[00:00:05.470] – James Kernan
All right. Hey everybody, welcome to the lead generation for Managed Service providers. My name is James. I’m going to get started in just a second here. I just want to make sure everybody can see my screen and that we’re all ready to go. Go. You hopefully can communicate with me in Chat, so go ahead and housekeeping wise, go ahead, let’s communicate through Chat. But I’d love to see some interaction here in Chat. So any questions that you have as we go, let’s go ahead and you can communicate with me that way. All right, any questions? I see, James, you raised your hand. Go ahead and type in the question that you have in Chat. I just want to make sure that you guys can see my screen properly and we’re going to get rolling. Sounds good. All right, so looks like in the Q and A section we can communicate that way. So instead of Chat thanks for the heads up on that. I’ll open up that box so we can communicate. All right, cool. Well, let’s go ahead and get rolling. Today is session one. So my name is James Kernan. Good to be back with you.
[00:01:23.880] – James Kernan
I’ve coached some other sales and marketing sessions inside the community. Glad to be back with everybody. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an industry veteran. I’ve been around for over 30 years in the channel, 1st 15 years of my career, bought, sold, owner, ran seven different tech companies, built large sales teams. Biggest organization I was with was over 180 individuals reporting directly to me. Quite a sales engine. There over 300 million in sales. And then I’ve worked with some startups as well, some very small organizations. But excited to be back with you here and kind of share more of what I’ve really learned over the past 15 years of some best practices. And things certainly have changed since the Pandemic as well. But I’m going to share those best practices with you today from a lead generation standpoint.
[00:02:23.400] – James Kernan
So before I dive into today’s agenda, just a couple of other quick housekeeping things for those of you that are new, make sure in the Itsp.com website there’s the class outline that you can see on the right hand side of the screen. The module one really is more advertising information. The meat and potatoes, all the content is inside the module two, and each one of these classes are set up as a five part series. I’ll go into a little bit more detail about what this class is all about. But in general, big picture. All the other classes are set up with the four digit codes and there’s five classes inside each one of the modules, so be sure to check that out. I always love training with the purpose I want to learn, but I also like testing out of things. I highly recommend that you do this for yourself and or your individuals if they’re allowed to do that. Have them do some type of certification program. Up on the screen you can see the different certification classes that are available. Just start with one. Build your own plan based on what you want to learn more about.
[00:03:33.220] – James Kernan
But a lot of our courses here at Kernel Consulting are up in the program really around sales, marketing and leadership. So be sure to check those out too. Any questions, just email concierge at smallbizthoughtscom and the team will be happy to help you. One other helpful tip. Once you log in and you drill down into the content, each one of the classes, you’ll see the video. So we’re recording live now. So this video will actually be on demand up there, so you can watch that as needed. The right hand section will be typically the workbook that is associated. I’ve got workbooks on all five of our classes and then on the very bottom check out extra resources. And I’ve got a ton of extra resources for you. I’m going to go into that today. Today’s class probably has the most extra resources, meaning there’s additional exercises and attachments that I’ll reference and talk about today and explain to you how you can use those to help you build your program. But there are several. Typically there’s at least one in each one of the classes moving forward, or at least the ones that I teach.
[00:04:41.890] – James Kernan
So heads up on that. Okay, so let’s get rocking and rolling. I am fired up and pumped to kind of share today with you. I’m going to very quickly talk about what the five classes look like that you’re going to experience here in this. Today is session one. I’ve got tons of content I’ll share with you here and then we’re going to go ahead and wrap up and then we’ll go from there. So today is August 9. It’s session one. It’s the very first one. Each week we’re going to do a live class, record it. All the assets should already be up on the website, but I’ll do this live and then the recordings after record it will actually go live as well. And then each week we’re going to go 11:00 Central, 09:00 Pacific and we’ll do 1 hour sessions for all five of the classes. So the program objectives really there’s five key things I want to dig into for you. First and foremost, I want to help you create your own sales playbook. Okay, I’m going to dig into appointment setting basics. And I’m not just talking about a lot of the content I have is really talking about a person setting up appointments for you.
[00:06:01.010] – James Kernan
But we will turn right around and there’s lots of other ways that you can set up appointments as well. We’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about the third point is really running your first and second prospect meeting. So when you get face to face with a prospect, we’ll make sure that you know how to run that in, questions to ask so you can gather the information that you need to identify the opportunity, share your value, and then propose and close, talk about also how to make customers for life. And then lastly, how to create and present fantastic proposals. That close and that’s important. So one of the questions I see popped up, you don’t see the links in the content I’m assuming you’re talking about up on the website. I’ll follow up with the team after today’s session and make sure that those are up there, but I’ve submitted all of those, so they should be there. But I’m happy to share whatever you guys need either directly or for sure up on the website as well. So here are the five classes that I’ve got set up for you. Today is session one creating your Sales playbook.
