Archive for the ‘Technology’


Make Every Sales Call Matter

So here’s the thing.  There are really only two things that a salesperson controls; (1) who they call on, and (2) what they say when they get there. Ideally a seller is spending as much time preparing for and executing on the ‘what’ as he is deciding on the ‘who’. After all, no matter how well you have refined your target market, figured out the ideal buyer persona, and sharpened your competitive positioning, nothing happens until you engage with the customer.

But the research shows that very few of these engagements are planned.  It is all too rare that a sales person has a detailed plan of what he wants to achieve on the call. What are the desired outcomes? Why might you fail? In the absence of a Call Plan many sales interactions leave a lot to be desired. In fact, 64% of all sales calls are ineffective.

Making every sales call matter – matters. This is where the magic is supposed to happen. It is the salesperson’s opportunity to progress the sale, to deepen relationships and to uncover and address vulnerabilities in the deal. It is his opportunity to show that he is a credible individual who can bring his own insight to the conversation, and create – not just communicate – value, all the time advancing the deal.

Unfortunately, most of the time, there is no value created by the salesperson. Only 25% of senior business executives are prepared to take a second meeting. Two-thirds of the time business executives are turned off by the lack of preparation by the sales person. They say that they don’t find a lot of value in sales conversations. We should not find it surprising that business executives who are being pursued by sales people play hard to get, using their executive assistants to screen callers, interrupt meetings, or delegating the entire interaction to a subordinate.

The harsh truth is that most sellers are not adequately prepared for sales calls. The consequences go further than you might think. If you waste an executive’s time – the most precious currency she has – your stock has fallen. The likelihood of progressing the sale has been damaged. Your value is questioned.  Any business you win will be on price alone. Research suggests that the purchase experience is the most significant arbiter of customer loyalty.  Now your customer loyalty is damaged even before you start.  You have a steep hill to climb if you ever want to use this executive to refer you to her colleagues.  You have just wasted her time – so why would she subject her treasured relationships to an ineffective sales call?

After every meeting, you always want the customer to feel that the meeting was a good use of her time, that she got more from the meeting than she expected.  Satisfaction or quality is always a function of expectation and performance.  If you don’t perform to the customer’s expectations then she will be disappointed, and that’s not good. You, your colleagues, and the customer, should all be clear as to the customer’s expectation of the call. That’s a good place to start.  Here’s a short video that might paint a picture.

Making every sales call matter – matters.

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Helping the Front-Line Sales Manager – It’s All about Rhythm

About once every six months I have the privilege of hosting some of our customers at our Customer Advisory Board meeting.  At these meetings we always learn a lot about how Dealmaker is being used to drive sales performance.  I am just back from San Francisco where we had gathered together a group of sales leaders to discuss our future plans and to get their input on how we can serve them better.

One of the topics we frequently discuss is the critical role of the front-line sales manager.  It is well understood that this important link in an organization’s sales ecosystem is a high-pressure role, but one that can be highly impactful when leveraged.  To help frame the discussion we had crafted a framework for the rhythm of a sales manager’s business.  The people in the room thought that this was helpful, so I thought I would share it with you.

(If you are interested in this topic we are hosting a Front-line Sales Manager webinar on Tuesday, February 25 with two of our customers; Salesforce.com and Shaw Industries. You can register here.)

One of the key observations is that effective sales managers can balance short-term current revenue activities (represented by your current forecast), with the future business pursuits (represented by your pipeline).  We endeavor to support both of these tasks with our Dealmaker Sales Performance Insight product, so we do have a vested interest in fully understanding the dynamics and efficacy of these competing motions.

temp-fcast-pipe

When most sales managers wake up every day they are concerned about the deals on the table right now.  Good sales managers triage the opportunities focusing where they can win and applying resources accordingly.  But at the same time they struggle with how to coach their teams, strategize future initiatives, ensure their teams are effectively enabled, worry about success at their existing accounts, hire and on-board new reps, performance-manage those existing reps who need help, liaise with marketing to help fill the funnel, and feed the corporate machine.

