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Selling in a Pandemic Economy

Experienced executives all know that markets are cyclical. Downturns are followed by upturns, which then eventually lead to another slowing of business.

During a down economy – typically, when revenues decline by 10 percent over the previous year for two quarters in a row — sales organizations tend to hunker down. Managers implement a hiring freeze and might even lay off staff. Moreover, they cut back resources, for instance, reducing sales training or eliminating it altogether. All this seems natural and sensible. As that old saying goes, you need to tighten your belt when times are lean. It all makes such good sense, right? Wrong!

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COVID-19 Crisis: 12-Step Pre-Recovery Checklist for SMB CEOs

When we begin to see a positive turn in the COVID-19 pandemic, the No. 1 responsibility for business leaders will be to prepare a game plan towards full recovery. But who believes the ground rules will remain the same? Or that the marketplaces we’ve served won’t have shifted?

We’re going to need to quickly, but rigorously, assess our current relevance to our customers, understand our competitive exposures, and re-tool our offerings and go-to-market strategies to get back on track, and capture new ground, in a landscape rich with potential new opportunities for our businesses, employees and communities.

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Does Your Sales Team Have Performance Issues?

The most important decision we make as salespeople, managers, and leaders is how to connect with our customers. Are we effectively engaging with our clients? How your sales team performs in front of customers is crucial, since they (usually) only get one chance. Successful salespeople know the importance of preparing and strategizing before meeting with customers and prospects. Bypassing the warm-up and instead jumping right into the sales pitch can be a costly mistake for the inexperienced salesperson (e.g., “Here’s what our product can do, and here’s why it’s great. How many should I order?”)

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Do You Understand How Your Customers Buy?

People want to buy but not be sold to. Customers are people, and all people tend to go through a similar decision-making process, which means that sales need to be in lockstep with where their customers are in their decision process and keep it top of mind that it’s about the customer’s needs and timing, not theirs.

Below are some questions you might want to pose to you own sales organization:

  • How well do you understand how your customers buy?
  • Who/what is driving your sales process?
  • Is your selling process aligned with your customer’s buying process?

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What is a Fractional CSO? The Short and Long Answer

The Short Answer:  A Fractional/CSO becomes a trusted advisor and business partner to the Chief Executive Officer of a small to midsize business, providing strategic sales and marketing support for the business on a less than full-time basis.

The Longer Answer:  A Fractional/CSO becomes an interim or part-time Chief Sales Officer who is contracted for specific, strategic revenue support. I am highly skilled, seasoned senior executive with a background that spans multiple decades of sales, marketing and operational experience. I become an integrated part of the management team, bringing better sales understanding to everyone on the team in virtually any industry.

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B2B Sales Forces are Hiring

I have been intrigued by predictions popping up that the number of B2B salespeople will be decimated over the next few years, replaced by an “ecommerce will rule the world” mentality. Clearly “buying” is changing, but does that really mark the end of B2B selling? On June 2, 1897, American writer Mark Twain, published the above statement in the New York Journal in reaction to newspaper accounts that he had died. Fast-forward to today, and those same words might well be applied to the forecasts regarding the death of B2B salespeople. Here is why.

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How to Measure Successful Sales Management

Sales management is probably the most critical role that influences the success of any organization. So, it’s often tempting for sales managers to step in and close the sale themselves. I would submit that this is not the best use of a sales manager’s time. High-performing sales organizations win business by putting processes in place that allow the sales manager to produce results not by doing things themselves, but through their sales team.

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Sales Methodology + Technology = A Winning Formula for Closing Deals

In all my years as a senior executive and consultant, I have never heard a sales professional say, “My CRM helped me close that deal.” Why? Because CRMs weren’t built for the seller, they were built for sales managers and senior leadership.

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THE SALES TALENT SHORTAGE: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

Sales organizations worldwide compete to attract and keep top performers in their ranks. Most CEOs and business owners know this truth, despite the swings in any given economy, the sales talent shortage is real and ongoing. They also know that the loss of a top performer can impact their company’s revenue for years.

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Implications of a Vacant Sales Territory

Understanding the impact of a vacant sales territory is important. Even in the very best organization, salespeople come and go. By their very nature they are typically hungry for a better deal for themselves.

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Should You Recruit Competitor's Sales Superstar?

I am often asked by my clients to recruit a competitor’s super star sales performer. What I have found from past experiences, this can be a very risky proposition.

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Don't Fire That New Sales Rep So Fast!

We all know the game. It’s all about growing revenue. Your sales leaders are charged with hiring new sales reps but they soon find out that there is a shortage of really good sales talent out there – the struggle is real

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13 Must-Knows About Sales for CEOs & Business Owners

#1 Articulate the Sales Process. In Fact, Make It Crystal Clear. • Define stages in the sales process and map it to customer buying behavior so it’s easy to understand the “why” • Associate activities with each stage—and keep it simple • Crystalize the leading and lagging indicators of success for each stage • Arm sales managers with high impact questions that ensure positive adoption and execution • Clearly recognize the sales manager role as a multiplier for success.

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