Category: How To

Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017. Pulling Out of the Downturn

Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017

All right. This is one of the blog posts we do every year that people really look forward to. This is Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017, Pulling Out of the Downturn.

All right. Number one you have to have a sales plan. You know I harp on this every year, that planning is vital to your sales success.  You need to understand exactly who your targets are, why they buy from you, what differentiates you from competitors, who are the people that you need to go out after first, who are the companies that are waste of your time to go after, and  all this needs to be put in your strategic sales plan.

Now, sales managers out there for large sales organizations, don’t make your sales guys do some 30-page PowerPoint presentation and then just put in the drawer for the rest of the year and you never go back to it. You’re better off with five or six bullet points and this simple plan is something you reevaluate every quarter. Your sales plan has to be actual, it has to be real rubber-hit-the-road type of stuff. So, number one plan for Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017.

Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017 You Have to Know Digital Marketing

Number two for pulling out of the downturn in oil and gas sales strategy of 2017, you have to understand digital marketing. We’ve been looking at this as a trend for years and we have watched what started off as sales being on one end, and marketing being on the other end. Well they have slowly come together, and we think this is the very beginning where sales people have to understand digital marketing.

Now, I’m not saying you have to understand how to run Facebook Ads. What you have to understand is what is your digital presence? How do you tell your story online? Because sales is changing in oil and gas, and the first thing people are going to do is check you out online. This is vital for Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017.

Even if your company is large and you have a whole marketing department, you yourself as an individual sales person make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. Make sure that you have social accounts that reflect what you’re an expert at and what you’re good at. This is all very important, and as we go through time this will be even more and more important for salespeople to understand the digital marketing.

Number three, budget for success in 2017. I know budgets has been tight. We’ve been through about two-and-a-half years of low crude prices. I know people don’t want to spend money. That is getting ready to change, especially on land we’re getting ready to start things ramping up. And you need a budget, you need a budget for support, for collateral, for materials, for marketing, for prospecting trips, for expos, all that sort of stuff.  So, put the budget in place so you can be successful in 2017.

Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017Here’s a big one. Number four, know your customer’s journey. Literally how do they originally find out about you to the point that they buy from you. And everything in between. The old days of you meeting somebody at some expo, or you’re on some approved vendors list and you close deals. That’s disappearing and it’s going to disappear completely in a little while. You have to understand why your customers buy from you, how they buy from you, and how they get there. Once you understand that you can then accelerate that process and make it easier for people to find you.

This is the big one. This is Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017 number five. Find the bottlenecks in your sales time. Everybody’s busy especially, if you work for a large company. They tend to want to make you do a lot of stuff that’s non-sales time focused. You need to push back on that. Every second that you can just be out in front of prospects, in front of existing clients, gathering intelligence, figuring out the proper ways to get in front of new business is unbelievably important. And don’t let yourself be that sales guy that gets stuck in office the whole week filling out reports. That just won’t work anymore. So, make sure you have you find those bottlenecks in your sales time.

Then, number six. Don’t spend too much time on acquisition. Because we’re pulling out on this downturn, you have an existing client base that may be small. But in your existing client base, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Yes, new clients are important, yes, it’s good to find new prospects, but make sure you focus on your existing clients. As their business grows, your business will grow too.

Then, study your competition. Go out there and see what your competitors are doing. Why would you need to reinvent the wheel? See what they’re doing that works, see what they’re doing that not working.  If they have an e-mail sign up list, sign up for it. Now, of course use your personal e-mail so they don’t know who you work for. But, see what they’re doing. It’s one of the best ways to kind of leapfrog ahead of your competition, is knowing what they’re doing. And then the other thing is about your competition, is they’re really not competition if you know their business better than they do. And this is another way for you to learn that for Oil and Gas Sales Strategy 2017.

Then, this goes back into understanding digital marketing. You need to do more content marketing. If you don’t know what content marketing is, look it up, it’s very easy to learn. If you’re watching this blog post, this post is modalpoint doing content marketing. This sort of stuff you can do whether you’re on your own or you work for large company. You can have your whole company involved, you have your marketing team and your sales team or you can do it for yourself. But you need to get good, useful, relevant, easy to consume information out there about how you can help people. That’s basic content marketing, and that’s going to be big in 2017. And it will continue to grow.

Then, you need to sit down and review your sales process. I know a lot of companies out there have been selling in oil and gas for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years and their sales processes are antiquated. They go into the trade shows, grabbing the fishbowl full of business cards, go to cocktail events, host networking events, and all of that has its place. Twenty years ago, it was a great way to make money. Now it’s not, not at all. You need to understand your current sales process and see where it needs to be improved.

Then, number ten. This is a big one. You have to understand how our industry is changing. It is fundamentally changing like I’ve never seen in twenty years, and it’s all for the better. But it is changing. So petrochemical are crazy hot right now. Midstream is looking like they may get their business model change basis on legal stuff that’s going on. You have the entire very senior workforce has left the industry. And they’re not coming back, unlike other downturns.

The new young people that are coming in to the industry aren’t going to have the mentorship of the senior people. But at the same time they’re not going to pick up their culture, like the resistance to change, or their risk aversion. I’m seeing it right now. These new guys that are coming in and they’re looking for drillstem or pipe or valves, so they Google it. That’s never happened before. The amount of search queries for supply chain in oil and gas is going through the roof, and if you don’t understand how it works you’re going to get left behind. Now, if you understand how it works, you will be way ahead of your competition.

If you want to understand what some of that stuff is, we did a our oil and gas prediction 2017. We’ll throw a link in here so that you can understand, but this is how you do oil and gas sales strategy 2017.

Can you do me a favor? If you found this valuable, can you share this? If you look to the left, there are some buttons where you can just click on your social network. And then, anybody that you know that may find this valuable, shoot them a quick e-mail and share the blog post with them.

So, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.

 

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Oil and Gas Predictions for 2017

Our Oil and Gas predictions for 2017.

Historically, this is what we call the business drivers for each year. We’ve done 2014, 2015, 2016. This year, we’re changing the title. So this is the Oil and Gas Predictions for 2017. Let’s do it.

Number one, petrochemicals

oil and gas predictions for 2017Petrochemicals will be a huge business globally; methanol, ammonia, ethylene, polypropylene, fertilizers, plastics. All that is going to be huge because the raw feedstock is so abundant and so cheap here in the US. It might a good time to be looking at buying some BASF stuff or Dow stock because of that 😉

Number two, global ethylene shortage.

If you don’t know what ethylene is, ethylene is what ethylene crackers take out natural gas and help convert into plastic things like polyethylene. So, it’s the raw feedstock of plastics. Globally, demand for this is going through the roof and the supply is not there. That’s driving a lot of business. Look at all the ethylene crackers that are being built here in the US and globally. So, another major oil and gas predictions for 2017 is ethylene shortage.

Number three, offshore standardization.

The Holy Grail. This industry is a long term low crude price environment which means that we have to drive cost down. Historically, offshore everything is built to suit. So, Exxon builds a platform its way for this part of the world, Anadarko builds a platform this way for its part of the world and everything is different, the trees, the manifold, everything is unique. That needs to go away and it will. We’re just now starting to see this the beginning of that. All the majors have signed a memorandum of understanding to start looking at standardization even though they’re competitors. This is huge. Once again an Oil and Gas predictions for 2017.

Number four, inflation in the service industry on land.

Then, and everybody used to say I’m crazy. At the end of 2017, we’re going to see inflation in the service industry on land. There’s not going to be enough people, enough pumps, enough parts. We’re going to see prices go up. We’re not there yet, but the end of 2017 you’ll actually start seeing inflation from the service companies on land.

Number five, long term hydrocarbon abundant world.

Then, we’re in this long term hydrocarbon abundant world. Oil and gas is everywhere, we don’t know what to do with it. You know think about that because it’s a long term hydrocarbon abundant world, prices are going to stay low for a very, very, very long time. Which is going to drive different business models and that is just – it’s actually a good thing. The price could stay high enough where companies can still make money, but low enough so that the population benefits from this abundant cheap energy, so a great thing an another oil and gas predictions for 2017.

Expensive Oil is Dead is an Oil and Gas predictions for 2017

 

Number six, expensive oil is dead.

Then, because of that, expensive oil is dead. High pressure, high temperature, ultra deep water, Oil Sands and the North Sea — dead. Sorry. But that in itself is driving business. So, when you think about the decline in North Sea, you have all these opportunities for decommissioning and nobody’s looking at it yet. You’re looking at fifty years maybe even a hundred years of decommissioning work. That’s a lot of money to may be taking these platforms offline. So, just because expensive oil is dead, don’t think there’s not business opportunities. Now, that expensive oil will come back as we improve technologies and as we reduce cost somewhere in the future. Another twenty or thirty years, so that oil will come back, but we’re not there yet.

Number seven, fundamental changes.

Then, the basic fundamentals of oil and gas industry is changing right now. We’re seeing the transformation. So, the typical start out in the field when you’re 18 years old work your way through the company and you end up running parts of the business, that’s gone. All of the senior guys a lot of them have left the industry. The new people that are coming in this industry are young, but they’ve never been on the well, they’ve never picked up a torque wrench. So, fundamentally this industry is changing and I actually think it’s changing for the better.

Number eight, unconventionals go global.

Then, here’s a big one, unconventionals, they go global. The shale plays here in the US, that geology is not unique here. That same geology is in China, it’s in Russia, it’s in Africa, it’s in Europe and your startingoil and gas predictions forecast for 2017 and see the beginnings of unconventionals going global. Once again it will keep hydrocarbon cheap because there’s so much oil and gas out there. And another oil and gas predictions for 2017.

Number nine, politically conductive administration.

Then, for the first time in American history, we have the most politically conductive administration for the oil and gas industry ever, right? I’m expecting a lot of this administration. I’m expecting to see a lot of the teeth being removed from the EPA which is a good thing. I’m expecting federal lands being opened up for drilling. I’m expecting a lot of the executive actions that hurt the oil and gas industry will be rescinded. And what I think is really cool is for the first time in my lifetime, people that are putting political office during this administration for the oil and gas industry are actually from the oil and gas industry not politicians. That’s good for all of us.

