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How to ‘coach the middle’ in :60

In a prior message I talked about the importance of “moving the middle” performers in your performance bell-curve up, and how this has a significant impact on performance Where do sales managers spend time coaching? Do they coach the middle? Let me start...

Why you don’t need a ‘Moussa Sissoko’ : in 60 seconds

If you are not a follow of the football in England (soccer for my North American friends) you might not know who Moussa Sissoko is. Well he is a football player and has just left my football team, Newcastle United for Spurs in a move for £30m. I’m delighted for...

How to ‘move the middle’ in :60

In almost a quarter of a century I have had the pleasure of working in some brilliant b2b sales teams. I have noticed some common characteristics they share. First, there is always a small percentage of top performers. Sales professionals who bring home a...

How to help managers influence results in :60

Front line sales managers are pivotal to a company’s success, but are they ready, willing and able to manage performance? In recent messages I have highlighted the very real issue of trying to manage with outcomes, why focusing on the key performance indicators...

How to focus a sales review discussion in :60

To focus a sales review, focus on things that can be done, achieved or progressed. If you improve the things you can control this will improve results. I enjoy cycling. I’m not great at it but I enjoy it. I look at my average times after each ride to see how I...

How to handle “just find more X” in :60

“Just find more revenue!” was the instruction. But it was not the right conversation! Thinking back to a regular monthly review I used to have with an old boss of mine, it is clear now, how ineffective the whole experience was. I spent days preparing...

How to engage a final stage buyer in :60

A final stage buyer, one towards the end of a typical b2b buying process has one overriding concern. Supplier risk. The buying team have decided by now why they need to and what they will buy. They will likely have a few possible suppliers who can provide their chosen...

How to engage a stage 2 buyer in :60

A stage 2 buyer in a typical b2b buying process is focused on how their company will overcome the problem identified in the early stages of buying. With a lot of people involved in the buying process, stage 2 buyers want to reach consensus in the right way to solve...

How to engage a stage 1 buyer in :60

A stage 1 buyer in a typical b2b buying process is focused on why their company should change from their current ‘steady state’. Why buy? Research highlights the consultative nature of this stage in the buying process. Typically this stage in the process...

How to navigate the b2b buying process in :60

In recent research* into the habits of b2b buyers in complex procurements, we asked about the process used to make decisions. It was found that respondents from large enterprises had many more steps in their process when compared to the SMEs (who had a more rapid...

Two skills salespeople need ‘in the bag’ in :60

What do buyers expect from sellers in the new world of b2b sales? What are the skills salespeople need to compete more effectively today? In the last message we showed how a buyer wants both insight and relevance from sales engagements. To do this salespeople must...

How to appreciate emotional and rational buyer behaviour in :60

Recent research* looked at complex b2b procurements and found that buyers use both the emotional and rational sides of the brain when making decisions. Maybe you believe that your buyers are irrational when making decisions. Your team might say, “I don’t...

Two things buyers want from your sales team in :60

B2B buyers have more choice than ever: a choice of projects they can progress; possible solutions for each project; and suppliers who can meet their requirements. Whilst this is difficult for sellers, it is also daunting for a buyer, especially in complex...

How to assess your customer’s buying team in :60

Are you selling to one or two people in a large customer? If so, your chances of success are less than they used to be in days gone by. Our research showed that on average 5.8 people are involved in a b2b customer’s buying process. There can be more. In fact a...

3 things to know about complex procurements in :60

I have often wondered why and how companies buy things. With some Outside In Thinking, and some help from a university research team* we identified some of the answers. The nature of company procurements depends somewhat on the nature of the purchase, whether it is...

How to make better commit decisions in :60

It’s that time again. Time to build your latest forecast. Some sales leaders dread this point in the business cycle. Why, because they feel vulnerable to the false promises of the sales team. For many it’s a challenge to make the right decision on whether...

When opportunity knocks

OISM talked to the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management about their latest research and their opinion on sales improvement. This first article provides a structured approach to opportunity management, to help readers to chose where to focus their efforts....

Do you have the insight to manage sales? 

Do you have enough information to give you confidence in your opportunity pipeline and forecast? For many of our customers this is a significant challenge and research has found that less than a third of leaders are happy with the quality of pipeline data. Inspection...

Commit or not commit, that is the question.

The ability to make ‘commit or not commit’ decisions and then to forecast accurately is a key measure of a sales manager’s effectiveness. An executive team in most companies will judge how good a sales manager is based on their track record...
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