Sales in the Subscription Economy #3

Sales VPs: you don’t have time to read everything out there, but no worries, I’m doing it for you. I read, curate, and summarize the best content on subscription sales & sales team recruiting on the web every week.

Here's what you need to know this week:

What Gates, Buffet, Oprah & Musk do that you should be doing too!

Key Takeaways:

  • Most of these business legends set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning
  • The activities: reading, reflection, and experimentation
  • Warren B spends 5-6 hours/day reading; Gates reads 50 books/year; Elon read 2 books/day growing up – yes, per day; Mark Cuban reads for 3+ hours/day – Wow!
  • Do you ever schedule in time to think? If you don't, you're behind. Get quiet and let your brain get to work, no distractions.
  • Do you promote a culture of experimentation and permission to fail? Experiments lead to innovation – innovation will make you look good. Let people you trust run with the ball. If they fall on their face, be the first to congratulate them on getting closer to a win.
  • Though I (Amanda) don't schedule myself 2 hours/day to think, I do allow myself a half day strategy session once/month on how to drive my business forward. If you're new to this, start with an hour.
  • I read. A lot. I've completed 15 books year to date and am tearing down 4 more as we speak. I get up early to read; I listen to Audible while running errands, walking to the dog, driving. We most often skip Netflix at night in favor of a books. If you want to uplevel, there's no substitute for just doing the damn work. Set goals, reprioritize, and make hard cuts.

Close.com is at it again: here's how to create a sales battle card – yes...you need one

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales battle cards are comprehensive but concise pieces of essential information that your reps can refer to when talking with prospects.

  • Having sales battle cards enables reps to respond quickly and convincingly to the questions that their prospects ask. They are an essential part of your sales enablement strategy.

  • Key components to your battle card:

    • Company overview: what's your true north? Values?
    • Market data: what's your market size? What's happening in the industry?
    • Competitor overview and key differentiators
    • Target customers: your customer personas, pain points, AND how you solve for those pain points
    • Product features: how can you explain each feature as a benefit to your prospect in a hyper personalized way, according to their persona?
    • Objections & responses: duh.
    • Persuasive questions: questions that build trust, are consultative in nature, uncover needs/pain points, are open ended, and help your rep lead the prospect to the best solution
    • Social proof: testimonials + stats
  • Measure how successful your battle card is, if and how reps are using it, and update/iterate as necessary.

7 Unmistakable Traits of Highly Influential Leaders by Todd Nordstrom:

Key Takeaways

  • They're intriguing, inspirational, captivating storytellers
  • They give credit where credit is due; they're humble and acknowledge those who helped get them where they are now
  • They don't shy away from respectful disagreement in order to push for a greater result
  • They help those around them become their best selves. I (Amanda) call this "pulling someone up the ladder." It's lonely at the top, bring others along.
  • They genuinely care for others and their success – they show this with their actions, not just words
  • They have integrity and embrace transparency. They're the same on the field and off the field
  • They skillfully & respectfully deliver constructive criticism – think about the coach that rode your ass throughout high school that you still deeply revere and respect, emulate that
  • When you’re a leader, influence is your job. But, unless you understand that influence is also your opportunity to positively change the course of someone’s life, you’ll never be great.

5 Negotiation Steps That Will Close Your Next Deal, by Brandon Voss of the Black Swan Group:

Key Takeaways

  • Prep an accusation audit: Put any negatives you can think of on your list and address them at the beginning of the conversation. This will help create a collaborative environment—which is the precursor to the end goal of trust-based influence.
  • Don’t Answer Questions Until You Know Why They’ve Been Asked: Most people are bad at asking questions in general. So before you answer, you need to understand the dynamics that caused the other side to ask in the first place. Phrases like What makes you ask? and Seems like you have a reason for asking that will help you understand the reasons behind the questions.
  • Fire off a One-Liner Before Your Ask: Before diving in to your big ask, set the table with something like this: "This is really going to catch you off guard." This is called tactical empathy and your sales teams need to know what it is and how to use it.
  • Expect to Be Caught Off Guard: if you go to the table with the mindset that your counterpart is going to say something that’s going to throw you off your game, you’ll be in a much better spot to prepare for whatever comes your way.
  • Allow the Other Side to Have the Floor: When you sense an impasse, say something like, "It seems like I said something that offended you" or, "It seems like I said something that made you uncomfortable", then shut up and listen.

Nicely done! You’re fully informed for the week on subscription sales & recruiting news – go crush it!