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SALES PROCESS INEFFICIENCIES LIMIT SELLING TIME: FIX IT!

Battling_Cage_302_shadowI know a young man, 10 years my junior, who played baseball every year from t-ball through college. He was confident he had a great swing by the middle of his high school years.

That was when a former major league all-star put that boy in his place.

It was at the Jim Rice Baseball School in Tampa, FL and Ron LeFlore was that pro player. Jason was the high school player who took exactly three swings in front of LeFlore before the pro stepped in and stopped the session of batting practice.

LeFlore gave the kid three simple steps, creating a far more efficient swing, and the kid went on to completely miss more than 20 pitches in a row.

Jason was frustrated, and he expressed it. Ron asked him a single question: “Between you and me, which one of us is a major league all-star?”

The kid sighed and the pro assured him that by the end of the week he would be hitting the ball better than he ever had only ifhe chose to trust LeFlore. Jason chose to trust him.

Friday morning came and LeFlore stood behind the batting cage as the kid stepped up to the plate. The first pitch came out of the pitching machine and LeFlore called out, “Left field!” The kid hit it to left field. Then, “Right field!” And a line drive shot over the head of the second baseman.

This went on for two dozen pitches in all, and every one of them landed wherever the pro commanded them to go.

The kid went on to lead his league the next year with a .543 batting average, as well as in several other categories. This came about because someone knew how to fix the inefficiencies in Jason’s swing.

I TOLD YOU THAT TO TELL YOU THIS…
Inefficiencies in your sales process are costing you more signed sales contracts than you may believe. The Ron LeFlore you need to fix your situation will be the voice that’s helping you spend more time in direct selling activities. Period.

CEO and Co-founder of Seismic, Doug Winter (@SeismicSoftware) wrote an article for @Entrepreneur magazine two weeks ago titled: Eliminate Inefficiencies in Your Sales Process So Your People Can Focus on the Sell.”

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Winter’s article is this:

“Knowing that content is the fuel to the sales engine, it would make sense to give the sales force access to the sales materials that help them sell from the place where they spend the most time: within their email, CRM or both.”

WHAT I LIKED
Winter makes his case without wasted effort. An article about correcting inefficiencies would not be as credible if it was longer than it needed to be.

In the article, Winter draws from a variety of sources to paint a picture of the truth; there’s a lot of wasted time and effort where a good thing has become a bad thing because it’s taken the place of the best thing.

That best thing is Selling Time.

Winter discusses this issue through the lens of content marketing and how it’s the fuel to the sales engine.

It’s a quick read, and the article can be an important part of the ammunition you need to bring about change in your sales organization (whether you’re a sales rep, manager, director or executive).

And yes, SalesFitRx is all about helping sales professionals, and sales teams, locate more selling time. If you haven’t yet looked into how the web and mobile app does this, I recommend finding out today. There’s also a 30 day risk-free trial available (no credit card required).

As for Jason, he was asked by the owner of the baseball school to stay an extra week, at the owner’s cost, and he did. Much like a week of pure selling time, this bonus week for the kid was pure profit.

LeFlore was able to further develop him into the player who went on to consistently frustrate opposing teams’ managers until the end of his playing days.

It was all because the kid was willing to make a change in order to achieve greater success. Will you?

[Reading Time of Winter’s Article: 2:30 minutes]


QUESTION ::: What types of work activities take up too much of your time each week?

Let’s talk about it…

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HOW TO AVOID A SALES STRATEGY #FAIL

Fail_3_-_351_shadowWhile no sales strategy works every time, there are certainly many tried-and-true methodologies. Still, what works for one sales team doesn’t always work for another – but why is that?

If the strategy itself is sound, and has proven to be successful – what makes it work for one office (sales team), while it ultimately fails for another?

The answer doesn’t lie in the sales strategy, itself – it lies in the execution. Regardless of the quality or feasibility of the strategy itself, if your team fails to put it into action (or worse – executes it incorrectly) you won’t experience a lasting impact from its implementation.

The truth of the matter is, many sales managers look to a quick-fix solution when seeking new methods for boosting sales – but few of them pause to take the time to really consider the methodology or reasoning behind the strategy.

Additionally, if your sales manager can’t articulate the importance of action, or why this approach to it is desirable, the likelihood that your sales reps will carry the new approach into the future is virtually nil.

