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    B2B Sales Benchmarks Expose Best and Worst Customer Conversion Channels [Infographic]

    By Emma Snider

    diamond_and_coal

    If you're a sales or marketing leader, you've probably just wrapped up strategy planning for 2015 (or you might still be in the thick of it if time hasn't been on your side. No judgment -- I've been there.) But a new infographic from Implisit which reveals the most and least effective channels for customer conversion might prompt you to crack the newly approved plans open once more and make a few revisions.

    For instance, if you intend on finding customers through events and purchased lead lists in the new year, you might want to think again. These channels had the lowest lead to conversion rate of 14 options. On the opposite end of the spectrum were Facebook and Twitter, company website, and referrals, the last of which blew all other channels out of the water with 3.63% of leads converting to customers. These same avenues were also far more likely to result in closed-won ... Read More

    The Single Most Important Tactic for Making Your 2015 Sales Target

    By Mark Roberge

    I believe that effective sales coaching is the most important driver of productivity within a sales organization, and therefore, it’s the most important aspect of a sales manager’s job.

    Sounds obvious, right? There is no shortage of content on why sales coaching is critical, and how to become better at it. But despite this, the practice isn’t a priority for most managers.

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    7 Sales Phrases to Stop Using ASAP [Infographic]

    By Emma Snider

    Trust me, we all say the wrong thing at some point. And obviously, it doesn't make you feel good. That's why you should research the common language pitfalls salespeople can fall prey to. Once you do that, your sales calls will be no problem at all.

    Did you enjoy reading that intro? I certainly didn't enjoy writing it. Why? It's peppered with clichéd, wishy-washy, and borderline offensive language.

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    How to Earn the Right to Talk About Your Product or Service

    By John Holland

    Imagine you’ve applied for a job and you're called in for an interview. In the meeting, the interviewer gives you the choice of first hearing about the job or talking about your background and experience.

    I hope you’d agree the interview would go better if you heard about the position and requirements the company felt were necessary before explaining your qualifications.

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    3 Tips for Anybody Who Works in Sales

    By Gary Vaynerchuk

    At the end of the day, everybody in business is selling something. In my case it started with wine, and I was damn good at it. You could be selling real-estate, or B2B services, or baseball cards, but at the end of the day all of these things hold true.

    What You Should Never Do

    As a salesman, the number one thing that you should avoid is over-valuing the sale in front of you to the detriment of the sale behind it.

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    A Visual Introduction to Customer Lifetime Value [Infographic]

    By Emma Snider

    All customers are not created equal. Sure, you might like some more than others, but that doesn't mean they're your best clients. Sales comes down to revenue and ROI -- so how can sales leaders objectively determine which customers are most valuable?

    Through a customer lifetime value (CLV) analysis. It's true that calculating CLV isn't a cake walk -- inaccurate data, confusing metrics, and inadequate technology can block the path.

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    What Sales Reps Should Do in the First 30 Days of 2015

    By Emma Snider

    You just closed out Q4. 2014 is over, and you blew it out of the water. But before you have a minute to relax …

    The new year starts. You get a brand new goal for 2015 -- and it’s significantly higher than last year’s. A few weeks ago, your annual quota was met (and then some). But now, you’re back at square one. Time to do it all over again.

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    Sales Compensation Plan Design: Where to Start?

    By Mark Donnolo

    What happens when your sales leadership team takes a hard look at its sales compensation plan? Do they talk with their calculators? Is a spreadsheet the primary conversation piece?

    Too often, executives and managers either take a gut feel or an overly analytical approach to sales compensation design. Think about what happens at a sales compensation meeting.

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    A Scorecard to Perform a Sales Team Assessment

    By Matthew Cook

    Managing salespeople is a difficult job. From understanding their pipeline and key metrics to recruiting, hiring, and firing, a sales manager has a lot on their plate. One of the biggest sources of turnover and missed opportunity comes from a lack of understanding of what each sales person is doing well and what activities they are doing poorly. 

