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Inside the Mind of a Successful Manager [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

As the saying goes, people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses. So if you’ve been blessed with a teamful of rockstars, you should probably make sure your management style isn’t making direct reports anxiously eye the door.

Pepperdine University put the following infographic together as a primer on how to be a good manager. Some of my favorite snippets of wisdom:

  • “Keep your sights on what’s right — not what you want right now.” (Tweet This)
  • “Accept changes as part of growth, and encourage employees to do the same” (Tweet This)
  • “Celebrate success. Don’t just say it — show it!” (Tweet This)

Whether you’ve recently been appointed the head of a team or you’ve been a manager for 30 years, the graphic below is well worth a read.


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The Non-Comedian’s Guide to Using Humor in Meetings

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

A joke is a great way to kick off a meeting or call, but nothing’s worse than delivering a quip that doesn’t get laughs. That’s why many people sidestep humor in professional situations entirely — too risky. 

However, you don’t have to be Amy Schumer to tell a good joke (but if you’re friends with her, please email me). Injecting humor into a presentation is simple if you follow the five rules in Duarte’s SlideShare below. 

For instance, you might be hesitant to poke fun of at yourself, but self-deprecating humor (rule #2) actually ingratiates you to your audience. 

Flip through the deck to learn how to bring the LOLs to your next call, meeting, or presentation. 

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An Quick Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile for Social Sellers [Infographic]

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

If your business wants to leverage social selling, it’s important to note that you’re not the only one doing research on LinkedIn before a call.

While your sales reps know to look up their buyers on LinkedIn, buyers stop by reps’ profiles to get a handle on who they’ll be speaking with, too. That said, their page better be complete, current, and compelling.

But profiles that appeal to prospects are significantly different than those that catch recruiters’ attention. Hiring managers are keen to discover how often you beat quota, and by how much. And on the other hand, buyers couldn’t care less. 

That said, if your business wants to catch the attention of more prospects, check out the following infographic from Sales For Life for tips on how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile for social sellers.

sales linkedin profile

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What a Basic Sales Process Looks Like [Infographic]

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

There’s a reason why teachers instruct students to make an outline before they start writing a paper. With a defined outline, writers ensure they address each point in the correct order. Without an outline, writers sometimes forget to include a crucial argument, or construct their paper in an illogical manner.

Think of a defined sales process as the outline of selling.

Without a concrete sales process, reps create their own strategies, which gives rise to two negative results:

  • Depending on how the rep approaches sales, they might provide a bad experience for the buyer
  • Sales managers can’t glean team-wide data

If your team doesn’t work from a standardized sales process, check out the visual template below. The graphic depicts a basic 10-step sales process:

  1. Prospect
  2. Qualify
  3. Connect
  4. Identify Pain and Needs
  5. Present
  6. Handle Objections
  7. Issue Proposal
  8. Close
  9. Deliver Product/Service
  10. Upsell/Cross-Sell

Working from this template, you can customize a sales process that will work for your team. Too many steps? Cut a few. Too few? Add some. But whatever you do, define a sales process — and hold reps to it. 

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16 Tweetable Quotes From Seth Godin on Being Remarkable

The “R” in HubSpot’s culture acronym “HEART” stands for “Remarkable,” but the word isn’t just a stand-in for “awesome” or “great.” We really mean it — we like to surround ourselves with people whose work and attitude are so exceptional they prompt remarks.

Marketing guru Seth Godin is also a firm believer in standing out (have you seen his glasses?). Both in his writing and speaking, he extols the value of being different and marching to the beat of your own drummer. From Godin’s perspective, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it differently — and better — than everyone else.

If you need a push to blaze your own bold trail, get inspired by the following quotes from Godin. And if you’d like to learn more from the man behind the remarkable yellow glasses, register to see him speak at INBOUND15.

16 Tweetable Quotes From Seth Godin to Inspire You

1) “How can I create something that critics will criticize?” 

2) “Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.” 

3) “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” 

4) “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” 

5) “If you can’t state your position in eight words, you don’t have a position.” 

6) “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.” 

7) “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” 

8) “The job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; the job is to invent the status quo.” 

9) “The best way to be missed when you’re gone is to stand for something when you’re here.” 

10) “If you’re brilliant and undiscovered and underappreciated then you’re being too generous about your definition of brilliant.” 

11) “Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.” 

12) “There’s no record of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi whining about credit. Credit isn’t the point. Change is.”  

