Role of HR in Achieving Business Goals

By Sherrie Scott for Demand Media

HR helps businesses achieve their goalsHuman resources professionals have many roles within an organization. They are responsible for formulating strategies that focus on recruiting and retaining top employees as well as overseeing projects that promote company-wide productivity. Most human resources departments control the overall operations of a business, making the department a key component of a company’s success in achieving its objectives.

Training and Development

Human resources specialists often are charged with creating training programs to strengthen the quality of work within an organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that “enhancing employee skills can increase individual and organizational performance and help to achieve business results”. The role of human resources in training and development includes assessing training needs, creating training manuals, facilitating instruction and ensuring training objectives have been met.

Employee Acquisition

An organization’s human resources department is responsible for many aspects of hiring and developing employees. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, employee acquisition and retention strategies are vital to the success of a company. Human resources managers implement these strategies to reduce turnover, improve employee skills and increase overall company production.

Project Management

Deliberate planning methods often are overlooked when conducting a company project. According to the CUPA Human Resources Journal, project management can be a critical tool for the HR organization in meeting an institution’s strategic goals.  Human resources involvement in project management helps companies remain organized by outlining project goals, identifying costs and benefits and assessing the risks of the project.

Compliance Management

Human resources managers handle the labor relations and dispute resolution operations of a company. Their role is to ensure that the organization is familiar with government regulations in regard to wage, labor and equal opportunity requirements. Strict compliance management can help a company avoid lawsuits and liabilities when disputes arise between employers and their employees.

Cost and Quality Control

Human resources specialists help businesses conserve costs when developing compensation packages, benefit materials and employee assistance programs. Further, technological advances increase the need for highly developed training programs that HR representatives are most qualified to implement. Human resources managers also are responsible for quality control, which is directly related to the successful accomplishment of company goals.

Sherrie Scott is a freelance writer in Las Vegas with articles appearing on various websites. She studied political science at Arizona State University and her education has inspired her to write with integrity and seek precision in all that she does.

7 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT A SALESPERSON’S MIND

By Steve W. Martin, Heavy Hitter Sales Blog 

During the first four years of your life, 90 percent of your brain’s growth and development occurred. Your mind evolved as it interacted with the world around you and recorded strange and exciting new experiences. Now, it has been accumulating these experiences for decades. I’ve written extensively about how the successful salesperson’s mind thinks and processes language in my recent books Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology and Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics. Below, are seven fascinating facts about a salesperson’s mind.

1. Do You Never Forget a Face? Some people can easily recognize a face they have seen only once before. Obviously, this important social skill is beneficial for salespeople who must meet with many different customers. However, an MIT study found that this ability is an inherited specialized trait that is not linked to a person’s IQ in general. In other words, you either have facial recognition genes and the recognition ability or you don’t.

2. Does Rejection Really Hurt? Okay, you have just been told by the prospective customer that you lost that big deal you were counting on. Obviously, you are mentally and emotionally frustrated but you are also in physical pain according to a recent Columbia study. They studied MRI brain scans of people who experienced emotional rejection and they actually showed that the person is was in physical pain thus proving that losing really hurts!

3. Do You Like to Doodle? What do past Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan have in common? Well, they all liked to doodle during important phone calls and meetings. Research published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests that doodling actually aids memory retention and doodlers have an average of 29% better event recall than non-doodlers.

4. Are You Optimistic? According to a study at University College London, 80% of people are optimists by nature. Their research suggests that optimistic people selectivity receive negative news. When hearing bad news, the brain scans of optimists showed very low activity in their frontal lobes as opposed to pessimists who had higher activity levels. So, if you are an optimist your brain is actually wired that way because you don’t “hear” bad news. In addition, optimists live longer according to one study of 100,000 participants.

5. Why Are You So Nice? A study published in the journal Psychological Science explained that “niceness” is tied to hormone receptor genes that emit oxytocin and vasopressin. These hormones in turn trigger the sensations of love and generosity within the mind. It turns out your innate nature to help people is really the result of a chemical reaction.

