<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=585972928235617&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Manager Gut Check

Sales_Manager.jpg

As a student of Florida State University in the 90’s, I fell in love with the sport of football. It has been great to see my alma mater be relevant again in the world of college football, but I have always been a fan of the sport—whether it is college, professional, or even just well-done football movies. One theme that flows through all football successes is strong leadership, talented players, and a vision/philosophy that every person must believe in, to be a part of the team. 

Topics: Management sales management Talent Sales

How to Inspire your Employees and Increase Productivity

Developing_Sales_Talent

You want to get the most out of your people… so how do you really inspire them? Most of the managers I talk with would immediately respond, “Pay them more!” Believe it or not, that’s not going to cut it. 

Topics: sales management Talent

Fuel Your Sales Team’s Engine with Premium Positivity and Watch the Magic Happen

Sales_Team-2

Many books have been written on leadership and many workshops given for leaders on how to build sales teams and influence positive change in cultures. Some observations:

Topics: sales management sales culture

6 Ways Management Can Get the Most from the Talents of Their Team

sales_talent-1

The most important job of managers is to coach, develop, and maximize the talents of their direct reports—sales managers developing salespeople and general managers developing sales managers. When people are maximizing the talents they have, sales and productivity will follow.

Here are my top 6 recommendations to improve sales culture and make sure management is getting the most from the talents of the team.

Topics: sales culture Sales

Have a Happy Christmas and Track Santa's Progress!

Santa

Merry Christmas to each of you! We hope you all have a very happy holiday, however you are celebrating! While you're kicking back and enjoying the time away from work, you can track Santa's progress

Topics: holiday

10 Questions Sales Managers Should Ask About Their Sales Culture

 Salesperson

Culture is defined as a way of life for a group of people. When in doubt about what to do, the members will fall back on what they have learned from their culture. They don’t even think about it—they just know what their culture would tell them to do.

Business organizations all have a culture, and when you walk into a business and take an instant like or dislike to being there, you are experiencing their culture. Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything—it’s an attitude you can almost feel.

Business-to-business organizations don’t often have potential customers walk into a physical location. Often a salesperson is how the client and prospect experience your organization’s culture. What is your sales culture telling them?

The word culture has roots in the concept “to cultivate.” When you build a culture, you truly are cultivating the behaviors and values of your team. You're setting the bar for what they do when you’re not looking.

Let’s look at 10 questions you can ask yourself to determine what kind of sales culture you are building:

Topics: sales management sales culture

How to Be a Super Salesperson

Superhero_salesperson.jpg

If you are a superhero and comic book fan like I am, you will at one time have undoubtedly spent a few minutes thinking about which super powers you would want to have. Would you want to fly, have x-ray vision, read minds, or be invincible?

Of course all of these super powers are stuff made of fiction, but if you are in sales there are a few tools you can use that make you feel like you have super powers and give you an advantage over your competitors that are targeting the same prospects. Modern sales tools, often called "sales intelligence" or "sales enablement" tools, really do make sales people feel as though they have x-ray vision or have the ability to read minds.

How is it possible for a sales person to develop x-ray vision, feel invincible, or read minds? I thought you might ask that.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales

How a Holiday Party Can Help You Increase Sales Performance

Holiday_Outing

When you pay attention, a holiday party can tell you a lot about your team’s talents. And what you learn about each person could change the way you coach them, and make them more successful.

Recently, I talked with a sales manager who took his team on a bowling outing to celebrate the holiday season. It was a fun team building activity, and it also taught him a lot about each person’s strengths.

The organized, fun salesperson on his team planned the entire outing down to the bowling teams and the gift exchange. Everything was perfect, and everyone had a great time.  

The relationship seller got everyone to participate in a hilarious game where you eat disgusting flavored jelly beans. Everyone did what she asked and completely trusted her when she said, “it’s really not that bad.”

Topics: sales culture Talent salespeople

5 New Year's Resolutions to Boost Sales Results + More

Sales_Success-1.jpg

Here we are at the end of another week, and the weekend before the holiday! In this post, we'll look at how to make sure you don't come back to an overflowing inbox and how you can use the downtime to plan to make 2016 your most successful sales year yet!

