The New Approach To Sales [Infographic]

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By Agnes Jozwiak, the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting

infographic_the_new_approach_to_sales-375x250Times for salespeople have changed. Traditional selling techniques are no longer effective. With 85% of prospects and customers dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experience, you need to find a new approach to sales. One that allows you to engage clients and create human connection with them. How to do it? By using webinars.

Why are they better than old solutions? How will they help you out? And how to adopt webinars and integrate them into your sales cycle? Check our new infographic to find out the answers.

Use it, share it, love it!

ADAPT OR BECOME EXTINCT

85% PROSPECTS AND CUSTOMERS ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THEIR ON-THE-PHONE EXPERIENCE

 

The New Approach To SalesTraditional selling techniques are no longer effective. To stay in the game and close more sales, embrace the new game-changing channel: integrate webinars into your sales cycle.

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Posted in Sales Strategy, Sales Transformation

Sales Compensation and Quota Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Miller Heiman Group | Sales Performance

iStock-1147352183-576x385Two out of three sales reps are more concerned about their paycheck than catching the coronavirus, according to a recent survey that we conducted. Compensation is also a concern for close to 100% of sales organizations as they figure out how to handle grounded sales teams, who are relegated to holding video conferences with prospective customers that have their own worries, including shrinking budgets and diminished financial outlooks.

While the magnitude of this situation is unprecedented in our lifetime, we’ve been through similar crises before on a smaller scale, after natural disasters, military actions and political upheavals. We’ve learned a lot from leading sales organizations through crises, so we recently held a webinar highlighting the short-term actions we recommend sales organizations take regarding sales compensation during these uncertain times—with the long-term goal of recovery.

Our first piece of advice is not to overreact: don’t create a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Be careful if you’re considering furloughs or layoffs. Realize also that cutting base pay is usually not the answer for salespeople, as they may be the front lines of defense when your organization starts to recover.

Our second suggestion is to collect data, so you can be scientific in your approach to compensation decisions. Survey the sales landscape in your organization. What’s happening with various accounts and in your sales funnel? Are new deals being delayed?

Once you’re armed with the data, you’re ready to start the decision-making process, which consists of three steps.

1. Set Up an Incentive Compensation Relief Committee

The first step is to set up an incentive compensation committee to structure the terms and optics of the relief effort. The purpose of this committee is to make decisions about your short-term sales compensation strategies and quota relief programs and review sellers’ performance. The committee, which should consist of representatives from human resources, operations, sales leads and finance, must build a business case for expenditures and remediation efforts—and obtain buy-in from the leadership team. Its other task is to communicate, letting your sales team know that the company cares about them and is working to help them succeed.

2. Identify the Affected Roles or Channels

The committee needs to evaluate which teams, channels and roles, if any, would benefit from compensation adjustments. Then it needs to set a trigger to identify the employees in need of an adjustment. Some organizations have selected a 20% to 25% decline in sales over a measurement period as a trigger; others have chosen a 15% to 20% negative impact on a salesperson’s incentive pay.

Keep in mind that if the entire sales force has been affected, it may be necessary to make adjustments across the entire organization.

3. Review Policies and Methods

Finally, your committee needs to decide what approach to compensation relief is best for your organization. One objective in this phase is to ensure that relief efforts have a defined timeline and clear performance expectations.

Additionally, your organization should only offer temporary adjustments to employees in good standing—not for employees who don’t have a track record of meeting their quota or who are on a performance plan. If an incentive is offered to an employee who later leaves the organization, you’ll need to set terms and time commitments for paying back any incentives.

Our Incentive Compensation Process

Whatever your approach, your goal is to keep your sales reps motivated so they continue driving toward their goals. Following the eight steps in our incentive compensation process, here’s a brief summary of the items to consider as you determine how to revise your short-term incentives or quotas for the next quarter.

  • Job roles: Determine whether it’s appropriate to shift your sellers’ roles temporarily. For example, you might shift sales reps’ focus to retention, usage or consumption efforts on previously sold products and services, turning them into the equivalent of a customer success manager to maintain and control existing business.
  • Target pay levels: Consider adjusting pay targets by offering sales performance incentive funds (SPIFs) or spot awards for continued business development efforts, a retention bonus, a guaranteed incentive or long-term incentives.
  • Mix and upside: Change how you allocate the mix, which is the split between pay and incentives, and the upside, which is the amount someone could earn when they exceed their quota. For example, you could shift the mix to reflect a lower target, from a ratio of 60% base to 40% incentive to a 70%/30% split.
  • Measures and weights: Shift the key performance indicators of the plan, such as revenue and profit, and the weights assigned to each, such as switching from individual to team-based productivity metrics or measuring performance with customer service metrics.
  • Mechanics and links: Change the foundations of the plan by lowering threshold performance levels on primary sales compensation measures, removing caps on pay or reducing target excellence levels.
  • Quota setting and allocation: Review options for resetting a quota, such as by extending the measurement period to reflect a longer sales cycle or reducing the quota to match where the top performers are: for instance, if they usually hit 100% of their quota but now are on target for 80%, reduce their quota by 20%.
  • Implementation and administration: Review your measurement, payout periods and payout terms to ensure they align with the current environment. If your measurement period is a quarter, consider extending it to 6 months.
  • Evaluation and next cycle planning: Review your plans and measure progress quarterly by running your analytics. Keep in mind that these are short-term changes, so limit your adjustments to 90 days: if the crisis still exists at the end of the quarter, extend your measures.
Posted in Sales Performance Improvement, Sales Performance Measurement, Sales Strategy

How to Stay Productive When You Work Remotely

by Rebecca Riserbato, Junior Staff Writer for the HubSpot Marketing, Sales, and Service Blogs

Stay Productive HubSpotOne of the best training sessions I’ve attended for my career was the PeopleFuel®️ program by The Energy Project at HubSpot.

