How to Improve Enterprise Performance by Incorporating the Human Element

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Today’s featured story is presented by Dan Frumkin, Co-Founder of JustSoldIt!

Collaboration, Knowledge, and Data are the Keys to Better Outcomes

When we contemplate knowledge management (KM), we think of structured repeatable circumstances. The objective is to index, manage, share, and create relevant knowledge assets that will help meet tactical and strategic requirements. This is particularly important for B2B enterprise sellers in today’s increasingly competitive markets, as knowledge used intelligently, is the key ingredient, the difference between winning and losing. 

Sellers, however, thrive on collaboration. Every selling organization is a ‘living network of sales expertise’, human KM: intelligent, smart, informed, experienced. When reps tap into this wisdom in conjunction with traditional KM, success rates improve. For instance, CEB concludes that “sales organizations using a formal collaboration approach saw a 21% improvement on quota attainment”. The simple act of team members collaborating propels seller success. 

 

RadiateBuzz’s JustSoldIt (JSIt) is a comprehensive solution for sales teams and the entire enterprise. JSIt ties standard KM and collaboration together under the concept of deal characteristics. JSIt “knows” who (which seller or team) sold what to whom, which solutions and services, the competition, the industry, and more, deal-by-deal. With JSIt, sellers cannot only identify a team member that just sold successfully into a similar circumstance, but they are also linked to the realm of KM: the right information, training materials, company dossiers, white papers, battle cards and case studies.

JustSoldIt: a Platform for Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing, and Analytics

The entire enterprise benefits. Knowing who has worked on specific projects is invaluable, saving time while avoiding the potential reinvention of the wheel. Marketing can identify and refresh potential reference accounts. Product marketing can quickly identify when new products are sold and guide other reps to learn from the successful seller. Customer engineers and pre-sales support benefit as well. And sales managers can monitor sales activity as it happens with unique metrics and analytics, to create invaluable sales intelligence.

JSIt is a new approach to sharing enterprise knowledge, combining guidance, wisdom and human expertise with traditional methods of KM. It is a powerful solution that no enterprise should be without. 

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Great Minds Think Alike

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Today’s featured story is presented by Dan Frumkin, Co-Founder of JustSoldIt!

Discover Why This May be Detrimental to Quota Achievement [New Data]

There is an ocean of like-minded sales technology available. But is it profitable for sales practitioners to continue to add new layers of accepted technology, creating a more expensive, complex stack? Should practitioners be tempted to replicate the thinking and technology choices of their competitors to simply “keep up” with the momentum of today’s popular service offerings? And what of best practices? Are they really “best” if the full range of alternatives is not considered? Let’s take a deeper dive.

 

What Do Sales Reps Really Need to Surpass Quota?

We interviewed many enterprise B2B sellers from across the United States to obtain new data. Beginning with a broad open-ended question, we asked, “what comes to mind first when you think of your deals getting done; what pushes the sales process further, faster?” We asked reps to remove the normal parameters and to imagine an ideal sales support situation. Their answers were surprisingly simple and curiously not one rep asked for more sales technology.

“Let me think for a moment”, said our first interviewee, a seller located in Detroit on his way to an appointment at Ford Motor Company. “My best results happen when I talk to a seller [in my company] who has sold a deal similar to the one I am working on. Someone who has sold the same product set, the same developer toolkits and services”. The rep continued, “If they sold to a manufacturer, all the better. If to an auto manufacturer better yet!” This rep highlighted the desire for human interaction, a universal response among our interviewees.

Continuing with our questioning, another rep said, “I am new to my organization”, a hot company in machine data and visualization. “My goal is to talk to colleagues with whom I have something in common: reps focused on the same services, products or vertical markets I am planning to enter”. The rep continued, “I received terrific training, but now I am selling here in the Mid-Atlantic – operating out of my personal home office. Selling is a different animal than classroom product training or learning various versions of recommended sales techniques.” The rep expanded, “I want to know how reps in my company approach their clients. What they found that resonates with individual industries and personas, use cases, handling objections, their personal experience with the competition”. Again, no strong desire for technology, but a strong desire for human interaction. 

