Why So Many Sales Managers are So Bad

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 @ 06:07 AM

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Image Copyright 123RF Stock Photo

I see bad ones everywhere I look. They are not usually bad people and they might not have been bad salespeople, but they are usually so ineffective in their role as sales managers.  We will discuss some of the reasons and share an example next!

One reason that sales managers are ineffective is that many of the articles, information and guidelines about sales management practices are so bad!  Why?  Because so many of the people who write the articles are not experts on sales management! For example, for a couple of months the folks over at Pipedrive.com have been asking me to link to their article on sales management.  They told me that I failed to include the definition of sales management in this article on hiring salespeople and that if I pointed to their article on sales management it would fill in the gap.  

If I were writing opinion pieces for a baseball audience (that would be so much fun for me!) I wouldn't have to define baseball and because I write opinion pieces for a sales leadership audience so it doesn't make sense for me to define sales management.

Anyway, I clicked the link they provided, read it and unfortunately much of what is in their article is either outdated or not part of the core role of a modern sales manager.  From the definition, where they failed to mention that 50% of a sales manager's role is coaching, to the compensation, where they were off by as much as 50%, it just didn't resonate.  Given what they sell, I understand their need to build it around pipeline, but still.  Is it any wonder that when information like this is distributed to potential sales managers, that (1) it could attract the wrong people to the role, and (2) they could begin with a false sense of understanding of the requirements of the role?

I've written about the sales management role a lot and while I can't point to each of the 500 or so articles from here, one article has the essence of what sales management is all about and it's one of my 10 most popular articles of all time - the top 10 sales management functions.  Earlier in this article I mentioned that coaching is now 50% of a sales manager's job.  This article discusses the percentage of sales managers who have the necessary coaching skills while this article talks about why coaching salespeople is so scary for sales managers.

Two more reasons for ineffective sales management:

  1. Sales management is a full-time job but many sales managers who continue to sell, make it a part-time job.  Whether the choice to sell is theirs or management's, it's a bad choice because their first priority will always be their customers, their sales and their commissions.  Coaching, for development and to impact revenue, will be an afterthought.
  2. Executive Leadership often fails to understand what sales managers should really be doing with their time. As a result, they allow the sales managers to define their role, often resulting in less than ideal choices.

A couple of important links:

Hubspot Sales VP, Pete Caputa, compiled a great list of the top 33 sites for free sales and sales training videos.  Thanks for including me Pete!

An online war of words between me, a tech buyer who wrote an outrageous comment to my article on why more salespeople suck, and my readers exploded last week.  After I wrote an article in response to his comment about why he doesn't need salespeople, he wrote some very aggressive responses to the reader comments and the article and things got very interesting from there!  You can check out that lively discussion right here and please add your own comment to the page.  You might hear back from Todd!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, Sales Coaching, sales management functions, pete caputa, pipedrive, sales management role

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 see a "free stuff" sign?  Maybe it was a free sofa, chair, or table.  Maybe it was a free lawnmower or bicycle. It even could have 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 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. - 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 prospects and book meetings for account executives or AE's.  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 really being any of the things it was advertised to be, it was WAY TOO 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. [Update - Sold Out].

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

Must Read - This Email Proves How Poorly the Bottom 74% of Salespeople Perform

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

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I've written more than 1,400 articles for Understanding the Sales Force and every one of them has been my observation of salespeople, sales managers and sales teams.  The observations come from sales force evaluations, sales candidate assessments, sales recruiting projects, sales training and coaching initiatives, and sales leadership training.  After 10 years and 1,400 articles and to avoid boredom, we will change things up a bit for this article.  

Ken is one of my longtime readers, a former client, and last week he sent this note expressing his frustrations as a buyer of services.  I'll add my comments and conclusions at the end of his note.

I just wanted to let you know that your sales training program has ruined me as a buyer.  The ineptitude of almost every sales team I have encountered recently is chilling, especially since you have shown me that they can do so much better.   I have come to wonder if it would be cost-effective for buyers to provide sales training to their prospective vendors to save us time, effort and aggravation in our purchasing process.  Salespeople chasing prospects??? I can’t tell you how much time I spend chasing vendors.

