How I Teach Technoprenuers to Act Like Fortune 500 Tech Shop?

Teaching Technopreneurs running a $3M tech shop to act like Fortune 500 Silicon Valley enterprise is less of a business switch and more of a mental adjustment.

 

It’s the same story almost every time I talk to a Technopreneur who runs a small/ mid-tier Cloud, a Big Data or CyberSecurity company.

 

They are struggling to grow, they are taking every meeting with any potential client they can get, they end up with awful clients, and although they have confidence in their abilities and service, they don’t have a clear direction of where to go next.

 

The first thing I tell them to do is to stop chasing business. The second thing I tell them to do is to treat their firm like what it is: a business selling a service to another B2B business or a consumer who buys a thousand things a year.

“You’re not as different as you think you are.”

Technopreneurs I talk to almost universally treat their firms as some entity that is separate from the world of business. I get it, I have been in this industry for ages, and the amount of tradition, rules, education path, and history behind the tech industry makes it seem like it’s less of an industry and more of a collection of like-minded professionals.

 

But the truth is, tech firms operate in the exact same environment as every other business. Just ask the clients.

 

One of the first hard conversations I have to have with a Technopreneur who wants to improve their business metrics, is that their clients are used to interacting with services and businesses in a very specific manner.

 

People are being bombarded with the latest marketing mix from massive corporations, to local businesses in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Although the methods may change with the ebb and flow of technology and research, people have become accustomed to personalized and immediate access to brands and information.

 

The hard-hitting revelation to Technopreneurs is that although their services are specialized, pricy, and important… they are just that: services for other businesses who buy a thousand things a year. The same methods of growing a tech firm in 1998 just aren’t going to cut it for today’s short attention span consumers.

Blissful ignorance isn’t the norm.

I’m not saying people are less likely to pay attention to information than they were 30-40 years ago when handshakes sold tech services, in fact I’m saying quite the opposite. The short attention spans, and the marketing that caters to those spans, exist because buyers are ravenous about information.

 

Services are no longer assumed useful just because there’s another tech firm with a few extra years of experience standing behind brand. In fact, we’ve moved far beyond the ‘trust but verify’ stage of marketing into the realm of distrust until proven otherwise. People do their own research today for everything they consume, and the firms that still don’t have a modern online presence boggle my mind.

 

I was talking to a tech firm just the other week that had a potentially multi-million dollar revenue client referred to them by another firm and they lost that client because their website looked like a mouse rolled across a keyboard when their developer stepped away from their laptop.

 

A poor website broke the holy grail of new clients – a referral. If evidence of a poor web presence breaking the cornerstone of tech everywhere isn’t enough evidence to show that firms need to catch up with modern marketing, then it looks like the firms that do get it are going to have their pick of the litter.

 

How firms can borrow from the Fortune 500

We’ve established that the business who need tech products or services are the same consumers who buy from hundreds of other companies and that they will have the same general process for acquiring services and products. Naturally, Technopreneur who want to appeal to today’s buyers need to borrow some of the strategies from successful multi-billion dollar tech enterprises.

 

Here’s what I tell tech firms who need to grow:

  1. Know exactly who you want to walk through your door. A mid-size firm should know the demographics and the case types of their best clients. One of the first things I tell a firm to do is to stop chasing potential clients they don’t actually want and focus on discovering potential clients that will set the firm up for success. Creating fictional buyer personas, or ideal client personas, is a great way to know who to look for.
  2. Don’t sink your time into marketing. Technopreneurs think that they have to split their time between attracting new clients and working with current clients. I say that they didn’t spend years in the tech industry to become marketers, and marketing is changing at light speed (way faster than the tech you MUST stay on top of). Find a way to have an expert run a successful marketing strategy for you, and then focus on representing your clients and providing quality service.
  3. Interact personally with your potential clients and don’t wait until they are in your office. Consumers are used to getting the service they need from the comfort of their favorite chair at home. This only raises the barrier to getting a potential client into your office. Interact with your ideal client groups before they ever set foot in your office. Run webinars, post frequently on social media, and give your potential clients a library of videos so that they can feel like they are getting to know you. After all, you can find a video on just about any company outside of the tech industry.
  4. Set goals and measure everything. Running a tech firm is a business, and it wouldn’t make sense for a business to be throwing money at initiatives without any idea if they will work. Tech firms should measure every marketing activity and Technopreneurs should have a solid grasp of what their marketing strategy is doing, what their KPIs are, and how their marketing mix is currently performing. On any given day, Technopreneurs should be able to look up their current return on their marketing spend and at the same time, understand the trend of the strategy as a whole.

