July 18, 2014 05:44 AM
The US Army trains its best fighting brigades by pitting them in war games against an elite unit called OPFOR (stands for “opposing force). The brigades-in-training get every advantage: better intelligence, better technology, more manpower. Yet OPFOR almost always wins. Why? Because OPFOR systematically employs a powerful learning tool: the After Action Review – or AAR.
It’s the same with sales. The best way to get better at your craft is to conduct consistent and thorough debriefs of your action.
July 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Sales numbers are down and you’re starting to sweat. As a sales manager, you must act quickly to turn things around when you first see the numbers dip. You need to diagnose the problems and make changes immediately so your team doesn’t fall short of the sales goal for the quarter or year.
To help managers get to the root of their sales troubles, I’ve identified 12 common problems that can lead to a sales slump. By pivoting quickly and making a few key changes to your team and its process, you’ll see a boost to your sales.
July 14, 2014 12:00 AM
More than 15 million businesses and organizations are now part of Facebook. Many corporations also have company Twitter pages. In the financial world, these pages are typically followed or liked by customers and employees. Major financial institutions with large customer bases and thousands of employees might have impressive numbers of likes or follows, but all too often, posts or tweets are stagnant, void of real interaction and results.
July 10, 2014 01:16 PM
In a world where more people own cell phones than toothbrushes, one risks being labeled a luddite if you push back at all against technological advancements. I listened with great interest as I spoke with a number of sources for this issue’s cover feature on the race to turn smartphones into multipurpose corporate HQs.
The capabilities of these pocket-sized computers are astounding and the software platforms that are being developed for business and personal use only enhance their utility.
July 7, 2014 12:00 AM
Merely mentioning the word “negotiation” can evoke fear, stress and anxiety. But for many, the intent is quite simple: to discuss and ultimately agree on a deal. Whether it’s a multimillion dollar contract or just deciding where to meet for lunch, life is rife with negotiations. And the negotiation process is a lot like a chess game where strategy reigns supreme – one thoughtfully considered move at a time. Make a careless, short-sighted, ill-conceived move and suffer the perilous consequences.
July 3, 2014 12:00 AM
Having a strong sales team that can deliver results is crucial to success. However, there are many factors that can cause a sales team to be ineffective. Anything from email bouncebacks to losing a lead because someone did not properly follow up can be frustrating for sales personnel.
To save the frustration, not to mention time and costs, here are some simple systems to implement:
July 2, 2014 04:06 PM
In her book, “Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports In 5 Minutes a Day for Business,” Seattle sports broadcaster Jen Mueller states that a lack of sports knowledge can cost you money. You don’t need to be able to break down Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, but knowing enough to realize that a fast break isn’t referencing a quick trip to the locker room is a good start.
June 30, 2014 12:00 AM
Sales enablement is a nebulous, often undefined term in the world of sales. Since no single definition of sales enablement exists, companies and industry organizations are defining sales enablement on their own terms.
June 27, 2014 12:00 AM
Being a sales manager is like trying to be two places at once. You’re simultaneously expected to be both a full-time sales rep and a full-time manager. You’re responsible for hitting your own sales numbers in addition to being held accountable for the numbers of each of your team members.
It’s a tough job and a real balancing act. But, through my decades of experience I’ve identified a few key skills to execute success on every front.
June 23, 2014 12:00 AM
Being a B2B marketer is tough. When you’re not competing against the world’s biggest consumer brands for share of voice, you’re facing small budgets, limited resources and reluctance from within your organization to execute a seemingly risky strategy. What’s the solution? How can B2B companies stand a chance against their consumer counterparts? Enter digital media. It is one place in the marketing landscape where B2B companies can surpass those big B2C giants with even bigger budgets.
June 20, 2014 12:00 AM
E-mail is an effective way to increase brand awareness, leads and sales, but many businesses don’t get the response rate they are looking for because their approach is weak, worn out and completely off track. It comes down to three seconds, and if your message doesn’t hit the target your e-mail will be immediately deleted. Your mission should be to get your reader to open, read and respond.
Do people respond to your e-mails in the way you want? Are you sure that you’re making the best possible impression?
