In B2B sales, BANT and Handshakes are Out. Tech Is In.

By | B2B Sales, Mobile Productivity Tools, Sales Leadership

In the not-so-distant past, a B2B sales team could rely on a solid strategy like BANT and marketing funnels to identify a good lead.

They could count on soft skills and in-depth knowledge of their product to get them across the next couple of hurdles.

Today? Not so much, according to Pete Caputa, an executive with Hubspot.

As you already know, technology has changed everything for the average buyer who’s in the market for your product. One of the first keys to adapting to this new buyer is to get a full understanding of where she or he is coming from.

The next step is figuring out how to best approach them at the right time — not an easy proposition.

But the effort is well worth it, according to the McKinsey Institute, which conducted research that revealed that the B2B sales process is, indeed increasingly complex. But figuring it out and adapting can lead to a significant boost in your bottom line.

After interviewing more than 100 B2B sales organizations that implemented digital tools and better allocated sales to meet the demands of more Internet-savvy consumers, McKinsey Institute had this to say:

“While the change required is significant, so are the benefits: an up to 20 percent increase in customer leads, 10 percent growth in first-time customers, and a speedup of as much as 20 percent in the time that elapses between qualifying a lead and closing a deal.”

Here are 4 ways you need to adapt with an approach that integrates technology and mobile etiquette without losing the human factor.

1. Realize your prospect already knows about you.

digital tabletWhen approaching a prospect, you’re not starting at ground zero. 

Research shows that, because of the wealth of content available on the internet, the average B2B buyer is quite informed, already having completed anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of the buying journey by the time they contact you.

2. Your prospect already knows about your competitors.

With all that research, don’t think the prospect is content with your options. It’s a shopper’s market.

It’s a shopper’s market. If you’re not looking at how you’re stacking up against the competition in providing answers to prospects questions through content and collateral, you could lose out.

3. You prospect still wants you to engage.

Maybe it’s not a matter of picking up the phone that will get you connected with your targeted audience.

Think social. According to the McKinsey study, B2B consumers also are checking reviews and consumer opinions online about your business. Keeping your current customers engaged and following you online can provide another path of influence in the buyer’s journey. It’s an endorsement of sorts.

Boost that presence with blogging, speaking and writing as an expert in your industry. Earn trust through social outlets.

4. You need to understand where your prospect is in the cycle.

Meeting your prospects where they are in the discovery process requires checking inbound marketing data.

That means that, more than likely, you will need to approach each one with a customized approach. Having those answers readily available is key to delivering that experience — and making the sale.

Finding the right sales enablement tools to provide those answers can be key to keeping prospects engaged.

Today’s B2B prospect is constantly evolving. The company that adapts to keep up with their needs wins.

FatStax provides the customization you need to accelerate your sales. Contact us to find out how it can deliver results for your team.

Making Case Studies a Part of Your Sales Strategy

Making the Case for Using Case Studies in Your Sales Strategy

By | B2B Sales, Business Mobility, Sales Leadership, Sales Productivity, Selling Tips

What’s behind every great sales team?

That’s the million-dollar question for sales managers who are comparing their performance with that of their competitors.

More than likely, it’s not as complicated as it seems.

It could be a combination of supportive managers, ongoing training, and substantial bonuses. But don’t forget your sales collateral. It could give your team the competitive edge they need to bring in more sales.

And nothing seems to do the job as well as case studies. They give you credibility simply by showing that you can actually deliver the results you claim you can.

Consider them your top sales collateral for turning sales prospects into clients. But don’t just settle for the same old case studies you’ve been relying on. If you haven’t changed them recently, it could be time for a complete overhaul.

Here are 6 ways you can transform your case studies into powerful pieces of collateral.

1. Tighten them up.

Back in the day, marketing and sales teams sort of went with “more is better.” That doesn’t work anymore.

You can count on the fact that your prospects are bombarded with tons of content in all sorts of forms. Try to keep your sales collateral as simple and condensed as possible while getting the point across effectively.

There’s no need for a 5 to 10-page case study. Get all that information into 1 to 2 well-designed and engaging pages.

2. Tell a story.

Every single case study should tell a story, from beginning to end.

The beginning should clearly explain the challenge a client was facing and how your company was able to resolve it.