Here, I learned that to be most productive at work, I needed to manage my energy, not my time.

The training was led by Nick Congelosi, HubSpot’s Management and Leadership Development Head.

His team is responsible for overseeing global leadership development across HubSpot with workshops, certifications, and trainings like PeopleFuel®️.

When I left that workshop, I felt confident that I could revitalize my work day.

That’s why I decided to grab a virtual coffee with Congelosi and learn all about his best tips for staying productive when you work from home.

Below, let’s review Congelosi’s remote work productivity tips, how to stay productive during remote meetings, and best practices for running a productive remote training session.

Remote Work Productivity Tips

1. Place a side table next to your desk.

Have you ever worked on a cluttered desk? I know I have, and that’s how I know how distracting it can be. To help you stay focused during your day, Congelosi recommends placing a side table next to your desk about an arm’s length away. You can place your notebook and to-do list on this table, so whatever you’re working on is the only thing on your desk. If it’s your computer, only have one tab open (or however many you actually need to get that one task done). This should help limit distractions when you’re working on a certain task. However, if you’re in a meeting, but need something to do with your hands, you can use a pen or pencil so you won’t be distracted.

2. Create clear stopping points.

When you work in an office, there are usually organic stopping points throughout your day. However, when you work remotely, those breaks don’t happen naturally. “We hear all the time that people work more hours or their work bleeds into their evening, when they work remotely,” Congelosi says. To avoid this, you should designate clear stopping points. For instance, Congelosi has stopping points at 10:30 a.m., noon, 3:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Unless you’re working on something mission critical, be religious about taking these breaks. You can go for a five minute walk or just get up and stretch.

3. Keep short-term and long-term (STLT) benefits in mind.

When your motivation and energy is low, it can be hard to stay productive. If this happens, Congelosi recommends thinking about the short and long-term benefits of the task at hand. This can remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, keep your motivation up, and increase productivity. Congelosi personally calls out these benefits in his notebook. “You need to zoom out so that we can be more specific about what we’re zooming in on. As I zoom out, it’s going to help me reprioritize. It’s going to help me be more task focused,” Congelosi says. “It’s going to help me remember why I’m here and what I’m doing. So I think that that’s a huge, huge element that happens when you identify those short term and long term outcomes.” While you don’t need to do this for every task, it’s important to do when you lose sight of what you’re doing or feel scatterbrained.

4. Own your calendar.

To own your calendar, you should have your non-negotiables already booked. For instance, Congelosi blocks off his calendar on Friday’s from 2-5 p.m. so he can wind down for the week. “I recommend booking your lunch hour and breaks, recurring. Your calendar is what you have true autonomy over,” Congelosi says. Additionally, Congelosi recommends not scheduling back-to-back meetings. You can use Speedy Meetings in Google to help with this. With Speedy Meetings, your calendar will default to book 25 and 50 minute meetings (instead of 30 minutes or an hour), so you have time between your meetings. You’ll never have to rush to an online meeting again.

5. Use a notebook or to-do list app.

If you’ve ever felt scatterbrained, you know that it’s important to have lists and keep track of everything you need to do. One thing you can do is use a notebook. You can write out your to-do list or just brainstorm ideas. To do this online, you can use a to-do list app. Congelosi recommends the Microsoft to-do app.

6. Take more breaks.

In HubSpot’s Remote Work Report, we found that 45% of remote workers take less than an hour lunch break, and 25% work through lunch. Additionally, 58% of remote HubSpotters take 1-2 breaks a day, with 29% taking 3-5, and 10% taking none. When you don’t take enough breaks throughout the day, you’re actually sacrificing more than productivity. While work culture has told us to ignore our body, Congelosi recommends taking more breaks throughout the day and listening to your physiology. You can plan your break times around the hours that you’re most productive. If you do a time audit and/or know when you’re most productive, you can ensure that you’re working during that time, and taking breaks during unproductive times.

7. Don’t forget about work life balance.

According to HubSpot’s findings, communication with co-workers, feelings of loneliness, and overworking are challenges that remote workers face daily. We know this is a problem, but how can you increase your emotional energy throughout the day? Congelosi says companies need to focus more on work/life balance because those that still work on a “factory clock” don’t have high retention rates. To increase emotional energy throughout the day, try these tactics:

  • Reach out to your team.
  • Say good morning to coworkers on Slack.
  • Leaders should leave loudly. If you’re a manager, message your team at the end of the day and let them know that you’re signing off.
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a 10 minute walk.
  • Find hobbies you enjoy. Congelosi says, “For people that are lonely, I’d be curious if their identity and self-worth is wrapped up in work. If it is, that’s not right.”
  • Appreciate people. Take a few minutes to write a note of appreciation twice a week. This brings about inclusion, connection, and belonging.

At the end of the day, Congelosi says “You get what you give.”

8. Build lasting habits.

You might be thinking that a lot of these tips are based around building new habits. However, building a habit that will last isn’t easy. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to self-incentivize. For example, once you get a certain task done, you can reward yourself with a new book (or whatever it is that’ll work for you). If self-incentivizing isn’t doable for you, you can try to build one habit that will enable other habits. For instance, if you focus on building the habit of keeping autonomy over your calendar, that will enable other habits such as taking more breaks or exercising throughout the day. Congelosi says, “Be kind to yourself and allow your habits to change. If they don’t stick, they’re not the right habit for you.”

9. Give your employees resources.

As a manager, you need to give your employees the resources they need to be productive. Congelosi says, “You have to, have to, have to have a resource that you’re actually giving employees.” For example, when you give an assignment, you should tell your employee what the goal is and then give them examples of what it should look like. Additionally, another resource you can use is public boards to increase collaboration among your team. Congelosi says, “Be clear about the goal, but flexible about how to get there.” Now that we’re ready to take on the day as productive remote employees, you might be wondering, “How does this apply to meetings?” Below, let’s review a few tips on how to stay productive during a remote meeting.

How to Stay Productive in Remote Meetings

1. Have an agenda.

Of course, the obvious way to remain productive during a remote meeting is to make sure you have an agenda. Before you go into any meeting, you should be clear about what you’re talking about. Having an agenda will help you stay on track so you don’t forget anything.

2. Add structure.

An agenda will help you add structure to your meetings. For example, you should actually write down when there’s going to be five minutes of random catch-up conversations. This will help people on your team self-regulate, so you don’t have to go through the awkwardness of transitioning from chit-chat to business.

3. Keep balance of power in mind.

As a remote employee, it can be awkward when a few coworkers are in the office and you’re the only remote person involved in the meeting. If you’re going to have a mix of remote and in-office employees, Congelosi says it might be better to just have everyone dial in remotely. This will level the playing field for your team and make your meeting run more smoothly.

4. Use the seconds counter on your computer clock.

When you’re running a gigantic meeting, it’s important to keep track of time. One thing that Congelosi does is use the seconds counter on his computer clock. “We find ourselves often at moments like, ‘Shoot, it’s 12:59′, but it’s really 12:59 and 59 seconds which is no time,” he adds. Using the seconds counter will help you keep track of how much time you actually have left on a certain topic in your agenda.

5. Be intentional about psychological safety among your team.

With remote meetings, you might’ve felt that watercooler awkwardness when two people are catching up on something, but everyone else is quiet. Or perhaps multiple people have responded to someone at once, causing confusion. While these issues often get misconstrued as a remote problem, Congelosi says they’re actually an inclusion problem. He adds, “Nothing on camera is subtle. That spotlight effect is really, really hard to deal with.” That’s why it’s important for managers to focus on the psychological safety of their team. “The option to be included is paramountly critical,” Congelosi says. To improve psychological safety in your remote meetings, try these tactics:

  • Round-robin conversation. When you ask a question or you’re doing an ice breaker, go round-robin so everyone has a chance to speak.
  • Extrapolate other questions when a conversation is excluding people. For example, if people are talking about something that not everyone knows about (the latest music, sports, TV shows), managers can ask something like, “It sounds like that team certainly has put in a lot of effort. Where else have you seen that?” This helps the discussion become about the bigger picture, and not the “thing” that’s excluding people.
  • Use a ‘Working With Me’ document. These documents are helpful for managers to use so everyone knows how everyone works. It’s also a great way to get to know people. Additionally, this helps employees build trust and psychological safety with their manager and team. Congelosi says, “We spend so much of our lives trying to glean through magic who you are as a person. There’s a lot of cognitive effort you spend trying to read people. Let’s just talk about it.”
  • Talk about norms. It’s important for teams to establish norms with each other. For example, if someone is comfortable sitting quietly before a meeting, but someone else on your team wants to be engaged, it’s important for a manager to know that and set norms so the expectation isn’t uncertain.
  • Do a ‘This or That’ activity. This is a great low risk activity that can help build psychological safety. With ‘This or That,’ you just go around and ask your team this or that questions.
  • Go through a ‘I am…but I am not’ activity. With this activity, people on your team will go around and say “I am…but I am not” statements. For example, a low risk statement I can say is “I am from Orange County, but I’ve never seen Laguna Beach.” This activity is high risk, but it’s great for building psychological safety. Congelosi says, “Managers need to assess the risk level of an activity and think about it in sequence. Start low risk and move up from there.”

Now that we know how to stay productive during our work day and remote meetings, you might be thinking, “What else is there?” Well, if you’ve had to run training sessions or onboarding remotely, you might be wondering how to do it productively. Below, let’s review a few of Congelosi’s top remote training productivity tips.

Remote Training Productivity Tips

1. Get a producer.

If you’ve had to run a training session with more than 20 people, you should consider getting a producer. This person will monitor the chat, answer questions, and send links to resources that are discussed in the session. For example, if the trainer references a book, the producer will send a link to the book in the chat.