Number ten, land rules.

And then, finally, number ten the last thing prediction, land rules. Sorry, land rules. I’m looking at all the capex budgets for the majors out there, they’re shifting their budgets, they’re reducing their offshore spin, but they’re increasing their land spin. Once again, that’s a great opportunity if you can get ahead of that.

So, there we did went through really quick our ten oil and gas predictions for 2017. If you like this and found it valuable, can you do me a favor? Can you use the social share buttons on this post and share it with your social media please?

And then anybody that has an interest in what we’re talking about, can you forward them this blogpost? It helps us spread the word and reach more people.

So, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.

How to Become an Oil and Gas Consultant

Want to become an Oil and Gas consultant? People reach out to me all the time and ask, “Mark, how did you become an oil and gas consultant?” So let me show you how.

 

 

 

There is no magic formula and everybody’s journey will be a little bit different, but let me kind of talk you through the stuff that I think you need to pay attention to based upon our own experience. You know we’ve made a lot of mistakes and we’ve kind of figured out how to do this the right way.

So, number one is what is your motivation? This is going to be work, and this is going to be a lot more work than you working for somebody else. So you have to have some type of motivation to keep you going. So in our case we’d like to help people. It feels good, so that is our motivation to do the work that we do. The money is nice, don’t get me wrong. But our motivation is helping others. So, you need to think about what is your motivation in learning how to become an Oil and Gas consultant.

How to Become an Oil and Gas Consultant

Know Your Skill Level

Number two. You have to determine your skill and knowledge level. Now, an expert is generally considered somebody that has ten thousand hours of experience doing whatever it is they’re an expert around. And, if you look at the conventional forty-hour work week, that means you need five years of hand on real practical experience doing whatever it is that you want to become an oil and gas  consultant. That’s a lot of time.

I’m not saying that you can’t start without that five years, but you need to understand your skill and knowledge level. Oil and gas companies are not to hire you to do a job if they don’t think you can pull it off. And, one of the ways they measure that is what is your experience.

Then next you have to define your success metrics. What are the things that you have to accomplish in year one, year two, year three, year four, year five so that you know that you’re successful. Revenue is part of that, but also in our case we look at clients’ satisfaction. But your success metrics will be different than anybody else, but you have to figure out what that is, you have to write it down.

Want to Become an Oil and Gas Consultant? You Need a Business Plan.

And, speaking of writing things down, you have to build a business plan. This doesn’t have to be forty-page document and it doesn’t have to go real deep. But you need to understand what are your challenges, like  how much capital do you need, what legal support do you need, how you’re going to structure your company. Are you an LLC an S Corp or an Inc? You need to have that business plan.

There’s a lot of organizations out there like SBA, SCORE, National Small Business Association, etc to help you figure out how to build that business plan. And you can find templates out there online, but you have to have a business plan. Your building something here, so you need a set of instructions or marching orders. You can’t wing it if you want to become an Oil and gas consultant.

Finally you need a professional image for your consulting business. A quick and inexpensive way to do this is with a virtual office. No need to hire a receptionist, buy office equipment, and get telecom and internet set up.

You Must Have a Marketing Strategy

Now, and this is even bigger than building a business plan. You have to develop a marketing strategy. Marketing is everything. How do you get your name out there? How do you differentiate yourself between and the other thirty people who are doing the same thing that you do? How do you get in front of people that can help you find prospects? In front of clients? How do you build that reputation of being an industry expert? All that is in your marketing plan and if you don’t know marketing, you should take the time to learn.

marketing strategy to become an oil and gas consultantThere are books, seminars and webinars to help you. But hiring a marketing expert and, word of warning here, a marketing expert doesn’t have to be this huge multi-million dollar a year company. It can be a single person. We got our start that way with TribeRocket. But you have to have a marketing strategy. It’s probably the most vital thing to do when your thinking about how to become an Oil and Gas consultant.

You Must Learn How to Sell if You Want to Become an Oil and Gas Consultant

Then, you have to learn how to sell. Learning how to sell is vitally important because that’s the only thing that brings money in the door. A lot of people think sales is distasteful and they imagine used car sales people. Those folk that try to force you to buy something that you don’t want.

That’s not what sales is at all. Sales is about problem solving. About helping people and companies solve real business issues. You can learn sales because its a science. Thats why you can develop forecastable, predictable sales models. So a good sales person is seen as valuable by their clients, a part of their trusted advisors. This is what it takes if you want to become an Oil and Gas consultant.

There’s a lot of experts out there like Anthony Iannarino, Mike WeinbergJeffrey GitomerMark Hunter, John Spence and Ken Krogue and there are a lot of good books like The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need and The Challenger Sale but you’re going to have to learn how to sell period.  Talk to any successful entrepreneur or consultant. And at some point in their journey, even if they’re sitting on top of a $2 billion year company, they had to sell. And you’re going to have to do the same thing.

Pick a Niche

Then pick a niche. So in our case, we’re the oil and gas sales experts. Our niche is how do you help other companies sell their product or service to the oil and gas industry. You have to niche down and the more you niche down the better off you’ll be. If you want to niche down to the point that you’re an SAP consultant for upstream companies and you help them write GUI interfaces that’s perfect. But see how deep and focused that is? If you want to become an Oil and Gas consultant  you will have to figure out what your niche is.

Then, whether you’ve been exposed to it or not, you’re going to have to learn project management and time management.

Project Management to become an Oil and Gas consultantYou’re going to be strapped for times especially when you first become an oil and gas consultant.

So everything you can do to increase you workable billable hours by doing effective time management, is going to help you. And project management, no matter what you’re doing for your clients, it’s going to be a project. And you have to learn how to manage that project. There’s a bunch of good resources out there. Look at PMI, look on Lynda.com, look at online courses but no matter what,  your going to have to learn how to use project management and time management to your benefit.

You Will Have to Choose

And then, here’s a big one. Are you going to be the oil and gas consultant that advices oil and gas companies or are you going to be the oil and gas consultant that does the work? Two totally different things.

So when you’re advising, people come to you as a thought leader. They want your help, your mentoring and they want you to help them make right decisions, but you’re not actually doing the work. There’s a nice place to be, but it takes much longer to get there.

But you can also actually do the work. That’s a quicker place to get to, because maybe you’re doing work they can’t do themselves. Maybe you’re filling a position that isn’t worth them hiring staff for. Maybe they need some skills and experience that they do not have, which is all valuable to the company.

So your going to have to figure out are you going to be a consultant that advises or consultant that does the work before you become an Oil and Gas consultant.

Problem Solving to become an Oil and Gas consultant

Then, you have to spend the time to know the oil and gas industry. You have to know understand the problems that oil and gas companies are dealing with. If you want to become an oil and gas consultant, you’re going to have to be a problem-solver. And those problems are going to have to be real business problems that the companies are dealing with.  And once you learn it, you’ll have to learn again next year. And the following year, and the next. The business drivers in this industry are always changing, always in flux. So you have to truly understand the problems that oil and gas companies are struggling with so that you can offer them something of value. Which is you helping them fix their problems.

Develop Your Business Process

Then, you have to develop your own business process, how do you do contract? How do you build your milestone billing? How do you invoice? How do you do expenses? Just like you’re going to help your clients with their business process by solving problems that they have, you will have to develop your own business process and it needs to be repeatable. And it it needs to be written down and updated.

Then speaking of things written down in business process, take a look at what you’re really good at and figure out what you can outsource. We talked earlier about marketing and part of that is stuff like search engine optimization and creating content like this blog.  I could easily have outsourced this.

We chose not to, but you may choose to outsource this. Look at what is not key billable time for you, then figure out what you can’t outsource and what you can. There’s a bunch of good companies out there globally like VAT that will allow you have virtual assistance for as little as $8 an hour, take advantage and free up your time.

Then, here’s a big one. You have to be transparent in all your business dealings and you have to be detached from the deal. So when we engage with a new client, I’m not thinking “Oh I really hope I’m going to close this deal” or “I need to close this deal today”. No, no, no.

I’m trying to figure out if it’s the best fit for the client. If it’s not, very transparently I say “I’m sorry but I don’t think I can help you”. And, I’m not emotionally attached to closing that deal. Now, be real careful here. People will tell me “Well Mark, you need to be excited you need to want to do business.” Yes, but that is different.

That’s having a passion for what you do best, it’s different than being emotionally attached to the deal. If the deal is not meant to happen, you can’t make it happen. You can’t make oil and gas companies buy from you if they don’t want to. They are only going to buy when its a benefit to them. And its impossible that you can provide benefit to Everybody.

So, you want to find out quickly as possible whether they’re a good prospect. And if they’re not, you want to move on. And once again, total transparency. Everything we do business-wise we talk it through with our clients. The way we price things? We do it with them in the room as a team.  If you want to become an oil and gas consultant that is successful, you need to practice transparency and being detached from the deal.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Then, why reinvent the wheel? Whatever you’re doing, I promise you somebody else has probably done it already. So find a mentor. There’s a bunch of organizations out there with very senior people looking to help mentor people. We do it as well. And if you’re going to become an oil and gas consultant, I think you have an obligation to help mentor other people. To help keep this thing alive and keep it going. Finding a mentor will help you so much, and keep you from making those really big mistakes.

Here is one we’re guilty of, but you need to build out your exit plan. You can’t do this forever, even if you build a robust oil and gas consulting business. At some point you’ll have to stop working. And you want to have ability to exit, even if its something you want to do right now. Typically what you do is develop some intellectual property. Then include your processes, and then you want to develop some technology. And that could be a simple as an app that mirrors your process. And finally train somebody in what you do.

Now you have the intellectual property, the technology and the person that can do the work. You now have something that you can sell or hand over, so you can exit. And for most, the goal is to have other companies that are bigger you’re looking at acquiring way before you’re looking to exit.

And then finally enjoy. We love what we do, it’s a passion for us and at the same time we actually can make a living at it. You need to enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy, if you don’t have a passion for what you are doing. Its going to fizzle out and your dream of becoming an oil and gas consultant is just not going to go anywhere.

