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

Should sales people be problem solvers or problem builders?

The conventional view of a successful “solution sales” person is as a problem solver. But that traditional perspective is being questioned in a number of quarters. You see, the fact that you have a solution to your prospect’s “problem” is probably irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, even if what you have to offer is - by whatever questionable criteria you might choose to apply - the “best” solution available. Your prospects can't afford to solve all their problems Given half a chance, your prospects will always be able to identify more problems, issues or opportunities 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

Social Media: A Team Effort Between Marketing and Sales

Surveys of B2B marketing budgets consistently show that a higher percentage of marketing resources are being invested in content development and social media than ever before. But business social media is too important to be left to the marketing department alone—it needs to be a team effort between marketing, sales and other customer-facing employees. In addition to the obvious advice to make all of your invaluable content social-media friendly and easily shareable, I’d like to suggest 7 simple steps that could help the whole organization to come together to fully realize the potential of business social media. READ MORE

Do face-to-face meeting quotas work?

Salespeople have a reputation for avoiding paperwork and administration. They are also traditionally resistant to the idea of working to a meeting quota. But getting busy and recording the results is precisely the path to sales success. Face-to-face sales calls are the preferred method of making a sale. Yet, because they are also seen as expensive, they should ideally be used only when there's a good chance of achieving the outcome. While the marketing department has many tactics that will move the prospect along the buying path, the truth is that many businesses use salespeople when READ MORE

If Alignment is such a good thing, why is it so hard to achieve?

It would be hard to find anyone prepared to argue against the benefits of sales and marketing alignment. It’s a proven fact (we’ll come on to the results in a moment) that well-aligned organisations grow revenues faster. So, if alignment is such a good thing, why is it so difficult to achieve? I'd like to share some of my conclusions about why alignment often proves difficult - and offer you some ideas that could help you improve it. Why bother getting aligned? According to the Aberdeen Group, the top reasons for improving sales and marketing alignment are READ MORE

How to make your strategy more buyer-centric

All businesses strive to recognise the needs of buyers when developing strategies for sales success. Well, at least you should. You research met and unmet needs, teach your salespeople to understand business requirements and take pride in meeting those customer demands. How, though, can you more fully acknowledge buyers when shaping your strategy? Remember that businesses buy products and services, in essence, to solve problems. They may have too much of something that is undesirable, or too little of something that is good. The problem is the gap between where they are now and where they want READ MORE

Are you appealing to budget makers or budget takers?

Are your sales and marketing messages targeted at budget makers or budget takers? In most complex, high-value sales environments, of course, you need to appeal to both. But the marketing messages you need to use - and the sales conversations you need to have - differ dramatically. Budget makers vs. budget takers Here’s the key difference between the two roles: a budget maker has the power and authority to find the money required for a favoured project, even if a budget does not yet exist. Budget takers, on the other hand, need someone else to have created 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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