Skinned Knees Blog

Skinned Knees – What An MBA Didn’t Teach You About Sales

Skinned Knees – What An MBA Didn’t Teach You About Sales

The sales profession is challenging. You need to work hard at it to succeed. You need to learn from the best. You need to improve your skills continuously. If you think you can sell since you are a hit at parties and have a lot of friends, you may soon find that you are a failure as a salesperson. Blunt truth: 

because the sales profession is so hard, you have to focus on doing everything in sales very well, or you will be considered a failure.

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Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Uniting Sales and Marketing: A Masterclass with Chris Spanier – E76

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Uniting Sales and Marketing: A Masterclass with Chris Spanier – E76

In this enlightening episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey welcome Chris Spanier, a marketing maven with deep expertise in fostering collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Chris shares his insights on building synergy around B2B sales cycles and how to effectively align sales and marketing efforts for maximum impact. Join us as we delve into the dynamics of this crucial partnership and uncover strategies for achieving mutual success.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing: Chris emphasizes the importance of sales and marketing teams working in harmony, rather than at odds, to capitalize on every opportunity.
  2. The Power of Collaboration: Insights into how open communication and shared goals can transform sales and marketing teams into formidable allies.
  3. Storytelling as a Sales and Marketing Tool: The discussion highlights how compelling narratives can engage prospects and reflect their needs, ultimately driving success.
  4. Feedback Loops and Iterative Improvement: Chris advocates for continuous dialogue between sales and marketing to refine strategies and better serve customers.
  5. The Role of Leadership in Fostering Unity: Exploring how leadership can motivate sales and marketing teams to work together through shared incentives and aligned objectives.

Key Quotes

Chris Spanier:

“It’s just so powerful when you have sales and marketing coming alongside together and working together. It’s just great.”

Sean O’Shaughnessey:

“Marketing and sales are partners. One is not the customer of the other; they’re partners in this journey of customer acquisition.”

Kevin Lawson:

“Can you dig in, get a handhold on how storytelling has a major role in how we go to market, whether you have an internal or external [marketing department]?”

Additional Resources

  • The Story Brand by Donald Miller: Recommended reading for understanding the impact of storytelling in marketing and sales. – https://a.co/d/j7bFMOx
  • Simon Sinek’s “Find Your Why”: A guide to discovering the purpose that drives you and your business. – https://a.co/d/8vJWo7O

Summary

This episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” is a must-listen for anyone involved in the intricate dance between sales and marketing. Chris Spanier sheds light on the significance of unity and collaboration for achieving common business goals. Through a blend of personal anecdotes and actionable advice, Chris, Kevin, and Sean explore how storytelling, shared objectives, and regular feedback can transform the relationship between sales and marketing into a dynamic partnership. Whether you’re a sales manager, marketing director, or CEO, this conversation offers valuable insights on aligning your teams for success.

Tune in to discover how you can leverage the combined strengths of your sales and marketing teams to drive growth and create meaningful customer relationships. Download this episode now and start building a more cohesive, effective approach to your business strategy.

Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency – Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses – Episode 9

Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency – Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses – Episode 9

Welcome to “Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses,” the essential podcast for B2B sales professionals, managers, and CEOs of companies aiming for revenue growth. In today’s episode, we’re diving into the core of any thriving sales organization: the Sales Process Flowchart. Guided by Sean O’Shaughnessey, a veteran in sales strategy, we’ll explore how to craft and refine your sales process for peak efficiency and effectiveness.

Our esteemed sponsor, Kevin Lawson of Lighthouse Sales Advisors and Sales Xceleration, is our sponsor for this episode. Kevin offers unparalleled sales leadership solutions for small businesses, focusing on navigating sales growth challenges and scaling up operations through his extensive experience. Kevin’s fractional consultancy is the answer for those looking for expert guidance in sales team development without the commitment of a full-time executive.

