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Sales Tips: 8 Things All Sellers Should Do Now to Make the Quarterly Number

By Kasia Kowalska, Growbots – Sales Platform

For sales representatives, success and failure can often be measured with one metric: the sales quota.

With warmer months fast approaching, now is the time to set yourself up to fight the dreaded summer slump before a bunch of “Out of Office” messages get you down. When it’s time to make the quarterly number, you’ll be glad that you put the work in now to ensure that you’ll knock it out of the park.

Here are our top eight suggestions to ensure you can make the quarterly number without breaking a sweat.

making sales calls1. It’s time to hustle.

At the end of the day, the reality is that sales people can’t make anyone buy your product or service. What is within your control is the number of opportunities you create for yourself so that someone else can say ‘yes!’ For example, the conversion rate for cold calls hangs right around 2%. Which means that if you call 100 leads, you will likely snag two sales. The more calls you make, the more emails you send, the more meetings you schedule, the greater the likelihood that you make the quarterly number.

2. Get serious about who’s serious.

Oftentimes, if you’re not constantly vigilant, it can be easy to end up spending a lot of time with prospects that are never going to buy. If you aren’t sure you are going to make the quarterly number, it’s time to do a pipeline clean up. Look through your contact list and say goodbye to prospects that aren’t going to pull the trigger. This can often result in renewed interest that can lead to a sale. And if it doesn’t, you will have freed up time to focus on warm, qualified leads instead.

3. Get organized.

Whatever it might mean to you, it’s time to get organized. Whether you need to clean up your Google Calendar, clear off your desk, or start writing comprehensive notes during cold calls to refer to later, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. An organized sales rep is an effective sales rep. It is so much easier to offer value, delight prospects, and demonstrate why your product and your brand is the right choice when you’re not scrambling to remember names, conversations, or showing up late to meetings.

4. Follow up on your follow-ups.

One of the rules of sales that is important to keep in mind is that people buy when they’re ready to buy (not when you’re ready to sell). A prospect that wasn’t ready three or six months ago might be ready now. The only way you can know is to follow up with them. The Rule of 7 comes into play here too. On average, it takes seven interactions with a brand before a customer is ready to hand over their hard-earned money. Be tenacious and follow up with your prospects. Remind them of your company and why your product will make their lives easier.

email prospects5. Switch it up.

Not everyone communicates the best in a specific medium. You might feel most comfortable calling prospects, but some prospects might prefer email where they can think over the information in their own time. If you’re not getting the results you want, try contacting your prospect another way. And if you’re not a fan of email because you think it takes too much time, it doesn’t! The most effective emails are between 50 and 125 words (about the length of this paragraph)

Creating different avenues for communication with a prospect also offers you additional opportunities to restate your message. You might know the features of your product like the back of your hand, but your prospect doesn’t – yet. Each contact offers you another opportunity to explain why your product is so wonderful.

6. Create time to become a better salesperson.

No one knows all the secrets of sales. Human psychology is deep and vast and plays deeply into how and why we spend our money. Each salesperson will develop their own selling styles that work best for them, but there is always room for improvement. Set aside time each day or each week to consciously develop your skills. That can take the form of a more experienced mentor, seminars or conferences, webinars, curated reading lists, or whatever else inspires you.

7. Use active listening to get an extra boost.

The classic image of a superstar sales rep is a smooth talker with the right answer in her back pocket. But in actuality, active listening is an equally important skill for sales reps to hone.  Active listening is not simply giving your prospects the space to talk, but also learning how to ask the right questions. Productive conversations with prospects aren’t one sided.

You should be aiming not just to sell your product, but to get information. These pieces of knowledge will reveal your prospects true pain points. Your prospects might not always come right out and say what they’re looking for (or they might not know yet!), but a few key questions can help you understand their needs. Which means that you can talk about the benefits of your product or service in a way that speaks to your prospect’s needs.

hit sales target and make the number8. Don’t focus on how to make the quarterly number.

This might seem counterproductive, but if you can feel your monthly quota slipping through your fingers, it’s easy to fall into the realm of desperation. When your main priority switches from, “How can I help this prospect?” to, “How can I sell to this prospect?” it’s going to be infinitely harder to close a deal. Your enthusiasm for your product or service (and not your need to make a sale) is what is going to excite your prospects and convince them to buy.

