Digital Selling with Sales Enablement
1.5K View | 50 Min Read
Mario Martinez: I’m very excited to be with you guys, how are you guys doing this morning?
MM: And I actually have a special guest in the audience today, and we’ll talk more about this guy in a second, but my special guest is my 8-year-old son, Marshon, up here in the front. Turn around and say hello, Marshon. Marshon actually joined me because he said, “Dad, I want to see what you do.” And so, thank you for Marshon being here.
I’m excited to be here with you guys today. My name is Mario Martinez and I’m the CEO of Vengreso, and I’m going to give you just a little bit of background about myself, so you’ve got some color to who I am and who Vengreso is. I want you to know, first, that I sat in the seat two and a half years ago. My last stop was at the VP of sales. I spent almost my entire corporate career inside of corporate managing about up to $300 million dollars worth of revenue and scaling organizations, and then one day, I came up with this great idea. So, I thought, and it turned out to be, yes, it was a good idea. I said our organization is focused solely on prospecting a very traditional way. And what I needed to do was to be able to figure out a way to be able to reach the other 90% of buyers that we were not reaching.
Why do I say that? Well, if you think about what your sales teams are doing today, most of your sales teams are utilizing very traditional-based sales methodologies to reach out to buyers such as all of you in the room and myself. And the challenge that exists with that is today, the buyer has gotten smarter or faster at buying than sales people have gotten at selling. Would you agree with that? And so, the challenge is, is that we’re using antiquated ways to be able to get to our buyers and we’re not leveraging things like social networks, video, texting, and other digital platforms that allow us to be able to reach out and bring people in.
So I sat in the seat, I launched a program, and after I launched that program, a social selling program, with video, it was the first and only program that I know of at least to date, that LinkedIn enterprise had actually had two things happen with an enterprise rollout. One, 100% of the reps were able to contribute to a close won, close lost, or an open opportunity. Number two, 100% of the reps actually were utilizing the platforms to engage with buyers. Now this had never happened before. And so, as a direct result, LinkedIn asked me to speak at their Annual Users Conference in October 2015. And if brand equity looked like a straight line going in, it did [hand motion] that afterwards. I was very excited because three months later, I actually went out on my own and started M3 Junior Growth Strategies, which all started as a direct result of my now 8-year-old, who was then five, who actually had a conversation that I published on LinkedIn, and the title of the article was, “Dad, you said LinkedIn would help you make money”. And that article from that conversation, that January 3, 2015 is what actually started M3 Junior Growth Strategies, which was then merged under along with five other organizations into Vengreso. And so Vengreso is a digital sales service provider, training a service provider. And so, the point of all this is, I want you to know, I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve sat in your shoes and I’ve launched a program, and I’ve spent over $100,000 dollars in just trying to make a program work.
So, let’s talk about the 10 steps to digital selling. Now this presentation you’ll want to snap pictures of because it’s not publically available. So feel free to snap pictures as we go. I’m going to show you, basically, the 10 steps here. I’m going to show you this at the beginning, and I’m going to show you this at the end. And what I want you to be able to take a look at, and we’re going to go through every single one of these steps, is what are the 10 steps that are required to launch a digital selling program. Whether it’s social networks, whether it’s video sales acceleration, or whether you’re doing anything else in terms of skill set and training development to help your sales people reach that other 90%.
I keep saying that 90%, let’s talk about that for a second. Today we all know that on average, about three out of 100 phone calls that a rep will make result in an actual conversation. That’s the average. Let me triple that and say it’s 10, 10 out of 100. Now emails are even worse. So at most, at best, statistically proven and showcased and researched, you’re going to get about 10% out of 100 calls. So the question you have to ask yourself as leaders in the room, whether you’re in marketing or sales enablement or you’re a sales leader, what are you doing about the other 90%? And if you don’t have a strategy, you need to have a strategy now. So these 10 steps that we’re going to go through are going to be practical and tactical to help you understand how to launch a program, and it’s not as easy as, “I’m just going to buy the software and then have the software provider come in and do some training.” So let’s talk about that.
