SalesFitRx BLOG

What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Image 1You, today’s salesperson, have a lot on your plate and a lot is expected of you every single day.

Even with all you do, there are missed opportunities and it could be said that, foundationally, it comes down to ensuring every minute of every day is spent doing the things that matter most.

We created a Sales Time Usage Survey and we would appreciate your help. It will, at most, take three minutes of your time to take part in the survey (participate here).

In return, and only if you desire, we will send you the results of how you compare to your peers.

Thank you for your consideration and your participation.

Related to this important topic of making the most of all you do in your daily pursuit of sales relationships, we asked many of the top sales industry influencers the following question. You can read their responses below:

What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Too many sales professionals still fail to proactively manage their time. They waste time between sales calls, waste time on unqualified opportunities, and work reactively vs. focusing on their most important target prospects.  Discipline and intentional work on the right things are key!

Matt Heinz
President :: Heinz Marketing Inc

 

Salespeople are not taking enough advantage of their mindset. They fire, fire, fire, fire….then aim. If you want to make the sales profession better, spend less time with your nose pressed against a screen, and learn to think before you act. That’s something a third grader learns in school.

Gerhard Gschwandtner
CEO :: SellingPower.com

 

Continuing education. And it’s not just salespeople, but we, as a group are guilty. I always ask my clients if they are practicing their craft as much as they are their golf game, tennis game or other avocations. They should practice their vocation just as much!

Butch Bellah
Speaker, Trainer& Author :: ButchBellah.com

 

Independent thinking. Why? Because they’d rather belong than succeed.

Tibor Shanto
Chief Sales Officer :: Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

 

Today’s salespeople aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities to research the companies in their target sweet spot, nor the people in those companies that they’re going to have to contact. They also don’t research their competitors enough. This lack of research is laziness, and it’s costing these salespeople, and their companies, a ton of business!

Robert Terson
Author & Speaker :: SellingFearlessly.com

 

Cost effective on-line training that is easy to consume.

Why? They don’t know of it, they are too arrogant to realize they can improve, or they are waiting “to see if our company will pay for it.”

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Sales Presentation Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Executive Speech Coach :: Fripp.com

 

Sales people are under utilizing the power of social to gain access to decision makers, identify all the influencers and stakeholders, leverage their connections to get warm introductions and position themselves as thought leaders and subject matter experts.

The power of platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are gateways into the minds and networks of their prospects but sales people rarely take the journey – or if they do they turn back before they bear fruit.

Brynne Tillman
CEO :: SocialSalesLink.com

 

Preparation. That’s what’s missing from sales people today.

The excuses sales people share are:  Time and Don’t Need To (know this business inside and out).  After working with sales teams worldwide for over 30 years, the sales people who adopt Preparation advance more sales and close more deals.

When should a sales person prepare?  Only when they want to make a sale. And the preparation can be as short as 5 minutes.

These 3 questions are the minimum ones a sales person should  ask themselves before picking up the phone or getting out of their car:

  1. What’s the objective of this conversation?
  2. What questions am I going to ask to accomplish the objective?
  3. What am I going to say to launch the conversation?

Alice Kemper
Founder & President :: Sales Training Consultants | SalesTrainingWerks.com

 

Most salespeople are not reacting to the market and to leads in real-time. Research suggests that the faster you respond to an inquire, the more likely that deal will close, yet most salespeople are working on their time, not the buyers’ time.

David Meerman Scott
Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author :: DavidMeermanScott.com

 

Each other.

I train sales reps all over the world and during my training sessions they always ask questions about specific challenges they are facing. My first response to all of them is “does anyone in here have a few ideas on how to address that?”

Inevitably someone in the class has a good answer or good approach they use to address whatever that challenge is.

We rarely stop and think about what we’re doing in sales and we’re always looking for the answer when most of the time it’s right in front of us.

Sales can be perceived as an individual sport but if you leverage your team you can figure things out a lot faster.

John Barrows
Owner :: jbarrows.com

 

Many sales people aren’t actively involved with their current or potential customer until there is an active opportunity. By then it’s often too late, because one of their competitors has likely grabbed customer mindshare and influenced the buying process and decision criteria in their favor.

In researching Beyond the Sales Process, we learned that the average executive spends less than 2% of their time buying from you. What you do during the remaining 98% of that customer’s time can prevent you from falling into that fatal trap—only getting involved when there is “meat on the table.

