50 Expert Tips from Cutting Edge Enterprise Sales Leaders and Organizations
Sales is a challenging field, yet some seem to have a natural affinity for connecting with prospects and closing deals. Today, sales is an increasingly complex role with multi-channel communications, complex buying journeys, and the blurred lines between marketing and sales.
Despite these challenges, some companies just seem to get it. The world’s biggest enterprises and most forward-thinking organizations are nimble, they adapt readily to change, and they strategize to capitalize on market shifts to satisfy consumers and stakeholders. But how do they do it? To gain some insights on the sales secrets that catapult some organizations to success, we scoured the far corners of the web to uncover tips, advice, and secrets from leaders of cutting-edge enterprise sales organizations on strategy, positioning, marketing-sales alignment, and more.
Note: The following tips aren’t ranked or rated in any particular order of importance. They are listed in random order.
Tip #1: Pay attention to evolving market dynamics and customer expectations.
“Evolving market dynamics and customer expectations are requiring agencies and brokerages to transform their business and customer service models. With Applied software as their foundation, Watson Insurance Agency is creating a true digital agency to transform the customer experience for their clients and increase internal operational efficiency.” Source: Watson Insurance Agency Builds Digital Agency Foundation with Applied Epic, Applied Epic
Tip #2: Align your company with community efforts to gain insights into the key pain points experienced by your target markets.
“It’s important for us to align our talent with our community efforts and how we show up in the marketplace. EAGLES plays an instrumental role in helping us gain insights into important financial issues within the LGBT community. This is an example of how diverse perspectives lie at the core of our ability to reach diverse consumers.” – on Prudential’s business resource group, EAGLES (Employee Association of Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies). Source: Prudential again named a top company by the Human Rights Campaign, Prudential Financial
Tip #3: Expanding your product portfolio provides opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell existing customers.
“We have the fastest-growing GRC cloud business on the planet,” said Laurie Schultz, President and CEO of ACL. “Building on the large customer base who have successfully applied our core risk and controls analysis and monitoring products, we are focused on expanding our product portfolio and go-to-market activities across large adjacent GRC market opportunities, which we believe will deliver the next phase of revenue growth and success for ACL. Today, we’re adding approximately 50 new ACL GRC customers on a quarterly basis.” Source: ACL Announces Worldwide Revenue Growth, Strategic Progress in FY13, ACL
Tip #4: Use technology to boost your representatives’ effectiveness.
“Part of our growth is organic growth through bringing on these new advisors, and the other is around same-store sales growth. We want to help our existing advisors be able to deliver more financial advice to their existing clients and any new clients who are coming into their practice. That’s part of the reinventing growth.
“Our strategy as we build out our technology platform is we’re building a tool called the 1040 Analyst. A tax professional who may have 300 to 500 client relationships, tax returns they prepare, will be able to download that tax data into a repository and then we will provision an algorithm where advisors can then data mine those tax returns to come up with investment solutions from the tax data itself. We will then feed that data into a program that we call VestAdvisor Select®, which is a fee-based money management platform that allows advisors to make changes to it. Think of it as a practice management tool for those advisors helping to manage those assets.
“We believe that will not only help the new advisors coming in, but in particular it will help those existing advisors on same-store sales growth. I don’t want to call it the holy grail, but having the client’s tax data and that relationship gives our advisors an unfair advantage over other advice providers out there.” Source: Financial Planning, From CPA to CFP/CPA, by Scott Wenger
Tip #5: Understand the customer’s path to purchase.
“Understanding where our consumers are looking for information and what is most important to them during their path to purchase enables us to be able to better serve them at every step of their journey.” Source: Third Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study, Synchrony Financial
Tip #6: Create a sales-readiness scorecard.
“After assigning values to each ILS interaction, you can then total the scores by prospect. This determines which companies are perhaps more interested in your products and services at this point in time, and therefore ready for a sales call.
“However you decide to utilize the information provided by the ILS, you are now armed with valuable insight for closing sales. Simply add the ILS pixel to every page of your site, identify those leads that you would like to pursue and give them a call. These are the simple steps to make more out of the traffic you receive, and continually establish your company firmly within your market space.” Source: Quick tips for scoring B2B leads with MultiView’s lead gen expert – Andrew Kretzschmer, MultiView
Tip #7: Focus on the end consumer to succeed in the new economy.
