Category: Future of Work

Future of Work

The Best Benefits for your Team in the Face of a Pandemic

HooplaMarketing
Hoopla Marketing

What steps have you taken to support your employees in the midst of a global crisis? Whether you are a two-person team or a large-scale operation, the coronavirus has forced businesses of all shapes and sizes to completely shift their perspectives on where, how, and why we do the work that we do.

The best example of the radical transformations brought about by COVID-19 is remote work, with many businesses completely abandoning their office spaces for 100% off-site teams. Although these organizations may have initially anticipated a brief pause before returning to normal working conditions, the past 6 months of quarantine have made employers and employees alike question just how “short-term” these remote arrangements will be. 

Why exactly does this matter for your business? With only 36% of the total U.S. workforce staying actively engaged in 2020, businesses have been forced to find new ways to recognize their employees, maintain high productivity levels, and keep team members competitive within off-site work environments. 

The most effective method for retaining your top talent and attracting new team members is to offer benefits and incentives that consider the new challenges and uncertainties your employees have faced over the past several months. If you haven’t already started to revamp your benefits package, we’ve included a few key pieces of advice to get you started. 

Office Supplies

Due to their abrupt switch from in-person to online work, most employees went from working in fully equipped offices to finding a small, unused corner of their bedroom to dedicate as a temporary workspace. The unfortunate reality for many workers is that they were not prepared to work remotely, and as a result might be missing equipment that is critical to their success. These difficulties with remote preparedness could entail everything from a faulty Wi-Fi connection to lacking access to a printer.

Because the needs of your new remote team members will vary on an individual level, there isn’t one single solution or benefit that will completely solve the issue of an undersupplied home workspace. That’s why some organizations have instead opted for a remote office stipend or reimbursement package, where employees are allotted a sum of cash that they can use as they see fit to accommodate their unique home office needs. 

If your employees have already personally covered their office or other work-related expenses, it may also be worthwhile to educate your team on certain tax deductions that come with working from home and financing your own work equipment. 

Housing Education

Employees often enjoy a wide array of benefits as they work remotely—such as greater flexibility with their work schedule—but it also means that they are spending the majority of their time during and after work stuck at home. Since remote work shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, many at-home workers have started to reconsider what it is they look for in a home.

In fact, as many as 1 in 5 Americans have reported that either they have moved or personally know someone who has moved due to the pandemic. The cause of the mass migration isn’t simple to boil down to a single explanation. But for many employees facing long-term remote employment, the virus has proved to be the opportune time to move into a home with designated working and living spaces. 

If you find that your current workforce or prospective hires are looking for homes that can accommodate their new lifestyle, consider offering them perks to support their relocation. Job relocation packages have historically been reserved for those looking to switch offices in order to keep their best employees, but that doesn’t mean the same benefits can’t be translated into a remote-friendly alternative.

On a smaller scale, offering educational courses or resources on the logistical implications of buying a new home might be equally enticing to your team. These types of seminars often cover the mortgage approval process, negotiating the final offer, and how much home you can actually afford. With this information in mind, your employees will be better equipped to make the best decision for their living needs and their wallets. 

Employee Engagement

Gone are the days where managers can interact with their team members over a coffee in the kitchen area or during a Friday happy hour. In the era of virtual offices and distributed teams, creating a cohesive, collaborative, and engaged workforce is often more challenging than ever before. Combine this with the emotional toil many people have faced getting through the pandemic, and it’s clear that employers need to brainstorm creative alternatives to their traditional engagement tactics. 

This typically means investing in new technologies or tools that are designed specifically with a distributed work team in mind. A primary example is sales gamification software, which works just as effectively at home or in the office. Gamification relies on the same mechanics as video games and other rewards systems to transform everyday tasks into satisfying activities. 

Gamification can also help unify a team that is currently grappling with their geographical distance from one another. Features like leaderboards and progress bars give everyone across the company equal visibility to individual accomplishments and achievements. These head-to-head contests often boost productivity and motivation, but they can also help employees reconnect with colleagues they haven’t seen in the past several months. 

Personal Health Benefits

Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, health benefits in periods of widespread illness are imperative to the well-being, success, and safety of your employees. Even before 2020, healthcare, dental care, and other wellness packages were already one of the main decision factors for a majority of workers when selecting an employer. But with limited opportunities to visit physicians in person, businesses must seek out new alternatives to their existing health provider plans.

As the latest booming trend in the healthcare industry, telemedicine technology has created a safe, socially distanced platform for patients to consult their doctors and get the medical help they need. By meeting over a video meeting instead of in-person, telehealth has drastically reduced the risk of spreading the virus and made it even more accessible for everyone to seek out the advice of professionals. 