2. Know what the best user experience is.

While Congelosi generally recommends leaning away from slides, if you have to use them, make sure you know how to ensure the best user experience for your audience. For example, if you’re on Zoom, you should take time at the beginning of your training to make sure everyone has a side-by-side view set up.

3. Annotate your slides.

Don’t be afraid to annotate your slides. When you’re conducting remote training, going through slides can be difficult to get through. The annotation feature will help you run a more agile training.

4. Use the whiteboard feature.

When I asked Congelosi about trying new things in remote meetings, he told me a story about Larry King. He said King’s first words on the radio were, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I want to do it well.” Running a remote training session can be like that. If you haven’t used the whiteboard feature before, you might be scared to try it because it’s new. However, Congelosi says to take advantage of the fact that we’re in an unprecedented time. “Take the risk. If you’re a virtual trainer, moderator, interviewer…take the risk with Zoom, and use the whiteboard.,” he says.

5. Set expectations.

People expect what you tell them to expect. If you’ve never done something before, you can be honest and authentic about that. While there’s a balance between self-confidence and self-awareness, being vulnerable in an appropriate way is encouraged. Being remote isn’t always easy for managers or employees. Staying productive can even seem like an elusive goal at times. However, forming small habits every day can help you achieve success when you’re working remotely.

Posted in Marketing, Meeting, Motivation, Networking

10 Tips For Salespeople Working From Home

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by Daniel Disney, LinkedIn & Social Selling Trainer

Tips-Bangun-Kekompakan-Tim-Selama-Masa-Work-From-HomeOver the coming weeks and months, a lot of salespeople all over the world will need to start working from home.

The Corona Virus is spreading fast and a lot of governments and businesses are enforcing social distancing and encouraging people to work from home if possible.

For some, this may be a dream come true! For others, this may be quite daunting.

Now I’m NOT going to focus on the virus in this blog, or anything doom and gloomy.

Instead, I want to try and help anyone working in sales who find themselves working from home. I’ve spent years in sales working from home and remotely and have managed hundreds of salespeople doing the same.

Here are 10 tips that I’ve found to be very helpful:

Tip 1) Structure Your Day As Best You Can

The better your plan for the day, the less likely you’ll be to get distracted and the more likely you’ll be to achieve your goals. Set a good clear plan for each day, breaking down each hour and each activity. Make sure you know what you need to do, but also what you need to ACHIEVE.

This is something that is valuable when you work in an office but even more valuable when you’re working from home and there are potentially a lot more potential distractions. Plan your day, set your goals and then work hard to achieve them!

Tip 2) Keep In Touch With Your Colleagues And Managers

Whether it’s during your scheduled breaks, or to ask for questions/offer support, it’s extremely beneficial to keep in touch with the people you work with. Firstly it’s good to make sure your manager is kept up to date with what you’re doing and achieving. Secondly, it’s good to just TALK to people! It can get very lonely working remotely, there’s no exciting office atmosphere, it’s just you and your laptop.

Set up regular team video calls or conference calls, arrange to speak to colleagues during breaks, utilize chat channels like Slack or Whatsapp and just keep in touch with people.

Tip 3) Use This Opportunity To Prove Yourself

When you work in sales and get the opportunity to work from home you have an opportunity to prove yourself. It is YOUR responsibility to show your managers that you’re able to work hard without them being there and you’re able to achieve results. This may help you work towards getting a promotion or a pay rise, in the long run, now is your chance to prove yourself!

Work hard and show your managers that you are working hard. Show them the activity and show them the results. You also have a chance to show how you can support your colleagues as well, so look for opportunities to help them when they’re working from home.

Tip 4) Take Regular Breaks & Try To Go For A Walk

It can get quite stuffy stuck in your home all day and night, so it’s really valuable to take regular breaks. If you can, go for a walk, even if it’s just in your garden or around a local park. Obviously, with the virus, it’s important to try to avoid other people, so if it’s not suitable to go outside try to find somewhere else you can do in your home for short breaks.

The best thing you can do is schedule break times so that you have them there in your daily plan at set times. It’s also to try and take the full time for each break, whether it’s 5 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour. Take a proper break to help your mind and body relax and recharge,

Tip 5) Set Ground Rules With People Who Share Your Home

This could be your family, loved ones, partner, children or people that you share your home with. It’s important that they understand that you have a job to do and to make sure they support you when you are working. You don’t want to have people constantly interrupting you or distracting you when you are trying to work or sell.

If you need to make cold calls or do video calls, make sure they know to give you space to do so and to respect you when you’re doing so. If you need to concentrate on work make sure everyone else understands that and appreciates that.

Tip 6) Create An Office Space That Motivates You

Find a space that you can make your own as your new work from home space if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, make sure it’s filled with things that motivate you to work. It could be some books, a plant, photos, anything that will help you get into the zone! Keep it clean, clear and tidy as well. A cluttered workspace can often distract you from your work.

This needs to be somewhere that you can work from and be as productive as possible. Some sales offices will have targets on the walls or motivational quotes, so creating your own versions of this can help. Print some motivational quotes, create a mini sales target leader-board, little things like this can help a lot.

