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March 7, 2022
5 min read
Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch! Today, in our Feature Story, we suggest a few tweaks to our sales game to deliver outsized results.
In The Closer, we explore an ideal forecasting rhythm from rep to sales leader to CEO throughout the week.
Let's start with our Weekly Chart.
Is the account manager the new "hunter" in sales? This chart from OpenView's 2021 Financial and Operating Benchmark Report shows a mere 7% gap in gross dollar retention between companies growing more than 150% and those pacing under 50%.
Account managers at faster growth companies are expanding accounts by an average of 25% versus 16% for the slower-growth organizations.
On a theoretical million-dollar book of business for an account manager, assigning a growth goal of $250,000 seems reasonable on top of renewing 80%-90% of all accounts.
Let's explore seventeen tweaks to supercharge our selling efforts. Although little effort is required, we can unlock 10%-25% in more revenue.
Each one fits in five buckets.
Arguably two nitpicky items, but equally important. Remember to "clean the screen" for any video call:
#1 – Hide our bookmarks bar and close all irrelevant tabs.
No one needs to see our open LinkedIn, ESPN, or Salesforce tabs. Reduce them to the essentials like our demo environment or slides.
#2 – Put slides into "present" mode.
Seeing additional slides on the left is distracting and forces our customers or prospects to squint. Better yet, according to Gong, don't use them at all on discovery calls:
Try these writing tips to drive efficiency:
#3 – Always offer a specific date and time when booking a meeting.
Help prospects out by starting with the day and time that works for us. The haphazard "What day works for you?" leaves the person searching their calendar, hoping it works. And book it within 14 days. Anything longer and no-show rates skyrocket. Alternatively, consider an appointment scheduling tool like Calendly.
#4 – Use Grammarly to avoid grammatical errors.
Our customers and prospects will never say it, but they notice our unstructured writing, misspellings, grammatical errors, and out-of-place tone. Grammarly verifies all of the above and points out when emails are too long. Emails with 75 to 100 words get the best response rate.
#5 – Replace "hope all is well" and "just checking in."
Start with immediate value, an idea, or relevant rapport-building instead. The above two statements are tired, waste precious real estate, and end up in the deleted folder faster.
Fine-tune our speaking in these areas, and good things will follow:
#6 – Avoid double-barreled questions.
Here's an example: "when could you sign our agreement and who needs to sign? A better alternative separates into two questions: "when can you commit to signing our agreement?" WAIT FOR AN ANSWER. "And who will be the signer?
#7 – Own the silence.
Ask tough questions or share pricing confidently and wait for the customer to respond.
#8 – Save qualification for the discovery.
Qualify before, not during, the cold call. Book the meeting if the prospect fits one of our buyer personas. Save the probing questions around budget or if they already have a solution for the disco. Bonus points if we can get it, but refrain from pushing too much.
#9 – Remove "did I catch you at a bad time?" or "how are you?" from our opener.
Two stellar examples are below – the top works if we're an account executive, the bottom could work for account managers.
These tactics keep our deals moving with higher velocity:
#10 – Don't go 14 days without activity.
Not every outreach needs a call to action. For early-stage opportunities where the timing isn't quite right, proactively share with our prospects that we'll follow up every two weeks with insights, ideas, or content relevant to them, their company, or industry.
#11 – Send individual follow-up to each team demo attendee.
Our aim should be to multi-thread immediately on any deal, but certainly so after a team demo. Fight the urge to send a single follow-up email to all attendees. Instead, jot down what resonated the most with each stakeholder during the demo to tailor our summary.
#12 – Target close dates for mid-month.
It should never be on the last day of the month unless necessary. Any solid sales manager will throw a yellow flag on a close date of March 31.
#13 – Never sell alone.
Gong data shows us we have a 50% chance of winning a deal if we involve others to help us close. Think sales engineers, sales leaders, or our CEO.
Consider other tweaks to up our sales game:
#14 – Stand up during demos or meetings.
#15 – Ask "what was most useful for you today?" to end the demo or presentation.
#16 – Know and say the CEO's name (during any meeting or call).
#17 – In the spirit of inclusion, swap out "guys" with "team" or "organization."
As we approach quarter-end and beyond, consider implementing a weekly forecasting rhythm:
This weekly cadence builds discipline and drives accountability at every link in the sales chain. Whether the number goes up or down, identifying reasons for our success becomes more straightforward.
And remember, a forecast shouldn't become the new target and replace our original goal. If we're behind, craft a plan to close the gap where all levels of the organization get involved.
Sales is a team sport. Make sure we ask for the support we deserve to hit our number.
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