Chris Bell 3rd: Coaching for Big Results

2013-03-29 21.57.05“My name is Joey Price and I’m the CEO of Jumpstart:HR, LLC. My company provides full-service HR support to small, emerging businesses in the United States and international firms looking to establish or grow their presence in the US.  My company helps business owners grow their firms with confidence while alleviating the sting of the inevitable burden of HR headaches.

Working with Chris Bell 3rd helped me in a lot of ways. As a leader, he helped me grow courage in weak-spot areas that existed in my mental focus. As a sales person he helped me strengthen my sales process. As a friend, we were able to connect on life issues – which helped me trust his business acumen all the more.”

My name is Chris Bell 3rd  and I love to see people win in life. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, I had the privilege of being a business coach and mentor for Joey Price, the CEO of Jumpstart: HR, LLC who was recently recognized in the Baltimore Business Journal Top 40, Under 40 and featured in the University of Maryland University College commercial spot (you just watched) which aired just before a Baltimore Ravens NFL preseason game a few weeks ago.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business; if you’re new to business and want to increase sales and profitability; if you own a business and want to get “unstuck…” contact me to begin transforming your business AND your life.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Never Touch A Public Toilet Seat Again

1505435_134694753367859_303128317_nImagine: A product for women and children that removes anxiety normally associated with using public bathroom facilities.

Well, it’s almost here,  it’s calledThe Tidy Potty” and soon you may never have to touch a public toilet seat again.

As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) in Columbia Maryland, I’m privileged to work with extraordinary start-up companies and visionary executives who are innovating and creating products and services that are being prepared for launch into the marketplace. One such company, Beacoupdeforce Solutions and its CEO Thomas Harris, have a patent-pending for The Tidy Potty that is certain to receive global attention and international demand.

The Tidy Potty is a discreet, portable, safe, flush-able plastic, biodegradable toilet seat cover that is sturdy, thin, and pliable, but still offers a 100%  barrier of protection against moisture, microbes, parasites and debris. Because of its cleverly thought out design of smartly placed elastic for a secure fit on any toilet seat, and (2) tabs placed strategically to denote proper placement and to enable easy removal … The Tidy Potty can be easily and securely applied and removed to and from any toilet seat, without touching any part of the toilet whatsoever.

Kudos to Thomas Harris and Beaucoupdeforce! Here’s a video about the Tidy Potty. Want to know more? Visit www.thetidypotty.com

 

Kiss My Glass of USA: A Veteran-Owned Business With A Smart Start

1925025_276760475817597_1118171973_nHere’s a BIG shout-out and special congratulations to Chuck Davis, CEO of Kiss My Glass of USA http://kissmyglassofusa.com/ for successfully graduating from Project Opportunity – a 10-week, rigorous course prepared for US Military Veterans who are launching new businesses. Here is a PRESS RELEASE featuring the program and it’s graduates.

In addition to successfully launching his new company, Chuck Davis distinguished himself amongst his peers in the Project Opportunity course by standing up 2 new social media business platforms, authoring a summary of details he’d learned about using social media, and explaining how to apply it in his business after taking on an assignment I’d given that was detailed in a blog post I’d written entitled: “Project Opportunity US Military Veterans and Social Media”.

For going the extra mile, I had the privilege of presenting Mr. Davis with the book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months” by Melinda Emerson… a friend and feature writer for the New York Times. In 2013, Forbes rated Melinda Emerson as the #1 Most Influential Woman in social media for small businesses.

1148967_276760529150925_157320317_nCongratulations Mr. Davis and Kiss My Glass of USA. We’re going to get the word out about you and your US Military Veteran-Owned company!

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Project Opportunity US Military Veterans and Social Media

51dTjt1aVmL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Last night I had the opportunity to share my insights and tips on leveraging social media for business with the Project Opportunity class of US military veterans graduating next week, and I left the class with a contest challenge and opportunity that would require them to uses multiple social media platforms to win a modest prize and public recognition that can be shared across multiple social media platforms. If well-done, positive public recognition for one of the Project Opportunity students may be leveraged to accelerate their business growth.