Tip 7) Let Your Customers & Prospects See You At Home

This is a rare opportunity for a lot of salespeople to allow their prospects and customers to see their homes. Most of time during communications you’ll be at work in the office or perhaps in your car. If you’re working from home, when you do run or attend a video call you’ll be at your home, and this is a great opportunity for you to build your relationship with your prospects and customers.

Let them get to see you at home, see you working hard and get to know you outside of the office working environment. If you’re not making video calls, this could be a great opportunity to take a photo of you working from home and share it on LinkedIn. It will be a great way to grow your personal brand.

Tip 8) Enjoy The Perks Of Working From Home

It’s important to work hard when you’re working from home, but it’s also important to reward yourself and enjoy the perks of it as well (after you’ve worked hard!). That could include watching an episode on Netflix during your lunch break, taking your dogs for a walk during a break, make sure you enjoy it as well.

Hopefully, you’ll be working hard, and if you are then make sure you enjoy the fruits of your labor as well. Enjoy the little perks that will exist by working from home. Just make sure you earn them :)

Tip 9) Surround Yourself With Positivity

Not only is the media pushing a lot of negative content out there, but you’ll potentially be working in a totally different working environment, one that is the complete opposite of work, it’s home! It’s important to surround yourself with positivity, don’t let the news distract you, don’t keep checking Facebook, instead, listen to motivating podcasts, read motivating articles and blogs, watch motivational videos.

Working from home can be challenging, so it’s on you to create the right environment to succeed.

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Tip 10) Look For Training Opportunities

Working in sales right now is challenging, and it’s going to be a tough few months ahead. This doesn’t mean stop trying, but it’s a good opportunity to be smart with your time. Now is the time prospect, look to talk to people and build pipeline. It’s also a great opportunity to do some training and learning.

Look for online training, look for webinars, consume online educational content so when this does pass, you’re ready to hit the ground running.

And there it is, 10 tips that will hopefully help you achieve more when working from home!

The next few months are going to be testing for everyone, if you are faced with working from home make sure you look for the opportunities and not the challenges. Make the most of it that you can, it’s a unique opportunity to potentially achieve more than normal.

Now is a great time for us all to come together and support each other.

Posted in Sales Strategy, Working From Home

Virtual Meeting Tips

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by Communispond Team

crop-2-readyWith the recent rapid transition to remote working and exponential increase in virtual meetings, both internally and externally, we realize there may be a skill gap when it comes to virtual communication.

To help, we’ve compiled a few must-read virtual meeting tips whether you’re new to the virtual meeting environment, or a seasoned veteran. There’s something for everyone.

  1. Three Tips Three Tips to Plan a Well-Organized Virtual Meeting
  2. Four Tips on How to Effectively Share Visuals on Virtual Meetings
  3. Five Tips to Improve Your Next Virtual Presentation

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3 Tips

3-Minute Read:

3 Tips to Plan a Well-Organized Virtual Meeting

by Bill Rosenthal

Since it’s difficult to stay focused and engaged during virtual meetings, the importance of a well-organized meeting is even more important for a virtual meeting than for an in-person, or co-located, meeting. Review these 3 tips before planning your next virtual meeting. View this article here

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4 Tips

3-Minute Read:

Four Tips on How to Effectively Share Visuals on Virtual Meetings

by Scott D’Amico

It can be challenging to keep people on the same page when you incorporate visuals during a virtual meeting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 4 quick tips on how to effectively share visuals on a virtual meeting. View this article here

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5 Tips

3-Minute Read:

Five Tips to Improve Your Next Virtual Presentation

Do you give virtual presentations? Here are 5 quick and easy tips to improve your next virtual presentation. View this article here

Posted in Effective Communication, Virtual, Virtual Meeting

The B2B digital inflection point: How sales have changed during COVID-19

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By Ryan Gavin, Liz Harrison, Candace Lun Plotkin, Dennis Spillecke, and Jennifer Stanley

standard-digital-inflection-983099444COVID-19 is changing how B2B buyers and sellers interact. Savvy sales leaders are learning how to adapt to the next normal.

COVID-19 has destroyed lives and livelihoods and continues to do so in many communities around the world. Although the full implications of the pandemic are far from certain, it is already clear that its economic consequences are dire.

For sales leaders contemplating how to react, taking care of their people and customers must be a top priority. Even as they manage that reality, sales leaders also need to adjust how their organizations sell in the face of new customer habits and trying economic times. In many ways, the changes in customer behavior are an acceleration of digital trends that were in motion before the pandemic hit. We believe we are at a digital inflection point, where B2B sales operations going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic.

To better understand how both customers and sellers are reacting, we launched a survey of B2B businesses across 11 countries in seven sectors and across 14 categories of spend.1 These findings reveal three emergent themes that we will continue to track:

  • Spend. While companies are generally reducing spend, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and—more than any other factor—location in the world.
  • Digital. Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
  • Remote. Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

We hope the insights from this survey can help sales leaders calibrate their responses and navigate their organizations through the three phases of the COVID-19 response: 1) navigating the current crisis with resolve and resilience, 2) planning for the recovery, and 3) reimagining the next normal. Clearly there is a great deal of uncertainty, but we are seeing plenty of signals that indicate an acceleration of previous trends—omnichannel selling, inside sales, tech-enabled selling, e-commerce—rather than completely different behaviors.

