Category: Sales Methodology

Sales

15 Unique Characteristics of Top-Selling Salespeople

Have you ever wanted a peek inside the mind of a top salesperson? Although every rep has their own unique selling style, strategy, and process, their mindsets are surprisingly similar.

That might be because, as HubSpot sales director Dan Tyre often says, “Success in sales is 90% mental.”

With the right attitude, you can win business in seemingly impossible situations. So if you want to be one of the best, model yourself after these 15 characteristics.

1. They believe in their product.

Successful salespeople genuinely believe in their product’s value. This conviction comes through loud and clear when they’re talking to prospects, helping them break through resistance and doubts. Believing in their product also helps salespeople avoid discounting — they know the price tag is justified.

2. They empathize with their customers.

The most successful reps have spent a lot of time getting to know their typical buyers: Their challenges, top priorities, daily responsibilities, fears, and so on. And they’re not just familiar with their prospects — they also empathize with them. Because great reps see their prospects as actual people, they build stronger relationships.

3. They want to win.

That being said, top-performing salespeople aren’t purely motivated by the desire to help their customers. Helpfulness is a huge component of their selling personality — but so is competitiveness. 

Salespeople who love to see their name at the top of the leaderboard almost always do well. Even if a rep doesn’t care about beating their teammates, they still want to beat their personal records for deal size, business sold, and quota attainment.

4. They’re resilient.

Every salesperson hits a slump at some point. Low- and mid-performing reps usually panic, but top-performing reps recognize freaking out doesn’t solve the problem.

In fact, this reaction can make a slump worse — once you’ve lost confidence, basic selling activities become enormously difficult. In these situations, the best salespeople stay calm and figure out a game plan.

That might be revamping their messaging, setting mini-goals they know they can hit for a quick confidence boost, talking to their sales manager, or ramping up their activity.

5. They’re paranoid.

High sales achievers don’t let themselves mentally count a deal as “won” until the prospect has signed the check. This paranoia helps them spot and avoid potential landmines.

For example, an optimistic rep might take the buyer’s promise to speak to their boss at face value. But a paranoid rep will say, “That’s great. When are you planning on talking to your manager? And would it be possible for me to be there to support your argument that …?”

6. They’re focused.

Great salespeople know exactly what they want, when they want it, and who they want it from. This single-minded focus gives them impressive control over the sales process. To illustrate, let’s say Erica, a Senior Account Executive, is calling a new prospect. She wants to talk to the prospect’s CTO.

With that objective, Erica doesn’t get distracted when the prospect offers a meeting with a head engineer. Instead, she replies, “Since this purchase would impact multiple teams, the CTO usually needs to get involved early in the process. She’ll appreciate your foresight in setting up a meeting, rather than bringing her in later and having to start from scratch.”

7. They’re passionate.

Good salespeople like what they do. Great salespeople love it. The pure joy of selling helps them cope with the unpredictable, highly stressful environment. They can’t imagine getting hooked on another job the way they’ve fallen for sales.

8. They’re efficient.

Amazing reps are ruthless with their schedule. If they can automate an activity, they will. If it’s not productive anymore, they’ll stop doing it. Good luck asking a top-performing rep to sit through a long, useless meeting or irrelevant training — they’ll either take out their phone or laptop or stop showing up to future ones.

9. They put in the effort.

You won’t meet a top-selling rep who goes home early or spends every other Friday at the beach. Talent is important in sales, but so is hard work. After all, you can’t use your skills to convince a reluctant prospect to buy if you haven’t gotten them on the phone — which requires several preliminary steps, like prospecting, qualifying, and reaching out to them.

Not only do great salespeople put in the hours, but they’re also willing to fight for every account. That might mean taking a call at 8 p.m. because that’s when the prospect is free — or getting to the office at 6 a.m. to do some extra prep for an important deal.

10. They focus on the factors within their control.

Most salespeople recognize early on that their success is contingent on some external factors. If the gatekeeper is having a bad day, they might not let you through no matter how persuasively you frame your request.

If the buyer just lost 50% of their budget, they may not go through with the purchase no matter how well you’ve demonstrated value. If the decision-maker used your competitor at his old company and loved them, you’ll probably lose the deal no matter how effectively you sell.

But successful reps don’t spend much time dwelling on these things — that would be pointless. Instead, they direct their mental energy toward what they can directly influence. This attitude keeps their passion and enthusiasm high and ensures they’re spending their time productively.

11. They offer meaningful insight.

The best reps know that no two prospects are the same. They understand that businesses are facing their own challenges, operating under their own circumstances. So when they interact with prospects, they don’t stick to some rigid script, spewing generic talking points.

Instead, they make a point of understanding where their prospects are coming from to produce meaningful insight based on elements like professional common ground and familiarity with similar businesses.

Exemplary reps don’t just mull over a product or service’s bells and whistles — they make pointed pitches that cover how well they understand a prospect’s individual situation before demonstrating how their solution is best equipped to remedy the problems they’re facing.

12. They’re honest.

Integrity has always been the best policy in sales, but in an age where consumers are more savvy and well-informed than they’ve ever been, it’s becoming more of a necessity than a virtue.

The best sales reps are honest in both their intentions and their tactics. As I touched on earlier, they sincerely believe in the solutions they’re selling. They understand their product or service’s limitations just as much as its benefits.

They don’t over-promise benefits or downplay legitimate concerns. In short, the best reps can present their solution — as it is — and demonstrate why it will work for their prospects without smokescreens, deliberate ambiguity, or flat-out lies.

13. They’re always learning.

The best sales reps understand that sales is a fluid, constantly evolving practice. New sales trends, strategies, and technologies emerge all the time, and top-selling salespeople stay abreast of those developments. 

They’re often interested in attending events like sales seminars. Many are willing to reach out to managers and sales leaders within their company to schedule short meetings to see if they can get some tips on how to improve their sales efforts. And when a sales org starts to leverage new technology, they’re the first ones to buckle down and master it.

This point is a combination of humility and determination. They understand perfection isn’t attainable in sales, but they’re still motivated enough to chase it.

14. They’re always well-prepared.

While top-selling sales reps know how to think on their feet, they very rarely wing it when interacting with prospects. The best reps know that if they’re going to get the most out of a call, demo, meeting, or any other engagement with potential customers, they have to know their stuff.

Top-performing reps conduct extensive research on their prospects and, in turn, know how to best personalize and articulate their value proposition. They also have the proper materials they’ll need on hand and consider potential objections ahead of time.

Though there’s no way to definitively predict every hitch you might run into when conducting a sale, the best salespeople still buckle down and thoroughly prepare to account for as many as possible.

15. They emphasize relationship building.

Sales is inherently relationship-oriented. When done right, it’s a matter of establishing connections and building trust with prospects and peers. And the best sales reps have the authenticity, empathy, and motivation to do that on a consistent basis.

Top-selling salespeople can add a personal element to their engagements, conversations, and deals. They take a sincere interest in their prospects — making an effort to understand their circumstances, interests, and personalities.

They don’t see deals as purely transactional. Instead, they take them as opportunities to connect with prospects and meaningfully improve their operations.

