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Thomas Steenburgh, New Products, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1197: Effectively Sell New Products To Current Customers


Thomas Steenburgh, New Products, Donald C. KellySalespeople often ask how to effectively sell new products to current customers. Some clients are satisfied with the current service they’re getting and they’re not keen on investing in another one. There is a way through this sales ordeal. 

Thomas Steenburgh teaches business marketing and sales at the Darden School of Business. He’s also an administrator and has stayed with the school for seven years. 

His team did a five-year research project on how to effectively sell new products to customers and what’s so hard about it. 

Looking at the problem when selling new products

Thomas’ team looked at various factors:

  • The different ways people sell
  • The types of people who excel in the process
  • The organization’s structure
  • The culture that the companies/organization create

The combination of these processes which is finding the right process, finding the right people, finding the right organization, and finding the right culture is the key to making this happen. 

Challenges with new products

If given a choice, most sales reps would love to sell new products because it gives them an advantage at the clients’ accounts. The question, however, is if they’d continue to put the same amount of effort from beginning to end. 

Selling new products takes a lot of energy and more time. Thomas and his team found out that selling a new product takes about 30-40% more time as opposed to selling an extension of a line. On top of that, sales reps need to meet with a lot more people in the buying process and develop a different network site to be able to sell. 

It is very resource-intensive. 

On the customers’ side, when you’re selling a new product, everybody wants to talk to you because people naturally want to know what’s going on in the marketplace. 

Sales reps become hyped due to the attention but not for long. 

When the reality sinks in, they’ll realize that there’s a change in the buying organization. It’s actually late in the sales cycle. This is problematic from the seller’s perspective. What felt like traction would suddenly feel like getting stuck in the mud. Sales reps aren’t making any progress beyond the hype, they become discouraged, and eventually stop devoting effort in selling the product. 

When you face resistance, your numbers don’t go down quarter to quarter. What happens is that it becomes harder to figure out how to make that sale and investment. But if you persist, the effort will pay off in the long run. t can be difficult to make that commitment to selling new products when you have numbers to think of but in time, you will get there. 

New products take a while to sell

Thomas’ research on several companies that did well shows that new products take a while to figure out how to sell. There are a couple of different types of mindsets for reps. One is the performance mindset sales reps who think of the quarterly numbers and the one who gets the joy out of learning and solve problems. 

Research shows that the trajectory of sales from these two mindsets is very different. Performance reps don’t invest in learning the product right after launch. The sales go down initially because they failed to learn how to sell the product. For learning-based reps, there’s a big drop early on because they spend that time learning the product instead of selling and marketing the product. 

In the long run, the sales of the performance reps recover but they go up only so much. For the learning-based reps, their sales go up at a rapid pace but it’s very late after the launch. 

Learn how to effectively sell new products to current customers by finding the balance. 

Finding the balance between selling and learning

What this reminds us is the need to find a balance between these two sales reps. Find sales reps who go out and learn how to sell the product at the same time. Sales leaders need to give their sales reps ample time to learn the product, figure out how to work their clients and their pain points, and know the objections that may occur later in the sales cycle. After that, bring them back to the firm and redesign the sales process to sell the new product. 

Most marketing teams throw the product over the wall then disappear. Sales reps are left to figure things out themselves. Somewhere in the sales organization, sales reps are bound to dedicate some time to learn how to sell and anticipate objections later on. Not all sales reps are willing to devote their time to learning, so sales leaders should find the right person who is willing to learn and put in the time. 

Most sales training for new product launch often focuses on features and benefits, not on the marketing trends. The training doesn’t include changes in the buying process. 

Clients’ perception matters

One example is a company moving from old-line media to digital media. Their sales force was asked to sell new digital ads in this new space. They had the knowledge they needed but they were worried about how to interact with the clients because they hadn’t interacted with them before. 

The manager saw this problem and he approached the team differently. He had a two-pronged approach. He invested time in learning and figuring the market trends and where the marketing was going. He tried to look for ways these trends could help his sales reps sell the new product to their clients. Aside from that, he coached his team to figure out exactly what their job was. He asked each of them to write down their roles in the business. 

This taught Thomas how much emotional component there is in sales. Even when sales reps are thick-skinned, they’re still worried about how clients see them. 

They want to look good and they want to be an expert in front of their clients. 

Going back to the example, the sales reps of the company weren’t confident with just the knowledge of the product. They were only able to go out when they had the right type of market knowledge. 

What matters: 

  • Figuring out what’s different about the sales process
  • Knowing what your roles are in the sales process
  • Knowing how to make a difference in your clients’ business
  • Encouraging people that they have all the resources they need

When sales leaders and sales reps consider the factors above is when things can start to take off. 

