The quintessential question that all sales managers ask regarding optimizing their sales efforts is; how to improve the outcome of each sales call?Sales managers lament that their sales organizations spend an enormous amount of time and money pursuing prospects much less existing customers and struggle to justify the ROI.
They recited similar concerns about their sales people:
Long-term business relationships are not predicated on the lowest price and a quick sale, but rather bringing value that is measurable and sustainable. Thus, the best sales professionals are patiently spending the time and company’s resources with the right customers for the right reasons.
One last important caveat: Both sales management and sales professionals must be in agreement that a certain prospect / customer fits the company’s current strategic business plan.
A Strategic Sales Plan (SSP) and Individual Sales Plans (ISPs) ensure organizational alignment and a higher probability of an acceptable ROI on the cost to sell.
Many of NABC’s clients are already developing preliminary sales plans for 2018. Give us a call at 480-229-7800 or 602-510-5797 for a free assessment of your sales planning process.
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I recently had a discussion with a CEO and he said he was so busy he didn’t have time to take a vacation much less plan for the future. He lamented that juggling so many balls was stressful and he was remaining just one step from disaster!
He elaborated, and said he daily crosses things off his list, but the list keeps growing.
The ironic Lee Iacocca is reported to have responded to a senior executive who complained about being so busy he couldn’t take a vacation with his family…. Perhaps, I should be looking for a new VP if you can’t even manage a vacation.
The inference is very clear; planning, prioritization, and delegation are components of success.
I’m too busy doing important “stuff” is all too frequently the excuse for not achieving critical strategic issues.
All of us are busy. Doing what becomes the important question. Are we really cognizant of sorting out the vital few from the trivial many?
Has your well-thought-out business plan (assuming you have one) been relegated to the top desk drawer accumulating dust and it’s only February?
Here are a few thoughts to consider:
It’s not how hard you work, but rather where you spend your precious time that’s the real differentiator.
Inthe world of golf, for professionals and amateurs alike, the mantra, “hope springs eternal” is axiomatic. Those of us who participate are consumed by the quest to conquer the unconquerable.On the LPGA Tour, #1 Lydia Ko has changed her clubs, caddie, and coach for 2017. Bernard Langer, #1 on the Champions Tour and PGA hall of famer, at age 59 continues to tweak his game. Jordan Spieth, 2015 #1, practices relentlessly to maintain his edge on the PGA tour at the tender age of 23.
What do these highly successful golfers have in common?
To compete and win, business leaders are faced with the same challenges; yet inevitably, complacency sets in.
It’s not that we don’t care; however, frequently we get mesmerized by how we’ve done things in the past.
Guarding against this perspective requires constant introspection to challenge our current business strategies. The use of people, processes, and technology can never be taken for granted. Holding a pat hand is not a good bet. Everything is in transition is a healthy perspective.
If you need help assessing where you are at in your business and the realities of moving ahead give NABC a call for a free executive coaching session.
Although we are not recruiters, we are frequently asked to help find and define successful sales professionals for our customers and business associates.There are numerous tools, assessments, agencies, and gurus that purport to have the inside track on increasing the probability of finding and hiring the best people.
I could get into a lengthy dissertation on the efficacy and usefulness of these resources. They all are more or less costly and suffice it to say they all have their place and can contribute to improving your search and selection process.
After 40 years of assessing sales professionals and sales organizations, I believe you can advance your success of selecting the right person for the right reasons by exploring attitude differentiators in those you hire.
First, a brief story about the late Tim Larkin; a great friend, mentor and co- founder of NABC. Tim was an eternally optimistic and consummate business professional with a long career at Proctor & Gamble, owning his own consulting and learning education business. He was a progressive thinker on optimizing human potential.
One day many years ago I visited him at his office and I noticed a small bottle containing a green liquid on his desk. I asked Tim what the strange concoction was and he said “enthusiasm”!
