Category Archives for Sales Leader

Sales Leaders, The Sales Evangelist, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1181: 3 Things Leaders Do To Hurt Sales Rep Relationships

 

 

Sales Leaders, The Sales Evangelist, Donald C. Kelly

Sometimes, there are 3 things leaders do to hurt sales rep relationships and most times, they do it unintentionally. This is especially hard because sales leaders and sales reps spend a lot of time together. A bad leader can negatively affect how a sales rep makes his sell. While a good leader helps how sales reps can improve their sales. 

Marc Levine founded his ImprovMySales business four years ago. The company is dedicated to creating wonderful and profitable places to work. Before this business venture, Marc was part of a sales team as a national account executive and technology and professional services. For the last 16 years, he has been developing leaders and teams, teaching people communication skills, selling services to certain companies including Citibank, Prudential, and Best Buy.  

3 things leaders do to hurt sales rep relationships

There are probably more, but let’s focus on just the three things for now. 

  • A leader does not create a psychologically safe environment
  • The leader forgets about humanity 
  • The leader is emotionally unintelligent

August has been a leadership month and people have been talking about the important things to become a good sales leader. This involves setting a vision and becoming a good coach. It’s about creating a culture where sales reps can thrive and succeed. 

When a leader fails to create that safe environment, the sales relationship takes a hit. 

By definition, psychological safety was a term coined by the social psychologist, Amy Edmonson. Google did a two-year study and analyzed the qualities of its most effective teams. The results of the study have shown that teams promoting psychological safety produced better revenues and their team members stayed in the work longer than others. Psychological safety is a team norm that says it’s safe to take risks, to be vulnerable, to ask for help, and to disagree with the rest of the team. 

When you do, you won’t be ostracized for disagreeing but instead, you’ll be honored and validated. 

An environment where sales leaders can thrive

As a parent, when your kid doesn’t understand something, you want your kid to feel safe to come to you and ask for help without getting embarrassed. The same is true in sales. As a leader, you need to develop a team where your members can be honest and can come forward when they don’t understand something. 

You want your team members to come to you about their problems early on in the sales cycle rather than at the end of it where the deal is falling apart. This is the essence of psychological safety. 

It’s an environment where people can ask for help, be vulnerable, take risks, and be supported 

Create a psychologically safe environment 

This doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when your sales reps come to you asking for help and instead of reacting, you validate and support them. Do it a couple of times for the team members to realize that you want to help them. 

Sales leaders also need to stop blaming the team members. Blame and accountability are two different things. 

Blaming makes the blamed feel bad and threatened. It’s when sales leaders bombard the reps with questions like: 

  • Why didn’t you hit the quota last month?
  • What are the reasons why you lost that sale?
  • Why aren’t you doing this?

These questions foster negativity. Accountability helps you raise the team’s standard without making the reps feel bad. It’s more like saying, “Hey you didn’t hit your quota last month and I know you’re disappointed. Let’s talk about what happened that may have contributed to this and let’s figure out the solutions.” Build an environment where your members can be comfortable in having a dialogue. 

As a sales leader, you also need to admit your own mistakes. Research shows that when you admit your mistakes, the people around you will come close and will open up about theirs as well. 

There’s power in vulnerability and when you use that power, you will see your sales team come closer and open up to you. 

Leaders forget about humanity 

The next in the list of the 3 things leaders do to hurt sales rep relationships is forgetting about humanity. 

Salespeople are like stand-up comedians. We go out there showing confidence knowing that we’re going to be rejected. We are a fragile group. When sales leaders remember the humanity of the people on their team, the members tend to go above and beyond. The members put in incremental efforts. 

Sales leaders also need to stop making the team members like little versions of themselves. Every member is unique with their own set of skills and strengths. Forcing things that you do well onto them will make them feel resentful. Instead, honor their strength. Validate the things that they do well to make them feel excited and engaged. Make them feel heard and understood. 

Remember that you are working with human beings who have hopes and fears. and get scared. Honor that part of them. 

Build strong relationships with your sales team

Sales leaders need to build strong relationships with their team and practice emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman wrote in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence that people with emotional intelligence are more successful in their careers than those who are just relying on pure intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and regulate your own feelings to understand and empathize with the feelings of others. As a sales leader, you need to be aware of your emotional triggers to be able to manage them. If you fail to develop that, you can easily be overtaken by your emotional triggers and start to judge your team. 

These triggers tend to show up again and again and these are no surprises. 

Some of the triggers are when your sales rep didn’t hit the quota or when someone in your team isn’t adapting to the new technology, and when someone’s not putting something into the CRM.

So, list your triggers and think of all the situations and the people that trigger the fight, flight, or freeze responses.  

The sales team and all its members are the backbones of an organization. We want them to feel empowered and we can’t make that happen if we don’t provide them an environment where they can thrive and if we keep blaming them. Have conversations with them and make them feel good so that they’d want to produce for you. 

“3 Things Leaders Do To Hurt Sales Rep Relationships” episode resources

Connect with Marc at improvmysales.com or reach him at (718) 637-7890. 

If you like this episode, don’t be shy and give us a thumbs up and rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. We produce podcasts weekly so make sure to subscribe to get more of these sales talks that matter! Share this with your friends and teach them how to subscribe as well. 

This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a helpful guide for sales reps and sales leaders to improve their pitches and presentations. It has 12 courses and you can get the first two modules for free! If you want to take your sales to the next level, then I recommend that you join us with our group coaching. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

If you’re a reader who loves reading and listening to books, you can also check out Audible as well and explore this huge online library with thousands of books. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound

Sales Reps, Time Management, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1167: My Sales Reps Say They Are Too Busy…I Think This Is Crap!

 

Sales Reps, Time Management, Donald C. KellySales reps and sales leaders face a lot of challenges, and some sales reps say they are too busy. Sometimes the problems are nothing major, but on some other times, the problem causes a ripple in the revenue. One situation that causes such a negative impact in sales is when salespeople claim that their pipeline is down due to busyness. This is when sales reps spend much of their time helping current customers find opportunities and they no longer have the time to bring new business or clients. 

This is a common situation among sales leaders and sales reps. It is a legitimate question because sometimes, sales reps come up with excuses and they don’t recognize that. Sales reps often have too much on their plate and they get so busy which then prevents them from getting out and doing sales activity. 

Size of your organization 

What is the size of your organization? This is an important question because if you’re working in an organization with sales in a small company, the sales rep is doing the prospecting and finding leads. After that, the sales rep tries to convert the leads into appointments that lead up to initial conversations. They build value, negotiate, and maintain the account. The sales reps are there in the entire process, but doing all that can cause problems. 

If you’re in an enterprise organization, the sales reps’ main responsibility is closing deals. If you have different departments and individuals doing BDR work, researching, getting leads, doing client success, and managing accounts then there shouldn’t be any problem. 

For small organizations, the sales reps are doing everything and the sales reps legitimately may be too busy. 

Empathy 

As sales manager, your first course of action is to show empathy. We can’t expect our sales reps to go out and show empathy to the prospects without giving them our empathy first. We need to truly understand where they’re coming from.

For example, if a prospect says that the software isn’t working, you don’t argue with him. We can’t exactly tell the prospects to go figure the software out. The same is true for our sales reps. We can’t tell them to figure things out and make it happen. Give them the benefit of the doubt, hear them out first, and figure out why they feel overwhelmed. 

Sales managers are busy people and you might feel that you don’t have enough time to manage everything, but you have to do it. You have to go to the second step after empathizing. 

Diagnose 

The next step is diagnosing. Start this by creating a time audit sheet. It can be on a word document or whatever means possible. Have your sales reps list all the tasks they do in a day,  including answering questions, answering prospects, reaching out on LinkedIn, and many others. They have to write everything down and the length of time they spent doing each task. 

Finally, they need to label whether it’s a sales task or an admin task. If it’s something that directly connects to bringing new business in the organization, then label it as a sales task. 

Reaching out for a client in LinkedIn is a sales activity but going through contracts in the database isn’t. In that case, have somebody else in the organization go through the contracts. Free up sales reps from doing admin tasks and let them do activities that directly tie to getting new prospects. #Revenue

Another example is cleaning up the CRM. This isn’t a sales activity, especially if it’s not in prime time. Maybe you can do this at home or delegate it to somebody else instead of letting the sales reps do it. 

On a scale of 1-3 

After putting labels to the tasks, categorize them on a scale of 1 – 3. 

  • 1 – it’s directly tied to bringing new business 
  • 2 – average
  • 3 – it’s not so directly tied to bringing new business 

Doing this will make you see that the majority of the sales reps’ time is spent on admin related activities. In smaller organizations, sales reps must do all kinds of tasks but you can avoid this. 

Getting a sales resource individual to help the sales rep find prospects is a great idea. 

The sales research rep connects with the operations department and makes sure that jobs are fulfilled. If the sales rep was to find a prospect and need a particular product or service to seal the deal, the sales research rep would do that task instead. The sales rep would have enough time to go and look for other prospects and clients. 

Sales research reps are very much like project managers. They see to it that everything gets done and that the proper products and samples needed by the sales reps are provided and presented to the client. 

This saves a lot of time and promotes efficiency in the organization. 

The sales research reps are assistant to the sales reps and do the admin tasks for the sales reps. This way, the sales reps become more productive with their time. 

You can do this to your company, too. Find some individuals who can help you alleviate the struggles of the sellers and let the sellers focus on what they do best: making sales. 

“Sales Reps Say They Are Too Busy” episode resource

Companies differ and what works for others may not work for you. Whatever the case may be, let us know of the results. You can connect with me via our Facebook page or LinkedIn. Drop me a message and let me know if this works well for your organization. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Training Sales Program. A course to guide sales reps and sales leaders to become better in doing their pitches and presentations. It has 12 courses to help you find the right customers, ask the right questions, and close great deals. You can get the first two modules for free! 

Or you can also check out Audible as well and explore this huge online library with thousands of books. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Thank you for tuning in and if you liked this episode, do give a rating and review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Sales Process, The Sales Evangelist, Erin Pheil

TSE 1163: How Leaders Sabotage The Sales Process

Sales Process, The Sales Evangelist, Erin PheilSales leaders sometimes make mistakes that compromise deals, so understanding how leaders sabotage the sale process can help us avoid the same mistake. 

Erin Pheil is the founder of The MindFix Group, a company that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, high-achievers, and high-performers eliminate their biggest mental roadblocks that hold them back and keep them from achieving what they’re capable of. 

Head trash

Some sales leaders have very specific definitions of what a sales leader is. For Erin, anybody who is in charge of guiding the people in making the right decisions and who is doing sales for a company is considered a sales leader

Many sellers read books and work with experts to improve their skills in sales. They keep learning, and then they show up on calls. They often show up to these calls prepared, but also with head trash. They’re showing bits and pieces of their old mental programming and outdated beliefs that aren’t helpful in closing deals. They go to the calls and they try to combine new knowledge and strategies that their coaches have taught them with their old beliefs. 

When things go wrong, they don’t blame themselves. They blame the technique and the process, or even the people they hired. They don’t look at their head trash and suspect that they might be the ones sabotaging the process. 

Blaming the process, techniques, and tactics instead of examining how they’re screwing things up sabotages the sales process. 

Accepting blame

It takes courage to accept blame because it’s human nature to blame somebody else. It takes courage to stop, pause, and hold a mirror to yourself and ask how you’re contributing to the challenges that you’re experiencing. It’s much easier to project outward and place the blame.  

Head trash commonly appears as the need for approval or the need to be liked. Sellers will show up to a sales call and, instead of focusing on guiding the prospect towards the right decision, they operate from an underlying need to be liked. This goes beyond having a bond and rapport. It’s more of wanting to be approved. A person with that need often sabotages calls just to be liked. 

They get nervous, they make concessions, and they apologize, which shifts the whole frame of conversation. Being liked becomes the more important outcome. 

Self-doubt 

Money block and old programming from a salesperson’s childhood also have a negative impact on sales calls. 

For example, a client raised to believe that she isn’t supposed to talk about money in the household where degree and certificates are the next big things had a huge block in her sales process. Since this particular client had no degree, she ended up questioning her ability and wouldn’t bring up the pricing until the last minute, or until the prospect asked for the price. This client had old head trash on the concept of pricing and money so that often the price in her head was different from the price that came out of her mouth. 

