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Skip  A Step Ahead
with Skip Miller
July, 2010Vol 4, Issue 7
Did Well on the Mid-Term Exam?
Pen on books 
You made it!
You have the first half of the year done, and things are not too bad.   Some of you are a bit ahead of plan, some a bit behind, but you have the rest of the year to make it.  The ramp is steep, but time is on your side...so to speak.

Just like in college, this is the mid-term, and if you remember your days back in school, here are some basic rules regarding mid-terms.
1.    Prepare for the final

You do not want to be in November looking up at a huge hill.  It's the 3rd quarter that will make or break you, so get that pipeline full.  Pipeline management is the number one reason people made or missed the 2nd quarter.  Get the maybe's out and prospect broad and deep to fill it...now.

2.    Drop the courses you are not doing well at

This would apply to C prospects and C sales people.  If you keep the C prospects, your pipeline accuracy is shot.  Up to 40% of your current pipeline are maybe's.  Get them out.  Managers, keep the C players, and you may as well kiss off 2011.  Ask great qualification questions to the management of your prospects.  Start interviewing; you may be surprised what talent is out there.

3.    Get your B's to A's

This again goes to prospects and sales people.  Have Solution Box conversations with the management of your top prospects.  No Cause, no I-Date, no deal.  Ask your A players what they need for the balance of the year to overachieve, and really listen.  You may be surprised what they need to make a big year end splash for their quota, and yours, is within your reach.
4.    Add resources
Time to allocate all the resources you have into getting good prospects into the funnel.  Your team has 6 months to close these deals, but come September, good luck trying to fill the funnel, when everyone else, including your buyers, are making decisions.  All hands on deck...fill the funnel and go see your top 2010 prospects.
5.    Ask questions

Best way to qualify is to disqualify.

"Why would you go ahead this year and fund this solution?"
"What return are you getting on this investment?"
"How is this helping you lower your business risk?"
"Where does this solution save you time?"

If your prospect can not answer business value questions...are they really going to spend money??  They like you??  Hmmmm....time to break out ValueStar.
There seem to be more mines in the minefield in the second half of the year than the first, if that's possible.  How you navigate with the right tools, the right prospects and the right resource will heavily influence the final score.  Your final score.  Your year is over by the end of September.  Get moving, and have a great summer.

In This Issue
Going Broad and Deep

"A" Player?

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Sales Cycle Optimization
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Preparation & Presentation
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Going Broad and Deep
It's that Time of Year Again 
Skip Miller
Why is it that about this time every year, the topic of going broad and deep in a current account lights up?  It seems that right about now, sales organizations figure out that their product can be sold to multiple departments, CXO levels, names, titles and divisions.  Better than finding new logos the story goes.
Let's get this right.  You are doing well at an account.  They like you and are getting a great return on their investment.  You now are having trouble finding more people to sell to.  Additionally, you are having problems getting past gatekeepers to people you have already proven your solution is a worthwhile discussion.  Is that about it?
A few tips here may help.
1. Have your champion introduce you to their boss
By asking Russian, ValueStar questions, this may be a great way to find out how they are making money with your solution, and who they can see it also helping in tier organization.
2. Do a joint email introduction
Again, call you champion and ask if they would send an email to another person in the organization you feel could really use what you are selling, and introduce you, as well as copy you on the email.
To: Mary (the other person you are trying to get to)
CC: John (That's you)
From: Bob (Your champion)
Just a quick introduction to John I thought would be in order.  John is with xxx company, and they have really helped us save time and lower our costs during this past year.  John was talking to me about some other stuff they do, and I thought of you.  Give John a few minutes and he may be of some value to you and what you are trying to do.
John/Mary, I leave it up to you two.
Have your champion send these out.  They will love the exposure it gets them too.
3. Ask for a referral
It surprises me how many sales people do not want to ask for a referral.
"John, is there anyone or any other departments that you think could benefit from what we are doing here?"
"Helen, we just worked with another company kind of like yours who had a problem in xxxxxxx (Sales, Marketing, Production. Engineering, Training...).  Who in your company is in charge of this department?"
4. Ask the big question
"George, where does your company see its biggest risks for the rest of the year?  Where is the upside for you folks?"
It's all about risk, right?
Have a great time.  Go broad and deep with authority.  You can make these people successful, they just don't know you yet.  Leverage your strengths and ask for some help.  A thank you note is all it will cost you.
The next 60 days are critical for you and 2010 quota.  Make them count.  Do the heavy lifting (prospecting) now and reap the rewards in the fourth quarter.
The second half of the year will require you to go to summer school .  Mid-terms are done.  Finals in December.  Cram i December, get the B.  Work hard in July and August, and have an A in your sights.  Your choice.
Have a great July! 

Skip and team