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My 2009 Word of The Year, So Far

One of my most-used words these days is “scrutinize.”  Merriam-Webster says it means to examine closely and minutely.”

At ESR, we find ourselves using the word fairly often:

  • VPs have been asking us about how to determine which sales reps to keep and which to redeploy.  In this current economic situation some of what salesreps depended on to win in the past will simply no longer work.  It’s the old, “the past does not equal the future.” We recommend scrutinizing past performance as well as all the reps’ strengths and weaknesses against the new set of required skills and traits. And we strongly recommend psychometric testing. It’s very effective objective scrutiny.

  • We know from work with our clients that business acumen is more important now in B2B selling than ever before.  Salesreps need to scrutinize their customers, clients and prospects.  (More about this and some disturbing data when ESR reports on the results of our social media in B2B sales survey, which closed today.)  By the way, I was recently briefed by Chip Terry, Vice President and General Manager Enterprise Solutions at ZoomInfo.  He demoed their product.  Within two minutes I could see how ZoomInfo can provide the breadth and depth of information about not only companies, but equally as important, people within those companies, on whom salesreps would be calling.)

  • Messaging.  How relevant are the messages your salespeople are delivering to your customers and sales prospects?  Those need to be scrutinized and relevance to what and how your customers are buying must be determined.

  • New approaches and tools.  I’ve written a lot about the new social media as well as Sales 2.0 (again here).  These are very hot topics. (Just the number and flavor of comments to these three blog posts will attest to that.)  ESR’s recommendation is to… You guessed it:  thoroughly scrutinize any new direction or investment with respect to either or both of these promising technologies. The time may be right.  But then again, it may not be.

  • Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing.  Brian Carroll (podcast) and I are working on a project together.  Just yesterday we were discussing the challenges most companies are facing these days in those challenged areas.  What’s required for many companies is significant scrutiny. Bring in experts if you need to.  Get the right one—someone like Brian perhaps—and it will be money well-spent.

  • Sales training.  I’m very concerned about the significant drop in sales training during the past quarter.  Sales training may be precisely the right area to scale back in certain companies.  But certainly not in all, or even most.  Again, here’s where some significant scrutiny will enable you to determine where to spend your limited funds so that you have the biggest chance of making it through this economic situation.

  • Here are a few more areas that should be targeted for some scrutiny: Territory assignments, compensation, coaching mechanisms, measurement and analytics, sales process, sales support and readiness.  The list goes on.

Photo credit: © Sandor Kacso – Fotolia.com

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InTouch With Brian Carroll On Lead Generation

One of ESR’s clients has been engaged with Brian Carroll’s InTouch, Inc. team for lead generation and nurturing.  We sat in on a meeting with Brian’s team and the client the other day.

I asked Brian for permission to share with you the Lead Gen Portfolio graphic he uses with his clients.  Take a good look (click on the image for full size) and you can see which components of a total approach to lead gen you are employing and which ones you aren’t.

It’s no wonder Brian’s company is doing as well as it is and he is seen as a  thought-leader in the area of lead gen.  Brian understands selling as much as any marketing expert I’ve run into.  That came through loud and clear during the client meeting, on the podcast, and in a few articles Brian suggested I share with you about lead nurturing. (How Lead Nurturing Drives Better ROI and Lead Nurturing – Ripening the Right Bananas.)

Another critical factor in Brian’s clients’—and therefore his—success is his practical employment of process as the means for delivering qualified and nurtured leads to his clients.

By the way, I interviewed Brian for one of my podcasts a while back.  It’s worth listening to again if you’ve already heard it.

A New Way to Get Sales and Marketing Aligned

Sales and Marketing Alignment ***Wait for image to load, please.***

Sales and Marketing Alignment ***Wait for image to load, please.***

With all this talk about sales and marketing alignment, I figured the best way to get sales and marketing aligned is to morph a sales guy into a marketing guy and visa versa.  That way they’ll both understand what life is like as a member of the other team.

So Brian and I tried it out, just to see.

Let us know what you think.

Check out my podcast interview with Brian.

Morphing courtesy of www.MorpheusSoftware.net

Podcast: Brian Carroll on Lead Generation

We’ve just published my interview with Brian Carroll for my sales thought-leader podcast series. 

Wait!  Brian Carroll is a sales thought-leader? 

Absolutely. 

All of us in sales face a significant and ongoing challenge.  I’ve written about it again and again.  It’s the lack of mutual understanding, alignment, and ability to effectively and jointly execute among many sales and marketing organizations.

Brian understands the issues and has pragmatic approaches for overcoming them. Here is Brian’s blog.

In this podcast, we talk about:

  • What works to get sales and marketing alignment
  • How the marketing funnel impacts the sales funnel 
  • Reengaging and optimizing past sales leads
  • Teleprospecting and nurturing tactics

Listen to the podcast.  (Also available on iTunes.)