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Millennials are not driven is  phrase that I hear quite often in management meetings. Managers complaining about Millennials and their inability to follow directions, complete tasks, take orders, you name it!

Millennials also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation, are the demographic cohort that directly follows Generation X. I have two sons. One is a Generation X and my younger son is a Millennial. What I find so interesting is that when my older son came to age everybody was bitching about Generation X and now the Gen Xers are finding fault in their successors.

Personally, I only know Millennials who are driven, curious and creative, but I do understand that my view is not a statistical sample. I do wonder though if the “pampered” Millennials were raised by people who were a bit misguided. I really don’t want to point fingers here but I find it hard to believe that an entire generation is viewed as difficult to manage.

Here is the situation though. In the coming decade we will all have to learn to manage the Millennial generation, otherwise we will be in trouble. So, here is the challenge. What do we “older” people have to do in order to successfully guide, nurture and support those Millennials so the end result is success?

WHO ARE THOSE MILLENNIALS?

A Google search showed me the following result:

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

Maybe, what we are struggling with is that they are not afraid to ask questions, that they challenge authority and that they are achievement oriented, rather than willing to play the corporate political game to be successful. Most business environments that I am exposed to still operate on a “If you like me, I will promote you” basis and criticism or challenging the status quo is certainly not something that is part of the play book.

Could the resistance of Millennials to comply have something to do with the fact that these kids were pampered? Possibly. But in the end, it doesn’t matter what the reason is. The fact is that we will need to adapt to it.

MAKE IT PLAYFUL AND FUN

In my sales training sessions with Millennials I found them to be curious, attentive and playful. That’s why I always make sure that part of the training involves games and rewards. If I want sales training with Millennials to be successful, it is my responsibility to adjust the content accordingly.

I think part of the reason that Millennials are different is that these “kids” hear about wildfires and floods every day. They are exposed to a world where the traditional media is surpassed by social media presence and the validity and authenticity of both is constantly questioned. Their social security payments are in question, in other words all the things we could rely on are ambiguous concepts for them. It’s unsettling for all people, but especially for those who are at an adult age and know that their children and grandchildren will not have the same living conditions as them and they doubt that the world will be a better place.

THEIR FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN

Yes, I know these doubts and fears were present for all generations. My parents had to struggle through World War II, the Baby Boomers in the US had to live through the Vietnam war, but now the challenges are bigger the consequences graver. While our grandparents and parents always had the hope that there might be light at the end of the tunnel, the outlook for this generation is dark. A planet that is warming up cannot be fixed in a couple of years by a Marshall Plan.

These Millennials are aware of their situation and plight. So, who are we to criticize them for asking questions, challenging the status quo and being confident.

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials In general, are better educated – a factor tied to employment and financial well-being – but there is a sharp divide between the economic fortunes of those who have a college education and those who don’t.

WE NEED TO ADAPT AND CHANGE OUR APPROACH

Let’s all put our heads together to find ways to help this generation be successful. Maybe we should challenge the status quo and find ways to coach, guide and manage them effectively. They are all we’ve got if we want to build a sustaining future for our companies and for our planet.

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In the past years, sales enablement has become an instrumental business practice within organizations. Pretty much every company with more than 500 employees and a sizable sales department has either a Sales Enablement function or a whole department dedicated to that discipline.

How is Sales Enablement defined?

When I googled the term Sales Enablement, the following definition showed:

Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help sales people sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide sales people with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.”

or

Sales enablement is the strategic, ongoing process of equipping sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to effectively engage buyers. Sales enablement analytics provide marketing and sales teams with data-driven insights to optimize their business and drive revenue.

This is a broad and wide representation and it looks that every organization defines sales enablement differently.

What are the Qualifications for a Sales Enablement job?

While some sales enablement jobs require candidates to provide metrics with qualifications such as “data analysis and strategic recommendations”, others ask for “delivery of learning programs, liaison between Release Management”.

So, basically, sales enablement could be anything that helps sales people be successful in their roles.

When I conducted a quick survey with my professional network about their view on sales enablement, this is what I received:

  • Sales Enablement is all about filling the gap between sales strategies and implementation. 
  • In the context of solutions and systems / Industry 4.0 / IoT sales enablement means a cultural change: 
  • Training, Continued Education, and Resources provided to ensure sales reps are more efficient and effective in their sales process

And, what about Marketing?