 

What We Learned and What You Should Know

Companies are generally excellent at onboarding new reps and ongoing product training. All of this helps and certainly, no rep can do without. However, a successful transition to field sales work requires much more: it requires agility, daily learning, constant fine-tuning, and the motivation to persist. The best source for these matters arises from the living sales network, a network that is an organic part of every organization, but as an everyday resource, its value is often ignored.

The living network not only contains layers of vital sales knowledge and know-how, but it also inspires. It contains the wisdom created and accumulated on the edge of the last sale. “Information that will never make its way into sales support technology”, as one of our interviewees explained, “before your grandchildren are born”. 

Looking back at the mass of interviews a pattern emerges. It becomes obvious that two reps collaborating at the right time, on the phone (or face-to-face), can accomplish more in 80 seconds to drive their deals than by any other methodology. That is what reps are comfortable with, a two-way collaboration, trusted sources with a real-life understanding of the personal dynamics of selling ... and published studies back this up. 

 

Seller Collaborations Go Straight to the Bottom Line

A mountain of evidence indicates that in today’s agile selling environments collaboration matters more than ever. CEB/Gartner published a study in the Harvard Business Review titled, Why Individuals No Longer Rule on Sales Teams. The study found that most successful sellers “engage with their colleagues to marshal resources, wrangle involvement, and coordinate people’s capabilities … they rely on collective, even crowd-sourced skills, and knowledge ...” The study highlights an example, that “cross-sales have increased, cycle times have declined, and conversion rates have gone up. In one account alone, the improvements have driven $3.5 million in incremental revenue.” 

Corroborating the CEB/Gartner study is the Miller Heiman Research Institute. A 2015 report identified high-performing sales organizations versus average sales organizations. It was found that high performing sales organization encouraged sellers to collaborate within their own department, and they encouraged cross-department collaboration. In fact, 89% of top performing sales organizations leverage collaboration in some form.

The studies reflect management’s push to accelerate and/or expand typical top-down corporate collaboration. Their focus: collaborative workspaces, big-win email blasts, weekly sales calls, a renewed emphasis on regional sales calls, and a chance for sellers to huddle up at the National Sales Meeting. All well and good, but engineered collaboration is predominantly gated by scheduled events, leaving meaningful connections and knowledge transfer entirely up to chance. There is a better more productive way. (Also see https://lnkd.in/dkranAR, Sales Collaboration Tech: Less is More)

 

How to Share Sales Knowledge – Tapping into the Wisdom

We always hear that salespeople do not share their expertise easily. In our interviews, we found that it is not for lack of will, but mainly because the environment they work in does not help the exchange of know how. Most sales performers would be more than happy to share knowledge if they only had the opportunity and means.

Fortunately, new approaches to this problem are evolving. Businesses are realizing the power of on-demand knowledge sharing, a departure from management scheduled interactions. AI and self-learning algorithms are opening the way to exploring the knowledge and expertise of employees across an organization, providing insights and information gained as a result of employees daily work. These enabling technologies provide access to specific institutional knowledge with a focus on the transfer of human know-how rather than machine static information. If sales winners can easily share their know-how with their colleagues, they will graciously do so. Just give them the opportunity and an effective, easy means to identify the right team members, the right sellers – and empower them to connect and collaborate independently, on-demand.

 

The Expert is the Seller Who Just Sold It!

The most effective collaboration eliminates random chit chat and indiscriminate mass emails blasts to “the team”. These old approaches must be replaced with a single well-integrated AI and machine learning tool that automatically finds the right people to solve any particular sales situation. By contacting the right expert(s) every single time, employees are empowered to provide higher quality solutions. 

