decision makers.

After all, vendor companies just need targeted b2b introductions to decision makers.

If you’ve been a startup founder or you’ve been part of a startup from it’s inception, you’re well aware of the fact that the product or service that gets you to Product Market Fit, delights customers and achieves the hockey stick growth effect that your VC’s invested in is most likely not the initial product you envisioned on day one.

Many have written about how to iterate to get there and there are several methodologies out there to follow which will most likely get you to that PMF (Product Market Fit) point faster. The lean startup process  “Build, Measure, Learn” is probably the most famous one out there and I highly recommend that you follow it if you’re in the pursuit to disrupt something with a software based product.

When we started Swarmsales, our thesis was that we could build a marketplace that would connect Vendor Companies and Proven Enterprise Sales Pros to break into accounts and close deals faster. We implemented a milestone based compensation system for companies to only pay sales professionals based on completing milestones (Introduction, Demo, Pilot, Win) successfully and that was a great value proposition for Companies (Demand Side of our marketplace). I won’t get into all the details about what we had to iterate on but here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Supply is King: As Andrew Chen says it well in his recent post. All of these Uber for X companies failed because they couldn’t keep their supply side engaged (in our case the Enterprise Sales Pros are our supply side) because they just couldn’t pay the bills with what they made on Swarmsales.
  2. Sales Pros needed a lot more attention, training and support than we initially envisioned and those that ended up becoming experts with products/services that they found on Swarmsales would eventually be offered a full-time position by the companies that engaged with them.
  3. Because we were suggesting that Swarmsales sales professionals could do everything in the sales process from Identification of an opportunity through Validation, Qualification and Closing the deal, this posed a huge conflict of interest with the vendor company’s internal sales force (inside sales primarily) or with their channel sellers who are the real independent sales forces for our vendor companies.
  4. We had a lot of early stage companies join Swarmsales initially and they all had products that were still not “Sales Ready” and they were themselves trying to co-build their solutions with the enterprise to become relevant. Many of our independent sales people complained that they found out a few weeks or months into the sales process that the vendor company’s solution wasn’t really ready for prime time and they had invested a lot of time to ultimately loose the deal to a more mature player.

These 4 findings led us to come up with a better way for Swarmsales to be of value to both vendor companies and sales pros, and here is what we are now suggesting as the best course of action:

 

  1. Sales Pros need to pay their bills just like everyone else and if you want to tap into their rolodex, you should pay for the time it takes them to get you those discovery calls/intros to decision makers. We’re suggesting that companies can pay a sales pro $500-$1000/mo and ask them for 5-15 hours of their time to draft emails, send email and text messages to get you those great intro calls your company needs.
  2. This is a platform and not a marketplace. You’ll have to assign someone to run the “B2B Targeted Introductions” effort in the same way you assign someone to run your “marketing automation” efforts with hubspot. If you just turn Swarmsales on and wait for sales pros to engage with you and get deals done for you, it just won’t happen. Ideally you’ll want to arm our Sales Pros with the basic info for them to have an intelligent 15 min conversation about the business problems or use cases your company can solve for and use that to get you in front of their rolodex at your target accounts.
  3. Just use the Swarmsales Sales Pro for a “Highly Qualified Introduction” and have them hand over the opportunity to your internal sales specialists or use these opportunities to build pipeline for your business partners such as Resellers or ISV’s and have them do all the rest. Our Swarmsales Sales Pros should collect a nice payment for that qualified intro ($350 to $600 seems right) plus an influencer bonus when your sales team or channel seller wins a deal. We expect this bonus to vary anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per closed deal.
  4. Our goal for 2018 and beyond is to bring in more companies like DropBox, SungardAS and Globant who are already customers and all joined Swarmsales for the “B2B Targeted Introductions”

If your company has a Sales Ready Product and you’re looking to break into new accounts while lowering your cost of sales, feel free to drop us an email at info@swarmsales.com or start here.