Step number one, I want to talk about “define the desired outcome”. This is super important, let me go through these bullets here, and I’m sorry, I’m going to have to look back and forth here because I don’t have a monitor in front of me, but one of the first things that you’re going to want to do is really understand what’s our goal out of this? What do we want to accomplish? Now most of us go straight into the ROI discussion. “What’s my return on investment?” And what I want to challenge you to think differently, is that, with tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, video sales acceleration tools like OneMob.com. These tools are tools that could be used throughout the entire life cycle of a sales process, but traditionally are used in that pre-hello. How can I get more hellos? That’s where traditionally you’ll see most of these tools being used from.
But the funny part is, is that most sales leaders immediately go into, if I’m looking at a tool, I want to know how much ROI I’m getting out of this. The reality is, is there’s probably 25 different variables from the moment that a rep says “hello” to close that are not controlled by the technology. They’re controlled by skill set development. Do you agree with me, yes or yes? So, what we want to make sure we’re doing is looking at the KPIs. What are the KPIs that help me get to the right types of behavior? That’s very important. In addition, we want to be thinking about the types of KPIs that monitor and identify progress towards more conversations.
Let me tell you a little story. When I sat in the seat, one day, I called up our senior vice president of sales operations, and I said “John,” that’s his name, “I want to know how much money we are spending on tool A, B, C and D.” He said “X, Y, Z. And, A. A, B, C, D, there we go.” That’s what he said. And I said, “fantastic, the one that stands out the most is a tool that we were spending a quarter million dollars on.” And I said, “a quarter million dollars a year for a salesforce of 350 people – wow, that’s big money. What’s the ROI?” And he said, “I don’t know.” I said, “What do you mean you don’t know what the ROI is?” He says, “We don’t really have a way of tracking that ROI.” How can we not have a way of tracking that ROI? Well, we know that it’s needed, the sales reps said that they want it, the sales reps said they can’t live without it. Really? Is that true and accurate? So he says, “Well what do you want out of this?” I said, “I want to know the ROI. What are you going to do to get me the ROI?” He’s like, “Nothing, I can’t do anything.” I said, “How about we do this. Let’s make a change inside of our CRM so that every time someone opens an opportunity inside of the CRM, they are required to actually select the tool that helped them open an opportunity.” And it’s every tool that we’ve got: one, five, 10, whatever many tools that you’ve got. And allow the sales reps to be able to tell us what they’re using inside the CRM. And then here’s what else I want. I want that same exact field to be implemented on a closed opportunity. When someone goes to closed won or closed lost an opportunity, I want this box to pop up that says, what tools did you use to help you throughout the sales process?
And just take a wild guess what John said to me in response to that. Yes or no? No. Why, why can we not do it? You’ve heard it before, you can’t change the CRM. “IT says no. It’s got to go through process and systems and approvals. It’s got to require all the different levels in the organization to be able to make this happen. No, you can’t add on, and it’s going to be hard on the salesforces. It’s another new field. There’s already 75,000 fields inside of the Salesforce.com CRM system. And therefore, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And I said, “John, who pays for the CRM?” And he said, “sales does.” So I said, “Okay.” And we paused. I waited. It didn’t click. So the reality was he said, “I can’t do it, you’ve got to get your boss’s approval.” So I got into my executive vice president, worldwide sales and marketing and I said, “Scott, did you know that we’re spending over a million dollars in tools and technology for the sales organization?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah I’m aware of that.” “Did you know that we actually have no empirical proof or data points on how much ROI these tools are giving us?” He said “What do you mean? Just go ask John.” “I did, here’s his email. We don’t have the data.” Now what do you think the executive vice president, worldwide sales and marketing said? Wild guess? WTF, right? Like, what are you talking about? So I said, “here’s what we need to do. Let’s implement this inside of our CRM.” He said, “why don’t we have that already?”
We get the approvals, we go back and here’s the results of what happened. We wanted to figure out in this CRM process, which tools were really helping along the way. And so, as a direct result, we changed the CRM. And with the tool that cost us a quarter million dollars, in the first 90 days, we had $1,100 of ACV attributed to this particular tool. $1,100. But with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, we had $1.1 million. And with another tool, ZoomInfo, we actually had about $2+ million in AVC attributed for 120 U.S. domestic sellers. After six months, we had $1,100 attributed to this quarter million-dollar tool, and we had over $4.5 million in open opportunity to various different tools and it grew from there. Now what do you think we did with that data? Wild guess. We got rid of the tool. After nine months, we shut the tool off and do you know, not a single peep came out of the sales organization. So that particular circumstance, I’m telling you that story, because as you implement some of these prospecting tools, you want to make sure that you have a way to be able to measure that through an ROI as well as through how many more conversations it’s creating.
