From everyone at Renbor Sales Solutions, to you and yours, a Merry Christmas, and a healthy and profitable 2015!
Here we are at the height of the holiday season, a season filled with family gatherings, good cheer, forgotten poverty (please donate to the Salvation Army), and loony tune predictions and resolutions. And why not, what’s the risk when we live in an ADHD addled society that explores grand ideas 140 characters at a time; who will remember to check 12 months from now. I mean really, is anyone reviewing what they predicted last year, hell no, it is easier to double down and make new predictions.
Sales is right in there like a, a, a, “wanna go play outside?” Sure some are sticking with their predictions, because if you say it enough it may come true one century, and there will always be those lost souls who are so deathly afraid to pick up the phone to prospect who wish with all their hearts that this is the year that clod calling does die. Sorry Virginia, there ain’t no Santa Clause, and cold calling still works, deal with this, you can even “cold tweet”.
So what does 2015 hold for sales?
Apps for sales and sellers will continue to grow, as will the confusion around them. Meaning that the more of something there is, the more confusion that may result. The victim will be clarity, are we seeing the outcomes we see because of the improved economy, the apps we use, or improved execution. I suspect (ok predict) , that much of the uptick in results for many will be much more due to the economy, very little with improved execution, and even less with their feel good apps. According to a recent press release from Accenture titled: Mediocre Performance by a Majority of Sales Representatives Cost Companies 3.2 Percent in Potential Revenue, Accenture Research, shows, “Just 59 percent of sales representatives are expected to achieve his/her quota in 2014, down from 67 percent in 2013.” This despite the rise in “social selling” and related apps. At the same time “(72 percent) are raising their revenue target by 5 percent or more in the coming year, only 14 percent of chief sales officers (CSOs) are very confident that they can achieve increased revenue goals.” Something has to change, and it is execution, I’ve said it before, a fool with a tool is still a fool; more tools by and for more fools. Execution, everything else is just talk.
Data will continue to make its impact on quality selling, call it big data, actionable data, or a term Miles Austin recently introduced me to “fast data”. Call it what you like, data will help you make the decisions you need as a sales person to execute. About the only positive from the proliferation of apps is the data they provide. The key is how you action the data, better data with unchanged thinking does not drive improved execution or results.
One bold prediction, there will be an app that will take a traditional approach to client engagement, and deliver it in a way that will make it easy for everyone to consume follow and succeed, as long as they, you guessed it, they execute, because, yes, everything else is just talk.
Well that’s my crystal ball gazing, anything more would be foolish. As a stock broker friend of mine said when asked about predicting where a stock will go “If I had crystal balls, I’d make noise when I walk!”
Learn about the ticket contest below!
Whether you are having a company sales kick of or not, if you are in the Toronto area on January 26th, 2015, you should attend The Art Of Sales, and kick your sales year off with some great presenters focused on helping you and your 2015 sales.
Specifically designed for sales and business development professionals, The Art of Sales is a unique one-day conference featuring six internationally renowned bestselling authors and visionaries, who will share an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking, best practices, current trends and real world experience on today’s most critical sales issues. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and network with over 1,300 of Canada’s most influential sales professionals.The Art of Sales will provide you with critical information and knowledge that will enable you to sustain a valuable competitive advantage and make a positive contribution to your success. Attendees will benefit from learning the latest strategies including how to…
- Strategically align sales and marketing
- Collaborate and connect with customers
- Engage prospects in a more meaningful dialogue
- Leverage social media tools more effectively
- Build and cultivate stronger relationships
- Enhance sales rep productivity
As a reader of The Pipeline and part of Renbor Nation, you can $50 per person by using the following promo code: RENBOR32
Enter Contest to win tickets to this event
You can also enter to win a ticket to this event. To learn more and to enter click here!
As part of a series of posts dealing with areas you should consider, better yet reconsider, going in to the New Year, today we look at incentive. No doubt everyone should be thinking about commissions, after all is in effect the cost of revenue. While there are other expenses, commissions/incentives, are the most direct “payment” you pay for bringing in revenue.
While there have been variations, updates and paint over through the years, little has changed in how and what you pay for.
In this article I penned for November issue of Sales and Service Excellence Essentials, I challenge and suggest an alternate way to spend incentive cash, and actually driving right behaviours that lead to results (revenues), and actually sustain both.
