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3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales Process

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 6, 2016 2:00:00 PM

3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales ProcessI was talking with a prospect a few weeks ago about his (lack of) sales process. He took exception with my comment, saying that they did have a process and that it was defined by their pipeline stages.

Those stages won’t shock anyone who has been in sales anytime in the last three decades. Here’s how it was set up:

  • Initial Contact Made
  • Qualification
  • Demonstration
  • Proposal
  • Negotiation
  • Closed/Won
  • Closed/Lost

While those are certainly steps in the sales journey, they don’t meet Imagine’s definition of a sales process or sales methodology. As I explained that to my prospect, he asked a very insightful question, the answer to which I share here. His question: “Why Not?”

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

[Video] What You Need To Know When Launching or Revising Your Growth Playbook

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 30, 2016 3:30:00 PM

successful-business-growth-strategy.jpgA few weeks ago I shared an article here on the Six Stages of a Successful Growth Strategy. The launch of such a strategy is an exciting time for everybody. You deal with possibilities, address limiting obstacles and emerge with a strategy that creates clarity and confidence...two necessary and powerful ingredients of success.

There's a downside to the excitement however. It's easy to underestimate what's involved in transforming that clarity and confidence into real prospects, sales opportunities and revenue. This often leads to a deadly mistake in execution.

In the video below I share this secret, and highlight the keys to successfully navigating it.

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

The Traditional Revenue Growth Playbook is Broken

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 15, 2016 2:00:00 PM

The Traditional Revenue Growth Playbook is BrokenIf you’re a reader of this blog I’m going to assume that revenue growth is important to your company. Stop for a moment and consider the investment of energy and money your company has made in these efforts. Now consider this question, “How well is it working?”

  • Is revenue growth predictable for you?
  • Are the costs required to sustain decreasing?
  • Are more of your salespeople beating their number (quota) consistently?

According to the research that’s out there, less than 10% of companies can say “yes” to all three questions, and the vast majority of companies would respond “no” to at least two of these questions.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy

4 Key Sales Enablement Metrics for Growth-Focused Companies

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 4, 2016 5:00:00 PM

Imagine_Inbound_MoneyBall-Sales Enablement.pngNext week, I’ll be in Boston for the largest gathering of marketers in the world, HubSpot’s 2016 Inbound Conference. Most exciting about the conference this year is the addition of sales-focused topics. As a result, it’s also now the largest gathering of people in the world focused on the entire marketing and sales funnel.

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking about what is fast becoming one of my favorite subjects, sales enablement. Specifically I’ll be talking about the crucial importance of this emerging discipline and how it bridges the divide between sales and marketing, allowing companies to grow faster and at lower costs.

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Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy

How to Make Effective Connect Calls to Your B2B Inbound Leads

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Oct 26, 2016 3:00:00 PM

connect-calls.jpgYour prospect has downloaded one of your favorite pieces of content. You take a look in your marketing automation platform and see that they’ve been reading your blog and have spent quite a bit of time on your site. Clearly, this is a lead you’re excited to contact.

The imperative question at this point is how do you effectively make that first contact. Push too hard, too early and you’re likely to lose an opportunity before it starts. Proceed too softly or timidly and you lose the benefit of such a strong lead. It’s a challenge that even the best demand generation organizations struggle with every day.

To complicate things more, inbound leads come with their own set of considerations. Before any contact is made, you need to keep these things in mind:

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

[VIDEO] The Demand Creator Minute: When's the Best Time to Talk Price?

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Oct 6, 2016 3:30:00 PM

best-time-to-talk-price.jpgToday, we're talking about something that gets debated on a regular basis by those in your organization who focus on the go to market side of the business. That something is price and more specifically, when sales reps should start talking about it.

Some argue that if you talk about price too early in the process that you will scare your prospects away. Others think that if you wait too long, your prospects may get frustrated and neve really engage with you. 

Pete Caputa, VP of Sales at HubSpot, recently wrote an interesting blog post about what buyers and sellers want to talk about during the first call. As it turns out, buyer and sellers aren't on the same page. On the first sales call, 58% of buyers want to discuss price but only 23% of sellers do.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, ZMOT

The Most Important Skill in Successful B2B Selling (And How to Do It)

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 23, 2016 2:00:00 PM

questions-salespeople-should-ask.jpgIt goes without saying that asking questions is crucial to an effective sales process. Much has been written about the importance of questions, and there’s a ton of advice out there about the types of questions you should ask and how to ask them. You can even find lists of questions to ask. Books, like SPIN Selling, have been written on the sole topic of asking questions. (Good) Sales managers (and sales trainers) spend an inordinate amount of time working with their salespeople on asking better questions.

Given all of that, I’ve concluded two things are true:

  • Asking good questions is really, really important.
  • Salespeople still mightily struggle with asking powerful questions.
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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

[VIDEO PREVIEW] 5 Growth Strategies to Finish the Year Strong

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 21, 2016 3:00:00 PM

IMG-1667_LandingPage_Webinar-5_Growth_Strategies_Wide-1.pngWelcome to fall! It is hard to believe that we're only days away from the 4th quarter. How has your year gone so far? Is your organization ahead of plan? Behind plan? Somewhere close? 

How is your team approaching the 4th quarter? Are you looking at it as the last chance to "save" 2016? While these next 90 days can definitely impact overall results for the current calendar year, they can impact your 2017 results even more. No matter how the year has gone to date, the 4th quarter is the time to not only close business for this year but more importantly, it is time to start building a foundation for 2017.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation

5 Things I Want to Know About a Prospect Before I Make the First Sales Call

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 14, 2016 2:00:00 PM

You Only Get One Chance to Make a Strong First Impression

before-first-sales-call.jpgAs a part of my role on the growth team at Imagine, I spend a significant amount time having first conversations with prospects. These prospects can come from a variety of activities:

  • Select inbound leads
  • SQLs developed by our sales development rep
  • Referrals
  • Follow ups from speaking events that I do
  • The time I spend each month doing my own sales development work

In the old days, handling first conversations was easy. You simply made the call and started with a question as simple as, “Tell me about your company.” If you wanted to be bold you said, “Tell me about the problems you’re trying to solve.” Frankly, you didn’t really need to know that much about the prospect, as you could rely on them to educate you.

Today that approach will kill you. Valuable prospects have neither the time nor the desire to educate you on their company, their issues or their objectives. You must earn that right, and you do that by knowing your prospect before you engage with them.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

5 Keys to a Balanced B2B Sales Pipeline

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 7, 2016 2:00:00 PM

declining-results.jpgA couple of weeks ago, I was catching up with a CEO I'd met through the speaking I do. He runs a mid-market company and several months ago he told me that he was implementing inbound marketing at his company. He was excited about the potential it brought and had credited the presentation I made to leading to the decision.

So I was checking-in with him to see how things were going. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised with what he said. He told me, "Doug, we're still committed to inbound, but frankly we need to get our deal pipeline in order first. Sales are not where they need to be, and we are 'all hands on deck' to driving sales over the next 90 days."

I laughed (on the inside) when I heard this. I thought to myself, "Really...you've done little to no work on the top of your funnel in years, and your pipeline is weak. Who'da thought." I wished him luck, knowing that if I check back with him in 6 - 12 months his company will be weaker than it is today (which is weaker than it was 6 - 12 months ago). What's worse, he won't even realize that he's sealing his own fate.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation