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Categories: Sales Messaging  |  Sales Transformation

The Sales Snapshot

We know you're busy. That's why in today's blog post we are giving a quick snapshot of content we've published and discovered in the past month.  Run through our list below for this month's highlights.

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Categories: Sales Negotiation

Four Negotiation Skills to Arm Your Sellers with Right Now

If your sales team is challenged with losing margin in key negotiations, it’s often very apparent once you hit the end of the quarter. The problem with many negotiation sales trainings is that they treat negotiation as an event at the end of the sales process, rather than a process that should be driven by your business strategy.

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Digging Deep Creating the Right Questions Flow for Effective Discovery

Enable your sales team to uncover business pain.

Use our Discovery Guide to teach them to ask the right questions at the right time and subscribe to our blog.

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Categories: Competitors  |  Differentiation  |  Sales Messaging  |  Sales Transformation

Four Questions Every Sales Organization Needs to Answer

Leading a sales organization that hits its number repeatedly is a difficult and complex task. You are probably living these intricacies right now – complex solutions, gaps in your sales team, multiple buyers, product/sales/services not on the same page – Sound familiar? We’ve seen it time and time again. Truth is, the challenges you’re dealing with are common and sometimes, taking the first steps to solving them isn't all that complex.

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Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Sales Messaging

Four Key Sales Areas Where Great Organizations Take No Shortcuts

True alignment that drives predictable revenue means NO SHORTCUTS. No shortcuts on defining the problems your organization solves and how you solve them. No shortcuts on the steps you take to align behind your customer’s decision-making process. Very few buyers take shortcuts on the buying side, so great sales organizations can’t afford to take shortcuts on the sales side.

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Categories: Company Alignment  |  Sales Leadership

What Every Elite Sales Organization Does

Who doesn’t want to lead an elite sales organization? Leading an elite sales organization starts with building the content, processes and tools that drive the quadrants of sales effectiveness – message, sale, plan and talent. Beyond those areas are key tenets that top sales leaders follow. Their adherence to these fundamentals result in higher performance, increased productivity, revenue and market share.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Front-line Managers  |  Sales Transformation

The Five Things You Don't Want to Shortchange if You Want to Be an Elite Sales Organization

There’s one thing elite sales organizations know. There are no shortcuts to success. If you don’t build the foundation for growth, you’ll struggle with the key tenets of a high-performing sales organization, which include: The ability to enable reps to be relevant and compelling at the customer-level Established cross-functional alignment that ensures everyone knows who does what and when Developed management cadence to accurately predict revenue and consistently achieve your number Build a process and tools so your managers can own their talent – hiring, retaining and coaching top salespeople to success.

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Categories: Sales Messaging  |  Sales Transformation

September: The Sales Executive Snapshot - ICYMI

Every week we are publishing content that aims to help you generate more revenue per rep and accelerate growth in your sales organization. In case you missed our latest post – here’s a quick roundup of what we’ve published.

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Categories: Sales Negotiation  |  Sales Process

The One Thing That's Missing in Many Sales Negotiations

When a sales negotiation results in a less than desirable outcome for your company, there’s often one thing that’s missing. It’s likely there was a lack of realization that negotiation starts very early in the sales process.

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Sales Negotiation

Five Essential Questions That Drive Success with Professional Buyers

For most sellers, their negotiation experience comes from a personal frame of reference. If their experience has been that negotiations is tactical and they’ve traditionally included procurement at the end of the deal, that’s probably how they’ll continue to approach professional buyers within the sales process.   

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Front-line Managers

Key Focus Areas for Accelerating Growth

There’s not a sales leader out there who isn’t trying to accelerate growth. Even if you are working at a company that’s killing it in the marketplace, there’s a moment where that growth will stall and perhaps decline. How can you work to ensure that you are able to maintain your growth rate over time?

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Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Sales Negotiation  |  Sales Process

Four Ways Sales Leaders Can Improve Their Negotiation and Sales Process Strategy

A great sales process should include a great negotiation strategy - one that helps professional buyers fully understand the value and differentiation of each option.  And one that helps them make the best decisions for their company.  As a sales leader, you need to enable your team to prove the fit and justify the value of your offering in a way that allows you to preserve margin and charge a premium for your product and services.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Front-line Managers

How to Enable Your Sales Managers

When it comes to running a sales organization, no one can afford to waste time. High-performing leaders focus on where they can deliver the most value to their sales reps before, during, and after sales activities. One of the fastest ways you can provide impact as a sales executive is to provide processes, content and tools to help your managers succeed. 

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Sales Negotiation  |  sales challenges

Six Truths About Professional Buyers That Will Help Your Sales Team Negotiate Great Deals

Despite what many of your sellers may believe, procurement is not where good sales deals go to die. A shift in your team’s mindset about when and how to communicate with professional buyers can increase opportunities and create great deals.  As a sales leader, your negotiation strategy should help your sellers communicate the value of your offering and mitigate risk for the buyer. These six truths can help your sellers demystify the professional buyer and understand how to successfully work with procurement to negotiate winning deals:

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Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Sales Messaging  |  Talent Management

The Four Critical Elements that Sales Leaders Align to Drive Revenue Growth

There is a sales motion in every organization that drives sales productivity and ultimately, accelerated revenue growth. When you see companies that are outpacing their competition, it’s because they’ve defined a consistent sales motion and have aligned their functional areas behind it.  

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Sales Execution

Six Questions to Test Your Prospect's Decision Process

If your sales team is responsible for closing complex enterprise deals, you know that the process can be lengthy and complex. You’re probably also painfully aware that it can be fraught with peril. Anything from an unexpected objection to a shift in leadership can undo your team’s progress and kill the deal. 

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Categories: Sales Messaging  |  Sales Process

Sales Skills to Help Your Team Cross-Sell and Up-Sell

When it comes to sales pipeline, net new logos are never a bad thing. However, your sales reps ability to cross-sell and up-sell is often a lynchpin to your organization meeting its revenue goals repeatedly. Too often sales leaders issue a directive to pull money from existing accounts, in an effort to make those quarterly numbers. That creates a fire drill for managers and reps who are trying to push forward deals that aren’t baked. The end result is a lot of frazzled sales behavior and an increase in discounting. 

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Key Steps for Sales Leaders After a Sales Training

Many organizations go through the year with plans to implement new sales methodologies. Unfortunately, many of these plans will fail to boost sales productivity, and many will simply fade away as the year progresses.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools

Five Must-Haves For Every Sales Process

Efficiency and alignment are critical elements of sales productivity. An effective sales process provides a vehicle to enforce discipline, repeatability, predictability and validation of progress throughout a sale. Most importantly, it allows for inspection and planning – in advance. Sales is the engine that drives your revenues. The process behind it deserves thoughtful attention. Here are five must-haves for every great sales process. 

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools

Sales Managers: Best Practices for Conducting Role Plays

When it comes to running a sales organization, no one can afford to waste time. High-performing leaders focus on where they can provide the most value to their sales reps, before, during, and after sales activities. Role plays are an often underused opportunity to add value to your sales teams. Done right, practicing important sales conversations with your reps can make the difference between a lost opportunity and a signed contract.

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Categories: Social Media

Happy Holidays

During this holiday season, we are grateful to those who have helped shape our business. Thank you for reading The Command Center! As part of the GrowthPlay family, we look forward to providing you even more valuable content in 2016.   

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Categories: Social Media

How to Drive Revenue with an Employee Advocacy Program

Employee Advocacy in its inception is the idea of providing great products and services as well as a positive work environment to encourage employee to get on their “soapbox” and sing the praises of the brand. We have all seen the evolution of communication unfold before our very eyes. We have seen society turn to social media as the outlet to voice their opinion for any number of topics, one being their employer. Organizations have picked up on this and now see the opportunity to leverage their employees and those connected via social networks.

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Categories: Front-line Managers

Resources to Help You Enable Your Front-Line Managers

One of the most effective ways you can to reinforce a sales initiative is to enable your front-line managers to coach your reps to success. Some of our most-read content on the blog has to do with this very topic. To make it easy, here is a quick round-up of our most popular posts on enabling your front-line managers to drive results. 

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Categories: Sales Messaging

Don't Launch a Sales Messaging Initiative Without This List

As we move into the final weeks Q4, you are either feeling great about how your sales teams will end up or your struggling trying to pull anything you can out of the pipeline. If there is room for improvement, you may have a group of salespeople that are challeged with: 

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Categories: The Sales Curmudgeon

Back on Black Friday: The Sales Curmudgeon Returns

The Sales Curmudgeon is a sales management veteran who's been through countless sales initiatives. He knows why some projects succeed wildly, and others fail miserably. Experience has taught him that very few leaders will risk what it takes to make a real difference.We launched a blog series with him last year. Now, we're bringing him back for a Podcast series. He's frank. Please forgive the brutal tone. Underneath the curmudgeonliness, he has some great advice that will serve you well as you plan for 2016. 

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Engaging the Digital Buyer

New research shows how organizations that prepare for increasingly digital disruption perform better financially. Despite that, only 12% of executives feel their organization is fully prepared for new realities of the B2B Buyer Journey.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Your Sales Initiative: Three Ways to Guarantee Success

If you want to improve sales productivity and generate more revenue per rep, you need to be able to reinforce sales best practices. When we talk about sales transformation, we mean changing the behaviors of your salespeople in a way that drives results.

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Categories: Talent Management

The Best Ways to Hire Salespeople

There’s no greater place for you to make a continual positive impact on your sales organization than by developing an effective data-based process around hiring, coaching and retaining top sales talent. To truly leverage the human side of business sales, leadership must have a clear line of sight into what makes a great seller for their organization. Without a clear set of standards, procedures, and data, leaders have little ability to competitively hire the best in the market.

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Categories: Sales Leadership

Veterans Day: A Word of Thanks

Many of you shared our blog on “The Hill” featuring Raymond Redd and his tenacity to take on cancer and that infamous hill at Bowling Green State University. Thank you for showing the support that you did for Ray. We at Force Management were humbled by the response. We know Ray was as well. Thank you. We took the opportunity to share Ray’s story because we thought it was such an awesome example of tenacity and being “uncommon.” We often spend time highlighting best practices for leaders in business. However, sometimes, the best leaders are found outside the company walls. They’re in our communities, far from any boardroom or conference call. They’re often running the hill – without realizing the impact they’re making on those around them.

