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December 19, 2014 06:22 AM
I forgot what I was supposed to say. You're in an important sales meeting or presentation. All eyes are on you. You’re discussing your features and benefits. You highlight your expertise. You showcase your value. You are on top of your game. Then suddenly, out of right field, you are asked a question about how your services differ from your competition. Then someone else asks why your pricing is higher than others.
December 15, 2014 12:00 AM
Sales reps that understand what buyers know about products and services can respond more quickly and get the competitive edge. Research shows that up to half of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
December 10, 2014 05:24 AM
Today's sales teams are under more pressure than ever; what's surprising is that for the most part, companies aren't supporting their teams by providing more sales training hours. What's more efficient: a large team of half-trained salespeople, or a small, tight team of fully trained and highly effective sellers? That smaller team is likely selling more product, and is probably more cost-effective too, even if you're spending more on training. How well does your training program prepare new sales candidates for success? Ask yourself these questions.
December 8, 2014 05:35 AM
Recently, I answered my door to find a salesperson standing on my porch. While leery about being pitched, I was instantly captivated when he pulled out an iPad and proceeded to show me product information from the device. Wow. Door-to-door selling, one of the oldest selling techniques, the precursor of cold calling, has been catapulted into the mobile era. This speaks volumes as to the impact mobile devices have had on the selling and customer experience in a relatively short time frame.
December 5, 2014 06:49 AM
Growing companies often hit a barrier when their established ways of meeting customer needs are no longer sufficient to support their aspirations. The entrepreneurial, get-it-done mindset that enabled them to capture new customers and grow share can become an impediment as a larger sales team leads to a larger variety of ad-hoc sales processes.
December 3, 2014 05:31 AM
In 2010, before reality hit me that I am far more effective as a one-man sales force sitting at a desk with a fountain pen than I ever was out schmoozing and physically courting clients at big New York Stock Exchange firms, I was a field sales rep in banks and investment companies including UBS, Comerica Wealth Management, Wachovia (present-day Wells Fargo Advisors) and, for a brief time, Morgan Stanley.
December 1, 2014 05:55 AM
According to a recent Forrester study, business buyers define a valuable sales meeting as:
November 28, 2014 12:00 AM
November 25, 2014 05:40 AM
Customer relationship management (CRM) software as we know it has evolved because businesses are handling more transactions with customers – and producing more data – than ever before. Yet, according to Ringlead’s analysis of U.S. Department of Labor Statistics,customer data erodes at 5 to 5.5 percent per month. The impact of this deterioration is inefficiency. 
November 21, 2014 07:25 AM
Most channel marketers have a dysfunctional relationship with layered incentives. They know that incenting sales-driving behaviors, such as training and product demo, can make a partner feel more personally invested in selling their products. At the same time, they fear what they see as the cumbersome process of providing incentives for anything but straight sales. In my 25-plus years in the channel, I have seen channel marketers employ a lot of creativity in the name of avoiding layered incentives. Most end up with one of two types of programs.
November 17, 2014 05:17 AM
With the fourth quarter’s arrival, many companies have looked at their numbers and increased the pressure on sales teams to make up for losses earlier in the year. Only 58.2% of sales reps made their quota in 2013 according to a 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study of over 1,200 B2B companies by CSO Insights. While every company has unique circumstances affecting its sales cycle, there are common threads that can be identified across the majority of organizations in terms of errors that directly correlate to sales losses.
November 15, 2014 12:00 AM
I interviewed a half-dozen or more people for this issue’s cover story on trends in sales incentive programs and workplace motivation. I mentioned to each of them at some point during the discussion that I have been writing on this topic for longer than I care to admit.
November 12, 2014 12:00 AM
Putting the right team on the field is crucial, especially in sales, where differences in individual performance are greater than in other functions. Studies in B2B contexts find that rep performance in similar territories often varies by 300 percent, while in retail stores selling productivity typically varies by a factor of three to four. In other words, there are salesstars in many firms.
November 11, 2014 12:00 AM
Hitting a trifecta in email marketing — right message, right person, right time — is tricky. Janelle Johnson, director of demand generation at marketing automation provider Act-On Software, shares insights on the timing.
November 10, 2014 12:00 AM
While companies complain that 80 to 90 percent of their salespeople can’t sell value, they are spraying their salesforce with product presentations and praying that their salespeople will be able to figure out why customers should buy their product. But instead of complaining, companies should feel blessed that they can increase sales by capturing and sharing this valuable tribal knowledge with the rest of their sales force.
November 10, 2014 12:00 AM
The statistics induce nightmares: ·   Gallup’s 2013 report on the State of the Global Workplace states that only 13 percent of workers in America are engaged at work.
November 7, 2014 12:00 AM
Sales are the lifeblood of any successful business. The warriors who pound the pavement or the phone lines day after day are always looking for ways to stay ahead of their competitors and tell their stories in the most compelling way, which is why they are often early adopters of technology. If you were in sales “back in the day,” like I was, you might recall schlepping all sorts of gadgets from luggable computers to huge projectors to meetings.
November 5, 2014 12:00 AM
If you believe the hype around studies that say customers feel they are through 60 percent (or more) of the buying cycle before engaging a salesperson, you could be giving your salespeople the wrong content for the wrong conversation. That’s because salespeople still see themselves as relevant to the early-stage discussions.
November 3, 2014 06:03 AM
What are some quick and easy-to-implement ways to improve sales for you or your organization? Here are three ways to improve the sales process: Prepare, prepare, prepare! While it isn’t sexy, the importance of preparation can’t be overstated. It remains true that those who are best prepared produce the best results. Even Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
October 30, 2014 11:00 PM
UnSelling is what happens when you understand the humanity of your market, produce a quality product and create experiences that lead to trusted referrals. UnSelling means stepping back from the funnel and focusing on everything else but the sale.
October 30, 2014 03:20 PM
October 27, 2014 06:57 AM
As an increasing percentage of consumer and business-to-business purchasing decisions and sales transactions are made on ecommerce platforms, it’s understandable that company leaders might wonder, “Do salespeople still matter?” After all, these days, customers can go online to view product photos or service demonstrations. They can access price lists and delivery and scheduling options. Do they still need to talk to a salesperson?
October 24, 2014 06:57 AM
In life, subtle conscious and unconscious decisions often have a profound impact. In business, one such decision is accepting “no” too quickly when in reality it’s the wrong decision for both parties. “No” can have multiple meanings from “No, not today” or “No, I am not sure” to “No, I am not the decision maker.”
October 23, 2014 04:56 AM
As we stare down the end of 2014, does this story sound familiar? Going into the fourth quarter, a division of a large company had the chance to meet annual sales of $300M for the first time. In December, the SVP of sales told everyone to do “whatever was necessary” to achieve that number. They succeeded. At the kickoff meeting the entire sales staff received plaques with $308,000,000 proudly displayed.
October 19, 2014 11:00 PM
The big thing in many marketing departments is to create personas — fictional characters that embody all the traits of your prospects. These personas have names, demographic and psychographic attributes, plus a detailed look at their key performance indicators.