by Dennis Connelly
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Living Sales Excellence is an on-going series of articles that gathers and explores the principles of building world-class sales organizations including the behaviors, skill sets, and life lessons that support them. Okay, maybe it’s a lot to bite into, but give it time and explore the odd mix of topics that, when seen as a whole, might begin to come close to that outcome. And it's meant to be shared fun so please contribute by commenting and offering suggestions. Many of the topics covered in this blog were born in the mind of Dave Kurlan, and discussed in his book, Baseline Selling. They come to life in obvious places from the work that I do every day helping companies succeed and grow, while others emerge because dear old Rorschach made me see something that probably wasn’t there, but seemed worth writing about anyway. The success of this blog can be measured in proportion to the enthusiasm and generous contributions that you apply to your own organizations. The point is to inspire your best, whether that aspirational goal and those great principles are embodied here or not. We're on an adventure in learning. I believe it's better if we do it together.
The World-Class Sales Organization, as conceived and defined by the Kurlan & Associates team of Dave Kurlan, Chris Mott, Frank Belzer and me, is within the reach of any executive that makes the decision to get there, by developing people, by providing the tools to excel and grow, by remaining consistent with one’s own goals and sense of purpose, and by caring about the growth and success of others. It’s about sharing ideas, tools, strategies, tactics, and processes that work. It’s about discovering, uncovering, de-mystifying, debating, exploring, wondering, and ultimately gaining a better understanding of the world around us in a way that contributes to our success in sales. It’s about making our companies the best they can be and about helping ourselves become truly excellent in the endeavor.
If you believe that everything about who we are shapes and informs every other part of our lives, whether it’s obvious or hidden, then maybe it’s not much of a stretch to believe that the same is true of companies, and that everything about your company is manifested on the street by the actions and attitudes of the sales force. In my colleague, Frank Belzer's book, Sales Shift, he points out that, "It's no longer enough to understand your prospects; they need to know and believe you understand them." I often ask each member of a sales team to write down their company’s value proposition. I usually get such completely different answers that each appears to be talking about some other business than their colleagues? Companies that live in an environment of sales excellence know what business they’re in and why they’re in it.
Living Sales Excellence is about leading change within your organization. It’s aligning your desire for business success with all of the behaviors, practices, strategies, methodologies, systems and processes required for sales greatness. What is the ideal sales foundation in terms of infrastructure, enablement, and architecture? Building on top of that, what is the ideal sales culture in terms of talent management, sales management, and human capital? At its core, the World-Class Sales Organization comprises these fundamental building blocks. And whether you are focused on foundational or cultural outcomes for your company, how might your leadership help to achieve the best overall outcomes for you and your business? What will it take to make your organization world-class?
My hope is that this growing collection of articles will provide information and insights to help you and your organization live sales excellence every day. Please engage in the dialogue. Make comments, disagree, or even tell me how much you agree (which improves my mood for the whole day and my colleagues appreciate that, so do it for them), whatever moves you. Our conversation about sales is as important as the body of text itself. In To Sell is Human, Dan Pink points out that 1 in 9 of us are in the profession of sales. He quickly adds that the other 8 in 9 are also in sales, spending on average, 40% of our time persuading, convincing, and influencing others to make some kind of exchange with us. The point is we are all living in sales and we're all on an adventure to be better at what we do, both personally and professionally. And the point of this blog is to help us strive for constant and never-ending improvement. I hope you take something valuable from it. I hope you are inspired, and inspire others to be even more brilliant, to be even more generous, to keep learning and to live sales excellence everyday.
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