[00:07:10.610] – James Kernan
Session two is appointment setting basics. I’m going to go dig into all the different tips and tricks about setting up appointments. Session three is how to really sales process. In the seven step value based sales process, it’s really step two and three that I’m going to dig into, but it’s really how to run those meetings efficiently and effectively. We talked about making customers for life, and then the presentation of your proposals is session five. So QBR is your quality business reviews. It’s really client meetings. After you sell them. Your first order, it’s ongoing orders. You want to continue to work with that client. So I call it the industry term is quarterly business reviews. But in my opinion, you probably need to meet with your customers more than quarterly based on the frequency that they want to meet. So I call them quality business reviews. Okay, so real quick, I’ve got Q and A listed right here so I can see us communicating. Real quick, tell me what time zone you’re in. And I also want to know if you’re an owner, a manager, or a sales rep that will help me understand a little bit of today’s audience.
[00:08:23.740] – James Kernan
All right. Pacific Time. Yes. I was in sunny San Diego for about 25 years. Now I’m in the Midwest. So owner. Okay. Anybody else? Okay, cool. All right, mountain. All right. Owners. Okay, good. So mostly owners. That’s what I would have guessed. So that’s helpful. So I’m going to share a gold nugget with you. That kind of is the basis of all the trainings that I’m going to share with you. And I always speak about this, but my question to you today is how can you hold any employees accountable if you haven’t set goals and expectations in writing and you haven’t trained them on how to do their job? Okay, so those are some tough comments I just made there, but the reality is that’s our industry to a T, we want to hold people accountable. My first job, the guy through the Yellow Pages, the phone book at me and said, start making calls. Go make it rain. Go make it happen. And it was a little bit more training than that, but essentially that’s what I was faced with. And you kind of either sink or swim. You either do it or you don’t.
[00:09:36.610] – James Kernan
And through the school of hard knocks and there were some good, talented sales people that I picked up a lot on, but I wanted to share this book with you. I’ll save you probably $15 on Amazon because the key thing I got out of this book I read it a long, long time ago, and I just wanted to share this with you because it’s the basis of your sales playbook. Number one, if you want to hold your employees accountable, keep them motivated and make them productive. And this doesn’t just apply to sales and marketing people. I’m talking about everybody. You got to set goals and expectations in writing.
[00:10:13.200] – James Kernan
That’s first. The second thing is that it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re trained to meet and exceed the goals and expectations. Does that make sense? And then three, hold them accountable. To me, accountability is all just communication. It’s not snapping a whip and yelling at them in front of everybody. That’s probably the last thing you should be doing. It’s just communication. Let them know how they’re doing it’s, either good or bad. My style of leadership is I like to praise in public and scolding private got something? If I need to rip their head off, I’m going to pull them in my office or pull them in the conference room, and we’ll sit down and have a discussion. But I don’t want to embarrass them in front of everybody. That’s a morale crusher and a culture destroyer, and we don’t want that. So I clearly believe in positive leadership, and you should do that with your sales and marketing team because most of you, my guests, are probably highly technical, and you guys are wired a little bit different than us sales people. We need lots of energy. Normally. We need some words of affirmation.
[00:11:19.690] – James Kernan
We need to stay pumped and fired up because sales is all about energy and activities and the technical support realm, it’s very different.
[00:11:28.430] – James Kernan
So keep that in mind as well. And I think it’s important to reward with bonuses or whatever ways that you can keep your employees motivated. Some people are like words of affirmation, for example, but you want to make sure that you’re rewarding them for the good behaviors. Okay, so let me start with that, and then I’m going to kind of start digging into our overall strategy so the sales playbook. The good news is I’m going to give everybody a copy. It’s in today’s content. It’s a 35 page document. I’m going to walk through that here in just a little bit. But big picture wise, I just wanted to have you start thinking more strategically. A sales strategy is really an operating plan for the company salesforce. What does a sales strategy typically do? It really allocates the resources efficiently to drive selling costs down and revenues up. If you have a strategy and a plan, then you can dictate that as a leader. And regardless if you’re just an owner and you’re the only one doing it, or you have other team members supporting you might be your virtual assistant, might be your admin assistant who’s physically in the office.
[00:12:39.230] – James Kernan
You might have an inside sales rep or other sales reps. You’ll get to that point and you’ll start adding additional resources and team members to your sales and marketing team. And that’s why this playbook is so important. Okay, so let me kind of just dive into a little bit of what’s in the playbook. One of the things about marketing I just want to remind everybody, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. So we’re going to talk about lead gen programs. And then when you get a lead, here’s some of the really basic things that you need to do right out of the get go. On the left side of the screen, when somebody raises their hand and maybe they attend a webinar of yours, they saw you speak at the Chamber breakfast, or they responded to a social media post that you had about a special offer. They raised their hand. They’re interested in something. And when you’ve got a marketing qualified lead, I call that an MQL. When somebody is interested, you got to reach out to them right away. You call them and email them. Call them and email them.
