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HOW YOUR SALES COACHING BIAS HURTS YOUR SALES TEAM

Classifieds_341_shadow

The following series of advertisements reportedly appeared in a daily newspaper years ago:

Monday: “The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who lives with him, cheap.”

Tuesday: “We regret any embarrassment caused to Rev. Jones by a typographical error in yesterday’s paper. The ad should have read: ‘The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap…Telephone 626-1313 and ask for Mrs. Donnelley, who lives with him after 7 p.m.'”

Wednesday: “The Rev. A.J. Jones informs us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of an incorrect ad in yesterday’s paper. It should have read: ‘The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who loves with him.'”

Thursday: “Please take notice that I, the Rev. A.J. Jones, have no color TV set for sale; I have smashed it. Don’t call 626-1313 anymore. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Donnelley. She was, until yesterday, my housekeeper.'”

Friday: “Wanted: a housekeeper. Usual housekeeping duties. Good pay. Love in, Rev. A.J. Jones. Telephone 626-1313.'”

I TOLD YOU THAT TO TELL YOU THIS…
Miscommunication in sales happens quite often. It’s especially inevitable in sales coaching.

Fortunately, I know of someone who wrote an excellent blog post about this issue.

The post itself is titled: Coaching To Your Strengths Or Your Salesperson’s Weakness?It was written by sales trainer, consultant, speaker and board member for multiple organizations David A. Brock (@davidabrock).

THE BIG IDEA
The big idea of Brock’s post is this:

“To be effective, we have to step back from our own biases–driven by our strengths.  We have to understand the issue the sales person faces, we have to focus on correctly identifying their weaknesses, coaching to them.”

WHAT I LIKED
Brock’s post uses a pair of scenarios to clearly convey the problems that come with coaching to your strengths as a sales professional instead of coaching to your sales professional’s weakness(es).

Within each scenario, it becomes clear there are a variety of ways this issue could arise. As sales coaches, it’s up to us to accurately determine which type of coaching is needed.

Some scenarios playing out in your own sales team may look like one problem but are, in truth, entirely other issues to which coaching must be applied.

The problem of our natural bias toward our own areas of strength is a very real temptation for each of us, and Brock knows it too:

“If we are great closers, everything becomes a closing problem.  If we are great presenters, everything becomes a presentation skills problem, if we are great negotiators, everything is about negotiation, if we are great prospectors, everything can be solved by more prospecting.”

Read Brock’s entire blog post now and begin putting it into practice with your team today.

* The newspaper story leading off this post was taken from First United Methodist Church, Meadville, PA, Content The Newsletter Newsletter, August 1990, p. 3.

[Reading Time of Brock’s Post: 3:00 minutes]


QUESTION ::: If you were honest with yourself, what bias for training others do you need to watch for most?

Let’s talk about it…

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WHY YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EQ) MATTERS IN SALES ::: FSG LINKS

Emotional_Intelligence_362_shadowFRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS

It’s been said that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is “the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.” Another expert calls it, “the other kind of smart.” There are plenty of other definitions out there if you care to take two seconds to Google them.

EQ matters. It always has, but as of late we’ve been talking about it more openly now that we’ve put a name to it. We also better understand it. That’s a good thing. In fact, that’s a great thing, for us, our colleagues and our buyers.

I gathered a number of resources I really like on this topic to show you why, as a sales professional, EQ matters.

Let me know about other helpful articles, blog posts, quizzes or videos you really like related to this subject. It’s an important area in which to grow, both as a person and as a sales professional.

Return to this blog daily, especially every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career.

Be sure to bookmark and explore our Friday Sales Growth Links archives as well.

WHY YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EQ) MATTERS IN SALES :::

Dov_Baron_128x128Entrepreneur Magazine
The 11 Questions Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Ask Themselves
Keynote speaker, author and expert on authentic leadership Dov Baron (@DovBaron) wrote an article for @Entrepreneur last week that’s not for leaders who are faint of heart. Baron recommends 11 very important questions you, leader, need to ask yourself.

