A cautionary tale for sales managers
In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the tale of a young scientist who searches for the secret of life through the creation of a cobbled-together monster. Are you similarly building a monstrosity of a sales team through alchemic and irresponsible means?!?!
Let’s hope not. But if you are, don’t fear. You can shift things around.
All too often our sales organizations take on lives of their own and can run amok if we don’t plan and proceed with proper awareness. Frankenstein’s monster was created without a meaningful plan. He was born out of excitement and the pursuit of knowledge, but his vision wasn’t fully considered.
If you feel like your sales team is a Frankenstein, bolted together and not acting the way you’d hoped, it’s ok. Unlike the mad scientist, you can fix it!
Your sales team is not a monster. You might perceive it to be jury-rigged and inoperable, but most likely it just needs proper guidance and a slight adjustment. Remember that you are a leader and not a mad scientist! You and your team already have the skills needed to stop scaring the villagers.
If you’re frustrated about the actions (or lack of actions) that your team is taking, and if the results you want aren’t getting procured, hit the reset button. You’re the leader. Act like one. Bring the team together and discuss what you’re unhappy about, what you’re observing. Do it in a positive and constructive way. Set a clear agenda and ask your team to come prepared to have a thoughtful conversation about improving the sales organization as a whole.
There is great importance in moving towards solutions and not resting in negativity. It’s about walking the talk. If you believe in and are fostering constructive values, then your team needs to witness these values in your actions. If you ask your team not to dwell on their mistakes and to move forward with positivity, then show them how together you can all achieve solutions in an optimistic and forward thinking way.
The idea behind creating Frankenstein’s monster was awesome. The scientist wanted to discover the secret of life! Your motivation as the sales manager is happily not so grand, but perhaps your sales team sees you more as a mad scientist than an intentional designer.
Are you trying to create success, but horrified by the results your team is having? Ask yourself if you consistently introduce different strategies without a plan. Stop grasping for random parts to achieve your solution. Hiring a sales trainer, finding an SEO master, handing out the latest sales book - this grab bag incohesive approach lacks intention. The larger result you’re seeking will continue to elude you unless you and your team follow a blueprint.
But you can’t create a plan if you don't know the outcome that you want. Get the team to agree on the result, then ask the team to co-create the plan. By doing this you have a better chance of aligning everyone and having their actions and experiences contribute to the overall success.
It will be alright. We all get caught up in the moment, and we want our sales teams to be amazing. However they can’t succeed without clear direction and objectives. We must consider the outcome of any creation, whether new life built from stolen body parts or a well-assembled sales team.
A good sales team is devised of smart, reliable and creative individuals who must be given the chance to succeed. Invite them into the conversation, respect them for their ideas and give them the opportunity to grow and contribute.
Here’s a fun fact that popular culture overlooks: in the actual book, Frankenstein’s monster was born intelligent and articulate, capable of great things; but without good leadership and collaboration he becomes self-taught, fearful and unpredictable. Be sure to not act too independently, or else your sales team may become a wild creature roaming around without purpose or understanding!
I encourage you to meet with each member of your sales team individually and simply ask them, “How would you improve the sales organization? How would you create revenue?” They will probably have brilliant ideas.
If you feel that your sales department is Frankenstein’s monster, in actuality it’s probably not. You have a team with all the proper parts and the ability to evolve, because you are not the mad scientist and they are not monstrous! You can create a smart, functioning and creative team that feels built more upon the mind of Einstein than Frankenstein. Let’s get them going…
New trends in virtual meetings have given rise to sales tech challenges for many teams. In March 2020, Zoom saw more than 20 million new users download their mobile app. While the Work From Home (WFH) business model has been gaining traction for years, the current socio-political climate radically sped up the advent of technology like video conferencing. At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, more than 300 million people participate in Zoom meetings every day. Add that to the immense number of people who use rival services such as Google Hangouts/ Meet, and you have a major shift in global business practices.
That level of explosive growth isn't without problems, though. With so many first-time users adopting this new technology, things are bound to go wrong. Tech issues and sales meeting challenges are likely to arise. Here are five sales tech challenges that I see my clients struggle with every week, along with instructions on how to solve them.
