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RAIN Group Sales Blog

5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked [New White Paper]

Most of the buying journey is complete before buyers talk to sellers. Cold calling is dead. It's impossible for sellers to break through to buyers. Buyers don't want to hear about your capabilities. With all the information on the internet, buyers do their own research.

Sellers hear these messages all the time.

But are they true?

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RAIN Group's Best of 2017

Each year, our goal for the RAIN Group Sales Blog is to provide you with research, ideas, and insight to help you unleash your sales potential.

From regular blog posts to new white papers, ebooks, webinars, and research, we have, and will continue to release valuable insight on what you as a seller can do to set yourself apart from the rest.

In case you missed some of our new sales content this year, we've compiled a list of our top 10 most popular content pieces from 2017 that will guide you on your path towards sales success.

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On-Demand Webinar: 5 Keys to Top Sales Performance

Buying in the last few years has changed more than ever. Buyers are more educated, they're distracted and short on time, and options are endless.

Sellers and sales organizations are struggling to keep up.

There are specific actions that Top Performers and Top-Performing Sales Organizations take that allow them to achieve superior results.

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Infographic: 9 Ways to Crush Your Sales Goals in 2018

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.

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[On-Demand Webinar] 6 Essential Rules of Sales Negotiation

Negotiating a sale is never easy, and more often than not you'll be faced with price pushback, lengthy delays, excuses, purchasing nightmares, and more—even after you think you've done a solid job making your case.

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[New Ebook] 6 Essential Rules of Sales Negotiation

According to a recent study from the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, 55% of leaders at companies don't believe their sellers have the negotiation skills needed to consistently win new business.

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[On-Demand Webinar] Win Labs: A Comprehensive, Repeatable Process for Winning More Sales

When you look at your pipeline, do you see opportunities that just won't move?

Do days, weeks, and even months go by with the same opportunities staring back at you?

Worse yet, are you losing more of your opportunities than you'd like?

No doubt, these are the same opportunities that would make the biggest difference to your quarterly results if only you could crack the code.

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Infographic: 5 Sales Skills to Differentiate Your Team

In our recent Top-Performing Sales Organization study, we were particularly interested in the sales skills that stood out when sellers not only met their goals, but also believed their goals were challenging.

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On-Demand Webinar: Secrets to Selling with Value

Value add. Sell on value. Differentiation through value. Create value. Be of value.

Everywhere you look, sales experts and pundits are talking about the importance of value in sales. And they're right.

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[New Research Report] The Value-Driving Difference

Ask someone in the presence of other people if their organization drives value for their customers, and they’ll say yes.

Ask them confidentially in a research study, and you’ll get a wholly different answer.

Everyone says value makes a difference in sales and business results. Indeed, the most successful sellers and sales organizations focus on value.

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RAIN Group's Best of 2016

Throughout each year, we make it our goal for the RAIN Group Sales Blog to provide you with quality content pieces to help you unleash your sales potential.

With four new white papers on the books, and brand new research published on Top-Performing Sales Organizations and Strategic Account Management, we've released valuable insight on what you as a seller can do to set yourself apart from the rest.

In case you missed some of our new sales content this year, we've put together a list of our top 10 most popular content pieces from 2016 that will guide you towards sales success.

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Happy Holidays from RAIN Group

All of us at RAIN Group wish you Happy Holidays and good cheer in the New Year.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we have made a donation to the Ethan M. Lindberg Foundation, and hope that you will consider giving to a cause close to your heart.

We wish you and yours a very safe and happy holiday season,

- The RAIN Group Team

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Are Your Sales Goals Achievable? It May Be Impacting Your Motivation

Everyone needs motivation to tackle different types of tasks/challenges. Whether it's hitting your personal sales goals or achieving your weight loss goals, people can't do it without some type of driving motivation.

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4 Ways to Respond When a Buyer Says, 'We Already Work With Your Competitor'

Here's the situation: You get an introductory conversation with a great buyer—someone who fits your target profile to a T.

Not long into the conversation, however, the buyer says, "We already work with one of your competitors to do this."

What do you do next?

