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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Weekly Wrap-Up + Posts from Around the Web: NCAA Tournament Edition

Today, we're thinking about our brackets, and wondering why college basketball is so hard to predict. How's your tournament going?

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up:

Below are some takeaways found within this week's blog posts:

Sales_Hunters,_Sales_Farmers,_and…_Sales_TrappersSales Hunters, Sales Farmers, and… Sales Trappers?:

Mike Anderson

"Trappers do it differently; they entice the prey—er, prospects—to come to them. They set out the honeypot that brings the bears, the cheese that attracts the mice, the information and advice that pulls prospects in and prompts them to make the first move toward doing business.  In the epic battle between the Sales Hunters and the Sales Farmers, it just may be the Sales Trappers who win."

 

How_to_Create_a_Sales_Job_Description_that_isn’t_a_Waste_of_Time

John Henley

"Think about how you want the person to introduce themselves to clients and prospects. You want a title that sounds like the person is working on the behalf of clients, not your organization. For example, instead of calling someone the Business Development Manager, consider calling him or her something like Client Solutions Manager. If good ideas don't come to you on the job title right away, complete the rest of this outline first and then come back and work on this."

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

4 Ways to Measure Engagement on a Company Blog

How_to_Measure_(and_Increase)_Engagement_on_a_Company_BlogThe writing process of a multi-author company blog follows a specific pattern (at least it does here at The Center for Sales Strategy). The author submits their blog post, it goes through an extensive editing process (which includes finding the right title, keywords, calls-to-action, image(s), and relevant links within the post), then it gets scheduled in the content calendar, and finally it gets published.

After a post gets published, it's time to track engagement. In fact, it’s a good idea to measure engagement on a monthly or quarterly basis. That way, you can continue discussing the topics that got a high level of engagement and stop talking about the things that people aren’t interested in reading (or perhaps you can repurpose the content to be more targeted to your target persona and their interests).

In some niches, blog commenting is the way to measure engagement. For example, a recipe with 4,341 comments always looks impressive. Business blogs do not get the comment volume that recipe blogs do, and that’s okay. With a business blog, we have different goals, and we know there's no direct correlation between blog comments and customers. So we measure engagement in a different way.

Below are four questions to answer to determine if your readers are engaged:

1. Are people sharing your posts?

Are_people_sharing_your_posts

Topics: inbound marketing

6 Tips for Creating an Amazing Field Coaching Experience

6_Tips_for_Creating_an_Amazing_Field_Coaching_ExperienceThe following is a post by our colleague Don Oylear. From time to time, we'll highlight great advice from our peers. Find out more about Don at the end of this piece, and contact us if you'd like to post something!

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You’ve hired top talent, and you’ve trained them up on best sales practices. They know your products inside and out. You’ve role-played until you can no longer stump them, but something is missing. What is that?

The answer is Field Coaching: Watching salespeople in action in front of real clients who hit back and fire live ammunition is the critical step in developing your salespeople. Your salespeople may not be the LeBron James or Tiger Woods of their field, but if they have the basic talent to succeed in the job, then with a little coaching, they could become great.

Topics: Sales

How to Create a Sales Job Description that isn’t a Waste of Time

How_to_Create_a_Sales_Job_Description_that_isn’t_a_Waste_of_TimeMost sales managers don’t like to create job descriptions. I have never enjoyed it much myself, but I am starting to think that it’s more important than many of us have thought.

In the last few months, I have been involved in helping several clients refine job descriptions. Someone besides the sales managers usually created the rough drafts that have been sent to me. Sometimes they come from inside the organization and sometimes from outside, but in 100% of the cases I have found myself thinking that what I was reading was not very useful. Sales managers are in a better position to write these than anyone else, but they don’t want to do it.

Topics: Management

Sales Hunters, Sales Farmers, and… Sales Trappers?

Sales_Hunters,_Sales_Farmers,_and…_Sales_TrappersFor decades now, those of us in the B2B sales world have talked about two kinds of salespeople—Hunters and Farmers.  Some sales organizations are even formally divided into groups of Hunters and groups of Farmers, with different expectations set for each.  Here’s a summary of these two archetypes:

Sales Hunters

Hunters set out into the territory (literally or figuratively) looking for prey—er, prospects. They’re famous for their hyper-focus and the better ones are renowned for their skill with a variety of weapons (they call them approaches).  Nobody chases business and bags it better than a Hunter.  They’re motivated first and foremost by the thrill of the hunt; when the hunt is over, so is the thrill… until the next prospect comes into view.  Just as a pure hunter might not care if he ever eats his prey, the most extreme Sales Hunters are often not so effective at serving and maintaining that client long-term.

