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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Engage a Lead in the First 20 Seconds


Twenty seconds may not sound like much time at all, but consider this: a hummingbird beats its wings at an average of 53 times per seconds. This means that a 20-second period is just enough time for a hummingbird to beat its wings an incredible 1,060 times.

It’s also enough time for a new lead to decide whether they’re going to listen to you or not. First impressions in business can be ruthless. This is understandable, as no decision-maker has the time to waste on an unwanted sales call, read a spam email, or even organize a meeting with someone they don’t trust.

We call this the critical window of opportunity. The first 20 seconds of meeting a new lead is your one chance to make a lasting, positive impression, so what do you do?

Topics: Lead Nurturing

How to Turn Your New Hire into a Superstar in the First 90 Days


You made the perfect hire, one who is talented and eager to learn. He or she had a great first day. Now what? How do you turn that potential talent into a real-life superstar?

Just like the first day, your new hire’s first 90 days need to be planned out. Before the employee starts, you need to have a set plan of how to acclimate the new hire to your company, your team, and your style. In other words, onboarding. The most successful companies have a general onboarding path to follow that includes not just filling out paperwork and getting the grand tour, but a roadmap for training, available mentors, and lots of hands-on advice from managers. Statistics tell us that organizations with a standardized onboarding process have 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention. Managers' job satisfaction increases 20% when their employees have formal onboarding training.

Not a bad return on investment for thinking ahead. So, how can set your onboarding apart?

Topics: sales training onboarding

Why Disastrous Sales and Marketing Misalignment Persists (& How to Fix It) + 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.

1Why Disastrous Sales and Marketing Misalignment Persists (& How to Fix It) — HubSpot

Sales and marketing teams both directly touch the customer, but for some reason, the average company just can’t find a common ground after that. However, consider that more than 50% of the success of a social selling ecosystem within your company is going to start and end with Marketing! This article offers practical advice on how to get Sales and Marketing working together.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

Sales Promotion or Sales Prevention?


As a sales leader whose responsibility is generating revenue, you would most likely answer that you are a Sales Promoter. But are you? Has an obstacle course actually been created that prevents your sales people from selling? Sales Prevention sounds like an oxymoron, but it exists in many sales cultures.

Sales Prevention exists when there is a misalignment between the sales manager and salespeople's challenges and priorities. Jim Hopes, Managing Partner of The Center for Sales Strategy, conducted a study based on the responses of 400 sales professionals. The results showed that of the top four responses regarding challenges, only one intersected between the sales manager and salespeople.

Topics: successful sales meetings

Friction Between Buyers and Sellers Persists


The perspective from which we look at our world dictates our expectations and our behavior. As our points of view change, so too will our attitudes and our actions. As the great philosopher (and comedian) George Carlin once said, “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.”

Buyers and Sellers See Things Differently

Buyers and sellers obviously have different perspectives, and they see the buying/selling process very differently. In fact, according to HubSpot’s Q1 2016 Sales Perspective Survey (see chart below), there is a significant gap between how each group views salespeople. Salespeople like to think we’re not pushy, we listen to our prospects, we provide value, and we help our prospects succeed. Unfortunately, our buyers don’t always agree.     

Topics: Sales Buyer's Journey

To Keep New Hires Happy That They Chose Your Company, Have a Plan for Day 1


We have all been there. You walk into your new office. You’re excited, maybe a little nervous, but ready to take on this new challenge. And…no one is expecting you. The receptionist says, “Oh, was that today?? No one told me. I’m not sure where to have you start…” Bad first impression, sure, but what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that in today’s market, qualified job seekers have choices. Chances are that from the time you agree to hire them to the time they walk in your door, they have had multiple other requests for interviews and maybe job offers. You spent time finding and qualifying just the right person for this position. Do you want your new employee to walk away on that first day, thinking about finding a better job?

Topics: hiring salespeople

6 Unexpected Questions That Reveal What Your Prospect Is Really Thinking + 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.

1. 6 Unexpected Questions That Reveal What Your Prospect Is Really Thinking — HubSpot

Most prospects get the same questions from salespeople over and over again. Using any of these cliché, routine questions harms your credibility. Rather than seeing you as a trusted advisor, the buyer associates you with all the other reps they’ve ever spoken to. In addition, your prospect will go on autopilot and recite the same answer they’ve given on previous sales calls. You’ll lose the chance to get information your competition doesn’t have. To maintain authority, keep the buyer’s attention, and find out what they’re really thinking, ask questions they’re not expecting. 

