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.
April 4, 2016 05:55 AM
Virtually all companies claim to be “customer-centric,” but set many of their salespeople up for failure with the prodigious amount of product training they provide. Sellers’ comfort zones become talking about offerings rather than exploring business issues. While tolerated at low levels within organizations, it often shortens sales calls made on executives or abruptly ends them. Executives have neither the time nor the desire to be “educated” about offerings by salespeople.
April 1, 2016 09:17 AM
Sales teams are usually viewed as the most important business units in a corporate world. But sales teams have to be smart in order to deliver great results. Pretty much every sales team relies on a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage the sales process, but according to ISMM’s Sales Director of the Year 2015 Ian Moyse, the system itself is often misused when it comes to effectivenessand team motivation.
March 30, 2016 07:00 AM
Early in my business experience, I encountered a mystery. A tightly run inside sales team had an ocean of standardized offices with the same scripts to follow, the same goals, the same computer screens and the same incentives for success. They made a lot of outbound calls to sales prospects with little variety.
March 28, 2016 12:00 AM
Organizations have traditionally taken a simplistic approach to global content creation, viewing translation of English-language content as “good enough.” This passive tactic is no longer sufficient – especially when you consider that 95 percent of the world’s consumers and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power live outside of the U.S. Companies that wish to succeed on a global scale must move beyond standard translation to create engaging native brand experiences.
March 27, 2016 10:39 AM
This issue’s cover story on the skills that women bring to B2B sales and the challenges they continue to face has rattled around in my head for more than a year. I’m glad that it finally came together. There are a lot of topics within the topic of women making their mark in what has been a male-dominated environment. Men and women alike should find it an interesting and educational read.
March 25, 2016 07:24 AM
Corporate buyers are a force to be reckoned with, commercial king makers, with the power to award huge multimillion dollar contracts. So shouldn’t salespeople be doing everything in their power to impress them? Yet why is it so many buyers remain exasperated by the number of senior salespeople that come in to see us, that are badly prepared, don’t listen or follow the process, miss hints, manage their time badly, submit poor tender responses and simply say the wrong things?
March 21, 2016 12:00 AM
In today’s increasingly digital landscape, organizations are more distributed and mobile than ever before. But, in the case of sales and marketing, mobility can sometimes bring a disconnect and impede collaboration within and between teams. Furthermore, traditional training methods, like online certifications and event-based training programs, are not effective in enforcing company messaging and product or service information.
March 18, 2016 06:28 AM
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March 16, 2016 05:59 AM
“We are difficult to do business with,” a sales executive at a large technology company said recently. “Between information security, pricing, and the contract we would collapse if we did not have a deal desk. Someone has to take the deal through the system to ensure we can do what the customer wants and execute the deal.”
March 14, 2016 05:40 AM
Once upon a time there was a salesman. He worked hard every day and, as long as he met or beat his targets, very few questions were asked about the methods he used. Unsurprisingly, this allowed (if not encouraged) dubious practices amongst some in his profession. In turn, the reputation of the entire profession became extremely tarnished. Are you familiar with that tale?
March 11, 2016 01:00 AM
No one likes paperwork, not least salespeople who want to spend their time meeting customers and selling rather than typing up reports. This is particularly true for sales representatives in the field, who have traditionally viewed updating the CRM system as wasted time. As such, field sales staff have tended to do all their CRM reporting at the end of the day, end of the week or even end of the month, severely degrading the quality and value of the data entered.
March 10, 2016 01:00 AM
Back when he was entertaining viewers with his parody of a conservative TV talk show host on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert frequently crowed about the “Colbert Bump” – the increase in popularity that guests on the show enjoyed after appearing on the show.
March 7, 2016 06:06 PM
Every quarter, sales managers huddle over spreadsheets, factoring in seasonal variances, potential new products, and the hypothetical performance of new players to their team. They may even estimate the effect new selling tools or techniques will have (invariably, the prognostications are positive). Internal political considerations come into play and then using these disparate inputs, sales managers come up with a “sales forecast.”
March 4, 2016 06:57 AM
All companies want to be in the sales generation business – but on National Salesperson Day, it’s an opportune time to ask yourself: are you actually and unwittingly in the sales prevention business?
Forget the competition for a moment. Misguided processes, onerous policies and lack of coordination can make organizations their own worst enemy when it comes to enabling sales. So can the wrong focus (such as fostering a product-centric, inside-out view) or lack of support (e.g., providing little or poor coaching, uninspired content or ineffective training).
March 2, 2016 01:00 AM
The biggest threat to closing your next big deal may not be the competition. Your biggest threat might be that your customer never makes a decision at all. We call it the tyranny of no decision.
The average enterprise deal has multiple decision makers attached to it and more often than not they don’t reach a consensus. Corporate Visions claims that 60% of enterprise deals – more than half – end in no decision. If you sell into large enterprises, you’re probably nodding your head about now.