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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Reasons You Can’t Close The Biz

reasons seller can't close businessOnce you present a solution to a prospective buyer or client, two things happen. It becomes either Close Won or Close Lost. Close Won is obviously the ideal or desired scenario, but what happens when your pending deal is Close Lost? Is ALL lost? Maybe not. 

Ask yourself these three questions to determine if you can change a Close Lost scenario into a Close Won: 

Topics: Proposal sales strategy sales process

Recruit a Sales Superstar Using an Employment Value Proposition

recruit superstar seller with employment value propositionWorld-class managers know that adding a sales superstar to the team is a great way to improve sales performance. They also know landing a superstar seller involves a recruitment process just like it does for a top-performing college football team (go figure, teams like Alabama and Clemson win national championships after they compile great recruiting classes).

Superstar sellers know they are good and should be treated accordingly.

As part of your recruitment process, it is important to know—and effectively communicate—your Employment Value Proposition (EVP). 

Topics: sales management Talent recruitment

Silence is Golden: 3 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

improve listening skills manager"Silence is golden"—usually this is said right after your children leave the room and you finally have a moment of peace.

As much as that is a "funny" joke for parents, the concept of silence is a rare one in today's world. Are we ever "silent?" And when I say "silent," I don't mean staring at our phones for hours at a time.
 
In the context of sales, silence has another meaning. Silence is an opportunity to stop talking, be quiet, focus, and listen. Yes, I know this is a radical concept for those us that are gregarious, loud-mouth, salespeople.
 
How many times have you gone on an appointment with an account executive, expecting to hear your rep ask questions and then wait to hear the client's answers, only see them never stop talking! They are so excited to a) have an appointment and b) thrilled to "pitch" their product that they never take a moment to listen to what the client has to say. It's horrible, and it happens all the time. What a waste of new business appointment! How can you sell someone anything if you don't know or understand what they want to achieve? You can't.
Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance prospecting

Weekly Roundup: Lead Qualifying Hacks + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"SETTING GOALS IS THE FIRST STEP IN TURNING THE INVISIBLE INTO THE VISIBLE"

-TONY ROBBINS

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Simple Lead Qualifying Hacks [VIDEO] — LeadG2

2019 State of Media Sales SurveySometimes when you generate leads via inbound marketing, you can get a lot of information about your prospects and leads when they fill out a lead capture form. It really depends, though, on what you're willing to ask. You can ask things like name, phone number, email, company name, industry, revenue, and more. There's a lot of different variables you can ask for.

The tricky part is, when you ask for too much information, you might limit the number of people that are willing to provide all of that to you. Consequently, this might limit the number of leads you could generate.
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

10 Things the Best Salespeople NEVER Do: The Un-Checklist

salesperson-technology-451709-editedEDITOR’S NOTE: This post is by the late Steve Marx, and was written and published in 2015. To keep it current, we’ve updated the content to be relevant, but preserved the knowledge that Steve shared.

There are countless lists of what the most successful salespeople actually do. It’s time for a list of what they don’t do.

Let’s call it "The Un-Checklist"—the list you review when no one is looking over your shoulder (so you can be entirely honest), and where you hope that your honesty doesn’t force you to check off any of the items.

Get out your pen, ink, or virtual notes. I hope you won’t need to use them.

Topics: Sales salespeople

Sales Enablement in Real Life (VIDEO)

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Sales enablement. Is it a buzzword or just a misunderstood word?

DEFINITION OF SALES ENABLEMENT: Sales Enablement encompasses the technology, strategy, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell smarter and faster. It’s about providing salespeople with what they need in order to successfully and strategically engage the buyer throughout the buying process. 

Sales enablement. Why wouldn't you want it?

Topics: sales enablement

In-Field Coaching Tips that will Increase Productivity and Performance

sales coaching tips for in-field coachingGreat salespeople always want to improve. Show them that you are more than someone that manages and holds them accountable. Be a coach by helping them develop their skills on sales calls so that they can continually strive to do better and be even more successful.

Schedule in-field meetings that are focused on how you can help your salesperson perform better on face-to-face calls. 

Topics: sales management coaching

Seller Not Setting Appointments During Field Coaching Days? Do This.

sales calls appointmentsIn a previous post, A Step by Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople, I provided a guide on how to coach sellers. Some sellers find it a challenge to schedule quality appointments during their scheduled coaching days. Here are some things you can do to fix this problem. 

Is the purpose of your in-field coaching plan clear?

It’s natural that if a formal schedule of field coaching is something new, salespeople may at first be suspicious of your real intent. Be certain to communicate the purpose of your field coaching work by letting them know:

Topics: sales management coaching

Weekly Roundup: Plugging Leaks in the B2B Sales Funnel + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"EITHER RUN THE DAY OR THE DAY RUNS YOU."

-JIM ROHN

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Plugging Leaks in the B2B Sales Funnel — LinkedIn Sales Blog

2019 State of Media Sales SurveyAn empty sales funnel is a relatively straightforward (albeit not necessarily easy) problem to solve: enhance your prospecting efforts to produce more qualified leads.

A leaky sales funnel is another beast entirely. When we’re driving sufficient leads, but too few are reaching the finish line, the causes aren’t always obvious. This can lead to wasted prospecting efforts, seller frustration, and organizational discord.
 
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

How to Ask Better Needs Analysis Questions

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Have you ever set a goal for yourself to run a race? Whatever the motivation, you decided to do it. It may have been on a whim, but nonetheless you realized there was more to it than showing up the morning of the race and running. You probably found a race that suited your ability, recruited a friend to join you in the adventure, set a training schedule, and off you went. By no means did you show up for registration the morning of with no prep at all. Well, I hope not anyway. If you did, it probably didn’t go as well as you would have liked. You may have looked back and asked yourself what you could have done differently to change the outcome. I’m guessing the answer is, almost always, more training so you were better prepared.

