10 Steps to Setting the Perfect Agenda for Sales Training Courses

10 Steps to Setting the Perfect Agenda for Sales Training Courses

A good number of B2B sales pros aren’t born with all the skills they need to succeed — they’re trained. The art of selling is a nuanced one, so training courses aimed at sharpening the skills of reps must emphasize quality to ensure maximum efficacy. If a training course isn’t engaging, attendees are much less likely to absorb the lessons therein, and if the course agenda is poor, the lessons taught will confer little in the way of real-world value. This article will cover a few tips for crafting courses that will provide superior value when training sales teams.

1. Go in With the Right Mindset

Though the knowledge learned in the training course should be complete and “self-contained” in a manner that provides initial value to attendees, it should also build upon previous training and fit into subsequent training attendees might receive. Sales training is a continuous process. Therefore, the training should link together in a way that is related and links to the goal of training better sales professionals.

2. Know the Audience

Part of creating courses that can relate to one another, as well as ensuring the information contained within is useful to attendees, is knowing who they are in a broad sense. Are the courses for complete beginners? Intermediates who already have specific skills? It’s important to consider the audience to make sure each training course is effective and suitable for achieving the end goals.

Consider who the audience is in a personal sense as well. Some sales professionals will learn better from visual tools. Others will learn best from having an opportunity to repeat what they’ve heard during the session. There are many survey tools trainers can send out before a training session. These surveys will help you discover each attendee’s personal learning style. With that in hand, customize the training courses for the audience.

3. Consider the End Goal(s)

Knowing the goals of a training course is critical for planning an agenda with useful content. The materials that go into a course should be geared toward accomplishing an objective that goes deeper than simply improving sales skills. For instance, when preparing training courses for a company’s sales team, how will learning those skills improve the chances of achieving certain organizational objectives? When creating courses for freelance sales, consider how the lessons will benefit the sales professionals as they set out on their own.

4. Keep Customers in Mind

Very few sales skills work in a bubble. Much of what training courses teach to sales professionals will later be applied when interacting with customers, so it’s important to keep those customers in mind when designing any training course. Emerging trends that might shift the buyer-seller relationship, such as increased consumer knowledge, fluctuating budgets within a particular industry, or a general change in attitudes as millennials flood the workforce, will impact what approaches should be taught to maximize real-world effectiveness.

5. Focus on Valuable Content

In addition to being relevant from the standpoint of the relationship between sales professionals and prospects, training course content should be current and reflect a changing sales landscape. Emphasizing old school techniques — attempting to conceal the truth from buyers or using coercion to lead them into making a deal — should be avoided, as (mentioned above) prospects are more savvy and the business of sales is changing in a way that necessitates shifting strategies for success.

6. Show How It Works

Showing how specific techniques work when applied in the real world can help make sales training that much more effective. Sharing statistics, figures and success stories can keep attendees engaged, instilling confidence that the material is worthwhile, and assuring them that they’ll be able to apply what they learn.

7. Craft the Course for Your Audience

Sales training, for the most part, is geared toward newer sales professionals. The methods and principles for training your learners are different than those aimed at other newer groups. Experienced sales professionals are usually more self-directed and more goal-oriented. They also have a wealth of prior knowledge and experience that may color their perceptions, and are more likely to lose interest if they can’t see what’s “in it for them” when it comes to a training course. Maintaining engagement with experienced sales pros and connecting effectively requires keeping these facts in mind when crafting a sales course. In addition, it might be prudent to keep a few tips on connecting within reach, incorporating them into the training when applicable.

8. Set Objectives

In addition to the overall end goals which every course should incorporate, there should be individual objectives for the specific skills taught. These will ensure that attendees have learned what they were supposed to learn. These objectives are like a roadmap, and should be reflected when crafting training course content and assessments.

9. Incorporate Training Materials and Opportunities

While adding details to the agenda, look for opportunities to incorporate well-designed training materials to bolster the course. Handouts, worksheets, graphics and more fall into this realm. When crafted correctly, training materials can improve course engagement and ensure attendees feel as if they are spending their time usefully — a critical factor to training success.

10. Weave in Feedback

Training is for the benefit of sales professionals, so incorporating their perspective will go a long way in tailoring a course agenda to suit their needs. When possible, survey sales teams to gain insights on where their skills shine and where they may be lacking. Using that information, it’s easier to customize an agenda in a way that touches heavily upon more critical points while avoiding specific topics that require less attention.

