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March 14, 2012

How to Sell Like You’ve Never Sold Before in 100 Days

Sales Automation in 100 Days


 

The first 100 days is the most critical predictor of your success at any job, especially in sales. You will need to learn the product inside and out, be able to communicate it to prospects, and meanwhile, find your own leads to talk to.

Thankfully, we’ve put together a comprehensive and easy guide with step-by-step plays to get you going. From setting up an automated sales funnel, prove sales tactics, to becoming an established leader in your indsutry, prepare to sell like you’ve never sold before.

Download the checklist and printable version here.

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Day 1 – Learn about the company and products

No matter if this is your first or your tenth sales job, the first day is always a different experience. It involves learning new things about the company’s products, culture, processes, and team. Take the next few days trying to absorb and learn as much as you can from your managers and colleagues. Be proactive and show that you’re willing to learn. Most importantly, take notes.

Checklist

  • Ask yourself, do you love this company? If you don’t keep looking.  Make sure you love what the company is, the product and what it stands for.  Don’t kid yourself about, “Making Bank Bro”… you have to be somewhere you see yourself finishing at.
  • Meet with your manager to learn about the core issues, resources that are available, your priorities and goals, and how you will be evaluated.  If there is ambiguity, it is your fault so ask away and write it down in front of them.
  • Get a current customer list of 30 to see how things are going with each customer and what they like and don’t like about the service and product.  Share any good news with the sales team immediately.
  • Get a list of 30 customers that are no longer customers and ask them what the company could have done to keep their business.
  • Meet with as many sales team members as you can and make sure that they see you as an asset to the business and to them.
  • Become an expert – it’s critical that you educate yourself on the products and services that you will be selling as well as your industry and common problems your product solves as well as differentiators.
Extra
  • Get a head start and learn as much as you can. Read and always improve your craft. To get you started, we’ve put together a list of influential sales blogs and thought leaders. Top 10 Sales Resources for 2012.

Day 6 – Learning more about your customers

After you’ve caught up to speed with how things work at your company, take time to learn about the customer segments that you will be working with. Even if this is an industry that you’ve worked in and sold to before, your customers could be a different sized company with a different buying process and requirements for features. It is important to understand the intricacies and details of your customers and how you serve them.

Checklist

  • Consult with and make friends with within marketing. Marketing works with the messaging and content directed at your customers. They can provide great insights about your market that will help speed up your learning like what they read for insights and what’s resonating with target customers.
  • Build a profile of your customer segments, their business, problems, and how they benefit from your products/services.
  • Write down a FABs overview of all the product and services that you offer. Not sure what FABs is? Check out this guide.

Day 11 – Get your hands dirty with sales calls and meetings

Now that you’ve gotten through the first 10 days, it’s time to get into the swing of things and start learning about how sales works at your company. There are many steps to completing a sale: working with the CRM, contacting the lead, making the sales call/meeting, closing the deal, and sending the invoice. All of which, will be in your hands.

Spend the next week shadowing sales calls and following along for sales meetings. Pay close attention to how they determine a warm lead, the types of questions that customers have, how the reps present solutions, and how they prepare for each one.

When you feel confident enough, start reaching out to some prospects on your own to gain experience. You’ll quickly discover your style and learn how to think on your feet while fielding the calls.  It’s also important to not assume that the current process is the best, so shadow more than two reps. Reconcile what’s different and see where you might be able to establish your own style.

Checklist

  • Shadow 5 sales calls.
  • Attend 3 sales meetings.
  • Make 25 cold calls.
  • Identify 10 trigger events for your customers.
  • At the end of the week, develop a 90 day plan with your boss. Agree on the expectations and priorities.

Day 16 – Build your pipeline

Sales is a numbers game. The more qualified prospects you get to the top of the sales funnel, the more deals you’ll be able to close at the bottom of the funnel. Depending on your industry, you will find that certain channels are more effective for prospecting than others. Spend time getting set up and researching which channels will work best for you.