Sellers know by gut instinct when to collaborate, when to reach out. But with whom should they collaborate? Ideally, it would be with the rep(s) who just successfully sold a similar deal. The person (s) who just sold it is the best expert at getting the job done. But, how is a rep to identify the right successful seller(s)?

RadiateBuzz introduces  JustSoldIt ™, the first platform that directly connects enterprise B2B sellers within the same organization, to collaborate and drive results. Think of JustSoldIt as an AI service that automatically memorializes who sold what to whom, where, when and against which competitor. Companies already have these records, so there is nothing for sales or admin to do. JustSoldIt’s (patent pending) AI engine and machine learning enables these records to be indexed in multiple dimensions for endless natural language retrieval on any device. Who sold, for example, a “collaboration solution” to the “Energy” industry, in the last “6 months” in the “USA”, against competitor “ABC”. Salespeople can now face prospects and customers fully prepared as they are backed up by the collective know-how of the entire organization. No question will be unanswered, no deal will be left on the table.

Want to know more about the seller and/or the resources used? JustSoldIt goes a step further, identifying the selling team; the seller, the solutions specialist, the client engineer – all the internal resources utilized to get the deal closed. (See https://lnkd.in/dK66G8ZHow to Improve Enterprise Performance by Incorporating the Human Element). JustSoldIt also keeps a record of all interactions, all inquiries and contacts. By using AI to analyze these interactions, patterns materialize associated with the competitive landscape, price, features and more. This is valuable competitive/industry information not available elsewhere.

 

Rethinking the Sales Technology Stack and Best Practices

We started out by questioning the impulse to follow the crowd when it comes to the sales technology stack and best practices. We believe that additional layers of the accepted technology may not be the silver bullet. From our own field research and studies by research organizations, a significant discovery has been made. What is missing is human interaction. The steady transfer of knowledge, from rep-to-rep on a consistent basis, is needed now more than ever. Today’s markets move faster, necessitating that reps respond with additional agility. Furthermore, sellers today are geographically dispersed, have fewer team interactions and are more isolated than in the past.

Bucking the accepted technology trends, JustSoldIt is a powerful solution. It enables collaboration, presently invisible to management, to become routine, visible, on-demand and measurable. Furthermore, harnessing and making available an underutilized corporate asset, the living knowledge network, is a competitive advantage without comparison. A thin layer of unobtrusive JustSoldIt AI technology will bring enormous benefits to enterprises B2B selling teams. From revenue generation to the immeasurable benefits of enabling a stronger, more robust, allied sales culture. 

The Virtues of a Virtual Sales Assistant

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Today’s featured story is presented by Dan Frumkin, Co-Founder of JustSoldIt!

Five Ways AI and Machine Learning Can Systematically Improve Your Chances of Winning

Today's Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning sales software perform everything from email production, to lead management, to identifying buyer behaviors, and scheduling meetings. That's how AI is changing the sales landscape, improving sales efficiency and effectiveness. And to boot, AI does not get tired. It can work even when you have finished for the day.

Enhanced by AI, efficiency and effectiveness are powerful sales outcomes. But selling is the art of persuasion -- and persuasion is guided by consciousness, cognition, and insight. For all the right reasons we think of "persuasion" as a human characteristic, a complex set of skills that is beyond the reach of today's AI and machine learning. In fact, if a machine could precisely mimic human behavior, it might be said we don't need salespeople. While the media warns of such eventualities, the age of "machine persuasion" replacing salespeople is not upon us. Not yet. But we have crossed the threshold into the age of Virtual Sales Assistants (VSAs).

Persuasion, AI, Machine Learning and VSA's

AI and machine learning are impressive at metabolizing, categorizing, weighting variables and otherwise reducing complex scenarios into something rather manageable. These technologies can elevate one's ability to search within massive databases, rendering surprising outcomes at great speed. For those in sales and sales management, this can be a terrific competitive advantage.

In our research, for example, we have found that sellers most often express that they lack "use cases", the broad understanding of where their products, services, and offerings fit. Can a VSA help with these matters? Most assuredly, yes. Here is how.

