Your Brand Is Not Your Business Card: Empower a Winning Sales Culture

By Kevin Warren, president of strategic growth initiatives at Xerox. Meet him on March 10 at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia, where he will share more insight about sales-leadership success and personal brands.

Jay-Z is one of my favorite performers, and he knows a thing or two about success. One line I borrow from him regularly is “I’m not a businessman…I’m a business, man!”

What does he mean? He’s saying that when you hand your business card to a sales prospect, unless it reads “CEO of Me Inc.,” it’s not your brand. You are your brand. Prospects and clients don’t buy the name of the business on the card, they buy you.

It’s a simple concept and a powerful opportunity, especially in an increasingly complex and digital world. We know our clients and prospects are bombarded with many options. Competition is fierce. But at the end of the day, people make decisions and surrender long-term loyalty based on interaction with other people. According to McKinsey’s 2012 B2B Branding Survey, personal interaction with sales reps remains the most influential factor for B2B customers across touch points, industries, and regions.

When you’re empowered to be CEO of Me Inc., there’s a tremendous impact on the overall business. Interaction with customers becomes more meaningful, the corporate brand becomes more human, and that focus on customers starts impacting the bottom line. By making a customer or prospect a believer in your personal brand, you’re giving your product and services portfolio exponentially more value.

You likely have an elevator speech for the products and services you’re selling, so why not create one for you? If you’ve taken time to evaluate what you stand for and where you should be focused, your prospects are much more likely to feel confident that you can help them do the same. People buy from those they know, trust, and like. By genuinely sharing who you are and what you know, you quickly become someone from whom they’ll buy, someone who helps connect them to what they need to successfully reach their own goals.

Even something as simple as highlighting general business advice or flagging relevant industry articles (via LinkedIn, other social media, or in person) creates an opportunity to share more of your portfolio and ultimately sell more, because you’ve appealed to what really matters to the client’s business. This kind of proactive value-adding is unique to you and your ever-evolving brand. Leveraging your personal and business experiences and industry expertise to show customers what they might not be thinking about or to ask questions they might not have considered is key to earning loyalty, advocacy, and even referrals.

Success as CEO of Me Inc. doesn’t just happen; it is the outcome of a formula that works, one that is evolving as digital and social change the game. But the foundation holds fast. We may not close deals anymore by knocking on doors or dialing for dollars, but at the end of the day – at the end of the business exchange – there is a person, and that person is going to choose your brand only if he or she chooses you.

Join me at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 10, where I’ll be speaking about sales-leadership success, your personal brand, and sales-transformation strategies.

Kevin Warren
Kevin M. Warren is president of strategic growth initiatives for Xerox Corporation and is responsible nationwide for revenue, profit, and operations for all Xerox business in large enterprises. He’s led an aggressive transformation initiative in which he melded two operations into one high-performing organization.

Why Love (Not Money) Makes Great Leaders: Insight from Dr. Herb Greenberg

According to Dr. Herb Greenberg, founder of Caliper Corporation, great leaders are not motivated by money.

This is just one of the conclusions Dr. Greenberg drew from his extensive research on the qualities and characteristics that make great leaders, which he published in his book, Succeed on Your Own Terms (which eventually became a New York Times bestseller).

Among the hundreds of leaders interviewed for the book, Dr. Greenberg says that each had his or her own unique definition of success. “Each person knew exactly what he or she needed to do in order to feel like a success, short term and long term,” says Dr. Greenberg. “None of these leaders used money as a definition of success.”

Dr. Greenberg (who lost his sight at age 10) launched his own long and successful career with a single great idea — he was convinced there was a market for assessment tools that could help companies assess qualified candidates for job openings, including sales. In 1961, he left his job as a college professor and founded Caliper. He and his business partner began knocking on doors to spread the word about the value of a comprehensive personality test to assess job candidates in management, sales, and customer service. At the end of four months, they had nothing to show for their efforts but a string of rejections. “Many times, I woke up thinking to myself what have I done?” Greenberg told Inc.com in this video interview. In a blog post, he summed up his recollection of that time by saying, “The number of rejections, including being laughed at, cannot be counted — I can only say that we needed face masks to protect us from the doors slammed in our faces.”

Finally, Gail Smith, VP of Merchandising for General Motors, decided to take a chance on them. Just three years later, Caliper was performing assessments for 900 job candidates a month for dozens of clients. Dr. Greenberg told Inc.com that persistence was key to their success. “Fight through the failures, take the rejections … and we say this to anybody who’s looking for a job or a client. People are going to tell you ‘No.’ If you’re ahead of the curve, you’re going to hear ‘No, no, no.’ You need the ego strength to take that beating … and push forward.”