 

temp-cadence

 

………..

The chart here is a sample approach that you might consider.  The first column generally represents hygiene-factor activities but need to stay on the list.  Column 2 includes the most high-yield activities and as you move left to right you want to stay focused in the middle of the chart.  The last column is a necessary evil and can be almost completely off-loaded to technology. Spending time here adds no value to your business.

Our experience would suggest that if you can develop a rhythm in the business, balancing the important with the urgent, you will be more successful, particularly if you can off-load the management of the machine to someone else and leverage technology to automate as much of the reporting as is practical.

I am concerned about the current trends towards unguided use of analytics to ‘help’ the sales manager, and I have written about that before.  The experience of successful practitioners would suggest that sales domain expertise embedded in a structured business rhythm removes much of the friction.

 

 

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Unpacking Sales Velocity

When Henry called me yesterday he asked a really interesting question. ”Why is it”, he said, “that everyone feels that the start of the year is the only time that they should look to build their pipeline?”

Henry works for a software UX design company that we partner with. His company plays a huge role in designing Dealmaker to be really, really, easy to use.  They do spectacular work. If you are a Dealmaker user you will know what I mean.

Henry’s question was prompted by the fact that over the last month (i.e. since the start of the year) his company has been inundated with requests from customers looking for his help.  They want him to design new websites, upgrade the UI of their applications, and design new marketing campaigns to attract new sales opportunities.

What’s really great about Henry is that over the time that we have been working together he has assimilated much of the sales methodology that we embed in Dealmaker and has immersed himself in the personas of the sales person and sales manager.

His follow up question was “Anyway, why is it that they are fixated on pipeline, adding more and more deals that they then don’t qualify properly or follow a proper sales process?  Shouldn’t they be thinking about each of the four Sales Velocity levers?”  I have to tell you, I just sat back and chuckled to myself.  I just love the fact that in the process of getting to understand the very best UX for Dealmaker, Henry now automatically thinks about the things that we all want our sellers to think about every day.

I have written about the Sales Velocity Equation before.  At its heart it says that there are really only four levers that you can pull to impact how much you sell in a given timeframe.  These are (i) the number of deals, (ii) the average deal value, (iii) the win rate, and (iv) the sales cycle.  When you take this to heart, you can see that it is not all about more leads, more calls, or even more opportunities.  Some times it is about increasing your average deal size by understanding the value of what you can provide in context of the customer’s business problem. When mapping your sales process to the customer’s buying process you can often take some control of the sales cycle.  Win rates generally increase when you bring insights to the customer that lead to your UBV (Unique Business Value).

Each of the levers impact how much you sell, and you should care about each of them equally.

If I get time over the next week or so I will write about how you can increase how much you sell by working with each of the four Sales Velocity levers, but for now I will just point you at this Slideshare that unpacks Sales Velocity for you a little bit.

Sales Velocity Equation

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7 Principles for Successful Sales Leadership

One of the perks of my job is the interaction I am privileged to have with so many great sales leaders. During the beta phase for a new solution we just launched (to help sales managers understand the potential vulnerabilities in the sales performance of their teams), I had more intensive interaction than usual with a number of sales leaders.  Going beyond the challenges of the front-line sales manager, which is really the problem that Dealmaker Sales Performance Insight helps with, I was struck by some common principles that seem to be consistently applied by those sales leaders who are at the top of their game.  Here is my synthesis of those conversations.

1.    Lead with Purpose:  Your team cares less about what you are telling them to do, but more about why you are asking them to do it. With a shared understanding of where you are headed together, you can more easily collaborate and communicate.  If you can articulate a higher purpose than just hitting the targets – they know they have to do that without you telling them – they will understand the ‘why’ you are taking the direction you are taking, and that is always more powerful than the ‘what’.  When ‘why’ is understood, the team has a better chance of figuring out the ‘how’.