That’s super important and I know I spent about 10 minutes on this topic, but the reality is, is most of you in the room, most of us, myself and my partners, we do over 200 executive meetings per year, and you wouldn’t believe the number of times that we sit and talk with leaders about this particular topic because it’s not implemented. So, KPI’s are critical. And also, if you’re launching a digital selling program, it is all around being digital, so you have to have some sort of communications vehicle. Whether you use Chatter, Slack, or any other tool within an on-demand system, you got to have a way for people to be able to communicate with each other, so they can understand what’s working, what’s not, ask questions and get help. This is digital, so we’ve got to be, say it with me…digital. Alright?
Step number two. Buyer identification and mapping. This is a very important step and is one of the challenges that we see…by the way, do we have anybody from LinkedIn in the room? LinkedIn? Alright. So, what I’m about to talk about I absolutely love and highly recommend the tool, LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can’t live without it from a sales tech tool. However, one of the challenges that we’ve seen in organization after organization after organization, from Fortune 10 all the way down to the small 10-person company that has this tool, is the company comes in with a software technology and says, “we’re going to train all of your sales people, we’re going to teach them how to use it.” But the problem is, is they start teaching them how to fish, and where to fish, without actually making sure that they understand, what fish are they going after? What are they trying to catch?
Now most of you say this is basic fundamentals to sales enablement. Understand your buyer persona, right? The problem is you have to translate that into the ability to search for those buyers within the tools and technology. And that’s why this step is super important in terms of identifying the buyer personas and making sure that you map those buyer personas into what’s called, “Boolean logic search streams”, or search streams that you build with inside of sales navigator as an example, so that you can actually send off a URL, someone can open it, and it shows them the exact type of buyer type that they’re looking for, within their region, within their vertical, within their segment. So, this is super important to understand that you document this for your sales organization, that you help them to be able to see these details.
Now, we get to step number three. And step number three, you don’t have a digital selling program, whether you’re looking at video or whether you’re looking at social, unless you’ve got step number three. This is arguably one of the most important steps inside of the 10-step process. What do I mean? First, most organizations, whether they’re training or consulting, or internal or even the software providers, when they come to an organization, they teach them how to fish. Now for those of you that are fishers, fishermen or fisherwomen in the room, what do you need before you go fishing? Bait. You need the bait. And this is arguably the most important thing, we launch technology, we launch tools, but we don’t actually have the bait. By the way, if I connect with you, just because I connect with you on a tool or platform like LinkedIn, that does not mean that you and I are BFFs. It does not mean that you and I are actually going to have a meeting now. We’ve got to add value to the process. We talk about that all the time. So, the issue that we need to be thinking about is making sure that we, as sales enablement professionals, are working with our marketing leaders to make sure that we’ve got content.
Now most of your marketing team leaders will say “oh we have content, absolutely.” And what I want you to do is, I want you to go back to those marketing leaders and I want you to challenge them. And say, “but is it the right type of content? Is it content for sales enablement? Or, do we have product information?” More times than not, most marketing organizations are producing product-based information about the product, always leading to the product advertisement, advertisement, advertisement. But what we really need is content that adds value. How to? What to? When to? Listicals as an example. Questions that answer business problems for your specific buyer type. If you do not have the bait, here’s my recommendation. Save your $100,000 or more, or less, whatever the number is, save it. Don’t spend a single dime if you do not have this, because your sellers will ultimately fail, your program will fail, and you will not succeed.
Step number 4. Now we get to the part of, what are the right tools? Our favorite tools to use with using digital are several. First, we use tools like LinkedIn. Now, some organizations say “Hey, can we use LinkedIn free and not have to buy a $1,000 or $1,100 per person license?” The answer is, with Vengreso we’ll train your sales organization how to use it in a crawl, walk, run scenario. We’ll get you to the Sales Navigator and showcase some ROI. So, the answer is, yes. But if you have the money, spend it. Because it will help your sales organization get there a lot faster than utilizing the free tools.
