As the new year begins, we’ve reflected on 2018 and would like to share five key insights on what we’ve seen in the world of sales. Through working with hundreds of sales leaders, sales people and companies in 2018, we get a unique view as to what’s working and what’s not.
What is the purpose of a sales person?
A good question to ask yourself or your team is what is the purpose of a sales person? If you’re only thinking about your company then you might say the purpose is to drive revenue to the business. I wouldn’t suggest for a minute that this isn’t part of the answer, but if this is the only answer then my suggestion is your positive revenue outcomes may be short term.
Indicator has gained some valuable sales industry insights over the past three years, having worked with over 250 sales leaders, collectively responsible for over $8 billion in revenue.
Who is it for?
Sales Training course for up to intermediate B2B sales people.
So your sales team is not performing as well as you’d like them to. What can you do? If you’re like most sales managers, you will know that training is one of your biggest tools (beyond changing out people – but who says you’ll recruit better this time!) to drive better performance, which is so often the key to how to improve sales. But how do you make sales skills training effective?
One of the most fundamental components of a successful business is a high-performance sales team. By having qualified personnel selling your brand to clients, you can increase your bottom line and minimise cost-cutting measures.
But what is your current sales productivity like? Is your sales team performing at the rate that they should? Do you know where it should be right now? For many businesses, the idea of a productive sales team sounds nice, but implementing a comprehensive strategy is beyond their grasp.
Sales effectiveness drives the world around – economy, business, and relationships.
Business might be disrupted, markets may collapse, artificial intelligence may replace many jobs but a great sales person will always thrive. As a profession salespeople are brilliant at training and development with a long, proud history.
In this article, we explore the next frontier through the lens of biology. We ask the questions: can we get any better at sales? What has been achieved in sports and elite combat teams over the past 30 years is startling. Shouldn’t we be striving for the same things – Faster, Higher, Stronger? But not only in individual performance, as a team. Consider the power of modern teams such as the All Blacks, Team NZ and Navy Seals.
Sourcing and recruiting sales staff who are superstars is just half of the puzzle. If you don’t have a robust and effective onboarding process for your sales staff, you might never get them to perform to their full potential. Worse still, you might not retain them for the long term. We’re going to share five tips with you today that will see you ramp up your new sales staff, and get them performing to the best of their ability, faster and more effectively.
We all know the different sales skills and attributes of hunters and farmers.
Hunters are your sales people who love the thrill of the chase, they have to get up every morning and decide where, who and which technique to use for the hunt. Farmers on the other hand are your account managers who love building fruitful (and profitable), long-term relationships. They know where their fields are – they just need to go and get the most from them.
How many times have you heard:
“We got the deal but had to give away a bit to close it”.
Actually, if it was just ‘a bit’, that’s probably okay – but when it’s more than a ‘bit’ it starts to affect the all-important business margins.
Just about every single time I have seen a company’s sales slump or slow down I can go back to the sales cycle duration, and see a corresponding slump in leads or prospects.
Who is it for?
Designed for sales people, sales managers and executives who need to operate in a highly productive state.
Presence, Flow and Eudaimonia
As a young doctor, I saw that the medicine applied to save lives, might have another purpose. Medical and biological sciences could be applied to improve and optimise life. The vision took me into Sports Medicine and then Resilience.
Easy - the sales manager’s job is to drive their team to make sales. It’s that simple, right? Wrong. It’s big and it’s complex.
Here are our 5 recommended reads on sales strategy and management, sales prospecting and more. If you have a suggestion to add to the list, we'd love to hear your recommendations too - please let us know or add your comments below.
How well is your team executing strategy and do they even get it?
The company away day workshop, done well, is one of the biggest value creators you can invest your executive team’s time in. How well are you leading and communicating your plan, what are your great wins, how well are your values providing a compass for guiding decision making, is there a positive culture and determination around your plans and budgets? These meetings are not talkfests – they’re discussions to get plan refinement, reinvention and most importantly - engagement.
How many times in a sales process do you hear this?
I was emailing a guy the other day promoting a sales course I’m running and his response on the first email was “What’s the price?” My response was; Lesson number one in sales - never talk price too early. In fact, never talk price until you (the seller) are ready.
Indicator and NZ Leaders recently joined forces with special guest presenter, LinkedIn guru Chris J Reed, to host an evening in Westhaven.
Many Sales people are recruited and managed by non-sales people. Not surprisingly mistakes are sometimes made in the recruitment process.
More often, a non-sales person thinks that “all salespeople are the same” and then fails to understand why the appointment hasn’t worked.
Hardie Fasteners was founded in 1997 by Joseph Hardie and supplies the marine, manufacturing, engineering and construction industry with quality fasteners.
Since the late 1990's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been the go-to response for business looking to get control of their sales effort, better manage their opportunities, and deliver growth.
This is an interesting question as the answer is everything and nothing. Everything - because we are all, always, trying to sell more, find new customers or channels ; Nothing - in that the CEO needs the confidence to rely on their sales team to generate revenue, drive quarterly growth and replace lost or churning customers, but overall, grow the business with profitable revenue.
However, most CEOs don't have a lot of sales knowledge - or ability. Sales in many organisations can be looked upon as the sleazy, pushy, used car salesman type role in the company (for more on this read Daniel Pink's book, To Sell is Human), and most CEOs don't come from this background.
Why is this? The answer is relatively sensible. Traditionally, people without tertiary education, but maybe with “the gift of the gab”, have tended to get into sales. People don’t necessarily need formal training or skills for a sales role, and while this has made the path easier, the lack of education can be a disadvantage for progress to a general management role - especially in a corporate or bigger company.
Anyway, back to the story.
Actually, the first question is, does your company have a sales model? From my experience it’s unlikely. Well, not a formalised one that’s followed by all the team.
MD of GrabOne and self described "hustler who gets stuff done", Ryan Watkins joined the Sales Syndicate social evening to candidly share his insights on Salesmanship, Sales Team Management and Innovation. Here's a brief synopsis of what we took out of his entertaining and engaging presentation.
With a livestock solutions business strongly leveraged to dairy, Tru-Test, has been challenged by the industry downturn as much as anyone. Shane Nolan, the company’s national Sales Manager for weighing, EID and fencing solutions, joined Sales Syndicate’s monthly support and development sessions about a year ago and says the benefits to date have been unquestionable.
Firstly, when over 50 Sales Managers were asked about it at our recent Indicator: Sales Syndicate meetings, everyone said there was a form of disruption going on in their businesses and industries. For most, it isn’t an Uber or AirBNB like disruption, but for some it’s close, for others its longer term – but it affects everyone.
That can’t be a real question can it? Doesn’t it apply to everything?
The days of hitting the phones trying to get sales meetings from cold prospects are not yet dead, but certainly, they seem to be dying. This will cause some sales people to breathe a little easier, as most hate the thought of cold calls, but others will be left wondering how to reach out to new sales prospects.
At Indicator's Sales Syndicate we were recently treated to a presentation from Bruce Rasmussen of Carpe Diem about disruptive selling, and why it is so important in today’s B2B sales world. The week before I was also lucky enough to hear Brent Adamson at Dreamforce. He was talking about what CEB (Corporate Executive Board) have found in recent research about two sales approach models – the responsive approach and the prescriptive approach. Both topics resonated strongly with me.
So the temptation is to get in front of a prospect, give them a pitch - any pitch - explain how it works and why they should buy it…and so on.
The success of any plan is all in the design but no matter how well your plan is designed it’s ineffective without appropriate, measurable performance goals and regular objective reviews.