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In November, we were delighted to host the north east launch event for valued partners the Association of Professional Sales (APS) at our Newcastle office.
With a focus on raising the bar for the sales profession, the event was hosted by durhamlane’s Managing Partner Richard Lane and featured keynote speakers from across the North East, including Refract.AI’s Head of Sales Richard Smith, Jo Hedley from Northumbria University’s Global Marketing & Business department, and durhamlane’s Sean Ball (Director of Marketing).
With a wealth of knowledge, skill and cutting-edge sales training brought to the room, topics of discussion included;
With so much valuable content delivered by the presenters, we’ve narrowed things down to five key tips and techniques we learned from the event:
The Association of Professional Sales is on a mission to positively evolve general perception of the sales profession and encourage more people to proactively choose sales. They are committed to raising the bar through supporting, promoting and representing the sales profession and global sales organisations across providers, companies, and countries.
APS provide their members with regular industry events and networking, webinars, online resources and the opportunity to build key business relationships through their social community platform, APS Client Share.
They are the only independent organisation to assess, validate and recognise sellers through their qualifications and apprenticeship programmes. Here at durhamlane, we are set to launch our highly anticipated Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship to recognise excellence amongst top performing colleagues in organisations who are looking to upskill the commercial capabilities of their sales talent.
It’s fair to say that sales is the most important part of any business, but with today’s sales process taking 22% longer than it did 5 years ago, it’s never been more crucial to bridge the gap between sales performance and marketing ROI.
Demand generation defines the true blend of sales and marketing to achieve commercial objectives. Long gone is the outdated sales funnel, with the new flywheel model (a concept coined by HubSpot) taking its place to pose the query, ‘Where does marketing end and sales begin?’
Hubspot: Funnel to Flywheel Model
The traditional CMO and Sales Director roles are being replaced with titles like Chief Growth Officer, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Commercial Officers, as boards increasingly lose patience with leaders that can’t align sales and marketing effectively in a rapidly changing world.
So the question is, what tangible efforts can be executed to align your sales and marketing?
It’s all about the product, right?
Let’s ask ourselves this; how can we expect to sell a prospective customer our product or service, before we know their pains and how can we relieve them?
Discovery is the part of the B2B sales process that identifies how sellers can best help prospective buyers and to what extent (something we shout from the rooftops are durhamlane – our number one sales mantra is ‘Business Fit, Business Value’). It is information gathering, and it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship.
Here’s what to avoid and how to improve your discovery conversations:
Historically, public funding has always been readily available to universities in the UK so many leading universities are hardwired not to worry about ROI. But there is a growing need for universities to become more self-sufficient in order to survive, as they can no longer rely so heavily on student fees to support academic research and development.
Where ‘knowledge exchange’ activities have always been a primary transaction between Universities, they are now leveraged with businesses to generate additional revenue streams that can be reinvested into academia. Using Northumbria University as a case study, some key internal changes in place to achieve this include:
Sales can no longer be a ‘dirty’ word in the public and private sector. In a rapidly changing digital world, with growing competition and increasing customer expectations, sales and marketing must be aligned and working in harmony (something we call ‘Demand Generation’).
While it has never been easier to get your message in front of someone, it’s never been harder to cut through the noise, engage them meaningfully and get them to take the action you want them to take.
Moreover, being seen as a true and trusted advisor (ideally early on the sales process) is paramount – especially considering that well over half of the buying process is completed before prospects will engage with a sales person. This is why discovery calls are critical to progressing through the sales process (especially when trying to navigate the 10.2 average B2B buyers).
Finally, universities must become more commercial if they are to prosper in the future.
The question is, are you willing to adapt and develop your sales skills to ensure accelerated revenue for your organisation?