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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Effective Ways Sales Managers Can Optimize Their Time + 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.

13 Effective Ways Sales Managers Can Optimize Their Time HubSpot

The typical sales manager arrives at the office at 8 a.m. with a prioritized list of tasks for the day. By 8:05 a.m., she’s checked her email and seen two urgent requests from salespeople, a message from the marketing department asking her to attend a 9 a.m. meeting, a note from the engineering team asking for feedback from customers, and a question from Sales Ops about the new incentive plan. The following three techniques will allow you to redirect your time toward the most productive tasks. 

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Once The Issue of Price Is On the Table, the Selling is Over

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Too often, I see salespeople attempting to mix selling activity with negotiation activity as though customers and prospects seamlessly flow between the two processes. In reality, they don’t. If you want to be successful in sales in the long term do your selling first, and when you have a prospect who is ready to negotiate a deal you should engage in the good negotiation practice knowing it is largely too late to do any significant selling. I see salespeople trying to make last-minute persuasive appeals to buyers in an attempt to show value and preserve their price during the negotiation. There are a number of reasons why that falls flat: 

1. A professional sales process requires a free flow of information throughout.

Needs are identified, the prospect shares views and concerns, and the salesperson shares expertise and solutions. This is as it should be and most times results in a proposal both buyer and seller have crafted. But when it comes time to negotiate price and terms, parties have a tendency to begin holding back information—the buyer trying not to make it seem like they absolutely need your solution and the seller being careful not to reveal information that might give the buyer an advantage in the exchange. Power is the key element in negotiation and neither party wants to hand more of it over to the other during the haggling phase.

Topics: Sales

Three Dirty Words of Digital Marketing Campaigns

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When digital marketing campaigns fail, typically there's something dirty going on. Marketers and business owners often miss the point of digital advertising. You need to think beyond the inventory being presented and focus on marketing needs and solutions that deliver on set expectations. So I have defined three of the most dirty words I hear used in digital advertising and ways to clean them up.   

Topics: Digital

"You Expect Me to Sell How Much?!" How to Make that Budget Attainable

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When salespeople mention why the left their previous job, you often hear complaints of unreasonable budgets. Along the lines of, 'My sales manager was crazy! There was NO WAY that could hit that budget." As a manager, how do you make budgets attainable? And as a salesperson, how do you meet that goal?!

Topics: sales management goals

How to Write an Effective Personal Marketing Resume

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Recently I have had several managers asking about the value of a personal marketing resume for salespeople that are struggling with getting that initial call. Personal marketing resumes can be valuable in getting a prospect's attention and communicating how your salespeople can help, if done well. So, how do you get a personal marketing resume started, and what do effective ones include?

Topics: Sales personal brand prospecting

125 Conversation Starters For Virtually Any Situation + 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.

1125 Conversation Starters For Virtually Any Situation HubSpot

A good conversation starter can transform an awkward, stilted conversation into an interesting, enjoyable discussion. That’s important in sales, as having several conversation starters up your sleeve will help you form connections with prospects, referrals, and potential partners. In other words, the ability to start a conversation translates to real business. What makes a good conversation starter? Here are 125 ideas.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Improve Your Sales Strategy: Learn How Your Customers Perceive You

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Do you really know how you are valued by your customers? Are you seen as a source of expertise, connections, and solutions? Or, are you seen more as someone who simply provides access to your products? It’s an important distinction.

Topics: developing strengths sales strategy sales performance Sales

"Dear Hiring Manager" (How Sales is Like Job Hunting)

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Good salespeople are looking for a new job every day. They need to be “hired” by their clients and prospects on a regular basis. When I was a sales manager, how someone applied for an open position was my indication of how they would approach a prospect. Even now, as I’m going through applications for designers, I think of how my actions parallel that of a busy prospect.