“The companies that will win in the future are the ones that really focus on the travelers themselves—what they want—and marrying that with the needs of a business trip.” – on Concur’s partnership strategy and how companies will be successful in the new economy. Source: Airbnb Plans to Rewire Business Travel with the Sharing Economy, HPE Matter, by Lauren Williamson
Tip #8: Earn the right.
“My boss instilled that constant training is so important – the second you stop learning and pushing yourself to improve is when you should stop doing it.
“‘Earn the right’ statements are really important, for example. Prospects need to trust the person they’re working with. How are you the expert in this process and how to do you communicate that to prospects? We used workout videos, for example, to demonstrate how you ‘earn the right’. It was funny, it kept the reps engaged, and it showed them how it works.” Source: From the Sales Trenches: Q&A with Emily Jensen, Heinz Marketing, by Matt Heinz
Tip #9: Evaluate your sales team and identify your digitally savvy sales representatives. These reps should be your frontline players, as they can keep up with today’s digitally savvy consumers.
“The reality is that sales people will have less time with customers, and in turn, will need to maximize quality sales engagements. According to Forrester Research, one million sales jobs will be obsolete by 2020. Forrester indicates that the only expanding sales role is the “Sales Consultant”— those that are most capable of relationship and solution selling—integrating themselves most effectively into the buyer’s business and helping with problem solving. But it’s not just the old tried and true solution seller we are talking about—this is a new breed of digitally savvy sellers who can tap into the pulse of how and where their customers want to engage. Organizations need to begin evaluating their sales teams now to identify who has the skills today and ultimately who is capable of this change.” Source: Re-tuning the B2B Sales Role for 2016 and Beyond, Lenati, by Dailah Lester
Tip #10: Have a clearly defined growth strategy with a multi-prong approach.
“The fundamentals of our business have not changed and we continue to close a solid mix of competitive wins and our existing customers continue to expand their implementations. Driven by our three-leg growth strategy of differentiated products, expansion into new markets and targeted acquisitions, the company has all the ingredients for continued success.” Source: Omnicell Achieves Record Revenue in the Third Quarter 2015 (press release), The New York Times
Tip #11: Use sales enablement to meet customer needs today and anticipate future demands.
“Sales enablement is a key differentiator for us. Our strategy is not only meeting customer needs today, but also anticipating what they may need next. The resources we have dedicated toward engagement with our field sales teams reflect the fact that we’re in this together. While we are setting high expectations of our sales teams, we also want to make sure that we’re providing them with the support they need to be able to then go deliver on those objectives.” Source: The Iron Mountain Way: Building a World Class Sales Enablement Approach, Sales Benchmark Index, by Joanne Sammer
Tip #12: Dedicate sufficient resources to onboarding, training, and sales development.
“We’re highly focused on making the onboarding and new-hire training experience a success. This is all part of making SunGard a great place to sell.
“There were tremendous assets locked up at SunGard. We put a road map in place to unlock those assets, translating them into new sales and revenue growth.” – on SunGard’s sales transformation. Source: Selling the New SunGard Way, Selling Power, by Henry Canaday
Paul Liberatore, Senior Sales Enablement Manager for U.S. and Canada, Welch Allyn
Tip #13: Define messaging frameworks that tie customer challenges with company solutions.
“We want our customers to look to Welch Allyn for solutions to their most critical problems. Our messaging framework outlines value drivers, differentiators and proof points that tie customer challenges with our solutions. Command of the Message® helped us facilitate best practices, while driving repeatable success.
“To be successful, sales enablement leaders have to build on what’s working and have the know-how to fix what isn’t. In your organization, you likely have a number of things you’re facilitating. The question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Is this initiative giving my sellers the tools they need to consistently articulate the value and differentiation our solutions provide?’
“If the answer is no, you need to figure out what will.” Source: Sales Best Practices: Enabling a Challenger Sales Team, ForceManagement, by Paul Liberatore
Tip #14: Provide value through industry knowledge to consumers.
“When I was appointed I had already been at Autodesk for eight years running the Americas business. Coming into my current role, there were several things I thought we needed to do as a company in order to prepare ourselves for the future.