Now we also look at, once we’ve got a prospecting tool, and once we start building and developing a connection strategy, meaning bringing our targeted buyers into our network, we got to have a way to be able to distribute content because not every connection leads to a meeting. Agree? So what you want to do is, you want to make sure that you actually have a way to distribute content. Whether that is using a platform like Highspot for one-to-one distribution, or whether that’s using a platform like Everyone Social or Gaggalamp, so you can actually distribute content throughout your social networks and drip it over the course of time. Those are two important categories of content distribution tools that you need.
The other thing that you want to be thinking about is, when I launched the program that afforded me the opportunity to speak at LinkedIn’s Annual Users Conference, I launched the program in conjunction with a video sales acceleration platform. Now there are four major providers that are out there, and if you want to know the reasons why we believe that there’s one specific one that actually works the best, feel free to come and talk to myself, Kurt Shaver also, my chief sales officer in the room over here, and also our director of training and consulting is also here in the room as well, Angela Dunnes. You can ask any one of us. That having been said, the one that we recommend the most is a tool called OneMob.com. And this particular tool for OneMob actually allows me as a seller to create landing pages with content and video. And it brings it to the forefront, so that when I’m engaging with my buyers, I want to make sure that my buyers are not leaving my webpage. Because as we all know, if you asked your marketing folks…Marketing, do you ever want to bring somebody off your webpage onto a third-party site or distract them? The answer is no. So with tools like video sales acceleration platforms, combined with social networks, you’ve got a powerful 1-2 punch from a digital selling perspective.
So, you want to make sure that you’re thinking about those types of tools. In addition, there are other productivity types of tools. There’s online calendar links, those things are amazing. AutoText Expander. These are the tools that we would help you go through and understand. What tools do you really need and what tools do you really want? And how are we going to implement a crawl, walk, run approach to digital selling? Pick your tools on step number four.
Step number five. This is what we call the playbooks. You’re going to be looking at how to develop several different types of playbooks. Actually, it’s four playbooks, but I’ll get to the fourth one in just one second. Here on this particular segment, you want to make sure that you have developed scripts, messaging scripts, Boolean logic search streams for the different types of tools, landing pages if you’re using video sales acceleration, with content that’s unique and specific by buyer type. This is super important, because the reality is, most organizations – when an organization comes to us, some of our largest clients, the Fortune 100’s – when they come to us for help, it’s because they only have about 20% adoption in general. And we ask them, “Well did you teach the sales organization what to say?” “Oh yeah, we did these webinars, we did these trainings, we taught them what to say.” “Did you give them the script that they can customize that have the content by buyer type?” And that’s where we get the “uhh…no”.
What we know about salespeople, and I’m one of them, I grew up in sales my entire career and turned into this quasi-marketing guy and sales enablement guy in the last few years. What we know about salespeople is that we like to hit the easy button all the time. We want someone to serve it on a platter for us. And so, in this particular regard, you want to make sure that if you’re launching a program, that you build out scripts, messaging scripts. What do you say when you connect with somebody? How do you welcome somebody? What do you say when it’s their anniversary? What do you say when it’s their birthday? What do you say when there’s a job change? Those are the types of things that you want to be building out that has content that adds value.
In addition, we also recommend that you develop what’s called a “success story playbook”. Now your sellers need to know, what’s working? How did you get Susie to get on the phone with Bobby? Let’s talk about that and document that. How did you actually utilize it to be able to find the buyers that are inside of that account? Let’s talk about that. So these are the types of things that you want to be building inside your success story playbook and sharing that out to your sales organization.
Now, step number six. Create buyer-centric profiles. This is your last playbook. Let me tell you a little bit about my story, my journey when I sat in the seat. When I launched this program, we launched and in the first 45 days after launching, both video as well as a social networking tool, we had about 10% adoption. And I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why this was happening. And then I realized two things. For one, we had asked a software vendor to come in and train on skills development for our sales organization. That was the first mistake. Because the software provider, while necessary and while needed, they train on where to click and how to click. Products and features and functions. Maybe a little bit of skill set development. But how do sales people learn? They have to watch it themselves. They have to then be trained and do it again. And then they have to be coached. That’s the traditional methodology of what we know and how we know for learning and development within a sales organization. And unfortunately, the software technology provider wasn’t doing that.