I started a new career in Information Security about 6 years ago and am now Chief Information Security Officer for a fast growing SaaS startup in the expense reporting and expense management space.  In my role, I need to purchase compliance services, auditing tools, training products, etc.

Here is the scenario that prompted this email:

A few weeks ago, I got a blast email to participate in a Webinar for a new auditing tool which was being offered by a well-known information security vendor.  I attended the Webinar but no salesperson followed up.  I went to the company website and filled out the ‘request evaluation’ form. No salesperson followed up.  I sent an email to sales@company.com requesting a conversation.

About 5 days later I got an email and a voicemail: ‘Would you like to set up a conversation?’ I responded to the email, ‘ I am available tomorrow morning from 10 a.m. to noon.’ The voicemail asked ME to call the rep. There has been no successive follow up.  I then reached out to some consultants I know in the industry asking for intros. One gave me a name but no introduction. Finally, my auditor set up a call for today.

The call started out promising, (i.e., I didn’t have to sit through 50 NASCAR slides telling me how great the company was and all the other companies they have done business with.)  The rep asked me what I hoped to learn.  After I told them, he handed the call off to his Sales Engineer for the ‘demo.’  Unfortunately, the SE had no capacity to show me or discuss with me the auditing tool that I was interested in. After 2 minutes the rep broke in and suggested we re-schedule for another time.  We’ll see if I hear back.

This is probably the worst example of about a half dozen similar ones where I have a need, I would like to buy something, and I end up doing all of the work.

Very frustrating.

Anyway thanks for allowing me to vent.

You're probably thinking, well, that's not what would happen if I was the salesperson or sales manager or sales VP or CEO.  Believe it or not, this is fairly common!  These are the very same companies that believe they have effective sales processes in place, that their 10% win rates are acceptable, and that they need to get people interested by conducting demos.  These are the companies that don't think they need help, have everything under control, have ineffective sales selection and even more ineffective sales management.

If the sales managers were decent, the very first time they debriefed a salesperson, listened to a call, observed a meeting, or discussed an upcoming call, they would have been able to identify ineffective follow-up, ineffective qualifying, ineffective listening and questioning, etc.

It's most likely that the sales managers are former salespeople who, like those they manage, specialized in conducting demos, creating proposals, and finding the 10% that will stick.

Monday, Pete Caputa, VP at Hubspot, posted a great article on qualifying, why so many salespeople suck at qualifying, and how that ultimately leads back to ineffective sales management (read the comments too).

This article on Linkedin Pulse questions whether it's really sales managers who are to blame or someone else.

Speaking of sales management, I'll be hosting my annual Sales Leadership Intensive - the best training anywhere on showing sales leaders how to really coach salespeople for impact.  We have a full house every time we offer it and some sales leaders come back multiple times!  It will be offered on May 17-18 in the Boston area and you can learn more about the event here.  You can register here.  And if you use - DKSLIMAY16 - the discount code for my readers, it will save you $100 per ticket.  It will be great to finally meet you!

Image Copyright 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales process, sales performance, qualifying, win rates, pete caputa

An Ode to the Evolution of the Pipeline

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 @ 07:07 AM


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Over the weekend, I was thinking about sales pipelines and inaccurate forecasts, how companies are always experiencing issues at the top of the funnel, and it inspired the following poetry. It won't win an award for imagination, creativity, rhyming or flow. I'll stick to my day job for this, I surely know.

The pipeline on the left with all the eggs in one basket
Scares me to death - a business, one hope, surely heading for a casket
The one on the right has a healthier look
With more opportunities for deals to be booked.

Once so simple, my pipeline for next quarter
Suspects, prospects, and the sales cycle was shorter
Names and numbers on cards was a must
In a shoe box or a file box, today they collect dust.

The prospects were familiar - referred or introduced
Not like today where leads are seduced
Tire kickers, assistants and all the wrong folks
Wanting ebooks and samples -- it's all a cruel joke.