To start off, look at your current network. A new job or an entire career change is a good opportunity to reconnect with your network and to maintain your relationship.  Reach out to contacts who you have kept in touch with and would be interested to hear about your new job.  Tell them you are being considered for a full time position and want to try “your best pitch on them” and would appreciate any referrals if it’s worth referring.  Make sure they also know you are looking forward to returning the favor.  This is a good way to work out the nerves, practice and take pressure out of the situation.

Checklist

  • Identify 10 warm leads in your CRM that the company has system and meet them.
  • Attend 2 industry related networking events.
  • Reconnect with 10 contacts in your network to tell them about your new job.

Day 21 – Getting started with search and social media

Now is a very good time to get set up on social media channels. Companies and people like to work with others who they know and trust. Social media is a great way for you to unobtrusively get connected, learn about them, and get yourself noticed. Take a look at Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other networks that could be effective for your industry. While you’re at it, set up some Google Alerts with the keywords that you brainstormed from Day 11. This will help you to stay on top of news and events in your industry.

Checklist

  • Set up Twitter account and background.
  • Sign up for and complete LinkedIn profile to 100%.
  • Claim Quora, Google+, and Facebook accounts.
  • Find and subscribe to 5 relevant blogs.
  • Set up 10 Google alerts for relevant key terms.

 

Advanced

  • Create your own hosted blog using a free tool like WordPress. Identify one customer need and write a blog post that solves the problem.
  • Use Twitter lists to start following contacts from specific companies and departments that you would like to get in touch with, and segment them into the lists.

Day 31 – Building habit

The only thing you can control in your day is how many emails, calls and meetings you can get.  These are called your currencies.  Don’t confuse being busy with productivity and treat your currencies like your lunch money. The bully is yourself and distractions that you let happen.

The answer to meeting quotas is two things: MORE and BETTER.

Increase the volume of your currencies and make your presentations better and more efficient.  That’s it.

Spending time on tasks such as immediately replying to unimportant emails, talking to unqualified leads, or getting stood up because of unconfirmed meetings will drain your sales productivity by 50%.  Start building strong time management habits.

Here is a quick crash-course in time management and how you can apply it to your sales week.

  • Try to schedule your meetings for first thing in the morning, right before or after lunch, or last thing in the day.
  • Finish your quota for the day before you do anything else.  After you make your last call, email or meeting, you have one more thing that is the most important:  document what you did that day.

It’s critical that you measure your performance in the first 100 days.  If you are behind on sales, meeting quotas or way ahead, you know the volume of currencies it took to get you there.  You’ll know what you need to do for the next quarter.  DON’T GUESS and DON’T BE LAZY.  You can control your success if you just measure and improve.  You can’t measure if you don’t write it down and be diligent.

If you’ve finished the day’s quota, nothing’s stopping you from reaching more prospects, but this time should actually be reserved for researching, reading, working on creating inbound traffic through social media and scheduling your agenda for the following day.

Checklist

  • Create a schedule for your next week with blocked times for various sales activities. Be disciplined to not get distracted while working in those time blocks.
  • Track, measure and compare sales for each currency quota for days, weeks and months.

Day 36 – Using social media for prospecting and sales

Social media and prospecting activities can quickly get out of hand when you’re on multiple channels and communicating with multiple people. A good idea is to use tools that aggregate and manage all those activities in one place. Social media dashboards, RSS readers, and notifications will help you stay on top of your activities even when you’re off making calls.

Checklist

  • Create Hootsuite account and connect social media accounts.
  • Setup RSS feed on Google Reader and follow 5 blogs.
  • Subscribe to LinkedIn answers for your relevant categories.
  • Read Joel Marans’ post explaining how to use social media for prospecting
  • Find 15 prospects on LinkedIn.
  • Follow 5 companies on LinkedIn.
  • Follow 25 people on Twitter.
  • Ask for 5 client referrals.

 

Advanced

  • Create Yahoo Pipes to get notifications on LinkedIn Answers with keywords relevant to your industry. Here is a great tutorial by Guido Jansen to get you set up.
  • Use BoardReader to search for keywords on popular forums. Create an account and join the conversations.
  • Jump on other Q&A sites like Quora and Focus to connect with others and answer questions.

