February 20, 2017 06:05 PM
Dating back to Ancient Greece and Egypt, monumental structures have relied on the strength of stone pillars, working together to support an immense amount of weight and pressure. Over the past 2,500 years, the Parthenon has been rocked by earthquakes, blown up by exploding gunpowder and suffered severe fire damage, yet it and its pillars still stand today.
February 17, 2017 07:31 AM
At some point, everyone who has ever been in a meeting experiences the terrible symptoms of this rapidly spreading epidemic. Picture it: you’re in a conference room, lights are low and you are listening to a colleague talk about the bullet points on the screen. First, you notice that your eyes are starting to feel heavy. Then your mind starts drifting away from the topic at hand and to thoughts that have nothing to do with the meeting at hand. All of the sudden, you have to force yourself to jerk your head back each time it starts nodding forward.
February 13, 2017 12:00 AM
People value choice in all aspects of their lives. Incentives and rewards are no different. Your sales teams and sales partners are vital contributors to your business and appreciate decision-making autonomy just like everyone else. Provide them with effective motivation and thanks via rewards and incentives programs they can tailor to their liking. These can empower them to choose which reward they want and how they want to receive it – accommodating different preferences and providing a more personalized reward experience.
February 10, 2017 11:28 AM
When sales and marketing combine their expertise, ABM can be remarkably effective. For example, my company, ZoomInfo, implemented an ABM campaign that expanded the pipeline for a product by 114 percent and enlarged its customer base by 30 percent in a mere 90 days. Research from industry analysts shows other companies have seen similar success.
February 8, 2017 05:59 AM
Sales is stereotypically thought of as an extremely individualized occupation. The clichéd salesperson of popular lore is a competitive, single-minded loner who is constantly out-of-pocket chasing deals on the golf course.
The reality is, of course, very different. In fact Salesforce recently found that high-tech companies generate 55 percent of sales through inside sales – a sales model that thrives on team collaboration.
February 6, 2017 12:00 AM
Many sales teams utilize full-cycle inside sales reps who are responsible for the entire customer cycle from prospecting to close to renewal. This type of sales structure has its pros and cons.
February 1, 2017 12:00 AM
Even before technology and automation upended marketing and sales processes, the two groups struggled to collaborate effectively. The conflict tended to center on issues like handoffs and messaging. Now the teams can’t even agree on reality as reflected in data. That’s a problem, and it won’t be resolved until marketing and sales agree on a core technology stack.
January 30, 2017 12:00 AM
So often in sports we learn about how one team prepares for the other. They watch the films and listen to the interviews that are conducted by the media to see if they can pick up a couple of clues or tendencies that will lead to a victory. In some cases, teams have been accused of filming their opponents practice to see if they can achieve a competitive edge (including the New England Patriots, who are competing in this weekend’s Super Bowl).
January 27, 2017 12:00 AM
Gallup surveys how many employees in the U.S. work force are engaged and reports its findings each year. Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) are disengaged as of the 2016 report. Ever since Gallup began measuring employee engagement in 2000, the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. has never topped 33 percent. Worldwide, only 13 percent of employees working for an organization are engaged. (For the record, Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.)
January 26, 2017 12:00 AM
Most marketers and sales pros have accepted the stat that says buyers are at least 57 percent of the way through the buying cycle by the time they engage a salesperson. A recent State of the Conversation report from my company found that nearly 80 percent of marketing and sales leaders believe the stat is true.
January 23, 2017 12:00 AM
You’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into the sales process, and now it's time to present your prospect with a winning proposal that will close the sale so you can move on to the next one.
January 20, 2017 12:00 AM
Whether you’re a startup or more established business, there are times the sales team needs to be refocused. This is required when a new market opportunity emerges or your company launches a new product and suddenly your sales team is treading in unfamiliar waters.
Recently, we introduced a new product that required us to redefine our sales model and go-to-market strategy – learning several valuable takeaways that can help other entrepreneurs navigate a similar pivot.
