This article written by Rob Simmons provides practical advice and tactical recommendations that will help you build your pipeline. What’s the ideal way for Sales Development Reps and Account Executives to work together to achieve success? From leveraging these technologies to reach out to thousands of potential customers I’ve come across some valuable best practices. Using Outreach.io, our SDRs and AEs have developed highly effective sequences that involve both parties and help us break up the sequence by introducing a new, more senior contact mid way through. In order to effectively work through a lead list and get the best return, your SDRs and AEs need to work as one unit. The study results suggest there are three basic types of forecasters: Exaggerators, Sandbaggers, and Heavy Hitters. Twenty-five percent of the participants were categorized as Sandbaggers, secretive forecasters who try to get by giving as little information as possible on the forecast. Fifty-six percent of the participants were classified as Heavy Hitters, who forecast per their conscience. Twenty-four hundred years ago, Aristotle described the three elements needed to move an audience--logos, pathos, and ethos--the intellectual appeal, the emotional appeal, and the speaker’s character and charismatic appeal.
Provide independent confirmation of your facts wherever possible with quotes from authorities (customers, analysts, and the press). Quantify beneficial claims with specific numbers and use real-world examples, which are more powerful than hypothetical statements. Create your own euphemisms that reflect the importance of your product or a particular feature.
Quantify results from adverse consequences (for example, loss of revenue due to equipment downtime). Logical arguments alone, no matter how well you present them, will not change skeptics into believers.
The term “benefaction” refers to the psychological benefits that determine a person’s actions. When something is hurting you badly, the desire to eliminate the source of pain can be all-consuming. Everyone has a selfish ego, and self-gratification is our desire to put our own needs before everyone else’s.
Never forget… It’s not solely your product’s performance, ease of use, or efficiency that customers will fall in love with.
Brian was presenting his forecast in front of his teammates and was explaining why a deal that he had originally forecasted to close in the fourth quarter came in three months later. Brian was excited that the account he had worked on for nine months had selected his software solution.
Because of this elaborate sign off procedure, it would take another three months before all twenty-one signatures were gathered. The grand strategy to win the B2b sale is based upon influencing the people, the selection process, and the politics of customer decision making.
Here’s a great event you don’t want to miss… I’m excited to be participating in the ELEVATE VIRTUAL SALES KICKOFF MEETING!
Velocify, the leading sales acceleration platform provider announced its inaugural virtual sales kickoff, ELEVATE, co-sponsored by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP).
Velocify is a market-leading provider of cloud-based intelligent sales software, designed for high-velocity sales environments. When I was a vice president of sales, one of my key responsibilities was to ensure that our annual sales kickoff meeting was a complete success.
Sales is a profession based upon pressure: pressure from sales management to make the numbers, pressure from competitors who are trying to defeat you, the pressure you place yourself to be number one, and the pressure to perform on every sales call. The brain’s cortex interprets the visual information it is receiving and transmits messages to the brain’s hypothalamus. On the outside of the body, perspiration gathers as sweat glands are activated to reduce the body heat caused by the increased flow of blood. The reality of this situation is that the salesperson must project a calm, cool, collected presence to the customer at all times.
For all intents and purposes, the salesperson is the general who has to create the strategy to win the war.
That’s what happening today, because when you think about it, in technology and some other businesses, there’s not one salesperson who can be an expert on the entire product line. Steve has taught at USC Marshall School of Business since 2009, and was awarded the USC Marshall Golden Apple Teaching Award in 2012.
We began our interview by going back and finding out how Martin found his way into this compelling field.
When I transitioned my career into technology sales, I always approached it from the structure and discipline of language.
It’s a little bit different because a lot of people approach sales solely from a process orientation, or they approach sales from a personal magnetism orientation. I spent the majority of my sales career as a salesperson and VP of sales, selling for Silicon Valley technology companies. Pipeliner: In your experience, is the sales process itself critical to a successful organization?
Steve: Just taking it from the hundreds of organizations I have seen–in some organizations a sales process has been established and is rigidly enforced, and in those organizations there has been benefit in terms of salesperson productivity.
In other organizations the sales process has been established but not enforced, and that in some ways has had zero impact (one way or the other) on salesperson productivity. In yet other organizations the sales process is maybe being mutually understood or informal and they have reduced productivity. So in general, the overall correlation is: if you have an established sales process that is appropriate for the type of products you sell–that that is based in the real world, that it is not disconnected from the actual sales activities in the field—there’s going to be a correlation to increased activity.
