Can Free Sales Content Send You Down a Dangerous Path?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 05:05 AM

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Did you ever drive down a street and seen a roadside sign advertising free stuff?  Maybe it was a free sofa, chair, or table.  Maybe it was a free lawnmower or bicycle. It could have even been free kid's stuff.  Nearly all of the free stuff you find on the side of the road, available to the first taker, is somebody else's junk.  Instead of throwing it out, and rather than taking the time to donate it (if an organization would have it), they are simply giving it away.  

On the Web, there are three kinds of free sales content available.  

There are free articles - like this one - where you could be inspired, might have to think a bit, might learn of an approach you weren't aware of, or might be privy to some statistics or science you hadn't read about.  

There are free White Papers, which could be anything from a scientific report on Sales Selection, Longevity,Trust, or The Challenger Sale (the topics of my White Papers), to a marketing piece made to look like a scientific report.  

And there are Free Downloads offering a great value in exchange for your name and email address.  I downloaded one such free value this weekend - a Sales Process Cheat Sheet which promised a standardized playbook and a simple, easy-to-follow sales methodology cheat sheet to help managers coach their inside sales reps into following a proven, standardized process from discovery to close.  Was there value?  It was a joint promotion from Hubspot and InsideSales.com.com - maybe you received the same offer in your inbox.  Was it any good?  Was it a process?  Was it a playbook?  Was it a methodology?

It was designed for inside salespeople - BDR's and SDR's whose role is to connect with a prospect and book a meeting for an account executive.  In my opinion, it was not a Playbook because it did not show how to execute the call.  Playbooks are how-to's with scripts and action trees.  It was not a Methodology because it did not have a defined approach for moving from one milestone to the next.  Methodologies focus on the kind of conversation that is required to move from one step and stage to the next.  And it was not a Process because it was focused on tasks and outcomes, more than a series of milestones.  A sales process must have stages (typically 4-6) and within each stage, milestones that build on each other.  

Worse than not being any of the things it was marketed to be, it was WAY TO COMPLEX for sales reps whose job is to book meetings.  By comparison, the sales processes that Kurlan & Associates builds for companies are designed to be thorough, yet clear, concise and simple.  Simple does not imply that it is inadequate.  Simple means that it works without being overly complex or difficult to execute. Of course Kurlan charges for its work and the cheat sheet we have been talking about was free.  Does that mean it was as valuable as the old sofa, chair or table?

One of the many reader emails I received last week was from someone complaining that he used to get value from my articles but no longer felt like he did.  I responded to him, apologized, and asked what I could write about that would be valuable for him.  He didn't respond.  No article can be all things to all people.  I'm sure that if you're a regular reader, you dismiss some as easily as you find some save-worthy.  Then there's the free part.   I always save the best stuff for the paying clients, for the consulting and training and coaching and evaluating and recruiting.  Unfortunately, and honestly, the material you get for free falls more into the tease category than the value category.   Even Amazon Prime does that.  There are certain movies that Prime members can watch for free, but you have to pay for the best stuff. 

There are some great thought leaders writing good articles in the sales space.  Just look at the list of the Top 50 Sales Bloggers and you will surely find some useful free content.  But as with my material, the others will save the best, most valuable, and most important information for their paying clients.

It's great that today you can get stuff for free.  Just don't confuse what you get for free with what others are paying for.

Speaking of paying - this is the final call for the last 2 available seats for my Sales Leadership Intensive, May 17-18 outside of Boston.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales process, sales methodology, inside sales, top sales blog, insidesales.com, sales playbook

Help is Here for Salespeople Who Find Themselves as the Underdogs

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 @ 19:04 PM

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You or your salespeople are on a call.  Is it an uphill battle?  Do you feel like you need some luck to win the business? Are you up against an incumbent - and your prospect is happy with them?  Are there too many competitors - and you are having trouble getting noticed?  Does the prospect claim to only care about price - and you aren't the lowest?  Do they just want a proposal or a quote - and you feel like you need to provide it to them?  Do you have trouble winning most of the time?  Do you almost always face resistance of some kind? Is it difficult to simply get a meeting?I wrote an article for the SellingPower blog where we discuss the challenges of being an underdog. Read it to now to learn how you can outsell the big companies.

Another one of my articles was named the Top Sales Blog post of the week.  If you missed it, I explained how coyotes show us the importance of external motivation.

