5 Steps to Build the World's Best Inside Sales Organization

by Kriag Kleeman, The World's Best Cold Caller

Kraig Kleeman is a rockstar beyond all recognition

Kraig and his management team grew the company from $0 – $25 million annual revenue in less than four years. During that rapid growth period, Kraig had responsibility for 25 professional sellers who completed more than 1 million sales presentations under his care. It was during this critical time of need to validate the plan and exceed corporate growth expectations that Kraig developed The Must-React System, the world’s most predictable and efficient selling methodology. After selling the company, Kraig took a few years off from the traditional work world doing humanitarian outreach work in South America and Southeast Asia. At that time he authored the book The Must-React System. In the past seven years Kraig has maintained a global sales transformation consulting practice. During his tenure as a Global Sales Strategist, Kraig has documented the findings of 25,000 distinct sales presentations across 46 different professional sales organizations. The results of Kraig’s research is remarkable. Kraig is a featured speaker at numerous high profile events. Kraig has had the pleasure of speaking on panels / forums with President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Silicon Valley Guru Guy Kawasaki, and others.

Free Video

Watch this exclusive 18 minute video by Kraig Kleeman.

Webinar Transcript

Man: Thomas Uldrow, senior director of marketing for InsideSales.com. Our next speaker and my personal friend is the world's leading authority on the topic of persuasion as applied to professional selling. His first book, entitled "The Must React System: A User's Guide to Cold Calling" has been heralded as the bible for sales prospecting. He is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and motivational events, and was a guest panelist with George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair at the World Leader's Forum. Join me in welcoming the world's greatest cold caller, the rock star of sales, Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: Hey everybody, Kraig Kleeman here with Kraig Kleeman TV coming at you in stereo. Coming at you in video. Coming at you in surround sound. Coming at you from a remote island in South East Asia. Well hey, first things first, a big thank you to my good friends at InsideSales.com for producing yet another epic event, the Virtual Sales Summit. And of course a big thank you to you, my audience, for attending my session today. My agenda today is really straight forward. I'm planning to talk to you about five steps to inside sales greatness. That's right, five steps...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...to inside sales greatness. You can do it. I've done it, you can do it. I did it with my first company, then as founder and CEO I grew from zero to 25 million in annual sales in less than four years. I also do it year over year over year, company by company by company, in my global consulting practice, and you know what? You can do it. And I'll tell you right now, there is power for those who believe. I'm a believer. Are you? Let's believe together. All right, here's my agenda today. I'm going to talk about five steps towards inside sales greatness, then I'm going to close with some words of personal inspiration.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: And you do not want to miss out on those words. But before I dive into my agenda, let me say three things. I want the sales organizations that I work with to be stunning, like a taser set at 11. I want my sales teams that I work with to rip off the roof and tear open the sky. I'd rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity. That's right. Somebody tweet that. Kraig Kleeman says he'd rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity. So get out your laptops, get out your tablets...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...get out your yellow notepads if that's how you do it and get ready to take some notes, because I'm going to rock your world in the next 10 minutes or so. All right, five steps towards inside sales greatness. Step number one, deploying communications that persuade. Let me just back up the truck and say these five steps are coming at you from the perspective of tips, tactics, and techniques. Not from the perspective of architecture. That's a whole different discussion. All right, with that disclaimer let me jump right back into it. Step number one, towards deploying a great inside sales team. Step number one is deploying communications that persuade. You know Jack Black was in a movie entitled School of Rock.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: I love that movie. I've got it on all my devices. I watch it on airplanes all the time, and I'll tell you that School of Rock is a good movie. Do you remember that song? Zach's song? Where they sing "Rock ain't got no reason, rock got not rhyme, you better get yourself to school on time." And you know what Kraig Kleeman believes in something different. Kraig Kleeman believes that sellers across our great country and our great world need to enroll in the School of Talk. And Kraig Kleeman has another song that says "Talk has reason, talk has rhyme, and if you don't talk to your prospects correctly it's a sales professional crime." It's tired. I'm going to end this thing...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...called criminality in sales and poor process and poor technique. You know of these call scripts that I see that are floating around on the internet, sometimes I even say that my clients when I first meet them remind me of a new form of Tourette Syndrome, because they're both injurious and insulting to the power of language and the science of language as applied to persuasion and sales. And you know what? I am planning to stop the train on these poor practices and I hope you'll partner with me to do it. Because you know what reformers do? Reformers disrupt. They bring disruption. I'm going to disrupt, I'm tired of people...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...leading erroneously with value proposition language. I'm tired of people leading with product benefit language. We want people to learn to lead with language that's relevant. In fact, we learn in our testing, in our vetting, in all of the different A, B, C, D types of testing that we do, we've learned that sometimes changing one word, sometimes putting in one pause, sometimes literally just rejiggering the way a call script is designed and put together, can be absolutely powerful. And you know what? You're going to go to my website, and you're going to download what I call the Definitive Guide to Prospecting.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: That's right. Go to kraigkleeman.com and get your call scripts right and learn about the power of persuasion and download that eBook. The Definitive Guide to Prospecting. It takes into consideration every permutation of every dialogue that you could possible have with any of your target buyers. All right, let's get down to step number two. Step number two is embracing the power of external perspectives. Rick Smith, in his book The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Executives, identifies the top patterns that have made the greatest executives become great in their careers. And the number one...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...pattern that he said was a desire and appetite and insatiable curiosity, and what we might say is the ability and the desire to cry out and thirst and hunger for truth. You know, it's the intellectually curious who are the real winners in life. That's right. Rick Smith went on to prove that those executives that were intellectually curious and that were willing to embrace the power of external perspectives always outperformed those who didn't embrace that. You know it breaks my heart when sales leaders think they and they alone know all the answers. Well you know what? That's just simply...