Contact Kevin:
Email: Kevin@lighthousesalesadvisors.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kwlawson

Key Topics Discussed

  • Blueprint of Success: Discover the importance of having a well-defined Sales Process Flowchart as your guide through the sales journey.
  • Stages of the Sales Process: Sean breaks down each stage of the sales process, from prospecting to nurturing long-term relationships.
  • Customizing Your Sales Approach: Learn the significance of tailoring your sales process to fit your unique business model and industry requirements.
  • Visualizing the Sales Funnel: An exploration of how visualizing your sales funnel can identify potential leaks and optimize the sales journey.
  • Leveraging Technology: Insight into how automation tools and CRM systems can enhance your sales process and free up your team to focus on selling.
  • The Dynamic Nature of Sales Processes: Emphasizing the importance of continuous feedback and adaptation to keep your sales process relevant and effective.

Key Quotes

  • “Success doesn’t come from random acts of effort. It requires a blueprint, a master plan that orchestrates every step of the sales journey.”
  • “Imagine your Sales Process Flowchart as the architectural plan for a skyscraper. Without it, you’re merely stacking bricks without knowing how high they should go.”
  • “Technology is the wind beneath our sales team’s wings, freeing them up to do what they do best—sell.”

Additional Resources

  • Sales Management Association Study: Highlights the performance impact of using a formal sales process.
  • Harvard Business Review Study: Shows a significant revenue increase for businesses with a standardized sales process.

Action Items You Can Do Today

  • Develop a Visual Sales Process Flowchart: Start with a simple outline and refine it to suit your team’s needs.
  • Solicit Feedback from Your Sales Team: Use their frontline insights to improve your sales process.
  • Customize Your Approach: Ensure your sales stages align with your business model for increased efficiency.
  • Invest in Training and Technology: Equip your team with the necessary knowledge and tools to excel.
  • Embrace Continuous Improvement: Regularly update your sales process based on feedback and changing market conditions.

Today’s episode with Sean O’Shaughnessey has armed you with the knowledge to construct a Sales Process Flowchart that is the backbone of a successful sales strategy. Implementing the discussed actionable strategies will refine your sales process, making it a powerful engine for business growth. Stay tuned for more insightful episodes to further empower your journey to becoming a sales powerhouse.

Contact Information

  • Sean O’Shaughnessey: Email – Sean@NewSales.Expert

For more expert advice on transforming your sales strategies, don’t forget to subscribe to “Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses.” Join us next time for another deep dive into the strategies that can elevate your sales game. Until then, keep selling smart and forging meaningful connections with your customers.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – From Stories to Sales: Leveraging Narrative Power with Jeff Clair – E75

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – From Stories to Sales: Leveraging Narrative Power with Jeff Clair – E75

Join hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey on “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” for a captivating conversation with special guest Jeff Clair, a fractional VP of sales and the brain behind ClairVoyant Consulting LLC. In this episode, Jeff shares his invaluable insights on the power of storytelling in sales, offering practical tips for salespeople to engage and connect with their prospects effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or new to the field, this discussion is packed with advice to elevate your sales approach through compelling storytelling.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. The Art of Storytelling in Sales: Jeff emphasizes the importance of storytelling as a memorable and impactful way to communicate with prospects.
  2. Remembering and Crafting Stories: Insights into how salespeople can remember and craft stories that resonate with their audience, making the prospect the story’s hero.
  3. The Role of Salespeople as Guides: Drawing parallels from popular movies, Jeff illustrates how salespeople should position themselves as guides in their storytelling, akin to characters like Yoda in “Star Wars.”
  4. Practicing Storytelling: The significance of practicing storytelling within sales teams, including role-playing exercises to refine this skill.
  5. Connecting Stories to the Buyer’s Journey: Jeff connects the dots on how storytelling fits into the buyer’s journey, providing a framework for new and seasoned sales professionals to enhance their sales strategies.
  6. Role-Playing and Feedback: An exploration of effective training techniques, including role-playing, to help salespeople become more engaging and confident storytellers.

Key Quotes

Jeff Clair:

“People tend not to remember the facts, but they remember stories…great storytellers infuse different senses, which is really great.”

Kevin Lawson:

“Practice makes easy. Not practice makes perfect…there’s always room for improvement.”

Sean O’Shaughnessey:

“Practice allows you to figure out how to do it better…those people in small organizations tend not to practice enough.”

Additional Resources

  • The Story Brand by Donald Miller: Recommended reading for salespeople and marketing professionals to master the art of storytelling in business.

Summary

This insightful episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” dives deep into the transformative role of storytelling in the sales process. With his rich experience in sales leadership, Jeff Clair shares why stories captivate, how to craft them effectively, and the importance of salespeople seeing themselves as guides for their prospects. Through role-playing and practice, Jeff underscores the significance of confidence and personalization in storytelling, ensuring that each story resonates deeply with the intended audience. This discussion is a must-listen for anyone looking to harness the power of storytelling to not just sell but to connect and inspire action.

Elevate your sales game with the art of storytelling. Download this episode now and transform how you engage with your prospects.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Navigating the Sales Process: Insights from Jeff Clair of ClairVoyant Consulting – E74

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Navigating the Sales Process: Insights from Jeff Clair of ClairVoyant Consulting – E74

Dive into the world of sales excellence with “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” as hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey welcome Jeff Clair from ClairVoyant Consulting LLC. In this compelling episode, Jeff, a seasoned fractional VP of Sales, shares his East Coast insights into overcoming common sales challenges, utilizing innovative strategies, and enhancing the sales process. Join us as we explore the nuances of sales from different regional perspectives, offering valuable advice for sales professionals across the spectrum.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. The Importance of a Defined Sales Process: Jeff emphasizes the critical role of having a structured sales process and how the lack of one can lead to salespeople ‘winging it.’
  2. Utilizing CRM for Sales Success: The discussion highlights how CRM tools can delineate sales stages, aiding salespeople in navigating from lead generation to closing.
  3. Referral Strategies: The panel delves into the potential of referrals in sales and why many salespeople hesitate to ask for them, missing out on valuable opportunities.
  4. Closing Techniques and Challenges: Jeff shares insights into salespeople’s common hurdles when closing deals and the strategic importance of asking the right questions.
  5. The Power of Storytelling in Sales: Jeff advocates for storytelling as a technique to connect with prospects, positioning them as the ‘hero’ of their journey with your product or service.
  6. Guidance over Selling: The notion that successful salespeople guide rather than sell to their prospects, encouraging sales teams to adopt a consultative approach.

Key Quotes

Jeff Clair:

“Nobody really sells people anything…successful salespeople identify needs, desires, wants, and then satisfies those needs, desires, or wants with the product that they have.”

Kevin Lawson:

“Facts tell and stories sell…we’re going to unpack how stories sell in our next episode.”

Sean O’Shaughnessey:

“A salesperson is a guide…they are experts in selling their product. The prospect probably is not an expert in buying that thing.”

Summary

This episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” is a treasure trove for anyone looking to sharpen their sales skills. With Jeff Clair’s expertise, the discussion sheds light on critical aspects of the sales process, from the initial lead generation to the final close. By addressing salespeople’s common pitfalls and offering strategies to overcome them, Jeff, Kevin, and Sean provide listeners with actionable advice to elevate their sales game. Whether you’re a seasoned VP of Sales or a sales professional looking to improve your approach, this episode is packed with insights that can transform your sales strategy and lead to greater success. Tune in to learn how to navigate the sales process confidently, leverage your CRM effectively, and harness the power of storytelling to connect with your prospects on a deeper level.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Building Robust Sales Pipelines: Expert Insights for CEOs, Managers, and Sales Professionals – E73

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Building Robust Sales Pipelines: Expert Insights for CEOs, Managers, and Sales Professionals – E73

