Forbes – Try These Apps To Make Your Business More Successful In 2017

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It’s not often a product makes a Forbes Top Ten list. It’s almost impossible for a company to have two products in the list. Well we did the impossible, we made the list and our products Meeting Mapper and Strategy Mapper have the 1st and 2nd position. Besides our apps there are some great ones on this list.

Forbes – Try These Apps To Make Your Business More Successful In 2017

Top 50 Sales Management Tools on the AppExchange

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Strategy Mapper makes the Top 50 Sales Management Tools on the AppExchange!

When it comes to sales software and CRM platforms, Salesforce is the undisputed leader. That’s why organizations and sales managers look to the Salesforce AppExchange when they need tools to help their sales teams increase their productivity and performance. The only problem is the AppExchange is growing larger every day, and executives and sales managers don’t have the time to sift through and find the cream of the crop.

That’s why we created this list of 50 top sales management tools available on the Salesforce AppExchange. With an eye toward closing more deals, reducing inefficiency, and increasing sales effectiveness, we have organized the apps in key categories that make managing sales a more streamlined process. While we have listed our picks for the top 50 sales management tools on the AppExchange here in no particular order, we have included a table of contents to help you easily access the tools best suited to your team’s needs.

Top 50 Sales Management Tools on the AppExchange

 

Join Us at AA-ISP Leadership Summit

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Join Point N Time Software at the world’s largest gathering of Inside Sales professionals at the 9th Annual AA-ISP Leadership Summit in downtown Chicago (18th – 20th of April). Hosted at The Sheraton Grand, we’ll be just steps away from the famous Magnificent Mile and the Chicago River. Please stop by our booth and say hi. We are a Bronze sponsor, use our code when you register and receive a $200.00 off the registration (JoinPointNTime200).

When registering please sign up for a one-on-one meeting with the Point N Time team.

10 Things You Need in Every Sales Opportunity Plan

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Creating Sales Opportunity Plans don’t have to be time consuming or difficult. However, they are critical for winning. Here are the 10 things every plan needs and the questions to ask yourself and your team members. As a best practice, I like to have my plans reviewed by someone not connected with the opportunity. This allows for a very subjective review and great feedback. I didn’t rank them, however Customer Requirements is listed 1 for a reason. In the event, you don’t meet their requirements, focus on an opportunity where you meet and exceed customer requirements.

1. Customer Requirements

Why is the customer even talking to you?
How do your products or solutions match up against the customer requirements?
Do you even know the requirements?
Is this a winnable opportunity?

2. Partner Involvement

Who are the partners and what is the value they bring to the opportunity?
It is professional services, relationships within the opportunity or channel pricing?

3. Your Strategy Win

What is the overall team strategy to win the opportunity?
Does your strategy ensure the customer will be successful?
After all, if they are not successful, you will never win the opportunity.

4. Tactics

Do the tactics support your strategy to win?
Does every team member know, agree and understand the tactics?

5. Value Proposition

What is your value proposition to the customer?
Can every member of your team clearly articulate it?
What sets you apart from your competition?

6. Sales Coaching

Are you leveraging the knowledge of your ‘A-Players’ in every opportunity?
Are you providing ‘Best Practices’ in the opportunity?
Are you providing critical guidance without being present?

7. Customer Selection Process

What is the process the customer will go through to make a decision?
Who at the customer is responsible for each process?
Is your selling stage matching up with the customer selection process, are you in sync?

8. Red Flags

What can go wrong in this opportunity?
Have you mapped out all possible potential issues to winning the opportunity?
Do you have a mitigation plan for each Red Flag?

9. Opportunity Milestones

What are the milestones that must be accomplished and by what date to keep the opportunity on track?
Who on your team is responsible for a particular milestone?
Are there milestones that are more important than others (a Gate)?
What if a gate is not completed, do you continue?

10. Key Players

Who is your Champion?
Who is/are the Buyer(s) and what is each ones Stance?
Who are Decision Makers and what is each ones Stance?
Who are Evaluator(s) and what is each ones Stance?
Do you have any relationships in the customer?
Has anyone on the customer team ever used our products or solutions?

I hope these 10 things and the questions assist you in building and maintaining your sales opportunity plan. Good selling!

6 Traits I Learned From Being a Scout in the Army

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Once people find out I was in the Army, I always get the same question what did I do in the Army and how did it prepare me for business. My response is, I was a Scout. So what exactly is a Scout? I explain, that Scouts are the eyes and ears of a unit; the information Scouts gather is sent up the chain of command so commanders can make tactical and strategic decisions. For many years I was stationed in Amberg and Schweinfurt, Germany and our mission was to patrol the East/West German border. The observations and information we gathered allowed commanders to understand what was happening in almost real-time and create or modify plans. Best job ever!

So as you can see, being a Scout really does not have any civilian related jobs. However, it did prepare me for business/corporate life.

