death of a salesmanWhat’s Your Conversion on Cold Calling Prospects?

Ask your peers – the successful sales people are probably farming accounts they’ve had for years.  Others have a different strategy. No one wants to hear from a sales person they don’t know.

I’ve had several coaching calls this week with sales people who are either new with their company, or new in their role. Some are large company sales people calling on enterprise accounts, others are SMB resellers selling managed services. The story is the same. They’re making 100s of cold calls, with about a 1% return – converting to meetings.  Note, this is not a sale, just a meeting.

After you read this…I think you’ll want more details. So here’s an opportunity.  This month, on March 26th, 1:00 PM ET, I will be presenting more on how to build your technology business – sponsored by Ingram Micro….

Sign me up!  <<< It’s free to join this event, Ingram has made it possible. Keep reading, but make sure you have a seat.

They’re wasting their time.

Not only are cold-callers wasting time – their managers will soon give up on them. Even though they are the ones that assigned the task of cold calling. The misconception is, if you make enough calls and your message is good enough, you’ll get a meeting. From there you can show them value through the amazing features of your product, and make the sale. It’s wrong thinking – 90s thinking.

Death of the Salesman

I wrote an article years ago called, “Death of a Salesman” where I explained many of these concepts. Of course, I stole the title from Arthur Miller, but I did give him credit. Sales as we know it are over. You might still be making some headway, but don’t expect it to last. 80% of purchases today are made based on Google research. Most sales calls come after the product research. The research has been done, the shopper knows the street prices, and now they want a deal.  Google is taking over the function of presales consulting.  Google knows more than you or your presales engineer will ever know.

How do you know if I’m right? Look at your conversion rates. Are you converting more than 10% of your calls to meetings? I would be surprised if more than 20% of your calls lead to anything more than voice mail. I spoke to one guy this week who is reaching 30% of his audience, but still, only about 2% are converting to meetings. Another rep in the enterprise space can’t reach anyone meaningful.  Several of my calls were with people who have recently been handed lists – they know their primary contact is too low in the food chain, and they need a way to move up. But how?

A Radical Approach to Selling

Over the past 12 months I’ve been conducting workshops on a radical approach to sales. If you look at my sales concepts in detail, you’ll see they have a lot more to do with marketing than sales. David Merman Scott recently published an article supporting this idea – sales and marketing must merge. He’s right. That doesn’t mean the marketing department goes away. We still need meeting planners, data sheets produced, and marketing graphics.  But the marketing concepts are what drive new logo business. And sales people will need to master them, essentially becoming their own marketing department.Blog Subscribe Ad

Look at the big 4 – they are consultants…but behind it all, everyone is still in sales. They create business. No one wants to meet with another sales person. And no one wants to see your corporate presentation. But there are things you can do.

Marketing is a science. The science of how we think and what we respond to. Conversion depends on great marketing. Consulting is the art of helping one move from point A to point B – where Point B is the preferred state to be in.  Can you do that?  If you think the engineers are responsible for this and your job is to set appointments – you’re wrong.  You need both. You need the ability to attract new business through marketing, and the ability to help them solve a problem at the business level. This is consulting. This is why PWC wil continue to prosper long after the technology sales person is out of work.

Can you become this person?

The answer is yes. The university system would have us think we need to go back to school, get a new degree, and start over. The truth is you can make the jump by applying the concepts given in Napoleon Hill’s well known book, Think and Grow Rich. There are 17 things to do, but the bottom line is a passion to get there. From there it’s working hard to get there. Reading the right books, working with the right coach, and being willing to invest in the right tools.  Your company may not allow you to expense these things – what should you do? Look for the ROI. If you don’t you’ll lose. Spend your money wisely, but make the investment where you’ll get a strong return.  I spend my own money on coaching, books, and marketing tools every month. It’s paid off – it’s multiplied. I’ll continue to invest.

That’s right – there are tools. Learning to use LinkedIn as a marketing platform. Learning to write great copy. And then putting your new marketing brain to work – what would attract a new logo buyer?

One of my clients actually took my advice and wrote a book!  I have it right here – he sent it to me last week and I was amazed as I held it. There’s nothing more powerful than sending your book to a VP, and then following up with an email to…not sell them something, but talk about the book. From there the sale is easy.  But you don’t have to write the book. You could send someone else’s, but it must be profound, and you must have studied it in a way that brings new applications to benefit you new prospect. Writing a special report can be almost as powerful….from there, its a matter of finding ways to get your book or report to the right people. This is a whole lot easier than cold calling.

