March 22 by Zachary Cohen
“It is not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”
For those of you who don’t know me, Batman was easily one of my favorite heroes growing up. Unlike Spider-man or Superman, he was not gifted with supernatural powers. Yes his family was filthy rich; but it was his decision to discover his purpose in life which led him to the League of Assassins (where he trained tirelessly for years in relative seclusion). His one goal was to return home where he devoted his life to protecting Gotham City. It isn’t his reasoning that separates him, what truly separates Batman from all my favorite superheroes is his preparation, mental fortitude, and all of his gadgets.
I know this seems a bit farfetched, but as a Business Development representative he is actually a great role model.
From grappling hooks, to smoke bombs, to bat-cuffs, regardless of the situation he is faced with, he has everything he needs to bring the evil villain down (or in our case handle any objection with a prospect and set up a thoughtful meeting). It got me thinking about some of the sales tools that every BDR sales representative needs to be successful.
The 5 Sales Tools You Need on Your Own Utility Belt
1. Attitude: Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude (Zig Ziglar)
Now this is not a tool per se, but it is the single most important factor that determines success for a Business Development Rep. As I have painfully learned in this job, your tone on a phone call will make or break a potential meeting. I am not saying I have perfected this trait, because there are days where even I wouldn’t want to listen to my monotone self. I guess I just want you to be cognizant of this, and when it’s time to get on the phones turn that smile on and stay positive. We take a lot of rejection, so you have to be able to shrug it off, and move on immediately. Just like a professional sports player, short term memory will go a long way.
2. Mastering the art of LinkedIn prospecting and messaging
This is our batmobile, batwing, and everything in between. Linkedin is one of the many reasons cold calling has transformed into warm calling. It enables you to learn about what a prospect has done in the past: this includes the university they attended, past work experiences, recommendations from colleagues, interests outside of work, and areas of focus, etc.
Also, it allows for something called Linkedin messaging which is a more informal way of emailing. This is typically a last resort for me, and something my manager refers to as the sniper approach. You are only allotted a certain number of messages a month so make sure it’s worth it!
3. A classic notebook and writing utensil
Taking notes is a fundamental requirement for sales reps. While on a call, you have to be able to jot down names, titles, numbers, or important information pertaining to current solutions or needs to see if we would make a good fit. Personally, I use sticky notes all the time to keep me organized and set tasks for the day. If done correctly, you will be able to reference what you have learned to speak intelligently with a prospect about their current needs. Essentially you make each call a valuable interaction.
4. An effective method to staying organized
Every good salesman in the world has a system for staying organized. Having worked with four Account Executives at Apttus, I have seen the use of spreadsheets, to your CRM system, to notebooks, and even sticky notes – it really depends on the person. While executives will always want to hear that their reps are living and breathing in their CRM system (since it is really expensive), you have to do what feels the most comfortable. I would say the best reps are using a variety of tools to stay organized and are keeping the most important information in their CRM system, since this is how they get tracked and this is where they manage the entire lifecycle of a sale.
5. A cheat sheet that explains what your solutions do, questions to ask, etc.
No matter how confident they may seem, even the best sales reps need some assistance. Since Apttus provides over 20 applications, it can be difficult remembering the intricacies for our solutions. Thus, I created my own cheat sheet that uses keywords to help me remember the value propositions of ones I sometimes struggle with. I also included key questions to ask if I ever get stumped and don’t have anything to say. Think of this cheat sheet as a life preserver. You don’t need it all the time but it definitely comes in handy when the ship starts to sink.
For a Sales or Business Development Representaitve, it is easy to get comfortable and take shortcuts. You can blast out generic emails, call the same people, and barely hit quota every month. However, there are many individuals like myself that crave more and seek a sense of fulfillment out of their job. I read a lot during my free time, and a couple months ago I came across a post highlighting certain traits that require zero talent. The traits that stuck out to me the most were effort, positive attitude, and being prepared; everything Batman has demonstrated to us. In life nothing is ever truly given to you. To be successful at any job, you have to put your best foot forward every day.