March 10, 2014 12:00 AM
Last October, Symantec’s stock took a beating after its new CEO, Steve Bennett, gave financial guidance that fell short of analyst expectations. As often happens, sales execution was proffered as the primary reason for the gloomy guidance.
Bennett explained in a Bloomberg article that he was going to fix the sales organization by training employees to be “hunters rather than farmers” – a paradigm as old as sales itself.
March 7, 2014 09:01 AM
We humans are emotional creatures. We make our purchase decisions based on how products promise to make us feel. That’s why great brands succeed by seeking intimate emotional connections with customers. Either the product satisfies an emotional need I have (“I want to feel healthy and successful”) or it offers me access to a self-identity that I want to experience and express (“I’m an athlete.”).
March 3, 2014 05:59 AM
Businesses often set aside a large budget to generate leads. But they don’t follow up with enough eagerness, vigor or persistence. That’s lead waste, and it’s preventable.
Consider a farmer who has gone to the trouble of tilling his soil and planting, watering and fertilizing his crops, but come harvest time, neglects to pick the crops. After all that time, energy and money, the produce is dead on the vine.
February 28, 2014 01:00 AM
For small businesses, using enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) is like trying to ride the Olympic mogul course at Sochi using a pair of skis designed for Yao Ming. Unless you’re 7’6”, those skis will not turn without a lot of effort. So you spend the run slamming into each mogul instead of turning your skis and absorbing the bumps.
February 26, 2014 01:00 AM
There’s that moment on so many initial sales calls when it becomes clear that the prospect is not a prospect at all (at least not for the next quarter or two). No budget. No timeline for implementation. No need or perceived urgency.
A clean exit is needed — something that allows for moving on while also leaving the door open for future contact.
February 24, 2014 06:35 AM
Over the past several years, Big Data has become a popular concept with a lot of excitement surrounding it. It’s hard to find a single definition of Big Data, but in essence it’s a super-sized collection of data that spans many unrelated data sources that are not easily aggregated and analyzed. The allure of Big Data is the ability to cull it for trends or insights that can’t be seen without a view across the vast data set from various data sources. In sum, it’s a very wide lens on the world. And it’s a good thing.
February 17, 2014 08:48 AM
Albert Johnson comes home from work exhausted. He hugs his wife and kids, and then he falls into his easy chair. Today was just another grinding day for him as the vice president of sales for The Magic Mirror Company. The tremendous pressure to achieve the corporate revenue budget number sits on his narrow shoulders. Things are tough right now and he is being squeezed by the CEO as well as his executive peers to drive sales.
February 14, 2014 01:00 AM
It’s frightening to admit it, but I’ve been writing about sales and the techniques companies use to improve sales performance for more than two decades now. It has always seemed somewhat ironic to me because sales is a job that I feel completely unsuited for.
Close a deal? You may as well ask me to draw up the blueprints for an office tower.
In putting this issue’s cover story together, however, it turns out that I just may have some essential sales skills after all.
February 14, 2014 06:44 AM
“Please return to your seats and keep your seat belts fastened.”
It has been a long week. You’ve declared this a no-email flight and are just getting ready to start a movie. Suddenly, the “Fasten Seat Belt” light comes on with a ping. Although you’ve been in this situation many times before, it is still unsettling.
“Flight attendants, please take your seats.” For 15 minutes or longer, everyone stays put.
February 12, 2014 01:00 AM
February 10, 2014 06:43 AM
WEATHER WARNING: Snow, ice, wind, rain, lightning, tornado advisory warnings until 5 p.m. tomorrow. This winter, every event, meeting, seminar, appointment and night class around the country has been at risk of being cancelled, closed or delayed due to weather. STAY IN YOUR HOMES!
We all love an excuse to stay home from work, blame the weather on the fact that we can’t get anything done, our email system is down, etc. So, now that nobody is expecting to see or hear from you, what can you do that will lead to future sales?
