PMOs, PMBOKers and Agilistas

Applying 30 years of domestic and international experience in IT from both the customer and provider side, Mark Perry has spent the past decade focused on developing and supporting project management offices. Here, the founder of BOT International and director of PMO Services for gantthead shares his perspective on PMOs and Scrum.

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Effort Estimation: Significance and Design-Framework in Today’s IT Business Context

Typically, effort estimates are overly optimistic, and there tends to be a good deal of over-confidence regarding their accuracy. Today, customers are more interested in knowing all of the pricing factors and pricing influencers in any service deal; effort estimation (being a direct input to service price) becomes a vital success factor in today’s competitive business environment.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 42: Persona Problems

Question: We are creating personas for our projects just as we were taught in our agile classes. However, the end products aren’t selling as well as the earlier version. To be honest, people seem to be boycotting them or changing brands. I just don’t understand the disconnect between what we are developing and what the customers appear to want once it is released.

A. Customers are fickle, so it may have nothing to do with the product you have created. If you used the agile team steps as shown on the Agile Alliance website, just keep doing what you are doing.

B. Perhaps you are working your agile processes in good faith, but creating the wrong personas for whom to design your product. Find a more realistic way to model what the real customer wants.

C. Your product owner is the person who is responsible for setting out the features for new or upgraded products and deciding which ones should be included with any release to the marketplace. Just worry about your team metrics and leave the business decisions to those with more power than you.

D. Personas have proven to be an unsuccessful way to ascertain what customers want. Create databases to capture customer feedback on service calls and set a person to spend full-time scanning social media sites for comments or suggestions about your products. Include each customer suggestion in the next update of that item.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 77: Agile Non-Functional Requirements

Question: We have switched to agile practices and, if I do say so myself, I think we are doing an awesome job. However, even though we are carefully creating backlog lists and writing user stories, more often than not our end product or service still does not meet the expectations of our internal and external customers. Has something been left out of what we were taught?

A. Agile does provide a way to use non-functional requirements in its methodology, but often it is overlooked or not stressed when new teams are preparing their first few projects. Make a point to add them into your new process.

B. The reason agile projects are completed so much faster and provide so much more value is that with the Scrum practice methodology, it is no longer necessary to consider vague things like non-functional requirements. If they aren’t going to function anyway, why bother with them.

C. User stories are only written if there is a need for outside personas to be created to represent users. Non-functional requirements are the ones assigned to those personas who would not be interested in your product or service, and therefore can be excluded from consideration.

D. Many projects have both functional and non-functional requirements that impact the outcome of the project. That is why only traditional processes should be used. Agile processes work only on software projects, and then only when there is an absence of non-functional requirements to be considered.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Infographic: Your Digital Marketing Road-Map

What do your website, your social media accounts and your banner ads all have in common? They are all integral parts of your digital marketing. It’s easy to focus only on each individual part without looking at the bigger picture. To help you avoid getting lost on your way to digital marketing success, Komplete has created this digital marketing road-map to keep you heading in the right direction. The importance of your website can’t be overstated. It’s your home base on the web and sets the tone for the rest of your digital assets. A great website will be user friendly, including mobile users. That means having a responsive ormobile website. It’ doesn’t stop there though, your site should also utilize landing pages to increase conversions on your products and services. These landing pages will funnel visitors in from your other digital marketing tools like social media accounts and email lists. Analytics is also an important element of a website. They will serve as a guide to help you improve your site and let you know what is working and what isn’t. While it’s important to have a mobile friendly website, it’s also important to reach out to your customers where they spend the most of their time: their mobile devices. You can do this throughappsor throughsms/text message marketing. Both allow you to reach your customers (not to mention let your customers reach you) anytime anywhere. Text message marketing also has the advantage of an extremely high open rate, 98%! That’s higher than email! Of course there are more marketing options out there, both outbound and inbound. Outbound marketing through banner ads on both desktop and mobile sites are a great way to reach more customers especially combined with your other marketing efforts. Inbound marketing techniques, including SEO, content marketing and referral marketing will bring the customers directly to you. Last but not least, is social media marketing. No matter your social network they all have the ability to benefit your bottom line. Combining social media with your content marketing and native advertising and you can draw in even more customers. Don’t get lost on the road of digital marketing. There are many stops along the way, but they all will lead you to your final destination: a successful marketing plan that drives new business your way. Infographic: Your Digital Marketing Road-Map

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Facts about Instagram #infographic

Social media has come out as a strong tool for organisations to connect with their audience. A variety of services are being used to increase brand value. Well-known brands have already made a great neighborhood on the social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Facebook has already turned into a social media king and every tiny and gigantic brand name is using this platform to make a firm customer base. An image is worth a million expressions and this is totally accurate for image sharing sites like Instagram. The pictures of the new goods are shared on Instagram and this actually assists in advertising the same. In short we can state that in this era of online marketing it is very vital to make social media division of your overall strategy.

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Labor Management and the Political Paths of Collaboration

This year will be the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on Labor-Management Partnerships (E.O. 12871 issued October 1, 1993). Over the past two decades, federal government employees and their union representatives have worked with federal managers to improve the delivery of service to the American public. As President Clinton noted in the preamble to his executive order, it was through cooperation that the design and implementation of comprehensive change would take place. E.O. 12871 called for the establishment of labor-management committees or councils at appropriate levels throughout the executive branch; employees and their union representatives were to be “full partners” with management representatives to better serve the agency’s customers and to satisfy its mission.

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HowTo.gov Provides Government Tools to Engage Citizens Online

Social media in government is here to stay. The team in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) knows this well. This is the team that provides agencies with best practices, training, and shared tools and technology so they can use social media and other digital media to better serve their customers and ensure people can access government information anywhere, anytime, on any device. HowTo.gov is the platform that pulls all…

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What Makes Successful Salespeople

What do sales coaches need to know in order to help their salespeople succeed? More importantly, what does a complete, well-rounded, super-star sales professional do anyway? Surely, if you cornered one of these high-performing sales professionals at a social event and asked them what they actually did as a sales professional, there would be more to it than “I help people.” What exactly is it that salespeople DO anyway? I’m talking about what they actually do, not what their company does or what their value proposition is, but what THEY DO day in and day out as a sales professional? To be a complete sales professional, their daily activities should be in support of creating customer satisfaction and loyalty. What are these daily activities? I have analyzed the outputs and deliverables of thousands of sales professionals. I found that these tasks can be grouped into eight key areas. The idea is to help them become highly competent (i.e. superstar) sales professional through helping them: 1. Manage Themselves – highly competent salespeople keep their personal life in check. They stay healthy. They set goals, they make plans for your future. They keep their finances in order. They find stress-reducers. 2. Manage the Sales Cycle — The highly competent sales professionals seek out continuous comprehensive training and education to support their sales process. You should also be able to initiate, plan, and execute a sales process in order for your product or service to be assimilated into the buying organization. There are many systems out there to choose from. 3. Manage Opportunities – Highly competent sales professionals understand how to identify, manage, develop, and close the right sales opportunities. To do this, they’re experts at opportunity planning, territory management, opportunity development, and closing. 4. Manage Relationships- Highly competent salespeople become a trusted advisor to the buyer only happens when the sales professional is successful at building relationships, communicating, distributing information, and influencing others ethically through collaborative dialogue. Building relationships within your own organization is just as critical. Make sure that you take the time to forge relationships with your support teams, delivery teams, management or any other party that is involved in your sales process. 5. Manage Expectations – Highly competent salespeople continue their relationship after the sale. Providing top-notch service to buyers ensures repeat business and a solid sales reputation. 6. Manage Priorities – Highly competent salespeople understand the crucial elements of managing personal time to achieve ones goals and objectives. Great sales professionals understand that they must define the right tasks for the day or month, prioritize them, schedule them and execute. 7. Manage Technology – Highly competent sales professionals utilize technology in order to maximize personal and organizational effectiveness. 8. Manage Communications – highly competent sales professionals understand their choices in selecting, delivering, and leveraging communications strategies and mediums in order to effectively get their message across. There are many people that wonder why sales professionals are “harried,” have short attention spans, are always too busy, or seem a “little flustered”. Perhaps by identifying and understanding these eight areas, you have a new found appreciation and an understanding of why? So the question is, does you sales coaching program help salespeople become better in each area? How can you help them understand which area they are the strongest in? Or which area they are the weakest? A well designed sales coaching program provided by a reputable organization can help sales managers and sales coaches build action steps and coaching programs that help salespeople improve in each area every single day.

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What is the Definition of Sales 2.0

