Sales enablement is booming. According to a 2017 survey of sales organizations conducted by CSO Insights, 59.2% of the respondents had a dedicated sales enablement function. This is up from only 19.3% in 2013.
Sales enablement is a catch-all term applied to any practice that attempts to increase sales productivity. It’s not uncommon to find sales enablement departments responsible for a plethora of disciplines such as strategy, sales processes, analytics and reporting, lead generation, training, tool selection and content management.Read More
The evidence for the benefits of coaching is compelling. Not only can it help develop your reps and improve selling skills, but high performing sales teams tend to have managers who spend more time coaching, as evidenced by the 2017 Sales Management Research Report. It’s a bit like flossing or going to the gym—we all know we should do it, but for various reasons, it doesn’t happen as often as we might like. So why is that?Read More
With the introduction of new sales enablement technologies and the shift to, technology-driven, inside sales reps, do relationships with customers still matter?Read More
One of the core skills of successful selling is how well you can influence buyers. When you have influence, the buyer is more open to your message, respects your advice, gives you access to key decision makers, and, ultimately, buys from you.
One technique you can use to build your influence with a buyer (especially with b2b buyers) is by demonstrating your expertise—i.e., the depth of understanding you bring to the sales conversation.Read More
In our 2017 Sales Management Research Report, 5 Hallmarks of a High-Impact Sales Organization, we found that sales managers at high-performing organizations spent significantly more time coaching their teams than average and lower performing teams.
Sales coaching is one of the most important activities a manager can do to improve the performance of their sales team, as evidenced by the 2017 Sales Management Research Report. Yet managers often confuse sales coaching with just having one-on-one meetings and telling their reps how to improve. At the heart of good sales coaching is a mindset that encourages the rep to take responsibility for their development and engage in a collaborative, positive process of improvement. This involves key sales coaching activities that are different than other things you may be doing to direct, manage or motivate your team.Read More
When you’re making a sales presentation, it’s essential that you stay aligned with the buyer. That means asking your buyer to assess how well he or she believes your offering can address their needs, and if they have any concerns about your solution and its implementation.Read More
I was sitting down with our Chief Customer Officer, Ray Makela, and we were discussing deal coaching. I reminded him of his blog post on 5 Deal Coaching Questions for Sales Managers to Ask and he made a very interesting point about a sixth question he now wants to add to this list; What's the decision making process?Read More
“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Trust is essential to successful selling. When the buyer trusts you, the buyer believes your promises, gives you access to power, takes your advice, and gives you referrals. A buyer won’t buy from you unless he or she trusts you.
Think about a time when you were the buyer, and you thought the seller was not trustworthy. Why did you think that? Perhaps the seller made a promise and then didn’t follow through, or maybe the seller told you what you need before getting to know you. Whatever the reason, for most of us, building trust takes time, but can be broken in an instant.
Research suggests the following four behaviors are key to building trust in sales.Read More
Think of the last time you won a close, competitive sales opportunity. What tipped the scales in your favor?
In sales situations where it’s difficult to differentiate your solution from the competition’s, you often win by offering your buyer extra services, or Value-Added Benefits. These are extra services above what you provide with your primary product or service at additional cost to the buyer.
Chances are you're already providing your buyers Value-Added Benefits, but you're not getting credit for them.Read More
Research shows that sales coaching is a critical skill you need to master as a sales manager. When you do a great job coaching, your reps make quota more consistently; they learn how to solve their problems; and rep turnover rates go down as your sales people achieve greater success and see that you are committed to their development.
So, how much time should you spend coaching your team each week?Read More
In most sales situations, prospecting means setting the appointment while the actual selling occurs during the meeting. This distinction gets murkier when you're selling into a complex sales account. Here's why.Read More
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles – Sun Tzu, 512 BC
B2B sales may not be quite as lethal as warfare, but getting beaten by the competition is always frustrating and sometimes even painful.
Losing is especially difficult when you feel like you have a better offering and should have won the deal. Though you may have (and should have) convinced yourself that you’re the best option for the customer, you may not have communicated that message clearly enough to your customer in terms that differentiates you from the competition.
Follow these four steps below to beat the competition every time.Read More
Imagine you’re managing a sales territory with hundreds of existing accounts to call. How should you best allocate your calling efforts?Read More
On this episode, a sales rep asks: I always find myself facing this question from prospects “Why should we buy from you and not the competition?” A common sales objection, and in this video we share some ways you can tackle this challenge.Read More
One of the most important decisions a sales professional can make is whether to pursue a deal. Chasing bad, unqualified deals takes up time, resources and distracts focus from more desirable deals that are likely to close. Yet many salespeople have "never met a deal they didn’t want to chase." Perhaps it’s ego, maybe optimism, but they find it hard to say no.
Great salespeople, however, are brutally honest about assessing whether an opportunity is worth chasing. This is particularly true about RFPs.Read More
Assuming you're a good sales professional, you already build rapport with buyers, ask your buyers thought-provoking questions, and then skillfully manage their objections. These are all skills you use during the sales call. But what are you doing before and after the sales call?Read More
Although the sales pipeline and sales forecast are closely related, they're not the same. In this Q&A, we explain the difference and best practices you can use to make the most of each.Read More
According to an article in the July – August 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review, How to Predict Turnover on Your Sales Team, “estimates of annual turnover among U.S. salespeople run as high as 27%.” This is an alarming rate especially given how challenging it is to hire top sales talent in a tight labor market.Read More
Our new report confirms the importance of developing sales managers to improve sales performance. This is something that the principals of the Sales Readiness Group already knew from their work with hundreds of sales organizations.Read More
One of your accounts is being reorganized. Your contacts were advancing an opportunity, but now everyone is entering a survival mode, the company freezes budgets, and all decisions are put on hold. What's the best sales strategy in these cases?
In this Q & A, Ray Makela challenges you to think of these situations as an opportunity to reframe the conversation and position yourself as a trusted advisor. Watch this video to learn how and don’t let these accounts fall through the cracks.Read More
Let's take a moment to think about the kind of relationship you have with your typical client.
Do you have access to high-level decision makers? Or are you stuck talking to gatekeepers and technical buyers?
Do you struggle to differentiate your products and services? Are your buyers raising price objections?
In day to day selling, we're not thinking about the "kind" of relationship we have with our clients. But these can affect your sales performance, e.g. the length of your sales cycle, pricing pressure, and the number of companies with which you have to compete.Read More
Part of managing performance is to have a more productive sales team. In this Q&A video, we share five techniques you can use to increase sales team productivity.Read More
In this Q&A video, we lay out what it takes to be successful in enterprise sales and the best way to deal with procurement. You’ll also learn how to use a sales model to uncover stakeholders needs and the impact your solution brings to each of them.Read More
No matter how good you're at selling at some point in the sales process, you'll get some objections. Common objections we all hear include price, quality issues, competitive comparisons, or concerns about terms and conditions of the sale.
Good salespeople know how to “overcome” these objections. But outstanding sales professionals can prevent objections in the first place.
Consider these common examples of objections that you may have encountered.
On this episode, we discuss key considerations before promoting your best salesperson into management. The different skill set required to be a great sales manager, and how to set new managers up for success.Read More
On this episode, we discuss how to approach selecting which sales metrics to track, the importance of using leading vs. lagging indicators, and which key metrics you should focus on to improve the performance of your sales team.Read More
On this episode, Kim Rody asks: How do you find great sales managers? In this video, we discuss key considerations before hiring a sales manager. Then we also go over important sales management skills to look for to find the best person for the job.Read More