5 Memorable Quotes on The Future of Sales

The Future of Sales

I just had the pleasure of lunch with Jacco vanderKooij who published an awesome video clip and a Prezi on the future of sales in SaaS that gathered over 100,000 views in the first month. Pretty good for a B2B topic!

The clip:

The prezi:

Here are some memorably quotes from our inspiring lunch:

1. “From Hunters to Peace Makers”

It is as if we have educated a generation of sales people to be hunters whereas what we need right now are peace makers that help build trust. Peace makers are focused on making a prospect or customer successful and are more akin to consultants than traditional sales managers.

2. “From Screaming to Whispering”

Using tools like Eloqua and Marketo we constantly bombard our prospects with our sales messages: it is like screaming. Now we need to move from screaming (to all customers) to whispering (to the right customers at the right time using social tools).

3. “Images and Emotions, not Arguments”

The message that resonates with the Instagram and Pinterest generation is images and emotions, not arguments. So more video and images, and less white papers and blogs.

4. “Relationships Matter”

Relationships really Matter. On Facebook relationships are fun, but on a business social business network like LinkedIn relationships really matter.

5. “Wow’m, Excite’m, Entertain’m”

When asked how his Prezi got so popular to quickly Jacco recalled that he often starts one of his talks on social selling by showing the cover of ESPN Magazine or Vogue. This is what we are competing with: to be heard you need very compelling content. Personally he is looking to Hollywood for inspiration on how to do this.

Give it a shot now! try Totango free!

Totango Recognized for Revenue Performance Excellence


Totango was recognized yesterday as a finalist for a 2012 Revenue Performance Management Excellence Award by Marketo!

We are super excited! See an excerpt from and link to the announcement below. Also remember to check out our session at the upcoming Marketo User Summit. I am very excited to be presenting on lifecycle marketing together with Jeff Wiss, VP Demand Generation from our friends at Zendesk!

Our session will be on May 24th at 11:20 AM in Imperial A of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Register here.

Here are the details on our session:

Three Steps to Accelerate Revenues from Existing Customers

Customers are using Marketo’s technology for much more than closing new deals. They are also using it to nurture their current customer base to score and nurture clients for upsell opportunities and renewals. Find out their secrets for success in turning the customer lifecycle into a revenue machine. Dominique Levin, CMO at Totango will present a three-step program to revenue acceleration using existing customer marketing.  In addition, Jeff Wiss, Vice President Demand Generation from Zendesk will present mind-blowing customer marketing campaigns that are boosting revenues for Zendesk.

Here is the excerpt from our press release:

Marketo Announces Finalists for 2012 Revenue Performance Management (RPM) Excellence Awards

“Revvies” Recognize Outstanding Achievement, Leadership in Companies Leveraging Innovation to Accelerate Revenue Growth

San Mateo, CA – April 25, 2011 – Marketo, the fastest-growing provider of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) solutions, today announced the finalists for its second annual Revenue Performance Excellence Awards. The “Revvies” recognize and celebrate customers and partners that are using Marketo’s marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions to push outside the boundaries and away from their competition.

Adding six new awards this year, Marketo will honor 11 organizations and individuals that are true thought leaders and innovators in their respective industries.

The finalists for the 2012 Revenue Performance Excellence Awards include:

Most Innovative Integration with Marketo

American Public University Systems, Podio, Totango

“We are thrilled by the tremendous volume of submissions for our second annual Revvie Awards,” said Paul Albright, Marketo’s chief revenue officer. “The finalists are truly game-changing companies with leaders delivering amazing results across marketing and sales. It’s an honor to help provide the dramatic business impact evidenced by the stories submitted. Congratulations to each of the finalists for their achievements in driving revenue growth.”

Finalists were selected based on the following criteria: Innovation, leadership, success metrics and business impact and winners will be celebrated on May 24th, 2012 at the 2012 Marketo User Summit.

Freemium Friday: Roundup of B2B Freemium News


I plan to post every Friday on interesting developments and articles on Freemium in B2B land, but we will see how long I actually keep this up :-)

This week is a good week to start as we just signed up to participate in the first-ever Freemium meetup in San Francisco.  Three B2B Freemium gurus will be presenting:

Drew Banks, our host and head of marketing at Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software service that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. Drew will speak about Prezi’s rapid growth (1M users/month!) and profitability success with a Freemium business model.