You don’t want a heavy, deep, incredibly complex sales process if it doesn’t match the sales environment you have. Steve: I’ve worked with hundreds of companies, and in those hundreds of companies I’ve only known of one major company that did not use a CRM. So to this day when I think about that organization that doesn’t have a CRM, I think about the sales reps themselves, and how every sales rep is operating under their own model. When I think of the top personality attributes that come to mind, number one would be achievement orientation—meaning fixated on a goal. I would also say something a little bit different than most might: I would say every salesperson is wired to be optimistic in front of people. Then of course you get into the other aspects of the selling style: the practical, tactical, strategic things you need to be doing to win the account and differentiate yourself against the competition.
So at a high level I think about the personality attributes, and then how they translate into a successful selling style. Pipeliner: You don’t address this in your articles, but I want to ask you about it because you brought up the “trusted expert” quality. Steve:That’s a great question because the concept of my book is, in order to become a trusted advisor you have to be able to speak a variety of languages.
In the past, a salesperson sold in a very kind of reactive “I know the most about my product” way. Pipeliner: Your studies touch on the quality of a sales organization relative to a salesperson’s performance. In general high-performing sales organizations are little bit more aggressive about setting quotas, because they believe they can accomplish them. In other words, it’s okay to have quotas that are difficult to achieve because that makes them more meaningful to the achiever.
I think the best sales manager, at certain points during the quarter, has to be all of those things. Steve is the author of the “Heavy Hitter” series of books for senior salespeople on the human nature of complex sales. In the late sixth century, Pope Gregory described the seven deadly sins from the least serious to the most, as superbia, invidia, ira, avaritia, tristia, gula, and luxuria. Harvard Business Review is arguably the most prestigious publication for business leaders and management thinkers. What separates high-performing salespeople who exceed their quota from underperformers who miss their quotas by more than 25 percent? I recently conducted a research project involving nearly 800 salespeople and sales leaders to better answer this question.
The following Infographic from Velocify was based upon my in-depth research with over one-hundred vice presidents of sales at leading high technology companies and business services providers. When people in other careers ask salespeople why they are in sales, the most frequent answer is “money.” This is the pat answer salespeople give to outsiders who have never experienced the rush of closing a deal or the satisfaction of building a trusted friendship with a customer. Providing the answer “money” is similar to the way mountain climbers answer “because it’s there” when asked why they climb mountains. The real answer to the question of why salespeople are in sales is deeper and far more complex.
As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. I have probably reviewed more than one hundred corporate PowerPoint sales presentations in the past year alone. Mistake #2 - They emphasize the wrong message because they aren’t customized to the specific sales situation (fats and oils must be the most important food because they are on top!). Perhaps the greatest single moment to influence customers during the sales cycle is during the corporate sales presentation.
Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics" shows readers how to improve their sales success using nothing more than words and their voices. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.


That leaves you with two options: have your SDR team uncover contact info one decision-maker at a time, or outsource the work.
If the list is small or you just need a few emails, have an internal development rep tackle them one at a time using tools like Datanyze Insider or our new favorite, Prospect.
When you hire the right young people, train them properly, and give them the right tools, an SDR team will help you smash your revenue goals.
The first rule is to make your messaging, including subject line, as relevant to the person on the other end as possible without getting so customized that it slows you down. I personally feel that touching a lead every two days is nearing harassment, but others might call my sales strategy passive.
After a few emails from the SDR and a call, the SDR can set a task in Outreach.io to then loop in the AE. They should meet regularly to analyze the leads they are working, review performance metrics, as well as the quality of appointments set. Nineteen percent of the study participants were classified as Exaggerators, who are overly optimistic forecasters. They figure the less information they give, the less exposure they have to upper management’s analysis of their forecast and their associated deal-inspection questions.
These classifications are just as applicable for today’s salespeople as they were back then.
Their companies have trained them on the business reasons to select their products, identified processes to educate customers, and established procedures to determine customers’ technical requirements. Finessing customers to change their opinions requires an emotional appeal to their human nature. Pain Avoidance is one of the best purchase motivators because customers are forced to act quickly and decisively to eliminate it. Self-preservation, the desire to be recognized for our unique talents while still belonging to a group, applies to customers and salespeople alike.
Customers will go to great lengths to purchase something that makes them feel better about themselves and superior to others.
