RAIN Group Sales Blog

Your source for sales advice, tips, research, and insights to unleash sales potential.

As we approach the new year, we reflect on 2023 with gratitude for our friends, families, and clients. In a year marked by many challenges, you have filled us with joy, laughter, and hope. Thank you.

Read Moreread more

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a silver bullet that would help you close more deals and make the most of your selling efforts? I hate to disappoint, but there isn't one. Sales success takes hard work and commitment along with skill and savvy. The best sellers are fluent in every part of the sales process. While there isn’t a single secret to selling, there are steps you can take to better engage with buyers and boost your win rate. You can start by following these sales tips.

Read Moreread more

No two deals are ever quite the same, but every seller needs the same set of core skills to win sales. From the first outreach to closing a deal, each of these skills is necessary to move the sales cycle forward.

Read Moreread more

Are you finding the sales cycle is getting longer? Increases in loss to the dreaded “no decision”? Difficulty selling in an uncertain economy? You're not alone.

Read Moreread more

Don’t be surprised to bump into discussions around metrics at any gathering of sales enablement professionals. Measuring the success of sales training and enablement initiatives is top of mind for these folks, and rightly so.

Read Moreread more

There's such a thing as being too close to a problem, and we see that as a frequent challenge when it comes to improving sales performance. In our recent study of nearly 400 sellers and sales leaders, we asked sellers how challenging they find various selling skills/behaviors. For the 16 skills we asked about, less than 55% of sellers found each very challenging. And when we take out the two outliers (prospecting and winning large deals), that number drops to less than 38%. Is it simply that these skills come easily to sellers? Are they so well trained that they're able to overcome obstacles and excel? Not exactly. When juxtaposed with buyer survey data, we see a significant gap between what sellers find challenging and how effective buyers believe they are.

Read Moreread more

Sales leaders with a finger on the pulse of B2B sales know that marked change is underway. Some changes have been spurred by the global pandemic, with others hastened by the uncertainty of the economy. For their new report, Future of B2B Sales: The Big Reframe, authors at McKinsey & Company spoke to more than 50 heads of sales across a range of industries and geographies to better understand the shift in the B2B sales environment. They identified 5 key themes:

Read Moreread more

When you invest in sales training, you’re committing time and resources with the distinct possibility of failure. From misaligned goals to lackluster adoption, there are many reasons why sales training doesn’t achieve desired results. Proper planning is a must for sales training that works. That means doing your research and finding an effective training provider to partner with and guide you through the process. Fortunately, you can set up your organization for success when it comes to sales training. The 22 green flags in this checklist give you a rubric to analyze potential providers, ask good questions, and form the foundation of your decision making. Download it as a quick reference or refer to our more detailed rationale below.

Read Moreread more

It seems like the world of sales is moving at a breakneck pace. Between new digital tools, hybridized sales teams, and economic shifts, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with everything. And it can be tempting to try to be everywhere and do everything at once just to stay competitive.

Read Moreread more

As we enter the holiday season with the New Year right around the corner, it’s easy to think about next year and beyond—to a future lead by our children. And though they’re resilient, no one has felt the effects of the last few years more than our world’s kids. Limited, reduced, and eliminated resources means many are without the tools and support they need to thrive and grow into happy and healthy teens and adults.

Read Moreread more

2023 is shaping up to be a challenging year for sellers. With economic uncertainty and organizations everywhere tightening their belts, sellers are hard-pressed to stay efficient and keep revenue flowing. So how can you and your sellers stay on track and cross the finish line strong? There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the team you already have. In this infographic, you'll find 8 areas of focus for 2023, each a category where Top-Performing Sellers excel compared to The Rest. Only 18.7% of sellers qualify as Top Performers, so there's always room for improvement!

Read Moreread more

Want to take this article with you or share with a colleague? . With the rise of virtual training, hybrid workforces, and self-directed learning, what is the role of in-person training? Is in-person sales training dead? Yes and no. It’s true the global pandemic radically changed how sales organizations think about live events, including salesforce onboarding, education, and SKOs that were once the norm. The pandemic challenged sales teams to try new and creative solutions for training, most of them digital-first.