1. Attendees Click the Wrong Meeting Link
Google's entire suite of products is built on user experience. They have led the renaissance of easy-to-use applications that integrate seamlessly with one another. For the most part, it makes life much easier for the end user. Sometimes, Google's quality-of-life updates can be intrusive, and create a sales tech challenges.
Businesses hosted through Gmail who choose to integrate with an enterprise platform like Outlook are subject to Google Meet/Hangout links where they might not want them. Google automatically embeds a link to their Meet/Hangout application in email and Google's calendar. Meet was formerly known as Google Hangouts, but over the summer of 2020, Gmail was upgraded to include additional video conferencing functionality, and thus Meet was born.
Because Google automatically injects the embedded link into emails for enterprise users, people who you've invited to your Zoom sales meeting might be confused. Instead of clicking the Zoom link in their email, they click the embedded Meet/Hangout link instead. This link correlates to your Google calendar and is dependent on it. No matter how clear you make it in the body of the email, there will still be clients that click the embedded link anyway. Fortunately there is a fix.
It requires your business's Gmail administrator to adjust a setting in your Google calendar to prevent Google from automatically embedding the link across your G Suite. If your business is smaller in scale and you aren't using an enterprise account, you can turn this feature off yourself by going into your calendar settings and turning off the "Automatically add Google Meet video conferences to events I create" option in your calendar.
2. Zoom Only Allows the Host to Share Their Screen
Being able to share what's on your screen is an important part of a virtual sales meeting. To implement a truly functional WFH model, your video conferencing platform has to foster productivity. By default, Zoom only allows the sales meeting's host to share what's on his/her device screen, however. This information can include:
Fortunately, there is an extremely easy fix to this sales tech challenge, allowing everyone in the meeting to share screen content. To allow multiple users to share the contents of their screen, the meeting host must click the up arrow icon on the right side of the screen. This will open a menu where the host can select the "Multiple participants can share simultaneously," option.
It should be noted that this is a change to the default option, which is set up so that only the host can share. Clicking a simple radio button located below the previous option allows the meeting attendees to share their content as well.
3. Time Zone Confusion Creates Sales Tech Challenges
Large, multinational companies may have sales meetings that involve participants from all over the globe. That means participants operating out of different time zones.
For some users, time zone conversion can be a painful, time-consuming process that involves consulting an outside source and then doing the math manually. For default Google users, it involves setting up a secondary time zone for each invite that has international attendees. That's where plugins come into play.
Plugin calendar apps like Calendly or Acuity integrate easily with your G Suite, and provide valuable time zone information for your sales meetings by default. These extensions allow for easier time zone access, such as rolling over an attendee's name to show information, including time zone.
For example, with Acuity integration, you simply click on the appointment in your Google calendar to see each attendee's time zone. The initial time investment that it takes to set up plugins like these are more than worth it given their overall convenience and effectiveness at solving this sales tech challenge.
4. Solve Tech Issues by Enabling Advanced Functionality Tools
Add-ons like Calendly greatly augment what you're able to do with your video conferencing platform, helping you overcome multiple sales tech challenges at once. The basic version of Calendly includes free meeting scheduling functions, while their premium service allows users to do much more.
Using Calendly's advanced features allows hosts to embed a link right on their website that allows potential clients to set up a meeting without having to go through an additional platform to initiate contact. Calendly also allows you to set up PayPal or Stripe payment options within the video conference itself, allowing for functional, results-driven sales meetings.
Each new meeting type that the host sets up will walk them through a checklist of options for their prospective meeting, allowing them to easily initiate advanced features like these.
5. Make Video Conferencing More Secure
Users worldwide have made a big deal out of the potential security issues inherent to free-to-use platforms like Zoom, and with good reason. Those security threats have introduced a new term into our collective vernacular: Zoombombing.
Sales people deal with sensitive information on a regular basis. The integrity of our customers' information and our internal communications is essential. Video conferencing, however, has become a modern-day necessity. What can users do to overcome this specific sales tech challenge?
While both Google and Zoom have added additional layers of encryption over the last few months, as well as unique meeting invite codes, Zoom users have a frontline defense they can proactively employ. Before starting a meeting, users can log in and access their settings. Under advanced options there is a setting to enable a virtual waiting room. This allows the meeting's host to pre-screen people attempting to join the meeting.
Iron Out the Kinks
As with any new technology, there are millions of unanticipated issues that will inevitably arise. With the WFH business model, sales people worldwide are experiencing a major operational shift that will affect the industry as a whole. Experience is the best teacher available, even as we all try to figure out sales tech challenges together. Fortunately, each of the video conferencing platforms currently on the market are customizable, designed with the end user in mind.
For more tips, tricks and insights on videoconferencing and the evolving sales environment, sign up for our newsletter, or visit our website for webinars and other valuable business resources.
Today's marketing teams require a multi-channel approach to carrying out both online and offline marketing campaigns. While utilizing multiple channels enables marketers to personalize a customer's sales journey throughout the sales funnel, there are some unique challenges when analyzing a particular marketing campaign and its ROI.
One key metric to determine your marketing ROI is through attribution. If your company is not focusing on sales and lead attribution, here is why it should be at the forefront of your marketing campaign.
What is Attribution?
Attribution indicates how prospective customers enter your sales funnel. Likewise, it serves as a touchpoint of customer experiences throughout the buyer's journey. It specifies what door they came through, what channels and messages resonated with them the most, and what was the deciding factor that led to a purchase.
A common flaw for many businesses is they fail to clearly understand attribution, leading to a lack of understanding of which sales tactics and initiatives are working best for their bottom line. Focusing on lead and sales attribution can help your business determine where it is getting the most ROI for your marketing dollars, and what acquisition channels are the most valuable.
Why is Attribution Important?
Attribution programs require marketers to aggregate consumer data across all levels of your marketing channels. The data is then normalized and properly weighed to give your business better insight into the customer's decision-making process.
For instance, if a potential customer receives both an email ad and a display ad, but only clicks on the promotion from the email, it indicates to your marketing team the email was more effective at enticing interest for your good or service for that particular customer.
Understanding attribution can improve your business' decision-making process. Attribution helps you determine which channels are better at generating new leads, or which channels are more effective at converting leads into finalized sales. If you find your promotional emails are generating more leads, then you can allocate more resources to your email campaign.
To achieve efficacious attribution requires advanced marketing analytics that can take a large amount of data and convert it into personal-level insights, which you can then use to optimize your marketing campaigns.
Benefits of Effective Attribution
Avoid the Pitfalls
Despite the many benefits attribution can bring to your business, some common pitfalls can obscure the success of marketing campaigns. To ensure you are getting the most valuable insight from your data, these are the common mistakes marketers should avoid when using attribution models:
First-touch attribution assumes a customer chose to convert after the first advertisement they came across. Therefore, it gives attribution to the first touchpoint, regardless of any additional messaging subsequently introduced.
Last-touch attribution gives entire attribution credit to the last touchpoint the customer interacted with before finalizing the purchase. It does not take into account any prior engagements. Both single-touch models fail to account for the broader customer journey.
Multi-touch attribution models look at every touchpoint a customer engages with throughout the buyer's journey. Therefore, multi-touch models are more accurate at depicting the efficacy of your marketing efforts. These models are different by how they divide credit between touchpoints. These include:
How to Improve Your Sales Attribution
Sales and lead attribution are crucial aspects for your business, and knowing how to accurately gauge your customer's journey is paramount. Want to learn more, but not sure where to start and need some expert advice, check out our website to view our informational webinars, or sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Did you know it takes an average of 18 calls before a salesperson connects with their lead? Multiply that by every lead in the salesperson's funnel, and that's a gigantic amount of time spent chasing down sales. Yet, there's often a perception among company leadership that salespeople have it easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If your company doesn't properly value or take the time to understand its sales team, it can affect every facet of your business. Fostering a sales-positive culture helps you obtain long-term success.
The Benefit of a Sales-Positive Culture
Success begins with understanding, and understanding comes from the top down. Your company's leadership must set an example by demonstrating respect, appreciation and insight as to how their sales reps operate.
