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Sales Blind2

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

One of the most common comments Sales VP’s make in speaking about their team is that they fail to ask for the order, or go in for “the close”.  Now I can hear some of you saying “close, no no no, we don’t do that in sales today”.  I don’t take that comment so literally, I think it refers to a scenario we all have seen, where there is an opportunity to move the process forward, or everything is in place, and rather than moving to implementation, both the seller and the buyer allow for creep, creating an ongoing cycle, rather than to the objectives set out at the start.  A condition I call “Sales Blind”.  The sale goes on and on, things look good, but never materialize, and then you discover another vendor won the opportunity.  I find this happens with a couple of types of reps, who are two side of the same coin.

The Forever Seller

First are those sales people who are really great at selling and love the discovery process to no end, literally.  They will reach out to anyone in the buying company to get the right answer, and the right people engaged in the process.  They ask questions that not only demonstrate their depth of knowledge of the subject, and at the same time get the prospect to think and rethink what they set out to buy and achieve.  They enjoy the process so much, completing the deal leads to their fun ending (till they start the next sale), and as a result at times it seems they make little effort to close the deal, as it will end their party.  Sounds absurd, but if you have managed many sales people, you have had one of these people on your team.  I had one, this was one of the best sales people I worked with, but would never take things to the last next step.  I was and am convinced that it was not a question of ability, but one of “the hunt being more fun than the kill”.  Being “Sales Blind” they are happy selling without regard for the outcome.

Relationship R-Us

The second is the hard core relationship seller.  I often ask groups of sales people what they want to do with new prospects they meet.  The ones who answer “create rapport” or “build a relationship”, fall in to this group.  Have you ever had someone on your team who was loved by the clients and prospects, yet continuously came up short at the end of the year?  This is them.  Relationships are great, but what they should doing for new prospects and clients is helping them achieve objectives, through that process they will also help their employer by generating revenue.

There is a Cure

The good news is that “Sales Blindness” is a curable condition.  Through active coaching and setting account/opportunity based milestones and timelines.  This will surface key barriers that the rep needs to eliminate and reestablish some deal vision.  Both these types of sellers have the requisite skills, they are just blinded a bit from seeing past a point, once you help them through that they are often your best reps and role models for other team members.

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No BS – Just Facts – Data and – How #Webinar0

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Wednesday, June 1st at 11:00 a.m. PT – 2:00 p.m. ET

No BS – Just the Facts, the Data and the How – Register Now!

We have all sat through webinars that talked about the abstracts of how others do this and do that, but were light on specifics. Not here, this webinar brings a real company, a real situation, warts, glory and all. We’ll go through step by steps with all involved and share how they were able to implement a plan, tools, and methodology and support that lead to:

  • Daily outbound dials per ADR increased 300% from 50 to 150 dials
  • Conversations through local presence increased 100% from 5 to 10 conversations
  • Meetings scheduled per week increased 200%.

Learn how Arctic Wolf Networks leveraged strategy, technology, data and professional development to increase productivity, opportunities and revenues. This webinar will examine which specific steps to follow in order to overcome common challenges facing SDRs and outbound teams.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • Align strategy and technology
  • Increase conversations by leveraging sales acceleration
  • Convert more conversations into qualified opportunities

Learn how combining InsideSales.com, the industry’s leading sales acceleration platform built on a predictive and prescriptive self-learning engine, and Renbor’s Proactive Prospecting Program, designed for SDR’s and outbound professionals, helped Arctic Wolf Networks get more at bats and improve their swing to get more hits.

Brian NeSmith, President and CEO of Arctic Wolf Networks
Gabe Larsen, Director of Sales Acceleration Services at InsideSales.com
Tibor Shanto, Principal at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

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Sales Manager Survival Guide – Book Review2

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

One of the great things in what I do is the opportunity to meet a range of thinkers and doers involved in sales and helping others sell better.  So when one of these people, in this case, David A. Brock writes a book on a critical subject like sales management, it is an opportunity to learn and share with others in my circle.  But when the subject is one you can relate because you have lived it, it is a bonus.