I know that I went through a whole bunch of stuff here. Like I said, people ask us these questions all the time on how to become an oil and gas consultant. Hopefully we helped talk you through this. If you found this very valuable, can you do me a favor? On the side here, can you click these social share buttons, it helps us get our message out to more people.

Oil and Gas Sales Professionals. 10 Practices to Ensure Success

 

Oil and gas sales. Today, we’re going to talk about the ten practice to ensure your success if you’re an oil and gas sales professional.

Number one

Take full responsibility for your results. Do not blame your manager, do not blame your company, do not blame your competition, don’t blame politics, the weather, whatever. Take full responsibility. Once you own that, it makes it much easier to be successful.

Number twoOil and Gas Sales

Schedule time to learn. This is vitally important, put it in your calendar. Your oil and gas sales world is changing, right? Your clients’ business world is changing, the world around you is changing. You constantly have to spend time to learn, if not, you’ll get left behind. And, you talk about the most successful people out there are  the ones that have an open mind to learn and that spend the time to learn whatever is going on in their world. So, schedule time to learn.

Number three

Seize ownership of your personal and professional development. Don’t depend on somebody else, don’t depend on your performance view, it’s up to you!  So find blogs that teach good sales information like The Sales Blog, The Filling the Funnel Blog, Hubspot Sales Blog, Sales Hacker, etc. Follow them, read their work. Find workshops, find webinars. Put time in your calendar to work on your professional development. Find the top producer in your company and go buddy up with them. Try to figure out what he or she is doing that you’re not. Learn all that you can from them.

If you’re the top producer, you should be mentoring other oil and gas sales people beneath you. As this will only help reinforce your learning. However if your a top oil and gas sales producer, start a mastermind group. Find other top producers that aren’t competition, start a mastermind group. Get together once a month at lunch and then hold each other accountable. Share contacts, best practices, talk through the tough deals, get feedback, etc. That will only help your oil and gas sales results even more. Once again, top oil and gas sales people spend time working on their professional and personal development.

Every Top Oil and Gas Sales Professional has a List of Target Accounts

Number four

Develop a list of target accounts. So if you’re out hunting for new business, put a list together of people that you want to do business with that meet your criteria. That are similar to the companies you’re already doing oil and sales business with, but this list has to be real. It has to be finite, it has to be strategic, it has to be workable. It does no good to put a company that’s on the other side of the world if you don’t have travel budget. Make this list legit and actionable.

Number five

Use all means necessary to secure meetings with your targets, and I mean everything. So yes to social media, yes to networking events, yes to webinars, yes to expos, yes to trade shows. Work with your marketing department. Yes to picking up the phone and interrupting somebody’s day, but giving them valuable bit of information. Everything possible that you can use to set those meetings is what you to practice and implement.

Numbers six

You need to devote time to your mental and physical health. All top sales people I know are in their A game. And that means doing whatever it takes so that you can be mentally sharp and focused. And the only way you can do that is if you take care of yourself. What Stephen Covey calls sharpen the saw. So workout, make sure you eat right, get enough sleep, whatever works for you to de-stress, make sure you put that in your calendar. It’s important so you can always be on your A game.

Number seven

Change how your customers perceive you. I don’t know how many oil and gas sales people I hear from that say “we’re just looked upon as a vendor or a supplier”. You know modalpoint could be looked upon as a supplier, but we’re not.  Our customers perceive us as something very valuable and you can do the same thing. But in order to do that, you have to quit playing the role of a vendor. Stop playing the role of supplier. You become that trusted adviser and that expert resource that the company cannot do without. You have complete control over this. So, change how customers perceive you.

Number eight

Hone your sales story. There is nothing worse than meeting the new sales person and asking what they do, and they “throw up” on me about their company. That’s not your sales story. You need to understand what your targets and your clients are going through, what business problems they deal with on daily basis. Your sale story needs to be very short, but needs to be built around your clients’ business problems. Not what your company does, or anything about your product or solution. But real world issues that you can help solve, so work and hone your sales story.

A Trait of Oil and Gas Sales Leaders

Number nineoil and gas thought leader

Do the work required to be seen as thought leader in your field. We’re seen as a thought leader in our field and we work hard for this. And it’s not marketing bull, it’s real. Just like we are seen as the thought leader in oil and gas sales, you can do the same thing. Speak at events, publish, start a blog, write a book, write an e-Book, it’s very easy to do. The process of becoming the thought leader actually improves your sales games, because it forces you to become better and more knowledgable. And it’s one of the traits of the top sales people. Think of any top oil and gas sales person out there, and they’re generally seen as a thought leader in their field.

And number ten is a hard one.

Maximize your selling time. Everything you can do to increase the amount of time that you’re selling is a feather in your cap will help you hit those big numbers and those big commission checks. If your management is pushing stuff on you and it’s non-sales time, push back. Do it respectfully, but push back. Don’t spend all day in your inbox. Get out, go talk to clients, maximize your selling time and I promise that you sales success will go through the roof!

So, there you go, ten practice to ensure your success if you’re in oil and gas sales professional.

Can you do me a favor? If you found this valuable, can you click the social share buttons on the upper lefthand side of this page please? It helps us get our message out so we can help more people like you. Also we have some exclusive oil and gas sales video tips that you can only find on our Facebook page, so click here to check them out.

So, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.

Oil and Gas Business Downturn. 8 Steps to Come Out Ahead

Oil and Gas business downturn.

Learn the 8 steps you need to know to come out ahead. And for sales tips to help you in this low crude price market, click here to check out our new FB page.

 

Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.

All right. Today’s show, Oil and Gas Business Downturn: 8 Steps to Come Out Ahead. I’ve had hundreds of companies reached out to me since this low crude price environment has hit asking for help. And, they want to understand how to at least keep their doors open during this low crude price environment and then what they need to do to actually come out ahead. So, we’ve helped them, now, we’re going to see if we can help you, so let’s jump right into it.

First thing, you need to understand why your business is slow. Now, you may go, “Mark, my business is slow because the price of crude is $37 per barrel.” No, no, no, no, no. Why is your business really slow? Let’s say you provide valves, right? The oil and gas industry is still buying valves, so even if it’s a slow time right now, why are they not buying yours? Let’s say you sell some software package out there and people quit buying it. Is it that your software is not vital to the business? It’s a nice thing to have – not a must have? It’s really important you understand the real drivers behind your business being slow, especially in an Oil and Gas Business Downturn.

Next thing. You have to understand why your clients buy from you. Here is a place where I’ve seen some major multi-million dollar companies that had this twenty-year practice in oil and gas not understanding the basics why their clients are buying from them. And there’s a lot of companies that we’ve worked with that think they know why their clients are buying from them, but they’re wrong, right?

So, I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen it where clients tell me that the reason their clients are buying from them is because they’re cheaper and the truth was, it wasn’t that they were cheaper, it’s that they can get their products to the client – client faster which help them hit their project dates, right? I had companies out there who thought that the reason the oil and gas industry was buying their stuff was because it was high quality. It wasn’t that it’s high quality, it’s that it was safer products out there which is a major business driver in this industry.

So, you really need to understand why your clients buy from you and get rid of any preconceived notions in your head, you need to hear it from their mouth. There are couples of ways to do that, so we do this a lot for our clients, we do some deep dive interviews into their existing clients, such a great way to do it. If you ask the same questions enough time to enough different people we see a trend in that data. The other thing you can do is a focus group. Pick up the tab for lunch, get a dozen of your clients in the room together and jut talk to them and understand why they buy from you. It’s vital to know why people buy your stuff in order to deal with an Oil and Gas Business Downturn.

All right. Next thing, you need to reevaluate your business strategy. If your business strategy is well, our phones have always rung and Chevron has always bought stuff from us, so we’re going to sit here and wait for our phones to ring and Chevron to buy from us. That doesn’t work, this is 2016. The way business was done in the last, you know, ten years doesn’t work now even the last five years.

So, you know, figure out strategically how do you structure your business to thrive in a low crude price environment in a high crude price environment, you know, where are the opportunities in the market, what are the risks of you doing business and reevaluate your entire business strategy. And, I’ll give you a tip, this should not be a document to do once, this should be a live document that every year you reevaluate because things are going to change in the industry.

Next thing. And, please, people look at new market. I don’t know how many companies that serves upstream have reached out to me that don’t know that downstream was on fire right now, that downstream has tons of money, they’re building new stuff, they can’t hire people quick enough. And, they’re totally blind to that, they think the oil and gas industry is upstream, it’s not. Learn the entire industry and find new markets that you can sell your product or service to and spend the time and resources to develop those markets.

All right. Next thing. Learn. It’s slow, because of the Oil and Gas Business Downturn. There’s not orders coming in door, you’re not having to kick at all these purchase orders and all these sorts of stuff. Since it’s slow, take your time to learn, learn things that will affect your business, learn about other parts of the industry, right? Learn how to do things like digital marketing. There’s a great resource out there called Lynda.com. It’s very inexpensive and you can learn almost anything out there, right? You can learn better ways to package your products, you can learn social media, you can learn, you know, how to enter new markets in Asia. Go spend some time to learn right now.

Then, please, please assess your existing market and sales tactics. If your sales tactics is I go play golf with the VP of ExxonMobil, that’s not a sales tactic anymore in 2016. If your marketing is that you have yellow page ads and you go to trade shows for the fish bowl to collect business cards, that’s not working anymore. You need to learn how to sell and market in today’s world.

Selling right now in 2016 is about problem solving. Where there are people out there that are potential clients to you that have a problem that your product or solution solves, then your sales people need to be able to explain how they solve problems. That’s what sales is. Yes, relationship building is important, but now what is important is being able to solve problems.Oil and Gas Business Downturn

What doesn’t work anymore is to be the educator, to walk in the door and say, we’re blah blah blah and we do blah blah blah and blah blah. No, no, no, you do all your work upfront so when you walk into that prospect meeting as a salesperson, you know, what problems you’re dealing with. You even know how much it’s costing them and you tell them I know you have this problem, I know it’s costing you this much money or this much and your safety metrics or whatever. Be the problem solver.