No one else needs to know your answers, but you must be honest with yourself if you want to discover new areas for growth. This is an opportunity. Take advantage of it.

KEY QUOTE (from the full report): “…real EQ is a result of self-knowledge first. The challenge is that too few leaders take the time to be introspective and too few bother to ask themselves the sometimes uncomfortable and revealing questions that will allow them to actually know their own ‘truth.’

And, if you believe simply being self aware as a leader is enough, Baron has some thoughts on that for you as well. #ChallengeYourself

[Reading Time of This Post: 4:00 minutes]

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Ian_Altman128x128Forbes Magazine
What You Can Learn About People On A Golf Course
Author and keynote speaker on integrity-based sales, innovation, and growth Ian Altman(@GrowMyRevenue) wrote a great article for @Forbes a few months ago, and I want to make sure you don’t miss it.

You don’t need to like the game of golf to understand how this can be applied to other scenarios for your company’s benefit.

KEY QUOTE: “In your business, you’ll encounter adversity. Do you want a team member who will be a detriment to the rest of your team when something goes wrong? Or do you want people who are team players and bounce back?”

What happens when things go wrong for you? Who do you continue to be, or who do you become? #KeepYourselfTogether

[Reading Time: 4:00 minutes]

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Daniel_Goleman_128x128American Management Association
How Can You Build Your Emotional Intelligence?
Author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman (@DanielGolemanEI) penned this article for the American Management Association (@AMAPlaybook). It’s a How-To on how to get started or how to successfully continue growing your EQ.

KEY QUOTE: The good news about emotional intelligence is that it is not a fixed ability like IQ. Your IQ pretty much stays the same throughout life. Emotional intelligence is fluid. It takes form in the early years when the emotional and social circuits of the brain are forming into the mid-20s.”

There’s a definite ROI for anyone who makes the effort to develop more as a person, in this way, which will directly transfer to greater professional success as a stronger leader. #EQmatters

[Reading Time: 2:00 minutes]

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Christina_Congleton_EdM_128x128Susan_David_PhD_128x128Harvard Business Review
Emotional Agility
This is a deep [read: very, very deep] dive into how emotions play into our professional lives, written by psychologist, management consultant, author and researcher Susan David, PhD (@SusanDavid_PhD), along with Christina Congleton, Ed.M. (researcher and leadership and change consultant at Axon Leadership).

If this is a topic you’re willing to dig into for the purpose of improving yourself overall, and the people you lead, then this is absolutely a resource you need to read.

KEY QUOTE: Effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress their inner experiences. Instead they approach them in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way—developing what we call emotional agility. In our complex, fast-changing knowledge economy, this ability to manage one’s thoughts and feelings is essential to business success.”

If you’ve become a pro at suppressing your emotions for what you believe is for the good of your professional life, think again. Stepping out of this trap, myself, may have been the single most important reason why I’m where I am today. #IDareYou

[Viewing Time: 9:00 minutes]

>>  Read past Friday Sales Growth Links posts <<

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STRATEGIC SALES TEAM MOTIVATION FOR SALES MANAGERS

Cheerleaders_355_shadowAs a sales manager, we both know you need to effectively motivate your sales team, but you shouldn’t be shaking a pair of pompons to get the job done.

There are so many stories in our industry of well-intentioned sales managers, who had no idea how to strategically motivate the individuals in their sales team, and more or less used painfully bad cheerleading efforts in an attempt to rally the troops.

You’ve probably experienced that, as I have, and cringed the entire time as the show wouldn’t seem to end.

I was reading an article this week on the topic of sales team motivation, and I appreciated the approach the author used to help sales managers grow in this area of sales management.

Sales trainer,  neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) expert and keynote speaker Leigh Ashton (@nlpsalessuccess) wrote a post this week for Sales Initiative’s Toolbox (@SI_SalesUK ) titled: “Your Sales Team: A Motivation Check List.”

