The Competitive Advantage

July 27, 2021

Hiring Your First Sales Rep? Follow These Steps. [Part 2]

Last week, in Part 1 of this series on hiring your first sales rep, we focused on getting ready internally for the hire, with an emphasis on culture, structure and compensation. In this post, we’ll explore the actual hiring and training of that new rep.

Hiring your first sales rep

Most importantly – and everything else pales in comparison – hire for selling skills and sales experience (communication skills, phone selling, presentations, proven sales success, etc.). You can train them on market research once they’re on board. Yeah, I know… that recommendation is going to rub a lot of folks the wrong way, but remember why you’re hiring them… to sell, not to do research. That’s the job of your ops team. If they have some market research background, great! But selling skills and experience are your first priority.

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July 20, 2021

Hiring Your First Sales Rep? Follow These Steps.

If you’re like 90%+ of the firms in our industry, your business development efforts are led by seller-doers… business owners, leaders and managers who, in addition to their primary job, have the added responsibility of growing revenue for their firm.

But if that’s not working out for you and you want (or need) to more proactively grow revenue, you might be considering bringing on a full-time sales rep… someone who’s only job is to grow revenue. If that describes you, this series of articles on how to best do that can help.

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July 6, 2021

Improve Your Sales Presentation… Get Rid of ‘About Us’

Take a look at your current sales presentation deck. If you’re like the [vast] majority of firms, it starts with slides labeled ‘About Us’ or something similar. And generally, not just one or two slides, but a bunch of them.

Here’s my advice… delete them all!

When you stand in front of the room – or the zoom – to deliver a sales presentation, never start with ‘About Us.’ Why not? Because no one in the room cares! They already know what you do. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have been invited to present.

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June 23, 2021

Stop These 3 Bad Social Selling Habits Today!

Social selling using LinkedIn has been part of the sales landscape for several years, but it has exploded over the past year because of the pandemic. For many businesses, the cancellation of conferences and trade shows has meant the loss of one of their primary lead generation opportunities. So, they turned to social selling on LinkedIn. The problem is that it’s being done badly… too many people in sales have taken their old, bad sales habits and just moved them over to this new channel.

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June 15, 2021

If You’re in Sales, Your Job Is Not to Sell!

Yeah, I know… sounds kind of wrong, doesn’t it? But let me finish that statement. Your job is not to sell… it’s to help buyers buy.

This philosophy is based on the premise that ‘people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.’ Think about your last car buying experience. There’s nothing that feels quite as good as driving off the dealer’s lot in a beautiful, brand new car. But leading up to it, you dreaded going to the dealership because of the pushy salespeople. You didn’t want to experience that sort of pressure or be forced into buying something that wasn’t quite right.

Now think about your role as a sales rep or a seller-doer. If you make a sale, that’s good for you… you win. But maybe it’s not what’s best for the client. However, if you help the client make a good buying decision, that’s a win-win.

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June 1, 2021

Creating a Sales Culture is Critical to Success

Firms in the Market Research industry are, by nature, operationally-focused. You manage your businesses around delivering services to clients, almost always one project at a time. Virtually everyone on staff is there to contribute to the projects. It’s what you do and who you are. New clients come to you as a result of the good work you do and word of mouth.

Then you make the decision to become more ‘proactive’ with your sales effort. Maybe you bring in a full-time sales rep… or designate a couple of your senior staff as “seller-doers.” Either way, the chances of success with your new sales efforts are dramatically enhanced if you can help to create a ‘sales culture’ within your organization. Without it, you’re likely to stir up rumor, speculation and a lot of resentment.

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May 18, 2021

Thinking About Putting on a Webinar? Do it!

For years, webinars have been a very popular channel for communicating and connecting with the marketplace. And as webinar software platforms have become easier to use, filled with amazing new features and stay very affordable, there’s never been a better time to include webinars in your marketing program.

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May 11, 2021

A Sales Pipeline is NOT Just About RFPs

Nearly every firm we speak with says they’re using a sales pipeline as part of their business development process. But they’re really not.

Too many firms think that a sales pipeline is only about what’s at the end of the pipeline (or ‘bottom of the funnel,’ depending on your hardware preference). These firms are concerned only with ‘proposals out in the marketplace’ and the status of those opportunities. And while RFPs are certainly important, focusing on them is a little nearsighted. RFPs are more about the now. What about the future?

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