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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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THE VELOCITY OF SALES ACCELERATION

Speed_355_shadowTo understand the speed at which the sales industry is shifting, it’s important to first understand the impact of a trending buzzword – sales acceleration.

WHAT IT IS
Sales acceleration is simply the process of leveraging technology to bridge the gaps between marketing automation and CRM.

It encompasses a wide array of complementary software, tools, and processes designed to streamline customer communication and improve interaction  – from the basics (such as email and social) to the more complex (such as predictive analytics, gamification, and data visualization).

It also includes the use of technology intended to expedite the production of customer materials such as proposals, quotes, and contracts. Really, any tool or activity that speeds up the sales process can be referred to as sales acceleration.

WHAT IT’S NOT
Sales acceleration is not a specific software or technology – it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a strategic approach which leverages an array of tools, processes, and solutions to accelerate the sales process.

It’s not about organization or tactics – it’s about increasing the speed of the sales cycle.

WHY IT EXISTS
There are three main motivators for recent trends in sales acceleration: first, while CRM software has worked wonders in the realm of customer data storage and organization, it’s fallen short when it comes to data intelligence – lacking the contextual information required to strongly influence sales.

The rise of big data is driving demand for more comprehensive sales enablement and automation tools.

Second, customers these days are far less likely to meet with a sales representative in person – in fact, most prefer not to meet face to face at all. According to a recent study by Gartner, by 2020, 85% of customer interaction will be addressed without person-to-person contact.

When these two concepts are combined, we arrive at the third motivation for sales acceleration – in a world where data analytics is driving sales, and client preference for streamlined interaction reigns, speed is a relevant and determining factor for closing the deal.

Simply put, the faster the sales process, the shorter the sales cycle – and shorter sales cycles lead to higher closing rates, larger purchases, and more satisfied customers.

SO, WHAT’S THE IMPACT
There appears to be a strong correlation between businesses who choose to invest in sales acceleration, and those which enjoy a healthy competitive advantage.

recent Huffington Post article cited research stating that early adopters of sales acceleration platforms, such as SalesFitRx, consistently experience increases in quota attainment, win rate, and revenue generation – while significantly decreasing operational costs, and reducing the length of their sales cycle.

And, while several studies have reported the adoption of sales acceleration technology has resulted in approximately $12.8 billion in company spend industry-wide, new research conducted by Forbes indicates that the potential market size is even larger.

In fact, Forbes estimates that North American businesses could spend as much as $6,790 annually per representative on sales acceleration technology by 2017 — making the total addressable market in excess of $30 billion.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS
There’s no sign that the trend of sales acceleration will lose its momentum anytime soon – which means your business needs to increase its velocity to remain relevant.

In order to avoid lost revenues and keep your competitive edge, your business needs to adopt the technologies which will streamline your sales process, and help you pick up the pace.

In other words – identify the sales acceleration platform and tools which will help you keep up, and act now – or risk being left in the dust.

Not sure where to start? Please contact me today – and I’ll help you improve your sales team’s productivity, find more selling time, and boost revenues: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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HOW TO CREATE CONTENT THAT PREPARES THE BUYER TO BUY

Journey_341_shadowThe buyer’s journey in today’s digital world looks quite a bit different than that of the past – which means today’s content needs a facelift in order to capture your audience’s attention.

The focus, these days, is on the deliverance of timely, relevant content – but what does that mean, exactly?

The modern sales funnel is driven by content marketing – or, simply put, the ability to provide your audience with content which adds value to their lives, and informs the decision-making process. The trick lies in providing the right content – at the right time.

Smart sales professionals and marketers understand the journey of their prospective clients. They know the stages their audience will pass through in the course of their consideration cycle, and can recognize which phase the buyer is currently experiencing, to provide appropriately tailored content.

For most industries, the journey of today’s buyer can be defined in three stages: AwarenessComparison, and Commitment. We’ve outlined these three stages – and describe the kind of content you should be offering in each.

AWARENESS
Consider this your introduction. In this phase, potential clients or buyers may or may not be familiar with your products or services – so you’ll need to educate them. Some may have identified their needs, but some may just be beginning the process of exploration – either way, they need to know that your company is a ready and available resource, with expert advice on their industry.You can increase this awareness amongst your prospective clientele by providing content which outlines the basics of your industry, answering common questions, detailing the solutions available, and providing information regarding the standard cost of your product or service.Your content should focus exclusively on adding value to your prospective customers, by providing them with rich, informative content which empowers them to make an informed assessment of their needs.This process of exploration may take some time – so your goal in this stage should simply revolve around maintaining the customer connection by adding value. Supply your prospects with a steady stream of valuable content via social media posts, blog articles, and informative updates, and eventually you’ll connect on a level that guides them further down the funnel.

