Sales & Sales Management Expertise

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.

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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

How Do Extraordinary Financial Planners Close the #Salesgrowthopportunity Gap?

Tags: consultative selling, how to improve sales, building sales team

What prompted this article was a post from Jeff Ferraris, a program manager for CUSO Financial Services in Austin,Texas. The article – "Leading With Planning: Master Financial Planning With These 6 Steps" – takes investment advisors through a best practices process to have success implementing financial plans for high net worth clients. Aside from the ‘know how’ and the licensing required, what else do your advisors need in order to be successful in their role? 

There are many answers to that question but generally speaking they need to have these sales capabilities:

  • Hunting
  • Qualifying
  • Being a Consultative Seller
  • Presenting
  • Closing
  • Farming or account managing

Need to know how your team measures up against the
best in your industry?
Click here to access Objective Management Group's Stat Finder.

I’m going to focus on the skills required for success when qualifying and selling consultatively. Below are two charts of the competencies necessary to be successful in these two capabilities.

The Qualifier Skill Set

qualifier skills

 

The Consultative Seller Skill Set

consultative skills

As you can see there are multiple skills that make up the competencies for Qualifying and Consultative skill sets. In this scenario, and not unusual in general, of the 55 salespeople evaluated, 22% of the group had enough consultative skills to be effective and only 30% had enough qualifier skills to be effective.

What impact does this lack of skill in these two areas have on investment advisors and the ability to successfully execute a strategy of using financial plans? Broker dealers that are attempting to help clients improve both the quantity and quality of their plans must get to the root cause of the problem.

Here are the 3 BIG weaknesses in the Qualifier Competency:

  1. Talking to the decision maker: if your investment advisor fails to meet with the decision maker– UP FRONT– then it will impact the sales cycle duration and the closing ratio.
  2. Uncomfortable talking about money: Investment advisors often don't have to worry about discussing money. If you think about the challenges your advisors face when presenting a financial solution, many don’t close opportunities for risk products because they encounter a money objection and aren’t comfortable talking through price.
  3. Self–limiting beliefs: If your advisors don’t have a financial plan, if they don’t own individual disability or long-term care insurance, if they are way under insured for life insurance, how committed do you think they will be recommending it to a client?

And here are the 3 BIG weaknesses in the Consultative Seller Competency:

  1. Ask enough questions– Executing the financial plan process is more than asking how much. The effective IA must ask a ton of “why” questions.
  2. Demonstrates patience– The very nature of most advisors is to close the sale they have in front of them– the transaction for the IRA roll-over. How does that support the 90-day process of financial planning? It doesn’t.
  3. Maintain healthy skepticism– If your IA believes everything the client is telling them then they will never ask about other advisors, the other assets, the real decision-making process, etc. So instead of a 6x multiple from doing plans they will pick up the easy money from the next maturing CD.

To find out more about how to effectively identify those advisors ‘wired’ for fee-based sales and financial planning, email alex@anthonycoletraining.com, subject line "tailored fit", to create your own case study by evaluating your top advisors.

The Whack-A-Mole Approach to Sales Management

Tags: Effort in Sales, effective sales management, building sales team

Before reading this article, please download our free e-book "Why is Selling so #%&@ Hard" to better understand the effort required to guide and lead your sales team to extraordinary results.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been in a Dave and Busters establishment. There was a time when I would go at least once a year. When I was younger, my source of entertainment was hanging out at sports bars with pool tables, shuffleboards and basketball games. About 25 years ago, that entertainment became watching my kids enjoy the arcade games Dave and Busters offered.

It was there that I learned about Whack–A–Mole and sales management. I really didn’t tie the game to sales management immediately. That is a more recent realization I have come to over the last 10 years as I’ve visited with executives who are trying to figure out sales growth (SGO) within their company. 

What I learned about Whack–A–Mole is that it did not require any specific talent. It did require effort – which requires no skill. And, it did require a couple of strands of specific athletic DNA:

  1. Hand/eye coordination
  2. Fast twitch muscle fibers

The same holds true for managing salespeople relative to effort. Putting forth the effort to coach and motivate people, as well as hold them accountable to performance, requires no skill. Let me repeat – THE EFFORT requires no skill. Therein lies part of the problem with growing your sales team.

With Whack-A-Mole, I never got a sense there was a systematic way to approach the game. The moles did not appear to be popping their little heads up in a particular sequence. They appeared randomly much like they used to in my back yard when I lived in Blue Ash, Ohio.

