Why Sales Transformation Achieves Better Results Than Sales Training Alone

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 21, 2021 @ 19:01 PM

The Best 65-Inch TVs for 2021 | PCMag

You finally have that big new 4K flat screen mounted on your wall but now the movie you are streaming isn't sharp because your inconsistent internet connection negatively affects the resolution and the big screen makes it even more obvious.

Bringing it closer to sales, you invested in the CRM application you needed but your salespeople aren't using it the way you had hoped. As a result, you don't have realtime data to populate your dashboard and still don't know what's really going on with your sales organization, their pipeline and the forecast.

You brought in sales training but it didn't achieve the expected change because the training didn't address the bigger problems that went beyond selling skills.  You may not have realized that companies really need sales transformation and while sales training can be part of that transformation, on its own, it usually underperforms.

Why?

Sales training can provide Kay with the skills she needs but if you lack a customized, optimized sales process that Kay is required to follow, those skills can't be applied at the right time, for the right reason and in the right context. Sales managers, who are especially challenged when coaching salespeople, have even more difficulty when the coaching takes place outside of the sales process. Kay needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

If Lee still wants to do everything his way and his sales manager isn't strong enough to make him do things the company's way, Lee will continue to perform inconsistently. Lee needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

Bill continues to make promises, exceptions and claims that are inconsistent with what your product or services really do.  This causes problems and creates a lack of credibility.  Bill needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

You can give Don the skills he needs but you lack a proper sales culture and Don has been allowed to whine and complain and act entitled.  If Don continues to engage in backstabbing, blaming others and fails to take responsibility when there are customer issues, that affects the company's brand and reputation which indirectly affects everyone else on the sales team.  Don needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

Greg has self-limiting beliefs about the kind of conversation he can have with his prospects and doesn't believe the strategies and tactics in the sales training will work with his customers. Helping him requires a combination of advanced sales management coaching, stronger accountability, and being replaced could be in his future.  Greg needs to be part of a sales transformation.

If the team is struggling to get meetings with new prospects, that requires training in how to schedule new meetings, but may also require new messaging for those calls.  The customized messaging that is used throughout a sales cycle is part of a sales transformation.

The team is participating in training but still resisting putting those skills and strategies into practice. If your sales managers are part of that resistance, and/or ineffective at overcoming the resistance, it calls for sales transformation.

On its own, sales training is nice to have but doesn't change much and wastes time and money.  As part of a sales transformation effort, targeted, customized, sales training provides salespeople with the tools they need to more effectively do their part.

The key to identifying the parts of a sales transformation that need to be addressed is the OMG sales force evaluation.

I've written about sales force evaluations before and always find it extremely interesting to learn about the various challenges holding companies back.  Here are two must-read examples:

Did you read them?

Both articles should help you recognize that while sales training needed to be part of the solutions at each company, sales training alone would not have addressed the serious issues we uncovered.  If you think in terms of sales transformation then your sales organization, people, systems, processes and results will be transformed.

Topics: sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales training, sales evaluation, sales transformation

My Prediction - What's in Store for Sales Teams in 2021?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 08, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

prediction2021

When I made my predictions for 2020 I'm pretty sure I didn't predict a pandemic.  Making predictions isn't easy. 

In the US, sales teams are coming off three robust years of sales growth and while revenue was up during that time, the percentage of salespeople hitting quotas was not.  That means the top 20% were not only carrying the load, they carried more of the load.

That dynamic growth hit an iron barrier last spring when COVID became the unexpected economic disrupter, but the second half comeback was quite impressive.  What does 2021 have in store for those of us in the sales world?  In the US, how will Democrat control of all three branches of government affect sales and selling?  And how long before that kicks in?

Americans can't be certain that threats to pack the supreme court, make DC a state, and change the rules will come to fruition, but the incoming administration has been very clear about their intent to quickly increase taxes, especially on corporations and people with annual income of more than $400,000.  Given the ambitious progressive agenda they wish to implement and the enormous cost - trillions of dollars we don't have - it's likely that the tax increase will include the middle class too.  How will that affect our ability to sell stuff for at least the next two years?

