How to Perfect Inside Sales Handoffs

Inside sales handoffs between reps are critical in an Inside Sales team. When the baton is dropped at the handoff, deals slip before they close and customers have poor experiences, leading to churn and missed opportunity. But creating an airtight flow from marketing to business development to account executives to customer success results in happy, satisfied customers and fast sales cycles. Creating this quick-flowing sales process is the goal of every sales leader, but actually achieving it is a huge challenge to most teams, especially when they experience serious growth. It’s common to see otherwise successful sales organizations fall into the trap of turning their managers into drill sergeants. Here’s how to avoid letting it happen to you.
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Why Modern Selling Needs More Rally, Less NASCAR

NASCAR is up there with apple pie and country music as one of the most uniquely American things around. In Europe, they don’t care quite as much as Americans do about NASCAR.

But they do love rally racing.

In NASCAR, cars are optimized to race in a circle as fast as possible, over and over. There is only one route to the finish. In rally, the route has twists and turns and may not be revealed to the competitors until the day of the race. NASCAR is highly predictable, and a huge amount of work goes into preparing and optimizing along a very narrow scope of possible situations. There is only one way to go: Left.

Rallying, on the other hand, requires both a driver and a navigator to think creatively and react to a huge variety of situations to make it to the finish line. Teams get very creative with how they get from point A to point B.

The sales world could learn a lot from the world of rally racing.
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Four Focus Areas to Win in H2

The first half of 2015 is complete, posing a challenge and an opportunity. For those of us in sales, this is a key time to evaluate our work and make adjustments that can take our operations to the next level. As businesses prepare for the second half of the year, here are four focus areas to set your sales organization up for a stellar H2.
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Four Successful Sales Teams Later, Here’s How to Build Yours

Building a sales team is one of the hardest challenges and most important steps to get right for startups looking to scale up their business. It certainly doesn’t come naturally to the average engineer cofounder. But an excellent sales team can make the difference between achieving hyper-growth and having to fight tooth and nail to capture marketshare. Over the course of my career, I’ve scaled up sales teams at three hugely successful startups, and I’m working on my fourth. Every team is different. But I’ve put together the following fundamentals which can help anyone create a cohesive team capable of building a large roster of satisfied customers in today’s digital world. Even if your sales team is already in place, these considerations will help you maximize their effectiveness and continue to grow quickly.
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Why CEOs Are Hiring Listeners, Not Talkers

The rise of the information economy poses serious questions to the conventional methods of driving a sale, and in the years since we started Datahug, the changes have accelerated. The primary concern of the sales community of late has been the viability of the B2B sales rep in the face of what SiriusDecisions refers to as “disintermediation by digital buying behaviors”. The huge availability of information from peers and industry sources on just about every technology available means that buyers are changing the way they make purchase decisions. A fear exists in the industry that buyers are beginning to educate themselves on products long before ever talking to a sales rep, and that this shift may cut the sales rep out of the purchasing process entirely. But as the findings from SirusDecision’s 2015 B2B Buyer Study revealed, this fear is unfounded. Buyers still interact with sales reps at every step of the purchasing process, just in different ways than they have in the past. So what does this mean for a CEO building a sales team?
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Three Remedies For a Long Sales Cycle

Every member in a sales organization fears the stagnation of a drawn-out sales cycle. Leads wallow in an uncertain purgatory between qualification and close. Prospects may seem convinced one day, and unresponsive the next. Deals wither on the vine, and reps miss their quotas. If you’ve been at a company where this is taking place, you know it’s a poor time for morale. Sales cycle length is one of the most important barometers of success and sources of insight for a team. Luckily, there are a few jumpstart methods to shorten your sales cycle. There’s no silver bullet, but these steps will ensure you’re putting your team in position to succeed.
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Why I Stopped Questioning My Team’s Sales Forecasts

As a CEO, I feel pressure every board meeting to deliver an accurate sales forecast. I often find myself transferring this pressure for forecast precision to my VPs. They in turn place the same pressure on their sales managers. Almost all sales organizations suffer from this downward motion. By the time this momentum of priority gets all the way down the chain to the sales reps, they get pulled off their accounts and into deal review meetings for entire days to interrogate close dates and guess pipeline stages.
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How to Find and Use Sales Data

The advent of “big data” has placed pressure on every department in every company to find ways to objectively measure and improve their performance. For sales teams, this means quantifying a notoriously hard-to-measure process. In my last blog post, I explained why sales operations managers must take charge of this initiative. The steps below explain how they can pull it off successfully:
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Sales Ops Must Lead the Charge Toward Data-Driven Sales

Everyone in business is talking about data. According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. In some industries like advertising and supply chain management, data science has already provided billions of dollars in value and tossed the conventional wisdom overboard in the process. Sales departments have been slower to find valuable data. But the pieces are in place for a data revolution in sales. It’s up to Sales Operations professionals to pull their companies behind them toward data-driven comeuppance.
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How Inside Sales Teams Can Leverage the Human Connection

In the days where sales were negotiated face-to-face, most sales wisdom focused on leveraging personality to establish a rapport with a customer. But in modern sales, technology has largely gotten in the way of good old fashioned people skills. CRM, email automators, even the structure of our teams all make it more difficult to build a human connection with a customer. But the best inside sales teams are finding ways to leverage a human connection in spite of the challenges.

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