Dave Stein
Author, Beyond the Sales Process :: davestein.biz

 

Salespeople are not learning how to uncover a client’s decision criteria and their values, because once they learn how to uncover a client’s values and beliefs, there will be no resistance to your proposal.

Alen Mayer
Sales Expert, Author & Speaker :: AlenMayer.com

 

Sales people do not effectively follow-up on leads. Mostly it is because:

  1. They are conditioned to expect poor quality leads from marketing
  1. They don’t know how to  follow-up on leads
  1. They give up too early – “I called them and they did not call me back so they must not really have been a lead”

This  blog goes into detail about how to effectively follow-up on leads. It also shows the actual vs. the perceived percent of leads that by month-by-month after a lead is generated:

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Dan McDade
President, PointClear

 

As a field coach, I would like to see more salespeople asking more high-quality questions (and fewer low-quality ones).

High-quality questions are purposeful. They yield the information desired. They don’t sound random, oddly phrased, misplaced in the conversation or manipulative. Instead, they invite buyers to share fully and thoughtfully.

To ask more purposeful questions, a salesperson has to pause and consider ‘what do I really want to know?’ The question should be worded to plainly request the information that’s really desired. When driven by an intent to help the buyer, there’s usually a mutual benefit to purposeful questions.

Low-quality questions work against individual sellers and against the profession of selling. I cringe, along with buyers, when I hear trite questions (“what keeps you up at night?”) or obvious set-up questions (“if I could show you how to save, you’d like that wouldn’t you?”). Buyers resist time-wasting, low-value meetings featuring these kinds of questions.

By contrast, buyers respond favorably to questions that make them think or engage them in stimulating conversations. My book, DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, is packed with high-quality questions from actual sales calls. Salespeople in any field will ask higher quality questions and advance their sales more quickly to a close after reading this book.

Deb Calvert
Author of the Bestseller DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected :: People First Productivity Solutions

 

Salespeople today are not taking enough advantage of utilizing social media.

Other than the time invested, social media is free. Social media has fantastic branding features combined with incredible reach.

Salespeople often think in terms of sales and not marketing. To reach the highest levels of sales, you must learn to market yourself and create a brand. It is easier to do today than ever because of social media.

If you utilize the power of “Intentional Congruence” in cross channel communicating and marketing on social media, you create a power positioning of expertise.

In sales, if you position yourself as an expert giving great content, you will no longer be positioned as a beggar as most salespeople are.

Also, remember that social media is just that social. Interact, engage, create conversations along with utilizing some marketing aspects but do not sell through social directly all the time or you will turn off your audience. It’s social media, not selling media.

Also, on social media such as Facebook, you can now take your customer lists, potential customers lists or segment potential audiences however you wish and reach them with paid ads or dark posts and utilize targeting marketing and retargeting at a very inexpensive price.

Compared to traditional advertising, social media is more effective for a salesperson and allows anyone to create a strong presence and get sales fast for low to no cost.

Mark Tewart
Author of How To Be A Sales Superstar :: Tewart.com

 

Please don’t forget to take part in our 3-minute survey.
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We appreciate your help!

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TOP SALES BLOG POSTS TO READ [BEFORE YOUR COMPETITORS DO]

Sales_Executive_X_for_Twitter-1I’ll be back soon with more blog posts.

Until then, here are some of our most popular blog posts to date. We highly recommend reading them before your competition does…

Which one is your favorite?

 

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HOW TO CONNECT CONTENT TO YOUR SALES FUNNEL

Sales_Funnel_X_-_249These days, the progression of sales is less funnel than maze – and the ability to retrace the path of leads back to their source is absolutely critical for businesses who strive to step up their game.

After all – if you don’t know what’s working, how can you improve upon it?

According to recent research by Aberdeenonly 39% of businesses currently have this ability – which means those who do are at an extraordinary advantage when it comes to nailing their outreach efforts.

In fact, those businesses who land in the top 20% when it comes to marketing performance are almost 2.5 times more likely to connect their leads to specific content assets. And it makes sense – by determining what is working (and what isn’t) they are capable of duplicating their efforts, or amending them.

This is definitely easier said than done – especially in the beginning. With so many points of customer contact, it can be difficult to determine where to start, what to research, and how to set milestones for measurement.

