Acquisitions continue to power Q4 tech news, as IBM further entrenched itself this week by acquiring Red Hat for a cool $34B. It’s big news for sure, and if you’re hungry for more, we’ve got helpful tips for hiring salespeople, re-examining the concept of the sales funnel, developing soft negotiating skills, and more.

Top CIO Priorities: The Threat Of Amazon, Customer Experience, Data Insights, And Data Security (Forbes) 

If your final decision maker is a CIO, it might be helpful to understand what’s going on inside their head. Earlier this month, Metis Strategy and venture capital firm Mayfield Fund, hosted a meeting of CIO’s in Santa Monica, CA. As a result of the meeting, the group of CIO’s highlighted five topics that keep them up at night. From managing the threat of Amazon to enhancing customer experience, read how top CIO’s are thinking about the future. 

How To Use “The Most Persuasive Story Ever Told” To Dominate Your Market (Medium)

Here’s one you haven’t heard before. B2B Sales Consultant Chris Monk shares how companies like Salesforce, Zuora, and Hubspot use “the most persuasive story ever told” to create ideologies that enable them to dominate their market. What’s the story? It’s a mix of elements like leadership and a unique doctrine. Read on and see if you agree.  

The Funnel Isn’t a Funnel: Embracing the Way Businesses Buy and the Changing Role of B2B Sales (MarTech Series)

The funnel is now an ecosystem, or so declares this piece from MarTech Series, and that means cultivating your garden of prospects and targets even (especially) when they’re not necessarily within the traditional sales funnel. This is not to say that salespeople should entirely abandon the funnel mindset, but appreciating it as an ecosystem can present a new way of looking at a decades-old concept.

Start with the Heart: 4 Tips for Increasing Empathy and Winning More Sales (Quotable)

This piece from Salesforce’s Quotable takes lessons from the Harvard Business Review, legendary screenwriting consultant Robert McKee, and real-life examples on how to sell with empathy. It’s a great and useful reminder on how AI should be complementing—not replacing—what we do.

How to personalize without crossing the ‘creepy line’ (MarTech Today)

How personal is too personal? There’s a line, and it seems we’ve found exactly where that line is. While this is directed at marketers, sellers can learn a thing or two from this piece, too—namely how to personalize your outreach without creeping out your prospects. 

Are Your Sales Negotiation Skills Hurting Your Customers’ Satisfaction? (Customer Think)

Just because you’ve landed a new customer doesn’t mean that your new customer is happy. Make sure you’re selling in such a way that your buyer walks away assured, and that means taking stock of your negotiations skills occasionally to make sure you’re doing it right. Soft skills are especially valuable in this case, and this piece suggests applying a more delicate touch to your negotiations. Keeping the wants and needs of your customers in mind is always essential to their satisfaction, and that includes knowing they don’t want to be pressured or pandered to.

You Hired the Right Salespeople. Now What? (CSO Insights)

With historically low unemployment rates, hiring top talent is harder than ever. Sales is no exception, and this article points out the industry’s 16 percent attrition rate and highlights ways to combat it by focusing on development, coaching, and onboarding, as well as questions you should be asking when examining your own hiring practices.