They’re not reluctant to follow-up with customers and clients, making a point to constantly lend a hand to those who’ve already sold to. Sales is a long-term game, so top-selling salespeople know how to forge long-term relationships.

Greatness is, by definition, hard to obtain. By modeling yourself after the best of the best, you’ll bring yourself much closer to their results.

Sales

Everything You Need to Know About Sales Mirroring

Consumers prefer to buy things from people they like.

It’s a common-sense concept: If a pushy door-to-door salesman comes calling and attempts to barge his way into the house with a product you don’t want, chances are you aren’t spending any money.

On the other hand, if you’re on the hunt for a new car and the salesperson is knowledgeable, kind, and considerate there’s a much better chance that you’ll give her your business.

Put simply, being liked boosts your chances of making a sale, since it naturally confers a sense of trust and comfort.

The challenge? Cultivating this friendly framework when with customer prospects over a short time or when you don’t know a great deal about their preferences or purchasing habits.

The solution? It starts with sales mirroring — the process of subtly imitating the behaviors and communication styles of prospective buyers. Here’s what you need to know about effective sales mirroring, why it matters, and which techniques are the most effective.

For example, if customers cross their legs or arms when sitting down, salespeople can mirror the same position. If prospective clients are animated with talking and use emphatic hand gestures, salespeople can do the same.

The goal is to create a behavioral reflection that puts potential consumers at ease by fostering an innate sense of understanding — even if sales leads and sales staff have never met.

Why Mirroring in Sales is Important?

Human beings are predisposed to mirror behaviors. Friends and spouses often mirror patterns of speech or particular gestures, while children are prone to mirror new and interesting behaviors as they occur.

As noted by Scientific American, scientists have discovered so-called “mirror neurons” in the brain that activate in response to actions by other people. Studies with monkeys showed mirror neuron activation when performing a task, watching someone else perform a task, or even hearing that task performed in another room. It makes sense: We — and our evolutionary cousins — are social species, predisposed to live in groups and predisposed to limit conflict from this cohabitation. Mirroring helps make this possible.

In sales, mirroring is effectively a shortcut to familiarity. Rather than a long history of shared experiences giving rise to similar phrasing or gestures, salespeople can mimic these traits to create a sense of familiarity in a very short time.

Done right, mirroring increases overall trust between salesperson and prospect because it helps blur the line between business and personal interactions. Small mistakes that might have led deals astray may be overlooked, and potential customers are often more willing to compromise with someone they feel they can trust.

So what does sales mirroring look like in practice? Here are a few common techniques.

Sales Mirroring Techniques

1. Mimicking body language or positioning.

If your customer sits down and crosses their legs or arms, do the same. If they lean back while talking, mirror the movement. If they sit up straight in their chair, don’t slouch. Body position mirroring sends a signal that you’re on the same page as the customer, whether relaxed, focused, serious, or otherwise.

2. Using a similar tone of voice.

Many salespeople are gregarious, friendly, and excitable. They may speak loudly and quickly to convey their passion for a particular product or service — but this won’t work if prospective clients are quiet and introspective.

Taking a cue from customers and matching their tone of voice or energy levels sends a message of respect and helps foster a fundamental connection.

3. Use their communication style.

Does your customer want all the details about their purchase, contract, and payments up-front, or are they more concerned with the bigger picture? Do they seem more interested in small talk than sales numbers, or are they pressing for specifics? No matter their communication style, take a cue from your prospects, and avoid leaning into familiar sales pitch frameworks.

4. Gesture recognition

Many people have a specific gesture they use repeatedly for emphases, such as a head nod, hand wave, or shoulder shrug. By recognizing this gesture, performing it occasionally, and mirroring the motion naturally to potential customers, sales pros can boost overall confidence and trust from that person.

The Shattering Pitfalls of Mirroring

Mirroring might sound like the perfect strategy, but it should still be used with care. Particularly, three potential pitfalls are worth mentioning.

1. Mirroring is least effective in isolation.

Just mirroring your client won’t instantly earn you a sale by itself. On top of mimicking body position and tone of voice, salespeople are also well-served by finding common experiences and employing active listening techniques.

Common experiences are often built from basic conversation about the weather or local sports teams, but if you have the time it’s worth a quick social media search to see if prospective customers have personal interests that salespeople share. A word of warning: If no common experiences are forthcoming, don’t pretend. The loss of trust if deception is discovered will almost certainly derail sales efforts.

Active listening involves focusing on what customers say, asking questions to gain a greater understanding, and summarizing what you’ve heard to show you’re paying attention. While this means putting aside your sales pitch temporarily in favor of greater personal understanding, active listening can have substantial sales benefits.

2. Obvious mirroring is just plain awkward.

The second slip-up is all about subtlety. Obvious, over-the-top mirroring won’t result in greater rapport; instead, it will give customers the impression you’re mocking them or making fun of a specific behavior. The best mirroring is small, subtle, and specific. Last but not least? Mirroring works far better in one-on-one sales situations than in a group since you have the client’s undivided attention rather than being split across multiple team members.

Mirror, Mirror

Sales mirroring can help increase your likeability, improve rapport, and boost overall sales. Done well, mirroring is a subtle reflection of the movements, speech, communication style, and gestures of prospective clients — combined with common experience building and active listening, it’s possible to build long-term relationships that start with initial sales and drive loyalty over time.

The caveat? Subtlety is key. The best mirroring approaches are small, simple, and specifically tailored to current customers.

Sales

SaaS Sales: The Ultimate Guide

If you identify SaaS as something your mother told you never to give her — think again. Software as a service, or SaaS, is software that’s accessed, managed, and used on the internet. It’s the present and future of software, and it requires a different type of selling.

This guide will teach you the basics of SaaS sales. From commission to sales cycles, models, and metrics, you’ll learn the different ways of selling this unique software and what you can expect from the job.

Table of Contents

  1. What is SaaS?
  2. What is SaaS Sales?
  3. SaaS Sales Salary
  4. SaaS Sales Commission
  5. SaaS Sales Cycle
  6. SaaS Sales Models
  7. SaaS Sales Metrics

1. What is SaaS?

Remember the days of unwrapping CD-ROMs, uploading them to your computer, and only having access to that software from your computer? Those days are gone. SaaS is hosted, secured, and updated by an outside vendor.

This means SaaS often yields lower entry costs than traditional software, easier upgrades, and better integrations. What’s left is a more advanced, user-friendly, and evolving product.

2. What is SaaS Sales?

SaaS sales is the process of selling web-based software to clients. Salespeople focus on acquiring new customers and upselling or retaining current clients.

Because SaaS is supported, maintained, and engineered by an external company, the price is usually high requiring a longer sales cycle and more touch points from Sales and Marketing before the customer is ready to buy.

Marketing nurtures each lead until they are “sales qualified.” Then, a salesperson follows up with the prospect to gauge next steps. Just because a lead is sales qualified doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy — or ready for a demo.

SaaS salespeople must clearly communicate the benefits and features of their software. And it’s important to tailor each presentation to meet the needs of each prospect. Service and attention are key to getting the prospect to close, because SaaS reps are usually selling at a higher price.

