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THE ONE FOCUS THAT DRIVES TRUE SALES SUCCESS

candy_crush_273_shadowOne of my grandsons loves to play a game called “Candy Crush Saga” on his Mother’s cell phone. I believe the little guy is addicted to it.

The game is simple enough. The player is given a mission and either a limited amount of moves or a certain amount of time to complete that level’s mission. Moves are completed by matching three, four or five pieces of candy in a row having the same color.

The premise is simple, but executing the various strategies involved is what makes it challenging and addicting for many people.

What I’ve noticed from watching the 9-year-old play is that there are a few distractions built into the game. There are striped and wrapped pieces of candy, each with special powers; then there’s the coveted chocolate ball (with sprinkles).

These special candies can be helpful when they’re used as a part of the process of completing each level’s mission, but they can quickly become distractions if they’re created and used outside of the active pursuit of the mission.

My grandson is fun to watch when he’s on-mission, but he will often lose his focus. That’s when I find myself screaming (on the inside), “No! That doesn’t help you reach your goal!”

I TOLD YOU THAT TO TELL YOU THIS…
My grandson can afford to lose focus and just enjoy the game; he’s just a boy being a boy. You and I do not have that luxury in our sales careers.

Where do you sometimes drift off focus into the shiny and sparkly tasks you enjoy doing most in lieu of the tasks you should be doing which are vital to staying on track to meet your [customer’s] goals?

I read a blog post last week that was also focused on the topic of being focused, specifically on being customer success focused.

It was a good reminder that, yes, while we all understand the importance of being focused on the success of our customers, sometimes the cares of this world (our world of our sales) can cause us to shift away from the customer’s success and onto our own short-term selling success.

Teresa Becker (@teresabay), VP of Marketing at @highalpha, wrote a blog post earlier this month for @quotafactory. It’s titled: 8 Ways to Ensure Your Company is Customer Success Focused.” I want to ensure you’ve been made aware of it and read it.

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Becker’s post is this:


                “The most invaluable assets to a business are customer advocates.”

WHAT I LIKED
Becker lays out this post by taking the big idea as the goal and giving us her steps for how a sales organization can consistently remain customer success focused and create a growing number of customer advocates.

I especially like step #4 (Embrace it: Early customer journey’s will have bumps in the road) because this reality needs to be understood, and not just accepted, but embraced.

Perhaps it could be said, as a side note, that underperforming companies simply accept bumps in the road, but high-performing companies embrace them. Bumps are opportunities. Read Becker’s post to see how she explains it, and to read the rest of this very useful post.

I also liked this mention at the end of the post:

“Think about why your company emerged in the first place: a passion for solving significant problems for your customers and for the space you are in. Your customers feel the same way about their company. A shared vision with your customers in producing a true partnership is key to both you and your customers’ success. Use the suggestions we’ve put together as the foundation for a winning, customer-focused company.”

Sales organizations that can avoid the extraneous striped candies [and chocolate balls with sprinkles] and remain focused on customer success will be able to complete mission after mission and continue to unlock new levels to play with those customers for many years to come.

[Reading Time For Becker’s Post: 4:30]


QUESTION ::: What, would you say, is a common or easy way to lose focus and chase a striped piece of candy in our work as sales professionals

Let’s talk about it…

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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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SALES TRIGGERS THAT ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD

Mars_349_shadowNearly 20 years ago, Mars candy bars surged in popularity quite unexpectedly.

It was unexpected because the company that produced, and still produces, the candy bar didn’t have a new marketing campaign, they hadn’t made any changes to the product, they hadn’t spent more advertising dollars…nothing had changed on their end.

So why was there a surge in sales?

1997 was the same year NASA launched a rocket into space carrying the highly publicized Pathfinder expedition probe. Do you remember which planet that probe would soon study?

You’re correct if you said it was the planet Mars.

The media attention given to the planet via the NASA expedition triggered popularity in the candy bar.*

I’m not exactly sure how the marketing team at Mars, Inc. missed the opportunity to intentionally create a campaign to leverage that opportunity. They certainly proved they weren’t a bunch of rocket scientists over there. They were simply fortunate to get what they did receive in increased sales.

