Dave Brock

The Sales Jigsaw Puzzle

Every once in a while, I like to do a jigsaw puzzle.  It’s nice to do in the evening, no distraction from devices, there’s the great tactile feeling as I pick up a new piece, trying to figure out where it fits.  Then there’s the great reward at the end, once all the pieces are [...]

Scaling “Authentic Conversations”

I just received one of those emails.  I’m on a distribution list, I’ve been invited to hear a webinar on “How do you scale authentic communications.”  Among the topics they will be covering are:  “how to automate meaningful and timely follow up,” and “how much time is too much time spent on personalizing emails………” (Interestingly, [...]

Forecasting Games

We’ve all been there, we’ve played the same games.  It’s about the forecast–the monthly, quarterly, annual forecast. We’re pressured to commit.  Ultimately, we agree on a commitment, “Lock me in at $10M for the quarter, boss!  I guarantee you that I’ll make it.” At the beginning of the quarter, we kinda-sorta see the path.  We know “these [...]

Forecast Integrity

Recently, I was in a discussion with a great sales management team.  At one point in the discussion, we started discussing forecast and accuracy. It’s a difficult topic, too often, I think management spends entirely too much time obsessing over the forecasting process. As we discussed ways to improve forecasting, a key point came up.  We can [...]

Who’s Your Competitor, Looking In All The Wrong Places

The email asked me to participate in a market research survey.  It was from one of the old line business publications, it promised a donation to one of my favorite charities, so I decided to take it. The survey was pretty exhaustive.  It asked me all sorts of questions about my reading preferences.  There was one [...]

What’s Your “Net Promoter Score?”

The “Net Promoter Score,” has been around for a long time.  In 2003, Fred Reichheld introduced it in his HBR article:  “One Number You Need To Grow” The concept of the NPS is simple, you ask a customer:  How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?  The answer is [...]

Do Your People Own Their Commitments/Responsibilities?

A sales manager was whining to me, “My sales people don’t do what I tell them to do!  How do I get them to do the things I want them to do?”  He went on a rampage describing how they weren’t meeting their commitments, how they weren’t doing the things that drove the best results, [...]

In Praise Of Boring Sales Organizations

Over the last several weeks, I’ve seen a similar issue with 4 different companies.  On the surface, each seemed to have a very disciplined approach to developing their teams and driving performance. Each spoke about the structured review process.  They had pipeline reviews, deal reviews, 1 on 1’s, and others.  I’d been asked to sit in [...]

Are You Learning Yesterday’s Skills For Tomorrow’s Buyers?

Every time I meet sales enablement and sales executives, I ask, “What are the critical skills you are focusing on training and developing your people on? The answers are varied, but generally fall into very specific, and classic selling skills:  Qualifying, questioning, listening, prospecting, objection handling, closing, call planning, deal planning, account planning, time/territory management, establishing [...]

Going Beyond The “What” Of Activity Metrics

Activity metrics are receiving lots of attention.  Activity metrics can be very useful, at the same time, they can stimulate a lot of, well … wasted activity. Too often, we focus on the wrong things as we put activity metrics in place.  We focus on the “what and how many,”  for example, “You need to make [...]

Automating Stupidity

I have a very good friend, Dr. Howard Dover.  He does wickedly smart things in driving the sales curriculum at UT Dallas.  Every once in a while, I get terribly frustrated and need to vent  and Howard lets me vent. I was venting on the mindless focus on activity.  Activity for activity sake, with no concern [...]

Project Management And Sales?

What’s selling have to do with project management?  It may not be obvious, but strong project management skills are essential for top performing sales people—both for helping our customers buy and for effectively leveraging our own resources in the process. Think about it, a moment.  Our customers have a project–not a buying journey.  They need to [...]

Putting You Money Where Your Mouth Is!

I’ve been working with sales professionals (and unprofessionals) for more years than I’d like to think about.  I talk to and work with thousands of sales people and hundreds of managers every year, traveling a couple hundred thousand miles doing it.  So it’s easy to get jaded when you sit in sales meetings.  Despite, different [...]

Customers Don’t Care About Their Buying Journey!

Recently, I was speaking with an executive whose team was involved in a major purchase decision.  I asked him to describe his buying process/journey.  He looked at me with an amused/quizzical look.  “We don’t think in terms of a buying journey.  We just have something we need to get done, part of it involves buying…..” All [...]

Moving Beyond The “Chaotic Buying Process”

It seems in recent months, the sales and marketing world is suddenly waking up to the fact the buying process/journey is not a linear process.  That customers don’t go through an orderly process of:  1.  Define problem, 2.  Identify priorities, requirements, 3.  Assess solutions, 4. Select solution, 5. Implement. It seems we are suddenly recognizing that [...]

The Elephant In The Room, Sales Talent Management

Ask any sales manager or executive their number one challenge in the future, it’s likely they will say, “Making our numbers….”  That’s the perennial answer that inspires a response like, “Wow, how inspired, why didn’t I think of that?” Only a handful of executives really understand the question.  Making the numbers is a result of the [...]

Customers, Looking For Help In Other Places

As sales people, our goal is to become the “go-to” resource for our customers in helping them solve their business problems.  We want to position ourselves as trusted advisors to our customers. But customers aren’t responding, increasingly, they rely on other resources for help in solving their business problems.  CSO Insight’s 2018 Buyer Preferences Survey show [...]

Transforming What We Do Is Not Optional!

Last week, I was sitting in the Gartner Sales and Marketing Conference.  If you’ve never attended, it’s one you need to put on your future agenda.  Even if you aren’t a Challenger fan, it is probably one of the best learning experiences I can recommend. One of the panelists, Myke Hawkins of Kelly Services, made a [...]

The Challenged Customer

Our customers (and us) live in worlds characterized by information overload, rapidly changing circumstances, increasing demands, rising management expectations, scarcer resources, increasing scale, disruption, distraction, and complexity.  It’s impossible to avoid feeling overwhelmed, unbalanced,  and distracted. Getting things done, getting the support and resources to move forward is increasingly difficult.  They must coordinate efforts across more [...]

There Is No “Playbook” For Buying!

Playbooks are big.  There are lots of tools and never ending content around playbooks for marketing and sales.  Inevitably, these playbooks are intended to guide us through our marketing and sales processes–providing us relevant questions and content to move the customer through their buying process. Every playbook I’ve seen is very linear in its approach–start at [...]

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