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Marketing and Sales: Building Bridges

by Jen Kling
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We’ve all seen or heard sales and marketing bad-mouth each other, but here are some facts to prove bad relations prevail. A mere 26% of sales reps say marketing consistently delivers sales-ready leads; the overwhelming majority think otherwise. And only 10% of marketers feel that sales follows up on leads quickly enough. Apart from heightened communication and coordination, how do you build a bridge over these troubled waters? Here are some pointers. Lead Definitions – A CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study found that one in two companies does not have a definition for what makes a qualified lead. [...]

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How to Do Fail-Proof Sales Forecasting

by Christine Dorrion
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Sales forecasts are known to go wrong and understandably so, given that many of them are based on little more than hope. An Aberdeen survey points to an average sales forecast accuracy of just 81%. Now that will not make your CFO happy, will it? Being in sales operations, a large chunk of my time is spent forecasting and here are some things that I have seen work. Good Data: Forecasting is only as good as the data you have at hand. Keeping CRM systems up to date is a perennial problem across organizations with reps disliking its very nature, [...]

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How to Eliminate Waste in Your Sales Process

by Poornima Mohandas
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According to Smart Selling Tools, only 35% of a sales rep’s time is spent selling. What about the remaining 65%? Is it full of Muda? What is Muda? Muda is a Japanese word meaning waste and is a key concept in the famously efficient, Toyota Production System. “Eliminating waste is the key to efficiency” in the just-in-time system pioneered by the world’s largest car maker. Simply put, Muda comprises all tasks that are unnecessary and add no value. It applies not just to the factory floor; it applies just as well to your sales organization. Check out this infographic to [...]

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5 Proven Tips to Motivate Your Sales Reps

by Eric Brown
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First, let’s be 100% clear: The fundamental and most important character trait for a top-performing sales rep is motivation. Everything starts from there. Reps have to face hurdle after hurdle, objection after objection, “no” after “no”, with a smile on their face and a deep-rooted desire to overcome and win, no matter the odds or obstacles. They have to be persistent, tenacious, and relentless in the pursuit of their goals; it all starts with motivation. While you should hire sales reps that are self-motivated, that doesn’t mean organizations can sit this one out. Keeping reps happy, focused, and motivated is [...]

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4 Tips to Make the Perfect Acquisition

by Poornima Mohandas
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The mergers and acquisitions markets are super hot this year with blue chips like Pfizer and Comcast doing the rounds. Deal volumes have soared to over $1.75 trillion, the highest level seen since the Great Recession. But just because your company is cash rich and credit is cheap doesn’t mean you should go shopping to buy the first shiny object that catches your eye. So how do you identify the companies worth buying; distinguish the fads from the trends? Should you put your trust in a first-time CEO? Do you tend to underestimate a company because it’s unknown? These are [...]

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Are Your Sales Reps Stuck With Spreadsheets?

by Poornima Mohandas
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At a time when mobile phones are the primary device to clear inboxes and people spend over two hours a day on the mobile web, how modern is your sales force? Despite all the great new apps, devices, and technologies out there, often the only technology that sales reps use is a CRM platform, which is a reporting and forecasting tool that can do little to speed up the sales process. Let’s take the example of a sales rep in the manufacturing sector. For every meeting the rep has to lug around heavy pricing books and product books. An interested [...]

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What Makes Some Sales Reps Better Than Others?

by Eric Brown
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Some surveys indicate that sales reps add value to the customer conversation only 20% of the time, that means only once in five meetings! That is pathetically low coming at a time when buyers have heightened expectations, refusing to engage with reps until they have completed 70% of the buying journey, giving reps very little time to make a difference. In the digitally evolved marketplace, where information is at buyers’ fingertips, there is just no room for second impressions. Reps have to be great out of the gate. But every sales leader knows that not all reps are great. If [...]

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How Marketing Can Be the Hero

by Jen Kling
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Have you ever asked your sales reps what they think of marketing? More often than not you will hear one of these common comments: Marketers are: Disconnected and out of touch with reality Slackers with no quotas All fluff, pretending to be strategic Creators of pretty brochures Being in marketing myself, I cringe at every one of these generalizations but I do see where the sales reps are coming from, since I used to be a sales rep and sales leader myself, not too long ago. In far too many companies marketing and sales share an uneasy relationship, lacking channels [...]

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Want to Build a Great Value Proposition? Fawn Over the Customer

by Giles House
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What is the no.1 reason why reps fail to make quota? One would think: poor quality of leads, inefficient follow up processes, or maybe just poor rep performance. But it’s none of these. Inability to articulate value in sales conversations is the culprit going by a SiriusDecisions survey of B2B sales managers. For sure, this inability to articulate value is not for want of literature: from Philip Kotler to Michael Lanning the expertise is boundless. So why does building a stellar, yet meaningful value proposition elude us marketers? Is it that too many businesses offer me-too products that don’t really [...]

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Why Sales Leaders Should Care About Facebook’s Numbers

by Eric Brown
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Last week, Facebook announced some “phenomenal numbers”; its revenues shot up 61% beating all Wall Street expectations. With a dramatic rise in its mobile advertising business, Facebook now corners over 18% of the mobile advertising market even as it inches closer to its much larger rival, Google. Despite a shaky debut in the stock markets in 2012, the company’s share price recently touched an all-time high with its market cap soaring to $190 billion, on par with IBM. Much of this remarkable success is thanks to MOBILE. That got me thinking about sales: can mobile strategies significantly transform sales organizations [...]

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