The Contest

Participation is restricted to the Project Opportunity, Glen Burnie class members of US military veterans graduating on March 18th 2014

Write a brief essay of no more than 250 words, describing the most important thing you learned during our presentation/discussion on social media, and how you plan to leverage social media to grow your business.

Publicly post your essay in the section “Leave a Comment” (just below this blog post) on this website NO LATER THAN SUNDAY, MARCH 16TH.

Optional: follow me on my business Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisBell3rd and on twitter at: https://twitter.com/Chrisbell3rd

Chris Bell 3rd will select the contest winner, and the founder of Project Opportunity, Joe Giordano will announce and present the contest winner with their prize during your graduation ceremony on March 18th 2014.

The Prize

The best-selling book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months” will be presented to you during next week’s Project Opportunity graduation ceremony in Glen Burnie. This book is best described as being “a month-by-month guide to a business that works” and was brilliantly written by my own executive mentor and personal friend, Melinda Emerson. Melinda is committed to ending small business failure and rated by Forbes as the #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs. She’s also a small business feature writer for the New York Times, hosts #SmallBizChat on Twitter and carries the handle @smallbizlady.

Business Recognition

I’m one of two Winners of the 2010 Melinda Emerson $25,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge. Melinda’s coaching, counsel, and support over the last four years has been priceless. But the public recognition I received opened doors and gave me access to a network I didn’t know existed.  If you’re a new business owner and entrepreneur in Project Opportunity, here’s your shot to leverage 3rd-party authentication of your winning attitude, hard work, and commitment to the growth of your business via social media.  I look forward to reading your submissions!

Best to All!

Chris Bell 3rd

Entrepreneur Coaching & Mentoring

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Howard County Economic Development Authority – Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship

Over the last few months, I’ve consistently said that: “I must have the best part-time job in the country.” As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) I have the privilege of being paid to mentor and coach some of the most talented, energetic, visionary, intelligent people on the planet. With a technology business incubation program, technology council, and other programs all under one roof, the MCE delivers opportunities for literally everyone – innovators, entrepreneurs, established businesses, service providers, and investors.

Last week, I had the privilege of being only one of 3 people asked to participate on a panel to help prepare an 11-year-old Maryland girl to make her business pitch to the 3rd most wealthy man in the US – Warren Buffet. Click here to see a video of the event.

Why Is The CEO in Sales?

At-a-glance, this wasn’t a promising opportunity. My competition was the established incumbent in my target account and carried “trusted adviser” status in a key circle of internal influence. Moreover, I was a little late to arrive in this competitive scenario so I didn’t even forecast this engagement in an “Opportunity” stage because it would be a long-shot for me to close. However, for my competition (the CEO of an emerging technology company) this was supposed to be an easy, simple, “renewal & upgrade” deal coupled with an opportunity for a co-marketing agreement, right? Think again.

Most CEO’s may have successfully driven an end-to-end sales process at some phase in their company’s growth and development. But more often than not, as the company’s products matured and evolved, many settle into their primary role as the chief visionary and executive responsible for achieving investor requirements.

The result: CEO sales skills get rusty or they may not even be aware of  the recent subtleties and nuances of engagement that have evolved and are preferred by today’s decision-makers. The fact is, keeping up with changes in the technology sales industry aren’t a priority for a company’s senior executive and in general, it’s not easy to do. However, just as world-class professional athletes have training camps, ongoing practices and drills, coupled with personal performance coaching to stay competitive… so do the top technology sales reps. Therefore, matching-up a highly motivated and well-intentioned CEO against a well-trained, tuned-up sales executive may not be a fair fight. The bell had been rung, and I salivated like Pavlov’s Dog… sensing that a high-profile slam dunk on a competitor was now possible. Here’s why:

  • A full-time CEO is a part-time sales rep.  Focus, or lose to those who do.
  • No Escalation Option. Things happen. Something will go wrong.  Guess who has just put their executive reputation on the line?
  • Limited Leverage in Negotiations. Have you ever seen a senior executive being humbled and having to put their ego in check because they’ve been turned into a “Discount Queen” to save a deal the Board of Directors were guaranteed would close? It’s not pretty… not pretty at all.
  • Limited Account Knowledge.  A CEO can’t take the time to go deep AND wide in large enterprise engagements or in complex sales scenarios to really know and validate economic and technical buyer influences. Nor are they postured to challenge incorrect presumptions.  Last but not least, managing an internal home pursuit team that doesn’t normally “play” together while leveraging limited internal resources… is a nightmare for all parties.
  • FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt)  A CEO who manages deals in competitive scenarios may be unintentionally promoting uncertainty and instability that translates in buyer code as “desperation.”
  • Alienation from the Bottom.  Do W-2 salaried, director-level business and technology managers (generally the evaluators) feel comfortable transparently interacting with a self-employed, soon-to-be mega-rich CEO? Some do and some don’t. Want to risk it?

The net: Just because you can sell… it doesn’t mean you should.  Mr. CEO thank you. No, really… I mean it. THANK YOU.

-Chris

Video: Calling on Technology Sales Experts!

Coming in February 2013!

Coming in February 2013!

Sales training, books, CD’s, pod-casts, and seminars are integral to framing our understanding of what it takes to win in the technology sales/business development profession.  But has yesterday’s expert advice lost some of its efficacy or potency? What’s the shelf-life and expiration date on so-called “best practices” and established methodologies?  What’s new and what’s coming?  Can we talk about it?

In February 2013 “The Razor’s Edge” will be re-launched as a forum featuring blog posts and videos created by TODAYS experts who will share their personal insights and tips with “all who would see and hear.”  Want to further establish your street cred in the sales/ biz development arena?  Contact CB3 at chris@chrisbell3rd.com  to introduce yourself and schedule a brief interview to discuss sharing your expertise with our peers in this new forum launching in February 2013!

CB3 Featured Success Story

Howard County Economic Development Authority

Most of the entrepreneurs and small business owners we know work extraordinarily hard to transform their business vision into a reality but too few are provided with an opportunity to be recognized.

CB3 is both humbled and proud to be featured in this recent Howard County Economic Development Success story:  http://www.hceda.org/grow-a-business/success-stories/chris-bell-3rd.aspx.

We are grateful to our family, friends, the Howard County Maryland business community, and our global clientele and their customers for their continued confidence, trust, and support.

Thank you!!!!

 

 

The Cost of Time Traps

Most small business owners, entrepreneurs, and technology sales professionals expect to live pretty hectic, out of balance, and occasionally sleep-deprived lives for more than a few seasons as they transition from predictable industrial-age working hours to the state of “constant-on” where the word is out:  BEING AT WORK IS NO LONGER A PLACE, IT IS A STATE OF MIND.  As a result we don’t watch the clock in a way that most salaried employees do because for us… executing linear, non-revenue generating tasks and activities is an unrecoverable expense and TIME TRAP that doesn’t add equity to the bottom line of our businesses that we can leverage later. Nor does it put additional commissions into the wallets of most sales and business development professionals that’s sufficient to improve their lifestyles.

Here’s a little math that nets out the necessity and justification to avoid ONE TIME TRAP ACTIVITY (and most people have more than one.) Let’s assume you’re a technology sales rep and you earn $100k annually, which means your hourly wage is $48.08. If you spend 3 hours per day talking to unqualified people or doing activities that don’t put you in front of prospects who are ready, willing, and able to buy… it’s costing you $2,884 monthly or $34,617 annually. Over a 3-year period (the average on-the-job tenure of a technology sales rep) that nets out to be a $103,851 top-line, cold-cash loss. The opportunity loss (because you’re not using that TIME to focus on activities most likely to convert to real revenue)… is incalculable. Disturbed yet? I hope so.

Change & Win,
Christopher Bell, III

“Let’s Do Dinner” – A Failure to Reciprocate?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a team pumping out a few high-quality leads (like the inside sales crew at IGLOO Software to supplement your own activity) you feel super-loved and supported but under no illusion… you know that’s how they’re compensated.

When sales professionals have significant business opportunity engagements in the technology space,  they’re also introduced to enough economic buyers (EBs) in the normal course of  regular qualification and discovery processes that enable them to begin handing out really good, qualified leads to colleagues and peers working with other organizations – as long as it’s clear their products and solutions aren’t a fit, and there’s no competition for the same budget.  Unfortunately, it’s also quite likely they’ll receive a generic token of appreciation from the recipient of the lead that sounds like this:

 “Oh, thank you so much! We really have to get together sometime for dinner or maybe hit the links – I’ll call you!”  Even if the bearer of good news doesn’t say it, they’re thinking: “you’re kiddin’ me, right?  I just passed you a fat, actionable lead that’s going to  keep your insecure butt out of the fire for another 90 days or that may change your life, and you just pitched me the superficial oh-we-really-do-have-to-get-together-sometime” rap?

Me? I’m of the opinion that the “let’s do dinner” response is obsolete and that we should all press “reset”, start over, and think again about this aspect our professional interactions.

Instead of offering me dinners and golf outings that you know will never materialize, why not just make it a priority to reciprocate by returning the favor received by giving a qualified lead, in exchange for a really good qualified lead.  It’s the “golden rule:” do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In the process you replicate yourself and put another set of feet, eyes, ears, and an advocate into companies and places you don’t have access to… yet.

Want to take your sales initiatives to a higher level? Give away qualified leads, set reciprocity as a condition for lead-giving and then watch both you AND your peers income increase.  Dinner?  Thanks, but my wife called – “Big Daddy’s” going home to a feast of lovin’. 🙂

Rain check?

-Chris Bell

Don’t Jump, It’s Temporary – A Sales Recovery Scenario

I recently received a call from a colleague whom I’ve sold with and coached regularly. He was sending me his sales plan and recent revenue numbers for us to discuss together.  With a new job and in his first quarter with a new employer, one of the best revenue producers I’d known found himself bearing witness to the atrophy of his initial revenue forecast commitment.  The Result:  embarrassment, frustration and disgust at the thought of being at the bottom of a sales leader board. (Note – this was also a déjà vu moment for me.)

After listening to 10-minutes of venting, I asked: “Are you finished yet?”  He laughed when realizing his Type-A, hyper-competitive personality was both an asset and a curse… if it wasn’t kept in check. This scenario also provoked me to spend time in introspection as I asked myself “Do I sound like that too?”

Here are the Top 5 Actions we agreed to implement to change the view from the bottom of the leader board.

 Take a humility pill: step away from the ledge, and don’t jump!  You’re good – not God.  The view from the bottom is usually temporary and in transitional scenarios such as this, finger-pointing can be dangerous and self-condemnation is premature.  Share your perspectives with a supportive manager and winners on the team to leverage their experience for guidance.

Practice a Flawless Opening:  It’s true – first impressions count.  Be prepared and be certain you have articulated or presented clear, concise, and compelling business reasons for them to remain engaged with you… again. An acceptance for a meeting invitation is nothing. The question is, are you being invited back?

Think Big, Be Big: You’ll work just as hard for a $5,000 deal as you will a $50,000 deal… and won’t achieve your quota objectives. Re-prioritize your focus to invest 80% of your the time and energy doing those things that matters most, with contacts who are ready, willing, and able to buy.  Delegate non-revenue generating activities and engage in those activities that will make a BIG difference quickly.

Network with your peers & recruit new partners:  This company’s largest previous deal came from a lead which was supplied by a partner. Replicate success and recruit other partners who have ongoing access to the hottest projects, understand the latest trends and have executive-level access to the clients you want to do business with.

 Up-sell Existing Customers & Revisit Lost Deals: The fastest path to new revenue has always been thru an existing customer. Initiate account reviews to ascertain what’s changed, discuss new capabilities and ask for referrals.

Win,

Chris Bel, III

A Solopreneur Transformation

We’ve been REALLY busy.  Yes, I did say “we.” At CB3 (or for the more formally inclined, ChrisBell3rd & Company LLC) we’ve done more than just a little re-branding in the last 120 days. Here’s what I mean…

We’ve always understood that complimentary synergies exist between our executive clients, our peers in the business development technology arena, and our potential customers.  In response, CB3 has developed four new service offerings for executives of small technology companies and start-ups; Our peers are already talking aboutThe Razor’s Edge” – a digital destination where business development (sales, marketing) subject matter experts will be sharing insights to improve performance; and we’re delighted to be able to educate a community of future buyers and consumers in our upcoming “But I Hate Sales™” Seminars.  But there’s more! We now share office space in the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, which makes it immensely easier to do local business.  But MOST IMPORTANTLY,  we’ve evolved from solo-preneurship by adding a small, highly motivated TEAM of talented professionals to help optimize all business interactions (and yes… we remain on the hunt for exceptional talent.)

What’s next?  Subscribe to this page to hear about our upcoming Razor’s Edge featured guests; watch for the posting of the new “But I Hate Sales™ ” schedule; and for the next 30 days, read the daily, public “shout-outs” of gratitude and thanks to individuals or companies who have helped to make our transition possible.

Subscribe to this Conversations page… and don’t miss out!

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Smallbizlady Coaching with ChrisBell3rd

It’s a calm, new day and quiet optimism abounds here at ChrisBell3rd. As most of you already know, in May 2010 I was announced as a winner of the “Become Your Own Boss $25,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge” which was sponsored by Melinda Emerson (aka Smallbizlady.)  Melinda has established a stellar reputation as a small business expert, public speaker, and as the author of an awesome book entitled “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.

One of the conditions of my being a contest winner was a requirement to blog about my experiences working with Smallbizlady.  I knew I’d gain access to her business expertise but I didn’t know that I would also be the beneficiary of her encouragement, empathy, energy, inspiration, tactful correction, generosity, and personal authenticity. I didn’t just get a business coach… I found a friend. Here are some of the things we’ve covered:

The rules: Smallbizlady set the ground rules and preferences for interaction in our upcoming coaching sessions. My challenge: ensuring my client/customer requirements don’t encroach on my pre-scheduled business coaching sessions – we’re working on it.

Financial review: I submitted my company’s quarterly financials, but my business plan and marketing plans were obsolete in 8 months as I had surpassed all my initial Year-1 objectives. Now I needed a makeover. This became a priority for complet ion as Ms. Emerson needed more detail into my company’s core competencies to ascertain paths and opportunities for growth. Truth: I was impressed and… I’m not easily impressed.

Life Plan: every legit business owner understands the necessity to complete a business plan, but Smallbizlady introduced me to the benefit of using a “life plan” as an integrated part of my business plan. Have you ever busted your butt to achieve a goal or objective in life and then find yourself asking: “Is this it?” Never again… I’m workin’ on a life plan.

The new “normal”:  I soon discovered there was nothing crazy or unusual about my life or experiences as a new entrepreneur and that I should look to model the mindset and leverage the experiences of others who’ve been successful in my moments of doubt or in times of extraordinary challenge.

Pray for me and of course… I’ll keep you up to speed as my coaching sessions with Melinda Emerson, the Smallbizlady continue to unfold. By the way, a complete chapter of  Smallbizlady’s book is being featured in 4 pages of Black Enterprise magazine this month. Check it out!

Winning with you,

-Chris Bell III

ChrisBell3rd A Winner in $25,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge!