2.    Set High Standards – Hold Everyone Accountable:  Inspire your team to execute to the best of their ability – every time. Every single internal and external interaction matters.  It reflects on your values if you let poor practices develop without instant intervention. Slow response to a customer, casual email communication, bad manners to internal colleagues, poor quality proposals to customers, or arriving late or unprepared to a meeting, all let you (and the whole team) down.

3.    Write the Plays – and then Play them Right: Sales strategy is relatively easy. Constant execution and sales discipline is harder, and separate the great from the mediocre.  From business development through follow-up after the sale, the overall sales process (or go-to-market strategy) will contain milestones, trigger points, best practices, disciplines, and specific recommended tactics. Writes the plays, and then ensure that they are rigorously adopted, every day.

4.    Be the Role Model: As a sales leader you will undoubtedly have other things on your plate distracting from your core task. De-prioritize these time thieves.  Spend your time on exhibiting to your team how you are holding yourself accountable to the high standards that you have set.  Lead from the front. Execute your plays. Remember, you are in charge.

5.    Be Prepared to Rebuild: If you don’t have the team you need, you must be prepared to re-build. Always be recruiting and building a bench. Just like nurturing prospects for future business, the sales people that you want to hire are probably not immediately available the first time you connect with them. Start the conversation early.

6.    Prepare to Win: Winning doesn’t happen by accident. It usually happens when you are better prepared than your competitor.  Methodology helps, but systematic planning will equip you to deal with situations that arise without warning.  Deal reviews, account plans, sales process refinement, smart sales software, are tools you might use. Once the game starts they are usually on their own and it is then too late to help your team.  You need to prepare them in advance to win.

7.    Embrace Change Methodically:  The business world continues to evolve. Buyers change. New competitors emerge. Economic stability fluctuates.  Responding to change is never easy – particularly when things are already going well. When things are going badly you might feel the need to press the restart button. In either case you must accept two constants; (1) you need to make this quarter’s number working with what you have today and (2) what you have today will need to change just in time to serve your needs tomorrow.

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Surprise Your Customer

Flying from Ireland to San Francisco on the way to Dreamforce 2013, I was thinking about a session I was going to deliver. It was important. It was the first of 10 sessions we were involved in at Dreamforce and I wanted to kick it off well.  It was also the first public showing of our new Dealmaker Sales Performance Insight solution, so I felt the pressure of a product launch.  The session had been over-subscribed to the extent that it had to be moved to a larger venue, and still it sold out. No pressure.

The plan was that Joe Ryan, the session host, and product manager at Salesforce’s Work.com business, was going to talk about Work.com and the capability for partners (like The TAS Group, Xactly, Hirevue and others) to extend Work.com and the Salesforce Chatter profile in general.

That’s where I come in.

Joe would intro me “And now I’d like to introduce Donal Daly, CEO of the TAS Group, ….“, and I would come on go … “Hi, I’m Donal Daly with The TAS Group” (the audience knew that already – a waste of 5 seconds), “and The TAS Group’s unique combination of sales methodology and smart software has been helping companies like HP, Salesforce, Autodesk to grow revenue by …” (are you yawning yet? Seriously, I want to know).  Zzzzzz.

So, as I thought about this, somewhere over Greenland, I thought to myself, “You know that is not the way to do this.” This is an audience that will sit through hours and hours of sessions at Dreamforce – hopefully many of them ours – and they don’t need the standard “Hi, I’m Fred from XYZ,  we leverage the power of the blah, blah ….”.

So, as British Airways 285 left the coast of Greenland and continued on towards the east coast of Canada, I challenged myself to come up with a whole new intro; one that described our unique value in a way that the audience would remember amidst all of the noise at Dreamforce, and then I remembered a conversation that I had with one of our customers just a few days earlier.

No surprises“, Rob said. “What I love about what Dealmaker does is that it means we have no surprises; Surprise wins, surprise losses, surprise competitors, surprise price pressure, surprises in the forecast, surprises in the pipeline.  They are all bad and a waste of time. Now, because we plan better, and bring more value to our customers, and Dealmaker keeps us on track, we don’t get caught off-guard as much, and that’s why the revenue is up.”

