Andy Whyte had an interesting journey as a sales rep.
He started on the lowest rung of the sales ladder selling home improvement solutions. Eventually, he worked his way into B2B sales. But he always had one question on his mind. How can I be as successful as sales reps in the top 5%?
Those sales reps made deals look easy. So, Andy set out on his quest for the answer. He spoke with several of these 5 percenters and realized they were doing three things:
- Focusing on where best to allocate their time.
- Thoroughly qualifying leads up front.
- Learning the lay of the land (who else is involved and who else has sold to the lead).
Salespeople in the top 5% took the time to deeply understand the best people to reach out to, how to find them, and information about them that helps close deals. In other words, the top 5% of sales reps use account-based networking. As Andy said, “You learn so much from people who’ve trodden the path before you. Yet, so many salespeople don’t take that opportunity.”
It’s human instinct to follow the beaten path, so it’s not surprising that some sales reps stick to the contacts they know, focus on cold calling and cold emailing, and focus on sales as a game of numbers.
But “only 53% of salespeople are making or exceeding their quotas.” More salespeople would be closing deals if they changed their strategies. So, how can you be part of the 53%?
Let’s start by discussing the most basic requirement for success in sales: networking.
Sales Networking is Now Table Stakes
It’s 2022 yet many sales professionals are still using sales tactics from the 1990s! Back then, sales tactics were largely based on art and luck.
You’d flip through your Rolodex hoping to find a contact who knew somebody with enough influence to help you get a foot in the door. Either that or you’d reach out to as many random people as possible hoping your magical sales pitch would land you at least one deal. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Then came LinkedIn, the closest version to account-based networking that most sales professionals are familiar with. It’s clear, LinkedIn is one of the best places to start prospecting and mapping target accounts (at least for now). LinkedIn is wildly popular because:
- “50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
- 76 percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.”
But there are some sales professionals who still use the Rolodex mindset with LinkedIn. Instead of taking the time to build relationships, they connect with a few people and send a bunch of cold LinkedIn messages hoping one will stick. Incorrect use of LinkedIn only leads to wasted time and few (if any) leads.
Here’s the truth. Your Rolodex, sales pitch magic, and piles of unhelpful LinkedIn messages won’t help you land those big-ticket deals.
B2B sales depend heavily on selling at scale, a feat that’s almost impossible with the traditional feeling-in-the-dark sales approach. It requires the right tools, strategy, data, and a lot of insights.
Modern sales networking is now a science. You have to be investing in building relationships with other salespeople who cover overlapping accounts with you. Adding the right salespeople to your network - now, that’s the secret sauce.
Having the right people in your network helps you break into deals you’re trying to close. So, how can you find the right people? There are account-based networking tools, such as Partnered, that help you make the right connections at scale. These tools help you build a partner ecosystem.
A partner ecosystem is a network of B2B SaaS companies that help each other find and create sales opportunities.
Alex Thompson, RVP of EMEA at Quantum Metric, and Daniel Lancioni, Partnerships Director at Quantum Metric, shared some insights about Quantum’s robust partner ecosystem. For Quantum Metric, partners have been the cornerstone of their growth. As Alex said, “We view partnerships like this. If we can win together, be successful together, and grow together, then that’s going to give a better end-to-end experience for our customers.”
He also said that Quantum Metric has a retention rate greater than 95% for all their customers. Leveraging partner relationships has been crucial to making this possible. They network with the right partners who match well with what Quantum Metric offers.
Building a network of strong partner relationships requires a clear understanding of the spheres of influence. You need to be clear about who your buyers turn to for advice when they’re looking for options.
You MUST Influence The People Who Influence Your Buyer
Sales prospecting is no longer a guessing game. Gone are the days where you depend on a discovery call (if you do ever get one) to figure out who you should really be speaking with.
Account-based networking allows you to leverage your partner ecosystem to find out who influences your buyers. Sales networks like Partnered can even help you figure out who you want to sell to in the first place. How? Partnered connects you with B2B SaaS sales teams via your existing partners. Conversations with these sellers can help you:
- Get a warm introduction to a prospect you’ve been eager to meet.
- Understand your prospect better so that you can figure out whether your solution is the best fit.
- Identify topics your prospect cares about so that you can have better conversations.
Michelle Lerner, Director of Business Development at Branch, describes her experience prior to using Partnered as walking through a corn maze blindfolded.
Back and forth communication with their partners resulted in some crucial bits of information falling through the cracks. So, it’s not surprising that they had challenges quantifying the impact their partners had on revenue.
Aside from the revenue-attribution benefits, Partnered helped Branch unite their sales and partnership teams. It was easier to have discussions with partners that led to sales opportunities. Partnered helped Branch’s sales team become smart sellers.
Smart Sellers Sell with Partners
Trying to be like every other salesperson out there only leads to one thing—an inefficient sales process. You’re essentially playing a numbers game trying to get as many leads as possible. Instead of connecting with the right people who can boost your conversion rates, you’re stressing yourself out with cold prospecting and sales calls that only lead to dead ends.
The alternative? Be different. Tap into a massive network of B2B sales partners who will help you become a strategic seller and trusted advisor. The best knowledge your partners can provide is helping you understand whether your solution fits your prospect’s long-term needs. Long-term remedy = more revenue.
It’s time to stop flipping through your Rolodex and start building an account-based network. That’s how you’ll be part of the 5%. The relationships you create within this network are pure gold! Your partners will help you understand your prospects in ways you never could through online research. In fact, account-based networking will help you:
- Close more deals.
- Create an easier sales cycle.
- Make prospecting easier.
- Fast-track existing deals.
- Crush your quota.
- Feel less anxiety and stress.
Ready to try it out? Sign up for Partnered for free and start testing the waters of account-based networking.