2012 starts with the completion of my engagements with Teambox and Synup. I am excited to finally have the time to complete the eBook on actionable social business intelligence.

I am extremely excited about how the new plan is coming about and wanted to share a couple of items with you today.

1. You can pre-register for the e-book at http://actionsbi.com.  Bookmark the site after signing up. It will become a blog and a whitepaper repository in all things related to Social Sales and actionSBI.

2. Here is the presentation from our talk at Dreamforce 2011.  http://www.slideshare.net/Salesforce/the-social-sales-revolution If you want to learn more about what we presented, feel free to contact me.

A little teaser; here is an excerpt from the eBook:

Social Business Intelligence (SBI) is the organization of data collected from social networks and web 2.0 utlities. It involves pulling status updates, reviews, tweets, QnA and blog posts/comments that relate to a certain subject or product.

The challenge is not in collecting the data as most networks or their 3rd party application partners will let you collect what you want and store it in a database or data file. The challenges are first knowing what to download, teaching your sales team to properly manage this data and using it to increase sales.

The shift sales people need to make with SBI is that they do not have time to wait for the number crunchers to analyze and make suggestions. SBI happens in real time and if acted upon can mean immediate sales spikes. SBI works from triggers where people or groups of people have started  discussing a problem that an offering solves. It is in the now. It allows sales people to interact both at the right time and the right way.Sales people are not used to managing business intelligence. This is usually the chore of an analyst or administrator who then shares their lessons with managers and executives. This is because most business intelligence is derived from internal barometers that allow us to learn where they find sales success and what methods have worked. It commonly studies wins and losses along with other indicators based on experiences and historical data.

So what is actionable SBI?

It is the alert that you need to get into the social networking mix and the information you need to be relevant to the conversation.

Happy 2012 everyone and get ready to hear from me bunches.

KG

For all of you that were in our session I can only say that the mere fact that no one left the session until 55 minutes in is a credit to Scott Holden and the entire team that put together this session together. We had so much great content that we ran out of time for me to share the section I prepared around Social Business Intelligence.

This is my favorite story of the day, so I felt compelled to share it here and post a link to the Dreamforce App.

The title of this little post:

“How I got my job at Teambox”

It starts with a random search of a social network called You Noodle

You Noodle was supposed to be a social networking site for startups and people that worked with startups. They never built any real features into the system so instead it really morphed into a billboard for startups; and a great way for someone like me to check out new companies.

I was using their version of stumble when I cam across Teambox. This refreshing social way of managing projects and communication excited me. I signed up for a free account and instantly fell in love. I went back to the site and found the founder, Pablo Villalba.

Next step? I found him on Twitter and read his feed. It opened the door to his thoughts on Basecamp. We share a displeasure for their bad UI. Then I read some of his blog posts and learned about his involvement on Github for open source utilities. All of these things resonated with my personal tastes and I realized that there may be a fit. So, I added him on LinkedIn and sent him a note that I wanted to connect.

He connected with me on Skype. We started to chat. I was at this point prepared.

What I knew before ever talking to him.

1.  He did not like Basecamp.

2. He is into open source projects.

3. He is young and energetic.

4. He is an aerospace engineer.

5. He loved the startup world.

6. They just went live with their paid offering the month prior.

7. They did not have a sales team.

All of this allowed me to manage our conversation by highlighting relevant information and my own expertise. I knew what he needed even more that he did. He needed me.

A week after our first conversation I started working with Teambox and 16 months later, I have no regrets. It was the right move at the right time for all of us. Without some Social Business Intelligence, I may have never figured any of this out or presented it to Pablo in a way that compelled him to bring me on. It was what I knew that sealed the deal. What I knew was readily available online. I just had to know where to look. Pablo showed me without ever knowing.

Well they call it the social enterprise and it is a tomayto-tomahto kind of thing in my book. Teambox has been talking about the hybrid of productivity tools and best practices in social networking for a couple years now and with the big push this year at Dreamforce, Salesforce is taking their billions and putting it on a bet they call the Social Enterprise.