Marketing – marketing is rapidly switching to digital marketing. The old print stuff that work in oil and gas even just five years ago, that’s disappearing. And if you don’t understand the new digital marketing game, take the time to learn it or find somebody that can teach you, right? That’s what we did. and its blows the doors off during an Oil and Gas Business Downturn.

Next thing. You have to lower cost, right? Every penny counts right now. That may mean taking a cut in your salary, that may mean, you know, getting your – your entire employees to take a 15% cut. It may mean shopping for different health benefits. It may mean having different resources for fleet maintenance. Everything you do to lower cost that can help you get through this.

Then, and here’s a major one that nobody ever does. You have to build a plan for the rebound. You know it’s coming. And, you know I’m been saying $60 a barrel by August, when that rebound comes how are you going to best capitalize on that? You’re going to have to staff back up. Do you have an eye on that talent you have a finger where you can pick that up? If you’re a manufacturing, you may have to ramp up production. Do you know how you can ramp up production? Do you need to look at new facilities ahead of time? Capital? Where are you going to get the capital to grow? Building a rebound plan during an Oil and Gas Business Downturn is a sure route to future success.

Build the plan for the rebound, so that when it comes back you can best maximize this and you’ll be sitting pretty. If you don’t build a plan for the rebound, when it comes back, business will be okay and the next time we have a downturn and you know we’ll have another one and another in ten to fifteen years, you’re going to be in the same place you are right now. So, there you go, eight steps to come out ahead during oil and gas business downturn.

We have a Facebook page. Long story, I’m not been on Facebook. Now, Modal Point has a Facebook page. Go check it out please because we have some very exclusive content. It’s only on our Facebook page to help oil and gas sales professional get better in playing their game. Very short, you know, thirty, forty-second videos for tips and tricks. So, go check out our Facebook page. We’ll put a link in the show notes.

And then, please, please, please if you found this valuable, will you just share this. There’s buttons like right here, just click your favorite social media button and share our content. It helps us get our word out and it’s kind of a way for you tell me thank you without ever meeting me in person.

So, folks I hope this helped. We will see you next time.

Oil and Gas Expert. 10 Ways to Become One

 

 

Oil and Gas Expert, 10 Ways to Become One. People reach out to me all the time they want to know how to become an oil and gas expert and we’re giving you ten ways to get you going.

Oil and Gas expertSo, before we get there though, the first thing is why would you want to be an oil and gas expert? Well, the first reason is you command respect by your peers. You’re seen as an authority figure. Number two, you have the ability to teach and train others, right? And then, finally, because you’re an expert you command premium rates if you’re in the consulting or business world. So those are three reasons why you might want to be an oil and gas expert. Let’s get into the 10 ways to do it.

So, number one, the first thing is you have to figure out what you’re interested in. The oil and gas industry is enormous and you can’t be an expert in the entire industry, so you have to pick in – pick a niche that you have an interest in and it’s really important that you have an interest in it because you’re trying to become an expert and if you don’t have a passion around it, you won’t ever get there, you won’t do the work required, you won’t do the learning. So, first thing is figure out what you’re interested in.

To be an Oil and Gas Expert you Need to Specialize

Next thing is micro specialize. You need to very, very, very niche yourself. Whether you want to be a completions expert or you want to be a sub-sea expert. Or even if you want to be a refining expert. Figure out what that niche is, it makes it easier for you and it’s also going to align better with what you’re interested in.

Then, practice. Practice makes perfect. If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he says it’s about ten thousand hours of practice before you master a task. Ten thousand hours. If you did it full time as a job, that’s a little bit over five years. If you did it part time, it’s ten years before you can master it. But if you want to be an oil and gas expert, you have to practice, practice, practice.

Then, perpetual learning, this is one that we’re a real big believer in. You will never know it all. Ever! If you’re an expert, you’re always learning, so perpetual learning.

Then, transparency. You’ll see me do this on the show, you’ll see me do it on a podcast, you’ll see me do it in person. When I don’t know something, I say I don’t know, that’s what an expert does. And that gives you a place to go learn something new.

Oil and Gas expertsThen, when you actually get the experience and the practice and you have your niche, then you need to actually start making it happen. So, write articles for news sites and publications. That’s a good way to show your expertise and also helps you learn more because you have to do the research for article that you write.

Then, write a book. Take one of your articles and do a deeper dive especially if you have a problem-solution type of book, that will be great. Once again, it will help you become an oil and gas expert. Or, you could also develop an e-course. Once again, showing your expertise.

And then, start speaking, get out in public. A lot of people are afraid of this. I actually love to speak in public. And if you have trouble getting invited to be a speaker, follow somebody. Find somebody that’s an expert that you follow and see if you can speak either before or after them. Also reach out to them and they’ll probably be happy to help you start your speaking career.

Then, get interviewed. Get interviewed on radio shows or podcasts. Once again, if you’re seen as an expert, people will want to interview you and if you’re having trouble getting on radio shows, start with podcasts. A lot of podcasts out there would be happy to interview because they need good content.

And then, finally, build trust. Once you have that domain authority, once you have that expertise, once you spoke, once you’re – get it — wrote a book, you’re now building trust with your audience with the world out there and you need to maintain that trust.

So, there you go, 10 ways to become an oil and gas expert. Hope this helped, we will see you next time.

 

Sales Strategy for Oil and Gas 2016. How to Kick Ass and Drive Results

Today, we’ve got something really cool, Sales Strategy for Oil and Gas in 2016: How to Kick Ass and Drive Results.

Just a note, this is not our predictions for 2016, that blog post will come out in November. This is for sales people in oil and gas, to learn what you need to do to make sure you have a killer year in 2016. So let’s just jump into it.

So number one, and if you watched us for any length of time you knew this is what I was going to say – planning. Planning is everything. Now if you’re one of those companies out there who have this annual sales planning process, and you make all your reps put all these charts, numbers, figures and target accounts together, then present it to management. Then you don’t touch it again for the rest of the year. Stop it, that’s a waste of your time and it’s a waste of your reps time. If you don’t use something that’s fact-based and actual, it’s a waste of everybody’s time, so let’s get it right. This is how you develop sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

You need to look at what you really need to accomplish with bottom up mathematics, not top down. A lot of sales organizations get some big number from the executives, and then they divvy it up and a number eventually gets handed to the reps. That’s not real facts, its guesses.

This is the foundation for sales strategy for oil and gas 2016

Look at from the reps’ point of view. What can they actually realistically produce in 2016, and then add some additional upside as a stretch goal. Then work your way up to get your total number. And remember, everything you need in this plan needs to be actual; it needs to be real and usable. And throughout the year you need to have checkpoints with your reps to readjust and make sure they’re on track. A short one page actionable sales plan is a hundred times better than some thirty-page PowerPoint that nobody ever looks at again. This is the foundation for sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

Next thing is you have to know is what is the problem that your product or solution fixes. Now if you’ve been selling to oil and gas for years or on some case decades, you may think you know exactly where that is. And unfortunately if that world for you is an upstream or the service part of the industry you’re really hurting right now. Trust me if you fix something in upstream and service, there is probably a need for you fixing other parts of the industry; midstream, downstream, supertankers, whatever (to learn about the difference in segments click here). So be open to exploring other segments of this industry.

Let me tell you a real client story. We had this client that has been selling to oil and gas companies for almost twenty years. Their product connected any business system to any other business system, think of it as universal translator. And so traditionally they sold to the service companies, they sold very low margin deals and they sold to IT. That was their world and they thought that was their market in Oil & Gas. All they’d worried about with their sales and marketing efforts is getting in front of more IT people from the service companies.

Well then the low prices hit. Their existing Service company’s clientele quit buying and they got scared. So they engaged with us. We go out to the market and we look at the whole oil and gas industry; upstream, midstream, downstream, and service. And guess what? There’s this whole world out there (predominantly upstream companies) that have a need to form joint ventures often because of laws. So if you’re an American oil and gas company and you want to do business in Brazil you have to form a joint venture with the Brazilian nationalized oil company, Petrobras. Law requires this and if you multiply that scenario times ten thousand, that’s how many JV’s are out there.

sales strategy for oil and gas 2016 joint ventureWell, part of forming a joint venture is that you need to connect your business systems to the other company’s business system and you want to do it as quickly as possible. And more importantly to the American oil and gas companies, is that when you want to disconnect it because the JV’s is over with, you want to disconnect it instantly. Well my clients had a perfect solution for that, but they didn’t know that market even existed for them. So now they’ve actually increased their market share 31% in a segment of the market that they didn’t even know they had business in. And the coolest thing is now they’re no longer selling to IT, they’re selling to the business because they solve the real business problem, so they doubled their margins on their deals.

So, there’s a great example how whatever your product or solution does in the industry you may think you know where it fits, but I promise you it fits in other parts of the industry. And in this low crude price market, you need to know exactly where that is and go out there and sell it.

Then, for 2016 regardless of which you think about the rebound of crude prices (we have our own views on that), you need to be focusing on midstream and downstream and especially petrochemical. Petrochemicals are hot right now. Here is a link of the Hot petrochemical companies in the U.S. for 2016 for you to use.

ExxonMobil’s chemical division has increased revenue 63% year over year! This is November of 2015. From a year ago they’ve increased their revenue 63% and that’s crazy freaking growth. But you wouldn’t know that listening to the news. So, there’s a big market that you may not know exist for what you do and it’s in oil and gas, it’s just in a different part of oil and gas. This should be a part of your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

The next thing is for those upstream and the service companies that service upstream, if you’re still trying to sell there you need to figure out how to become an efficiency expert. Take what your product or solution does, figure out how it drives efficiencies in some manner or form and that’s your new sales approach. They’re not going to listen to you and buy anything new right now because they’re scared and they’re hurting for money. They will listen to you if you can provide efficiency; it’s what everybody’s looking for. And I promise you if you step back from what you do with the bigger picture and think about it, you can figure out some way that your product or solution drives efficiencies which is the only way the upstream and the service companies are going to even talk to you right now.

