Sales Leadership News
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Sales Leadership News
A monthly resource dedicated to the success of B2B sales leaders, in their current roles and beyond.
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Sales Leadership News

Sales Leadership News | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

I help CEOs and CSOs of middle-market B2B companies grow their top lines.

 

Through our collaboration, they accelerate revenue performance by aligning sales execution with an effective competitive strategy.

 

Everett Hill

everett@catalyticadvisors.com

770-674-8480

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Click this article to join more than 2,000 CEOs and sales leaders with a FREE subscription to Sales Leadership News, a monthly resource for driving B2B sales excellence.

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Science Says This is The Best Way to Apologize to Customers

Science Says This is The Best Way to Apologize to Customers | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Saying you're sorry isn't always easy, but luckily you can use science to make it a little bit easier. Find out how." --Serhat Pala

Everett L. Hill's insight:

The underlying research is based only on Uber's customers, so it may not apply to your situation. Nevertheless, it's worth paying attention to the psychology behind effective apologies to customers.

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Sales Leadership is the Key to Executing Strategy

Sales Leadership is the Key to Executing Strategy | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"During my first year in sales, I made my quota. So did slightly less than half of the sales team. But what we all had in common, whether we hit our number or missed it, was that each of us held the ability to render the company strategy utterly useless." --Scott Edinger

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Edinger builds on an idea from an earlier article--shared in Sales Leadership News on October 27th--that salespeople make or break strategy every day. Here, he's prescriptive in describing how sales leaders can insure that strategy is effectively implemented.

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The Sales Jigsaw Puzzle

The Sales Jigsaw Puzzle | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Too often, we inundate our people with all sorts of things they must do to achieve their goals." --Dave Brock

Everett L. Hill's insight:

I violently agree with Brock that great sales leaders help their people understand all the pieces of the puzzle. My experience suggests that mediocre sales leaders focus their routine cadence of interactions with salespeople on the right side of the graphic (opportunity pipeline management and forecasting) to the exclusion of everything else.

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Six CRM best practices for sales managers

"I’ve decided to offer the six best practices that I’ve seen help companies fully utilize a CRM system." --Chris Peterson

Everett L. Hill's insight:

While I don't agree with Peterson on #4 (Commit 100% or 0% to integration), the rest are sound recommendations that universally apply--beyond the security system industry he wrote them for. 

 

I generally recommend that integration should be undertaken as phase 2 of a CRM rollout plan. 

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The Linchpin for a Winning Growth Strategy

The Linchpin for a Winning Growth Strategy | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"The competitive strategy of a business succeeds or fails every time a sales professional interacts with a prospect or a customer. Here are three areas to focus on that will drive your team to a winning growth strategy." --Scott Edinger

Everett L. Hill's insight:

I see Edinger's thesis play out over and over again when I observe salespeople executing calls. What happens on the street (and the phone) is often at odds with my client's competitive strategy. 

 

There's no reason to wait for a growth crisis to understand if your strategy is being executed on the street. Get out and verify it yourself!

 

 

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The Top 10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement for Better Results

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement for Better Results | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Defining, measuring and improving employee engagement has been a hot subject garnering a ton of attention over the past 20 years as new generations enter the workforce seeking new opportunities and upward mobility." --Brent Gleeson

Everett L. Hill's insight:

I like that this former Navy SEAL uses surveys as part of the solution to employee engagement. I deployed and analyzed surveys for two recent clients who were struggling with inside and outside sales turnover and mediocre performance. The results were eye-opening, resulting in dozens of retention-focused recommendations.

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Disrupt Sales Management Through Adaptive Coaching

Disrupt Sales Management Through Adaptive Coaching | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"...multiple industry studies indicate companies that do a better job of coaching their sales reps have up to four times higher revenue than companies that do not." --C. Lee Smith

Everett L. Hill's insight:

This article is a thinly disguised ad for sales coaching software. Never, ever attempt to drive transformational change using software alone (trust me--I learned this the hard way). 

 

That said, the article outlines ways that sales managers can push the envelope of their own effectiveness. Implement them first without software to experience their power.

