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The Future of Sales and Marketing

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Things Every Successful Seller Should Have

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Three of the best things you can have as a salesperson are also the three things that seem the most difficult to get ahold of. Referrals, testimonials and case studies have all helped a salesperson at one time or another either get a great first appointment, or to help set appropriate expectations. But, I still get asked time and time again how one can go about getting more referrals, testimonials or case studies. The challenge is, you, as the salesperson, are the only one who can make any of this happen!

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Topics: referrals, case studies, Setting Appointments, sales strategy, Sales

What Does “Sales Strategy” Mean Anyway?

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I hear managers and execs talk all the time about the importance of sales strategy. “Strategy” is one of the words that gets used a lot. (In fact, Webster’s Dictionary says it is in the top 10% of most popular words.) After all, who gets heat for talking strategy? C’mon!

The problem I see in the field is that most sales “strategies” are not really strategies at all. If you look at that definition of strategy, you see, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” That means a strategy doesn’t change (or if it does change, this doesn’t happen very often), is long-term, and describes a set of consistent behaviors. Many sales strategies I see are more like tactics: making more calls in a defined period of time, approaching a new group of prospects, or introducing new offers to move the market forward. I am not saying these things are bad, but I am pointing out they are tactics, not strategies. Tactics can be helpful IF they support a strategy.

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Topics: sales strategy, Sales, goals

Can Your Clients Live Without You?

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Have you ever thought about changing banks? I’m guessing most of us have. Either because of a poor experience, or relocating, or because of better rates and lower fees at another bank. If you are like me, you quickly realized what an incredible and daunting task that would be. Auto drafts, direct deposits, checking accounts, savings accounts, home equity lines, home mortgages and the list goes on and on. So, what did you do? You stayed put. Well, I did anyway. I couldn’t bear the time and the energy it would take and the fear of forgetting to transfer something like my electricity bill (aka my internet bill).

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Topics: sales strategy, Sales

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. 

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Topics: new business development, Needs Analysis, sales strategy, Sales

Breaking the Ice with a New Business Prospect

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The best B2B salespeople know the shortest path to a new business prospect's wallet is through a thorough understanding of needs, problems, challenges and opportunities. Wouldn't it be nice if a new business prospect would simply email this information to the salesperson — this would eliminate the need to set an appointment and conduct a needs analysis. That would be a great sales strategy!

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Topics: sales strategy, Sales

Clocks, Rocks, and Earrings

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This morning, I walked into my daughter’s room. She was sitting on the edge of the bed, pondering which earrings to wear today.

There was only a few minutes left before leaving for school, and she still needed to collect her books, pack her laptop, and put on shoes and socks. But these priorities weren’t on her radar yet. They had been entirely eclipsed by the earring selection process.

It reminded me of my own time management skills challenges during junior high, and of a story I heard from our first online course: Customer Focused Selling.

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Topics: time management, sales strategy, Sales

6 Steps to Stop that Leaking Sales Bucket

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We probably all agree that it is easier to fill a bucket when it’s not leaking from the bottom. Seems like a pretty good rule of thumb.

In the context of managing sales revenue and keeping that bucket completely full, things can become pretty difficult when you spring a leak! We need to spend more and more time dumping new business in just to keep a minimum level inside, and that is exhausting.

Although a certain amount of attrition in sales is to be expected, when it becomes problematic, even the best new business program in the world won't fix the problem. So, step one involves fixing the attrition problem that is causing you to miss your monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets. Only after we have properly patched that leak in the bucket, will we have the opportunity to shift our attention to developing new business and filling that bucket up. 

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Topics: Management, sales strategy, sales performance, Sales

How to Close Sales Faster Than Ever Before

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Everyone knows that sales is a numbers game, right? Of course! The more you have out there, the better off you are, so I’ll agree that sales is a numbers game. But, today I am going to argue that you may be looking at the wrong numbers.  

I’ll start by asking you, how many times have you heard or said: "Don't worry! I've got a lot out there pending!” C’mon—be honest! If you are like most people, you’re thinking that’s not so uncommon. 

I have to ask you, does anyone actually get paid on pending? Not anyone that I know. That’s the catch.

And that is also what tells me that you may be looking at the wrong numbers.  

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Topics: discussing price, Proposal, sales strategy, Sales

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.

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Topics: customer satisfaction, customer focus, Management, sales strategy, Sales

Why You Don’t Always Want More Sales

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Salespeople are hired to sell. So the more sales they make, the more successful they must be. Right? The more they sell, the bigger their lists, the better they’re doing. Or maybe that’s not always right. Making a lot of sales does not guarantee success. Making a lot of good sales is what it takes to succeed in the long-term.

Veterans know that all sales are not created equal. Quality is often better than quantity. Some sales gallop freely ahead like a fine racehorse, and some leave a mess to clean up like ponies in a parade.

Let’s look at what makes a good sale: 

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Topics: sales strategy, Sales