Sales Recruiting & Gen Y: Nightmare or a Learning Opportunity?

With Generation Y continuing to expand its numbers in the sales force, employers and hiring managers alike are finding that these young professionals present some unique challenges. The camps are decidedly split on how business will be affected by this generation, which has earned a reputation for being difficult.

I believe that the challenges presented by Generation Y are offset by the fact that those of us in the “older” generations have much to learn from these tech-savvy twenty-somethings.

On the minus side, many Gen Y professionals tend to demand of employers, “What can you do for me?” rather than asking what they can do to prove themselves. One prospect even went so far as to tell me that they were seeking a new position because their responsibilities had increased but their pay had not. This was not a case of being assigned a sizable new sales district or being promoted to team leader. Rather, the Gen Y worker was given minor responsibilities on top of the existing workload.

It is also not uncommon for Gen Y recruits to become frustrated in the workforce because their expectations for immediate gratification are not being met. While this desire to see success is a positive attribute in any sales professional, when too much is expected too soon, the young salesperson’s tendency is to perform less diligently than more seasoned Gen X and Baby Boom counterparts.

On the plus side, there is a lot to learn from this generation regarding the efficient use of technology for effective communication. Because of their natural gravitation toward the latest and greatest technology, members of Generation Y have embedded in them a desire to be fast and efficient. This is evident in their usage of and comfort with the instant nature of text, email and social networking – proficiencies from which all sales professionals can benefit.

My advice to anyone working with Generation Y sales professionals is to help them temper their expectations. Coach them to stay on course long enough to achieve the success they expect rather than job-hopping from impatience and frustration.  Lead by example. Show them that by giving their all, they will eventually succeed.

True sales leaders will find that by mentoring this young generation and showing them that success requires dedication, everyone will benefit from the track record these young professionals are capable of building.

Which Way Do You Go?

Imagine you are a VP of Sales with the following choice: You can have a great product with an average sales team or an average product with a great sales team. – but not both. Which way would you go?

Mike Stankus posted a similar question on several LinkedIn sales and marketing groups. Not surprisingly, this question generated close to two hundred responses…

Building a Smarter Leads List

So, your company isn’t helping you generate quality leads?  I bet they bought you a list of thousands of leads, dumped them into a database, and said, “Go to work.” …and there you are “dialing for dollars,” making hundreds of calls hoping someone will answer the phone… and when they do, you enthusiastically ask for the name you have on your list and hear, “Who?  That person hasn’t worked here for six years.”

That’s not a great way to build credibility… is it?

You go to your boss and ask for help.  You say, “I’m willing to crank the phones, but I need better leads,” and you hear, “Stop being negative, that’s just how it is in sales.”

Doyle Slayton explains that it’s time to take matters into your own hands!  Step away from the phones for just one day and take these three actions…

Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating a Great Salary

By Kim Lankford, Monster Contributing Writer

Here’s a secret: Employers rarely make their best offer first, and job candidates who negotiate generally earn much more than those who don’t. And a well-thought-out negotiation makes you look like a stronger candidate — and employee.

“We found that those people who attempted to negotiate their salary in a constructive way are perceived as more favorable than those who didn’t negotiate at all, because they were demonstrating the skills the company wanted to hire them for,” says Robin Pinkley, coauthor of Get Paid What You’re Worth and an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business.

You can start laying the groundwork for your salary negotiation even before the first interview. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