Have you heard of Web 2.0? What about “Sales 2.0”? There is new sales 2.0 conference that is owned by Selling Power Magazine — it remains to be seen what specific direction they will take it. Is Web 2.0 the same thing as sales 2.0? What is the current buzz surrounding sales 2.0.? There are two camps currently: Camp 1: Sales 2.0 is the use of web 2.0 technologies (and technology only) for sales or sales-related purposes. Camp 2: Sales 2.0 is the “Next Evolution” of Selling — where Selling is taken to the next level What do you think? Add Your comments? Recently, I asked the question to my LinkedIn Network… here is what some people said: View these answers on LinkedIn too ———— Aaron of Office Tools, LLC Says: Sounds to me like you have answered your own question, but it’s more than just using technology and resources like web portals and Blackberries. It’s also combining these technologies into your relationship with the prospect in a manner that is attuned to their comfort level as well, i.e. don’t make your customer a technology guinea pig every time a new tool is introduced. ——————— Martin B Success Coach, speaker, trainer and author. Known for his focused, rapid-results coaching. Says: Again to me it is about integrity, ethics and how they work with the customer for all the technology in the world can not replace that. I think sales 2.0 will include the sales person building an on-line quality reputation that will go with them over time. Of course I think being a CRSP ( Certified and Registered Sales Professional ) is very important as well. Quality relationships take time and SHOULD take time, technology can help but it still demands the basics. http://inquireonline.info/sales/sales-as-a-profession ———————– Nathan, a Director of Client Services Says: Interesting question and I hope this helps. I had been meeting with clients about a potential proposal for two months and doing a lot of work with them in between. They put on events as a part of their business model so I showed up to a happy hour one night to network and build rapport. They called the next day and wanted a proposal immediately. It was for a pretty big project so I got to work immediately. I sent the proposal to the principal and his VP of Advertising (two person show). I got the email from her (VP) Monday morning saying they were going with a different company. I did the customary follow up with an email asking why and didn’t hear back for several days. The VP of Ads is pretty into her myspace account and added me as a friend four days later (we got along well socially). I ended up following up with her on myspace, found out that it was a price point and we are currently renegotiating the terms of the proposal. ————- Brian a Life Sciences Training, Marketing and Branding specialist Says: Great question and one in which I view there being multiple answers to. These answers could be based on existing sales methodologies along with the technology stack, both current and planned, that will used within the sales organization. Sales 2.0 for us is evolving. Sure, we use standard SD processes and have a great CRM in place. Beyond this, what is sales 2.0? – Web advertising – Web networking – Blogs – White papers – SME webinars – Referral marketing – Tying it all together – Any so many others If I were to define sales 2.0 for the industry, I would state the following today. — Sales 2.0 is the sales approach where proven development methodologies are combined and blended with new communication & collection mediums where the client is empowered through the use of information to make well informed decisions — Yes, I said empowering the customer. As the web is now a central point in all communications, providing the information that your client’s seek is paramount to being viewed as a strong player in the service or product field that you serve while this also will help them in making better decisions. When structured property, Sales 2.0 approaches should increase contact to conversion ratios without all the (hub-bub) normally associated with sales development. I view a perfect sales world to be the day that a blinking super ball with your logo on it IS NOT required to impress a potential client, but a well formed and intuitive intake process does so without all the old school glitz. —————— Flyn P, The Inside Sales Guru Says: Sales 2.0 is the integration of all sales best practices as Web2.0 tools are now integrated for websites. I find many people stuck on one sales method over another when all of the methodologies have best practices that are probably applicable to most selling environments. The other half of this solution is that sellers have to learn to embed and incorporate best practices into their sales processes instead of placing the sales process on top of what they are doing. It is my belief that the most effective way to teach a sales best practice is from within the sales process for which you intend to use it. This means you must find the appropriate places and applications for the best practice and then customize it to fit your specific selling process. It is one thing to lean about “impact” questions it is another thing to apply them to your selling. Thus, you take the impact question and put it in the sales process for ABC Co. and make the question ABC’s. Impact Question: “What is the impact of the bottleneck in manufacturing on revenues?” ABC may not have such an issue in their selling — the key problem may be productivity of a widget in an adverse environment. The impact question that directly addresses that issue must be developed and made part of the selling process. The result is salespeople don’t need to figure out how or when to ask the question. That combined with the use of all sales methods and best practices would be Sales2.0. I hope that helps. Clarification added 5 days ago: I have noted that other addressed marketing issues and I would agree with these ideas — I kept my answer strictly to “Selling.” ———- Christian, an International CRM & e-Marketing Expert – Techno-Marketing Specialist Says: Dear Brian, More than a collection of technologies that help sales professionals personalize information for customers and interact with them rapidly, Sales 2.0 should be considered as the synthesis of new technologies, models, processes and mindsets. It is about leveraging people, process, technology, and knowledge to make significant gains. It means integrating the power of Web 2.0 and on-demand technologies with proven sales techniques to increase sales velocity and volume. It also relates to increased communication and collaboration between sellers and buyers and within the selling team, together with a proactive and visible integration of knowledge and measurement of the buying cycle into the sales cycle. It seems that Sales 2.0 truly merges sales and marketing into a seamless effort to target buyers more effectively using innovative and integrated tactics with an objective to bring in a lot more business at a lower cost. It is also about making anything and everything in the sales and marketing lifecycle measurable, so that you can take that information and resulting analysis to further optimise your sales process. More streamlined processes, together with the technologies to carry out smarter approaches, can immediately help organisations that are committed to moving their sales and marketing efforts to the next level of performance and dramatically accelerate their sales cycle. For further insight on this and related topics, please see http://www.saastream.com/my_weblog/2007/11/sales-20-taking.html#more —————– Joe G, a VP and Research Director, Sirius Decisions Says: Sales 2.0 is being trumpeted in the market place as the next wave of sales automation technology that will improve sales productivity, reduce cost of sales, increase customer loyalty and drive sales performance through the roof. Sound familiar?… think of SFA 1.0 promises. Sales 2.0 is – or should be – a focus on adapting customer engagement strategies to the rapidly changing environment that is dominated by the unrelenting evolution of the Internet. While leveraging technology should be a part of any approach, it is just an enabler to a broader sales readiness strategy. Obviously there are a variety of perspectives on what Sales 2.0 is, should or could be. I would suggest a visit to the blog at The Sales 2.0 Network website: http://sales20network.com/blog/ Duncan, A Business Development and Salesperson Says: To me Sales 2.0 is more about leading your customer to the best conclusion rather than ‘closing’ them through manipulation and hard sales tactics. i.e. you should strive to make sure that the product is a good fit for your customers and that your customers are a good fit for your company. The better the fit, the more repeat sales and referrals you will get. posted 5 days ago Nigel: CEO, Sales 2.0. Next Generation Sales Information, Telesales & Consulting Says: Hi Brian, Thanks for asking the question. I think it’s pretty clear from the answers that there is not yet one clear definition of sales 2.0 The way I came up with “sales 2.0” two years ago was through my personal frustration with a lot of the ways we have been selling. Added to that my realization that a lot of these techniques date back over 100 years to John Patterson at NCR. So I saw “sales 2.0” as a statement that we can “take sales to the NEXT level”. What happened after that is that some smart folks in Silicon Valley noted that the Internet is already creating change that we sales people can harness NOW to move our selling to the “next level”. Hence the emphasis on technology solutions in many current definitions of “sales 2.0” So for now we don’t have ONE solidified definition but the most popular one short-term is using Internet tools to boost sales performance. Long-term I hope the buzzword can stick around to really mean “taking the whole sales profession to the next level”. That’s my dream.

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Wanted-Sales Leadership

Wanted – Sales Leadership Many salespeople seek to grow into management positions. However, many of these same people don’t act like a leader or a manager in their day-to-day activities. Effective sales leadership and requires a salesperson to understand who they are and what they stand for while consistently exceeding revenue quotas and customer satisfaction expectations. Once a salesperson understands who they are, and they consistently exceed the sales expectations, they begin to influence others in a more impacting manner. In other words, they are in tune with their clients, their own company, and more importantly they know what they stand for. In short, they begin to exude leadership — leadership at the corporate edge. As a leader in the future they must understand how to synchronize sales processes with marketing messages while providing top-notch services. All of this requires them to be fully engaged with individual buyer processes — and displaying leadership to buyers as well. Achieving consistently high sales productivity requires a hands-on approach that is engaged and aligned in a common organizational direction. Sales, marketing, and services professionals must understand their personal and organizational goals and how to achieve them. They must invest their time in the right accounts and the right activities. Growth efficiency requires skilled and focused leadership. It also requires leaders who can mobilize their team members, employees who work for them, and even their own management teams to achieve a common goal that meets the strategic and financial goals of the firm while providing the absolute best service and support to the customer. Future salespeople will be asked to lead, no matter what position they hold in their sales organization! Their position, at the corporate boundary, will require it. Once salespeople fully embrace the High-Character, High-Leadership paradigm, they must understand what is required by all these critical stakeholders and be a solid rock of product knowledge, subject matter expertise, and consultant.

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Using Experiential Marketing Strategies to Enhance the Trade Show Brand

(from IAEE) Organizations such as Coca-Cola, The U.S. Army, Hershey’s Chocolate, Charmin and countless others have used experiential marketing tactics to bring consumers closer to their brands. From museum-like exhibits to portable toilets in New York’s Times Square, immersive experiences are designed to attract media attention, enhance customer engagement and drive sales. While experiential marketing in the B2C channel has been around for some time, experiential marketing in the B2B arena is more recent. As the ultimate B2B environment, trade shows have something to learn from this emerging marketing discipline. In a 2009 survey conducted by Exhibit Surveys for Jack Morton, a global brand marketing agency, experiential marketing is de?ned as, “experiences that enable people to interact with a brand, product or service face-to-face or one-on-one, resulting in authentic connections that drive sales and increase brand image and awareness. The people engaged by these experiences may include consumers, business customers or partners, employees, channel in?uencers or other key stakeholders.” The survey included responses from 406 marketers. The Jack Morton study revealed some interesting statistics regarding the growth of experiential marketing. Read more. How are exhibitors at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition preparing to use experiential marketing?

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Turn Your Sales Funnel into Your Sales Tunnel

In my line of work I have the privilege of speaking with sales enablement thought leaders and practitioners on a daily basis. Throughout those conversations I hear the statements, “qualify early, qualify often” and more recently, “the sales funnel is dead”. Let’s start with “the sales funnel is dead”. I think the sales funnel should be dead. By its very nature, a funnel depicts a “narrowing effect” which in sales indicates starting with many prospects and eliminates them until you have a few opportunities that close. Why trudge along for weeks or even months with prospects that have no intention of buying your services or solutions. Now let’s assume you agree with the above paragraph and began to live by the mantra, “qualify early, qualify often” thus giving you the opportunity walk away from potential prospects before they even hit your funnel.What are left are very legitimate prospects with a much likelier possibility of closing. Thus, you start with many opportunities and close just about as many. From a visual perspective you’re looking at a “tunnel” rather than a “funnel”. Don’t get me wrong. I still firmly believe that following a process or methodology is still critical. I also feel that aligning your selling cycle to the customer’s buying cycle is critical as is becoming a trusted advisor. All of these are great topics for discussion but I’ll leave those for another day.

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Top the 7 myths about the sales profession

