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Thursday, 30 September 2010

The biggest self-deception in Business

 

The biggest self-deception in Business today is............................

 

raising_dollar_3150650

 

That Sales People have any leading role in their Client’s Buying Process!

 

 

Buying 2.0 and the ever-growing network of greater Client savvy,
means Buyers do not NEED Sales.

Salespeople now only have a walk on part.
If their part is “scripted”, then they are not needed at all.

How long the Salesperson stays centre stage and
keeps the Client’s attention is a function of Sales IMPROVISATION and Buyer Activation.

The art of selling in 2013 is based on Creativity, Imagination and Insight.

Clients rarely tell Salespeople what they are ‘really’ thinking.
Buyers know they are being sold to,
so they tend to believe more about what Competitors say about each other’s products,
than what Salespeople say about their own product.

There is no place for Selling by repetition, or being an information point.

The days of just Communicating Value, [talking brochures] are over!

Customers want customization.

 

The success factors in selling today

  • Understanding Buyer’s Needs, What, How and Why.

  • How Sales Strategy Must Adapt to Buyer 2.0

Just before, you fire the Sales force and give the money to Marketing.
Don’t do it, because, Marketing is just as out of tune with Customers as Sales! 

Marketing ask for more and more money,
but can’t show other than anecdotal evidence of Return on Investment.
(Return on Marketing spend).

Every sales success is ‘claimed’ as a Marketing “win”. Yet, ask Buyers for opinions on time wasting websites, unfulfilled inquiries, hopeless “Corporate” presentations and one size fits ‘no-one’ or over-priced products. 

If you closed Marketing today, you would not notice any effect on Revenue.
In fact, if you replaced Marketing by a Customer User Group,
or Buyer Forum you would see both Cost savings AND Revenue growth.

 

What do you have to do?

  • Give Salespeople Product Knowledge and Customer Business Knowledge -
    train them to offer insights.
  • Get sales people to ask questions lots of questions until they can describe their Buyer’s needs accurately and comprehensively.
    This is what I want, this is how I will use it, and this is why I want it.
    So, that Salespeople can Customise [Tailor, if you prefer]


Selling is an art and a science.
You only manage the science;
you develop, adapt and refine the art.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sales Innovation Pays

 

image

Working as a Sales Consultant last year, I did a Lost Business Review (Part of my Sales Audit). This was a substantial Sales Loss, to a Key Client (major financial organisation). I made one 30-minute visit to the client, conducted semi-structured interviews with the Salesperson, the Sales Director and the Sales Support (engineer).

 

My findings were straightforward.

We had been invited to bid only to make up the numbers. We filled a column on the Decision Matrix that was “new kid on the block”, along with ‘Preferred supplier’ and ‘Do nothing’ options.

We were occupying the “Sure Loser” column.

We did not help ourselves by bidding a high price and the wrong product! We were only selling to the Technical Recommender and had no access to the Financial Decision Maker or the User Group.

  • Price too high,
  • wrong product,
  • inexperienced salesperson and a
  • demanding customer

I took in all the facts; then I drew my own conclusions.

We had been out sold!

We never understood the Buyer Process, never met the Key People in the Decision Making Unit, then we bid the wrong price on the the wrong product. We put a ‘junior’ salesperson of limited competence on the account, he sank and we lost the business!

Our next ‘Big Opportunity’,
was a Company associated to the Client that we had just LOST!

As soon as this came on the Radar, I decided we are going to innovate.

The initial meeting had identified a need for “stuff” an ‘initial response’ and ‘outline proposal’ had already been delivered.

I STOPPED THE CLOCK!

We held a series of Account Reviews; with Sales, Sales (engineering) Support, Marketing and Provisioning.
I invited Finance to collaborate in financial modelling but they ‘preferred’ to work as a Sales Obstacle as the Sales “Margin” Police.

We called ‘High and Wide’ in the Account, including visits to their base in Paris from our offices in London.
We focussed on Demonstrating Capability and most importantly FLEXIBILITY.

We were aware of the competitive activity from client feedback
and slowly it became a “two horse race”.

I was determined to either “KILL” the opportunity or “WIN” the sale.
During our Go-no-Go week we had
full contact with the Financial, Technical and User Decision Makers.

We had a complete understanding of what they wanted and what they wanted to do with it.

I held a Battle Ready session with my CTO, Sales, Sales Support and Marketing Manager,
we agreed to innovate!  We ‘vertically integrated’ two services, we had the capability and some experience, we just did not have the product or service in place.

I took a commitment that it would be in place in 90 days,
so we sold the innovation to the Customer, it met ALL their needs.

We offered the Client a ‘Tailored Service’ at a ‘Competitive Price’.  Our proposition was based on our ability to deliver and execute, while the Value in Business terms to them was very attractive.
The Competitors offered a standard solution (meeting most but not all of their needs) at a good price.

 

WE WON THE DEAL

Contracting’ presented considerable difficulty
both internally and externally.


Despite the deal being Cash Flow positive from Day 1,
we NEVER received any support from our finance people!

In conclusion, sometimes you have to ignore the
“You Can’t do it”
voices, you have to walk in
your Customer’s shoes, and then INNOVATE.
There isn’t always time to wait until it’s ready,
a No Sale generates No Margin.

 

The real purpose of Sales is Cash Generation.

 

We won for all the right reasons,
our Competitors on this occasion were OUT-Sold.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

How long do we as Sales Managers accept Poorest Performance?

 

I want to deal with a thorny issue:  

Never try to teach a pig to sing;
it wastes your time and
it annoys the pig
.”

Robert Heinlein quotes
(American science-fiction writer, 1907-1988)

 

In over 20 years Coaching and Managing “Poorest Performers” it just doesn’t work. It wastes YOUR most precious resource TIME, and you get no thanks from anyone. I have seen a few Sales Managers cut short their careers due to their stubborn behaviour in persisting beyond the limit “Coaching” Poorest performers.

These are the guiding lights for the Manager/Coach.

1. Know thyself

2. Nothing in excess

You cannot teach or coach a Pig to sing, it just cannot be done.

If you are trying to do it then you do not know yourself, you are not capable.
Your JOB is to manage and coach Winners not cosset poor performers.

Let us put some numbers together.

Success modelling BMAC A ‘POOREST Performer’ at their current sales speed (Monthly) will take at least 24 months to achieve this year’s Target.

Every sales person at below 50% YTD (year to date) against the YTD target
is a poorest performer.

Below 80%, Target is a poor performer. Low average is 80%-90% and High average is 90%-120% and finally 120%+ is a Top Performer.

 

If you do not have Salespeople in ALL these categories,
then you have a Sales Targeting issue, too hard or too easy!

