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The TinderBox Blog

Six Keys to Creating Professional Proposals
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If you sell in an industry that requires the use of professional proposals to win new business, you know how time-consuming they can be. Sales proposals are a lot of work, but when done correctly they are the key to closing big deals. If you’re going to create a sales proposal you’ve got to make use of the correct sales tools do it right. Below are six keys to creating professional proposals: 1. Get in front of the right people, at their convenience. Success comes to people who make sure even the busiest stakeholders engage their ideas. From the office, airport, or home, TinderBox provides an accessible platform where all parties can collaborate comfortably, free from conflicting schedules and interruptions. 2. Maintain a great impression. There’s a great deal of value to capture in leveraged messaging and design assets. TinderBox makes it easy to put your best foot forward with concise, beautifully branded professional proposals that show your prospects you value them before they’ve even become your client. 3. Focus on conversations, not conditions. Proposals and contracts should be about two-way communication—not terms and conditions. With TinderBox, you can encourage prospects and clients to proactively edit and comment on your proposals, so you can directly address their points of concern, and reach agreements efficiently. 4. Keep everyone on the same page. Ensure all relevant parties on both sides of the engagement are involved in the proposal process from the start. By giving prospects and clients ongoing access to your...
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Step-by-Step Guide to Sales Success [Infographic]
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Pardot, an ExactTarget Company, a Salesforce.com Company released this great infographic providing a step-by-step Guide to Sales Success. It provides a good reminder of the attitude a sales rep must maintain and the best ways to leverage the communication touch points with a prospect. It’s imperative for sales reps to have a well defined goal in the sales process so that they will evaluate the effectiveness of every phone call, email, and meeting. Sales success relies heavily on each of the processes being streamlined. If the sales rep is responsible for guiding the conversation and ending each interaction with an actionable next step, then the marketing and sales operations teams should be working to support them by streamlining as many processes as possible. By carefully evaluating the effectiveness of phone calls, emails, presentations, and proposals, you can ensure that your sales team is armed with the content that consistently moves the relationships forward. View the “Step-by-Step Guide to Sales Success” infographic below to learn how to be a successful salesperson: Via: Sales...
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Sales Analytics: Are there too many sales tools or not enough?
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Time is money. Every salesman or saleswoman learns that early. If they’re good, the equation goes something like this: Sales Rep + Time = $$ I won’t call that sales analytics – we’ll get to that in a bit. That’s just pretty simple math. On a similar note, can you guess what sales reps hate most? I can tell you that all of these things will resonate with your team: Wasting time (gasp) Too much time spent doing the wrong things (meaning, tasks that aren’t making them money) Lost time selling (bad for reps, bad for business) So, if it makes sense that the more time a sales rep has to actually sell, the more money everyone will make, why don’t they spend their entire workday doing what they do best? Unfortunately, studies show that sales reps spend less than half of their time actually selling. How does this happen? Well, for one thing, the sales process is saturated with inefficiencies, there’s not enough visibility, and there are expectations of sales reps that go beyond that of winning new business. In fact, it seems that much of their time is taken up by what you and I can call “administrative tasks.” Did you just cringe like I did? I’m sure your reps did, too. Let’s take a step into the world of the sales rep for a moment. Emails and phone calls galore. Inflated pipelines with too many relationships to manage. And, proposal and contract processes that normally involve unimpressive...
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4 Things to Do to Be Successful in Sales
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I was asked recently by a prospect “How do I become successful in sales?”And believe it or not I get asked this question a lot. Many times I’ll ask them what they think they should do to be successful and many times I get a very long and complex answer to this question. To be successful in sales it boils down to focusing on these four things: 1. Do the Behavior Most sales people find themselves doing avoidant behavior. We all know as sales people what behavior’s we should be doing and that is picking up the phone or going door to door and asking strangers for money to buy our product. If we are consistently making our dials and doing revenue generating behaviors we will be successful. 2. Be a product of the product People buy from us because they see in us (as salespeople) what they want to see in themselves. The only way we can articulate this is to believe in our product or service. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling then how can you expect people to pay you lots of money? 3. Control your personal finances A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind so, if your personal finances are a cluttered mess how do you think you’ll show up to your appointments? Desperate? Frantic? Once you have your personal finances under control your beliefs will change. You then can start thinking that “You’re independently wealthy and you don’t need the business.” 4. Have...
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Are your salespeople evolving with B2B buyer behavior?
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Last week, I attended a Revenue North Growth Summit session by Brooke Green, who touched on the evolving role of a salesperson and the need for salespeople to become experts and trusted advisors. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, that buyers of B2B solutions are opting to talk to a salesperson much later in the buying process. They don’t want the salesperson to be the one educating them about the problem they are solving and are turning to the endless and open repository of information (Internet, I’m looking at you) to educate themselves about your product and service before ever picking up a phone. As our interactions with prospects often happen through a technological media (email, video conference, etc) it’s important that sales people have access to real time feedback on how their prospects interact with the content they are putting in front of them. You just called 20 prospects and sent them information, but you don’t know who opened the collateral or where they spent their time. How should you prioritize you follow up? By simply taking a guess. No way.  That is wildly inefficient. All things happen with balance. While technology gives the buyer leverage, progressive organizations have tools in place to measure the engagement of a prospect with the content salespeople deliver — allowing the salesperson to better prioritize their time and activity. Check out this great infographic by DK New Media and...
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Do You Suffer from Premature Presentation Syndrome (PPS)?