What Behavioral Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Sales

What Behavioral Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Sales

Back in 2014, Inc. proclaimed that “sales is now science,” courtesy of their article on the topic, The Neuroscience Of Selling:

“Neuroscience allows scientists to study how the brains of the buyer and seller are acting and reacting during actual sales situations. This provides a level of detail that simply wasn’t available using the blunt instruments of the past.”

Studying the brain, the promise went, would open the door to new insights that could help B2B sales reps hone their craft — how to reduce stress, understanding the mental processes that drive a prospect to go through with a deal, etc. This article will delve into some of the lessons learned through neuroscience over the years and how they are applicable to the landscape of selling.

Insights Into Loss Aversion

On the topic of why potential customers often behave the way they do, neuroscience has revealed some information about loss aversion. Humans are naturally inclined to fear loss more than they appreciate gains, which can sometimes hamper the deal making process. Scientific American illustrates this nicely with a fictional scenario:

“Imagine this scenario: a friend offers to flip a coin and give you $20 if it lands on heads. If it lands on tails, you give her $20. Would you take that gamble? For most of us, the amount you could possibly win would need to be at least twice as large as the amount you could lose before you would accept the risk.”

Understanding all the ins and outs of loss aversion is an ongoing investigation in the world of neuroscience, but simply knowing of its existence and how it influences human behavior is of benefit to sales pros, as they can adjust their tactics to compensate.

Understanding Irrational Objections

Somewhat related to loss aversion are irrational objections that buyers might put forth, often born of something known as the status quo bias. As put by Psychology Today, “many of us [humans] tend to resist change and prefer the current state of affairs.” This extends to decision making, as many people tend to stick with a decision, even when presented with a more desirable alternative.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, when studying the biological basis for delusions, noted that “when there is a mismatch between expectations and outcomes, this mismatch (or mistake) is noticed, and, in order to learn effectively, expectations for the future are revised accordingly.”

Few individuals enjoy making mistakes, and it’s partly because of this that individuals will hang on to the status quo or previous decisions so fervently. Understanding this human tendency allows sales reps to employ techniques to circumvent it, such as using empathy to relate to prospect’s and creating reassurance that to the likelihood of swaying their viewpoint.

Improving Conversational Intelligence

The idea of conversational intelligence made the Inc. list of the five biggest trends for 2016. The overarching concept, that “conversations actually rewire our DNA and brain chemistry,” plays an integral part in shaping a message to achieve maximum impact. For sales reps, understanding the neuroscience behind how to deliver a message can affect how often and how successfully they can connect with potential buyers.

A conversation, it turns out, is more than words. Tone of voice and body language have a greater impact on how a message is received than the message itself. By learning to focus on both delivery and content, reps can increase their efficacy when entering situations where face-to-face communication is a must.

Beyond the seller/buyer relationship, understanding how cues during discussions can impact the physiology of participants in said discussion is a key to more capable leadership. On sales teams, where collaboration and communication are often necessary to meet goals, using conversational techniques to “activate trust” can elevate an entire group to their full selling potential.

Conquering Stress

Sales can be a stressful line of work. Thanks in part to neuroscience, the chemical genesis of and countermeasures to that stress are now better understood. As reported in the New York Times, exercise has the potential to block the chemicals that the body releases in response to consistent stress. Even minor changes to a daily routine that promote more physical activity can have a positive effect in this regard — standing instead of sitting, taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator — the list goes on.

What’s more, with continued exercise, an individual’s total tolerance for stress goes up. Stamina in the gym, it seems, can translate to increased mental stamina to perform on the job. Making use of this coping mechanism can help elevate salespeople to an increased level of performance — one they may have been cut off from due to their previous inability to cope.

Rewiring the Brain for Success

Again, finding the connections between neurochemistry and emotional states has led to the confirmation of a common sense proposition: Joy beats fear when it comes to motivation. The chemicals released when the brain is in a happy state promote productivity, while those associated with fear can stifle any inclination to get the job done. In the sales context, the application is obvious. To cultivate sales teams with greater efficacy, creating a positive environment and eschewing “old-school” techniques like motivation through intimidation is paramount.

The Only 10 Slides You Need In Your Sales Deck

The Only 10 Slides You Need In Your Sales Deck

Like cards in a tabletop board game, the slides a rep has in their deck can sometimes spell the difference between success and failure in a B2B sales deal. The sales deck is an integral part of many a presentation, providing background and bolstering a rep’s case to their prospective client.

How many slides is optimal, though, and what kinds of maximize success? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel completely here, as Guy Kawasaki has already put together a well-respected presentation formula to use as a framework:

“It’s quite simple: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.”