“Autodesk started 32 or so years ago based upon a platform shift where software migrated from mainframes and micros to the PC. The next big platform shift was moving from the desktop to the cloud, and moving from perpetual licences to subscriptions and term-based models and things like that. We actually began working on that concept quite some time ago. We started communicating it publicly a few years back and then laid out a three-year strategy a little over 12 months ago.
“We had been predominantly a geographically based organisation for the first 28 or so years that Autodesk had existed. In the Americas, I was in the process of moving us to having an industry focus team. So, when I was promoted to run worldwide sales and services, the first big step I took was to move to a global industry structure so that we could really be experts in each of the key industries we focused on.
“I was really focused on standardizing some of the key components that I thought really needed to break away from being territorially and regionally focused. We looked at our go-to market, the structure of our sales teams and our partners who were focusing on industry so that we truly could provide value, not just to our product offerings, but through our industry knowledge to our customers. This was in order to help differentiate ourselves and add more value for our clients.” – on the opportunities he saw for Autodesk upon taking on his role in 2011. Source: Steve Blum Senior VP of Worldwide Sales & Services at Autodesk, CEO Magazine
Tip #15: Stay nimble to keep up with market shifts.
“You have to be nimble enough to keep up with [market] changes if you want to lead. It became clear to us that we would not be able to do that by continuing to try to do both [security and storage management software], and it was better to try to achieve some focus.” Source: Symantec: Ready To Win Back The Channel’s Support As A Security-Only Company, CRN, by Sarah Kuranda
Tip #16: Embrace change.
“Interoperability’s main benefit is not for the health industry; it’s for people and their doctors. And it requires placing people and physicians first, versus protecting current business models. Connecting all parts of the health care system by addressing the cultural aspects required for interoperability will do more for the consumers and their health.
“It will be tough, but other companies and industries have faced and met similar challenges. Take Apple. Instead of just focusing on the hardware (iPods, iPhones), the company knew that the empowered consumer wanted content. The partnerships that fostered an explosion in content through iTunes enabled Apple to build a brand loyalty unlike anything seen in our time.
“Also consider Charles Schwab. After the dot.com crash, the company doubled-down on its customer experience focus and worked to tailor customer interactions to match personalized investment needs. Despite the highly regulated industry – similar to ours – Charles Schwab was able to deliver a customer experience (‘Talk to Chuck’) that has served as a model for many to follow. Apple and Charles Schwab had something in common: they knew that the customer experience needed to be transformed by changing their business models.
“From my experience as Humana’s CEO, I can tell you that going from an underwriting-based model to one where we take all comers was a big move. So is Humana’s bold goal which we recently announced: To improve the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020 by making it easy for people to achieve their best health. We went into the most under-served areas of Mississippi where we provided health coverage in the first year of exchanges when no other carrier would do so. These actions are not reflective of the traditional insurance company but it’s going to enable us to make a real difference in health.” Source: Health IT: The Promise of Interoperability, Bruce Broussard via LinkedIn
Tip #17: A mature sales force increases forecasting ability.
“At the end of the day, you need to trust the people out pounding the pavement for your company. A mature sales force gives you people with enough experience under their belts to know what the ‘real deal’ (no pun intended) looks like. They know the difference between someone who is being nice on the phone versus someone really on the cusp of buying.
“You can accurately forecast with a mature sales force, because you have confidence in their leads, and you know they will get the job done. All the market potential in the world does nothing if you don’t have a team that can close on it.” Source: 4 Secrets to Accurate Sales Forecasting, Domosphere, by Jeff Skousen
Tip #18: Preparation is essential for successfully differentiating your organization.
“Preparation is key to being able to go to a prospective client and talk intelligently about their organization and how [your product] can help. I spend a lot of time on sales calls teaching for differentiation—making a clear distinction between us and their incumbent provider or other firms they are considering.” Source: Sales Strategies: Jeff Griffin, ADP, Westchester’s sales experts share their sales-boosting advice, Westchester Magazine, by Amy Roach Partridge
Tip #19: Develop a customer winback program.
“When developing a winback program, it’s in your best interest to employ more of a customer-centric approach vs. a sales focus. Think of your business as the psychiatrist, with the customer being the patient. Without truly understanding the behavioral patterns of your customers and why their attrition lead to disengagement, you’ll never be able to formulate a strategy with any confidence.