It's easy to see how misconceptions are born. For those who've never been a salesperson, speaking to clients seems like a soft skill, chatting and schmoozing followed by a lot of downtime. In reality, the sales rep spends only about 30% of their time talking directly with clients. The rest of that time is spent on administrative tasks like scheduling, paperwork and training.
Still, the misconception persists: that no one really understands what sales does, that sales seems easy, and that if the company needs more revenue, sales just needs to sell better or call more people to increase it. Unless your leadership takes measures to stop the anti-sales attitude from taking root, your company's morale and profitability could be in serious trouble.
10 Things Leadership Needs to Know About Its Sales People
It's a more effective strategy to build a bridge than it is a fence. Keeping your company's individual departments synchronized boosts morale and overall prosperity. After years of interacting with professional salespeople, these are the most essential things every salesperson wishes their CEO knew about them.
Your sales department is the driving force behind your revenue and prosperity, but they're often misunderstood by fellow employees and company leadership. It's important to view your sales team as essential and look for ways to enfranchise them. It's always better to build a bridge than it is a fence.
For more SMB advice and insights, sign up for our newsletter, or visit our website for webinars and other valuable business resources.
Before you continue to find fault with your sales organization, consider the possibility that you’re lacking alignment from the foundation up and that is the root cause of poor sales performance. You are not alone, however. This is a universal problem, and sales forces are picking up and moving on at staggering rates.
According to a 2018 survey by Marc Wayshak, only 17.6% of respondents rate their job satisfaction as "outstanding," and 47.1% rated their jobs as just "good."
If you’re feeling frustrated with sales performance and revenue, it’s possible that some core strategies and relationships need to be reconsidered. Take a deep look at your foundations, your team and your leadership. How can you give sales performance a boost? Consider these three steps.
Increase Sales Performance by Revisiting Your Foundations
Are you clear on your company value foundations? You must know what problems you are here to solve and who you are solving them for. Take the time to really define your value proposition and how you’re different from other companies. Without a concise foundation, your sales team's performance will suffer. Make sure everyone is aligned with your purpose by training your team to understand the organization's well-defined foundations.
Explore Your Sales Team Dynamics
Chances are that among your group, there are individual strengths that merit individual approaches. Look at the sales team and understand who they are. The result will be higher sales performance because you have set them up for success by giving them opportunities that speak to their strengths.
From here, work towards group solutions and create a collaborative environment. If you have provided safety and encouragement through listening and asking questions, your team will feel relevant and confident. Be bold and ask them what they would do if they ran the department. How would they solve their frustrations and yours? You might be delighted by the answers you receive.
Reexamine Your Sales Leadership
It’s imperative that you create an environment for your team to be successful. Have you made them feel trusted, empowered and knowledgeable as individuals so that they can be aligned as a team?
You don’t need new hires. I’m a firm believer that most salespeople are good at what they do if given the opportunity to sell the way that best supports their strengths. You are responsible for putting each team member in the right role and fostering skills that will bring their sales performance to peak levels.
Remember that your team must be heard. Listen to them. Ask what they need and keep in mind that there are numerous ways to sell. Teach them trust and mutual respect through providing it yourself in your leadership.
Spotio’s Sales Career Statistics states that the typical account executive spends 2.7 years on the job and takes 4.7 months to ramp. You can do better.
It’s hard to see oneself as the culprit of other’s dissatisfaction or for a company sales slump. However, looking inward and accepting that changes need to be made can lead a poor sales team to greater happiness, higher performance and increased loyalty.
An experienced, well-equipped and determined sales team can lead any business to success. The problem many companies face is that they have poor sales team performance.
In many cases, it doesn't have to do with experience or determination. The reason lies in the lack of understanding, empowerment and engagement.
Today, 75% of companies say that closing more deals is their top priority. If you are among them, showing trust and giving the necessary tools to your team can give your business a giant push forward. Consider these five ways to improve sales team performance.
