Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Dave Stein
Back in March I delivered a webinar for Sales and Marketing Management magazine entitled, “How to Run a Planning Session to Win a Critical Sales Opportunity.” (Here are the slides.)
Before I started ESR I worked as a backstage coach helping companies win very competitive, big ticket sales opportunities. So I know a lot about that subject. S&MM was looking for me to contribute to their executive series of webinars, so I chose that subject. (You may know that I write the regular sales training column for the magazine. If you haven’t read the latest issue, here is Dancing Lessons.) Although in numbers of industries, the direct/outside selling model is rapidly being transformed to inside and reseller approaches to market, in fact, there are plenty of big deals out there and the competition within them is ruthless. Pursuing these deals without a process is malpractice, in our view.
Of course critical and big as they apply to deals are relative. A large, critical make/break the quarter deal for a $5 million company may be (only) $300k. For a Fortune 50 it could be $100 million. But however big your company is, you get to decide what’s a critical win and what isn’t. Just to be clear, there are three processes in play here:
- First is the sales process. (Pre-determined steps, actions, gates, activities, tactics, etc., to win a deal.)
- Then there is an opportunity management process. (Determining the specific sales objective, strategies, tactics, qualification criteria, customer information, etc.)
- Finally there is a deal review process. (Taking a salesperson through validating their plan and their approach.)
Critical components of a sales opportunity planning session
Depending on which sales training company you’re speaking with, those terms may be different. Here are some of the critical components of a sales opportunity planning session:
- Assessing and priortizing information that has been gathered by the sales person.
- Determining what additional information is required, by when, and from whom in the customer’s company that information should come.
- Engaging in the discipline of planning through working the plan. In other words, the value isn’t in the physical manifestion of the sales plan. It’s in the effort, thought, and collaboration behind building that plan.
- Collaboration among sales rep, manager, other team members, and outside consultants, where appropriate. (In certain situations I used to work on contingency.)
- Formulation of objectives, strategies, and tactics based on information, analysis, and logic—not guesswork.
- Measuring the progress of the opportunity since the last session.
- Assess risks and rewards for continuing to pursue.
Thanks to The TAS Group
I had the opportunity to use a series of screenshots taken from The TAS Group’s Dealmaker sales process automation software (with permission, of course) to demonstrate best practices in qualification. I provided a series of diagnostic questions that would likely compel the salesrep to need to get more information from the customer. If you’d like to view the recording visit SMMConnect’s site here.
Filed under: Big Wins, coaching, Methodology, Opportunity Management, Presentations, sales process, Sales Training Companies, Technology | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 10th, 2013 by Dave Stein
Last week I posted the slides from a recent webinar I did with Sales & Marketing Management magazine’s SMM Connect on 20 Must-have Resources for sales managers. Based on the stats from that post, I’ve determined that you’d like to see more.
So here is another slide deck from a webinar I did in February entitled How to Determine What’s Really Going on Inside Your Sales Organization. The archive of the event is here.
This webinar is targeted at senior executives. It addresses key sales related challenges:
- Missed forecasts
- Questionable pipeline
- Low win rate against certain competitors
- Margin-killing tactical discounting
- Significant attrition among sales people and their managers
- Low (or no) ROI on sales training, tools, CRM, etc.
- Inconsistent messaging
- Low satisfaction rating among new customers.
We also look at sales effectiveness at the opportunity level as providing competitive advantage.
Finally, we provide some proven diagnostics.
Filed under: Account Management, Measurement, Methodology, Opportunity Management, Pipeline, Sales Enablement | No Comments »
Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Dave Stein
Last month I delivered a webinar where I took the audience through considerably more than 20 must-have resources that sales managers need to get their jobs done—deliver at or above their targets.
I posted the slides on SlideShare. If you’d like to listen to the audio as well, you’ll find it here, on SMM Connect’s website.
Filed under: Book Recommendation, Marketing, Methodology, Presentations, sales process, sales training | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 28th, 2013 by Dave Stein
I wish I had kept track of the number of times sales trainers raised the subject of ADD/ADHD with me. The discussion generally takes the form of a complaint, as in, “Dave, do you have any idea how hard it is to get a room full of salesreps with ADHD to stay focused during our workshops?”
Yes I do, but designing, building, testing, and executing a sales training initiative must take into account various learning preferences (and limitations) of a diverse group of adults. We have to contend with participants of different ages, backgrounds, years of experience, cultures, languages, levels of intelligence and EQ, and certainly those with the inability to pay attention and focus on the task at hand—those with ADHD.
The last time I was in touch with Steve Callender was when he was with Wilson Learning. I loved working with Steve. He’s got a world of experience, understands how adults learn, and is very detail-oriented.
Steve reached out to me with a very compelling proposition regarding coaching those salespeople and sales managers with ADHD, and how having ADHD could be a good thing. A very good thing.
Steve was up for an interview about the subject. I told him I thought we should keep it short, considering the topic…
Here’s the interview: Read more »
Filed under: coaching, Interview, sales training | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 6th, 2013 by Dave Stein
Recently I’ve had more than a few discussions with sales trainers and sales training buyers about age.
The more I see trainers include phrases like, “More than 35 years experience in sales, sales management…” in their LinkedIn profiles and in the “About Us” sections of their websites, the more conscious I’ve become of this issue.
Here’s an important point: Hiring a sales trainer, just because they are young, to train your B2B sales team is as much of a mistake as hiring someone with decades of experience—but little of it relevant to overcoming your specific selling challenges.