[00:13:44.080] – James Kernan
You do whatever you need to do. Drive to their office if you can’t get in touch with them, but you have to establish contact. When you establish contact, then you qualify them on the phone. We’re going to talk about that, I believe in session three, we’re going to talk about how to run the meetings and qualify them. And then if they are qualified, then you go meet with them, analyze the opportunity, and then you engage in the sales process. This chart is important. And my key point is if you can’t contact them or can’t get in touch with them, if they’re not qualified or they’re not ready to make a decision or you lose the deal, or if you win the deal, all roads lead back to marketing. I want you to think about that because it’s important. When you create a lead, they might not quite be ready for you, but regardless, you need some type of steady drip or consistent marketing program or at least once a month you’re touching base with them. An email newsletter is a perfect example with some educational content. That’s one of the campaign ideas that I’ll talk about.
[00:14:47.800] – James Kernan
Or maybe a security alert, real time security alert. We’ll talk about that too, but you just want to be in the right place at the right time. So when there is an opportunity that arises with the prospect, they’re going to think of you.
[00:15:02.570] – James Kernan
You want to be at the very top of their inbox or have your business card on their desk when something happens to them.
[00:15:10.040] – James Kernan
So I wanted to set the stage for that. So a lot of the legion that we’re going to be talking about really is on the prospecting side.
[00:15:19.780] – James Kernan
But I’m going to keep referencing the seven steps of value based sales training because I think it’s important that you understand where we’re at in the steps. The MQL is really when they raise their hand when you qualify them, normally it’s over the phone, you talk to them. Maybe you do a quick teams meeting or zoom meeting. Get eyeball to eyeball is my preference. And you want to qualify them. You want to qualify them and.
[00:15:50.750] – James Kernan
Sure that they’re in your local geography. Make sure that they have a need that you can fulfill. Make sure it’s not too big or not too small of an office from a scope standpoint. So I think that’s important that you take a look at that anyway. So when you qualify, then that’s the SQL and then the needs analysis is the first meeting and the value proposition is the second meeting when you’re really kind of throwing some opportunities or different proposal basic numbers out in front of them to do a trial close and to size them up. I’ll talk about that more again in session three, but I’ll be referencing the seven step value based sales process often. So you’ll see this more than once. So let’s kind of dig into creating your own sales playbook in a Q and A. If you could now tell me just drop in there and just type in a comment if you have a sales playbook already, or you might have a written marketing plan already, or you might have a business plan already, just drop into the Q and A there. Let me know if you’ve got any of those.
[00:17:11.310] – James Kernan
That’s what I suspected. Normally that’s the case with most everybody. And early my career, I was the exact same way. This industry goes so darn fast and you don’t have the time to create these things. That’s why I hope this class is going to be your all time favorite because everything that I’m going to give you for the most part, it’s already done. If you want, you could just slap your logo on it and then okay, my homework is done, I’m ready to go. But I really want you to kind of put your fingerprint, you know, your mindset in these documents and customize it and make it your own plan. It’s an impressive sales playbook that has a lot of what would be in your business plan has a lot would be in your marketing plan. It would have a lot out of an employee handbook, missions and values and corporate code of conduct. But again, my question to all of you as you build your team, how are you going to hold people accountable if you haven’t set expectations in writing and trained people on how to get there? This is the cornerstone of all of your training for your business development team.
[00:18:23.610] – James Kernan
And another belief system I’ll share with you is, I think everybody sells, okay? Not just salespeople. You’re all owners. You’re out there hustling, carrying a bag, pounding on doors. So you’re selling a receptionist, whoever picks up the phone and answers, they’re selling, really any customer facing employee or technicians or engineers, any field facing position that talks to customers on the phone, customer support, even accounting. Everybody sells, okay? So this is a great way to kind of share what you’re doing, what our strategy is with everybody else.
[00:19:06.450] – James Kernan
So let me kind of go into some of the meat and potatoes in the 35 page plan that I’ve given you guys. Let’s talk about some of the key elements of what’s going to go in there because I want you to think about this. This typically is something that you’ve got to customize a little bit, but I want to talk a little bit about target market. Who are we going after? And here are some questions for you. I want you to think about what are your strengths right now? We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses, and you know what they are. You’re all smart people, your business owners. So what are your strengths? You might be really strong on voice protocol. You might be really strong on Internet carrier contracts or security, or just managed It or infrastructure. Or maybe there’s a certain platform that you’re really strong with, like Cisco or Fortinet or WatchGuard. I want you to think about what your strengths are, and let’s try to pick the top three. And then you want to build off of that.
[00:20:09.090] – James Kernan
And then think of what vertical markets that you’re already successful in servicing. Some of you might not know what that is. I run into that all the time. And one of the first things I do if I sit down one on one with an MSP business owner is like, if you don’t know what your target market is or your vertical market where you’re already doing a lot of business, let’s just sit down in front of QuickBooks. Run a vendor report, like where you’re buying the most products and services from, that kind of tells me who your strategic partners are. And then run a sales out report. Also, I want to know who you’re selling the most to. And you’ll see a pattern, especially on the sales out report. And I like doing it over a couple of years and then sort it by year so I can see my top ten accounts each one of the years. But just take a look at the last twelve months who your top ten accounts are and normally you’ll see a pattern, oh my gosh, I didn’t realize I did so much business with medical facilities or the educational clients, or nonprofits or lawyers.
