Sales & Sales Management Expertise

What the Numbers Tell Us about Salesperson Readiness

Tags: managing salespeople, building effective sales teams, salesperson readiness, DoL regulations

We recently delivered a webinar specifically for one of our clients – BISA (Bank Insurance and Securities Association).  The topic was The Customer-First Advisor: How to Help Your Salespeople Survive and Sell in the Coming DOL Environment – regarding the recent Department of Labor ruling outlining the fiduciary responsibilities of financial advisors giving advice to prospects or clients. (Click here to listen to recording.)

NOTE:  This post doesn't just apply to investment advisor salespeople.  Salespeople in all industries continue to face changes in economic, competitive and company climates.  As a sales leader, it is important to recognize that those salespeople that got you where you are today probably won’t be the same ones that will get you through the other side of change unless you get them ready.

Up until this year, advisors had to satisfy a “suitability” standard when providing advice.  The problem is that sometimes “suitability” also was conflicted advice. It was “conflicted” apparently because some of the products that were “suitable” were also the ones that paid the advisors the most commission.  I have strong feelings about this and why the DoL would stick its nose in this… but that discussion is for another day and time!

As a result, one of the issues at hand is how advisors actually conduct themselves now that there are new regs in place.  During our webinar (click here to listen to recording),we asked a couple of poll questions.  Here are those questions and responses:

Survey-responses.png

What does this tell us – you?

  • Skills to be successful – If you look at your sales results in a 80/20 power curve, you always see that about 36% of your team represents close to 90% of the sales results. What does that tell you about the rest of the team?  Answer: They either fail in effort or execution of the process, or they lack skills.  Question: Did you hire them that way or make them that way?
  • Pipeline – The question applies to anyone selling anything but ESPECIALLY if you are selling products and services of higher dollar amounts and selling B2B. Not everyone that fogs a mirror is a prospect.  Yes, people may call you out of the blue, walk into your office and ask to buy. Sell them!  But, day in and day out, your salespeople need to be looking for and talking to Zebras. (click here for book)
  • Depending on how your salespeople go to the market, the first contact has to be compelling. One of our rules is this: “Don’t look, act or sound like a salesperson.”  If your people open up with how good the company is, great pricing and unbelievable service, then they are bringing nothing to the conversation that is compelling.  REMEMBER THIS from Verne Harnish in Scaling UP – People are distracted.  Prospects have lots of other people looking to take their time.  You must have a compelling message in order to get people to keep listening.
  • Tracking is the name of the game when it comes to performance management. Lots of companies talk about performance management, but normally all that means is that there is an arbitrary line that someone has to cross before they go on a PIP – Performance Improvement Program.  By then, it’s normally too late. The key to performance management is to have systems and processes in place so that you can “catch them early”.

What does this mean?  It means the following:

  • Regardless of the levels of success in your organization, you should constantly invest in your people so that they continue to improve important skills and learn new ones.
  • Make sure that your salespeople clearly understand the ideal client in your organization and make sure that you have a process to “inspect what you expect” in terms of what segment of the market you are capturing.
  • Review your go-to-market messaging and ask yourself – “Does this really differentiate us from the market or are we trying to sell the same message everyone else is?”
  • Identify your sales steps. Have a process in place to calculate exactly how many of each step each salesperson has to execute in order to succeed.  Make sure that you have assumptions about the conversion ratios from one step to the next step.  These ratios will vary from person to person. Collect actual performance results.  Compare actual activity and effectiveness to target activity and effectiveness.

Additional Resources:

Building a Sales Formula for Success – Link to success formula

Tracking – Sample output of data collected

Sales Management Tools: The Performance Formula

Tags: successful sales teams, sales management, sales performance management, performance formula, sales management tools, david cook

Performance management is a major component of our Sales Management Certification program.  When we graphically represent a sales managed environment, the pyramid below is how we communicate the components, how the environment is built and the order of importance.

sme-pyramid.png

A great friend of mine, Keith Walker, has let me borrow a video series by David Cook PhD called “The Mindset of A Champion”.  In the introduction, Dr. Cook describes the formula for performance as:  Performance = potential – interference.  I found this interesting and I would like to share my thoughts with you today.