Coming to the end of a quarter doesn’t have to be stressful when you set yourself up for success. Creating opportunities, using your time wisely, and focusing on what your customers need are good guidelines that will help you in making your sales quotas.

What are your best tips for setting yourself up for success? Let us know in the comments how you plan to make the quarterly number?

Kasia Kowalska - GrowbotsAbout the Author: Kasia Kowalska
Kasia is the Content Manager at Growbots, an all-in one outbound sales platform that helps you get new customers faster. By automating prospecting and prospect outreach Growbots allows salespeople to spend more time on closing deals. 

Sales Tips: 4 Components of a Repeatable Sales Process

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Henry Ford is credited with creating production lines allowing cars to be built consistently regardless of the staff that assembled them. I’ve worked with consulting companies that wanted to “cookie cutter” engagements because repetition makes people more competent and efficient. It provides the added benefit of being able to identify and share best practices.

repeatable sales process

That said, many people feel sales calls are like snowflakes in that no two are identical. While calls are never identical, there are ways organizations can make them more consistent by defining parameters to provide context.

  1. One of the key components is creating sales ready messaging®:
  • As sellers go higher in org charts, calls become more predictable, largely because the primary focus shifts from offerings/products to desired business outcomes.
  • By leveraging the collective expertise of internal resources, vendors can identify the high level titles sellers must call on to sell, fund and implement a given offering. Many sellers find it helpful to understand what titles they should target.
  • Once titles have been identified, menus of business outcomes or goals can be created for each potential member of buying committees. Ideally the value of achieving the desired outcomes should exceed the cost of the offering. The start of buying cycles can now be defined as a particular title sharing one of more goals from the menus that were created.
  • Each title/goal becomes a conversation sellers should be able to execute. To help them position offerings consistently, Sales and Marketing (and other departments with relevant input) can map only those features/capabilities that are relevant to a title achieving a specific goal.
  • Once the features/capabilities have been defined, packets of diagnostic questions can be created for each capability. These questions allow sellers to uncover needs based upon buyer answers to diagnostic questions. Sellers can then offer only capabilities relevant to achieving the desired outcome. This approach allows sellers to clarify buyer needs and avoid discussing extraneous features/capabilities that would actually be distractions.

I’ve briefly described the process of creating sales ready messaging® to gain more consistent positioning of offerings.

Once messaging has been created, three other components are needed to facilitate consistent execution:

  1. Sellers need a common set of skills. The elephant in many offices when managers try coaching sellers is that they ask them to perform tasks they don’t know how to execute. This makes them likely to fail.
  2. Milestones for different types of transactions should be defined. The steps should vary based upon the size and complexity of offerings. One size does not fit all. Whenever possible, achievement of milestones (based upon sellers executing messaging) should be determined by buyer actions rather than seller opinions.
  3. After executing sales ready messaging® prompters, sellers can imbed answers to five debriefing questions in correspondence to buyers. These letters or emails allow managers to ensure opportunities are qualified and grade the pipeline.

In order to have sales process defined milestones, consistent positioning of offerings, a standard skill set and the ability of managers to audit pipeline by reviewing correspondence with buyers are required. Sharing best practices can provide organizations sustainable competitive advantages.

Sales Tips: How to Maintain Key Player Access

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

maintaining key player accessInitiating opportunities at high levels offers several potential advantages to salespeople:

  • They can take prospects from latent to active need by uncovering desired goals.
  • They can enjoy the benefits of being “Column A” from the start.
  • Key Players can fund can find funding for unbudgeted initiatives.
  • Discussions about capabilities can be done at a conceptual level.
  • Transactions can be larger because buyers are not budget-constrained.
  • Buyers will self-qualify themselves.
  • Shorter sales cycles.
  • Higher win rates.

In my previous blog post, I raised the issue of when “ugly” conversations take place. By “ugly” I mean very product-focused discussions that involve lower level staff asking esoteric questions about things Key Players would not be interested in.

The later in buying cycles ugly conversations take place the better for sellers. They are important and necessary conversations.

If and when delegated to lower levels it is important that sellers maintain connections to the Key Players they’ve called on.

After calling on mid and lower levels, sellers will be much more familiar with a prospect’s current way of doing business and the specific capabilities buyers need to achieve their goals. Being delegated by Key Players is a “get” for them and a “give” from sellers that have to commit time and potentially technical staff for ugly meetings.