Even with constant reminders here and there, she just couldn’t do it. It just wouldn’t come out of her mouth the right way. 

This is what head trash is. You show up with a plan and all the right information, but your old pieces of programming, beliefs, and thoughts sabotage and compromise your ability to make a productive call. 

Figure your patterns 

The first thing to do is to figure your patterns. Knowing your patterns brings awareness to your calls. You must pinpoint where in the process you’re having your patterns of resistance and frustrations. 

Create a list of the areas where you keep repeating some patterns that you know do not serve you. It might be telling the same jokes, doing what you’re not supposed to do, or not talking about the money even though you have to. 

The buyer might think that you’re hiding something or you have some trick up your sleeves. Before you know it, you have already sabotaged your opportunity. The same is true if you keep talking to your client without giving him the time to speak. It scares the prospect off as well. 

Consider a salesperson who can’t even have an intro opportunity because she can’t stop talking. Her problem clearly exists at the beginning of the process. 

This is a perfect example of a pattern of people who can’t stop talking. They don’t listen because it has been ingrained in their minds that they should keep talking so that someone will buy from them. They feel the need to show off and prove their expertise in order to be respected. 

Changing patterns

After listing the patterns that you observe, ask yourself, “What would I have to believe to be true in order to keep acting this way?

What we believe determines how we act. 

If you believe that talking about money is wrong, then you’ll probably act in ways in accordance with that belief. A lot of these beliefs are in the back of our heads and most of us might not believe them to be true. But even if a tiny part of us holds true to that belief, then we’ll act according to those beliefs. 

What you get from asking that question for each pattern is a list of old pieces of head trash, programming, and beliefs that you’re still carrying around that are sabotaging your sales process. 

Set aside time to implement the two things mentioned here. First, identify the patterns and second, come up with a list of what you’d have to believe to be true. This will open your mind and make you see things that you didn’t realize are impacting your close rate and your success as a sales leader. 

“How Leaders Sabotage the Sale Process” episode resource

Learn more from Erin and visit her website mindfixgroup.com. Check the hour-long training video that explains how your head trash is impacting your actions and behaviors and causing you to sabotage things. There are also case studies and stories of real people who have overcome their challenges. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a tool for salespeople and sales leaders to help them improve their skills and abilities in finding the right customers, creating strategies that work, and asking the right questions to close powerful deals. You can go to The Sales Evangelist and see the first two modules for free. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Audible, the awesome library with thousands of books. Try it now to get a 30-day free trial and a free book. Goo to audibletrial.com/tse

If you find this episode helpful, give us a ravishing review and rating on Apple podcast. We are also on Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify

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Donald C Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales Leader

TSE 1155: When Should I Promote Someone?

Donald C Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales LeaderYour company continues to grow and you need leaders to guide your team, so you’re considering the question, “When should I promote someone?

Because of your company’s growth, you need leaders and you need managers. So who should you promote? What do you look for in the people who will lead your teams? What characteristics or habits should they possess? 

Developing leaders

Even if your business isn’t growing at breakneck speed, you may need to focus on developing people who can lead when the time comes. The last thing you want to do is keep people in the same position for long periods of time without any opportunity for growth. They’ll get tired and burn out, and then they’ll look elsewhere for growth opportunities. Make sure you’re always looking for ways to create and develop leaders internally. 

The qualities necessary for leaders in your industry may differ from those of other segments, but for sellers in general, the following guidelines offer a good start for identifying potential leaders. 

Seller doesn’t equal leader

Your employee might be a spectacular seller, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to leadership. Furthermore, if you have a particularly gifted seller on your team, you may not want to remove him from that sales role. 

It’s tempting to believe that your best closer can become a sales leader and train all your other sellers to close as effectively as he does. And it might be true that he can. But it might also be true that he loves selling and he doesn’t want to spend his time conducting one-on-ones or creating reports. 

If your team members aren’t interested in leading, don’t force them. Let your sellers do what they do best for your company.

Look for these traits as you ponder when to promote someone.

1. Sellers who want to lead

When you begin your search, look for sellers who actually want to lead. If one of your team members talks frequently about leading or climbing the corporate ladder, consider giving him the opportunity to do it. If he is ambitious and goal-oriented, he might be just the leader you’re looking for. 

I recently met with a BDR that a client of mine hired, and the guy was passionate about his work. He strives to go above and beyond the call of duty, and he wants to work his way into a leadership role. He wants to contribute to the organization, but he isn’t power-hungry. He understands that great leaders don’t threaten the people above them because they aren’t competing to take their jobs. 

Prepare your replacements as you consider other opportunities you’ll compete for. 

2. Sellers with a proven track record

Desire isn’t enough to be a successful seller. You must also have good results behind your name. 

You’ll note that I said above that you should not necessarily remove your top seller to turn him into a sales leader. The exception is when that seller is the best candidate for the job and when she wants to do the job. 

Recognize, too, that a top performer won’t necessarily be the only team member with amazing results. Consider the top five sellers on your team and then decide whether any of them possess leadership potential. 

Consider whether they have any desire to train other sellers, and take note of a “lone wolf” mentality that suggests they don’t want to share with others. Make it your goal to develop a nurturing leadership approach in which team members help one another. 

3. Sellers who don’t volunteer to lead

Keep in mind that some sellers may not volunteer to lead, but that shouldn’t necessarily exclude them from consideration. If they have the framework, the talents, and the characteristics of a great leader, challenge them to step out of their comfort zone. 

In the book Sales Management. Simplified, Mike Weinberg recalls a CEO who believed it was his responsibility to stretch people like a rubber band: to the edge of their capabilities without breaking them. 

They may not recognize their own capabilities, but your job is to help them see what they are capable of. 

4. Sellers who are problem-solvers

Too often, sellers fall into the trap of complaining about their work situations. Instead of looking for ways to improve things, they look for mistakes. That negative outlook shows in their results.

Look for sellers who are problem-solvers as you seek people to promote. Typically, they’ll be your best sellers because they make it a practice to solve problems for customers. If you find a seller like this among your team members and promote him, he’ll set an example of problem-solving for the rest of the team. 

You’ll have less to worry about because they’ll solve the problems before they get to you. Surround yourself with leaders who can think for you and take care of things so you can focus on other issues. 

5. Sellers who are willing to work

Your leaders must be willing to work hard. This doesn’t mean that they work 18-hour days, because it’s very possible to do great work in less time. Instead, you want leaders who can plan and accomplish things. 

Watch for the people on your team who show up for work early or who listen to podcasts to learn more. Be aware of the people on your team who dedicate time and effort to develop themselves. 

This isn’t about developing a culture of staying late every day, but rather a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. For me, I’m a family guy, and Mondays and Fridays are my family days during the week. If I need to stay late, I’ll make it happen around those commitments. 

6. Sellers who are developing themselves

As a bonus, look for people on your team who are investing in themselves. Find those people who are reading books or seeking events to further their training or signing up for webinars that will help them improve their skill set. 

If your team members are seeking to improve without you telling them to, you’re well on your way to finding an amazing leader. 

Help your team members get to the next level and transition into roles that challenge them. 

When Should I Promote Someone? episode resources

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Obstacles, Sales From The Street,

TSE 1154: Sales From The Street – “Shoot the Donkey”

Obstacles, Sales From The Street,Sellers often face obstacles in their sales process, and the need to remove them is sometimes referred to as the need to Shoot the donkey.”

Will Batista has worked on several presidential campaigns and other political campaigns throughout the country. He recently led a state ballot initiative to change Nevada’s constitution and now he is now working in the energy sector, particularly in the communications and investor relations of the company. Jonathan Diaz works in the university setting where he serves as an adviser and he also teaches classes. 

Shoot the donkey 

This phrase originates from an article that Will discovered while he was looking at political media companies. Shooting the donkey means removing obstacles in your course.

In the movie Patton, based on true events, the characters were heading up a mountain but there was a donkey in the way. Failure to get the donkey out of the way would put them in a dire situation resulting in casualties, so they sent out some of the guys to move the donkey. Nothing worked so the general said, ‘Shoot the donkey!’ 

Remove the obstacles 

When we were in college, our obstacles were our beliefs. We didn’t believe in ourselves as much as we should have. There are times that we don’t give ourselves credit when we should. This is true in sales as well. You might not trust your sales ability and you keep telling yourself that you’re no good at it. This idea is difficult to overcome but it’s imperative that you get through it because it’s the only way for you to become successful. 

For example, back in college when we were selling water, the first obstacle that we had was that we spent a lot of money to get a booth and to get all the water, and eventually get my money back. In order to do that business at a bigger scale, we needed more people, so we went to Idaho Falls and that’s when we did a better job. 

The third time, we ran out of water and we could have given up, but we didn’t. Will went to Sam’s club and got ice and made it happen. 

We succeeded on a small scale. We didn’t make hundreds and thousands of dollars but it was proof that when you put a desire into action, you can make it happen. 

Fear of obstacles

Sometimes we fear obstacles and see them as a negative thing because they do have a negative impact at that moment. There is, however, an opportunity for growth and change in every obstacle, and the ability to tackle problems in a different way. It is a great time for a change and to challenge your ability to think differently. 

The water selling was very basic but year after year, we saw that we’re not doing so great and that became an opportunity to improve the process. Obstacles are typically not good things, but they are opportunities for us to grow and to think critically so that when we are faced with another problem in the future, we will be able to overcome the challenge. 

In politics 

A lot of times when you are trying to get something done, there are always goals that you need to meet. Will was thrown into the fire in his first year working as field staff in Reno because he had no experience recruiting volunteers or meeting metrics.

He had to learn the ropes quickly and the obstacles he faced were the goals that were being imposed on him. He had to find ways to meet the goals regardless of whether he had volunteers or not. 

Will needed to get into these gated communities but he couldn’t get in. Sometimes, they’d follow another car and find a way to get to the individuals and voters to get their contact information. He had to do whatever was necessary to meet their goals. They had goals in mind and they focused their actions to meet the goals. 

Obstacles will always be there but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. 

Another challenge was getting people into the office to make the calls for the campaign so sometimes, Will had two phones going at the same time. He’d be leaving a message on one phone and talking on the other. Hustling is when you do what you need to do to hit your goals.

For students

John advises students of three main things as they seek the best fit: 

  • Identify their interests 
  • Identify their skills and abilities
  • Determine their values, or the things that are important to them 

For students, the biggest obstacle is the parental control or familial influence. Students now are pressured with the idea that they need to choose a major that will provide them with stability in the future. Many are being pushed into taking courses that they aren’t interested in, courses that they aren’t good at, and courses that are not even aligned to their values. 

John tells his students that for them to shoot the donkey, they need to remove the barrier and talk to their parents. They need to choose the major of their choice because, at the end of the day, it’s them who will go through all the studying and not their parents. 

John helps the students remove the barrier of parental control to see the other options and areas that can work for them. 

Removing barriers

A typical challenge in sales is the people. Sales leaders manage sales teams and often they feel like they don’t have enough qualified workforce or that they don’t have enough people with qualified sales experience. Sales leaders overcome this obstacle by trusting the skills that people bring from all different walks of life. 

If you are experiencing a barrier in your sales, and you’ve hit a plateau even when you already have a very good team, try to think outside the box. Bring in somebody from outside of the organization who can break down the barriers that your current sales team cannot. 

Whether it’s in politics, in the corporate world, or in sales, people often fail to recognize the skills that people from other industries have. It’s time to break down that barrier and start looking outside your comfort zone. 

Keep it real without being rude. Give real feedback without being demeaning. You don’t want to waste time so it is important to make the choice that you really want. 

“Shoot the Donkey” episode resources

Connect with Will in his LinkedIn account or email him in batista.wilfredo@gmail.com. You can also reach John via his email jondlazas@gmail.com and johndssj@gmail.com

Whatever role you are playing in your industry, I challenge you to go out and look for the challenges that are in your way. Remove the challenges, make the hard decisions, and make things happen. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

This episode has been fun and it’s brought to you in part by Audible. It has thousands of books and it offers a 30-day trial and a free book when you sign up. Just type audibletrial.com/tse and start discovering the books to become a sales savvy. 

