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What keeps sales execs

up at night?

Effectiveness: 49%

Close rates: 43%

Costs: 35%

Solution selling: 31%

Contract value: 30%

Sales cycle: 24%

Forecast accuracy: 24%

Source: CMO Magazine, May, 2005

Microsoft Partner Sales Challenges...



Today's Challenges are Real!

Helping Microsoft Partners Succeed

Audio video clip Jim Collins, author of  "Good to Great"

Unquestionably, you have the best Microsoft solutions in the industry, and the technology teams to deliver them on-time and on-budget. Now, how do you increase profitable sales in today's dynamic business environment? 

Be confident in your ability to effectively sell Microsoft solutions in the current market conditions.


You get a quality sales lead. How do you build it into a business relationship with a new or existing account?

Your not making just any initial sales callyour making a first impression, one that will establish your business relationship. Quality leads are hard to come bydon't blow it.

  • Do you have the confidence and desire to succeed?

  • Who do you contact? When? By what means?

  • How do you deal with "gatekeepers?"

  • What do "they" want to hear? What is the "language" that "they" speak?

  • How do you build rapport? Generate interest? Establish credibility?

  • What questions do you need to ask? What should you never ask?

  • How do you respond to a question you can't answer? Who should go on the call?

  • What are you trying to accomplish? What are the next steps?

  • How do you know if you were successful?

  • Is this business you can win? Should win? Want to win?

    Some say that selling is more art than science. Some expect you to learn in the "school of hard knocks." Is there a better way? You bet there is. More>

You've been invited to "submit a proposal." Is there a sales process that you can use to assess your chances of wining, give you a competitive advantage, and result in revenue that is equates to the value you provide?

If you've been selling Microsoft solutions, you know that every client has unique needs, expects different results, and values the solution in a distinct manner. 

  • Have you ever lost an opportunity because someone else had a "better" solution?

  • Do your clients say your solution "costs" too much?

  • How do your clients make decisions? What are their decision-criteria? Who are the initiators, the influencers, the recommenders, the decision-maker? 

  • At the end of the sales cycle, does someone who you never met before show up and ask why they are "spending all this money?"

  • Do you know who your competition is? Does the incumbent have an impenetrable advantage? Is the client just using you for your ideas or to gain leverage with an existing vendor?

  • When you detect a problemsomething you have learned in the sales process is making you feel your chances are diminishinghow do you respond? How do you deal with difficult situations? How do you ask the really tough questions?

  • How do you develop your proposal when you don't get to talk to the "right" people? How can you find out what's budgeted, what the client expects to spend? 

  • What's the best way to "deliver" your proposal? How do you handle it when a customer says "just send me a price quote."

  • Are you competing with a dysfunctional competitorone that is making "end of quarter deals?" What do you do when your competitor is trying to "buy the business?"

  • Does your competitor have a cost advantage due to other business they are doing with the client? Are they the low-priced leader in the category?

  • When you ask your salesperson for the details of the opportunity, do they have the answers to your questions? Do you feel they know what they need to know for you to develop a winning solution?

    Take the guesswork out of selling. If you don't know the solution that exactly meets your client's needs, you'll lose to someone who does. More>

It's time for a "formal" presentation. Your champion has arranged for the influencers, recommenders, and decision-makers to be in attendance. Is there a presentation method that you can use to "seal the deal?"

You've spent a lot of time and money getting to this key point in the sales cycle. You know that success is riding on the outcome of this presentation. You need to deliver a knock-out blow.

  • Have you ever shown up for the presentation and been told that "something came up, the decision-maker couldn't make it?"

  • What do you do when someone in the room (whom you just met for the first time) gives you the feeling that you are "missing the boat" completely?

  • How do you handle it when you sense you are losing one or more people's attention? Or worse, what do you do when someone falls asleep?

  • Do you try to avoid presentations? Just don't feel comfortable? Never had good results from them? 

  • Who should give the presentation? How long should it be? How many slides should you use and what should be on them? 

  • Is it better to take questions during the presentation or save them until the end?

  • What question are you hoping doesn't come up during the presentation? What do you do when it does?

  • What is the purpose of your presentation? How do you end? What's the next step?

  • Have you ever heard "great presentation, please send me a copy," and then lost the deal? What happened?

    Every sales cycle will have "presentations," and you must use them to maximum advantagethey are "make or break"  moments in the sales cycle. More>

The Sales Team Checklist.

Assess your sales team's performance improvement opportunity:

  • Do you have a performance gap in your sales team with 20% or fewer of its members generating 50% or greater of your sales?

  • Is sales productivity staying constant or declining?

  • Are you missing sales forecasts because of unexpected delays in the sales cycle?

  • Do you have members of your customer-facing team (technical consultants, customer and field service, administrative, or management) that do not feel prepared to deal with customer sales.

  • Based on your historical closing rate, do you lack qualified prospects to insure you beat your sales targets.

  • Have you lost a key customer to the competition?

  • Are you experiencing pricing pressure that is eroding your margins? 

  • Are your salespeople having difficulty getting appointments with decision-makers?

  • Do you know all you need to knowabout your customer's needs, desired results, decision-making criteria, and valuesto propose a solution that exactly meets their needs?

    Whether you are new or experienced, are in direct sales or sales support, have attended your company or other sales trainingif you answered "yes" to some or most of these questions, you have a high probability of being able to significantly and immediately increase profitable sales by developing Sales Acumen. 

Check our upcoming training calendar for a sales training workshop in a Microsoft city near you, or email or call (714) 612-1511 to discuss your situation further.

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