Their progressive agenda, some anti-capitalist cabinet appointments, and Biden's history of coziness with China suggest that the next two years will not be very business-friendly.  Tax increases lead to reduced spending by corporations, small businesses, and consumers.  Lay-offs come next as companies scramble to do more with less.  Sound familiar?  That was the new normal from 2008-2016 so what's old is new again.

That said, we can be sure of three things thanks to the ripple effect of a China-friendly administration, a massive tax increase and lay-offs: 

  1. Imports from China will be on the rise and that means increased competition from low-cost competitors. 
  2. There will be increased pressure on sales teams to boost revenue and profit to compensate for the cost of the tax increases.
  3. Companies will be significantly more restrained about what they purchase from sellers.

See the challenge?  While sellers will be under tremendous pressure to generate additional revenue, the very companies on which they rely for revenue will be more resistant to buying and more price conscious than ever!  

There's more.

With Democrats in control, fear about the new strain of COVID, and the vaccine still months away for most people, it's likely that many more states besides California will be back in a lockdown.  If the new lockdown is anything like the last year's lockdown, the shit show known as 2020 will be back for an encore performance.

You can't endure lockdowns, tax increases, lay-offs and Chinese imports and expect selling to resemble anything routine or easy.

Salespeople will fail.  Objective Management Group's (OMG) data on 2,050,385 salespeople shows that the bottom 50% lack the selling skills to handle resistance, competition, and price sensitivity.  This screen shot represents the percentage of salespeople who have these ten tactical selling competencies as strengths.  See all 21 Sales Core Competencies here.

Mastery of these 10 selling competencies is required for times like these but as mentioned above, fewer than half of all salespeople have them as strengths.  We know that the top 20% of all salespeople generate 80% of the revenue so if the bottom 50% are going to fail, that will either reduce revenue by 20%, or place even more pressure on top producers to compensate for the shortfall.  Neither option is a winning strategy.

That leaves two viable strategies:

  1. Evaluate and train the ever living crap out of them.  OMG's sales force evaluation will identify the areas in which each salesperson needs help in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and then training and coaching can be targeted.  Typically, around 65% will improve but it may take 8-16 months! 
  2. Replace them with top performers. OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments will help you identify and select those who will succeed in your roles but it won't eliminate the need for on-boarding and you still have to allow for ramp-up time (the length of your learning curve plus the length of your sales cycle plus 30 days).

There is always one more option.  Hide under your desk, hope that things work themselves out, and that you won't have to do anything different.  We already know from last year how that option worked out!  Companies that asked for help during March, April and May of 2020 had absolutely rocking, kick-ass fourth quarters.  By the time the US began reopening during the middle of the year, those who didn't ask for help earlier were so far behind the 8-ball, they were no longer in a position to even pay for the help they so desperately needed.

What will you do to make sure that 2021 is a growth year?

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales training, sales evaluation, sales predictions, 2021, democrats in control

The Difference Between OMG and Extended DISC Assessments

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 12:10 PM

Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen is dead at 65 - ABC News

This is gonna be fun!

In 2005, GM produced four mini-vans known as the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet UplanderPontiac Montana SV6 and Saturn Relay.  These four cars were exactly the same, with the brand logos being the only differentiators.

Today, some Luxury car companies dress up the cars from their primary brands as Toyota is known to do with its Lexuses, Nissan with its Infinities, Honda with its Acuras, and Ford with its Lincolns.  But we all know this. 

What about something you might not know?  With Eddie Van Halen's passing yesterday, I was thinking about great guitarists and that led me to who actually manufactured your well-known Japanese guitar brand?

And then there are the cheap Chinese rip-offs of quality American products.

When it comes to sales assessments, things are also not what they appear to be.  For example, take the FinXS Extended DISC which, at first glance, appears to have much in common with Objective Management Group's (OMG) Salesperson Evaluations and Sales Candidate Assessments.  But are they the same, similar, or is it more like the Chinese rip-off?

