SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Stuart Colman, VP of Sales at InfoSum

In a 100% remote selling environment, it is easier to use sales tech to help evaluate core sales processes and performance consistently; in this chat, Stuart Colman, VP of Sales at InfoSum talks about the importance of improving your sales messaging for better impact while learning to keep customer centricity at the core of all business and sales activities:

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Hi Stuart, we’d love to hear about InfoSum and more about your role there?

InfoSum is a data collaboration platform built on our patented ‘non-movement of data’ technology. Our vision is to connect the world’s data, without ever sharing it. With InfoSum companies are empowered to connect their customer data to other partners through privacy-safe, permissioned, customer data networks – delivering better data-driven experiences that prioritize control and consumer privacy.

At InfoSum I lead the sales team in Northern Europe and am responsible for market education, new business sales as well as revenue growth. A core part of our business is to forge relationships with the best data providers, such as REaD Group in the UK as well as brands like TSB and ASDA and media owner such as ITV, Telegraph and Global Radio, to ensure that InfoSum is delivering a range of high-quality data for our clients to utilise via the platform.

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Take us through some of your biggest sales learnings from your time in tech: a few biggest moments that drove key sales learnings during the pandemic as well?

One of these learnings is that we need to make the complex easy to understand. If people can’t understand something, they won’t recognize the need for it, and therefore usually don’t buy it. To help them understand we have to ensure we use the language they do understand. However, great tech sales people need to have a strong understanding of the product and the technology underpinning it to be successful. It breeds product confidence for the sales people when pitching and also in the buyer knowing when pushed, sales people can actually answer a technical question about the product.

Another important learning for us is to focus on customer centricity. Concentrate on the benefits for the client and the value it brings not the technology itself. Tech is cool, but what ultimately matters is what it can do for the client. And be honest with the client, don’t lean too far forward on capabilities and sell ‘vaporware’. You always get found out and therefore it’s bad for you and your company in the long run.

How do you feel today’s sales leaders need to revisit their sales processes and choice of salestech to empower their teams more while being remote? Also, what can they do to be more proactive with the data they use to break down prospect behavior in today’s environment?

The most important thing is constant communication with the team internally. Teams need to find a way to replicate the organic sharing and learning that usually happens in the office. I am a big fan of Slack. At InfoSum we created channels for both formal and informal team discussions to try to recreate what you normally share and talk about with colleagues in the office. As far as data is concerned, consistent reporting helps, a single source of truth is key. In the absence of office communications the natural urge is to over report and in doing so, use multiple methods and tools. That can create confusion and an inconsistent environment. Asking ‘What is the single source of truth?’ and striving to always push back to that has helped. 

We also use data primarily to monitor macro trends in sales metrics to not get too hung up on micro changes over short periods. It is important to trust your teams to do their job and look for trends over time to highlight issues, areas of focus and training needs.

To lower the pressure on the team, I find it helps to break performance targets down into smaller views of that data. Large quarterly targets can be daunting, but breaking them down into smaller chunks like monthly targets can help immensely. Giving people waypoints during a sales period maintains focus and provides an opportunity for small wins to be celebrated to boost morale.

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Can you talk about some of the top sales solutions over the years (sales technologies) that have helped you drive better business outcomes?

I am a fan of HubSpot. It is so much more intuitive than other CRM solutions out there. You can create an easily accessible dashboard and reports to get real time views on sales performance and deal flow. Also while InfoSum is growing the HubSpot platform is able to grow with us.

I also like Winmo, which is a great resource of customer insight. Used in combination with the Sales Navigator from LinkedIn it allows salespeople to build up a detailed understanding of the company they are targeting and develop tailored messaging to drive engagement.

How according to you will the future of customer engagement and sales engagement in a digital buying world start evolving…to change the face of customer engagement as we see it today?

Video conference tools such as Zoom are here to stay. Love it or loathe it, it creates the opportunity to fit more into one day, and generally makes people more accessible. Selling on Zoom is hard though, and requires an ability to build rapport quickly. The days of ‘hard and pushy’ sales people are numbered. Collaborative based sales craft, creativity in how to get a sales message across, and a strong suite of closing techniques are the attributes to look for in future sales people.

The movement to a fully online sales process due to the COVID-19 pandemic affords us the ability to capture a lot more data about the sales process than before. So I also see a rise in revenue operations functions within business, and the use of data to drive better understanding, enhanced outcomes and greater individual and company performance.

A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales leaders need to do to motivate, train and uplift their teams to optimize business and sales performance, and the sales technologies you feel sales teams should have more of?

Sales can be a lonely place with a lot of stress, so constant communication is key. Sharing, encouraging and appreciating each other is vital. For example, we created a Slack channel for appreciations to celebrate teams and team members on the extraordinary work they’re doing. Also mix and match training techniques – audio, visual and kinesthetic approaches to learning help mix things up for people who spend all day on video calls. 

And simplify the data entry part of the role through automation. We are all busier than ever, so people don’t want to spend hours inputting data, so linking emails and calendars to CRM to track activity and notes works well. You can use meeting booking links in emails to simplify the back and forth on booking meetings, automated account creation in CRM helps speed up that process of creating new companies and contacts. There are so many more features and tools to automate and simplify the work of sales teams.

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InfoSum is a data collaboration platform that uses patented, privacy-first technology to connect customer records between and amongst companies without ever sharing any data. Customers across industries such as financial services, CTV, retail, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, trust InfoSum to seamlessly and compliantly help deliver better customer experience through privacy-safe, permissioned, data networks.

As VP of Sales at InfoSum, Stuart Colman is responsible for overseeing sales and commercial outreach with a specific focus on Northern Europe.

Stuart has a media and technology background spanning 20 years, working in senior commercial roles across media owner (FT.com), tech (AudienceScience, Maxifier) and agency (Havas). Stuart has held a number of advisor and non-exec roles within the industry, and also runs his own successful publisher business in his spare time.

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