Conseil de vente: Gardez les yeux sur les initiatives, pas les résultats

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Les professionnels en développements des affaires savent très bien que la vie tourne autour des résultats. Les gestionnaires sont obsédés par les chiffres de ventes, et la pression est encore plus palpable dans une compagnie publique. Ça peut devenir démotivant de toujours garder les yeux sur les résultats, surtout en début d’année quand l’objectif à atteindre semble insurmontable.

Mon conseil est de se concentrer sur les efforts et les initiatives. C’est une série de mesures que les gestionnaires oublient parfois d’évaluer et qui en dit davantage quant au résultats qui viendront dans les prochains et la santé générale du pipeline. Perso, je me donne donc des objectifs mesurables sur des éléments que je contrôle (ou du moins que je contrôle mieux que mes résultats finaux de ventes ou de profitabilité). Le reste suivra en temps et lieu.

Voici quelques exemples d’objectifs concrets et motivants: Continue reading

4 Benefits of Organizing Events in B2B Sales

Events can be a great tool for prospecting new clients in B2B sales. By event, I’m referring to an industry-specific conference or presentation. In the foreign exchange industry where I work, clients are importers and exporters and they are affected by currency market changes. Most of them are thus naturally interested in knowing more about market outlooks and macro-economic trends affecting international markets.

Planning a customer event doesn’t have to be expensive and the cost of it doesn’t define the value your clients will derive from it. Most customers will want to leave thinking they learned something, whether it was hosted in the most expensive hotel in the city or in a board room.

I started doing more and more events last year at work and it proved to be an amazing initiative both for getting new clients but also to secure better trust relations with the newly onboarded ones. Covering a vast territory that is Québec, my colleagues and I focused on differents cities to deploy our efforts and generate long lists of new leads. It was a huge success and now we’re repeating it for the year ahead.

I’m sharing some of the benefits I noticed from this initiative last year.

A Short-Term Goal

In sales, January is a month where motivation is tougher to get. For most people, we feel like we’ve just climbed a mountain and now, there’s another one ahead. Planning an event can become a quick win. If you set a realistic target of number of guests, it becomes a clear short-term goal for a team to achieve.

Personally, I believe it’s really motivating to bring a couple of interested and interesting people in a room since it validates the need for our services and the potential interest from prospect. As it is in a first meeting, it’s much easier to determine what makes a customer tick in a face-to-face meeting than over the phone.

Avoiding the Gatekeeper

When calling prospects, we often get ask a question which isn’t always easy to answer: “What is this call regarding?” It’s usually a type of question we want to avoid or have no easy answer for. When there’s an upcoming event we’re loooking to invite our prospects at, I simply reply that I’m looking to invite Mr. Smith to an event we’re organizing in their area. The gatekeeper might decide not to transfer the call but it usually create a sense of relief that this person wasn’t trying to talk to the decision maker only to sell services.

It’s even possible to partner up with the gatekeeper in that kind of situation and use it as a opportunity to qualify the prospect. Something along the lines of:

“Hi,

I’m calling from xx company and I wanted to invite Mrs. Smith to an event we’re hosting next week in your area.

Maybe you could help me before however. Do you know if she’s the one responsible for such and such decisions at your firm?

Ok, because that’s precisely the type of subject we’re covering in our Lunch and Learn event. We have an expert coming in to talk about this and that… Maybe she would like to attend then.

Would you mind passing me over?”

Becoming an Expert

Selling foreign exchange services, I have an easy access to quality conference speakers, i.e. the members of our dealing team (the traders). They are the ones monitoring the market every minute and making recommandations based on trends and changes to our larger clients. Bring the manager of a small business that spends less than 5% of his time watching the market and the knowledge differencial between the two of them is obvious. The result is that this prospect feels we are experts in what we do (which we are!) and he just got showed a clear demonstration of it.

I’ve seen more than one customer asking a perfect question at the end of the presentation: “That was very interesting. If I want to have access to your services for managing these problems at my company, how would it work?”

If this is the question they ask, our job is done.

 Building a Qualified Pipeline

Quite often, I find it difficult to focus prospecting efforts and not to get lost in reports and views on Salesforce. Hosting an event in a specific region or tailored for a specific industry becomes a perfect reason for figuring out how to build a list of target clients in that niche and calling them with a clear objective in mind.

Along with some colleagues, we have done it in the past year by focusing of specific regions and the outcome has been great. Not only did we end up travelling once for this event but we ended up going back multiple times for follow-up trips and every time, we’re able to line up a couple meetings in a row. All the guests that assisted to our event and even the ones that didn’t show up, are way more inclined in meeting with us for a follow-up appointment. The general sense of distance between us has slowly narrowed down.

