From the CCS® Sales Blog

August 2015

Viewing posts from August , 2015

Sales Tips: 5 Prerequisites for Focused Call Debriefing

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-5-prerequisites-for-focused-call-debriefing” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/manager-rep.jpg?t=1489093932032″ alt=”Sales Tips: 5 Prerequisites for Focused Call Debriefing” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<h1>Sales Tips: 5 Prerequisites for Focused Call Debriefing</h1>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”>By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com” style=”color: #152d53;”>The Sales Training Company</a></span></p>
<img src=”http://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=22968&amp;k=14&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.customercentric.com%2Fblog%2Fsales-tips-5-prerequisites-for-focused-call-debriefing&amp;bu=http%253A%252F%252Fblog.customercentric.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss” alt=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ style=”min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; “>

Sales Tips: Realizing the World Isn’t Flat

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

holding-worldSomething within our DNA makes most of us resistant to change. I believe the term “becoming a dinosaur” is unfair because dinosaurs did nothing to cause their demise. Many companies choose to avoid changing. The larger they become the harder changes are to implement. In staying with the status quo a few different attitudes are taken: 

  • Denial is an approach analogous to an ostrich putting its head in the sand when facing dangerous or unpleasant situations.
  • Rationalization can find reasons why change isn’t necessary. Part of this is the lemming syndrome meaning other aren’t changing, so it doesn’t appear to be anything we should be concerned about. Similar to politicians smugly saying that Social Security will be solvent until 20xx, so why change it now
  • Just keep going. Everyone else is over-reacting so we’ll just stay the course.

The fear of change is most powerful when uncertainty looms. Fear becomes paralyzing when companies don’t know how to react to or resolve issues or circumstances they face. I think this is the primary reason companies have stonewalled the changes in buying behavior over the last 15 years. Even before these changes, few organizations had a good handle on how top-line revenues would be achieved. They have and continue to stick to old ways that even in the 90’s were decades old. How often is the adage: If it’s not broken why try to fix it? invoked when things were/are in fact broken? 

Several major shifts have occurred since Y2K. I challenge organizations to check the areas below where they feel proud about how they responded with changes to their sales approaches, techniques, or processes to align/address the following changes: 

o   Sellers are involved later in buying cycles than ever before.

o   Buyers don’t want sellers’ help when determining requirements. They fear being manipulated as they have been in the past.

o   Product cycles are shrinking to a point where long-term sustainable competitive advantages are fleeting or non-existent.

o   Line of business executives are making decisions with minimal/no IT involvement.

o   The number of people in buying committees is steadily increasing.

o   Buyers want to buy rather than be sold.

o   Marketing now owns most of the top of the funnel for lead generation.

o   Lower level buyers prefer DIY education about offerings and executives won’t sit still for product presentations and yet the same (or more) product training as ever is being done.

o   Self-appointed committees without executive sponsorship waste their own and sellers’ time because value is seldom established.

o   For large opportunities inbound website activities provide poor entry points.

o   Sales Enablement should help sellers make better calls.

I’m embarrassed about the tepid lip service most vendors have paid to the changing landscape. Those that stick to their old ways, unlike dinosaurs, will be accountable for their demise.

Sales Tips: “WHY Do I Need Sales Training?”

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-why-sales-training-is-important” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/gary-racecar.jpg?t=1489093932032″ alt=”Sales Tips: &quot;WHY Do I Need Sales Training?&quot;” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<h1>Sales Tips: “WHY Do I Need Sales Training?”</h1>
<p><em><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”>By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales &amp; Operations, CustomerCentric Selling® – <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com” style=”color: #152d53;”>The Sales Training Company</a></span></em></p>
<img src=”http://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=22968&amp;k=14&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.customercentric.com%2Fblog%2Fsales-tips-why-sales-training-is-important&amp;bu=http%253A%252F%252Fblog.customercentric.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss” alt=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ style=”min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; “>

Sales Tips: Business Development – “Just Do It!”

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Imagery Majestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

seller-on-phone-2Business development (BD) is one of the most challenging parts of a salesperson’s job. Building and maintaining strong pipelines is a leading indicator of sales success. Sellers that rely primarily upon inbound leads are backseat passengers hoping cars will take them to their desired destinations. They don’t control their destinies without the ability to proactively initiate new opportunities at Key Player entry points.

Most people have concluded (I agree) that traditional cold calling techniques won’t deliver the desired results. Sellers face sobering realities:

  •       About 4% of phone calls will be answered by Key Players
  •       On average more than 7 touches are needed before contact is made with executives
  •       Few sellers make more than 3 contact attempts

Sellers that view BD as a random activity are unlikely to be successful in generating new opportunities. There are shortcomings of not having an overall plan: 

  •       BD activities stop as soon as pipelines are deemed to be adequate.
  •       When pipelines are thin “binge calling” (i.e. making 20 calls in one sitting) amounts to frantic random attempts to contact executives.
  •       Many of these BD calls are “one and done” with about a 4% chance of reaching the intended target. It’s virtually assured the 7 contact threshold won’t be met.

My suggestion is that BD should be an ongoing, consistent effort and that general territory salespeople should allocate 10% of their time regardless of how strong their pipeline may be. Sellers should build a process by:

  •       Defining a series of touches (phone calls; voicemails; emails; collateral)
  •       Each touch should focus on a potential business issue for a specific title.
  •       The frequency of touches should be determined so that 7 attempts occur in a fairly concentrated period of time. My suggested “stake in the ground” is to try to contact prospects every three business days. Each attempt starts with a phone call. If the seller gets voicemail they reference a business issue and commit to send an email with some relevant collateral to the issues stated. The suggested maximum is 10 touches which worst case would be 5 voicemails and 5 emails.
  •       Try contacting 2 or 3 new prospects a day. While that sounds like a modest number, keep in mind that until you make contact with a prospect, the number of calls (first plus second, third, fourth and fifth touches) will quickly ramp up. 

With that in mind understand there are no perfect scripts, emails or cadences. My thought is that it would be better to try to contact executives early and late in business days because I believe you are more likely to have success. That said there are statistics to justify all different times. My ultimate justification of calling early and late is that it leaves prime hours of your business days to making calls on identified opportunities. 

There are many excuses for not doing BD. Some sellers are paralyzed in trying to figure out the ideal approach. In point of fact unlike death, gravity and taxes, no BD approach ALWAYS works. There are no silver bullets. My thought is the salespeople that put a process in place and try to adjust as they see what does or doesn’t work will stand the best chance of being successful.

Nike’s brilliant tag line from years ago still seems to apply. Figure out what you feel is an optimal BD approach and “Just do it!” Using a consistent approach can allow sellers to make changes moving forward based upon what is/isn’t working.

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