In B2B, Salespeople usually have to generate 75% of their own leads, and they have to prosecute all of them. Who are your salespeople and how will you manage them?

How many zombies are lurking in your sales pipeline?

Have you ever felt that you might be in the presence of the living dead? Even if you are not a horror movie fan, it might be worth taking a closer look at your organisation’s sales pipeline. The things you are likely to uncover could disturb you. That’s because many of today’s sales pipelines contain deals that are destined to never close - and yet the sales people responsible seem strangely unwilling to acknowledge the fact. Many of the deals were never alive in the first place - and many more are beyond any hope of resurrection. READ MORE

Why B2B sales people need to lead towards – not with – their solution

One of the key principles that should underpin your B2B marketer’s mindset is that your marketing messages – and your sales conversations – need to lead towards your solution rather than with your solution. The obvious conclusion is that both your marketing messages and your sales conversations need to “sell the problem before you sell your solution” - it’s a matter of leading the prospect through the critical sequence: Why change? - Why now? - Why us? Suppressing the itch to pitch Sales people (and marketers) often get this intellectually, but then stumble when putting it into READ MORE

Do your event invitations convey a Valid Business Reason (VBR) for attending?

  By Yulia Edirisinghe In B2B marketing, events are one of the most frequently leveraged tactics, and whether it is a large event, a trade conference, or a small format event in your boardroom, the success of an event hangs on getting the right people in the room. So your event invitation is key. It has to: Successfully convey what the event is about, while being coy enough to peak the recipients’ interest to find out more; Allow for a process of self-qualification, making sure the people who attend are those you want to have a conversation READ MORE

Why we’re going to need fewer, smarter B2B sales people

According to projections by Gerhard Gschwandtner (CEO of SellingPower magazine) and others, we’re going to need to employ far fewer sales people by the end of the current decade - and the trend is already kicking in. From the demand side, there are many explanations for this trend - amongst them the modern, digitally-savvy prospect’s understandable tendency to delay wanting to engage with a sales person until far later in their buying decision process, and the rise of “self-service” B2B sales models. Traditional behaviours are increasingly irrelevant And from the supply-side, despite the fact that the one READ MORE

In complex sales, your fiercest competitor is often “do nothing”

It’s bad enough when, after a long, complex and resource-intensive sales campaign, you end up losing to the competition. But at least you’ve got the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere in the process you were probably outsold, or failed to acknowledge a competitor’s advantage that was always going to be difficult to defeat. But what about the growing number of apparently well-qualified sales opportunities that fade away with the prospect deciding to “do nothing” at the end of the day? You might attempt to derive some comfort from the fact that at least you weren’t beaten by READ MORE

20 Best Practices all B2B Sales & Marketing Organisations Should Adopt

What separates the top-performing B2B sales and marketing organisations from their also-ran competitors? What are the winning behaviours that enable them to create repeatable, scalable and predictable businesses? After observing many of these best-in-class organisations in action, I’d like to suggest 20 best practices that all B2B focused companies ought to think about adopting… These best practices appear to be particularly relevant to B2B organisations with complex, high-value products or services that involve extended sales cycles, and where uncovering better qualified opportunities, shortening sales cycles and increasing sales win rates can have a dramatic impact on revenues, READ MORE

B2B sales: “how are you?” and other cringe-worthy opening questions

Call me old fashioned if you will, but when someone I have never met phones me out of the blue and can’t think of anything less inane than “how are you” to start the conversation, I know one person on the call is an idiot. And, IMHO, it isn’t me. In a business-to-business environment, that sort of false familiarity isn’t just cringeworthy, it’s downright impertinent, and a sure sign that the speaker that is utterly devoid of imagination or any detectable level of emotional intelligence. Why on earth would I want to waste my time in continuing READ MORE

3 out of 4 companies are taking the wrong approach to sales coaching

As you can imagine, I get to speak to a fair number of B2B-focused CEOs and sales leaders - and I can’t recall any of them ever disagreeing with the principle that effective sales coaching is an absolutely critical skill for first-line sales management. But the latest research from CSO insights suggest that 3 out of 4 companies are taking the wrong approach to sales coaching - an approach that is clearly holding back both individual rep performance and overall revenue achievement. Three approaches to coaching In the research that formed the basis for their recently-published 2013 READ MORE

B2B Complex Sales: why sales people should NEVER demo their product

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a product demo that seems to go on interminably until you feel that you have lost the will to live? Ever felt that the sales person is simply lobbing feature after feature at you, desperately hoping that that at least one of them will be of interest? Ever believed that they aren’t going to let you out of the room (or off the call) until they have shown you absolutely everything? Well, you’re not alone. That’s exactly how most prospects that have been subjected to a classic “everything READ MORE

What have you learned from your top sales performers?

What is it that your top sales performers do better than anyone else? Part of the explanation may, of course, be simply that they are more naturally talented, or have a greater emotional intelligence when it comes to decoding complex sales relationships. But they will also have accumulated a set of winning habits and behaviours that the rest of your sales team could benefit from. And your ability to leverage that learning could make all the difference when it comes to achieving or exceeding your revenue goals. As Miller Heiman’s 2013 sales best practices report points out, READ MORE

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