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.
Are your sales calls translating into actual sales? Are you able to see what went wrong or what went right on a sales call? Are you getting the most from your sales call process? At utribo, we believe that the sales call is the heart of the sales process, and our friends at PointNTime agree. That’s why we’ve teamed up to share essential tools and best practices to help you get the most out of your next sales call.
Please join utribo and PointNTime for a timely webinar to learn how technology can be used to optimize the sales call, boost efficiency, and most importantly, increase your revenue right in Salesforce.
During this session we will discuss how to increase revenue by:
- collecting actionable sales intelligence about the conversations you have in customer meetings.
- using that intelligence to become more productive in future meetings.
- creating a culture of constant improvement with each customer conversation.
About Fergal Glynn
Fergal Glynn leads Docurated’s Marketing team. Docurated is a Productivity Solution that enables Sales Organizations in companies such as DigitasLBi and Havas surface and leverage the best Marketing content for higher quality pitches and faster Go To Market. Prior to Docurated, Veracode was an early employee at Veracode. At Veracode Fergal was responsible for lead generation activities including content marketing, blogging, search engine optimization, social media, and sales operations. Earlier in his career Fergal was a technical founder of BlueNote Networks and a developer at Fidelity Investments and Oracle.
One of the biggest issues that sales and marketing face today is the inability to efficiently surface and re-use the most effective content to close more business. Only 20-30% of sales time is spent in front of customers while 70-80% is spent on discovery, looking for information, and other administrative tasks. If companies can reduce this time spent away from customers the potential rewards can be quite significant.
By focusing on sales enablement, companies can create meaningful efficiencies across their sales organization meaning more time can be spent in front of customers. Sales enablement is a relatively new business function that is primarily concerned with equipping sales teams with the most relevant content whenever and wherever they need it.
Improved sales enablement can reduce time spent away from the customer by reducing time spent searching for documents and other administrative tasks. By arming sales reps with winning content when they most need it, improved sales enablement can also lead to better meetings which in turn lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness as well as lower cost of sales and higher revenue per rep.
Improve Sales Enablement across the Company
The instigation of successful sales enablement at a company can not be achieved purely through software adoption. Sales enablement is a function of business that is comprised of activities, systems, processes, and information. These elements must be aligned cohesively into an overarching process that maximizes the organization’s selling potential.
Companies must follow a number of steps to sales enablement success:
- Evaluate current sales enablement processes
- Make sales enablement a priority
- Carefully introduce sales enablement software
- Align the entire company behind the sales organization
- Establish a set of shared sales enablement metrics
Effective sales enablement will not merely see an increase in revenue but can act as the framework on which future revenue growth can be built.
Sales Enablement for Better Meetings
With an effective structure provided by improved sales enablement, companies can make the most out of their meetings with customers. The best sales enablement software ensures sales reps are always equipped with the best content. At present, many sales reps have difficulty locating the best sales collateral.
Companies are storing content in shared drives, cloud storage services, CRM systems, and even email inboxes. Retrieving content has become a nightmare. Sales reps are spending up to 6.5 hours searching for content each week. Worse still, many reps are settling for the sales content that is most easily accessed instead of the most suitable to present at a customer meeting. Effective sales enablement software eliminates this inefficiency creating more time for meetings as well as improved sales rep performance.
Sales Rep Mobility
Sales reps are becoming increasingly mobilized and now require 24/7 access to the most relevant company content. Each customer meeting will be different. What worked at the last meeting may not work next time around. As a result, sales reps have to be more flexible than ever before. Reps might even have to mesh up different pieces of sales content to create a specifically tailored piece of content on the move to their next meeting.
Customers needs have evolved significantly over the past number of years. To get the most out of customer meetings sales reps need to be better prepared than ever. Companies with effective sales enablement functions are best prepared to meet the challenges posed by customer meetings.