COMPARISON

In this stage, your buyers have already confirmed their needs, and are seeking to identify viable solutions. Often, they’ve established a basic familiarity with your industry and competitors, and are looking to determine which providers can best meet their needs.

This is where you need to provide content which differentiates you from your competitors, by focusing on your strengths, emphasizing your unique characteristics, and diving deep into the aspects of your product or service which truly separate your brand from the crowd.

This can be accomplished by providing your prospectives with more in-depth content, in the form of whitepapers and case studies (yes, buyers still read both of their content types), or informative events such as webinars, product showcases, or demonstrations.

Additionally, research articles, blog posts and other resources from third-party organizations. It’s one thing for you to advise on trends and news of note. It’s even more effective to advise with resources, which are unrelated to your organization, supporting your words and actions.

You’ll nurture prospective interest through the provision of well-planned content, and gain the ability to accurate gauge lead interest by tracking interaction with materials, or event attendance.

COMMITMENT

By the time you’ve reached the commitment stage, your prospective clients should be clear on why your product or service is the best solution for their needs. Which means now is the time to focus on content which includes a clear and definitive call to action – and if you can offer any additional enticement, now is the time.

Promotional specials, free trials, or discounts will sweeten the deal, and reinforce the desire to make a purchase. With that said, there’s a time and place for discounts, but don’t be too quick to offer them (that’s a separate blog post in itself).

This is also a great time to emphasize your own commitments – specifically, your dedication to customer satisfaction. Let your prospective clientele know you intend to stand by your products and services, by reiterating your commitment to quality.

Provide them with clear and concise information regarding any warranties or guarantees – and make sure they are aware of any additional resources offered, in the form of ongoing training, education, or support services.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know exactly which needs your clientele is seeking to fulfill – so make sure your communications reinforce the perception of your product or service as the best solution, and you’ll gain the commitment you seek

It’s also helpful to set accurate benchmarks and outline a standard of measurement, so you can track the effectiveness of your communications. This will help you remain clear on what’s working (and what’s not) so you can polish and hone your future communications.

For more information on improving your sales effectiveness, contact me todayKarl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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5 SALES BLOGS TO WATCH

5-Star_348_shadowTo make it in today’s market, sales professionals need to be on their best game.

This means staying on top of new strategies, approaches, and trending topics in the industry – all while striving to maintain productivity, connect with prospectives, and meet the demands of the daily grind.

At SalesFitRx, we know that time is money. Don’t waste yours searching for insightful articles. I’ve pre-screened the below blogs, so you can rest assured you’re receiving reliable, informative content.

Take a moment to check them out:

The widespread availability of technology offers an endless trail of amazing resources – these recommendations will help you get going, without getting lost in the woods.

Our comprehensive solution, the SalesFitRx web and mobile app, is designed to help you optimize sales team performance and help you meet your goals.

Contact me today so we can begin the conversation about how I can help you increase your sales with SalesFitRx: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com

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HOW TO AVOID A SALES STRATEGY #FAIL

Fail_3_-_351_shadowWhile no sales strategy works every time, there are certainly many tried-and-true methodologies. Still, what works for one sales team doesn’t always work for another – but why is that?

If the strategy itself is sound, and has proven to be successful – what makes it work for one office (sales team), while it ultimately fails for another?

The answer doesn’t lie in the sales strategy, itself – it lies in the execution. Regardless of the quality or feasibility of the strategy itself, if your team fails to put it into action (or worse – executes it incorrectly) you won’t experience a lasting impact from its implementation.

The truth of the matter is, many sales managers look to a quick-fix solution when seeking new methods for boosting sales – but few of them pause to take the time to really consider the methodology or reasoning behind the strategy.

Additionally, if your sales manager can’t articulate the importance of action, or why this approach to it is desirable, the likelihood that your sales reps will carry the new approach into the future is virtually nil.

If you’d like to ensure that your newest sales strategy lives beyond inception, and grows to become a successful strategic approach, just follow these important guidelines:

  1. Communicate your plan. Be sure that your sales team understands what is needed to put your approach into action – and that they have the tools, information, and resources they need to do so. By communicating your sales strategy effectively, you’ll eliminate the false assumptions which might trip you up, in the long run – and ensure that everyone is on the same page!
  2. Rally your team. After communicating your plan, ask for feedback from your sales reps. They are the ones in the midst of the action, so you’ll need to ensure that they are onboard. Ask for their commitment, let them know that you are available to address concerns, and help them set realistic and achievable goals which align with your sales strategy. By rallying them to the cause, and asking them to support your new focus as a team, you’ll promote its success.
  3. Measure your results.  Create a schedule for monitoring progress, and stick to it. Regular check-ins with your sales team will help them feel supported, and help you measure their results. Hold your team accountable for meeting their sales goals, and provide coaching opportunities for those who may be struggling. By monitoring the implementation and success of your strategy, you’ll gain important insight into its overall impact on your sales.
  4. Provide appropriate compensation. Sales reps respond best when incentivized, so offer compensation which is commensurate with the strategy, and you’ll find they transition smoothly. Make sure you structure commissions in a way which promotes the adoption of your new sales strategy, and offers tangible rewards to those who perform appropriately.

