How to Get New Salespeople to Ramp Up Quickly

Finding sales people that have the potentially exceed quota is easier than successfully on boarding them. And they won’t exceed quotas if they are not thoroughly on boarded.

We are able to find people who pass a very complete and stringent sales assessment, interview them on the phone and in person-with more than one manager, validate their resume, verify they fit our culture, and that they aren’t drug addicts, etc.

But if they aren’t managed they will fail.

It seems that some leaders don’t understand how to manage sales people or the importance. An assumption is made that they are in sales, therefore they know what to do.

But like any other employee who doesn’t know your software or your product they needs some basic education in your company and how to interact with a potential prospect (I have an on boarding list I’m happy to share, just let me know).

There are a few basic management concepts to understand. The simplest is that the new salesperson should do the activity they committed to do: the calls, networking, walk-ins, emails, Linkedin, etc., in the amount they committed to do! If they aren’t/won’t/can’t do that, then find another candidate who will.

Assuming they will do what you are paying them to do, some kind of classroom training with self-directed online training and coaching will help transfer knowledge. Shadowing an experienced salesperson can bring all that book learning home!

This Dave Kurlan article does a great job of helping to understand how shadowing can work, the 4 best practices to be sure it can help ramp up your new people.  Quickly!

Enjoy!

How do your salespeople measure up?

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

EBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More about OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

Reasons for Poor Sales Performance

When working with sales people and organizations on questioning skills I always teach a technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used within the Toyota car company. As Wikipedia defines it, “5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationship underlying a particular problem.”

I teach this to help people understand the root cause of an issue. If one understand the root cause, or real issue, they can question deeper and more effectively to find the right solution.

Of course this works in a manufacturing setting, and it is just as valuable in sales. But sometimes people don’t want to accept what has been determined to be true.

Company and sales leaders may experience this with the results (or lack thereof) from their salespeople:

The great salesperson that can’t/won’t manage

The great account manager that can’t/won’t hunt

The energetic sales team now complacent

I evaluate sales teams with OMG’s Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA) to basically conduct an MRI into the sales team, sales management and the company systems and processes. It isn’t a behavioral or personality evaluation but a true assessment of the organization’s ability to achieve strategic revenue goals. We can determine if they will, and what is required if they currently can’t.

And I have heard, “That wasn’t what I expected!”

This Dave Kurlan article is about helping leaders look into the mirror, and what some say about what they see.

Enjoy!

 How do your salespeople measure up?

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

eBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More About OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

 

Failing to Understand the Reasons for Poor Sales Performance

When working with sales people and organizations on questioning skills I always teach a technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used within the Toyota car company. As Wikipedia defines it, “5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationship underlying a particular problem.”

I teach this to help people understand the root cause of an issue. If one understand the root cause, or real issue, they can question deeper and more effectively to find the right solution.

Of course this works in a manufacturing setting, and it is just as valuable in sales. But sometimes people don’t want to accept what has been determined to be true.

Company and sales leaders may experience this with the results (or lack thereof) from their salespeople:

The great salesperson that can’t/won’t manage

The great account manager that can’t/won’t hunt

The energetic sales team now complacent

I evaluate sales teams with OMG’s Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA) to basically conduct an MRI into the sales team, sales management and the company systems and processes. It isn’t a behavioral or personality evaluation but a true assessment of the organization’s ability to achieve strategic revenue goals. We can determine if they will, and what is required if they currently can’t.

And I have heard, “That wasn’t what I expected!”

This Dave Kurlan article is about helping leaders look into the mirror, and what some say about what they see.

Enjoy!

 How do your salespeople measure up?

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

eBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More About OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

 

 

The Latest Data on Sales Motivation

“I have salespeople on my team that are complacent.”

Have you heard someone say that; or worse, heard yourself say that?

It isn’t an unusual comment from business leaders. And I typically hear it linked with something like, “How can I motivate my people?”

