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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The 17 Worst Sales Email Writing Mistakes + 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. The 17 Worst Sales Email Writing Mistakes — HubSpot

If the core of your email is an insight or resource, think of your writing as the packaging. Even if you’re an expert, it’ll be hard to build credibility if your online communication is riddled with spelling and formatting errors. Here are the worst errors that'll cause salespeople to embarrass themselves over email

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

21 Bold Predictions for Sales in 2018

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Here at the Center for Sales Strategy, we are constantly asked to look at sales, sales management, and sales marketing trends, and to make predictions about what the landscape might look like in the future. At the end of each year, we make what we consider to be our bold predictions for the following year. This year, several people from our team participated. Special thanks to Dean Mootheart, Alan Vitberg, Shannon Delmarle, Trey Morris, John Henley, Kim Alexandre, Matt Sunshine, Dani Buckley, Brad Ramsey, Greg Giersch, and Beth Sunshine for contributing.

Topics: Sales

INFOGRAPHIC: CSS By The Numbers

header-CSS-By-The-Numbers.jpgJust like an athlete, you can go it alone and get some occasional wins. To win a gold medal requires a clear plan, consistent discipline and constant improvement.

Topics: Sales coaching

7 Ways to Add Personality to the Sales Process + 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. 7 Ways to Add Personality to the Sales Process — HubSpot

Part of talking to real humans (and earning the right to sell to them) is proving that you yourself are human — by communicating in authentic ways and sending the kinds of emails even you might actually want to read. Tap into some basic human empathy, and borrow these tactics.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Are You, as a Sales Manager, Consistent and Predictable?

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I seem to regularly have conversations with sales teams where I hear managers talk about accountability, implementation, follow-up—all referring to a system, process, or new business development that is lacking. Most of the time, my response is: "let’s talk about your weekly meetings and your weekly sales plan."

Here is the tried-and-true guide to great one-on-ones.

Topics: sales management Sales

One Size Does Not Fit All

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Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is officially here! The shift of in-store retail sales to online sales gets all the buzz these days, but according to the U.S. Commerce Department online retail sales were just 8.1% of the retail total in 2016. I’m sure that number will be up a bit when the 2017 numbers are final, but the overwhelming majority of retail sales still happen the same way they always have: in the store!
 
My wife likes to say, “How did our moms survive without Amazon Prime?” But, the truth is there is a major value proposition in-store shopping offers that online shopping never will: the in-store experience. Take clothing for example — feeling the softness of the fabric, judging the thickness of that winter coat, asking customer service for another size of jeans from the back, trying it all on, comparing the price of the sweater you like in one hand with the one you love in the other hand.  And finally, you get to see it all, on you, right there in the mirror in real time. 
Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

"Follow Up Next Week" Does Not Mean You Have an Appointment

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One of the leading indicators for sales success is to look at the number of appointments that a salesperson has each week. (This is not the only leading indicator that you should be looking at, but it is one of them.) The idea is that if a salesperson has a significant amount of appointments each week which involve finding needs, getting assignments, presenting solutions, or delivering a proposal, that this quality sales activity will lead to good solid revenue performance.  

I think it’s fair to say that everyone in sales or in sales management would agree with this, so I’m not really going out on a limb having made that statement. But here is where I think there might be a flaw. I think many salespeople are confusing "I'll follow up with you next week" with "I have an appointment." To be clear, "I’ll follow up with you next week" does not mean you have an appointment.

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Five Ways To Get More Case Studies

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Almost everywhere I go I hear managers and salespeople say, “Yeah, case studies are very valuable.  We need to get more case studies.” So why don’t more sales operations have more case studies? What’s holding them back? I can tell you what prevents most sales teams from having enough case studies:

  • Case studies require some level of client participation. While your client may indeed be pleased with what you have done, they are busy, and taking time out their busy day to write or even provide information to someone in your organization is not an “A” priority for them.
  • Your sales team probably doesn’t know who to nominate. Too often we are focused on making the next sale and not focused on what we did well in the last sale.  
  • While most people agree taking time to gather information for case studies is important, it’s not urgent. So it never gets done.

So, how do you address these problems?  Here are some ideas:

Topics: case studies Sales

5 CTAs Secretly Sabotaging Your Sales Emails + 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. 5 CTAs Secretly Sabotaging Your Sales Emails (& What to Use Instead) — HubSpot

Every call-to-action matters. Ask for the right things in the right way, and your relationships with prospects will grow stronger over time. Ask for the wrongs things in the wrong way, and they’ll stall — or even go nowhere at all. To make sure you’re not sabotaging your emails, take a look at the CTAs you should never use (and which ones to try instead).

