My review of Rainmaking Conversations - the great new sales book by John Doerr and Mike Schultz


Rainmaking Conversations

We announce the launch of the book, Rainmaking Conversations by Mike Schultz and John Doerr

In my years of sales, I’ve been through every kind of sales training known – Sandler, Solution Selling, Customer-Centric Selling, Target Account Selling – you name it, I’ve done it.

So when the authors of Rainmaking Conversations invited me, as President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers, to review their book, I was skeptical. I’ve heard it all before.

How could a subject as well-documented as sales be given a fresh perspective?

Let me tell you. The authors succeeded. The difference in this book from so many of the other programs is that it does not merely focus on uncovering paints and finding decision makers. Instead, it focuses on how the customer justifies the purchase.

I especially like the Rainmaker conversation map. Case in point, after one establishes rapport, one covers the difference between Afflictions and Aspirations. (I have never Rainmaking Processheard a sales course talk about aspirations before.) From there, you drill down on the difference between success and failure, which helps you craft the new reality.

The book in a nutshell to me is this:

If I was buying a solution to a serious business issue, I hope my salesperson uses Rainmaking Conversations. That will make it very easy to buy.

We give this book 5 stars (out of 5)

Here’s my video review:

Here’s a great offer from the publisher:

Rainmaking Conversations is hot off the presses, and it’s a great sales book. A classic in the making. To kick off the book launch, the authors have put together an amazing bonus package for those of you who buy a copy today.

Special Offer: Pick up a copy today and you’ll get tons of sales-improving bonuses. So get your copy at Amazon.com. Then stop by: www.RainGroup.com/Book/Bonuses to pick up all the bonuses.

urls for the hyperlinks:

Rainmaking Conversations:

http://www.rainsalestraining.com/book

your copy at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470922230

pick up all the bonuses

http://www.rainsalestraining.com/Book/Bonuses

Please note that our wonderful free “cheat sheet” on lead nurturing “The 7 Keys to Lead Nurturing Success” is a small taste of what you get in our terrific white paper, How to Find New Customers.

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Jeff Ogden is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

How to Deal with Key Content Marketing Challenges


Lead Generation Companies: How to Deal with Content Marketing Challenges

Marketo posted this to their great blog and it was very, very popular.  Content marketing is a b2b marketing imperative and this video by Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor and President of the B2B lead generation company Find New Customers is outstanding.

Hope you enjoy it.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. He’s presenting at the 140 Social Media Conference on Long Island on May 26th and appearing on Sales Lead Management Radio on June 9th.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

Find New Customers: Definitive Guide to Making Quota


Definitive Guide to Making QuotaLooking to make quota in 2011?

  • Want to read insights from the top experts in B2B Sales today?
  • Want to learn how to deal with top sales challenges?
  • Want to improve closing rates?

Just click the image and download this free white paper (sponsored by Genius.com) on sales today.

We also invite you to visit our blog on B2B sales, the B2B Sales Lounge.

Come meet me at the Aprimo Marketing Summit.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden is President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.” Find New Customers is one of few lead generation companies in New York. Follow Jeff on Twitter or download the free white paper on B2B lead generation.

How to Find New Customers

How to Find New Customers

Find New Customers helps companies like yours (with 150 to 5,000 employees and complex products) implement lead generation programs to improve the way you find and acquire high quality sales leads using best practices in online lead generation. Quality leads matter. In fact, a recent study found that sales teams with fewer, high quality sales leads closed more than sales teams with more leads of dubious quality.

If you wish to do sales lead generation online, contact the B2B lead generation experts at Find New Customers. Use the form below to send a personal note to me or Leave a Reply to post a permanent comment.






The Ugly World of Sales Today


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“The percentage of reps making individual quotas dropped significantly, and the percentage of the overall company revenue target achieved dropped, as well. Yet, in spite of this poor performance, 85% of the firms surveyed reported that they had raised individual quotas again for 2010.”

That is the conclusion from the CSO Insights Sales Management Optimization (SMO) Study. We highly recommend you purchase the study from CSO Insights and read it carefully.

My conclusion: Sales is broken. Period.

It’s time to change everything, folks.

  • Lower quotas
  • Train sales managers
  • Select experienced managers
  • Leverage wit and humor in marketing

What do you think? How do you think companies can turn around this ugly situation? We love comments and people who share our content on social networks.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is President of Fun and Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.”

Find New Customers helps businesses develop and implement demand generation programs to improve the way they find and acquire sales leads using best practices in lead generation.

“Jeff has a passion for all things sales and marketing. He understands traditional methods and has immersed himself in the social media scene. If you want to get motivated - and get connected … talk to Jeff!” Trish Bertuzzi, President, The Bridge Group, Inc.