Reps also must be well-versed in how the software works to demonstrate and troubleshoot the product during presentations.

Because SaaS can be so complex, it’s common to bring engineers, executives, or product marketers into some meetings to make a difficult sale. Knowing when to ask for help is another sign of a qualified SaaS rep.

3. SaaS Sales Salary

Because it’s necessary for SaaS reps to have a deep working knowledge of the software, product roadmap, and frequently asked questions, their base salary and commission is usually higher than reps in other verticals.

Here are three benchmark studies to illustrate the average salary for SaaS sales reps:

  1. In a recent study of more than 160,000 salaries, job aggregator Indeed calculated the national average base salary to be $64,379 for a SaaS account executive and $49,216 for an account representative.
  2. Workplace hub Glassdoor calculated the average base salary for a SaaS specialist to be between $34,613 and $53,000.
  3. And The Bridge Group, an inside sales consulting firm, calculated the average base salary for a SaaS inside sales rep to be $60,000 — with on-target earnings of $118,000.

As with most sales jobs, commission is commonly added on top of the base salary and varies per individual compensation plans.

4. SaaS Sales Commission

SaaS commission, like other sales verticals, is paid when a rep closes new business or renews existing accounts. It’s awarded based on monthly recurring revenue (MRR) or annual contract value (ACV).

Some organizations wait for new clients to submit payment before awarding commission. This model is meant to avoid paying commission on a customer that churns quickly or reneges on their agreement.

The accelerator model of commission means for every dollar a rep brings in over goal, their commission rate increases by a percentage point (i.e., if a salesperson attains 115% of goal, their commission rate increases by 15%).

Other organizations tier their commission rates. In this model, the first tier of compensation covers 100-110% attainment, the second tier covers 110-125% attainment, and the third tier covers 125% attainment and beyond. For those salespeople hitting the third tier, the President’s Club is often offered as a prize.

Some compensation packages won’t disburse commission until a rep brings in enough revenue to cover their base salary and the cost of their benefits.

Once they’ve closed enough business to cover their cost, however, these reps usually receive commission at rates more than double those of a normal model.

5. SaaS Sales Cycle

SaaS sales cycles vary depending on price, customers, and product complexity. A product that’s $100/month will likely have a faster sales cycle than a product costing $50,000/year.

The more expensive your product is, the more stakeholders will involved which can lengthen your process by weeks or even months. Here are four additional factors that slow down SaaS sales cycles:

  1. New markets: If you’re selling to new markets, your sales cycle might be longer because you’r spending more time communicating your use case and value to potential clients. This will extend your sales cycle, but it’s crucial to educate new markets before selling to them.
  2. Enterprise business: Selling to enterprise-level companies increases the number of stakeholders needed to sign off and is usually accompanied by more legal and technical red tape.
  3. Complex software: Similarly, the more complex your software is, the longer your sales cycle is likely to be. In this case, it’s important to make sure the right prospects are in the room during your demo to champion your cause to less savvy colleagues.
  4. Free trials: Free trials can also affect SaaS sales cycles. If you offer a 30-day free trial, this could lengthen the sales cycle significantly.

Still not sure how long your sales cycle should be? Sales pro Matt Bertuzzi lists the following sales cycle averages for B2B SaaS businesses:

If your sales cycle takes too long, consider cutting a free trial from 30 days to two weeks. Bring in a professional writer/storyteller to help you communicate your complex software offering in a more understandable way.

And work with your marketing team to educate new markets before conducting outreach. Lastly, if you know your sales cycle will be lengthy due to enterprise clients or other factors, build that time into your budget. No salesperson can perform well under unrealistic goals.

6. SaaS Sales Models

The proper sales model indicates how many salespeople you should hire, how you’ll interact with your customers, who they are, and how you’ll close their business.

It’s crucial to choose the right model and know when your organization needs to evolve. Here are the three most common SaaS sales models.

1. Choose Your SaaS Sales Model: The proper sales model indicates how many salespeople you should hire, how you’ll interact with your customers, who they are, and how you’ll close their business.

It’s crucial to choose the right model and know when your organization needs to evolve. Continue reading to understand the three most common SaaS sales models and determine which one works best for you.

2. Customer Self-service: This model works best when selling lower-priced SaaS at a high volume (i.e., Spotify subscriptions, a Medium membership, or a phone plan). It assumes your average selling price, or ASP, is low while allowing you to bring in significant revenue.

Freemium models and free trials are common strategies for attracting customers in the self-service model. Customer service is not comprehensive and this model often can’t support a full sales team. Instead, websites encourage users — usually individuals or small teams — to sign up online.

3. Transactional Sales: Transactional selling is the most common and the most scalable of the three models. This software is typically sold to small and medium businesses over the phone and occasionally in person.

Since the cost associated with this level of software is generally higher, the buyer requires more personalized service to make a purchase, thus necessitating a sales team.

Software sold by the transactional model should also be customizable to service the needs of a variety of use cases. Contracts generally range in price and reps are empowered to provide discounts and share tiered pricing models.

These salespeople have a pipeline fueled by a marketing team, and they’re required to undergo training, exhibit a comprehensive working knowledge of the product, and meet monthly or quarterly quotas.

4. Enterprise Sales: This model is reserved for software sold at low volume and high price. These solutions are often full-scale, highly specialized, or cutting edge. Enterprise salespeople will regularly spend months working closely with prospects to answer questions, demo the software, and meet with executive stakeholders.

Enterprise sales is a popular choice for complex or niche SaaS benefiting larger companies or corporations with the budget to support the high cost of these solutions. Sales teams are often organized by territory and focus on a targeted set of prospects.

Because there are so many working parts to this sales model, reps work closely with product marketers and engineers to source the answers and information they need to close high-value deals.

Here’s a bonus tip for you: Know your ASP. A higher average selling price (ASP) means your prospect will expect inclusive customer service, a better business relationship, a signed contract, and invoicing. If you have a low ASP, it’s unlikely you can afford or need a sales team.

Before hiring your first salesperson or expanding your existing team, understand your average selling price and make an educated decision on when and who to hire.

5. Strategic Trial Periods: Many SaaS providers have a free trial offering as part of their sales process. A free trial is a great way to hook new users, however, in order for it to be worthwhile for your company your approach to free trials has to be strategic.

When a customer has the opportunity to do a trial, they are able to see the true value and benefit your offer provides. While there is no one-size-fits-all rule for how long the ideal trial period should be, here are some common trial lengths to consider, along with their benefits.

  • 7-day trial period: If you offer a simple or straightforward product that a new user could pick up and adopt quickly, having a short trial period could be a good option. Additionally, if you offer a lower-cost product and don’t want to add unnecessary length to your sales process for a modest sale, you may also want to consider having a brief trial run.
  • 14-day trial period: A two-week trial period is common practice for many SaaS providers. For companies that sell SaaS B2B or have products with multiple tiers and added complexity, this trial period length could be a good sweet spot. While 14 days is still relatively short, it is enough time for a user to explore various features and benefits of the product while being brief enough to not hold up the sales process.
  • 30-day trial period: For companies that have more complex offerings, or who take an enterprise approach to selling, an extended month-long trial could be a better option. Additionally, if there are various stakeholders who need to buy-off on the implementation of a product, having a longer trial period can be useful.

