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One of the key principles that should underpin your B2B marketer’s mindset is that your marketing messages – and your sales conversations – need to lead towards your solution rather than with your solution. The obvious conclusion is that both your marketing messages and your sales conversations need to “sell the problem before you sell your solution” - it’s a matter of leading the prospect through the critical sequence: Why change? - Why now? - Why us?
Many selling organisations are submitting an increasing number of proposals, in the hope that this will lead to an increased number of sales. But, proposals don’t always close. So, how can you fix a low propose to close ratio?
What sets top sales people apart? What is it that they do better than the rest? There are, of course, a number of factors, but one that we frequently observe is that top sellers are great story-tellers. They put their points across not by pitching their products, but by sharing relevant, situation-specific anecdotes and stories that their prospects can relate to.
The conventional view of a successful “solution sales” person is as a problem solver. But that traditional perspective is being questioned in a number of quarters. You see, the fact that you have a solution to your prospect’s “problem” is probably irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, even if what you have to offer is - by whatever questionable criteria you might choose to apply - the “best” solution available.
When I started my sales career, I was taught that I should focus on identifying my prospect’s needs. Later, when I started to work for companies that were selling into early-stage markets, I was taught that I should invest in creating needs that the prospect had not previously recognised they had. But I’ve learned that simply identifying or creating needs isn’t enough.
Salespeople have a reputation for avoiding paperwork and administration. They are also traditionally resistant to the idea of working to a meeting quota. But getting busy and recording the results is precisely the path to sales success.
All businesses strive to recognise the needs of buyers when developing strategies for sales success. Well, at least you should.
Most sales organisations have some sort of CRM system in place. Many have made significant investments in the system. Yet simply implementing CRM – just like just running a sales training course – offers no “magic wand” for improving sales performance. In fact the energies expended on them are often wasted.
We live in a world where customer service and satisfaction is everything. Marketers build programs to reward regular customers and to make them feel special, and invest in satisfaction surveys to measure their success. So why are we saying you should upset your customers?
Most businesses have an accurate handle on the length of their sales cycle – the time that elapses between a lead being qualified and the closing of the deal. If your total sales cycle is six months, or three months, or twelve months, what does that mean and what can you change to improve results?