Sales VP's, Sales Directors, Regional Sales Managers, National Sales Managers, Local Sales Managers, CEO's, Presidents, Channel Sales Directors, Inside Sales Managers, Board Members and more come from companies of all sizes and industries to attend our Annual Sales Leadership Intensive (where we limit attendance to fewer than 30 attendees) in May.  Every graduate says that this is the-best-training that they have ever attended.  We focus on showing, demonstrating and training sales leaders to coach salespeople in the most impactful and effective way, and nobody does this like we do.  Coaching is how you impact important deals.  Coaching helps you develop salespeople.  Coaching leads to revenue growth.  Nothing - and I mean nothing - has a greater impact on the sales organization than when you spend half of your time coaching and you conduct coaching the right way.  If you would like to join us, we would love to see you there.  This embedded discount code/link will give you a special 30% discount. [There are only 3 seats remaining!]

There was a tremendous amount of interest in these ten articles over the past 4 months:

Uncovering Pain Doesn't Close the Sale and the 3 Conditions That Will

On Our Doorstep - 5 Keys to Prepare Your Sales Force for the Recession

Why More Salespeople Suck Than Ever Before 

Why Company Methods to Rank and Compensate Salespeople Are All Wrong?

Proof of How Poorly the Bottom 74% of Salespeople Perform

One of These Two Assessments is More Predictive of Sales Success

The Challenges of Coaching Different Types of Salespeople

How We Discovered They Had the Wrong Salespeople

Why This is Such a Great Sales Book

Sales Performance Improves When You Stop Worrying About Your Words

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, effective sales leadership, sales management seminar, closing more sales, beating the competition

Effective Selling is Less about the Words and More About How You Say Them

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 @ 18:04 PM

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Two experiences this weekend support something I have been teaching for more than 30 years.  

Saturday, I walked up to the deli counter and asked the young woman for a quarter pound of imported provolone.  She responded, "We don't have impourded, but we have some from Italy."  I said that would be fine. Then she grumbled to a co-worker that this guy wanted "impourded" provolone and he explained that the Italian provolone was imported.  Then she held up the slices and said, "It's only 5 slices - that won't go very far!"  I explained that it was perfect for a sandwich.

I was able to laugh that one off - it was actually funny - but I didn't think the second one was very funny.

The AAU 13U baseball team was ahead 4-1 when the assistant coach approached us. Our son had just finished pitching his fourth strong inning so we expected to hear, "He's pitching a great game!", but instead he whined that our son needed to develop better command of his curve ball (that I wouldn't let him throw prior to this year because we were trying to protect his arm).  

I nicely reminded the coach that our son had tried out for the team as a catcher, not a pitcher, and that the coaches liked his arm so much they told him he would pitch - a lot.  

The assistant coach growled, "If he doesn't want to pitch, I'll take him off the mound right now!!!"  

Huh?  If he doesn't want to pitch? He loves to pitch! Where did that sarcastic comment come from?  And why was he so nasty about it?

Neither of these two individuals intended to be nasty, or even mean-spirited, but both of them communicated their replies in such a way that they came out quite nasty.

The deli lady could have said, "Will provolone from Italy be acceptable?"

And the coach could have said, "I'm going to help Michael with the command of the curveball he's been working on."

You can say almost anything, to anyone, at any time, without offending them, if you say it nicely, softly, kindly, and sincerely.  You can't get away with saying anything, ever, even when your intentions are good, if you sound arrogant, abrasive, offensive, snarly, defensive, loud or combative.

Whether you are trying to convince a prospect, customer or salesperson, make sure you emphasize the how over the what and your message has a much better chance of being accepted in the spirit you intended.

Read more about how you can stop worrying about the words you use.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, selling, tonality, communication skills

How Coyotes are at the Heart of Sales Motivation

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

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My family lives west of Boston where it is not uncommon for us to see lots of squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, the family of foxes that live on our property, and on most nights, we hear coyotes.  We usually hear them in the early morning hours, and always thought they were celebrating a kill.  Recently, I did some research and learned that this is how coyotes greet each other when they are assembling before going out to hunt - before the kill!   For those of you who don't live in or alongside a forest, a group of wild coyotes usually looks and sounds just like in this 1-minute video that I found on YouTube. That got me thinking about the connection to sales motivation and more.

