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May 1, 2014 12:05 PM
Three-fourths of salespeople complain about losing a sale because the price was too high. Three-fourths of them are wrong, says sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer (gitomer.com).
May 1, 2014 12:55 PM
Luxury is getting a facelift and it’s impacting the incentives that companies use to motivate their work force. High-end fashion, handbags, jewelry, housewares and other goods were once targeted primarily to middle-age consumers — mostly women. But that demographic continues to spend conservatively, pushing marketers of luxury goods to broaden their target audience to include Millennials and Gen Xers.
May 1, 2014 01:18 PM
May 1, 2014 12:09 PM
Let’s start with some housekeeping. In the March/April issue of Sales & Marketing Management, I looked at consolidation within the sales training industry, focusing on a recent conversation I had with Joe Terry of Corporate Visions, a company that is quickly growing through acquisitions.
May 1, 2014 12:19 PM
A whitepaper with a strong title that is publicized well is like catnip for B2B marketers. But should businesses seeking qualified leads offer content freely or provide “gated” whitepapers, which require interested parties to fill out a contact form in order to access the information they seek. Mark Ryan of online marketing news site ClickZ (clickz.com) says there are arguments for both. Advantages of gated content:
May 1, 2014 12:00 PM
What happens when someone tells you that solving a problem is urgent to your welfare and/or the welfare of your business? How do you know if someone else’s urgent is your urgent?
May 1, 2014 12:02 PM
Most of the discussion around social media is focused on consumer marketing and not about reaching other businesses. In a recent post on SocialMediaToday, Steve Minks, co-founder of IceSugarMedia (IceSugarMedia.com), an integrated solutions digital media consultant, offered his view on the value of the various social media outlets for B2B marketers.
May 1, 2014 01:03 PM
Within five minutes of announcing an incentive plan, someone on your sales team starts to find ways to game it, says Christopher W. Cabrera, author of “Game the Plan: Every Sales Rep’s Dream, Every CFO’s Nightmare” (River Grove Books, 2014). Cabrera is the founder and CEO of Xactly (Xactlycorp.com), a provider of cloud-based incentive compensation and performance management solutions.
May 1, 2014 11:59 AM
Emailing a prospect before making a cold call has become a popular remedy for salespeople who are trying to “soften the blow” of a sales call and, frankly, avoid the pain of hearing “No, thanks.” But an email before a call is not a remedy for making more contacts and sales, says Michael Pedone, CEO of SalesBuzz.com, a provider of online telephone sales training.
April 30, 2014 12:00 AM
It’s a business no-brainer that happy employees make happy customers. But how do you get happy employees that deliver the best possible customer service? It requires employees to move beyond simple compliance of workplace rules and become truly committed to the jobs they do. And moving people to commitment requires positive reinforcement in the leadership system. Employee engagement has been identified by as a key driver of your company’s profitability and human performance. Sadly, only 15 percent of employees say they are “actively engaged” at work.
April 28, 2014 05:06 AM
It has to be one of the funniest sketches ever. A dozen times I’ve watched Lucy in the chocolate factory, and I still laugh. The faster the production line goes, the more chocolates she stuffs in her mouth, blouse, and hat. The supervisor checks in and, finding a clear conveyor belt, compliments Lucy, then shouts, “Speed it up, boys!” while the camera gives us a close-up of Lucy’s horrified face.
April 25, 2014 12:00 AM
In the last week I came across two examples of inadvertent naming mistakes with harmful consequences. I hope these examples help you avoid repeating these mistakes. 1. Use as few names as possible MIT graduates raising money on Kickstarter for a compact, lightweight universal power adaptor named their company FINsix and their product Dart. What’s the problem?
April 23, 2014 12:00 AM
No one likes a naysayer, but sometimes she can be the most valuable person in the room. Too many business teams shoot the messenger instead of listening to the message, Megan McArdle states in a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek essay.
April 21, 2014 05:35 AM
Low performers, mid-level performers and even high performers need ongoing management. It does not assume high performance, and once high performing, does not assume it will always continue. Everyone needs to be managed on a consistent basis. In sales, the goal of ongoing management is participation rate.  Participation rate is the percentage of sales team members who are at or above plan. For a sales team, participation rate is easy to calculate. On a team of 10 people, where four are above their sales plan on a YTD basis, the participation rate is 40 percent. 
April 18, 2014 12:00 AM
A lot of channel programs are still being managed with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. It’s far more common than you’d expect, even in some of the larger companies. There’s nothing wrong with using spreadsheets for managing a small program, incentive or campaign — or even analyzing a set of data. But ask for anything complex, and your spreadsheet is probably creating more work than it’s doing. 
April 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Do you believe prospective buyers are generally rational? Do you assume that the more information and evidence you pile on them, the better your chances of winning the sale? This must be the case, or why else would there be so many hefty whitepapers with gobs of text, or PowerPoint decks with hundreds of slides, or complicated ROI calculators and spreadsheets out there?
April 14, 2014 12:00 AM
In the medical technology industry, there is no resting on your laurels. Even if you are a leading manufacturer of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgical platforms and your system is used in thousands of medical centers around the world, you always want your salespeople sharper, hungrier and one step ahead of the competition.
April 13, 2014 11:05 AM
Being a fan of professional basketball and a regular viewer of televised games, it occurred to me recently that the NBA has some of the most talented broadcasters in all of sports.
April 11, 2014 12:00 AM
Is it possible the most important training for your top-performing salespeople came before they closed their first deal — or even chose a career?
April 9, 2014 12:00 AM
It’s interesting to see how different people handle the discussion of money when it comes to designing their marketing collateral or a new website, for example. Some remain tight-lipped and protect that secret budget at all costs, while others are an open book on all kinds of numbers and the type of solutions they’re looking for. Being secretive with your creative partner is not a successful approach. Here’s why:
April 7, 2014 05:55 AM
What industry has had to change, adapt and overcome more in the last five or so years than the financial services industry?  Maybe healthcare, but I would say they are a close second when you think about the regulation, fluctuations in the economy, consumer attitude, etc. that daily impacts our financial services world.
April 4, 2014 12:00 AM
Although we sometimes forget, the business-to-business (B2B) market is very different from the consumer market. For starters, most business purchases are rational rather than emotional, so your appeal needs to be more left-brained than right. Also, most B2B vendors aren’t dealing with a mass market, so it lends itself more to direct marketing than broadcasting – which is more appropriate when targeting consumer segments.
March 31, 2014 12:00 AM
Retail salespeople always seemed to have it a bit easier than B2B salespeople: the price is on the tag, take it or leave it. Traditionally, they haven’t had to experience an arduous sales process that entails the nerve-wracking procedure of coming up with a number based on the potential customer’s budget, obtaining the customer’s reaction, modifying the price on the spot, and then keeping fingers crossed that the customer accepts a price that not only closes the deal but also yields a profit for the vendor.
March 28, 2014 12:00 AM
Have you ever been asked to work on a pay-per-lead basis? Some potential clients call it a “performance basis.” Others euphemize it as “partnering.” But what they inevitably say is that, “If you’re so good, why not put some skin in the game?”
March 26, 2014 12:00 AM
Imagine this for a moment: your sales coach, instead of holding the usual meeting at his office or yours, picks you up and takes you to Barnes & Noble and once there, tells you something that prompts you to ask “Are we going to be thrown out?” Let me tell you the story. One day I had a coaching session with a student I’ll call Sales Sam. It was his birthday and I told him, “Instead of you coming by my office, I’ll pick you up at your office and we’ll do something special because it’s your birthday.”