Tag Archives: sales management

Does Your Team Have the Sales DNA?

By Tony ColeTony Cole

DNA is a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid, which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique. So what makes up the very unique and coveted sales DNA? Is there a genetic code for successful sales people, and if so, wouldn’t every organization like to crack that code?

There are three absolute must haves for high performing sales people. The Sales DNA components are:

  • Hunter
  • Qualifier
  • Closer

Using an OMG sales person evaluation, let’s further explore each one of these DNA strands. Here are the hunter characteristics:

Uses Sales 2.0 Tools: The successful hunter uses technology to aid and assist in the traditional methods of prospecting: pre-approach mail, direct mail, social networking, and prospect facing networking opportunities. The key here is to understand that a hunter does not rely solely on social networking and technology to build their pipeline. They do not sit and play catch hoping that someone responds to a connection request on LinkedIn. They use current technology applications to supplement and enhance their current prospecting efforts.

Attends Networking Events: A true hunter not only understands the importance of getting face time with many people in a single block of time, but also has a consistent strategy and execution plan to attend events and turn events into prospects.

Prospects via Phone and/or Walk-ins: A skilled hunter knows that the phone call starts the process. It is one thing to get an introduction, to attend a networking event or to get a response to an email invitation, but all of that effort is for naught until they pick up the phone and attempt to reach the prospect. Regardless of tenure in selling, the phone is still the key to starting the sales cycle and the buying/selling relationship.

Gets Introductions from Customers and Network: Getting introductions doesn’t sound like hunting, but it is a by-product of the hunting activity. They do more than simply suggest “thinking of them” once in a while when their clients meet someone that needs the hunter’s product or service. No, they pro-actively ask and expect introductions.

Schedules Appointments: The effort of networking, social networking, and asking for introductions turns into appointments. A sales person that puts forth the great effort of picking up the phone has one of the necessary characteristics to be a successful hunter, but unless they actually schedule the appointments, then they will continue to struggle to fill their pipelines and meet personal income objectives.

Reaches Decision Makers: Just like in real hunting, the hunter has to eventually get face-to-face with the “game” they have intended to hunt. It’s one thing to be in the woods; it’s another to actually come face-to-face with your intended game. Hunters get prospect decision makers “in their sights.”

Will Prospect: This is the sales person that, when held accountable to prospecting activity, will prospect, no matter what!

Prospects Consistently: This is the sales person that, based on their own internal desire and personal commitment to success in sales, and their sense of responsibility for results, will prospect without direct supervision and will take accountability for their own prospecting activity.

Has NO Need for Approval: This individual gets past gatekeepers and has a very powerful message to deliver to the prospect. They are not likely to be thrown off by the gatekeepers blocking techniques or the objections of the prospect. They realize that they have a job to do – get the appointment. They do not hesitate to tactfully challenge the gatekeeper and work to overcome objections.

Recovers from Rejection: Like all sales people, the hunter faces rejection on a regular basis. The difference between this person and an account manager or ambassador is that they also understand the formula of SW3N – Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? – Next.

Maintains a Full Pipeline: Finally, this is the one metric that helps you quantify the strength and skill of your hunter. Do they have a full pipeline that turns into business?

Your next step is to look at your current sales team and identify who is and who isn’t a hunter.

Learn more about Tony Cole at his blog and website. Enjoy Tony’s e-Book 9 Keys to Sales Coaching Success.

Make Your Sales Team an Elite Sales Force

By Victor ArochoVictor Arocho

In every sales team, there are usually a handful of top performers…and then there’s everyone else. Imagine how much more successful your organization could be if every salesperson was an elite top performer. Think that’s not possible? Think again.

In other areas, we see groups of elite people who band together for a common goal or purpose: Super Bowl teams, Navy SEALs, top-rated college marching bands, etc. In any of these groups, you don’t see one or two people doing all the work, outperforming their peers, or being the lone superstars. Rather, everyone on the team is an elite member. The group as a whole shines because each member contributes greatly, plays an integral part, and gives 110% at all times. If it’s possible with these groups of people, then it’s possible for your sales department as well.

But creating an elite group of salespeople involves much more than placing a help wanted ad on a job board. It requires a specific hiring process that attracts only the best of the best. Here are the steps to do that.

Make joining your sales team difficult: You cannot create an elite team if becoming a member is easy. Would a Super Bowl team be spectacular if they let anyone with a helmet on the field? Of course not. In order for any team be considered elite, there must be a stringent process to join the team.

