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40% of Reps Will Miss 2013 Quota And I Feel Fine

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Dec 05, 2013

Like many of you, I attended Dreamforce last month. As is often the case, some of the most interesting conversations happen in the hallways between sessions.

During one of those conversations, I got pulled into a debate between two VPs of Inside Sales.

The question under consideration

If 40% of the reps on a sales team miss quota, who is at fault?

VP #1 argued that the team wasn't properly led - essentially failure was on the sales leader’s shoulders. VP #2 countered that it was more likely territories were uneven and many reps were assigned unrealistic quotas - failure was on the shoulders of the sales planning organization. Having made their cases, they looked at me to choose a side.

Being a bit of a quant and card-carrying deliberator, I said I needed to look at some data and mull it over. I promised to post my thoughts here. 

Well, Ed & Kristin, here's my reaction

First, here are a few non-sales stats I dug up

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Take the 2014 Sales Development Survey

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Nov 13, 2013

Today, we launch our 2014 research on the Sales Development / Lead Generation function -- focused on teams generating pipeline (ADRs, BDRs, MDRs, SDRs).

This is our fifth round of research, which we’ve conducted roughly every 18 months or so, since 2007. The key themes we hope to learn and share include:

  • Rep Profiles: experience, tenure, ramp, career path
  • Compensation: pay levels, pay on what, comparisons between roles
  • Quotas: make up, average quotas, % attainment
  • Activity & Results: expectations, actuals, impact of groups

We worked hard to make this year’s survey easier and it should only take 4-8 minutes to complete.

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Pay No Attention To The 'All Powerful' Buyer

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Nov 07, 2013

For some time, I’ve had a thorn in my side about a particular ‘insight’ floating around the sales punditry.

I’ve grumbled when it was repeated on conference stages, scowled reading it on blogs, and I might have exclaimed ‘for {#$%s sake’ when I found in Dan Pink’s (otherwise) excellent To Sell is Human.

But earlier this week, I heard it from a young Inside Sales Rep as a ‘justification’ for not picking up the phone. That did it. I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Here’s what he said: 

I don't believe in outbound calling. Maybe years ago, when sales reps had more info than prospects, it made sense. 

Now, the buyer is educated and has all the power – better to wait for them to come to me.

This essentially a parroting of the information assymetry idea: that pre-web we lived in an era of tyrrany where sales ruled over buyers mercilessly.

I’ll even admit getting caught up in this line of thinking. I reasoned

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4 Outbound Prospecting Metrics You Should Know [New Research]

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Tue, Sep 24, 2013

I am unbelievably excited to release Issue #2 of the Outbound Index.

My partner in crime Pete Gracey & I have spent the last few weeks cranking away on our set of transactional CRM data to bring you an answer to the eternal question:

If my Outbound Prospectors target 1000 accounts this quarter, how many opportunities will they put into the Sales Organization's pipeline?

For the entire story, download the full report. But briefly, I want to highlight four items that jumped out at me.

4 Outbound Metrics You Should Know

1) Year over year, the state of Outbound Prospecting has improved dramatically – up 35%.

(page 15)  Tweet this stat –or- Share on LinkedIn

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Making Room For Sales Coaching [Free Download]

Posted by Gail Milton on Thu, Sep 19, 2013
Sales Coaching

The trending topic these days is sales coaching.

At the recent AA-ISP Leadership Summit, Steve Richard, Art Sobczak, and Gary Milwit all led sessions that highlighted its importance.

We all nod our heads at coaching’s significance. We certainly talk about doing it. But talk, as they say, is cheap.

The unkind reality is that sales leaders, senior managers, and individual contributors alike rarely give coaching the attention it deserves.

According to our most recent Inside Sales research, only 14% of respondents tracked coaching time. And for those who do track, nearly 3 out of 4 are falling short of the gold standard of 3-5 hours per rep / month.

So What Gets In the Way?

There are 3 primary roadblocks to coaching

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Please Take Our 'Sales Culture' Survey

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Sep 11, 2013

Calling all Sales Reps and Sales Leaders!