Despite its importance, only 22% of employers with over 1000 employees currently offer telemedicine as a benefit. This has left many workers no avenue for getting the physical or mental health assistance they need when in-person appointments aren’t an option. To ensure that your health benefits are competitive and truly aid your employees in this time of need, you’ll need to shop for a new, telehealth-capable provider. By putting stock into better health options for your employees, you are at the same time putting stock in the people who embody your organization and drive its success.

If you have the means to implement these competitive benefits, you’ll encourage a dedicated team of professionals who are completely prepared to tackle any challenges that come their way.

HooplaMarketing
Hoopla Marketing
Future of Work

Voices.com boosts sales performance, culture, and morale with Hoopla

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hooplaprod

Ben Jackson, VP of Sales at Voices.com, oversees a team of more than 60 Sales and Business Development reps. With a growing team, Ben needed a solution to maintain the communication and teamwork of his existing team while he added new staff that would extend his team beyond the one floor of the office they were already on.
Sales reps love receiving recognition for their achievements, so Ben was looking for a solution that could automate the tracking and recognition of goals for his growing team. The data existed in Salesforce reports and Excel spreadsheets, but required Ben to either share it with the team, or they’d have to search for it themselves. Recognition or achievements was neither timely nor well known throughout the company.
A sales rep could be having a breakthrough day or have sold a big deal to an important client – but it wasn’t always easy to recognize or celebrate the achievement in a way that significantly rewarded and motivated his team as it happened. So when CEO David Ciccarelli introduced Hoopla to Ben, he knew this was the solution to combat the limited visibility and connectedness of the team.

How is Hoopla being used at Voices.com?

Having key metrics displayed on Leaderboards gave Voices.com the transparency and ease of use Ben was looking for. Voices.com has one Channel with as many as 20 steps. They broadcast this on 7 TVs throughout their office. The steps include not only revenue tracking, but calls, demos, emails, and activities. The individual dashboards for the team, as well as the company, created a sense of community by keeping everyone in the know of deals closed and personal milestones reached.
Every player has their own photos and have even created their own custom songs to go off whenever they hit their quotas. The celebratory song snippets are unique to each rep and allow you to recognize each individual even from a distance.

Impact of Hoopla on sales performance

 

Voices.com’s average deal size has increased 42%.

Since implementing Hoopla office-wide, Voices.com’s average deal size has increased 42%. Alerts were going off so often that Ben needed to set a higher threshold upon which the alerts would go off, which then motivated his sales reps to seal bigger deals. Each rep set up Hoopla to play a specific song, special for each and every individual Account Manager for every deal or quote that is $500 or more. This feature motivated the sales team to go after bigger and bigger deals to have their song played. Reps began to hit well over their quotas to strive for #1 on the Leaderboards.


 

Click here to read the whole Voices.com Success Story.

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hooplaprod
Future of Work Remote Work

Keeping Your Team Competitive in a Virtual Office Environment

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hooplaprod

[Originally published 12/7/2016; this article has been updated 4/8/2020] 

Strong collaboration among colleagues is a hallmark of highly effective teams, but that doesn’t mean that competition should be prohibited. When used correctly, friendly contests can improve employee engagement and increase team members’ overall productivity. Team-based competition is more difficult in a virtual team environment, but technology today offers new methods for keeping remote workers connected.

Creating Competition that Boosts Motivation

Sales professionals tend to be competitive by nature, and most enjoy an opportunity to see how they compare to peers. They crave constant updates on their own achievement against sales goals, and competition with co-workers happens without management intervention. In these situations, digital leaderboards and on-screen updates make it possible to keep motivation levels high.

Leaders have a chance to direct friendly competition into specific goals when necessary — for example, to encourage the sale of a particular product that is otherwise lagging. In these situations, managers can quickly improve product sales and create long-term habits by focusing team members’ attention on the desired outcome.

Unfortunately, friendly competition can quickly turn sour without careful attention to common pitfalls. First, contests must be fresh to create true engagement. If you choose to offer a special reward, such as time off or additional pay, create a contest with a beginning and an end, rather than an on-going weekly competition.

Second, focus on creating an environment that offers intrinsic rewards for doing well. Support team members as they gain self-confidence by beating their own performance records, rather than exclusively highlighting performance differences between colleagues. This is an opportunity to encourage co-workers to create deeper relationships by applauding each other when a particular goal is accomplished.

Create legitimate competition with appropriate recognition for those that go above and beyond. Team members will rapidly lose interest if every minor accomplishment is met with excessive applause, and a “trophies for everyone” mentality tends to reduce motivation to excel. For the best results, build practical quotas and targets to hit.

Pitfalls in Competitive Environments

Friendly competition occurs when all team members have a legitimate chance of winning. When co-workers have varying levels of skill, competitions tend to discourage low performers. After all, no one enjoys a highly visible appearance on the bottom of the leaderboard day after day.

