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Four Signs that Account-Based Selling is Right for You

Four Signs that Account-Based Selling is Right for You

One of the biggest sales strategies in 2016 was Account-Based Selling (ABS), and 2017 has been building on its momentum to drive today’s B2B sales. With the breadth of channels and depth of information sales and marketing teams have access to, gone are the days of “any lead is a good lead.”

Account-Based Selling has grown due to the strategy’s effectiveness in breaking through the noise surrounding digital marketing. While in the past there may have only been one or two decision-makers within the buying process, Gartner found that now 7-8 people are typically involved in all areas of the buying process, especially in enterprise tech sales. This buying process calls for a solution that engages with multiple functional groups within a single organization, rather than addressing a singular buyer persona.

According to the 2016 #FlipMyFunnel Account-Based Marketing Benchmark Survey Report, 64% of B2B marketers who don’t currently have an account-based marketing program plan to implement one in the next year.

Is your organization ready to take the plunge into ABS? If you’ve seen the following signs, you’re ready to make the strategic switch.

You know your target audience

This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but the first step to implementing an Account-Based Selling strategy is knowing the key accounts your strategy will focus on. According to the 2016 B2B Marketing Data Report, 75% of records analyzed lacked the necessary data on prospect industry, revenue, and employees crucial to effective ABS. The foundation of ABS is that your sales and marketing efforts are focused on the account at large, rather than a specific job role (“persona”) within an organization.
Furthermore, ABS is built around quality over quantity – if you don’t have a precise knowledge of your target audience, ABS as a strategy will be ineffective. With the traditional funnel, the top of the funnel is filled with as many prospects as possible. ABS, on the other hand, engages fewer accounts, but they are much more targeted and representing the ideal customer profiles (ICP) with a higher likelihood to close.

You’ve exhausted your inbound marketing strategy

This isn’t to say that inbound marketing is dead, by any means. But the B2B ecosystem is incredibly saturated, and may not be the most effective for your target market in 2017. With a market that is moving towards a group-buying process, inbound marketing loses effectiveness because it is difficult to consistently produce messaging that resonates with everyone (FunnelEnvy). A strategic combination of inbound marketing and ABM will establish your organization as subject-matter experts, while delivering highly-targeted content to those accounts deemed most important.

You have strategic, valuable content (Or, you’re ready to create it.)

If you’ve been using an inbound marketing strategy, it’s likely that your organization will already have some valuable content that can be tweaked and expanded upon. But remember, the success of ABS relies on attention to detail for an entire organization – not just the champion (or at least, the target personas targeted within the account).
This presents an opportunity for perfectly crafted content that speaks to the specific problems and needs of each point of contact. While your old content marketing strategy may just speak to the problems of a specific user, you may now be reaching six different functional roles within one organization.

True sales and marketing alignment

In an ideal world, an aligned sales and marketing strategy would be the industry norm, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sales and marketing alignment are critical to an ABS strategy. Misalignment, then, inevitably leads to failure. Organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams are 67% better at closing deals (Marketo) and generate 208% more revenue from marketing efforts (MarketingProfs). In fact, Account-Based Selling and Account-Based Marketing can almost be used interchangeably – the process relies heavily on the collaboration of the two teams. This is because sales typically owns the account relationship, while marketing is generally responsible for the messaging and branded assets. In order for sales to provide the most valuable content available to their highly-qualified targets, they need to collaborate with the larger marketing initiatives.

Enacting ABS is no small task because it requires a fundamental change in mindset – both in your sales team and by your sales leadership. Clear communication and accurate forecasting to organizational leaders are imperative to the success of ABS. But when the signs are all present, account-based selling can be one of the most effective ways to land large accounts and expand within them.

Learn how SalesWise can provide greater visibility to your sales leaders and drive additional incremental revenue when shifting to an Account-Based Sales strategy (see how it works). Or, schedule a quick demo to see how SalesWise enables ABS teams.