Marketing events are still the number one way to get business. The problem is, most are doing them wrong. This won’t lead to business, and will often leave you wondering if it’s worth the investment. You’ll need to spend more to do it right. You’ll need a great speaker – which you will have to pay for. But if you can land 20 new logos, as I did a week ago, your return will be obvious.

You will also find yourself needing auto-responders, your own personal blog, hard-copy sales letters, and landing pages. These are all marketing tools, and they work. But chances are, your marketing department won’t use them in a way that creates new leads for you. It’s up to you to figure out how to use them, and how to bring in new business.   I’ll give you more in the upcoming Ingram event – What I Learned About Sales While Working on Multi-Million Dollar Projects with PWC.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. One thing I learned from PWC is how to price…resellers are losing margin every day simply by how they go about pricing….I’ll show you some strategies that are easy to apply later this month. Don’t forget to sign up.

Not only are they wasting time; their employers will soon give up on them.

dropboxHow should you approach the CIO?

Last week, while at the Boston lunch & learn I did with IOvations, I had the opportunity to engage with several CIOs over lunch (by the way, 89% of them signed up for an assessment.) I always take time to talk to executives when I can – it keeps me up to date on what they are thinking, what their concerns are, and more importantly, what they look for in a technology provider.

This one issue concerning Dropbox caught my attention – not only did one of the CIOs I met mention it, but the same issue was in the Wall Street Journal a few days later.  It’s the Dropbox approach to calling high.

I don’t like it.

In Clint Boulton’s WSJ article, CIOs See Employees Become Sales Vehicle for Unauthorized Cloud Services, he talks about the CIO’s reaction when Dropbox calls to sell them corporate licenses. According to the article, the reps are telling the CIO that they already have 300 people in the company using their free product in the cloud, so why not formalize it?  Apparently CIOs don’t like this approach.

The CIO I spoke to had the same reaction when Dropbox called on him.  He realizes that he has a problem, Dropbox won’t tell him who has the service (and they shouldn’t), but he’s unlikely to go with Dropbox – in fact he seemed annoyed by this approach.  Manipulated.

Be Your Own IT – The Future of IT Services

This is the future. End-users are going to be their own IT. CIOs have a challenge in front of them. The end-user has a job to do, and whatever apps or tools they can use to speed things up, they’re going to use. There’s no need to wait on IT. The problem is security. Using an unauthorized version of Dropbox will likely lead to end-users storing top-secret stuff in the a less secure place; the public cloud.  And since it’s not the corporate version, it won’t be centrally managed. And, when that employ leaves the company, who will have control of that data?  There are numerous issues here.

The point is, CIOs are not going to be happy about this.

So taking the Dropbox approach of, “Your people are already using my stuff, so why not formalize it,” doesn’t seem to sit well with the CIO who already feels like he’s lost control.

Regaining Control of IT.

What CIOs really need is a way to regain control.  It would be better to approach this with sympathy and some answers. “You have a lot of people using our cloud services.  This is probably not in line with your corporate policies. In fact, it may be a violation of federal regulations in your industry! So let’s see if we can figure out a better way to serve your company.”

The CIO may still not like it, but they need to feel like you’re on their side. After all, if data is compromised, the CISO and CIO are going to take the hit, not the end-user who signed up for Dropbox.  And the more cloud apps and tablets become the business tools of today, the less control the CIO is going to have. They can’t block this. We’ve seen this before with CIOs trying to restrict chat, SMS, and even Internet access itself.

In my Boston session I took this approach. I explained the importance of allowing Internet access…and promoting a high-tech approach that Millennials will embrace.  But I also shared the problems. I then provided some answers. That’s what the CIO, and the Small Business Leader need. Answers.

© 2015, David Stelzl

IMG_3007I’m often asked what books to read – but rarely asked how to read them…

Have you ever considered, how to read a book?

Following my Keynote at the BASF Sales meeting in Frankfurt Germany this week, I did an interactive session on Character; the importance of building character, and how to go about building your own character. I often ask sales groups, “Are you reading sales and marketing books?” Rarely do I find a group with more than 2 or 3 people actively reading. It’s a lost discipline.  Reading is central to building character.