13) “Sure, ideas that spread win. But ideas that don’t get spoken always fail.” 

14) “I can tell you this: Leaders have nothing in common.” 

15) “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame, and even dangerously bad ideas.” 

16) “The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.” 

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Sales Rep Confessions: 8 Weird Things They’ve Done to Close a Deal

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

What would you do for a Klondike bar? Well, I guess it depends on how badly you want an ice cream sandwich at that moment. Most of us probably wouldn’t stick our neck out all that far.

A slightly different spin on the question: What would you do for a closed deal? Now there’s a proposition bound to get sales reps’ blood pumping. 

Salespeople are well-acquainted with the thrill of receiving a signed contract and the pressure attached to quota. And these two emotions can sometimes prompt unusual behavior. 

For instance, if the prospect is this close to signing but still wavering a bit, your salespeople might get creative. In the spirit of such “creativity,” I present to you the eight weirdest things reps have done to either close a sale or advance the sales process, complied from interviews with real salespeople and internet testimony.

Disclaimer: Stunts like the below are not legitimate sales tactics. In fact, if you find your team is resorting to cheap tricks to close deals on a regular basis, you need to overhaul your sales process ASAP. The best way to close a deal is to provide value throughout the sales process and build an ironclad business case for change — no tricks necessary. Then when it comes time to decide, your product or service is the obvious choice.

But every once in a blue moon, you might pull out one of these moves … 

8 Weird Things Reps Have Done in the Name of Sales

1) “I once gave someone my t-shirt, so I was sitting there without a shirt!”

2) “One time I bought a small shovel for a prospect and sent it to him with a note that said, ‘It’s time to shovel all the other *&^% off your desk and get to my contract!’ Forty-eight hours later I had a signed contract.”

3) “I sat down to negotiate with a customer. I started at $35k, and he came back with $32k. I then proposed to meet in the middle at $34k, but he pointed out that the middle would actually be $33.5k. I laughed and said, ‘Well, yeah but I’m bigger than you and I weigh more, so the extra $500 lands my way.’ He chuckled and signed the paperwork.”

4) “A client was having a Halloween party. Being in inside sales, we rarely get to leave the office, let alone dress in costume. Long story short, I closed the deal in a purple and black witch costume, and closed two more deals with same client years later!”

5) “While working as a car salesman, I was trying to close a deal with a young man who did not have his driver’s license yet. I drove him to the DMV and let him use my personal vehicle for his driving test so I could close the deal.”

6) “I once drove two states over to a client’s house and helped them paint it!”

7) “I wrote an ebook for a customer to help close a deal. They’ve been a growing customer ever since and the ebook still lives on their site.”

8) A few business development reps and I were at a summer event, talking to a prospect. He said he would agree to a demo if one of us went in the dunk tank. It seemed like a no-brainer to take the plunge.”

Have you ever done anything weird or funny to close a sale? We’re not judging. Share your story in the comments.

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82% of Managers Aren’t Cut Out For the Job: Do You Have What It Takes?

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Struggling to get along with your manager? It’s probably not you. There’s a good chance your boss should never have been promoted in the first place.

According to research from Gallup, companies promote people who lack some or all of the innate talents necessary to be an effective manager a staggering 82% of the time. Yikes.

But before you start pointing fingers, consider that leaders don’t exactly have an abundance of qualified candidates to choose from. 

“Great managers are scarce because the talent required to be one is rare. Gallup’s research shows that about one in 10 people possess high talent to manage,” Amy Adkins writes in a blog post. “Though many people have some of the necessary traits, few have the unique combination of talent needed to help a team achieve the kind of excellence that significantly improves a company’s performance.”


So what are the traits that separate naturally great managers from average or even subpar ones? Gallup pinpointed five “talent dimensions” that help exceptional managers acheive results:

  1. Motivational ability
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Accountability
  4. Relationship building
  5. Decision making

The graphic below offers a more in-depth explanation of each of these dimensions:


Are these traits only limited to innately talented managers? Yes and no. Adkins makes a critical distinction: “Gallup defines talent as the natural capacity for excellence. People can learn skills, develop knowledge, and gain experience, but they can’t acquire talent — it’s innate,” she writes. In addition, high-talent managers achieve this distinction because they naturally possess all of these traits — not just one or two.

However, just because high-talent leaders are the exception to the rule doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find them. 

