Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Why Great Salespeople Are Like Curious Children

Tags: Qualifying skills, asking the right questions

Child: "Can I have ice cream for dinner?"

Parent: "No."

Child: "Why?"

Parent: "Because ice cream isn’t good for you."

Child: "Why?"

Parent: "Because it has no nutritional value."

Child: "Why?"

Parent: "Umm … I guess because its makers wanted to make sure it was tasty."

Child: "Why?"

Parent: "So, they could sell more of it."

Child: "Why?"

If you’re a parent, you know this scene all too well. And if you’re an honest parent, you know that at times all those incessant questions can be downright annoying.

But you also know that asking those questions is a critical part of the child’s developmental process. Children have no built-in knowledge base, so asking questions – and getting answers – is the way in which they begin to make sense of the world around them.

It’s similar to great selling, actually – minus the “annoying” part.

Great salespeople always ask the extra question. They know that the more knowledge they can gather about the customer’s situation, the better they can serve him or her.

6463827_xxl kid hand raised-1

Ask, Then Listen

It’s not enough, though, to just fire away with question after question. Great salespeople listen – really listen – to the answers their customers give.

That may sound simple, but if you’ve ever watched a locker room interview after a big game, you’ll see how often people who are paid to ask questions – sportswriters – fail to do this.

Locker room interviews don’t always produce thoughtful questions.

Reporter: “Johnny, tell us about your game-winning hit.”

Player: “Well, I was just looking for a pitch to drive. But I really think the key was the week I spent in a sweat lodge before the game. That really cleared my mind.”

Reporter: “Uh huh. So, what are your thoughts about tomorrow’s matchup?”

We exaggerate here to make a point. But often writers are so intent on getting through their list of questions (and getting back to the press box to file a story before deadline) that they fail to listen to answers that, if they followed up on them, would give them a much better story.

What’s the Customer Really Saying?

At PrecisionLender, our software is designed to help bankers have these better conversations with borrowers by supplying them with insights from our virtual insights coach, Andi®. So, consider this hypothetical situation …

Let’s say you’re trying to win a deal with a borrower for a $3,000,000 commercial real estate loan. But the borrower says he’s planning to go with a competitor bank that’s offering a rate that’s 50 basis points lower.

Some bankers throw up their hands right then. The deal doesn’t meet their target so, then, oh well.

But great bankers start asking questions. “What can you tell me about this deal?”

Perhaps then you find out how, exactly, the competitor bank is offering such a low rate. Maybe it’s because part of the loan is guaranteed. That could be the end of the story. But the great banker channels his inner annoying child and asks about the guarantee: Who’s providing it? What are the details?

In this hypothetical scenario, the guarantor is the borrower’s father-in-law. Again, this could be the end of the line. But the great banker – unlike the mediocre sportswriter – is listening to the answer, and he detects that the borrower is less than thrilled at the prospect of “owing one” to his father-in-law. So, the great banker asks more questions and finds out that the borrower would be more than willing to cut a few months off the length of the loan if it means he can get the same low rate and not have to rely on his father-in-law’s guarantee.

By asking questions and listening to the answers, the great banker has gathered enough information to turn the tables and win another deal for his bank.

With this approach, the only people truly annoyed are the bankers working for the competition.

 

About Tim

As SVP of Enterprise Client Success for PrecisionLender, Tim’s significant career experience in commercial banking makes him uniquely qualified to partner with bank executives to increase revenue and profitability, as well as improve the customer experience and colleague experience. Prior to joining PrecisionLender, Tim spent over 10 years at Citizens Bank (NYSE: CFG) in various line and support roles, including National Sales Director - Franchise Finance, Chief Operating Officer - Commercial Finance, Director of Commercial Banking Strategy and Growth, and Head of Commercial Excellence. In addition, Tim served as Director of Credit Product Management for BMO Harris Bank.

The High Cost of Replacing Unsuccessful Salespeople

Tags: OMG assessment, assessing sales talent, #1 sales assessment

Before the Salk Vaccine:

“Until 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, Polio was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world. In the postwar United States, annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 U.S. epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. The "public reaction was to a plague", said historian William L. O'Neill. "Citizens of urban areas were to be terrified every summer when this frightful visitor returned." According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was Polio.”

