What Sales Organizations Must Learn from the Impeachment Hearings

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

impeachment

This is not a political article but I will use the impeachment hearings as an example to set the stage for my insights.  Currently in the USA there are 3 major schools of thought relative to the impeachment hearings:

Most Democrats and Liberals: "We hate Trump and we want to see him impeached."

Most Republicans and Conservatives: "We love Trump and hate what they are trying to do to him."

Most  Independents: "They should follow the facts and make an informed decision."

Suppose that instead of the impeachment hearings we are analyzing a sales opportunity where we substitute "You" (Bob) and "Your Company" (ABC) for Trump, and substitute Your Customer or Prospect for "We".

You'll quickly see how one of the same three scenarios plays out for each  opportunity. 


The Love Scenario: If it's your customer, you had better hope they're saying. "We love Bob and ABC and we would never leave."  Perfect.  But it could just as easily be your competitor's (XYZ) existing customer and they love XYZ and would never leave.  As with the impeachment hearings, whether they love you or your competitor they will dig in their heels to defend their position.

The Hate Scenario: If it's your customer and they hate you and ABC they will be leaving you no matter what you do or say. While there may be nothing you can do to stop their departure, there is plenty you can do to prevent scenarios like that.  If they are XYZ's customer and they hate XYZ then they are leaving XYZ no matter what and this becomes your low hanging fruit.   You can leverage this growth opportunity when you stop talking about your company and products, and instead learn what your prospect doesn't like about XYZ and encourage them spell out all of it.  If you take this consultative approach, you will win this business! 

If they are truly independent then you're operating on a level playing field.  Your consultative approach will help you differentiate from your competition as long as you take your time, don't rush through it, and find their compelling reason to do business with you.

If you work as hard as you can to get your customers to love you and your company they'll dig in their heels to defend you and never leave.  Leverage the low hanging fruit to grow your business.

The other insight from the hearings has to do with the ambassadors and diplomats who disagree with Trump's foreign policy.  We learned that the career diplomats serve at the pleasure of the president and are to carry out the president's foreign policy regardless of whether they agree with it or it's the proper policy.  Agree or disagree as we might, that's how it's supposed to work.

We see the exact same thing in sales organizations where sales managers and salespeople are not executing the sales strategy, sales plan and sales process laid out by the executive team.  There are always goals, targets, metrics, expectations and timelines.  When these fail to be met, it's either because we've chosen the wrong people, haven't properly set expectations, haven't provided the proper coaching, or they don't agree with your "policy."  These can be fairly difficult to decipher, differentiate and fix so a little help from an OMG sales force evaluation can help.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales performance, Donald Trump, key to growing revenue, retention

Measure Change in Sales Effectiveness without Numbers and Metrics

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 02, 2018 @ 08:02 AM

improvement.jpg

We want to get better at selling and as sales leaders we want our salespeople to improve.  We need them to improve.  We hope that training and coaching and sales ennoblement tools will get us there.  We have also been told that there is more than one way to skin a cat but it might come as a surprise that there is more than one way to measure the progress being made by your salespeople.

There are traditional lagging indicators, like revenue generated, and there are traditional forward looking indicators, like new meetings, pipeline value and pipeline quantity compared to a prior period.  Conversion ratios - calls to meetings, meetings to qualified opportunities, qualified opportunities to closable, and win rates, all compared with the same ratios from a prior period.

These metrics tell a story, individually and together, but forward looking indicators tell a more timely story, especially if you have a long sales cycle.  However, as you'll read below, measuring sales progress doesn't stop with metrics because there is another powerful way to get instant feedback on a salesperson's progress.

Sales coaching is the most powerful and direct way to improve sales performance, but only if the coaching is daily and effective.  Only 7% of all sales leaders coach frequently enough and effectively enough so there is much work to do in this area.  The best tool for a sales coach is the ability to role play, providing the fastest route to greater sales success.  This article explains how and why role-playing is the scariest component of sales coaching.

We need to discuss role-playing because it can provide you with instant feedback.  When you role-play with salespeople and ask them to play the part of a prospect, the salespeople/actors will actually mirror the behavior and attitude that they are currently experiencing from their prospects.  If they play a nasty prospect, then you know that is how prospects are treating them.  If they play a tough prospect, then you know that prospects are being very tough on them.  If they play an easy prospect, then you know that prospects are being easy and cooperative.  If you pay attention to the changes in their role-plays over time, salespeople who are improving will play increasingly more cooperative prospects.

Whether good or bad, the behavior that prospects exhibit is a direct result of the flexibility, approach, tonality, questions, conversation and collaboration of a salesperson.  Salespeople are completely responsible for how their prospects behave.

If your salespeople don't seem to be portraying easier prospects each time you coach them, then they aren't getting any better.

Having salespeople play a prospect is one way of getting instant feedback, but you can also have salespeople play the salesperson's part.  This role-play runs 25-minutes but it's a great example of what it should sound like when 2 salespeople role play with each other.  You'll notice that I interrupt whenever the salesperson goes off track, doesn't listen actively, doesn't ask a good question, or otherwise could be more effective.

We spend an entire day on learning the nuances of role-playing as a foundation of sales coaching at my annual Sales Leadership Intensive.  The top-rated annual event is May 22-23 and there were 6 seats left on February 1.  Register here.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, great sales management training, key to growing revenue

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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