Years ago, when we would discuss the potential of a new recruit at Iowa State University, our head coach would tell the rest of the staff, “Potential will get you fired.”  I didn’t understand it then, but over the years I have learned to understand it as it relates to performing not just in athletics, but also in business, particularly in the business of sales.  This all ties very well into Dr. Cook’s equation.

When you think about all the salespeople you have on your team today, there isn’t a single one that you hired or have been keeping on staff with the thought that you really need some people on the staff to not live up to their potential.  Nope, this is not the case, now or ever.  Every hire, every person on the team, has potential and, if you are like most sales managers, you live for the day that they live up to their potential.

Are you disappointed?  Are you surprised?  Are you frustrated?  Are you out of different tactics to take to try and get them to perform at their potential?  If so, then read on and I believe you will find some great solutions.  If you are not sick and tired yet, then come back to this article when you are ready to make changes.  For the people who are ready now, here are some suggestions to correct the problem.

  1. If you hire for potential, then set a realistic time frame for the potential to be reached.
  2. If you hire for potential, that means you are hiring a project: a project that requires an investment of time, money and resources. If you don’t have the bandwidth, the right systems and processes in place or the required bias toward coaching and developing people, then don’t hire people with “potential”.
  3. Hire people that are plug and play.
  4. To find those that are plug and play make sure you use a pre-hire assessment tool that is specific to sales success and has a high predictive validity score. (Objective Management Group’s pre-hire assessment is THE only one we use and recommend.  It tests exactly what needs testing and has a 92% predictive validity.)
  5. Evaluate your own contribution to the problem.
  6. Understand these two really IMPORTANT truths
    1. Your recruiting, on-boarding and development programs are perfectly designed for the results you are getting today. If people in your charge are not performing, then something in your system has to change, including you!
    2. The people that are underperforming – you either hired them that way, tolerate them being that way or made them that way. (This last item is kind of like the Olympian that finishes last.  No one trains to be last). There isn’t anyone on your team that has the intention of being last.

Let’s go back to the pyramid.  Performance management is THE base for the entire SME process.  It supports everything else that needs to be done within the sales environment.  If people are not being held accountable, then you have a problem.  If people are able to perform at an average level without consequences, then you have a problem. If you have people that are un-trainable and un-coachable, then you have a problem.  If you don’t have a system data collection – both observed and collected – then you have a problem(s). Actually, two problems:

  1. You don’t have anything to hold them accountable to.
  2. It is virtually impossible to conduct intentional coaching if you don’t know how effectively they are executing the sales process. Only data can tell you that.

Lets go back to the formula from Dr. Cook.  I believe what he is trying to tell us is that the performance of all people trying to do anything will suffer when there is interference.  In order to improve performance, the sales manager must first understand that performance management is the most important job they have.  This does not mean that they have to spend most of their time in this area – that is reserved for coaching.  But it does mean it is the priority. 

Given that it is the priority means that you, as the sales manager, must have systems and processes in place to help you determine the “interference”.  And, finally, when assessing yourself, you must determine if you have the strength of conviction and commitment to succeed in your role.  In other words, what is interfering with your potential as a sales manager? 

In my next post, I will identify – using the Objective Management Group's sales management assessment findings – common interferences for sales managers.

Additional resources:

Postwire Sales Portal link to access helpful information about:

  • Hiring Better Sales People
  • Coaching
  • Performance Management
  • Assessing Sales People
  • Sales Management Certification

Upgrading Your Sales Team Military Style

Tags: sales management, managing salespeople, upgrading your sales team, extraordinary sales teams

I assure you that the military academies are all about performance management.  IF it moves, it gets measured.

military-football.png

Ralph Pim and I were watching a competitive sports team practice one day at West Point.  Ralph was a professor and Director of Competitive Sports teams at the United States Military Academy at West Point at the time.  He was telling me about the coach that was responsible for the company’s competitive football program.  He told me that this individual was retired Army and the Academy hired him back to run the program as well as other duties.  I asked him, “Why would he retire and then get hired back?”  I will do my best to explain what Ralph told me.