Over the ensuing years I have found the over- riding key differentiators for successful sales professionals, much less successful people of all walks of life, have the following traits:
They are relatively obvious as we engage and interact with people; however, they are often set aside as we dive deep and wide trying to discover the skills, education, and experience a prospective candidate has for a given position.
I’m not negating the importance of skills, education, and experience. I am suggesting they be put in the context with the total person’s attitude.
Attitude is what gets you up in the morning. It is what allows you to deal with the inherent frustrations and disappointments of business. It is the stuff that underscores the aptitude and resiliency of dealing with difficult people. It is that winning persona that is highly infectious. It is the fuel that fills the tank of optimism of future success.
It is the differentiator hiding ever so subtly in the written resume.
If you need help selecting the right sales people for the right reasons, NABC has a process to uncover and explore the five differentiators. Give us a call at 480-229-7800 or email Dave Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s really the success differentiator!
I was consulting at a tech company and the CEO complained about his employees wasting time, not completing their work and a pervasive lack of a sense of urgency throughout the work force.During a stroll around his office I noticed many employees on the internet, some playing games or otherwise enamored with social media pursuits. There was a very casual atmosphere with an apparent tail wagging the dog culture.
Of course, we all know the ubiquitous presence of social media and its ease of access has created significant issues in the work place with job productivity at the head of the list.
Being an astute consultant, I consulted an expert on such a complex matter. The guru of common sense, Logan, my 5-year-old grandson. He listened attentively as I outlined the problem in very basic five year old terms.
Logan paused thoughtfully then responded, “Grampa you’re not supposed to play at work, you play video games at home!” OMG such profundity, such utter clarity, and such common sense, articulated by a five year old.
Yet our work place is conflicted. Very well educated owners, professional staff, and HR managers search endlessly for the answers from work place gurus.
They gush PC oversensitivity to employees who are universally and stereotypically downtrodden, under paid and over worked! Thus rationalizing with cognitive dissonance, “Of course they deserve to play at work, it is only right, in fact it is their right”. The flawed logic is perplexing and fallacious.
Perhaps management needs to take Logan’s counsel, state the obvious along with a work place policy that simply prohibits this behavior; period end of story.
Over the past 14 years NABC has been consulting with sales organizations and sales professionals. One theme that is very consistently voiced is the allocation and utilization of time. Interestingly, this is also the same concern captured in countless books, articles, and seminars globally for sales optimization.
To use a sports analogy, there is always talk about “clock management”; how to handle the last two minutes of the game, who will take the last shot, what play will be executed?
There is often an over focus on the end of the process / game. In reality the effective use of time is critical at each step of the game.
If we are selecting the right customers for the right reasons and allocating our precious time accordingly, we have a higher probability of achieving our desired sales outcome.
The problem with all of us is, “stuff” gets in the way! The relative importance (value) of that “stuff” at any point of time is indeed debatable.
Today’s business world is even more challenging because of the omnipresence of technology, that affords us 24/7 exposure to so much “stuff”.
The intrusions into our day come in many forms: e-mails, voice mails, IMs, texts, phone calls, meetings, webinars etc. These interruptions emanate from both business and personal sources.
Some of us have developed an almost obsessive need to read and respond to every communication regardless of its source or importance. The smart phone is ringing playing the “siren’s” seductive lament!
We become driven to clear in boxes that are cluttered with apparent nuggets of gold, waiting to be mined; we are compelled to sift through the debris.
This forces us to filter through a veritable morass of “stuff” to determine what are the trivial many vs. the vital few?
Has all this “stuff” and the accompanying time, energy, and anxiety truly contributed to helping you sell more?
My point is not an indictment of technology, but rather controlling it vs. it controlling you.
Your use of technology can be a competitive advantage and a marvelous tool to help you schedule, track, focus and respond in a timely fashion to your internal responsibilities, as well as your external customers.
On the other hand, it can be an insidious monster sucking the life blood of your precious time.
