6 Lessons Learned When Selling to Sales Executives and to the C-Level

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Intro

Ever since starting Point N Time Software, we’ve been selling mainly to sales executives and to the C-Level. These are the buyers of Strategy Mapper and in time become our Champions. So over the course of several years we have learned 6 lessons when selling to them.

1. They want to tell you about their business. Listen carefully.

Normally the conversations start with let me tell you about my company and what we do. Sales Executives and C-Level management love to talk about their company and their products because they want you to determine if your solution will benefit them, but I also think in the back of their minds they’re also selling their solution to you. It’s in their DNA. This introduction lays the ground work for how you can position and sell your solution.

2. They can clearly articulate their pain points. Listen carefully.

These folks lead extremely busy lives, so if you’ve gotten to the point where they’re giving you 30 minutes or more for your pitch, they’re typically going to be very clear about what they’re trying to solve. This provides more information and direction for your sales effort.

3. They want to know about your business and how you operate.

They are interested in your business and how you operate and want to know:

a. Who are your targeted customers?
b. Do you have customers similar to us?
c. What successes have your customers realized with your product?
d. How did you come up with Strategy Mapper?

During the course of this conversation, you’ll want to tailor your answers based on the careful listening you did earlier.

4. They want a demonstration on how your product or solution will address their pain points. They don’t want a presentation.

When we initially started Point N Time Software, we would always start with a presentation, but we learned very quickly a demo was much more effective. The first screen they see in a web conference is Salesforce.com. The main reasons we’ve found this effective are:

a. It provides a familiar starting point for the conversation.
b. They quickly see our solution.
c. It brings the meeting attendees into the conversation very quickly.
d. It helps to all the meeting attendees to drive the conversation and demo.

5. Pricing is always discussed in the initial meeting.

Price may not be an issue, but you’ll have no idea unless it’s discussed. If it is a potential issue, you can start working on it quickly or choose to move on. Either way, it needs to be discussed as early as possible in the opportunity.

6. They will let you know very quickly their timeline and if they intend to move forward.

I always hear, “We’re both in sales so I want to be up front on next steps”. Honestly, this is so refreshing and typically streamlines the opportunity.
Closing

Some may be uncomfortable selling to these roles, but I find it refreshing to sell to Sales Executives and C-Level management. They know what they need to accomplish and if you can show the value of your solution and how it will solve their problems, there will always be a next step. I hope the 6 lessons I have learned will help you close more business and give you a framework to prepare for your next meeting.

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The Importance of Strategic Account Meetings

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Intro

Strategic Account Meetings (SAM), are not the same as sales meetings. They are not geared toward closing short term business, but rather to identify future revenue and ensure customer success.

Key benefits of the SAM:

  • Building pipeline and identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
  • Ensuring customer success and building customer loyalty
  • Ensuring a complete understanding of the customer’s long term goals and objectives
  • Giving executive management insightful visibility into the account
  • Verifying your short and long term strategies are in-line with the customer’s strategy and overall business plan

Here are some items I require my sales teams to verify, discuss, identify and document in every SAM.  All of this must be stored and available in Salesforce.com and are part of every “Account Playbook”.

Verify

6 Month Plan and 12 Month Plan

Is your 6 and 12 Month Plan in-line with the customer’s business goals and objectives? Are meetings scheduled to complete any events/tasks in the plans?  Is your customer champion signing off on your plans? Do they share your vision?

Example:

6 Month Plan
  • Determine if your solution meets or has met their current and long term goals and objectives. 
  • Review the current state of your solution. 
  • Verify they are a reference customer and who’s the point of contact.
  • Review 6 and12 month roadmaps and get their feedback.
  • Identify any new players.
  • Verify the customer’s buying process.
  • Review customer initiatives.
  • Review any existing support tickets.
12 Month Plan
  • Review any possible renewals.
  • Review the current state of your solution.
  • Review 12 and 18 month roadmaps and get their feedback.
  • Identify any new players.
  • Verify the customer’s buying process.
  • Review customer initiatives (12 - 24 months).
  • Review customer’s earnings statements.
  • Schedule executive briefing

Value Proposition

Can you articulate your value proposition of your solution(s) relative to your customer? Do they agree with you and see the long term value?

Example:

Strategy Mapper is redefining how sales organizations sell by using robust and accurate information to efficiently drive revenue. Customer meetings are at the heart of the sale cycle but are the least documented in an organization’s CRM. Strategy Mapper gathers customer intelligence and turns this information and data into the building blocks or “DNA” of Account Strategy and Opportunity Planning and does it in real-time as each sales cycle progresses.