In the military, the system works like this:

  • In the military, each soldier has a rank.
  • You progress up through the ranks based on merit.
  • A promotion board (my words) reviews the current career of the soldier and, based on merit and recommendations, either promotes the soldier to the next level or it doesn’t.
  • In the military system, there are only so many seats available at each rank in the military. (I’m assuming that that number may go up or down based on the current state of world affairs and the status of military funding.)
  • A soldier has only so long to stay in a certain rank. If the soldier gets passed by a certain number of times for promotion, then that soldier is considered “not promotable” and, at some time, is “retired”.

*From Militaryspot.com:  Enlisted:  Congress passes the Defense Authorization Act each year. This is how the number of Army members that can be on active duty in the upcoming year is determined. By separate legislation, Congress limits what percentage of the total active duty force can serve in each commissioned officer rank, what percentage of the total active duty force can serve in each warrant officer rank, and what percentage of the active duty force can serve in each enlisted rank above the grade of E-4 (there are no statutory limits for E-4 and below). These amounts are then the foundation of the Army enlisted promotion system.

My question is this: why wouldn’t this work in corporate America?  More specifically, how could you, as a director of sales, make this work in your organization?  How could this become part of your motivation and “upgrading” strategy?  You would need to outline your system and then plug your “sales soldiers” into the system to see how it plays out, but let’s give it a shot.

Ranking:  Let’s assume you could have ranks that look something like this top to bottom:

  • Sr. Advisor
  • Jr. Advisor
  • Advisor
  • Account Executive
  • NBD Agent

Depending on the business you are in, you could substitute the word consultant, broker or agent for the word “advisor”.

Criteria:  You would need to establish criteria to enter the sales team at a certain level (assuming you are recruiting people) and to be promoted from one level to the next.

  • Year of Service – not recommended – years of service have very little bearing on merit or accomplishment. “Survival” is not a solid criteria.
  • Annual New Business Production
  • Book of Business or Revenue stream
  • Company contribution
  • Professional designations
  • Professional ranking within the industry
  • Compliance with and support of company values, vision, mission and objectives
  • Stature in the market

Process:  You would need a process to acquire the appropriate data and information to make any kind of objective and reasonable determination for promotion.

  • Clearly identified metrics for success and established standards that determine success
  • Collection of data that support objective reporting of success in achieving metrics in each criteria
  • Timing of reviews and announcements of upcoming promotion board hearings
  • Criteria to be a promotion board member
  • Establish the size – number of people – at each rank. People at the top end of the sales rank would certainly be unlimited.  Other than the top and bottom ranks, you will want a fixed number of people at each rank.  This is the only way the system works.
  • Length of time someone can stay in a rank or…
  • The number of times someone can be passed for promotion before being “retired”.

I’m confident that you can think of additional ops and procedures that would need to go into this process.  Establishing the process is secondary to determining if your current system and process for upgrading your sales team and promoting people (giving them new titles vs earning new titles or ranks) is actually accomplishing what it should accomplish:  Motivating your sales team to perform at or exceed expected and required levels of performance.

Too often, I’ve been part of discussions about the lack of performance of very senior people and new hires.  Too often, I’ve heard excuses about them being protected classes, managing big books of business or have only been with the firm for a year.  I get it.  Making decisions that impact people’s lives and the lives of their family is important and serious work.  And because it’s serious work, a company should have a serious approach to upgrading the team.  The company should have a serious communication process that lets everyone know exactly what the rules are and what it takes to get promoted with the team, what it takes to stay on the team and what happens when there is failure to execute as expected.

Imagine for minute the following scenario:

ranking-sample.png

With this type of structure/system, you would have a career path method that is clear and objectively determined.  This will help the right people continue to be motivated to perform as expected when you hired them.  It will give you a better method to determine what to do with those that “have retired on the job.”

You may not want to position this as a “military style” of managing, as that may not be consistent with your style or your company culture.  But performance management is the fundamental contributing factor for having a team built for sales growth.

Additional Resources:

Sales Management – Complimentary Book on The Extraordinary Sales Manager

Setting Standards – Video – What if you gave your best!

