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It wasn’t long ago that fans of the National Basketball Association could be excused for turning off a game if a team was leading by 15 to 20 points in the first half. Such leads were mostly insurmountable, even with a half to play. No longer. The latest regular season, which ended in mid-April, featured a record 38 comeback victories by teams that trailed by 20 points or more during a game. The previous record for victories after trailing by 20 or more was 30, set last season. Sales managers whose teams fell well short of first-quarter revenue goals take heart. If NBA squads can reverse course and come out on top when trailing by 20 with only half the game left, it’s possible, even in the world of complex B2B sales, to make adjustments and still meet this year’s sales targets. Sales slumps are a certainty. How sales managers and sales reps respond to them impacts a slump’s length and severity. Sales management veterans we spoke with and others who have commented on the internet state that a prolonged drop in sales should be viewed as an opportunity to review a B2B company’s go-to-market strategy from start to finish. Does a marketing campaign need to be refreshed? Is lead generation falling short? Are reps failing to secure enough initial meetings? Is low motivation a problem? If you’re losing market share to a competitor, it’s imperative to figure out why — fast!
AI FYI: How the Technology Is Impacting B2B Sales and Marketing If you’ve got a handle on how to incorporate artificial intelligence into your sales and marketing efforts, you’re doing better than most. Many of those who have poked extensively under the hood of the emerging technology say that incorporating it into B2B practices will be a process that could take years. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention now and even begin to introduce AI-driven tools into your go-to-market strategies. Our latest Focus Report explores how to maximize the capabilities of AI in marketing and sales while remaining conscious of potential problems AI can create. How is AI impacting hiring decisions? Why do six out of 10 marketers using AI confess to experiencing minimal impact on their marketing efficiency and effectiveness thus far? Is there a roadmap for incorporating AI into B2B sales and marketing processes?
It’s 2024 - Are You Comfortable with Your Technology Prowess? CRM, CMS, AI… The acronyms alone that are attached to the technology tools used in B2B sales and marketing are enough to make your head spin. The latest Focus Report from Sales & Marketing Management looks at developments in key areas of tech usage, including marketing technology (martech) trends, technology for training and cloud-based content management solutions (CMS). Staying on top of sales and marketing technology trends is essential to remain competitive in today’s B2B sales environment. We stay connected with the experts whose job it is to monitor these trends. Our Focus Report, "Tuning In and Turning On: Maximizing Technology in an Ever-Changing B2B Sales World," is part of this ongoing effort.
Many companies kick off the calendar year by bringing their sales team (and sometimes sales support staff) together for a few days of planning, practicing and pumping the team up. Sales kickoffs set the tone for the rest of the year, which is why it’s critical to make the most of them. Our latest Focus Report takes a closer look at how to put together an impactful kickoff that provides significant ROI. Experts and sales leaders we spoke with share insights on: The key ingredients for the most effective sales kickoffs Why recognition and celebration are essential components of kickoffs Why you should avoid virtual kickoffs at all costs Why the voice of your customers should be highlighted at your kickoff Strategies for smarter territory planning
The statement "Our people are our greatest asset" is so overused it mostly causes eyes to roll. Aside from those who don’t like people being called assets, the statement is mostly met with disgust because it’s a reliable red flag that a company is all platitudes and no gratitude. If the global pandemic increased managers’ awareness of the importance of making it clear to employees how much they are valued, the statistics don’t show it. According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 54% of Gen Z employees, slightly higher than any other generation, are ambivalent or not engaged at work. Only 32% of workers overall say they are engaged with their work. A livable wage and meaningful work are two key factors for workplace engagement. After that, recognition is vital, and currently, only 23% of employees strongly agree they get the right amount of recognition for the work they do. Think about that! Nearly three-quarters of employees are missing the steady reinforcement and appreciation they need to help them be their best. And employers are missing out on benefits of fielding a work force that feels appreciated. Our annual Ultimate Guide to Non-Cash Incentives explores the benefits of workplace recognition beyond a paycheck and offers ideas about how companies can improve in this area. It also features key suppliers in four non-cash incentive categories - merchandise, gift cards, travel and experiences, and incentive solution providers. Even if you’re in the minority of companies that get recognition right, it can’t hurt to have more insight into this key component of staying competitive.