“Ironically, [Gallup’s chief scientist Jim] Harter is convinced that the most highly talented manager prospects are hiding in plain sight within organizations, and the use of some predictive analytics tool can help them make more informed hiring decisions,” Mark C. Crowley writes in a Fast Company article. And organizations “employing these disciplines have realized a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, and 30% jump in engagement scores, the Gallup report notes.”

Besides being effective leaders who drive results, high-talent managers also boast other advantages. For instance, they’re twice as likely as their limited-talent counterparts to be engaged at work, and are also better brand ambassadors. 


Do you agree with this research? Why or why not? Managers — does innate talent matter more than skill development? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

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Which Type of Leader Are You? A Look at 6 Distinct Leadership Styles [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

It can be a lot of pressure knowing that a team is looking to you to lead the way. When the burden of leadership starts to feel heavy, leaders can sometimes backslide into bad habits instead of consciously living the attitudes they’d like employees to emulate. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Simply becoming aware of what employees look for in a leader can help managers maintain a positive outlook and demonstrate the traits that foster a healthy and productive team.

The following infographic from identifies six types of leaders: Authoritative, Affiliative, Democratic, Coaching, Pacesetting, and Coercive. The first four are good archetypes, and the latter two … not as much. 

Which reigns supreme? According to Harvard Business Review research, authoritative leaders — those who “mobilize people toward a vision” — boast the strongest correlation with a positive work environment. However, HBR notes that the best leaders become adept in a variety of different leadership styles.

In addition to reading more about leadership types, dig into the image below to discover what emotional intelligence has to do with leadership and explore the ROI of employee motivation.


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How to Persuade People by Asking the Right Questions [Video]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

As marketers, it’s our job to be convincing … but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, persuading someone to complete a certain action requires a lot of careful consideration. 

For example, I’m willing to bet at least one person that’s reading this has a child with a messy room. How do you get a kid to clean their room?

You beg and plead. You offer rewards. You threaten punishments. You create checklists. You offer to pitch in. You might even just forget the whole thing, and make peace with the disaster behind the door.

But all of these approaches come from a single perspective — why it’s important to you that your child cleans her room. Wouldn’t it be more effective to help the child to realize the benefits of a clean room?

In the following video, Daniel Pink uses this very example to set the record straight on persuasion.

“We tend to think persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another,” Pink says. “But what the social science clearly tells us it’s really something people do for themselves.”

Watch the clip to discover the power of counterintuitive questions in persuasion (and finally get a no-fail room cleaning remedy).

By the way — Daniel Pink is set to grace the stage of INBOUND 2015. To see him speak in person, register here.






5 Quick Tips for Getting High-Quality LinkedIn Recommendations [+ Email Template]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

It’s hard to underemphasize the power of referrals in business today. According to a PeopleMetrics study, 78% of B2B prospects kick off their buying processes by asking for network referrals. With this in mind, businesses should strive to get referred to new potential customers before reaching out.  

But what if you don’t share any connections or acquaintances with a them? Recommendations are the next best thing. A glowing recommendation from an existing customer provides social proof that can put new prospects’ minds at ease.

However, not just any recommendation will bolster your reputation. It has to be written by the right person, about the right topic, at the right time.

Use these tips to source personalized, persuasive LinkedIn recommendations that will make your profile stand out against a sea of competitors.

5 Tips for Earning More High-Quality LinkedIn Recommendations

1) Think about what you’d like to communicate.

Not every recommendation serves the same purpose. Are you looking for a new job? Trying to attract new customers? Attempting to make a drastic career shift?

Before you ask for a recommendation, think about what you’re trying to accomplish, as this will impact who you’ll ask and how you direct this person. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, a recommendation from a manager or colleague about exemplary work performance will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. But if you’d like to source new customers, a recommendation from an existing customer detailing the results you helped them achieve will mean the most to prospects. 

2) Identify the person you’d like to recommend you.

Next, zero in on the person you want to write a recommendation. Keep in mind that the best person to write a recommendation isn’t always the one you’re closest with, or the one with the most impressive title.

Here are some guidelines that can help you find the perfect person to recommend you. Choose someone that:

  • you have worked with for six months or more
  • you worked with closely for a period of time
  • has experience with other professionals like you
  • has benefited in a material way from your work
  • is in a similar industry or holds a similar job to the target audience you’d like to attract (customers, recruiters, executives, etc.)
  • is a strong writer
  • regards you in a positive light (obvious, but critical.)