In these situations, there are several options. New colleagues still learning the ropes could compete with each other, be exempt from contests or have reduced goals to keep the contest fun. Managers should consider grouping individuals by skill level to compete against each other, or create combined teams of veterans and newbies to balance out the scales. 

Make sure that as a manager, you are communicating regularly with all participants of the contest, and gauging their thoughts and feelings. Don’t be afraid to add in personal goals for competitors to keep them going. 

New Tools for the Digital Age

Virtual engagement tools make it possible to stay connected across the country or around the world. Hoopla can easily be accessed and watched  on mobile devices or PCs, with handy functions to skip or pause, so that you can focus on the important stuff. For any staff members still on site, Hoopla on TVs can broadcast important messages or key information instantly around the company.

Hoopla even syncs with Slack to keep the information flow  going, whether in Slack or Hoopla. Using digital programming, management staff can share motivational quotes and video clips with the entire team, along with business updates and department-related news. Staff can watch their progress in real time, making it possible to participate in team-based contests and competitions.

Leveraging these new tools sales teams can continue to communicate by relaying important info in real time anywhere. Virtual teams don’t mean the end of friendly competition between co-workers. Real-time updates from advanced digital tools keep remote workers engaged with each other and with their work, increasing overall productivity. Don’t fear the new remote paradigm, embrace new ways to connect and compete.

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hooplaprod
Future of Work Remote Work

How To Smoothly Transition To Remote Work During The COVID-19 Crisis

JoshBenedetto
Josh Benedetto

We can all say it: It’s a little weird out there right now. 

It’s hard not to feel a sense of whiplash as the country—and world—has changed so rapidly in the course of just a few weeks. 

But beyond social distancing, Axios’ Erica Pandey presents the reality for companies everywhere: “Remote work and remote learning have long been buzzwords, but the sudden switch to telecommuting en masse has the potential to accelerate shifts in how work is conducted and the way we think about it.” 

In other words, when we look back on this time, it may be one of the hallmarks of the work-from-home revolution.

But as Pandey also points out, only about 4% of Americans worked from home full-time before this. So it’s going to be a major change for almost all of us. 

And we’re here to help.

Whether remote work was something you and your employees already had some experience with before, it’s certainly something you’re adjusting to now. And whether you’re a remote work veteran, or you’re feeling totally out of your element, we want you to know that we’re here to support you in any way we can. 

With that in mind, we want to speak to some of our greener work-from-homers. So regardless of if you’re a manager who’s feels like remote work isn’t feasible for your business, or an employee who’s worried about staying connected to your job and your team, we want to give you the tools you need to make this transition as smooth as possible. 

Here are our best tips for transitioning yourself and your employees into remote work as smoothly as possible. 

Communicate as Openly and as Often as Possible

Times like this often open themselves up to a lot of misinformation. Whether it’s a text from your friend who somehow has “high-level” insider information about what the government is up to, or your many careless Facebook friends sharing whatever anxiety-inducing thoughts come to mind, people are looking for and consuming whatever information they can get their hands on. 

So now is the time for you, the employer, to step up your communication effort. 

Sara Fischer, reporting on a survey by Edelmen, explains that “people are more likely to believe that their employers are seen as better prepared than their countries to handle the outbreak, per the survey.” 

And with that in mind, she goes on to say, 63% of employees want daily updates from their companies. 

What this tells us is that your employees need to hear from you. They don’t need to know all the answers, but they are certainly looking for guidance. So whether you do it through group video calls, daily one-on-one check ins, or broadcasting messages through a dedicated channel, the time and effort that you spend to make sure your employees can reach you in absolutely invaluable. 

Set Goals, Big and Small

When employees have to quickly go from the structure of an office and group-work to the freedom and lack-of-accountability that can come from working out of the house, it can be hard to stay motivated. 

Something that we constantly come back to here at Hoopla is the importance of setting goals: big and small, work and personal. 

Encourage your employees to start every day with a to-do list of sorts. Tasks that they can accomplish before they punch out, or things that they know they need to do before the end of the week. That helps them to create structure around which they can build their days. 

And it also brings some grounding to a time where a lot of daily life feels unsure. Do they want to keep working out? Maybe the can make a goal of hitting three online yoga classes. Do they want to learn a few new recipes to cook at home? We could probably all use a shakeup in our mealtimes. 

Stick To Metrics, Not Timecards

Part of the beauty of the remote work setup is that, traditionally, folks to can work remotely don’t necessarily need to work on the same schedule as their coworkers. It presents flexibility for parents who may now be homeschooling their kids, or students who are trying to juggle a job on top of classes. 

With that in mind, it’s not always the most useful thing in the world to try and track the hours that your remote employees are working. Instead, make sure that their role has a certain set of metrics or KPIs that define success. 

By holding workers to those metrics, you’re actually empowering them to do work on their time, and helping them to be their most efficient. 

