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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Burn Your Ships: A History Lesson About How to Be a Great Leader

ship at seaIf you are a history buff, you may know the story of Cortés and the burning of his ships. In the year 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived in the New World with six hundred men and, upon arrival, made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back.

Two years later, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire. 

As leaders taking our people into new territories as unknown and potentially hazardous as did Cortés, we need to ensure those we are leading that there is no turning back. He knew how to be a great leader. We need to be certain there is no off-ramp our people can use to avoid the challenges of our own new business worlds. We need to burn the ships.

What Does Burning the Ships Mean Today? 

We’re long past the days of conquistadors, but the story of burning the ships is as relevant as ever. I bet you’re already thinking of some aspect of your company that needs attention right now, that needs your leadership. If you leave the ships in the harbor, your people will see that you’re not fully committing to the transition needed. If you’re not fully committed, why should they be? By burning the ships, by removing any available path back to the previous way, your team will become as fully committed as you obviously are.

Topics: Management sales performance sales management

5 Tips to Help Prevent Burnout in Salespeople

prevent-salesperson-burnoutLast year, Harvard Business Review estimated the turnover in salespeople to be around 27%. In an industry that’s seeing almost double the turnover rate than the overall labor force, it’s essential for managers and leaders to not only know how to recruit great talent that’s an excellent fit for your team, but also how to retain sales talent and improve their performance over the years. 

Topics: hiring salespeople sales performance sales management sales training coaching

What Do Practice, Coaching, and Feedback Have in Common? They Matter.

basketball practice"It's strange to me too, but we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game... the actual game when it matters... We're talking about practice."  - Allen Iverson 

Topics: sales performance sales management

Summer Reading Recommendations: Business Books We've Read

summer-reading-recommendations-business-booksIt’s Memorial Day. A day to remember those who gave everything for us. For our country. For our freedom. Because of that, we’re able to celebrate with family, friends, and great food, as we kick off the summer season.

Topics: holiday sales management salespeople

Weekly Roundup: GDPR Compliance + More

friday-team-fist-bumpWe 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.

Topics: lead generation inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Get that First Appointment — Master Your Approach

first appointmentHave you ever felt like taking a “Wild Wild West” approach to securing your first appointment? Think about it… if only it were appropriate to ‘lasso’ your prospect, ‘tie him down’ and force him to stay engaged so that you may cordially introduce yourself, establish credibility and politely present your value proposition. Honestly, if you could just get his undivided attention for 5-minutes… you know he’ll like you, and you know he’ll be intrigued and perhaps even excited or anxious to learn more, right?

Personally, I have indeed toyed with the idea (more than once) of taking the Wild Wild West approach to securing that first appointment. Fortunately wisdom intervened, because I’m certain I would have been greatly misunderstood and most likely thrown in jail if I had decided to draw from my Texas ancestor’s tactics and put those thoughts into action! Needless to say, my understanding of acceptable social behavior and, well… modern law kept me from utilizing an Outlaw Josey Wales sales approach.

Topics: setting expectations Setting Appointments new business development Sales salespeople prospecting

10 Reasons Salespeople LOVE the HubSpot CRM and Sales Enablement Tools

salespeople-using-hubspotAs a proud partner of HubSpot, we at The Center for Sales Strategy, as well as our sister company that focuses on lead generation and sales enablement, LeadG2, naturally have experience with the HubSpot CRM, and it might be easy to think that we’re biased about this tool because of our relationship with them. However, it’s important to know a bit more of the context to better understand why we’re not biased and how that shows up in what we do and recommend. 

Topics: HubSpot crm sales enablement

The Only 6 Reasons A Sales Manager Should Be Attending Sales Calls with Their Team

saving the sale and coaching sales performanceSales managers, let’s be honest… it’s hard to watch a salesperson that seems to be flailing in shallow water when they are on a prospect or client call. However, if you take a step back, you realize they are probably going to find their feet and be able to stand up and be fine. Recently, I attended one of The Center for Sales Strategy's Talent Focused Management workshops led by Matt Sunshine (Managing Partner), and I walked away with a few reminders.

Topics: sales performance sales management coaching

The Best Sales Pitch Isn’t a Pitch at All

sales-pitch-storytelling-191960-edited

This post was originally published on Hubspot.

Despite its increasing irrelevance, the tired, old sales pitch still enjoys a large following. Unfortunately, that washed-up elevator pitch generally focuses solely on the seller -- the company, its capabilities, and its accomplishments -- and rarely highlights the prospect’s needs.

Topics: Proposal Sales salespeople

Weekly Roundup: Your Salespeople Secretly Want to Contribute to the Blog + More

salespeople contribute to blogWe 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.