How to Outsource: Look for the Network, Not Just the Knowledge


Lead Generation Companies | How to Outsource - Connecting with Experts

Conclusion:

Value’s in your network of experts , not just the knowledge in your head.

Talking with a large software client recently who grew their marketing staff from 3 to 50 with very talented marketing people, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I thought Find New Customers was hired to help with marketing. But what the client really saw in us was B2B marketing experts with a world-class network.

Despite our deep knowledge of BtoB lead generation and marketing, they didn’t need our marketing expertise (Most of their 50 had a bit of that knowledge). But not one of those people could duplicate is access to a world-class network. When they needed world class thought leaders to give comments on their marketing approach, they turn to us.

We’ve been publishing and networking for years. Our network is without parallel.

Here are some statistics that show the breadth of our network:

  • Nearly 3,800 Twitter followers
  • 37 Linkedin recommendations (from top executives)
  • author of 3 highly acclaimed white papers
  • my own Linkedin group (Fearless Competitor)
  • iTunes and YouTube channels
  • This very popular and newly syndicated blog (50,000 readers and in international syndication)

The bottom line for me is, if we need a favor from a well-known sales or marketing expert, we simply pick up the phone and make a call.  What seems so easy for us at this point is virtually impossible for others. That point was lost on me till this interesting conversation.

The Marketing Take-Away

You can easily buy knowledge. You can’t buy a world-class network.

That in a nutshell is the unique value of the Fearless Competitor. I say that sometime I feel like the Pied Piper, but making connections is so easy for me at this point.

Want a BtoB marketing expert?

Choose from thousands.

Want a BtoB marketing expert who can connect you with world-class “sneezers?”  (A term coined by Seth Godin in Unleashing the IdeaVirus.)

There’s but a handful.

Therein lies a major difference.

What do you think? What’s the value of connection with many top experts? Do you see it of value to businesses? We love comments and sharers.

Continue reading

How companies miss the boat on experience


The single most common requirement in a job description is industry experience.  If you don’t have banking, backup software, insurance, etc. experience, you need not apply. But in my mind, this is a BIG mistake.

Experience Matters Not (or barely)

My goal in this blog post is to explore why this is a red herring — a non-factor in most cases.  The key question is this:

Does industry experience predict future success?

In my long experience, the answer is no.  Factors such as passion, drive, listening skills and super presentation skills are vastly more important and determine real success.  People who exhibit these characteristics vastly outperform those with experience alone.

The mistake of choosing the wrong factors does not just exist in business. Even the NFL gets it wrong.

The First Pick in the Draft isn’t the Best Pick
(from the New York Times business section on Easter 2010)

It seems that even NFL general managers, with millions of dollars to spend and teams of scouts to evaluate talent — gets it wrong.  Maybe business is missing something too.

Another example is one I lived personally.  We had three salespeople under consideration to handle GE worldwide.

  • Salesrep A - handled GE for us for a long time.  Decent results.
  • Salesrep B - new to the company, but an innovative and top performer.  Virtually no experience with GE.
  • Salesrep C - handled GE for our number one competitor.

I watched all three do the job, so we have good metrics.

It was no contest.  96% of companies would have hired C — the competitor rep. 3% of companies would have selected A — our experienced salesrep.  But 1% would have taken a chance with B - the new guy without experience - but had they picked him, they would hit the ball out of the park.  It was no contest whatsoever.  B delivered at least 5X what A or C delivered.  B was yours truly, the Fearless Competitor.

How is that possible?  How does the salesperson with the least experience achieve the best results?  If experience does not predict the future any better than a coin flip, what are the right factors to evaluate talent?

Since personality traits matter more, I’d look for things like this:

  • Competitive sports - team play, competition, hard work
  • Started a business - personal initiative, drive, passion
  • Produced great content - fresh ideas, innovative
  • Good presenter - strong with CEOs, and good listener

So next time you start reviewing resumes, I hope you’ll start looking at them differently.  You’re looking for passion, drive, hustle - and not experience.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your experiences.  We welcome comments and respond to each one in person.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden is President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.” Find New Customers is one of few lead generation companies in New York.

Find New Customers helps companies like yours (with 150 to 5,000 employees and complex products) implement lead generation programs to improve the way you find and acquire high quality sales leads using best practices in online lead generation. Quality leads matter. In fact, a recent study found that sales teams with fewer, high quality sales leads closed more than sales teams with more leads of dubious quality.

If you wish to do sales lead generation online, contact the B2B lead generation experts at Find New Customers using the form below.






