Sales Restructuring Decisions in a Virtual Selling Environment

By Hope Eyre

You’ve heard the phrase, “we’re all Inside Sales now.” It’s meant as a nod to virtual selling solidarity. Not to be taken literally. But still, it made us think.

So many of our clients have had to make, or are in the process of making, sales org restructuring decisions to fit economic realities. The now outdated “Inside/Outside” sales terminology can muddy the waters on these decisions, particularly if your company doesn’t have clearly defined sales roles, which is a common enough occurrence.

Leaders looking hard at their sales organizations to determine if they need to restructure an “Outside Sales” force that can no longer work outside should ignore the terminology altogether and look instead at the specialization of roles required to achieve their revenue targets. Especially if they have personnel decisions to make.

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9 Steps to Improving Your Virtual Sales Calls: For a "Better Normal"

By Rachel Cavallo

We know many sellers who are about to bust down the doors of their home offices … craving the ability to shake a (sanitized) hand and engage with more than a head on Zoom.  Unfortunately, this may not be possible for a while longer.

See our 9 steps for improving virtual sales calls in a handy infographic.

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Creating a Customer for Life in Volatile Times

By Rachel Cavallo

What if TODAY, during this crazy pandemic, is the day that you create a customer for life?

If you’ve sold to small or mid-sized businesses, you’ve inevitably run into THAT customer who isn’t going to buy from you no matter how low you drop your price or how superior your offering is.  This customer is fully dedicated to one supplier because that company helped his business in a fundamental way – either by helping him get his start, or saving him from a fate that threatened his business.  He has relentless loyalty and implicit trust in this supplier.

What if TODAY is the day you create this kind of loyalty with customers? Not just “right now” loyalty, but enduring loyalty that your customers will talk about 5 or 10 years from now? The kind of loyalty that gets you out of the price game and into the value game?

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Descartes Philosophy: Applied to Modern Sales Challenges

By Hope Eyre

“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” -- Morpheus, The Matrix (1999)

Last week, we attended our first large-scale virtual conference.

Organized by an industry association client of ours, it was in every way analogous to a sales kick-off meeting. About 8000 attendees registered. At any one time, 1800-1900 people were viewing a main-stage event, attending education sessions, browsing exhibitor booths or virtually networking.

The conference interface was intuitive and easy to navigate. You could go into and out of live sessions as easily as walking into or out of a hotel ballroom – easier, actually. You didn’t disturb anyone by opening a physical door. If you wanted collateral or presentation material, you picked it up and dropped it into your virtual briefcase for later viewing. You could chat with just about everyone.

Who would have thought 4 ½ months ago that an organization could pull this off virtually?

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Sales Leaders: Assess Skills Gaps Now to Avoid Pipeline Issues Later

By Hope Eyre

We suspected this would happen, and then we got confirmation from the Sales Ops team at our largest client.

“Some of our best sellers have become some of our worst,” they said.

The client was describing a subset of sellers who had historically been star performers based on the strength of their relationships; especially those who had relied heavily on face-to-face socializing.

“It’s the ones who never had to lean into any technology, because they were successful without it,” the lament continued. Pipelines already under stress were absolutely going to be affected.

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7 Tips to Get the Most Value from Your Virtual Meetings

By Warren Shiver

Like you, I’ve been working to adjust to a world of 100% meetings and most social interactions through my devices. Stress of the overall situation aside, it’s been fascinating to experiment and learn what’s working and not. Trust me, I’m still learning.

Since for those of you in sales, there is a strong chance that this remote environment will endure for a while given that even when companies welcome back their employees, how much longer will it be before they welcome you -- An outsider who just flew on a plane with 180 others to get to their front door?

Certainly, I welcome that day, but in the meantime, here are the best virtual meeting and engagement tips and ideas we’ve come across.

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Why Sir Francis Bacon Would Have Loved the Challenger Sale

By Hope Eyre

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching a class in Business Case Selling to a high-tech client. Virtual is a tough setting for this topic because the length of time you can hold a seller’s attention on a webinar is shorter than what’s needed to teach it well.

We solve this by extending the training experience well outside the webinar itself. Pre-work, practicum assignments, manager coaching and the like. Several smaller pieces connected to build one compelling lesson.

Our client’s main objective with this training is to win without discounting, every sales leader’s dream.

To do this, their sellers have to prove, in empirical detail, the financial value of each high-tech solution to the customer. These sales are complex, lengthy, competitive and customers are known to start bidding wars to drive down price.

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CSO, CRO, VP of Sales: Which Leader Fits Your Company? Which Fits You?

By Masami Middleton

As sales consultants, we encounter sales leaders with a variety of fancy acronyms in their titles. In addition to the SVPs/EVPs of Sales, the sales leader landscape also includes CROs, CSOs, and CGOs. While these titles imply a distinction in roles, to most people, it’s just alphabet soup. 

What’s the difference between a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or Chief Growth Officer (CGO)? From the CEO or board member perspective, which role does your business need? For a sales leader, which role is the best fit with your capabilities?

The easiest way to distinguish between these roles is to compare their scope of responsibility, core objectives, and what defines success. Appointing a “heavy hitter” to a CSO, CRO or CGO role, rather than a VP of Sales, indicates the need for a greater span of oversight from a strategic, revenue generation, and customer lifecycle perspective.

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The “Unluckiest Generation” of Sellers

By Warren Shiver

We’ve been interested in the impacts of the different generations in the workforce and specifically related to sales since our initial research for our book The Multigenerational Sales Team. According to the US Dept of Labor, in 2019 Millennials displaced Gen X as the largest cohort in the American workforce.

Last week, I came across an article in the Washington Post titled “The unluckiest generation in U.S. history,” which is quite a statement given some of the challenges that have confronted prior generations (world wars, pandemics, Great Depression, etc.), but it certainly caught my attention. The reporter Andrew Van Dam notes, “After accounting for the present crisis, the average millennial has experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation in U.S. history.”

What does this misfortune mean for early career sales professionals? What other trends from today's pandemic will impact the next generation of sellers and sales leaders?

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What Sales Leaders Can Learn from Epicurean Philosophers

By Hope Eyre

It’s called Pandemic Downtime, and we have it. That extra time we’d normally never have because we’re on airplanes, entertaining clients, and generally doing the things people do when they’re free to leave the house.

A lawyer friend of mine and his wife always have interesting podcast recommendations. So while I was browsing through a list they’d given me, I stumbled across a series called Philosophize This!  by Stephen West.

The host is a superb storyteller, adept at explaining philosophical tenets in a relatable, entertaining way. Imagine attending a lecture on Socrates given by Jimmy Kimmel. That’s what he’s like.

My colleague, Warren, was nearing the end of a Thomas Keller cooking series he’d been watching on Masterclass, so I suggested Philosophize This!  We figured strolling through non-business topics while we had the time might boost creativity when we returned to a faster pace.

Philosophy isn’t exactly familiar territory for either of us, but after listening to a few episodes (Daoism, Confucianism, Stoicism), we were hooked. It was only a matter of time before we started trying to relate the concepts we learned to the business of sales.

Topics: sales process
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