B2Blog

How are Deals lost? – Customers have a Plan (Part 1)

Customers do have a Plan (woops, sorry, you are not in the plan…) If you do have “stalled deals” in your Pipeline, you perhaps also have a collection of “reasons why deals are stalled”. You may also sense that some deals are on a pathway from “stalled deal” to “lost deal”. Now consider the customer […]


Hard Data vs. Soft Data – Predictive B2B Modeling (Part 4)

Hard vs Soft Data

Data rules the B2B forecast, so when we have a choice between hard data and soft data, which do we pick? Let’s say we pick soft data, believing it to be the only thing we can obtain from our human sales team. Next, since forecasts become more accurate when data becomes more accurate, let’s ask […]


Ask different questions – Predictive B2B Modeling (Part 3)

Budget dollars and time drivers need better questions

So, one of our big deals lost its budget money. It just flew away! Now our forecast is wrong, or at best misleading. What are the origins of misleading data in our forecast? There is a Dilbert joke “Your sales guy said this product is self-healing. Is that true?” Dilbert’s answer is “yes, it’s true, […]


Success Story – Predictive B2B Sales Modeling (Part 2)

Predictive B2B Sales Modeling Part 2

Before we get deeper into the principles of Predictive Modeling, let me tell you a real life story. Pat paced the office, full of energy. He and his partners were in the growing global cell phone industry, with a B2B software product that could prove to be really popular. Could he confirm marketability in his […]


Beat the Bias – Predictive B2B Sales Modeling (Part 1)

Beat the Bias

What is “Predictive Analytics”? According to SAS (the software company), it is “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.” Since “the use of data” opens this definition, it raises the question “What data do we use?” I have seen sales funnel forecasting […]


Accidental Hero – The Internet (a COVID-19 story)

The Internet at 50 (a COVID-19 story)

The Internet celebrated a 50th anniversary in 2019. Designed and built for long distance communication, who would have thought it would be such a marvel for physical distancing, to fight a 2020 pandemic? Each reader, during these unusual times, will have used the Internet in different ways, for services they now depend on. It could […]


Flashback to June 2008 – Product Line Management – DNA Genotek

DNA Genotek logo

Today’s story began as I watched Caroline Somers teach “Product Management” at the Entrepreneur’s Edge program of OCRI, a week of intensive half day sessions on how to manage a new company, or a new product line. As an industry veteran at Cassidy Bay Group, she outlined the challenges of clarifying market needs, and defining […]


Flashback to Nov 1998 – TimeStep – Niche Targeting

Niche Targeting

‘Back in 1992, we saw great potential on the Internet – but we asked ourselves “Can we turn it into a business network?”’ recalled Tony Rosati, VP Marketing and Business Development at TimeStep, one of our local Newbridge Networks affiliates. This question lead to a new business direction for the young company founded by Rosati […]


Progress Scoring (Part 4) … Scoring System Design

Scoring System Design

With a “sales process” defined in Part 3, add a progress scoring value to each stage. If you see a “%” sign here, remember it is % Progress, NOT % Probability. This avoids the dangers that we discussed in Part 1. Also, you can have multiple levels of value for each stage, so “Partial Progress” […]


Sales Planning – Book/Bill report for 12, 18, 24 or 36 mo.

Sales Planning for multi-year planning

Sales Planning is easier with the SmartFunnel 2.0 online table of revenue projections. Select 12, 18, 24 or 36 months. Are you moving to more recurring revenue? Then this report is for you. It uses SmartFunnel’s ability to capture Book and Billing estimates for each opportunity (“Deal”). See your Deal data for various Billing types […]


Stage Definitions – Mapping actions against buy cycles

Stage definitions for visual sales progress tracking

Map sales actions against expected buy cycles in SmartFunnel 2.0 with Stage Definitions. Customize “StageDefs” for your business. Progress at each Stage is shown with nifty colored dots as shown here. The “click to advance” user interface makes it easy to keep your funnel up to date. You’ll see this in your Deals list once […]


Progress Scoring (Part 3) … Sales progress creation

sales progress creation

First, a sales process is something to howl about, since it enables faster sales progress creation. Your customers will notice it, and complement you for it. As a result, the boost to your sales will be a pleasure to behold. Your sales family will improve their business acumen – and have more occasions to howl. […]


Progress Scoring (Part 2) … Designing Sales Tools

Sales Tools for Progress Scoring

Sales Progress Scoring was introduced in our last post (Progress Scoring – “But … we don’t forecast that way!”), and continues here with part 2, Designing Sales Tools. Sales tools can be standard or custom content, of various types: – Product focus – Standard – General product spec sheets, webpages, PDFs, and brochures – Business focus […]


Progress Scoring (Part 1) …“But…we don’t forecast that way!”