Small businesses of today are much different than just a few years ago. With the relatively easy access of information any small business can be competitive against much larger businesses. On the flip side, the larger businesses also have access to the same information, but they have armies of people analyzing the data. This means that for your business to compete you must have some sort of competitive advantage. This could be better products, better pricing, better service or a better level of preparation to win the business. One commonality between the small business and the large business is both are competing for customer face time for a presentation or demo. In many cases the larger business may already have advocates within the customer and may even be using their products, so when you do get the opportunity to present to the customer, you better be prepared. That said, here are some thoughts surrounding the preparation cycle of deal pursuits.
Why did we get the Meeting?
- The customer is not completely satisfied with the competitor’s product, service, etc.
- They believe you have a better product.
- They are using you for pricing negotiations. (figure this out quick)
- They are just kicking the tires. (figure this out quick)
Ok, so you have secured your meeting, now what? Some of the basic To Do’s:
- Check out their web site and try to determine the key players.
- Check out your competitor’s web site. I always review the customer and success stories pages.
- Check out LinkedIn to gather pre-meeting intelligence on the customer players as well as your connections that may have insight into the customer (The KiteDesk product works well for this).
- Since I use Salesforce I manage all my meetings and customer interactions natively using Meeting Mapper for Salesforce.
- I create the meeting.
- I schedule the meeting.
- I add meeting attendees (if a meeting attendee is not a contact in Salesforce I can add them to the meeting and Meeting Mapper will add them as a contact in Salesforce).
- I send out meeting invites.
- In the event one of the meeting attendees is a VP or C level, I will assign an executive sponsor to him or her so a relationship can be built outside of the opportunity with someone who can influence it.
- I create and send the meeting agenda.
- I modify the meeting attendee’s details (add their role if I know it, any notes about the person, initial Stance (For, Against, etc.).
- I add any notes and/or questions I want to cover in the meeting before hand in Meeting Mapper.
- Once this is completed, I’m ready to go and can move on to work more leads and opportunities.
With all the preparation you completed it gives you the competitive advantage or at least puts you on a level playing field. Here is what the prep work does for you:
- Salesforce is updated just in case you can’t make the meeting and a replacement has to take over. You should Never lose a deal because of personnel changes!
- You have agreement of the Goals and Objectives of the meeting – remember the invite and agenda you sent? The Goal and Objectives were included in both of them.
- You know the meeting attendees and have some basic knowledge of them (role, initial Stance, Social information).
- You already know some of the questions you want to ask to ensure you meet the Goal and Objectives of the meeting.
- You assigned an Executive Sponsor, so you are not going to be a complete stranger to any VP or C level execs. The relationship has already started to build.
- The customer will notice and appreciate the preparation. You won’t be the small competitor; you’ll be the prepared, nimble competitor who will do what it takes to win their business.
Once the meeting is over all you have to do is update Salesforce with all of the important information that was gleaned from the meeting and send out the meeting notes to everyone. By the way, this is the hardest part for any Sales Executive and this is why Salesforce is not used to its fullest potential. Because I use Meeting Mapper, I just take notes as I would in any meeting, but I use the Meeting Mapper interface either natively in Salesforce or Salesforce1 or Meeting Mapper Mobile on my tablet. This single input automatically feeds the entire Salesforce ecosystem. From my meeting notes here is some of what is documented and stored in Salesforce. This is the information that will give you the competitive advantage.
- Meeting Attendee information:
- Role – If you have a Champion role in the meeting – justify that role assignment based on your sales methodology.
- Stance – For, Against, Neutral: If they are for, justify that designation. “Happy Ears” is not a strategy. This ensures your sales team is using your sales methodology consistently.
- Level of Participation (e.g. It’s not a good sign if the Decision Maker is Distracted)
- Next Steps or Action Items assigned
- Any individual Notes about this meeting attendee
- Were the Goal and Objectives Met?
- Public Notes – not all the notes in a meeting should be shared with the customer. How many times have you sent meeting notes, just to say “I should have taken out that sentence”?
- Private Notes – Some notes are for the internal team’s consumption.
- Assigned Next Steps or Action Items.
- Specific subject matter is identified as hot or not for this customer. This can be used to drive further focused conversations with the customer as well as providing relevant information to your marketing and product teams.