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Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Uncommon

Who's Doing This? Sarge and The Hill

Bowling Green, Ohio is one of the flattest places on earth. However there is one area located on the campus of Bowling Green State University which, at times during football practice, looked like Mt. Everest to me. This area is known as “The Hill” to BGSU football players. I hated this hill and this hill hated me. It stands ominously on the outskirts of the BGSU practice field. The players are sent to run this hill for basic conditioning and also as punishment for screwing up. In other words, me and this “Hill”, we got history. Recently, this hill has come to have special meaning to me. It’s become a symbol of being uncommon. So much so, that I wanted to share the story with you.

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Categories: Talent Management

Making the Right Investment in Sales Talent Management

When your business hits a significant growth hurdle the hardest challenge can be pinpointing the problem. Have you misaligned your priorities? Were your sales predictions off from the get-go? Is it your sales team that’s falling short of expectations?

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Categories: Social Media

Why We Hate the Term Social Selling

We’ve been in several conversations recently where the term social selling has been the focus. It’s not surprising that sales organizations are feverishly trying to equip their reps with the tools to communicate value and differentiation digitally.

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Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Sales Transformation

Five Questions Every Top Sales Leader Can Answer

The best sales leaders in the world are able to effectively articulate purpose, vision and strategy to their teams. Your team can’t drive results without understanding the direction they’re heading and the value in the end game.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

How to Make Your Sales Transformation Initiative Relevant

There are several factors that will help predict the success of a sales initiative rollout. Best-in-class sales organizations take a systematic and multi-faceted approach to reinforcement and adoption. One of the most important components is to ensure the transformation initiative is relevant to the people who are leading and participating in the effort.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools

Three Ways to Add More Value for Your Sales Reps

When it comes to running a sales organization, no one can afford to waste time. High-performing leaders focus where they can provide the most value to their sales reps, before, during, and after sales activities. The best sales leaders see through the clutter to identify those high-impact opportunities.Here are three ways you can add more value for your sales reps.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Measuring the Success of Your Sales Transformation Initiative

Measurement is a critical component to the success of any sales iniative. Benchmarking throughout the process provides the critical line-of-sight needed to ensure your investments are providing the needed return.

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Social Media

How to Account for Digital Buyer Behavior in B2B Sales

Digital continues to be a pervasive influence in B2B buyer engagement. Recent research by SiriusDecisions demonstrates the importance of B2B organizations having a solid understanding not only of how their prospects interact digitally with their organization, but how that behavior influences sales conversations.  The research makes the point that (1) digital can be a powerful resource for B2B buyers and (2) salespeople still play an integral role in moving opportunities forward.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Five Ways You Can Use our Podcasts to Drive Sales Effectiveness

We’re getting some great feedback from you about how you’re using our podcasts them with your teams. (Have an idea for a topic? Email me). We hear that they're great tools to reinforce key concepts you may have learned in training and drive best practices on your team. Here are five ways you can use them right now with your teams:

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Categories: Front-line Managers  |  Sales Coaching Tools

Drive a Command Instinct with Your Sales Team

Your sales team’s ability to drive revenue is directly correlated to your sales leaders’ ability to lead. Recent research published in Harvard Business Review by Steve W. Martin, found that 69% of salespeople who exceeded annual quota thought their sales manager was above average. The survey of 400 sales leaders and more than 1,000 sales leader interviews, showed that one of the most critical traits a sales leader can have is "Command Instinct." (Side note: We love the name.) Martin writes, “Great sales leaders establish firm command over their team by exercising the power their title and position entail. For example, they hold their team to a higher level of accountability.”

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Categories: Talent Management

How to Improve Your Sales Talent Data

If you’re like most sales managers, you’re constantly taking shortcuts with the time you spend on managing your sales talent. In many sales organizations, activities associated with managing people often get put on the back burner either because we are uncomfortable handling them or because we’re too busy reacting to seemingly more pressing problems.

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Categories: Inside Sales  |  Millennials

Three Ways to Engage a Millennial Inside Sales Team

  For the first time this year the number of Millennials will exceed Baby Boomers in the workforce. For many companies, the inside sales function has become an attractive opportunity for these young adults to hone their professional skill and leadership potential. Yet, onboarding them effectively offers a new set of challenges for companies stuck in traditional approaches to sales enablement.

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Categories: Sales Messaging

Five Indications You Need a Sales Messaging Initiative

Messaging affects every aspect of the sales process, from the first communication to negotiation to the close. Problems with sales messaging can lead to bigger problems: negotiating on price rather than value, low productivity, and missed quotas, to name a few. If your organization is experiencing any of the messaging problems below, it’s time to address them. The longer you wait, the more impact to the bottom line and your revenue growth goals.

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Categories: Customer Success  |  Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Customer Success and Higher Sales Performance

Best-in-class companies understand that customer success is an intrinsic component to revenue growth. When your organization is fully aligned on what creates value for the customer throughout the engagement process, it creates bottom-line impact.  This edition of The Sales Snapshot provides a round up of three articles that demonstrate best practices when it comes to customer success.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Sales Executive Podcast: Reinforcing a New Methodology

A new sales initiative is typically coupled with a new methodology that needs adopting.  Top management is the driving force behind the adoption and reinforcement of any sales initiative. Sales leadership has a key role in making it a priority. Without executives to champion your initiatives, sales reps will have no incentive to execute new methodologies and your results will probably fall flat.

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Categories: Opportunity Reviews  |  Sales Coaching Tools

Ten Questions That Will Make You a Better Sales Coach

Providing constructive and consistent feedback is an important part of coaching your sales reps to success. Being an effective sales coach and understanding how to give productive feedback and drive success on your teams takes practice. Opportunity reviews and sales calls are two areas where you can make a great impact as a sales coach. Here are some key questions to use in both of those areas that will help garner positive results:

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Drive Sales Adoption Success with these Key Questions

When you invest time, money and resources into a sales initiative, you need it to be successful. Often times, if it’s not a success, your job may be on the line.

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Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Three Ways to Build a Culture of Performance

A culture shift may be the one thing that can turn around a company suffering from dwindling profits and market share. Today's Sales Snapshot pulls together some great resources on leadership and building a culture of performance

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Categories: Sales Execution

Eight Questions to Drive Sales Execution Improvements

If your organization is struggling with long sales cycles and an unreliable sales forecast, it’s likely you need to tweak your sales execution. When organizations need to improve their sales process, they’re often experiencing problems like:

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Blog Feature

Categories: Front-line Managers  |  Sales Transformation

Sales Executives: Sales Transformation and Your Front-Line Managers

The success of a sales organization is a team effort. True success with any sales transformation is directly tied to how well your front-line managers are equipped to manage, reinforce and validate any new methodology.

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Categories: Sales Planning

Drive Consistency in Your Sales Planning Process

Repeatability and consistency drive effective sales planning. Sales organizations that provide their managers with critical line-of-site are able to create efficiencies in forecasting, account and territory planning and opportunity reviews. A salesperson’s time is valuable.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Sales Executive Podcast: Sales Transformation Best Practices

The only way to drive lasting change in your sales organization is to reinforce best practices. Our Senior Partner, Dan Dawson has been on the front-lines of some of Force Management’s most successful sales transformations.

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Categories: Sales Transformation  |  sales challenges

Seven Secrets to Summer Sales Meeting Success

It’s early June. You missed your Q1 number and Q2 isn’t looking so good. You’re worried. And you should be. More than 60% of sales leaders who trail through Q2 don’t make their annual number. Like a lot of your peers, you’re probably thinking about your upcoming mid-year sales meeting and wondering what you’ll do differently.

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Blog Feature

Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: 4 Things to Know about Today’s B2B Buyer

Shifts in B2B buying behavior create an incredible opportunity for sales organizations that embrace a 24/7, multi-channel, data-driven, customer-centric approach. A recent McKinsey report, outlines the key expectations of the new B2B buyer. Gone are the days when strong relationships with one or two decision-makers, or simply nailing the RFP process, held the keys to success.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Building a High Performance Sales Team: 5 Action Steps

A high-performance sales team is the cornerstone to driving sustainable revenue growth. One of the most important responsibilities of any sales executive is providing your organization with the ability to consistently engage prospects and customers in high-value business conversations. Sales teams who are audible-ready to articulate value and differentiation sell larger deals more quickly. That point earned a lot of validation last week at the 2015 Battery Ventures Sales Summit. When Managing Director, John Kaplan, presented “Building a High Performance Sales Team,” we received a lot of great response on Twitter. So much so, we decided to share five key takeaways with the Command Center.

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Resources For Developing Standout Salespeople

What sales team leader doesn’t want a team of high-performing reps? We spend a lot of time providing sales managers with the tools that allow them to replicate the behavior of their top performers. This edition of The Sales Snapshot highlights some of the latest articles on developing your salespeople. Remember, you're only as good as the team you lead. Use these tips to drive success. 

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Categories: Sales Planning

How Sales Managers Drive Rep Success

New research published in Harvard Business Review adds further significance to the role managers play in the success of your sales reps and your overall sales organization.

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Categories: Company Alignment

Build Organizational Alignment Around Your Value Message

Understanding the value you provide your customers is a critical component to a company meeting its revenue numbers quarter after quarter. In B2B organizations, it’s not just the sales and marketing departments who need to understand this value. It’s every person along the customer engagement spectrum. Remember, once you create value in your sales process, you need to capture the value in delivery. Communicating your value and differentiation effectively, requires a shift in mindset, an understanding that you aren’t providing product features, widgets and SKUs. You’re providing value that helps your customers achieve critical positive business outcomes that have bottom-line impact.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Transformation

Five Ways to Right the Course in Your Sales Organization

Many of you are just wrapping up another quarter. At this point, you’re either feeling good about how the rest of the year will go, or you’re scrambling to fix what’s not working, so you can turn things around.  Here are five things to help you recalibrate for the rest of the year. 

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Categories: Social Media

Do You Know What Your Salespeople Are Doing On LinkedIn?

Many sales executives understand the importance of getting their teams to use LinkedIn for connecting with prospects and customers. However, many of them lack a line of sight into what their reps are actually doing on LinkedIn.

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Categories: Sales Leadership

The Sales Snapshot: Three Must-Reads for Sales Team Leaders

Great sales teams don’t just happen. They require great leadership. Great leadership doesn’t just happen either—it requires knowledge, speed, and the right mindset. For this month’s sales snapshot, we’ve rounded up three powerful sales leadership reads you won’t want to miss.

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Categories: Sales Execution  |  Sales Planning

Dig Deep For Effective Sales Opportunity Reviews

Opportunity reviews can make the difference between a sales team that delivers on an accurate forecast and one that doesn’t come close. I believe the key to a successful opportunity review depends on sales leadership doing two things right:  (1) encouraging their reps to dig deep and (2) ensuring that the reps have the tools they need to execute on their action plans.   Think about the traditional format that opportunity review conversations usually take. Ask your sales people about their perspective and you’ll get some surprising answers. I often hear sales people talk about the average deal review like this, “My average deal review is a 30-second conversation in the middle of a forecast review when my manager asks me if the deal is still on track.”

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Categories: Sales Conversation  |  Sales Execution

Sales Tools: Write A Champion Letter

A Champion can be a pivotal component to your successfully closing an opportunity. A Champion has access to the Economic Buyer possesses organizational credibility, influence and power actively sells on your behalf, when you’re not there Remember Champions sell for you because they have a vested interest in your success. Because they contribute to your success, it’s important that you build that relationship. Think about the last great opportunity you closed, did you give that Champion credit? 

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Categories: Sales Transformation

3 Questions to Find the Right Sales Transformation Partner

  You know your company best. You know what’s working and more importantly where you need to make the greatest changes. The problem with many sales training solutions is they take a “rip and replace” approach. They rip out everything you’ve been doing and replace it with a cookie-cutter approach.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Conversation

Accelerate Sales Cycles With Conversation Consistency

Without a repeatable sales process, you don’t have the ability to qualify, advance, and close opportunities consistently. As a sales leader, are you struggling with these pain points? Reps taking shortcuts  Losing deals to the dreaded “Do Nothing” Sales cycles that take too long

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Social Media

How to Get Your Sales Team to Show Value in Social Media

If you’re selling in today’s B2B marketplace, you know that buyer behavior has gone digital. Your next prospect has an abundance of content and information out there to consume in his/her decision-making process.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Picking the Right Partner for Your Sales Transformation Initiative

What sales leader doesn’t want his or her organization to sell larger deals more quickly? If you’re leading a large complex B2B sales organization, choosing a partner who helps you build on your own best practices may be the fastest way to not only reach, but exceed your numbers this year.

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Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Process

What Top Sales Teams Do Better Than The Rest

We know that there are clear drivers of a best-in-class sales team: good leadership, effective salespeople and a defined process that allows the team to consistently reach revenue goals.  Harvard Business Review Blogger Steve W. Martin recently surveyed 786 sales professionals, revealing more insight into what distinguishes top sales organizations from the rest. He found more than a dozen differences, but there are three themes among his results we found to be most important.

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Three Ways to Accelerate Sales Revenue

What sales leader doesn’t have “greater sales revenue” on top of the goal list this year? Well, the Sales Snapshot has your back. We pulled together three solid reads on action steps you can take to boost your revenue this year.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Five Things Your Salespeople Need After Learning a New Methodology

Many organizations start the year with plans to implement new sales methodologies. Unfortunately, many of these plans will fail to boost sales productivity, and many will simply fade away as the year progresses.

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Categories: Sales Process

Seven Ways to Tell if Your Sales Opportunity is Legit

Consistently enforced qualification criteria is a cornerstone to any great sales process. As a sales leader, It’s important to provide a mechanism to ensure that sales opportunities warrant the investment of your sales team’s time and resources.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools

6 Questions That Will Help Your Sales Team Produce More Revenue

Coaching your salespeople to success is a fundamental component of being a great sales leader. Providing constructive and consistent feedback can make the difference between a team of underperforming reps and one that is exceeding quota.  Don’t just tell your reps what to do in their sales calls. Join them and use the time after the call as an opportunity to reinforce key value-based selling fundamentals. Here are six questions that will help you provide effective feedback after a sales call. 

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Categories: Sales Process

10 Ways to Crush Your Sales Number in 2015

Now that the 2015 is underway, there's no better time to focus on your sales goals for this year. Use these ten tips to crush your sales number.  1. Remember the Connected Buyer The connected buyer is savvy, educated, and has done more research than buyers of any previous generation. They’ve done their homework and will be able to quickly tell if you haven’t. Know how to speak to the connected buyer, and remember them in every interaction.

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Categories: Talent Management

Building Your 'A' Team

  Often times, your best sales hires come from a group known as the 'not in play players'.  A 'not in play player' is an individual who is currently employed at another organization, and may not be actively looking for a job. They may be the perfect addition to your team.  If you can find them and engage them, then you could persuade them to join you. There are specific steps that you can follow to find and attract a "not in play player.'  While these steps won’t ensure that you’ll always land the best candidate in the market, they will ensure that you’re improving your chances for success.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Holiday Greetings from Force Management

    During this holiday season, we are grateful to those who have helped shape our business. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing our content on “The Command Center.” We appreciate your continued engagement and look forward to providing even more valuable content in 2015. Thank You and Happy Holidays!

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Incorporate Technology to Increase Sales Adoption

What is the biggest difference between a single sales training event and a successful sales transformation? Adoption. Adoption of any sales transformation initiative is best achieved through regular reinforcement. If your team is planning to launch a new sales initiative, it is important to consider how you plan to reinforce your methodologies in the short-term to make sure they’re sustained in the long-term. Our customers who’ve experienced the most successful sales transformations instill a top-down approach to adoption of the methodologies. Technology can be an additional tool that effectively ensures your team remains focused on executing the initiative. Below are three ways to incorporate technology into your plan for adoption success:

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Categories: Execution  |  Sales Coaching Tools

Strike A Balance – Align to the Buyer Without Losing Control of Your Deal

Every customer loves to be led, if you take them to a place they can’t get to on their own. Many salespeople understand the importance of aligning their sales process with the buyer, but often struggle with maintaining control of the sale. These two concepts, aligning to the buyer and facilitating the sale, are not mutually exclusive. The least effective sales are those where the rep and the client are fighting for the steering wheel. A driven, goal-oriented sale occurs when a seller establishes a partnership where both parties learn and benefit from one another.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

Five Ways to Reinforce Your Sales Initiative

If your sales organization is struggling to make its number, it’s time to stop the fire drills at the end of the quarter. Remember, creating true change within your sales team takes more than a set of spreadsheets and a simple day of training. If your goal is to truly transform your organization, a quick solution won’t produce the kind of long-term impact you need. Click through the SlideShare below for the five best ways you can transform your sales organization and reinforce your sales initiative. 

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot | Best of 2014

  Throughout 2014, we’ve  gathered some great sales resources from around the web and compiled them into our monthly Sales Snapshot articles. Here’s our Best of 2014 Sales Snapshots for sales leaders. In the event you missed them, they’re definitely Worth the Read! 

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Categories: Sales Planning

What Hampton Inn Can Teach You About Sales Planning

Let’s be honest. It can be a lonely world as a sales leader, especially when it comes time to hold the forecast meeting. You often feel like you’re the only one who cares. You’re the only one who’s holding feet to the fire when it comes to making the number. You’re in the thick of the fourth quarter, and you’re likely scrambling with your own sellers trying to pull out the big wins, or even any piece of business to make your number.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

How to Determine Where Your Sales Team is Struggling the Most

If your sales organization is struggling with margins, deal size, and overall sales productivity, you, as a sales leader, are likely trying anything to stop the bleeding. Your first step is to assess the root of the problem. Then, determine where you can make changes both in the short-term and long-term to drive the biggest impact. Where are you seeing the worst of it?

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Integrating Sales with Important Organizational Functions

In today’s buying economy, the connected B2B buyer uses a multitude of resources to make their final buying decisions. In addition to sales conversations, they’re using social media, online content, recommendations and references as part of their decisions. DemandGen’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey showed: 64% of respondents said vendor’s content had a significant impact on final purchasing decision 66% of buyers are using more sources to research and evaluate purchase decisions 46% create a short list of vendors before their first communication with a salesperson

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Talent Management

Five Ways to Become a Better Sales Coach

As a sales manager, one of the most important roles you play is that of a sales coach.You’re responsible for the ongoing development and success of your team. You coach your sales reps to success not just by reinforcing their quarterly numbers, but rather by helping to coach them in executing the processes to achieve the numbers. Even if you have had your own successful sales career, you may still find it difficult to coach others and mentor effectively. Here are five ways to become a better sales coach:  1. Know Your Team

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Categories: Sales Transformation

5 Things That Scare Most Sales Leaders (and What To Do About Them)

Hitting your quarterly sales goals can be an arduous task. If you don’t have the right mindset, process and tools, the consequences can be downright spooky. Here are five things that scare most sales leaders and if you are experiencing the same problems, what you can do about it.  1. Your sales team has a lack of understanding when it comes to your value and differentiation. 

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Categories: B2B Buyer  |  Sales Process

5 Things Your Sales Team Needs to Do to Sell to the Connected Buyer

By the time a B2B buyer is on their first sales call with your organization, it's likely that more than half of their buying process is already complete. Connected B2B buyers are more informed than buyers of the pre-internet era, and this economy of connectivity impacts the way they make their buying decisions. Sirius Decisions reports that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally, and that online searches are an executive’s first course of action when looking for a B2B solution. That’s why, in order to sell to the connected buyer, you have to be aware of how you’re selling, even when you’re not “selling.”