Progress Scoring Design

Like Wile E. Coyote, many companies forecast B2B order capture by using a “% Probability (sales opinion)” foundation, rather than designing a progress scoring system. Does this work? No it doesn’t and it generally produces forecast accuracy below 50%. Just like the coyote, they use lame and archaic business processes, like contraptions that arrived by parcel […]


Customers sign orders… so what do Sales people do?

sales influence

Customers sign purchase orders…right? So how do we increase our sales influence? Why do sales managers often ask someone to ‘Go get that PO signed’?” In the end, the customer is the only one who can sign a PO, hence we could ask:  So, what do Sales people do? Well, asking that could be dangerous, […]


Flashback to May 1996 – Partnership Marketing

Partnership Marketing

Is your company seeking partners to integrate your products into theirs? Or do you want to build in specialized software products from other companies? Consider partnership marketing. To get readers some lessons in partnership strategies for market development we talked recently with Glenn Sparkes, Canadian Area Manager of SunSoft, the software division of Sun Microsystems. […]


Flashback to April 1996 – ‘A Marketing Model’ for Revenue Forecasting

Market Dynamics

Is your company connecting all available market information with revenue projections? The CEO, investors, and employees of a high-tech firm have a vital interest in this question. To get a venture capital perspective we talked with Rick Charlebois, President of Capital Alliance Ventures Inc. In his view, there are typical strategic concerns: ‘For an emerging […]


Flashback to March 1996 – “Velcro Marketing” – Stick with Prospects on the Web

Velcro Marketing - Stick with prospects

Just another road trip? NOT! In June 1994 Simware Director of Marketing Barry Gander gave Tim Mills of Capital Research a go-ahead to visit 12-15 ‘typical’ clients. A few questions were used to start an in-depth dialogue – What are your perceptions about Simware? Our communications? Getting information about new software products? Key discoveries The […]


Flashback to February 1996 – The Software Market: Selling is the issue

Selling Is The Iissue

Web-watchers talk about selling software on-line, often opening with the comment “Security is a big problem with doing business on the Web, because clients are not comfortable with sending a payment on-line.” For software marketers, the biggest problems are the human persuasion problems – the seller needs a chance to interact with the buyer. In […]


Flashback to January 1996 – Client Service: The ‘good old fashioned way’

Client Service

Client service can make you grow rapidly. Here is an example of how client service and good customer relationships can be woven into an effective Marketing plan. A Real Situation At Chipworks, president Terry Ludlow reports that his team has achieved rapid growth since founding the company three years ago. They provide technical analysis of […]


Flashback to December 1995 – Marketing Partners: Keys to the Universe

Marketing Partners

Successful partnership can make you a market leader. Every challenge is unique, but there is a pattern to finding good partners. A Real Situation Simware Marketing Vice President Chris Fedorko already knew his target market well, but wanted to get leverage through partners. Even though Simware has an established direct sales team, his new product, […]


Flashback to November 1995 – Microstar Software: Try the SWOT method

Try the SWOT method.

Great new products often grow from a solution looking for a problem. Match your strengths to the problems you find to create winning opportunities. Try the SWOT method. Here’s an example: At Microstar Software, Peter Jordan and Shaun McEwan (now CEO and COO, respectively) were on a venture capital tour several years ago. Their new […]


Flashback to October 1995 – Cognos: Know your clients

Cognos: Know your clients

It was a bright sunny morning several years ago, when Cognos marketing managers Robin McNeill and Rob Rose were on wing to Boston to demonstrate their latest versions of “Business Intelligence” desktop tools. Their audience would be several top opinion leaders. Know Your Clients – Know your Technology: Mix & Match for Fun and Profit […]


Sales Coaching – tips for the B2B Sales Director

Detective with Questions

Sales coaching achieves better sales results by helping customers see the best a company can offer. In many cases sales people are left on their own to sell, under the assumption that they have experience – therefore they should be allowed to work on their own. There are a couple of problems with this – […]


