Combo Prospecting - The Powerful One-Two Punch That Fills Your Pipeline and Wins Sales.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: Thank you for downloading this AMACOM eBook. Sign up for our newsletter, AMACOM BookAlert, and receive special offers, access to free samples, and info on the latest new releases from AMACOM, the book publishing division of American Management Association. To sign up, visit our website: To learn more about the American Management Association visit: The copyright information for this title may be found at the end of this eBook file. ADVANCE PRAISE FOR COMBO PROSPECTING “In a fad-filled sales world that loves silver bullets, Tony Hughes gut-punches us with what’s real and what works. COMBO Prospecting addresses the challenges of prospecting with unflinching courage. Sales reps must master prospecting or starve. Companies must embrace prospecting or be run over by competitors who are not afraid to attack the top of the sales funnel. Tony doesn’t mince words in these pages. My advice: read it twice and apply its clear lessons daily. Your success will thank you.” —CHRIS BEALL, CEO, ConnectAndSell, Inc. “This is a manual for dealing with the biggest problem confronting business leaders, entrepreneurs, and salespeople today . . . not enough opportunity pipeline. Yet lack of closable deals is really a symptom of deeper issues, and you must not solely rely on others to generate the leads and opportunities needed for success. Instead, you must take control and step into the hard-core prospecting fight cage yourself . . . you’re not really a leader or a serious salesperson unless you do! This book explains how any business-to-business seller can transform results to become a knock-out success. It is filled with practical steps, real examples, and actionable insights. You’ll be able to create your own plan worthy of becoming a world champion in your industry.” —JEB BLOUNT, bestselling author of Fanatical Prospecting “Creating sales pipeline is one of the top issues facing sales organizations today and foundational for sales success. Combining proven sales strategies with modern methods of engagement is a winning combination for prospecting in today’s competitive marketplace. Tony’s book explains how to intelligently embrace technology to consistently deliver outstanding sales results.” —TIFFANI BOVA, analyst, sales strategist, and growth adviser, Salesforce “Opening is the new closing because nothing happens with a sale unless you can first get in front of decision makers with the right agenda. Tony’s book nails what it takes to cut through all the noise facing executive buyers, and he understands the importance of human connection in a digital world.” —ANTHONY IANNARINO, bestselling author and transformational sales strategist “Tony Hughes is one of the very few voices I listen to when it comes to pipeline creation and new business development—and you should, too! The sales world needed COMBO Prospecting and this book delivers exactly what you need to know and do to succeed creating your own sales opportunities. Read it and implement. Now.” —MIKE WEINBERG, author of the AMACOM bestsellers New Sales. Simplified. and Sales Management. Simplified. “Tony Hughes is one of the most respected writers and speakers globally on the topic of business-to-business selling. COMBO Prospecting is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in delivering consistently high sales results in the real world of ferocious competition and difficult-to-win clients.” —JONATHAN FARRINGTON, CEO, Top Sales World COMBO PROSPECTING TONY J. HUGHES COMBO PROSPECTING THE POWERFUL ONE-TWO PUNCH THAT FILLS YOUR PIPELINE AND WINS SALES THANKS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS THE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY DEMANDS CRAZY LEVELS OF COMMITMENT, creative writing has been done while leading corporate teams and, in more recent years, while supporting my consulting clients. In one seven-month period, I was publishing at least one original long-form blog per day, even while on vacation with my family in Vietnam. Insane, I know. The creation of this book, along with my blogging, occurred during the evenings and on weekends at the expense of time with my family. I am hugely indebted and forever grateful to my wife and children, who have been so accommodating and supportive over the years, as I obsessively wrote while also working to provide for our family. This book was conceived from my blog and the incredible feedback from my readers. I have read hundreds of books and thousands of blogs over the decades, and I am grateful to the sales leaders around the world who have contributed to my learning. I’ve asked 100,000+ globally based sellers thousands of questions on every challenging sales topic one could imagine. In many ways, this book is an amalgam of the best sales minds in the world over the last three decades. I’ve synthesized timeless truths about influence and sales with innovative ways of leveraging technology in the age of the machines, empowered buyers, and naked