3) Identify two to three topics you’d like the person to focus on.

Generic recommendations like the below aren’t all that effective:

“Steve is great! He’s a really nice guy.”
“Jill is a hard worker and a smart worker.”
“Collaborating with Stephanie was awesome.”

Sure, these statements are nice. But what do they really say about you in particular? These accolades could be applied to almost anybody.

Odds are, you’re hoping a recommendation will get you chosen for something — a job, a deal, an organization. With this in mind, recommendations need to be specific enough to convince the decision maker to select you specifically, and not just someone like you.

To ensure you get a customized recommendation, prompt the person you ask with a couple topics or questions. Just make sure to do it gently and courteously. After all, this person is doing you a favor — you don’t want to seem demanding.

Here’s an example of how you might phrase your prompts:

“I’m really proud of the work we did on the Corp Inc. project. Could you write a bit about that initiative and what our collaboration and results were like?”

In addition, consider adding a length guideline. This serves two purposes. First, it gives people an idea of how long this task will take. Second, it relieves the stress of wondering whether they’re writing too much or too little.

LinkedIn cuts recommendations off after approximately 65 words and adds a “see more” tag. With this in mind, a solid length parameter is three to five sentences.

4) Offer value.

You should never ask for something without offering value first. Before sending your recommendation request, find something to send to your contact, such as an interesting blog post, webinar invitation, research report, or even a referral.

Instead of thinking about what you find most interesting, think about what would be most helpful to your contact. Spend some time searching for something truly valuable if you expect to receive a well thought out recommendation in return.

5) Send the request.

All that remains now is sending the request. You can either do this through email, or directly through LinkedIn.

To ask for a recommendation via LinkedIn, follow these steps:
  1. Hover over your picture in the upper right corner
  2. Click “Privacy and Settings” from the drop-down menu
  3. Click “manage your recommendations”
  4. Choose a position, and click “ask for a recommendation”

Although LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from up to three people at once, your request should be customized enough to only be appropriate for one specific person. 

One benefit of sending your request through LinkedIn is that you can nudge the person if they are unresponsive. Simply click the “remind” button under the person’s profile on your Recommendations screen. 

Email Template to Request a LinkedIn Recommendation

Hi [first name],

I hope all is well with you. I recently came across this ebook on [topic they care about] that I thought would interest you:

[link to content asset]

You’ll find section X particularly valuable. 

I really enjoyed working with you on/at [project/company], and I was wondering if you would write a brief LinkedIn recommendation of my work. I’d love it if you could touch on Y initiative and our collaboration on Z. Just three to five sentences is all I’m after.

I know a recommendation from you will significantly elevate my profile. I greatly appreciate your time, and hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,

[your name]

How do you ask for LinkedIn recommendations? Share your approach in the comments.

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The Sh*t Buyers Say, Translated [Comic]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Sales can be a bit like detective work at times. It would be nice if you could take everything your prospects said at face value. But, as any sharp salesperson knows, buyers aren’t always forthcoming or totally honest about what they’re really thinking.

Take pricing objections, for instance. They tend to sound something like this: “I’m not so sure about the price … “

Alas, this simple phrase can have one of a plethora of meanings:

  • “I just committed to another project yesterday, so the budget is tight.”
  • “I heard you gave Company Inc. a 10% discount. I want one, too!”
  • “This is actually less expensive than I expected. Did you remember to account for all the features I want?”
  • “Purchases over $100 have to go through my boss, and she’s really busy right now.”
  • “I was quoted another number by your colleague a month ago.”

How does a seller connect a prospect’s seemingly straightforward phrase with their secret meaning? They don their Sherlock Holmes hats and ask pertinent questions to reveal the buyer’s true feelings. 

If you’ve ever longed for a what-my-buyer-is-saying to what-they-actually-mean translator, today’s your lucky day. The comic below takes a humorous look at eight common “buyerpspeakerisms” and translates them into plain English. But it’s not all fun and games — take a look at the last panel for an actionable takeaway.

Like this graphic? Repost it on your site with the following embed code:

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How to Spot a Lead on Twitter [Flowchart]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

To many salespeople, “social selling” equates to “LinkedIn.” According to a survey conducted by PeopleLinx, 76% of reps understand LinkedIn’s potential for sales, but a scant 16% see the value in Twitter for social selling.