Verify and Identify

Buying Process

What is the customer’s buying process? Once identified, their process can be used in every opportunity within this account. This helps to ensure your selling process is aligned with their buying process. Even in opportunities where the account owner is not the opportunity owner, the documented buying process will be known and will ensure the buyers and sellers are aligned.

Example:

  1. Identify the Problem
  2. Review Options
  3. Bring in top 3-4 vendors
  4. Pilot/Trial product(s)/solution(s)
  5. Select product(s)/solutions(s)
  6. Contracting - Legal
  7. Deploy product(s)/solution(s)

Initiatives

Identifying their initiatives and time-frames is the easiest and fastest way to grow and build your pipeline (cross-sell and up-sell).  This also allows you to discuss any new products, identify new features and create an environment for future discussions. You can also create opportunities from initiatives as placeholders and/or milestones.

Example:

Deploy End-Point Security solution – Current FY – Q3 – Opportunity Created

Deploy Sales Empowerment solution – Current FY – Q4 – Opportunity Created

Account Milestones (Cadence)

What are key milestones that must be completed and who is responsible for each one to ensure success? Milestones can also be used to schedule marketing or business development activities and assign them to the proper resource.

Example:

Schedule Executive Briefing – Sept 2016 – Bill Shorter

Schedule 12 Roadmap Briefing – Oct 2016 – Jane Clayton

Create a new opportunity – Nov 2016 – Tarzan Clayton

Challenges

What are the challenges that can be encountered in closing business in this account? As with their buying process, this information can be leveraged in every opportunity linked to the account.

Example:

Their legal process normally takes 30 – 45 days

Difficult to meet with Decision Makers

Verify, Identify and Discuss

Key Players in Account

During each SAM verify all key players have been identified and their current role and stance (opinion) regarding your solutions has been documented. Know who is with you and who is against you. Verify their roles and current organizational structure.

Closing

By gathering the above information, you will ensure your customers are successful and you are driving revenue.  You’ll also be ensuring that account team transitions go smoothly because all critical account information is readily available to the new team! Think of this as Disaster Recovery for Sales (DRS).  To see how we use Strategy Mapper to gather this and much more critical information and data, email us at sales@pointntime.com or schedule a demo today.

6 Must-Haves for a Great Sales Meeting

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Over the course of many years and many meetings, I narrowed it down to 6 Must-Haves for a Great Sales Meeting. My team and I use these in every meeting, no matter how big or small the opportunity is. By gathering this information, other members of the team can leverage it to close business faster and generate greater revenue

1. Set and Agree on Goal and Objectives

Clearly define the overall Goal of the meeting
Complete Successful Trial
State the Objectives to support the Goal.
Determine trial users
Set begin date and complete date
Determine success criteria
Notify all meeting attendees of the Goal and Objectives
Agree on Goal and Objectives

2. Identify Role and Stance (opinion) of all meeting attendees

Invite the right people to the meeting to ensure your Goal and Objectives can be met
Decision Makers
Champion
Why is this person a Champion
During the meeting determine Stance (Opinion) of everyone
For – Why
Against – Why
Undecided, etc.
What role(s) do they play in meeting your Goal and Objectives

3. Document the meeting

What was discussed
Ask the tough questions
Is there budget
What happens if you don’t do anything
What Actions will happen after the meeting
Start Trial
Nothing
What has been decided on
Identify trial users
Send contracts
Take traditional notes

4. Gather Actionable Intelligence (outside of traditional notes)

What are the Business Drivers
What are the Technical Requirements
Competitors
Strengths
Weaknesses
Current Pain Points/Challenges
Your Strengths
Your Weaknesses
Obstacles
Objections
Why Buys
Up to date Organizational Chart and Political Map

5. Assign Tasks or Schedule Events

Ensure all tasks are assigned
Based on Actions
Based on Decisions
Schedule any events and assign to the right person
Send out email to individuals assigned tasks or events
Agree on what was discussed and agreed to
Send out a meeting report within 10 minutes of the meeting ending

6. Update Salesforce (CRM) with Customer Intelligence

If it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen

Update Opportunity, Account and Contact

These 6 Must-Haves have allowed me and my team to grow Point N Time Software, to over 300% revenue growth, 45,000+ downloads and numerous customers using Salesforce all over the world.

Bottom line is don’t have a meeting to have one, ensure all meetings are productive and lead to either closing the deal or walking away. These 6 Must-Haves will ensure all meetings are productive.

