B2B Sales Mentors Book: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. To learn more: http://top1.fm/b2b
In between the regular interview episodes, we’ll continue to release sample stories from the book like this one. You can either listen to the episode and hear Carsonread his story, or read the full text below.
This episode is sponsored by Outreach
“My Greatest Win at Microsoft”
By: Carson Heady
My greatest win at Microsoft – personally and professionally – was one that occurred solely because of using tools at my disposal, prospecting heavily with social selling, and building a strong relationship once I had opened that initial door.
Thanks to reports we had access to which detailed customer consumption in efforts to try or test cloud services, I was able to find a handful of clients that were testing at enough velocity that it certainly warranted a conversation – how could we help? What were they trying to do? Was it a competitive situation? From there, I could utilize LinkedIn (full disclosure: Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, so this is not an endorsement) to find the organizations and people to connect with at the company. I cast a wide net to maximize response, so for this particular organization, I targeted roughly 30 folks in various stakeholder positions (C-Suite, VP, and IT/innovation) and the numbers game soon kicked in. Of those 30, 11 accepted my invitation to connect and only 1 responded to my subsequent e-mail about why I had reached out and how I could help with resources. He told me who I needed to talk to (another person entirely that I had not already connected with) so I reached out.
The outreach needs to be personal but also unique – it was a smaller organization and start-up, so they were initially shocked to hear from my company. Second – I was not looking to sell anything. My outreach was targeted toward inquiring about their needs and usage and about different incentives and programs we may have to help them further explore or scope out the desired solution. That outreach was designed to set a meeting; the meeting was set.
In my mind, from my experience, I had a preconceived notion that this may be a relatively smaller deal with the opportunity to grow, but I never let that thought inform my actions. Setting the meeting with the right business decision-maker is the most important first piece of the process and once I was in the room, across the table it was all about establishing the relationship.
I effectively positioned myself as an advocate for this client – one who could absolutely utilize my assistance and that of my organization. Through needs analysis, we discovered that there was a number of potential opportunities to expand as these folks were ambitious but just really starting their exploration of a cloud journey. Their industry is exciting and the possibilities of how data could be monetized were endless. The conversation touched on areas of challenge for them regarding existing infrastructure. While they were merely testing our platform for an unrelated reason, we brought in proper resources and partners and relatively quickly moved their infrastructure to our platform. They became my largest-consuming account for an entire year, despite being a fraction of the size of several other large organizations.
Fast forward about a year. The projects there had multiplied and the organization was now getting quite a bit of love and attention from Microsoft. I had been able to set up conversations with a half-dozen different facets of our organization based on desires they had or additional resources/benefits that existed and would enhance the relationship. In short, I brought every bit of value I could to their team.
That said, the company was positioning itself to be purchased, and this purchase did indeed transpire, throwing a lot of current projects up in the air.
The day the purchase transpired, I was able to successfully find the new parent company and subsidiaries, as well as virtually connect to the new CEO, CIO, and CFO. I was in the office of the new CIO the following week, and our conversations generated an additional multi-million dollar pipeline.
The conversations would not have existed without social selling. The social selling would not have been successful without using a litany of different methods of connecting or targeting a large number of individuals with unique, impactful scripting. The relationship never would have worked without adding value and resources and serving as advocate every step of the way, never worrying about the sale or dollar amounts.
After the company purchase, I was successful in landing additional projects at the new company, was able to liaise with people I connected with at that company who went to other companies post-buyout (the relationships continued, oftentimes equating to new projects with different organizations) and received a substantial amount of attention internally as my prospecting methods were highlighted in a podcast by the Vice President of Microsoft United States.
Want more from Carson Heady? He was the star of episode 54: Microsoft‘s Carson Heady – Master the Day