In a world where nearly half of all B2B buyers would prefer a rep-free buying experience, the timeless mantra of selling - "Always Be Closing" - is, well, not so timeless. The new ABCs of selling are "Always Be Credible," says C. Lee Smith, CEO of SalesFuel, a sales intelligence and enablement firm. To get facetime with B2B purchase decision-makers, salespeople need to be viewed as trusted advisors. They can’t earn trust unless they are first perceived as having a high degree of credibility, Smith says. A new sponsored Focus Report from SalesFuel and Sales & Marketing Management examines: How sales professionals can develop the sort of credibility that opens prospects’ doors Why building credibility starts before you even meet a prospect Research on what buyers want from sellers (It goes way beyond product knowledge) 6 tips for building a strong online presence The report also features contributed articles from sales experts Anthony Iannarino on how today’s successful salespeople gain buyers’ confidence, and from Jeffrey Gitomer on the secret to getting all the referrals you could ever hope for.
Technology plays a vital role in companies’ go-to-market strategies. The tools in each sales team’s tech stack can be the difference between blowing past competitors or falling short of quota - again! Choosing the right technology is among the most important decisions that sales leaders make. It’s used for everything from onboarding new hires to providing veteran rainmakers with highly qualified leads and the data to create the kind of tightly tailored messages that close deals. But how to make the right decisions?   In our newest Focus Report on technology for B2B sales, we take a closer look at how businesses are using technology to reinvent their sales process to reap the rewards of more effective onboarding, enhanced targeting, improved forecasting and shorter sales cycles. The collection of stories on sales technology examines: Research from Gartner on what new software purchases are making the most impact for B2B sales Best practices in the trend of automated demos Seven technology disruptions that will impact sales through 2027 Technology’s role in one sales trainer’s push to teach lawyers how to sell Why sales leadership will never be replaced by technology
It’s been a component of sales almost as long as sales itself has existed, but what exactly is sales enablement and what does it look like when it’s done well? For many, the term sales enablement leads to discussions of tech stacks and software as a service (SaaS) that companies invest in to shape their go-to-market strategies. However, those we spoke with said sales enablement is much more than software. It has taken on such an important role that many B2B companies have created sales enablement positions that are separate from the marketing and sales functions. In our new Focus Report on sales enablement, you’ll learn: The evolution of sales enablement and why it matters more than ever How to create sales enablement centers of excellence How sales enablement can help companies weather economic downturns ​​How to be prepared to seize every revenue moment
The role of managing others in today’s environment is chaotic. Many workers are in the office half the time or less. Research shows that more than half of all employees are disengaged and more than 60% report they are currently looking for a new job. Showing that you care for your workers has never been more vital to increasing engagement and retaining top performers. It starts by taking a genuine interest in employees as human beings and allowing them to bring their whole selves to work. Rewarding employees beyond providing a paycheck needs to be part of your company culture. Our Ultimate Guide to Non-Cash Incentives is a new report that provides the latest research on effective reward and recognition in the workplace. It will help you:   Assess how your company’s recognition and incentive efforts compare to similar-sized companies and those that are larger or smaller Learn how other companies are motivating workers and driving improved performance Arm yourself with data that supports allotting substantial budgets for incentive and recognition programs Provide a catalog-like review of the latest options in merchandise, travel, experiential, gift card and turnkey incentive travel solution providers.
Can Channel Partnerships Rescue You From a Recession? B2B sales and marketing teams continue to play things close to the vest as uncertainty about the strength of the economy persists. Whether or not a serious economic downturn is inevitible, there are numerous reasons why now is a good time to form new channel partnerships. A win-win strategy that can put more qualified leads in your pipeline and help you expand to new markets, channel partnerships are an increasingly key component of many companies’ go-to-market strategy. Our new Focus Report, "The Channel Partnership Playbook," takes a closer look at how companies are boosting their bottom line by forming strong relationships with other companies. Learn about the different types of strategic partnerships, tips for developing channel partnerships and how to keep channel partners engaged and motivated to reach well-defined goals.
The latest Focus Report from Sales & Marketing Management has tactics to increase productivity. Learn how leaders are empowering their sales teams for maximum impact, how the rating system for self-driving vehicles can be applied to sales automation and more.
In a world that has shifted to more virtual B2B sales and marketing, the question "What’s in your tech stack?" has never been more important. A new Focus Report from Sales & Marketing Management looks at some technological trends that are fueling success. The report includes these stories: 7 Technological Advances Shaping the Future of Sales and Marketing Sales Teams Embrace AI-Powered Conversation Analysis Experiential Sales: The Strategy of the Future That’s Here Today The Past, Present and Future of Enablement Technology
Shifts that occurred during the pandemic and that continue to change the work world have made managing and motivating teams more challenging than ever. Here’s how to keep employees positive, productive and performing at high levels.  