 

Not too many decades ago, sales teams were very local and met weekly and sometimes daily as a group.   The purpose of a typical meeting was to share information and motivate the troops.  Most meetings ended with a motivational cheer - similar to what you might expect from a modern-day pep rally!

It got me thinking that pep rallies, coyote gatherings and sales meetings are all very primal and we, as people, need the rallying.  It provides external motivation and while that tends to be short-lived, it improves confidence, gets everyone focused and aligned, and creates a sense of urgency. 

Most sales teams don't meet as frequently anymore and while adults are capable of performing without the pom-poms and cheers, providing some external motivation certainly doesn't hurt.  It builds team and spirit.  That's why, in lieu of being able to gather and meet each week, daily huddles can fill the gap.  They aren't designed to motivate as much as they are to align, develop a laser focus, report on KPI's, uncover coaching opportunities and hold the team accountable.

When the team does come together, there should be at least one motivational moment - in the form of an awards ceremony, a keynote motivational talk or an event that gets everyone excited.

Today, there are three ways that people are motivated to perform on a day-to-day basis.  I've written about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and we still need to consider a third, altruistic type of motivation.  I believe that the third group is represented by a very small minority in sales, but as Objective Management Group (OMG) begins to measure and analyze the presence of the third group, I'll bring that science to the discussion.  As far as intrinsic motivation goes, OMG measures 7 additional ways that salespeople are motivated.

At my annual Sales Leadership Intensive, in addition to 2 comprehensive days on how to master the art of coaching salespeople, we also teach sales leaders how to effectively motivate their salespeople.  It's the best two days of sales leadership training you can get - anywhere - and we would love to have you attend.  Seating is limited to just 26 and as of today, April 21, 2016, we have 5 seats remaining for our May 17-18 event outside of Boston. Register with this link and embedded discount code to automatically receive a 30% discount.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, sales motivation, sales management training

Bigger Sales Pipelines - The Dangerous Truth

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 @ 16:04 PM

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I usually get notified when new sales studies are published and I'm asked to link to those reports from my Blog.

Last week I was invited to download the 2016 InsideSales.com Business Growth Index Report.  I read through it today and while I wasn't terribly surprised by anything, there were a few findings that are quite interesting, showing that some companies aren't making very good decisions, and these decisions could be representative of your company too.

The report showed that overall, pipelines are larger and that would generally be viewed as a positive. But it was no surprise that sales cycles are longer and win rates are lower.  The quality of leads was responsible for all three -  the larger pipelines, longer sales cycles and lower win rates.  In other words, companies were either raising the bar - they wanted better leads - or lowering the bar - they wanted more leads.  

It appears that in the case of better leads, better was defined as bigger companies with bigger opportunities, which increases the total value of the pipeline. Greater competition, a longer sales cycle and lower win rate are the obvious outcomes of that strategy.  

In the case of more leads, the number of opportunities in the pipeline increases.  Of course, more is the opposite of better and longer sales cycles and lower win rates are an obvious outcome of that strategy too.

My question is, do more opportunities, despite the lower win rates and longer sales cycle, translate to better revenue growth?  

The reality is that pipelines should not simply get bigger!  If we know the annual revenue goal, closing percentage and average deal size for every salesperson, then we know exactly how many opportunities must be in each stage of the pipeline at any moment in time.  When we know that, it's all about effective targeting and scoring.  Last week I spent a half day helping a company nail their scoring mechanism.  If you get that right, you'll know not only whether an opportunity qualifies to be in the pipeline, but whether it should be pursued, assigned resources, and quoted.  When companies choose to simply put more in, it's usually because they already have too many of the wrong opportunities in the pipeline.

There were some findings around technology usage.  It showed that in 20% of the cases, the competitive edge could be attributed to technology with the biggest three examples being CRM, Sales Intelligence and Sales Presentation tools.  But even with CRM showing the most widespread usage, only 45% attributed their competitive edge to CRM.

Speaking of CRM, it seems that the data for this analysis came from CRM, so I assume they were mining Salesforce.com data from multiple companies and industries.  With so many executives complaining that their salespeople hate using Salesforce.com, and with sales managers having to hound their salespeople to keep the data current, it raises questions about the accuracy of the length of the sales cycle.  Many salespeople delay entering data until an opportunity is well underway, while others delay entering their follow-up and follow-through, including when they have closed the sale!  These issues cause sales cycles to be represented as both artificially short and long!  We could give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that it evens out...

