"We really got sucked into managing by data screen and the energy in our sales organization got worse and worse. We kept thinking the answer to our problems was in the data and we spent more and more time looking for it and, frankly, we became a very critical and negative organization. Sales meetings were an energy suck and employee satisfaction numbers were mediocre at best. We decided to limit the amount of time everyone in the Sales Organization spent looking at CRM reports and things started to change. We got our Sales Managers spending a lot more time listening to our Sales People, live and that helped too. When we got the Sales VP's back on the phones with customers just checking in and showing we care, everything started to change. Data is great and its useful, no doubt, but it has to be used sparingly. Once you know who you need to see and what needs to be done, you have to go out and do it skillfully and that's the key. We have really worked at limiting the number of reports that everyone looks at to the bare minimum and its helping a lot.
Julie R. - Sales Executive
Media Advertising Sales
There are lots of great books on leadership, building teams and performance management. They are important topics but not what this book is about as they've been covered well, in depth many times. Sales Levers and The Power of One is written for the Sales Executives, Managers, Coaches and Trainers that are paid to improve the performance of sales teams.
The Ideas, strategies and suggestions in this book come from thousands of interviews and surveys with Top Performers, over 125 consulting projects to improve sales with leading companies all over the world, interviews with hundreds of top sales executives and over 70,000 consulting days by very talented Sales Consultants working in the trenches coaching Sales Teams and Executives. It is not a new whiz-bang academic model produced by people that have never been on a sales call or managed Sales Teams. This is the distilled wisdom and strategy of what works and how to quickly get all the people responsible for improving Sales Teams doing the things that matter most.
What works is having lots of effective and problem solving interactions with high potential buyers/customers that are credible and persuasive. This book is about what Sales Executives, Managers Coaches and Trainers can do to make more of this happen. Some Top Performers are certainly born with it, but most aren't. Most need to learn how to generate activity and uncover needs the right way. They need coaching, training, incentives, team energy and direction. That's what this book is all about. Getting all the key people on the same page pulling the oars in the same direction so the boat can carry more average performers to top performer status faster and more efficiently.
Effective Sales Professionals must have exceptionally good skills at leading a conversation, asking good questions, listening, summarizing, quickly adjusting to barriers and tailoring ideas to integrate what they have just learned. This is VERY HARD stuff to do well which is why so many customers say that most Sales People they meet with are frustrating to deal with. Sports teams and elite military units use a lot of training and repetition to achieve results and this is exactly what sales teams should do but often don't. It takes a lot more than an annual sales training event and a refresher or two to raise the competency levels of EVERYONE on the sales team including Sales Coaches and Managers. Training and repetitive practice drills with intense coaching must be built into the very fabric of how the sales teams function. This requires, a big shift in priorities and a much more effective utilization of corporate training and coaching resources. This is nearly always the weak link in the execution chain.
Top Performing Sales People and Sales Managers generate better results consistently because they do things differently. It is CRITICAL that Sales Executives know exactly what they are doing that is generating better results. Executives need to hear this voice-to-voice and even better, face-to-face and LISTEN... take notes... and understand clearly what the gaps are between what they're doing and what the rest of the team is doing. Top performers are the SCOUTS in a Sales Organization that should be pointing the way for others to follow. Seek out their advice and take action on it. They are your best customer advocates and can help cut through the BS that distracts a Sales Organization from executing more effectively.
"The hardest lesson I learned as a Sales Leader is I have got to spend a lot of time each week speaking to customers, top performing Sales People and my front line Sales Managers. There is nothing I do that is more important than this from a results standpoint. I simply cannot and do not let myself get sucked into hours and hours of administration that has zero impact on improving sales. I place a strict time limit, about 3-hours a day, on administration, emails, policy and routine meetings. Absolutely no more than that. The other 6-7 hours are spent interacting with my Sales Teams in one way or another and talking to our customers.