brands. I’ve credited every person and source when I knowingly express their concepts; please forgive any unintentional omissions of attribution. If your own unique concepts are included in this book, without AND MY acknowledgment, please let me know and I’ll promote you in my blog and update future editions. I thank all of those sales leaders who read the draft of this book and provided feedback, especially Kyle Porter and Chris Beall. Most important, I thank my clients; without their willingness to embrace change and without their courage to lead, this book would not be possible. My love affair with LinkedIn leaps off these pages, and that’s because I’m genuinely grateful for the free gift they’ve given the world in the form of an online profile and publishing platform. Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner themselves have had a profound impact on me based on their understanding of networked intelligence and the strength of weak ties. Last but not least, I send special thanks to Tim Burgard and the AMACOM team in New York for doing more than just editing and publishing this book—they believed in it. They understood the need to focus on generating quality sales pipeline in order to transform the revenue results of businesses. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION: Commitments Fight Club and Knockout COMBO Explained and Calls to Put Me in Jail Misplaced Confidence and My Journey into Sales Why You Need to Be the Hottest One at the Bar CHAPTER ONE: Awful Truths That Can Set You Free Wake Up and Get in the Fight! Behold the Stately Honey Badger Who Never Gets Fired Extract Your Head from the Darkness; Facts Don’t Lie The Great Disruption of Your Precious Livelihood Cyborg Sellers in the Age of the Machines Go Big, Bust Out, and Break Through Winning Combinations of Old and New Blooding Your COMBO Strategy Why Savvy Social Sellers Still Call Like Crazy The Lunacy of Cold-Calling vs. Social Selling Why Being Beat Up Is Good for the Soul CHAPTER TWO: Earning the Right to Win Foundations of Executive Engagement The Language of Leaders and Relevance Challenge Paradox of Nonhunger and Genuine Curiosity Friending and Relationship Selling The Truth About Trust and Value The Art of Pragmatic Research Leading with Insight and Why a Conversation Matters Creating Your Own Value Narrative Questions That Qualify and Set the Agenda The Power of Truly Listening Strategic Selling in the Real World Social Selling Framework Defined Building a Winning Business Case Engineering Consensus Opening Is the New Closing CHAPTER THREE: Building Your Platform Creating Your Online Brand Publishing Insights That Set the Agenda Nurturing a Network That Enables You to Thrive Creating Effective Scripts and Templates Selecting the Right Enablement Tools Nurturing the Machine That Feeds You Leads Account-Based Everything CHAPTER FOUR: Executing Your COMBO Strategy Be Your Own Sales Development Rep (SDR) Shocking Paradoxes That Govern Prospecting Time-Blocking—Discipline Within the Hours Trigger Events and Social Listening Referrals—The Path of Highest Probability Advanced Technique Playbook Insider Secrets of Savvy Sellers The Importance of Multi-Threading COMBOs to Conquer Executive ADD Breaking Through to CXOs and Board Members Anatomy of Giving Good Social Phone Growth Hacks—Thinking like a Marketer Ghost Your Own CEO’s Profile Sales Coaching from a CEO Buyer Supercharge Lead Flow—Pulling It All Together Turning Up the Heat Deeper in the Funnel Dispelling Myths of the Serial Closer CHAPTER FIVE: The Act of Personal Sales Leadership Fight, Fight, Fight to Earn the Right Avoiding the Roller-Coaster Performance Ride 80/20 Power Laws and Personal Effectiveness Why You Must Become a Mentor and Coach Resources Endnotes Index About the Author Free Sample From Sell with a Story by Paul Smith About AMACOM Books INTRODUCTION Fight Club and Knockout Commitments “If you set yourself on fire, the world will come to see you burn.” —DON KING of steel—make them into fists. If you take just one thing from this book, let it be this: The left is social, the right is the phone—blended together, they are the social phone, a term coined by Kenny Madden.1 In boxing, you jab with your left to offensively keep yourself safe and set them up for a knockout with your right hook or uppercut. For sales, you jab repeatedly with digital outreach via LinkedIn, email, text messages, Twitter, and even Facebook; you are setting up a knockout with the phone. The prospect or customer is not LOOK DOWN AT YOUR HANDS. HANDS OF LOVE BUT ALSO HANDS your enemy; rather, you are combating any apathy, walls, or resistance that may surround them. Anyone who claims that you can succeed with one hand tied behind your back is just plain wrong. Social and digital alone fail. Phone alone fails. Passive attraction strategies alone fail. Intelligent combinations are the only way to win, and this is the essence of COMBO Prospecting. COMBO refers to this combination, and it is also an acronym for Command Over Maximizing Business Opportunities. Right now, you may be failing