Sales Management: Week 6 – 21 Disciplines

Week 6 of 21 Disciplines – Documentation for every call.

Sales reps come and go.  You just don’t want them “going” with the knowledge of your prospects and customers notes, activities, contacts, meetings, etc., in their head never to be seen by your company again.  Whatever CRM or sales automation system you use, you need to make sure your reps use it religiously.  Every phone conversation, meeting, presentation, etc., needs to be documented in your system.   Additionally, it’s a good idea to send a Meeting Follow Up document after a presentation, strategy call or demo.  It should include who was present, what was discussed, and what the action items are for each party.  Make sure those items gets put in the CRM system as well. There is format you can use in Day 97 – The meeting follow up document.

A lot of companies and sales managers take enforcing this documentation policy, lightly.  I do not.  If it is not done, and done religiously and accurately, it costs me time and money.  I like both of those things.  It also conveys an attitude from your sales rep that says, “I am really only here for me.  I know what’s going on in the account.  If the deal doesn’t close while I work here, then it doesn’t matter to me.”  This Lone Ranger attitude should scare the heck out of you as the Sales Manager because it is symptomatic of deeper issues.  If your sales rep is not documenting every call and everything about the account:

  • What else are they not doing?
  • What are they really telling your customer of which you are not aware?
  • What else are they promising?
  • Are they telling the other sales reps they don’t have to do it either?

The real pain is when that rep is gone and you are left having to put together all the missing pieces.  Not only is this time (and thus money) consuming, it will also make you look bad to your customer if you have to call them to verify information.

I am being overly paranoid?  Maybe.  But I believe what Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, espoused as his motto and lived by:  Only the paranoid survive.

part-time sales management

Part-Time Sales Management

Sales Management: Week 5 – 21 Disciplines

Week 5 of 21 Disciplines – Demand a guaranteed number of QUALITY sales calls.

Your reps need to be thinking about making quality calls rather than focusing on quantity.  They should not want to leave the office until a certain number of quality calls have been made – meaning getting newly qualified prospects or reaching current prospects and moving them closer to a sale.

There has always been a big debate in sales communities about quantity versus quality in regard to the number of phone calls to be made.  First, this issue needs to be broken down into two job functional areas:

  1. Telemarketing or lead generation. These calls need to be quick and have questions prepared that are designed to qualify a suspect to be turned over to a sales rep based on positive results.  For these types of cold calls, I recommend no more than four or five questions be asked.  If the suspect wants to continue the conversation, that’s a bonus.  But this job really is more of a “throw as much mud at the wall” as you can type of call.  The be better the questions, the better the sales tools, the better the list and the better the telemarketer, will determine how many calls they can make in a day.
  2. Sales reps that can move a new prospect from warm to close, as qualified by the telemarketer. Your sales reps’ number of calls that can be made in a day, week or month, are usually determined by a few criteria:
    – Do they need to make presentations or give demos?
    –  Do they write up their own proposals?
    –  How many existing accounts do they have to manage on a daily basis?
    –  Are they responsible for doing some of their own hunting?
    For your sales reps, you will need to determine a fair and realistic number of calls to be made.  You may need to have two or more sets of numbers, depending on your organization.  I even use goal attainment from the previous month as a way of setting the number of calls required.  (This is actually a very good motivator to make quota!)

I am both a numbers guy and a quality guy.  If your reps practice, drill and rehearse and then add quantity, the sky’s the limit.

part-time sales management

Part-Time Sales Management

Sales Management: Week 4 – 21 Disciplines

Week 4 of 21 – Nurture a desire to be better than the competition.

No mistake about it, the top performing rep is the one who does not like to lose.  You want reps that hate losing to the competition and don’t do well at all with coming in second place.  You must instill the concept that “there is no money for second place in sales.”  Until they embrace this concept, they will never have a sense of urgency that is required for being a top producing sales rep.

I believe most of a person’s competitive nature comes naturally.  However, there things you can do to enhance that competitive spirit.

  • Ring the bell! I love having a sales bell in the office.  When a sales rep makes a sale, they get to ring the bell.  I know it sounds corny or even immature, but it works.  Everyone wants to ring that bell.  And they want to ring it loud.  It is almost like yelling, hey, look at me. Your sales reps may work a bit harder and more competitively for the chance to make some noise in front of everyone.
  • Loudly and publicly praise and glorify others’ success. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and praised in front of others.  Send out emails and announce in team meetings, how well the sales rep who is closing more business, is doing.  Envy can be a great motivator.
  • Sales contests are great for developing internal competition. First, the prize needs to be something everyone wants.  (You usually can’t go wrong with money, but there are lots of other prizes.)  Make sure the rules are published, clear and not debatable.  If you fudge something in a contest such as allowing an order to count five minutes after the contest ends, you will lose all credibility.

