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What’s Not In Books About Sales

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I once bought four books about sales … in one week. They were all quite new at the time, and very different. If I have a glance around my bookshelves, I have about a hundred books devoted to sales, salespeople and sales management. The reason I am thinking about them now is that I am writing my second book. It is, like my first book (Sales Automation Done Right, SalesWays Press, 2005), devoted to sales methodology, although the first one mixed in a bit of technology. When writing, it’s good to see what has already been said before you embark on a project that you feel has something new to say about a subject.

When I review books on the sales process, it strikes me that the human interplay between customer and salesperson must be complex; if that wasn’t the case, how could so much be written about it? The first thing that comes to mind is that almost all of these books targeting salespeople are tactical. I use the word tactical to describe the actions of the salesperson as they are in front of the customer, whether it is what questions to ask, what to listen for, what information to retrieve, and the like. The emphasis is on the interaction with the customer as it happens in these few minutes or hours, on this day in time.

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Welcome to The SalesWays Hub

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Welcome to the SalesWays HubWelcome to The HUB, a SalesWays web resource dedicated to innovations in sales and technology.

The HUB is the place where those of us who love sales – professionals, students, managers, anyone – can come to learn, to share, and to connect. The challenges facing salespeople today are greater than ever, mostly because of the Internet itself. Customers can learn about product innovation and advancement in ways never before possible – who needs a salesperson?

But sales is by definition competitive, and in most cases customers need the assistance of the sales professional to find the appropriate solution for their needs because buying, too, has become ever more challenging, and the expert advice and knowledge of a salesperson can cut through the clutter like no web page can alone.

Technology has been a boon to selling in the areas of communication, presentation, calendaring, prospecting, and much much more. And technology has invaded and conquered other spaces we couldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. Your garage door opener has more memory than the first PC’s. Computers in your car will parallel park for you. And a computer knocked off the greatest chess player in the world.

As yet though, there is little push to make the synergy of sales methodology and computer technology work fully to the advantage of the salesperson.

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The Language of Sales

Written by on . Posted in Miscellaneous Methodology, Sales Methodology 2 Comments

Understanding the language of sales, like understanding any other language, is essential for effective communication. For all of us applying technology to the practice of selling, language is even more important because technology relies more and more on computers and other smart devices. But “smart” is a misnomer — these devices aren’t smart, they’re programmed. And that makes all the difference.

In 2005 I published a book called Sales Automation Done Right, documenting a twenty-year effort to computerize the front office of a small business I had started and which eventually became very successful, in no small part because of that effort. At the end of the book is a Glossary — not unusual for a technical book, but appropriate now because of the subject of the book — sales automation.

The principle thrust of my book was that sales automation does not have to be limited to the administration of sales, to simply keeping lists of contacts and interactions and appointments and everything else and applying them to streamlining all of those activities. There is a better use of the computer — to directly assist with the selling skills and strategies of the sales process to win more sales.

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CEOs Need To Get Serious About Sales

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This is an interesting blog entry from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/ceos_need_to_get_serious_about.html

I come from the mold of CEO that has always been serious about sales. And I don’t think I’m in a minority. But this article is a wake-up call for top managers to make sure they give the sales function the appropriate importance and attention. What is appropriate — well, the sales team, group, division or whatever is the most important functional group within the organization. As I’ve defined it in my own work, sales is the business of doing business.

So let me comment on some parts of the blog.

“In writing the book Sales Growth, we’ve found that CEOs who put sales management at the heart of their agenda have captured astonishing growth — outstripping their peers by 50 to 80 percent in terms of revenue and profitability.”

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The Method Controlled Us

Written by on . Posted in Design & Evolution, Sales Methodology No Comments

I was on a cruise once and, as you would expect, took advantage of the peace and quiet to read a couple of excellent books. Cruises are always a good opportunity for that, something that I find tough to do in life back home. One of them was Bob Woodward’s account of Deep-Throat, the mysterious contact who gave him and Carl Bernstein guidance while investigating the Watergate break-in. For those of you who are too young to remember, their’s was the investigative reporting that led directly to the seminal event of the first and only US President to resign from office.

In a short postscript Bernstein said something that caught my attention:

“Reporters may believe they control the story, but the story always controls the reporters.”

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What is ASPEC?

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What is ASPEC

If you are visiting The HUB from the Apple App Store or the SalesWays web site, you will already know that ASPEC is the name of a new generation of sales productivity tools designed to harness the immense power of technology in the twenty-first century. But more than just a product name, ASPEC represents the meaning of the core methodology that powers the product.

At the heart of ASPEC is a simple, elegant model of a universal sales process translated to be understood in computer software. ASPEC is an Automated Sales Process Engine for the Computer. Let’s take a look at that in detail.

Automated

The challenges of managing many ongoing sales opportunities are greatly eased with ASPEC. Because ASPEC uses an innovative model of the sales transaction, many of the characteristics common across all sales opportunities can be reviewed, recalculated, and tracked automatically by the computer.

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Introduction to The Library, Our Ultimate Sales Knowledge Resource

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Here at The HUB, we have tried (and will keep on trying) to include everything that a sales professional might find interesting and useful as he or she carries on the never-ending battle to close that next sale. An important part of that is our Library. Come on in, have a coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy a read from our fast-growing collection of material illustrating new thoughts on selling from professionals and experts, including you.

All of our stuff and your stuff gets archived here – posts, comments, forum discussions, tech reviews, fun tidbits and a wide range of media from white papers to videos. We’ll try to make your hunt as effortless as possible by organizing everything into meaningful categories and groupings, and including tags and other devices to make your searches quick and efficient. And if you have any suggestions for content, send them along and we’ll get on it immediately.

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Introduction to the Sales & Technology Category

Written by on . Posted in Miscellaneous Technology, Sales & Technology No Comments

I’ve worked with salespeople for a long time in a lot of roles, from being one of them to managing them, to having them as one department among many in my company. There’s no doubt in my mind that salespeople love technology.

My experience in sales goes back further than I care to remember, but the salesperson’s affinity for tech has always been there, even in the days before computers became a commodity. It has to do with the personality. Salespeople are achievers, they are fixated on setting targets and measuring themselves against goals. They are curious, always needing to understand the latest concepts. They are creative, always striving to find the best way to get stuff done.

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