When I asked the question about the connection between sales enablement and marketing and whether this should be part of the equation, there was silence.

Not that I was surprised, but it gave me food for thought. Why would sales enablement not include a connection to marketing, linking the gap. Most organizations that I have had access to don’t have a function that connects sales and marketing, which leads to what I refer to as a marketing effectiveness void.

What I mean by that is that often marketing works in isolation, communicating updates that are not always conveyed to sales or promoting events, where the sales department is not involved in neither the branding, creation or the attendee list.

What is the difference between Sales Enablement and Sales Operations?

When I asked Google (again) between the difference of Sales Enablement and Sales Operations, it showed that “Sales operations will interact with Marketing, but their primary focus is Sales”. I found this especially amusing because none of the Sales Operations jobs I researched required the interaction with marketing.

So, where do we find people who can connect the two?

I’m sure that there are companies that have a successful relationship established between sales and marketing, but usually those organizations are smaller and the leadership is driven by a founder.

Once companies grow, the gap between sales and marketing seems to grow wider and deeper.

So, here is my pledge. Either, we create a job discipline that acts as the liaison between sales and marketing (creative titles are welcome!), or we could add that responsibility to the sales enablement team.

Posted in: Sales Effectiveness, Sales Enablement

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In my work, helping sales people developing qualified leads, I often come across a misconception about email communication. Email messages are still a very effective tool to get responses, but they need to be crafted carefully. This hold especially true since the rise of content marketing. Sales people have become more “salesy” in the way they engage with people and then wonder why they don’t get the responses they are hoping for.

Every interaction with our prospects and clients is an opportunity to connect, leave an impression and communicate value. If we treat email like a mass communication vehicle, it will be perceived as such.

Emails are the new Snail Mail

Just remember when we used to get letters, not flyers but actual letters. We would sit down, read them and then take an action, or not.

Emails are not that different. It’s the “new letter” where we want to be as careful in the way we write, phrase and format, being mindful of grammar and spelling and making sure that we are heard.

Get attention with your Subject Line

First off, there is the subject line. It needs to draw you in and it needs to be eye catching, but not to the point of sounding like a commercial. One of my favorite subject lines is “Discussion on (fill in blank). Whether it’s a Discussion on Sales Training, or a Discussion on Internet Connectivity, it gives the person on the other side of the screen an idea what you are all about.

Focus on the Value

Then there is the introduction. You want to get to the point quickly, focusing on the value that you would bring to the table, should they partner with you. In order to communicate the value you need to research your audiences carefully, because value means different things to different people. For example, a Finance Person will be interested in a product/solution that can save them money, while an Operations Person will be open to hearing about efficiencies.

What’s your call To Action?

And then you want to incorporate a call to action, such as “I will call you again tomorrow” to let them know that you are serious. That means however, that you will actually have to call them the next day, otherwise you will lose credibility.

All of these areas need time and research to develop. Good emails don’t grow on trees and they are not whipped up in a minute or two.

Remember, people buy from people and if we forget that it’s people who will be reading our correspondence (no matter what format), we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get responses.

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Emails are the New Snail Mail

In my work, helping sales people developing qualified leads, I often come across a misconception about email communication. This hold especially true since the rise of content marketing. Sales people have become more “salesy” in the way they engage with people and then wonder why they don’t get the responses they are hoping for.

Every interaction with our prospects and clients is an opportunity to connect, leave an impression and communicate value. If we treat email like a mass communication vehicle, it will be perceived as such.

Emails are the new Snail Mail

Just remember when we used to get letters, not flyers but actual letters. We would sit down, read them and then take an action, or not.

Emails are not that different. It’s the “new letter” where we want to be as careful in the way we write, phrase and format, being mindful of grammar and spelling and making sure that we are heard.

Get attention with your Subject Line

First off, there is the subject line. It needs to draw you in and it needs to be eye catching, but not to the point of sounding like a commercial. One of my favorite subject lines is “Discussion on (fill in blank). Whether it’s a Discussion on Sales Training, or a Discussion on Internet Connectivity, it gives the person on the other side of the screen an idea what you are all about.

