Archive for October, 2017

The Diary of an SDR for IoT and Communications Billing Software

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Straight out of college, I knew that I wanted to be in B2B sales. With no prior sales experience, except a retail job, I followed the path of many aspiring sales executives and accepted a job from Rev.io as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). For those of you unfamiliar with the role, my job is to set up initial meetings with decision makers to entertain switching out their telecom billing software. For Communications Service Providers, replacing their IoT billing and back-office software platform can be stressful and time-consuming. Luckily, Rev.io is the best billing and back-office software company in the Communications and IoT industry.

Since I started at Rev.io in mid-February, I’ve made 8,935 calls. There was definitely a learning curve for this role and a lot of awkward moments in the process. A failed brunch joke comes to mind as well as a CEO angrily quizzing my geographical knowledge of Pennsylvania. Despite this, the moments that stick out are the wins. It feels great to set an appointment with a decision maker after they claim – within the first 30 seconds –  that they are not interested. It feels even better getting past a gatekeeper to speak to the founder of a $100+ million dollar company and setting an appointment.

I remember my first week I was scared I wouldn’t be successful because I didn’t set an appointment. I stuck with it and kept using the tools and people around me at Rev.io to coach me on prospecting and cold calling more effectively. I learned how to succeed in this role and, after 7 months, I finally hit my quota of qualified opportunities sourced and pipeline sourced in a quarter.

While a lot of people’s anxiety rises at even hearing the phrase “cold-call,” I am glad that I took this position as I have learned a lot in the process. Some advice to the newly-appointed SDRs, you need to have a good attitude to succeed in this position; you’re more than likely going to sound horrible your first few calls; and lastly, there is a learning curve to cold-calling.

key takeaways:

1. Be naturally curious – hang in there and ask as many questions as possible on the call. I’ve had calls that I didn’t think would go anywhere, yet after 15 minutes, I found enough value to set an appointment. I make it my goal to always try to find something new about the company on each call that is relevant to what we do. You haven’t done your job as an SDR if you haven’t yielded any new information. You have just wasted your time.

2. Have confidence in your calls – if you act like an appointment is an elusive unicorn, then you won’t ever set them. I have definitely set appointments just on my attitude and confidence. If you are nervous about setting an appointment, what does that say about your product? While my product knowledge and sales ability increased over time, the catalyst to sourcing more opportunities was my increase in confidence.

3. Show them that you know them – it’s what separates you from telemarketers. It makes your pitch warmer if you tighten the aperture in your call. What sounds better?

A. We provide a communications billing software to telecom service providers.

B. We provide a sophisticated IoT billing and customer management solutions to VoIP and internet providers in Massachusetts – we’re actually working with (client name in state) in your area to help them improve their billing operations.

It isn’t that difficult to leverage that little bit of information, but it shows that you have put in the effort and done your research. A prospect is much more inclined to listen to someone who knows them than listening to someone despondently recite the same canned line for the 70th time that day. If you have relevant information from a previous call, be sure to leverage that information.

4. Qualify your appointments – there is no point in setting appointments if they don’t make sense. My first few appointments were not qualified at all; not only did I waste the prospect’s time, but I also wasted our Account Executive’s time. Before you even call, you need to make sure that the company is an ideal fit. If they are not in the industry that you are catered to then why would you call them? While on the call, you need to make sure that you have a legitimate reason for the company to meet with us, you need to know who is meeting with us and who else will be involved in the decision-making process. If they can afford the product, and if making the decision to buy your product aligns with their initiatives and the timelines they have in place. This enables your sales team to be better prepared for the initial appointment and furthers your chance of sourcing a deal. After all, the whole purpose of an SDR is to source deals.

5. Have a schedule in place – to be a successful SDR, you need to be disciplined and have a schedule set in place. I would block off my first hour each day adding leads, doing research on Linkedin for new contacts within an organization and research on company websites to find relevant information for my calls. Then I would spend the next 2-3 hours cold-calling until lunch time: I had a goal set of making at least 30 calls before I ate lunch. After lunch, I would sit in on an AE’s call or listen to material to help me hone my sales skills and product knowledge. After that, I would keep calling until the end of the day. I made sure that I would hit at least 70 calls a day.

Being an SDR for an industry leading Communications billing software is exciting and rewarding. The SDR role with Rev.io has been a fantastic learning experience and I’d encourage any recent graduate, who’s interested in Sales, to pursue similar positions. For more information about career opportunities at Rev.io or our sophisticated billing and customer management solutions, contact Rev.io today! We’re here to help!

