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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why The Talent of Problem Solving is Essential for Sales Performance

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You have a salesperson who has a great, positive attitude. The clients love this salesperson, and he or she does a great job at getting that first appointment and building a relationship with clients.  BUT when clients or coworkers come to this person with an issue, it ruins his or her day — it gets them completely off track and the salesperson just can’t seem to find the way back. What’s the problem?!  Is the individual's positivity not as high as it should be? Is discipline the issue? Actually, what you are seeing may all come back to their problem solving ability.

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent coaching

5 Tactics to Earn Links Without Having to Directly Ask + 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.

15 Tactics to Earn Links Without Having to Directly Ask — Moz

Typical link outreach is a tired sport, and we've all but alienated most content creators with our constant link requests. This video outlines five smart ways to earn links to your site without having to beg.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

A Sales Strategy to Double Time Spent Selling

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When a colleague conducted a "time spent selling audit" for one of her clients, the data showed the organization's best sellers spent slightly over 20% of their time actually selling. Keep in mind, the audit included the best sellers in the organization! Here are five reasons why this happens:

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Management Sales

3 Ways to Help Top Salespeople Perform at Their Best

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Recently I went to my daughter’s last soccer game of the season and it was thrilling to see how much the girls have grown in the past year. They are a talented group with a couple of great coaches who have helped them develop their talent. 

The day of the game, their moves on the field were impressive. They were superstars, but I noticed during halftime that despite incredible talent on the field, one of the girls needed help tying her shoes. Without hesitation, her coach bent down and tied them. This same child dribbled the ball around everyone and scored twice against a great defense, but she still needed some very basic help from her coach before she could get back in the game.   

Sometimes you have to tie shoelaces to be a good coach!  

It immediately made me think about coaching a talented sales team. 

Their strengths are impressive. The more you coach them, the more they grow, but each one of them may need very specific support and coaching in order to perform at their best.

How do you get even more out of your top performers?

Topics: Talent coaching

6 Ways to Tell if You Are a Thought Leader

In almost every industry there are people or businesses we think of as being thought leaders. These people and organizations are the ones that you check on regularly with regard to innovation, market challenges and new initiatives. The thought leadership position is certainly an advantageous position to have, as it can help with lead generation, sales, recruitment and retention, new business opportunities, and more. While sometimes this thought leadership position will come about completely organically, many times it is part of an overall sales strategy. Much time and consideration has been put into developing the plan to make this happen.

Topics: internet marketing thought leadership inbound marketing

How to Have Success Your First Year as a Media Salesperson

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How can I make sure I’m successful in media sales? 

How long will it take for me to make a lot of money?

How quickly can I expect to be promoted?

It seems as though I am asked these same three questions all the time! By college kids about to graduate. By people in the workforce who are considering a career change to sales. By media salespeople just starting out. They want to know how they can be successful, make good money, and advance their careers. All smart things to think about!  

I replied to someone just this morning and included my Top Ten secrets to success. As I hit “send,” I started thinking that I should share my response with you today. So here goes! (Keep in mind, this advice applies to any kind of B2B sales, not just media.)

Topics: Sales salespeople

9 Post-Pitch Follow Up Mistakes Keeping You From the Close + 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.

19 Post-Pitch Follow Up Mistakes Keeping You From the Close — HubSpot

After a great presentation to a prospect that you feel certain will close, it's frustrating when the prospect just disappears on you. It's tempting to go off the rails at that point, but follow up mistakes can cost you the sale. Here’s a list of nine deadly follow up mistakes to avoid after a pitch.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

The Fastest Way to Lose a Sale

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Yes, it’s a strange question to be asked, but it led to a great conversation. I remember the workshop so clearly. Someone once asked me what I felt was the easiest way to lose a sale.

Topics: Digital

Improve Sales Performance with In-Field Training

Generally when most people think “training” they envision a classroom with an instructor, a workbook, and some Power Point slides. For most jobs, this is not training — it’s classroom education. By the way, there is nothing wrong with classroom education. Just don’t confuse it with actual training.

Training is really a one-on-one activity between a manager and the person he or she is looking to develop, whereas classroom education is a group activity — big difference. Training is best accomplished on the job. In The Knowing-Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeifer and Robert Sutton, they point out that the best companies “Embed more of the process of acquiring new knowledge in the actual doing of the task and less in formal training programs.” 

Topics: Management Sales

Why is My Talented Salesperson Not Performing?

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I spent some time on the phone this morning talking with a new client. Brand new to the world of talent assessments and strength management, this sales manager was trying to wrap his mind around everything he was learning.

He called me because he was frustrated to learn that one of his lowest-performing salespeople had one of the strongest talent profiles on his team. He could not figure out how that could be possible!

Have you ever felt the frustration of managing a seller who was not performing on the job even though you knew the person had the potential? It’s maddening! And if it has happened to you, you’re not alone.

There are many reasons why a salesperson may fail to perform, even though they’ve got the potential.

Topics: sales management Talent

4 Ted Talks You Should Show in a Sales Meeting

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If your sales meetings are typically just focused on reviewing the budget pacing numbers and other housekeeping notes, then WOW are you missing a great opportunity. Sales meetings are a great place to do sales training or sales warm ups. While most sales managers agree with this, they often share that one of the reasons they don’t do that sort of activity is that they don’t have time to prepare. Clients of the Center for Sales Strategy often use one of the “sales meeting kits, ” but not everyone has that available to them. So if you are looking for some content to enliven your next sales meeting, here are four TED talks that we recommend.

A summary is provided so you can get an idea of what each talk is about.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

18 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.

