Viewing Posts for: Stephan Hagelauer
For Learning and Development organizations to deliver the most relevant, effective, and meaningful training programs to Sales organizations, they need to ask their internal customers the right questions.
L&D may have a clear direction for its mission in developing employees and have a good sense of the population it serves, but to be a strategic partner to Sales, it also needs context around skills or behaviors that may be lacking.
Such context for training is best found in the tools of the Sales organization itself:
A formal sales process that provides a repeatable, effective progression for sales professionals to move opportunities through the sales pipeline A CRM in which the sales process has been integrated, allowing rapid analysis of the stages where sales opportunities may become stuck or lost The best way for L&D to be aware of where sales professionals excel and where they need help is through the sales process. So, the first question for L&D to ask Sales is: Do you have a sales process? Next, try to assess how formal and well-adopted it is versus just having some informal procedures that may differ in implementation across the organization.
The kind of sales process we at Richardson work with clients to develop is a formal, dynamic one that includes metrics for measuring progress. We believe a consistent sales process drives better results — and achieves results as quickly as possible. The foundation is » Continue Reading.
When it comes to sales training, the obvious goals are to improve the performance of sales professionals, win more opportunities, and develop the kinds of skills and behaviors necessary to compete successfully in a changing business environment. The secret to achieving these results as quickly as possible is using the sales process as a framework for training. While this sounds intuitive, it doesn’t always happen this way.
Internal Perspectives on Sales Training
What we find at Richardson is that training requests can originate in either of two functional areas: Sales or the Learning and Development organization. Each speaks a different language and focuses on different things when it comes to training. Sales talks about building rapport, positioning solutions, sharing insights, and negotiations. L&D talks about learning methodologies, skill transfer, and knowledge retention.
Bridging the gap between the two points of view and focusing the conversation on specific training needs requires the framework of the sales process.
Using the Sales Process & CRMs to Develop Effective Training Programs
The sales process is already an invaluable tool for the sales organization. Research shows that companies using a formal sales process generally saw an 18% boost in revenues (Harvard Business Review, January 2015). Yet the sales process is often overlooked as a tool for discussing sales training needs with L&D » Continue Reading.
Consider this scenario:
When Richardson people talk with prospects in a Learning and Development role, the conversation tends to focus on a training solution, skills reinforcement, and maybe, a change management initiative. When Richardson people talk with prospects in a Sales leadership role, the conversation tends to focus on the sales process — and only after the sales process is thoroughly reviewed will the need for skills training or behavior change be addressed.
This makes sense because primary interests are related to the function of the job. L&D leaders are responsible for developing the knowledge, skill level, and potential of their people. Sales leaders are responsible for achieving sales results through their people. However, with different optics come different views of what the goal line looks like. In this post, I’d like to offer a way for each group to easily check that they are aligned.
Achieving Rapid Alignment Between L&D and Sales Leaders Through the Sales Process
To rapidly achieve alignment, I recommend using the sales process as a bridge between L&D and the sales organization, helping them work more effectively together. If you think of the sales process as what to do and the knowledge and skills as how to do it, then aligning the two becomes a quicker and more effective way to get the kind » Continue Reading.
Sales KPIs Everyone Should Follow
Sales KPI measurements are an important part of your organizations sales process. Sales is a measurement-based business. Metrics are tracked for quota attainment, sales by product line, sales by segment, sales by territory, new business versus renewals, forecast versus actual results, number of sales calls, etc.
Lagging indicators of success, like revenues, are cumulative. They describe commitments and deals that have occurred. They mark the status of an opportunity at the end of the sales process.
Leading indicators of success are incremental. They are based on actual customer behavior and reactions to what the sales rep does or says. They predict future customer commitment and provide insights into the status of an opportunity during the sales process.
Sales Process and Sales KPIs
So what key performance indicators – Sales KPIs – are most important to track? Following are three sales KPIs everyone should follow, you might be able to capture some of these metrics in your team’s CRM. They are a blend of lagging and leading indicators because both are necessary for transparency into the progression and ultimate outcome of opportunities. Focusing on these three will tell you whether you’re going to be successful – and whether, at the end of the day, you have in fact been successful.
Forecast accuracy is » Continue Reading.