Topics: inbound marketing

Weekly Wrap-Up + Posts from Around the Web: Officially Spring Edition

Today, we're celebrating the official beginning of Spring! We hope wherever you are, you see flowers blooming instead of a snow pack.

This Week at The Center for Sales Strategy

weekly_wrap_up

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

Inbound Marketing: Is It Garbage-in Garbage-out, or Vice Versa?

inbound_garbageThe old saying used to be, “You get out of it what you put into it.”  In the era of inbound marketing, you could almost reverse that phrase:  The quality of content you push out will directly correlate to the quality of leads you bring in through your company’s blog.

Much focus is placed on the quantity of material you publish through a corporate blog, and publishing consistently in is important. But quantity will never serve as a substitute for quality, and volume will never be a fair trade for substance.

Topics: inbound marketing

Forget Job Title: Listen to the Person who Knows Best

Forget_Job_Title_Listen_to_the_Person_who_Knows_BestIt’s an interesting fact in business that the people at the top don’t always know best. In fact, most of the time, the person who has the skills and experience to offer a solution to a particular customer is the salesperson.

A few years ago, I was negotiating a very large sale that involved complex discussions and choices to be finalized in order to send out a proposal. The standard sales cycle at our company closed in about three months, on average, and I was working with a decision maker to finalize the proposal.

Topics: Sales

Luck Happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity

Luck_Happens_when_Preparation_Meets_OpportunityAs the global celebration of St. Patrick’s Day approached, I started to think about how lucky we are as a society to be able to put aside our differences and come together in celebration for one day. It’s ironic that I first thought of the word lucky to describe this phenomenon, as the phrase luck of the Irish is so common, and even more so around St. Patrick’s Day.

Luck of the Irish?

Topics: Digital

Weekly Wrap-Up + Posts from Around the Web: Pi Day Edition

We're bringing back a popular feature -- our weekly wrap-up along with the best posts we've read around from around the web this week. Today is pi day (get it, 3.14?) and we're celebrating by eating pi(e) -- how will you celebrate?

This Week at The Center for Sales Strategy

The_Center_for_Sales_Strategy_Weekly_Wrap_Up.jpg

Below are some key pieces of wisdom found within this week's blog posts:

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

When the Needs Analysis Process Should be Labeled a Fail

needs20analysis20failThis is the tenth and final in our series of blog articles related to the findings of our 2013 survey of media sales managers and salespeople. The complete report is available for download here. Some of the major findings simply confirmed what we—and most of you—knew already. But others were unlikely to have been on anyone’s list of guesses as to which challenges, from lists offered in separate questionnaires given to sales managers and salespeople, would have finished near the top once the numbers were crunched.

(By the way, we did not conjure up those potential challenges in a dark room, but rather they were the fruit of 65 lengthy, open-end interviews conducted by our professional staff prior to fielding the questionnaires.)

In this series, we’ve reported specifically on the top four finishers for sellers and their managers. Making the salespeople’s list at #4 was It’s difficult to nail down a clear assignment from the prospect. Would you have guessed that? It’s equivalent to sellers crying out, “Help! I’m not too good at the most important part of my job!”

Topics: Management

Why Dropping Rates to Beat Your Competitor’s Price Just Doesn’t Cut It

cutting20priceThink about a typical sales engagement. You’re trying to win the same business that your key competitor is hoping to get their hands on. You spend a massive amount of time and energy trying to prove why your product, service, or company deserves the business over your competitor. In other words, you’re trying to prove you’re better.

Then, when it comes down to the transaction, you learn the prospect is considering both options, and you are tempted—by either the prospect or your own paranoia—to drop your price. 

Topics: Sales

How to Set the Right Expectations When Coaching Salespeople

How_to_Set_the_Right_Expectations_When_Coaching_SalespeopleI knew it was going to be a bad day when my alarm clock didn’t go off (I’d set it for p.m. instead of a.m. the night before). Then I forgot my toast in the toaster oven, and it caught fire. I put out the flame right away, and no damage was done, but the house smelled terrible.

