The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: August 18-21

This week, we wrote about nonprofits, and how they're not so different from us. We focused on individual focus meetings, discussed where vs. what, and we broke inbound marketing into pieces that even a five-year-old could understand.

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up



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

Inbound Marketing: Explain it to me like I’m 5

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

I think Albert Einstein was onto something with that statement.

If you’ve ever found yourself trying to explain something technical or complex to someone who isn’t familiar with the topic, you know what I mean. Perhaps you work in finance or real estate and are all too familiar with the puzzled looks from your clients when you try to explain mortgages, stocks, or investments. (This is where all those “______ for Dummies” books come in handy, right?)

As an inbound marketing consultant, I get the confused look pretty often. It’s easy for me to assume everyone knows what inbound is. After all it’s a big “buzzword” in the digital marketing world. But the reality is it’s still a relatively new topic and those in other industries don’t always understand. Sure, maybe they’ve heard the term, but they don’t really have a good grasp of what it is or what it looks like. In fact, I have friends in sales, management, and even some working in traditional (outbound) marketing that are still giving me that quizzical look even after I provide them with the general definition—and these are people that should know. They’re the ones who can really benefit from it.

It’s at this point where I typically recall (and laugh about) the scene from The Office, where Steve Carrel’s character is trying to understand an explanation of their budget but doesn’t get it. After briefly pretending to understand, he finally asks his coworker to, “Explain it to me like I’m 5.” And, ever since then, I’ve found myself thinking this same thought when someone is trying to explain something complex or technical that I’m not familiar with, or when I need to explain something of similar nature to someone else.

Here’s our official definition of inbound marketing:

The process of attracting the attention of prospects, through content, before they are even ready to buy; the best and most cost-effective way to convert strangers into customers and promoters of your business.

But, again, what does it really entail? What does it look like? Complexities and technical jargon aside, of

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Topics: inbound marketing

3 Steps to Improve the Dreaded Individual Focus Meeting


improve-individual-focus-meetingSalespeople and sales managers universally loathe the individual focus meeting. That's too bad, because it's a wonderful way to connect with your employees, act as a resource, and let them know you trust them and are interested in their success.

Everyone gets busy, that's for sure, but you shouldn't get too busy to sit down with your salespeople once a week for one-on-one time with each salesperson who reports to you.

Follow these three steps and make your individual focus meetings more effective and productive.

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Topics: Management

It Takes More Than a Good Heart

It_Takes_More_Than_a_Good_Heart"It takes more than a good heart."

These were words spoken to me by the Senior Pastor at my church when he was convincing me to take a major role in the upcoming capital campaign. He was right. You know yourself in today’s competitive fundraising environment that it takes more than a staff with a love for your cause to secure a major gift from an individual or a corporation. It takes talent to be a successful development officer.

Talent is different than skills. Skills can be learned. Talent is innate. So if you are facing a big increase in your fundraising budget this year or next, the most important thing you can do is employ fundraising professionals with the innate behaviors that will allow them to ask for and receive major gifts from a wide variety of donors.

But what talents, what innate behaviors, should you look for? Based on research with thousands of professionals whose role is to seek commitment, we suggest strongly that you look for these eight key talents:

1. Intensity for the work effort.

Getting in front of key donors is hard work and uncovering their underlying needs and goals for giving requires effort as does fashioning a tailored solution. The best fundraising professionals love to work and go about their work in a very focused manner. They work hard, they work smart, and they work long.

2. Discipline.

The very best have standards for excellence and produce quality work. They can manage details easily and spin multiple plates, rarely dropping a single one.

3. Successful development officers are not afraid to ask.

They have a certain command about them that allows them to persuade and convince naturally. They are very comfortable with the notion that they must bring others around to their way of thinking.

4. The very best are great problem solvers.

They gather more information, they ask better questions, and they devise more creative solutions.

5. We see that top performers have a positive outlook.

For these people, the glass is always half full, they deal with change well, and they have a wide circle of people who like them.

6. The best are also blessed with a “sixth sense” that allows them to pick up on how someone is feeling at the moment.

This genius-level empathy allows them to know how and when to proceed. Donors feel a real sense of being cared about—because they are.

7. In order to ask for big donations, you have to feel as though you deserve a big donation.

Top people see themselves as significant, worthy of sitting with high-net-worth individuals and top corporate officers. They can make a “big ask” because it lines up with their self-image.