Taking a snap shot with the sales year half over (six-month point), you have 3 of your 20 sales people with only 25% or less of their annual target sold. At the high end you have a top performer with 100% of her target complete, and a number of others who should, at their current sales speed, be through their year’s Target before October.

Whom are you going to coach?

If you decide to invest time at the bottom few, even if you double their performance, it will make little difference to YOUR number across 20 people.

  • Know thyself, says It’s the wrong place with the wrong people.

  • Nothing in excess says to spend 30 or 40 precious hours to little result is the wrong place with the wrong people.

What can you do with Poorest Performers?

poorest performing sales peopleProduce a Personal Improvement Plan which they OWN for improvement in Activity, Knowledge and Skills.
Review the changes after 4 weeks, if no or little change has occurred, then move to the next stage in disciplinary, with a view that unless they can change within the next month you will terminate their contract.

After 4 weeks, if there has been noticeable improvements due to the efforts of the individual, then review and update the plan for 4 more weeks. Their sales run rate should have moved to above 60% for the month.

After 8 weeks, there should be a substantial improvement in Activity, Skill and Knowledge. They should be at or above the average for sales activity, and be achieving pipeline growth at the average rate. If these standards are not met, then move to the next stage in the disciplinary procedure with a view to terminate their contract.

Poor performing Sales peopleAfter 12 week, they should be at or above average in all areas with all results. Their Sales this month should be above 80% of the monthly target. If 80% of Monthly Sales Target has not been achieved then move to the next stage of the disciplinary procedure, with a view to terminating their contract.

12 weeks is the maximum investment in the poorest performer, and 4 or 8 weeks may be appropriate in many cases.

 
After 12 weeks its either up or out, and it was down to their personal effort, not your time investment.
You had spent the last three-months focussing on your Top Performers where you had amazing results!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Sales (SOP) Standard Operating Procedures

exotic ammo

 

I am like most of you from a generation who did not give Military Service to my country. 
In the Military SOPs Standard Operating Procedures run the Organisation. 
Or, you would have to stop and devise methods to carry out even the most simple task.
“Doing it by the numbers”
is the answer to avoid constantly solving the same problem again and again.

It can be mundane events filling and empty Barracks, layout kit
or simply load a gun with ammunition. 
You don't have time ask “How do I load this?” when under fire! 

There are SOP’s for once in a lifetime events, the Coronation of a King
or the burial of a Queen.
You can’t postpone the Funeral for six weeks to organise like a Wedding!

As a Sales Consultant, I audit SOPs in Sales Departments.

  • Contracts, renewals, Cancellations for recurring events

Less frequent, but just as important

  • Buyer Objections, Cold Call Scripts, Call Planners,
    Presentation Structures, Proposal Outlines
  • How to run a corporate Golf day,
    Lunching a customer or prospect,
    or Monthly reviews.

These are Sales ‘Enablers’, part of Sales Enablement.

How good are your Standard Operating Procedures?

Part of the BMAC Sales Audit includes SOP review.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sales and Marketing Integration.

Having consulted for the Last 20 years, at more than 100 organisations.  From Mega Corps. to Small Owner/Manager Business, in sectors ranging through Energy, Telco’s and Airlines to Food Growers and Retailers, Furniture Manufacturers and House Builders.  It still amazes me the number of Poor Performers due to disintegrated Sales and Marketing. Good Product, Good Market, and Good Channel but they do not perform!

I have over the years developed ‘categories’ for the Sales and Marketing relationship:

Divorced, they have taken new partners like R&D or Product Production or Customer Service.
They do not talk, they try never to meet and they blame one another for the poor performance.
This cannot work.

Separated, still living at the same address, but they do not talk.
When they accidently meet then it is conflict or conflict resolution, NEVER collaboration.
They are going to divorce.

Married, but take each other for granted. Regular meetings (this month’s agenda is last month’s minutes). They use similar language ‘leads’, ‘pipeline’, ‘Value Propositions’ and ‘Unique Selling Points’ – but have completely different understanding as to what the words mean!
They avoid disputes by rules and guidelines.

 

The Happy coupleNewly Married, enjoy joint planning,
flexible boundaries and joint events.
Their talk is of Products, Promotions, Pricing,
Sales Channels and Systems.
It is working through their own hard work.

Fully Integrated Sales and Marketing:
Shared Language & Training
Regular Meetings, Joint Sales Visits, Shared System,
Joint Performance Measurement & Joint Rewards –
mutual responsibility for success.

 

 

Fully integrated Sales and Marketing WORKS and it doesn’t seem to matter if it is Sales led or Marketing driven, one leader or two.

 

It is always Customer Centric, it is a Set of Behaviours,
an Attitude and Shared Values.

It ROCKS! Now look at your Sales and Marketing, what is their status?

BMAC runs ‘Market Workshops’ to integrate Sales and Marketing,
successful behaviours, using a combined Sales and Marketing System,
Joint Performance Measurement from Enquiry to Close. 
Learn how to create the right attitude by sharing right values.

Sales Manager Black Adder’s Post Call Review

black adder

 

B:   (Baldrick the sales representative)        “How did I do boss?”

BA: (Black Adder the Sales Manager) “Not very well, I’m afraid!”

B:   “What do you mean I thought it was great?”

BA:  “Well, you did not ask any QUESTIONS.”

B:    “I asked for the order.”

BA: “Yes but, you did not ask any ‘Open’ questions”

B:   “But, I got the ORDER.”

BA: “Yes but, do you understand their needs?”

B:   “It’s the biggest order anyone has taken this year,
       it put me through target and
       should pay for an extra holiday this year.”

BA: “You have the wrong attitude to Coaching, Baldrick.
        How do you ever hope to improve when you don’t take advice?”

B:  “Sorry Black Adder, I’ll have a cunning plan by next month”

BA:  “Tschh! If your still here next month, Baldrick!”

Sales Coaching: Do it Right!

 

I did an exit interview with a salesperson leaving for a competitor.

He wrote the following comments:

“I am leaving because of the lack of Development in the Company. My Manager ranked my selling skills at my last appraisal as average. I do not know how he measured me, as he always jumped in and took over the sales call.

He has not seen or heard my selling skills, but I have seen and heard his selling skills. He talks excessively and barely listens to the Customer, he exaggerates to the point of lying and he ‘knocks’ the competition.
He has poor selling skills and no coaching skills.

As I want to develop my Sales career I am leaving the Company to join one with a recognised development program.”

hugh Laurie

 

 

 

The Manager who had the last word wrote,

“I would not employ this salesperson again!”.

 

 

 

 

 

Sales Coaching is a Joint Process. The Sales Manager with the Sales Person together Identify a development area.
They then agree a plan for learning and practice that they carry out together,
until the required standard is met, for that development area.