Focus on the Value

Then there is the introduction. You want to get to the point quickly, focusing on the value that you would bring to the table, should they partner with you. In order to communicate the value you need to research your audiences carefully, because value means different things to different people. For example, a Finance Person will be interested in a product/solution that can save them money, while an Operations Person will be open to hearing about efficiencies.

What’s your call To Action?

And then you want to incorporate a call to action, such as “I will call you again tomorrow” to let them know that you are serious. That means however, that you will actually have to call them the next day, otherwise you will lose credibility.

All of these areas need time and research to develop. Good emails don’t grow on trees and they are not whipped up in a minute or two.

Remember, people buy from people and if we forget that it’s people who will be reading our correspondence (no matter what format), we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get responses.

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20 May

Sales Success – Namaste

by Monika

Free stock photo of person, woman, relaxation, girl

In Sales, only the numbers count. Sales Success is measured by closed business. In Yoga, the results show in peace of mind. Both practices require persistence and patience. What’s most important though is that Yoga and Sales lessons should be practiced on a daily basis, incorporated into our lives. For over a decade I have been practicing Yoga and it’s helped me stay balanced, as much as one can expect from a Dominant D-Behavioral Type (or Type A Personality) like myself. It’s been a process to focus on my breathing, taking time out of my busy schedule to stretch myself to the limit, but it’s paid off. I am certainly calmer and more focused than 10 years ago.

Take Yoga off the Mat!

One of my Yoga teacher’s mantra is: “What’s really important is that we take Yoga off the mat“.  At first I didn’t quite understand what she meant. But then, one day, I walked out of the Yoga studio onto the parking lot and one of my fellow Yoga practitioners almost drove into me. He was pulling out of his parking spot like a Formula One driver taking off from the pole position.

That’s when it clicked. Taking Yoga off the mat means that you practice Yoga and the principles every single day. That means that you should be more mindful, living in the moment, breathing, etc.

Take Sales Training Out of the Classroom

The same principles hold true when it comes to sales training. We need to take it out of the classroom. That’s why I am so passionate about our training model and process. Our Consultative Sales training program keeps the learners (= sales and service professionals) involved in the learning and real-life application process for 6 to 8 months. And I emphasize the importance of applying what they are learning.

It doesn’t matter how good sales training is, if it doesn’t impact with long lasting effects, it won’t make a discernible difference to a sales or service person’s performance.

But – and here comes the important part – the learner has to be willing to take the sales training out of the classroom. That means deliberately and strategically applying the principles of Consultative Selling every single day.

Persistence in Practicing Both Yoga & Sales

In Yoga, unless you practice on a regular basis you won’t see results. Calmness and being mindful is a result of regular practice and awareness. The same holds true for the sales environment. Practice, Application and Persistence are the best ingredients when it comes to achieving excellence. In sales it’s about performance, but we also need to be present and aware, otherwise we will not be good at listening to our prospects.

Sustainable change however will only happen if we take sales training out of the classroom to incorporate the lessons into our daily interactions. It’s important to learn about and improve on how to overcome objections, how to handle stalls, and to practice cold calling and prospecting techniques. More important however is application. Application is key to success.

 

Being a good student won’t necessarily result in revenue

I know many sales people who have read every single book that was ever written about sales. They follow thought leaders and diligently read and quote the newest articles. Some of them are top performers, but too many are just good “students”. And by that I mean, that they can theoretically talk about the concepts, but they can’t consistently and successfully apply them in real life.

We observe that in our sales training programs all the time. We ask participants to apply what they have learned. Their performance improvement is measured by their ability to transfer their knowledge to real live client interactions.

And the proof is in the pudding. The ultimate success shows in closed business. If sales training doesn’t result in long term, sustaining change, it’s not worth the investment.

Whether it’s practicing Yoga or doing Sales Training, we will only succeed when we are able to take our practices out of the learning environment and into our every day lives.

Namaste:)

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Posted in: CONSULTATIVE SALES, Consultative Sales Certification, Consultative Selling

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Sales Culture should reflect the overall company culture

Culture is mostly driven by senior management and the sales culture is no different. Too often the sales culture is not in sync with the organizational culture and CEOs are rather removed from the sales process. This leads to…..