    An important aspect of sales management is making sure that all sales people are measured on the same things. This is the only way an organization can make decisions on who to keep and who to let go. Having benchmarks also set standards for new and existing sales people and clearly communicates expectations from the entire sales organization.

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    How to Get Sales Reps to Adopt a CRM System in Record Time

    By Emma Snider

    "Adoption" is almost a dirty word in the CRM world. While CRM systems provide visibility into deals and the customer lifecycle, sales reps often regard them as hurdles to active selling time. And this makes CRM adoption on par with pulling teeth. Many a sales leader has uttered this word accompanied with a woeful sigh. 

    But it doesn't have to be this way.

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    What Sales Teams Can Learn From the Washington Wizards

    By Jason Richman

    In 2009, the Washington Wizards completed one of their worst seasons in the franchise's past 50 years. But since then, the professional basketball team has undergone a complete transformation. Last year, they made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and they're currently in second place in the Eastern Conference.  

    Being in sales, I'm always interested in how miraculous turnarounds are achieved.

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    The Ultimate List of Words That Sell

    By Emma Snider

    The pen is mightier than the sword. Which is good, because you probably don't want to threaten prospects into buying at sword-point.

    As the primary "weapons" to convert prospects into customers, words are incredibly important to salespeople. How sales reps deliver their messages and converse with contacts can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a conversation.

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    How to Get Through a Sales Rough Patch [SlideShare]

    By Emma Snider

    Sales is a profession that lends itself to highs and lows. Scored a huge deal? You're feeling on top of the world. Empty pipeline with the end of the month staring you in the face and quota still out of reach? Cue up that "Sad Rainy Day Blues" playlist.

    You can comfort yourself by keeping in mind that the bad times will pass. But if you'd like to be a bit more proactive about breaking your slump, check out this SlideShare from MailLands Technologies.

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    How and When to Hire Your First Sales Rep

    By Chase Norfleet

    A company starts with an idea and a founder. As the idea gets nurtured and fleshed out, developers and marketers come on board to bring it to life. Eventually, what was once a glimmer in a visionary’s eye is now a real product, ready to be sold.

    But who’s going to sell it? In my experience, a company’s first sales hire is usually a marketing and/or sales executive tasked with building demand from the start. But eventually, a dedicated sales rep will become a necessity.

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    10 Sales Trends That Defined 2014

    By Emma Snider

    The end of the year presents a unique vantage point -- a perfect time to look both forward and backward. That is, if you have time to look up at all in the mad dash to make your annual goal.

    With 2014 almost behind us, we asked sales experts to weigh in on what they thought were the top sales trends of the year. Take a minute to read through the list and judge your company's performance against these developments.

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    5 Essential Components of a Sales Development Process

    By Fergal Glynn

    Sales development is the process of warming up leads or prospects and readying them for the eventual buying decision. When sales development is used effectively, prospects are primed for decision-making when they’re handed over to sales closers, making the close of the deal easier to achieve.

    “Simply stated, the function of sales is to sell directly to the end customer.

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    How to Turn Around a Damaged Sales Culture

    By Ed Marsh

    Revenue is stagnant, margins are compressed, management’s yelling, and the sales team is moping. What a drag. Nothing aside from a full out financial crisis has as deleterious effect on a company's vitality & viability as a damaged sales culture.

    The problem is that normally amidst that maelstrom everyone’s just strapped in -- and it’s hard to step outside, leaving emotion behind, to view the situation dispassionately. But that’s exactly what's required to begin the repair.

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    The Hidden Cost of Multitasking [Infographic]

    By Emma Snider

    Monday morning. You sit down with a large cup of coffee, open your inbox, and start tackling the first email. You're almost ready to hit send when --

    Your phone rings. Midway through the call -- 

    Your boss comes over and asks you to take on a time-sensitive task. You get started on it and --

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    A Little Effort Goes a Long Way With Sales Emails

    By Megan Tonzi

    Bad sales emails are like gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe: You think you’ve scraped it all off ... until the next day, when you realize your shoe is still sticky. It just doesn’t go away, and neither do poor sales emails -- they seem especially endless this time of the year. 