National Webinar Series for Sales Management – to inquire how you can participate call 513.791.3458 and ask for Jeni Wehrmeyer or email: jeni@anthonycoletraining.com. Subject line: Participate in National Webinars

Onboarding: One Key to Successful Hiring

Tags: hiring salespeople, sales management, onboarding sales people, key to successful hiring, sales onboarding, hiring better salespeople

In January, we launched Hire Better Salespeople.  It is the recruiting business solution to help companies profile, attract, screen, evaluate, hire and on –board “A” sales talent.  We specialize in financial services, banking and insurance.  There are actually three differentiators in our approach, but now I only want to talk about one of the three – Onboarding.

Here are a couple of things to recognize before we get into onboarding:thumbs-up.jpg

  1. Your current recruiting process/system today is perfectly designed for the results you are getting today and will get tomorrow.
  2. Assuming you have more than 10 salespeople, the Pareto Principle is probably alive and kicking in your organization. If you double click on the 80/20 rule, you will most likely discover that about 40% of your team is responsible for 90% of your revenue.
  3. Assuming you have 10 people and the 80/20 rule applies to your organization, you have 6 people responsible for less than 10% of your revenue.
  4. If we switch from the 80/20 principle to thinking about a traditional bell curve, you have a large segment of your production team in the fat part of the bell curve. Most likely, those people in the middle standard deviations and those on the extreme left are probably not hitting their production goals.

I have a question about the people who are not hitting goals or are not performing as you thought they would when you hired them.  Did you hire them that way or make them that way? 

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ve probably read that question before.  If you’ve heard me speak or if you are part of our Sales Management Certification program, you’ve heard me ask that question.  It is a question that must be answered because the people that are on your team are your people.  I would venture to guess that you didn’t seek approval to hire someone to be average.  You probably expected them to excel.  So, what happened?

My final assumption (which I really shouldn’t do) is that you hired someone that should be successful, but something happened. Let’s assume those that are not performing were not bad hires. What happened?

Poor onboarding.

In our Hire Better Salespeople program, we “close out” each hiring project with an intensive onboarding process.  We assume that the hiring company will execute its own company onboarding process, but that normally doesn’t address some specific needs. Our system is designed to help the newly hired sales person to get up to speed quickly so that their ramp up time to success is as short as possible.  A solid “sales” onboarding program has several components. 

Here are just a few to-do items that we recommend to our clients or execute ourselves as part of the new hire onboarding.  (This list consist of items normally not covered in typical company onboarding)

  • Competitive information training
  • Company ideology, mission and vision
  • Sales training (especially when more senior salespeople are hired. There is an assumption that, because they are senior, they don’t need additional training or coaching)
  • Accountability processes that will take place
  • Review contact list
  • Joint calling schedule
  • Goals and business plan development
  • Sales and activity tracking system and process
  • Expectations for results, compliance and execution of sales tools
  • Appointment debriefing process

Adding to the onboarding list of to-dos is a list of questions that the hiring manager or sales manager must be able to answer for the new hire.  (Partial list)

  • What are all of the problems we solve?
  • Why are we better?
  • What is our brand promise?
  • How do we position ourselves in the marketplace?
  • Who are our customers?
  • How do we get to them?
  • Why will they see me?
  • What does the first call sound like?
  • What is our sales process?
  • What are the questions I should be asking?

Not only does a company have to execute these two examples, they must also address THE VERY important data acquired during the recruiting process.  That data is the information gained from initial phone contact interview, the pre-hire assessment data and the information gained about the candidate in the resume review and the interviewing process.

Recognize that no matter how good this candidate appears to be, all candidates come with some warts.  No one, I repeat, no one is perfect.  The problem with dealing with weaknesses occurs because typically the hiring manager is so thrilled with getting the position hired they just want to get the person in the chair, on the phone and in the market.  There is given little, if any, recognition that the person had some sales weaknesses, practice management challenges and/or maybe some technical problems to overcome. 

Take a look at this quick snap shot of a small portion of the information provided about a candidate that completes the OMG pre-hire assessment tool (click this link and complete registration form to receive a complementary pre-hire assessment evaluation to use on a current candidate)we use for all our recruiting:

OMG-chart.png

This particular candidate has several areas where work is needed.  Even if this candidate is determined to be hirable and a great fit for your organization, you are hiring someone that also has sales skill deficits in qualifying, presenting and closing.  You MUST have, as part of your onboarding, a sales development partner that addresses these specific areas or else the results you think you are hiring may not show up for a long time… or maybe not at all!

