A Winners Edge – Competitive Intelligence

photo(17) - CopyWinning is a Habit. Unfortunately, So Is Losing. – Vince Lombardi

Kudos and a big shout-out to the sales athletes who show up to compete in the sales arena. You put it all on the line and are driven to minimize the influence others may have in deciding where you can afford to live, what kinds of schools your kids can afford to attend, what kind of car you can afford drive, when and where you can vacation, and how much you can invest and save. Want a raise?  Simple – go out and close another deal. Sure, quota is important to achieving your company’s sales revenue objectives but you don’t need a sales manager or a quota hanging over your head once you accept that winning and losing in the sales profession should be motivated by the vision of YOUR lifestyle goals and legacy.

Most of us already understand: That too often, the difference between winning and losing is so small… that just a little additional insight can make a champion. Since I’m always on the hunt for tools, solutions, methodologies that support my lifestyle and legacy goals, I recently came upon  “Insight” from Ignite Intelligence Solutions at www.winloss.com.  This is a new company in the competitive intelligence space that’s developed software which leverages input from members on the sales team which is then used to dynamically illuminate winning and losing competitive scenarios and nuances… before you go out and break a sweat. Question: how much more effective would you be, and how many more deals would you close if you were able to discern the winners and losers with a higher degree of confidence before committing significant time and resources? Hmmm…

I was so impressed that I’ve joined the Ignite Intelligence Solutions team and soon, I’ll  be engaging sales executives, marketing executives, trainers, and sales operations people in various verticals to help their sales reps achieve and exceed record-breaking quota success.

Care to know more? Do you have bigger sales revenues targets for 2015? We should connect. Feel free to contact me to schedule a discussion at cbell@winloss.com and in the meantime…

Win,

CB3

Speaker Series: 2013 Tech Sales Trends & Tips

423876_3015206471201_20528481_nThe 2013 Technology Sales Arena. Are there new rules and new tools? Will it be a New Year with new fears? The velocity of change is only increasing in the technology sales/business development arena  and you already know… what got you here, won’t keep you here. You’re invited to register and attend a presentation hosted by the Howard County Economic Development Authority Speaker Series, authored by Chris Bell, III entitled “2013 Tech Sales Trends & Tips” that may transform your business.

Registration details are below…

Date: Friday, February 8th 2013
Time: 9AM to 10:30AM
Location: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship
Address: 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045
Registration http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5066734740#

 

The Obsolete Technology Sales Culture

Great, Old Players

This week I was casually listening to a “seasoned” sales executive reminisce about the “good old days”… when he knew he was top dog because he was receiving a sales order order by this new courier called Federal Express. Then I went home and as I was sitting in my basement home office, I gazed at a bookshelf containing over one hundred plus sales & business-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 may be obsolete today. The game has changed and many of the best old players… couldn’t compete and win in today’s hyper-competitive technology sales arenas.

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 regarding sales people 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 they’ll 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 in a game that’s been evolving for years.

Why? Frankly, potential buyers have been frustrated or angry 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. Billions of dollars have been spent teaching sales people how to close deals and build careers vs. solving real business problems, and many traditional sales tactics and strategies are adversarial or 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 leveraging the latest tools 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. It’s about time.

Win,

-Chris

(Video) A Technology Sales Team Tune-Up

 

My name is Christopher Bell, III and I’ve spent more than a few years successfully generating new sales revenues in both information technology and biotechnology software sales arenas as an individual contributor, sales executive, and coach to more than a few six-figure sales producers.  But along the way, I’ve been perplexed by the callous brutality of some of some senior sales executives who prematurely terminate their sales athletes out of frustration, with little warning or opportunity to honestly remedy or ascertain the root cause of poor sales performance problems. Worse, a few have privately confessed (after summoning the courage to exercise introspective due diligence) that the primary culprit for failing to hit revenue goals …was looking back at them in the mirror.