Today, Caliper employs more than 250 professionals in 12 offices around the world and is a recognized leader in using personality tests and assessments to predict success in management, sales, customer service, and even sports. In this video interview, Dr. Greenberg shares a story with Selling Power founder and CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner about a successful basketball player they interviewed.

“Everyone said he had all this talent in the world … but would never be Shaquille O’Neal or a Tim Duncan, or any of the great ones,” Greenberg says. “I said, “What’s holding you back? Why aren’t you as good as you could be?’ He said, ‘I hate this game.’ I said, ‘So why are you playing it?’ He said, ‘They pay me $6 million a year!’ But that’s what stopped him from being a great leader. Not loving his work.”

Watch the interview below between Dr. Herb Greenberg and Gerhard Gschwandtner and discover the top qualities that all great leaders share.

Sales Leaders, Ditch Your Outdated Ideas about Hiring

Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.netA lot of sales leaders let old myths about hiring get in the way of finding superstar candidates.

The myths I’m talking about are based on the idea that certain characteristics or qualities can magically help you identify your next top performer among a pool of potential hires. For example, how many times have you heard people endorse job candidates by saying things like:

“He’s a hunter.”
“She’s a great networker.”
“He’s an ‘activity’ guy.”
“She’s a road warrior.”
“She used to be an athlete.”
“He’s a cold calling animal.”

These things are all well and good, but something about the language reminds me of the book Moneyball, in which baseball scouts would make decisions about players based on assessments like, “He passes the eye candy test. He’s got the looks, he’s great at playing the part.” Again, I’m not saying these things are negative. But can you really tell how good a player someone will be from the fact that he somehow looks the part?

As a sales leader, do you really want to make a hiring decision based on the fact that someone has been described as an “activity guy” or has a background in sports? It’s awesome if a candidate used to be an athlete (I used to be one, myself). He or she is probably very competitive and has thick skin. These are two traits that help a lot in sales – but those aren’t the only traits you need to be successful in a sales position, and they’re no guarantee that a former athlete will succeed in your particular selling environment.

Sales managers tend to get hung up on these myths because they have no real idea about what makes their top performers tick. As Moneyball showed, however, a methodology can help you assess new hires more accurately and change the game. In my organization, for example, we identified the Top Performer personality traits of our most successful reps as:

  • Listens well, but can also engage in two-way dialogue.
  • Offers a unique perspective and is intellectually curious.
  • Is comfortable discussing money and can push the customer.
  • Understands the customer’s business and can identify economic drivers.

I put this to the test by giving the Top Performer personality survey to my entire organization. No surprise that our top reps matched the personality traits of the Top Performer. Now I have a real way to identify and measure top reps – and I can hire an army of them.

As a sales leader, you have to watch out for descriptions of potential hires that are just empty words. Hunter. Networker. What do these words really mean? Dig a little deeper so you can identify whether or not a candidate has the specific traits that track to success in your organization. When you use methodology instead of myth, you’ll be able to spot the true gems.

Mike Nelson
Mike Nelson is Vice President of Sales at ON24, a cloud-based Virtual Communication software provider. He has more than 15 years of sales and business development experience in the SaaS, Cloud Software industry, with a focus on Enterprise as well as Channel. He was recently a featured expert during a Webinar on sales enablement strategies.

New Sales Conversations Helped Us Regain Our Competitive Edge

Often it’s difficult to realize and accept that changing your business approach could be beneficial or necessary – especially if your company is well-established and an industry leader.

Thanks to changing healthcare regulations and growing competition, we at Philips Respironics (a Fortune Global 500 company) recently found our dominance as the leading providor of sleep apnea products challenged for the first time in more than 30 years. We realized we needed to do something different and break out of our traditional mold – we had to elevate our messaging, positioning, and training and help our sales representatives differentiate in a competitive market.

First, we reached out to The Corporate Executive Board (CEB), which had published research about the importance of differentiating sales messaging from marketing messaging to see if they knew of any companies that could help us accomplish this task. The CEB referred us to Corporate Visions, Inc., who then helped us reassert authority in our market by shifting our approach to sales conversations.