Trigger events. They’re constantly occurring around us, and within our online sphere, all day/every day. They’re opportunities upon which to capitalize, but only A). if we can recognize them, and B). if we know how to respond.

That’s where today’s resource comes in.

Global Head of Social Media & Content Marketing at @CognizantGerry Moran (@GerryMoran), wrote a post on his site earlier this year and I want to make sure you don’t miss it. He titled it: 30 LinkedIn Sales Triggers.”

Moran begins it by addressing my points made above about triggers (focusing primarily on the first one in this post):

  • Can we recognize them?
  • Do we know how to effectively respond to them?

He addresses them with these opening words:

“The key to social selling success is fishing where the fish are. You might be fishing where the fish are, but you do know what to do when you get a nibble on the line?”

This resource focuses on triggers found specifically in LinkedIn. He cites 30 different triggers to watch for.

Note: You may be thinking, at this moment, that you already know what the LinkedIn triggers are. If so, do yourself this favor. Grab a pen and some paper and write down 30 of those triggers. Then, when you fall short of 30 triggers, read on…

Moran’s 30 triggers are listed within the post in a graphic and also later in the text of this resource. You won’t miss it.

The rest of the post is written covering these 2 sections:

  • 5 Reasons Why It’s Important To Pay Attention To Social Selling Triggers
  • Here’s Some Research To Hook You Into The Decision-Maker

The author repeats the list of triggers later in the post and addresses the aspects of knowing what to do when you see a trigger occur.

His advice on this is something I also recommend, and that is to sign-up for email delivery of his posts. You’ll find a variety of ways to respond to triggers in his past and future posts.

As for that Mars bar trigger I mentioned earlier, now that you’ve read this post, don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the grocery store checkout line sometime this week and [before you realize it] you’re handing a Mars bar to the cashier to purchase and eat on the ride home.

It’s not your fault. You can blame those calories on me.

[Reading Time of Moran’s Article: 3:00 minutes]

* Adapted from Jonah Berger, Contagious (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
QUESTION ::: What additional triggers do you see out there you’d like to share with your peers?

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SALES ENABLEMENT FIXES YOUR SALES FUNNEL LEAKS

Mansion_335_shadowI recently spent an afternoon and evening with a dear friend of mine.

What people might notice first about him, if you met him at his home, is that he’s retired and lives with his wife in a house five or six times larger than most homes you or I have ever visited.

He’s done well for himself and is perhaps the most generous and gracious man I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

We were talking about when he had his big break in business and what he remembers most about it. This is how he explained it to me:

Once we finally took the advice of the company who would go on to become our largest customer, we made the suggested changes and the money really started to come into our business.

But what drove me crazy was that more money coming in meant there was more money leaking out of the cracks and the crevices in our business. It was like putting our hands under a faucet and trying direct the stream in the correct direction.

As we did that, water continued to leak out over our hands until we could develop a process for more effectively capturing and directing the increasing, and long-term, flow of revenue.

It wasn’t until we quit trying to construct solutions on the fly for short-term fixes, and we stepped back and prepared for revenue increases five or ten years in the future, that we become an efficient machine with consistent month-over-month growth.

That is why you and I are sitting here on the patio of this house today instead of one across town with 10,000 less square footage. We found the tools and reconstructed our processes to stop the leaks.

For us in sales, the faucet we need to mind first is the sales funnel. Some of you possess funnels with slow leaks. Others of you are using funnels resembling something more like a colander.

Thankfully, I found someone who can help us with this sales funnel problem. He will show us how to use sales enablement as a tool to fix our pesky sales funnel leaks.

Robert Wahbe (@RobertWahbe) is the co-founder/CEO of @Highspot and a former VP at Microsoft. Wahbe wrote a blog post for @OpenviewLabs last week titled: Plug the Leaks in Your Sales Funnel: A How-To Guide to Sales Enablement.”