I believe you’ll find it helpful as well.

Ashton begins with a set of diagnostic questions:

  • Does every member of your team know where they fit in to the bigger company objectives?
  • Do you know the higher purpose of each of your team?
  • Are your sales peoples’ targets realistic bearing in mind your industry’s current market conditions?
  • Do your team members only very occasionally contact you for guidance?
  • Do you know the “meta-programmes” of each of your team?

A higher amount of answers of “yes” points toward your team likely being more motivated.

The rest of the post goes on to unpack each of those questions, including additional questions to give you a more comprehensive understanding of your sales team. Read through each of them, they’re brief, and see what you can use for your own team.

MONEY
As much as money can help motivate an individual, it’s not solely as effective as you may believe:

“Most meaningful research suggests money is only ever an effective motivator in the short term. And that’s usually always confirmed whenever I dig below the surface at the companies I train and when I talk to sales directors and sales teams generally.”

Read Ashton’s post now.

[Reading Time of the Sales Initiative Post: 3:00 minutes]


QUESTION:
 What forms of motivation have you used, with success, as a sales manager?

Let’s talk about it…

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THE ESSENTIAL SALES TEAM MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST

Checklist_2_-_350_shadowSales Managers: Are you minding [all of] your P’s and Q’s?

Regardless of the structure of your sales team or organization, as a manager, the responsibility for inspiring and motivating your team falls to you.

Your role is critical in the creation and maintenance of a healthy sales environment – and sometimes, just a small shift in your management style or strategy can make a huge difference.

At SalesFitRx, we’ve given a lot of thought to effective sales team management – and we’ve come up with some suggestions, a checklist, for self-improvement which will help you hone your managerial skills, and become a better team leader.

Although these sales management aspects aren’t new to you, it’s important to take a step back from time-to-time to review what you’re doing, as well as what you may not be doing:

  1. Practice good follow-up. It’s something you encourage your staff to do – but do you practice it yourself? Ask your sales team for feedback on coaching, training, or team meetings – ask them if the information presented was useful and applicable to their experiences, or if they have any suggestions for improvement. You may be surprised at just how important these discussions can be to the overall health of your team.
  2. Keep learning. Effective sales team management stresses continual development of skills – but do you place any emphasis on your own training? Continue your professional development by attending coaching courses, management seminars, and communication classes, and you’ll find your improved skills are a positive contribution to your team.
  3. Set clear goals. Goals aren’t just for your sales team! Setting managerial goals is important, and creating measurable milestones will not only help you hold yourself accountable for your team’s development, it’ll keep you on track for creating a team of balanced, well-adjusted sales professionals.
  4. Be a great resource. Great sales team management means sharing your best practices, successes, and expertise with your reps. Let them know that you are knowledgeable and accessible, and that they can come to you with questions, challenges, or to receive qualified advice. And don’t be afraid to refer them to outside resources, in those cases where you don’t have all the answers!
  5. Hone your communication skills.  Do some research regarding learning types, and communication styles. Are you presenting information in a way everyone on your team can connect to? By honing your own communication skills, you’ll improve your overall approach to sales team management, and create an environment of inclusion.
  6. Focus on the positive. Emphasize the successes and achievements of your staff, and go out of your way to offer encouragement to those who are struggling. Adjusting your focus to reinforce the positive can be challenging, but a little appreciation and support can go a long way towards the development of a strong, resilient team.
  7. Become an excellent mediator. Effective sales team management includes the ability to rise above any conflict. When your team is squabbling or experiencing negative morale, address it immediately and diplomatically. Get to the root of your team’s concerns, and use your mediation skills to diffuse any negative interaction.
  8. Be a dedicated observer. Pay attention to the dynamics of your sales team, and keep an eye out for areas of potential improvement. Careful observation will help you hone your sales team management strategy, prioritize action, and offer valuable insight into team dynamics.
  9. Be trustworthy. Without an established relationship of trust, your leadership and guidance mean nothing. To build solid relationships, your team needs to know they can rely on you to act with honesty and integrity – so be trustworthy, and you’ll gain their respect.
  10. Practice accountability. Ensuring that you are following guidelines, policies, and instructions you’ve outlined for your staff isn’t just good sales team management, it will also help you understand the obstacles and challenges your team faces, and provide valuable insight on overcoming those obstacles. By accepting responsibility for your actions, and owning the results, you’ll also encourage your sales team to do the same.