When salespeople share their experience and opinions with customers, they are using their knowledge to their advantage. After several weeks of ensuing price negotiations, a $300,000 purchase order was submitted into the customer’s capital expenditure software system (referred to by the customer internally as the “CESS system”). If only he’d had the foresight to ask about the details of the procurement process with the same diligence that he spent qualifying their decision making process before he committed the deal on his forecast.
Martin has interviewed with over one thousand top salespeople to better understand their strategies to win the complex B2B sale.
The hypothalamus activates the adrenal gland, which instantaneously releases adrenaline into the blood stream. The salesperson’s internal dialogue speeds up, jumps from subject to subject, and second-guesses itself.
Pipeliner CRM Blog is an exceptional resource for CEOs, Sales Leaders, Sales Managers and Sales Pros. But in general with my clients, it is a team sport in that you’re working together as a team, and therefore the communication and strategy amongst the team is critical. Then as they’re getting their team together, they’re marshalling their resources, organizing them, and fixating them on the target — on the objective they want to accomplish. That was literally my first position out of college—working in IT, and working with programming and computers. As I said, this is all about language and how people use language, so we have to understand what language affects people and how they interpret it. My Heavy Hitter series of books is all about modeling behavior, and that’s what I write about: successful models of behavior, the human nature of complex sales and sales linguistics.
For example, I was at a sales organization the other day, and they don’t really have a sales process established. If you’re selling a very complex enterprise-type product, the sales process becomes exponentially more important, as opposed to if you have a very point-specific sale that’s sold to one individual in the organization.
I’ve actually seen that happen with some clients—where their sales process really doesn’t match what the people in the field need to do.
What you miss if you don’t have a CRM is obviously all the reporting capabilities, and the understanding of where you are at and what is happening. It becomes almost impossible when the CRM system isn’t tied into the forecasting system which isn’t tied into the behavioral system of the sales organization. But I will say in general there are personality attributes, and then there are selling style attributes. I would probably say number two gets into curiosity—the natural inquisitiveness of the person to understand what’s happening, the story behind the story, investigating this in qualifying an account.
Situational dominance is the ability, when you’re with that client, to ensure that your advice and recommendations are followed by the client. That’s why the study of sales linguistics is so important, because verbal acuity is saying the right words, at the right time, in the right way.
Now I also have metrics and I do all this other stuff, but if you want to know the difference, that’s how I think about it. Today every salesperson has a choice to make: you’re either going to be that product-centric salesperson, or you’re going to be a business-centric salesperson and represent yourself as a thought leader. It gives you a platform by which you disseminate your personal credibility to people in advance of meeting you. What would you consider great qualities of a sales organization in which a salesperson can flourish? The art and science of setting quotas is something that has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Interestingly high performing salespeople believe that fewer salespeople should make quota in their organization, whereas underperforming people believe that more should. For example, maybe more towards the end of the quarter you have to be a micromanager, or at the beginning of the quarter maybe you’re more of a mentor. During his career he has worked very closely with salespeople, achieved an understanding of how they can best be assisted by marketing, and gained a keen insight into the innate and singular abilities they demonstrate day in and day out. The methodology behind our platform provides a solid sales process for thousands of organizations, worldwide.
The Heavy Hitter corporate sales training program has helped over 100,000 salespeople become top revenue producers. For breakfast he ate eggs, pancakes, pork chops, cornbread, fried potatoes, hominy, muffins, and beefsteak and drank a gallon of orange juice. An inactive salesperson neglects the future and does not spend time on activities that build his future pipeline. I am continually amazed at the lackadaisical attitude many salespeople have about understanding the organizational structure of the companies they call on. How can you determine your next course of action if you don’t understand the customer’s technical objections and how best to emphasize the product’s strengths?
Salespeople who are not certain but make their best guess about who the ultimate and final decision maker is within an account are more than halfway to losing the deal. If you do not have a spy within an account who is telling you what is happening in closed-door meetings, defending you when you are not around, and disseminating propaganda on your behalf, you will most certainly lose.
Here’s one of my recent Harvard Business Review articles about What Separates the Strongest Salespeople from the Weakest. In addition, I have had the privilege to interview well over one thousand top salespeople who sell for some of the world’s best companies.