PRO TIP: When delegated to become the “eyes and ears” for Key Players, my suggestion is that sellers should request that they be able to keep higher levels apprised of their findings as they work with lower levels to better understand the companies needs at far more granular levels. Without such access some opportunities fall under their own weight because executives are no longer involved.

Sales Tips: 3 Sales Productivity Traps to Avoid

By Lisa Cook, Chief Operating Officer, Cien

While selling has never been easy, it hasn’t become harder either. Selling has become a more refined process where efficiency is key. Increasing sales productivity requires operational awareness of the quality of leads generated from marketing as well as the productivity of individual salespeople.

With artificial intelligence (AI), your business can understand the deeper dynamics of the sales process and make it possible to see the incremental value created by sales and marketing activities. You can then better allocate time and resources to unlock the productivity gains within your organization. There are pitfalls to avoid, however. Here are three of the biggest, and what to do about them.

Sales Productivity

#1: Misallocating Sales Resources

One of the biggest productivity traps that organizations fall into is not understanding sales’ contribution to the revenue generation process and failing to allocate resources accordingly. This comes from recognizing the true revenue contribution of each salesperson and understanding the actual role that marketing and sales develop activities play in generating quality leads and opportunities. A mistake that many firms make is assuming that the people generating the revenue are the same ones who are closing the sales. This is not always the case.

The best sales person on the team isn’t necessarily the one who has signed the most contracts. Instead, it’s the one who has added the most value to the leads and opportunities received by the marketing and sales development teams. It may appear that sales professionals sell more because they’ve received more valuable leads from marketing, or they work a territory that has greater demand than another representative. An external market factor, such as a local competitor leaving the market, can also distort the picture of sales person’s performance.

#2: Assigning the Wrong Leads to the Wrong Salesperson

Many firms have inadequate awareness of the true dynamics of the sales process, because they don’t understand which sales professionals are actually producing the most value. This skewed assessment leads to many firms assigning some of the best leads to salespeople who are less likely to convert them into won deals.

With a better understanding of sales performance, organizations can optimize sales productivity by allocating the best leads to the most productive sales professionals or those who can maximize the sales volume for a lead. This is accomplished by having the best product knowledge or closing effectiveness, generating incremental sales value without increasing marketing expenses or sales headcount.

#3: Inefficient Training for Your Sales Staff

As counter-intuitive as it seems, sales professionals can actually destroy value when marketing activities have produced a quality lead. Negative sales value often arises when a rep has insufficient product knowledge, a low work ethic or inadequate closing skills. Having the right operational intelligence, makes it easy to train the right sales professionals on the right skill.

With better awareness of the true contribution of each sales professional, implementing spot training for those who need it can have a huge impact on overall sales productivity.

Avoiding Productivity Traps

While improving sales productivity requires better operational intelligence, most firms do not have the time, skills or resources to analyze their sales data comprehensively enough to generate this insight.

The good news is that advances in statistical science, machine learning, natural language processing and AI now allow businesses to analyze their sales and CRM data for new levels of understanding that were not possible before.

For a deeper look at improving your company’s sales productivity, check out Cien’s  Guide to Solving Sales Productivity Traps.

Lisa CookAbout the Author

Lisa Cook is Chief Operating Officer at Cien, a new AI-powered sales productivity app for B2B sales teams. Cien gives sales leaders an immediate edge by using the power of artificial intelligence to increase the productivity of their teams. The mobile app automatically detects problems, predicts outcomes and recommends the shortest path to success. For more information visit www.cien.ai.

Sales Tips: When to Make “Ugly Calls”

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

As a salesperson one of my best customers was a large insurance company in downtown Boston. Their CIO was an astute businessman who wasn’t very current with technology. He depended upon his staff to handle technical details. The company had two IBM mainframes whose performance was bottlenecked because processor memory (Bill still referred to it as “core”) was maxed out. This meant that programs had to be paged out of memory to disk drives that were orders of magnitude, slower devices and significantly increased user response times.

At the time, upgrading a processor was a seven-figure decision.

buyer meeting

I met with Bill and discussed the potential of using a device that could address the performance issues immediately and allow the company to defer processor upgrades for at least a year. I asked if he would consider it. He said he would and wanted to know the estimated cost. I shared with him that it would be $250K per processor. He quickly realized the short-term performance benefits would more than offset the cost. The ability to defer purchasing new mainframes that were trending to be cheaper with future announcements made the decision a financial slam-dunk. He then asked me to schedule a call with to Tom, his technical guru, who was by far the smartest person in the organization.

