Track Leading Indicators to B2B Sales Success

One of the most interesting topics about goal setting and achieving greater results in upcoming quarters is to be tracking specific indicators. Now the truth is – most b2b sales people (and sales management) – are only tracking lagging indicators. Thus, a lack of predictability of achieving any form of serious growth goals and objectives.

Most people are tracking their sales results and possibly their gross margin data, however, these are all lagging indicators. Meaning these data is found in the history statements of what you have done and there is no way to change the past.

Leading indicators are those specific guides or triggers – usually related to your sales process – which then followed lead to certain levels of success. And, tracking your leading indicators every day will lead to greater success and sales results.

I first discovered these leading indicators back in the late 80’s when I was still doing activity based sales (the traditional model of selling). It was a simple system for tracking my personal results. I basically tracked five things – 4 leading and 1 lagging indicator.

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Are You Really Listening?

Been doing some observation work with several b2b sales people and have noticed one thing. Most of the sales people need to ramp up their ability to really listen to their customers.

Again the signs are there for us to learn. Our customers and clients actually want us to listen and comprehend and understand what they want and need. It is our job to deliver these results by listening aggressively.

The truth is most b2b sales people are trained or have behavioral styles which are very adept at presenting and talking. Sometimes they can even ask questions after being trained on the Questioning Model of B2B Selling.

However, the question remains – are they really listening to what is being said by the customer?

Often listening is the one skill sales people take for granted. Their expectations are limited to believing they are naturally good at listening. Therefore, there is very little time and effort applied to learning exactly how to actively listen.

How about some b2b sales tips regarding the reasons to learn the skill of listening?

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Tired of the StatusQuo? Challenge the Decison Makers

Okay, how many of you were terrorized by the title of the post?

I will venture a guess – all of your who enjoy the comfortable path of no possible conflict with a customer or prospect.

This is same attitude which has helped to create the commodity pricing environment we all hate – or should hate since our margins are squeezed big time.

What I’m talking about is directly related to the impact of the great recession of 2008-2009. Buyers and sales people alike got scared of making a mistake and the old comfort zone has taken center stage in our b2b sales world.

Yet, some new research on highly successful b2b sales people has come out. In fact, the July-August edition of the Harvard Business Review is dedicated to sharing information about this new research on high performing b2b sales people.

It seems these high performers are doing something different.

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How Good Is Your Storytelling Skills?

Recently I have observed several sales people doing customer calls and noticed a glaring deficiency in their skill sets.

Quite simply it is the ability to engage their customer with their storytelling skills or in their case a total lack of story telling skills.

The ability to capture the imagination of the customer and quickly engage or engross them into your story will give you a huge competitive advantage over the feature and benefit legions calling on your customer.

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Nice Voice Mails Get Deleted Today

Really? Nice Voice Mails Get Deleted!

Welcome to the new world of the busy executives and decision makers. Anything not related to what they need or gets their interest is in automatic delete mode.

Most B2B Sales People call a targeted prospect and leave the following voice mail…

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Not Getting Your Phone Calls Returned?

Seems like no one is returning phone calls these days. For that matter, who is actually answering their phones these days?

I know I have experienced this growing trend in the world of B2B Selling. And, at first I believed these people were just plain rude and courtesy had left the building! Well, the truth is there are other reasons – well, some are just plain rude. 🙂

The fact of the matter is important people have no time any more. It’s true. I watched an excellent role play at a recent presentation showing exactly how busy people are these days. So, later, I actually chatted with some of the decision maker types that I know ( some actually called me back and others I met at Chamber sponsored meetings.) to learn what there world is really like.

It is amazing these executives and key decision makers have any time to do anything – which explains why so often actual decisions are no decision and the status quo lives on at their companies.

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More New Info Coming

First, I want to thank everyone who continues to come to this site. Your confidence is most important to me. Second, the past couple of  weeks have been a challenge for me to find time to write new material for you. Between health issues – flu and minor surgery – and the need to do … Read more…

Stop Educating Your Buyer – Start Finding the Opportunity

Earlier I wrote an article about how the buyer does not need the b2b sales person anymore. And, this statement or information is true. Yet, there are some systematic issues which are creating confusion within the sales organization.

Okay, first, the amount of product knowledge training is still out of control. During the Great Recession, companies figured they could constraint expenses by using more product knowledge training – which could be handled by internal staff rather than outside sales advisers. The data has been showing organizations have been spending upwards of 85% of their “sales training” budgets on product knowledge.

Second, it is true product knowledge does help the sales person to be more creative in recognizing sales opportunities when they are dropped in their laps. And, a side effect is the higher confidence factor when a b2b sales person understanding their products and product lines well.

Third, the majority of product knowledge training is a total waste of time and resources!

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Buyers Do NOT Need B2B Sales People Anymore!

Before you think I have totally lost my mind, take a moment to read what I have to say about this topic – because I believe it has more Truth than I thought I would see in my lifetime.

Sure I read the book from Neil Rackham – one of the most acclaimed sales researchers in modern times – as he stated buyers do not want to be bothered by aggressive and pushy sales people anymore. That much I truly believe is correct based upon my interaction with so many buyers and decision makers.

Yesterday, I listened to a Marketing Expert talk about how much times have changed relative to actually how much a buyer needs a sales person. He stated prior to the widespread use of the internet, buyers actually needed us for product information and ideas for solving their problems.

Today, that has changed, the buyer can get as educated as they want from their laptop or tablet by searching the internet for product information, success stories, how to use our products, applications of solutions and even do some price comparisons – all without a sales person to talk with for one minute.

Does that ring any bells for you?

Okay, so what do you need to do to counter this change in need focus on the part of the buyer?

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