Category Archives: Sales Process
It is impossible to apply knowledge that you can’t remember. That’s why Richardson works with clients to develop a robust sustainment element to their training programs. It’s all part of what I like to call the learning hug: wrapping services and support around training to make it stick. Part I of this series, Training Services Wrap Around and Support Learning, explains the concept. Part II, Preparing for Change, addresses ways to prepare both the organization and its learners for what is to come.
This post focuses on the post-training period and the tools, practices, and assets that need to be in place to reinforce learning and embed new behaviors into “the way we do things here.” We need to help people retain the knowledge they have gained, apply it in real life, and receive evidence-based feedback and coaching to continuously improve.
The first thing to acknowledge is that learning is a process, not an event. What neuroscience tells us is that it’s not the learning itself that embeds knowledge in the brain, it’s recalling that learning that does the trick. You actually have to make yourself go back, find it somewhere in your head, and bring it forward – and then the learning clicks.
Sustaining Learning on the Go
Mobile technology makes it possible to reinforce learning on the go with social learning and gamification programs. Bite-sized bits of learning are reinforced » Continue Reading.
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.
Back in the day, sales organizations would identify the need for training, schedule a learning event, conduct training, and then wonder why nothing changed. The trouble is many companies still do this. The problem then as now is lack of sustainment of learning. And the answer then as now is engaging the sales leader in the transformation process. Sales organizations continually fall short in this area. And if sales leaders are not engaged in the training and in changing behavior in the field, they can either sabotage the training or watch as the learning is quickly forgotten and old ways return.
Most often sales leaders were exemplary sellers who were promoted for their selling skills. If they’re not actively engaged in change—if they don’t see what their people are learning and understand the desired new behaviors and skills—they tend to default to how they did things way back when: “You know, this is not how I learned to do things. I’ve had a lot of success with the old way, and it got me where I am today, so we’re going back to the way that worked for me.”
When that happens, any attempt at transformation is thwarted. So what was the point of the training exercise?
Turning Sales Leaders into Sales Coaches
According to Aberdeen Research, coached teams achieve 15% higher lead conversion rates and 14% shorter sales cycles than teams that are not coached (Aberdeen, 2014) … but we don’t really need research to justify coaching — it’s intuitive to anyone in sales. With almost universal acknowledgement and such obvious benefits, one would think that sales coaching would be a science by now. Unfortunately for our sellers, it is not. The typical sales organization struggles mightily to build a consistent and effective sales coaching program. When coaching fails, we tend to throw frontline sales managers under the bus, but in our experience, the problem is broader and so is the solution. There are three typical reasons for failed sales coaching programs:
Lack of visibility at the top Lack of practical processes and tools in the middle Lack of accountability on the frontlines.
The key to building a successful coaching program is to address all three levels simultaneously.
Signs of a Poor Sales Coaching Program
The tell-tale sign of a poor coaching program is a sales leader who has no idea when, where, or even if coaching is taking place in his/her organization. Visibility is essential to execution, not only because it fosters accountability, but because execution needs direction, and direction is only possible when leaders have insight into the behaviors of their teams. Ultimately, good coaching programs require » 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.