Topics: lead generation inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Do you Need Sales Enablement Tools and a CRM?

salesperson using sales enablement tools

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 sales playbook

The Impact of Bad Email Etiquette on Sales + 7 Tips to Avoid Clumsy Mistakes

email etiquette for salespeopleRecently, I've had a few run-ins with bad email etiquette. Not just in a quick email thread from a co-worker (I'll admit, my email etiquette gets sloppy in this arena), but I've received emails from salespeople attempting to get me (the marketing manager) to subscribe to their software, utilize their platform, or allocate some of my budget to their product, and all had major email etiquette issues, misspelled my name, or included verbiage that clearly showed me we aren't on the same wavelength. I also received an email from a potential candidate for a freelance writer that included major grammatical mistakes... WHAT!? 

Topics: email salespeople prospecting

10 Social Media Best Practices for Salespeople

salespeople social sellingIn an ever-changing sales landscape, maintaining a healthy personal brand on social media has become a necessary tool for sales professionals to build and maintain relationships with prospects. According to a Forrester Consulting study, Social Selling: A New B2B Imperative, “49 percent of B2B enterprises have developed a formal social selling program, and 28 percent are in the process of doing so.” If you aren’t utilizing social selling as part of your sales strategy, you could be losing sales to more social-savvy salespeople. 

Topics: Social Media LinkedIn salespeople facebook personal brand

If You Forget About Lead Gen, You Can Forget About Growth

lead generation for sales growth

This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.com.

Topics: content strategy thought leadership lead generation sales and marketing alignment

Weekly Roundup: Why “Does That Make Sense?” Is the Worst Question You Can Ask in Sales + More

worst question in sales and the sales strategyWe 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.

Topics: lead generation inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

What is a Target Persona and Why Do I Need One?

what is a target personaThere’s a great line from the hit show Friends that seems appropriate to any discussion of target personas. If you’re a fan, you may remember when the whole gang goes to Barbados in one of the later seasons, and Joey meets someone who doesn’t own a TV. Dumbfounded, he says: “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?” 

Similarly, with inbound marketing (the process of attracting prospects to you), when someone doesn’t have a clearly defined persona we think, “You don’t know your target persona*? Who’s all your content targeted to?” While a TV isn’t necessary to make a room, a target persona is absolutely necessary for a successful lead generation strategy. 

Topics: inbound marketing target personas

Building Strong Relationships: Can You Teach That?

salespeople building relationshipsYou have hired your next great seller. You have a strong on-boarding plan, a great training schedule, and amazing people in place to help with training. They are prepared to hit the street, right?

Topics: training salespeople sales training coaching

Setting the Table for a Great Needs Analysis

needs analysis for desired business resultsBefore you can have a serious conversation about desired business results, you need your prospects to open up and tell you about their problems and challenges. When you meet someone for the first time, it can be challenging to get them to let their guard down when they don’t know you.

Topics: Needs Analysis

Is There Anything Else We Should Be Talking About?

sales managers and salespeople should ask this questionA simple question, right? Yes. But, very powerful. So many salespeople and sales managers have well-planned, beautifully-executed meetings, but inadvertently leave some of the most useful information on the table simply because they forget to ask this simple, shared-control question that can reveal the real priorities for the person with whom they are speaking.  

Topics: key account growth sales management prospecting account list management

Weekly Roundup: The Future of Sales + More

sales predictionsWe 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.

The Future of Sales: Predictions from the “Nostradamus's” of Selling — Hubspot

"I think there will be more and more specialization. The process will be broken up into a few parts -- depending on what you are selling -- with one person focusing on each part."

Read more on what Matt Sunshine (managing partner of The Center for Sales Strategy) and other sales leaders have to say about the future of sales in this Hubspot post.

Topics: sales management Sales Wrap-up salespeople

Sales Prospecting Tips from A to Z

sales prospecting tipsProspecting for new business is vital to the sustainability and growth of almost every business,  especially in today’s economy. And, whether you’re selling a service, product, or idea, it’s important to balance new business development (or prospecting) initiatives with key account development and growth. Following are sales prospecting tips from A to Z to guide and encourage you as you work to secure that first appointment.

Topics: new business development Sales prospecting

The Best Needs Analysis That I’ve Ever Seen (and WHY)

needs analysis reveals desired business resultsI just sat there and watched. I was too stunned to really do anything else. It was the best needs analysis that I've ever seen...

Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance salespeople

Stop Spending Time with Lousy Prospects: 3 Criteria to Help Qualify Your Prospects

don't waste time when sales prospectingMany sellers struggle to develop new customers. Often this has less to do with the seller’s ability to sell, and more to do with the seller’s ability to select quality prospects.

Topics: sales performance prospecting