February 27th, 2015

Complimentary Research Study: Best-In-Class Sales Coaching Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle

aberdeen-best-in-class-sales-coaching

Let’s Make a Deal. New Research Reports that Best-In-Class Sales Coaching Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Richardson recently partnered with the Aberdeen Group to provide their newest research study that looks at how adding real-deal sales coaching elements to training activities achieves better business results in today’s competing market place. The research report analyzed the specific competencies around the more in-depth sales coaching tools that help shrink the sales cycle window for the most successful sales operations teams.

The study reveals several key findings, including:

Best-in-class organizations are 26% more likely than all others to move beyond the basic, generic training on products, pricing, and messaging, to a formal one-on-one coaching methodology that is specific to individual needs in the pipeline or key accounts. Best-in-class organizations are 61% more often turning to external consultants and trainers for assistance Best-in-class organizations lead all others by a 16% margin in promoting a culture of continuous improvement by formally engaging in win/loss activities to understand why they win or lose deals

To download Aberdeen’s full report, click here on the image below:

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February 24th, 2015

Why Sales Objections Can be Opportunities

sales-objections

Why Sales Objections Can be Opportunities

As sales professionals, we are quite familiar with sales objections. We hear them on a daily basis, and sometimes, several times a day. We can hear them at any part of the sales process: when we open, when we discuss our solution, or when we close the deal.

The ability to resolve these sales objections is crucial for a number of reasons:

It enables you to maintain and strengthen your client relationships. It helps you move your sales cycle forward in a non-confrontational way. It helps ensure that conversations remain positive, focused, and consultative. It gives you confidence to address tough conversations. When dealing with price objections, it ensures that you don’t discount too early or leave money on the table.

Sales objections are most often thought of as roadblocks in the sales process, carrying negative connotations. In reality, sales objections represent an opportunity — the client is willing to share objections, which gives you the chance to address them and move the sale forward.

It’s important that you don’t make assumptions about the objection and instead ask the client to elaborate. This demonstrates your interest in learning more, while giving you extra time to think. It also confirms that you’re dealing with the right objection, as most times, the objection you first hear can be a smokescreen. I call this the Matryoshka effect, like the Russian nesting dolls: inside » Continue Reading.

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February 16th, 2015

Three Missteps in Sales Coaching

sales-coaching

 

Three Missteps in Sales Coaching

A sales manager’s most important job is coaching. An effective sales coach can accelerate learning, change behavior, and boost the performance of both individuals and the entire sales team.

The sales coaching process we use at Richardson is both simple and effective. When followed, the results are clear. The problem is, sales coaching only works if managers do it properly.

These are three common missteps we see in sales coaching:

Telling vs. asking

The key to effective sales coaching can be captured in three words: they talk first.

Our coaching model is all about asking specific, neutral, open-ended questions — and then, drilling down further with more questions.

Coaching by asking allows coaches to learn about their sales teams and the situations that they face. It builds commitment and buy-in and helps sales professionals take responsibility for their own learning.

There are times when coaching by telling is appropriate, such as an urgent situation in which there is no time to do anything but quickly tell and when moving toward disciplinary action. But, this is always the exception, never the rule.

Directing vs. collaborating

If coaches remember to ask instead of tell, they often do not ask enough questions. They might start with, “What are your thoughts?” or, “How do you feel the call went?” but tend to slowly put on their manager hats and start formulating solutions and giving their opinions. In » Continue Reading.

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February 10th, 2015

Measuring Sales Training Effectiveness

sales-training-effectiveness

Measuring Sales Training Effectiveness: When Quick and Approximate is Enough

When organizations invest in sales training, they are eager to know how their investments are paying off.

Learning the answer doesn’t take complex research design or studies of the sort published in scholarly journals. Quick and approximate measures are often enough.

The changes in behaviors and sales results post-training should be major, not minor ones. The need is for visible evidence to build a reasonably high level of confidence that the sales training intervention led to a material change in results.

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February 2nd, 2015

You Can’t Afford Free Sales Training

free-sales-training

You Can’t Afford Free Sales Training

A client once told me that even if a competitor were to offer free sales training courseware and tools, it would not be wise to accept.

So why is free sales training not a good enough value?

The short answer is that the cost of the courseware itself is almost always the smallest piece of the overall expense for any sales training and performance intervention.

The following two categories dominate the cost of sales training and deserve greater consideration before moving forward:

Lost selling time — This is, by far, the largest and most important cost category to consider. If you take a salesperson out of the field for a material period of time, you lose sales revenue and, most importantly, it is a significant expense. It’s pure economics 101 at work, with the calculation taking into account the total average revenue per salesperson, the gross margin, the total number of selling days, and the size of the training population. Costs are large, usually very large, but the returns are even higher — if, and only if, you have a quality intervention, sales behavior changes and sales increase. Even a small gain of, say, 1% in sales performance per person post-training can provide a tremendous present value contribution, outweighing all costs by a factor of 10. Out of Pocket Costs — This is the second-largest » Continue Reading.

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January 26th, 2015

Overcoming Obstacles to Prospecting

obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles to Prospecting

In a recent post regarding making referrals part of your prospecting, we highlighted the importance of overcoming obstacles. The point was that, while seeking referrals is one of the best ways to secure warm leads, too many sales reps fail to pursue them due to real or perceived obstacles in their way. Overcoming those obstacles will undoubtedly lead to greater success, so let’s take a deeper look at prospecting obstacles and ways to manage or avoid them.

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July 21st, 2014

The Ultimate Checklist for Mission Critical Group Sales Presentations

group-sales-presntations

The Ultimate Checklist for Mission Critical Group Sales Presentations

“Mission critical” is a term that you see in many different activities, up to and including military operations. When mission critical aspects do not go well, barring an extraordinary piece of luck, the mission fails. If your group sales presentation does not go well, barring an extraordinary piece of luck, your sales effort will fail and you will not get the contract.

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January 23rd, 2015

How to Make Referrals a Winning Part of Your Prospecting

referrals

How to Make Referrals a Winning Part of Your Prospecting

Of all of the possible sources of leads, referrals are often the hottest and most desirable. Brokered by someone who knows you first-hand and trusts your work, there’s an implicit recommendation instilled, which carries considerable weight. The problem is that sales reps too often fail to pursue these opportunities.

Here’s a four-step process to bolster your long-term success by getting your sales reps to take a proactive approach to gaining referrals.

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