Read Moreread more

Many people want to believe that cold calling doesn't work because they don't want to have to get on the phone. Indeed, there are many ways to do it wrong and fail. Many cold callers use deceptive tactics to get through and leave a bad taste in buyers' mouths.

Read Moreread more

In a RAIN Group Center for Sales Research survey, we asked 423 sales and enablement leaders what their top priorities were for the year ahead. Their responses offer insight into the areas sales teams are actively trying to improve.

Read Moreread more

Sales tools can help you standardize processes, improve your skillset, and make the best use of your time. We’ve compiled all our free tools to help you succeed—browse below for resources covering every topic of sales.

Read Moreread more

There’s simply not enough time in the day to focus on every essential skill needed to succeed in sales. While sales teams must prioritize skills development, it’s important to identify which skills could have the biggest impact on your sales results.

Read Moreread more

Do you know what it’s going to take to reach your sales target? It’s not enough to have a quota or even set goals for yourself—you need to know exactly what to do daily to accomplish your goals.

Read Moreread more

Whether you're trying to get better at running or improve your sales skills, you need to choose what to focus on to get the best results. We can't give you the skills to run a marathon, but we can share the 11 skills that represent the largest skill gaps between Top Performers and The Rest to help you improve your sales efforts. We uncovered these skills and behaviors in a recent global study of 1,004 sellers and sales managers.

Read Moreread more

The best sellers do more than just close sales. They reshape buyer thinking and drive change through the value they provide. We call this insight selling, and it hinges on the concept of cognitive reframing.

Read Moreread more

As one of the final steps to close a sale, the proposal presentation is essential to answering lingering questions, demonstrating impact, and connecting with decision makers. While there are several things to keep in mind for the presentation itself, just as important is the preparation you do before the meeting. Asking key questions of your buyer and working with your internal team will give you the edge you need to outshine your competition.

Read Moreread more

You can be spot-on building rapport with your buyers and uncovering their needs, but without communicating the impact of what you’re selling, you—and your initiative—won’t be a priority. When you’re able to understand and articulate the impact of your solutions, you can help buyers start thinking differently.

Read Moreread more

66% of respondents agree that people in their organization don’t dedicate enough time or energy to prospecting, according to our Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research. Beyond that:

Read Moreread more

In a hybrid sales environment, you need to be able to meet and engage buyers wherever they are. If you want to generate the best opportunities and set yourself up for success, you need to prepare. And there’s no better way to prepare than by using data-backed findings on what’s working (or not!) for the most successful sellers.

Read Moreread more

In What Sales Winners Do Differently, we studied over 700 purchases from the perspective of business-to-business buyers to find out what really happened in their buying experiences.

Read Moreread more

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a silver bullet that would make you more successful in your sales efforts? Or if there was one thing you could do to really boost your sales results? Here’s the bad news: there’s no silver bullet. Sales success takes hard work and commitment, along with skill and savvy. There’s no shortcut to success.

Read Moreread more

Negotiations may be more competitive than ever, but the best negotiators are still confident, able to achieve target pricing, and more satisfied with the results of negotiations. But where do these negotiators excel?

Read Moreread more

The following is an excerpt from our new toolkit for sellers, How to Change the Buyer Conversation with Insight. Click here to access it. >> Think about buyers you've worked with who were trying to move an initiative or agenda forward. You probably heard something like: "We only need support in these areas from you." "The team has decided to engage an outside provider to deliver on X." "We're open to ideas about Y, but don't want to talk about Z." These buyers are in their comfort zone: either comfortable with what they're trying to accomplish or how they're trying to accomplish it. In some cases, there may be a good reason for it. It's possible they've already invested a great deal of time and resources into what they believe the solution should be. But many buyers are headed down paths that won’t serve them well. This is because they don’t know what you know or that something better might be possible. Your job is to help buyers make the best decisions, which often means making different decisions.