Back then our forecasts were accurate and true
We reached all the ones who made decisions too
They paid on time, not 90 days late
And cared about partnerships since those were first rate.

We have CRM, email, and marketing tools
And our blogs and our websites make visitors drool
Graphics and videos are now all the rage 
And they clog up the pipeline in the very first stage.

I love all the tools for managing the pipe
Membrain is awesome and will keep prospects ripe
While you're sleeping, Hubspot helps prospects find you 
And their Workflows automate your messages too.

ConnectAndSell gets prospects to the phone for you
7 in an hour - almost too good to be true
Schedule new meetings from calls that are cold
It's today's way of calling - what's new is really old.

With all that has changed, one thing remains clear
You must still do the work or your pipeline goes bare
Get on the phone and talk with some prospects
Or quit sales today and move to customer service.

The End. No it isn't.

Selling - the art and science of getting people who didn't necessarily want what you have, to pay you a premium for it. Before you can sell anything, you must have some people to sell it to! Fill the pipeline today!

Would you like to contribute a verse to this pipeline poem? Give it a try - it can't be any worse than mine!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales pipeline, membrain, sales forecasts, chad burmeister, connectandsell

Top 10 Reasons Why Inbound Cannot Replace Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 13:08 PM

INBOUND V SALESWell, it's really happened now.

I was following a discussion in the Hubspot VAR Group on LinkedIn, where the question posed to the group was whether or not the first sales hire should be a sales or a marketing person.

[Disclosure:  Hubspot is a client of both Kurlan and OMG; This blog is hosted on Hubspot's terrific blogging and lead-gen platform and I was one of their very first customers back in 2006.]  

Hubspot's VAR's are all marketing agencies specializing in inbound marketing.  There were some terrific comments, but one particular comment stopped me dead in my clicks and scrolls.  The comment was from a well-respected Hubspot executive who said, "Do not hire a salesperson."  It's a polarizing comment for a number of reasons:

  1. I'm speaking at their international INBOUND14 Conference next month (if you want to attend, you can use this discount code: GOINB14) and my topic is, "Interviewing for the Inbound Sales Role"!  Should I back out?  Do you think anyone will show up to hear me?
  2. This comment, as well as articles and comments like this, are the source of exactly the kind of confusion that I spoke about in this cover story for Top Sales World Magazine last week.
  3. And it's exactly the kind of confusion that I spoke about with Selling Power Publisher, Gerhard Gschwandtner, in the video below, recorded at last month's Sales 2.0 conference in Boston.

Once again, it's imperative for everyone to understand that there are many scenarios where salespeople cannot be replaced by inbound marketing!  If you or your company are involved in any of the following 10 scenarios, you absolutely must have salespeople:

  1. Complex Sale 
  2. Big Ticket Sale
  3. Long Sales Cycle
  4. You are the Underdog.
  5. You Have a New Technology.
  6. You are Not the Market Leader.
  7. You are Not the Low Price Leader.
  8. You are Not the Recognized Major Brand.
  9. It is Not an Existing Expense for Most Customers.
  10. Your Product or Service is Not an Easy-to-Sell, Affordable Subscription.

So, it should be quite obvious why an inbound marketer, following up on an inbound lead, cannot possibly run the sophisticated sales cycle that would be required to successfully sell and close a prospect or group of prospects in the 10 scenarios listed above.

How do you feel about this topic?  Please weigh in below, regardless of which side of the fence you are on.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, Gerhard Gschwandtner, jonathan farrington, Top Sales World, selling power

Does Efficiency or DNA Help to Increase Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

efficiencyThe Salesforce Blog published a new article of mine today - Read How to Create Perfect Sales Conditions.  It's really an article about how to use tools and efficiency to increase your focus and sales.  Speaking of efficiency, Kyle Dougherty, from Prialto, sent me this very cool video today.  Talk about a tool that helps you to be efficient!

Some people have efficiency in their DNA.  Matt Heinz wrote this article for the Hubspot Inbound Sales Blog, asking whether great salespeople are born.  I usually like what Matt writes, but I take issue with this particular article because the science just isn't there for what he wrote.