Top the 7 myths about the sales profession Selling is the most complicated profession in the world. Many people believe they know what the profession entails…many myths have continued throughout time due to these misperceptions, despite the sales and marketing statistics that show otherwise. Here are some of my favorite myths about selling. Myth 1: Marketing and Selling are the Same Thing! One of my professors I had while taking my Master’s Degree once told me that you can only do one of three things in business: make it, sell it, or count it. The problem is the definition of “selling it” comprises two divergent but inextricably entwined functions — sales and marketing. The more appropriate elements (especially in today’s world) should be, in business you can only: make it, grow it, or count it. I say grow it, for two reasons. One reason is the marketing department and the other reason is the sales department. The problem with the two professions is each of believe that their occupation is the dominant half of the pair. Marketers generally think of salespeople as golf-playing monkeys or pushy placement professionals whose sole purpose is to repeat the same sales pitch (that they have developed) over-and-over again to new prospects. Salespeople generally think of marketers as lazy liberal arts graduates who use the words “focus groups” and “corporate brand” to describe activities that is nothing but “a colossal waste of money.” Ultimately each function needs the other if the company is to GROW. To that end, sales and marketing are separate but equal professions from a business perspective. What’s less obvious is how we should all work together. Marketers believe that marketing should play the dominant role. After all, marketing defines the product, articulates the positioning, and creates all the sales tools (ranging from glowing CEO profiles in “Fortune” magazine to the ubiquitous corporate logo wear that serves as the de facto currency of the modern professional). All salespeople have to do is to follow orders, right? Salespeople believe that selling should play the dominant role. After all, selling is where the rubber meets the road, where the tough get going, where everyone gives 110 percent, and where slogans reign supreme. Salespeople bring home the bacon. All marketers do is provide brochures and take all the credit. The truth is more complicated but more rewarding. Suffice it to say, let’s just say that selling and marketing are NOT the same thing. What both departments SHOULD agree on is the need to stay focused on what the client’s and customers want, in an effort to provide them value. Can’t we just stay focused on that? That’s another book too. Myth 2: Selling is about Winning Over Your Customer! Selling isn’t about winning over anyone. It’s about helping your customer win. If you think of making a sale as “winning”, that means someone has to lose. If you are winning and your customer’s are losing, you’ll be selling a very, very short amount of time. It’s about both you and your customer winning. Enough said. I just wish that prospects and buyers thought that all the time too! Myth 3: Selling isn’t a Real Profession! If you’re embarrassed about being in selling, this is the myth you’re subscribing to. You have to be proud of being in selling in order to be successful. One way to do this is to realize the important people you’ll be working with on a daily basis. When sales professionals sell, they are often sitting across the table from the following formalized professions: Chief Financial Officer (formalized by the American Finance Association) Legal Counsel (formalized American Bar Association) Project Manager (formalized by the Project Management Institute) Marketing Professional (formalized by the American Marketing Association) Information Technology Professional (formalized by numerous associations and organizations) Procurement Professional (formalized by the Institute of Supply Management and the National Association of Purchasing Management) The question is, what exactly is a “formal” profession? Myth 4: Selling isn’t That Hard! Anyone Can Do It! Selling is a hard profession to master. It’s one of the most complicated professions in the world. Where else do you have to understand organizations and individuals with such depth and clarity? Where else do you have to build rapport with so many different types of people, in so many different locations, buildings, or business types? On top of this complexity is the reality that Selling is one of the few real pay-for-performance professions, with over of the compensation “at risk” or based on commission. A lot of sales professionals feel stress in their jobs. In the engineering profession, stress results from the application of a constant force to an immovable object. In selling, the force is your “quota” and the immovable object is your customer’s expectations. If you guess, you stress. It’s that simple. Selling is about taking the guess work out of what the future will hold. True, it isn’t as much as it sounds for real sales professionals. The key is to learn about the truth of the sales profession and banish the myths. When you accomplish this, you will find selling concepts that make sense that can immediately put into practice. Above all else, you will persevere when so many others will quit, and that’s what will make the difference to your company’s bottom line. Myth 5: Selling is a “Numbers Game”! Undoubtedly, you will hear this one within your first week of selling: “Selling is a numbers game.” Make the calls, make the presentations, and work your way through enough people, and eventually you will make a sale. You’ll hear it within three hours of being on your first job in Sales. Someone will say “it’s a number game” I guarantee it. It goes something like this. The more phone calls you make, the more sales you will make. “So, make 100 phone calls” someone will say. “Of those 100, send 10 proposals. And of those 10, you will close 2. The more numbers you have the more you will sell. Now, there’s your phone. Good luck!” Remember this always! Quality supersedes quantity. Your goal in selling must be to find prospects that have a propensity and a motive to buy your product or services. If they don’t want to buy or need to buy your product or service, then I don’t care about the numbers! I would rather make two phone calls and close two sales than make 100 like our example above, wouldn’t you? If someone is tracking your progress, how do they know you are calling the right people, with a want and a need? I know of a large insurance sales organization, which provided sales reps with contact lists for life insurance and investments. The only problem was most prospects lived in a low income area and were highly unlikely to buy any life insurance because they didn’t need, or want it. I don’t care if you call 1,000 people that don’t fit the profile. You’re still wasting your time. Quality over quantity. Rather than buying into the myth that selling is a numbers game, think of a game of darts. By aiming your effort (the dart) at a clearly defined target (your pre-qualified prospect on the dart board) your chances for hitting the mark (a sale) are greatly enhanced. Contrast that mindset with a pure numbers game, where you stand outside and try to get hit by lighting or crossing your fingers multiple times with the hope of attaining good luck. Myth 6: You Must Like Rejection! Many sales courses, sales books, and sales training will tell you to keep a very stiff upper lip when you get “rejected.” A rejection can occur when you are rebuffed on the phone, not granted an appointment, or simply told “no.” These courses will also tell you not to let a “no” get you down. The problem with this approach is the fact that once you accept the simple proposition that you have been rejected in the first place, you have given up the psychological high ground and put your self-esteem into retreat! Simply put, your sales team needs to reject the notion of rejection. Once salespeople understand that all they are doing is helping people, every outcome should be the same. If prospects don’t want your help or choose not to deal with your company for whatever reason, it is not your salesperson’s problem. He or she simply has to locate another prospect that needs your company’s products or services. Regardless of the response prospects give, the salesperson is still the same person with the same amount of product knowledge, experience, and competence. When you teach your team to stop actually linking their activity to a prospect’s response (no matter how subtly), selling ceases to be hard work and instead becomes a game. In general, the healthiest mindset for you to teach is: “You, Mr./Ms. Prospect, have made a decision to move forward without my services. I’ll be here when you come to your senses and change your mind. It’s not my responsibility to straighten you or your company out.” Myth 7: Selling is a Dead End Job! Did you know that 85 percent of the company leaders and entrepreneurs in America today were once salespeople? They carried sample cases, made cold calls, dialed for dollars, did product demonstrations and handled objections. Today, they’re the majority of corporate presidents, CEOs and the like. Selling is a dead-end job all right–especially when you consider that the end may be at the very top of an organization!

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Survey: Businesses May Not Have the Green to Go Green

SAN FRANCISCO–( BUSINESS WIRE)–Although the majority of business owners say they are doing at least “everything that can be justified by cost” to help the environment, many say the economy has made them change their plans to “go green.” According to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, surveyed January 22 – February 2, one-third of small business owners said the country’s economic situation has affected their plans to become more environmentally friendly. Seventeen percent said their companies are doing “very little or nothing at all” to help the environment. A major factor may be the belief that customers are not willing to pay more for goods and services described as environmentally friendly, mentioned by nearly 70 percent of respondents (an increase of 37 percent from April 2007). However, the recent survey did reveal that many business owners are actively involved in some “green” activities. Over the past 12 months, almost 90 percent of business owners surveyed participated in recycling, and more than three-quarters (77 percent) switched to more environmentally friendly products such as cleaning products, energy-saving light bulbs or recycled goods. Thirty-two percent said that over the past 12 months they used some type of alternative transportation such as walking, biking or public transportation, rather than a car, to save energy. ( Read the entire release at BusinessWire.)

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StepStone Solutions named “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China”

(From marketwire) — The China operation of StepStone Solutions, a global leader in talent management solutions, has been named “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China” by HRoot, the leading management media company in Human Resources in China. Approaching its 6th year, the awards are recognised as a key indicator of the leading providers in different HR service categories in China. StepStone Solutions China was named this year as “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China 2010-2011” for its track record in providing local language talent management solutions, excellent implementation support, and seamless, Internet-based access for HR and employee users from anywhere in the country. The award category is a new entry in 2011, reflecting the evolution in HR management in the emerging China market. StepStone Solutions is the first winner in the category. Since commencing in business in March 2009, StepStone Solutions China has developed a highly localised operation for the region that provides direct project implementation for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management across Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Shenzhen and Sichuan. Successful localisation in China of StepStone Solutions’ powerful global technology is also demonstrated by the wide spectrum of customer categories supported, ranging from government agencies and local companies to multinational and medium-sized enterprises. Read more.

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SimWord of the Day: Business Process

A set of repeatable structured activities that add (or seem to add) predictable value, (including creation, marketing, refinement and transportation) at a predictable cost to an enterprise. Business processes can be around transforming ideas, money, people, and products, delivering a service, branching to alternative processes, or triggering an action. There is often the movement and enrichment of some container of value, whether a widget to be painted or a form to be approved (or kicked back). Inventories are kept. They often have an owner that takes responsibility for them. Some business processes are core, and presumably unique, while others are tangential. Business processes can be ongoing (infrastructure), or triggered by an event. Improvements to an organization can be made within a process (business process redesign), or changing processes (called business process re-engineering). Business process can be simple or complex, and need to be connected to other business processes, sometimes through paths. Processes can also be done in parallel, avoiding a chain reaction of failures. A string of business processes can be called a value chain. And the integration between the processes is called “the process fit” which can be as strategically significant as the process itself, avoiding delays. Business processes maps are also called business process diagrams. Business processes often need units, resources, and can be represented on a map by structures. Business processes can be automated. In many cases, when we come to organization, we don’t know what the processes even are, and have to probe. Ownership can vary. A business process can be done internally (retailer’s employees stock shelves), outsourced (retailers contracts independent workers to stock shelves), or transferred completely to another organization (retailer asks vendors to stock shelves, or retailer becomes online retailer and asks vendors to ship directly to customers). Typically, the more important the business process, the more control the enterprise wants to use.

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Several ASTD programs in D.C., New York, and Virginia approved for use in the public workforce system

ASTD has become an approved training provider in the District of Columbia, New York, and Virginia. This means that customers in these states who have received public funding for training through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) may take these courses using their training vouchers or other public funding. One recent exciting addition is the approval of a bundled offering of CPLP preparation and testing fees! In both New York and Virginia, approval has been granted state-wide, so any customer using the services of a local OneStop Center will find ASTD in the list of approved providers. Check with the staff at your local OneStop Career Center to find out more details about your eligibility to apply for funding, especially if you have been in a job transition. You can search for your closest OneStop Center at www.careeronestop.org. The courses that are approved in each state include: Virginia D.C. New York We will be looking at other states to add the CPLP bundle for approval. For more information about this, and links to state or local workforce boards, contact Jennifer Homer at ASTD: jhomer@astd.org.

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Selling Sleuth? The Secrets of Gathering Intelligence

Gathering Intelligence – An Insightful Sales Competency Business is an intelligent game and to win you have to gather intelligence about the marketplace. As a Sales Trainer, you will teach the sales team gathering intelligence as a sales competency. Your sales training program will present them how to define, analyze and learn about competitors, products, customers, distributors, industries, technologies and field research. Much of this teaching analysis should integrate and accentuate your sales management curriculum. It will also show how environmental and macroeconomic intelligence data is used to make financial decisions. Talent management and organizational development strategies are also linked to business intelligence when teaching sales strategies. According to Sales Training Drivers, once you acquire intelligence, you can: So, what do you do once you have gathered the intelligence and want to use it in the classroom? Keep your Competition Close In sales, gathering intelligence will be a big asset to assessing prospect problems. First you can isolate the data to come up with qualifying questions that give you answers to pain challenges and budget constraints. Use the data to create a behavioral question interview that will help you keep the prospect engaged in objective conversation to uncover weaknesses that you can solve with your product or service. Now, you are on a real fact finding mission with your prospect! Implement action oriented blended learning tools into your teach back that keeps the class motivated on isolating and organizing the business resources effectively. The best way to keep the class on their heels is to turn the learning function into a real world test role play! Establish ROI with all sales data points Another hard line sales management learning objective would be to use the intelligence to teach the class how to design an ROI analysis report that will sell a Decision Maker. That will always get the class up and moving! Focus on gathering business intelligence that is of interest to the decision makers you are calling on. For example, look at all the companies in your selling market that have had a sales decrease, but could really benefit from your product or service in terms of making or saving money. Why are they experiencing a sales decrease? Formulate a short ROI analysis outline using resourced intelligence to raise an eyebrow based on what you think you can do for that prospect to increase their revenue, productivity and performance.

