Ambition looks to 16 industry studs for advice that is guaranteed to improve your B2B sales performance. Featuring John Barrows, Aaron Ross, Gerhard Gschwandter, and many more.

Sweet Advice for Improving B2B Sales Performance 

We've been getting sales performance advice from experts for months now via our Sales Influencer Series, and now we're here to share 16 pieces of great advice with you. 

All 16 of these quotes come from very familiar names in the B2B sales world and include links back to their original articles, if you need more context. Take heed, friends.

1) John Barrows on Adding Value.  "Relationship selling is over. The days of going out golfing with somebody and getting a big, fat contract off of that are over. And Solution selling is dying. The days of us asking the prospect a bunch of qualifying questions and producing a proposal based on what they tell us are over. The days of adding value are here." The Sales Influencer Series: Episode 1.

2) Aaron Ross on Cold Call Tactics.  "A much better method if you want to use the phone: call in to ask for referrals. (This works with cold emails too). You can also make great ‘cold referral’ calls without doing much research on the company beforehand; but no matter what, it’s essential to have a clear Ideal Customer Profile.  You want to be 'be a sniper not a machine gunner.'" Why Do Cold Calls Fail?

3) Lori Richardson on Structure. "You need to empower salespeople with an existing structure so that they know what to do and they can keep moving forward to develop sales opportunities. And they know how to qualify opportunities so they don't do it too late. Because if you wait too long to qualify an opportunity -- if its not a good opportunity, you've wasted a ton of time." The Sales Influencer Series: Episode 2.

4) Gerhard Gschwandter on Influencing Buyers. "Selling is a transfer of energy that comes from two sources: logic and emotions. Guess what has more influence over a buyer's actions?" The Right Use of Logic and Emotion in Sales.

5) Max Altschuler on S/BDRs.  "2015 is going to be the year of the SDR. People are going to be putting more resources behind SDR's than ever before. And so, anything that helps the SDR right now is something that I'm really behind." The Sales Influencer Series: Episode 3.

6) Jason Lemkin on Outbound Best Practices. "Outbound can work, and work well, especially in my experience and opinion if: Your value prop is (x) pretty clear (you don’t much time to get people’s attention with an outbound pitch) and (y) distinct (it’s harder when you have 20 entrenched, seemingly similar competitors); and Your ACV (Annual Contract Value) is high enough to support the work." How GuideSpark Tripled Revenues 2 Years in a Row

7) Matt Heinz on Sales & Marketing Alignment. "Marketing has to be held accountable for generating revenue. [...] By holding marketing accountable [...] you’re going to get better communication. Which means the quality of your leads is going to improve, you’re going to be able to attract better talent and your overall attack will be much more effective." The Sales Influencer Series: Episode 4.

8) Mark Roberge on Strategic B2B Hiring. “Prior success doesn’t have to be in sales. We’ve got an Olympic gold medalist on our team. We’ve got a guy who’s a professional comic who made it to Comedy Central. These are people who went after something and achieved it. That’s what you’re looking for.” The 6 Greatest Sales Management Lessons From Mark Roberge.

9) Scott Britton on Hard vs. Soft Selling. "There’s always a time and a place for a hard sell, but in my experience, most people most of the time are better suited when they can create  empathy--when they can practice empathy and they can be relatable and build trust, embody those characteristics, they typically do better." The Young Professional's Guide To Sales.

10) Heather Morgan on Cold Email Tactics. "Bad cold emails throw a bunch of facts at their prospects. Great cold emails start a conversation. Using a conversational tone instead of a salesy one makes your emails more human and trustworthy. The more personalization you add to your cold emails, the higher chances you have of getting a response." All I Want Is a Cold Email That Doesn't Suck.

11) Dionne Mischler on Elite Sales Rep Attributes. "The best sales reps that I have seen are not just extremely good listeners (a critical, overlooked attribute of most great sales reps), they have cultivated a daily method, or plan of action, that maximizes their productivity and efficiency." Unlocking Inside Sales with AA-ISP's Leading Chapter President.

12) Mark Cranney on the Purpose of Enterprise Sales. "Some people think the sales force’s job is to communicate value to customers. To these people, sales is about buying a bunch of search ad words or mouthpiecing a company’s message. They’re wrong.  The true purpose of sales is to create new value for customers. [...] Go out there and show customers a different but better way of doing business." If SaaS Products Sell Themselves, Why Do We Need Sales?

13) Fergal Glynn on Sales Productivity. "Sales productivity being measured in the absence of quality/effectiveness is really wrong - there is an opportunity cost to Sales and just because you're able to crank through more deals doesn't mean that your close rate per deal is going up or that as a sales person you're able to up the price for each deal, etc. It's just a number of sales calls." Q&A On Sales Enablement with Fergal Glynn.

14) Tamara Schenk on Value Messaging. "Salespeople can create significant value if they help customers to better understand their challenges, the root causes and the real business impact, and if they can provide tailored perspectives on how to approach the challenge in different ways to achieve the desired results. In these stages, there is no room for product-focused messages." The Inability To Communicate Value Messages

​15) Taylor Smith on Getting Buy-In for Sales Initiatives. "When you try to align your people around a new goal or a new way of doing things, you need to displace skepticism and apathy with excitement and commitment, if you're going to succeed and make the process as painless as possible." Getting the Most Out of Millennials.

16) Chris Young on Qualifying Prospects. "When you smell that you are selling to a potential non-believer, you must hit the "eject button" - disengage - stop - bail out.  Stop wasting your brand and time on people who will never get you." Don Draper's Four Rules of Selling.

Bonus: Jim Keenan on Sales Leadership. "The difference between good sales leaders and GREAT sales leaders is great sales leaders get more out of their people than people can get out of themselves. Great sales leaders are force multipliers. Great sales leaders see things in us that we don't see in ourselves and can bring those strengths to bear." 

That concludes our list. For more advice on improving B2B sales performance in your organization, be sure to check out the Sales Influencer Series on our blog. And as always, thanks for reading.

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