The episode is also brought to you in part by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It is a helpful tool for sales leaders and sales reps in improving their skills. It teaches you how to find better prospects, how to have meaningful conversations, and what questions to ask to close deals. Check out the program now and get the first two modules for free. 

Visit thesalesevangelist.com/freecourse to find more information about the program. 

If you like this episode then tell us about it, give us your good review and rate us on Apple podcast. You can also find us in Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Sales Leader, Revenue, Activities

TSE 1152: Managing Tasks as a Leader

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Sales Leader, Revenue, ActivitiesManaging tasks as a leader is difficult because all the tasks are urgent and you have the internal battle of deciding which tasks need your attention. 

You might have a meeting with recruiters about the hiring, or you’ve got to do an interview with some sales reps, or you’ve got to create a report for the VP, and other equally important stuff. The list could go on and on and in the end, you aren’t able to get anything done to bring in more revenue. 

The challenge 

As team leaders, the best thing we can give to the sales rep is our care and utmost concern. Unfortunately, though, things don’t go the way we plan due to minute tasks that bog us down. Team leaders are faced with the challenge of managing their time to do the things that will impact the entire team in a good way. 

The grumpy sales manager syndrome 

The grumpy sales manager syndrome is nothing new and you might have experienced an episode of it once or twice. You are the leader so it’s natural to be bombarded with so many things to do: 

  • make reports 
  • attend meetings with sales reps 
  • meet with recruiters
  • meet with marketing folks

You are swamped with many different tasks and it’s overwhelming you.

Mike Weinberg mentioned this in his book Sales Management Simplified where he discussed all the different sales management myths and challenges. He then explained it in a way that’s both understandable and relatable. In the book, he said that this problem stems from the executive

level. 

Company owners or VPs are usually the reason sales managers have a tough time in juggling all their duties and this has nothing to do with the reports they are asking for. Rather, it has to do with the culture that is set within an organization. Executives, for example, aren’t focused on sales and so they don’t do everything in their power to cater to the sales effort. 

First line of defense

All the departments in a company or organization are important for the entire operation to work successfully. The marketing team, the development team, and all the other departments you can name are imperative for the organization to thrive. But all these other departments won’t be getting any money unless the sales team brings in more revenue. 

Sellers are the ones out there who are battling it out against the others. That is a huge amount of weight for the sales team because if it can’t happen, the company may fire the sales leaders for the lack of good results. 

Salespeople are foundations of a successful company and failing to recognize that is a problem.  We need a culture that is built around salespeople. 

Rate the tasks accordingly

Sales managers don’t necessarily have a defined role and instead, they have interconnecting roles within the organization.  For example, if you are helping the team generate revenue, then all your tasks must be related to that. But that’s not always the case. 

To define your goal, try to list the things that you do on a day-to-day basis and rate these activities from 1 to 5. (1 if the task isn’t helping you in fulfilling your goal, 5 if the activity is directly related to accomplishing your goals).  For instance, a one-to-one meeting with your sales rep to help the CS team increase its revenue is a full 5 rating. The meeting is an opportunity for you to give pipeline reviews with the sales rep to help him close more deals.  

Going on key account calls and weekly sales meetings are income-generating tasks and are closely tied to your goals. 

Housekeeping

On the other spectrum, you can have others complete tasks such as cleaning your inbox, creating spreadsheets to track sales and metrics, and attending meetings not related to your role. Or, if you prefer, do these tasks in your downtime. If you want to clean your inbox, then do it in your downtime. If you want a spreadsheet, then use CRM. And, if you want to attend the meetings unrelated to your task, you can jump in for a few minutes to check how it’s going instead of sitting down the whole two hours. 

Assess the tasks and if it’s possible to get an assistant to help you, then hire one. There are several platforms like Upwork where you can find somebody who can do something for you on a project basis.  Rating your tasks will make your work more efficient and will give you time for the more important things. 

Focus on the important ones

Ask yourself a series of questions before proceeding to every task. 

  • Am I needed at the meeting? 
  • Will it run effectively if I am not there? 
  • Will this task help my goal in increasing revenue? 
  • Rate the tasks and pick the ones that are most important by focusing on threes, fours, and fives. 

Fives are the obvious things that must happen. Set down the time for your meetings: time for the one-on-one, time for talking to your sellers, and all the other activities that are immediate. You might want to do the interviewing for new hires on a weekly basis or you might want to review resumes on a monthly basis. 

You must decide the schedules for the different activities and follow through. 

In this way, you can focus on the things that you need to and not be around for things that you don’t need to be a part of. You can also set a time to motivate your team and raise their morale by going to weekly or monthly lunch. 

Time is important 

Time is important and your sales reps need your time in closing deals and making sure that they’re overcoming challenges and working effectively. 

You are the coach and the sales reps are the players, and the only way for the team to work out is if both the coach and the players work hand-in-hand. If you are bogged down, hiding behind paperwork, and locked up in an office without a chance to connect with your reps, then you are never going to reach your goals. 

Applying this to The Sales Evangelist team helped me set the right culture as a leader of an organization. 

Money comes through the door when you are focused only on the things that you need to do.

“Managing Tasks as a Leader” episode resources 

Sales managers and leaders have different strategies in managing their tasks. If you have a story, don’t hesitate to drop me a message or tag me on LinkedIn, Donald C. Kelly. 

Check out Mike Weinberg’s book, Sales Management Simplified

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program which aims to help sales reps and sales team improve their skills in finding the right customers and knowing the strategies and activities that work. The program also teaches you the right questions to ask in order to build strong values and close huge deals. Go to thesalesevangelists.com/freecourse to get the first two episodes for free.

Audible is also a great avenue for sales learning. It has thousands of books that you can read

and audiobooks to listen that can help you to grow as a savvy salesperson. 

Give it a go to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. Just type in audibletrial.com/tse. If you enjoyed this episode and learned from it, please do give us a review 5-star rating on Apple podcast. You can also share this podcast with your friends and colleagues who are using other platforms such as Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

The Sales Evangelist, Leadership

TSE 1150: How To Show Your Team You Care!

The Sales Evangelist, LeadershipSome sales teams complain about everything from marketing to CRM and comps, but if you develop the ability to show your team you care, you’ll overcome the negativity and establish a great work environment.

I’ve worked as a sales rep, as a sales leader, and as a consultant, so I understand that complaints are a normal part of the sales process. In some organizations, though, the sellers don’t complain as much because they believe their managers care about them.  

Imperfect selling scenario

It’s tempting to believe that sellers who don’t complain work in better environments. Even if they don’t get great leads, and if they don’t have the best CRM, or if their facility looks outdated, some sales reps enjoy what they do and they enjoy the people they do it with. Because the management cares about their welfare, the sellers are able to enjoy their work.

Although your CRM and your environment are important, culture plays a vital role in helping sellers thrive. In a subpar culture, typically the focus remains on numbers alone. 

Sales leaders

During the month of August, we’ll focus on sales leadership and the principles that will help sales leaders succeed so their teams can succeed. Of all the things you could possibly do to encourage your team, investing time in them ranks the highest. 

Just like a relationship with your husband or wife, the relationship probably won’t survive unless you spend time together. Nice gifts and other symbols of affection won’t overcome a lack of time together. The same is true for your kids.

Don’t base your relationships with your sellers on shiny new CRM or an awesome facility. Instead, demonstrate that you care about their success by dedicating time to help them improve their performance.  

One-on-one

Prioritize one-on-one meetings with your sales reps. Although sales leaders get bogged down by countless things that demand their time, you must invest time in the things that truly matter. Log it on your calendar so it won’t get pushed aside. 

In my own sales journey, when my own leaders prioritized one-on-one time, they were able to help me overcome challenges that were hindering my success. It also made my sales leaders seem human and it helped me see them as something other than a boss. I see her as a trusted friend and someone I can respect. Leaders who jump into the trenches with you have the authority to guide you. 

When my sales leader stopped investing in one-on-one time with me, my sales performance declined, not because I wasn’t doing my part, but because I was able to draw motivation from her experience and example. 

Share priorities

Be aware of your team members’ priorities and make sure that the things that matter to them matter to you, too. If my sales rep is engaged to be married, I need to be aware of her priority. I can support her priorities by making sure that she’s earning enough money to pay for an amazing wedding. I must make sure that, during our one-on-ones, I’m helping her figure out how to accomplish her goals. 

Better yet, if I know of someone who owns a wedding venue, I can consider connecting the two of them. As a leader, I can provide guidance and resources to help her achieve her goals. 

If my leader is willing to prioritize the things I value, I’ll do the same in return: whatever is important to her will become important to me. Whatever she needs me to do in order to be successful, I’ll be willing to do it. 

This kind of relationship isn’t intended to be manipulative or controlling. Instead, it’s a natural by-product of the leader’s care for the seller.

Go on-site

Once a month, or on a recurring basis, free your schedule to do site visits with your reps. Don’t go with the intention of taking over the meeting. Evaluate her progress and ask her afterward what she did well and what she might have done better. Help her improve as a seller. Demonstrate to your sellers that you value them enough to share your time. 

Give them room to make mistakes and room to grow. 

In Jamaica, families frequently send their 10-year-olds to the grocery store to shop for the family. That doesn’t happen often in this country. The opportunity helps children learn from their mistakes and gain valuable experience.

Give room for failure

Don’t jump down their throats when they make a mistake in the midst of a deal or when an opportunity flops. Guide them. Let them know you care. Talk to them and coach them. Then give them an opportunity to try again. 

Acknowledge improvement and give your team members room to lead and coach others when they find success. Show them how to become trusted individuals. 

“Show Your Team You Care” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

sales team, sales leader, quota

TSE 1148: How to Build a Championship Sales Team

sales team, quota, sales leader

Whether you’re a brand new sales rep, a sales leader, or an experienced seller, the key to success relies on your ability to build a championship sales team. 

Will Richter drives revenue for medical device companies by increasing their sales volumes, reducing their operational inefficiencies and crushing their competition. He has the unique ability to find the blind spots in any company’s sales process and can turn around a growth plan of action and a winning team in less time bringing bottom-line results faster.

Deep assessment

Will points to leadership and culture as the keys to building a championship sales team. Whether you’re a business owner, a CEO, or middle management, the culture gets dictated by the leadership. They set the tone for the culture and they define the expectations for everyone on the sales force. Those leaders also determine what will not be tolerated. 

Once teams accept mediocrity, it becomes the norm. 

When you’re a sales leader, you’ll either inherit a team or you may get the opportunity to take some educated risks and build a team. You must do a deep assessment of the team’s skills, its motivations, its past successes, and get to know the team members. Find out what makes them tick. 

You cannot manage every member of your sales team the same way because they may have different motivators. If you don’t discover their motivators, you’ll struggle to create a championship kind of environment. 

People and culture

People are the fabric of any great culture. If you’re at the top, you’ve got to reassess your talent base, and you’re probably going to have to let some of that go. Think about the culture you want to create. Then, seek out people who have the experience and the knowledge you want. If your sellers are strong and they have similar values, they’ll outlast someone who simply looks good on paper. 

The average sales rep lasts about 18 months in any company. So if you bring a new seller on board, imagine the cost of onboarding plus the cost of training and the ramp-up time it takes for him to start earning money. Your company won’t likely make anything if he only stays for 18 months.  

Wrong person

The worst part of the sales leader job results from having to let team members know that they aren’t a good fit for the team. In fact, the higher up you go, the more these people have on the line. They have families and wives and big mortgages and a lot to lose. Will reports feeling a lot of empathy for these folks. 

At the same time, do not accept exceptions or excuses. Expect your team to have the same “win all the time” attitude that you have.

Will was hired to turn a sales team around in which only about half of the team members were strong. One gentleman who had been with the company for six years absolutely killed it his first year, but then he rested on his laurels. The company couldn’t fire him because people had tried in the past and it had become a political issue. 

Will had to work closely with the guy, giving him a lot of feedback and working to coach him up. But Will’s says that people are either coachable or they aren’t. If you aren’t coachable, you’re cutting yourself off from professional development. This guy didn’t want to be coached, so Will put him on a 30-day plan. The guy got in his face and screamed at him and eventually, they were able to ask him to go.

Difficult conversations

Will likes to build relationships by getting to know his sellers as people. He asks about their families and their hometowns, and what makes them tick. Then he recommends being an open book yourself. Be transparent and real about your shortcomings. 