…mismanaged expectations

If your sales process is designed to support a consultative sales process where your sales cycle is 3-6 months long and your CEO expects immediate results, it will cause friction. Your CEO will want answers as to why revenue is not coming in, why goals are not achieved and that’s usually where the panic starts. That’s why it is much easier…

…to get buy-in from your CEO

Why? So there is no surprises. While I believe that CEOs should not meddle with the sales process once it is established, I also think that the process needs to be developed, agreed upon and fine tuned with the CEO in the room. It’s a cultural shift that will build a trusting environment where everybody involved in sales knows the parameters and expectations. That leads to the question as to…

…who should be involved in the sales process development?

Ideally, every department. If product development cannot keep up with requirements, it will have an impact on the sales process.

If marketing is not able to deliver leads in the way sales expects them, it will influence success.

Once all the constituents are present when establishing the sales process, it will be a lot easier to meet goals and to have a successful outcome. This is not something that happens in many organizations and that’s….

…why a cultural shift necessary

When we think about the sales process, we think about sales people, database management, phone calls, etc. We don’t think about the actual sales culture.

In many companies the sales department is viewed in a rather negative way. “Sales people are the ones who make the most money, but they don’t have a lot if integrity” is something that I hear a lot.

Sales people don’t pay attention and they always over-promise” is another one.

On the contrary, sales people often complain about delayed deliverables due to product issues. And even more often I hear sales complain about proper and effective marketing support.

Once everybody is involved in developing the sales process and every department takes responsibility for delivering results and keeping deadlines, there will be less surprises.

Why is it important for the CEO to be involved ?

Because there is an environment of trust that needs to be established. If your CEO doesn’t support the company culture, the shift will not happen. Your CEO is the person who drives the car. He relies on other people to provide the map. If his team members don’t communicate their direction to the CEO, he will probably drive into a wall. CEOs are visionaries, they are not the ones involved in the details, but when it comes to culture, your CEO should be at the table.

 

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Posted in: CEOs and Sales

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Many of our clients ask for advice about successful prospecting, especially when it’s something that their sales people are struggling with. Developing new business, prospecting, cold calling can certainly be the most challenging part of the sales process. After all, you are interrupting somebody’s day. It’s almost like being on a first date, testing the waters, making sure that there is alignment.

But, that’s exactly what’s missing in many situations when sales people are calling on prospects. I.e.: making sure that there is a potential fit.

Try to put yourself into your prospect’s shoes. What would you want to hear when you pick up the phone where somebody is interrupting your day? Would you want to hear a sales pitch, or would you want to listen to somebody who is potentially adding value to your life?

Therefore, I’d like to shine a light on 5 common pitfalls you can avoid when prospecting.

Getting the Right Fit

Just as in trying on a new suit – if it’s not the right fit you wouldn’t buy it. Right? The same holds true in sales – If there is no fit, there is no motivating reason to have a sales conversation. But in order for you, the sales person, to determine if this prospect could be a client, you need to do your homework first. Most sales representatives who call me don’t know my business, have never visited my website or my LinkedIn profile. They are just rattling off a sales pitch, in the worst case scenario using a bad script and in some cases they even stutter around trying to get to a point (leaving me to wonder: why they are using a script in the first place?).

So, don’t look for a fit if there is none. No matter how much research you do and how well you prepare for a call, sometimes it’s better to move on. Don’t push it, there is no sense in trying to find alignment if there is none. Reasons can be plentiful.

So, the FIRST COMMON PITFALL to avoid is: Calling a potential prospect NOT knowing anything about them, their potential needs or even their name and looking for a fit when there is NONE!

A Script is a Guideline

There is nothing wrong with using a script, as long as it is used a guideline. The script or guideline also needs to include potential answers to questions that the prospect could possibly ask. It’s almost like envisioning a scenario and preparing to respond. A script should also be a living document rather than a static instrument. It needs to be changed on a regular basis, whenever the environment shifts, which in this business environment happens quite frequently. Your competitors can change, so can regulation and mandates.