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Wahbe’s post is this:

…best-in-class companies are twice as likely to be using a sales enablement solution that addresses major obstacles to driving sales:
> The time needed by a new seller to become effective (on average, 7 months)
> Seller turnover (typically 30%)
>Time wasted searching for and creating selling materials (3-4 hours per week, per rep)

WHAT I LIKED
This post isn’t any longer than it needs to be. It makes a strong case that best-in-class sales organizations are very likely to be effectively using sales enablement tools and that it’s a clear contributor to their ongoing success.

This gives you, a sales professional in a sales organization which that is not currently leveraging sales enablement tools to their full potential, the ammunition to make a case for this important investment.

And if you are currently using sales enablement tools and are seeing a strong ROI, you have in Wahbe’s post the information needed to continue the investment if some in your organization may oppose this spending.

Budgets for 2016 are closing soon, so ensure you’ll be using the best sales enablement tools for your business.

[Reading Time of Wahbe’s Post: 2:00]

Note: SalesFitRx is a web and mobile sales enablement app that helps you, the sales professional, discover more selling time in your week. It doesn’t encourage more hours each week, instead it helps you get more sales from your existing hours. Learn more on our Home page: SalesFitRx.com


QUESTION ::: Which tools have given you the best ROI for your investment?

Let’s talk about it…

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CURRENT B2B CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION

1st_Place_346_shadowHave you ever known a person you initially disliked but grew to really appreciate over time?

Billy Staniforth. That’s who it was for me.

He was the one who, from fourth grade through eighth grade, always did everything better than I did. Specifically, he was my [temporary] nemesis at the fourth grade science fair back in 19…well, a while ago.

I had given my science fair project a lot of thought and was sure I’d win first place for my grade. That confidence only lasted up to the point when Billy wheeled in his project into the room that morning.

At that moment, I knew I’d be lucky if they didn’t award him the first, second and third place ribbons. His solar system project was so comprehensive that I didn’t even want to set up my chemical reaction project compared to that.

Seriously, I swear that project contained some items even NASA hadn’t yet acquired. Who was this guy?

Instead of hating him, I soon learned a lot from him about what it takes to do things with excellence. We talked a lot about how he planned and executed his project, thinking deeper about each aspect of the presentation than I would’ve done.

Billy gave me my first taste of understanding the importance of doing things with true excellence, to the best of our abilities.

Sometimes we just need someone else to show us what excellence looks like compared to what we thought was an effort equaling the best of our abilities. What I learned from Billy actually helped me succeed in my career.

Tien Anh Nguyen (@tienanh) is the Director of Market Insights for @OpenViewVenture. He posted an incredibly rich guide earlier this month on the @OpenviewLabs blog. I’d call it a business world version of someone who went all out to create an fully comprehensive resource akin to a first-place-winning science fair presentation.

It’s impressive, and I want to make sure you know about it.

It’s titled: Finding Your Best Customer: A Guide to Best Current B2B Customer Segmentation.”

You’ll be thankful Nguyen went so deep into this topic once you get into it.

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Nguyen’s post is this:

Proper current B2B customer segmentation means no longer needing to take on every customer that is willing to pay for your product or service, which will allow you to instead hone in on a specific subset of customers that present the most profitable opportunities and efficient use of resources.

WHAT I LIKED
What’s not to like? Take a look at the table of contents for this resource:

  • What Is Customer Segmentation and Why Is It Important?
  • Why Establishing Segmentation Hypotheses and Variables are Important
  • Exploring Typical Customer Segmentation Schemes for B2B Software Companies
  • The Business Benefits of Current Customer Segmentation
  • Creating Change Your Company Can Believe In
  • The Best Current Customer Segmentation Process: 5 Steps
> Step 1: Setting Up Your Customer Segmentation Project
> Step 2: Analyzing Customer Data
> Step 3: Data Collection
> Step 4: Analysis and Prioritization
> Step 5: Presenting and Incorporating Feedback

The How, What, When, Where, Why and How of this topic are explained with effectiveness and [relatively speaking] efficiency.