“There are a handful of simple ways to gather this information from customers who are on their way out, including short surveys and opt-out forms. Having access to the right data, such as prior email response rates and purchase patterns, puts you in a far better place to win them back.
“At the same time, you should apply a ‘test & learn’ approach to your winback program. Discovering which tactics are successful in winning back a lost customer allows you capture and apply the data through look-a-like modeling for customers exhibiting similar behaviors.” Source: Customer Lifecycle Series, Part 9: Effective Winback Starts at Acquisition, Allant Group, by Gary Church
Tip #20: Use partnerships strategically.
“Citrix is a partner-led business, and we believe that is key to our success in the future. 90 per cent of all product sales were made through partners. We also saw 30 per cent growth in our CSP [hosted] business. At one time, the trick to partner profitability was all about selling products. Services were 20 per cent of revenues in 1995, and 35 per cent in 2015. However, they are projected to rise to 60 per cent in 2020.
“In 2016, Citrix will decrease the amount of Citrix-led services in the mid-market to increase the amount of services partners can offer to customers,. If you build services around our solutions, it results in more product revenue, and we are both successful.” Source: New mid-market success kits, partner services opportunities highlight Citrix channel changes, ChannelBuzz.ca, by Mark Cox
Tip #21: Don’t bail on the customer after the initial sale.
“My biggest concern is with brands that are only concerned with the initial sale and then bail on the customer. Consumers have become much more sophisticated and personal in the brands they choose to do business with. If all a business cares about is the initial sale, that business won’t be around too long.
“Have you heard of many businesses that survive by selling to a customer once? The key to running a successful business is to grow first time sales AND keep current customers happy and engaged. However, if a business is not measuring the right things, or focusing on vanity metrics, good luck in a meaningful CRM program.
“Deluxe has a very sophisticated marketing program: lead gen, purchase, after purchase keeping in touch. We have so many different types of products and cross-sell/upsell opportunities. We have a lot of competition in both the direct to consumer, b2b, small business and financial services. Our marketing needs to be so strong and good in order for us to continue to increase market share.” Source: Measuring What Matters with Adam Dince of Deluxe Corporation, ARC Co., by Amy Tobin
Tip #22: Data should inform but not dictate your content production process.
“As a metric becomes a buying goal, it steers behavior. Data should inform but not dictate the content creation process. If you let clicks dictate, everything starts to look the same.” Source: Measure Content Marketing For Success, a Forrester report by Ryan Skinner, via McMurry/TMG (now Manifest)
Tip #23: Stay committed to your long-term vision.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, sustainability continues to be an integral part of Philips’ strategy. In 2011 we invested EUR 479 million in Green Innovation dedicated to addressing global challenges related to care, materials and energy efficiency.
“Our aim is to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation and we are pleased to report that in 2011, we already touched over 465 million lives, mainly through the use of our Healthcare solutions.” Source: Philips Increases Sales of Green Products to 39 Percent of Total Sales, Focuses on Commitment to Green Innovation, Rave Pubs
Tip #24: Understand the full product portfolio and how the various pieces can fit together for customized solutions that meet individual customer needs.
“We may be offering only life, disability and voluntary benefits as part of what we deliver; but in order to be a good consultative resource, we need to understand how all the parts of the benefits package fit together. We don’t offer a qualified health plan, but we believe our products become very important as part of the changes coming from health care reform. Our sales reps and client managers are increasingly becoming better versed in how all of the components of a benefits package fit together—including both our products and the health and retirement products outside of our portfolio.
“It’s all about answering the question, ‘How do you determine the right financial protection for you or your family?’ There are so many people who either don’t have the right amount of financial protection or aren’t given access to information to make those decisions on their own. That’s where we can play a meaningful role.” Source: Choice & Simplicity, The Rough Notes Company, Inc., by Thomas A. McCoy, CLU
Tip #25: Talk to non-satisfied customers.
“If you want to build an effective sales force, talk to some of the non-satisfied customers. There’s probably more to learn there than from the satisfied customer, certainly an equal amount. That orientation of whether you take failure as a personal affront or whether you see it as information for course adjustment determines whether you’re going to be successful in what you do or whether you’re going to be an also-ran.” Source: The Bulls’ former psychologist on huddles, sales and performance, Chicago Tribune, by Kate MacArthur
Tip #26: The success of your customers is your success.