The authors grouped findings by company size -  smaller than and larger than $1 billion; but only 11% of the respondents were from the larger companies.  Another thing that might have skewed their findings is that 60% of the respondents were from software and business services companies.  While those industries are certainly hot right now, the lack of balance hides what might really be taking place.  If pipelines are bigger, sales cycles longer and win rates lower, what do you suppose those three metrics look like in the not-so-hot industries?

Well it's not what you might think!  Win rates went down in both tech and non-tech, but they dropped by 100% more in the tech segment.  Wow!  See, that's how some would report this finding - by dramatizing it - when the reality is that win rates dropped by 2.1% in non-tech and 4.7% in tech.  Also surprising is that the increase in the number of new opportunities was 10.8% in tech but 18.3% in non-tech.  To my thinking, it's the rest of the world catching up with the tech and finally getting with the program!

All of these findings are nice to know, but in your company, it comes down to two things.  Let's assume that your deals are not lost because of quality; and your deals are not won because of price.  After all, there can be only one lowest price and one best quality.  That means everyone else has to sell value.  In value selling, differentiation takes place in the field (or on the phone) and that means your ability to differentiate is reliant on:

  • Consistent and effective consultative approach,
  • Effective milestone-centric, customer-focused sales process, and
  • Consistent and effective coaching from sales managers - on their deals and personal growth.

 In my experience, this is generally not what is taking place in most companies.

You can improve the sales process and sales coaching by attending my annual Sales Leadership Intensive - May 17 and 18.  It's two days of the absolute best training on how to effectively coach salespeople and much, much more.  Use this link with embedded discount code to save 30%! 

You can find out if your salespeople are truly selling value and to what degree they are using a consultative approach with a sales force evaluation.  For most companies, the information learned and action steps identified make this a no-brainer.

And you can simply hire better salespeople, but using the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment there is.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, salesforce.com, long sales cycle, sales win rates, building the sales pipeline, insidesales.com

What Percentage of Sales Managers Have the Necessary Coaching Skills?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

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I am often asked to explain what we look for when we evaluate Sales Managers.  At this point, most experts agree that a good Sales Manager will spend half of their time coaching up the salespeople.  Recently, I was asked to share some statistics about sales management coaching - the percentage of sales coaching skills that most Sales Managers have and the amount of time they spend.  So let's stop talking about the article and start sharing the statistics!

In a recent mining of data on approximately 100,000 Sales Managers evaluated by Objective Management Group (OMG), they have on average 43% of the Sales Coaching Competency and only 39% of all Sales Managers have at least 50% of the Sales Coaching Competency.  Only 7% have more than 75% of the Sales Coaching Competency and only 3% spend at least 50% of their time coaching their salespeople.

And that's just the sales coaching competency!

It gets better when we look at accountability, motivation and recruiting...

68% of Sales Managers have at least 50% of the attributes of the Accountability Competency and 16% have at least 75% of those skills.

90% of Sales Managers have at least 50% of the attributes of the Motivation Competency and 21% have at least 75% of those skills.

68% of Sales Managers have at least 50% of the attributes of the Recruiting Competency and 26% have at least 75% of those skills.

When you consider that Sales Managers with less than 75% of the attributes of any of these competencies are ineffective at the competency, that's a lot of sales management ineffectiveness.

Overall, 18% of all sales managers should not be in the role and 34% can't be trained up.

Sales Managers and sales leaders have an opportunity to get coached up themselves by attending my annual Sales Leadership Intensive where the training is on - you guessed it - these competencies and we focus on the sales coaching competency.  It's the best training on how to effectively coach salespeople that you can attend anywhere!  Learn more here.  If you would like to attend, you can  use this special code to get the special discount.  Just click the code : SLI-DK-UTSF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management training, sales manager, sales management seminar

What Should You Do When You or Your Company is Disliked in Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

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I know.  Everyone loves you. You are just so likable that it's inconceivable that you could be disliked.  As usual, I see things a bit differently and I'll prove that there is someone that not only dislikes you, but might even hate you.  For example, my company, Objective Management Group (OMG), is universally hated by an entire vertical!   I'll share that with you, but first I must ask you a question.  If you are in territory sales, is there a competitor salesperson gunning for you?  Have you taken business away from anyone?  Do they hate you?  Is there a competitor who is all smoke and mirrors, who can't deliver on what they promise, who still manages to win business at your expense?  Do you hate them?  Do you sell a product or service that can help a company do more with fewer employees?  Do those employees hate you?  It wasn't that long ago when Apple hated Microsoft and Microsoft hated Apple.  Allow me to provide a few examples and then I'll share how to deal with the hate.