I would be more than happy to share the type of information and data we gather in every meeting email me @ travisd@pointntime.com.

Great Opportunity Plan

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11 Things a Great Opportunity Plan Must Include

Planning is critical to winning and an opportunity plan is the tool that allows a sales team to do exactly that.  Contrary to the beliefs of many though, opportunity plans don’t have to be time consuming or difficult to create or maintain, and have the added benefit of providing continuity during account transitions.  They provide the new account team a history of customer interactions, opportunity and customer insights and a plan to win.

  1. Strategy to Win

A clearly defined strategy to win ensures the entire team is moving in unison towards winning the deal. To that end, the entire team must be involved in the strategy creation.

In this example the strategy is heavily tied to the initial customer meeting and their requirements.

Our strategy is to use a frontal attack since we have a superior solution based on the initial customer meeting and their stated requirements.  We will leverage the following:

We are an ideal fit based on the following customer requirements:

  • 100% integration with Salesforce
  • Ability to map to their current sales methodology
  • Mobile access from any device via native Salesforce products
  • Mobile access from iPad using Meeting Mapper mobile
  • Meeting Planning and Execution
  • Opportunity Planning – Playbook
  • Account Planning – Playbook
  • Robust Business Intelligence
  • No extensive or expensive training
  • Limited or no professional services required 
  1. Tactics to Support the Strategy

Once you have your strategy to win, you must have tactics to support the strategy. Tactics can change over the life cycle of the opportunity as new information is gathered, requirements change and the competitive landscape is identified or changes.

Example:

  • Leverage current ‘What’s Hot’ from customer meetings
  • Review Sales Empowerment Dashboards
  • Leverage relationships within accounts
  • Exploit/Highlight
    • Crawl, Walk, Run deployment method 
    • Meeting templates
    • Opportunity Mapper templates
    • One click dynamic Opportunity Playbook
    • Account Mapper templates
    • One click dynamic Account Playbook
    • One click Business Intelligence Report/Brief (BIRB)
    • No professional services required
    • No extensive expensive training required
    • Actionable Intelligence
    • Data points gathered by Meeting Mapper (KPIs)
  • Ease of installation and configuration (up and running the same day)
  • 5 Star rating on Salesforce Appexchange
  • Leverage Reference customers
  1. Value Proposition

What value do your products, solutions and/or services bring to the customer? What sets you apart from all the competitors? Can you and your team clearly articulate this value?

Example:

Strategy Mapper is the most cost effective, powerful, configurable, comprehensive and easy to use Strategic Selling solution for Salesforce! Strategy Mapper provides sales leadership unparalleled visibility and access on the progress of Accounts and Opportunities, to ensure revenue goals are met and exceeded.

Strategy Mapper is redefining how sales organizations sell by using robust and accurate information to efficiently drive revenue. Customer meetings are at the heart of the sale cycle but are the least documented in an organization’s CRM. Strategy Mapper gathers customer intelligence and turns this information and data into the building blocks or “DNA” of Account Strategy and Opportunity Planning and does it in real-time as each sales cycle progresses.

  1. Defined Customer Buying Process

Normally the customer buying process is defined at the account level in the Account Plan. Every opportunity has to include it. This will ensure your selling process is aligned with the customer’s buying process.

Example:

  1. Identify the Problem
  2. Review Options
  3. Bring in Top 3 Vendors
  4. Pilot/Trail Selected Vendor(s)
  5. Sign Contracts
  1. Customer Requirements

Knowing the customer requirements and having them in the opportunity plan is critical for winning.  This ensures the entire team understands them and how your products, solutions or services meet them resulting in a “solution score”.  An important point to make is, if your solution score is low the opportunity might be unwinnable.

  1. Stages of the opportunity

Quickly knowing what stage the opportunity is in and what meetings have been conducted in each stage ensures your opportunity is moving to closure.  As a sales leader you can easily see if the opportunity is stuck in a certain stage.  For example, there have been 3 meetings in the stage, “Identify the Decision Makers”.  To me this could indicate two possibilities:

  1. The rep is engaged with the account but not at the right level to identify the decision makers and may need assistance.
  2. The customer is resistant to identifying and having us meet with the decision makers meaning this may not be a real opportunity. So we’ll need to facilitate this identification and meeting or walk away from the deal.
  1. Competitors

Identifying competitors and knowing their strengths and weaknesses may be a key to winning. If you don’t know who you are fighting, you can’t effectively position your solution to the customer and develop the appropriate tactics on this opportunity.

