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▪ Sales training
▪ Sales forecasting
▪ Solution selling
These are a few of my favorite things!
A Few Marketing Quotes To Warm Up
“I know that half my advertising budget is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
◦ John Wanamaker, department store magnate
“I’d like to thank sales for selling the products to our customers, services for helping our
customers use our technology, engineering for building our wonderful products, finance for
planning and tracking our results, … and marketing for … whatever it is they do.”
◦ Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems
“Our marketing is so bad that we would call sushi, ‘cold dead fish’.”
◦ Sandra Kurtzig, ASK
“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”
◦ David Packard, HP
“Marketing exists to make sales easier.”
◦ Chris Greendale, cofounder of Cambridge Technology Partners
Disney Traditions, 1 day training
Park Orientation, 1 day training
Spiel Attraction Training, 4-7 days
training (e.g., Kilimanjaro Safaris)
Spiel Rotation, 1 day
Work in non-spieling position
Special assessment (by different trainers)
Only After All That,
Does the “Earning
my Ears” Ribbon
Consider This Very Realistic Possibility
A Disney parking lot attendant most likely gets more
training than your $300K enterprise software salesrep
Think About Your P&L
You probably spend more on S&M than
On average sales is about 70% of S&M spend
Isn’t it worth some real training to ensure you
spend it efficiently?
Source: KeyBank 2018 SaaS Survey
▪ Our sales force isn’t big enough to warrant a formal training program
▪ We aren’t hiring people fast enough to warrant a formal training program
▪ We hire experienced people, they don’t need a training program
▪ We train people by throwing them in the deep end
Training Needs: Even at 10-QCR Level
▪ History, culture, values, vision, operating principles – what makes you special
▪ Train on the top 5-10 conversations you want to enable
▪ e.g., team intro, company intro, product overview, who are customers, how customers get value /
customer stories, why we’re different, how much does it cost, how long does it take to implement, …
▪ Your standard play, goalpost move, competitor-X play, polite walkaway
▪ How to use the systems and tools we’ve invested in buying for you
▪ Support for internal training needs to come from CEO
▪ Allocate budget, liberate resources, deliver the Traditions speech, …
▪ I love fill-in-the-blank approaches and surveys
▪ My name is Dave, I am a _____ and my role during your evaluation process will be _______.
▪ Our product is superior to BadCo’s because (1) ____, (2) ____, and (3) _____.
▪ Keep it simple and basics-focused
▪ What are the bare minimum things we need to standardize … and build from there
▪ Make it serious
▪ You can get fired during training
▪ CEO or e-staff reviews final presentations
▪ Supplement onboarding with periodic reinforcement (e.g., QUST, kickoffs)
Listen to Calls to Derive Training Needs
Either brute force recordings, or …
New tools exist that listen to sales conversations
◦ Often as simple plug-ins to Zoom
◦ Record who’s speaking who much
◦ Listen for key talk tracks (e.g., ease of use)
◦ Real-time suggestions (e.g., talk more about Pricing)
Keep training grounded in the real world
Two Good But Often Disliked Rules
▪ Always cut deep enough so your next move is upward
▪ Think probabilistically
(This will help you not only consistently manage the reps, but it helps with the board as well.)
Rule 1: Cut Deep Enough So Next Move is Upwards
▪ Tries to squash natural “happy ears” tendency that reps have; forces realistic look at situation
▪ Provides a simple, clear framework on how to forecast → always be upsloping
A Common, Painful Board Discussion
Director: What’s the forecast for new ARR this quarter?
Sales VP: $4.3M, with a best case of $5.0M.
Director: So what’s the most likely outcome?
Sales VP: $4.3M.
Director: What are you really going to do? (Warning: newb trap!)
Sales VP: I think we can come in North of that.
Director: What’s the worst case?
Sales VP: $3.5M.
Director: What are the odds of coming in at or above the forecast?
Sales VP: I always make my forecast.
Director: What do you mean by worst case?
Sales VP: You know, well, if the stars align in a bad way – a lot of stuff would have to go wrong – but if that happened, then we could end
up at $3.5M.
Director: So, let’s say a 10% chance of being at/below the worst case?
Sales VP: I’d say more like 5%.
Director: What do you mean by best case?
Sales VP: Well, if we really struck it rich and everything lined up just the way I wanted, that would be best case.
Director: You mean if all the deals came in — so best case basically equals pipeline?
Sales VP: No, that never happens, I’ve made about 10 scenarios of different deal closing combos and in 2 of them I get to the best case.
VP/CRO should be 90% confidence*
Rep should be 70% confidence
* i.e., you get to miss once every 10 quarters
Create Pipeline Management Rules
▪ Defined, verifiable stages
▪ Rules for valuing oppties
▪ Rules for close dates
▪ Definition of forecast, commit, and upside
▪ Rules for big/lumpy deals
▪ Rules for forecasting
How to Present a Forecast to the Board
▪ Provides context for numbers, does obvious math for you
▪ Anticipates the first-order questions
Customers Buy Software To Solve a Problem
We need to track our sales pipeline and forecast → Salesforce
We need to track and automate our customer support → Zendesk
Our cap table is a hot mess in Excel and no one believes the data → Carta
We need to automate execution of marketing campaigns → Marketo
We make too many mistakes in our budget using Excel → Host Analytics, Adaptive Insights
We need clearer alignment on and tracking of goals/OKRs → 15Five, Betterworks
We need to track internal trouble tickets → ServiceNow
The Beauty of Selling SaaS Applications
▪ If you can find a buyer with a problem and a checkbook
▪ And can convince them of these three things
▪ They understand my problem
▪ They can solve my problem
▪ I want to work with them
▪ Then you have a deal
▪ So how do you do that?
That’s what I call solution selling