Have you ever wondered what makes an exceptional salesperson? What are some things to do to keep improving? In Chris Spurvey's article, What Makes A Good Salesperson Great?

Spurvey writes five suggestions to become an even greater salesperson:

  1. Always be learning. "After you have a conversations with a potential client, record thoughts and feelings about it. Learn from these experiences, and adjust your approach."
  2. Ask for feedback from your close friends.
  3. Find a mentor. "Find someone in your company or hire a sales coach with good experience to accompany you when you meet with prospective clients. Ask him or here to focus mainly on listening and then provide feedback about your ability to pick up on the prospect's energy. Such a mentor or coaach can contribute significantly to your improvement process."
  4. Be kind to yourself.
  5. Change your story. Instead of focusing on what you're bad at, tell yourself that you are improving, and you will improve.

Intuition is one of the most important mental tools we possess. Make it your goal to use yours and, even better, to improve upon it.

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1. Why Less is More for Sales & Marketing in the Big Data World

In Mark Godley's article, Godley discusses why he believes that less is more. Godley starts the article with this quote from Herbie Hancock,

It's easy to get sidetracked with technology, and that is the danger, but ultimately you have to see what works with the music and what doesn't. In a lot of cases, less is more. In most cases, less is more.

This is a lesson we need to apply in sales and marketing. Why? Because big data is "all the rage."

We have the capacity to capture, manage and analyze data at a volume, velocity, and variety never before possible.

But we don't need it all. Why? "Because focusing only on amassing data is not going to give us better results. Neither big data nor more leads deliver the best prospects, the strongest sales opportunities or the greates ROI." It's not about more data, it's about the right data and lead.

There is a temptation to get 'seduced' by big data. "But we are creating new data at a rate of about 2.5 quintillion bytes a day, and in our race to accumulate as much of that data as possible, we can lost sight of the why."

Another downside about gathering a lot of data, is that we need to remember that although there are trends and averages, we sell to the individual.

To help you stay focused, Godley offers five pointers:

  1. Your customers are markets of one. "While trends and patterns are interesting, they aren't to be confused with individual customers and prosepcts. Selling is still a people game."
  2. Be the master of your data.
  3. Learn from the past sales.
  4. Augment with third-party data.
  5. Don't overlook the basics of good selling.

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2. Is Your Bid Good to Go?

In Neil Southwell's article, Southwell writes, "Checking your bid before you submit is so important."

Check the final document for typos, and try to see it from the client's perspective. "Most importantly, if you have used any text from previous submissions, be extra careful to ensure all references are correct and relevant to this project."

Remember that simple is better, and try going through each section as if you were the client. Ask, "what's in it for me?" Check that you've outlined the problem you're helping to solve, the product, and the purpose. Why would they want your product or service?

Find Neil: LinkedIn

3. Accountability...the Lost Art

In Marty Blake's article, Blake writes that "Sales managerswear many hats and they need to wear each of them well...not to perfection...but well." The most important thing, with anything they do, is accountability.

By definition accountability is: "the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions."

"Seems so simple but creating the conditions where accountability flourishes is often a missed opportunity. Highly effective leaders deeply understand the power of energizing people to accept responsibility for their actions."

Knowing that accountability is so important, Blake offers five principles to encourage and develop that sometimes elusive quality of accountability:

  1. Remove all role & responsibility confusion by working with your team to create clarity of roles and expectations and proactively communicate this to the entire team and resources.
  2. Establish goals and measures without absolute clarity of what the team or individuals are tasked with achieving and the requisite metrics and methods to measure success attainment then teams can lose their direction. Not only establish these and gain commitment but consistently review progress.
  3. Negativity has no home.
  4. Take responsibility for yourself - live and breathe accountability of your deliveries, the best message to send to the sales team is to have sales managers who visibly take responsibility and also hold everyone accountable.
  5. Ask questions

Find Marty: LinkedIn

4. How the B2B Sales Process is Moving Online

In Fiona O'Donnell McCarthy's article, the author writes that, "The bottom line is that a B2B order is a conversation." The convenience of online ordering is being taken advantage of, and along with it comes flexibility and complexity found in the B2B sales process.

How is the B2B Sales Process Moving Online?

  1. A digital record. "Say a company is writing wholesale orders on a paper order form. The conversation may very well end there. That slip of paper is a snapshot in time; it's unchangeable. Digital orders, however, can evolve and change.
  2. Interactive quotes
  3. Order notes. Specifics written by the buyer.
  4. Seller review.
  5. Email integration. Keeps the order flowing.

Writing orders on paper is over. Technology has unlocked the potential to use online ordering as a way for retailers to become strategic advisors to their retail customers.

Find Fiona: LinkedIn

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