Sales Coaching and the Challenges of Different Types of Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 08, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

4_salespeople.jpeg

When (other) articles and blogs contain sales statistics, they are often made up.  For example, Andy Rudin wrote this article about made up sales statistics and I recently read this article by Stewart Rogers about made up statistics.  Infographics and videos are two more sources of statistics that are often based more on fiction than fact, yet they still have value, even if the numbers aren't correct.  Here's a new infographic which has useful information, even if the purpose is to promote Fatstax.  Recently a reader directed me to a video on the Harvard Business Review site.  They rarely have accurate, relevant sales-specific information there, so I clicked over with great anticipation.I watched the video on 8 types of salespeople and while I don't agree with there being 8 types, their statistics were fairly consistent with the science and data from Objective Management Group (OMG) which states that there is an elite 6%, 20% that are strong, and everyone else - the bottom 74% - who basically suck.

If you are a fan of the Challenger Sale, the Challenger is one of 5 types of salespeople according to its authors.  In OMG language, the Challenger is one of the elite 6%, with a Sales Quotient of 140 (SQ ranges to 173) or higher and Sales DNA of 83 (ranges up to 100) or higher.  Practically speaking, it means that 94% of salespeople don't have the Sales DNA or Sales Capabilities to sell like a Challenger.

Chuck Mache, says that there are 4 types of salespeople.  While Chuck recommends the Professional for B2B sales, his types are based on personality traits, so there is only a one way correlation.  Someone who has the traits of the Professional is not necessarily a great salesperson, but some great salespeople have the traits of the Professional.  To make that a little easier to understand, a winter storm does not always consist of snow (it could be ice, a wintry mix, or even rain), but snow always comes from a winter storm.

OMG measures 21 Sales Core Competencies, including a salesperson's Will to Sell (4 competencies), Sales DNA (6 Competencies), Sales Capabilities ( 8 competencies) and Systems and Processes (3 Competencies).  When viewed through these lenses, personality traits don't play a part in determining sales success.  If we look at the competencies consisting of only the 8 Sales Capabilities, there are 109,600 possible combinations.  And after factoring in the Will to Sell and Sales DNA, the possible combinations exceed one million.  What I'm saying is that there are more than 4 or 5 or 8 or 12 types of salespeople.  

However, when someone insists that there are certain types of salespeople, I can offer you this.  I have found that when it comes to coaching salespeople, we can place them into one of 11 categories.  Keep in mind that while I can categorize them for coaching purposes, this does not define them as salespeople, and does not correlate to how they approach selling - only how sales managers should approach coaching them.  Here they are:

Talking Tammy - Tammy needs to talk for the first 20 minutes before we can provide 10 minutes of powerful coaching.

Fast Frank - Frank wants only a single question answered in each session and wants to get off the phone ASAP.

Take Away Tom - Tom needs just one take away to feel there was value.

Hit Me Hank - Hank needs to be whacked over the head at some point during each coaching session.

Do it Don - Don must be told what to do and then he’ll do it.

Validation Vicky - Vicky tells us what she wants to do and then needs us to validate that it’s the right approach.

Successful Sandra - Sandra wants us to tweak what already works in order to achieve marginal improvement.

Know-it-All Norm - Norm does not want to be told anything at all.  He needs to figure it out himself.

Timid Tim - Tim needs to have his self-worth validated.

Show Me Shelly - Shelly needs to have her current skill-gap demonstrated.

Broadway Betty - Betty needs to role-play.

I wrote a rebuttal to my 11 types of salespeople that sales coaches encounter.  There is no science to this.  No data.  No statistics.  Like the authors I have criticized over the years, I simply reviewed the files of thousands of salespeople I have coached in the past 30 years, and grouped them into categories based on the types of sales coaching they required.  It is purely anecdotal.  And although it makes sense and can be quite useful, it is entirely lacking in science.  These 11 types are completely unlike what Objective Management Group provides to us.  OMG provides us with the data from the evaluations and assessments of more than 1 million salespeople - a very significant sample size.  And OMG measures so many sales-specific findings that together, they always tell a story about a sales candidate, a salesperson, a sales team, and an entire company.  The story itself isn't science, but the science helps us to tell a story.

While types are entertaining and generally somewhat useful to be aware of, there is no substitute - ever - for real science.

If you want to use science that makes sales selection accurate and predictive, check out OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.

