The traditional sales model from which we have recognized up to 80% of our business is moving to the transactional sale and the higher end business is going to demand a consultative sales approach. This approach is going to shed light on the skills – or lack thereof – of today’s sales professionals. So it’s time to ask yourself: Do you have the skills to connect with executives in order to gain access to their team?
The title of this post leads you to believe that we are going to talk about time to close a deal or to make a deal. In this case I want you to think about time as a precious commodity that is fleeting and beats us every year: your finite amount of time to make quota. As the year begins with kickoff and planning, Q1 is over before we know it and Q2 is upon us. We quickly need to make up for the Q1 shortfall, which means we must double down on prospecting and get appointments that lead to follow-on investment by the customer.
While I recognize that baseball is not a sport that everyone follows, I wanted to share some insights from Billy Beane whose character was the main focus of the 2011 film, Moneyball. Billy was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Splunk Conference where he made a statement that is so applicable to the sales world that I have to share it with you...
How many times do we struggle to convince management and ourselves we have a good deal in the pipeline? Throughout our sales careers, we tend to get overly optimistic, convinced that we have this really great deal in the pipeline. We take our customers’ word as perfectly true each time and are surprised when we lose the deal, especially to no decision. In this post, we will introduce you to the process of building a scorecard and the High Value Trades (HVT) needed to effectively negotiate opportunities in the pipeline.
According to Wikipedia, a cyborg is an organism that has restored function or enhanced abilities due to the integration of some artificial component or technology. A Cyborg Seller, therefore, may be described as the ultimate selling machine that will combine sales acumen and content together with social media to build a defensible position in your accounts. Sounds great, right? But how do we become Cyborg Sellers?
Many of the clients that Sales Gauge works with have formal sales onboarding and training programs. One such client put together a comprehensive launch program for their sales people that began with the basic skills that a sales person needs to have prior to going out into the field.
But while this company had an aggressive 5-day boot camp for people that covered product and soft skills, they discovered a lot of people (25%) would wash out of sales within 6 months. As you can imagine, coming to this realization meant that they were hiring the wrong people. The company recognized that they needed to make some drastic changes to ensure that they were not only hiring the right candidates but that these new hires have the skills required to successfully sell on behalf of the company.
Recently, we were meeting with a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to discuss training for their team in the science and art of prospecting. To kick things off, I asked the CRO about the current prospecting process and the plan to hold the sales people accountable. His answer?
“They aggressively sit at their desks waiting for the phone to ring.”
While we found the answer amusing, his response underlined the reality that their sales people had become order takers and not sales professionals.
In a previous blog post we discussed the book The Customer Service Revolution by John R. DiJulius and how companies and individuals have a tendency to approach clients with preconceived notions. We have this negative belief that our customers are always trying to put one over on us. It’s the 2% of customers trying to pull a fast one who prompt us to put up our defenses and drive us to believe every customer wants to screw us. But the reality is that most customers want us to be successful and profitable, in turn passing on fair pricing on our products and services. In this way, everyone benefits.
Sales and Operations leaders are given an annual budget to spend on sales effectiveness programs. Most often these programs revolve around sales training and other sales enablement programs, yet fail to realize the expected revenue growth from these investments.
What is the root cause of failed ROI? Is it the market? Do we have a talent issue? Certainly, it can’t be the training program we invested in?
Have you seen The Martian? In this film, Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut who is left behind on Mars who must learn how to survive on a planet that is barren and he is utterly and completely alone. The thing that struck me most was how his character has to overcome so much adversity to survive that it seems like most of us would give up.
As salespeople, part of our job is to quickly learn exactly what a prospect’s role is within their organization and to ascertain their true motivations for engaging with us. By doing this, we are in a position of power that enables us to address their needs quickly and efficiently, ideally getting us to a strong sales opportunity.
Sales Gauge Launches Online Sales Training Platform
Premier sales training company launches Sales Gauge in the Cloud for Sales Professionals
BOSTON, MA – September 28, 2016. Leading sales training company, Sales Gauge, today announces the launch of its eLearning platform, Sales Gauge in the Cloud. With flexible options for individual sales professionals, small- to medium-sized sales teams, as well as enterprise sales organizations, the Sales Gauge online sales training program delivers an always on, cost-effective training solution.
Gravitocity Announces Strategic Partnership with Sales Gauge
Sales technology and sales training companies join forces to create complete sales prospecting solution
Burlingame, CA. – July xx, 2016: Gravitocity, Inc., a pioneer in sales outreach and prospecting technology, today announced a strategic partnership with Sales Gauge, a leading sales training and sales elearning company. Together, the two will enable salespeople to improve sales velocity by identifying and reaching new sources of senior-level prospects and closing business with them faster.
As sales professionals, we spend a lot of time focusing on the early and late stages of the pipeline. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it.
In the early stages of a deal, things are exciting and optimistic. As sales people, we are the most fervent of optimists, aren’t we? You reached out to a target prospect, managed to get to the CxO and now you have a meeting scheduled.
As professional salespeople, we are faced with 3 constants as we work our sales opportunities:
People, Time and Money
Sales Gauge frequently works with technology sales teams and we often see a propensity for the sales people to focus their discovery on the Critical Technical Issue (CTI), latching on to the technical solution that the client needs to solve.