In this enlightening episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey delve into the perennial challenges sales professionals face: the need for more leads and adding value to existing leads. They share their expert insights on building robust sales pipelines, identifying ideal customer profiles, and effective strategies for increasing sales efficiency. Whether you’re a CEO, sales manager, or a salesperson, this episode offers valuable guidance to enhance your sales performance.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. Building a More Robust Pipeline: Strategies to improve pipeline quality for sustained income generation.
  2. Ideal Customer Profiling: Understanding the difference between short-term accessible prospects and long-term ideal customers.
  3. Resource Management: Tackling the universal challenge of limited resources in sales organizations.
  4. Prospecting Techniques: The importance of referrals, networking, and leveraging platforms like LinkedIn.
  5. Prioritizing Sales Efforts: Focusing on the probability of closing deals rather than just deal size or closing dates.
  6. Consistency in Sales Activities: How regular, focused efforts in different stages of sales lead to better results.

Key Quotes

Kevin Lawson:

“We actually encourage them to manage their deals and their communication priorities by the probability of closing… When all these things come together, it’s insane how fast your pipeline will grow and how fast deals will close.”

Sean O’Shaughnessey:

“You have to be stingy. You have to choose where to invest appropriately, and you have to constantly invest… Every quarter, every month, every week, every day, you need to set aside time that you are investing in your business.”

Summary

This episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” is a goldmine for anyone looking to enhance their sales process. Kevin and Sean offer a deep dive into the nuances of building a strong sales pipeline, effectively utilizing resources, and the art of prioritizing prospects. Their conversation is not just theoretical; it’s filled with practical, actionable advice that can be implemented immediately. This episode is a must-listen if you’re seeking to transform your sales approach, be it as a CEO, a sales manager, or a frontline salesperson. Tune in to discover how you can revolutionize your sales strategy and achieve remarkable results.

Boosting Profitability in Sales: Mastering the Art of Negotiation – Video 11 of the New Year Motivation Series

Boosting Profitability in Sales: Mastering the Art of Negotiation – Video 11 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we dive into the New Year, it’s crucial for sales professionals, managers, and CEOs of small companies to reflect on one pivotal aspect of their sales strategy – the art of negotiation. I am committed to guiding you toward more profitable deals this New Year and beyond.

Evaluating Past Deal Profitability

Take a moment to review your deals from the previous year. Were they as profitable as they could have been? The ease of offering discounts can often overshadow the challenge of selling at list price. However, your company’s profit model heavily relies on effective negotiation.

Look back at your past deals. Pinpoint the aspects where negotiations fell short. Set a clear goal for this year to avoid repeating these mistakes. Improvement begins with recognizing what didn’t work well in the past.

Embracing Continuous Learning in Negotiation

As I’ve emphasized in a previous video, continuous learning is crucial. This is particularly true in negotiation. A slight improvement in your negotiation skills can significantly impact your bottom line. Consider attending a class, webinar, or consulting with an expert to hone this skill.

If negotiation is not your forte, reach out for assistance. I’m here to offer suggestions, recommend training resources, or even provide personal training to help you negotiate more effectively.

Preparing for Negotiations Proactively

Prepare a list of items you can afford to discount and those you cannot. Develop scripts and strategies for common negotiation scenarios. This preparation will help you remain steadfast during negotiations, ensuring you don’t make concessions on a whim.

Identify services or add-ons you can offer during negotiations that provide value to your client but don’t significantly impact your costs. This strategy can be a game-changer in making your proposals more attractive while maintaining profitability.

This is the year to enhance your negotiation tactics. By doing so, you’re not just closing deals; you’re maximizing the value and profitability of each transaction. Remember, effective negotiation is not about conceding profits but finding a mutually beneficial ground where your company’s value is rightly recognized and compensated.

Happy New Year, and here’s to your profitability and success in the New Year!

Check out my video below (the final video in this year’s series to start the New Year with confidence and capability).

