How Obama, Dan Pink, The Heaths, Steinbrenner and Kurlan Might Prepare Your Sales Force for Change

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 @ 05:09 AM

obamaI was up against the time, as 6:30 AM had arrived prior to the end of my article.  That's how it was yesterday when I wrote about having a change ready sales force.  The only problem with yesterday's article was that I never really got to the part about being change ready!  So to start where we left off you'll need to read Part I first.

How do we prepare the sales force for the four possible outcomes while letting them know that options 2-4 are not acceptable?

There are several possible approaches and Alex Bartholomaus, who spoke with me yesterday, said he would like to see me talk about these two:

  1. Dan Pink's approach from Drive.  Using this approach we would understand people's need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose to help them decide the option that would best suit them.  We can tell them that by embracing and then mastering the new sales process they'll have a much greater opportunity to self-direct their calls. With more self-input comes more control, more consistency, better results, greater income and a greater sense as to why they do what they do.
  2. Chip and Dan Heath's approach from Switch. Using this approach, we must direct the rider (provide very clear and detailed directions and expectations like, "begin using this process on your first new call on Monday"), clear the path (make it easy to start like, "start by asking these 5 questions...") and motivate the elephant (display the logos of all of the companies who bought from our competitors in the past 12 months because you didn't approach the sales process the right way).

Of course, you don't have to take either of those two approaches. 

You could take the Obama approach and draft legislation making it punishable by law to present company or product features or benefits prior to reaching 2nd Base (using the Baseline Selling model).  Of course, to make this work you would have to start a new division of your company, hire a staff of administrators, and force everyone to complete paperwork proving their compliance after every call.  Naturally, they would have to pay a filing fee each time they submitted the paperwork, wait 21 days for approval, and receive an automated response telling them that their submission was not acceptable because they failed to complete the hidden field.

You could also take the George Steinbrenner approach and simply let everyone know that if they don't embrace the new sales process, strategies and tactics they'll be terminated.

Personally, I would use a combination of approaches - even the last two.

  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Let them know it's not optional - failure to comply will lead to termination
  3. Show them why we're going in this direction.  Present the data showing bad conversion ratios, margins and revenue and compare those numbers to what it should be.
  4. Run a contest with several awards:
    • first to close new business using the new process - salespeople present a report on the merits of the new sales process and how it helped close the business.
    • first to start a sales cycle using the new process - salespeople report on how their prospects reacted in comparison to how they used to react
    • salesperson who uncovers the best compelling reason to buy - compelling reasons are submitted at the end of each day and the entire sales force votes on the best.
    • salesperson who closes the largest sale in the first 90 days
    • salesperson who generates the most referral business from customers who were sold using the new sales process
I am up against the time again but we got further today than yesterday!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Force, change ready

Preparing for Sales Training - Becoming Change Ready

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 @ 06:09 AM

I just took a talented group of salespeople through three days of training.  Perhaps you've been in a situation just like that at some point.  There are several ways this group can approach integration, application and execution at the end of the training.

  1. "This is great!  Starting today, this is exactly what I'm going to do."
  2. "That information was overwhelming!  I need to study it, practice it, examine its potential fit and set a goal for applying the part I agree with at some point in the future."
  3. "That was very interesting.  I'll begin to apply pieces of it - the pieces I'm most comfortable with - and see what happens."
  4. "What a waste of time.  Nothing new. I'm not changing a thing."

Which would you do?

Which would your salespeople do? 

Different people will react in different ways.  So how would you like them to react? Which ones would react the way you want them to and which ones would react the wrong ways?  If you have training in your future and you want the training to be effective, how will you prepare your group so that they are change ready?

While a tremendous part of training effectiveness is the responsibility of the trainer, trainers are only as effective as the group is receptive.  Even with a receptive group, you must prepare them in advance for the 4 possible outcomes above and make it clear that outcomes 2-4 are not acceptable options for you.

[Update] - This article is continued here...

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, change ready

Change Ready Companies Experience Faster Success in Sales Development

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 19, 2009 @ 09:01 AM

I was thinking about the difference between the clients that achieve rapid progress, with very measurable change, in the first six months of sales development versus those that show more typical progress where change has begun to take place but it might not be measurable yet.

It's a fairly simple difference.

They were change ready.

Rather than resisting change for three months and then slowly embracing those concepts they were comfortable with, the change-ready clients embraced the concepts from the start.

Are you change ready?

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, sales management, selling, increasing sales, sales increase, change ready, sales development, measurable change

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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