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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Improve Your Investment in Content Marketing with Content Strategy

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Content marketing is already strategic when it's “relevant and consistent" and designed to "attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.” Content marketing has the goal of building relationships and impacting the decisions people make about you.

Content marketing is focused on your target persona. Content strategy looks more at managing the lifecycle of the actual content. Strategy helps you increase your impact and reduce your workload.

Topics: content strategy inbound marketing Sales

How to Find Your Brand's Disruptive Opportunity + More

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

1. How to Find Your Brand's Disruptive Opportunity — Moz

If you're looking to set yourself apart in a competitive market, you need to find your "disruptive opportunity". Finding your brand’s disruptive opportunity means you’re not competing in the same sandbox as everyone else, which means your chances of dominating the category are much, much higher. This post digs into how to find your own opportunity.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Prospecting is Dead… Long Live Prospecting

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Did you know that your chances of making a sale go up a gazillion percent when the prospect actually asks to be contacted by you? Of course you knew that! So how do you make this happen?

Topics: content marketing lead nurturing new business development inbound marketing

Start at the Top, It Makes the Climb Easier

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Salespeople who have mastered the art of “Big Game Hunting” start at the perceived top of the mountain. Too many salespeople start at the bottom—and stay there. Why can’t you call or email a CEO or CMO with a very Valid Business Reason? Why don’t you suggest a time to meet to pursue ideas that may possibly help their company/organization/mission achieve their current marketing objectives? You can!

What stops most salespeople is the start. They limit their own opportunities by being ill-prepared with a truly Valid Business Reason and with lack of confidence to reach higher. Unpreparedness has that effect. Let’s look at the Valid Business Reason which is the key to engaging your prospect: the reason that gets the target’s attention on why they should want to meet with you—not why you want to meet with them. See the difference?

Topics: valid business reason Sales

Much Of The Feedback Sales Managers Give Is Useless

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Sales Managers have a hard job. Above them, executives are very clear about what they expect them to achieve—usually expressed as a dollar goal for the department. But, the Sales Manager is the person who has to convert what the company expects into how to accomplish it. Not easy. If the company expects the Sales Manager to reach a million dollars in sales this month simply sending that message down the line to the sales team is of little or no value. We all know certain things roll downhill with little result. 

So what kind of feedback does the Sales Manager provide to translate the what (the monetary goal), to the how (the method by which we will accomplish the goal)? Here are some ideas:

Topics: sales management Sales

Sales is Like Dating: How to Build a Lasting Business Relationship

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It seems that every year, a friend of mine has what she thinks is a "happy relationship.” Then Valentine’s Day arrives, and the wheels start to come off. It's sad, and heartbreaking, to watch my sweet friend go through yet another breakup.  

Dating is a similar process to sales. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we've often drawn parallels between the two. Here are a few pitfalls to watch for, as you strive to build a lasting business relationship. 

Topics: business relationships Sales

Practice for Tough Situations as You’d Practice a Sport + More

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

1. Practice for Tough Situations as You’d Practice a Sport — HBR

Preparation is one of the most obvious yet most misunderstood aspects of learning soft skills. Imagine you’re heading off to lead a meeting, make an important pitch for your company, or have a difficult conversation. It’s obvious in these situations that you want to prepare yourself for what you’re going to do or say. But what we often miss when learning soft skills is preparing to manage ourselves—especially when we start to feel the stress and pressure of the real-life situation. This article explains that to learn soft skills in a way that truly prepares us for what we’ll face when it really matters, we can take a few lessons from a different arena where learning, development, and performance are essential: professional sports.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

6 Steps to Stop that Leaking Sales Bucket

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We probably all agree that it is easier to fill a bucket when it’s not leaking from the bottom. Seems like a pretty good rule of thumb.

In the context of managing sales revenue and keeping that bucket completely full, things can become pretty difficult when you spring a leak! We need to spend more and more time dumping new business in just to keep a minimum level inside, and that is exhausting.

Although a certain amount of attrition in sales is to be expected, when it becomes problematic, even the best new business program in the world won't fix the problem. So, step one involves fixing the attrition problem that is causing you to miss your monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets. Only after we have properly patched that leak in the bucket, will we have the opportunity to shift our attention to developing new business and filling that bucket up. 