Effective sales team management isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do – and the best way to lead is through example.

By focusing your sights on the self-improvement tactics which make you a better leader, you’ll hone your managerial skills, inspire your sales team, and improve overall morale – ensuring a more healthy and successful approach to accomplishing your organization’s sales goals.

For more information on how SalesFitRx can help your organization find more selling time, streamline the sales process, and improve your sales team management strategy – 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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LIFE AS A WOMAN IN SALES – ELINOR STUTZ

Women_In_Sales_1_-_358_shadow“A woman can never sell as well as a man. They’re not built for it.”

That’s the kind of thing I heard a lot of back in the 1980s & 90s. Here are a few other lines I recall hearing on a very regular basis from men at conferences, happy hours and in other conversations:

  • “They’re too emotional. They can’t handle the pressure of this job the way we can.”
  • “They’re too relational for their own good. It’s the product that sells itself.”
  • “Who even wants to buy products or services from a woman? A buyer won’t trust a woman selling our product.”

Cringe worthy words to read for most of us. There has been some improvement in our industry over the past decade or so but, unfortunately, sexism is still alive and well in the business of sales.

Even in my early days, I clearly knew many of the female sales professionls around me could help me improve in my skill set, and they did. I wasn’t afraid to seek out their thoughts on a variety of topics and I became better for it.

I believe quite a few other men with whom I worked felt the same, but the majority of them wouldn’t admit it.

We now know better that, for buyers, buying is emotional, buying is personal, so buying should be relational. Today, a lot of men are paying good money to receive training from female sales coaches/consultants who’ve known all along the importance of emotions and relationships when selling to a buyer.

With that said, I read a captivating blog post last week about a woman many of us have heard of who began her career in sales in the 90s and wildly succeeded in sales despite the prevailing [strong] prejudice against women in sales at that time, and even through this present day.

Freelance content manager, Huffington Post blogger [and an ENTP, for all of you personality test aficionados] Debra Carpenter(@hello_itsdeb for @hirevuesales) recently sat down with Elinor Stutz (@smoothsale) who shared her remarkable story of her days starting off in the sales industry a couple decades ago.

The post is called: “Elinor Stutz Opens Up About Life as a Woman in Sales.”

Whether you’re a woman or a man, this tale is worth reading because so many of the pillars of selling Stutz believed [and still believes] in are accepted best practices in sales today. Elinor was ahead of the game and she persevered through it all despite the persistent opposition from colleagues and management.

We can all learn more about the importance of trusting what you know to be true to persist in tough sales stretches.

Here are a few quotes from the post:

“It’s not about selling the first sale. The ultimate picture, which is much more rewarding, is repeat business, referrals, and testimonials. That’s what I call the ‘smooth sale.’ You don’t have to worry about it anymore. You deliver what you promised, and they’re so happy with the customer service, they keep calling you back and for more enhanced services.”

…and this one:

“Men burst out laughing, ‘How could a woman possibly know anything about sales?'”

…and this one:

“I’m very calm when you meet me, I’m not aggressive, I don’t boast about myself. It’s almost like the opposite of the image most people hold of a salesperson. I’m from the older generation, taught to be very polite and not boast, and ask people about themselves.”

