Jeremey Donovan, Head of Revenue Strategy at Salesloft shares a few proven practices that can drive optimum sales output before the end of year holiday season:
Hi Jeremey, welcome to this SalesTechStar chat! Can you tell us more about your journey through the years and more about your role at Salesloft? Take us through a day at work…!
First, I’d love to highlight my background a little and how it feeds into my day-to-day at Salesloft. I started out my career as a semiconductor engineer…I actually studied semiconductor physics in school and found a passion at the intersection of business and technology. After some time spent in engineering, I pursued a shift to product development and management, which ultimately brought me to the creative side of marketing like writing copy and design. Marketing then became far more ROI-driven as digital demand generation took hold. Sales in particular has been incredibly exciting to me because we are starting to see this unique blend of art and science in sales. I may not be an artist, but I pride myself on being able to bring a bit of the quantitative perspective I gained as an engineer to this new sales blend.
So, how does this play into a day at work here at Salesloft? In my role as Head of Revenue Strategy I am responsible for the overarching goals and tactics our teams use to meet revenue goals each quarter and fiscal year. I like to think that I work on the business big picture versus the minutiae of the day-to-day. I spend my time focusing on what processes and programs we need to have in place 6, 12, 18 months from now in order to continue to grow and serve our customer base. In the revenue strategy world, this often includes things like territory strategy, role definition, hiring best practices, analytics, and forecasting. This also includes customer success and support to make sure the most important part of our business, our customers, are receiving exceptional value. Ultimately, my role is to remove stopgaps for my team and make sure that everyone has the tech, tools and support they need to be successful.
With companies prepping for the end of the year and start of the new year: what top tips and insights would you share to help optimize end of year closures while sharing best practices that can help salespeople pick up pace in Q1 of 2022?
We’re all in Q4 and this means it’s pretty much all hands on deck for salespeople to close opportunities. At Salesloft, we advise customers to focus on the differentiator right now – not only when it comes to the product and the value they offer, but also with the sales experience itself. I have a philosophy that the sales process is an indicator of how you will be treated as a customer once the contract is signed. So, as a sales rep trying to close those Q4 sales, you really want to demonstrate that attention and showcase the care they will receive not only in the sales process but in the long term as a customer. You also need to remember that clients ultimately buy when they are ready, so if you’ve laid the groundwork of positioning the value of your product and establishing trust, you don’t need to rely on high-pressure tactics.
I think the best advice I can offer is to run as fast as you can to close business for your customers through the end of the year and then take a well-deserved break. Refresh yourself, spend time with your family, and come back rested and ready for new challenges. Unfortunately, I think salespeople miss a lot of holiday time at the end of the year, which is why many companies, like Salesloft, opt for a January fiscal year close – it ends up being a lot healthier for the sales team. If you don’t have the luxury of a January end of year, focus on wrapping your year in December in time to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, take a break, refresh, and then go aggressive on prospecting when the new year hits so that you set yourself up for a successful Q1, 2022, and beyond.
How can B2B sellers achieve more during the holiday season? What should they be paying more attention to build better impact during this time?
While salespeople may not have downtime as the B2B seller is pretty much working non-stop through Q4, they often face the reality that prospects are out of office a bit more often this time of year. So, you have to pivot and schedule your sales process around your buyer’s schedule. You need to have an incredibly disciplined setback schedule. I know that I also use this time to discuss with my customer what their goal ‘go live’ date is, or perhaps what the value realization goal date is and then work back from there, communicating clearly with them what steps are necessary to get done, by whom, and by when to meet those goal dates. Lean into your project management skills here to make sure everything is getting done when it needs to be and you’ll be far more likely to meet those Q4 goals.
The other piece of advice is pretty simple: people are going to be less accessible, so it is more important now than ever to make sure your deals are multi-threaded. Oftentimes, we talk about having a “champion” within a company on a deal. But, you should work to have more than one this time of year to maximize your efforts and minimize the possibility that a deal can go cold due to your one champion being unavailable during the holiday season.
Can you talk about a few ways you’ve seen successful salespeople or sales executives close deals at Salesloft to drive better holiday revenue?
Here at Salesloft, we really pride ourselves on a low pressure sale. We don’t pressure our prospects any differently now than we do during other times of the year. We try to follow those best practices I mentioned previously: having mutual success plans with our customers, sharing these with our prospects, and multi-threading the deals as often as possible.
I cannot stress the importance of multi-threading enough. B2B sales, in particular, is not a one person show. Make sure that you are not only personally creating those multiple touchpoints with people inside a prospect company, but that you are also doing this internally so you can lean on your team members to help drive things forward when needed.
As B2B sales trends evolve, what are some top thoughts and predictions that you have in mind for 2022 and beyond?
The degree to which obvious macro trends happening right now are impacting the world of sales is something I’ve never seen before. One obvious macro trend that will continue to be a top talking point in 2022 and beyond is that we have moved to a more virtual world and we will be sticking to it, to a certain degree, for good. Although we have already started to see signs that things are easing back a bit to a more hybrid virtual/in-person world, the fact is that remote selling creates an accelerated path, so it’s not going anywhere.
Another trend that will keep growing and evolving through 2022 is artificial intelligence (AI) in sales. I like to think of it not as artificial intelligence, but as augmented intelligence. There is a proliferation of technologies out there that are not meant to do the job of the salesperson, but to make the salesperson’s job more effective. Salesloft is a perfect example of this. We produce a lot of free products for sales reps that rely on machine learning and artificial, or augmented, intelligence concepts. For example, we just released Email Optimizer,a Google Chrome extension that uses AI to grade your email drafts based on the content and the structure to help you fine tune your messages and maximize reply rates. This is an example of augmented intelligence: the computer or the machine is not writing the emails for you, but gives you an edge by offering restructured words or phrases in real time that are known to be more effective.
And of course, also thoughts and predictions on the future of salestech?
The future of salestech is looking brighter than ever, and what is absolutely happening right this minute is convergence. There is so much salestech out there that we have gotten to the point where buyers are craving a consolidated set of vendors who are able to serve multiple needs at once. Salesloft recently rebranded and relaunched to meet this very need by introducing the Modern Revenue Workspace™ to bring together the workflow aspects that our customers need to engage with their prospect, manage and close opportunities, cross-sell, renew, and further add value to customers.
I think this is going to be the biggest move in salestech for the next few years – the convergence of capabilities with the expectation from customers that products will begin to offer more within one platform versus having multiple, disconnected products that don’t necessarily talk to each other. The value and benefit of this consolidated salestech stack will really benefit customers.
Some last thoughts and takeaways before we wrap up?
Over the past few months, as I’ve spoken to top sales reps to find out what differentiates them, I see a similar trend – a maniacal focus on time management. They are incredibly protective of their time and are not afraid to say no to the things that don’t help their customers or their prospects, which lets them remain incredibly consistent in their results.
Additionally, salespeople know that referrals are the single best way to sell. They are constantly cultivating their network of fellow sellers and outside organizations for either informal or formal partnership style relationships.
Finally, top sales reps are the most disciplined about their deals. They are mapping their pipeline, cultivating and building those multi-threaded internal champions, and they always know the next step they need to take to get closer to a closed deal.
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