ZoomInfo Summit 2017

Top 10 Takeaways From ZoomInfo Summit 2017

This was the second annual conference by ZoomInfo held at the Revere hotel in Boston. Honored as a speaker in the Sales track, I spent a lot of my time learning in the Marketing track. It is awesome to have these two tracks together in one conference. Naturally I also spent time at happy hours, making new friends, and heckling my speaker pals.

zoominfo summit 2017

Here are my top 10 takeaways:

  1. ZoomInfo nailed it with this conference. Amazing speakers, nearly no “pitch” talks from vendors, awesome food, plenty of learning options, fresh faces on stage, about 300 people, and time between sessions. It’s just what you’re looking for in a conference (oh yeah, and some free drinks. How was that not number one?). Side note: I love a “Medium” conference. With 350 – 750 attendees, every other person isn’t a vendor, the audience is well targeted, and it feels like a community vs. an overwhelming barrage. My other favorite BTW is the AA-ISP Leadership Conference.
  2. Seth Godin loves pop tarts and Star Trek. Who knew?
  3. Even though “hot trend” sessions like Ai and ABM are packed, when you talk with people 1:1, there are more people just trying to figure out consistent execution at the 101 level. Folks, make sure your sales conversations are good before hiring robots to get you more (that’s Ai right? JK).
  4. I can spot a sales person vs. a marketing person with 99% accuracy at a lunch table and 97% in an elevator.
  5. Dennis Dube is my new favorite person of 2017. I love finding uber smart and witty people. Bonus when there’s no ego and an eagerness to help others. Good to meet you buddy!
  6. Seth Godin teaches to market to the fringes. LB translation: let your freak flag fly and incorporate it in your message! That’s authentic and you’ll draw the right people to you – maybe even build a tribe.
  7. LB (who will liberally steal from Seth Godin here) says: Sell this way too! Don’t teach your people to sound like a professional sales call. We all hate these. The best calls are genuine, authentic, funny, engaging – REAL. Just one more reason that I hate scripts.
  8. SDR reps seriously need more love. Find ways to help these guys win and feel like a bad-ass at least once every day.
  9. The magic circle for marketing is Blog – SEO – and Social Media – all driving back to your website. This is why I’m writing a post-session blog.
  10. No conference is the same without Peter Weyman. Missed you buddy!

Where am I headed next? You can catch me on October 11th, 2017, co-hosting a webinar, 10 Ways To Scale Your Inside Sales Initiative. Come join me, Jeremy Wiggett, Senior Director Sales Development at Salesforce, and Chase Larson, Chief Technology Officer at SixPackShortcuts as we talk about processes, people, systems and implementation methods to achieve success in inside sales. Register here.

P.S. If you missed us at ZoomInfo, you can still get my inside sales bad-ass tips to share with your team. Get them here.

world class inside sales centers

8 Components of a World-Class New Sales Hire Onboarding Program

Been thinking that revenue targets would be easier to crush if your new hires would ramp up to speed more quickly? You’re spot-on, my friend.

Best-in-class onboarding (or new hire training) programs go well beyond the standard “Welcome to the company” orientation and dive into actual job training. But most programs stop after introducing reps to their new systems and product. This leaves reps on their own to figure out things like:

  • What do I do first?
  • How do I get people to call me back?
  • What do I say if they ask me X?

The result? Long ramp times, while they use experience to supplement what they could have been taught.

There will always be a ramp period. Our goal is to shorten it. Awesome new hire programs have been proven to cut new hire ramp-to-target in half (Training Magazine).

What is the right ramp time? Sorry for this, but it depends – on the talent you’re hiring in, your training program, and the complexity of your offering and sales cycle. But here are a few basic benchmarks:

Top business development (BDR, SDR) programs ramp reps before three months.

Account managers between three and six.

If your deals aren’t over $200K, your sales cycle over 6 months, and it’s taking your reps 6+ months to hit quota, your program probably needs some help.

I’ve been building and benchmarking new hire programs for the past fifteen years, and there are very few who don’t need help. Why?

World-Class New Sales Hire Onboarding Program

Most onboarding programs need help because trainers don’t get sales, and sellers don’t usually get training – it’s a sandbox thing.

A great program is a killer combination of both worlds. Incidentally, a great program can also shrink your rep attrition. Keep them longer, ramp them faster = this is worth your investment, sales leaders!

Here are eight signs of a World-class rep onboarding program (that you should steal immediately!)

1. Training is a process, not an event. Think of it as “Just-in-time training.” 100% classroom time is 1-2 weeks and then decreases gradually to once a month.