Sales Manager Survival Guide: Lessons From Sales’ Front Lines, is a book I wish I had way back when I was promoted from being territory rep to sales manager.  At the time I floundered to make the transition, and worked hard to understand the difference between selling and leading a sales team, a process and transition that would have considerably easier and more productive had I had the Sales Manager Survival Guide.

The book is laid out to help you succeed in the role.  Notice I said the role, not just if you are new to sales management, this book will help you whether you are new sales manager, or have the benefit of experience. In fact, the more years you’ve been doing it, the more you are likely to get out of this book, on first read, and beyond.

Starting with the key definitions and elements of the role.  A point that is often glossed over is not just that managing is different than selling, and that while your past experience and successes will help you, it is no longer about you doing it, it is about getting “things done through your people”.   As Dave highlights this is not about doing for them, or telling them, it is about getting things done through your team.  This clearly leads to a focus on coaching.

The book looks at this from the ground up, Dave avoids the trap of using “coaching” as a catch phrase for some many things talked about a lot, rarely done right.  Right up front he lets the reader know that “coaching is the highest leverage activity a manager can take to drive the performance of his people”.  From there he goes into great detail about the difference between managing and coaching.  Dave introduces introduce stats to help frame things, helps you to see the difference between coaching and the fact that coaching is ongoing not periodic.  I love the line “Coaching is a contact sport!  You can’t fake it.”  Too many do try and fake, or want to make it a genteel feel good exercise.  It is not it is about driving performance, and that requires contact, not a hit, but contact/connection between the coach and the rep whose performance you need to affect.

The book follows through looking at recruiting and onboarding, managing performance.  I love Part Six, the exploration of the Tactical side of success.  Sales is all about execution, and in this part Dave breaks it down in a way you can put in to practice right away; you will be able to apply this to your world, rather than having to apply your world to suit the methodology.

As a bonus, Dave concludes with a discussion of what manager need to understand about success in the role beyond impacting the performance of their team, and to improve manage and develop themselves, again, an ongoing process.

You can make the transition from front line sales to front line management, you can become a leader who develops great sellers, but that will not happen by osmosis, which seemed to be the plan when I was promoted.  Lucky for you, you won’t have to, you can succeed by embracing the steps, tools and practices presented by David Brock in Sales Manager Survival Guide.

Learn more and download sample chapters here.

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Salesman #Podcast0

I once again had the opportunity to sit down with Will Barron, which always leads to a great and informative conversation.  Take a look below, share your views, and visit his site to get input from other sales voices.

Don’t forget to add your two cents below.

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Seven Steps to Success for Sales Managers – Book Review0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

If sales and selling is the last of the black arts, then sales management lurks in its darkest corners. As with other aspects of sales, there is no shortage of advice, ensuring no shortage of fluff. So it is interesting to find a book that looks at the subject in a pragmatic way, and deliver specific things managers can put into practice that not only makes them better managers, but helps their team achieve the one thing they are paid to do, grow revenue. Seven Steps to Success for Sales Managers: A Strategic Guide to Creating a Winning Sales Team Through Collaboration, by Max F. Cates takes a look at the topic with a different set of filters.

Winning Teams

Max offers today’s sales manager a set of road tested strategies to build winning sales teams, starting with effective hiring techniques, through to team building and continuous improvement. Delivering a specific set of skills to manage modern sales forces successfully, to ignite the joy of selling and surpass sales objectives year after year. Many sales books will address similar topics, but Max adds the layer of joy that many in sales miss.

Max makes the case for why hiring is not an art but a science supported by quantification and documentation of candidate’s abilities rather than relying on the manager’s intuition. This “smart” recruiting can provide a pool of “known” candidates, increasing the likelihood of successful hires.
Once selected, Max looks at onboarding, development and coaching. I particularly like the concept viewing the successful sales team as an incubator for innovation, best practices and individual rep development. As well as how the “Unseen Team” can make or break a sales manager. The book explores steps to create buy-in from sales reps that help drive the manager’s goals and vision.

Coaching For Success

While most books of this sort focus on coaching, the book emphasizes sales coaching but spells out how to move from a sales coach to a real leader, a servant leader who has the confidence to lead through serving. All this supported by examples of organizations who have used servant leadership successfully, such as Southwest Airlines, to become leaders in their industry; included is a case study illustrating specifically how servant leadership works effectively in a sales team.