If you want to use science to identify the changes that will significantly grow sales revenue from your existing sales force, check out OMG's Sales Force Evaluation.

Finally, check out cartoonist Stu Heineke's new book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.  A number of sales experts, including me, were quoted and there are some great tips, stories and of course, cartoons!

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, the challenger sale, sales types

A Good Look at Bad Salespeople - Companies Don't Get This!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

goodv.bad

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

This week I received a cold call from one of the worst salespeople ever.  

I get to see the Sales DNA and Sales Competencies of more bad salespeople than anyone on the planet so I know bad when I see it or hear it.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has assessed more than 750,000 salespeople and when I compare percentages between the beginning and end of the last ten year period, not much has changed.  74% of all salespeople still suck and I get to see just how bad they suck.  Once in a while I get to experience sucky salespeople up close and personal.  What I am about to share is just such a story.

The caller said she was from [ABC Systems] and asked if I was the person that handled such things.  

Yes, the very first thing she said, did or ask was to qualify me as the decision maker.  No pleasantries, no preliminaries, no questions to see if we had any issues, not anything except, WAS-I-THE-PERSON?  BANT is an ancient qualifying acronym with A standing for authority.  But it shouldn't be used THAT soon in the call!  Even if they were using the ancient BANT method, I was only 25% qualified at that point. That didn't seem to matter to her though because upon learning that she had a decision maker, she stated that she would like to send a rep over to talk with me about it.  I guess she believed that if I'm the guy, then I must be qualified enough to meet with a salesperson.    I said I was happy with our current system and thanked her for trying.  In an effort to salvage the call, she said, "I can assure you that we can save you 40-50% off of what you are currently paying."  So much for credibility.  She didn't know what I was paying for my current system.  For all she knew I might have even been using her system. I do know this:  40-50% savings is a promise she simply can't make.

She was working the top of the funnel as an appointment setter. Those roles are important in a company but if she does make an appointment, can you imagine the poor outside salesperson who shows up for that meeting?  It doesn't matter that it's with the decision maker.  If the field sales rep can't save the decision maker that 40-50% he was promised, the salesperson will fail to meet expectations!  And what other expectations can there be after a cold call like that?  The decision maker will not care how it works, how it's different, or how it's better.  The expectations were set:  How much will this cost?  A sale cannot be any more transactional than that!

So what did she do well?  She made the dial, got me on the phone and got me a tiny bit qualified.  

What did she do poorly?  Everything else.  If she had been evaluated or assessed by OMG, she would have scored OK only as a Hunter, but horribly as a Consultative Seller, a Qualifier, a Closer, an Account Manager or a Farmer.  She wasn't even fun to talk with.  She didn't have any intangibles whatsoever.  She shouldn't have been in this role.

Everyone has sucky salespeople - it's just a matter of how sucky they are.  Companies tend to put these junior/inexperienced/ultra sucky people on the phones to do lead generation/inbound/appointment setting/top of the funnel work and this is a great example of everything that is wrong with that.  Why do companies do this?  It costs too much and is too distracting for their highly paid salespeople to be making these calls.  But salespeople are the very ones who can convert these conversations.  Salespeople are the very ones who want to schedule a quality call, as opposed to an awful call.  Salespeople have a vested interest in the outcomes of these calls.  If only there was a way to have salespeople in the conversations, but not waste their time trying to reach decision makers perhaps once or twice every few hours.

Oh wait.  There is a way!  ConnectAndSell has an amazing service that does exactly that.  As of this morning, the dashboard at the top of their website showed that they had delivered nearly 3 million conversations for their clients.  It really works.  Check them out here.

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, prospecting, Sales DNA, cold calling, lead generation

Surprising Social Selling Secret Drives Sales Revenue

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 05, 2014 @ 06:11 AM

Social-Selling-Secret

Today I learned that an article I wrote back in November of 2013, Increase in Social Selling Yields No Increase in KPI's, was named Top Sales Article of the Month for October 2014 by Top Sales World.  While I'm always honored to win awards for my Blog, this time around I don't really deserve it. The findings in my November 2013 article were correct based on what I knew in 2013, but based on what I know to be true today, it is no longer accurate.  If you've been reading my Blog, then you are probably aware of OMG's big Sales Force Effectiveness Study that we've been working on for the past three months.  One of the things we studied is the impact of Social Selling. At face value, one might come to the exact same conclusion as we did in 2013, that it's having limited impact on sales.  However, this time we looked wider and deeper and beyond the obvious and we were extremely surprised by what we found.  We discovered that

companies are experiencing tremendous sales results with Social Selling, but not because of Social Selling.  We found the same thing to be true of Inbound Marketing/Sales.  Companies are experiencing tremendous results with Inbound Marketing/Sales but not because of Inbound Marketing/Sales.  The report will be released next week and I don't want to spoil the fun but I will share one snippet.