In addition, we train them on how to actually restructure, in this case, their LinkedIn profile, because if I’m engaging with you as a potential buyer, the first thing that you’re going to do if I reach out to you is look at my profile to see who I am and what I have to offer. And if all my profile reads is, “quota crushing sales rep”, “all-time top performer”, “President’s Club earner for 15 years”, look, you’ve added no value in the buying process. And so, you need to transform the digital profiles, their personal profiles into many company.com websites that speaks to who you help, how you help, what business problem you’ve solved and who else you’ve done it for. But when we train the sales organization, we said “Go ahead and write your summary this way, and go ahead and write 2,000 characters of content, and then write 2,000 characters of content for your experience section, and then go out to YouTube and go out to the blog, and then go find all the multi-b that you can embed into your profile that actually maps to the buyer type that you’re calling on in your particular territory.” And guess how many people did it. I already said the number…10%. Why? Because no sales person is going to go out and write 2,000 characters of a summary, 2,000 characters of an experience section, going to go to YouTube, going to go to the blog sites, and then find all that rich multimedia that’s for your buyer type.
This is why you need to develop a profile playbook. You need to keep it simple for them. Hit that easy button over and over and over again. Give them the templates of what it is that should be on their profiles and let them customize the areas. And we do this, and we’ve done this now for many organizations, thousands of sales organizations, where literally overnight a company will have 1,000 sales reps that will be completely keyword optimized and SEO optimized on the platforms like LinkedIn. And this is critical because this is the branding that we want to make sure that we are giving to our sales reps. Because if they don’t care about their brand, your buyers might think that they won’t care about theirs. So, make sure you give those playbooks.
Most of them are resumes – we want to convert them from a resume to a resource. We want to make sure we grow credibility. We want to speak to the buyer’s challenges. We also want to bring case studies in and we also want to have a call to action. What do you want them to do? That’s what a playbook should include, and generally our playbooks for the LinkedIn profiles have 10 sections on there to be able to address the need for a profile. And here’s how you get support if you want to get funding. You want me to tell you the secret?
MM: The secret is, you walk into your marketing leader’s office, and you say “Mr. or Mrs. Marketing Leader, how would you like to go in and have, whatever number of sales reps you have in your organization, 100, 10,000, mini-company.com websites? To be completely SEO optimized, keyword optimized within the LinkedIn platform, as well as searchable and indexable by Google, Yahoo and Bing. For free.” Every marketing leader we speak to are like, “Oh my god. I never thought about using our sales reps profiles to help us be found ahead of our competitors on the LinkedIn platform.” That’s how you get that funding. That’s how you get some extra dollars and cents for marketing to help contribute towards this particular program. And that’s what I did as well.
Step number seven. Now notice how in these first six steps, we didn’t talk about training at all. Did anybody notice that? We’re now at step seven and now we’re talking about training. Most organizations and most software providers will come in and they immediately go into, “We’re going to train your sales organization. Let’s launch the tool, we’re going to train the sales organization.” Don’t do it. Handle those six first steps before you get to step number seven.
But, what should the training program look like? And so here we go, you want to make sure that it’s customized by rep type. So, for example, if you’ve got account managers versus account executives, if you’ve got SDRs versus CSMs, you want to make sure that you’re customizing the training that’s unique and specific to that person’s individual role. In addition, you want to make sure you bring in and course an on-demand training program. You want to have instructor-led, whether that’s virtual or whether that’s in-person, you decide. It’s your culture of the company, you know how your sales reps learn.
You also want to make sure that you’ve got coaching that is a part of this particular program, because once you teach someone something, they walk out of the room or they get off the webinar and what does that sales rep go back to do? Say it again? The old thing. They keep on doing the same thing over and over again, and you’re still not getting the better results. So, have a 3-phased approach to your training. On demand, live-training (virtual or in-person), and coaching. Super important.