This gap is understandable. While it’s fairly simple to identify a good fit prospect on LinkedIn based on social activity and profile information, spotting a lead on Twitter isn’t so easy.

But in the barrage of tweets that flood your Twitter stream each day, what are the signs that someone is looking to buy? 

The following flowchart from LeadSift sheds some light on this tricky topic. Factors that can help salespeople recognize a warm or hot lead on Twitter include number of tweets, brand mentions, and recent activity. While it’s not a perfect science (I’m sure there are some decision-makers out there who like Justin Bieber), this graphic can aid you in parsing out the tweets to pay attention to from the ones you can safely ignore.

(HubSpot customers: HubSpot’s Social Inbox color-codes your customers and leads on your Twitter stream so you can can tell these things right away. Use it to save time and prioritize your Twitter engagement.)


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22 LinkedIn Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive [SlideShare]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Once considered a social platform solely for networking, LinkedIn has proven itself invaluable for a wide range of other uses: marketing, recruiting, sales prospecting, hiring, and research, among others. There’s a lot you can do with LinkedIn, so getting up-to-speed on and nailing the basic functions is a worthwhile exercise in itself.

But little did you know the social media platform also contains a variety of secret capabilities that can make you that much more efficient and effective. I’ll give an example. Want to send a message to someone you’re not connected with, but you’re out of InMails? Here’s how:


Prospecting just got a whole lot easier — and that’s just the beginning.

In this SlideShare, we’ve collected 22 of the most useful — and hidden — hacks in LinkedIn, including:

  • How to hide your connections from competitors
  • How to get a tailored lead list delivered directly to your inbox weekly or daily
  • How to find prospects you already have something in common with
  • How to customize your connection request on a mobile device

Take a look to upgrade your LinkedIn status from pro to hacker. (And check out this post for the ultimate cheat sheet to mastering LinkedIn.)

22 Hidden LinkedIn Hacks Revealed from
Emma Snider

Have any other LinkedIn hacks up your sleeve? Share them with us in the comments!

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How to Be More Emotionally Intelligent [SlideShare]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

You’ve probably taken an IQ test at some point in your life. But have you taken an EQ test

Measuring and improving emotional intelligence has become increasingly important in recent years as more and more research emerges on the connection between a person’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) and professional success. A study from Virginia Commonwealth University identified high emotional intelligence as a leading predictor of job performance.

But what about its relevance to salespeople in particular? According to Colleen Stanley, author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success, “Your EQ helps you sell bigger deals, in less time at full margin.” I’ll bet a few ears just perked up.

Boosting your EQ starts with understanding what it means to be emotionally intelligent. The following SlideShare from Daniel Goleman provides a primer on the core tenets of emotional intelligence, such as insight, resilience, self-motivation, empathy, and self-awareness. Put some of your IQ towards learning about EQ, and apply your newfound skills to the ultimate sales Q — quota. 

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The Business Case for Social Selling [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

If you haven’t started incorporating social media into your sales process, you’re not alone. According to a survey from PeopleLinx, only 31% of sellers currently use social to sell.

But a quick look at the data backing social selling indicates that the trend will only get stronger in the years to come. For instance, 79% of salespeople who actively engage on social media outperform their peers, and over half of buyers consult social channels as part of their research processes — up from 19% in 2012.

While there’s no shame in not being a social seller today, salespeople who refuse to join the party will get left behind in the near future. Need some convincing? Check out the data in the following infographic from Sales For Life. Better to join the ranks of social sellers late than never.


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How 16 of the Most Successful Social Sellers Schedule Their Days [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

One of the most common hurdles to social selling adoption is lack of time. Salespeople’s days are packed with meetings, demos, emails, and prospecting calls. Where can they find a spare 10 minutes — much less an hour — to monitor prospects’ behavior and interact with them on social media?

According to research from Social Centered Selling and A Sales Guy, 72.6% of salespeople who incorporated social media into their sales processes outperformed their peers. This statistic underscores the fact that time spent on social selling activity is hardly wasted — it’s a worthwhile investment. Carving out time for social selling is simply a matter of making it part of your routine.

So how do social selling’s most influential evangelists do it? KiteDesk rounded up the daily routines of 16 of the world’s most successful social sellers and visualized them in this infographic. If they can fit in time to write a blog post or schedule a few tweets, so can you.