“No. 1, it starts with a belief that customer centricity is key for any business to be successful. What makes business successful—Software AG or any other company in the world—is the success of your customers. It’s as simple as that, because success scales. We are here to drive value realization for our customers, because we care about our success, and this is what will make us successful. All customer-facing organizations have to work as one team, towards one common goal—customer success. This is exactly my mandate and my responsibility at Software AG—being responsible for all customer-facing organizations—sales, marketing, services, and support.” Source: Why Software AG Elevated Customer Centricity to the C-Suite, IT Business Edge, by Don Tennant
Tip #27: Know your vertical and embrace innovation to improve sales efficiency.
“Selling and marketing a SaaS application is much different than selling on-premise solutions. The days of making multi-person, face-to-face sales calls are over; that approach is just too inefficient and costly. Instead, we’re constantly looking to creatively market, create demand, and sell our products in innovative ways, both over the phone and by using the Internet. We found that it’s critical to develop a partner ecosystem for referrals and for making integration between applications easy. Demonstrating the application online, so that prospects can see and ‘test drive’ the application, is both efficient and people like it. We partnered with Salesforce.com from very early on, and much of our success is a result of that partnership and our efforts in co-marketing and co-selling as well as our participation in the AppExchange marketplace.” Source: The 7 Secrets of SaaS Startup Success, Salesforce.com
Tip #28: Become a best practice expert.
“We knew we had to differentiate ourselves from a growing list of competitors, and the way to do that was to position ourselves as ‘best practice experts’ where we really were becoming the customer’s partner and a valued solutions provider.” Source: Industrial Company Transforms Culture to Differentiate Itself as a Partner and Solutions Provider, DSG Consulting
Tip #29: Spend time refining internal processes.
“Your processes and bureaucracy get in the way. The question you need to ask anyone in your organization is ‘How much time have you spent worrying about the consumer and the brand vs. what you spend on your internal processes,’ and the answer will shock you.
“There’s a tendency to confuse structure and discipline in the way you do things with reducing creativity and the ability to do great stuff. The reality is when you do drive lean processes in marketing in particular, you drive out a ton of waste and free people to do the things they should be.” Source: How Kimberly-Clark Is Lifting Sales by Elevating Marketing, Advertising Age, by Jack Neff
Tip #30: Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
“A lot of car companies have conditioned consumers into the deal-of-the-moment, but our emphasis is to make autos as desirable and emotional as they once were. This is a huge factor, to bring back the emotional appeal of the cars rather than rational, price valued kind of thing.
“We want Audi to bring cars back to glory years where cars are sold on attributes and what they can do rather than what the monthly payment was.” Source: Audi all-time sales record driven by strong digital advertising, Luxury Daily, by Rachel Lamb
Tip #31: Address consumer needs head-on.
“Retail and consumer-facing companies face a new and dynamic landscape today compared to 1999, with mobile shopping, the abundancy of product review sites, the potential for social media backlash, and the need to offer a Total Retail omni-channel experience. But there are vast opportunities for those who are willing to think in unique ways to address consumer needs heads-on. By being able to steer their organizations through this evolution and align their workforce to their vision, companies stand a good chance at establishing a place on the leader board of the future.” Source: PwC US Tracks Shift in Consumer Attitudes Towards Brands; Sees 47 Percent Attrition Rate in Brand Leadership Since 1999, PwC
Tip #32: The C-suite, marketing, and sales should collaborate on major strategic shifts.
“The senior team was involved from the very beginning of our work on this strategy, and that was key to gaining their buy-in and support.
“In our experience, when you show the C-suite and sales that you focused on learning more about the customer and in turn can speak to them in a more authentic, meaningful way, they’re apt to follow. We were fortunate that was the case with this strategy shift. The entire organization is excited about and inspired by the new strategy and expression.
“It’s been almost a year-long process of collaboration, review and discussion. We’ve been fortunate to have the kind of time that’s been provided to work with the senior team and the Xerox Board of Directors, as well.
“Our goal is that all employees understand, embrace and communicate our purpose — both what is Xerox and why is the work we do important. We’ll lean on our senior leaders to speak with as many employees as possible to get them energized and activated as brand ambassadors.” Source: A CMO’s View: Xerox CMO Shares Strategy Behind Re-Branding One Of The World’s Top Brands, Marketing Land, by Amy Gesenhues
Tip #33: Always have a plan of attack.