#1: Use Cases

When a seller expresses that they "lack use cases" their sentiment is more nuanced than one might imagine. They mean they have reviewed case studies, success stories, company dossiers, and had discussions with management. They have exhausted corporate resources. Regardless, they feel there is a misalignment, a gap. Where is a seller to go for nuanced information to close the gap? Back to the corporate wiki?

Organizations discount and often overlook their own massive amount of living knowledge, the undocumented literacy of each seller. Each and every closed deal is, in fact, a ‘use case'. VSAs can deploy sophisticated algorithms to identify other sellers (or selling teams) within one's own company, that has recently walked in the shoes of those in the process of selling in a similar circumstance. We cannot clone a seller's mind. But we can drive improved sales outcomes by connecting sales team members, those in the process of selling to those who have closed similar deals. VSA technology is the missing link to make this happen. VSA technology can quickly and effortlessly connect sellers for valuable communication and collaboration that is self-directed, unimpeded and on-demand. The information transfer, a result of the collaboration between sellers, causes improved sales outcomes. Supporting literature on the matter of collaboration and improved sales performance is overwhelming. (See https://lnkd.in/dJxp8tg)

Organizations discount and often overlook their own massive amount of living knowledge, the undocumented literacy of each seller.

 

#2: Training, the Art of Persuasion and VSA's

Conducting ride-alongs is a valuable exercise for training new sales representatives. When executed well, ride-alongs provide a robust framework for reps to continuously improve upon. The pairing of an experienced seller with a new hire can only result in valuable knowledge transfer, an enormous accelerant to the onboarding process.  If the goal of onboarding is to compress time-to-sales proficiency, there is no better accelerant than to expose new reps to the practical knowledge of seasoned sellers while they work their craft. 

So how might a VSA improve training? Imagine a training module whereby new hires, in the training process, are given leads associated with their territories. Before reaching out to engage the lead, the new hires are required to engage first with a company seller. In the style of Okay Google or Siri, "Hey VSA, find me a seller who has sold to an opportunity like Campbell Cyber Security, the lead I am working on." This is possible today, right now, because a VSA can 'know' the lead (that is, Campbell's lead characteristics), and the VSA also 'knows' of similar deals closed in the cybersecurity industry within the Company. The VSA also 'knows' both the individual rep who sold the deal, as well as the entire selling team. Call that seller or any of the seller's team members, learn from their experience, enjoy hugely improved sales results.

#3: Ever-boarding and VSA's

New product introductions are expensive, risky and unequivocally necessary. We just completed a review of an IT company with a national name. Surprisingly, nearly a quarter of their 2017 revenues were derived from products introduced in 2016. What that tells us is that disseminating how, where, why and to whom to sell new products and features is a key ingredient to ongoing success. Can a VSA help this process? Yes, by speeding up the pace of information dissemination.

A seller may ask, Hey VSA ... :

"Who sold our new offering in the last 20 days to a Biomedical Company, against competitor [ABC]?"
 "Has anyone in the company sold our new services as part of an offering with [XYZ] products sets?"
"Has anyone closed a deal for more than $100,000 inclusive of our new offering in the past 60 days?"
"Has anyone displaced incumbent [XYZ] with our new offering?"

Discovering use cases, discussing details with team members is key to ever-boarding. Trading information and insights with trusted sales sources is the inspiration for approaching both existing clients and new prospects with a business case borne of the latest market entries. Let the knowledge, experience and information flow among salespeople unimpeded for improved sales outcomes. (See https://lnkd.in/dK66G8Z)

#4: Getting Unstuck

The greatest danger to a stuck deal is doing nothing and waiting. To get the deal moving, expand the circle of inquiry and break down the silos. Two reps (two trusted resources), can solve more challenges and can address more sales issues in 80 seconds than with any other method. Use a VSA to find other sellers who have successfully sold a similar deal. Attempt to move the deal forward by re-engaging, delivering new ideas into the process. Reframe the problem, resubmit a more complete business case. Sellers can now solicit new ideas by simply asking their VSA for similar cases. Use discussion and new knowledge to reinvent the approach. Then re-engage knowing you have, in fact, done all that you can, having reached out to the four corners.