Topics: Management sales strategy sales performance Sales

What Kind of Sales Dog Are You?

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Moving into 100% commissioned sales in my 30’s was one of those “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” moments in my life. Truth be told, it wasn’t a moment, it was a journey. I remember trying to learn all I could from the veteran salespeople on my team, but when I read the book Sales Dogs I began to understand that the answer was not to be found in trying to copy the talents of other salespeople, but to learn how to leverage my own unique mix of talents.

There are core sales talents that people need to be successful in sales. Yet even the most talented salespeople will have a unique mix of those talents, and how they play out in practice is as different as one dog to the next.

What Kind of Sales Dog Are You?

Which traits of the five sales breeds do you recognize in yourself:

Topics: Talent salespeople

When Approaching Prospects You Probably Give Up Way Too Soon

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So, what is the line between persistent and pest when it comes to securing appointments? Two calls? Three calls? Six? When have you crossed the line between getting noticed and risking arrest for stalking? Well, a national study published in the Harvard Business Review recommends at least six approaches. After six approaches is when 90% of appointments are set. So, how many salespeople make six approaches? About 4%. Yes, 4%. The majority of salespeople give up after two. To put that into perspective, making six contacts will give you a 70% increase in new appointments. Would that change your life?

So, why are so many approaches necessary? Think about your own life. Are you busy? Yes. If I am approaching you for an appointment, do you know about my company? Probably not. What do you know about me? Likely nothing, except you know I want to sell you something. What do you know about my track record in helping people like you? OK, so I have a job to do.  And, so do you. 

The numbers are very compelling but you also have to think about how to communicate your concern for indivduals as customers, the expertise you and your company bring to the table, and your problem-solving capabilities. We recommend you follow these steps: 

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales sales process

Measuring Sales Performance Starts with a CRM

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Recently I wrote a blog post about the importance of sales performance metrics and how keeping score makes sales teams more successful. After discussing this with colleagues and those in the sales performance industry, one thing became clear: you have to be using a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) in order to effectively track sales performance. Without it, you are just making guesses as to how your sales team is performing. If that’s you, you owe it to yourself and your organization to use one of the dozens of good CRMs you can choose from that works best for your organization.

Why a CRM Is Necessary to Measure Sales Performance

Measuring sales performance, by its very nature, entails gathering data about leads from multiple sources and being able to put that information into measurable, quantifiable and actionable information. In 2015, the year some have called, “The Year of Big Data”, there was an increasing interest in the ability to gather massive amounts of information about prospects and leads and use that information to make sales and marketing decisions. Regardless of how much data is collected on your leads or the financials related to your pipeline, without having a way to organize, track, and calculate your sales metrics, all is for naught.  

Having a CRM allows you to do many things that you could never do without—including tracking your leads' activities across your organization, calculating complex metrics, and the ability to add information to custom dashboards and management reports. Measuring sales performance isn’t an easy thing to do with the growing complexity of organizations. You'll need to track the performance of multiple salespeople, report different information to varying parts of the organization, and measure the overall performance of your sales team. Without a functioning CRM, all of this information is left to spreadsheets or disparate systems that don’t communicate with each other or have been abandoned by the sales team long ago.

Topics: lead nurturing Sales brianhasenbauer

9 Simple Sales Enablement Tips to Implement Now + More

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

1. 9 Simple Sales Enablement Tips to Implement Now — SBI

What is sales enablement really? It’s about getting the right content into the hands of the right reps. It’s about getting it to them at the right time, through the right channel. It's empowering your salespeople to do their jobs better and get better results. This article offers nine tips you can iimplement today.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Shopping for Solutions: Delivering the Perfect Digital Advertising Target

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Mid-February is an interesting time of the year. The stores, malls, and grocery stores are jam-packed with people shopping for Valentines Day. If you like to shop, this may be paradise… heading out with all of the other crazed shoppers, trying to find that one special thing for that special someone. But if you're not into shopping, you probably want to minimize the places you have to go.

Imagine if you only gave yourself one opportunity to find that special gift—you're determined to go to only one store. Some of you would get lucky. Others might find that is it out of stock, while others find that the one store chosen never even carried that special something. So what do you do if you weren’t lucky? Since you only gave yourself one shot, you have two options—find another gift or go home with no gift.