For a salesperson to establish credibility it requires that messages be conveyed at the recipient’s communication level, not too far below the level of the words that the customer uses. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals. Please click here if you would like to read the full report  about the latest sales organization strategies and key sales performance metrics. The questioners can’t comprehend why someone would intentionally endure such physical and mental exhaustion and take such huge risks. It was best explained by French aristocrat and historian Alexis de Tocqueville when he wrote about the American colonies’ desire to be free from England. I work indirectly in the sales industry, and I have observed that there is a definite drive in those who are in the sales force. Not only do most look the same, they use the same terminology to describe their company’s unique advantages. The direct approach to the customer presentation is to talk about me, me, me: my company, my products, my products’ features and functions.
The book presents 101 practical solutions and proven tactics to build relationships with customers and persuade them to buy during sales calls.
As a secondary, but still important benefit, SDR teams allow closers to focus on doing what they excel at, which indirectly can improve team morale. The platform makes an SDR team function as if they have 2-4x the headcount with their customized and collaborative email sequences (you can also add call tasks).
The subject lines I’ve had the most success with include the contact's name or company name and a brief call to action. A good SDR is an AE’s best friend, so I always recommend the pair head out for coffee together (on the AE’s dime) once a month and get to know each other personally.
Regardless of whether they will have a good quarter or a bad quarter, they tell it like it is.
In today’s marketplace, where little difference exists between products, Aristotle would advise salespeople to employ not only logos, but more importantly pathos and ethos to persuade today’s customer to buy.
It is creating a favorable disposition in potential customers through an emotional or psychological appeal and thereby casting your competition in an unfavorable light. Customers purchase items that they believe will enhance their stature and protect their group position.


In other words, you want customers to view you as the only person who can address their personal needs, solve their business problems, and help them achieve their career hopes and life’s desires. However, Brian was quite surprised to learn that the rules-based CESS system required that a purchase of that magnitude be approved by twenty-one different people. During tough economic times like today, you should expect every purchase approval to take two to four times longer than normal. In order to be successful, you need to develop the right communication strategies to help your message stand out above the competition. As part of the win-loss analysis research he conducts on behalf of his clients, he has also interviewed over 1,000 key decision makers and evaluators to better understand  how they made their selection.
Here are a few of the physiological changes that happen to a salesperson who is making a stressful customer sales call or conducting a critical presentation he hopes will land him or her the big deal. Oxygen-rich blood is sent to the brain for clearer thinking and to muscles for quick reactions. Nervousness and agitation may be misinterpreted and convince customers that the salesperson has something to hide. Then they have to react to the competitor’s battlefield movements, so they become tacticians. Martin is the foremost expert on Sales Linguistics, the study of how salespeople and customers use language during the complex decision-making process.
If you build a program on one computer, you should be able to take it to another computer, run it, and get the same repeatable, predictable outcome.
It’s because the nature of the interactions with their clients are mainly repeat interactions with clients they already know.
That has an impact on anything and everything, from how they forecast right down to the culture of the organization. But you really miss the ability to capture really important information about why you win and why you lose, and behavior over time in a sales organization. When you onboard people it’s difficult because you’ve got to tell them to “go figure it out.” It’s not the optimum way to scale an organization.
But I would also say there’s an inward pessimism that drives top salespeople to another level of deal inspection, to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed going through the sales cycle.
That means you have to understand business, and you have to understand how your solution influences  business.
Then you get into all the aspects of culture and morale and things like that—but off the top of my head those two things are absolutely critical. They range from being a mentor, someone who is mentoring that salesperson, to an expressive, to someone who’s actually commanding that salesperson, to a sergeant, to someone who is very loyal to that person, and to a micromanager, someone who is micromanaging every aspect. Steve is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review and he teaches at the University of Southern California Marshall Business School MBA program. Worse, in this situation you are completely at the mercy of someone else because another member of your company has to explain how your product works.
The salesperson who avoids committing these seven deadly sins is well on his or her way to becoming a Heavy Hitter, a truly great salesperson.
The information from these two sources provides interesting insights about the attributes of high-performing top salespeople compared to their lesser successful counterparts. On average, high-performing salespeople communicate between the eleventh and thirteenth grade level when scored by the Flesch-Kincaid test as opposed to the eighth and ninth grade level for underperforming salespeople. Another interesting statistic is that over 85 percent of top salespeople played an individual or team sport in high school. They themselves don’t possess the inward drive to reach the pinnacle or the self-confidence to attempt the impossible.
Yes money is a factor, but it is also evident that there is a love for the hunt, the close, etc., all of the parts that make up the sale.