Understanding Your Customer’s Needs (Before They Know They Need it)

Understanding Your Customer’s Needs (Before They Know They Need it)

 

As one of the oldest professions, there have been many philosophies through the years about how to sell more effectively. While it’s not a new concept to sell to a customer based on their needs (e.g., solution-selling), it is a relatively new concept to sell to a customer based on the needs they don’t yet know they have. This is better known as insight-selling.

Here are five key components sales leaders should look for in understanding their prospective customers’ NEEDS:

Necessity

Every business has a unique roadmap. It’s the way in which they carry out the core functions of their business. Before your sales team picks up the phone to cold call a prospect, it’s imperative that they understand the nature of the customer’s business and the innate needs that customer may have. When asked, only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs (The Brevet Group). Not doing your homework is one thing. The reality is the data is likely already there. Work with your company across divisions to share your collective insights into the necessities of these customer targets. It’s not likely they would ever even be on your list of prospects if you didn’t have an initial understanding of their core business needs.

Enterprising

It takes a wise guy to know a wise guy. As expert Wise Guys, we understand the need (and pressure) for business leaders to show innovation and enterprising qualities on the job. Perhaps the most important factor in selling to a customer before they know they need what you have, is understanding this need for the customer to be the discoverer.

Yes, you reached out, but it’s the wise customer who was resourceful in discovering the advantages they may bring to their organization through your product or solution. Allow your customers to show the initiative within their company. The decision is rarely left with one individual alone these days. In fact, on average, 5.4 people are involved in today’s business-to-business purchase decisions (CEB Global). By allowing your prospect to show his/ her enterprising nature, the customer, in turn, becomes the champion for your solution among the many purchase decision-makers.

Execution

Another key need for the successful champion is to clearly and simplistically outline how your solution can be effectively implemented. Sure, you know the plan, but to effectively sell it, you should put your customer in the driver’s seat and give them the “race car” experience. Allow them to feel the speed, the wind across their face, and the exhilaration when they cross the finish line. Depending on your business model, this could look as simple as a detailed case study or customer testimonial from a similar industry or it could be as hands-on as a demo or trial program. Remember: talk is cheap and seeing is believing when it comes to effective sales.

Direction

Keeping with the race car analogy, the car is on the track, but we all know this isn’t just one race. Selling to a customer involves understanding their need for direction beyond the first lap or test drive. In many cases, this could be the need for projections or ROI. Clearly defining and demonstrating how your solution or product will help their business to grow and gain trajectory over their competitors is a crucial step. It’s what ensures quality and sets the foundation for not only a more immediate sale, but also a long-term, trusting sales relationship.

Sales

Finally, the last factor you should never overlook when it comes to understanding a customer’s needs is their need to sell! How will your product or solution enable them to sell? This could be a direct sell in terms of a solution that furthers their operational structure. Or, it could be a metaphorical “sell” in which a sale is equal to their company’s definition of success or end goal. Consider how your solution or product will be used within the core functions of their business and be proactive in communicating how it will enable a win for their business.

Selling to a customer before they are even shopping for your solution or product (i.e., insight-selling) requires access to insights. Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI) offers companies and sales teams alike critical insights into their customers’ needs and experiences in order to effectively sell and build a positive sales relationship. Learn more at  www.saleswise.com.

SalesWise Sales Game

Three Signs It’s Time to Up Your Sales Game

Everyone knows you have to have “game” to close deals and solidify the sales relationship. But what should you do if your sales have slumped and solid leads are coming in at a snail’s pace? There are many reasons performance may be temporarily lacking. Here are three telltale signs it may be time to up your game:

Sign #1: You’re struggling to get updates from your sales team.

Your team works hard. Inevitably they feel inundated by the amount of data entry they need to complete while also ensuring to spend adequate time selling. In fact, sales professionals spend only 33% of their time selling (Toutapp). They spend an average of four hours per week updating Salesforce. The reality is, you’re not alone. Yet, Salesforce itself reports that 91% of CRM data is incomplete.

Therefore, do you spend time motivating, inspiring, incentivizing, or maybe even antagonizing your team into completing their CRM updates? Or, do you look at the real dilemma? Truth be told, what you really need is greater visibility. Your CRM solution is only as useful as the data it holds. If most of the data is incomplete, you need to look elsewhere. The real relationship-building is taking place outside of your CRM. Instead, it’s in your team’s inboxes. It’s their email communications, the meetings on their calendars, shared documents, and more. Transparency breeds more effective sales outcomes – time to get wise!

