Selling lessons from the saddle.

Selling lessons from the saddle. On the 8th September 2018 I sat on the start line for a totally awesome, yet challenging, adventure. Riding the length of the UK from Lands End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland. I was with another 700 people, ready to cover 980...

980 miles | 9 days in the saddle.

Outside In are part of the Pledge 1% movement, we give 1% of of time and products and services to help good causes. The drive to do this for Parkinson’s UK research spurred me on. I am proud that my ride is contributing to a cause bigger than my own personal...

Set up account planning for success

Set up your Account Planning approach for success Article published by the Institute of Sales Management in Winning Edge Garry Mansfield and Steve Hoyle collaborated to write an article on how to approach account planning in a b2b company. Based on decades of...

Top Sales Tools 2018 – Double award!

We are delighted that DealSheet has again been recognised in the 2018 Top Sales Tools Guide by Smart Selling Tools. And this year is a double header, with AccountPlan making it into the guide in the first year after launch. We are very excited and humbled by the...

Sales technology of the week award!

Sales technology of the week award! We are delighted that DealSheet and AccountPlan were named by leading sales analyst firm Smart Selling Tools this week as sales technology of the week. Watch the video here. Hubspot named Nancy Nardin as a Top 25 global sales...

6 Fundamentals of B2B Sales Planning

6 Fundamentals of B2B Sales Planning There are SIX planning related activities that B2B sales teams must do well for better sales performance. Taken together they help you to build a disciplined sales approach. Get these right and you cover the fundamentals of good...

Pledge 1%

Pledge 1% Supporting our community and non-profits Outside In are excited to join Pledge 1%’s network of founders, entrepreneurs and companies around the globe that have committed to giving back. Pledge 1% is a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the...

ISM published article – BluePrint for growth

  In 2017 the ISM published a feature article from Garry Mansfield, founder of Outside In in their Winning Edge magazine. The article focuses on the key elements of growth for b2b sales, and offers a BluePrint that can be applied to your business and help you to...

2017 BESMA Awards Judging

Garry Mansfield, Founder of Outside In, has been asked to judge at this year’s BESMA Awards – run by the Institute of Sales Management (ISM). As a long standing ISM fellow he passionately believes in the professionalisation of sales. He recently published...

If you’re not ADVANCING you’re a busy fool

Busy being busy? I remember when I would say to people that things were “so busy”, “hectic” or that I “have soooo much to do”. Often I was too busy to make any real progress and on reflection it is clear to me now that I did little...

The world has moved on … have you?

Let’s consider opportunity management for a moment. The old world had a few things that were seen to be good practice 20 years ago. At the time they were used by the most forward thinking companies to outperform the rest. Today, things have moved on and for...

DealSheet : Top Sales Tool Award 2017

We are delighted that DealSheet, Pre-call Plan and +motivate have again been recognised in 2017 as a Top Sales Tool by Smart Selling Tools. DealSheet is an simple-to-use application that extends the capability of your CRM system (Salesforce and Microsoft CRM/365),...

Structured account planning

A structured account planning approach for b2b sales teams. Are you considering your next step for account planning on one of your key accounts? Maybe you have been asked for your ‘latest account plan’ and don’t quite know where to start. This short...

Our value proposition – built on customer feedback.

Over the past months we have been reflecting on our own value proposition at Outside In, looking to capture the essence of what we do every day for our customers. It’s important. We did this to help bring clarity to the teams’ activities, and to make it...

“love the BluePrint….but where should I start?”

  Last week I hosted a webinar (watch replay here) focused on the Growth BluePrint framework we use to assess and drive up sales performance. After the event one attendee sent an email with a question. “I really enjoyed the webinar, thanks for taking the time to...

What ducks have to do with sales culture

High performing sales teams have an amazing sales culture. A culture where people are motivated and drive the business forward with their enthusiasm, focus, passion and energy. They have people to take responsibility for improvement. However, the reality is that most...

Growth in 2017 – where to start

A new year brings new starts and for some a real hope that this year something will change. Something will drive greater success, greater growth, a step change in the way “they’ve always done it”. However for some 2017 won’t be any different. Sometimes change is too...

The 7 habits of motivational B2B sales managers

Sales motivation is an important issue for many companies but isn’t always at the top of the to-do list. On 10th November we held a webinar to discuss motivating sales people in order to improve engagement and inevitably performance and sales.  Given Gallup’s recent...