Still, the ability to track lead sources back to their origination point and connect them with specific content assets allows your business to construct its marketing strategy on a solid foundation.

Need some help getting started? Here’s a simple 5-step process:

  1. Avoid content paralysis – just begin by producing content designed for each stage in the sales funnel. In the top of the funnel, you’ll want to connect with your audience and offer content which introduces them to your products and services via value-added assets. Starting a conversation via social media is a great way to begin, as is offering informative content such as eBooks, How-To posts, and infographics.In the middle of the funnel, you’ll focus more on assets which help your prospective customers evaluate their options, such as buying guides, product demos, and case studies. And in the final stages, you’ll include deeper content, such as free trials, consultations, and customized estimates.
  2. Publish or promote your content. Push your messages out to your prospective audience’s preferred channels and platforms, and keep a close eye on the resulting conversations. (Yes – it’s that easy.)
  3. Pay attention to your results. Are you driving dialogue via social media? Are prospective customers lingering longer on any particular post or page? Have you seen a spike in traffic or interest following any particular campaign? Your key measurements will vary from one stage of the funnel to the next – but if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss the critical insights which help you hone your strategy.
  4. Ask for feedback (and referrals!). If you aren’t sure where your clients are coming from – ask. Collecting consumer feedback can be an enlightening experience, and it may help you uncover some interesting insights regarding your content marketing efforts. It also helps to track your referrals – it can help you determine who your best and most loyal brand advocates are.
  5. Hone your strategy. Take what you’ve learned, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Throw out any approaches which aren’t working to your advantage, and focus on your top-producing approaches. Your audience is unique, and honing your strategy to suit what works best for them will help you create deeper connections – and drive future sales.

Contact me today to learn more about how to find more selling time, through award-winning technology, in your weekly schedule: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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3 MORE RECOMMENDED SALES TOOLS

Tools_3_-_310_shadowAs sales pros, we know that the hardest part of making the sale is often connecting to new business.In this day and age, rallying new sales

In this day and age, rallying new sales relies heavily on developing your prospective relationships – so that by the time your potential clients are ready to make a move, you’ve already been established as a trusted expert in their sphere of influence.

But, how do the most successful sales professionals climb the mountain of social media, in order to stay on top of their client conversations?

They do it by using the best tools available to gather info and gain insight into their clients’ needs – and then leveraging this information to drive relevant and engaging conversations with their potential customers.

Need some help kickstarting your conversations? I’ve reviewed a few tools which can help you identify your best prospects and open the door to more productive dialogue.

SocialPort (by rFactr)
http://rfactr.com/product  //  @rFactr

SocialPort is an all-inclusive content management system, which enables streamlined sharing via social channels. It helps users engage in more productive conversations, by allowing them to write, schedule, and share posts which have been optimized for social media.

It allows managers access to in-depth data and analytical insights helpful for tracking and monitoring the impact of social campaigns, as well as enabling sharing of corporate-approved content for use by sales staff. SocialPort simplifies the alignment of marketing, sales, and customer experience – and makes it easy to attribute revenue directly to sales initiatives.
 

Pros – Effective content syndication and easy integration with most major CRMs.
Cons – Auto-posting could be improved. Syndication functionality is also somewhat lacking.
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Riffle (by CrowdRiff)
http://crowdriff.com/riffle  //  @CrowdRiff

Riffle helps maximize their use of Twitter, by providing information regarding the reach and potential value of each user. This allows sales professionals to identify industry influencers, and prioritize, personalize, and tailor their interactions to develop more in-depth relationships.

The Chrome extension is simple to install and manage, integrates well with Hootsuite and Salesforce, and provides instantaneous insight into contact interest, engagement, and activity via the Twitter platform. It provides at-a-glance contact metrics regarding social stats, retweets, and network reach – as well as quick-links to your contacts connected social profiles and preferred platforms.

Pros – The simplicity of use basically eliminates the learning curve – making this a great tool for the less tech-savvy.

Cons – Riffle is less data-focused than its rivals – and strictly relevant for frequent users of Twitter.

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Discover.ly (by Google)
http://discover.ly  //  @discoverly

Discover.ly is a Chrome extension which connects your LinkedIn profile to your Facebook connections – allowing you to leverage “in common” connections, and develop stronger relationships.

Once installed, Discover.ly allows you to view any mutual Facebook connections from within LinkedIn – enabling sales professionals to shift their conversational focus to those prospective clients with whom they already have connections in common.

