Productive Insights


Is Differentiation Really Worth the Effort?

Do you wonder whether differentiating your company will yield a significant ROI? Maybe you wonder whether your company can be differentiated at all. Most owners, presidents, and CEOs would agree that the short answer to the question “Does Differentiation Add Value?” is “yes.” So, then the focus moves to the question behind the question: “Is Differentiating Our Company Really Worth the

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Online Marketing: Hard-Earned Insights

How can we understand the wizardry that is today’s marketing–and what it can, and cannot, do? Thanks in part to steadily improving online functionality, marketing has changed dramatically in the past ten years. And, thanks to the pandemic, marketing has changed even more dramatically in just the past year. We’ve all seen it “in the news.” But here at Productive

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How to Make the Most of Your Sales Funnel

Do you use the income statement approach or the balance sheet approach? Not sure? Here’s how to know and then how to use your sales funnel to win more sales. Most salespeople, sales managers, and other business developers do know that the “sales funnel” plays a key role in making a sale. But too many do not know just what

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Founders: Want to Grow Your Young Company Faster?

By Scott Kraege, Guest Columnist To Our Readers: Scott Kraege is managing director of The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars . He’s also a former client whose salespeople participated in our consultative sales training—in fact, winning one of our annual contests—and whose sales processes we helped to develop. We applaud Scott’s work that provides such direct, hands-on support to other high-growth founders.

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Discovery + Delivery = Much Better Presentations

The right discovery skills plus the right delivery skills build the confidence your sales reps need to deliver powerful presentations that persuade prospects to buy.   Prospective clients sometimes call us with a “sales presentation problem.” Translated, that means executives or managers have noticed that their salespeople don’t use the beautifully produced, loaded-with-information, and probably expensive PowerPoints that management has

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Risky Business

Why don’t we talk more about risk? It permeates business every day. But at the hundreds of meetings and events we participate in each year—both in-person and virtually—we’ve noticed that risk is rarely mentioned. Maybe risk is too much on our minds. In an increasingly uncertain world, risk is a constant companion that we just don’t pay much attention to. Maybe it’s fear

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Your Business in 2021: What are the “unknown unknowns”?

It’s time to find out. Here’s how. How do you uncover things “you don’t know you don’t know” about your company or organization? More important, how do you determine what they mean for your success now and in the future? Do you think you know all you need to know about your company? Probably not. Most business owners, presidents, CEOs, and

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From Ray Kroc to You: In Selling, Always a Need for Speed–If It’s the Right Kind

Three business-to-business sales lessons on fast from McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc: 1) Be fast to follow up on a problem, 2) Be fast to get to the decision-maker, and 3) Be fast to recognize the potential and act on it. Here’s what happened when he followed that advice himself. In 1954, before he built his empire, road-warrior-salesman Ray Kroc drove

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Virtual Selling in the ‘Now’ Normal: Win or Lose–It’s Up to You

The medium has changed but the message hasn’t: Deliver value during the sales process. That’s what top producers have always done, it’s what they still do, and it’s what you can do, too. Now, with less in-person selling, knowing just how to do it is more important than ever. Winning and losing—really? Is that the best way to play the

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Which Is the Neglected ‘Middle Child’ in the Sales Process?

There are several possibilities but only one that really qualifies. And for good reason. Twenty or so steps make up the traditional sales process. Which step do you think is the most neglected, the one that’s most underappreciated, the one suffering from the so-called middle child syndrome*? Is it cold calling, demonstration, pre-meeting preparation, proposal writing, follow-up? Several candidates are

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