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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

5 Biggest Interview Pitfalls—and How to Avoid Them

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Interviewing salespeople is tough! Screening, uncovering, and selecting top talent takes a lot of practice and a reliable process. And it is essential to avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.

As far as interview questions go, the best are the ones provided in a validated scientific talent instrument used (toward the end of your selection process) by a certified Talent Analyst. The next best interview questions are those you yourself can ask each candidate to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—to determine whether there is enough evidence of talent to invest more time in them.

I often work with our clients to help them improve their interview techniques and become better at moving the right people forward in the funnel. Those who are the very best at recruiting and selecting top talent know that strong screening in the beginning leads to a much more talented candidate pool every time. Those that don’t commit to that kind of consistent practice tend to get stuck in one of five common interviewing traps and often find themselves disappointed with the underperformance of those they’ve brought on board.

In order to better take advantage of every golden interview opportunity that comes your way, you need to know these traps welland then avoid them.

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent

Needs Are Important, Results Are What Matter

needs-resultsWe all have needs, and those needs drive us to spend time and money addressing them. In sales, we count on the needs of our prospects and clients to motivate them to buy. For decades, it has been a good sales process to focus on client needs. Needs are good, but they are not the complete picture.

Learning about client needs used to set the better salespeople apart from the package pushers.

On a personal level, we don’t focus on our needs to solve a problem. We focus on what we want. When we’re hungry, we focus on getting food, when we’re tired we focus on getting some sleep, and if we need to hit a goal this quarter, we focus on getting the next sale.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance

Want to Increase Renewals from Customers? Build This.

campaign-launch-briefSelling a new target account is not an easy task. Many things have to fall in place—here’s a list of some of the obstacles:

  • Selecting a quality prospect.
  • Developing the trust of the prospect.
  • Getting an appointment.
  • Conducting a needs analysis that leads to an opportunity (and cash).
  • Developing a solution robust enough to get results, yet not so large it scares away the prospect.
  • Overcoming objections.
  • Closing the deal! 

Getting a renewal from a new customer starts with getting results on the initial campaign, and using a campaign launch brief will set you up to increase your renewals before your clients’ campaigns even kick off.

Topics: key account growth sales process

Time Management Tips from the Sales Pros - Part 2 of 3 (VIDEO)

 

Today, I'm sharing part 2 of this 3-part series on time management. The first topic I touched on was distractions and helping to identify your own distractions to minimize those that are costing you the most productivity in the workplace.

Today, I want to talk about organization, and primarily, prioritization, and how this can benefit you both at home and at work. 

At The Center for Sales Strategy, LeadG2, and Up Your Culture, we are firm believers in work-life balance. It's extremely important to the health of the organization and to your health as an individual contributor to the organization. It benefits you to maintain that work-life balance, and make sure you're creating that organization and prioritization on both sides of the equation.

Topics: time management sales management productivity

Weekly Roundup: 5 Quota-Killing Mistakes Only Experienced Salespeople Make + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"SUCCESS IS WALKING FROM FAILURE TO FAILURE WITH NO LOSS OF ENTHUSIASM"

-WINSTON CHURCHILL

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

The 5 Quota-Killing Mistakes Only Experienced Salespeople Make — Hubspot

Who's likelier to make a mistake: The rookie sales rep who's never sold a day in their life, or the veteran rep who's been on the front lines for nine years? The reality is, they're both going to screw up. Experienced salespeople simply make different mistakes. This post shares 5 big mistakes seasoned reps make -- along with the steps you can take to avoid them. >>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

The Problem is Not in the Proposal or the Sales Funnel

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Frustration sets in when you look at all the pending business you have sitting in your sales funnel and realize that a good portion of it has been there for weeks! Those prospects you were sure were going to sign off on your proposal right away are instead sharing reasons why they’re not ready or telling you they need more time to think it over. You know that with every week that passes, the chances that any of them will turn into a sale diminishes greatly and you’re kicking yourself because you are now reduced to emailing your prospect with the subject line "Checking in" since you really have no other options left.

Are you experiencing this uncomfortable, bloated feeling right now?

That bloated pipeline isn’t just uncomfortable . . . it’s frustrating and, ultimately, very expensive. Yes, it can sometimes feel rewarding to say you have “a lot out there,” but we all know that pending business is only good if it ends up closing. 

Spoiler alert: This is not an article on how to close your pending deals. It’s way more valuable than that. 

The problem is not in the proposal or the funnel, but rather with the process.
Topics: Sales sales process sales accelerator

One Key to Hiring Superstar Sales Talent? Know Your Management Style.

hiring superstar talentI spend a lot of time giving pre-hire feedback to managers about candidates. We discuss managing strengths and coaching weaknesses. We talk about how strengths and weaknesses can work together or can tug in opposite directions. 

At the end of each conversation, it's my sincere hope that the hiring manager has a well-rounded view of their candidate and how they will “fit” or “don't fit” in a position. But there is another question that needs to be asked. Does the candidate also fit the manager? 

Topics: hiring salespeople sales management coaching

Time Management Tips from the Sales Pros - Part 1 of 3 (VIDEO)

A lot of salespeople and managers that I talk to on a regular basis often seek advice on time management and how they can better manage their time.