Remember: We’re All In This Together

Remote work can often be an extremely isolating experience if not handled correctly. Especially in these trying times, we can get so consumed with taking care of ourselves—we may end up forgetting that our coworkers and friends are experiencing much of the same problems that we are. 

Make sure that you’re making space for your employees to be non-employees, too. Start a slack channel that’s just dedicated to everyone’s movie recommendations—or hop on Netflix’s new Party feature and watch a movie “together.”

You might find that blowing off the occasional Friday afternoon for some quality team social-distancing might be worth more in the long run than allowing your employees to become isolated and disengaged from your organization. 

In the end, a lot of this is going to feel improv-ed. Don’t worry, that’s normal. 

As long as you continue to try to do right by your employees, develop concrete plans for the best way to move forward, and communicate your vision, you’re going to find a team that’s ready to rally behind you. 

And in the end, you may find that the option to work from home was the best choice all along.

JoshBenedetto
Josh Benedetto
Future of Work

Why “Small Group” trainings are the most impactful

ScottLeese
Scott Leese

Consistent and ongoing training is a foundational piece of any sales organization, but what type of training works best for your team, and how do you ensure success? While variety is the spice of life, and hits different learning styles for trainees, one style has been proven to yield the greatest returns consistent with short and long term success.

Sales trainings are typically held in three different ways.

Different trainings to consider would include:

  • Individualized – 1:1 focused on pipeline reviews, individual metrics and KPIs, strengths and weaknesses, and tailored individual improvement plans and goals.
  • Small group training – groups under 20 [SurfandSales.com magic number], focused on tailored topics, trainee driven through engagement and needs.
  • Large group training – full team training, conventions, kick-offs, focused on prioritizing consistent broad messaging, leadership driven, controlled and limited trainee engagement.

Factors influencing success:

  • Performance – how the training impacts the organization’s goals, and metrics for success.
  • Engagement – interaction of participants amongst their peers, and participation between trainer and trainees.
  • Content / Learning Focused
  • Time to mastery

Ok, now that we know what the different types of training look like, and the factors to take into consideration, which style has the most benefit, and why?

Small group training benefits teams more than the others, and the reasons may surprise you. You may look at your organization, and see that the majority of your trainings focus heavily on individual and floorwide. If so, I recommend a change right away.

 

The Benefit

Performance

Trainings can be created around core goals and metrics necessary to the organization, and expand into tailored, and specific topics. When it comes to the need for teaching and learning details, smaller training classes outperform larger classes, and surprisingly it outperforms individual training as well.

Engagement

A reason for higher performance coming from smaller training groups is tied directly to engagement. Engagement amongst peers, as well as the opportunity for trainees to engage with the trainer. If groups are small enough, you gain the benefit of providing an intimate individual experience within the group, thus introducing a pseudo-style of teaching that combines traditional approaches of content explanation, role playing, and collaboration.

Engagement is imperative for building confidence and mastery of skills, and having a smaller group helps trainees avoid being lost in the crowd. There is a sweet spot that allows even the most timid of learners to ask questions, without worrying that with so many people time will be limited or the assumption that the question will be asked by someone else.

Content / Learning Focused

By breaking groups down to smaller participant sizes, the trainer can explain content faster, and spend more time focused on learning. When time is money, seconds count. Getting in repetitions and practice in a more intimate setting means more feedback to individuals that may be relevant to the whole. Call it distributed learning, instead of diluted learning.

Time

Although conventional wisdom might suggest providing messaging to the masses would be the fastest route, this breaks down as quality and mastery of content skills and details is diluted. By front loading training, and spending slightly more time training in smaller groups, it actually increases the speed to mastery.

Am I insinuating to do away with the 1:1’s, and floorwide trainings? Absolutely not. I am suggesting being thoughtful, and calculated in your training development approach. Identify what needs your organization has, and what priorities are most important.

A few questions to help you determine this:

Is this a broad topic, with an importance on consistent messaging? – Large group

Are there a few individuals falling behind,  or surging ahead? – Individual

Are the topics specific, detailed, and benefitting of engaging a majority of the participants? – Small group

A famous Benjamin Franklin quote speaks to this, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Spend less time telling. More time teaching. And all of the time involving folks in your trainings.

ScottLeese
Scott Leese
Future of Work

Sales Technology Trends: What Works? Q&A with Chad Burmeister, VP of Sales & Marketing, ConnectAndSell

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hooplaprod

Chad Burmeister, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ConnectAndSell, has been in sales for about 25 years. He was voted Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals six years in a row. During his career he has used a variety of technologies and continues to explore which create the most productive, motivational and collaborative sales environment.