Compare that article with this article on the same subject.  Or this article, or even this article.

Science has a lot to say about sales selection!  And there's plenty of science available for us to make sales selection more effective, more consistent and more efficient.  

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And that returns us to where we began this article - efficiency.

Efficiency and effectiveness are choices.  Do things the same way as always and sometimes get it right; or do things in the best possible way and nearly always get it right.  As always, the choice is yours.

 

Image Copyright: feverpitched / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, Salesforce, Sales DNA, born to sell, sales assessments

Consultative Selling, Commitment and Training - Like Oil & Water

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 05:03 AM

commitmentFirst the links:

The Huffington Post and the Hubspot Blog both published an article, by Dan Lyons about OMG and Kurlan and what it takes to succeed in sales.

This article was named Top Sales Article for last week and this article was named a Top 10 Sales Article for last week, both over at Top Sales World.  While you are there, check out the contest for Top Salesperson - perhaps you can nominate someone who works for you.

We recently evaluated a sales force where the salespeople had, on average, only 18% of the attributes of a consultative seller.

"How could that be?", asked the Director of Sales.  "Achieve Global has come in 3 times in 3 years to teach consultative selling!"

That could be the punchline, but it's not.

So, why didn't the training on consultative selling stick?  There are reasons aplenty!

1. Salespeople with a low Figure-it-Out Factor (FIOF) don't pick things up very quickly.  That same finding is used to determine how quickly a new salesperson will ramp up and apply what they learned from training.  A score of 75 or better (out of 100) is representative of a salesperson who will quickly, well, figure things out.  Their average score for 18 salespeople was 46.

2. When you provide sales training, it's not just new skills that you ask people to learn.  You're asking them to change how they sell, so in essence, you're asking them to change who they are as salespeople.  Salespeople with a lack of Commitment don't have the incentive to change.  They are conditionally committed.  They will do what it takes - up to a point - as long as it's not too difficult, as long as it's not to scary, and as long as they agree with what you want them to do.  If you want them to change, and they don't agree that it's necessary or that these new skills are important for their success, nothing changes.  I write so much about sales Commitment that a Google search for my articles with commitment turned up 33,500 results!  Just remember, attempting to train salespeople who lack commitment is like combining oil and water.  Attend the EcSell Sales Coaching Summit on April 15 in Charlotte NC!  I'll be speaking on this very subject of Commitment.  It's a great conference and well worth the investment!  

3. You simply can't train salespeople to sell consultatively in a 1, 2 or 3-day training.  Our experience suggests that rather than overwhelm them with the fire hose and go away, it works much more effectively to spoon-feed them with a one-hour live, interactive, internet-based approach over 8 months.  Consultative selling is not what most people think it is.  Most salespeople think that you prepare some questions, ask the questions, and when you hear a problem, you provide a solution.  Not really.  9,770 results come up for my articles on Consultative Selling.  Most importantly, it's a conversation, not a series of questions.  It's a conversation that's different from what most salespeople are having with their prospects and it relies heavily on effective listening and note-taking skills.  Sure, questions play a big part, but if listening and note-taking suck, so do the follow-up questions.  Since this is different from what most salespeople have done their entire lives, these types of selling conversations must be demonstrated, through role-plays, time and again, covering all the possibilities and applications, until salespeople finally get the conversation in their heads.  You can't learn consultative selling any other way.

4. In between training sessions, salespeople must be coached on consultative selling by their sales manager.  In the case of this sales force, sales managers were spending only 12% of their time on coaching and it didn't include coaching to reinforce, develop or improve consultative selling skills.  The sales managers didn't really know how to sell consultatively either!

5. In order to effectively apply a Consultative Selling approach, salespeople must have the strengths to support having a conversation like this.  When the particular strengths do not appear in a salesperson's sales DNA, they become weaknesses.  Need for Approval (need to be liked) and Becoming Emotional (talking to yourself) are huge problems for consultative sellers.

