Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do NOT Be Tempted!

Don't be tempted to skip the Training Needs Analysis. It's easy to claim we are busy or overworked or other. It is critical -- REQUIRED -- that a Training Needs Analysis must be conducted for all new training requests.

Too often (in my industry almost always) there is such a push for training salespeople when revenues are down, but executives don't believe there is any time to wait for proper planning and development to meet the need.

Let me assure you -- if you skip the Training Needs Analysis stage, your training will miss the mark and your training organization will rightly become an excuse for poor performance. There is no "winging it" with training.

As Julie Andrews said: start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start. Let me rephrase that for our industry: start at the very beginning, with a Training Needs Analysis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Abandon the Powerpoint

This year (2008) my team and I have been measuring our training successes with and without the use of Powerpoint visuals.

We measured several key statistical areas: Content, Instructor, Environment, and an Overall category.

When foregoing the Powerpoint visual, our Content scores are up 18%, Instructor scores are up just over 20%, Environment scores are up 9%, and the Overall category scores are up 17%.

In each case, the instructor(s) remained the same for both versions of training. No matter the instructor, each time we measured results, the scores were higher in all categories! We attribute the improvements due to an increased connection between the instructor and the trainees.

If you have conducted similar research, please let me know. Until then, get back in touch with your students -- Abandon the Powerpoint!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How dumb are your sales reps?

Wake up! Your sales reps are not dumb.

The question really is, "Why do so many sales execs treat them as if they are?"

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with some brilliant Fortune 50 salespeople in the Boston area. Almost to a person, they had this comment, "why are we being asked to sell the cool new cutting-edge services but are both: a) being paid better to sell the older services, and b) required to sell 80% of our quota on the older services before even making one penny on sales of the newer ones?"

Wow! Unfortunately, this disconnect exists in way too many sales organizations in our country. I see it with each organization I come in contact with and there is no excuse. Wall Street is kind for a day or less ... but will your company make the really tough decisions early enough to be around for that day?

Your sales reps will sell: a) what you pay them to, and b) what you tell them to -- so quit treating them as if they are dumb, they aren't. Set your incentives to drive the behaviors you want, then focus marketing and support efforts around THOSE behaviors.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sell YOU

What a great idea - !! This morning I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Executives in/around the Boston area, thru a great tool called BlitzTime. Our guest speaker covered the 3 C's of Social Marketing. She did a great job, but in her introduction, she mentioned hating salespeople. I thought, WHAT?? Aren't we all in sales???? The question is rhetorical, the answer is yes.

Two of my all-time favorites on "Selling YOU!" are:

You, Inc, by Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford Beckwith, and
Selling for Dummies, by Tom Hopkins

We are always selling ourselves whether we know it...or not.

Recently I joined the Basho Community, what a great site providing poignant information directed to the sales professional. A blog covering CEO M. Jeffrey Hoffman's recent interview with SellingPower Magazine provided advice to the new sales manager. Hoffman is a sales sage and I appreciate what he's doing for our industry. I must, however, disagree in principle with the approach he recommends for new sales managers.

Instead, espouse the "Sell YOU!" mentality. Many sales managers find themselves in their managerial role due to a promotion received as a highly successful salesperson. Guess what - that doesn't mean they are qualified, YET.

Take ownership of your new role by focusing on your strengths, sell YOU to your new team, lift them up to your standards, and help ALL of them succeed.