The 5 steps included in this resource are really the bread and butter of the post, but the earlier sections are important for giving you the understanding and the ammo you’ll need to bring about change in your organization.

There’s also a final section that offers some important information, so don’t miss it.

This isn’t a resource you’ll likely read through in one sitting, so bookmark it and go through it with another colleague who also feels strongly about improving this aspect of sales strategy within your company. Bouncing it back and forth between you will help increase your knowledge and understanding of what Nguyen describes in this post.

[Reading Time For Nguyen’s Post: 20:00+]

 

QUESTION ::: Thinking back about what you’ve tried in the past re: customer segmentation, what are you most interested in with what this resource offers?

Let’s talk about it…

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SALES EXECUTIVES USE TWITTER & THIS IS WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU…

Classroom_350_shadowThe teachers didn’t do this back when I was in high school, but when my children were in those years, they were sometimes allowed to make their own index card cheat sheet. And, they were allowed to use it during a test.

I remember the first time my oldest child told me that. It was the second week of the new school year.

What was my response?

I immediately called the school and talked to that teacher. And yes, she confirmed they were allowed to do it for that test. So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt…well, better said, I suspended judgment.

The result was what I expected: an A+ for my daughter. Of course…she had the answers. What I didn’t expect was what my girl told me: “Dad, I barely used the index card while I took the test, and it was the same for most of the other kids.”

WHY DID IT WORK?
The teacher later told me that since they were so motivated to write as much information as they could on both sides of the index card [in really tiny writing] the students reviewed more and retained a lot more information.

She also explained that to the students so they saw the results of a new way to effectively study for tests, and added: “Just be sure to leave those index cards in your backpacks the rest of the year whenever we start a test. You won’t need them anyway.”

SO WHAT?
So sometimes I come across a resource that’s so deep and practical in its helpfulness that I pull out an index card and start writing—in really small writing—so I can learn it once without continually forgetting and going back to the resource to learn it again and again.

We’re wired to remember things better when we write them down by hand. Most of us don’t know that [or believe that] so we fail to gain the benefit from putting that knowledge to use (i.e. wisdom).

I found one of those rich kinds of resources this month and I want to share it with you. It’s on the overlapping topics of:

  • Growing your online influence
  • The effective [and efficient] use of Twitter for sales pros
  • Social selling

This resource short-circuits the learning process. It creates a shortcut to achieving your goal of becoming more effective in growing your social media influence for the purpose of more successfully creating quality leads with sales executives.

Carter Hostelley (@carterhostelley) is the CEO and founder of @Leadtail. He wrote this original post: “How Sales Execs Use Twitter,” for @funnelholic; it’s an extended version of the shorter post Hostelley wrote for Leadtail’s blog.

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Hostelley’s post is this:

Start by sharing and engaging those publications, brands and people that influence your
target audience. This will put you on the path to becoming influential, too!

WHAT I LIKED
I liked this post because the wisdom shared in these 575 words helps sales professionals, such as yourself, quickly get noticeably more effective in building your online influence via Twitter. It’s like that cheat sheet. Once you get it, you get it.

No more wasted effort on Twitter; you can now be laser-focused.

Hostelley leads off with these words:

“While there may be debate about whether LinkedIn or Twitter is more popular with salespeople, there’s no question that sales executives are becoming more active on Twitter. Why?

Why indeed:

“They understand the power of the micro-blogging platform as a way to monitor, reach, and engage target buyers while also building their personal brand.”

That brings up these two questions, which are answered in the rest of the post:

  1. How are these sales leaders engaging on Twitter?
  2. In what ways can you use this information to become more effective on social media for your social selling activities?

The post is then broken down into these sections, and each one is worth writing about on your own cheat sheet:

  • How Sales Executives Engage on Twitter
  • What Sales Execs Talk About
  • Top Publications Sales Leaders Read and Share
  • People Most Retweeted by Sales Leaders…and the application section:

     

  • How Sales Professionals Can Use This Data

Some of the top content sources will change over the next few years. But you can be sure any new sources added to the list will present and supply content with elements similar to what today’s sources offer.

Look for those similarities so you too better understand the why of what interests sales executives today and well into the future.

Definitely share this post with a colleague today.

[Reading Time of Hostelley’s Post: 2:30 minutes]
QUESTION ::: How does Hostelley’s post’s information align or differ with what you’ve believed about the habits of sales executive on Twitter?

Let’s talk about it…

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COULD YOU HAVE MADE THIS B2B SALES MISTAKE? [#SALESFAIL]

Facepalm_292x292I once asked one of my sales reps, “What if I told you your sales could go up if you contacted a few less people per day and used that extra time to do this one thing better?”

His response was, “You want me to contact less buyers?!”

He told me a lot about himself as a salesperson, and perhaps as a person, by not asking me about the “one thing” he needed to do better.

It was always a numbers game to him and, despite my best efforts, he couldn’t get beyond the core basis of his limited sales world view.

What was the one thing, you ask?

It was getting better at thoroughly knowing his audience.

The idea of knowing your audience is not a new thing. But, after more than three decades in the sales industry, I’d conservatively estimate that upwards of 80-85% of current sales professionals have room to grow in this area.

Yes. I said that…80-85%, conservatively.

It may mean spending an extra 30 seconds or an extra 30 minutes. What matters is how well you spend your time when you research, and that’s where there’s ample room for growth in our field. With the tools and strategies changing and becoming more numerous and powerful over time, this will remain a challenge for each of us.

Speaker, author and business communication expert Jill Schiefelbein (@dynamicjill) wrote an article for @entrepreneurmagazine last month and it’s certainly worth reading. It’s titled: Don’t Overlook the Sales Power of Knowing Your Audience.”

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Schiefelbein’s post is this:

“Know your audience, do your due diligence research, and communicate what you know so you can create a platform for building a long-term relationship. It seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked.”

WHAT I LIKED
The reason I liked this article, and why I’m recommending it to you, is because it’s based around a single example that ends with a cringe-worthy moment for the seller. You can feel it. I did.

I’d like you to read Schiefelbein’s post, then stop and feel what that seller must’ve felt when he realized it would’ve only taken an extra 30 seconds to avoid damaging that relationship from the start.

Every contact with a buyer should prove, in some [even in a little] way, that you’ve done your research. There should be no question about it, and that proof needs to lead off your message.

I used to ask my reps, “What else can you learn about them before you make that call?” I now encourage you to ask that question of yourself before a call or email to a new buyer.

A couple less calls per day in exchange for the rest of your communications to be stronger and more effective is a quality trade-off in my book.

[Reading Time of Schiefelbein’s Post: 3:00 minutes]


QUESTION ::: What’s your favorite story of how a key piece of research about your audience made the difference in getting a sale?

Let’s talk about it…

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THE ONLY SALES POST ABOUT STORYTELLING YOU NEED TO READ

Doctor_354_shadowI was 10 years old when I came down with what my family believed was the flu. Later that weekend they found me in the corner of my bed tightened into the fetal condition and unresponsive.

The doctors quickly determined that my comatose body had contracted bacterial spinal meningitis and that I likely would not live more than a couple more days.

I woke from the coma four days later, to the surprise of the entire medical team, and a funny thing happened at the hospital a week later.

It was almost Christmas, and so I asked my father if he really would buy me any game I wanted since I woke from my “sleep.” It was something he told me while I was still in day three of my coma.

In sales, sometimes you may not believe your buyer is taking in your words with consideration, and truthfully sometimes they aren’t, but there is often more going on in their head than we can see. So trust in yourself, even when what you see is causing you concern. Remember what’s worked and work it.

Yes often starts off looking a lot like a No.

I told you this story to make two points:

  1. Well-Built Stories Are Powerful: They’re far more powerful than simply talking about a list of your product’s or service’s features or benefits.
  2. Storytelling Speeds Growth In Business Relationships: You can deepen the relationship in a shorter amount of time with relevant, powerful stories.