“Sales success starts with planning. If you don’t have a plan of attack—based on knowing your customer, what they need, and how they operate—you will be dead in the water.
“If you sit back and listen to your customers talk about their challenges and opportunities, they’ll think of you as a partner—and it gives you time to connect the dots in terms of the brand, the plan, and what you want to bring to that specific account.
“One of the biggest things we focus on is recapping. You can add a lot of value when you understand what went well and what went wrong during a sales call. Then you can tailor your approach so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.” Source: Sales Strategies: John Doolan, Heineken USA, Westchester Magazine, by Amy Roach Partridge
Tip #34: Implement the right technology to streamline sales and customer service.
“Having the capability to access critical data, including market intelligence and real-time visibility to inventory, in-process orders and shipping information, will improve our service levels for our customers and suppliers and strengthen our competitive edge in the industry. With our new technology foundation in place, we can turn data into knowledge and deliver it in real time, enabling our team to rapidly deliver innovative solutions to our customers and suppliers, which we believe to be critical in today’s dynamic healthcare industry.” Source: LABSCO Implements Leading-Edge Technology To Support Growth And Seize Opportunities In The Clinical Laboratory Market, LABSCO
Tip #35: Remain both customer-centric and service-centric.
“Apotex Corp. attributes its company’s success on being customer-centric and service-centric. ‘Responsiveness to customers is one of the best practices that is paramount to our growth success’. Our company maintains superior quality and efficiency by proactively optimizing processes throughout our supply chain. This allows us to adapt quickly to changing demands and produce affordable products to precisely meet our customers’ needs on time. In addition, in March, 2012 we expanded our distribution capabilities with a move to a newer and bigger 156,000 square foot location in Indianapolis, Indiana. This will ensure that as our U.S. operation grows, our commitment to our valued customers will remain our number one priority.” Source: Take Another Look At Apotex, Apotex
Tip #36: Know the difference between content and selling something.
“It’s really about looking at consumers’ behavior and engaging in different ways. My marketers now have fabulous tools, but they don’t have experience as content strategists. So for 2016, I need to work on making sure our marketers understand the difference between creating content and selling something.” – on getting her company’s marketers to think more holistically about consumers’ buying cycles. Source: Spotlight on Stephanie Meyer: how GE Healthcare modernized marketing strategy, ClickZ, by Yuyu Chen
Tip #37: Use the right messaging at every touch point through the buyer’s journey.
“The Experian CheetahMail strategy is all about the customer journey and being relevant at every touch point with the right message —from consideration, to research, purchase and advocacy. The real innovation here is the use of email marketing to drive advocacy. Exclusive and targeted content driven by the newsletter acts as a hook to energize our online the communities, and ultimately translates this ‘virtual’ interest into real high street success.” – on Panasonic’s Experian CheetahMail strategy. Source: An engaging email strategy at every stage of the Panasonic customer journey — from prospect through to advocate, Experian
Tip #38: Strengthen go-to market capabilities and sharpen execution.
“We have had a good start to the year, helped by favorable currency movements but also an improvement in underlying sales.
“This is despite a continued challenging trading environment in many parts of the world. The actions we have been taking to put us on track for higher levels of growth are starting to pay off. We have further strengthened the innovation pipeline, and are increasing investment behind the core of our brands, as well as extending into premium segments and new markets. We continuously strengthen our go-to-market capabilities and sharpen our execution.” Source: Unilever targets 40% e-commerce sales lift in 2015, The Drum, by Seb Joseph
Tip #39: Tie marketing programs into peak sales seasons.
“In the past we put a lot of emphasis on the Super Bowl. We were spending a lot of our dollars against an event that happens in February, a month that does not align with our peak sales season.
“As a result, we relocated our sponsorship spend across the NFL calendar to focus on key sales periods. We activate across the combine, draft, training camp and other events throughout the season. We also sponsor individual teams in high-profile markets on behalf of our retailers.
“We still have a large presence at the Super Bowl, but it’s mostly on-site activation and customer entertainment.
“This year we launched the Top 10 Performance Moment of the Week, a platform on NFL.com that extends to the NFL Network. The top performance plays of the week culminate with the biggest performance play of the year that will be announced at the NFL Honors program in conjunction with the Super Bowl.