Before the Objective Management Pre-hire assessment:

In the late 1980s, David Kurlan founded the Objective Management Group (OMG). The primary focus of his company was to help sales organizations uncover the root causes for the sales opportunity gap – that variance between how a sales team is performing and how it should be performing. Kurlan’s main objective is to answer the question “will they sell?” That's the essential question every sales interview is geared to answer. So why do we so often end up with salespeople that can't or won't sell despite our best efforts and intentions? 

hiring chart

I'm not trying to compare Polio to hiring salespeople-- just trying to make a point that something dramatic had to happen (a significant change in preventative medicine) to eliminate ‘America’s greatest fear’. Hiring the wrong salespeople is happening today constantly and it’s crippling. Bad hires have an impact on:

  • Top line revenue
  • Profitability
  • Effectiveness of Sales Managers
  • Culture
  • Productivity of the rest of the sales team
  • Wasted time money and effort on training and development

Several years ago I met with a group of financial advisory managers. As part of our meeting we used the Hiring Mistake Calculator to help them determine their specific cost of bad hires. When we finished, I asked the president of the advisory program what number he came up and he said $2,000,000 a year. Based on best estimates, a bad sales hire is a $100,000 to a $1,000,000 mistake. If you are a hiring manager, an HR director with a recruiting team or a president of a company, this 2-comma problem should cause you to realize that a dramatic change is needed.

Everything that the hiring manager and supporting HR team does when attracting, vetting, assessing and selecting salespeople should be focused on ONE thing! Will they sell? Not: Can they sell? Do they know banking? How well do they understand coverage’s and employee benefits? Can they conduct a financial plan? 

Over the years I’ve asked sales managers and presidents this question: How many people that are no longer with you are gone because they didn’t understand insurance, banking or investment advisory. The answer for 25 years has been; Zero! Not a single person was fired or left because they didn’t know the how to of the business. Bad hires are bad hires for 1 primary reason – they can’t or won’t sell. Yes, you will sometimes have cultural, compliance or HR issues but 90% of the time people are exited because they did not perform the basic fundamentals required to be successful in selling.

Click on the links below to learn more about the Objective Management Group assessments and how having a strong recruiting process will help eliminate hiring mistakes!

The OMG Assessment

Eliminate Hiring Mistakes for Outside Salespeople

What Does Your Best Sales Person Look Like

Understanding the Make-Up of Your Current Sales Team

Hire Better Salespeople Recruiting

How to Hire Bankers Who Will Sell

Why is Selling so #%&@ Hard

How Sales Enablement Can Streamline Sales Training

Tags: Sales Training, Sales Enablement

In the fast-paced, ever-changing field of sales, it’s no wonder why systematic, repeatable training is important to keep sales reps up-to-date. Since sales reps often need to learn and adapt to the latest sales process, methodology, and messaging, offering timely training is a must. Equally important is the regular distribution of sales training content that is memorable. Without it, learned information will not stay with the seller for long. This kind of meaningful training can come from an effective sales enablement program.

The best sales enablement programs ought to act as a resource that helps reps sell more effectively and efficiently. At their best, these programs save the company a lot of time and money by increasing the productivity of their sales team. They can even lead to more sales, making them not only a money saver, but a money maker as well. Part of what these programs do includes making sure that reps are properly equipped with all that they need to engage leads and convert them into buyers. A great way to do this is by implementing a well-structured, effective sales training program.

The problem is that many sales enablement practitioners typically adopt training methodologies that do not give reps what they actually need. Traditional sales training techniques take the seller away from the buyer, which often prevents them from being as effective as they set out to be. By implementing a more effective sales enablement program, a company can improve the training process by addressing the actual needs of the sales team.

While this task may seem daunting, there are four simple ways that a sales enablement program can actually streamline sales training.

1.) Making Training More Available

One of the biggest problems with sales trainings is that they usually only happen a few times out of the year at best. Traditional sales training techniques often require a meeting or group gathering scheduled by someone other than the rep, which means the rep has to adjust his or her schedule in order to fit. If the trainings work with the rep to schedule a time for the meeting, there is no risk of the sales training interfering with the rep’s clients. This small adjustment to a sales training strategy can maximize each sales reps’ time, making them more available to meet with or call potential clients.  An effective sales enablement program makes sure that sales training is available when the rep can be there and in a place they can go without getting in the way of sales.

2.) Contextualizing the Training to Meet the Reps’ Needs

As with all large-gathering trainings, group sales trainings can sometimes be less focused on the specific needs of an individual sales rep.