Sales leaders are already moving quickly to navigate the crisis, with the best ones focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm and start preparing for the recovery. As we update this survey in the coming weeks, we will also share perspectives on planning for the recovery as well as reimagining the new normal for sales.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sales 101.5 – Just Plain “How to Make a Sale”

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 by Jeffrey Gitomer

Screenshot_2020-04-14 Sales 101 5 - Just Plain How to Make a Sale - Jeffrey GitomerIs there one “best” way to make a sale? No.

A sale is broken down into elements. Each salesperson executes each element in a different way. Some are great at it. Some don’t even know the elements exist.

Presented here are the 18.5 basic elements that comprise a sale. They are by no means all-encompassing but there are enough here to make a sale. A big sale. Your key is not just knowing these elements (salespeople already know everything problem is they just don’t do it), but your skill at executing or implementing the elements.

Don’t be reading this and say “Yeah, I know that.” Ask yourself “Do I do that?” and “To what degree of competency do I execute the element on a scale of 110?” That’s the real test.

Here is the barebones list of 18.5 sales elements. These are not just elements to know these are elements to implement. These are elements that if executed properly, will lead to a sale:

  1. Know the prospect and his business before you say a word. Walk in with knowledge then get real information.
  2. Be sure you’re talking to the final (only, all) decision maker(s). Why waste your breath? Worse you should never “let others tell others.” If you can’t present to the final decision maker, be sure you’re in the room when the final decision is made. No one can tell it (sell it) like you.
  3. Approach the prospect with friendly confidence. People buy from friends, not salespeople. People buy from those who have gained their confidence.
  4. Know the (find the) prospect’s true needs and wants. Question first. Talk second. Without knowing needs and wants there’s no need to make a presentation, no matter how good it is.
  5. Make sure the prospect is paying close attention. Take away all samples, brochures and other “fidgetable” items. For maximum advantage give your presentation out of his office.
  6. Make the prospect feel important. Sincere compliments. Asking his opinion. Praising success.
  7. Show the prospect that you care about him personally. Talking in terms of him not you. Offer a specific game plan for how your product or service will impact his business. Show empathy when appropriate.
  8. Ask drop dead questions. Build confidence with questions not a bunch of boring stuff about how great you, your company or your product are. People don’t care what you do unless it helps them. Questions lead to answers about what will help the prospect and create a buying atmosphere.
  9. Present a compelling message. Your ability to speak is as important as your ability to sell. Employ the prime motivational factors that guide us to action greed, fear, vanity and sympathy (guilt).
  10. Tell stories that emphasize a point or tie in a message. Tell stories that help the prospect visualize results and ownership. Facts are boring, stories are interesting. Facts are forgotten, stories are retold.
  11. Make powerful statements that give the prospect confidence. Talk about how you helped others. Talk about ways others have used your product or service to their benefit.
  12. Overcome objections and statements of doubt with questions not statements. The fast comeback line to an objection will often make the prospect doubt you even more. Ask questions that make the prospect overcome his own objections.
  13. Look for signals of trust. They will look you right in the eye. They will ask questions about ownership. They will ask your advice. They will seek your reassurance. No trust, no sale.
  14. Use testimonials as final proof, not as door openers. The prospect wants proof. The only proof you’ve got is the word of other customers. Use your proof to close the sale not open it.
  15. Gain agreement. Use questions like Do you see what I mean? Do you see how this fits your business? Do you see the potential impact on your productivity? Gain agreement throughout the sale not just at the end.
  16. Ask for the sale. Ask when you start, ask in the middle, ask at the end.
  17. Close the sale, solidify the next action, and get out. This is the final agreement. The key is mutual agreement on the next action. Be sure it’s a solid one or don’t leave.

17.5. Be friendly. Be funny. Be relaxed. Be sincere. This is how the sale starts, this is how the presentation is given, this is how the sale ends. In other words This is how the sale is made.

Want to see an example of these elements in action? Watch the movie “The Bank Dick” starring WC Fields. About 1/3rd through the movie, Fields is approached by a salesman named J. Farthingham Waterbury. What follows is a classic (and funny) sales pitch. Fields buys then tries to retell the story.

Get past the humor in this scene, and you will witness a perfectly executed sales presentation. A presentation that employs 95% of the elements above. To grasp the full impact watch the entire scene 34 times, and use this article as a checklist each time an element is employed.

WC Fields, in case you live under a rock, was a movie actor, writer, director whose famous line, “My first wife drove me to drink. It’s the one thing I’m grateful to her for,” is almost as funny as his epitaph “I’d rather be here than in Philadelphia.” Ah yes, me too.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer, KING OF SALES, The author of thirteen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.

Posted in Asking Questions, Sales Call Planning, Sales Process

The Five Core Practices of Trusted Leaders: Be Present

by Alycia Sutor

Blog_be-presentThe COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world of work and life.  What has not changed, however, is the need for great leadership.  At GrowthPlay, we know that the most trusted leaders are focusing on these five core practices to step up, lean in, and lead well:

    • Be Present
    • Message Hope
    • Speak Truth
    • Provide Perspective
    • Chart a Path Forward

Be Present

In the midst of responding to COVID-19, it can feel challenging to keep client development connections warm.  In a desire to avoid burdening already stressed clients, we have heard many lawyers express a desire to pull back from reaching out, wanting to hear that their assistance is necessary or invited before making contact.  And, as event after event cancels and clients delay projects, it can seem like the possibilities to stay organically connected to most of our contacts must be put on hold until life and business as usual resumes.