“The Performance Moment of the Week is a 17-week platform that falls right into our peak sales season.” Source: Bridgestone Retreads Sponsorship Strategy, IEGSR
Tip #40: Stay on the cutting edge of technology advancements in your industry.
“If you don’t move along with the changes, your business will suffer. For many resellers, this means making a shift to sell whole solutions – hardware, software and services like Wi-Fi surveys and network assessment – in order to increase customer spend.
“As our vendor partners release new products and technology, it is imperative that resellers stay on the cutting-edge in order to complement these products with enhanced services and successful customer implementations.
“In today’s climate you may find yourself working harder than ever to capture new opportunities. The last thing you want is to hit a glitch in the project which is why ScanSource has a sales, technical and professional services team to help resellers at every stage of the process – be it to design, build or deliver. If your customers feel confident and comfortable with you they will be more loyal and more likely to recommend your services to others. Cultivate this reputation and your business will grow.” Source: 5 Strategies to Grow Your Business, CommsBusiness
Tip #41: Balance a global presence with local relevance.
“One thing that I have learned in my 20 years with Philips is that every country is different, every customer is different, every consumer has different wishes, needs, desires and requirements. The company which has global presence and local relevance will be the most successful. That has been the reason for Philips’s growth in the past. There are many Indian people that don’t even know that Philips is not an Indian company, the same goes for Germany. In many countries, people think that we are local. We take pride in that because we want to be locally relevant while we leverage the global power that we have.” Source: Philips businesses less dependent on state of economy, inflation: executive VP, LiveMint, by Vidhi Choudhary
Tip #42: Adopt a multi-channel strategy.
“It’s a little different positioning from a brand and product point of view, and a completely different strategy in terms of a go-to-market strategy. For us it was a perfect balance.
“We already had a strong position in specialty retail and we want to continue to grow that and help them succeed. But at the same time, we had this opportunity — there is a lot of laminate sold through the home center channel — and we have this great brand, Pergo.
“The way I look at it is, starting with the consumer but then up through our channel customers, we have a lot of people making decisions about how they want to buy product, what kind of products they want to buy, how they want to be serviced, what they want to put in their showrooms and what they don’t want to put in their showrooms and we try to use our multi brand multi-channel strategy to line up with all those different needs.” Source: Kahny drives Unilin’s hard surface strategy, Floor Covering Weekly, by Santiago Montero
Tip #43: Understand the full supply chain and how you can meet unique customer needs along the way.
“We’re about making the life of our customers easier, and it’s a commitment to customer service that is driving Siniat.
“We have an innovative product pipeline. We want to shape the way people build and to deliver we need to understand our customers’ needs and be a little bit different.
“We’re getting the right people in the right places. Historically where we’ve come from has been based around supporting builders’ merchants (as a route to market). But now we want to develop our position in commercial construction and specification. And the requirements of these customers are very different. Not just the installer but everyone through the supply chain.” Source: Industry interview: Neil Ash from Siniat, SpecFinish
Tip #44: Talk to the right people. As markets evolve, other disciplines are becoming more involved with buying decisions, so be sure these key stakeholders are represented.
“SourceRight typically deals with the head of global staffing, the head of HR and the head of talent acquisition, and we have a lot of Fortune 500 customers who are looking to solve challenges in talent acquisition. But bringing in recruiting, outsourcing or managing the contingent labor is just a part of that. We also help them to manage their brand, employer value proposition and social media strategy, which are all becoming increasingly more important conversations.
“When we talk to our customers now, their marketing people are there and are talking about recruitment marketing and their employer value proposition. Five years ago, when we were talking about customers outsourcing their recruits, [marketing] wasn’t sitting at the table. The dynamics are changing.” Source: Argyle Conversation: Rebecca Callahan, President, SourceRight discussed the evolution of the talent acquisition market and the growing value of free agents, as well as the integration of younger generations into the workforce and the use of social media technology in that pursuit., Argyle Journal, by Scott Robbin
Tip #45: Break down sales targets in the way that best motivates your sales representatives.