A more beneficial sales training strategy would give reps information that is relevant to the sales proecess and deal they are currently trying to engage. The rep is now motivated because the sales training content applies to the rep’s situation at the moment. They will be more attentive and focused, and the training will be more effective.

An effective sales enablement program helps ensure that all the sales content that is given to the rep is significant and relevant to their current engagements.

3.) Training on Simple, Deliverable Language

Since sales reps are the buyer’s primary communication point for the company, it is vital that they are able to communicate the necessary information to the buyer in a simple and concise way. Few buyers will be interested in jargon or technical data statistics, but they will want to know the essential aspects of what they are considering buying. If a sales rep cannot fully explain the product simply and coherently, they may lose the buyer’s interest and ultimately, their business.

Because of this, an effective sales enablement program must support a sales training and communication strategy that gives the rep the necessary information in such a way that they can easily digest and deliver it to the buyer in simple language.

4.) Incorporating Training Into the Regular Workflow

Perhaps the most essential need is for the sales training content to be seamlessly incorporated into the rep and sales manager’s workflows, making room for quick and regular coaching feedback from the manager to the rep. The training process should be ongoing so that sales reps are not losing out on new information or having to remember what they learned months ago.

An effective sales enablement program that incorporates sales training techniques into a company’s workflow will help make training and coaching more efficient in the long run.

Developing an effective sales enablement program that works around the sales team will help the reps with what they actually need, allowing them to be more productive and motivated to sell more. When they are regularly given proper training material that helps them in their specific engagements, they will use what they learn more regularly, making it less likely that they forget what they learn and more likely that they use it in the future. Lastly, the sales enablement program can help ensure a workflow that allows room for regular, practical feedback from managers to the reps. All these together streamline the training process and make the sales team more efficient, productive, and effective.

 

Shawnna Sumaoang is the Director of Marketing for Highspot, the industry's most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer.

11 Sales Lessons – What I learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 2)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

As I mentioned in my previous article, I’ve had two vacations this summer. One trip was to Canada for fishing and another to Falmouth, Massachusetts to relax and visit our niece and her family. While there we relaxed, had some great meals, walked all over Falmouth, visited with a client, and ate lots of ice cream. All the while, I continued to be amazed by the sales lessons I learned during our daily adventures.

Here are the 6 sales lessons I learned while visiting the Cape.

#1: Small sales can be very rewarding as you watch them grow

Linda’s niece Laura and her husband Sebastian have an infant boy: Javier Miguel Fuentes. He is 9 months old and a delight. We met him when he was a month old and now he is crawling. It was a blast to spend time with him and see how he continues to develop and grow. Yes, there is lots of pressure to make ‘big sales’ but you can choose smaller ones when you believe the growth will be worth all the effort.

#2: Little things do matter and make a difference

While dinning at Anejo Mexican Bistro, not only was the food delicious but the staff was exceptional and paid attention to the little details. It made our visit and experience exceptional and Anejo become our ‘go to’ place to eat during the trip.

theknob

#3: If you want the right kind of clients, you have to be where they are

The picture here is of ‘The Knob’. The Knob is a piece of land donated to the Audobon Society by Miss Cornelia Carey in 1973. To get there, you have to go to Woods Hole, find the little out-of-the-way road to Buzzards Bay. You may have to park ½ mile away and walk to get to the Knob. But if you want to see the beautiful sunsets from the Knob, you have to go to the Knob. It won’t come to you.

#4: Take risks

We are creatures of habit. We go to restaurants and order our favorites, our standbys, because we know what we like. I ordered a mahi mahi fish sandwich with aioli sauce and a slice of pineapple on a brioche bun. Those who know me know this isn’t my go to meal. It was great. So great that when we got home that was the first meal I prepared for our Sunday family dinner. We spend a lot of time in training sessions with ‘seasoned’ salespeople who have been doing what they’ve been doing for decades. Some of these people fear taking the risk of trying something new. What is interesting to me is that those that are most successful are those that always take the risk of trying something new.

#5: When on vacation, you can eat ice cream anytime

Linda and I managed to find lots of places to eat soft serve ice cream. Normally it didn’t matter what time of the day it was. When we found ice cream we would stop, consider and buy. In your sales day, there is never a bad time to prospect. Anytime you spend prospecting – just one call between other ‘things you have to do’ is time well spent. Anyone you meet might be someone that needs to hear your story. Don’t convince yourself that prospecting is something you just do on Thursday. That prospect you are looking to connect with on Thursday may not be there.