Continue reading »

Man it has been a while since I took type to wordpress and cranked out a post for the might Sales Evangelist blog. Being Collaboration 001 for Teambox, the online collaboration project software that is changing the way the world works, has kept me extremely busy. It is not that I stopped writing, on the contrary, I am busily writing news letters and posts for the Teambox blog. The world of online collaboration is a frontier that requires immense focus to navigate. Especially if you want to maintain relevance and stay in front of the early adopters.

Well, it was only a matter of time before the world of online collaboration landed me right back in the seat of evangelizing to the sales community. At the end of the month I will be presenting at Dreamforce. The topic? The social sales revolution. Sound familiar?

We will be broaching into practices that will immediately improve the pipelines of the sales people that employ them. Most of what I intend to discuss is S.B.I., social business intelligence. I want to spend some time over the next few weeks sharing here about one of those subjects.

Social Listening

My signal on the blog these days is probably pretty weak, so instead of opening the discussion by asking my audience (hello, hello, hello…) to tell me what they think Social Listening is, I will start off the party by telling you what I think it means to listen to the social networks fury.

1. Pay attention to people asking about your brand.

2. Pay attention to the people asking about your industry.

3. Pay attention to the people asking about problems your offering solves.

4. Pay attention to the people that talk about your industry.

5. Pay attention to the people that hate your industry.

6. Pay attention to your competition.

7. Pay attention to your customers.

8. Pay attention to your prospects.

9. Pay attention to the offerings you replace.

10. Pay attention to the people you failed.

Recurring theme? (PAY ATTENTION)

This is just a start, but if you are managing to do all this, you will find your habits, pipeline and selling style will all change for the better.

Here is an example of how:

Follow all of your competitors and listen to what they are saying. Watch how others react to what they are saying. If they are hitting on things that resonate, start to think about how you can share similar messages. Look at the people they are resonating with and follow them. Start dialog with the people that react well and perhaps some that react poorly to your competition’s message.

This alone can gain you customers. At Teambox our founder has filters for people asking about any of our competitors. All he does is suggest that they look at our offering. Many of them try our service and when they realize it was our founder that pinged them in the first place, they are in awe.

I will go into more examples and some how to in my next posts.

“With Genius Marketing we are able to easily and instantly connect with our most valuable customers and offer them important services during  the economic downturn. It’s paying off for both BT and our customers.” – Russell Cartwright | Manager of BT Business Sales Enablement

You know how much I love starting a message with a customer quote. This one is no different as Genius provided me with this gem and I am happy to share. If you are a long time reader you know I love the Genius suite of products and have talked about them fondly. If you are new, please read more about how they empower sales messaging via email. Click on that sentence back there to read.

Continue reading »

Let’s start this post with a flat out appreciation of the gents at newScale for sitting down and sharing some great information with me. David Satterwhite, their VP of Sales and Mark Hamilton,their VP of Marketing are an amazing duo. I have to say that in my 15 years watching sales and marketing executives interact, I have never seen a pair that worked so well together. Frankly, at newScale you may be challenged to figure out where Marketing stops and Sales begins. At newScale it may be that they are one continuous cycle.

So first, a bit about them from their site (I will paraphrase for the sake of keeping our SEO up) Continue reading »

#sales20

Speaker Jeanne Glass, Senior Director, Sales Operations, Education & Training, Fair Isaac

Benchmarking being discussed….yes! Miller Heiman did a sales benchmarking analysis for them.

Continue reading »

Sales 2.0 Conference
Image by schnaars via Flickr

The Sales 2.0 conference has made a wise move in giving me a media pass. I will be tweeting and live blogging like a maniac, sharing the latest and greatest in sales technology and ideology.

If you are interested in particular subjects or particular sessions, and want my opinion, drop me a line or leave a comment. I will make as many as possible and report freely throughout the day. Once I return the compilation of my findings will go out in my newsletter. Be sure to sign up over there to the right if you are not only on my list.