It’s not always the one on top

Another research result shared by Thomas is that it’s not always the best overall performing rep that becomes the leader in selling the new product. Sometimes it’s someone else from the team. If somebody figures out how to sell the product fast, you need to share the knowledge and the best practices at some point to the rest of the sales team. 

Sales culture is important to be able to effectively sell new products to current customers. Companies need to take a long-term perspective on the sale. Give your sales rep some space to figure out how to sell the new product and let them invest in learning. 

The best performing reps focus deep on the sales process and ask questions about how the new product is beneficial to the clients. 

Best performing reps focus deep on the sales process while average reps focus on the immediate thing. #SalesFacts

Focus on learning first then move on to performance. 

“How To Effectively Sell New Products To Current Customers” episode resources

Stay in touch with Thomas Steenburgh. You can find all of his information on his academic page. Do you have sales concerns and questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a program designed to help sales reps get from where you are now to where you can be in the future. This course is an aid for salespeople to become better in asking the right questions, presenting solutions, and closing deals. 

Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

Read more about sales or listen to audiobooks at Audible as well and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

If you like this episode, do give us a thumbs up and rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. We produce high-quality podcasts weekly so make sure to subscribe to get more of these sales talks that matter! Share this with your friends and teach them how to subscribe as well. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Client Relationship, Andy Racic, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1196: Sales From The Street – “Are You Firing Me?”

Client Relationship, Andy Racic, The Sales Evangelist

One of the scariest questions to ask in this field is, “are you firing me?” You might have asked this yourself, out loud or in silence, but regardless of how, it’s nerve-wracking just the same. 

Andy Racic has been in professional sales for nine years and most of those years were spent serving HR professionals. These days, Andy is with a software company called Tango Health. They offer B2B software and outsourcing solutions to help professionals across the country. 

The beginning

While Andy was living in Houston, he was working for an agency recruitment firm called Michael Page. The agency recruitment space is 100% sales: that is 90% sales and 10% consulting. They were in the business of the oil and gas market and despite the difficult times in the business, their agency was able to establish a good relationship with their clients. Out of the blue, one of their clients asked him to help find a recruiter. 

That was an alarming thing to hear because to him it sounded very much like looking for their replacement. It was a source of concern because the market was going downhill so their company was looking for ways to keep their clients and continue serving them. 

Andy ran that client inquiry to his manager and they dug into it. They discovered that the company was having a big project that would involve a lot of hiring for them. The company was looking at 30-50% growth and they were looking for more people. Andy and his manager went back to the drawing board and built an entire recruitment process outsourcing model for that company. 

They then made the call and presented the model for them and convinced them to trust them a little bit more instead of hiring another recruitment agency that they hadn’t worked with before. 

Putting the best foot forward

There were doubts about whether what they did would work. The market was changing and the client could have gone in a different direction instead of working with them. Still, Andy and his team did what they could. 

Andy’s team did a thorough briefing on the situation with their client’s internal stakeholders and presented a team that would help in the recruitment process. He gave them the background of each individual along with their track record and the reasons why they’re a good fit. 

They won their trust and worked with the company, so to speak. Andy’s agency found a lot of people for them and delivered good results for them. 

When a problem arises, salespeople can always go back to the traditional process of evaluating the problem and going deeper to understand that challenge. You need not have that “Are you firing me?” moment when you learn to take measured steps and prevent such a situation to arise. 

A good salesperson needs an open mind whenever he hears information because the snippets of information may make or break your business or the deal. Be on the lookout for what’s going on and dig in until the third level questions to ensure that there are no assumptions on your side. Make sure that you make the best out of any situation. 

When you’re talking to a client, listen intently to pick up something especially when things go south. Stay present when the client is speaking rather than making them repeat what they said because that’s how you win a deal. 

“Are You Firing Me?” episode resources

Are you firing me? Listen more to what Andy has to say about that. Get in touch with Andy Racic via his LinkedIn profile. Make sure to customize your messages for a more positive response from Andy. You can also connect with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a program designed to help sales reps get from where you are now to where you can be in the future. This course is an aid for salespeople to become better in asking the right questions, presenting solutions, and closing deals. 

Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

Read more about sales or listen to audiobooks at Audible as well and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

If you like this episode, do give us a thumbs up and rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. We produce high-quality podcasts weekly so make sure to subscribe to get more of these sales talks that matter! Share this with your friends and teach them how to subscribe as well. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Client Success, Sales, Increase Sales

TSE 1022: The Redheaded Stepbrother of Sales…Client Success

Donald Kelly, Client Success, Sales, Increase SalesThe Red-headed Step Brother of Sales … Client Success; we don’t pay attention to it. But, we should.