#6: You really can’t do it alone.

Salespeople have huge egos and believe that ‘they’ are the center of the sales universe. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. We have a client in NYC that has an extraordinary sales support structure. Without it much, if not all, of the recurring revenue wouldn’t happen. The ‘expertise’ of their product specialist is exceptional. Yes, the producers hunt and develop relationships and that is no doubt a BIG part of the job. But the rest of the team fulfills the promise and is always there to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong. It took a number of people to pull off the wonderful trips I’ve had this summer. Special thanks to our family: Jeni, Steven, Alex, Ireland and Mike for taking care of things at home and watching over Anthony. Thanks to our people at Anthony Cole Training Group for taking care of business and my clients while we were away. The guys I fished with have been doing this trip for 30 years. Without Gerald, Bob and Barry and their expertise there is no way the trip would have been as extraordinary.

So there you go, vacation sales tips from Canada and Cape Cod. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Send a picture of your summer vacation to tony@anthonycoletraining.com and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

11 Sales Lessons: What I Learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 1)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

In June, I went on a 7-day fishing trip to Lake McCrae Ontario, Canada with 3 friends of mine. 2 weeks later, Linda and I spent 5 days in Falmouth, Massachusetts and 2 days in Boston.

My vacations have provided some insights that correlate very well to what it takes to be successful in selling. To make this a little easier to digest I will take the 11 Lessons from my summer vacations and break them down into two articles.

The 5 Sales Lessons from My Canada Fishing Trip

#1: Anticipate an unexpected turn of events and prepare to respond

Lake McCrea is very remote. There is no cell or phone service. Last year was my first trip there and I was concerned that if something happened or if something happened at home there wouldn’t be a way to get help or leave if I had to. To prepare, I rented a satellite phone.

#2: If you change how you view things, you will see something different

Gerald was pointing out to me the structure of the rocks below the surface of the water. The sun was shining, the water was crystal clear and I could see in detail what I needed to see in order to be more successful at casting in the right areas. I immediately thought of salespeople and their relationships with prospects. I thought “if salespeople would just change how they view selling, they would see better what it would take to convert a prospect into an opportunity and perhaps a client. But many salespeople have a myopic view and look at all prospects the same and thus treat them all the same. Example: If the view is ‘prospects want to save money’ then the sales person will approach all sales the same way.

Dad and fish

#3: You can’t force big sales to happen

I managed to hook 3 monster Northern Pikes. The first was 40 inches long and at least 15 pounds. I was fishing with gear suited for fish that might have been 3 pounds. Not wanting to risk losing the monster fish, I set my drag and took my time. This catch took 50 minutes to boat.

#4: Learn from mistakes and successes

Two days later, I hooked another fish about the same size but learning from the first big catch I managed to bring this one in the boat in 25 minutes. A day later, I caught the granddaddy –a 48” Northern. I managed to get that one in the boat in 20 minutes.

#5: Create more opportunities – make more sales

My fishing partners have been making this trip for over 2 decades. They are really experienced and rarely get their fishing jigs caught in the rocks hidden beneath the water. I, on the other hand, had some trouble in this area and so I spent more time re-tying jigs and lures then they did. Subsequently they threw more cast and caught more fish.

So there you go, my sales tips from my 10-day vacation in Canada. Be on the lookout for part 2! Send a picture of your summer vacation to tony@anthonycoletraining.com and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

Eliminating Prospects Who DON'T Fit Your Business

Tags: qualifying prospecting, qualified leads

You may recall hearing in one of our videos or reading in one of our blogs the importance of identifying your zebra to build your business. In the unlikely event you did not, the purpose of identifying your zebra is to bring focus and clarity to your prospecting efforts so you don’t end up chasing or pursuing opportunities that aren’t the best use of your most asset . . . your time.

Of equal importance is to know, and clearly articulate, what isn’t a Zebra for you. If you know that as well, it helps to bring clarity and specificity to your network and prospecting efforts. I can think of one instance in my 3.5 years of selling with Anthony Cole Training when I had success working with an account that wasn’t a zebra for me. Here are some reasons why knowing what isn’t a zebra is so important:

6460646_xxl introduction

It Eliminates Ambiguity

  • If you aren’t specific it’s hard to get introductions. When I’m trying to make introductions for people and they are vague about what they are looking for, it makes it difficult for me to think of someone to make the introduction.