If you are planning on attending, let me know, I will buy you lunch, or maybe a post event drink.

From their site:

“When times are tough, the organizations that keep moving forward are those which deploy the right strategy and use the right tools to win more sales. Sales 2.0 technologies help forward-looking sales organizations improve lead management, accelerate the sales process, improve sales effectiveness, decrease costs, and enhance the customer experience.

Attend the Sales 2.0 Conference on March 4-5, and learn how to deploy Sales 2.0 to accelerate your sales in 2009. You will gain insights from VPs of Sales who have successfully implemented Sales 2.0 technologies in their sales organization.

Agenda topics include:

  • How to Accelerate Sales in a 2.0 World
  • Sales Lead Management 2.0
  • Customer Engagement Strategies
  • Analytics and Compensation Management
  • Accelerating Productivity – New Sales 2.0 Tools
  • The Foundation of a Sales 2.0 Business

Benefit from eye-opening presentations, candid conversations, and collaborative sessions all focused on helping you create your own Sales 2.0 success strategy. You will walk away with practical ideas that your sales team will benefit from immediately.”

The reg link: http://www.sales20conf.com/2009/

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What is your WorkStyle? Built by sales, built for sales, and recommended for the startup!

I must preface this article by stating clearly, that after years of using, implementing, selecting, designing, managing, and optimizing CRM and SFA solutions, I had grown weary of the responsibility. Every time I thought I found the perfect solution, something would prevent my team from utilizing one system for optimum sales productivity. Additionally, being at startups, my executive team always wants to use their sales tool as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner). This distraction of processes always confounds me when trying to properly deliver resources to sales.

When building the processes that align with the strategy of a newly forming sales team. It is imperative that what you design fits your objectives, not the limitations of your tools. For this very reason, most early forming organizations change their strategy to fit their CRM, or maintain a large portion of their tools, pipeline, and activity tracking offline. It is also unbelievably common to go through as many as three systems when growing an organization. The lost time and resources cost many companies more than the miniscule saving of not starting with the correct system.

Headaches have come with every tool I implemented. Limitations on design, IT based functionality, Finance based process, it was all a waste of energy. Needless to say, I had given up on the perfect solution. Every time I turned to the key elements of what Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools should provide, I was let down. Here are three of those key needs:

1. Easy to use tools that speed up the sales day

2. A well thought out process that encourages the movement of sales through the pipeline

3. A strategic framework that enables the leaders to steer the ship

Then I received an e-mail from Dave Hurlbrink of Landslide. He offered to show me a new “Sales WorkStyle Management” solution. I asked him what Sales WorkStyle (SWS) meant. He briefly explained that it was like CRM but much better. I rolled my eyes and allowed him to set up a time for a demo. Another CRM, I was not that excited. That was until he launched his demo and we addressed almost every single issue I have had, or my teams, peers, and reports have had with typical sales tools. As a product designed by sales people it has an answer for almost everything. Here are a few examples:

Simple and helpful tools – Hey team, let’s go fast:

If you run a sales team of more than two reps, chances are someone does not enter notes in the systems. There are two primary reasons for this neglect:

1. They write their notes down somewhere else and do not want to copy them to the CRM. It is usually a case of the exercise being too cumbersome for their busy day.

2. They do not like taking notes, “everything” is memorized. This really is a statement that I do not like your tools because I feel they make my life harder.

Weeks and months pass, and those little things that could move the sale along are lost. Objectives and goals are forgotten or misinterpreted, or even worse, in most CRM’s the ability to find these nuggets is lost to a myriad of meaningless activities

Landslide offers a virtual sales assistant with its product. Place a call during business hours and one of their friendly representatives takes notes, updates activity, moves accounts through the pipeline, schedules and creates opportunities, etc, etc…

You can also e-mail, and or fax in your requests. Think of the magnitude of having your entire field sales teams update accounts via voice while stuck in traffic.

