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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How Sales Technology Can Strengthen the Human Touch in Selling

How Sales Technology Can Strengthen the Human Touch in Selling

From being quarantined in our homes to keeping six feet apart and avoiding handshakes, the way we interact with other humans has drastically changed. In the business environment, the normal behaviors and tactics that salespeople have relied on to drive their success are no longer available. We can no longer drop by to see a client, meet a prospect for lunch, or fly to another city for a face-to-face meeting. More and more selling is now being conducted over the phone and via email.

And this isn’t a short-term trend. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that “a new normal has developed for businesses of all sizes across nearly all industries, with changes likely to endure even after COVID-19 is a thing of the past.” We may have lost a few tools from our sales toolbox, but we’re going to replace them with new ones that we can use to build relationships and advance the sale.

Topics: sales process sales enablement

Finding Sales Talent to Fill Your Talent Bank

Finding Sales Talent to Fill Your Talent Bank

With the recent layoffs and furloughs, social distancing, and working from home, there’s more talent available on the market than ever before. “As a result of the pandemic, it’s become an employer’s job market,” states a recent Forbes article. “Candidates will have to get more assertive and creative in finding ways to help them stand out or get lost in the crowd.” 

While there has always been a need for a strong talent bank, now is the time to really start building one that will set you up for future success. Due to the current economic situation, you have a unique opportunity to find new talent that would have otherwise been unapproachable. 

How do you find top sales talent? Where do you look for sales talent? Who should you add to your talent bank? Keep reading for the answers!

Topics: talent bank sales talent

Weekly Roundup: As Work From Home Continues, Here's Some Advice

As Work From Home Continues, Heres Some Advice

- MOTIVATION -

"Change can be scary, but you know what's scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing."

-Mandy Hale

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

How to Protect Your Mental Health When Working Remotely–HubSpot

2020 has brought with it unexpected levels of stress, anxiety, and fear for people across the globe. As we can all probably attest, the boundary between "work" and "home" life is quickly shrinking.Of course, many of our remote life challenges are insignificant compared to the pandemic sweeping the globe — but the risks posed to mental health aren't minor at all.

For instance, 19% of fully-remote employees say loneliness is their biggest struggle when working remotely – and if that doesn't seem like a big deal, consider that loneliness has been proven as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Here's some helpful advice on avoiding burnout from too many virtual meetings, and finding gratitude even in difficult circumstances. >>>READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

A Solid Sales Structure is Built on These Four Things

A Solid Sales Structure is Built on These Four Things

To establish the foundation for sustainable business growth, a solid sales structure must be built layer by layer. People, resources, and processes must align and work together to produce the best results for your organization.

In an earlier post, we identified the top challenges media sales departments face and a solution that addresses them all changing your sales structure. Restructuring is easier said than done, but if you’re going to manage a successful team, the need for change eventually hits home. When thinking about restructuring, below are four important things to know about the modern-day sales structure.

Topics: IMPACT

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. Why wouldn't you want it?

Topics: sales performance sales process sales enablement

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator: Earned Trust

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator Earned Trust

Highly engaged employees describe their company as authentic because they are who they say they are. They live their core values, rewarding those who demonstrate them and not tolerating those who don’t.  

It’s no secret that when your employees are engaged, they are emotionally committed and willing to give their best at work. That’s because engaged employees feel as though they have a stake in the game and a sense of purpose which makes them willing to give it everything they’ve got to achieve success. Employee engagement has a major impact on business success, proving to reduce turnover, increase performance, and retain key customers. 

Topics: leadership company culture employee engagement

Why Sales Training is Even More Vital During Times of Change

Why Sales Training is Even More Vital During Times of Change

When dealing with severe levels of change, it’s natural to reign in and hyper-focus on the activity we feel is most essential to surviving and thriving in that environment. In sales, that core activity would include things like the need to continue identifying quality prospects, connecting with decision makers, and discovering their needs and desired business results.

Activity is important, but a knee jerk reaction to keep approaching those activities the way you always have will not be effective when business cycles are at their most volatile.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales process sales training

Weekly Roundup: When Business Is Slow, It's Time to Work on These Things + More

winning-success-great-salesperson-manager

- MOTIVATION -

"Either run the day or the day runs you."

-Jim Rohn

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

When Business Is Slow, It's Time to Work on These 13 Things–HubSpot

Perhaps you're not hitting your revenue predictions or you're having difficulty with cash flow. Secretly, you're concerned that business is slowing. However, these things alone may not be enough to indicate that your organization is not humming along as usual.

