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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What Lights Your Fire? 6 Tips for Employee Motivation

My family and I installed a gas fireplace over the winter, and seeing our first gas fire ignite so easily got me thinking about the different ways managers “light a fire” under someone and get them motivated to work. Does it require extensive labor or is it more like flipping a specific switch or turning just the right key?

It’s not just one switch or just one key that ignite fires in each of them. Everybody’s different.

One of the many answers I want to uncover about someone when I interview him or her is why they want to work. What makes them want to get out of bed and come to work every day? Beyond just “showing up,” what drives them to get out there and sell, and when it gets tough, what drives them to keep going, even double their effort?

It is not as easy as turning a key, but understanding how each person is motivated is essential!

what_lights_your_fire

Topics: Management

Sales Prospecting: Sorry, Dude. She’s Just Not That Into You.

Sorry,_dude._She’s_just_not_that_into_you.It is amazing how often I’ll hear sellers talk about those prospects (and even clients) that absolutely drive them crazy. I’m not just talking about those really demanding customers who expect the impossible or those who expect you to constantly deliver world-class champagne on a cheap-beer budget. I’m referring to those situations where there’s some kind of a personality conflict, or you’re dealing with a person who consistently makes you wonder if you still want to do this kind of work.

If it’s not really worth it, why do you continue to put yourself through it?

Topics: Sales

Why “Publish or Perish” Isn’t Just for College Professors Anymore

Why_Publish_or_Perish_is_not_just_for_college_professorsLast week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. My presentation covered the need for sales organizations to rethink the way they generate leads for their salespeople. The painful truth is that most B2B sales organizations rely almost entirely on their salespeople to drum up new business opportunities. As a result, salespeople are spending more and more time trying to find that rare qualified prospect and less time doing what they do best: finding needs and selling solutions.

Topics: inbound marketing

Was the Prospect Unqualified? Or Was the Salesperson Unqualified?

IWas_the_Prospect_Unqualified_Or_Was_the_Salesperson_Unqualifiedn our report, released in December, The Biggest Challenges of Media Salespeople and Sales Managers, we reported that finding enough qualified prospects ranked a solid #2 finisher among sales managers. In our summary of the findings, we pointed to the irony that there are more potential clients out there than ever before, and with competition bloodier, more need for marketing services of nearly every type. And yet, qualified prospects are hard to identify.

We described the structural problem, still common at media properties, of expecting salespeople to find their own leads, or put another way, of expecting salespeople to be their own marketers. It’s not a role they relish, it’s not a task they’re especially well built to handle, and it’s not a smart decision by management to expect them to shoulder it or succeed at it. As we wrote, highly talented salespeople want the Glengarry leadsand savvy managers want to provide them.

How Olympic Athletes Can Hurt Your Professional Sales Brand

How_Olympic_Athletes_Can_Hurt_Your_Professional_Sales_BrandGoogle me by my former last name (Kim Willoughby) or search me on YouTube and a former Olympic volleyball player arrested for assault is a top search result. There's also an attorney who seems to have a great reputation in Denver, but let's be honest, you'll remember the Olympic Bully first.

Topics: Digital

24 Ways to Effectively Coach Millennial Salespeople

How_do_you_coach_a_Millennial_with_sales_talent_2Do Millennials simply have less sales talent than prior generations?

After conducting tens of thousands of sales talent assessments, we here at The Center for Sales Strategy can assure you that’s not the case.

In part one of this two-part series, I shared four key differences in how the Millennial generation was raised, insight I gained from Brad Karsh in my never-ending quest to learn more about how to activate Millennials. These differences explain much of the enormous disconnect between many Millennial workers and their managers today.

Topics: Talent Sales

5 Things Often Misunderstood About Inbound Marketing

5_things_you_should_know_about_inbound_marketingInbound marketing is powerful, and can lead to monumental changes in the way you do business. I know inbound is a buzzy phrase these days, and so many hot business topics turn out to be little more than hot air, but inbound marketing is very real and it’s important. It’s how you establish your chops and demonstrate your value. It helps potential customers see if you’re the kind of company they’d like to do business with. It shows a commitment to helping people without asking for anything in return.