Pros – Discover.ly presents data within LinkedIn, so there is no need to move away from the social network you use most. It also places the emphasis on strength of connection and developing pre-existing social relationships, as opposed to merely identifying influencers or social reach.
Cons – This plug-in simply streamlines access to information which is already accessible to you (from a data privacy perspective). It also only supports one Gmail account per LinkedIn account, so consider carefully before installing it – it can be glitchy if you attempt to make changes.

At the end of the day – there is no cure-all app for streamlining your social sales. Still, used in conjunction, all of these programs can offer helpful insights which can be leveraged to improve your social selling, and improve sales effectiveness.

For more information on how SalesFitRx can help you leverage data to improve your sales efficiency, contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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SOCIAL SELLING 101: GET UP-TO-SPEED TODAY

Social_Selling_-_Laptop_287_shadowFor businesses looking to boost revenues and beat their quota, social media is an excellent [and often-under-utilized] sales tool.

Though marketing and PR have long accepted the value of social reach, many sales teams have been slow to embrace the social network as an avenue of consumer connection.

But gone are the days of cold-calling and face-to-face meetings – today’s savvy customers are using social media to screen their business contacts, familiarize themselves with brands, and connect with industry experts and influencers.

Which means if your sales team wants to meet increasing quotas and boost revenues, they’ll need to update their social skills and connect with your prospective audience on their preferred platforms.

HOW TO GET STARTED
Shifting your attention to social selling can take a bit of adjustment, but if your business is serious about boosting sales, you’ll need to take the leap; your competition has already done so.

I’ve outlined my best suggestions, below, to help smooth the transition.

  • Do your research. Prepare to enter the world of social selling by doing a little digging. Your sales team will want to identify your industry influencers and their preferred social networks, and spend some time following the current conversation – what are they talking about? And, who with?Remind your sales team that social selling is not about pushing a product or service – it is about establishing credibility and connection through conversation. A little research will help your sales team gain great insight regarding the values and attitudes of your prospective audience – and apply it to drive real dialogue.
  • Establish concrete, measurable goals. Outline a plan for increasing your social reach, and make sure your sales team is up to speed. Whether your goal is to increase your page Likes on Facebook or boost the number of posts re-Tweeted – take time to set real, actionable, and measurable milestones, and you’ll find it far easier to track your progress.
  • Allocate time specifically for social selling. It takes time to build a strong social presence – but even 15 minutes per day can hold a huge impact on your success. Build social selling into your daily schedule, by asking each member of your sales team to spend a period of time each day interacting via social media. At the end of the month, review your reach – and make sure to record your results.
  • Track activities and results individually, and as a team. Keep an eye on your metrics! While most networks offer built-in tools for tracking results, you may find it helpful to use a comprehensive sales solution such as that offered by SalesFitRX to aggregate and track your social selling results between networks.However you choose to approach it, make sure you follow your progress and results both as a team and individually. You’ll not only see the impact of your efforts – you’ll identify which members of your sales team have a knack for social selling.
  • Provide support and motivation. Check in with your sales professionals frequently, to see how their conversations are going. Provide clear content guidance, periodical prompts, or suggestions of interest to help inspire those who might benefit – and discuss the results as a team in your weekly meeting. Discuss your progress, and share the data which proves your results – and you’ll find your team motivated to continue extending your social reach.
  • Adjust the strategy to meet your desired results. Over time, you’ll discover the nuances of each social network, and learn which avenues are the best revenue generators. Maybe your prospective audience has a stronger presence on LinkedIn, or Twitter – whatever the platform, encourage your sales team to focus their efforts, allocating more time to presence where you see results.

Social selling is still a new world to many sales reps – so ease your team into the transition by providing effective education and guidance.

You’ll help your sales team extend your business’s reach, establish credibility, drive conversational connection, and meet their increasing quotas – all while boosting your bottom line.

Contact me today to learn more about how to find more selling time, through award-winning technology, in your weekly schedule: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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STOP DOING THESE THINGS – EXPERT ADVICE ON THE CUSTOMER CONVERSATION

Stop_341_shadowFrom day to day, all good sales reps are bombarded with a list of best practices for our craft – but few of us are focused on the challenges of altering our current approach and behavior to reflect the changing customer conversation.

