Richardson Sales Excellence Review Nominated for Top Sales Blog
Richardson is honored to announce that we have been nominated for two Top Sales World Awards… and we need your vote! The annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards contest recognizes “the heroes” of the sales and marketing space; to laud those companies and individuals who have gone that extra mile; who have been unafraid to challenge paradigms; who have had the courage to pioneer, when others remained wedded to the status quo. This year Richardson was recognized in the following categories. We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a few seconds to vote for us by clicking on the links below.
Complimentary Webinar – Gamification and Mobile Reinforcement: Making Sales Training Sticky
Richardson and Qstream are offering a complimentary webinar to introduce our groundbreaking technology from Harvard Medical School that helps sales reps remember complex processes and facts. This technology leverages mobile and social gaming to drive adoption and motivation, and extends learning from weeks to years while maximizing your return on investment.
Join us on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM EST for the latest webinar in Richardson’s eCoffeebreak series: Gamification and Mobile Reinforcement: Making Sales Training Sticky.
Richardson » Continue Reading.
Learning by Doing: the Magic Behind the Richardson Experience
Salespeople and managers who go through a Richardson program often comment that it is different from any other training that they have ever experienced. We pride ourselves in being experts in adult learning, in addition to being technical experts in sales process and dialogue. For participants, it is a transformational experience in their careers. Together we roll up our sleeves, work incredibly hard, get broken down (a bit) and put back together, and leave with a very different mindset and skill set than when they entered.
Liar Liar – Take care when you hire!
Many of our clients are in the final stages of wrapping-up their strategic planning for 2014 and setting their sights on execution. For most organizations, hitting growth targets will require hiring more sales people and replacing underperformers with those with the potential to hit the number.
Landing New Logos: Small Improvements to Make a Big Difference in 2014
How many new logo accounts do you need to land in 2014, how much will you to invest to achieve your objectives, and what can you do to get more bang for your buck?
Landing new logo accounts is essential to the health of any business. As hard as we try to maximize the potential of existing accounts, there will be some natural attrition over time as personnel and priorities change. New logos help build your base of accounts to expand, and landing new logos is an indicator of your relevance in the market and your ability to compete.
Learning and Development Leaders: Welcome to Your New Job in Sales
Sales? Learning and development professionals… in Sales? Perhaps frightening to some, but there’s some truth to it.
While it’s tempting to defer to the hyperbole that “we’re all in sales,” meaning that we all represent our companies and are responsible for growing them, that’s not what I mean. I’m also not just referring to those in sales training roles. I’m talking about the “Dan Pink” version of “we’re all in sales,” from his book “To Sell is Human,” meaning, that we’re constantly selling ideas and influencing, persuading, and convincing others (especially our colleagues and organizational leaders), to do what we think is best. (We diverge from Pink’s opinion somewhat, because unless you’re a sales professional with a quota, a pipeline, and likely a good portion of your income at risk based on your performance, it is NOT the same, but Pink is certainly correct that many of the dialogue, communication, and influence skills are the same.)
Connecting Dots in the Sales Performance Ecosystem
We’ve written a few times about the Sales Performance Ecosystem. It can be a daunting concept. While many people can relate to what’s included, either the sections or individual elements, how to actually intertwine and align the elements (or “connect the dots”) is often less clear.
Lead Nurturing and Prospecting emails that Make Me Scratch My Head and Go Hmmm….
It seems I hit a nerve with my blog post Is Email on Life Support as a Sales Effectiveness Tool. It has become one of our most popular, and it continues to generate conversation and discussion on social media.
As sales and marketing professionals, we have seen the declining effectiveness of email for prospecting, lead generation, and lead nurturing. Yet, it remains a necessary tool in our arsenal.