So while you should definitely advertise open sales positions, realize that conducting one interview prior to bringing someone on board is not enough. Rather, you’ll want to conduct multiple interviews, with the candidate speaking to the sales manager and other executive level people. The key is to look for people who believe in a team spirit, have a positive attitude, and display a keen sales demeanor. Whatever you do, don’t have your HR department be responsible for hiring salespeople. HR’s only role in hiring salespeople should be to process the paperwork.

And finally (and perhaps most important), make sure anyone you decide to bring on board realizes that getting past the initial hiring process is the easy part. Now they must prove that they have what it takes to be an elite player. How? By completing step number two…

Create a six-week intense new hire training program where no more than 60% pass: For every three people who make it past your initial hiring process, only one of those should actually become a salesperson for your organization. While this may initially sound like a waste of time and money, it’s really an investment in making your sales team the best it can be.

Realize that the only time you really waste time and money is when you allow low producing salespeople (typically people who are not a fit for sales, people who don’t like your company, or people who have the wrong attitude) to be a part of your organization. The best way to avoid that scenario is to make sure the people who are in the sales role have been thoroughly trained and are the people who really want to be there.

Having an intense training period is the same approach used by colleges and the military. For example, for every 100 men who start Navy SEAL training, only 17-20 succeed. That’s a success rate of only 17% to 20%! But think about it…who do you want carrying out the country’s most dangerous and most critical military missions? Only the best of the best, right? Well, who do you want being the face of your company, representing your products or services, and interacting daily with your clients? Again, only the best of the best will do.

Your intense training program should cover the following key things:

  • Product knowledge – Go over your products or services thoroughly to ensure the prospective salesperson comprehends them inside and out.

  • Role-playing – Go over typical sales scenarios as well as the most challenging sales situations you can think of. See how the person responds when things go wrong.

  • Sales skills – Even if the person has prior sales experience, you want to give them all the skills and training they’d need to be successful, and then make sure they know how to implement the skills.

  • Company structure – Teach them all the parts of the business. Train them on every department so they know the intricacies of the business and understand what happens both before and after the sale is made.

  • Research – Put them through the tedious information gathering work. Make them research the market, demographics, competition, etc. If they’re not willing to do the details, then they’re not a fit your company.

This intense process will weed out the people who don’t have what it takes to be part of an elite team. In fact, about 20% of the people will drop out by week four. For the ones remaining at the four-week mark, offer them a choice to stay or go, as in: “I’ll give you $1,000 right now for you to leave the training and the company, or you can elect not to take the money and stay.” Those who take the money aren’t the type of people you want on your elite team. It’s better to pay a small price now to find that out than waste a lot of money down the road with a bad hire.

By the six-week mark, only 60% of those who started should still be standing strong with you. These are your elite sales team members. (And if you have more than 60% of the people making it through the training, then your training is too easy. Anything that’s too easy has no value.)

Have consistent, ongoing (monthly) training: While the intense training period is a one-time thing, all salespeople should attend regular (less intense) monthly training sessions. During these sessions, do role-playing, train on specific sales skills, and find out any specific challenges your team is facing.

It’s also a good idea to use these ongoing training sessions to create bonding experiences for the sales team. Have them help each other solve problems, offer suggestions, and share best practices. Why? Because the goal is to continually develop a team, not an individual. As Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian Chief, said, “A single twig breaks easily, but a bundle of twigs is strong.” By bringing your salespeople together monthly, you’re creating a strong and elite sales force that can’t be broken.

To Be the Best, Recruit the Best: Sales isn’t an easy profession. So joining an elite sales team shouldn’t be easy either. That’s why you need to shift your focus from filling a sales position to building an elite sales force. After all, your sales team really is the face of the company. Shouldn’t only the best of the best be representing your brand? The sooner you take this approach to building your sales department, the sooner your company’s sales (and profits) will grow.

Victor Arocho is an executive coach, speaker and managing partner with Potential Sales & Consulting group.  He specializes in exponentially growing sales by bringing accountability to the sales process and crafting a sales culture of success. His numerous career highlights include tripling a publicly traded organization’s profits within 24 months. With his passionate and strategic style of sales, Victor has assisted others in growing their business and achieving their revenue potential. To learn more about Victor, please visit victorarocho.com.

Is Your Company Delivering on Its Sales Promises?