It can be hard to step outside of our current practices, and think outside of the box – which is why I’ve done a little digging to come up with a list of five things the experts recommend you STOP doing today, to improve your sales strategy and drive more valuable customer conversation:

  1. Don’t Waste a Good Crisis
    In his article Don’t Waste a Perfectly Good CrisisJoe Calloway (@joecalloway) describes the opportunity available in crisis – specifically, that inherent in the aftermath of a recession. Calloway believes that when most companies are tightening their belts, it’s prime time to set yourself apart from the competition by increasing customer contact. Calloway says –“The historic economic meltdown of 2008 gave us an almost limitless supply of practical business lessons. Perhaps the most impactful of those lessons is that there can be tremendous value in a crisis.“When taking action is just an option, it’s easy to continue having meetings about it. But when the banks stop making loans, customers are canceling orders, revenue is plummeting, and your cash flow is slowing down to a trickle, you begin to realize that more meetings aren’t the answer. You have to do something and do it now.”

     

  2. Stop Using Sales Lingo
    In his LinkedIn article Stop Doing These 3 Things in SalesMichael Manzi (@MikeManzi7) of OfferPop (@offerpop) offers warning against lapsing into technical talk in your conversations with clients. He gives an overview of “sales speak” and describes how it can easily create disconnection, alienate customers, and breed distrust, saying –

    Sales talk assumes that the other people on the line are not human. That somehow they’re impressed when we use big words and long sentences. We think that if we say paradigm, fundamental, ROI and industry, we’re going to pull out the check books of VP’s at major companies.In reality, it makes the prospect do the “sales Heisman”. One hand on their wallet and the other hand up to defend you from getting to it.”
  3. Quit Thinking of Questions
    In his article Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Questions When SellingKeenan (@keenan) talks about the benefits of considering the client conversation from a new angle. He suggests that asking questions is not nearly as valuable as the consideration of what information you actually need to gain from your prospective customer during dialogue, saying -“The next time you are preparing for a sales call, don’t focus on the questions you want to ask, consider focusing on the information you want to know. Once you know what you’re looking for, the questions will roll off your tongue until you get what you want.”
  4. Don’t Snooze – Cat Nap
    In her recent article When it Comes to Sales Territories, Think Like a Cat, sales-pro-turned-comedy-writer Amanda Caswell (@AmandaCaswell) shares her tongue-in-cheek advice on remaining on top of client contact by developing good follow-up skills, saying –“Very rarely do cats sleep so soundly that they can’t hear what’s going on around them. This characteristic is actually a survival instinct. As a sales person, your sense of survival in the industry should be based on never getting too comfortable. Always stay on top of your game by checking in with your clients and potential prospects even on the days you’d rather just zone out.” 
  5. Don’t Assume You Control the Conversation
    In a recent Huffington Post articleVala Afshar of SalesForce (@ValaAfshar), interviews Tiffani Bova (@Tiffani_Bova) of Gartner,  as they discuss the new data-driven environment of sales. Bova describes the new customer relationship, stating that customers (as opposed to technology) are redefining perception of market disruption, saying –

    “The reality is, your sales teams are no longer in control of how customers explore or evaluate you as a provider, and sales needs to step up.Today’s sales organizations must shift from trying to control their internally driven sales cycle and truly embrace the new customer-driven buying cycle — otherwise, prospects will eliminate you from their consideration list and buy from your competition”

By following this expert advice, and altering your sales behavior accordingly, you’ll find yourself participating in more valuable, authentic customer dialogue – which will result in increased trust, improved customer loyalty, and higher revenues. Why not give it a go?

For more information on how you can streamline your sales, contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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3 RESEARCH FIRMS SALES PROS NEED TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER

Research_2_-_340_shadowThe effectiveness of sales techniques can vary between industries and gatekeepers, but there’s nothing quite like the backing of hard numbers and figures.

Using the latest statistics and research data to back your offer will greatly improve the effectiveness of your sales pitch.

Sales professionals have a lot to gain from using statistics and research data. It brings together context and presentation options into the mix to solidify your customer’s business opportunities and return on investment.

