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The Competitive Advantage

tag: sales management

October 6, 2018

Revenue Forecasting for 2019… It Doesn’t Need to Be a Guessing Game!

revenue forecasting It’s getting to be that time of year when you’ll start thinking about and planning for 2019. And one of the first questions you’ll have to answer for your firm is, “What’s our revenue goal for next year?”

Traditionally – and unfortunately – this is answered in one of two ways:

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September 4, 2018

7 Sales Management Lessons for Leading Your Small Sales Team

I just got back from a 3-day visit with a client in the northeast, conducting an audit and assessment of their sales operation – staffing, structure, processes, etc. It was a terrific start to the engagement… and reinforced a number of sales management lessons we all should keep top-of-mind as we go to market with a business development initiative.

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July 24, 2018

5 Ways to Say “No thanks” to a Proposal

Twice in the past few years, I’ve written a blog post about the frustration that I (and all people involved in business development) feel when not hearing back from a potential client after submitting a proposal… a proposal that they requested. I wrote about how any answer – even a ‘no’ – is better than being ignored. With a clear answer… at least I’ll know how to move forward.

Sadly, the practice of ‘responding with silence’ from potential clients continues to this day.

So, on behalf of all small business owners who do the selling, seller-doers and professional salespeople everywhere, I’ve taken the liberty of writing out actual email scripts – based on several different scenarios – that you can use when responding to proposals you don’t want to accept. I hope these help:

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July 3, 2018

The Perfect Sales Commission Plan! Sorry, it doesn’t exist.

But these 10 guidelines can help you get close.

A few weeks ago, I met with the President and Senior Sales Executive for a firm in Dallas. They were looking for an objective assessment of their sales commission plan. Here’s what I told them…

After 30+ years in sales & marketing – and after seeing literally hundreds of different plans in a variety of industries – I can say, with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that there is no one perfect sales commission structure.

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June 19, 2018

How Many Times Should a Sales Rep Follow-up? Here’s the REAL Answer…

With over 30 years of sales and marketing experience, I have seen countless articles and graphics detailing what the author thought was the ’right’ number of sales follow-up touches. They write as though success is inevitable – if (and when) you get to that “magic number” of follow-ups.

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March 20, 2018

Stop Using Content Marketing to Sell

I’ve been a subscriber to INC. magazine for years. I take away a nugget or two from every issue. In this most recent March/April issue, I started to read an article about a concept called the “active office.” It looked interesting.

The article began with what appeared to be an interview with the CEO of VariDesk, a manufacturer of sit/stand workstations. As I read further, I realized it wasn’t an article, but a well-written sales pitch and ‘advertorial.’ At the top of the page was the tiny header, “Branded Content.” And right next to the article was a full-page VariDesk ad.

It really angered me (both VariDesk and INC.)… trying to hide their advertising under the guise of editorial content, even designing the page so that it looked like a standard article. Now, whenever I read any article in any magazine, I look for the “Branded Content” header at the top of the page. Kind of sad, huh?

It was the perfect example of a lesson we share with all of our clients and emphasize during conference presentations…  Stop using content marketing to sell!

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January 16, 2018

3 Simple Sales Tests to Use When Hiring a New Rep

sales testsWe’ve all seen that scene at the end of the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, where Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character is presenting a sales training workshop and asks a few of the attendees to, “Sell me this pen.”

Are sales tests like that a good idea when recruiting and hiring a sales rep in the market research industry?

A test like that? Probably not. It’s a bit contrived, unrealistic and not in any way tied to your business. However, because so much of the future success of your firm will be tied to this new sales rep, some testing before you make them a job offer is entirely in order.

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November 21, 2017

Want to Be Successful at Sales? Then Change your Mindset.

salesI hear these kinds of statements all the time in our industry:

  • “I don’t like selling.”
  • “I’m no good at sales.”
  • “I don’t want to sell.”

I think one of the reasons I hear those things is because of the perception of the profession of selling. Consider this… when I say the word, ‘salesman,’ what sorts of images comes to mind for you? The stereotypical used-car salesman? That guy near Disneyworld selling time shares? Or (for those of you in my generation) maybe Herb Tarlek, the radio ad salesman from the late 70’s sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati?

I get it. No one really wants to associate with “salespeople” like that.

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