Debra’s focus on the Accelerate Blog is to tell the stories of women sales professionals (read them all here). There’s been a void, and a need, for these stories to be told. They serve numerous important purposes, and I was really pleased to find her writing on this topic.

If you haven’t clicked over to Carpenter’s post, please do so now, then pass it along to the rest of your sales team with your thoughts on the story of Elinor Stutz, who now is a bonafide sales leader in the industry.

Kudos to Debra Carpenter for telling this story so effectively.

QUESTION: Who do you know, a woman, who’s persevered in the industry despite prejudicial treatment from colleagues and/or management? Tell us about her in 140 characters or less, and tag me: @SalesExecutiveX.

Let’s talk about it…

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HOW TO REDUCE HIGH SALES FORCE TURNOVER

Reducing_Costs_309_shadowEmployee turnover is extremely costly for any department – but even more so in sales, where quotas and revenue goals rule, and the cost of replacing an employee are high.

According to expert estimates, replacing a sales rep costs approximately 150-200% of their annual salary – and associated opportunity costs or business lost due to client loyalty can boost that number even higher.

According to a recent Gallup poll, the top five reasons for employee turnover include personality conflicts with a direct supervisor, inadequate pay and/or benefits, a lack of engagement with their assigned role, an overall failure to connect with the company vision, and a lack of commitment to quality amongst team-members.

Sales reps deal with these issues, in addition to the pressures of frequent travel, mandatory quotas, and constant emphasis on performance and bottom line – so it’s no wonder that sales teams are more prone to high turnover rates than other departments.

With a cost so high, how can your business address high turnover before it cripples your sales department? These strategies are designed to improve your sales rep retention, and help you create a strong and engaged team.

  1. Hire strategically. The most effective way to avoid high turnover rates is to hire the right people from the get-go. Pre-screen your new hires thoroughly, employing the use of situational exams or personality profiles to help you weed through the field of applicants (and find the flowers!). Invite only the most qualified candidates for an interview. It may take longer to fill your openings, but it will save you a ton of time and energy, in the long run.
  2. Improve your onboarding process. Build a strong foundation for success, by ramping up your sales rep onboarding. Make sure your new hire’s desk and equipment are set up prior to their start date, so they can avoid the new-hire slump, and hit the ground running. Also, get specific about their role and duties, setting reasonable expectations for performance, designed around their individual experience and qualifications. Consider partnering new reps with a mentor, who can help them get up to speed – and offer solid, ongoing sales training for at least the first six months. This will help create a sense of stability, and ensure that your sales reps are familiar with the resources available to them.
  3. Educate your sales reps. Share data and information regarding previous goals, accomplishments – and even failures. Familiarizing your sales team with past trends, strategies, and approaches will help them gain insight into what works (and what doesn’t) – and save you all time and frustration, in the long run. Informing your team will also help them understand the wider processes and performance of your department – providing them with insight into buyer behavior, organizational goals, and other relevant knowledge.
  4. Check in with your reps frequently. Want to know if your sales team is a happy one? Ask them! Hold one-on-one time periodically, and check in with staff to see how they feel about their current roles, assignments, and compensation. Acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments, and make sure they know that they are valued, and that their opinions matter. This will help you beat turnover before it rears it’s ugly head.
  5. Pay attention to compensation and benefits. If you aren’t providing compensation commensurate with performance, take note – your sales reps sure will! It’s important to reward high-performers appropriately, as they make up the bread and butter of your sales. Use performance data to create a scalable compensation program, with smart, measurable sales goals – and reward those who meet them, accordingly.
  6. Hold an “exit interview”. When a sales rep gives notice, holding an exit interview can help you gain honest insight about the workings of your organization. Ask your departing reps to share their reasons for leaving, as well as any feedback they have regarding issues they’ve experienced, or ways in which you might improve. You might be surprised at the results – but listen carefully, take notes, and act on any pertinent info as quickly as possible. If possible have someone else in your organization conduct an exit interview so you can compare notes.  You might find some differences around the reasons.