A favourite for me is he discussion about using performance metrics to inspire and motivate rather than micromanage. Illustrating the difference between “Aha moments” for the reps rather than the trap of “Gotcha” moments many performance metrics are reduced to.


While many books look at developing the team and individual members of the team, this book also provides readers with a game plan for self-development to increase sales managers’ effectiveness and promotability. This includes areas such as “mentally toughness”, visualizing success and how to develop EQ (emotional intelligence) and how to teach it to reps. An added bonus is the fact that Max does not ignore the realities of the “new sales force”, one made up of millennials and how their requirements overlap and differ from other members of the team.

Seven Steps to Success for Sales Managers, is a great read with plenty of practical and executable advice you and your team will continue to benefit from.

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Woed GAmes

The Word Games Of Sales0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

I have always said that success in sales is all about Execution – Everything else is just talk! And there is no shortage of talk in sales, believe me people in sales, and people around sales, the pundits, can talk some shit, not only is it funny and amusing (or sad) at times. People seem to go out of their way to mangle the language and meaning of words, and by extension the quality of their execution and sales success. Sometimes it is innocent and simple, just providing a quick smile, like when a sales person’s outbound voice mail message says “I am currently not available right now.” As opposed to currently tomorrow?

But other times the misuse of words can have specific impact on people’s actions and results. Here are some examples I encountered over the las few weeks.

Resources vs. Resourceful

I many sales organizations provide a lot of resources to their teams, CRM, apps that extend the functionality, all the resources they feel their teams need to succeed. But resources themselves are only a start, being resourceful has nothing to do with the resources available. In fact, some of the most resourceful sales people and organizations are those who don’t have the latest tools and gadgets at their fingertips. Some of these tools help automate necessary tasks, freeing up time for reps to do other important things, a good resource. Resourcefulness comes down to how sales people apply the freed up time to accelerate sales and results, not just make things easier. Resourceful speaks to what sales people without the resources do to deliver superior results to those that do.

Ambition vs. Drive

Many in sales talk about ambition, and many in sales do have ambition, often the ambition of using sales as entry to a company only to pursue other ambitions within that company, focusing all their resources on achieving that rather than closing sales. Drive goes to how the person views, plans and executes their sale. What are they willing to do to meet and exceed the buyers’ expectation, and bringing in sales that those who have only ambition fail to deliver. Ambition speaks to your outlook, while drive is about what you are willing to do to achieve those ambitions, the execution. Ambition without drive is good, but drive is what leads to execution, which leads to cash.

Imposing vs. Implementing

This is more from a management standpoint, where many believe that they are implementing a process or procedure, when in fact they are imposing things on their teams. This usually leads to lack of adoption, which fuels more actions by management that resemble imposition. While it is true that leaders need to make decisions, at time decisions that their teams may not always like, it is their job to create buy in. When you implement a new process, help the team understand why it is being introduce; and this goes beyond “we need to get more sales or prospects”. As with most things in sales, show them what’s in it for them, how they will benefit, how they should execute, and why it makes sense for them, your buyers and your company. Sure it is easier to impose, but there are better results when you properly implement. Not the least of which is continuous improvement in execution.

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Ways to Get More Leads, Sales and Customers0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Businesses always want to find more leads and turn them into customers.  If you know your products are amazing, your services solve a need in the marketplace, and can back up these claims, then you’re in good shape. Now it’s time to consider how you want to invest both your time and money into this endeavor. There are lots ways to get the ball rolling. Take a look at these ways to get more leads, sales and customers.

Search Engines

Search engine optimization tactics drive visitors to your website via organic search results. All someone does is type a few words into Google and it takes them to your business website – however, some strategies work to get them to your site better than others.

If you have a really good product or service, you probably have done the research. Next, you need to apply what you have learned to your marketing strategy and write content that will speak to those customers. Think about the questions your customers may have, and write a question and answer section to help your current and potential customers. Remember that questions should educate your audience.

As you select keywords, base your decision on research and relevance.  You want to choose keywords that will resonate with your readers to bring in the best traffic. As you place your external links, make sure you have a strategy.  Link to high quality content your readers will find helpful and compelling.