[00:21:13.950] – James Kernan
You’ll see a pattern where you’ve got more than two customers out of maybe your top ten. Okay, so that’s where you can kind of start building your vertical market around. And then what are your more profitable products and services that you’re currently selling? Pretty much any subscription income services that you’ve packaged and priced out or your service offerings are normally the most profitable for you, but there might be related products that you’re making high margins on that we want to add to our strategy as well. I would encourage you to not think of yourself as just a service provider. You’re also a product provider, product acquisition services, and that normally should be part of your overall solution. If you’re doing your selling properly, you can make tons of margin even today on selling products to your clients if it’s wrapped around your services, if it’s bundled properly. Okay, we’ll talk about that a little bit as well and then think about what other vertical markets are really strong inside your city or your location. The last MSP that Iran was down in San Diego, California. So San Diego was a very strong biotech area. Not sure why, but there was a ton of very well funded biotech startups and sophisticated biotech companies.
[00:22:39.460] – James Kernan
Kind of same thing like up in the New Jersey area. It seems like there’s a lot of biotech and medical entities up there as well. San Diego had a lot of military and also had a lot of medical in there as well. So I remember when I was working on my plan way back when I added biotech, I had no biotech as part of my customer portfolio or the relationships that I had, and I’d had some success in the military. We’ll talk about how to sell to the government and market to the government later and then there’s a lot of medical. So regardless if you’re already doing that, market that industry or not, you might want to add that to our strategy. If there’s a lot of those in your location, I hope that makes sense. And then evaluate your technical skill. And evaluate your technical skill. When I bought my last company, I had three employees that worked with me and they weren’t really good at anything. And there was one network engineer that understood the basics of networking. There was one Microsoft SQL guy that kind of knew some of the Microsoft stack but kind of focused more on the CRM side.
[00:23:51.710] – James Kernan
And then there was one guy who had some skills around programming, software programming and process creation. He was pretty good at that, but it was kind of a limited skill set, so I had to start with that. And then I wanted to market more infrastructure. I wanted to market, more managed service, and our ability to support cross platforms. So I had to outsource some employees. So we’ll talk about that a little bit as well. When you finally get a prospect to raise their hand and say, hey, I’m interested in X, Y and Z, the last thing I want you guys to do is go, I just don’t have the skill set in house to do that. I want you to think about your there might be some people inside this community that you’ve partnered with. I run peer groups all around North America, and the peer groups often share each other’s resources when they’re in different geographies and or different skill sets that they don’t have. You add up those people and those skill sets on your own line card and then all of a sudden you’ve got a lot more capabilities.
[00:25:01.230] – James Kernan
And then define core products and services that you want to really focus on delivering in your niche. And those are the ones, again, as you develop those, they’re typically much more profitable. Okay, so I wanted to talk a little bit about target market and have you think about what you want to be famous for in your niche. So a couple of other key points. Do your homework and do some research around this and the classes that I have. There will be a little bit of homework on this, so please take this seriously. You’re going to get a lot more out of this if you carve out a little bit of time, schedule some time on your calendar just to do a little bit of the homework that I’m going to be talking about today and to customize the documents, the handouts that I’m going to give you. I want to make sure that you’re going to get a lot more momentum and success out of these if you do your homework. But think also I mentioned previously, think about what vendors or manufacturers that are servicing that vertical niche already. I think back at Networks Plus, when I had my company in San Diego, that was a little three person company that I bought, we grew that from about $300,000 in revenue in three months.
[00:26:19.930] – James Kernan
I grew that to over 12 million and then I bundled it and sold it. This was the strategy that I had learned and that works. And a lot of these strategies as well that I’ll be sharing in the lead gen program are things that I’ve learned since that point as well that will help you guys out. But I wanted to really bundle and partner with some of the other key manufacturer partners in the area. And we’re a small business and most people didn’t know who we were. So I had a partner with maybe the subpar, maybe tier two, tier three manufacturer partners or distributors just to kind of get the word out and partner with them. And some of my go to market strategies and ask for some funding from them, some Mbdf, so I could do some more sophisticated marketing. But as we started doing more numbers and started demonstrating success, people were gladly giving me funds to help market their products to my customers. It worked out really well. So part of today’s exercise, I’m going to also share with you a couple of different versions. I’ll walk through this at the end of today’s presentation, but I’ve got a couple of other templates above and beyond the sales playbook.
[00:27:39.250] – James Kernan
I’ve got an annual marketing plan for some of you that might have some little bit more sophisticated and you’re running multiple campaigns. The annual marketing plan would be a good exercise for you. Or I have a real simple 90 day marketing plan. If you’re not doing any marketing at all, but you want to, then we’ll start with the 90 day plan and I’ll help you get that working on. So one of the other things I want you to think about is who are your local competitors in your area? And if you haven’t heard the term SWAT, strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats, there are four really easy ways to gather that information. In order for you to be successful in closing the leads that you’re getting, you really need to understand your competition and what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. So you can position yourself properly, but try to interview some of their staff if you can. Potentially, I used to do that all the time. We always were growing, and like I said, ABR always be recruiting salespeople, technical people. I’d always ask lots of questions about what the competition is doing and when they want a job with you, they’re going to pretty much tell you most anything.