One of the many differentiators between the companies succeeding with Social Selling and/or Inbound Marketing/Sales, and those that aren't might surprise you.  Companies that are succeeding with Social Selling and/or Inbound have shorter sales cycles, higher win-rates, and significant increases in sales when...

wait for it...scroll down...

 

...scroll further...

 

...scroll some more...

 

...the CEO is involved, committed, and driving best practices throughout the sales organization.  Companies are twice as likely to experience this kind of success when the CEO is part of this picture.

Look for insights like these and dozens more when we release our study on November 11.  Want to be notified?  Just subscribe to the Blog  and/or follow OMG on Twitter.

 

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, sales effectiveness study, social selling

Why Assessments Will Never Work for Some Companies

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 23:12 PM

Assessments are awesome, especially when you choose the right ones, for the right purpose, at the right time.  Despite the availability of some terrific assessments, they won't work for every company.

For example, let's select Objective Management Group's (OMG) highly predictive Sales Candidate Assessments.  As accurate and predictive as it is for sales selection, there are some companies for which it just won't work.  

Some executives believe that their gut instinct is more accurate than any assessment possibly could be.  They will consider the OMG assessment recommendation only when it's consistent with their gut.  I agree that it's important for both the gut instinct and recommendation to be consistent.  However, that's not really the problem.  Executives run into a problem when their gut instinct and the recommendation are at odds.  Then, on which should one rely?  It depends. Check the table below. 

Assessment
Finding 
The Gut
Says 
What Your Action
Should Be 
Recommended Yes Hire
Recommended NO No Hire
Not Recommended NO No Hire
Not Recommended Yes **DO NOT HIRE**

The big dilemma occurs only when the assessment says "Not Recommended" and the gut instinct says "Yes."  So to use the assessment more effectively, the only change which an executive would need to make is to heed the warnings of the "Not Recommended" findings!  

The ironic thing is that an executive should never have this conflict in the first place.  If we're following best practices in a sales selection process, we wouldn't waste time interviewing a candidate who's not recommended for your sales role, selling your product/service, into your specific market, calling on your target decision maker, against your competition, with your price points, challenges, and level of difficulty.  No interview?  No conflict.

Another issue is that some executives are insistent upon requiring that their candidates come from their own industry.  When industry experience is more important than sales competencies, there's a good chance that after, the candidates take the OMG assessment, the majority of those experienced, but weak, salespeople won't be recommended.  

Other executives insist on hiring salespeople who come from big, well-known competitors. Formerly successful, big-company salespeople often fail at smaller, lesser known companies, especially when the company and/or its technology is relatively new.  The OMG assessments will identify accurately most of these candidates as "Not Recommended", but executives will find it hard to believe.  After all, "They were successful at that big company, right?"

And some executives prefer to use an assessment which they've previously used and with which they have some familiarity.  Even if it isn't predictive, they'd rather use a familiar personality- or behavioral-styles assessment as opposed to OMG's product, which may be unfamiliar to them, but has the most predictive sales assessment on the planet!  Ironically, because the personality- and behavioral-styles assessments aren't predictive, they've forced executives to rely on gut instinct, use assessments the wrong way and use them only as a single data point.

It takes more than a great assessment to help companies select and hire great salespeople.  It takes buy-in from the management team to use them the right way, at the right time and have faith in the recommendation. 

TopSalesWorld.com is holding their 2012 Top Sales and Marketing Awards this month.  I'm honored to have been nominated for 5 awards this year:

Top Sales Assessment Tool 
Top Sales and Marketing Blog

Top Sales and Marketing Blog Post
Top Sales and Marketing Article
Top White Paper or eBook

This year, winners will be determined by a panel of judges, but you can vote for:

  • Top Sales and Marketing Thought Leader, and
  • Top Sales and Marketing Social Networking Site. 