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Scotland: Contact Centres Resolve to Raise Employee Engagement

(From Business Wire) — The Customer Contact Association (CCA), the leading independent authority on contact centre strategies and operations, says a drive to boost employee engagement in contact centres will unlock greater productivity and lead to happier staff and customers. CCA’s thought leadership agenda supports organisations who employ some 30% of the one million people working in contact centres in the UK. CCA has completed an authoritative industry census in which it emerged that an overwhelming majority of organisations described their contact centre employees as mostly committed. However, it identified room for improvement to boost the proportion of employees described as ‘very committed’ from the current figure of 18%. CCA Census 2010-11, which canvassed the views of 246 respondents (the majority of whom work for organisations employing more than 1,500 people globally) found that 73% of organisations describe their staff as ‘often committed’ while a minority of 8% said staff are ‘rarely committed’. CCA Chief Executive Anne Marie Forsyth said: “Front line contact centre staff are living through taxing times, frequently bearing the brunt of customer concerns and complaints as well as worrying about job security. Despite these pressures, employee engagement is relatively high among our membership. CCA is leading a drive to help members raise the bar on engagement levels even higher in order to deliver consistent world class service.” Forsyth added: “We need a renewed emphasis on people issues to reflect the seismic change taking place in customer contact. Performance throughout the recession has been good – our census shows that 82% of our members have had ‘very active’ engagement with customers and 79% are committed to personal development of employees. We’re proud of what members have achieved in a cost-cutting environment and we’re collaborating on strategies designed to boost performance even further.” Read more.

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Sales Training Management Dilemmas

Sales Training Management Dilemmas Do you really know your sales organization? Most people don’t realize that the sales culture created in the organization is actually built upon bits and pieces of the sales profession. By that I mean, each person that has had a critical decision to make has uniquely crafted the sales organization… based upon their own understanding of the profession. With that understanding, they have infused both good and bad practices. These practices can be traced to several distinct sales eras. Each era, can leave a lasting impression on your organization — thanks to the people who infused the sales culture from the beginning, until today. Here is each of the eras: The Time Period Era of… Late 1800’s -1920 Sales Science 1920 – 1945 Sales Process 1945 – 1985 Sales Confersations 1985 – 2005 Sales Technology 2005 -?? Sales Performance For each of these eras, please read my other articles. The sales eras are important for historical reasons, but there is a practical reason for understanding that they survive until this day. Much of the knowledge new salespeople attain is grounded in the Era of Sales Process. Much of the knowledge on client decision making comes from the Era of Sales Conversations, and much of the advances in managing information flow appeared in the Era of Sales Technology. It’s interesting to note that each selling era precedes the other. If you’re just starting to analyze a sales team, you can start with the work required to accomplish a single transaction while Identifying how the sales team is organized, how quotas are assigned, and who reports to whom (Era of Sales Science). From there, move into identifying the processes, systems, and tools in place that support the sales team as they attempt drive multiple transactions (Era of Sales Process). Next, move into understanding how the sales team supports client decision-makers as well as how they help clients justify purchase decisions (Era of Sales Conversations). After that, you can analyze the technology in place designed to support and align the sales team (Era of Sales Technology). Finally, you can move into understanding the individual and organizational competencies required of the various levels within the sales team (Era of Sales Competency). Think about it! Entering the Era of Sales competency requires all other eras to exist first. Therefore, identifying theses eras can be accomplished even if you have a new sales team that lacks the history, but needs processes, tools, and systems to align to the client. So, is your sales organization ready? Welcome to the Era of Sales Performance — seriously. The age of the millennial salesperson… In today’s complex business environment, a need continues to exist for sales professionals who can build relationships, truly understand the customer, and bring value to the client. It may be true that remnants of preceding sales Eras still exist in your organization. While most organizations would argue that they are working diligently to understand the customer and consult with them to develop win-win solutions, this continues to be extremely difficult. These difficulties require a holistic approach and understanding of the complex environment sales teams operate within. This complexity has created today’s sales era. This era is built upon a platform of salesperson competency. Because buyers are demanding more and more unique answers to their complex business problems, salespeople of today must be able to customize and personalize the information and knowledge from the previous Sales Eras to create their own unique selling approach. This requires a holistic understanding of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to succeed. Are you working in a high performing sales organization? – Does your organization spend time on developing the right transaction, at the right time, with the right prospect and support salespeople with a holistic approach with sales, support, and services all working together? – There is an increased emphasis on how deals are done, not just what the end result is. – Salespeople are encouraged to personalize their approach within a standard sales process. – Salespeople are enabled to develop self-directed learning approaches and given the flexibility to pursue the right training for them. – Salespeople are taught not only about their client’s industry, but the industry of their client’s customers. – Salespeople are required to attend a training program focused on different levels of their career – Sales training is broken into categories such as selling skills training, product training, industry training, and technical (administrative) training. ——-

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: Why are you fighting with procurement and purchasing?

DISCLAIMER: The following article is a reality and a strategy, NOT defamation or a tactic. THE CONCEPT: Why purchasing and procurement departments should be avoided, and how to do it. THE REALITY: Purchasing and procurement are a way of life. YOUR REALITY: Your total lack of C-level relationships makes your life a sell-from-the-bottom-up proposition. HERES YOUR SELF-TEST: Are you relegated to purchasing as part of corporate policy? Are you prevented from talking to the person who actually uses the product youre trying to sell? Are you making decisions as to how much profit youre willing to sacrifice to secure the business? Are you bullied into matching price to get the order? Are you being TOLD what your price will be in order to do business? Welcome to the club of losers. Not people, profit. The purchasing department or the procurement department has one major job: To save their company money. Oh wait, let me complete that sentence as it relates to you: To save their company money, at your expense. In general, when you deal with the procurement department and their people keep in mind: They dont care about quality. They dont understand outcome. They dont understand the need for service after the sale. They dont understand productivity. They dont care about morale. They dont care about outcome. They dont care about vendor relationships. They dont care about vendor profitability. They dont care about you. They NEVER look for the best, just the lowest price. Procurement departments operate under the general principle of, and are measured and rewarded by: We saved a nickel! BUT the outcome of the saved nickel may be that everyone in the company is unhappy, the product is crappy and breaks down, the service response is slow. NOTE TO PURCHASING: Its also likely the productivity, and low quality, and loss of morale, cost your company 500 times more than the nickel you saved. Theres a Rock, Paper, Scissors game of business: CEOs cover purchasing and procurement. If the CEO calls down to purchasing and says, Were going with ACME Widgets! The procurement person says, ACME boss? Okay boss! And thats it. No proposal, no bid, no price cutting, no match this price. No nothing. Just a purchase order. NOTE WELL: This is only possible if you have a relationship with the CEO. Ouch. ATTENTION PURCHASING: Here are a few recommendations that eliminate lowest price from the final decision: 1. Demand testimonials. Dont just bid. Prove what you promise. 2. Create a range of price acceptance. If the price is within 10% of the lowest bid, the purchasing agent can (and should) choose what he or she believes is the BEST product or service. 3. Let your people test the product. 4. Let your people tell you what they want. 5. Let your people tell you who they want to do business with. NOTE WELL: Independent third party purchasing groups should be TOTALLY avoided. The hotel industry is besieged by RFPs from bullying third party event planning companies that shield the customer, and only care about price. Hotels hate them, and are forced to eliminate most of their profit to book the event. And the ultimate customer loses respect, face, and is in total jeopardy of having a third rate event with a poor outcome. All in the name of saving money. And reverse auctions are worse. They milk every cent of profit. My two-word strategy for both of these is: DONT PARTICIPATE! If no one played, theyd go away in a week. The strategy to eliminate, or at least mitigate, the process of starting with purchasing, is to have a relationship with the person or people that direct them. You can be recommended and you can be the standard used for selection. You can have a history of success at other companies based on quality, productivity, results, and profitability and present proof of this as a price alternative. You can have a social media presence that allows your customers to provide feedback. You can write value-based articles that C-level people might read. This can get you in direct contact with decision makers. NOTE WELL: These 750 words are not going to resolve the issue, and are certainly not going to eliminate the purchasing department. In most cases, purchasing and procurement are a vital part of any large company. The challenge Im issuing is that it is NOT just a price decision. Bidding is a losing proposition. Best and value are the winners. If youre a purchasing agent and you personally need heart surgery or a hip replacement, do you want best, or lowest price? Best, or three bids? Think about it. Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com. 2012 All Rights Reserved. Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704/333-1112

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: Salespeople have questions, Jeffrey has answers.

#1024 I get a ton of emails from people seeking insight or asking me to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life and, most important, your sales thought process right now: Jeffrey, Your seminars and books have been highly therapeutic to me in my budding sales career, but I have a question Im having a hard time answering on my own. My wife is building a Mary Kay business, loves what you do, and is dying to put your methods to use. Her business is 80% selling product and 20% recruiting. A lot of the recruits typically come from the product buyers group. How does one combine those two activities without turning off the “makeup buying” customers who are not interested in a sales career? Does someone like her put up a “beauty tips” social media presence to promote to her “makeup buying customers” and then a separate one for recruiting people to a team? Or do you pepper one in with the other? My concern is turning off the “product buying public” that IS interested in beauty tips but NOT interested in being recruited. I appreciate your guidance, Matt Matt, Heres the wisdom I would share with your wife Luckily, the product youre selling has been around for years and enjoys a great reputation. I recommend you interview some of recruits who have embraced the opportunity to sell and let some of your more successful people post on the website about how they started out loving the product and ended up reselling the product. If the message does not come from you, it will not be a turn off. The key is balance and your job is to balance beauty tips with beauty money making opportunities of at least 5:1 in favor of beauty tips. Best regards, Jeffrey Jeffrey, How do buyers decide, and what are buyers looking for? Alana Buyers are looking for 4.5 things: 1. A perceived difference of your product and service and that of your competitors. 2. A better perceived value in buying what you have versus buying from a competitor. (Notice I did not say lower price, I said better value.) 3. Little or no risk in purchasing from you. The buyer must perceive that the gain of ownership is greater than the risk of purchasing the wrong thing. 4. The buyer must like you, believe you, have confidence in you, and trust you. But it begins with liking you. 4.5 Lowest price. Many people (maybe even you) will think I have done them a disservice by not focusing on price concessions or winning a bid. But, if you present the first four elements outlined above, price will go away as an issue in 60-70% of the sales you make. The key is this: Buyers and decision makers are looking for comfort, not just a deal. The decision maker has to feel that its a good fit for their company, or they will pass no matter what the price. The decision maker is also going to take into account past dealings and word-of-mouth advertising. All buyers and decision makers in any given industry know one another. Your job, besides having a great product, is to have a great reputation. Having a great reputation reduces the perceived risk and oftentimes is the very key to getting the order. Best regards, Jeffrey Jeffrey, In these hard times, what can salespeople do to protect their jobs? Tom Tom, The antidote is to be the best sales man or sales woman. No one’s going to get rid of you then. There is a challenge among salespeople right now. They’re not really willing to do the hard work that it takes to make selling easy. You need to tweet, have a business Facebook page, have a LinkedIn account, have a YouTube channel, have a blog, and have a website where you have registered yourname.com. Its about building a personal brand. You have to have 500 people following you on Twitter, you have to have 500 LinkedIn connections, you have to have about a thousand people on your Facebook fan page, and you have to have a least a dozen YouTube videos up where people give testimonies for you, or where you are giving valuable information to the marketplace. That requires work and time, and you can’t do it during your workday. Youve also gotta network and do prospecting, but it’s a lot easier to prospect on LinkedIn then it is to prospect on the phone with people you don’t know. But instead of performing those strategies, a lot of people are going home at night to watch stupid television shows. Think about this: Will what you’re watching on television help you double your sales? No! Great salespeople are willing to dig in and do the hard work because they understand there’s no 9 to 5 job in selling unless you’re at McDonald’s and you can ask the closing question, “Do you want fries with that?” Best regards, Jeffrey Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com. 2011 All Rights Reserved. Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704/333-1112