Sign #2: Productivity is a never-ending challenge.

A wise guy once said, “Don’t be busy, just be productive.” So, what’s keeping your team busy?

Part of it may be the CRM data entry we just talked about. Another part may be all of the other disparate systems your team is utilizing. IDC reports 61% of employees typically access four or more systems to get the information that need to do their jobs. Moreover, in their 2015 Workforce Transformation Survey, they additionally reported that employees spend an average of 7.36 hours per week trying to find information and an average of 8.15 hours per week trying to find people or experts.

Other productivity killers? When asked what gets in the way of work, employees say wasteful meetings (59%) followed by excessive emails (43%) (Workfront 2016 Survey). Perhaps it’s possible that in your best efforts to increase productivity and the flow of information – through regular status update meetings and/ or a continuous trail of CC/ forwarded emails – you may, in fact, be enabling a less productive work environment.

At SalesWise, we resolve common sales productivity issues with our proprietary Cross Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform that aggregates all of your sales relationship data into one simple view. In turn, you reduce the need for recurring sales-update meetings and decrease email workload by 30%.

Sign #3: You feel like you’re on an island.

In today’s corporations, it’s impossible to achieve effective sales without the efforts and collaboration of other interdepartmental groups (e.g., accounting, procurement, legal, etc.). According to a 2005 study by McKinsey, only 25% of senior executives surveyed described their organizations as “effective” at sharing knowledge across departmental boundaries.

Equally important to your external sales relationships are these internal relationships taking place within the walls of your organization. Truth be told, when divisions are siloed, so is your data. As long as your team feels like it’s on an island and/ or communication with these departments is cumbersome, lengthy, or worse, ineffective, your sales may suffer. In fact, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Salesforce).

At SalesWise, we believe in democratizing your data as a means of driving stronger, more effective alignment and collaboration. No matter how your team or customers change, all of your relationship data is organized and instantly accessible to those who need it most – whether on your sales team or in the marketing department.

Merriam-Webster defines “game” as “a procedure or strategy for gaining an end.” Whether in a slow season or at full capacity, your team should feel ready to take on the challenge without concern that opportunities or contacts will fall through the cracks. Learn more about SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence by visiting www.saleswise.com/get-started.

How to Ask Your Customers to “Be Mine”

How to Ask Your Customers to “Be Mine”

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and we all have love on our minds, right? Well, maybe…

While you may be hitting up the nearest florist shop or chocolatier’s quarters on your way home from work, as a sales manager, you’ll be spending the day like any other – pursuing leads with your team. What if you took this commercialized-holiday-of-love as an opportunity to ask yourselves, “How will I ask our prospects to ‘be mine’?” Following are a few tips from a few Wise (and smooth) Guys.

Be Attentive.

You can’t exactly woo a woman, or a customer for that matter, unless you are attentive to their needs. Being attentive to a prospect’s needs involves having access to information. With multiple departments – sales, finance, legal, etc. – likely communicating with your prospect, too, attention requires coordination and collaboration.

At SalesWise, we enable teams to be more attentive through our Discover console. Here, we go beyond the CRM and limitations of your per-seat licenses to access customer information. We help sales leaders and their teams to see the real-time status of accounts. We couple your Salesforce CRM data with account-based relationship activities, such as meetings, tasks, email exchanges, documents and more, to allow you to Discover the prospects with the greatest needs and/ or potential.

Now, if only there was a barometer like this for dating, right?

Show Them That You Care.

Knowing who to send your valentine to is one important step. Sharing the right message and/ or delivery channel is also equally important. It’s in these ways that you show your Valentine (or customer) that you really care.

With SalesWise’s proprietary Cross-Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform, you can gain greater visibility into the vital details of the communications that are already taking place across functions within the enterprise. In one simple view of the CARD, you can see up-to-date information to help you more effectively manage your growing sales relationship. Armed with this critical intelligence, you and your team will be able to send messages that will resonate favorably with your target customers.

