The sales and marketing market is constantly changing. In the last few months the market has undergone dramatic changes! We decided to ask some experts how they work today? Michelle Pyles – VP of Transformational Products & Platform Services in BDIPlus shared her secrets with us and answered several questions.
Please speak about the company you’re currently working at.
Our company is a fairly young technology company. Our software OneDataPlus is a foundational platform that brings business, analytics & technology together to enable continuous transformation & drives business outcomes. We have the most amazing team and company culture. Our CEO is all about our core values. He believes in delivering a phenomenal product that is efficient and innovative. We work as a team and we are devoted to working hard and having fun while delivering the best customer service possible for our clients.
Who is your average client?
As of now we have primarily focused on the Financial and Insurance industries. With the new update to our OneDataPlus software, we will be expanding into Retail, Automotive and travel industries, just to name a few.
How do you find clients, what is your main strategy and approach to finding and locking down clients?
Without telling you all my secrets My approach is consultative. We have a host of qualifying questions we use when prospecting. Some of the key questions are regarding their customer data, how well they know their customer, how their data is structured? How do they interact with their customers? Do they know who their customer is? Whether they are using cloud services? Can they customize their data to become customer centric? For strategy, I approach people that I know first, ask them the qualifying questions and engage them by scheduling a demo. I make sure the attendees are a mix of buying influencers as well as decision makers in the demo meeting. “Locking down” the client down involves the client seeing our product and its ability to improve their current system. They need to understand the features and benefits of our software, how easy it is to implement and the positive impact it can make on their day to day business operations. All those things combined is what helps us achieve new business partnerships.
What sales channels does your company rely on?
Currently we are selling B2B direct marketing. We will eventually white label our product down the road.
Perhaps you’re using some innovative sales or client search methods – please touch upon that.
Not exactly innovative, more like old school. Some of the methods involve what you or I have experienced as a customer. For example: if your credit card company is emailing you approved credit card offers, and you’re already a customer, that’s a problem. Clearly their data isn’t working for them which means their marketing is off. All are indicators that make them a perfect prospect for us. Potential client’s websites can be used as a guideline as an indicator that they can benefit from our products. Also, using LinkedIn to research key Stakeholders, decision makers, influencers etc. My new favorite is Apollo.io software. Their software does so much to make my job easier.
What trends in the field of sales do you think are the most efficient and in-demand these days, and what methods have become obsolete?
Face-to-Face sales still reigns supreme, although given the Covid-19 climate, this may change drastically. Conferences were another strong method of getting in front of someone and opening up a dialogue before the virus. I also really like networking events, because it puts a name with a face and it is a great way to make connections.
I know I speak for most people in sales when I say, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get in front of decision makers. They hardly ever answer the phone and if you email them, you better have done your research on them. Have something interesting to ask them in that email so you have a better opportunity to receive an answer. I believe decision makers are more difficult to reach because there seems to be a lot of bad salespeople out there. So they get bombarded with useless calls and emails and the decision makers cannot ascertain the good from the bad no matter how greatly they might benefit from your products.
How do you think the market will change in the near future (perhaps, there are some market problems that need solutions)?
AI, BI, ML and data are the cool buzz words right now. Business Intelligence, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning are key pieces of the data puzzle. As more companies look at the data they have been collecting over the years, the more they will begin to examine how to use that data. I believe the market need is going to increase and evolve. I am confident that Customer service will improve, marketing will improve (in terms of opt-in marketing as well as products we like will be marketed to us). All of this is due to AI, BI and MI.
How did the sales and client search processes in your company change because of the coronavirus?
The impact of the virus has changed things for us a bit, beyond what was the typical office and lunch meetings. Things have slowed, especially when it comes to the sales process. As any company, we had to adapt a new way of doing things. We have always started with prospecting, researching and qualifying a potential client before we schedule a demo, luncheon or face to face meeting. Now with coronavirus, from a messaging standpoint, we had to change the way we reach out to people. We lightened up the message, less sales, more compassion. I believe showing empathy is the best thing we can do at a time like this.
A lot of people are working from home now, how did this situation affect you? We are a technology company, so we are lucky that we can continue to work just as well at home as we did in our offices. Obviously, we are missing that team element that has helped us thrive and bond as a team. We have found that scheduling multiple team check-ins as well as Friday virtual happy hours has helped us stay connected.
What qualities do you think are essential for a real salesperson?
Must be a good listener and have the ability to show empathy. They must have confidence, competitiveness, be resilient, enthusiastic and thick-skinned. They must be able to be transparent and honest. They must be persistent and have a passion for not only their company but the product/solution they are selling.
What actions should the market players take today to stay afloat tomorrow? Be transparent with their customers, listen to their concerns and address any issues their clients may have. I believe that communication is one of the most important keys to providing great customer service.
What trends are worth following?
AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, Block Chain, 5G, Quantum & Edge Computing are worth following. These trends are evolving rapidly. Before we know it, everything will be automated and there is nothing we can do to stop the technology from coming.
Where and how do you find sales staff for your company?
We are still very young and building our sales staff will most likely be a 2021 initative that I will work on with the help of my boss and our CEO. In the past I have used LinkedIn as a recruiting tool and referrals from others. Using LinkedIn has allowed me to view potential employee’s entire resume online, along with their recommendations, which gives me all that I need to know.