Dear New Business Owner: Welcome To Sales!

It’s a very exciting time. As a new business owner, you have spent the past several months preparing to launch your new company. You’ve written your business plan, consulted with an attorney, accountant, banker, etc., obtained your LLC, had your logo, business cards and brochure designed and printed, and your web site is ready to go live.

Now it’s time for the fun to begin … it’s time to announce your arrival, and go sell something. So, who is responsible for sales in your bright shining new business? Oh … that’s probably you, isn’t it? With all of your hard work and preparation up to this point, how much time have you devoted to sales training to help prepare you to successfully sell your product or service? Continue reading…

Improve Results in a Recovery-Based Economy

The economic indicators during the past couple of weeks have given us eternal optimist’s a glimmer of hope that the recession has finally run its course, and the worst is now behind us.

Although we should continue to proceed with caution until all signs clearly point to the north, there are some things you can do and should be doing now to improve your business results in the recovery-based economy that is ahead of us. Continue reading…

Keys to Building High-Performing Sales Teams

Globalization, mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and bankruptcies have collectively turned our economy and traditional business models upside down. However, despite the churn, despite all of the complexities and changes that we have seen to our business ecosystem, there still exists one simple, basic business truth; “nothing happens until somebody sells something”.

The sales organization is the most important resource for any business, and your sales people are still the vital life-line to the customer. For any company that wants to achieve accelerated business growth and profits, building a high-performing sales team is absolutely crucial to that success. Continue reading…

Growing Your Business With Partners

Building strong alliances and partnerships with both industry and local partners should be a high priority for any business that wants to rapidly expand its customer base, its products and services portfolio, and dramatically improve sales and profits. There are numerous benefits to selling with and through partners. Here are some of the more significant benefits:

  • Receive generous commissions on products and services sales
  • Gain access to leading products, services and business building tools
  • Receive training and support from branded products and services companies
  • Obtain free sales and marketing tools to help you identify new revenue sources
  • Strengthen your brand through business relationships with high profile partners
  • Expand your market reach without major investments in advertising and marketing
  • Extend your value proposition by offering a broader array of products and services Continue reading…

Make Marketing Your Business a Top Priority

Where does improving the results from your advertising, sales and marketing rank on your company’s “bucket list”? If it is not one of your top priorities for 2009 and beyond, then you are putting the business at risk!

The first words I hear from business owners these days are “I don’t have any money to invest in marketing the business right now”. And my standard response has become … well, should we start talking about an exit strategy then? The bottom-line is this, if you are not investing in advertising, sales and marketing to grow your business, the business will not be successful. Continue reading…

Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 2

In “Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 1”, I covered some of the basics of how to get started in positioning your company as a leader in your industry. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks. At this point, you have completed a competitive analysis, a customer assessment, compiled your list of JVs and partners, and received expert advice on how to integrate social media marketing into your overall business plans.

So, what’s next?

Identify your leadership target(s). What do you want to be known for, or a leader in? And what are your recognized strengths that can be leveraged as a competitive advantage? Are you perceived as an innovator or technology leader? Do you offer superior products or services? Is your company recognized for quality or operational excellence – i.e. Six Sigma, ISO 9001? Do customers rank your company’s service ahead of the competition?

Does your company receive high praise from its employees as a great place to work, or from the community at-large for its charitable donations and volunteer work? Select your leadership target(s) carefully, and make sure they are in alignment with how the market perceives your business today. Continue reading…

Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 1

“If you’re not the lead dog on the sled, the scenery never changes.”

The same thing is true in business, isn’t it? Unfortunately, there can only be one market share leader in any given business segment, but there are other ways to become a leader in your market niche. So, where do you start if you’re not a leader today?

Know the competition. Learn all you can about their products and services, who they are selling to, and how they price, advertise, promote and market their offers. Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the author of Competitive Advantage, stated that “A firm differentiates itself from its competitors if it can be unique at something that is valuable to buyers.”

Once you have completed a thorough competitive analysis you can then identify the key areas of differentiation, and begin to communicate your competitive advantages to the outside world in a way that is compelling and entices prospects to buy from you.

Know your customers. Why are your customers buying from you, and what do they like and dislike about your business? Continue reading…

Where Have All The Sales Leaders Gone?

Has sales leadership become a lost art? I hear all the rhetoric about how marketing has replaced selling, and that consumers are now much more educated and informed as a result of the Internet. But have consumers become more sophisticated out of necessity because so many companies they do business with have poorly trained sales staffs?

I know I am biased on this subject. I was blessed to have received nine months (yes you read that correctly) of intense sales training at AT&T’s National Sales School, and received a world class training experience. At that time, there were a number of companies who had similar outstanding sales training programs including IBM, Xerox and Proctor & Gamble to mention a few. And all of these companies were also recognized as the market leaders in their respective industries. Is there a direct correlation here? Continue reading…