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3 Musts for Successful Sales Training Workshops

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Apr 28, 2022

Sales training workshops are often critical cultural touchpoints, allowing salespeople and sales leaders to come together.

 

Here are three musts to ensure that your next sales training workshop is as effective as it can be.

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How to Run an Effective Sales Workshop

 

Every year we deliver between 30-40 sales and sales management workshops, and we do everything we can to make sure that our delivery is top-notch and our audience is engaged. We work with clients, prospects, and associations on these workshops so they are all unique. Sometimes the audience is large and includes a mix of employees – both sales and support. Sometimes the participant groups are smaller, and we integrate our messaging with the leadership/CEO message. There is one shortcoming of all sales training workshops, and we will be upfront and transparent about that. By their nature, they are one-time events, and while they can be helpful to get folks focused and revved up, they usually do not make a long-term impact. But we will address that later.

 

Here are three musts to ensure that your next sales training workshop is as effective as it can be.

 

Must #1: Sales Training Workshops must be customized and interactive

We do not deliver many off-the-shelf workshops. It is always our goal to make sure that we understand and leverage the goals of the event, any theme, and of course, who is in the audience. We also speak the language to the best of our ability of those in attendance. It helps that we understand financial services and the nuances like the loan approval process and the impact of interest rate increases. This effort to customize our workshops to the company’s sales culture often helps us gain credibility and engagement with our audience, so we work hard to fully understand what our client wants to be the result at the end of the workshop. We always ask them, “What do you want the participants to think or feel when we are done with this workshop?” Then we make it happen.

 

We often start our workshops with music and music trivia or a Kahoot poll with something relevant and funny. Our workshop providers (Sales Development Experts) have an entertainment factor and build in humorous stories and examples. Yes, as they say, humor sells, and it especially does when you are trying to keep the attention of a group. We run surveys, show movies, and call on participants all the time, and since this is a common thread, everyone gets more comfortable and starts contributing. Learning is accelerated when people participate and engage so this is very mindful that we layer activities into our sales training workshops.

 

Must #2: Sales Training Workshops must provide quick and easy to use tools and strategies

We have all been to a workshop or two that was heavy on theory and concepts, and while you must touch on some of that, if we only have an hour or two, we try to get very quickly to application tools and strategies. Again, learning is accelerated when participants can apply the learning right then, right there, and so we will often do "drill for skill" where we ask participants to try out a sales technique. We often do a round-robin approach where a sales conversation starts with two and then goes around the room. People learn from each other, so this is a great way for top producers to share their approaches without being put on stage or doing the dreaded roleplay. Everyone participates in a non-threatening way. It is our experience that the best way to make an impact with a sales training workshop is to provide a tool like a Business & Personal Workplan or a Prospect Scorecard, or a Sales Action Plan. These are tools that participants can use right away when they leave the building.

 

Must #3: Sales Training Workshops should not be 1-time events

This might sound like I am selling, but I am not! As you evaluate a sales workshop provider, ask them what they can provide after the event to sustain the momentum. How can your company put a focus and even tracking to the activity that was covered in the workshop? For example, we do many Prospecting Sales Workshops, and one of our most popular is Getting Introductions. In follow-up, it is ideal for the company to track introductions and help coach their salespeople to make that activity continue. Do whatever you can to get your money’s worth! Sales skills are soft skills, and they take time and repetition to master, so see where you can build in practice and video and demonstration. 

 

Ask your sales workshop provider if they can give you videos on the topic, which will sustain the life and focus. In effect, work with your provider to make certain that your sales training workshop is NOT a one-time event.

 

Lastly, these events are often critical cultural touchpoints and offer the opportunity for Sales Leaders to lead, demonstrate and be part of the key focus. We always want to stand side by side with the leader to deliver and support the company or association's message. It’s a win-win for all!

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Topics: sales training workshops, sales action plan

8 Steps for Your Effective Sales Action Plan

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Apr 07, 2022

Remember this; “You do not decide your future. You decide your habits, and your habits decide your future” - F.M. Alexander. 

This blog will teach you how to create a sales action plan to help you outline the steps that will assist you in reaching, or better yet, exceeding your sales and personal goals!