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

How to Ensure You Have Several Great Candidates to Choose From When You're Ready to Hire


Topics: sales strategy Sales

Pre-Boarding: Get New Employees Engaged Even Before Their First Day


OK, seriously, what is pre-boarding?! For most of us, pre-boarding has always been the handshake you get from the hiring manager with the words, “Welcome aboard.” And then, a few weeks later, you start work. That’s it. Nothing fancy, just, "You’re hired." But as most of us are well aware, the job market is changing with lightning speed. Blame it on technology, the Internet or millennials, but we all see the need to change with it. So, what is pre-boarding, and why is pre-boarding so important?

Topics: onboarding

5 Strategies For Salespeople To Excel At Storytelling


Storytelling is a vital part of the fabric of human interaction, and it has been since long before written language. Whether in the form of cave paintings or blockbuster films, stories transport the audience to constructed worlds and deliver powerful messages with startling accuracy.

Topics: Sales

How Marketing Must Evolve: 19 Leaders Peer Into Content’s Future + 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 Marketing Must Evolve: 19 Leaders Peer Into Content’s Future — Content Marketing Institute

What do you envision for the future of content from a marketing perspective, and how do marketing teams need to evolve to prepare? The CMI editorial team recently put this question to the pros who will present at the Intelligent Content Conference March 28–30 in Las Vegas. Here's what they said.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

A Silver Bullet Needs Analysis Question


A few months ago I was working with our client in Los Angeles and the managers were telling me they had a feeling their salespeople were not unearthing all the needs they should in their client needs analysis process. They cited a number of instances where the Account Executive did go deep enough and huge opportunities emerged for both the prospect and my client. They wanted to see that happening more often. After exploring the problem in more detail, I made several recommendations. One of those turned out to be particularly impactful.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

One Small Change on a Contact Page, 294 New Leads


The contact page is one of the most important pages on a company's website. But it's also one of the pages that receives the least attention from the company's marketing team. Several months ago, I wrote a post about how to optimize a website’s contact page to increase the number of leads it creates and to improve upon tracking contacts. Little did I know that the client that I had specifically recommended this approach to would have almost three-hundred new leads over a five month period from this new contact page.  

Topics: Lead Generation websites

Improving Sales Performance… It Starts with Recruiting!


Many sales organizations miss revenue goals because they are understaffed and have open sales positions. This silent killer of productivity is a problem for many reasons: 

Topics: hiring salespeople sales performance

Why You Should Stop Doing Annual Reviews


It’s not that annual reviews are bad… it’s just that they’re not enough! Whether the person you are managing is doing a great job, a terrible job, or performing somewhere in-between, waiting twelve months to let them know that information is damaging to them and to your company.

Topics: sales performance

How to Know Exactly What Content to Deliver to Convert More Prospects + More

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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 Know Exactly What Content to Deliver to Convert More Prospects Copyblogger

How do you know what content to send to prospects when? Whether it's top-of-the-funnel marketing content, sales collateral, or something in between, it's critical to get content delivery right. This article provides a content mapping framework from the perspective of the hero's journey.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales Wrap-up

3 Ways to Reduce Your Sales Staff Turnover


Sales staff turnover may be the most expensive and frustrating thing a sales manager has to deal with these days. You know the cost of making the wrong hire extends far beyond their salary and commissions, but did you know that their compensation probably only accounts for about 28% of your total loss? A recent study determined that managers waste about 150 hours of time on each wrong hire on top of the additional costs from soured client relationships, additional disruptions, and opportunity costs. Your mis-hire could cost you as much as 15 times their annual income!

Topics: hiring salespeople

6 Sales Practices to Boost Your Effectiveness in 2017


You've worked hard in 2016, built up your sales funnel, but 2017 is really going to be your year to shine. Perhaps you would like to get more high-quality appointments or try new prospecting strategies. The comfort zone is certainly a relaxing space, but nothing grows there. It's time to step outside and achieve your sales targets. Here's how.

Topics: Sales prospecting