6. Why You Don’t Like to Read? Most salespeople don’t like to read. You see, your brain was built to talk. It was not designed to read. While speaking comes automatically and is a natural part of the brain’s development, reading is a skill that must be learned. It requires three different areas of your brain to work together in close coordination in order to read. All marketing departments should pay attention to this fact when creating sales training collateral!

7. Are You Humble? Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 percent of top salespeople have medium to high scores of modesty and humility according to a personality study of 1,000 top sales performers I have conducted. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over.

Growing Your Sales Pipeline

By Tom Callinan

In this article we will delve into ways to work with each sales rep to drive the company’s revenue growth.

Acccount Reviews:

I have not found any process that works better than account reviews to drive revenue growth. Account reviews should be conducted quarterly on each of a sales rep’s base and targeted accounts. At the minimum, the manager and rep participate in the account review, but upper management should participate in the top 50 reviews, 25 current customers and 25 targeted accounts, and should periodically participate in other reviews. Account reviews have a strategic focus but there are always tactical actions as outcomes.

The rep needs to prepare for the review by completing an account overview. The overview has basic account information — name, address, contacts — as well as information regarding the products and services you sell: what share of wallet do you have (if any); who are the competitors; what business does the competition have; what has changed in the account since the last review; where are your areas of opportunity; and your areas of vulnerability. You also need organizational charts that show the hierarchy from the front-line contact through to the C-level in the purchasing, IT, and finance departments with any relationships mapped to your company’s employees.

I recommend the manager spend at least an hour per week with each sales rep conducting account reviews. A review on a middle-market account takes about 10 minutes and a major account about 20 minutes. If you are dealing with Fortune 200 accounts those may take 30 to 40 minutes. So depending on the account bases the reps manage, they should prepare three to six accounts each week to be reviewed. To ensure you get through each rep’s assignment, schedule out the reviews in advance. If you leave it up to the reps to choose the accounts there is a good chance you will never see the accounts where they are struggling. Make certain each rep provides the manager with his “package” the day before the review so the manager is prepared for the meeting.

After the rep provides the account overview from a strategic and tactical perspective those involved in the account review have a robust discussion of how to help the rep achieve his short-term goals while working toward the common long-term goal of 100 percent share of wallet. It would be really easy being a sales manager if all reps were spot on in their account assessments. Unfortunately, that will only happen with a minority of reps so you will have to ask some probing questions after the rep’s overview so you can help identify areas they have missed. Additional areas of opportunity or concern will surface as you discuss certain tactics and strategies — and as you go through future iterations of the review — so do not try to find every nook and cranny in the overview stage.

I could give a full-day seminar on account reviews so it is impossible to cover everything you need to look for in this article, but I will try to cover some of the more critical areas.

You want to develop relationships higher and wider. Wider would be other departments; for example, you have a strong relationship with the manager of IT so now you need to develop relationships in finance and purchasing. Higher refers to working up to the C-level; how do you develop a relationship with the director of IT and eventually the CIO? Use the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” method to determine who in your company can leverage relationships with those folks you need to meet. Do not depend on the rep to initiate and manage all of the relationships — multiple levels of employees in your company should have relationships with multiple levels of employees in the customer or prospect company.

You want to thwart any competitive threats. Who is their copier provider? Who handles the printers in their data center? Do they have a facilities management provider? Do they have branch offices outside of their other vendors’ service area? Or do they have branches inside of the other vendors’ service area yet outside of your service area? How do you get that business while ensuring that those vendors do not displace you? Can you get the customer into a stronger contractual relationship or move some of their output from the copiers to the printers? Can you partner with somebody you trust for the outlying offices?