“Every big sales target can be broken down in many different ways: calls made, emails sent, pitches attended, ex-clients contacted, number of contracts needed per team member. Think about how you can best break down your targets for your team so they best respond to them.” Source: Pressure or targets: how best to motivate your team?, Sales Initiative, by Andy Philpott
Tip #46: Make critical changes from a position of strength.
“Our goal is to accelerate the already strong sales growth of the Honda and Acura brands through a more cohesive strategy, with a heightened focus on the unique needs of luxury and mainstream customers. These moves will more completely align the major activities for the Honda and Acura brands under dedicated brand leaders to take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace with greater speed and efficiency.
“The realignment strategy that has created a new Acura Division reflects our growing commitment and the increased level of resources and leadership we are focusing on the Acura brand on a global basis.
“The best time to make a change is when you’re in a position of strength and we are not only coming off a great sales year, we are continuing to create new opportunities with a series of new and exciting Honda and Acura models.” Source: American Honda Strengthens Auto Sales Division to Accelerate Sales Growth of Honda and Acura Brands, Honda
Tip #47: Develop your own strategy with your team.
“To make only a blueprint or a copy is not valid. You have to organize your own strategy and you have to define, with your team, your own way. I think our competitors are looking much more closely at what Audi is doing than (how much we are watching) them. I think in terms of product portfolio and covering some niches, in the next few years you will see a lot of interesting ideas that will fit the market. We want to have a product portfolio which supports our growth patterns.” Source: Audi’s Growth Strategy Outlined, Car and Driver, by Mark Gillies
Tip #48: What are your customers really purchasing: a product, a service, or a unique relationship? Drill down to what your customers are really buying when they purchase from you and emphasize it across both marketing and sales initiatives.
“We want to challenge traditional, conservative car marketing, which starts with TV, print, billboards and sponsorship. The recipe is always the same. But it’s not the best recipe for Volvo. When customers buy a Volvo they are buying a relationship — the personal service technician is like your butler.
“The biggest revolution in the car industry is happening at home. Around 80% to 90% of customers shop online first, so we have created a website that offers the same brand experience as the dealership. Online, we are starting with the designer editions of our car – not the Mickey Mouse version.” Source: Volvo Will Try to Reinvent Auto Marketing With New Strategy, Advertising Age, by Emma Hall
Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
Tip #49: Limit your activities and focus all your attention on those priorities.
“Buffett’s decision to limit his activities to a few kinds and to maximize his attention to them, and to keep doing so for 50 years, was a lollapalooza. Buffett succeeded for the same reason Roger Federer became good at tennis.
“Buffett was, in effect, using the winning method of the famous basketball coach, John Wooden, who won most regularly after he had learned to assign virtually all playing time to his seven best players. That way, opponents always faced his best players, instead of his second best. And, with the extra playing time, the best players improved more than was normal.
“And Buffett much out-Woodened Wooden, because in his case the exercise of skill was concentrated in one person, not seven, and his skill improved and improved as he got older and older during 50 years, instead of deteriorating like the skill of a basketball player does.
“Moreover, by concentrating so much power and authority in the often-long-serving CEOs of important subsidiaries, Buffett was also creating strong Wooden-type effects there. And such effects enhanced the skills of the CEOs and the achievements of the subsidiaries.
“Then, as the Berkshire system bestowed much-desired autonomy on many subsidiaries and their CEOs, and Berkshire became successful and well known, these outcomes attracted both more and better subsidiaries into Berkshire, and better CEOs as well.
“And the better subsidiaries and CEOs then required less attention from headquarters, creating what is often called a ‘virtuous circle.'” Source: Vice Chairman’s Thoughts – Past and Future, Berkshire Hathaway, by Charlie Munger
Tip #50: Put the right resources in place to support your sales team as well as your external partners.
“The best way to grow your business with Royal Caribbean is to meet with somebody in your local territory and community; that’s why we have the largest sales force out there, because we really believe that face to face contact is a good first start. It helps us all to understand more about one another, where we are in the game and in the race. Maybe an agent is a beginner and has no product knowledge? We can guide them on product knowledge. Or maybe they are experienced in travel and just want to grow their business? The BDM [Business Development Manager] is the first place to go.” – on supporting travel agents with Royal Caribbean’s inside sales force. Source: Interview with Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service for Royal Caribbean International, Travel Research Online, by Susan Schaefer
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Further Reading from the Docurated Blog: