Posts Tagged ‘sales managers’
Most sales managers to salespeople want to increase sales. More sales equals more money and far less stress.
Yet to consistently achieve this ongoing sales goal requires a commitment to a process. After taking that initial first step to assess, then this provides a foundation for the next step – Clarify.
If you missed the first step, read this posting Where to Begin to Increase Sales.
Unfortunately again many in sales jump into the third step of execution. These folks are observed in almost a Captain Wing It mode, spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.
Clarify is a verb and from this verb, the end result is clarity.
- How long is my sales cycle?
- When can I expect to earn a sales?
- Who should are my best potential customers (think ideal customers)?
- What is happening in my marketplace, industry and local to world economies?
- How can I leverage my talents (from the internal assessment) to increase sales?
- Why are potential customers interested in even considering my solution (products or services)?
- Where do I find additional resources such as knowledge, sales training, mentors or even sales coaches?
Each of these questions are a result of the previously taken internal and external assessments. Yes there are many, many more.
When salespeople clarify, they also subsequently begin to prioritize what needs to be done first, second, third and so on. Setting and working through a proven goal setting process also happens in this second step.
Some people will ask what does clarifying have to do with goal setting? My response is everything. Even though most people are hot wired toward goal setting, they fail to emotionally clarify why achieving the goal is so important to them. This emotionalization process looks to both the positive and negative emotions regarding success or failure to achieve the desired goal.
Tomorrow the third step to increase sales, though not the final step will be discussed – Execution.
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Finding the beginning to increase sales is viewed as easy, but not really. Many SMB owners, sales managers and even salespeople skip the most essential and critical first step.
By assessing where the SMB is through a thorough and well researched strategic plan should have already taken place. Yet from my experience, the vast, super majority of SMBs do not have a strategic plan. No, many have opted for the quick fix and hired some marketing firm to write their mission statement that is usually beyond poor and does nothing to create an engaged sales culture. Actually what happens is just the opposite – a disengaged sales culture.
Read this article about Misguided Mission Statements
Think about a recent visit to your physician when you complained about a stomach pain or a headache. Did your doctor immediately schedule you for surgery without taking any “vitals”? No, what he or she did was to assess you through a series of diagnostic tests. What would have happened if the doctor scheduled you for immediate surgery? Would you quickly running for the door seeking a second opinion?
So why in the world would you initiate any plan or action to increase sales without first assessing what is happening not only to your firm as it relates to the:
- Outside world?
- Internal world (think sales culture)?
- Talents of individual salespeople?
Learn more about assessing your sales culture through – D.I.AL.O.G – a PROVEN organizational and cultural assessment.
Assessing is actual the first step to gain clarity as to why your SMB has not been successful in its goal to increase sales. To embark upon any activity is really all about gaining clarity to ensure each action is both efficient and effective.
How often do people both in the business world and their own personal lives fail to track the right things to produce the right results to avoid misdirected actions and misguided decisions?
Possibly the rush to take action before engaging in any assessment is because people are conditioned to reactive behavior instead of proactive behavior. They rush around like the White Hare from Alice in Wonderland. Always late for a very important date.
If you truly want to increase sales, then start with this first step – assess.
P.S. Remember forward thinking doctors or leaders usually don’t self-diagnosis. It may make sense to seek an outside pair of eyes.
Reach out and grab a time to speak with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, to discuss how to improve your business results including sales.Share on Facebook
Today there is incredible emphasis on sales numbers. CRMs churn millions of bits of data each day for sales managers to pour over with the hope to discover what is missing in their goal to increase sales.
A past article published by Harvard Business Review entitled “Know Your Customers Jobs to be Done,” examined the gap between data gathering and improved business results. What created this gap was this two-fold simple question:
- Why did the customer buy from you or your organization?
- Did the customer gain progress in working toward his or her goal?
People buy from people they know and trust because they are seeking forward progress, seeking to achieve a goal or goals. This seeking is determined by a variety of factors both external (driven by others) and internal (driven by the buying individual).