There are at least 3 variables to understand;

  1. Desire: Their passion for success IN SALES; how badly they want to be successful.
  2. Commitment: Their willingness to do what it takes (ethically) to be successful (yes, even cold calls!)
  3. Motivation: What is it that motivated them?

When we assess sales candidates and evaluate sales teams we measure each of these to understand how leaders can move their teams forward; or understand that they can’t…

If we find people lacking desire or commitment, movement is tough.

Motivation is different, because it is about the “What.”

So when Dave Kurlan and The Objective Management Group (OMG) share their latest data on motivation, it is always enlightening.

This year they added a new motivation category: Altruistic Motivation. Now we have 3 variable to review: Extrinsic, intrinsic and altruistic. And because people aren’t always just one of these, we have several variations.

So check out the Dave Kurlan article below. It is short and to the point. Great Data!

Enjoy!

To learn more, check these out:

 How do your salespeople measure up?

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

eBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More About OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

 

Win Every RFP

I recently worked with a client team with some staff changes since I last worked with them. One new member was a specialist in the construction area, well experienced in the field but not in sales.

He was a little resistant to learning sales process, saying that it didn’t matter in construction, where only low bid mattered.

He was visibly taken aback when other team members provided examples of profitable construction projects my client had earned from certain companies, consistently, without a bid or RFP.

It is not unusual to hear that a company’s prospecting plan includes searching websites for requests to quote or propose. Then, seeing them spend dozens of man-hours creating a perfect response. And then to see them happy to close 20 or 30%.

Are they so happy to have wasted 70-80% of their time?

Some organizations don’t understand any other way to drive revenue: The issue is that I don’t understand their business, not that there could be an alternative approach.

Even in construction.

This Dave Kurlan article is brief and to the point. He clearly explains why prospects want an RFP and why we respond. And he sets out what we should do instead.

Enjoy!

To learn more, check these out:

 How do your salespeople measure up?

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

eBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More About OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding This Sales Competency is More Important Than Ever

Most of the company leaders I work with did not come from a sales background. Like me, most had developed a different skill or skills and learned to sell because they started a business.

And many of these leaders don’t really understand salespeople. They have certain perceptions of what sales people are or should be, and many of those perceptions are incorrect.

I often hear about complacency. “My sales people manage their accounts well enough, but they don’t seem interested in driving new business. How can I motivate them?”

It is very difficult to motivate someone who isn’t already motivated. The first step is to understand, “why aren’t they motivated”? Did they used to be motivated and lost it, or were they never really motivated.

When I work with leaders to hire great salespeople we always look to see if they are motivated and what motivates them. Then, we have to be sure we implement a sales management system that doesn’t de-motivate them.

Many leaders believe that the key to motivate salespeople is money: wave the carrot and all will be good!  And that may have been true in the past. But not any longer.

Most salespeople today are intrinsically motivated. But that is only one part of motivation. Do they have a passion for success in sales? Are they willing to do what it takes to be successful?

This Dave Kurlan article goes into detail about the crucial sales competency: motivation. This is a must read for both sales people, and leaders to gain insight into how to consistency drive profitable revenue.

Also, find out:  How do your salespeople measure up?

Enjoy!

To learn more, check these out:

Five Key Steps to Management: http://rockymountainbusinessforum.com/episode-65/

White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Tool – Sales Force Grader

Tool – Sales Process Grader

Register for Free Trial of Salesperson Candidate Assessments

EBook – 63 Powerful Sales Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales

White Paper – The Challenger Style and its Impact on Sales Selection

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection

Learn More About OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation

Candidate Assessment Subscription Plans

 

 

 

Are Closing Skills Over Rated?

A client is frustrated with their company’s flat revenue growth. They seem to be in front of enough new prospects but can’t close the business. They ask, “How can we improve our closing skills?”

The question they should be asking is, “How can we close more business?”

I often use the physician analogy with regard to sales: the salesperson is (or should be) a skilled diagnostician. When they engage a prospect, who may believe they have a closing problem, they ask enough questions to uncover the real issue; they conduct a root cause analysis.

