Monday, November 23, 2015

Sales Transformation That Sticks

If you train salespeople, you know all about the ambivalent feeling that sets in after an event.

In one sense, you’re fired up—your reps are energized, confident and excited to apply the great skills and concepts they’ve learned out in the field.

On the other hand, your optimism is tempered by a very legitimate fear: Namely, that in just a few weeks time, the skills your team just learned may already be eroding.

According to Corporate Visions research, only 23 percent of managers provide a significant level of coaching to the skills after their sales force has been trained. That’s why you need to be prepared to provide “virtual coaching” (link to Virtual Coach solution brief) to reinforce skills when your sales managers are strapped.

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Corporate Visions’ Tim Riesterer and MobilePaks’ Chanin Ballance recently blogged about how great virtual skills reinforcement drives high adoption, keeps reps sharp on key skills and concepts, and ensures they don’t have to leave the selling workflow to get the learning content they need.

The two picked up on that topic again in a recent webcast, “Sales Transformation That Sticks.” If you’re serious about creating last behavior changes in the field for your team, so they can articulate value in the way they were trained, you need to give this a listen:

Webcast: Sales Transformation That Sticks

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Insights-based Selling: Everyone’s Doing It…Or Are They?

The traditional approach to insights is becoming commoditized. Here’s how to break from the cycle of “true but useless” information.

Insights are everywhere—at least, that’s the impression in the market. According to a recent Corporate Visions survey, 81 percent of companies say they use an insights-based approach to selling.

But are they actually?

Selling with insights has won such an enthusiastic following so fast that its sheer popularity has outstripped the market’s ability to define it. This has led to various standards—some rigorous, others lax—about what it takes to qualify as an insights provider today.

But, regardless of how companies internally define what insights-based selling is, and regardless of the quality of insights they’re actually delivering, you can bet on this: The approach has been roundly embraced as a key element of provocative selling. In other words, insights, rigorously developed or not, are saturating the market.

What are you doing to make sure yours get noticed?

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We’ve talked here and here about four different types of insights—and how not all of them are created equal. Some are simply better than others at revealing deficiencies or missed opportunities in a prospect’s current situation. Some are better than others at opening customers up to persuasion and activating buying intent.

In our survey, respondents deemed “anecdotal” insights (think in-house, tactical, best practices-focused content) to be the least effective in terms of achieving positive selling outcomes. Ironically, respondents said this insight type appeared most often in their campaigns and sales-facing content.

On the other hand, the survey revealed that so-called “visionary” insights, based on original, company-generated research and forward-looking market interpretations, were viewed as the most effective insight type, but were used the least of the four categories.

To be truly visionary, your insights-based message and content must be:

  • Original – Carry out primary research or market surveys to uncover market-related data. Ensure that they’re statistically relevant and sound.
  • Exclusive – Generate data points that are unique to you and that you can use as the foundation for developing counterintuitive insights about emerging trends in your market. You can then use insights, which you own, to carve out distinct positioning for your products.
  • Forward-looking – Develop a content-driven narrative on both sides of the lead handoff that asserts a distinct point of view—a perspective that shapes the conversation and leverages your findings to deliver unique interpretations of emerging issues, challenges and trends.

With insights so pervasive, the bar for qualifying as a credible insights provider is rising, and the traditional “insights” selling model of recycling third party analyst figures, re-packaging the findings and laying claim to the concepts is only going to commoditize your message—because your competitors all have access to the same information as you.

That approach doesn’t deliver insights. It delivers true but ultimately useless information. Well-thumbed analyst reports and established information won’t have the impact on more discerning prospects and customers, who are going to start demanding more rigor behind insights generation. As a result of this shift, companies are going to need to take more edgy, counterintuitive stands, supported by original, research-based rigor—otherwise, you may only be posing as an insights provider.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Corporate Visions Appoints Three New Veterans to Executive Team

PLEASANTON, Calif., Nov. 2, 2015 — Corporate Visions, Inc., the leading marketing and sales messaging, content and skills training company, today announced the appointment of Gloria Fan as CFO, Leo Hanna as EVP of international sales and Jennifer Zick as EVP of marketing. Fan will oversee finance, legal, HR, IT and administrative functions, while Hanna will lead all company sales activities, account management, and strategic reseller relationships across the EMEA and APAC regions. Zick will be responsible for the company’s brand, communications and business development teams and programs.

With more than 20 years of experience in providing financial, operational and business leadership to high technology companies, Fan has taken two companies public on the NASDAQ stock exchange and has deep expertise in M&A transactions. To complement Fan’s financial activities in the U.S., Hanna brings more than 20 years of sales and executive sales management experience in the enterprise software, cloud and professional services industries to Corporate Visions’ London office. Zick completes the trio of new hires to the organization’s executive team, adding more than 15 years of marketing experience with innovative, entrepreneurial and accelerated-growth companies.

“As a company, we’re deeply committed to helping our customers have more memorable and effective sales conversations to increase their bottom lines,” said Corporate Visions CEO Joe Terry. “At the same time, we’re also focused on increasing our global footprint to deliver our services to an even greater set of companies around the world. Gloria, Leo and Jennifer all bring a wealth of expertise to our executive team and I’m confident they will help us continue our strong growth by identifying new customers, partnerships and market opportunities.”

Fan most recently served as CFO at ClearEdge Power, Inc., where she led the sale of the company to Doosan, a $20 billion Korean organization. Prior to ClearEdge Power, she spent seven years in the solid-state lighting industry where she was CFO for both Pinecone Energies and Bridgelux. During that time, she raised more than $100 million from private placement and debt financing and participated in the strategic development of the companies. Previously, Fan spent seven years at UTStarcom as VP of finance and global business operations, where she led the company through its IPO, grew its revenue from $186 million to $4 billion a year and completed more than 10 M&A transactions. She earned a Master of Science degree from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from San Jose State University.

Before joining Corporate Visions, Hanna led Saba Corporation’s EMEA operations as GM and SVP for the region. Under his leadership, the company made the significant transition from a software licensing company to a cloud services provider. Prior to Saba Corporation, Hanna held senior sales and marketing leadership positions at Oracle, Symantec and Microsoft Corporation, with roles in the U.K subsidiary, EMEA and APAC leadership functions. Hanna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computing from Leicester De Montfort.

Zick was most recently the head of marketing for PwC’s Salesforce technology practice, representing the fastest-growing and third-largest Salesforce implementation partnership. Prior to joining PwC, she was a founding member of Magnet 360, where she was responsible for all facets of marketing strategy and execution. Under her leadership, marketing programs influenced more than 70 percent of Magnet 360’s net new revenue each year. Zick is currently a board advisor for the Minnesota chapter of the Business Marketing Association, where she previously served as president and VP of events and development. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Minnesota.

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