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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Best Leaders are Like...Gardeners?

gardeners-leadersWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. The best leaders are like gardeners, according to General McChrystal {Inc}

Are you a gardener? If so, you may do some of your best thinking while you're engrossed in the garden. Watch this short video to see the parallel.

2. How finance executives measure the ROI of inbound marketing {Contently}

They call it content marketing (probably because their company is Contently) but the same thing applies. Set goals, then measure against them. What they don't say? That you should give credit to inbound marketing even when it feels like the lead came from another source.
Topics: Wrap-up

When was the Last Time You Admitted Ignorance?

admit-when-you-dont-knowIf it’s been a long time since you admitted ignorance, you might want to be worried. I was talking to a client the other day asking questions about their plans for sales enablement and he said he had to admit his ignorance on the topic.

Wow. How refreshing. You have to be smart and confident to admit ignorance. Get the irony? That made me stop and try to remember when the last time was that I was willing and able to admit ignorance. I hope you stop and do the same now.

If you have not had this experience lately, you probably fall into one of two camps:

  1. You’re not challengednot talking to enough smart people or reading interesting books and articles.

Topics: leadership

Are Your Prospects Dying of Boredom?

dying-of-boredomIf every time your prospect or customer felt like you were pushing your products, rather than focusing on his business, he transformed into a Hollywood film director and screamed, “Cut. Boring! You’re out of here!” He’d be doing you a favor. What happens more often is that the prospect is bored and finds a semi-polite reason to show you the door. He’s just polite enough that you don’t get the bigger message—that you were boring.

Topics: Sales sales process

The Writing on the Wall


Several years ago, I was walking with my daughter through a memorial park like the one that might be found in almost any patriotic American city. Inscribed in the black granite were the names of people from that community who had served and sacrificed. She was very young at the time and filled with questions.  But one of those questions sticks in my mind, still today.

Topics: holiday Sales

A Bizarre but Effective Way to Take Your Business to the Next Level

sales-contests-dont-work-target-drives-workWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here, bringing you the weekly wrap up.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. A really strange way to level up {Inc}

This CEO pretends to be interviewed on the big stage, in the future, when he's struggling with taking his business to the next level.

2. As social media evolves, so too does their function {AlleyWatch}

We now get our news from Facebook, and Twitter, oddly, is often used when recruiting.
Topics: Wrap-up

Make Big Upgrades in Your Sales Organization One Percent at a Time

one-percent-at-a-timeDon’t let the next paragraph scare you away. This article is going to help you make improvements to your sales organization, not fine-tune your skills on a bike!

Cycling is a big thing in my house. My husband is an avid cyclist and the world sort of stops this time of year as we pay homage to the Tour de France. But even if you know nothing about cycling or couldn’t care less – you’re going to care about this…

Before I tell you why, ask yourself:

Would it be worth your time and energy to improve something by one percent?

Would it be worth it to expend the energy to improve lots of things by one percent?

Remember your answers and keep reading.

Topics: Sales

Sales Contests Don't Work. Target Drives Work.

sales-contests-dont-work-target-drives-workHere's the deal. Sales contests don't work. At least not the same way they once did. Of course I've seen some sales contests work in my 20+ years in sales and sales management, but none with consistency, and none with the level of success I felt necessary for growing my business.

Topics: Sales

Are you a Salt-N-Pepa Manager?

salt-and-pepperI’m not talking about the hip hop ladies from Queens, who burst back on the scene recently in a Geico ad, I’m actually thinking about salt and pepper.

Salt brings out the flavor in food, and a “Salt Manager” brings out the natural talent in their people.  Pepper, meanwhile, adds a strong sensation to food, a “Pepper Manager” brings a healthy dose of expectations and accountability. 

How to be a Salt Manager

Bringing out a person’s natural talent starts by having an objective assessment of what those talents are. It’s rare that one of your people, even one of your stars, is fabulous at everything. So you need to know their aces and spaces, what comes naturally to them and what is difficult for them to do.

The natural inclination of most managers is then to (a) assume the person needs no help and support with what they’re fabulous at, and (b) lots of training and coaching with the stuff they find tough. That’s backward.

Derail the Sale? Five Sure-Fire Ways

Now, be warned. Each of these methods for undermining success is potent. If your purpose is to ensure that the prospect doesn’t buy, all you need is one of these five. Any one will do.

1. Fail to Qualify the Prospect


Since this is the first significant step in any professional B2B selling process, it’s your first opportunity to mess up. And this mistake has become harder to make in recent years, but if you go out of your way, you can do it. Harder to make? Yes. Qualifying the prospect requires information, and information is abundant these days. You can search for information about a company and find buckets full. In some cases, you can learn about specific challenges they’re facing or opportunities they’re chasing. And information about specific people at the company that you might approach? If you want to stay in the dark about them, be sure to steer clear of LinkedIn. Not only is it easier than ever to qualify a prospect, but these days many of the best prospects are raising their hands and qualifying themselves. But never mind all that: Derail your sale by investing gobs of time in an unqualified prospect.

Topics: Sales sales process

What is Sales Enablement, Anyway?

sales-enablement-toolsWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. What is sales enablement, anyway? {SalesForce}

The term "sales enablement" is thrown around all the time, and yet, when we talk to people, there doesn't seem to be any clarity at all on what it is. SalesForce does a nice job clarifying and categorizing things that fall under sales enablement.