This story appears here because it is fresh in my mind, not because it is in any way unique.  Company after company and sales force after sales force believe they are taking a consultative approach when, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Speaking of truth, that's all you need to significantly increase sales.  Revealing the truth about your sales force's true capabilities and future possibilities is all it takes to begin fixing things, coaching them up and growing the revenue.  You should try it! 

Attend the EcSell Sales Coaching Summit on April 15 in Charlotte NC!  I'll be speaking on this very subject of Commitment. It's a great conference and well worth the investment!  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, HubSpot, sales commitment, huffington post

What Does it Take to Become a Sales Manager?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

I was listening to a Boston Sports Radio Station, the same one I wrote about here.  Today's guests were Christian Fauria, former tight end of the New England Patriots, and Matt Chatham, former linebacker of the same New England Patriots.  They were discussing the very recent resignations of 3 coaches from this year's Patriots team and the co-hosts asked, "Would you like to coach?"

After his football career ended, Chatham went back to school and received an MBA from Babson in 2011.  With that in hand, he said that he would prefer a front office job and wishes to become a GM.  On the other hand, Fouria said that he would love to coach, but...

There were a lot of buts:

The long hours - Coaches stay behind long after the players are gone - usually until 2 AM during the season.

3 Steps Backwards - Former players have to start all over again as coaches.  High School or college jobs - as assistants - before getting high school or college jobs as head coaches before getting coaching jobs in the NFL.  

Low Pay - At the college level, the name of the game is recruiting - an extremely time-consuming, travel-centric job.  The college jobs don't pay particularly well or come with much recognition unless they are with the big-time schools.

It got me thinking about the road most often taken to sales management.

The hours are about the same, it's a step up, and it usually pays better.  Compared to the rocky road to coaching in the NFL, the road to sales management absolutely sounds like a road paved with gold!  Which explains why the road paved with gold leads to a dump.

You see, only 18% of all sales managers are any good at coaching and only 66% of them can be coached up.  Another 18% should not even be in sales management

Clearly, the problem is that it is simply too easy to go from sales to sales management.  If 50% of sales management is coaching and developing salespeople, then the new sales manager would need to have elite selling skills to support the necessary coaching skills which, in most cases, don't yet exist.  Only 6% of all salespeople have elite skills and only 7% of all sales managers have elite coaching skills.   

What if becoming a sales manager was more difficult - like in football - and it required sacrifice, putting in your time, developing new skill sets in a low-pressure environment?  I for one, predict that most salespeople would not go through all of that to become sales managers, unless THIS sales manager earned $500,000 instead of $125,000.  Would they do it then?

After evaluating more than 10,000 sales forces and 700,000 salespeople, it is clear that for all of the mediocre salespeople out there, the real reason for all the mediocrity is the mediocre sales mangers.

Companies need to find a way to raise the bar - way up - when it comes to selecting new sales managers.  And they must put their existing sales leaders through comprehensive, on-going training and coaching to develop their coaching skills.

What Does it Take to Become a Sales Manager?  Today, a new resume is all that's needed.  Tomorrow?  It should take the equivalent of an MBA program, credentials and certification.

Around the Bases:

My article, Inbound Marketing Has Been Around Forever, appears today on the Hubspot Blog.

I am leading a panel of experts in a complimentary Webinar on February 5 at 11 AM Eastern called Leading the Ideal Sales Force. Register.

I am also leading a Webinar introducing OMG's Candidate Analyzer, an awesome web tool available to users of OMG's Sales & Sales Management Candidate Assessments.  I'll be showing everyone how to access the tool and how to use it.  February 26, 11 AM Eastern.  Register.

I will be speaking at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 10.  Register.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales management, sales force evaluations, sales assessments, Sales 2.0 Conference, objective management group

Can You Improve a Kick-Ass Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 17:09 PM

Most of the calls and emails which we receive come from companies with flat or declining sales.  However, some of the greatest successes occur when we help companies who are already kicking ass.  