Chad Heinrich a.k.a. “Freemium Fighter”  is the Marketing Consultant for Avira. He has successfully marketed the Freemium business model in a wide variety of technology companies including his current gig at Avira (with 100M+ users), and previously at Dropbox and Box.net.

Todd Wilkinson is the Co-founder & CEO at WordWatch, a cloud-based app for small businesses that manages AdWords, automatically delivering optimal ROI for Google AdWords PPC advertising.

More information on the meetup here.

In B2B Freemium news these two caught my eye:

A Forbes article on Box.net Freemium model: it doesn’t go into much depth, but quotes Box’s initial Freemium conversion at 8% with little sales effort. However also mentions that now Box is hiring up to 200 sales reps: apparently enterprise sales needs a push and a shove even if you are Box.

SAP owned SuccessFactors announced a Freemium version of it’s Jam product (a Salesforce.com Chatter competitor). For now the product is only free to customers, but Dmitri Krakovsky, SuccessFactors VP of global product management, said (when asked if the company is planning to extend the freemium model to non-SuccessFactors customers): “Yes, for sure. We’re always thinking about making it a very broad tool.”

6 Social Selling Tips to Implement Today (from Sales 2.0 San Francisco)

LlinkedIn for Salesforce

The hot topic at Sales 2.0 Conference today in San Francisco remains (surprise, surprise) social selling (for B2B companies). Lots of speakers and lots of wisdom but also became abundantly clear to me that for most B2B organizations it is very early days in the adoption of social selling techniques. Therefore, for my wrap-up blog of Sales 2.0 I decided to summarize six things that any organization could do to get started with Social Selling.

I hope you find this blog helpful. Please tweet if you do: your own text or this clickt0tweet link.

1. Use your second degree connections

Mike Derezin (@mikedfresh), Global Head of Sales, Sales Solutions at LinkedIn shared that second degree (LinkedIn) connections are 87% more likely to respond to any e-mail or phone call as compared to a cold call. If there is one place to start it would be to use your second degree connections as part of our (outbound) sales efforts. And not just your own second degree connections: also the second degree connections of the rest of your team. The new LinkedIn TeamLink product looks promising in this regard: it lets you tap into the second degree network of your entire company’s team.

2. Follow and engage strategic accounts on Twitter

Jill Rowley, Director of Strategic Accounts at Eloqua is the queen of using social media to engage with strategic accounts. You cannot do this for all your prospects and customers, but the best place to start is to create a short list of accounts that you are targeting for this quarter and deeply engage with them via social media. Follow them on Twitter and engage with them. Make the conversation personal. Often twitter, and sometimes even a text message, can be a great alternate way to get in touch with target accounts these days when people’s e-mail inboxes are overflowing. Be careful about engaging with prospects on Facebook. Mike Denizen shared research that shows that 80% of people want their social and professional networks separate.

3. Turn all employees into customer coaches

Your goal as a salesperson is to add value. Think of yourself as a customer coach: your job in sales is to make your customer successful and revenues will follow. Jill Rowley, super-star sales queen mentioned above, calls herself a “content concierge” on behalf of her prospects. “Think of prospects as as future advocates for your brand”, says Jill Rowley. “She clearly does a good job”, says Matt Heinz, a marketing consultant on stage at Sales 2.0: “Until today I didn’t know Jill is in sales. I thought she was an evangelist”. Eventually, not just your sales reps should be customer coaches, but every employee in the company is representing the brand and could be building trust with prospects and customers on social media.

4. Focus on lifetime customer value

Eryc Branham said it: “the only sales metric that matters in the end is customer lifetime value”. Customer lifetime value also featured high on Matt Heinz’s Top 10 Sales Metrics list, but I am with Eryc that all that matters in the end is customer lifetime value. Jim Cyb, VP of North American Sales from Zendesk shared: “the key to the success of Zendesk is a land and expand selling strategy”. It is not about the first sale, but about a lifetime of purchases. You can start small, establish any kind of paid relationship with your customer and grow from there. And, as Donal Daly, CEO of the TAS Group pointed out, when calculating Customer Value include “network value”: the revenues generated from referrals made by your customers.