Let's take a look under the hoods of both assessments and then you can decide.  We'll begin with a comparison of the two respective dashboards.

 

                                                       FinxS Extended DISC                                                                             Objective Management Group Salesperson Evaluation

While they don't look the same, the FinxS Extended DISC has copied 8 of the 21 Sales Competencies that OMG measures, as well as 5 of the underlying attributes from other competencies.  So on the surface it appears to measure 13 of the competencies that OMG measures.  But does it really?  Let's dig deeper.

DISC assessments have four dimensions, one for each letter in its name.  For those who aren't familiar, they include Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.  While there are some variations to the questions and formats of the various DISC tests, what they all have in common is that the questions are asked in a social context.  This particular assessment also asks some questions in the context of selling.  You can see some DISC questions here.

All of OMG's questions are asked in the context of selling; what you do, how you do it, when you do it, what causes you to do it, how you think about it, what you believe, etc. None of the questions are in a social context because people act and behave differently in social settings than they do in business settings.

From 30,000 feet, the first question that must be asked is how in the world does the FinxS Extended DISC arrive at findings like Prospecting, Qualifying, Handling Objections or Sales Process from a DISC assessment with only the four dimensions? 

The quick answer is that they can't!  If you dig deeper into the FinxS Extended DISC report, they actually measure something quite different from what their summary says.

For example, look at this description of the prospecting finding:

See it?  Whether one scores low or high, it's about a mindset, not a sales capability or competency.  So what does FinxS Extended DISC mean when they refer to a prospecting mindset?  Let's dig further!  This is their description of the Hunter mindset.

Huh?  It's instant gratification!  I'm not kidding!  It gets worse.  Let's dig further!  This is their description of what the Prospecting score actually measures:

That's right - it has nothing at all to do with prospecting.  They are lying to you in their dashboard summary! 

For comparison, look at what OMG measures for the Prospecting or, as OMG calls it, the Hunting competency:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It should be obvious that OMG's prospecting competency is all about hunting for new business, right?  So you might be thinking I picked Prospecting because that's the FinxS Extended DISC score that's easiest for me to debunk. Think again.

What if we repeat this process with Qualifying?  This is the Qualifying score in the FinxS Extended DISC:

Whether the salesperson has a high or low score, they are telling you that it's about uncovering whether the prospect is a good fit through questioning and listening.

They are talking about a mindset again - this time it's about finding the truth:

Okay.  So in a social setting, perhaps that's asking a question like, "Where are you?"  "Who are you with?"  "When will you be home?" Is that really the same as Qualifying an opportunity?  And what are they actually measuring?

Once again, what they can actually measure has nothing to do with qualifying a sales opportunity. And the best part is that they are reusing Hunter! Remember? Instant gratification! You can't make this stuff up!

And what does OMG measure and report on for the Qualifying competency?

Does that look like finding the truth?  It looks exactly like what a salesperson must do when qualifying an opportunity.

I can do this for all 18 of their supposed sales scores but all you need to know is this.  As with ALL personality and behavioral assessments passing themselves off as sales assessments so as to compete with OMG, they lie.  They have no ability to measure a sales competency.  You can't report on what you can't measure and personality and behavorial styles assessments simply can't measure sales capabilities. 

The assessment business has much in common with both the Chinese rip-off model as well as the Japanese guitar manufacturing model.  The FinxS Extended DISC is like the Chinese rip-off because it appears to be measuring the same things, but upon closer inspection it measures little of what it purports to measure.  Other assessments fall under the Japanese model. For example, 16PF is an assessment that most people haven't heard of yet they produce more assessments than anyone else, but under different brand names!  Consultants can design an assessment and use the underlying 16PF, choose which of their findings to include, and then call those findings whatever they choose!  The lie!

