Modern Sales Engagement Podcast

The New Wave of Modern Sales Engagement with Michael Labate, #187

Sinking time and money into outdated sales techniques is why so many organizations are struggling to increase their results. 

That’s why the question should shift to focus on how to implement the most cutting-edge sales tools to identify prospects faster and nurture deeper relationships.

My guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast is a tech-savvy sales leader who has his finger on the pulse of modern sales in the digital age.

Make sure to tune into my in-depth conversation with the one and only Michael Labate to get a digital front row seat to the incredible social selling tools, strategies, and insights he’s using to 3x the sales conversations of his team.

Michael Labate, North American President of Intellias has a remarkable career spanning over two decades in various industries including Technology, Banking, and Sales & Marketing, serving midsize and large enterprise clients. 

Combining his extensive business background with his Executive MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Michael was instrumental at SAP, and, now Intellias, in establishing profitable revenue-enabling and revenue-generating business activities across regions with a focus on digital sales strategy, innovation, go-to-market, and operational excellence.

The incredible insights Michael shares in this episode are exactly what sales leaders need to quickly gain an insider’s advantage to master the art of social selling.

Download this episode so you can hear how mastering social selling can land sales teams 100% better leads for 50% of the cost.

How to adapt to remote selling the right way

The pandemic has changed how sales leaders are approaching customer touchpoints, for the first time in some organizations. 

So, I was curious to know what Michael has seen emerging in this space and what Intellias, a global enterprise, has done to adapt to remote selling.

Michael shares, “If the pandemic did anything, it accelerated what I call social selling – it’s broader than just social – it also includes the social tools and technologies behind doing this… For Intellias, it was a major adaptation we had to make. There was some of this in place, but never implemented in the North American market.”

Even for sales teams with large technology budgets, it can be challenging to make that shift to more social-driven outreach in the current virtual selling world.

Plus, without the right digital transformation training, many sales leaders have a host of remote sales tools and strategies but lack the clear vision to know how to execute.

Michael encountered a similar challenge with moving Intellias into leveraging social selling. He solved that with mandatory sales leadership training, like the courses we offer here at Vengreso, for example, our Modern Sales Mastery program.

“We had to establish baselines to see how well we were actually doing. We noticed very quickly, with doing online engagement, that being proactive and moving the conversation from email or phone call to social platforms that we started seeing a significant uplift in our results. But, we had to invest in training first.”

Tune into the full episode to hear what Michael recommends that sales leaders and executives do before making the remote selling leap.

Modern #sellers must move beyond the dial📞 Tune in for the full ep. of the @GoModernSelling with @M_3Jr to hear what @michaelnlabate recommends sales leaders do before making the remote selling leap. #remoteselling #socialselling Click To Tweet

Does remote selling work for every customer segment?

At Vengreso, we always promote hyper-personalization in sales – no matter the client, like we do following our PVC sales methodology. And, I was curious to hear Michael’s approach and if he saw Intellias moving back toward using more traditional sales methods, at some point in the future.

His answer is exactly why selecting the right sales strategy for your customer segments is so important.

“We have both SMB and enterprise clients. On the SMB side, social selling drives these important interactions, especially since we are doing a lot of cross-border outreach. But, on the enterprise side, the initial outreach is not happening on LinkedIn, it’s happening very differently…”

Listen to the episode (particularly around the 15-minute mark) to hear Michael’s actionable advice on how to approach enterprise prospects in the digital age to consistently nail sales meetings.

What are sales leaders really missing?

Sales data proves that the fastest way to get into someone’s office is not through a cold call or a cold email, but rather through a referral.

Yet, despite 60% of referrals resulting in a sales conversation, it always amazes me how many sales leaders don’t start an outbound cadence with the referral.

This is such an important sales tool that so many teams aren’t using that could powerfully move the needle on their company’s growth.

At Vengreso, our longest article is about prospecting and it outlines why the first step of any outbound cadence must be securing a digital referral. 

