RAIN Group Sales Blog

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

2020 has been marked by a lot of changes, distractions, and new challenges. If it were up to us, we’d title it, “The Year Sellers Plugged In.” Not only literally, with the wholesale shift from live to virtual selling, but also figuratively in the sense sellers had to become even more keenly aware of buyer wants and needs to be successful in a virtual environment. Each year, we release a “best of” collection of content that has resonated deeply with sellers over the previous 12 months. 2020’s list reflects sellers’ hunger for knowledge and skill development in all areas of virtual selling, from leading effective virtual meetings and asking strong questions to tackling challenges and developing strong virtual relationships. We hope you'll find this list to be a valuable resource as you prepare for 2021.

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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.

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Salespeople everywhere are struggling as they navigate changed budgets, new targets, and selling virtually.  Some are even trying to force their in-person processes to work in a virtual world (spoiler: they don't).

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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.

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What are the top challenges sellers face as they transition to virtual selling? How effective are sellers in the virtual space? What factors have the greatest influence on buyers' purchase decisions when buying virtually?

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Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, virtual training has become an imperative. But designing and delivering effective virtual training is more the exception than the norm.  Virtual training failure is all too common. That’s because virtual training that works is still in its infancy, and most organizations struggle to convert what works for in-person training to a virtual environment.

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What are the best strategies for success in sales negotiations? What do buyers really want? Which tactics work best for buyers? For sellers? How is negotiating with procurement different? The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research recently studied 713 buyers and sellers in a major global study to answer these questions and more. We analyzed data from 449 buyers representing $2.59 billion in annual purchases and 264 sellers in over 26 industries across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

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Whether you work on a sale for 9 days, 9 weeks, or 9 months, you can lose it in an instant during the negotiation. Even if you win, you may watch your margin slip away, the buyer piecemeal the product or solution set, or find yourself fighting against any number of hardball tactics.  Plus, many sellers make serious negotiation mistakes that drive down profits and damage customer relationships.  

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Wishing our clients, friends, readers, and followers a very happy holiday season and joyful New Year. It’s truly an honor to be a part of your journey as you and your team unleash your sales potential and achieve your goals. Your success is our success, and we look forward to working together in 2020 and beyond. From all of us at RAIN Group: Happy Holidays!

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With 2020 less than a month away, it’s time to think about what sales success looks like for you in the new decade. Are changes in buyer behavior affecting your sales success? Are your accounts buying as much or as often as they could be? Are you losing big in negotiations?

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Picture this: You're meeting with your prospect after months of discussions. You have a great relationship. You did facilitated sessions, interviews, and organized a global team for the roll out. If you win, this will be your biggest close of the quarter. All signs look a-go, but you still have one remaining meeting to work out, according to your prospect, "the key terms and conditions." You walk into the room and hear… "I've brought along my colleague, Darth CFO…" "I can get that signed today if you give us this one last thing…"

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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. It's time for an entirely new approach to sales education; an approach that overhauls the way sales training is conceived, designed, and executed over the long-term. An approach that drives real behavior change and results.

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