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The Future of Sales and Marketing

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Harry Tomasides

Recent Posts

What Kind of Salesperson Are You?

what_kind_of_salesperson_are_youOver the last month I read four articles that kept coming back to the same theme: The impact technology is having on traditional sales organizations.

Consider this:

  1. Procter & Gamble recently announced that by the end of 2014 they want to buy 75% of their U.S. digital media programmatically—and just to make sure we’re on the same page here, programmatically means untouched by human hands.
  1. Publisher Conde Nast announced it was merging programmatic and direct sales together.
  1. Andrea Mitchell, in a piece on bizcommunity.com, said “It is predicted that programmatic media buying will soon replace all traditional ways of media planning and buying—not just for digital, but for all media channels.”
  1. While showrooming has had a tremendous impact on retailers, human interaction still mattersIt is still a vital driver that explains why, in certain cases, consumers still prefer to purchase products in-store versus online. For example, a 2012 Nielsen poll indicated that 69% of its respondents thought in-store purchases were "most reliable," and 68% said it was the "easiest" and the "most convenient" way to shop. 
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Topics: Sales

Finding That “One Thing” to Improve Sales

cowboy_hatI recently introduced my 14-year-old daughter to the movie City Slickers, the movie about a mid-life crisis plagued man, played by Billy Crystal, who was searching for purpose in his life. One of the characters in the movie, Curly, advised him to focus on “one thing” to give him purpose.

When I work with b2b salespeople, I often think of Curly’s advice. While it certainly takes a lot of focus and work to find the right clients to approach and the right valid business reason to secure an appointment, I often find that when the salesperson gets in front of the prospect they come away empty handed, not understanding the “one thing” his or her client needed. I coach these salespeople to go into a meeting with a desired outcome in mind.

Finding That "One Thing"

The “one thing” is to understand the prospect's or client’s key business challenge. I explain that the key business challenge is the foundation for developing a solution. Without it the client and salesperson are both guessing and it is nearly impossible to develop an impactful solution.

When I am dealing with my clients that sell marketing solutions for a living, I encourage them to uncover the following:

  1. A need or opportunity
  2. A goal or expectation
  3. A timeline of when the goal or expectation will happen
  4. Who the prospect or client is trying to reach 
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Topics: Sales

5 Digital Marketing Trends a Traditional Media Marketer Should Know

5_digital_marketing_trends_traditional_media_needs_to_knowThe other day I was talking to an old friend of mine whose experience is in traditional media. The integration of digital marketing into an overall marketing plan does not come naturally to him. He explained to me that he knew it was important to stay relevant to his customers, but he just didn’t quite understand the potential impact of what he was missing.

I wrote him the next day and shared the following five digital marketing trends to give him insight into the various audiences he is missing out on.

1. Social Media Is Booming With Boomers

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Google+ is 45-54; on Twitter it’s 55-64. With business users and the older demographic adopting social media, the marketing opportunities are greater and so are the costs of ignoring social. After all, baby boomers control 70% of the disposable income in the U.S.

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Topics: Digital

Integrated Marketing and Frozen Yogurt

Frozen_Yogurt_and_Integrated_Marketing-smMy 7-year old daughter loves frozen yogurt with toppings.  She loves going to one of those self-serve places where she can pull the lever for her yogurt and then create an artistic and culinary masterpiece from a wide variety of toppings. Typically she gets vanilla and chocolate yogurt and goes for a variety of toppings, including gummy bears, sprinkles, gummy worms, Oreos, chocolate chips, coconut, and kiwifruit. The other day I asked her which frozen yogurt she liked best and then which topping she liked best. She looked at me quizzically and said “Daddy, they only taste good together! Why would I eat a gummy bear and then some kiwifruit?!”

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Topics: Digital, Sales

The Greatest Sale I Never Made

The_Greatest_Sale_I_Never_MadeEarly in my career there was a sale I never made that, after 15 years, still drives me crazy. It was a six-figure deal where I “felt” I had done everything right. But when phone calls suddenly weren’t being returned from a client with whom I had a “great relationship” (after all, we had a fantastic lunch with lots of laughs a few weeks earlier) I had a panicked feeling in my stomach. I realized I had done many things wrong. Instead of spending enough time learning about his business, I spent too much time developing the personal side of our relationship. Instead of developing a customized solution, I developed a proposal that focused on why my company was a great fit. The reality was I never had a shot, and what was worse I didn’t realize it until it was too late. The day the contract came rolling into my competitor I vowed I would NEVER put myself in that situation again with this client or any other client. 

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Topics: Sales

Never Give Up

Never_Give_UpSeven years ago my wife and I were blessed with our second child, who came by helicopter from a war-torn Lebanon. Because of the craziness surrounding her arrival, we spent several years weaving our way through the bureaucracy of her citizenship. In 2011 at the age of five, she finally received it two days before Thanksgiving; in a cheerful twist she played a pilgrim in her school’s play that very same day.  

Game On

So – after that 5 year haul toward citizenship, you can imagine our surprise when the US government denied her passport application! We were more than shocked.  We were panicked because the family trip to Canada that we had already planned and paid for was quickly approaching. With no time to waste, we rapidly tried many different ways to fix this problem, and every time we hit a roadblock. Needless to say, we could not accept “no” for an answer, and my wife was fired up to make this happen. Thankfully, she was persistent, polite, and strong… and had a strong sense of purpose. She never gave up.

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Topics: Sales

Is Your Client Going to Renew Next Year?

Blog-Retention_ChecklistThe Greek Festival of Dallas, where 20,000 food and culture lovers gather every year, just concluded.

Every year I work with the Festival Team to make the purchasing decisions for marketing, food, and a plethora of other items that make the Festival run smoothly. This year we dealt with almost 100 vendors and all of them were thrilled to get our business.  Many of them, however, didn’t take the time to understand our business or have followed up on this year’s results. Next week the Festival Team will be meeting to review everything we purchased to determine what was a good investment and what could be eliminated. 

The fate of a vendor’s renewal for next year’s festival will primarily be determined at that time. Those who understood our business and had suggestions to get better results next year will not only be renewed but probably get more money from us.

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Topics: Sales

Does Your Sales Strategy Include Surprising Your Clients?

Sales StrategyFor the last couple of months I’ve been in the market to upgrade my home audio system. I’ve talked to a number of companies and one of them got me very excited to do business with them. They came to my home, assessed my current system, asked me a lot of great questions, uncovered some needs I hadn’t considered, and had some really interesting solutions. Not only was I getting everything I was hoping for, but the estimated verbal quote they gave me during this meeting was in-line with my budget! A couple of weeks later when I went back to the store to see a demo of the product and have them present their recommendations, guess what?  

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Topics: business development, Needs Analysis, Sales