By Sramana Mitra and guest author Sudhindra Chada
SM: On the topic of LinkedIn and Rolodexes, what are your thoughts on outbound selling principles?
DF: Strategic selling, solution selling, customer-centric selling, targeted account selling; I could list ten more. I am a student of the sales process. All of those books and all of those sales processes, plus or minus a few points, are basically preaching the same thing. You need to define a process to support your business. That is very important in the world of sales 2.0. You do need a process to follow. Business needs to ensure that there is a sales process being adhered to.
SM: What you are saying is that defining whom to send the first reach to and what message will go out to that person is done by marketing.
DF: In my world, our sales and marketing 2.0 systems and processes are all built around marketing creating 80% of the pipeline. Sales does 20%. Ten years ago, it was the reverse. Sales created the pipeline. Sales people would send the letter and follow up on it. That is old fashioned. We don’t do that anymore. Marketing, through the use of the technology we talked about, has to create the leads for the sales people. Marketing has to begin the conversation.
SM: I have understood your marketing process pretty well. What process do the sales people follow?
DF: We use our technology, these rich media presentations, and the sales people instead of writing a letter, create a rich media video presentation. They use technology like InsideView, do sales intelligence mining, look at the organization, head the buzz about the company, visit the company’s Web site and look at what are the top five initiatives for this company. They then create a rich media Brainshark presentation for those executives. The names of the executives are either in our database or in ZoomInfo or Jigsaw. They send the presentation to these executives. Typically, they send them on Sunday night around six because senior executives get off the golf course and open their e-mail around seven, and the Brainshark presentation is at the top of their inbox. When the click on the link 24/7, the sales person is alerted that the person just watched the presentation or maybe forwarded to someone else. This signals their interest in our message. You have heard the idea that marketing throws a big net to get leads. We call that big-net fishing. Now, all the marketing books in the world talk about targeting marketing, which we call small-net fishing. What I have just described we call spear fishing. Point-to-point, one spear, one communication, one rich media presentation that is tracked to an executive, and then sales follows up. We are moving away from the old- fashioned letter real fast. If that is what a business is doing today, wow, they are due for significant change.
SM: What role does referral selling play in your life cycle?
DF: This is where I love SaaS. Out of college, I worked at IBM, went through the great training. After that I spent twenty-five years in on-premise-based software. I love SaaS because you are delivering a value to the customer and the customer is going to use your SaaS application as long as it produces value. The moment it doesn’t, you turn it off. The entire notion of referral sales is dependent on the value you provide to the customer over a period, and if you are delivering that value and building the community and the social media tools, the referrals will flow to you. When your customer leaves one company and goes to another company, they will take your value-added SaaS product with them.