And, no, a text message is not a valid Valentine’s Day gesture.

Find the Right Timing.

So you have the flowers, the chocolates, and the sentimental card, but when should you deliver the burning question…“will you ‘be mine’?” Most sales professionals have heard that it’s best to make cold calls late in the afternoon or that Thursday is the best day to prospect (The Brevet Group). But we all know every customer is different.

With SalesWise, you can filter your customer data by given time periods to ensure you and your team are not missing out on opportunistic moments. For example:

  • Meetings held last month with no follow-up
  • Accounts to close this month with no emails or meetings in the last week, etc.

Timing is everything when it comes to sealing the deal. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day pass without exploring the possibilities with SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence. Visit www.saleswise.com/get-started.

SalesWise Raises $1.3M

SalesWise raises $1.3 million

Atlanta productivity software firm SalesWise has raised $1.3 million.

SalesWise aggregates business data from online calendars, email, document management, and customer relationship management apps to drive productivity and effectiveness of the sales force. The software helps sales people prepare for customer meetings, follow-up and share data about relationships in a more effective way.

The new capital, which will be invested in sales and marketing, was raised from SalesWise CEO Gregg Freishtat and existing investors, including Atlanta venture firm TechOperators. SalesWise has raised $3.5 million so far.

SalesWise supports productivity suites Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, and CRM software such as Salesforce.

“We look at and aggregate every document that goes through the mail server, whether it’s Gmail or Exchange,” Freishtat said last year.

SalesWise presents the information via a web dashboard, or mobile device. Calendar appointments, for instance, include information on related documents, email messages and contact information of meeting attendees.

“We blur the lines between what traditionally is in a calendar, what’s in an email, what’s in document management and what’s in CRM,” Freishtat noted. “When I go out of town and I need an associate to cover for me, I’m not forwarding emails and documents — I can share the entire customer card, so the associate has access to all the information that was in four or five back-end authenticated systems.”

SalesWise was launched in 2014 by Freishtat and Jason Parekh. The company, which employs 10, plans to add up to 20 new jobs next year depending on business traction.

SalesWise is targeting the lower mid-market — companies with $20 million-to-$100 million in revenues and 20-to-250 employees.

Urvaksh Karkaria covers Technology.

(This article was originally published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle by Urvaksh Karkaria, Staff Writer of the Atlanta Business Chronicle — http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2016/12/27/saleswise-raises-1-3-million.html)

Business Relationship Intelligence: What Is It?

Business Relationship Intelligence: What Is It?

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You’ve heard of Business Intelligence (BI), the term that refers to software applications that analyze an organization’s raw data to mine it, process it, query it, and/ or report on it. But, have you heard about Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI)?

In an ever-changing environment, business, and sales are about much more than the historical, transactional relationships. Today, it’s about the relational relationships you have with your customers, partners, and clients. In fact, 89% of customers have said they will (or have) stopped doing business with a company after a single poor customer experience (CMO).

BUILDING Relationships

So, how can we expect our sales teams to properly build and manage customer relationships with traditional CRM systems? As it stands, sales professionals are bogged down by data entry with 71% believing they spend too much time on data entry (Toutapp). Yet, Salesforce reports 91% of CRM data is still incomplete. Data is key to the success of any relational relationship. SalesWise believes no sales team should be limited by the data (or lack thereof) in their CRM system. That’s why we decided to build a solution intelligently designed around the way in which relationships really work! With a full 360-view, our Cross Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform aggregates data from every message, meeting, document, and person involved so that you gain a clear view into the existing relationships as well as new relationship opportunities.

EMPOWERING Relationships

As many sales leaders know, relationships don’t exist solely outside the walls of your enterprise with your customers. Sure, your sales team is central to that relationship, but so are your legal, finance, and onboarding functions. Rarely are sales ever one-to-one any more. Today, sales are many-to-many with multiple individuals involved in the sales cycle and customer experience processes. Gartner found 7-8 people are typically involved in all areas of the buying process for enterprise tech sales; while another 5-6 people occasionally participating. That’s a lot of relationships within the business relationship.