Here at SalesFitRx, I understand that sales pros are always on the move and don’t have the time to conduct surveys or manage data points. Which is why I’ve created a list of 3 research groups to follow on Twitter for access to the latest research across a multitude of industries:

Sirius_Decisions_Icon_170x170Sirius Decisions – Follow @SiriusDecisions on Twitter
Sirius Decisions makes actionable intelligence and guides on topics pertaining to B2B Marketing, Sales, and Product Leaders who want to drive the growth of their business.
Sirius Decisions uses holistic methodologies in their research, observing every facet of complex systems to find the true flow of a business process.
The group creates fact-filled blog posts, slide decks presentations, and webinars to showcase their findings. This variety in display options makes it easy for salespeople who need to understand complex issues information quickly.
Sirius Decisions posts frequently on their Twitter page with an average of 5 postings a day. They keep their Twitter followers in the loop of their upcoming massive research projects and worldwide webinar sessions.
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Aberdeen_Group_Logo_170x170Aberdeen Group – Follow @AberdeenGroup on Twitter
Aberdeen Group covers a wide range of industries and topics with a focus on the business practices that gives top performing companies. The group reviews the effectiveness of specific techniques, tools, organizational decisions, and business focuses for a comprehensive assessment on what works.
Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group comes in the form of highly-detailed white papers. Aberdeen Group is also transparent in the way that they conduct their research, providing multiple perspectives in how to interpret data sets given by companies.
The group’s research is perfect for salespeople who want an in-depth understanding of tools and business practices that have proven to work in the field by top performing companies.
Aberdeen Group is highly active on their Twitter page with nearly 10 postings a day. The group also responds to questions and comments tweeted to them, making them one of the more interactive groups on Twitter. ­The majority of their tweets are links to their latest research, keeping followers well informed on the most successful best practices.
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Forrester_Icon_170x170Forrester Research – Follow @Forrester on Twitter
Forrester Research is one of the largest research firms on Twitter with over 328 thousand followers. The group focuses their research on Marketing & Technology business processes.
Forrester Research gathers data from more than 500,000 consumer and business leaders worldwide for massive annual surveys and industry-wide research projects.
The majority of Forrester Research’s information comes in the form of reports with less emphasis on narratives and more on compact factoids. Forrester Research specializes in business performance analysis for unexplored opportunities. Their information is better suited for decision-makers and managers who are looking for new potential to growing business.
Forrester Research publishes over 10 posts on their Twitter page a day. Forrester Research also actively publishes detailed visuals with nearly 3 image postings a day from their speaker series and events.

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Keeping well informed on the happenings of your clientele’s industry trends is a solid business practice for any level of salesperson. Not only does it strengthen your sales position, but it allows you to tune your strategy directly to the needs of the customer.

Contact me today to learn more about how to find more selling time, through award-winning technology, in your weekly schedule: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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EXPERT ADVICE: THESE CONTENT MARKETING GURUS OFFER TIPS

King_1_-_328_shadowThese days, the phrase “Content is king” has become the mantra of sales and marketing. Which is why I’ve been reaching out and seeking the advice of these content marketing gurus.

They’ve devoted their careers to keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry – and we’ve asked them to share their insights as part of our focus on content marketing.

Sean_Si_125x125Advice from Sean Si, Founder & CEO of SEO Hacker

Question: What’s your most powerful content marketing tip?
This is a tough one. Content marketing by nature is a holistic practice. It involves thorough research, content creation, suave copywriting, awesome headlines, and promotion, promotion, promotion. Summing it all up in one ‘powerful’ tip may not make sense in the bigger picture.
So perhaps the one tip that I would give to anyone starting out with content marketing would be the most foundational – write evergreen pieces of content. These pieces of content will stand the test of time, acquire perpetual amounts of traffic from search, and will be shared the most out of all your other pieces of content.
Question: What other sales or marketing leaders do you follow?
Hiten Shah, who is an awesome technical serial entrepreneur; Alex Turnbull, from Groove; Rand Fishkin (duh!), Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs – to name a few.
Question: What essential question should we all be asking about content marketing?
Perhaps an awesome question would be – how exactly does content marketing help with SEO? I think that would be of interest to a lot of people. I’ve answered that question extensively, in this article.
Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars. Check out his personal blog where he writes about starting up two companies and life in general – or connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.
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Advice from Drew McClellan, owner of Agency Management Institute & McLellan Marketing Group