Robert Peterson - Sales Executive - Internet Advertising
The tools to improve sales performance are simple. You've got compensation, recognition and incentives, recruiting, IT/Information systems including CRM, technology tools, Performance Management / Coaching and Training.
Nothing has a more direct and immediate impact than great training with rigorous and relentless follow-up practice drills and coaching. Nothing else comes close. And oddly, more and more sales organizations, even large ones, have hopelessly inadequate sales training people. In fact, more and more don't have anyone in a sales training role and, instead outsource it to Training Consultants. This is a HUGE mistake.
Sales Training is MUCH MORE than occasional training classes on the sales process, account development, buying cycles and learning to use technology tools. When you have a great Sales Training team, they can be integrated into the Sales Team the way an elite military unit utilizes highly skilled trainers. Unfortunately, way too many sales organizations put inexperienced low credibility people into Sales Trainer positions and don't give them any real coaching and training on how to become great at what they do. This needs to change. It's one of the most important investments in the sales team and Executive MUST make.
The High Performance Sales Leadership Mindset
"I really though we had a great Sales Training approach 3 years ago. I had no idea at all what potential I was ignoring. We were using a really good program by Richardson Training and had 3 levels of training for our Sales People and 2 levels for Sales Managers. WOW, was I wrong. When I insisted we dig into it, we found our Sales Trainers were not credible, Sales Managers were not following-up in the field and we weren't using our Trainers where they were needed most. When we made that shift, it was exciting to watch. We trained the heck out of our Sales Trainers first and they became like Delta Force trainers. They did live events, remote coaching, testing, booster workshops, sales meetings and injected so much energy and competency into the team. This really was the key to igniting our Sales Teams. We paid them really well and a lot of our Top Performers WANTED to join the Sales Training Team. That's when I knew we were on to something big.
Alfred R. - Sales Executive
Financial Services Sector
Chapter Overview and Selected Quotes likely to be used
"Once we developed really good Sales Trainers, we started looking for a different kind of Sales Person. In the past, we tried to hire / poach experienced people that could bring business with them and didn't "need" to be managed or trained. That created a lot of problems. We had no consistency, a lot of resistance to using a sales process and a lot challenges managing them.
We changed our approach based on your recommendations and we built a great Sales Training Team and program. We looked for people with desire and the right attitude. What a difference. They learned our systems, our sales methods and are much more flexible than we ever thought possible. Our recruiting costs are down and we don't have the turnover we used to have. What's most important though, is the interaction between our Sales Trainers and our Sales People and Front Line Coaches. They all integrated together. The Trainers do a lot of the day to day coaching and the impact they are having is incredible. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine our Sales Trainers could have as much impact as they're having today.
Jack L. - Sales Executive
More Quotes Being Added Every Week
Too much money and resources is spent on training Sales People and not nearly enough is spent training Sales Managers and Sales Trainers. These two groups of people are the fuel that generates change. They are often so busy and under-staffed that they are simply trying to keep up with all the tasks and projects and, as a result, don't have a lot of time left over for coaching and when they do, they haven't had nearly enough training and coaching themselves on how to coach. Coaching Sales Teams to become fantastic is a very difficult thing to do. It is not intuitive and it is not a natural skill most Sales Managers have. In fact, most Sales Managers have NEVER worked for a good Sales Coach themselves which is why they need coaching and training to shift their mindset and develop a better paradigm to execute from
Outline of Key Points in this chapter:
Technology is fantastic. CRM systems have changed the game in so many ways and so is social media. The temptation, however, to enable the highest paid people in the sales organization to spend half or more of their time looking at screens is tremendous and it can suck the vitality out of the Sales Team. Customers need interaction. Sales People need interaction. Front line Sales Coaches need interaction. Computers, tablets and phones are great for CONNECTING people but when they become an addictive distraction away from the interactions that build relationships, uncover needs, and simply exchange ideas, then action must be taken. Screen time is a big issue that Sales Executives MUST get under control and LIMIT so that more and more time is spent interacting with the key people that make sales happen ... Sales People, Customers and Sales Coaches.