That framework will require some tweaking to reach its optimal potential for a sales presentation, however, as a great sales pitch must also take into account factors like weaving a narrative, among other concerns. This article will delve into getting the most out of those ten essential slides, along with the odd example to help better illustrate the point.

Slide One: The Title

This initial slide is as straightforward as they come. It should contain pertinent details like the company name, contact info, presentation topic, etc. This presentation from Uber provides some insight on creating a title slide that’s clean and to the point.

Slide Two: The Shift

There’s a good portion of sales advice that advocates steering clear of talking about the product/service in question straight out the gate. Wise words, but much of this advice also recommends presenting clients with a “problem” at the onset of a presentation, which may have some unintended consequences:

“When you assert that your prospects have a problem, you put them on the defensive. They may be unaware of the problem, or uncomfortable admitting they suffer from it.”

Instead (according to Andy Raskin), reps would be better served highlighting a “big, relevant change in the world.” This, he argues, creates both stakes and urgency, nudging prospects to get on board with what a rep is selling. As examples, Raskin shows off two slides from a Zuora deck, which plainly states the change taking place in their industry, then allows the client’s mind to fill in the blanks.

Slide Three: Create The Divide

Continuing with the Zuora example, the next slide should show that there will be “winners and losers.” This, Raskin states, will help combat loss aversion in prospective clients by displaying how those who adapt to change (in this case, a product or service) will be better off than those who eschew it.

Slide Four: Adding Details

Once prospects are on board with the idea of “winners and losers,” the next step is to show them what awaits those who select the winning option. Many a sales pro refer to this as the “promised land,” and the picture painted of this mythic landscape should be both attractive and unattainable through standard methods. It simultaneously lays the groundwork for the introduction of the sales rep’s product/service and supplies a prospect with an idea of what a company does beyond simply supplying said product/service.

Slide Five: Make The Client The Hero

To build on the power of the sales narrative and grant a sense of agency/control to the prospect, reps can use this slide to setup a “plot” where the client is the hero who calls upon the aid of a supporting character (the salesperson/the company they represent) to save the day. Again, this slide should be just vague enough that the prospective customer connects the dots on their own.

Slide Six: Enter The Solution

Now it’s time to show off the product/service. Thanks to all the groundwork of the previous slides, reps can now position what they’re selling as a kind of “golden ticket” that will grant entry to the aforementioned promised land. This is the time to go into some depth, talk up the tangible benefits, and explain the ever-important question of “how” the product/service is key to success. DocSend shows how it can be done in a single slide with a comprehensive overview comprised of three simple steps.

Slide Seven: Supporting Evidence

Claims without evidence are hard for most rational people to swallow. To bolster their promises, reps should include a bevy of facts and figures showing that what they’re selling performs as advertised. Streamline provides a strong example in this area, chock full of statistics and studies to make their case.

Slide Eight: Humanize The Solution

Since numbers can sometimes be dry, adding a human element to the proposed solution is often helpful. Real-world examples, testimonials and strong narratives work well here, as they shift focus to the individuals that the product/service has already aided.

Slide Nine: Hype The Team

To further build on the humanizing elements laid out above, talking about the team that provides the product/service in question, in glowing detail, is also helpful. This slide puts faces to what might otherwise be an anonymous factor and provides a chance for a sales rep to affirm their organization’s competency.

Slide Ten: Call To Action & Next Steps

To close, reps should reiterate that ever-important contact information and include a call to action that motivates the prospect confirm the next move (a follow-up meeting, the sale, etc.). This should be a kind of “we’re here for you” slide that reassures the client and leads them further down the sales pipeline.

3 Steps to Building Your Own Brand as a Sales Professional

3 Steps to Building Your Own Brand as a Sales Professional

The idea of building your own brand as a sales professional sounds daunting. When one considers that blogs, images, keywords, emails, social posts, and daily commenting will be needed, it sounds like the second job none of us wants. However, it is possible for sales professionals to market themselves without much extra work. That’s good news considering that the demands of the modern B2B sales landscape mean the best in enterprise, B2B and freelance sales will require more than just their core sales skills to get ahead.