Then here’s a big one – you need to look for problems that your companies don’t even know they have. So in this low crude price market the upstream and the service companies are worried about all kinds of stuff and if you can uncover a problem or cost that they didn’t know they have, then you’re on to something. But let me warn you, you also have to have the culture that they want to change that problem. In oil and gas unfortunately, there’s a lot of problems that people can fix but if the industry doesn’t want to change that problem, you’re wasting your time. You’re better off taking that time and go somewhere else. But if you can fix a problem especially one they don’t know they have, and they have the willingness to fix it you’re on to something huge.

Next and this is something that a lot of reps back off on when they get worried, you must have dedicated prospecting time. And I don’t care if you’re an entry level sales guy or you’ve been doing it for twenty five years and you’re at the top of your game, you have to put in the time for prospecting. Your future is your prospecting. Your existing clients may or may not renew with you, they may not buy from you. But if you can find new people that will buy from you, you then own your sales future. So, if you don’t put dedicated time in your calendar for prospecting, it’s your fault that you’re not hitting your number.

Sales strategy for oil and gas 2016 reps will have to live and die by their numbers

And speaking of numbers, for your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016 reps will have to live and die by their numbers. How many cold calls did you make? How many e-mails did you send out? How many existing clients did you meet with? How many proposals you get out the door? It’s more important than ever to live and die by the numbers. I promise you that people who have high activity will have good results. It doesn’t always mean that people with high activity have the best results, but I promise you high activity drives good results.

Then here’s what I stole from Stephen Covey, but you got to sharpen the saw folks. Don’t get stressed. It’s a rough time for those people that are in upstream and the service companies that touch upstream, those sales organizations are worried. But you need to make sure you get your workout in, make sure you eat right and that you get enough sleep. Because you need to be number one, you need to be at the top of your game and if you don’t take care of yourself physically then you won’t be on top of the game and you’re going to miss stuff and make mistakes. So sharpen the saw.

If you have existing clients you’ve got to look at the strategy to retain and grow those existing accounts. You have people that are buying from you, what will it take to sell them something new? If you spend some time to strategize that for 2016, I promise you it will pay you off by the end of the year.

And next which kind of ties back in the prospecting, what do you have to do to find new accounts and opportunities? Think that through strategically there’s other places that have a need for what you do. Where are they? What is that order? Where is that number one person that’s not buying from you now that will buy from you the quickest? And what is the one that’s not going to buy from you no matter what? You need to know that progression, and then you want to spend your time on the ones that will buy from you. Not on the ones that won’t.

Then, what can you do to increase the actual deal size? So think about this, if you sell something and the averagesales strategy for oil and gas 2016 increase deal size deal is $500,000 and you can increase that to $250,000 with some value add, for every two that you sell it’s actually like closing three of your old deals, it’s a force multiplier. So think of something that can add genuine value to your clients and see what you can do to increase your actual opportunity size. This is vital for your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

Next what do you have to do to win more opportunities in your pipeline? If you’re a sales manager and you have a big sales organization, this might be something you don’t want to hear right now. But training (even thought it cost dollars) could pay off big time with increasing your teams close ratio. If you take your existing reps and give them some knowledge transfers or some new skills they don’t have, and they go from a 50% to a 70% close ratio, that’s huge for your number. If you’re a small sales organization or one guy think about it, there’s some good information out there to help you with your close ratio. For us and our close ratio is around 95%. Think about it, what would happen if you have that type of close ratio? How much additional revenue would you actually generate.?

And here’s a big one for your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016. What do you have to do to increase your selling time? There’s so many distractions – inbox, text messages, Facebook, voicemails, waste of time meetings, expense reports, quarterly updates, keypunching info into CRM. And NONE of that is selling time. Get as much of that crap off your plate as you can. Hire an assistant, farm it out, do it at different hours, bring in some new technology and automate some of that stuff, think about picking up some interns, whatever. But everything you can do to increase your selling time will drive better results.

Now here’s one you need to really think about, events. So events have been a part of oil and gas for probably a hundred years. But technology and times have changed. Events for sales people used to be top of the funnel stuff, right? You had your fishbowl and you get business cards. These became prospects that entered the top of your funnel and you’d worked them through your funnel, and naturally a percentage would close. Well I hate to tell you but it doesn’t work that way anymore. Not at all. In todays world events are bottom of the funnel activity. Where can you bring in highly qualified people that have a need for what you do, that have a budget, that are looking to buy a solution.

Let me give you an example. We talked about our client that had technology that connects any business system to any other business system. This past OTC we hosted a breakfast but we didn’t do anything at OTC. OTC is huge, it’s enormous it’s the largest oil and gas conference in the world, and the third largest conference of any kind in the world.

What we did is we piggybacked off that traffic. You have everybody in the world here in Houston, Texas for that week, but it’s a waste of money for my client to put up a booth as we wouldn’t even break even looking at total costs of having a booth vs. the business generated. So we actually did a breakfast and we brought in a speaker, we actually paid for a speaker and that’s speaker’s expertise was what are the best business practices when you’re forming a joint ventures in oil and gas. Now think about that for a second. Here’s a guy who’s an expert in the best practices when you form a joint venture. If you remember what my client did, anybody that would be willing to get out of bed at 8:00 o’clock and go to this breakfast is automatically highly qualified candidate for them because that’s the problem they solve. They help with joint ventures. At that breakfast we had thirty-one people show up, my client’s sales team sets seventeen sales meetings and they closed nine new accounts. Thats nine new  logo’s. The cost? $1,500. Where else in the world could you close nine new accounts for $1,500? There’s a strategic way to use an event.

So you need to think about events strategically, you need to figure out which ones have the audience that you want to get in front of. And instead of setting up a booth, I challenge you to think differently. Think about becoming the industry expert. Think about whatever your company does, whatever your product or solution solves, and then either you or someone else in your company become the expert around that problem. Now you can go to events and speak. Instead of spending your money on booth, be the expert, be the person that people think of when they think of experts in whatever your company does. I promise you that will drive much more sales results than the booth and somebody with a fishbowl collecting business cards.

Speaking of events we have a newsletter, as far as I know we’re the only people that do this. I take all the oil and gas events in the world going on, put those events in a monthly newsletter and I put it in your inbox once a month. So if you’re interested in really rocking 2016 and you’re going to use events as part of your strategy, go sign up for our newsletter, it’s free. We don’t spam you and once a month you get the list of all events and you can figure out which ones you can use strategically for your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

Now here’s one that is vitally important, but so many people skip over in small companies and even large companies in Oil & Gas. Marketing. If you’re a big company and you have a marketing department, typically the way you think of the marketing people is they give me a bunch of crappy leads; they’re a waste of time. The reason they give you crappy leads quite honestly is you’re not spending time with them. They need the information that’s in your head and I promise you they can give you great leads. Walk over to marketing, introduce yourself, sit down with them, and start working with them. Hand in hand as a team. Once you start giving the knowledge they need, they can help you grow your inbound leads and increase the quality of your leads. I promise you, if you work well with your marketing team, if you partner with them the quality of leads will double or triple or quadruple and you may make your number without actually having to make any cold calls. Marketing has gotten that good and its super important.

Now, if you’re a smaller company or you’re a one-man shop and you don’t have a marketing team, go learn it. We learned it with a little help from James Hahn and Triberocket. It’s not that hard, there are some great books out there. Here is a link for a HubSpot article on the basics of marketing for sales people. I promise you it’s a force multiplier. Instead of you meeting five or six people a day, which is probably the maximum meetings you could actually make happen. If you do marketing right you may be in front of five thousand people a day without actually being there. How cool is that. If you have a marketing department, partner with your marketing people and get them to help you with things like social selling. In 2016 social selling will be starting to take off in our industry, and should be a part of your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

Next your e-mail list. Right now you have a bunch of e-mails in your CRM and if you send them something it’s comes across as spammy. Quit doing that, nobody cares about that. Actually, segment your e-mail list by categories and send them stuff that’s valuable. I’ll give you a perfect example you probably didn’t even think of. Remember we talked about our e-mail list for events? You see that as valuable. We have a lot of people seeing being on that list as valuable, so they signed up. That’s my e-mail list. I have given my perspective clients something that’s valuable. They don’t see it as spam, they want it and it’s useful to them. See how we used our e-mail list to actually stay in front of prospects as part of our marketing efforts? You can do the same thing; you have to have something genuine, useful and valuable. So quit sending unsolicited e-mails and start actually giving good useful information When they get ready to buy, guess who they think of first because you’re top of mind? You! Your phone rings with people that want to buy from you. It’s Awesome!

And then if you are a bigger company and you have marketing department, talk to them about marketing automation. It’s become really common, the price has come down and basically the old sales process of working your prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, they can automate a lot of that for you. Then what happens is they hand you the people at the bottom of the funnel that’s are ready to sign. Marketing automation is awesome, but only if you work with your marketing department to help them understand exactly how to make that thing happen.

sales strategy for oil and gas 2016 listsHere’s one that’s if anybody’s worked with us before, we’re a bit famous for. And I get joked about it all the time, but I’m telling you it works – Lists. I want you to have half a dozen lists for 2016 and it’s important you have to buy into this. The first list I want you to develop is a connector list. I want you to get a piece of paper and I want you to write down everybody that you know that or would like to know would be a connector. People that are in your industry or maybe outside your industry that are not competitors that can connect you with the people you want to connect with, not necessarily prospects although they could connect your prospects. But maybe other connections in prospect companies so you could work your way through that company and build those relationships. The connector doesn’t see you as a threat, you’re not trying to sell anything to them and then you can become a connector for them so it’s a win-win. So write down ten people for 2016 that you want to meet that you want to introduce yourself that would be a connector.

Next a past client list. You have companies that you’ve sold to before that are happy with you, how cool would it be if you can pull those out your back pocket as a reference at anytime? And a lot of those people as you know, they work for a company five or six years and then they’ll go to another company. Well there’s a new perspective client and the guy that moved over there is a champion of yours. So think about ten past clients that you have a great relationship with that you did go to work for, reach back out there and re-engage and keep those relationships alive because I promise you it will help you.