Topics: Sales personal brand

How March Madness Can Help You Improve Sales Performance

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It’s March, and basketball madness is upon us. Three of the key elements in basketball are the goal you are shooting at, the equipment you use (basketball, shoes, etc.) and the plays you run. Sales is no different. You need goals, equipment, and plays.

I was performing a sales diagnostic with a client recently and thought of this comparison as I was evaluating their sales performance. That’s when the connection between March Madness and sales hit me.

Topics: sales management sales playbook

5 Things You Must Do When Shopping For Sales Acceleration Software

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By the year 2020, it’s estimated that there will be over 6 million inside and outside sales professionals in the U.S. alone. They represent an incredibly valuable resource for companies across a variety of industries, and it’s clear that sales leaders nationwide are continually searching for new ways to get the most out of their sales teams.

It makes sense then that the sales acceleration technology market recently reached approximately $13 billion in North America, as companies dedicate themselves to finding better ways for their salespeople to connect with customers and improve productivity. Almost every sales manager will be faced with the prospect of searching for acceleration software, and there are several steps that must be completed before, during, and after any such search.

Topics: sales management sales enablement

How to Regain Your Prospect's Trust After You've Messed Up + 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.

1How to Regain Your Prospect's Trust After You've Messed Up HubSpot

It can be a difficult task to build trust and credibility with prospects and customers. It is even harder when attempting to rebuild trust after it has been damaged. There's an elephant in the room that can feel uncomfortable to talk about, but is impossible to ignore. How can you get past the elephant in the room to get back to selling? The following four-step process will help you rebuild trust with your customers and prospects.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

The Remediation Myth and How to Coach for Real Improvement

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Most of us got to where we are by being pretty good at solving problems. So, when we eventually ascend into the management ranks, that problem-solving behavior naturally stays with us. The problem is, when it comes to people, you can’t really fix most weaknesses using those same skills.

The traditional model most managers follow is to assess what people are not doing well and give them training so they can do it better—the competency model. While skill training does certainly have value (it’s a big part of what our company sells), it only works well when you are teaching skills that match a person’s natural strengths (their innate talents).

For example, you probably know by now whether you can sing or not. If you’re like most people, the answer is not. Do you believe you could be on American Idol if you took enough voice lessons?

We both know the answer, don’t we?

Topics: Management

Is Inbound Marketing the Uber of Media Advertising Sales?

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These days, everyone wants to be the “Uber/Amazon/AirBnB of {insert industry}” and even if they aren’t, they certainly like to say they are. While I don’t want to be like those other guys… I kind of can’t help myself here. So bear with me on this one.

It started the other day, while I was riding in a Lyft (the other Uber, in case you aren’t familiar) to a meeting here in Seattle where I live. I noticed how my driver asked me if I had a preferred route; “Do you want me to take I-5 or the viaduct? Do you have a preference?” he asked. I didn't. 

He then offered me a bottled water and asked if I had a favorite music genre to listen to, which he could turn on for the ride. The car was really clean and smelled like a pina colada, and I could tell the driver was reading my energy and mood to determine how chatty to be with me that day. 

I flashbacked to 10 minutes prior when I was wrapping up something in my home, running a few minutes behind schedule, and with a couple clicks on my phone I had a driver on the way. I could track how close they were and head out the front door to meet him almost exactly when he was pulling into my driveway. I didn't have to worry about being late because I knew exactly where my driver was and the app even provided an ETA. Plus, when the ride was over I didn't have to exchange a dollar or fumble for my credit card. I said goodbye and was walking into my meeting in seconds. 

Immediately after exiting the vehicle, my mind started to wander about how the needs that cab drivers filled 10+ years ago have drastically changed, which is obviously why companies like Uber and Lyft are so incredibly successful today. Like this (just to name a few):

Topics: digital marketing integrated media solution inbound marketing danibuckley

Is the New Amazon Checkout the Death of a Salesman?

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The job of a salesperson is one of the oldest job titles in modern business. It’s also a position that’s constantly changing due to technological innovations such as the Internet and e-commerce. While most changes happen slowly, such as the move away from printed catalogs to e-commerce, it’s only in retrospect that you notice the signs that were missed along the way.  

