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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Things Great Sales Managers and Parents Have in Common

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It’s not uncommon for a salesperson to want to be a sales manager. In fact, one could easily see a promotion to sales manager as an indication that one has excelled in his or her sales career. If you’re thinking you should pursue a position in management because you are a successful salesperson, I’d like to propose an alternate idea: being a great sales manager has much more in common with being a parent of small children than it does with being a great salesperson.

At The Center For Sales Strategy, we have proof that not all salespeople are meant to be great sales managers. The talents required to succeed in each position are very different. It’s a big mistake to think that just because you have been with your company for a long time and have “paid your dues," you will be happier if you were suddenly promoted to manager.

Ask yourself: On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), how do I rate my desire to do the following?

Topics: Management

4 Simple Ways to Capture Client Testimonials

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We all know how powerful testimonials and success stories are as a tool to open doors with prospects who don’t know you yet. But, capturing such information has traditionally been time consuming and difficult. How many times has a client promised to write a testimonial letter for you and then never did it? It's usually not because your client is insincere; more likely they just got too busy with other things that were a higher priority. Besides, who writes letters today anyway?

Topics: customer satisfaction referrals Sales

There's a Huge Difference Between Hiring and Recruiting

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Your sales team determines the success or failure of your operation.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to you, but if you're like other sales managers, you don’t start looking for new sales candidates until one of your salespeople leaves the company.

By then, it’s too late. You'll have to scramble to fill the role.

This chaos will often result in you rushing to find the right person or settling for someone who is just “good enough.” These hasty hiring decisions don't solve anything. You still need a great salesperson, and the person you just hired isn't likely to be that.

Stop Hiring, Start Recruiting

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bench of talented candidates, all waiting to come work for you? Already interviewed, references checked, ready to go? Recruiting makes this possible.

Start looking at the hiring process from the recruitment perspective, and truly start running your business effectively. Follow these tips for strong recruiting and never be a victim of reactive hiring again.

The hiring mindset: “I’m sorry, we don’t have any openings right now.”

The recruiting mindset: “We are always looking for talented sales representatives to join our team.”

Now that you understand the difference between hiring and recruiting, let's talk about the interview process.

The Talent Bench: What is it?

Topics: Talent

This Is How To Actually Work Smarter, Not Harder + 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.This Is How To Actually Work Smarter, Not Harder — Fast Company

Here are eight unexpected (and counterintuitive) ways to squeeze more out of your workday.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Sales Team to Generate Leads

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One of the first signs that a sales organization of a small company is growing and maturing is that they no longer rely on the sales team to generate leads. In the early stages of development, a new company requires that everyone “wear multiple hats”. Consequently, the salesperson usually plays the role of Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Campaign Manager, and Business Development Specialist. It’s quite simple really—if the salesperson doesn't generate leads, no one will. But as an organization matures, the various Sales and Marketing disciplines should be divided as soon as possible. Not doing so simply makes achieving growth objectives more challenging and makes your life tougher than it needs to be.

Unfortunately, many organizations get stuck in this first stage of organizational development, and they continue to rely on the sales team to generate their own leads. Salespeople should really never stop prospecting. They should always be on the lookout for new business opportunities. But an organization that completely relies on Sales to generate leads are putting their growth objectives at risk. Below are three primary reasons why.

Topics: lead generation Sales sales and marketing alignment

112,500 Reasons Why Turnover is Bad

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$112,500 is in flames every single time that you lose a salesperson and have to hire a new one! 

Yes, over $112K! 

How do you figure that dollar amount? Easy. The average cost of turnover for an employee is 1.5 times annual compensation. So, if your salesperson is earning $75,000 per year when they leave, it will cost your organization $112,500.  

So, what if your top salesperson is making $150,000 per year? Then the cost of losing that sales rep and replacing them will cost your business $225,000! So, what is your turnover ratio? 10%, 25%, 50% per year? Then start adding up the cost of your turnover. 

How does that affect your EBITA? Cash Flow? Net Profit? 

A recent study from Bersin by Deloitte estimates the cost of turnover from 1.5 - 2.0 an employee's annual compensation. And a report from Maia Josebachvili, VP of People at Greenhouse, argued that retaining a salesperson for three years instead of two, along with better onboarding and management practices, yields a difference of $1.3 million in net value to the company over a three year period. 

$1.3 Million?!?! 

Yes, turnover is a big deal for your organization. A really big deal. 

So, how do you "fix" turnover? Well, it's simple, but not easy. It's a process that can take months and in some cases even years to slow your rate of turnover in your sales organization, but here are 5 ways that you can reduce turnover:

Topics: hiring salespeople sales management Talent

Talent is Not Enough for Sales Performance

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It’s not enough to just have talent. You have to practice and use your talents in order to improve and make a positive impact on the people around you.

Professional athletes spend countless hours practicing and training in order to improve their performance. What if you could spend more time on your talents?

