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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Sales is (Becoming More of) an Inside Job

Posted by Kyle Heller on Wed, Jan 07, 2015

ZS_REALITY_WORKS_ISR_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARYAt a 2013 Inside Sales Virtual Summit, one speaker noted, “Prospects now participate in sales presentations via Skype, web conferencing and video. These tools are quickly catching on and overtaking face-to-face visits and traditional meetings, which are expensive and too time consuming for busy buyers. Inside sales will soon surpass field sales.” While that prediction was made a little more than a year ago, the market seems determined to make it a reality. In fact, a recent study by ZS and Reality Works Group, “Outside In: The Rise of the Inside Sales Team,” found that 40 percent of large technology companies plan to increase their inside sales headcount by 2016. So, what’s driving that desire to change?


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Win an Unfair Game With Analytics

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Wed, Oct 22, 2014

I’m a Major League Baseball fan and October is the most exciting part of the year (particularly when my team makes the playoffs). Baseball has been transformed from a game dominated by intuition, experience and a few metrics to one where analytics have leveled the playing field, and helped teams in small markets, with low payrolls, identify talent and compete with their higher-payroll opponents. The Kansas City Royals, who rank 19th out of 30 teams, are an excellent example. You may have read “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis or seen the movie The book outlines how a forward-looking general manager, Billy Beane, embraced analytics to make the Oakland Athletics a perennial competitor. Some view this as a baseball book, but most recognize that it’s a story about business and an astute leader.


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Achieving the Fifth E of Sales and Marketing Operations

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Thu, Aug 08, 2013

During a recent discussion, the head of HR at a leading software and information services company introduced the COO to me as “chief enabler.” The COO cleverly responded, “I thought I was the chief enforcer.” I added that both were certainly true, but that operations also has two other E’s that should define the role: effectiveness and efficiency.

I went on to share my perspective with the COO and head of HR that the role of operations is to address each of the first four E’s—effectiveness, efficiency, enablement and enforcement—to ultimately improve customer and partner engagement.


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Choose Less, Achieve More: How to Laser-Focus Your SFE Initiative

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Mon, Feb 25, 2013

When it comes to resolutions, my problem is not a lack of ideas: stay in better touch with my friends, stick to my running schedule, cut out the salt, be more patient with my children … there is never a shortage. So I choose too many, and keep only a few, some not particularly well (ask my 16-year-old who’s learning to drive!).

My colleague recently explored how to keep a resolution to set better sales quotas. His perspective made me reflect on this quandary, which I face each New Year. As I was reflecting, I realized my predicament isn’t much different from the one confronting many sales leaders.


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