 

Sales Coaching is based on:

  • REVIEW, Plan then Do

  • At each joint call it is 

    DO, Review then Plan

  • After each appraisal its

    PLAN, Do, and then Review again

Sales Coaching is a Continuous Process,

its part of ‘business as usual’ in a Learning Organisation, coaching is not a special event.

BMAC has validated Sales Standards of Performance, Sales Assessment and Sales Accreditation models.

BMAC runs Training for Coaches and Coaching the Coach, both of which are based on validated models.

If you would like to find out more about Sales Coaching contact brian.maciver@gmail.com .

2013 Sales Year is over, start 2014 NOW!

  calendar

The current average Sales lag time in ICT is 7 months.

28 weeks from pipeline entry to sales close.

(Provided you spotted the opportunity
when it was first available!)

 

 

Writing in May 2013 then this year is over,

what is in is in, what is not is not.

What then must be done to make 2014 a great year?

1. KEEP PROSPECTING or 2014 is going to be a poor year.
May/June/July Prospects will be your Quarter 1 sales results in 2014.
2. Cleanse your 2013 pipeline.
William Ocknen’s brilliant book Managing Management Time –“Who’s got the Monkey?”
will show you how to painlessly remove dead and dying deals (Monkeys) from the pipeline.
http://ht.ly/2GXLu 

Don’t waste time LOSING deals “Cleanse your pipeline!”

3. The combination of 1. & 2. above,
is that you are now likely to succeed both this year AND next year.

That is IF you PLAN now, you will in fact need quite a few plans.

Using the Urgent/Important criteria,
in this case Urgent is date of Client required installation and
Importance is the multiplying your likelihood (%) to win by the Revenue.
Plan the most important and urgent first.

Sales people may have to work over a weekend or two!

4. EXECTUTE all your Plans, account plans and opportunity plans.
Recognise that selling continues through July and August only if you Plan and Execute in May and June.
5. August is the best month to plan the 4th quarter.
Scour your Territory for 2013 ‘bluebirds’ in their final stages:
be PRICE aggressive, disrupt the Competition!
6. September is the focus month: what really could close before Sales year-end? It is no coincidence that final quarter of the year (whenever it occurs in the financial year) is always the biggest quarter. Managers think it is their ‘push’, but in reality, it is sales people’s focus. So, let us make more time to focus.
7. October, November and December will define for many their success for this year 80%, 100% or 120%.
Executing the plan, you made in September.
You must be focussing on the best opportunities,
activating events that enable the Client to move through Decision to Purchase.
October, November and December also defines your next selling year, especially your Quarter 1 results. (Early in my selling Career, with a big territory and a good product I had hit Target in April.
Before attending the previous year’s President's Club, I had my ticket to the following year’s President's Club!)
.

calendar
  • BMAC offers the following rules of thumb:
  • October  4 days per week selling for this year, 
    and then 1 day selling for next year.
  • November 3 days per week selling for this year,
    and then 2 days selling for next year.
  • December 2 days per week selling for this year,
    and then 3 days selling for next year.


That gives 36 selling days for this year,
and 24 for next year, use them well.

Sales Training 2012 Review (part two)

Reviewing Sales Training from the outside.  I have been asked to externally review Sales Training for many major and many other smaller Companies.  External Validation is one of the things I do; I talk about it a lot so people ask me to do it for them.  I have to say one Firm was the most fun, as I reviewed in 2008, Sales Training I used to delivered 20 years earlier. “Life on Mars”.  Apparently nothing has changed in 20 years!

  • EXTERNAL VALIDATION is what happened AFTER the training, just as
  • INTERNAL VALIDATION is what happens DURING the training.

External validation must be external and independent
from both the training provider and the training sponsor. 

It is a Training Audit.  Its purpose is to establish:
 ‘Did the Training, through its practical application, have the intended result?’ 

We start the Audit Trail with the Training Needs Analysis and Training Objectives with the Sponsor, this can often be long after the event!  Then External validation has to measure the Knowledge Gained and Retained from the course, the Skills increased since the training

Then, best of all the knowledge and skill transferred to Practical Application ‘on the job’. 

It has taken me years to develop the skills needed to do these audits; the knowledge base of measurement techniques and studies continues to grow, taking a quantum leap in the past 10 years.

Here are some general comments from about 100 evaluations.

  • Apparent Knowledge ‘Gain’ is about 70% cash-burning
    i.e. at the end of an event in a closed book Test environment,
    the mean score is 70%.  
  • The same Test Paper given before the training even produces a median of 40% 
    So the real knowledge gain is 30%,
  • after six weeks there is a 60% knowledge loss,
    when the test is retaken the mean is now 50%. 
  • The range at this point is between 30% to 70%. 
    If you do a bang for the buck analysis,
    you are getting 10¢ on the $1, a 10% knowledge gain. 
  • Add to that 70% of that which was taught has NO impact on sales performance
    and your return drops to on each training dollar spent a poor ROI.

Measuring and Validating Skills is much more difficult.

I measured skills during the first or entry ‘role-play’,
and before training had taken place,
and in the field with customers in field observation.
Typical scores at this point is a mean of 40%. 

Demonstrating skills of:

  • Dealing with Objections,
  • Handling Questions,
  • Asking Questions to uncover needs,
  • Making Value or Benefit statements to fulfil needs. 

End of training measurement showed a 60% mean, but six weeks later, it had dropped to pre-training levels. 

No skill gain,
Sales Training does not deliver Selling Skills is the rational conclusion
.

However, I constantly found skill improvements,
a score would move from 30% to 80% over 6 to 12 months post-training.  These improvements always occurred in Clusters. 

At the centre of every cluster was a Manager/Coach!  Sport has known this for years.

 Sales Centres of Excellence.

  • Have you measured the External Validation of your Training?
  • Are you getting 3¢ on the dollar?
  • Is coaching an integral part of sales training?
  • Do you train Sales Managers to Lead and to Coach or are they just promoted Sales People?

BMAC has constructed  a Sales Training Validation Model,
based on best practice to enable Sales performance,
using Managers as Coaches to produce sales centres of excellence.

A 2012 Review of Sales Training (part one)

Can you fairly review something from the inside? 

Police Complaints, Government Statistics?  It is difficult to review from the inside, so you have to step outside, seek academic review have someone external validate samples.

Why bother?  Sales Training still sells well; Clients continue to buy.  Delegates continue to hand in positive Happy Sheets.  If repeat business and happy sheets were the measure then no review required!

Imagine, we ask a different question “Does sales training work?” 

scales

 

Well yes, it works, look at the happy sheets. 
No, I mean “Does it really WORK?” 
To answer this question I have to deploy much different measures Internal Validation: did the sales training do what it said on the bottle?