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Consumable Tools  |  sales challenges

The Sales Snapshot: Four Things Every Great Sales Leader Understands

As the leader in your sales organization, your people look to you to guide them toward success, and enable them to attain it. For this month’s Sales Snapshot, we’re focusing on leadership best-practices. Here’s a round-up of articles that provide key points that every great sales leader understands.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Consumable Tools  |  sales challenges

Sales Challenges: Four Ways to Keep Your Sales Team Focused on Selling

If your sales organization spent more time selling, how would that affect your sales revenue numbers? Often, salespeople and front-line managers get bogged down in forecasts, reviews, hiring and recruiting. In fact McKinsey Global reports that salespeople spend less than half their day selling. (This infographic provides a good summary). One of the most common sales challenges for leaders is ensuring that their sales team is spending their time where they should be -- building and converting pipeline into deals. Here are four ways you can keep your sales team focused on selling.

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Categories: Channel Sales  |  Sales Conversation  |  Sales Productivity  |  Sales Transformation

How to Enable Your Channel Organization to Drive Sales Revenue

When I'm in the middle of a conversation with someone in my profession, I can always tell within the first 2-3 questions or comments the level of knowledge or experience the person has around the value of a world-class channel organization. Comments like expanded markets, improved company profitability, etc..., versus giving margin away, direct sales conflict, are the key differences.  Channel organizations can be a critical component to expanding and increasing market coverage and penetration for complex B2B sales organizations. However, when it comes to enabling the channel with tools and processes, it’s an often overlooked area of opportunity. A key success metric that I learned from a seasoned channel professional is: Productivity x Capacity = Growth If you have 1,000 partner sale reps who are not productive, you will not grow. But, if you improve your channel sales productivity by 10-15 percent that could be significant. That is why you invest in a methodology that allows you to reach a global audience, improve their productivity and grow their mindshare which ultimately, will earn them more money.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement

Successful Sales Adoption: Is Your Organization Set Up for Success?

Reinforcement and adoption are a critical component to the success of any sales transformation initiative. If you make the investment of time and resources to improve your sales organization, then a plan to ensure adoption is essential. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of wasted effort and not much to show for it. If you are getting ready to launch a new initiative, take a step back and assess how well your organization is set up for success. Below we’ve outlined five focus areas for successful adoption. Use them as a checklist to determine what components of your organization may be putting your initiative at risk.

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Categories: The Subscription Economy

Tear Down the Wall: Remember the Business of Your Customers

It amazes me how often technology salespeople from all corners of the industry are afraid to sell directly to the business side of our prospective customers. Far too often, there’s a Chinese wall that we’re leery of crossing partly because it isn’t in our comfort zone and because we don’t think we have the tools, insight and messages that will be successful. Unfortunately, this negatively impacts everyone involved. In 18 years of selling software, in every senior management conversation and in each interview I conduct for sales roles, we all agree that, “We need to sell to the business.” In the deals that are most successful for our customers and for us, that’s exactly what happens. Getting the business on our side and engaged makes the outcome far more guaranteed for them as well as moving the deal size (and value creation) higher by many multiples for us. It works for everyone.

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Categories: The Subscription Economy

How the Subscription Economy Is Changing the Sales Process

Part 3 of 3 In the first blog post of this series, The Subscription Economy: What It Is and How It’s Changing The Way People Buy, we asked Zuora’s VP of Worldwide Sales Strategy and Execution, Dave Frechette, to introduce the concept of The Subscription Economy - the move from traditional pay-per-product/service models to subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) models. In the second post, How the Subscription Economy is Driving a New Kind of Business Model, we pulled notes from our conversation with Dave to highlight four essential areas of business operations that are changing in response to the Subscription Economy. In this third and final post of the series, we’ll discuss one of the most important changes brought about by the shift toward subscription-based businesses – How subscription-based sales models are driving changes to the sales process.

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Drive Sales Revenue With Customer Experience

The “customer experience” starts the minute your prospect engages with your company. With nearly 70% of the buying process being done digitally, this experience could very well begin with your organization’s digital presence, way before the point-of-sale. Effective B2B sales organizations need to account for the increasingly connected buyer in the sales process. If not, they risk alienating a buyer before he/she even contacts a vendor for a possible solution. This edition of the Sales Snapshot shares three studies that demonstrate how a customer’s experience can drive sales revenue and is an integral part of the sales process.

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Categories: The Subscription Economy

How the Subscription Economy is Driving a New Kind of Business Model

Part 2 of 3 In the first article of this series, “The Subscription Economy: What It Is and How It’s Changing The Way People Buy,” Dave Frechette, Vice President of Worldwide Sales Strategy and Execution at Zuora, shared his thoughts on why many businesses are moving toward a subscription-based selling model.   This Subscription Economy, a phrase coined by Zuora, is fundamentally changing the way businesses operate. The shift to the Subscription Economy brings with it the need for a completely different approach to building your business.

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Categories: Sales Process  |  The Subscription Economy

The Subscription Economy: What It Is and How It’s Changing The Way People Buy

Part 1 of 3 We recently sat down with Dave Frechette, Vice President of Worldwide Sales Strategy and Execution at Zuora, a leading commerce, billing, and finance solution for subscription-based businesses, to discuss his thoughts on the “Subscription Economy.” The Subscription Economy is a phrase, coined by Zuora, describing the new business landscape in which traditional pay-per-product (or service) companies are moving toward subscription-based business models. We’ve taken the notes from our conversation with Dave and laid them out in this three-part blog series.

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Categories: Social Media

How to Measure Your Social Selling Content on LinkedIn

One vital component of social selling is the ability to gain trust by establishing oneself as a credible adviser and thought leader. However, the process of becoming a thought leader can take some time and it can be difficult to track your effectiveness if you are just getting started. As a result, I’ve compiled a list of three simple ways to measure your impact and growth as an industry thought leader on LinkedIn.  Before we discuss measurement, it is important to remember consistent, high-value content publication should be your main focus to start. While it might take a few extra minutes, the benefits are huge. For one, if you are posting content, your name will appear more frequently in the stream of content and as a result, you will stay top of mind with your audience.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  sales challenges

The Focus That Will Help Your Organization Generate More Sales Revenue

The return of college football surely has many of you breaking out the team colors, planning your tailgates, and scheduling your Saturdays around kickoff. It also gives us a reason to dig up this story we caught last year featuring Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide on 60 Minutes. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at why Saban has been so successful at Alabama. His coaching methods earned him three National Championships and the highest salary in the game. No matter your college football allegiance, you can’t deny Saban’s success. The lesson we took from this 60 Minutes profile comes three and a half minutes in the story. 

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Categories: Sales Process

Why is qualification so important to your sales process?

Any great sales process provides consistently enforced qualification criteria. These measures help your sales team ensure that any sales opportunity warrants your investment of time and resources.  Why is qualification so important?  It’s important to both the buyer and the seller. Here’s why:

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Categories: Talent Management

Drive a Better Sales Hiring Process as You Scale

(This blog was originally posted on OpenView Sales Lab's blog. Read the original post here) As a sales manager at a startup or expansion-stage company, one of your most important responsibilities is developing and maintaining a healthy pipeline of incoming sales talent. Getting caught short-staffed at the wrong moment can be detrimental to your company’s momentum and growth. Worse, making a mistake and bringing on a single bad hire in a key position can set your company back by years.

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Categories: Talent Management

How To Build Your Sales Execution Blueprint for Success

Every sales organization needs a buyer-driven sales methodology that arms sellers with knowledge and tools to effectively qualify, manage, and close sales opportunities.   The right sales process should encourage and equip your sales team for success. If sales organizations don’t get it right, their sales execution process can actually hinder sellers instead of enable them. Whether you’re selling in a face-to-face traditional model or a web-facing SaaS model, your sales execution process should follow an established blueprint for success. Execution may vary slightly, depending on your sales environment, but your benchmarks should remain the same.  

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Categories: Talent Management

How to Build a Success Profile for New Hires

(This blog was originally posted on OpenView Sales Lab's blog. Read the original post here) When it comes to sales hiring, many managers may be basing their decisions too closely on how candidates have succeeded elsewhere, when they should be focusing on identifying strong indicators of success on their own teams. Past performance in a different context almost always comes with caveats. Managers are better off determining exactly what it takes to be successful at their own companies, isolating the individual competencies and behaviors of their own top performers, and then looking for those things in new candidates.

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Categories: Sales Transformation  |  Social Media  |  sales challenges

How to Lead a Sales Team That Excels with Today's B2B Buyers

B2B Buyers are increasingly using resources other than a salesperson to get their information about your products. Consider these stats: 67% of the Buyers’ Journey is now done digitally (Source: SiriusDecisions) 87% of B2B Buyers say online content has a major to moderate effect on their purchasing decisions (Source: CMO Council) 84% of CEOs/VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions (Source: IDC)

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Categories: Sales Process  |  Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: How Connected Buyers Are Changing The B2B Marketplace

A recent report from IDC says that 84% of CEOs/Vice Presidents use social media to make purchasing decisions. Another report from the CMO Council says 87% of B2B buyers consider online content to have a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decision. In the B2B marketplace, this increase in connectivity has changed the way people buy and therefore the way sellers sell. In this Sales Snapshot, we take a look at some recent articles that cover this relatively shift in the B2B landscape. Use the information to consider your own sales organization and how it is responding to this shift, developing its ability to sell to the connected buyer.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Coaching Tools

Five Ways to Give Better Feedback to Your Sales Teams

Providing constructive feedback to your sales team is an integral component of being a sales leader. As a sales manager, you're charged with training, motivating and counseling sales professionals on a daily basis. Your sales team members look to you for professional development, and expect you to prepare them for achieving success by providing the necessary resources, guidance and knowledge.

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Categories: Sales Negotiation

[FM Clients] Aligning SaaS and Traditional Sales Models

Recently, B2B companies have seen a shift in the landscape with the rapidly growing popularity in Software as a Service marketing.  Now that both SaaS and Traditional sales models have their place in today’s business landscape, sales organizations are facing a difficult challenge; to align these sales models to “play nicely together” for cohesive sales execution.  Unfortunately, few B2B sales organizations have made the necessary shifts in sales execution to complement both selling methods.   So how can you effectively align SaaS and traditional sales models? You’ll need to start out by aligning your sales process with the customer’s buying process, establish standards for qualifying sales opps, and support sellers in consistently capturing, creating and communicating value. 

