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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Matt Sunshine

Matt Sunshine

Recent Posts by Matt Sunshine:

The 4 Most Important Key Performance Indicators for Sales Managers

4 most important kpis for sales managers

Sometimes I wonder if our ability to measure almost everything is what gets in the way of us actually paying attention to what might be the most useful metrics. I’ve spoken with plenty of sales managers who are frustrated these days because someone upstairs has fallen in love with a new measurement, a new report, or a new way to look at familiar data. All these midstream changes result in plenty of heat and plenty of smoke, but not necessarily the light of new insight. Not much actually changes, especially at the bottom line.

Don’t get me wrong. I love numbers as much as the next person and I agree that measurement improves performance and is essential to success. But I also know we can’t keep changing the rules of the game. Performance improvement comes only when we focus on the same metrics over time. We need to follow the right measurements and stay focused.

What if you could only measure four things? Which would you choose?
Topics: Management

4 Ted Talks You Should Show in a Sales Meeting

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If your sales meetings are typically just focused on reviewing the budget pacing numbers and other housekeeping notes, then WOW are you missing a great opportunity. Sales meetings are a great place to do sales training or sales warm ups. While most sales managers agree with this, they often share that one of the reasons they don’t do that sort of activity is that they don’t have time to prepare. Clients of the Center for Sales Strategy often use one of the “sales meeting kits, ” but not everyone has that available to them. So if you are looking for some content to enliven your next sales meeting, here are four TED talks that we recommend.

A summary is provided so you can get an idea of what each talk is about.

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management

5 Books Sales Leaders Should Read This Summer

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

At least once a week, I get asked by a sales leader if there is a business book I would recommend they read that will help them improve their game. That is a tough question to answer, because there are so many very good books out there, and depending where you are in your career (or your current business situation, or what you have already read) the right book for you could be one of several. So instead of picking just one book, I thought I would provide a list of five books that would make for great reading this summer.

Topics: Sales leadership

A Sales Process that Matches the Buying Process

sales process to match the buying process

Some say that the holy grail of sales is consistent and predictable revenue. Many are on this seemingly never-ending quest, but find it both elusive and always just out of reach. A strategic sales process is the only thing that will help you reach your goals.

Topics: Buying Process Sales sales process

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. 

Sales enablement. Why wouldn't you want it?

Topics: sales enablement

4 Things Sales Management Should Do to Improve Sales Performance

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Recently, I spoke to a sales management group on four things that they can do to improve sales performance, and this is what I shared with them.

1. Recruitment

Always be recruiting. 24/7. 365. The battle for top sales talent these days has never been harder. You always have to be recruiting. Not just when you have an opening.

Topics: sales performance sales management coaching

8 Steps to Improve Your In-Field Coaching

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I know about coaching. 

When my twin daughters were learning to drive, I spent countless hours working with them as they practiced behind the wheel. I owed it to all of you to do my job well!

On my quest to mold them into great drivers, I learned one certain truth: this kind of coaching can only be accomplished from inside a moving vehicle. You cannot teach someone how to drive a car by handing them a book, suggesting an informative video, or lecturing them on safe driving techniques.

(The same is true for sales, but more on that later…)

Our learn-to-drive boot camp did begin with some classroom-style learning. The girls read the information booklet provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles from cover to cover and they attended formal driver’s education classes to ensure they obtained the knowledge required to pass their written exam. They squeaked by on that exam which then earned them a driver’s permit so they could legally join the rest of us on the road as long as they have a family member in the car. Me.

Another certain truth: just because someone passes a written test does not mean they drive well. 

Topics: sales management Talent

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Saved the Sales Rep

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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, all those occasions their child has scrunched up their little face and asked, “Why is Grandma so wrinkly?" or "Why do we have to go to school every day?" 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, though, much of that unfettered curiosity gets left behind. I would argue that we have 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 are certain they don’t. Their fear of losing the respect of others actually keeps them from learning. 

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales

The Problem is Not in the Proposal or the Sales Funnel

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Frustration sets in when you look at all the pending business you have sitting in your sales funnel and realize that a good portion of it has been there for weeks! Those prospects you were sure were going to sign off on your proposal right away are instead sharing reasons why they’re not ready or telling you they need more time to think it over. You know that with every week that passes, the chances that any of them will turn into a sale diminishes greatly and you’re kicking yourself because you are now reduced to emailing your prospect with the subject line "Checking in" since you really have no other options left.

Are you experiencing this uncomfortable, bloated feeling right now?

That bloated pipeline isn’t just uncomfortable . . . it’s frustrating and, ultimately, very expensive. Yes, it can sometimes feel rewarding to say you have “a lot out there,” but we all know that pending business is only good if it ends up closing. 

Spoiler alert: This is not an article on how to close your pending deals. It’s way more valuable than that. 

The problem is not in the proposal or the funnel, but rather with the process.
Topics: Sales sales process sales accelerator

6 B2B Sales Statistics You Want to Pay Attention To

b2b sales statisticsIt’s the sales leader’s job is to pay attention to both what is working and what is not working in the sales department and to make the appropriate adjustments so that the sales force has the best possible chance for success. To do that, the sales leader must pay attention to several things including sales process, sales activity, sales analytics (KPI’s), and of course, the customer.

In fact, paying attention to the customer is perhaps the most important of them all. In recent years, the way that customers have been engaging with sales has changed significantly. If you are a sales leader and you have not adapted the way you run your sales department, then you might find yourself slowly starting to lose ground to the competition.

Topics: sales performance sales management