Revolutionize Your Sales Strategy: The Power of Streamlining Your Sales Process – Video 10 of the New Year Motivation Series

Revolutionize Your Sales Strategy: The Power of Streamlining Your Sales Process – Video 10 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we embark on this new year, it’s time to reevaluate and refine our sales strategies. My mission is to empower salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies to achieve remarkable growth this New Year. One crucial aspect that often goes overlooked is the efficiency of your sales process.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is more than a digital Rolodex; it’s a strategic tool that, when used effectively, can transform your sales process. Ensure that your CRM reflects and aids your sales process. If it doesn’t, you face a gap in your strategy and tools that needs immediate attention.

Take the time to map out your current sales process within your CRM. This exercise isn’t just about documentation; it’s about identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Once you spot these, you can start making targeted improvements.

You may not solve all the problems overnight, but identifying and addressing even one bottleneck can significantly enhance productivity. A small change, like streamlining a step in your process or improving communication flow, can have a compound effect throughout the year.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Your sales team, operations staff, and even your customers can provide invaluable insights into what’s working and what’s not. Collaborate with them to find ways to make your sales process smoother and more customer-friendly.

Your goal should be to make dealing with your company as seamless as possible for your clients. Imagine a scenario where your customers view working with you as the easiest part of their day. This level of customer experience can set you apart in a competitive market.

As we move forward in the New Year, I challenge you to enhance your sales process proactively. A well-optimized sales process increases your team’s productivity and elevates the customer experience.

Make this year count by refining your approach to sales. Good luck, and here’s to a year of effective selling and remarkable growth!

For more insights into this process, watch my video below.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Cultivating Multi-Threaded Relationships in Sales – E72

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Cultivating Multi-Threaded Relationships in Sales – E72

Welcome to another insightful episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” with hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey. In this episode, we delve into the nuances of building a robust sales pipeline, focusing on creating a team of buyers rather than sellers. This discussion is crucial for sales leaders, managers, and salespeople across various industries, whether involved in enterprise sales, repetitive sales, consumable sales, or professional services.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. Building Multi-Threaded Relationships: The importance of establishing connections with multiple decision-makers and influencers in the client’s organization.
  2. Strategies for New Salespeople: Tactics for entering new territories and identifying potential clients.
  3. The Role of Sales Leaders: How sales managers can support their team in expanding their client base and building a more robust sales pipeline.
  4. Understanding the Buying Committee: Navigating through the dynamics of group decision-making in sales.
  5. Effective Pipeline Management: Strategies for maintaining and enriching the sales pipeline throughout the year.
  6. The Power of Referrals and Trust: Leveraging trust and referrals to enhance sales effectiveness.

Key Quotes

  • Kevin: “It’s not about how complex our questions need to be to get crazy insightful answers… it’s really about doing the simple things well.”
  • Sean: “Don’t just focus on the VP or director… remember that every influencer in the organization will sway that top person.”

Additional Resources

  • RACI – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/raci-chart/
  • MEDDPICCC sales methodology for identifying key decision-makers and influencers – http://newsales.expert/2023/10/unlocking-sales-potential-with-meddpiccc-a-comprehensive-guide/
  • The concept of the Power Matrix in sales – https://www.thetrapper.com/2021/11/18/welcome-to-the-power-matrix/

Summary

In this episode, Kevin and Sean provide valuable insights into building a successful sales pipeline, emphasizing the importance of multi-threaded relationships and understanding the dynamics of the buying committee. They offer practical strategies for new and experienced sales professionals and guidance for sales leaders on supporting their teams. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to enhance their sales process and achieve better results in their sales endeavors. Join us next week for more on building quality relationships and effective pipeline management in sales.

Embrace Continuous Learning for Sales Success in 2024 – Video 9 of the New Year Motivation Series

Embrace Continuous Learning for Sales Success in 2024 – Video 9 of the New Year Motivation Series

In the ever-evolving world of sales, resting on your laurels is not an option. My mission is to inspire small company sales professionals, managers, and CEOs to seek knowledge and improvement constantly. As we venture into the New Year, let’s focus on embracing continuous learning to elevate your sales game.