  • 3 day event: 17 skills to be taught (or Learned),
  • realistic’ Role-play practice, with Video ‘review’,
  • Individual ‘feedback’ from the Trainer.

 

 

Internal Validation of most of the Main Training Courses providers,
they performed poorly.
 


Their definition of a “Skill”, was really a Behaviour:

Example:  “Hammering: a Joiner hits a nail with hammer”. 
But, Carpentry Skills are learned over a 4 year apprenticeship,

  • choosing the right hammer,
  • choosing the right nail,
  • hitting with the correct force are all based on the situation:
    the Client, the Job, the Materials.

Back to Selling: 


Listening:  A salesperson asks questions and listens,

  • “you have two ears and one mouth use them in that ration. 
  • Listen twice as much as you talk”.
  • This cliché is oft repeated and useless, but it gets great Happy Sheets!
  • Research shows Top Performers have a “listen to talk” ratio of 3:1, pity we don't have a third ear!

There are 27 question types,
and TWO types of Listening (Passive and Active)
which should I be using and for what? 

Questions:  Open or Closed, Convergent, Divergent, Rhetorical, Leading, Closing and 17 others  on http://questioning.org/Q7/toolkit.html  and I haven’t even touched Situation, Problem, Implication and Need.

At this point Trainers launch into the Open/Closed Question debate, by opening and closing their mouth and not listening…this was resolved 30 years ago it was not significant by the Huthwaite Research Group (HRG) who brought the world ‘scientific’ selling and SPIN®. 

Despite its lack of significance,
‘Open and Closed’ questions stay on the main course menu of Sales Training.

My internal reviews of Sales Training, has been and continues to be that, they fail to deliver, what they claim:

  • Skills are not ‘taught’, behaviours are demonstrated
  • ‘Realistic Role-play’ falls short of Accreditation Simulation Standard for Assessment
  • Video Reviews a bit embarrassing red faces, tears or laughter
  • ‘Individual feedback from Trainers’ is platitudes,
    non-specific praise or worse criticism 
    “You don’t seem to smile much or give good eye contact!”
    This has given birth to the fixed grin and fixed stare Sales Statues
    that you meet on booths at Sales Events.

What really is happening?  Delegates go through 3 days of ‘success anecdotes’, funny stories, and witty remarks.  They are entertained, not challenged so they give good happy sheets. 

By any Internal Validation Standard, Sales Training is poor.

If YOU the Sales Training Buyer feel aggrieved, then I ask you to consider 

  • “Where was your shopping list?”. 
    You would not buy a car on looks alone. 
    You would consider how well the car met your needs. 
  • What are you going to use the car for?
    No Training Needs Analysis, No Job Descriptions
    and of course no Training Objectives.
     

Just that happy thought, that at the end of training my salesperson should sell more,
and hence meet or exceed target!

Do you want Training that works? 

  • Training that does what it says on the Bottle.

  • Training based on Structured Needs Analysis.

  • Training that sets Valid Objectives to meet those needs.

  • Training that is validated.

BMAC has been using Leslie Rae’s
Assessing the Value of Your Training” (ISBN: 978-0-566-08535-2) and its predecessors since 1990.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Is Sales Force Automation Broken?

The weak link of SFA and CRM,

is to accurately

represent REALITY,

the actual ‘on the ground’

Sales situation.

weakest link

The evidence is that
Sales Force Automation (SFA) and
Client Relationship Management (CRM) place too much STRESS on Salespeople,
by producing a ‘crisis of information’.

 

 

 

 

This Data Storage “Fortress” has become so complex it needs sophisticated software
to access, read, display, interpret and manipulate the Sales Data.
Hence, the output read and accepted by Managers,
bears no relationship to the input presented by Salespeople.

The crisis comes from the overwhelming input and output of unrelated Data,
without apparent application. 

The problem BMAC set out to overcome
by analysis and diagnosis was the following dissonance.
  • The principle Inputs  are   Qualitative.

  • The principle Outputs are Quantitative.

The evidence for this is that the outputs produced at
a Management Level are both Numerical and TIME based.

A ‘Sales Forecast’ is the amount of expected Revenue,
from which Customers, by which date!

However, the inputs are the subjective view of the Salesperson.

The Salesperson describes and categorises
their own Activity on a best-fit basis, often from a drop down list. 

The Salesperson then second-guess their Client’s view
for revenue Value of potential business and likely Close dates.
Then, most improbably of all, they guess
their own likelihood of success as a Percentage!

All of this subjective information is ‘rose tinted’ by the salesperson’s desire to ‘look good’.
This is done by presenting a strong pipeline, from a portfolio of well attended accounts.

Giving the impression of a well managed and well worked territory
and therefore a strong likelihood of future sales success!

This whole process is so inherently unstable, such that the Sales Manager 
takes a  ‘view’ nominally subtracting 20%-40% from Sales Data. 

This ‘modified view’ is then further modified, up or down,
by a ‘C Level correction’ based on Historical Trends, or Business Plan Forecast!

SFA and CRM have led to a lack of ‘socialisation’, that is real discussion of the actual status of the Sales forecast.  This has a severe negative effect on the ability of the Sales Organisation to Learn, for peer sharing or replication and rollout. 

The measured impact of SFA and CRM, as currently used,
has been found to LOWER Sales Revenue Generating Activity,
and has REDUCED Sales Productivity

The claimed benefit of ‘Sales Performance Improvement’ through SFA and CRM relies on anecdotal evidence, with little correlation to Sales Revenue Improvement.

There is at least the same amount of anecdotal evidence that SFA and CRM is ‘padded’ or manipulated by sales people with exaggerated pipelines, early close dates to show good account ‘husbandry’.

The view that SFA/CRM ‘drive’ Sales by encouraging Sales to ‘drive’ Buyers to the ‘Close’ on a specific date for specific revenue amounts, is FALSE.
 
It is as deceptive as believing the Sun rotates around the Earth.

It denies the fact that Sales revolves around the Buyer,
and
that Sales are subject the Buyer’s LOCAL conditions.

SFA especially fails to account for Buyer Contingencies:
BUYER Environmental Data is ignored, often it is disallowed!

  • Great difficulty is experienced by the Salesperson reporting
    a Reversal of the Sales Stage or Phase.
  • Sales Velocity is presented as fixed speed, and
  • Sales Acceleration (or Deceleration) is not treated as a variable,
    but used as a constant or ignored.
 

To use an analogy from Coal Mining, SFA fails to take account of ‘local disturbance’.

 

In Mining, ‘local disturbances’ can be “rising floor” or “falling roof”. 

Where for geological reasons the Mine floor alters or the roof collapses.
These are both phenomena outside of the miner’s control!
Huge varieties of unfavourable and changing environmental conditions happen at the coalface; most of which are impossible to predict. Even those which could be predictable conditions, most are impossible to alter. 

