Trade secrets: Tricks of the trade from the pros

by in Sales



As we’ve built our product, we’ve spoken to hundreds of salespeople and organizations. We’ve tested and witnessed myriad sales strategies and approaches that drive impressive results. The good news is: the best ones are dead simple.

Here’s what we’ve learned.

1. Social proof works

Understanding the power of using social proof throughout the sales cycle adds immeasurable value. For example just by mentioning a mutual connection in a sales conversation you can experience a 468% increase in conversion! It’s critical to be able to quickly understand your prospect in as much granularity as possible so you can leverage this knowledge to engage and develop conversations. These conversations will be moved forward in part by the trust developed during this conversation development stage of the sales process.

Trish Bertuzzi, Founder and CEO at The Bridge Group, told us that to spark curiosity and generate interest, your sales reps need to have great conversations. This requires truly understanding commonalities and expressing genuine interest in your prospects.

You can display social proof in many ways. For example, user reviews or customer logos on your website or deck communicate trustworthiness and credibility. Research from iPerceptions showed that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site with user reviews.

A study done by Germany-based GFK Verein revealed that customers who came from customer referrals, which is a powerful result of social proof, churned 18% less and had 16% higher lifetime value than those who came from other acquisition sources.

When developing or refining your sales strategy, ensure social proof a critical component of your conversation development efforts. Your data should guide your sales reps on how to use social proof directly from within the CRM.

2. Don’t spam your prospects

Top sales people don’t spam their prospects. They take the time to carefully select prospects that have the highest likelihood of doing business within the shortest amount of time while adding the most value to all stakeholders’ and their organizations.

According to Blue Kangaroo, 43% of adults in the U.S. said that more than half of their emails are from marketers. Other sources suggest that spam is ruining email. Contributing to this chaos is not only a bad strategy but can negatively impact your company’s reputation.

Jason Vargas, Managing Director of Outbound Sales at Datanyze, mentioned the following regarding the effects of spamming and what approaches the most effective salespeople use:

“For one, you’re a salesperson not a telemarketer. Your job is to connect with people. In order to do that you have to understand them and their business. You can’t understand who they are and what’s important to them if you’re blindly spamming them with meaningless, non-targeted messages. At Datanyze we are targeted and intelligent about our outreach. We get reply rates of 45% and our top reps will be able to book 2-3 demos per day.”

Successful selling is not about volume; it’s about quality and personalization. According to our research taking an account-based approach allows you to target the right companies at the right time with the right message resulting in significant conversions. Lars Nilsson, VP Global Inside Sales at Cloudera, explains how focusing on the right accounts via an Accounts Based Sales Development approach has helped increase their ability to generate meetings by 20%!

Once you have established a list of your ideal customers at the account level you should proceed to understand all the important stakeholders within the organization. These stakeholders can range from the users of your product to the influencers of your deal, to the signers of contracts. There are multiple stakeholders that play different parts within a buying process at your prospect’s company.

One of Node’s investors, Mark Cuban, says, “the big whales take up as much time as the small fish. Choose wisely.”

3. Be personalized, relevant, and strategic

Personalization means more than merely mentioning commonalities and sending personalized emails. It means understanding the best methods of closing a deal within each organization you are working on. This is referred to as Account Based Sales.

Every organization has nuances about the way that they buy. Your sales process should be agile and intelligent enough to understand how to sell to each organization. Sure, you probably have a framework and sales process that contains an organized set of methods to sell. However, you must understand, and even be obsessed with, all the reasons why this organization would want to buy your solution.

You must understand your customers’ pains, inefficiencies, what technologies they use, how they buy, their goals and aspirations, and even how they plan on innovating for the future. And you should do this at the company and individual decision-maker level.

A study conducted by Janrain and Harris Interactive found that nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. Don’t piss off your customers!

According to Trish Bertuzzi and LogMeIn’s personalized sales approach, re-orienting your sales approach, strategy, and process around personalization can also be a helpful management tool for sales executives, “Think about that for a moment, essentially, [you could map] an individual rep’s “personalized sales formula.”


At Node, we believe that the B2B sales funnel will drastically change for the better.

There are a lot of activity and prospects at the top of the funnel, which is slowly distilled down, bleeding numerous potential customers along the way, to a much smaller, targeted set of deals that close.

At Node, we believe that the sales funnel of the near future should be more of a smaller, more focused cylinder (see below). By implementing a quality-focused filter at the top (ex. Account Based Marketing and Sales approach), this will allow your team to focus more time for personalized outreach on higher quality deals, larger deal sizes, and a shorter sales cycles overall. Now that’s Sales Velocity!



Sales Funnel vs. Sales Cylinder


Want to slim your sales funnel? — Request a Demo from Node.




About The Author

Falon Fatemi
Falon Fatemi - View more articles

Falon Fatemi is founder and CEO of Node, a stealth startup of ex-Googlers backed by NEA, Mark Cuban, Avalon Ventures, Canaan Partners, and more. Falon has spent the past five years as a business development executive doing strategy consulting for startups and VCs and advising a variety of companies on everything from infrastructure to drones. Previously, Falon spent six years at Google, starting at age 19. As one of the youngest employees in the company, Falon worked on sales strategy and operations focusing on global expansion,, and business development for YouTube.