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The Future of Sales and Marketing

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Use LinkedIn to Find Your Next Superstar Salesperson


Sales talent is tough to find. Those who are great at what they do aren’t usually spending their time on job boards. According to a survey from The Adler Group, 15 percent of employed professionals are active candidates pursuing a new opportunity — another 68 percent are open to listening to new opportunities, but aren’t actively looking. So how do you find those talented salespeople you need?

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Topics: Talent, salespeople

Quickly Determine What’s Helping or Hindering the Sale


Some sales go from step to step and lead smoothly to an agreement and an order. Other times, things stall and you’re not sure why. It might happen at one of the three tipping points in the sale process. There are many reasons a stall can happen, and there’s a quick way to determine what is helping and what is hindering the process.

At some point in our life, we’ve had someone tell us to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, and write all the pros for a decision on one side and the cons on the other. The formal name is a “decision balance sheet.” Ben Franklin was known to use them. What makes this simple exercise effective is that it helps us put on paper what we already know — but haven’t thought enough about. 

Another variation of this process is a force-field analysis. It’s used in social science. Our founder Steve Marx applied it to the sales process. The force field approach looks at the forces that are influencing a situation. It looks to see if they are driving movement toward a goal (helping) or blocking momentum toward a goal (hindering). 

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Topics: Sales, sales process

The #1 Reason Why You Will Fail At Selling Digital Marketing Solutions


It’s a pretty strong statement to say there is one thing that will influence whether you succeed or fail at selling digital marketing solutions. But that’s what I’m saying.

Pete Pitcher and Connie Consultant both work for Mel Manager at Digital Solutions Inc. Pete Pitcher learns about one new digital product each month that he can sell. He approaches new prospects and current clients with a one-sheet on why his new digital product is a perfect solution.

Pitching the "Next Great Thing" vs. Finding Ideal Prospects

Before Pete can finish pitching the new product to his list of 75 targets, his manager holds a meeting to “roll out” another great digital product. Pete is so excited because he feels that all the businesses that buy this new product will have great results. Pete’s plan is to approach all the targets on the list that didn’t call or email him back last month with this new, latest, and greatest digital offering. 

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Topics: Digital

4 Things to Do If You Want to Increase Your Closing Percentages:


If you’re in sales then you know its extremely important to close deals, right? That’s kind of an easy question, but I ask it only because it seems as though many salespeople think their job is to have a lot of business in “pending.” When I ask salespeople how things are going, what I typically here is "I got a lot out there.” While I get why having "a lot out there" feels good, it's not the most important thing and may or may not be a good indicator of the customers you will earn. Closing the deal, earning customers, and helping them to have success is far more important. 

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Topics: Sales

9 Strategies for Using Customer Testimonials in Your Content + More


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 Strategies for Using Customer Testimonials in Your Content — Content Marketing Institute

We look for and act on (even if subconsciously) social proof in all areas our life – including how we behave and the purchasing decisions we make online. Testimonials are a type of review and social proof. They serve the same purpose (guiding potential customers and helping overcome objections), but they’re different in one big way: Testimonials are sought and selected by you. This means you have full control over which testimonials are used, as well as where and how they are displayed. Here are nine ways to leverage testmonials in your content.

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Topics: inbound marketing, Sales, Wrap-up

Three Industries Well-suited for Inbound Marketing

3-Industries-for-Inbound-MarketingInbound Marketing has proven effective for just about every kind of business. Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C). Companies with simple solutions or ones with complex multi-decision-maker sales processes.  

Just about every business type representing multiple segments has had success generating leads and improving sales performance by deploying inbound marketing best practices. As Director of Client Solutions at LeadG2, I provide guidance to organizations who are exploring the potential impact inbound marketing can have on their growth objectives. Recently, a lot of my discussions have been with executives from three specific industries – Media, Staffing & Recruiting, and Professional Services. They are particularly well suited for inbound marketing.

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Topics: inbound marketing, Sales

Personality Traits of Top Sales Performers


Reading the Harvard Business Review just makes you feel smarter, and you are because of the insights you’ve gleaned. An article written by Steve W. Martin, called “The 7 Key Personality Traits of Top Salespeople,” was published on June 28, 2011. 2011 seems like a lifetime ago, and many studies have been done since then on the subject of talent themes of of top performers. The results seem to be similar and timeless.

When a successful salesperson is questioned on what makes them stand out above the rest, most don’t have specific answers. The reason seems to be because these high performers are doing what comes naturally to them. These are not skills that can be taught or learned. It’s about behaviors that “fire naturally” in client-facing sales situations.

Specific traits are sales accelerators. Mr. Martin gave 1,000 uber-successful salespeople a personality assessment. The purpose was to measure five traits:

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Topics: hiring salespeople, sales performance

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Buy It


Salespeople are hired to sell. When a salesperson can’t close a deal with a prospect, it can seem as if they’ve failed. The often-quoted idea that a good salesperson can sell anything to anyone is rooted in one of those lingering old-school, outdated ideas that the selling process is a contest to be won at any cost.

It’s true that in every sales process, someone is going to be convinced to say "yes." Either the prospect will say, “Yes, I’ll buy this” or the salesperson will say, “Yes, you’re not going to buy this.” But what gets so many salespeople off-track and spinning their wheels on lousy prospects is the belief that the only right answer is the prospect saying "yes." 

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Topics: sales management, Sales

Don’t Jump to the Finish Line When Hiring


When you have openings on your staff, it's easy to get enamored with a candidate and jump to the finish line. That will always cost you in the long run. Every organization I know takes longer than they should to remove non-performing salespeople. It's just a fact. So you need to hire tough, so you can manage easy. If you hire easy, then you have to manage tough (threaten, push, and poke to get them to do what they should be doing).

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Topics: hiring salespeople, sales management, Talent

How to Win Against the Competition + More


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.

1How to Win Against the Competition — HubSpot

Salespeople and prospects rarely want to talk about the same things. You want to talk about the buyer’s budget, timeline, and role in the decision making process, while the buyer wants to talk about pricing and the nuts and bolts of the product. This conflict is especially clear when your prospect brings up the competition. It would be great to keep the focus elsewhere, but if you say too little (or nothing at all), you’ll miss an opportunity to differentiate. Say too much, and you typically come across as insecure or desperate. To walk this line and ultimately win the deal, follow these six guidelines.

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Topics: inbound marketing, Sales, Wrap-up