to realize your real potential. There is no question that the Pareto principle applies to sales prospecting. This principle states that 20 percent of the input invested results in 80 percent of the outcome. So how do you stop wasting 80 percent of your time and start landing that 20 percent where the real opportunity is? No matter how passionately you sell, you must still battle the evil forces of competition, commoditization, globalization, disruption, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology—because they all seek to eliminate your very livelihood. Winning requires dramatic changes in how you operate. By embracing technology with real human engagement, you can prosper in the arena of sales. This combination will elevate you and make you hyper-effective in breaking through to engage with the impossible-to-reach people who need your help. “The number one issue facing sales professionals, sales leaders, and sales organizations is keeping the pipeline full of high-value propects, and keeping those pipelines moving toward positive outcomes.” BRANDON BRUCE, CO-FOUNDER, CIRRUS INSIGHT This book will show you exactly how to drive higher levels of effective activity and create quality sales pipeline. Right up front, I want you to know that success will only happen if you commit to doing these 10 things: 1. Accept personal responsibility for consistently creating sales pipeline every day. 2. Realize you will need to put in 10 times the activity you are doing now to be remotely successful, and that’s past the horizon of comfortable. Fear not; this book will show you how to do it by leveraging strategies and technology. 3. Lead with an insightful business value narrative rather than talking about your company, products, services, and solutions. 4. Create an authentic personal brand showing credibility, curiosity, and positive and aligned values. 5. Actively use LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Even if your boss won’t get it for you, buy it yourself because it is an essential tool of trade in the modern age, just like the Bloomberg terminal or a mobile phone. 6. To source email addresses and phone numbers, find a way to gain access to sales intelligence software, such as DiscoverOrg, ZoomInfo, RainKing, Data.com, Lusha, Seamless.ai, or others. 7. Actively use the phone as part of your prospecting strategy. No combination of activities will work unless it includes the phone at the core. 8. Embrace customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation to identify and nurture prospects who are not currently ready but who you can follow up with later. Companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9 percent more salespeople making quota.2 According to The Bridge Group, email automation with tracking remains a key part of any nurturing strategy.3 9. Commit to massive consistent action. Relentlessly get into the ring every day, slug it out, be willing to take a beating, and then win by doing what your competition will not. 10. CEOs read dozens of books a year, but most salespeople read none. Rise above the pack by committing to read every book and blog that I reference, and listen to the podcasts I recommend. Especially focus on Mike Weinberg, Anthony Iannarino, Jeb Blount, Mark Hunter, Nic Read, Jim Holden, Jeff Thull, Ben Zoldan, Noah Goldman, Jill Konrath, Trish Bertuzzi, Marylou Tyler, John Smibert, Will Barron, Jeffrey Gitomer, Craig Elias, Tibor Shanto, John Barrows, Jonathan Farrington, Lee Bartlett, Graham Hawkins, Gerhard Gschwandtner, and Tim Hughes. If you’re not up for the challenge or if your success and livelihood is just not that important to you, spare yourself the aggravation of reading on and give this to someone who will actually take the necessary action. If you are serious, commit to actually doing rather than merely trying. I promise you will be very glad that you did. In this book, I attempt to make the content “eclectically snackable,” so feel free to browse and jump around based upon the biggest challenges you face. This book is an in-thetrenches handbook for dealing with the entrepreneur’s and salesperson’s number-one problem: not enough opportunity pipeline. A lack of closable deals is really just a symptom of deeper issues, and you must not solely rely on others to generate your leads and opportunities. Being successful means taking control over prospecting yourself—you’re not really a leader or a salesperson unless you do! Please understand that it is out of respect that I assume you already have a solid understanding of professional selling. Also note that I cite many technologies but acknowledge that there are hundreds more that could have been included. I mention those with which I am familiar through personal use or the work I’ve done with clients. I am especially passionate about LinkedIn and Salesforce because they are the leaders in creating business-tobusiness sales pipeline and end-to-end customer experience to drive sales. Since completing the draft of this book in early 2017, Sales-force became my client. If you don’t understand