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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Improve Sales Performance with Meetings that Are Never Mediocre


The regularly scheduled meeting that takes place with a sales manager and a salesperson (usually weekly) is uber critical. Yet, sometimes it is nothing more than an item on the to-do list of both the salesperson and the manager. In many sales organizations, this focused meeting between the manager and salesperson happens because it's the way it has always been done—not because it is highly productive.  

Topics: Sales

Focus—Your Future Depends On It


In 1996 Motorola introduced a cellular phone you could wear, email surpassed snail mail for the first time, and a computer named “Deep Blue” defeated the world chess champion. In the midst of this technological change, Al Ries published a marketing book entitled Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends On It.

Reis was already considered a marketing thought-leader, having coined the word “positioning” along with Jack Trout. Positioning was used to describe the perception of your brand relative to that of your competitors. 

Whether you’re positioning your company, your department, or just yourself, the wisdom of focus is important to revisittweet-button-1.jpg

Topics: Sales focus

Don't Miss This Most Important Step in Making a Strong Management Hire


We have all fallen victim to the impulse buy. That gadget in the checkout line or “gotta have” in the window. Thankfully, most of those spontaneous decisions didn’t have a pronounced impact on our long-term success or happiness.

I’m sure you would agree that hiring a new manager doesn't fall into the same spontaneous purchase category as buying a Wonder Wallet or a Snuggie, but I have seen even the best managers out there succumb to the quick and easy option that is right at their fingertips. When a key management position comes open, the stopwatch starts. It takes massive willpower to not make a quick move, but instead apply the critical thought that is necessary to make a good decision.

Topics: hiring salespeople

4 Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore + More


We've come to another Friday, and it's time for us to share what we've been reading online this week. Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. 4 Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore — Inc.

The four trends described in this article offer an incredible, never-before-realized opportunity to cultivate relationships with your prospects in unique ways. They're also an opportunity for media to forge new offerings to their clients and innovate their way into these new spaces where their competitors aren't.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

Use Consumer Psychology to Help Reel In More of Your Ideal Prospects


You can make the best and the most spectacular recommendations to your prospects, but what use is it if the prospect doesn’t share your point of view?

In B2B sales, you’ve probably spent a lot of resources to score an appointment. You’ve generated leads, qualified them, answered initial questions. And you don’t want to lose your ideal prospects now. Consumer psychology can help you reel the prospect in to sign on that dotted line.

Topics: Sales sales process

Six Ways To Better Organize Your Time


Is it even possible to organize time? Let’s look at six ways we can focus our time on the things that are most important to us. 

  1. Consider Current Commitments

Take a look at what you have already committed to doing. Look at each appointment on your calendar and each item on your latest to-do list. What result do you want to see from each commitment? How does each one make you feel when you think about that use of your time? 

Topics: Sales

How to Increase Sales Performance with a Successful Field Coaching Day


  • No football coach helped his team win the championship by spending time with them in the locker room.
  • No driver’s ed instructor added another safe driver to the roads by showing demo videos in the classroom.
  • No sales manager helped her salesperson become an industry star by meeting with her weekly in the office. 

If you want to make a significant impact on performance, you need to be in the field where your people are engaging with prospects and clients and where the business happens. This means getting out in the field with your people on calls, joining them on shared-screen client calls (using GoToMeeting, joinme.com, etc.), and looking for other opportunities to be close to the action.

How to Beat the Battle of an Ineffective Blog + More


We've come to another Friday, and it's time for us to share what we've been reading online this week. Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. How to Beat the Battle of an Ineffective Blog — Content Marketing Institute

A business blog is a powerful tool. But an effective blog requires a strategy. If you're not seeing the kinds of results you want from your blog, take a look at this post, which offers three ways to get your blog performing. 

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

Think Spring! A Sales Strategy to Nurture Leads


Lead nurturing is a bit like gardening. Most often leads or new business prospects are not ready to buy immediately. If you take the time to nurture the leads you generate now, they will bloom like daffodils in the spring.

Topics: Lead Generation Sales

6 Ways to Be a Better Listener


We all want to listen better. So why do we find it so hard to do? We are often either thinking too much about what we want to say next or talking too much. tweet-button-1.jpg

Let’s look at 6 things we need to remind ourselves to do in order to be a better listener.