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5 Secrets Of A Great Sales Manager

5 Secrets Of A Great Sales Manager | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it
(By Lisa Thal) Let’s face it, in today’s fast-paced world, you are managing a lot of projects. The one that impacts your employment the most is exceeding your revenue expectations. Retaining current clients and growing new revenue each day are the priorities. So what’s the secret to be a great sales manager?
Everett L. Hill's insight:

Thal focuses on sales management in the media industry, but her observations apply broadly. The "5 Secrets" are all blocking and tackling, but making these a priority will up any sales manager's game.

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An Alarming Percentage of Companies Don’t Use Sales Coaching

An Alarming Percentage of Companies Don’t Use Sales Coaching | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"New ATD research reveals that two in five companies don't use sales coaching." --Jenna Cronin

Everett L. Hill's insight:

I'm not at all surprised that two in five companies don't use sales coaching. The percentage is far higher among the middle-market firms who are my clients.

 

Old-school thinking focuses on compensation as the most important motivator of salespeople. Particularly with millennials, that doesn't seem to be true--it's about the opportunity to be developed to their full potential.

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There are 4 Types of Managers. One is More Effective Than the Others

There are 4 Types of Managers. One is More Effective Than the Others | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"To understand how managers can do a better job of providing the coaching and development up-and-coming talent needs, researchers at Gartner surveyed 7,300 employees and managers across a variety of industries...Their focus: What are the best managers doing to develop employees in today’s busy work environment?" --Harvard Business Review

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Surprise! Another coaching article. This one isn't specific to sales performance, but nevertheless it's valuable to dive deeper and define what good coaching looks like.

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What B2B Buyers Really Care About

What B2B Buyers Really Care About | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Recognizing the full range of both rational and emotional factors behind business purchases—and tailoring the value proposition accordingly—is critical to avoiding the commodity trap." --Eric Almquist, Jamie Cleghorn, and Lori Sherer

 

 

Everett L. Hill's insight:

The detailed methodology of this Bain research is overkill for my middle-market clients, but the article reinforces how crucial it is for B2B sales organizations to do their homework (via surveys and interviews) to understand how customers value their products or services. 

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The Email-Marketing Death Spiral Begins When You Think More is Better

The Email-Marketing Death Spiral Begins When You Think More is Better | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"You can build a powerful customer connection if your emails are personalized, relevant and perfectly timed." --Karl Wirth.

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Wirth's article explains the "why" behind sophisticated email marketing automation tools, without all the mumbo-jumbo. He maintains that email marketing remains very effective, for those who take the trouble to do it well.

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Attention Salespeople: How You Introduce Yourself Matters

Attention Salespeople: How You Introduce Yourself Matters | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"In today’s world, we have literally seconds to get people’s attention, which is why the first few words that come out of our mouths on a call, or the subject and first lines in an email, can make all the difference." --John Barrows

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Barrows' tactics for initiating prospecting conversations have the potential to transform mediocre sales hunters into high-performers. Sadly, when I interview sales managers, it's often clear they don't understand that promoting these skills will make their teams more successful.

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Placing the Right Salesperson in the Wrong Sales Role

Placing the Right Salesperson in the Wrong Sales Role | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"One of the biggest mistakes I see in sales talent management is placing a good sales hire into the wrong sales role." --Tracey Wik

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Some years ago, in a VP Sales Ops role supporting an organization of 1,200 sellers, I followed the playbook that Wik describes. We replaced or reassigned over 30% of the team. Within 6 months, the new sales force was driving account acquisition up 30% while reducing customer churn by 19%.

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How to Start a Sales Coaching Program for Your Business

How to Start a Sales Coaching Program for Your Business | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Coaching your sales team takes up your time and money – but, investing in a sales coaching program can work wonders for your business and especially help you improve your sales." --Lilach Bullock

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Bullock promotes video technology as an essential part of sales coaching. I disagree. Sales coaching can absolutely be successful without a technology investment. However, I do agree that once a sales coaching culture is established, enabling technology can accelerate performance improvements.

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Replacing the Sales Funnel with the Sales Flywheel

Replacing the Sales Funnel with the Sales Flywheel | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"I’ve been using the sales funnel for 28 years, my whole career. This year, I retired the funnel — threw it a party, gave it a gold watch, and congratulated it on its move to a condo in Florida." --Brian Halligan

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Halligan (CEO of HubSpot) is being overly dramatic in "retiring" the sales funnel in favor of the sales flywheel. The flywheel is a tremendously useful strategic concept for making better decisions when allocating sales and marketing resources, setting compensation plans, and selecting the right metrics to drive growth. Nevertheless, it's clear Halligan is not abandoning the funnel as a tool to focus a sales team on the right opportunities on a daily basis. Why am I so sure? HubSpot's CRM offering, centered on managing the sales funnel, is still alive and well. 