In celebration of her first book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works (Adams Media, March 2010), Melinda Emerson is annoucning contest winners featuring a prize of weekly small-business coaching sessions. “The contest brought so many worthy applicants that I found it impossible to choose one winner,” describes Emerson.  “I narrowed it to two winners who agreed to share the one-on-one coaching.” Entrepreneurs Jennifer Furr, owner of PictureThatSound in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Chris Bell, owner of ChrisBell3rd & Company in Columbia, Maryland, will work with Emerson weekly and blog about their experiences.

In 2009, Jennifer Furr decided to leave her steady job in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue a dream – bringing a product to market that she couldn’t find in the retail world.

Furr founded PictureThatSound to fill an unmet need in the US memory-keeping market.  The company’s first product pairs a photo matte with a recordable device for sound.  Furr describes being pregnant with her second child and wanting to capture the ultrasound image with the heartbeat sound in her scrapbook album. “There are so many sounds that we take for granted, that we think we’ll always remember. Sometimes I close my eyes and picture a sound in my head, like my toddler’s giggle, my grandmother singing, or even my husband snoring. We provide a product that allows you to capture a photo and an audio snapshot of that memory, all in one.” Visit www.PictureThatSound.com. In June 2009, Chris Bell decided to use his creative business development and technology sales expertise to launch his consultancy, ChrisBell3rd & Company, LLC to exceed sales revenue objectives on behalf of executives, investors, and owners of small to mid-sized IT software and life sciences software companies. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be coached by Smallbizlady, and I am thrilled to have been chosen.  I know she will help me grow my business,” said Bell.

ChrisBell3rd & Company, LLC exercises proven best practices with the latest in Sales 2.0 technology to deliver customized business development and sales approaches that uniquely fit their client’s product-type, corporate culture, and revenue goals. His mantra is simple: “Nobody cares what you know, until they know that you care – all is business is personal.”   Visit http://chrisbell3rd.com

Emerson says, “These two emerging entrepreneurs are exactly the type of dedicated small-business owners that I love to coach.  I was so touched by each of their stories of starting a business.”Jennifer and Chris will receive coaching twice a month for one year and an autographed copy of Melinda Emerson’s book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, her life planning journal, and her Audio CD: 10 Things You Must Never Forget in Business. Emerson will also coach both entrepreneurs every other week throughout the year. The winners will be required to blog twice per month about their entrepreneurial journey.

Melinda Emerson “Smallbizlady” is a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach. Her areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Melinda is a well-known expert in achieving bottom line results and has helped many entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.  Melinda hosts #Smallbizchat, a weekly talk show on Twitter for emerging business owners. Melinda publishes a blog about running a profitable small business www.succeedasyourownboss.com.  Her first book Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to Start a Business That Works” was released March 2010 from Adams Media.  For more information, please visit www.becomeyourownbossbook.com

Technology Sales: A CIO’s Perspective

Because, The Customer Isn’t Always Right

SSI0009639_PThere isn’t one successful professional salesperson or business development specialist who hasn’t found themselves at the moral crossroads of having to make a decision to be silent, or to speak the truth to a business decision-maker and possibly put a deal at risk. The safest position in these cases has been to adhere to the code: “The customer is always right.”

The fact is, most buyers and sellers know the truth: sometimes customers do get it wrong, it’s just their being wrong may not necessitate comment and the prospect of them spending their money with you (or someone else) makes them “right.” If you’re a sales or business development professional and you feel conflicted in this scenario, congratulations! Your conscience and moral foundation are in fine operating condition.  Sometimes moral standards and financial issues do come into conflict.

The Customer is Always Right is a powerful lie. What’s interesting is that over the years after hearing this same statement repeated over and over again from the mouths of intelligent, well-meaning business owners and executives, we should be impressed with the longevity and power of this falsehood. Why? Because ironically, there’sa contradictory but viable measure of wisdom that professional sales andbusiness development specialists understand:

  • Customers have a right to be wrong. Be quiet and let them be wrong UNLESS the consequences would cause harm or injury.
  • You’re not in the “Business Prevention” business and you probably don’t work for a non-profit organization. You’re in sales.
  • When doing the morally right thing means it’s the wrong for your client OR your employer’s business… surrender the business opportunity – don’t do the deal and/or pass it on to a supervisor. There’s power in a clean conscience, and prosperity without peace-of-mind… is hell on earth.