Question: 
What’s the most important aspect of content marketing?
I think the most important aspect of content marketing is to have a very specific and narrow audience in mind as you create your content. The more specific your audience, the more focused your content can be.
Content that is tailored to a small group of people will reassure them that you understand their world and can help them.
Generic content may be interesting, but it’s rarely useful in a significant way. When you create content for your sweet spot customers – it attracts them to you and creates a “we get each other” bond that begins to build the foundation of a relationship.
Question: How do you define successful content marketing?
I don’t believe successful content marketing is when a single post goes viral or when a blog gets put on a list. I believe content marketing success happens when you have consistently provided value to your audience for long enough that you become their go-to resource and when they want to know something – they turn to your site or assets to see if you have the answer.
When they think of you as the holder of their solution – that’s content marketing success.
Question: What other sales or marketing leaders do you follow?
You can see my list of daily reads, here.
Drew McLellan is the owner of Agency Management Institute (formerly AMR) and McLellan Marketing Group. He is an author, speaker, and blogger – and has recently appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Week and Fortune’s Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read. Follow his blog, here – or connect with him via LinkedIn, or Twitter.
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Doug_Kessler_126x126Advice from Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-founder of Velocity

Question: What’s your most powerful tip for improving content marketing?
Take all the time, money and effort you’re about to put into your next ten pieces – and put it all into one.  See what happens.
Question: What’s your favorite example of successful content marketing?
The new Cocainomics piece by Netflix and the WSJ Studio is pretty powerful. Not sure of its success, yet – but I bet it works!
Question: You’re the expert – what question(s) should everyone ask about content marketing?
Why the hell are we doing this?  What does our audience really need to know? Why are we an authority? And – how can our content be ten times better?
Doug Kessler is co-founder and creative director of Velocity Partners, the London-based B2B content marketing agency. Doug has written a lot about content marketing, including the B2B Content Strategy ChecklistInsane Honesty in Content Marketing and Crap: Why the Biggest Threat to Content Marketing is Content Marketing. Connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
 

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5 SALES INFLUENCER BLOGS TO FOLLOW

5_Stars_1_-_318_shadowIn sales, becoming leading-edge in your technique can make all the difference. The most successful salespeople are always fresh in their approach, bringing the best value to their leads as efficiently as possible.

A good way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends is to learn from those who have already mastered the art of selling. In an ever-changing market, there are always opportunities to be a better sales professional.

To help you find your edge, I’ve made you a list of 5 sales influencers whose blogs should be on every salesperson’s to-read list:

Dan_Waldschmidt_small_shadow-1Dan Waldschmidt
Dan Waldschmidt lives to inspire through his “Live EDGY” mantra from his book EDGY Conversations.
Dan works with a team as a strategist consultant to help companies bring results that matter. The Wall Street Journal calls Dan’s business insights the “best in the world”, working with leading universities, industry associations, and Fortune 100 companies to build strong values that foster organizational success.
Dan’s blogs teach salespeople to challenge conventional norms and think outside of the box to find the best habits that snowball into the path to success.
Twitter: @DanWaldo
Learn More: Dan Waldschmidt
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John_Barrows_122x122John Barrows
John Barrows is a world-class sales trainer of the tech industry. John has trained sales teams of large companies and corporations, such as LinkedIn, SalesForce, Marketo, and HP Software & Services, to bring them dramatic increases in sales.
His blogs cover a variety of sales techniques and suggestions, spanning from split testing conversations for individual salespeople to leveraging the talents of entire departments to secure a sale. John posts regularly, offering you a consistent flow of insight on how to sell in the tech industry.
Twitter: @johnbarrows
Learn More: John Barrows
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Nancy_Bleeke_113x113_shadow-1Nancy Bleeke
Nancy Bleeke is the Founder and President of SalesPro Insider, growing her company as a leader in sales since 1998. Her book, Conversations That Sell, was awarded a gold medal for Top Sales & Marketing book in 2013 and has become a standard read for modern sales teams.
Nancy’s experience in sales has earned her credibility to become a contributor to Top Sales World, Salesopedia, Sales Gravy, other popular business publications.
Her blog offers a range of valuable insight for sales managers and executives, covering topics such as tips on finding the best salespeople with the most potential and advice on how to calibrate sales goals. Nancy writes multiple posts a week, perfect for ever sales manager’s morning reading.
Twitter: @SalesProInsider
Learn More: Nancy Bleeke
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John_Spence_128x128John Spence
John Spence has presented workshops, given speeches and executive coaching to more than 300 organizations worldwide for over two decades as a leading expert in sales. John has authored multiple books about business leadership and strategy, such as Awesomely Simple, essential business strategies for turning ideas into action and Letters to a CEO.
John also has had experience as a guest lecturer at over 90 colleges and universities, from Harvard University to the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT. His insights and teaching are highly regarded as a must for salespeople looking to strengthen their sales techniques.
In his blog, he teaches salespeople to become better students of every opportunity. His articles are full of well-structured tips to help salespeople understand and bring the customer’s needs into your sales process.
Twitter: @AwesomelySimple
Learn More: John Spence
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Jack_Malcolm_123x123Jack Malcolm
Jack Malcolm is an expert in business literacy and sales communication, empowering sales teams to take command of the fast-paced and complex sale environment. Jack founded the Falcon Performance Group in 1996 to help, even the most technical, sales teams enhance their communication skills to directly speak to the needs of their customers.
Jack has nearly 25-years of experience in training high-tech sales teams of Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, NCR, Sun Microsystems and Tektronik.
In the world of sales, your pitch is everything. Jack’s blog is perfect for sales teams that want to improve their communication ability for more effective presentations and networking skills. His articles are full of field-tested advice and wisdom to help you improve fast.
Twitter: @jackmalcolm
Learn More: Jack Malcolm