If you want to evaluate your sales force and learn why they aren't performing as well as you need them to, or assess your sales candidates to identify those who will succeed in your business, stop messing around with imposters and get the real deal.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has been named the Top Sales Assessment in the world for nine straight years.  It's hard to argue with that. It's even harder to argue with the science.  It's the only sales assessment that has been validated using predictive validity.  That means that OMG's findings have been correlated to on the job performance.  Try doing that with a personality or behavioral styles assessment!

Knowledge is power.  Now you have the knowledge to choose the proper tool to evaluate your current sales team for development purposes, and to assess sales candidates for selection purposes.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, assessment, sales evaluation, improving your sales team, personality test, DISC, sales selelction

What to Do with the Salespeople Who Become Your Biggest Problem

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

problem-child

I coach a lot of sales managers and sales leaders and when I ask them what they want help with today, it's rarely a big opportunity, it's seldom coaching best practices, it's hardly ever targeted metrics for their team, and it's almost unheard of for them to request that I help them improve as sales managers,  Oh no.  They almost always want  help with their biggest problem child.  Every sales team has a maverick - the person that can't be managed, but leads the company in sales.  Over the past 33 years, I've met a lot of mavericks and the best advice I can give a sales manager is to ignore and thank your mavericks but don't let them near the rest of your salespeople!  This article is not about managing your mavericks!

This article is about the ineffective salesperson who is lazy, or has an attitude problem, or is stubborn, or isn't making the calls, or can't close any deals, or has an empty pipeline, or won't adapt to the new way of selling, or can't seem to grasp the importance of getting traction, or claims not to know what's expected in the way of performance.  While you can objectively read the description in the prior sentence and say, "Easy. Terminate and move on," when the sales manager is emotionally involved, they aren't objective, think they can fix this person, and believe that giving up will reflect poorly upon them.

We can spend many hours over many weeks and months working on ways to motivate, change, improve, coach up or fix these salespeople.  The problem is that most of these problem children can't be fixed.  It's not that poor performers in general can't be coached up; it's that poor performers who are problem employees usually can't be fixed.

50% of all salespeople are weak and these salespeople definitely fall into the weak category.  But there's something else that makes them problematic.

I usually take the following steps to make my case to their managers and senior executives:

  • We review the OMG sales evaluation for the problem salesperson - the root cause of most issues can be found right in the summary and usually have little to do with the 10 selling competencies and more to do with the 5 competencies in Will to Sell (grit) and/or the 6 competencies in Sales DNA (strengths or weaknesses that support or sabotage the 10 selling competencies).
  • We develop a plan for the sales manager's next coaching conversation with the problem salesperson.  This is usually one where we attempt to change the offending behavior or move toward replacement
  • We present the plan to the sales manager's VP Sales and/or CEO for buy-in.
  • In most cases, the problem salesperson is managed out, not coached up.

Even though we can manage the problem salesperson out in a fairly short period of time, most sales managers misdirect their energy on their problem salespeople instead of using that same, limited energy to support and coach up their cooperative and more effective salespeople.  MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR TIME!  DON'T WASTE IT ON PEOPLE YOU WILL END UP TERMINATING AND DON'T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF BELIEVING THAT YOU CAN FIX PEOPLE!

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, sales evaluation, sales attitude, OMG evaluation, problem attitude, sales maverick

Rejection - Why it is the #1 Enemy in Modern Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 08:04 AM

rejectionFor a change, rather than contributing to all the noise about inbound replacing outbound, inside replacing outside, insights replacing sales steps, buyers' process replacing sales process, let's talk about something that has a huge, relevant impact on selling, regardless of how the opportunity came to be.

Most of the sales bloggers don't touch on rejection, but when it does comes up, it's usually in the context of fear, as in fear of rejection.  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures something a bit different: difficulty recovering from rejection.  Fear is real, but it's more telling to understand whether a salesperson jumps right back on the phone, is completely stable for the next meeting, or requires 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks to fully recover.  When viewed as fear, we can assume that a salesperson will avoid scenarios where rejection is possible, but fear makes all salespeople with that weakness identical.  Looking at recovery, instead of fear, allows us to see the difference between short and long recovery periods.

