ReThink The Approach To B2B Selling

*Editor’s Note: Recap post of the Deck presented at Sales Hacker Series in San Francisco on February 3rd, 2015 by Emmanuelle Skala, VP of Sales at Influitive.

The reality of our world is different. People have actually gone as far as to say that sales people will be extinct at some point in the near future. People are asking: “Do you even need a salesperson anymore? If you can get all the product information you want, if you can find third-party product reviews on websites, if you can hear what buyers are saying on social media, if you can get a free 30-day trial, then why do you need salespeople?”

Now, I believe that we still play a huge role in the buyer ecosystem, but the world IS changing. And the fact that all the information, peer reviews, and social media is out there, means that we really need to rethink our approach to selling.

How Do We ReThink The Approach To Selling?

There are three things that we do at Influitive to rethink our:

  1. Database
  2. Network
  3. Sales Process (Surround Selling)

ReThink Your Database

CRMs have been around for a while, marketing automation has been around for a while and we all think about both of those systems as a repository to capture our leads, contacts, accounts, forecast, etc. If that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity. We all buy sources of data to fill in demographic information into our databases, but what’s really hard to get is that data you can’t get from another database. Data you can’t buy. Non-Demographic data.

For instance, for us at Influitive some of the things that we look for is:

  • Does a prospect have a lot of product reviews?
  • Does a prospect have a lot of case studies?

If they don’t, then they’re potentially a good prospect. But again, I can’t buy that sort of information. So what we do is we use our CRM to capture all the non-demographic data about our existing customers AND our prospects. But how do we do that? We do that by building an Ideal Customer Profile by identifying key characteristics of a good fit, and then we outsource our list of top accounts to Virtual Assistants and they fill in all the meta-data that we need.

  • How many reviews do they have?
  • What marketing automation system are they using?

By having this data about our customer and our prospects we can tailor the right messages for when our SDR teams are calling out. SDRs can then see that a prospect is using Marketo, for instance. Now that SDR can match that up with our existing customers who also use Marketo and say “You’re using Marketo, so is XYZ” or “I noticed you have very few product reviews on your website and that was the same problem that DocuSign had.” All that data is now in front of our SDRs.

When you have a handful of customers, it’s pretty easy to memorize. But when you’re above 100 customers or so, you can’t possibly know all the stats about every customer and sync those up with all the stats about every prospect. It also allows for our SDRs to be what we call “audible ready” so if they actually get someone live, now they have all that rich customer data and success stories in front of them. We have really targeted messages and really targeted campaigns. Marketing can take the data and run a campaign that’s specific around NPS scores, for example, for prospects that use NPS scores and leave out the ones that do not.

ReThink Your Network

The challenge here is that when you’re hiring a team of SDRs or a team of AEs, they don’t come with a LinkedIn network of 5,000 people. They’re not connected to C-Suite people who you’re trying to sell in to. And frankly, that makes it hard to start social selling. So the first thing that we do when onboard at Influitive is make sure that everyone pumps up their own LinkedIn profile and tries to get people to write reviews about them.

If you haven’t done this recently, ask one of your customers or someone you closed a deal with recently to write you a review. If you’re an SDR it could be someone you had a great conversation with. Ask them to do a review of you on LinkedIn. People are checking out your profile. If you have reviews on there from customers it’s going to help you sell and build your network.

Next, connect with your customers. You may be a brand new AE, but you’re in a company that has existing customers. Go out and connect with every single one of your existing customers. They’re not going to say no to a connection of a product they’ve purchased. Even if you don’t know them, or who sold the deal, connect with them. Once you’re connected with your customers, it becomes really interesting to match up your prospects to your customers.

For example, if I’m prospecting into SalesLoft. I’m trying to get to Kyle Porter, but I don’t have an existing relationship with Kyle. But it turns out that Kyle has a relationship with somebody at InsideView, who is a customer. Now, if I make that connection I don’t necessarily have to cold call Kyle. I can just connect my customer to Kyle. Be a matchmaker, “Hey Kyle, I’d like you to meet the CEO of this company (who happens to be a customer of mine). Blah Blah.”

Once you’ve connected people your company is going to come up in conversation. You’d be surprised of what can happen when you make those connections. Be matchmaker, not a seller.

ReThink Your Sales Process

I am a huge advocate for getting referrals. As a sales person you should be thinking about how you can get referrals all the time. Every interaction. You’re an SDR and you get a “No,” ask for a referral – “This sounds like this might not be a good fit for you right now, but is there anybody in your network who you think that this might be a good solution for?” Why not, right? Who knows what they know.

Even if it is a “Yes.” Say – “Great, I’m looking forward to that demo. But hey, before I hang up with you I’d love to know, since you were interested I was wondering if anyone else in your network might be interested that you recommend that I call.”

Always ask for a referral. You had a great demo. Ask for a referral. 38% of my pipeline comes from referrals, and that’s because we’re relentless about asking for referrals.

Audio Recording of Emmanuelle’s Presentation:


Emmanuelle is a SaaS sales veteran who has run sales teams at DigitalOcean, Influitive, VMTurbo, and Sophos. She regularly advises small companies and serves on the advisory board of 4 start-ups. Emmanuelle lives outside of Boston with her husband and 3 girls.

Join Us Today

Insider access to the GTM network and the best minds in tech.

Join Us Today

Insider access to the GTM network and the best minds in tech.

Trending Now

You may also like...