— by Jim Hayden

The key to a successful B2B business is the discipline of an effective sales process that replicates success.  A core theme of Altus partner Jim Hayden’s and his book (….The Art of the Selling Conversation) is the choreography around the selling conversation and building that into a disciplined process which the Sandler Institute, Salesforce.com and many others all agree will improve close rates by more than 50%. From several client engagements, we have seen lift improve by over 65% and millions in new acquisition revenue generated simply by incorporating the principles below:

  • Collect more sales data. Remove the guesswork and intuition about your pipeline, vertical market adoption, and sales people. Make every element of the sales process quantifiable. Detailed analysis comparing where and how leads start, what messaging is used, to whom, and by whom will uncover differences that can be replicated and honed for higher conversion and faster buying cycles.
  • Shared and common language. Rally the entire company behind a clear and focused dialog around customers, the sales process and revenue generation. Transparency around clear revenue traction keeps the entire team customer-focused creating lifetime advocates.
  • Precise pipeline stages. Avoid pipeline reviews where forecasting is grounded in the team’s opinions vs. definitions identifying the specific steps in the buying cycle. Knowing where you are and what helps drive the prospect through a smooth and logical process that the prospect will both respect and close faster.
  • Mapping sales tools to stages. Knowing what to say and when, is all part of the art of sales. Mapping collateral and tools at each stage can make the process more consistent and scalable to a broader team.
  • Guided Listening. Listening skills are obviously core to sales success. However, knowing the path of least friction based on prior account closes will help guide the conversation through process you know yields the fasted path to closure. Prospects know their pain but often need your help in shaping the sequence of each step and corresponding stakeholder’s to close.

Building these fundamentals into a systematic and repeatable process will not only improve close rates, it will shorten sales cycles, help diagnose troubled stages, improve team onboarding, and increase customer satisfaction. Don’t follow your gut, follow a proven process.


Hiring The Right Sales Leader(ship)

November 10, 2015

After the CEO, the next critical hire in an earlier stage company is the sales leader. Making a right hire at the right time enables a company to optimize top line revenue. Failing to make a stage appropriate decision or making a wrong hire can be devastating. Hiring the right sales leader is consistently rated […]

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5 Immutable Laws to Cloud Channel Success

October 25, 2015

Reseller programs are designed to create leverage and scalability. The trick is building one that works. Cloud, especially SaaS, has redefined the fundamentals of building successful channel programs. The obstacles to success are the same but can be overcome with a few fundamentals: First things First Quality vs. Quantity Good Things Take Time Treat Them […]

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Six Steps to Choosing the Right Target Audience and Increasing Sales

October 15, 2015

Choosing the right target audience may seem obvious, but many companies rush through it because “everyone can use the product” or the focus becomes the equally generic “CEO’s in Financial Services”. However, taking a more detailed approach and doing the research is probably the critical step in a successful sales campaign. We suggest considering the […]

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The Nightmare of “Ready Fire Aim”

September 25, 2015

The phrase “Ready, Fire, Aim” (as opposed to the traditional “Ready, Aim, Fire”) seems to be all the rage now. Do a Google search and there are over 29 million entries. A best-selling book (by Michael Masterson, a highly successful entrepreneur) carries the title. Aggressive start-up CEO’s seeking top performers weed out anyone with the […]

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Success Factors for Selling Into Healthcare

September 15, 2015

Launching a venture into healthcare is often considered “high risk, high reward.” A solid foundation can take some risk out of your sales model and improve the chances of achieving a big reward. Because healthcare has never been the earliest adopter of broad-based IT products, there remain many great opportunities within the sector. Entrepreneurs that […]

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5 (Hundred Million) Reasons to Look to Europe to Grow Your Sales

August 27, 2015

You work hard every day to sell and deliver great products and services. Your customers love you and investors wax optimistically about your future. Every quarter, you do more, better, and faster. Could you still be missing out on an important opportunity to increase profitability and enterprise value? The marketplace is globalised and increasingly competitive. […]

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What and Who to Look For When Hiring a Sales Executive

August 2, 2015

The reality of every early-stage company is that there comes a time when you have to acknowledge the fact that your company needs a sales leader, and it’s no longer you. My assumption is that you’re a founder, or you’ve been brought in to “gently” take the company from the hands of the founder. But, […]

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9 Steps to a Successful First CRM

July 7, 2015

Sooner or later, any group selling a product is going to need to adopt tools to consolidate the data and track/manage the sales process. This usually means a CRM system. When to implement a CRM system really depends on a number of factors, like the number of prospects and customers, the number of sales people, […]

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Hurry, Don’t Rush

June 4, 2015

Did you ever go hiking into remote wilderness areas? Remember the urgency in packing your gear, leaving early, and getting out on the trail? Experienced hikers know that hurrying is ok, but rushing can be dangerous. Less well known is that similar dangers apply when a company is identifying target market segments and planning how […]

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