Don’t like those options? Me either, but when it comes to digital marketing, I see salespeople and marketers do just that all the time when using ad targeting to reach their target consumer—their someone special if you will. Instead of using multiple targeting options available to them, they make the decision to hyper-target… using just one behavior, age group, or a small geographic area. Doing that is the same thing as just going into one store to find your target gift. You might get lucky and generate results, but more often hyper targeting minimizes your chances to deliver results.

Topics: Digital selling digital advertising integrated media solution understanding target audience

Which Channels Do B2B Marketers Find Most Effective?

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The top three social channels being used most often by B2B marketers won’t surprise you, the ones they find most effective may. According to research from the Content Marketing InstituteLinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are still the top choices. YouTube and Google+ are also substantial for usage. Which channels on the top 10 list below are you using? 

Topics: Social Media Sales

What is the Value of Your Personal Brand?

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You know the value of your investments. What is the value of your personal brand? It’s somewhat difficult to always control your investments due to outside forces, but controlling your brand is in your hands. As a salesperson, the value you garner from your personal brand is priceless. 

“Personal branding is the process of developing a 'mark' that is created around your personal name or your career. You use this 'mark' to express and communicate your skills, personality and values. The end goal is that the personal brand you develop will build your reputation and help you grow your network in a way that interests others. They will seek you out for your knowledge and expertise." — Laura Lake, Marketing Expert

Topics: Sales personal brand

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Sit Next to Marketing + More

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

1. Why Your Sales Team Needs to Sit Next to Marketing — Salesforce

Sales and Marketing serve a shared purpose: to identify, attract, and close business for the company. But far too often, these teams find themselves acting out a typical “Dilbert” comic script of blame and frustration during slow sales cycles. Fortunately, it’s possible to bring these two groups to the same table to work off of the same script and dramatically improve performance across almost every worthwhile metric. Here's how.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Generate More and Better Sales Leads in 7 Steps!

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According to a State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research before they meet with a salesperson. Your prospects are looking online before they agree to an appointment. And if they're finding information and assistance from your competitors instead of you, who do you think they're going to meet with?

Topics: internet marketing Setting Appointments new business development inbound marketing Sales

How Will You Become a Million Dollar Salesperson?

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There are many roads to reach annual billing of $1 million. It’s a milestone in many industries. Most account lists are some combination of client levels, but let’s look at three possible scenarios to reach $1 million in billing:

  • 1,000 clients spending $1,000 each
  • 100 clients spending $10,000 each
  • 10 clients spending $100,000 each

The reason to stop and think about your client list this way is that it ends up determining how you spend your time each day and, ultimately, your sales career.

Topics: Sales salespeople

Increase Sales Performance by Looking Sideways

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I recently attended an event sponsored by Startup Grind Asheville. Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. The speaker at this particular event was Josh Dorfman, from Venture Asheville (an initiative to support high growth business ventures).   

In response to a question, Josh gave the advice to look sideways. He was encouraging entrepreneurs to look sideways as they run hard straight ahead toward their goal (so they don’t miss an opportunity they were not really looking for). This is another way to express something I heard years ago from the consulting firm Innosight. A speaker I heard from Innosight said that the great majority of companies that successfully transitioned their business during an industry disruption did so by pursuing a path they didn’t see when they started to make their pivot. That struck me at the time. What Innosight had learned is that the plan you develop when you start in a new direction is almost certainly the wrong plan, but doing nothing is also a sure path to failure. What an interesting discovery.  

Topics: Sales

New Opportunities for Professional Services Marketing

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We are very excited to announce that LeadG2, The Center for Sales Strategy's inbound marketing division, has acquired Vitberg, LLC, a HubSpot Gold Partner. Vitberg, LLC specializes in serving the professional services industry, and they're bringing valuable expertise to LeadG2. Here is the official press release.

This acquisition is going to help us serve our current clients better and help expand our services as well. Traditionally, LeadG2 has been known as the expert in lead generation for the media industry, but with the addition of Vitberg, LLC we will be able to focus on a new industry—professional services.

Our knowledge and work on developing the 7 Step Lead Generation process can be modified and applied to professional services marketing, and we are excited to bring this expertise to a new industry.

Topics: inbound marketing