 

That’s they way Technopreneurs should shift their thinking and start acting like Fortune 500 Tech shop.

 

Are you ready?

 

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P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.  Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.  Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3   Join our Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action and grow. Best Wishes.

Segment

Why It’s Easy To Get 80% Share In a Niche Segment?

Peter Theil in his book ‘Zero to One’ wrote, “It’s much better to be the last mover—that is, to make the last great development in a specific market and enjoy years or even decades of monopoly profits. The way to do that is to dominate a small niche and scale up from there, toward your ambitious long-term vision”

Do you get what he is trying to say?

It is actually easy to get 80% market share in a niche than go broad competing with everyone.

Don’t you like that situation for your business?

When you think about markets like fast food, technology or business, what are the first names that come to mind? McDonald’s? Apple? Trump? Probably. The seconds — or the rest — simply don’t even exist.

The point is there are only one or two names that will leap to mind in any category.

They own the category. They are the category. 

And that’s where you want to be with your technology business.

If you are in the $500K to $2M in annual revenue, you better focus on a niche and scale. It’s far easier to do this than to compete with IBM, Infosys and Accenture!

But how can you get to be first?

The answer to being first is not to simply “become visible”.

Any joker with a webcam and a YouTube account can become visible and get millions of hits and comments. They may even get picked up on the evening news and have their 15 minutes of fame.

But so what?

You want to be visible in a way that is trusted, sought after, highly paid, in demand and authoritative.

Your aim is to be visible with authority. So visibility isn’t enough.

But you have another, even bigger problem. The bitter truth is that most markets are really crowded. The leader in any category has often been established for years, if not decades and will be difficult to replace.

That’s the situation most of us find ourselves in.

But I have a simple solution.

Why not simply redefine the marketplace you’re in altogether? Invent a new category altogether that you can dominate and be Number One?

 

 

Here are tips on how to go about creating your Market of One:

1. Know your word (your category).

You should have one word that describes your category or niche. At most you should have four to five words that communicate one concept.

In the technology industry, it can be for example ‘we solve complex analytics problem in Oil & Gas’. Or it can be ‘we take team collaboration in the financial industry to orbit level’.

If this positioning already exists, unfortunately, someone is already number one in all of that category.

So you have to pick a smaller box to own. How about “team collaboration in Fintech space for companies under 10M in revenue’?” That’s definitely a smaller box, right? Who’s selling “team collaboration technology for early Fintech companies”?

Can’t think of anyone? Perfect. Your word shouldn’t bring anyone else to mind.

There’s your opportunity to be number one.

2. Know 8 other words (your positioning).

So you’ve defined your category. Now it’s time to define your positioning.

Jay Conner Levinson wrote a great book called Guerilla Marketing. Where he delivers one compelling truth: if you can’t put your position into 8 words or less, you don’t have one.

Ouch, right? But it’s true.

You might not want to put your position in 8 words. You might be afraid that 8 words will narrow your position too much. That you’ll get pigeonholed. But that pigeonhole is EXACTLY where you want to be.

A pigeonhole will clarify exactly your point of difference and help you stand out.

 

3. Own your box

Let me share a weird theory with you.

Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes, had this idea that your mind is filled with a finite number of little boxes that get all filled up. For something new to come in, something else has to leave.

Imagine your prospects’ minds are like that.

They have all these little boxes and one thought or person or company owns each box.

You want your category and your positioning to own one of those little boxes.

You don’t need the entire mind — you just need one little box that is 100% yours.

And then you’ll be Number One.

And as Number One, guess what? You just won.

So go create your Market of One and start getting all the privileges — from more clients to more cash — that a leader inevitably enjoys.

 

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P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.  Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.  Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3   Join our Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action and grow. Best Wishes.

Is Your Sales Team Bridging The Value Gap?

If you are a sales leader, I am sure you are hearing a lot of these from your sellers right now.