The root cause of poor revenue growth is typically not lack of closing skills but lack of a clear sales process, strong hunting and qualifying skills and a strong consultative approach.

I often tell folks that closing is the easiest part of selling; as long as you do everything else right!

If sales process is missing, and sales methodology is not executed well, closing rates after a proposal can be 30% or less. That means salespeople may spend 70% of their time trying to make an opportunity close that wasn’t properly diagnosed and sold in the first place.

The time they spend chasing late stage opportunities that are poorly qualified takes them away from working the early stages more effectively: hunting, qualifying and consultatively selling.

This Dave Kurlan article validates this concept and he has the number to prove it!

Enjoy!

Top 20 Reasons Are Key to Boosting Sales

Many of the company leaders I work with had recognized sales was the constraint – or roadblock – in their business. They didn’t know why that was, or what to do about it. They were looking for answers and a clear, defined plan.

The Dave Kurlan article I’m featuring this month is about the current popularity of data analytics, and his “Top 20 Reasons Why Data May Not be the Key to Boosting Sales” is directly related to the company leaders I work with.

I spoke with a client this morning who is “getting it”. They have access to great data to run the operations and financial side of their business but lacked foundational information on sales. This company has plans to grow to nearly 30 salespeople yet, in the past, haven’t been able to effective manage 8. Performance was poor, margins low and turnover excessive.

They now have some of the 20 basics (you’ll see more in Dave’s article), like a defined sales process with clear, defined sales plans for their people and conversion ratios from first contact to closing. They are actively working on these:

  1. Better sales selection
  2. More effective Sales coaching
  3. More complete On Boarding of new salespeople

It is not unusual for leaders to look for a magic bullet to improve sales. They might grasp for the latest sales tool they hear about from an email or social media post, or from Harvard Business Review (Not a great source for small to mid-sized companies).

Data is important, and this article will help you understand which data you should be collecting and analyzing.

Enjoy!

Why Salespeople Struggle to Become Great Sales Managers

In our evaluations of sales organizations, we assess sales people, their managers and the company systems and process that support sales. We find answers to questions like:

  • How Does Sales Leadership Impact Your Sales Force?
  • Can You Improve Your Sales Culture?
  • Are You Being Consistent with Your Sales Process?
  • Why Aren’t You Generating More New Business?
  • Is Your Ramp-Up of New Salespeople Fast Enough?
  • Can You Improve Your Pipeline and Forecasting Accuracy?
  • Who Can Become More Effective in Their Roles?

These particular questions reflect on sales management: if there are problems here, there are problems with sales management.

Several times over the past 16 years, after we evaluated a sales organization, the manager asked to be moved back into sales.

Why?

Selling skills and sales management skill are different. The things that make a great sales person are not always those that make a great sales manager. It is not unusual for a sales manager to want their work life to be simpler, have to potential to make more money and not have to deal with other salespeople!

The best sales managers I have known want to mentor and grow people, are lifelong learners, can handle detail and have a desire to grow professionally.

To understand why some sales managers fail, check out this Dave Kurlan article. He provides a short list of the reasons new managers struggle and what to do about them

7 Reasons Why Salespeople Underperform and How Sales Leaders Can Coach Them Up

The business owners I speak with often want to know why their people aren’t hitting their numbers. My over simplified response is that salespeople don’t reach quota for two reasons: they don’t know what to do (they need training), or they know what to do but can’t or won’t do it (they need coaching).

While those two areas are key, and have to do with the salesperson involved, there are 5 other reasons that should be considered:

  • Initial Selection
  • On Boarding
  • Messaging
  • Sales DNA
  • Sales Process

These 7 reasons involve management stepping up and being proactive in helping salespeople become more effective. If your salespeople aren’t succeeding, check the mirror!

This Dave Kurlan article defines these terms and provides ideas on how to understand strategies for salespeople and management to hit the sales numbers the company requires.