Not thinking of myself as much of a hacker, I was curious to see how the Sales Hacker Conference would be this past week in NYC. It was being held in a space normally filled with ping-pong tables, a DJ, and a bar. Magically transformed, this space which turned into a decent learning environment for hundreds of attendees was a creative solution for a big-enough space in New York City to get a lot of business people together.
I was an attendee in the minority being female and over 40, but that was precisely why I felt I needed to be there. My colleagues in sales effectiveness would be speaking as well as some very successful business builders here to share what works, and also what didn't work for them in growing sales and revenues. Done correctly, this event could help many younger entrepreneurs could learn from others rather than spending time making the mistakes that would be shared on this day.
The decisions on the setting, presenters, and agenda were the work of Max Altshuler, self professed Sales Hacker and Community Builder. Unlike the conferences that have been around for year on selling, Max strives to put a "no BS" event together with lots of actual takeaways that could be put right into use instead of promotion and selling from the stage. (Max now has most of the slides from the event posted at SalesHacker.)
For me, this day was well-spent. I knew My rule of thumb is that if you get at least a page or two of ideas for your business and meet a handful of interesting folks, an event like this is of great value. Even ONE great idea can justify a time and financial investment of a conference. On this day, I saw people fervently typing up ideas, snapping photos of slides, and reaching out to those around them all day long. It would be surprising to meet any attendee who thought there was little to gain by being here. I wish all my clients could have attended.
There was a little selling from the stage, and a couple of presenters that had me scratching my head, but otherwise a fantastic full day. Here are my personal favorite parts of the Sales Hacker Conference, in order of their appearance:
Elay Cohen, author of SalesHood reminded the audience that a great sales professional should consider himself or herself the CEO of their business. Know what your values are in your team and with yourself. Share those values.
John Marcus, CEO, Bedrock Data drove the point home about getting others to sell on your behalf through strategic partnerships. It is a huge idea and while John used two many ten-dollar words and phrases, what he said seemed to distill down to "create a viral sales model and find organizations and individuals who are vectors to your product or service. Let others sell for you.
Jaspar Weir, Co-founder and President, Taskus reminded the attendees of how expensive SDRs (Sales Development Reps) can be - especially if they are spending too much time doing research. Find ways to leverage all the non-selling tasks, such are research, to outsourced team members. This is what his company does, so it makes total sense for them, and he explained how it makes sense for anyone selling items or services over $5000 each. I think depending on how you set it up, it could work for those with much lower price points too.
Tawheed Kader, or TK, Founder of ToutApp, had a most clear and helpful presentation on personalizing relationships at scale. His tips included having "5 x 5" sales messaging campaigns - send 5 different messages using 5 pre-planned templates over 5 touches to offer more insight and value to potential buyers than typical sales messaging. The strategic messaging he suggests goes like this:
- First message: Introduce yourself
- Second message: Produce value - talk about something not product related – don’t sell
- Third message: Offer help
- Fourth message: Engage for feedback
- Fifth message: Go for “the ask”
Because these emails come from a person, not the "marketing machine" at your company, they are personalized and the receiver engages more.
My pal John Barrows of JBarrows gave another great presentation all about getting executive access. Some of John's tips:
- NEVER say "I'm just checking-in" or "I'm just touching base" [I could not agree more!!]
- Understand your metrics - really know just how many potential buyers you need to speak with in order to convert those conversations and relationships into wins for you and for the buyers
- Call High and work your way down
- Executives DO respond to content - find ways to add value by telling them what their peers are doing, speaking their language, sharing results, offering new ideas, and talking about them
- Create a one-page strategic plan for yourself (if in sales) or for your sales team (if you are the leader)
- Be transparent - Salesloft shares revenue information and success milestones with their whole team
- Use dashboards - visual representation of KPIs (key performance indicators)
- Have the best humans for sales and then equip them with technology for a superhuman performance
Mark Roberge, SVP Sales, Hubspot wrapped up the day with a fantastic session about how the Hubspot team scaled through science. The last session focused on winning strategies Hubspot has put into place through a lot of trial and error (and great success) Mark recommended insightful messaging to prospects as well as utilizing a messaging sequence over multiple touches. PipelineDeals, one of the event sponsors, live blogged about Mark's presentation here. [note: they blogged about a number of other presentations that day, so check them out] He mentioned several resources including Hubspot's MarketingGrader to get tips to improve your website and Signals, the tool that helps you know who has opened the emails you have sent out as well as clicked on links in them.
We'll be posting more from this event in the days ahead. So much to talk about that it deserves more space.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the "Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.