These areas define the robust discussion I mentioned earlier. As each manager facilitates more and more reviews they will become better and, by learning from each rep, they will be able to pass their knowledge onto the entire sales force. By having other managers in the company participating in the reviews they can help with the quality of plans and with the development of the manager and the sales employees. You will be working opportunities strategically rather than living month-to-month. The employee development and growth in the sales pipeline will result in more successful sales employees and reduce your employee turnover — compounding your growth. I have found no better process to drive revenue growth.

Pipeline: Some people refer to this as the sales funnel. Whatever you call it, it is a critical aspect of growing your business and of being able to see into future periods.

Continue Reading…

Lead for Growth

By Kevin Steffey

Create a culture of growth with goals, engagement, fun, and improvementI have personally experienced the highs of the dotcom boom and the lows of the deep recession that has affected global business.  Years of flat sales, dramatic losses, and a never-ending stream of negative press can take a toll on the psyche of businesses and their leaders.  So, what separates the companies that are energized for growth versus those paralyzed by fear or their past successes?

  1. Lofty goals – whether the goals are changing the way something works in the world, achieving great financial success, or making a difference in the community, companies that have their employee base fired up are giving them something more to shoot for than just surviving. Creating that goal achievement mindset is critical – a feeling that you can conquer anything that comes at you.
  2. Everyone is engaged – in growth businesses there is such a buzz and sense of urgency that is infectious.  Everyone feels the need to pull their weight or they prevent the whole team for achieving those lofty goals.  It is important to get cross-functional teams involved in breaking through challenging roadblocks or thinking about ways to refine your strategies to reach your goals.
  3. Enjoying the Ride – while slaying dragons and achieving goals is intoxicating, even the best heroes need a refresh from time to time and companies that want to sustain the growth need to find ways to have fun along the way.  Team outings, hosting a company picnic, taking time out to give back to the community as a team.  Often these small investments pay big dividends and show the employees that it isn’t just about the work, but about the family of people you work with.
  4. Improving everyday - I always like the fly-wheel concept in Jim Collins book, Good to Great.  Companies that grow do so by creating momentum.  Momentum comes from many employees making improvements on a daily basis.   These improvements need to be encouraged, celebrated, and rewarded constantly.  You never know which small improvement might be the thing that pushes your business into a spiral of growth.

The common thread of these items is culture.  If your culture is in retrenchment mode, it is hard to generate growth. Energy flows where attention goes.  To lead for growth, focus your attention on creating a culture that celebrates it!

Kevin Steffey is President of Naviga Business Services, a national Sales and Marketing Recruitment firm.  Kevin and Naviga have a passion for sales and marketing positions due to their direct impact on the growth of their customers. Check out www.navigaservices.com to engage a partner in growing and developing your team.

Pumping up your Sales Pipeline

by: Christian Maurer

I still have to meet the sales executive who is happy with her/his pipeline. When you ask them for the reason of their concern, the answer usually is: “it is not fat enough”. How do they know this? Obviously from experience. They know that only a fraction of the deals they and their people are currently working on will be won. The rule of thumb often heard in the High Tech Industry is that one out of three deals is usually won.

The obvious thing to do, is thus to make the pipeline fatter. To pump it up by finding new deals to enter into the pipeline (Prospecting and Lead Generation). As sales people function best when they see monetary rewards for their activities, you might beef up your campaign for pumping up the pipeline with some extra incentives and you set a goal on the number of leads you expect from each individual. This makes perfect sense following the principle that you can only expect what you inspect and what you pay for.

Chances are that sales executives taking such a decision have just shortened the tenure in their current position. Let us see how this can happen.

If you are in a business where the sales cycle (Lead to Close) is some 6 to 9 months, the action you have undertaken will bear fruit at best after the time it typically takes to get a deal through the pipeline. So this action will not be of any help if you are faced with the risk of a short fall already in the next quarter.

Worse yet, you might just have changed your rule of thumb. If you do not have a rigorous qualification process in place which determines when a lead can enter the pipeline, your lead to close ratio might actually worsen. There is a high likelihood that you get the number of leads you have asked for. Your risk is that they are of lower quality and thus a smaller percentage of them can be won. If that is not bad enough, it can come worth. Depending on your Forecasting process, these lower quality leads can also beef up your forecast. The changes to make this forecast are though slimmer than usually due to the lead quality problem discussed before.