Sales strategy for oil and gas 2016 be the industry expert

As another part of sales strategy for oil and gas 2016, how about an industry expert list? Think about your industry and get a piece of paper and write down the top ten industry experts in your business. Then reach out to them and form a connection with them. Here’s why, from a seller’s point of view you’re much better off to be seen as an industry expert and a problem solver than you’re seen as a sales person. Well when you start reaching out to those ten people that are seen as an industry expert in your industry, guess what? By association you start being seen as an industry expert. And if you spend time with them, have meaningful conversations, help and engage you will raise your expertise level. Because eventually you want to be seen as an industry expert and the best way to start is to start hanging out with industry experts.

Here’s one that we do, we have a young people’s list. I’m 50 years old, so for me people that are 35 years of age are younger. We have a young professionals group we set up inside API. I have about twenty young people that I mentor every year in college. I actually teach one day a week in my local high school. Young people are great, they have new ideas, new ways to approach stuff, they’re fearless. It benefits my business so much to have young people involved that we also have interns. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. So, whatever young is to you, if you’re 35, reach out to people that are 20. If you’re in college, reach out to people in high school for you know. Have a young people’s list because it pushes your boundaries and makes you think outside of the box.

Finally get a piece of paper and write down a stretch list. These are all the people that you wish you could connect to that you don’t think would connect with you. The CEO of Chevron, maybe the chief marketing officer of TIBCO Software, industry experts, a Forrester analyst, whatever. Write down ten people and then reach out to them. Hey, if three of them can connect with you out of your ten, wow, you’ve reached your stretch goal. How cool is that? And all of these lists will help you with your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016.

Now, here’s where I ask a favor. We gave you a bunch of good information, there’s a bunch of good links, downloads, all kinds of stuff in here and I ask nothing for this. I could charge for this and I don’t. So will you do me a favor, it takes less than one minute? If this was valuable to you would you please share this using the social media buttons? This is how we get our information out there and help other people. So if you can just take one minute and share this, we’d really appreciate it.

Finally if anybody needs help with their oil and gas sales strategy for 2016, we’re running a special. Its $100 for an hour for my time on the phone to work with you on your sales strategy for oil and gas 2016. We will stop this at the end of this year, so just click here and fill out our contact form  to get started.

Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas. What is it and How do You Implement

Something is about to become a major business driver and its called Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas. And it’s a real game changer. We do a deep dive plus video.

Why would Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas be important? Ponder this for a second, 69% of Oil and Gas organizations don’t link budget and resource planning to strategy. Can you imagine what would happen if they did?

Well, with an operational excellence program in place, budget, strategy and resources are intrinsically linked – driving world class performance.

Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas

Now operational excellence in Oil and Gas is not new, but it is somewhat new to the industry. Operational excellence first came to light in a book authored by Michael Treacy and Fred Weirsema. It was a research book based on what sets market leaders apart from the pack, titled “The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market. And what their research showed is that market leaders in the business world could excel if they concentrate their efforts on one of three buckets.

The first bucket is product leadership

So companies that excel in product leadership will lead the pack and the company that comes to my mind first is of course Apple, they dominate their niche by being the product leaders. Regardless if you an Apple fan or not, pick up one of their devices, walk into one of their stores or simply look at all the copycats they have spawned and you realize that they are the product leader in their market.

The next is customer intimacy

That’s another bucket that their research determined could help companies come out on top. When I think of customer intimacy, I think of companies like Neiman Marcus or Brooks Brothers. Not only do their front line staff know you by name, but their back office systems are set up to know YOU. Sizes, favorite colors, cuts and styles all tracked so that you are given concierge treatment every time you set foot in one of their locations, anywhere in the world.

And finally, there is operational excellence

FedEx best exemplifies operational excellence. Think about what they’re able to accomplish, over 11 million packages a day delivered to over 220 countries and they do it without a hitch, achieving and on time delivery of 99.45%. Every piece of FedEx’s business has to function together as one cohesive unit to make this possible, from HR to accounts payable, from fleet maintenance to IT, and from supply chain to marketing. All on top of a culture of continuous improvement.

Operational excellence in Oil and Gas was a popular discussion in the 90’s and then it kind of disappeared, because quite frankly profits went up based upon the global price of crude. Well those high crude prices are gone, and are not coming back anytime soon.

 

We’re in the perfect point in history for operational excellence in Oil and Gas to be a major business driver. (Click to Tweet)

 

And it will be for 5 main reasons:

(Click here if you don’t know the differences between upstream, midstream downstream & service. This 3 minutes of quick education will help before you read further)

Number 1 Upstream

We’re in a long term low crude price market which means the upstream companies have to wring costs out of their processes. And in some cases a lot of costs. Also they’re doing stuff they’ve never done before, think of unconventionals, deep water, arctic drilling, high pressure high temperature, all which are much costlier and higher risk. The perfect solution? Operational excellence in Oil and Gas.

Number 2 Midstream

Midstream companies have to rethink capacity, routes and opposition. The routes used to be easy to figure out, build pipelines to bring all the oil and gas from the Gulf Coast that was delivered by supertankers, to all of the refineries scattered around the country. Well, that’s almost reversed itself. Now we need to bring oil and gas from the rest of the county due to the shale plays, down to the Gulf Coast for refining. And most of those other refineries scattered around the country are now gone. So not only is the old way of doing business disappearing, but in that process pipeline companies are now blending in the pipe, which is driving the need for storage. On top of all that new and dynamic business (new & dynamic is usually not associated with midstream), the pipeline companies are facing the worse opposition to new construction projects in their history. All a driver for operational excellence.

Number 3 Downstream

Downstream is in a unique position. They’ve being spurred by growth because the cost of their raw feed stock has been cut by 40%. And they are entering new markets like LNG and exports of refined goods. But right smack in the middle of all this growth potential, they’re fighting state and federal policy which has become increasingly more complex and requires much greater attention to detail to implement. Operational excellence in Oil and Gas is the perfect solution.

Number 4 Service

The poor service companies are being hammered. They quite frankly are getting beat up by all of their customers to lower their prices, to do more for less, and get things done quicker. Once again, operational excellence is the key for them to accomplish all of that and still maintain profitability.

Number 5 Talent

And then the entire industry is fighting this thing we call “The Great Crew Change”. This means that a high percentage of senior people with experience are going to retire and at the same time. And it’s going to happen in the next 10 years. And when I say a lot of people, it’s huge. 57% of all mid-level managers and above will be retiring from the oil and gas industry in the next decade. Combine that with an overall shortage of talent in the oil and gas industry, and a severe shortage of craft labor and you get the perfect storm that I think only operational excellence in oil and gas can address.

 

Now when I say operational excellence in Oil and Gas, a lot of people don’t understand what I mean.

And unfortunately because the oil and gas industry has a ton of engineers, when I say operational excellence most people think process excellence. Two totally different things. You need process excellence to successfully implement an operational excellence program, but you don’t need operational excellence to implement a process excellence program.

Process excellence is a way to wring out inefficiencies in a process. Think Six Sigma, Lean, Agile, Kaizen and Business Process Management. They all address improving the process in some fashion, but they do not look at the entire organization from top to bottom. Nor do they address culture, change management, leadership or continuous improvement.

Operational excellence is exponentially more impactful to an organization. Wikipedia best describes operational excellence as “a philosophy of leadership, teamwork, and problem solving resulting in a continuous improvement throughout the organization by focusing on the needs of the customers, empowering employees, and optimizing existing activities in the process”.

operational excellence processNow operational excellence in oil and gas is in its infancy, but a couple of companies have embraced operational excellence and are on their voyage. If you’re a Chevron fan or if you work at Chevron, you have heard of The Chevron Way. The Chevron Way is “we’ll complete every task, the right way, every time”. That folks is operational excellence.

And big old ship ExxonMobil is out there implementing operational excellence, which is allowing them a return on their operations three or four points higher than their competitors. This means Exxon can go places and either make more money than anybody else, or in places where other companies can’t make money, they can. All because of operational excellence.

Dow, DuPont, LyondellBasell and ConocoPhillips all have started down this path. And companies like McKinsey, Accentur and Bain & Company all have consulting practices around operational excellence in Oil and Gas.

When you think of deploying operational excellence in Oil and Gas, it’s really a simple thing to figure out. It’s really just two main parts:

1. Where do you want to take your business?

2. Building and implementing the road map to actually get there.

 

The first thing I rattled off is where do you want to take your business? That sounds simple, but the answer is actually more strategic than you would think. You need to look at your entire organization, at all the opportunities in the market, your competitors, your company’s strengths and weaknesses, your existing talent pool, leadership and constraints, and then figure out with this identified sets of assets – where do you want to go? What makes the most logical sense as a destination when looking into the future? As Stephen Covey said, begin with the end in mind.

The next part is that once you know where you want to go, how do you build and implement a roadmap to get there? Now this is where it gets much more complex, and coincidently where most companies fail.

The first question you have to answer is, can you picture your mission critical operating processes, like accounts receivable? Can you literally visualize the moment that you send one of your clients a bill, what actually happens on their side? What paper trails, what systems does it have to be key punched in, what processes does that bill go through until you actually get your money? And then once you receive it, what keypunching and paper trails have to take place on your side for you to actually recognize that revenue? What is that process? And that’s one process in a company. Imagine if you take a large enterprise organization in oil and gas, somebody has multiple business units. You can see the complexity of just that one process multiplied by 1,000. But until you can map out and picture your critical operating processes, it will be impossible to look at efficiencies and improvement synergistically.

Once you have that done, then you have to figure out functionally how do you operate? What parts of your business are key and most important which ones are less important so you have an order of progression.

Once you can picture your mission critical operating process and you have an order of progression, the next question you need to answer is, what tasks or workflows need to be tweaked or changed to improve those operating processes? And then once you have that done, you need to implement a system to track and measure the progress (or lack thereof).

