President JP Moery brought me on board 4 years ago and today I oversee the sales operations for The Moery Company as well as assist our association clients manage their own sales teams. I’ve known JP for more than a decade now; in fact, I first met him when we both worked for SmartBrief. I’ve been in the sales game for a long time and both JP and I have seen the profession evolve over the years.
Back in the day, the approach to sales was dialing for dollars. Boom, we’d receive a phone book-size listing of leads with the goal of churning through as many as possible. In hindsight, it was a pretty brutal process and If you weren’t making calls – you’d be gone.
Today, volume is still important, but working smarter is key – for example: the way in which you engage your prospect. Prospects can filter your efforts like never before. They can simply delete an email you’ve sent and believe me, they probably aren’t listening to your voicemails either. Again, delete. I’ve talked to so many sales people and they rarely get a call back from a message left.
At TMC, we’re currently discussing the challenge of initiating conversations with our prospects. Most of our tactics (now more than ever before) are geared toward getting that dialogue going and finding out what is most important to the prospect.
Fortunately, we have more resources today. At TMC, we are huge fans of Salesforce, which has become a powerful tool versus the endless number of spreadsheets.
Our approach is to provide relevant content to that prospective member or sponsor through an email campaign, so we are delivering them something of value. In the old days, sales used to be about “us” and our “products or services.” But today, the smartest way to sell people is to make it about them.
We must find a connection that resonates – whether we offer a link to some relevant blog content, a video, white paper or an important legislative update. We are then able to track the people who click on and engage with that content. Those who engage the most – go to the top of our list of people to contact directly. These tools enable us to work smarter and the strategy is a paradigm shift of sorts for those of us who worked sales years ago. It’s a big deal.
Another fascinating aspect of sales today is those with whom I work. I supervise a staff comprised of Millennials – and, I must say, the young sales people of today are a great group to manage. This generation has often been labeled as lazy or self-focused, but the reality is quite the opposite.
Millennials are pleasers – they want to do well. But, often they need to be pushed in the right direction. By the same token, they take direction very well. They follow the lead. Millennials were raised with technology, which could explain why they are more methodical in their approach to work.
Those of us GenXrs more often went “off script” in the early days of our sales careers. We were the generation of kids whose moms kicked us out the door to play all day and we weren’t expected home ‘til dinner. We did our own thing.
The big take away here is that young sales people today can thrive with the right tools and direction. Salesforce and other CRMs are effective for this group because these involve a step-by-step, process-oriented methodology: new sales tools for a new generation. The bottom line? Email drip campaigns and content marketing enable us to match the prospect with something of value and relevancy, which will hopefully seal the deal: the ultimate goal, whatever generation you belong.
Mike Thomas is Senior Vice President of Sales at The Moery Company.
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Before joining the Moery Company, I worked in association membership and marketing roles, which taught me how valuable member relationships are. Not...