The most recent threat to a salesperson’s job is automation and the bypassing of salespeople entirely to purchase directly from a company. This trend started some time ago when companies started to put their products online and discontinued sending salespeople door to door or mailing catalogs each year. I can still remember the excitement that my brother and I had the day the Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs were delivered in the mail. We would bookmark pages, circle what we wanted with markers, and talk about it for hours. Things sure have changed, and one of the companies that’s at the leading edge of the innovations is Amazon.

Topics: using technology sales strategy

The Art of Analyzing Candidate Fit

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What is the first thing you do when you get a completed assessment on a candidate? You look to see if he or she is recommended or not, right? But what is the second thing you should consider with a recommended candidate? You should think about fit. How will the candidate fit with your organization and with your team?

Topics: sales management Talent

The Sales Manager’s Guide to Running a Successful Sales Role Play + 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.

1The Sales Manager’s Guide to Running a Successful Sales Role Play HubSpot

Adapting the key concepts from a rehearsal-style role play model can help your reps perfect their messaging, reveal how they react under specific circumstances, and give them the opportunity to practice more effective behaviors. Use the following five guidelines to turn sales role playing into a valuable learning tool for internalizing knowledge and adopting new skills and practices.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Two Unexpected Traits of Leaders Whose Teams Experience Success

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There are myriad ideas and theories out there about what makes a great leader, and many are useful. They give some insight into those characteristics that define effective leaders—strategic thinking, strong focus, a sense of mission, passion for customers, innovation, hard work—the list goes on. But there is one trait strong leaders often exhibit that is not often discussed. It is the innate ability to build powerful relationships with the people who work for them. It’s critical, and it correlates to long-term success for the leader for several reasons:

Topics: Management leadership

Find Those Underlying Talents

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Topics: sales management Talent

Give Your Salespeople the Tools for Success

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Supporting a sales team with the proper tools is equally important in every industry. For example, as a sales manager, your job isn’t dissimilar to that of a homebuilder. Only in this case, you’re supplying tools to strengthen the performance of your sales reps, rather than nail guns and paint. And in the end, you’re responsible for setting them up for continued success.

There’s no question about it: Outstanding sales performance begins with outstanding salespeople.

So, how can you help give your salespeople the tools for success?

Topics: sales enablement

Navigating the New LinkedIn User Interface [Guide] + 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.

1Navigating the New LinkedIn User Interface [Guide]— Social Media Today

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the new LinkedIn user interface? You may be trying to figure out how to do or access some of the things you're used to on LinkedIn. This article outlines the changes to the new UI so you can become accustomed to what’s changed, what’s lost and what’s still available.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

What If You Never Wrote Another Proposal?

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What if you never wrote another proposal? Outlandish statement? Maybe not.

Most people are anxious to get a proposal in front of their prospect as soon as possible. After all, the sooner we ask them to buy something, the sooner we will get an answer right? Correct. You WILL get an answer sooner when you ask a prospect to buy sooner. So, why not crank out those proposals?
 
Here’s why:
 
The quick answer you get is far more likely to be “no” or a “Let me think about it.”  Which you know eventually winds down into a “no." A woodpecker bangs its head against a tree a thousand times a minute. Is that how you see yourself?
 
So, what about this?
 
What if by the time you presented your proposal, you and the prospect had already confirmed that you are working on the right needs? Needs that warrant attention and a solution sooner rather than later?

Topics: Proposal setting expectations Sales

5 Ways to Warm Up Your Cold Calls

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It’s rare to find a salesperson who actually enjoys cold calling. To many, cold calling means hours of talking to gatekeepers, maneuvering through automated phone systems, and rejection. However, there some things a salesperson can do to minimize the pain and maximize the impact of their cold calling efforts. Here are a few ideas to help warm up the cold call.    

Topics: inbound sales cold calling