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Develop Your Sales Talent to Increase Sales in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Mar 25, 2020

If you are not in the acquisition business, then you must develop your talent in order to increase sales in 2020 and beyond.  One of the keys to doing that is to understand how to drive sales improvement. 

You must determine what is really happening with your salespeople when they fail to acquire a new piece of business, and then you must take key steps to help you determine if they lack the skills to get the job done, or if they are making excuses for their lack of success. 

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Companies are constantly trying to figure out how to drive organic growth by:

  • Acquiring a revenue stream by buying a business or lifting out talent from a competitor
  • Developing current talent

If you are not in the acquisition business, then you must develop your talent.  One of the keys to doing that is to understand how to drive sales improvement.  You must determine what is really happening with your salespeople when they fail to acquire a new piece of business. 

Are your people just making excuses for failure or do they have deficits in the required sales competencies or will to sell?

To be successful in determining the real issues with your salespeople, you must have a system.

I read a blog the other day by Dave Kurlan.  We’ve had a strong business partnership with Dave and his company OMG (Objective Management Group) for most of our 24 years in business.  With OMG, we have the ability to determine the answer to the question – is it excuses or is it a talent issue?

Dave’s post  - 12 Reasons They Didn’t Like You Enough To Buy From You – helps address some of the issues associated with “not getting the business”.  It primarily focuses on the area of matching styles.

This got me thinking about the issue of “style” as it relates to talent, which relates to sales competencies and excuse making.  The challenge for the sales manager is determining if the reason a salesperson did not get the sale was really a talent issue, or an excuse issue.

To determine the root cause of the results, a sales manager must work more closely with the relationship managers and implement a process that Bill Eckstom calls “intentional coaching”.  This process of working closing with your RMs is addressed in our Sales Management Certification Program in the Coaching for Success Module.

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Here are the 5 steps you must take to help you determine if your salespeople lack the necessary skills to succeed or are making excuses for their lack of success:

  1. You must gain insight. You gain insight by using various data points. The data points you MUST use are: 
    1. Observational joint sales calls – You do not run the sales call; you observe your RM
    2. Data from your CRM or SAT program (SAT – Sales Activity Tracking)
    3. Sales meetings – In all of your sales meetings, you need to include a segment on skill development where you drill for skill, role play and conduct strategy development discussions
    4. 1-on-1 coaching – Each week, you should have time set aside for 1-on-1 coaching with those people that are NOT in the 1st quadrant of the “Where’s Walter?” matrix
  2. Provide feedback. In advance of the discussion about lost opportunities, you want to provide your RM with the data you have – no ambushing.
    1. You discuss – ask the RM questions about what they see in the data
    2. You provide them feedback based on what you see and where the problems might be
    3. You discuss what the future might look like if the current trends continue
    4. You agree that there is a problem
  3. Demonstrate – Once you identify the problem as either an excuse or a skill issue, you demonstrate to the RM what you expect them to execute.
    1. If they are making excuses – "They didn’t understand the value of our offering” – You ask, “If I didn’t let you use that as an excuse what would you have done differently?”
    2. If it’s a skill problem – “I asked them if they had a budget and they said yes.” “When you asked them what it was, what did they say?”  “They said they didn’t want to tell me.”  “When you asked, ‘why not?’, what did they say?”  “I didn’t ask that question.”
  4. Role play – The scenario above allows you to now role play with you acting as the prospect. You need to start with Drill for Skill and then graduate to the full role play.  Getting them to practice what you expect them to do takes patience and repetition.  Do not believe for a second that one role play will be enough.  You need to start your RM on a weekly coaching session repeating the required skills over and over again. 
  5. Action steps – Each coaching session must end with action
    1. "Bill, so what I want you to do is call Mary and have this conversation we just role played."
    2. "I want you to report back to me by end of business today what happened as a result of that conversation."
    3. Hold your salespeople accountable while also coaching them along the way! 

Implementing a process of gaining insight, providing feedback, demonstrating, role playing and establishing action items will go a long way in helping your team discern the difference between making excuses for failure and the need for skill development.

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Why Increasing Sales Leads to Personal Freedoms

Posted by Walt Gerano on Fri, Feb 21, 2020

Achieving the work-life balance sales professionals all hear and dream about starts with having a personal vision and a set of non-negotiable goals.

In this article, we will discuss the 4 must-do sales activities and the characteristics that all successful salespeople share when striving for the freedom of success. 

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Today, I'd like to commemorate the victory and personal freedoms that comes from success in sales.

There are two freedoms that successful people enjoy: the freedom of time and the freedom of choice. You see, when you are always playing from behind, you never feel like you can take time off or treat yourself to that vacation you've been wanting to take.

Successful people aren’t successful by chance or luck. They all have (at least) four things in common.

