Content selling: In the future, a piece of great content will outsell an average sales rep. Madlibs with Greg Alexander

Content selling: In the future, a piece of great content will outsell an average sales rep. Madlibs with Greg Alexander:

from The Funnelholic 
I write about Greg Alexander and Sales Benchmark Index all the time. Scott Albro calls it a bromance. Greg and SBI are remarkable for many reasons but I always point out their highly effective use of content marketing and their very innovative, modern view of selling. I am really excited to get a Madlibs from him – you should be too because it was a “doozy”. Madlibs, Greg Alexander – style below:

  1. The b2b buyer is- saturated by offers to solve problems that he does not have by sales people focused on activities not results.

  2. The biggest innovation in sales is- the buying process map. A BPM pinpoints the micro decisions a buyer must make before he can make the macro decision of making a purchase. Most sales organizations have no idea what questions the buyer is asking himself and in what sequence. These information needs will be met, and most likely without the assistance of a sales person.
  3. The coolest thing happening in b2b sales is- the retirement of the last era’s thought leaders. This is making room for new leaders to share fresh ideas. The contributions of these retiring leaders are remarkable. The next generation needs to stand on this body of work and add to it in a meaningful way.
  4. My favorite Sales 2.0 technology is- SFDC Chatter. A sales rep in Boston can now tap into the expertise of a sales rep in Los Angeles in real time. The once-a-year sales kickoff event, where deal winning ideas are shared at the bar, is being replaced with Chatter feed updates pushed to a mobile phone 10 times a day. Best practices can spread in internet time. This might finally solve the 80/20 rule, where the gap between the best reps, and the worst reps, is a gulf. With best practices spreading this quickly, new capabilities are being acquired at a blistering pace.
  5. My favorite sales book is- The New Rules of Marketing & PR by my friend David Meerman Scott. Many mistakenly think this is a marketing book. It is a sales book. David provides a new mental model one can govern their professional lives by. In my mind, this should be considered a classic.
  6. My favorite social media channel is- Flipboard. To be smarter than the next guy, one must relentlessly prune and update one’s inputs. Flipboard allows a person to only allow in content that expands a point of view. Constructing a “tablet magazine” forces a person to think critically about the quality of his sources.
  7. Social selling is- reminding everyone that who you know is more important that what you know. A small network, or worse, a network filled with imposters, is a liability. A large network, filled with A-players, is an asset.
  8. I use LinkedIn to- help my clients and connections solve their problems. A client recently estimated that SBI has given away over $4 million in IP on LinkedIn. We publish a best practice, with an implementation tool, on LinkedIn every day, 365 days a year, for free. That is a lot. But we have received 10x this amount in return. It is amazing-help someone make their number and they will be a friend for life.
  9. Cold calling is- very effective in certain applications and ineffective in others. For example, cold calling to raise money for the Democratic Party during election season has worked very well. Yet, cold calling a general manager of a business unit of a Fortune 500 account to sell software almost never works. A sales organization needs to know their customer well enough to understand which communications channel will work the best.
  10. In b2b, the idea of a funnel is- a great diagnostic tool. A funnel will never close a deal. But, AIDA, for example, has been helping sales teams craft compelling value propositions for years. The funnel allows a team to understand, and remove, the revenue bottlenecks.
  11. The first thing every sales person should do is- master SoLoMo- Social, Local, and Mobile. They combination of the three is changing the way top performers spend their time, permanently.
  12. Voicemail is- dead on the desk phone and potent on the mobile phone. Everyone hits play when the phone icon on the Apple screen tells them they have a message.
  13. The biggest mistake sales people make is- being inward-out versus outward-in. The prospect does not care about you. He cares about himself. The only thing that matters is what the prospect thinks, feels, and does.
  14. The biggest myth in sales is- that talent trumps opportunity. I have seen C players produce record breaking results when dropped into the right patch at the right time. In contrast, I have seen A players miss the number by a mile because the territory is terrible. Magic happens when your best reps are in your best territories.
  15. My most forgettable sales experience was- the first year of Sales Benchmark Index. Applying benchmarking, a proven science, to sales, an art, was like asking Michael Jordan to play Hockey. It was not until a few pioneering clients had hard before and after data that the idea caught on. God bless them.
  16. The hardest part of selling is- playing the long game. We live in a time where instant gratification is mandatory. Letting a prospect buy, when he is ready, takes patience, humility, and courage. The world is filled with one hit wonders- the chief sales officer who makes the number, but only once. It is a rare sales leader who makes the number for a decade. Play the long game.
  17. The next “hot-thing” in sales will be- content selling. The industry is excited about content marketing, rightfully so. Content Selling is next. In the future, a piece of great content will outsell an average sales rep. The self-directed buyer will begin to make complex purchases with zero rep involvement. Scary for some. Exciting for others.
  18. In 2015, sales will be- I have no idea. Anyone who says they can predict the future is full of you know what.
  19. My favorite sales saying is- “The best predictor of future income is new capability acquisition”. A sales leader becomes obsolete a little each day, unless he continues to acquire new capabilities.
  20. Over the next couple years in sales, I can’t wait to see- “Agile” delivery replace “Waterfall” delivery. Rapid prototyping has the chance to solve one of the oldest sales improvement obstacles- field adoption. When “field user testing” replaces off-the-self methodologies, we go from 20% rep adoption to 80% rep adoption of new initiatives.
  21. Madlibs with the Funnelholic is- a brilliant idea by a super smart guy. I am grateful for being allowed to offer my thoughts
Greg Alexander, CEO of Sales Benchmark Index Sales Benchmark Index
What does Greg Alexander do? Greg is a sales and marketing consultant. He helps B2B companies “make the number.”
What is Sales Benchmark Index? SBI is a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets.
How does SBI Work? The firm uses the benchmarking method to help companies accelerate their rate of revenue growth. Benchmarking allows the firm’s clients to get access to and implement best practices from the top sales and marketing organizations.

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