February 7, 2014 01:00 AM
As LinkedIn gives sales professionals direct access to targeted decision makers and influencers, it can be and should be one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal. However, many sales professionals complain they are not getting an ROI from their LinkedIn efforts. They are making a number of connections, but generating few leads and sales.
There are many reasons why this happens, including:
February 5, 2014 01:00 AM
It is tougher than ever for sales teams to cut through the clutter and differentiate with prospects. But who can blame them? Sales teams can’t find the right resources, so they spend less time selling than hunting for resources, which means lost opportunities – leading to overall poor sales performance. The facts regarding the buying environment and sales execution are startling:
February 2, 2014 10:38 PM
The Seattle Seahawks’ stellar season, which culminated with yesterday’s 43-8 drubbing of the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl, left me pondering some interesting parallels between what top NFL coaches like Pete Carroll and highly successful sales executives do to ensure victory on the field of battle.
January 31, 2014 01:00 AM
People working in marketing and communications have long understood that good results require more than just good luck. As a leader in these functions, if you’re failing to call the ball and be predictive about outcomes and impacts, you are behind the curve and your executives will see it. There may be something else you could invest in that yields more return – the opportunity cost of marketing and communications investment -- and you don’t want to make the wrong choice.
January 27, 2014 01:00 AM
B2B buyer behavior has changed dramatically, yet many sales managers are struggling to make sure their reps got the memo. With basic product and services information readily available on the Web, buyers invite reps in for a sales meeting because they want more. They’re looking for a partner in solving their business need – a partner with market context on best practices, trends, competitors, compliance, risk and other information that can help them frame the best path to a solution for their own business.
January 24, 2014 01:00 AM
Unlike the typical finance department, where the staff has the same educational and training focus, a sales department is often comprised of a variety of people. They completed varying amounts of higher education, worked in different industries or might have switched to sales after an earlier career path.
January 21, 2014 01:00 AM
I talk about 20 core leadership secrets in my executive coaching, speaking and writing. But if someone asked me to name only one that can make an immediate impact, I would pick the behaviors to counter setbacks.
January 20, 2014 08:54 AM
It is tougher than ever for sales teams to cut through the clutter and differentiate with prospects. But who can blame them? Sales teams can’t find the right resources, so they spend less time selling than hunting for resources, which means lost opportunities - leading to overall poor sales performance. The facts regarding the buying environment and sales execution are startling:
January 17, 2014 07:21 AM
2013 was one eventful year, indeed, and what with markets and businesses going on a 350-degree change of face, it has been noted that there will be still more changes coming up your sleeve. The world of business just might not be the same. It is essential that we stick to the basics though. The root from where the whole story of a business begins ultimately never changes.
January 13, 2014 07:00 AM
One of the fundamental differences between business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing and business-to-business (B2B) marketing is the consumer’s far greater susceptibility to mass marketing.
January 10, 2014 01:00 AM
One of the key characteristics among salespeople is their inherent competitive drive. Just as professional athletes strive to win championships, sales reps strive to hit their quotas. Sales is a game that sales reps are out to win, and generating healthy competition is a critical aspect of sales management.
January 6, 2014 01:00 AM
Many of you may have heard of Dale Carnegie’s ever-famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People,”a collection of rock-solid, tried-and-true life and business advice that has helped thousands of people become successful in their personal and professional lives. For years, it has been touted as the best resource for salespeople to grow their careers – but there’s so much more out there.
January 3, 2014 01:00 AM
What’s the best way to get in the door of a top prospect?
This question has to rank among the top five most commonly asked questions from business development professionals. It’s asked in a variety of ways including:
How do I get past the gatekeeper?
How do I get to the decision maker
How do I get a face-to-face meeting with the right person?
No matter how the question is asked, the answer is always the same: If you want to get in the door, you need to give the prospect a reason to open it.
January 2, 2014 01:00 AM
Starting at an early age, the accepted standard, both of teaching and learning, focuses on what to think. In some cases, this approach proves sufficient and even appropriate. But it can fail spectacularly in the complex environments of today’s business world. In these complex systems, learning how to think – how the pieces fit together – is as important as (or more important than) the pieces themselves.