In the past 6 years, rejection has become an even more impactful weakness than it already was.  Today, prospects are much less inclined to take a salesperson's call, return a voicemail or an email message, engage in a conversation, schedule a call or meeting, share important information, return calls to salespeople toward the end of the sales process or make a decision.  That's an awful lot of misery for a salesperson who finds it difficult to recover from rejection!

But rejection isn't that well understood by salespeople, their sales managers or even their sales VP's.  Do you know which of your salespeople have this problem and how severe it is?  Do you know which activities, questions and steps they are unable to execute as a result of their rejection weakness?  Do you know when their rejection problems will get in the way?

Rejection is relative.  The greater the risk, the more likely it is that an individual will avoid the possibility of rejection.  My longtime readers are familiar with our son, who stars in this great series of 32 articles called Salespeople are Like Children.  It's my favorite series, and I've been adding to it since the inception of this blog in 2005 when he was 3.

He is relentless, fearless and passionate about anything he wants from us.  Nothing will stop him.  Ever.  What if Mom and Dad say "No"?  No problem.  I'll ask again.  Another way.  I'll beg.  I'll threaten.  I'll cry.  I'll use logic.  I'll use emotion.  I'll keep at it.  

However, raise the stakes, and everything changes.

When it comes to a certain boy showing interest for the first time in a certain girl, it took weeks for him to gather the courage to ask the question even with the aid of today's technology where he could text the question instead of actually getting on the phone or asking face-to-face.  

What if she says "No"? 

Even worse.  What if she doesn't respond?

In my opinion, not knowing is even worse than the finality of a "no" and that's why salespeople are finding it very difficult to cope with unresponsive prospects and prospects who go into hiding after expressing a desire to do business.

Further relating this example to sales, the stakes go up for some salespeople relative to:

  • the title of the decision maker or contact,
  • the revenue of the prospect company,
  • the name brand of the company,
  • the size of the opportunity,
  • the existence of resistance, 
  • the size of the carrot being dangled, and
  • the increasing likelihood of a sale.

Sales training will not make rejection-related weaknesses disappear.  With most training, the salespeople are given new words to use, but still have the weakness.  As a result, they fail to use their new words, continuing to do what's comfortable, rather than what's most effective.  Even though effective sales coaching can help, you must first know who is susceptible, how severe it is, how often it occurs and exactly when it will get in the way.

A sales force evaluation provides the answers to those questions.

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Coaching, sales evaluation, sales testing, sales assessments, fear of rejection

Validation of the Validation of the Sales Assessment

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Oct 04, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

validatedSome companies need to validate our validation.  Objective Management Group (OMG) uses Predictive Validity - the most time-consuming and expensive form of validation.  Unlike simpler methods of validation, Predictive Validity requires that we prove a connection to on-the-job performance.  The challenge is that our predictive validity is so good, some people just don't believe it and they want to revalidate it themselves.

One of the companies that insisted on validating our validation is moving forward with a license to hire 200 salespeople using our Sales Candidate Assessment.  I'll share the results of their own validation:

They conducted a 7-day pilot in April of 2012 and hired 23 salespeople.  

Our assessment recommended 13 of them, and did not recommend 10.  They reported that 9 of the 10 hired (who were not recommended) failed, and that 12 of the 13 (who were recommended) succeeded.  How do those numbers compare to our historical statistics?  

Historically, 75% of the candidates we don't recommend, who somehow get hired anyway, fail inside of 6 months.  In this pilot, 90% of the candidates that were not recommended failed.

Historically, 92% of the candidates we do recommend, who eventually get hired, succeed.  In this pilot, their success rate was also 92%.

Does it always work out like this?  Of course not.  Some companies just don't have the right sales management, sales process and systems in place so even the best candidates can fail or leave.  On the other hand, some companies, who have been using our processes, systems and tools for a while, consistently exceed these results.