If you’d like to ensure that your newest sales strategy lives beyond inception, and grows to become a successful strategic approach, just follow these important guidelines:

  1. Communicate your plan. Be sure that your sales team understands what is needed to put your approach into action – and that they have the tools, information, and resources they need to do so. By communicating your sales strategy effectively, you’ll eliminate the false assumptions which might trip you up, in the long run – and ensure that everyone is on the same page!
  2. Rally your team. After communicating your plan, ask for feedback from your sales reps. They are the ones in the midst of the action, so you’ll need to ensure that they are onboard. Ask for their commitment, let them know that you are available to address concerns, and help them set realistic and achievable goals which align with your sales strategy. By rallying them to the cause, and asking them to support your new focus as a team, you’ll promote its success.
  3. Measure your results.  Create a schedule for monitoring progress, and stick to it. Regular check-ins with your sales team will help them feel supported, and help you measure their results. Hold your team accountable for meeting their sales goals, and provide coaching opportunities for those who may be struggling. By monitoring the implementation and success of your strategy, you’ll gain important insight into its overall impact on your sales.
  4. Provide appropriate compensation. Sales reps respond best when incentivized, so offer compensation which is commensurate with the strategy, and you’ll find they transition smoothly. Make sure you structure commissions in a way which promotes the adoption of your new sales strategy, and offers tangible rewards to those who perform appropriately.

Though introducing your new sales strategy with these steps may take a bit more time, initially, a careful approach to implementation will save you serious time and effort, in the long run.

By ensuring that your sales team is on board and dedicated to action, you’ll help them launch your plan with the understanding and confidence they need to be successful!

For more information on discovering more selling time, improving your sales strategy, increasing your odds of successful closing – please contact me today: karl.gustafson@SalesFitRx.com  |  602-427-2399

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HOW TO GIVE YOUR SALES REPS MORE HOURS EVERY DAY

Idea_361_shadowMost of the possible major efficiencies a sales team can implement have already been discovered, right?

What if every one of your sales reps could save 2-3 hours of prospecting time every day?

Would you be interested in that if the solution not only didn’t hurt your sales numbers, but actually increased them?

Of course you would be interested.

I read about a strategy last week that some of you may already be using. I’ve used a modified/more simplistic form of this in the past, but it wasn’t as well thought out as this idea is.

Most of you have not yet implemented this strategy. It involves using the strengths and interests of each member of your team, and encouraging the use of their passions and interests in sales, instead of sticking each of them in predefined boxes.

Director of Account Development at @HireVuePeter G. Chun (@petergchun) wrote an article he posted on LinkedIn titled, How to Give 3 Hours Back to Your Sales Reps.”

Are you skeptical? Understandable. But are you at least curious?

It all started when Chun began working at HireVue, a team acceleration platform. Instead of coming in and rearranging the team so it matched how he wanted the company’s sales environment to be structured, he took the time to sit next to each team member to better understand their individual workflows.

Chun then understood where the opportunity for greater efficiency and effectiveness was to be found. This one change brought about a 60% gain in sales the next quarter.

Did that get your attention?

You should read the article to fully understand what Chun did with that team. But, I will give you this sneak peek:

“You may say that we might as well have purchased lead lists but the ADS does more than just mindlessly add new leads to the CRM. The ADS uses previous Closed Won company and prospect profiles to find new optimal leads. They also constantly monitor lead levels to ensure that each rep has sufficient leads according to their workflows. When combined with proper sales training and sales coaching, this ensures that the leads are being penetrated efficiently and consistently.”

I especially like the two links at the end of the article leading to a sales manager’s point-of-view on using this system, as well as a sales rep’s point-of-view. Don’t miss those.

Read the article now.

[Reading Time: 2:00 minutes]

Note: Another way to find more selling time in your day is to look into using the SalesFitRx web and mobile app. There’s a 30 day free trial available.

QUESTION: Could this change in strategy within your sales process work for your team? Why or why not?

Let’s talk about it…

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: SOCIAL SELLING, FOLLOW-UPS, TOOLS & MORE

Chrome_Store_ShadowThis week’s links run through the topics of social selling, more effective follow-up tactics, Google Chrome and Gmail extensions to save you a lot of time, and an interesting way a handful of friends created something together they now leverage to get more sales.

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career:

SOCIAL SELLING :::

HubStaff’s Blog
The Science of Social Selling: 16 Online Influencers Weigh In
Dave Nevogt (@dnevogt) recently wrote a must-read resource if you’re at all interested in the tactics of Social Selling.

Today’s marketplace (B2B or B2C) is constantly interacting with brands that are either directly or indirectly related to a user’s needs. On average, a lead has between 7 to 13 online interactions with a sales professional before they make a purchase. You can shorten that list of touches needed by efficiently and effectively participating in social selling.

Social selling paves the way, can turn a cold lead into a warm prospect and keeps the conversation going. #letdothis
[Reading time: 6:30]

INCREASE EFFECTIVENESS :::

Jeff Shore’s Blog
5 Tips For Insanely Powerful and Surprising Sales Follow-Up
This next resource is from Jeff Shore (@jeffshore). He reminds us not only of the vital role of a follow-up action, but also gives us 5 very important actions to take in order to get more sales through follow-ups.