5. Assign leads based on social proximity

I wrote about this before in Top 5 Trends in Sales 2.0 but this is still one of my favorite social selling black belt techniques: assigning leads based on “social proximity” (remember Tip 1 on leveraging second degree connections) makes the most sense. This time, Jim Cyb from Zendesk offered a good alternative if you are not quite ready for “social territories”. Zendesk is assigning leads based on a round robin system which is straightforward, eliminates any territory fights and aligns with today’s low-touch, virtual selling environment.

6. Make your product social

Research says that by 2020, 85% of the buying process will be completed before a salesperson is called.  In a day and age that direct contact with buyers is sparse, you should be listening to other channels.  Deploy social media tracking like Radian6 and Google Analytics to listen to your prospects. If your product is software, you should also be listening to what your product is telling you. Which trial users are active and what are they doing with your application? Did your paying customers stop using your application (and may cancel their subscription soon)? Of course this is the core of what Totango customer engagement is all about.  Even better – make your product a two-way social communication channel.  Communicate with your customers when and where you are top of mind: in your application with free tools like Appbox.js.

Top 10 Sales 2.0 Leaders I Want to Meet

Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco

I am much looking forward to the Sales 2.0 conference in San Francisco next week.

Here are 10 Sales 2.0 Leaders I hope to meet at the conference and why:

1. Jim Cyb, Vice President, Sales, Americas, ZenDesk

2. Pete Eppele, VP Product Management, Zilliant

3. Steve Patrizi, Chief Revenue Officer, Bunchball

4. Kevin Akeroyd, SVP, Field Operations, Badgeville

5. Kirk Mosher, Vice President, CRM Product Marketing, Oracle

6. Mike Derezin, Global Head of Sales, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn

7. Robert Pease, Founder & CEO, Nearstream

8. Jill Rowley, Director of Key Accounts, Eloqua

9. Paul Melchiorre, Global Vice President, Ariba

10. Anneke Seley, Founder Phoneworks, co-author Sales 2.0 book

They are all speaking about some of the most important trends in Sales 2.0:

Sales analytics

Big data is changing the way products are being bought and sold. It has been called sales metrics, sales analytics, predictive sales analytics and sales intelligence. The bottom line is that there is much talk this year about a more data-driven approach to sales.  Jim Cyb, Vice President, Sales for Americas at ZenDesk will be on a panel and talk about ZenDesk’s move from a zero touch sales to a low touch sales organization.  His company, which now has 15,000 customers, started life without a sales team. Pete Eppele, VP Product Management, Zilliant will be presenting interesting new technology that can uncover where you can sell more, sell other products and win back wallet share that competitors have taken.


Both Steve Patrizi, Chief Revenue Officer from Bunchball and Kevin Akeroyd, SVP Field Operations from Badgeville will be speaking on how to use gamification or Behavior Lifecycle Management (BLM) as Kevin calls it, can be used to motivate your sales team. I always thought that gamification was used primarily to drive usage and adoption of your products and services by customers. However, both of these sales leaders are eating their own dog food and will share how they get their own teams to use sales best practices and tools by throwing in some fun and games. It should be an interesting duel!

Customer success

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kirk Mosher, VP CRM Product Marketing from Oracle will be speaking about “customer success” (a concept Totango deeply cares about). I still of Oracle as the classic Sales 1.0 company: bully customers into signing seven-figure deals, adding another seven-figure professional services engagement and then counting on the fact that customers won’t switch ever to a competitor because they have invested so much money with you. However, it seems that things have changed!

Social selling

Everybody recognizes that social selling has huge potential but in the real-world sales haven’t yet embraced all new possibilities. There are a large number of sessions (again) at this Sales 2.0 conference to help sales teams learn. Mike Derezin, Global Head of Sales, Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, will break down his social selling tips by lifecycle stage. Robert Pease, Founder & CEO of Nearstream, will cover tactics for identifying buying signals on social media networks, essentially capturing demand that’s already out there rather than generating leads.

Lead management

Jill Rowley, Director of Key Accounts, Eloqua has been an evangelist for the lead management automation space since its inception. She is a leading commentator on social media and one of the top networkers in the space. She was the winner of 20 Women to Watch in Lead Management last year. More importantly, my friend Matt Childs from Dreamsimplicity tells I absolutely have to meet Jill while at Sales 2.0. She will be on a panel about, what else, nurturing revenue-generating prospects to close.