To paraphrase Entrepreneur, “every salesperson functions as the CEO of their own business.” The crux of the argument, they argue, is that strong marketing augments the ability to close prospects:

“While perhaps not as do-or-die in real life, arguably sales’ most crucial role, in addition to closing deals, is maintaining an abundant pipeline of leads. To do this, salespeople are constantly acting as their own marketers, even as the marketing department creates leads.” For sales professionals that have been building relationships for a decade or more, the fact is that it’s impossible to keep a one-on-one relationship with each and every contact. The next best thing is to create a brand and build a manageable strategy that allows that brand to stay in front of those contacts.

With that in mind, here are 3 simple steps sales pros can employ to enhance their personal marketing efforts.

1. Lay the Groundwork

The first step to launching any personal sales-enhancing marketing plan is putting it down on paper. There are five main areas of consideration:

Analyze the Situation — List core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to serve as a baseline for assessing future progress.

Define the Target Audience — Every salesperson has a demographic to concentrate on. Listing factors like industry, age, gender, etc. will help determine that demographic.

Set Goals — What tangible benefits should marketing achieve? Having goals will aid in assessing the success of marketing efforts.

Set Strategies & Tactics — Develop a timetable for employing marketing tactics for maximum efficacy and benefit.

Set a Budget — Calculate how much can be spent to achieve marketing goals; budget accordingly.

2. Develop a Personal Brand

For salespeople, setting themselves apart from the pack is critical in gaining attention and building a following. This is where the idea of building a personal brand comes into play:

Choose the Right Platforms – Platforms such as facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites are ideal for promoting a personal brand. Choose up to three platforms to begin. Any more than three may prove too much to keep up with initially. Be sure the chosen platforms are where your target audience spends their time.

Define the Message — Building upon personal strengths and weaknesses, sales pros should determine their area of expertise, expand upon their knowledge in this area and use it to establish themselves as an authority.

Share the Knowledge — Through writing articles, posting videos and the like, sales pros build an audience that’s in tune with their personal message.

Engage — Respond to comments and questions left on the main platform and through social media. Engagement helps build a community and encourages followers to come back for more.

Build Trust — Through valuable, accurate content, sales pros can build the level of trust that makes them an authority on their area of expertise.

Be Unique — Personal branding efforts should take care not to follow the mold to the letter. Venturing to uncharted territory is key to gaining a dedicated audience.

Create a Persona — This goes in hand with becoming unique. A personal brand persona may be humorous, serious or anything in between. It will also help in targeting the core demographic.

Use Social Media to Broadcast Persona — Social media channels shouldn’t be all marketing efforts. Adding a touch of the brand persona — the individual behind the content — lends authenticity to the message.

Be Seen — An online presence is important, but making connections in person is also necessary to give the personal brand persona weight.

Be Accessible — Once the authority position is established, individuals will reach out for advice and guidance. Here, sales pros can shine by providing actionable advice or accurate information to whoever is asking.

Employ Two-Way Networking — When making connections, concentrate on making the relationship mutually beneficial to improve the chances of securing more opportunities in the future.

Keep Track of Contacts — Through being seen and networking, sales pros build a list of individuals they’ve come in contact with. That list should be detailed, showing who these relationships are and how they might help with furthering the personal brand.

Be Charitable — Using the personal brand to give back to charitable causes helps to increase its profile and highlight the brand’s values.

Assess Performance & Adjust — Have the personal branding efforts hit key goals and stayed within budget? If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

Persevere — Personal brand building takes time, but can only be achieved through sustained effort. Continuing to work at it every day is critical to success.

3. Incorporate Technology

Technology can help speed marketing efforts by automating certain processes and improving the quality of marketing materials:

Enhance Photographs — Sharing photographs is a must for sales pros trying to enhance their personal brand. Technology like that included in the more recent smartphones allows them to quickly snap and edit shots that appear professional.

Automate Where Possible — Automation helps save time on repetitive processes. Tools like Buffer let pros schedule posts for optimum reach.

Refine SEO Efforts — SEO remains one of the best ways to gain a following through search engines. There’s a long list of tools and strategies designed to improve SEO for various platforms.

Get into Analytics — Analytics provide an idea of who social media efforts are reaching and how effective they might be. Analytical tools offer a way to glean insights from the raw numbers.

Test the Waters for a Personal App — Perhaps the greatest personal branding step, distilling the essence of the brand into a new app can help further reach and enhance messaging efforts.

B2B Sales Predictions For 2018

B2B Sales Predictions For 2018

The end of 2017 which means reflection over the past year’s events and speculation for what the next year will bring. What B2B sales predictions seem likely to occur in 2018?