What worked for so many years when compensating sales professionals is no longer sufficient. Given today’s tight labor pool and a rush by entrepreneurial types to start their own businesses, putting a comprehensive package of pay, benefits and extra perks together has never been more important. SMM's Focus Report on sales compensation looks at how to get compensation right and hold on to your best salespeople. Articles address: Why a competitive salary is merely table stakes 4 shifts in sales compensation How to combat the Great Resignation Why gaining insight on what drives reps nuts will help you keep your team intact
Some aspect of meeting virtually is here to stay, but B2B sales and marketing professionals are eager to return to trade show environments and live marketing events. In-person events produce stronger leads, present opportunities for unplanned encounters and provide a means to build trust in a way that cannot be duplicated virtually. This Focus Report explores why businesses are ready to return to exhibit halls and what these events in a post-pandemic world will look like. With an understanding that hybrid is here to stay, we learn from experts how to make it work with trade show and marketing efforts.
Workers are quitting their jobs at some of the highest rates in years. Those employees who do stay mostly still work from home, presenting little face time with managers and colleagues. Cash bonuses go toward daily bills and are soon forgotten. Recognizing and rewarding employees, channel partners and other business associates has never been more important. Our Ultimate Guide to Non-Cash Incentives features:   Dozens of non-cash recognition ideas from name brand merchandise, gift card and experience providers Valuable insights on recognition trends, including a look at travel rewards in this uncertain time Industry research to help set realistic expectations for incentive and brand loyalty campaigns
Many companies profess to make coaching and skills training a priority, but how many actually do? A recent State of Sales Coaching report indicates there is more preaching than teaching occurring in B2B sales environments. That’s a dangerous trend in a time when The Wall Street Journal reports that companies are struggling to fill sales roles. This focus report explores what a coachable culture is and how to get there if you’re not already. Other articles include: How to Scale Your Coaching Capabilities With AI 3 Steps to More Effective Virtual Coaching Coaching for Stronger Teams In a Hybrid Environment
An MIT Sloan School of Management study shows that companies with technologically savvy leadership perform better in terms of revenue growth and profitability than those whose leaders lag in technological know-how. Yet only 17% of C-suite leadership at nearly 2,000 companies surveyed are digitally savvy. The new Focus Report from Sales & Marketing Management looks closely at what this means for overall performance and how B2B companies can improve their digital savviness at the top.
In March 2020, business as usual ceased to exist. Our first report on managing during a pandemic includes insights on how to lead in uncertain times and whether selling during a global crisis is even a good idea. Other topics: Tips for better virtual meetings Marketing agility during a crisis How subscription models can help companies weather tough times
As businesses settle into a completely remote work world, managers are wrestling with how to keep their teams engaged, motivated and productive. Leading with honesty, openness and empathy are more important than ever. "Everyone will remember how their boss responded during this time. Did they focus on you at a human level?" said one workplace consultant. Other topics: Futures, not foosball, get workers excited How top-performing companies use incentives
COVID-19 has caused managers to rethink everything from recruiting and onboarding to client interaction and go-to-market strategies. We look at what being "digital ready" requires and why some pandemic-induced changes are likely permanent. Other topics: How the best sellers can help their customers thrive 6 steps to adapt to the new economic reality Preparing to fire up the revenue engine post-COVID
Is the officeless world inevitable or overblown? That may yet be determined, but managers should be adjusting to the work-from-home trend whether it’s temporary or permanent, and no matter if it’s for part of their team or companywide. Valuable lessons have already emerged from the few months that nearly everyone who is still working has been doing so remotely. Our special report covers these important topics: How companies are building corporate culture when teams are not together Tackling low morale among remote workers (It’s more prevalent than many realize) Fostering creativity from afar What jobs are best suited to remote offices
COVID-19 has upended B2B commerce. Customers are asking for price cuts, flexible payments and freebies. Those businesses facing a significant downturn are pressured to be as accommodating as possible. Is a price cut the right move? What is the long tail of this immediate challenge?
Our collection of stories looks at how managers can help employees cope with the anxiety, stress and other challenges that come with the extended WFH world.
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