In mining terms these are described as
‘bad conditions’ and are
treated differently from ‘bad work’

‘Bad Work’ are errors of judgement or activity and are attributable to the Miner.

Both ‘Bad Conditions’ or ‘Bad Work’ will lead to much additional,
but unproductive, work to get back on stream. 

The interaction of BOTH ‘Bad Conditions’ AND ‘Bad Work’ can be catastrophic.

Recognition ‘at the coalface’ in Sales situations,
demands ‘Structured Customer FACING Time’ by Sales Managers!

This time is specifically planned to examine and determine “Local Disturbance”
i.e, ‘Bad Conditions’
Additionally, time spent by the Sale Manager with the Salesperson, in the Customer environment, enables diagnoses of ‘Bad Work’
performed by the Sales person. 
It is worth giving a clear example of each:

  • ‘Bad Conditions’,

    the Customer has decided to postpone the RFP, ITT, or Request for Quotations. 
    The Project is on hold.  The Delay causes Sales Forecasting problems.
    The  Sales Person is wrongly criticised for ‘lack of account control’.
    Normal SFA or CRM input
    “pending”
  • ‘Bad Work’,
    the Salesperson has failed to respond appropriately (i.e. they were late)
    to the Buyer’s RFP, ITT, or Request for Quotations. 
    The Project proceeds without us. 
    The Salesperson avoids the consequence of
    ‘Bad Work’. 
    Normal SFA or CRM input “lost on price”.

The problem we set out to overcome by analysis and diagnosis was the following dissonance.

  • The principle  inputs  are Qualitative.
  • The Principle outputs are Quantitative.

In Sales we have come from an Executive Decision Making and Planning basis of experience, knowledge and skill.  This was replaced by charts, spread sheets, ratios, graphs and calendars ‘paper clipped’ by software into The ‘Monthly’ Report or even, The ‘Weekly’ Report. 

These reports are then analysed for fault, or explained away,
but always without validation, hence without judgement. 

Opinion becomes Fact!

The solution is, as you may expect, is both difficult and slow,
it requires Leadership, Inspiration and a Systematic Approach based upon
evidence and validation, not anecdotal vindication. 

At BMAC we have conducted extensive research using validated models for:
Sales Performance, Sales Velocity, Sales Acceleration to Validate Quantitative Input. 

BMAC then developed a proprietary model for Buying Behaviour and Sales Process,
which enables the effective functioning of both Sales Force Automation (SFA) and
Client Relationship Management (CRM).

Sales Automation leads to low productivity

 

I read Richardson’s Blog on Sales Automation http://bit.ly/Xdatti,
I reply with a 2010 Blog I wrote on the same theme.

 

The inappropriate use of Sales Measurement and Management systems is doing more harm than good.

burger flipper

Workflow systems may have eliminated the need for skilled short order chefs (burger flippers), at Burger King.  Replacing the Cook’s Judgement with thermostats, bells and buzzers does work with fries and patties -
but it does not work in sales!

Instead, Low Productivity becomes the norm due to an ‘adaptive method’ of handling the contingencies of Buyer/Seller relationships.  The poor use of a complicated, rigid and large-scale sales system, itself borrowed from an engineering production system with little modification. 

 

Simply put, applying the same approach to two radically different situations
is not likely to have the same outcome.

The rise of ‘Process Selling’ (steps of the sale) and Sales Force Automation was not due to a need, but to a perceived failure of Sales Departments and the widespread availability of low cost Hardware and Software to implement the ‘systems’.

What was the perceived failure of Sales departments? 

Steadily lengthening Sales Cycle Times.

In IT and Telecoms, this has moved from four months to seven months,
in major Projects (Data Centres) it moved from 12months to 24 Months. 

In fact, Sales Cycle Time does not exist!
It is Buying Cycle time, which has increased!

 

sell-buy

BMAC research into Buyer Behaviour has found consistently that the Buying Process has become more structured, more formal, while involving more people, more activity and a greater degree of complexity than before.  Buying has adopted technology in Searching for alternatives, Evaluation of alternatives and Information assisted Decision Making.

Buyer sophistication has meant that basic facts are gathered on the Internet, negating the need for the ‘Talking Brochure’ salesperson.

 

http://brianmaciver.blogspot.com.es/2010/09/sales-force-automation-broken.html

Yet Marketing Departments continue to produce Brochures and Boilerplate Presentations (death by PowerPoint).  Marketing has also failed to educate and inform Salespeople in Market Sector Knowledge, leading to the situation where Buyers know more about the Product than Sales, and Sales know little about the Product’s Application in the Market.

The net result is you have Salespeople following a Sales Cycle driven by Management reports, following a Sales Process, which is disconnected, from Buyers, Markets and Applications.  Managers have implemented Measurement and Control, and Salespeople have to adapt for function and utility.  Dissonance occurs where Salespeople daily use Outlook for mail, Time management and document filing.  Then, they reluctantly update their sales automation application weekly.

The real problem is that Selling has not extended to take account of the New Buying Process;
Selling is a team responsibility, a team effort.  It involves integrated roles for Marketing, Sales, Product Management, Technical Support, Implementation, Finance and After-sales Service. 

 

The key dimension is NOT the Sales Cycle time,
it is the Product to Cash Cycle time,
and that is an organisational duty, not a sales responsibility. 

BMAC’s proprietary Sales Process to Market Model delivers Product to Cash.

Where are you Integrated or Process driven? 

Cash target behind or ahead?

Sales Motivation – one more time

Maslow, McGregor and Hertzberg are famed for Hierarchies, Theory X and Y and  ‘factors’ Hygiene and Motivation. 

They are all heavy reading, a mixture of research, analysis, perception, intuition and revelation.  I know that many others and I found it difficult to apply their theories to practical Management situations.  Slowly, you realise that motivation is individual and contingent
Everybody is different, and different things motivate the same person in different situations. 

The expression ‘Appropriate Motivation’ best describes the motivation, which enables an individual to achieve a specific task by a particular method, at a particular time.

“Gaining a self funded Masters Degree by part-time distance learning, while being in a full time job is distinct from accepting a Company sponsored full time MBA course during a sabbatical year. 
The desired for the outcome may be the same, but the daily motivation is different.”

The last decade, through Cognitive Behavioural Psychology and the use of fMRI have given deep insights into Motivation.  Addiction, Brands, Compulsive Behaviours, Spontaneous Purchase are all much better understood.  The clear winner, theory wise, has been Vroom’s Expectancy Theoryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Vroom

Intrinsic outcomes, especially Brain Chemistry play a huge part in Motivation.