something I reference, simply Google it or ask me on my LinkedIn blog at . I am deliberately provocative about the things that matter, and my goal is to cattle-prod you into action. All the stories in this book are real, and the use of repetition for key concepts is designed to inspire intelligent action and help you remember what’s important. The Jason Bourne–meets– Monty Python writing style is intended to evoke emotion and to interrupt your habitual thinking patterns and mindset. Finally, if you think I’m full of hot air after reading this book, write to me via LinkedIn, and I’ll refund what you paid for it. I could go bankrupt since I only receive a small royalty from the publisher, but I’m passionate about everything you’re about to read. I’m putting my money where my mouth is because my hope is that you also put your full effort where your mouth is to realize your real potential as a salesperson, business leader, or entrepreneur. COMBO Explained and Calls to Put Me in Jail Jeb Blount is a true sales hero, and his book, Fanatical Prospecting, completely changed my attitude toward selling. That’s even after being in the field for 30 years in the United States and running entire technology companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Jeb stirred the pot tremendously with this quote that I shared in my LinkedIn profile: I closed a $2.5 million deal after leaving the exact same voice mail for a C-level exec every morning for 52 consecutive days. He finally called me back and said, “You’re not going to stop are you?” I responded, “Not until you meet with me.” The meeting opened a dialogue that, six months later, resulted in my company replacing his incumbent vendor. Persistence is the fuel of winners. This quote spawned more than 1 million views, more than 5,000 likes, and over 600 comments. Many missed the fact that I was merely quoting Jeb, and they decided to attack me, thinking I had done this. I wish— it’s the stuff of legend! One man said I should be locked up in jail for harassment! Another lady threatened to send two former NFL linebackers to beat me up! The level of emotion was off the charts. The irony is that Jeb did not harass anyone. He simply stayed the course, knowing he could help his customer and staying determined to do so despite the customer’s apathy. Customers really can be their own worst enemies, but in this case there are 2.5 million proof points that they ultimately awoke from their slumber and agreed with Jeb. I know that his customers are grateful for his polite and professional persistence. Jeb passionately believes in the value he offers . . . do you believe in yours? I have become the most-read blogger globally on the topic of buyer-to-buyer (B2B) selling within LinkedIn, and that’s where I’ve researched and tested the concepts within this book. Jeb’s quote lit the fuse that ignited a powder-keg realization: Sellers have become too passive, quiet, fearful, and lazy. I discovered the best way to start a fight of mixed martial arts (MMA) proportions, in any sales community, is simply to tell people that they’ve “gotta pick up the phone and call someone!” Yet fear of rejection and fear of the phone can be transformed and become your best friends if you know the secret to breaking through. Emotion can be harnessed if you have the right thought process. Again, look down at your hands. The left is social, the right is the phone. Without them both, you can’t possibly win the fight for sales success. Their powers together make you unstoppable. Imagine if you can master this right combination? If you grasp this concept alone, you can eventually execute it, and then you can ascend to the top echelons of your company as a sales leader. Combinations of the right activity, done the right way, with the right people, through the right channels, and at the right time can create world-champion success. This is the heart of COMBO Prospecting. You could also simply see COMBO as the ultimate blended approach for bringing old school and new school together. It is the combination of timeless truths with contemporary engagement that will break through with the maximum prospects. It is the only way to drive sales success in markets where there is increased competition, well-informed buyers, ferocious procurement departments, moats, razor wire, land mines, Barry Manilow music piped to the perimeters, giant walls, and pit bulls preventing any form of seller engagement. We will cover COMBOs of multichannel outreach where Kenny Madden’s social phone is the weapon of choice. We will also address the COMBO for having the right narrative: Leading with insight Stating why it matters Positioning a hypothesis of value We will cover the COMBO for next steps after you’ve initially broken through: Engage the most senior person Be sponsored down Build consensus and a compelling business case Then, we will explore the COMBO for creating a powerful personal platform: A strong personal brand A network that empowers Tools and templates that enable high performan...
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