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, sales personality test, objective management group

#1 Sales Presentation Tip from October 16 US Presidential Debate

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 @ 08:10 AM

presidential debatePolitical analysts say that the 2nd presidential debate was the best in history.  Why?  Was it because they actually confronted each other?  Got in each other's face?  Went toe-to-toe?  Maybe.  The analysts also have been saying that most people had long ago decided which candidate they liked and the race is really about persuading the uncommitted voters.  This means that if you are pro-Obama, then you rooted for Joe Biden and loved his passionate performance last week.  It means that if you are pro-Romney, then you couldn't believe how condescending Biden was and you loved Ryan's steadiness and calm.  We root for the people we love!  From that perspective, it's very much like rooting for your favorite sports teams.  For better or worse, they're your team and you'll support them through thick and thin.

Hold on to that thought as we transition to sales.  

Let's discuss sales presentations.  When your salespeople are invited back to be one of several to present capabilities, value propositions and solutions, the exact same scenario as described above is sure to be played out.  If the prospect liked you going in, they'll look for opportunities to support your presentation.  If the prospect liked your competitor going in, they'll look for opportunities to discredit you in any way they can.  That's just how it works and that's why it is so darn important to differentiate yourself up front - earlier in the sales process - instead of hoping to accomplish that during the presentation.  Your presentation will certainly differentiate your personal presentation skills, but it won't differentiate your company, value proposition or capabilities.  

That's why Consultative Selling is so important.  Executed properly, your salespeople will finally differentiate themselves upfront (early) and by the time they present, the prospects will already be on your side.  The problem is that you can't say simply that going forward your salespeople shall sell Consultatively.  It's a major change.  It requires special skills, strengths and disciplines to execute, and it routinely takes 8-12 months of training and coaching to make the complete transition.  Further complicating matters is that not all salespeople can make this all-important transition.

One of the questions which Objective Management Group answers, when we evaluate a sales force, is just that.  Who from among all of your salespeople are capable of making the transition from presenters and order-takers, to effective, Consultative Sellers.  We can answer hundreds of other questions too.

Make the transition.  Improve your KPI's.  Close more business.  Block out your competition.  It requires a Consultative Selling methodology and process.

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales management, KPI, sales presentations

Targeting Sales Opportunities - The Hidden Truth

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 @ 08:09 AM

targetingWe frequently discuss reasons why salespeople fail, the differences between successful and unsuccessful salespeople, and scenarios where salespeople make good versus bad choices.  Those aren't the only topics which separate good selling from bad.  Salespeople make other decisions which impact the likelihood for success and today's article takes a look at one of those.

Targeting is a fairly simple practice, but when sales management doesn't perform this activity for their salespeople (as in, "Mary, call on these 27 accounts.") and salespeople do it themselves, it leaves plenty of room for trouble.  

Take the case of the salesperson who targets hospitals, oil companies, banks and insurance agencies.  You might say, "Good for her.";  until you learn that these markets are the most difficult verticals to which one could sell and the company would rather have her call on technology, distribution, manufacturing and professional services.

How about the salesperson who chooses to call on VP's?  You might say, "Good for him."; until you learn that VP's are very resistant to the offering and that most business is conducted in the C-Suite.

There is also the case of the salesperson who calls on the right people in the right industries (so far so good), but all of the opportunities are the wrong size.  They're either larger than the company's sweet spot or they are too small (easy enough to close, but not large enough for the company to profit or the salesperson to earn sizable commissions.)

Why do salespeople make these ill-advised choices?  Here are four possible reasons:

  1. They don't know any better and are reinventing the wheel, perhaps calling people and companies on whom they called in other roles or jobs.
  2. They' are not getting proper direction, coaching or feedback from sales management.
  3. They aren't being held accountable by sales management.
  4. They aren't comfortable with where sales management wants them to focus, so they focus on that with which they are comfortable, even if the results don't justify it.

Comfort.  It's responsible for choices.  It's responsible for the skills, strategies, tactics and practices which are applied in selling.  It's responsible for the weaknesses which salespeople successfully overcome as well as those that aren't.  It's responsible for how much money for which they can ask and get, their need to discount, allowing prospects to comparison shop, whether or not they ask the tough questions and so much more.

The biggest challenge is that comfort is hidden, not communicated, and difficult to observe.  However, a sales force evaluation can successfully uncover all of their discomforts and identify opportunities to increase sales.

Everyone has salespeople like this.  The question is, can you identify them, refocus them, and help them to become more successful before having to replace them for under achieving?