There were times, growing up in Jamaica, when we would have issues with getting water into our house. The pressure wouldn’t be strong enough or a pipe would burst, and we would have to take buckets down to the community water source and haul them back home.

Imagine me, Little Donald, carrying a bucket of water a quarter mile each way …and I’m sure I filled that bucket to the very top.

Naturally, some will spill out as you walk along, but imagine my surprise to see the bucket only half-full when I got home … A small crack in the bucket caused me to lose most of it.

What incentive would I have to go back for more? I needed to fix that bucket.

Client success is the same way. Nobody pays attention to it but it is critical to the organization’s success.

Client Success

Client success is the function of a company responsible for maintaining the relationship between the client and you, the vendor. The goal of client success is very simple: to make sure your clients are as successful as possible. This, in turn, improves your relationship with the client and the lifetime value of that client.

It helps the organization in many ways. As with my bucket example, client success is the source that helps to make sure the holes in the bucket are sealed. We don’t lose water – we don’t lose customers. [02:17]

Compare the lifetime value of your client to my bucket of water. The last thing you want to do is lose your customers after working so hard to get them. It would be such a waste to work for a year and a half to land an amazing client only for them to move on after only a year.

Multiply that scenario across multiple clients and you’ll find yourself in a whole heap of trouble: you need to fix that bucket. You need to address client success. [03:26]

I read a statistic in an article published by the Precision Marketing Group which states that 86% of buyers will pay more for a product if they receive a better customer experience.

This may not occur immediately but imagine a client does come on board who has an opportunity to purchase more of the licenses, or services, that you offer.

Let’s use furniture sales as an example. You sold a nice desk and chair to your client. In the future, what prevents him from going elsewhere if he needs another chair? [04:11]

Maintaining relationships

What if your client success team was able to actively work that account and learn the goals of the client? If you knew the client was planning to expand in six months, for example, would it not make sense for you to create an opportunity to help them reach that goal?

In some companies, sales takes care of this but it spreads the sales force thin. They are asked to find new people, build value, close deals, AND actively farm the account, fix problems, and keep the client happy.

You need new business to come in but you also need to maintain relationships with your current clients so they will return to you over and over again.

It is virtually impossible to do it all. Something has to give and, in all likelihood, new business will stop coming in. [04:58]

Again, 86% of buyers would pay more for a product or service if they receive a better customer experience.

Let’s say your product is at premium value and a buyer could go somewhere else next time to get it for less. If the buyer perceives a value in the sales experience he has with you, however, he will stay with you. [05:48]

Client Support

Client support, on the other hand, is basically a range of client services to assist clients in making cost effective and correct use of a product. This includes assisting in planning, training, troubleshooting, maintaining, updating, etc.

Using the office furniture example again, the client support team helps install and assemble the desk. The client success team does not.

In smaller organizations, however, sellers often do it all. Solving problems while also maintaining accounts can certainly be overwhelming. You can see how this could affect new net revenue. [06:32]

The emphasis on new business causes client support and client success to be pushed to the side: they become the red-headed step children of sales.

Customer experience

Another statistic from the Precision Marketing Group states that the companies who prioritize customer experience generate 60% higher profits.

Instead of hiring three new salespeople, would it not make more sense to hire two sales individuals and one client success individual instead? Hire a client success person to ensure that everyone brought on board by the sales team stays on board.

Instead of losing new clients each year, keep them for five or six years – even longer. Give them an amazing experience. Help them. Guide them and fix any problems they might have so they don’t feel neglected. [07:29]

It has been said that the client success team is just an appendage of customer support and it is not as important as sales. But we all know that it is much easier, and cheaper, to keep a client than to find a new one.

If you give your client a great experience, he will give to you in return with referrals and repeats sales.

The client success team can then create more opportunities for more sales.

The Pod Approach

A ‘pod’ is a term some companies are now using to refer to a three-system approach: one person from sales, one person from customer support, and a third person from client success working as a team. Together, they create a cohesive relationship that keeps new business coming in, solves issues, and works toward the success of the clients.

It makes a huge difference. [09:30]

Finally, I previously shared a story about my experience working for a software company where I didn’t really know what to do. I learned, however, from working with client success (known as customer support back then) the type of clients not to pursue, which helped me to recognize the type of clients I did want.

I was able to retain those types of clients, build stronger relationships with them, and close more deals.

Customer support helped the clients be successful. If they recognized a problem that I could fix for the client, they would bring me in. It worked amazingly.