The truth is... it really depends. It varies depending on you, your individual style, your talents, and the way you like to process things. 

In this 3-part series, I'm going to share various time management tips and things to consider based on your style and what will work for you.

Today, I'm touching on is distractions. 

Topics: sales management productivity

The Top 7 Sources to Find Leads

lead sources and ideas for sellersBefore choosing which prospects to target, it’s best to generate a long list of leads so you can narrow to the best leads. Using the categories you’ve identified as a good fit your business, decide which sources on this list are right for you to generate your own list of leads.

Topics: lead generation prospecting account list management

Weekly Roundup: Conducting Killer Pipeline Reviews + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"ALL PROGRESS TAKES PLACE OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE"

-MICHAEL JOHN BOBAK

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Conducting Killer Pipeline Reviews Your Salespeople Will Thank You For — Sales Hacker

In the movie “Dirty Harry,” Clint Eastwood’s character asks one of his “bad guys” what has become an iconic question… “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

Sadly, many salespeople feel like they’re facing off to Dirty Harry every time they have a Pipeline Review. He’s staring down at them while they squirm and sweat. This approach makes for a successful movie, but it’s important to remember: Your salespeople are not the bad guys, and you are not Dirty Harry.
 
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

How to Hire a Great Sales Hunter

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Simple life lesson: One of the best ways to find exactly what you need is to know exactly what you’re looking for.

We regularly work with hiring managers and recruiters to clearly define the role they are working to fill so they know exactly what they need for superstar performance. This morning I received an email from a sales manager asking which talents he should look for to hire a strong sales hunter. Great question! So good, in fact, I thought I’d share my response with you.

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent

Don’t Fear the Results Reaper

deliver on client results I've worked with thousands of salespeople over two decades now, and it's interesting that so many salespeople are still afraid to have candid discussions about the results a client is seeking and how well what they have sold them is working.

Many sellers wax eloquently about the features and benefits of their product, and especially why it’s a much better value than the competition. At the end of the day, whether or not you get an order, and certainly whether or not you keep your client onboard for a long time, depends on the results you delivereven if the person you sell to never mentions it.

Topics: sales strategy sales performance

6 B2B Sales Statistics You Want to Pay Attention To

b2b sales statisticsIt’s the sales leader’s job is to pay attention to both what is working and what is not working in the sales department and to make the appropriate adjustments so that the sales force has the best possible chance for success. To do that, the sales leader must pay attention to several things including sales process, sales activity, sales analytics (KPI’s), and of course, the customer.

In fact, paying attention to the customer is perhaps the most important of them all. In recent years, the way that customers have been engaging with sales has changed significantly. If you are a sales leader and you have not adapted the way you run your sales department, then you might find yourself slowly starting to lose ground to the competition.

Topics: sales performance sales management

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Sales Team: Sales Gamification (VIDEO)

This is the fifth and last post in the series, "How to Get the Most Out of Your Sales Team." Check out other posts in this series - linked at the bottom of this blog post.

I'm back again for the fifth week to talk about ways you can get the most out of your sales team, and this week I'm talking about sales gamification.

Sales gamification is one of the hottest trends going in the world. Everyone wants to "gamify." It's what "the kids are doing." And as silly of a buzzword that it is, it's actually a pretty good idea to motivate your sales team and get the most out of them

What is sales gamification? It makes your daily activities into some kind of game. You want to motivate and get the most out of your team? You need to do this.

Topics: motivation sales management

Weekly Roundup: Top Business KPIs You Should Be Tracking for Marketing, Sales, and Service + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"ALL PROGRESS TAKES PLACE OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE"

-MICHAEL JOHN BOBAK

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

The Top Business KPIs You Should Be Tracking for Marketing, Sales, and Service — LeadG2

Did you know that businesses that document their strategies receive a 538% greater chance of succeeding in their efforts? No, that wasn't a typo. When everyone in your organization understands how they should be performing, where their weaknesses and strengths are, and why the business is proceeding the way it is, it becomes easier for everyone to work as a cohesive team and to reach business goals... no matter what department you're in.

There are countless metrics that businesses can track, but over-reporting can create confusion and take away from the value of the statistics. Instead, businesses should pay close attention to the numbers that align best with their appointed goals.
 
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

Don’t Forget this Proven Sales Strategy to Get an Appointment

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Anyone in sales knows that it can be tough to get that first appointment with an ideal prospect. You might have to leave a voicemail, send an email, try to connect on LinkedIn, show up at their house, or volunteer to clean out their garage!

When trying to stand out, don’t overlook the option of sending a business letter. 

You know what we’re talking about right? A short message on your letterhead, placed in an envelope, and sent via the Post Office.

If you decide to use this as one way to get in front of prospects, here are some guidelines to follow.

Topics: valid business reason sales strategy prospecting

Take Your Group from Team to Tribe

team to tribeSpend time studying the most successful companies with the strongest cultures and you will find they have clearly-defined values and they navigate their way with a strong sense of purpose and cause. Employees who work at these companies can clearly articulate their values and they believe they can be themselves at work because they truly belong.

Topics: company culture