Quotable’s mission is to bring you the best sales advice and tips to improve your sales career — whether it involves inside sales, artificial intelligence, cold calling, prospecting, you name it. We’re incredibly proud of our growth this year, and we’re grateful to our readers and listeners for your continued support. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular articles from 2018. Be sure to check out the Quotable podcasts and subscribe to our newsletter. We can’t wait to bring you even more in 2019.

“The prospecting power comes when you combine methods and build attraction campaigns using multiple tactics and reaching out to buyers multiple ways over time. … Breaking through the clutter takes hard work, but it can be done. Eighty-two percent of buyers have accepted meetings with sellers who proactively reached out in the last 12 months. You can be that seller.”

From “The Top Prospecting Methods (According to Your Buyers)” by Mike Shultz, President, Rain Group

“The best sales reps I know never use their quota as their goal — it’s their starting point. ... In the last decade, sales has changed from an individual pursuit to a team sport. In order to overachieve your quota, you’ll need to be the one who inspires a shared vision, leverages your extended team, and solves customer problems.”

From “Five Ways to Overachieve Your Sales Quota” by Colin Nanka, Senior Director, Enablement for Commercial Sales, Salesforce

“There’s actually a race to the bottom if an organization thinks, ‘Wow, I don't have to have people like that on staff at all. AI can cover this work at a fraction of the cost, and we realize a huge chunk of value.’ Really, a company should turn this thinking on its head and ask, ‘How do we use AI to put value back into our employees? How do we turn the people who were doing a lot of this rote work before into creative components of my company?’

The future of global competition is about creativity and talent. … I’ll say this blatantly: Build better salespeople. That's the way to win in the long run.”

From “What Artificial Intelligence Means to the Present and Future of Sales” by Dr. Vivienne Ming, Theoretical Neuroscientist, Entrepreneur, and Author

“Sellers must be true believers in the value that they offer. Instead of becoming frustrated in trying to crunch the deal, close the prospect, and rush quota, they need to move away from all of that aggression and simply understand what they're really battling. It’s not the customer; it's not really even the competition. It is instead their own fears of rejection and the apathy that resides in most customer organizations. … At the heart of successful selling is a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of customers, both personally and professionally.”

From “Why the Sales Profession Is Broken and How We Can Fix It” by Tony Hughes, Speaker, Author, and Consultant

“Digital breadcrumbs are all of the activities someone does online as they move through their buying journey. Now more than ever, it’s imperative to know as much as possible about what the buyer has already done during that first 60% of the journey. The truth of the matter is there’s no way to capture that information at scale or learn about their personal preferences or interests without technology. By knowing what they have read, downloaded, or shared on social media, you can be much smarter with the remaining portion of the journey.

During the initial digital journey, customers tend to reduce the number of brands up for consideration. The last thing you want to do, when you’ve made it on the short list, is give them a reason to cross you off the list because you weren’t able to provide the experience they were looking for.”

From “How to Sell When Buyers Are Already Making Up Their Minds” by Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce

“Rather than making one-on-ones all about pipeline and hitting their number, I’ve changed my approach. I do a team pipeline call, and my one-on-ones are all about pushing the potential with the individual. Just as I had done seven years ago, new AEs come in hot to get their accounts. And, as my manager did with me, I slow them down to think about what their happiness will be. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and this whole discussion and journey about potential is always a little awkward at first. I’ll start out and ask, ‘What do you want to accomplish here at this company? How can I help you accomplish this? What do you feel is your true potential at Salesforce? And how can I help you reach it?’”

From “The One Conversation That Completely Changed My Sales Career (And Can Change Yours, Too)” by Mike Corr, Vice President, Bay Area Commercial Sales, Salesforce

“The CRM system isn’t an invasion — it’s a new digital member of your team. … Over the years, I’ve seen even the most skeptical of reps and management (including myself, of course) finally have an aha moment with CRM. … There’s no question about it: There is a mental shift that has to happen for reps adjusting to CRM. But once you do, there’s a whole new world of productivity and — maybe most importantly — more money. That doesn’t hurt.”

From “Overcoming a Sales Team’s CRM Fear Factor” by Steven Settelmayer, Executive Vice President, FieldLogix

“One of the first things to do is find commonality. Researcher Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University found that people spend more money with those they like, and that when we find things in common, we tend to like each other more. But the commonality has to be clearly unique to have power. … It’s better to discover the ‘uncommon commonalities.’ Maybe you’ll find that you went to the same epic rock concert 30 years ago. (That RATT show was amazing!) Or you both grew up with or have the same breed of dogs. (You have a Dutch Shepherd, too?)

If you can unearth these types of shared experiences, all of a sudden you can be in a meaningful and connected conversation. As a sales rep, customers will not only remember you, but want to engage willingly.”

From “3 Ways to Be More Likable in Your Sales Relationships” by Mo Bunnell, CEO and Founder, Bunnell Group

“The key to successful B2B selling and closing is becoming a bit softer while also being more direct and much more consultative. … But let’s face it. We’re in sales — we still have to close deals. What's happened to closing is that we've gone from ‘always be closing’ to ‘never be closing.’

However, the pendulum is swinging back the other way because ‘never be closing’ is just as bad an idea as ‘always be closing.’ This is where we need to find the middle ground … a sales rep’s mission in closing is to bring together the consensus of many, many different parties. Now ‘always be closing’ is good advice, but it doesn’t mean closing for the final commitment to buy. It's closing for all of the commitments that lead up to that final commitment, which it turns out is really the easiest one to gain.”

From “Find the Middle Ground Between ‘Always Be Closing’ and ‘Never Be Closing’ by Anthony Iannarino, Speaker, Sales Leader, and Author

“Your KPIs set your team’s priorities. If reps are accountable for the number of calls made and emails sent, or for their presence on social media, then those activities get the most attention. If you don’t do the same thing for referrals, your team won’t ask. Of course, it’s much harder to get a referral than to send a cold email. You don’t just click a button; you must have a conversation. But you’re far more likely to land a new client with a referral introduction from someone a prospect trusts, than by cold calling or pestering people with sales pitches on social media.”

From “5 Steps to Successful Referral Selling,” Joanne Black, Founder of No More Cold Calling, Speaker, and Author

“‘Do I have enough pipeline? No, you can never have too much pipeline.’ At least I didn’t think so until a few years ago when my entire approach to pipeline changed. … Committing to quality is crucial because the tighter you manage it throughout the year — and even looking into the next year — the higher the close rate you’re going to get. It’s kind of like paying it forward. If your team is in the mindset of ‘let’s grow it at any cost,’ it’s time to take a step back and look at what you really want out of your pipeline. Focusing on quality has to start with data, leading indicators, and analytics.”

From “How to Focus on Pipeline Quality Over Quantity” by Denise Dresser, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Cloud Sales, Salesforce

If your team is in the mindset of ‘let’s grow it at any cost,’ it’s time to take a step back and look at what you really want out of your pipeline.”

Denise Dresser | Senior Vice President, Enterprise Cloud Sales, Salesforce
How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.
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