Depending on what you sell and who you sell it to, inbound marketing can be both less expensive and more effective than outbound. Bring more visitors to your site, show them how you do business and how you help customers, and give them opportunities to become customers. Creating an inbound strategy can dramatically improve your company’s bottom line.

Here are five things you need to know about inbound marketing.

1. Inbound marketing is more than just a blog on your company’s website.

Topics: inbound marketing

Media Salespeople’s #1 Challenge Points Toward Big Changes Needed

clock_timeGone are the days when the best prospects were storefront businesses lined up along Main Street. Back then, a salesperson could simply wander in, looking a little like a shopper, and have reasonable hope of engaging in a productive conversation with the proprietor. Today’s prospects look almost entirely different, ranging from less-accessible big-box and chain retailers to exclusively Web-based businesses to insurance providers, educational institutions, investment offerings, group medical practices, personal technology devices, and more—none of which can be approached casually.

And, just as you can no longer simply drop in, so too have the email and voicemail paths to the prospect become hellishly difficult to penetrate. Between the human gatekeepers and the electronic ones, today’s prospects are very well insulated. Some screen salespeople out simply because there are too darn many of them, a multitude of people selling advertising this and marketing that. But others do so because experience tells them that most of these salespeople are a colossal waste of time: Given how easily prospects can access product information online, information that’s often more accurate and useful than what they get from salespeople, why would any prospect take a meeting with a salesperson? 

Topics: sales management Sales

The Increasingly Digital Decision Process

The_Increasingly_Digital_Decision_ProcessFor many of the clients you serve, digital media and technology tools have become an important and obvious part of the marketing equation. But just as there is a digital divide in device adoption and ownership among consumers, there can be dramatic differences in the levels of sophistication from one client to the next when it comes to technology. While some of your clients have already been using things like responsive website design and behavioral targeting for years, there are almost certainly some clients you work with who still have trouble opening an email on their cell phone. 

Topics: Digital

Help! How Do I Coach a Millennial With Sales Talent?

How_do_you_coach_a_Millennial_with_sales_talent_1If you have hired a salesperson that is younger than 32 years old, you hired a millennial. And you may sometimes feel like many of the other sales managers I talk to every day…

“They need lots of handholding.”

“They lack the drive of the generations before them.”

“They can be overly sensitive and more focused on making friends than making sales.”

As a Talent Analyst, I spend a lot of time identifying people’s innate sales talents and helping managers make smart selection decisions. Once each hire is made, I work with the sales manager to turn talent into ever-increasing performance by maximizing each seller’s strengths and working around their weaknesses.

Topics: Talent

Valentines Day Should Be Everyday!

Valentines_Day_Should_be_Everyday“Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you, I appreciate you, and I think you’re amazing in every way.  You had me at hello!”

Those are words we express–and really like to hear–from those we love each year on February 14th. But shouldn’t we express love and appreciation to people we care about everyday? And what about our customers? Shouldn’t our customers feel important everyday… rather than just certain days of the year?

Topics: sales strategy Sales

Are You Really a Focused Sales Manager or Just Pretending?

Are_you_really_a_focused_sales_manager_or_just_pretendingI am currently reading the New York Times bestseller called “Influencer, The New Science of Leading Change.”  This book is based on the in-field work of the team at VitalSmarts. I like books that are based on real-life observations. I generally find ways to apply the principles. Influencer is written to a broad audience, not merely those of us in sales. But there are some good lessons in the book that we can apply to sales.     

The authors point the reader to three keys to being an Influencer:

1. Focus and Measure
2. Find vital behaviors
3. Engage all six sources of influence 
Topics: sales management Sales

All Eyes on Digital—Increasing Digital Revenue a Challenge to Sales Managers

Biggest_Challenges_Blog_Post_6-1The total-revenue budget is historically a media property’s single most important measure of success. If that number is hit, the pressure to make some of the lesser targets is greatly relieved. But that pattern has been changing in recent years.  