Mark Roberge, Sales VP at Hubspot, is responsible for building one of those kick-ass sales forces and he contributed a guest post to Software Advice on Building a Sales Team the Hubspot Way

When I read the article, I noted a couple of things that I really liked:

  1. They learn very little about sales in the first 30 days.  Mark said, "Instead, they start a blog, create a website, open a Twitter account and begin email marketing campaigns.  By the time training is over, they will rank in Google for a few dozen keywords in their market, have a few dozen followers on Twitter and have written a few dozen blog articles.  HubSpot’s content marketing strategy allows the rep to establish online credibility before even getting on the phone with his or her first prospect."  Cool.
     
  2. A steady flow of inbound leads.  That sure helps new salespeople get started, doesn't it?
Like all kick-ass sales forces, they could do better.  I read a few things that surely aren't as good as they could be and with some tweaking, would significantly improve sales:
  • Mark identified 5 traits that he believes correlate to success and hires salespeople who have these traits.  He identified Coachability, Intelligence, Prior Success, Curiosity and Work Ethic.  While most top-performing salespeople have these qualities, it does not necessarily work in reverse.  For example, top-performing salespeople are also great at developing, building and maintaining relationships.  However, people who are good with relationships do not necessarily become good salespeople.  In fact, most of them don't!  So while it's important to identify predictors of success, predictors that correlate in only one direction will often disappoint.  The problem with the 5 that Mark identified is that none of them speak to either sales DNA, Commitment, Desire or selling skills.  Hubspot has so many leads that their salespeople don't have to be nearly as strong or effective at overcoming resistance as they would if the company were an underdog as described by:
  • Really expensive products or services; 
  • Not the market leader; 
  • Higher priced offerings than their competition; 
  • Have a story to tell; 
  • New product or technology;
  • New company or brand.  
If you are reading this, and your company matches up with any one of my criteria for underdogs, then you couldn't possibly get away with what Hubspot can get away with.  You must have strong hunters who are adept at overcoming resistance, can differentiate by selling consultatively, and ask the kinds of questions that develop respect, allowing prospects to open their mind to the possibility that you can help.
 
  • Hold Them Accountable to a Predictable Sales Process.  I completely agree with the premise, but the example is not a sales process as much as it is a set of metrics measuring conversion ratios.  This too - having a set of KPI's that drives revenue - is extremely important, but you can't choose between KPI's and Sales Process.  You need them both.  I speak with many CEO's who think they have a solid sales process in place and what they actually have are some steps - not necessarily the right ones, and never in the right sequence.  There are two things you can do to determine if your sales process is any good.  The first is the eye test.  Does it always yield predictable results on a predictable timeline?  The second is a graded test.  Use our complimentary Sales Process Grader and get a score!

sales process grader
In summary, Mark has done a great job, written a great article and achieved greatness for Hubspot.  But like any kick-ass sales force, they can do even better.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leads, HubSpot, sales process, sales training, inbound, sales KPI, Mark Roberge

How Sales Has Changed in the Last Five Years and More

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

work together[1]Does everyone get to see your best work?  Probably not.

Your best work probably takes place when you are one-on-one with one of your salespeople, one-on-one with a client, or on the phone.  Chances are, your best work doesn't happen at the sales meeting, in front of your entire sales force, or in front of all of your customer's employees.

Just because most people don't see your best work, doesn't mean that what you are doing isn't important.  You may not get credit for the actual work, but as a result of your good work, a corresponding outcome occurs at a later date, and you'll get the credit you deserve then.

My most important work doesn't always get posted on my own blog.  Such is the case with this article I wrote for the Hubspot Blog on How Sales Has Changed in the Past 5 Years.  

Similarly, an article, in which I wrote about the Importance of Practicing Sales, was reworked for Gerhard Gschwandter's Selling Power Blog.

A third article, with a link to my latest white paper, was originally posted here last year and it has the results of my Trust Project.  It was published this week over at Robert Terson's SellingFearlessly.com Blog.  

Finally, if you want your best work to be even more impacting, and want to feel better about the work you are doing to attract, select, hire, on-board, retain, develop and coach great salespeople, attend my Sales Leadership Event next month in Boston.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales summit, sales leadership symposium, Gerhard, great sales management training, selling power

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About Dave

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

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