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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jim Hopes

Recent Posts by Jim Hopes:

Ever Feel Like Your Salespeople Are Bad at Picking Prospects?

are your salespeople bad at picking prospectsWell, you wouldn’t be alone  I hear this from sales managers all the time. Here are the reasons I see that salespeople too often select the wrong companies to pursue:

  • They are opportunistic and therefore look for low-hanging fruit where getting access to decision makers is relatively easy. Sometimes that works out, but too often it translates into prospects that do not have the resources to be a key customer in your organization.

  • They let their own preferences dictate who they pursue. There might be particular categories they are comfortable with, or types of individuals they like to deal with that prejudice their thinking about who they should pursue as a prospect.
Topics: sales performance sales pipeline account list management key account growth target personas sales accelerator

It’s OK to Say You Are Sorry

In fact, it’s better than OK. The reality is, in the course of any business relationship, something is going to go wrong at some time and it’s smart to get out front of it and to be very transparent.

Here’s a recent example of a problem we encountered in our own company we had to deal with, and an email we sent to the affected clients shortly following the incident as an apology: 

Topics: company culture Management sales management marketing strategy business relationships

Decisions Made Easy: A Sales Manager's Strategic Cheat Sheet

sales manager strategic cheat sheetHow many decisions does a sales manager make in day? 10? 25? 50? That number probably varies, but most people would agree sales managers make a lot of decisions each day as they navigate changing conditions, corporate demands, and plenty of persuasion from their salespeople about doing what they want them to do. Better sales managers make good decisions more often than mediocre sales managers. So, how do they do that?

Topics: sales management sales strategy coaching sales performance

A Sales Manager's Most Costly Mistake

target account brainstormPicture this. You are seven weeks into the quarter and pacing behind last year, and significantly behind your budget. Your manager and your manager’s manager are nosing around to find out what is going on and peppering you with questions about your plan to fix this. Your sales team is growing increasingly frustrated as orders get canceled and prospects fall through. This scenario is hypothetical, of course, but perhaps you have been there. So, how does a sales manager deal with this?

Topics: account list management key account growth sales management sales performance sales strategy coaching

The Comfort of Consistency

consistent sales managerMany of us seek new things in our lives to stay engaged and motivated, but even the most adventurous among us value certain things that are consistent. There are obvious consistencies we depend upon like gravity, the sun coming up in the east and setting in the west, or a manager who is very consistent in setting expectations. You probably didn’t see that third example coming, did you? But it’s true.

If you believe that most people want to do the right thing for their employers, the only thing that could trip them up is not knowing what the right thing is. For that reason, the best managers are boringly consistent about setting expectations their people can internalize and follow.

Topics: sales management Management coaching

Get Out Of Your Own Way: Asking For Referrals

Ask-for-Referrals

When was the last time you asked for a referral? Go ahead and fill in the date here ______________.  If the answer is yesterday, congratulations. If you can’t remember any time recently, you should stop and figure out why you are not doing this.

Think about it. When you are looking to hire a professional what do you do? Of course, you ask people you know and trust who they would recommend, right? Well, a referral is an implied recommendation. Clients who give you the name of someone to contact feel comfortable about the expertise you bring to the table and its potential to help the business or person they are referring. So, again, how often do you ask satisfied customers for a referral? I bet you are thinking, “Not often enough.”

Topics: referrals Sales sales strategy

5 Greatest Needs Analysis Questions You Can Ask Any Prospect. Not.

needs analysis questionsPerhaps you got excited when you read the first part of the headline. I got excited too, wishing there was a list of “magical” questions that could be asked of any prospect with a great result. The problem is, such a list does not exist. Sorry to burst your bubble.  

Topics: Sales Needs Analysis prospecting sales process

Is There Anything Else We Should Be Talking About?

sales managers and salespeople should ask this questionA simple question, right? Yes. But, very powerful. So many salespeople and sales managers have well-planned, beautifully-executed meetings, but inadvertently leave some of the most useful information on the table simply because they forget to ask this simple, shared-control question that can reveal the real priorities for the person with whom they are speaking.  

Topics: account list management key account growth sales management prospecting

Automate Your Caring

sales managers use calendar reminders for talent managementFor some sales managers who are naturally very strong in relationship talent, doing things every day to invest in relationships with their direct reports comes naturally. For the rest of us, we could use a little reminder to make sure we are taking the right actions that foster strong relationships with our people, and today’s software and app selection can help. 

Topics: sales management talent dashboard Management

Just Say “No” To Meetings

sales managers with too many sales meetingsIn over 25 years of working with sales managers, I have heard countless stories about how urgent items have displaced important items. When we work with managers, they readily agree that items like these are very important to their success in the job:

Topics: sales management successful sales meetings time management Management