The real reason sales people struggle to close deals

  Alec Baldwin has got a lot to answer for. And, no, I’m not talking about his appearance in “Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat”. I am, of course referring to his role as Blake, the alpha dog motivational salesman in the film “Glengarry Glen Ross”. By the way, you can blame the IMDb website for the “alpha dog motivational salesperson” tag. It’s a laughable description. But it’s somewhat relevant, because the role he plays in that film is, by the standards of effective salesmanagership, completely barking. Blake’s Seven becomes 3 For those of you unfamiliar READ MORE

How to turn every sales person into a top story-teller

  What sets top sales people apart? What is it that they do better than the rest? There are, of course, a number of factors, but one that we frequently observe is that top sellers are great story-tellers. They put their points across not by pitching their products, but by sharing relevant, situation-specific anecdotes and stories that their prospects can relate to. Your most experienced and effective sales people - and your senior executives - probably have a stock of these stories. Telling them seems perfectly natural. They use their stock of stories to give direction to READ MORE

People Buy from People They Like

On the face of it, the strongest solution should always win the new business, regardless of how much the client likes you. However, it’s commonly accepted that personality factors can influence decisions in awarding new business. So to what degree does this happen - if you have the strongest solution, is that enough to get you over the line? Or are decision-makers swayed by how much they like the person behind the solution? The Importance of a Strong Solution Let’s face it – even your staunchest supporters will find it hard to support you if you have READ MORE

How to make money from failure

Sales and marketing teams are geared towards success, but it's how they handle failure that will make them rich. Let's look at what happens when a salesperson returns from making a sale - or when a colleague from marketing hauls in loads of qualified leads. There are high-fives all around - and even the customer gets a look-in: They get a letter from the head of the company or division congratulating them on their fine decision. But what do we do with the prospective customers who don't proceed? Those who leak from our funnel? The answer is READ MORE

How to leak your sales funnel gracefully

Deals can drift, delay or simply disappear. For many buyers, ‘do nothing’ is a legitimate option – and a popular one. Sure, you can also make mistakes, or do well and still lose to a competitor. Whichever the case, how you exit that ‘thanks but no thanks’ conversation is just as important as your opening call. Think about the most common conversations at the point of exit, and what’s really going on: “This is not a priority for us right now” At some point it will be. You need to be the one they call (or receive READ MORE

Why top sales people focus on priorities – not needs

When I started my sales career, I was taught that I should focus on identifying my prospect’s needs. Later, when I started to work for companies that were selling into early-stage markets, I was taught that I should invest in creating needs that the prospect had not previously recognised they had. But I’ve learned that simply identifying or creating needs isn’t enough. Here’s why… You see, no matter how good you are at identifying needs that your prospects already have, or no matter how good you are at creating needs your prospects didn’t previously know they had, READ MORE

How many leads do you need per campaign?

Calculating the number of leads needed for a B2B marketing campaign seems simple. You can do it on the back of an envelope: firstly, work out the real target - consider your revenue target, reduce this by any annuity revenue to get your "sales target". Then reduce this by the weighted probability of opportunities you can already see, and you have your revenue gap. Divide this revenue gap by your average sale value, and you have the number of sales required. Easy right? Well, not so fast. Why quick calculations aren't enough to forecast leads Quick calculations READ MORE

B2B Sales: Is your funnel fighting fit or fundamentally flabby?

The “funnel” is one of the most powerful metaphors in B2B sales and marketing. It describes the passage of prospects through a buying decision process that hopefully will (but often does not) result in your successfully selling something to them. A flawed metaphor For sure, the metaphor is flawed. Real-world funnels don’t leak, and everything that flows into the top tends to flow out from the bottom. And - unlike sales opportunities - the liquid they contain doesn’t normally flow back uphill again or evaporate completely. But despite all its manifest flaws, the idea of a funnel READ MORE

How to make recycling pay

In sales and marketing, we celebrate winners - the salesperson who returns with the signed contract is a hero, as is the marketer who exceeds their quota of qualified leads. Even the customer gets a look in: We send them a letter of congratulations from the President of the company. Yet the celebrations usually cover the 5 per cent success and avoid confronting the fact that the other 95 per cent no longer in our sales funnel can actually be counted as failure. Why do we spend so much time on the 5 per cent of buyers READ MORE

3 Key Steps to Building a Stronger Sales Funnel for 2013

We’re already into the last quarter of 2012. If you’re in a complex sales environment with lengthy decision-making processes, this year’s final revenue number is probably going to depend on how effectively you can close the opportunities that are already visible to you in your funnel. But what about next year? What could and should you be doing today to lay the foundations for a stronger sales funnel in 2013? I’d like to suggest 3 simple, effective steps that you can take right now to ensure that you enter 2013 (and maybe even finish 2012) in great READ MORE

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