One of OMG's products is our legendary, accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment.  Everyone from the CEO down through sales leadership and HR love this tool, but internal recruiters hate it and recruiting firms hate us!  Internal recruiters hate us because they have to work harder to find sales candidates who will be recommended.  It's their job, so they deal with us.  After all, only 7% of all salespeople are elite, and just an additional 16% who qualify as strong.  That means that 77% of the candidates they find suck, usually aren't recommended, and our assessment exposes that.  

For recruiting firms, the hate is even worse.  Their profit depends on a company quickly falling in love with a candidate and when one of their clients wants to use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, it is not only more difficult, but it takes much longer for them to find the right candidate. That eats into their profit and they absolutely hate that!  One way that recruiting firms deal with this is when they attempt to discredit our assessment.  As you can imagine, that kind of hate isn't much fun because it puts clients right in the middle of that battle.

Over the years, the creative people in our entrepreneurial and innovative economy have been responsible for developing products (think internet-related) and services (think outsourcing) that eliminate jobs.  The employees who are most vulnerable to having their jobs eliminated absolutely hate the companies and their salespeople who provide those services.

Speaking of entrepreneurs, one of the best sites is EvanCarmichael.com and last week, Evan hosted a video interview with me when we talked about assessments, selling, presenting and differentiating.  It was a fun and fast-paced interview and you can see it here.

So what can you do when you there are groups of people who hate you?  Introduce the issue yourself.  You'll need to wait until you have uncovered their compelling reason to buy and then you can ask a question like this one, "An ideal solution is going to eliminate some jobs, and while that will save the company money, how will you deal with the pushback that you're going to get?" or, "A solution that will solve the problem we are talking about will cause this group over here to be quite upset.  How will you deal with the protests you are going to get from them?"

Here are some additional resources.

This article on how to ask questions so that customers buy and you don't have to sell was named one of the top 10 sales blog posts of the month.

This article that I wrote for the SellingPower blog explains how to sidestep price issues so that you can sell value!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, competition, Motivation, Apple, objective management group, selling power, microsoft

Quadruple Dittos Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 20:04 PM

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If you follow sports - even a little - then you know about special sports achievements.  The Hat Trick is pretty special in Hockey, The Cycle and the No-Hitter in Baseball represent near-perfect games, the Ace or the Hole-in-One is an ultimate score in Golf, and the Triple-Double represents the ultimate achievement in a Basketball game.  Yes, I know I left out Soccer - again - but I just don't know enough. [Update - Barry Hall wrote that Soccer has a Hat Trick - when an individual scores 3 goals in one game.]

When Verne Harnish published Mastering The Rockefeller Habits, the precursor to his current book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it and the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0), I followed his suggestion and began leading a daily huddle with my leadership team at Objective Management Group. In addition to reporting on the KPI's for which they are responsible, each leader mentions a victory or something exciting.  On yesterday's huddle, we achieved the equivalent of one of those great sports moments when we had a Quadruple Ditto.  What's a Quadruple Ditto and why is that important to you?

A Quadruple Ditto (we made it up) occurs when the thing that has excited the first leader excites each subsequent leader equally, causing them to say, "Ditto."  When at least 4 leaders say, "Ditto" we have achieved a Quadruple Ditto.

Now you know what it is, so why is it important for sales?

Sales Leaders should be leading huddles with their sales managers and sales managers should be leading huddles with their salespeople.  When everyone on the huddle has an equally exciting - albeit different - opportunity to report on, you have achieved a Quadruple Ditto.  When exciting new opportunities are few and far between, there won't be any Quadruple Dittos, but when the entire sales team is stuffing their pipeline with new, high-quality opportunities, you'll find yourself in Quadruple Ditto territory.

The key, of course, is that the opportunities are of high quality.  For help defining high-quality opportunities, please see The Sure Fire Way to Know Which Sales Opportunities are the Best Opportunities.

You can also call the Quadruple Ditto after 4 salespeople or more have reported on and met or exceeded each of their daily KPI's.