If you are going to spend resources - time, money and effort - recruiting top talent, then take the time to onboard them correctly. 

Here are some links to additional information and resources.

  • How much are bad hires costing me?  Click this link to complete the formula
  • How well am I onboarding? Click this link to download and complete the assessment
  • I would like a copy of the Hire Better Salespeople slide document:  email Alex@hirebettersalespeople.com.  Subject line – Request Free Slidedoc

 

My Dad’s Pick Up Truck & Driving Sales Growth

Tags: sales talent, driving sales, sales competency, running sales organizations

pickup-1.png

I’ve been working on this post for a week; for some reason, it took a little while to pull it all together. I think I was making it too complicated, so here it goes:

  • In 1971, my dad got his new pickup truck, a powder blue IH 1210.
  • Dad “pimped his ride” by installing an 8-track player with Panasonic speakers.
  • My dad was a slow driver. No matter where we were going or how far, he’d drive 45 mph even when the speed limit allowed 55. 
  • I thought it was a result of his old beater of a pickup.
  • I thought for sure he’d drive faster with his new truck.
  • Nope, he still drove 45 mph in a 55 mph zone.

I’ve been trying to connect this experience with the experience of watching sales organizations look for solutions to drive revenue growth.  Like an engine that needs three things to run, your sales organization needs three things to run.

Spark, fuel and combustion are required to start an engine and make it run. If you have those things, the engine will run.  Get all three at a grade “A” level and the engine runs really well.  If you want the vehicle that the engine is meant to move to perform at “A” level, you need something else.  You need a driver.

Not just any driver; you need a driver that has two things:  Competency and Drive.  Certainly, there are other contributing factors that determine if the driver is right for your vehicle, but basically speaking:

  • Without competency, you might go fast, but there will be lots of damage, crashes and failures.
  • Without drive, there won’t be any risk taken, no failures and, therefore, no success.
  • Without drive, then there will be a lack of coach-ability and trainability.

My point here is this:  The engine size, the transmission, the gear ratios, the tires, the steering, the paint job, the aerodynamics… none of these things really matter if you don’t have a driver or a team of drivers with competency and drive.

When you get ready to put your budget together and are considering where to invest money, time and effort in order to drive revenue growth, focus on three things:

  1. Sales Talent acquisition
  2. Sales Talent development
  3. A Crew Chief with desire, commitment and skills

CRM and other sales enablement tools are nice but, just like my dad’s new pickup, it doesn’t matter unless you want to grow and grow fast.

Hire Better Salespeople Today - Click here!

The 5 Why Questions Sales Prospects Ask

Tags: answering prospect questions, sales prospects, the why sales questions

5-why.jpg

A guest blog post by Mark Trinkle, Chief Sales Officer, Anthony Cole Training Group

Why…Why…Why…Why…Why??????

My apologies for sounding like a 3-year old wondering why they need to stop doing something, start doing something, or eat something green and not so tasty off their plate.

So, here’s the deal. Do you know who else on occasion has a serious case of the whys?  You guessed it…your prospect.  For the record, prospects are also really good at simulating the temper tantrums of a three-year old when they don’t get their way.

Specifically, according to The Bridge Group, Inc., there are 5 Why Questions that most prospects ask themselves during the sales process:

  1. Why should they listen? I mean, after all, they were not expecting your call.  They were busy doing something and probably have a million things on their to-do list so why should they take the time to even listen to you as you interrupt their day?
  2. Why should they care? Let’s assume for just a minute they decided to listen.  What is going to resonate with your message to the point that it gets your prospect to care?
  3. Why should they change? Who knows how long the prospect has been on the course they are on today?  Why do something different?  Maybe things are going ok.
  4. Why should they pick you? There are probably lots of competitive options, so what is going to cause them to select you?
  5. Why now? Is there an urgency to act now?  What is going to compel or motivate the prospect to do something now instead of later?  Remember that a lack of urgency has torpedoed its share of sales opportunities.