By adjusting your management strategies, you’ll not only save time and budget, you’ll reduce your exposure to high turnover, and find your sales department staffed by a team of satisfied, engaged, and motivated sales reps.

Commit to these measures, and you’ll find you encourage an environment of longevity, beneficial to everyone in your organization. The positive impact could be incredible – so why wait?

To learn more about how SalesFitRX can help you improve your organizational strategy, increase employee performance through increasing selling time, and set the smart goals which encourage employee commitment – contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com | 602-427-2399

 

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

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ARE YOU GIVING AWAY THE FARM WITH YOUR SALES DISCOUNTS?

Horse_Farm_318_shadowA discounted sale is better than no sale…right?

Certainly not always, and most likely not as often as you may think.

A common frustration among leadership above sales teams is that their salespeople give away too many discounts.

They’re giving away profits they could have retained if they were better prepared to respond to the steady stream of requests for discounts they receive from buyers.

Sales trainer, keynote speaker & coach Don Cooper, a.k.a “The Sales Heretic” (@doncooper), recently took on this issue head-on with a very useful blog post titled, Nine Reasons Salespeople Discount When They Shouldn’t.”

Cooper gets it right when he writes:

Buyers will never stop asking for discounts, for the simple reason that it’s in their best interest to. Salespeople need good reasons to be able to say no.

The post goes into the most common reasons why sales professionals give discounts when they really shouldn’t do so. Copper explains each one of them convincingly, and I agree these are the typical reasons why discounts are given.

A few of them include:

  • Fear of losing the sale
  • “Everybody does it.”
  • Unable to articulate the value

It’s the final reason, #9, that really sums up what’s needed at a foundational level. Addressing this issue with this one solution takes care of the other 8 reasons why discounts are too often given.

You’ll need to read Cooper’s post to find out what that ninth reason is.

With all of this said, are there times when discounts can or should be given? Yes, those situations certainly do exist. But, over time we gain experience and understand better how those moments are fewer and further between than we once thought.

[Reading Time: 1:30]

QUESTION ::: Can you think of a time when you gave a customer a discount when you really shouldn’t have done so?What was that situation and why don’t you believe a discount was the right call?

Let’s talk about it…

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

Read more »

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: SALES PROSPECTING, COACHING & OVERSELLING

Prospecting_319_shadowThis week’s links cover the topics of sales prospecting, sales coaching, the problem of overselling and additional links to more helpful, relevant resources.

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:

FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS :::

PeopleLinx Blog
Expert Selling Tips: Sales Prospecting
Danielle DiStefano (@daniellejdistef, for @PeopleLinx) compiled a list of PeopleLinx’s 6 favorite blog posts, from other sources, specifically about sales prospecting.

KEY QUOTE: Prospecting has figured out what it wants to be when it grows up. No longer is prospecting a surface-level activity, where sales reps make cold calls, pitch the product, confirm interest, and get off the phone as fast as possible.

Also check out the first and second installations in this series of blog post. They are also worth your time. #makeaprospectingbreakthrough
[Reading/Listening Time: 3:00]

THE LEADING OF SALES TEAMS :::

MHI Research Institute Blog
Getting Serious about Sales Coaching
Kim Cameron (@kimcameroncso, for @CSOinsights) offers some information from the 2015 Sales Management Optimization Study (from CSO Insights). This peek into the findings reveals a vital need in our industry for more effective sales coaching.

KEY QUOTE: One of the major tasks managers focus on is coaching sales team members – coaching accounts for 21.8% of an average work week. The average salesperson to sales manager ratio came in at 6.2 to 1 (down from 6.7 to 1 in the 2014 Sales Management Optimization study), which works out to 1.4 hours per week spent with each salesperson.