SECOND COMMON PITFALL: Rattling off a pitch using a script that might not be suited for the prospect’s current needs.

Be Brief, Distinct and add VALUE!

People will appreciate it when you get to the point fast. And by that I mean that you need to have a value statement. Let me give you an example. When I call on organizations with a national or global presence to present our sales training, I always focus on the fact that we help companies increase revenue and profitability by helping them establish a common, customer-centric sales and service language across a large sales organization. We do that by offering the use of a blended e-Learning/customized coaching approach, but that’s not something that needs to be mentioned first. The on-line Accessibility is a delivery vehicle, not the value. It’s not something that needs to be mentioned first, especially since there are many other providers who claim to have effective on-line training. It’s not a differentiator and e-Learning might not be something that is attractive to a company at first.

THIRD COMMON PITFALL: Focusing on features and benefits, rather than focusing on the value that your solution provides to your prospect.

Know Who You Are Talking To

When calling on people, try to understand their role within the organization and their responsibilities. When I call on a CEO (which is always my first outreach, as I have found it’s more effective to work your way down, rather than up the ladder), I always focus on the overall business goals. Top line value statements. Increased revenue and higher profitability are messages that resonate with CEOs.

Once I get to the sales or training manager, my message shifts. Then it’s more about the nitty-gritty, the details, ins and outs of the program. Of course, increased revenue and higher profitability are also important to the sales manager, but they also want to make sure that their people don’t spend too much time away from their desks, so I talk about the fact that their sales people never have to leave their desk and they will still become more successful.

FOURTH COMMON PITFALL: Not knowing what the purchasing motivations of each individual decision maker are.

Be Personal

In closing – People buy from People. Be personal. Don’t try to “sell them”. We all know that the goal of a sales person is to sell, and that is perfectly acceptable – nothing wrong with that. And in contrast to being “sold”, I prefer to buy from people who genuinely understand my business and approach me with a value proposition that will help me make my company more successful.

But, first you need to connect with me, figure out how best to communicate with me. Then you need to know my business and understand my challenges. Once you have established rapport (and there’s a science to that, and as with any communication skill, it can be learned!), it’s much easier to have a conversation and to build trust.

FIFTH COMMON PITFALL: Moving from one prospect to the next, without taking the time to really connect and listen.

And yes, you can learn how to be a SuperSeller TM and become a top prospector. We invite you to explore our Consultative Sales Certification Program at: http://www.getsalescertified.com/index

And I wish you much success in your prospecting efforts!

Posted in: CONSULTATIVE SALES, Consultative Selling, Prospecting, Sales

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Every organization should have a sales philosophy and it should be supported by the CEO. In my experience, successful sales models only work if the CEO understands the process and embraces it.

Why? Because the gap between expectations and reality could be wide and keeping your company from growing. Let’s just assume that a company requires a consultative sales model because they are selling a technology enabled solution.  If the CEO doesn’t believe that a consultative model is essential to the growth of the company, the sales department will not be able to deliver results.

I have coached many executives in companies of that sort and found that while some of the sales people were not equipped to adhere to a consultative/complex model due to their personality, lack of commitment or simply because they couldn’t move away from a tactical approach, the expectations of the CEO and the pressure that came with it presented a huge disconnect.

The sales cycle in a consultative sales environment is usually longer and more complex. This fact needs to be discussed, reviewed and agreed upon by senior management and ultimately supported.

Here are some  areas that will determine the length of the sales cycle:

How well known is your company/brand?

If your company is well known and you are introducing a new service it will be easier to get results. If your company is not established in the market place, it will take longer to get traction.

What is the market penetration?

Products/services that are completely new in the marketplace need evangelizing, such as social media analysis 15 years ago. It was hard to make a case to measure the impact of social media, when social media itself was not a mainstream topic, yet.

How new is your service offering?

If your service offering is completely new and you are launching it, you will have to work harder to get people interested as opposed to selling an additional service to existing clients.

Do you know who the decision maker for the offering will be?

If you don’t know who your decision maker will be it will take longer to navigate through your prospect organization.

Do you have a Unique Positioning for your service?

If you don’t know exactly why your service is different (or in other words how you can help your clients make money, save money or increase their reputation internally) it will also add time to your sales cycle.