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The Good-Better-Best Approach to Pricing

The Good-Better-Best Approach to Pricing | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"In this article I outline why [good-better-best pricing] can benefit many firms. Then I present a step-by-step guide to devising, testing, and launching the strategy in a way that boosts profits and reduces the threat of cannibalization." --Rafi Mohammed

Everett L. Hill's insight:

A true how-to guide, with great examples of companies that grew revenue with a good-better-best pricing strategy.

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Do You Want Your Best Employees to Leave? If Not, Stop Doing These 10 Things

Do You Want Your Best Employees to Leave? If Not, Stop Doing These 10 Things | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"Attracting top talent is only the first step. You also have to keep them around." --Justin Bariso

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Use Bariso's checklist to insure you're being proactive about retention in this era of historically low unemployment.

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To Close More Deals, It's Time to Improve Sales Reps' Judgment

To Close More Deals, It's Time to Improve Sales Reps' Judgment | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"You can equip sales representatives with all the skills and knowledge they need, but without the ability to read — in real time — what is happening in a meeting and make judgment calls appropriately, their success will be limited." --Jim Ninivaggi

Everett L. Hill's insight:

I've never heard the word "judgement" used to describe why some salespeople are more successful than others in closing the sale. Ninivaggi's label is spot-on, and valuable. He also offers three ways to improve judgement across a sales team.

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Salespeople Who Exceed Quota are 32% More Likely to be Coached

Salespeople Who Exceed Quota are 32% More Likely to be Coached | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"A whopping 40.3% of salespeople don't believe their sales leader is committed to their personal development." --Keenan

Everett L. Hill's insight:

We get it; sales coaching is a "thing" right now. Keenan argues for formalizing the cadence and making the coaching specific to each individual. My favorite line: "Ad hoc feedback, quick tips, in-meeting feedback or performance reviews are not coaching."

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The Best Talkers May Not Be Your Best Performers

The Best Talkers May Not Be Your Best Performers | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"An analysis of 35 studies, encompassing nearly 4,000 salespeople, determined that there is virtually no correlation between extroversion and sales success." --Jeff Hyman

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Another myth debunked by significant research. Is this obsolete bias in your sales hiring criteria holding you and your company back?

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Most Managers Don’t Know How to Coach People. But They Can Learn.

Most Managers Don’t Know How to Coach People. But They Can Learn. | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"The good news is that managers can improve their coaching skills in a short amount of time (15 hours), but they do have to invest in learning how to coach in the first place." --Julia Milner and Trenton Milner

 

Everett L. Hill's insight:

August 2018 was a huge month for publishing research on the impact of coaching. Some would say this is another management fad. Personally I believe it's about time research caught up with what effective business leaders have instinctively known for years.

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Want Awesome CRM? Downsize It!

Want Awesome CRM? Downsize It! | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"We contend that reps and managers actually need less information than they typically have in their possession, but it has to be the right data for their roles. This, in turn, challenges the assumption that sales operations’ job is to flood the sales force with reports. Rather, their job should be to work with the field to pare down the reports to the vital few -- which is hard." --Jason Jordan

Everett L. Hill's insight:

This is one of those articles that's going to be misquoted and misused.

 

Jordan's point is that every element of CRM reports and dashboards should be carefully vetted to fulfill a specific need. Apparently his client base includes companies who've created a lot of reports and have failed to eliminate ones that are obsolete. I don't see this phenomenon in my client base of middle-market firms.

 

Don't misinterpret this article by underinvesting in the workflows and integrations that are the lifeblood of an effective CRM implementation.

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Leading With Next-Generation Key Performance Indicators

Leading With Next-Generation Key Performance Indicators | Sales Leadership News | Scoop.it

"...We explain the origins of modern KPIs, identify the characteristics of advanced users of KPIs, and offer several takeaways for executives, including what leaders should expect from KPIs as they evolve from compliance-oriented metrics to data-driven growth measures." --M. Schrage and D. Kiron

Everett L. Hill's insight:

Weighty research on KPI best practices. Download it, study it, and apply it to hone your competitive edge.

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