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How to deliver extreme value and ROI – Lars Nilsson, Founder & CEO of Sales Source

Well first of all I’m not the CEO of Salesforce but a small revenue advisory firm called Sales Source here in Northern California. And first of all James thank you for having me on. Right we’ve spent a lot of time you and I walk in the halls of Sasser, and dream force and we’ve tipped a few back at the battery here in San Francisco, and just to watch you in your craft, for me today has been great, so congratulations to you your staff, and what you’re building at sales confidence, it’s important for all of us. So I’ve been selling for 34 years, 10 years as a quota carrying sales rep, 10 years as a frontline sales manager in the last 10 to 15 years as a Sales Leader. And interestingly I think q1 of calendar year 2020 will be remembered as the year the entire world, every single sales rep on the planet became an inside sales rep. And I grew up not in the 90s selling but actually in the 80s and everything was belly-to-belly very relationship oriented, when salesforce.com came on the scene in 1999, things began to shift, more companies were bringing ISRs online, and then of course in the last 10 to 15 to 20 years we’ve had the entire revolution behind sales development. And that’s an incredibly important shift in my opinion, based on where we are today. 

Extracting prospecting from selling because they’re two very different motions, when you’re a sales rep all you want and you carry a quota, all you want to do is you want to sell, you want to negotiate, and you want to close. And prospecting does become a necessary probably one of the biggest parts but it’s also time-consuming, it’s not that fun, but if you consider that the hardest part of closing any deal is finding it, it turns out that prospecting is the most important part of any sales campaign. And so I think what’s happened in the last 10 to 20 years for those companies that woke up to and found the power of the SDR model, in other words take prospecting and give it to a completely different group, and have them target companies, have them target personas and come up with that first meeting for a quota carrying sales rep, that’s the model we’ve been in for the last 20 years. And again two months ago everything changed, quota carrying sales reps that carried a bag and had relationships and were able to get on planes and trains and automobiles and go see their prospects and clients. That’s not going to happen for a while, and I think the world is waking up to a place where people are very comfortable talking about their needs, talking about their pains, in a format like this. 

And so if I’m a quarter carrying sales rep today I think there’s an unbelievable opportunity to learn about what those sales development reps have been doing. And what they’ve been doing is they’ve been learning the art and science of sales and marketing through a series of tools and technologies and services that have allowed them to find the right person, at a target company, at the even the right time, based on signals and intent data that can be found out there. So if I’m a quarter carrying sales are up today and I cannot go and visit my customers, I’m gonna do everything I can to learn what the tools and technologies are out there, and there’s many of them that are in fact sponsoring this session, but what I’ve spent most of my career doing is selecting technology, implementing it, customizing it, and orchestrating it, so that the rhythms and motions of prospecting can be done intelligently, and can be done in an orchestrated fashion to get the right message, with the right context, and some amount of personalization, so that when the recipient receives it they get inspired, and they learn something new, and they raise their hand in hopes of you know generating a demo or that first conversation. And if I’m an SDR, you know the world has now rotated towards you, if you have become great at your craft in qualifying the opportunity for you to ascend into a quota carrying role has just gotten a lot better for you in my opinion. 

And so I do believe that the science of sales and marketing these tools and technologies and services that have made our jobs a lot easier are something that you need to learn. I think it was Brad that talked about IQ and EQ, and having street smarts. I think the modern sellers today, I think there’s another term being talked about right now and it’s called TQ, technology quotient. And so please any sales rep that is on or listens to this webinar, go and learn the technologies that are out there that can help you do your job better. The other thing that I think we’re all right everyone today is looking at their purchases keenly, and money is not flowing to everyone, and CFOs are watching every dime, and I think as a sales rep today you have to have a return on investment story. 

And if I’m a sales rep today I am trying to build an ROI story that can prove at least a 10x rate of return for the target prospect, and even go to 20% rate of a return on investment. Procurement cycles and buying cycles are not moving forward unless you can prove that kind of return. And so what if I’m in sales operations or revenue operations, what I’m doing is trying to figure out how to come up with a ROI calculator, because again if you are not setting yourself apart and proving that your solution your technology, your product can deliver extreme value to the tune of 10x, 20x, they are not going to look at you today.

My timer just went off, man that seven minutes goes fast!

I mean for everyone out there and I you know, I call it you know, the one thing that I’ve never been able to teach a seller and again you can be taught how to handle objections, how to qualify, how to close, how to negotiate, how to present, but what I’ve never been able to teach is how to get out of bed in the morning, and get after it, get after it every day, every week, every month, because it is all about activities. And again there is a lot that we are thinking about there’s a lot of anxieties, there’s a lot of things that are knocking us down, but if you have that fire in the belly and you can get yourself out of bed every day and get to your desk and begin sending those messages and returning those emails and thinking of new ways to get in front of potential prospects and deliver your value proposition, it never stops, and you have to have that level of intensity and you have to bring it every day, and if you have that, I think you’re going to be just fine.

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