For example, a new hire is in full-time training for 2 weeks, but by week 4 they’re in class 2 hours a day and in week six 1 hour a day. By week 8 it’s one hour a week and by month three (and for the rest of their tenure!) they’re in training once a month.

This makes it critical to focus their first two weeks only on what they’ll need month one on the phone. Why? They’ll have no idea what they don’t know yet. That means you’ll graduate a team of super-confident bad-asses that can’t wait to get on the phones. Perfect. Want to learn more? Check out my video on building “Just in time” new hire training.

2. Use call recordings. This is my favorite tip. My theory on ramp is it will always be present because it isn’t the “what to do / say” that takes a long time to get. It’s the “when do I do it / say it” that takes experience to really nail. So shorten that by letting reps listen to call recordings. Nope, the recordings don’t have to be their own, and they shouldn’t all be great calls. Just typical. It’s like reviewing game tapes before the big game –breaking down what the other team (customer) is doing and when they should have used the right play (skill). Check out my LBTV video The Pause Game for more ideas.

3. All six critical components of the program are included and mixed together:

1. Systems & Tools – CRM, Intranet, Lead Management, etc.
2. Product / Service – be sure it’s “how to sell it” and not “the full history of it”
3. Sales – how to sell our products over the phone (not generic sales 101 field training!)
4. Process – how leads and orders get processed + rep and customers’ top 10 questions
5. Acumen – business acumen, industry acumen, and customer acumen – critical!
6. Manager integration – nope, lunch on day one isn’t enough. Get them more involved.

4. GET ON THE PHONES! (ASAP). If you can create an exercise where reps are calling current, potential, or even past customers by day two, do it! They can qualify leads, gather success stories, call cold leads – whatever! The right hires are itching to start calling, and the wrong hires will show reluctance and wash out. You’re welcome.

5. Less than 30% is e-learning. Sorry large organizations, I know it’s so tempting! But classroom- based training is still the most effective for a reason: You can’t practice selling with a computer! Also, how engaging is your new hire’s experience when they’re clicking forward 200 times a day? Painful.

6. Rigor. In my experience, a good 25% of every new hire class should not graduate training (yes, please be sure you’re hiring in groups, not “onesie-twosie”). When you really trust your training department, you’ll count on them to de-facto manage reps during training and coach them out the door if they won’t make it. Start, stop, and break times should be like real-life on the floor, and weekly tests let them know how they’re doing.

7. Training mimics the floor. Quick hit ways to do this:

a. You have a systems sandbox for training (a monthly-updated mirror image of all systems)
b. Phones and systems in the classroom for better role plays
c. Dummy accounts or even real (low scoring) accounts for practice
d. Call coaching or quality forms approved by sales leadership used for role plays / testing
e. Scenario-based testing (because when is a real client going to say, “A – send me a quote…B, schedule a call back…”?)

8. Don’t let HR teach reps how to sell. There’s a difference between regular company training and sales training. Aberdeen recently reported that 85% of best-in-class sales teams use a professional sales curriculum or trainer. What is good sales training? Check out my video here.

Overwhelmed? Here are a few easy ways to start:

Get to know your training ASAP. Pick your best sales leader and charge them with shortening ramp. Attend training, learn about good training, partner and assist your trainer with curriculum.

Get the reports. Sales numbers won’t show you class-by-class ramp times unless you specifically build it. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Close the loop. Are you reporting the top three skill gaps on the floor to training on a monthly or quarterly basis? Do you have the call coaching and rep meeting cadence in place to provide this?

Get some help. Spend the money to bring in a professional sales training leader, someone to fix your program, or a great sales training curriculum. When reps ramp faster and stay longer, you’ll wish you budgeted for this three years ago!

This post orignally appeared on SalesPop!

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His stet corpora nostrum in, eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id. Duo ne liber primis, eu vel meis idque. Eum quis homero perfecto at, no vel quot probo. Mundi congue ei vel, ne vitae admodum noluisse ius, aeterno quaestio argumentum ut vel.

His stet corpora nostrum in, eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id. Duo ne liber primis, eu vel meis idque. Eum quis homero perfecto at, no vel quot probo. Mundi congue ei vel, ne vitae admodum noluisse ius, aeterno quaestio argumentum ut vel.

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His stet corpora nostrum in


eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id. Duo ne liber primis, eu vel meis idque. Eum quis homero perfecto at, no vel quot probo. Mundi congue ei vel, ne vitae admodum noluisse ius, aeterno quaestio argumentum ut vel.His stet corpora nostrum in, eu vel soleat ancillae assueverit, eos at everti inermis. Cu assueverit ullamcorper nec. Cu admodum sententiae vis, pri delenit placerat iudicabit id.

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