Today’s Challenging State of Selling

Turning potential prospects into customers is no longer easy for salespeople.  Why? The modern buyer has transformed. Today’s modern buyer is drastically different than buyers of the past, and the buying cycle has also changed significantly.  What can salespeople do to adapt to these changing times?

A sales organization’s success is more likely if its sales reps are skilled, knowledgeable and able to outperform.

The following infographic highlights the top challenges faced by sales teams in improving the modern buyer’s purchase experience, and generating revenue today and into the future.

Key Takeaways: 

• 72% of sales reps are not able to provide solutions to business issues.
• 64% of organizations report a rise in the average sales cycle in the last 12 months.
• 27% of sales professionals are directly engaging in core selling activities with prospects.

sfl infographic challenging state of selling-1

Competitive Risk or Validating Market Opportunities?

I was recently working with one of our customers, a global market research firm, to build some account plans.

We were choosing which accounts they would target—planning their engagement strategy, and looking at key strategic accounts they wanted to win (a.k.a. named accounts). In the process, we stumbled upon an idea that worked in their market—and I am sharing this idea because it might also work in yours.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a valuable tool that monitors competitive intelligence. Simply plug in your competitors’ names into the Past Company Employment category.  This helps you identify when key stakeholders have left your competitors, which puts you at risk of ever winning those accounts.

You can also enter your competitors in the keyword section, and monitor the people who have skills, certifications, and projects that your competitors have launched, which can also be a potential detractor for your accounts.

My customer and I also discussed the risk that would be created if one of their competitors (in their case, other market research firms) had an employee that left that firm and went onto be a C-level executive or VP at another company. However, my customer believes that this also creates an opportunity.

Plugging in the competitors’ names in the keywords, and looking for people that actually have their skills, certifications, and projects launched with competitors, proved that those people were open to doing business with market research firms. This means they now have the opportunity to benchmark their businesses, monitor market trends, and network with like-minded individuals.

Many customers view this research as a way to de-emphasize accounts using competitive intelligence but, in fact our customer believes that if a company is willing to buy a solution based on certain keywords — even if they’re a competitor —  that might demonstrate that they’re more apt to change and to buying.

In the below screenshot scenario, let’s assume that you’re an Account Executive at Microsoft.  You can identify all the CISO’s that are past employees of AWS, and certified/skills/projects launched with AWS, as a competitive risk list.  Alternatively, you can also use this information at a market opportunity. These CISO’s are more amenable to Cloud computing, rather than On-premise server systems.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tip blog.  Of course, there are no clear clickable buttons in LinkedIn that directly say, click here for competitors, click here for risks or click here for sales opportunities but these queries are possible so I challenge you to learn as as much as you can to help maximize your selling time.

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12 Stats That Prove You Need To Start Social Selling [Infographic]

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I’ve had two epiphanies lately. The first happened when I was recently preparing for a webinar I conducted with Ray Makela, CEO of Sales Readiness Group. We were getting our content ready, and it dawned on us how naturally what we do at Sales For Life, which is helping with modern digital prospecting, connects to some of the best global sales methodologies. 

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[Webinar]  ‘Accelerate Your Sales Process with a Modern Selling Approach’

A webinar titled, ‘Accelerate Your Sales Process with a Modern Selling Approach’ was held last week on Thursday, February 21, 2019, 11:00 AM PT – 12:00 PM PT.  It was a one-hour webinar in which Jamie Shanks, Author of SPEAR Selling and one of North America’s leading Digital Selling experts, and Ray Makela, CEO at the Sales Readiness Group, delivered a virtual talk regarding the techniques and benefits of implementing a modern selling program.