[00:28:52.740] – James Kernan
So I think that’s important, that you can get some good intel, professional intel, by just interviewing the staff and potentially hiring them and making a part of your team go to their website. There’s a lot of information up on the website. More and more people are putting pricing up on their website, which I’m not a big fan of. A lot of the people put their names of their employees in the faces of the employees and their credentials. I’m not a big fan of that either. But it’s interesting the information that you can get to go to the website and review them and then find out from your customers, some of your strategic customers that you’ve got good working relationships with. Find out who they like or dislike from your competitors. One of my big accounts when I sold years back was the University of California, San Diego UCSD. For a long time, I sold all the Dell products that went into the whole UC network. That was great. And one of the primary buyers, his name was John we had a great working relationship, and he would always tell me who I was always bidding against.
[00:30:05.140] – James Kernan
He wouldn’t tell me what. Their numbers were, that would be dishonest. But he always would tell me who I need to kind of keep an eye on. He knew we were growing, and I was always hiring people. And if there was someone he admired that did a good job at customer service and was competitive, I wanted to know who those people were so I could turn it around and interview them and maybe hire them and then ask your vendor or manufacturer partners who’s doing well in your local geography. Those are some other areas that I think are important for you to do your homework. So there’s some other resources listed in the workbook. I talked about score or the Chamber of Commerce. Score is the service corpse of retired executives. It’s an SBA funded program, so it’s a free resource. It’s like a business coach that’s available to you. It takes a while to schedule time and get face time with them, but there’s normally retired executives that are able to kind of help and give you ideas and coach you along. If you can’t afford to be part of a peer group or you can’t afford a coach, that’s the next best thing I would recommend.
[00:31:18.030] – James Kernan
And then the local Chamber of Ecommerce. Any new offices that I would always open up. And even some of the existing offices that we had. I’d always have the manager reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce. Get a welcome package. And it’s a really easy way quickly to start working with and find out and learn more of the resources of what’s going on in the local geographies. So one of the key parts that I’m going to talk about a little bit inside of our sales playbook is what’s your unique selling proposition? Okay, I can tell most of you are probably fairly small if you don’t have sales people. In the very first one page business plan with the unique selling proposition exercise that I ever did, it was terrible. The truth was, I didn’t have anything unique about my business. We weren’t really better than the competition. Maybe I thought we were, but the reality at that time, we weren’t until I started thinking outside the box and looked at the vendor partnerships, maybe some outsourcing partnerships, and then I started figuring out a way or an angle to position things a little bit bigger and better than what we would have initially if I only have three employees.
[00:32:38.130] – James Kernan
So when I talk about unique selling proposition, it’s, how are you different or better than the competition from your customers perspective? You can’t just say, we respond really fast, or I’m a really nice guy, or we’re really experienced. Those are just kind of features. But what’s the benefit to the customer you’re really fast? Well, one of my customers that I work with, their claim to fame is they’ve got a less than 32nd response rate on any inbound tickets that come in. So they respond in less than 30 seconds. I mean, that’s pretty compelling. Maybe another one will say is, all my competitors have long term contracts. I don’t have long term contracts. We have month to month relationships with our customers. And that’s kind of risky. But that’s something that might stand out or maybe a guarantee, 90 day guarantee on your services that if they’re unhappy in any way, shape or form, you’ll give them the money back. I’m just giving you some examples. I’m not saying those are great ones, but those are some examples of how you would stand out. But there’s an exercise in the one page business plan, and I’m happy.
[00:33:53.000] – James Kernan
Email me, call me in between the sessions. I’m happy to help you guys come up with a unique selling proposition that makes sense for your organization. And it’s again back to the Everybody sales. When you create your unique selling proposition, share it with your whole team. It’s almost like an elevator pitch where everybody in your team should at least know what it is or receive a copy of it so they can read it to someone if they’re on the phone. Or just share it with family or friends. But that’s supposed to be your secret sauce of how you stand out from the competition. Okay, so the value proposition, the USP, is actually something very important. So in the key marketing pieces in your plan, in your marketing plan, I’m going to try to go through this fairly quick, but we talked about the unique selling proposition you need to create your USP. Obviously, all of you should have a website.
[00:34:54.370] – James Kernan
There’s a couple other hard copy documents. You should have a one page company overview, I call it, or a PDF, a one page brochure on the company with the logo with the same colors as your website. But at least it’s one page leave behind. That should be professionally done by someone in your team, hopefully, or family or friend that could do it for you for free. Or you could pay someone on fiverr. It’s pretty inexpensive to get things like that updated, but make it nice, make it professional. And you only need one page to kind of just start with. I think you should also have a company presentation. One of the first things I do is I’m working with one on one client is I’ll learn more about their business. I’ll help them with their unique selling proposition because that’s really the foundational message of how you’re going to separate yourself from your competitors. That’s your key marketing message right there. That’s why I’m going to talk about that. But the company presentation normally is five to ten page PowerPoint presentation that talks about who you are, what you do and what you’ve done successfully, and how you stand out over your competitors.
