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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Remain Relevant in a World of Automation

marketing_automation

With the ever-growing desire for data-driven marketing and automation there’s equally an ever-growing abundance of people giving away their preferences and information. Businesses can take what used to be tasks delivered by people and offer up those same tasks delivered by technology. For example, the buying and selling of media inventory as well as the delivery of targeted offers at checkout are automated tasks that were once delivered by people.

Topics: digital marketing Sales automation

Can the “7 or Higher” Rule Drive You to Greater Success in Sales?

Success in SalesAnyone who has ever brought a first baby home from the hospital knows how it changes your life. The days of being a childless couple suddenly seem distant, almost alien. You may have thought you were busy back then, but with a new baby in your life, you have discovered what busy really is!

The "7 or Higher" Rule

This very scenario popped on a TV show I was watching recently. The new parents were finding themselves pulled in a thousand directions and unable to give as much attention to their friends as in the past. To try and explain this to their friends, they would tell them about their “7 or higher” rule. If something wasn’t a 7 or higher (on a 10-point scale), they probably wouldn’t even consider carving out time for it. And if a friend were to approach one of them wanting to discuss something or seek some of their wise counsel, that friend was likely to be greeted with the “7 or higher” question: My time is really limited these days, but if you tell me this is important, that it’s a 7 or higher for you, I’ll make time for it.

Topics: time management Sales

Nielsen Gives TV Reason to Smile and 100 Best Places to Work for Millennials

iStock_000036160628_Small_blogThere's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.  

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. These 10 Tips From a CEO Can Take Your Career From Average to Awesome {Inc}

This question was answered by Nelson Wang, CEO of Collide on QuoraWhat is the single greatest piece of career advice you've ever received?

Topics: Wrap-up

Your People Are Watching Your Every Move (and non-move)

newMy colleague Jim Hopes wrote recently about the importance of expectations, explaining our lever analogy . People learn and grow in response to the expectations set by others—parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, mentors, and in the workplace, most especially managers who know how to do their job.  Expectations are most effective when they’re individualized, tailored to the unique strengths of each person you manage and to where they are in their growth curve.

Topics: sales management Sales

Two of the Most Important “To Do” Lists for Salespeople are Hidden in Plain Sight

Needs Analysis and The Critical PathThere is a seemingly endless variety of business books out there that promise to reveal the next profound truth, invent the next strategic angle, or inspire the next great idea. Most focus on some exciting concept that makes for a great read, but fail to address the major problem most salespeople face: Figuring out what’s important and getting it done.

Topics: sales management Sales

The "Buy Now" Button Comes to Pinterest and Instagram

Why_Did_You_Buy_ThatAs Social Media continues to mature, they continue to search for new ways to engage consumers and drive revenue. Two weeks ago, Pinterest and Instagram introduced similar features aimed at accomplishing both goals and these new options could be game changers for businesses and consumers.

The first "buy now" button is the Buyable Pin that was introduced by Pinterest on June 2nd. The new feature will allow users to purchase products without ever having to leave Pinterest—when they see a blue Buy It button. If you live in the United States and use an Apple device, you will begin seeing the new feature in a couple of weeks. According to the company’s blog, you should be able to discover over 2 million Buyable Pins on your iPhone or iPad by the end of June. Android users will have to wait a little longer to see the new Buyable Pins. 

Topics: Digital

What I Learned Again about Sales—from the Guy Who Poured My Wine

learning-about-sales-from-the-guy-who-poured-my-wineAnybody who knows me knows I enjoy a glass of red wine. I am not a connoisseur by any means, but I do love a good glass of Cabernet. 

While traveling recently, I requested a glass at dinner and the server went above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of serving me the house Cabernet (honestly, I would probably have been fine with that), he immediately asked what I liked. Full bodied? Heavy? And then he proceeded to pour me three samples to choose from. The dollar-per-glass charge for samples became a moot point. I knew what I was getting and that I would enjoy my vino with dinner. What service!

This server also called most customers by name when they entered, poured their “usual,” and asked about their kids and pets. Oh, to have more servers like this….

What was the sales lesson I was reminded of as I watched this genius server in action?

Topics: Sales sales process

10 Habits of Success to Adopt into Your Daily Routine

Screen_Shot_2015-06-18_at_4.11.35_PMThere's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.  