Where does your team’s sales coaching need to improve immediately? How will you do it? #effectivesalescoachingisunderutilized
[Reading/Listening Time: 2:00]

LISTS I LIKE :::

Heinz Marketing Blog: Daily B2B Sales & Marketing Insights
B2B Reads: Ethically Stealing & B2B Sales
Rebecca Smith (for @heinzmarketing) offers her list every Saturday and it’s a blend of consistently helpful sales and marketing links. I’ve been watching this one for a while to see if the consistency is there, and it is. Rebecca does a fine job with this regular feature.

KEY QUOTE: A lot of sales efforts are stuck between efficiency and effectiveness. Figuring out the right balance can be tricky at first.

I highly recommend reading each week’s B2B Reads, and bookmarking this link for archived posts of links. #likeminded
[Reading/Listening Time: 2:00]

NUTS & BOLTS :::

EngageSelling.com
Beware the Oversell
I love a good nuts and bolts article about something common to us in the process of selling, and Colleen Francis(@EngageColleen) delivers. Francis expertly dissects and then shows us how to reassemble our selling approach…minus the oversell.

KEY QUOTE: Conversations that are question-based and focused on the client’s needs will ensure you have the criteria to close the deal. By demonstrating you want to deliver precisely what’s asked for, you’ll create a win-win situation for you and your client that can ultimately lead to ongoing sales and service  ̶  as well as referrals.

You may be thinking you’ve heard this all before, but I recommend reading this one from start to finish and discovering what you needed to be reminded of or what you needed to hear for the first time in new words. #neveroversellagain
[Reading/Listening Time: 2:30]

 

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CAN A GAME LOOSEN A SALES TEAM FROM A SELLING RUT?

Football_363_shadowWho has time for games when there’s money to be made in sales today?

[Perhaps you will after reading this post]

“That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers.
Fun is just another word for learning.”
Raph Koster

Jason Daley (for @entrepreneur) recently told a great sales success story in his article, “What This Business Owner Did to Get His Team Out of a Sales Rut.

Please allow me to set the scene without spoiling the article for you. I really like this story…

A man named Brian Brady owns 6 Wireless Zone franchises employing 30 employees in total. Brady had been running multiple sales contests for his salespeople, offering bigger and better prizes in an effort to significantly boost sales. But, it didn’t bring about the increases in sales he was seeking.

He found this all-too-familiar scenario playing out:

“You always have your overachievers, then your middle-of-the-road sales guys, then the bottom tier,” Brady says. “The contests always had the same results, with the top salespeople winning. I had to start handicapping people, and the people at the top felt they were being punished for being good. The people at the lower end never paid attention to the contests because they felt like they’d never win.”

Brady was stuck, momentarily, where your sales team may be stuck today.

If the gamification of a traditional sales contest wasn’t the answer, why would any other form of gamification work? What other forms are even out there?

Brady didn’t give up, and his efforts paid off in a big way when he found a website offering a solution that he didn’t fully buy into at first:

Things were drastically different right away. [site name withheld] is a fairly expensive platform, and it took some convincing for me to buy into it. They said I would see improvement from day one, which is what everyone says. But I honestly did.

How so?

The No. 1 thing is that we have this sales goal assigned to us by Verizon, and we were struggling with it. I didn’t think we’d make it by the end of the year. But we crushed that goal in a month. It completely turned our sales process upside down.

How does the contest work?

This is where you should go and read the full article for yourself, not only to find out the answer to that question, but also find out which solution site they’re discussing in the article.

I will tell you that the solution effectively leveled the playing field so every employee had a chance to win while still keeping everyone rooting for each other at the same time.

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Gamification is also an element of what the web and mobile app, SalesFitRx, offers its users. With this being the blog of SalesFitRx, it should definitely be mentioned.

You can learn more about the award-winning app by viewing this new, brief video.

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QUESTION ::: Are you also stuck at this place as a team, as Brady’s team was, or have you been stuck in this way during another time of your careerDo you believe gamification, when applied well, can cause a significant breakthrough for a sales team?

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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