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[New White Paper] The Future of Consultative Selling

Since the term was coined in 1970, consultative selling has been the most widely accepted—and pursued—sales approach. For the following forty years, advice for how to sell had mostly been a variation on the consultative selling theme.

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[New White Paper] 8 Drivers of Sales Performance

In the mid-1990s, a fairly common sales strategy was to give a seller a desk, a phone, a business directory, and say, "Go."

Fast forward to today, and selling has become significantly more complex. Companies report ever-increasing challenges regarding product and service commoditization, proliferation of competition, and more informed and sophisticated buyers.

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Happy Holidays from RAIN Group

Wishing you Happy Holidays and good cheer in the New Year.

This holiday season, we're pleased to make a charitable donation on behalf of our clients to the Ethan M. Lindberg Foundation. The Foundation supports families with children facing congenital heart disease by providing grants and long-term housing, by working with hospitals to improve doctor/patient communication and patient care, and through music therapy.

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Infographic: 8 Tips for Beating Your Sales Goals

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:

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Cold Calling Techniques That Get Prospects to Take Notice
Cold calling-what an appropriate name for calls to prospects unfamiliar with you. More often than not, the people you call are so chilly toward you that you feel like you should put on a parka. Previous bad experiences with sellers cause them to immediately erect a wall of ice when they receive such a call.
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The Evolution of Business Development in Professional Services Firms

I was in a meeting last week, and we started talking about the evolution of professional services firms and the roles individuals play when it comes to their business development responsibilities. As many of you may have surmised and probably experienced, economic realities and changes within firms have altered who must be involved.

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'How Much Does it Cost?' What to Say When It's Too Early to Determine

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?"

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Top 10 Lead Generation Challenges

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.

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5 Things You Must Do in Every First Sales Conversation

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.

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Do You Make These 10 Lead Generation Mistakes?

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.

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Beware: Closing Techniques Can Cause You to Lose Business

Last year, we asked you to share your selling services challenges. You flooded us with your challenges and concerns, which included communicating the value of your services, client relationship management, and qualifying leads. In this blog series we identify 12 of the major selling obstacles you are struggling with the most and offer advice and suggestions for overcoming them.

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Cold Calling Scripts That Work: 3 Proven Introductions That Break Into and Close New Clients

Many people want to beleive that cold calling doesn't work because they don't want to have to do cold calling. Indeed, there are many ways to do it wrong and fail. There are many cold callers out there using deceptive tactics to get through, which leaves a bad taste in buyers' mouths.

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5 Principles to Running a Successful Service Business (That I Learned Growing Up At a Motel)

The 4th of July has always signaled the beginning of summer to me. Fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, and baseball games-what better ways to celebrate the kickoff of the short-lived, New England heat?

The holiday also brings back memories of my childhood. I grew up in a small tourist town in southern Maine where my parents owned and managed a motel. Growing up living at a motel made for a pretty interesting childhood where I got to meet new people every day and make friends all over the world.

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[New White Paper] Increase Win Rates & Beat Your Sales Goals

Top-Performing companies are winning 62% of their sales opportunities. The Rest? Only 40%.

While quite a bit of research has been published on what separates top sellers from the rest, there’s relatively little on what organizations are doing to achieve high win rates.

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7 Ways to Deal with Price Objections

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."

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7 Keys to Leading Highly Effective Sales Conversations

Most people's sales conversations could be better. Not a little better, significantly better. I see too many sellers fall into the same traps:

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New On-Demand Webinar: 5 Sales Strategies to Increase Your Win Rate

Ever think you were going to win a big sale...and then you lost? Lost to the competition when you really should have won? Lost to no decision because the buyer didn't see the value or the urgency?

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[New Video] Transform Sales Training – Your Sales University

While companies spend billions of dollars on sales training each year, 90% of sales training fails to have an impact after 120 days.

It's time for an entirely new way of approaching sales education; an approach that drives real behavior change and results.

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[New White Paper] Optimizing Sales Opportunity Management: 12 Critical Questions Sales Leaders Must Ask

Too many organizations leave the success of their sellers to chance.

More sellers are missing quota, sales cycles are extending, and the competition isn't exactly standing aside to make life easy.

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30 Tweetable Sales Quotes from Insight Selling

Today's sales winners harness the power of ideas. Our latest book, Insight Selling, outlines exactly what sellers need to do to transform into insight sellers, and start inspiring buyers with valuable new perspectives.

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On-Demand Webinar: 5 Elements of World-Class Sales Training Programs

In just the last 10 years, selling has become more complex and sophisticated, requiring organizations to provide higher levels of support for sellers to succeed.

It's more difficult to get meetings with buyers, navigate complicated buying processes, win against competition that is increasingly capable, and grow accounts.

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[New White Paper] World-Class Sales Training: How to Build and Implement Your Own Sales University

Sales training is often approached with a car wash mentality: You're in, you're out, and you're ready to sell.

But this isn't how real learning happens. This isn't how you help sellers raise the bar and change how they sell.

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Top 10 Most Popular Content Pieces from 2014

At RAIN Group it's our mission to help you unleash your sales potential. Through the RAIN Selling blog we strive to bring you the freshest sales research, tips, and strategies that will help you make breakthroughs in your sales results. In 2014 we did just that and we did it with gusto.

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Happy Holidays from the RAIN Group Team

This is Ari. If it weren't for the innovative research and doctors at Boston Children's Hospital, he wouldn't be here.

That's why, this year, on behalf of our clients and business partners, RAIN Group is pleased to make a financial contribution to the Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital.

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Your Guide to Insight Selling Success

There's been a bit of a gold rush around the term "insight selling" in the last several years. Research from a variety of sources, including RAIN Group, has confirmed a simple fact:

Buyers buy from sellers who are sources of ideas.

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Podcast: How to Negotiate Sales Like a Pro

Sales negotiation can be a nerve-wracking process. Without the right knowledge or tools at your disposal, getting to the best agreement can be elusive.

In this podcast, RAIN Group's President Mike Schultz discusses how to overcome your fears, gain confidence, and leave behind some common misconceptions about sales negotiation.

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SlideShare: Common Sales Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid

Last month we released a complimentary white paper, 5 Common Sales Negotiation Mistakes.

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Free Webinar: 4 Essential Keys for Sales Negotiation Success

You’ve spent months working with the buyer, defining needs, and collaborating with them to build a solution. You both agree in principle, but when you ask them to sign on the dotted line, you hear:

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Can You Identify the 16 Common Sales Negotiation Techniques Used By Buyers?

Last week we shared our infographic on 16 Tactics Buyers Use in Sales Negotiations. The infographic highlights the most common sales negotiation techniques that buyers use, what they look like, and how you can prepare for and respond to each so you can successfully negotiate with buyers on their terms.

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Infographic: 16 Tactics Buyers Use in Sales Negotiations

Good negotiators have the ability to recognize the negotiation style of the other party.

When a buyer comes to the negotiation in partner mode, it allows you to work collaboratively to create possibilities that expand the pie and result in the best possible agreement for both sides.

But what about when your buyer takes a different approach? What if your buyer is just trying to get the price reduced, get more from you for less, or something else altogether?
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Common Sales Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid

Negotiation is everywhere: in selling, setting salaries, getting the labor union back to the table, figuring out where to go out to dinner... even getting your kids to go to bed.

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New Book Now Available: Insight Selling

After studying over 700 B2B purchases, sifting through hundreds of pages of data, talking to tens of thousands of sellers and sales leaders, and more than a year in the writing process, we are thrilled that our new book, Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently is finally here.

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Infographic: The Road to Becoming an Insight Seller

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.

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Sneak Peek of Insight Selling - Available Now

The sales landscape has shifted in the last few years.

Buyers are more informed than ever, competition is stiffer, and products and services are increasingly seen as replaceable, leaving most sellers at a loss for the best way to add value and differentiate.

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The Foundation of the Most Effective Sales Training

According to research from Aberdeen Group, best-in-class companies—those that outperform others on a variety of sales factors, including quota attainment, shrinking the sales cycle, and growing the average deal size:

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Common Sales Training Mistakes to Avoid

9 out of 10 sales training initiatives have no lasting impact after 120 days.1

Considering companies spend $3.4 to $4.6 billion on sales training with outsourced providers each year, that’s a big investment with little to show for it beyond short-term, short-lived gains.2

Fortunately, the reasons sales training fails are both predictable and fixable. By avoiding common mistakes, you set yourself up for successful training initiatives that lead to increased sales performance and long-term revenue growth.

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Vote for the 2013 Top Sales Awards - Polls Now Closed

Top Sales World has announced the finalists for its annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards and we’re pleased to share that RAIN Group has been nominated in three categories.

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Free Webinar - Become a Source of Insight for Buyers: How to Sell Ideas, Influence Buyers, and Drive Demand
Duration: 60 minutes with Q&A

Presenter:  Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group & Author, Rainmaking Conversations

This live event has passed. Click here to view the recording.
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Infographic: 10 Essential Selling Skills

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.

In our research, we looked at the factors that most separate sales winners from second-place finishers. These are the essential selling skills you need to find yourself in the winner's circle.

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Test Your Sales Negotiation Skills: New Simulation

Negotiations are everywhere. From negotiating important sales opportunities to negotiating with our kids at bedtime, we’re constantly working to reach agreement with others. In this game of give and take, it’s too easy to get stuck, make mistakes, and lose big.

Are you...

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Infographic: 5 Roles of a Successful Sales Coach

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.

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RAIN Group Brings Home 6 Top Sales Awards
The votes have been counted and the results of the 2011 Top Sales Awards are in. We are thrilled that RAIN Group brought home 6 awards in total including the gold in 4 categories:
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3 Ways to Get Cold Prospects to Talk to You

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.

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10 Ways to Boost Your Sales Success

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a silver bullet that would make you more successful in your sales efforts? One thing you could do to really boost your sales success?

I hate to disappoint, but the reality is, there is no silver bullet. Sales success takes hard work and commitment along with skill and savvy.

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Dear Seller, Here’s Why I Don’t Buy from You (Avoid these Sales Mistakes and Adjust your Sales Process)
I write to you today, seller, because I want you to succeed.

Dear Seller,

Sorry it didn’t work out this time, but I have to say “no.”

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The Keys to Leading Masterful Sales Conversations

It’s 4 PM on a Thursday and you’re about to meet the CEO of a major company you’d like to win as a client. The conversation starts as you walk into the office, approach the CEO, stretch out your hand, and say, “Nice to meet you, Jill. I’m Steve Webb.”

Fast forward to a meeting about 7 months later. You head into the office. Jill gets out from behind her desk and says, “Good to see you again, Steve. Here’s a check for $1.2 million. Let’s get started.”

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Are Your Sales Presentations Putting Prospects to Sleep?

Keep your prospects engaged, and lead them to the next step.

Imagine you’re a business leader, and you’re considering buying a new technology that could help your business succeed. You log in to the web presentation and, after a few pleasantries, the presenter starts in, “We started in 1978 by John Doe and have grown into the market leader in the space. We provide efficient effective solutions leveraging a unique combination of people, process, and technology to help you achieve results…Here’s a sample list of our clients…Now let me log in to the software. It’s all hosted online so you can login from wherever, whenever you need to…Over here is where you control admin rights of the users…”

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The Annual Top Sales Awards: And the Winners Are...
RainToday Takes Home the Gold for Top Sales Resource

I am pleased and honored that our online magazine RainToday.com was chosen as the Top Sales Resource of 2010. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and to the judges; we couldn’t have won without your support.

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Best Sales and Business Books of 2010

This post started out as one about the best sales books of the year. However as I was looking through my bookshelf I couldn’t help but add a few of my favorite new business books too. So without further ado, here are my top reads of 2010 (in no particular order):

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5 Deadly Sales Call Sins

People with kids tell me that sometimes you have to let them fail, even when you could have jumped in to save them, so they will learn. Painful to sit by and watch, but necessary for growth. After being on the receiving end of an awful sales call last week, now I know the feeling.

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