Tell us a little bit about ConnectAndSell and your role there.

connectadnselllogo cropped

ConnectAndSell is a SaaS application that allows a sales person to load their list of prospects they want to call, dial into a phone bridge and then click the “go” and talk to a prospect on a list in 2-3 minutes (compared to 45 – 60 minutes manually dialing). I head sales and marketing at ConnectAndSell, we work with primarily technology companies who are trying to grow their revenues faster than they can grow their head count. Lead Generation Reps routinely see 1,000 or more dials per day, and Sales Reps use the technology for automated follow-ups.

What are some trends you are seeing as far as sales technologies?

Technology

There are several trends I am seeing involving predictive analytics software, CRM, content vendors, Linkedin, meeting tools, gamification etc.

Predictive Analytics Software: Companies are beginning to use tools that read a CRM system and look at all of the closed opportunities (and other inputs) in order to then score new leads based on what has the highest likelihood of closure. This enables sales reps to spend their time wisely – ensuring that they don’t waste time calling people who aren’t high quality prospects. This is one of the biggest tools that companies look at because everyone would like to get smarter about their leads.

Examples of Prediction Software:
SalesPredict
6Sense
EverString
Fliptop
Lattice Engines

Linkedin: I’m seeing Linkedin as becoming less successful when it comes to prospecting. I personally used to get 2-3 In-mails a week and now it can be 10 a day. It’s almost like managing a second inbox. The real value of LinkedIn for sellers now is to use LinkedIn Navigator, as a plug-in to SalesForce.com.

Email Organization: We have become so flooded with emails, the amount of emails we need to sift through a day significantly decreases our productivity. There are several apps that have been created to make email-reading habits more efficient. SaneBox, for example, plugs into your outlook exchange and starts to learn the behavior of which emails you don’t want to read and which ones you do. It then puts them in a folder and sends you an email at the end of the week with how many hours you saved. Sometimes it can be 6 hours per week and for a VP of Sales, that is a lot of time savings!

Meeting Tools: People are getting creative with more streamline ways to hold and enter meetings. I like MobileDay because it integrates with your calendar and all you have to is push a button that dials into the conference bridge, no matter where the bridge is hosted. It then automatically punches in the access digits so that if you are preoccupied or traveling you don’t need to use your hands. It saves you a good amount of time and ensures hat you aren’t fiddling around with a log-in.

Marketing Automation: Companies are investing in these email automation tools such as Acton, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Outreach.io, ToutApp, YesWare, etc. which will track open rates and click through rates as well as provide appealing templates so that sales reps no longer have to do this manually and can rely on their marketing team for eloquent email copy.

CRM: Salesforce has always been popular and people like it because it offers many plugins and integrations but for smaller companies there is a whole other market of opportunity. Platforms like Microsoft Dynamic, Zoho and even Hubspot to a certain level are servicing startups and smaller businesses while Salesforce and Oracle go upstream to the enterprise market. These alternatives offer entry-level costs and are easier to configure.

Content Vendors: I think the play with content is it’s great if you want to put good content in the market but the question is how do you make sure when somebody clicks the content that they actually take action on that click? It seems if you can cookie the person who clicks and then automate the follow up phone call that would make the greatest use of your content.

Internal Analysis of Sales Reps/Hiring Tools: There is a company that we use called Objective Management Group. They first profile your entire sales team through a 120-question survey, which allows them to show you the strengths and weaknesses in your sales organization. They then fine tune the questions, create profiles of sales people who are successful in your organization and then use this information to predict if a candidate will be a good fit after they take the survey. So far it has done a great job at foreshadowing whether or not someone will be successful here. This will save time and improve the efficiency of your hiring process.

Gamification: Right now gamification, while important and successful, is only really being used within sales to drive motivation and productivity. What I would like to see is gamification across company departments. As far as the software I have tried different ones but I always come back to Hoopla, it’s definitely the best. Others include Level 11, Rivalry, and Fantasy Sales Team.

About Chad Burmeister

Chad Burmeister

Chad Burmeister is Vice President Sales at ConnectAndSell. Chad was voted Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals 6 years in a row – 2010-2015. Business professionals describe Chad as “high energy”, “high integrity” and Chad has “an extremely high ability to execute”. Chad has an MBA in Computer Information Sciences from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has traveled the world from Australia/New Zealand, Barcelona, China/Hong Kong, India, France, Italy, and has built world class sales teams in Arizona, Southern California, Northern California, North Carolina, and is excited to be “home” in Colorado where he has built a high velocity sales team to sell and service ConnectAndSell

 

Learn more about using Gamification in sales: 

Sales Gamification

Download our EBook: Sales Gamification

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Future of Work Millenials

3 Ways Millennials Have Changed the Sales Game

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We refer to Millennials in a lot of different ways. Some call them innovators, others say they’re entitled, and still others are just trying to figure out who is technically a Millennial. Is that 38 year old who always wears tight tees and dark rimmed glasses blurring the generational lines a little too much? Maybe. But one thing that is hard to ignore is that Millennials are chronic disruptors. Like many generations before them, they’re shaking up the status quo, and demanding new standards for how we work, live, and interact. So it should be no surprise that Millennials are changing the landscape of sales, too. Here are just some of the ways you may notice Millennials are changing your sales floor—and ways you can leverage that disruption to your ultimate benefit.  