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Sales Action Plan

Here are the 8 steps for your Sales Action Plan:

  1. Establish your personal goals

    We recommend starting with way too many goals, in fact, around 100 so that you think broad and deep and expand your thinking. Then categorize those 100 goals into types such as; personal, business, spiritual, wellness, etc., boil them down to the top 12 non-negotiable goals with details and timelines and don’t forget to set your BHAG (big, hairy, aggressive goal). This is the one goal that is shooting for the stars. If you want to know more about the goal-setting process for your company or personal purposes, reach out, and we will share the Extraordinary Goal Setting Process.
  2. Create a Success Formula for new business

    The Success Formula outlines the specific activities and counts of those activities that a salesperson must execute to reach their goals. Yes, there is a way to create a formula for this based on each individual’s effectiveness. It is important to understand that if you must reach $500,000 in sales, how many outreaches, contacts, appointments, opportunities, proposals, and closes are necessary. And we will point out that salespeople have weaknesses at each step, and these are coachable, but only if you have the data! We will make it easy for you; use our Sales Success Formula.

  3. Determine your key initiatives

    In the world of selling, key initiatives should point to prospecting or building relationships. All salespeople should have key initiatives of asking for introductions from their best clients, building relationships with Centers of Influence, and segmenting their current client base into the top tier, middle tier, and bottom tier with activities they will do for each. Another key initiative could be to grow relationships with current clients by X%. Be careful about setting non-sales-related key initiatives unless you can attach a direct relationship to the growth of your book.  

  4. Establish your Smart Numbers – your key measurements for success

    These are simply the specific business goals that you will track and communicate regularly. For salespeople, these likely include; average sale amount, number of sales per month and year, number of proposals, and close rate. We have a smart number that we track called “pull-through rate” which is what percentage of our proposals close. This is important to determine if we are putting a proposal out to a prospect too early and if so, we need to improve our qualifying. These smart numbers are used to evaluate or benchmark performance between salespeople, and the Scorecard, and they are very effective when shared with the team.

  5. Figure out what you should start and stop doing

    Staying focused on sales activities is not easy. It is easier to default to account maintenance, running down an Ops problem, and doing administrative work (which is sometimes necessary of course). Top-tier salespeople keep doing sales activities and stop doing whatever they can that is not helpful. They are good at understanding what is critical in their day and schedule that time, and they do not make excuses. They are very good at downloading nonproductive work to others. What are you doing that you need to stop, and that will allow you to start doing other activities that will help you grow your book of business? Make your list!

  6. Create your sales & marketing plan

    In the workplan available below, you will see a sample marketing plan. These are your categories of activities that are of the highest priority that will drive the achievement of your goals, such as Networking, COIs, LinkedIn, Introductions, Social Media outreach, and video emails. Let’s face it, the world of selling has evolved dramatically in the last couple of years, and the days of in-person selling have changed. The buyer finds everything they need online, and if you are not found in that search process, you may not even know about the possible opportunity. Sales and marketing are more connected now than ever before, so make sure to create a plan and inspect it regularly and be adaptable to what is working for your business.


  7. Review, respond and redirect as needed

    This may seem obvious but think about a sport that you enjoy watching. What happens if what a person or team is doing is not working or not working well enough? Do they keep running the same plays, or do they start serving to a competitor’s backhand or rushing the net instead of playing the backcourt? Good tennis players will change their strategies to gain an edge, and make their competition uncomfortable. The same is true of salespeople. If you are not reviewing your plan, you will not know if you should be adjusting your activity!

  8. Don’t forget to celebrate your success

    This is the most overlooked step but what we know is that top-tier salespeople reward themselves by reaching their personal goals. Make sure that you do not forget to share your goals and celebrate them with your most important people. Why are you in this crazy business of selling otherwise?!

For more details on this approach, you can download our Sales Action Plan template today and get started. Remember, the best time to plant a tree is today so get started now growing your sales action plan and results.

Download your Personal & Business Work Plan for Free

Topics: sales action plan

Get Your Sales Action Plan in Action!

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Mar 31, 2022

There are three core sales competencies indicative of a salesperson who will set stretch goals and create an action to reach those goals.

However, identifying and establishing personal goals, as well as following an 8 step process, is critical to creating an effective sales action plan.

