Author Archive

E-Selling – Rowing Upstream With One Oar

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In addition to my former career as a sales professional and my current job as Editor of The HUB, I am an author. At least I was up until September 10, when I reverted to being a sales professional once again. This time, my product is my book, my market is Amazon users, and I’m totally overwhelmed.

With this novel, my third, I decided to go the self-published route. Both of my previous novels followed the traditional agent and publisher process, with ever-increasing success in navigating that world. But the cost was huge in terms of time and effort and will. Time and effort are self-explanatory. Will, maybe not so much. To give you an instant understanding of that, I will state one absolutely accurate truth – I could wallpaper my home with submissions and rejections and not leave a single square inch uncovered.

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Krypton Community College for Sales Business

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Business Education

There seems to be an interest in the Krypton Community College concept if our Google Analytics are to be believed. (I do believe them. I trust Google more than I do the U.S. Congress, but so do most others.) We got quite a lot of traffic on my article about applying the concept to a sales education, so I thought I would take it a bit further, see if I can milk the search terms for a few more hits.

In my previous articles on the value of education to a professional salesperson, I noted several intriguing issues, foremost amongst them was that many sales pros and employers thing higher education for sales people is a waste of time. While I don’t think it is a prerequisite for success, it is certainly an advantage. That is not a bold statement – I think an education is a advantage in any walk of life, even retirement.

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Krypton Community College and a Degree in Sales

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I did an article some time ago on Sales Certification and what that might mean to a sales professional. And just the other day, I read in Seth Godin’s newsletter about a new project he is promoting – Krypton Community College. I put these two together in my head and guess what I came up with? Another topic for a HUB article!

It’s a little early to know what this KCC concept really is and if it will work, but it did get me to thinking about distance/e-learning and its application to the sales profession. Clearly, sales training is a huge e-learning business with hundreds of providers pushing every conceivable sales training technique and process and gimmick. But I’m not talking about training – I’m talking about education, and they are not the same thing.

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Some Things Shouldn’t Be Automated

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Automated Robot

I’ve been helping someone, a long-time and very successful sales professional in his late 50’s, find a new sales job. Now, he is very good, very experienced, and has won every possible sales award at every job he’s ever had. His negative? He doesn’t stand-out in today’s computer search / keyword-based job application process. “Statistics show that approximately 50 percent of mid-sized companies and almost all large corporations use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen candidates for job opportunities.”

I’ve been in the computer-assisted automation business for a long time, and I know how it can benefit users in many areas, sales and customer relationships being the two I am most conversant with. Shared information, cybernetic analysis, process management, standardized language, computer metrics, etc. etc. etc. All have great value when properly designed and implemented. But some things just shouldn’t be automated.

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Where Did Sales 2.0 Go?

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Social Tools

Here are a couple of excerpts from The Sales 2.0 Gift Horse, a blog by Nigel Edelshain. He’s describing some preliminary work he was doing for a client to see how Sales 2.0 might help their business.

“After playing with the client’s accounting software for a fun few hours I managed to get a list of their top 100 accounts by revenue for the last year. Opening this list I thought I’d take a look at how their sales coverage was on account number one. What had they done to sell more to this top account?”

“One thing I found in the CRM system was the name of this account’s head of marketing.”

“So then my habits kicked in. I typed this head of marketing’s name into LinkedIn. But he was hard to find. I typed in his name and the name of this account into LinkedIn’s search function. I did not find him.”

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Book Review – Mastering Major Account Selling

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Mastering Major Account Selling

Mastering Major Account Selling is a free e-book by Richard Ruff and Janet Spirer of Sales Momentum, a sales training company, and it is available at their website, along with a smartphone app.

The title is an imposing agenda for any book, and immediately my mind went to a 400-page text with research and examples and lessons and case studies that would take a semester in college to read and understand and absorb, to say nothing of writing a review of it.

Instead, I found a 25-page expanded list of things to do in major account selling – a very complete and valuable list, at that. Think of it as the condensed version of the 400-page text. If I were highlighting all of the important points as I read that textbook, this would be my compilation of the yellow lines. It would be in my briefcase, and I would review it from time to time and try to better understand and apply the principles.

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The Week In Review, July 7, 2013

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ASPEC - Sales Cycles

Salesforce.com has been in the news recently. First, there was the “integration” deal with Oracle that some are speculating might be a stalking horse for much broader cooperation and/or amalgamation in the future. Then this week Salesforce announced its official withdrawal from its LinkedIn group and the launch of its integrated support forums. This stuff has big time interest for all of us here because SalesWays, The HUB’s sponsor, is launching its Salesforce.com add-on in a couple of months, and we tend to think “what’s good for Salesforce …”

Stick around. Maybe we’ll get someone to write an article about all of this. In the meantime, here’s what went on this past week at The HUB.

NEW THIS WEEK

Monday – The Sales Process – “All the World’s a Stage …” (Part Two)
In Part Two of the series, we complete the stage metaphor for the sales process, we look at how the various components of a play have their analogue in selling, and how it all fits the Opportunity Portfolio Management process.

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The Week In Review, June 30, 2013

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ASPEC - OPM Planner - Priority

I really should keep notes. All week long I think about clever (to me, anyway) things to say, or bits of interesting news to pass along, or any of a thousand other things to fill space on my weekly missive in a way that you might find entertaining. And then, of course, Friday comes and I have to resort to drivel like confessing that I can’t remember what I had for lunch let alone what cute thing I thought of two days ago.

I did go to a networking event today and listened to Michelle Vazzana talk about crafting compelling messages. Very interesting stuff backed by the research at Vantage Point. We will be doing a review of her book (co-authored with Jason Jordan, a contributor here at The HUB) Cracking the Sales Management Code, as soon as she sends me a free copy.

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Getting Sales Done #4 – The Sales Cycle

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Sales Cycle

Ed. In the Best of this week we’re re-publishing the fourth article in the 12-part Getting Sales Done series where we looked at David Allen’s popular Getting Things Done book and applied its principles to professional sales.

There are five steps in David Allen’s Getting Things Done time management program. We’ve looked at the first two – Collect and Process – and fitted them quite comfortably into a “customer retention cycle” which carries your relationship through the full circle of marketing, sales, and support. Both Collect and Process equate more to marketing and lead management than to opportunity management, but the lines are grey and many of us find ourselves crossing over and back to get the job done.

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Bad Forecasting – My Best Excuse

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Oops

Ed. We’re bringing back one of the most original excuses for a bad forecast ever, and some discussion of the difficulties sales managers have with normalizing the forecasts of their whole team so they get an accurate overall forecast.

The most original excuse I’ve ever heard for an inaccurate forecast: the hooker wrecked it. It’s absolutely true. First-person true. It was actually my excuse.

I had a deal done with a state government, ready to spike the ball. Then the Governor got caught with a prostitute and had to resign. The Lieutenant Governor, in an act of fiscal bravado, froze all state spending until he could review the state’s finances. Thus, the purchase order that had been approved and was ready for release was history, along with about 40% of that period’s sales.

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