What is interesting to note in this article is the indirect reference to purpose. When people put purpose behind data collection and data analysis (number crunching), they lose sight of the “why” people buy. Believe it or not there is a direct correlation between one’s purpose and why people buy from that person or organization.
For example, my purpose is to be a trailblazer. This purpose attracts forward thinking people who are experiencing repetitive problems as they blaze their own trails. My ideal customer profile is geared toward these individuals yet many of my clients do not meet this ideal profile. And that is Okay.
Personally I believe in sales numbers. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
However sales numbers should never take a front seat to why you do what you do. You do what you do because purpose as it relates to people is one of our three primary motivational drivers (Theory of Self Determination) as noted by Deci and Ryan in their research.
Remember people buy from people they know and trust. When you remember that sales axiom, you will be ahead of the business and sales flow.Share on Facebook
Over the last 10 years, I have discovered this startling fact among those in sales leadership roles:
98.7% do not know what they truly do well!
The irony, if you want to call it that, is 95.4% of these same salespeople know what they don’t do well.
Sales Leadership Question
Why do winning sales teams win?
- Answer A) Because of the weaknesses of their salespeople
- Answer B) Because of the strengths or talents of their salespeople
Most sales managers, SMB owners and salespeople respond with “B, of course.” So if that is true, then why do so few salespeople know what they truly do well?
Through one if not the most accurate psychometric assessments in the marketplace, the Attribute Index, salespeople and other professionals learn how they make decisions externally and internally along with 78 core talents that can be separated into:
- Interpersonal – talents used when making external decisions
- Intrapersonal – talents used when making internal decisions
Some of the intrapersonal talents begin with this word of “self” as in self confidence, self direction, self esteem, self management or self starting ability. The interpersonal talents include accountability for others, realistic goal setting for others and relating to others.
When people do not know what they do well and focus their efforts on what they think they do well, numerous opportunities are missed.
What is even worse, people through conditioned behavior continue to prioritize fixing their weaknesses even though knowing full well sales success comes through one’s strengths.
Isn’t it time for those in sales leadership roles to truly know by having crystal, clear clarity what they do well?
Benjamin Franklin understood the power in having clarity around our strengths, our talents when he said:
“Wasted strengths are like sundials in the shade.”
Can you afford not to know what you do well? Learn what you do well along with what motivates you and how you communicate through this SPECIAL OFFER. (until 2/28/2017)Share on Facebook
End of the year or quarter is when sales managers review and then start setting sales goals. The reason I did not state “new” sales goals is because sales research suggests most salespeople do not achieve their goals (quota) estimated by TAS Group to be 67% and so the goals are not new.
Possibly the reason for this continued failure to achieve quota is because of this serious and unspoken presumption:
Most people know how to consistently set and achieve their own personal goals.
Just look to the number of people continually wanting to lose weight, wishing for more success or setting New Year’s resolutions if you disagree.
- Fact – Goal setting for the most part is not a learned skill
- Fact – Goal achievement for the most part is not a learned behavior
Think for a moment when you had any teaching or training on how to set your own personal goals? In many instances the goals were set for you by someone else and then you were left on your own to change your behavior to achieve the goal.
To believe salespeople when setting sales goals can achieve them when they cannot achieve their own personal goals is beyond ridiculous. This presumption is fatal to everyone concerned from the the individual to the SMB to the stakeholders.
For over 10 years I have been administering this one simple psychometric assessment, The Attribute Index, and it reveals that the super majority of people over 90% have “realistic personal goal setting” as one of their lower talents. When my sales coaching clients start setting their own personal goals and achieving them then it is far easier in setting sales goals and drum roll…achieving them.
Download this FREE 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl to self assess yourself and take advantage of a special offer to learn if you are engaged in this dangerous presumption.
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One of my most favorite quotes is in the movie The Patriot where the father reminds his sons to “aim small, miss small.” I only wish those seeking to increase 2017 sales would heed this advice.
When salespeople have crystal clarity as to:
- Ideal customer (role, demographics, psychographics)
- Ideal target market (industry)
- Trigger events (market changes and forces)
- Value their solutions deliver
Then and only then can they truly maximize these words of wisdom “aim small, miss small.”
