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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

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

Why Avoiding Disruption is Stalling Your Sales Career

building your account list Salespeople work hard to build an account list. Most clients on your list have been researched, painstakingly approached, and developed over time. Maybe a few just fell into your lap. But you value them all. Sure, some may be easier to work with than others, but you have no reason to change anything. Why would you?

Because the path that leads to a larger account list is not just more clients, but better clients.

I want to share some interesting lessons I heard at the recent INBOUND18 Conference. It was one of the last sessions on the last day. The one you debate about attending, because out the window the shuttle buses are already filling up with attendees leaving for the airport. I’m glad I stayed, and want to share some of what I heard in relation to building your account list.

Topics: key account growth sales performance sales process sales pipeline account list management

Are You Giving Key Accounts the Finger?

don't give your key accounts the fingerMany years ago, I talked with the owner of a specialty grocery store in Columbus, Ohio called The Hills Market. During this conversation, I learned about the term “giving customers the finger.”

This unfortunate situation occurs when a customer asks for help locating a product and an employee points in the direction of the product and sends the customer on their way. From a customer service perspective, this is a no-no! The best way to help a customer is to listen to their request (problem) and take them to the product (solution). 

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

Prospecting - You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice

prospecting Early in my sales career, I got a call from a veteran Account Executive across the hall. He worked for one of our other properties and saw that I was working with a prospect he was calling on. He wanted to set up a joint sales call. I was skeptical, since I'd recently met with that prospect, and the manager made it abundantly clear that he had already placed his budget for the year, and he was not open to new ideas.

Topics: new business development prospecting account list management sales accelerator

Busy Doing What? 4 Steps to Implement If You're Working Hard and Not Seeing Sales Results

busy salesperson not seeing sales resultsSome sellers wonder why they miss sales goals on a regular basis even though they are busy as a bee. Making “plenty” of face-to-face calls. Presenting and closing “plenty” of proposals. Conducting “plenty” of post-sale follow-up tasks. All of these activities usually equal another month short of exceeding their sales goals. 

Topics: key account growth sales strategy sales process account list analytics account list management

Busting the New Business Myth

account list analyticsI get it. I know it is important, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about new business. Truth be known, most sellers are sick and tired of hearing about new business… and their managers are sick and tired of talking about it!

Facts Behind the Myth

The majority of sales organizations are obsessed with new business because of one reason: they do a terrible job of keeping and growing existing business (AKA: customers).

Not all customers are created equal. World-class sales organizations segment them like this:

Topics: key account growth sales strategy sales performance sales management salespeople account list analytics account list management

All The Good Accounts Are Taken — 6 Things That Bust This Myth!

finding quality leadsAs VP/Sr. Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy, I’ve worked with many customers over the past fourteen years. I would be a wealthier man if I had a dollar for every time I heard this line from sellers:

“All the good accounts are taken.” 

Topics: key account growth sales strategy salespeople prospecting account list management

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: key account growth sales management prospecting account list management

Fixing Your Leaky Bucket: Account List Management Strategy

target-account-account-list-management-strategyHave you ever tried to fill a leaky bucket? Pouring water into the bucket while water leaks out from the bottom is a fruitless process and a waste of time. The net result is a partially-filled bucket!

Topics: sales strategy sales performance sales management account list management

What’s Your Account List Management Strategy?

account list management strategyToo many sales organizations do not have an account list management strategy (ALMS) or they have one that provides little strategic value. In mature businesses, the lack of a priority-based ALMS is often tied to the following:

Topics: sales performance sales management account list analytics account list management