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Transformation

Sales Challenges? Make Your Leadership Part of the Solution

Seller Deficit Disorder is a well understood concept by any Force Management client. It's the age-old fact that there are two sales behaviors that drive clients absolutely crazy. Often, buyers assume these two things about salespeople:  You don't understand my business You don't listen These are undisputable truths that are critical for sales leaders to understand. Coaching and developing your sales talent to address these assumed traits could make or break your team’s individual and collective success. 

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Categories: Sales Snapshot  |  Sales Transformation

The Sales Snapshot: 3 Insightful Reads on Successful Sales Transformation

We’ve scoured the web for relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot, a series on The Command Center.  To drive change in your sales organization, you need a focus on the integral components of sales transformation. A day training session won’t get you there. Companies that approach their sales initiatives with a focus on adoption, reinforcement, and overall sales transformation drive lasting change. In this Sales Snapshot, we pulled key articles that provide insight to achieving successful sales transformation.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Conversation  |  Sales Transformation

6 Sales Leadership Tips To Boost Command of the Message® Success

  Many of the sales leaders we work with say that closing the gap between revenue goals and actual sales numbers is an ever present challenge. It intensifies at the end of every quarter and resets at the beginning of each year.

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Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Transformation

Five Things Top Sales Organizations Know About Successful Sales Transformation

The sales profession is a dynamic landscape. From economic ups-and-downs to shifts in consumer trends, it’s necessary to keep a finger on the pulse of best practices in order to create scalable and repeatable success in your sales organization. In its recent study on sales training and development, Aberdeen surveyed 260 organizations to determine the most effective sales training techniques. Aberdeen benchmarked Best-in-Class companies against average and laggard performing organizations. Companies were best-in-class if they: had more than 80% of their teams achieving quota had a 14% average increase in revenue had a 9.5% year-over-year increase in average deal size Here are the five critical points for sales leaders to take from Aberdeen's sales training research:

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Categories: Sales Planning

How to Drive Pipeline and Improve Your Territory Planning Process

As a sales leader, your ability to coach your team on how to leverage potential opportunities within their territories can drive the organizational growth needed to drive revenue in your sales organization. Your sales planning discipline around territory planning and management processes should include the ability to:

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Categories: Social Media  |  Technology

How to Increase Social Sales Productivity

I had a very interesting discussion recently about Social Sales. It revolved around how a good salesperson is always trying to find time to do everything they need and want to do. It occurred to me that in the business world, when we get overwhelmed with just too many things on our plates, we blame our schedules, claiming there is never enough time. 

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Categories: Sales Negotiation

[FM Clients] SaaS vs. Traditional Models: Re-Calibrating Execution and Measuring Success

PART 2: Of our series on aligning SaaS and Traditional sales models in your organization. So far we’ve identified key sales elements you can’t afford to be without and steps for aligning your messages, qualifying opportunities, and defining sales process benchmarks.  Next steps? Challenges.   You should expect them.    

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Categories: Sales Conversation

3 Simple Metrics to Validate Command of the Message® Success

Measuring success is a key component to any sales transformation initiative. If you begin a sales initiative without setting organizational priorities and accountability, you’ll struggle to create lasting impact. As a sales leader, we know you want concrete evidence that Command of the Message® is working for your sales organization. As any good sales leader would, you want to know:

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Categories: Sales Process  |  Social Media  |  Technology

The Sales Snapshot: Why You Don't Want to Ignore Social Media In Your Sales Process

We’ve scoured the web for the most current and relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot. Social Media is a powerful tool for sales teams who leverage it as a way to demonstrate their value and differentiation. For today’s Sales Snapshot we pulled together three compelling pieces of content that demonstrate its importance in the sales process.  1.  The Big Spenders Are On Social Media (And They’re Looking To Buy) IDC recently released a white paper called, “Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience.”  The primary takeaway from this paper is that creating a trusted network on social media (through thought leadership and personal connections) establishes a first layer of trust between you and potential buyers. According to the white paper, these potential buyers are significantly valuable prospects. Here's some of the eresearch highlights: 

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Categories: Sales Conversation  |  Sales Transformation

Six Things Every Sales Messaging Strategy Needs

If you’re a veteran seller, you likely appreciate a good sales conversation. So what makes a sales conversation stand out? One that’s focused on customer needs and the unique value your solution provides.  A well-defined sales messaging strategy drives these types of conversations, and ultimately results in overall sales productivity and bottom-line revenue impact. Without a framework to implement your sales messaging strategy, you run the risk of lagging sales, quarter after quarter. 

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Categories: Talent Management

Five Tools to Help You Improve Your Sales Talent Management Strategy

For a top-performing sales organization to thrive, managers need a viable coaching strategy. Developing a process to attract and retain top sales talent is a critical component to lower turnover rates and improve your sales team’s bench strength. CSO Insights’ research repeatedly shows sales organizations struggle with developing processes that help them recruit and onboard top sales talent. In their most recent report more than half of sales organizations need to improve their ability to "consistently hire reps to succeed."

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement

Why Reinforcement is the Key to Successful Sales Transformation

Reinforcement is a key component to driving successful sales transformation. If you make the investment on a sales initiative, you need a plan to ensure the methodologies are adopted. Otherwise, why waste the money?

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Categories: Technology

The Power of a Socially Enabled Sales Force

Most companies today have some presence on social media. It is a reasonably safe assumption that your company has a LinkedIn company page and a Twitter presence.  For arguments sake, let’s say that your company has 500 employees and 100 of those people are in your sales organization. 

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Categories: Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Sales Intelligence and Methodologies

We’ve scoured the web for relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot, a new series on The Command Center.  How Your Sales Intelligence Systems Might be Hurting Your Salespeople   Marketing training and education company, Marketo, recently offered insight into a rising trend in the B2B sales arena - the use of sales intelligence tools. With the rapid rate that new technology is introduced into the sales landscape, sales leaders are jumping at the chance to gather important and meaningful data about their prospects throughout their journey in the selling cycle. However, a problem that seems to arise from this emphasis on sales intelligence is that, without a clearly defined system to gather the metrics you actually need, the tools can become more of a distraction than an asset.

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Categories: Sales Transformation

15 Key Questions to Drive Sales Transformation Results

As a sales leader, one of your biggest contributions to transforming your sales force is reinforcement. If you want to change behaviors in your sales team, you need more than a two-day training. Your salespeople need to approach their coveted opportunities in a way that demonstrates your solution’s value and its differentiation. You need a shift in mindset, one that influences the design, development, delivery and reinforcement of your new sales methodology and your sales transformation process.

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Categories: Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing: Why Customer Testimonials Need a Team Effort

Customer testimonials strengthen any sales message. Putting tangible evidence behind your value proposition can be the difference between a won opportunity and one that falls flat.

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Categories: Industry Insight

The Sales Snapshot: Incentives, Metrics and Sales Barriers

We’ve scoured the web for relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot, a brand new series on The Command Center.   'One-Size-Fits-All’ Sales Competitions Can Hurt Your Team’s Overall Performance Sales managers often use competition as a way to incentivize sellers to perform at their maximum potential. And while this method can drive higher revenue numbers, it doesn't always do what it sets out to do - which is to increase the output from every member of the sales team. 

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Social Media  |  Technology

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Reinforce Your Sales Initiative

Achieving true sales transformation is a process that builds on many stages and demands consistent reinforcement. One of the most important components of a successful sales initiative is a plan to drive adoption. Social media tools are often overlooked, but can be great assets to a sales leader who is looking to underline key concepts with a new sales initiative. The tools provide an added way to connect and communicate with your entire team. Here are five ways you can use social media to help reinforce your sales initiative:

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Categories: sales challenges

End of Quarter Sales Results: Three Areas to Assess

It’s lonely for a sales manager at the end of the quarter, especially when revenue numbers fall short. Unfortunately, many of them will go into panic mode, scrambling to rectify the situation. They ramp up the target numbers for next quarter, hoping their sales team will miraculously deliver results.  Changing your target number isn’t likely going to be enough to drive success in your sales organization. Instead, assess these three areas to help you recalibrate and improve your end of quarter results.  1. Your People

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Categories: sales challenges

End of Quarter Sales Results: Take Inventory and Recalibrate

It's the end of another quarter. As a sales leader, you are either feeling good about where the rest of the year is going or you are starting to get knots in your stomach trying to figure out how you are (1) going to fix what's not working and (2) move forward to finish the year strong. If you are in the latter group, take a minute and ask yourself what the people on your team are thinking right now. When reps get to the end of the first quarter, they are always asking themselves: Can I still make it this year or is the year over for me?

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Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Snapshot

The Sales Snapshot: Insights to Help You Drive Revenue

We’ve scoured the web for relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot, a brand new series onThe Command Center.  Has Social Media Paved the Way for B2B Sales Teams to Sell More Effectively? Social media has completely changed the way we interact in the B2B sales environment with prospects and clients. Top-performing B2B sales teams are increasingly using Enterprise Social Collaboration (ESC) tools to build a connected sales force.  According to a recent Aberdeen research brief, ESC tools are capitalizing on the familiar functionality of social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to create a sales team that is interconnected and able to quickly collaborate. Using enterprise software that has a look and feel that’s similar to other social media tools, sellers are more likely to engage with the software, leading to increased performance and better sales metrics. So the question is, does this kind of social-based tool actually aid or distract the salesperson who is using it? It turns out that the highest performing sales organizations engaged with social selling tools 91% more than their less performing counterparts. Meaning, there’s something to be said for the impact that collaborative technology can have on your sales team’s bottom line.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Conversation

How to Provide Constructive Sales Call Feedback

Effectively coaching your salespeople through the customer conversation can mean the difference between a great win and a lost opportunity.    Sitting in on sales calls can help you, as a sales leader, reinforce new methodologies and coach your reps to continually uncover customer needs and attach their solution to the largest business issue. When debriefing a sales call: 

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Categories: Sales Transformation

The Sales Mistake That Executives Make (And How To Avoid It)

In an effort to quickly grow his or her company’s bottom line, a sales executive often makes the mistake of asking that more salespeople be added to the sales force. The reasoning is completely sensible. Add more salespeople, get more sales. The problem with this approach, however, is that more salespeople won’t necessarily drive more revenue.

