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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Do you Need Sales Enablement Tools and a CRM?

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Is your sales team running the same plays as it did ten years ago? Even five years ago? Well if it is, then there is a good chance you need to update your sales playbook. The fact is that the way businesses buy and sell has forever changed—and to stay competitive, you need to change too. Yes, certain things are still essential—finding needs, presenting solutions, and getting results—but how you interact with prospects and clients is different. We have written numerous blogs posts on how sales has changed, and while that is an important topic, it's not the topic today. Today is about determining if your business could benefit from sales enablement tools and a CRM. 

Topics: Sales sales enablement

When Pigs Fly: Really? Why You Should Focus on Your People's Strengths

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Sometimes the most revelatory meanings come from parables. Storytelling is an art and has been a part of the human experience since cave men started drawing pictures on cave walls, since troubadours roamed the countryside telling stories through their songs. Storytelling helps us make sense of the world.

One of the most effective ways of telling a story is through a parable. It’s a short, allegorical piece meant to teach a lesson. It’s told in words that convey images people can easily understand and often include animals and nature like "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Grasshopper and the Ant."

Topics: Talent Sales coaching

Five Ways to Help New Salespeople Pick the Best Prospects

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For those of us who are parents, we know that while we try to help our children avoid mistakes, we also want to give them some leeway to have
 learning moments of their own. Of course there is a time and a place for learning moments. The same goes for our teams when they are prospecting for new business. We shouldn't allow our newer salespeople as much leeway (like our younger children) as we do our more seasoned veterans (our older children) especially when it comes to prospecting. 

Here are 5 tips to help newer sellers determine their best prospects:

Topics: Management

14 Places to Research a Prospect Before a Sales Call + More

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

1. 14 Places to Research a Prospect Before a Sales Call HubSpot

The more you can personalize your conversation to a prospect and their business, the greater the chance that you’ll capture their interest—and hopefully their business. To do that, you'll need to research the prospect. Here are 14 places that will help you.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at The Center for Sales Strategy!

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and we're reflecting on the good things in our lives and enjoying time with family and friends. 

3 Important Considerations When Your Sales Team Grows

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Today we have a guest post from Danny Wong. Danny is a marketing consultant, sales strategist and writer. He does marketing at Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. Connect with him on Twitter @dannywong1190.


Growth is good — it means that goals are being met and revenue is up. But hiring new team members brings challenges. The responsibilities of a sales manager change drastically as your sales team expands. Managing a modest team of five to 10 reps is easy when compared to overseeing a department with 30, 40, or 50 salespeople.

Here are three things you must keep in mind as a sales manager as your team begins to grow from small to large:

Topics: hiring salespeople sales management Talent

Improve Sales Performance by Changing the Conversation

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If you really want to develop new business with prospects—or even existing clients—try changing your conversation from WHY they should be buying your product to HOW they should use your products and all your other resources to meet their specific needs. (Of course, you have to know what those are, so plan and execute an engaging conversation to discover those needs.) Prospects don’t really want to talk about your product anyway—it’s boring to them.

Topics: new business development sales strategy Sales

One of the Most Important Ways You Can Define Yourself as a Great Sales Coach

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Great coaching is hard to find.

Most people aren’t born to coach, but those that are, the ones who are great at growing and developing people, can forever change the lives of those around them.

I talk about coaching in sales and management all the time, but the same lessons can be drawn from and applied to sports, education, really everything. People do not grow in a vacuum.  They only grow in relationship to another person.

Topics: Sales coaching

11 Techniques to Run Efficient and Effective Sales Meetings + More

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

1. 11 Techniques to Run Efficient and Effective Sales Meetings HubSpot

Time is precious, and wasting your prospect’s time is the fastest way to ensure you won’t ever get more. The 11 techniques in this article are the key to making sure you’re running efficient, effective sales presentations that will keep your prospects engaged until the end of the process.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

A Great Sales Story: Getting the First Appointment

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After a workshop I was leading about earning a first appointment with prospects, one of the folks in attendance shared an incredible success story with me.