  1. They all have a vision of where they want to go, starting with the end in mind.
  2. They have a mission. Or, the “how you will achieve your vision” 
  3. Goals become the mile markers that let you know when you’ve “left the road”.
  4. And they have a “WHY”

So, decide what freedoms you want. Determine what those freedoms require. Build your plan to get there.

  • It all starts with your success formula, the behaviors you must execute day in and day out to accomplish your goals.
  • Track your behaviors weekly and be accountable to someone other than yourself (we’re too good at explaining to ourselves why we didn’t do something).
  • Know your SMART numbers- what are the key metrics that really drive your business and learn from them!
  • Build your Unique Sales Approach (USA) that is compelling to the people in your sandbox, or those that fit your profile.

Finally, don’t do all of this and stick it in the drawer. You should review your vision, mission and goals annually and your Successful Formula and SMART numbers quarterly.

Now go out and sell something and celebrate the freedom of success.

Topics: Sales Management Training, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, online sales training, hire better people, train the trainer, online sales management training, sales training workshops, sales training seminars, sales training programs, sales candidate assessment

5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Feb 18, 2020

In this blog post, we dive into the 5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth and the idea that data can help you discover real-time information about your salespeople.  This data allows everyone in your organization to make real-time decisions and real-time and intentional coaching decisions.

If you're looking to increase sales in 2020 and beyond, utilize these 5 keys starting today!

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The article might disappoint you if you are looking for the latest and greatest in financial technology, sales technology, or any kind of technology for that matter.  Data is part of this article but not super BIG Data that you read about in the recent issue of Big Data Quarterly. 

The 5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth have more to do with consistency in execution then any specific kind of sales enablement or CRM tool that you use. 

Successful sales executives and managers rely on data because they realize that it can, and will, provide you with real-time information.  The real-time data allows everyone in the organization to make real-time decisions and real-time and intentional (Thank you Bill Eckstrom) coaching decisions.

That being said, the technology and the data is useless unless you have these 5 keys on your sales management "key ring":

  1. Performance Management
  2. Coaching for Success
  3. Motivation That Works
  4. Sales Talent Acquisition Routine
  5. An Effective Selling System 

1.) Performance Management – In our Sales Management Certification and Quick Start Programs, we start with Performance Management.  Performance management should not occupy a lot of time, but must the be the base of everything else that you do. 

Performance management is a process of making sure that you: 

  • Establish consistent metrics to determine success
  • Conduct 1-on-1 meetings where people self-determine what success and failure is
  • Agree to a coaching process and methodology
  • Gather real-time information via Huddles
  • Report the findings of the data
  • Catch people early when they are not performing to the level they committed to

2.) Coaching for Success – Based on the extraordinary discussion and the subsequent Success Formula built for each person you collect via Huddles, you should:

  • Compare actual against the model
  • Identify choke points
  • Determine if outcomes are a result of effort or execution
  • Conduct 1-on-1 coaching sessions to help change behavior or improve skill.

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3.) Motivation that Works – As you see in the graphic below, salespeople are motivated in various ways.  How could you possibly motivate someone if you don’t know what motivates them or how they are motivated to be successful? 

The Sales Improvement and Effectiveness Analysis (Thanks Dave Kurlan and Objective Management Group) not only identifies the level of motivation for each salesperson on your team, but also tells you what motivates them. 

4.) Recruiting Talent that Will Succeed – There is a big difference between talent that can succeed and talent that will succeed in selling.  If your organizational growth is dependent on organic growth, then you need to have data that will tell you a couple of things:

  1. Is my current team wired and do they have what it takes to grow to the next level?
  2. Assuming you need more horsepower under the hood, then you have to make sure that your new hires have the:
    1. Will to sell
    2. Sales DNA
    3. Appropriate Sales Competencies

5.) An Effective Selling System – Must be staged with milestones to determine your salespeople's progress with their prospects. Too often, companies use a CRM system to get a numeric value of the pipeline and perhaps even values within stages of the pipeline.  However, if your data doesn’t include a numerical component that validates that steps are covered within each stage, then your pipeline forecasts are more subjective then objective. 

Additionally, it is THIS data that provides you insight into the effectiveness of the individuals on the sales team.  

Sales growth must become a priority and not just a problem that you continue to kick down the road.  Continuing to ignore the Grey Rhino will sooner or later cost you.

Are you evaluating sales training programs?  Can we help you find the right approach for your company?  Sign up for a personalized Demo of one of our programs below!

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Topics: increase sales, hire better salespeople, sales performance management, consultative selling, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, sales force performance management, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, driving sales growth 2020, 5 keys to sales coaching, online sales management training, sales training workshops, sales training seminars, sales training programs

I Would Sell More and Increase Sales If Only I Would....

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Feb 07, 2020

In this blog post, we present a question that may force you to look yourself in the mirror and ask, "What can I do better as a salesperson to increase my sales in 2020 and beyond?" 