Side note:  Winning and competitive attitudes are great to have from your sales reps, as long as they don’t point those fangs at their colleagues.  Yes, you can and should have internal sales contests.  However, efforts at winning the real prize must be directed at the prospect and the competition.

part-time sales management

Part-Time Sales Management

Sales Management: Week 3 – 21 Disciplines

Week 3 of 21 – Nurture a desire to be better than the competition.

Sales reps, like other professionals, need the drive to become the best at their craft.  With the web, eBooks, podcasts, email newsletters, etc., it is easy to find relevant, well-designed sales training.

No mistake about it, the top performing rep is the one who does not like to lose.  You want reps that hate losing to the competition and don’t do well at all with coming in second place.  You must instill the concept that “there is no money for second place in sales.”  Until they embrace this concept, they will never have a sense of urgency that is required for being a top producing sales rep.

I believe most of a person’s competitive nature comes naturally.  However, there things you can do to enhance that competitive spirit.

  • Ring the bell! I love having a sales bell in the office.  When a sales rep makes a sale, they get to ring the bell.  I know it sounds corny or even immature, but it works.  Everyone wants to ring that bell.  And they want to ring it loud.  It is almost like yelling, hey, look at me. Your sales reps may work a bit harder and more competitively for the chance to make some noise in front of everyone.
  • Loudly and publicly praise and glorify others’ success. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and praised in front of others.  Send out emails and announce in team meetings, how well the sales rep who is closing more business, is doing.  Envy can be a great motivator.
  • Sales contests are great for developing internal competition. First, the prize needs to be something everyone wants.  (You usually can’t go wrong with money, but there are lots of other prizes.)  Make sure the rules are published, clear and not debatable.  If you fudge something in a contest such as allowing an order to count five minutes after the contest ends, you will lose all credibility.

Side note:  Winning and competitive attitudes are great to have from your sales reps, as long as they don’t point those fangs at their colleagues.  Yes, you can and should have internal sales contests.  However, efforts at winning the real prize must be directed at the prospect and the competition.

part-time sales management

Part-Time Sales Management

Sales Management: Week 2 – 21 Disciplines

Week 2 of 21 – Build a desire to learn and get better.

Sales reps, like other professionals, need the drive to become the best at their craft.  With the web, eBooks, podcasts, email newsletters, etc., it is easy to find relevant, well-designed sales training.  A lot of this training is free.  I offer free training videos at sales-getters.com.  They are summaries of the some of the lessons in this course.

You can do your part by providing an environment that is abundant with tools and by pointing them to the above resources.  The regularly scheduled training session is also a must.  You may get resistance at first, but the reps who want to succeed will come to demand these learn-and-grow sessions.  At our company we run sales training every business day at noon.  We usually don’t go longer than 33 minutes and it really helps develop the attitude of growing and getting better.

Next to the content, it is consistency that’s at the heart of getting better.  You probably know that it’s better for you to exercise or practice a musical instrument 30 minutes a day, rather than exercise or practice one day a week for three hours; or one day a month for 10 hours.  You lose your focus.  You lose it because you don’t use it.  With consistent practice, a ritual if you will, learning becomes a habit.  When you make sales training a habit, you’re always thinking like a salesperson.  And when that happens, your income accelerates.

While the lessons only take a few minutes to read, the rest of your 33-minute training session should be used to apply each lesson to your product and/or any sale on which you are currently working.  This typically works best with the sales manager leading the discussion and getting input from all the sales reps.

sales training

Fractional Sales Management

Sales Management: Week 1 – 21 Disciplines

Week 1 of 21 – Good attitudes.

If anyone on your sales team does not have a good attitude, you have problems from the very start.  A good, positive, sincere attitude can be contagious.  A bad attitude in the group won’t necessarily kill the group, but it is like driving with a flat tire.  You can get there, but it will take longer and it’s ugly.

You can do a lot of things to help nurture a good attitude but it’s basically up to each individual to have a positive, upbeat outlook.  Sales reps with positive, eager, go-get’em attitudes are ready to talk deals first thing in the morning and are always ready to learn more.   They usually don’t need coaxing and just want to get going.

The rep with the bad attitude needs to be called out right away; in front of everyone.  Note:  Hardly ever should a manager discipline any direct report in front of others.  Praise in Public. Punish in Private.  However, this is one case I think it’s important to confront the rep in public and let them know they are affecting the whole group.  Yours is a team effort and they are hurting the whole team.  Their attitude affects the company’s success and others’ income.

After a “punishment” from their bad attitude, have a private conversation with that sales rep.  Discuss why a negative attitude is unacceptable and contrary to what you are trying to accomplish.  Then, go on and discuss the importance of a good, positive attitude.  Most importantly, explain how a good attitude will work for them.  Explain how this type of attitude will greatly increase their chances of growing their sales and their income.  Bring it to a level they can understand.