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Selling in the Gig Economy

Selling in the Gig Economy

The gig economy changes almost everything about sales. It has created the opportunity for a sales-as-a-service marketplace like Swarmsales to disrupt the entire industry. A sales-as-a-service marketplace allows companies to find experienced and vetted independent sales professionals with pre-existing relationships at target accounts. It’s different from traditional sales, and embracing that difference will soon be imperative to success in sales. However, some traditional sales tactics remain effective and should be continued as a sales professional migrates to sales on demand.  

Some of the sales methodologies used in traditional sales are Solution Selling, Sandler Selling, SPIN Selling and several others. These methodologies can help companies and salespeople speak the same language while ensuring that deals are efficiently progressed. They can also prevent sales professionals and companies from wasting time on deals that won’t close. One of the methodologies I suggest keeping when you transition into selling in the gig economy is MEDDIC. It’s an effective and simple to use sales method. The definition of the MEDDIC acronym is the following:

M: Define a Metric of success that can help you quantify the benefit of your solution.
E: Economic Buyer is the person that has signing authority to get your deal done.
D: Define the Decision Criteria by which your solution will be evaluated.
D: Understand the Decision Process to get to a purchase order.
I: Identify the customer’s pain.
C: Find a Champion who will be selling when you are not there.

This methodology can be easily applied in our marketplace to measure the success of your deals and keep you on track to a fast close as a freelance sales professional. A sales professional in the gig economy needs to become a skilled forecaster, not just a good closer. In marketplaces that offer milestones as part of the process, you can use MEDDIC to help close each of those milestones. For example, a typical sales cycle on the Swarmsales Marketplace has the following 4 MEDDIC categories:

1. Identification of an opportunity; discovery call or introduction call

In this first step, make sure that both the vendor company that you are representing and the account that you are selling them into are on the same page. In order to get everyone on the same page, an independent sales professional needs to identify the pain. Asking open-ended questions gives your client the opportunity to expound on the pain the company is currently experiencing. Some open-ended questions you can use in the gig economy are:

What happens if you don’t fix this problem now?
How did you develop the budget to solve this problem?
Why is this an important issue to address?

It’s also critical to figure out in the first meeting if you’re talking to an Economic Buyer that has the authority to make your deal happen. You may also have what the MEDDIC Method calls a Champion. This is the person that can you get in front of the right people to build a case for your solution and find the budget to pay for it.

2. Validation of the opportunity and demonstrating the value of your solution

In this stage, make sure that you can quantify the value of your solution. The validation could be dollars saved by your customer, revenue increased, or monitoring compliance with a new law. Know the business metric that an Economic Buyer will agree with. This is the right time to perform a Business Value Assessment if you feel it’s needed. This assessment will reveal the value of your solution to the end customer. It could also include a business case to justify the investment. Whether you perform the assessment or not, submit a pricing proposal as soon as possible. The pricing proposal will solidify your prospect’s budget and authority so that you can move forward with confidence.

3. Qualification of the opportunity and performing a proof of concept (If needed)

Qualification of the opportunity means that you collect definitive Decision Criteria. This step will reveal all of the hurdles that exist even within the freelance economy. Some of the hurdles you may discover are security requirements, legal department reviews, or approved-supplier steps. Knowing all of the challenges ahead gives you the information you need to properly forecast your closing date. It also gives you time to plan out how you will clear all of the hurdles you identify. If required, you’ll have to go through a proof of concept process. If it is necessary to provide a proof of concept, draft a document of understanding in which you clearly establish what the success criteria is for your team. This way, you have a clear objective that you know can be achieved. Each company has their own criteria for how to work with a freelance sales professional. Knowing what that criteria is prevents independent sales professionals from forecasting incorrectly.

4. Winning the Opportunity

A clear understanding of the decision process includes mapping out the parties that take part in deal approval. For example, it is often the case that the legal department is a bottleneck when trying to close a deal. Proper preparation for a close includes having paperwork reviewed against your list of hurdles collected in Step 3. 

Interested in experiencing independent sales in the gig economy?
Join Swarmsales.com and complete your profile in 15 min. 

Happy Selling!