Yesterday, I attended the inaugural Rainmaker 2015 event in Atlanta produced and hosted by Kyle Porter and his SalesLoft team. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. I’ve followed Kyle’s path since 2011 and have been incredibly impressed with all that he has accomplished in building his business. In fact, late last year, I had the opportunity to interview Kyle as part of my Sales Mastery podcast series. Take 20 minutes out of your day to listen to that conversation, because Kyle shared his thoughts on business acceleration and what it takes to move your company to new heights.
So, back to the conference. And, yes, that’s me in my Rainmaker t-shirt getting ready to make some phone calls.
What I loved about the conference was the passion, the energy and the high value speakers and presentations. There was a palpable buzz when you walked into the conference area. Everyone was there to talk all things sales development. That buzz morphed into energy overdrive as the conference was kicked off in one of the most unique ways I have ever seen. To get things started, we were treated to a presentation by the Atlanta Falcons drum line. Wow doesn’t even begin to describe how great they were!! With that amazing act kick starting our morning, you just knew that more goodness was on the horizon.
Rainmaker 2015 themes
The overarching theme was that business development is a critically important part of the sales process. But expecting sales reps to do the chasing and the closing might not be the most effective approach. Establishing a BDR (business development rep) team whose sole job is to find new opportunities and set appointments is what led to the fast paced growth experienced by the companies highlighted throughout the conference.
Other themes that emerged, which I was thrilled to hear, were:
- You cannot wait for someone else to give you the information you need to succeed.
- Buying lists is a waste of time, as they are generally out of date the moment you purchase them.
- Don’t rely on marketing to understand the ideal buyer, business development reps need to own the buyer persona.
- The best sellers understand human behavior and leverage clarifying and confirming when talking to prospects.
- The best sellers do not talk about products and services. As Steve Richard of Vorsight said, these sellers talk about common truths, which mean you need to know what the buyer cares about.
Almost every single speaker talked about:
- Identifying an ideal client profile, including both the account and the contact within that account.
- Understanding how your target buyer buys.
- Understanding the decision making process and when talking to a potential customer, you need to know exactly what phase of the decision process the prospect is in at any given time.
- Determining your cadence for contacting potential buyers. You have to test, adapt, and test again to determine what’s right for you.
- Message matters. Haven’t I said this for years? Personalize messages that speak to what your prospective customer cares about. That means doing some homework, and this is where tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and InsideView can play a huge role.
There was too much great learning to force into one blog post. Stay tuned for more highlights from the Rainmaker event in subsequent posts.
I’ll close with this final thought.
More than one speaker made a point to say that a key characteristic they look for in sellers is the openness to continual learning. Naturally, this is near and dear to my heart, because I believe that the most successful salespeople (well, people in general) are those people who devote time to learning something new each day. I’m often asked about age in relation to using social media as part of selling. People want to know if the younger folks are the ones who are most successful using social channels as part of their work life. After all, all things digital was their pacifier. My answer is absolutely not. Age has nothing do with it. Anyone can learn something new. The rainmakers in life embrace learning and never think they know it all.
Time is a precious commodity, and I’ve been to more than one conference that wasn’t quite worth the investment of time or money. Not Rainmaker 2015. Hats off to Kyle and his team!