November 21, 2014 07:25 AM
Most channel marketers have a dysfunctional relationship with layered incentives. They know that incenting sales-driving behaviors, such as training and product demo, can make a partner feel more personally invested in selling their products. At the same time, they fear what they see as the cumbersome process of providing incentives for anything but straight sales.
In my 25-plus years in the channel, I have seen channel marketers employ a lot of creativity in the name of avoiding layered incentives. Most end up with one of two types of programs.
November 17, 2014 05:17 AM
With the fourth quarter’s arrival, many companies have looked at their numbers and increased the pressure on sales teams to make up for losses earlier in the year. Only 58.2% of sales reps made their quota in 2013 according to a 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study of over 1,200 B2B companies by CSO Insights. While every company has unique circumstances affecting its sales cycle, there are common threads that can be identified across the majority of organizations in terms of errors that directly correlate to sales losses.
November 15, 2014 12:00 AM
I interviewed a half-dozen or more people for this issue’s cover story on trends in sales incentive programs and workplace motivation. I mentioned to each of them at some point during the discussion that I have been writing on this topic for longer than I care to admit.
November 12, 2014 12:00 AM
Putting the right team on the field is crucial, especially in sales, where differences in individual performance are greater than in other functions. Studies in B2B contexts find that rep performance in similar territories often varies by 300 percent, while in retail stores selling productivity typically varies by a factor of three to four. In other words, there are salesstars in many firms.
November 11, 2014 12:00 AM
Hitting a trifecta in email marketing — right message, right person, right time — is tricky. Janelle Johnson, director of demand generation at marketing automation provider Act-On Software, shares insights on the timing.
November 10, 2014 12:00 AM
While companies complain that 80 to 90 percent of their salespeople can’t sell value, they are spraying their salesforce with product presentations and praying that their salespeople will be able to figure out why customers should buy their product. But instead of complaining, companies should feel blessed that they can increase sales by capturing and sharing this valuable tribal knowledge with the rest of their sales force.
November 10, 2014 12:00 AM
The statistics induce nightmares:
· Gallup’s 2013 report on the State of the Global Workplace states that only 13 percent of workers in America are engaged at work.
November 7, 2014 12:00 AM
Sales are the lifeblood of any successful business. The warriors who pound the pavement or the phone lines day after day are always looking for ways to stay ahead of their competitors and tell their stories in the most compelling way, which is why they are often early adopters of technology. If you were in sales “back in the day,” like I was, you might recall schlepping all sorts of gadgets from luggable computers to huge projectors to meetings.
November 5, 2014 12:00 AM
If you believe the hype around studies that say customers feel they are through 60 percent (or more) of the buying cycle before engaging a salesperson, you could be giving your salespeople the wrong content for the wrong conversation. That’s because salespeople still see themselves as relevant to the early-stage discussions.
November 3, 2014 06:03 AM
What are some quick and easy-to-implement ways to improve sales for you or your organization? Here are three ways to improve the sales process:
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
While it isn’t sexy, the importance of preparation can’t be overstated. It remains true that those who are best prepared produce the best results. Even Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
October 30, 2014 11:00 PM
UnSelling is what happens when you understand the humanity of your market, produce a quality product and create experiences that lead to trusted referrals. UnSelling means stepping back from the funnel and focusing on everything else but the sale.
October 30, 2014 03:20 PM
October 27, 2014 06:57 AM
As an increasing percentage of consumer and business-to-business purchasing decisions and sales transactions are made on ecommerce platforms, it’s understandable that company leaders might wonder, “Do salespeople still matter?” After all, these days, customers can go online to view product photos or service demonstrations. They can access price lists and delivery and scheduling options. Do they still need to talk to a salesperson?
October 24, 2014 06:57 AM
In life, subtle conscious and unconscious decisions often have a profound impact. In business, one such decision is accepting “no” too quickly when in reality it’s the wrong decision for both parties. “No” can have multiple meanings from “No, not today” or “No, I am not sure” to “No, I am not the decision maker.”
October 23, 2014 04:56 AM
As we stare down the end of 2014, does this story sound familiar?
Going into the fourth quarter, a division of a large company had the chance to meet annual sales of $300M for the first time. In December, the SVP of sales told everyone to do “whatever was necessary” to achieve that number. They succeeded. At the kickoff meeting the entire sales staff received plaques with $308,000,000 proudly displayed.
October 19, 2014 11:00 PM
The big thing in many marketing departments is to create personas — fictional characters that embody all the traits of your prospects. These personas have names, demographic and psychographic attributes, plus a detailed look at their key performance indicators.
October 15, 2014 11:00 PM
The traditional model of lifetime employment, so well-suited to periods of relative stability, is too rigid for today’s networked age, Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn and two co-authors state in “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age” (Harvard Business Review Press).
They promote a new employment framework — an alliance based on how they can add value to each other. “Employers need to tell their employees, ‘Help make our company more valuable and we’ll make you more valuable.’ ”
October 15, 2014 08:04 AM
As people who believe selling can and should be an honorable profession, it is discouraging to realize that the perceptions of salespeople haven’t improved much over the last 50 years. Perhaps this explains why recent changes in the selling landscape are in response to new buying behaviors. This presents a challenge to sales organizations. Those that can better align with these new buying approaches will enjoy a sustainable, competitive advantage.
October 13, 2014 07:00 AM
No matter the product, service or industry, mission or corporate philosophy, nearly every business is bottom line-driven. And, there is no shortage of ingenuity as to how companies try to glean more profit out of existing processes. Every so often, a new technology emerges that radically changes the productivity landscape and industry’s related profitability potential in kind. Some notable advancements, of course, have included the assembly line, telephone, fax machine and the Internet.
October 13, 2014 11:00 PM
In his new book “Summit: Reach Your Peak and Elevate Your Customers’ Experience,” F. Scott Addis, an experienced business executive and recent Inc.“Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist, ties business success to elevating the customer experience. He offers these recommendations and key differentiators:
October 9, 2014 11:00 PM
Strategies to improve salesforce effectiveness have historically come from two sources: consultancies and internal analytics groups doing manual analysis. The approach to optimizing salesforce effectiveness is now undergoing a paradigm shift, as innovative organizations internalize a rigorous and consistent process for using advanced data analytics. To effectively leverage advanced analytics, organizations need to have three kinds of tools:
October 8, 2014 11:00 PM
Most companies make a critical mistake when classifying accounts by considering those that currently spend the most money as their best clients. In her new book “Nonstop Sales Boom: Powerful Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year” (AMACOM), sales consultant Colleen Francis emphasizes that not only are all accounts not created equal, the ones currently spending the most money are not necessarily your best.
October 7, 2014 11:00 PM
Investing in a global marketing strategy can be a major undertaking, both in terms of actual costs (localization of campaign assets) and productivity costs (employee time), but the return on investment can be exponential when it comes to opportunities for increased revenue and market share. However, getting globalization right is critical, because now more than ever, global marketers are on the frontlines of revenue growth and need to consider the impact on sales their campaigns generate.
October 6, 2014 11:00 PM
With all of the talk these days about the “customer experience,” and the voice of the customer (VOC), there is little doubt who holds the upper-hand in the sales equation. According to a survey of more than 1,450 executives at B2B companies worldwide by business consultancy Accenture, 85 percent of executives say the customer experience is important to their companies’ strategic priorities; 88 percent indicate they are investing more in this area year over year.
October 5, 2014 11:00 PM
With more mobile devices than humans in the world and over a billion people participating in social networks, today’s customers are more connected and networked than ever before. They’re also more knowledgeable and better informed.