Finally, dig in and try to find out what may be causing their negative attitude.  Obviously, restrict your questions and adhere to any of your HR regulations.  However, learn what you can and see if there if something you didn’t know about them that is affecting their attitude and hence, their performance.  If they really want to improve, your sales rep will really appreciate your taking the extra steps to understand them so you can help them achieve their goals.

sales training

Fractional Sales Manager

The Sales Manager

The Sales Manager

You will always be walking a balance of training, encouraging, leading, motivating, and kicking your sales reps in the pants when you are the Sales Manager.  I cannot be there with you for every situation, so I do my best to give you the guidelines that have worked for me.  One of the keys for you is understanding that each of your sales reps is different.  Each one responds differently to you and to external situations.  This is not to say you don’t have rules that apply to everyone.   It means each one of your sales reps has their own goals, dreams, motivations and fears.  Get close to them and learn what those are for each one so you can help them.  By helping them you are also helping yourself.

I think there are only two times a Sales Manager should be called “Manager:”

  1. When they hire someone.
  2. When they fire someone.

The rest of the time, the Sales Manager is really the sales team’s coach.  Like any good coach, the Sales Manager’s main job is to get the best out of every one of their players/reps while moving the entire team forward.  Keep this concept in mind as you go through the sales manager’s lessons in, How to be a Professional Salesperson.  Being the coach isn’t an easy job.  But as a smart man (my father) told me many years ago; “If it was easy, they’d hire any schmuck to do it.”

sales training

Sales Manager

 

Sales Training: Day 121 – Forget the jargon

Do you want to be understood or get people to think you’re smart?  Salespeople, in particular salespeople who sell technology products, think they have to use techno jargon or acronyms within their industry to appear to know what they’re talking about.  Prospects, even technical prospects, just want someone who knows their product and can explain its features and benefits, so they are easily understood.  Consider the following statements:

  • We dynamically reconceptualize cross-media relationships.
  • With our tool you can distinctively generate scalable manufactured products.
  • Our partners holistically provide access to long-term high-impact outsourcing.
  • We have quickly revolutionized long-term, high-impact internal or “organic” sources.
  • Our research interactively disseminates market-driven products.
  • You will have time to authoritatively synergize timely paradigms.

How stupid do the above statements sound?  I don’t even think all of these sentences contain real words!  If you’re using statements like the one’s above or acronyms that you think everyone knows, you’re digging a hole for yourself.  Go directly to the lesson; Day 122- Humility.  Quickly!

sales training

Fractional Sales Management

Part Time Sales Management – Do I need it?

Do I need a Part Time (Fractional) Sales Manager? 

If you’re a small to mid-sized business, who keeps a keen eye on expenses, but wants grow sales, Fractional Sales Management (sometimes called a Part-Time Sales Manager) may work for you.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s working great?
  2. What needs to be tweaked?
  3. What’s not working so well?
  4. What’s broken?
  5. What needs to stop being done, if anything?
  6. What needs to start being done?

Then ask:

  • If you’re too busy or there is nobody in sales management to address these issues.
  • Is it costing you money by not addressing the issues that need to be tweaked, fixed or stopped.
  • Are you missing opportunities because you’re not starting what needs to start happening.
  • If you’re losing deals because of any of these issues.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, look at bringing on a Fractional Sales Manager (FSM).  A good, experienced FSM with a structured and detailed plan, will get as much done in half the time, as a less experienced full-time sales manager.  And it should cost you less.  Your FSM should be able to help with:

  • Sales Process Improvement
  • Sales Training
  • Sales Coaching
  • Creating Sales Playbooks
  • Writing Sales Scripts
  • CRM Optimization – Cadences
  • Sales Interview Help
  • Email Campaigns

Fill out the form below to get a copy of my Sales Playbook starter.  Then, let’s have a discussion to see if a Fractional Sales Manager can work for you.  I will also provide a quote so you know exactly what the cost will be.

sales training

Fractional Sales Management

Sales Training: Day 120 – Closing: One last thing

This is one of the most effective closes.  And it’s very simple too.  After you have gotten to what you think is the last objection or question your prospect has, say to them, “I will find out the answer for you.  Is this this only thing that will keep you from moving ahead with your order?”  If they say yes, you say, “Great.  I will get the answer and prepare our order form for you.”

You don’t want to get an objection and think you are done when you are not.  For example; your prospect says “Jill, can you get us delivery next week?”  This question sounds like they’re ready to go once you get them the answer.  So, Jill dutifully runs off to see if shipping next week is possible.  Jill gets the good news and reports back to the prospect; “Yes Stephen, we can deliver next week.  How will you be paying?”  To which Stephen responds with “Oh, we need to talk about pricing, too.”

Had Jill simply asked, “I will find out the answer to this for you.  Is this this only thing that will keep you from moving ahead with your order?” she would have saved herself a lot of disappointment.  Using this one phrase can save you a ton of time and heartache.

sales training

Fractional Sales Management