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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

5 Things Every Business Person Needs to Know About Digital Media

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When it comes to digital media expertise, it's easy to feel like an expert and a novice all at once. This is mainly because there are so many advancements in digital that it's hard to know what you should be focused on with respect to digital marketing.

Topics: digital marketing Digital integrated media solution media snacking inbound marketing

Close More Deals and Build Long-term Customers Using a No-surprise Proposal

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Surprises are fun when they are part of a birthday; not so much when they are involved in selling. Salespeople should do their due diligence to minimize surprises during the sales process, especially when presenting and closing proposals.

Salespeople can improve their closing ratio and improve customer results using a no-surprise proposal (NSP) technique by clarifying these five things before they build and present a proposal:

Topics: Proposal Sales

"I Just Hired a Green Salesperson. Now What?"

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Most strong managers, when searching for the right talents, skills, and experience, recognize that the talent piece is primary. If a salesperson doesn’t have the talent, he or she can’t be highly successful. Once you have someone who has talent, you can provide the right coaching that turns that potential into skill. So, that leaves only the area of experience where there may be some “give”—which is exactly why I know there is a good chance you have hired some pretty green salespeople.

Topics: Sales sales training coaching

Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen

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Everybody’s got one. In fact, ideas are not only cheap and plentiful, but their overuse often obscures the work we should really be doing—gaining an understanding of what the prospect is trying to get accomplished. I see so many salespeople (and sales managers) default to premature ideas that end up nowhere.

The temptation is to vomit an idea the minute we see or hear a possible need in the customer’s business. Bad practice. Ask a few more questions and dig a little deeper about what business results the prospect is looking for, what problems exist for them in the marketplace, what opportunities are out there for their category of business they have yet to realize, or what conditions are specific to their category of business. 

Keep in mind that all your competitors are talking about ideas as well. The prospect has heard it all before. What makes an idea valuable is that it addresses a very specific need in that prospect’s business.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

3 Ways Content Can Build a Bridge Between Marketing and Sales + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. 3 Ways Content Can Build a Bridge Between Marketing and Sales — Content Marketing Institute

An Aberdeen Group study found that businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams earned an average of 32% year-over-year growth, while those who reported less alignment saw a 7% decrease in revenue. Content can be used to get sales and marketing teams working together toward common goals. This article explains how.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

How is Your Website Doing Compared to Your Competitors'?

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Let’s face it. If you are managing a business and you don’t have access to data regarding how your business is doing, you are essentially flying blind. Without benchmarks and numbers to indicate how you are doing, it’s tough to know what the score is and who is winning. That’s why analytics and data have become so important to business owners and marketers over the past few years. Knowledge is power, and the same now can be said for understanding and being able to analyze and interpret data.

HubSpot understands the need that businesses have to analyze large amounts of data for the purpose of making sound business decisions, and they have recently launched a new Research blog. The HubSpot Research blog provides in-depth insight and information for marketers and business owners that are looking to make data-driven decisions.

Topics: digital marketing metrics

20 Seconds of Insane Courage will Transform Your Sales Performance

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Have you seen the movie We Bought a Zoo? It's a good movie and based on a true story. Matt Damon, who stars in the movie and plays Benjamin Mee, is talking to his son about how it only takes 20 seconds of insane courage to make something happen. 

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Recruitment and Selection Is a Deadly Phrase in Talent Acquisition

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There is an inherent danger in grouping two items together for conversational purposes, even when they go together. The danger is when they are always tied up in one phrase; they begin to sound like they are the same thing. Peanut butter and jelly go together, but they are not the same thing. 

Topics: Management sales management Talent Sales

Making the Most of a First Meeting with a New Business Prospect

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Getting that first appointment with a new business prospect is rarely an easy task. In fact, there is usually a direct correlation between how long it takes to get an appointment and the spending potential of a prospect. Simply put, quality prospects take more time! 

Because so many hours are spent persuading a prospect to meet, it makes sense to get the most out of the meeting. World-class salespeople use the first appointment to uncover business challenges that lead to cash, instead of wasting the opportunity pitching, pitching, pitching. 

After getting comfortable and socializing a bit with the prospect during the opening minutes of the call, try the following steps to get the most out of the opportunity:

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Selling to the Modern B2B Buyer + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Selling to the Modern B2B Buyer — Salesforce

The ever-evolving B2B selling space and increasingly complex sales process present new challenges for B2B sales teams. In order to remain competitive and hit revenue goals, it is critical that sales reps understand the shifting landscape, why these changes are happening, and how to sell to the modern B2B buyer. Here are five factors that influence B2B buyer behavior and steps you can take to more effectively sell to the 21st-century B2B buyer and drive bottom-line results.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Five Tips for a Successful Digital Needs Analysis

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You finally got an appointment with a strong prospect. Now, it is time to prepare for a successful needs analysis to make sure that all the effort you spent getting the appointment isn’t wasted. You want to make sure that you have a strong and thorough needs analysis—because understanding your prospect's business, their specific needs, challenges and expectations is imperative to developing a solution that will achieve results.