YOU ALREADY KNEW THIS?
You’ve heard this before, about the power of storytelling in sales, but do you really know the science behind it?

Once you do understand it, you’ll become much better at it because there will no longer be any doubt about how much we as humans are built to seek, enjoy and respond to stories.

I found, last week, what I can easily say is the deepest dive into the science of storytelling, as it directly relates to selling, I’ve ever read. And, if you have any interest in this subject at all, you’ll enjoy learning more about storytelling from it as well.

Founder of Vesper (@meetvesper), pilot [and a fellow lover of French toast], Jimi Smoot (@jsfour), wrote a blog post titled: Stop Selling Features, Start Selling Stories: The Science Behind Story Telling And Why Selling With A Story Works.

It’s the only blog post about storytelling and sales you need to become absolutely convinced that stories are essential in the work we do.

“The difference between any particularly emotional story and a good marketing story is that a marketing story has a purpose” — Tim Halloran

I want to share with you elements of Smoot’s post so you know a little about what you’ll find in this important resource. The author shares the science behind:

  • Why Telling A Story Right Can Add To Your Credibility
  • How A Good Story Can Literally Shift a Customer’s Brain Chemistry
  • How Stories Transport Customers to New Worlds
  • Why Storytelling Can Squash the Skeptic In Your Customer
  • Why Stories Are Critical To Build Relationships

There are also two embedded videos you should definitely take the time to view.

Once you understand, and trust, this information, your colleagues will notice more confidence building in you. Your buyers will respond even more positively on a steady and consistent basis.

That will mean more sales for you. Read the post at Vesper Blog now.

Oh, and yes…my father was true to his word. I chose my game wisely [then I was given many more games and toys by my parents and others]. That year we enjoyed the very best Christmas together as a family we ever had.

[Reading Time of Smoot’s Post: 7:00 minutes]

 

QUESTION ::: What’s the best story you’ve used in gaining a sale?

Let’s talk about it…

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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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HOW TO GIVE YOUR SALES REPS MORE HOURS EVERY DAY

Idea_361_shadowMost of the possible major efficiencies a sales team can implement have already been discovered, right?

What if every one of your sales reps could save 2-3 hours of prospecting time every day?

Would you be interested in that if the solution not only didn’t hurt your sales numbers, but actually increased them?

Of course you would be interested.

I read about a strategy last week that some of you may already be using. I’ve used a modified/more simplistic form of this in the past, but it wasn’t as well thought out as this idea is.

Most of you have not yet implemented this strategy. It involves using the strengths and interests of each member of your team, and encouraging the use of their passions and interests in sales, instead of sticking each of them in predefined boxes.

Director of Account Development at @HireVuePeter G. Chun (@petergchun) wrote an article he posted on LinkedIn titled, How to Give 3 Hours Back to Your Sales Reps.”

Are you skeptical? Understandable. But are you at least curious?

It all started when Chun began working at HireVue, a team acceleration platform. Instead of coming in and rearranging the team so it matched how he wanted the company’s sales environment to be structured, he took the time to sit next to each team member to better understand their individual workflows.

Chun then understood where the opportunity for greater efficiency and effectiveness was to be found. This one change brought about a 60% gain in sales the next quarter.

Did that get your attention?

You should read the article to fully understand what Chun did with that team. But, I will give you this sneak peek:

“You may say that we might as well have purchased lead lists but the ADS does more than just mindlessly add new leads to the CRM. The ADS uses previous Closed Won company and prospect profiles to find new optimal leads. They also constantly monitor lead levels to ensure that each rep has sufficient leads according to their workflows. When combined with proper sales training and sales coaching, this ensures that the leads are being penetrated efficiently and consistently.”

I especially like the two links at the end of the article leading to a sales manager’s point-of-view on using this system, as well as a sales rep’s point-of-view. Don’t miss those.

Read the article now.

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Note: Another way to find more selling time in your day is to look into using the SalesFitRx web and mobile app. There’s a 30 day free trial available.

QUESTION: Could this change in strategy within your sales process work for your team? Why or why not?

Let’s talk about it…

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