Posts by: Josh Schwartz

BANT Doesn’t Work

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Remember BANT, that old way to qualify deals where we find Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline? Well guess what? It just doesn’t work anymore for SaaS sales. Here’s the reason why:

You’re asking for the money too early.

Seriously, you haven’t even built any value, your depending completely on brand awareness and your qualifying leads out when you’re not even sure if you’ve found the decision maker.

I’ve got something new for you to try that works for me. Authority, Need, Urgency, Money or ‘ANUM’. Let me explain why ANUM crushes BANT when it comes to working deals through the pipeline.

When creating a new product or establishing a new market It’s often that a budget isn’t cut out or created for your product yet. So there goes the ‘B’ in BANT, right out of your sales office’s window. Also, with today’s specialization of sales roles, it’s easier to split up who has what responsibilities. I believe it’s the SDR’s responsibility to find the authority (the ‘A’)  and a piece of the need (the ‘N’). Identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP) can find you the authority in most cases. Also, identifying your ICP helps SDR’s focus on who they should prospect, which should ALWAYS be someone who is directly involved in the evaluation or buying process.

Finding a need.

I always tell our SDR’s, “find me one pain point or need.” There is two reasons for this:

  1. Building value – If you can find one pain point, talk to it, and let them know how our solution handles their pain it gets the wheels turning in their head. (This will also increase attendance rates for demos)
  2. Smooth handoff – You’ll know how smooth your  hand off is when at the beginning of the next discussion the AE can say, “I spoke with SDR, they said your main pain point was sales reps not wanting to input data into the CRM, is that true?” or some other specifically identified pain point.

The other half of NEED and Urgency/Money

Okay, AE’s, this is our job. We have to uncover more than just the surface pain. We have to find out why it hurts and then poke at the bruise. Then, we have to use methods to find other pain points the prospect didn’t even know they have. When it comes to Urgency and Money, creating a timeline and selling past the sale is the key. Do you ask your champions, “How have you purchased software like this before?” or “What steps do we need to take to get this done”? If not, you should and then share your sales process and next steps with them. This will help you find where their process and yours align.

If you’ve done all of this, identified the proper buying authority, created and established a need, built value and created urgency, asking for the money should be no sweat. The key is to sell beyond the sale with a success plan. If your team is using trials or POC’s, work with your sponsor to find out what their definition of a successful trial will be. Document it. Agree upon it. Get verbal commitment on price. Then close it for good (until you resell, of course).

Trust me, ANUM works. Mostly because it follows a process that is in line with todays sales model that places most of the buying power with the prospect. BANT has all the ingredients for success, but they are aligned in the wrong order. Take BANT and turn it into ANTB….or just use letters that kind of make a word and live by ANUM!

How I DRIVE Deals – Part I

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Identifying a sales process for a new business can be difficult. We are a perfect example of how matching your sales process with your customer’s buying habits is extremely important. As we’ve evolved our process and matched it with our customer’s habits, it’s become evident that gaining buy-in from all stakeholders is the most painful part. We came to a realization that getting buy-in from an entire team meant a few things, and one of those things was that we needed to be more transparent with our sales process. Who knew transparency can set expectations without causing an awkward moment?

It’s now second nature for me to say, “The next step in our sales process is an all sponsor demo, where we ask that all stakeholders be present.” I can repeat this throughout the initial demo and let it sink in with our sponsor. This is important because we have to empower our sponsor to take the next step. In our case, this step means literally pulling up your boss’s calendar and scheduling another meeting.

We know they have access to their boss’s calendar so if they tell us, “no, I don’t have access to the calendar” then there may be an additional objection that we need to handle before our initial sponsor is willing to move forward. However, identifying the yes’s and no’s as early in the sales cycle as possible helps save everyone’s time.

Nobody wants to be chased down with emails and phone calls, and we don’t want to chase anyone down either. Part of the process is always understanding that if this deal isn’t a good fit then let’s be open about it.

We stole the upfront contract from Sandler, we break up early in the conversation so you don’t have to. We also took a metric ton of information out of The Challenger Sale. In our industry, we can’t sell clicks. We can’t sell features of a product either. It’s all about the end result. Prospects need to know “WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR ME?! WHAT’S THE R.O.I?!”

Einstein Meme

In our case efficiency is one of the most evident cases to purchase our software and we hear this objection quite often, “I don’t have time to see a demo.” Our response is simple and true, “What if I could save you 3 hours a week, is that worth 30 minutes of your time?”

I digress, back to The Challenger Sale. Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale, really drive home the point that to be a challenger you must be a teacher. You must challenge your client and let them tell you why they don’t want your product instead of begging them to buy it because of features and benefits.

