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C-Suite Chats With Christian Valiulis, January 2019
Each month, members of the Forbes Business Development Council come together for Q&A sessions about relevant, important topics in the business world. The council recently touched on ways of creating successful business partnerships to finding the perfect candidate. Here’s what Christian Valiulis, our very own CRO and member had to say:
When designing a sales page or building a sales process, what is one feature or step executives mustn’t leave out? Why is this so important?
Christian: Know Your Key Stage Metrics
One thing we do very well is we understand our metrics. My team and I know all of our key stage metrics: meeting set rates, meeting held rates, conversation rates, and closed rates. These metrics are backed by years of data, so we know our normalities and anomalies. These metrics allow for better lead qualification, knowing when to pass off a lead, and identifying what’s working and what’s not.
As a developing business, you have probably dealt with the stress most businesses endure as they are growing their sales numbers and perfecting their sales process. From maintaining the relationship post sale to allowing for adaptability, the Forbes Business Development Council shares their advice on crafting an effective sales process: 10 Crucial Steps For Crafting An Effective Sales Process.
What is one up-and-coming industry that you think new biz dev executives should pay attention to?
Christian: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic in almost every industry, but it’s still something people are trying to figure out. We’re still in the early stages of AI’s application, and its potential is very exciting. As more and more companies start to integrate AI into their technologies, I think it will have a major impact on how businesses operate.
Now more than ever, companies are using technology to help boost business development, but it can be tough to keep up with fast-paced technology trends. Read about upcoming new technologies from the Forbes Business Development Council in Six Technologies That Could Change The Future Of Business Development.
What is one critical step to doing your due diligence when another company approaches your company about an acquisition?
Christian: Ask The Hard Questions
You need to ask why this company wants to acquire yours, what the intent is behind the approach, and what the plans are for the company’s future. Most importantly, you need to ask the hard question of what’s going to happen to your people. Would this company clean house once they acquired yours? Ask the questions that you may not like the answers to in order to keep your people’s future secure.
Mergers and acquisitions are a huge milestone for companies and whether the reasoning for the consolidation was negative or positive, businesses need to be conscious of the steps they are taking during the acquisition journey. From asking the hard questions to checking for corporate culture fit, read Mergers, Acquisitions And Due Diligence: Eight Critical Steps To Consider from the Forbes Business Development Council.
Name one red flag managers should be wary of when screening candidates for a sales position?
Christian: A Scavenger Mentality
If the sales candidate is more concerned about their guaranteed salary than their potential earnings, that is a major red flag for me. I want my salespeople to have a hunter mindset; I want them hungry to see what their potential with my company is and what tools we can provide to help them achieve success. If all a candidate cares about is the bare minimum they’ll scavenge, I won’t hire them.
Hiring managers are trained to look for the major red flags when screening candidates like job hopping and inconsistent work history, but what about warning signs for sales candidates? Sales candidates are good at selling, so hiring managers need to see past a candidate’s outgoing personality and be on the lookout for these 12 Red Flags To Look Out For When You’re Screening Potential Salespeople from the Forbes Business Development Council when vetting sales applicants.
Many companies team up to create dynamic new products or services, but plenty of partnerships dissolve due to lack of affinity or communication. What’s the best way to create a successful partnership, and what benefits have you seen from it?
Christian: True Commitment
In my experience, partnerships fail because one party isn’t prepared to fully commit. From the beginning of the relationship, both sides need to be willing to put skin into the game — both financially and resource-wise. The success of one is tightly intertwined with the success of the other. This way, objectives will always stay aligned because both parties are equally committed to the partnership.
Building a business partnership is a great way to grow your brand and your revenue; however, creating a successful partnership takes commitment, mutual accountability, and clear, measured expectations. The Forbes Business Development Council shares Eight Important Elements Of Successful Business Partnerships to a productive business partnership.
Many companies get hundreds of applications per job post, and sifting through a sea of qualified applicants can be overwhelming. What’s your top tip for identifying the candidate who’s a perfect fit — beyond their resume qualifications — and how has it improved your hiring process?
Christian: Identify Your Ideal Employee Profile
We have candidates complete a Predictive Index assessment and compare their results with the PIs of high-performing employees in similar roles. Depending on the results of an applicant’s PI, we can determine whether they would be a good fit for the role they’re applying for or where they would be a better fit in our company. These personality assessments reveal the intangibles that a resume can’t show.
Finding qualified candidates during the hiring process can be difficult if you aren’t reading beyond the resume. Nowadays businesses are investing time in applicant references and looking beyond professional accomplishments to find their next hire. To help you find candidates that are the perfect fit, read 12 Ways To Identify The Perfect Candidate For Your Company from the Forbes Business Development Council.
We have more consumer insights — and tools to analyze those data sets — than ever before. What’s one way you’re using big data to bolster your business development strategies, and how has it shaped your results?
Christian: Leverage AI To Create Client Profiles
Use AI technology to look at your most successful clients and review what happened during their sales process. Once you’ve gathered this data, you can then create ideal client profiles. This can also help your sales team identify trends in the market based on industry, employee count, and region. This way, they can identify if a prospect would be a good fit or not early in the sales process.
Now more than ever businesses are leveraging big data to enhance their business development strategies. From analyzing social media data to using sales automation tools, the Forbes Business Development Council shares how they Use Big Data to Strengthen Business Development Strategies.
As Q1 begins, you may need to adjust or re-develop your sales strategy for the year ahead. What’s your best tip to fellow sales leaders for evaluating and refining your sales strategy to improve conversion rates?
Christian: Conduct Closed-Won And Closed-Lost Surveys
You need to understand why you’re winning deals and why you’re losing deals in order to create an effective sales strategy for the upcoming year. This will allow your team to identify their strengths and weaknesses and then figure out how to structure the sales pitch for better close rates and conversions.
With the new year, comes a chance to analyze and adjust business processes, especially important ones like your sales strategy. From looking at trends and cultural shifts to getting an outside opinion, read more from the Forbes Business Development Council in Here’s How to Adjust Your Sales Strategy in 2019.
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About Christian Valiulis
Chief Revenue Officer Christian Valiulis at APS is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. As a national human capital management and full-service payroll processing company, APSdelivers a unified cloud solution backed by guaranteed payroll tax compliance services. Christian oversees marketing and sales, channel partnerships, and strategic product and service alliances. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with his most recent publications.