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Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Conversation

B2B Buying Process May Give Edge to Inexperienced Sales Reps

New research from Forrester shows greener sales reps may have an edge on veteran sales reps thanks to the new B2B buying process. When asked to rank (in order of importance) the five steps to conducting a successful sales meeting, salespeople with less than five years of experience answered nearly as correctly as those with 11+ years of experience, suggesting that the knowledge gap between the two groups is small.

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Categories: Sales and Marketing

Improve Sales Revenue: 5 Ways to Get More Out of Marketing

Sales leaders believe marketing has some work to do when it comes to driving the right leads. In the latest CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Report, only 33.4% of sales leaders gave marketing a passing grade when it came to lead quality. That number dropped 6 percentage points when it came to quantity.  Poor alignment in sales and marketing is nothing new. If you asked marketing leaders the same types of question, the results would probably be very different. Almost every sales organization has been challenged at one time or another with “out-of-sync” sales and marketing departments.

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

12 Ways to Measure Sales Initiative Success

Measuring success is a key component to any sales transformation initiative. If you begin a sales initiative without setting organizational priorities and accountability, you’ll struggle to create lasting impact. Ensure measurable results. Develop an organizational mindset that influences the design, development, delivery and reinforcement of your sales initiative.

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Categories: Sales Transformation  |  sales challenges

Improve Sales Productivity: Help Your Front-Line Managers Succeed

I always knew I wanted to be a Sales Manager, (after my tuba career didn’t work out). Seriously though, I've had some terrific sales managers in my career. No strike that, they were sales leaders who left a lasting impression. The difference between the two is critical to a sales person’s development and success. Managers spend their time focusing on the tasks. Leaders execute the vision. People become sales managers thinking they’re going to change the world, but all too often what they end up doing is reacting to constantly changing direction from above.

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Categories: Sales Planning  |  Talent Management  |  sales challenges

Build The Ultimate Strategic Account Management Plan

Strategic Account Managers are charged with nurturing and cultivating business in your company's most important customer accounts. It's a critical sales role in every company; one that’s essential to achieving your revenue goals. Refine Your Focus: As a sales leader, it’s important that you support your Strategic Account Managers (SAMs) with a consistent sales plan that's based on established performance benchmarks. An effective Management Operating Rhythm® can provide operational leverage and drive focus on critical activities that build strategic relationships.

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Categories: Sales Process

Why Your Sales Numbers Are Coming Up Short

The seller who best clarifies the problem, earns the customer. The primary benefit of value-based selling, as opposed to product-focused selling, is the ability to solve customer problems without resorting to product commoditization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Successful Sales Transformation Demands the Right Type of Motivation

It can take months, if not years to achieve real change in a sales organization. It’s a process that builds on many stages, and it can’t be achieved by a one-off training event that’s part of your sales kick-off. Success depends on your active leadership and commitment, but also on leveraging four key motivators in your organization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: The Sales Curmudgeon

The Sales Curmudgeon: Your Unrealistic Expectations

This is the fifth of a five-part series where I essentially predict your future, and give you the top reasons why your sales initiative will blow up. Forewarned is forearmed.  Today’s blog is about the fifth reason you will probably fail your mission: your scope is unrealistic. In other words, you try to ram ten pounds of stuff into a five pound bag.  Reason #5 Your Initiative Will Fail: Ten Pounds of Stuff So here’s the setting: the sales team is busting hind end to hit the year-end number, you’re trying desperately to outrun attrition, and your personal life is a train-wreck.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Process

Close the Excuse Department and Shorten Sales Cycles

The ability of your sales teams to sell higher in an organization is driven by a value-based selling rhythm that drives a shorter sales cycle and bottom-line impact. CSO Insights’ research shows that sales reps who engage decision makers close opportunities faster. In fact, their sales cycles are more than 20% shorter than those who sell at lower levels in the prospect organization. Recent research highlighted in Harvard Business Review’s blog also provides insight on the average sales cycles, specifically in the tech industry. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation  |  The Sales Curmudgeon

The Sales Curmudgeon: Don't Bet on the Wrong Horse

This is the fourth of a five-part series where I essentially predict your future, and give you the top reasons why your sales initiative will blow up. Forewarned is forearmed.  Today’s blog is about the fourth reason you will probably fail your mission: you don’t put enough thought, effort or courage into building the right team to implement your sales initiative. So you make a hasty, easy decision. And, as a result, you bet on the wrong horse.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation  |  The Sales Curmudgeon

The Sales Curmudgeon - Manage the Grieving Process

The Sales Curmudgeon is a sales management veteran who has suffered countless sales initiatives. He knows why some projects succeed wildly and others fail miserably. Experience has taught him that very few leaders will risk what it takes to make a real difference. The Force Management Marketing Team wanted The Sales Curmudgeon to share his wisdom, so they painstakingly convinced him to put forth the effort to write this five-part blog series. He has a military background and often equates sales initiatives with military campaigns. Please forgive the brutal tone. We apologize. After countless sales campaigns, he’s too exhausted to mince his words.   This is the third of a five-part series where I essentially predict your future, and give you the top reasons why your sales initiative will blow up. Forewarned is forearmed. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation  |  The Sales Curmudgeon

The Sales Curmudgeon: Avoid the Sales Initiative Miracle Cloud

The Sales Curmudgeon is a sales management veteran who has suffered countless sales initiatives. He knows why some projects succeed wildly and others fail miserably. Experience has taught him that very few leaders will risk what it takes to make a real difference. The Force Marketing Team painstakingly convinced him to put forth the effort to write this five-part blog series. He has a military background and often equates sales initiatives with military campaigns. Please forgive the brutal tone. We apologize. After countless sales campaigns, he’s too exhausted to mince his words.  This is the second of a five-part series where I essentially predict your future, and give you the top reasons why your sales initiative will blow up. Forewarned is forearmed. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation  |  The Sales Curmudgeon

The Sales Curmudgeon: Why Your Sales Initiative Will Fail

The Sales Curmudgeon is a sales management veteran who's been through countless sales initiatives. He knows why some projects succeed wildly, and others fail miserably. Experience has taught him that very few leaders will risk what it takes to make a real difference.  The Force Marketing Team wanted The Sales Curmudgeon to share his wisdom, so they painstakingly convinced him to put forth the effort to write this five-part blog series. He has a military background and often equates sales initiatives with military campaigns. Please forgive the brutal tone. We apologize. After countless sales campaigns, he’s too exhausted to mince his words.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Consumable Tools  |  Sales Conversation

Ten Ways to Improve Your Sales Message in 2014

There’s no better time to set a new goal than the start of a new year. Forget those generic resolutions that you usually break. Instead, commit yourself to success in every sales conversation you have this year. Here are ten sales resolutions you can make right now to improve your sales conversations in 2014.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation

Drive Sales Results: Enable a Team of Monday Morning Quarterbacks

The sales industry loves a sports analogy. At Force Management, we use them all the time. Why? The success of a sales organization is a team effort. There’s a playbook you have to understand, competition you have to study, practice, and of course, there’s execution, all culminating (when done well) in a victory. At the end of the day, it’s a lot of hard work ... just like sports.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation

How Prepared Are Your Sales Teams to Articulate Value?

Measuring your effectiveness as a sales organization is a critical component to becoming best-in-class. One of the most important ways to benchmark the success of an entire sales organization is to gauge your sales team’s preparation for high-level business conversations with prospects. In fact, recent research by Steve W. Martin published in Harvard Business Review’s blog demonstrates the importance of sales preparedness. Martin found that more than 80 percent of those surveyed thought their outside sales teams were well-equipped to exceed quota, compared to 57% of their inside sales team and just 40% of their channel sales. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Planning

Effective Ways to Improve Sales Planning and Add Value for Your Team

When our clients come to us to improve their sales planning processes, they often have a misdirected focus. Their sales teams are spending too much time “working around the opportunities.” The key to driving qualified pipeline, however, is focusing your team on the territory, not opportunities. A sales franchise mindset demands your reps work smarter. They build pipeline at the territory level and they’re more accountable for the forecast. When your sales team sees their own territories as their own business unit, the level of building pipeline is elevated.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

Sales Talent Management: The High Cost of a Bad Hiring Decision

If you’re like most sales managers, you’re constantly taking shortcuts with the time you spend on sales talent management. In many sales organizations, activities associated with managing people often get put on the back burner either because we are uncomfortable handling them or because we’re too busy reacting to seemingly more pressing problems. Unfortunately, taking shortcuts in these key processes can bring negative consequences to your sales organization, including negative impacts to your bottom line. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation

3 Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Sales Transformation Partner

A true sales transformation partner will leverage your best practices, determine opportunities that will create the greatest impact and help you drive adoption and alignment throughout your organization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Process

10 Questions to Assess Your Current Sales Process

Efficiency and alignment are critical elements of sales productivity. An effective sales process provides a vehicle to enforce discipline, repeatability, predictability and validation of progress throughout a sale.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Process  |  Technology

Why Salespeople Need a Consistent Sales Process

Sales is the engine converting your back-end investments like CRM, Marketing Automation and collateral into revenue. If you want to impact bottom-line results, you need a sales process that provides sales leaders, and sales reps, the ability to manage, reinforce and inspect, not just a set of tools that aren’t integrated or relative to a seller’s day-to-day functions. Without real-time insight into what’s working, when, why and for whom, the effort to improve sales performance can become a costly game of darts.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Planning

How to Effectively Manage Territories and Build Pipeline

A predictable sales planning process gives sales managers the ability to control the critical few high-performance sales activities that make a difference to sellers and the entire sales team. A great sales plan should provide sales leaders with clear and real-time visibility into the performance of their sales organization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Inside Sales  |  Sales Conversation  |  Sales Process