#5: Creating a Company Sales Culture

Not many years ago sales teams were just that; a team in close proximity, located in regional offices. Sales conversations were plentiful among team members. Today reps are largely geographically disbursed, unaware of who sold what to whom. A VSA can bring back a team mentality by connecting reps over things they hold in common; selling, the competition, overcoming objections, how to insinuate new products into the sale process and the discovery of new use cases. Through contacts made available by VSA connections, information, sale techniques and know-how from the trenches flow easily, reaching the desired party as never before, national or international.

JustSoldIt 2.0 - Today's Virtual Sales Assistant – an Invaluable Tool for Quota Achievement

We are all familiar with virtual assistant's (Siri, Okay Google, Samsung's Bixby), for taking screenshots, scheduling appointments or finding us movie times by natural voice commands. RadiateBuzz's JustSoldIt 2.0 takes voice command, AI and machine learning to a new level, and straight into the realm of your sales ecosystem. Existing corporate data and CRM information powers JustSoldIt 2.0. There is no data to enter to operate in your selling environment.

"Hey JustSoldIt, who in our company previously sold for EMC?"

JustSoldIt 2.0 will not only connect sellers by the commonality of their mutual deal characteristics, but it also connects users to the teams and resources that enabled complex deals to get done; training material, knowledgebases, corporate dossiers, trainers, and specialists. The uses for JustSoldIt 2.0 are endless and deeply varied. Looking for a reference account? Wondering what might be the best approach to upselling an existing account? Need a bit of advice to sell a new product into biomedical, or another vertical? JustSoldIt 2.0 will find you the answer. And for management, you will not only have an invaluable selling tool but a host of new metrics for better-informed decision making.

Find out how RadiateBuzz's Virtual Sales Assitant, JustSoldIt 2.0, can help your sales team surpass quota.
Contact us today at 800.928.8884 www.RadiateBuzz.com

How to Bust Enterprise Knowledge Silos for Competitive Advantage

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Today’s featured story is presented by Dan Frumkin, Co-Founder of JustSoldIt!

Imagine you just spent hundreds-of-thousands of corporate cash to put on a national sales meeting. You planned the event for six months; hotels, airfare, swag, special speakers, you did it all. The team was charged up, the excitement ran high. Your sellers are finally able to flee their siloed, personal home-offices and meet with peers from far-flung cities. At last, a live face with a name.

Your sellers are finally able to flee their siloed, personal home-offices . . .at last, a live face with a name.

The enthusiasm at the meeting was notable. Interestingly, during breaks you observed the reps huddling up, discussing opportunities and wins. This is where the metal meets the road, sellers discussing their trade. In fact, for sellers learning the simple story of how another rep sold “our company” and our product/services to a specific customer or client is invaluable. Sellers will tell you that such knowledge can make the entire meeting, often leading to breakthroughs on an opportunity they are working. For B2B sellers there is nothing more valuable than a two-way discussion with peers to gain understanding, confidence, and direction. Knowledge of individual industries, personas, what works, what resonates, all can be learned quickly by the transfer of experience from one seller to another.

For B2B sellers there is nothing more valuable than a two-way discussion with peers to gain understanding ...

Research by the American Society for Training and Development informs that continuous learning, training and collaboration can yield 50% higher net sales per employee. The most successful sellers know this well and make a habit of internal networking. They routinely qualify and make mental notes of who knows what for future reference. All this begs the question for those responsible for revenues: How do we enable reps to continually network, to qualify “who knows”, so the team can link with peers and collaborate for improved sales results? There is a way. 