I like to give this illustration here, which is when I was in the seat, I realized very quickly that I needed the help of some of the software providers to do some of the product training. But I needed to fill in many gaps on the skill set development training. It’s kind of like, have you ever had a new phone system put in into your office? Phone swapped out? Let’s pretend it was Cisco. Cisco comes in, they put all brand new phones in on your desk. You ask them to train the end-users on how to use the phone. How to do call forwarding, how to set up voicemail, how to use speaker, how to transfer – those types of things. But then you say to Cisco, “now with my sales team, I want you to teach them all how to do cold-calling.” No. The software providers, in my opinion, my personal opinion, they do not teach skill set. They teach products and features and function. That’s your job is to add the skill set.
So, we go onto step number eight. Now we talk about we’ve launched a program, we’re doing training whether using a video sales acceleration platform, whether using social networks, whether using AI technology, and now we want to go into making sure that we gamify this program. What we know about reps is that they love recognition and they love money. Agree? Yes or yes? So, what we want to make sure that we do throughout this program is that we drive the behaviors that we want to be driven. And we do that through gamification and recognition.
So, in the beginning what you want to do is, is you want to map out what are some of the programs that you’re going to launch. Once you’ve launched the training program, now you want to have those programs be the success stories, you want to have the gamification rolling out, you want to be able to show the leader boards, and you want to be able to showcase this. Not just ROI. Remember, a lot of these tools are relationship-building tools, sales prospecting tools. You want to gamify that aspect of sales. The pre-hello. Does that make sense? And you also want to gamify the ROI of how many opportunities have entered into the funnel. So, make sure you’ve got a program that recognizes that type of behavior.
Step number nine. Measure and adapt for improvement. The reality is that when I was in the seat and we launched a program, I realized that about four months into the program that our messaging was wrong for our particular buyer type. It was for the marketing line of business that we were selling to. And we weren’t getting good results there. And what I realized was, I think the messaging is wrong. The actual link that we were sending was to a download. Our reps were introducing a concept and sending something of value but the person on the other side had to actually download that. This is the concept of what we call at Vengreso in our content for sales enablement practice, “vaulted content”. We’re not talking about content that you can’t get to unless you actually physically put in your information. It’s content that is only available to the sales organization, that they can send and engage one-on-one without having to do a download.
So that’s some of the things I want you thinking about in terms of the measuring and adapting, is you want to make sure that you are checking the KPIs. If you’re not getting the results in a particular area or a particular buyer type, change it up. Fix those playbooks. Look at the messaging. Change out the success stories so that what is important is coming first. Change the profiles. Add a new multimedia. These are all the things that you want to be thinking about as you launch a particular program. And of course, I just said, adjust the playbooks.
Step number 10. Finally, you get to the last step of the process, and that is, you want to make sure you’re coaching for continuous improvement. Now oftentimes when we work with a sales organization, most sales leaders are 40 years and older. That’s our age, for most of us in the room. 40 and older. And we grew up selling in a very different way, so we don’t understand how to use this “video thing”. I’m afraid of being in front of video to send a one-to-one communication. I don’t know how to “LinkedIn” somebody. So, you want to make sure that you’ve got somebody that actually can help coach. You lead with the data, you focus on creating more conversations or more ROI. And work with the reps to drive behavioral change. This is very important. Coaching does not end just because you rolled out a program. This is going to be at least a year-long program that you’re going to be working on, and coaching and developing your sales managers to work with your sales reps.
Now, most times people ask me, “what’s the role of the sales leader inside this process?” And the answer to that question is, do not, do not, do not launch a digital selling program unless you have gotten your executive sales leader’s buy in. Do not launch a program unless you’ve got the frontline managers’ buy in. The frontline managers and the executive sales leader are so important to getting buyoff. I cannot tell you the number of times we worked with organizations that started with sales enablement or the marketing team, and we launch a program and we’ve only got 40% adoption because the sales leaders are not coming to the trainings, they’re not involved in the process, they’re not doing anything to be able to learn what needs to be done to be able to do modern prospecting, to do modern selling. So, you must have the executive sales leader’s buy in.