Question: 
What blogs do you or your sales team read to improve your sales effectiveness?

To learn more about increasing the effectiveness of your sales teams, contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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HOW TO REACH YOUR SALES QUOTA FAR MORE OFTEN

Money_Jar_1_-_x400This is a story you’ve likely heard before, but it’s one containing such an important truth for sales professionals that this reminder will prove to be valuable for you in your sales work today.

That, and it perfectly sets up the expert resource I want to tell you about in a moment…

As the trainer stood in front of the group of sales professionals he said, “It’s time for a quiz.” 

He then pulled out a one-gallon, wide mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him.  Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone in the room said, “Yes.”

“Really?” replied the trainer.  He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel.  Then he dumped in some gravel and shook the jar causing the smaller pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the larger rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Now, is the jar full?” By this time, the audience was onto him.  “Probably not,” one of them answered with a smile of his own.

“Good!”  he replied with a chuckle.  He then reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.  He started dumping in the sand in. It went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.  He asked the question once more, “Is the jar full?”

“No!”  the group shouted.

Once again he smiled and said, “Good!” Next, the trainer grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.  He looked up at them and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager young professional raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit more things into it!”

“That is absolutely…not correct,” the trainer replied. “That’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

I TOLD YOU THAT TO TELL YOU THIS…
With our finite amount of hours in which to work, our ability to keep a strong focus on the main priorities, along with the order in which other work should be done, will directly determine our sales effectiveness.

I know this is not a new concept to you.

What may be new to you is the sales coaching I read a few days ago from Fredrik Jonsson (@fredrikmembrain). He’s the Chief Content Officer at @membrain_com. His post is titled: How should B2B sales people spend their time in order to reach quota?

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Jonsson’s post is how to accurately answer this question:

How should our sales people allocate their time between different activities to optimize their chances of reaching quota?

WHAT I LIKED
The information Jonsson provides isn’t just the typical 3 bullet points and a pep talk. It’s incredibly practical and so useful that you can begin using what you learn from it right away.

Although we’re good at convincing ourselves that we have a solid handle on our daily time management, we may not be using the right mix of sales activities in the best ways to optimize our sales.

Jonsson’s post walks us through the variety of activities we do from day-to-day and gives us vital questions to ask ourselves to better tune the optimization knob toward greater sales success.

Then, the author takes us into a scenario to see how it plays out. This is helpful to better understand how to use your own situation, in conjunction with Jonsson’s expert direction, to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your time.

Don’t miss this post, and be sure to pass it along to your colleagues/ sales team to aid strongly in increasing your organization’s sales numbers and make quota more often.

DON’T MISS THIS: Jonsson (via @membrain_com) is offering a very useful kit of resources to download. Since you read to the end of this post, you’re definitely someone who will find a lot of value in this downloadable resource: How To Set Realistic Goals In Complex B2B Sales.

[Reading Time of Jonsson’s Post: 4:00]


QUESTION ::: What was one of your A-ha! moments as you read Jonsson’s post? 
What are you going to put into action this week

Let’s talk about it…

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