I suggest considering such a system in your organization. If you already have one in place, be sure to evaluate its effectiveness. What is the lifetime value of a client right now? How much money can you expect from that client? Is there a process for upselling or cross-selling? [10:07]

Don’t waste your time and energy on a client only to have him fall through the cracks.

Don’t go home with a half-empty bucket.

Episode Resources for ‘The Red-headed Step Brother of Sales … Client Success”

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Prospect.io is offering three months at half-price.

Previously known as TSE Hustler’s League, our TSE Certified Sales Program offers modules that you can engage on your own schedule as well as opportunities to engage with other sellers in other industries.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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steve mckee, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Brand Marketing

TSE 758: The Rationally Irrational Consumer


Steve McKee, Donald Kelly, TSE, SalesSometimes, we don’t think and we just do things. Irrational? Hmmm… yes. But it’s somewhat rational. So how do you exactly deal with a rationally irrational consumer?

Today’s guest is Steve McKee. He is the president of Wallwork and Company. He is also the author of the book When Growth Stalls and Power Branding. He has been a columnist for Businessweek over a decade and currently writes a column for SmartBrief on leadership.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Steve:

What is a rationally irrational consumer?

Nobody in any purchasing situation acts completely rationally. But when you start to fill in the layers, that irrationality can be somewhat rational.

Biggest Mistake in Prospecting

Giving into the fallacy of rationality

The Device to Begin Understanding a Rationally Irrational Customer: CERTS (Context, Expectations, Risks, Tradeoffs, Shortcuts)

  • Every purchase has a context. Think about what context your prospect is operating in. And often, context determines expectations.
  • Prospects are continually trying to mitigate risk. So think about their risk and how to mitigate them.
  • In that context of risk, prospects are always making tradeoffs.
  • Ultimately, when you build trust with the prospect, you become a shortcut for them.

Research Strategies:

  • Insight: What is going to drive or significantly affect their decision?
  • Relationship: Look for opportunities to make relationship with the prospect since people do business with people they like and trust. Your prospects are humans so leverage that connection.

The Mindset Shift

When a company has a need for a product or service, they’re feeling pain. And they’re looking for a solution. So when you appear on their doorway, they desperately want you to be the answer. Think of it that way!

Work for the Prospect Before They Hire You

Start working for the prospect before they hire you. Start serving them and meeting their needs. Start genuinely and sincerely working for them before the hire you. And oftentimes, they end up hiring you. But if not, you’re still building relationships and trust. Start to give away what you have and it will come back to you.

The Purchase Process Can Change

A purchase process can actually change the purchase process.

Think of wise ways to violate things.

Steve’s Major Takeaway:

Remember, your prospects are humans and they want to like you.

Episode Resources:

Learn more about Steve and the stuff he’s doing on www.whengrowthstalls.com

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington

Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni

Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.

Sales Equity, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Tom Cates

TSE 446: Why You Need To Build Equity With Your Clients and How

Clinet Equity, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Tom CatesToday, you’re going to learn about how you can build equities with your prospects and clients as well as how you can make sure you’re able to best utilize and optimize them. We have Tom Cates on the show today as he delivers some valuable insights into leveraging equity in your own sales process. It’s not just about the numbers, relationship is key.

Tom Cates is the Founder of The Brookeside Group, a 15-year consultancy firm that helps people be the best B2B salespeople. A year and a half ago, they built salesEQUITY, a software company that offers resources to small business all the way up to Fortune 1000 companies.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Tom:

Tom’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer

Who are your competitors?

Understand what it means to be differentiated in the marketplace today. Actually, you’re not only competing with your direct competitors but you’re also competing with everybody your client bumps into.

What is Sales Equity?

Equity is what’s left out over.

3 Types of equity:

  1. Product equity
  2. Brand equity

When you’re equally great, you’re all equally average. Nobody is going to pay you more for having a great brand when your competitors have a great brand.

*Both product and brand have been so commoditized that it’s so hard to differentiate on these aspects.

  1. Sales equity

Most of the time, people do business with people they like. How can you measure that relationship aspect? This is where sales equity comes in. How much equity are you creating by being the salesperson or account manager or the people in the deal? Who are the people involved in the deal?

Get ahead of the pack.

Most often, we find ourselves at the average with everybody else. In every industry, there is a standard of competition. Most salespeople are around that average. So you need to get your buyers to care.

The 6 Dimensions of Relationship:

  1. Integrity

Does your buyer believe you’re reliable, dependable, and you’re going to do what you promised?

  1. Competency

Does your buyer believe you have the people, the skills, the products, the know-how, the experience to do what you’re promised?

