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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Leadership: Improve This Skill, Improve Sales Performance

The Paramount Leadership Skill That Management Needs to Improve-1

Which skill do you think your manager needs to improve most?

When Robert Half Management Resources asked this question to more than 1,000 U.S workers, one skill clearly surpassed the rest communication skills. Adapting your communication style based on individual and situational needs is critical to improving sales performance.

You can have the greatest business strategy and sales plan, but those plans will never get implemented if you can’t communicate effectively. Communication is key, and below are four focus areas where every leader can start improving today.

Topics: sales performance sales managers communication

Weekly Roundup: Re-energizing Sales Efforts, Guide to Performance Reviews + More

Re-energizing Sales Efforts, Guide to Performance Reviews

- MOTIVATION -

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

-Vince Lombardi

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Re-energizing Sales Efforts in a Virtual World–Sales & Marketing Management

Is your sales team disengaged? This year, it’s hard not to be.
 
According to Gallup, the U.S. work force experienced the most significant drop in employee engagement in 2020. Notably, the largest decline in employee engagement was among those working in managerial or leadership positions. While not all sales teams may be struggling with demand, disen­gage­ment seems to be prevalent across all organizations and industries regardless of financial success.

Disengagement among your teams is costly and the change must come from the top. You have the power to reengage your teams. How? By recognizing team members’ achievements and rewarding them for a job well done. >>> READ MORE
Topics: Wrap-up

Annual Planning During Election Year

Annual Planning During Election Year

72% of Americans believe whoever is elected in the White House will directly impact their finances and 32% are putting off a big financial decision until Election Day.

Every four years, there’s a whirlwind of uncertainty about who will win the presidential and congressional elections. This year, our economic future tops the poll of concern. The unknowns are causing leadership to take fewer risks, hold off on making necessary business decisions, and hesitant to have conversations regarding annual contracts.

While we can’t predict the future and outcome, we can take control by being proactive. When it comes to business, time is money. And every business decision you delay is costing you valuable time and money.

Topics: metrics annual plannning

3 Ways to Improve Your IFM's

3 Ways to Improve Your IFMs

Your IFM's should be the most productive and most important time spent with your sales reps every week.

For those unfamiliar with the acronym IFM, it stands for Individual Focus Meeting. What is an IFM? It's what our team at The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) calls your weekly one-on-one meetings with your salespeople (CSS loves to create an acronym for more common sales terms to keep you on your toes.)

Numerous studies support the fact that one-on-one meetings have a large impact on your team’s performance. So, if you’re struggling with IFM’s, it’s time to prioritize and improve with these three tips.

Topics: successful sales meetings IMPACT Individual Focus Meeting

Talk Tracks to Speed Up the Sales Process

Talk Tracks to Speed Up the Sales Process

Salespeople in different industries encounter different questions and objections, right? Wrong. Your products and services may affect the minor details of objections, but Google the phrase ‘most common sales objections’ and you’ll find most sellers face the same objections from their leads.

Whether it’s price objections, the prospect isn’t interested, or “now isn’t a good time,” sellers often encounter the same types of questions and objections during the sales process. Sales enablement resources help them anticipate and overcome these objections.

Creating talk tracks and related sales collateral material helps enable sellers to respond quickly — allowing them to move the sales process forward and close business sooner.

Topics: sales process sales enablement

Tips to Make Sales Meetings Meaningful Instead of Meaningless

Tips to Make Sales Meetings Meaningful Instead of Meaningless

When you think about the sales meetings you attend, are you delighted or disappointed? Are you engaged or enraged? Is your time spent in the meetings worthwhile or wasted?

Sales meetings are a staple in most every sales department. Time is money to every salesperson and sales leader. It’s up to the sales leader to make sure each meeting is positive, motivating, and worthwhile. Treat your sales team like customers who want to feel like their needs have been met and that they leave the meeting enlightened and energized.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

Weekly Roundup: Video Sales Letters, Win in Uncertain Markets + More

Video Sales Letters, Win in Uncertain Markets

- MOTIVATION -

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

-Peter Drucker

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

You Should be Using Video Sales Letters Instead of Emails–Sales Fuel

Which would you rather do: Read a letter or watch a short video?
 
You probably agree with most people and would choose the video, right? It’s just easier that way. A video is visually stimulating, easier to digest, and takes all the work out of receiving a message. So, why are you still sending sales emails instead of video sales letters? >>> READ MORE
Topics: Wrap-up

5 Ways to Work Your Marketing Content Into Sales Plays

5 Ways to Work Your Marketing Content Into Sales Plays

Marketing content isn’t just for branding and lead generation anymore. Today’s buyers aren’t interested in being sold. Instead, they want to be educated and informed.

Consequently, it’s more important than ever that sales teams have access to content relevant to their prospect’s business problems and positions the seller and the organization as thought leaders and subject matter experts. The content that Marketing creates to support the go-to-market objectives (blog articles, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, etc.) is often repurposed to support the buying journey  and sales process as well.

To better support the sales team, marketers are not only creating and repurposing content, they’re also building specific sales plays (that include items like customizable email templates, voice mail scripts, and corresponding cadence schedule) that prescribe how and when the content should be leveraged to support the sales process.

Topics: sales enablement sales playbook

6 Tips to Help You Secure a B2B Sales Appointment

secure a B2B sales appointmentJust securing an appointment is one of the most difficult steps in the entire sales process. Having a referral or industry success story makes this task a little easier (so, use them if you have them).

