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Leading Sales Now
3 minutes | Aug 9, 2016
Balanced Competitive Strategy - Leading Sales Now #13
What is your typical approach to competitive strategy? Have you left yourself open to competitive risks? Increase your win rate with a balanced approach to competitive strategy.
5 minutes | Aug 3, 2016
Procrastination: Now or Later? - Leading Sales Now #12
Procrastination is something I have been thinking about lately because I recently started this podcast. I have had to change my focus and workflow quite a bit to make time for it. So, I’ve had a practice at procrastination, in some cases missing my schedule entirely (as you can see from my record). However, I recently read an article on procrastination which provided some good news. We often think of procrastination as a character flaw. They claimed that procrastination is something our brains are naturally wired to do. We, through our evolutionary fight for survival, are wired to attack the stuff that’s right in front of us. In today’s world, that means the “near term immediate gratification” type of things. Which means we do not prioritize the things that have long term payouts. Our brains are actually wired to avoid doing those things that are not going to produce a fast result. In the sales world, this means we prefer to work on active deals and respond to customers that are reaching out to us. Those are certainly good things to work on, but when I look at top performing reps, they have some practices that require long-term thinking. There are four things in particular that they do consistently. Top performing reps consistently: Prospect - They focus on running lead generation campaigns, business development, things that fill their pipeline. Qualify - They make sure they are working on the RIGHT deals, not just on the ones that are right in front of them. They focus on deals that are a great fit or a potential big win, even if they are not the easiest to work on. Pipeline Management - They step back and strategically assess and manage their business. In particular, they use their pipeline as a way to allocate their time and focus. Post-sales Follow-up - They go back after the sale and make sure they get a reference, ask for referrals, build new relationships, and strengthen existing relationships. They nurture these relationships because they know they will pay dividends in the future. However, these four things are areas that we naturally procrastinate. It’s hard for us to find time to consistently do them, especially with the onslaught of everything else we have coming at us at any given time. So, I’m going to refer back to a post from a few weeks ago that discussed “systems” vs. “goals.” The point was that instead of focusing on goals, you need a system - a regular process - to achieve those goals. Your daily and weekly focus should be on the system, not the goals. It’s easy set goals in the 4 areas listed above: Pipeline size, velocity, deal cycle time, win rate, and number of references. Because these are natural procrastination activities, the key is to set up a system for each of these areas. A process that builds crucial activities into your regular daily routine. Four systems that a sales rep must have: Pipeline: A system for continually filling your pipeline, doing prospecting and lead generation. Qualifying: A system to qualify deals aggressively and rigorously. Pipeline Activity Prioritization: A system to strategically manage your pipeline, and allocate your time and your focus accordingly. Post-sales Follow-up: A system to ensure thorough and effective post-sales follow-up. Depending on your role, there are probably additional disciplines that create success. These are the four areas in which I consistently see the most gaps. If you do not have a process or a system in any of these areas, I recommend you start building one. In future podcasts, I will discuss examples of systems for each of the four areas.
3 minutes | Jul 26, 2016
Managers: How much are you worth? - Leading Sales Now #11
There is a lot written about the importance of sales management, but not a lot written about how to value sales management. As a sales manager, what is your primary value to the organization? Are you doing it? This podcast discusses the main purpose of sales management, and a simple way to value it. First line sales managers are responsible for a lot of things - hiring, firing, planning, reporting. But in essence, their primary role is improving team productivity. This is true for all management. But in sales there can be a very clear trade-off, because the money spent on a sales manager could be spent on a quota producing rep. So essentially a manager needs to improve their team’s performance by AT LEAST one rep’s quota. For example, if they manage 10 reps, that team must produce like they have 11 reps, so the manager should add 10% productivity to their team. If they manage 5 reps, they need to add 20% productivity. Of course, this productivity is built into the quota model. And very rarely do organizations decide to fire managers and replace them with more reps - but we have all seen re-orgs that increased the manager to rep ratio. So why am I talking about this? Because in today’s crazy world there are a lot of demands and distractions - especially for sales managers. My point is the old saying - the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And as a manager, your main thing is team productivity. So, the next time you are debating where to spend your time - ask the following questions: - Will this activity directly produce revenue? - Will it make my team more productive? - Will it make one of my reps more productive? And if you’re a second line manager (or higher), use the same tests on the requests you’re making of your first line managers. Are you giving them the time & freedom they need to focus on their team’s productivity? A lot more could be said on this, and I will in future podcasts, but for now, use this lens to assess your role and focus as a manager.
3 minutes | Jul 20, 2016
Maintaining Momentum - LeadingSales Now #10
As we head into prime vacation season, there is the risk that some of your deals will stall - perhaps to never restart. Today’s podcast is about how to keep the momentum in a way that is valuable to both you and your customers.
3 minutes | Jul 18, 2016
Systems not Goals - Leading Sales Now #9
Tired of setting goals, but not reaching them? Do you have a couple of things you would love to see happen, but can't seem to get there - due to time, consistency, or longevity? This is podcast discusses a simple, but counter-intuitive approach to achieving anything.
7 minutes | May 31, 2016
Be a Hero-Maker - Leading Sales Now Episode #8
Are you losing deals late? Running a great sales process, but then at the very end, losing? If you're losing to "no-decision" - that's a customer pain problem. If you're losing to a competitor - that's likely a "gain" problem - and that's what this podcast is about. Listen to find out how to make your buyer a hero.
5 minutes | May 23, 2016
How to Win by Losing - Leading Sales Now Episode #7
If you are tired of missing forecast or continually pushing deals out to the next quarter, don't miss this podcast. We focus on deal qualification, and introduce how to "win by losing", plus a simple but highly effective qualification model.
5 minutes | May 16, 2016
Are you Relevant or Real? - Leading Sales Now Episode #6
Today's podcast focuses on the "first call presentation" - how you initially present yourself, your company and your solution, and discusses the key questions a buyer is asking and the importance of answering them in the right sequence. Otherwise you not only miss the chance to grab and engage your audience, but you risk boring them.
5 minutes | Apr 24, 2016
Competencies That Get Results - Leading Sales Now Episode #5
Today's podcast is aimed at sales managers and helping you develop your seller's most critical competencies. We introduce a different approach to identifying the skills that drive success, which makes them relevant and easier to train and develop.
6 minutes | Apr 24, 2016
Whiteboard Storytelling - Leading Sales Now Episode #4
Today's podcast is about a mash-up that wins. By combining whiteboarding and story-telling, you can make your message memorable and differentiate how you sell. It's not as hard as it sounds, listen to learn how.
7 minutes | Apr 24, 2016
Building Tomorrow's Team Today - Leading Sales Now Episode #3
Today's podcast is aimed at sales managers, and we discuss one of the biggest challenges in building a high producing teams - hiring and developing for the long term. There are two things you can do now that will ensure high performance next year (and the year after, and the year after…).
5 minutes | Apr 24, 2016
Exceeding Executive Expectations - Leading Sales Now Episode #2
Today's podcast addresses how executives are conditioned to dislike sales meetings, and 3 specific things you can do as a seller to prove their assumptions wrong - at least in your case!
6 minutes | Apr 24, 2016
Are Sales People Still Relevant - Leading Sales Now Episode #1
In today's podcast we discuss that contrary to what you may have read, sales people are more important than ever - if they know how to add value. We cover two specific ways sales people can consistently add value to their buyers. And, because this is our first episode, Brian introduces himself and provides some background on the Leading Sales Now podcast.
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