 

6 Tips for Conducting Better On-Site Sales Meetings

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The Software-as-a-Service (Saas) industry has revolutionized B2B sales teams and the selling process. Today, more than ever, opportunities are being sold – from start to finish – remotely and sales reps are leveraging new technology to facilitate virtual meetings (such as webinar and video conferencing). By eliminating the time and cost of travel, salespeople are able to reach significantly more prospects in a shorter period of time – leading to greater revenues at lower costs.

That said, oftentimes your largest potential customers will still request a face-to-face meeting; particularly if you’re selling complex solutions. We run into this a lot with our telecom billing platform – imagine replacing your system for managing customers, collecting revenue, tax calculation, ticketing, and automating workflows. At Rev.io, we’ve found that on-site meetings can be a critical component of moving large opportunities to closure. And, if done correctly, on-site meetings can become a powerful tool for a sales rep.

Before you take the time and expense (and ask your prospect to invest their time) to travel to an on-site sales meeting, it’s important to plan for the interaction. Here are some planning tips for conducting effective on-site sales meetings:

1. HOLD AN INITIAL MEETING REMOTELY

Before committing your company resources to travel to the potential customer, hold an initial discovery call to learn about your prospect’s business and qualify the opportunity. The qualifying meeting can help you gauge the prospect’s interest, identify if there is a need, and quantify the value associated with your solution. In addition, ask your executive contact/ sponsor to champion you holding interview calls with the key stakeholders in the project – you’ll want to gain their perspective prior to an on-site meeting as well.

2. PROPOSE A MEETING AGENDA IN ADVANCE

The most effective sales meetings have a clearly outlined agenda and topics to be communicated. When traveling to a prospect’s office, you should create a meeting agenda, share the written schedule with your prospect, and discuss the proposed topics in advance. Getting feedback before the meeting will help you cater the meeting to the potential customer’s specific concerns or questions, allow you to schedule outside resources to call into parts of the meeting (such as a technical sales engineer or onboarding expert), and show that you’re confident the meeting will be worth their time. Bring hard copies of the agenda to the meeting and hand these out to each of the attendees. This sets the tone of the meeting early on and sets the audience’s expectations of the topics and timeline.

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3. keep presentations focused on business initiatives

Use the intelligence gained from initial remote meetings to craft the message of your on-site presentation.  All presentations and product demonstrations should show how your solution will directly impact your prospect’s revenue growth, expense reduction, competitive advantage, or risk mitigation. If the content you’re sharing doesn’t tie back to one of those business initiatives, leave it out!

When you’re in the prospect’s office it can be easy to relinquish control of the meeting, but it’s imperative that you stick to the plan.

4. ask for feedback

On-site meetings with potential customers will typically involve stakeholders from multiple functional areas. Keep in mind, each person will have their own agenda and frame of reference when evaluating your solution. Near the end of the meeting, ask each attendee to write down at least one area of your solution that could benefit their functional department and at least one concern they have about your solution. Prior to concluding the presentation, go around the room and ask each individual to share those thoughts. It’s a beneficial exercise for you and for your audience.

5. SET ASIDE TIME WITH EXECUTIVE DECISION MAKERS

Don’t be alarmed if your executive decision makers don’t attend the entire on-site meeting. It’s very common for top executives to skip out on the detailed product demonstration or a deep-dive on implementation processes. While it’s okay for your executives to be absent for the detailed discussions, it is vital to set aside time with them to review business terms. When discussing the relationship between your two companies with an executive decision maker, bring in members of your executive team, whenever possible, so you can create executive alignment.

6. FOLLOW UP

Follow up your on-site meeting with a personal touch. Where most companies (and probably your competitors) will follow up with an email, stand out from the crowd by sending a handwritten thank you note to each attendee. For an even bigger impact, make the note personal by addressing a question they asked or specific use case they brought up – the extra time you spend on these notes will go a long way.  Lastly, send the notes with a small, branded gift from your marketing department, like a branded notebook or mug. Not only will you stand out from the competition, but you’ll also leave behind a little reminder of your solution.


Now that you know the 6 best practices to facilitate better on-site sales meetings, you’re ready to go out and start selling your UCaaS solution! We hope our effective sales meeting tips will help you improve close ratios and make a great impression on your prospects. Good luck!  For more information about the sales process or our IoT & telecom billing platform, please Contact Rev.io for more information about the sales process or our IoT & telecom billing platform. We’re here to chat.

 

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