How do we enable reps to continually network, to qualify “who knows” . . .

Enterprise Knowledge Discovery Transcends Corporate Silos

Enterprise Knowledge Discovery (EKD) is a new class of capabilities that applies Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and specialized algorithms to assist corporate users in seeking to identify individuals with specific knowledge within the enterprise. EKD examines records, creates inferences, and transforms existing corporate data to classify skill sets, experience, sales histories, accomplishments, certifications, and third-party information. A machine cannot specifically know what is in an individual’s head, but their work in context and work-associated activities speak to their experienceand this is information AI can ‘know’. With additional analysis profiles are built, cataloged and are continually updated. 

The skill sets of the entire organization become a discoverable asset.

EKD goes beyond existing corporate tools. It gets to the heart of seeking and identifying individual’s knowledge, experience, and skill sets that can then be shared with others at their moment of need. The skill sets of the entire organization become a discoverable asset, with overwhelming benefits. This innovation is no small matter, promising to revolutionize how corporate employees link, connect, share information, and collaborate for improved performance.

. . . knowledge, experience, and skill sets that can be shared with others at their moment of need.

The Competitive Advantage of Enterprise Knowledge Discovery

To illustrate, Tracy, our sales rep, is selling into a Linux environment for the first time. Connecting with a team member who has sold into a Linux environment many timesenormously improves Tracy’s chances of staying in the opportunity. Knowing more is better, no exceptions to this rule. Feeling well prepared translates into confidence, essential to peak performance. 

Tracy’s inquiries may require more complexity. In this case, Tracy wants to specify five criteria in addition to selling into the Linux environment. These criteria could be related to time (sold in the last six months), geography (in the Eastern USA), against a specific competitor (ABC Corp), selling various products and service (consulting, endpoint security and outsourced cloud computing), and selling to a certain persona. The resulting connections are instantaneous. The information exchanged is invaluable. But there is more. 

How useful might it be for Tracy to discover who in her company formerly worked for a competitor?

How useful might it be for Tracy to discover who in her company formerly worked for competitor ABC? Or who in her company may have formerly been a sales engineer with ABC, specializing in endpoint cybersecurity? The implications for gaining insights and increasing the chances of winning are enormous.

EKD is not just for sales reps. In fact, the entire organization benefits from tearing down knowledge silos, enabling information to flow to where it is need, on-demand.

  • Marketing teams are frequently asked for new reference accounts. Armed with EKD tools, marketing is now able to quickly identify accounts of specific criteria, clear the account with its “owner” and transfer the information to field sales.
  • Product marketing quickly identifies those that have mastered selling a new product and/or feature. With this knowledge, programs are developed to accelerate effective product launches.
  • Sales Training may develop virtual ride-alongs and other programs to improve selling techniques quickly and effectively. Programs for onboarding new reps, lead-handling and ‘ever-boarding’ existing employees can be implemented around EKD functionality.
  • Pre-sales engineers use knowledge discovery to seek others in pre-sales support, tapping into their specific experience, know-how, and workarounds on specific new opportunities. Sharing information among engineers is invaluable, leading to creative solutions and smoother implementations.

An Ideal Knowledge Discovery Solution – RadiateBuzz’s JustSoldIt 2.0

RadiateBuzz, Inc., based in McLean, Virginia, is the leader in Enterprise Knowledge Discovery Solutions utilizing (patent pending) AI, ML, unique algorithms and voice recognition. JustSoldIt 2.0 focuses on linking B2B sellers and sales support departments within technology organizations. These capabilities, available as an easy to implement and use subscription service, may be deployed as a stand-alone system or integrated into existing CRM. Extending these capabilities, JustSoldIt 2.0 delivers field sales metrics, usage statistics and analytics to assist managers and guide overall decision making.    

Make giant leaps in sales performance and overall enterprise efficiency with just one phone call. Tear down your corporate knowledge silos. Contact RadiateBuzz today. www.radiatebuzz.com