Episode fifty-two

How to Close Sales Faster with a Question Library

Guest: Dom Atkatz, Sales Development Manager at FLEXE

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About This Episode

Train your sales team the same way Super Bowl-winning coaches do – with these six Ps: Persona, Plan, Probe, Prepare, Prequalify, Post-mortem.

This is how Dominic Atkatz, Sales Development Manager at FLEXE does it.

FLEXE networks over 1,000 warehouses around the country. They help companies that have ever-changing warehousing needs connect with companies that are seeking to maximize the utility of their warehouse space and labor.

It turns out that this business model is something that the warehouse industry needs.

“There’s this guy with a warehouse across the street who has a counter-cyclical business to mine and he’s bursting at the seams when I’m just trying to figure out something to do with my warehouse and labor and vice versa,” says Atkatz. “It would be really cool if we could share our space and labor when we needed it and have a symbiotic relationship.”

The company also handles e-commerce fulfillment and retail distribution to keep inventory stationed in different warehouses closer to customers, allowing faster just-in-time delivery.

When you’re selling a breakthrough, disruptive warehousing concept, you need a breakthrough sales team and that’s what FLEXE has created.

By looking at Sales Development Representative (SDR) training the same way a Super Bowl coach does, Atkatz has developed a sales process that leaves little uncertainty.

FLEXE has a challenge in the marketplace – selling a very disruptive product.

How do you break through the status quo? How do you encourage interest in warehouse owners or users? How do you convince them to switch practices that they have been doing for 100 years?

Personas: Understand Your Top Customers

Different personas have different needs. For FLEXE, the classic full-pallets inventory overflow client has different needs from the retailer who wants to get their products closer to their end customer.

FLEXE invests in technology (see below) to create a list of client case studies for each persona.

“So for example, if I’m talking to a digital native company that is concerned about operational performance, I can filter a spreadsheet that will show all the clients that bought FLEXE for that reason, and then the realized benefits as a result of that,” says Atkatz. “So it’s really just organizing your client evidence program in one place and constantly maintaining that.”

Dominic Atkatz Question Library quote 1
Plan: Have a Persona-Based Plan of Attack

Plan the call before you pick up the phone. Like a quarterback’s wristband playbook, FLEXE creates pre-call outlines and templates which include:

  • Persona-based foreseeable pain points
  • Persona-based foreseeable use cases
  • Case studies that show results from similar clients
  • Persona-based questions

Probe: Understand Your Prospect’s Assumptions

The ultimate goal with customers is to understand where they are at the start of the call, what are their assumptions about using their traditional solution, and what they think your company’s solution is.

“If you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t have that absolute trust in you just yet,” says Atkatz, “you need to tell a story about why you exist and have that narrative be something that ties to everyone involved. For us, that narrative is about ever-changing customer buying habits.”

Prepare: Create a Question Library

  • Question Selling: You introduce your model by asking the right questions.
    • Have you encountered this problem in the past?
    • How have you attempted to solve this problem?

From there, it’s all about asking the right follow-up questions. Is this something that we can tie back to a value proposition that FLEXE offers? Where are they doing something inefficiently that they may not even deem as inefficient today?

The question library allows SDRs to have a proven list of questions with ready responses for objections.

FLEXE keeps the questions at the high strategic level because dropping down into tactics too early is when a lot of prospects will get needlessly disqualified (either by themselves or by the SDR).

Because FLEXE uses Salesforce, a note-taking add-on called Dooly (which FLEXE loves) reads the Salesforce notes field as the SDR types. This prompts the SDR with pop-up cards on their screen that show possible responses to the prospect’s comments. Dooly has the added benefit of keeping all the interaction notes in the contact record so they never lose notes.

Dom Atkatz Question Selling

“That was a big issue for us for a while, we were gathering all these notes but we weren’t putting them all in one spot,” says Atkatz.

Prequalify: Ending the Call with a Clear Idea of Prequalifications

Before the SDR can advance the prospect to the next level, they must complete a screen which has the following C.A.N.T. fields:

  • Cost of the alternative versus FLEXE
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Timeline

They also need to fill out the prospect’s strategic and tactical needs in order to get qualified.

Post-Mortem: How Did This Call Change the Prospect’s Understanding?

FLEXE reviews recordings with SDRs on an almost daily basis. They annotate the calls play-by-play like coaches watching game footage.

“We have a weekly meeting where we all go over everything together. We ask about, ‘Hey, we have this moment here where we did something really good. Or, there’s something where the prospect changed their mind about how they are thinking about us,” says Atkatz. “Or maybe the prospect just didn’t realize the value in us and they’re asking about price. So, what were you thinking in that moment?’“

One of the unique things about FLEXE’s process is a field where the SDR must list this prospect’s priorities in terms of the value propositions of FLEXE.

They get that feedback from the client:

  • What are your key takeaways from the call today?
  • Were you interested in FLEXE when you first joined this call?
  • Are you interested in FLEXE to continue the conversation?

“At the end of the day, it’s all about eliminating uncertainty and saving time,” says Atkatz.

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About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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