1. 5 New Year's Resolutions to Boost Sales Results — Salesforce

We love the start of a new year because it's a great opportunity to set new goals and get a fresh start. This post from Salesforce suggests 5 excellent goals for the new year that will boost your company's sales.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Finding that Ideal Prospect when Selling Digital Advertising

Selling_Digital.jpgOver the years, I've seen—and still see—a pattern with media sellers in the pursuit of prospects who welcome ideas that include digital. Selling digital as part of an integrated solution requires a certain kind of prospect that will "get" what you're talking about with respect to integrated solutions. To help navigate through your best opportunities, try these tips as you prospect and plan your approach:  

Topics: Setting Appointments Digital selling digital advertising integrated media solution

How Media Companies Can Co-Brand a Webinar and Generate More Sales Leads

Businesspeople_at_the_office

“Co-branding, also called brand partnership, is when two companies form an alliance to work together, creating marketing synergy.”

Who wants to be average? If you knew that the average webinar according to Clickmeeting.com had only 28 participants, wouldn’t you want to beat that average? (28 participants does not necessarily indicate only 28 people registered—this means that 28 people attended the webinar at the scheduled time. Many more probably registered, but those whose schedules don't allow live attendance will only watch the webinar recording.)

If getting 28 people to attend your webinar seems like a lot for the size of your company, or if you want to exceed that average number, you might want to consider some alternative methods to getting more registrants. One alternative to the common promotion techniques of social, email and advertising is to use some form of co-branding. 

Topics: webinars

12 Gift Ideas for Sales Managers to Give Their Salespeople

Holiday_Gifts

The holidays are the perfect time to show your team how much you appreciate them. But sometimes it's hard to think of meaningful gift ideas. We've got you covered this year! We collected ideas from our sales consulting staff here at The Center for Sales Strategy (each of whom was once a salesperson and a sales manager) to share with you. Here are 12 gift ideas you can't go wrong with.

Topics: holiday sales culture

Why Webinars are Becoming Popular Lead Generation Tools

man_at_computer_-_webinar

More and more, I am hearing from our clients that the single toughest thing for salespeople to do these days is to secure quality appointments. Just so we are all on the same page, a quality appointment meets the following criteria:

  • It's scheduled in advance
  • It's with the decision maker(s)
  • The main purpose of the meeting is to discover needs, get an assignment, or present ideas
Sales managers typically expect a salesperson to book between 3-8 of these per week. But most salespeople are challenged to get this many with traditional methods like cold calling and pounding the pavement. As a result, salespeople are frustrated. And when they are successful setting up an appointment, in many cases it turns out what they have done is wasted even more time, because the individual really was not interested in anything more then just getting the salesperson to stop calling. 

Having salespeople cold call for hours upon hours is not efficient—it's expensive and it's very 1990’s.

Topics: webinars

Tired of Useless Meetings? 9 Ways to Make Them More Effective. (Infographic) + More

Desktop.jpg

Hope you all have had a wonderful week! It's Friday, and time for us to share what we've been reading online this week. Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Tired of Useless Meetings? 9 Ways to Make Them More Effective. (Infographic) — Entrepreneur

We've all been in those meetings: the kind that are a complete waste of time and that bore us to tears. But meetings don't have to be useless. This infographic offers nine ways to make them more effective.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

How to Get Results in Individual Meetings with Your Salespeople

meeting_with_salesperson.jpgI've been asked a number of times by sales managers if I had any thoughts on how they might make the individual focus meetings with their salespeople more productive. What's interesting about this is that I get asked almost every week by sales people why they even need to have an individual focus meeting with their sales manager. As you can already tell, there seems to be an issue with this weekly meeting—neither side is getting what they want out of it. I think I understand why this is happening…

Topics: Management Sales

Using Webinars to Give Your Business a Voice

Salesperson_at_computer

Like many of you reading this, I would much rather read an email or visit a website to learn about a product or service than talk directly to a salesperson. And forget about meeting a sales representative in person. 

Nothing against salespeople—I was one myself at one time. We will truly never be able to replace salespeople in the sales process, but we need to adapt to the reality that most buyers aren't ready to talk with salespeople early in the buying journey. Yet we need to be present at the early stages of the buying journey. We need to give our marketing a real voice in order to build trust and deepen relationships that will lead to an in-person sales discussion.

