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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson

Recent Posts by Mike Anderson:

How Well do You Know Yourself? A Lesson in Personal Branding

look_in_the_mirrorA while back, there was an entertaining story about a tour bus in Iceland that had pulled over so passengers could inspect a volcano field. One of the passengers stepped into a nearby restroom to freshen up and change into clean clothes. Upon her return, she found the rest of the passengers frantically looking for a woman that had gone missing. She joined in the search, of course, but neither she nor the other tourists could find the lady matching the description of the person who had wandered off.

Topics: Digital Brand and Connect

Professional Branding: The Common Denominator between Mercedes, McDonald’s, and You

mcdonaldsWhen you hear the word Mercedes it is likely that a visual image of a luxury German automobile pops immediately into your mind. Likewise, when people hear McDonald’s it conjures a specific image almost immediately. You might picture a restaurant with golden arches somewhere near your home or your favorite menu item. You might see a logo, hear the company’s jingle, or recall an experience you had at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Such is the power of branding. From FedEx to Kleenex, from Macy’s to Applebee’s. Having a brand means that an image pops immediately to mind when you hear or see the name.

And the same is true of you. You have a brand.

Topics: Digital

What to Do When Life’s a Blur

blurDoes it ever seem like life is moving so fast that everything’s a blur? I can help you with that by sharing this one simple law of physics: You cannot focus on everything. So of course, when you try, everything’s going to be a blur. 

A few years ago, I took a photography course. One of the early assignments was to focus on a fast-moving object by keeping the camera trained on the subject, regardless of the background. That’s why this picture of a car moving down the highway is in focus, but the road and everything else around it is blurry.

Car_-_Mike_2012
Topics: Digital

The Flip Side of CRM: Vendor Relationship Management

Vendor_Relationship_ManagementWe’ve all heard of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and most sales organizations are using CRM software of one kind or another. One intent of CRM is to make sure no clients or prospects “fall through the cracks.” It’s a neat piece of software that helps the sales team make sure they are calling on prospects with sufficient frequency, suggesting upsell opportunities, and learning the buying cycle of existing clients. Sometimes the CRM system can even automate the process of corresponding with the customer. 

And now, many of those customers are automating their vendor relationships.

Have you experienced “Vendor Relationship Management?” If you’ve been stung by any of the following practices, you’ve run into VRM: 

  • The human gatekeeper who is paid, in part, to protect their executive from most “typical salespeople.”
  • The habit of sorting quickly through traditional mail or email, swiftly discarding anything that is from an unfamiliar sender.
Topics: Digital

6 Immutable Rules of Communication in the Age of Content Marketing

Recently, someone sent me an article about the new features within LinkedIn that are designed to help companies publish on the web. In the subject line of the email was this statement:know_the_rules

“Everyone's doing it!” 

Didn’t your mom and dad talk with you about peer pressure when you were in high school, or even earlier? Sure, they were probably talking about illicit activities like drinking, drugs, or promiscuity, but the point applies to blogging and other forms of content marketing: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should. 

“Everyone is doing it” is not a reason you should get into content marketing. It’s the reason you should take it very seriously, and do it really well.

Let me be blunt about this. Because so many companies are publishing, it is impossible for all that content to be consumed. Picture a room filled with dozens of people who are talking, while only a handful of people are listening. The folks who are pumping information out (publishing) are literally overwhelming the poor folks who are taking information in (listening). 

There can only be one result: A good number of the people who are talking are being ignored. To avoid that fate, consider these six immutable rules of communication in the age of content marketing:

1. Don’t just talk. Listen.

Topics: Digital

Sales Hunter, Farmer, Trapper: Which One(s) Are You?

Sales_Hunter,_Farmer,_Trapper__Which_One(s)_Are_YouNot long ago, we published a post here about the three archetypes of salespeople:  The sales hunter, the sales farmer, and the sales trapper.  In a way, the article prompted people to decide which type they most closely resemble: 

The Hunter:  Sellers who pursue their prospects like a lion might give chase to its prey… singling-out one account they’d like to land and then running after it as hard as they can.

The Farmer:  Account managers who realize the importance of nurturing and feeding their client relationships, knowing that it will eventually become ready for harvest.

Topics: Inbound Marketing

5 Things to Include in Your Sales Collateral So It Doesn’t Get Trashed

man-reading-sales-collateralIt would not be an overstatement to say that at The Center for Sales Strategy we get to work with some of the best clients on the planet. Each has an impressive list of products and services to offer as well as a remarkable sales organization that is constantly working to get better.

But there is one item on their respective lists that still holds room for dramatic improvement in a great many companies… and that is their sales collateral.

Our clients have worked very hard—some of them for decades—to create a culture of mutual success between themselves and their customers. This means digging deep to find legitimate problems and working to build creative, effective, cost-efficient solutions. The first meeting takes place, and another appointment is set. What ties the two together? Very often, it is those clutter-building pieces of paper known as sales collateral.

Topics: Sales

Sales Hunters, Sales Farmers, and… Sales Trappers?

Sales_Hunters,_Sales_Farmers,_and…_Sales_TrappersFor decades now, those of us in the B2B sales world have talked about two kinds of salespeople—Hunters and Farmers.  Some sales organizations are even formally divided into groups of Hunters and groups of Farmers, with different expectations set for each.  Here’s a summary of these two archetypes:

Sales Hunters

Hunters set out into the territory (literally or figuratively) looking for prey—er, prospects. They’re famous for their hyper-focus and the better ones are renowned for their skill with a variety of weapons (they call them approaches).  Nobody chases business and bags it better than a Hunter.  They’re motivated first and foremost by the thrill of the hunt; when the hunt is over, so is the thrill… until the next prospect comes into view.  Just as a pure hunter might not care if he ever eats his prey, the most extreme Sales Hunters are often not so effective at serving and maintaining that client long-term.

Topics: Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing: Is It Garbage-in Garbage-out, or Vice Versa?

inbound_garbageThe old saying used to be, “You get out of it what you put into it.”  In the era of inbound marketing, you could almost reverse that phrase:  The quality of content you push out will directly correlate to the quality of leads you bring in through your company’s blog.

Much focus is placed on the quantity of material you publish through a corporate blog, and publishing consistently in is important. But quantity will never serve as a substitute for quality, and volume will never be a fair trade for substance.

Topics: Inbound Marketing

Why Dropping Rates to Beat Your Competitor’s Price Just Doesn’t Cut It

cutting20priceThink about a typical sales engagement. You’re trying to win the same business that your key competitor is hoping to get their hands on. You spend a massive amount of time and energy trying to prove why your product, service, or company deserves the business over your competitor. In other words, you’re trying to prove you’re better.

Then, when it comes down to the transaction, you learn the prospect is considering both options, and you are tempted—by either the prospect or your own paranoia—to drop your price. 

Topics: Sales