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development Sales

How to Craft a Proposal that Won’t Get Rejected

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"The end depends on the beginning (and everything in between)."

Yes, we have heard this a thousand times, but no truer words have been said when it comes to developing proposals. I had an epiphany pretty early in my sales career. I had been on a sales call to a restaurant, and they asked for a proposal. I rushed back to my desk so excited with the opportunity to get to present, only to stare at my computer for what seemed like an eternity. Crafting that proposal took a lot longer than it should have.

Later, when looking back, I realized it was because I didn’t have enough information. I had missed the mark on a number of things. Here's a little advice on how not to make the same mistake.

Topics: Proposal Sales

How to Get the Most from a Sales Candidate Interview

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Do you ever tell horror stories about the worst hire you ever made? These bad experiences tend to stand out, don’t they?

High turnover is a big problem for many sales organizations and hiring the wrong people for the job can be a big contributor to that turnover. It’s extremely important that you hire people with the right talents for the position.

Do your due diligence before you hire someone so you are not surprised by mediocre performance later. Perfecting your interview process will help you to put the right people in the right positions.

Here are some tips on how to get the most from a candidate interview:

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent Sales

The Two Biggest Problems B2B Salespeople Have With Proposals

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1.  They don’t hear “yes” often enough.

2.  They don’t hear “no” often enough.

When you talk to salespeople all time as I do, it’s easy to see the biggest problem with many proposals is that they seem to fall into a black hole, an abyss, where salespeople don’t hear either "yes" or "no." That’s a problem.

It’s better to hear “no” than nothing. As a result, salespeople feed pending information to their managers each week, which includes proposals still hanging out there, and sales managers continue to miss their projections with faulty data. Experience shows that each week that goes by between presentation and getting an answer, the chance of closing a proposal goes down. In fact, the closing percentage on proposals over 30 days old is usually less than 10%, far less than what the salespeople are projecting. The reality is a no answer is usually a “no” answer.

So, how can salespeople avoid having their proposals drop off the face of the planet, never to be heard about again? Here are some steps that should be useful:

Topics: Proposal Needs Analysis Sales

14 Signs Your Sales Email Is Actually Spam + More

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

1. 14 Signs Your Sales Email Is Actually Spam HubSpot

Sending valuable, customized, personalized sales emails is a legitimate sales tactic. Blasting out spam is not. So how can you tell if a cold sales email actually spam? Use these 14 signs to make the call.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

The Power of Face-to-Face: Is Technology Hurting Your Sales Strategy?

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How you conduct business, whether you are an owner, operator, manager, or sales executive, has become increasingly dependent on social media, but are we beginning to depend on it so much that we don't communicate productively?

Topics: Social Media digital marketing Digital

Keep It Simple, Sales Manager

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Today we have a guest post from Sherrie Roberts. Sherrie has been crushing sales goals and breaking records for over 20 years from local broadcast to national networks and rep firms. Serving in roles as salesperson, sales manager, General Manger and Founder.


Government is not the only entity wrought with bureaucracy. It’s known to rear its ugly head in all businesses. Systems and policies are certainly vital to accomplish missions and keep chaos at bay. Yet bureaucracy is proof you can have too much of a good thing. Too often we become so ensnared by rules and with making them, that common sense takes a back seat. 

There’s this thing called the “naked rule” that has become somewhat of a mantra in my management career. Once, in a meeting discussing a unique issue that had arisen, one leader proposed a new policy to address said issue. Yet another leader responded, with brilliant hyperbole, “So if an employee showed up naked to work, would we really need a rule that says you have to wear clothes to work?” Thank you Captain Obvious for saving us that day from yet another policy that wouldn’t solve anything. In this case, it would have created unnecessary complication—as is so often the case.

Topics: Sales sales process coaching

Increase Your Marketing ROI With Our Newest Online Course (free for a limited time!)

