March 27, 2014 11:00 PM
Have you ever been asked to work on a pay-per-lead basis? Some potential clients call it a “performance basis.” Others euphemize it as “partnering.” But what they inevitably say is that, “If you’re so good, why not put some skin in the game?”
March 25, 2014 11:00 PM
Imagine this for a moment: your sales coach, instead of holding the usual meeting at his office or yours, picks you up and takes you to Barnes & Noble and once there, tells you something that prompts you to ask “Are we going to be thrown out?”
Let me tell you the story.
One day I had a coaching session with a student I’ll call Sales Sam. It was his birthday and I told him, “Instead of you coming by my office, I’ll pick you up at your office and we’ll do something special because it’s your birthday.”
March 24, 2014 04:41 AM
When you think of a sales pipeline, what shape begins to emerge in your mind? If you are like most sales leaders and executives, you will see a funnel. The conventional funnel-shaped pipeline has a large opening on one end where potential leads pour into the sales cycle and a gradually tapering funnel that ends with closed business. The idea of the sales funnel is to squeeze out candidates that are not a fit along the way.
March 20, 2014 11:00 PM
A successful sales professional has been trained in time management and will devote a portion of her week to prospecting for new clients. The methods vary but the results are the same. The primary goal is to enhance the client base with qualified accounts that produce revenues for the company. The inexperienced sales agent does not organize her day or week in advance and therefore does not allocate the critical time frame for prospecting.
March 19, 2014 11:00 PM
When he was 12, Mark Cuban sold garbage bags to pay for an expensive pair of basketball shoes. An entrepreneur was born and the business world hasn't been the same. Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of AXS TV.
March 16, 2014 11:00 PM
Sales teams have multiple responsibilities over the course of their workdays, and it is inevitable that many of these tasks pose a significant challenge. Seeking out new leads, hustling between prospects and clients and attending meetings with marketing and management can get overwhelming. Because time management is integral to the success of a sales team, how can one better manage?
Tips for Time Management
March 13, 2014 11:00 PM
Tablets are helping to reinvent the sales profession. They’re making it possible for sales reps to be productive pretty much any time anywhere. Reps are using the devices to breeze through the humdrum tasks that need doing before and after the sales call – and make the calls themselves much more productive.
March 9, 2014 11:00 PM
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 08:01 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 04:59 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 12:00 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 12:00 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 05:35 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 07:48 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 12:00 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 05:44 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 12:00 AM
February 10, 2014 05:43 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 12:00 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 12:00 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 09:38 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 12:00 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 28, 2014 04:15 PM
Based on observation and feedback from working with hundreds of executives and sales training participants within client organizations, Marketing Nous (marketingnous.com), an Australian-based sales training provider for technical and professional teams, identified five main causes of ineffective sales training:
1. Management is not committed to change
2. The training is not relevant for the team
January 28, 2014 04:38 PM
In his latest book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” author Malcom Gladwell argues that a reexamination of the Biblical boy-slays-giant story is the ideal metaphor for the advantages that so-called underdogs often have over larger, stronger competition.
January 28, 2014 04:28 PM
Success is a learnable skill, says Brian Tracy, a guy who has taught a thing or two on the topic.
It would be terrible for your sales reps to be held back in life because they lack one easily learnable skill that can enable them to multiply their results and possi-bili-ties. The key to success is effective time management and continuous learning, Tracy says.