man speaking stephen messer headshot mastering the art of agile selling podcast episode #221

Mastering the Art of Agile Selling with Stephen Messer, #221

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When prospects stop responding, what do sales reps do? Send even more sales messages. It’s this ‘spray and pray’ approach that is sabotaging the sales success across almost every industry. 

But, how can you effectively reach your potential customers in a way that’s scalable without becoming part of the growing “sales noise”?

That’s the question that agile selling tackles and the hot topic of this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast. We welcome one of the biggest champions of agile selling to learn from him what it is, how it works, and why it is the future of how modern sellers should be selling.

Stephen Messer is a serial entrepreneur, inventor, investor, and the co-founder of Collective[i]. Prior to Collective[i], he served as LinkShare’s CEO and chairman of the board, helping to create the sector of online marketing commonly referred to as affiliate marketing. Under his leadership, LinkShare expanded its network of websites to become one of the largest of its kind with its global reach extending from the United States to Japan, Canada and Europe. Now, with Collective[i], Stephen has helped to create one of the world’s largest networks capturing data around B2B sales activities. Using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, Collective[i] merges client CRM and other relevant sources of data into our network to generate intelligence used by the world’s leading sales organization to generate revenue, streamline/automate non-revenue producing activities, and enable enterprises to be customer centric and data driven. Their patent-pending technology and applications designed for sales managers, operators and professionals are essential to the modern sales force. 

That’s why this is one episode of the Modern Selling Podcast you do not want to miss.

Download the full conversation and hear firsthand how agile selling can transform your sales process and win rates.

Watch the video version for this episode, right here:

How has the modern buyer changed?

Before we jump into our discussion of agile selling and the power behind this method, I wanted to get clear from Stephen on how he’s seen buyer behavior change through the years. 

From his perspective, there are three core shifts that have taken place:

  1. More buyers are involved now in the process. With so many companies shifting to a virtual, work from home model – this inevitably introduced more stakeholders into the buying decision. It’s not as easy to get up and walk to your supervisor’s office to get approval. Now, emails, Zoom meetings, and a litany of other communication channels have to be involved in a remote environment before a decision is made.
  2. Buyers are doing more research. Before buyers would reach out to sellers to gain more information. Now, buyers are doing their own research and being more and more selective with who they reach out to.
  3. Buyers are skeptical of working with sellers. How buyers engage with sellers has dramatically changed. Fewer and fewer buyers are giving their real information, for fear of being spammed with endless sales messages. This makes it even harder for sales reps to reach buyers.

As so many sales leaders have seen, our modern buyers are going into “hiding” so to speak to get away from the somewhat intrusive sales cadences.

But, if sales cadences are largely being ignored and buyers are going underground – what can sales reps do to truly get buyers to be open for a sales call? That’s the very question that agile selling is able to answer.

Listen to the full conversation to get access to these sales gems from, Stephen Messer, one of the top data-driven sales gurus in the world.

What’s the importance of personalization?

Personalization in modern selling is everything!

I have a folder in my email that I titled, “Emails that suck” and I can’t tell you how many I get on a daily basis. And, they all have one glaring thing in common – they’re never personalized. In essence, I and so many other prospects have just become a “Dear First Name”. These emails aren’t written to speak to my exact pain points, they’re not conveying value that’s relevant to me, and they’re clearly written in a way that makes me feel just like any other buyer.

I was curious to hear Stephen’s take on personalization and its impact on engagement rates based on the sales data he sees everyday.

Stephen shares, “The question with personalization really is: can we improve productivity in how we reach buyers while at the same time giving them higher value interactions? This is where analyzing the data is so important. Personalization doesn’t have to just be in the messaging. It can be in knowing the best time to send the email, or the right platform to reach out to, or knowing who to send the email to in the organization. Personalization comes back to one thing: research. We have to take the time to research who we’re trying to sell to, if we’re ever going to be effective.”

Jump into this episode, and listen to the end, to hear what Stephen says is the best way to personalize your sales messages to stand out.

What is agile sales?

Agile sales is being offered as an alternative to the traditional approach of people, process, and technology. 

According to Stephen, agile sales is all about moving away from making sales decisions based on opinions and “intuition” and, instead, using data to drive substantive changes to the sales process. It’s through agile selling that the modern seller will be better positioned to know how, what, and when to reach out to modern buyers and actually get a response.

Stephen shares a powerful point in this episode that reminds us all that we can’t look at our prospects in a vacuum. We must consider the entire landscape of the world around them to understand their buying behavior and it is agile selling that makes this possible.

If you’ve been looking for a new approach to sales to help increase your win rates and better engage with your prospects, then this is THE episode to listen to.

This episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is brought to you by Korn Ferry. Korn Ferry transforms sales teams using their world-class Miller Heiman, methodology, employee

assessments, benchmarking and talent advisor capabilities to increase win rates and quota attainment. Korn Ferry offers Korn Ferry Sell, a sales effectiveness app available in App Exchange and app source that helps your sales team develop and replicate powerful sales strategies that help sellers win more deals and crush their quotas. Learn more at kornferry.com.

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