    The other week, I received a sales email in the morning. The first line asked if I was the correct person to speak with, the second line was their sales pitch, and the third was, “Hey, let’s schedule a time to chat. And if you’re not the right person, who is?”

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    5 One-Line Responses to "It's Not a Good Time"

    By Emma Snider

    At some point in their lives, everyone has said, "Now's just not a good time." Whether that was indeed the truth is a different story. 

    There are many reasons prospects raise timing objections to salespeople. Maybe it's really because taking on the implementation of a new product or service would make more sense in six months, or a year.

    But often, a timing objection masks other problems.

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    8 Signs Your Prospect Isn't Going to Buy

    By Emma Snider

    Salespeople might appear to have unlimited patience, but they don't have unlimited time. Knowing when to abandon a deal or disqualify a prospect and move on is an incredibly important sales skill.

    But it can be hard to tell the difference between a prospect who isn't going to buy now vs. one who isn't going to buy ever. Spending additional time on the first buyer would be in both parties' best interest, while spending more time on the second is a time suck for seller and buyer.

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    How to Equip Your Sales Team to Sell on Social

    By Rachael O'Higgins

    Social has traditionally been viewed as a great way to engage and delight customers post-sales, and as a super useful set of customer service tools. Smart organisations, however, have realised that it is an increasingly important lead source for the sales team. 

    Are your salespeople taking full advantage of the opportunity that social presents to close more deals faster? Have you equipped them with the knowledge and tools they need to reap the real benefits that many organisations -- possibly even your competitors -- haven’t figured out yet?

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    Inbound Selling Has Evolved. Have You?

    By Dan Tyre

    When we started calling on inbound leads in 2009, prospecting was a little awkward. After we received an inbound lead, we would pick up the phone, introduce ourselves, and start explaining HubSpot. Talk about old school. Show up and throw up.

    That is until Katharine Derum, one of the first 40 employees of HubSpot, came up with one of the seminal changes in inbound sales.

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    How to Close a Sale in 5 Steps [Infographic]

    By Emma Snider

    Sales is definitely part science, but it's not rocket science. If reps adopt effective processes, it becomes much easier to prospect, qualify, and sign new buyers.

    Closing sometimes seems like the most mysterious of all sales activities. Some reps are great at it, and others ... not so much. But just like anything else, a large portion of the fear can be dissipated with a solid procedure.

    This infographic from Refresh presents a five-step approach to closing sales leads, complete with data on why each action is necessary and effective.

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    Sales Motivational Posters Updated for the Internet Age

    By Emma Snider

    Remember those tacky motivational posters from the 1980s, with a single world on them (ex: "Courage," "Achievement," etc.), and then a picture of a majestic tree, or a running cheetah? They once adorned office hallways, but now they're more likely to be found in a hipster's Brooklyn apartment. Tres ironic.

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    How to Make Every Sales Touch Count

    By Andy Paul

    If you want to amp up your sales in 2015, it is absolutely essential to make each and every sales touch count. 

    This may seem like obvious advice, but it is wisdom too many salespeople overlook. Your buyers are busier than ever which means they have less time to pay attention to you. This puts the pressure on you to be 100% certain you will make interactions worth the prospect's time.

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    17 New Year's Resolutions for Salespeople in 2015

    By Dan Waldschmidt

    Sales needs an overhaul. Frankly, the entire selling process needs to change. 

    Despite the sensationalism around recent trends in buyer behavior, buying and selling is pretty much the same now as it was 5,000 years ago -- those who want pay those who have. It’s just that simple. And regardless of the next evolution in buyer behavior, most of that won’t change.

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    How to Close a Deal Without Customer References

    By Chase Norfleet

    B2B buyers are becoming increasingly risk-averse. A sales rep’s assurances that the product or service works isn’t enough for most prospects to sign a contract. They want evidence that it does what you claim, and not from you -- from another customer.