Let us get Manipulation out of the way; it is the antithesis of Motivation. 
Manipulation is getting people to do what you want, regardless of their wants. 
It uses coercion, threat, push and has fear as the driver.

Motivation, described by Vroom has expectancy, or HOPE as the driver. 
Motivated, I hope to achieve what I want. I put effort in and I hope to get something out. 
In addition, what is wanted most of all is feelings: of success, of well being, of recognition.

effort

 

 

In practice the mistake Managers make is “Them and Us”. 
WE Managers are motivated by high order factors,
THEY the subordinates are motivated by low order factors. 
Actually, WE are ALL motivated by HOPE

 

 

 

The Expectancy of a good outcome or a good feeling.

I am afraid this takes us all back to Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager, back to One minute Clear Objectives, One minute Praising (and when appropriate but rare one minute reprimand).  It should make us review complex Sales Commission Plans then re-write them in behavioural and outcome terms.

I have to revisit SFA (Sales Force Automation) to review the difficulties uncovered by BMAC’s research.  Hackman and Oldham’s Work (or job) Design and Motivation their studies validated by recent CBP studies show that de-Skilling, reduction in Autonomous working and blurring Task Identity will lead to de-motivation and lower productivity, as found in the study.

BMAC has built Applied Models of Motivation for Sales People and Sales Managers. 

You can keep hitting them with the big carrot, or you can rebuild a Cash Generating Sales Engine, which is self-motivating and based on HOPE.  The BMAC model for the appropriate use and application of Sales Force Automation, based on both Expectancy Model and Job Design Model leads to substantial
productivity increase and brilliant revenue results.

LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE

Who are the role models you had early in life that influenced your belief about leadership?
Most people do not talk about bosses; they talk about their mother or father, uncle or cousin, teacher or coach—what we call “lifelong leaders.”

I want to honour one of my hero’s Ken Blanchard Author and Teacher

Ken is renowned for the One-minute Manager, but of course that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Ken has compiled a body of unique research on Leadership, he has collaborated, in the truest sense with some of our most gifted thinkers to amplify and expand on leadership, the value of good leaders. 

Ken is a profound thinker; he is fully open to revelation and he has complete respect for reason.  He teaches leadership, by example, by engagement, by inspiration.

A typical class with Ken, through deep questioning, he expects you to learn:

  1. What is your mission in life?
  2. What are you trying to accomplish?
  3. What are your values – what is going to guide your behaviour?

Based on those three things, what is your leadership point of view—what are your beliefs about leading and motivating people?

  • What are your expectations of others?
  • What do your people expect of you?
  • How are you going to walk your talk?
  • How are you going to model what you say you stand for?

Be inspired by Ken to increase your leadership ability, to inspire others.

Read Ken Blanchard’s book “Leading at a higher level”

Do Not repeat last year’s Sales Mistakes in 2014

“STEP #1: Ignore the ABC Strategy  I’m not kidding. 
Traditional courses in closing business emphasize the “ABC” (Always Be Closing) strategy. 

However, while it’s easy to remember, it’s also a stupid idea.”   [Taken from a recent post on B’net.]

What amazes me is that ABC (Always Be Closing) was discredited by HRG after simple research in the 1980’s.

It never worked. 

 

There are no “steps” to the sale.

 

There are many sales processes, but most don’t work! 


Failure

Sales people work between 1,600 and 2,000 hours per year.
Most of these hours,
about 1,500 -1,900 hours are useless, or wasted.
 

Only about 100 hours,
out of the 2,000 hours worked, 
produce results and
generate their sales.
 

 

 

 

Yet many Sales Managers boast of:
their Salespeople’s ‘hours’ worked (effort mistaken as performance ).

“He/She is here from 7am until 8pm, attendance not productivity.”

  1. Skilled Sales Managers can manage 9 skilled salespeople, easily

  2. Skilled Salespeople can generate up to 500 productive sales hours per year. 


    hours worked

    Do your Cost/Benefit analysis. 

    • 50% of your Sales Mangers are not needed. 

    • Your sales force can be at least 100% more productive. 

    • Take cost out or put revenue in.

      Or perhaps you still believe in A.B.C., Hard ‘workers’ and the Tooth Fairy.

      What is a Sales Engine?

      It is a systematic approach to Selling that constantly generates CASH. 

      Most companies run on Product Engines, they are product based.  Google is a great example.  Google is a product house; it values Product design, Production, Product innovation, Product introduction.  Ultimately, other products will replace it.  It has been a great success, a superb product engine.  Another example would be Toyota cars famed for their reliability and low service requirements; it will have a long hard climb back.  Both Google and Toyota depend upon their engineering creative talent, Scientists, Engineers and Technicians.
      It is a world based on science.

      Few companies are Market EnginesOmnicom is based on Markets, it does not create them, but it can effectively develop a market, or even discover a market.  Omnicom’s success is based upon the Creative Talent in art, design, media and especially the word. 
      It has science, but primarily it is a world based on Art.  The Art of communications.

      Google and Omnicom are direct competitors.  They take dollars out of each other’s pockets.  We have Art and Science in competition, both are winners, both are big Cash Generators.  Yet both are very vulnerable to competitive action, and to mistakes.

      What about Sales Engines? Do you have a Product?  Does your product have a Market?  The sales engine is a carefully constructed Channel between Products and MarketsThe strange thing is that the Sales Engine is both Product agnostic and it is Market agnostic.  Sales Engines are based upon Creative Talent, imaginative Salespeople.  They are the ultimate combination of Art and Science from a commercial point of view.  Sales Engines combine the Art of Persuasion and the Science of Selling.    Wal-Mart, Amazon.Com and IBM are classic examples there some others.

      I built my first Sales Engine aged 16 and that is over forty years ago, I just didn’t know what I had for 30 years.  During the last 12 years, I helped individuals and corporations, with varying success construct their sales engines.  A simple change of focus and direction has had incredible results.

      So, are you Product led, Market led or Sales led?

      • Do you want to sell your Product?
      • Do you want to hold or grow your Market?
      • Alternatively, do you want to generate cash?

      Sales Philosophy, a Philosophy of Selling

      Sales Philosophy is simply the pursuit of wisdom, specifically selling wisdom. 
      My personal approach is a combination of Revelation and Reason

      Revelation is in tribute to all who have gone before me; I will read anything about selling.  I have read upwards of 30,000 pages on the subject.

      Reason

      is a Critical Analysis of what I have read, and of that which is posited.  It means that I have tested, in most cases to destruction, most of that which has been published and taught on selling.  In this, I have not been alone.  The last decade, since 2000, has seen more research into Selling & Buying than all the previous decades put together.

      If you are learning, or if you practise, from a sales method, taught before 2000
      or written before 2000 (MM series) then you are obsolete, as obsolete as Vinyl, as obsolete as VHS.

