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A Visit from the Ghosts of Business Past, Present & Future

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

jacob-marley.jpgWhen I was in elementary school, I was in the drama club. My 5th grade year, I was Jacob Marley in our “production” of A Christmas Carol. I’m sure that experience is one of the reasons that Marley has always been my favorite character.

For those that don’t know, Marley was Scrooge’s business partner in Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas story. More importantly, Marley was the “visitor” who alerted Scrooge that the three ghosts of Christmas - past, present and future - we’re coming and to be prepared for it.

I always find myself thinking of good old Jacob Marley this time of year, and not just because an infinite number of story variations are being broadcast constantly. I think of him, because as we begin to slow down for the break, it’s a wonderful time for reflection. So, while there’s no Tiny Tim in this story, now is a great time to find a quiet space and review three very important questions before the New Year kicks in.

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Topics: Performance, Sales Training/Coaching

3 Go-to Emails I Use to Advance B2B Sales Opportunities

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 21, 2016 1:00:00 PM

go-to-email.jpgDecember has always been a fascinating month for me.  Filled with the anticipation of what the next year will bring as well as contemplation of what the last year has been. It also includes the chaos of preparing for the holidays, seeing friends and relatives and working to finish things up so you have a clean start after the new year.

For me, the last month has been very intense as we’ve been working (hard) to close outstanding business, and to move opportunities along so they’re in a strong place post holidays. While the phone is still a very important tool for any salesperson, email communication has become more important than ever. In today's world there are times when email is more conducive than the phone to move things forward.

Over time, I've found three emails that I go to time and again to move opportunities along, and I'm going to share the approach of these emails with you today. It's important to note that there's no such thing as a "magic-bullet" email. Email works when it's personalized to the situation, and fits the context of everything else you are doing. I share these emails for inspiration.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales Process

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 6, 2016 3:00:00 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 4:30:00 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

How to Make Effective Connect Calls to Your B2B Inbound Leads

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Oct 26, 2016 4:00:00 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

5 Rules for Asking Effective Sales Questions

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jul 21, 2016 4:00:00 PM

sales-questions.jpgFor as long as people have been training others to sell, one precept of effective selling has stood out as an inviolate principle: questions are the key to success for salespeople. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a sales training workshop or read a book addressing sales that didn’t put the ability to ask effective questions at (or at least near) the top of the keys to success.

This post is certainly not going to take issue with the principle of effective questions, but rather the nature of, and the definition of what effective questions are. Even more directly, I’m going to take issue with another precept I hear often (and even used to teach). That precept is, can you ask too many questions?

I recently came across a post on LinkedIn, Why Asking Lots of Questions Is Good for My Customer, that got me thinking about this. While I don’t take issue with anything the author shares in the post, the title combined with a conversation I had with a client’s sales team leader inspired me to update some rules for asking questions in the sales process.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

Business Acumen: Five Financial Metrics Every Salesperson Needs to Know

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 9, 2013 9:42:00 AM

business-acumen.jpgAnyone who knows me, knows I’m a huge believer that business acumen is both lacking in salespeople, and is the number one criteria for success today.  Increasingly, businesses are becoming aware that salespeople are not enough to cut it.  We must transform the sales force into businesspeople-who-sell.

While there are many attributes that contribute to building business acumen for salespeople, understanding financial statements is certainly at the top of the list.  Understanding the financial implication of their value proposition is critical for salespeople to be able to effectively lead customers and prospects to making decisions that are mutually beneficial. Here are five key metrics every person involved in sales should understand and master.
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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

A Must Have Tool For Anyone In Sales

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 4, 2013 10:19:00 AM

Selling is hard work, and it’s only getting harder.  For more than 20 years I’ve been writing and teaching about the fundamental shifts that have taken place with the flow of information in the buyer-seller paradigm.

Frankly, up until about 1997 sellers had the advantage, and buyers were forced to play by the seller’s rules.  As Daniel Pink shares in his latest book To Sell Is Human, this information asymmetry has, at best, become an information balance, and in many ways has swayed to the benefit of the buyer.  Sellers today must increasingly play by the buyer’s rules.

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Topics: Sales Training/Coaching

The Five Critical Attributes to Sales Success

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 26, 2013 4:43:00 AM

Success-Failure

After 25 years, working with more than 1,500 companies, nearly 10,000 salespeople and witnessing almost 100,000 sales calls and interactions, I’m finally able to answer the most important question about successful salespeople (what can I tell you, I’m a little slow).  That question is:

What are the most important attributes that must be present to ensure the success of a salesperson?

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

The Single Most Important Driver of Profitable Sales

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 23, 2013 12:30:00 PM

The Vicious Cycle of Traditional Selling

In my fourth post on this blog (back in September of 2005), I made the point that the ability to get customers/prospects to be willing to pay for a sales call was the biggest sales advantage you could create.  Over the last six months, I’ve come to the realization that it’s no longer merely an advantage – it’s absolutely critical to your ability to consistently make profitable sales.

To put it as simply as I can, if you are not creating real value in the sales process, you’re falling waist deep into The Commoditization Trap. At the risk of over-simplifying corporate structure, I’ve learned executives have one of two focuses.  At the senior level, they’re focused on the problems facing the company, while mid- and lower-levels are focused on managing solutions.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching, Demand Generation