Running a race without adequate training is no different than showing up to a first time meeting with a new prospect unprepared. Yet, it happens. Preparing yourself to ask better needs analysis questions will help you not only finish the race, but to finish with the intended outcome: to get an assignment from the prospect.  

Where to start? Here are a few suggestions for how to ask better needs analysis questions.

Topics: Needs Analysis

4 Things Sales Management Should Do to Improve Sales Performance

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Recently, I spoke to a sales management group on four things that they can do to improve sales performance, and this is what I shared with them.

1. Recruitment

Always be recruiting. 24/7. 365. The battle for top sales talent these days has never been harder. You always have to be recruiting. Not just when you have an opening.

Topics: sales performance sales management coaching

A Step-by-Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople

sales-coaching-in-fieldThe best managers know spending time in the field coaching sellers is an important part of developing salespeople (and improving sales performance). Here’s a step-by-step guide to use the next day you are in coaching mode.

Topics: sales management coaching

How to Engage Employees in a Cross-Generational Workplace

Engage Employees in a Cross-Generational WorkplaceMany organizations have multiple generations represented in the workplace and with that, a plethora of stereotypes that come along with each generation. While it may not be intentional, individual bias can have a significant impact on employee engagement. Bias can sometimes provide a false direction on how to lead a team, so be sure you aren’t using generational stereotypes to influence your decisions. 

For example, the now current largest generation at work, Millennials or Gen Y, are often characterized job hoppers, lazy and entitled. When you take bias out of the conversation, we know that Millennials seek career progression, can work well independently or in groups, and feel accomplished when contributing to something meaningful at work.  

Millennials aren’t the only generation with stereotypes. Bias also crosses over into Gen X and Baby Boomers. Gen X has been characterized in the workplace as control freaks, so they work best alone and aren’t team players or Boomers who have been stereotyped as set in their ways and uncompromising to change.  

2019 State of Media Sales SurveyYou can probably imagine the conflict and lack of productivity that might arise in an organization if cross-generations are asked to collaborate amongst all the bias that surrounds each generation. As Gen Z begins to come into the fold, more bias could, too. Or, maybe you’re not imagining this scenario because it’s your reality and you are living it every day! 

Either way, increasing employee engagement ultimately helps you reduce regrettable turnover, increase productivity, and can help you retain and grow your best customers.

Topics: sales management company culture

Weekly Roundup: 75 Key Sales Statistics That'll Help You Sell Smarter + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS LIES IN GIVING UP. THE MOST CERTAIN WAY
TO SUCCEED IS TO TRY JUST ONE MORE TIME."

-THOMAS EDISON

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

75 Key Sales Statistics That'll Help You Sell Smarter in 2019 — Hubspot

2019 State of Media Sales SurveyEvery time we think we've gotten a grip on the weird, wonderful world of sales, we learn something new that forces us to change our perspective and question our beliefs. Like just 17% of salespeople think they're pushy -- compared to 50% of prospects.

And along similar lines, only 3% of buyers trust reps. The only professions with less credibility include car sales, politics, and lobbying. Ouch. Luckily, not all sales-related data will bum you out. This list of sales statistics has invaluable nuggets of wisdom on everything from which words to avoid in your email subject line to the optimal number of questions to ask during a discovery call.
 
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

8 Steps to Improve Your In-Field Coaching

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I know about coaching. 

When my twin daughters were learning to drive, I spent countless hours working with them as they practiced behind the wheel. I owed it to all of you to do my job well!

On my quest to mold them into great drivers, I learned one certain truth: this kind of coaching can only be accomplished from inside a moving vehicle. You cannot teach someone how to drive a car by handing them a book, suggesting an informative video, or lecturing them on safe driving techniques.

(The same is true for sales, but more on that later…)

Our learn-to-drive boot camp did begin with some classroom-style learning. The girls read the information booklet provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles from cover to cover and they attended formal driver’s education classes to ensure they obtained the knowledge required to pass their written exam. They squeaked by on that exam which then earned them a driver’s permit so they could legally join the rest of us on the road as long as they have a family member in the car. Me.

Another certain truth: just because someone passes a written test does not mean they drive well. 

Topics: sales management Talent

To Confirm or Not to Confirm? That is the question.

confirm appointmentsWe all know how difficult it can be to set an appointment with a prospect these days, and the last thing we would want to do is let that appointment slip away after making multiple contacts in order to secure it.

The question always seems to come up about whether a salesperson should confirm that appointment before making the call or not. I have sales professionals who argue on both sides of the question.

So, let’s compare the reasons for confirming or not confirming.

Topics: Setting Appointments sales process

Four Engagement Elevators You Can Use to Improve Your Company Culture

improve company cultureCulture is powerful, and like brand, you’re going to have one whether you like it or not. The best organizations to work for are the ones that recognize this and actively strive to push the right buttons every day to build a positive climate and a culture of engagement.

Topics: company culture

A New Way to Solve the Revenue Challenges Facing Media Sales Organizations

iStock-468438195In the past media sales organizations employed a tried and true approach to solving dips in revenue. Here’s a summary of the approach: 

When revenue is down, develop a product, service, or tactic, and sell more!

Unfortunately, these days this approach is more tired and untrue than tried and true.

Selling more is not the solution to the current challenges faced by media organizations because it’s a new day, and it is not filled with rainbows and unicorns. The declines faced by media sales organizations today are consistent enough to be called the new reality!

Topics: lead generation sales management sales process