What is the answer? There is no one simplistic answer, however there are some actions that have proven useful to many sales professionals around the globe.
One valuable exercise we use that produces the awareness, is to create a daily log in 15 minute increments. The log captures how you spend your day. It often is a sobering visual that serves as the foundation for prioritization of critical sales activities and avoiding “time traps”.
Thus allocating your time where you get the biggest bang for your sales effort.
If you would like to learn more about sales time management, give NABC a call at 480-229-7800 or email email@example.com.
When I played football in college my coach wanted me to get stronger. I was a smallish fleet footed wide receiver and cornerback, thus he introduced me to the weight room! Reluctantly and very skeptically I engaged in the regime and found after a couple of weeks I couldn’t lift the weight I could when I first started.I complained to the coach that things were worse and the pain was not worth the effort.
I remember distinctly his response, “Son there is simply no gain without pain in any endeavor in life, you will see retrogression before progression, now get your butt into the training room and pay the price for success!”
It seems in today’s world everything needs to be instantaneous, the here and now is all that matters!
I want to look good for the reunion; go on a crash diet, get liposuction, get a tummy tuck, get a brow lift, a shot of Botox, etc.
Oh ho, the annual golf outing is coming up next month; get new clubs, get some lessons to drop 10 strokes off your handicap, get a new outfit etc.
The owner wants more profits by the end of the next quarter; reduce cost, get new customers, improve productivity, hire some sales people, etc.
Of course in all cases expectations are to be magically accomplished as we speak, with no cost or pain to the organization.
Am I exaggerating? Are these realistic expectations? Is this a slice of human nature? Does this happen every day in life and businesses?
Unfortunately the answers are no, no, yes, and yes.
If you take a step back and evaluate any changes in life or business that are sustainable and actually generates “real” results the following is most often true:
Most departments within an organization view themselves as the end all and almost collectively perceive sales as some sort of unprofessional activity. Sales people are often conceived of as “Sharks” that unfortunately are necessary predators, but the rest of the organization is the “real deal” and certainly PC and above reproach.This sentiment is tacitly espoused by our academic community including prestigious business schools. They proudly highlight Marketing, Finance, HR, Statistics, and Operational courses but for the most part are strangely void of a sales curriculum.
The inference is that sales isn’t a “real” discipline, but some strange amalgamation of art, hocus pocus, smoke and mirrors, and simply unfathomable to the scientific community. Thus it can’t be capture or replicated, much less taught.
Robert Herjavec notably from the Shark Tank TV hit show recently wrote a book entitled, “You Don’t Have to be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success”, his book correlates with Harvey MacKay’s book, “Swimming With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.”
Both books have multiple positive sales/ business themes that debunk academia much less intra - organizational misconceptions. There are two messages that resonates with me:
The TSO approach underscores that all departments and employees are truly involved in selling and achieving full customer satisfaction. Thus, strategically the entire enterprise must be committed and engaged in executing the business plan and collectively accountable for results.
Managing a successful company through the trouble waters of today’s fast paced and every changing market place requires bringing the “sales sharks” and the rest of an organization resources together as one!
Give NABC a call for a free assessment to see if TSO is right for you.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are today’s marvelous technological tools that supports a company’s sales process. They have multiple benefits:
As the old saying goes, “Information is power!” the corollary is; timely / real time information is absolutely necessary in today’s warp speed business environment.
Accurate and timely information regarding customers and their respective needs and current situation is vital to keeping pace and staying competitive.
There are multiple CRM system available in the market place to choose from the key is determining in advance what information is critical for ensuring a strategic sales /business plan is achieved.
Doing your homework before selecting a specific CRM system will increase the probability of an acceptable ROI on the technology.
Give NABC a call at 602-510 -5797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free CRM assessment and receive the 10 reasons sales professionals use CRM, the 10 reasons management uses CRM, and the 10 reasons CRM systems fail.
Our Blogs are Authored by various members of the NEALABC team.