Landslide let’s you manage data intuitively. You are in an account and click on a task, it opens up right on screen and you can click to manipulate anything. Even better, from the home page, when you click on something, it opens up right in front of you and when you close it, you are back where you started. No nuisance of multiple open pages or hitting back buttons over and over again. This alone can saves an inside rep an hour or two of productivity a day.

Sliders to create ranges. This is just too cool. Instead of playing with dates, and you can do that too, you can easily change ranges with a slide tool for month to month or week to week. THIS IS JUST PLAIN AWESOME. Want to see what Q1 looks like, zip zip, then a month, another zip. I first saw this idea on a website selling plane tickets and thought, my CRM needs this…

Everything in one place. Imagine having every single one of your sales resources in one place. Need a contract, click and send. Want to work up a spec sheet, or send the latest marketing brochure zip zoom on its way. Need to start up a Web-Ex? Guess what, it is in their system too. I was expecting to click the mouse and have my lunch delivered, but I think I have to wait for the next version.

Pipeline that helps me sell – Forecasting with a purpose…at last!

How accurate is your forecast? How many notes do you have to read to see what rep is doing what, or how many deals are lost because you really have no idea what is going on. What exactly does 70% mean? Who decided what process you use, the company that sold you your product, an instruction manual, or the IT department?

Landslides complete pipeline system. Landslide gives you a multi-dimensional opportunity palette that is the HDTV of forecasting and deal management. Scratch that, today’s tools are like dial up and Landslide is something from the Matrix.

This you have to see to believe, and at first it appears to be a cumbersome tool. At second glance however, you realize that their pipeline management integrates all of the statuses, previously mentioned resources, media, and content needed to move an opportunity from one stage to the next. Need to get out a spec sheet to help answer some questions, click and send.

Build different processes for different sectors. This might be simultaneously the least sexy and MOST VALUABLE offering from Landslide. I have always been so frustrated that my renewals product C have always been in my forecast right next to my new business for product A, and my offering B deals are being cultivated in a completely different buying process, but have the same look and feel as all those other opportunities.

Does your major account team sell a service that requires different approaches that the subscription sales of your inbound team? Does widget A require a three step sales process, while monster product B need a five stage, twenty step process? Knock yourself out kids, because Landslide gives you the flexibility to deliver the best process to each of your offerings.

How much do I need to know to succeed?

I HATE EXECUTIVE DASHBOARDS… well at least I used to. Everything I wanted to see was not where I wanted to see it. The report behind the chart or graph never gave me the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) I wanted to drill into the system.

Also, building the processes that determine sales stages, the key indicators, the important steps to go from one status was an offline adventure. Unfortunately the organization’s design never fit into the product I was using.

Here are two solutions for the executive and management teams that afford them complete design and reporting capabilities.

Pulse! One brilliantly developed, interactive and intuitive dashboard. This is one cool engine! In five minutes you can review a team, a person, or your own pipeline in many, MANY different ways . Management of these changes is done through sliders that change ranges and criteria. Also, you can rapidly move from any stage of the sale, any percentage of expectation, and best of all by deal size. Finally you can drill down and get even more finite in your detail. I have never geeked out on sample data as hard as I did in my evaluation of Pulse. I was dreaming of quickly delivering data to my board of directors. Data from my system, that without hours of scrutiny, I could trust.

Proven Path

Now this is more for the consultant or the system designers, but I suggest any of you out there that want to dabble with processes check this out. You can find it at ProvenPath.com, and it is so easy to understand I will share very little here. ProvenPath allows you to design processes for the stages of each type of sale you have. It takes a couple of minutes to architect complex sales scenarios, and determine best practices. I will use this tool for every organization that I am developing strategy for. Why? Because this is one simple beast with a lot of power.

I could go on for hours about Landslide, but have already rattled off over 1500 words. There is much more to the offering. If you would like to learn more, click here or e-mail me at salesmentor@karlgoldfield.com

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