I'll be honest...the last 12 months have been AWESOME. We have worked with great clients and produced fantastic work, the Beacons Point family grew by two, we moved into a bigger office in Carlsbad, and became a HubSpot Gold partner agency. While there are many factors as to why these past 12 months have been so great, I want to focus on one tool that has helped Beacons Point succeed the most.
As a HubSpot partner agency, we get access to a ton of education tools in marketing, sales, service and other helpful resources. For example, I was recently nominated to participate in the HubSpot Sales Skills Bootcamp by Frank Antonucci, our HubSpot CAM. This Sales Skills Bootcamp was run by the one and only David Weinhaus, HubSpot Sales Educator. Accepting the invitation and taking part in the workshop certainly took me out of my comfort zone. I met with 10 other agency owners, business development professionals and sales reps over a video conference to learn how to effectively sell your service and show how you to grow your business.
This workshop was an 8-week course that included one of my least favorite activities: sales role play. For those of you who know me, I don’t have any traditional sales training and I was worried I would look like the amateur or be so bad, I even might get kicked out. Luckily, they let me stay.
With the completion of the workshop last week, I wanted to reflect on a few of the things I learned in hopes to help other agencies, sales teams, or friends in their own journey’s to grow their businesses.
Be relax but be prepared
Ok, so I was not relaxed or prepared during my first session. In my application interview with David he mentioned we would be doing sales role plays during each class. I knew I needed this practice but I was still mortified to run through a mock sales call with other agency reps. I would easily get nervous and lose focus on what my objective was on the sales call.
After the first few sessions I started to get more comfortable with the members in the workshop and with my ability to run a sales call. I was able to listen carefully to my partner and interject the right information or tactic at the right time. This culminated to the sales role play with David Weinhaus to test what I had learned. I was nervous at first but I reminded myself this wasn't brain surgery. David was just another person on the other line and we were just having a casual conversation. I let myself relax and the call went better than expected. In our debrief after the call, I realized why it had felt so much easier. I was prepared.
For me, it's always been about preparation, and the more prepared I can be each week, the less pressure I feel and the more confident I am. As your confidence grows, it's only natural that the pressure you feel diminishes.
Prior to my call with David, I had 3-4 sales role plays under my belt and I spent about 20-30 mins prepping before the call. I had run through what I wanted to achieve, the key bits of information I wanted to get from the call and ran through some of the scenario. Didn’t take much, but I felt relaxed, confident, prepared and the call went great.
Don’t take the cheese! (Find the Gap!)
Before this workshop, I would jump at the chance to talk about all of our services in detail when asked or try and map out how increasing blogging and SEO will help bring in new leads. I thought I was showing my understanding of the inbound methodology so I could connect what I know about marketing to the company’s service and prove how it would help bring in new clients. What I realized in this workshop is that not only is this technique REALLY boring for the prospect but I often would talk through our services before learning enough about their business, the problems they were looking to solve, and their overall goals. There is no need to get into the details of an effective SEO strategy and how we do it when we don’t even know the prospect's goals and objectives.
Instead of taking the cheese and talking about the tactics, I learned it was necessary to dive into their company, current challenges, and future goals.
- What marketing strategies are they currently implementing?
- What are their quarterly or annual goals? Maybe 3-5 year plan?
- What happens if they reach those goals? What happens if they don't?
- When do they need to reach these goals by?
When you understand your client's goals, timing, and current marketing plan, you can then get into the challenges they face and how you can help them reach their goals.
Offer Value (Be helpful, not a pushy salesperson)
If you are an inbound or content marketer, you probably know this one but since I was reminded of it during the workshop, I wanted to share it anyways. When you are doing your research on a prospect and getting ready to set up a call or shoot off an email, keep this in mind:
They get emailed, called and approached all the time by sales people. They have heard more elevator pitches than they can count and don’t have a high regard for sales.
Once you remember that, it makes your job easy. Don’t be like all the other telemarketers, cold emails from abroad or random phone salespeople. Be different. Be helpful and give them the respect they deserve. For inbound, we call it give and get. Give some free, value based education and get their email address or other info in return. Be prepared to offer free tips or insight into their business or marketing to show you are prepared and you are ready to help. Once you have earned their trust and respect, they will give you the information you need to help you qualify them as a lead and take the next steps to close the deal.
Overall, the HubSpot Sales Skills Bootcamp was not only educational, it was a fun and rewarding experience. I gained invaluable insight into a successful sales process as well as knowledge from the other agencies in the workshop. At the end of the workshop, I joined the amazing group of agencies who have successfully completed the Bootcamp and I became a sales LION.