Last but not least: post frequently. It’s important to blog- companies that published 16 or more blog posts had nearly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published four or less posts, according to Hubspot.


Get out there and talk about your business to potential customers – it will act as a growth catalyst for your business.  Community engagement is not easy to beat. A human connection is powerful, even if it’s in the digital space.  Work hard to connect with online communities on forums and message boards– it’s a great way to forge powerful relationships. Meanwhile, it will help you acquire insight on industry trends, garner feedback on your products, and discover any community needs.

The relationships you foster come from conversations that allow you to build trust within the community. Show who you are, let others know you care, and always be genuine. These actions place you one step closer to more customers.

Social media

Similar to networking, focus on engagement to build a social media following. Ensure you interact with those inside — and also outside — of your circle. Remember to include links to your business website to make it simpler for your audience to find you and learn about you and see just what you have to offer.

If you haven’t yet, figure out how to create a social media automation strategy that works. Tools can help you get serious results and save you precious time — and time is something that you can’t afford to sacrifice.

There are a lot of options and helpful tools to help you get more leads, sales and customers. Make the very most of your available assets, track the strategies you implement, evaluate what works best, and then do it all again.

How have you successfully generated more leads – and turned those leads into conversions?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

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3 Things You Won’t Hear Great Sellers Say0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

It has always been said that to succeed you should follow and mimic those who excel. But given the popular 80/20 myth in sales, and the fact that less than 60% of B2B reps make quota, you may be challenged to find someone to imitate. Fear not, there is hope, just flip the coin and work on avoiding what the also-rans and duds do. As a mentor once told me, “you can make money with the worst stockbroker in the world, just take the opposite position to their recommendations”.

So as homage to him, let’s look at things you hear from the also-rans, then do the opposite and you will be executing like the 20% who are not in the office, because they are out kick butt.


I hear a lot of also rans, especially those who tell me they have “15 years of sales experience”. Over and over they tell me why something will Never work, why specific buyer will Never buy. Now they should know, mostly because they have Never really tried, perfect record: Never try = Never works. Better yet, when they say “I tried Once back in ’82, didn’t work, Never will.” As I tell people I work with, I can give them hundreds of reasons why something won’t work, but the job of a great sales person is to look for the ones that do. Talking about why it will never work, when that time could be spent executing, is something great sellers never do.

That’s how we’ve always done it

Almost as irritating as the first point, is when reps tell me they don’t want to try something because it is different than how they’ve always done it. You want to sell a prospect to change, either vendors or how they do things, but you are happy doing things the same way you always have. I can see this from reps who are improving performance every year, exceeding quota in the process, but when I hear it from reps who are missing quota consistently, it is hard not to laugh.

The one constant is change, the best sales people I know evolve with or ahead of the market, they go out of their way to update and upgrade their sales approach. As a result, the only always they get used to is winning.

Dream Client

A players are not dreamers. They have a clear understand of what the right prospect/client is, once defined they focus on pursuit. Dream clients are a nice concept, when writing about sales and selling, the term has a “Romantic” ring to it, but in the real world they serve more as a distraction.

The concept of a dream client also lays the ground work for future rationalization of missed quotas. I have had too many sales people talk to me about “Might Have Beens”, and how they “would have blown their target away had they got that dream client”. Better to have a clear understanding of who the right prospects, prepare a clear plan, and execute it. I have seen to many sales people’s years turn to nightmare because they were dreaming.

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I’m Touched – Just Not Sure By What4

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

I got an interesting e-mail last week that had me laughing and puzzled at the same time. It was from someone I had spoken to a total of once a few years back, it was all business, no personal aspect at all. At the time they were building a social selling tool, and wanted me to test drive it and ultimately promote it. I declined for no other reason than lack of time.

As you would know from previous posts, I find that at a high level you can split social selling proponents into two groups. Those who see it as part of an expanding tool kit. The others, who see it as a replacement for everything that was part of the tool kit, “new good, old bad”. The social world is vast and expanding, leading to a scenario where even those who preach “quality over quantity”, (you know is not a numbers game), fall into the trap of counting connection and followers as a measure of quality (or self worth).

