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The Post-Financial Crisis B2B Sales Professional


We’ve come a long way back from the depths of the global financial crisis. There have been many lessons learned on both sides of the buy/sell equation. For B2B sales professionals, this much should be abundantly clear: it’s a changed sales environment.

A Changed Sales Environment

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Technology Investment Decisions Are Being Kicked UP and OVER

If you’re not convinced that customers of technology solutions are adapting to a new market reality, listen to what SAP, one of the largest technology purveyors in the world, said in the first paragraph of the CEO’s Letter to Shareholders in their most recent annual report.

“The past year was marked by changes to the business environment, as customers adapted to a new market reality. Customer buying behavior shifted to an emphasis on smaller transactions and projects with immediate return; decision making moved increasingly to line of business executives and away from the traditional IT power base of the CIO; and there were increased requirements for solutions to help CEOs, COOs, and CFOs manage performance, compliance, and gain more business insight for faster decision making.”

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5 Ideas to Improve Your Executive Relevancy in 2011

How relevant are you to your customer executives? What would they say about you and your company? Do they need you as much as you need them? Is there interdependence?

Many sales professionals confide in me that they don’t know the answers to these questions. They do recognize the negative consequences of beingirrelevant to customer executives and far from the radar screen.

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Train Wreck or On Track: When Your Company CXO Meets Your Customer

I’ve been a buy-side executive most of my professional career.  I never counted, but my guess is I’ve “experienced” over two-thousand face-to-face encounters with sales people, five-thousand phone calls, and probably twenty-thousand emails, voice messages, text messages, and old-fashioned letters.  As you can imagine, I’ve seen all kind of sales strategies, methodologies, techniques and gimmicks ranging from the truly outstanding to the very ugly.

Interestingly, I only remember the extremes: the 10% of the very best sales campaigns and the 10% of the very worst.  The 80% in the middle are undifferentiated fuzz in my mind.  If I remember your name and the company you represented, there’s a 50/50 chance I either loved you or hated you … not personally mind you, but professionally.

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How To Break Open The Corporate Piggy Bank

In business, cash is king; but the king is starting to hoard his riches. Sales professionals better get a big hammer to break open this bulging piggy bank.

By now you’ve probably heard that companies around the world, particularly in the U.S., are building up record cash piles. U.S. corporations hold more cash on their balance sheet than at any point on record. Nonfinancial companies in the S&P500 stock index are sitting on a record $2 trillion, according to FactSet. S&P reports the average company in its flagship index is carrying cash in the bank equal to 11.6% of their stock market value compared to less than 3% a decade ago. According to J.P. Morgan Chase, if cash balances for the companies in the S&P500 index returned to normal levels (about 7% of assets from the current 11%), it would result in spending of $428 billion!

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