September 24, 2016
I would like to introduce my first Business Acumen Bullet Points blog post. These posts will focus on topics, issues, challenges, ideas, tips, or whatever situations that pop up during the course of the routine business day. Many of these thoughts and situations are too big to tweet about, but not big enough to write an entire blog post on. Feel free to comment, share, or reply with your own bullet points.
- Nothing bothers me more than a generic lead follow-up email. There is so much information available about a company, or a potential buyer, that every lead follow-up should be a well-crafted note that engages, is compelling, and provides value. Even if you are sending out 10-15 emails a day, it’s just lazy not to customize it. Sure you can use a template for the core of the email, but you have to be able to make a connection by adding something of value and compelling to the prospect.
- As an add-on to the first bullet, although I get around 100 prospecting emails a day from sales reps, I do try and respond to the good prospecting emails. I know how hard it is today to get responses, but I respect a sales person who put some effort into the initial contact and tries to build in some relevance to me. I may just tell them that I am not interested but, you have to remember that almost every company has sales reps trying to sell something so be nice.
- I just received an email offering me $ 50 to post an article to my blog. Is this really what SEO has come down to? In a way it makes sense to build backlinks, but it just did not feel right.
- Always be Prepared, especially when cold calling. You never know who you are going to get when you are making a prospecting call. I was working late one night this week and the office phone rang. I picked it up and the person actually asked for me. The person was so surprised that he got me on the phone that he had no idea what to say. He was ready to leave his standardized pitch on our voice mail. He just stammered, hemmed, and hauled. He basically could not speak and said nothing. He ended up finally just asking me if he can email me some material. Here he had me on the phone and he had his shot, but he blew it.
- For some reason people are terrified of financial statements. From a business acumen perspective, everyone in an organization should have a basic understanding of the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. My brother Rob wrote a great piece on understanding EBITDA that should be a required reading for all employees. Everyone should understand how money is made and how money is spent. It’s the basic tenants of business. Understanding financial statements and metrics is one of the reasons I really like business simulations. Simulations allow participants to see how business decisions affect the outcomes of a business.
- I always know an automated calling system when there is a 10-15 second gap between when I pick up and when the telemarketer starts talking. People swear by these automated calling systems and I see published reports that indicate an improved connection performance, but I am not a big fan. I still think the personal touch is the way to go.
- Warning – There are a lot more buying decisions being made by committees today. You better be prepared to add months to your buying cycle. Top this off with an increased churn ratio of what I estimate to be 20-25% of the team a month and you really have to learn how to manage a variety of stakeholders and influencers. Then don’t forget to put your armor on to negotiate with procurement.