Mark Twain once said, “The people you spend time with and the books you read determine who you will be five years from now.” That includes both character and skills.

Andrew Carnegie – From Failure to Success

In preparation for my session I was reading about Andrew Carnegie. At an early age he and his family emigrated to the US from Scotland. he was penniless.  By age 30 he had his own business in the steel industry, and by age 60 he was one of the wealthiest people in America. He donated millions to the New York Library, and founded what is now, JP Morgan.  William Thayer, in a book on character writes, “He had few school privileges, for at the early age of 14 he was compelled to quit school forever to earn his daily bread.” How did he become so wealthy? Thayer goes on, “He could read more or less every day…he was a thinker…he was never satisfied without knowing the reason of things.”

How to Read

Later in the book he talks about how to read.  Of course, most of us in business can read. Hopefully you can read this…but that’s not what he’s talking about.  In his section on reading he states, “Get a habit, a passion for reading; not flying from book to book, with the squeamish caprice of a literary epicure, but read systematically, closely, thoughtfully, analyzing every subject as you go along, and laying it up carefully and safely in your memory. It is only by this mode that your information will be at the same time extensive, accurate, and useful.”

How I Read

I started to apply these principles in college. Up until then, books sat unread on my shelf. And those  I did read, I didn’t retain. You would know that from some of my high school english lit. grades.  Today I read every day. I read on the plane, before going to sleep, and often in the morning as well. I also listen to audio books while exercising.

Highlighter in hand, I find that marking my books up helps me pick out the important stuff. I also create a cheat sheet of page numbers and important facts in the books I really care about (I make these note on one of the blank pages at the front of the book). If a book is not helpful, I quickly abandon it. I either sell it or toss it to create more landfill.  The ones that make the cut are on my shelf for future reference.

Video is great – but in many ways I think it has made us lazy. I enjoy watching a great movie. But looking back, it’s the books I’ve not only ready, but studied that have made significant impact on my life and my business.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Speaking of books, have you read the updated House & The Cloud?  Even if you have the old version, you’ll want to read this one. It’s a complete rewrite, designed to address today’s security market with cloud, BYOD, and the digital, connected generation of workers taking over business right now.

Get it on Amazon.…  << Click to visit Amazon.Com

I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday morning after a great lunch & learn with IOvations in Boston.  In Boston I was surrounded by 6 foot piles of snow – here the weather is perfect early spring, sunny, and beautiful.  A few pictures from my walk around town on Sunday…this afternoon I will be delivering a keynote speech to the BASF sales organization on how to build an amazing value proposition.  Later I have a breakout session on the importance of building character in your organization, and some practical steps on how to do it.

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bill sieglein videoBack from my Florida vacation, and into snowy Boston.  This afternoon I’ll be speaking to IT leaders in Boston (Many thanks to IOVations and Check Point for their sponsorship and participation!) Education is critical right now….I had the opportunity to interview Bill Sieglein, Founder of the CISO Executive Network, earlier this week. (Part of my SVLC Insiders Circle) Perfect timing in preparation for this event.

There’s a lot of buzz out there right now about information sharing, Obama, Sony, and most recently the catastrophic losses at Anthem (Where a Hackers stole data on up to 80 million current and former Anthem health care customers, including names, birth dates, Social Security and medical ID numbers, email addresses, street addresses, telephone numbers and employment data , including income.)

Mr. Sieglein works with thousands of CISOs throughout the U.S. through a series of roundtables where they discuss the current trends, share ideas, and look for answers. I had the opportunity to ask Bill about this Obama info sharing proposal. Will this actually help? He and I both agree, it’s not the answer. This morning the WSJ published an article on this subject written by Steve Norton. who I’ve also met through past CSI interactions.  The bottom line – “Focusing solely on sharing specific threat information “only addresses one facet of a very complex space,” Mr. Libicki said in prepared remarks. “It is therefore highly questionable whether efforts to achieve information-sharing deserve the political energy that they are currently taking up.” More government oversight won’t stop hackers.

However, education can go a long way. Sieglein made the comment, “CISOs struggle to get the attention they need from other senior managers.” He went on to say, they do recognize that this is not about compliance – security and compliance are very different. It’s about predicted security and risk management.

In this afternoon’s session I plan to spend some time on the growing trends of mobility, cloud, and consumerization, and how these initiatives affect security. I’ll spend some time on the two big things companies are doing right now that are leading to big losses – one of them is, as I wrote in Data@Risk, the detection strategy is weak, or non-existent.