January 19, 2017 12:00 AM
In sales training on questioning skills, I ask reps in the room to choose a super power that would help them increase their performance. It’s a fun question and lets people imagine, well, unimaginable success. The answers range from invisibility (“I’ll get back in the prospect’s office, after my call and see what they’re saying about us”) to answers like these (with their reasoning, sometimes bizarre, behind the choice of power).
January 18, 2017 12:00 AM
There’s a reason companies spend billions of dollars each year on client entertainment: it works. Taking prospects and clients to a game can be a powerful way to deepen and advance your relationship. And when you take them to a once-in-a-lifetime event like the Super Bowl, the potential return can be limitless.
January 17, 2017 12:00 AM
Business leaders often question how public relations can help them close sales. Digital marketing and advertising feel reassuring because the results are more quantifiable. But let me ask you a question: When you’re surfing your favorite news site, are you more likely to validate what you see in an article or an ad?
January 16, 2017 12:00 AM
Deny first and blame others second. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, that is often the stance sales managers take when their numbers come up short. And once this happens, sales rarely trend upwards because sales teams thrive in competitive but supportive atmospheres—not ones littered with finger-pointing and ‘it’s not my fault’ attitudes. As the old saying goes, it starts at the top. Getting reps to consistently reach, or better yet, exceed quota requires sales managers to own the shortcomings of their teams and help them improve.
January 13, 2017 12:00 AM
After 20 years of selling software and IT products, the one thing that’s been getting harder year after year is the one thing you can’t avoid in sales. You have to get people on the phone to have discussions. No matter how many articles people post about how cold calling is dead, it’s simply not – no way, no how. Why else would the big trend be to move to inside sales teams and business development rep models?
January 11, 2017 12:00 AM
Sales and marketing executives like to latch onto trendy initiatives and programs, sounding like a “Buzzword Bob” every time a new methodology hits the mainstream. Every few quarters, the profession of selling is upended by another trend that, for better or worse, promises to be the next pathway to every rep’s accelerators.
January 9, 2017 12:00 AM
As a sales or sales enablement leader, you know quite well that it’s not easy to properly select, prepare, manage, lead or change a sales force.
January 6, 2017 07:26 AM
When the holidays come around, there’s a standard soundtrack of 80s holiday hits: John Lennon, David Bowie, Bing Crosby, and Wham! fill your ears practically all of December.
January 4, 2017 12:20 PM
Mike Derezin, vice president of sales for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, says in an era in which social sellers realize 66 percent greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques (a Sales Benchmark Index statistic), if you’re sales team doesn’t adopt social selling strategies, it may not be selling for long.
SMM: How do you define social selling?
January 3, 2017 11:22 AM
Are your employees engaged enough to push back against your company’s questionable strategies?
In researching this issue’s cover feature on the ROI of employee engagement, I understandably came across plenty of feel-good concepts like setting clear goals, communicating regularly and meaningfully, providing ongoing development and advancement opportunities, and recognizing and rewarding performance.
January 1, 2017 12:00 AM
A lot of companies make efforts to increase engagement, but they don’t have the formal mechanisms to plan it and track their progress, says Autumn Manning, co-founder and CEO of YouEarnedIt, a technology company that provides a platform (software as a service) for real-time recognition.
“10 years ago, people got away with not really having a strategic focus. With changes in the work force and the expectations that employees have, having a connection to purpose and core values is important,” says Manning.
January 1, 2017 12:00 AM
Scott Crabtree of Happy Brain Science offers the mnemonic device "Mind the GAPs" to help business leaders remember how to improve workplace engagement.
January 1, 2017 12:00 AM
Portland-based consultancy Happy Brain Science may sound soft and fuzzy, but founder Scott Crabtree says everything he shares with clients about employee engagement is founded in proven scientific research. He cautions that it’s wise to be a little wary about the warnings from consultancies such as Gallup and Hay Group about the risks of employee disengagement. After all, these companies want to sell expensive services to fix that problem.