As you coach your team members, speak factually. Leave the emotion and personal information out of the conversation. Stick to facts and data. 

Highlight the fact that she has a quota, she has a territory, and she has a quantifiable history. Now, she has a certain amount of time to accomplish this other thing in order to avoid moving to a new set of consequences. Document everything. Factual information feels less personal and it’s easier to digest.   

Background information

Create a profile for the kind of players you’d like to hire. How many do you need? What type of background do you want? Should they have a certain amount of experience? What kind of values are you seeking? 

Whatever your criteria might be, create a profile and then create a world-class recruiting strategy and a strong hiring process. 

Many companies place an ad on Indeed any time they need to hire a new seller. They sort through resumes, pick three, interview two, and hire one. It’s called reactive recruiting.

On the other hand, when you’re proactively sourcing candidates, begin by hiring a recruiter. Tell him exactly what you’re looking for and ask him to leverage his database to find candidates who meet your criteria. Have him call the candidates that meet your criteria and then screen them. Ensure that they are the top of the top before you ever sit down with them. 

Hiring process

Determine what you want your hiring process to look like. 

  • How many interviews should their be?
  • Who should they meet with? 
  • What kinds of questions should we be asking? 

Once you’ve matched the values, make sure you don’t hire reps with massive egos. Implement these strategies, then onboard them properly and train them thoroughly. That’s the foundation of a championship sales team. 

Once you’ve established your value system, you’ve put the right leadership in place, you’ve created the right culture, you’ve developed a good recruiting strategy, you’ve created your profiles, and you’ve built an excellent training program, then you must train your team on your product, as well as training them on superior sales skills for your market in your industry.

Your ultimate goal is to create a proactive sales management program that sets realistic but strong goals that hold the reps accountable. Recognize that your success is directly tied to your sellers’ success. 

Military tactics

Will calls himself a big fan of military and their tactics. He finds that leading from the front demands leaders who are willing to be in the field. If all they do is sit in the office, they won’t know what the team is doing. 

Sellers respect managers who get into the fight with them. After your presentations, talk with the seller about the call and the things that were great about it. Then address things that could have been done better. 

We all feel good when we accomplish things. It makes us confident. Understand, though, that there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. 

Be mindful of managing the team’s time as well. What activities are they engaging in? Where are they going? Who are they calling? Are they making the best use of their time?

Young sellers often think they can cut corners. Approach-based management allows well-trained, talented sellers who engage in high activity levels to reach their goals. If they do the right things at the right times and the right places, they won’t struggle. 

Shared culture

You want to be in a culture with people who share your same values. Hire the people that you can trust and respect, and who are competent and honest and hard-working. 

We’ve all taken jobs where we didn’t know what to expect until we started working. Do a great job of smoking out the company’s values and culture. 

If you can’t click with the existing employees, your time there will be short-lived. 

“Build a Championship Sales Team” episode resources

You can connect with Will on LinkedIn. He’s happy to help sellers who are working to build a championship sales team. 

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Justin Dauer, Empathy, Accountability, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1143: Building a Culture of Empathy and Accountability

Justin Dauer, Empathy, Accountability, The Sales EvangelistEvery organization needs a culture of empathy and accountability no matter what it’s doing. Sometimes, we only have empathy and neglect accountability but it’s important to have both. Justin Dauer is with us in this episode to explain to us how to get both and give recommendations on the right way to do it. 

Justin is the VP of the Human Center Design at BSwift, a healthcare and benefits management firm owned by CVS Health.  He is also a writer and a public speaker when he isn’t in his 9-5 job, and he enjoys talking about humility, empathy, and accountability. 

Discovering agency culture 

Justin’s entire career revolves around agencies primarily in the creative direction. In his 10 years being in the business, he observed that agency culture tends to burn people out.

In some cultures, the driving factor is perceived by who went out the door last, regardless of the reasons why others left earlier. Maybe they went to pick up their kids from school or went to a doctor’s appointment. Meanwhile, whatever their reasons are, someone else in the firm is tapping a wristwatch noting the fact that they left early.

This buildup of passive-aggressive situations in the agency space resonates to many because they have experienced it too. 

He got a tremendous amount of feedback so he knew it was an important topic, which prompted him to write a book about it. 

Burnout

Burnout has a domino effect that is detrimental to an organization or an agency, partly because agency space is often about making money. Most times, a name on a spreadsheet doesn’t equate to an individual. The name has to do the work and that’s all there is. 

Justin shared the same experience before he was in a senior position. He’d come to the office and face a stack of papers, printouts, and a load of work with red lines on them. His value for the day depended on the quantity of work he could do for the day, without regard for quality in the process. 

There is no room to pause in some agencies, so employees can’t do anything not work-related, even in their free time. They fear that if their supervisor walks by and sees them, he’ll ask why they aren’t working. Employees are constantly on the edge, which isn’t healthy and wears them down. But as human beings, we all need to pause and calibrate. 

Another example of burnout is the cost of hiring people over and over again, which takes a toll on the organization’s morale. 

Addressing the issue 

Solving this takes action, not lip service. It’s good to start by demonstrating respect and humility. Humility is baked into both empathy and accountability. Humility is when a leader admits a mistake and follows up with an action plan. 

Dialog is a two-way street, which means less oration and delegation but more of a collaboration. Once a mistake has been made, admit it. This is what accountability is about. 

People who work in high-stress environments have little pockets of culture. They might gather in a kitchen and talk about something related to their craft. Saturating the culture from the top communicates that when they make a mistake, there’s a culture of support where people will rally around them and help them improve.  

Leaders must set the tone

Leaders have to set the tone. They should be the first to trust that their employees have done their job before they leave work for personal errands. Consider, too, that some may be single parents taking half the day off to pick up their kids from school. The simple concept of trust is something that’s taken for granted when it shouldn’t be taken for granted at all. 

Some organizations have a culture of fostering growth where leaders are truly leaders rather than taskmasters. When they find a problem, they ask questions, and they open a dialog to discover solutions to the problem. 

The same thing happened to me in the past where my team members share stuff with me. I made a culture of discussing things with each other and it proved to be a good move. Team members share their brilliant ideas that I couldn’t have conceived on my own, and it made the work more efficient. 

Everyone has value

It is ideal to have everyone be involved in the thought process when running a workshop. The same is also true in business. You want people from C-level to people who are answering the phone in the room because everyone has a voice and that voice has value. Hierarchies should be thrown out the window. 

In business, everyone’s viewpoint is important, from the stakeholders to the other people in the room with different perspectives. 

Sales leaders and managers must be cognizant of what the new hire thinks when they come in. They have to be aware that they won’t be scoffed at and demanded to go back to their desks when they get coffee from the coffee machine. They need to know that they are not chained to their desks and that they are allowed to work on another floor or to take their laptops outside if it’s not against company rules. 

Simplicity 

Another way to create a culture within the organization is through simplicity. People will more likely engage with things that are simple and easily understood.. Simplicity is also clarity which is one of Scott M. Cutlip’s  Seven C’s of Communication. What you’re saying should be exactly what you mean. 

Government Digital Services in the UK fosters this kind of cultural sense. They put up signs that say ‘It’s okay to x’, that it’s okay not to check their email after work, that it’s okay to have a day-off, and that it’s okay to pause and talk to their coworkers. These are simple and clear and people engage in them. It makes sense for businesses to do this as well but it’s still put by the wayside.  

Top-to-bottom approach

We did this in one of the companies I worked for where they gave us a Wii. It was super cool and we could play the Wii to destress and have a good time. The company was a small organization and we got all the people to be in the break area for 10-15 minutes and play Wii bowling. But then the sales leaders saw us playing and told the CEO about it. They told us that we could play it either before work or after work, and nobody touched it since. 

It was the culture that killed it. We could have had that 15-minute break and then go back to our desks afterward but the culture says that you can’t have fun. It says that growing a business and growing sales can’t be fun. This goes to show that when you don’t have the culture built from the top then clearly, you’re in trouble. 

The danger in perks is that sometimes it can take away one’s individuality, too. Some big tech companies have sleeping pods where you can zone out for a little bit. They get you a cab or buy you dinner if you work beyond 9 p.m. or they send someone to get your laundry at home. These perks look good on paper but they keep people in the office and squeeze more hours out of them and marginalize them and take their individuality away. They think of these people more as a production line who is there to work and sacrifice their personal life. So we must all be wary about perks like that. 

Be observant 

If you are someone looking for a job in any industry, maybe in tech or in sales, keep your head on a swivel and be observant. When you’re looking for a position, really poke in on the culture and see the things that are important to you. Are the people validated and supported? Poke in on their level of accountability as an organization.

Be involved and have a dialogue; you’re just not there to be grilled. Ask questions or talk to people who have worked there or who are working there. The manner in which your questions are received is a huge indicator of the validity of their response. Do these things before signing because you’ll never be able to do these dialogue and transparent conversations when you’ve signed the papers. 

In the end, it’s important to respect people ultimately because that goes beyond being a good person and being a good human being. Respect, humility, and empathy go far in the workplace. It permeates innovation, office dynamics, and creativity. It permeates everything. The golden rule always applies – treat others the same way you want to be treated. This permeates so many things at the business level, the profitability level, and the quality of work level. 

Building a Culture of Empathy and Accountability” episode resources

Connect with Jason (@pseudoroom) by following him on Twitter, and his online portfolio at Pseudoroom.com. He also has a book entitled Cultivating a Creative Culture and a second edition that’s coming by next year. 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program or free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. 

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Sales Leaders, Sales Manager, Donald Kelly

TSE 1062: Sales Leaders, Stop Falling For The Reactive Trap

Sales Leaders, Sales Manager, Donald Kelly

Sales leaders who neglect their own workload in an effort to help their sellers solve problems will find themselves falling behind, so it’s vital that sales leaders stop falling for the reactive trap.

You hired your sellers to handle their assigned responsibilities and to solve problems. When your sellers distract you with problems, you’ll have less time to focus on sales plans or strategies. You won’t have time to conduct meetings or create reports because you’re trying to keep deals from falling apart.

Distracted leaders

In his book, The Sales Manager’s Guide To Greatness, Kevin Davis talks about all the ways that sellers can distract their sales managers from their own workload. The problem with this kind of distraction is that the sales leader’s responsibilities are to grow the department or the business.

The business will suffer if sales leaders aren’t freed to do their own work.

Additionally, you’re teaching your sellers bad habits and cheating them of the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

This is why many leaders feel stretched too thin.

Limited growth

Sellers who never learn to solve their own problems will limit their teams’ productivity. Your team will never have extraordinary growth because you’ll always be limited by your own ability to solve everyone else’s problems.

The sellers will never learn to solve problems, and they won’t learn to focus on solving problems for their customers. Instead, they’ll focus on features and benefits.

Additionally, they won’t be able to function as well in your absence, which means they will struggle any time you aren’t available. So what will happen if you decide to take vacation?

Improving sellers

Sellers will only improve if they learn to solve their own problems and handle their own accounts. As each rep learns to handle his assigned responsibilities, you’ll be freed to focus on other things that will improve the team as a whole.

You may be tempted to think that you’re helping your sellers accomplish more, but the truth is that they’ll never learn to manage their own schedules and their own time if you consistently help them manage it.

Kevin points out that your involvement won’t likely encourage them to use their time for other tasks. Realistically, your sellers will simply be freed to do things like check social media or email.

Forty percent of sellers don’t like prospecting, so they won’t likely do it if they don’t have to. They are likely bringing you problems they don’t want to handle themselves.

Teach problem-solving

Kevin suggests asking two questions of your sellers:

  1. What have you done to solve the problem so far?
  2. What do you think ought to be done?

Your sellers likely have basic problem-solving skills; otherwise, you wouldn’t have hired them. If this isn’t the case, you might have to start by making sure you have the right people on the bus.

Perhaps we’ll discover that the rep didn’t really qualify the prospect in the first place. Maybe the rep isn’t talking to the decision-maker.

Assuming those things aren’t true and that the buyer suddenly backed out of the deal, you must discover what caused the problem.

Root cause

Coach the rep to ask questions that get to the root cause of the change. Teach your rep to use the 5 whys to figure out why the prospect changed her mind.

It’s tempting for sales leaders to try to “save the day” and be the hero. Instead, you need to teach your seller to act as a guide to the prospect and teach your seller how to frame the customer as the hero of the situation.

Consider identifying team leads who can help your sellers when they encounter problems. Maybe a senior sales rep can help answer questions or coach your sellers in weekly sales meetings.

Schedule coaching sessions where you can teach your team members how to use these techniques to identify why their deals are disintegrating. Help them identify the common objections so they’ll be prepared when they encounter them.

Build replacements

No doubt you hope to be promoted someday and you’ll need someone to take over your role so you can advance.

Allow them to be part of the dialogue when you’re addressing issues in your area. Provide reassurance that it’s ok to try things and make mistakes.

If you have a hard time saying “no” to your sellers, make yourself unavailable to them. Insist that they begin working on the problems themselves. If they make a mistake, you can still step in if you must, but give them a chance to try solving the problems.

Take the time to coach your sellers. Make sure you give commands, give guidance, and give them room to run on their own.

Whether you’re a sales rep, a sales leader, or a business owner, use these concepts to improve your efficiency and your output.

“Stop Falling For The Reactive Trap” episode resources

Grab a copy of Kevin Davis’ book, The Sales Manager’s Guide To GreatnessYou’ll be glad you did.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Hiring, Liam Martin, Donald Kelly, Remote Sales Team

TSE 1059: Sales From The Street – “Building A Remote Sales Team”

Hiring, Liam Martin, Donald Kelly, Remote Sales Team

For business owners looking to scale their efforts, there are important factors involved in building a remote sales team, and implementing them can mean the difference between success and failure.

Liam Martin runs three companies related to managing remote workers: TimeDoctor.com, Staff.com, and his passion project, which is a conference on building and scaling remote teams. His organization helps companies monitor their remote employees’ productivity and efficiency.

He points to the fact that, early in his career, he waited too late to build a sales team, which is the meat-and-potatoes of his business.

Create solutions

Founders of a company have an understanding of the product or service that most sales reps won’t have. Founders may recognize as many as 10 different problems that you could tailor your product around or have meaningful conversations around.

Sales reps won’t necessarily recognize that many problems, so they may not have access to as many meaningful conversations.

The key, then, is hiring a proper sales manager. Sometimes the founder’s ego causes him to believe that he can effectively run a sales team, and he doesn’t recognize his shortcomings.

You must take a hard look at yourself and determine whether you’re truly a good sales leader. When Liam recognized that he wasn’t a good sales manager, he fired himself and hired a proper sales manager.

Be honest enough to determine what you can best do for your organization and then do that.

 Hiring process

Liam’s company has three different stages of hiring remotely. He suggests that many remote teams aren’t as effective as the leadership believes they are.

Liam points to the bullpen, or the area where junior employees are grouped together in a single workspace. The idea is that the employees will train and work together and benefit from one another’s experiences.

Remote employees don’t have a bullpen so it’s impossible to pick up nonverbal selling techniques that some employees are successfully using. Everyone is disconnected, so very often these sales teams won’t hit quota despite their training. As a result, they leave the company.

To solve the problem, Liam’s company works with remote salespeople for about a month. During that time, he has to either close an inbound deal or generate some kind of outbound activity. Based on that success, the company decides whether to invest more into the employee.

He says that although it’s an expensive system, building a remote sales team is ROI positive.

Self-motivated activity

Successful remote employees must be self-motivated. Once the company hires a new remote employee and decides to invest in him, the company flies him to the sales manager in Canada where he will train in the office for three months.

The employee will either hit quota by the end of three months and will have a job, or he will not hit quota by the end of that time, and he will go home without a job.

From that point, the system rewards good salespeople financially. Successful sellers will earn more with this company than they will at other companies. At the same time, the pay structure is such that unsuccessful sellers won’t be able to survive.

The first three months, then, are critical to the seller’s success. Creating the bullpen experience has helped the company’s remote sellers be more successful.

Additionally, the company allows any employee to jump in on any Zoom call to ask for help or guidance.

Massive investment

Liam points to a need to identify those sellers who can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. Because the company is making a massive investment into its new hires, it must be able to quickly determine which employees are likely to be successful and which ones are not.

On average, his company has found that it can take anywhere from three to six months to determine whether an employee will be successful. Its goal is to shorten that period when possible.

The company would prefer a clear “yes” or “no” to a “maybe.” The more time it spends dealing with an employee who is a “maybe,” the more money it invests without fully knowing whether it will get anything in return.

“Building a Remote Sales Team” episode resource

If you want to learn more about building or scaling a remote team, visit runningremote.com. It’s a conference being held in Bali, and if you’ve never been to Bali, it’s another great reason to go.

If you’d like to get in touch with Liam, he’s excited about his interactions on YouTube right now, and you can find him at youtube.com/runningremote. After consuming the content, feel free to ask questions in the comments and he’ll be happy to respond.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Charles Bernard, Donald Kelly, Problem Solving

TSE 1051: How To Solve The Most Common Sales Problems

Sales leaders who can solve the most common sales problems will increase their productivity and improve their performance.

Today, Charles Bernard explains how a disciplined system for selling and managing can remove barriers to performance for sales leaders.

Bernard founded ‘Criteria for Success,’ an organization that develops online sales playbooks and provides leadership and sales management training. Charles was a top performer in his division with General Electric and has run several businesses as well.

Caught in the middle

Charles believes that the number one issue facing sales managers today is the feeling of being caught in the middle between the CEO/Management and the sales team. Sales managers must bring in the numbers, on one hand, while acting as a micromanager on the other.  He compares it to having a target on his front side with another on his back.

Charles finds that pressure from above is unfiltered and passed directly down onto the sales teams, whether it’s justified or not. And, he says, the sales teams hate that.

If management feels that something is wrong or that people are not doing their jobs, for example, it is the responsibility of the sales manager to balance the push/pull of the situation. She must absorb the pressure in order to adapt the message – without losing the importance behind it – to empower the team.

Passing the pressure from management to the team does nothing to motivate or incentivize sales.

Many times, leaders fall into the trap of thinking they must have all the answers for how things should be done. An enlightened manager should be able to pull the boss and the team together.  He should encourage conversations that promote transparency and foster teamwork.

Charles prefers for his sales teams to hear directly from the bosses and he often facilitates meetings to allow for such interaction. It allows each side to learn the concerns of the other and to work as a team.

Pulled in different directions

Charles cites the challenge of staying focused as another common issue facing sales managers. Don’t engage in too many meetings or with multiple different initiatives. Lack of focus prevents the managers from spending time in the field and with their sales teams.

It was a struggle but Charles eventually learned how to say ‘No’ to those who people who weren’t impacting sales.

Charles recalls numerous instances where he was asked, for example, to intervene with an upset client. He had to put his foot down and direct those calls to others in the organization better equipped to handle such situations.

It is understandable that sales managers want to prove their worth to the company. But it is a mistake to do so by getting involved in matters that do not pertain to their job or to assist with sales if the team is underperforming. It only serves to further scatter the focus a sales manager needs to succeed.

The purpose of the sales manager is to be available to the team. It must be the priority.

Inability to set goals

Sales managers often don’t have the time to spend on the proper vetting of the forecasts. As a result, they are often unable to create realistic forecasts and to set goals.

The need for realistic forecasting is obvious. The problem arises when the decisions made on that forecast – where the growth is coming from, how much we will grow, what the profits will be, and how the funds will be reinvested – are very linear and rigid. There isn’t a lot of thought behind it.

Charles believes that people should not think about what they are going to sell in a year. People tend to miss things like backlog, which is probably going to give you the most wind behind your sails.

If forecasting in 2018 for 2019, for example, you must see all the deals that didn’t close, at the individual and team sales levels. You want to know what stage they are in because that backlog will give you a jump on each quarter.

What is your backlog going in? What is your backlog coming out?

If you begin with a strong backlog of unclosed business and put that into your forecast, you can then see where you are short and what you need to do each quarter. It is very important to have a notion of forecasting that includes backlog. Without it, you are already behind at the start.

Sales advice

  • Rank your sales team. Who are your A’s? Who are your B’s?
  • Rank your customers. Who are your partners and who are your advocates? Who buys on a whim, or transactionally?
  • Build a playbook. Take all the knowledge in the company and make it available for everyone to access.

“Solve The Most Common Sales Problems” episode resources

Charles can be reached via email at cbernard@criteriaforsuccess.com, or you can call him at 212-302-5518. Charles can also be found on LinkedIn.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Jonathan Dale, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Pricing

TSE 1034: Sales From The Street – “How Low Can You Go?”

Jonathan Dale, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, PricingSalespeople often adopt a commodity selling mindset instead of a value-based mindset, which leaves them making less money than they could have made. They find themselves asking, “how low can you go?

Jonathan Dale works with RS&I, a nationwide company with nine branches throughout the United States. They have become the largest distributor and sales agent of dish networks. Anyone wanting the ability to resell dish networks must go through RS&I to do so.

They also own HughesNet, one of the largest satellite internet providers.

Jonathan manages the Vivint portfolio. As a sales leader, he teaches sales reps how to keep the sales process simple by breaking it down.

Jonathan has had so many different experiences with both sellers and partners. It brings a whole other level of complexity to his role as a sales leader.

Focus on value

He remembers knocking on doors to sell home security systems for a company called Pinnacle. It is where he learned the ‘Art of the Sale.’ Although he didn’t particularly love it, he admits that he did learn from it.

The following year, after several failures, he fully understood the sales process and realized he was a salesperson. It required taking a step back and looking at sales in a whole new way.

Jonathan believes that salespeople commonly place a stigma on sales, or have a mindset about it, that prevents them from being successful.

It is a mindset that they have to sell based on price.

Jonathan’s biggest struggle when training new reps in the home security industry is teaching them to become more of a value salesperson versus a commodity sales rep.

He wants them to pitch the overall value of the service rather than diluting the service.

Let the customer decide what the spending habits will be.

The opportunity for a sales rep to make the most money is when the customer is comfortable with where he wants to be.  Often times, as sales reps, we want to fit each customer into the same size box.

Yet, at the end of the day, if we try to force that fit, we lose money. Forcing our clients into a package that they do not need only leads to chargebacks.

Don’t compete on price

Jonathan works with over 350 different retailers that take Vivint as a secondary, tertiary, and even fourth line sale. It is a struggle to get them to understand that he doesn’t want them to compete on price.

Instead, he wants them to have a conversation about the value of the service and let the customer decide if the product fits their needs.

Sales reps, however, are prone to touting the price because it seems easier.

Jonathan made an interesting transition two years ago which was actually detrimental for a few months.

He moved from home security sales – a totally valuable sale – to satellite sales which was more of a commodity. He realized he was losing money because he wasn’t committed to the value of the product.

Often times, sales reps want to take the path of least resistance – the easier sale. If you can provide the customer with benefits, instead of simply selling features, you create value in your product. By allowing the customer to then determine his spending habits, your earning potential is maximized.

Don’t lead with your own wallet

When I sold training classes for $10K a class, the most money I had ever had in the bank at one time was $3,000. It made no sense to me. I just couldn’t understand why someone would spend that much money. As a result, it definitely limited my ability to sell.

I needed to realize that my clients would get a huge return on that $10K investment – that there was a value to what I offered.

We don’t know their spending habits or capabilities.

Instead, believe that your product is the best in the industry regardless of what the competitors offer. Know that your prospects will pay for it because it is the best product available.

Keep it simple

Keep it simple, silly!  K.I.S.S is an acronym that Jonathan keeps in mind when he teaches the retail process to his sales reps.

Look at the product in total.

Do not ‘product spew,’ meaning, do not lecture your prospects on every single detail of the product because that is not what they need.

Instead, sell the benefit of the product.

Increase the value of the product by explaining the ways it can serve the customer.

When the question of price arises, turn it back around and ask the customer what he feels it is worth.  If all went well – if the sales rep has created significant value in his presentation – the customer will be pleasantly surprised when presented with the cost because he has placed an even higher value on it.

Commodity selling means to provide the customer with the necessary scenarios to imagine for himself the benefit of your service.

Know that value should exceed cost

Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. They want to know the biggest return they can get on any investment. As sales reps, keep that in mind. The sales pitch has to continually revolve around it.