Historically, our sales conversations focused on our individual products, their features, and pricing. Corporate Visions helped us realize that promoting these features didn’t differentiate us in the eyes of the customer, and that our solutions blended with those of our competitors. We needed to create differentiated messages focused on how our products solve the unique challenges of our customers and how we can help them to meet their business goals. 

After completing a series of positioning and training workshops (and training sessions for in-house trainers and sales managers) our salespeople took their new skills and messaging to the field. Just four months after the initial deployment, third-party measurement company BeyondROI surveyed 87 members of our sales force that participated in the messaging and training workshops to determine the quantifiable results. The impact was almost unbelievable: 

  • We generated a 10-fold return on specific deal closings and our overall sales pipeline.
  • We realized a $4.6 million impact on new business deals and a $1.4 million impact on won deals.

Tellingly, salespeople who were classified as “high adopters” (those who use the new messaging/skills more than 70 percent of the time) saw a nearly 5 percent increase in their monthly quota performance, whereas “low adopters” (those who applied the new messaging/skills only 43-64 percent of the time) saw a less than 1 percent increase in their monthly quota performance. High adopters also had an average deal size of $82,128 – double that of low adopters.

While altering our business approach was not comfortable or easy, elevating our sales messages and updating our delivery had an irrefutable, positive impact on our overall sales. It awakened our sales force, helped us differentiate, and positioned us to successfully reign as the market leader for another 30 years.

Susan McGinnis Philips Respironics resized 600Susan McGinnis is a Senior Corporate Sales Trainer at Philips Respironics

 

Sales Leadership Advice for Aligning Marketing & Sales

I’m publishing a series of Q&A excerpts from my interviews with Sales 2.0 leaders, which will appear in my next book. This is an excerpt from my interview with Mark Burton, former VP of sales at MySQL (acquired by Sun Microsystems), where he was responsible for growing and managing MySQL AB’s entire international corporate sales force, indirect channels and partnership alliancesHe has been involved in enterprise-level sales leadership for 30 years. 

Anneke: What were your “failures,” or things that didn’t go as well as they could have? What would you tell another executive about what not to do, or what to learn from your past experiences?

Mark: Failures: We’ve had lots of them. Processes and systems are so important. It took us a long time to work with a team to figure out everything we really needed to manage this environment. Marketing tends to be more positioning- and messaging-oriented, and more about just putting it out there. That whole idea of what a qualified lead is, and having something that ends up in the hands of sales that they want to deal with — it’s a big chasm between those two functions.

Get a very objective and measurable set of definitions, processes and systems to do some system-oriented scoring, and then have a very clear and written description for what becomes a sales lead. Get the marketing organization on board with forecasting and measurement of conversion rates, and make sure this is an activity that is worked monthly to continually pursue conversion rates that drive the company to profitability. This is a big change for most marketing and sales organizations. I wouldn’t call it a failure, but I will say it takes a long time to make sure everyone understands this end-to-end process, and what is involved in managing and measuring it. That was hard work with a lot of iterations and false starts.

Anneke: I see that changing rapidly, though, in many Sales 2.0 companies, where success depends on marketing and sales being aligned and collaborating. Do you see that working? How are companies bringing sales and marketing closer together?

Mark: It’s still a challenge for many companies. One of the first thoughts is, “Great, we’ll just give sales and marketing to the same person.” It’s unusual to have any one person who really understands sales and marketing well enough to add value across both functions through the Demand-to-Close process. There also aren’t many CEOs who really understand it. I would say this is still developing. My suggestion is to get advice from others who have successfully implemented the new model. This can be accomplished through a combination of outside consulting and benchmarking with companies that have successfully implemented such models.

Read the full interview with Mark Burton.

Anneke Seley
Anneke Seley is CEO and Founder of Phone Works and author of Sales 2.0This post appeared originally on her blog.

Predictions and Priorities for Social Business in 2012 – Part I

describe the imageMy pet peeve about the annual predictions ritual is that they lack context for action. It’s nice to know that tablets and big data are important — but what should you do about it?

So here’s my attempt at not only forecasting but also to provide actions that companies should be prioritizing in 2012.

The Process: I went through my speaking and client engagements in 2011 and looked at which topics and themes I kept referring to over and over again, especially toward the end of the year. I also analyzed which of the tweets from these events were most retweeted to verify where the heat was.

I boiled it down to three predictions and also explain why I think these are a priority for business leaders to address in 2012. Because they are on the long-ish side, I’ll be posting one a day so that there can be discussion about each prediction and priority.