The business case had been made and now it was time for a technical evaluation of my offering.

I brought my top Systems Engineer for the meeting with Tom that lasted about two hours. He wanted to know specs of the auxiliary storage, how it would be supported by IBM’s Operating System (it emulated an IBM disk drive), approximately how much response times would be improved, etc. While I was fairly competent technically, there were blocks of time when they could have been speaking a foreign language. I did my best to understand the gist of the conversation.

At the end of the meeting Tom told us he wanted to run some things past members of his staff but he was comfortable that it was a device that would certainly allow them to address the performance issues and therefore would make IT’s life easier because they could deliver end users the better response times they wanted.

Within a week I had an order for one unit and a commitment that if it performed as advertised they wanted a second unit (which they installed).

ugly sales callsWhen selling technology or any complicated offering it is often necessary to have what I refer to as “ugly” calls.

By that I mean that they are highly product-focused. User-level staff that will be impacted will want to know things about offerings that even salespeople can’t be expected to know. I sometimes refer to ugly calls as “mind-melds” between technical staff of the prospect/customer and vendor.

I believe a seller’s quality of life (and win rate) will be significantly better if executive calls are made to establish potential value so that ugly calls can be deferred until a later time.

It amounts to executing top-down vs. bottom-up buying cycles.

Oddly enough, both buyers and sellers stand to benefit because there will be no need to take the technical staff’s time if a business case can’t be built.

Buyers and sellers are both beneficiaries when agreeing to defer ugly calls.

Sales Tips: The Value of Process

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Soon after starting my sales career I became aware there was a staggering list of things I needed to learn. The biggest challenge I faced was securing appointments with owners of small businesses. In retrospect I’m not proud to admit that my objective when making initial calls was to see if I could get a second call with prospects. My logic was that a follow-up probably meant the first call went reasonably well. I lacked the wisdom and experience to understand the difference between sales activities and progress. I had no concept or a sales process.

CRM is everywhere and yet there are some salespeople as inept as I was that are required to provide input into the system.

I’m trying to imagine what entry a seller would make after getting a buyer to agree to a second meeting. Sellers are under pressure to get a number of prospects in their pipelines. In my experience as a sales manager, once “opportunities” entered the pipeline the ones that didn’t close stayed much longer than they should have. I believe it’s incumbent upon vendors to provide measurable outcomes for calls so that managers can determine if milestones are met and that opportunities in the funnel are qualified.

sales process

Almost regardless of the type of skill, a standard process or approach gives people a better chance to succeed. Assume you’re playing a round of golf and after a few holes start slicing badly. A friend you’re playing with has the cell phone number of one of the most famous teachers in the world and offers to call him to see if he can remedy your slice. Oddly enough because the best instructor has never seen you hit a ball, you’d be better served to call the driving range pro you’ve used. At least he or she has an idea of what your swing looks like.

Process provides structure and allows people to understand if they’re succeeding or failing.

I wish I had know a few basic milestones earlier in my sales career:

  • Buying cycles begin when buyers share goals/admit problems they’re willing to spend money to achieve/address.
  • A champion will provide access to Key Players (the people sellers have to call on to sell, fund and implement their offerings).
  • An opportunity is qualified if a buying committee agrees an evaluation of a seller’s offering is warranted and is willing to negotiate an agreed to plan of activities that leading up to making a written recommendation (usually a proposal).

The first milestone provides sellers a sanity check and is a derivative of one of the core concepts of CCS®: No goal means no prospect.

The other milestones are objective and allow managers to grade opportunities based upon buyer actions (is the seller getting access to Key Players and can a sequence of events be put in place?) rather than seller opinions.

With no offense intended, having sellers grade pipelines is analogous to allowing inmates run the asylum. Sellers less than YTD will often reduce the bar for qualification. Their primary motivation in “forecasting” is to convince their managers everything will be okay moving forward. Better to give sellers a more realistic view of their pipelines after being graded by their manager

Sales Tips: 7 Problems with Using the Word “Solutions” with Buyers

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Vendors and salespeople seem enamored with the word: “Solution.”

In my mind the term is vague, usually misused and a terrible waste of three syllables. Whether in marketing brochures, on websites or during sales calls, the phrase “We’ve/I’ve got the solution for you” seems presumptuous and self-serving.