TopOPPS utilizes this idea in our sales process stage called, “Compelling Need”. As a salesperson we need to understand not only what the surface pain is but also HOW does that affect their business? I mean sure, you missed your forecast, thats awful, but how does that affect your business? If we can understand the true underlying need, then we can establish value and a timeline.

In closure for part 1. I think it’s important to note that mixing sales methods to match your process and customer buying habits is important. Identifying key buying habits and the rest of the DRIVE sales process will be included in part 2.

So we’ve got this far. We understand what your pain points are and why they’re important to your company. We understand your initiatives and timeline for this purchase. So now, how do we get to closure? What decision makers have been involved? And has anyone given us verbal commitment? Do we understand how XYZ company makes their decisions?

Make Your Data Work

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I may be biased but as the relationship between sales and technology continues to grow stronger, companies with tools like TopOPPS will have a significant competitive advantage. Today, it’s not just about getting the information into the system more efficiently, it’s also about what we do with that information once it’s there. CRMs are like relationships, you only get out what you put in. Unfortunately, CRMs are infamous for being  “junk in junk out” machines. So how can we trust the data? Better yet, how can we make the process of entering crucial data into the CRM quick and painless while still maximizing the amount of impactful information decision makers receive in return? … Continue reading

Three Steps to Stop Blowing Sales Calls

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As an experienced sales person you can always spot a rookie rep on a bad sales call. They have a lack of confidence in their voice, unprepared answers to the most common objections and then there is the epic meltdown: a 15 minute uninterrupted sales monologue. The client will try to interject, but there is no stopping this locomotive. The rookie will continue to spew out unnecessary information until they run out of breath. This is what we call “word vomit”.

At this point the client is completely tuned out and disengaged. The sales rep is out of breath, while having learned absolutely nothing about the customer and as the manager, you just want to shout “What are you doing? Your potential client is trying to hand you everything you need to sell them correctly, so why won’t you listen!?”

This sales tragedy is consistent with the idea that no one wants to be sold; they want to buy. So the next time you are on the verge of word vomit, remember these three steps:

1) Simply ask the right questions, then shut your mouth.

Asking questions gives you the information you’re looking for and takes the guess work out of what the potential customer’s pain points may be. Write down what they say and be sure to reference it later in the conversation. If you have more notes to take, ask this simple question: “tell me more about that”.

2) Take notes on everything

The notes you take in initial conversations will be the reminders of how to re-engage your customer down the road. If and when they decide to back out of the deal, use your notes to remind them how you got this far with them to begin with.

3) Turn the interview into a conversation

If you’ve done the first two steps correctly, this should come pretty naturally. A client won’t maintain that initial excitement weeks down the road so remind them of those pain points. Closing the deal does not require you to sell them the product; it requires you to simply allow them to buy the solution they need.

No sales rep should catch themselves throwing up into the phone but if you do- STOP! Be prepared with the correct questions and listen. Have a conversation and stop overselling!

How A Sales Rep Loses Money

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As a sales representative for many years, I can honestly say that keeping a consistent pipeline is one of the toughest aspects of our job. Ideally, I am spending my time in the field building relationships, on the phone and responding to emails. The time I spend on “sales activities” is in direct correlation with my paycheck at the end of every month.

The time I do not get to spend on “sales activities”, such as spending countless hours on the phone with my boss discussing the progression of deals and clicking through the CRM have almost no benefit to me. How many clicks does it take to get a deal to close?

Not only is this process click intensive, it’s aggravating from a mobile perspective as well. I routinely watch as the reps squint and struggle with their tiny little iPhones as they attempt to update information into the system. As they fumble through I can see the frustration building. They press their fingers down harder on the screen expecting different results and then toss the phone down without entering ANY information!

So we can either choose to update the deals as they progress, spending our precious moments logging into the system over and over again, or try and streamline the process and do all of our “clicking” in one day. However, this is a double edged sword because if I do not update the deals as they progress I will naturally get the “code red” call from my boss wondering what happened at our latest meeting with “XYZ” company.

Either way the issue becomes that while I know all of the information about MY deals, how can my boss know the same? The goal is to always maximize the size of our paychecks, but how can we do this when we are wasting valuable time when we could be selling?
Sales representatives will always want to spend more time selling and less time on our chore list, such as updating the CRM, because we are selfish in our nature. In this business time equals money and that is no secret. A happy sales rep is one that isn’t tied down by the CRM, but empowered by it. A happy sales rep isn’t frustrated with clicks and phone calls. A happy sales rep is making money and hitting his quota.

The question is simple: as a sales rep, which would you rather do? a) Go over your deals for the third time this week with your boss, or b) spend the exact same time closing your next deal that gets you over the commission hump.

If you’re looking for a technology that works for you rather than against you, click on this link and we can show you what’s possible.

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