I especially like point #3 (and #4 is a great idea to support #3), but you’ll need to click and read it to find out where I personally put a strong focus with my own follow-up efforts. #dontwait
[Reading time: 1:30]

SALES TOOLS :::

Funnelholic
8 Chrome or Gmail Extensions Every Sales Rep Should Be Using
Max Aschulter (@maxalts) from @saleshackerconf, recently guest blogged on @funnelholic, pulled together some great extensions for Google Chrome and Gmail to help you be more efficient. Being more efficient, for a sales professional, means more selling time. More selling time means more sales, and more sales keep your own coffers full.

Thank you for this useful collection of resources, Max. Note: Links aren’t included in the post, but you can locate the extensions by searching for them here#downloadnow
[Reading time: 3:00]

TRY SOMETHING NEW :::

Ian Brodie’s Blog
Using a Compilation Book to Win Clients
Ian Brodie (@ianbrodie) tells us about a big, bold strategy that paid off for him and his friends and colleagues. They joined together, each with their specific strengths, and created a book. The book then gave them greater credibility and led to more sales.

There’s a podcast available on the page to learn more about the details of this experiment. #theygotafterit
[Reading time: 0:30]
[Podcast length: 23:15]

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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DOES BUY-IN OF THE SALES PROCESS REALLY MATTER?

Sales_Process_290_shadowPutting ego aside for a moment, tell me…do believe you have room for improvement in your sales career?

A healthy portion of my retirement could’ve been funded if I had a dollar for every time some hotshot told me something to the effect of, “I have my way of getting sales and it works for me.”

Well, every one of them still had plenty of room for improvement, as do I, and some [or most] of their colleagues were consistently outpacing them.

So, either they were telling me they believed they had hit their maximum potential or they needed to grow their sales skill set and in their discipline of executing the sales process.

You would be correct if you guessed the latter was their [reluctant] answer.

Always be closing…That doesn’t mean you’re always closing the deal, but it does mean that you need to be always closing on the next step in the process.

Laura Andrus recently wrote a blog post for CSO Insights called, “Sales Process – Use it or Lose it.” In it, she makes a strong case for the importance of the continual pursuit of increasing the metric of Sales Process Adoption in professional sales organizations.

In it, she relates what she’s often told from sales training professionals:

Clients will spend a ton on training, but are hesitant to invest in training reinforcement. The pros know that your sales reps are going to forget about 80% of what they got in class.  Which is why they offer training reinforcement programs to see that all the classroom material gets incorporated into the workflow over time.

But many of the training pros I have interviewed say that reinforcement programs are not selling as well as they should.  This can detract from the success of the training and from the reputation of the trainers.  Which means it detracts from your success.

QUESTION ::: If you’re an organization investing in sales training, are you also investing an effective amount of budget into reinforcing that training to keep Sales Process Adoption high? If so, are you seeing positive results?

Let’s talk about it…

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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YOUR SALES CAREER: WHAT SINGLE SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE WILL CHANGE IT ENTIRELY?

Are you willing to undo major perceptions and rewire your understanding of your role in sales?

Here’s the catch: You’ll need to try something new.

If you do the same things in the same ways and you’ll generally get the same results, right? What if you’re one of the ones who is always wanting to improve and will try new things in order to achieve greater results?

Is that you…or, could that become who you are? That’s one thing about advertising you can control, how much you develop and grow as a sales professional.

Bill Caskey (@billcaskey) has put together a very interesting proposal around the concept of “the flower and the bee” in his recent blog post, “The One Thing That Will Change Your Sales World.”

Caskey explains:

The ‘flower and the bee’ phenomena goes like this: in nature the flower must pollinate itself. It sits there waiting for the bee (one of the many ways pollination happens) to pollinate it. The flower does not labor, nor does it stress about bees showing up. Bees, on the other hand, are scurrying about trying to find food, and pollinating the flower.
In business, sales people are typically the bees and the customer is the flower. Sales people scurry around the country looking for food.

Why does it have to be that way?

The article goes on to outline an action plan built upon the idea of constructing a very specific sales platform. This is something, he states, that “98% of people will not do.” And in my opinion, I believe he’s correct.

You may take an initial look at his 3 step plan and think you’ve heard them before, but he goes on to detail the purposes and execution of each step. Reading all of it will help you see how it’s all connected.

QUESTION ::: What’s the weakest part of your sales skill set? Would you be willing to make big changes in order to see significant growth? What would you change?

Let’s talk about it…

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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