Here are the 10 steps one more time. Now what do you do next? If you’re looking to launch a particular program, what you want to be thinking about is you want to identify who the clear stakeholders are. Clearly sales enablement is involved. The head of sales is definitely going to be involved, or a specific business unit leader. The frontline sales managers are going to be involved. The head of marketing will be involved. And oftentimes your social media and content marketing points of contacts, definitely on the content side, needs to be involved. These are the players that you need to be able to launch a digital selling program, whether you’re talking about social networks, or whether you’re talking about video sales acceleration. If you do not have the buy in, do not launch a program. I’m telling you now, save your hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, if you wanted to launch a program, myself, we went all-in. We wrote a check for $120,000. We launched it to 120 sellers in the domestic U.S., then we grew it to 350 sellers internationally. It was all-in. I was like, “we’re going all-in”. I recommend the all-in approach, particularly because it allows you to have a larger swath of users that drives better success.
However, some people want to start out with a program that is small. What does a small program look like? Well, if you want to do a pilot program, a good pilot program, minimum 50, about 100. What if you have less than 50 sales reps? Then launch your whole sales program, right? So you want the other sales reps to help drive success by the things that they’re doing to showcase what’s working and what’s not. The smaller your group is, even if you have 10 people, launch it with 10. But if you have 50, go with 50. If you’ve got 3,000 and you want to start with a pilot, go with at least 100. The bigger your group is, the better your success chances are because success breeds success. So, select your players, choose your influencers. Oftentimes you know who are the sales leaders that will be interested. Let them select themselves. Get their commitment that they’ll be involved in a program for approximately three to five months. And then you can launch your program.
So, just so you know who Vengreso is, we are the world’s largest digital sales consulting and training company in the world. We’ve serviced over 2,000 companies with 100,000 sales professionals that we’ve trained. And it all started a year and a half ago when we did a very crazy – I’ll probably never do it again and I’m sure Kurt Shaver will say it again – a crazy five-way merger of many different organizations under one. And we did it all at the same time. As I said earlier, I don’t start small, it’s either go big or go home. So, that’s what we did.
I like to think of it as this analogy. I said earlier, talking about training, that it is teaching someone how to fish. Do not teach your reps how to fish, which is step number three, do not teach them how to fish if you have not given them the bait. Do not teach them how to fish if you have not given them the right fishing pole to go and hunt the fish that they’re looking for. That’s the branding piece in the middle. So, bait, pole, then teach how to fish.
Now here’s something that’s very unique, and go ahead right now, and you’re not going to go on any email marketing lists, but bring out your phones and send an email here. I want to show you, and just put inside here, just put Highspot Session at the subject line. I want to show you something that I promise you, you have never seen before. You have never seen this before and it is a unique way to be able to see how digital selling in action. And it is going to be an out of office reply, and that out of office reply is quite unique. Now you’re not going to watch it right now, but you’ll get a response back from me, and just imagine with this one simple technique using a video sales platform, if all of your sales reps talked or reached out or spoke to your buyers this way. Everybody got this? Mario@vengreso.com, and you’ll get an auto-reply and away you go. Good to go? All in favor, say “I”.
MM: Alright. We also do, just so you know if you’re interested, and you’re like, “I want to know before I take any action or even a pilot program if I need digital selling.” You’re welcome to be able to go to our digital selling benchmark report, and you are welcome to speak to myself or Angela or Kurt here at the end, and we actually perform a digital sales assessment if you’ve got 25 sale people or more. The report is about $2,500 dollars and we do that at no cost if you have at least 25 sales reps. So we’ll do all the work and we’ll survey and we’ll put out the report for you that is unique and custom to your sales organization. And it really provides some intelligent insights as to what your sales people say that’s going on versus what you think is actually going on.
And, last but not least, you’re welcome to take a picture of this, you can bring out your phones, and if you enjoyed what you heard today all about digital selling, digital selling techniques, you’re welcome to text me. Text MARIO to 38470, we’ll ask for your email and I’ll ask for your name instantly. So, this is for access to our content, and I’m going to show you one last tip.
And what I’d like everybody to do is take out your phones right now. And if you’re already connected to me on LinkedIn, I want you to search for a name, Kurt Shaver. And I’m going to show you something that you probably don’t know. So, Mario Martinez, if you’re not connected to me, or if you are connected to me already, which I know some of you in the room are, find Kurt Shaver. You want to be a second-degree connection. Now once you pull up one of our profiles, whether it’s Kurt or myself, I want you to click on the “more” button on that LinkedIn profile. And raise your hand once you’ve found that more button. Alright? Raise your hand if you see the personalized invite. What you want to do there is, whether it’s me or whether it’s Kurt, just put inside there Highspot Soiree 2018. Never ever, never ever have your sales team send a non-personalized LinkedIn connection request.