    But what if you don’t have a reference customer for a specific product or service line? Or in the case of a startup, if you don’t have any customers at all? It’s a rare company that lives on the bleeding edge of adoption. They might be willing to take a chance on your offering

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    18 Sales Planning Tools to Boost Sales Productivity and Close More Deals

    By Fergal Glynn

    Sales always has been, and always will be, about closing the deal.

    But, sales professionals cannot rely on cold calls and haphazard prospect visits if they want to meet their sales goals and make it into the top 10%. In reality, sales professionals and managers need to have access to the best available sales planning tools to help them boost sales productivity and close more deals. 

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    Template: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Social Selling

    By Emma Snider

    Social selling is part activity, and part reputation. If you're writing insightful comments on your prospects' blogs, responding to their tweets, and liking their shared content, you're got the activity bit down pat. But if your LinkedIn profile is three jobs behind and features a picture of you from prom, you can't really call yourself a social seller. 

    If you'd like to start a social selling initiative in earnest, you should begin by revamping your LinkedIn profile.

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    17 Tweetable Quotes From The Challenger Sale

    By Emma Snider

    One definition of "challenge" is "a call to fight." It follows that a challenger is a confrontational person who's ready to pick an argument. That doesn't exactly sound like a star sales rep.

    But out of five sales rep personas, the Challenger was the most successful, according to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson's book The Challenger Sale. Least effective were Relationship Builders, often thought by sales leadership to be a company's best reps.

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    Sales Leaders Share the Toughest Lessons They've Learned

    By Ritika Puri

    Success in sales is driven by personal experience -- the customers you meet, the relationships you forge, and the mentors who guide you along the way.

    No matter how experienced you are, there is always a lesson to be learned. That’s what makes sales so exciting -- as you meet new people, encounter new business scenarios, and sell different types of products, you’ll always face new challenges.

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    Product Experts Are Out, Business Experts Are In

    By John Holland

    Salespeople are expected to be product experts, but senior executives have neither the time nor inclination to acquire significant amounts of product knowledge. They’re busy and simply want to understand the potential value that can be realized with a product or service. 

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    Why Some Salespeople Don't Work Out

    By Keith Rosen

    Firing someone is never easy. Even when it’s glaringly apparent that it’s the right choice, I’ve never met a manager who likes letting someone go.

    Sales managers often wait until the very last possible moment before coming to that often painful, almost shocking realization

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    How to Take the Selling Out of Upselling

    By Ritika Puri

    Before I became an entrepreneur, I ran marketing programs at a major web publisher. I was managing an uncapped media budget, which meant that I was often pitched products and services -- and on the receiving end of some very creative sales tactics.

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    3 Fundamental KPIs for Sales Leaders

    By Richard April

    Businesses have thousands of moving parts, and keeping track of what is actually important can seem like an insurmountable task for managers and small business owners. The reality of the situation is that every organization is unique, and an aspect of a business that is vital to one company may be completely useless to another. So how can managers gather all of the information they need to make impactful decisions? 

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    How to Manage Sales Managers

    By Alice Heiman

    There’s a lot of content out there on how sales managers should manage their reps. But what about how the sales managers themselves should be managed? Not as much.

    From my perspective, the relationship between sales managers and their managers

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    How to Turn Around a Sales Slump

    By Phil Harrell

    A sales slump can quickly spiral. When a rep is struggling, customers can hear the desperation in their voices, and it turns them off. With the rep’s power to close weakened by shaken morale, a bad sales week can easily turn into a bad sales month. Or quarter. Or year.

    What pulls a rep out of a slump is ironically the hardest thing

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    3 Reasons Introverts Make Great Sales Leaders

    By Ritika Puri

    I am, by all accounts, a shameless extrovert. When I attend events, I feel compelled talk to everyone. When I’m on sales calls, I need to ask about my prospects’ entire lives. I thrive on the energy of the people who surround me. 

    But while extraversion is my strength, it’s also

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