Motivation and Me

It’s been almost a week since I attempted to host my first webinar at Outside In Sales & Marketing. Over the course of my 14 years in marketing I’ve managed, hosted and spoken at several seminars and webinars but last week’s webinar on motivating...

How to define your sales performance equation in :60

In this Sales :60 message I wanted to summarise some of my recent blog posts related to improving people performance in sales. The Sales Performance equation will help you to understand the relationship between each fundamental aspect of an individual’s...

Adopting a coaching approach to B2B marketing

The following article was published in International Coaching Magazine, October 2016 The business coaching marketplace is evolving. The impact and benefit of coaching – no matter what flavour – is beyond dispute and so demand continues. There is a continuing flood of...

iNspiring sales performance

iNspiring sales performance In this blog I look at iNspiration as part of the YOU CAN GROW model that you can use to develop sales performance. By inspiration I mean encouraging, guiding and creating a motivating culture in which they want to behave differently.  ...

How YOU CAN GROW sales performance in :60

Since the first of our new marketing campaign went out a few weeks ago, focused on how sales managers can better manage and motivate their team, I have had quite a few messages. Many have been on the same subject. “Thanks for the model, like it”,...

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...

Making winning moves

Outside In’s 2015 opportunity management research showed that top performing companies do more activity with fewer deals. Compared with average performers, the best companies engage with a customer two and a half times more often during the selling process. OISM...

Hiring and onboarding can lift sales performance

How do the right decisions on hiring and onboarding have an impact on sales performance for b2b companies? The right approach to hiring and onboarding new people actually has a profound impact on the long term success of the team. Right the way through from faster...

Top performers focus on Winnables

Top performing sales teams and sales people have better control of where they spend their effort. A disciplined approach to selling can dramatically improve your bottom line by controlling cost of sales and improving returns. We recently researched opportunity...

10 areas for Marginal Gains in Sales

  I completed my first 100 mile ride recently and it got me on to thinking about what I had learned in the process. Of course training was key, mental strength important and nutrition critical amongst many other things. It made me reflect again about the aggregation...

To improve sales get a leader not a manager

Do you need to improve sales performance? If the answer to this is YES you will need to successfully deliver and sustain change. To make change stick you need more than a sales manager to lead the team. Sales management is great but is it enough? Sales management is...

5 Steps to Sales Performance Management success

An effective approach to Sales Performance Management is a fundamental requirement for success. Effective performance management should be a positive forward looking experience that adds value to an individual, when this is done right it will raise the performance bar...

Controlling pipeline slippage and the bow wave.

Are you controlling slippage and the bow wave in your pipeline and forecast? A ‘bow wave’ happens when deals that are forecast to close in a particular month then at the time you were expecting them to close they slip, when they reach the forecast close...

Is your partner a good bet on this deal?

Right out of the box, let’s acknowledge that selling via partners is different to selling direct. Direct selling is often less complex than channel/partner/alliance sales. It’s you against a competitor to secure the contract from a prospective client. Of...

Sales Playbooks alone are not enough to improve performance.

I am hugely excited about the new Sales Path capability in Salesforce, this brings sales playbooks as standard to Salesforce mobile and soon afterwards we hear to the desktop platform. Sales Playbooks in the form of customised processes exist already in Microsoft...

You must decouple Sales stages and probability. Today.

Let me get something off my chest. I fundamentally do not agree that the further you are through a set of sales stages increases your chance of winning. It just doesn’t.   The value of Sales Stages Sales stages are a useful, STAND ALONE, indicator of where in the...

Big companies can’t innovate

See the original article here  Maxwell Wessel makes some great points in this article and the subsequent two parts of the series. We have experienced similar issues when working with clients of ours on offer/proposition development projects. Expectations The sales...

High performance DNA

In a recent engagement with a client the question was asked – “what does high performance mean for our sales team?” I am sure they are not alone in seeking an answer to this question. If you are building a sales organisation that delivers complex...

Challenger Selling & OISM Discussions Framework

According to the authors of the Challenger Sale the one thing you can do to smash your quota and crush the competition is to turn your organisation into a teaching organisation (more here) New buyers are much better informed and they seek more than product...