- All of this structured data is used to generate reports and dashboards that can be used not only by the individual responsible for the deal pursuit, but also by Sales Management to drive tactics and strategy.
Armed with this information, I can do Sales Forensics and build my strategy to win more deals and drive increased revenue. If you are interested I would be more than happy to show you the level of data and information I gather in all my meetings. In closing it’s not the size of your company, it’s the amount of information and data you have to build strategy. I think you would be surprise just how big Point N Time Software is.
Your thoughts and feedback would be great.
All of us attend meetings, some more than others, but we can all agree on one thing, we all hate worthless meetings. There is some commonality among all the worthless meetings and what causes them. So here are my 5 Common N’s for a Worthless Meeting. As you will see, if you fail to accomplish number one, the likelihood of a successful meeting dramatically diminishes. It’s like a house of cards; once it starts to fall, it’s all over.
1. No Agenda and Timeline Set and Shared Before the Meeting
It’s important to create an agenda with a timeline for each meeting. I always send out an initial calendar invite with not only the call-in information and date and time, but also the goal and objectives. This allows the meeting invitees to see the goal and objectives very early on and allows for them to provide any feedback. I then create an agenda and send it out with the date and time, meeting attendees, goal, objectives and any notes I want to share before the meeting. I do all this right in my CRM so I can update scheduled activities as I create the meeting.
2. No Clear Goal and Objectives
Agreed upon goals and objectives ensure everyone is on the same page and is committed to a successful meeting. If meeting attendees are not committed to achieve the meeting goal and objectives, then why have the meeting in the first place. It also ensures you have invited the correct team members to the meeting. I always reach out to my champion to see if the correct team members are included in the meeting. If they’re not included, I’ll add them to the meeting and send them an invite and agenda. I’ve been in way too many meetings and spent too much time and money on meetings which never accomplish the goal and objectives because the right team members were nowhere to be found. Again, I do this all in my CRM in the same interface I use to create and schedule the meeting.
3. Not the Right People in the Meeting
Your meeting will get de-railed in minutes and become worthless quick if the right people are missing. There has to be someone in the meeting that can make critical business decisions. In the event the person you invited that has the authority to make decisions cannot attend, it’s critical their representative has the authority to make the decisions. I would rather cancel a meeting than not have the right people attending.
4. No One Taking Concise Notes
A familiar sight in meetings is seeing everyone heads down taking copious notes, but it seems that without fail you never see those notes and they never make it into your CRM. You spent a great deal of time and money to implement your CRM so you could track your deals, but the information you need to track the deals remain on laptops and notepads. When notes do make it into your CRM, it’s likely you’ll see a condensation of the two-hour meeting something like:
Great meeting, demo went well and we scheduled a follow-on to discuss the open issues.
These types of notes aggravate me the most. There is absolutely no useful information in these notes. A ‘Great Meeting’ to me means we closed the deal. Now that’s a great meeting.
Even when some good notes are taken, are they quickly disseminated to the meeting attendee’s? Again, I use my CRM to take the notes and quickly send out the meeting report. In addition, I also update activity history automatically. As a best practice I create two meeting reports. One is for everyone in the meeting while the other has internal information which is only sent to team members and management.
5. No Documented Follow-up
Contrary to a recent commercial I saw, which depicted the leader of a meeting saying at the conclusion of the meeting that there are no next steps or action items, 99% of the meetings I’ve attended over the years have both next steps and actions items. That said, it needs to be easy to create the actions items and next steps and of course they need to be entered in your CRM so they can be tracked. I normally don’t wait till the end of the meeting to assign next steps or action items; I assign them during the course of the meeting. This ensures I don’t miss any and they are assigned to the correct meeting attendees.
So these are my 5 Common N’s for a Worthless Meeting, I hope you enjoyed and I look forward hearing from you.
