We Took Our Own Advice…And It Worked!

I’ve frequently pointed out, both verbally and in my writing, the need to pivot sales during this crazy time. For example, up until when the pandemic hit it was extremely difficult to attract sales talent. There were more sales positions than qualified people to fill them.

Well, in the blink of an eye, that all changed. Companies have had to put hiring plans on hold and in some instances have had to furlough or lay-off teams of salespeople, either because the market evaporated, or other parts of the company could not support the ramp-up time associated with new salespeople.

Expand, Not Cut

Since […]

Get Lean and Mean, and Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Too

Get Lean and Mean, and Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Too

It’s official. We are in a recession, so business leaders need to be lean and mean. Sometimes that means making cuts: Maybe expenses, maybe headcount.

If it’s the latter, be especially aware. When leaders consider reducing headcount in their sales force, too often they hang onto the veterans who manage the largest accounts or who are responsible for the biggest book of business. And, unfortunately, they all too frequently cut the sellers who too new to have proven themselves.

Is It the Best Strategy?

Well, if the business owner only cares about maintaining the existing client base, maybe. But, if they are truly […]

Hiring Right is Only Half the Battle

Hiring Right is Only Half the Battle

Something many companies do to accelerate growth is expand their sales teams. We often see ones we work with doing just that. While the climate can be challenging to hire the right salespeople with the economy hovering at close to full employment, the challenge doesn’t just stop with a job offer. Every new sales hire needs to go through a predictive on-boarding program to have the best chance for success.

Even the very best salespeople need some guidance to enable them to be successful.

Why do you need a sales onboarding program if you hire right?

Today’s Best-in-Class organizations see these high values […]

Using Science to Hire Entry-Level Salespeople

Using Science to Hire Entry-Level Salespeople

What are the best qualities to look for when hiring an entry-level sales rep – someone who will have to be taught how to sell…the right way? It’s a question I get frequently. Most hiring managers feel it’s only about their ability to overcome adversity or their extroverted personality that predict success. Think again!

I reviewed the data on 82,167 salespeople who have one year or less in sales and found some precise measures that will predict success – these are the qualities that hiring managers should seek out.

The Traits Best Newbies Likely Have

Commitment: This means the level to […]

Technicians as Sellers????

Technicians as Sellers????

I just moderated a panel where the topic of hiring industry experienced technical people for sales positions came up. I also recently had the same discussion with several clients.

Why are many sales organizations interested in moving technicians into sales jobs? I suspect it is because the job market is so tight that it is difficult to find and attract quality salespeople.

Key Question: Do you think it is easier to hire a great salesperson and teach them your products and services? Or is it easier to hire a great technician and teach them to sell?

I am always going to come down […]

Most Recent Motivation Data Revealed

Most Recent Motivation Data Revealed

If sales managers have a perceived weakness, it’s most likely their ability to motivate everyone on their team. This key competency requires that individuals need to be inspired individually.

Instead, many managers and leaders have a one-size-fits-all approach. One that’s not entirely their fault.

Does Money Motivate?

The common belief is that salespeople are in sales because they are money-motivated. So, managers naturally default to using the compensation plan to motivate behaviors. But the most recent data revealed by Objective Management group on 493,000 salespeople tells a different story. Below is a chart that shows where these salespeople fall on the motivation spectrum.

The […]

How to Recruit Like a National College Football Champion

How to Recruit Like a National College Football Champion

Clemson whips Alabama for the National Championship and the 2018 college football season is over. This is an especially sad time in my house and for me. My son just graduated from the University of South Carolina and played his last football game in a disappointing bowl loss to Virginia. With Clemson a South Carolina rival, we were pulling for Alabama and the SEC. Their defeat, along with the end of the season and my son’s football career, means an especially gloomy time for me.

Why Clemson over Alabama?

Sadness aside, all the hoopla about the showdown between
Clemson and Alabama made me […]

Are the Salespeople Out There Better than the Ones You’ve Got?

Are the Salespeople Out There Better than the Ones You’ve Got?

It’s no secret: I am fascinated by data, especially how it relates to salespeople, sales managers and sales success. And I have access to plenty of data, including details on 450,000 salespeople.

Who’s Better?

Lately, I was curious about whether there is any difference between salespeople currently employed and those salespeople who are candidates for new positions. (Yes, I realize that a currently employed salesperson could also be a candidate for a different position. However, those cannot be separated out from the database for this exercise.)

Database Deep Dive

The database I’m using is supplied by Objective Management Group, the leaders in sales specific […]

Can One Size Fit All Sales?

Can One Size Fit All Sales?

When it comes to sales, should salespeople do it all, or should individual functions be divided among multiple people, each having specialized responsibilities? I’ve had several conversations lately about the virtues of each approach.

Do it All vs. Split it Up

Is the do-it-all method, where one salesperson hunts, closes and then manages the accounts after the sale better than, say, where an inside salesperson handles the inbound or outbound calls (or a sales development rep, as they are commonly called, gets appointments scheduled) and other salespeople conduct those meetings and close the sale? The truth is: each way may be right […]

Can Your Team Become Challenger Types?

Can Your Team Become Challenger Types?

Ever since CEB (now Gartner) published The Challenger Sale in 2011, the book has attracted much publicity. It provides five different profiles (detailed here) based on research of 6,000 individuals. They are:

Lone Wolf
Hard Worker
Problem Solver
Relationship Builder

The research in the book indicates that individuals with a Challenger profile will outperform all other profile types. Good so far.

Constructing Tension

The book also presents the concept of Challengers building “constructive tension” using three elements:

Teach – Offers unique perspective and maintains two-way communication
Tailor – Knows customer value drivers and identifies economic drivers
Take Control – Is comfortable discussing money and can pressure the customer

The premise is […]