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...competency to the truth. So how do we embrace the power of external perspectives? How do we practically take advantage of some of Rick Smith's advice in that book? Well first of all we compile and curate content that is beyond you. That's right. Beyond your knowledge, beyond your skills, beyond sometimes even your imagination. It's time to cultivate content. Now I'm not talking about all your prospects and your target buyers, although that's a very good thing. I'm talking about curating content for your sales organization so they can learn and grow and develop with data and data points and concepts that are beyond you as the leader.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: Tell you what else we need to do. We need to engage with world class consultants. That's right. We need to make sure we're engaging with consultants who travel the world, who've seen different industries, who've seen different models, so that we can create an architecture and have the right tactics and strategies that work. You know the other things we need to do to cultivate this intellectual curiosity and gain these external perspectives? We need to attend world class events just like this one here, the Virtual Sales Summit. We need to attend things like the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, it has five, or six, or seven, I don't know how many they do, events all in these cities.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: Great events all across the country. We need to attend TED Talks, we need to continue to build libraries of information and be constant learners and committed to continuous process improvement. We need to embrace the power of external perspectives. All right, let's talk about step number three to inside sales greatness. I call it entering the no product zone. Hey, you don't just jump into the product zone until you discover desired outcomes, until you discover core values and the professional mandates associate with your target buyers. There is power in the discovery.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: There is also power in functional goodness in establishing landing zones with our target buyers. You might say, "Kraig, what do you mean by all this into the no product zone stuff? What do you mean by establishing landing zones?" I'll tell you what I mean! I'll tell you what I don't mean! We're not talking a check list, we're talking business acumen. We're talking the power of hyper open-ended questions, which no one in the world can teach you to do better then I can. You'd better go to kraigkleeman.com and download my series of eBooks on presenting with excellence and presentations that persuade and even e-mailing with excellence...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...so that you can be persuasive and be the best you can be in this whole realm of communicating properly. We have got to get away from leading with value proposition language, which is no longer relevant in today's culture. We've got to get away from this fixation with product benefit language and we've got to learn to lead with fact based research, especially for those of you who are in the enterprise class and going after major accounts and enterprise class accounts. Leading with fact based research gives you the opportunity to stimulate your target buyer, to open up deeply and profoundly...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...about his or her environment, and then your job is to listen. You know what, we human beings were created with two ears and one mouth. There's a reason. We need to double down on listening and shut our traps when it comes to talking. So we need to enter the no product zone and discover, and have business acumen, high profile discussions with our target buyers. All right, step number four. Step number four to achieving inside sales greatness is what I call optimizing employee retention. It breaks my heart.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: Sub-optimal retention is plaguing sales organizations all across our great country and our great world, and it pains me. And I'll tell you where it starts. It starts with hiring. And I tell you, I know there's a lot of talk about personality assessments and personality profiles, but you know candidates, they've gotten smart. They know how to answer questions the way you want to hear them, versus questions that are necessarily honestly about their personality and the way they're wired and the way they think. So to weight ourselves, our recruiting practices too heavily on those sorts of things are just a little bit naive. And I don't want to be naive! Do you? Just let me give you a few tips on this.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: We've created a weighted, quantitative score carding interview assessment tool. In fact my clients ask me to interview their candidates for them, and boy their retention rate goes up when I help them do that. And you can have access to those tools. Just go to kraigkleeman.com and download it, but let me just give you a few tips on this. First, when you're interviewing a candidate for a sales position, the first thing you want to carefully examine is involuntary separation. That's right. Involuntary separation. Has that candidate ever experienced, at any point in his career, involuntary separation or probation? And if so, you want to know all the details about that.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: And I'll tell you, as it relates to involuntary separation, it should be your first question in an interview with a candidate. If anyone that you're interviewing has experienced involuntary separation for almost any reason other than maybe an acquisitions where everybody got nuked, then your probability of retention of that employee goes down. And we want to move the needle on retention up, because it impacts revenue and it impacts forecasting, it impacts cash management, and the finance guys will love this. It positively impacts EBITDA. Listen, I'll give you another tip on this. When you're interviewing a candidate, you want the average tenure for all places...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...and maybe it's just a few, but the places, the companies where he or she has worked, you want that average tenure to be a minimum average 3.25 years. Our search is clear, if that average tenure is less than 3.25 years your ability to retain that employee goes down, and again we want to move that needle up. I have so much more to say about this topic, you'd better go to kraigkleeman.com and download some of my resources there that gives you knowledge and gives you the insight to optimally leverage wages by recruiting employees with excellence, stemming atrition, and maintaining a staff so that...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...your revenue and your EBITDA does not suffer much. Step number five. On this whole realm of five steps to inside sales greatness, step number five. Remember we're talking tactics and techniques versus strategy and architecture, that's a whole different subject. But in that spirit, step number five sellers, the importance of a summary statement. Do you understand the power of a summary statement? You should be having a summary statement in every single customer and prospect facing dialogue that you have. It's just real simple. "Hey Bob, I just want to confirm that I heard you right."