Topics: Needs Analysis Digital integrated media solution

The Difference between Inbound and Outbound Sales Strategies

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Today we have a guest post by Sean Gordon. Sean is the CEO of Intelliverse, a global leader in sales accelerated enterprise software and managed services. Prior to Intelliverse, Sean was Vice President at West IP Communications for 10 years where he helped turn a $30 million dollar startup company into a $3.5 billion industry leader. He has also held various leadership positions at AT&T, EMC and Nortel Networks Corporation.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales

What Does “Sales Strategy” Mean Anyway?

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I hear managers and execs talk all the time about the importance of sales strategy. “Strategy” is one of the words that gets used a lot. (In fact, Webster’s Dictionary says it is in the top 10% of most popular words.) After all, who gets heat for talking strategy? C’mon!

The problem I see in the field is that most sales “strategies” are not really strategies at all. If you look at that definition of strategy, you see, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” That means a strategy doesn’t change (or if it does change, this doesn’t happen very often), is long-term, and describes a set of consistent behaviors. Many sales strategies I see are more like tactics: making more calls in a defined period of time, approaching a new group of prospects, or introducing new offers to move the market forward. I am not saying these things are bad, but I am pointing out they are tactics, not strategies. Tactics can be helpful IF they support a strategy.

Topics: sales strategy Sales goals

Clear the Runway, So Your Blog Can Take Off!

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Of course you’re familiar with Microsoft Word. And of course you’ve seen those wavy red and green lines in your drafts—those lines that remind us to check spelling and sentence structure. You, me, and every 4th grader on the planet use Microsoft Word in a thousand different ways every day!
 
But did you know that there are three other interesting little functions, hidden deeper in Microsoft Word, that COULD be the key to your blogging success? They could help you communicate your ideas to a larger group of readers, and make those readers more receptive to your blog posts. 
 
Called “Readability Statistics,” these tools can help you gain insight into your writing on a deeper level. 
Topics: blogging

The 7 R's That Turn a Negative Conversation Positive + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. The 7 R's That Turn a Negative Conversation Positive — HubSpot

When you work in a people-focused profession like sales, you’re bound to encounter conflict once in awhile. Trying to persuade people to part with their money, make a strategic decision for their company, or generally shake things up, dredges up a whole mess of emotion. There’s fear that a bad investment might incur company losses or hurt an employee’s personal reputation. Maybe there’s suspicion that you’re selling snake oil or aren’t being 100% truthful. There might even be anger if your prospect’s expectations aren’t being met fast enough. If you feel a conversation taking a negative turn, here are 7 ways to reframe and keep it positive.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

How Inbound Marketing Can Create Raving Fans for Your Business

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Businesses are catching on. Those using effective inbound marketing initiatives are producing sales leads and, at the same time, establishing expertise and thought leadership in their specific industry. Those experiencing this success will tell you that it is contagious, but requires the constant sharing of quality content (in most cases, through blog posts), which attracts interested prospects to their companies.  

Topics: content marketing content strategy Digital inbound marketing

What Marriage Proposals Teach Us About Business Proposals

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I’ve been divorced and remarried. I’ve also lost and closed sales opportunities. As I think about the courtship of either kind of relationship, I’m reminded of how a marriage proposal simulates both really great and not-so-great business proposals. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

Sales Performance: Winning Teams Have Winning Coaches

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I work with a lot of sales teams and business development teams. Some perform well. Some perform not-so-well.

Topics: Talent Sales coaching

A Datapoint is Not an Insight

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There has been a lot written over the last few years about a new approach to selling. This approach has some characteristics that have been used in selling for years—relationships and asking great questions are examples. But this new popular approach has a few differences. For example, instead of approaching a customer to do a needs analysis starting from scratch, the salesperson is told to share an interesting insight and then use that to challenge a prospect with tough questions to get a provocative conversation going.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Spring Cleaning: Keeping Your CRM Organized + More

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Happy Friday! Today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Spring Cleaning: Keeping Your CRM Organized — Insightly

‘Tis the season for spring cleaning! While that probably makes you think about your overflowing inbox on your desk (or your email), another area that can benefit from a bit of tidying up is your CRM platform. Why not use spring cleaning as your excuse to spend time in your CRM and ensure that everything is in tip-top shape so you can stay organized and efficient? These tips should help.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

To Improve Sales Performance, Remember To Switch Your Hat!

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To improve sales performance, remember to switch your hat... and only wear one at a time! Let's talk about the difference between educating and presenting. There is no doubt you are aware of the products, or capabilities, you have to sell. Most of your clients are aware of your "heritage" products, but when it comes to some of the more complex products you are capable of delivering, your clients and prospects need to be educated about what they are and—more importantly—how they can use the products to achieve their business goals.

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales