The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: July 21-24

This week, we wrote about a variety of topics, and one blog post included homework! From sinking ships to athletic coaching, from empathy and accountability to two-paragraph emails, we've covered a lot of ground, and if you've missed anything, now's your chance to play catch up.

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • On Monday, Mike Anderson warned us of the dangers of holding onto our ideas like someone going down with a sinking ship.

july_24

Read More

Topics: Digital, Management, inbound marketing, Talent, Sales

5 Parallels Between Athletic Coaching and Sales Coaching

5_Parallels_Between_Athletic_Coaching_and_Sales_Coaching

We would probably all agree that strong athletic coaching is key to maximizing the performance of an athlete.  Effective sales coaching is just as essential for maximizing sales performance!

 

If you are a regular reader of our blog or a current client of The Center for Sales Strategy, you know that we believe strong coaching plays an enormous role in the development of people and their natural talents.  This slide show presentation will depict for you the five ways that sales coaching and athletic coaching are most similar and give you some important things to consider when coaching others.

 5 Parallels Between Athletic Coaching and Sales Coaching

 

Read More

Topics: Management

Which is More Important in a Sales Manager: Empathy or Accountability?

Which_is_More_Important_in_a_Sales_Manager_Empathy_or_AccountabilityI often encounter sales managers who are struggling with this question:  Should they be the supportive manager who mentors and grows their salespeople—or should they be the kind of manager that holds their salespeople tightly accountable for results?

The Empathetic Manager

Empathetic managers are warm and friendly. They know their salespeople well—not just the details of their personal lives, but what makes them tick and what their key talents are.  They care about their people, help them build their talents into strenghs, and work to advance their employees’ careers.

The Accountability Manager

Managers who focus on accountability are more performance-driven. They track the numbers, analyze what they mean, and use the data to set specific goals and expectations for their people. They create an environment based on measurement and high performance standards, and everyone understands there are consequences for falling below standards too frequently.

Read More

Topics: Management

10 Message Goals in Two Paragraphs: Can You Do It?

10_Message_Goals_in_Two_Paragraphs_Can_You_Do_ItLike you, I get a ton of emails in a typical day. If I read them all, I’d get little else done. So if I don’t see something in the subject line that grabs my attention because it’s relevant to me, that message is gone! That takes care of 50% of the email crowding my Inbox. If I do actually start reading, but there’s nothing intriguing in the first few sentences, there goes another 30% of the daily onslaught. Another 10% or so is internal mail, and my boss reads this blog, so I’m saying for the record that I read those. Which brings us to that last 10% of email, items I may actually read.

How can you be included in my 10%? Or the 10% of the other strangers you’re trying to reach? Make it stand out. Be intriguing and, include a call to action, and keep it short. Sounds simple, right? Try it. You’ll find it’s much harder than you think. Below are 10 message goals that fit into two concise paragraphs and will keep your email message “above the fold,” giving it a good chance of capturing the reader:

Example: Sending an Email to an IT Company

  1. Subject Line – Here’s your one and only chance to make a good first impression. “Less than 30% of IT administrators are certified in Cloud Computing.” Pretty intriguing if I’m an IT company transitioning from servers and desktop applications to a cloud-based, software-as-a-service environment.
  2. Introduction – The reader needs to know who you are and the company you work for… “My name is… and I work for…”
Read More

Topics: Digital

Are you Floating an Idea, or Clinging to a Sinking Ship?

Are_you_Floating_an_Idea,_or_Clinging_to_a_Sinking_Ship_Not long ago, I had the chance to watch a role-play workshop. The consultant from The Center for Sales strategy was playing “the client,” and an account manager was playing “the salesperson.” 

A few minutes into this hypothetical needs analysis, a light bulb turned on in the account manager’s head. It was as if the clouds parted, and a ray of inspired genius shone down on the salesperson from high heaven. (Or at least, that’s how the salesperson felt, based on the look on his face and the way he started fidgeting.)

Unable to contain his enthusiasm, he interrupted the client with, “Hey! I have an idea. You know what we could do…?” And of course, he dove into a thorough explanation of his epiphany. The idea was okay but not great. The client was patient and polite, but her reaction was subdued; not nearly as positive as the account manager had clearly anticipated. So the seller re-approached: “Yes, but you don’t understand. The reason this is a great idea is…” And he repeated his idea three times, in three different ways. Each time, the client was becoming less patient, less interested, and understandably less polite.