And then there are the other areas of uncertainty.

  • Are your sales people equipped to sell in a consultative environment?
  • Does your company have a healthy sales culture?
  • Are your sales people supported with training?
  • How long is the buying cycle of your prospects?

 

All of these areas need to be carefully reviewed and discussed, but not only by the sales team. If the CEO is involved in these discussions, you will not only have buy-in from the top, but also a profound understanding as to why things might take longer. No sensible CEO will breathe down your neck if you can make a case as to why this process is not yielding immediate results. Keep your CEO engaged and informed and he will support your efforts.

If you however keep your CEO in the dark and uninformed on how you established the process, he will rightfully be impatient.

When you are in a sales management position, invite your CEO to the last day of the sales meeting and present a clear and concise plan of action.

When you are a sales person, encourage your manager to provide metrics and results to your CEO.

As a CEO, ask to be invited to the sales meetings, add your two cents and then let your team work the magic. Don’t get involved on a daily basis unless you really feel that things don’t make sense, in that case you also might want to think about a management change.

 

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Posted in: CEOs, CEOs and Sales, CONSULTATIVE SALES, Consultative Selling, Sales

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Not all industries believe in best business practice sharing. The beer brewing industry is an exception and it helps an entire community to succeed. My younger son Sebastian was fascinated by beer from a very early age on and when he graduated it didn’t come as a surprise that he wanted to go to Berlin Germany, to become an International Beer-Brew Master. After graduating from the VLB Berlin he worked for the famous (at least in New England) brewery NEBCO, home of the renowned IPA, G-Bot.
Last week, he fulfilled his lifelong dream, opening up a brewery. Sebastian, his lifelong friend Sean O’Neill and Matt Weichner, a fellow former New England Beer Brewer opened the doors to Tribus in Milford, Connecticut.

TRIBUS BEER COMPANY   

But this is not about beer or beer -brewing; it’s about observations on this industry coming from a wine drinker.

Beer is not my first choice when it comes to an adult beverage, but I have become to appreciate it more (especially with food pairings) over the years. What I have really become to appreciate is how generous and sharing beer-brewers are in just about everything they do, whether it’s sharing ingredients, sharing best practices, or just simply sharing.

SHARING IS CARING

That’s a phrase we teach our children but we hardly every apply it in the business world. In the beer brewing world there is only healthy competition. Beer brewers get excited about good beer, whether they have brewed it, or not. They visit each other’s facilities, where they get best business practices tips and observe how things could be done differently. They are fascinated by each other’s achievements and they have a unique sense of comradery. When my son and another Beer Brew Master at NEBCO broke the news to the owner about their wish to open up their own brewery, the response from Rob was pride, support and encouragement.

A couple of years ago, when Sebastian went to Chicago by car, he packed the trunk with NEBCO beer and stopped at local breweries on the way from Connecticut to Chicago to do a beer swap. That’s what beer brewers do.

NO NEED FOR SECRECY

There is none of the secrecy that you see in other industries, none of the envy or jealousy that one sees in some verticals I can think of.

There might be many reasons why there is this sense of broader community. First off, the micro beer-brewing industry is rather young and most of the people involved are Millennials. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Beer-brewing is also tough, there is a lot of hard labor involved and maybe that’s why the people involved have a greater appreciation for the efforts.

There is also a lot of passion that I can see whenever you talk to a beer-brewer, or beer enthusiasts for that matter.

Related: Why We Need a Common Sales Language

WITH CONFIDENCE COMES TRANSPARENCY

But, then there is the confidence that comes from knowing that you have a good product. Beer brewers understand that people like different things and it really comes down to a matter of taste and preference. There are some people who love their IPA’s, while others swear that a Belgium style beer is the best. And there are those who are Bud Light fans (no judgment!)

I, myself have always been very open about my process to sales training, never felt that I had the silver bullet and I am certainly excited when other people do well. A sentiment that I don’t experience often when interacting with other people in my industry.

A client once told me “ There is nothing new about your process, but the way you execute is unique and that makes it powerful”. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Sales training is sales training and beer is beer. If you are confident that your product is good and that some people (not all) will like it, why not share?