It Reduces Frustration with Your Centers of Influence

  • If you aren’t crystal clear on what you are looking for and what you are NOT looking for, your COI’s might make an introduction for you, only to find out you can’t help the person they introduced. When working with my introduction partners, I say “This is what type of business I’m looking for”. “Of equal importance, I really can’t help these types of businesses . . . and here’s why.
  • That brings clarity to the conversation.

It Reduces Your Opportunity Cost

  • Your opportunity cost is simply this . . . If you called on Company ABC, that means you AREN’T work on Company XYZ. Your opportunity cost is what you aren’t working on that might be more viable for you and your organization.

So, in closing if you know what you don’t want and the reason why, it could reduce the quantity of opportunities in your pipeline, but the quality should increase dramatically.

Watch our Sales Guy Unplugged video on "Calling Quality Over Quantity" to help further understand the concept and importance of identifying prospect zebras. Also, visit our website for additional tips, tricks and tools. 

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How Committed To Success In SELLING Are Your Sales People?

Tags: sales commitment, commitment to succeed

In 1975, I was Junior offensive lineman at UConn. On the team that year were a group of seniors that knew that their playing days were pretty much over. Younger players had been recruited and they were starting ahead of them. Those seniors formed a bit of a club – the Coast-to-Coast Club

The thinking was this: “We are not going to see any action on game day but I have to keep playing to keep my scholarship though I don’t want to get a serious injury just practicing. So, I will coast from the beginning of practice to the end of practice."

coast-to-coast

Years later when I was developing our content for our Sales Managed Environment ® Certification Program, I included a segment on commitment. In this article, Dave Kurlan discusses the difference between motivation and commitment. It is a crucial difference. You can do some things to help people become motivated but when it comes to commitment, a sales manager can’t teach it, or coach it. Commitment to success in selling is something the sales person must bring to your organization. You can demonstrate it, explain it and expect it but you cannot make someone more committed to success than they want to be.

Over the years I’ve discovered there are three levels of commitment. 

The first one is Coast-to-Coast commitment. These are the people that really do coast from the beginning of the day, week, month and year to the end of the time period. They show up and look busy but at the end of the day they didn’t break a sweat, didn’t do any harm, didn’t call anyone of significance and certainly didn’t move the sales needle. In other words, they’ve retired and just haven’t told anyone yet.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the WITs – ‘whatever it takes’ commitment.  Let me be clear- when discussing WIT, or, doing everything possible to success, we always mean doing everything while abiding by legal, ethical and moral standards.These are the people that do the work, take risk, fail, succeed, exceed goals, take on challenges, push the envelope, challenge the status quo and continue to reach higher and further. They make themselves do uncomfortable things and sometimes they make others uncomfortable by asking difficult questions and having fierce but effective conversations.

Then we have the Hawaiian group – The WITALAIITU. These are the people in the organization that look like WITS but really are closer to being coast-to-coast club members.  They embrace new ideas but don’t execute. They are excited about training but never develop.  Do a great job of pre and post-call strategy sessions and role- playing but fail to execute in front of a prospect. They will give you the thumbs up when you attempt to implement a strategy of getting introductions from clients but never ask because it will make them uncomfortable when their client resists and they have to ask why.

It's important that you understand the commitment levels of your sales team and coach them accordingly.  That should be YOUR commitment.

If you’ve been in our training, you know what WITALAIITU means. If not, give it your best shot!  Email me your guess at tony@anthonycoletraining.com and I’ll give you the answer. If you send me the correct answer, I will send you a gift.

Tips & Tools to Ensure a Good Work-Life Balance for Your Sales Team

Tags: building sales team

There are a number of reasons why a person might choose to pursue a career in sales. For one thing, sales jobs tend to be more plentiful and, therefore, easier to find and get. Additionally, even though some of us are more naturally gifted at selling than others, sales is a type of career in which virtually anyone can learn and thrive.

But that doesn’t mean a career or job in a sales environment isn’t without its drawbacks. Shopping online is increasingly the norm for many consumers, which effectively removes salespeople from the equation. And considering that salespeople are competing with the wealth of information — e.g., product reviews, YouTube videos, demonstrations, etc. — that is available online, there’s immense pressure on salespeople to be a valuable resource for customers. As a result, a career in sales can result in a significant amount of stress that makes it difficult to achieve a health work-life balance.