It's often been said that people do business with people they know, like and trust, and I wholeheartedly agree. The challenge we have as marketers is how best to get people to know and like us and our company's products and services—and more importantly, how to trust us. 

Some of the most popular methods of communication that marketers use to help us get to know, like and trust a a company are videos, podcasts and webinars. 

Let's look at a few distinctions between videos, podcasts and webinars to see why webinars are becoming so popular.  

Topics: webinars sales leads

A Few Simple Probes Can Prevent You From Missing Critical Information

Businessmen

As a sales manager and a sales consultant, I have witnessed literally thousands of sales calls with competent and hard-working salespeople—professionals who have done their homework on the prospect, prepared thought-provoking questions that make it obvious they know something about the prospect’s business, and who pose questions with a genuine interest in hearing the answers. Sometimes it is magical and they help the prospect clarify a specific problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity on which they would really like to capitalize. And, sometimes, all they do is get their questions answered and move on. Too bad. 

What makes the difference between an interactive conversation that engages the prospect and one that is rote and turns into simply an information-gathering exercise? Follow up questions. Good follow up questions are never scripted. Good follow up questions show you were listening, that you are interested, and that you really need to learn more about the headline the prospect has just shared. Some simple open probes can reveal a lot of context and detail you need to know about a problem or opportunity—information you will probably never get if you simply move on to your next beautifully-crafted question. For example:

  •  That’s interesting. Tell me why you say that.
  • What do you mean by that? 
  • Really? Tell me more about that.
Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

How Marketing Can Prepare Sales For Success in 2016 + More

Marketing_and_Sales.jpg

We've come to the end of the week, so it's Friday and time for us to share what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. How Marketing Can Prepare Sales For Success in 2016 — SBI

One of the main purposes of the Marketing team is to set the Sales team up for success. This post digs into how to streamline marketing operations for efficiency and effectiveness.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Revenue Development Ideas to Transform an Annual Business Plan from Roadmap to GPS

Business_GPS.jpg

It is the time of the year for sales managers to finalize their business plans for the upcoming year. Plans will soon be approved by the cheese (boss) upstairs or the cheese (VP of Sales) in the tower miles away. Most agree that it’s smart to develop a business plan with details on how to exceed goals—some call them a roadmap to success.

By now, most business plans (encased in a binder) have made their way to a shelf, tucked away for safe keeping like a roadmap in a glove box. Roadmaps are pretty worthless these days, especially if they are tucked away in a glove box—kind of like a business plan in a binder on a shelf.

Travelers know there is a better way to keep from getting lost than a roadmap; it’s called a GPS. It’s about time managers figured out how to keep from getting lost by transforming their annual business plans from a roadmap to GPS. Following are 5 ways to help in this process...

Topics: Management

Leadership Lessons: Leaders Eat Last

leadership_2-6.jpg

As the son of a Naval Commander, I heard my fair share of military wisdom and leadership advice from my dad as I was growing up at military bases around the world. We were stationed at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in Rota, Spain, and when he wasn’t flying a reconnaissance mission I would regularly hear him say, “Wake up, it’s Zero-Dark-Thirty”, “What’s the sitrep on school?” and “Straighten up your quarters”. Most of the time it went in one ear and out the other as it would with any child or young adult. Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, when I hear retired military personnel like Admiral William H. McRaven (retired) give the commencement address at the University of Texas and provide leadership tips to recent graduates, it’s usually advice that I find worth listening to.    

Topics: sales culture leadership

8 Ways to Help Your Sales Team Embrace Change

 Managing_change.jpg

Today’s sales leaders have to be much better at managing change than at any time in the recent past. It’s part of the job now. But just because change is more common and comes faster, doesn’t mean that people are suddenly much better at handling it. It still takes a gifted leader to help salespeople respond well.

How People Experience Change

I help a lot of companies manage change and I suggest 8 action steps leaders should take to help their team embrace change. Before I get to those, some thoughts on change:

There are several “change models” out there, but one that is familiar to most is:

  • Denial
  • Resistance
  • Exploration
  • Commitment
Topics: sales management Sales