Negotiation is one of the most difficult, and in my opinion, poorly understood aspects of the sales process. If there's at least one thing I've learned about leading sales reps, epecially less experiences ones, they do not know how to negotiate effectively. Even if they run a flawless sales process, they give up loads of value after having created so much in everything they did prior. While the customer ultimately gets the better end of this deal, it's not effective for building a business over the long term. Heavy discounting erodes margin and eliminates a business's ability to invest back into their own people, which in turn, limits the quality of the total customer experience.
Before I came to work at HubSpot I had the chance to observe a good number of sales processes. And there were a few things that really stood out to me. I realize this is going to sound incredibly obvious, but I am absolutely convinced that the majority of organizations still sell this way.
As a sales leader I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes some sales reps successful, and makes others fail. Having managed my own team for quite some time now, I've made good hires and bad hires and any sales leader will tell you that they're always on the lookout for new "A Players". Well, it's easier said than done.
Before you swipe to the next article, I know what you’re thinking… “Ugh, something about baseball. SO boring.” Well this article isn’t really about baseball, it’s about a single lesson I learned through playing baseball over 20 years that I now apply to sales every day. I’ll go ahead and take the rabbit out of the hat now. That lesson is, “ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.”
Take a look at this landing page. Can you tell what's wrong with it? Well, there are a few things, but the biggest thing that stands out to me is the form on the right hand side itself. So what's wrong?
I just found this direct quote on the Square2Marketing site -- a Diamond HubSpot Partner (who I don’t work with, full disclosure) -- and I love how they define Inbound Sales:
If you've been working in sales at all for the past few years, you've probably noticed that the sales environment is more challenging than ever. And if you've been working in the sales world for ten years or more, you know the traditional model has been completely stood on its head. Buyers are in control today!
As we know from Corporate Executive Board research, over 60% of the buying process has already been completed before a company speaks with a sales rep. If this statistic is old news to you, here are a few more data points for you to chew on.
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