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This is exactly what I observe and hear when talking to executives about identifying the sales growth opportunity within their sales team. Specifically:

  • What is the ideal model being used to eliminate hiring mistakes?
  • What is the coaching routine and methodology?
  • What is the culture that helps foster motivation?
  • When performance management discussions take place are they; consistent, punitive, additive and predictable based on exact metrics and standards?

The answers to these questions are what reminds me of Whack-A-Mole. There isn’t a consistency within the organization let alone consistency between one organization and another. To be clear, we do NOT work with broken companies. We work with companies that recognize there is greater potential within the organization and they realize that they need to figure out:

  • What is our sales growth opportunity?
  • What would it take go from where we are now to where we could be?
  • How does our current team, systems and processes help or hurt our ability to close the gap?
  • How long will/would it take?
  • What would need to be invested to close our sales growth opportunity gap?

The problem of not realizing full sales growth potential exists for many reasons. Too many to cover in one article so I will go about the process by writing a series specifically dedicated to help you identify what it would take to close the sales growth opportunity gap.

If you haven't already done so, please download our free e-book "Why is Selling so #%&@ Hard" to better understand the effort required to guide and lead your sales team to extraordinary results.

Click HERE to download  our free e-book!

Beware Sales Team!

Tags: hiring sales people, building sales teams, building sales team

Despite how good a high powered team looks on paper, there are always “skeletons in the closet”.

This post was prompted by an article from Bank Investment Consultant: Why Advisors Will Feel Freer To Make Career Moves in 2018 by Mark Elzweig.

It's not that I'm against sales teams leaving one company for another. But over the past 25+ years, I've seen too many of these moves fail-- Fail to work out for the hiring firm and fail to work out for the team.

sales growth team.jpg

Here is what you should be cautious about if your company is considering this tactic:

  • The book of business the team says they control is never really under their control. Just like your company’s business belongs to the company, the revenue the team plans to bring actually belongs to their current employer company.

So ask yourself:  What would you do in this situation? Of course, you would fight your *ss off to keep the clients and the revenue and chances are, you would keep at least some.

You would probably involve lawyers, an expense in time and money. This means delays in the high powered team’s production. In the meantime, clients are being contacted by the employer company and they are being seduced into staying where they are.

  • These people come from a culture with systems, processes, and procedures that are different than yours, perhaps considerably different. Often this is not an easy fit and in some cases, it is quite difficult. If this team is truly high-powered, these people probably got away with some things that you wouldn’t tolerate. You may not tolerate certain behaviors to which they have become accustomed.
  • At some point in the future, the acquired team inevitably forgets that they said “Yes”. “Yes” to how they would be managed, “Yes” to the goals set, “Yes” to the business processes and “Yes” to the compensation package. They will have selective memory and problems will arise when they remember promises they thought they heard/wanted to hear.
  • You may discover that they really aren't as good as they indicated. Unless you do a deep dive into how they actually generated all the revenue they boasted about, you might find out that some of the revenue was inherited, or that their former company had certain products and services that gave them an unfair advantage which you don't have. Maybe the production came from a couple of major accounts that grew on their own and these individuals were more account managers/ farmers and not the hunters you needed and thought you were getting.
  • If they came from a 'brand' organization and you are a solid, but second tier organization (not a well known brand), you may discover that this team succeeded because of the logo, name and reputation of the brand.
  • If your company is like most, it may oversell the team. Pride in one’s organization is common and is positive, except when hiring. Selling the positives and minimizing the negatives will come back to haunt you when the new talent recognizes they traded one unsatisfactory situation for another.

Recruiting talent, poaching teams, and growing your organization by increasing talent numbers is difficult. Despite the method you choose, there are always risks.

Below are the keys to minimize the risks of bringing in a team from a competitor:

  • Develop your own team to be high performing. Make sure you have a Sales Managed Environment that has a keen focus on performance management, intentional coaching, and recruiting.
  • Recruit the best talent for the specific role. Everyone is competing for "A" players, but you don't need "A" players to grow your business. What you need is...
  • Recruit people who are better than those you have today!
  • Don't be desperate. Have a process to grow sales. Follow the process. Hold people accountable to behaviors and numbers. Be proactive in recruiting.

Should you decide to risk acquiring a high-performance team from a competitor, make sure that they are clear on all aspects to which they are agreeing prior to hiring.

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