Take a read, let me know what you think, pro or con, some will call me names, others will want to pick up the phone and call me to discuss. In the end it’s your money, you should always be open to investing it more productively.
Read the piece here: Rethinking Sales Incentives Then comment below.
About a month ago I had the privilege to be part of a great panel exploring key issues sales leaders need to not just think about, but act on in preparing for a successfully 2015.
The panel included:
Lori Richardson – Score More Sales
Lee Salz – Sales Architects
Steven Rosen – STAR Results
Dan Enthoven – Enkata
Miles Austin – Fill the Funnel
As the next instalment in this week’s posts dealing with kicking the New Year off right, meaning in a way that will help sales organisations and teams exceed quota in 2015. Below is an expert from that discussion, but I encourage you to take in the full discussion by clicking here. It is a lively and insightful discussion that will provide a number of ideas for helping your team crush their number.
As we rush headlong in to the New Year, my next three posts will feature things sales leaders should be thinking about to drive success for their teams and their companies.
I want to start by inviting you to participate in a survey being conducted by my friends over at Star Solutions That Achieve Results Inc. (STAR Results), The Global 2015 STAR Sales Manager Survey.
The Sales Manager Survey seeks opinions and perceptions from sales executives and leaders around the world on key skills and development priorities for sales managers.
The goal of the study is to help organizations better meet the developmental gaps of their frontline sales managers.
“For companies to achieve better sales results they need to invest their resources into the proper training, support and coaching of their sales managers,” said Steven Rosen, founder of STAR Results. “Frontline sales managers are the key to unlocking the performance of the sales organization.”
The targeted audience for completing this survey is:
- VP of Sales
- Business Unit Managers/Directors
- National Sales Managers/Directors
- Regional Sales Directors
- Front Line Sales Managers
To participate in the study click on Take the Survey. Participants will receive a free copy of the final findings report – valued at $250.
Rosen observed that sales organizations invest millions of dollars on sales training, yet very little investment on their sales managers who develop top sales people. It isn’t surprising to see that so many sales managers are failing to delver the results their companies expect.
“Most sales managers are selected for management because they are excellent sales people but few are adequately prepared to help their sales team truly realize their potential,” said Rosen. “It’s assumed that because they can do it themselves, they can easily make the switch to getting the best out of others. But that’s just not true.”
As part of the process, Rosen will be presenting results and insights from the survey at the first Annual High Performance Sales Conference, in Toronto, Q1 2015. In addition to Rosen, the conference will feature Tim Hurson, myself and other industry leaders, keep you eyes here for more details to come.
About Steven Rosen/STAR Results
Steven Rosen, MBA is a top sales management consultant whose clients have included Fortune 100′s (including Novartis Pharmaceutical and Alcon), medium size businesses (including Red Rock Breweries) and select smaller businesses and charities for whom he helped grow the bottom line.
STAR Results, based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, is a sales management coaching, training and consulting organization dedicated to sales leadership development. Its mission is to inspire sales executive and managers to realize their vision, hire top-performing sales reps, transform managers into sales coaches and achieve greater personal and professional success
The Pipeline Guest Post - Diana Doherty
Want to increase productivity without stressing out your employees? Data can help you improve your process – and your workforce ROI.
Think you have the best possible toolkit for your sales team? Think again. The best sales tools now are all about integration and automation. If you’re using clunky apps or programs that don’t integrate, you’re wasting time. The best tools for your team make more sales, less work.
How can you give your team instant access to all the relationship data they need with immediate communication to managers? A mobile sales productivity app. Clari pulls information from sources like Salesforce and translates it into usable sales information. Clari’s goal is to give your team all the benefits of data without wasting their time on data entry. Use the management side of Clari to direct your sales team in real time. Clari is much more than an alternative to customer relationship management (CRM).
CRM software can be tough to choose, but it is imperative to your team’s success. Salesforce is one of the most popular options and for good reason. It’s a powerful CRM that focuses on customization, scalability, and integration. With so many options available, one of the most important features to consider is integration. The Salesforce AppExchange boasts hundreds of apps, plus the ability to create a custom-built app. The best part is the apps integrate with programs you’re already using, such as Evernote, DocuSign, Google Drive, and Hoopla.
This service connects to many of the best business apps, such as MailChimp, Stripe, GitHub, and Dropbox, to collect and analyze all your data. It finds patterns and creates shareable, interactive charts to represent that data. It features drag-and-drop chart creation, so you don’t need a specialist to analyze your data. Charts can even be set to automatically update when your data is updated, such as sales tracking spreadsheets. One more perk: DataHero works with Salesforce. You can combine Salesforce reports with Pardot or MailChimp reports to see your sales data from various services in a comprehensive, easy to understand format. No more exporting data to Excel and struggling to make sense of it.
Generate leads for your team backed with information they can use to convert. Act-On automates your social media and email marketing efforts, measures customer interaction, performs A/B testing, scores leads, and integrates with your CRM. It lets you create and manage email campaigns with webforms and attachments. It provides metrics and data analysis. Act-On is robust marketing automation software that delivers the customer information you need without drowning you in data.
Uniquely designed with B2B in mind, this sales pipeline service aims to optimize your sales process and lead your team to success. It has CRM tools built in, but focuses entirely on the sales perspective. Salespeople can see opportunities and where they are in the buying process. Membrain even analyzes and visualizes data for you, creating metrics for defined categories. Most impressive, though, is the drag-and-drop customization of the interface you can design to match your sales process exactly.
If your sales team travels, Perenso could be an invaluable tool. The iPad app allows your team access to pertinent client data, and competitor information. It prioritizes clients based on their history, minimizes data entry, handles orders, and encourages upselling. Your team can even create and share presentations in Perenso. Team data is updated instantly, letting you keep tabs in real time. You set cycle priority and Perenso schedules visits and calls in the most efficient order, saving on drive time and money.
The best sales tools address needs you have now with the integration flexibility to address needs that may arise in the future. Remember, when you choose tools for your team, it’s all about empowering them to do their best and saving them time. Anything that clutters up the sales process isn’t the best tool for your business.
About Diana Doherty
Diana Doherty is a freelance writer specializing in SEO content, and is a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She loves all things tech, photography, craft, military family life, and business. She earned her BA in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego.
Book Review - Amp Up Your Sales – Andy Paul
Andy looks at a key question in sales: What Buyers Want from Sellers?
It’s the big mystery of sales. How do we get buyers engaged? What can we say or do to make them pick us. What can we do to speed their decision?
Andy looks at how to deliver what your customers want in Amp Up Your Sales. He presents powerful strategies to move customers to make faster and more favorable decisions.
I had a call with Andy about the book, and here are some insights.
TS: Amp Up Your Sales focuses on responsiveness, maximizing value and simplification in your selling efforts. Why did you focus on these topics?
AP: The Amp in the title is really an acronym (AMP). It is a simple mnemonic device I created, that all salespeople can use to ensure that every step of their sales process is focused on the tangible and intangible attributes that make a difference to their customers and their ability to make good decisions quickly.
A=Accelerate Your Responsiveness: Responsiveness in sales has two components: information and speed. To be responsive a seller has to provide complete information to a customer in a timely manner. One way to think of this is that every customer has a certain number of steps in their buying process. And each step has associated with it certain questions that need to be answered before the customer can move on to the next step. Being a responsive means to quickly provide the customer the information they need to move on to the next step.
M=Maximize the Value You Deliver in Each Sales Interaction: A customer gives a seller some of their time. In reality they invest their time in the seller. The seller has to give the customer something of value in return for that investment. That value must be something (information, facts, insights) that moves the customer at least one step forward in their buying process. If the customer gives a seller some of their time and they receive nothing of value in return they will stop giving time to that seller.
P=Practice Simplicity in Your Selling: The difference between winning and losing in sales is a very thin margin. I ask sellers all the time: “What was your margin of victory in your last deal? 10% 50% 75%?” The fact is that no one knows and no seller can predict. They have to assume that their margin of victory, especially in this economy where the actual and perceived differences amongst products is virtually nil, will be only 1%. The question then becomes what can a seller do that will create 1% more value than their competitors? In these cases, winning a deal often comes down to the small things, the simple things that a seller can do to create differentiation. For instance, one simple way to stand out from the crowd of competitors is to be more responsive.
I could go on, but it is a better idea to get a copy and read it immediately. Pay particular attention to Chapter 13: The Power of The First Perception. It will change how you respond to leads forever.
BTW, Andy tells me that if you buy the book today, you get instant access to Andy’s 6-part video series with sales giants and more on concrete strategies you can use right away to amp up your sales, while I may not be on the list, you can still learn more here.