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: 7.5 things to think about before the New Year

1. Why are people sending me emails with the most sincere wishes from the bottom of our hearts and then asking me to buy their crap IN THE SAME EMAIL? Couldnt they send me sincere wishes in one email, and buy my crap requests in the other? When I get these email cards, I make a mental note NEVER to do business with these people. How sincere are your holiday greetings? 2. My daughter, Gabrielle, and I had a Chick-Fil-A craving for lunch on Monday. Went to the drive through and the line was curled around the building and out into the street. Packed. Rats. So we decided to go next door to Burger King and try their new fries. NO ONE was in line. The restaurant parking lot was nearly empty at the height of the lunch hour. Consumer Report: The fries sucked, but not as bad as their glued together chicken tenders. LESSON: Chick-Fil-A is kicking ass because of QUALITY. When will the others get it? In 2012, quality will trump price. Where is your focus? 3. Fast food places serve Coca-Cola, EXCEPT when theyre owned by Pepsi. Pepsi had to buy the chain to get the business. Speaks volumes for which drink is the most popular. I cant picture you bellying up to the bar this holiday season and ordering a rum and Pepsi. My philosophy has always been dont offer one or the other, offer both and let the customer choose. 4. This time of year, people are traveling to see their families. Theyre joyous and have visions of sugarplums. Theyre excited for family dinners, reunions, returning soldiers, Christmas dinners, and gifts. Only one problem: AIRLINE TRAVEL. There is no worse service in the world. Especially at holiday time. Wouldnt you think theyd pull out the stops? Serve cookies and milk to passengers (customers) waiting in the two-hour line to pay for baggage? Not a chance. Why? They dont get service, and theyll never get WOW! In 2012, service will trump price and lead to loyalty. Hows your service? Now for the good news 5. Next year will be better than the last few. All kinds of opportunities to cash in on. My recipe for 2012 has already been posted, but you can add to the list, and make your resolutions in February. Give yourself a month to make action plans and develop a commitment mindset. For the most part, January has never been a resolution achievement month. Why not just make the plan in January, and commit in February? How about this resolution: Limit yourself to five hours of TV a week. Invest the rest of your time on the Internet: to blog, master business social media, and learn more about your customers and your competition. Whats your plan of achievement? 6. The newest sales tools will become dominant in your world. Smartphones are not an option. It will be interesting to see how well (if) BlackBerry fares. At one point they dominated the market, and now they struggle to stay in it. Why? Failure to progress fast enough, service failures, and fierce competition. The jury is still out, but Id be looking at other options if it were me. Whats in your pocket? 7. The iPad is dominant. Many corporations are issuing them instead of laptops, and salespeople love them. I see old guys (like me) on the plane pulling out their iPad 10-hour battery, plenty of software, portable keyboard, touch screen preparing a keynote presentation, reading a book, listening to music, composing email, and playing Angry Birds. Anyone from age 2 age 92 can master it intuitively. Steve jobs last and lasting legacy. Got iPad? 7.5 YOU. Whats with you next year? How will you be better as a person and a salesperson? What will make you better? Ever ask yourself this question as you watch something on TV: Will watching this double my sales? Ouch. Heres my 40-year observation: Most people have the strength and energy to create their own world and their own success, yet very few do. Grab your copy of The Little Engine That Could. The magic formula is in there. I think you can! I think you can! FORMULA FOR 2012 PERSONAL SUCCESS: Think you can, build up a head of steam, ask for help, give it all youve got, and be humble and grateful when you make it up the hill. Happy, Merry Everything! Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally: salesman@gitomer.com 2011 All Rights Reserved – Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: 12.5 predictions and challenges for a great 2012

PLEASE NOTE: These are not economic predictions. They are based on my personal observation and first-hand knowledge of sales forces across the United States their present situation, and their future hope based on market conditions and readiness. And please DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELVES. Rather ask yourselves: Am I ready to win more based on these predictions and challenges? 1. PREDICTION: More business will be available as the economy begins to surge and the elections become a reality.CHALLENGE: Are you ready for an increase in business, not just with product and inventory ability but with better attitude, mood, friendliness, and morale of the entire company? 2. PREDICITON: There will be pricing challenges even in the wake of greater business. CHALLENGE: Now is the time for PROFIT. You have left too much money on the table for the past two years. Create a better value proposition, and use it rather than having to justify (and perhaps lower) your price. 3. PREDICITON: There will be an emphasis on 3rd party purchasers and buying groups in order to leverage pricing. CHALLENGE: Build value-based relationships that the customer would lose out on if they joined the group. Get testimonials from customers that decided not to participate. 4. PREDICITION: Full participation in business social media is no longer an option for your company. CHALLENGE: Counsel your counsel and determine what you CAN do. Do that as fast as you can. Your plan must include all forms of business social media, and interaction with customers one-on-one. Need examples? There are plenty of them online right now. One of them may even be your competition. 5. PREDICITION: Full participation in business social media is no longer an option for you personally. CHALLENGE: Set up a business Facebook page where people can Like you and invite all your customers to begin to comment on your products, service, and impact of ownership or service provided. Your LinkedIn connections must exceed 501 and you must have at least 10 recommendations. This makes your image look powerful, structured, and reputable. Twitter must attract 500 followers, and you must tweet twice a day. Your YouTube channel must have at least 10 testimonial videos that use the most searchable words in your business category. Your blog is the real-world outlet for yourself and your customers make it valuable and interact with customers one-on-one. 6. PREDICITON: Your personal reputation and brand will play a greater role in getting a sales meeting and getting a favorable decision. CHALLENGE: Google yourself to establish your base in January. Then take WEEKLY actions to enhance your status. Get testimonials. Volunteer for charity. Speak in public. Post on your blog. Get others to praise you. And build your reputation one action item, and one good deed, at a time. 7. PREDICITION: You will need to be able to differentiate yourself from the competition (in the mind of your customer) to be greater than ever. CHALLENGE: Begin by asking yourself and your present customers what differentiates you from your competition. Then take actions to widen the gap. HINT: The ordinary things are a great start. Use Ace of Sales emails ( www.aceofsales.com) to begin the process. 8. PREDICTION: Your company will finally (after three years) begin to provide sales training. CHALLENGE: Is the training relevant? Is the training acceptable to your sales team? Is the trainer acceptable to your sales team? Does the training incorporate the voice of your customers? Is the training working? 9. PREDICITION: You will lose more than one sale to an inferior competitor. CHALLENGE: Find out why and fix it. HINT: It aint price! 10. PREDICITION: More face-to-face meetings will be necessary to build relationships, or you will become vulnerable to the competition. CHALLENGE: Double your existing face-to-face meetings from last year, and double your networking hours. 11. PREDICITION: Breakfast will be the new lunch. CHALLENGE: Your connections, relationships, and even your prospects are crunched for time. The two-hour lunch will wane. An early morning, 30-minute meeting over coffee will net more and better results. Set a goal of three breakfasts a week. 12. PREDICITION: Your sales plan/goal/quota/numbers will be much more attainable. CHALLENGE: The business is out there for you to earn. Your perceived value, your perceived difference, and your reputation will determine your numbers way more that your price. 12.5 PREDICITION: Your personal dedication or rededication to excellence will reach new heights. CHALLENGE: Allocate three hours a day to YOU. Allocate an hour for social media and personal branding. Allocate an hour for customer interaction. And allocate an hour for reading and study. You will have to allocate more time for personal development and training because the new challenges require new knowledge. If youre looking for a game plan, if youre looking for a success plan, Ive just given you one that will make 2012 more than you could hope for. All you have to do is WORK HARD. Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally: salesman@gitomer.com 2011 All Rights Reserved – Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer

Are you a true believer or just a salesperson? What do you believe in? What are your real beliefs? Im asking you these questions so you can have a clearer picture as to why sales are made or lost. Jeffrey, you dont understand, you whine. Our customers are price buyers! No Jackson, YOU dont understand. You BELIEVE theyre price buyers, and until you change your belief, they will continue to be that way. SIMPLE RULE: Change your beliefs and you can change your outcomes. SIMPLER RULE: Your beliefs control your sales performance. SIMPLEST RULE: You can strengthen your beliefs with clear thoughts and deep commitment. THINK ABOUT THIS: As youre preparing for a sale, your belief system is so powerful it will dominate your desire to get ready to win. Those beliefs have been present either consciously or subconsciously for as long as you have been employed by your present company and they deepen with every sales call you make, every sale you achieve, and every sale you lose. You may look at belief as faith. A common belief is, Ive lost faith in my companys ability to deliver as promised. Others are loss of faith in product, boss, ethics of company, or even the economy. But your belief and your belief system are the root of your sales success, or the bane of your failure. There are five elements to belief, and in order to be a great salesperson you must be the master believer of all five. Theres also a .5 that enables you to change or strengthen your beliefs 1. You have to believe you work for the greatest company in the world. 2. You have to believe your products and services are the greatest in the world. 3. You have to believe in yourself. (NOTE: STOP here if the above three beliefs company, products and services, and self are not present and deep. The next two will be impossible to comprehend, let alone master) 4. You have to believe in your ability to differentiate from your competition in a way that the customer PERCEIVES as BOTH different AND valuable. If the customer fails to perceive a difference between you and your competition, if they fail to perceive your value, then all thats left is price. 5. BIGGEST ASPECT OF BELIEF: You must believe that the customer is BETTER OFF having purchased from you. Not just believing this in your head. Rather, believing it in your heart. 5.5 You control your belief with your thoughts and your attitude. And this understanding is critical to building and maintaining a positive belief for all you say and do. Once this belief begins to falter, its time to go. Time to move on to something you believe in. These 5.5 fundamental beliefs will drive your preparation, and thereby your presentation, to new heights, new sales, and new success. Take a moment and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) for each of the 5.5 elements above. If your total is less than 40, youre losing sales due to lack of belief. BEWARE: There are negative beliefs that will also limit your success, even if you possess the critical five. Belief your prices are too high. Belief your competition has a lock on the business youre trying to get. Belief that the sale is a bidding process and youll lose without the lowest bid. Belief that the sale youre in the middle of wont happen. And about 20 more beliefs that are completely alterable. GREAT NEWS: The deeper you possess the big five beliefs, the bigger and faster your sales cycle will end with an order. KEY POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: Belief does not come in a day it comes day-by-day slowly over time. But once achieved at its highest level, its virtually impenetrable and it will put passion in your preparation, not to mention, money in your pocket. Do you believe? I hope you do. Your success depends on it. Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com. 2012 All Rights Reserved. Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704/333-1112