Surprises. We help our customers avoid sales surprises.

The best way to prevent a surprise is to create one, and the best way to create a surprise in sales is to bring uncommon value to your customer.  We try to do that for our customers and help our customers do that for theirs.

So, go ahead. Surprise your customer.

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10 Rules for Great Sales Coaching

Over the last number of years I have given a lot of thought to Sales Performance Management.  I think that most experienced practitioners and observers recognize that the front-line sales manager is the key to scaling sales performance. But it is a really hard job. And if sales managers are in fact the linch-pin of the sales organization, then when sales management fails, sales fails. Bouncing from task to task, managing up, out and wide, getting to the important tasks often suffers under the pressure of the urgent. One of the important tasks that get relegated to the ‘I-know-I-should-do-it-but-I-just-can’t-get-to-it’ bucket is sales coaching. I thought that I would share some thoughts here on how you might make what every coaching time that you have most effective.

But first, some facts:

  • According to SEC/CEB, Coaching can improve sales productivity by 88%
  • Per Gallup, when sales coaching is effectively deployed, customer loyalty increases by 56%.
  • This is not surprising given that in a recent report from CEB, 53% of customers see the ‘Purchase Experience’ as the primary driver of customer loyalty.
  • Sales Management Association conducted a study looking at issues that are “important to sales force success” and examined the resource that was applied to those initiatives.  Sales Coaching stands alone, as being recognized as being important but not getting the attention it deserves.
  • According to a separate Sales Management Association study, most sales managers are spending less than 5% of their time on sales coaching. Perhaps given all of the time they are spending on all of the other activity, perhaps this is not a surprise.  But it is still worrisome.

We looked at why Sales Managers don’t coach, and saw a combination of (1) the lack of time, and (2) uncertainty about what to look for as two of the major obstacles.  As you would probably expect from me – I believe that technology and smart automation has a huge role to play in resolving both of these issues to empower the sales manager to (a) understand the vulnerabilities in his/her team and (b) provide coaching to help the team members improve.  (Disclosure: This is precisely what we do with Dealmaker Sales Performance Insight.)

But it is worth stepping back to consider what good coaching looks like:

Here are my 10 Rules for Great Sales Coaching

(I want to thank all of the experienced practitioners who contributed/validated/improved my work in creating a list and then reducing it to a manageable number of just 10!)

 

1. Collaborative:  collaborative

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Coaching should be a joint process. It is not about the manager telling the sales person what to do.  It must be viewed as connected to a shared positive purpose, with agreed expectations and suggested preparation.  You may jointly want to progress a deal, learn from a loss, or review strategy – but the emphasis needs to be on jointly – it must be a two-way flow.

2. Regular Cadence:cadence

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Coaching should be embedded in how you manage your sales business. If centered around deal reviews, assessment of account plans, discussing a sales process, coaching should not be viewed as an event.  Regular, scheduled coaching sessions will develop a consciousness and familiarity with the process that will grease the wheels and make each coaching session less challenging and more productive.

3. Consistent Framework:  framework

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Consider, for example, a Deal Review.  You should create a consistent framework that the sales team is familiar with.  You might start with an overview of the deal, allow for clarification questions, identify risks and vulnerabilities and then brainstorm solutions and strategy.  Do it the same way every time and it will flow more easily.

4. Apply Buyer’s View:buyer

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In truth there is only one perspective that really matters, and that is what the customer thinks.  Remember that the impact on a customer of a bad buying decision is typically greater than the impact on a sales person of a lost deal.  So the sales manager, or others in the coaching session, should take the perspective of the buyer. Honestly answer the question: “If I was the customer, would I buy from us?”  It’s a great lens to use to focus your thinking on what the customer cares about.

5. Look for Evidence:  evidence

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Always look for evidence.  When presented with comments like “Joe Smith really likes us,” or “We have strong compelling event,” you should always respond with questions like “How do we know?”  Be clear about the evidence of customer action that helps support those assertions.