During the Interview Process

  • Do Your Research: Before the interview, learn about the company’s salary ranges and benefits as well as industry salary ranges. Also learn about the company, its competition and the industry. Then think about what you want from the job, both in terms of salary and benefits, as well as opportunity and upward mobility, Pinkley says. This information will become valuable during the interview and salary negotiation.
  • Don’t Talk Turkey Too Early: “You never win by talking about money early on,” says Lee Miller, author of UP: Influence, Power and the U Perspective — The Art of Getting What You Want. “The time to talk about money is when they’ve fallen in love with you.” Before that, you’re just one of many easily dismissed candidates. But once the employer has decided you’re right for the job, “it becomes an issue of, ‘how are we going to make this happen?’” Miller says.
  • Avoid the Salary Requirements Trap: Pinkley tells people to say: “I completely understand why this is an important issue — you’re trying to determine who you want to continue in this process, and it doesn’t make much sense to pursue candidates you aren’t going to get. Secondly, I know that the tendency is for people to lowball their salary range, because they don’t want to get out of the pool. My preference is to figure out, independent of these issues, the degree to which there is a good fit here and the extent to which I can bring value to this organization and the extent to which I’m going to be fulfilled and involved and committed to this position. I suggest we wait to have the salary conversation until you’re prepared to make an offer.”

    If they still want a number, leverage your research to talk industry-standard ranges, not specific numbers.

At Time of Offer

  • Strike First: Try to mention a specific salary before the employer does. This will start the negotiations in your ballpark. “The whole negotiation is based on that first offer,” Pinkley says.
  • Don’t Commit Too Quickly: The employer often offers the job and salary simultaneously. Never say yes right away — even if you like the offer. “I would always come back and try to get more,” Pinkley says. Tell them you’ll give them an answer within a certain time frame.
  • Make Them Jealous: If you’ve been interviewing for other jobs, call those prospective employers, tell them about your offer, and see if they can speed up the interview process — or make you an offer. Knowing you have another offer will make you more attractive to them.

    When it’s time to answer the first employer, mention the other employers’ interest to help boost your value. But don’t make up offers. It’s easy to check, and the interest alone will help you look good.

  • Articulate Your Expectations: Tell the employer what you want from the job, in terms of salary, benefits and opportunity. “It may be time off, flexibility about where you work, autonomy or ownership over a particular area, it may be your title — whatever has a perceived value to you,” says Joyce Gioia, president of the Herman Group, a think tank of management consultants and futurists.
  • Negotiate Extras: If the employer can’t offer you the salary you want, think about other valuable options that might not cost as much. Miller always recommends asking for education, which can make a big difference in your long-term marketability.
  • Quantify Your Value and Performance: Mention your value in quantifiable terms, such as how much money you saved your company and how your projects increased revenues by X thousands of dollars, Gioia says. Then tell them specifically how valuable you expect to be in your new job.

    You also can add a few contingencies showing your confidence in your performance. You could ask the employer to give you a salary review after six months rather than a year or for a year-end bonus if you make a certain amount of money. “It shows that you believe in yourself and are committed to bringing what you say you can do,” Pinkley says. “You believe you are going to bring significant value to the organization.

Welcome to Widget TV

Original Post: Matthew Schwartz, Editor, Follow the Lead, The ZoomInfo B2B Sales and Marketing Blog

The skill sets for b-to-b sales and marketing executives are changing at a rapid clip, as inbound marketing has started to gain on outbound marketing, or traditional methods of generating lead-gen revenue such as cold calling and face-to-face meetings.

One of the key changes is what is being referred to in business precincts as the “marketer-as-publisher model.” Because of the Internet b-to-b marketing executives – and, to a large degree, b-to-b sales reps – are on the hook to produce, package and push a wide variety of content (across multiple channels) that will appeal to both existing buyers and prospects.

However, few b-to-b organizations have the resources to manage (and maintain) the amount of content they’re starting to produce (and share). HiveFire, which was founded in 2007, is betting that its new product will help take b-to-b content management to a new level.

For the full press release, please click here.

The New Buying Habits of Buyers: Does solution data drive a decision?

This week’s blog is blog is by Sharon Drew Morgen, the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation®, the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and the recent Dirty Little Secrets. She is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant focusing on buy-in and decision making.

It’s so much easier for buyers to buy now. With the click of a wrist, or a jog of a fingertip, they can read about, compare, and purchase whatever they want. So buyer’s behaviors are changing. Or are they?

While their capability to attain data, or make the actual purchase is much easier, is their route to their buying decision different?

Do you know that point in a buyer’s decision process that they seek this information? And is there other material we could be offering at other points in the buying decision process?