Millennials Are Hungry For Feedback

It is often a criticism that Millennials are too in need of affirmation, but a different way to look at it is that they want things done well. And that means that they are eager to hear from their managers on what works—especially as they’re carrying those things out. While the traditional profile of a salesperson may be more rogue or independent, Millennials may not be so. As the Sales Coaching Blog at the EcSell Institute points out, that means that managers can have a much more integral role in the development of their account executives. Your Millennial salespeople are hungry for your feedback, and that gives you the platform to really effectively cast your vision for your business.  

Millennials Are Data Driven

Especially in the last year, we’ve seen the proliferation of fact-checkers, hyper-relevant polling, and all sorts of other data-driven initiatives. Big data, in a huge variety of forms, is taking over the marketplace—people want the hard numbers, especially Millennials. One article on DataFloq shows that this even affects the way that Millennials are buying cars. When you can make a good case for efficacy using numbers, it can be a hell of a good sell. So why not boost data in your sales process? Try displaying goals and numbers, helping your associates to correlate, and even visualize, the data on how serious prospecting can really pay off. Don’t be afraid of the numbers, use them to your advantage!  

Millennials Are Pro Tech

As Harvard Business Review tells us, Millennials “were first to experience a wireless, connected world, and according to a PwC report, they ‘expect the technologies that empower their personal lives to also drive communication and innovation in the workplace.’ ” It’s not about handing tablets to everyone as they come through the door. But whether you’re a startup in Silicon Valley, or a paper supply company in Scranton, your employees expect a certain standard of technology. And that means new ways of driving sales, too. Your AEs are texting prospects, and closing deals on FaceTime. They’re scanning contracts on their phones and networking with a Snap. If you’re not adopting these capabilities into your sales process, you simply won’t be able to keep the talent. The truth is that sales has changed—and Millennials are to blame. But whether you’re nervous about the innovations or excited, it’s important to be prepared so that your business can truly flourish no matter what the landscape looks like.

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hooplaprod
Future of Work

Top 10 Sales Tools to Build an Outbound Machine

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hooplaprod

This article originally published on Predictable Revenue.

Sales is becoming increasingly more automated, especially in building an outbound machine. Over the past three years things have accelerated faster than ever before. Processes that were in place in the past like the one’s made popular by Predictable Revenue are still incredibly relevant however, many parts can almost be fully automated.

Let’s take a ride through the outbound process and go over our favorite technologies that fill in the gaps for each section.

Getting company information

 

1. Datanyze

Datanyze fits into this part of the sales cycle by helping sales development teams find out which companies are using to which software. For example, maybe you have a product that competes with or complements Mailchimp. Their current customers are your potential customers. You ICP could be, “companies that use Mailchimp” Datanyze helps you uncover these opportunities.

2. SalesLoft

SalesLoft is great for prospecting directly from LinkedIn, which means you have a target individual in mind and grab his or her full contact information. I find this most helpful when I have a company list and job titles but I don’t know the people’s names that I’m looking for. Using LinkedIn’s new Sales Navigator, I can now easily search LinkedIn for these contacts and simply export them using the SalesLoft Chrome extension. SalesLoft will show me my lists of exports and, to their best guess, the full contact information for my exported leads. SalesLoft’s data is usually pretty accurate.

Reaching Out and Build Relationships at Scale

 

3. ToutApp, 4. Yesware, 5. Outreach, 6. Cadence

Outbound emailing is finally transparent. This allows salespeople to be scientific by building, testing, measuring, and optimizing their outbound campaigns.

Test things like:

  • Using the person’s name or the company name in the subject lines. This makes the e-mail look more personal before they even open it.
  • Different locations and languages for your call-to-action, using either links or attachments. Try to make sure your e-mails look like casual e-mails and not marketing e-mails when you do this.
  • The body of the message. It should be short and to the point. Don’t give too much information. Provide value for them, feel their pain, talk about them—not to yourself. If you did your research and you are reaching out individually instead of mass-e-mailing, then you should know what their initial problems might be.
  • Always go into this opening e-mail with the goal of setting up the first call. Do not aim too high or ask for too much. Be strong and lay out a certain time to speak.

