How Data Science and Machine Learning Can Improve B-to-B Sales Organizations’ Success

Posted by Yogesh Sharma on Tue, Jul 25, 2017

As tech companies face increasing competition, more complex selling processes, fast-evolving technology and an abundance of data, increasing sales force effectiveness is a constant need. Unfortunately, current B-to-B selling is still stuck in the ’90s, when the salesperson was the first point of contact with customers. Today, by the time first contact is made, the prospect is already two-thirds of the way through his buying journey. However, recent advances in data science, machine learning and increased data proliferation are making it possible to improve sales gains.


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Social Branding: If You Build It, They May Come, but If You Earn It, They Will

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Feb 16, 2016

This is the second post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

Last week, Ashish Vazirani introduced the “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling” along with some initial insights from a recently completed survey that ZS conducted with 125 sales leaders across various industries, including high-tech and telecom. In this post, I’ll focus on “social branding,” which is probably the building block with the lowest barrier to entry, but it’s essential that sales reps get it right in order to successfully drive productive social selling behavior.


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Actually, There Isn’t an App for That

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Thu, Oct 22, 2015

To Improve Sales Force Effectiveness, a Business Case and Implementation Plan Are Critical

Some high-level athletes don’t work out. Often they rely on natural ability but don’t focus on the fundamentals or learning the playbook. The same mindset applies to many technology firms, which are often growing at hyper-speed and don’t think they need to take active steps to improve their sales force effectiveness (SFE). Or these organizations think the lessons learned by other tech companies don’t apply to them.


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When Is 1 + 1 Really Greater Than 2?

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Tue, Oct 20, 2015

The importance of focus when it comes to driving sales force effectiveness (SFE) is a topic I wrote about some time ago. In that post, I pointed to ZS’s SFE NavigatorTM —an approach and a set of tools that will help you decide which SFE drivers are most important to achieve your growth objectives. My objective in that post was to point out the importance of focusing on the one to three initiatives that will drive the greatest impact (… and then move on to the next one or several initiatives). I think we might all agree that focus is critical, but this does beg the question, “If we had a coordinated set of initiatives and a transformation program, wouldn’t the impact be greater? Would one plus one be greater than two?”


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Social Selling: An Old Dog With New Tricks

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Fri, Mar 13, 2015

I have written and presented on the topic of social selling, but my voice is just one among many and it seems that often these voices are not in harmony. I find that many people often confuse social selling with social media, thinking it is a relatively new phenomenon. But the truth is social selling is as old as the concept of sales itself. The fundamentals of effective selling remain the same. Empathy, relationship building, active listening, providing insight and reinforcing value are essential. New collaboration platforms and virtual communities haven’t changed the rules of engagement, but they have changed the tools of engagement. Social media channels are merely another way for salespeople to exhibit these behaviors. B2B sales coach, speaker and author S. Anthony Iannarino, thoughtfully reminds us, “It’s never good to overpromise and under deliver. But that is what social selling has done. It has been offered as the panacea to all the problems that ail sales organizations, and in doing so, the case has been greatly overstated.” If selling hasn’t changed, what selling skills should we emphasize that will be enhanced by the new social media?


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