By Victor ArochoVictor Arocho

Any sale—from the smallest consumer item to the largest enterprise-wide solution imaginable—is about much more than simply providing a product or service. A sale is really about delivering a promise to the customer. Unfortunately, many companies have no idea what their sales promise is. Sure, they may have a company vision or a mission statement, but those things usually don’t address the specific processes the company uses to deliver value to its customers.

A true sales promise goes way beyond a tangible deliverable. It’s about the customer’s interaction with your company throughout the sales cycle. It’s a sense that everyone from every department is aligned on customer satisfaction. It’s about the service and interaction with the company after the sale. It’s about making customers feel confident that your company as a whole—not just a single product, service, or salesperson—can deliver the results the customer wants…and exceed expectations.

In essence, it takes every single department to fulfill your company’s sales promise. When you actively define the promise you want to make to your customers, and then make sure everyone in the company knows what that promise is, you can deliver on your promise and exponentially grow your sales.

So, what’s your company’s sales promise? Following are some suggestions for making sure your sales promise is crystal clear.

Define your promise to your customers: In order to deliver on a promise, you first have to know what the promise is. Get the various departments together and ask them, “What do we want our customers to experience as a result of working with us? What do we want our promise to be?” Then listen to the issues or expectations each department brings up.

Having this conversation in a group format with the various departments represented is crucial, because people need to see how the different departments work together to deliver on the promise. Of course the billing department wants to send out accurate invoices and reminders, the engineering department wants to create workable solutions, and the shipping department wants things shipped on time. But if no one sees how their process impacts another department’s process, then the process as a whole will break down…along with the sales promise.

Therefore, after you define the promise in general terms, pay attention to the small details of the promise. Look at everything, including customer callback times, product turnaround times, billing cycles, shipping times, customer service follow-up, etc. Be specific. Simply saying, “We promise to call customers back quickly” is not specific. What is quickly? One hour? Four hours? Two days? Without the details defined, it’s easy to break the sales promise.

Provide ongoing training about the sales promise: Once you have the promise defined, provide ongoing training to each team member on what the sales promise means and how everyone in the company can work together to deliver on the promise. Educate all new hires with the premise and details of the sales promise, and ensure that current employees are always on board with the message.

Also, make sure everyone in every department can clearly communicate what the company’s sales promise is and how they and their department play a role in fulfilling that promise. Make it clear that everyone—accounting, shipping, R&D, customer service, and every area in between—is responsible for fulfilling some part of the sale and impacting some aspect of the customer’s experience.

Finally, as part of the training, ensure that everyone understands it’s their job to hold each other accountable for delivering on the promise, and train them on how to do so. Remove the corporate silos, where departments operate in a vacuum, and train people how to communicate across department lines so they can all work together to ensure that the sales promise gets delivered to every single customer.

Promote the sales promise to customers in a broad and global way: With all the details worked out and everyone in alignment with the company’s sales promise, it’s time to communicate that promise to customers. But customers don’t need or want to know all the detail work you’ve just done. They simply want all those details to flow smoothly as they interact with you.

A good sales promise from a customer’s perspective is something broad and global—something that resonates with people. Perhaps all the detail work you’ve just created gives customers “the easiest shopping experience ever” or “the best casual dining atmosphere” or “the latest technology innovations simplified.” Whatever your promise is, promote it in a way that speaks to what the customer truly wants. With that broad and global sales promise being promoted, employees will then be empowered to use the newly-created processes to go above and beyond to exceed the customers’ expectations.

For example, Southwest Airlines has a sales promise to get you where you need to go on time. To fulfill that promise, they have many internal processes created. Additionally, everyone in the organization knows the promise and their role in fulfilling it. When a plane is at risk of being late, you’ll see everyone—even pilots—pitching in, loading baggage, and doing what they can to get the plane out on time. That’s the power of a unified sales promise.

A Promise for a Profitable Future: When the people within your company focus on the fact that everyone in every department is involved in the sales process, creating and living by a sales promise is much easier. So if you want to grow sales and create a following of raving fans who are eager to do business with you, get started on your sales promise today. Remember, the sale is just the start; the promise is ongoing.

Victor Arocho is an executive coach, speaker and managing partner with Potential Sales & Consulting group.  He specializes in exponentially growing sales by bringing accountability to the sales process and crafting a sales culture of success. His numerous career highlights include tripling a publicly traded organization’s profits within 24 months. With his passionate and strategic style of sales, Victor has assisted others in growing their business and achieving their revenue potential. To learn more about Victor, please visit victorarocho.com.