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How the New AI — Authentic Intelligence — Can Improve Sales Productivity

During the past two years, Sales Mastery, Inc. (SMI) has been studying and cataloging the various artificial intelligence (AI) applications aimed at increasing sales rep productivity. With categories like: Appointment Setting; Automatic CRM Record Creation/Updating; Buyer Intent Analysis; Forecast Management; Guided Selling; and Prospect...

Building a Career in Sales: Hacks vs. Honing Skills for the Long Haul

"Sales hack" refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in pursuit of a sale (or sales career) (Adapted from Wikipedia. Thinking about and, more importantly, actively pursuing a career in sales, it's sensible to ask: What's the best...

Why Now is the Perfect Time to be a Sales Professional… Even for Millennials

In the previous column, I introduced the notion of Sales as a Profession (SaaP) and some of the steps that have been cataloged toward professionalism (full-time occupation, training school, university programs, etc.). While many salesmen and saleswomen today are full-time and considered successful, it...

Sales as a Profession: Perceptions, Misconceptions, and the Way Forward

You’ve been in sales for several years, are a solid performer, and considered to be a real pro. You’re happy with your employer, confident in the products/services you represent, and satisfied with your station in life (house, car, family situation, etc.). It’s great to...

Seller’s Challenge: Financial, Spiritual and Social

The Happy New Year is now a month old and, if you can believe the New York Times, most resolutions are abandoned by January 8th. My own resolution to participate in “Dryuary” (no alcohol for the month) has held fast, primarily due to my...

Seller’s Challenge: Focus on Physical Segment

Moving toward the halfway mark on the 6-month journey to “Balance my Wheel,” and put some teeth into the effort by publicly declaring objectives. Month 1 took on my Professional segment and, specifically, reducing my number of working hours to 36 per week.  I’ve...

A Progress Report on My Seller’s Challenge

Having outlined my intention to “Balance my Wheel,” starting with my Professional segment, last month I declared I would limit my work week to 36 hours and keep track of weekly objectives to stay focused. I also invited you to comment on what I’m...

Good Intentions Are Not Enough: My Improvement Plan as a Sales Professional

Last month was the kickoff of the Seller’s Challenge to commit to doing things that work on a continuing basis, not just part-time, not just sometimes. In other words, to keep on keeping on, and not fall off the wagon (i.e., become complacent). I presented...

The First Step Towards Sales Mastery: A Public Commitment

Decades ago when I was teaching Miller Heiman programs, I was asked back a year later to give a key note. Before my presentation, a guy came up to me and said, “You know,...

Tracking Buying Behavior: Are They Really Into You Or Not?

Series Introduction: In February, CSO Insights published the results of our 19th annual Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) study, based on survey data we gathered from over 1,200 companies worldwide. The figure from that 220 page analysis which generated the most input from our research...

Getting Managers Involved Early

Mercuri Systems recently released a new white paper on Sales Efficiency in which they ask, "Are your company's sales leaders/managers soldiers or generals?" Good question. A phenomenon too often played out is sales managers becoming super sales jocks while the growth and potential of sales...

What Defines Inside Sales Today?

This week we released the 2011 edition of our Telemarketing/Inside Sales Performance Optimization (TISPO) study. More than 200 firms worldwide participated in this year's inside sales survey spanning 93 metrics on sales performance. Questions covered areas including Sales Rep Hiring & Compensation, Sales Execution,...

Lead Generation Optimization Is “OUT”–Web Conversion Measures are IN

What Gets Measured Gets Managed When I say Lead Generation Optimization (LGO) is "OUT," I mean this week we released our annual LGO report.  More than 600 companies responded to this year's survey; approximately one-third of respondents were Services firms, one-third Technology, and the final…

She Works Hard for the Money*

And so do you. How hard and how much? Good questions and you, or the appropriate person in your company, have a chance to answer them right now.  Take CSO Insights' 2010 Sales Compensation & Performance Management, which we just opened this week (official launch…

Telemarketing/Inside Sales Thoughts & Observations

Last month I attended the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (www.aa-isp.org) Summit in Minneapolis and wrote about some of the highlights in my 4/29 blog: Lead Generation: What Telemarketing/Inside Sales is Doing.  This week we are releasing our 2010 Telemarketing/Inside Sales Optimization report and…

Hand Raisers Not Finger Pointers

This week I attended Selling Power's Sales Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and had a chance to meet a lot of CSOs in person and hear some terrific presentations.  Gerhard Gschwandtner (who may already have become one of those people known only by his first…

Last Chance for Inside/Telesales Survey

In February we released our 2010 Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) report and it has already been widely distributed and read.  As a part of that survey, we also looked at Inside/Telesales and are continuing to gather data in this area for another couple weeks (Take…

Sales Relationship Process Matrix – Part II

Last week's blog introduced the SRP Matrix and defined its two axes:  levels of sales process implementation and levels of relationship.  With this foundation in place, this week we look at what the relative performance is of various matrix tiers.  The past three years we've…

Sales Relationship Process Matrix

My previous blog talked about Metrics that Matter and the good that derives from sales organizations with access to timely/accurate metrics.  However, I ended with the observation that these metrics must be based upon an adopted (i.e., agreed upon and implemented) sales process.  We've...

Metrics That Matter

I recently participated in a webinar addressing the question: Does Access to Timely/Accurate Metrics Make a Difference in Performance?  The short answer: you betcha! Percentage of overall revenue attained was 7.5 points higher (78.3% vs. 85.8%) and percentage of reps meeting/beating quota was 6.5 points...

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