Regardless of how long your offer period is, it’s important to maintain regular communication with your prospects while they are trying your product. By checking in with them during the trial period, you can hear their feedback real-time, and you can keep them engaged and interested in the product. For many trial offers, buyers are left on their own to explore making it easy to lose momentum.

In addition to staying in contact with your trial users, the trial period can provide valuable insight on their usage and behavior patterns which can give you a good indication of how likely they are to buy, and how they would use the software after purchasing.

6. Provide Valuable Demos: The last thing you want to do is create an information overload situation for your prospects who participate in demos. For SaaS providers, the ability to conduct an effective demo is incredibly important.

A good demo should demonstrate the value your product can offer the buyer, not overwhelm them with redundant information about features. One of the best ways you can prepare for demos is to begin by researching the buyer and understanding what problem they want your software to solve. When you know what they’re looking for, you can walk your prospect through hypothetical scenarios that are relevant to them, clearly demonstrating the value of your software and how using it will make their life easier.

Aim to make your demos as straightforward as possible, walking the prospect through simple ways they can receive the most benefit from using your product, and leaving plenty of time for any questions they may have.

7. Leverage Annual Plans: Many SaaS companies charge customers on a monthly subscription model to use their product. Though that’s a great way to bring in recurring revenue, including an annual subscription model can be a helpful strategy for pulling in more funds upfront and improving customer retention.

By encouraging buyers to prepay for a year of your software at a discounted rate, it can provide necessary cash for your business and decreases the likelihood for cancellation.

7. SaaS Sales Metrics

SaaS salespeople are held to demanding metrics. But which one’s matter? Jason Lemkin, co-founder of two successful SaaS businesses, founder of the SaaStr Blog, and arguably the godfather of SaaS, warns, “Don’t obsess over sub metrics, but obsess over the key metrics that tie into your revenue growth.”

Here are a few key metrics SaaS salespeople should obsess over.

1. Churn: Your churn rate is the percentage at which you lose customers on an annual or yearly basis. To calculate churn, divide the number of customers you’ve lost by the number of customers you started with. It’s worth noting that a negative churn is a good thing — meaning you gained more customers than you lost.

2. Net Promoter Score: Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer experience and predicts business growth. Users answer relevant questions using a 0-10 rating scale. For example, “How happy are you with [insert SaaS name]?

A score between 0-6 would label your customer a “detractor” who’s unhappy with your brand and could stunt growth with negative reviews or word of mouth. A score of 7-8 means your customer is “passive.” They’re satisfied with your product but might be vulnerable to competitive poaching.

And if a customer scores you between 9-10, you’ve got a “promoter” on your hands. This person is a loyal enthusiast, likely to be a continued customer and refer new business.

To calculate your NPS — which ranges from -100 to 100 — subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters.

If you have a low NPS, it matters less how much business you’re bringing in, because your customers are likely churning at an alarming rate. A high NPS, however, signals satisfied customers and the potential for sustainable growth.

3. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): This is the income your company knows will arrive every 30 days. A monthly fee is agreed upon in the contract between client and SaaS provider, and the amount is paid on or by a certain date.

4. Annual recurring revenue (ARR): This metric is often used by SaaS and other subscription-based businesses. The annual recurring revenue (ARR) represents the value of recurring revenue your client agrees to pay over or on an annual basis.

5. The number of sales qualified leads: A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a potential buyer who data indicates is ready to talk to a salesperson. This doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy, but they’ve taken a series of actions that predicts an inclination to learn more.

The definition of a qualified lead will differ depending on your solution, audience, and sales cycle. Salespeople often rely on IBM’s BANT system for identifying SQLs. BANT simply asks if your lead has the budget, authority, needs, and timeline to buy. If so, it’s time to reach out.

6. Lead velocity rate: How quickly are your leads growing month over month? Even if MRR growth is steady, this might only indicate how you’re doing in the moment, instead of forecasting future growth.

The lead velocity rate shows reps whether leads are coming in faster than revenue, which allows you to calculate growth, goals, and milestones further out.

7. Revenue per lead: By measuring the revenue each rep brings in per lead, you can estimate an accurate number of leads a rep can manager before productivity suffers. Look beyond the MRR and improve or maintain rep performance.

8. Customer acquisition cost: Divide the total cost of Sales and Marketing by the number of deals closed to learn your customer acquisition cost (CAC). This number will be lower for companies using a transactional sales model and higher for organizations focused on enterprise sales.

If your customer acquisition cost is too high, you might be scaling too quickly. If you have a low CAC, look at areas where you can invest in growth or increase revenue.

9. Closed won/lost: A deal is marked “closed-won” when a contract is signed or payment is rendered. Alternately, if a prospect selects another solution, you might mark this deal “closed-lost.”

It’s important to study the number of closed-won and -lost deals. These metrics are closely tied to overall revenue numbers, but figuring out a rep’s ratio of closed-won to closed-lost deals can signal their overall efficiency, success, and fitness for the job.

10. Demo-to-trial ratio: If your SaaS requires a demo, carefully track how many of those presentations turn into trials — and how many of those trials turn into closed-won deals. If the conversion is low, address weaknesses in your demo, trial, or closing protocol.

SaaS selling has the potential to be an exciting, highly lucrative career. It requires dedication, patience, and training, but if you put in the time, you’ll reap the rewards. Think a career in SaaS is right for you?

Sales

What Is Canvassing in Sales?

When people think of canvassing, they typically imagine politicians who go door-to-door to pitch their platforms to community members to solicit votes. A common canvassing practice also involves calling people to raise money.

Canvassing can also happen in sales. You probably wouldn’t think of it this way, but when Girl Scouts knock on your door and ask you to buy their cookies, they’re using canvassing as a sales strategy. Although they’re also raising money, their main goal is to get you to buy something.

Although Girl Scouts is a niche example, canvassing is a common practice in sales. This piece will give an overview of sales canvassing, explain the strategy’s benefits, and give salespeople tips for succeeding with the technique.

Contact with these new leads can occur through four different methods: cold-calls, door-to-door visits, email and mail, and networking.

Cold-Call

When canvassing through cold-calls, a salesperson will call prospects after obtaining their phone numbers. These calls are unsolicited, meaning that there is no previous contact between the salesperson and the customer, and the customer has not asked to receive a call from said salesperson.

Cold-calling is typically done as an effort to make direct sales or drive leads and nurture customer relationships. For example, if you don’t close a deal over the phone and convince a customer to purchase your service, maybe you’ve persuaded them enough to sign up for an email list. From there, you can send follow-up emails and further nurture the relationship, and encourage them to become customers.

Door-To-Door

Although COVID-19 has put a significant damper on this strategy, door-to-door canvassing involves visiting the households and businesses of prospects that you’ve identified as being able to utilize your product or service. You’re only visiting relevant locations, and the homes and businesses aren’t chosen at random. Like cold-calls, the customers haven’t asked to receive a visit from you, which classifies the practice as a canvassing strategy.

