The Sales Expeditor

Are We Close to Having a Great Sales Culture?

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

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What makes a sales culture great?  Is it the people, the expectations, their accomplishments, the leaders, the effort, sales selection, training, coaching, enthusiasm, commitment, motivation, focus, goals, or luck?

Companies invest significant time, money and effort creating and nurturing their overall culture.  Unfortunately, I rarely hear much about the importance of a company's sales culture.

CEO's often lack sales experience, so creating a great sales culture is a common challenge and they usually lack the attention and time required to create a sales culture of excellence.  In the video below, I discuss what a great sales culture should look like and suggest some ways that could help you determine if you have a great sales culture.

 

If you are brave enough, take the sales force grader below and we will help you identify specific areas which need attention in your sales organization.
Sales Process Grader  

Topics: Culture, recruiting better salespeople, attitude problems, bad sales behavior

My Sales Opportunity is Stuck and Won’t Move

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 16:09 PM

Stuck_Cat

Are you feeling stuck?

Is your companies sales pipeline clogged with opportunities that just don't close?

My post today discusses the underlying problems along with strategies and tactics for addressing it.

Happy selling my friends!

 

Download Dave Kurlan's Magic Email that will get a responce from those stuck opportunties and non-responsive prospects.

 

Want to learn more about how Sales DNA impacts a salesperson daily behavior, download our white paper  on sales selection. 

 

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Balancing Delivery with Sales Effort

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 08:09 AM

Balancing
Do you worry about your salespeople spending too much time on non-sales activities?  It's crucial that you have a strategy for addressing this.  In today's video post, I discuss specific actions you can execute today that will give you greater control.
 

 

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Topics: accurate sales forecasts, complacent salespeople, best cold calls, improving sales

Are Your Salespeople In The Right Role?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Wrong Role

Are your salespeople in the right role for them? Does it feel like you are asking a cow to jump out of the water.  Here are some reasons why this happens.
It is crucial to attract, select and hire salespeople that will have a major impact on new business development.  How can you determine if the sales candidates you are considering have what it takes to flourish in a new business development role?  Prior success in that role helps, but how can you determine whether they truly succeeded in the past, claim to have succeeded, had help succeeding or were awarded those accounts, like a trophy?
 
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Download my tips to the critical skills and DNA of a notorius sales hunter.

 

Topics: accurate sales assessment, evaluate the sales force; sales assessments, difficulty finding sales people, improve my sales teams performance

Why Salespeople Don’t Consistently Reach Their Sales Goals

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

Obstacles to Reaching Goals
There are many reasons why salespeople do not consistently achieve their sales goals.
 
In this video blog, I discuss some of the critical causes of this.
After you watch the video, take the sales force grader below and we will give you a quick sales force checkup!

Sales Process Grader 

Topics: change sales behavior, better sales outcomes, accurate sales forecast, better management skills

When Does Sales DNA Lead to Sales Hiring Mistakes?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

DNA

Sales DNA describes a salesperson’s underlying strengths and weaknesses.  Using athletic traits as an analogy, they are comparable to good hand-eye coordination, quickness off the line, acceleration, and balance.

A salesperson’s Buy Cycle (how a salesperson purchases), the time it takes for them to Recover From Rejection, and whether they Get Emotionally Involved when selling can significantly influence selling behavior and outcomes.

Sales candidates either can sell or will sell.  The challenge is selecting the ones who will.  Effective sales recruiting requires science, the right process, patience, and excellent interviewing skills.  Unfortunately, many companies don’t approach sales recruiting holistically.  The most common, first mistake comes in identifying what they’re seeking.

Science is critical to consistently hiring “Will Sell” salespeople.  Recent data from the Objective Management Group sales candidate assessment and sales force evaluation identifies the following:

  • 90% Have Unsustainable Pipelines,
  • 83% Lack Written Personal Goals,
  • 60% Make Excuses,
  • 55% Lack Urgency,
  • 45% Are Not Self-Starters, and
  • 21% Have Consultative Selling Attributes.

Because prospects are more knowledgeable (due to the internet), increasingly skeptical, and empirically proven to contact salespeople much later in their buying process, hiring managers absolutely must identify a salesperson’s DNA and skill gaps very early in the recruiting process.

On Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment Dashboard, Sales DNA is reported as a percentage.  The difficulty of the sales position drives what the minimum required score is for Sales DNA.  The candidate’s Sales DNA must correlate with the specific sales role for which they are best equipped.  For instance, salespeople who must hunt require very different attributes to be successful than those who will manage accounts.