And then (and this is part of the process excellence that a lot of people miss out on), you have to drive continuous improvement. So Operational Excellence Continuous Improvementthis whole thing that we’re building doesn’t have an end game. It’s continuously being improved and it has to be improved by the people that have their feet on the street, the people that run your day to day business. Which means your leadership team has to build and then support your employees adopting this culture of continuous improvement.

This is not an easy thing to pull off. You’ll hear it a lot in HS&E in oil and gas where people say, well, anybody in the line can pull the trigger. Stop whatever is going on because of a safety risk. The reality is that’s not 100% accurate. What happens is if you’re that guy in the line and you pull that stop lever, you better have a damn good reason why you did or you get your chops busted. That’s not the right way to think about continuous improvement. You need to have the key people in organization being able to stop and reassess the process to see if it can be improved. Now I’m not saying that everybody in the organization can pull the stop lever for any reason. You don’t want a first year engineer right out of school to pull the trigger and stop $85 billion deep-water project. But he may have found something that your senior engineers didn’t see. So what you need is a change matrix in place, so that if something needs to be changed, the right people can verify it’s valid and then you can go ahead and improve the process. Once again, that needs to be an evolution of continuous improvement in the entire organization.

So, once you build and you’re able to deploy that roadmap, now you come to the hard part especially in oil and gas.

How do you change the business culture to ensure success with operational excellence in Oil and Gas? That’s a tough one, but it starts with leadership.

Senior leadership has to buy into this lock, stock, and barrel. If they don’t, this will never be successful. And trust me, it will not happen if it’s an “order from the ivory tower”. It has to be authentic with 100% buy in by the executive team, and eventually every single person in the organization. Situational Leadership fits in perfectly right here.

Once senior leadership has total buy in, corporate communications strategies can be developed to speed up the process for the rest of the organization. FedEx pulled it off, so I see no reason that the Oil & Gas companies cannot do the same.

Finally change management. You’ve got to figure out a change management process that works for your business, your culture, and your company. Sometimes its often needed for an organizations survival.

And then you can start thinking about things like high performance work teams, how do you get your people to do more and be happy to do so? Do more accurate work with less mistakes. That’s performance management and it’s a vital piece that comes in towards the end of your operational excellence journey.

In the very beginning I gave 5 reasons operational excellence in Oil and Gas is going to be a major business driver for the industry. But it’s also the perfect time in history for this to happen. The oil and gas industry is starting to embrace new technologies faster than I’ve ever seen it before. Our industry is facing global competition like its never have, because of the NOCs, the nationalized oil companies, big companies like Shell and Exxon and Chevron are running out of places to drill.

Geopolitics are also playing a major part in this. One of the things I’m most proud of our industry, if you look at the efficiencies as being driven in the frac fields because of low crude prices, they figured it out. The good guys have figured out that they can actually make money at $50 a barrel. Two years ago they were barely making any profits unless oil was above $90 a barrel. Think about how far they had to come in 24 months in terms of operational excellence. We need operational excellence in Oil and Gas to be spread throughout the entire industry. And I think now is the time it’s going to happen.

 

So what do you think about operational excellence in oil and gas? Leave your comments below.

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Restoring After a Spill. Interview with SOS Environmental

Hear Hulett Evans with SOS Environmental explain how spills can be cleaned up and the environment restored, with the proper use of technology. To learn more abut SOS Environmental click here.

Mark: Hey, folks let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.

Today, we’re here with Hulett and he has a fascinating story to tell you. Good morning, Hulett.

Hulett: Glad to meet you, Mark. Thank you for your time.

Mark: Yeah. So, let’s just kind of jump right into it. You started how many years ago out on the rig?

Hulett: 1969, it’s been a few years.

Mark: And what was rigs like in 1969? It’s nowhere they are as safe as they are?

Hulett: It’s a little different world, it’s a little different world, but it’s pretty luxurious nowadays compared to what it was a few years ago.

Mark: So, you started on a rig on 1969 and then you ended up working yourself through the industry and what are you doing now?

Hulett: Well, I’m in the environmental remediation business. We do a lot of work in hydrocarbon remediation and saltwater remediation. That’s kind of our unique nature of the business.

Mark: Yeah. And something that you do is different. I know there’s environmental companies out there, they’re all over the board. You’re actually a service company that does environmental work and there’s a difference there?

Hulett: Yeah, it is. We kind of evolved at this point. Our business, our unique nature has been to fix the job and what SOS stood for originally was Solutions On Site. We were a consulting company designed to go solve the problem on site, not to study there, but to go fix it and to do whatever might be the most economical way to do it at the time.

Mark: Right. So, you do the usual stuff; the testing, the consulting, everything but your goal, you and your team’s goal is when you walk out there when you all finished, the problem is gone?

Hulett: Correct, that’s exactly right.

Mark: Yeah. And so, so many operators out there you need to pay attention to this because what happens is a lot of people understand this, you have some liability involve no matter how you move the stuff, what – how do you dispose of, you have some liability. So instead of bringing in consultants out there, you probably want to bring somebody who can actually fix it and this is a bit rare in the environmental space in the oil and gas industry.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about your saltwater remediation because that’s huge right now.

Hulett: Yeah. Saltwater is probably the biggest environmental problem in the world, not just in oil and gas, just from irrigation, from saline water, it is really a global issue, but it certainly an issue in the oil and gas business.

Mark: Yeah. And so, I know this for a fact, anytime there’s a saltwater spill, most of the time it’s solved by people basically hauling off the contaminated soil and that’s expensive and once again you still have liability. You don’t do that?

Hulett: No, digging hole might cost a million dollars an acre and there’s still always a better solution. I mean it’s possible if it’s a little bitty site, maybe that’s okay to do, maybe makes sense, but rarely is that the right thing to do cost-wise.

Mark: And so, what you’ll do, you are able to actually treat the soil without removing the soil?

Hulett: That’s correct. What we do is not magic, these are not particularly new technology, it’s understood that you can leach out the salts and you can collect them and dispose of the salts from the sodium and the chloride that can be done. There are different chemicals to do that. Historically, we will use gypsum, the problem with gypsum is it take – might take fifty years to work. So we have a liquid amendment that you can put on the soil, leaches the salt out and you can remediate the site in a few days or if it was an old historical site, it may take a year, so it depends on how bad it is, but certainly can do that without digging it up.

Mark: Yeah. And because you’re not digging it up, it’s actually much more cost effective?

Hulett: Well, it’s a hell a lot more cost effective. You know you might be – if it’s a million dollars an acre to dig it up, you might fix it for $10,000 or $50,000 an acre for your own site, plus you haven’t destroyed your land, you haven’t put a product on the road, and you do not have the potential liability hauling dirt down the road, plus it’s done. Usually the landowner likes it better, the operator likes it better.

Mark: Yeah. And in today’s low crude environment, every penny you can save is penny you need to keep in your pocket and here’s a great way to save it with somebody who’s been in the industry since the late 60’s. So, if somebody wanted to learn more about what you and you company does, where should they go?

Hulett: We have a little website, SOS Environmental. It’s not fancy, but it’s sufficient.

Mark: Yeah. Folks, we’ll stick a link in the show notes, so you don’t need to be writing notes. Well, Hulett, thank you so much for your time today.

Hulett: I appreciate it. Thank you, Mark.

Mark: Yeah. Folks, I hope this helped, we will see you next time.

 

Oil and Gas Sales Experts: 13 Ways to Identify a Pro

Today, we’re going to talk about how to choose oil and gas sales experts.

If you were looking for oil and gas sales experts, how would you know you have found someone who can do the job? While we say oil and gas sales experts, we are talking about any oil and gas consultant.

There are certain things you can look for to let you know if a person or company can actually move the needle for you.

Let’s just jump right into it.

#1: Oil & Gas Sales Experts Offshore

Number one, you must determine if they have ever been offshore. I’m not saying that a consultant cannot be good if they’ve never been offshore. What I am saying is that about 70% of the spend in this industry is offshore.

If a consultant has never been offshore, how well do they really understand the industry?

At modalpoint, we have a vast amount of offshore experience. We understand the offshore industry is a different world.

The differences start with the business model. The model of being profitable varies greatly from offshore to onshore drilling. Experienced oil and gas sales experts understand what drives the bottom line in offshore.

By leveraging this knowledge they’re able to help companies to develop executable sales strategies that will lead to revenue growth.

#2: Your Network is Your Net Worth

The next important item is to evaluate what oil and gas organizations the consultant or company is a member of.

This industry is relationship based. It’s very also political. If you’re not well networked or plugged into the politics, you will be seen as an outsider. You won’t be able to develop the high-level relationships that are vital to success.

One of the largest groups that exist is the American Petroleum Institute (API). API sets the standards for almost everything offshore. It’s also the second biggest political lobby group in the US right behind AARP.

I’m active in the industry, so I’m on the board of directors for the Houston API Chapter. I’m also a member of SPE, IPAA, and several other industry specific organizations.

I also participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEMs) outreach program. It’s sponsored through the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). It’s why I teach at a local high school every Friday morning.

As you can see, modalpoint is well plugged into the politics of the oil and gas industry. We leverage our relationships through active organization memberships.

Be sure to evaluate what organizations your consultant is a member of. It tells you how involved they are, and shows you how much they really comprehend the industry.

#3: The Big Four

Next in line; can they name the four segments of the oil and gas industry, and can they explain the differences between them?

The industry has four segments: Upstream, Midstream, Downstream and Service Companies.

Upstream operators get oil out of the ground. Midstream companies moved hydrocarbons from point A to point B. Think pipeline, railroad companies & super tankers.

Downstream companies turn the raw materials into products that can be sold in the open market. The companies specialize in petrochemical refining, fuels refining, ethylene crackers, plastics, fertilizer, etc.

Service companies produce no actual petroleum or petroleum product. Instead, they provide a service to the Oil and Gas industry. Companies like Halliburton, Schlumberger, FMC Technologies & Dril-quip help Oil and Gas companies with all aspects of their business.

In a nutshell, these are the four segments. If “oil and gas sales experts” can’t articulate these 4 segments of the industry, how can they help you and your company sell your products and services in this industry?

#4: End-to-End Understanding

In addition to understanding the segments, can they describe how oil gets from the ground to the fuel tank of your car?