The most common scenario where companies wish to do their own validation is when they are located overseas.  Despite the fact that our expansion overseas began more than a decade ago, some companies located outside of the US don't believe that a US-based tool will work in their country.  They have cultural differences to be sure, but those are more about relationships and the proper times and appropriate ways for people to interact in business settings.  Selling and what it takes for salespeople to succeed doesn't actually vary from culture to culture.  

Some countries lack selling sophistication - they're way behind - and are still selling very transactionally.  But if the company is ready to change, and their markets are ready for them to change, then they must be able to select salespeople who can make those changes as well.

Validation is an interesting process and if you look into it, you'll find that none of the personality or behavioral styles assessments use predictive validity because there simply isn't a correlation between their findings and on-the-job performance.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales evaluation, sales profile, Validation, sales test, objective management group

Why Your Lowest Price Can Be a Barrier to Closing Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 02, 2012 @ 17:08 PM

Price Comparison and Sales ContextIt's not really the price as much as it's the context for which that price is provided.  Let's take mobile apps for example.

$9.99 on its own seems very inexpensive, but with apps available for $3.99, $1.99, $.99 and even free, it's expensive - by comparison.  Look at the moon - we think it's fairly large, but when you look at it in comparison to Earth and Mercury's moon, it's a blip in the sky!

Let's look at a more complex service with a much higher price tag.  If the salesperson says that their solution is only $5,000 per person, the prospect immediately views this as an expense - and a costly one at that.  How can they justify spending on average $5,000 per person?  However, if the salesperson says, "We can help you recover $3 million in lost revenue and solve your customer retention problem for around $50,000 over the next 8-12 months", it sounds like a bargain and a no-brainer.  The reality is that the $50,000 solution could be more costly even than the $5,000 per person solution.  But the context, the perceived value and expected result are different.

It's not about prices, presentations or building value; it's about putting prices in the context of what those prices will buy.  Compare the two examples above and you'll see both the answer and the obstacle.  The answer is the context.  The obstacle is that your salespeople may not be learning what the compelling reason is for their prospects to spend the money.  Without the compelling reason, it's impossible to replace the red-bolded words above with the words your salespeople need to use.

Another potential obstacle, but hidden this time, is that some of your salespeople are uncomfortable having financial discussions with their prospects.  Those salespeople won't be able to get to the quantification of the problem.  And what about the salespeople who need to be liked?  They can't ask the tough questions and become emotional if they go out on a limb and ask.  These are three of the many hidden weaknesses that OMG often finds when evaluating sales forces.

You can teach and coach on most strategies and tactics, but when your salespeople aren't able to execute one that was properly introduced and demonstrated through role-play, you can be sure that there is a hidden weakness to blame.

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales training, sales evaluation, sales personality, hidden sales weaknesses, selling value, overcoming price objections

What Leads to Salespeople Underperforming?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 08:07 AM

focusAs a baseball fan, it drives me mad when underperforming players don't play because of one nagging injury after another.  It makes me wonder whether their injuries are causing them to underperform or their "injuries" are convenient excuses for their lack of performance.  We usually don't know, but it sets up my next question.

Doesn't it drive you mad when terrific, yet underperforming salespeople, take time off for their car to be serviced, to bring their pets to the vet, to spend time with visiting family members, to work out of the house, when they feel under the weather, to meet a with a contractor, for the dentist, for their annual physical, etc?  Take a vacation - no problem - but if you're not on vacation, then work for crying out loud!  

The funny thing is that your overachievers may include these same things in their very busy schedules.  The difference is that you either don't know about it, because they only spend the hour it actually takes to get it done instead of the entire day, or they don't do these things during their selling time.

Why do you suppose your underperformers are always coming up with things that cause them to take time off?  Are those distractions the very reasons why they are underperforming or are they merely symptoms of their lack of focus, discipline, commitment, or work ethic?

I know from personal experience that when I am focused on results, I never have time for golf.  Can't justify it.  However, when I have focused on golf, I didn't get the business results which I'd expected.  That's just the way it works.  People will get results, not by accident, but only when they are completely focused on the activities, behaviors, work, flow and relationships that lead to results and when they are disciplined enough to remain focused and active for as long as it takes to achieve those results.