“Clients are indecisive. They can’t make up their mind. They are not ready for cloud”.

“I have qualified the deal but client stakeholders are not moving the opportunity. Analytics is not top priority”.

“I thought they wanted sales force automation. Got the right signals. But now it’s dragging beyond reasons I can’t fathom”.

I often hear salespeople and sales leaders express their frustration with not getting deals closed or their inability to get prospects to move through the sales cycle.

Deals get stuck for lots of reasons, one of the big ones is because no one is finding the value gap or measuring the gap. If clients are not able to experience the ‘value gap‘ between the place they currently are and the place they want to go, there is no incentive for a change.

It does not matter if you are selling Analytics, a new transaction platform, digital stack, a version of cloud technology or state of the art Cognitive AI.

If you miss the value gap, technology is just a moot point.

The value gap influences everything. The bigger the gap the greater the return. Big gaps can also mean greater complexity, more change, and more money. The smaller the gap, the smaller the return.

Whether customers or prospects are aware or not, the gap plays a heavy role in their decision to buy or not, as well as how they buy. Do they move quickly or slowly? Do they get a lot of people involved or no one involved? The value gap can’t be ignored.

 

To identify the value gap requires a solid understanding of where the customer is today,

  • What is their current state?
  • What are the current frustrations?
  • What are they doing now?
  • Why they do them that way?
  • What the current outcomes are
  • What is the impact to the organization?
  • Who is affected

The next part is to understand where they want to go tomorrow,

  • Where do they want to go/be?
  • How should their tomorrow be?
  • What should they be doing tomorrow?
  • Why do they want to do them that way?
  • What are the new expected outcomes?
  • Whats the new impact to the organization?
  • Who benefits?

In fact, the value gap should be addressed as part of your go-to-market strategy where you clearly identify the value perception of your customer segment and incorporate in your product roadmap and marketing messages as well.

When you’re selling, your team should focus on the value gap and target the impact. The value gap is what influences how people buy. The value gap creates the baseline or the comparison from what we have to today to what we’ll have tomorrow.

Is your sales team trained to dig deep and discover value gaps? Do you zone in on value gaps in your cadence meetings? Are you finding ways to bring the value gaps and make it part of your win plans?

If not, do it right away. Else your deals will stall in the pipe and might not even move forward an inch.

 

********************************************

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.  Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.  Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3   Join our Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action and grow. Best Wishes.

Why Segment Accounts to Accelerate Sales?

Recently, I met up with 10 technology P&L leaders and asked them what ‘Sales Enablement’ meant to them?

Over half of them responded that sales enablement consists of developing sales productivity materials.

Well, that’s only part of it and there are many tools you can use to increase sales productivity. Account segmentation is one of the most important areas they had completely missed. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors.

Your sales team must be having a bunch of these questions for which they don’t have any definite answer:

  • What accounts do I call?
  • Where are the best opportunities?
  • What accounts should I contact first?
  • How can I improve my results?

Do your Sales Operations or Enablement teams have good answers?

Well, here is a point of view.

 

What is Account Segmentation?

Why is this important? Not all accounts are created equal. Some of your accounts will spend a little, and others will spend a lot. Some will spend this year, and others will spend next year. Some will respond well to your value proposition and others will respond well to your competitor’s value proposition. If you cannot rank accounts best to worst on revenue potential and propensity to buy, you will miss the number.

So segmenting accounts helps a lot in deploying your sales resources to the right accounts.

 

But then why Segment Markets?

Customers are different. Some are small, while others are large. Some are driven by price, while others want the best service. Some want breadth of services, while others want a targeted offering. Some are early adopters, while others prefer battle-tested solutions. In the end, segmentation helps salespeople meet the needs of a diverse customer base.

Segmentation also helps create Ideal Customer Profiles or ICPs. These are target accounts with the greatest spend potential at the lowest acquisition cost. Accounts are scored and prioritized using a flexible formula. The formula applies to current customers, opportunities, and prospects. Sales Reps are then better able to prioritize up-sell, cross-sell, and new acquisition activities.

 

How can you Segment Markets?