Topics: brianhasenbauer Wrap-up

Add One Word to Your Definition of Prospecting and See What Happens

prospectingSince the first salesperson roamed the earth in prehistoric times (yes, we know what she was selling, but that’s not the focus of this article!), prospecting has been defined as looking for people who might become customers, or simply, looking for customers.

There’s a slightly different definition, not nearly as well known, that opens up a whole new vista of opportunity: Looking for customer needs. Just one word is different, but it changes the entire meaning.

What this New Definition Does to You

The first thing that happens when you add that word is that you automatically—instantaneously! —start focusing on customer needs instead of the products and services you handle. Your empathy, expertise, and problem-solving capabilities take center stage, making you more interesting, more useful, and more likely to be viewed as a trusted and valued source.

Topics: Sales sales process

How to Start an Argument
You Don’t Care About Winning

great-leaders-argue-but-dont-winGreat leaders need to learn how to start an argument they don’t care about winning.

If your leadership team never argues or debates, that’s a good sign of harmony.

False harmony. It takes time and energy to argue well. It’s easier to avoid it. But the best leaders don’t—they ignite it.

When we think of harmony, we think of calm. But if arguments are rare in your organization, that calm you’re creating just might be the calm before the storm.

It’s healthy to challenge one another’s thinking. It forces you to own your opinion well enough to make a case for it (even if you’re wrong). The final decision will be a better one if you hear more viewpoints and a greater number of options.

Topics: leadership

What Managers Need to Increase Employee Engagement

manager-employee-engagement

Do women managers care more about their employees? A recent Gallup Poll finds that “female bosses are more engaging than male bosses.” They site several reasons why and conclude by recommending businesses hire more female managers. While we certainly need to keep narrowing the gender gap in America’s management ranks, what can anyone do to increase employee engagement among their direct reports?

Let’s start with the Gallup Poll. These management activities were found to increase employee engagement:

  • Encouraging their subordinate’s development
  • Checking frequently on their employee’s progress
  • Giving recognition and praise for good work
Topics: Management

Why “No” is One of the Best Words to Have in Your Business Vocabulary

no-is-the-best-wordI recently reached out to a friend of a friend. I wanted to pick his brain on some business ideas that I thought were very related to what he does. I was hoping for a new connection, some thoughtful conversation, and a little free advice.

When I finally reached out, he very politely said “no.” Of course, he said more than just “no,” but the bottom line was that he was strapped for time working on a new online course that was about to launch and that his wife was about to have a baby. He said he would love to help in the future—like six months down the road—but that right now, he just had to say “no” to some things.

At first, I was a little put off, even shocked. I hadn’t expected him to say no. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a lot I could learn from this experience. His “no” wasn’t personal at all, and I do believe he meant it when he said he’d have that conversation in six months. But he had to choose. He had to be picky with his time, and I respect that. That’s something I try to be hyper-aware of in my life, as we all know that time is our most precious commodity.

So, I ask you: Are you saying “no” often enough?

Think about these four kinds of people in your life:.

1. Your Customers

Sometimes we over-serve. Shoot, I probably over-serve my clients every day, and they probably don’t even realize it (shame on me). But this can be a big problem and one that we all need to work on. It’s okay to get paid for what you do and to acknowledge when something is outside the scope of your contract or your capabilities. Don’t feel like every request has to be met or you’ll lose their business. Don’t leave that client hanging; suggest alternatives. Quality partners will appreciate and respect you more when you are honest about boundaries.

See also: "How" Selling Solves Your Business Problems

Topics: Sales danibuckley

Jobs are at a 14-Year High

Why_Millenials_Quit_Sales_JobsWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. Jobs are at a 14-year high {USA Today}

The number of job openings in the US has surged to a 14-year high… shifting the power from potential employers to applicants. This is a good time for sales managers to take our brand and connect course and focus on the suggested action steps to get more attention from top applicants.

2. Customer value optimization {Digital Marketer}

This flow chart and blog post show Digital Marketer's path to purchase. It's a neat way to think about what to do after each step.
Topics: Wrap-up

5 Things More Important to a Sales Organization Than Policies & Rules

more-important-than-policies

 If your sales organization is struggling, your most significant constraint might be the policies you create and enforce. Too many sales leaders spend the majority of their time creating policies/rules and playing the role of referee resolving policy disputes.