After all, why go after new business with cold outreach, when you can easily tap into the network you have at your fingertips?

I wanted to pick Michael’s brain and see what he believed was holding sales leaders back from using the power of referral.

His insight was very telling, “When I ask sales leaders this same question, I often hear that it takes time to try to find that referral… sales executives are up against quota, so they’d rather ‘spray and pray’ because they think it’s easier or faster.”

That’s why Michael highly recommends that sales leaders take a very unique approach to get better sales referrals

Check out the episode to hear the strategy Michael uses to get more quality referrals – in less time.

On this ep of @GoModernSelling, I learned from @michaelnlabate that one of the key aspects for remote selling is having the proper tools and the right #digitaltransformation training for your #sellers. Tune in🎙️ #virtualsales Click To Tweet

How do you win the cold outreach game?

I knew if anyone could answer this question, it would be Michael. In our conversation, I asked him to share some of the data he’s collected within a global sales engine that points to what’s really working in cold outreach.

Because I’m always surprised when I speak to experienced sales leadershow much emphasis they place on the number of dials they can make in a day. That’s not what we consider modern selling at Vengreso. 

Instead, we focus on targeting specific accounts, with varied buyer personas and using that to make hyper-personalized outreach to a highly selective group.

The data Michael shares validates that point too, “We tracked the likelihood that an outreach method would produce a strong lead over an entire year. The data says it all. Our cold calls had a 0.15% success rate, generic automated emails bumped up to 0.3%, highly personalized emails jumped up to 1% success rate, but LinkedIn was closer to 2.5-3%!”

This new discussion around social selling is so powerful and immediately relevant for ALL sales leaders.

We dive deeper into conquering cold outreach on LinkedIn throughout this entire episode. So, make sure to tune in to hear Michael’s approach to social selling and how you can use it to consistently book more sales meetings.

🔊 Listen to this full ep. of @GoModernSelling to hear @michaelnlabate´s advice on HOW to approach prospects in the digital age, to consistently get more #sales meetings! 🤑 Don´t miss it! #socialselling #digitalage Click To Tweet

What’s the modern selling wave of the future?

Almost by accident, Michael shared this powerful statistic, “This method was 50% cheaper but it  produced 100% more inbound responses.”

So, naturally, I had to know what he was referencing.

Michael calls it intent- or signal-based outreach and according to his results, it is THE best way to win the remote selling game.

His approach to intent-based outreach follows five key steps:

  1. Identify a source to provide intent-based data.
  2. Look for trends in who is searching on key parameters.
  3. Based on the data, put these contacts into an immediate outreach sequence.
  4. Leverage integration tools to target these audiences with specific sales messaging.
  5. Follow-up with personalized messages that speak to the pain points (that you know they have).

In today’s technology-driven world, it seems like a straightforward framework to follow, especially when you deploy tools like Bombora and Zoominfo.

When you look closely at the sales data – intent-based outreach becomes even more of a no-brainer approach to at least try. 

According to Michael, “When you use this targeted approach and reach out with messages that are hyper-personalized to people that you know have a problem that you can solve, then I’ve seen response rates shoot up another 1-2%.” 

But, this is just the tip of the social selling iceberg.

Listen to the entire episode to hear Michael’s top 10 must-have sales tools that he’s used to quickly expand Intelllias into North America and beyond – using powerful social selling. 

If you get anything out of this episode, the 10 minutes on this topic alone is well worth the listen!

Mario Martinez Jr.

Mario is the CEO and Founder of Vengreso. He spent 85 consecutive quarters in B2B Sales and Leadership. He is one of 20 sales influencers invited to appear in the Salesforce.com documentary film “The Story of Sales” launched in 2018.  He was also named 2019’s Top 10 Sales Influencers by The Modern Sales Magazine, 2018’s Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional and Selling Power Magazine’s 2018 Top Sales Training and Coaching Consultant.  Mario is the host of the popular The Modern Selling Podcast.

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