Creating the Skill and the Will to Unlock Sales Manager Coaching Power
Sales managers are the force multipliers of productivity and key players for supporting change in your frontline sales force. Research from the Corporate Executive Board indicates that when training is complemented by in-field coaching and reinforcement, productivity is quadrupled from 22% to 88%. However, many sales managers are promoted based on their ability to sell, and the characteristics that contribute to a sales manager’s success as an individual contributor run counter to their role as a developer of others. Some sales managers lack coaching know-how and skill, while others don’t make time to coach.
Customized Sales Training: Why It’s Important and How We Do It
About a year ago, we published the results of a survey that found that customization increases the odds of a sales training initiative being effective. This reconfirmed what we’ve believed for years and how we work with clients. But, some buyers push back on customization, hoping to take a cheaper and easier path to success. With this in mind, here’s a primer on why customized sales training is so important and how we do it.
Why does customization make for a better sales training program?
Clients often come to us with a particular business objective that they want to achieve, such as accelerating organic growth or growing market share. Changing behavior is one of the paths to achieving that business objective. To change behavior requires people to break old habits and learn the behavior.
We find that in order to really learn new behaviors and change old behaviors, you have to practice. It is best to practice in as real-world a situation as possible so that sales reps see clearly how the training is directly applicable to them. The training must be relevant and challenging, and this is why customization is so important.
Think about learning a new skill. It is a leap to learn a new skill and apply it back to the real world. You have to build that bridge for your sales reps by » Continue Reading.
5 Strategic Applications of Richardson’s Selling with Insights ®
Since launching Richardson’s Selling with Insights® program just over a year ago, we’ve seen incredible excitement and uptake from our clients, and we’ve learned a few things along the way. Selling in this era of an ultra-prepared buyer requires a seller to be even more skillful and prepared than ever. While interpersonal, communication, and consultative selling skills are still relevant and important, sellers need new skills to share value-creating ideas that shape and create opportunities with buyers. Sellers also need insightful content to share, which requires even greater alignment between the sales organization and other functions that may be the keepers of subject matter expertise, such as R&D, Product Management, and Marketing.
Selling With Insights: When is the Best Time to Provide insight?
Insights can be provided through any phase of the sales process. Today, selling with insights is about the value you are able to bring to your client or customer through the solutions you offer. Your sales team members need to become a source of ideas and insights for their customers to add value while building credibility and awareness of how they can help. In this video blog, Richardson’s Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer, talks about some of the best times to provide insight and how to do so when that moment presents itself.
Dialogue: The Oldest New Killer Sales Skill
The World of Buying and Selling Has Changed
Few people disagree that professional selling has changed. The internet has disrupted standard selling approaches because it has changed buying behavior. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are more frequent, as buyers do their own research and engage suppliers much later in the buying process. Buyers attempt to drive us toward commoditization while sellers strive to differentiate. With closer budget scrutiny, senior executives and procurement professionals are more involved and the number of decision makers has increased.
Social Selling: A Few LinkedIn Best Practices
Over the last few years, LinkedIn has rapidly evolved beyond a professional social networking site. Today, the LinkedIn network is becoming the hub of social selling. It allows members to leverage relationships with clients, participate in customized groups, and collaborate with your marketing team. Join us as Jim Brodo, Senior Vice President, Marketing, offers his executive tips for getting the most out of your LinkedIn membership and how to your social selling efforts.
Objection Resolution Model: Why is it Important?
For many salespeople, objections are the toughest obstacle they face in making a sale. Today, it is crucial for sales reps to be able to handle and recover from objections because they are unavoidable. Join us for this video blog post as Andrea Grodnitzky, Senior Vice President, Global Performance Solutions, discusses the purpose of Richardson’s Objection Resolution Model and its ability to establish credibility for a sales rep who can consultatively deal with resistance from a prospect or client.
Does it make sense for HR or Learning and Development to own Sales Training?
Professionals in Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Development have tremendous expertise and can be extremely valuable to organizations. However, we believe that neither HR nor Learning and Development should own sales training. That may have made sense in the past, but it no longer fits today’s business environment.
Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation: Make Messaging More Personal?