For example, if you’re going door-to-door to advertise your tree trimming business, you’d purposely choose neighborhoods where homes have a significant amount of foliage. Going elsewhere would be useless, as there wouldn’t be any work for you there.

Mail and Email

Canvassing via postal mail and email involves sending a written sales offer to prospects via postal mail or email. They’re less direct forms of canvassing, but the contacts receiving your pitch are still new.

This method is a valuable strategy, as customers have the opportunity to assess your product or service on their own, rather than feeling the pressure to make a decision over the phone or face-to-face. If a customer feels stressed because you want a response right away, they may be more inclined to say no.

Common every-day examples of postal mail canvassing are advertisements that you receive in the mail from local businesses. Maybe there’s a new restaurant down the street, and they’ve written compelling copy to convince you to visit their restaurant.

Networking

Networking is another form of direct sales canvassing, and it typically occurs at events that salespeople attend because they know prospective customers will be in attendance. For example, a sportswear company may have their salesperson go to a volleyball tournament because they know there will be teams there that may sign deals with you to use your clothing as their team uniform.

Although networking is a targeted effort, it’s not meant for closing on the spot deals but rather to plant seeds for the future. Your prospects may give you their email or phone number that you can use to set up further appointments for sales-focused conversations.

Benefits of Sales Canvassing

Some salespeople may feel apprehensive about engaging in canvassing, as it may force you out of your comfort zone. Cold-calling people that you’ve had zero contact with can seem daunting, especially since sales calls can come with rejection. However, there are significant benefits that canvassing can bring to salespeople and the businesses they work for.

For businesses, a significant benefit to sales canvassing is that there is never a shortage of contacts. Once you’ve outlined your target audience, simply generate a list of prospects that fall into this category, and you can begin calling them, visiting their business, and sending them mail. If your business is experiencing a period of stagnant growth, sales canvassing is a valuable strategy to consider when existing leads are running dry.

Cold-calling customers can also help businesses learn more about their target audiences. To explain the reason behind your call, you’ll need to give detailed information about the product or service you’re selling and why it will benefit them. The prospect will need to follow-up with an answer, likely providing reasoning and information behind their decision. These personalized interactions give more information about customers than what is gained from them signing up or subscribing to your service from your website.

Canvassing is also economical, as it doesn’t require any additional money spent hiring and training sales consultants or creating new departments. The teams that already exist within your sales department can participate in canvassing, from salespeople to sales managers.

The salespeople who do take part in canvassing will learn valuable sales skills, like learning how to deal with rejection, the best ways to communicate with customers, and how to create sales pitches that convert customers and drive sales. You’ll learn the strategies that bring you the most success, so you can continue using them as you grow in your role.

A benefit for both salespeople and the businesses they work for is that there is no limit to canvassing. You can call as many people as you want, send as many emails as you wish, and visit as many houses as you want. There is an unlimited number of actions you can take, which helps businesses expand their clientele and valuable for salespeople looking to gain experience and perfect their skills.

Sales Canvassing Tips

Effective sales canvassing is a great way to manage your sales territory and learn new skills. Nevertheless, the process may feel daunting, as it’s all about making contact when there’s never been contact before.

Let’s go over a few tips for salespeople to keep in mind when canvassing.

Identify target markets.

Without knowing who your customers are, it’ll be challenging to create a prospect list. Thus, a crucial practice in sales canvassing is identifying your target markets. One of the ways to do this is by creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of your ideal customers that are created based on relevant data and research. HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool can help you through this process.

Continuing with the previous example of landscaping, you can think of it like this: if you’re offering landscaping services, the prospects you contact must be people who would use that service. You wouldn’t want to reach out to people who live in apartment buildings, as they have little use for gardening when they don’t have their own yard. A better-suited prospect would be the building manager or property owner.

Having the necessary information to understand who your customers are and who they should be makes it easier to focus your time on qualified leads, saving you time and effort. Creating buyer personas and identifying target markets is beneficial for small businesses and enterprise companies alike.

Set goals.

Once you’ve identified your customer base, it’s time to find the meaning in your process. Reaching out to people can be difficult, so make sure you understand why you’re contacting them in the first place. Maybe your business hopes to grow their client list by 5% each quarter, or maybe you work for a new company looking to simply attract first-time customers.

It’s also essential for you to set daily goals within those overarching goals. For example, maybe you have a goal to call 100 people by the end of the workday and obtain contact information from 25% of those calls. Whatever your reasoning is, identifying a purpose at the beginning can be extremely helpful, especially when creating your sales pitch.

Create a sales pitch.

After you’ve identified a target market and outlined your goals, create a pitch that you’ll use when contacting them. Your pitch should clearly show the prospect why your product or service is perfect for them and how it will meet their needs. Your pitch should also touch on all the elements that will help you reach your goals.

Creating a sales pitch ahead of time can also help you prepare yourself and quell any anxieties you may have from cold calling or knocking on doors. If you’re calling many people within a day, this can also be a time-saving practice that helps you stay focused and organized.

If you’re a sales manager leading a team that often canvasses, consider creating a sales playbook where you share scripts and pitches that salespeople can follow when making calls and visiting businesses.

Be understanding.

A common trope that people associate with canvassing is rejection. While it may be difficult to understand, receiving a no from customers shouldn’t be taken personally. Understand that some people just aren’t interested in what you have to offer.

Being understanding doesn’t just extend to conversations with negative outcomes. When talking to prospects who respond positively, they may still have questions or worries that they’re relying on you to address before they say yes. Be understanding of their pain points, and present yourself as the best resource to solve them.

Regardless of outcomes, recognize that people who are saying no likely have a good reason to do so. Some people dislike cold calls or being interrupted by a knock at the door. Others will see your sales email and flag it as junk or throw your brochures away. Aim to be understanding, no matter the outcome, and don’t take negativity personally should you encounter it.

Use a CRM.

Using a Customer Relationship Management tool can be incredibly helpful for sales canvassing. When customers aren’t already in your system, it may be challenging to keep track of conversations with them, especially if you’re calling a significant amount of people in a day. If people don’t give definitive yes or no answers over the phone, it’s also important to nurture that relationship and follow up with them.

At HubSpot, our Sales Hub helps salespeople streamline their processes. Within the platform, there are a variety of useful tools, like Sales Calling. Cold-callers will find value in this, as the platform allows you to make calls, record them, and take notes on the conversations you’re having (shown below).

When paired with the Sales Automation tool, it becomes even easier to follow up with leads that haven’t given definitive yes or no answers. You can note their hesitation within the call record and then use the sales automation email tool to schedule follow-up contact to nurture relationships and convert them to customers. The image below depicts the follow-up automation options offered by the tool.

hubspot sales hub automated follow-up demo

Grow Your Business and Learn Valuable Skills

In sum, sales canvassing helps businesses grow. There’s a never-ending list of potential customers, and companies can expand their customer base through contacting and forming relationships with new prospects.

In addition to its benefits to the business, salespeople who canvass can gain significant experience in learning how to speak with customers, answer their questions, and deliver compelling sales pitches that drive leads and close deals.

