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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

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

Lack of Leads Hurting Your Revenue? 5 Reasons Why You Need a Lead Generation Strategy

lead generation strategy

The hardest job in sales these days is getting an appointment with a new prospect. As a sales manager, it's fairly easy to stand up in the sales meeting and tell your salespeople that they need to do a better job prospecting or that they need to just commit more time and energy to getting appointments. But they already know those things, and they're facing huge hurdles that their counterparts of a few years ago didn't face.

Here are five of those hurdles. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section below.

Topics: lead generation Management Sales

"Follow Up Next Week" Does Not Mean You Have an Appointment

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One of the leading indicators for sales success is to look at the number of appointments that a salesperson has each week. (This is not the only leading indicator that you should be tracking, but it is one of them.) The idea is that if a salesperson has a significant amount of appointments each week which involve finding needs, getting assignments, presenting solutions, or delivering a proposal, that this quality sales activity will lead to good solid revenue performance.  

I think it’s fair to say that everyone in sales or in sales management would agree with this, so I’m not really going out on a limb having made that statement. But here is where I think there might be a flaw. I think many salespeople are confusing "I'll follow up with you next week" with "I have an appointment." To be clear, "I’ll follow up with you next week," does not mean you have an appointment.

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Manage the Big Rocks: How to Become a Time Management Pro

become a time management proIs it just me or does there not seem to be enough time in the day to get things done? I knew it wasn't just me! My life has been going 1,000 miles an hour lately, and I've been asked how I get it all done.

Manage the Big Rocks

I have a method that I follow religiously to get things done, and it doesn't really have anything to do with time management.

Topics: Management time management Sales

Selling Techniques for Getting that First Appointment

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You called. Left a message. "Maybe they're busy," you think. Or, "maybe they just don't return calls." Perhaps it's neither of these. Maybe it's on you.

Maybe you just haven't given them a compelling enough reason to call you back.

If you want people to call you back, you need to give them a reason. If the reason you are providing is something along the lines of, "I have a really great idea to share with you," then you sound just like the other 25 calls they've received.

Your prospect doesn't want your ideas. They want solutions to their problems.

Topics: Setting Appointments sales strategy Sales

Inputs vs. Output: Do You Know What’s Really Driving Your Sales?

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One of the most common debates in sales is how to best measure performance and other sales indicators. While some organizations prefer process-oriented KPIs, others have an outcome-oriented bias. Both ends of the spectrum are invaluable for powering your sales, but when it comes to prioritizing inputs vs. output, the “i’s” have it.

Topics: Sales metrics

Are You Using Your Sales Superpowers?

talent sales superhero

Sales superpowers? Yes, really. To understand what I mean, please take a step back from the world of selling and focus instead on the process of buying.

The easiest way to wrap your mind around this is to consider a few common business-to-consumer (B2C) purchasing processes like buying a car, remodeling a kitchen, or selecting a college. Looking through that lens, it is easy to see how different the process of buying is today than it was only 10 years ago. I’m sure you would agree that the most notable difference is the amount of time the consumer spends researching in advance.

This sort of pre-purchase work is just as prevalent in the B2B world! Whether an individual is shopping for office space or office supplies, or selecting a bank, an accountant, a lawyer, or an insurance agent, chances are they will do a lot of pre-work before they ever engage in a significant conversation with a representative from any company. And when they do finally begin that conversation, they will come loaded with information and expectations.

Topics: Buying Process sales management Talent Sales

24 Ways to Effectively Coach Millennial Salespeople

effectively coach millennial salespeopleDo Millennials simply have less sales talent than prior generations?

After conducting tens of thousands of sales talent assessments, we here at The Center for Sales Strategy can assure you that’s not the case.

In part one of this two-part series, I shared four key differences in how the Millennial generation was raised, insight I gained from Brad Karsh in my never-ending quest to learn more about how to activate Millennials. These differences explain much of the enormous disconnect between many Millennial workers and their managers today.

Topics: sales management Talent Sales coaching company culture

Five Ways to Create a Sales Culture

sales team cultureWhat is your sales culture? Do you even have one? I frequently hear from sales managers the need for a “sales culture,” but often they don’t really know what their own sales culture is or how to build one.

Topics: Management sales performance sales management sales culture Sales coaching

How the Consumer Journey Can Help You Sell More Integrated Solutions

integrated solutionsMedia sellers today have more capabilities than ever to drive results for their clients. With all of the potential options, you would think that it has gotten easier to build a solution that will drive results, right? Nothing could be further from the truth! If anything, the sheer number of solutions has made it more challenging to determine when to use what when. And with all of those capabilities, their presentations have also become longer – many filled with a multitude of product one-sheets and then a laundry list of recommended products in the recommended solution.

That is a struggle that I hear from salespeople that I work with all over the country. It’s not just determining what should be in the solution, but how to present it in a truly integrated format where it is clear why all of the components are critical to a successful result.

Topics: selling digital advertising integrated media solution sales performance Sales sales process