There is yet another aspect that can lead you into trouble applying your rule of thumb. If the deals you and your people are working on are not evenly distributed in the pipeline, let us say a higher than usual proportion is only expected to close within six months, then your feared short fall for next quarter will be even more horrid than anticipated.

The reaction to correct a too thin pipeline as described above is human. I see it a symptom of what I call “Sales Executive’s Tunnel View”. I will tell more about this phenomenon in one of my next entries. A further entry will then be dedicated to the question whether the pipeline is a good metaphor to describe our list of deals we are working on.

For a quick measure to prevent you from “Sales Executives Tunnel View” may I suggest that you have a closer look into your pipeline and then apply the principle “try to get more from what you have”?

Christian Maurer, The Sales Executive Resource, is an independent sales effectiveness consultant, trainer and coach. He has a proven track record of helping to increase the productivity of large, global B2B sales organizations.

For the last 10 years Christian has consulted and coached hundreds of sales executives and managers on how to plan and execute their sales strategies by focusing on process management rather than trying to manage results. To assist the management in the execution of their strategies, he also has taught and coached their sales teams to increase their productivity by advising them on how to improve conversion rates and potential deal size with opportunity management, identify more deals and how to best approach potential buyers with account management, how to leverage marketing for their sales campaigns and how to orchestrate their activities with partners.

Assessing the Quality of your Sales Pipeline

By Kevin Steffey

We are nearly 1 month into the second half of the year.  How are you feeling about your chances of meeting or exceeding your sales targets? 

How strong is your sales pipeline?If you are like many sales managers, you rely on the quality of the information provided by your sales professionals on your pipeline of business opportunities.  However, the pipeline as represented by your representatives is often filled with opportunities that are in varying levels of quality. A thorough review of you pipeline can either validate your confidence or give you an early warning of areas to address.

  1. Are there enough prospective opportunities entering the sales process or currently in the process?  Review the business that is currently in various stages of your sales cycle and apply your typical close rates, sales cycle and average deal sizes to see the value of business currently in your pipeline that has a chance of closing this year. Also, look at the volume of new business entering the pipeline on a weekly basis to assess how much you will add to your pipeline and close in the upcoming months.  Often the biggest hurdle to meeting your sales plan is having enough business to work and keeping a strong eye on the lead generation sources to ensure proper flow of new business.
  2. Are the right types of deals in the pipeline?  A common challenge for sales managers is keeping the team focused on working on the right opportunities – not just the easiest opportunities.  Review the pipeline to see if the mix of business is skewed to less profitable product lines or customer types?  Also, looking at the average deal size in the pipeline is critical to ensure that your sales assumptions are valid.  Test the values put in by your sales professionals.  Are they in line with typical deal sizes or are they inflated? Is there a trend you didn’t expect with the sales price or profit margin being pressured by competition or market dynamics?
  3. Is the business moving through the pipeline at the proper pace?  As you review the opportunities with your sales professionals, are the identified next steps with each opportunity occurring when they say they should?  Do the same opportunities keep showing up week in and week out at the same stage of the sales process? It is important to make sure that your percentage of opportunities moving from one stage to the next is not fundamentally changing from your assumptions.

As you compare the results in each of these areas across your sales professionals and against your norms, you will have a strong sense of how confident you should be in your plan.  As you identify your outliers, those reps that are struggling to add the right type and quantity of business and move it through the sales process, you can start to take corrective action and work with those team members to adjust as needed to hit targets.

Kevin Steffey is President of Naviga Business Services, a national Sales and Marketing Recruitment firm.  Kevin and Naviga have a passion for sales and marketing positions due to their direct impact on the growth of their customers. Check out www.navigaservices.com to engage a partner in growing and developing your team.