At the ripe old age of 17, as I arrived at Boot Camp in Fort Knox, KY I learned some valuable lessons that have rang true throughout my entire life. I learned a few things quickly and these traits are how I still conduct myself and why I have been successful in my life and business career.

1. Respect Everyone

Treat everyone how you wanted to be treated. The private you’re giving orders to now, may be your Platoon Leader in a few short years. When you treat people regardless of where they come from and their background, good things will happen. Saying ‘Yes Sir’, ‘Yes Mam’, ‘No Sir’ and ‘No Mam’, these simple phrases will get you further than anything.

2. Be on Time

Trust me, being a Scout and being too early or too late to a designated location can get you and your team in a very bad situation, very quickly. As trivial as this sounds, being on time not only demonstrates you’re ready, but you are respecting the people you are meeting with. Being late shows either you’re not dependable, you don’t know how to manage your time, or your planning process might be flawed. My rule is be at least 10 minutes early, so I can ensure I set everything up and ready to go.

3. Pay Attention and Listen

Spend more time listening and less time talking. When you’re talking, you miss the conversations around you. I want to understand their challenges, pain points and what they need in order to be successful. After all, when they are successful, you will be successful.

4. Be Observant

Know your surroundings and pay attention to things that either look out of place or different, since the last time you were there. If something doesn’t feel right, 9 times out of 10 it’s not right and you may need to regroup and reevaluate your plans.

5. Make Decisions and be able to Delegate

Being able to make decisions is key in the Army and in business. Ask anyone that knows me, I will make a decision, I don’t over analyze, but I do understand the consequences of my decisions. If I make a bad decision, I admit to it and try to fix it. Delegating is also very important. You can’t be everywhere at once, you have to rely on your team to make decisions in your absence. If they make a bad or wrong decision, you don’t have to come down on them like a hammer. If you do, they will never make another decision or just quit. Use it as a teaching point, which is what leaders do. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

6. Plan for Everything Possible

I like to plan for every possible outcome and have for each a contingency plan in place. I don’t like surprises. I look at every opportunity as a rehearsal for the next opportunity and learn from each and every one. For example, if I have a meeting with a customer, I have met with before; I always review any notes or other information we have gathered in the previous meetings.

I hope after reading these 6 Traits, you can see how they can assist you in your day-to-day business and your professional career.

So in closing, it all comes down to treating people with respect, don’t be late, stop talking and pay attention, make a decision, be observant and plan for all possible outcomes.

Scouts Out!

meeting2

Point N Time Software Launches PardotLinks

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Point N Time Software Launches PardotLinks

Turn Customer Meetings into Actionable Intelligence to Fuel Sales

Allen, TX: Today Point N Time Software, a leader in account and opportunity planning, and meeting management in the Salesforce.com ecosystem, announced the release of PardotLinks for Pardot. PardotLinks provides Strategy Mapper and Pardot customers the ability to use Actionable Intelligence gathered from customer meetings across their entire organization to build and maintain marketing automation rules and campaigns created in Pardot.  The ability to nurture leads and contacts based on customer initiatives, pain points or product strengths combined with the power and ease of use of Pardot will fill sales funnels with more and better qualified leads. This unique approach to capitalize on customer meetings information is an industry first.

More specifically, PardotLinks takes the Actionable Intelligence only once available to the individual sales rep that gathered it, aggregates it and makes it available across the entire organization in the form of highly targeted leads for marketing campaigns and targeted sales efforts.

On the release of PardotLinks, Point N Time Software President and CEO said, “We are taking customer meetings to the next level by utilizing the Actionable Intelligence gathered in them to drive marketing automation. Gone are the days where sales rely solely on marketing to build and drive their pipeline. We have put it in the hands of the Account Executives and sales teams to build and maintain by simply having customer meetings, because we all know winning starts in the first conversation.”

The solution looks to assist organizations in three key areas. First, provide the ability to leverage information from customer meetings to fuel sales pipelines. Second, to bridge the gap between sales and marketing in lead nurturing and generation. Finally, it provides organizations greater returns on their Salesforce and Pardot investments.

About Point N Time Software, Inc.

Founded in 2011, Point N Time Software’s Strategy MapperTM is a native Salesforce.com application that is the natural convergence of account, opportunity and meeting planning.  Its intuitive interface allows your organization to easily and consistently build, maintain and communicate Account and Opportunity Plans, manage customer meetings, and capture customer intelligence all while reducing the administrative overhead of maintaining accounts and opportunities in Salesforce.com. For more information see www.pointntime.com

About Pardot

Pardot, B2B marketing automation by Salesforce, offers a marketing automation solution that allows marketing and sales departments to create, deploy, and manage online marketing campaigns from one central platform. Together, Pardot and Salesforce empower every rep to act in the moment of engagement, and every marketer to drive greater results from campaigns. For more information see http://www.pardot.com/

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.

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