Selling Again: Your Biggest Missed Opportunity

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Next week, I’ll be spending lots of time at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco with people who think about revenue.

One of the topics I will be discussing with those revenue leaders is how to take advantage of the biggest revenue opportunity of all: selling to your current customers.

If your business depends on recurring revenue (for example, your customers buy subscriptions of some kind, say cloud services), then you not only have an enormous opportunity right in front of you, but if you overlook that opportunity, you are placing your business at significant risk.

Let me illustrate: Let’s say you sell a cloud (or other online) service. Your customers pay for a one-year subscription when they sign up, then pay for one year at a time every year when they renew — if they renew.

Your growth target for this year is 50%. But your churn rate (percentage of customers who do not renew) is 20%. That means you need to sell 70% more this year than you did last year to make your growth target.

I’m guessing your growth target is already a stretch. Can you really beat it by 20% or more?

Or should you take a different approach?

I help my clients focus on the relationships they’ve already built with their customers and building a sales and marketing process to make sure more of them renew and fewer leave.

Read my recommendations at the Sales 2.0 Conference Blog.

And join me in San Francisco on April 8th and 9th.


Reacting is not a process, but must be learned #s20c

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At the Sales 2.0 conference today, my friend Caitlin Roberson asked me about how looking at the sales process from the customer perspective makes buying easier


Another one of the core tenets of Sales 2.0 is that we as sellers should make the buying process as easy as possible for our customer.
But again, we work hard to remove friction from our selling process, we do what we think our customers want and we remove some of the friction. But still we are left with friction and complexity that drives away some of our prospects.
The key to decreasing friction by another order of magnitude is the same thing that marketers are just learning to do in social media marketing, and that companies are learning to do (often with our help) in deepening the value and return on customer relationships. You must:
Look at your process from the buyer’s point of view
In marketing, we call this “listening” and the obstacle that we faced is that listening isn’t (or wasn’t) an activity we could measure on our status reports and so we didn’t do much of it. We’ve learned how to do this and why it’s valuable.
In sales,  it’s called reactivity. Sales reps need to learn how to be reactive to buyer needs and readiness to move along in the buying process. But reacting is hard to put into a process and measure, but we must learn how to do this.
Leading-edge sales organizations are now starting to incorporate reacting into their process, learning to monitor social and other points at which buyers take action and making sure that sales reps deliver appropriate responses at those times. Early data is showing significant increases in likelihood of close when just a few reaction points are included in a sales process.
How are you reacting to your buyer’s expressed needs and readiness to I’ve along the buying process? Tell us in the comments!

Join me at @westcoastgreen ( #wcg10 ); Discounted/Free passes available (updated with links)

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I have the privilege of having been invited to speak at West Coast Green this year, the premier conference on green innovation. West Coast Green focused on the built environment, but also discussed the latest innovations in sustainability and the businesses growing up around the clean economy.

I’ll be leading a panel discussion on the afternoon of September 30 which will focus on some of the more challenging issues facing clean-tech and other sustainability-related start-ups and growing companies face. Building on what we’ve learned from clients who adopt solutions from these young companies, I’ll be leading an audience of entrepreneurs in challenging a panel of experts on critical business topics to come up with solutions that will help their companies cross the dreaded “valley of death” and move from start-up to market success.

I’m privileged to have on this panel these leading experts in their fields:

  • Cindy Jennings, VP, Cohn Marketing. With perspective from a wide range of industries, Cindy is a sustainability marketing and communications expert
  • Will Sarni, CEO, Domani. For 30 years, Will has consulted on sustainability issues and is now an advisor to clean-tech start-ups
  • Anneke Seley, CEO, PhoneWorks. In addition to building sales and marketing process for growing companies, Anneke is pushing the envelope as the leader of the Sales 2.0 movement.

DS3 has secured discounts on attendance for our community. If you’re interested in joining us for this exciting session and seeing what else this three-day event has to offer, please register for a full-conference pass (30% discount) or a trade-show-floor-only pass (free).

Please add your voice to the comments if you have thoughts about the top challenges facing start-ups as they work to achieve market success and a growing revenue stream.

I hope I’ll see you there!