When the customer can see the value – when he understands what is in it for him –  he will buy.

At a recent door-to-door conference, Jonathan was looking for a new accountant when he approached an accountant booth a few rows away from his own booth. They told him everything he wanted to hear. Without even knowing the cost, Jonathan was ready to sign because he immediately understood the value they offered. It was a no-brainer.

In the end, the new accountant service was more expensive than the old service he had been using, but to Jonathan, the value exceeded the cost.

Keep up with the evolving world of sales

As a sales leader, Jonathan spends a lot of time on the road. He ‘gets down in the trenches’ with his sales teams to introduce new ideas and to show them how to make changes that, despite sometimes being more difficult at first, will bring in more money in the long run.

He sets the example for his team.

In sales, we sometimes get into a comfortable rut regardless of results. We can’t afford, however, to continue down a road that does not deliver results.

The sales industry is continually evolving and changing. New ideas and new processes are constantly created. You have to study and keep up with the times.

Have fun as well. The sales process can be a fun way to learn about how people think. Figure out how people think and use it to your advantage. Be forward thinking in your sales approach.

“How Low Can You Go?” episode resources

The best way to reach Jonathan is via email at Jon.dale@rsiinc.com.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If you put in a lot of hard work in 2018 but weren’t able to close many of your deals, we can help you fix that. We have a new semester beginning in April and it would be an honor to have you join. Visit thesalesevangelist.com/CST.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Sean Mcdade, Donald Kelly, peoplemetrics.com, People Metric, Prospect Journey

TSE 1028: Your Customer Journey Starts with the Prospect Experience

 

So often, as sales reps, we neglect to realize that the customer journey starts with the prospect experience.

Sean McDade, PhD, is the founder and CEO of PeopleMetrics; a software and services company that helps organizations measure and create a better customer experience by listening to their customers and prospects.  Sean is also the author of “Listen or Die: 40 Lessons that turn Customer Feedback into Gold,” a book about how to listen to your customers, clients and prospects in order to create a better experience for them.

Customer experience

Any time that a company interacts with a customer or prospect, they are providing a customer experience. It could be a digital experience on a website, an in-person experience through a meeting with a sales rep, or customer experiences via contact centers or online chats.

A great company is one that consciously manages those interactions to create positive experiences for their customers.

As a sales rep, the experience you give to your prospects is very important. The prospect’s interaction with a sales rep sets the tone for the experience he can expect as a customer.

This is especially true if you are selling B2B products, software, professional services, or any high-end consumer products that a prospect is likely to spend significant dollars on to purchase.

A sales rep can increase the value in the sales process by answering questions in detail, by solving problems, and by reducing pain for the prospect.

The metric used to measure customer experience is substantially higher for sales reps who add value over those who do not.

When a prospect feels that he was lied to, or misled, at the beginning, it is difficult to recover. The great sales reps are the ones who set the tone for a great customer or client experience over the long-term.

As for the sales reps who are not setting a positive tone – Sean believes they are creating the very real possibility that the client will churn in the future instead.

Marketing vs sales

Marketing sets the brand promise. They set the expectations but it is up to the sales reps to bring it to life.

The prospects will remember their conversations with sales reps long after they’ve forgotten the marketing campaign. The sales rep has more credibility and is more effective, as a result, in setting a positive – or negative – tone with the prospect.

Positive prospect experience

PeopleMetrics measures various attributes by sending a survey to each prospect to determine the experiences that the reps create.

In this way, Sean has found the prospects always feel that value has been added to their experience whenever a sales rep is able to provide these five things:

  • Be prepared. A great sales rep is one who is super-prepared. They know the prospect inside and out; the reps don’t ask questions that are easily found online, for example.
  • Be comfortable answering questions. A great sales rep understands their prospect’s situation and can suggest solutions.
  • Be a good listener. A great sales rep listens more than he talks and will really understand the needs of the prospect as a result.
  • Be knowledgeable about your product. Be able to answer questions beyond what is already available online.
  • Be proactive. Be timely and follow-up.

Referrals are key, especially in the B2B market.  At that level, buyers actually seek out referrals from other buyers before making big decisions.

The consultative sale rep

As sales reps, we sometimes feel as though we are simply taking orders when, in truth, we should aim to be more of a consultant for the buyer. The company we work for should be one that values the consultative element: providing training, experience, and hands-on opportunities for the sales reps to really learn the product well.

As an example, Sean has a great rep at his company who is generally tasked with opening doors by understanding the prospect’s needs, identifying problems, and introducing solutions. On his own time, the rep learned the product inside and out to the point where he can now read the reports the analysts write for similar-type prospects. He knows the industry, the language, and the company so well that he is extremely credible as a result.  The value that the company placed on his training continues to pay off.

Unfortunately, a lot of smaller companies are unable to provide training, so it is up to the rep to become consultative through proactive measures. Learn as much as you can about the product and the industry and talk to account managers who are servicing similar products, etc.

Learning your customer

As sales reps, we don’t need our buyers to know all about our business. Rather, we need to learn as much as possible about theirs. We need to be able to help them see their blind spots and identify their weaknesses so that we can create a great prospect experience by providing solutions.

Nothing annoys a buyer more than having to answer questions simply to bring a sales rep up to speed, especially when it is something the sales rep should already understand. Instead, if you can offer the buyer insight into the many ways that your product can reduce their pain, or further them in their careers, you are already ahead of the game. You’ve got the inside track.

It reminds me of a story where a sales rep friend of mine was shadowing a more established rep. The established sales rep, however, was also a really cocky and arrogant guy who didn’t feel the need to do any research on his prospects before a call. He was confident that his knowledge of the product would be sufficient to land the sale.

Long story short: Because the sales rep failed to take the time to research an acronym that he had seen on the prospect’s website, the sales rep misused the acronym and was unable to recover. It was a horrible experience that could have been prevented with a little research.

The statistics

PeopleMetrics researched 800 B2B buyers and discovered some fascinating reasons as to why they buy or don’t buy.

  • Seventy-eight percent of B2B buyers actively seek recommendations from their trusted colleagues as their first step toward a purchase. They rarely look online or make a choice based solely on an interaction with a sales rep.
  • Seventy-six percent of the time, the recommended company wins the contract. The losing providers, on the other hand, are almost never recommended.
  • Furthermore, the sales rep makes a huge difference as to whether or not a company is recommended. Sixty-one percent of B2B buyers that bought something report that the sales rep provided high value: he was consultative and he was prepared. He provided a positive prospect experience.
  • And here’s the kicker: the sales rep that provided the high-value experience for the B2B buyer got bigger contracts – up to $100,000 more within the 800 buyers.

The champion cycle

Seventy percent of B2B buyers who experience a high-value meeting recommended the provider to others. It is a cycle that goes around and around and around. It all comes down to the experience that the sales reps have with the prospects.

Sean highly recommends reaching out to your prospects after interactions with your reps. Ask them what they did well and what they could do better. At PeopleMetrics, the survey takes less than a minute and they regularly see a 75% response rate.  

Was the meeting valuable? Was the rep prepared?

And most importantly – do you have any concerns related to moving forward? This is a beautiful question because, as sales reps, we waste a lot of time chasing leads that are going nowhere. This question offers a non-confrontational way for a prospect to let us know if our product is not a good fit. Then we can focus our efforts on prospects who are.

E-Courage

The survey is sent to every decision maker in the group who attended the meeting.  Sean does not recommend, however, having the sales manager call the prospect with the same survey questions as it is unlikely they will provide completely truthful answers.

People are more likely to provide honest feedback via digital means than in person.

The Net promoter question

“How likely would you be to recommend our product or services to a colleague?”

Sean is working with a company that is taking this one step further. Their sales reps call and thank every single customer who provided a 9, or 10. This simple act has resulted in even more referrals!

The mindset of most sales leaders is very hard-charging, or maybe marketing owns the customer experience side of things. Once the sales leader recognizes customer experience as a revenue-generating opportunity, he is more likely to implement it.

Sean recalls a client who left a meeting feeling very confident that he had landed the sale only to receive lukewarm feedback.  As a result, he was able to get on the phone and determine where a misunderstanding had occurred. He was able to turn it around and make the sale.

PeopleMetrics

Valuable prospect experiences can be easily and systematically incorporated in very low stress ways. At PeopleMetrics, they are super passionate about the prospect and customer experience.  Their software automatically sends the survey to your prospects. Once prospects complete the survey, the company sends an email alert of results along with recommendations on how best to proceed.

PeopleMetrics also provides the ability to focus on which reps are doing well, and which ones might need more assistance. It is a complete solution for improving the prospect/customer experience by helping companies listen to their clients.

The prospect experience is the key to delivering a great customer experience that can hopefully last a lifetime.

Take the guesswork out of it.  Know how your sales reps are interacting with your prospects.

“Customer Journey Starts With the Prospect Experience” episode resources

You can reach out to Sean via email at Sean.mcdade@peoplemetrics.com , or find him on Twitter @smcdade. Learn more about the company at Www.peoplemetrics.com.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in March.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Sales Training, Donald Kelly, Sales Manager

TSE 1002: What If I Train Them And They Leave?

Sales Training, Donald Kelly, Sales ManagerMany leaders avoid adequately training their team members because of a single looming question: What if I train them and they leave?

They structure their businesses so that multiple people work on a single project while other projects sit undone. It costs them money and productivity.

If you’re one of those managers, I’ll offer you a different consideration: what if you don’t train them and they stay?

We’re devoting the month of January to the topic of mental toughness, and today’s topic is directed at business and sales leaders as well as sellers.

Leaders

When team members aren’t trained well, they won’t be effective at their jobs. When team members aren’t effective at their jobs, the manager will have to help them do their jobs in addition to doing his own.

Leaders who fear employee departure often choose not to provide the necessary training, but the reality is that many of those untrained employees end up staying in their jobs. [3:37]

What if they stay with you and they don’t know what they are doing?

Financial considerations

Imagine your employee makes $40,000 a year. Are you willing to pay him $40,000 despite the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and then require someone who is making $60,000 a year to help him do his job?

Maybe you’ll eventually fire the person because he isn’t performing. [04:23]

When you let someone go, you may end up paying unemployment benefits, and then you’ll incur the cost of hiring someone new.

Whether you use an agency or review the resumes yourself, you’ll have to invest time trying to find someone who already has training.

Cyclical

Even if your new hire does have sales training, she won’t know your process. She won’t be able to perfectly understand your organization, so she won’t immediately be effective.

If you choose not to provide training, you’ll be back in the same cycle three months after you hire her. [05:04]

You will have spent countless amounts of money to avoid spending money on training. You’ll suffer from lost opportunity and lost revenue.

Long-term benefits

Imagine you have three employees. After you train them, one of them leaves your organization.

First of all, consider why the person is leaving. Is it possible that you’re not paying enough? Does your organization lack direction for its employees? Don’t miss a chance to evaluate why people are leaving. [06:36]

Even if you have a great situation, people may still leave. They may have to move out of state for family reasons or something else. People don’t stay in one place forever.

If one leaves, you still have two great employees who are giving you money back.

If you don’t train them, you’ll likely lose thousands in sales because they aren’t good at their jobs.

Do the math

When I was a young seller, I worked for a company that spent probably $7,000 training me to be an effective seller, and I’m thankful for it.

After my training, I landed a $30,000 deal as one of my first big successes. [07:52]

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that $30,000 is a good return on $7,000.

If you invest in your people, they’ll love you, they’ll stay with your company, and they’ll earn you more money.

For sellers

When you’re considering your next organization, find out what kind of sales training they provide. Even if you’re a seller with a 10-year track record, it’s ok to consider training programs at prospective companies. [08:58]

If they don’t offer coaching or continuing education, that might be a red flag. If they aren’t willing to invest in you, consider other organizations that will.

Do it yourself

Sales leaders might consider providing the training themselves as a way to save money, and it might be true that they’re able to do it. For me, though I’m able to change my own oil and cut my own hair, I don’t do it. [10:21]

Just because we’re capable of something doesn’t mean we’re the best person for the job. Consider the opportunity costs and the cost for you to stop your own work in order to train other people.

Give them podcasts to listen to or books to read.

Don’t hurt your company by trying to save a dime.

“What If I Train Them And They Leave?” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Previously known as TSE Hustler’s League, our TSE Certified Sales Program offers modules that you can engage on your own schedule as well as opportunities to engage with other sellers in other industries.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Alice Heiman, Alice Heiman LLC., Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 943: How Business Owners Who Don’t Like Sales Can Improve Sales Performance

Business owners often have to lead their sales teams despite the fact that they don’t always understand exactly how to do it. Often times, they’re simply ignorant about what to do. It’s absolutely true, though, that business owners who don’t like sales can improve sales performance.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’re talking with Alice Heiman about the challenges business owners face when selling their product or service and how business owners who don’t like sales can improve sales performance.

Alice leads the Alice Heiman, LLC team, which helps companies drive sales growth and bring about sustainable change that leads to growth.

Challenges for business owners

Not all business owners hate selling, but many of them do. The truth is that the person who leads the company is the sales leader.

We have to help them understand their role in sales.

Most people who start a company didn’t do it because they loved sales, and though the entrepreneurial enthusiasm is necessary to start a company, sometimes it leads us down the wrong path.

We assume we’ll just build a great company and people will automatically buy, but the vast majority of business owners have no sales experience. They don’t understand strategy or tactics.

Whether it’s an early stage or a more mature company, many business leaders are abdicating their role as sales leader. The most successful companies have leaders that are very involved in sales.

Even if you intend to hire a sales leader, unless you understand sales, it will be hard for you to hire the right person and then coach that person to lead well.

Team approach

If you’re pursuing a company that is a billion-dollar or a multi-billion-dollar company, you can’t send a lone salesperson to capture the entire company. You have to think of your team as a whole.

  • What role does the salesperson have?
  • What role does the sales leader have?
  • How will the subject matter experts support the effort?
  • What role will the IT people have?

In order to be successful, you have to get everyone positioned properly, which means that the business owner must take a role as well.

Begin by addressing the simple question of how you feel about sales in your company. In many cases, you’ll discover a lot of negative perceptions of sales.

Often the sales leader must address a negative mindset, and begin by talking about the future of the company and how sales will help the company achieve it.

Then you’ll determine where you are right now.

Are you still doing the selling yourself? Have you hired salespeople to help you with sales? Are you ready to hire a sales manager to manage your salespeople? Do you have a sales organization built?

Once we know what the sales organization should look like when it’s complete, your company can begin building toward that.

B2B sales

Sales has changed tremendously,  but most business owners haven’t seen it yet. They are stuck with the notion of selling as they were previously sold to.

In B2B complex sales, you are a smaller company selling to a much bigger company with a long sales cycle and lots of complexities.

You must know your market first. If we know of companies that we want to sell to, we have to get smart really fast. The other option is to make lots of phone calls trying to set up appointments, but you’ll likely burn your people out.

Instead, take the companies you want to do business with and divide them among your team. Give them teams within the same industry so they can learn the industry and its language and do basic research.

It’s important to learn the right things rather than just whether they are a viable prospect.

  • What initiatives are they pursuing this year?
  • What are they posting this year on social media?
  • Can you determine their priorities?

Then figure out how to marry the information you found with your product or service.

Realize, too, that the one lead you connect with may very well block you from other decision-makers. Because they’ve been tasked with this project, they want to look like the hero, so they block you from interacting with others.

Work to find 9 or 10 people who could be involved in the sale.

Get educated

Be a smart, savvy problem solver because you can’t solve problems if you don’t understand what your prospect’s problems are.

Information, especially about large companies, is all over the place. Read annual reports, press releases, the president’s message, and read about products your prospect is launching.

Then think about your customer’s customer. How does your prospect serve its customers? Who does your prospect sell to? How does your prospect help its customers meet their goals?

If I come prepared, and I know your products and services and your industry, you’ll choose to work with me.

If you’ll approach sales as solving problems, perhaps it won’t feel so icky anymore. As a sales leader, focus on your salespeople so they can focus on your customer. If you have happy people who know what to do, if they love their product, and if they are well-trained, they will serve your customers well.

“Improve Sales Performance” episode resources

You can connect with Alice on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, or you can email her or check out her website and her blog.

This episode is brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach and it allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Paresh Shah, Lifter Leader, Trust, Innovate

TSE 908: Lifter Leadership-How To Innovate, Engage, Build Trust And Be Purposeful All At Once!


Paresh Shah, Lifter Leader, Trust, Innovate

For sales leaders, improving your team’s numbers isn’t always enough. If you can help your team innovate, engage, build trust, and be purposeful, you’ll lift your team up and improve their lives. Lifter leadership will change your sales team and change your company.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Paresh Shah, author of the upcoming book Lifters, talks about why his methodology is important for sales efficacy, and how Lifter leaders help companies address disruption and innovation.

Paresh helps governments, large companies, small companies, and entrepreneurs solve their biggest problems. His company, the Non-Obvious Company, is named that because he said that obvious thinking won’t solve big problems.

Statistics suggest that customers only trust 55 percent of companies today, so the first obstacle companies have to overcome is distrust among its customers.

Lifters are leaders

Lifters are the new leaders of the world.

These leaders help their customers and their coworkers find a better way of being. They lift their coworkers and other people around them by creating a better work environment, characterized by positivity, integrity, authenticity, value, and creative expression.

Lifters lift their companies, and as a result, they drive more revenue and more loyalty while they lower costs and innovate. They lift their world and their companies at the same time.

Lifters see beyond transactional relationships.

Fundamental reset

As Paresh became more mindful throughout his career, he discovered that humans are fundamentally changing the way they connect with one another.

As part of that, the model for how to transact, sell, and run and build a business was fundamentally being reset.

That led him to the Lifter paradigm, where he realized that the sales process wasn’t really about hunting for customers, targeting them, capturing them, segmenting them, and analyzing them.

Paresh realized that model no longer works. Lifters understand that it’s about helping customers, inspiring them, serving them, and lifting them. It’s a whole different model.

As a result of his shift, he’s happier, he’s making more money, his customers are his friends, and everything is working better.

Four mind shifts

1. The hunt is over. The days of hunting for your customer are behind you. It’s about serving, inspiring and lifting now.

2. Truth or consequences. We must be authentic and have integrity in everything we do as leaders.

3. “Yes and” people. They are multitaskers. They bring great value to the people they manage and to their customers because they are good at a variety of things.

4. Lifters take Invictus action. In the movie with Matt Damon, victory wasn’t winning. It was bringing people together under a common purpose. Lifters attract customers and inspire them.

We do have to take action, but we don’t do it with a poverty mindset. We shift into a generosity mindset and ask how we can help.

Start with “What do you love?” and “How can I help?”

Lifter skills

Paresh teaches that we are all energy. We are not separate people.

Lifter leadership shifts into a mindset of compassion, caring, creativity, and interconnectedness of everyone. We’ve shifted to a higher consciousness, and people, the younger generation especially, can feel inauthenticity.

People will quickly call us out for lack of authenticity. If, for example, we’re building wells for people in Africa, but we’re polluting a river with the byproducts of our products, people will call us out for it.

Lifter leadership turns the whole model upside down.

How do you show up in the moment? Are you seeing the interconnectedness of all the people you interact with?

If you don’t become a Lifter leader, you will be left in the cold.

Paresh quotes a Harvard Business Review article that reported that companies that operate with conscious purposeful principles like Lifter leadership perform 10.5 times better.

Rock star companies

In the early days of farming, families engage in subsistence farming in which they worked together all day every day to raise enough food to support their own needs.

At some point, non-obvious innovators had a different idea: to rotate the crops instead of planting the same crop in the same place every time. They used massive scale agriculture to change the world, and these farmers were the rock stars of innovation.

It freed up labor and people started moving to the cities.

Eventually, the Industrial Revolution began. If you were someone who could automate work processes or create a non-obvious idea for how to streamline a factory, you were a rock star.

New rock stars who understood automation and other concepts like steam and mass manufacturing eventually launched mega-companies like Rockefeller and Carnegie.

Nerds and geeks

The next group of rock stars created the companies that run the world right now, like Google and Apple and Microsoft. They created a whole new world with the Internet, information, and software.

Initially, those people were nerds and geeks, and they were outcasts. They were on the fringe of society until someone realized we needed to pay attention to them.

These people understood something other people didn’t, and the companies that embraced and nurtured them became rock stars. The companies that didn’t embrace them were obliterated.

Lifter leadership isn’t just about sales. Lifter leaders have workers that are engaged who will walk on fire for you. Seven out of 10 workers are disengaged because we aren’t giving them Lifter leadership.

“Lifter Leaders” episode resources

Connect with Paresh Shah at his website where he has a diagnostic for our listeners to help them determine their Lifter capability. Visit www.iamalifter.com/salesevan.

Also, check out his TEDx video about Lifters.

If all of this sounds great to you but you still aren’t sure how to start, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights.

You can also join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers to connect with sales professionals from all walks of life.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Maximizer CRM, a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Check out the Video Jungle podcast, which teaches you how to utilize video to stand out from your competition. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

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Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Leading, Little Things

TSE 907: The Little Things Matter The Most When You’re Leading


Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Leading, Little ThingsHow far are you willing to go to get ahead of the competition? In order to be successful, you must do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Realize that little things matter the most when you’re leading, and if you adopt them in your own business, you can become a better sales leader.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, I’ll share the true story of a dentist I visited who went the extra mile, and why it made such a big difference.

This dentist didn’t do anything big. Take note of the five little things that will cause your sales staff to look to you as a sales leader.

1. Recognize them out of the blue.

There are natural occasions like birthday, anniversaries, kids going to college or graduating, or 5th anniversary working with the company. A lot of sales leaders aren’t acknowledging these natural opportunities to recognize an employee.

Call them to see how they are doing; maybe on a Wednesday just to see how the day went and how the deals are going. Encourage them along the way, even if things didn’t go the way they wanted.

Your team will learn to trust that you’re looking out for their best interest, and they’ll trust and support you. And when you need help, they’re going to work harder for you.

2. Take time for one-on-one coaching.

Make sure you spend time with your sellers so you’ll understand their strengths and their struggles. Prioritize one-on-one coaching.

Stephen Covey’s fifth principle says to seek first to understand, and then to be understood. Before you focus on helping them understand the things you need them to get done, seek to understand the things they need.

Treat them like your customer. Make them feel good.

3. Recognize their successes in front of their peers.

When a sales rep closes a deal or lines up an appointment or gets a referral, recognize them in front of their peers.

Sales reps love recognition, and if you can make them feel good, they’re going to work harder to repeat that action. You’ll communicate to them that you care about the sales reps and they’ll want to work hard over and over again.

4. Make their goal become your priority.

It’s tempting to think of this the other way around and expect your sales team to make your goals their goals.

Begin the other way around. If your sales rep wants to buy a house, or get a new car, or take his family to Europe, or pay off college loans, make that goal a priority.

If you, as a sales leader, are focused on making me win as a seller, I am going to do everything you need me to do. I’ll understand that you had my best interests in mind.

If, for example, they are planning a trip, and you engage with them to find out details about the trip, and where they are in the buying process, and what the costs of the trip will be, it will communicate that you care about their needs rather than pushing your own.

5. Challenge them, trust them, and empower them to do tough things.

Let your team members know that you’re confident that they can handle the tasks you’ve given them.

Remind them that you’ll help them through the process.

Don’t simply give responsibility to the best sales reps on the team; trust and empower your sales reps with important tasks. Don’t give them too much too soon, and don’t give them work that is difficult for them to bear.

Remind them that you have confidence in them.

As your team members achieve success, gradually increase the tasks you entrust to them.

Give your sales team reasons to brag about you; to realize that they have the best sales leader in the world.

I share stuff like this because I want to help you guys find more ideal customers, to build stronger value, to close more deals, and most importantly to challenge you to do big things.

“Little Things Matter the Most” episode resources

Today’s episode is brought to you by Maximizer CRM, a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Check out the Video Jungle podcast, which teaches you how to utilize video to stand out from your competition. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Jason Loh, Sales Manger, Get Time Back, Anaplan,

TSE 903: How To Get More Time Back As A Sales Manager To Exceed Quota

Jason Loh, Sales Manger, Get Time Back, Anaplan,Regardless of your industry, you’re probably invested in helping your sales team optimize its performance. Ultimately, we need our teams to hit their quotas and perform at their peak. So how do you help your team get more time back in order to exceed quota?