2. Marcus Lemonis tells us when to take bigger risks {Inc.}

Marcus Lemonis talks to Elizabeth Frank about taking risks, and that she's actually taking more risks than she thinks she is. In three and a half minutes, he gets her to talk about her bigger concern: that growing her business means she sacrifices something bigger.
Topics: Wrap-up

5 Signs It's Time to Tweak Your Revenue Development Process

revenue-modelSales managers are faced with quantum leap growth demands—too bad their sales organizations and sales processes are structured to deliver incremental growth. Managers are like Scotty on Star Trek, often saying, “We can’t take much more of this, Captain!” If you feel like Scotty, and you’re giving it all you have, and you can’t take much more because you’re always coming up short... you might be ready to tweak your sales process. 

Here’s a list of five signs you might be ready to boldly go where most sales managers are afraid to go... into the world of sales process engineering:

1. Talent

You’ve moved out the dead wood and upgraded the talent on your team. Now it’s time to tap into your talent and allow your sellers to do what they do best: sell

Topics: Sales

Are You Missing the Sale Because You’re Too Hard to Contact?

missing-the-sale-hard-to-contactI just got off the phone with Debbie. I had to pass along the story she related to me.

Topics: Sales Brand and Connect

Next Time, Try a Little Gratitude

try-a-little-gratitudeI heap a lot of praise on my kids. I point out when they do something I haven’t asked them to do, and I make a big deal about it. When they are extra helpful, I heap it on even more. Sometimes I wonder if they hear me because they may or may not even say thanks. And I’m okay with that. 

The other day I asked my 12-year-old son to take out the garbage, and when he came back in the house, I said to him “I want you to know, I really appreciate you.” And he stopped and said “Mom, I like it when you tell me that.” I was taken aback. I pointed out that I give him lots of praise, and he said it was something about the words “I appreciate you.”

Topics: leadership

I Showed My Sister How to Use “How to Use”—and She Got the Job!

interviewMy sister is an elementary school teacher in Portland, and for the last two years, has wanted a change. She recently decided to pick up everything and move to San Antonio (and before you ask, the answer is no, she’s never been there). She applied for three jobs: two teaching positions in the San Antonio School District, and one at an educational services company selling science curriculum to school districts. 

Topics: Sales

How to Know When it's Time to Fire Someone

how-to-get-ready-to-fire-someoneWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. 5 clear signs it's time to fire someone {Inc.}

Have you been wondering if there's a sign it's time to let someone go? Turns out, there are five signs. People who don't play nice with others, or who don't produce enough to balance their negativity aren't worth keeping around, says Inc.

2. 101 best email subject lines {Digital Marketer}

This is worth bookmarking for future reference (though remember, when you're writing one-off emails, the best subject line is the name of a reference).

3. Car dealers are gathering momentum, and you can help them {Marketing Mind}

Topics: Wrap-up

What’s Your Company’s Reason for Being?

companys-mission-statementCan you complete this statement? We exist to…

If you run your company or a business unit, or even just a sales team, there is surprising value in completing that statement—it helps define your reason for being. I have experienced first-hand the benefit that comes from knowing our reason for being. Here’s how we complete the statement at The Center for Sales Strategy:

We exist to turn talent into performance.

It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that we would define our corporate purpose in that way. We considered other possibilities. We could have said we exist to help companies hire the best people and train them well. Or, we exist to help companies increase sales. Both would have been pretty good, but not as good as the one we landed on. Our final choice got to the essence of who we are, what our passion is, and the greatest value we deliver.

Topics: leadership

The Ad Industry Has Been Giving Clients The Wrong Impression

ad-industry-wrong-impressionMy three-year-old grandson led me to a meaningful epiphany recently. We were sitting at the kitchen table playing with some Play-Doh when he watched me sink my thumb into a small ball of the clay. He pointed to my thumbprint and asked, “What’s that?”

I answered, “That’s an impression.”

Like most three-year-olds will do, he followed my answer with a question: “Why?”

“Because when I touched the Play-Doh, I left a mark on it.”

He proceeded to copycat the procedure, pressing his fingers and handprints into several lumps of clay; after each masterpiece, he would attempt to form the new word he had learned: “Look, Grandpa, I made a ‘preshun’.”

“I left a mark on it.” 

I had been to a marketing conference earlier in the week, where much of the focus was on falling CPMs, and rightfully so. Once upon a time, the cost of access to consumers was high, thanks to the relative scarcity of media. There were only one or two newspapers in most major metropolitan areas, and only a couple dozen radio and television stations (even fewer in smaller markets, of course). The law of supply and demand favored companies who distributed advertising messages, where the supply of big audiences was (comparatively) limited, and the demand was high. 

Topics: Digital selling digital advertising

Are Tactics More Important than Sales Strategy?

strategy-and-tacticsBusinesses like to talk about being strategic. It’s one of those buzzwords that’s always in fashion. Some also take pride in being tactical, another buzzword that remains fashionable, even if those who use these terms don’t have any grasp at all of what they mean.

The Desk that Bosses You Around

standing-deskWhat have you been reading lately? There's so much content published every week that a person can never read it all themselves. That's why we're here.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. The desk that bosses you around {AlleyWatch}

I have a sit-stand desk in my office, and I have to agree with the reviewer -- it's hard to motivate myself to stand as much as I should! So this robot desk is interesting. However, I don't think I'll be able to get around the price tag, so I'll have to find other ways to stand more.

2. Lessons from honest (too honest?) marketing campaigns {IMG}

This article looks at some shockingly honest marketing campaigns (Avis is the #1 example) and pulls lessons from them. Listen to experts, pick an enemy, admit you have competition, and more.

3. Everyone uses a cell phone now {Marketing Mind}

Topics: Wrap-up