B2B Street Fighting Blog

achieve 466% ROI on your negotiation improvement initiative

Posted by Carrie Welles on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 07:43 AM

There are many sales skills that have impact on the value of a strong sales team within an organization:
  • Account Management
  • Value Selling
  • Questioning
  • Presentation skills
  • as well as a number of others.

However, one of the things we love most about our work in helping B2B sales organizations improve negotiation skills is the immediate, tangible, return on investment. Unlike many sales skills, negotiation is a hard skill: meaning not only is it highly measurable, but it also delivers business results fast! The other great news is that together, we, the Think! team with the client stakeholders, can identify this potential ROI before any investment is made to build the internal business case for a negotiation improvement initiative.

Here are results from five (5) Fortune 1000 clients in these industries: logistics, packaging, energy solutions and services, information services, and healthcare.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations, negotiation strategies in business, Carrie Welles

what is end-of-quarter discounting costing you?

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 @ 11:56 AM

We recently completed coaching on over $1b in deals for two tech companies globally. Two huge issues related to deal timing came out of the coaching that plague most sales organizations:

  • Waiting until the end of the quarter / quarter-end promotions
  • Waiting until 30-45 days out to plan for renewals

In fact, Harvard Business Review (HBR-8/2017) reports these same issues: 

  • Decreased deal size and win rate results for an estimated $98 million per year in lost revenue for the average company.
  • Conversely, it represents a potential gain of over 27% in revenue per company if properly addressed.

How did we let this happen? Market pressures from Wall Street and investors, irrational competitive behavior, internal quarterly pressures to “make our numbers;” they all contribute to the problem.  

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales

think negotiation is unpredictable? think again...

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Thu, Feb 07, 2019 @ 07:47 AM

Traditional negotiation training, as you no doubt already know, consists largely of memorizing long lists of tactics, countermeasures, and tips and tricks designed to prepare sales teams for every possible negotiation situation. This is based on the assumption that in a negotiation you never know what’s going to happen, and must, therefore, be prepared for anything. But what if I were to tell you that despite what you’ve always heard, 97% of what a seller is likely to hear coming out of a buyer’s mouth in a negotiation cannot only be anticipated, but also, if not nullified, at least greatly reduced in its power? (1)

It’s true. We can do it. 

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations, brian dietmeyer

how to turn sales' best practice into common practice

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Tue, Jan 08, 2019 @ 04:39 PM

We win deals when we:

“Show customers how we meet their business needs at higher confidence and lower risk than alternatives.” (1)

Winning has become more difficult: close rates are at an all-time low (49.6%), and actually lower than the odds at a craps table! (2)

Why is this? One reason is the end of sustainable competitive advantage. Our value, competitors’ value, and customer needs are all changing real time. In order to win we need to map each transaction and prove how our value meets needs better than their alternatives. As salespeople we need access to real time content that helps us capitalize on a series of short term transient advantages.

We call this competing at the speed of change.

“79% of B2B buyers believe the content provided by sales reps is very influential in their vendor selection, yet 75% of sales content created by marketing is never used by sales.” (3)

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Tags: sales enablement, 5600blue, precision guided selling

enable your growth strategy

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 @ 04:41 PM

Senior executives know that, beyond mergers and acquisitions, a company’s growth is driven one deal at a time through the effective sales and negotiations of their direct and indirect salespeople.

That’s why American corporations spend $7.2 billion (1) every year on sales processes, account management skills, negotiation, and opportunity management training. That’s an average of $347,000 per company, according to Selling Power. But beyond proprietary (and perhaps biased) consulting reports and high-level academic papers on change, there’s little information available on whether those that invest money are achieving a return on their investment that’s at least equal to—if not better than—their cost of capital.

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Tags: enable your growth strategy, sales training initiatives

data-driven sales for the 21st century

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 @ 04:36 PM


According to the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, American corporations spend $7.2 billion every year on sales process, account management skills, negotiation, and opportunity management training—an average of $347,000 per company. However, beyond proprietary (and perhaps biased) consultants’ reports and high-level academic papers on change, little information is available on whether those making investments are achieving a return that is at least equal to—if not better than—what they are spending.

We are inclined to think that ROI is highly unlikely given the CSO Insights report that stated: only a quarter of reps consistently use their company’s accepted methodology more than half the time, only 10% resolutely (greater than 90% of the time).

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Tags: sales enablement, sales and negotiation

common trap negotiators fall into

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 04:48 PM

We’ve consulted on over 20,000 negotiations in over 45 countries for 16 years. The most common issue we see is: 

“Very seasoned negotiators having a price conversation absent of the value conversation.” 

What does this mean exactly? Imagine for a moment that you work at a high-end steak house and you encounter this scenario: 

  1. You are seated a table and are ready to order. You order the Filet Oscar, the house specialty, which is listed at $42 on the menu.
  2. You continue that you would like to pay $16 for it because that is what you paid last night for dinner (you fail to mention it was a plate of tacos at the restaurant down the street).
  3. Your server goes to find the manager to ask for an adjustment to the bill to give you the discount.  
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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations

use this best practice to differentiate when negotiating

Posted by K. (Karen) G. Fraser on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

In these days when business buyers are more knowledgeable than ever, it is important for sellers to differentiate in every phase of the sales cycle. In the negotiation phase of the sales cycle, the customer is more keenly focused on you than you might think.  Through their buying cycle, the customer is comparing you, overtly and subtly, to their preferred alternative to you.  Remember that the customer’s preferred alternative to you is your main competitor.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales

is procurement your secret sales weapon?

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Wed, May 30, 2018 @ 04:39 PM

Some of you know that I post quite a bit about working with procurement. There are a couple reasons. First, it’s mostly a painful and dreaded experience for those of us who sell. Second, because we’ve been consulting for over 20 years to both buying and selling teams, this practice has provided deep insight into the nature of that relationship.

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Tags: business negotiations, Negotiating with procurement, speaking the language of procurement, business relationships in sales

competing at the speed of change e-book

Posted by Marie Dudek Brown on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 04:53 PM

We are excited to share with you our 5600blue division e-book:  Competing at The Speed of Change. Your value, competitors value, customer needs and management priorities are all changing. All of this effects the “real – time” knowledge salespeople need to lead customer conversations. It’s time to take back the power we lost due to the buyer B2B digital revolution. One of our clients said recently “a quarter is now equal to a year.” Her point was that annual planning now happens each quarter due to rapid shifts in the market and company strategy. Managing this turbulent environment holds real promise for those who realize that the rules have changed and many legacy sales support solutions are not having impact. 

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Tags: competitive advantage, 5600blue

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The B2B Street Fighting blog brings you the latest on what's happening in the real world of business negotiation.

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