It takes a coordinated effort through a very complex project to first discover oil.

After oil is discovered and pulled out of the ground, it has to be processed and transported. Then it’s got to get to a refinery. After its refined, it’s got to be shipped to your local gas station. Finally, you can pull up and fill your car.

Anyone who knows the industry should be able to clearly explain this process. If they can’t, they don’t understand the industry and I doubt they could help grow your business.

#5: Got Geopolitics?

Oil and Gas sales expertsNext up, can they give you a current picture of what’s going on geopolitically in the oil and gas industry?

The industry is global (not international). You must understand these difference if you’re going to be successful.

Wal-Mart is international. There are Wal-Mart stores in Mexico. But if you go to a Mexical Wal-Mart store the manager is from the US. It’s international, so a little piece of America is stuck in another country.

The oil and gas industry is global. If you go to an office of Schlumberger in Mexico the people that work there are Mexicans. If you go to a Chevron office in Rio, Brazil, they’re Brazilians. Same way in Norway, they’re Norwegians.

This industry is truly global. Its products are also a global commodity. Geopolitics is a big driver in this industry.

Can your consultant explain to you how the existing changes in law in Mexico geopolitically affect the industry? Can they tell you about the new investment operators are willing to make in a country?

What about risk? What risks are associated with the state of affairs in Middle East? How does US support in Iraq drive business decisions?

What is happening with the finds in Israel? What about the Russian economy? Do they understand the clamp down caused by low crude prices in the country?

Finally, why does increased consumption in China matter?

Having a high level view of the big picture is critical. True oil pros can connect the dots. They understand why increased Chinese consumption matters, and can quickly relay that information to you.

If your consultant can’t help you understand these facts there is no way they understand the industry. As a result, they can’t help you maneuver through the business drivers that exist geopolitically.

#6: Are They a Jive Turkey?

Let’s talk about oilfield language. The industry has very unique vernacular. We love acronyms.

Does your consultant understand these terms? Can they define a NOC, Super Major, BOP, fracking, or tell you what a pig is? Do they even know what these terms mean?

A NOC is Nationalized Oil Company. These oil companies are owned by their respective national governments. Saudi Aramco, Petrobras, and Pemex are all examples of Nationalized Oil Companies (NOCs).

There are also Independent Oil Companies (IOCs). An handful of IOCs are called Super Majors. Super Majors are companies that do it all: Upstream, Midstream, Downstream and Services.

Did you know there are only five Super Majors in the world? Total, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell are all Super Majors.

Can the person you’re talking to define a Super Major?

Back to acronyms. What is a BOP? True oil pros know BOP is short for “blowout preventer”. Drilling companies use them to control the well. But you can drill through a BOP.

Trees, on the other hand, are a whole other animal. A tree (also known as a Christmas Tree) does the same thing. It gives you control of the well. But it is used after a well goes into production. You can’t drill through it.

This brings us to the pigs. What the heck is a pig?

Everywhere else pigs make bacon. In the oil and gas industry pigs clean up pipeline.

If the company and the people you’re talking to don’t know the lingo, do they really know this industry?

#7: Oil and Gas Sales Experts Have Proven Results

Anyone can say they are “oil and gas sales experts”. Do they have a successful track record driving revenue for other companies within the industry?

Maybe they have a sales and marketing background. That alone is not enough to help implement a sales strategy that turns revenue in a predictable manner.

Here’s the difference. I could easily be a sales guy for Halliburton. That would mean I have oilfield sales experience. But generating revenue for a company who is selling into the industry is a completely different story.

If you’re engaged with someone who is looking to help you generate revenue, have you vetted their experience? If they haven’t performed this role before, I would doubt that they could actually help you.

With modalpoint, we have a track record of successful customer engagements. For us, it’s not a guessing game. We have it down to a science.

If you Google modalpoint reviews or modalpoint testimonials, you’ll see a whole slew of testimonials from large companies and some senior managers about how we moved the needle for them (like this one).

If you’re engaged with a consultant that can’t give you existing clients’ success stories that tells me one thing. It tells me that they’ve never done it before, which means the odds of them successfully helping you are pretty darn slim.

#8: Location, Location, Location

Oil and Gas Sales ExpertsLocation is important. Is your consultant located in or near Houston, Texas?

A lot of people think Houston, Texas is the center of the oil and gas industry in the US. It is.

But it’s much bigger than that. Houston, Texas is the capital of the global oil and gas industry.

Any oil and gas company on the planet most probably has offices here. Saudi Aramco, Statoil, Petrobras, Pemex, all have Houston based US headquarters.

It’s the reason modalpoint is here. This is the epicenter of the industry.

Whatever consultant you’re using, if they don’t have offices or at least people here, do they really know the industry?

#9: Has Passport Will Travel

Next, do they have a passport? We talked about this earlier. The industry is global.

If I engaged with the decision making team in Chevron, there will be several people involved. Three or four guys in San Ramon, California, five or six of in Houston, two in London, one in Norway, and probably one in Rio.

I have to know the key players. I have to know where they’re located, and (most importantly) be able to engage with them while understand their business culture.

I have nothing against Brazilians. My wife is Brazilian. Honestly guys, I love you to death!

But when I engage Chevron employees in Rio I know they’re going to be three hours late for their own meetings. As opposed to the Chevron guy at Norway. If I’m a minute late it’s an insult.

Whatever oil and gas sales experts you’ve talked to, they need to articulate and understand global business culture. They need to have worked, lived, and been successful within these different business cultures.

If they don’t have this experience there is no way they can understand this industry.

#10: Understanding Risk Profiles

Another critical point; can they explain why the oil and gas industry is different than any other vertical?

If you’re a big box retailer, such as Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe’s and you make a mistake the worst that could happen is that you lose a customer. If it’s bad enough you might lose your job.

If you make a mistake in the oil and gas industry people die. Let that sink in.

In addition to death, mistakes in this industry can cause huge environmental catastrophes. This drives shareholder value to hit rock bottom.

This industry is extremely biased against risk. That’s just how the industry thinks.

Going back to our big box retail. If you introduce something new to them the first thing they ask is “how do I benefit from using this”? That doesn’t mean they’ll buy it, but the benefits are what come to mind first.

In the oil and gas industry the first thing they ask is “what is the risk of changing what I am doing now”? Risk is evaluated far before any benefits discussion. This thought process happens even when the oil and gas company has no existing process in place.

There are many ways you can get around this. But you have to understand the risk-biased nature of the industry.

After you understand how risk works in this industry, you have to factor in relationships, the profitability of the industry (by segment), and the global nature of the business.

If your consultant does not understand why this industry is different they will fail in helping you to successfully sell into it.

#11: The Check’s in the Mail

Is your consultant charging you by the day/hour or did they provide you with a lump sum cost? If not, consider why.

When we engage with a client we sit down with their team. We conduct a white boarding session to discover and then plan four things:

  1. What you want to accomplish
  2. What deliverables to expect
  3. What time frames are realistic
  4. What are the expected outcomes

Then, we price it right there with a lump sum . This is our standard operating procedure. We do this often enough we know exactly how much it’s going to cost. On the spot.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of consulting companies that try to get their hooks into you. They do this with day and hourly rates. Which means their primary goal is to increase their billable hours.

To put it bluntly, consultants who charge hourly rates don’t have your best interest at heart. (Click to Tweet)

 

First, if they can’t give you lump sum pricing do they really know what they’re doing?

Second, what is their real goal if they’re trying to increase their billable rate? Is it to help you or to help themselves?

If a company’s goal is to increase their billable rate, what are the odds they’ll be able to help you?

#12: Businesses Don’t Fail, Systems Do

Moving away from pricing, we need to address the process they use to help achieve your goals.

Can your consultant describe it to you? At modalpoint we follow a very rigorous process with all of our clients. It leads to success because it’s repeatable.

We know exactly what works.

If you engage with somebody that cannot talk you through their process they haven’t done it enough, or they’re still trying to figure it out.

Show me a business without a defined process and I will show you a failed business. One that will struggle delivering success.

#13: The Deal should not be the Focus

Finally, let’s get emotional. Is the consultant or company you’re working with totally detached from closing the deal?

This one is EXTREMELY important. When we engage with you closing the deal is not even on our radar. It’s out in left field somewhere.

We’re focused on seeing if we can help you. If we can’t we want to know that as quickly as possible so we can focus our attention on another customer we can help. If engaging with you is not a good fit, we don’t want to waste your time. And we certainly don’t want to waste ours.

If we can help you and we come to an agreement, then we close the deal and that’s great.

But our focus is not on closing a deal.

A lot of consulting companies focus on closing deals, not helping you. Once again if closing a deal is their primary goal, will they really do their best to help you?

Professional oil and gas sales experts are focused on helping. Their sales teams don’t pressure you to sign a contract because they know they’re not a fit for everyone.

Trust Your Gut

So you may say Mark, what is the deal this long blog post? Usually your blog posts are two or three minutes.

Well, last week I was at the Houston Energy Breakfast. I engaged with some fellow consultants in the industry who work for very large companies

We were discussing this very topic. What separates good oil and gas consultants from bad ones? And what can we do about the bad ones who give good consultants a bad name?

We eventually came up with a some rules of engagement, which inspired this post. We hope it will help people find high quality oil and gas sales experts.

We also came up with a checklist. Click here to download the list.

This should help you determine if you are engaged with someone who can actually help you, and insure your success.

I’m not saying someone has to get 100% of these correct. Use your gut. If somebody can get 70% and you get a good feeling from them, focused on helping you instead of closing the deal. They are probably good to go, and a sound choice for oil and gas sales experts.

If the people you’re talking to have their sales team focused on money, billable rates and closing deals – RUN AWAY.

Even if they’re a large consulting company – RUN. As fast as possible!

Because “truthiness” might be a word in the dictionary. But it’s not a trait you want in a consulting company.

What Do You Think?

What tips do you have for selecting oil and gas sales experts? What criteria do you use to separate true pros from oilfield fakers. If you have more to add to the list, please leave a comment below.