Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sales from Non-Sales Staff – Guaranteed To Increase Pipeline

You set sales goals for your sales reps.  You work these goals with the sales team aggressively.  But, when is the last time you checked in with your non-sales staff on the topic of business development?  There are typically orders of magnitude more non-sales than sales staff in an organization.  In my company, for example, the ratio is greater than 10-1.  Even a  small uptick in the effectiveness of this larger group to identify and qualify opportunities on which the sales team can then follow-up can have a substantial top line impact.  At your next all hands meeting, why not have some sales training for non-sales professionals?  Multiply your “feet on the street.”  Do the math, it’s worth it!

Measuring Marketing

Great blog post from the folks at Fast Company:   This magazine is very good.  One of my top resources for business insight.  This post deals with that age-old question, “What are we getting for our marketing spend?”  My firm is doing a better job tacking lead source per deal – in a direct answer to one of the questions posed in the post “From ‘closed business’ where did the initial leads come from?”  It’s making a difference in how we invest dollars in marketing.  Have you connected the dots at your company?

Time to Freshen the Funnel

When is the last time that you took an honest look at your full sales funnel?  Did you get to it during the holidays?  If you are like me and many of my peers you took a swing at it but still missed a thorough review.  You may have some stale pursuits, suspended deals , or worst of all – some fresh opportunities that are not yet represented in your funnel.  Before we burn through January, it’s time to do a little cleanup.  While you’re at it, it may be an interesting exercise  to turn your funnel inside out and look at it from an important perspective – The Customer’s.  I’m midway through Mark Sellers’ (yes that’s his real name) book “The Funnel Principal,”  and I like what I’m learning.  This book espouses the creation of a “BuyCycle Funnel.”  Just when you thought all that could be said about selling has been said, Mark has come up with an original way to prioritize your deals.  Think traditional funnel stages – but each from the customer’s perspective.  Each stage is defined by customer committment.  What do you know about your customers’ buying process?  Perhaps not enough.

Customer Site Visits: Always Take the Nickel Tour

I was at a client site today and was offered a the $.05 tour of the facility.  Besides being extremely cool (the client is a forge who makes parts for mining equipment and other heavy industries so it looks like 10-ton Legos being pounded out of pure metal!) I learned an invaluable amount of information from my tour-guide ranging from:  their business, competition, pricing, staffing, assets, market positioning, strengths and weaknesses, future plans, go-to-market strategy, corporate pains, and a 30-year history of the company.  You can’t buy information like that.  ALWAYS take the nickel tour!

Pipeline 2010 Tune-up

So, you survived the big year-end push and spent some time unhooked from the business world to spend with the family over the holidays.  Recharging the batteries is critical as you suit up to kick off another year.  But now it’s mid-January.  How do you feel about your pipeline?  If your answer was anything but “rock solid,” you should read this brief article from Ilise Benun contributing to RainToday

via Pipeline Making You Queasy? 8 Tactics for Creating a Focused Marketing Plan – RainToday.

There’s No Such Thing As “Selling” Anymore

In my nearly 20 years in business development, many things about sales have changed.  One of the most significant is the slow and steady evolution of the power / authority in a sales process migrating from the “seller” to the “buyer.”  At one time, the seller controlled all.  Manufacturers made things, sellers sold them.  They would arrive at the buyer’s office with a bag filled with collateral which included the sum total of information on that product and its specifications.  The seller was the authority and controlled the transaction.  For reasons to many to list here, including most powerfully the internet, that equation is turned on its head.  Buyers are now in the driver’s seat.  References on this phenomenon are readily available.  Three of my favorites, however, are The New Solution Selling, by Keith M. Eades, Customer-Centric Selling by Michael T. Bosworth and John R. Holland, and The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer.  I could run a blog for months just posting about these approaches, and will be citing them often, but regarding my post today, they have one theme in common.  There is no such thing as “selling” anymore.  It’s about helping your clients win and matching your selling process to their buying process.  Once you accept that fact, your success as a salesperson can really take off.  I highly recommend you check thes books out.