Maybe, we should all be more like beer-brewers?!

Posted in: Brand Experience, Sucess

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Jason Weske

Jason Weske, Manager at Cradlepoint showcases some of the findings of a management workshop that we hosted.

Sales Training Best Practices Successful Managers Follow

In working with hundreds of successful Sales Managers, we have seen and documented their understanding of sales and sales training being a process, not an event and the most successful sales managers support their team members on that journey by providing on-going sales coaching.

Training Managers is a Process too!

There are the unfortunate times when some sales managers get excited about a sales training event – a talk, a one-day workshop or even a three-day event, hoping that it will be the magic bullet to help their sales people meet their goals. Those are the sales managers hoping that after the event everything will magically turn black on the balance sheet.

While training is truly essential and valuable to an organization’s growth, it will only be effective if the sales managers support the long-term learning process and if they themselves are trained accordingly.

Recent studies have shown that it is essential to train sales managers to ensure top performance of a sales team. When sales managers don’t embrace disciplines, how would they be able to coach and guide their teams?

Try This on for Size – Don’t Coach to Quota!

A widespread misconception about sales coaching is that managers should coach their team to meet quota. While the goal should be to reach (or in the best-case scenario exceed quota) the only way for that to sustainably occur is not to coach to a number, but to continually assess, re-assess, develop and expand best practices in sales team members’ sales skills, strategies and sales behaviors.

Honestly, think about it– the sales professionals you really want on your team know when they are behind their goals. They don’t need to be reminded all the time.

Here’s an example: if a salesperson is struggling to overcome difficult or unusual objections, she/he won’t be able to learn how to improve by hearing that they missed their quarterly goals. Become better at overcoming objections, recognizing buying signs, and we’re headed in the direction of hitting that golden number, right?

And speaking of quarter-end, which seems to be a “Reach-Your-Quota-Frenzy” in many companies: let’s see if we can change that. A radical idea, no?

Make deliberate and planned sales training and coaching on-going. Focus on skills development, positive sales behaviors, as well as on pipeline and account development to achieve overall improvement from the VERY FIRST DAY OF THE QUARTER!

There will be little need for intense sales rallies the last week of each quarter. And honestly, we see that a “Quarter-End- Frenzy” disturbs the overall sales process and the delivering of top-notch, meaningful engagement.

Some sales people become frantic and that leaves a bad impression with the prospects. Sales people can come across as desperate. Desperation is a bad sales agent.

Understand YOUR Strengths & Opportunities for Growth

Every sales person has unique strengths and opportunities for growth. The same holds true for managers.

Before we even start working with a client, we assess the skill sets of the sales team and their sales management. It’s hard to know what to focus on when there is no benchmark. It’s also impossible to gauge success without knowing where we started and where improvement is taking place.

To achieve our goal of understanding sales managers’ existing skills and knowledge, we invite our clients to complete the CSCC SALES MANAGEMENT & COACHING-IQTM Skills & Knowledge Assessment. If you want to find out your Sales Management IQ, follow the link below.

Sales Management IQ

This assessment is composed of wide range of scenario questions from over 20 years of on-going research and extensive competency and sales behavior modeling, having assessed key performance indicators and best practices of hundreds of top performing sales managers across a variety of industries.

Once a benchmark is established, it is easier to pinpoint gaps, identify strengths and areas of improvement and get insights into how to improve performance.

The overarching goal is to create a collaborative framework where sales people can succeed and sales managers provide the support necessary to achieve that success. This can only happen when sales managers understand the process, coach their team members individually, and as a group, and follow through with on-going guidance and strategic support.

In wrapping, to become a highly successful organization it is key to create a culture of on-going training and coaching for sales team members and for sales managers, front-line as well as higher level management. This will ensure that your organization will continue to evolve and grow, adapting to the changing needs of clients/prospects.

Once your company’s goals and vision become transparent and tangible for your team, and is not just a set of numbers, it’s much easier to have honest conversations on how sales managers can best coach their team members towards overall behavioral improvement, not solely toward a number even if that number is significant.

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Posted in: CONSULTATIVE SALES, Consultative Sales Certification, Consultative Selling, Sales, Sales Certification

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