Prediction #1: Consumers will reward transparent companies with their loyalty. Companies must get courageous with transparency and make it an every day occurrence. Or they will face the wrath of outraged customers.

Almost 8 million people have now seen the FedEx delivery guy tossing a monitor over the fence. FedEx’s response was timely and tried to be authentic, but lacked only one thing — a link to that video. It was just a short search away, so why not link to what everyone already knew existed? Regardless, I was glad to see FedEx respond quickly when so many other companies facing a crisis try to wait for the situation to fade away.

describe the imageThe gold standard on transparency reaches all the way back to July 2006 when Dell’s brand new blog had the courage to write the post entitled “Flaming Notebook” about a Dell computer bursting into flames in Osaka, Japan. And they included a link to a photo of their product exploding into flames.

Where did they find the guts to do this? Michael Dell made it crystal clear in his instructions for the post: Dell was built on the value of going direct to consumers and the blog had to communicate and live by those same values.

I’ve told the Dell flaming notebook story and shown that photo at hundreds of speeches and asked a simple question: If your organization had it’s version of flaming notebook happen today, would you be able to write that post? In a most telling way, there are only a few hands that get raised.

Dell’s flaming notebook was five and a half years ago, before there were Facebook Pages, before Twitter even existed. It was the Dark Ages of social media and Dell understood then that it was important to build a new, unique relationship with their customers.

Think about what would be needed to get your organization to that point and make it a priority to be transparent about the everyday small problems that always occur. Practice on the easy stuff to get prepared for The Big One.

Too busy you say, with your existing social media efforts to do this? All of the efforts that you make updating your Facebook page or posting on Twitter add up to mere hand-waving if you can’t master this new type of relationship demanded by your customers.

Does your organization have the courage to engage when things go wrong, no matter how big or small? How did you organization get to this point? Please share where you are on your journey, and what you found helpful to bring greater accountability and transparency into your company.

Next up: How well do you really know your customers?

Anneke Seley
Charlene Li is founder of Altimeter Group and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. She is also the coauthor of the critically acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell, which was named one of the best business books in 2008. This post appeared originally on her blog.

3 Sales Management Challenges & How to Solve Them with Science

Are great salespeople born, or made? With today’s advanced scientific sales analytics and measurement tools, sales managers can actually find out.

First, behavioral assessments give sales managers insight into a salesperson’s nature and psychological makeup (“born”), while skills assessments provide concrete data on sales knowledge and skills learned via experience, lessons, observations, etc. (“made”).

This combination of information gives sales leaders new ways to tackle three perennial sales-management challenges:

Sales Management Challenge #1: Hiring
Sales teams are only as good as the salespeople themselves. Sales managers need individuals who can work within the culture of the organization, leverage their unique strengths, and find satisfaction in getting great results. This is simply about job fit.

To find the right people for your team, you have to know what kind of salespeople you’re looking for. Hiring the right salesperson starts by defining the role. Sales managers need to take the time to complete a job analysis that defines the behavioral needs of the position. You can imagine the different needs of various sales positions—including B2B, B2C, outside sales, inside sales, and call centers. By defining the job, you have a “target” to measure candidates against. The next step is to administer a behavioral assessment on solid candidates, review and compare it with other critical data about experience, education, and past successes. You’re now using science and multiple data points to find a good fit.

Sales Management Challenge #2: Motivation
Sales is the one job inside every company where you cannot hide from results. Sales professionals are measured every day; and if one hits a slump, has a bad week or month, not only does that individual feel it, the results are also highly visible. While the visibility can help motivate some people, it can also create a “pressure cooker” environment where morale is difficult to maintain.

In addition to pressure to produce, external factors like these can also impact a rep’s motivation levels:

  • tough economy,
  • increased competition
  • shift in the individual’s role
  • change in the company’s direction or vision.

For example, an inside sales team that goes from 95% inbound calls to 95% outbound calls might experience a drop-off in production, which would create a significant challenge for the sales manager to keep the team focused, motivated, and productive. Behavioral assessments provide essential insights to how an individual is motivated. Armed with data on motivation, the sales manager can stay ready to accurately guide his or her team through change of any kind.

Sales Management Challenge #3: Retention
Hiring the right people will always be a concern, but retention will be an even greater challenge over the next decade. Top producers always have and always will have choices of about where to work. As drivers of revenue, they are a huge asset to any company and remain in high demand. In addition, top sales professionals expect great leadership and a high level of job satisfaction. Most organizations find that there are not enough candidates to fill critical roles; this problem is likely to get more serious now and in the future.

