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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jim Hopes

Jim Hopes

Recent Posts by Jim Hopes:

What Does Sales Strategy Mean?

What Does Sales Strategy Mean

We hear sales managers and execs talk all the time about the importance of sales strategy. “Strategy” is one of the words that gets used a lot. In fact, Webster’s Dictionary says it's in the top 1% of most popular words. After all, who gets heat for talking strategy?

The problem is that most sales “strategies” are not really strategies at all. If you look at that definition of strategy, you see, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.That means a strategy doesn’t change (or if it does, it's not very often), is long-term, and describes a set of consistent behaviors.

Many sales strategies are more like tactics making more calls in a defined period of time, approaching a new group of prospects, or introducing new offers to move the market forward. These things are not bad, but they're tactics, not strategies. Tactics are helpful IF they support a strategy.

Topics: sales strategy prospecting

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

The Future of Work

The Future of Work in Sales

While no one has enjoyed dealing with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has certainly provided many of us with impetus to change how and where our associates do their work. 

Technology has saved many businesses from crushing productivity loss and caused many executives and managers to re-think how work gets done in their organizations, and especially how productivity is affected by working from home (or, any remote location). 

But this is only the beginning. There are other changes on the horizon in the next 5-10 years that will demand that we change how we define work and how we measure productivity.

Topics: sales performance Remote Team

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

How To Drive New Business In Today’s Environment

How To Drive New Business In Today’s Environment

Everyone is looking for creative ways to drive new business—and we could easily provide a list of five hacks that would be helpful. But those five tips would not have the same impact that changing just one thing would have—your perspective.

There is a legendary story about a large American shoe company that sent two sales representatives to different regions of the Australian outback to scope out the business potential for the company.  The first reported, “No business here. The natives don’t wear shoes.”  The other wired back, “Huge opportunity! The natives don’t wear shoes.”

Same data, different conclusion. Which message would you have sent back?

Topics: COVID19 Resources

Never Waste a Good Crisis

Never Waste a Good Crisis

Given the sudden health and economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the phrase, “Never waste a good crisis,” has surfaced quite a few times. Noted public figures ranging from Machiavelli and Winston Churchill to Barack Obama have all invoked the phrase in times of trouble.

It’s often viewed as an opportunist looking to advance an agenda during an unfortunate circumstance. The reality is the phrase is more accurately a challenge to commit to doing things differently and better as a result of what we experience. And that’s the challenge we have for you.

Topics: leadership COVID19 Resources

Sales Survival: Avoiding Panic, Paralysis, and Pessimism

Sales Survival Avoiding Panic, Paralysis, and Pessimism

Panic, paralysis, and pessimism —these “three P’s” are your enemy during any time of disruption and economic downturn. Your best strategy in business (and, in life) is to minimize each of them during this COVID-19 fueled business disruption. 

Parts of what we’re seeing have occurred in the past—severe shock to the financial system such as the Great Recession of 2008/2009 where banking system nearly collapsed, a shutdown of events and travel post 9/11, and a 50% drop in stock indexes in 1987—all crises in which we've managed to adapt. 

Part of what we're seeing seems new. Most of the world has not lived through a pandemic that has affected nearly all nations, but some have, like the SARs epidemic that served as a pandemic for many countries. So, if you’re in sales survival mode, how do you cope? Let’s take these three P’s one at a time.

Topics: COVID19 Resources

Humanizing Your Sales Strategy [VIDEO]

Jims Video

Whether you’re a sales manager evaluating your team or in the field coaching salespeople who are trying to get quality appointments, you’re always looking to improve results.

Based on years of experience, we often see salespeople develop strong valid business reasons, but the delivery is too formal. Listen to the video for great before and after examples and keep reading for the secret to a successful sales strategy.

Topics: valid business reason sales strategy

Time Management Tip: The Problem With Your To-Do List

Time Management Tip: The Problem With Your To-Do List

“Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

- Benjamin Franklin

Did you know that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down?

High-performing salespeople are intense; they typically have a long to-do list each week, and they attack that list with extreme focus. They’re dedicated, highly customer focused, competitive, and can typically accomplish more in one-week than any average Joe could in one month.

These days, life is so busy that we easily forget tasks and goals if we don’t write it down. However, writing down a to-do list is just the beginning; unless you prioritize that list, your productivity and time management is suffering.  

What does that mean?

Topics: priorities to-do list

Talk to Your Clients! Fostering Communication Through Service-Level Agreements

JIM_annual_contracts

We know it’s extremely important to maintain open and regular communication with clients. Each team should be consistently tracking their efforts and goals and addressing any concerns along the way. Due to time restraints and other factors, that rarely happens – and that’s where a Service-Level Agreement steps in.

As sales professionals, we love annual contracts because we know that clients are going to spend throughout the course of a year. However, we cannot become apathetic and only talk to clients once a year.

Topics: renewal communication