Even though you are collecting information on Open, Click-through, and Response Rates the only thing that you need to worry about in your pipeline is number of meetings that you set up. You are using all of these e-mail metrics to make your e-mails better so that you set up more meetings.
The numbers will vary by who you ask and the type of business, but you’ll want to aim for numbers like these:

  • Open Rate: 30 to -50% of 100%
  • Click Through Rate: 20 to 35% of 100%
  • Response Rate: 15 to 30% of 100%
  • Meetings Setup Rate: 10 to 20% of 100%

There are many other variables at play here that could lead to skewed numbers. Some of the variables are:

  • Poor performing lists
  • Server or sending issues
  • Rep sending the e-mails
  • Time of day/date

Use software like ToutApp, 4. Yesware, 5. Outreach, or 6. Cadence to send and monitor these emails.

Lead Research

 

7. Refresh.io & 8. Charlie App

There are many smaller apps that provide nice little dossiers for reps that come right to the rep’s inbox or phone before a meeting.

For mobile and on-the-go options, check out Refresh.io and 8. Charlie App. Both of these apps give you fantastic prospect summaries to review before speaking to the prospect.

Things you might want to know are:

  • Location
  • Previous job history
  • College or hometown
  • Social media news
  • Company information/recent news
  • Competitors information/recent news
  • Their social links and events they attend
  • Their recent posts on their blog, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Previous conversations

Maybe you share a common interest or know the same people from a previous or current job or location. Explore anything you can uncover that you can use to bond or facilitate the meeting. Again, don’t be a stalker! Keep super personal things and accounts like Facebook and Instagram out of it. They don’t need to know you saw the picture of them and their significant other frolicking on the beach in Aruba.

These new apps pull information from hundreds of thousands of public sources. The most important feature is that your one-pager can be personalized by connecting your social networks. Once added, they will tell you all the things your prospect and you share in common: whether it’s people, sports teams, or hobbies. Each social media account you connect makes your one-pagers more personal, and helps you be more effective at building rapport.

Just connect your calendar to the app and it will automatically research the people you’re meeting. It will even send you a push notification a few minutes before your meeting reminding you to prepare; a full set of insights is then just one tap away. You can even set it to Auto Hide meetings with co-workers, so you’re only shown external events.

Before getting on a call, always make sure you’re prepared and know whom you’re speaking to.

9. Connectifier

Connectifier is also a handy Chrome plugin for getting more info off of an individual’s social profiles which you can use in your pre-call, pre-meeting, or pre-email research.

Outsourced Lean Gen

 

10. Carb.io

Looking for something to do a mix of the above for you? 10. Carb.io, also known as Carburetor, is the new kid on the block and is modeled after Aaron Ross’s Predictable Revenue process.

They help you fill the top of the funnel by figuring out your Ideal Customer Profile and then set out to find those leads and other low-hanging fruit across the web. They have an internal sales team that reaches out on your behalf and activates the prospect. Once the prospect replies, they introduce you. Think of it as Sales Development as a Service.

Aaron Ross, of the award-winning, bestselling book Predictable Revenue, has been teaching companies how to double or triple (or more) new sales since he helped Salesforce grow from $5m to $100m. Now he’s turned his attention to building the software platform that will power the next wave of Cold Calling 2.0 teams. Check out Aaron’s latest work on How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue.

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Future of Work Millenials

Keeping Young Talent: Millennial Retention Strategies

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Sales Team Retention Strategies for Millennials

Did you know that people in their twenties are advised to change jobs often to increase the likelihood that they will have something closer to their dream job in their thirties and forties? While most employers think that money is the main factor, research has shown that employees are more likely to remain with companies that invest in their career development through training, coaching, mentorship, and great leadership. But there are many, many more things that appeal to a younger generation. In this post, we’re going to look at what investments are required for your company to retain the valuable millennials on your sales team.

Invest in Career Development

No one, and most especially millennials, wants to feel stuck. They want to feel like they are moving forward in all areas of their life, including their career. If your company wants to keep the millennials on your sales team, start with investing in each employee’s career development. Career development can take many forms. It can be a weekly or monthly in-house training on the latest strategies in sales or the latest news about your company’s products and services. All you have to do is invest the time that your employees spend in the training and the time that the training leader takes to put together their presentation. It can also be in the form of offering each employee a specific budget per month or quarter to use for approved outside training and education. You can define the sources of the training and education, such as specific conferences, training partners, educational institutions, and colleges. Or you can allow employees to submit their request for training to have it approved for use with their training and education budget. To really motivate your employees to take advantage of training and education, gamify it. Recognize the employee that accomplishes the best achievement every quarter in training and education. You could easily reward someone who created a great in-house training for other employees, someone who passed a vigorous certification, or someone who earned their master’s degree.

Invest in Community Service

Millennials want to know that they are doing good for not only themselves, but for their community as well. Show employees that you care about this too by investing in community service. You can do this by matching donations for local drives and charities, or by partnering with a local non-profit to connect employees to volunteer opportunities. Start by surveying your employees to find the causes that are closest to their hearts. You might find that you have enough to turn each month into a specific community service focus. In January, you can coordinate a volunteer event where employees help out at a local pet shelter. In February, they can help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. In March, they can help collect food for a shelter. Or, simply offer your employees one day each month to dedicate to the community service work of their choice. This is another investment that you can also gamify. Each month or each quarter, celebrate the employee that offered up the most hours of community service. Or recognize the employee that raised the most money for a specific charity.

