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If Your Data is So Great, Why Doesn’t it Confirm My Opinion?

by Chris Bucholtz
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Years ago, when I was a cub reporter, I had an assignment covering the city council of Belmont, California, an upscale suburb just south of the San Francisco Airport – not far from where Dreamforce is being held today. The big debate was about the extension of BART, the regional rapid-transit rail system. On the council were the mayor, a rather officious woman who looked like she had a chronic a sore neck from looking down her nose at people, three other council members who were quite clearly afraid of her, and a young man who was a definite outsider. [...]

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Simplifying Salespeople’s Lives with CPQ

by Chris Bucholtz
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If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, you’ve encountered the funnel-jammer, that sale that seems to be whizzing through your pipeline only to get stuck somewhere near the end of the deal. It may be because of a process in your company – an approval for a discount, for instance, or your inability to provide a key piece of content to the customer. Whatever it is, it forces your sales reps to stop, backtrack, and chase down the problem. That’s not time spent selling – it’s time spent trying to rescue a sale that’s on the rocks, [...]

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Planned Accidents: Three Tips For Connecting With the Right People at Dreamforce

by Chris Bucholtz
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The odds are pretty good that, if you deal with sales and marketing and software, you’re going to be rather tired by the end of this week. Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce.com bacchanalian, is in its first day, building toward a crescendo with its keynote from CEO Marc Benioff on Tuesday afternoon and cruising into a day of product keynotes on Wednesday. The speeches are an anchor, and can be very informative (or not so much, depending on Salesforce’s success in developing its vision in the previous year). The sessions are really useful, and Salesforce does a fantastic job of attracting [...]

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Should Salespeople Prospect Anymore?

by Chris Bucholtz
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Editor’s note: I met Ken Thoreson several years ago while hosting a webinar, and his down-to-earth, practical suggestions and approachable way of phrasing discussions were a real breath of fresh air. He’s not one to get caught up in the jargon of sales – not that he lacks the opportunity to indulge. The author of five books, including SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, and a widely-read blog YourSalesManagementGuru, Ken’s approach is to “operationalize” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the “fresh zone” – something that every sales organization needs every once in [...]

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An Evolved Customer Demands an Evolved Lead Management Approach

by Chris Bucholtz
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A little over a half a decade ago, the buzzword “Sales 2.0” began to bandied about, and it soon found itself the title of an influential conference for sales and marketing people. The objectives of Sales 2.0 were defined as: More predictability (knowing what is coming down the pipeline) Higher velocity (closing deals faster and with less cost of sales) Higher volume (closing more deals) Higher value (generating more revenue at lower costs) Higher customer satisfaction (creating and sustaining long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty) Those are all long-standing desires for sales. But none of these things really touches on the [...]

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Share Your Story in a Session at C3 2015

by Chris Bucholtz
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This year, I have the lucky task of recruiting the session speakers for C3, scheduled for May 11-13, 2015 at the Wynn in Las Vegas. There are over 70 slots on the list, which seems like a lot – but, having had similar experiences as sessions chair for another show, the reality is that they can fill up fast. Past experience showed that the secret was to make sure people knew about the show, and they understood how remarkable their stories really were. Successful people are typically not the ones who bellow loudest about their achievements, contrary to what the [...]

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The Ongoing Evolution of the Salesperson: Adapt or Die

by Chris Bucholtz
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Like everything else in business, sales has evolved. Evolution is not a voluntary thing – if conditions allowed it, dinosaurs would still roam the earth. But conditions change, and the dinosaurs failed to change with them – except for those who evolved into birds. (Yes, birds evolved from dinosaurs.) Sales people have been evolving as the conditions around them have changed, too. For example, sales made from horse-drawn wagons at fairs by salesmen who barked their pitch to a crowd have disappeared. So has most of the matching white shoes-and-belt breed of salespeople of the ‘60s and ‘70s. But salespeople [...]

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Dreamforce: the Place to Scout Your Software Dream Team

by Chris Bucholtz
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Dreamforce 2014

Ever since the 1992 men’s Olympic basketball team, the term “Dream Team” has been a part of our lexicon. That team, which included 11 hall-of-famers and which won the gold medal by defeating opponents by an average of 44 points – embodied the pinnacle of talent in their field, a can’t-be-beaten combination of players who were best at their profession. But that was basketball. Your business is in a different sport altogether – it’s in a competition for sales. And the details of that competition mean that the problems you must address are different from those of other businesses. Addressing [...]

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Hiring Salespeople: their Key Attributes, and the Technology to Capitalize on Them

by Chris Bucholtz
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A recent article on Forbes spotlights how Southwest Airlines hires people with a key attribute – empathy. One of the things they do with prospective flight attendants is to gather a number of them together and then, one by one, have them tell the story of their most embarrassing moment. The interviewers then watch – not the speaker, but the listeners, looking for empathetic reactions. Teaching empathy is very difficult, but if their flight attendants arrive already equipped with the attribute of empathy, the airline can teach the other skills they need. What attributes should come pre-loaded on salespeople? Well, [...]

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The Most Elusive Metric: Measuring the Customer Experience in B2B

by Giles House
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When people hear the term “customer experience,” their thoughts most often turn to B2C relationships. Perhaps the epitome of this is American Girl, a doll line produced by Mattell that focused intensely on the customer experience (described in depth by Paul Greenberg here). American Girl immerses the customers (to be more accurate, the customers’ children) in a series of experiential activities that make the dolls much more than a mere product. The American Doll customer experience, as effective as it is, does not translate into the B2B space – business buyers have nowhere near the time to spend with B2B [...]

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