New sales people today are so lucky that it makes me envious. They’re given an accessible abundance of training, documented success stories, automated tools, and a knowledge base of best sales practices to guide them towards success. But, even with all this support, what completely puzzles me is that these lucky new sales reps are repeating the bad habits of their predecessors – and making the same rotten mistakes. You see, there was a time – long, long ago – when an effective salesperson was one that was good at schmoozing, was likable, took clients out to expensive dinners, and closed lots of deals. But these practices went only so far. Since then, especially with the major advances in technology, buyers have become much more sophisticated. The sales profession clearly had to adjust accordingly.
If you could follow around a group of outstanding salespeople and presenters with a camera over a long period of time, you would discover practices common to them all. These would likely range from small behaviors, like how they greet someone to broader skills, like how they link features to value in presentations. But, what would their “herding cats” behaviors be?
This “herding cats” phrase comes from an article by NY Times columnist David Brooks, writing about Doug Lemov, Managing Director of Teach Like a Champion. Lemov studies excellent teachers, as measured by student achievement, to determine the shared behaviors of outstanding educators. It turns out that the most successful teacher in a study of 6000 teachers was previously unheralded and that her key success skills were small and largely “invisible.” (more…)
SALESFORCE PRODUCTIVITY has been one of the hot conference topics for several years. And, when they first engage me, most clients use this term to mean what you’d expect – how do I get my sellers to sell more? Often though, the easiest methods for improving productivity are in your hands. Reducing internal obstacles, improving what my friend, Lori Richardson refers to as the” sales prevention department”, is one of the fastest ways to improve your numbers.
All things being equal – you have a great brand, a great product and solid delivery – how you enable your sellers will be the differentiator in making your numbers or not. The CEB has called this ‘seller burden’ and organizations will ‘higher burden’ have at least a 12% lower conversion rate. Here are five ways that you can pave the way for your sellers to be high performers. (more…)
Many companies come to us with no sense of what makes them unique. They feel as if they’re exactly the same as their competitors. Their goal is to run more frequent lead generation campaigns, or hire salespeople who will dial faster and shout louder than their competition. All this so they’ll reach prospects first because they don’t believe they have any unique differentiation to win sales on their well-earned merit. (more…)
Persistence. Tight-lipped determination. Perseverance. Strength of purpose. Staying power. These are the typical, sought-after characteristics of top sales people. The truth is, sometimes tenacity works, and sometimes it destroys sales success when it’s not applied in the right way. Yes, that’s right. The very traits sales managers seek in their reps can actually backfire and send them over the ledge of failure. It’s up to managers to recognize the signs and pull them back in.
On a recent interview by Paul Watts for his show Sales Reinvented Podcast, he asked me “What’s one thing you wish you knew earlier in your sales career?”
My answer: “I wish I would have known to be more hardcore at pre-qualifying.”
Pre-qualifying prospects is critical! When I think of all the thousands of hours I’ve spent in nearly two decades on trying to force square customers into a round hole – it kind of makes me ill. I left pre-qualifying up to a loosely knit (more…)