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

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Jun 04, 2018

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?"

Topics: Sales Growth, effective sales management

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

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, May 31, 2018

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.

  Click to Survey your Sales Force!

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?"

Topics: effective sales management

The Whack-A-Mole Approach to Sales Management

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Apr 04, 2018

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.

39860632_s

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!

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

Trouble Growing Sales? Solution #2: No More Bad Prospects

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 27, 2017

I’ve been working on growing sales for over 30 years. First with Nautilus Exercise Equipment, then in the insurance business and for the last 23 years with Anthony Cole Training Group. It’s been at least 25 years since I heard David Sandler, on a cassette tape, say; “there’s no such thing as bad prospects, just bad salespeople.” Not bad as in character, morals or integrity- just bad a selling.

But as I read Dave Kurlan’s blog this morning about choosing between bad salespeople and bad sales management it got me thinking about what Sandler said those many years ago and what we continue to hear from salespeople today when discussing opportunities won and lost. Let’s take a look at what’s happening or not happening. 

List of reasons for not getting the sale:

  • They had a long-term relationship/incumbent matched our proposal
  • The decision maker wasn’t involved 
  • Out pricing wasn’t competitive/ we didn’t have the right products
  • The timing wasn’t right

There are many, but in a nutshell the overall question to a salesperson would be; “When you asked them about, discussed, made sure that...(fill in the blank with any of the reasons listed above) What did they say?  What was their reaction?”  

As you read this as a sales person you might be thinking one of a few things: 

  1. I’m not asking those questions 
  2. Those are good questions to ask
  3. I should be asking those questions 
  4. I would never ask those questions 

If you are thinking #4, then your reasons for not getting the business are never going to change! That is what Sandler and Kurlan are talking about when they discuss bad salespeople. You cannot blame the prospect for having objections to buy. Heck you have your own set of objections/reasons every time you decide not to buy or change. 

But what about the sales manager? Where does that person fit into the equation? Simple: at the beginning, middle and end of every sales opportunity, sales meeting and coaching session. 

6698425_xxl meeting debrief people.jpg

Solution #2: Pre and Post Call Sessions and 1-on-1 Coaching

Pre-call coaching sample questions:

  • What buying process questions will you ask? (These are questions about compelling issues, stage in the buyer’s journey, options they are exploring, others solution providers they are exploring and solution selection criteria.) 
  • What answers do you anticipate?
  • How will you handle those answers?
  • What questions are you anticipating?
  • What will your response be?
  • What objections, delays or stalls should you anticipate?
  • What is your response?

Unfortunately, what we do know from the 1,000s of sales managers assessed for coaching skills is that less than 10% of them have adequate skills to be effective at developing sales people. 

What does this all mean?

  1. To eliminate bad prospects - which really don’t exist - eliminate bad salespeople. 
  2. To eliminate bad salespeople- eliminate bad sales management/ lack of sales coaching
  3. To eliminate bad sales management- hire people that have the skills to be effective in the role 
  4. Don’t use sales management as the next step in the career path for successful salespeople
  5. Provide the training, development and coaching your managers need to be effective

Need further assistance with the post-call session? Click HERE or the button below to view our Post-Call Debrief Analysis Worksheet.

Post-Call Debrief Worksheet

Topics: coaching salespeople, effective sales management

Do You Have Sales Growth Problems?  Solution #1: Coach the team you have.

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Dec 01, 2017

In a remarkable show of grit, the University of Alabama clawed back from a 20-point deficit against the University of Minnesota, though they eventually lost by 5. Most of you are probably thinking 1 of 2 things:

  1. I don’t care about Alabama basketball – that's just something that happens between football season and spring football practice.
  2. They still lost so why is this relevant?

It’s relevant because of a detail you wouldn’t know about unless you watch college basketball or follow sports shows regularly. For those totally out of the loop, in basketball each team has on the court at any one time 5 players. Due to an injury, a player fouling out and several players being ejected from the game Alabama played the last 10+ minutes of the game with just three players on the court!

Avery Johnson, the head basketball coach for Alabama, was asked to explain how he believed his three guys managed to pull off the most amazing loss in NCAA history. His response was that they practice a lot of defensive 5 on 3 basketball. There is no reason to go into the details of that here other than these two important things:

  1. Understanding the situations you know you are going to be in at some point during the game is imperative.
  2. Coaching your players on how to react and what to do in those situations is crucial for your success.

How is that any different than sales? The short answer is that it is not. So why doesn’t it – coaching the team that you have - happen?

  • Hiring managers believe they are hiring people with the appropriate skills and know how.
  • Most managers don’t believe that their salespeople need practice of basic fundamental sales skills – if they did, more sales training and 1-on-1 coaching would be taking place and more people on the sales team would be hitting their goals.
  • More time is spent on crafting the ‘deal’ then on practicing what to do when:
    1. The decision maker doesn't’ show up for the presentation
    2. The company hasn’t committed to leaving their current supplier, relationship, banker, insurance broker
    3. The prospect wants you to ‘sharpen your pencil’
    4. The prospect wants to ‘think it over’
  • Most sales managers – yes this might include you – haven’t been trained on effective coaching, don’t schedule time for coaching opportunities, don’t demand role-playing in sales meetings and confuse performance management with coaching.

Our assessment and research of dozens of companies with dozens of sales managers tell us that less than 10% of sales managers have the appropriate coaching skill set.  As you can see from this Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis snapshot of this sales organization the sales managers who are employed there have 44% of the required skills and are 59% effective when coaching. 

OMG.png

In addition to effective coaching (Download Keys to Effective Coaching E-book) a Sales Managed Environment requires performance management, effective recruiting, motivation that works and upgrading the sales team.

Here are a couple of ideas worthy of consideration and implementation:

  1. Carve out time and be a slave to your schedule for 1 on 1 coaching to specifically improve skills and change behaviors
  2. Make sure that in every sales meeting you have a segment on sales skills improvement that includes drill for skill and role-playing
  3. Every week in your schedule you should have time for the ‘situation room’. This is the opportunity to conduct pre–call strategy sessions and post meeting debriefs
  4. Instruct and demand your sales team schedule joint calls with you once a month. 
  5. Make documentation of ALL activity in your CRM a requirement to get reimbursed for business expenses. 

In a 1,000 word blog we cannot solve all the sales problems outlined in the beginning but tackling coaching is a great start. For another step in that direction take action NOW. For a free sample of the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis click the botton below.

Free SEIA Sample

Topics: Sales Growth, effective sales management, coaching salespeople, Sales Manager

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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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