Richard Ruff

New business from existing business is smart business

Let’s assume you’re a sales manager in a highly competitive B2B market with a team of eight major account reps. You have just received an email from your VP of Sales outlining an aggressive growth strategy for the next 6 months. You’ve decided the best...

Listening – the forgotten twin of sales success

While most salespeople have come to agree that asking questions is a key skill, many still underestimate the contribution of good listening to achieving top 
performance. It is the forgotten twin in the proposition – ask, listen and then talk. For them, the first...

Getting sales rep onboarding right – it matters more than ever

Today a sales team must not only be able to sell a competitive advantage; they must be a competitive advantage. In most companies, it is increasingly difficult to sustain a competitive advantage by traditional means. Traditional factors, like superior products and innovative manufacturing technologies,...

Sales performance – average is over

Constant change has always characterized the business world.  Looking in the rear view mirror has never been a recommended strategy for determining future direction.  However, from time to time the nature of the change takes on a different look.  The scale and speed of...

Artificial Intelligence – a last best hope for sales management coaching

Sales leadership talks about it all the time.  Sales consultants advocate it and sales managers say they would like to do more of it.  The “it” of course is sales coaching. Yet, if you nose around, you’ll find less sales coaching is occurring then might...

Sales memo – winning starts with thinking strategically

In B2B sales, one-size-does-not-fit-all is a cornerstone proposition.  There are no generic customers; hence there are no winning generic strategies – each customer is unique and every winning account strategy must take that uniqueness into consideration. When thinking about what it takes to formulate a...

Selling at C-level and the too late-too little puzzle

In major accounts sales success at the C-level is a “do or die” proposition.  What makes it particularly challenging is “one strike and you’re out.”  There’s no second chance to get it right. Successfully selling to senior executives is a book with many chapters. However,...

Virtual reality – a new day for medical product launch presentations

Virtual Reality and Sales Presentations Each year medical companies develop a dazzling array of new products.  Some are minor upgrades.  While others are extraordinary new products designed to be game changers or, in some cases, “bet the company” entries into the market. Unfortunately after all the…

A 2026 excursion to the future of sales training

As a way of exploring the future of sales training, let’s time travel to the year 2026 and examine the major trends of the day. Suspending disbelief, assume you have time traveled and have arrived in the summer of 2026.  You are journeying south on...

Transitioning to sales manager – a rubicon moment

Congratulations! You’ve done it! You have crossed over! You are now a sales manager.  So, what do you do now?  Even after some initial guidance from colleagues, most new sales managers find themselves struggling to figure out how to balance the requirements of the...

Sales Enablement – don’t put the cart before the horse!

Over the last several years Sales Enablement has moved to center stage as a topic of attention in the world of sales.  Although the exact definition varies depending on the actor, Sales Enablement is all about creating and delivering the following:  practices, technologies and...

The Etch a Sketch Sales Force

Etch A Sketch Sales Force The Etch A Sketch was introduced at the peak of the Baby Boom in 1960 and was one of the best-known toys of that generation.  Today, it can be found in the Toy Industry Association’s  hall of the 100 most memorable...

Sales coaches – and the teaching trap

When top sales managers are asked what advice they would give to someone wanting to improve their coaching, a pervasive answer is – stop trying to teach your sales team  and start trying to help them learn.   This is hardly new news.  Back in the day,...

Sales excellence and the comfort zone freeze

Sometimes great short-term sales success can be a bad predictive of future sales excellence.  Let’s take a look at why that might be and examine the consequences. There are a number of market and company specific reasons why this troubling dilemma tends to materialize at...

Sales training for meeting buyers’ expectations in 2016

Recent years have seen a tremendous disruption in how customers buy. And if buyers change how they buy – salespeople need to change how they sell. Customers want fresh ideas and creative insights for addressing a set of needs and opportunities that are both new and challenging....

Getting sales process right

Whether or not you have put in place a sales process – it is happening everyday.  It is whatever your salespeople are doing Monday morning to navigate the customer’s buying process. The real problem is not, therefore, a lack of sales process.  The problem is...

Sales excellence – put the horse before the cart

Major account selling is truly a highly skilled and information-intense profession. Just like any highly skilled profession one must not only master skills; you must also understand the principles upon which success is built. In major account selling, the most important underlying principle is the following –...

Becoming a sales detective

There is little doubt that salespeople in the B2B market are finding their buyers’ journeys more complex and more subject to change than ever before.  These added complications are due to factors from the disruptive trends of the time to the simple fact that...

Sales mastery 2015 – a horse of a different color

Sales Mastery 2015 According to Bain & Company, B2B sales executives have seen tremendous disruption   in how customers buy in recent years – and they see no reason to think it won’t continue. And if buyers change how they buy – salespeople need to change…

Sales success in an age of disruptive change

Constant change has always characterized the business world.  Looking in the rear view mirror has never been a recommended strategy for determining future direction.  However, from time to time the nature of the change takes on a different look.  The scale and speed of...

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