How can science help? For one thing, people stay in jobs when they’re engaged, learning, challenged, and believe they can succeed in the environment. Science provides two key aspects to combine nature and nurture and help keep producers actively engaged and reduce sales personnel turnover.

While behavioral assessments provide insight into what makes each rep tick, sales skills assessments provide data on their strengths and areas of growth. With the combined data from a behavioral assessment and a skills assessment, sales managers can take the mystery out of retention and figure out ways to keep their top performers happy and engaged.

Ultimately, leveraging science to drive sales performance enables organizations to increase efficiency, manage effectively, and produce outstanding sales results. The result is predictable, sustainable, and repeatable success.  

Nancy Martini
Today’s post was contributed by Nancy Martini, President and CEO of PI Worldwide, publisher of science-based sales analytics including the Predictive Index (PI) and the Selling Skills Assessment Tool (SSAT). Contact her at nmartini@piworldwide.com.

What True Sales & Marketing Alignment Looks Like (Part I)

For many sales and marketing leaders, there is still work to be done when it comes to improving the relationship between their teams. Recently, my company, BigMachines, released a 2011 Benchmark Survey on the state of the sales industry, featuring responses from 100 sales executives. The aim of the survey was to uncover the biggest pain points affecting their jobs today. The top result? Two-thirds of respondents said that the biggest pain point is the disconnect between sales and marketing.

This is troubling to hear because when the lines of communication are broken, opportunities might be missed, errors can occur, and deals can even be lost. I’m fortunate to work for a company that takes the relationship between marketing and sales seriously and highly values collaboration. Here’s a portrait of how sales and marketing work for us:

My marketing team is an integral part of the sales process. We work closely with both inside and outside sales teams to provide the right messages to prospects and customers at the right times. We also provide them with an ongoing stream of sales leads and help them prioritize those leads based on demographics and interest levels.

Sales knows that marketing is here to help them meet their sales targets. We provide the intelligence and expertise to help them win. Our job is to build the supporting infrastructure to deliver selling messages via the most effective channels, and then monitor the results.

Our goals are aligned and we work (and play) as a team. Month after month, members of our sales team nominate members of my marketing team for “Star of the Month” awards. Sales thinks we rock (and we do)!

Have you implemented strategies within your organization that help sales and marketing work better together?

Will Wieglar

Will Wiegler is Vice President of Marketing at BigMachines. Follow BigMachines on Twitter @BigMachines

sales-amp-marketing-20-conference-oct

Where Do Great Front-Line Sales Managers Come From?

Managing a sales team is one of the most important positions in a company. Great sales managers have a profound impact on the productivity of their sales teams and produce better sales results. Managing a sales team is also one of the most challenging positions in a company, and it requires a unique set of skills. Unfortunately, most front-line managers start their sales management careers ill-equipped to effectively manage a team of salespeople. So, where do great front-line sales managers come from?

Star-Athlete Syndrome
I hear about the “Star-Athlete Syndrome” frequently in sales organizations. A star sales person grows tired of the daily grind of being an individual contributor and aspires to something “greater,” such as sales management. Meanwhile, the vice president of sales is under time pressure to fill a vacant sales manager position. The vice president assumes that the star sales rep will know how to produce great sales results from a sales team.

The challenge is that salespeople are frequently unable to make the transition from being an individual contributor — achieving results through individual expertise, effort and determination — to being a manager, achieving results through the performance of others. This problem is not unique to sales. Think of all of the great athletes who never developed into great coaches.

Key Sales-Management Abilities
While a sales manager needs sales experience in order to have credibility with the sales team, the key driver of long-term success as a manager is mastery of specific sales-management skills. In order to produce exceptional sales results from the team, a sales manager must excel in the following critical sales-management abilities:

1) Managing sales performance by focusing on the underlying behaviors that drive sales results.

2) Sales coaching to help salespeople develop their full potential.

3) Building a team of great sales professionals with the requisite competencies to succeed.

4) Leading and motivating the team.

Return on Investment
Often some training is needed to develop these critical sales-management abilities. I find the return on investment training sales managers offers truly exciting. A sales manager can leverage improved management skills over the entire sales team. For example, if a sales manager manages 10 salespeople, improving that manager’s effectiveness represents a 10:1 return on investment opportunity.

Just think about all that untapped potential.

Norm Behar talks about developing highly effective sales managers with Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power.

