Ruth van VierzenSales and Marketing - Grow Predictable Sales

As an Outsourced Sales Manager, I work with SME's with 0 to 10 salespeople on a non-contract basis. I develop PRSP's: Proven, Repeatable Sales Processes. I advise business owners on sales, marketing & operations.

Also: business trainer delivering sales and marketing seminars and workshops. Creator of FrontLine Pro (customer service training for frontline staff).

Recent Answers

Having your team set up weekly priorities that you can see and monitor in real time is essential for saving you time and achieving team goals and project deadlines. Running effective meetings with your remote team is also essential for good collaboration. I can help you with my complimentary 5 Point Team Assessment Call. Leaders are finding great value in these calls because I recommend at least one thing you can do to improve team collaboration immediately. Contact me to schedule anytime.

There is excellent advice in the previous answers to this question. A couple of cautionary points:

1. In my experience, sales teams follow a similar make-up of a few star salespeople who are knocking it out of the park, a large middle segment who are meeting quotas but aren't achieving superstar status (some want to, others don't - it's good to figure out who's who in this category), and a small segment that is struggling just to make quota. The superstars will perform well regardless and will likely obtain all incentive rewards you put in their path. If your incentive plan targets the middle range segment to start, the results will be a good indication of how well the plan is working. And you can adjust it as you go to accommodate the superstars and strugglers.

2. Picking up from point 1, don't make the incentives so hard to obtain or achieve that they become a disincentive. I have seen business owners do this under the erroneous assumption it will motivate people to reach higher, but all is does is demotivate and demoralize your sales people. Whatever incentives you offer, make them achievable while also requiring your "middle segment" sales people to go outside of their comfort zone. Best of luck! I'm happy to discuss further with you.

I have a free webinar coming up in June that will answer those very questions. This webinar will show you how to:
1. Align with the relevant executive for your sales opportunity
2. Effectively communicate your value to pique interest
3. Approach executives in emerging markets
... and more To learn more visit:

This sounds like an exciting and strategic move to be considering. Congrats on building up 5 different companies in one industry. I can appreciate how multiple businesses can stretch resources and make the team potentially feel like they're being pulled in often competing directions.

As a business strategist, finding efficient, cost-effective synergies amongst companies to maximize growth is something I help clients achieve. So if you do a search here at Clarity or on Linkedin for someone like me who has "Growth Strategies Expert" or "Business Strategist" in their profile, you should come up with a good list of qualified people to call on. An initial consultation with a shortlist of these people will give you a good feel for who can deliver what you need. I'm happy to have a call with you and share my approach.

I read something recently that really resonated with me (if I could think of the book I'd give due credit to the author... will update this answer when it comes to me). Basically, forget about work life balance. It's an impossible goal, whether you're an entrepreneur or not, and just sets you up to feel like you're constantly failing either yourself, your business or your loved ones.

Instead, strive for harmony as you pursue entrepreneurship. Not balance...not perfection... just an acceptance that you can do and have everything you want, but when you're focussed on one thing, you can't be focussed elsewhere.

Harmony is about achieving agreement and is synonymous with cooperation and understanding. With the right communication and compromises along the way, you can pursue your entrepreneurial interests with the support of your loved ones, without anyone feeling like they're being put on the sidelines.

Yes, entrepreneurship will challenge you and push you to the limits mentally and emotionally. It will test your capabilities more than many jobs will ever do. And everything rests on your shoulders. But that's what's so great about it. You discover what you're made of. And you'll amaze yourself with the discovery of what you're made of each and every time. I'll take entrepreneurship over a JOB any day.

I'm happy to hop on a call if you want to discuss your ideas and get clarity on some great paths you could be taking to achieve the level of success you want in your life.

Your question immediately caught my eye because of my background in surveys and research. I'm curious to know what's holding you back? Do you feel that you haven't done sufficient surveying and research and are therefore over-analyzing data with gaps in it?

I find that over-analysis is often a symptom of fear because we are lacking answers that will give us a greater level of certainty than we currently have, in order to make a confident decision. What are your outstanding questions? If you haven't yet done market surveys or research, those activities will no doubt answer the questions.

I'm happy to hop on a call to discuss further. Also, you may wish to check out my recent radio interview where I talk about the benefits of doing surveys in business.

There are some excellent books available for introverts in sales. I have recommended them to friends and colleagues who later sent me notes of appreciation. A google search will yield lots of results. I do a lot of online training via webinars and consider it one of the best ways to soft-sell by leading with free high value education towards a sale at the end of the webinar. This can be a very effective sales approach for introverts. There aren't a lot of details in the question to know what you're selling and how you're currently doing it. The huge benefit of webinars is that you can practice like crazy both live and on your own, until you feel comfortable with it. If you would like to attend my upcoming free webinar to see my approach and format, I'm happy to send you a private invitation. Or we can hop on a call and I can go into more detail. Best wishes, Ruth

I think this is a great idea. As an entrepreneur who wants a lot of stimulation when I'm vacationing, I love the idea of mixing business with pleasure. If I can go on an adventure that sparks ideas and problem solving for my business, I'm in. And I think there are many similarly minded entrepreneurs out there.

Identifying your correct target market is going to be critical to your success and I suggest starting there to make sure you identify the right market. That will help you with pricing, package design and branding.

I advise developing a survey that is conducted across various entrepreneurial demographics to help you narrow down your market. I am currently doing a survey in my own business for a product pre-launch and the process has been incredibly helpful and educational for finishing development and identifying best target markets.

I provide Customer Survey Marketing as one of my service offerings and would be happy to hop on a call and give you direction on how to best do this. Ruth

Hi - I see this question was posted some time ago, so you may already have found the solution you need. As someone who regularly does business training webinars, I'm happy to share a few things I've learned along the way.

1. Have at least 2 people in your staff who are trained experts in managing the technical aspects of the webinar. That way, if one is away, sick, etc., you're not scrambling for a back-up. But ideally, 2 staff are overseeing the live webinar process. If something goes wrong, 1 or both should be able to resolve issues quickly.

2. Test the webinar each day for 3 days prior to the webinar date. I've had to reupload PPT presentations several times during the testing days because of issues with my slides. It may sound excessive, but you'll identify issues each time during testing and will be able to address without stress because you have plenty of time to resolve. Also, and this is key, the more issues you can address ahead of time, the better trained your staff become in webinar management.

3. Do a rehearsal of the webinar (partial or full) 1 or 2 days prior. Have some staff or associates attend so they can give feedback on any content or technical issues.

4. Assure your attendees that the webinar will be recorded in case of technical issues. I've attended live webinars with some big business names where there were thousands attending, and was amazed at the technical issues that were happening. You wouldn't expect it at that level but, it's technology, so stuff breaks down, usually at the worst possible time.

Market surveys are a great idea for engaging with existing customers and also exposing your business to potential new customers in the process of narrowing down your target market. If you currently have an email provider such as Aweber or Mailchimp, you may already have access to a survey tool as part of your package. If not, Survey Monkey is a great free option.

To conduct market surveys to non-customers, advertising your survey link on Facebook is a great place to start because you can target a broader audience based on what you do know about your target customer. Then, by asking the right questions and analyzing who is engaging with your survey on Facebook, you can drill down to identify a more targetted market.

If your market is B2B, consider taking the same approach but doing so on Linkedin. If time and resources permit, you could also do the surveys over the phone. You're essentially doing cold-calling at the same time.

I'm happy to discuss on the phone if you have any follow-up questions. I'm a big believer in conducting surveys in business and I hope you get the data you need from the process.

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