Does that suggest that you should hire someone in their late 30′s or 40′s just cover all bases? Not if they aren’t qualified. Read more »
Filed under: Buyers | 6 Comments »
Posted on April 29th, 2013 by Dave Stein
It’s unusual for me to publish two posts in a row covering new books about selling, but this is a special situation.
Near the end of 2011, I had the opportunity to spend an hour with Corey Sommers on the phone for the first time. At the time, he and his partner, David Jenkins, were the two principals at WhiteBoard Selling, a small, niche, sales enablement provider. I say “were” because Whiteboard Selling was acquired by Corporate Visions last year. I called it a very smart move at the time and I still believe that to be true.
Back to the briefing. As an analyst firm, we send the following agenda to providers looking to brief us for the first time: Read more »
Filed under: Book Recommendation, Presentations | 12 Comments »
Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Dave Stein
Update: April 25, 2013. If you read this book and see a strong comparison to the Challenger Sale model, let me know. I should point out that the original version of this book was written long before The Challenger Sale was written.
Original blog post begins:
It’s always an honor to be mentioned in a new book, or to be asked to provide an endorsement. In this case, the author asked me to write the forward.
Here is the forward to Tony Hughes’s The Joshua Principle (Revised Edition – 2013): Read more »
Filed under: Book Recommendation | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 10th, 2013 by Dave Stein
ESR recently completed our evaluation of the Trustworthy Selling program, which was introduced 18 months ago by the Hoopis Performance Network and LIMRA. This collaboration gave birth to a high-quality, high-value selling program for the financial services industry.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with:
- Delores Freitag, AVP of talent development at LIMRA
- Joey Davenport, CLU, CLF, who is a Principal & Chief Development Officer for the Hoopis Performance Network in Chicago, IL.
- George Ludwig, a 30-year veteran consultant, speaker, and trainer, and author of PowerSelling.
- Harry Hoopis, CEO of the Hoopis Performance Network
Dave Stein: Why did LIMRA and the Hoopis Performance Network develop Trustworthy Selling? Read more »
Filed under: Book Recommendation, Interview, sales training | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 18th, 2013 by Dave Stein
Last week Franklin Covey announced the acquisition of sales performance improvement provider NinetyFive 5. This thrusts Franklin Covey’s Sales Performance Practice right into the category of a Tier One provider in the sales training and sales enablement space.
Haven’t heard of NinetyFive 5? That’s not an accident. Stealth was a critical component of the growth plan designed by co-founders Randy Illig, Craig Christensen, and Mahan Khalsa. They shared with ESR just a year ago what they had accomplished up to that point. We were impressed. They are among the industry leaders in terms of content, learning technology, social media assets, tools, and measurement. Once their original product development plan had been completed, it was time for an acquisition by a larger company with proven distribution capabilities and a broader focus on business improvement for their clients.
Last Friday I spoke with Randy and Bob Whitman, CEO of Franklin Covey. They took me through the logic of the deal and the significant potential Franklin Covey now has in this market with 170 salespeople in the U.S. and delivery capabilities in 104 countries.
All-in-all this acquisition makes a lot of sense. We’ll be watching them closely.
Filed under: Sales Enablement, Sales Training Companies | No Comments »
Posted on March 14th, 2013 by Dave Stein
Just for the record – I am not having a go at Americans in this post despite what the title might suggest.
But having worked with hundreds of Irish companies over the years and having been involved with selling programs such as SalesSTAR and the International Selling Programme I am only too familiar with some of the war stories that people tell about their experiences when hiring sales people aboard—and unfortunately some of the worst stories come from the U.S.
This is what I call Yankee Doodler Danger. Most of you will be familiar with what I mean—either you’ve heard the stories or had the experience first-hand.
Here is the scenario:
It’s an important new sales hire in the U.S.—the whole company is excited about it. It’s really going to help the business get a boost in growth. You’ve met the candidate; he or she comes highly recommended by someone on the board. They’ve got a great CV and have worked for some of the biggest companies in the U.S. They know the industry so they will able to open doors and use their network to get meetings from day one. All the reference checks went well—the compensation package is a bit high but the combination of your product, their experience, and their connections is bound to lead to deals—fast.
What’s not to be happy about? The die is cast and the deal is done!
Fast track 6 to 9 months. You’re tearing your hair out—there are no deals closed and a host of excuses as to why. The pipeline is looking seriously anemic; you’ve invested a fortune’s worth of time in on-boarding and support but are seeing no return. Worse still, the rest of the sales team have their hackles up and are not happy about carrying a highly paid under-performer on the team.
The fairy tale ending is that you fire the person you hired quickly and move on. The not so happily-ever-after ending is that you carry them for another 6-9 months, have your reputation damaged with a couple of key prospects and business partners and further disenfranchise the rest of the sales team. Plus … the board tells you, “We told you so!”
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Two out of three companies say they have blown it big time when it comes to getting key hires right. Hiring is an inexact activity. You win some and you lose some. But those who improve their odds tackled the challenge head on and didn’t leave it all up to guesswork and luck.
To find out more about what you can do to avoid the Yankee Doodle Danger join me in Dublin on the 17 -18th of April for a hands-on, realistic workshop about how to hire and keep smart, sharp sales talent. To find out what it’s all about click here.
Image source: © AOshlick – Fotolia.com
Filed under: Hiring | 1 Comment »