Challenger Selling. A View.

  Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in their book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation (2011) outline their findings from a study of over 6,000 sales reps across 45 dimensions of sales performance. In essence they fly in the face of long...

Sales Training alone is pointless

Sales Training alone is pointless. We  have all done sales training. Some of you will have done many different flavours of sales training during their long career as a sales professional. We have for sure. Most courses take a similar format with two or three days in a...

OUTSOLD!

An old boss of mine in the mid 90’s had a great point of view when one of the team lost a deal. His rationale was this – either you shouldn’t have gone after the deal in the first place or you were just outsold! Harsh but true, one of your...

Customer focused sales or pitching?

How many times have you seen a salesperson leave a sales appointment knowing little more about the customers situation relative to when they went in? Failure to really understand the situation drastically reduces win chances. This is quite common for those sales...

5 barriers to understanding customer needs

We have written previously about the value of time invested early in the sales cycle to truly understand customer needs. This helps you as the salesperson to make your conversations relevant to the buyer and it helps them be confident that your solution will deliver...

Why you need to manage opportunities better?

The top achievers understand that all deals are not equal. A disciplined approach to opportunity management will help you to win more and win bigger. There are not enough hours in the day to chase and win every deal. Chasing deals you won’t win will increase your cost...

Why bother with Sales Stages?

Getting deals to move through the pipeline towards final [successful] close is THE role of sales people. In our experience the more you align the sales stages [your sales process] with those in the clients buying process the better will be the velocity of your...

New Research: Buyers priorities

Recently the Aberdeen Group published some research titled “Sales Intelligence: What B2B Sellers Need to Know Before the Call,”. They spoke to buyers in 215 companies (b2b)  and captured from them the key requirements they have when engaging with a sales team. It...

“My-Solution My-opia”

In taking your offer to a client try to avoid “my-solution my-opia” (Where you as the seller are short sighted in relation to the clients true perspective). This can leave you looking through rose tinted glasses. There are reasons why the buyer doesn’t...

Sales Discipline : Twice as Good?

We  did some research into Sales performance in 2010. Particularly into what the best performers did that the rest did not. It was clear that high performing sales organisations outperform the rest in a number of aspects in the sales process. Not least the ability to...

What does Value mean in B2B Sales?

When thinking about your value proposition consider some of the following: Value is determined by what is means to the customer not what marketing literature says it is. This means the customer will have a business case outlining the benefits minus costs elements of...

Why B2B Sales Cycles are getting longer?

For B2B sales organisations the challenge associated with lengthening sales cycles is not going away, infact it is getting worse for many. The value of shortened sales cycles comes from faster revenue and profit realisation but also a lower cost of sale. Sales cycles...

B2B Buying cycles – How long?

When a contact engages with you by agreeing to a meeting you now have a prospect in your sales funnel. You are now committing to a number of meetings, phone calls, actions and activities that will last some time.  But, how long is typical for B2B Sales and therefore...

Do you have a commodity, solution or value offer?

Where you engage in a buying process will determine the scope you have to succeed. The optimal point for prospect engagement differs for each of our clients,  they will have a different place in the buying process where they target direct engagement. Commodity...

Deal Qualification Best Practice

We know instinctively that we need to qualify our pipeline for best results. After all you cannot chase every deal with the same level of rigour and discipline. A systematic way to choose where to invest time and energy has been shown to be a key differentiator of...

Discover performance in 10 conversations

Our Discovery process covers ten core ‘conversations’. When we say conversations they are more fundamental topics that are explored in detail rather than 10 short, singular conversations. In the diagram below you can see the key elements. Why these areas?...

Managing Sales Performance Reviews

How do you manage performance in sales and marketing? Specifically, how to approach and plan for success? Effective and disciplined sales management (based on a consistently applied performance framework) is absolutely essential for those seeking to raise the bar on...

What differentiates high performers?

What do high Performance sales & marketing organisations do that others don’t? We asked ourself the same and set about researching this questions. Recently we undertook a benchmark study, contacting over 100 people in B2B sales organisations. What they said...

Relevant conversations will extend your Contact base

Meeting a senior executive once is easy. Demonstrate value and it is possible to meet them again and again. Getting “higher and wider” in target customer accounts often helps to unlock new budgets and opportunities, although achieving this is not always...

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