Two years ago, we did a study – 1,176 outreaches that we made through LinkedIn to connect with buyers. 1,176. The connection rate with a personalized connection message was 76%. Why is that so important? Because part of digital selling is bringing your buyers into your network. It may not result in a conversation at that moment in time, but it certainly will result over the course of time. And myself and folks like Kurt and Angela, every single week we get someone reaching out to us saying “I’ve been watching you, I’m ready to talk now.” So, I want to make sure that you know, go back to your offices, teach your reps how to send a personalized LinkedIn connection request, and make sure that they never send a non-personalized request.
And ladies and gentlemen, I think we’ve got a little bit of time for Q&A, and how much time do we have? Four minutes. We’ve got some Q&A, I’m happy to take some questions. Thank you for being part of the program. So I’ll take any questions you guys may have. Yes.
Audience: How do you help modernize more tenured reps?
MM: So the question was, is when you think about the enterprise sales reps, especially those that are that 40 years and older category, many of them are not used to modern selling techniques. So how do you get them to actually start being a modern seller, utilizing technology to be able to engage with their buyers? There’s many different answers to that question, but I’m going to start out with just one. And it’s our first part of our training, of our six-phase training. When you’re in the training step number one or phase one mindset, your reps need to know that the buyer has changed the game on them. And there is no argument anymore. The facts are indisputable. And I’ll show any sales leader from any organization and any sales rep, any fact that they want that proves that the modern buyer has changed the game. They are researching upwards of 67% of the time before they even reach out to a salesperson. And a salesperson needs to understand that, and that’s how you start driving adoption from the beginning. Great question. Any other questions?
Audience: I know the story, but I think people might like to know a little bit about how specifically Marshon launched the company.
MM: [laughter] Very brief story. On January 3, 2016, he was in kindergarten. And his whole entire kindergarten career up until January he kept asking me, “Dad, will you take me to school? Dad, will you take me to school? Dad, will you take me to school?” Unfortunately, he was a late bird, and so I was commuting into San Francisco which meant that I couldn’t take him to school. Then he asked me on January 3, a Sunday, and I said “yes.” He was like, “what? What just happened? Why?” And I said, “Daddy left his job.” And the first question he asked me after he understood why you left the job, what happened, was, “So does that mean I’m going to lose my playground?” And I said, “Lose your playground? What do you mean lose your playground?” And he said “Well, because you say you have to go to work to pay for my playground. So if you don’t have any more work, then you can’t pay for my playground.” And I said, “No, no, no, rest assured you’ll be okay.” And then he said, “Why don’t you go work for In?” And I said, “In? What’s In?” He said, “You know what In is.” I said, “I don’t know what In is.” “Yes, you do.” “No I don’t, what’s In?” He goes, “Hold on”, so he runs to his bedroom, he comes back out with the baseball cap that had the blue and white logo for LinkedIn. And I said “Oh, LinkedIn. Why do you say that?” He said, “Well, because you always say that you use LinkedIn to help you find people to make money. So maybe, if you go work for LinkedIn, lots of people will find you and then you’ll make lots of money.”
And that article was published two days later as a result of that conversation, and literally, I received and InMail from the vice president of worldwide sales operations from a Fortune 100 company who said, “hey, I see that you’re out of a job, and I’m the fourteenth person to have received your blog article. I watched your video of you presenting at LinkedIn for 48 minutes, I’d love to talk.” And five days after that, the head of Americas marketing from Fortune 100 number two called me and said, “since you’re out of a job, why don’t you do some consulting with us?” Three weeks later I told my wife, walked out of my office and I said, “well babe, I got good news and I got bad news.” She’s like, “what’s the bad news?” “We have to start a company.” She’s like “What? What’s the good news?” “We’re fully funded!” That’s what I said. So, that’s how the story was and Marshon was the one who started our company. Thanks very much everyone, I appreciate your time.