6. Elicit Critical Thinking:thinking

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The role of the coach is to elicit critical thinking from the sales person.  Start with “If we were to lose the deal, or fail in this account, what would be the top three reasons?”  Then, when these risks have been identified, allow the sales person to come up with their own answers.  This critical thinking is a muscle that can be developed with progress.

7. Praise Good Insight:  good-insight

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People respond to praise – particularly in front of their peers.  If you don’t acknowledge or recognize valuable contribution, you are less likely to get that same contribution again.  You audience will think either that you don’t get the value – or think that you are too important (in your own mind) to respect their opinions.

8. Be Objective & Curious:  curious

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As Albert Einstein said, “Never stop questioning.”  Remove any bias that you have about account, the opportunity or the sales person.  Remain objective and seek the truth that will serve you all.

9. Don’t Take Over:  no-control

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It is not your job to close the deal, be too prescriptive on strategy or directive on the next action.  Don’t feel that you are the only one who can call the customer, or do the research, or plan the account.  You are trying to develop new behaviors and that only happens with practice.  Don’t take over.

10. Document Actions:document

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If the coaching session was worth doing, then it is worth recording what happened, the insights you learned, and the actions that were agreed, and then follow up.

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Why LinkedIn is losing its value to me

I don’t know about you, but I am a little frustrated with LinkedIn lately.  Every single day now I am getting multiple generic “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” messages.  Most of these are coming from people I do not know, and as they are mostly generic, I have to assume that the senders are not really interested in making a connection – but simply are building up the contacts they have. That does not make any sense to me. In fact, I think it dilutes the value of their real network. Our Dealmaker Index Global Sales Benchmark Study would suggest that there is little correlation between the number of contacts someone has on LinkedIn and their revenue achievement.  The value is in how you build connections, not how you accumulate contacts.

I am a huge fan of social networks and have personally built relationships and won business directly as a result of our social media activity.  We have even built LinkedIn and Twitter integration directly into our Political Map Express and Dealmaker Smart Opportunity Manager products to make it easier for our customers to leverage their social networks.

At The TAS Group our core philosophy has been to shape thinking, cultivate customers and earn permission to engage. We try to follow 4 key principles:

1. The Social Universe is a great place to listen and learn

2. You Should Give Value First and Expect Nothing in Return

3. You Must Be Authentic, Be Prepared to Fail, and Don’t Give Up

4. It is advisable to be Open, Collaborate, and Co-Create – Let Others Play in the Community

The recent trend towards accumulating contacts seems to fly in the face of that. If those who you link with have a massive network, but you are not really connected to them, then it dilutes the value of your network, as they keep popping up as the link, and that sometimes gets in the way of people who you really now, and who might really help. Perhaps LinkedIn’s recent practice of continuously suggesting new people to connect with is partly to blame for this. It may well the case that LinkedIn has a different agenda – will we see them entering the CRM market with a ‘contacts-already-supplied’ strategy, who knows? – but as a social network to build connections it is losing its value, IMO.’

This was really brought home to me when a female colleague of mine received the worst kind of message.  It went like this …

Subject: Hello
How are you? I hope it has been a productive week for you..
I know the idea of using LinkedIn for an online dating websites purpose is weird. I don’t do this all the time. But i was captivated by your profile picture. I don’t how recent the picture is,but you caught my attention and you look very beautiful.We belong to the same group (Sales / Marketing Executives (CSO/CMO)).
However,I’d love to get to you know you if you’re single and available to date. We could get to know each other and meet for lunch,dinner or a cup of coffee whenever we are both comfortable to meet and depending on your schedule.
What do you think?

linkedin-message600

Really?

Is this really what LinkedIn has come to?

I seem to remember that, in the past on LinkedIn, you used to have to identify how you knew the person before you invited them to connect.  I, for one, would like to see that – or some other threshold of relationship – reinstated.