Behind the scenes, marketing is tracking campaigns and sending leads to sales reps, but sales could lose good opportunities if they don’t make a personal connection. In this video, Jim Brodo, Senior Vice President, Marketing, builds on his earlier blog post, Some Do’s and Don’ts for Better Lead Nurturing and Follow Up, to further discuss the impact of marketing automation on the ability of reps to effectively nurture leads with a more personalized message. Please join him for this short video blog post.
How do you support the transition of a high performing sales rep to a sales manager?
In this video blog, Richardson’s Andrea Grodnitzky, Senior Vice President, Global Performance Solutions, explains the first steps to transitioning from sales rep to sales manager: letting go. Andrea also discusses the responsibilities that new sales managers must create time for, including reporting, coaching, and planning.
Richardson and its Clients Honored with Eight Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award
We are very excited to announce that Richardson and some of our clients were recently recognized with eight Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards. The Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards recognize excellence in learning, talent management, and marketing and sales training programs. The Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards were announced on September 26, 2013, and included the following for Richardson:
Video Blog – Custom Sales Training: Why is it Important?
Changing behavior within an organization is a continuous learning process that requires alignment and support for the sales reps. In order to sustain the change, sales leaders must build a bridge for reps to learn the new skills and behaviors. In this video, Andrea Grodnitzky, Senior Vice President, of Richardson’s Global Performance Solutions, offers advice about the importance of developing custom sales training and how to leverage it to help sales reps learn, practice, and apply changing behaviors within an organization.
Sales Training Programs: Mission Impossible or Mission Accomplished?
Let’s face it. For learning and development leaders without a sales background, being assigned to develop sales training programs can feel like the kiss of death. Even for seasoned sales training leaders, it isn’t a walk in the park.
Why New Client Acquisition is a Lot like Flounder Fishing
This past summer, I spent some time fishing for flounder. While I was moderately successful, I still had plenty of time to think about the similarities between flounder fishing and new client acquisition. Consider the ways in which both work.
Would Your Sales Training Earn Your Customer’s Seal of Approval?
The Customer is King
This is still true, right? The phrase seems less than politically correct these days (with “king” versus “queen” or “royalty”), but if you conduct an internet search for “the customer is king,” you’ll find over 201 million returns in about 0.62 seconds. It’s still a popular phrase.
I don’t find myself quoting the Urban Dictionary much in my business life, but I have to admit, I peeked at their search return
Richardson Wins Two Stevie® Awards for Management & New Product Categories in the 2013 American Business Awards
Richardson is very excited to announce that we were presented with two Stevie Awards at the Stevie Award ceremonies in San Francisco, on September 16th, 2013.
Richardson’s President and CEO, David DiStefano, was awarded with a Gold Stevie Award for Upstart Company of the Year. Mr. DiStefano was recognized for his ground-breaking organizational achievements, helping lead Richardson to record growth in 2012. Among the many drivers for Richardson’s improved performance were new organizational roles, a three-year internal culture initiative, expansion into new territories including China, and the additions of new sales training and enablement services Collaborative Account Development™, Selling with Insights™, Richardson Quick Check™, and Change Leadership™ programs.
September Richy - Can a Sales Gamification Tool Drive Sales Team Engagement and Better Sales Results from Sales Contests?
It’s the start of a new football season and for millions of people there is a huge focus on Fantasy Football. For Adam Hollander, CEO of a new company, FantasySalesTeam, he is not only managing his Fantasy Football team, but helping clients manage their Fantasy Sales Team through his new sales gamification and sales enablement tool, FantasySalesTeam (FST), the winner of my September Richy.
Adapted from interview with Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer for Richardson and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer for Brandon Hall Group
Part three of our series on applying key practices in learning and development to sales training.
Just like people and snowflakes, no two companies are alike. And by extension, no sales organization is identical. And before you ask, there is no magic bullet formula to set your sales organization on the right path or cure all ills. There are too many variables, both internal and external, to be considered.