According to the 2015 IDC Workforce Transformation Survey, employees spend an average of 7.36 hours per week trying to find information and an average of 8.15 hours per week trying to find people or experts. SalesWise, as a leading BRI solution, believes in greater productivity through the democracy of data. The only way to empower your relationships is to ensure your sales team and non-sales staff are working effectively and efficiently together to shorten the sales cycle and enhance the customer experience. A true BRI solution ensures everyone has access to your relationship data. In the end, not only are your staff empowered; but, the sales leader is empowered with complete and comprehensive data that keeps them in-the-know and better prepared to lead.

 INSPIRING Relationships

A major factor in the feeling of empowerment for any sales leader or team member is access to insights. With traditional data-entry systems, we’re relying on a sales professional to assess and enter the information (a.k.a. data) they believe is the most beneficial… after the fact. The truth is relationships are happening in real-time. This antiquated system is flawed.

A BRI solution doesn’t rely on data entry, nor does it rely on subjectivity. A sales professional solely focused on his/ her relationship with a customer will never see the connections that customer may have with other individuals in your organization (e.g., procurement, legal, etc.), or the additional customer connections they may find within the customer’s business to further the relationship. With SalesWise, our customers discover an average of 5 – 8 times more contacts and increase visibility by 300% beyond their CRM system. These insights inspire actions that lead to stronger relationship connections.

Relationships are all around you. So, why shouldn’t your sales technologies work the same way? With SalesWise, we gather relationship data from your CRM system, inbox, calendar, contacts, messages, documents, and more to share real-time critical intelligence. Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI) is the newest industry made up of innovative software applications that analyze an organization’s data to mine, process, query, and report on relationship insights for greater business and sales success. To learn more about SalesWise, the leading BRI solution, visit www.saleswise.com/the-platform/.

How to be WISE in Sales Leadership

How to be WISE in Sales Leadership

Leading a sales team is no small feat. From managing the pipeline and projecting revenue to overseeing the sales process and coordinating efficiencies, it can be a challenge to stay ahead and in-the-know with your whole team.

Here are a few traits we have found in some of the most successful sales leaders we’ve encountered. See how you can be more WISE as a sales team leader.

Willful

Oftentimes, willfulness is associated with stubbornness or disobedience. By no means do we endorse this style of leadership. Rather, we look at willfulness as a leader taking intentional and deliberate action. It’s no surprise that sales teams use technology to enable and manage their sales process. Did you know that 61% of employees typically access four or more systems to get the information they need to do their jobs (IDC)? WISE sales team leaders are willing to look at the alternatives.

Today, many sales teams rely on a CRM system to collect and utilize customer relationship data. However, a CRM system alone is always retroactive in nature. The reported data you are reviewing as a sales leader will always be out-of-date (and likely a sliver of what’s really happening). Instead, utilizing an event-driven SaaS program allows for you to be informed to prioritize and work more effectively to lead your teams. Event-driven SaaS programs, such as SalesWise, aggregate events from multiple data sources such as your email inbox, contacts, messages, calendars, shared documents, and more to optimize your workflow and provide a wealth of real-time, insightful customer relationship data.

Insightful

Accessing insightful data doesn’t just allow you to see more information; but, it also allows you to be more insightful as a leader. What do we mean by this? Well, being insightful as a sales team leader means looking beyond the numbers to unearth new information and to utilize intelligent relationship data. With SalesWise, our customers uncover an average of 5 – 8 times more contacts and increase visibility by 300% beyond their CRM system. This is important because Gartner reports that there is an average of 7-8 people involved in most buying decisions. In today’s sales environment, it is essential to be relationship-focused.

Strategic

When it comes to relationships, we aren’t just talking about the relationship with your current/ prospective customers. Equally important, if not more so, are the internal relationships between your sales team and other individuals/ departments involved in the sales process. Too often, sales get bottlenecked in the siloed structure of so many companies. In fact, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Salesforce). Moreover, 80% of line-of-business leaders in sales, HR, procurement, and more say problems arise because they have different internal systems/ applications that do not talk to each other (IDC).