1. Learn More About Your Sales Team
Being a sales rep isn't a profession. It's a calling. To be successful, these experts need to feel the buyers' pain points and offer suitable solutions, while guiding them down the sales funnel. All that requires determination, passion and hard work.
Unfortunately, many business owners don't understand the variety of challenges these sales professionals face. From that comes a lack of respect and encouragement, resulting in poor sales team performance. That's one of the reasons for a high sales rep turnover rate, compared to other industries (35% vs 13%).
If you feel unhappy with your team's sales performance, start by learning more about your team. As you work on your involvement, you can uncover various factors to help improve the team's performance.
2. Increase Sales Performance by Encourage Strengths
All sales reps have certain professional strengths and weaknesses. When you want an employee to increase sales performance, focusing attention on their weaknesses is counterproductive.
According to Gallup, building on employee's strengths is much more effective than trying to improve on their weaknesses. It's up to the employer to create a work environment to cultivate the sales rep's strengths.
A supervisor's understanding of his/her reps' strengths has an impressive effect on the company's bottom line because managers play a crucial role in maximizing employee output. You can empower the sales rep to discover and develop their strengths. Once you do that, adjust their role to exploit these strengths fully.
3. Support Teamwork
To boost sales team performance, sales reps need to come together as a united group. This could be problematic for experts, who are used to working alone. As you get to know each team member's strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out the best way to bring these people together.
4. Ask For Feedback...And Listen To It
The best way to discover a problem in the workplace is to ask. If your team isn't performing as well as you expect, ask your sales rep why they think it's happening.
The information you can acquire simply by asking could change your entire approach to team building, workplace environment and much more.
Don't hesitate to ask your sales team for ideas. They may already know how to solve the problem. Listening to your employees and trusting their professional opinion could help you achieve many business goals in addition to improving sales team performance.
5. Promote Engagement And Involvement
One of the top reasons why employees are unhappy with their work is the lack of meaning. When sales reps don't see a meaning in what they do, their performance suffers.
Employee disengagement costs the U.S. more than $550 billion a year in lost productivity. Even when scaled down to one company, the losses could be devastating. To increase engagement, employees should be invested in the company's mission, vision, value and goals.
It's up to the leader to show the sales team why its work is highly meaningful to the company. You should help sales reps understand that the work they do contributes to the company's success directly.
Start Improving Sales Team Performance Today
The success of your sales team doesn't just depend on its professionalism and experience. A big part stems from your attitude.
By getting to know your team better, encouraging its strengths, improving the workplace environment and promoting engagement, you can improve the sales team's performance tremendously. Work with your sales team as much as you can. Such an effort can bring an impressive ROI.
For more information about improving your sales team performance and other important tips, please sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Ask Yourself Daily: What Will Create the Most Value?
I can easily get caught in the trap of "busyness." I remind myself daily, my job is to create value for myself, my team and my prospects with the actions I take today. I have to start by being mindful of how I create value and what will create value. Then, I prioritize.
The discipline required to remain focused on long term goals amidst the actual execution of a strategy is a rare skill, but is highly valuable to clients. Following a disciplined process typically leads to higher quality and faster results.
TIP: On a weekly basis, I challenge assumptions made when originally setting goals, and seek input from the team on whether our goals need to be modified.
Set Mutual Commitments Together
Similar to defining next steps, setting mutual commitments while you still have everyone’s attention on a call or in a meeting is a vital way to ensure progress. It also creates mutual accountability and builds ongoing trust. Don’t forget, trust built over time equals longer client engagements, larger projects and great client retention.
TIP: Don’t shy away from directly asking each contributor on the call what they plan to bring to your next meeting and when. The simple act of asking typically forces everyone to shift their thinking to consider everything else that is demanding their time. That way any commitments they make are realistic, and positions everyone for long-term success.
Always Define Next Steps
I have learned to have next steps already in mind before I ever start a call. I purposely leave some margin in what I expect to accomplish so I can dedicate time to define next steps when wrapping up. Defining next steps is a valuable way to build on your momentum toward your sales goals.
TIP: Remember it’s also important to solicit key contributors for any next steps they consider most important. While you are the owner of the call, you don’t want to be the dictator of your agenda. That is a quick way to break trust.
Know the Stakeholders and Show Up as the Owner of the Call
Prospects, stakeholders or clients (with whomever you are meeting) have a tendency to take over-scheduled calls and meetings. When this happens it’s typically because they are trying to get to what is important to them. Find out what matters most to them and come prepared to deliver it, so they can stay focused and engaged. It’s your job to ensure everyone’s time is consistently well spent and is key to having a successful sales call. This gets back to the importance of always building trust (and maintaining it).
Tip 1: I set my meeting agendas at least a day in advance and share them with my clients for input, so we have shared ownership of how we use the allotted time.
Tip 2: I put the meeting agenda directly in the calendar invite along with links to any docs, decks, etc. I might plan to reference on the call. This saves significant time for clients since they don’t need to fish around their inbox for the attachments they need.
Tip 3: I always give those on the call permission not to be fully prepared, but tell them to consider our calls working sessions. Developing a cadence of weekly time set aside to focus on marketing activities frees up mind space for busy clients. Do not spend time in a meeting for any tasks that could otherwise be handled in an email, short phone call or similar.
Are Great Sales Reps Born or Made?
We are so excited to welcome today's guest on the Quota Crusher™ Podcast is Karl Becker! We debate on whether great sales reps are born or made. Listen to today's episode to hear what qualities we think make a great sales rep and if its something your born with or not!
Design Your Sales Meetings to Generate Value - Tons Of Value
Meetings are where you either prove your value or slowly undermine your own credibility and trust. An effective sales meeting builds trust. Trust long-term = revenue. Don’t ever forget this simple truth. Ever.
Everyone has blind spots. Take for example, my use of too many words. Beware, your blind spots may be undermining your credibility and the value you bring. It’s pointless to pretend you don’t have any blind spots, and candidly, will only hold you back.
Instead, role play what you plan to say with at least one other person on the call. Think through places where you could possibly get derailed – it is a game changer. It’s not a comfortable process but more than once it has saved me from floundering in front of an important client.
Tip: Think through the following in advance.
What is the one thing you want participants to take away from the meeting? What information and feedback do you require to move forward on a project, proposal, etc.? Where should you have check-in points to gauge for reception? Who are the best people to address key points, and in what order? Use your sales meetings to generate value.
SALES IMPROVEMENT RECORDINGS
AA-ISP Sales Improvement Courses - Every three months AA-ISP provides a course focused on sales improvement. Each course is focused on specific fundamentals essential to high performance. Classes are held monthly and provided via Zoom Conference. Classes are a combination or presentations, workshops and real-time Q&A – all designed with actionable content to get your team inspired and moving forward immediately.
These courses are all about unlocking the power of the individual, how the individual can invest in himself/herself to play to his/her strengths and perform at a higher level. Commit to your own personal and professional sales growth and improve your sales performance. Gain more confidence. Close more sales. Play at a higher level.
Class #1 – How To Immediately Impact Your Sales Performance
Sales success is rooted in intentionality and self-awareness. Sustainable sales improvement is about understanding all the little things we do every day and improving each one. This class provides introspection into how we sell today and the refinements we can make to immediately improve our own sales performance.
Class #2 – Why You Must Take Sales Personally, Starting Right Now
Forget what you have been told. If you are in sales, you need to take things personally. We are directly in control of affecting outcomes; and if we are not generating the outcomes we want, we need to change. This class explores how we show up, how we run sales calls and how we need to proactively guide our prospects through each stage of the buyers journey. Be of real value. Sell more.
Class #3 - How You Can Unlock Trapped Sales & Build A Stronger Pipeline
Every sales organization and every sales person has trapped sales that they can unlock right now. There are always strategies and tactics available to generate immediate revenue. The question is whether or not you are using them. This class teaches you how to find quick wins and how to build a stronger, more robust pipeline.
I’m Karl Becker and I help individuals and organizations improve how they sell. My focus is on clear, concise, actionable solutions.
In short, I'll show you how to increase performance and generate more revenue.
This blog shares approaches, tools, and ideas that I have seen create success.
If you’re interested in discussing anything, please reach out.