Day 46 – Give value to get value

Getting noticed on social media is all about value. As a sales rep, you have a thorough understanding of the kinds of problems in your industry, different product solutions, and new trends. Share your expertise with others and start building a following.

Checklist

  • Answer 15 questions on LinkedIn, Quora, Focus, or a forum that is more relevant to your industry
  • Share your answers to your social network and ask them to join the conversation or for their feedback.
  • Engage in conversation with 10 different people through Twitter. Retweet their content, answer a question, or contribute to a discussion.
  • Set up boolean search terms with your keywords on Hootsuite to engage in conversations. Here is an article that explains how to get Twitter searches set up.
  • Using various channels, share content coming from your company blog.

 

Advanced

  • Write 1-2 blog posts on a current topic that is hot in your industry. Share it with your social network and create a discussion around it.

Day 61 – Establishing yourself as a leader in the space

A great way to build a brand and presence online is to engage with others who are already leaders in the space. They key is to engage with the ones who have a following that resembles your target market. Spend time researching similar sites and start commenting on their posts to build a relationship. The same can be done on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks where you can Retweet, Like, and Share their content.

Checklist

  • Identify and subscribe to 5 relevant blogs (follow them on Twitter if they are using it).
  • Read a few of their recent blogs and leave a comment on each blog that contributes to that topic.
  • Send a personal email to each author and connect on a topic that they have written about where you might have some knowledge to share.
  • Follow 25 influencers on Twitter. Retweet their content. (make sure that it passes your filter and only share it if you feel it is worthy).
  • Repeat the process on other networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, etc.

 

Advanced

  • Continue to write blog posts on relevant topics. Aim to write 1 per week and remember to share it with your social networks.
  • Make it easy for others to find and share your content. Enable social sharing buttons.
  • Write posts that mention and engage other relevant people in the space.

Day 81 – Sales automation

One of the keys to success in sales is the ability to focus on the critical activities. However, tasks like lead nurturing, prospecting, and emails entail a lot of overhead work. You must spend time updating contacts in the CRM, recording leads, and rewriting emails. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you optimize your productivity and automate many of the time consuming tasks.

Checklist

  • Use MailSlayer to craft email templates that you use and send on a regular basis. Although it is important that you personalize each email to the recipient, it can be very helpful and efficient to have a basis of information and format to work from.
  • Create a template for tasks like reaching out to a prospect, scheduling a sales meeting, and follow-up after a sales meeting.
  • Use Ecquire to integrate your Gmail and CRM. Ecquire automatically creates new leads and updates existing ones in your CRM so that you can skip the data-entry.
  • Use Hootsuite’s scheduling function to create a queue of Tweets that can be sent out at key times during the day while you are busy.

 

Advanced

  • Automation is effective for work and life. Take a look at other tasks in your life that are taking too much time that you can easily automate or outsource for a practical fee. Look at services like Ayoudo where you can find trusted help for everyday tasks.

5 Comments on “How to Sell Like You’ve Never Sold Before in 100 Days

Scott Annan
March 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm

This is an epic post. It has obviously been well-researched with a boat-load of value for any salesperson – newbie or veteran – on how to really get setup properly in a new business.

Obviously there is pressure for a salesperson to sell, but you can see how this will help build a sales engine, rather than just a “spray and pray” approach to hitting numbers.

Every salesperson should have this as a shortcut on their browser – and every sales manager that hires someone should print it out and hand it to new hires.

Well done!

Reply
Paul_DeJoe
March 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks, Scott. Cool of you to read it and comment. Major credit to startupplays honing in our content strategy and what our audience wants to read.

Reply
Michael Tippett
March 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Nicely done. Super useful. Thanks for this.

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[…] you get started, create accounts for your social media tools. We show you all the steps in our “How to build a sales pipeline in 100 days” […]

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[…] you get started, create accounts for your social media tools. We show you all the steps in our “How to build a sales pipeline in 100 days” guide. […]

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