A week ago today, I was in Atlanta as Kyle Porter and the SalesLoft team kickoffed their much heralded 2nd Annual RainMaker Conference. I had high expectations going in, but I have to say that it more than lived up to the hype as a true game-changing event for those sales and marketing professionals in attendance.
I’m thrilled that I was able to bring five members of the iDashboards team along with me to RainMaker 16, but in case you missed it here are the top five things you would have learned there…
Data is Everything in Modern Sales
Coming from the world of dashboarding at iDashboards, this was music to my ears. Too often reps and managers have gone with their gut and trusted the ever-fluid “art” of selling. Not anymore.
With all the tools available to sales and marketing, there is no excuse to ignore your data. You should be tracking everything from reply rates, what call openings work, A/B tests – in other words, literally everything – to constantly improve your conversion rates. However, as Jim Keenan said, “Data is only as good as you’re willing to do something with it.” So make sure to include data reviews in your 1:1’s and strategy sessions.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for benchmarks here are a few metrics that Kyle Porter and SalesLoft shared…
– There’s a 33% increase in conversions if you’re calling with a local area code via LocalDial.
– Personalized emails are nearly 4x more likely to convert than those of the canned variety.
– If prospecting target accounts, 15% should convert.
ABSD is an Acronym You Need to Learn
Speaking of target accounts, one of the biggest trends in sales and marketing right now is the transfer to an account-based model. In ABSD (Account-Based Sales Development) or ABM (Account-Based Marketing), you don’t “spray and pray” your message out to anyone and everyone; instead, find prospects that fit your target profile (88 per rep was announced as the avg.), and spend your time curating information specific to their company’s needs.
To get your target profile, you should have your AE’s and SDR’s interview customers that fit the profile and work with marketing to review industry trends. It’s important to constantly change your profile as more data is collected. In fact, as I stated in my session on the Sales Development Playbook that Bill Belichick would Steal, if your ideal client profile is only updated once a year then it’s just an outdated guide. Make it an organic living document in a state of constant change!
Pro Tip: Just because you’re hyper-personalizing your outreach, it doesn’t eliminate the need for a documented process. In fact, it actually amplifies the need for tools like SalesLoft that allow you to personalize at scale.
Sales and Marketing Have to Get on the Same Page
Jon Barrows put it best that “marketing is content and sales is context.” If your company has built a wall between the two departments, then you have to tear it down today. Sales needs to report back from the front lines so that marketing’s content can be more effective, and the distribution of marketing’s content should be placed in the appropriate context for the person it’s being distributed to.
Pro Tip: People often sign up for webinars simply to get a link to a recording that they’ll never watch. You need to disrupt their routine in order to have any chance at an SQL. John Barrows recommended that you highlight the 3 to 5 minutes of the webinar that matter to the prospect, and send that recommendation with your webinar follow-up to increase engagement.
Sales Development is the Future of Sales
Trish Bertuzzi, who literally wrote the book on sales development, described the SDR position as “the hottest job on the planet,” and it’s clear why. Specialization makes everyone effective since your best closers don’t have to spend time prospecting, and your SDR’s can focus on leveraging the 20+ tools in their average sales stack to convert opportunities as effectively as possible.
SalesLoft themselves practice what their conference preached – announcing that 49% of their revenue generated from their outbound sales development team. No wonder Jacco van der Kooij pronounced that “the new rainmaker generates quality SQL’s!”
Pro Tip: Hire SDR’s 1st to fill the funnel up. Until your AE’s are too busy to think, keep your investment in sales development by adding SDR’s and giving micro-promotions to your team. Once you’ve maxed out the AE’s schedule, you can reach into your SDR ranks to promote your next AE and get ready to start the cycle all over again!
Brand is the Only Thing that Transcends Technology
Keynote and social media legend, Gary Vaynerchuk, shifted the paradigm of everyone in attendance. He dropped a ton of great insight, but the most impactful takeaway is the need to build your brand. To do that we all have to understand social media – no matter your age – and be on the lookout for new ways to reach your audience, since those channels are always changing. Per GaryVee, “social media is the current state of the internet,” and all of those channels weren’t even created 10 years ago!
To create your brand, you need to always provide value to your audience by relying on empathy, and stop asking for things in return. Sometimes it’s better to omit the call-to-action and just focus on what they need.
Pro Tip: SDR’s and AE’s should write blog posts, do short videos and engage with their prospects on social media. Not only will prospects start seeing you as a worthy connection, but you’ll compile an enormous amount of great content that you can share when someone new experiences a problem you’ve already helped solve for someone else!
All in all Rainmaker16 was about the excitement of the sales development role and profession, the rise of data in our decision-making, and the change from a mass-marketing prospecting approach over to an account-based one. To learn more about Rainmaker16, or to get details on next year’s conference, visit www.salesloft.com, and to learn about how iDashboards can help you gain real insight from your data visit www.idashboards.com.
Mark Bliss is a Senior Manager and the head of sales development at iDashboards. Mark is a data nerd who’s passionate about the modernization of sales and marketing. Follow him on Twitter @BlissmanDetroit.