This issue us growing. If you’re not out there educating, you’re missing a great opportunity to help companies gain ground in the security battle. This is not a product sale. It’s a chance to help – which is a win/win for technology providers who understand the problem, and who have equipped their team to help solve it.

P.S. Next month’s SVLC Insider’s Circle Interview is with John Sileo – ID Theft Expert and Author of Privacy Means Profit. You can join us if you sell security technology or MSSP services – HERE.

Apple Video

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Apple – Bigger Than Microsoft? How Can That Be?

Apple, $683, Microsoft $338 Billion (Market Cap).  Wow! (Be Sure to watch the video above).

This morning as I read this I was thinking about my Mac 128 – the one I purchased as part of Drexel University’s computer science program – one of the first accredited computer science programs offered in the U.S.  It was a great computer and it was the first Mac.  Today I’m sitting in front of my Macbook Pro. This one actually has a hard drive in it…I’m connected to various cloud apps, made calls to Europe on it this morning, and am sharing documents around the world, monitoring the other Mac’s on my local network, and syncing with my iPhone – the other half of my IT infrastructure.

How did Apple get here?

If you’ve not read Steve Job’s life story, I highly recommend it – if you’re in the IT space. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m saying when I say, “I had no idea.” Back in 1984 I had no idea who Apple really was, who Steve Jobs was, or Bill Gates. But reading about Steve’s life has been eye opening at the least. Regardless of the baggage you’ll read about, he was a genius. It’s amazing story or rags to riches…Blog Subscribe Ad

Now, have you read Simon Sinek’s book, Start with WHY? Interesting, Simon wrote this book in 2009. Apple was growing – but Simon had no idea Apple would be where they are today. Looking back at what he wrote, his wisdom is validated. People buy your WHY before they buy your WHAT. If you haven’t read his book – you should read it now. Apple is the company he’s talking about.

Taking the Risk vs. Following the Trend

Today’s Business Times article explains how Apple got to where they are today.  Read it!  <<  CLICK.

The iPhone – Steve was right. People can do everything they did on iPods, with a phone. And by making the phone bigger, they not only cannibalized  their iPod business, they ate into their tablet business.  “The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk,… But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket.” (BusinessTimes).

The article goes on the show that “Microsoft has repeatedly tried to diversify, and continues to do so … But “it’s been more of a follower whereas Apple has been more of a trendsetter.”

The Wake Up Call To Resellers

This business is changing. I don’t know how long Apple can hold this leadership position. No one stays in front forever. But the bigger thing on my mind as I read this is the technology reseller business. Years ago Novell led the charge in building a successful channel – many have followed, and  there are some great channel programs out there. But the technology sales business is changing. In the 90s, Unix systems made the firm I was working for very successful. In 2000 it was VoIP. in 2003 I was running my own consulting company, helping resellers convert to Managed Services.

Those who are still hanging onto these offerings are doing the opposite of what Apple is doing. There are two things to focus on right now – helping clients gain a competitive advantage (largely through software), and helping them build in greater levels of security as they transition to cloud, BYOD, and online collaborate tools.  Those who wait will be too late.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Do You Have Your Copy of The NEW House & The Cloud?  << Get it on Amazon…

raleighYesterday I spent the day with business leaders in Raleigh, N.C.  Thanks to The Teneo Group and Check Point for sponsoring this educational event.

There’s a lot going on in the security space – I expect to see more security issues than ever before as we move further into this year….

My keynote focused on coming trends as the workforce transitions from Baby-Boomers to Millennials – the C-Generation.  This generation, according to recent WSJ reports, is not as concerned with security breaches. In fact, the assumption is that everyone has everyone’s data already so it’s not a big deal.  This is dangerous thinking. The other major mistake is trading security for convenience. I just finished an interview with a company in the mid-west, talking about EMR  and the future of healthcare security. The medical world is way behind when it comes to securing data, and the EMR movement is largely focused on accessing records, not restricting access. Expect to be compromised, and watch carefully to make sure people aren’t buying expensive medical equipment under your name – to be sold on the black market.

At the end of the event, The Teneo Group offered to assess the security of any company attending. Every company signed up! This is an important step for every company.  The traditional security assessments being conducted by most companies are not effective, and the pen-tests required by compliance regulations provide the wrong information.

© 2015, David Stelzl