Monthly Archives: February 2015
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.