Benchmarking, while commonplace, universally misses one critical component.  If you identify only those elements that your top salespeople have in common, the analysis is inherently flawed.  For example, in one company, executives bragged that all of their top performers were highly motivated.  That proved to be an irrelevant finding when we showed them that their bottom performers were also highly motivated.  We were able to show them that while their bottom performers had difficulty recovering from rejection, their top performers were rejection proof.  While both their top and bottom performers were committed to sales success, their top performers all scored more than 15 points higher for commitment than those of their underachieving peers.

Great data and science create a foundation for successful recruiting.  A best practices, sales-specific, recruiting process, combined with practiced, honed interviewing skills, will increase your percentage of “Will Sell” salespeople.

Join me at the EcSELL Institute Fall Summit this October in Dallas for a lively, real world discussion about the science of sales recruiting and how you can learn to attract, screen, interview, hire and onboard great salespeople.

Topics: sales assessment, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Top Performer, EcSELL Institute, Sales DNA, Sales Candidate, Candidate Assessment, chris mott

Can Sales Leaders Recognize Their Salespeople Making Excuses?

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

tugowar

Recently it was suggested that I record my blog posts.  This video post discusses the problem of Excuse Making and Rationalizing by salespeople and the impact it has.

 

 

Topics: accountability, conversion ratios, declining sales, effective sales leadership, change sales behavior

Great Sales Managers Look for What’s Different

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 13:07 PM

Magnifiers

I got frustrated this morning because a colleague quickly figured out how to share information with me using an online task manager, but when I tried to do it, I couldn’t easily replicate his success.

Why did he find the answer so quickly?  His observation was, “Maybe I look for things that are not easily seen and you look for the obvious."

This fits perfectly with the premise that sales managers must be master diagnosticians. When you are very close to something, it’s often very difficult to see how things fit together, as well as the context.  My experience is that because of this, salespeople and sales managers frequently miss critical details.

In my task manager problem this morning, the icon next to the task list changes to an image of two heads when you hover your mouse over it.  I missed that because I was seeing what is normally there.  He saw what was different.

In the context of a sales calls and coaching, when you are looking for what you expect to see instead of what’s different or missing, you are more likely to ask the wrong questions.  For example, if you expect prospects to be inconsistent, you won’t hear the contradiction between, “We are happy with are current supplier or approach.” and, “I wanted to hear what you can offer us."  If you were being more objective, you would recognize that someone would not want to invest their already limited time talking with your salespeople about an unnecessary solution.  As a result, you’re much less likely to ask why the salesperson accepted and why the prospect made two apparently contradictory comments.  Your worst case scenario is that your salesperson doesn’t hear the contradiction between the two statements.

A great sales manager listens to a salesperson recap the call and asks, “When you asked why they wanted to meet despite being so happy with their current supplier or solution, what did they say?”  This points out the contradiction, demonstrates the correct questioning and teaches the salesperson how the put-offs could have been better leveraged.

Other Examples of this include:

· Momentum Shifts – What’s changed?
· Changes in Demeanor - You seem less interested than you were.
· Emphasis on Cost – I am confused about why the investment has become so important.
· Delays – It sounds like fixing the problem is not as important as it was.
· Timeline – What happened to the need to fix this by…?

Building a great sales organization requires that you have the right people selling a product or service, with a clearly defined and compelling value proposition, operating inside a well-designed scalable process, and managed by people with exceptional coaching skills.  Learning to quickly recognize what’s changed is critical to making this work.

Join us in September for our Sales Leadership Intensive and learn how to master the differences.

Sales Leadership Intensive

Topics: debrief, improve sales performance, accurate sales forecasts, increase sales

Candidates Demonstrate Accuracy of OMG’s Sales Assessment

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

Google Glasses

Over the years, I have found a mirror image correlation between a sales candidate’s open-mindedness and curiosity and the specific findings identified in Objective Management Group’s (OMG) sales candidate assessments.  It’s critical that new sales hires be moldable.  Far too many salespeople are resistant to change and struggle with introspection.

▪   60% Make Excuses

▪   8% are Proactive Hunters

▪   45% Are Not Self-Starters

Essentially, all of the best candidates want to work for a company that is very thoughtful about how they recruit salespeople.

When a candidate is asked to take the assessment, their responses frequently demonstrate how they will act in selling situations.  This is an unedited email we received recently from a candidate:

“Let’s just go with I find your methodology questionable and I have no interest in working for or with people who employ these sort of idiotic assessments”.

There are a number of ways that we could respond to this candidate, but why respond when we wouldn’t want him working for us?  What can we learn from his thinking?