The right way to hire salespeople


In writing my new white paper, the Definitive Guide to Making Quota, I had the good fortune to interview five of top sales experts:

1. Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies
2. Kendra Lee of The KLA Group
3. Kevin Temple of Enterprise Selling
4. Jim Dickie of CSO Insights
5. Dave Stein of ES Research

One conclusion became clear from my research.  Companies are doing a terrible job of selecting salespeople — as quota achievement continues to plummet.  Let’s examine why.

More and more companies look for people with industry experience and vertical knowledge.  But as the book, Made to Stick, points out, this leads to the Curse of Knowledge — you know the subject so well, that you cannot imagine what it’s like not to have the knowledge.  As a result, salespeople do not talk in the customer’s language and the Company loses product differentiation.

In reality, great salespeople are great story-tellers. They are great listeners. They take a complex topic and relate it in simple, customer-centric language.

Do businesses look for great story-tellers, great listeners and the ability to make the complex simple? No, they don’t. So we have massive turnover and poor results.

It’s time folks.  Find the great story-tellers, the passionate ones, and the ability to make the complex simple.  You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. We’ve lined up the very top expert in Content Marketing for a webinar on March 11th at Find New Customers.  Go and sign up.

What do you think? What’s been your experience with hiring salespeople? We love comments and provide easy buttons for sharing.

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Jeff is the President of Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple” who has turned the website into the best source of free information on lead generation anywhere.  His white paper, How to Find New Customers, has become the Bible of demand generation for many firms.

The similarities between 9/11 military response and business


In his new book The Lies They Told, author John Farmer explains how years after the Cold War ended, the government was set up to fight the Russian threat.

Three F-16′s were scrambled to form a combat air patrol over Washington, but the radio quality was so poor, the pilots had no idea why the Pentagon was burning.  They scanned the horizon for evidence of a cruise missile that had sneaked by.  But they saw no planes.

Norad, with its antiquated radar systems, could not see large areas of the Continental United States.  Both Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and VP Dick Chaney insisted they had been ready to shoot down any planes targeting the White House, but in reality, no planes were in place to intercept them.

The only decisive reaction taken on 9/11 came not from the military, but from the courageous passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Flight 93, leading the hijackers to crash the plane before it could hit its intended target in Washington.

What’s the point and what does it have in common with business?

Just like any large organization, most business suffer from a lack of agility.  They grew up in pre-Internet days.  Their view of the world is the one that existed in the world of Prodigy and America Online and before — just like the Cold War.  Without a 9/11 or Pearl Harbor event, most of them will realize it too late.

With that kind of world-view, companies resort to sales and marketing techniques that worked in that world-view.

  • Hiring “Rolodexes” — salespeople who know people — and firing them after 6 months
  • Blasting out product info
  • Touting their company and products on their website
  • Engaging in ‘naked cold calling’ with no content marketing strategy

Their limited world-view means they are unable to see what works today:

  • Creating a great website based on client needs
  • Developing and using a content management approach
  • Having a clear target market
  • Nurturing leads regardless of their timing to buy

If any of my readers would like a road-map to this new world, I invite you to download the highly acclaimed white paper, How to Find New Customers.  You can also get a good education for free by visiting the Education tab at Find New Customers.

For companies looking for simple lead generation in b2b lead generation who wish to improve the way they acquire new customers, Find New Customers is the place to go.

CSO Insights says companies need to improve the way they generate leads through great marketing campaigns and implement processes for business to business lead generation.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is a demand generation expert and sales leader, as well as the President of Find New Customers, a lead generation company, who helps businesses create marketing campaigns for their lead generation campaigns He also publishes the best lead generation ideas, so his readers can determine the best lead generation strategy to find new customers.

Hiring salespeople while avoiding mistakes


This is one of the most important decisions you will make — it will greatly affect the future of your company, yet most companies do a very poor job of this. Most times we write a job description and then give it to a recruiter — internal or external — who collects resumes and scans for keywords like industry experience or product knowledge. But how can one explain a scenario like this:

We need a rep to handle General Electric — GE is our biggest customer but we are getting killed by our #1 competitor. It is time for a change in leadership.

A search begins and over time we narrow down our selection to a final three candidates:

  • Salesrep A — longtime employee with deep product knowledge and some GE relationships and knowledge. Used to handle GE.
  • Salesrep B — New employee with no industry experience nor GE experience, but got off to a fast start. Obviously talented, but has never managed GE.
  • Salesrep C — worked for our #1 competitor, where he had worldwide responsibility for GE.

Based on the above, which rep would you have given the job to? Salesrep C did the job for our competitor. He is obviously our best choice. But I had firsthand experience with all three, and I can tell you what really happened. Salesrep B was the best by a country mile!