Norm Behar, sales management
Norm Behar is CEO of Sales Readiness Group. This post originally appeared here on his blog. Follow Sales Readiness Group on Twitter @SalesReadiness, or email Norm at nbehar@salesreadinessgroup.com.

How We Use ‘The Pitch’ to Achieve Sales Success

elevator pitchI recently read a blog post by Gerhard Gschwandtner which posed the question: Is ‘the pitch’ dead?” Ya know, the good old-fashioned elevator sales pitch — is it still relevant? 

It got me thinking about when I first came to Dyn two and a half years ago from WhippleHill (a software company for private schools) because Dyn had no ‘pitch.’ We had no singular message or way of talking about our brand identity in a way that people could relate to. We needed to craft a genuine story that people could get behind, believe in and yearn to be a part of.  I didn’t know a ton about the technology at Dyn (DNS – Domain Name System), so it was also a great way to get up to speed.

Before phones, radio and television, people looking to make a transaction and achieve sales success actually met in person to do a business deal. (Imagine that!) There was a straight-in-the-eye look, trust-building conversations, and a firm handshake that led to contracts getting signed. 

Today, the same thing happens but the look, trust building and handshake doesn’t simply occur between two parties. It happens between employees, fans, prospects, customers, followers and friends. There is an abundant supply of online reviews, magic quadrants, hungry competition, analyst briefings, crazy analytics, community sites, Twitter, Facebook, customer references and more to sift through. You simply can’t slack off, because competition can pounce at a moments notice.

The function and business of sales itself always seems to carry a negative connotation. I know it did for me growing up. It’s no secret that there are plenty of sleazy sales jobs out there or overly corporate slick practices to convince people to buy whatever wares are being served up.  The amount of spin and BS being spit out has given sales — and more specifically ‘the pitch’ — a bad name. It’s up to sales leaders like us to reinvent ‘the pitch’ and ensure that its genuineness shines and that dialogue (not monologue) flourishes.

When we bring sales people aboard at Dyn, they must learn four key things before they’re truly unleashed to rep us. All four things are what end up making up our unique pitch one that continues to evolve with every customer win, technology advancement, industry shift or overall achievement of company milestones.

Here are the four key aspects of the Dyn Pitch:

1. The Dyn Story 
Our roots: how we were founded, how we grew, how we were our very own first customer, how everything we’ve ever done has been because of customer demand and how we’re really just like those we want to do business with: dedicated. 

2. The Dyn Difference
Our straightforward, transparent (we overshare), high road, direct, and impassioned approach. We love to talk about and show our commitment and loyalty to our customers, our strong relationships that go beyond the dollar value of an account, our obsessive account management and support, and our flexibility in contracting, pricing, and product enhancements. We keep it real in an industry that tends to be old school, slow and very corporate.  

3. The Dyn Customer, Case Studies & Vertical Markets
We are just like our customers. We’re fighting tooth-and-nail to grow and experience great success in a unique way that we can be proud of. We focus on everyone who values his or her presence online. We’ve redefined what it means to be enterprise, how to practice a customer-centric and solution-selling approach, and drive ahead with our customers and vertical market focus in the spotlight. 

4. The Dyn Technology
We are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for managed DNS and email delivery, but what is DNS? What is email delivery? Why outsource? How does our technology work? What problems does it solve? Smart customers want the keys to the car and want to test drive the services themselves. We let them, and expose them to experts from the word go. When technology stands on its own two feet, it’s easy to sell. The technology is the last thing we have people learn. (Again, imagine that!)

The two most important things I tell anyone coming into our sales organization are: 1) people buy from people they like, and 2) you know what you don’t know. 

We explain that even if you don’t win a deal at the end of the day, do everything in your power to ensure that the prospect likes you so much that he or she feels terrible about letting you down. Sales success is about using all your resources to deliver for your prospect or customer. 

Recently, the VP of Sales at a large public competitor, whom I respect very much, asked me how we were finding DNS sales reps in New Hampshire. I told him very pointedly that we’re not selling just DNS and we’re not just hiring sales reps. We are hiring honest, passionate and persistent people to round out our sales team and that they must possess two key characteristics: fit and hustle. 

Once they learn ‘the pitch’ and how to share it, the sky is the limit for them and for Dyn.

Kyle York is the VP of Sales and Marketing of Dyn, an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) leader that features a full suite of DNS and email delivery services for enterprise, SMB and personal users. Follow on Twitter: @kyork20 and @DynInc.