Otherwise the spam-factor will just increase and we will have to look at alternative solutions, and that would be a shame.

And yes, I will post this on LinkedIn, and see if there is any response.  If you care about this, please share.
 

 

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Why Big Data for Sales fails

The Big Data hype worries me. A lot. Particularly as it pertains to sales analytics. When it comes to understanding the inflection points that should be the determinants of behavior change to improve sales performance, we don’t suffer from an information deficit, we suffer from an insight deficit. Big data is perceived by some as the answer to the question. The problem however is that we often don’t know the question.

It is true that where we are today is a direct consequence of our past actions. You might therefore assume that a singular focus on finding correlations between historical data and results is the panacea to predicting future sales performance or performance hurdles. The difficulty however is that without applying context and experience there is a grave danger of mistaking correlation for causality, being blinded by a seemingly strong linkage between data and results without understanding the true causal factor.

Here’s an example. In some of our customers we have seen a direct correlation between the early identification of budget (allocated to a related project) as the most important indicator of sales success. But when we look at the data for others, budget seems to be less of a factor. When we looked beneath the data to understand the reason for this we uncovered an interesting fact. Early identification of budget is an important factor more often in a situation where the solution being offered could be classified as a ‘nice to have’ as opposed to a ‘must have’. This applies most frequently when the solution makes something better instead of fixing something that’s broken. Context and an experiential compass are important heuristics to apply to divine the meaningful from the obvious. Don’t let the data fool you.

Every day sales managers are struggling to find the answers to make their sales team more effective.  Often remote from their sellers, and relying on weekly calls and reports from their CRM systems, these managers find it difficult to identify, interpret and influence the important factors that predict sales success or failure. Sales managers are battling to discover whether their sales teams are doing the right things at the right time to positively impact their sales performance. The volume of data is overwhelming and the insight is missing.

Sales managers can’t manage what they can’t see, and sometimes, even if they can see the data, they don’t know how to find and interpret the most relevant metrics that influence future performance. They grapple to extract pertinent insights that tell them the absolute truth about their sales business – today, and into the future.  It’s just to hard interpret the data. And it gets worse.  Even if they can find and analyze the data to derive the pertinent insights, the resource required to prescribe effective coaching or curative actions for each sales person, in a consistent and informed way, is overwhelming. But Big Data, as currently being prescribed, is not the answer.

According to a recent Infochimps survey most big data projects fail. According to this recent study, even though 81% of companies have Analytics projects as one of their top priorities, 55% of these projects do not finish.  And while we all know that IT projects are not always successful, Big Data / Analytics projects will fail 30% more often.

The most common reason for failure is inaccurate scope.  People try to boil the ocean, and assume that more data is better.  Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case.  Now that technological advances have made it possible to accumulate colossal amounts of data at an ever-increasing rate, it has become almost axiomatic that the answer to everything in in the data.  But in fact it is not.  Companies are making BIG bets on BIG data alone without any qualitative assessment that applies deep domain expertise. That has the potential to lead to BIG decisions being made with BIG confidence that is sadly misplaced. BIG Mistake.

The second issue is lack of business context.  Without the right business context it is hard to know what questions to ask – so in that case any answer should do – but of course that doesn’t work.  It is understandable though that if there is a separation between the people with the business knowledge and the people with the analytics tools – then success is unlikely.  Sales people need to be at the center of any sales analytics project.  It cannot be a disconnected project owned by the business analysts or the operations team.

The third point is really an extension of the second.  If you don’t have business expertise, domain knowledge, experience and a ‘nose’ for what’s right then you can’t apply any human qualitative input – and that makes it hard to connect the dots.

The most common challenges according to the study are Time and Tools.  Now if the tools are hard, and the scope is wrong, then you will of course need a lot of time.  We don’t believe it needs to be that way.

The leading sales organizations we have seen are not just using reports, or big-data centric analytics. They are combining targeted smart sales analytics, strengthened with embedded sales methodology knowledge and experience. In the best of cases they are using intelligent automated systems to help expose the relevant sales metrics, gain actionable insights from the data, and provide automated coaching advice to accelerate sales cycles, increase the health of their pipeline and align and motivate their sales teams.