I fully accept that many of the people who follow me or connect with me, are more likely connecting with the elements of my content that they identify with, not specifically with Tibor Shanto. I am flattered, honoured and pleased when someone I have never met or spoken with, endorses me on LinkedIn; the pattern is clear, they read a post, something resonates, or a technique I introduced creates a breakthrough, and as tip of the hat they endorse me. I can live with the fact that 99.9% of my followers and connections could not pick me out of a line up, and I suspect the sender of the e-mail falls into that category.

So imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail with the subject line:

“You are Unique Amongst My Relationships”

Wow, Unique, pretty cool, how many times has a friend said that to you, it would be heart warming. But wait, this is not a friend saying it, according to the subject line, I am a Relationship; hey, but still Unique, not bad eh. Unfortunately, I have about as much of a Relationship with this dude as I do with the milkman, and I haven’t had a milkman since 1969 in Montreal.

I kept reading, and I did graduate to friend, he writes:

“We are friends across multiple networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. I count you as one of my closer friends and my XYZ Sales App relationship manager confirms this and more about us.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I can tell who my friends are, and why, without the aid of a CRM.  Actually picking up the phone or sending a genuine e-mail once a year, rather than once a decade would go a lot further.

I say genuine, because he went on to says:

“I sent this email using our New XYZ Sales App Group Messaging, Templates. It helps me send templated group emails using my XXX@XYZ.com email account via gmail. My group emails look and feel like one-to-one personal conversations and XYZ even gives me signals on who opens and clicks.”

Nothing says you are “Unique” more than “group emails look and feel like one-to-one personal conversations”

I am truly touched, just not sure by what.

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Cover of Beyond Sales Process book by Dave Stein and Steve Andersen

Beyond the Sales Process – Book Review0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

When Dave Stein and Steve Andersen get together to write a book, you can bet it’s going to be something special, so when Beyond the Sales Process: 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World was released earlier this month, I took the opportunity to get a copy and see what these two sales performance heavyweights had to say. I was delighted and gratified to discover that it was not another flash-in-the-pan methodology-of-the-moment for salespeople to learn and toss aside. In this book, Dave and Steve articulate (with confidence and conviction) an approach that is clearly grounded in their combined, extensive understanding of what B2B customers want and value, and how they buy. Even better, every strategy they define can be applied almost immediately, because they also tell you how to execute each—a component that typical sales books often lack.

Specific and Actionable

Beyond the Sales Process is engaging and purposeful, prescribing specific actions, activities, and tactics for building a high-value relationship with your customers. You’ll encounter no ambiguity, no guesswork, and no gaps or lapses, as you join the authors on a comprehensive exploration of before, during, and after the sale, with “actionable awareness” (See Strategy 5) to be gained on every page.

Beyond the Sales Process doesn’t pander, presuming you know industry-specific terms and trendy acronyms, nor does it talk down to its audience, treating every reader as a beginner. You could be an up-and-comer or a seasoned expert—you’re going to learn something valuable about how to succeed in this post-recession, buyer-driven economy. And don’t skim over the nine case studies, where global leaders from a range of industries—and their customers—describe firsthand how they implement Engage/Win/Grow strategies and co-create value together. That level of insight about how stuff really works can be hard to come by—in Beyond the Sales Process, Dave and Steve have served it up in generous portions.

Comes with success built in

Are you absorbing and putting their strategies to work? At the end of each chapter, Dave and Steve provide no-nonsense diagnostics, so you can test yourself on where you are and where you need to go. (Ignore these questions at your own peril. If you can’t answer them, you’re likely to lose your customer and the deal.)

Looking at the “sales process” from a different perspective, this book urges readers  to leverage the time when your customer isn’t actively buying anything, to build trust before there’s a sales opportunity, and to build on your past proven value after the sale closes—and it tells you how to do it. Want to be included your customer’s long term plan? Beyond the Sales Process breaks down how to get there.

If you’re looking for tips, trips, and shortcuts, there are mountains of sales books that claim to have the magic bullet.  If you want to know how to build and execute a proven plan to engage, win, and grow a long-term relationship with your customers, read Beyond the Sales Process.

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