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales performance, underachieving, targeting

Make Your Salespeople Focus on This to Grow the Business

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 05, 2012 @ 06:09 AM

After being on vacation for parts of the past three weeks, it's important for me to quickly determine what I need to focus on today, my first day back.  Of course, my calendar and task list suggest that most of the day has been laid out prior to my vacation, but there is so much more to refocusing myself than what appears on the calendar and task list.  As a matter of fact, most salespeople struggle with what to focus on even when they have not been away.  And sales managers are often unable to help because they have the same problem.  If they ask, their question is probably, "So, who will you be talking with today?"

Let's focus on the only tool more important than the calendar and task list - your pipeline management tool.  Most salespeople, despite dozens of CRM applications from which to choose, still don't fully comprehend pipeline management.  And if they don't get it, they probably aren't managing it!

Whether it's a return from vacation, start of a new year, beginning of a new quarter, the first day of a new month, or even a Sunday evening, the starting point should be a salesperson's pipeline.  While sales processes have varying multiple steps, the pipeline must have exactly four stages.  When we pay attention to the pipeline, we can narrow the focus even further and determine:

  • How many opportunities must be added (to suspects)?
  • Which opportunities (from prospects or qualified) need to be moved forward?
  • Which opportunities (from closable) need to be closed? 

Not part of today's topic, but worthy of its own discussion, is the fact that most pipelines are not accurately staged.  Should you Restage Your Pipeline?

sales pipeline

When salespeople begin with the calendar and task list, they can get through the current day, week or month.  When salespeople begin with pipeline management, they can grow the business.  So, rather than, "Who are you seeing today?", the sales manager should be asking, "After you review your pipeline, what must you do to grow the business?"  And the answer must take the form of: 

  • I need to add n prospects.
  • I need to get movement with the following opportunities.
  • I need to get these opportunities closed.

Given the busy calendar and task list, the next question to be answered is how do your salepeople manage their time so that the requirements identified above are integrated rather than postponed until they have time?

Make sure that your salespeople schedule time - appointments with themselves - for completing all of the required calls, emails, and follow-up.

Refocus on the pipeline because the calendar and task list are already in place!

This is one of many important topics which we will discuss at my Fall Sales Leadership Intensive which is less than one month away.  I believe that we have 2-3 seats left, so if you wish to attend, you should let me know ASAP.

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales focus, pipeline management

2 Keys to Selling Success from Ann Romney and Chris Christie

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 @ 06:08 AM

ann romney and chris christieAnn Romney gave a great speech at the Republican National Convention.  She wrote it specifically for her intended audience of women, connecting herself and her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, with that audience, and it worked.  They loved her.  

She was a tough act to follow, but Chris Christie successfully followed with a terrific speech of his own.

Speaking of love, one talking point which I heard loud and clear from Christie was that the people of this country need to choose respect over love.

I have been delivering that message for more than 20 years, not to citizens who must vote for a candidate, but to sales leadership, sales management and salespeople who let their need for approval - their need to be liked - interfere with every facet of what they do.

Salespeople who have need for approval have a difficult time asking questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects.  This affects them at every stage of the sales process, from overcoming early resistance, to scheduling meetings, to selling consultatively, to qualifying and to overcoming putoffs at closing time.

Sales Managers, who have need for approval, find it difficult to be consistently firm - think lack of accountability - and it's even more challenging to coach salespeople to ask better questions via roleplay.

Sales Leaders, who have need for approval, often have organizations where everybody likes them, but not quite enough to perform for them.  They have an especially difficult time replacing non-performers and holding Sales Managers accountable.

Chris Christie said that "we the people" need to choose respect over love and the love will come.  The key word is choose.  We have free will, which means that we can choose.  When we choose respect, by nicely asking tough questions, pushing back with permission and challenging the status quo when appropriate, we usually earn the respect of others.  They will be your friend if they like you.  They will buy from you if they respect you.  Which would you prefer?

You probably know which salespeople, working for you today, have need for approval, but it's not so easy to identify candidates who have that major weakness.  That's where OMG's legendary, accurate, predictive Sales Candidate Assessments enter the picture.  