I should have just stayed in bed because we all know that when you go into a situation knowing it’s going to go south, it usually does.

Luckily, the reverse holds true as well. Just yesterday, I woke up early, got the kids dressed and off to school on time, and made it to the gym before work. I knew it was it was going to be a good day, and it was. We each prove the whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing every day, don’t we?

Topics: Talent

5 Digital Marketing Trends a Traditional Media Marketer Should Know

5_digital_marketing_trends_traditional_media_needs_to_knowThe other day I was talking to an old friend of mine whose experience is in traditional media. The integration of digital marketing into an overall marketing plan does not come naturally to him. He explained to me that he knew it was important to stay relevant to his customers, but he just didn’t quite understand the potential impact of what he was missing.

I wrote him the next day and shared the following five digital marketing trends to give him insight into the various audiences he is missing out on.

1. Social Media Is Booming With Boomers

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Google+ is 45-54; on Twitter it’s 55-64. With business users and the older demographic adopting social media, the marketing opportunities are greater and so are the costs of ignoring social. After all, baby boomers control 70% of the disposable income in the U.S.

Topics: Digital

The Best Digital Marketing Strategy is a Two-Way Street

digital20marketing20strategyPerhaps the greatest thing about digital marketing is not how it helps us reach the customer in new ways—but how digital devices let the customer reach back! That’s why one of the greatest mistakes in digital marketing strategy is overlooking that reach-back element. Too many companies still assume marketing to be a one-way street, where advertisers lob clever messages toward consumers, hoping a customer will reward their creativity by making a purchase.


It drives me nuts when I see a social media site that’s little more than a Facebook version of a company’s website. Social marketing must be social before it can effectively serve as marketing. Your social presence should inspire topics that are conversation-worthy and related to customers’ needs and the business you are in. It should offer ideas worth talking about (from your customers’ point of view). 

Topics: Digital

Success Dances with Those Already on the Dance Floor

What I Have Learned as a CEO About Engaging Prospects

success_dances_with_those_on_the_dance_floorI have spent nearly all of my adult life as a top-producing salesperson, sales manager, or consultant. For years, I have taught many organizations how to find and engage prospects, and they do very well. But there is one undeniable truth that changes outcomes more than any other when it comes to new business development: having prospects who already know a thing or two about your company.

A prospect who already knows something about your company and how you do business, a prospect who already has genuine interest in buying from you, is much more profitable than the one where you work to create a need for your product. Many of us have seen the now-classic movie, Glengarry Glen Ross where the good leads were allegedly locked in the safe and created much angst among the pressured salespeople.

Topics: inbound marketing

How Legacy Media can Produce the Same Data as Digital

how_legacy_media_can_produce_the_same_results_as_digitalAdvertisers have always been obsessed with measuring the results of campaigns they buy (and, as media veterans reading this know, most have shown a proclivity to pin too much credit or blame on the medium and not nearly enough on the message). For salespeople, the challenge has been manageable in the past because everyone—advertiser and salesperson alike—knew the data was skimpy and shaky.

It’s still shaky at times, but it’s no longer skimpy! Online marketing campaigns of all types automatically generate a sea of data, enough to drown all but the most intrepid analyst. Visits, views, clicks, downloads, form-fills, re-visits, shopping cart additions, shopping cart desertions, everything is tracked, databased, calculated, and reported. The easy availability of online-campaign metrics has raised the bar for all media. More and more, advertisers expect the legacy media to be as accountable as the digital media—to prove their performance—even if they can’t duplicate the density of data. The Great Recession, arriving just as digital-campaign metrics became universally available, made lots of advertisers more cautious and more demanding. With advertisers now accustomed to swimming in this data, the tepid recovery hasn’t tempered their expectations of accountability.

Selling Ads is Increasingly Difficult

Topics: Sales

8 Things You Should Do To Turn Talent Into Performance

When_Does_Hard_Work_Beat_Sales_TalentI just hung up from a talent feedback call that I think you might find interesting. I was speaking with a sales manager who is dealing with a challenge that most managers deal with at some point in their career. Can you identify with the following situation – and can you learn from this story?

The good news: The salesperson he is managing is highly talented. She has lots of natural ability, and when she is engaged, she’s one of her company’s top performers.

Topics: Talent