So when asking the question, “What drives sales teams to perform?” you can certainly expect different answers, or at least differing priorities, among a range of responses. However, there are best practices and principles to guide you on your way towards improving your salesforce. Following is a list of our top 10 areas that contribute to driving – and if done poorly, draining – sales performance.
Is Email on Life support as a Sales Effectiveness Tool?
A few months ago, I did a blog post on the Top Ten Disruptive Sales Technologies. I did not include email because it was pretty much a given, considering its serious blow to postal mail and phone tag. But it’s worth considering the question: Has the influx of new and more personal technologies put email on life support as a sales effectiveness tool?
Let’s look at two examples that suggest email may be on the way out for developing new clients and building relationships with existing clients.
Coaching for Sales Teams: Less Superman, More Clark Kent
You know the picture … mild-mannered sales manager has one-on-one meeting with ordinary sales citizen, they discuss an issue, and WHAM, the sales manager makes a beeline to the phone booth (yes, they still exist) and out comes Superman or Wonder Woman, complete with red cape. Faster than a speeding sales cycle, more powerful than a strong quarter, and able to leap tall pipelines in a single bound. In their rush to rescue Metropolis, however, they may not realize that this method of coaching for sales teams is the kryptonite to their team’s performance.
What Is the Role of Technology in Sales Training Solutions?
Adapted from interview with Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer for Richardson and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer for Brandon Hall Group
Part two our series on applying key practices in learning and development to sales training solutions.
It is fascinating to witness the innovation that is taking place across sales and marketing. And we are seeing opportunities to leverage technology throughout the learning process. When trying to improve the effectiveness of your sales training solutions, you must consider how technology can help your efforts.
7 Essential Ingredients in Creating Effective Sales Training for Sales Teams
Adapted from an interview with Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer for Richardson and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer for Brandon Hall Group
Part one our series on applying key practices in learning and development to effective sales training
Listing ingredients implies that they are part of a recipe, which of course can be literal or figurative. Without wasting time on prologues and previews, we know you’re hungry to learn about the 7 essential ingredients in effective sales training programs. The ingredients can be easily categorized by pre-training, the training itself, and post-training.
Video Blog – Selling with Insights: How Specific Should Insights Be?
We are living in an age where we are overloaded with information. It is now no longer good enough for a salesperson to simply forward on a whitepaper or piece of data. Please join Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer of Richardson, in this short video clip as he walks us through the process and importance of aligning specific insights to your customer’s challenges. This is a third in a series including: Selling With Insights: How can sales provide more value to clients? and Selling With Insights: What are the barriers to Selling With Insights?
How to Fix Common Problems with Sales Training Transfer
I find it interesting that so many in our profession (and our company leaders) want to talk about how to determine sales training ROI (or Return on Expectations), but don’t want to focus on how to get the learning from courses actually used in the workplace. To me, that’s like wanting to determine the effects of fire on wood and putting your wood in sunlight, hoping it bursts into flames so you can study it. It’s folly. Without transfer, you won’t impact business outcomes and you won’t deliver a return, however you measure it.
Focus on Your Average and Bottom Performers to Improve Sales Performance
Yeah, I know. Based on the title, you’re already shaking your head, wondering if I’ve finally lost my marbles. Hang with me… I’m pretty sure you’ll see what I mean.
In an earlier post entitled “Which Top Producers Should You Study to Develop Sales Training Programs?”, I introduced a sales analytics approach that I’ve use for analyzing top producers and placing the sales organization into six major bands.
Selling With Insights: What are the Barriers to Selling With Insights?
In our last blog, How Can Sales Provide More Value to Clients, we discussed how sales provide more value to clients through insight selling. But what are the barriers to Selling With Insights? There are several barriers that sales reps encounter when trying to Sell With Insights to their clients, including finding the most relevant insight for the customer. In his video blog, What are the Barriers to Selling With Insights, Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer, discusses what is required of sales and marketing teams to bring value to the buyer from Selling With Insights.
