Archives For software

Is Webex a good tool for selling over the phone?

Some sales calls lend themselves to Webex or some other form of web collaboration software.  For the same reason I don’t really like PowerPoint for an initial sales call, when Webex is used to show PowerPoint on a long distance sales call, I find it takes away from the interactive experience I am looking for.  On the other hand, if you are at the point of demonstrating a software product (meaning you have a software product to sell), it may do the trick.

The secret to success is in knowing when and how to use it.  If you have a product you intend to demo, using Webex can be highly productive and cost effective.  Once again, shooting from the hip is bound to result in lost sales.  On the other hand, if your call is qualified, you have the right people on the call, and your product is attention grabbing in a demo, you have the foundation for success.  But you still need a well thought-out sales strategy.  Starting with success stories is the best way to go, then having already understood the company’s core needs, come prepared to demo just those attributes that matter.  Like radio, dead air time is dead.  It’s not like being there, so you can’t afford dead air while you navigate through countless software menus looking for something to show them.  In fact, in my opinion, sales teams that rely on these remote communication tools require more training and practice than those who sell in person.  Without the personal touch, your presentation must be executed flawlessly with a strong follow-up plan.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Photo by Hannah Stelzl

I returned from DC last night, having spent the day with a solution provider in the software space.  One thing  that stands out and is worth repeating here is the discovery of a profit multiplier.  According to Jim Collins, every company should have an economic engine, and most resellers can put more on the bottom line if they figure out what the multiplier are and where profits are leaking out.  The comment that triggered our direction should be understood by all resellers, “Thinking your sales  team will double sales this year simply by working harder is tempting by unrealistic.”  I would add, that setting strong financial goals and then hoping to acheive them without a significant change to the way you do business is foolish thinking.

Once identified, we were able to come up with twenty ways to stop the leak.  Not all 20 will prove to be do-able or realistic short term fixes, but 4 or 5 of them stood out clearly as ways to multiply bottom line profits over the next several months.

Isn’t it worth taking some time out of the field to study the business model, identify the levers that multiply the business, and formulate a strategy to get them in motion?  This is what it means to work on the business rather than always working in the business.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Is there ever a time to charge less?  In fact there is…

(Remember Crazy Eddie? – funny, but the wrong approach for your company.)

1. If a company’s terms put payment way out there, often a discount for upfront payment is warranted.  While speaker’s fees generally are prepaid, consulting fees are not.  Using a fixed fee model allows you to invoice early, and many companies actually have a policy to accept early teams with a 10% discount.  An added benefit comes in that the project is much less likely to be downsized or canceled when fees are prepaid.

2. Subcontractor work or business where you are no the front line seller can also be discounted since there is little cost of sale, and possibly less or no commission being paid.

3. Certain referral sales may also be discounted since your prospecting time is low.

Note: Challenging economic times are not justification for discounts.  Instead, figure out what value is needed to move people, and find things to do that justify themselves based on value.

Finally, should you do something for free?  Yes.  I’d rather do work at full price, tossing in some pro bono work when called for, than discount across the board.  As I have mentioned, once you start discounting, your street price goes down and cannot be regained.  On the other hand, if a client is in desperation or you have enormous competitive pressure while entering a new market, pro bono work can be performed without creating a long term expectation.  Bottom line, you control pro bono work, discounts control you.

© 2010, David Stelzl

I’ve just arrived in Dallas to kick off the week with BMC partners and a workshop on great messaging – here are some thoughts from my young entrepreneurs just before heading out…check it out: