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Inside Sales (May 15th, 2019)

1. Instead of fearing replacement by artificial intelligence, salespeople should embrace the technology says B2C. Tracey Wik writes that AI sales tools can help reps customize the content according to the prospect's needs/goals and can integrate with the CRM to identify where the customer is in the sales funnel and what the next best action should be. Wik also points out some best practices for using AI in sales: thoroughly vetting AI tools for proper fit, unlocking the creative side of AI (not just the quantitative side) and using the technology to envision the sale from the customer's perspective. --BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY

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2. The subscription-based sales model has changed the way salespeople approach their job -- mainly because the risk has shifted from the buyer to the seller. Charlie Thackston at Selling Power writes that the subscription model typically involves smaller contracts that can be canceled at any time and now shifts the focus of the sales team to usage and adoption of their product/service. Thackston also says that these changes call for an account-based engagement to build relationships and deliver value to the customer. -- SELLING POWER

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3. Knowing when to fire a sales rep is important, to keep the team running efficiently and hitting goals. Sales Hacker says that keeping a sales rep who should be let go can cost a business an enormous amount of money, hurt team goals and ruin morale for the other team's members. The article also talks about the "24 Rule" wherein if a sales rep scores negatively on two out of four the following areas they should be fired: performance, competence, commitment and culture fit. -- SALES HACKER

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4. Marketing and sales teams rely heavily on one another to drive business but they are often at odds and sometimes siloed. Kay Kienast at Forbes talks about how these two entities can unite in the contemporary sales environment where the buyer has a lot more knowledge and power. Kienast says that in order to bring these two entities together, the respective teams should learn how to communicate effectively, work in tandem especially when using sales tools and get buy-in from the C-suite. -- FORBES

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5. Podcast: Liz Tolin, Top Strategic Account Executive at Chargify, talks about her military background and how it shaped her sales career. She also talks about her approach to sales (known as servant leadership), non-pressure tactics, continuous education and developing sales intuition. -- SALES SUCCESS STORIES 

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6. Vetting prospects to see if it makes sense to move them down the funnel comes down to four questions according to Mark Hunter. These questions surround the following notions: the prospect's true curiosity about the product, the client's needs, a set timeline and whether they have a budget for the initiative. -- THE SALES HUNTER

7. Business Matter offers a few strategies that lead to better results: dividing your team into prospectors and closers, building a solid SDR team that isn't super green and ongoing sales training. -- BUSINESS MATTERS

8. Finding the next sales superstar starts with sales management's ability to find the right candidate. Tirzah Thornburg writes about the important things to consider when hiring a new rep: energy level, if the candidate is a perfectionist or creative chaos sort and whether they need guidance or a hands-off approach. -- THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY

9. Running out of cash is a realistic fear for any startup -- even if the sales team is delivering on-target revenue. Founder and financial journalist Tim Jackson says that when this nightmare becomes a reality, founders should focus on revenue metrics, stay enthusiastic and control costs. -- MEDIUM

10. Close to 60% of purchasing activities occur before a sales rep is involved, Steve Bannister writes for FE News. He says that a new sophistication is required from sales reps to jump into a sales cycle basically midway through.  -- FE NEWS

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William Wallace is a sales veteran and journalist with years of experience in such diverse realms as High-Performance Computing, Big Data, education software and SaaS products. When not hunting for the next sales/business opportunity, he is a self-professed foodie and published writer with an abiding passion for all forms of expression.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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