Though introducing your new sales strategy with these steps may take a bit more time, initially, a careful approach to implementation will save you serious time and effort, in the long run.

By ensuring that your sales team is on board and dedicated to action, you’ll help them launch your plan with the understanding and confidence they need to be successful!

For more information on discovering more selling time, improving your sales strategy, increasing your odds of successful closing – please contact me today: karl.gustafson@SalesFitRx.com  |  602-427-2399

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THE ESSENTIAL SALES TEAM MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST

Checklist_2_-_350_shadowSales Managers: Are you minding [all of] your P’s and Q’s?

Regardless of the structure of your sales team or organization, as a manager, the responsibility for inspiring and motivating your team falls to you.

Your role is critical in the creation and maintenance of a healthy sales environment – and sometimes, just a small shift in your management style or strategy can make a huge difference.

At SalesFitRx, we’ve given a lot of thought to effective sales team management – and we’ve come up with some suggestions, a checklist, for self-improvement which will help you hone your managerial skills, and become a better team leader.

Although these sales management aspects aren’t new to you, it’s important to take a step back from time-to-time to review what you’re doing, as well as what you may not be doing:

  1. Practice good follow-up. It’s something you encourage your staff to do – but do you practice it yourself? Ask your sales team for feedback on coaching, training, or team meetings – ask them if the information presented was useful and applicable to their experiences, or if they have any suggestions for improvement. You may be surprised at just how important these discussions can be to the overall health of your team.
  2. Keep learning. Effective sales team management stresses continual development of skills – but do you place any emphasis on your own training? Continue your professional development by attending coaching courses, management seminars, and communication classes, and you’ll find your improved skills are a positive contribution to your team.
  3. Set clear goals. Goals aren’t just for your sales team! Setting managerial goals is important, and creating measurable milestones will not only help you hold yourself accountable for your team’s development, it’ll keep you on track for creating a team of balanced, well-adjusted sales professionals.
  4. Be a great resource. Great sales team management means sharing your best practices, successes, and expertise with your reps. Let them know that you are knowledgeable and accessible, and that they can come to you with questions, challenges, or to receive qualified advice. And don’t be afraid to refer them to outside resources, in those cases where you don’t have all the answers!
  5. Hone your communication skills.  Do some research regarding learning types, and communication styles. Are you presenting information in a way everyone on your team can connect to? By honing your own communication skills, you’ll improve your overall approach to sales team management, and create an environment of inclusion.
  6. Focus on the positive. Emphasize the successes and achievements of your staff, and go out of your way to offer encouragement to those who are struggling. Adjusting your focus to reinforce the positive can be challenging, but a little appreciation and support can go a long way towards the development of a strong, resilient team.
  7. Become an excellent mediator. Effective sales team management includes the ability to rise above any conflict. When your team is squabbling or experiencing negative morale, address it immediately and diplomatically. Get to the root of your team’s concerns, and use your mediation skills to diffuse any negative interaction.
  8. Be a dedicated observer. Pay attention to the dynamics of your sales team, and keep an eye out for areas of potential improvement. Careful observation will help you hone your sales team management strategy, prioritize action, and offer valuable insight into team dynamics.
  9. Be trustworthy. Without an established relationship of trust, your leadership and guidance mean nothing. To build solid relationships, your team needs to know they can rely on you to act with honesty and integrity – so be trustworthy, and you’ll gain their respect.
  10. Practice accountability. Ensuring that you are following guidelines, policies, and instructions you’ve outlined for your staff isn’t just good sales team management, it will also help you understand the obstacles and challenges your team faces, and provide valuable insight on overcoming those obstacles. By accepting responsibility for your actions, and owning the results, you’ll also encourage your sales team to do the same.

Effective sales team management isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do – and the best way to lead is through example.

By focusing your sights on the self-improvement tactics which make you a better leader, you’ll hone your managerial skills, inspire your sales team, and improve overall morale – ensuring a more healthy and successful approach to accomplishing your organization’s sales goals.

For more information on how SalesFitRx can help your organization find more selling time, streamline the sales process, and improve your sales team management strategy – contact me today: karl.gustafson@SalesFitRx.com  |  602-427-2399

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