The best segmentation plans use three categories: profile, behavior, and needs. They are often blended together to effectively target customers and prospects. Understanding who they are, what they do, and their needs are important. This helps salespeople satisfy a diverse customer base. Ultimately this approach translates into:

  • Larger deals
  • Faster sales
  • Better win rates

 

What should an account segment process result in?

An effective Account Segmentation process delivers:

  • A prioritized list of current customers and prospects
  • Potential spend figures for all customer types
  • An Ideal Customer Profile
  • A completely analyzed customer master database

This allows you to help sales with bigger deals and improved win rates.

If you are not using account segments to rationalize and deploy your sales resources, you are simply not being efficient in your selling strategy. This one exercise can save you a lot of sales bandwidth and yield 10X results.

 

Why the link between marketing and sales teams break?

Smarketing, where marketing and sales work as one dream team, sounds so simple yet it ain’t!

Your revenue engine works best when Sales and Marketing are working in lockstep, yet for many organizations, this is just a dream. Their tools, tactics, metrics, and mindsets get in the way of making this fantasy a reality.

This dysfunction exists in both large and small companies.

And a lot of times when you have a sales team and a marketing team, each of those team’s goal is a little bit different, or maybe individual members within those teams have a different goal that is their top goal.

And, this happens, a lot of times, because of the ways that we incentivize teams.

Salespeople are incentivized to makes sales, that’s how they make money, you promote them when they make a lot of sales. In some companies, there are team incentives where if you all hit quota, then everyone gets some sort of incentive as well.

The way the marketing team is incented can be a lot different. They may not have solid targets like sellers and it’s never a make or break situation every quarter.

This typically results in two breeds of people in any company. The marketers and the salespeople. Different thinking, different behaviors and different motions. The little things we do from the incentives to just the way we talk about our teams lead us to have these factions.

Another thing that happens, an easy way to get a little bit more of a team thing going on, is we actually physically sit the salespeople and the marketing people away from each other. I think it’s actually really important to mix people.

We are energy being first and we would love to be part of a team that is excited and energetic. When you actually have people mix, or even better, switch seats, people start to empathize with each other more.

I would strongly recommend that for great teamwork to unfold, everyone needs to feel like they are part of one team.

 

If we can have one leader drive lead to deal, like a Chief Revenue Officer, who is able to plan KPIs, incentives to build one team that works towards ONE GOAL – you can definitely move towards a Smarketing DNA.

Will you?

 

 

Why Poor Enablement Leads To Sales People Failing?

There has been much written and discussed on how sales people fail themselves. Totally agree. But then there is another side to the story.

Poor sales enablement by the company!

Yes! Sales people fail because their company fails them. It happens all the time. The only difference between when sales people fail themselves vs when sales people fail because of their company — the company rarely gets blamed.

Often times there is no revenue strategy that drives go to market plans, product, marketing and sales function.

I have seen these situations a lot around me. When it happens and it’s a crying shame.

Sales people are only part of a two part system to drive sales. Sales people are the tip of the spear, they are the executors and if they aren’t doing the right things, nothing is getting done. With that said, the company has a job too, and if they aren’t doing their job, it doesn’t matter how good sales is, ain’t nothing gonna happen.

Sales people fail because they company fails them and when the company fails them the isn’t doing some or all of these things;

  1. There is no solid revenue strategy and a ‘Go to Market’ plan
  2. The business model no longer fits the market
  3. Poor territory development
  4. Poor sales process and review mechanisms
  5. They don’t provide a good competitive product. In 2018, it’s all about providing business outcomes.
  6. They aren’t providing solid sales support (enablement)
  7. They don’t have a solid on boarding process
  8. They have unrealistic quotas
  9. They don’t provide adequate training
  10. The have horrible hiring practices
  11. They don’t have a sales culture through out the entire company
  12. They lack sales leadership
  13. They don’t listen to the sales people
  14. No lead development
  15. Weak sales messaging
  16. Lack of market understanding
  17. Slow product upgrades, improvements
  18. High prices
  19. Weak marketing department
  20. They micro manage
  21. No room for failure
  22. Too much room for failure (never make quota, and still have a job)
  23. Bad talent management
  24. No coaching
  25. Poor communication
  26. It’s political and bureaucratic
  27. Over zealous legal
  28. Unrealistic expectations
  29. Can’t deliver product, they can’t implement
  30. Crappy customer service
  31. Poor customer retention
  32. Not enough tools (salesforce automation, CRM’s, etc.)
  33. Don’t embrace social media
  34. Don’t recognize it’s 2018 NOT 2002!