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

You Can Get Anything You Want in Life, If…

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Do you know the rest of the quote? Well, here it is… "you just help enough other people get what they want." So, who said this? Perhaps you might think this came from the leader of a social services organization, or perhaps from clergy or some Eastern philosopher. But that's not where this quote came from. It actually came from a long time, well known motivational speaker in the sales arena. That's right, some of you know it was the venerable Zig Ziglar who said that. Pretty heady words from a guy who got his start selling pots and pans door-to-door, eh?

Topics: customer focus Needs Analysis developing strengths Sales

What You Can Change Today to Increase Sales Performance Tomorrow

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“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  

I would bet, like the rest of us, you learned this Golden Rule in Kindergarten and you were probably raised to believe you should always treat others as you would want to be treated.

It sounds great in theory, and I applaud your kindness and compassion, but make no mistake, the Golden Rule does not work when developing people.

WHAT?!

It’s true. The sentiment is nice, but it just doesn’t work.    

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Be Prepared, But ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ As the Story Unfolds

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I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, specifically the sports-themed set. If you haven’t read or experienced one, it goes something like this… Your football team is in the regional championship game. Chapter One describes the build up to the game, and the summary of the 1st Quarter. Your team is already down by 10 points, and it’s 4th Down and 1 yard to go on the opponent’s 20-yard line. Do you kick the field goal, or go for it with a run up the middle? You get to decide, and the book instructs you which page to turn to based on your decision. It was like video games before video games!

It’s the only genre I loved… something about controlling my own destiny, having a choice, and following the story wherever it may go was thrilling to me. My advice to you is to treat every Hourglass Needs Analysis just like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Go into the conversation with as many of the chapters, and as much of the story line, written as possible. Your research on the business, the industry, and the market should give you a great list of prepared questions that will allow you to Establish Rapport, Identify Needs, Gain an Assignment, Analyze the Opportunity, and Contract Next Steps.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Stop Talking About Your Product; I’m Deciding If I Want to Work With YOU

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If you’re a salesperson, it’s good to be proud of what you sell and where you work. Those two factors are key to enjoying what you do for a living. Working for a great company and having a great product certainly helps with clients, but the criteria prospects will often use when deciding to give you some of their precious time, is YOU. 

Where should your product and your company be in your sales strategy when talking to new prospects?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

What to Monitor on Social Media in 2018 + 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. What to Monitor on social Media in 2018 — PR Daily

What should we expect from social media in 2018? Where are we headed next year with social media? What is hot or what is not on social media? This infographic shares some answers.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Tell a Story to Improve Your Sales Strategy

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Don’t you love a good story? We all do.

Even before the days of romance novels, adventure movies, television shows, and Broadway productions, there was storytelling. The art of storytelling goes back thousands of years and served as the primary way for one generation to hand down knowledge and wisdom to the next. People learned about their culture, community values, and the most important life lessons through the meaningful stories shared by those who knew.

Stories help us to guide and teach, and they allow us to communicate our feelings in a way that can be very persuasive to others. So the question is, why do we not use storytelling in sales? It seems it would just make sense. 

Topics: sales management Sales salespeople

6 Ways to Provide Superior Customer Service After the Sale

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Recently, I was preparing for a presentation about the retail industry. An interesting statistic about customer service jumped out at me. According to MediaPost, only 17% of consumers think manufacturers and retailers are extremely good at caring for their customers after a sale. This was a surprising figure to me. It’s tough to earn a repeat customer if you don’t follow through and offer superior customer service. This got me thinking about B2B sales and how the same basic principle applies.

Topics: customer focus Sales

Dark Matter and the Sales Process

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Getting a meeting is one of the most difficult steps in building a business relationship. If you’re in sales, you need that meeting, commonly known as the needs analysis, to determine how you can help. When we ask prospects what their needs are, they often don’t know. And if they do, those needs only scratch the surface.

Scientists say that the universe we can observe is only about 5-10% of what is really out there. Why do they believe that? Because what they can see happening cannot be accounted for just by what they can see. Dark matter and dark energy haven't been proven, but scientists believe they exist because of the effects they see. 

For business owners, like scientists, what is visible and conscious is probably only a fraction of what is really going on. You want to be looking beyond what the prospect tells you they think they need, to what is really happening. 

So how can you know what is really going on?

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

When Managers Think They Are Coaching (but they are not)

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I think most sales managers would agree that coaching their salespeople to get better at their craft is a good investment of time. I talk to scores of managers in my practice, and there seems to be near universal agreement that coaching is important, and most sales managers do invest some time and energy to make it happen. That said, what constitutes coaching?

Topics: sales management coaching

23 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Salesperson in Your Life + 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. 23 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Salesperson in Your Life — HubSpot

Gift-giving is always a challenge — what to give that's unique and interesting, that your recipients will love? Any one of these presents is certain to bring a smile to a salesperson's face.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up