The first step towards growth is acknowledging there’s always more to learn. With 38 years of experience in sales, I still actively seek new tools, techniques, and ways of presenting. This mindset is crucial for everyone in sales – from the rookie to the veteran.

Immersing yourself in your industry is key. Subscribe to at least two industry newsletters this week. These resources will keep you updated on your field’s latest trends, challenges, and innovations. It’s vital to stay informed and conversant about the evolving landscape of your industry.

Podcasts are a goldmine of information and can be a convenient learning method. I host two sales-focused podcasts, ‘Two Tall Guys Talking Sales‘ and ‘Driving New Sales,’ which offer weekly insights into sales best practices. However, don’t limit yourself – explore other sales and industry-specific podcasts to broaden your knowledge.

Commit to daily reading about sales and your specific industry. Early mornings or commute times are perfect for catching up on the latest articles and insights. Sharing interesting findings with your team or on platforms like LinkedIn can enhance your professional network and credibility.

If you’re in a leadership role, guiding your team through this continuous learning journey is part of your responsibility. Encourage your team to share new insights and strategies, fostering a culture of knowledge and improvement.

No matter where you are in your career, there’s room for improvement. Set personal goals for learning and betterment this year. It’s not just about closing more deals; it’s about becoming a more knowledgeable, versatile, and successful sales professional.

As we embrace this new year, let’s commit to continuous learning and improvement in our sales careers. It’s not just about staying ahead; it’s about setting a new standard for excellence in sales.

Good luck, and here’s to a year of growth and successful selling! Please enjoy the video below, in which I discuss this concept even more.

Elevating Your Sales Game in the New Year: The Essential Guide to Social Selling – Video 8 of the New Year Motivation Series

Elevating Your Sales Game in the New Year: The Essential Guide to Social Selling – Video 8 of the New Year Motivation Series

Understanding and leveraging social selling has become more crucial in a business landscape where digital presence can make or break your sales success. I guide salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies through the intricacies of social selling to ensure a solid start to the New Year.

Crafting Your Digital Persona

Your online profile, especially on LinkedIn, is often your first impression of a potential client. Is your profile projecting you as a job seeker, or does it establish you as an industry leader and expert? Updating your social media profiles to reflect your professional expertise and the value you bring to your clients is a crucial step.

Consistently sharing relevant industry content is not just about staying active online; it’s about positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and engaged leader in your field. This could be anything from exciting news articles to insightful blog posts that align with your industry and the solutions your company offers.

Engaging with Prospects on Social Platforms

While direct outreach is valuable, the real power of social selling lies in the research and insight phase. When you find a potential client on a platform like LinkedIn, engage with them by sharing content that resonates with their needs or challenges. It’s about building a connection and demonstrating value before the first sales conversation begins.

Setting Goals for Social Media Interaction

Commit to a regular posting and interaction schedule on your chosen social media platform. Aim to publish new, thoughtful content weekly, and make sure to engage with your network. This consistent presence ensures prospects find an industry professional actively contributing to the industry conversation when they research you.

Are you aware of your Social Selling Index (SSI) on LinkedIn? It’s a valuable metric that helps you gauge your effectiveness in social selling. Set goals to improve your SSI by being more active and engaging and providing value through your posts and interactions.

Attend virtual industry events and webinars. This broadens your knowledge and increases your visibility among peers and potential clients. Aim for at least one event per month to maintain a consistent presence.

In this New Year, your ability to harness the power of social selling can significantly impact your sales results. It’s not just about being present online; it’s about strategically building your digital persona to attract and engage with the right prospects.

For more insights on effectively using social selling to boost your revenue, check out my video series with the latest installment below. Let’s make this year a milestone in your sales journey.

Happy selling, and best wishes for a prosperous year ahead!