Flashback to August 1995 – Fulcrum Technologies: The Positioning Dilemma

The Positioning Dilemma

Marketing can and must be done at world class levels for the Ottawa valley technology community to thrive. Good marketing is not hocus-pocus or magic. A structured planning process works, just as it does in hardware engineering or software design.   The Marketing Column This column will build marketing process awareness to help readers run […]


Flashback to January 2007 – Ottawa’s Marketing Gap

Ottawa Technology

“Is there any way to deal with the complaint that there is insufficient marketing expertise in Ottawa to build world-class companies?” said the SCAN editor’s email, which landed very late one evening, but compelled me to answer. In a nutshell, my view is that Ottawa companies have access to all the marketing talent needed – […]


Flashback to November 2006 – Digital MediaWorks

Digital Mediaworks

At Digital MediaWorks (DMW), founders and co-CEOs Roman Mitura and Dean Klimchuk told me the story of landing their first big order. The company designs Virtual Reality software, with products aimed at special applications – e.g. assessment of ADHD (Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder) in children with a DMW product called “VR Classroom” that simulates […]


Flashback to September 2006 – FirstHand Technologies

FirstHand Technologies logo

When does a young company consider a name change? Why? When referred to FirstHand Technologies, I learned that a name change had been made recently (“formerly SIPquest”) and felt there may be a story about Positioning strategies, and how they change with market evolution. FirstHand takes VoIP mobile via OEM channels Product Line – I […]


Flashback to July 2006 – Lumenera Corporation

Luminera Logo

Just four years ago, Lumenera was founded with no VC investment. It has since grown to about 65 people, and continues to be self-financed. What are the keys to finding a market and product idea that can perform like that? How do you get market traction quickly? Lumenera finds gaps and builds to fill them […]


Flashback to May 2006 – CML Emergency Services

CML logo

Have you ever called 9-1-1? For North Americans, most of those calls are handled by software and systems from Plant/CML, a recent merger of Plant Equipment Inc. and CML Emergency Services (CML), who now have about 60% of the North American market for this technology. Golden Gate Capital of San Francisco, who also owned Plant, […]


Flashback to March 2006 – Pronexus Inc

Pronexus Inc Logo

The San Diego beaches are sunny and inviting, but Andrew Kozminski, CTO at Kanata-based Pronexus Inc., took time from his travels to call me to discuss an interesting, high profile partnership. While he was on the road in southern California, company colleagues were in Barcelona, Spain at the huge 3GSM World Congress of telephony, where […]


Flashback to February 2006 – Cyrium Technologies

Cyrium Technologies logo

At Cyrium Technologies, Edward Sloot has assumed the presidency at an exciting juncture – Cyrium has superb energy-saving technology under development, and is planning for the next challenge, going to market. Introduction was provided by Raj Narula, senior advisor to Cyrium and a veteran Ottawa technology entrepreneur. I visited Ed, Raj, and Mike Manson at […]


Comfort Zone (Seller beware)

Comfort Zone - seller beware

Comfort zones exist for all of us – including buyers and sellers. In a conversation with a buyer, do you think about “comfort zones” as a new way to find common ground? Let’s take a simplified example:  Buyers have 2 zones, one is the internal zone, where they work to manage their business.  This is […]


Flashback to April 2006 – Liquid Computing

Liquid Computing logo

In the lobby at Liquid Computing, a monitor rolls a slide show of the company’s markets, product line architecture, and advantages. Their target buyers are users who need High Performance Computing (HPC) – like scientists doing calculations on global climate change, or engineers doing simulations of the power and noise levels generated by a new […]


Sales Forecasting failure – and finding victory

Sales Forecasting Win or Lose

Sales Forecasting in B2B sales is an art form, according to some observers. Asking sales people for “Confidence level” or “Win % probability” leads to a long list of over-stated opportunities. Overstated usually means that results will be under 50% of forecast. Management suddenly realizes there are too many stalled Deals. The common thread of […]


Sales Process Design – a ‘how to’ guide

sales process design

Sales Process Design solves a common sale management problem known as “stalled deals”. Lots of proposals are placed, few Deals are closed. This is a nightmare for the CEO and CFO. This is worse than a nightmare for the Sales Executive, who may be sent packing as a way to solve the problem. But wait, there […]


Sales motivation coaching – a RAIN Group paper

Sales motivation coaching

Sales motivation coaching has been a topic of personal interest for many years. This started when I was asked to take over managing a small sales team that was under-performing. When told I was free to terminate sales people I thought, really! That would be rather expensive, and I knew that hiring new sales people […]


Inbound marketing – get started, get better leads

Inbound

Ron asked if his website could be better organized for sales impact – i.e. could “Inbound marketing” help his B2B sales business? His site had a good deal of material on the company’s area of expertise. Most of it focused on one call-to-action:  “Call us, we’ll be happy to talk.” Would that be perceived as […]


Top 50 Sales Management blogs – “read all about it!”