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I can remember it so well—sitting in the grass with a bunch of other sweaty 5th and 6th graders, out of breath from running laps and drills. We were the St. Joseph’s soccer team, and we were great at running around and yelling and kicking the ball in the general direction of the other team’s goal. We were pretty good at joking around and drinking the Gatorade, too.

But this practice was a little different. Today, Coach Freer had a big pad of paper and a sharpie. She proceeded to tell us this fabulous story involving fullbacks, and halfbacks, and forwards, and strikers. And those white lines on the grass? She told us what they meant, too. 

“Whoa!” I said to myself. “There’s a strategy here, and a structure!”

This memory came back so clear to me this week, as I finished building our latest online course, the Lead Gen What & Why: Inbound. In presenting the top 20 terms related to inbound marketing and lead generation, a real structure, based on strategy, started to come into focus.

Topics: content marketing inbound marketing Sales sales and marketing alignment

Are You Set Up to Recruit Top Talent?

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I’m in the midst of touring colleges with my son. There are so many choices and great things about all the schools. There are the big SEC football schools, schools in college towns and big cities, large campuses and small. So how will he choose? Finding the right fit when you are a senior in high school seems like such a concrete and monstrous decision.

The same can be true when graduating from college and looking for a job. What do millennials look for when searching for their “perfect” job? Many articles have been written about what they are searching for—collaborative work environments, recognition, opportunities for growth, flexible hours and a purpose to name a few. How does your company stand out to this group?

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent Sales

Why It’s Time to Kill the Generic Sales Presentation + More

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

1. Back to Basics: Why It’s Time to Kill the Generic Sales Presentation HubSpot

As a salesperson, it's your job to serve as a translator between the generic messaging found on your company’s website and the unique needs of your buyer. Modern salespeople tailor presentations to their buyers' context, leveraging the information they've already gathered in the exploratory phase to explain why they are uniquely positioned to help. This article explains how.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Sales Coaching: Don’t Let Your Weaknesses Get in the Way of Your Success

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I am really good at showing up on time, coaching people, planning jam-packed vacations, coming up with creative gift ideas, and breaking down something complicated into the key points that everyone needs to understand. Those are my talents—the things that I do well. Maybe even better than others. And, if I really thought about it, I could probably even think of a few more things to add to my short list.

Now, ask me to make a list of things I’m not very good at—the things I’ve worked hard at but never seem to be able to do as well as others…. Well, that could go on all day! Playing tennis, building budgets, writing in straight lines on a white board, singing in tune…. Seriously, I could fill the page!  While practice might make me a bit better, I will never achieve greatness.

And as much as that bugs me, it’s pretty normal. We all have strengths but we have MANY more weaknesses than we have strengths. And that’s okay, because no one succeeds based on their weaknesses.

Topics: key account growth sales management Talent Sales

4 Steps to Determine if a Sales Candidate is as Great as She Sounds

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The candidate is standing in front of you—sharply dressed, trying to impress you with how perfect she is for the job. This individual seems perfect. She looks the part, has the right answers, and a great personality. How do you get past the “shine”?

Topics: Talent Sales

Why Did I Hire This Person?

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Sales leaders, like teachers and other influencers, have the power to develop or destroy, to mentor or marginalize, to coach or to crush.

That’s a significant impact on a business and the drivers of that business's success, its people. That power can be used to foster positivity or negativity.

Sales Leaders Can Make Or Break Their Organizations

Many sales leaders who have direct reports, such as a sales department, may be in their positions not based on their talents for coaching or developing and contributing to the bottom line, but rather because of relationships and quid pro quos. Or the hiring manager may have succumbed to the “Halo Effect” during the interview. The Neilson Norman Group describes this in this way: The Halo Effect is when one trait of a person or thing is used make an overall judgment of that person or thing. It supports rapid decisions. It’s based on subjectivity vs. objectivity. It’s a decision that can wreak havoc once that hire enters the building. If you have regrets over hiring the wrong person for a sales leader role please read on.

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent Sales