If you are just now realizing that 2019 is almost upon us, you might be wishing you’d read more blogs during 2018 to help you improve your sales practices and techniques. But let’s face it — it’s difficult to sift through the noise for the best educational sales posts published this year. And after all, you want the most valuable information if you are investing the time to read.
We’ve rounded up 11 excellent sales posts from 2018, on topics ranging from sales enablement to effectively making cold calls. Learn top sales strategies, as well as tactical ways you can become a better salesperson in 2019.
- Managing internal feedback loops
- How to run a cross-functional sales enablement workflow
- 5 essential forecasting techniques
- How to warm up cold sales leads with video
- Replacing the sales funnel with the sales flywheel
- Learn how to increase B2B sales with these 9 expert tips
- 3 ways to perfect your agency pitch with data
- 6 tips for moving your customer through the sales funnel
- Why everybody hates cold calling… and why that’s good news for you
- Sell early and sell often: a guide to SaaS sales
- 13 important sales metrics and when to use them
1. Managing internal feedback loops by NomNom
You’ve probably heard us mention this before, but it bears repeating: One conversation = a better customer experience.
This concept also applies internally — keep everyone on your team in the loop and on the same page. You need a clear organization plan in place to organize and handle feedback from company team members. NomNom helps you do just that with lots of detailed information in this post, including the following:
- Map your internal channels.
- Build trust.
- Close the loop.
While the information is more directed at product teams, the tips are very applicable for sales teams coordinating with various departments. Check out NomNom’s matrix to review internal sources of feedback and know where key information is being lost:
Use the tips provided for better internal collaboration and communication to ultimately create an outstanding customer experience.
2. How to run a cross-functional sales enablement workflow by Airtable
Did you know that, according to a report by CSO Insights, “only one-third of respondents said their enablement initiatives met or exceeded the majority of their expectations?” Something is missing in the sales enablement process.
Similar to a recent article we did about the need for collaboration between departments and the post by NomNom, Airtable expertly breaks down cross-functional communications for successful sales enablement (empowering sales teams to sell more efficiently).
Not only that, but it also tells you how to build a complete, comprehensive sales enablement playbook, as well as how to store sales assets and discussions all in one place.
A key highlight of this post is that, along with giving advice, it emphasizes the importance of sustained collaboration and focuses on the overall customer picture for your sales enablement success.
3. 5 essential sales forecasting techniques by Zendesk Sell
Our overview of sales forecasting techniques — one of the most popular articles of all time on the Zendesk Sell blog — is a great read as we approach the new year and begin planning for 2019.
Only 31% of businesses think that their sales forecasts are effective. And bad forecasting can negatively affect all aspects of your business — from how prepared you are to take in an influx of new orders to how much money you spend getting your inventory and logistics ready to fulfill those orders.
Of course, no two businesses are going to approach forecasting in exactly the same way.
In this piece, you’ll learn the basics of five kinds of sales forecasting techniques, including:
- Opportunity stages forecasting: Best for analyzing your team’s progress in moving deals through your pipeline
- Length of sales cycle forecasting: Best for predicting, based on deal age, how likely each deal in your pipeline is to close
- Regression analysis forecasting: A more rigorous statistical method of forecasting that can give you deeper insights into how your sales are affected
- Forecast stages: A more individual assessment based on sales reps’ intuition and insights about their deals
- Scenario writing: A storytelling-driven forecasting process based on thinking strategically about your sales machine
4. How to warm up cold sales leads with video by Wistia
When leads go cold, one of the best ways to warm them up is with video.
And you don’t just have to take our word for it — according to an article by Forbes citing Diode Digital, about 60% of executives prefer video content to written content when they’re making decisions.
Wistia is a master of video, so it’s no surprise this post on engaging (and reengaging) with leads using video is a master class on the art of making videos designed to drive sales. Whether your goal is to break through the noise of a busy lead’s workday or leave a follow-up that will actually make them want to get back to you, there’s a video template for you — and Wistia will help walk you through how to execute on it.
Using video to communicate with your leads isn’t something that most SaaS companies are doing a lot of today, but they undoubtedly will in the future. Get ahead of the curve and start forming personal relationships with your customers today.
5. Replacing the sales funnel with the sales flywheel by HBR
Every salesperson has heard of the sales funnel. But have you ever heard of the sales flywheel?
In this top-level post by HBR, you gain a fresh perspective on a traditional and well-known topic. The sales flywheel stands as a metaphor for the momentum that a traditional sales funnel doesn’t capture. This piece discusses why a flywheel is a better metaphor than a funnel.
It also explains that a flywheel is both powered and hindered by two things:
From a sales standpoint, force was once in the hands of the salesperson because the customer had relatively little information. The new force is now about delighting the customer because they have more information in the digital age. The post also provides ways to eliminate sales-flywheel friction such as minimizing customer handoffs.
6. Learn how to increase B2B sales with these 9 expert tips by Capterra
If you want to improve your B2B sales process, this post is for you.
Packed with tips from Capterra’s client success team and also leaders from other companies, Capterra’s post offers excellent, actionable takeaways to increase sales for B2B businesses. After all, the B2B sales model is traditionally very different from B2C. It’s often more difficult to convince other businesses that your product or service is right for them. Thankfully, there are ways to approach the needs of multifaceted organizations.
One tip in this post includes responding to customers as quickly as possible to let them know you care (and avoid them going to your competitors). Another tip suggests putting your leads’ needs first. Do your due diligence and listen to what your leads have to say to eventually close the deal.
7. 3 ways to perfect your agency pitch with data by Crimson Hexagon
A perfect sales pitch includes many elements. But inserting relevant data to back up your claims? That takes your pitch to the next level.
This post by Crimson Hexagon was written with agencies in mind but offers excellent insights that are applicable to sales pitches. Particularly if you are short on time and have to create a sales presentation fast, you can use social media data to quickly back up your claims. Data-backed insights typically carry more weight, and this practice shows that you understand your customer’s needs and current trends.
As detailed in the post, “Using data early as early as possible in the sales process allows your agency to show value right away.” And rather than blandly throwing numbers up on a slide, give your audience a visual like Crimson Hexagon suggests.