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1 Million B2B Sales Jobs Will Vanish by 2020 [New Research]


This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

The trend can’t be ignored any longer: Buyers are more informed and self-sufficient than ever before. They can do all the research they want about a particular product or service on the company website, and even buy online if the option is available.

So what role does the salesperson play in the new B2B buying journey?

This question was the topic of Andy Hoar’s presentation at the 2015 Forrester Sales Enablement Forum. And the principal analyst didn’t shy away from dropping the bomb that his research indicates is on the horizon. 

Of the 4.5 million B2B salespeople in existence today,we believe one million jobs will be net displaced by 2020,” Hoar said.  

However, not all types of B2B salespeople will be impacted equally. Hoar identified four main seller archetypes, listed in order of representation in the overall population:

  1. Order takers: Salespeople who work with a non-complex buyer dynamic and non-complex product or service.
  2. Navigators: Salespeople who work with a complex buyer dynamic and non-complex product or service.
  3. Explainers: Salespeople who work with a non-complex buyer dynamic and complex product or service.
  4. Consultants: Salespeople who work with a complex buyer dynamic and complex product or service.

Of these personas, order takers are projected to take the biggest hit in jobs lost, according to Hoar. 

“Order takers are in the cross hairs, because if [a buyer] knows what they want and they’re ready to buy it, just give it to them,” he said. “Enable them to buy it — don’t create friction.” These salespeople stand to be displaced by self-service portals.

Explainers are the second most at-risk group, thanks to sophisticated company websites. “If you look at really compelling websites, they provide things like how-to videos, detailed facts, and user-generated content,” Hoar said. “So as technology gets better at explaining things, we don’t need humans to explain any more.”

Navigators will take a small hit due to the rise of tools and integrations that streamline procurement. While 91% of B2B buyers in a Forrester survey said they would like to interact with a salesperson on price negotiations, Hoar said he sees “a clear trend toward software and algorithms doing more of that.” 

But there was one bright spot — the consultant category is expected to grow instead of shrink, according to Hoar. 

“Consultants are a qualitatively different bunch of people,” Hoar said. “They can explain abstract concepts; they can solution sell; they can build relationships. They’re true consultants.”

So while this research doesn’t spell the demise of all salespeople, it certainly puts a date on the death of the traditional salesman. What should companies do to mitigate the impact on their sales teams?

Hoar offered a few suggestions. First, he recommended scaling back on field sales in favor of inside and online models, especially in the “order taker” category. 

In addition to changing sales models, he also suggested reexamining business models. “The reality is a lot of B2B companies we talk to are getting out of the product business entirely — they’re now doing services,” he said. Lastly, he advised that organizations embrace technology and adopt new tools to radically alter their sales operations. 

As for individual reps? “Not everybody’s going to make it,” Hoar acknowledged. While much of the burden of reskilling salespeople falls on companies in the form of reimagining sales and marketing processes, salespeople would be smart to start tweaking their personal techniques today. Your job might depend on it.

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15 Expert Tips on Accelerating Your Sales


This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Before you sell your thousandth customer, your hundredth customer, or even your tenth customer, you have to sell that crucial first customer. For a new startup with no case studies or testimonials at its disposal, this can be a daunting task.

But eventually, one client signs on, and then another, and another. With a bit of luck, the lead flood gates open and you’re now tasked with scaling the sales process that got you this far. And this can be even harder than figuring out the first few months. 

Mark Roberge can attest to the obstacles that crop up on this journey because he’s experienced them firsthand. As one of HubSpot’s earliest employees, Roberge scaled the sales team from one employee to 450, and increased revenue by 6000%. Along the way, he had to figure out the company’s sales hiring and training process, define the sales methodology, establish and continuously adjust the compensation plan, and fine tune prospecting, qualification, and closing procedures. Though it wasn’t easy, Roberge’s leadership as the SVP of sales and services helped the company cross the $100 million mark in just a few years.

Without a playbook, Roberge largely formulated his own. Now in his new book The Sales Acceleration Formula, he shares the practices he used to build a sales organization from scratch. Here are 15 tips from the book that can help sales leaders ramp revenue in a hurry.