After all, other factors could be at play, such as increased expenses or inaccurate forecasting, and it's important to make business decisions based on more than just a feeling.
>>>READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

5 Ways to Nail the Needs Analysis Conversation

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Once you have an appointment with a strong prospect, it’s time to prepare for a successful needs analysis so all the effort you spent getting the appointment isn’t wasted. You want to make sure that you have a strong and thorough needs analysis—because understanding your prospect's desired business results, challenges, and expectations is essential for developing a solution that will achieve results.

Topics: Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales

You’re Not Alone: Top Challenges Media Sales Departments Face

challenge roadblock

If your media sales department is facing difficulties, you’re not alone. Despite recent innovations, media sales departments are still missing budgets, not developing new business, and not retaining key accounts.

Many media sales managers are stuck in a vicious circle of recognizing challenges that hinder growth, but they tend to ignore them for various reasons. Failing to tackle these challenges continue to result in lost revenue and lost opportunities.

Below are five of the top challenges media sales departments face and a solution that addresses them all.

Topics: IMPACT

5 Fun Online Activities for Virtual Team Building

5 Fun Online Activities for Virtual Team Building

Equipped with hotspots and Wi-Fi, laptops, and mobile phones, most professionals can now do their jobs from anywhere. However, the physical distance between remote workers quickly leads to loneliness and isolation for those not accustomed to the lifestyle. And, when employees feel left out, their comfort levels decrease when it comes to working with their team.

“Those organizations that will thrive right now are the ones that really, truly, care about their people and show it every day, even when they can’t be in the office together,” explains Beth Sunshine, Partner at Up Your Culture.

Virtual team building is essential for helping your team feel like they’re part of a community while working from home. It’s the ongoing process of bringing your remote teams together to help them connect and provide more human interaction. As employee engagement and happiness increase, so does performance, communication, and retention. Below are five activities that can bring more human interaction to virtual work.

Topics: company culture employee engagement Remote Team

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator: Valued Voice

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator Valued Voice

Researchers have learned that companies with the highest levels of engagement have four things in common: Shared Mission, People Development, Valued Voice, and Earned Trust. When a company commits to improving in these areas, they simultaneously lift—or elevate—their levels of employee engagement.  

When your people are engaged, they fully activate their talents and give their very best. Consistent employee engagement leads to increased revenue, employee retention, and customer success. In previous posts, we discussed two Engagement Elevators, Shared Mission and People Development. This post digs into the power of Valued Voice.

Topics: company culture employee engagement

Weekly Roundup: Digital Selling, Outbound Tactics, Lead Generation + More

Digital Selling, Outbound Tactics, Lead Generation

- MOTIVATION -

"Prospecting - find the man with the problem."

-Ben Friedman

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

How Digital Selling and Digital Marketing Work Together to Win Sales–HubSpot

Whenever I have a conversation about digital selling, the discussion quickly transitions to topics like search engine optimization, Facebook Ads, or some other messaging related category. In other cases, social media marketplaces come up or even the latest progress someone is making in eCommerce. As much as I appreciate these hot topics, they are each connected to digital marketing.

Digital selling is different, and understanding the difference is critical to every organization that wants to maximize their selling efforts.>>>READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

What is a Target Persona and Why Do I Need One?

what is a target personaResearch reveals that 47% of buyers view at least three to five pieces of content before deciding to speak with a sales rep. In today's digital age, sales teams must rely on inbound marketing strategies (the process of attracting prospects to you) to convert leads. Why? In order to be successful, you must generate amazing content that speaks to your prospects’ various needs, pain points, and buying cycle stages.

Developing a target persona* is critical for success. If you don't have a clearly defined persona, who's all your content targeted to? A target persona is absolutely necessary for a successful lead generation strategy. If you don't have this information, how do you create valuable content?

Topics: Inbound Marketing target persona

Coaching the Sales Process: Overlooked Points in the GROW Step

Coaching the Sales Process Overlooked Points in the GROW Step

Grow, the sixth and final step in the Sales Accelerator Process is often-overlooked and underutilized—despite having hidden revenue-generating opportunities. Closing deals is the ultimate goal in sales, but it’s not where the work ends with clients. Salespeople should start to care about the renewal the moment they make the sale.

It costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. One of the biggest untapped opportunities for increasing sales and growing annual revenue is renewal and growing existing accounts. To do that, you set up regular meetings with clients to review campaign results and make adjustments along the way. You keep your promises, sell success, and grow the account.

