Monthly Archives: December 2016
Best wishes for a happy holiday season and our sincere thanks for your loyalty and goodwill throughout the year!
This is the little-known story of how Albert Einstein changed sales performance forever*. And, though history may not be your thing, this story may help you strengthen your performance next year and beyond.
You have probably heard of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and how he defined insanity. What is not nearly as well known about Dr. Einstein is that he had a little brother named Bob. Bob sold time shares back in Germany and complained constantly about his goals, his customers, and his performance, so much so that his friends started to call him “Whine-stein.”
One year, after Thanksgiving dinner, as Albert and Bob watched football on TV, Bob begged his big brother for help. Albert promised to study the problem and get back with him before the new selling year began.
Dr. Einstein put his other work on hold and devoted himself to the study of Bob’s sales performance. What he found was that Bob put in the same strong level of effort each year; however, his quota kept increasing, and the external environment kept changing. This was the source of Bob’s frustrations. Thus, Albert Einstein developed what he called “The Theory of Sales Agility.” The theory held that:
For a salesperson to continue to make quota in a dynamic environment, he or she must continually evolve with these changes by committing to perfect one new aspect of client engagement per quarter – focusing on selling more effectively or » Continue Reading.
A major challenge facing many of today’s organizations is the need to find a training program that is both effective and efficient because taking sellers out of the field for days at a time is no longer an option for many companies in a fast-paced, ultra-competitive business environment.
Time-out-of-field is not the only cost associated with traditional approaches to training. Many teams are geographically dispersed, and hospitality and travel costs for a multi-day training event can mount quickly. Technology can help reduce the costs associated with training, enhance the learning experience, reduce time-out-of-market, and improve knowledge retention.
Richardson is collecting information from sales professionals about the selling challenges they expect to encounter in 2017, and we need your help.
Please complete this short survey to share your insights into the future of the sales environment. Your participation automatically makes you eligible to win a new iPad.
Remembering the Selling Challenges of 2016
In last year’s study, we collected data from over 400 participants that gave us insight into the challenges sales professionals anticipated in 2016. Some of these included:
Prospecting: Identifying signals that indicate opportunities to engage new prospects Exploring client needs: Creating value and insight during conversations with clients Negotiations: Gaining higher prices Closing deals: Competing against low-cost providers Account management: Finding ways to add relevant value for various stakeholders Expanding relationships: Cross Selling Using Data to Help You Become a Better Seller in 2016
While the 2016 selling environment certainly presented significant hurdles, it also presented opportunities to embrace change and learn new, more effective approaches to selling.
In response to survey data, we focused much of our 2016 efforts on providing solutions and guidance for overcoming these challenges. Some of the most popular blog posts on these topics were:
Four Tips for Better Sales Prospecting Generate Deeper Sales Dialogues with Strong Open-ended Questions The Neuroscience of Sales: The Anchoring Effect When You are Selling to the C-Suite and You Finally Get There, Don’t Blow It! 4 Simple Steps to Resolving » Continue Reading.
Video learning is a modern solution to sales training challenges. Not only does it enhance learning outcomes and help make the learner’s journey more engaging, but it also solves the practical problem of providing consistent training across geographically dispersed teams. That’s why it is not surprising to find that it is being utilized more and more frequently in both in-class and online learning environments. Here are a few reasons why video-based instruction is so powerful:
To get a better understanding of if and how companies are helping their sales professionals succeed, Training Industry Inc. and Richardson went to the source. In the fourth quarter of 2016, they conducted a study in which 228 companies participated by completing a confidential survey on sales competencies alignment with training initiatives.
The first post in this two-part series, “Are Companies Setting Up Their Sellers for Success?“, touches on market conditions that led to this inquiry and the focus of the questions. Part two switches gears from responses to insights.
It is undeniable that today’s sales environment has dramatically changed how customers and sellers interact, with both pros and cons. On a positive note, buyers are better informed about products and services than ever before. This can shorten the selling cycle, as customers may already be aware of which product is best-in-class and have eliminated other potential buying options before engaging with sellers.
Conversely, product positioning – and, by extension, positioning the company – and marketing collateral have grown in importance because they may form prospects’ first impressions as they search for options. In this complicated environment, sellers of all tenure in the profession must be armed with the competencies to meet customers where they are in their buying processes.
Sales Competencies Research Insights
Key to setting up sellers for success is the alignment of sales competencies with learning initiatives. Among » Continue Reading.
Selling has never been an easy profession. Sellers have always been faced with rising quotas, pricing pressures, new competitors or competitive technologies, and other roadblocks. But now, there are added degrees of complexity, with buyers just a web search away from answers they used to get from sales professionals.
The selling environment, the tools of the trade, and the sales cycle itself have been forever transformed by technology, globalization, and always-on connectivity. Yet, the foundational sales skills remain as relevant as they ever have been: preparation, needs dialogue, consultative selling, and so on.
Research: Aligning Learning and Development Initiatives with Sales Goals
Sales training and sales effectiveness have been a cornerstone of many company initiatives to grow profitable business, increase revenues, and drive efficiencies. What is needed now is for Learning and Development (L&D) to align the competencies of its sellers with the skills to succeed in dynamic environments. This involves the mastery of customer engagement strategies that are able to adapt to where each customer is along the path to closing a sale so sellers can participate in shaping opportunities and positioning their offerings accordingly.
Are companies currently setting up their sales personnel for success? Are they targeting sales competencies that reflect the 21st-century business landscape? To find answers, Training Industry Inc. and Richardson conducted a study in the fourth quarter of 2016: “Aligning Sales Competencies in Learning and Development.”
The confidential » Continue Reading.