Looking back, 2017 brought several trends to prominence: the incorporation of AI as a sales tool into the fore, an increased influx of millennial workers into the sales force and labor force at large and a shift in focus toward building better B2B customer experiences, among others. 2018 is poised to transform the sales landscape even further, as the role of AI, the still-growing millennial workforce, rising costs of sales and a host of other factors start to exert their influence.

The Millennials Cometh

Millennials (those born from 1981 to 1997) are the largest living generation in America. Now totaling 75.4 million, this segment of the population continues to permeate the workforce and is expected to account for 46 percent of the total number of workers in the United States by 2020 — entering sales professions and other industries across the board. On top of that, approximately 73 percent of those millennials are “involved in some form of B2B decision-making,” with one-third being the “sole decision-maker in their company.”

In 2017, the increasing numbers of millennials posed one of the “biggest challenges” for sales teams, as older, more seasoned sales professionals had difficulty bridging the generational divide and relating to younger prospects. The response? Experts put forth vast quantities of actionable advice on dealing with Millennial B2B buyers, emphasizing the need to leverage new forms of communication, attract millennial prospects with “compelling content,” evolve beyond simple sales pitches, etc., and sales teams have started adjusting their approaches to fit.

Catering to this new crop of hyper-connected, self-educated buyers will likely continue through 2018, but it’s not the only effect millennial growth will have on sales. In addition to changing sales by forcing sales teams to adapt to their tastes, millennials will also morph sales strategies from within.

Millennials are now the “new face” of many sales teams. This generation is more willing to embrace new technology (AI, ML, etc.) and better suited for data analysis on account of being more familiar with dealing with large volumes of information. In 2018, their propensity toward tech-heavy sales approaches will grant them an edge and force more reluctant adopters of tech-integrated sales solutions to adapt in order to stay competitive.

Account-Based Selling on the Upswing

Similar to its counterpart, account-based marketing (which has made considerable buzz with its recent return to popular consciousness), account-based selling seems ready for a similar comeback. A cross-industry sample reveals that companies are reporting significant benefits from account-based techniques — increased sales revenue being chief among them. That sales-boosting potential is tempting enough that more than a third of the sample is considering future investment in ABS, and nearly half have at least begun some experimentation.

In 2018, as account-based selling continues to prove its worth, it’s likely that more companies will want to utilize such techniques to their advantage. With the aid of modern sales technologies, identifying ideal “high-value accounts” is now an easier prospect, as is customizing the marketing/sales experience to nurture long-term relationships with said potential clients.

Throughout the next year, sales teams won’t just make use of account-based selling in higher numbers, they’ll refine their techniques and become more creative as competition increases. It’s easy to envision a scenario in which outreach efforts, with the aid of large troves of data and advanced analytics, become hyper-personalized and client-specific from the very first moment a sales team reaches out to their potential prospect.

Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

While the relationship between sales and marketing teams has traditionally been strained, in some instances, statistics show that closer cooperation between the two units nets better outcomes. Organizations with a high degree of marketing/sales alignment see greater customer retention and higher sales-win rates and are more likely to meet or exceed their revenue goals.

Driven by increased demand for fluid sales experiences, 2018 will likely see an improved alignment between sales and marketing along with more sales tasks being shifted toward marketing departments. For companies with account-based marketing and sales programs, the lines between the two will blur to an even greater degree, as attracting prospects, along with funneling them from marketing to sales, become shared responsibilities nurtured by both parties.

Rise of the Freelance Economy

The costs of B2B sales continue to grow. Cold calling, lead generation, content generation and the like add up. Combined with investment in new techniques (AI, ML, etc.), many companies will be left with a choice in 2018 — find a way to pay for increasingly expensive sales activities, or cut the cost of sales while bypassing cold contacting of prospects for faster sales cycles and better returns.

The rise of freelance sales will provide an option for exploring the latter route. The number of freelancers continues to rise nationwide, and is expected to reach 40 percent of the total US workforce by 2020. An increase in the demand for their services is primarily fueled by the fact that they cost less than full-time employees.

In the case of sales, this fact is coupled with a distinct advantage — many freelance sales pros bring veteran-level experience and deep industry connections with them (a particular boon for smaller organizations that need top-tier talent and access to clients in a hurry). This relationship is likely to grow in 2018, as businesses on a tight budget make greater use of freelancers to avoid the recruiting tediousness and speed their sales cycles.

 

5 Sales Success Stories of 2017

5 Sales Success Stories of 2017

Like any year, 2017 had its share of interesting B2B sales success stories. For a few of these, the importance of creative sales techniques played the most significant role. This article will highlight a few such tales, addressing the major milestones achieved, the professionals who made them possible, and the strategies they used to achieve their goals.

50 Strong: Being Prepared for Unique Opportunities

Competing with products manufactured overseas can prove a difficult proposition for American manufacturers, primarily because of pricing. In many cases, foreign goods undercut the prices of those made in the United States, but that’s not the case with the story of 50 Strong, who recently secured a contract to produce 5 million plastic water bottles for retailer Walmart after a 30-minute pitch session.

A confluence of factors made this success possible, the first (and perhaps most notable) being that Ashley Thompson, the CEO of 50 Strong, took advantage of Walmart’s annual open call for American manufacturers — part of the company’s pledge to add more US-made goods to its shelves. This was a rare opportunity, one that offered little forgiveness for mistakes. Thompson was able to turn it into a success by keying in on the details her prospect valued most:

“For 50 Strong, selling to a large retailer, like Walmart, which has nearly $500 billion in revenue worldwide, means navigating the tradeoff between price and quantity. Lower prices mean lower profit margins, and less room for error.”

Thompson’s intimate knowledge of her product and ability to clearly express its advantages served her well. Combined with her ability to convince Walmart that 50 Strong could provide both a low price and substantial quality, Thompson was able to make her product that much more appealing.

Splunk: Finding Long-term Success by Nurturing Sales

In 2006, Splunk had a grand total of 150 customers under its belt. Fast forward to 2017 and the San Francisco-based B2B IT company has more than 13,000. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, the company’s VP of Global Field Success, Bart Fanelli, and his focus on identifying the right sales professionals for the job, was a significant boon:

“Splunk developed profiles that specified skills and capabilities relevant to each role… For a field sales position, for example, Splunk specified skills that managers could look for and discuss in the applicant’s work history during interviews–e.g., forecast accuracy, messages to relevant market segments, and other categories.”

While the authors of the HBR article note the approach might not have worked for every startup in every situation, they also highlight that having a streamlined methodology for bringing such talent into the fold is a key component for continued success.

Found: Prioritizing the Power of Sales Pros

Andrew Joyce created Found, an Australian job platform, in April of 2015. Over the course of seven months, in 2017, he was able to increase his company’s annual revenue to $1 million, a feat he credits to shifting focus to B2B sales. Attempting to gain traction solely online, he states, his team “tried a range of different search/display options, and couldn’t get results that were economic.” The approach worked, he believes, because of the added human touch:

“After all, nothing beats the conversation that a great salesperson can have with a potential customer. It establishes that you’re a ‘real business’, the salesperson can address any customer concerns, and the feedback (from missed sales) to the product team can be invaluable.”

Joyce added that because of the competitive nature of B2B markets, strictly online methods of capturing potential clients’ attention tend to fail. Branching out offline and cutting through the “noise” of the internet helped make a greater impact that Found turned to its advantage.

BlackBerry: Pivoting to Enterprise Sales

After BlackBerry was ousted from its position at the top of the smartphone food chain, the company’s revenues declined and its future seemed, to many, to be in peril. Shifting away from hardware and toward enterprise sales of software, however, has turned things around for the Canadian company in 2017:

“Software and services revenue rose 26 percent to $196 million in the second quarter ended Aug. 31 from a year earlier, above the average forecast of $175 million of two analysts polled by Reuters.”

By switching up its focus and providing its sales teams with renewed direction, BlackBerry managed to bag 3,300 orders in the second quarter of 2017. In Q3, it secured 36 deals with US Federal Government agencies, each over $1 million, and it also inked deals to sell its services for next-gen automotive software systems.

The successes have paved the way for the company to reverse its troubled fortunes, and BlackBerry plans on building on the momentum by hiring additional staff to support the company’s enterprise sales and marketing efforts.

OnceLogix: Targeting the Niche

In today’s technologically focused sales landscape, a diminishing percentage of cold calls net a meeting, and building a sales strategy around them, like Trinity Manning, Rod Brown and Ty McLaughlin of OnceLogix did, is an idea that should have been dead on arrival. They were able to make it succeed, however, by targeting a niche with a near-irrefusable offer:

“They targeted smaller customers that couldn’t pay the big startup fees their competitors charged, but would happily sign up for a subscription-based service at a price of $45 per user per month.”

The result? The trio has managed to gain a foothold selling software in 11 states across the South, generated $3.5 million in sales in 2016, and is on track for more than $5 million in sales for 2017 — proof-positive that an old-school, direct approach can still work if it’s concentrated on the right audience.