Andrew Rudin

Do You Know What Your Customers Are Really Buying From You?

How does an enterprise create sustainable value? Through listening to customers and innovating products and services they want to buy? Or by creating a product and hoping the world beats a path to its door (or website) to buy it? The better answer—listening...

Strategies–Not Products–Create Lasting Market Disruption

"I just saw our software demo," I said to my company's VP of sales. "I can see how its features will be valuable for our customers." "It's disruptive!" he replied proudly, without enlightening me about what that meant or why it mattered. But his...

Honor Thy Customer Before He Leaves–Not After

In three years, I've never felt as loved as I do now by the cable service I just dropped, Cox Communications. Why? Because at the end of March, Verizon Fios will be the new communications provider at my home. And I...

Strategic Questions Will Uncover Strategic Opportunities

The late Peter Drucker said "true marketing starts out with the customer, his demographics, his realities, his needs, his values. It does not ask 'what do we want to sell?' It asks 'what does the customer want to buy?' So,...

Is Sales Necessary? … Or Necessarily Evil?

Salespeople fight a "guilty until proven innocent" reputation when working with customers. I know, because as a salesperson I've battled it for over 20 years. The customer reaction isn't surprising. Sales people are on the customer-relationship front line, and they absorb the...

A Sales Team Needs More Than “High ROI” and “Low TCO” To Compete

"How will your IT solution help me sell more pizza?" That was the opening question from one COO recently when he met with a team of software salespeople on their first sales call at his company. The team could not answer his question because...

Goofus and Gallant Make CRM Decisions

For those who may not be familiar with Goofus and Gallant, the Highlights Magazine feature contrasts how two children—Goofus, who is bad, and Gallant, who is good—make divergent ethical choices when faced with the same set of circumstances. The text is presented...

To An Octopus, “50” Means Nothing: Why Empathy Matters

What qualities make a salesperson a top performer? Being young and energetic? Money-motivated? Aggressive? Outgoing and gregarious? Or having strong product knowledge, and experience selling big-ticket items? None of these describes "Denise," a top-performing salesperson I interviewed recently. In fact, her resume probably wouldn't reach...

The Hidden Risks of Social Networks

Not to throw cold water on anyone's exuberance, but social networks could destroy your sales strategy, and your company along with it. Why? Because technology and the Internet propel unplanned situations and events at unprecedented speed. So it's important to recognize that the...

Getting to “No” U: The Higher Education of Qualification Strategy

"There's nothing wrong with learning a prospect can't or won't buy, as long as you learn it early in the sales process." This admonition came from a VP of Sales I worked with. He wasn't being glib. "No" answers are a sales fact...

A Tsunami of New Social Connectedness Is on the Way

Five years from now, which sales strategies and tactics will matter? Will familiar terms such as "cold calling," "individual contributor" and "lead lists" ultimately vanish, replaced by "word-of-mouth marketing," "collaborative teams" and "integrated marketing databases"? Will viral potential and page views become the currency...

Six Ways Companies Promote Sales Failure

Every day I learn about field-tested sales tactics. Some are innovative and effective. Others--well, I just have to ask "and how's that working for you?" If you're like me, and would rather avoid pain by learning from someone else's difficult experience, pull...

Your Next Cell Phone Rant Could Become the Subject of a Blog

When I was at the gym last week, I eavesdropped as a distraught salesperson spoke on his cell phone to an unknown listener—and to everyone else within earshot. He spewed a litany about why he and his company were about to lose...

Your Cutting-Edge Strategy Won’t Cut It in 2012

Which of these definitions comports with your beliefs? "Salesmanship is a battle of organized knowledge against unorganized knowledge or ignorance." or "Salesmanship is the ability to make a mutually profitable exchange of values." In fact, both definitions appear in a book first published almost 100…

The Curse of Knowledge

"We need people with industry experience working on our new product launch. A person new to our market would never understand the nuances of what our customers need." Do these statements sound like ones you or a colleague have made? I've made them....

The Right Sales Questions Will Get the Right Answers

What happens when we make assumptions? The movie, The Return of the Pink Panther, provides a great lesson. Peter Sellers, playing the immortal Inspector Clouseau, sees a small dog in a hotel lobby, and asks the clerk, "Does your dog bite?" The clerk responds...

Marketing Resources Minus Empathy = Zero

A brief rant, then questions: Earlier this year I received an e-newsletter with a press release about a new risk management software product developed by a well-known Virginia-based company. Because risk management is a topical interest, I explored the company's website for more information,...

How Humor and Eavesdropping Combine To Win Sales

I was in midway through writing an article with the dour title "Prospecting Doesn't Matter" (owing to Nicholas Carr's 2003 Harvard Business Review article "IT Doesn't Matter") when I serendipitously uncovered something that debunked my premise--at least for now. A New Jersey company,...

“On My Honor, as a Salesperson . . .”: Why Sales Ethics Matter

Which business risk represents the greatest threat to shareholder value? Natural disasters? Terrorism? Product defects? Piracy? Patent infringement? Lack of ethical boundaries? If you answered anything but the last choice, think again. The massive collapse of market capitalization at Tyco, Worldcom, and Enron underscores the...

Why Sears Customers Continue To Suffer

Sears--the retailing powerhouse that broke down paradigms for how consumers purchase hardgoods hasn't figured out how to maintain their visionary edge. Many would argue that they lost it many years ago. Today they are the poster child of companies that say--no, shout--to their...

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