[00:36:09.550] – James Kernan
So it’s something that your team members, when you’re in front of a prospect, you should have the ability to share who you are in a PowerPoint format or maybe off of the website or so forth. The new customer kit, it’s another word for that is a shock and awe package. It’s a wow package. This is optional, but if there’s any documentation you might have, like written testimonials from clients, technical certifications that you have white papers that you’ve written. I’ve written multiple books, so it’s kind of easy for me. But books are a great credibility builder. Maybe it’s a gift. You want to put a cool gift in a box, but normally it’s a box that’s a credibility builder. And in between you setting up the appointment and you physically going to the appointment. The idea is you send that wow package or the shock and awe box to them to build credibility. So you’re not spending the first 15 minutes of your meeting trying to build rapport and credibility. All right? It just makes it so much more efficient if you have the resources to do that. Everybody should have a professional logo. I said customer testimonials, but I also like video testimonials of your clients.
[00:37:33.160] – James Kernan
Hopefully all of you have got a smartphone. Just real quick and informal. When you have a customer that’s happy, go, hey, can I record 30 seconds of you? Just real quick, let me record it. You need a couple of video testimonials. Those put enormous credibility up on your website, on social media. Maybe you could transcribe them and put that kind of testimonial in your proposals. Testimonials are really powerful marketing. You should put some thought into an internet or digital marketing strategy, like your social media. If you don’t have it already, at a minimum, I think you should have LinkedIn and Facebook social media accounts. Maybe an impact video. That’s maybe a two minute video where you’re talking about maybe your story or how you founded your business and the evolution of where you started and where you’re at today, or maybe where you’re at today and where you’re going in the next five years. Maybe share your unique selling proposition. Those are all good ideas to have an impact video that should be up on social media in your website and or you can use other digital means and then email signature line is something that I always feel you should have companywide.
[00:38:51.290] – James Kernan
Not everybody create their own email signatures and have 30 different messages on it. It’s a great way to share. A couple of other quick things I want to dig into is make sure you’ve got tools to monitor what we’re doing. There’s a lot of really good CRM customer relationship management softwares. PSA professional service automation software is available as well. PSA many of you have like an auto task. Those types of tools are good and can be used like a CRM sales and marketing legion. It’s important you have some type of tool that we can measure our success. We send out an email campaign or we have a webinar and 100 leads come in, I want to know what happened to those. So you need some type of tool instead of a spreadsheet because that’s too time consuming. You pull your hair out, have a tool that we can pull reports from and analyze the analytics of what’s happening, how many impressions we made, how many appointments, what our hit rate is. I’ll talk more about that as we kind of go through. There’s a lot of really good tools out there. Some of them are free, some of them are inexpensive.
[00:40:09.080] – James Kernan
But pick one that you can start with and we’ll kind of go from there. Everybody always asks, what’s the very best CRM or PSA tool that you would recommend? I always say it’s the one that you use. There are so many people I run into that have 15 different tools and they don’t use any of them. They’re all on a monthly subscription. Or you might use one or two and the other ones are on the shelf. Pick one and become a master of it and work that. There’s really no one tool that I thought was perfect across the board. All of them have shortcomings HubSpot. Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft, CRM. There’s all sorts of tools out there. Just pick one, an inexpensive one, and then that you can train yourself up on very quickly. The other thing is try to pick somebody else in your team instead of you to be the champion. You’ve got enough on your plate. Maybe it’s an admin assistant or one of your technical people. Have them be the champion that knows how to do everything. So you always have a sounding board and a resource to help you out. Okay, so a couple of things in the marketing plan I just want to talk about at a high level.
[00:41:24.190] – James Kernan
There was a 90 day plan that if you aren’t doing any marketing now, you should start with the 90 day plan. There’s a more sophisticated annual plan that I’ll show you guys a copy of that in just a minute. If you’re running multiple campaigns, I would recommend use the annual plan. Take a look at both of them because the annual plan is an already done for you plan and it has all sorts of campaign ideas that you can go, wow, this one’s interesting. I’ve never heard of this one before. Let me check that out. Might motivate you to try it because you’ll kind of see what the concepts are in that already done for you annual plan. Okay, but try to be diverse in your efforts. We’re going to talk a lot about legion in this, and a lot of it is really focused around telemarketing efforts. The days of you being able to pick up the phone and get a hold of someone and go meet with them, those are kind of over now. There’s other ways that you need to warm up prospects and almost attract them to be setting up appointments with you with a tool like Canon Lee or an online appointment setting program, and we’re going to talk about that as part of your plan.
[00:42:41.490] – James Kernan
My whole point is, don’t just do one thing if you can. Try to do a couple of things that all are connected into what our efforts are, meaning telemarketing, or email marketing or direct mail or canvassing where you’re knocking on the door, or public speaking. You want it all kind of coming to the same prospect and hitting them different ways. Your success rate will be far greater on that.