“Call high!” Great… Now what is a rep supposed to say and do when they get to the executive suite, AND is it enough to be invited back? “You need to make more calls” is a common sales management cliché and default cop-out for some execs who aren’t able to successfully address complex sales and marketing collaboration deficiencies. So, how do you evaluate sales effectiveness BEFORE deals are forecasted or before the competency of your sales management and leadership is questioned? Obsolescence in the sales profession is quite real and the velocity towards the cliff of irrelevance is accelerating. The net: What got you here… isn’t enough to keep you here. Is your sales team struggling because of organizational systemic failure and obsolete processes, protocols and tools you’ve put in place; OR are they lacking the evolving sales skills and a personal sales coach  to help them win in a hyper-competitive business environment? Perhaps, it’s ALL OF THE ABOVE, but how do you know?

Call CB3 at 443-398-2230 or email dawn@chrisbell3rd.com to schedule an appointment with me to discuss a tune-up or remedy for your sales organization thru a One-on-One Personal Sales Coaching Program designed for sales athletes, and our consulting services developed to optimize your existing sales processes & tools necessary to improve sales forecast reliability. Nobody knows it all. Let us help you take your technology sales organization to the next level… and win!

VIDEO – A CB3 COMPLEX SALES PROCESS MAP

WHAT DO SALES REPS AND EXECUTIVES HAVE TO SAY?

“… a sales professional that you want on your team, because if he is on your competitor’s team you will lose.” Carl Fijat, Business Development Manager, Cisco

“…an innovative problem solver and has an extensive understanding of the strategy it takes to move forward in a complex selling environment.” Cris Lull, VP Business Development & Sourcing, Optoro

“… a significant portion of my sales knowledge came from Chris, which helped shape my successful sales process today.”  David Michaels, Federal Account Manager, CLC Bio

Relaunching with New Products and Services for 2012!


At ChrisBell3rd & Company, LLC (also known as CB3) these are REALLY exciting times! A little more than two years ago, I started the company as a Solopreneur with only $395 after being laid off. The following year I was recognized as a Winner, in a 2010  $25,000 Entrepreneurs Challenge.

Today, in less than three years we’ve been able to expand our services, maintained several long-term partnership agreements, closed multi-million dollar contracts for our clients, moving into shared office space, and have become established as trusted advisors to CEOs and executives across the globe with an exemplary track record for performance. The net: we’re growing as a company, adding great professionals to our team, and we believe it’s a perfect time to TUNE-UP and:

  • Initiate a WEBSITE MAKEOVER
  • REBRAND the company
  • Introduce an impressive NEW BUSINESS VIDEO DESTINATION
  • Present our NEW SERVICES
  • Leverage EXCEPTIONAL RESOURCES
  • SUPPORT others in our COMMUNITY

Come back and visit us soon and keep up with activities related to our business re-launch here to…

Win!!!!!

-Chris Bell III

chris@chrisbell3rd.com

Telephone: 443.718.0977

“Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… are all FREE social media tools. In this article I was interviewed by Tonya Taylor  the feature writer for social media at the local Baltimore Examiner.com. During this interview I briefly shared a few tips as to how I used social media tools to launch my business, and continue to leverage them to address my clients requirements. Of course, for competitive reasons I didn’t share everything.

To access the article entitled: “Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story” you can click here: http://bit.ly/cIPLAe

Win,

Chris III

Path of a Blackberry-to-IPhone Conversion

iphone-blackberry-070724Yes, I did it. I’m a recent Blackberry-to-iPhone convert. The transition has been both exhilarating and disappointing. Make no mistake. I loved using my BlackBerry and though my 30-day iPhone 3GS trial is over I do find comfort in knowing that using a BB device was a smart personal and business decision… two years ago.

So what happened? Why move from a decent wireless provider and mobile device that’s been historically reliable and transition to “The Darkside?”  While not proper, I’ll answer in the interrogatory:        “Have you actually used both a BlackBerry and an iPhone?”   