DOES OUR SOLUTION DATA DRIVE THE BUYER’S DECISION?

Does our carefully branded data drive our buyer’s buying decision?

Well, yes and no. Obviously buyers must ultimately know if your solution fits their needs. But this is the last, the very last thing, that they need before they make a purchase.

Think of a house purchase. The very last thing you need is information about the house. First you need to decide to move – and your family might have some really interesting conversations before that decision is actually reached. Then you have to figure out the criteria – neighborhood? school district? travel time to work? /affordable mortgage/price? It’s only when all of purchasing criteria are lined up that you know where to look for a house, the sort of house you need, etc.

Think of losing weight. The last thing you need is to know membership prices for a gym. First you need to decide to be a healthy person, change your eating habits, decide to change your schedule – which might involve several family members and the family dog.

Before any purchase gets made, an unknown number of internal, private, behind-the-scenes decisions and considerations must be resolved first. And make no mistake: until or unless they are dealt with, the status quo will prevail regardless of the efficacy of the new solution. Indeed, the status quo has been ‘good-enough’ until now, and far easier to maintain than going through whatever change must happen when something new is adopted.

THE CRITERIA UNDERLYING THE CHANGE

When a consumer wants the new iPhone, is it about owning the newest MAC product?  Then that person is someone who is an early adopter who has ‘time’ and ‘wizzy factor’ as their major criteria. If someone’s criteria for purchasing a phone is usability, then their 3G phone may suffice. Same product (phone), different criteria, different buying choices. Different information needed.

People never, ever, make choices that lie outside of their values or criteria. The pain involved with living with the results of shoving an incongruent element into a working ’system’ – into accepted beliefs and values, into people’s jobs and relationships and habitual daily activities – is greater than any noticeable need or problem to be resolved. Not to mention that the choices they’ve already made has created their status quo, which has been ‘good enough’ and most likely not facing an emergency situation to change immediately.

So while it’s easier, these days, to actually make a purchase, and easier for buyers to get whatever – whatever – data they may need as a way to meet their final choice criteria, all of the new sites, posts, clicks, links, that help the purchaser buy only address that portion of the population just beginning to consider a purchase, or those who have already make their foundational decisions to change and are just needing those final detailed bits.

INFORMATION DOES NOT CREATE A NEW DECISION

Our current buying support options do NOT address the making of the foundational change/criteria/values decisions. In other words, just because people like your solution and it’s easy to purchase, doesn’t mean they have garnered all of the internal agreement necessary to purchase. [I have written a book about this: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can't buy and sellers can't sell and what you can do about it.]

And herein lies the problem: until or unless buyers navigate through all of their decision criteria, they will not buy regardless of their need or ability to press a purchasing button. All of our lead generation is rendered useless if there is a political issue going on between two departments, for example.

It’s time to add a new skill to augment the sales process. I know, I know, I’m a hammer running around seeking a nail. But really: would you rather sell? or have someone buy?

 

Take a look at my new learning Modules, and stick your toe into learning bits of Buying Facilitation®. Also I’ll be up in Boston in mid September running a tiny public training (pdf) for those interested in studying with me personally.

   

Salesmanship And Empathy

According to Jeff Blackwell, one of the simplest ways to increase your productivity as a salesperson is to tune into your buyer’s point of view. When you are in tune with your buyer you have empathy. This means that you can identify with and understand their situation, feelings, and motives.

When you are in tune with your buyer everything you say or do seems to be right on the mark. The buyer gets the feeling that you really understand them and the road to a successful sale lights up like an airport runway. The opposite is also true. When you are not in tune with your buyer nothing you can do or say will seem to be right. When you push they pull and vice versa.

Master salespeople know the importance of empathy and tune in to their buyers as quickly as possible. Novice salespeople on the other hand, rarely make the effort. This lack of empathy between buyer and seller accounts for much of the negative experiences many consumers experience.

This kind of selling requires a genuine desire on the part of the salesperson to try and be of service.