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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why Are Organizational Goals Becoming Harder to Achieve?

ISP Steph Downs

In this episode of Improving Sales Performance, we’re once again diving into The 5th Annual Media Sales Report by The Center for Sales Strategy.

Today, we’re exploring why sales managers are experiencing such increased difficulty in achieving organizational goals.

Joining Matt to discuss that and much more is Stephanie Downs, SVP/Senior Consultant here at CSS. Stephanie provides valuable insights, like:

  • How a sales manager’s calendar should reflect a strategy of developing and coaching their people
  • Why we often make recruitment harder on ourselves by not having a firm plan in place
  • And, finally, why adding more people to your sales team is not always the solution
Topics: podcasts media sales report

B2B Sales Teams Number One Complaint (And What To Do About It)

B2B Sales Teams Number One Complaint

"I spend all day making cold calls, and I'm getting very little to show for my efforts. Getting the first appointment is harder than ever. If I could just get my foot in the door..."

It's a common complaint from B2B sales reps nowadays. Traditional prospecting approaches like cold calling have become less and less effective over the years. Decision makers simply don't answer unsolicited sales calls like they used to.

What can you do about it?

Topics: Inbound Marketing prospecting

Improving Sales Performance Often Requires Changing Focus

Improving Sales Performance Often Requires Changing Focus

How much more productive would you be if you focussed on your inputs? This means avoiding all distractions and only working on planning, pitching, and following up—all the factors that budge the needle, not those that don't. 

A lot of valuable time is wasted focusing on things we cannot control. For example, we have zero control over the economy, competitors, pricing, inventory, or customers' attitudes. Improving sales performance often requires changing focus from things that are out of our control to things we can control.

So, what exactly should you focus on? Here are several things within your control.

Topics: sales strategy sales performance business acumen

The 20% Dilemma: Managing Underperformance in Sales

Managing Underperformance in Sales

New data from the Media Sales Report shows that 46% of managers believe less than 20% of their sales teams are underperforming. 

It’s a terrible position to be in. It sucks your energy, time, and takes your focus from where you can be making a positive impact. It’s hard on leaders and underperformers. Underperformers usually fall into two categories:

1. The one that you hired, and they just can’t get it together. They consistently underdeliver on expectations. You hired them because you were confident they could do the job, they were maybe even going to be your next superstar, or so you hoped, but they haven’t met a budget and are underperforming.

2. The one that has performed well and is now consistently underperforming against their goals. What happened to them? They were great, but now….

Topics: sales management sales leadership

Quick Take: Highlights From The 5th Annual Media Sales Report

CSS_ISP-Ep66 Quick Take - Blog Graphic

In this Quick Take episode, we’re kicking off our season-long exploration of The Center for Sales Strategy’s 5th Annual Media Sales Report by highlighting some of this year’s most eye-catching findings.

In other words, by the end of this short episode, you’ll have a good idea of how salespeople and sales managers are currently feeling about their own organizations as well as the entire media sales industry.

Topics: podcasts media sales report

Beyond the Inbox: Rethinking Email Strategies in Modern Sales

Rethinking Email Strategies in Modern Sales

Did you know that the first email was sent way back in 1971?

That first “message” was a throwaway in terms of actual content. Engineer Ray Tomlinson, at the time, was exploring different ways for humans and computers to interact and sent himself a test email to see if his new idea worked.

Ray had little idea how powerful and enduring the concept of electronic mail would end up becoming.

Think about how much technological innovation has occurred in those 53 years since email’s invention. Despite the rise of social media, instant messaging, and other communication platforms, email continues to be a preferred and effective channel for sales professionals.

Topics: sales strategy email marketing

The Power of Saying No: 12 Lessons on Setting Boundaries

The Power of Saying No

We've all felt the guilt and anxiety that comes from overcommitting or saying yes when we really wanted to say no. Whether due to pressure from others, difficulty setting boundaries, or problems prioritizing self-care, many of us end up overloaded, overwhelmed, and stretched too thin.

In her book "The Power of Saying No," organizational psychologist Dr. Vanessa Patrick provides research-backed advice on the value of refusal and how to say no with grace and purpose. Through 15 key lessons, she empowers readers to set healthy boundaries and live more focused, intentional, fulfilling lives.

Topics: leadership learning development

The Secret Weapon of Persistence: Key Insight from the Media Sales Report

The Secret Weapon of Persistence

Let's face it, sales isn't for the faint of heart. It's a battlefield of "no's," rejection emails, and voicemails that mysteriously transform into black holes, swallowing your carefully crafted messages whole.

But before you drown your sorrows in a pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla (hey, emotional eating is a valid sales strategy, right?), hear me out: persistence is the secret weapon in your sales arsenal.

Topics: sales process

5 Quality Sales Activities Other Than Pitching and Closing

5 Quality Sales Activities Other Than Pitching and Closing

Spending time observing salespeople is something all leaders should do occasionally. You can learn so much more by observing first-hand how your salespeople interact with clients and customers.

This can work by physically accompanying a salesperson in the field or translating to online sales by listening to sales calls or observing emails and chats.  

Topics: sales process

How to Improve a Salesperson's Performance in Less Than 30 Minutes

11 of Salespeople Have Never Received Feedback Regarding Their Sales Talents

The good news: most of the sellers surveyed for the 5th Annual Media Sales Report knew what their sales talents were and how to put them to use.

The bad news: 11% reported that they had NEVER received feedback on their sales talents.

Think about it. Those 11% are at an automatic disadvantage. When projects come up, they may not know if those projects suit their talents. When reaching out to clients, they may not be aware of how to showcase their strengths. And when possible promotions are offered, they may not know if this would be a smart career move based on their talents.

Topics: feedback sales talent

Uncovering Real Needs Leads to Long-Term Client Relationships

Uncovering Real Needs Leads to Long-Term Client Relationships

The goal of any discovery meeting is to truly learn about the needs of a prospect or client.

So why doesn’t it happen on every discovery call?

Why do some meetings end without a clear understanding of the business results the account wants to achieve?

Topics: Needs Analysis discovery meetings

How to Win Over New Employees in Their First 30 Days

How to Win Over New Employees in Their First 30 days.

Your next hire is important! Right?

It’s probably one of the top reasons managers tell me their job is hard. Finding talented people is difficult, and once you find them, hiring them and getting them onboarded is time-consuming and stressful.

You have a lot to do, but investing time and energy in a few important onboarding disciplines can give you and your new hire a better chance for success.

Topics: onboarding new employee onboarding

Negotiating: Use Your Power for Good, Not Evil

Use Your Power for Good, Not Evil

Negotiation is an art, often perceived with a mix of hesitation and intrigue. It's a dance that occurs in various aspects of life, from buying a car to brokering major business deals.

Especially in sales, negotiation is not just a skill; it's a necessity. But the essence of effective negotiation lies in the approach: it's about collaboration, not confrontation.

Topics: sales process