Sales Management Blog
Sales management tips and advice on how to improve your sales team.
As I have watched the coverage of his playing and coaching career over the last 48 hours, I am again in awe of his authenticity. And I believe that this is what has made him so special. He has always been true to himself and has been laser focused on the goal, even when the goal seemed scary or unrealistic to outsiders. I believe that we, as business leaders and as sales leaders, could take a page from his playbook and ascend to higher levels of success by learning from his example.
Looking for a quick shot of sales expertise? We've compiled 25 easy-to-digest, practical and motivational sales quotes from leading sales experts. It's a blend of oldies but goodies with a sprinkle of new quotes that you probably haven't read anywhere else.
Here's one of mine:
"The only two reasons why salespeople fail are: 1. They don't do enough of the right activities; and 2. They aren't good at doing the activities when they do them." – Gretchen Gordon
Quotes from the Women Sales Pros Network
"High-level buyers want to talk to people who know more than they do. They hunger not for information but insight." – Barbara Weaver Smith
"Make a decision to be present when meeting with members of your team. Put away your smart phone, close the door and put your phone on do not disturb. Treat your salesperson like you would treat your most important customer---because he is!" – Colleen Stanley
I had a great conversation with a CEO today where we were discussing the merits of refining their compensation plan. It seems the CEO was disgruntled over the fact that his salespeople were comfortable making six-figure incomes, but they weren’t pushing to really knock it out of the park. Maybe you have witnessed the same thing.
These salespeople tend to sell roughly the same amount each month to maintain a certain standard of living, but don’t put that extra effort in to make more. In some cases when this happens, you may know that they could make significantly more if they just focused a bit more. Unfortunately, they take their foot off the gas when they get in their comfort zone. Does this sound familiar?
The CEO is correct that we might be able to influence behaviors with a reconstructed compensation plan. But, then again, we might not. We just can’t know without knowing the salespeople's underlying motivations. I know it seems obvious that people who work in heavily commissioned jobs would be extremely money motivated. Well, I am here to tell you that it is just not necessarily the case.
Managers: Improve your sales management effectiveness . . . and minimize your burden
Just as we teach salespeople to be awesome question-askers, as sales managers, we also need to be experts in the art of questioning. The questions asked may just need a little tweaking.
All too often, sales managers feel the burden of directing their sales team. If your salespeople come to you with questions throughout the day, you may feel pressure to respond as an authority. I don’t believe it's a conscious thought; still, the burden is squarely on the sales manager's shoulders to tell the sales team how to act.
Hello. Are There Any Consultative Salespeople Out There?
I read a fantastic, albeit depressing article that was published yesterday by Dave Kurlan, founder of Objective Management Group (OMG).
Periodically, OMG mines the data on the thousands of salespeople that are assessed using their tools each year (now over 1 million salespeople in total). What they have learned is that the average consultative seller competency has not improved much over the last four years. Despite so much more information out there about sales effectiveness. And despite the hundreds of training and development companies that exist to try and improve sales skills of sales teams.
In 2011, the salespeople in the research group exhibited, on average, only 47% of the consultative seller skill set. Now, with the most recent data (on 350,000 salespeople) they exhibit, on average, 48% of the consultative seller skill set. Big whoop. A 1% increase.Read More
Braveheart Sales Digest
Focus On: Improving Your Sales Pipeline
The inaugural edition of our sales digest was well-received, so we are doing it again around a new theme: the sales pipeline. If you follow Braveheart's Sales Management Blog, you have likely heard me refer to the "fluffy pipeline syndrome." It's a real thing that can seriously undercut sales performance.
In 2013, The TAS Group reported that only 46% of sales reps feel their pipeline is accurate. Find out what leading sales experts have to say now about building and maintaining an effective sales pipeline.
What does your sales manager do? What is he or she supposed to do?
If you are like many other CEOs and business owners, you have two different answers for those questions. My colleague, Karen Brown, recently blogged about the widespread misperceptions over sales managers’ value. We often witness a baseline misunderstanding about what role the sales manager should be playing in the organization.
I had a great conversation with a highly talented VP of Sales of a successful sales organization the other day. We had a spirited debate about the role that a sales manager should play in joint calls with their sales reps. So this got me thinking more deeply about how to best approach those joint calls for the greatest success. (Do you have an opinion about it? Weigh in on Twitter, or in the comments).Read More
Braveheart Sales Digest
Focus On: How Old-School Salespeople Can Stay Relevant
Headlines periodically appear to predict total doom and gloom for old-school salespeople. Earlier this year, Hubspot's Emma Snider blogged about Forrester’s prediction that a full million “traditional” sales jobs will be lost before 2020 (Forrester also predicted growth for sales consultants). But Snider more recently reassured us sales folk that we are still relevant after all, based on new Gartner research published in the Harvard Business Review.
In fact, Gartner’s research indicates salespeople are “more important than ever,” ranking them the single most influential factor for B2B sales (above references, events, white papers, sales presentations, work-related communities, provider websites, marketing literature, press publications, advertising or social media). There is every indication that the future of sales belongs to those who can bridge the best of old-school sales methods with future technology and consultative selling to best meet customers' needs.
This is a curated list of blog posts about salespeople who have been in the sales game long enough to earn their stripes many times over. They may be called “veterans,” “old-school,” “traditional,” “experienced,” “senior,” or “seasoned.” Read what people are saying about their perceived strengths and weaknesses and how they can stay relevant in a rapidly-evolving sales environment.Read More
Anyone who seeks knowledge about selling has likely heard the term “Consultative Sales” or “Consultative Selling.” I don’t know what the technical definition of the word consultative is, but in essence it means to operate like a consultant. Unfortunately the term gets bantered around a lot and I fear can become a gimmick or a tactic rather than a mindset.
When pretending to be consultative, ineffective salespeople sound scripted, trite and risk being insulting to prospects and clients. To use my newly-coined term, it's insultative.