But, what do you use if you don’t have either at your disposal? What if you just can't get the appointment?

Topics: valid business reason Needs Analysis sales process

5 Biggest Interview Pitfalls — And How to Avoid Them

5 Biggest Interview Pitfalls—and How to Avoid Them

Interviewing salespeople is tough!

Screening, uncovering, and selecting top talent takes a lot of practice and a reliable process. In order to better take advantage of every golden interview opportunity that comes your way, you need to know the common pitfalls and then avoid them.

Topics: hiring salespeople

Turn Stale Leads into New Business and Re-Engage Old Leads

Turn Stale Leads into New Business and Re-Engage Old Leads

Are you one of the 63% of businesses that have problems getting traffic and leads? Or are your salespeople part of the 44% that give up after one rejection?

It happens to everyone in sales. You connect with a prospect, conduct a needs analysis, maybe even give a stellar presentation, but something happens along the way, and the prospect stalls. Do you know it takes six to eight follow-ups for sales leads to convert to paying customers?

Before moving forward after a stalled account, evaluate where you went wrong. How do you re-engage stalled accounts? Well, it all depends on where you’re at in the sales process.

Topics: sales process prospecting

Weekly Roundup: How to be Authentic as an Executive, Sales Performance Reviews + More

How to be Authentic as an Executive, Sales Performance Reviews

- MOTIVATION -

"Be miserable or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."

-Wayne Dyer

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

The Trap of Authenticity: For Executives, Keeping It Real Can Be Really Hard To Do–Forbes

Authenticity is having a moment, and that’s a good thing, right? Depending on how you define it, authenticity champions transparency, being genuine, keeping it real. It asks us to be vulnerable, to bring our whole selves to work. It also encourages us to speak up, to challenge authority for a purpose, and to behave and act in ways that support an inclusive, diverse environment.

The problem comes down to this. The gap between the concept of authenticity and practicing it is wide and confusing. It’s why so many C-level clients ask: How do you actually do this? As one leader put it: “It feels like a trap. Show too much authenticity, you’re unprofessional or oversharing. Not enough authenticity, you’re seen as hard to read or lacking transparency.” No wonder many leaders feel they are navigating a tricky high wire act when it comes to showing up authentically.

So, how do you actually practice authenticity? For senior leaders, here are a few tips. >>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Saved the Sales Rep

Ask-Questions-in-Sales-Meetings

Have you ever noticed how many questions little kids ask? Every parent has a story to tell about the funny or embarrassing questions their kids have asked at the most inopportune times: “Why is Grandma so wrinkly?" or "Why do I have to eat those gross green things?”

If you don’t take control of the conversation, the third degree can go on indefinitely—because the curiosity in children is limitless!

Somewhere on the journey from childhood to adult professional, much of that unfettered curiosity gets left behind. We've become a society of head-nodders where people are often afraid they’ll look dense if they ask a question. You’ve seen it—people nodding in agreement, as if they completely understand, when you're certain they don’t. Their fear of losing the respect of others actually keeps them from learning.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Expert Tips for Successful Sales Enablement Strategies

Expert Tips for Successful Sales Enablement Strategies

One of the largest inhibitors to sales enablement in organizations is taking a random approach to it.

According to Salesforce, 58% of pipelines stall because sales reps are unable to add value. Is your current sales enablement content addressing the issues your clients and prospects are facing? Research says for many companies the answer is no, and it’s due to the lack of a sales enablement strategy.

As you look to grow your sales enablement efforts, our experts want to offer their tips on successful sales enablement strategies that they know are proven to work.

Topics: sales enablement IMPACT

Critical Sales Trends That Should Get Your Attention

Critical Sales Trends That Should Get Your Attention

The “old days” when we just showed up on someone’s doorstep or dropped into their inbox or voicemail weren’t really all that long ago, were they? 

The reality is these time-tested cold calling methods were already losing their effectiveness before the pandemic shutdown sent everyone home from the office. Still, changes in prospect behavior have accelerated, given the trials of the last six months.  And, those trends are likely to result in permanent changes in how B2B sales are conducted.

Topics: valid business reason sales process sales trends

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression — Make it Count!

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression — Make it Count!

We’ve all heard, “you’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” This applies to so many facets of life, and when it comes to sales, that first 7-10 seconds can make or break you.

Our brains make a thousand computations during the first seven seconds we see someone. That means within seven seconds, the person across from you is assessing whether you’re likable, trustworthy, and competent.

Is the impression you create a blend of your personality, body language, and communication skills? If not, it should be!

Topics: Lead Nurturing sales process

Weekly Roundup: Leveraging Social Media, Continuing Human Connection + More

Leveraging Social Media, Continuing Human Connection

- MOTIVATION -

"Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is."

-Vince Lombardi

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

5 Ways B2B Brands Can Leverage Social Media to Connect With Customers–PandaDoc

Most B2B brands have a presence on at least one social network. But far too many B2B companies don’t tap into the full power of social media. The reason? They may assume social media caters to B2C companies and are less of a priority for B2B.

According to recent statistics, an estimated 3.6 billion people use social media, with that number likely to grow to  4.4 billion by 2025. That means nearly half of the world’s population uses social media. By following five best practices, you can use social media to reach new audiences, tell their brand stories, and build relationships with prospects and customers. >>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

Four Engagement Elevators You Can Use to Improve Your Company Culture

Improve Your Company Culture

Culture 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 employee engagement