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Sales Marketing

When it comes to sales and marketing, there are skills needed in order to become extremely successful. Whether your sales team has 10, 20, or only 1 year of experience, you need to properly manage the right tools to help you increase your organization’s revenue. There are many marketing strategies that must be aligned to achieve business goals. From database marketing to direct marketing, your sales marketing training should successfully help your sales team leverage the product knowledge, value proposition, and benefits identified. While the marketing team has the same goal as the sales team, each has its own unique job to do. When an organization synchronizes marketing efforts to sales team execution, and couples that with improved training, revenue increases dramatically. You Must Have The Right Plans! Ensure your business stays ahead of the competition at every turn. In order to accomplish this goal, you must be implementing the right strategy for effective business publicity. However, just having a perfect system and program to promote your business is not enough. You need to consistently come up with cutting-edge sales techniques for turning prospects and leads into successful sales. It is more profitable when you convert these generated leads into repeat customers. The largest return on your investment is on the back end (from additional products and services) of your sales efforts. Sales and Marketing are two key areas within a business and each require a high degree of sales competencies. However, not one single area is going to be successful without the other playing its role effectively. In other words, both areas are co-dependent with one another in terms of acquiring profits and keeping your business on its feet. Sales and marketing focused training materials should be designed to help you train others to build your organization’s brand, find targeted prospects, close more sales, and drive revenue.

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Reducing the Cost of Information

Jay Cross, an inveterate reader of varying and sundry tastes, always said that interesting and new ideas about learning can come from almost anywhere. He was right. I just finished reading FutureWealth by Francis McInerney and Sean White. The premise of the book is simple. We are in the Information Age and the cost of information is always falling e.g. Moore’s Law. Companies that take advantage of that falling cost of information – from Schwab to Wal-Mart’s to Dell – will prosper. They will have a faster time-to-market, better products and services, more competitive market positions, get closer to their Customers, and generally act smarter than other companies. So we, who are supposedly in large measure responsible for that Corporate IQ, the organizational hive mind, might take this as a lesson. If we can, with our programs that are trying to make people smarter, better at their jobs, more adept and knowledgeable, can do that AND make the cost of the information cheaper in the process we win big time. If we do it and make the cost of information more expensive in the process we lose. Example: A more expensive cost of information would be a program that involves many people many months to develop, an live classroom instructor to deliver and four days to deliver. The same learning, delivered online is cheaper. The same know-how or knowledge delivered via database connected via Internet to the students laptop, PDA, notebook, cellphone, etc., delivered only when the information is needed, on demand, anywhere and anytime, is cheaper still. And sometimes finding the right person’s phone number and calling is even cheaper. The falling cost of information drives decentralization, collaboration, just-in-time and more. So how do we get our programs to take advantage of this idea? What do you think? Is the cost of the information a factor? Does the book provide an interesting new metric for people who create educational programs?

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Q&A with Weichert Realtors

The ASTD BEST awards are almost here, so we took the time to interview one of the winners, Weichert Realtors, America’s largest privately held real estate firm. Weichert’s core philosophy has always been centered on creating a positive customer experience. In fact, their founder, Jim Weichert always says “people buy people before a product or service.” Because of this philosophy and their size, Weichert offers a very interesting perspective on sales training. We focused mostly on sales coaching and the interaction it has with sales training and touched briefly upon social media’s role in real estate. In regards to sales coaching, Joy Lulis, Director of Training, had this to say: “The proficiency and support of the sales managers is key to the success of our sales trainers. The sales manager’s ability to coach and reinforce our training efforts is essential. A leading guiding principle for company initiatives is for our leadership and management team to experience it first hand and be the first to try a new approach, test a new process, or use a new tool.” What this means for sales trainers is that they must partner with the sales managers to ensure that not only is training happening, but that it is making a permanent change in behavior. One way that Weichert displays this partnering is through its new hire programming. After the new sales associate is trained by the sales trainers, they work with an experienced sales manager who acts as a coach towards them. One of their main focuses is “presentation practice sessions,” where the sales manager observes the sales associate as he gives his sales presentation. After the sales associate finishes, the sales manager offers the associate helpful feedback that the associate uses in the future. Combined with their “OnTrack” onboarding program where the associate is able to meet key players within the company and shadow veteran salespeople, most sales associates at Weichart cite these experiences as some “of the most beneficial they have ever had to prepare them to work most effectively with their future customers.” To wrap things up, we talked briefly about how salespeople can expect to use social media in the future. Joy summed it up nicely in saying: “Networking and maintaining relationships with family, friends, colleagues and customers is an essential business building activity. A natural extension of this would be to take advantage of staying connected on line in addition to the face to face, mail and phone opportunities Social Networking is a component of the larger picture of maintaining relationships.” Please join Joy Lulis and Weichert Realtors for their presentation on their holistic approach to perfecting the Weichert home buying experience and their innovative solutions for involving their entire organization at conference ASTD’s Learn from the Best on October 1. Registration ends September 27!

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Our Next Complimentary Webcast: Selling with Brand Power

How Will You Give Your Sales Force the Competitive Advantage in a Knowledge-Based Selling Environment??? Wednesday, February 22nd at 1:00pm E.T. Success in the future will go to those salespeople who are positioned in the minds of their customers as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and solution providers — and who are an active, visible presence in the marketplace. As a sales or training leader responsible for optimizing sales performance, your role will likelytransition from skill-builder and product-trainer to “brander”, where you will help your salespeople design and implement strategies that leverage their insight, capabilities, knowledge, client successes and more. Join David Topus and team members Diane Crompton and Jennifer Eggers of the TOPUS organizationfor the one hour webinar “Selling with Brand Power” as they lay out what may very well be the last frontier of branding — a future where salespeople themselves are a central part of the company’s value proposition, and differentiation comes from how well they are positioned, packaged and promoted to customers. Learn… 1. What dynamics are causing this shift from skills and product knowledge to personal brand as differentiator 2. What a well-branded salesperson looks like 3. How social media presents new opportunities to achieve competitive differentiation 4.What tools are available for raising salespeople’s visibility and credibilityin the eyes of customers 5. The cultural and organizational considerations in building a well branded sales force 6. What this means for you as sales or training leader, and how you can turn this evolving opportunity into a game-changer for your sales team David is a nationally-recognized consultant, trainer and soon-to-be-published author who has been helping companies and individuals communicate their value propositions more effectively. Since 1990 he has worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of salespeople across dozens of industries in sales messaging and readiness. He wrote and produced the Victory! sales training curriculum used by Fortune 1000 companies around the world, and was the founding general manager of ExecuNet’s personal marketing services group. HIs first book, “Talk to Strangers; How Your Everyday Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income and Life”, is due out in April from John Wiley and Sons. As he so aptly describes it, he “takes the mess out of people’s messaging and put the art in their articulation”. Register for the webcast here: https://astdevents.webex.com/astdevents/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=598653884

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Organizations spend more on training sales partners than employees

(Michael Laff, T+D) A large pharmaceutical company planned to use a robot to dispense medication at retail outlets. To cut costs, the company decided to forgo formal training and provide stores with a simple user’s guide. The plan backfired. Six months later, Doug Harward spoke with panicked executives from the pharmaceuticals company whose customers were unhappy with the product, being unsure how to use it. The company decided to reverse course and send a professional for three days to a large retailer to train employees. Customer training-offering training outside a company’s walls to representatives of partner companies or to buyers of a product or service-is distinct from employee training, which refers to a company’s own employees. Organizations that sell technology products or services are more likely to emphasize customer training for reasons of complexity, according to Harward, CEO of Training Industry.

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Moving Forward with Agility Selling

Please join us onThursday, July 21st at 1:00 pm ESTfor ourwebinar, Driving Sales Team Success: Helping Sellers Harness the Chaos with Agility Selling, with Tim Ohai and Brian Lambert, co-authors of Sales Chaos. As we all know, selling to customers is getting more complex with each passing day. We keep hearing that buyers are getting smarter through the use of technology. Sales people are urged to become trusted advisors to their customers and align the sales cycle to their buying cycle. With these and other changes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow the linear sales processes that managers and sales trainers push on their sales professionals. So, how do we move forward? I’d like to suggest Agility Selling. In their new book, Sales Chaos, Tim Ohai and Brian Lambert introduce us to “a new paradigm that applies the latest research and the scientific principles of chaos theory to the challenges facing today’s sales professionals”. So, how did selling become so complex? It all boils down to 3 forces: the Force of the Non-Linear, the Force of Full Value, and the Force of Community. You see, customers have shifted from a single decision maker to decision by committee (Community) requiring them ot be fluid in their discussions (Non-Linear). On top of that, once the purchase is made, they want the sales rep to stick around to ensure that their every expectation is met for the life of the product/service (Full Value). How do we, as sales trainers and leaders, handle this? By adapting our sales learning and development efforts to embrace the two rules and four habits of agile sellers. What are these rules and habits? I’ll give you a sneak peek then encourage you to join Tim Ohai and Brian Lambertas they discusses Agility Selling in our upcoming July webinar. Let’s begin with the rules. First, focus on selling skills instead of the sales process when training your sales reps. Second, encourage your sales teams to meet the customer’s expectation of full value rather than simply push a product or service. Already doing this in your training efforts? Then let’s take a look at the habits. The authors start with influencing others via relationships. They then move on to using insight to gain an understanding of that which is not obvious. Next they move on to executing your sales plan to provide the full value. Finally, they wrap it up with building credibility. Now, how many of you sales leaders and trainers can say that your learning and development programs cover all of these? Some may say they do and I commend you. Have you seen positive results? For those that don’t cover these can I ask “Why not?”. Regardless of your situation I encourage you to take some time to join us for our upcoming webinar where Tim and Brian will provide you some further insights.

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Learn to be a Problem Solving Expert!

Solving Problems According to the World Class Selling book “New Sales Competencies”, Solving Problems involves “Creatively bringing new or alternative perspectives forward to overcome difficulty or uncertainty.” How do we make it easier for you to manage solving problems? Let’s break it down to a manageable effective action. The best way to approach solving challenges creatively is to find a fresh perspective and focus on the key actions that bring about change. Change and knowledge transfer can be can be effective with the right focus and planning. Access Resource Intelligence to Solve Problems Learn about changes in your business from all angles possible. Salespeople need to be PROACTIVE. You need to respond quickly to change in the marketplace and find problems to solve that your product and service can address. Watch or read community and industry news reports, subject matter content and published customer opinion discussions where you can introduce the use of your products, or services to provide valuable solutions. Business research done externally and internally will always show you business challenges that you can inquire about. Be creative and have fun getting the “who, what, where, why, when and how”. Set Your Daily Top (5) PRIORITY Objectives Bring value to your customers. Decision makers and customers want to understand how to reduce costs, increase revenue and optimize performance. Know what Decision Makers want ahead of time There are many types of decision makers. To solve their problem you simply need to find out their pain and what challenges they are experiencing that can be directly addressed by the product or service you are selling. Decision makers want you to get to the point. Make sure you know AHEAD OF TIME how to ask the RIGHT questions that will get them emotionally involved in sharing their challenges with you. This can be done by analyzing the behavior of other decision makers in their industry and offering solutions. But, more importantly, you must get involved in making them tell you what their personal challenges are. Otherwise, your efforts are pointless and you will not sell a thing to them. Identify and Develop Options for Decision Making Identify ways to make quality assessments during the decision making process and how to act on decisions. Understand how do develop a key word SWOT Analysis and marketplace review with the PEST Analysis. Group workshop programs and online virtual conferences are great problem solving “think tank” resources! Look for ways to assess and grow your sales skill level. Become more creative, learn new decision making techniques, hone in on your language clarity, sense of timing and judgment, and LEARN HOW TO IMPLEMENT action plans. This will separate you from the rest of the Sales Experts in your industry.

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Innovation at the workplace

(From TheStar.com) Telecommuting is an old idea which still has not gained traction because the need for human contact, sometimes intimately, is simply too strong to be severed. WHEN we talk about innovation to improve our daily lives, many of the technologies, techniques and thinking revolve around the office and any building deemed as the workplace. The office is a legacy of the 19th century, still strong in the 21st century with no indication that it is ever diminishing. The office is also a legacy which is deeply aligned to the way we interact and develop social and technical skills. That is why when we think of work, we inevitably think of the office, which may be a brilliantly lit edifice filled with creative people, mingling and exchanging ideas to create super products and services. Or, it could be filled with people who do nothing but paperwork, answer calls, make marketing or investment pitches to unwary customers, or respond to customer complaints and grievances. Read more.

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India’s Next Global Export: Innovation

(BusinessWeek)–On a November afternoon, a dozen executives from companies including investment banks Rothschild and Goldman Sachs (GS) and tech research firm Gartner (IT) ringed a conference table in a brownstone on New York’s Upper East Side. They were there to learn how U.S. businesses could develop products more cheaply and quickly by borrowing strategies from India. Speaker Navi Radjou, who heads the recently formed Centre for India & Global Business at England’s Cambridge University, summed up his advice in one word: jugaad. A Hindi slang word, jugaad (pronounced “joo-gaardh”) translates to an improvisational style of innovation that’s driven by scarce resources and attention to a customer’s immediate needs, not their lifestyle wants. It captures how Tata Group, Infosys Technologies (INFY), and other Indian corporations have gained international stature. The term seems likely to enter the lexicon of management consultants, mingling with Six Sigma, total quality, lean, and kaizen, the Japanese term for continuous improvement. Like previous management concepts, Indian-style innovation could be a fad. Moreover, because jugaad essentially means inexpensive invention on the fly, it can imply cutting corners, disregarding safety, or providing shoddy service. ” Jugaad means ‘Somehow, get it done,’ even if it involves corruption,” cautions M.S. Krishnan, a Ross business school professor. “Companies have to be careful. They have to pursue jugaad with regulations and ethics in mind.” Read the full article.

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Follow Up Anyone?

Activity doesn’t count as follow up unless it helps your sales team advance the sales process… Helping your sales team know and apply good follow-up practices to every sales call can increase closing rates by a significant margin. Based on practical experience, and backed by company-specific research, we have found that many sales people fail to perform the proper method of implementing the right follow-up activities after each sales call. As a result, sales are often lost due to this lack sales process execution. With the ever-increasing difficulty to compete in today’s market, you must help your sales people to leverage their skills and knowledge in order to help your organization capture more market share and help more clients succeed. One of the most important aspects of becoming a truly great sales trainer, is the ability to help each sales team member make follow-up calls on a consistent basis with each new potential customer and encounter. Sales Call Follow Up Practices Follow-up doesn’t only mean getting back with a potential prospect. It also means your team needs to follow up with customers who have already purchased from your company. Appropriate follow-up with the right customers can yield additional sales and an increased top line. Moreover, when current clients continue to purchase your organization’s products or services, referrals are more likely given. We Help Your Team Master The Best Sales Call Follow Up Practices If you want to learn all the proven and effective techniques in helping your sales team with their follow up activities, you need to learn more about how you can build sales training that drives revenue. Review information, tools, and resources to help you master important sales training skills. Remember, effective sales competency leads to improved customer sales and follow up activity for your organization.

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Facebook can DESTROY your brand!

DO THE RIGHT THING. Tell the Truth. WHY is Social media is so IMPORTANT to business today? Take at look at this alarming research. You cannot ignore the power of Word of Mouth and Consumer opinion anymore. It will “make you or break you”. LEARN SOCIAL MEDIA if you want to be successful in Sales and Marketing. Courtesy of http://inventorspot.com; Here are the 42 stats for 2010: 1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old 2. 96% of them have joined a social network 3. Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S. 4. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web 5. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media 6. Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years) 7. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year 8. iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months. 9. We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” 10. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India 11. Yet, QQ and Renren dominate China 12. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction 13. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95% 14. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females 15. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the populations of Ireland, Norway, or Panama. 16. 50% of the mobile Internet in the UK is for Facebookpeople update anywhere, anytimeimagine what that means for bad customer? 17. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail pass – some universities have stopped distributing accounts 18. Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets 19. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook 20. The #2 largest search in the world is YouTube 21. While you watch this 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube 22. Wikipedia has over 15 million articlesstudies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica78% of these articles are non-English 23. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs 24. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth 25. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour 26. 25% of search for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user generated content 27. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands 28. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better. 29. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them 30. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations 31. Only 14% trust advertisements 32. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI 33. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do 34. Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas 35. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation 36. 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily 37. We no longer search for the news, the news finds us. 38. We will no longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media 39. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate 40. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad Men Listening first, selling second 41. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years 42. Bonus: comScore indicates that Russia has the most engaged social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – Vkontakte.ru is the #1 social network

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Exhibit Success-Start with the Conversation!

The 2010 conference season is just a few weeks away. It’s exciting to think what a successful exhibit can do for your business. New customers, new relationships, brand awareness, and even gaining market trust are all aspects of a conference. Both experienced exhibitors and beginners can be overwhelmed by the amount of information and potential preparation an event can hold. One simple, yet critical key to your exhibit success is planning for meaningful conversation. The way we present ourselves and the way we connect starts with our ability to communicate and relate. Your ability to connect with attendees can make or break your show experience. Here are a few tips for conversation when planning for your next exhibition: 1) Clean up your pitch. Can you tell someone about your business in 15 words or less? Is what you are saying clear, and will it help solve a customer need? Make sure everyone representing your company knows and agrees on a general explanation of your business. Try to keep it clean, simple, and to the point. 2) Train for the title. No… not the heavyweight belt, I’m talking about the job title here. I am always surprised when I hear from an exhibit staff person that they are only looking to meet c-level attendees. Think about your business. How often in your sales process do you start and end with the CEO? Maybe less than 5%? Knowing how to approach every level of attendee, and prepare the questions you need to ask can make a huge difference. Ask the attendee what their role with their organization is, and what their challenges/successes have been. Understand what they need before explaining the features your business can provide, and equip them with the tools they need to explain your business to their colleagues or CEO (see point 1!). 3) Ask for the referral. To some exhibitors, 1 solid lead can make the difference in having a successful show. What if that number was 10, 20, or 300? What if you could take a handful of “dead-end” interactions at your booth, and turn them into a boat load of good opportunities? If an attendee does not have a direct need for your services, perhaps they know a co-worker, department, or even separate business that does. Ask that attendee if you could mention them in your follow up. Taking this step could help double your show success! Make a New Year’s resolution to improve your event communications and conversations. Your team will enjoy more success, and that leads to an improved bottom line in 2010!

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Entrepreneurial Training Programs Now Available Through the Public Workforce System.

As many of you already know, the public workforce system (run by local and state workforce boards) currently spends billions annually on a variety of skill training programs. Most of these programs are designed to train or retrain workers in skills needed by local employers. State and local boards make their own decisions on what training should be utilized. A couple of weeks ago, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) gave approval for state and local boards to approve training programs in the area of entrepreneurship. They are encouraging local boards to build working relationships and partnerships with other state and federal agencies in this area so that customers within the system can be made aware of these other small business services. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a good example of a Federal partner. There are also other community resources, such as Chambers of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), that local workforce boards are partnering with in this endeavor. As we hear from members of Congress and the Obama Administration, the best way to get the US economy going again is to get small businesses started, growing and succeeding! So, what does this mean for ASTD members? As we know, when the economy struggles, training in unfortunately one of the items many organizations cut back on. Some of those cuts include eliminating staff in the training departments. Many of those cuts affect our members directly. Over the years, many of those individuals who have been downsized have considered going out on their own. This is a way for our members, who qualify for public training funds, to enjoy some of the benefits from these approved programs in entrepreneurship. Now you might be able to get your own small business started with some training help and possibly other assistance from other government agencies. Staff in the One Stop Career Centers are being trained in this area and are there to direct you to these and other community services and networking events for the new business owner. For ASTD members who provide entrepreneurship training programs, this is an opportunity for you to approach state and local workforce boards about getting your programs approved for customers in the One Stop Career Centers. There is paperwork to fill out and an approval process, but this would be a great way to bring more students into your programs. For either situation, our members should talk to the staff in their local One Stop Career Center or local workforce board executive director to ask more questions about this opportunity. You can also find more information on www.careeronestop.org You can hear the entire webinar from ETA about this opportunity on the Workforce3One website at: www.workforce3one.org. Just find the webinar Supporting Entrepreneurial and Self-Employment Training through the Workforce Investment System.