This question, although difficult to admit and analyze, is necessary in your evolution as a salesperson.  

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I've got a fill-in-the blank for you.  Are you ready?

"I Would Sell More If Only I Would __________"

What comes after would? We had the chance to ask that question around the country with a variety of companies both large and small, and it's interesting to hear how salespeople respond when you ask them to fill in this particular blank.

Sometimes, you'll hear excuses.

Sometimes, you'll hear valid reasons for why they're not selling as much as they would like or their manager would like. When we hear these valid reasons, we immediately think about the core steps in the sales process.  

First, you have to call on your prospects.  Then, you have to go see them.  You must set meetings, you must qualify prospects, deliver presentations, and of course, you have to win your fair share. 

If you're not where you want to be in 2020, ask yourself,

  1. Why are you there?
  2. How long have you been there?
  3. Are you fully committed to getting back on track?
  4. What's going to be required to get back on track?
  5. Do you have to get there?
  6. What happens if you don't?
  7. What is the problem costing you?
  8. Do you have to fix it?

If you know anything about our organization, you know that is how we encourage the unveiling of the sales process. 

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Asking your prospects questions like:

  • What is going on?
  • What do you have to fix this problem?
  • How long has it been a problem?
  • What have you done to try and fix it?
  • Do you have to fix it?
  • What happens if you don't fix it?
  • What's this problem costing you? 

All of that fits into one of two categories: Excuses or reasons

Just remember as you answer the question, "I could sell more if only I could ____."  If your answer is an excuse...

"Excuses are the nails used to build houses of failure."

Now go out there and get it done!

To learn more about our organization and services, click the link below: 

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Topics: Sales Training, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, sales training workshops, sales training seminars

Increase Sales in 2020| What Makes an Elite Salesperson "Elite"?

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Feb 04, 2020

In our second blog post focusing on increasing sales in 2020 and beyond, we discuss the differentiating factors between "elite" salespeople and the rest of the pack.  

What do elite salespeople do that makes them elite?  

In this post, we help answer this question, while providing advice for sales managers to help guide their salespeople into greatness.

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What do 11% of elite salespeople do that differentiates them from the remaining 89%, when they are faced with difficult questions, stalls and objections? 

According to Dave Kurlan at Objective Management Group (out of every 100 salespeople):

  • 70 rush back to the office to begin work on a proposal to tell their bosses that their large opportunity is very promising, because all 3 prospects in the meeting were "very interested"
  • 19 leave the call and make 2 entries in their journals - "propose" and "follow-up" - and they'll do both eventually
  • 11 are still at the meeting, asking more questions

Going back into our archives of the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis, we find that those 11 salespeople that are still at the meeting have a pipeline that looks like the chart you see to the right. 

Those 89 that rush back to the office and/or make entries to propose and follow up with their prospect have a pipeline that is represented by the chart you see below:

The difference is that the elite salespeople do a great job of meeting people and qualifying them to a point where the prospect can be defined as qualified and closeable, based on specific criteria, or they can be identified as not qualified, or not closeable.

Weak salespeople on the other hand, when asked to score the same "closeable prospect", criteria questions fall considerably short of having a robust, and closeable pipeline. 

Normally, we find out that these salespeople:

·       Have not met with decision makers

·       Failed to uncover compelling issues to make a change or purchase

·       Do not have a timeline

·       Did not create urgency

·       Did not get an agreement on budget to be spent

So, the question becomes; “How accurate is your pipeline – really?” 

If the pipeline volume for your entire team reads $4,000,000 over the next 90 days, but only 11% of that actually has a chance to close, then you shouldn’t be surprised that only $440,000.00 shows up in sales. (when compared to the $4,000,000).

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The solution to the problem isn’t “run faster”; also known as “see more prospects”.  The solution is to get your people to schedule qualified appointments and then make sure they are capable of discerning between a suspectsomeone that is thinking about buying – and a qualified prospectsomeone that has made the decision to solve a problem.

To more effectively help your salespeople as a sales manager you must:

1.     Understand WHY they won’t qualify

2.     Get a complete understanding of their skills set for consultative skills, asking questions, creating trust and confidence and presentation skills

3.     Put less emphasis on closing skills and more emphasis on qualifying skills

4.     See how comfortable they are with having fierce and direct conversations

5.     Observe their commitment and willingness to do everything possible to succeed

6.     Understand their motivation to succeed and attain personal goals

7.     Gather data about their execution of the milestone centric sales process so that you can provide intentional coaching based on choke points.

The challenge(s), should you accept them are:

·       Find out exactly what the capabilities of your sales team are

·       Build and implement a milestone centric sales process and imbed that process in your CRM

·       Make sure that your sales managed environment includes the following elements:

  • Performance Management
  • Coaching for Success
  • Hiring Better Salesperson
  • Motivation that Works
  • Coaching an Effective Sales System

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

 

Topics: Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching

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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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