How can sales people prevent premature elaboration?

It’s not a very edifying sight, but it happens way, way too often. A prospect gives the faintest acknowledgement of a potential issue, and the impatient (not to say desperate) sales person simply can’t wait to respond by presenting the features, advantages and benefits of their proposed solution in glorious detail. They may even offer to follow up with a costed proposal. All this before the poor bewildered prospect has even come to terms with whether they need to do anything at all. The sales person has pitched their product way too early. This uncomfortable condition is READ MORE

3 critical questions for B2B sales: Why Change? Why Now? Why You?

Your company is facing an increasingly strong competitor - yet you won’t find them listed in any Google search of the key players in your marketplace. But this competitor is playing a powerful and often-undefined role in almost every significant B2B buying decision. And it’s the reason why a growing number of your apparently well-qualified opportunities are ending up with the prospect deciding to “do nothing”. Have you recognised the competitor yet? It’s the status quo - and in today’s increasingly risk-averse decision-making climate, where it may be harder than ever before to get approval for discretionary READ MORE

Is your CRM System a Sales Prevention System?

Most sales organisations have some sort of CRM system in place. Many have made significant investments in the system. Yet simply implementing CRM – just like just running a sales training course – offers no “magic wand” for improving sales performance. In fact the energies expended on them are often wasted. Time after time, we come across Customer Relationship Management solutions that bear little or no relation to how a vendors’ most promising prospects actually buy, or what the vendors’ top performing sales people actually do. There are 5 danger signs that indicate that a CRM system READ MORE

How to really upset your buyers

We live in a world where customer service and satisfaction is everything. Marketers build programs to reward regular customers and to make them feel special, and invest in satisfaction surveys to measure their success. So why are we saying you should upset your customers? We all know that our salespeople are constantly looking for ways to delight their customers Both the sales department and the marketing experts guard the happiness of the buyer jealously, promoting only positive and uplifting messages. They say: Good news travels fast It takes 100 happy customers to overcome the effect of one READ MORE

How measuring lag can boost sales

Most businesses have an accurate handle on the length of their sales cycle - the time that elapses between a lead being qualified and the closing of the deal. If your total sales cycle is six months, or three months, or twelve months, what does that mean and what can you change to improve results? Should you measure anything else, and if you did, what would you change? The answers lie in the detail - but only a little way in. Simply reverse the usual logic and think about time from the buyers' perspective and not the READ MORE

How saying goodbye to your customers can help you re-engage with them

We’ve spoken about Funnel Logic and the way we manage work-in-progress using a sales funnel. One of the critical things in this process is keeping your funnel clean, as there’s nothing worse than a clogged funnel. A clogged funnel contains expired opportunities. These ‘dead’ opportunities cause problems by giving you a false sales forecast, obscuring how much work you need to devote to each stage. This is especially hazardous when it causes you to neglect topping up your funnel with new opportunities. We suggest you purge prospects that have spent too long at a particular stage. Of READ MORE

Maximising the propose to close ratio

Many selling organisations are submitting an increasing number of proposals, in the hope that this will lead to an increased number of sales. But, proposals don’t always close. So, how can you fix a low propose to close ratio? Don’t rely on the proposal document Relying on the proposal to do the persuading is inherently flawed. The client has to want your solution before the proposal is submitted. Back to the funnel Our Funnel Management thinking maps buyers at 3 stages in the sales funnel: Defining the problem; Determining available solution types; and Choosing the best supplier. READ MORE

Regular healthchecks….on the key customer interfaces with Sales and Service

The medicos tell us that it is good fundamental health and wellbeing practice to undertake a regular health assessment. You know the stuff………blood pressure, cholesterol, weight: height ratios, lifestyle questionnaires etc -  a simple and quick way to ensure our all-important health and wellbeing is on track. The same principles apply to B2B sales organisations. The sales process is mostly conducted out in the market and not within the walls of your office, so the process is often not visible, and you may not be able to readily see whether it is working effectively or being implemented READ MORE

Striking the right balance of sales and service

A good sales professional not only finds new win-win opportunities to sell additional products or services to meet the customer’s evolving needs, but also takes personal accountability as the “go to” point of reference for all issues  relating to ordering and delivery of the customer’s requirements. The balance depends on the nature of your product or service, the buying cycle set by your customers, your organisation’s physical infrastructure (eg the presence of a dedicated customer service team), whether the Sales Exec is expected to hunt for brand new customers as well as account manage, the degree to which “service” READ MORE

Ask ‘why’ five times

This is the method Taiichi Ohno, pioneer of Toyota production systems, recommended to get to the root cause of a problem. My thought was that this principle could serve well in sales. In specific, it can be used to find out whether an opportunity exists and if it is real and worth your while to win. I am aware that good sales people know the power of questioning buyers over providing them with a laundry list of features and benefits. The ability to ask pertinent questions comes from preparation. Preparation is more than amassing information. I suggest READ MORE

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