About 40% of sales people miss their number. Most sales executives and thought leaders cite classic issues like low quality leads, poor sales execution, and bad forecasting when trying to explain why such a large percentage of sales people underachieve. But often there’s a bigger issue at work that’s the root cause of the aforementioned challenges. That issue is sales people’s inability to understand what the buyer is really doing as they work their way to a purchase. There are a number of psychological and behavioral issues that cause sales people to misunderstand the buyer, but there are also a number of techniques you can employ to overcome these biases.
Here are some of the best posts we read this week:
What if we all had phone number (and email address for that matter) that marketers paid to access? In return, we would guarantee some form of engagement. One man in England is doing exactly that. A New Way to Deal With Telemarketing Calls
Steve Cheney has a great post on how startups can create strategic relationships with brands. It touches on one of our favorite topics – circumventing the agency. Hacking Startup Growth With Brands
If you work in sales, chances are you’ve recently heard the term sales enablement. Although it’s a hot topic, there seems to be some confusion around whether it’s just another vague buzzword or a specific field of practice that’s delivering real benefits to sales organizations.
With that in mind, we set out to answer four basic questions about sales enablement:
- What is sales enablement?
- Why is it important?
- How is sales enablement practiced?
- Who owns sales enablement?
The Battle for Marketing, Huckleberry Bicycles, and Big Freaking Enterprises: The Best Posts We Read This Week
Some of the best posts we read this week:
Good post on all of the vendors who are pushing hard into the CMO’s office (and budget). We think the real battle will be about point tools versus a consolidated suite. For various reasons, we think point tools win for the foreseeable future. The Battle for the Marketing Cloud
A lot of small businesses have no idea where their customers come from. A great post on the very cool Huckleberry Bicycles highlights the challenge: “But why do more new people walk in each day? I don’t really know.” Starting a Bike Shop
Understanding the customer experience is one of today’s hottest topics and for good reason. Companies that become truly customer-centric (given that we focus on sales and marketing, we prefer the phrase buyer-centric) tend to outperform their peers on a number of fronts, including faster revenue growth, higher conversion rates, shorter buying cycles, and lower churn. Of course, the first step in becoming a buyer-centric organization is to understand the buying experience. For more information on how to really understand your buyer, check out our recent post on buyer research.
But there’s a second step that’s just as important to becoming an organization that is built around the buyer. This step involves taking everything you’ve learned about the buyer and operationalizing it. This has implications for the entire organization, but you need to pay particular attention to the sales team, given that they are on the front lines of many buyer interactions (it’s also important that marketing get on the buyer bandwagon, but we find that this is less of a challenge given that marketing often spearheads the buyer research effort).
Five of the best posts we read this week:
“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of the product” are the opening words of Apple’s Designed in California” commercial. It doesn’t make for good copywriting, but isn’t it really the experience of the person using the product that matters? In 20 years, We’re All Going to Realize this Apple Ad is Nuts
An incredible story of how a CEO saved his company by completely changing target markets. Marlin Steel went from manufacturing wire bagel baskets for bagel stores to supplying industrial grade baskets to the world’s largest manufacturers. The Road to Resilience: How Unscientific Innovation Saved Marlin Steel
The sales technology market is growing at breakneck pace. At last years Sales 2.0 conference, it was estimated that there are over 2000 Sales 2.0 solutions on the market. If you don’t believe those estimates, then look at the number of sales solutions listed on the Salesforce.com AppExchange. I counted 746 applications as of August 7, 2013.
There are a number of reasons for this growth:
Here are five of the best posts we read this week..
Did you know that a bow tie could be your secret weapon at trade shows? Rather that outfitting sales and marketing personnel with traditional, corporate polo shirts, Visage employees wear bow ties, vests, and jeans. They’ve become recognizable and approachable as a result. B2B: Boring, bland, boorish, beige, bummer? Or bow ties?
Can nacho pricing teach us anything about the rumored iPhone Lite? Rags Srinivasan thinks it can, although my impression is that Apple feels like it just needs to penetrate developing markets. Appetizer pricing and the iPhone Lite
Paul Graham of Y Combinator has written an excellent post called Do Things that Don’t Scale. I think it’s one of the most important posts of the year. The gist of the post is:
Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.
That’s a powerful idea for a few different reasons. First, Paul’s right – achieving success in a handful of areas, even if it requires serious effort, can have a transformative impact on a business (and not just startups). Second, it’s a really accessible recommendation because just about everyone I know is capable of doing things that don’t scale. Third, I’m a fan of contrarian ideas as a competitive differentiator in business and this is definitely a contrarian idea.
This is particularly true when it comes to building relationships with people who can help make your company successful. Of course you can build relationships with lots of different people. Examples include your employees, investors, and influencers. But in my mind, the relationships that you build with your customers are the most important. That’s why the first thing I thought of when reading Paul’s post is that we should do things that don’t scale with our customers.
The buyer-centric company puts the buyer at the center of everything it does. While understanding the buyer can make just about everything a company does better, buyer research usually has the biggest impact on sales and marketing. A deep understanding of the buyer can and should be the foundation of the sales and marketing team’s process, key activities, organization, metrics, content, communications, and technology. It’s a simple, but powerful strategy that can transform a company’s ability to achieve its revenue objectives.
That’s because buyer research that helps companies understand who the buyer is, what they want, and how they make decisions has the potential to improve a variety of metrics in the revenue chain. Some of these metrics include improved conversion rates, shorter sales cycles, and larger average order sizes.