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NAVIGATION

Why Sales Training Is Like Gardening

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 20-Sep-2016 15:03:08

If a gardener sows some flower seeds for you they may blossom briefly, but unless the soil is fertile they will die back and there may be nothing at all to see in a couple of years. Sales training, like flower seeds, needs fertile soil.

The Great Train(ing) Robbery

Firstly, who says there is a problem? Well, here are some statistics from the Harvard Business Review. Apparently US companies alone spend an estimated $356 billion on training around the world each year. But most of it fails to make any significant long-term difference. In fact 3 out of 4 senior managers say that the learning and development function is not critical to achieving business outcomes.

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If you don’t know, don’t guess.

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 30-Aug-2016 18:28:46

The biggest issue we see across the many Opportunity Reviews we’re involved in each month is the amount of guesswork and assuming that goes on. The Sales Person presents an Opportunity Plan but the meeting turns from a positive exercise designed to give the Sales Person ideas to progress the sale into a negative interrogation about where the truth really lies. 

Is this the fault of the Sales Person? Yes. But in most cases management is also to blame for creating a culture where Sales People feel that guessing is better than saying “I don’t know”.

What are Sales People guessing?

The same guesses turn up time after time. Sales People guess what the goals of the Buying Center are and are too optimistic about the qualification criteria, and their strengths vs. the competition. There is also a tendency to give a decision date so that it matches the end of the quarter.

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Implementing a Sales Process can be an uphill task

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 23-Jun-2016 09:33:26

How do you design a Sales Process that will actually be adopted by your Sales team? It can be an uphill task and one of our clients took this literally and climbed a mountain to help build a better Sales Process.

Why the Sales Process isn’t used

Many organisations that have a Sales Process find it is used only partially if at all by the Sales team. People fail to use the process for various reasons. It may be a process designed by senior managers and imposed on an unwilling Sales team who don’t see the benefit. It may have even been designed bottom-up but nevertheless failed to get broad buy-in. Either way, an organisation with no Sales process or a failing one will face problems regarding opportunity qualification, forecast reliability and win rate.

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Align your Company with your Sales Process

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 30-May-2016 09:00:00

If you put a high performance engine in a low spec car don’t expect to get anywhere much faster. You will have to adapt everything from the transmission and suspension to the tyres and brakes. The same applies in a company that wants to implement a Sales Process, if the rest of the organisation does not keep up then the whole project will end up in the ditch.

The negative impact of poor alignment

Our expertise is Sales Transformation, not corporate strategy. Having said that I am increasingly aware that many Sales Transformations fail because the rest of the organisation is not aligned to the new Sales Process. 

Let me share a few examples to illustrate how poor alignment can sabotage Sales.

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12 Things To Make Your Sales Transformation Work

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 16-May-2016 09:00:00

We consider ourselves very fortunate to work with the quality of clients we do. Over the last few years we’ve worked on over 30 sales transformation projects and helped to significantly increase the number of salespeople who achieve quota and helped organisations build a long-term sustainable business with a pipeline of qualified opportunities.

But we still learn from each client project, including the latest – an innovative B2B enterprise software company with strong ideas about what needs to be improved in the way they sell. I have drawn up a checklist of the things every sales organisation that really wants to change must do, based on years of experience and some learnings from the last few days.

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Safeguarding your Sales Opportunities

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 09-May-2016 09:00:00

I have argued in previous blogs that the old school Deal Review should be a thing of the past and everyone should move to a very different model – the Deal Pit-Stop. Having closely observed a number of Deal Reviews at the US headquarters of a highly successful Financial Services company I have shifted my view somewhat and so have the company.

Deal Reviews

Sales Managers don’t want Sales People wasting their time and company resources pursuing opportunities that are never going to convert. And senior management doesn’t want the Sales Team winning business that the organisation cannot fulfil or that will lose money. So it’s no surprise that many Sales People see Deal Reviews as meetings where lots of critical questions are asked about the solution and pricing, and at the same time as not giving them any new ideas to win the deal!

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Customerized Selling - Learn How Customers Want You To Sell

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 18-Apr-2016 11:35:28

After many years of being a Sales Trainer, I believe that most salespeople are not aware of how their customers define good selling. Without this insight sales organisations will be training and coaching the wrong skills. So, working closely with my Infoteam colleagues I have written a book about how to fix this problem, called Customerized Selling – Learn How Customers Want you to Sell.

Initial feedback

This is what Christoph Seeger, Chief Editor of Harvard Business Manager, has to say about the book:

 “Most vendors carefully research what customers expect of their products and services, but few, if any, ask customers what they expect of their salespeople. That’s a mistake.

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Just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will work now

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 04-Apr-2016 09:00:00

If you’ve done something before and it worked, surely it makes sense to do it the same way now. Right? And if you’ve done something lots of times before and it keeps working, even more reason to keep doing it the same way? Well, that depends.

In the last few years there have been huge changes in at least 3 of the industries we work with. Almost overnight in 2014 the Swiss banking industry had to give up its single biggest USP – banking secrecy. Starting in about 2010 Cloud computing started to transform the software industry, hitting some of the big established players pretty hard. In 2015 international commodity prices reached record lows and the mining industry took a huge hit.

The Relationship Managers in the Swiss banking industry that we work with along with the Sales People in the software industry and those who sell to the mining industry all found the way they had been working in the past - and getting good results - simply didn’t work anymore. They needed to undertake a paradigm shift to bring their way of selling in line with the new world they were facing.

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You can’t cut and paste your way to sales success

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 28-Mar-2016 09:00:00

Technology has made creating proposal documents quicker and easier, but has it made for better proposals? I fear it has not in many cases. Let me describe the problem as I see it and offer some solutions.

You are not talking the customers language

There are some horror stories about the misuse of cut and paste in documents. Apparently JP Morgan lost $6.2 million in 2012 at least in part because of careless cutting and pasting in Excel documents and there are cases of contracts, legal documents and even patient records where cut and paste has led to medical disasters. But what I want to talk about is the proposal document that makes the prospect feel that they are reading something prepared for any customer but not for them.

If you copy from a proposal that was written for another customer, or even use generic descriptions of your solution, it won’t sound like a proposal specifically written to meet your customers needs. Worse still it might have formatting errors, out of date prices, old terms and conditions or even another customers name in the text somewhere if it hasn’t been very carefully checked.

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Only work on pitches you can win

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 16-Mar-2016 09:00:00

Please excuse me if there are any typing errors in this article but I am typing with my fingers crossed. I have just spent a lot of time and a great deal of energy on an RFP for an important new prospect and I am awaiting the outcome. Just how much time was brought home to me when I went to the Careers Fair at my sons’ school last Saturday. 

I was one of around 45 parents, each sitting at a desk answering questions about their job so the students could get a first hand insight into what each career entailed. One of the 15 year olds came up to me and asked me how many hours a week I spend at work. When I replied he said, “That’s a lot more than most people here do”. Which made me think, ‘Why do Sales People spend so much time working?’ And then I went on to ask myself - based on the many Sales People I have worked with over the years – ‘do successful Sales People work longer hours than less successful ones?’

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