May 23, 2016 08:11 AM
For several decades, sales leaders and managers have favored the practice of calling higher in customer organizations. Over the same time span, this idea has persisted but the business environment has undergone many changes. Technology has changed the way we sell and the way our customers shop and buy. Recessions have given way to recoveries, and yet we still take it for granted that calling higher leads to larger sales, more revenue, and more profit.
May 20, 2016 06:50 AM
How does your company improve profitability? And who is responsible for this growth?
These were two of the core questions we – in collaboration with CFO Research – asked in a survey of more than 100 senior finance executives in companies with $1+ billion in revenue. As you’d expect, the results pointed to finance as the current guardians of profit growth, but the future outlook pointed to a much broader, more collaborative effort.
May 19, 2016 12:00 AM
Just as CRM platforms revolutionized the sales industry, marketing technologies are becoming indispensable for businesses all over the world. Yet despite growing adoption, one misperception lingers: that these tools are relevant only to marketing leaders. The truth is that marketing automation impacts the entire C-suite — and that’s important when justifying the investment to key stakeholders.
May 18, 2016 12:00 AM
Have you ever spent time browsing the racks of promotional pamphlets that litter the lobbies of lower-priced hotels? Every possible option is arrayed before you, but unless you’re especially committed to the search, it’s hard to justify scanning them all just to find one option you’d care to consider.
May 16, 2016 12:00 AM
As veteran consultants, we have worked with practically every type of sales force, so we are rarely surprised by the clients we encounter. However, we have to admit we suspected someone was joking when we heard that a Las Vegas casino wanted us to help a sales force that services high-stakes gamblers. Were we being set up by a devious reality TV show producer? After finally recognizing that this was not a joke (and after a fair amount of negotiation over who would get to be on the team), we packed our lucky bags and set off to one of the most surreal locations in America.
May 13, 2016 07:16 AM
In the 2008 Olympics, Michael Phelps won the gold medal in the men’s 100M butterfly beating out Milorad Cavic by a mere .01 second. Literally, in the 1/30th time it takes to blink, Phelps’s dreams were realized and Cavic’s dreams were dashed.
Over the course of a salesperson’s lifetime, it’s inevitable that you will face this same struggle. You will be told no, be rebuffed, and even be harshly rejected due to the difference between you and your competitor over what may seem to be a minor or even trivial difference.
May 11, 2016 12:00 AM
There are eight steps in the process for you to discover yourself. Some of you can get through them in a few days, and for some others it may take weeks, or even months.If you have never really thought about your life as having mission and purpose, it will take you longer. No matter where you are in terms of self- awareness, and whether or not you know your true purpose in life,these eight steps will prove invaluable in your search for a better life and a better you: Let’stake a closer look at those eight steps now.
May 9, 2016 12:00 AM
It’s a classic enterprise sales rep scenario. In a day packed with in-person meetings and phone calls to chase down deals, your field sales rep is tied to a table at a Starbucks between client locations. He has his laptop and 15 minutes to spare before walking into the next big meeting with a major prospect. Your rep wants to be prepared and to make the most of the meeting, which means he has to digest case studies on similar clients. He must be on top of specific industry trends and challenges, and how the product uniquely solves them.
May 5, 2016 07:20 AM
We live in the era of the vendor. Any given company is probably working with a number of vendors, from outsourced tech support to marketing agencies, who in turn may have their own subcontractors. The competition for business is intense.
That doesn’t mean vendors are a dime a dozen, but it does mean that some companies view their vendors as easily replaceable. If you’re in the business of managing customer relationships, you'll enjoy a strategic advantage (and a more mutually rewarding relationship) if you elevate your status to that of a valued partner.
May 3, 2016 04:56 PM
With his new book, “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business,” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business writer Charles Duhigg has followed up his bestseller on habits with a close look at the choices the most productive among us make that the rest of us don’t.
May 2, 2016 12:00 AM
As it probably does for many of us, the day I realized I was no longer the “young guy” at work came as a rude awakening. It happened once I began to build and manage my own inside sales team, which was made up of 20-somethings. I found myself getting increasingly frustrated by habits like staring down at cell phones during meetings or lack of commitment to working normal 9 to 5. Coming up in the business world, I had learned that you showed dedication by coming in early, leaving late and putting in a hard day’s work during the hours you were at your desk.
