Grammar - Why Commas Provide Sales Success Where Periods Fail

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 20:07 PM

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Image Copyright Eerik

You've heard it all before - but not quite this way.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is CRM.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a powerful Inbound initiative.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a customized sales process.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is lots of leads.  Really?

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is targeted marketing.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a custom scorecard.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is outsourced calling.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is an in-house BDR team.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a custom sales playbook.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales force evaluation.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is ongoing sales training.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is sales coaching.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a consultative approach.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is the right messaging.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a daily huddle.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a weekly pipeline review.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a full pipeline.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a goal-oriented sales force.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales selection tool.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales recruiting process.

Of course there are more; many more.

The problem is one of grammar.  All of the articles you read, videos you watch and audios you listen to suggest that there is a key to sales success.  Period.  But if you change the period to a comma, you'll quickly see that all of these things are crucial to success in sales.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales pipeline, keys to sales success

How March Madness Applies to Salespeople and Your Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 @ 21:03 PM

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March Madness is all the rage with college hoop fans glued to their sports news feeds, video highlights, and brackets. In addition to March madness, folks are paying a lot of attention to the US Presidential Primaries, with an audience that's huge in comparison to past election years.  Spring Training began this month and as a baseball fan, I've been waiting for spring training all winter long! These distractions are evident in a number of ways and I can speak to how they affect business, the sales organization and salespeople.

This month, more people are showing up late for online training, showing the effects of staying up late to watch election coverage and debates and seeing how their favorite teams fared the night before.

Prospects have behaved worse than ever.  Salespeople are having even more difficulty reaching prospects and getting calls and emails returned - even from those who have expressed their interest in doing business.

On my own blog, March readership has been upside down with some articles getting only 10% of the views they normally receive.  For instance, here are 4 articles that I can almost guarantee that you didn't read, but that you should have:

Top 5 Conditions for B2B Prospects to Buy Your Services

Top 5 Keys to Prepare Your Sales Force for the Coming Recession

The Strategy That Will Help Nail Your ROI and Value Proposition Every Time

How to Sell to Existing Accounts So That You Don't Lose to the Competition

Salespeople are exhausted.  The salespeople who are selling to me, the salespeople we are coaching, and the salespeople we are training are all a step behind.  They're not quick enough on their feet, they aren't listening effectively, and they are missing openings, important statements and comments.

Even the salespeople who have been scheduled for job interviews are showing up late, missing appointments and have been generally disappointing in their interviews.

I love all of these entertaining things as much as the next person and I'm short on sleep too.  But we can't let that get in the way of what we need to be doing during business hours.  We all need to operate much like a jet airplane ready for take-off.  When it's time, rev those engines, accelerate down the runway, lift off and soar.  The lazy, distracted, zero-urgency, going through the motions pretenders will not have any success - with me or with anyone else.

If you have the skills and the Sales DNA, then you must be focused, disciplined, consistent, committed, motivated and persistent - characteristics that anyone - and I mean anyone - is capable of for 8 hours a day.  If you lack the skills and/or the Sales DNA, then you must use those same characteristics to develop your skills, overcome your weaknesses and become the best that you can be.

You have a choice - be part of the elite 7%; be part of the strong 16% or be part of the crappy 77%.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales performance, Sales DNA, keys to sales success, hyper sales excellence, presidential primaries, spring training

My Top 21 Keys to Help Your Sales Force Dominate Today

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 07:07 AM

dominateI've seen this happen in youth baseball so many times.  Let's say it's a ground ball and the third baseman boots it for an error.  Of course, the next ball is hit right at the third baseman again and this time he fields it cleanly, but makes an error on the throw.  And just as if it were programmed to happen, the third baseman is suddenly a target, balls coming at him and him alone, as he appears helpless and unable to make a clean play to put a merciful end to an inning.  You could say he has been busy, but not very successful.

Are there sales versions of this?  Do you have salespeople who are busy, but struggling to succeed?  Do you have salespeople who are putting in long hours, but don't generate enough business in relation to the time invested?  Do you have salespeople who find enough opportunities, but struggle to get them closed?  In my experience, there isn't a correlation between busy and successful.  Oh sure, successful salespeople may be busy and busy salespeople might be successful, but one being true does not necessarily mean that the other is true as well. 