However, this is exactly the time for trusted advisors to lean in, step up, and lead.  It also may be comforting to remember that in a time of crisis and great uncertainty, people are not inclined to make dramatic changes, but rather to lean more heavily on relationships that are already known, liked, and trusted.  Therefore, keep in mind that your behavior to act upon the two principles that guide business development as an act of service are critical right now:  continue to build authentic relationships, and be willing to listen for and solve another person’s most important problems, even if you can’t bill for them.

What does this mean practically?  The number one thing to do right now, particularly if your practice is slow at the moment, is to connect with your clients and contacts.  Authentic relationship building means that you are willing to demonstrate care and concern for the other person because the person is important, not just when they have business to give you.  If you haven’t asked your most important contacts how they are doing personally and professionally, now is the time to do so.

Here are some examples of authentic reasons you can use to connect in the absence of a pressing need.

10_Ways_to_Maintain_Relationship_Connections-1

And here are a few other tips to help you stay connected:

      • Every time you think of pushing send on an email, consider picking up the phone and calling instead.
      • Use the time from meetings that get canceled or rescheduled as an opportunity to call one person to simply check in.
      • Come prepared with a few potential recommendations for ways you can be helpful given what you anticipate might Trends and immediate feedback from in-house counsel demonstrate that some of their top concerns and priorities at the moment include:
      • Labor & employment needs
      • Cybersecurity challenges in a work from home world
      • Managing cash flow and understanding financing, liquidity, and tax implications
      • Supply chain challenges
      • M&A contingency planning

However, the most important thing you can do is ask good questions and listen deeply.  When you discover something that is a priority or concern, recognize that you have a multitude of ways in which you can help.  Some possibilities to consider include:

    • Invitations to sit in on training, discussions, and webinars
    • Introductions to other clients, service providers, experts, and colleagues; and
    • Insights into how to manage the current circumstances, including strategy conversations, sharing of feedback or surveys, and examples of how other organizations are addressing similar challenges.
Posted in Collaboration, Networking, Relationship, Sales Leader

The Hardest Job in Sales Just Got Harder: Sales Management Strategies in Crisis

By Miller Heiman Group | Future of Sales Success

iStock-924450398-576x384Sales managers normally face a trifecta of shifting demands from buyers, their direct reports and their organization. The uncertainty of a crisis only heightens the challenge of balancing these demands. During this crisis, sales managers play an even more critical role than usual in your organization’s strategy: because they typically oversee 8 to 10 sellers, sales managers exert tremendous influence over whether your organization’s approach to the crisis succeeds or fails.

The COVID-19 pandemic gives sales managers the perfect opportunity to work toward transforming into more capable leaders. Here are six steps that managers can take now, in the short-term, that will make an impact on their organization’s recovery and long-term results.

1. Shift From a Sales Manager’s Mindset to Sales Leader’s Mindset

The minutiae of sales management—forecasts, deal terms and budgets—may threaten to consume your working hours, but it’s important to think about your sellers’ needs as well. To encourage and motivate sellers, sales managers must exhibit key leadership traits, including these:

  • Calm: Despite any chaos in your sales funnel, project a calm demeanor. Remain level-headed and give sellers specific, productive directions.
  • Confidence: Convey your belief in your organization’s approach; your sellers will feed off your confidence.
  • Courage: Avoid analysis paralysis; take proactive, data-driven actions.
  • Empathy: Let your team know you care by asking how they’re doing; your conversations cannot focus solely on business during this stressful time.
  • Resilience: Model for your sellers how to bounce back from adversity.

2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Internal and external communications are critical, even during social distancing. Internally, interact frequently and personally with your sales team: use your webcam for team meetings and celebrate every success. Externally, model outreach for your sellers, showing them how to communicate your messaging with empathy, yet precision, and how to deliver meaningful value.

3. Scrub Your CRM Data

Sales managers need accurate data so they can help sellers make the best decisions about the right approach to sales and advise sales leaders and sales operations about the potential need for quota relief, compensation plan redesign and restructuring. Ask your sellers to review the data they’ve entered in the CRM to ensure its accuracy: make sure they’ve entered all contacts, reconsidered the next steps for their accounts, recalculated their opportunity scores and updated their sales objectives. Validate this information with individual funnel reviews.

4. Focus on Quality

 In the last two years, sales organizations have used demand to grow their sales forces and their revenue. This approach was unsustainable even before COVID-19, but now it’s impossible to maintain. Coach your sellers on how to improve the quality of their interactions and strengthen their relationships with buyers. Look for ways to go the extra mile for customers; relationships built now will last longer and be more profound than those cultivated in a boom.

5. Make It Easy for Sellers to Be Productive

Tell sellers exactly what they should do: make your recommended approach specific and actionable. Share more detail than usual as you direct them where to focus, whether it’s on opportunities at the beginning, middle or end of your sales funnel and what strategies they should use.