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I was recently talking to a prospect about their proposal process – he told me that they spend a lot of time preparing for presentations and writing proposals, yes, but that isn’t their biggest issue. Their biggest issue is that they aren’t closing on the presentation or proposals given. They are suffering from PPS. Heard of it? Premature Presentation Syndrome. You’re probably wondering, what that even means. What’s happening is that his salespeople are consistently jumping the gun. They hear one pain point and jump into a presentation or proposal generation mode, only to focus on that one pain point. As salespeople, we need to make sure that we’re getting to the real root of the problem. Then, we need to make sure we’re only presenting to that. When we don’t get to the root of the problem, then we’re suffering from PPS. So, how do we avoid it? Here are some questions to ask to put a stop to Premature Presentation Syndrome in your selling cycle: What are your prospects true pains? What is their compelling reason to buy? What’s their budget? How do they make decisions to buy things like your product or service? Once you’ve captured these three essential pieces of information in an initial meeting, you’re going to have a better chance of closing the deal. I wish that following those steps would serve as a cure all, but it’s not.  There’s no magic pill to swallow, but there are processes and tools that can...
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Negotiating for Better Results
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Sales deals are rarely achieved over one meeting or based on the very first proposal sent out. Your prospect is bound to have some concerns regarding the desired outcome. It could be related to anything: from the methodology being used; to the timeframe or the pricing. This is where you step in, have a discussion with the client and negotiate to figure out a solution that is acceptable to both parties. ESTABLISH THE NEED TO TALK Your prospect has probably expressed their concerns about certain sections of your proposal. Or, they may recommend that certain parts of your solution be amended altogether. As much as giving in to the prospect’s demands would save you some headaches, you need to look at your best interests too. Contact your prospect and request a second meeting, or ask if you can have a chat over the phone. You need to be open and let your prospect know that by having a discussion, you can find a solution that is possibly better than the one outlined. ESTABLISH THE ISSUES Now that you have agreed to a discussion, establish what the pressing issues are. -What needs to be discussed? -What do you need to take a decision about? -What do you need to agree upon? -Who is going to be involved in making these changes? Once you have your framework of issues at hand, you can do your research and gather the necessary information and tools required. LOOK FOR A SOLUTION Now that you...
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Managing Your Time in the Sales Process
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Meeting your targets can be a stressful experience for many sales executives. Especially if you have several leads in your pipeline and none of them seem to be converting at the rate you would like. This can lead to chaos and confusion about how you should prioritize during the sales process. This is where good time management skills can help. DELEGATE As a salesperson, your primary job is to bring in more leads and generate more sales. You should be out there connecting with customers and prospects, looking for new ways to push your product and reach out to the market. Do not get caught up in administrative work- many salespeople forget that a machinery is already in place to shuffle papers and manage internal communications. Do not be afraid to delegate. If you need marketing materials for a particular prospect, let your marketing administrator know. LET GO OF WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL There are certain aspects of doing business that you cannot control…the economy, for example. If a prospect company is facing layoffs and budget cuts, they may not be able to make new purchases or upgrade to a newer version of the product you are offering. Or, the department you serve may be shutting down for good, and you have no clients to service. Instead of wasting time trying to make one last sale, move on to the next possible client. SET WEEKLY GOALS You probably already have a daily routine mapped out- woven between your confirmed...
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Making Your Contracts Work
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The contract is what binds two parties involved in a sales deal together. Whatever you set out to accomplish in your project is laid down in the contract, along with a set of conditions and other terms of agreement. Many sales executives get flustered when it comes to outlining terms for the contract, because a small slip up could cause major hiccups in the deal. KEEP IT SIMPLE Your contracts are legally binding, but that does not mean that you must produce them in legalese so complicated that even a judge would have trouble understanding it. Make sure you cover all the necessary points, and go through each detail with a fine-toothed comb. When it comes to putting it together, keep it simple. Use easy, effective English without compromising on the required legal and business protections, you are increasing the liklihood of the prospect actually signing on the dotted line. If things are too complicated and the prospect needs to consult their lawyer before signing, the sales cycle takes longer and you may lose out to a competitor. KEEP IT IN WRITING Perhaps the most basic aspect of contract law is that a legal contract comes into being when one party makes an offer and the other accepts it. In order for a contract to be enforced, both parties need to agree on all the major issues involved. And, you need to make a note of it. Your contracts should be in written form, and put together so that...
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Avoid Offering Advice and Close the Sale
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When sales executives are in the process of closing a sale, they often get carried away with giving their prospects advice about their problem and talking about the features of their product. In the process, they lose focus on how they can win the customers’ trust and close the sale. SHOW YOUR PROSPECT THAT YOU DESIRE A POSITIVE OUTCOME Instead of talking about the benefits, show your prospect what it is that you want them (and yourself!) to achieve by employing your solution. You are not just giving them a quick-fix, you are demonstrating how you can help them better their output. You should also give examples and show how your solutuion has worked for others, and how you are the best candidate for the job. DO YOUR HOMEWORK  Always do some research on the people you will be meeting- who they are, where they stand within the organization and what kind of decision making power they have. And of couse, what keeps them up at night! You should also survey your prospect and look for instances when they have bought in the past. When you look for a history of closing, instead of wondering whether they are in a position to buy or whether they have the resources to buy, you will appear more confident and at-ease. REMAIN CONFIDENT You must also remain confident– command some respect from the prospect, and they will take you seriously. You have done your homework. You know what you are talking about....
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