      Pre-2000 Sales Training (MM series), is as obsolete as Trench Warfare, and just as deadly.  In part the current ‘economic crises’ is attributable to Sales departments in Companies large and Small Globally, but in Particular in English Speaking countries UK, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ.  Why there? Because they have stoically refused to change, to invest in upgrade and development.  They have deployed Sales Automation, e-mail, Outlook, Force.com and its many usurpers, which have attempted to reduce the Art and Science of Selling to the routines, processes, bells and buzzers of a McDonalds’ Kitchen.

      Fries’ may be ready after five minutes in oil at 150 degrees C, but Buyers are not ready after a 2 hour ‘Benefits’ Presentation, nor a 40 page Proposition, with the word “Value” included 23 times.

      Are you interested in a Validated study in successful selling, rather than Vindicated beliefs, completely out of date? 

      Would you like to share in research that has involved more than 1000 sales people, over a period of 20 years?    A methodology based on current Cognitive Psychology, not Charisma. 

      Do you want to wake up?  On the other hand, are you content to wait, like Baldrick?

      Coaching Difficult People or The non-Learner

       

      anxiety male

       

      You deal with Awareness,
      with an 'informational' basis
      NOT an 'opinion' basis.

      “This is where you are now.
      If you continue without change this is where you will be in three, six, or twelve months and these will be the consequences.”

       

       

      If the Client remains a non-Learner, then check for anger or anxiety.


      Awareness
      • Too familiar with the situation to change
      • Too negative to look for new ideas
      • Can’t see any alternatives
      Anxiety
      • Avoids discomfort of reflecting on issues
      • Avoids risk of failure
      • Tentative approach makes failure likely
      Anger
      • Self-justified
      • Blames others for problem
      • Denial problem exists
      Attitude
      • Complacent
      • Low personal standards
      • Defeatist attitude

      anxiety


      Anxiety or Anger have to be dealt with emotionally, this is what the Client ‘feels’.

       These clients are                                NOT suitable for Coaching.

       

      Instead, if you are able and willing,
      the Manager has to take a COUNSELLING Role.

           

       

       

       Counselling is a subset of Leadership Skills,


      it is a set of techniques, skills and attitudes to help people (Clients) manage their own problems,
      using their own resources.  Managers should at least be able to offer ‘Basic Counselling Skills’ in essence that means Active Listening:

      I think I understand what you are saying and I accept it at face value.


      e.g. A sales person who will not give presentations to groups larger than 2 or 3 prospects. They self admit to a “Fear” of ‘Public Speaking’.
      They cannot and should not be forced into doing large group presentations, nor should they be fired. This phobia can usually be overcome (or greatly mitigated) by a skilled counsellor.


      ‘Lay Counsellors’ will have received at least 60 hours of training and supervised practice under CPD. If you are untrained or unskilled as a Counsellor and see indications of anger or anxiety as the basis to non-Learning, then refer the Client to a skilled person in HR for further support and work with them for a resolution.

       

      Complacency, low personal standards and defeatist Attitude

      These present the most difficult challenge to the Manager/Coach. 
      Indeed, they directly challenge the Manager/Coach’s own core ability
      to motivate people and achieve results through others.
      Personally, I use the “Expectancy Model” of Motivation (Google it for details)
      I then review the following checklist,
      • Have I been clear about the task and the standards that I expected?
      • Have I ensured the Client has the skill, knowledge and resource to complete the task?
      • Have I been recognising their effort for partial success results with Praise and Support?
      • Have I Publicly recognised and rewarded their complete success in other tasks?
      • Have I Privately reprimanded or punished their wilful poor results or lack of effort?
      • Have I asked another Manager/Coach for their help and their opinion?
      Sometimes, despite all our efforts, it does not work out,
      persistence can become stubbornness,
      and one of my basic values is Nothing in excess”,   I know when to give up!

      The non-Learner, if also a poor performer, is a drag on key resource.
      If you are unable to see some change in four weeks, and a resolution in twelve weeks,
      then you must consider their, or your own, position on the sales team.


      BMAC Sales Consultants have Success Models and Behaviour Based Models for
      Coaching and Counselling.  BMAC run “Coaching the Coach” training and development, and Counselling Skills for Managers and Coaches both training and development as well as offering Support and Counselling for Trainers, Coaches and Managers on Handling non-Learners.

      Contact Brian.Maciver@googlemail.com for details

        I do not challenge what you say your feelings are.”

      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      Coaching Top Performers in Sales

       

      Tiger woods  

      After spending years together,
      Tiger Woods felt

          he had 'outgrown' Butch Harman
      as his coach.

       

      Now, he has fired his Caddy too!

       

       

       

       

       

       

      After having won Golf's majors and great fame, Nick Faldo 'dropped' David Leadbetter as his coach.
      "I guess it's very much like a marriage," said Leadbetter, who coached Faldo for 13 years.

      "There is a chemistry, a trust, a meeting of the minds. It can be a tough thing to keep going. You have to be a cheerleader, motivator, swing mechanic, part-time psychologist, family counselor, friend, and, of course, the ultimate adviser on the fickle game of golf. Maybe it's not a surprise that things flame out."

      You would only have to change one word; the fickle game of "golf" to the fickle game of "selling"!

      Ernie Els changed a losing 'dry spell' after he employed Jos Vanstiphout (pronounced joss VAN stip hoot),
      as his mental coach.

       

      Top Performers
      need special coaching!


      I have remained Coach and Mentor (Coach is paid, Mentor is Unpaid) to some Top Performer Salespeople for more than 20 years.
      The Top Performer only needs 'Coaching' in the 'mental game' and handling 'new equipment'
      (New Products or more exactly New Product/Markets). 
      These Clients (Coaches have 'Clients' who pay, Mentors have 'Mentees' who don't pay!)
      often become friends, this is both important and brings additional difficulties.

      Gaining entry to a Top Performer, as a 'Mentor',
      is ALWAYS initiated by the Top Performer (the Mentee), NEVER by the Mentor.


      Gaining entry to a Top Performer as a 'Coach' is different.
      It can be initiated by the Top Performer's Manager either to be the Coach,
      or by recommendation to use a different Coach

      If you are the Manager, you have the 'authority' to offer your services as a Coach,
      if accepted OK, if rejected (by a Top Performer) that’s OK too! 
      Both the 'recommended' and 'rejected' Coach has to persuade the Client
      of their usefulness and value as a Coach.

      My ‘entry’ usually consists of a few Joint Calls, which I never take any part in, but I record the call using Behavioural Analysis, of both the Seller and the Buyer. During the Post call review I share the information and make comments on the Buyer Behaviour. If, we can agree that Seller Behaviour influences Buyer Behaviour, then I offer to help them 'shape' their behaviour to more effectively influence Buyer Behaviour.

