My guest today is Anthony Iannarino, President and CSO for SOLUTIONS Staffing. Anthony is also the Managing Director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company. In addition, he is author of The Sales Blog, where he writes about sales and selling, sales management, the sales process, and what it takes to succeed. You can also read his feature article Make 2013 Your Best Sales Year Ever in the January 2013 issue of Success Magazine.
Below, you can read highlights from our discussion or use the links to start the video from different parts of the conversation.
2013 Predictions—Why Big Data Shouldn’t Be the Focus
Click to start video at this point—When I asked Anthony about the biggest trends going into the 2013 sales year he had an interesting take that bucked the general consensus. While he said Big Data would be a major focus, it wasn’t the area that he thought sales should be focusing on. Instead he thought that there would be a coming flight to relationships where buyers and sellers would start looking to cultivate long term, mutually beneficial relationships in a pursuit of profitable growth. He insists that we have reached the point where there is no more to be gained from buying from the lowest bidder or squeezing money out of suppliers and that there will be more focus on symbiotic growth.
What About Little Data and Social Media?
Click to start video at this point—The fact that most sales teams don’t even know how to use little data effectively should indicate that trying to tackle big data would be a fruitless task. Anthony agreed with this wholeheartedly. In addition, he mentioned that Big Data isn’t a cure all for generating new leads, it’s just another tool that used in the wrong way, won’t help the sales effort. He likens it to using social media like a bullhorn to try to communicate with a mass of people all at once instead of doing it the right way and cultivating the intimate relationships that buyers are looking for.
How Relevant is Lead Defintion to a Sales Executive?
Click to start video at this point—Marketing may define anyone who shows interest as a lead, but when sales gets their hands on it, the lead isn't at all qualified. Sales and marketing alignment starts by defining your "dream client". The client who you can do the best work for and create the most value. The secret is to decide who has what role. While marketing is really good at parts of the lead generation process, it is not designed to handle 100% of the coverage. Marketing may try to handle lead nurturing, but this should be handled by sales.
Why Marketing and Sales Need to Work as a Team
Click to start video at this point—Salespeople can’t rely on marketing to send them ready to buy prospects. In many businesses marketing and sales are two separate departments. When there aren’t clearly defined tasks for each one the responsibilities get confused. In this new marketplace, marketing needs to work hand in hand with sales to create a personalized experience for each prospect. The example that Anthony gives is that instead of marketing having a contact form on a landing page that automatically generates an emailed white paper, the white paper should be delivered by the sales rep with a personalized message. This simple change can help the sales rep nurture the client by making that personal connection.
Ready to Buy Leads, Do They Exist?
Click to start video at this point—Anthony debunks the myth of the ready to buy lead. There is no such thing. No matter where the prospect comes in the sales rep will need to work to get the sale. He also doesn’t believe in all of the hype that buyers are already 70% of the way through their buying process when they contact a rep. The truth is that the salesperson needs to cultivate the relationship and make the sale.
Focus for the First Quarter of 2013
Click to start video at this point—Sales and marketing executives shouldn’t be so focused on changing methodologies and the newest trends. If you continually change your sales methods the sales staff won’t dedicate themselves to learning the newest one 100%. They will simply ride out this trend and wait for you to move on to the next new, big thing. Instead of making changes, pick two or three methods that you feel the most strongly about and focus on them. Stick with them until you get the results you want and, once your sales staff sees you are dedicated to it, they will give 100%.
Changing Business Models
Click to start video at this point—When I opened up the floor to let Anthony talk about what he thought was important he went straight to business models. Technology and data are driving a fundamental change in these models. They are all moving toward value. Businesses need to look at this change in society and how it will impact them.
The Big Lie That Drives Pay Per Performance Pricing Requests
Click to start video at this point—The fantasy that drives pay for performance pricing is that if they switch vendors they will get a better price and will have to put in less effort and will still get better results. There is no truth behind this.
Price Motivated Buyers
Click to start video at this point—The toughest conversation to have is the one where you confront the price for performance/price motivated buyer and say that you are willing to negotiate as long as the upside is as good as the downside. So if your product over performs you get a bonus. This conversation then goes away and the potential client gets back to a discussion of price only. A price motivated buyer is never fun to work with and sometimes it is better to let them go and find the client that wants a relationship instead of a simple transaction.
You can connect with Anthony and learn more about his work by visiting his blog:
Anthony's Blog: www.thesalesblog.com
The next PowerViews will be with Jonathan Farrington of Top Sales Associates. Stay Tuned.
By Dan McDade