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!
Great blog post from the folks at Fast Company: http://bit.ly/97qnIl. 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?
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.
Excellent thoughts on personal brand from Ron Ashkenas writing for HBR. This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately, especially when launching this blog. Still a work in process. When’s the last time you put some thought to this? http://bit.ly/8Ia5xP
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!
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…
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.
A bold statement from one of the best sales gurus in the market, Jeffrey Gitomer. He is a fantastic resource and you should check him out http://www.gitomer.com/ and buy at least 2 of his books if you don’t already have them in your sales success library – but that’s another story. I was struck by this quote in and of itself. “This is not a year to recover. This is a year to dominate.” That is a real wake up call to snap out of the “recovery hangover,” pick yourself up by the bootstraps, and get out there to solve some of your clients problems. Are you taking this aggressive a posture? It is an excellent challenge to us all as we kick off 2010. Get out there and dominate!
Many companies with whom I have worked struggle to get into the game on social media. Due to engrained habits, they can not see a clear way to add this new dimension to their marketing mix. Today, it is really not an option. Conversations about your company are happening out there – period. The only decision you really have is, “Do I want to participate?” I would suggest that your answer should be YES! But that begs the question – what do you do on Monday morning? How do you really operationalize these media that can be (and should be) much more colloquial than our traditional corporate communications? Establishing a policy in this area seems a non-starter for many firms. However, it is happening. See Coca-Cola’s new social media policy: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/coca-cola-launches-new-social-media-policy/ . If a global company with 92,000 employees can do this (in 3 pages no less!) don’t you think your company can swing it?
I have wanted to do this for some time now – so here goes! My name is Tim Kocher. I have been in sales and marketing for my entire 19-year career, most of it for professional services companies. I hope this blog will become a place where people who are connected to sales and marketing can come to see valuable information on the tricks of the trade (and the trade itself) in one stop. We’ll touch on all aspects of business development so be sure to come visit often! Feel free to Look me up on LinkedIn as well: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timkocher