Read Moreread more

Take a moment to think about a time when you had a period of deep focus in which your work performance and productivity were at a high. Everything clicked. You nailed the deadline. Made the leap. Produced 10X. Everything came into focus. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have that level of focus and achieve that extreme productivity all the time—or even most of the time?

Read Moreread more

Becoming a top seller has always been part art and part science. The following are among the hallmarks of successful sales professionals: Deep expertise in your company’s offerings and industry The skills to determine customer needs and proactively drive opportunity The ability to help buyers to shift and set new priorities and attack challenges with better approaches However, being successful in sales also requires the ability to connect, engage, collaborate, and influence buyers remotely.

Read Moreread more

In the past several years, so much has changed in the world of sales. Where should you begin? What’s going to make the biggest difference? What are others doing that's working today? To answer these questions, we looked across our sales research studies and pulled out 6 key ways Top Performers stand out compared to The Rest.

Read Moreread more

How do buyers make purchase decisions? Why do they choose one provider over another? Are there things you, as a seller, can do to influence their decisions? As the world transitioned to virtual selling in 2020, we wanted to know how this was impacting buyers and sellers alike. We surveyed 528 buyers and sellers across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. We asked buyers what influences their decisions the most when buying virtually. Their responses provide some interesting insights as to how buyers make decisions. Below, we’ve compiled the top 9 factors that influence buyers’ decisions and share how you can be more influential in your selling efforts.

Read Moreread more

Experts—including us!—keep touting the need to transition to virtual selling. But virtual selling isn’t a switch you flip on and off, nor is it your in-person sales process delivered via Zoom. It’s an integrated approach to meeting buyers where they are and when they are in world that looks vastly different than it did just a year ago.

Read Moreread more

When the team at the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research surveyed 528 sellers and buyers on their virtual buying and selling experiences earlier this year, we uncovered significant gaps between what influences buyer purchase decisions and seller effectiveness. The sad truth? Only two or three in 10 sellers do well in the four areas that most influence purchase decisions.

Read Moreread more

The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research has kept its finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of sales as we transition to virtual selling. Since beginning our research in Q2 2020, we’ve surveyed 528 sellers and buyers on their virtual buying and selling experiences. Our analysis has uncovered the top challenges of virtual selling, many of which buyers themselves have said are a deciding factor for purchase decisions. In the presentation below, we share the top challenges sellers face as they transition to virtual selling and how to tackle them.

Read Moreread more

2020 has flipped sales on its head and driven unprecedented levels of virtual interaction. Sellers are faced with more challenges than ever. You can’t sell the same way you did before. You need to adapt, pivot, and change almost everything you did previously. If you want to thrive in sales today, it'll require you to transition to the new world of selling virtually, and take the "new norm" by storm. Whether you’ve been in sales for years or you’re just starting out, learning how to sell remotely can feel intimidating.

Read Moreread more

88% of sellers find developing relationships virtually challenging. It’s one of the biggest challenges sellers face today. Many sellers lament that it’s just not the same as meeting someone face-to-face. They struggle to connect and build trust. Fortunately, it’s possible to develop strong relationships even when you can't connect with buyers in person. One of the easiest ways?

Read Moreread more

Selling virtually is a challenge for even the best sellers. The Virtual Selling Checklist below will help you make the transition to virtual selling as you wrap your head around three key components to success: Selling: While many of the principles remain the same (i.e., building rapport, uncovering needs, inspiring with new ideas, building an impact case, etc.), how you go about doing these in a virtual environment is drastically different. Meeting technology and experience: From audio and video to lighting and background, you need to manage the experience to make it as seamless and pain-free as possible for your customers. Productivity: Working from home opens the door to distractions and disruptions, so it's important to proactively manage your time, environment, and goals.

Read Moreread more

Want to succeed in sales? Need a little extra motivation? Looking for inspiration and best practices? You're in luck. We've compiled 54 of our favorite sales quotes from RAIN Group's best-selling books, research reports, white papers, and award-winning blog that will inspire you and your sales team to reach top performance.

Read Moreread more

How many attempts does it take to break through to busy buyers? What offers are most accepted? Do cold meetings convert to new business? In our new benchmark report, Top Performance in Sales Prospecting, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research uncovered the answers to these critical prospecting questions. With data from 488 B2B buyers and 489 sellers, we've cracked the code on what works in prospecting today. This infographic highlights 30 must-know stats from our research and analysis and what they mean for sellers in today's world.

Read Moreread more

Most sales are won and lost based on one key factor: You. You hold the keys to your sales success. Competitors don’t win because their offerings are more impressive. They win because they deliver a superior sales experience. You can too.

Read Moreread more

Even small improvements in win rate can have a huge impact on revenue. Based on findings from The Top-Performing Sales Organization Benchmark Report, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research has identified 8 key areas that contribute to higher win rates that will help you beat your sales goals and reach Top Performer status this year:

Read Moreread more

Here's the situation: it's the first, maybe second, serious conversation with a prospect. You're asking questions, you're building great rapport, you're uncovering a slew of needs, and you're already seeing how you can help this prospect in 10 different ways. The conversation is going great. That is until the prospect says, "Wow, this all sounds good. So, what's something like this going to cost?"

Read Moreread more

Challenges abound when it comes to generating leads for professional services firms: selecting the right tactics to generate quality leads, implementing lead generation activities consistently, breaking through the noise and getting the attention of busy decision makers, measuring and tracking what's working for you, and the list goes on.

Read Moreread more

The first sales conversation with a new prospect can be tough. After all, prospects tend to distrust sales people, they're guarded with their information, and they're extremely busy. The fact that they agreed to meet with you in the first place is a great sign. But much of your selling success hinges on your ability to lead an effective first conversation and get them to agree to a second conversation with you.

Read Moreread more

Leads, leads, leads. Once the referrals and the circle of family and friends aren't enough to keep your firm growing, it's all about the leads. Yet, when it comes to generating leads, consulting firms get it all wrong in 10 very common ways.

Read Moreread more

In my Twitter activities I came across an excellent post about price objections on Tom Searcy's Hunting Big Sales blog, Price is No Object. In this post Tom writes, "A lot of the time, however, price is not the only issue and it's merely being used as a smoke screen." I couldn't agree more. Price often is not the heart of the issue but an indicator that something else is going on. Clients will use the price objection because it's a convenient excuse.

Read Moreread more

Most people's sales conversations could be better. Not a little better, significantly better. I see too many sellers fall into the same traps: You talk too much, leaving the buyer with the impression that you don't understand their business, their industry, or their needs. You grill the buyer with questions, making them feel like they are a part of an interrogation. You talk too little, letting the buyer control the conversation.

Read Moreread more

In Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently, we reveal the results of our extensive analysis of over 700 B2B purchases from the buyer’s perspective. In our research, we found that sales winners consistently exhibit behaviors on three levels: they connect, convince, and collaborate.

Read Moreread more

Sales coaching has become a hot topic in business as more and more companies see a significant return on investment. However, where executive coaching and personal-effectiveness coaching yield positive results, sales coaching lags behind. Whether it's a lack of time, inconsistent coaching conversations, unavailability of tools and resources to succeed, or weak coaching skills, sales managers and leaders simply aren't producing strong results.

Read Moreread more

Cold prospecting – reaching out to targets you don’t know to generate an initial meeting – is one of the hardest parts of sales. Partly, it’s a numbers game. With decision makers more insulated than ever, it’s getting harder and harder to get past gatekeepers and beyond voicemail. But what happens when you do get a cold prospect to pay attention – whether it’s because they picked up the phone, or responded to an email or a direct mail piece? Do you feel like you nail it every time? Much prospecting success is determined in this first interaction. Many opportunities die here before you have a chance to engage.

Read Moreread more
!