I remember reading somewhere about a company that had set up different office, each with a different motif. One would be full of things relating to fishing, another would be all decked up with pictures of golf courses and golf related chachkas. The goal was to stump the sales people who would come through, often it played out to be stump the chump. They wanted to see how many sales people would fall into the trap of trying to create rapport by making small talk, no let’s be honest and call it what it is, empty talk, by trying to relate to and talk to the motif in the room. You’ve seen it, the sales rep trying to chummy up to the buyer buy talking about his fishing adventures or golf outings.
What the sales people didn’t realize is that none of the pictures include the person they were meeting with, there were no names on the door, these were their “sales social experiment”, and not social in today’s context. If and when a sales rep bit, the company had a bit of a chuckle, and the rep’s stature went down a notch.
While we can talk about the merits of this little experiment, it does highlight how easily some sales people assume things through their filters, and run with those assumptions till they hit a wall or fall off a cliff, and it’s too late to recover. If you think something is so, even something as obvious as a person liking golf because of the pictures on the office wall, why not ask a question instead of making a statement. Put in the form of a question you give the prospect a chance to correct you, without putting yourself in a corner. What’s more, in the process of correcting you, they often share additional and valuable information or nuance that can prove to be valuable in moving the sale forward.
Even when things seem obvious, they are often not. I’ll give a personal experience, on a regular basis I receive calls from strangers, who start by telling me how great they get along with someone I did a webinar with, or was on a panel with, making the assumption (and hoping) that because our names share a billboard it will warm their way into my heart. The reality is that this just heightens my suspicions about their intents, given that other than that one event we have little in common; in fact at times, I am there as a counter to the other panelist’s view. Yet if they would not lean on this false assumption who knows what they may be able to achieve? Just because my name is Tibor does not mean I like goulash, I’ll take a hot vindaloo any day.
While it may take a bit of effort, it would be so much more profitable to validated things before betting the farm, or in this case the outcome of the sales call or the whole sale.
Yes, even when you think you know something, test it, because often you will find that you really didn’t know until it is much too late or costly.
Successful sales people share certain attributes, some can be learned and developed, some we come by naturally, and if we have less of those than other, we can spend time and effort developing them, and improving our sales habits and results in the process. Two that are common to many successful sales people are ego and confidence. The question and challenge is proportions and dominance, and as always, intent.
Some sales people tend to confuse ego with confidence, and fall victim to this trait. When I was a young rep I had the fortune to learn the difference between the two, and learned to balance one with the other. My mentor kept telling me that if I have to tell people how great I am, rather than demonstrating it through my actions, ability and knowledge, I was letting my ego lead, and likely costing myself sales and friends. Demonstrating capabilities is confidence, a sign of security, attracting people and their confidence in me, and helping my sales success. Telling it to people signaled insecurity, thus causing them to pause before acting with me, and buying form me. Confidence is something you can build and more importantly share with others, bringing them into you process. An ego driven by insecurity is often sustained by having an air of superiority, expressed or implied, or both. Neither adding to ones sales success.
Let’s be clear there is nothing wrong with sales people having an ego, the question again is intent, and the risk of an unchecked ego. I remember once telling a director that I could not imagine or fathom going to our annual sales meeting and going up on stage to receive an award other than the one for making quota. This drove my activities, and gave her a great tool to motivate me when needed. I remember having a slow start to a fourth quarter, all she had to do was to remind me that I need X dollars to put me into the Platinum Club. No doubt it helped her bonus, but it was the reminder, the nudge I needed to get my act in gear; ego served a good purpose.
If confidence is a sign of ability and security, no doubt that is more than partly supported by knowledge and how to best apply that knowledge. In the case of sales how do we help buyers achieve their objectives, so they buy our product, pay their invoices and help us achieve Platinum or some such club. Some sale people are too lazy to acquire knowledge, after all it does take work, it often takes more than what your company will spoon feed you. Face with the choice of putting in the effort or faking it, many sales people opt for the latter. This is often manifested in some sales people compensating for knowledge with ego, or more accurately their lack of knowledge. As Einstein pointed out, the relationship is invers, Ego = 1/ Knowledge. By extension, the more knowledge the greater the confidence and less leading with ego. Buyers aren’t stupid, they can tell the difference, and their buying decisions reflect that. Leading to bruised egos and missed sales and numbers.
In the end the elements that make for a confident rep are usually the ones that make for a successful rep. When you find the balance tipping to ego, step back and ask what you need to do to re-calibrate, not only will it make you a better person, but a more successful seller.