118 Places to Research a Prospect Before a Sales Call — HubSpot

The more you can personalize your conversation to the prospect and their business, the greater the chance that you’ll capture their interest — and hopefully their business. Here are 18 places to do your research.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

2 Reasons Some Managers Can't Activate Their People

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Why have a manager who cannot move their people to performance?

That would be useless, right?

But the reality in today’s business is there are too many managers who fit this description. Why is that? Why would a manager, despite his or her best effort, be unable to activate their people? There are two primary reasons, and they have an interactive relationship with each other:

1. The Manager Doesn’t Have a Lever (a Powerful Relationship)

Lots of managers have a friendly, or at least cordial, relationship with their people. But not what we call a robust relationship. A robust relationship is one that’s useful to the manager wishing to improve the salesperson’s performance, and, therefore, the organization’s performance. It’s a relationship that gives the manager the power to accomplish this essential aspect of his or her job.

Topics: Management leadership

Why Working Out Is a Lot Like Developing New Business

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We are always told to maintain good health by eating right and exercising daily. In order to see the true benefits, it needs to be done consistently. It takes effort and planning to fit it into our busy lives but we do it. We want to remain healthy. If we stop, our health will suffer. It’s a constant in life that takes self discipline and motivation. It isn’t always easy but the benefits for both mental and physical health are tremendous.

Before I had kids, this was a much easier activity to fit into my day. Now that I have three little lives in addition to my own to manage, it takes real effort, commitment and persistence. In the end it pays off tremendously so I find the time. If I stop or take a break, I know it will be that much harder to get back into the routine.

Topics: Sales prospecting

Use Marketing to Generate Leads So Your Salespeople Can Focus on Revenue

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There is an old saying that goes like this: When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago, of course. When is the next best time to plant a tree? TODAY! 

That saying is the perfect way to describe what is going on with sales and marketing these days. So many organizations are tasking their salespeople with 100% of the lead generation as well as having them figure out on their own the very best way to pull prospects through the sales process. 

Topics: lead generation Sales

The 10,000 Foot View Provides New Insights

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On my final approach into the Atlanta airport recently, I noticed how interesting the view was from 10,000 feet. The planes moving about, the cars arriving, the Porsche Experience Center, and all the surrounding hotels (the new Renaissance Atlanta Gateway is pretty cool by the way). So much to observe.  

This made me think about how the 10,000-ft. view is often more interesting and illuminating than the proverbial 30,000-ft. view. This is true when looking at a sales organization as well. The 30,000-ft. view that you tend to take with something like a SWOT analysis or other strategic exercises is good, but the 10,000-ft. view might be more appropriate.

Topics: Management sales strategy Sales

7 Apps That Help Salespeople Become Even Better Speakers + 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.

17 Apps That Help Salespeople Become Even Better Speakers — HubSpot

A natural affinity for speaking can only take you so farto become a truly skilled speaker, you’ll need to identify your weaknesses, learn rhetorical strategies, and consistently practice.

You might be wondering how you’re supposed to find time for those things when all of your work hours are spent selling. Good news: These seven apps will improve your speaking skills quickly, effectively, and best of all, in real-time.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Are You Missing Important Coaching Moments?

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I love this African Proverb, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” Every time you find yourself tempted to push everyone on your team aside because you can “move faster” on your own, stop and ask if the speed you are gaining is worth it. You can definitely walk faster on your own, but you can walk much further if you allow others on your team to develop and grow as opportunities come along. Instead of thinking about how to get the work done through your people—think about how to get your people done through the work.

Topics: Management Talent Sales

Are You Coaching Or Just Telling?

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It happens every day in nearly every sales organization. Regardless of the industry, the size of the sales department or the complexity of the sale. It causes intense frustration for every salesperson and every sales manager. Know what it is?

It’s the uncomfortable meeting that takes place when a salesperson is not hitting their numbers. 

That meeting has to happen in order to get the seller back on the path to success, but it is filled with frustration.

  • The sales manager is frustrated because her seller is keeping her from making the team goal, and consequently, her bonus.
  • The salesperson is frustrated because he is not making as much as he wants to make and he knows that failing to make budget is not acceptable.

Those of us in sales and sales management know this situation and those frustrations all too well. You can probably guess how this conversation will go…

Have an Inspired 4th of July!

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The 4th of July is a great time for gathering with friends and family, eating food fresh off the barbecue, and, if you're lucky, going swimming in the nearest body of water. We hope you're enjoying the day off! Today we're sharing some inspiring posts that you can check out as sitting by the pool or waiting for those hamburgers to cook.

Topics: sales management Sales

Sure, You Can CLOSE, but Can You OPEN?

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If you follow the stock market you know McDonald’s stock has been on fire of late! Maybe the secret to their success is hiring people who can open and close!  

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Closing gets all the love, and all the headlines. The big closes lead to high fives and mentions in the company newsletter, and keep you coming back for more! If you can’t close, you can’t sell. “Coffee is for closers!” 

But can you OPEN? Not open the conversation, open the door to the opportunity. One sure fire way to close more deals is to get more, higher-quality appointments. It’s tougher than ever to get attention and establish credibility, and you need to do both to get the first appointment with the very best prospects. It’s no longer sufficient to pick up the phone and leave a “get to know you and your business” voicemail, or pop in for a cold call with confidence. To be a great “opener” you have to do your homework, and your homework has to result in a valid business reason for the prospect to meet with you. 

A great valid business reason should express why the prospect would want to meet with you (not the other way around) and has three core elements:

Topics: valid business reason Setting Appointments