Drive Your Inside Sales Process with Cadence and Content

I’m a dinosaur. I started selling before Al Gore found the Internet and caveman found fire. When I started selling, companies used to put teams out in every city. Inside sales was an afterthought. Now, teams that didn’t have inside sales ten years ago are giving up on the field team all together.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation  |  Sales Transformation

Your Value Message: It’s Not Just a Sales Problem

Alignment is a critical component to an entire organization executing a successful sales message. If you want to drive consistency, repeatability and predictable results, you need everyone rowing the oars in the same direction.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

Attracting Top Sales Talent: Finding the Not-in-Play Players

A top-performing sales team relies on its people. Once you have the right people on board, success becomes a lot easier. Attracting and recruiting top sales talent is a key, yet often overlooked component to sales effectiveness. As a sales leader, you need to actively recruit for your team. Don’t delegate it to human resources. It’s too important to the success of your team to not have your ownership.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Consumable Tools  |  Sales Conversation

Three Ways to Help Your Sales Team Sell Value in Complex B2B Sales

The ability for salespeople to articulate value in a way that speaks to multiple audiences has never been more critical. The latest Sales Performance Optimization report from CSO Insights shows that on average, more than four people have “direct input” on the final buying decision, the highest in the past three years. There is no longer one decision maker. There’s a network of people making the purchase decision. That’s why articulating value throughout the buyer chain is a key component to your sales organization’s success.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation

How to Choose the Right Partner for Customized Sales Transformation

Industry trends show more sales leaders are counting on trusted third-party advisors to help them prioritize and implement sales initiatives that drive high-impact results.  Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group found that tapping third-party partners is a growing trend among successful companies. More than 42 percent of respondents in 2012 used customized coaching from third-party providers, compared to just 33 percent two years earlier.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Planning  |  sales challenges

Effective Sales Planning is Integral to Improving B2B Sales

Predictability is a key element of effective sales planning, but trying to achieve it can be a tedious task for many sales organizations. How much work are you as a sales leader having to put forth to make sure you have that line-of-sight predictability when it comes to your revenue numbers?

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Talent Management

Sales Coaching Tools: Structure Your Feedback

As a sales manager, you're charged with training, motivating and counseling sales professionals on a daily basis. Your sales team members look to you for professional development, and expect you to prepare them for achieving success by providing the necessary resources, guidance and knowledge. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Consumable Tools  |  Sales Planning  |  Sales Process

Essential Questions for Successful Sales Planning

Many sales leaders are working with sales planning tools that are cumbersome and ineffective. They’re spending valuable time spinning their wheels while they try to get their reps to accurately forecast revenue. This is their reality.  It may be yours too.  For many sales leaders, their typical territory is a complicated map of managers, departments, processes and plans. Inside every territory, there are Account Managers, SEs, and Services all actively working together to manage the business. When it comes to successful sales planning, a repeatable rhythm separates highly effective managers from the low performers.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement

Driving Sales Adoption: Three Success Principles

Taking on any change management initiative can be logistically overwhelming. Who needs to be involved?  When can we line up schedules?  What will we do to ensure success? Whether it’s improving sales messaging, talent management or sales execution strategies, you can start mapping your plan for success with some simple action plans. First, define your outcomes. Then, consider the kind of execution strategy you need to achieve these outcomes.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

Sales Talent Management Strategies: Retain Top Performers

For a top-performing sales organization to thrive, managers need a viable coaching strategy. Developing a process around attracting and retaining top sales talent is a critical component to lowering turnover rates and improving your sales team’s bench strength. CSO Insights’ research repeatedly shows sales organizations struggle with developing processes that help them recruit and onboard top sales talent. Even more importantly, few organizations have a process that helps ensure they’re retaining their best hires. Even the best performers won’t succeed if you haven’t defined their success.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation  |  sales challenges

Successful Sales Transformation: 10 Best Practices for Adoption

Successful sales transformation is impossible to achieve without a process to manage, reinforce and inspect the new initiative. Employee ownership is critical. But as a leader, you must ensure transformation is integrated throughout the organization. True transformation likely means changes in behavior, changes in process and changes in job roles. It also means employees should understand how the overall transformation is relevant to their own professional goals.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation  |  sales challenges

Improve Sales Performance: The Problem with Big Data

  Creating the right motivation for your sales team can be the driving force you need to improve sales performance and attain your revenue goals. However, new research suggests that managers are falling short when it comes to engaging and motivating their teams. The Gallup Organization discovered that only 30% of the American workforce is actively engaged in their positions. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Planning

Improve Your Sales Planning: 3 Habits of Highly Effective Managers

Sales leaders are the driving force behind any successful sales strategy. When it comes to sales planning, best-in-class managers have an operating rhythm that defines the actions, tools and success metrics for: • Quota Attainment • Pipeline Health • Rate of Cross-Sells and Up-Sells • Territory and Account Coverage • Forecasting Accuracy Effective sales planning is rooted in consistency and accuracy. Highly effective managers rely on great planning tools to execute their strategies, and they know how to coach their reps to do the same. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

5 Ways to Transform Your Sales Talent Management Strategy

Creating a process behind your sales talent management strategy can lower turnover, decrease time-to-productivity and improve sales team bench strength. Unfortunately, talent management is likely on the bottom of the list for most sales managers, as they deal with revenue goals, forecasts and endless administrative burdens. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Process  |  sales challenges

Sales Best Practices: Enabling a Challenger Sales Team

Paul Liberatore is the Senior Sales Enablement Manager for U.S. and Canada at Welch Allyn, a leading global healthcare solutions company. Liberatore has more than 20 years’ experience managing enablement and e-learning.Force Management began working with Welch Allyn in 2012 in an effort to improve overall sales effectiveness and generate more revenue per seller.  The competitive medical marketplace is dealing with unprecedented fiscal challenges. As providers of all sizes continue to maneuver through health care reform, keeping your sales team prepared for the next hurdle can be a daunting task.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Conversation

Sales Coaching Tools: Debriefing the Success of a Sales Call

Providing constructive and consistent feedback is an important part to coaching your sales reps to success. Sitting in on sales calls can help you, as a sales leader, reinforce new methodologies and coach your reps to continually:

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Consumable Tools  |  Sales Conversation

Sales Performance Improvement: Do Your Sellers Have These Skills?

Even the most seasoned sales veterans can use a refresher on fundamentals every now and then. Today, The Command Center is getting back to basics. No matter what you’re selling, there are three critical sales skills every seller needs. Understanding them and then leveraging them consistently with customers separates the best from the rest.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement

Sales Transformation: 10 Questions to Ensure Success

Reinforcement and measurement are key components to any sales transformation initiative. If you begin a sales initiative without setting organizational priorities and accountability, you’ll struggle to create lasting impact.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

5 Tips to Help You Attract, Hire and Retain Top Sales Talent

If you want a high-performing sales organization, you need the right people on your team. Best-in-class companies have tools and processes in place that help them attract, hire and retain top sales talent.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Conversation  |  Sales Process  |  Talent Management

Worth the Read: Three Links to Improve Your Sales Organization

Today I’m sharing three posts that got my attention in the blogosphere. When it comes to improving your sales organization, who doesn’t love a good list to get you thinking? And, Oracle’s problem in sales execution (outlined below) is something I’ve seen with hundreds of clients. A sales execution problem centers on management’s operating rhythm. I’ve added my own thoughts to these posts. Let me know yours in the comment section below.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  sales challenges

Worth the Read: Improving Sales Performance

If you want to improve your sales performance and increase your revenue, there are a lot of experts out there that will tell you how to do it.  If you Google “sales analysts,” you’ll be flooded with insights and white papers. There’s a lot of noise out there in this arena. Today, I’m breaking through the clutter and sharing some of the recent insight that caught my attention in my own RSS feeds.  I disagree with some of the points. Others I think are right on target. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Sales Process

What's Hurting Your Sales Process? A Discussion on Strategy

When it comes to research on strategy, execution and business growth strategies, Dr. Charles Bamford has worked with some of the biggest companies in the world. He’s published five books and dozens of journal articles on business strategy. He says two of the biggest mistakes businesses make are having inconsistent processes and not understanding their true differentiation. “Strategic decisions are the decisions that move mountains, rather than those that just move small parts of an organization,” says Bamford. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen that if strategy is well-done, well-articulated and implemented, it’s phenomenally powerful.” At Force Management, we’ve seen those results with our customers as well. When executed successfully, aligning your growth strategy with your sales strategy can be transforming for an organization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Process  |  sales challenges

The Four Things Every Sales Process Should Do

Efficiency and alignment are critical elements of sales productivity. An effective sales process provides a vehicle to enforce discipline, repeatability, predictability and validation of progress through a sale. Most importantly, an effective sales process allows for inspection and planning – in advance.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight

Worth the Read: Sales Solutions from Venture Capitalists

There are many organizations backed by venture capitalists that are clamoring to be leaders in their respective industry. We’ve worked with many in the high-tech space. Whether it’s articulating value and differentiation, hiring top sales talent or implementing an effective sales process, start-ups have unique challenges. As the driving force behind these new businesses, venture capitalist firms are looking to create consistency, build on best-practices and drive results for their investments.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Talent Management

Why New Hires Fail: Improve Your Sales Talent Management

Sales talent is a cornerstone to a best-in-class sales organization. As a sales leader you need the right people on board, if you want to hit your revenue goals every quarter. Without a process to attract, hire and retain top sales talent you will waste money on mis-hires, lose talent to the competition and have no way to build a bench strength for growth.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Process

Improve Your Sales Process: 10 Questions to Ask

  What's Holding Your Sales Process Together? Sales is the engine driving your corporate revenues. Are you holding it together with duct tape and paper clips? If you want to grow your sales organization, you need a sales process that provides the tools to manage, reinforce and inspect. Whether you want to increase your average sales price, improve the reliability of your forecast or increase your cross-sell opportunities – your sales process needs to align with your buyer, be consumable for your sales team and drive results.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Industry Insight