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) – A Competitive Advantage?

iStock_000005540740XSmallWhat recession? In the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, my recent (though brief) experience is that the volume of high-quality business development and technology sales opportunities exceeds the number of Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) that are available to service those companies and opportunities. For OSPs with a solid-value proposition and a track record for performance, business is really good right now. Why?

In times of fiscal constraint, companies are always seeking ways to increase productivity and sales revenue while concurrently reducing their costs. A recent BusinessWeek blog post entitled “A New Wrinkle on Outsourcing” provides an interesting perspective on the use of Outsourced Sales Professionls (OSPs) in technology sales. Here’s the net: Executives and managers in the technology space are beginning to get it – OSPs can bring a level of consistency and best practices to the job that’s difficult to achieve with an in-house sales staff.

If you’re a sales executive or business owner it’s probably time to look into leveraging OSPs – your competition certainly is.

Video Survey: Acceptance & Confusion – Cloud Computing

iStock_000007251582XSmallThe volume on the cloud computing dialogue is getting turned up, but clarity around the cloud computing definition still strike chords of minor disonance amongst technology providers and potential customers – even though cloud computing enjoys broad acceptance. This 3.5 minute Applied Research Video Survey was sponsored by F5 and features survey results that are fairly insightful. Of course the end of the video includes a soft pitch to use F5 services, but that’s fair a trade-off for good information.

End of a Sales Era?

I was recently sitting in my basement home office, and took a quick glance at a bookshelf containing over one hundred plus sales-related books I’d bought, read, or acquired in the last 12 years and then it hit me: (besides spending too much money) much of what I’ve read and the counsel proposed in many of these books is probably obsolete today.

What Happened?  Nothing really. Ever since mankind stood on two legs, somebody has been selling, and not many people esteemed those in the profession. In fact, I’d describe society’s perspective on sales as being one of  strained tolerance. That was yesterday. Today’s prospective buyers don’t have to take it anymore. They can do a Google or Wikipedia�search and at the click of a mouse secure information that used be only available via a sales rep; they’ll research their options and get referrals about how you’ve treated your customers by reading their blog posts; they’ll communicate with like-minded buyers via twitter, and before they’ve even meet a salesperson face-to-face, it’s likely theyll read the salespersons LinkedIn profile to validate their professionalism and character thru common connections. The net: Potential customers have more leverage and there’s more transparency in the buyer-seller relationship. It’s a new game ya’ll.

Why? Frankly, potential buyers have been pissed off for years and they should be! For them, today’s revenge is sweet as the tables have turned on those who for decades have advocated anything goes to do business. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent teaching sales people how to close deals (versus helping to build careers) and many traditional sales tactics and strategies are adversarial and manipulative processes… and everybody knows it. This old reality resulted in the�implementation of buyers deploying defensive, dysfunctional buying processes that have made it extremely difficult for those sales professionals who are operating on a platform of integrity and presenting excellent products to be successful. In fact, I don’t know a single sales professional who during sometime in their career, hasn’t exercised their training only to reach the crossroads of a moral decision to either knowingly do the wrong deal because of their management’s quota pressure, or walk away from it with their integrity intact and a termination notice in-hand.

The Old-New Reality: We all know that there always have been, and always will be deal whores and hustlers without a moral compass. But today’s access to information and the exercise of social media for business empowers and informs potential buyers as never before to quickly ascertain who is authentic and whats hype. The winners? Sales and marketing organizations who have established a corporate culture of selling with integrity for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial collaborative business relationships with their customers.  The result: good sales professionals will actually be able to afford to do the morally right thing and it’s about time.