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“The Times They Are A Changing”: Overcoming New Challenges Faced By Today’s Sales Professionals

Working in sales has always been tough. No one will argue with that. However, today’s sales professionals face more challenges than ever before. Understanding the impact of these new challenges and developing the skills and resources to overcome them helps ensure long term success.

The pace of change is accelerating exponentially. Never before has the business landscape churned as quickly as it does now. Much of this acceleration is driven by the “access to anyone, anytime, anywhere” phenomena. Customers expect instant response times and information at their fingertips on demand. But constantly changing regulations pose additional challenges that require ongoing education and ever evolving business requirements. Customers are looking for experts who can help them steer through the myriad of challenges they are facing. This requires a concerted effort on behalf of the sales professional to invest the time to keep up with changing business conditions and offer solutions that meet the challenges faced by customers. Subscribe to online industry periodicals, blogs and feeds and plan time in your calendar to review them. Attend industry and solution based events. Not only do these offer great education but they are also excellent opportunities to network and identify prospects.

Customers are busy…often too busy to take the time to solve their own problems. With many companies operating with fewer resources amidst more complex working conditions, employers will more likely find short-term fixes to their issues because they simply don’t have the time to explore better options for longer term solutions. Master your approach so you address the specific challenges your customer may be facing and reel them in. Be persistent and assure your customer of the potential dollar and time savings they’ll experience with your proposed solution.  Make it easy for them to work with you by doing as much of the leg work as possible on their behalf. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 26, 2014

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Marlowe Fenne continued his series leading up to Interop NY. This week, he stopped by the Partner Blog to discuss using customer intelligence to fuel business growth in his blog “Growing Sales and Increasing Market Response with the ‘Right Stuff.”

Be sure to check out insights from Marlowe and let us know what you think. If you’re interested in more information on Interop NY, that is available as well.

What is your Credibility Factor?

Karin Surber shared her personal experience and wisdom into what makes a successful sales force in her ongoing series on the Partner Blog. This week, she focused on building credibility and how vital it is to maintaining strong business relationships. Those relationships may not bear fruit instantly, but in the long run, your credibility is worth more in future sales than any short term gain or quick deal.

Karin’s blog is full of valuable insight for your sales force, from a brand new sales person just starting out, to a veteran of the industry. Give Karin’s blog a read and join the conversation! Read More »

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What is Your Credibility Factor? Earn the Right to Say “No” and Win the Business

If you’ve had sustained success as a sales person, you can probably look back at your career and pinpoint one or two defining moments that moved you to the next level of credibility with your customers. These moments are different for everyone.  Maybe it was winning a huge deal against stiff competition. Or it could have been the hard lesson of losing a major deal because of a lack of focus on the details. For me, that defining moment came when I was willing to say, “No” and walk away from a deal when it wasn’t right for my customer or my company.

You might ask, “How could saying “No” and walking away be a defining moment for a sales person?” After all, isn’t the point to win the deal? Actually, I did win the business. I had the confidence to tell the customer that what they were asking for was unreasonable, would result in a poor quality solution that wouldn’t meet their needs and refused to work with them on the project. The customer went with another vendor and the results were disastrous. Within 45 days, the customer had returned, hat in hand, asking for help in salvaging the project. We took the customer in a different direction, got the project back on track and finished in a way that allowed the customer to save face with his management. That customer never questioned me again when I had to deliver hard news. I’d earned the credibility necessary to secure their future business, and the impact on my confidence as a sales person was monumental.

For most sales professionals, their career defining moment also revolves around earned credibility with customers and peers. What exactly is credibility? Credibility is believability or trustworthiness. Credibility is the ability to inspire or earn the trust, belief or confidence of others towards you based on a combination of certain factors or qualities that you exhibit. Credibility is the direct result of displaying these qualities consistently. Most importantly, credibility is earned, meaning it doesn’t come freely. It’s not a thing you can give; it is a thing you get. It is the impression others have about you and all that you do or represent based on multi-faceted elements. Read More »

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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products — without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound – they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon – the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »

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