May 1, 2016 12:00 AM
As soon as I get this issue off to the printer, I need to write my son a letter at the University of Nebraska, where he’s finishing his second year of studies.
I want to share some thoughts with him about my conversation with New York Timesreporter Charles Duhigg for this issue’s Closers feature, as well as my conversation with Greg Guy, who decided to eliminate sales commissions at his family-owned Ohio heating and air conditioning company. Guy is featured in our cover story on tough questions that sales leaders are asking themselves.
April 28, 2016 12:00 AM
After nine years working with companies on sales messaging, I have found that the number one inhibitor to salespeople articulating value is that they don’t create enough contrast between the before and after word picture of owning their product. And when salespeople fail to make the contrast feel concrete, customers can’t see the value, so it just feels like magic.
April 25, 2016 05:39 AM
There’s a big difference between being a rocket and being shot out of a cannon. Today, 95 percent of all digital marketing programs are the latter.
Too often, marketers treat digital marketing programs as discrete efforts that are launched into the world, typically without the planning, trajectory or sustenance needed to achieve and maintain orbit. And, many digital marketers build programs to suit their own tastes over those of their target audiences.
April 22, 2016 12:00 AM
There is always a relative handful of key people who, if you’re able to break through to them, can change the course of your career and the fortunes of your enterprise. These may be large potential buyers of your product or service, mega-potential referral sources or potential alliance partners who can change the scale of your company by giving you access to vast new sales channels.
April 19, 2016 12:00 AM
We’ve all heard it before — you can’t sell something to someone who isn’t buying. It sounds reasonable enough, but it’s not necessarily true.
April 18, 2016 12:00 AM
Sales leadership has never been easy. I once heard a senior vice president of sales refer to the job as carrying “a carrot and a baseball bat because a stick isn’t enough.” Of course this is a bit dramatic, but motivation was a large part of the job. Push and praise were the key roles of a sales leader for a very long time, but the game has changed in the new era of sales. Things are messier and more complex now. Sales leaders have to deal with numerous additional factors beyond motivating and rewarding the sales force.
April 15, 2016 06:54 AM
Growth is something we must nurture and generate, not just passively wait for it to show up (though sometimes it does). We must make it happen, and be in a position to capitalize on it when our entry point comes.
April 14, 2016 12:00 AM
Saying there’s an underperformance problem in sales is a bit like saying there’s a salinity issue with the ocean. Sales wouldn’t be sales if there were no hitches in executing your message, maintaining good habits or moving your opportunities ahead.
But what if the underperformance problem I’m talking about isn’t just an easily correctable flaw in process, but rather a big fundamental issue caused by skills gaps in your most important buying conversations? That makes it a little more urgent, right?
April 13, 2016 06:10 AM
If you have been in sales for as long as I have been, you notice the changes taking place in the selling world – particularly the challenges faced by the younger sales force. It was fairly easy for me to awe my customers with the product I was selling – Brother electronic typewriters, back in the early 80s. I could capture their attention by the sheer ingenuity of the product. I was their educator explaining its unique features vis-à-vis the traditional typewriter.
April 11, 2016 12:00 AM
There’s no doubt that our emotions have a large effect on our buying behavior. There’s the pride of ownership, the desire for comfort, the fear of “missing out,” and many other customer emotions that a marketer or salesperson would recognize.
April 8, 2016 07:00 AM
You have built a beautiful business. But lately, waves of change are slowly eroding its base. Until now you have held back the damage by reinforcing the foundation. Then one day the realization hits you: you must move the whole structure, or it will be swept away like a sandcastle on the beach.
April 5, 2016 12:00 AM
It’s no coincidence that the language, strategies and tactics of the U.S. presidential candidates mirror those of sales professionals. As they run sophisticated campaigns and work tirelessly to outmaneuver opponents, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and their challengers are competing in a sales battle royale.
April 4, 2016 12:00 AM
To capture favorable votes, salespeople, like politicians, need to pull six key levers that guide decision-making. These levers affect the limbic system of the brain, which holds memories, emotions and many core beliefs. Messages tied to these levers stimulate us to cast a vote or buy a product or solution. Here are the levers and how to pull them:
Emotional: Excite the neurons associated with your prospect’s beliefs. Those beliefs ultimately fuel the self-preservation urge.