I'm going to achieve another version of a Quadruple Ditto in today's article with more than 4 outbound links.  I've already provided two and here are three more.

Josh Lev wrote this helpful article on the psychology of selling and I think it's worth checking out.

Pete Caputa, VP at Hubspot, posted this terrific article on 7 bad actors on every sales team. It appears on the Hubspot sales blog.

Stu Heincke, author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, interviewed me for his Chicago Radio Show.  Listen to the Podcast here. 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, verne harnish, Rockefeller Habits, pete caputa, scaling up, josh levs, daily huddle

Why Uncovering Pain Doesn't Close the Sale with a CEO and the 3 Conditions You Do Need

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 04, 2016 @ 15:04 PM

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Other than birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and sporting events, how many occasions are there when you have repeated an event, in one form or another, for at least 22 years. Not many, right?  This past weekend, I hosted 130 sales experts from around the world as part of Objective Management Group's 22nd Annual OMG Conference.  I'm proud that we kept these sales experts engaged to the point where there were just as many people in the room for the end of the final presentation as there were for the beginning of the first presentation. I want to share 5 out of more than 100 important insights that they took away which apply equally to you too.

Playing Your Part

There were some great take-aways from our keynote speaker, Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports.  He offered dozens of insights and suggestions and shared some great stories, but the two that really stuck with me were:

  1. "Are you a participant or a spectator?"  In my opinion, there are just so many salespeople that would fall into the spectator category - reacting, responding and facilitating - instead of the participant category where they are proactively building their pipeline, gaining traction, achieving velocity and closing business.
  2. "The underdog has nothing to lose - it's like playing with house money!"  It's just like this quote from Band of Brothers which I included in this article, "You're Afraid to Sell Because You Have Hope."   Actual video clip...

Selling to the CEO

One participant asked why it was so difficult to get a CEO to pull the trigger despite having uncovered some pain points. I explained that pain points alone may help to eventually create some urgency, but they represent only one of the three conditions necessary to create enough urgency to cause action.

You may be able to use the pain you uncovered to create the second condition - quantifying the opportunity.  Properly quantifying an opportunity requires using math in a way that helps you build your case, and you can see it demonstrated here.  Quantifying may help you develop a compelling reason for the CEO to move forward, but as I mentioned, it's a CEO, and a CEO may need three conditions to be in place.  The third condition is a connection to their end game - their overall long-term strategy. When CEO's can't see how your solution helps to achieve their long-term strategy and goals, they may not buy despite the pain you uncovered!  

As I explained to the group, it's a lot like a Nor'easter.  For a blockbuster snowstorm like a Nor'easter to materialize, there are three conditions that must exist.  The first is that there must be cold air from Canada in place.  No cold air?  No snow.  The second condition is that the storm must pick up a significant area of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico or the waters off of the southern coast of the US.  Without the moisture, there can be no big storm regardless of how much cold air there might be.  But there is a third condition that must occur, and that is a favorable track of the storm.  If the storm tracks too far inland, the storm will be in the form of rain.  If it tracks too far to the south and/or east of New England,  only Cape Cod and the islands will see snow.  The storm must track just to the south and/or east of Cape Cod and then most of New England gets a major snow storm.  When salespeople uncover only pain, that's the equivalent of the moisture - but we don't have the cold air in place and the track of the storm sends it out to sea.

21 Sales Core Competencies

We shared the latest enhancements and new features of our Sales Force Evaluation and the attendees were very excited about the expansion of 5 of the Sales Core Competencies for which we already had findings.  Effective today, we have expanded the competency sets for:

  1. Milestone-Centric Sales Process
  2. Relationship Building
  3. CRM Savvy
  4. Social Selling
  5. Pipeline Management (sales management)

We previously included findings/scores for these competencies, but now we show approximately 8 attributes for each of these 5 competencies - a lot more details and explanation. They round out the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure and report on.  The 21 Sales Core Competencies can be seen here.   

Motivation

Last year, we announced that we had expanded our measurement of sales motivation.  We had already begun looking at both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation when we began measuring 7 additional ways that salespeople are motivated.  This year, we announced that in addition to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, we will begin measuring altruistic motivation.  This is important because sales managers are finding it more difficult to help salespeople who are not motivated by money. When sales managers understand how salespeople are motivated, they can use other strategies and tactics to help maintain motivational consistency.