How many buyers actually believe those statements to be true?

Who Can Call It a Solution

Here’s the logic behind my loathing of this word in what I consider seven (7) reasons why it shouldn’t be used with buyers:

  1. A solution is an opinion.
  2. Unless sellers have earned trust nobody values or wants to hear their biased opinions.
  3. Without asking several questions and getting relevant responses it’s impossible to know if a solution exists.
  4. Disregarding the previous point, vendors and sellers always feel they offer solutions.
  5. Sellers hoping to earn commissions should recuse themselves from offering opinions.
  6. The only person’s opinion that has any relevance is the buyer’s.
  7. Sellers must have buyers agree their offering is a solution before they can accurately make that claim.

It may be helpful to define the term. Buyers have “solutions” when they:

  • Have identified a business outcome they want to achieve
  • Understand the barriers that stand in the way of achieving it
  • Are able to articulate the specific capabilities they need to achieve the outcome

Buyers don’t like to be told what they need. Many resent seller attempts to force solutions upon them. In the best case buyers will discount whatever claims sellers make as they’ve come to expect hype.

Remember: The only person who can call your offering a solution is the buyer. Your job as a seller is to help connect the dots in getting them there.

7 Problems with the Word "Solution"

Sales Tips: To Ask or Not to Ask about Executive Insomnia

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Recently I was involved in a discussion about different types of questions sellers can ask during calls to have a buyer share goals (or problems) that can be achieved through the use of a seller’s offering.

We discussed the types of questions that can be asked and the pros/cons of each:

Open questions…

  • PRO: Open questions allow buyers the comfort of going wherever they want in responding.
  • CON: The risk is that buyers can stray from the direction sellers were hoping to go.

Control questions…

  • PRO: Control questions elicit short responses (a yes or no, a number, etc.) that allow sellers to drive conversations.
  • The downside is they can dominate calls if they use too many control questions. In extreme cases buyers can feel like hostile witnesses being cross-examined.

Framing questions…

  • PROS: Framing questions offer the best of both worlds. They start with the words “How do you ___?” Sellers fill in the blank that will provide boundaries as to what areas buyers will discuss. Framing questions require essay answers, facilitate buyers doing more talking and allow sellers to more gently steer conversations in desired directions.

What Keeps Executives Up at Night

Executive Insomnia
Someone then asked if “What keeps you up at night?” was a good or bad question to pose to executives. Before buyers will share goals or problems sellers must establish their sincerity and competence (Steven Covey’s definition of being deemed trustworthy). I feel buyers would be put off if asked this question prematurely.

To elicit meaningful responses, sellers have to earn the right to pose the question.

A safer approach? Offer a brief title/industry specific success story with a goal the seller feels may be relevant to the buyer and ask if they’d be interested in learning more. If a goal isn’t shared, the seller could ask framing questions to establish credibility. If no goal is shared, the seller can offer a menu of goals as a final effort to get a buying cycle started.

This is a gentler approach. If goals aren’t shared, then sellers can provide a menu of goals that have kept other executives awake and ask if any apply to the buyer.

Sales Tips: 4 Ways to Convert One-time Buyers into Lifetime Customers

By ShaDrena Simon, Inbound Marketing Expert for Yokel Local

While bringing in new customers is an important part of business, the latest numbers suggest that retainingcustomers is even more valuable to today’s companies. The benefits of going the extra mile for your first-time clients make it well worth the effort.

Today’s businesses are focusing on customer retention more than acquisition because it costs five times less to keep current clients than it does to acquire new ones, meaning greater return on your investment.

Lifetime Customers

Your repeat business could be worth ten times more than your first-time clients, so a plan to create loyalty is crucial to your company’s success.

The first time a new B2B customer uses your service, will they leave feeling like while they had a good experience, they could have the same experience with one of your competitors? If so, there is room for improvement. Mediocre service is for mediocre businesses. Show your customers you are a cut above the rest by exceeding their expectations at every turn.

To delight first-time customers and keep them coming back for more, put the following four tips into practice right away.

1. Provide an Exceptional Customer Experience

Providing a top-notch customer experience is essential to retention. Business has become increasingly competitive and being average is no longer enough. When you consider that increasing your retention rates by a mere 5% can increase your overall profits by up to 95%, the importance of standing apart from your competitors becomes clear.