Justification for the iPhone 3GS:

  1. Cost  The day I switched to an iPhone I started saving money. While AT&T and VerizonWireless devices and calling plans are pretty similar on paper, the additional fees necessary to make the VerizonWireless Blackberry compatible for my business use weren’t tolerable. For instance, Blackberry Exchange Server (BES) support thru a 3rd-party provider was an additional $38 per month, and VerizonWireless charged $60 per month fee for accessing the RIM service. With my iPhone, Exchange Server support is $3.00 per month, and I now pay a $30 per month AT&T data access fee.
  2. Rollover minutes  From month to month, I never used all of the allotted minutes in my VerizonWireless calling plan and any unused minutes were credited back to my carrier… not too me.
  3. Poor In-store customer service  after enduring 8 years of VerizonWireless in-store attitudes of arrogance and long lines, I broke beneath the torture I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had a business account and yet, no one treated me as if I’m running a business! I’m spending almost $200 a month (or approximately $20,000 over the last 8 years.) Moreover, my individual lifetime value as a VerizonWireless customer exceeded $120,000 and should I add on other employees or family members who use the same services. I’m a $1M customer!!! (No wonderthere are so many mobile phone vendor booths setup at the mall.)
  4. Applications  For months I’ve sat in airports, trains, seminars, and in social gatherings watching people move their fingers across the face of their iPhone devices and I became curious: What the heck can an iPhone do that I can’t do with my BB device?  So I asked a business colleague to give me a personal demo and he chuckled and asked “are you sure you can handle it?”  (I hate sarcasm) but after the 15-minutes zipping thru his iPhone apps and basic device functionality, I was blown away. The phone worked as expected, but it was the easy-to-read screen, logical layout, and several cool apps for just about anything you can imagine that made a big impression. In the end, I came away from the encounter feeling uncomfortable. Why? I had just experienced a demo that upset my sense of intellectual confidence and knowledge. Certainly, I couldn’t have been wrong about paying so much for so long for my Blackberry when other less-expensive and functionally better options were available?  (Answer: Yes, dumb-a@# you’d blown it.) Today, I’m soooo pleased with my transition I can barely stand it. But remember, where there’s green grass… there’s dirt underneath.

Warnings & Trade-offs in the Transition

  1. You will miss your trackball and the feel of the BB keys and buttons. Entering characters into the iPhone will initially be much slower and take some getting used to. Just as importantly, I became so comfortable with my BB keypad that I could text or write emails without looking at the screen. Those days are over with the iPhone 3GS virtual keyboard.
  2. 3G Network – The VerizonWireless commercial pertaining to the size of their 3G Network is true. However, with my previous service I wasnt able to receive or make calls from my basement home-office. So far, my AT&T iPhone 3G reception at in my basement office is awesome and my calls are clear everywhere Ive been. However, I’m quite certain that there may be some local Washington DC-Baltimore metro locations where the service won’t be great and I must admit I have some anxiety about finding out where there when I need to make or receive an important call.)
  3. iPhone Durability  –These devices aren’t built ruggedly and one cannot buy an insurance plan for the iPhone device that covers damage to the large screen. So, the 1st thing you’ll want to do is to purchase a screen protector AND a protective case/sleeve to insulate your device from the inevitable drop. This issue alone was almost a show-stopper for me.
  4. Battery Life  My Blackberry sipped power for all-day usage and if I was remote to power, I’d simply drop in a pre-charged spare battery. The iPhone battery can’t be swapped out, and my iPhone 3GS guzzles battery power. In fact, I took it into the Apple Store to have it examined and the tech rep said “this is normal use sir.” It seems the biggest battery resource hog is the large LCD touch screen. The iPhone specs state 10 hours of battery usage, but my experience has been it lasts about 7 depending upon talk-time. So it may be wise to keep your charger close-by, or as a precaution when driving, get in the habit of keeping it plugged in to the car charger (accessory) to ensure it’ll be available when you need it.

In the end, whatever your choice, both the BlackBerry and iPhone 3GS will probably address most business needs and with the introduction of other devices (like the Droid) you’re certain to have your basic wireless mobile device and service requirements addressed. Inevitably we all struggle to find the facts that support our emotional buying decisions… it’s just that I admit it. 🙂

Your comments and questions are welcome!

-Christopher Bell, III