On Hiring:

1) “Closing that next big customer in order to make the quarter wins the battle. Finding a top salesperson, one who will bring in hundreds of big customers for years to come, helps win the war.” (Tweet This Quote)

2) “Great salespeople never need to apply for a job. Finding great salespeople requires a passive recruiting strategy.” (Tweet This Quote)

On Training:

3) “Heavy reliance on ride-alongs during the training process jeopardizes a new hire’s ability to shine using unique strengths.” (Tweet This Quote)

4) “A ride-along sales training strategy is neither scalable nor predictable.” (Tweet This Quote)

5) “The best-trained salespeople have experienced the day-to-day job of their potential customers.” (Tweet This Quote)

On Skills and Processes:

6) “Salespeople should take some time normally spent prospecting and reallocate it to social media participation. The rewards are greater.” (Tweet This Quote)

7) “A modern demand generation strategy means less focus on interruptive outbound marketing and more focus on inbound marketing.” (Tweet This Quote)

8) “Focus your content on long-tail topics. They are less competitive and more likely to attract your target buyer.” (Tweet This Quote)

9) “Prioritize prospecting by engagement, not call cadence or alphabetical order.” (Tweet This Quote)

10) “Historically, sales technology has been built for the sales leader, not the salesperson. Strive to adopt sales technology that enables better buying for customers and faster selling for salespeople.” (Tweet This Quote)

On Management and Leadership:

11) “I never understood why tenure was such a factor for promotion in so many sales organizations. Sales is such a measurable, meritocratic function that I simply left tenure out.” (Tweet This Quote)

12) “Focus on leadership skills, rather than general sales management skills, when developing future managers internally.” (Tweet This Quote)

13) “Evaluate a sales compensation design through the lens of three factors: Simple. Aligned. Immediate.” (Tweet This Quote)

14) “Great teams have a core philosophy of continual improvement.” (Tweet This Quote)

15) “Challenge the norm as you scale sales.” (Tweet This Quote)

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10 Overused Words to Remove From Your LinkedIn Profile


This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Whether you’re looking for a job, attempting to establish your thought leadership, or widening your circle of connections to include influencers or potential clients, your LinkedIn profile is a key component of your personal brand. Before a call, meeting, or any other type of professional networking, people will usually stop by the LinkedIn profile of the individual they’re meeting — so it’d better be interesting, complete, and above all, memorable.

But how can a potential employer or client remember you if your summary sounds just like everyone else’s? LinkedIn recently released its annual list of the most overused words on the social networking site, and I’m guessing everyone has at least one of these on their profile. (I know I do.)

Here are the top 10 global buzzwords, in order of their overuse:

  1. Motivated
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Responsible
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Organizational
  10. Expert

It’s probably not terrible to have one of two of these lurking on your page. But if you’ve included all 10? Time for a rewrite.

Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn’s director of corporate communications, recommends avoiding these words altogether by providing illustrative examples. For instance, instead of claiming to be “motivated,” describe the long hours you put in trying to get a new project off the ground. Rather than slapping the word “creative” on your headline, post your work on your profile, and list any awards celebrating your inventive work.

However, in certain instances, a simple synonym is all you need. Here are some suggestions to portray the same meaning in a not so tired way.

  1. Motivated – ambitious, determined, compelled
  2. Passionate – ardent, impassioned, zealous
  3. Creative – inventive, original, cunning
  4. Driven – intent, persistent, tenacious
  5. Extensive experience – seasoned, accomplished, proven
  6. Responsible – conscientious, accountable, reliable
  7. Strategic – significant, consequential, high-priority
  8. Track record – history, background, credentials
  9. Organizational – administrative, managerial, authoritative
  10. Expert – authority, pro, professional

Is this list inspiring you to launch a major profile overhaul? Check out this infographic for section-by-section guidance. With a fresh and unique profile, it’ll be much easier to become an expert (oops, I mean authority) in your industry.

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The Anatomy of a Compelling Elevator Pitch [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

As organizations flatten out, employees don’t have to corner senior management in an elevator to get their thoughts heard. They could just schedule a meeting, or even walk up to a leader’s office or desk. So is there even a need to have an elevator pitch at the ready?

Absolutely. Although accessibility to managers has increased, the amount of time those managers have at their disposal has decreased. And that means the clearer, crisper, and more concise you can make your idea, the more likely it is that your senior-level listener will tune in.

Salespeople trying to connect with C-level prospects should have a variety of pitches at their disposal, but each should adhere to the principles of the classic elevator pitch. This infographic from Bplans explains each component of an elevator pitch to ensure you hit the highs and provide all the necessary information. Just remember that brevity is a virtue — according to the graphic, an ideal elevator pitch should clock in at a minute or less. 


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