One of my favorite ways to help managers turn their talent into performance is through our executive coaching program, Talent Insights. During this program, I get the chance to help sales managers identify their unique talents, better understand how their talents are coming across to others, and determine action steps they can take to use their strengths and improve their performance.

Topics: sales management Talent

10 Tips for Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Don’t Put Prospects to Sleep

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Slide presentations are supposed to help salespeople make sales. However, if they are poorly designed, slide presentations can drive sales away. A slow-moving, confusing, lackluster and lengthy PowerPoint is hard to endure — buyers will assume if they buy anything from you, they’ll be in for more of the same as long as the relationship continues.

On the other hand, an engaging and enlightening PowerPoint establishes you as efficient, expert, and tuned in to the customer’s needs. In other words, it will bring you closer to a sale. Here are 10 ways to make your presentations stand above the competition. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

You’ve Got Mail: Email Marketing Is Here To Stay + 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.

1You’ve Got Mail: Email Marketing Is Here To Stay — Adobe Digital Marketing

This post examines a few of the fascinating findings in Adobe's Consumer Email Survey Report 2017. Here's what you need to know.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

What is Your Sales Strategy—Pitching Proposals or Providing Solutions?

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The best B2B salespeople follow a sales strategy that includes the use of a needs analysis meeting with new business prospects or existing customers. Do you?

Without a needs analysis the sales process breaks down transforming salespeople into peddlers—pitching, hoping and praying… pitching, hoping and praying… pitching hoping and praying! 

A better approach involves a conversation with customers and new business prospects to uncover business problems or opportunities. 

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis sales strategy Sales

Five Ways to Avoid Proposals That Are Beautiful, Boilerplate, and Boring

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In today’s sales world, it’s apparent that most companies have mastered PowerPoint or Prezi to compose absolutely gorgeous proposals. In fact, many companies have dedicated teams or specialists to create seemingly-compelling, graphically-rich proposal pages that go onto a shared drive, making it much easier for salespeople or the support people they work with to simply grab some of those pages and assemble them with a minimal amount of customization necessary. One could argue this approach saves countless hours for the sales operation and puts presentation elements in the hands of those who build such things every day. On the surface, this appears to be a breakthrough akin to Henry Ford’s assembly line. But there is problem, and I bet you know what it is.

I have read about 300 proposals in the last year in my consulting practice, and nearly all of them were, indeed, beautiful. And nearly all I read looked alike – a reference to mostly generic needs that most prospects could have, pages and pages of product information (more than anyone would read), and some boilerplate information about the company offering the proposal. Just imagine you are a professional buyer or business owner who sees multiple proposals of this type every week. It would be an effective organic cure to insomnia, for sure. The number one complaint I hear from salespeople is that they put out a proposal to their prospect and then never hear anything again. Is it any wonder? 

Topics: Proposal Sales

Using Radical Candor to Drive Sales Performance and Grow People

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If you have ever worked with me you know I am a sucker for strong feedback and coaching. Here’s why. 

People are the foundation of any sales organization and if the people don’t grow, the organization can’t either. One of the very best ways to grow people is to provide them with strong, consistent, and targeted feedback so they can adjust their style, adapt their approach, and turn their talent into performance. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work with an exceptional manager whose secret weapon for growing people is effective feedback. His genuine caring combined with his never-miss-a-thing insight can be life-changing for those who work for him. 

I was anxious to better understand what he did so naturally and most others struggled to do at all, so I pummeled him with questions. And he let me in on his secret.

This manager built his career on two principles. 

  1. Praise: People need to receive specific and positive feedback from their manager when they do things right in order to consistently repeat those positive behaviors.
  2. Criticism: A manager has a “moral obligation” to be upfront and honest with their employees when providing them with corrective coaching.

Moral obligation? I wanted to hear more.

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Pay Attention to Your Best Customers

Sales_Team2.jpgYour best customers are your competitors’ best prospects. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we have long said that it’s much easier to fill the bucket if it’s not leaking from the bottom. Many companies have an incredibly large need to go out and get new business every month—mainly because they are losing 33% or more of their current business.

It's true… and while new business is certainly one of the solutions for curing the problem of not retaining existing business, it’s really only a bandage. The problem of account attrition needs to be addressed and quickly solved. Churning through clients quickly and not getting any sort of renewal will fatigue your sales team. Over time, they will lose confidence in what they are selling. Just imagine the revenue growth you might be experiencing today if you did not have all that attrition—and you still had the same amount of new business coming in.

Topics: customer satisfaction customer focus Management sales strategy Sales

6 Strategies for Getting More Out of Every Negotiation + 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.

16 Strategies for Getting More Out of Every Negotiation— HubSpot

The ability to negotiate successfully can bring you and your business tremendous advantages. Imagine you could increase the values of your company’s contracts an additional 15% by negotiating higher rates. That’s an immediate increase in revenue for your business that comes as a direct result of your negotiation skills. This article shows you how to get better at negotiating.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up