Read More

Topics: Sales

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: July 14-17

This week's writing was really interesting! Mike's post about great salespeople hitting moving targets really resonated with our readers. I loved Brittany's post about who should be using target personas. Kurt's post (and slideshow) gave us five reasons to stop talking about features, and I shared what I learned from a blogger's conference. Read below, and have a great weekend!

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Tuesday afternoon found us hearing from Jim Hopes about the future of sales and marketing. This post included a two-minute video of Matt Sunshine explaining inbound marketing.

July_17

Read More

Topics: Digital, Management, inbound marketing, Talent, Sales

15 Inbound Marketing Ideas from Problogger Academy

Last week, I attended ProBlogger academy in Portland, Oregon. As blog manager for The Center for Sales Strategy, when I tell people what I do for a living, their reactions range from indifference to perplexity, so heading to a conference where I didn't have to do a lot of explaining about what a blog is, and why it needs a manager, was fun and enjoyable.

The academy itself was positioned toward personal bloggers, not inbound marketing, but there were still many important takeaways that I learned, and want to share those with you. If you have a blog, you'll find these useful.

15_Lessons_Learned_from_Problogger_Academy

1. The 80/20 rule applies to blogs. Spend 20% of your time creating content, and 80% promoting it. Tweet this.

2. Key to blogging success: discover problems, then solve them. Tweet this.

Read More

Topics: inbound marketing

5 Reasons to Move Beyond Selling Benefits and Features

Working Hard-4A friend of mine in sales was recently frustrated with the lack of response he'd been getting. Suddenly, it seemed, the tried and true sales methods he'd become accustomed to weren't working anymore. He sat down next to me, and said, "I think it's time I moved beyond selling benefits and features to my prospects."

I smiled, and said, "welcome to the club."

I've been in sales my entire career, and encourage everyone, not just my friend, to move beyond selling benefits and features. Below are five reasons why.

Read More

Topics: Sales

Revolutionizing How Sales and Marketing are Done Around the World

Screen_Shot_2014-07-14_at_10.52.29_AMThree years ago, our team discovered the power of inbound marketing and began experimenting with the best way to use it in order to grow our own business. We knew we needed to stop wasting time and energy searching for the right prospects among a mountain of possibilities and we were increasingly determined to figure out how to clear a path so those businesses who needed us could come find us instead. After our first year of great success on our own behalf (our new business is WAY up), our expertise was strong and we were ready to help our clients achieve the same kinds of results we were enjoying. 

For two years now we have been considered a leader in inbound marketing. We have helped many businesses in the U.S. learn how to turn the tables so the few best prospects can find them and raise their hands. We are currently a Platinum-level partner with Hubspot and we consult 22 inbound clients at this moment.

Recently our expertise gained recognition far beyond our country’s borders and we have had the opportunity to help businesses in Western Europe put these same principles to work.

Read More

Topics: inbound marketing

What is a Target Persona and Why Do I Need One?

There’s a great line from the hit show Friends that strikes me as appropriate to any discussion of target personas. If you’re a fan, you may remember when the whole gang goes to Barbados in one of the later seasons, and Joey meets someone who doesn’t own a TV. Dumbfounded, he says: “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?” 

Similarly, with inbound marketing, when I hear someone doesn’t have a clearly defined persona I think, “You don’t know your target persona*? Who’s all your content targeted to?” While a TV isn’t necessary to make a room, a target persona is absolutely necessary for a successful inbound marketing strategy. 

Why? In order to be successful, you must generate amazing content that speaks to your prospects’ various needs, pain points, and buying cycle stages. If you don’t have that information, how do you create content that is of value to them? (Hint: You can’t.) That’s why knowing your target persona is so vital.

What_is_a_Target_Persona_and_Why_Do_I_Need_One

What is a Target Persona? 

What exactly is a target persona? They’re your ideal prospects and customers that you’re trying to attract with your inbound marketing efforts. It’s whom your entire inbound marketing strategy is focused toward. Often confused with target audience, your target persona goes beyond demographics and psychographics and focuses more on your prospects’ and consumers’ needs, pain points, and buying process. When you understand their buying process and speak to their needs, you can engage with them through each phase until they’re ready to purchase.

Creating your Personas

While the information you want to know will vary depending on the type of business you are and what industry you’re in, some of the core insights will be similar. Adele Revella, founder of The Buyer Persona Institute, has identified the “5 Rings of Buying Insight.” These serve as an excellent guide when you’re deciding what information is (and isn’t) necessary to know.   

Read More

Topics: inbound marketing