How CRM Integration Can Be Used for Training and Improving Your Organization’s Sales Process
Sales managers are the front line in promoting adoption of the sales process with their reps. They achieve this through consistent and ongoing coaching sessions that focus on moving deals through the pipeline. When utilized correctly the sales process can be a powerful tool to facilitate rapid behavior change within your organization. Taking your sales process to the next level can open a new world of opportunities, just like Super Mario getting the power-up mushroom in the popular platform video game series. The secret is sales CRM integration in the sales process.
Integrating Your Sales CRM in the Sales Process
Sales CRM Integration into your company’s sales process sounds simple enough, but the reality is that most companies treat their CRM as a data repository.
Sales reps are required to input and update information about their calls, and sales managers access the data to make forecasts – and to adjust those forecasts, when necessary.
In reality, the level of adoption of the CRM is limited because the tool itself offers limited value to sales reps. Typically, they use it to discuss their activities with their sales manager, schedule appointments, and set reminders. Some companies try » Continue Reading.
If your organization has an established sales process, congratulations. According to “Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue,” published in the January 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, such B2B companies generally saw an 18% boost in revenues by using their planned processes.
The two keys here are 1) to have a credible process and 2) to use it. The best way to make sure sales reps are using the process – and using it effectively – is through coaching conversations between sales managers and their teams.
As the HBR article also reported, companies that spent at least three hours per month managing each sales rep’s pipeline performance saw 11% greater revenue than those spending less time.
Further, how those three hours were spent was equally important. “The primary focus of a pipeline meeting should be to help reps develop a game plan to move deals forward, not just scrubbing CRM data and forecasting revenue,” say authors Jason Jordan and Robert Kelly.
At Richardson, we call this “pipeline coaching.” This term is part of the common language we advocate for sales teams in order to keep everyone on the same page. Simply put, pipeline coaching involves a conversation between sales manager and rep that focuses on deals in the works.
High-impact coaching questions help managers confirm that their reps have the level of skills and knowledge needed to achieve verifiable outcomes at every stage in » Continue Reading.
There are two things that unite virtually every sales organization: 1) the desire to improve sales performance and 2) to achieve results as quickly as possible. In this series of posts, I discuss three ways in which the sales process can be used as a blueprint for rapid behavior change that drives better results. The first post in the series focused on common language; the second post focused on consistency provided by the sales process; and this final post addresses forecast accuracy.
Improved Sales Forecasting Accuracy
For sales forecasts to be meaningful, they must be credible and accurate. Yet, on average, “24% of all ‘sure-thing’ sales deals — current customer relationship management (CRM) opportunities deemed 80% or more likely to close in the current month — eventually slip out of the real-time forecast into subsequent selling windows … or actually don’t ever close at all.” This sobering statistic comes from research reported by the Aberdeen Group in June 2015.
The time to discover unexpected deal slippage or loss is certainly not at the end of the forecasting period, be it quarterly or monthly. It is important to pinpoint problems as quickly as possible to allow for course corrections. This takes a dynamic sales process that incorporates a considered series of stages, activities, verifiable outcomes, and high-impact coaching questions. The process should be flexible and scalable, with room in the execution for good judgement by sales professionals.
Companies » Continue Reading.
There are two things that unite virtually every sales organization: 1) the desire to improve sales performance and 2) to achieve results as quickly as possible. In this series of posts, I discuss three ways in which the sales process can be used as a blueprint for rapid behavior change that drives better results. The first post in the series focused on common language; this second post focuses on the consistency provided by the sales process.
Consistency Across the Organization
The leading concern of sales executives is the lengthening of sales cycles, with deals getting stuck in the pipeline. According to research reported by the Aberdeen Group, in September 2015, 52% of sales executives reported this as a top concern. The Aberdeen report also found best-in-class sales organizations reported a 16% shorter average sales cycle than under-performing companies.
More research, this time by Harvard Business Review, also in 2015, discovered that salesforces were “most effective in managing their sales pipelines if they had invested time in defining a credible, formalized sales process. In fact, there was an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t.”
As you might expect, just having a sales process doesn’t guarantee success. The process itself must meet a number of qualifiers to be effective.
It must be aligned with the buying process of customers It must provide clear direction for sellers’ activities and outcomes at » Continue Reading.