Want to Win More Sales? Walk Before You Run

An impatient lot, salespeople want to speed up the sales process, close deals faster, and move on to the next opportunity. This conclusion sticks in my mind after observing tens of dozens of sales teams in my career. Don’t misunderstand; I admire the strong and swift. But fast isn’t best in B2B complex sales. While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, one of the…

How to Win “Finalist” in an RFP Race

Business dreads the request for proposal, popularly called an RFP. However, in certain industries and for certain products, RFPs are the only ticket into the sales arena. Like many of you, I fall victim to the roulette odds of winning these golden opportunities for our company. With so many corporate consolidations, companies now pursue greater efficiency and standardization, so they run their purchases through…

The One Missing Link In Your Go-To-Market Strategy

In Internet time, five years is a lifetime. So much has happened since I first released MERGE in 2011. In chapter seven, Marketing Communications Promoting Your Firm’s Value, I discussed a go-to-market strategy for building your brand. Nowadays, buyers hold near-exclusive power because of the Internet. Research cites that 74 percent of buyers conduct more than half of their research online before ever talking to a sales…

Raising the Stakes on Channel Partners

You can’t be successful at business without understanding market distribution business models. With distribution now representing more than half of almost every industry's activities, the ability to optimize market channels has never been so important. At one point, third-party reseller channels were used primarily for simple sales. Long-cycle, complex business-to-business (B2B) sales seldom found their way into reseller channels. Then times changed. Today, more…

Why 70% of Your Market Waits For You

I’ve dedicated a good portion of my career to studying best practices in sales and marketing and am always on the lookout for improvements. Whether I’m in the field on frontline experiences or buried in one of the hundreds of books, white papers and articles I consume, I’m always in search of nuggets I can share with my clients. I took this knowledge and…

How Not to Commit Sales Suicide

  In my work with sales leaders and their teams, I hear one constant refrain: “We uncovered the problem or issue, but our biggest challenge is to get the prospect to take action.”  Imagine these scenarios: A life insurance agent discovers that the individual life policy of his high-net-worth prospect will lapse in nine years, based on the contract design. The agent’s solution could…

Is Differentiation Dead? You Can Win Without It

All companies wrestle with the numbing sameness of commodities. Everyone tries to differentiate their products and services from those of the competition. They’ve learned differentiation is a necessary part of business strategy to outperform the competition. But in industry after industry, products and services quickly blur before the eyes of the average buyer because there is no real differentiation. “A commodity is simply a…

Do You Know The Way to the Top? How an Effective Sales Process Leads You to the Decision Makers

Why do prospects who seem interested, and a good fit for your solution, suddenly disappear? The meeting went well. Your prospect hung on your every word. She asked for a proposal. Then, when you follow up, as requested, she can’t be reached. What went wrong? Did you misread her interest and the buying signs? A sales manager, who’s running a sales team of 20…

Use MERGE Sales Process to Align with How Prospects Buy

If selling were easy, everyone would do it. If complex selling were easy, 45.4 percent of salespeople would not fail to meet quota. And fail they do. In complex selling, you face a tornado of forces that demand the special protection of core selling skills and a defined process. In a complex sale, as many as five or more decision makers and influencers bring…

Want More Sales? Breathe Oxygen into Your Buyer Personas

There was a lot of interest in last week’s blog on buyer personas. I had some good conversations with companies on this topic. What I found out from many of these conversations was that people don’t know what to do with buyer personas. They’ve gone through the exercise and decided it was enough to write up the persona. It isn’t. If buyer personas don’t…

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