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Enterprise Hive Releases HiveSocial 3.0, HiveSocial Now for Education

Enterprise Hive’s software-as-a -service collaboration platform HiveSocial has been upgraded to Microsoft’s.NET 4.0 Framework. This upgrade provides a technology infrastructure that rapidly allows customers more flexibility to connect to existing applications with their on-line communities. In addition, significant enhancements were developed to optimize user engagement. These enhancements include simplified content creation, ameliorated content search and sharper navigation.

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Developing High Performing Sales Teams: focus on the winners or weed out the failures?

We caught up with Howard Stevens after his keynote presentation that kicked-off our online-only conference last week. In his speech Howard offered some insight that many of us might find to be counter-intuitive. He said: We asked if Howard could elaborate and he followed-up with four main points to remember when you are evaluating your sales teams and considering your training and development options: So, as you go through the process of evaluating, developing and maintaining your sales force, remember to focus on weeding out the lowest performing salespeople rather than constantly rewarding your superstars. Build an average team and you will do better overtime than if you constantly struggled to maintain a team of superstars. If you’re looking for more insights on the critical steps to developing high performing sales teams, be sure to register for our online, on-demand conference available now through Wednesday, July 28. Howard Stevens, founder, chairman and CEO of HR Chally Group, a talent management, leadership development, and sales improvement corporation providing personnel assessment and research services to more than 2, 500 customers in 35 countries for over 33 years.

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Decision Makers LOVE Me!

People prefer to do business with people they like!How do you do that? One of the most rewarding aspects of great sales training is teaching others how building great relationships with prospects, customers and their client referrals. This article is about building relationships. Building relationships is foundational to performance improvement and transcends all areas of your life at work, play and at home. A good Trainer will teach that the most important person in a conversation is the other person! Steering and focusing the conversation on what is happening in the other persons life will be 90% of the conversation in the sales process. The other 10% will be the sales person questioning and gathering feedback. (Yet, statistics will show you that 80% of sales professionals still do not do this even after training because the skill is not practiced enough!) These statistics show that Sales Trainers and Talent Management still have a lot of collaborating to do! Sales Training Drivers.com is committed to helping the Workplace Learning Industry foster more of this collaboration and help sales professionals stay on target to meet their professional and personal goals. The business goal of building relationships is to teach how to move the sales forward for mutual benefit. Show your sales team that building rapport is broken down by value percentages representing the highest amount a prospect will likely receive and absorb your message during conversation. Rapport is comprised of your ability to use: 1. Words (7%) – 93% of people only listen to 7% of what you say and only remember 3%. 2. Tonality (38%) – the tone of your voice matched with someone else’s level of tone 3. Physiology (55%) body language, facial expression, posture, stance, composure, movements, gestures Learning how to use words and body language is crucial to successful selling (and training!). It must be done over practice sessions, one on one coaching, role plays, and measured evaluations. Practicing the use of specific words, tonality and physiology during the sales process is an art in itself. Less than 10% of sales professionals ever fully master it! Your ability to present yourself appropriately and ask questions will prompt people to give you the personal answers you need to solve their issues and sell them. Teach active listening skills and questioning techniques that check for agreement. It will show your sales team how to look at the prospects problem from their point of view. Have your sales team learn how to present your product or service as a valuable addition to the security, comfort, and enjoyment of your prospects life. Teach them how to become interested in their prospects lives. (family, job, and recreation activities, and financial concerns). This takes a lot of practice in building transferable behavioral skills in relationship building. We all want to feel special and we all want to feel OK. Many customers will go miles out of their way to do business with someone they like and will make them feel happy and appreciated. Once someone likes you, they will bring you into their inner circle of influence and their friends will become your friends. Your business will grow much faster while other sales people who do not build quality relationships are vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy, trends and budgets.

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CSTD Fredericton

Well after finally getting my wireless to work I am able to upload some blogging from the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) conference in Fredericton (links in this post are to my summaries). Clark Aldrich led off with a talk called Simulations, Computer Games and Pedagogy. It took a long time to get to the point, so he really didn’t get inot a lot of detail. Then, in one of the breakout sessions, Darlene Burt and Darren McKinnon of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce did a really nice session on the development and deployment of a personalized learning system for customer center staff, New Communication and Information Technologies Emerging in the Workplace. Good, comprehensive presentation that was well organized and didn’t skimp on detail. Good things about the conference so far: good mix of people, and not the same crowd I see at academic conferences. Talked with many people thus far. One good talk. Some interesting displays. Bad things so far: the Delta Hotel here is declining in quality (room wasn’t restocked, no milk for coffee in room service, convenience store closed). No signs at the conference and no rooms listed in the conference schedule – as a result, I missed this afternoon’s session, as there were no sessions scheduled for the one room (the lecture theatre) I thought there would be.

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Cornerstone OnDemand White Paper Examines Why Employee Empowerment is Crucial to Business Success

(From Business Wire) — Workforce empowerment should be a priority for businesses if they want to retain top talent and stay competitive as the market recovers, according to a new white paper from talent management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand. “The Empowered Workforce: Crucial to Success in the New Economy” explores the notion of empowerment – what it means for employees, why it matters for the bottom line, and how organizations can leverage learning and HR strategies to foster employee empowerment. “Closing the empowerment gap is about providing employees with the tools they need to learn and grow, encouraging them to make their own decisions and enabling them to contribute to the success of the business,” said Charles Coy, Director of Product Marketing for Cornerstone OnDemand. “Empowerment also is a key driver of engagement, which can result in higher customer satisfaction, increased productivity, improved retention and a boosted bottom line.” Research from the Gallup Organization shows that companies that had higher-than-average employee engagement also had 27 percent higher profits, 50 percent higher sales and 50 percent higher customer loyalty.1 “Ultimately, every company wants employees who are engaged in their work and empowered to succeed in their roles,” said Nina Ramsey, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Kelly Services, a leading provider of global workforce management services. “Our customers want to work with front-line people who are fully capable of meeting their needs and are committed to delivering excellent service. It’s Kelly’s job to prepare our employees and ensure they are equipped to make key decisions that will help create loyal customers and, in turn, impact the success and profitability of our company.” Read more.

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Blackboard Offers Solution for Corporate Learning through Salesforce.com’s Enterprise Cloud Platform

Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx. About Blackboard Inc. Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia

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Blackboard Offers Improved Solution for Corporate Learning on Force.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx.

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Be a Leader of Change! Resistance is Futile.

Facilitating Change is a World Class Sales Competency that needs attention! This subject is so COMPLEX and CHAOTIC that it is very difficult to explain, manage or measure. As a Trainer, it is critical now for you to be able to understand how change affects your company and is reflected in your training. Let’s keep this SIMPLE! Your company is most likely affected by harder economic conditions today and will be driven to improve efficiency, productivity, and service quality. The training methods and outcomes you present to your employees will be a measuring stick for these improvement changes.Change happens CONSTANTLY and you must be able to ADAPT to it. Business Change – Sales Training In Sales Training, be sensitive to teach your team about the size and scale of any management decision. – small to large – and how it affects operation, sector, location, history, and employee population. Change is about moving an organization from a current position to a future condition, for the purpose of marketplace strategy and employee workplace performance alignment. Evaluating sales and marketing change strategies can be done by looking at other company case studies and ROI analysis. But, beware! “Tested” sales strategies and implementations that have been tried before by other organizations may not be the best one for your company or for your team to experience! Also, be careful to look at the effects of bringing in other Subject Matter Experts or Consultants who have had successful outcomes using “tried and true” methodologies that have worked for them in the past. These too may not work in your particular organization. Make sure that the new change initiative is a process to be facilitated rather than a plan that can be dictated to the employees The People vs. YOU! Facilitating change through people is very TOUGH because people are TOUGH and generally RESISTANT to anything that is different than what they are used to – especially if they have created a habit or routine that seemingly makes their life easier. People are more reactive than proactive and changing anything in their world (personal or work environment) can be confusing to deal with! However, through honesty and being straightforward about your change strategy, you can break through any resistance that people give you. The TRUTH will always set you free, even in business where money seems to be king over the people. Nothing could be farther from the truth! You cannot run a business without the power of people. The love of people is the root of successful business in sales! If there is a change initiative approaching where people are involved, brace yourself for the resistance. You can guarantee that too many opinions will be involved! So, like the good Boy Scout or Brownie, “Be Prepared” to brace yourself emotionally and intellectually for the upcoming change challenges presented in front of you. People present problems all the time at the top, middle or bottom of any organization – that will need to be dealt with if the company is to succeed overall. Many organizational studies say that the best change efforts are better left to employee engagement and creative teams rather than top down leadership. Many change efforts have failed because the company demanded the change process to be handled and controlled by corporate policy and procedure with little or no creative thinking allowed. According to Hank Garber, CEO of National Risk Managers in Long Island, NY, (natlriskmgrsltd@aol.com), one way to engage employees in facilitating organizational change is to “make your employees your partners in the process of change”. He also states that you can gain “greater and more effective communication- internal & external- by working to create a sales orientation that permeates every part of a business, leading to increased revenue, client retention, and loyalty by customers and employees. The focus of change should be for the betterment of everyone in the organization as it relates to increase business results that sustain organizational growth.

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ASTD Expertise, Content Used for Sales Certificate Program at 2010 Print Solutions Conference & Exposition

The ASTD Press title 10 Steps to Successful Sales will be used as a core element in a sales training certificate program offered to sales professionals at the 2010 Print Solutions Conference & EXPO, held May 24-25 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Print Solutions Conference & Expo is the only national trade show focused on supporting printing professionals who buy print and print services for resale or distribution to an end-user customer. The Sales Certificate Program is designed to train new and existing sales representatives on the techniques, approaches, and skills required to become a trusted advisor and top seller. The certificate program is built on the principles contained in the book 10 Steps to Successful Sales, written by Brian Lambert, PhD., director of ASTD’s Sales Training Drivers program. It will be facilitated by Lambert and Dan Seidman, President of Sales Autopsy, Inc.

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All for One and One for All: How Partnering Is Changing Global Business

In recent years there has been a noticeable shift among large client organizations from buying stand-alone products and services to buying integrated solutions. Global companies have seen supplier rosters shrink from hundreds to just a handful. The suppliers that make it onto the list are the ones that offer the customer something different, something compelling. And that something is, increasingly, a strategic partnership.

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ATD Research: Advancing Innovation

History shows us that innovation in products, services, work processes, and management drives competitive advantage and success. Recognizing this, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) recently surveyed 393 talent development leaders across a broad range of industries and locations, seeking to understand the talent development function’s role in teaching and encouraging employees to innovate at successful companies. The research found that high-performing companies who consistently lead the competition in revenue growth, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction are more than twice as likely to support innovation with formal strategies and processes compared with lower performers. In fact, talent development functions at top companies provide innovation training to employees organization-wide at a rate seven times that of lower-performing organizations. Join i4cp to learn about the practices, methods, and programs top companies and their talent development teams use to drive innovation among employees and leaders at all levels.

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