If he had taken the assessment, it’s likely the assessment would show that he had no need to be liked, would have difficulty recovering from rejection, have difficulty controlling his emotions, be too aggressive and have very little desirable empathy.  He would probably overrate himself and lack the required amount of commitment to sales improvement. 

Those are just a few examples of findings that would correlate to his single sentence!  In this case, we get useful intelligence even from a candidate who refuses to take the assessment.  Assuming that most of your candidates follow the instructions and take the assessment, what other useful information would we get?

Click here for a 30 minute walk-though of the latest version of OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment.

This kind of intelligence is vital in today sales recruiting world.  The good new is you don’t need to have great interviewing skills or dig very deep to see this.   You only need to use the Sales Candidate Assessment.

Topics: recruiting sales people, competencies for sales people, changing sales behavior, improving sales force effectiveness, recruiting better salespeople

Warning Signs For Sales Opportunities About to Die

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Jun 05, 2014 @ 13:06 PM

Tornado

It is not rocket science to conclude that timing is critical in sales.  In fact, it’s said that timing is everything.  While I agree, whether or not you properly execute your sales process will indeed either lead to success or cause timing problems.

Things do change.  Decision-maker’s leave, priorities change and budget freezes occur.  In some cases, you simply can’t control these.  For example, in the movie Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carey asked a woman he likes what the chances are of them getting together.  Just like a prospect, she first offers a non-answer.  After he asks some great follow-up questions, she says, "One out of a million."  His response is, “So you’re telling me I have a chance!”  While the odds are extreme, I guarantee you that every salesperson on the planet has thought exactly the same thing at some point in their careers.

Before we discuss warning signs, let’s look at some of the potential causes of this.  

There are belief system problems, such as these few:  believing that prospects are being honest, that you can’t lose this deal, and that they seem to be committed.

Issues with Sales DNA can present challenges too, including:  

  • Incomplete discussions about finances and budgets as a result of Discomfort Talking About Money;
  • Failing to clarify or question contradictory comments because a need to be liked makes it difficult to ask questions or confront;
  • A need to educate (a form of free consulting) caused by a belief that says you need to do a lot of research to make the right decision;  
  • Failing to hear the most critical things a prospect says because you are trying too hard to reach an outcome (thinking while you sell or Getting Emotionally Involved).

If we approach opportunity management from a purely data-driven perspective (the science of selling), it could manifest as a desire to validate a conclusion that we have already reached.  Not asking others for their opinion is a perfect example of this.

I recently heard a youth hockey coach say that virtually all of the parents who come and ask his opinion on whether or not their child should play in a summer league or attend a skills camp have already made up their mind and simply want him to validate their opinion.  Worse, most do not listen particularly well when the child is not really interested in or committed to playing hockey.

My conclusion is that the warning signs of a deal going wrong are always there in big, bright, flashing, red neon lights.  As quoted in Pogo, "We have met the enemy...and he is us."

What are the warning signs that we so frequently ignore?

  • Momentum shifts – slowing down and sometimes speeding up,
  • Behavior changes – interaction, calls, email response,
  • Missed or extended deadlines on agreements,
  • Unexpected holding patterns,
  • Lack of follow-up or follow-through by prospects,
  • New players arriving on the scene, and/or
  • Requests for additional data or information.

Your solutions are either important to your prospects or they are not.  If it is important and within their control, it will happen.  If it isn't important, it won’t happen.  While the accuracy of this statement is not 100% correct, it is probable in the 70-80% percent range - pretty good odds if you were playing the lottery.

Warning signs connect to the sales process.  This means the warning will arise from one of the following areas: 

  • Quality of the Relationship,
  • Existence of a Need,
  • Compelling Reasons to Buy,
  • Whether or Not the Decision Maker is Involved in your Meetings,
  • Whether or Not you Completely Understand and can Influence their Decision Making Process and Criteria,
  • Whether or Not you are Aware of and Aligned with their Timeline, and/or
  • Whether They Can and Will Spend the Required Money with you.

It’s very likely that in most cases of delay or eventual loss, one or more of these areas was not thoroughly addressed.  Things were said that you accepted as the truth and you moved forward without questioning anything.  Having missed the first warning sign (one of the steps was not completed), you may begin to understand and accept the warning signs described above and ignore the flashing lights that say trouble lies ahead.

So what can we do to prevent these things from happening?

  • Slow Down.
  • Develop more effective listening and questioning skills.
  • Be sure they are serious, rather than simply interested, in moving their business to you.
  • Become more effective at selling value.
  • Thoroughly qualify every real opportunity.

 

 

Topics: changing sales performance, better sales techniques, better coaching of sales people, better sales outcomes, better closing percentage, adjusting the sales process

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