5 Ways Top Sales Organizations Increase Revenue

Who doesn’t want a top-performing sales organization? Is there a sales manager who doesn’t want to increase revenue each quarter? Creating true change in your sales team takes more than a set of spreadsheets and a simple day of training. If you implement a hasty training session, you’ll short-change yourself. You’ll struggle with achieving the long-term impact that true sales transformation can bring. Best-in-class companies know this and they understand what it takes to drive consistency and results in a sales organization.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Transformation

Create Sales Transformation: Build Employee Ownership

  There are many catalysts that bring on the need for sales transformation. Fluctuating economic conditions, changes in client expectations, technology developments, and product realignment are just a few of the many situations that are likely to land the need for change right at your doorstep. Yet despite these needs, a surprising number of initiatives for change will fail. In Leading Change, author John Kotter revealed research showing only 30 percent of change initiatives undertaken by an organization succeed. A McKinsey survey of 3,199 executives confirmed those findings.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Consumable Tools  |  Talent Management

The Rule of Three - How to Attract, Hire and Retain Top Sales Talent

  If you want a high-performing sales team, you need a process to help you attract, hire and retain top sales talent. Many sales managers wait for a vacancy to occur; then, react, hustling and bustling to find a body to fill the job. Don’t get caught unprepared.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Transformation  |  Sales and Services

How to Achieve Higher Revenues: Align Sales with Services

Alignment between sales and delivery services increases the value you provide for your customer. Best-in-class companies develop processes that grow revenue by improving the linkage of these two departments. Today’s blog post provides a high-tech services perspective from Bob Armour with serVelocity, a management consulting and solutions implementation firm that is focused on helping high-tech services organizations define their services vision, grow revenues and improve bottom-line performance.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Negotiation

Improve Your Sales Negotiations with a Team Strategy

It may sound like semantics, but here’s something you should consider: Sales Negotiating is what your individual sellers do. Sales Negotiation is an organizational competency. An effective Sales Negotiation process provides sellers with the framework they need to consistently win deals and leverage the value their solutions provide throughout the sales cycle. Without a negotiation process many sales organizations struggle, as their sellers try to negotiate deals without direction or internal alignment.

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Categories: Sales Negotiation  |  Sales Process

How to Improve Your Sales Negotiation Process

Negotiation isn’t a one-and-done event that happens at the end of the sales cycle. It’s a process that should be ingrained in your organization and the way you approach selling. If your margins are suffering, it could be because your organization doesn’t view a sales negotiation as part of an overall strategic process.   Establishing value should start at the beginning of your sales process and be carried through to the final stages of negotiating your deals. When you go head-to-head with competitors, there is as much differentiation in how you sell, as there is in what you sell.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation  |  Sales Transformation

Transform Your Sales Messaging: 5 Ways to Drive Results

  Changing your organization’s approach to sales messaging can increase margins, improve revenue and create true sales transformation. Here are five ways developing a framework around your sales messaging will help your organization drive sustainable results:

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Blog Feature

Categories: Industry Insight  |  Talent Management

Hiring Top Sales Talent: Creating Alignment with Human Resources

  Talent Management is likely on the bottom of the list for most Sales Managers. After all, shouldn’t human resources take the lead on recruiting?  As a Sales Manager, don’t make the mistake of relying solely on HR to navigate the recruiting process for new sellers. In his column, “Stop Bashing HR,” published both in Forbes and in Harvard Business Review, Ron Ashkenas (executive in residence at the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley) makes the case that improving sales talent isn’t only a function of human resources.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Transformation  |  sales challenges

Grow Your Business with an Effective Sales Process

Somewhere between a start-up and a full-fledged company is the “growing business.” This recent article on Inc.com got our attention. Karl Stark and Bill Stewart (Avondale) write about the unique challenges CEOs face once they move beyond the start-up phase and are defining key initiatives to continually grow their business. They write:

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Blog Feature

Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Industry Insight

Spaced Learning and Sales Transformation Success

Reinforcement is a key component to sales transformation success. When companies spend money on new sales initiatives, it’s important that they conceptualize how to reinforce the methodologies once the initial training is finished. Here’s a tip – a binder full of spreadsheets and training insights isn’t going to do the trick. Adoption of any new initiative doesn’t happen without a plan. Rather, adoption is a mindset that influences the reinforcement of what a seller learns in training. 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Planning

Sales Planning – Key Components for Success

For successful sales planning and execution, sales managers need the necessary tools to develop Territory, Account and Opportunity plans that build pipeline and create accurate revenue forecasts. Putting a cadence behind sales planning and execution helps to guide the management and measurement of your critical-few, high-value sales activities. Establishing a Management Operating Rhythm® defines the actions, tools and success measures to consistently address:

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Transformation  |  Talent Management

How to Have a Better Sales Force: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

As we begin a new year, ask yourself, can you determine the traits that helped make the strongest salespeople successful in your company last year?  Can you define what makes a salesperson successful at your company at any given time?  Do you know how to create a better sales force? Here’s a tip to help you in 2013:

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Categories: Adoption and Reinforcement  |  Sales Conversation  |  Sales Process  |  Sales Transformation  |  sales challenges

Managers Lead Effective Sales Transformation

  Top management is the driving force when it comes to adopting strategy, new initiatives and overall effective sales transformation. In a study published in Harvard Business Review, researchers looked at more than 60,000 confidential responses to an employee satisfaction survey where employees answered questions related to change in their organizations.  When new strategy was adopted successfully, there was nothing more effective than reinforcement from top management. In fact, researchers said that top management has a “profound impact on how well employees grasp and support strategy.”

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

Sales Talent: Get the Right People on the Bus

Mark Thurmond, Senior Vice President of Sales for RSA, knows what goes into creating a great sales team.  After reworking his own sales organization, the group saw a 30% increase in deals ranging from $250,000-$500,000. In that same quarter, it closed more million-dollar-plus deals than it ever had. “Sales talent management is a huge issue for any leader. You’re only as good as your people, and you want to make sure you have all the right people on the bus when you are transforming your sales organization,” said Thurmond.

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Categories: Sales Conversation  |  Sales and Marketing

Sales Messaging and Marketing: Oil and Water?

Mixed Messages = Mixed Results We talk a lot about alignment in the sales industry. Bringing sales and marketing into alignment is a key step to improving sales messaging and making a sales organization successful. If sales and marketing aren’t on the same page, you’re hurting your return on investment (ROI) and competitive advantage. Here’s why: Shrinking Revenue and Margins If sales and marketing can’t deliver a consistent value-oriented message, you’ve got a chain reaction of problems.  Marketing can’t deliver sales-ready content, and their campaigns won’t generate qualified leads. Without sales ready content, the sales team can’t articulate value to customers. Then, you’ll be dealing with longer sales cycles, discounts that eat up margins and deals lost to the competition.

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Categories: Blog Posts  |  Execution

Clear the Clutter and Improve Customer Alignment

Ever felt like this guy while trying to implement an effective sales process for your organization? We've all been there, dealing with lengthy sales cycles, sales reps taking shortcuts, and frequent losses due to "no decision." 

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation

Speak the Same Language for Success

Consistent messaging clarifies marketing messages and elevates sales conversations. If you have a framework that tells you what to say and how to say it, you’re going to be more successful when you speak to your customer. Every company wants consistent messaging. The challenge lies in creating and implementing it.  A key part to making a messaging framework successful is bringing departments together to hammer out how the people in your company are talking about your products.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation

Day #1: Increase Your Medal Count with Messaging

The Olympic Games give us a chance to watch some of history’s greatest achievements. They are a symbol of hard work and success.  Most of the athletes, if not all, have spent their lives preparing for these very games. People who know how to win know that preparation is the key to success. Even athletes at the top of their game know the key to a winning performance is flawless execution of the fundamentals. The same is true in the sales game. You can try adjusting your game plan, adding new tools or new equipment, but if you don’t execute the fundamentals correctly, you won’t be winning any medals. This week, in The Command Center, we’re going to get back to basics, key in on fundamentals, and draw from a little Olympic Inspiration.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Planning  |  Sales Process

Building Sales Pipelines: Coaching Tools

Healthy sales pipelines and accurate forecasts are grounded in structured territory, account and opportunity planning processes. These processes provide sales managers with an unrestricted line of sight into their sales organizations.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution

Where do you stand with your Customer?

We often talk about aligning your selling process with the customer’s buying process. Like many best practices, knowing you need to do it and actually achieving it are two very different things. That’s why we focus on Customer Verifiable Outcomes (or CVO’s).They are a key part to bringing your sales process into alignment with your buyer. CVOs are the actions your customers take as they progress through their buying process. They indicate their “buying” state-of-mind. Perhaps you have documented pain points and implications of the customer’s current situation or you know that the organization is ready to invest resources.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Sales Conversation

The Problem with your Sales Messaging

One thing seems to be common among most sales organizations; it is difficult to have repeatable success without consistent sales messaging. Do these scenarios sound familiar?

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Blog Feature

Categories: Talent Management

Five Things Top Sales Reps want from their Managers

Managing talent is a cornerstone of an effective sales organization. Best-in-class companies need to attract top talent, but even more importantly, they need to be able to retain their top performers. In a recent Forbes blog post Contributor John Bersin (Bersin & Associates) reports that organizations are increasingly turning to technology to help them manage talent. The talent software market has grown to more than $4 billion and is expected to increase at least 15% this year. But Bersin points out that software can only do so much when it comes to improving talent management. Managing information should be just one part of your overall talent strategy.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Conversation

Increase Revenue: Think Like a Buyer

Every sales organization wants to increase revenue. There are many roads to hitting your number, but the one that will get you there the fastest is the one that’s focused on your buyer. Shift your mindset. Stop thinking like a seller and start thinking like a buyer, especially during key stages of the customer’s buying process.  Here are three on-ramps to help guide the customer conversation during critical points of the buyer’s journey.

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Blog Feature

Categories: Execution  |  Sales Conversation

4 Steps to Ensure Your Sales Transformation Process is Worth the Money

What makes a sales transformation process successful? As a sales leader, one of your biggest contributions to transforming your sales force is reinforcement. The reason? Adoption of a sales methodology isn’t just an event that takes place after training. It’s a mindset that needs to influence the design, development, delivery and reinforcement of your sales transformation process.

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