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: "I want to make sure that I've ascertained things from you properly. I want to serve you. Do you mind if I summarize our conversation today?" They'll say, "Absolutely. Kraig please do that!" And you know what? When we are disciplined about having a, excuse me, deploying summary statements effectively, here's what it does. Number one, it exposes gaps in discovery. I don't want gaps in my discovery. Do you? Absolutely not. Number two, it's a great transition to a definitive next step, where you gain a date and time certain for that definitive next step. Number three, it ensures accuracy on both sides.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: Number four, it makes sure you're on the same page, and people like to know they're on the same page. Number five, maybe most importantly, it creates customer confidence. Back to that two ear and one mouth thing, it lets them know that you're listening. I said it earlier, I'm going to say it again, we need to double down on listening. Someone tweet that! Kraig Kleeman says sellers ought to use two ears and double down listening, and with that one mouth zip it. That's right! Somebody tweet that! All right, listen. Let me summarize what we've learned today and then I'll close with some words of inspiration that you don't want to miss. We've learned five steps towards establishing inside sales greatness. Step number one...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...we learned to deploy communications that persuade. We talked mostly about the spoken word, but it's important even with the written word. And I encourage you to get my resources so that you have the definitive guides to help you deploy persuasive communications. Step number two, we talked about embracing the power of external perspective. We talked about having an insatiable curiosity and being with discipline committed to continuous process improvement. Step number three, we talked about entering the no product zone. We talked about using language that's relevant in today's culture.

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: We don't want to be using language that's culturally irrelevant and we don't want to be using language that hinders us from doing what we need to do, which is discover and be able to establish more authentic revenue production for companies. Number four, we talked about some techniques for optimizing employee retention. And I talked about how sub-optimal employee retention is plaguing sales organizations all across this great country and this great world. Step number five, we talked about the power and the importance of incorporating a...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...summary statement, and how that builds confidence with our prospects and our customers. Lets them know that we're listening. All right, now a few words of inspiration before we close. You know, there's a unique impresciptibility in life. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Inspiration doesn't stir with those who sit still, it emerges from those who dare to change. I want to change. I want to change every day. Do you? Inspiration manifests from those who meticulously and mercilessly mystify...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...their skeptics. That's the power of majesty and inspiration. I said this at the top and I'm going to say it again. I'd rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity. My name is Kraig Kleeman, I am the originator of the Must React System. I am found at kraigkleeman.com. I'm the host and the originator of Kraig Kleeman TV. I am the world's greatest cold caller, but today I'm actually honored. Today I'm privileged. Today I rejoice that you took the time to spend with me...

Woman: Kraig Kleeman.

Kraig: ...in my session today at the Virtual Sales Summit, sponsored by our dear friends at insidesales.com. I hope you've been inspired. I hope you've been informed. I hope you've been instructed. My name is Kraig Kleeman. Peace, cheers, from South East Asia.