From the CCS® Sales Blog

August 2016

Viewing posts from August , 2016

Sales Tips: Different Differentiators for Different Buyers

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-differentiators-different-buyers” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/red-umbrella.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”red-umbrella.png” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips:&nbsp;<em>Got</em>-to-Have vs. Nice-to-Have</span></strong></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-differentiators-different-buyers&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: A La Carte Sales Training

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-a-la-carte-sales-training” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/buffet.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”sales tips to avoid a la carte sales training” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips:&nbsp;Avoid A La Carte Training</span></strong></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”><em>By John Holland, Chief Content&nbsp;Officer, <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com”>CustomerCentric Selling®</a></em></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-a-la-carte-sales-training&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: Knowing When to Walk

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-knowing-when-to-walk” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/looking-at-phone.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”sales tips for knowing when to walk away” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips:&nbsp;Knowing When to Walk</span></strong></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”><em>By John Holland, Chief Content&nbsp;Officer, <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com”>CustomerCentric Selling®</a></em></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-knowing-when-to-walk&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: Knowing When to Walk

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

sales tips for knowing when to walk awayThe worst possible outcome for sellers and vendors is to go through entire sales cycles and lose. This is especially true for large opportunities because it means the seller, support staff and management have spent time, effort and resources with nothing to show for their efforts. My belief is that there are signs along the way and it doesn’t make sense to pursue opportunities that are unlikely to result in orders.

Early in my sales career with it became clear management didn’t like unpleasant surprises. If high visibility transactions didn’t close, formal loss reviews were conducted. They were the equivalent of autopsies to figure out how and when things went bad. These sessions were career limiting if and when sellers were found to have made mistakes and hadn’t asked for assistance.

My sales manager was great at telling sellers what to do without sharing HOW to do it. I didn’t like making calls with him but learned early that if opportunities in my pipeline were going sideways, I’d be sure to get him involved. If he didn’t like how things were going he would consider getting his manager involved. Loss reviews went much better when they started out with the question: What could WE have done better? versus What could YOU have done better? 

There was an over-arching expectation that the company should win every opportunity they competed for and a pervasive belief that winners never quit and quitters never win. In retrospect, this was a ridiculous attitude to take. In the clear light of day, when I got my manager involved I felt a loss was likely. If he escalated it to his boss, he felt the same way. Withdrawing from opportunities was never an option.

In Sun Tzu’s Art Of War, required reading within some sales organizations, there are five different strategies that can be employed. One is to choose not to fight if a situation isn’t winnable. Sellers often express surprise when opportunities in their pipelines are lost. Many have cast blind eyes to signals buyers give throughout sales cycles.

It’s unpleasant to realize losses are likely. When that realization occurs, sellers have a choice:

  • Continue spending time and effort on opportunities likely to end in losses OR
  • Withdraw and find higher probability opportunities to work on

The road less traveled is likely to take sellers to a better YTD position against quota.

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Sales Tips: Behavior Follows Belief

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-behavior-follows-belief” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/training-workshop-classroom.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”sales training” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips:&nbsp;Behavior Follows Belief</span></strong></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-behavior-follows-belief&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: Can “A” Players Improve?

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-sharpen-the-ax-0″ title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/gold-medal.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”sales process” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips: Can “A” Players Improve?</span></strong></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”><em>By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com”>CustomerCentric Selling®</a></em></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-sharpen-the-ax-0&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: Can “A” Players Improve?

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

sales processA common perception is that extraordinary salespeople don’t need and won’t benefit from learning new sales process approaches. I’d venture to say that in making decisions to implement sales process, most of the perceived and anticipated benefits would be realized by having B and C Players perform at higher levels.

A few years ago I was teaching a workshop for new hires of a long-term client. A seller that had taken the initial sales training workshop stopped in the classroom just before we started. Jeff was a consistent top performer and I asked him how business was. To my surprise he said things were going very well and that CustomerCentric Selling® was a significant factor. He went on to say that prior to the workshop he was “maxed out,” albeit at a healthy revenue number and that he had been able to increase his annual revenue by 50%. 

When asked why, he said using a formal process to more stringently quality/disqualify opportunities allowed him to avoid wasting time on deals that were unlikely to close. He referenced one of the core concepts of CCS®: Bad news early is good news. 