  1. Meetings

As part of the opportunity plan, customer meetings with the appropriate subject matter must be scheduled, executed and documented.  As the meetings progress the customer intelligence that is gathered will be leverage to dynamically adjust the plan.

  1. Customer Team

Identifying and documenting the players in the opportunity may seem like a no-brainer, but in many cases this doesn’t get done effectively.  By documenting this aspect of the plan the entire team can see the players and their stance relative to the deal.  This can flag potential issues.  Take for example an opportunity where there are two decision makers, the CIO and an IT director.  The CIO’s stance is against the deal, while the IT director is for it.  This obviously raises a flag that must be dealt with. In this case you may alter your tactics to have an executive sponsor directly contact the CIO help drive the deal to closure.  This also provides visibility to the entire team and may lead to leveraging relationships that would otherwise be unknown.

  1. Account Team

The make-up of the account team can be very important to some opportunities so identifying and collaboration between the right account players is also very important to document in the opportunity plan.

  1. Playbook

Though a playbook is not technically part of the opportunity plan, it does play a vital role in the execution of the plan.  This is the summary of the plan, along with the current opportunity landscape and provides guidance for the plan’s execution.  Ideally it is easy to update so it stays relevant as the opportunity progresses.  Too many times a plan is created and documented, but never updated as the landscape changes resulting in a document that is of little value to the current opportunity and cannot be leveraged in future opportunities.

Example of an Opportunity Playbook

Though all of this can be done outside your CRM, it’s so much easier and beneficial if it’s integrated.  What I mean is the plan should reside in and leverage your CRM.   This type of integration allows you to quickly and easily build and maintain your plans with all of the data your CRM contain

 

Your New Sales Professional 9 things they must have under their belts before meeting Customers

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A speedy ramp-up of a new sales professional is critical to their ability to hit the ground running and quickly generate revenue. Having been a new sales professional as an individual contributor and sales leader, I’ve learned over the past 20 years there are 9 Things Every New Sales Professional must know and do before meeting customers.

1. Know the hot industries for your products or solutions – Knowing the hot industries in your space will allow them to plan their efforts and efficiently spend their time driving revenue.

2. Know the customer pain points and challenges based on each industry – Once hot industries have been identified, knowing the pain points and challenges of each industry will allow the sales professional to effectively plan their strategy, tactics and pitches for each customer.

3. Know the customers objections to your product or solutions – After knowing the standard customer objections will allow the sales professional to refine their sales pitch by clearly identifying mitigating responses to each of these objections.

4. Know the customers’ Obstacles – First of all it’s important to know the intentions of obstacles. They are meant to slow you down, stop you, funnel you in a certain direction or even ambush you. Knowing and understanding the obstacles allows your new hires to create a plan to mitigate them when presented.

5. Know Competitor’s Strengths and Weaknesses – These should be known and, analyzed with ready responses for each. This information is key to winning deals.

6. Your own Strengths and Weaknesses – Matching your strengths and weakness against your competitors allow the new hire to modify their tactics and discussion with the customer. They’ll know what to talk about and what to stay away from.

7. Know what is and what is not Resonating with customers – When this information is known, new hires know what aspects of your solution(s) to highlight with your customers and which they needn’t.

8. Opportunity Reports\Meeting Recap – This information allows new hires to see an opportunity (won and lost) from creation to completion. It’s more than opportunity notes, it’s the Business Intelligence gathered in all of the customer meetings for each opportunity. Understanding the actions and decisions coming out of these meetings will quickly allow them to anticipate various scenarios and adjust their tactics to win deals.

9. Review current and closed Opportunity Plans – Reviewing Opportunity Plans allows the new hire to see the winning strategies, tactics and value props your most successful teams are employing to win deals.

Here at Point N Time Software we’ve created a New Hire Sales Kit. It’s comprised of:

• Salesforce reports and dashboards of business intelligence gathered in customer meetings.
• Strategy Mapper – Salesforce integrated dynamic opportunity plans.

Since we collect this information natively in Salesforce via Meeting Mapper and Strategy Mapper, it’s quick and easy to present this information to our new hires. This allows them to see up-to-date Customer Intelligence across the entire organization and ultimately allows us to ramp a new sales professional in weeks, not the typical ramp time of 6 months. We all know the faster you can ramp a new hire, the faster they’ll make plan.