As it happens, there are actually a number of ways to ensure that your sales team is able to achieve a great work-life balance while hitting or even exceeding their sales goals.

phones

A unified tool for customer relationship management

It’s not easy to be a salesperson, especially for a larger company. For customers, the best sales experience happens when the salesperson has some basis of knowledge for what the customer needs or wants. But this is often hard to achieve with a sales team of hundreds and a customer base of thousands or tens of thousands of people. And when the onus of offering this tailored experience is on the sales team, it can result in immense stress that will inevitably affect their personal lives. So how do you alleviate this problem?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a great solution to this conundrum. Typically, customer relationship management software serves as a centralized database in which to store an in-depth profile for each individual customer, both existing and prospective. With a great CRM program, sales team members have easy access to customer profiles as well as each customer’s transaction and communication histories, allowing sales members to better serve customers’ needs. Additionally, CRM software eliminates a major stressor in a sales environments.

There are lots of customer relationship management solutions available to meet a wide variety of company and sales personnel needs. And many CRM programs available offer a number of complementary features that enhance sales interactions.

No mention of customer relationship management software is complete without Salesforce, which continues to be one of the most popular programs in its category. With a solid TrustRadius score of 8.0 out of 10, Salesforce tends to be particularly well-suited for sales teams due to its combination of client data with a suite of workflow, communication, and sales opportunity management.

GreenRope is a program that has garnered immense favor among sales teams from a wide variety of different industries. Consisting of a combination of robust CRM and marketing automation features, GreenRope has an impressive TrustRadius score of 9.2 out of 10 and is frequently lauded for its low cost, great support team, and an increasingly user-friendly interface.

More robust talent management

Your sales team is important because they facilitate and pursue transactions. For all intents and purposes, the sales team of your company is what ensures your company’s longevity and success. Considering that your sales team is so important, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re utilizing each team member’s strengths in the best way possible.

Talent management systems are programs that ensure your company is utilizing your personnel in the most effective ways possible. By consolidating data and protocols pertaining to recruitment, acquisition, onboarding, training, development, performance management, and compensation, you can compile an in-depth profile for each member of your team, allowing you to best allocate each team member’s strengths while addressing weaknesses.

In turn, your team members become more successful and experience less stress on the job — stress that will inevitably bleed into their personal lives — as the TMS helps you tailor their job duties to their unique talents.

UltiPro consistently ranks as one of the best talent management software options available. With an impressive TrustRadius score of 8.4 out of 10, UltiPro aggregates virtually every type of personnel data you can imagine, including demographics, employment history, benefits information, workflow charting, payroll history, attendance records, performance reviews and improvement plans, and the list goes on and on. Plus, the program has robust reporting options, allowing you to use the data for actionable strategies and planning.

Workaday HCM (Human Capital Management) is another great option for managing your sales team as effectively as possible so as to offer the best work-life balance. Though it doesn’t offer quite as many data-tracking and reporting options as UltiPro, Workaday HCM has a solid 8.0 out of 10 and is highly recommended by users for its scalability and flexibility.

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while also publishing regularly on his own website

Driving Sales Growth and Asset Management – A Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious Part II

Tags: Sales Growth, effective sales management

In my previous blog article, I discussed the importance of looking at your sales production in terms of the 80/20 rule and flipping it so you can see the impact your bottom performers are having on your overall sales growth goal. If you have not already done so, click here to read the article.

With all of that said, here are some analytics of organizations we work with.  Before we begin our engagements I ask for production reports so that I can get a feel for how the team is actually performing. This starts the process of gaining an initial ‘augmented view’ of the sales team. The more in-depth augmented view comes when we complete the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis.

Note: Company B:  Investment Advisory (Above 300,000 is considered above goal)

3rd quintile chart

4th quitile chart

Note:  Many, if not all, of those in the bottom quintile were reassigned to a different business unit of banking that was more consistent with their skill set and level of expertise within their newly assigned market. In other words, they had good people on the bus but they were just in the wrong seats. But aside from that, it’s difficult to ignore the rest of the data. 

If we eliminate the bottom quintile as a relevant factor, we still need to look at the 3rd and 4th quintile and wonder what is happening with this group. They are being outperformed by the 1st quintile 4.67 to 1 and 10.42 to 1! Normally, in banking, what I hear is that the most successful lenders are the most experienced-- as you can see here that is not the case. The years of service is insignificant other than the 3rd quintile which has almost as much experience as the first four quintiles.