June 16, 2014 12:00 AM
In my 20-plus years of managing inside sales teams, I am still amazed at the amount of critical information they can provide to management. After all, the inside salespeople are on the front line, communicating with prospects, customers and field sales representatives on a daily basis. Managers who understand the value of the up-to-date information that inside sales teams can provide are often rewarded with professional success and significant incentive payouts.
June 12, 2014 12:00 AM
Do you hire based more on information or on gut feel?
The easy answer should be “both.”
Hiring is both an art and a science. Irrespective of how many hires you’ve made, and how much you’ve honed your expertise, hiring is tough. It’s one of those management functions where you can do certain things to improve the odds, but you can never be perfect.
June 9, 2014 05:01 AM
Is yours a sales-driven organization?
When asked this question, most CEOs answer yes. When asked if they have a chief sales officer – CSO – almost all of them admit that they do not.
To answer the CSO question for yourself, look at your organizational chart. Is there a representative of the sales department at the C-level? On par with the CFO, COO and others at that level, the sales team deserves to be involved at the strategic level where decisions for the future are being made.
June 6, 2014 12:00 AM
Alarm sounds. Hit snooze button. Steal 10 minutes of more sleep. Groan. Get coffee. Wake kids. Take shower. Get dressed. Yell at kids. Drive to work. Slump into chair. Check email. Check Facebook. Meet deadlines. Waste time chatting. Watch clock. Check Facebook again. Sneak out early. Wait in traffic. Get groceries. Chaperone kids. Shout about homework. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Repeat.
Of course, there is no way this sounds familiar. Right? Maybe to our friends, but never to us.
Not to worry...these three tips are for those “friends.”
June 2, 2014 12:00 AM
How can you persuade someone to buy your complex product when 90% of your presentation is forgotten within 72-hours?The short answer is you don’t. Unless you dramatically change how you engage with customers, they won’t understand why they should buy your complex product, because of the limitation of our short-term working memory.
May 30, 2014 12:00 AM
Corporate data is a powerful source of potential opportunity and competitive gain for every business. But unlocking valuable data from disparate systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), sales performance management (SPM) and corporate performance management (CPM) can seem like an insurmountable task. With huge volumes of data being generated and stored every day, how do you find the tiny needles of insight in the massive haystack of information? And, once you uncover that insight, how can you “democratize” that data, i.e.
May 26, 2014 12:00 AM
A recent blockbuster movie ended with this request: “Sell me this pen.”
This seems to be an easy enough question to respond to. However, the answers can be far ranging and ineffective. Maybe the most appropriate response is, “I have something for you to sign.”
May 21, 2014 05:52 AM
Every day seems to bring marketers big new challenges. Ricoh is looking at several:
May 19, 2014 12:00 AM
When I ask sales managers the most common mistake their people make when negotiating with customers the answer is always the same regardless of the industry: salespeople give ground too quickly and get little to nothing in return. While I understand the challenges of closing a deal, some salespeople want to “sweeten the deal” by providing a little extra incentive for the customer to buy. Many times it isn’t necessary and can cost companies much needed profit margin.
May 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Open sourcing and Big Data are two business trends that, for all their popularity, don’t seem appropriate for blending. The former is focused on universal access and free license to a product’s design or blueprint, while the latter is all about gobbling up as much statistical information as possible about a customer base or entire industry and analyzing it for competitive advantages that are to be protected at all costs.
May 14, 2014 12:00 AM
Viral videos beget copycats. The explosion of “David After Dentist” a few years ago continues to inspire camcord-toting family and friends to videotape someone they know who is just out of surgery and shaking off the effects of anesthesia.
May 12, 2014 12:00 AM
One of the deadliest sins in most messages and sales presentations today is the tendency to say too much. Everyone in your company with an opinion weighs in on the story and, presto, you have a bloated story that pleases internal powers, but actually confuses and frustrates your customers.
May 7, 2014 12:00 AM
As sales professionals, you know more often than not you are going to have to wait on many of your deals to close. Today’s clients take longer to make a decision, prolonging the sales cycle and increasing our stress. The new economy may have brought new opportunity, but it has also brought a new set of challenges. Why? Because this new economy is what is known in the industry as a shifting economy; and a shifting economy is an uncertain economy.
May 5, 2014 12:00 AM
Most people view James Garfield as a mere footnote in history, that is, if they recognize the name of the 20th U.S. president at all. However, there are some valuable lessons to be learned in history’s dusty corners that apply to today’s business world.