Sales effectiveness

In Silicon Valley we love technology and I am a tech-girl guilty myself so last but not least I am much looking forward to the talk by Paul Melchiorre, Global Vice President, Ariba and Anneke Seley, Founder Phoneworks and co-author Sales 2.0 book which both focus on “getting real”. Does all this technology really pay off in terms of sales effectiveness?

A full agenda and lots of people to meet!

If you are going to be at the Sales 2.0 conference, give us a shout on Twitter @totango #sales20 and we are looking forward to connect! I will even buy you a beer!


Top 6 Quotes on Software-as-a-Service Sales and Marketing

SaaS University

I was at the SaaS University conference in Austin this week organized by Rick Chapman from Softletter. This is really one of the only conferences in the United States that focuses on the business side of running Software-as-a-Service and cloud application companies.

These are my six favorite quotes on the sales and marketing of cloud applications and what I learnt from them:

1. “Software-as-a-Service is about Service (not Product)”

In the cloud you are selling a service, not a product. What does this mean? It’s often the best practices and business process around the code that matter most to clients. Chuck DeVita from the Growth Process Group shared how adding a design review methodology and implementation with conventional software products allowed one vendor to lift pricing from $15,000 to $100,000 per customer. The best practices and business processes were worth more than 5x the code itself.

2. “Products are evaluated, services are experienced”

Moving from a product to a service has implications for your marketing strategy as well. Ken Rutsky, an independent marketing consultant who used to run Marketing at Netscape and Secure Computing, pointed out that: “products are evaluated, services are experienced”. So for your marketing, forget about white papers and instead focus on creating experiences such as self-service demos and a self-service trial which give prospects a taste of your service experience.

3. “The CRM system of the future is your website (CRM is dead)”

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite CEO said in his keynote: “the CRM system of the future is your website”. I would like the quote even better if it wasn’t so self-serving but there is still a lot of truth in his statement. The SaaS service itself is becoming the primary platform for communications with the customer. Rick Chapman added that a SaaS service should also embed community elements and become the primary channel for communications for customers amongst themselves.

4. “Product management is dead”

A surprisingly large percentage (about half according to an upcoming study by Softletter) of SaaS companies have integrated requirements management into their service: this means that customers can submit feature requests from within the application. Patrick Fetterman shared that Plex Systems has taken this one step further: they give customers a “budget” which can be used to “buy features”. Beyond the assigned budget, customers can also pay extra to get even more features. There are no product managers at Plex, just developers and community managers.

5. “Your customers know more about your solution than your sales guys”

This is another quote from Ken Rutsky. With so much information available on the web, propsects now have more knowledge and expertise about your product (and your competitor’s) than your sales guys. So why not get out of the way and create a friction less sales model? Most SaaS companies are moving towards a self-service discovery and self-service delivery model. In Softletter’s 2012 SaaS Report 51% of SaaS companies report to use a direct sales force. It is still high but down from 60% last year. Indirect (zero touch) selling on the other hand jumped to 25%.

6. “Don’t get people to buy, get them to use your app”

It is much easier to sell if prospects already love your service. The imperative to drive usage and adoption doesn’t stop after the initial sale. Most SaaS companies now use a “land and expand” sales strategy. In Softletter’s survey, the dollar-based renewal rate for SaaS companies ranges from 70% to 140%. Larry Cates from KeyStone On Demand, an online training application, analyzed the main reasons why customers cancel: low organization adoption, not enough customer stakeholders or the app is not utilized properly to gain full potential. These all relate to “lack of usage”. App reliability, competition or budget were reported much less frequently.

Freemium, Free Trial and Pricing Models in 550 SaaS Companies

Pie Image

The way that enterprise products are being bought and sold is changing rapidly. Customers are increasingly demanding instant access to all information about your product, including pricing and a Freemium or free trial version of your application. We call this trend the consumerization of B2B sales.

Totango recently conducted a research studying the Freemium, free trial and pricing practices of 550 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.

Infographics-Main Conclusions from our 550 SaaS Businesses Research


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