Topics: Sales

How Sales Managers Can Keep Profits Up and Headcount Down


The topic of sales productivity was introduced to me early on in my career when I was a Senior Financial Analyst at EDS (now HP). I can remember putting together the quarterly Strategic Business Unit (SBU) scorecards and having to come up with the sales headcounts and revenue per salesperson. I was always impressed by one business unit in particular that was able to keep their sales headcount down while maintaining a higher profit margin than any other division. The division was headed by one of the younger SBU leaders, and one late evening after reviewing his numbers I asked him how it was he could keep headcount down and sales up. His answer was very revealing.

Topics: Sales marketing automation

How to Retain Your Millennials and Increase Their Performance


For years we heard that the Millennials joining the workforce were chasing adventure. They wanted to work for cool start-ups, collaborate with other Millennials, and change the world!

Surprisingly, a new Inforsys and Future Foundation study of 16-25 year olds shows that this may not be the whole story. It appears that a large portion of this group of fresh faces is craving security and stability rather than spontaneous adventure in their jobs.

Knowing this, you might wonder, "If they want stability in their work, why do we have a retention problem with Millennials in our workforce? Why aren’t these younger workers settling in for the long-haul?" Good questions! A 2015 Gallup Poll found that Millennials are the least-engaged cohort in the workplace, with only 28.9% saying that they are engaged at work.

Topics: sales training

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification + More


We've come to another Friday, and it's time for us to share what we've been reading online this week. Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. The Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification — HubSpot

This guide will walk you through the fundamentals of qualification, five different frameworks you can use, and provide pointers on disqualification and conversational tip-offs to listen for during your sales conversations.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

Clocks, Rocks, and Earrings


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.

Topics: sales strategy Sales

Hiring Sales People: The Best Time to Plant a Tree is 20 Years Ago


“We need to hire more sales people!” “We need to hire better sales people!” These are the cries that I hear every day from managers and executives.

While the strategy to hire more and better salespeople might be a good one, you and I know it’s just not that easy. If you are the one responsible for the hiring process and the on-boarding of these new salespeople, you are probably left wondering how you are going to get that accomplished. You are not alone!

Here are 3 things you can do today to jump-start your hiring process and begin hiring more (and better) sales people right now:

Topics: hiring salespeople

Does it Pay to Invest Resources in Bottom Performing or Top Performing Salespeople?


For most sales organizations, your sales team most likely represents a wide range of personalities, experience levels as well as performance levels. Organizations typically have top performers or “all stars” as well as those that struggle each month to meet their sales quota or budget for the month. If your organization has determined there are some areas where your sales team can perform better and resources of time and money are available, where do you invest these limited resources? Do you focus on coaching up your bottom performers, do you bring in new talent, or do you focus on maximizing the performance of your top performers?

Topics: hiring salespeople sales training

Are You a Data-Driven Leader? + More


Here we are at the end of another week, and it's time for us to share what we've been reading online this week. Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Are You a Data-Driven Leader? — Optimizely

What do you base your decisions on, as a leader? Opinions or facts? This post provides a quiz to help you determine if you need to use more data in your decision-making process.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

Get on the Court and Coach Those Salespeople!


Imagine this. You'll be watching one of the many NCAA basketball games in the next few weeks. One particular game you'll flip to seems really out of control. It looks a little like playground basketball. Not much passing or rebounding, no plays being called, looks of frustration and fear from the players, and lots of fouls. The camera scans the benches, and something strikes you:

Topics: Sales

A Theory about Dogs, Cats, and Salespeople


We’ve seen many pictures posted that show that some people actually resemble their pets. That prompted a thought that I have noticed many salespeople with traits of either dogs or cats. And everyone knows how different dogs and cats are!

Cataloging repeatable behaviors that are part of the DNA of our pets can reveal how we view each other. Noticing behaviors that fire instinctively in humans and animals are guidelines to better understand their nature and each other. Here’s what I found that made interesting intersections between people and dogs and cats:

Topics: Sales

The Key to Improving Sales Performance


Which is more likely to drive strong sales performance: a focus on the numbers or great attention to the sales process?

I recently heard two people talking about the key to sales performance. One person started by saying that the key is to focus on sales process. Then a few minutes later, the other person described hearing a CEO of a very successful company saying he has learned that the key to driving top sales performance is to focus on the numbers. 

At first, this sounded like a conflict to me. But the more I listened, it turns out they were saying the same thing. It’s not either/or. The lesson is to focus on the numbers that are tied to the sales process. 

Topics: sales performance Sales