 Just Try it

I now find that events are a perfect way to structure a yearly or quarterly plan. You want to deploy more efforts in a specific niche in the first half of the year? Start in month 3 by organizing an event. It will take you month 1 and 2 to build the lists and get the right number of guests and you’ll have months 4 and 5 to organize follow up trips.

It’s not the cure for all your sales problems but it’s definitely a must add to your B2B marketing mix.

How to Get an LEI

Working in foreign currency risk management, our world became a little more regulated recently. Starting on October 31st 2014, all Canadian companies that want to trade OTC Derivatives products, including foreign currency forwards, need to register with the GMEI to obtain an LEI.

What’s an LEI?

An LEI is a Legal Entity Identifier, a 20-character code that allows global reporting bodies to better track your OTC trades. It’s an initiative that was created to tighten regulations affecting the derivatives markets following the 2008 crisis and it’s supported by the G20.

How to get an LEI?

To get an LEI, you need to go on the GMEI Utility website and create an account. Once your account is created and verified, you’ll then need to register your legal entity and process your payment. 5 to 10 business days later, you’ll get your LEI number. Once you obtain this number, it has to be communicated with your broker.

How much does it cost?

The initial cost of an LEI number is $200 USD. There is an annual fee of $120 that needs to be paid in order to keep it active.

Who needs an LEI?

In Canada, all companies from small to multinational need an LEI to trade OTC Derivatives. For every legal entity trading, a unique LEI should be requested.

Ma résolution 2015: écrire un article de blog par semaine

J’ai pris comme résolution d’écrire un article de blog par semaine pendant un an. L’objectif n’est pas tant d’ajouter des pages à mon blog et augmenter mon trafic mais plutôt de me forcer à mettre des pensées sur papier. On se monte (ou du moins moi…) tellement de théories, plans, idées, leçons apprises, etc, durant une année mais on oublie souvent de prendre un recul de se partager à nous-même et autres nos leçons. Continue reading

5 étapes pour réduire votre risque de change

Commerce international

Un très grand nombre d’entreprises utilisent des devises autres que leur devise locale dans leurs opérations quotidiennes.

Que ce soit pour l’importation ou l’exportation, le problème est le même: une variation minimale du taux de change peut avoir une incidence très grande sur la rentabilité d’une entreprise. En 2013, les compagnies américaines ont subis des pertes de plus de 10 Milliards $ en raison du marché du change.

Prenons un exemple simple: Continue reading

De retour chez CWP

En sortant de l’université, je suis allé travaillé chez CWP, qui à ce moment était plutôt un bureau satellite de CEWP à Montréal avec une dizaine d’employés/traders. Quand je suis parti en 2009, c’était pour démarrer une entreprise, Sparko. En terminant le périple de Sparko, je me disais que là où j’aurais le plus de plaisir à travailler serait à continuer d’entreprendre, que ce soit en bâtissant ma propre entreprise, en développant une entreprise pour quelqu’un d’autre ou même en bâtissant un marché dans un rôle de vente. J’ai fini par craquer pour l’entrepreneuriat à nouveau et mes moyens me permettait pas de me repartir à mon compte à nouveau. J’ai donc décidé de rejoindre CWP à nouveau pour entreprendre à l’intérieur de cette entreprise.

C’est le mandat que j’ai accepté en retournant chez CWP. On s’est donné 12 mois pour démarrer une nouvelle division, acquérir une entreprise, démarrer une nouvelle pratique de courtage ou généralement de trouver une nouvelle manière de faire croître l’entreprise par du nouveau. Continue reading

La petite histoire de Sparko

Bureau Sparko

En 2009, David Grégoire et moi avons démarré une agence web, Sparko. À la base, notre objectif était d’offrir des services de développement web et des conseils pour générer de l’achalandage par le biais du web, et ce, de manière à financer nos projets internes de développement.

La croissance court-terme serait donc assurée par un modèle traditionnel de services professionnels, où on facture des heures. Et la croissance long-terme viendrait de nos projets internes. Continue reading

Dernière lecture: King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich

King of Oil - The Secret Lives of Marc Rich

Je viens de terminer cette biographie palpitante d’un trader de pétrole devenu milliardaire et ensuite pourchassé par les États-Unis. Avant de débuter ce livre, je n’avais jamais entendu parlé de Marc Rich, qui a pourtant fait les manchettes à plusieurs reprises.

Cet excellent livre raconte la vie de cet immigrant juif arrivé aux États-Unis très jeune. D’un père entrepreneur, il gravit les échelons dans une firme de trading de commodités: Philip Brothers. Son succès l’amène partout dans le monde à faire affaires avec les personnes et les pays les plus controversés des dernières décénnies.

Il fonde ensuite sa propre entreprise de trading, qui deviendra Glencore, le géant mondial actuel du courtage de commodités. Continue reading