*These two dimensions are called “satisfiers” which are not going to cut because these form part of a transactional relationship.

**The next four are very important as they bring out “aroused motivation.”

  1. Recognition

Have you done something to make that buyer think you care about them as an individual and that you care about their business or you just treat them like a number? Don’t forget there is a human being on the other side of that desk.

  1. Proactivity

Does the buyer believe you’re looking out for their best interest and you’re bringing new ideas to the table? Make sure they don’t encounter surprise down the line.

  1. Savvy

This is the flip side of competency. What competency suggests from the buyer’s point of view is, “Do I think you know your business?”. Savvy, on the other hand, makes the buyer think, “Do I think you know my business?”

  1. Chemistry

Do you like working together? Do you enjoy and communicate well? Are you clicking?

Strategies to build that competency and savvy-ness:

  1. Invest first in the relationship.

If you want your customers to trust you, somebody has to go first and you can do that by investing in the relationship. Understand their company and the politics of it. Understand their industry. Also, understand the individual person. You have to put in the time.

  1. Grow your business organically.

Many companies focus on new acquisition first, then cross-selling to the existing clients, and retention last. What you need to do is reverse this and instead, focus on retention first, then cross-sell, and worry about new acquisitions last. For most companies, growing organically is a much easier and more profitable way to go.

  1. Know your math when it comes to your retention rate.

If you have 80% client retention rate, you lose 20% of your clients every year. Say, your average client sticks around for 5 years. Improve that to 90% rate by changing your average client from 5 to 10 years. If you go from 90-95%, go to 20 years. If you go from 95-95%, go to 25 years. That 1% from 95-96, add it 5 additional years of average buying from your clients. You’re actually just getting started when you’re in the low 90’s.

Tom’s Major Takeaway:

Invest in the relationship. Understand your buyer. Demonstrate those 6 dimensions of relationship and then you begin to grow.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Rom through email at tcates@salesequity.com or visit www.salesequity.com to know more about their products and services as well as some valuable resources related to the 6 dimensions of relationship. Find out your blind spots and how you can get ahead of the pack. Tom is also on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Donald Kelly; The Sales Evangelist, Sales Podcast

TSE 097: One Simple Activity That Will Increase Your Post Sale Effectiveness!

Donald Kelly; The Sales Evangelist, Sales PodcastStatements of work (SOW). That is the one simple activity that can increase your post sales effectiveness and also help you tremendously in your prospecting efforts. I know, it sounds simple and is a basic activity but it’s the simple activities that will make the world of difference between the top performers and mediocre sellers. Why? The mediocre sellers think that things like doing an effective statement of works are beneath them.

They are not differentiated from the crowd and are seen just like all the other mediocre sellers out there in the eyes of clients and their colleagues. The top performing sellers, recognizes the value of the simple activities, implement them and are instantly differentiated from the pack. This is why I share the importance of the little value adds.

Here is the three main reasons I recommend this activity:

  • Client Benefit:
    • The client will know what they re getting and how it is going to help them overcome their pain. This will help to reduce the chances of discrepancy later on after the product, solution or service is completed.
    • The statement of work sends a message that you listen to them, understand their challenge and precisely how to offer an effective solution.
    • The statement of work may also be used by the client to present to boards why they are electing to invest in your solutions. It may offer a detail description of pain and the ROI the business can expect after the project is completed. This will make the client look like a hero to superiors, especially when your product or service delivers as you promised in the statement of work.
  • Internal Benefit:
    • Project managers and departments who offer the deliverable will know exactly what they need to deliver, how, when, why and to whom.
    • It minimizes mistakes by other departments throughout your organization.
    • Statement of works allows colleagues to build trust in your abilities and elevates you as professional. It shows that they you care and want to help their lives become easier because you are clear in your communications with them.
  • Personal Benefit:
    • Clients will hold you in a much more higher regards because your professional nature. This will increase your opportunity to receive referrals from clients.
    • A statement of work will help you easily remember exactly what the clients challenges are and how  you are offering them as a solution.
    • The more detail you describe the challenges of the clients in the statement of work, the more easier it will be for you to speak to that pain to other similar prospects. It helps you to have concrete data that you can refer back to and positions you as the confident industry expert.

All in all, an effective statement of work will strengthen your relationship with clients, increase your post sales process with other key internal departments and arm you with data and metric to assist you’re prospecting efforts. It is a simple way that you cab differentiate yourself and be viewed as an effective sales professional.

As promised in the episode, here is a basic sample of my fist statement of work I provided for a client.

 Sample Statement of Work

Sunshine County Public School-SAMPLE (Statement of Work Example)