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back to article Timeless principles of sales

When I first moved into software sales about 20 years ago, my then boss gave me a book to read called How I raised myself from failure to success in selling. It was written by Frank Bettger, a former baseball player who had quit the sport due to injury and found a new career as an insurance salesman. It could have been really …

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FAIL

Also...

... it would be rather good if Sales teams had a clue what delivery teams can actually deliver rather than just stooping to take the customer's member at any cost to get their commission/bonus.

It's always a great feeling to be in a new account, in a day one firefight because the idiots doing the selling were clueless. On the plus side having been involved in 6 or 7 "rescue missions" in the last 5 years, now I'm feeling a bit like Red Adair.

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Sales Principles for the Lazy

I took many sales training courses and read many books back in my days as a salesman at ComputerLand. Then one day my boss and I were talking about a new research finding he just read. It claimed that salesmen have a basic "comfort level," they work at a fixed level of effort and their sales figures hovered around a specific number and did not vary much. You can motivate a salesman or improve results with training and motivational support, but the improved sales results are temporary. The salesman will gradually return to his old level of effort.

My boss figured the only solution to this was to add sales support to the rainmakers, so his immediate response was to hire sales coordinators and secretaries for his top salesmen. If the top sales guys were closers, let the coordinators do the research and come up with quotes and offers for cross-sells, upsells, etc.

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Megaphone

not all CRMs were created equal

Take the open source alternative, vTiger. The slowest, buggiest, least helpful piece of software ever written. The obvious lack of respect and basic human dignity that their programmers show towards the user base (just read any thread on their forum) is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever seen in my life.

It's packed to the rafters were features that don't work or aren't useful, and every update breaks at least 50% of these, introducing in their place a new collection of half baked features. You'll be reaching for the Valium with both hands.

Take a peek at the database behind it and you'll be horrified beyond belief at the sprawling incoherent redundancy. Hundreds of tables of it. It's so relentlessly awful that you'll want to gouge out your eyes with a loaded shotgun.

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Tail wagging dog

Frank Bettger was a failure as an insurance agent and lived out his later years in poverty. His mentor was that other failure as a salesman Dale Carnegie. Their only success was in that leech of an industry - the self-improvement book.

If he needed analytics to suss that most sales came in early calls that explains why to a degree.

Analysing everything down to the nth degree just loses everyone in a flood of stats and mashups and eats up a load of time in data input that could be better spent elsewhere. Business sales support analytics needs to focus on whats important - most CRM systems fail because those who bring them in come to see them as the end rather than the means.

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