6. Address Nagging Issues

Recovery is inevitable, though our timeline is uncertain. While it’s imperative that organizations take steps to address the crisis, they must also consider how they’ll respond when the market and opportunities rebound, or they risk a second wave of damage. To prepare now for the future, ask yourself questions such as these:

  • How formal is your sales process? Now is a good time to review opportunities to refine and strengthen your approach, whether it’s for opportunity planning, forecasting or another critical process.
  • How sound is your content strategy? Review your thought leadership and consider whether you have the right engine to fuel perspective-based selling now and in the long term. Draft a value messaging framework and build processes that you can use in the future to create better external content.
  • How will you turn the good habits that you’re forming now, when you may have more time to focus on self-development, into part of your long-term approach as a sales manager? All of the strategies that you employ to keep your team engaged in this crisis, including regular check-ins, skill development, modeling and funnel reviews, will also play a role in creating sustainable success for your team after the pandemic passes.

Making a Sales Manager’s Job Easier in This Crisis—and in the Future

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything feels hard, including what’s commonly called “the hardest job in sales”: sales management. But following the steps outlined here and in more detail in our white paper, The Hardest Job in Sales Just Got Harder: Sales Management Strategies in Crisis can make it easier for sales managers to cope—and even thrive.

Posted in Forward Thinking, Future Selling, Sales Leader, Sales Strategy

Redefining Inside Sales: How to Protect Sales Revenue during Social Distancing

By Miller Heiman Group | Customer Experience

iStock-1152767923-576x384Without travel and face-to-face meetings, how can sales organizations maintain—and grow—their sales revenue?

To protect both customer relationships and economic health, sellers need to look at social distancing not as an obstacle but as an opportunity to do things differently and build more successful partnerships with buyers. Sales organizations must take a critical first step in crisis management and help sellers figure out how to shrink the gap between themselves and buyers.

Connecting to Customers when “The Field” Closes

Nearly two-thirds of sales positions are field-based. For sellers who excel in the field, in-person meetings often produce the strongest outcomes, especially when it comes to complex sales. The intangibles of in-person meetings form lasting relationships that yield results: building trust through eye contact, scoring an extra meeting with a buying influence because they’re in the office at the right time and building rapport with decision-makers. None of these are possible when you’re not physically with your buyers.

With the rise of the corona-virus, field sellers must learn to sell in a different way. Their inability to sell in person creates another layer of complexity on top of the existing emotional gap between buyers and sellers. Buyers haven’t seen sellers as relevant for some time: 77% of buyers say they’re less connected to sellers than the used to be. They call them less, have briefer interactions and engage them later and later in the sales process. In part, that’s because most buyers—68%—don’t see a lot of difference between sellers.

The good news for sellers is that buyers are more willing to engage earlier when the situation is risky or highly complex—that’s the world we live in now. So, sellers have a choice to make: will they allow the gap between themselves and their buyers to get bigger, or will they use this as an opportunity to close the gap by changing their approach?

Adapting Sellers’ Approach to Sales

In this environment, the challenge for sellers is not just to help customers—it’s to help them thrive. While the fundamentals of selling don’t change in a crisis, sellers must adapt, learn and continue to serve customers despite volatile circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis puts sales organizations on the same footing with the same challenges: organizations that adapt most quickly, with strategies like the three that follow, are the ones that will emerge unscathed.

1. Maintain Selling Activity—with Perspective

With social distancing, only the type of activity must change—not the amount. Sellers must find ways to connect with their buyers differently, whether it’s by email, phone, web conference or social media. It’s a time to hunker down personally but be more proactive professionally.

But all selling activity isn’t good activity. Good sales activity encompasses two approaches. First, it offers perspective: the insights and unique expertise that educate buyers and informs their viewpoint. Make sure every interaction offers a benefit to your customers, whether that’s helping them solve their problem or achieve their goals. Second, it needs to efficiently spur a high level of activity, despite the distraction in the market. For example, if you spend all day on a piece of thought leadership, will you get the same return on investment as you would on other activities you could accomplish in less time?

2. Rethink the Sales Process

Today, sellers spend less time selling—only 32% of their time each week—than in the past. But they also allocated 10% of their time to travel. That’s time they can now invest in value-added virtual selling activities that improve results rather than administrative tasks, like forecasting and reporting.

To guide sellers, sales leaders and managers should start by re-imagining their sales process and offering sellers clear guidance. Sales leaders need to provide frameworks and tools as part of a formal sales process designed to help sellers rethink their approach to account, opportunity and call management.

3. Maximize Your Tech Stack

The average sales organization employs 10 sales tech tools—but under-utilize most of them. This is the perfect time to consider how these tools can amplify your selling efforts, whether it’s a customer success platform, social selling tool, engagement platform or some other technology with untapped potential.

Train sellers in how to use these tools and their advanced features to make sure they create experiences that engage buyers. Ensure that they understand the advanced features of these tools and use them to create interactive and engaging buyer experiences. For example, when sellers record their video sales calls, some platforms send them a transcript to use for reference—a transcript that sales managers can also use for coaching.

Posted in Social Sales, Social Selling, Virtual

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