With the new year fast approaching, some salespeople are probably setting 2017 sales goals or receiving sales goals from their SMB owners or sales managers. In many instances based upon working with my executive and sales coaching clients, these goals are beyond unrealistic.
Those BHAG, big, hairy, audacious goals, are great if they are the goals of each individual salesperson or if there is a collective buy in as discussed in yesterday’s blog posting of “Imagine This Truly Forward Thinking Sales Kick Off Meeting.” Yet the question to be asked is how many of these BHAG are actually achieved?
Why not considered instead of eating all the elephant (BHAG) at one sitting, eat just one bite at a time. Focus on one small area such as in January reconnecting via a personal call or visit with all existing customers with the goal to secure at least one sales referral from each loyal customer. February’s sales goal (think a second bite) could be connect with all those sales referrals.
The aim small, miss small attitude works extremely well with the WAY SMART goal setting criteria.
WAY: W – Written; A – Actionable; Y – Yours
SMART: S – Specific (aim small); M – Measurable; A – Aligned to Purpose, Passion and Plans; R – Realistically Set High; T – Target Date, Time Driven
Yes when we aim small, we do miss small. This is not to discourage the vision of the company or current mission. Rather it works with ensuring consistent execution of existing strategic initiatives or objectives.
Doesn’t it make more sense to consistently achieve the smaller 2017 sales goals than to aim big and miss big wasting a lot of resources that you or your SMB can ill afford?Share on Facebook
A new quarter is quickly approaching. Sales managers and SMB owners are scrambling to schedule their next Sales Kick Off meeting. What would happen if the following took place?
One the screen is the predetermined annual sales goal broken down into quarterly goals based upon the last five years of sales per quarter.
Then the sales team (depending upon size) breaks into small groups and each group determines their own sales goals based upon their current sales funnel and their own motivation.
Note: This is a working sales kick off meeting. To start the meeting could be some inspirational speaker or video.
Depending upon the time given to this sales kick off meeting, discussion could go beyond sharing of sales goals and into limitations that might keep the salespeople from achieving those goals.
Sales Coaching Tip: Execution is still the second greatest limitation to achieving sales goals.
This approach is truly forward thinking because it works with the Theory of Self Determination. Those who are loyal readers of this blog have been exposed to this theory numerous times. However for new readers here is a quick synopsis.
Back in the 1970s, Deci and Ryan developed the Theory of Self Determination. Their research revealed that human beings have three (3) shared intrinsic motivators:
- Autonomy (choice)
- Purpose (as it relates to people)
Why this approach is forward thinking is because most sales kickoff meetings ignore these three motivators especially autonomy as goals are not a choice, but constructed by the sales manager or SMB owner. Additionally, the salespeople usually know their clients and markets (mastery) probably better than their sales managers or SMB owners. This mastery bhy the salespeople is ignored.
Integrating this approach within a proven goal setting and goal achievement process reinforced by a proven goal setting worksheet can potentially explode the sales for the next quarter as well as year. Many people will work up to the bar because when goals (the bar) are set by others they become a psychological restraint. Then this thought emerges:
Why do any more when this is expected of me?
Finally, when this innovative approach is taken with the sales kick-off meeting, then it naturally builds WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) leading to WIIFU (What’s in it for us?” Now doesn’t this make far more sense?
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith has some openings in her 2017 schedule if you wish to have her work with your sales team to truly have an highly engaged and energetic sales kick off meeting. CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne.Share on Facebook
In reading some research by VitalSmarts, the impact of conflict avoidance suggested employees (and sales teams are made up of employees) waste an average of $1,500 and an eight hour workday for every crucial conversation they avoid. Can you hear the cash register just ringing away?
This research further reveals 95% of the employees avoid directly speaking up to their colleagues about their concerns. Instead they engage in complaining, anger, avoidance to passive, aggressive behaviors. All of these behaviors weaken a forward thinking sales culture.
How many times do salespeople wish they could have a crucial conversation with their sales managers and yet find such conversations impossible? After working with numerous top sales performers, these crucial conversations do zap the sales productivity.