 

Like it or not, your prospect is asking themselves these five questions….perhaps consciously so they are full aware of it or maybe it is being asked at a deeper subconscious level.

Either way, you better know the answers.

I guarantee you that your prospect does.

Thanks for tuning in…now go sell like a champion today.

Social Media & Selling - "Catch Them All"

Tags: social media, pokemon go, selling and social media

Guest Post By Alex Cole, Recruitment Specialist, Hire Better Salespeople

sell-poke.jpg

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you have all heard about the newest craze- Pokemon Go. If you haven’t, then I’m sure you’ve seen random herds of people walking around with their noses in their phones. Well, that’s because the newest and “greatest” game has graced 2016 with its presence.

Though I am not personally a proponent of the game, I have to give it credit for the impact it’s had on our community over the last week. People are getting out, getting exercise and socializing with other people, who are doing the same exact thing as them!

There are two categories of people here - those of us who sit back and chuckle at those running around trying to catch an imaginary character or those getting out and actively trying to “hunt” them down.

So, how is this relevant to you and what does it have to do with selling?

Typically, salespeople are good at one of two things- relationship building or social selling. Social selling is utilizing social media outlets to: share posts, give business updates, recruit new hires and prospect for new leads, stay connected and many other things. Those outlets include sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Anthony Cole Training Group partners with Objective Management Group primarily for their highly predictive sales assessment. One of the things that their sales assessment tests for is one’s ability to utilize social selling tools. The experiment OMG conducted included the following theory:

“Those that are not good at relationship building will be better at selling socially.”

After comparing 5,000 pieces of data, they’ve concluded this: 11% of salespeople are good at social selling, 16% are good at relationship building and only 5% are good at both. That means 68% of salespeople are ineffective at both social selling and relationship building.

I would say those are pretty concerning statistics. Do your salespeople stink at building relationships? If they do, are they at least good at selling socially? Per the statistics mentioned, it would not appear that way. So, how do you fix the problem?

Well, here are 3 simple tips to help you with your team’s social selling problems:

  1. Make an ACTUAL effort - When people are unsure/frightened/nervous about doing something, they tend not to put in 100%. Change your mindset to be one that says “I can do it” as opposed to “I can maybe do it.”
  2. Set time aside just for social media - I’m on social media 3 to 4 hours per week: writing posts, recruiting for my clients or sharing articles that I find interesting and helpful. If you set time aside and put it in your calendar, you are more likely to stick to your schedule and get it done.
  3. Join groups - It is the easiest step to becoming immersed into the social selling world. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all have communities and chat groups for sales professionals. Joining these types of groups can help you expand your knowledge base, promote your business and get your name out there.

So, next time you see a group of twenty-something year olds wandering around the local park or gym, know they are chasing an imaginary character, but you are chasing the real thing.

Happy hunting!

The 80/20 Power Curve and Your Sales Organization

Tags: sales management, managing sales teams

coffeecurve.jpg

5 Things to Do to Own a Sales Team Built for Growth

I’m working on an article discussing the 80/20 Power Curve.  It’s the concept Perry Marshall discusses in his book:  The 80/20 of Sales and Marketing.  Normally, I focus on the top part of the curve. The part of the curve that represents about 95% of all the production generated by a sales team (See Figure 1 below)

If you look at your total sales results, you would find something close to the following:

                                         Figure1

80_20_chart_for_blog_1.png

Last week, I presented to a group of CEOs at the BISA CEO Summit held at Vanderbilt University.  This slide alone raised a few eyebrows and caused some thinking about the relevance, importance and cost of the 64% of the sales team only representing 4% of the results. (32 sales people responsible for 800,000 of the 20,000,000 in revenue.)  What alarmed me was the bottom part of the 80/20 power curve.  What does the bottom look like? (See Figure 2)

                                             Figure 2

80_20_curve_for_blog_2.png

Trust my excel spreadsheet.  The numbers add up and they don’t lie.  They may not represent your team exactly, especially if your team has less than 10 sales people, BUT do the math and you will arrive at a similar finding.  Figure 2 is telling the president of the company that of the 50 sales people in his company, the bottom 20 (40%) Represent 32,000 of a 20,000,000 book of business (.0016%).