The middle should provide more information about the solution that was implemented and how it impacted the organization.

And the end should demonstrate the results of implementing this solution, providing the reader with a clear picture of your customer’s experience.

Case Studies as a Sales Strategy3. Add customer testimonials.

Customer testimonials don’t have to be super long, but they certainly need to be powerful.

Ask your current and previous clients for feedback on what their experiences were in working with you as well as how your solution made a difference for their company.

Use their feedback to incorporate some personal feedback into your case studies, which will help “humanize” the content.

4. Try different mediums.

Think outside the box when building case studies.

One-sheets are great, but a two-minute video or a slide presentation could be even better. Getting a previous client to agree to a video interview not only can provide you with a great case study, it can give you the extra leverage of a solid customer testimonial.

Bonus tip: Make sure the most updated versions are easily accessible at all times. Include them in your digital catalogs or asset management system.

5. Develop numerous versions.

Step back and consider the different types of clients you’re serving.

Do you have a mix of medium to large businesses? B2B as well as B2C?

When developing your case studies, go for a good mix of different scenarios and challenges as well as client profiles. You want an assortment so that your team can choose those that are most similar to their prospects.

6. Get creative.

Whether you’re developing print collateral, video or slide decks, don’t be afraid to show off some of your company’s personality.

Dare to be different in design, format and tone.

Likewise, ask your clients to be extremely candid about any steps in the process — from any doubts they had beforehand to any hiccups along the way. It can go a long way in coming across authentic and hardworking in exceeding expectations.

Case studies can be powerful tools in your sales arsenal, and you should give your case studies a close look. Investing the time to upgrade them could give your team what it needs to show that your company can deliver what it promises.

mobile sales tool lesson bob vila

Lessons in Effective Mobile Sales Tools From Bob Vila

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

Is you B2B sales app a specialized mobile sales tool or a Swiss Army knife?

What about that app catalog for sales your deployed last quarter?

Swiss Army knives are amazing with all of those mini-tools right in your pocket. As a kid I loved them and never left home without it.

But would you hammer a nail with one?

Could you get a manicure with one?

Of course not, you would use a specialized tool that is designed for the job. Specialized tools make jobs easy because they were designed to accomplish a specific task.

Think about using a Phillips head screwdriver to tighten a flat head screw. Would you do that?

Let’s ask Bob Vila.

The same can be said for sales enablement apps.

We see so many companies trying to cram a million features into their app—like a sort of digital Swiss Army mobile sales tool.

But why?

The iPad is designed for multiple apps.

“There’s an app for that” is Apple’s slogan, right?

How many do you have on your phone right now? I’m sure a bunch, and each one is designed for a specific purpose.

You’re not checking your stocks with your weather app or using a flashlight app to find directions to the nearest gas station.

Yet in their effort to simplify things for field people or in some case IT, companies create these huge, all-encompassing apps that act more like a Swiss Army knife than a specialized tool.

Does this mean your app shouldn’t have great features? Far from it.

It means you, the manager, need to concentrate on defining simple and specific actions every user should be able to perform with your sales app.

Complexity in a mobile sales tool will only bog down development and hurt adoption rates.

For example, there are a few critical daily actions an iPad sales application can help all sales people with.

These might include:

• Be up-to-date on new products and product updates

• Capture key customer data (contact info, hot buttons, touch points)

• Look up product information after a sales call

• Play videos to show how a machine works

To make your app easy to use, define the simple actions you expect from your team and make sure every user knows how to perform them.

These actions need to be reinforced constantly during your monthly, weekly, and daily management interactions with users to reinforce them.

Sure there will be champions among your sales reps using advanced features quickly, but if you can get the entire user base to at least perform the few critical expected tasks with an app…ROI is sure to follow.

Finally, the metrics you are monitoring on weekly basis will continue to guide you on who is up to speed using the app and who is not.

Take it from me, and Bob Vila, and keep your mobile sales tool specialized.

Pushing Your B2B Sales App Updates to Market: When is Fast Too Fast?

By | B2B Sales

Equipping your sales reps with the latest and greatest updated version of your B2B sales app as quickly as possible is a top priority for a mobile business strategy. However, if not done carefully, it can also cause serious problems your company might struggle recovering from.

