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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Impressions from a Quick Visit to Dreamforce

By Warren Shiver

In a word: Wow! I hadn’t attended Dreamforce (DF) since 2010, and I think it has tripled in attendance. Seems like DF must suck up all of the A/V production capacity in the Bay Area. How great it is to have 170k people pay to be sold to by Salesforce.com (SF) and the partner ecosystem and brand themselves with DF swag. Great business model – I’m certainly envious.

I had the pleasure of speaking during the conference at the Quotable Sales Summit in support of our book, The Multigenerational Sales Team.

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Getting The First Customer Meeting is Hard Enough – What About the Second One?

By Michael Perla

“It’s only getting harder to get a meeting with a decision maker today," the SVP of Sales was telling me, “and getting a second meeting can be even tougher.”  When I ask groups of sales professionals whether it’s harder getting a sales meeting with a decision maker or key influencer today, they all invariably agree that it’s harder.

These days, with the amount of information available online, a seller can’t be a ‘walking brochure’. And, when he/she initially engages with prospects or customers, they are often already behind the curve on their need if they didn’t create the demand.

The infamous 57% statistic from CEB research on how far along in the purchase process a typical B2B buyer is before engaging with a supplier has been debated (for example here and here). But the core message is very important.  If you didn’t create the demand or ‘write’ the RFP, you are already behind.

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Social Selling: Is it for Everyone?

By Erica Abt

Organizations across the globe are changing their sales & marketing strategies because of a fundamental shift in the buying process: access to information. Research shows that, on average, B2B customers are 57% of the way through the buying process and have consulted 10+ sources before engaging a sales person. [1] As a result, sales leaders are buying into the idea that “consumers increasingly use social media to inform their buying decisions” and that “social media has evolved from a marketing channel into a powerful lead generation and sales pipeline tool.” [2] 

While there is no question that social media can be an effective marketing channel, I began to wonder: who is really driving the demand for Social Selling, and is it the right channel to invest in for all customers?

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Essential Ingredients for a Great Sales Kickoff Meeting

By Masami Middleton

It’s that time of year for many sales leaders -- time to gear up for the annual sales kickoff meeting.  Is this a dreaded or anticipated task at your organization?

Knowing the opportunity costs of pulling your reps out of the field and the expectation of value that comes with that, we’ve rounded up perspectives on what makes a great SKO from twelve sales leaders, sellers, and executives from marketing, product, learning and development, and outside consultants. 

We asked each about an essential ingredient or a highly effective agenda item they have seen work well based on their experience.  Thank you to our colleagues who contributed their insights! 

Topics: sales kickoff
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