Regardless of how you dissect it, spin it, negotiate it or defend it, this cannot be what you expected when you hired these 20 people.

So, what do you do? Here are the 5 THINGS:

  1. Start with your sales manager. This is the person responsible for sales, productivity, and sales effectiveness. If ROI is one of the metrics you use to determine success, how would you evaluate the ROI on the bottom 20% of the sales team?
  2. Next, I would look at the recruiting practices. As difficult as this might be, you have to answer the question about under performers – Did you hire them this way?
  3. You will also want to look at the on-boarding and the development plan in place that should be there to improve the probability of success. As above, you have to answer the question – Did you make them this way?  If you didn’t hire them this way – already failures – then you’ve made them this way – turned them into failures.

* I anticipate you might say – “I didn’t hire them, I inherited the team.”  Like it or not, after a year, they are yours!

  1. Look at your systems and processes to make sure they are designed, implemented and executed to support successful sales growth.
  2. Look at your sales system and evaluate how well it is being executed top to bottom. My guess is that your best people execute a sales process and they execute it consistently.

Additional resources:

Hirebettersalespeople.com

Perry Marshal – 80/20 Power Curve

Sales Management Certification Program

Performance Management and the Law of Cause

Tags: sales management, managing sales teams, performance management, cause and effect, Perry Marshall’s Power Curve

Here is the opening paragraph from the IQ Matix Blog – The Law of Cause and Effect by Adam Sicinski

“A person becomes what they think about all day.”

Understanding the Law

The universal law of cause and effect states that for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause there is a definite effect.

Your thoughts, behaviors and actions create specific effects that manifest and create your life as you know it. If you are not happy with the effects you have created, then you must change the causes that created them in the first place…

Change your actions, and you change your life… Transform your thoughts, and you will create a brand new destiny.

pic1.png

 

I’ve been thinking about this for about a week. I was in Pittsburgh last week and one evening my wife, Linda, called me. She told me that our friend, Kim, had called her to inform us that her son, Alex, had an accident while long boarding.  After Linda described the injuries, one of my first questions was, “Was he wearing a helmet?”  She wasn't sure.  This led me to thinking about accidents.

The fall was not an accident. It was an unforeseen incident, but by no means an accident. There was a definite cause and a definite effect that created another cause and another effect and so on and so on until Alex tumbled to the ground which caused severe bodily injury.

(Now…switching gears…)

Recently, I did some simple math in preparation for a workshop I delivered to the BISA CEO Summit in Nashville.  As part of the presentation, I demonstrated Perry Marshall’s Power Curve and the likely diagnosis of the sales teams represented in the room.  In short – about 36% of the advisors represented by a group of 200 advisors were responsible for 95% of the productivity for the entire group.  Once I highlighted the fact that less than 5% of the total remaining revenue was being generated by over 60% of the remaining advisors, I asked the question – “Did you hire them this way or make them this way?”

This is not an indictment of the CEOs present or the firms they represented. Any one of you reading this can do the same math and, if you have 25 or more salespeople that follow the normal 80/20 rule, then you will end up with the same numbers.  The reason I ask the question about hiring or making is because that is “the cause.” 

This group of massively underperforming salespeople is not in that group by accident.  Certainly, they are not in your group by accident. I don’t believe for a second that you intentionally hired 60% of your sales team to represent less than 5% of your sales. However, even if it’s actually 15 – 20%, there is cause for alarm.  And that alarm should create an effect and that effect should create another cause and another effect… and so on…

Which causes me to go back to the title of this post: Sales Management – Performance Management and the Law of Cause.