This is one long list of ways sales people fail, because of their company.

It’s too easy to blame the sales person or the sales team for falling revenue, for poor sales results, but before we do, we need to take a good long look at the company. Is it providing the sales team with what it needs to crush it? Often times, the answer is no.

It’s time companies become accountable for sales success and failure as much as the sales individuals.

How does your company stack up?

If you want a top-notch sales organization, hire top-notch sales people AND then give them everything they need to be successful, which starts with avoiding EVERYTHING on this list.

Yes, companies CAN be the reason sales people fail.

Build Your Own Sales Process and Trust It!

Start answering these questions:

 

1. Do you have a standardised lead and opportunity management process that has been rolled-out to anyone who hunts?

2. Is your demand and opportunity management process is consistently followed by marketing and sales teams?

3. Does your demand management process align with how your buyers (segment wise) make purchase decisions?

4. Is your sales cycle length is shorter than your competitors?

5. Is your conversion and win rate is higher than your competitors? Do you know?

6. Is your average deal size is higher than your competitors? Is it growing quarter on quarter?

7. Is your Demand Management process are embedded into your CRM system and actively used by marketing and sales?

9. Are you running weekly cadence on Leading, and Lagging KPIs that determine success and/or failure?

10. Are you deploying feedback from this process to make it even more robust?

 

If you want to sell better, start creating your own, repeatable processes that will get you to your goal.

 

Just like losing weight, each one of us have to figure a way that works for us. Getting lost in umpteen weight loss plans, apps, gadgets, and recommendation is often the case with many of us. Picking one plan, one process per buying journey and staying disciplined to set of activities will definitely get you off to a good start and deliver results.

 

Improving from that place of progress is much easier than frequently flipping over to multiple approaches, processes and activities.

 

Too many TechCEOs and selling teams just get lost in a bunch of activities without a plan. They make calls. The write emails. They read books. They follow up on tasks, etc. But what is missing with most sales people is consistent, reliable, processes that increase the probability of making their numbers.

 

If you want to sell better, step back and analyse how you do what you do. Start learning to ask WHY?

  • Do you know why your customer buy from you?
  • Have you segmented your market based on how your clients buy?
  • Have you set up sales process in line with buying process?
  • Does your marketing team know how to drive demand per segment?
  • Do they have clear execution path?
  • Do your seller hunters know what to do?
  • Why do you call when you call?
  • Are they the right times?
  • Why do you write the emails you write?
  • Are they the correct emails?
  • When do you prospect vs. follow up on existing pipeline opportunities?
  • How do you manage open tasks?
  • What tools have you/do you incorporate into your daily routine.
  • Why do you use the tools you use today?
  • Why are you using the current cadence that you use?
  • What are the outcomes you expect from each process?
  • What happens if it’s not delivering?
  • How are you identifying new companies to call, or connect with?
  • How do you know when to change things up, etc.?

 

The best Tech firms people build repeatable sales processes that increase their probability of being successful.

 

Take inventory of your demand and opportunity management process and evaluate how you execute. Where is there room for improvement? How can you maximise your chance of success?

 

What things can you do, repeatedly, that will get you more opportunities, accelerate the sales cycle, increase the average deal size and more.

 

The times you are most successful is when you put a solid measurable process in place. It’s when you become an expert in “how” something can be done. When we become experts in how to do something we increase the probability of getting it done and done well.

 

Start analysing your work flows, your work processes and how you execute. Look to build effective, repeatable methods to do your job and then trust the process. Too often we underestimate the power of execution. It’s not enough to just do. We have to do it well also.

 

In our case, we have used a consistent prospecting process, set of KPIs and a solid CRM (Hubspot) to drive our sales pipeline.

 

 

We know how we will qualify and move our Subscribers to become leads and further to become sales qualified leads. We have honed our process over a period of 5 months and now we know how to go after our Ideal Customers and Prospects.

 

This has resulted in a consistent increase in our pipeline and movement towards our sales goal.

 

If you want to get better at selling, build your own processes and trust them.

 

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P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.