Here is a final note on this group before I get into the actions taken to begin addressing the sales growth opportunity. The top 1/3 of the group is responsible for 83.6% of the loan production and the bottom 1/3 is responsible for 6% of the production. If you were on my board and I made this announcement to you about my sales team, what would be your reactions, questions or comments?

Suppose this was reflective of your team as well?

If you haven’t already done so, download our e-book "Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?" If you need additional information, check out our e-book on "Why is Qualifying A Prospect So #%&@ Hard?"

Driving Sales Growth and Asset Management – A Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious

Tags: effective sales management

Velfredo Perato -- the 15th century economist -- demonstrated time and again the 80/20 rule. Yes, sometimes it's a 70/30 rule or a 60/40 rule. That is the obvious. There is nothing blinding about that. The blinding glimpse – the glimpse that causes you to blink like you are being blinded -- is when you look at the opposite end of the 80/20 rule. 

Producers/ quintile = 9

% of Total Revenue

Average Production

Performance % to Goal

1st quintile

51%

737,612

118%

2nd quintile

25%

352,607

82%

3rd quintile

16%

229,366

65%

4th quintile

6%

90,109

36%

5th quintile

2%

25,144

10%

Company A:  Insurance Brokerage - Commissions

These are real numbers from a real company.  As you can see, and when you do the math, the 80/20 rule here looks more like 76/40. The second quintile is being outperformed by the top quintile 2 to 1. The top quintile is performing at 118% of goal and every quintile after that is under performing. If I were to do this analysis for your group, you would probably shrug your shoulders and not be too surprised by this. But this is just the beginning of the blinding glimpse.

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As you look at the bottom 2 quintiles, you see that 40% of the sales team is responsible for 8% of the revenue. The compelling questions become:

  • Why?
  • Did you hire them this way?
  • Did you make them this way?
  • How long have these people been a part of your organization and allowed to stay at this performance level?
  • Who in the organization is in denial when asked “Does your company accept/allow mediocrity?”
  • Why is the bottom quintile being out performed by the middle quintile 9 to 1?
  • If we want to assume that the 5th quintile consists of primarily new hires (it doesn’t but I’ll be generous) and look at just the 1st and 3rd quintiles you have to ask the same question: “Why is the 3rd quintile being outperformed by the 1st quintile 3.21 to 1"?
  • Did we use a different hiring process to hire the 3rd quintile?
  • What would the monetary impact be if we got the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quintiles to perform to 100% of their goal but didn't attempt to make them as good as the top quintile?

Here is the answer to the last question:

Quintile*

Average Production

Production to Goal %

Production if 100% of Goal

Variance

Increased Revenue for Quintile (x9)

2nd

352,607

82%

 430,008.54

 77,401.54

 696,613.83

3rd

229,366

65%

 352,870.77

 123,504.77

 1,111,542.92

4th

90,109

36%

 250,302.78

 160,193.78

 1,441,744.00

 Total    

 

 

 3,249,900.75

*9 producers per quintile

Let's change your title from Market Leader or Sales Manager to Manager of Assets. Your Assets Under Management results are a reflection of hiring, onboarding, training and development, coaching and performance management.

Wikipedia defines asset management as: “any system that monitors and maintains things of value to an entity or group. It may apply to both tangible assets and to intangible assets. It is a systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively.”

That would be you and your role in your company. The key sentence here I believe is "a systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading and disposing of assets cost – effectively."

I’ve been researching our client data in search of how well companies are managing their assets, specifically the assets of the sales team.  A sales force has a singular responsibility – bring in revenue to pay the bills. Think about the sales team as an investment an insurance policy or a bank loan. With an insurance policy you pay a premium. In exchange, you expect growth from the investment and insurance coverage to reimburse you for covered losses. If you are in banking, you lend money and expect it back with interest. Failure to get that money back is considered an under-performing or non-performing loan. With salespeople you pay them compensation, benefits, social security taxes and probably a match for their retirement contribution. In return you expect them to sell. You expect a substantial return on that investment. 

Are you getting the return you expected when you hired quintiles 3, 4 and 5?  If not, why not? In the next couple of articles, I will further detail what the data is telling us and will cover how to transform your current sales team into a high producing, no-limit sales team in 18 months.

If you haven’t already done so, download our e-book "Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?" If you need additional information, check out our e-book on "Why is Qualifying A Prospect So #%&@ Hard?"