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Lead Activation Syndrome (LAS): The Ailment that is Costing You Millions $$$

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 9, 2018 4:00:00 PM

lead-activation-losing-moneyLast week, I was going through some older files when I came across a standard presentation deck from six years ago. Two things struck me as I reviewed that deck. The first was just how much of what we were talking about five years ago still applies today.

The second was the amount of time we spent in that presentation on the need to develop a formal lead generation process for businesses desiring growth. While the strategies shared are still applicable, what I found interesting was that, just five years ago, we spent a considerable amount of high-value sales time getting business executives to understand the importance of simply generating leads.

Certainly, there are companies that haven’t adjusted, but even those companies acknowledge the importance and value in designing top-of-funnel strategies to drive higher lead volume. (They’re just still working through their list of excuses.) Today, we rarely spend time talking about the importance of lead generation.

Instead we find, with increasing frequency, that companies committed to serious growth are suffering from a very different problem. They’ve generated the leads, and continue to generate them. Often, they’re generating more leads then they can handle.

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Topics: Sales Development, Sales Cycle, Sales Enablement

Why I Don’t Give My Head of Sales A Revenue/Sales Quota

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 27, 2018 1:00:00 PM

No-Sales-QuotaMake the number! It’s probably the three words that dominate the thinking of salespeople and executives everywhere. I’ll admit that over my career I’ve literally had dreams--and nightmares--where making the number was the central theme. (Of course, whenever this happened, I knew it was probably time to take a week off).

Sales quotas (or revenue quotas) are a foundational element of the sales. For most, the only question to ask about quotas is “Where should the target revenue or new customer acquisition quota be set?” Questioning the need, appropriateness, or effectiveness of even setting quotas is sacrilegious in business circles.

But the time has come for those leading businesses into the future to admit that quotas aren’t working. Recent research from CSO shows that barely 50% of salespeople are meeting quota, a trend that has been steadily deteriorating. Anecdotally, many senior sales executives responsible for setting quotas adjust to this reality by setting artificially high quotas and putting more pressure on salespeople.

Earlier this week, I presented a webinar where I revealed some research that we just completed, along with ways to implement strategies that can double your pipeline in 90 days. In this session, I shared that the nature of sales continues to undergo rapid change. If selling is going to remain a viable strategy, leaders must rethink their fundamental assumptions about sales, how they allocate talent and resources towards the sales process, and how they assess and compensate performance.

At the beginning of this year, I determined it was time to take a lead in designing the sales model of the future. As a part of our 2018 sales plan, I eliminated the sales quota as a key metric for our VP Sales. Here's why.

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Cycle, Sales, Sales Enablement

7 Reasons Hiring Salespeople is the Wrong First Step for Faster Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 23, 2018 3:30:00 PM

7 Reasons Hiring Salespeople is the Wrong First Step for Faster GrowthI see it time and time again. A company, seeking to accelerate revenue growth and customer acquisition, makes the obvious decision to hire more salespeople. Every time (for purposes of accuracy, 95% of the time) I have the same reaction (as I bring my hands to my head in dismay):

NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There’s a simple acid test that virtually any small or mid-market organization can use to determine if the time has come to hire salespeople. The acid test is “Do we have more high quality, right-fit leads than our existing sales team can manage?”

If the answer isn’t a definitive “YES!!,” then DON’T. HIRE. SALESPEOPLE. (YET).

I realize this advice is counter-intuitive. I understand that your board, your investors, hell, even your CEO (if she’s not the one reading this) are not going to like this take. I get that your VP of Sales quantifies his importance and domain by headcount (if some is good, more must be better). Your peers will look at you like you’re crazy, but I challenge you to think about this:

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Topics: Sales Development, Sales Training/Coaching, Demand Generation, Sales Cycle

5 Priorities for Every Demand Generation Executive's List in 2017

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 3, 2017 4:00:00 PM

5 Priorities for Every Demand Generation Executive's List in 2017The fresh air of a new year. Anything is possible and confidence is running high. I’ve always found the New Year to be exhilarating. Days are getting longer, and there’s a “clean sheet” to build upon. There’s also something extremely powerful about the next five months, where holidays are minimal and people are focused.  

Unfortunately, by the time we get to May, most organizations and executives will be back to feeling overwhelmed, consumed by the daily news cycle, with worries about the future of the economy or any number of distractions that are outside anyone’s control.

Over the years (I like to think I’ve gotten wiser through the years) I’ve come to learn that while excitement and energy feel really good, the key to advancing one’s agenda is the focus on a limited number of priorities.  As our Operations Manager likes to (constantly) remind me, “If everything is important, then nothing is.”

If scaling revenue growth is at the top of your agenda, here are five priorities that need to be on your list:

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Cycle

6 Tactics to Transform a Good Salesperson Into A Great Performer

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 18, 2016 1:30:00 PM

top-performance.jpgMany years ago, someone shared a great hiring philosophy. The philosophy?  Hire only great people. Okay - not so insightful at first blush. But it continued.

When you hire bad people it’s not really a problem because you get rid of them quickly. The problem comes when you hire good people. With good people, you can never quite fully delegate responsibilities. You can’t delegate and forget. You must still manage them, and that means that as you get bigger, you gain too much complexity and stall.

With great people you can delegate it, forget it and what you get back is better than you would have gotten had you managed it. Therefore, it is only through the hiring of great people that you free people to allow for growth.

While this is great advice, it led to some of the worst hiring decisions I’ve ever made (for both me and when advising clients). Let me explain.

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Topics: Performance, Sales Cycle

Sorry Virginia, There Is No Inbound Selling

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 16, 2015 10:00:00 AM

inbound-sales.pngWe’re coming to the end of the year, and we’re a little overdue for one of my rants.  And this one may surprise many of the regular readers of this blog.

While I am a (Donald Trump-voice) HUGE fan of the inbound philosophy, I have to admit that there is a prevailing term (one that I initially thought was a fad) that is driving me around the bend (which I admit is probably not important to you) and harming many sales efforts (which I assume you do care about).

The term is inbound sales or inbound selling.  Advocates of this idea claim that traditional sales is no longer effective and there’s a need for a new approach to sales.  The problem with the term “inbound selling” is that it infers that there’s a difference between outbound selling and inbound selling.  

The truth is there is no difference – sales is sales and selling is selling.  While there’s a difference between bad selling and good selling, the reality is that inbound selling is either just a term to make something old sound new, or it’s something that will actually cause problems to your bottom line.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales Cycle