Zero's are Like Carbs

One of the big take-aways for the group was my comment that zero's are like carbs - they're bad for you.  All of the zeros that appear, when the value of a huge sales opportunity is entered into the CRM application, cause salespeople to become inappropriately excited.  They facilitate instead of pushing back.  They respond instead of being proactive.  They get happy ears instead of continuing to question things.  Just cross out the zeros and treat it like any other opportunity!

There were literally dozens of other insights and take-aways that I don't have time to share today, but if you like these, let me know and I'll share some more in my next post.  I'll know you liked it if you click the LinkedIn share button at the top of the article.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, objective management group, creating urgency, selling to the CEO, uncovering pain

The 5 Questions That Get Prospects to Buy so You Don't Have to Sell

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 18:03 PM

Questions.png

It's a catch-22 that I find myself in all of the time.  In this business, I can't ever be better at training, coaching, evaluating, consulting, and general sales expertise than I am when actually selling.  If I am less expert at selling, I will lack credibility.  I become one of those people who, if they can't do it, they teach it.  On the other hand, I can't be better at selling than at providing expertise because it is often very threatening to potential clients. They fear being sold something - especially consulting services - from someone who could possibly fail to meet expectations, and my business would fail if I caused that to happen.  So what is a sales expert to do? Let's answer that question, discuss how it applies to you, and share some questions that will help you sell more of what you have!

I need to let and help people buy from me and cannot, under any circumstances, sell.  I've been doing it that way for 30 years and it has worked so far!  The balance is so, so important.  This is something that can be transferred to any sales force.  If you understand the delicate balance I described, you and your salespeople can apply the same balance to your prospects and customers.  Make sure they buy from you, but don't be found guilty of selling to them.

If you get the hang of that approach, you'll have taken the first step to becoming a consultative seller!  Because in order for you to help prospects buy, you must become adept at listening and asking questions.  If you do nothing but listen and ask questions, everything will change.  Of course, they need to be good questions.  As soon as you ask a dumb, stupid, moronic question, that conversation will end.  So what are good questions?  Any question that:

  • Helps your prospect to go wider and deeper in response to what you just heard,
  • Encourages your prospect to provide further details,
  • Uncovers the consequences of an issue they shared with you,
  • Gets your prospect to share how those consequences impact them, and
  • Monetizes the issues and impact they have discussed.

The only problem with all of this is that most salespeople can't do it!  This article discusses why more salespeople suck than ever before and this article explains consultative selling in much more detail!

Recently I was asked to take a look at this article on the Salesforce.com blog about the 3 must-have elements for building sales teams that soar.  They were hoping that I would not only share the article, but especially the infographic that you see below. They did a great job on the infographic. Some of the information in the article is good, some is good common sense, and some - well some contains made-up statistics!  When you see numbers like 50% and 100X, you know there isn't science behind those numbers.  And the days of reps calling 120-170 prospects per day?  Sure, maybe in 1970 when prospects answered their phones.  Sure, if the same reps don't also have to conduct actual sales calls/meetings.  Sure, if the sales manager wants to burn their reps out after a month.  Seriously,  if a dial that goes to voicemail takes an average 3 minutes and you have a ten-minute conversation with 10% of the 170 people that you dialed, you would have spent :

  • 10 minutes x 17 conversations for 170 minutes or nearly 3 hours,
  • 153 dials x 3 minutes for 459 minutes or 7.65 hours,
  • And with four 10-minute breaks and a lunch hour, that's an 11.5 hour day and no time to conduct any sales calls or meetings!

If reps are still doing dialing-for-dollars, 3 hours per day is plenty unless they are in a call center and all they do is schedule meetings for account executives.  Half a day for prospecting and half a day for following up with sales calls makes much more sense! And remember, you won't have time to sell consultatively if you are cranking out that kind of call volume.  That can only lead to transactional selling which, unless you sell something extremely simple, very inexpensive, and for the lowest price, transactional selling won't accomplish anything.

 

Click To Enlarge

The Three Must-Have Elements For Building Sales Teams That Soar

Via Salesforce

Topics: Dave Kurlan, growing a sales team, prospecting, salesforce.com

About Dave

Dave Kurlan's Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award five years running.  This year the Blog earned a Gold Medal and this article earned the Bronze Medal. Read more about Dave.

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