How do you keep a salesperson focused and disciplined?  Those are the very salespeople who must be micro-managed, but don't be surprised if those same salespeople resist your efforts.  They may not want to be so focused and disciplined, meaning that you aren't on the same page.  When that's the case, it just might be time for a change of scenery.  They do that with ballplayers....

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales performance, sales evaluation, sales personality, underachieving, underperformance, overachiever

How Do Sales Professionals Stay Motivated?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 09:07 AM

sales motivationThis was the question posed at Focus.com. 

When I reviewed the page, there were 18 other answers to the question.  There was nothing particularly wrong with them, but they just weren't transferable or scalable.  They didn't answer the question of how sales professionals stay motivated as much as they answered how certain salespeople motivate themselves and how certain sales managers motivate others.

The most important thing to understand is that when someone must ask how to motivate their salespeople, they may not have the right salespeople!

The best salespeople don't have to be motivated - they just are - and it not something they have to do.  Sure, they are goal-orientated.  Sure, they are disciplined.  Sure, they love praise and recognition.  But salespeople who love what they do and love either the thrill of success or the sight of their growing bank account are pre-motivated.  Think pre-washed or pre-faded jeans. They come to the table wired for it.

The real issue is what to do about those who aren't wired for it.  The easy answer is to evaluate the sales force and, as part of that process, look for the data which will tell you who is motivated; not in general terms, but specifically for success in sales.  Who can be developed and how much improvement are they likely to show?  You may learn that you don't have the right salespeople in the right roles and may need to make some changes.

You'll also see this problem with veteran salespeople who have made a lot of money and have become complacent.  Just because they have succeeded in the past, doesn't mean they will continue to succeed in the future.  And did they really succeed in the past or did they make a bunch of money because they inherited lucrative accounts?

Change is the best way to motivate a complacent sales force.  Send a message that they can all be replaced and that you are willing to make those changes.

Read more of my articles on sales force motivation.

 

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales motivation, sales evaluation, sales personality, sales development

Are (Lack of) Results Due to the Salesperson or the Company?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 09, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

resultsI'll open with a baseball analogy:  A few weeks ago, the Boston Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis - a disgruntled, underperforming, 3-time all-star - to the Chicago White Sox AND the Red Sox paid most of his remaining 2012 salary.  In return, they received a couple of unspectacular spare parts.  What has happened since?  Youkilis reverted to form and quickly became a fan favorite in Chicago.  The Red Sox continue to lose games and underperform.  So, the question is: Was it Youkilis or the team that caused him, and just about everyone not named David Ortiz, to underperform this year?

Now the sales connection:  Whether your salespeople are underperforming or doing well, are they responsible or is it your company, culture, advertising or offerings that's responsible?

Using data from the 600,000+ salespeople and sales managers whom OMG assessed, we know that salespeople, who work for industry leaders, do well because of their company's reputation, advertising and offerings.  We know that in underdog companies (pricier than competition, high-ticket, new company, new technology, story to tell, pioneer, etc.), when salespeople are underperforming, it is usually because of the salespeople, not the company.

Sales is not like other roles.  A salesperson's successful performance at one company does not necessarily translate to success in a different role or at another company, much like certain baseball players don't perform well in the Boston or New York markets, despite having the ability to perform at a high level for smaller market teams.

As selling continues to be more challenging, companies must make dramatic improvements at sales selection and development.  Specifically, sales leaders at all levels must follow best practices for the sales selection process, on-boarding and ongoing development.  OMG's data also shows that 86% of all sales managers don't perform any of those three roles very well. 

When sales managers are ineffective at selecting the right salespeople, they compound the problem by being equally ineffective at coaching - the foundation of ongoing development.

Training salespeople is nice, but a waste of time and money when the wrong salespeople are trained and sales managers aren't prepared to coach to and hold salespeople accountable to the training.

It's time to fix these problems, not turn a blind eye.  

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales management training, sales evaluation, omg, sales personality

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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 medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine 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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