I have been using multiple CRMs for the last 14 years and I have noticed one thing. Sales teams don’t like using them. It is almost like pulling teeth to get the information into them. How many times have you sat in a meeting and watched everyone on your team take notes? Or better yet, an in-side Account Executive having a conference call with a customer is on the phone in their CRM (can see it on their monitor), and taking notes on a legal pad of paper? Well it happens all the time. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. By the way, the notes from the meetings or conference calls rarely make it into their CRM and if they do, a two hour meeting is condensed to two sentences. Can you build sales strategy based on this? Absolutely not, but this is a topic for another blog.
So here you go, 3 Reasons Sales Team Don’t Like Using CRM:
1. Not Intuitive – CRMs don’t match the flow of what really needs to be captured in customer interactions. There are too many steps or places to input information just to capture the details of meetings. There is just too much redundant effort.
2. Does not depict what Sales Teams do everyday – Sales teams are in meetings everyday and work inside of opportunities day in and day out. 95% of this work is updating activity from the day’s meetings.
3. Not designed for Sales Teams – CRMs are designed for management but lack the ease of use that Sales Reps demand. This is very evident by how a CRM is designed, multiple pages, each having a numerous input fields.
The key to get your sales teams to use your CRM:
An intuitive solution – Single input, Multiple output. This allows Sales teams to populate the multiple CRM objects with real data all by doing what they do naturally. In other words a method that depicts ‘A Day in the Life of the Sales Team’. For the Sales team, the solution has a single interface to document customer interactions in a browser or a mobile device (it must provide for offline capabilities to document meetings) and to update their CRM either in real-time or in a matter of seconds. For Management it must provide all the key metrics for detailed reporting and dashboards to accurately forecast revenue.
It would be great to get your feedback and real life stories around how you use your CRM solution.
Meeting Mapper for Salesforce captures over 50 individual metrics from each meeting.
I often hear managers say they are tracking their team’s activities. When I ask what they are tracking, I normally get the same response, their teams’ sales meetings. Ok I get they are tracking sales meetings, but is that really tracking activity? Not really. You have to track what is going on in the sales meetings. Meetings don’t drive revenue, specific activities drive revenue. You want to track things like who attended the meeting, what were their role(s), their stances (for, against, etc.), and what was the level of their participation. Did the meeting meet the goal and objectives that were set? Was a goal and objective even set before the meeting? These types of activities along with the meeting notes (public and internal) are among the things that need to be gathered and tracked.
When I look at my sales team, I have a few dashboards built which answer some important questions.
- How many meetings (Per Rep, Team, Region, Geo) did they have last month, this month and scheduled for next month? This allows me to determine overall activity level.
- How many meetings per stage of an opportunity? This gives me a feel for how many meetings are generally required to close deals from an historical perspective and helps flags deals that may be stuck.
- How many meetings for per account? There may be multiple opportunities for an account and more than one account team. This shows me the overall activity per account. This helps me balance efforts across my book of business.
- What Customer Roles have been identified? If the critical roles have not been identified, the odds of the deal closing are greatly reduced. There are a couple of typical scenarios at play here. 1) Your account team has not identified the critical roles and may need some assistance or mentoring. 2) The customer is unwilling to provide this information in which case it may be time to walk away from the deal or redirect efforts in another direction.
- How many meetings per industry? This shows me a comparison of meetings per industries and can help flag if particular industry-specific deals will require more meetings to close the deal.
- What has been the stance of all the meeting attendees over an opportunity? This allows me to see over the course of an opportunity what is being said and/or done to move customers to the “For” stance and ultimately what are the things that are closing deals.
- What opportunities have been assigned Executive Sponsors? I have a rule I use with my Account Reps; if there is someone attending your meetings with which you don’t have a direct relationship and they are a level in the organization (i.e. Executive) that can help close the deal, assign them an Executive Sponsor.
- What is the percentage of the meetings done remote vs. on-site? This helps me to ensure I have the correct ratio of inside sales to outside sales.
- What messages are resonating in the meetings; What’s Hot and What’s Not? This allows me and the marketing team to build presentations, email campaigns and other marketing activities based on what our current and future customers like about our products, solutions and company.
Not to beat a dead horse, but when you track team activity, track meaningful activity. This is what will help ensure you and your team will hit your revenue targets.
I would like to know what you track to understand team activity.