Sales

The Ultimate Guide to Channel Sales

One of the biggest challenges to scaling revenue? Your salespeople only have so much time. Even if you hire the most focused people, invest in tools that boost their efficiency, and remove all distractions, there’s a limited number of selling hours in the day.

Some companies choose to hire more reps.

That works – but it’s not the only solution. Plus, recruiting, hiring, and employing salespeople is expensive and cuts away at your margins.

Another potentially game-changing strategy: Using a channel sales model.

With channel sales, you rely on third parties to sell your product or service. That can include resellers, affiliate partners, distributors, value-added providers, independent retailers – basically, anyone who doesn’t work directly for your organization.

Compare channel sales to the direct sales model, in which a company’s own reps sell to clients.

Here are the different topics related to channel sales we’re going to cover today:

Examples of Sales Channels

The Benefits of a Channel Sales Model

The Drawbacks of a Channel Sales Model

Implementing a Channel Sales Model

How to Structure Your Channel Sales Partnership

How to Find Channel Sales Partners

How to Recruit Channel Sales Partners

How to Measure Your Channel Sales Program

Channel Sales Manager Job Description

How to Motivate Channel Sales Partners

So, which sales channels can you choose from? Here are some examples of sales channels through which you can sell your product or service.

1. Resellers

A reseller purchases a product from the company that produces it, and resells it to the intended end-user for profit. Essentially, a reseller serves as an intermediary between the company that makes or distributes a product, and the final customer.

In this scenario, the customer will typically go straight to the reseller to initiate the purchase and the reseller will work with their sourcing companies to fulfill the order.

2. Affiliate Partners

In an affiliate partnership, a retailer will pay commission to website owners, businesses, and individuals who promote their products. Affiliate partners are typically paid a percentage of each sale they are responsible for bringing in.

The Amazon affiliate program is a popular affiliate partnership platform.

3. Distributors

Distribution channels provide products directly to the consumer. Some distribution channels are agents, websites, or businesses that serve as intermediaries between the companies that produce the products and the final buyer.

4. Wholesalers

A wholesaler is a type of distributor who specializes in getting physical products on store shelves to be purchased by consumers. Wholesalers typically have sales reps who work to sell their products to retailers.

Common examples of wholesalers include suppliers who sell food and other goods to restaurants, and stores such as Costco who buy their goods directly from manufacturers and sell them to their customers.

5. Value Added Reseller (VAR)

Value added resellers are companies that specialize in purchasing and reselling technology products with additional software or features that are above and beyond the standalone features of the product.

For example, a computer company that sells hardware with software from another company pre-installed would be considered a value added reseller.

6. Independent Retailers

An independent retailer is a business owner who runs a retail company that is not tied to any major brand, franchise, or outside operational influences. For example, if an entrepreneur founded and operates a clothing boutique without the support of a parent company, they would be considered an independent retailer.

7. Dealers

Dealers sell products directly to end consumers, but operate differently than retailers who sell several variations of a wide variety of products. The most common type of dealer is an automobile dealer, that sells and leases cars directly to the end-user.

8. Agents

In this channel, agents serve as an intermediary who does not have any ownership over the products or services they are selling. Agents facilitate deals between buyers and sellers, assisting with the negotiation process.

A common example is real estate. A real estate agent or broker is not the owner selling the property to a buyer, however, they do oversee the process until an agreement is reached and the deal is closed.

9. Consultants

Channel consultants support the creation, and efficiency of sales channels. Individuals in this role often connect retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and vendors to ensure the smooth delivery of a product to its customer. Though channel consultants do not directly sell, they play an integral part in making sure sales channels are running smoothly.

The Benefits of a Channel Sales Model

Built-in trust: If your channel partner is already well-known within a market or vertical, you don’t have to do the work of establishing a brand presence. Your product will automatically seem more credible because of their endorsement.

Efficiency: One channel manager paired with several channel partners can bring in the same amount of revenue as five or six salespeople at a fraction of the cost. It’s also typically easier to bring on new partners than hire a new salesperson – especially once you’ve created the program and worked out the kinks.

Rapid testing: Channel partners let you experiment with new customer bases, products, packages, promotions, and/or marketing campaigns in a low-stakes environment.

Customer success: If your customers need training, onboarding, implementation support, and service, partnering with vendors who offer these services lets you focus on closing new business without sacrificing your existing users.

The Drawbacks of a Channel Sales Model

Less control: You’re not directly managing the sales process. Your reps might not be able to jump in and take control if a partner is mismanaging a deal. They also might have zero say over the timeline of the deal – which can be frustrating and lead to unpredictable revenue.

Brand risk: If you partner with someone who has a poor reputation or treats customers badly, you’ll look worse by association.

Reduced profits: In exchange for bringing in and/or closing deals, your partners will get a piece of the pie. You’ll make less on individual sales (but keep in mind, it’s probably cheaper to acquire each one).

Harder to manage: It can be difficult to update your sales strategy, change your messaging, add a new product, or make any kind of major shift. You’re not simply rolling out a change to one group – you’re asking multiple external groups to adapt.

Slower feedback cycle: Because your partners are talking to some or all of your customers, feedback will take longer to get to you. And that feedback might not be 100% accurate – even if your partners are trustworthy, they may ask bad questions, use unreliable methods of gathering and/or analyzing the results, or unintentionally give you a biased interpretation.

Potential conflict: Things can get very messy, very quickly when your direct salespeople compete with your partners for the same business. Suppose a rep decides to cut her partner out of the deal because she doesn’t want to give up the commission. If the partner finds out, he’s unlikely to ever pass her leads again.

 

Implementing a Channel Sales Model

Wondering if channel sales is right for your organization? Here are six things to consider.

Company size and maturity: Small companies can use partners to grow their business without needing to invest in hiring and training a sales team. Once they’re larger, they can bring their own reps on board (or if channel sales is working, continue with what they’re doing!).

Product maturity: If your product is still in the early stages, you might want to take advantage of a direct relationship with your customers so you can quickly and efficiently assess what’s working, what’s not, and what to build next.

Sales process maturity: Before you can teach other people how to sell your product, you need to understand how to sell it yourself. If you haven’t defined the various stages of your sales process, the most important buying triggers, which customer stakeholders are typically involved, how long the average deal takes to close, and so on, you may want to postpone a channel sales initiative.

In this case, consider taking the Inbound Sales Course to brush up on your skills, and build the confidence needed to refine your sales process.

Sales process complexity: Along similar lines, the lengthier and more complex your sales cycle, the harder it will be for your partners to resell. A simple, straightforward, relatively short process is ideal.

Location: If your offices are spread out, it might make sense to use a channel sales model. That makes creating multiple sales teams unnecessary. Of course, you can also use an inside sales model where appropriate.

Revenue needs: It takes a lot of time and energy to get a partner channel system up and running. If you need money sooner rather than later, focus on direct sales for now. Firas Raouf, an expert in early-stage B2B tech companies, recommends building at least $20 million in revenue before launching a partner sales program.

How to Structure Your Channel Sales Partnership

There are three main ways to structure channel sales.

