September 6, 2013 12:00 AM
How are you differentiating your company during bids for large, long-term contracts against highly qualified providers? The stakes are raised when all bidders are capable of providing a high-level of service, ongoing support, and competitive pricing.
September 3, 2013 12:00 AM
Having been involved in the sales of digital goods in some form or fashion for the better part of two decades, it’s easy to see technology-enabled shifts are culminating in fundamental changes in how marketers engage and increasingly drive sales. Cloud-based delivery, Web- and mobile-based interaction, marketing automation (starting to live up to the promise of what we used to call one-to-one marketing back in the 90s), and the broad adoption of subscription and other fractional ownership models are definitely the most documented of these shifts.
August 30, 2013 12:00 AM
Too often the practice of public relations, particularly in the B2B world, is limited to news releases and trade events aimed at promoting specific products or services. Yet it can also be a powerful tool for achieving larger branding objectives, while affording employees the opportunity to become recognized as experts in their industry.
August 26, 2013 12:00 AM
We’ve all had it happen to us, and it’s one of the most frustrating experiences in business.
You met with your prospective client, and it was an exciting and productive meeting. You established good rapport, you listened well and learned their major issues, you talked about your unique value propositions, and you felt confident that this sale would move forward to signature. You followed up with a thank-you note, and you proceeded to the next step in your sales process.
August 16, 2013 12:00 AM
You have a great new CRM system. It provides solutions to all – or most – of the challenges that your sales team is currently working through.
So why aren’t they using it?
Selling your sales team on a new CRM system might be one of the hardest sales you have to make. Sales teams can be stubborn in their ways and slow to accept change. But chances are your problem isn’t really with the sales team. The problem is with how you’re selling them.
Look Beyond the Sales Team
August 14, 2013 12:00 AM
It’s nearly September and I’m already talking about next year’s sales goals. But we all know that very soon we will all be working on next year’s budgets and thus next year’s sales goals.
August 12, 2013 12:00 AM
Here’s some advice that you don’t hear many sales managers share with their teams: Stop wasting your time following up.
David Newman, founder of Do It! Marketing and author of the new book by the same name, says it’s advice that should be given more often. He has grown tired of hearing statements such as, “Nobody ever buys on the first, second or third appointment,” or “Most sales are made after the eighth contact, but most salespeople stop after the third contact.”
August 9, 2013 12:00 AM
News that Verizon, Google and other companies turned over detailed user information to the government has heightened the debate over the pros and cons of Big Data.
August 5, 2013 12:00 AM
Did you know that the majority of buyers believe they are at least 60 percent done with their buying process before they seek out a salesperson? At least, that’s according to a slew of recent research from top-tier industry analysts. But beware — if you buy into these results, you could be misled regarding the messaging and training support that marketing and others need to provide salespeople.
August 1, 2013 12:00 AM
Authors and leadership consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman (zfco.com) gathered data from nearly 50,000 leaders and discovered that the ability to inspire creates the highest levels of employee engagement and commitment.
July 30, 2013 12:00 AM
What did you learn today?
We’re asked that question constantly when we’re kids, but for whatever reason it’s not posed as much in adulthood.
Consultant Kevin Eikenberry says regardless of your title or standing in your organization, you should continue to ask yourself the question — and hopefully have a strong answer. He offers these tips for fostering ongoing learning and professional development:
July 29, 2013 12:00 AM
When ESR seeks to understand why our clients’ sales organizations aren’t performing to expectations, we see the same inhibitors again and again:
• Unqualified people in sales and sales management positions
• No demand creation and/or generation process
• An absence of tools, value messages, competitive information and playbooks
July 26, 2013 12:00 AM
Three out of four companies formally recognize employees, but too many fail to tap into the focus that employees put on their jobs. Instead, they reward people for tenure or arbitrary achievements (employee of the month), or their recognition efforts are limited to particular groups like sales.
July 22, 2013 12:00 AM
If you’re engaged in the sales process, then you’d better be using effective negotiation strategies for every qualified lead – from discovery until the final agreement. If you wait until it’s time to close the deal, you may fall way short of your goals and your chances of building a long-term client relationship will quickly fade away.
July 19, 2013 12:00 AM
Asking for feedback from your team members can be one of the fastest ways to help you improve and set your team up for success.
Meet with your salespeople individually and explain that your purpose is to learn how you can help them sell better. Then ask three questions:
July 14, 2013 10:21 PM
Our increasingly wired world requires collaboration across business teams all over the globe. To foster an engaging team atmosphere, companies are seeking better employee interaction solutions while reducing costs. A 2012 survey on maximizing employee collaborating with video found that four out of five corporate communicators feel it is difficult to communicate when out of the office, and say adoption of technologies that enable a distributed and mobile workforce would increase efficiency.
July 12, 2013 12:00 AM
Business professor Michael LeBoeuf famously stated, “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” This may sound simple, but any working professional knows that satisfying customers takes more than a great product; it takes a great relationship, which is admittedly a much more complicated task.
Here are three tips for working with difficult clients and customers:
July 11, 2013 06:18 AM
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part article. Part I can be found here.
When a sale goes to the competition, sales managers are left asking “Why didn’t we win?” and “What do we need to do differently?”
We addressed three steps to take in Part I of this article. Here are three more key steps.
July 10, 2013 12:00 AM
It happens more than ever lately. I’ll be reading an article in a magazine or newspaper and a story will be so off-the-wall that I’ll give the cover a double take to see if I’m actually reading The Onion, the satirical tabloid that cracks funny about important news of the day as well as the mundane.
July 8, 2013 12:00 AM
The stakes in pitching for multimillion dollar accounts are huge. When you lose to a competitor, beyond the lost revenue and profit opportunity, there are additional consequences. These include a possible decrease in stock price, negative press, a declining corporate image and emboldened competitors. In these situations, what often keeps senior executives up at night are the questions, “Why didn’t we win?” and“What do we need to do differently?”
July 1, 2013 12:00 AM
According to the Sales Operations Center of Excellece, 54 percent of sales operations departments are less than 3 years old. Though this department is still in its infancy for many organizations, more mid- to large-sized companies are seeing the need for a focus on making their sales teams and processes more efficient. As this role continues to gain traction, what was once considered a project manager’s wheelhouse has turned into the newly defined responsibilities of sales operations managers.
June 28, 2013 12:00 AM
We live in a world that communicates in small bursts and at the speed of light. Because of the flood of information we are inundated with, we jump from receiving to reacting, without even a moment of pause between the two. But it is in that moment that you can change relationships and create opportunities by taking the differentiating approach of responding thoughtfully and showing that you genuinely care. Your personal satisfaction and influence will both skyrocket.
June 17, 2013 12:00 AM
One of the secrets to sales success goes back some 3,000 years to ancient Greece. The philosopher Socrates used carefully crafted questions to help his students learn more, using knowledge they already had.
Now, many top salespeople use “Socratic questions” to qualify prospects and understand their pains, passions and priorities. These top performers then match their ideas, stories and information to meet the prospects’ buying criteria. Sales success is all in how questions get asked.