 

Here are 5 things more important to a sales organization than policies and rules:

 

Topics: Management Sales

Talent is Like Land: You Can’t Create it, You Can Only Develop It

arguing-coworkersHave you ever been able to successfully change someone?

Maybe you have a teenager who was born without the gene responsible for keeping bedrooms clean—but with a little pressure (nagging, threatening…) you have been able to get him to pick up his laundry.

Or you could have a spouse who is so extremely chatty that it seems impossible to leave a party when you are ready to go—but with a little prodding you have been able to shuffle your beloved to the door more quickly.

But did you change them?

Is your teenager now neat and tidy? Is your spouse suddenly less social?

Probably not.

What about you?

Have you ever been able to successfully change yourself?

I’m not talking about trying to eat healthier, work out more, call your mom more often, or walk the dogs regularly (although those would be great accomplishments as well!).

Are you Serving Your Clients… or Just Servicing Them?

serving-vs-servicing-clientsI’m sitting in a hotel lobby enjoying my dinner. But I’m only steps away from the front desk. I can easily hear people checking in. What surprises me is the number of arriving hotel guests being greeted by their first name—before they hardly get in the door. There are warm hellos, how is Jane (the wife of a guest), how is your mom doing, and this goes on and on the entire time I am eating (and working!).

I can’t help but wonder—are most salespeople this engaged with their customers? Have they built the kind of relationships this front-desk staff developed? These hotel guests don’t arrive with luggage every evening. Some may check in once a week, others probably once a month or less often, but wow, this hotel has it mastered. It’s amazing to watch. I can say that I don’t recall this level of service at most establishments, much less a hotel.

Topics: sales management Sales

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

professionals-and-amateursWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. The difference between amateurs and professionals {James Clear}

Being a pro is about having the discipline to commit to what is important to you instead of merely saying something is important to you.

2. How meditation at work improves productivity {strategy+business}

Mindful work is the practice of using meditation techniques to increase productivity, and there's a new book out that describes what goes on in some of the workplaces in America.
Topics: Wrap-up

How to Spot a Future Leader

spilled-candy-future-leaderI have been enjoying short stories from Twitter lately. The latest comes from Sean Hill, @veryshortstory.

I love this story:

Jack threw a piece of candy on the floor and watched his three children fight for it. The winner was groomed to protect Jack as he grew old.

Over the last few years, I have been helping one particular client completely transform their sales department. The change has been challenging to many in the organization. Some didn’t make it. Many of those who did make it struggled at first, and even after some time, they only embraced the change as much as necessary. But one person on the team embraced the change wholeheartedly. He was able to thrive—and even helped others on the team get on board.

Topics: Management leadership

3 Ways to Find Your Next Superstar Salesperson

The Lone-Wolf Sales Model is Making Your Life Tougher than It Needs to Be

lone-wolfWe’re big believers in talent. And nothing confirms our trust in talent more than when we witness a direct connection between the talent level of a given salesperson and the success they achieve. When highly talented, that success happens more quickly and it lasts over the long haul—and when talent is softer, success is modest at best.  Same is true for highly talented sales staffs versus those less talented. 

But our confidence in the predictable relationship between strong sales talent and strong sales performance has confirmed something else: Talent is rare and precious. Talented salespeople are worth their weight in gold not only because they produce prodigious returns on the investment employers make in them, but also because they’re so darn hard to find. And a staff full of such salespeople? A sales manager should count him/herself an unusually outstanding recruiter and manager if half the staff is highly talented. 

Topics: Management

9 Books to Read This Summer

summer-readingThis is our second edition of The Center for Sales Strategy's summer reading list. If you missed last year's, here it is. We've compiled 9 books (nonfiction) that have inspired us over the last year.

9 Books to Read This Summer

Girl Boss
Sophia Amoruso

Tina Rice, Elearning Developer:

"It’s a wild ride full of risky behavior and swear words, and unbridled success."

Scary Close
Donald Miller

Emily Estey, VP/Senior Consultant:

"This is a great book for me as a coach."

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain

Tirzah Thornburg, Talent Analyst:

"My 12-year-old is massively introverted, and this book helped."

Topics: Talent