Topics: key account growth sales process renewal

Solutions to the Age-Old Problem of Call Reluctance

Solutions to the Age-Old Problem of Call Reluctance

As a sales manager, do you feel like some of your veteran sellers struggle with new business development? It’s no secret that the recent downturn in revenue has shifted the focus to new business sales initiatives. Unfortunately, many sellers are struggling in this area of new business development. They are showing signs of call reluctance—the fear of taking a step in the sales process, fear of rejection, and fear of the unknown.

Call reluctance is very common; in fact, studies show 40% of salespeople will experience episodes of call reluctance, despite their years of experience or product knowledge. And while this anxiety feels unbeatable, you can help sellers overcome it by determining its root case and building a strategy.

Topics: sales process prospecting

Professional Development Books to Help Build Your Business Library

13 Professional Development Books to Help Build Your Business Library

Whether you’re a veteran in your career or just starting out, one of the most helpful things you can do is continue your professional growth. Our team enjoys many forms of professional development, and we find one of the quickest ways to grow is by reading.  At The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS), you’ll find a book in our hands most of the time. 

Reading helps you develop empathy, gain valuable exposure to other perspectives, and increases verbal intelligence—all of which make you a better leader. Some of the most influential leaders make reading a top priority and understand the importance reading has on their success. Bill Gates reads at least 50 books a year! He is instrumental in getting other business leaders to jump on the “reading bandwagon.” If you’re ready to broaden your mind and expand your professional development, take a look at these books that our team recommends.

Topics: developing strengths company culture

Weekly Roundup: The Rise of Sales Enablement, B2B Relationship Building + More

The Rise of Sales Enablement, B2B Relationship Building

- MOTIVATION -

"Engaging people is about meeting their needs, not yours."

-Tony Robbins

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Should You Have a Sales Enablement Department?–LinkedIn

It’s clearer than ever that sales enablement, which we define as “the process of providing the people in your sales organization with information and tools they need to sell more effectively,” is becoming a vital component in any B2B sales strategy. For companies large and small, across all industries, it is essential to implement technologies and collaborative resources that can make teams more efficient and effective.

Adoption of sales enablement solutions has been strikingly swift. The latest CSO Insights Sales Operations Optimization Study found that 59.2% of companies now have a formal sales enablement person, program, or function in place, compared to just 19.2% in 2013. Falling behind on sales enablement means falling behind the pack. There’s no question that it should be an ongoing organizational priority.>>>READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

Effective Feedback for Sales Performance

feedback for sales performanceTop-performing sales managers are on top because they are continually finding ways to encourage their team to be more productive. Constructive feedback is vital to ongoing development. In fact, In fact, the 2019 Media Sales Report found that 95% of salespeople said that learning and development are important to them.

Almost every sales organization has various types of sellers. There are the highest performers, who are needed even more after they reach their goals, their average performers that are “make or break,” depending on the month, and the low performers, who are a drag on achievement. There is an important technique that can give you a big boost with all of the above: Feedback

Topics: sales performance

Coaching the Sales Process: Overlooked Points in the CLOSE Step

Coaching the Sales Process Overlooked Points in the CLOSE Step

Having a strategic sales process goes far beyond knowing how to close a deal. If your goal is to drive sales performance and increase revenue, stay true to a repeatable sales process that leads to predictable sales.

The six steps of the Sales Accelerator lead salespeople from identifying a good prospect to developing a business relationship that results from the sale of your solution. Making it to step five—Close—means the finish line is in sight. But we’ve all heard the phrase, “the end depends on the beginning, and everything in between.”

Topics: Proposal sales process sales accelerator

Are Your Sellers Prepared for the Economy to Reopen?

Are Your Sellers Prepared for the Economy to Reopen

Perhaps the most anticipated grand opening of all times is occurring at various levels across our land right nowand it is joyous to see. But to say things are not quite returning to normal yet would be a great understatement. 

Most businesses are still adapting to the environment. Many are operating without key segments that were profitable just a few months ago or inventing new offerings in response to the changes we’ve all experienced.  Just as our clients are rethinking how they approach the market, so should your sales team.

Topics: sales performance COVID19 Resources

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator: People Development

Elevate Employee Engagement— Engagement Elevator People Development

The first Engagement Elevator, Shared Mission, taught us that organizations with highly engaged employees have a clear sense of where they’re going as a company and why. Leaders communicate their purpose and vision well enough, and with enough frequency, that each employee, in turn, can clearly articulate the details with others.  

The second Engagement Elevator, People Development, focuses on how managers can show that they care about their people, build individualized relationships, transparently share information, coach both strengths and weaknesses, and provide meaningful feedback.  Are you investing in your people?

Topics: company culture employee engagement