Recently, I spoke with a person who was also a top sales performer and had just accepted a promotion to become a sales manager. In his case he estimated an increase of about 40% as a result of “selling on purpose” and learning early that opportunities weren’t worth his time if:

  • Business goals weren’t shared early
  • Value could not be established
  • Access to members of the buying committee was denied

Regardless of how talented a seller is, everyone gets the same amount of time to work with. Having a structure to prevent wasting time, effort and resources should increase production. The most painful outcomes are the ones where sellers go all the way to the end and lose to a competitor or “no decision.” Having the ability to quantify opportunities based upon buyer actions can help sellers at all levels understand the difference between activity and progress. You never get the time back that you spent on losing opportunities.

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Sales Tips: Time to Sharpen the Ax

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-sharpen-the-ax” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/AX.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”Improve Sales Performance” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips: Is It Time to Sharpen the Ax?</span></strong></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”><em>By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales &amp; Operations, <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com”>CustomerCentric Selling®</a></em></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-sharpen-the-ax&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: Do Your Buyers Have A Sense Of Urgency?

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<a href=”http://blog.customercentric.com/blog/sales-tips-create-sense-of-urgency” title=”” class=”hs-featured-image-link”> <img src=”http://blog.customercentric.com/hubfs/fire-alarm.png?t=1489093932032″ alt=”sales tips for creating sense of urgency with buyers” class=”hs-featured-image” style=”width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;”> </a>
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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips: Do Your&nbsp;Buyers Have a Sense of Urgency?</span></strong></span></p>
<p><span style=”font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 14px; color: #152d53;”><em>By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, <a href=”http://www.customercentric.com”>CustomerCentric Selling®</a></em></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-create-sense-of-urgency&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: Do Your Buyers Have a Sense of Urgency?

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

sales tips for creating sense of urgency with buyersWhen trying to get to the end of sales cycles, sellers always seem to be in a hurry. In stark contrast, buyers frequently drag their feet before making decisions to spend money. Consider how often close dates slip for opportunities in the forecast. This discrepancy in decision timeframes can cause sellers to close prematurely, offer discounts to accelerate decisions and pressure buyers. In extreme situations, deals can be lost. It often comes down to the seller’s or vendor’s agenda of needing to book orders at month, quarter or year-end.

I’m consulting with a client and recently was discussing a $500,000 software opportunity in a seller’s pipeline that he hopes to close by year-end. There are four internal organizations whose senior executives comprise the buying committee along with the CEO.

The vendor offers a platform to integrate all operational aspects and allow IT to provide real-time dashboard views of the business. The platform being considered supports all the different applications being used with tested API’s that would allow the implementation and cut over to the new system in less than a month.

The CIO is a potential adversary. He has talked about having his staff design and build a platform from the ground up to integrate their existing software. The seller and I agreed it makes no financial sense to go the “homegrown” route. The fact is that it’s an option being considered and can’t be dismissed out of hand.

My first question for the seller: Have you established the cost of delay?

He didn’t understand my question so I asked if he had quantified the potential savings from the perspective of each of the Key Players in the buying committee. He said the payback on his software had not been fully itemized but that it would be a “no brainer” financial decision. I encouraged him to drill down with each executive to identify key business metrics, establish baselines (where they are today), have them estimate what improvement could be realized and wherever possible, quantify the value. He’s in the throes of doing this with the objective of creating an enterprise-wide view of the potential value of his offerings.

Let’s assume the seller can help the executives identify a savings of $250K per month and that it would take one month to migrate to the new platform. The question then becomes how long it will take IT to design, code and test an entirely new platform, understanding their staff will have to continue supporting end users and legacy systems. If IT’s estimate is more than three months (how often are new applications delivered on schedule?) it would be possible to buy the existing offering and replace it when the new software is ready.

An interesting thing happens when buyers are aware of the cost of delay (how much potential value they’re losing each month). This strategy can be used to combat “no decision” outcomes when buyers decide to build things themselves or merely determine they don’t want to spend the money now. Realizing that every month of delay costs company money is a motivator for committees to make decisions sooner rather than later. 

Many sellers wrongly believe they compete only with other vendors in their space. The reality is all vendors compete for a finite pool of funding. Before spending budgeted money, people in finance will reallocate funds if another vendor offers a more compelling cost vs. benefit or ROI. An added benefit of determining cost of delay is that buyers join sellers in wanting to reach the decision point. This perceived internal pressure for buyers to act is more effective than the external pressure of sellers desperately trying to get orders on their timeframes. It also puts sellers in a better position to negotiate if pressured on price. 

My advice is that sellers should be wary of the potential for no decision/homegrown outcomes. Helping committees create a compelling cost of delay is an effective way to proactively increase the chances of winning the business.  

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