Recognize and acknowledge that the client is new, and make sure your team is on the same page and ready to promote a positive and helpful experience. You only get one shot to nurture and grow the first-time customer relationship, so make it count.

2. Be the Solution to Their Problem

Solving your customers’ problems the first time will create a lasting impression. Instill confidence in your first-time clients and they will trust you to make things easier for them again in the future. Show new customers that you are knowledgeable about how their needs and your industry intersect. Ask questions about your first-time customer’s situation that shows them you are knowledgeable about how your products and services can make things easier for them. They will appreciate your insight into your base and come back to you because they know you can be counted on for delivering results.

Thank Your Customers

3. Give More than What’s Expected

Want to dazzle first-time clients? It’s time to get familiar with the concept of under-promising and over-delivering. Anytime a company does business with you for the first time, consider that they are taking a risk and most likely wondering if it will pay off.

Set reasonable expectations that are clearly laid-out, and then double down on delivering. Promise two-hour turnaround if you know you can do the job in one. Include personal touches like thank you cards and discount codes. This shows your first-time client that returning to you down the line is a risk-free proposition and a gamble worth taking.

Embrace the Art of Following Up

Where your first-time clients are concerned, follow-up matters. Strike a delicate balance between showing that your company is worth doing business with again and not coming off as pushy. After an initial sale,delight a new customer with a carefully crafted e-mail. You can increase your click-through and engagement rates by placing your clients into categories based upon their first purchase.

Targeting them with relevant content that specifically meets their needs at this stage of your relationship means better follow-through than you could hope to achieve with a generic welcome e-mail.

If you are the owner of a B2B business and you are making increasing customer retention among your first-time clients a top priority, you are not alone. An increasing number of businesses have implemented loyalty programs because research has consistently shown they work. While there is just a 32% chance first-time customers will purchase from your company again in the future, by the tenth purchase there is an 83% chance they will buy from you again. A customer’s first visit is an opportunity to grow your business, and smart owners will have a plan for success.

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Sales Tips: 7 Best Practices to Increase Competitive Win Rates

By Connie Schlosberg, Primary Intelligence

No matter which industry you’re in, sales evaluations play a major part in your company’s success. While product features and functionality are usually the most important aspects in an evaluation, buyers still consider company reputation, service and support, and future direction in the final decision.

Here are seven best practices you can apply to increase competitive win rates for your company.

Competitive Wins

Increase Competitive Win Rates

1. Highlight and demonstrate your company’s deep expertise in the customer or prospect’s industry.

Because experience in the client’s industry is critical to buyers from an overall company perspective. Make sure you’re well aligned in the opportunities you’re pursuing in terms of your company’s background and expertise.

2. Vet customer references.

Ensuring that your company has solid customer references will help to assuage any concerns customers may have about your experience in and commitment to their industry. Look for promoters who can help to evangelize your company and the strategic direction in which it’s heading. Case studies, user conferences, co-webinars, and joint customer-vendor presentations at industry events will help to showcase your most successful customer accounts.

3. Share future direction.

It’s important to share product road maps, strategic vision documents, long-term planning, and other evidence of your organization’s future direction with your customers and prospects. Ask recipients to sign non-disclosure agreements if necessary but make sure your customer base is excited about the strategic direction in which you’re headed.

Customer Support and Support

4. Improve service and support.

Understanding what changes need to be made to offer customers outstanding service and support will help make your company stand out in the eyes of your customers. Leading organizations target improvements in customer experience as a competitive differentiator to ensure their customers stay loyal over the long term and don’t defect to competing vendors.

5. Understand ratings for your firm and vertical.

Make sure you understand the ratings for your company specifically, as well as your industry overall. How are buyers judging you in terms of your industry expertise, in terms of your customer references?

Also understand what’s important to buyers in your industry and how your industry is doing overall in terms of company-based attributes.

6. Leverage areas of strength; correct areas of weakness.

Look for areas of strength you can leverage, along with areas of weakness you can correct. If you know you have weak customer references, look for new accounts you can solicit as references. If you know you’ve got a solid reputation or that you consistently deliver what your sales team sold, advertise that as a key selling point.

7. Look for best practices in other industries.

Go beyond your own industry to seek out best practices that you can adopt from a company-attribute standpoint. Unlike the solution capabilities, most company-related attributes are the same, making cross-industry comparisons easy and straightforward.

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