The Trust Equation – Four Essential Factors for Building Trust with Sophisticated Buyers Part 2
In Part 1 of Four Essential Factors for Building Trust with Sophisticated Buyers, I suggested that even though trust-based selling is far from formulaic, it helps to approach it with a formula in your back pocket: the trust equation.
Sales Transformation – No Guts, No Glory
I read somewhere recently that organizations should consider very carefully whether to undertake a full-blown sales transformation initiative, because of the time, effort and cost involved.
Really? Whatev! (Sorry, I live with teenagers.)
Yes, perhaps if your basic strategy or business model is flawed, your product has serious quality or value-delivery issues, your service delivery destroys customer loyalty, or your costs or pricing/profitability are grossly out of line, you might plug another hole first, while bailing water.
But before long, you need to address revenue, profit and growth. No organization has ever cut their way to the top. Sales remains the lifeblood of organizational success. As the old adage goes, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” I simply have a hard time imagining a more worthy corporate endeavor than transforming your sales force into a more effective, well-oiled machine.
And I’m not talking about 3 or 5 percent incremental improvements, either.
Aim Low, Hit Low
You’ve probably heard the quote that we use only a small portion of our brain’s potential capability, right? I’d argue that generally-speaking, we’re in the same boat with our sales effectiveness.
Perhaps you’re thinking that so many organizations are already doing extraordinarily well at growing sales year-over-year, that sales transformations aren’t necessary? I do know this is true in some specific cases. Some organizations are doing quite well; have already taken a logical, organized, piece-by-piece, evidence-based » Continue Reading.
12 Business Needs for Customized Sales Training
In my role, I spend a lot of time surveying the sales effectiveness market, interviewing buyers, and examining and articulating the need for organizations to customize sales training. We believe that customized sales training that leverages a company’s unique strengths combined with leadership that is ready, able, and willing to support and sustain change are the essential elements for improving sales performance. This is our core business, and we want to continue to excel at it for our clients and partners. Consider our approach:
Step Right Up: How L&D Professionals Can Help Sales Managers Sustain Change Post Training
Learning and Development must help sales managers to guide their sales reps after the training in order to sustain the changes introduced. Some sales managers may not be used to coaching and may need guidance themselves. Consider the following:
After Sales Training: Question, Observe, and Reinforce
In the first two posts of this series, I talked about what sales managers should do before training programs to support strategic change and during those programs to ensure that sales reps derive the greatest benefit. Where should sales managers focus once the training is over and sales reps are back to work?
How to Prevent Your Front Line Sales Managers from Inadvertently Sabotaging a Sales Training Event
Sales training programs to support strategic change initiatives should be approached with the weight and attention they deserve. If this sales training is essential to getting your reps on board and in line with the new way of doing things, then do all you can to ensure its success.
The first post in this series discussed what sales managers should do before a sales training program for their sales reps takes place. If there’s one theme for the pre-training activities, that would be communication. Sales managers need to convey to their reps why the training is important and how it will impact their jobs and remind them of what needs to be done in advance of the training in order to make the most of the time spent.
Sales Training Without Sustainment Is a Wasted Investment
When sales training is treated as a one-time event, participants have been shown to lose up to 87% of skill and knowledge within four weeks. This “brain drain” needs to be dramatically reduced and significantly reversed in order for companies to optimize their investment in behavior change.
4 Ways Sales Leaders can Better Leverage L&D Teams to Execute Strategic Initiatives
Working in harmony will almost always yield better results than constantly working at odds. Everyone can agree that Sales and Marketing are at their best when they work together, hand-in-glove style. Leaders of both business units are on the same page, working toward the same goals and on the same timeline. Conversely, when the relationship is contentious, there’s a lack of faith and respect toward each other, which is bound to yield subpar results that not only do each unit a disservice but the organization as well.
6 Steps to Enable Your Sales Team to Sell with Insight
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, it should come as no surprise to you that buyer behavior has changed dramatically. I’ve come across a number of well-written research documents, such as Base One’s “2012 Buyersphere” report and Forbes Insight’s “The Rise of the Digital C-Suite” study, that highlight how this is playing out in the marketplace. Simply put, buyers are more educated, better prepared, and further along in their buying process when they engage sellers.
