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SPIF Tip #29: How Operational Excellence Solves Sales and Marketing Problems

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worker-with-doubts_1012-193I attended a monthly

meeting of the Executive Sales and Marketing Association of Atlanta’s recently. Several executives there lamented about the difficulties of sales prospecting these days. One mentioned his company’s salespeople had to make more than 500 phone calls to find one viable prospect. Others concurred. Once they had a prospect, a thirty or forty percent close ratio reduced the odds that much further. Boy, did that bring back memories.

SPIF Tip #28: Can You Solve This Sales and Marketing Problem?

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BartenderBusinesses are more

complex than they appear to be on the surface, especially in sales and marketing. For example, consider Frank, the proprietor of a neighborhood saloon. Frank wants to sell more drinks. He figures more single men would patronize his establishment if there were more single women there. How to make that happen? Simple. Offer half-priced drinks to women on “Lady’s Night.” Problem solved, right?

SPIF Tip #27: Does increasing revenue mean the sales department is doing a good job?

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Boats

At some time,

most companies find themselves in a “rising tide” market. The sales and marketing team is working like crazy and revenues are growing. Things seem to be working as they should be. Often unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because most companies’ sales and marketing are in a “Tribal Knowledge” state. It’s not that they are wearing war paint or dancing wildly. It’s that the sales tribe has a different language and priorities than the marketing tribe, or the Chicago district works far differently than the New York district.

SPIF Tip #26: Reason Cures Stagnant Sales Productivity

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26Recent sales productivity

research attempts to provide insights to help companies improve. It points out the “stark disconnects between what management sees/does and what reps want/need.”

SPIF Tip 25: When can you consider that your sales process is developed enough?

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25Any process could be

“developed enough”if it is achieving the desired objectives. Unfortunately, although our desires are limitless, our resources and capacities are not. That’s why we almost always want things to improve. When people say things like “We need a process,” or “We need to follow the process,” they mean they want things to improve.

SPIF Tips #24: Why Sales Incentives Can’t Improve Your Firm’s Sales Performance

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carrot-stick-motivation-1Does the following situation resemble your sales team?[1]

In the early 1970’s Israeli air force had a problem with instructors behaving abusively toward student pilots. A psychologist was hired to investigate. The instructors told him the performance of their students went up after criticism, and down after they were praised.

On learning the data confirmed these results, the psychologist gave up and went on to other things, chagrined and troubled.

SPIF Tip #23: Is There a Spiritual Dimension to Lean?

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aspirationMy answer is, “And how!”

Lean isn’t always thought of as spiritual or aspirational, but it should be.  Here is a (shortened and paraphrased) comment on a recent post from Michael Ballé at Lean.org that got me going on this. The commenter said:

SPIF Tip #22: What Mark Twain Teaches About Systems Thinking in Sales

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jAs a veteran of sales

campaigns in hundreds of companies for more than 30 years, I have seen sites of sure-fire campaigns go down in flames. I offer you this quote from Mark Twain, which explains the problem perfectly:

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. That’s what will do you in.”

SPIF Tip #21: Why Improving Sales Can Be Counter-Intuitive

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cobra-snake-7Imagine you are a British

official in Delhi, India during the time of British rule. One of your problems is too many people being bitten and dying from venomous cobra snakes indigenous to the area. What can you do? Answer:

SPIF Tip #20: Sales is Not Just What Salespeople Do

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birth-of-a-salesman-imageThe selling of products was once

done mainly by traveling salesmen (yes, they were usually men in the early days), presenting their wares personally to customers. This was the case whether those customers were housewives needing carpet cleaners or company presidents needing machine tools. Selling directly worked, but it was expensive. Therefore, companies began experimenting with catalogs, direct mail, and advertisements in newspapers and magazines. They learned that these techniques could often work as well. Although it required knowledge and writing skills somewhat different from those of the salesperson, it required the same insight into the customer’s wants and needs.