Do you need to understand a sales-related topic in more depth? Respected business thought-leaders and academics shine the light on current issues facing the global sales community.

They’re only words!

December 13th, 2019 by

In the digital era, perhaps more than ever before, it is becoming increasingly apparent to advertisers that they must carefully consider what vocabulary will most likely resonate with members of their target audiences in order to communicate effectively with them. Should salespeople be following this lead? Some ten years’ ago I authored a book featuring 52 separate selling skills.* One… 

Professional sales and the “differentiation conundrum”

December 12th, 2019 by

How salespeople can make a difference in helping their organisation stand-out from competitors, in ways that resonate with customers. In our book Value-ology (Kelly, Johnston and Danheiser 2017), we drew attention to Qvidian’s research that showed 58% of deals end up in no decision because the customer has not been convinced of the value being offered, which means your biggest… 

Spotlight on SPIN® Selling

December 12th, 2019 by

Following my initial two “Spotlight on…” articles on Sandler and Strategic Selling, I now want to turn my attention to another long-established, widely adopted and still-relevant sales methodology: SPIN® Selling from Huthwaite International. The concepts behind SPIN® were the result of extensive research by Neil Rackham and his colleagues into the patterns of success and failure in complex B2B sales…. 

Navigating choppy economic waters

September 10th, 2019 by

World-class sellers don’t expect success; they prepare for it. On the face of it, sellers appear to be on a winning streak. New figures from CSO Insights (the research division of Miller Heiman Group) reveal that, over the period 2017–19, sales organisations globally saw a 7% increase across both revenue and quota target attainment. However, before sales teams are too… 

Growing together (part 2)

September 10th, 2019 by

Following up on our previous article in last issue of IJST, we continue the discussion on how to best work with your strategic customers to help create joint solutions for growth. What do the best do differently to create joint solutions? Leading companies that excel at collaboratively creating value with their customers are not trying to do a thousand things… 

Research identifies three key sales competencies

September 10th, 2019 by

As B2B buying behaviour evolves, how can sales organisations adapt? This is the third of a series of articles in which Dr Simon Kelly, Dr Paul Johnston and Stacey Danheiser explore customer value and differentiation. In this article they offer an early view into their latest research around the roles and competencies required by salespeople to help their organisations differentiate… 

Spotlight on Strategic Selling

September 10th, 2019 by

In the previous edition of the International Journal of Sales Transformation, I summarised some of the key aspects of the Sandler Selling System. In the second of my series of articles on today’s leading sales methodologies, I want to turn to another long-established approach: Strategic Selling® from the Miller Heiman Group. The Strategic Selling methodology is particularly effective in complex… 

Growing together

June 25th, 2019 by

How to work with strategic customers to create joint solutions for growth. Article summary Persistent, disruptive forces impacting profitable growth are intensifying, and as a result, companies in many industries face slower growth and accelerating commoditization of product and service margins. Given marketplace complexity and dynamic shifts in how customers buy, traditional business models are threatened and new strategies and… 

Selling in a sea of sameness

June 25th, 2019 by

When your competitors are floating in a sea of sameness you need to make sure you are waving not drowning. In the second of a series of articles in which Dr Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston explore customer value and differentiation, they are joined by co-author Stacey Danheiser to ask: are you selling in a sea of sameness? In… 

Spotlight on Sandler

June 25th, 2019 by

In this, the first of a series of articles on sales methodologies, I want to turn the spotlight onto Sandler Selling. Introduced by the late David Sandler in 1967 as an antidote to conventional product-centric, hard-sales tactics, the approach aims to achieve a more equitable balance of power between the buyer and the seller. By emphasising rapport-building and empathy, and… 

Alliance sales: the third-generation sales model

March 21st, 2019 by

Alliances between organisations can be marriages made in heaven, or they can go horribly wrong…. When organisations are first formed, whether in garages in Silicon Valley or back bedrooms in Bangalore, the original founders use the first-generation sales model to grow the business. That is, they “sell to” people. They sell to fellow enthusiasts to convince them to join the… 

Transitioning from sales training to sales education

March 21st, 2019 by

As part of a wider professionalisation of the sales function, forward-looking companies are discovering the benefits of sales education as a way to equip their people to thrive in today’s complex and challenging business environment. Today’s business landscape is challenging in multiple ways: it’s super competitive; technology is forcing us to deal with change and adapt our go-to-market models at… 

Putting the value in value propositions

March 21st, 2019 by

This is the first of a series of articles in which the authors explore customer value and differentiation. In this article Dr Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston consider the importance of customer value and its criticality in building effective value propositions. They draw together their experience as marketing and sales practitioners, their recent academic and commercial research, and their… 

Which sales methodology is best for your organisation?

March 21st, 2019 by

There is a general recognition – backed by the latest research from CSO Insights and others – that sales organisations that have adopted a structured approach to selling consistently and often dramatically outperform their less-effective competitors. One of the key foundations of a structured approach to selling involves the adoption of an appropriate sales methodology. You might think of these… 

ABM: a foundation for partnership

December 18th, 2018 by

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses Account-based marketing (ABM), along with its all-embracing cousin “account-based everything”, have been touted by its promoters as a miracle cure capable of halting the precipitate decline in conventional marketing effectiveness – and derided by cynical detractors as just another over-hyped trend. As with most new(ish) trends, the reality is probably somewhere in between. The… 

SPIN Selling

December 18th, 2018 by

In this series of articles we look at some of the most popular sales methodologies. What’s the difference between a methodology and a process? In sales, the methodology is the application of general – possibly universal – principles to the way we approach a component of the sales cycle albeit that it may also be contextual. A process, in contrast,… 

Implementing KAM: 1

September 21st, 2018 by

Here we explore designing customer-centric processes for mutual growth. More than three decades of research and managerial practice have informed the development of a solid knowledge base for defining and planning key account management (KAM). Executives attending our KAM training programmes and commissioning consulting interventions tell us time and time again that the crucial challenge is the implementation of KAM…. 

Sales enablement and the performance gap

September 12th, 2018 by

The primary goal of sales enablement must surely be to increase sales effectiveness by progressively reducing the performance gap between our best sales people and the rest, measured by revenue and other tangible metrics. But it seems to me that a number of sales enablement programmes (typically the less successful ones) have made insufficient efforts to understand the winning behaviours… 

Opportunity coaching for fun and profit

May 17th, 2018 by

You’ll notice a number of articles elsewhere in this edition on the subject of coaching. I want to use this short piece to focus on an area that has become a particular interest of mine: using coaching techniques to help our salespeople develop more effective opportunity strategies. I’ve observed organisations that do a particularly effective job of opportunity coaching, viewed… 

Moving customers beyond bias

March 26th, 2018 by

SAP’s D&I strategy seeks to build a more inclusive workforce and better business results. SAP is in an industry where the pace of innovation separates the winners from the losers, and a greater variety of insights and experiences leads to new ideas and innovations. We recognised this need and embarked on a strategy to ensure we were drawing on and…