First, you and your partner can sell together. Your products improve each other. For instance, if you offer catering services, you might partner with a company that provides event clean-up.

This type of partnership helps companies add more value to their customers.

Second, you can sell through your partner. Department stores are a classic example – they curate items from a range of third-party brands. Variety is typically the key. If you can find a partner who’s already selling several similar products to yours, they may be a good fit for this type of partnership.

Third, your partner can sell for you. These partners incorporate your product into theirs – in fact, the end user may never know about your company. When you go to the supermarket and buy the store brand, you’re actually buying an independent brand that’s been packaged with the grocery store’s label.

You don’t have to use one method exclusively. Many companies use two or even three of these simultaneously, along with a direct sales model. It all depends on your needs.

How to Find Channel Sales Partners

Just like trying to sell to everyone reduces your focus and actually harms your overall results, trying to partner with everyone is a bad idea.

The process of finding partners is almost identical to finding prospects: First, you need to define what an “ideal partner” looks like.

Components of an ideal channel sales partner:

Complementary solution: The partner’s product or service would fill a gap in your offering or help your customers use your offering more effectively.

For example, HubSpot’s marketing agency partners help small businesses take full advantage of HubSpot’s marketing software.

CeCe Bazar Aparo, vice president and general manager of corporate training at Hoffman, recommends interviewing your customer service and technical support teams.

“These people will be able to provide you with a real-world sense of exactly where customers need more help or are suggesting complementary products and services that might be best delivered by a partner channel,” she explains.

Market: You should also consider whether your partner’s customers would benefit from your product. Are they demanding additional support, features, or solutions that your partner can’t currently provide? Are their customers the right fit in terms of geography, use case, and size?

Marketing expertise: How sophisticated is the partner? You might have to do very little education and support – or you might have to do a great deal. Although training a partner requires more time and resources, it also gives them an additional incentive to work with you.

Technical expertise: Identify how much technical knowledge your partner would need to sell (and potentially service) your products. Do you need a partner with an outside sales team, an inside sales team, both, or neither?

Process: Your partner’s sales process should be compatible with yours. Ideally, there’s a natural point in their sales or services process for introducing or upselling your product.

Other partners: Can you work with a partner who’s already reselling another solution? Even if they’re not contractually forbidden from selling your product, will it be in their best interests?

Commitment level: Ask yourself how much commitment would be required for success. For example, maybe your partner would need to spend one full day per quarter at your office getting training. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps all they need is a basic understanding of your product they can learn from one 30-minute video.

Your potential value: Even if a partner would be extremely valuable for your business, they won’t be interested in working with you unless they’re also benefitting. Figure out who you’d be able to help – by enabling them to sell additional services, reach new clients, or enhance the value of their product or service.

Once you’ve crafted your ideal partner persona, rank the characteristics by importance. This exercise will give you a framework for evaluating specific partners.

How to Recruit Channel Sales Partners

When HubSpot was building channel sales program, our team used inbound marketing principles to attract partners.

“From day one, we started hosting a lot of educational webinars that were directed specifically at marketing agencies and consultants. When they were over, I just sat back and watched the interest in our program fly in,” says Databox CEO and former HubSpot VP of Sales Pete Caputa.

Not only is this strategy easier to scale than an outbound one, but it also guarantees that your potential partners know about your company from the first conversation.

Use your ideal partner persona to craft relevant, useful content. For example, if you want to work with staffing firms, you might write an ebook on how to place consultants, or host a virtual networking event for staffing firms to meet job candidates.

Once you’ve started talking to a potential partner, Caputa advises making their needs the focus of the conversation.

“We found that the messages that resonated most with resellers revolved around how they could fix issues in their own business, as opposed to talking about our software and their client’s needs,” he says. “As it turned out (and this is still true today), most small and mid-sized marketing agencies and consultants need training on how to run their own business.”

Depending on the nature of the partnership, your partner might not be looking for (or you might not be able to afford) such a high-touch model.

If your average selling price (ASP) is low, and your partners resell your product relatively infrequently, investing so much into training them isn’t wise. Make sure you’re tracking how much revenue the average partner is bringing in compared to the average return. If this sounds familiar, it’s the CAC:LTV ratio applied to your partners.

How to Measure Your Channel Sales Program

Wondering what success looks like?

Here’s what to measure for every aspect of your channel sales program.

Channel sales recruitment metrics:

  • Total number of partners
  • Recruitment quota attainment
  • Partner attrition rate
  • Percentage of partners recruited by channel (for example, 50% from networking groups, 20% from proactive outreach, 10% from referrals, etc.)
  • Average cost of recruiting and onboarding new partner
  • Average length of time to recruit and onboard new partner

Channel sales success metrics:

  • Total number of partner deals registered
  • Average value of partner deal
  • Percentage of accepted partner-submitted deals
  • Percentage of closed partner-submitted deals
  • Average sales cycle length
  • Percentage of partners who registered lead in past month or quarter
  • Channel sales training and support:
  • Percentage of partners using provided sales and marketing collateral
  • Percentage of partners who attend optional events and/or ongoing training
  • Average partner satisfaction score
  • Percentage of partners who attempted certification
  • Percentage of partners who completed certification

Channel sales profitability metrics:

  • CAC for partner sale versus direct
  • Retention rates for partner sales versus direct
  • Cross-sell and upsell rates for partner sales versus direct

Channel Sales Manager Job Description

Looking for someone to manage your channel partner relationships? Here’s a job description you can use.

[Company] is looking for a channel sales manager in [location]. This is an exciting opportunity to [grow a new channel, take a high-growth channel to the next stage]. As our channel sales manager, you’ll identify potential new partners, show them the value of working with [company], and enable existing customers to sell .

In this role, you will:

  • Work with internal stakeholders (Support, Customer Service, Marketing, Legal, Direct Sales, etc.) to ensure partners have everything they need to successfully resell
  • Ensure partner expectations are being met (or exceeded!)
  • Ensure partners are following agreed-upon guidelines
  • Proactively help partners hit their sales goals/milestones
  • Give [demos, virtual presentations, in-person presentations] to potential partners
  • Create demand using tools like marketing collateral, campaigns, webinars, events
  • Communicate regularly with partners and company stakeholders
  • Travel to customer and partner sites [on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis/as needed]

We’re looking for someone who has:

  • [X to Y] years of relevant experience in [consulting, channel sales].
  • Experience working in [industry]. It’s a plus if you have established relationships with potential partners.
  • Proven record of achieving in sales roles.
  • Ability to work autonomously in a [fast-paced, technical, complex buying] environment.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • [BA/BS/MBA] [preferred, required].
  • Ability to travel [X%] of the time.

What you’ll like about working for us:

  • Aspect of your culture #1
  • Aspect of your culture #2
  • Work perk #1
  • Work perk #2

Tailor this job description to your company’s employer branding. If you’re relatively formal, you may need to tweak the language so it’s less casual. If your messaging is typically relaxed and friendly, you might want to turn up the playfulness.

