When we’re not busy perfecting our relationship management software solutions, we’re scouring the Internet for sales and customer management resources that will grow your bottom line. This week, we focus on finding great information for networking and making personal connections. In addition, we found fantastic research-based articles that will teach you how to have a better sales strategy, make better first impressions, and to make more money with your sales presentations.
- Aligning Strategy and Sales (The Sales Management Association)
This hour-long video seminar is conducted by Frank Cespedes, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School. Cespedes’s lecture is based primarily on his book, Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors that Drive Effective Selling (2014). This is an excellent resource if you are unsure how to diagnose gaps between your organization’s strategy and its sales performance. Cespedes also provides step-by-step action plans for clarifying your sales strategy in response to production gaps.
Columnist Jessica Stillman presents a clear argument for simplicity when attempting to make a good first impression. In this very well-researched article, Stillman explains that first impressions are often formed within the first few milliseconds of meeting a new colleague, and that these impressions are different in-person than through electronic means. She also suggests seven simple ways to improve how others perceive you, from what you wear to how fast you speak. An eye-opening post for both new and experienced salespeople that will help you reevaluate the importance of those first vital moments of meeting a prospect.
In this article by networking professional Alice Heiman, she breaks networkers down into five key distinctions: Wallflowers, Clingers, Pushers, Listeners, and Jesters. Although you might recognize your own behaviors instantly, not all of these networking personas are created equal. Heiman encourages networking collaboration for introverts, and more intimate interactions for extreme extroverts. This is a perfect article for self-diagnosing your networking style and getting ideas of how to improve your interpersonal connections with colleagues and prospects.
Writer Heather Baldwin cites interesting research from communication experts Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman that shows audiences remember sales presentations both logically and emotionally. As such, this is a perfect article for sales professionals who want to have more impactful pitches. Baldwin encourages personal reflection, embarrassment, and fear while telling anecdotes. But while she encourages infusing your sales presentations with body language that expresses emotion, she warns against fabricating emotions or “playing to the crowd,” which makes you seem inauthentic.
- When Can You Trust Salespeople’s Opinions? (Sales & Marketing Management)
Although this article by marketing consultant Kathryn Roy is short, it is an important read for sales professionals and managers who are wondering whether their value differentiators are actually producing sales. Roy suggests that many organizations don’t really understand the hot-button issues that make prospects buy. This results in entire marketing plans and sales strategies that bring in little revenue but that can cost millions. She suggests conducting transparent, regular research to see what is truly motivating prospects to buy, and how the competition is shifting to undermine your unique value proposition.
In this numbers-based article from Peter Symonds, you can get a clear idea of exactly what kind of investment you’ll need to make in order to be successful at a tradeshow. From booth space to printing costs, Symonds details each of the key expenses for this type of venture, as well as the potential ROI for both small and large businesses. It also includes several links to outside resources, including the YFS Magazine article 12 Tradeshow Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs.
What Do You Think?
With thorough research, the right first impression, and a clarified sales strategy, this week could be your most productive ever. But, what’s the use of more leads if your current sales process is still unorganized? Check out to see if a customer relationship management (CRM) software is the next logical step for your organization.
What keeps you motivated to sell? Let us know in the comments what you thought about our list, or if there are articles that we missed. We love to hear about your successes and how you’re improving your sales and customer management!