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At the beginning of our goal-setting sales training, we always start with this: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? This is a great question to kick off the thought process and discussion around establishing goals which are the basis for creating a sales action plan. Think about those on your team whom you know you can rely on to establish their goals, do the activity necessary and bring in the results. What skills and characteristics do they have? There are a couple of findings from the Objective Management Group sales evaluation that are indicative of a salesperson who will set stretch goals and create an action to reach those goals. Here are three of those core sales competencies:

  1. An action-oriented and successful salesperson will always take responsibility for their efforts and their results. They will not blame the company, the market, or anything else if they do not reach their goals. They take ownership and will address the problem with a statement such as “I did not do the activity needed to reach…” While responsibility can be taught, you should be on the lookout for this quality when you interview new candidates.
  2. Goal and action-oriented salespeople enjoy selling. That may seem obvious however there are plenty of sales folks who do not score that well in this finding. If you enjoy selling, you are more likely to naturally do what it takes; the hard work of calling prospects, getting plenty of rejection, not letting it get you down, and getting back on the phone. The enjoyment of selling helps these salespeople create and live their sales action plans and they have fun doing it!
  3. Successful salespeople establish personal goals (different from company goals) and they are meaningful goals like a safari next June or a vacation house on the lake. These salespeople also have a plan to reach their personal goals with activities, a timeline, and a system to track their progress. Usually, their goals are non-negotiable, however, their plan to reach them may shift as needed. The OMG evaluation identifies these traits and you need to know these when you are hiring.

Sales Action Plan Ideas

“You do not decide your future. You decide your habits and your habits decide your future”- F.M. Alexander. This post is about how to make an action plan for sales but just a few comments about the goal-setting process. We recommend starting with way too many goals, in fact around 100, so that you think broad and deep and expand your thinking. Then categorize those 100 goals into types such as personal, business, spiritual, wellness, etc. After, boil them down to the top 12 non-negotiable goals with details and timelines, and don’t forget to set your BHAG (big, hairy, aggressive goal). This is the one goal that is really shooting for the stars. If you want to know more about the goal-setting process for your company or personal purposes, reach out and we will share the Extraordinary Goal Setting Process.

Here are the 8 steps for your Sales Action Plan:

  1. Establish your personal goals
  2. Create a Success Formula for new business
  3. Determine your key initiatives
  4. Establish your Smart numbers – your key measurements for success
  5. Figure out what you should Start and Stop Doing
  6. Create your sales & marketing plan
  7. Review, respond and redirect as needed
  8. Don’t forget to celebrate your success!

For more details on this approach, you can download our Sales Action Plan template today and get started. Remember, the best time to plant a tree is today so get started now growing your sales action plan and results.

Download your Personal & Business Work Plan for Free

Topics: sales competencies, sales action plan

Do You Have a Sales Action Plan?

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Sep 16, 2021

A goal without a plan is only a wish. An effective sales action plan starts with collecting, measuring, and inspecting key success metrics that directly impact the end goal.

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Have you ever noticed that some of the sayings you heard the most when you were growing up have turned out to be incredibly accurate? In this blog article, I want to focus on one that I absolutely grew sick and tired of hearing, and that was “People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” I might not have liked hearing it over and over, but there is no arguing the accuracy of the statement.

And you really can’t argue the veracity of this axiom when it comes to sales action plans that are built from solid sales metrics. I am stunned (and perhaps I should not be) at the number of salespeople and sales organizations that do not operate with sales action plans. They simply come up with a number for a sales goal, and then they hope the team gets to that number. But as Rick Page wrote in his fabulous book by the same title, hope is not a strategy.

A strategy would be a sales plan that is built on sales behaviors that the sales team is expected to execute on a weekly basis. A strategy would be having a sales action plan that allows the sales leaders to hold their teams accountable with agreed-upon, reported sales metrics. A strategy would be knowing the critical conversion ratios in the sales process – meaning the number of first appointments that result in opportunities, the number of opportunities that reach the proposal stage, and the number of proposals that result in wins.

Every single step in the sales process can be measured, and the data you need is easy to collect. At Anthony Cole Training Group, we know that salespeople fail for one of two reasons:

  1. Lack of effort
  2. Lack of skill

Why not engineer out #1 by having a sales plan tied to weekly sales metrics? And if you don’t grab that data, how do you even begin to know which parts of your sales process need more coaching?

That sounds like a plan.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: sales metrics, sales action plan

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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