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It's Time to Sell Podcast: Strategies for 21st Century Selling

Sep 5, 2018

The new gets old, and the old is new again. That’s just how the world works.

Gone are the days of the door-to-door salesman. We don’t need to leave our offices anymore to get a potential customer into a sales conversation. We now have a myriad of communication tools at our disposal – email, social media, text...even chatbots.

But you know what’s really effective?

Face-to-face conversations.

After exploring the world of email marketing and online selling, I found that nothing works as well as calling up a client for coffee, or treating them to dinner.

Today’s guest is Brandon Bruce, COO and Co-founder at Cirrus Insight, a plugin for Gmail and Outlook for sales people. It's an all-in-one sales productivity platform with world-class Salesforce integration. 250,000 people use Cirrus Insight and its sister products and to work faster and smarter from the inbox and calendar.

In just six years, Brandon has helped Cirrus Insight grow to to $12m in annual revenue, 58 employees, and #41 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies.

In this episode, we talk about

  • how they started their company,
  • what’s working (and not working) in sales today,
  • sales in complex environments
  • when to form a sales team,
  • and the different paths to closing the deal.

If you’re looking for ways to improve on your selling skills, I recommend you tune in.


Sales Enablement

Seven years ago, I don’t think the category that we’re in existed. No one was going around at conferences talking about sales enablement. That was the phrase that people were using.

There was this new category that’s emerged, sales enablement seems to be the dominant phrase; sometimes people would often call it sales acceleration, sales operation – there’s a lot of titles there.

There’s a lot of people now working in that field to essentially equip the producers, the salespeople, with the tools they need to be successful, which I think is a recognition by all these organizations and corporations that sales is hard.

Otherwise, you just hire a bunch of people and say, “Just go sell the thing. Just go be a salesperson.”

But instead, now there’s this industry of enablement and operations professionals whose job is to go out and source the right tools, the right training, the right process, to make sure you’re getting out of the way, but also facilitating what the salespeople are trying to accomplish out there.

Email Lists and Voicemails

Back when we started, the things that were working – it’s whoever built the biggest mailing list wins. If you had more emails, then you’re early in the automated marketing game, so you’re just getting in front of people and your competitors’ work.

Does it still work to have a great opt in email list? Absolutely, it’s still extremely valuable.

But the volume that all of us are seeing in the inbox, the volume of voicemails that we’re getting – so much higher now.

I didn’t get a lot of voicemails everyday back when we started; now, it’s like all the time. Thankfully it’s a digital voicemail, right, so you don’t actually listen to them. You just scan it.

But those are the challenges for the salespeople. People don’t pick up their phone because they have caller ID. They don’t listen to voicemail because they have digital voicemails – they just delete it. And there’s such a high volume of email that even if it’s a great email, they may or may not actually see it.

Thankfully email still works really well.

The Path to Closing the Deal

We’re finding LinkedIn is a good channel. Certainly not a cure-all, it’s not like, “Oh I went on LinkedIn and all of a sudden I started killing it.” But it’s a good way to break through for certain people, the folks that are on there a lot.

It’s a good way to get around or supplement the inbox with another message on another platform.

But to your earlier point, it’s not door-to-door anymore. It’s one of those “What’s old is new” again. A lot of the stuff that seems to be working is in-person – getting out to events, shaking hands, taking people to dinner, getting to know about them, their goals, their career, their organization, their business, and then seeing how do we fit as a product or a service provider.

Then the key is in that last 30 seconds of the two-hour dinner.

You say, “Hey, this has been great. We’ve all learned a lot.” But too often there’s a parting of ways and there’s like, “Now how do we followup?”

You just go back to the old, “Well, I’ll just send a bunch of followup emails.”

Probably not.

Yes, you want to email them, but I think it’s that last 30 seconds of,

Hey this has been great. Who else do we need to talk with?” Loop them those folks you mentioned earlier, great, let’s all get on the same channel.

Let’s find out quickly if this is gonna work, because if it’s not we’ll leave you alone. Here’s my cellphone number, can I get yours? That way we can text.”

Text is the best. If you can get someone’s cellphone number, then they want to hear from you, and you want to hear from them, and you’re connected now.

People don’t ignore that. There’s not really a SPAM filter for text message. You don’t get a message from Apple or Google, “Hey we just blocked this text message.”

If someone’s truly interested and they’re willing to share that mobile number with you and say, “Yeah, definitely text me. We’ll get together, I wanna followup” or “I wanna loop in Jimmy or Sally on our team and we’re gonna all take a look at your product or service,” then it’s game time.

Make the connection on LinkedIn, do the email, but a text message is a great way. First in-person, then text – you’re rolling.


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