Category: Sales

Can AI Help You Overcome “No Decision”?

sales ai

Artificial intelligence (AI) may be coming for your job. But debating AI’s impending (or not) domination is blasé and ultimately unimportant for business leaders responsible for driving revenue and growth. Instead, we need to focus our attention on AI’s potential to transform how we sell.

AI is already making waves in sales, from intelligent content recommendations for reps to sales pipeline insights. But an area of significant, untapped opportunity lies in unlocking one of the biggest problems facing salespeople and marketers — “No Decision.”

Forget the shock and awe headlines. The frontlines of shifting buyers from complacency to action is where AI’s potential gets interesting.

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The 7 Best Sales and Marketing Events to Attend in Fall 2019

best sales marketing events 2019

Have you ever purchased a $2,000 event ticket and flown across the country in pursuit of new learnings — only to find yourself trapped in a windowless conference room nodding off to outdated material? If so, you’re not alone. 

There are good conferences, and there are “why am I here” conferences. When these events cost both time and money, how can you ensure you’re making a wise investment?

Let this guide be a beacon — we’ve included a list of the fall events we’ve chosen to attend, from the US to the UK. Between new research shared by the experts to networking hours with the best and brightest, these events are not only worth the jet lag, but will leave you feeling reinvigorated and inspired.

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The Simple Trick That Will Make You a Better Listener

the simple trick that will make you a better listener

“You said you’ve been struggling with customer retention for a while,” the sales rep said. “What led you to address it now?”

Great question.

Unfortunately, before his prospect could reply, the rep followed it with three more.

“Did retention hit a new low? Or are you changing your organizational focus? A lot of folks reach out to me after hiring a customer success manager — does that apply to you?”

The buyer seemed a little overwhelmed, and responded with hesitancy in her voice: “Well, I guess you could say our goals are changing, so a change in organizational focus, I guess.”

Did you see what just happened? The buyer simply picked one of the sales rep’s options rather than potentially giving a reason he hadn’t anticipated.

In his rush to fill the silence, this salesperson missed a precious opportunity to learn more about his buyer’s pain.

Have you ever struggled to talk less? Read on for a simple — yet crazy effective — technique for doing just that.

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Make Your Sales Training a Big Success

sales training

Today, most sales organizations are still enabling salespeople with classroom onboarding, certifications, and assessments. These methods are outdated and don’t reflect the dynamic, responsive way that modern sellers engage with buyers. And they’re hurting your bottom line.

Salespeople are hungry for an immersive, interactive learning experience — one that delivers the right content and guidance at the right time through the channels where they live.

And reps have every reason to have this appetite. Technology has transformed the way we sell — so it’s time that technology changes the way we approach sales training, too.

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How to Drive Adoption of Sales Technology

sales technology adoption

You finally signed the contract on the new sales tool you’ve championed for months. Weeks of research, stakeholder meetings, and contract negotiations are behind you, so the hard part is over, right?

Not quite. Now you need to drive adoption across your sales team. After all, a tool that no one uses is just a waste of money. But sales reps are inundated with more tools than ever, requiring that new solutions overcome skepticism and ingrained habits to achieve high adoption.

All this may make it seem easier to avoid purchasing new tools altogether. But modern buyers demand fresh, digital sales tactics, so doing nothing simply isn’t an option. Follow these three steps to ensure that your sales technology investments are a success.

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Best Sales Tools to Supercharge Productivity in 2019

best sales tools

The right tools can make all the difference. Just as James Bond needs his gadgets, or a baseball player needs a quality bat, sellers will be most productive with a strategic tech stack.

The sheer volume of sales software available, however, makes deciding which platforms to invest in a daunting task. That’s why you need a simple decision framework and a clear understanding of which tools can make the greatest impact.

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What’s Getting in Your Way of Becoming a Top Performer? It Might Just Be Your Work Environment

sales productivity

I used to work with a woman who would go to the local coffee shop to make prospecting calls. She used to say, “They drink the caffeine and I feed off of their energy.”

A creative co-worker of mine can’t function in the office when he’s searching for ideas. He works from home where it’s quieter.

I find it impossible to work without using two screens. Switching back and forth on one screen drives me bananas.

Your work environment can be motivating or demotivating. When you’re in a particular place, you tend to do (or not do) specific things. You feel different depending on where you are and what’s around you.

In RAIN Group’s latest Extreme Productivity Benchmark Report, more than 2,300 sellers and business professionals were asked about their work habits and behaviors. Analysts reviewed their responses through the lenses of productivity, job performance, happiness, and job satisfaction. The findings revealed that the Extremely Productive (the XP) are particularly tuned in to their environments. They are 3.3 times more likely to organize their work environment to maximize productivity.

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Conversation Mastery Is Key to Fast and Successful Onboarding

sales onboarding

A great first week of onboarding is not enough to accelerate new hire time-to-productivity. There is a gap in many organizations’ approaches to preparing sellers to lead compelling and repeatable customer conversations. Closing this gap means preparing new reps to lead an effective sales meeting through “conversation mastery.”

Conversation mastery is an accelerator to onboarding success—time-to-productivity, time-to-first deal, and a robust pipeline. Without conversation mastery, a new salesperson will not have the confidence or ability to get the initial customer meeting, build a healthy pipeline, and move deals through the sales cycle.

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The Secret to Scaling Sales Effectiveness

scaling sales effectiveness

Research from SiriusDecisions’ 2018 Global Chief Sales Officer Study found that fewer than 50% of sales reps are hitting quota and that at 70% of companies, barely 30% of reps are meeting quota. These statistics illuminate an unsettling fact — the majority of sales teams are ineffective.

With less than half of their sales team hitting quota, it’s easy to understand why sales leaders often focus their time and energy on top performers in the hopes that they inspire the rest of the team to keep up. However, this only exacerbates the issue. Neglecting core performers who, on average, make up 60% of the sales force, is a huge missed opportunity. Core performers, or “B reps,” are actually a company’s most valuable revenue driver.

Why is that?

Research done by the Sales Executive Council found that a 5% increase from the middle 60% of performers yielded 80% more revenue than a 5% increase from just the top 10%. If sales leaders want to increase quota attainment, they have to start by improving the effectiveness of their core sellers.

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Scalable Quota Attainment Requires Sales Effectiveness

scalable quota attainment requires sales effectiveness

Sales leaders are constantly focused on attaining revenue goals, which naturally shifts the bulk of their attention to top performers. After all, they’re the breadwinners who consistently achieve quota and drive revenue. The general perception is that keeping top performers successful will increase everyone else’s performance as they try to keep up.

This is flawed thinking. Core performers, or “B reps,” are a company’s most valuable asset. How is that possible? Get familiar with the 20-60-20 theory. This approach of grouping sellers finds that 20% of a sales team are top performers, 20% are struggling, and the other 60% are somewhere in the middle.

Research done by the Sales Executive Council found that a 5% increase from the middle 60% of performers yielded 80% more revenue than a 5% increase from just the top 10%. If sales leaders want to increase quota attainment and optimize pipeline generation, they have to start by improving the effectiveness of their core sellers.

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