An example of a successful, but not necessarily busy salesperson, would be the one whose two whale-sized deals generated three times more business than the rest of the sales force combined.  I'm not saying she didn't work hard to land those two huge accounts, but she can't be as busy as the salesperson who sold 80% less to 50 new accounts.  In the process, our rock star salesperson reset the bar for what would now be considered successful, automatically making salesperson #2, with his 50 new accounts, unsuccessful, despite how hard he worked and how busy he was.  Everything is relative.

Here are my top 5 examples of salespeople who are busy, but not very successful:

  1. They spend long hours researching companies and prospects, reach out on LinkedIn, send InMails, emails and make calls, but have few takers for meetings.
  2. They spend long hours making cold calls, reach very few people, and most of those people are completely disinterested in talking or meeting.
  3. They find a few opportunities and spend hours writing and delivering proposals, presenting, following up and chasing closable prospects with little to show for it.
  4. They spend a lot of time calling on and visiting accounts with great potential, who are doing business with your competition, but have very little success capturing that business for you.
  5. They attend every networking event they can, participate in networking groups, invest a lot of time talking each day with people in their network, but rarely get introduced to a quality opportunity.  Everyone knows them, but people aren't buying from them.

What can we do about the salespeople who are so busy, but have so little to show for their effort?

First and foremost, we must determine whether there is hope for them.  Can they be saved?  Can they be trained to do things more effectively or, if necessary, in a completely different way?  Can they be coached up or not?

Don't rush to an answer.  The two mistakes that so many executives make are:

  1. The belief that their hardworking, but unsuccessful salespeople can be saved.  They remain hopeful, but without any science on which to base their hope.
  2. The belief that their unsuccessful salespeople cannot be saved.  They give up, but don't make changes.

Statistically, about 30% of the 750,000 salespeople who Objective Management Group (OMG) has evaluated, aren't trainable.  Some of those are successful salespeople, but if we look only at the unsuccessful salespeople, or the bottom 74%, we'll see that some of them can be saved.  The magic is being able to identify which ones.  Let's say that you have 10 salespeople and 2 of them are A players.  You have 2 B players and you have 6 C's.  When the science can show you which of the 6 can be saved, trained and coached up to be A players, and which can mercifully be replaced with A players, you have the power to completely transform your sales force in one year's time.

  evals

After evaluating, it's helpful to make sure that these salespeople are following the guidelines for where they should be spending their time, how much time should be spent there, and how to do those things more efficiently and effectively.  This is sales infrastructure, or systems and processes.

Next comes training, and how to follow a customized, milestone-centric sales process that will steer them in the right direction, advance them on the path, govern their time, and help them disqualify those who will not buy.  Additionally, they must learn to have the conversations that make today's salespeople successful.  For those with difficulty at the top of the funnel, we would need to emphasize strategies to improve engagement and tonality.  For those having difficulty at the bottom of the funnel, we would need to emphasize the multiple strategies and milestones that precede closing and how the conversation changes along the way.

Along with evaluating, recruiting and training, sales managers must be trained and coached to support the training in such a way that they can coach to it and hold salespeople accountable to executing it.  Nothing changes without effective sales managers spending half of their time coaching and growing their salespeople and impacting their opportunities!

  Sales Leadership Intensive

Don't mistake busy for smart.

Don't mistake effort for commitment.

Don't mistake proposals for effectiveness.

Here are My Top 21 Keys to Help Your Sales Force Dominate Today:

To succeed in today's world of selling, you must have (1) smart, (2) motivated, (3) savvy, (4) well-trained and coached sales managers, (5) committed to spending most of their time (6) coaching (7) smart, (8) motivated, (9) savvy, (10) well-trained and coached salespeople. They in turn must approach selling in a (11) strategic, (12) social, (13) relationship-based, (14) milestone-centric way, with an emphasis on the (15) conversation, an eye on (16) quantification and (17) qualification, and a (18) commitment to getting their opportunities closed in an (19) efficient, (20) pleasant, and (21) helpful way.

Image Credit Lightspring via Shutterstock.com

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, selling tips, Closing Sales, keys to sales success, relationship based selling, social selling

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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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