I'm very excited to let you know that, together with our friends at Vorsight, we are conducting a research project around Sales Culture in 2013.

We've just posted a survey that takes 2-3 minutes to complete and I'd truly appreciate your participation. As a thank you, we'll be randomly drawing five $100 Amazon gift cards throughout the process.

Participation is open to any:

  • Individual Sales Rep (those that carry quota as well as those that develop pipeline)
  • Sales Leader (Manager, Director, etc.)

The report will be published later this fall and we'll make it available to all who participate. Please take the short survey.

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Twitter for Sales Reps: Big Hat - No Cattle

Posted by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Sep 04, 2013

"Big hat and no cattle” (or “all hat and no cattle")
(US, idiomatic) Full of big talk but lacking action, power, or substance;
Apr. 25, 1981 Globe & Mail ‘One of the major raps against him was that he was all hat and no cattle. That is, he had a lot of style but not much substance.’

Warning: If you are someone who makes their living in/around/by ‘social,’ I’m not writing this particular post for you. I am writing for the thousands of sales reps who are being advised to use Twitter to engage with prospects and establish 'thought leadership.' Read on and make up your own mind.

I love Twitter. I love the brevity. I love seeing what my friends & colleagues are chatting about. I love getting RTs and favorites and all those things that make me feel so popular and interesting. And then damn Twitter had to give me analytics and allow me to see exactly how engaged my ‘followers’ are with what I’m sharing.

Net net: my bubble was burst!

At the time of this writing I have ~5K followers. Not a huge number, but not inconsequential. When Twitter released analytics, I took a peek at the data to see what was what.

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Does Grit Matter in Sales? [an experiment]

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Aug 01, 2013
sales grit

A few weeks back, I sat on a panel at the Sales 2.0 Boston conference.

The conversation turned to sales hiring. It made me think about something I'd recently read about -- specifically, Angela Duckworth (from University of Pennsylvania) and her research on grit.

Dr. Duckworth defines grit as "sticking with things over the very long term until you master them." She writes that "the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina."

I mentioned this research and offered to work with any Sales Leader in the audience to score their reps on the grit scale and look for correlation with their best performers.

Happily, Pete Gracey, COO of AG Salesworks (and my partner in The Outbound Index), offered to help.

The setup

We designed a 90-second survey (based on the Grit Scale) which Pete shared with his team of 30+ outbound prospectors.

We then calculated grit scores on Duckworth’s 1-5 scale – the maximum score was 5 (extremely gritty) and the lowest score was 1 (not at all gritty).

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Why Most Demos Are Useless

Posted by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Jul 10, 2013

The following is a guest post by Peter Cohen, Managing Partner of SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors.

When you're selling B2B solutions, at some point in the sales process you're likely to end up doing a demo.

Too bad. Most demos are useless.

They usually don't help the prospective customer make a good choice. They just confuse and bore them.

And they don't help the vendor make the sale, either. That's especially true for software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

A demo isn't a sprint

When most vendors prepare a demo for a prospect, they treat it like it's the speed round on a game show.

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Most Popular Posts of 2013 (through Q2)

Posted by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Jul 03, 2013

Here we are -- already two quarters into 2013.

I thought I'd share four of our most popular posts from 2013 for this Fourth of July holiday week.

1. Outbound Prospecting: by the numbers [New research]

If your Outbound Prospectors target 1000 accounts this quarter, how many opportunities will they put into your Sales organization's pipeline? Ask me that questions three months ago and I would have said, "It depends." Today, I'm confident with a response of 32Last December, Pete Gracey from AG Salesworks approached me with a crazy idea. His pitch was roughly, I have 35+ BDRs prospecting for three dozen technologies and generating mountains of data. Any interest in digging into it and seeing what we find? My reply: Let's do this.
(read more)

2. Inside Sales & the Exempt vs Non-exempt Mess

At least once a month, I have a conversation with a sales leader who is trying to understand the exempt v non-exempt status of their inside sales teams. I always tell them two things:

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