How to Motivate Channel Sales Partners

Channel sales is extremely challenging because you’re trying to motivate people you have no direct influence over. If a regular salesperson doesn’t meet quota, you can work with them and/or put them on a performance plan. If a partner isn’t selling – well, there’s not much you can do, apart from “fire” them from the program. That’s usually not the most desirable option.

To get partners to sell, try these strategies:

1. Develop excellent resources

You should invest twice as much in content for your channel partners as your direct reps. After all, your partners are much less familiar with the product, not to mention your direct competitors, existing customers, company history, and use cases. Make sure they’re armed with clear, comprehensive, prospect-ready product specs, testimonials, customer examples, competitive comparisons, email templates, call scripts, meeting agendas, and objection-handling cheat sheets.

Having this material will make partners feel more confident, which will boost their desire to sell.

2. Communicate often

If your partners rarely hear from you, they won’t be as invested in the program. They also won’t know the latest news, product updates, and strategic announcements. On your end, you might not discover issues until they’ve festered for a while.

The solution? Maintain regular contact with your partners. Send a periodic email, create a Slack room, make a Facebook group, hold partner “office hours,” run webinars, host meetings at your office – whatever you need to do to stay in touch.

3. Offer extra rewards

While earning commission on deals is a compelling incentive, some companies (like HubSpot) add additional reward systems to their partnership.

This lets you create “superpartners” and drive specific desired behaviors. For example, you might have a tiered system: One tier for basic partners, a higher tier for partners who sell over a specific amount per month or year, and a third tier for partners who sell over an even higher amount per month or year.

Depending on their tier, offer advanced marketing support, tickets to exclusive events, strategic consulting, meetings with your executives, access to beta features, premium listing in your directory, opportunities to interact directly with your audience, features in your email newsletter, and so forth.

Sales Channel Partnership Platforms

For scaling multi-channel businesses, keeping data related to your partnerships organized can be a challenge. Using a tool designed to keep your channel data streamlined can be a helpful option. Here are a few sales channel tools that can support your business as your channels and partnerships become more complex.

PartnerTap Channel Insights

  • Price: Free, with paid plans available with additional features

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PartnerTap’s Channel Insights tool empowers companies to automate channel mapping and scale their sales efforts. This platform provides in-depth analysis on your current accounts, showing where there is opportunity to grow current partnerships and helps users determine the viability and profitability of future partnerships.

PartnerTap is also part of the HubSpot Ecosystem, and their tools integrate flawlessly with your CRM.

Crossbeam

  • Price: Free, with paid enterprise plans available

Crossbeam Platform

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Crossbeam provides powerful software to manage channel partnerships. A major upgrade from spreadsheets, notable features of Crossbeam’s tool include real-time forecasting, instant account mapping, and cross-partner lead generation.

Crossbeam can also connect directly to HubSpot CRM, making co-selling and co-marketing even easier.

Channeltivity

  • Price: Plans starting at $1,199 per month

Channeltivity Platform

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Channeltivity’s partner relationship management software provides an all-in-one channel management solution. This cloud-based tool has an extensive set of features including a channel partner portal, partner training materials, distributor management, a commission management platform, and more.

Channeltivity also offers a HubSpot edition of their software which provides real-time pipeline visibility for businesses and partners.

While building a channel sales program is a major investment, it can make a huge difference to your company. Not only will you reach new customers, but you’ll develop mutually beneficial relationships throughout your space.

Sales

The Beginner’s Guide to the Sandler Sales Methodology

If you’re anything like me, you love systems and processes.

In fact, I think most sales reps enjoy a solid methodology even more than I do.

A popular sales method, the Sandler methodology, has been around for over 50 years. Essentially, this system emphasizes qualification rather than closing.

As a sales rep, this is an important methodology to consider because 88% of salespeople with Sandler training said their sales strategy improved.

Additionally, 50% more salespeople hit quotas than those without Sandler.

Below, let’s dive into what the Sandler sales method is and how to implement it on your team.

Essentially, the Sandler approach to sales is unique because it prioritizes building mutual trust between salespeople and prospects. During this process, the sales rep will act as an advisor and ask questions to assess the majority of obstacles right away in the qualification stage.

Emma Brudner, a former Marketing Director at HubSpot, says, “If the rep discovers that their offering won’t truly address the potential client’s concerns, they won’t waste time convincing them that it actually does — they’ll simply abandon the process. Rather than the seller convincing the buyer to buy, the buyer is almost convincing the seller to sell.”

While the Sandler sales process might look similar to a traditional sales lifecycle at first glance, the emphasis is on the qualification stage rather than the closing stage.

The process has three overall stages but is broken down into seven steps. The three stages are: building a relationship, qualification, and closing the sale. Let’s dive into the step-by-step guide below.

1. Bonding and rapport building.

During the first stage of relationship building, the first step is to establish a bond with your prospect. This should encourage open and honest communication.

2. Up-front contracts.

The second step in the relationship-building process is to establish roles and set expectations. During this phase, it’s important to set ground rules and create a comfortable environment within which to do business.

3. Pain.

This third step moves us into the second stage of the lifecycle – the qualification phase. Now that you’ve built rapport and set expectations for how this sales process will work, it’s time to dive in and uncover the problems your prospect has.

This part of the conversation will help you identify the pain points and reasons why your product or service can help this prospect.

4. Budget.

Normally you might see this component of a sales conversation toward the end of the process, but in the Sandler method, you’ll discuss the budget during the qualification phase. If your prospect can’t afford your product, there’s no point wasting your time trying to sell it to them.

During this part of the qualification process, you’ll discover if your prospect is willing and able to invest the time, money, and resources needed to fix their problem.

5. Decision.

The last part of the qualification phase is to discuss the decision-making process. Find out who, what, where, why, and how the prospect wants the buying process to go.

6. Fulfillment.

Moving on to the closing stage of the process, this is when you’ll propose your product or service as the solution to the prospect’s problem. Your proposal will fulfill their requests, specifically about the budget and the decision-making process.

Don’t forget to use everything you’ve learned during the qualifying process in your proposal.

7. Post-sell.

At this point, it’s time to seal the deal. Establish the next steps and prevent the loss of the loss to the competition or buyer’s remorse.

Now that we’ve discussed what the Sandler sales method is, you might be wondering, “How do I implement this at my company?”

Let’s review how to train your sales reps with the Sandler method below.

Sandler Training

To get started with the Sandler sales method, you can have your reps take Sandler training courses online. In fact, Sandler Training offers plenty of training and development courses both in-person and online.

Sandler Sales Template

As a visualization, the Sandler method is best represented by the image of a submarine. According to the website: 

“When David Sandler was developing his selling system, he chose the imagery of a submarine to communicate his vision.

He was inspired by watching movies about World War II, when submarines were attacked, to avoid flooding, the crew moved through each compartment, closing the door of the previous compartment behind them.

The Sandler Selling System requires the same procedure to avoid ‘disaster’ on a sales call. Your goal is to move through each compartment, or step of the selling system, to arrive safely at a successful sale.”

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The Sandler sales method isn’t the only methodology around, but it’s one of the best systems for getting to know your prospects. This method provides a great opportunity to truly qualify your prospects so you sell to the right people.

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