What is it that your sales manager is doing… or failing to do… that is responsible for the effect?  Here are some questions you might want to consider when attempting to arrive at an answer to that question:

  1. What are the standards for success in your organization? I don’t mean what are the goals; I mean the standards.  In other words, I’m assuming that everyone on the sales team has sales goals, but what standard are they held to?  What percentage of the team consistently performs above 100% of the goal?  What percentage of the team consistently performs between 90 and 99% of goal?  What percentage of the team hovers around 80 to 85% of the goal, is still with you and will still be with you going into next year?  You see, that is the standard of performance that your manager is allowing.
  2. What impact is your standard for success having on the overall performance of the team?
  3. What is happening to the group just below the top tier that consistently hits or exceeds the goal? Does that group have a tendency to a) move upwards towards the top b)stay level or c) slide ever so slightly to your standard of success just before termination?
  4. How well is your sales manager actually managing pipeline? Do they actually manage it or just monitor it?
  5. What inspection process is executed to “inspect what you expect” and what is happening when what is expected isn’t getting done?
  6. How well is the manager inspecting the revenue driver activities and behaviors?
  7. How consistently are the salespeople following and executing the company sales process?
  8. What information is your sales manager using from your CRM that allows them to have productive intentional coaching discussions with the entire sales team?
  9. Finally, what activities and behaviors are you holding your sales manager to that, when executed correctly, would lead to more consistent, predictable sales growth?

Traditionally speaking, when companies think about performance management, most of the focus is on the group that is responsible for driving revenue – the sales team. What needs to happen is that anything that moves should get measured, there needs to be higher standards for keeping jobs and, ultimately, managers need to be held accountable to their own set of activities and behaviors.

Alex is home now and being cared for by his family. Let’s pray for his speedy and healthy recovery.

Additional Resources:

Sales Managed Enviroment® – A development program designed to create high performing sales managers.

Assess Your Sales Process – How effective is the sales process your people are supposed to be following and executing?

Sales Inspiration from an NBA Legend and His Coach

Tags: sales management, Bill Walton, John Wooden, building sales teams, Back From The Dead

The only difference between successful salespeople and the other 77% is that the successful salespeople actually do the very things they don’t like doing.”  

This is a quote from Dave Kurlan’s blog post about Bill Walton and John Wooden (see Additional Resources below).  Dave uses role-playing as an example.  I see this all the time!  Ask someone to role play in front of the group and they shut tight like a clam.  How can you possibly get better at pressure situations if you don’t practice under pressure?

Bill has published and is now marketing his book, Back from the Dead.  I read a couple of lines froman interview with GQ and immediately went to my Amazon add-in and downloaded the book with my 1-click.

Here was my amazing buying experience:

  • I read an article that got my attention.
  • I clicked on a button in my Firefox ribbon at the top of my page.
  • I searched Amazon for “Bill Walton”.
  • The book popped up.
  • I clicked on the little thing on the right side of the page that said, “Buy Now using 1-click.”
  • I wanted the Kindle version so I could read it on the plane without carrying a big book, so when Amazon asked me if I wanted it downloaded to my iPhone, I clicked “yes.”
  • This all took less than a minute.
  • And that, my friends, is today’s sales cycle.

In your sales world, it might not take as many steps or it might be more.  In your sales cycle, it probably takes more than a minute… maybe 30 days, maybe 120, maybe a year.

Bottom line: There is something that stimulates the buyer. The buyer gets the information they want and then… when they want to buy… they want to make the process easy and they want options.  If you are not doing those things (stimulating the buying response – providing information to make a buying decision – giving them options – making it easy), then you are going to lose the sale to those that do those things.  Not only will you lose occasionally, but sooner or later, it will become a permanent condition.

Now, my favorite Bill Walton and John Wooden story.

johnwooden.pg.jpg

Watch the video to get the whole story, but in short, the lesson for the Sales Leader is this:

  • You’ve been hired to do a job – drive sales growth/win market share
  • Part of that responsibility is to put the best team in the market.
  • As the coach, you establish the culture for winning; you set the team rules.
  • You can lead people but you cannot make them do something – players have free will.
  • If someone violates the rules, something has to be done – bend the rules, keep the rules
  • If a salesperson wants to exert their independence, let them. But let them do it somewhere else.
  • They have to want to play for you and win more than compete against you and lose.

Additional Resources:

Dave Kurlan’s blog:
The Sales Success Secret Shared by Bill Walton and John Wooden

Unless you have strong leadership, the money you spend on sales training is wasted. Stop wasting money.  In addition to great players, the key to a sales team built for growth is great sales management Leadership and Management. Read more about our Sales Management Certification.

Make sure you get great players who are committed to winning for you – Hirebettersalespeople.com

Get insight on the 9 Keys to Successful Sales Management