      Much later, when the Client shows interest in the 'mental game', then we work at developing Strategy, Tactics, which overcome the ploys and gambits used by Customers and Competitors.

        Finally, only after we have established considerable trust, we work on
        "Winner's Attitude".  This is not the 'self-actualization movement' and 'firewalker' approach, which if it truly worked then we would ALL be successful millionaires.
        Instead, it is based upon two 2,500 years old principles

        1. Know thyself

          If only most 'no longer' Top Performers had listened to number 1.

         

        2. Nothing in Excess

          If only Tiger Woods had listened to number 2.

        The Mental Game establishes "Winner's Attitude" towards self and others it is altruistic or exocentric. Winner's Attitude promotes the right attitudes to the Company, the Customers,
        our colleagues and society in general.

        It aligns successful behaviours to right values.

        “Winner’s Attitude” is the place where Top Performers wish to be,
        the place where they are Happy about themselves and all around them.

      Is there no Truth in Selling?

       

      Pinocchio A Sales Training event's advert included:…

      "Prospects Lie to your salespeople and

      they have no idea what to do!"

      This especially caught my eye.

       

       

       

       

      I am invited to up to 100 face-to-face appointments a year, as a Sales Coach.
      As I sit silently, listening and observing, I hear Prospects not being truthful, sometimes by omission or sometimes by deceit. 

      It is usually the 'less skilled' buyer who does this, in the belief that withholding and giving incorrect information help the Buyer's 'deal'.

      However, Sales people provoke this in many Prospects -

      by making exaggerated claims, and push style selling behaviours.
      To change the Prospect's behaviour, I first change the Seller's behaviour.

      Disclosure encourages disclosure,
      open behaviour leads to open behaviour,
      and Truth and Trust are a combination that runs together.


      We cannot and must not "interrogate" Prospects, but the simple techniques of questioning and summarising overcome many of the "misunderstandings" caused by Buyer 'withholding'.

      On the biggest question, "How much is my Competitor offering to sell at?" this is the only time I ask a Prospect for proof, to enable me to price match! <S>

      Tuesday, 7 September 2010

      How do you make great sales people become even better?

       

      "Great sales people" are performing at over 120% of target level.

       

      SalespeopleThey are skilled, knowledgeable and active,
      they have good attitude to their customers,
      their company and their products.
      Given, that this is your definition too,

      then the first Management Job is NOT to de-motivate them,

      avoid getting in the way,
      do not attempt to 'manage' their Performance!

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Taking Top Performers even higher is the most difficult of Sales Management Tasks;
      it requires the highest levels of Leadership and Coaching skills.

      These are both "Interactive skills" that is;


      We DO Coaching WITH others,

      We do NOT DO Coaching TO others.


      The Sales Manager,

      Coaching extraordinary performance from Top Performers

      needs EXTRAORDINARY Diagnostic skills,

      if you want to coach Tiger Woods (or any Tour Golf Pro)

      you need to know more about some aspects of golf then they do!

      Then it is:

      Harmon_Woods800x600_774412

      • Measure,

      • Compare,

      • Feedback,

      • Modify behaviour,

      • Rehearse New behaviour,

      • Apply and review.

       

       

       

      It is a JOINT effort,
      a Sales Person performing at 120% does not HAVE to improve they are already succeeding.


      Therefore, the Leadership style should be Delegating/Supporting their work. 
      Moving them to “Coaching” requires THEIR agreement.

       

      YOU do not have the 'management right' to Coach a Top Performer;


      you may only Coach them with their consent.

       

      When I review, why Top Performers 'go-off -the-boil' and start losing their ‘edge’,

      in 90% of cases it is through mismanagement.

      Distractions, defocus, or simply treating them the same as the rest of the team

      sheep dip training, accompanied sales calls where the Sales Manager interferes,

      random changes of Accounts and new Product ‘drives’.


        Five rules for Developing Top Performers


        1. Never do anything without their agreement, or at least their acquiescence


        2. Maintain their Performance by Delegation and Supportive Leadership


        3. Coach by a "Know thyself" process by clear measurement and simple feed back


        4. Rehearse in Realistic Simulations


        5. Thoroughly OBJECTIVELY review any live sales call in great detail

         

        BMAC Consultants offer Support to Sales Coaches in the form of Tools, Frameworks, Training and ‘Coaching the Coach’ Contact Brian MacIver brian.maciver@gmail.com for details and samples

         

        .

        Friday, 3 September 2010

        Why selling a New Product fails


         

        One of my Clients has just announced a 'go faster' new product.

        It is not the first time I have seen this:
        I was selling Disk Storage when Latency halved from 23mS to 10mS.
        I was selling modems when download speed doubled from 9.6Kbps to 19.2Kbps.
        I was selling double capacity Disk drives, just when Data Centres were running out of floor space,
        and the competition had reliability problems!

        Halving delays, doubling speeds or doubling capacities gives a FEATURE advantage,
        converting that to sales is not that simple!

         

        BMAC and others have researched
        New Product launches and why they do not always succeed.


        The inherent danger in a new 'go faster' product is that you tend talk about
        "the Product and how it goes faster! "
        That is not selling that is being a Talking Brochure!

        To launch a New Product successfully, you MUST uncover the Client's needs for a faster product, not by telling them you have one, but by asking about their current performance. Having established the 'need for speed', you have to establish the 'value of speed', cash quantify it.
        You may want to tell them about speed now, but NOT YET.

        You have more work to do.

        Other than 'Speed', what other Buying Criteria are there, reliability, services, upgrades, and compatibilities, ease of use, locations or PRICE? You MUST have all the Buying Criteria out and in priority order.
        DO NOT ASS-U-ME speed is top, it will be there, but not always top.

        The 'fastest' Car does not always win the race, if it is slow to service, does not corner well or is unreliable.
        Now that you have ALL the criteria, with SPEED highlighted for both Value and Importance.

        NOW SHOW how you meet ALL their criteria.

        Deliver a UNIQUE Client Centric presentation (not a Product and Speed centric presentation),
        which meets ALL their needs and Highlights a speed advantage.

        • Ask if you have met ALL their needs
        • Ask if THEY RECOGNISE that you offer a speed advantage.
        • Remind them of their established 'Value of Speed'.
        • Tell them the Price and then ASK them to go ahead.
        BMAC runs a 4-hour workshop "Avoiding the Pitfalls of New Product Launches",
        or if you want a self-study guide Contact brian.maciver@gmail.com
        If you want to look at the research contact brian.maciver@gmail.com

         

         

        Great blog, with research on New Product Failure by Tom Foale:

        http://thesalesproposition.wordpress.com/category/product-failure/