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, chris christie, ann romney, GOP and sales, sales presentations, objective management group

Selling Styles - How Many Styles Should Your Salespeople Have?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 23:08 PM

rscmWe were invited to see and hear a friend's son perform in the Royal School of Church Music of America.  We were very impressed with the voices, performance and beautiful church service.  It was very memorable.  While we were there, I noticed that some of the choristers appeared to be in trances; lost, disengaged and almost catatonic.  However, as soon as the choir director lowered his baton for the first beat, those children suddenly morphed into the most passionate, powerful, wonderful, young singers I had ever seen.  You just wouldn't believe the transformation!

Terrific salespeople make that transition too.  They morph from laid-back but confident, to powerful, animiated and charismatic when it's time to present.  Most salespeople however, don't make that transition because it doesn't feel authentic to them or they fear that they might look and sound like salespeople.  Isn't that sad?  Salespeople worrying that they might be mistaken for salespeople?  (Don't forget that you can hear me talk today, August 14, 2012, about developing salespeople and transforming them into A-players.  It's free - click here to attend.)

If you've met me and also heard me present a keynote address, you've witnessed this transformation.  My one-on-one style is a direct contradiction to my public speaking style.  Why?  If I appeared on stage with my one-on-one style, I don't believe anyone, regardless of my message, would really pay attention.  If we were to meet - just you and me - and I began with my public speaking style, it would feel very threatening and inappropriate.  You would hate me.  

There is a balance to all of this and the proper selling style, at the proper time, in the proper place, with the proper people, will work quite effectively.  However, most salespeople have only a single style and they aren't even aware of it!  If they aren't consciously aware of it, they usually aren't able to adapt to the situation in which they find themselves.

This is where video recording can be quite useful.  The ability to show salespeople how they look, sound, act and respond to varying situations is just the medicine they need to adapt, make the necessary changes and become more effective.

Steady and predictable is generally a good formula for success, however, when we need to convince people to buy what we have, flexibility and the appropriate style will always be more effective.

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales personality, sales presentations, rscm, sales charisma

Developing Top Performers - How to Turn Salespeople into A-Players

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

jazz bandWe recently saw the New Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform at the Newport Jazz Festival.  We had seen them before, once at the Festival and about 20 years ago in New Orleans when they weren't so "New".  That first time, I left their performance with mixed feelings.  On one hand, it was terrific that we had a chance to be in the presence of a musical institution and hear their traditional New Orleans Jazz.  On the other hand, it was stale, mediocre and failed to move me.

Last weekend, they were fresh, exciting, energized and musically superb!  They were relevant again, had made the transition to A-Players and now opened the Festival.

So what changed?  They got younger.  They finally cut the cord to their very old, slow, stoic band members and brought on some exciting, younger musicians.  New blood.  The band is now led by 41 year-old tuba player, Ben Jaffe.  They embraced technology.  Rather than a single microphone in front of a seated band, each musician had a small wireless microphone attached to his horn.  That technology has been around for years, but they had not embraced it.  Now it allowed for movement and move they did.  They were not only mobile, but the newest tuba player, Ronell Johnson, danced around the stage for their entire set in much the same way that Verdine White, the bass player from Earth, Wind and Fire, has done for the past 40 years.  Technology gave them mobility which gave them energy and made them exciting to watch and hear.

Turning salespeople into A-players requires the same approach.  (I'll be speaking on this topic today, August 13, and you can participate for free!)  You need to replace those who have not adapted to the changing times, shown the willingness to learn new methodologies, models and processes, or embraced the newest technology and gone mobile.  The new salespeople whom you hire must be exciting enough and strong enough to lead the way, infusing the sales force with new energy, becoming new role models and causing others to follow their lead or be left behind.

Training and coaching play a major part in the development of A-players, but you must have the right people in place or you will waste both time and money training and coaching salespeople who don't have the ability to become A-Players.  It's much easier to turn B's to A's then it is to turn C's into B's.  And if you already have some A's, it becomes more obvious to the B's that they need to step it up.

After nearly 30 years in the sales development business, I can say without a doubt that the biggest problem which I witness every day is when executives overrate their salespeople.  In most companies, the salespeople whom management considers to be A's are nothing more than C's who are hitting easy targets.  Their so-called A's appear to be A's only when compared to their under-achieving and non-performing colleagues, but in most cases, the executives have it all wrong.  The result is an inability to imagine how much better their sales force could perform and generate revenue as a result of an upgrade, good training and good coaching.

Take the road traveled by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and adapt to these changing times!

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, preservation hall jazz band, developing a players, top performing salespeople

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About Dave

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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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Awards

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

2018 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs Widget

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

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Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



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