ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

What Makes a Sales 'Hall of Famer'?

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Nov 15, 2018

baseball-crowd-field-89699

Assuming for a second that when you think about hiring for a position in your organization, you are thinking about hiring the best, especially in the early rounds of looking for talent. No one reasonably goes about writing a job description like this:

“ABLE Sales Company is looking for the most unbelievably average salespeople we can find. We already have enough top producers and those that are failing. What we really need are some people to bump up the middle of our bell curve. If interested, show up and you’ll get a job.”

No, you are not looking for average- you are looking for people who can get your organization to the next level. You’re looking for the best of the best.

Which leads me to today’s story: I was listening to ESPN radio and tuned into The Golic and Wingo Show. They were sharing stories about the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees that a reporter had heard from each during his time as a sports reporter.

I would like to share 3 of those stories with you today and how they are great analogies for recruiting the best of the best.

Vladimir Guerrero: Vladimir is a Dominican born in 1975. He arrived to his first professional baseball try-out on a bicycle. He was wearing baseball shoes that didn’t match and one was so big he had to stuff it with socks so that it wouldn’t slip off. He was on the field for 5 minutes hitting, throwing and catching when the scouts told him he was finished. They signed him to a contract and now he’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So, how does this relate to recruiting talent?

  • When you got it, you got it
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover

Trevor Hoffman: Trevor was born in Bellflower, California in 1967. When he tried out to play professional baseball, he did so as a shortstop. However, after a few minutes of taking the infield, somebody told him he was terrible as a fielding shortstop and he was a weak hitter. They said if he was going to make it in the pros he might want to try pitching. He did and now he’s a Hall of Famer. What’s the hiring lesson here?

  • When interviewing people don’t be afraid to push a button that might upset them. It’s going to happen in their sales career anyway so you might as well find out how they are going to react. Will they absorb the challenge or get emotional?
  • Every candidate you interview and eventually hire is going to come with some warts. What you want to know is – are they coachable?

Chipper Jones: Chipper was born in 1972 in Deland, Florida and played his entire career with the Atlanta Braves. Chipper was the #1 MLB draft pick in 1990. As the story goes, the Braves were ready to make him an offer but his dad was encouraging Chipper to hold off because he could probably get more money from another team. Chipper told his dad that he wanted to be the #1 draft pick and that the money didn’t matter. He knew that he was going to be successful and that he would earn his ‘big’ money based on his performance rather than what another club thought he was worth today. Again, why is this important when hiring salespeople?

  • You have to be patient. Just because it’s hard to find the right person, doesn’t mean you should hire one that is close. Close enough isn’t good enough (you already have some of those on your team and you don’t need more).
  • Hire people that are willing to bet on themselves. Often recruiting managers, HR, and recruiters shy away from those that don’t exactly fit the pedigree. When interviewing and working the compensation into the hiring contract, be bold enough to challenge the candidate to put some money at risk. If they are as good as they think they are they will make up for it in spades in the long run.

There is nothing easy about hiring. If you listen to the stories of these recent inductees you will find that there was nothing easy about getting into the Hall of Fame.

Need more help hiring the best of the best? Download our free Recruiting Success Formula document and Interview Questions guide to improve your recruiting process today!

 

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Topics: building sales team, sales stories, things to do for sales success, sales growth and inspiration, solving sales issues

How Do I Become an Extraordinary Sales Manager?

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Nov 01, 2018

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 Are you doing everything possible to make your salespeople successful?

That is the question you must ask yourself if you are responsible for the management of salespeople.

How do you know if you are an extraordinary sales manager?

An Extraordinary Sales Manager:

  • Sets High Standards and has Strict Accountability Policies that don’t allow for excuses
  • Encourages salespeople to set Personal Goals that are intrinsically motivating
  • Rewards Success and Disciplines Failure
  • Coaches through the use of Smart Numbers and Critical Ratios
  • Holds Regular Sales Huddles and Collects Activity Data
  • Uses Best Practices in Hiring Salespeople
  • Consistently Upgrades Sales Team through Intelligent Assessment-Based Guidance

If you want to take your management to the next level, you must read this guidebook, The Extraordinary Sales Manager. It will give you the tools to Take Your Sales Team from Good to Great.

Click below to Download your FREE copy!

The Extraordinary Sales Manager

Topics: building sales team, consultative selling, sales management responsibilities

Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?!?

Posted by Patrick Kollmeier on Wed, Oct 24, 2018

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Why is selling so #%&@ hard?!?  It's a valid question.  One that many of us ask ourselves each and every single day.  But, does it have to be?  In our free e-book, learn from our Founder and Chief Growth Officer Tony Cole as he reveals insightful and practical information on what makes selling so hard today.  

With his 20 years of experience coaching salespeople, he will help you understand why you and your buyer behave the way you do in the sales process and what to do about it.  In this e-book, you'll discover how salespeople sabotage their own success, how your own buying process affects your selling, how the buyer's and seller's objectives differ, and fundamental ground rules of the selling process.

You can download the e-book directly for FREE here below.  Enjoy!

Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?!?

 

Grab Your Copy

Topics: building sales team, generating leads, how to improve sales, consultative selling, build a better sales team

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

Posted by Dane O’Leary on Mon, Jun 25, 2018

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

Topics: building sales team

How Do Extraordinary Financial Planners Close the #Salesgrowthopportunity Gap?

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Apr 18, 2018

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.

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

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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