Dear Challenger: Sincerely yours, Willy Loman
In their article, The End of the Solution Sale, Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and Nicholas Toman explain that there is no longer a need for salespeople to uncover customers’ needs because customers define solutions for themselves. They propose that salespeople “altogether change how they sell;” for example, deliver a teaching pitch that enlightens customers and tells them what they need and what they should do. The authors assure us with their research that this is how the new breed of successful salespeople win.
Solving “The Forgetting Curve” to Help You Execute Your Sales Strategy - Two powerful lessons in learning from the medical profession
Helping sales reps to recall and apply knowledge and skills would not only increase their effectiveness on the job, but also improve the ROI of your investment in training. To solve this issue, Richardson has partnered with Qstream to provide QuickCheck™.
Using a patent developed at Harvard Medical School, Qstream’s solution helps clients’ sales reps and other employees who go through training to retain what they’ve learned over a longer period of time through a series of weekly short quizzes that continue to jog the memories of the trainees and help them recall the necessary details when the time comes.
Lessons from the Gridiron: Do You Have the Right People to Execute Your New Sales Strategy?
After attending the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, it was clear to me that there is no shortage of ideas and technologies for developing revolutionary sales strategies. Yet executing your sales strategy will be nearly impossible if there’s a big disconnect between the people you need to execute and the people you have today. Remember, you have to sustain performance today while you transform for tomorrow. You can only disrupt your organization so much in the process.
5 Commonly Overlooked Activities in Sales Effectiveness Budgeting
In case you haven’t noticed, summer vacation season has ended, football is back, and we’re all focused on closing our year out strong. Believe it or not, in a few weeks, we’ll be head down budgeting for 2013, trying to figure out our priorities and the investment required to deliver on these important initiatives. Although budgets are never set in stone and will ebb and flow over the year, it behooves us to cover our bases so that we don’t miss anything substantial.
I recently read a white paper by a competitor that I’ve long known and long respected. The paper reflected the influence of The Challenger Sale on this company’s sales methodology. The concept of “Challenger” has captured the interest of the mainstream press and social media and sounds appealing to many sales leaders who are looking for new ways to drive business in a slow growth economy. Several voices in our industry have argued against Challenger. My initial reaction was to recognize it as an approach that I didn’t buy into — live and let live. But the interest in Challenger that I have seen has spurred me to add my voice.
Content Marketing and Insight Selling - Companies Need to Become a Source of Ideas and Insights for their Customers to Add Value
Buyer behavior has changed, fueled not only by the economy but also the ever-available and increasing sophistication of online marketing and social media. Our clients recognize this and agree that they need to do something about it or risk not being heard by their customers.
What Makes a Good Sales Training Reinforcement Strategy?
A good sales training reinforcement strategy requires early planning. One of the biggest mistakes I see our clients sometimes make is waiting until after the training is over to think about the actual reinforcement plan. You need to be thinking about your plan well in advance. And ideally, you should split it up into three phases.
Sales Training: The Importance of a Great Classroom Experience
In sales training, the classroom experience is a big differentiator. It’s simple, adults learn best by doing. If you are pulling sales people out of the field it is critical to make sure the classroom experience is customized and interactive through activities such as role playing for practice. Please join Richardson’s Andrea Grodnitzky, SVP Global Performance Solutions, for this video blog where she discusses the importance of the classroom experience in training the sales team. If you are having trouble viewing this video, please click the following - Sales Training, the classroom experience is a big differentiator.
Social Selling: How is Twitter Effecting the Selling Process?
Using social media in the sales process to drive leads, build relationships, and accelerate revenue is a hot topic, but it requires an expert balance of art and science. Deciding which social selling tools you use will depend on what stage in the sales process you are in, what tools you have available, and of course which tools you are most comfortable with.