Meeting Mapper and Sales Methodology

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Meeting Mapper and Sales Methodology

 

Meeting Mapper was designed and built to be one of the primary tools in your arsenal in effectively implementing your sales Methodology. So much of the data and information that is needed to effectively implement and execute a sale methodology comes from customer interactions. Meeting Mapper gives you the ability to easily capture, organize, track and report on this strategic information. The list below gives the high-level benefits of Meeting Mapper in each of these key Sales Methodology areas

  • Opportunity Management: All sales reps take notes in their customer meetings, and these notes contain the strategic information needed to qualify and win opportunities. Meeting Mapper allows your sales teams to easily and consistently capture this information.   The strategic information is automatically stored as structure data so it can be used as the basis of meaningful reports. Information like:
    • Customer Roles (do we have the decision makers attending the meetings?)
    • Customer Stances (are the right roles in favor of what we’re selling?)
    • Competition (who are we up against in this opportunity and how do we compare?)
  • Sales Process: There are key data points that need to be captured to move through the sales process and Meeting Mapper captures this data. Data like determining the buying signs. Meeting Mapper not only allows you to easily capture this data, but also allows you to consistently implement your selling process through “Meeting Templates” that can guide your sales teams through the processing while allowing Sales leadership to assess the opportunity and process.
  • Account Management: Meeting Mapper is also a key tool in your Account Management efforts. Using Meeting Mapper, you can map out key areas of your Account.   You’ll be able to track each of the opportunities in your accounts so you can identify white space, overall customer goals, political maps and much more so you can effectively implement your Account Management process.
  • Sales Performance: Meeting Mapper captures the data you need to be able to manage your sales team’s performance. You’ll have out-of-the-box reporting on key information like:
    • Meetings per Rep
    • Meetings per Account
    • Meetings per Opportunity
    • Customer roles in each Meeting
    • Customer stance in each Meeting
    • Meetings per Opportunity Stage
    • And so much more

This is a very high-level view of how Meeting Mapper can help you ensure your Sales Methodology is consistently implemented across your sales teams and allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your methodology.

AA-ISP Leadership Summit 2015

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Please join Point N Time software at AA-ISP Leadership Summit 2015, in beautiful Chicago.

The 7th Annual AA-ISP Inside Sales Leadership Summit will be held on April 21st and 22nd at the beautiful Hyatt Regency O’Hare, just minutes from O’Hare International Airport. The 2015 Summit will feature all new presentations from over 40 of the today’s most recognized Inside Sales Experts. Learn the latest tips, technologies, and proven best practices for solving today’s toughest challenges and issues.

Sign up today: AA-ISP Leadership Summit 2015

Point N Time Software has been shortlisted based on merit to be part of 20 Most Promising SalesForce Solutions 2014

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October 21, 2014–Point N Time Software, a Allen, TX -based Salesforce partner, has been shortlisted for the CIO Review Top 20 Most Promising Salesforce Solutions 2014.

“We are extremely excited to be included in this select group of companies,” says Travis Davis, Point N Time Software, Co-Founder and CEO. “As Point N Time Software has grown over the past 36 months.  With over 42k users world wide of our mobile and cloud based solutions, it’s been an honor to work with our customers who are using Meeting Mapper daily to drive increased revenue and ensure customer success.”

As part of the decision process, a CIO Review panel will analyze the shortlisted companies’ offerings, client testimonials, milestones, and other recognitions. The final Top 20 will be announced in CIO Review’s December special edition.

About Point N Time Software

Point N Time Software is a global provider and leader of mobile and cloud solutions that improve planning, execution and follow-up of critical business meetings. The industry leading Meeting Mapper application brings easy and affordable meeting management tools to business professionals. Powerful and easy to use, the solutions provide easy customization to utilize your sales and project methodology at an incredibly inexpensive price point.

 
Our Mission is simple and unobstructed
Gather, organize and share ‘Actionable Intelligence’ from your sales, project and internal meetings and interactions, making it accessible to your entire organization to drive business goals and objectives. Founded in 2012, Point N Time Software, has been committed to delivering superior products and solutions used to ensure you have effective meetings in order to drive sales and projects to successful competition.

Relief for the 7 Pain Points of Salesforce

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Is your adoption and usage of Salesforce what was expected? Are your sales teams putting important selling meeting information into Salesforce? Are your sales meetings driving opportunities to successful closure and driving sales? Are you able to see what went wrong or what went right in the sales meetings, in Salesforce? The biggest question is:

Are you getting the most from your Salesforce implementation?

At Point N Time Software, we talk to a lot of Salesforce users at all levels within an organization, admin to c-level. What we have found is there are seven main pain points with Salesforce.

Register today for our webinar.