Salesrep A handled it first and got us into a mess. Salesrep B — who never managed GE before stepped up and asked to handle GE — and proceeded to dramatically outperform A. After B left, C was hired (the logical first choice) but he underperformed a large margin — and was soon fired.

The one with the least experience, no industry knowledge and no contacts did best — and it was not even close. And the logical choice, with experience and good contacts failed.

How is this possible? And if there is no correlation between experience and results, how do we identify the best candidates?

If resumes are poor predictors of sales success, so this begs the question. What makes a good salesperson? How do we avoid hiring bad salespeople?

According to extensive research done by Dr. Chris Croner, author of Never Hire A Bad Salesperson Again, top performing salespeople have an abundance of Drive.

Drive is defined by three critical personality traits:

  1. They have a strong “Need to Achieve.” They continually work to improve their game.
  2. They are highly Competitive. They love to win and convert customers to their way of thinking.
  3. They are Optimistic. They hang in there despite setbacks.

Dr. Croner also said they are “mercenary about their time.” They work smart, not just hard. Need to achieve is the hardest to test for and the easiest to fake. And Dr. Croner orginally did not include Optimism, but wondered why salespeople with one and two failed. He realized that Optimism was critical.

Look what he did NOT say predicted success — industry experience, product knowledge, etc. Yet 99% of recruiters look for this to cull resumes. As a result the turnover in sales is massive.

In the example above, Salesrep B had real drive — he excelled in all three. Salesreps A and C did not.

What do you need to do? Use an objective measure of sales measurement like SalesDrive. Use the tools there for interview questions. (Like the “magic wand” question.) Apply it to any possible candidate. $200 is cheap insurance against a mistake.

More later on how to conduct an interview and on sales leadership

For companies looking for best practices in b2b lead generation who wish to improve the way they acquire new customers, Find New Customers is the place to go.  CSO Insights says companies need to improve the way they generate leads and implement processes for business to business lead generation.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is a demand generation expert and sales leader, as well as the President of Find New Customers, a lead generation company, who helps businesses create lead generation campaigns and continually publishes the best lead generation ideas, so his readers can determine the best lead generation strategy to find new customers.  He can be reached at (516) 284-4930 or mailto:jogden@findnewcustomers.net.

Tales from the front line…how to kick your competitor’s butt



Here is a personal sales story…

In the software business, companies like to do a “Proof of Concept,” (POC) in which the users install the software, test it and report which one they like best. What happens when your company is invited to participate and your software finishes dead last?Is the deal lost?Not necessarily.

The prospective customer was Heineken USA and they invited in three business intelligence vendors: Brio, Cognos and Business Objects (me).But before I start, let me share this, good salespeople rarely, if ever, do POC’s – if they uncover personal customer value first.Still Heineken insisted, so we did it.

At the end, here were the standings:

  1. Brio
  2. Cognos
  3. Business Objects (me)

Uh oh.Looks bleak.But then something happened.Brio’s “income” statement and balance sheet were ugly, so they were eliminated.Now the standings were:

  1. Cognos
  2. Business Objects (me)

Okay, not so bad. But close is not good enough. The commission on second place is zero.

Next, IT leadership made their recommendation to the new Chief Knowledge Officer, “Let’s go with Cognos.”Delighted, the Cognos sales team told their management the deal was done.

But the CKO said “Okay, but first I want to meet both vendors before we decide.”

Cognos is a giant, but traditional product focused software firm.So I knew what they would do.They “unloaded the bus” and gave the standard pitch to the CKO.I pictured a room filled with suits.

Next, the CKO invited in me.I strolled in alone — mano y mano.I opened with a question, “Mr. Chase, you came to Heineken USA from an academic background, right?”“Yes, Jeff.I did.” (I knew the answer before I asked it.)Next I stated “If I were you, I would make my top priority the success of my first project.”He said, “Damned right, Jeff.This has to work.”Then I said “Well, Mr. Chase, all I can say to you is this: I will do everything in my power to make you successful.”End of meeting.We shook hands and walked out.

The next day, my phone rings.It is Heineken USA.They have selected us.We won!We went from worst to first.

Soon after, a giant magnum bottle of Heineken arrives, along with front row seats to the US (tennis) open.

Alas, the story has a sad ending.Others were responsible for delivering on promises and they failed miserably.Though I tried desperately to help – my managers overruled me.Mr. Chase was fired.

I left my company. My managers soon lost their jobs. As I told my wife, this was the most humiliating experience of my long sales career. I love customers and Heineken USA was the nicest customer in the world.

P.S. I soon met with the EVP of Cognos. His question to his VP, East was “How the hell did we lose at Heineken USA? It was a done deal!” The response “Face it, Tony. We were beaten by a vastly better salesperson.”

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.