Invest in Health

Have you noticed the trends in employee perks offered by major companies? Gym memberships (or in-house gyms), on-site healthcare, extended maternity and paternity leave, and similar perks show that employees care more now about their health than ever. As an employer, you need to find a way to invest in employee health as well. If your company can’t afford an in-house gym or pay for each employee’s gym membership, start small by partnering with a local gym to get a discount. Kick the junk food and soda vending machines to the curb and keep a fridge full of healthy drinks and snacks. Create an opportunity for employees to get together once a month or once a quarter to do something healthy, like a sport or hiking day. Like the other investments, you can find a way to celebrate employees that are investing in their health. Create a health-conscious environment by encouraging employees to set health and fitness goals and recognize the ones that achieve them each month. Acknowledge the employee that stops eating candy and starts eating fruits for their midday snack. Celebrate the employee that participates in their first marathon or wins a local tennis tournament.

Celebrate the Wins

At the end of the day everyone wants to feel like they are making an impact. Millennials, more than any generation before, are seeking out positions where they can truly contribute. Whether they are working in a team of 5 or 50, it’s important for them to feel like they are a part of the action and are making a difference. This is why so many millennials flock to startups where they can be one of 20 people building something from the ground up. In order to fulfill this need, it is important to keep employees engaged and create an environment that recognizes individual success, which further motivates the team to perform.

Why These Tactics Work

We all know that recognizing your top sales performer each quarter motivates members of your sales team to go above and beyond just “doing their job”. By investing in education, community service, and health, you show your employees that you care about their job performance and you care about them. When you actively celebrate their wins and recognize those that make significant strides in each of these areas, you show your employees that you really do want them to get involved and improve professionally and personally. Those are the things that will keep all of your employees engaged with their jobs and your company. That engagement will ultimately help you retain more employees. At Hoopla we specialize in creating a sales culture that celebrates the wins and helps teams visualize their progress and successes on a daily basis. Want to start recognizing and motivating the stars in your company? Find out how Hoopla can help.

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Future of Work Millenials

Tips for Selling to Millennials

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With the baby boomer generation expected to curb spending after retirement, millennials have quickly become the primary focus of every company’s new marketing and sales strategies. According to Forbes, “There are eighty million millennials in America alone and they represent about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power.”

It’s no secret that companies who wish to stay relevant need to ditch traditional methods of advertising and come up with innovative ways to capture the hearts (and pockets) of millennials. Here’s a few tips on how you can reach millennials.

Be Authentic

Millennials are strongly resistant to age old sales pitches and fluffy advertising. They can detect artificial content from miles away and are determined to outsmart even the subtlest and most subliminal messaging. Trust is a key factor for millennials and the real way to win them over is to build genuine relationships and become the brand they can relate to.

Millennials know the game of marketing and are willing to buy into it as long as they don’t feel like they aren’t being tricked into making their purchases. In other words, cut the flashy messaging and be real – focus on the benefits of your product and trust that it’ll essentially sell itself. The good news is that you save yourself from hours of marketing brainstorming since all millennials really want are the basic facts about the product.

Recommendations Are Important

Millennials are weary of marketing campaigns. Therefore they look to peers and fellow consumers for advice on the latest sneakers or gadgets they are considering. Millennials spend ample time reading reviews and researching blogs before making purchases so it is important to know what the critics are saying about your product.

Amazon, for example, has tons of customer reviews that either encourage or discourage potential buyers. Google AdWords has made ratings extensions a key feature in online advertising because they know just how important reviews are to millennials and to all consumers in general. Take note of trending comments and come up with solutions to appease your customer base. For every happy customer might mean 1 or 2 successful referrals. 

Facts Only

Remember that we are living in a time where Google is available right at our fingertips. Be sure you are only presenting facts about your product since Millennials can dismantle any lie in a matter of seconds through a quick Google search. You definitely don’t want to get caught up in false advertising claims and have your social media handles spammed with resentful and distrusting customers. Keep your reputation clean and customers happy – again, just be authentic.

Keep it Short

Millennials have grown up in a world of constant simulation and instant gratification. The combination of the two can only mean one thing: keep your pitch short and sweet. Millennials are not going to entertain a 10 minute sales pitch on why they should hand you a chunk of their hard earned cash. In reality, you probably have a solid 2-3 minutes of their attention and you should think strategically about how to maximize that time.

When organizing your selling points, be sure to follow all the rules – be authentic, only state the facts, and let the reviews speak for the product whenever possible. Don’t go agonizing over a long, drawn out elevator speech; for millennials, less is more.

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