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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Focus on Keeping Up with Your Customers, Not Your Competitors + 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. Focus on Keeping Up with Your Customers, Not Your Competitors — HBR

It's tempting to focus on what your strongest competitors are doing. After all, you're competing with them! But too often, companies focus on the competition when they should be focusing on their customers. How can you keep up with your customers? You have to start thinking like them. This article shows you how.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Improve Your Millennials' Performance With Real-time Feedback

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We’ve been talking about the Millennial generation for years now. Discussing their behaviors, styles, and attitudes, we have debated how this group will likely affect our business moving forward and how we can best develop them to succeed.

This understanding is vital since they will soon fill half of our entire labor force, and Pew Research reports that 58% of them expect to leave their jobs in three years or less. That kind of turnover can be a killer to a sales organization, so we need to figure them out and connect with them in a meaningful way.

But how? It may not be as hard as you thought!

Topics: sales performance Talent coaching

How Social Selling Can Get You in the Door

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Thanks to technology that enables people to learn just about anything in a matter of seconds, the buying process has become more personal. Thanks to the fact that every online buying experience is customized to the individual, people are starting to expect the B2B buying experience to follow suit.

A salesperson who hasn’t done their research and isn’t coming to the first appointment with very specific ideas on how to provide relevant value to a prospect isn’t going to make a sale.

Topics: Social Media Sales

How to Deal with Price Competition

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If you are in sales, you can’t avoid price competition altogether, but you can take steps to reduce the focus on price. You need to behave in such a way that you are working with the prospect to create specific value, using your product or service as part of the solution. The alternative is that you present general value by pitching your product or service as the solution—inviting the type of product comparisons that lead to price negotiation. 

Creating specific value for each customer BEATS presenting general product value to every prospect.

Topics: discussing price Sales

Helping Buyers See Value + More

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

1. Helping Buyers See Value — Salesforce

Stories are naturally visual, and allow you to help prospects see themselves in successful outcomes based on how you position what you deliver. The power here is that rather than “selling” you're sharing experiences of other similar scenarios, and helping them see the possibilities. This article shows how you can use stories to help buyers see value.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

It's Time for a Sales Strategy Reboot

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Almost all of us spend a lot of time on our computers and smartphones. It's common knowledge that you should reboot your computer occasionally, right? Give it a chance to completely shut down, just for a moment, and then start it right back up. It's the same with phones. The folks at the Apple Store tell us it's a good idea to turn off the iPhone, and then restart it, once a day. In both cases, this reboot is done so that maximum performance with regard to speed and memory can be achieved. It's also smart to reboot your sales strategy from time to time. The goal of the sales reboot should be to achieve maximum performance from the sales efforts.

Let’s Get Real About How Many Contacts It Takes To Get An Appointment

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There certainly is a lot banter these days about how many contacts a salesperson must make in order to secure an appointment. We all know it takes more than 2 or 3 calls, but how many does it really take and why?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

What's New? 14 Fundamentals You Have to Have Before Investing in Anything New

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I am often asked by clients, what is new in media sales? What do you have that is new? What is the new and improved way to sell? 

Topics: sales management Sales

Motivate Your Team: See It and Say It

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I’m a mom. A lot of you are moms and dads as well. I often see parallels between “managing” my family and managing a team of salespeople. I noticed something the other day that I think I’ve noticed before, but hadn't made the association back to managing a team of salespeople until that moment.

Topics: sales management Sales

Read This Before You Send Another Cold Email + More

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Here we are at the end of another 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. Stop! Read This Before You Send Another Cold Email! — SalesForce

When you send cold emails, you’re a stranger to your audience. They don’t know anything about your company and how awesome it is, nor do they care. If you want to connect with them and receive a response, you have to tap into their emotions, and play on their existing fears and desires. These three steps will help you start many more warm conversations through cold email.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Are You Maximizing Your Own Natural Talents?

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When I was a kid, I was told I had a natural talent for playing the piano. In fact, about 20 years later I came across a piece of music I played at a recital when I was 10 years old. I was in a combination of shock and utter amazement that I had actually performed and played that piece of music.  However, there was a problem. I didn’t like to practice or play the piano. I wanted to be outside playing any kind of ball with my buddies. Trust me, I had no athletic talent at all. But I did have a natural talent to play the piano and I totally and completely wasted it.

Topics: Management Talent Sales

Five Things the Best Managers Do When Hiring

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People decisions are the most important decisions that a manager makes, and the importance of hiring talented people is critical to the success of any organization. As a manager, it's easy to ensure you are hiring talented people by following these five steps:

Topics: hiring salespeople sales management Talent Sales

Sales Management Secret: There is No Such Thing as a Fearless Leader

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Here’s why. When you have a passion or burden for something, there are fears that come with it. You can only be a fearless leader if you are leading in an area that you don’t have a passion for or don’t really care that much about. So rest assured the fears are normal. The real question is, what do you do with the fears you have? I have a two-step plan that I think will help.

Topics: sales management leadership

When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?” + More

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We're at the end of another 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. When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?” — HBR

When stakes are high, it can be difficult for leaders to pause before acting. We all tend to take the safe route of doing things the way we've always done them. Here’s some good advice for how to give yourself time to reflect and lead with questions, to make sure you're taking the best route, not just the one most familiar.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Breaking the Ice with a New Business Prospect

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The best B2B salespeople know the shortest path to a new business prospect's wallet is through a thorough understanding of needs, problems, challenges and opportunities. Wouldn't it be nice if a new business prospect would simply email this information to the salesperson — this would eliminate the need to set an appointment and conduct a needs analysis. That would be a great sales strategy!

Topics: sales strategy Sales

Make Your First Impression Your Best Impression

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There was a post on LinkedIn recently about the importance of making a good first impression. The post focused on professional men in beautiful, well-tailored suits, smiling, making excellent eye contact, and shaking hands. Surely there must be more than that.

First impressions are frequently discussed in the context of business meetings. Is it an important first meeting for a job interview? Or is it the first meeting with a client to conduct a needs analysis? It doesn’t matter what the situation, since memorable impressions are critical to both.

Topics: Setting Appointments salespeople

3 Things Every Sales Manager Must Do to Become a Sales Leader

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Next week I am going to speak at my children’s school for career day and am excited to tell them about how I work with clients around the country to help them achieve results for their businesses. No, I’m not a brain surgeon or a trial lawyer, but what I do as an inbound marketing and sales consultant has an impact on those I work with. I know that each of my clients is better educated about sales and lead generation through our weekly calls and that I am truly making an impact.

As a former sales manager myself, and now working alongside sales managers to help with lead generation, I know that a sales management career is one that can really make an impact. Sales managers are not just the face of most companies and sales organizations, but are also the heart and soul of them, as far as I am concerned. A good sales manager does more than just keep track of sales and new accounts garnered each month. A sales manager that’s interested in becoming a sales leader helps to grow and develop each team member. This goes beyond making sure each member of the sales team knows the company’s products or services and extends to providing each salesperson with a mentor and role model. Let’s also be very candid about this… if a sales team likes their sales manager and the organization they work for, they will work harder and care more about their work and produce greater results every time. 

How can you further your career and make even more of an impact? Here are three things that will take you from being a manager to also being a leader.

Topics: sales management leadership

7 Smart Strategies to Speed Up Your Sales Cycle + More

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We're at the end of another 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. 7 Smart Strategies to Speed Up Your Sales Cycle — HubSpot

To figure out the perfect, predictable sales cycle would be like discovering the holy grail of sales. That’s not to say that there aren’t ways to make sales cycles more predictable. Here are seven ways to speed up the sales cycle and do just that.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up