The 60-Day Sales Discovery Challenge in 5 Simple Steps

By Rachel Cavallo

I have recently had multiple conversations with sales leaders who complain that their teams are ineffective at sales discovery.  Their teams don’t know enough about their customers.  They don’t ask the right questions, don’t ask enough questions, and don’t apply what they learn to sell more.

Typically, my question back to them is, “So what are you doing about it?”  I’m a firm believer that teams will rise to the expectations of their leaders, but those expectations need to be clear, succinct, and consistently applied and measured.

I also know that it takes 30 to 60 days of consistent focus to change behavior (the behavior of the sales professional AND the leader).  Widespread, long-term change is daunting, though, so, here is my challenge to you… Take a 60-Day Sales Discovery Challenge with your team with the following steps.

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Going for the WIN, Not the A+, in B2B Sales

By Rachel Cavallo

I admit it, I was that kid in school.  I sat in the front row, and I generally had my hand raised.  I studied every night and wouldn’t dream of coming to school unprepared.  Straight As were important to me, and I would do anything to keep my teachers or parents from seeing me unprepared or not in “straight A” form… 

Fast forward a few years (okay maybe more than a few), and I’ve had a realization working with a lot of awesome “type A” sales professionals … the real world of B2B sales is not at all about getting straight A’s – it’s about getting numbers on the board, and many of the things you have to do to win are completely contrary to straight A habits.

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Your Sales Pipeline Can Get You Fired

By Michael Perla

He was at a risk of being fired.

It was the sales pipeline.

It wasn’t growing fast enough … and it wasn’t four times his overall sales goal[i].

“Michael”, the VP of Sales said to me, “I’m worried that we don’t even get to tell our story … and we are unable to create or uncover new sales opportunities … it’s depressing”.

Growing the pipeline. I’ve written about the pipeline quite a bit over the years (here, here, and here). It’s a topic that consistently rears its head in almost any discussion with a sales leader and for many of those in the executive suite.

The pipeline in business-to-business sales is often the key barometer for how a company is doing. Think about it, do you have enough of a compelling offering and message that prospects or customers put you in their ‘consideration set’ for a project or to help solve a problem?

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Global Sales Program Roll-outs: The Good, the Complicated and the Overlooked

By David Szen

Sales organizations of all sizes have the desire to transform, train, and develop talent, but rolling out a sales program in a global firm can get hairy quickly. While global sales transformation initiatives are exciting and ideal projects for outside consultants (like us), there are definite pitfalls. Whether you are responsible for planning and rolling out a program, or a sales manager leading your team through it, you play an important role in the successful execution and adoption of the desired change.

Having participated in our fair share of these global deployments, here is a list of lessons learned, organized around “the good, the complicated, and the overlooked”.

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Sales Opportunities: Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em, Know When to RUN

By Rachel Cavallo

Walking away from the biggest opportunity you’ve had all year?  Walking away from an opportunity where you’ve already invested weeks or months cultivating the relationships and building your proposal?  Taking yourself out of the game?  For most sales professionals, these are some of the hardest decisions to make; However… they can be the decisions that make or break your year. 

They can be the decisions that keep you from wasting time on opportunities that aren’t real, investing valuable resources on opportunities you can’t win regardless of how awesome your pitch is, or spending countless business development dollars on a deal that will ultimately be discounted to the point it is barely profitable.

Why do sellers waste time on questionable pursuits and how do we focus them on the right deals?

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The 'Imperfect' Way to Sell

By Michael Perla

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

“The perfect solution never executed realizes no value.”

I’m always amazed in meetings with clients how much time is spent on wordsmithing[i] content.  It’s not that words don’t matter – they do – it’s just that fighting over different synonyms for the same concept feels pointless… or spending time trying to determine some perfect question to a prospect that accelerates the deal and saves the day.  Cut it out.

Anthony Iannerino recently wrote a blog entitled: “Stop Searching for the Perfect Way to Sell."  In it, he writes:

Selling is a complex, dynamic human interaction, which is to say, it doesn’t lend itself to a single right choice that covers all of the possible variables.  Because there is not one right choice for every situation, there is no perfect way; there are only choices.

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Jockeying for Sales Talent in a Job Shopping World

By Per Torgersen

4.6, 4.5, 4.3, 4.2, 4.1.  These may look like judges’ scores in an athletic competition, but these figures actually represent a sampling of recent US unemployment percentages, which have been steadily declining for some time.  The most recent unemployment rate of 4.1% is the lowest in 17 years.  While this is encouraging for job seekers, it is worrisome for employers seeking to attract and retain strong sales talent to hit their revenue targets.

Headlines like these…

“Employer’s Hustle to Retain Job-Hopping Workers”

“Companies Seeing a Significant Increase in Employee Turnover Rates”

“US Workforce Expected to Experience Massive Shift” (thousands of baby boomers retiring daily)

… are forcing employers to re-think their attraction and retention strategies.

For those wanting to attract employees with bachelor’s degrees or Millennials, the situation is even worse, with unemployment for college grads only at 2.0% as of October 2017, and Millennials (and now Generation Z) coming into the labor market with very different expectations regarding their jobs and careers than previous generations.

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Sales Leader’s First 90 Days: Setting a Longer-Term Sales Strategy (Post 4 of 4)

By Hope Eyre

This is the conclusion of our multi-part exploration of how sales leaders approach their first 90 days in a new role. The topic was born from a startling statistic: The average tenure of a Sales VP working in the same role at the same company is incredibly brief – only about 18 months.

So many of our clients have found themselves in a new position, after a relatively short tenure elsewhere, that we wondered what we could learn from their experiences that could be put to pragmatic use by sales leaders changing jobs.

Post 4 of 4

In this, our final blog post (for days 60 through 90), we’ll show you how to organize the considerable information you’ve gathered, actively look for major alignment issues and build a roadmap that sets longer-term sales strategy.

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Show... Then Tell (with Win Themes)

By Rachel Cavallo

The value proposition. It’s at the core of everything we sell, right? Value propositions come in many varieties, but essentially they are the statements that say, “You need what we have to offer, and we are uniquely positioned to sell it to you.” We’ve seen the statistics that tell us how important clear value propositions are to buyers… But is the value proposition statement alone enough?

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Making eLearning Work for the Busy Sales Professional

By Rachel Cavallo

So you need to train your sales force, but you want to minimize their time out of the field. eLearning is the perfect answer, right? In today’s world of cost and performance pressure, eLearning can easily become the silver bullet to “check the box” on sales training. After all, IBM saved $200 million, a 2/3 savings, by adopting a virtual training program for its employees (Source: IRRODL). But beware… you can easily make a significant investment that won’t move the needle as much as you think.

The other day I was sitting near a friend who had to complete “mandatory eLearning” on a new trend his company was trying to position with clients. As someone who is generally on the other end of these courses (the designing and building of them), I was fascinated by his running commentary. I listened to a few of the videos and heard some of his frustrations along the way, and it crystallized my perspective that there are some right and wrong ways to do eLearning.

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