You could take slides from one company’s presentation and insert them in another’s and no one would notice.
The Department of Agriculture introduced the food pyramid in 1992 as way to show the recommended intake of the six different food groups. The indirect approach is based upon you, you, you: translating how you have helped other customers in the prospect’s situation. Leveraging a company like Lead Genius enables you to take advantage of their efficient lead generation and enrichment services at enterprise scale, without taking valuable SDRs off the phone.
SDR teams also create a training ground for future sales reps and account managers at your company, demonstrating strong career progression opportunities and retaining valuable employees over time.
Other tools I’ve found to be highly effective include Sell Hack for prospecting, Yesware for email templates, reminders, and Salesforce syncing, and Boomerang for reminders to follow up on emails your prospects may not respond to or to send messages at a later date for optimal delivery. I’m shooting for at least a 50% open rate and 10% reply rate, but that metric varies by company.
When I win business, I want to be a trusted partner who has my client’s best interest at heart, not the pushy sales guy.
AEs have the experience that can put an SDR’s growth into hyperdrive; AEs should be motivated through your culture and direction to participate in SDR development. It is the combination of metrics, qualitative information, intuition, and best practices. So who are the most accurate sales forecasters, and what separates them from the least reliable?
For example, if a customer says, “We understand your product, so there’s no reason for you to demonstrate it,” Exaggerators will interpret this as a positive sign, even though all the other vendors are demonstrating their products. Ideally, you would like them to believe that the competitive solutions are actually threats to their livelihood. Unfortunately, most salespeople are taught to sell solutions based upon customer pain when, in fact, ego and self-preservation are the real motivators behind large enterprise purchases. The salesperson’s definition of “charisma” is “transparency,” the ability to be exactly who you are and the propensity to be perfectly frank about it. Because, every organization exercises another excruciating level of diligence to ascertain whether or not the purchase is absolutely necessary. Nick has spent the last seven years at Velocify helping organizations accelerate sales performance and is a widely-recognized thought leader with respect to technology's transforming impact on the sales profession. He is the founder of the Heavy Hitter sales training program and the author of the “Heavy Hitter” series of books on the human nature of enterprise sales. So my short answer is, I think the best sales manager applies their skills individually to each member of their team. As a result, they are well-equipped to function in competitive environments where self-discipline is a necessity. The colonials weren’t as interested in the independence of the colonies as they were in the freedom of the individual.
So many in the industry love it to the point that they can't see themselves doing anything else. They are all fact-based infomercials that approach customers in the same stimulus-response manner. Describing how customers successfully use your products is more compelling than detailed discussions about how your products work.
Our team shares high-performing template emails and subject lines using some of the technologies listed in the previous paragraph. And a motivated, hard-working SDR who envisions growing into an AE roll at your company can grow your pipeline exponentially faster. These four benefactions are physical well-being, pain avoidance, self-preservation, and self-gratification.
The liver releases sugar reserves for a quick boost of energy, and the bladder sends a message that it wants to be emptied so the body can flee faster. Steve’s books have been featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Selling Power Magazine and are recommended by the Harvard Business School.
You have be able to say, “This is how I brand myself, and my brand is that when you meet with me, you know I know my solution set. Many salespeople feel compelled to recite their canned pitch regardless of the customer’s actual interest.
For example, 52 percent of high- performing salespeople indicated they were power users who take full advantage of their company’s CRM technology and internal systems compared to only 31 percent of underperforming salespeople.
In Pavolian terms, the vendors have rung the dinner bell so many times that the dog refuses to get off the couch to check his bowl. Templatizing our top performing emails allows us to share best practices and move quickly as we customize our outreach. This is a healthy amount of time to spend on a lead that hasn’t responded before moving on to find a new contact. What would your reaction have been if before he started to work on your mouth he seemed nervous, agitated, or flustered?
You have conducted a perfect sales call when the customer has been persuaded to buy even though you listened far more than you spoke.
The main course was two whole ducks, six or seven lobsters, a sirloin steak, and servings of vegetables. Other salespeople place all their eggs in one basket, never really thinking about what will happen if their big deal collapses. Every July 4th here in the United States we pause to celebrate the most magnificent experiment of freedom in the history of mankind.
They have been lulled into a state of inactivity and could be jolted into reality at any moment. Does your sales organization include a “Diamond Jim Brady” who devours company resources to the point of gluttony?



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