Jason Loh visits The Sales Evangelist podcast today to help us understand how to make the best use of our time and to help us understand the value of time. When we do, we can help our sales teams get more time back to exceed quota.

Jason is the global head of sales solutions for Anaplan, a software vendor that is pioneering a category of connected planning. Anaplan seeks to bring together people with data in order to help organizations better manage their business.

What is the value of time?

Sellers do best when they have clear marching orders.

Sometimes the problem emerges at the end of Q4 when an organization is moving into a new fiscal year.  Sellers don’t always know whether they are supposed to sell into the same accounts they sold into the last year.

While the company cleans house at the end of a fiscal year, very often the sellers find themselves with a nebulous period of time. They could spend as many as two or three months waiting to see what comes next.

If sellers don’t have a clear sense of what they should be doing, uncertainty causes them to hesitate. By the time the organization gains its footing for the new fiscal year, the company has lost two months’ worth of time, which means it has to complete 12 months’ worth of selling in only 10 months.

One of the first thing sales reps want to know when they begin a new job is how they’ll be compensated. If their compensation will rely on productivity, it’s in their best interest to make the most of their time.

How can teams get more time back?

Sales leaders can’t simply expect sellers to figure things out. Instead, they have to set a good example and get the house in order to remove roadblocks to success and empower their sellers.

Identify the top three things for the upcoming fiscal year.

You must make sure that your organization’s plan correlates to how you’re designing your compensation plans. Without an extra incentive to drive your reps to accomplish those goals, how will you expect them to accomplish those three things? Furthermore, why are you incentivizing things that don’t match your company’s top three goals?

So often there’s a disconnect between senior leadership and the sellers, so people are scratching their heads wondering why things aren’t matching up.

How does a lack of goal setting affect organizations?

The Alexander Group reports that 81 percent of organizations don’t have their comp plans connected to their sales team’s marching orders.

Jason says there are things organizations can control, and things they can’t control. Your organization should do its best to control things like marching orders and sales plans because those things are well within your control.

Things like employee turnover are completely outside your organization’s control and they can present a significant challenge.

How do you effectively plan for the hiring process of bringing on a new rep, ramping for a period of time, covering for employees who are absent for a period of time, all while still managing the entire process?

What platforms and technologies should my sales team be using?

From a seller or sales rep’s perspective, CRM is the core.

For leaders, consider this: does micromanaging your sales teams’ number of emails, number of voicemails and other metrics help you build your larger strategy? Does it get you where you need to be in 12 months?

Aim to help your sellers manage their sales basics so you can transfer a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead.

Opt for a decision-based platform that helps you pull together data. Make sure you know who your contacts are at each organization as well as who your influencers and decision-makers are.

Identify the tools that will help your sales team elevate its game and develop more opportunities.

Measure your reps on whether they delivered.

Productivity depends on the industry you’re in and the tasks and activities you’re required to do. Understanding those requirements will help you understand whether your team is maximizing its productivity.

Imagine this:

If I’m a sales rep with a killer sales forecast and I miss my number, I might be escorted out the door. If I’m a sales rep with a horrible sales forecast, but I exceed my number anyway, I’ll be carried around the office like a rock star.

As a sales leader, it’s challenging to marry the endgame with the leading indicators like phone calls and emails, but it’s worth the effort. Otherwise, your team will focus primarily on the end number without paying as much attention to the process.

If you don’t incentivize the process, your sellers won’t pay attention to it.

There are a lot of movable parts in this process.

It’s all interconnected so the decisions in one part directly impact the other parts.

Introduce a decision platform so you can understand how even small decisions will cascade against the organization. Don’t look at things in a vacuum.

Look at things holistically and see all the components of your sales strategy to make sure you’re able to attain those goals.

“Get More Time Back” episode resources

Find out more about Anaplan or contact Jason Loh directly at the website.

Check out the Video Jungle podcast, which teaches you how to utilize video to stand out from your competition. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Andy Paul

TSE 726: How to Help Young Sales Leaders Become Great Leaders

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Andy PaulWhy settle with 20% close rates when you can do more?

Today’s guest is Andy Paul and he shares with us ways you can help young sales leaders become better and more successful.

Andy Paul was here on the show back in episodes 359 and 364. Since then, he’s been doing some unique stuff working with SaaS companies. He has this passion to help people continue to grow in a changing environment.

Andy also hosts his own podcast called Accelerate! with Andy Paul, where they cover a whole lot of content around leadership, marketing, and sales to help serve people holistically.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Andy:

The Changing Environment in the SaaS Space

  • Now, there is a need for a customer-centric, performance-based sales culture.
  • From a sales-oriented process to an education-based model

Strategies for Effective Leadership:

1. Understand each step of the process.

Understand how people make decisions and how they’re influenced. Pay attention to training sales reps to understand so they can optimize the value of every interaction they have with prospect. Understand each step of the process that brings the customer closer to making a decision.

2. Focus on serving customers.

Focus on helping and serving customers to help them move from stage to stage in the buying process.

Mistakes Young Sales Leaders are Making:

Poorly qualifying prospects

1. Train people how to really qualify prospects.

  • Andy thinks qualifying prospects is more a problem of the AEs, not the SDRs.
  • As a manager, coach your account executives and sales development reps as to how they make decisions and how the evaluate and process information.
  • Do one-on-one sitting with them.
  • It’s okay to close deal but a decision has been made, rather than having a pipeline ending up with no decisions.
  • When the customer does nothing, that’s the worst that can happen. And this starts with really qualifying the prospect.

2. Re-qualify your prospects every time.

You have to qualify your prospect in every step of the process. Over time, their needs change. They become smarter and more educated. You  have to continually re-qualify them to make sure they’re still the prospect for you.

Prospects don’t have the incentive to tell you to go away. So you have to ask.

Not understanding how to use data

  • Most businesses are data-driven.
  • It’s human nature for people to want to see causation where it doesn’t exist. So we take a superficial look at data.
  • Infographics can be misleading since you don’t know the variables in creating the data set.
  • It only has value when the study you looked at consists of all companies of the same size, same type of products, or have customers of the same size.
  • We confuse correlation with causation. And we let our information biases interfere with our conclusions.

Question Everything

Take nothing at face value. Don’t just go with the flow. Analyze what’s beneath the surface and look for the missing variables. What are you not seeing? Have that obligation to not take the easy route.

Break the Rules

Don’t just say yes to everything if it doesn’t align with your strengths or with your process.

Successful professionals break the rules. Find a way to turn your people loose. Let them develop their own strengths. Let them break the rules a little bit. Then you can sort out who have the capability of succeeding.

 

Andy’s Major Takeaway:

Be your own person. Be authentic to yourself. Find out what you’re really good at and what you can do even better. Break the rules a little bit.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Andy on LinkedIn and Twitter @realAndyPaul. Shoot him an email at andy@andypaul.com or give him a call at 619-980-4002.

Listen to Andy’s podcast Accelerate! with Andy Paul

Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.

Tired of PowerPoint decks? Use Prezi Business and your presentations will never be the same.

TSE 359 with Andy Paul

TSE 364 with Andy Paul

Scott Love, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 533: Become the Sales Leader People Want to Follow

The Sales Evangelist PodcastAs a sales leader, one of the most important tasks is to be the leader that people want to follow. We often find sales reps leaving the organization, not because they weren’t making money or the product is bad, but just because of the relationship side. How do you become that sales leader everybody loves?

Today’s guest is Scott Love and he shares great insights and more about his book, Why They Follow: How to Lead with Positive Influence, specifically on how you as a seller, sales leader, or entrepreneur can create an atmosphere where the people we lead are willing to follow us.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Scott:

About his book, Why They Follow:

Find out what motivates people to follow and lead based on that. His book will show you how you can lead that gets people to choose to follow and do it in a positive way (not because of fear).

The concept of response ratio that people choose what response to give shows that employees give a 1 based on authority and a 10 (they respond with their heart and soul) because of a manager’s leadership skills.

People choose to respond based on how they respond someone to be.

Strategies on how to become the leader people want to follow:

  1. Trust is a key factor.

Get people to trust you. People make decisions so you have to lead them in a way that gets them to choose to respond. Build trust with your team by going within. Leadership is intensely personal. People make decisions on a personal and emotional level.

  1. Identify your core values.

If you had all the money and time in the world, what truly motivates you? Those are your core values and take time to identify those. Write them down and this serves as your guide or compass to measure all your decisions.

  1. Write down your life purpose.

This has nothing to do with business or sales. Take the time to identify and clarify your mission as to why you are on this planet and you become more confident and more decisive. You will know which direction you’re going in.

  1. Be a great follower to be a great leader.

Become “followable” first and everything else will fall into its place. Say that you won’t do anything unless it provides value to other people first. Go back to your core values and your life purpose.

  1. Find out what motivates your team.

Get to know your team and find out what motivates them since everybody is motivated by something different. While some are motivated by money, others are motivated by recognition. Look for ways to motivate your team for different reasons.

At the end of the day, people want significance and control. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is on top of the pyramid. It’s more than the money. It’s about the meaning.

  1. Practice what you preach.

If your actions don’t adhere to your values, then your team will see that disconnect and they won’t feel safe. They won’t trust you anymore. Are you living in the values you are espousing within the company?

  1. Give your team members the attention they need.

Don’t looking at your iPhones as employees are talking to you. Every time you have a screen on your hand, you’re not giving the attention they need.

  1. Give your members public recognition.

Show them why their work matters. There is a pattern that if we can show there is positive leadership between the employee and the boss, that’s enough for them to turn down opportunities. Salespeople want to have a contribution into this world.

Scott’s Major Takeaway:

Invest one hour a day in personal development. Listen to this podcast. Read books. This is going to build up over time. If you read and listen to people who have been down the road, you’re going to become the kind of person that people will feel safe with and be the person people will follow.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Scott Love on www.scottlove.com.

Why They Follow: How to Lead with Positive Influence by Scott Love

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Sales Leader, Being A Young Sales Leader, Jay Cullinan, Donald Kelly

TSE 386: How To Lead A Team Of Veteran Sellers As A Young Sales Leader

The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Donald Kelly, Sales Leader, Top SellerWell, it’s actually an interesting dynamic when you have a team of young and veteran sellers. It’s not unusual for doubts to set in and you ask yourself questions like: Is there a better way to approach this? Or do the things you do translate to leading a more senior group? The internal battle sure is challenging but you can always ride against the tides and this is how our today’s guest, Jay Cullinan, would put simply put it.

Jay Cullinan has been in B2B sales in the last six years and today we talk about how you can effectively manage a team of veteran sellers even as a young sales leader.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jay:

Jay’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer

How you as a young sales leader can influence a more senior group:

  1. Be in it with them.

As Zig Ziglar says, “Sales isn’t something you do to somebody. It’s something you do with somebody.” So you have to be on the level of your veteran sellers.

  1. Ask for their advice.

Veteran sellers have basically been in the sales filed way longer than you do. There is a wealth of knowledge you can gain so set time aside and ask for their advice. Then tailor it specifically to them. Asking for their advice denotes respect because you want to hear what they have to say.

  1. Tailor your management style accordingly.

You can’t treat everyone the same. The way you manage individuals should be different. It’s the same with how people sell. People have different ways of selling to people.

  1. Celebrate your failure with lesson attached to it.

Senior people want to be respected. Putting yourself out there in the form of a failure with a real lesson attached to it, you will get a ton of respect for it. This will also give them space to be more honest with their failures. Share your failure and put it out there and people will respect your and trust you more. Being vulnerable is one of the quickest ways to build trust.

  1. Find ways to give other people credit.

Growing your business is a marathon. The short side of leaders swallows the small wins or even the big wins upfront and that snatches motivation and progress away from your team. Swallow your pride and give away the success out to your team.

Jay’s Major Takeaway:

Everything matters when you’re dealing with customers because you’re not just being judged with competition directly, but also against everybody else they’ve come in contact on that day. Rise to the level of being the most noble person that day and you’re well on your way to success.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Jay through his blog at www.sellingwithoutselling.wordpress.com or send him an email at jaycullinan@gmail.com.

TSE Episode 349: Make It Clear

Create Distinction podcast by Scott McKain

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