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Sales Success in 2009
March 6, 2009 @ 12:18 PM | By Guest Blogger

3keys2009_300x250 On March 19, InterCall will host a free webinar with Mark Sellers who will discuss ways to ensure sales success in 2009.  When you pair InterCall’s conferencing services with Mark’s insights, you’ll be able to boost your revenue numbers by improving communication, collaboration, customer relationships and lead generation programs.

Below, Mark shares some sales tips he gleaned from the Sales 2.0 Conference he attended in November of 2008, sponsored by Selling Power.

1) The customer will continue to dictate how they want sellers to collaborate with them and how they want to buy from sellers.

One of my favorite quotes was from Barton Goldenberg, futurist and founder of ISM, Inc.  He said that, “Customers will dictate how they want to collaborate with you (sellers).” This is especially prevalent and only getting stronger in this age of the Internet, mobility, instant business and ‘constant connection’. This statement asks, “How are you adapting to selling to customers who dictate how they wish to buy from you?”

2) The funnel will continue to play a key role in the business process of selling.

We’ve always known the funnel to be an excellent metaphor—in sales 1.0 it was about ‘the sales process’. But this seller-centric approach has become outdated and nearly useless. Funnels that are designed this way serve very little 2.0 purpose. The new standard in funnel design is one that follows the customer’s buying process , a design that chronicles the journey a lead takes from discovery to close. When this buying process is the central theme of the way you sell, you can leverage all of the technologies for lead generation, customer engagement, lead conversion and funnel analytics. The buying process funnel also provides the best indicator of your ability to cross the finish line at the end of the year with a quota achieving smile on your face. It’s simply a smarter, evolving way to run your business.

3) Sellers have never had more tools and resources available to them than they do now!

I try not to use too many exclamation points, but this one is too tempting to pass up. It’s utterly ridiculous the depth and breadth of quality tools available to a seller. From gaining access to key decision makers to getting on-demand business search and intelligence  or quickly compiling company information, sellers have little choice but to be supremely prepared. One attendee, an executive vice president of sales put it well when he said, “If you don’t know how your prospect makes money don’t bother to pick up the phone.”

One telecom company streamlined proposals for literally thousands of salespeople, each one with his or her own proposal approach. The results were a dramatic, bottom line improvement in efficiency and effectiveness. As you might expect at any sales conference, compensation was a hot topic. One of the Sales 2.0 objectives mentioned was the need to give salespeople real-time status of how any given sale would impact their compensation. This isn’t just some courtesy to the rep; it’s a motivator, an incentive and a time saver for the head of sales.

4) Creating a culture of measurement and analytics is part of Sales 2.0 DNA.

Jim Dickie, of CSO Insights, reminded everyone that measuring the cause and effects of our marketing and selling efforts is a requirement in Sales 2.0. One VP of sales described how Lucidera’s on-demand analytics help him to be certain about his company’s pipeline velocity, information he then converts to action and execution. Better understanding of funnel health through analytics leads to better action plans territory by territory. That’s a path toward achieving quota if I ever saw one. Another company found themselves rocketing to the 2.0 world when they engaged with Landslide Technologies to automate their sales process. This was already a very successful company selling large compressors to the industrial market, but they had the foresight to change the way they ran their business. Landslide gives them more than simply visibility; it provides insight to the data that management can proactively act on and coach to.

It was so refreshing to ‘check’ the doom and gloom of the economy at the Sales 2.0 Conference door and instead be surrounded the entire day by fantastic technology, inspired leaders, collaborative people and actual users of the technology. Sellers are facing new challenges at every step of the buying process. On the other hand, sellers have never had so many technologies and resources to sell. It can be confusing and even overwhelming. But somewhere in the chaos is order. Isn’t that what makes all of this fun? No one said it would be easy, it just ‘is’. At the end of the day, Barry Trailer put it well when he said, “It’s still just people buying from people selling.”

Marksellers Mark Sellers is the CEO and founder of Breakthrough Sales Performance, a sales consulting company focused on helping clients use the sales funnel to achieve quota
and dramatically increase productivity. He is the author of the book The Funnel Principle, available at www.funnelprinciple.com.

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