I love speaking at SKO events. You get immediate feedback from the sales team, which I find satisfying. We are changing lives!
Unfortunately, there are always horror stories when you speak at 20, 30, or 40 events a year. This first story was low for me. I hate seeing an AEs crumble into tears.
Here are the three topics this week:
1. AE Story – how subjective Account Selection cost 8 months & missed quota.
2. Divesting sales expenses in a recession can accelerate the hurt.
3. One-click CRM Integration for Signals is now an option for your sales team.
AE Story – how subjective Account Selection cost 8 months & missed quota.
I was speaking at an SKO, running a “Team-based Key Account Planning workshop.” The goal was simple: place sellers in roundtables, assign them a critical account (where one of the AE’s at the table owned that account), and each collective roundtable would strategize on their crucial account engagement. Typically, 8-12 heads per table are WAY better than 1 AE, so the critical account plans become huge wins for the customer.
At this SKO, one of the tables was assigned to Harley-Davidson. There were 8 sellers at the table composed of AE’s, SDRs, SEs, and CSMs. The 1st step that most tables take in the process (based on our training curriculum) is to defend their Account Selection / Prioritization. Essentially, defend the “WHY” of focusing on this account:
- Do I focus on Harley-Davidson vs. another Automotive brand?
- If Yes, then do I focus on Harley-Davidson TODAY (because of a compelling event), or Tomorrow (no real reason to reach out)?
About 30 minutes into the exercise, I notice that one of the AE’s from this table is off on her own – crying! I’ve been doing this for a long time, and tears are not commonplace. I asked her what was wrong, and her answer will forever solidify why I run this workshop at SKO:
“As you had taught us, I reverse-engineered the key stakeholders at Harley-Davidson for competitive intelligence (previous employment or experience with our competitors). Literally, with one LinkedIn search, I can see that the COO used to work at our top competitor! No wonder so many of our deals had been shot down at the 11th hour. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending 8 months and tons of proposals against this account. I needed this deal to make my plan. It’s obvious why we keep losing.”
This is all too common. Sellers get “happy ears” to account selection & prioritization:
- Sort accounts by revenue
- Sort accounts by the number of employees
- Sort accounts by the number of store locations
- Sort accounts by “sexy logo… and we’d love to have it on our case study page”
Guess what, there is only one Harley-Davidson, and every company on planet Earth also wants to work with them!
What is your ASYMMETRIC COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE (compelling event or reason) that this should be you?
Divesting sales expenses in a recession can accelerate the hurt.
Penny wise, pound foolish.
Step over dollars to pick up dimes.
We are in a CFO-led market right now, and the BFHAG you committed to at the board meeting is slipping out of your control. It’s like the stories of founders that sell their companies have a big “earn out” over the next few years tied to revenue, and the first thing the new acquirer does is slash budgets—0% chance of seeing that earn-out materialize.
Your CFO is using a classic Zero-based Budgeting approach and chopping all spending, indiscriminately. This could include headcount, tools, enablement programs, travel, etc.
I get it. As a CEO of multiple companies, I always do the same thing. But, if you cut into the muscle, you are going to be fighting:
- Headwinds from the market
- With Swiss cheese holes in your sails
Don’t let the CFO just slice into your sails, at the same time your customers and market are taking their stabs.
In my opinion, step No. 1 of every CRO, CMO, or SVP Sale in a region, is to make a Top 3 “rocks”. These Rocks should be the ONLY 3 things you execute against in the remaining months of the year.
If pipeline creation isn’t one of those months, then I suspect that the headwinds are going to sweep you up.
In a storm, only speedboats and ocean liners survive, all other boats are swept up by the sea.
Move fast. Be the speedboat. Get everyone building a sales pipeline now!
One-click CRM Integration for Signals is now an option for your sales team.
We are pretty excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Integration. app to provide your Signals with one-click Integration into your favorite “record of truth.” For most of our customers, this means their CRM. We wanted to provide the ultimate level of optionality.
Option A – .CSV file.
Option B – ANY CRM, Sales Engagement Platform, or Marketing Automation Platform of choice.
The goal is to ensure that every seller that receives our sales intelligence (Signals) can access this information in their “record of truth.” Their Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Tasks are updating them every morning with two (2) key sales plays:
- Customers on the Move / Follow your Fans – we are tracking every customer key stakeholder moving into:
- Other customers
- Named prospects
- Greenfield accounts
Sellers are 3-5x more likely to open this door because THESE ARE YOUR CHAMPIONS. You have an asymmetric competitive advantage in the account.
- First 100 Days / Window of Change – we are tracking every key stakeholder (CXO, VP, Director) you sell into in any account in the world. You are able to engage these executives during the “Window of Change” (Day 30 – Day 100) when they are planning the People, processes, and Technology they need to accelerate their departments.
Sellers are planting the seeds of inception at this moment as these executives will deploy up to 70% of their remitted budget by Day 100. Get there before your competition!
FREE RESOURCE – Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker.
Are your AE’s struggling to meet sales quota?
They could have a QUOTA GAP.
Do they know what percentage of their sales quota THEY NEED TO SELF-SOURCE? (not driven inbound from marketing or the channel)?
For many companies, this is shocking. This could be 50%, 75%, or even 90% of every AE’s sales quota.
Ensure your sales team has a clear understanding of where they need to focus their efforts.
Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker
Do your Account Executives (AE’s) need more leads than Marketing can provide?
Do your Account Executives have a sales quota that’s larger than your current Inbound Marketing lead flow?
Each AE needs to understand their “Self-Generated Quota Gap” – the percentage of quota THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR not covered from inbound sources. They have to create this sales pipeline themselves.