Today, the digital-revenue budget is often the one that gets the most scrutiny—from the boardroom all the way down through the organization to the newest seller on the team. It’s not only because the total-revenue number is getting tougher and tougher to hit, but because everyone knows that revenue related to digital offerings represents the future, and most everything else is part of a past that is destined to decrease over time.

Topics: Digital What & Why digital marketing Digital Sales

Integrated Marketing and Frozen Yogurt

Frozen_Yogurt_and_Integrated_Marketing-smMy 7-year old daughter loves frozen yogurt with toppings.  She loves going to one of those self-serve places where she can pull the lever for her yogurt and then create an artistic and culinary masterpiece from a wide variety of toppings. Typically she gets vanilla and chocolate yogurt and goes for a variety of toppings, including gummy bears, sprinkles, gummy worms, Oreos, chocolate chips, coconut, and kiwifruit. The other day I asked her which frozen yogurt she liked best and then which topping she liked best. She looked at me quizzically and said “Daddy, they only taste good together! Why would I eat a gummy bear and then some kiwifruit?!”

Topics: Digital Sales

Sales and Business Clichés We Should All Stop Using

business_jargonMy wife and I recently saw The Wolf of Wall Street. To make a long story short, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a rogue stock broker who’s more interested in his income than in his clients’ well-being. Why do I bring it up? Because early in the movie, Matthew McConaughey makes a cameo appearance as a mentor to DiCaprio’s character, and teaches him an age-old cliché about negotiation: 
“The one who has the most to lose… does.”
Topics: Sales

How Those Annoying Questions From Prospects Can Help You Generate More Inbound Leads

How_Those_Annoying_Questions_From_Prospects_Can_Help_You_Generate_More_Leads_OnlineEvery sales organization could probably use more quality leads for their salespeople to set appointments with. This is one issue we deal with day in and day out. We help our clients generate new traffic to their website and convert that traffic into qualified, sales-ready leads. 

What it (inbound marketing) comes down to is creating unique, compelling content that solves a problem, entertains, teaches, or answers a question that your best prospects are searching for online. Then, you’ve got to publish that content through your website via a blog – like the one you’re reading right now – and provide opportunities for your readers to download premium content (think eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) in exchange for a little bit of information about themselves.  Voila… you’ve got a lead! 

Topics: inbound marketing Sales

Sales Challenges: Do You Have Too Much to Sell?

Biggest_Challenges_Blog_Post_5Our recently published report, The Biggest Challenges of Media Salespeople and Sales Managers, reveals the findings of a study we completed late in 2013.  The questionnaire offered sales managers a list of 14 current issues they may be wrestling with, and asked them to select their three biggest—the three problems that, if solved or even partially solved, would make the biggest difference in their operation. Too many products and services to sell popped up near the top of that list, as Management Challenge #3.

Topics: sales performance sales management Sales

Sales Strategy: The Five Most Important Minutes of your Career

The_most_important_five_minutes_of_your_career-1It might be those first few moments after you get back to your car following an important presentation. It could be while you’re riding to the airport after a critical needs analysis. Perhaps it is those minutes that immediately follow a conference call or an online meeting where a big renewal was discussed.

Yes, every client-facing meeting is critical, whether it happens online, on the phone, or face-to-face. The time you spend with any target or key account is likely to impact your top line revenue, and therefore, your income. But those minutes are mostly important to a specific sale or client relationship. Reflecting on how the meeting went—the first five minutes after you’ve met with a target or key account—are important to your career. Because you’re using this experience to get better, build on success, and note mistakes so you can avoid them in the future. Bottom line: You’re improving the very next meeting or client interaction you have

Topics: Sales

Don't Treat Your Inbound Marketing Prospects Like Bill Murray in the Movie Groundhog Day

Dont_Treat_Your_Prospects_Like_Bill_Murray_in_the_Movie_Groundhog_DayRecently I was having a discussion with my colleagues about how Dynamic Website Personalization (DWP) is changing inbound marketing and how it's going to change the way that websites are designed and leads are captured and nurtured.   This conversation was prompted by a great article from the folks at Entrepreneur.com
about how websites are being designed with the user experience taken into consideration to create a more personalized experience based upon customer life cycle, industry or other criteria that is deemed important. 

Topics: websites inbound marketing