[00:43:10.150] – James Kernan
Marketing. The other thing I’ll say is what is really working today is educational based marketing.
[00:43:17.140] – James Kernan
It’s not salesy. You’re not doing pitches, you’re not selling anything. You’re educating them on what they should be doing and what the best practices are. And when you take that pressure off yourself, when you take that pressure off your appointment setter, okay, all of a sudden, it’s not so hard anymore. It’s a lot easier when you have that mindset of what my goal is. I’m just trying to educate them, not sell them anything.
[00:43:47.230] – James Kernan
So the consistency is really critical. Marketing is like the oxygen in your business. You need to try to do it every day if you can, right? Or every moment if you can. You want different campaigns happening all the time to really warm up these prospects. So talk a little bit about the team. Many of you are doing this by yourself. You should at least have a part time admin or VA or someone in your team that you can rely on to help execute some of the stuff that you need to get done. When I bought that little company in San Diego, I only have three employees. The very first person I hired, because they were three technical people, one of them helped do the books, and then all three of them were really able to do technical tickets. So I was the new sales and marketing person, but the first person that I hired full time was really an admin assistant that I called my marketing manager. So she was really an extension of me. I needed to be able, in order to be more efficient and effective, I needed someone who is organized, articulate, and a taskmaster type of personality that could help me get things done.
[00:45:05.440] – James Kernan
Almost like a project manager. But she was a glorified, super smart and talented person. I’m not trying to belittle it, but really, she was a former admin assistant in her prior job, and I hired her as a marketing manager. So there’s different team members that you could hire. I’m not going to get into that from inside sales, outside sales, or appointment setters. All of us are appointment setters, right. It doesn’t look like any of you have dedicated staff. We want to learn how to do the appointment setting ourselves, and so that’s kind of where I’m going to go. With in today’s class.
[00:45:45.680] – James Kernan
So one of the other important pieces is regardless of the size of your team, I’m going to emphasize this. I really want you to take this sales playbook seriously. I’ll show you a copy in just a minute. Update that train off of that. Train your employees off of it. Share the information. When things are in black and white, that’s when it becomes real. All of us all too often keep all these ideas and strategies and goals up in our head and we can’t effectively communicate to our team unless we print it out and share it with them so they can visually see it. It becomes real, if that makes sense. So try to think of maybe doing monthly or quarterly trainings. There’s a ton of content in the book the Sales Playbook, so there’s plenty of things for you to be talking about. And reinforcing in each one of your weekly or monthly or quarterly meetings.
[00:46:40.710] – James Kernan
And then consider doing as you build your team and grow your team. I do a lot of professional sales classes, whether it’s me or something inside the university here, there’s tons of trainings available. Take seriously the continual learning options and make sure you’re doing semi annual or annual strategic meetings that include training not just for you, but for your team. I think that’s important. One of the things you’ll hear me talk about a lot is when we’re eyeball to eyeball with our prospects, we want to sell the problem that we solve, not the product. Solve the problem that we solve, not the product. And I’ll talk about that more here in just a little bit and then you build stronger credibility with the questions that you ask rather than the answers that you give.
[00:47:34.590] – James Kernan
So what I’m saying is we need to be good listeners and ask lots of really good questions as the prospect is talking to us. And we’re going to learn a little bit more in the upcoming classes as well about what questions to ask and when in the sales process in order for us to get the information and move things along quickly. Okay, so here’s the sales process again. I’m going to just kind of move forward the sales playbook. This is what the cover actually looks like.
[00:48:09.790] – James Kernan
The attachment. The attachment doesn’t look like it’s up on the website. I’ll follow up with the team on that or I’ll share my contact information with everybody here at the very end of the class. But make sure, I want to make sure that you get all the attachments and then also the workbook itself, but on purpose. It’s not a PDF I wanted to make it a Word document so it’s easily editable for whatever you want to do. I talk about the seven step sales process, talk about the goals. I even have sample commission plans, quotas, sales strategy, what strategic partners that you might want to have in different areas of your business. So I’ll talk about this a little bit more here in just a minute. So here’s a screenshot of what the annual marketing plan looks like. It’s a little bit of an eye chart. You can’t really see it very well, but I think it’s important. I want you guys to see what this looks like so when you open up the related handout, you’re like, okay, here’s what the plan looks like. The far left is the theme for the month or the quarter, the campaign name, and then what’s the purpose, and then what’s the timing, and then what market segment am I sending this to?
[00:49:34.780] – James Kernan
You don’t need to fill out all the different columns, because there are several columns that go across this almost for your marketing manager or an admin assistant to fill that out for you. When you guys come up with ideas and you’re running campaigns, it’s a living, breathing document that you should be taking notes on and keeping track of what’s working and what’s not working. But that’s what the document looks like. Okay, again, this is an Excel spreadsheet where you can easily edit. You don’t have to be doing ten different campaigns each month. Marketing starts with you at least just doing one. Okay, so QBR is the very first one that I have listed up there. You guys all should be meeting with your customers on a regular basis. You all should be accepting referrals. So those are typically the first two marketing campaigns that should go into your plan. And then I want to encourage you to do at least one more thing. Okay, here’s what the 90 day plan looks like. The 90 day plan is really simple. Just a campaign date, campaign name, or event. And then if you have a special offer, it could be a trade show.
[00:50:49.860] – James Kernan
It could be the local chamber of ecommerce. I was just asked last week to go speak at a business empowerment, like an economic development breakfast in my hometown here and went and spoke in front of a bunch of business professionals, and that would be a perfect example to list there. In here, I have things like, is there a cost associated with it that was free because I went and spoke. It didn’t cost any money. If it costs money, I encourage you to think about maybe a strategic partner that you could partner with. Easy things like trade shows might be $1,000 for you to go attend a trade show and have a booth. Don’t just pay all that out of your own pocket. Talk to a strategic partner that you’re buying other goods and services from. Data, DH, Distributing, TDC. Reach out to your sales rep at those organizations if you’re buying from them on a regular basis and say, hey, do you want to be part of this? Let’s share leads. And I want you to be part of some of the marketing that I’m doing so once you have a plan, your strategic partners will want to help you and be part of it.
[00:52:00.070] – James Kernan
The partner cheat sheet is another exercise to think about. This is an optional one, but if you’re working in your strategic niche, like I was talking about, what are the top three vendors by revenue? And then think of it product wise, like who’s the go to partner for your file servers or for laptops or for firewalls? My organization. When I was really growing my team very quickly, I asked three different engineers what their favorite antivirus program was and why, and I got three different answers. It drove me crazy and I said, wait a minute, we’re trying to partner with company A, B and C and you guys didn’t even say that. So you need to fix that and get everybody on the same sheet of music. There’s different ways to do that, but gathering up the information and then you the business leader, especially if you’re the only one selling it. It’s pretty easy. But this should be part of your playbook of what products and services that you’re going to lead with. So you’re not going to confuse your staff here’s. What the unique business proposition or unique sales proposition looks like. This is actually one I wrote a long time ago, that it was one of the very first ones.
[00:53:20.560] – James Kernan
I just wanted to show that his reference. This is connected to a document called the One Page Business Plan. If you don’t have a business plan or don’t have simple goals for your business, this is a real easy exercise to walk through. But that should be part of today’s content as well. And then there’s some homework that I’ll really just kind of skip down because I’ve talked about all of this up to date except the very bottom. I showed you the vendor exercise, the vendor cheat sheet. I’ve talked about the annual or the 90 day marketing plan. Those are things I want you to take a look at. Think about your marketing database. Who are we going to be prospecting into? Some of you already have a tool in place that you’ve got names and numbers and email addresses, and some of you may not. So we need to think about that prospect database. Sometimes you can purchase that, but normally the very best marketing databases are created. They’re made, they’re not purchased, meaning you’ve got to constantly work and kind of update that. But all your customers should be on that marketing list. Anybody that you want to work out or work with, maybe the top 50 accounts in your local geography, we used to call that the dream 50.
[00:54:44.230] – James Kernan
Add those prospects to your list and we kind of start from there. The second to the bottom is create your Sales Playbook. Typically this is really good when you’ve got more than one person in your business development team. For those of you that is just you just use the Sales Playbook. Just read through it because a lot of the philosophies and the teachings that I’m going to share with you over this five part series are going to come right out of that book.
[00:55:12.770] – James Kernan
And then the one page business plan that’s right at the very bottom as well. So I went through that content fairly quick. It looks like based on some of the feedback I’m getting in Q and A, the attachments are not listed up there, but I’ll share my contact information for today’s class. If you guys are one of the go getters and get working on this now, I’ll happily email that information over to anybody that reaches out to me or just call my office. But we went through really the core thing for today was creating your Sales Playbook. I talked about it at a high level. Most of the meat and potatoes that goes into the Sales Playbook, and then next week we’re going to be meeting again same time on the 16th, same link.
[00:56:01.430] – James Kernan
So here’s my contact information. Hey, I don’t recognize some of the names up here, so if we aren’t connected on social media, please reach out. I’d love to connect with you. Here’s my email address and here’s my phone number. You guys can call me anytime. I’d love to hear from you and help you with any questions that you may have. Or if you want to show me what you’ve created in your Sales Playbook or your unique selling proposition, I’m happy to proofread that as part of the class as well. So, went through a lot of content today and it will make a lot more sense when you can print these out and they’re right in front of you or at least you can see them all on the screen. Hopefully the screenshots help you at least understand what the core focus is. But the primary objective today is I want to give you that Sales Playbook and that really be the basis of your whole sales and marketing strategy moving forward. Just keep that updated and then that’s something that you can share with your team. Okay, so I hope that makes sense. I think I’ve answered all the questions that are up there into the Q and A section.
[00:57:15.310] – James Kernan
So thanks everybody for participating today. I’m going to go ahead and sign off and hopefully got my contact information. I’d love to hear from you either through social media or an email. Okay, take care and we’ll see you all next week. Thank you.