B2B sales apps are a great way to show off your products, train your sales reps and even interact with your customer base. But you’re not the only business on the block trying to do the same thing. You want to make sure your app is better than your competition’s app. Your B2B sales app needs to be on the cutting edge of cloud-based technology, secured to the fullest extent, and helps to increase sales rep productivity and profits for your company.

It needs to be the best! But does it need to be rushed?

Remember the Space Race?

The United States and the Soviet Union were competing for space exploration supremacy. Each country kept trying to outdo the other with launching new satellites, maned orbits around the Earth and, eventually, the race to put a man on the Moon. A lot more dangerous than pushing out the most updated sales app to your reps, but an example that complements the magnitude of risk/reward none the less.

On October 24, 1960, the “Nedelin catastrophe” was one of the most horrific accidents during the Space Race, and it could have been prevented. A prototype Soviet rocket called the R-16 was pushed to launch in time for the Bolshevik Revolution (November 7). The commanding officer, Mitrofan Nedelin, ordered unprepared tests of the rocket to ensure it would launch. These tests caused numerous safety precautions to be ignored due to the extreme scheduling pressure Nedelin placed on the workers.

During the night of October 24, a short circuit occurred during a test of the rocket and caused its engine to ignite. The rocket exploded killing hundreds of Soviet military and technical personal, including Nedelin. [Watch more on the Nedelin catastrophe]

Nedelin didn’t need to push up the rocket’s schedule just to make some anniversary. He should have taken the time and preparation needed for a successful launch.

b2b-sales-app-image-2

Businesses need to think the same way when sending their B2B sales apps to market. While we aren’t saying there will be the type of catastrophe illustrated above, you get the point. Don’t push an update out just because the other guys did. If your the latest version of your app isn’t ready, the repercussions to your business could be huge.

If the app isn’t working properly, it will impact the ability of your sales reps to function in the field. This will hurt their image as a trusted B2B partner when standing in front of clients or prospects, and could impact sales before a corrected update is made. It will also damage your development team’s credibility in the eyes of their users.

The best way to avoid such catastrophes for your sales reps is create and stick to an app update cycle. Essentially, have your development team or app provider perform a competitive review of your B2B sales apps on a regular basis. Facebook updates its mobile app now every 1-2 months. If you determine an update needs to be altered, set achievable push dates without rushing your team and compromising the credibility of the app.

Taking your time and don’t rush your B2B sales app to your team. Taking those extra precautions could save your business big bucks and from being made the example of the mobile sales world.

Tools to Keep Your iPad Charged During Your Next Trade Show

By | B2B Sales, iPad Trade Show, Mobile Productivity Tools, Sales Productivity

On Day 1 of Dreamforce this year, we used 3 iPads in our booth. By 3 pm, 2 of them were completely dead, likely because of trying to connect to the horrible wi-fi accessibility at the trade show. We made a quick trip to Staples and we bought an iPad Battery Pack and a Targus dual iPad Charger.

For Day 2, all 3 heavily-used iPads lasted the entire day.

iPad Trade Show Charging

Thinking about using an iPad during your upcoming trade show? When most companies decide to add the iPad to their trade show booth, multi-tasking staff can get overwhelmed, focusing on how to sell with the iPad, and not thinking about the basic elements needed for a successful show.

Read More

iPad Trade Show Stand Review

By | B2B Sales, iPad Trade Show, Mobile Productivity Tools

Are you looking for a solid stand for using iPads to engage customers at trade shows in your booth?  We really enjoyed using the Twelve South HoverBar recently.

We chose to use the Twelve South HoverBar at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco after seeing a few companies using them at the CEDIA trade show in early September to share information on audio equipment. Here is what we thought about using the hover bar as an iPad trade show stand.

HoverBar iPad Trade Show Stand Basics

The stand ships in nice box complete with clips, converters for different iPads, and an adjustable clamp/vice to lock the device down. At first glance, it’s a pretty sturdy looking stand that should clip onto about any table or part of your booth. Unfortunately the gap in the clip wasn’t quite wide enough for our table, so we had to remove the rubber piece to make it fit. Not a huge deal, but we recommend testing the set up before the show.

In our hands, it is a pretty solid device that’s easy to maneuver into position as you present. We purchased ours from Amazon and it arrived the next day. So, if you’re in a pinch thats a fast turn-around time, too. Read More