8. If you are going to meet a goal you have to think in terms of measurement and winning.

Top performers are constantly striving to best last year’s, last month’s, and even yesterday’s performance. They think in terms of winning, and when they are winning for your cause, everyone wins.

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Topics: Sales

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: August 11-14

This week, we learned about how to know when leads are ready to be contacted, got inspired by leadership quotes, brushed up on in-field coaching, and were reminded that everyone in the company is involved in sales support and customer service.

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up



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

Everyone in the Company is in Sales Support and Customer Service

Everyone_in_the_Company_is_in_Sales_Support_and_Customer_Service_In this job, there’s never a shortage of unusual travel experiences. And many could be considered “teaching moments.”

The gate agent for a recent flight said my name over the intercom. (Nothing else, just my name. No instructions, such as “please see me at the desk,” just my name.) As I walked up, she was looking down at the notes on her desk. I said, “Hi, my name is Mike Anderson, and you just paged me.” Then, without so much as looking up from her desk, she slapped a new boarding pass (first class!) on the counter and shoved it my way. She did not say, “Hello.” She did not smile. Nothing.

Here’s why this matters: Airline upgrades just don’t happen as often as they used to. And if you travel a lot, they’re kind of a big deal. (More room to open up your laptop and get work done, and better snacks and beverages.) As often as gate agents have to deliver bad news to the traveling public, you would think she might have savored this opportunity build on the goodwill an upgrade to first class represents. It would have made the trip—and the airline—more memorable and enjoyable.

Nothing went wrong with this experience. It just didn’t go nearly as right as it could have.

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Topics: Digital

8 Steps to Improve Your In-Field Coaching

iStock_000027167112_SmallIn sports, coaches spend all of their time on the field. They know that their presence at practices makes their athletes better. They're watching strengths, noticing weaknesses, and helping players improve on the spot.

They'd be fired if they stayed in an office all day while the players practiced alone.

Why don't we hold sales managers to the same standard? If you haven't been in the field with your salespeople in a while, now's the time to set your calendar. Follow these eight steps to improve your in-field coaching.

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Topics: Talent

12 Quotes About Leadership

4e0149f5-70aa-41c9-bf4b-7827a3439371Last month, all of us at The Center for Sales Strategy attended our annual summer company meeting. In preparation for the meeting, a small group of people were given the responsibility to bring with them a leadership quote that they really liked and that they could share with all in attendance at the meetings. The quotes were fantastic and lead to a lot of great discussion. We liked them so much that we thought we would share with you. Feel free to share this blog post and we hope you enjoy these quotes as much as we did.

12 Quotes About Leadership, from The Center for Sales Strategy's Annual Meeting

1. There are no traffic jams along extra mile. -Roger Staubach Click to Tweet!

2. Excellent firms don't believe in excellence only in constant improvement and constant change. -Tom Peters Click to Tweet!

3. There are a lot of people who touch the customer. -Roger Staubach Click to Tweet!

4. At a car dealership the seller is the hero, but if the service department doesn't service well, the customer doesn't come back. -Unknown Click to Tweet!

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Topics: Management

When is an Inbound Lead Ready to be Called?

How_to_Determine_When_an_Inbound_Lead_is_Ready,_and_Whats_NextFor new inbound marketers, one of the most exciting moments is when you actually start to see new leads coming in through your content efforts. Based on my experience, that exciting moment is followed by the question, “What am I supposed to do now?”

This is pretty common because all marketers know that not every inbound lead is created equal. Many just aren’t far enough along in their buying journey and others simply aren’t qualified and probably never will be. How do you know which leads are sales-ready, which require nurturing, and which ought to be ignored? There are tools and processes, including lead scoring, conducting your own online research, and reviewing your lead intelligence. With these tools you can determine the next steps for each lead.

Good decisions depend on good information, and my focus here is on the information you are looking to uncover for each of those incoming leads. For instance, lead scoring effective only if you’re scoring the right criteria… and diving deep into contact profiles is helpful only if you come up with useful information.

Here are some questions you should think about to determine who is a potentially sales-qualified lead, one that is ready to be followed up with by sales and fits your initial criteria for a qualified prospect.

  • How did they first come across your website? Was it on social media, through an internal connection, organically, or maybe from a referral site?
  • What title do they hold at their company? Are they a decision-maker or a college intern?
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Topics: inbound marketing