Top 50

Did you know you are reading a Top 50 Sales Management blog? A message arrived in November from Docurated, a New York based firm that reviewed blogs in sales and revenue management. They commented, “We’ve searched the far corners of the web to unearth some of the most helpful, informative, and insightful sales management blogs…50 […]


Who cares? A sales coaching intro for “Asking questions”

Asking questions

“The prospect needs a quote by tomorrow afternoon” said the sales rep. “Great!” said the sales manager, who believed in sales coaching, but often wondered if she’d somehow gotten on the wrong train.  She avoided a temptation to ask “What’s a quote? …I thought we do proposals, not quotes!”, and chose a more moderate angle […]


Time is money – and Time Drivers are golden

Sales surfer

“When would you like this solution installed?” asked Patrick. “Well,” said the buyer, “ideally within a month.” So begins the process of finding time drivers, to create buyer urgency for a B2B solution sale. And what comes next? That is the tricky part. How do we get a timetable that is compelling to your champion, […]


Winning the Value case – every question “counts”

Every question counts

Value for customers’ needs to be covered in your proposals – and certainly covered in the customer’s internal proposals for any kind of spending action. And value can be discovered and described in many ways.  Getting funding to purchase your offer could be based on a solid ROI, an impact statement, or just a question […]


Shorten Sell Cycles – whiteboard to winning

Collaboration Selling whiteboard diagram

Tom and I were talking about the question: How do we shorten sales cycles? Some white boarding suddenly erupted, and here’s what we concluded. Problem Statement – We had generally seen our opportunities close in about 8 months, with some closing in a bit under 6 months – and the average skewed by so many […]


Recurring Revenue in Sales Funnel – added MRR & Long Term Value

SmartFunnel® has some new features for businesses with Recurring Revenue, with new data fields added to the Sales Funnel revenue estimates. As many companies are selling monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and/or capital purchases we how have fields to capture your estimates of those revenues, and help with funnel planning and revenue forecasting, both for capital […]


Collaboration Selling – RAIN Group research report

Mike Schultz of the Rain Group

Customer reactions to what we do will drive what they buy, and in many case also drive “if they buy”. So what is it that makes a customer want to buy something, as much as we want to sell it? What can we do differently – that is proven to work? One factor is our […]


Winning the End-Game – a mind game for solution sales

Winning the end game

Put a Sales football down and start the rush up field – the game is on! It can be so exciting, you feel great until you hit the last yard before the goal line – then you slam into a brick wall. The Sales opportunity just stalls. Winning the End Game is what top sales […]


A Sales Manager’s dilemma – stuck in the middle?

The sales manager’s job is tough – squeezed between the CEO and the sales representatives – he or she walks a fine line. The dilemma is this:  The language of target-setting does not work for target achievement.  I talked with Peter Michie at Performax and found a kindred spirit in recognizing the sales manager’s dilemma. […]


Sales Forecast Accuracy – just “around the corner”

Sales Forecast

Going around a corner should be easy right? Driving your car, driving to a prospect call … we do it every day. Sharp corners, wide corners – this is easy, right? Sales Forecast Improving your “Forecasting Process” is a sharp corner – and many sales managers get propelled off the road into the ditch. By […]


1st Call Close – put your Deal on rails from day 1

Business people exchange business cards after the meeting

Can a sales professional ‘close’ on the first call? Of course! …. The deal itself rarely closes that fast, however you can close a customer commitment to co-plan the solution project. So you may ask ‘Why would I want to do that?’ and ‘How is that done?’ First, the reasons. I’ll start with an observation […]


Sales Success – Tap hidden skills; do not fire the sales guy!

Do not fire the sales guy

As President, Mike was comfortable with the forecast of $2 million revenue that year. As Advisor and part time marketing guy, I was skeptical. After 2 months of seeing the same “forecast”, and having worked in many small businesses for 10 years, I felt like Yogi Berra, thinking “this is Déjà vu all over again”. […]


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