And they are realizing significant business benefits:

  1. Increased performance of the sales team based on more informed sales management and more knowledgeable sales coaching
  2. Improved sales productivity for individual sellers with automated coaching and visualization of results for greater alignment and motivation
  3. Accelerate sales velocity by measurement and analysis of win rate, sales cycle, deal size and pipeline health to reduce risk and take advantage of opportunities

I will follow-up this post with a set of recommendations on how you might approach sales analytics or big data projects – but I’d welcome your thoughts on this.  Right now, there is a lot of time and money being spent in this area and most of it is wasted.  It doesn’t have to be this way. The life of the sales manager is hard enough.

 

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Realtime (Honest) Feedback on your Sales Proposals?

As you may know I published my most recent book – Account Planning in Salesforce - earlier this year. I am always nervous when I am launching a book.  I put a lot of myself into it and, even with a topic like Account Planning, I find that my writing always seems to become infused with my values, my opinions and my beliefs.  I really just don’t know any other way and I wanted the readers to get value from the book. I want them to feel that the time they spent reading it was worthwhile.

So, as you can imagine, when Account Planning in Salesforce went to #1 Bestseller in its segment on Amazon I was really pleased.  And the reviews were pretty good too – even the ones from people I don’t know!

But what I did not realize was that as people read the book on their Kindle devices, they were highlighting the passages of text that resonated with them. Meanwhile, the elves in the background at Amazon are continually collating and analyzing the highlighted areas and can provide a summary of what people care about. (See below the top 5 highlighted passages – I am really thrilled with the one that came in at #1.)

These insights are hugely valuable to me and I plan to use what I have learned from Amazon’s analysis in a webinar I am delivering on Account Planning in Salesforce for 2014 later this month.

But also this whole process got me thinking,  what if …

Wouldn’t it be great if you could do this for all sales proposals, PowerPoint presentations or marketing collateral?  It would be like having someone watch your customers as they read through your documents; highlighting, underlining, adding ? and X marks, circling paragraphs of interest or drawing lines through parts that they disagreed with.  Then you’d really know what they really think. (Scary? Maybe!)

At The TAS Group, we do a lot of micro-analysis on the effectiveness of our digital marketing, and of course that is really helpful in making sure that we are presenting the messages and content that add most value to our customers.  But we can’t micro-analyze on a personal emotional level … but thoughts are percolating here …

In the meantime, here are the Top 5 Most Highlighted passages from Account Planning in Salesforce.  (If you are interested, in an upcoming webinar, I will be discussing these comments and other issues that I think we should all be caring about as we plan for 2014).

Top 5 Most Highlighted

1

The impact on a customer of a poor buying decision is usually greater than the impact on a sales person of a lost deal. 

2

You need to be a specialist and expert in the business, strategy and market of those few customers with whom you are working. 

3

Research for Insight. Integrate for Velocity. Focus for Impact. 

4

Remember, customers don’t need you to learn about your product: they can get all of the information they need from the Internet. They don’t need you to recommend solutions: they can get that from their peers. Your opportunity is to help them shape their needs, identify or suggest initiatives, and then to figure out how you can apply your solutions to those initiatives. If you don’t know how to do that you should look for outside assistance. 

5

The cost of new customer acquisition is 500% that of customer retention. Increasing customer retention by 2% equates to decreasing costs by 10%. Reducing customer defections by 5% can increase profitability by up to 125% (depending on industry). (Source: Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy)

If there were particular parts of the book that you enjoyed I’d love to hear from you.  If you have not read it you can get an extract here.

 

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10 Things Every Sales Manager Should Know About Sales Performance (Infographic)

Thanks to our friends over at Work.com for helping us with this infographic.

10 Things Every Sales Manager Should Know

 

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The data in this infographic is based largely on the Dealmaker Index Global Sales Benchmark Study.

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