Thinking strategically is a crucial trait for any WISE sales team leader. In order to enable sales, it’s necessary to bridge this gap between your sales and non-sales team members. We wrote about this democratic process recently as we describe the importance of making data accessible to all. In doing so, you create greater transparency which breaks down any functional silos and walls. Couple transparency with a no per-seat pricing model, SalesWise encourages your organization to provide this access to many staff members beyond your sales team (and makes it more affordable).

Enterprising

Lastly, WISE sales leaders embody an enterprising spirit! They’re always looking for a new way to do things better. They’re receptive and open to untried methods that will afford them greater efficiency, increased productivity, more engaged team members, and more. According to B2B Lead, 50% of a sales team’s time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. It’s no wonder many sales leaders aren’t just contemplating the sales numbers but also productivity numbers!

When asked what gets in the way of work, employees said wasteful meetings (59%) followed by excessive emails (43%) (Workfront 2016 Survey). What if there was a platform that could reduce both of these productivity killers? At SalesWise, we believe visibility (“transparency”) leads to greater, more effective sales productivity. We do this through our platform’s Card-based system, and we level the playing field by giving everyone access to customer relationship data. We reduce the need for frequency of sales catchup meetings and decrease email workload by 30%. Employees are more engaged – working together across the organization to enable a shorter, more productive sales cycle.

According to the Workplace Research Foundation, increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. Meanwhile, highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity.

Why wait to get WISE? As a sales team leader, it’s time to get in the know with end-to-end visibility into the sales process to prepare your team for anything. Know everything. Be prepared for anything. Get SalesWise. Visit www.saleswise.com.

Visibility for the Homestretch

The End of Year Homestretch: How to Stay In-the-Know

It’s the last quarter of the year and like most leaders in a sales organization, you’re probably reflecting on the past year’s numbers while simultaneously devising a plan and setting projections for the new year to come. There are a number of systems, tools, and technology you may select to complete these tasks. However, the reality is the best way to plan, execute, and achieve your numbers this year and next is to have full visibility. In fact, 50% of professionals say transparency would assist them in reporting and predicting revenue. 39% of sales professionals also believe transparency would help them to reach their quota (SpringCM).

On Productivity

By now you might be thinking, “Sure, transparency sounds all well and good. But, what we really need is better productivity so that my sales team can make their numbers.”

Too often, sales professionals feel bogged down by the monotonous and time-consuming CRM manual data-entry. And, likely as a result, 40% of salespeople still use informal means to store their lead and customer data such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook (HubSpot). The truth is you may be reviewing your CRM system for sales figures and data; however, the majority of sales and, indeed, relationship data is housed in a number of other channels including email contacts and messages, calendar meetings, shared documents, and more!

According to the American Psychological Association, switching back and forth between tools can cost you up to 40% in lost productivity. With so many channels, it’s essential to streamline the data-collection and review process on both the team and managerial side. At SalesWise, we do this through our innovative Card design. When you simply #ChecktheCard, you’ll gain a real-time 360°-view of aggregated, intelligent customer relationship data that will not only help you to manage, predict, and plan more effectively; but, also to ensure maximum productivity with a single, comprehensive view.

On Transparency

As a sales leader, you’re in a unique position to not only manage your sales team but also to provide analytics and reporting on current and projected revenue. Visibility into the sales process is key and will allow you go beyond just knowing how your sales team is selling. Visibility of your sales team will enable you to respond and lead with confidence.

Per CSO Insights, only 60% of sales representatives meet quota each year. This may be due to the fact that, on average, sales professionals spend 33% of their time actually selling (Toutapp). Easy access to critical relationship intelligence data is not only important for you as a sales leader but also to your sales team.

Here at SalesWise, our customers recognize visibility provides insights that aligns their sales organizations while driving stronger, more efficient collaboration across the rest of the enterprise. Reporting shouldn’t be an end-of-year, quarterly, or even monthly event. Relationships and sales are happening real-time and so should your insights.

Greater visibility increases productivity. Greater visibility helps optimize your sales process. SalesWise provides this visibility to help leaders lead with confidence. Learn more about how SalesWise can help you at www.saleswise.com/the-platform.