Conflict avoidance is for many a standard behavior. No one wants to enter into a conversation that may potentially have a negative impact. Sales teams are particularly sensitive to the impact of crucial conversations because of the feat of retribution by the sales managers to SMB owners.
To turn these necessary and yet potentially negative conversations around requires an understanding of emotional intelligence. By integrating emotional intelligence into the conversation, those in sales can turn a negative into a positive.
Yes it does take time to learn how to change the tone of the conversation. More importantly it also requires internal talents including internal self control and emotional control.
The Attribute Index Can Quickly Determine Your Internal and External Key Talents
When sales teams are developed to leverage their existing emotional intelligence, conflict avoidance is reduced and more time is devoted to selling.
Doesn’t that make sense?
The advantage of understand and applying emotional intelligence for sales teams is it solves two barriers. The first is underlying conflict avoidance with management. The second is any potential conflict avoidance with current customers or sales leads.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.
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In response to this LinkedIn Pulse article, 7 Top Tips to Hire & Keep Rock Star Salespeople, a SMB owner shared his own frustration in hiring and keeping commissioned salespeople. In his efforts to improve the sales motivation of his salespeople, he bought books, made recommendations for sales seminars and only one salesperson made any significant sales revenue growth.
Use of Psychometric Assessments Unlock Sales Motivation
The use of psychometric assessments help to weed out truly motivated salespeople from those not so motivated. Possibly the first assessment to use is the Values Index followed up by the Attribute Index.
Understanding the Theory of Self Determination
Sales motivation like all motivation must come from within each salesperson. Psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan in their work discovered all humans beings share the same three basic intrinsic motivators. By knowing these motivators, SMB owners, sales managers and salespeople can take actions to ensure their own actions are not creating sales motivation barriers.
One of the biggest fallacies respective to motivation is outside encouragement. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Your goal is to understand how to either make the horse thirsty or understand when the horse is thirsty.
External motivators have been shown time and time again not to be effective or sustainable. Now if the person values financial reward; has the talents to achieve financial reward and you as the SMB owner or sales manager do not place obstacles in front of that person, you have probably increased the chances for sales success.
Yes, you can increase sales by investing time on the front end to identify those people who are internally motivated to increase sales. Yes it may be difficult and frustrating, but it can be achieved with the use of the right tools and understanding of human motivation.
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For many in sales, the thrill of the chase is everything. These “hunters” love to find and chase down sales leads.
Within the SMB world, this thrill of the chase can present a psychological problem for the salesperson and a a business growth problem for the SMB owner, executive or sales manager. The problem for the salesperson is the activity associated with hunting for new sales leads.
Sales research suggests the super majority of earned sales (estimated as high as 80%) happened after multiple contacts, usually more than three. This same research also suggests the majority of salespeople (estimated as high as 80%) stop after three contacts. The thrill of the chase becomes almost an aphrodisiac that requires constant drinking.
If you disagree with this sales research, then monitor your own sales numbers or those of your sales team. From my experience in working with and speaking to SMBs, these percentages are fairly accurate.
For the SMB owners, executives or sales managers, the constant churning of sales leads is expensive. However, possibly their belief is why waste time on “nurturing” new opportunities? Time is money. Possibly they are demanding more “closed sales” activity?
Additionally the overall sales culture may suffer from this thrill of the chase. Inside sales may have to deal with the fall out from the salespeople not following up. The inside sales team can become stuck in the middle. I know this to be true because of my own corporate sales experience with outside salespeople.
Possibly this is why inbound marketing is so essential to this thrill of the chase. Through this marketing approach, sales leads come to the hunters and potentially the time frame to earn or close the deal is much shorter. Now previous problems from the time to make multiple contacts for the salesperson to a smaller churn of sales leads by the SMB have been dramatically reduced.
The thrill of the chase is energizing. Salespeople myself included love to earn the sale and increase sales. We must remember the chase may be longer than anticipated and not to give up especially if those sales leads are qualified ideal customers.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth.Share on Facebook