ellibri
I did read the other thread that listed some books, but I was looking for ones that provided a basic structure that could be quickly implemented, if that is at all possible.

In order to prepare for what is ahead I have read the following:

To Sell is Human - Daniel Pink
The Ultimate Sales Machine - Chet Holmes
The Sales Acceleration Formula - Mark Roberge
Rhythm:How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth - Patrick Thean 
Made to Stick - Heath Brothers


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the_wolf_of_tech_sales
Hi ellibri, and welcome to the community [wave]. To best help you, what sort of "structure" are you looking for? Are you facing a specific challenge in this transition that you are hoping to build skills towards or what were you hoping to find that you did not find in the books you mentioned? 
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ellibri
Thanks for the welcome! 

I guess I was looking more for a guideline or framework for instituting a change that could be adopted. 
Market research, catching up with past clients, following up with current customers, all lined out in an action plan that would replace the "I hope the phone rings", mentality that seems to have engulfed the beleaguered sales team. 

I like what Roberge sets out, but it seems that we are not even close to that level, and we need more of a "Sales 101 for 2016". Understanding our buyers and providing a service/valuable information versus just going after the sale. 

Ha, just re-reading this makes me think a entire culture change is in order. =/
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the_wolf_of_tech_sales
Sometimes a change in culture may be necessary. How is the team currently compensated for their efforts? Maybe that architecture needs to be reviewed if motivation is a problem? 

Are you responsible for creating an action plan or were you more hoping to bring new insight to the team? The things you mentioned (catching up with past clients, following up with current customers...) are great ideas. Even if you have lost an opportunity with a client, it can be worthwhile to check in on their chosen solution to see if it is indeed solving their problems. This will help build a positive relationship and could also lead to potential business if the customer is having problems with the competitors solution. You may also be able to ask for referrals of other groups that you might be able to help within the company. 

If culture change seems inevitable, check out this book : Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard . Maybe you can start a book club with your team and get people inspired and motivated!

I hope this helps some.




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ellibri

Thanks Wolf for the book recommendation as well as the additional advice. 

The lay of the land is currently a sales team with very little leadership or technical support/structure. I along with another engineer have been tasked with "helping" sales. Yes it is just as ad hoc as it reads. We will be 50/50 sales/engy for the foreseeable future. I was looking for a Sales 101 guide that would include the resuscitation of the sales team with new leads, a better understanding of our customers needs and a defined type of business to relentlessly pursue. Currently we are inundated with requests for quotes that are well outside our manufacturing wheelhouse. Read, low quantity, high upfront engineering costs type jobs. Additionally sales have been so lacking that management and the sales team have recently taken a pay cut, so there is understandably little motivation to prospect. So into this mess I enter, an unknown quantity to the sales team. So I have been searching for solutions in the hopes of staving off the current finger pointing and presenting a plan that can be embraced, or at best a structure that can be tried that may potentially lead to additional lead generation/prospecting.    

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the_wolf_of_tech_sales
Sounds like you have some exciting times ahead of you ellibri! I'm not sure if there is a quick fix, or 'one size fits all' solution for this situation, but if you want to select one or two of these issues I'd be happy to strategize with you! (dealing with the quotes, customer needs, prospecting, etc.) Additionally, if I stumble across a consolidated guide that I think would help you I will be sure to share it here. I'm assuming you have seen the resources here
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the_wolf_of_tech_sales
Hey ellibri, how is the transition going? I'm curious how you are liking it and if you've learned anything worth mentioning?
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ellibri

Okay here is the latest. 

We have booked a photographer to come in and do headshots for updating and standardizing our office LinkedIn profiles. We have also had 2 training courses for LinkedIn, "How to maximize 'Sales Navigator’ “and "Targeting an area with Google Maps and LinkedIn." 

We have established Monday meetings with prospects and contact throughout the week, we then follow up on Friday to verify that the follow up has happened. At this meeting we also discuss past projects in a hope to understand and identify successful past par runs that were profitable and that were jobs that also currently aligns with our capacity. 

We have also used Lead Ferret to locate some larger clients and pepper them with emails, in attempt to say "hey, we are out here and can solve some of your problems." As well as to generate more awareness. We also added Mailtrack software to all sales employees email, with an auto bcc to our CRM internal software. I have been demo-ing "Boomerang" it has been alright. 

I closed one small sale since I have been in this new role, I have done 2 trips out of the office to "knock on doors." The first trip was very successful, the second not as well, but it is a process. We are close to one rather large sale, but who knows until that purchase order is in your hand. 

We have refined a nice information packet to send out to highlight our latest product line. It looks great and I have already gotten some positive feedback about it. I have been working on producing a small 3d-puzzle with our logo on it as additional follow-up tchotchke type items that could show our capabilities but also be an interesting seed to plant. 

I just finished "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz. A great book with fantastic stories as well as intriguing content. 

I am currently struggling with selling B2B without a retail hook, in retail you could offer/coupon/discount anything to get sales, truly direct B2B not so much. 

I am also having a tough go of trying to come up with something catchy on LinkedIn that could lead to actual face time. Going direct without an appointment is very often met with doors that are locked and receptionist who are on the other end of a phone, behind glass, looking at you with daggers and hoping you will just disappear.

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the_wolf_of_tech_sales
Wow, it sounds like you have been very busy! Some very solid strategies outlined there! I will have to look into Lead Ferret. Were the training courses you mentioned for LinkedIn hosted by someone internal to your company? 

If I may, I've found success in counteracting the B2B retail hook concept by restating the problem the customer is having and how you can solve said problem. For example, you might say "Let's remember why we started having this conversation... you have XYZ problem and you need to solve it in order to see ABC results. We can do that for you." It helps redirect the attention to the important issue at hand, solving their problem, not the price tag. 

Congrats on closing your first sale by the way! [smile] And keep up the momentum! Would love to hear more updates as you progress. 
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ellibri
No problem, it was good to write it up and look back and think, ...wow that is a bunch of items completed. 

So the course was held in house by my colleague, another engineer, pressed into sales. 

We simply made a class out of the methods that we used to find, qualify, and located potential leads.
But we put it small bites so that the more tenured sales people could not only follow it, but we also had them put it up on the big monitor and demonstrated to us that they truly knew the information.

We have received mostly positive feedback so far from the tools and information we have provided. We also converted an old office into a "Sales War Room" think room in movies/TV that show the pictures with strings attached showing connections. Ours has a giant map of the US and Flag pins that include, past large accounts, current large account locations, and prospects. The other walls feature "Where did this account go?" "What is this company called now?" "Future Gov. Projects" and more that are business specific. This was done to provide a visual understanding of our clients and serve as tool to help layout travel trips. 

Thanks again for your helpful recommendations! I will try to put them into practice.

 


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