What’s Really Going on with Sales?

Dave Stein, CEO & Founder, ES Research Group, Inc.  is thinking you might wonder who is responsible for the all-too-common, Groundhog Day situation he discuses in his article about companies’ dysfunctional Sales Departments. It’s the person who continues to hire the wrong VPs of Sales.  

Dave has had the opportunity, over the years, to provide his opinion to CEOs, CFOs, boards of directors, investors and venture capitalists about what was really going on with their companies’ dysfunctional Sales departments. Read more about his experiences here.

Analyze and Review the FRONT of the Pipeline…Why?

Software Sales Excellence: “The vast majority of pipeline reviews or discussions focus on what’s closing this week, this month or this quarter.  Sales manager’s typically dig in to the details of the latest proposal and associated meetings, calls, and e-mails regarding the transition from proposed business, to a verbal agreement, to contract negotiation and signatures.  Sales executives maintain a similar focus on the “end game” as that is the pre-cursor to “pay day”.  I would not quibble with the notion that such analysis on this portion of the pipeline is important, but I believe it is also a two-edged sword. ” Read the entire article at:http://duncanklawjr.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/analyze-and-review-the-front-of-the-pipelinewhy/

Job Hopping or Financial Survival?

I’m seeing a trend lately where sales reps – even A Players – are taking any job they can find, even if it doesn’t make sense for them in the long-term, then continuing to shop for the right position. In many cases, it’s an economic necessity. Which is why hiring managers may need to adjust their opinions of job-hoppers, at least until the economy recovers.

The reality is that professionals who would have once waited out the job market are now accepting the first position they’re offered, either because they’re next in line for a pink slip or they’ve already received one. They’re frightened, which is understandable. The current state of the economy has put things into perspective for us all.

It has also forced many sales pros into the role of entrepreneur, figuring out how to survive on 100% commission positions that are the now the norm among companies that are currently hiring in sales. Once, these positions would have been disregarded by highly qualified A Players. Now, they may be the only opportunities out there.

This trend goes hand-in-hand with another one I’ve noticed:  Hiring managers relaxing their standards a bit when it comes to vetting potential sales candidates.

A year ago, no one would have looked twice at a resume from someone who had been on a job for less than a year and was already looking or out of work. Nor would they have put much faith in the decision-making abilities of someone who was in a position for which they were clearly overqualified.

But it appears – and perhaps rightly so – that today’s hiring managers recognize that a shaky recent employment history doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is high-risk. It may simply be the case of an A Player doing whatever it takes to pay their mortgage and put food on the table. When that’s the case, any position is better than no position. And even if they aren’t happy, because they are A Players, they will put 100% toward earning their commission to ensure they can continue to survive.

What are some of the recent economy-related employment trends you’ve noticed?

Tactful Tactics

Laura Hedger, Corporate Training Consultant with Baker Communications, shared news from their sales blog/sales success newsletter Storm Seller. Sometimes there is a simple tactic that could let all the air out of the great deal you thought you had, and most tactics fall into one of five basic categories: View the article here, to see how these tactics arise and how they are used, so that you have a new source of power that can increase your success during any type of negotiation.

A burning desire in your sales team…

E. Vidar Top, Entrepreneur and Trainer states on The 3E Blog, “It’s ironic! High performing sales people are just like profitable customers: They are driven by a mission and purpose (i.e. WHY). Their burning desire leads them to what we call ‘desperate dissatisfaction’ (i.e. WHAT, WHO and HOW).” Find out what it is that perpetuates a burning flame in sales personnel, or to make a comparison, in our most profitable customers: View Article Here.

How to Measure Performance in a Bad Economy

  Guest blog by Tony Smith, The Brooks Group, www.thebrooksgroup.com

Kathleen recently asked my opinion on how to best measure a candidate and their results in today’s down economy. In thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that the answer to this question is actually the same as it would be in a better economy.

 The sales manager is responsible for coaching a candidate to maximize their success in the field.  The problem is that many managers focus on end-process measurement, which is measuring a candidate’s results relative to their ability to achieve goal or quota, as opposed to in-process measurement.   In-processmeasurement occurs when you measure throughout the sales process.  Is your salesperson investigating properly?  What about pre-call planning and prospecting?   Do they meet the prospect in the right way?  Are they able to build trust and rapport?  Are they asking the right questions and presenting appropriate solutions?   The job of any sales manager is to be able to answer two questions:  1) Where are you in the sales process?  2) What are the next steps?   In a down economy, the end goal is a specific result which may or may not be obtained.  Goals may have been unrealistic to begin with due to current economic conditions.  Budgets have been trimmed and, in some cases, organizations have put a freeze on buying.  Depending on what you are selling, even if you think you do bring value, you may not be able to get around this fact. Simply measuring a candidate’s results against a goal is easy, but does not get at the heart of the truth that the right activities drive the right results.   Every action that a salesperson takes creates an outcome.  This is where you need to be measuring your candidates, because they are producing outcomes even if they are not meeting their goals.   Most sales managers do not focus on this because in-process measurement requires more time. But it is critical in this economy that the candidate be measured on in-process measurement, because the real goal of the salesperson should be to be in front of qualified prospects when they are ready to buy and not when you need to make a sale.   In order to do this effectively and measure a salesperson properly, sales managers must be in the field.  They cannot lead the sales team from behind a desk.  This requires more time, but it is the only way to measure a candidate in today’s turbulent times.  If your salespeople master the sales process but are not meeting goals, then the goal is unobtainable.   Organizations must realize this and be prepared to work through these turbulent times.  However, you must first make sure that your salespeople know exactly what to do.  Sales will still be made. The question is, will your salespeople be the ones making those sales or will it be the competition?   Too many sales teams simply do not know how to properly sell.  They are using outdated techniques that are no longer effective in the marketplace.

What Do You Want Your Resume To Say About You?

“Who are you? Who do you want readers to meet? What do you need to let the reader know that will lure them in and make them want to read more about you? These questions are crucial in writing a powerful and effective resume.” Kris Plantrich, the owner of ResumeWonders Writing, effectively discusses how these questions should be answered to help you write a resume that will make those who are hiring take notice. http://sales-blog.salescareersonline.com/what-do-you-want-your-resume-to-say-about-you/